30 May 2010

Road to your soul

Wind in my hair
It feels like honesty

Usually, I walk in the morning. It clears my head to start the day, and I like the dew and cool. In summer, it's just practical.

But my favorite time to walk is Sunday evening, about an hour before sunset. Completely impractical in winter, since I'm usually busy at 3:30 in the afternoon, but lovely in late spring and summer when the sun finally disappears beneath the horizon around 8 pm.

Most people don't like Sunday evening. It's the start of another week of work and school. My kids tend to roll around and moan on Sundays. But for me, Monday is the resumption of peace of a sort. Generally, I work even harder on weekends, and there always seem to be more demands on my time. Though I work all week, too, at least the endeavors are more solitary.

So, I love Sunday evening.

But it's not just the return to quiet that I enjoy. There is something so perfect about that evening walk. Few people tend to be out, and the traffic is near non-existent. Where I saw wrecked cars in the middle of the street on Friday night, a solitary SUV passes quietly and without hurry. Rather than the roar of engines that I hear all week, there is the song of birds, chattering away as they head to roost for the evening. The people who are out seem far calmer, standing quietly watering a plant or chatting with a neighbor or saying a laughing good-bye to a visitor.

I like the briskness that the air picks up as the sun drops to the west, and the change as I walk along from sun-warmed wall radiant near my bare arm to the damp chill of a dim alley of trees. The sun sits over my shoulder and the lengthening shadows in the road resonate with memories of other sunsets, other evenings, other places.

My thoughts are my own this time of day, as I've usually cleared my accounts, done familial duty, solved whatever problems required solving. Even when the walk is a struggle, as it was tonight, even when it's painful, as it was tonight, I won't allow any care or concern to steal the moment. I'd rather let the scent of citrus blossom and wet greenery surround me even as I cautiously watch the uneven pavement than dwell on what my body can or cannot do.

And when I reach the summit of the highest hill I climb, I feel the reward of getting there, sometimes coupled with a view of Catalina in the fading light. Not tonight, though. Tonight, just the sense of accomplishment as I started down the slope. And the readiness to take on the battle of another week, to welcome what lies beyond that.

Go listen to some good music: "Road to Your Soul" from the album Scarlet and Other Stories by All About Eve. I was, of course, interrupted no fewer than five times as I tried to write this, mostly by my crazed family running around in the backyard with a night vision scope, and a crazed cat, who raised the alarm that set off the whole night vision escapade.

29 May 2010

(You're the only ones) can make me cry

The Angels are fairly dreadful this year, currently holding 3rd place in the AL West, and sitting tidily under .500. You win some, you lose some. I've been watching baseball since I was 4. I get that.

So today, which was a freaky baseball day anyway (poor Huff! Hunter, too, though he didn't get a rocket to the head), ended for the Angels with a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth against Seattle. And Kendry Morales, the Angels' most consistent hitter so far this season, jumped on home plate to celebrate his accomplishment...

...and fractured his left leg.

Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, and he may be out for the rest of the season.

I'm not even going to tempt the Fates (or the Furies) by wondering what else can happen this weekend. Yesterday's closure of the 91 because a fuel truck crashed and burned, and the subsequent outbreak of fist fights on the other freeways jammed by people trying to get out of town was bad enough.

This before the temperatures even start rising.

On the upside, SWA sent me a nice little email reminding me of my Albuquerque itinerary. Like I'd forget...

Go listen to some good music: "(You're the Only One) Can Make Me Cry" from the album Concrete Blonde by Concrete Blonde.

28 May 2010

Song of Aeolus

I suppose I should write something.

(More, though, I'm feeling the blog is done. My brain is off and running down other paths.)

I got carded today. The checker was completely serious.

Which, after being prescribed trifocal contact lenses, was...pretty weird.

Go listen to some good music: "Song of Aeolus" from the album The Journey: Best of Adiemus by Adiemus.

25 May 2010

I get this feeling

Words eluded me today, which may be just as well. Frustration and annoyance have been my close companions. My patience wears thin to the point of transparency as school winds down, and this year is no exception.

Every morning, I take a breath, and dive back in.

But I know what I'm feeling. What I'm feeling is something on a different plane from the commonplace rigors of the daily grind. I knead dough and later, slice bread for sandwiches, but my mind is elsewhere. I drive the familiar paths to my varied destinations, but I see a different landscape unfolding. Someone speaks, but I fail to attend.

