Thursday, July 31, 2014

NARS Azalea Pink

Digits, Thruway

When I was little, I'd periodically tell my mother that someday I would have a daughter and I would name her Azalea, because I loved the azaleas in our garden and to my ear, their name would make the most beautiful name ever.

That's not a name, she'd say.

Violet is a name. So's Lily, I'd reason.

Yes, but those are flowers. An azalea is a shrub, she'd reply.

My daughter will be the first, I'd declare.

And if you have a son you can name him Boxwood, she'd say.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Salt of the earth, my mother would bellow, because somehow that phrase couldn't be spoken in her normal voice at a normal volume. The person being so described would share one quality with every other person my mother defined thusly -- he or she would live on a farm. Of the earth seemed to be the operating principle rather than salt, and so the people who had little nailbrushes next to the kitchen sink, the people who used lava barsoap regularly, these were the people about whom my mother bellowed.


My father wasn't allowed salt. Instead he took a handful of pills and while he looked healthy to me, my mother would always ask him if he had taken them, did he need water. It's my blood pressure, he would say if he caught me looking. I would salt my food carefully, making sure not to shake the shaker in a way that salt fell astray. I imagined one loose crystal would be enough to kill my father, and I lived in terror of it. The salt would fall in a thick, dense layer, and my mother would say, You've put too much salt, my goodness, take some off. I would use the edge of my knife to scrape and spread, pretending it was like fertilizer for my meat, needing to be put down evenly.


No salty talk, she would say and glare in the rearview when she heard one of use use a word she believed to be leading toward profanity. My mother's definition of salty talk included oh my gosh, dumb, shut up. My brother and I would mouth our salty speak and watch her eyes in the rearview to see if they were upon us. You're stupid, he would enunciate. Your face is stupid, I would reply soundlessly. Zip your lip, he would hiss. Hey I said no salty talk, shooting eye daggers at him while I made the universal haha face of little sisters everywhere.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Or less

Behold, a young patriot looks for opportunities to invigorate our nation's economy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Because happy birthday, but also AMERICA

This weekend George went to a birthday party.

Because he loves the honoree he spent an exceptionally long time making the birthday card.

He then spent an even longer time poking around my enormous container of bargain basement wrapping materials before bringing me his very fine choices and providing clear direction for the final look he envisioned.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

At this time I'd like to thank the heavens for that Hancock Fabric ribbon grab bag I scooped up a few years ago, because I think the eagles in flight are the x factor here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This kid

Sawtooth, yesterday, 8:23 AM

This child, born much too early, used to fit perfectly on my forearm. I would nestle his head in my palm, and he would draw his legs in, rest his tiny feet against the crook of my elbow and sleep. I would stare at him and physically hurt with love for him.

Now he is a full foot taller than I am. He drives and plays guitar and makes me beautiful things.

Sometimes late at night I tiptoe into his room and peek at him, and no matter that he has changed, a tightening springs to my chest, a dull ache of love.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Color scheme

My mother took an art class once, a color theory class in which she cut expensive, saturated papers into small shapes she cobbled together seamlessly.

"Look at the subtlety of that blue," she'd say, and I'd strain my eyes and tilt my head and finally just nod, seeing nothing.

Our den was harvest gold, orange, and a strange shade of green, the wallpaper in our kitchen a red, white, and blue patchwork design, but my mother stared into her little papers like they held the secrets to the universe.

"Do you see how vibrant that gray is?"

Squint, tilt.

Nod, nod, nod.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane


Medical models always make me feel like I did when my children were bringing home their earliest attempts at school art.

I'd be all, "Oh, wow, I love the ferocious expression on the grizzly bear!" and the child-artist would look at me stonily and say, "Mommy, that's a pilgrim."

I genuinely felt accomplished that I recognized this as an ear. Go, me!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hunting, gathering

My goodness, job hunting has changed in the last twenty years.

I feel like a dinosaur.

Specifically a stegosaurus.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


She cannot see the graying of her own muzzle. If she could, she would be Shocked and Horrified, for in her heart she is still my young dog, ready to fetch endless squeakies and protect us all from that most dangerous of vagabonds, the UPS truck.

Unfortunately I can see the gray, both hers and my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014


As expected, the youngest made a kachina in his anthropology camp last week. I opined aloud that it looks a bit like a character Tim Burton might have created, but George informed me that it is a traditional Hopi Hano clown and if I think it looks like a Tim Burton character, then perhaps that indicates Mr. Burton stole his design aesthetic from the Hopi.

Well, then.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Moo moo roar

Reynolda Road, 4:37 PM

On the first night in my third apartment in DC, I was awakened by the distinct sound of a lion's roar. I have always been an alert sleeper, and among all the city sounds, my brain sorted that particular noise into the "wake up now oh god wake up now now now" category.

Those who dewll along the other side of the sunken Rock Creek often enjoy the sounds of wild animals from the National Zoo, carried to them by the shape of the terrain, and so sometimes when I drive down Reynolda and see the cows pasturing at the Children's Home, I wonder who all hears them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Electric company

Shaffner Park, 11:08 AM

Lookie, lookie, something else my faux grandson fake-inherited from me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


A few weeks ago I was supposed to attend a play for one of DM's children and completely flubbed the timing of it. Her reply text to my idiocy was gracious:
No worries at all. Just give us DC restaurants and we will forgive all.
And so with their children dispersed to different camps, my friend and her husband are in Washington with entirely too many recommendations for the number of days they have there. Today came a one word text with uncharacteristically effusive punctuation.

Guapo's is where my husband and I had our first date, a restaurant I offered up to him as a place one could get authentic Mexican food. While we ate, he told me he was leaving the States in two months. Before those two months were up, his plans had changed, and two months after that, we were planning a wedding.

Ask to see the Fiesta Room! We had our rehearsal dinner there!  
Is it upstairs?

They told us it's closed. Perhaps I'll get lost.

Our rehearsal dinner was all the silly out of our system: traditional star piƱatas loaded with nonsensical fake diamond rings (bride) and army parachute men (groom), a margarita machine, enthusiastic and terrible dancing. My cousin Harry gave a toast that doubled us with laughter, and my father and his brothers charmed the daylights out of everyone.

The next day's affair was suitably solemn, High Church and all, save for the wink to the night before just at the end: La Bamba as the recessional.

The salsa there is ridiculous.
Oh yes!!
Go enjoy your lunch. I'm having blueberries and leftover puerco. Booooo.
Yes. Gotta go. M was checking email. He's done now. Hugs, friend.

And then forty-five minutes later, the photo below and another enthusiastic one word text.

My friend indeed. Amiga del alma even.