When I was in Colorado I picked up a "300 writing prompts" journal, and I’m trying to write more. so here you go.
I am back in Boston and a majority of the past two months have been lazy days. I flew back to the states with nothing on the agenda in mid November and, for the most part, ate Dad Food and drank Dad Beer. I actually gained ten pounds. I have never gained weight in my life. Jari and I discovered my weight gain when I weighed myself at the YMCA in Boulder, Colorado, where we spent Christmas. Our nephew Mikey (Or perhaps as he’d prefer to be styled now, now that he’s adultish, "Michael" or even better "Michaelonious") works as a lifeguard, and Jari and I took some free day passes from Uncle Erik to go swimming. I weighed myself on a professional medical scale, the one with the teetering iron blocks you have to counterbalance, and it told me I was 164. Where did it come from: Dad Food and Dad Beer and a month of inactivity; the laziest of days.
In Colorado most of Mom’s family showed up. Erik and Kathy live in Boulder with their three kids, Mikey, Rock, and Sophie. (Rock’s name is actually Riley, but she renamed herself Rock at age…3 or so…and has been Rock ever since.) Auntie Kirsten lives in Salt Lake City and drove over with Sharman (mom). Uncle Karl didn’t bother to tell Erik that he was coming, he just started driving with Gordana and the kids from San Diego. Kirsten told Erik that Karl was on the road, and Erik was pleased but bemused, and called his brother.
"Are you coming?"
"Didn’t I call you about it?"
"No Karl, you did not." Hilarious. Classic Karl.
Once everyone was there I was the only one interested in taking a picture, an instinct beaten into my by Anna, and so I snapped a few of the whole assembled mess–the four siblings, the four families (Piper, Park, Olbina, Kowalczyk) and the dozen humans all united by a desire to beat each other, over and over, at games which do not matter at all.
Our family is big on games. We are extremely competetive at cards, Boggle, ping-pong. As soon as Erik let us know that he actually had a ping pong table in the basement, Jari and I rushed down as quick as we could to start a match. Jari was in a cast because he’d stress fractured his foot while walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain the previous month, but he still played like a demon. I lost every single one of our first matches. Gordana brought her sister Svetlana (aka Ceca) down from Fort Collins, where she teaches Construction Management at the college, and they were terrified by our fierceness on the ping-pong table. "We just played as girls, thirty-five years ago," Ceca said. "I don’t remember how to play really." They tried to teach us to sing a Serbian worker’s song, and cracked up at our parody versions of their accents. We played several doubles matches–Erik, Jari, Svetlana, Gordana, me. Parks versus Pipers. Pipers versus Olbinas. During one of these episodes, Karl shambled out from nowhere, dazed and post-nap, hair stuck up in the front and back, wearing a ragged gray t-shirt covered with stains. He watched the game, provided commentary and possible story interpretations. He later purchased new ping pong balls and rackets for Christmas for his brother.
Meanwhile upstairs Kirsten was crushing Kathy and Sophie and Rock in a round of Progressive Rummy or Goop or Basra. Basra was the game Jari and I learned at the wedding in Hasankeyf from the Kurdish guy, where you throw down cards and make 11s. Goop is the family game which shockingly Erik hadn’t taught to his kids, a violent and fast-moving card game that’s a cross between solitaire and speed as played by the worst criminals in the prison yard. I have worn out my voice from shouting and cursing while playing goop. Kirsten’s timeshare dog Fitz (who had puppied in Erik’s house, and preferred the kids sometimes) would nose into everyone’s thigh for attention and pets while cards were thrown or dropped onto the carpet. "Not now, Fitz, I’m about to goop out" would be a common refrain.
In the evening someone made dinner. Jari and I made Georgian food one night–satsivi chicken (walnut sauce with garlic, greens and fenugreek) and lobio, Kathy made falafels, Mom made Chicken Marsala. The adults sat in the dining room and drank wine until we ran out of wine, and then got more wine and then played cards and gossiped about the kids, who were in the next room watching a movie. Little Nicolas or Annika would come barreling into the dining room and we’d pretend to eat them.
Back in Boston, we make duct tape/pvc pipe swords so Jari and Eliot and I could bash the hell out of each other in the woods near Seaside Park. I play Eliot’s videogames while he provides commentary, we all sit down on the couch to watch a bad movie. Eliot really wanted to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon last night–though he has fixations like Star Wars or Destiny (a video game) or Legos, you can never quite tell what sort of influence he will listen to, absorb, and later express a desire for. Where did that desire come from? Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? It doesn’t really have a clash of good and evil, but of a confused young kung-fu princess against Chow Yun Fat, a desert mongol, an illeterate criminal who killed Chow Yun Fat’s master, and Chow Yun Fat’s merchant partner who is definitely not his girlfriend. Also, they fly along the roofs. Eliot was initially confused because all the flying and jumping was super fake looking, but once dad explained it was because they have magic kung fu powers, he got into it. He loved the bit where Jade Fox machine-guns poisoned darts at Chow Yun Fat and he whips Green Destiny (a sword) around in a circle to deflect them all.
These are how I spend my lazy days. Surrounded by family, watching bad movies, playing games, (screaming when I do not win), reading, eating, drinking, laughing. My holidays have been nothing but lazy days. May we all have a thousand more.