I know what I'm feeling. There are words for it. Words like yearning and anticipation. And while those words describe aspects of this, it goes deeper and differently. We know each other, this feeling and me, and have for a long time. It is a beginning; it is something that often burns quietly, but when it is released, radiates heat and light, becomes visible.

Atmospheric changes...

Go listen to some good music: "Scars" from the album Presto by Rush. There is a black phoebe that haunts the front garden and since spring began, has become quite noisy and insistent in its call. If you could find a silent version of that, it is where I am now.

24 May 2010

Doctor, doctor

Last Thanksgiving, the grocery had one of its typical come-ons: buy one turkey, get one free. In this case though, they were Butterball turkeys, not some off brand, and the kicker was that they were also on sale for $0.49/lb., so I came home the proud owner of about 35 lbs. of turkey that cost me all of $8.00. One of my prizes was duly consumed on T-Day, while the other has been sitting in the freezer.

In the last few weeks, I've just about had enough of having a 17-lb. turkey take up most of my available freezer space, so a little over a week ago, I set it in the refrigerator to defrost and last Friday, I roasted it. Given how unseasonably cool it's been for the last week (probably actually colder than it was last Thanksgiving), roast turkey, gravy, wild rice and a medley of wax beans and baby carrots went down pretty nicely.

But then there are all those leftovers (which is great, as far as I'm concerned. The others get a bit restive).

Sunday lunch was turkey tetrazzini. I hadn't planned on serving turkey tonight, but the day got away from me, as days so often do, when I got mired in other business. So, I had an A-HA moment, and decided to make turkey curry.

When I'd finally served up dinner, I noted the new Bon Appetit sitting by my elbow, the cover of which said something like "and it uses leftovers." More to the point, it uses chicken leftovers and turkey can always be substituted for chicken. I flipped to the recipe.

"Hey, listen to this," I told the assembled company, and started reading bits of the recipe aloud.

"MOMMY," said the daughter in tones of dudgeon.

"What?" I responded distractedly, wondering about the merits of Major Grey's chutney in salad dressing.

"Are you READING?"

"Mmm," I muttered through a mouthful of green beans, thinking that I had dried udon in the pantry and maybe that could be substituted for fresh.

"How hippocratical!" she announced.

"What?" I asked, looking at her in bemusement.

"You are hippocratical! We're not allowed to read at the table!" she huffed.

I rolled my eyes heavenwards. "Who knew? Now I'm a doctor. Be healed, my child."


The basis of the curry recipe is here.

And don't forget! My photos have moved to When All This Actual Life Played Out, my photo blog. No photos of curry there, though. Or hippocratical oaths.

Go listen to some good music: "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" from the album The Very Best of the Island Years by Robert Palmer. I am biding my time, filling the moments, trying to get things done.

22 May 2010

Dreams take you there

When I was a teenager, I would climb up on the roof and watch the stars. I never thought about how the rest of world would fix me, how the rest of the world wanted me to be something I wasn't. I'd let the warm wind wash over me and I would open myself to the heavens. Goose bumps would rise on my arms, and the deep and calming silence of the night would fill me up.

I knew that in time it would be like this.

The seas within me are calm and I've set my course by the same stars. Never have I been surer that I'm headed exactly in the direction I need to travel. The compass fits comfortably in my hand.

Go listen to some good music: "Green Grass and High Tides" from the album Best of the Outlaws by The Outlaws.

21 May 2010

And now she knows

Years ago, I had the inevitable talk with the children about needs and wants. Of course, it was couched in the discussion of material things and having the ability to distinguish the difference between what we want (Legos) and what we need (shelter, adequate clothing). And my children, nitpicky as they are, had to dissect this down the nth degree (chocolate is a want, not a need).

Finally, the daughter, who was still rather young, asked how she would know whether she wanted or needed a hug. I remember laughing--such a daughter-typical question--which annoyed her. But I took her query seriously, and told her that if she wanted a hug, it probably meant that she had an emotional need that required meeting, so the desire for a hug could be validly called a need, and it didn't matter really, I'd give her one regardless.

After a night of weird, anxious and guilt-ridden dreams, I woke to the realization that I've never applied the guidelines I set down for my children to myself. I keep my emotional footprint very small. I never want to be seen as needy, so I accept the basics, and little else. Partly, this stemmed from self-preservation and necessity. I've generally believed if I want something, it's not a need, which has allowed me to travel lightly and successfully, if a little sadly. The spouse comments frequently that I tend to ask for very little.

