Friday, December 22, 2017

Guinea Pigs and a Black Turtleneck

Yesterday was a whirl of domesticity -- cleaning and vacuuming, changing the bedsheets, raking the yard, trimming dead stalks out of the flowerbeds. The house seems presentable and more or less holiday-ready now.

We're going to have even more added excitement for Christmas. In addition to our friends coming over on Christmas Day for dinner, we're going to babysit Mrs. Kravitz's two guinea pigs while she and her family spend a week overseas. They come in a sturdy cage that can sit on a tabletop, and I'm hoping if they're elevated out of sight they won't drive Olga crazy -- God forbid she should think they're squirrels, even though they basically are. Worst case scenario, we need to close them up in the dining room. (Well, okay, there are worse scenarios than that, but let's not go there.)

How did we get roped into this, you may ask? Mrs. Kravitz stopped me yesterday as I was on the way to the laundry with our sheets. She asked, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to win some neighbor points. Which it will be, unless Olga makes a snack of the guinea pigs (okay, I went there) or they die on their own of fright. Mrs. Kravitz said to me, "I thought guinea pigs were only supposed to live two years, but these are already three years old now!" Red danger lights began flashing in my mind, but by this time, we were committed. (According to Google, they live four to eight years.)

Last night, Dave and I got our annual dose of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and then, as if on cue, we began hearing distant music. I thought it was coming from upstairs, but as I walked through the flat to trace the sound, I realized it was out in the street -- and it turned out to be a mob of carolers, walking down the street and singing in front of houses for a donation. Dave and I gave them £5 and they sang "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." They mangled the words to the latter, but we didn't mind. 

As I was working on my endless journal transcribing project, I came across this old flyer, which I glued into the journal in early 2001. I remember doing this with my co-workers at The New York Times. It was an art school project of the daughter of another colleague, as I recall, so we all trooped down to Chelsea in our black turtlenecks to be photographed. I don't think the book ever came about. At least, I never saw it. Funny the random things we get involved with during the course of our lives!

(Top photo: Chinatown, on Tuesday.)


  1. I suggest that you photograph the guinea pigs as soon as you get them. That way, if Olga snacks on them, you will be able to get replacement guinea pigs that closely match the deceased. Mrs Kravitz will never know.

  2. I love the idea of carolers. We don't have any here...sadly. That would really make my night.

  3. I do believe that YP has nailed it on the best advice ever.
    Good luck!

  4. I don't mind watching a neighbors place while they're away but I stop at livestock. Good luck with the critters.

  5. I agree with YP, definitely photograph those little critters just in case. I'm sure all will be okay though. You and Dave will be on guard all the time. Must have be so nice to hear carolers. Late yesterday afternoon we had two different neighbors stop by to bring us crazy sweet baked goods with wonderful Christmas cards. Sweetness in every way!

  6. I love your picture in Chinatown. I can remember walking through in San Francisco many years ago and seeing those delectable looking ducks hanging in windows of shops. Yum.

  7. That is terribly nice of you (and brave) to care for the neighbors guinea pigs. I don't think I've seen carolers in ages and I have a few memories of doing it along with friends when I was a teenager. I watched "Love Actually" last night. That movie and "The Holiday" are my two favorite holiday movies. Hugh Grant as the PM was a nice change after slogging my way through the British version of "House of Cards".
    I love the photo today. I would have stopped for a picture of that one too.

  8. Anything that gets you into Mrs Kravitz good books is worth doing.
    Take good care of those guinea pigs though you don't want her wrath down on you do you?
    Have a wonderful Christmas and thankyou for visiting my blog, much apreciated.

  9. Good luck with the pet sitting, and I believe Briony's right about getting in your neighbor's good books. Merry Christmas to you and Dave.

  10. Hamsters only live about two years - which I didn't know when I had mine. Until the day it died. Talk about shock. ANYWAY. Yes, guinea pigs are longer-lived than that! Are you going to put little red bowties on them and take a picture?? Olga could wear a pearl necklace, perhaps. Oh, the possibilities. Then again, maybe not :D

    I got to listen to the Mennonite choir at the mall last night singing a cappella. It was beautiful and restful. People don't actually sing, in person, very many places anymore. Years ago that's what everyone did when they got together. Times have really changed that way.