Thursday, February 28, 2008

God, the post office, and other mysteries

I took a book to the post office to read it. There was no line at all. Just as I got near the desk, the clerk said "Thank you!" to the woman in front of me and I was up.

This is the third time this month I took a book with me and there was no chance to even open it. I had a flash today of God being that Nelson kid on the Simpsons, pointing at me from Heaven and going "Ha ha."

You probably have already envisioned the other side of this comic cosmic coin. When I go bookless, the line is long and slow.

One of those book-free post office days, I talked with the people next to me about passports. They might not have spoken to each other. The man in front of me was bikeresque, and the woman behind me had gold jewelry and conservative clothes. I bridged their gap, I guess. We had a nice conversation. She had been to England several times and I had been twice. She had been to Bermuda and he was about to go for the first time.

Last night we had a discussion here about the Crusades. Not a very formal discussion, but a story-telling and question answering and game-playing and speculation session about who went and why and who profited and how. The game we played (kind of—four people played it and the rest of us cheered them on, advised them lamely and read the bane cards aloud to them and that)... the game is called Pilgrimage. It's way out of print. The game board is a map of ways to get from London to Jerusalem passing through various cities and cathedral cities, and a player can hardly help but be waylaid or distracted by ale houses and gypsies, be stepped on by a cow, or touch a leper and have to visit a shrine or something.

The night before that session, I was reading a novel and came upon a passage about saints having been the comic-book superheroes of the Middle Ages, and having their bones and toenails and hair and body-parts enshrined all over Europe. God sent me that paragraph, I might say, if I believed in God.

I don't believe in God, but still for several weeks I've been nearly magically given examples and connections for those Wednesday night discussions, which are SCA-based for a small group of friends/students/squires-of-friend. My SCA persona believes in God. Maybe the deliveries were not really for Sandra but for AElflaed and I'm posting in the wrong blog.

It's easy to personify the effects of our own actions and the random fuck factor and create some kind of Michelin-Tire-advertisement-guy and Santa and boogey-man combination. My confusing imaginary God isn't omnicient or omnipotent. He's kinda occasionalicient and intermitopotent.

Because I'm looking for connections, I find them. Because I'm willing to talk to people in lines or read a book in public, I'll live until I die, which could be any day now or in fifty years. Given all that, I don't know when to carry a book around and when not to.

Oh yeah, the post office. I went to the post office to mail three things: a card to a family whose wife/mother died this week, socks to Texas, and cookies to France. It did occur to me that the bereaved family already had cards, Paris isn't short of artsy snacks and Texas has no sock shortage. I can either think that my offerings are special or superfluous. Most likely they're some of each.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Profoundly cute people

Isn't Marty the cutest thing? He's so cute.

Holly went on a photography rampage recently, which is fun for me. And you'll get to see Marty's nail polish if you click this one. ("What's the story on the nail polish?" I asked, when he got up this morning, and he said "We were really bored.") I don't know why he's touching his crotch. I'm sure it was an accident and he's never done it before and will never do it again. That's Brett with him (not the Brett who's usually with him, but the other Brett). They're being cute in Holly's cute room.

And Holly took some very nice shots of our friend Ben/Dermod. And she artfully messed up augmented a photo I took of her.

I'm glad we have a digital camera and I'm glad Holly likes to use it and finds willing victims subjects. Models. Targets.

Monday, February 18, 2008

very brief tour of my back yard

and some food photos added later...
So I'm draining my hot tub to clean it because Keith's coming back from many days camping, and I see a tree waving around in the water, and the yard is full of birds singing (or twerping or whatever) and so I go in to get the camera.

The tree had gone still, but I dropped the stopper and pulled it out (which is what caused the motion before) and started making this little movie. I was surprised at how much bird noise there was.

There's the hot tub, and the lilac bushes that are starting to bud out (I drained most of the tub there) and then the wood pile and the truck and the sun reflections in my dusty lens, and then the trees I planted from seed (not those big Arizona cypress but the dead-looking-but-not-dead trees) and the stairs up to the deck outside and then the dog door, which goes through where a window was.

Not very exciting.

Then I realized I could understand what the birds were saying! Or at least I could extrapolate a likely message: "Hey, monkey—if you're awake and you're outside, why are the birdfeeders empty!? HeLLO..."