What an interesting door to open, to allow the possibility that some of the things I want are indeed actually things that I need.

Go listen to some good music: "She Just Wants to Be" from the album Reveal by REM. I do want birthday cake, whether I need it or not. It bothers the spouse immensely that it's about the only thing I ever ask for, along with the occasional day off for a concert. Success was survival. I've just never learned how to let go of survival mode. Or that I was allowed to do so.

20 May 2010

When I sing along with you

I was just looking at an ad on another website. It said, "What was your most memorable birthday?"

Well, I've had a lot of them (yeah, I've had a lot of birthdays, but also a lot of memorable birthdays). And it was timely because I have a birthday coming up.

Lucky me.


Every year for twenty-plus years now, come April, I have listened to my mother-in-law carp about adding another year to her age. It is something that really bothers her, and she's spent vast amounts of time and money on plastic surgery and Botox trying to fend off the inevitable. Whatever floats your boat, but I don't really see the point. She looks fine for 80, but she is 80. It's pretty clear that she's 80. I like her even though she is 80. And when we took her out for her birthday last weekend, she kvetched about being 80. Given the number of friends she and my father-in-law have lost, I'd think she'd be pretty thrilled at the fact she's still kicking, still able to travel, still able to hang out with her kids and grandkids.

The birthday that freaked me out was 25. Quarter century. That one was weird. It still feels old.

Thirty didn't bother me even a little. And by the time I hit 40, the march of years no longer mattered much to me. When I was 32, my older half brother died of glioblastoma multiforme. He was 45. He had three weeks from onset of symptoms to death, and his doctor told me in no uncertain terms that his quick death was a profound blessing. Of course, I found it difficult to see it that way, though the rational part of me agrees that it's better P. didn't suffer far more than he did. Still, it was a blessing to me in a different sense: his death made me realize that every year is precious, every year is a gift. So yes, I have more wrinkles now than I did a year ago, and it's harder to keep my waistline in check, and God knows my whole body hurts most of the time, but I have had years with my children that P. never had with his. I'm teaching my son to drive, which P. never had the opportunity to do with his. If I'm fortunate, I've got a few more good years left to spend with them.

And it's not that I have some flower child-like attachment to my aging body. It's not that I lack a certain amount of vanity myself. I am a realist and I want to age well. I fight the wrinkles best I can with sunscreen and good quality moisturizer. I dread the thought of bingo wings, so I lift another 10-lb. weight. I hoist the sagging bits of my person with formidable undergarments (alright, not much is sagging yet, but I'm prepared for it!). I haven't capitulated to surgery or injections. No bunny wrinkles on my nose! Just crows' feet you can see when I smile.

That's the important part, I think. You see them when I smile.

I have lots left to do, too. Weeds to pull and bathrooms to remodel. Kids to get into colleges. June. I have June! Purple enchiladas with D. and concert, concert, concert.

I have my friends. There is much stinky cheese yet to be eaten, and wine to be drunk.

Another 6 or so miles to walk tomorrow.

Meals to cook. Parties to throw.

People to meet. Unexplained laughter that hasn't been heard yet. A whole future that I'm looking toward.

And there are songs to sing with my children. I make up crazy songs for the boy, and belt out rock ballads with the daughter. I sing--horrifyingly loud--when I'm pedaling away on the exercise bike. Sometimes I sing when I'm out walking. There are songs I haven't sung yet. I want to sing along with you.

How could one accomplish these things without the extra years?

Maybe when I'm eighty I'll be ready to kick off rather than kick it. But I'm looking forward to the chance to find out.

Go listen to some good music: "Everlong" from the album The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters. And for crying out loud. BIRTHDAY CAKE! Not giving that up.

19 May 2010

Maybe you'll get what you wanted

I had one of those busy and exasperating mornings where I had to be everywhere, all at once. Another run at the grocery store, prescriptions to pick up, photos to retrieve, ink cartridges to purchase, no one thing at the same place as the others. I started early, and a couple of hours into the proceedings, decided I could really use a cup of coffee. With my strawberries in tow, I stopped at a recently reopened coffee house. The line was long, so I almost abandoned the idea, but fairly soon I was talking to the nice man behind the counter. As I waited for my nonfat latte, a woman standing beside me began talking, and after a moment, I realized that she was talking to me. I've become accustomed to people seemingly talking to themselves when in fact they are speaking into small microphones hidden about their persons. The kids and I often joke about others' imaginary friends.

