Wednesday, March 23, 2005


TOOTH FAIRY: Baboo lost a tooth today. Number 4. I have to remember to send the Tooth Fairy around. She's losing an average of two teeth a year. She was wiggling it like mad at the grocery store today, in between sessions of Eloise (she LUVS Eloise and reads huge sections of it outloud). We got back to the car and TA-DA! Out it came. No blood or anything.

Reminds me that over the weekend we discovered that Skittles is a stealth reader. She can read more than she's letting on. She read most of Bunny Cakes outloud and it has hard words like "kitchen" and "red hot marshmallow squirters." Of course, she has memorized a lot of it, but that is how it starts.

CELLO DOCTOR: We finally went to visit Cello Doctor today. Baboo's teacher (who several independent sources have acknowledged, in hushed and reverential tones, as "The Best Cellist in Slovakia") told us where to go and said he would call ahead and explain to Cello Doctor what our diagnosis was (bad bridge).

After lunch (at IKEA. Always a hit.) we found the address. Baboo's cello case is softsided, like a backpack. It also has shoulder straps like a backpack. She was wearing it as we crossed the street towards where I thought the guy's shop might be. A man fell into step with us, chattered cheerfully at us in Slovak, and somehow gave me the impression that he might BE Cello Doctor. When my vacant nodding and glazed expression became too much, he asked if I spoke English. He then directed us to the shop, which was, as I expected, in a courtyard behind a big apartment building. What I did not expect was that this courtyard would look so derelect. He indicated a yellow sign, which marked the entrance and left us, saying "I'm a cellist, too!"

Very kind and rather cool.

So we walked quickly past the crazy man lurking in the parking lot and opened the door below the yellow sign.

Which put us into a basement hallway. This was one of those moments where you are SURE this is the wrong place. But, no, there was another door with a sign saying the doctor was IN and to ring the bell.

Behind this door was another world.

A young, almost attractive man greeted us. His workspace was about the size of a two-car garage, and it was filled with string instruments in all forms of assembly. On his desk was the body of a violin, glued and clamped. Hanging overhead were many more violins and violas. There were two double basses. And a full-size cello with the top off. Baboo said, "I always wanted to look inside."

He agreed with the bridge diagnosis and selected a new, taller (and actually, pointier) one. Then he examined the neck with a straight edge and announced that the slope of this was contributing to the problem (the problem is that often it is impossible for Baboo to play one string at a time . . . which can sound muddy, at best, and dreadful at worst). Bottom line: one week (because of the 4-day Easter holiday weekend) and about 2300 Sk (60US$).

SKITTLES AS ANSEL ADAMS: I went to visit a Slovak sculptor on Saturday. I wrote a story about him for the Slovak Spectator (should be on line as of Monday at and took pictures. When I took the film in, I found another exposed roll on the kitchen counter. I suspected it was the work of a child, but just in case it was valuable to said child, I took it along to be developed.

The next day, Baboo and I go to collect the prints. The Film Kiosk Guy gives me an envelope with two sets of negatives, a CD, and one set of prints. In Slovak he explains that his colleague voted not to print the second roll of film as all the shots appeared to be of the "televisor." The television. Skittles has shot a roll of 36 exposures while watching TV. It would almost be worth printing a contact sheet to determine what she had been watching.


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