Above, breakfast bread pudding just before and after it sunk (they all do), made February 12 for Keith and Marty to take camping.
Below, decorating cupcakes with Mary Ann and Sarah Malkoff on Valentine's Day (they brought the cupcakes and decor).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day-After-Valentine's-Day thing

I found this on another unschooling blog here: It might have been better to have found it yesterday, but I have some things to say about that. Keith has been gone since 5:00 Wednesday morning; it's Friday; he's coming home Monday afternoon. He and Marty are at an SCA event near Phoenix. Holly and I are home in Albuquerque. Kirby is in Austin.

This is not like "I'm in Virginia, Keith's in Maryland and Kirby's in D.C." It might be hard for people from little-state places to understand, or for people from the U.K., but Canadians and Australians will know, and those in the western U.S. will know. We're all spread out.

But that's not the topic. The topic is this:

1. What is his name? Keith Edward Dodd

2. How long have you been together? 30 years

3. How long did you date? We were together for six years before we got married, but there wasn't much "dating."

4. How old is he? 51

5. Who eats more? Keith

6. Who said I love you first? He indicated affection first. I probably said "love" first, but it wasn't for a while after his first awkward stammering attempt at saying he thought highly of me. I wasn't getting what he was saying, and his roommate interpretted thusly: "He's trying to say he thinks your shit smells like roses."

7. Who’s Taller?
Keith is 6'1" and I'm 5'4"

7b (question that wasn't asked: Who's Older? I'm three years older.

8. Who can sing better? Singing together is what created the relationship. He has a more impressive voice. We both can sing lots of styles and can both read music. I can harmonize by ear, and can remember small details of tunes and parts. Keith knows more songs than I do (and that's a lot).

9. Who is smarter? When we were younger, I might've been, but part of that was courage and experience. I've seen Keith grow into a kind of logic and wisdom I can't match. He's smarter. Sometimes I can figure out something he can't figure out, though, especially if it involves cloth, and we've done lots of physical projects together, like tents and specialized bags for holding games, and yard-projects and such.

10. Who does the laundry? I do.

11. Who pays the bills? Keith does.

12. Who sleeps on the right side? He's left-handed and sleeps to my left.

13. Who mows the lawn? Keith.

14. Who cooks dinner? I do more than he does, but he does at least once a week. Some nights we go out or just eat leftovers or "freezer food." For real from-scratch cooking, though, he does some and I do more.

15. Who drives? Keith.

16. Who is more stubborn? I am.

17. Who kissed who first? We waited quite a while on that one, and I bet it was mutual, but I don't remember. He kissed my hand early on.

18. Who asked who out first? He took me to The Cooperage, in Albuquerque. I heard later he had had to borrow money from his roommate (a different roommate) to pay for the dinner.

19. Who proposed? I did, kind of as a joke that immediately sounded sensible. And we weren't the only two people in the room.

20. Who has more friends? I do, but he has lots too and many I don't know, because of work and hobbies.

21. Who is more sensitive? Both pretty sensitive. I guess I'm more.

22. Who has more siblings? He had two full brothers. I have one sister and a later half brother and two cousins who grew up with me and my sister. I grew up with four kids in the house, and he grew up the youngest of three, and the other two left fairly early. He was the last to leave his home, and I was the first to leave mine.

23. Who wears the pants? We get along well enough that it's not been an issue, and we respect and trust each other, so advisement and decisionmaking flow pretty freely. He makes more money decisions and I make more kid-raising decisions, I think.

There wasn't a good place in there to mention that I was married when we met, and for a while the three of us lived in one house. My first husband taught my second husband to ski. Y'know... it was the 1970's and it was northern New Mexico, and it was me... I have a surprisingly soap-opera kind of life some seasons. And yet, 30 years and three very cool children in, it seems so stable and normal! (Normal for me, which, well...)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thinking of love...

The poetry! The music! The sentiments.... THE ART!!
(I'm sure he's playing his own piano...)

YES! Lucky wife/girlfriend/target-of-stalking.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Knee, Knees, Kneel

The new word at the lyrics game is knee, and here's one of the illustrations, which came to me as the byproduct of something Holly was doing. Famous knees (kind of)... Recognize them?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

If I was... (tagged by Zenmomma)

If I Was ...