She repeated her comment: "You're one of Chloe's clients aren't you?"

Client. A word that conjures up so many possibilities, even more in the OC than one might imagine. I wondered what this Chloe did and what sort of client that would make me. Considering I was standing there, unbathed, in work out clothes, perspiring a little because I'd walked rather quickly the significant distance from point A to point B in my meanderings, it didn't seem promising.

"I'm afraid that I don't know anyone called Chloe," I replied politely.

"Well, never mind," she said a bit sniffily.

Usually, I let that stuff go, but today, I was just irritated enough to respond. "Oh don't worry," I said breezily, "evidently I have doppelgangers everywhere."

She turned her face towards me. I couldn't see the expression in her eyes because she was wearing sunglasses indoors, but her jaw was slack, which told me enough.

"People mistake me for others all the time," I said slowly. I don't understand it, but it's true. Once, a man grabbed me a party, hugging me wildly while calling me by someone else's name. It was an unforgettable and very uncomfortable moment. For both of us.

At the explanation, the other woman made a noise--flustered, annoyed, I wasn't sure what. Fortuitously, my name was called and I grabbed my coffee and fled.

Often, I find myself striving for anonymity even in the outer world, and after a fashion, I seem to have found it, in the most unlikely form. I suppose that all that matters is that the people who are supposed to know who I am don't fail to recognize me.

Go listen to some good music: "White Shadows" from the album X&Y by Coldplay. It does surprise me how I often I hear "you look just like," because I've never seen anyone who looks like me.

18 May 2010

Along the road

Ah. What a day.

It's May. Mid-May to be precise. It's unseasonably chilly for So Cal, and this morning when I took the son to school, it was drizzling.

AT called me right around 7:45 am, just as I was shooing the spouse and the daughter out the door, to say that it was raining, and surely, we weren't going to walk in it.

"Ahem," I told her severely. "This is not rain. I will see you in 5 minutes."

I've known AT for years. Her daughter is the same age as the son and her son is the same age as the daughter, and for a long time, they all attended the same school. I still run into AT at events like Pentathlon, and in March, we fell into conversation about this and that, and then she suddenly announced that she'd like to go walking with me.

Now, my walk is sacred. It's my thinking time, my music-listening time, and people are always trying to horn in on it, particularly now that I can no longer run (it was easy to chase potential partners away by telling them that I ran 3 or 4 of my six miles. Not that they liked the six mile part). And all of these people are lovely people, and I like them all a great deal, but I like my alone time, too. Usually, they stick with me for a week, two at most, and give up, so I told AT, ok.  We would walk.

After our first walk, AT announced that she'd like to walk with me two days a week. She told me that for years, she'd been trying to find someone who exercises consistently to walk with her because she is the sort of person who will just not do it alone. "It's always some excuse with them," she complained. "So we never end up going."

And because the whole world sees me out there traversing my six miles, everyone knows I've been doing this forever.

Walking with AT isn't a hardship. She is cheerful company, and we have great conversations: about food, about our kids, about the vagaries of college admission, about the parties our teens are invited to attend, and about mothers and mothers-in-law. Then, too, since I'm always urging people to EXERCISE, DAMMIT! I decided it would be churlish of me to abandon her. So I reorganized my workout schedule, with the end result that I'm getting well over 2 hours of exercise two days a week in addition to the hour plus I get every other day of the week.

The real payoff, though, is the fact that AT is so incredibly gleeful that she's getting all this exercise. So there was no way I was letting her off the hook this morning.

She seemed a tiny bit grumpy when we started, but as the water dripped off my baseball cap, I chirped merrily about the weather and whatever else occurred to me. About halfway through the course that we travel, the sun peeked out momentarily and the clouds cleared for a few moments, though the drizzle started up again a bit later.

"You know," AT told me as we neared the parking lot where we meet on our walking mornings. "I've gone out in the rain because it was necessary, but not when it wasn't."

"See?" I replied. "It wasn't so bad. We're only a little damp. And you know me: no excuses."

"It's a red letter day," she grinned.

Go listen to some music: "Along the Road" from the album Phoenix by Dan Fogelberg. One of the recurring themes of our conversation is how much we can learn from the others in our world, and what a good thing that is. It's one of the very reasons that I consider myself blessed in the company that I'm privileged to keep.

