Sunday, April 27, 2014


Last week, my mother sent me and my brother a handful of old pictures of Dad in his various incarnations. A few with us kids. A few from his own childhood (he idolized and dressed up as Roy Rogers -- I have the proof!). One or two lovelies of him and Mom back in their California days.

This one, in particular, I love so much -- that hat, that hair, that quiet, pensive, far-away look. I wonder what he was thinking about, caught there in that beautiful moment, or if he was thinking about anything at all.

I sent it to family friend Bill, with whom I've been spending quite a bit of time these last few months. He wrote back almost immediately saying, "That was a Bill I didn't know. Goddamn long-haired Berkeley hippie, I suspect!"

This made me laugh, and in a funny way made me feel a little better about the fact that I didn't really know him in those days, either. Today would have been his 68th birthday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

on growing old(er)

I got carded at 1020 the other night, and this made me laugh: I am nearly 38 years old and have been drinking at 1020 since I was a wee young thing of 18. But they had a different bartender for the first time that I can remember and he is young, and new, and covering all the bases.

The only problem, other than the surprise of being carded, was that I actually didn't have my ID on me.

As you, my dear loyal readers, may have gathered, I have begun walk/jogging a few mornings a week this spring. And I figure if anyone is likely to walk in front of an oncoming bus or trip over a (possibly non-existent) crack in the sidewalk and fall on one's head, well, it would be yours truly. So I've been making a point of sticking my ID in my pocket whenever I venture out on these early morning excursions, and last Thursday morning I forgot to transfer it back to my wallet.

The nice young bartender looked me up and down and finally, having already poured my drink, said, "Well, I guess if your friends show me their IDs, I'll assume you're old enough too..."

Thank you, new young bartender, for making an old lady like me feel like a young whippersnapper all over again. Just, you know, more plump and less miserable.

Friday, April 18, 2014

people you may know

There was this kid in high school I could never quite get my head around. He was a little goofy, a little sweet, trying to be something of a badass in a teenage-y, angry music and shredded jeans sort of way. He was a long way from the typical nerdy honors kid, but we were in a bunch of the same classes and it was obvious he was damned smart and nervy as hell. And he showed up recently in 'People You May Know' so I thought what the hell and so now here we are, 'friends.'

And he's still all those things, except grown up now, and funny! (Even better, he's an English teacher who thinks books should be tax-free, because duh, books.) It's nice to have fuzzy, faded memories validated decades later, if only from afar. And, and, he has a blog! So I found myself chuckling my way through this longish, foul-mouthed, hilarious rant yesterday morning about bachelor parties, and it made me glad for this insight into the male mind, or at least a particular male mind, and one that seems to be pretty different from most of the male minds that I know.

Viva la Facebook.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Monday morning, 6:30am, I took the elevator from Bennett up to Fort Washington Avenue. I love that particular subway station, especially coming out of the elevator at the top. The old stone station building opens unexpectedly into a little sloping park. A woman walking in front of me started to go up the steps to street level but abruptly stopped, turned back, and stood there for a moment contentedly sniffing at the hyacinths and daffodils cheerily growing along the embankment. She looked so pleased, in that moment, and it was warm and bright and still quiet in the early morning light, and we smiled at each other and rhapsodized about the scent and then went our separate ways.

This morning I got a mass-distribution Public Safety text from my employer warning about "large chunks of ice" falling off one of the buildings on campus, with admonishments to try to steer well clear of it if at all possible.

Oh spring, where have you gone?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

another april eighteenth, almost

Last year was a lovely eighteenth of April: a simple, delicious dinner of some of my father's favorite things shared with three of my favorite people. My mother, my Jill, my boy. This year will be a quieter eighteenth of April, more solitary perhaps yet still emotionally rich.

I will get up at quarter to six, throw on my running clothes, do some stretches, and go for my thrice-weekly walk/jog/stumble. I will come back and prepare for the day. I will get my usual seat on the bus and spend a lovely half-hour reading. (I am undeniably a creature of habit, and this is okay.) I will spend the day with colleagues I love, in a place that I have loved since I was a little girl.

I will, perhaps, finally get around to replying to a beautifully intimate and family-history-filled letter I received last week from my uncle. I will be amazed at how despite knowing this uncle for thirty-seven years, there are whole worlds still to learn, entire histories about which I know nothing at all.

I will go home after work and meditate, my closed eyes facing the sunshine that will likely be streaming in through my living room windows. I will breathe, and try to remain calm in the face of the Llama-monster's likely yowling in my face. I will not get the giggles (though it will be alright if I do), and eventually the bell will chime and I will re-enter the waking world and scratch behind the Llama-monster's ears and we will sprawl contentedly on the sun-dappled wood floor of my apartment (though it will be alright if it's instead gray and dreary).

I will cherish my father's memory by learning to cherish even more the lives he helped to shape, and by continuing to tell the story of him as I know it.

"And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."
-Tim O'Brien, from The Things They Carried

morning walk, 4.15.14

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

at the bus stop, continued

Yesterday, in the barely misting rain, it was, "Quite the dedicated walker, even out in the rain, eh?"

This morning it was an exuberant, "How are you today, Miss Walkin' Lady?" I said wonderfully, and that it's such a beautiful day! He replied, "It is indeed, it is indeed..."

Perhaps it's silly that I get such pleasure out of these moments, but they're just such a nice way to start yet another work day. I probably should've started doing this years ago.