Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I've been missing Bill today, the owner of the now defunct 8th Ave Market where I happily shopped for a number of years.  Bill was Old School, which meant he was there 24/7, rain or shine, pick your cliche, etc. etc.  Even when he could barely walk, he was there stocking shelves, cutting meat, and chatting up his loyal customers.

Bill was an interesting mix of friendly and curmudgeonly.  Like, if you told him someone died, he'd say, "Hell, they're lucky to be out of this mess."  And if you pointed out that a brick of cheese had some mold on it, he'd cut it off and say, "Hell, that won't hurt you."  And you knew in his heart he thought you were a big weener baby for even noticing the mold part.

On the other hand, he always laughed at your jokes and asked about your kids.  And when someone died, he donated meat for the funeral luncheon.  Even if he thought they were lucky to be out of this mess.

I miss you, Bill.

Science Club

I've been thinking about how happy I am that I spent most of my childhood playing outside instead of messing around with electronics--although I freely admit it would be good if I knew a little more about messing around with electronics these days.

Anyhoo.  Kathy and I were talking about this while we ran today, and we agreed that our older kids spent plenty of time playing outside, too.  We remembered with particular fondness the summer that Nikki and Dylan had a "Science Club."  Their plan was to study dinosaurs the way that Great Scientists do.  Also, they needed funding.  So they went around and asked all the neighbors for money (clearly, Kathy and I should have been better helicopter parents so we would have at least known our children were rolling people).  At the end of their fund-raising project, they realized there were no dinosaurs around to buy, because you know.  Dinosaurs were extinct by then.

So they went to Sinclair and bought candy instead.

Science Clubs are awesome!  Don't you agree?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lyrics courtesy of Sting, Photo courtesy of me

"Fields Of Gold"

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in the fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold
I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in the fields of gold
We'll walk in the fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's raining a little right now

See that picture?  That's how our feet looked a lot of the time that we were tramping across the U.K.  During those long hours of slogging I would fantasize about sitting in the heat on my front porch.

If you had told me then that I'd be sitting here in my office two weeks later with the windows wide open so I can hear and smell a small smattering of rain, I wouldn't have believed you.  But I am.  Because of course I sat on my porch in the blazing heat and went damn!  It sure is hot!

I know.  I'm SO high maintenance.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Playing the "What if" Game

Just now when I was at Smith's Marketplace, I saw a guy sitting in front of the store who looked a LOT like my brother Jimmy.  In fact, I had to do a double-take, because the last time I checked, Jimmy was eating Cuban food at that place next door to the Precious Slut Tattoo Parlor (and no--I am not making up that name) in Las Vegas.

Anyhoo.  I started playing the "What If" game.  What if that really WERE my brother Jimmy?   And what if this was the first time I'd seen him since we were teenagers?  Because what if he'd been kidnapped when we were kids?  What if he'd been kidnapped when I was supposed to be watching him but instead I was talking to my friend Gigi Ballif on the telephone?  CAN YOU IMAGINE THE GUILT?  How would I feel seeing him sitting there in front of Smith's Marketplace?

That could be the start of a novel, right?  A novel written by Dean Koontz, probably.  Or maybe me.  Or maybe you.

Playing the "What If" game every day may pay off eventually.  And even if it doesn't, at least it makes going to Smith's Marketplace more interesting than usual.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


One of my walking companions was the lovely Doni Perkins, a good friend dating back to the Dreaded Jr. High Days.  We met each other through our mutual friend Becky Brown Thomas all those eons ago, and we both miss her still.

On the first day when we were wending our way through Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Doni suddenly said to me, "You remind me a lot of Becky."  And then she said that taking the walk with me felt a little like taking the walk with Becky as well.

I was a little surprised by this.  I guess I'd like to know how I remind Doni of Becky, although I didn't ask.  But I was also touched, too.  It was sweet to think--for a moment at least--that three old friends were together again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm back

And I'm still sort of crawling on my hands and knees from room to room because I'm too tired to get up on my hind legs.  I can't ever remember being this jet-lagged.  I think I'm just . . . getting older.

I'll start posting again tomorrow.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Joyce Nelson

Carolyn See recommends that writers draw up a list of the ten most influential people in their lives because . . . I forget why.  Maybe writers can use them as characters?

Anyway.  I did this exercise a few years ago, and one of the people on my list is Joyce Nelson, my AP English teacher.  This is what I wrote about her:  "A great teacher.  A great conversationalist.  When we were reading THE GREAT GATSBY she made the surprising announcement in class that 'men like women who smolder.'  I've never forgotten that."

And I've never forgotten Joyce, who passed away the evening of July 3, 2012.  She was a great broad in every single way.  RIP Joyce.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What I would have missed this morning if I hadn't gone running

Two Cooper's hawk fledglings, just chilling in a spread of pine boughs.

I didn't feel like running today, but I forced myself to go to the park.  Toward the end of the first lap, I saw a cluster of people looking up into a tree.  I almost didn't stop because there's that suspicious part of my brain that always says, "It's like a snipe hunt.  They're just standing there so you'll stop and stand there, too, and the joke is THAT THERE'S REALLY NOTHING THERE TO LOOK AT."

But I stopped and asked and it wasn't a joke . . . just a pair of amazing birds, right in the heart of the city.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Dear Day-After-Summer-Vacay,

Why do you gotta be so harsh?  I don't want to feel depressed that there's no ocean outside my back door.  I don't want to miss fish tacos from Pedros.  I don't want to be sad that when I turn around to tell my brother Jimmy a joke that he's not there now.  But I do.

Ugh.  You pretty much suck, Day-After-Summer-Vacay.


Ann Cannon