16 May 2010

I will write a book

...and it will be called "Life and How to Live It."

Home again, home again.

I spent the better part of my weekend in Pasadena and La Canada. Yesterday was Seminar! Day! at Caltech. The spouse and his father (and my brother-in-law) all wander around with degrees from that place, and I spent many years of my life haunting the libraries, and the basement of Arms, and South Mudd. And the gardens. And the copy room. I spent three full days in the copy room.

My wedding reception was held at the Athenaeum.

My father-in-law likes to go to Seminar Day, and the spouse and I have been going along with him for twenty-plus years. The son was added to the lineup when he was nine or ten, and the daughter has been in attendance for the last two or three years.

The highlights of the day include:

1) All-you-can-eat doughnuts first thing in the morning. There is no pretension to health here, so nothing like fruit is included. Just doughnuts and a few random pastries. Well, and coffee, tea, juice and milk. They used to be Winchell's doughnuts. Now they are Krispy Kreme. It's great to watch passels of old alumni attack the tables when each new platter of doughnuts appears. Yesterday, the chocolate-frosted sprinkles were in high demand.

2) Lunch. No one quibbles too much about this one. We go to Burger Continental (okay, once we went to Pie 'n Burger *shudder* and once we went to Tommy's. Tommy's is fine if you don't mind smelling like chili for the rest of the day, and Pie 'n Burger is great if you like grease. I don't like grease.) BC in no way qualifies as fine dining, but it's an institution. I've been going there since my freshman year of college, and I celebrated my first (and only) major hangover with lunch there many years ago, in part because the friend I was with convinced me that hummus and tabbouleh and a hamburger would put my queasy stomach to rest. Ha. Anyway, we always got a discount as starving college students, and I don't mind paying back a little by paying full price now that I'm a not-starving adult. One of the pair of brothers who ran the place has since passed on, but the other still greets us, and yesterday he served us, bringing extra beers for the spouse and his father, and an enormous platter of baklava and brownies for the kids. He has aged so much it hurts my heart, but he is still the same kind person he has always been and he still says, "Thank you, nice people," which still makes me smile. (His brother always called me "darling," but I think he called all the girls "darling." I can still see him, burly and joyous, writing my order with huge flourishes on a pad of paper.) It's true that my hummus and tabbouleh are better, but it's also true that BC is where I discovered hummus and tabbouleh.

3) Shopping. The Caltech bookstore is a must for your collection. You can buy real Caltech olive oil (pressed from the fruit of the Caltech olive trees), and buy whatever Caltech paraphernalia suits your needs. They used to even sell pocket protectors. No books any longer, unfortunately, because that's all gone online, but there are some seriously hilarious geeky t-shirts. Most of which do not come in girl t-shirts, damn you, Caltech. The daughter happily acquired a stuffed beaver that she and I immediately named "Justin." (Yes, for precisely the reason you think, and no, she is *not* a fan because she says he sings like a girl. But this is the girl who likes Rush, Coldplay, Muse...no JoBros or Miley for her.)

4) Caltech professors speak! Yeah, some of those guys show up and talk about their current research. Whatever. Ok, no, seriously, that part can be a lot of fun, depending upon the speaker. Yesterday we heard about lakes on Titan, genetic and neural regulation of sleep, and the daughter's pick, medical micro-implants. Yes, as a family, we are a group of freaks, but you already knew that.

Then last night, I spent the evening removing spyware from my mother-in-law's computer, and we had dinner at a teppan restaurant. And we discussed the sleeping habits of cetaceans.

Today, we celebrated my MIL's 80th birthday by taking her to an extremely lovely brunch at The Huntington Hotel (now The Langham Huntington, or something like that). She likes to be feted, and this turned out to be a perfect place. I haven't had brunch there since the hotel was a Ritz Carlton, and the space was light and lovely, the food attractively presented and well-prepared. There were so many lovely cheeses! I could live on cheese, and I mostly ate cheese. And a little sushi. And a sea-salt caramel tartlet. But now that I think about it, I mostly ate cheese. With fig cake! And more cheese! With olives! And cheese! I missed the dim sum, the carved meats, the omelet station, the waffle station and skipped the oysters, shrimp and crab claws in favor of more cheese!


Go listen to some music: "Life and How to Live It" from the album Fables of the Reconstruction by REM. The daughter was entranced by the chocolate fountain at brunch, while the son favored everything and the spouse and his father were pleased by the non-stop mimosas. It's usually a fun weekend every year, though I feel like I did nothing but eat and doze through talks.