If I was a punctuation mark, I'd be ... a period, period; definitely.
If I was a form of currency, I'd be ... medieval French coins.
If I was a hallucinogen, I'd be ... antique blotter acid with little pictures of a quarter moon.
If I was an element I'd be ... nitrogen; useful but easy to ignore. Hanging around plants. Helping dental patients be calm.
If I was a best-selling book, I'd be ... on shelves, in cars, by beds, in book-bags, in windows, on Amazon, BOMC...World Traveller! Spy on other people's back yards!
If I was a philosophy, I'd be ... simple, not 19th century or German.
If I was a thought, I'd be ... fleeting.
If I was a way to understand love, I'd be ... touch.
If I was a boot, I'd be ... tired.
If I was a hue, I'd be ... bright green.
If I was a soup, I'd be ... tomato, looking around for a grilled cheese sandwich.
If I was time, I just might ... go around the world like a best-selling book.
If I was a drink, I'd be ... effervescent.
If I was a play I'd be written by... Lily Tomlin.
If I was a long distance carrier I'd be ... tired, effervescent, delivering best-selling books on time!
If I was this song I'd be ... making people think.

Zenmomma's list

Friday, February 08, 2008

When we had one child

This baby-Kirby survived to manhood, never went to school, called me today about a job he's happy with in another state, and told me he loved me. Keith and I survived to be around to help him if he needs us, but he's strong and independent.

Keith had cut his waist-length hair to get a job when I got pregnant, and I cut mine even shorter, in solidarity (gratitude), so that's a year and a half's worth of hair on us, I guess. Our hair got long again, but it's greying and thinner.

The photo is imperfect. It was taken at a restaurant, by Keith's mom, and lives in a photo album with disintegrating black paper pages, but I'm glad she let me scan some things from there, because this was one of many photos I hadn't seen. It's speckly, but I remember. I still have that onesie, in a box of Kirby souvenirs.

Those who know us as Holly's family or Marty's family might enjoy a peek at the old days. I'm grateful for then and for today and for an unexpected and welcome image.

Friday, February 01, 2008

When plain things seem wonderful

I was at the movie "Atonement," sitting by myself near the front. Holly was further back with a couple of her friends. We were at "the old lady theater," a theater that's usually frequented by older people. Most of the young people go to the new multi-plexes. This one's near our house, though, and I'm often one of the youngest in the audience, at 54.

Two women sat behind me. They were in their 80's, maybe 90. One said, during the previews, "Either they need to adjust their speakers, or I need to adjust my hearing aid."

The theater was only about a third full (which is crowded for that theater). The women commented several times during the movie, and I did not mind One BIT, because they were alive in all the days of the story,and their comments were interesting and helpful. Also, I don't like to watch movies alone, and it was less like being alone, to have their additions. It was like having native guides to the 30's and 40's. I wish they had talked more. There was no one else near enough to us to have been disturbed.

At the end of the movie, the main character/narrator/POV-person is saying she's been diagnosed with something-something, which is like a series of ongoing strokes and she's losing words. When the credits started rolling, the ladies behind me had this perfect exchange:
"What was it?"
"They used to call it 'aphasia.'"
"Oh, right. I had forgotten that word."


Then a few days passed and we got two cords of firewood dumped in the driveway by a big dumptruck. Perhaps it's some cave-woman instinct, but I feel safe and rich when I have lots of wood.

Holly and I were in the window upstairs watching the wood fall. I love the sound of that much wood and I like dumptrucks. I told her that with taxes and delivery, that was $450 worth of wood. She said "You're wasting your money."

I said "We use the hot tub a lot, and I like to use the fireplace. What do you think we should do with $450?

She thought. "Give it to me," she said.

I thought. "What would you do with $450?"

She thought. "Save it."

What a weird kid. She and Marty have both inherited Keith's good money sense and ability to save. Good for them!

And they can take care of the more spending-happy Kirby and me. (Kirby's pretty good with money too, though. They can all take care of me, I hope.)

Oh! Then in five pickup-trips around the block to the back gate, Keith and Marty moved the wood. I was stacking it into small enough to use, easy to split and hard to split, whie they were up front getting more. A little tumbleweed blew by me. I thought "How picturesque. Some of my online friends might like to be stacking wood in New Mexico when a tumbleweed blew by," and I wished a few WERE here to help me. Then I thought "What the hell's a tumbleweed doing in my yard!?" Keith had left the gate open. I shoved it in the hot-tub stove.

Eventually Marty and Keith were back there helping, and it was all stacked. I lasted through the whole stacking job, but not without whining and getting a couple of splinters. They wore gloves, but I don't like gloves. Holly didn't feel good, or she would've helped too.

I was tired but very happy.