Showing posts from January, 2014

Out There

Last night, I drove way south to take the kids to what I have come to think of as The Wall of Soccer - three straight hours of sitting around the lounge of the indoor facility while they do footskills and alternate practice hours. (I am soccer mom. Hear me roar.) As timing would have it, I needed to procure dinner on the fly so I dropped the kids at the place (conveniently tucked behind a seedy motel near the racetrack) and ventured out to gather food on the vast snowy wastlelands of exurbia. Some things I noticed:

1. That chain not-quite-fast-food soup and sandwich place that I have gift cards for is not really "close" to the soccer place in any real-space kind of way. It is only close by virtue of being also all the way out there and connected by major arterial roads.

2. Major arterial roads are all there are in parts of out there, because the blocks of land between them are either still empty, undeveloped deer habitat (less empty by the year) or are home to recently erec…

A week's end collection of trinkets

This is why I like Sunday morning. I'm on the couch with Z. David is at the round table in the art/music/dishes/piles of paper room. Jazz is playing on the computer. O is upstairs maybe still asleep, maybe clandestinely playing with an electronic device. What now?

Call my mom?
Work on script?
Work on book?
Read for pleasure?
Read for school?
Prep for school?
Prep for writers group?
Do the crossword?
Plan menus?
Bills & budgeting?
Tidy & clean?

Later I have a gift card from a fancy lady store to spend when I take Z to violin.

Karen blogged. She blogged about not overthinking things. I think this is good advice. I've been wanting to blog since school was back in session. Wishing I could figure out just which sliver of the day to jam it into. I collect shiny things mentally, on notepads, on the funky "notebook" program on my electronic device. Each Most mornings when I wake up I spend a few minutes jotting down the stuff that is rolling around in my…

Layaway of the Soul

The polar vortex has moved on and we are back to slushy January in Cleveland. (Most) schools are back in session. I am back in teacher mode.

I am thinking a lot about finishing things and a lot about yoga. For the sake of compactness, I am beginning to think of myself as making a new practice of a "yoga of completion." (Yes, there is a tantric concept that might be called this. I am not sure that is what I am talking about. Who knows?) What I am talking about is a mindful dedication to finishing things, but finishing comes in many forms. Are you following me? Probably not.

Let me start with this: I first began to do yoga 13 years ago, pregnant for the first time and embroiled in graduate school. When that first pregnancy ended in stillbirth, I kept up with the yoga. I still feel very strongly that of the many gifts my brief encounter with that baby, Calvin, the greatest one was yoga. He gave that to me. I remember after he was born beginning non-prenatal yoga at the gym with…

Subzero edition

Reading: I finally finished Teacher Man. At the end of the book, as he retires from teaching at Stuyvesant in New York, his students tell him he should go write a book. This is the last chapter:

That's a sweet ending. Nice that he went on to win a Pulitzer.

Writing: I'll try. (A little Monday. More today. Need to use the cold to my advantage.)

Dinner: David made pizza: eggplant, mushroom, and pepperoni with red sauce, and black olive and pepperoni with white. We ate it while watching the first half of Jack the Giant Slayer. More on that once we've finished it.

Soundtrack: I've had "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" stuck in my head.

Random thing: 

Remembrance of Bao

Where to start? Winter break is over, except we have a "snow" day today.  Tonight it is supposed to be sub-zero cold. I dreamt last night of opening presents. It wasn't Christmas-y; it was like old super-8 footage of birthday parties in 70s rec rooms, only David and I were both in them as adults. I don't remember what was in the presents.

Driving around yesterday, I heard a piece on the radio about bao, Chinese buns (usually stuffed and steamed, but they come in many incarnations), on Splendid Table and I've become obsessed. The piece predicts bao to be the next food craze (led by the guest who is a 30-ish ex-lawyer who has a place in New York called BaoHaus. He also has a show on, which looks like Anthony Bourdain millennial-style. I like that the restaurant's website includes a stream of songs recently played there - scroll to bottom. Moral of the story: go to law school).

Back when I was a young, impecunious never-lawyer in NYC, my cousin and I wo…

Boots and Bye, Bye

The other day, I quoted Frank McCourt's artist friend on the uncommented directness of Van Gogh's boots. Today this image appeared somewhere in my field. Let me just say, I love Van Gogh in a deep, gut level kind of way. I'm not sure there is another artist who sees the world in a way so close to my own sight. His paintings make me feel existentially connected, and that's no joke.

This is not one of his paintings with which I am particularly familiar. He painted other boots that I know better. It also lacks the yellows and acid greens that are dominant in my favorite Van Goghs. Yet still, I like these boots very much. They are so well observed, so alive with their bootness. So many of his paintings buzz with palpable energy to me. In miniature on the screen these don't quite buzz, but I have a feeling that if I stood in front of them in Baltimore, that charge would be there. The hobnails and the laces and eyes and the swirl of the blue fabric underneath them all ti…

The Devil Was Hot

Overheard in my back seat on the way home from soccer practice:

8-year-old boy #1: What are you talking about? They don't execute people in heaven.

8-year-old boy #2: I mean the bad people.

#1: But heaven is where the good people go, so they wouldn't have to execute people.

#2: It's what happens to the people who do bad things in heaven.

#1: Besides you can't die in heaven. If you do something bad in heaven they would just send you to hell.

#2: That's what the executing is! It's how they send them to hell.

#1: They have to send them really far away.

#2: Right downstairs. Like 55,000 miles.

#1: All the way to the center of the earth. That's where hell is.

#2: OK. Sure.

#1: That's probably why the devil is red.

#2: Yeah, and why lava is red.

#1: The devil is probably really hot.

#2: Yeah, or really angry.

They also had an old-man conversation about how the world is degenerating because no one goes to preschool anymore, not like it was back when they were…

Hugged by the tow truck guy

I knew it was snowing a lot today, but from my window I had no idea how much had actually come down. When I finally went out, my car almost got stuck three times just moving it from where David left it on the street in the morning (and where, strangely, it had accumulated no covering of snow) into my neighbors' driveway to load up kids to take friends home and make a grocery run before it *really* started to snow. Yes, I said "into my neighbors' driveway." I had quickly realized there was too much snow in mine to make it a safe place to park.

Anyway, I got off my street and dropped off the friends and then by a series a what I thought were rational and defensive choices, I ended up stuck on a ridiculous jutting curb deep in the snow on a private drive tucked away in a corner of Cleveland Heights between a regular residential neighborhood and a defunct golf course. Nevermind exactly how it happened. There I was, just exactly where I did not intend to be -- and on top…

Begin again?

I rang in the new year with friends who still seem recent, but whom I have known since pregnant with Z 11 years ago. Just after midnight we spontaneously slipped on our boots and ran out into the middle of the street shouting, "It's 2014!" The snow had been falling steadily for hours. Everything was white and quiet, except for the rumble of fireworks in the distance. We danced and kicked up snow. Our daughters ran hand in hand to the end of the block and back. We toasted with the neighbors from across the street, who threw on coats to come join us. We shivered and laughed. We went back inside and listened to Neko Case.

(Cleveland is reputed to be one of the world's most beautiful snowy cities!)

When I was a child, 2000 seemed like a science fiction year, one that could not actually happen. Now it is 2014. This was the 25th New Year's David and I have spent in each other's company (not as a couple the first 5 or so of them). And can someone tell me why Debbie…