14 May 2010

Fly me to the moon

I love airports. As much as I don't love flying, I love airports. Airports are filled with potential and promise. And yeah, they're filled with tired people sleeping in unlikely places, and horrible security lines, and horrible security people bent on molestation (no, I haven't gotten over that experience at Schiphol), and wretched airport food, and Starbucks and uncomfortable seats, but I love them.

The potential overrides just about everything.

I know airport codes by heart, and I used to keep lists of major airports I'd been in: Heathrow, Sheremetyevo, Helsinki-Vantaa, Frankfurt, Kennedy, La Guardia, Stapleton (now gone), Dulles, National...you get the idea. I've spent so much time in LAX, SNA and PHX that they seem like home.

(Heathrow is abominable. Sheremetyevo is a bit sinister. I've always been fond of the look of Dulles. La Guardia looked exactly as I expected a New York airport to look. It's possible I've spent more time in LAX than any other airport in the world. And yes, I've been to the restaurant in the Theme Building. Kansas City might possibly have the weirdest design.)

Tonight, I had to pick up the daughter from her Grand Canyon sojourn. I'm rarely in this airport at night; more often, I am sitting on a plane at 6:45 am, first flight out. While I waited in baggage claim, I read the boards over the baggage carousels. Flights had just come in from Albuquerque, Toronto, and Phoenix (via Reno, which didn't make too much sense, but these days...). I felt a little chill feather up my spine as I thought Soon! Soon! Soon! you can fly me to the moon.

Go listen to some music: "Fly Me To the Moon" from the album It Might as Well Be Swing by Frank Sinatra. I have actual tickets in hand. When I actually have airline tickets, I'm mostly unstoppable.

13 May 2010

Such a perfect day

I find the farmer's market dangerous, and the danger lies in seduction, the allure of fresh fruits and vegetables, local honey and eggs, freshly roasted nuts and cut flowers.

I am susceptible.

Our market, as I've said, is held in a dusty little lot, and it's generally populated by the same vendors: the fish dude, the tomato dude, the singing dude (who apparently replaced the singing chick), the lady who sells hand-crocheted items, the apple lady, the folks who sell strictly organic comestibles, the tamale lady, the people whose tables are filled with chamomile flowers and beautiful beets and lettuces.

The air was cool and the breeze was cooler, weather belying all the produce that's come into season. I was at the market early and people were still setting up their stalls as I made a beeline for the table where I get organic strawberries, and later in the season, the best-tasting and most beautiful white corn ever. The scent of the fruit was strong, and mixed with the smell of fresh, clean dirt and wet greenery. I purchased my generous three-pack of deep ruby berries, and wandered toward the apples, which are moving out of season and are no longer pretty, no longer giving off the scent of autumn.

I didn't need fish and I bake my own bread and I shied away from the enticing aroma of roasting peanuts. I gazed for a moment at the potted herbs, but mine are doing well, the variegated sage and peppermint revitalized by the longer, warmer days. The breeze shifted and I smelled in delicious and unholy combination kettle corn and roasting corn. I smiled when I saw the man who sells little cakes and pastries sitting on the tailgate of his truck, sucking on a honey straw from the man who sells honey a few stalls north.

The bunches of chamomile were pretty and I wondered what inventive thing I could do with them. Of all the stands, this was most likely to have pea tendrils and pea sprouts, both odd items called for in the recipe I was making for dinner, and since I didn't hold out much hope of finding any (we still can't fathom what a pea tendril is or why one would want to eat it), I broke off a bit of ginger and selected two carrots to round out the stir fried broccoli and baby bok choy I was planning instead. I was entranced by the pretty little beets and turnips and for a brief moment, harbored the thought of roasting some for my lunch.

As I headed out of the market, I slowed again at the tomato dude's tables. It will be awhile yet before decent tomatoes are available, but here were squash blossoms and fresh fava beans, as well as baby squashes of all varieties. I thought about the fava beans--hadn't I just seen something that called for fava beans?--and it was then I realized how dangerous the farmer's market is.

I become deranged with the sheer beauty of what's before me.

This, however, was a moment of truth: I saw that the tomato dude had...fresh blueberries.

The blueberries grown here are not always so nice as the ones that come from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The local berries are usually southern highbush, and sometimes those are a little less sweet. I knew it would be the case, and I bought them anyway, longing for fresh ones to put on cereal and mix with the strawberries.

