Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To the next 41

Nine years ago, at about this time, I was sending my bridesmaids out into the garden to pick little white flowers that I had decided at the last minute I HAD to have in my hair before I walked down the aisle. They all wilted before the recessional. It was sweltering in Occidental. And perfect. Everyone we loved was there, looking stunning and shiny and positively lit up. The sun sparkled through the Redwoods, the flowers bloomed, the pond was algae-free. Even when our Filipino dental hygienist DJ from Pinole accidentally put on Kenny G., the day was not marred. I was buzzing with happiness, literally vibrating with the energy that comes from so much love and goodwill.

Around the time of our wedding, the Mister's grandmother was mourning the death of her beloved husband of more than 50 years. When I asked her what the secret to a long and happy marriage was, she said, "Oh, it gets easier. In the beginning you have all those feelings."

I'm not sure about the easier part (for better or worse, we still have all those feelings). But I do know that along with all the many, many forms that a marriage takes, it is, above all, the greatest comfort of my life. And I don't think it's possible that I could have married a better person than the Mister.

Maybe Gandhi, but he's a little austere for me.

Happy anniversary, Mister.

Touch Me
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
—Stanley Kunitz

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How not to organize your time

Today is my second day of true unemployment and already I can tell I'm falling into that weird timeless time where my to-do list gets longer and the days gets shorter and I keep eating weird things out of the fridge (to wit: one Thai shrimp dumpling and a spoonful of cold brown rice), and I start to feel sort of greasy and filmy and my outfits get worse and worse.

My to-do list contains the following items, verbatim:
--write novel
--exchange tanbark
--make headboard
--update website
--look into unemployment insurance
--clean out garage
--pitch stories to Cookie, Sierra, Coastal Living, etc

And then, of course, there are all the reoccurring things like sweeping and dishes and blow drying my hair. I can't figure out how to organize myself. So instead I sit on the couch stumbling through the world wide web until I find myself on Christian organic farming blogs.

But pretty soon I'm going to get serious, real serious. As soon as I buy a craft mat I can get right down to novel writing. Or maybe I should hang the teacup hooks first?

A thing I Like
A day at the Sonoma County Fair with my family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I feel pretty, oh so pretty

I got carded at Trader Joe's today. That's what you get for a how-bad-can-it-be purchase of $3.99 Savingnon Blanc. The checker made a point of saying,"It's not that I think you're under 21, it's that I don't think you're over 40 and we now card anyone who looks under 40." Grateful as I am not appear older than my 39 years, I now have a new bar against which I can measure my preservation attempts: once they stop carding me at Trader Joe's, I will officially look 40. No more grocery shopping in sweats and a ponytail. I am stepping it up, people.

Speaking of youth and loveliness... this morning, as I was trying to get the kids ready for school, they decided it was as good a time as any to play a little hide-and-seek. They still hide like ostriches: faces buried, bodies absurdly visible. Today, when I "found" them, kneeling like Muslims in the fireplace (it's non-working, don't worry), Maggie refused to give up the ghost, saying in a taunting voice, "But you can't see my beautiful face."

Which leads me to believe I may be telling her I love her beautiful face a little too often. Not the love part, the beautiful part. The part where I emphasize her looks in a way I probably don't with her brother (whose face I find equally beautiful, or, cute, actually, if I am to be honest).

It's a tricky thing, girls and their looks. I want her to feel beautiful, of course, but I don't want her to start believing it's her best quality (that's a toss up between her sense of humor and how lovely she is with younger kids). And I really don't want her to get what my old friend Tom called "pretty girl's disease," a sort of flat blandness that can result from being told how pretty you are all the time.

All of this is probably moot anyway. Aside from referring to her face as beautiful, Maggie isn't exactly a Gossip Girl (is this reference correct? I've never seen the show). She won't wear anything in her hair (ponytails are a struggle). She doesn't care what she wears, and has thus far shown a worrisome lack of sartorial sense (thanks, Mister). And her walk, kind of wide-legged and manly, is very dykes-on-bikes. In fact, except for her preference for glittery pink shoes, she's shaping up to be the greasy-haired girl in the stained hand-me-downs*. So, never mind. I think we're good.

* Barring a severe head trauma, I would never really let that happen. I'm thinking more tawny soccer player with rosy cheeks, the kind of girl I wished I was.

A thing I like

My kids and husband in this very funny anti-Kindle ad. Go books!

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