Thursday, January 31, 2008

When we sat down to one of our favorite dinners last night, fillets of haddock with seafood stuffing, I surprised Fritz by opening a bottle of champagne. There were two reasons to celebrate: one was a happy development relating to Fritz’s business, the other the fact that my younger daughter had just emailed me to say that she and her boyfriend have decided to move in together.

They just got back from a week away in Mexico that included visits to galleries, museums, and Aztec sites in addition to beaches and playtime. I knew things were progressing over Christmas when she used the term “crazy about” before his name.

This is good news. He’s an extremely nice guy and treats her very well. He has a good position and ambitions for an even better career path within his company for reasons of professional growth and satisfaction, not just massive financial gain (not that there’s anything wrong with that). He’s outgoing, speaks in whole sentences, and can hold up his end of a conversation with his potential father-in-law on a variety of topics including the arts, thank you very much. There is joy in Mudville.


The cabinets are finished; we spent yesterday afternoon stacking them in the kitchen and cleaning out the great room, entry hall and master bedroom for the acid dying of the concrete. All the scrap lumber from various parts of the project will be turned into kindling for the wood stoves in the Center and Fritz’s apartment.

As we were finishing up yesterday morning, the tiling guys showed up to begin the two bathrooms. By the end of the day, two walls of the upstairs bathroom had been tile set, topping out at 43” from the floor—no grout yet, but I thought it looked great and was exactly what I had in mind for a 1930s look. Above that I will paint the walls with a pale silver gray color with some deco ornamentation around the medicine chest and wall sconces.

Next week the acid dye wash on the great room, entry hall and master bedroom floors begins. Walls and ceilings in all three spaces will be completely sealed with plastic. The process of coloring, drying, texturing with over-spray, drying and sealing with a clear finish is supposed to take three days.

In the meanwhile, I'm designing the pattern for the Marmoleum tile on the kitchen floor and going to get little sample jars of paint to make test panels for colors in the various rooms before we settle on specific colors. This is all great fun.


From the Rutland [Vermont] Herald:

Standup comedian has day job as Vt. legislator
By JOHN CURRAN The Associated Press

MONTPELIER — Take his committee assignment — please!

Seriously, folks: Didja' hear the one about the Vermont legislator who moonlights as a standup comedian? Jason Lorber has.

Lorber, 41, a member of the state House of Representatives, does standup gigs, produces comedy shows and runs improv workshops when he's not making laws.

"A lot of people say 'What's the difference?' When I first came here, people said 'You're the first comedian to come to the Statehouse.' I say 'I'm the first professional comedian to come to the Statehouse," he said.

As a gay, Jewish politician who has a civil union, a 19-month-old son and all of Vermont to make fun of, he doesn't lack for material. And he isn't shy about mining it.

On why he got into politics: "The real reason for me, why I ran: I wanted to spend less time with my family."

On his partner: "The thing about my partner is he's gay. Which I'm fine with. Growing up, I never pictured myself being with a gay guy. Now, I've come to realize that I could never be happy being with a straight guy."

On driving in Vermont: "I'm used to directions based on what street you're supposed to turn on. In Vermont, directions are based on landmarks that burned down 15 years ago."

Born in Philadelphia, Lorber grew up in California and studied rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley before getting an MBA at Stanford University and establishing a public relations consulting company. He moved to Vermont in 2002, when his partner got a job at St. Michael's College.

A lifelong actor and performer, Lorber — a Democrat — got into politics in 2005 when he ran for and won election to a House seat in Burlington, despite being a "flatlander" — or non-native Vermonter. In the Legislature, his colleagues say, he has distinguished himself as an advocate for prison reform and a supporter of increasing the minimum wage.

He says legislating and performing are both passions for him, but that they're separate worlds.

"I don't see them as linked, per se," he said. "Politics is about changing society and trying to make the world a better place. And performing makes me feel so alive. I love the creative aspect of it."

If anything, he says, he has to suppress his comic instincts when wearing his lawmaker hat.

But on stage, everything is fair game — including himself. He jokes about politics, parenthood and Vermont idiosyncrasies, his comedy veering from groan-inducing one-liners ("I saw this guy walking a dog in shorts, which threw me for a loop, since I've never seen a dog in shorts") to wry barbs to zingers about Southerners, British people and his peers in the Legislature.

On his recent gig before a garden group: "I'm not comfortable performing in front of people who grow their own tomatoes to throw at me."

On keeping warm in Vermont's chilly winters: "I have a regimen for keeping warm: I get up, I put on a tank top, T-shirt, flannel shirt, sweater, jacket and scarf. Then if it dips below 50, I put on more clothes."

On dog-eat-dog life in the Legislature: "There's like 150 people in the House, and they're so nice to you, they show you around, tell you who to talk to, who not to talk to, and then if you don't look closely, they'll stab you in the back. To me, that's what family is all about.'

On former Gov. Howard Dean's unsuccessful White House bid in 2004: "He didn't make it, but he certainly was within shouting distance."

In a 30-minute set Wednesday at the Black Door Bar & Bistro in Montpelier, Lorber — dressed in a suit, with no tie and an open-necked shirt — told the crowd it was his "Obama" look. "It's better than my Hillary look, because I'm more feminine than she is."

His comic productions include "Moo Jew Comedy," a night of Jewish comedy he put on with two other standups at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas and "So … Jew live in Vermont," an upcoming show themed around well-known Vermont Jews.

While standup comedy isn't exactly big business in Vermont — the state has no comedy clubs — Lorber is making a mark, one gig at a time.

"It would seem that he has a gentle touch, but then he throws in a real stinger," said fellow comic Kathleen Kanz.

Fellow lawmakers, meanwhile, say Lorber is making a mark at the Statehouse, too.

"Anybody who can stand up in front of a group of people and try to elicit laughter, maybe being a legislator is the easy part of his life," said state Rep. Floyd Nease, D-Johnson.

Absolutely fantastic...on all fronts...the daughter, the house, Fritz's good news...oh, and the champagne too! Now, before I go, I have just one question for you "former MA people"....Isn't there some way you could have taken care of this Romney guy long before he ended up where he is today?
We did our best, Lewis. We defeated him across the board on gay marriage and other social issues, and drove him out of the state after just one term in office with a poor record of legislative achievement. As a final kick in the ass, we humiliated him and his lieutenant governor by sending Deval Patrick into the Governor's office by a margin that made her look pathetic.

Unfortunately, tarring and feathering aren't encouraged in today's political climate. I can't wait to see what numbers he polls in Massachusetts next Tuesday.
That comedian had better not quit his day job.

I love the tile.
I LOVE that tile! Also, I can't wait to see the floors when they're completed. Your house is growing so beautifully.

Filets of haddock with seafood stuffing sounds amazing!

Congrats on liking the new possible son-in-law. (If being able to hold your end as far as the arts are concerned is your criteria, I would never have made the grade, so to speak ... lol)
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