Then I went home, and I washed and ate the most delicious strawberries ever--sweet enough to make me swoon--and pretty good blueberries. I ate them until I was full.

The End.

Go listen to some good music: "Strawberry Swing" from the album Viva La Vida by Coldplay. For dinner that night, I made Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, which was excellent (and easy), skipping over the pea tendrils and what not in favor of stir fried vegetables with a little dry sherry, garlic and ginger, and fresh white corn on the cob, the first of the season. We finished with strawberries.

12 May 2010

One gigantic fairytale

I loved fairy tales as a child. In the school library, I started at one end of the Andrew Lang books (The Blue Fairy Book, The Green Fairy Book), and once introduced to the Brothers Grimm, started in on their books. At Christmas one year, I was given The Golden Book of Fairy Tales, one of the most magnificently illustrated books ever produced for children. I would pore over the pictures, and lose myself in the detail, in the magic, in the impossible.

And that, of course, is why I don't believe in fairy tales. They are impossible. Survival in my world was predicated on pragmatism and hard work. Still, in the quiet moments, when I couldn't sleep or was riding my bike along my paper route, or was cleaning a neighbor's house, I held out hope for the impossible.

The impossible sort of happened, albeit aided by some pragmatism and a lot of hard work. For a moment, I was seduced, and I allowed for the possibility, and then shook my head and said, You're one gigantic fairytale, and moved on. But the impossible lurks, and I see it in the corner of my eye, and occasionally, it peeps around the edge and winks at me.

You're one gigantic fairytale, I sigh, and go back to work.

And still, I see the impossible shadow run past my window. It appears in the reflection of my computer screen, in a word on a page.

You're..., I start to say, and then I stop to think.

Maybe not.

It's a leap of faith, but I can allow for the possibility, and follow the impossible where it might lead.

I loved fairy tales as a child. But things change, and I've grown up enough to realize that fairy tales aren't just for children. Pragmatism can sometimes be put in the back seat, and the impossible allowed to drive.

Magical thinking, I tell myself in one last grab at the practical, which is currently strangling me like kudzu. Make believe made up in your head.

But I can allow for the possibility.

Go listen to some good music: "Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands" from the album A Hundred Million Suns by Snow Patrol. The endless box parade that haunts my house... oh yeah.

10 May 2010

Winding me up

At 6:30 this morning, the daughter left on one of those damned school trips that I loathe so much.

I've spent the last two weeks getting her ready for that because there is always the getting ready. No matter how many rash guards and pairs of hiking boots are tucked away in this place, we never seem to have the right thing. Or someone has popped a patella and requires a walking stick.


The son finished his first AP exam last week, so the two weeks prior were a sorrowful little nightmare for him.

I seem to have my head back. Not fully intact, but better. Thinking doesn't hurt.

And on and on. And on. Annoying.

I continue to sit here in a holding pattern. Circling the same life I've been circling for the last year and then some. Enough, really. The decision before me is to pick up where I left off, or pick up a new thread altogether. It seems like such a small decision. But what I choose will change everything.

I made bread today. There is mercy in small things. And delay. But delay is not a viable alternative for much longer. Nor is it tenable.

Go listen to some music: "Winding Me Up" from the album Eve by The Alan Parsons Project.

08 May 2010

I am gothic

Okay, you know better than that. I just picked a random song title.

The massage therapist spent two hours trying to beat the headache out of my brain, and now I'm going to go to sleep and pray that she succeeded.

Otherwise, don't worry. You haven't missed anything. Everything has been very boring around here.

Huh. Yeah, you know better than that, too.

Go listen to some music: "I am Gothic" from the album Living in Neon by Spray. The next line, however, ("I am pale") definitely applies. The son and I were looking at photos tonight, and I commented on how deathly I look next to everyone else. "Nah," he said, "I think it's cool that I have a mother who looks like a vampire." Fab.

05 May 2010

Haven't got time for the pain

I've been sidelined with a headache. If it was just any headache, it would be no big deal, but this one has lasted two weeks. I can usually tough it out for a week, but by 10, 11 days, it takes quite a toll.

Headaches are my special friend.

Go listen to some music: "Haven't Got Time for the Pain" from the album Hotcakes by Carly Simon. For the uninitiated, yes, I've gotten migraines since I was 7. This one started life as a migraine and wandered into other territory, as mine do a few times per year. I deal with it.