Friday, February 20, 2009

We're here. Get used to it.

While A. and I were in Baltimore last weekend, we saw Milk, which was one of the things I hoped for out of the weekend. I wasn't sure I was going to get a chance to see in the theater, and it was an astonishing performance, but the thing about seeing it in the theater wasn't Sean Penn on the big screen, it was the audience. It was going to a mainstream theater, on any old day, and standing in line with a whole bunch of other queer folk. It was watching in a big darkened room filled with rows of those slide-back seats, where A. and I? We were the norm, and the story was our history, and it wasn't a special film festival. It wasn't Pride. It was just another movie, telling another piece of American history, like our lives have as much weight as anyone else's.

I left saying "I don't know my history, I just don't," but I did know Harvey Milk's story. I learned some details, I added more players to what I knew, but really I already had that story well enough to use it. So what I think I meant was that being given my history that way, as part of pop culture, made me understand to what extent it is usually buried.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This morning, my shoelace snapped while I was tying it. No matter, I thought. I'll wear the other pair.

Then I noticed that the shoe already tied on my other foot was from the other pair.

A. has orders not to say anything to me after 11:00, if I'm still awake, which I hope not to be.

Good night, all.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The benefits of a religious education

S.: Z., the Miriam who's your pretend friend, is she the same Miriam who's in the Bible?

Z.: No, she's a DIFFerent Miriam. And her brother Moses is a DIFFerent Moses. Not dah Moses who's in da Bible who supposes his toses are roses.

S.: Not that Moses?

Z.: No, not dat one. A different one.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


When she went out of town last weekend, A. brought Z. back some Chapstick as a "surprise." It's cherry.

The first night Z. had it, I came into the room to do my part of the goodnight ritual and found her sitting up in bed, the room filled with the smell of candy, red candy.

"Z., what are you doing?"

"I'm lip-bumming myself!"

(Happy Valentine's Day, all!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Z.: What's more important, sleeping or being loved?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Yesterday, in the car home from our Valentine's tea, Z. asked about my friend Helen dying. For those of you coming in late on this story, Helen died by gunshot at the hands of a stranger who has never been caught.

Z. has figured it out--she put together my sensitivity about guns with Helen's death and she asked, a few weeks ago, if Helen had been killed by a gun. I said yes. A direct question, you know?

So now I had to tell her a story about a bad guy, a real bad guy, and Z. was already obsessed with bad guys, and weapons, and jails, and the various ways of neutralizing bad guys and unleashing your power against the more powerful. It's the kind of storytelling that we find unremarkable in small boys. Z., with her love of dresses and purple and fancyness, is all about the ways of violence in the world.

She wanted to know about the bad guy who killed Helen, and when a story enters Z.'s repertoire she wants to hear it again and again. I do not usually put limits on whether she can ask questions, but it was hard to keep going, and A. finally stepped in and said that she was too young for us to keep telling this story, and when she was older she could ask for it again. I don't know if that was the right way to handle it, but I didn't want to be telling the story, so I let that decision stand.

Instead, we talked about the mechanics of guns, how they work.

Today, when she was playing with A., Z. said that if Z. shot the bad guy one more time, he would have to go to jail. I guess she's still working it all out for herself. But god, it was easier to watch her at it when we were pretending it was all still make-believe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let's call it a blogaversary

My actual blogaversary, by the calendar, is this Friday, but I'll be out of town by the end of that day, putting up pre-written stuff over the weekend if I can swing it.

The subject of my first post, though, was our tradition of going to the Four Seasons for tea once a year, around Valentine's Day, and this year we went today. It was neither a particularly good tea or a particularly bad one. It seemed less magical than it has previous years, at least to me, but Z. had looked forward to it for days, and buzzed with excitement every minute of today, and I don't think she was disappointed. That, I guess, is much of the point of making a holiday for your kid.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I spent all of last week with the kind of cold that makes you keep wondering if it's flu. It started with a fever, it left me too weak to support Z.'s weight when she bumped into me, and when I dragged myself next door, I had no more than an hour of coherent work in me.

And I couldn't sleep. I piled up the pillows, I took medicine, and it helped not one whit. I spent my nights tossing in semi-consciousness, a hostage to phlegm management. I hate broken, fitful sleep more than just about anything--I far prefer fewer hours of full oblivion.

So I stayed up late, being sure I was really wiped out when I lay down. And my bedtime slipped later, and then A. went out of town for the weekend and all hell broke loose.

Time to reset my bioclock.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Magic Fingers

When I had the house renovated, ten years ago, one of the things I did was move the washer and dryer out of the little room tacked onto the back of the first floor (which became our dining room) and up to the too-small-for-a-bedroom, too-big-for-a-closet room on the second floor.

It's great. The laundry is on the same floor as the hampers and the dressers.

But. When the spin cycle goes, the entire house vibrates.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Last year, I joined Facebook, for the same reason that many of you did: Phantom made me. In the year or so that I've been on, it went from being a clubhouse to being an interactive address book. I still spend way too much time there, spying on you all, but I'm not flinging pies anymore the way I was in the beginning.

My friend list consists of a jumble of family, friends, and acquaintances. Among them are almost all of the small handful of people I would call if a true disaster struck (almost: ahem, Mom and E., when are you going to join facebook, again?), some are long-lost people with whom I have been thrilled to be back in contact, but most are everyday friends, or former everyday friends: people whom I liked well enough while we had proximity on our side, but did not hang onto as time and distance intervened. A decent number are simply acquaintances, shtetl folk, potentially useful contacts.

Friends and Acquaintances: it will not surprise anyone who knows me that I am a Rabbit on the Winnie-the-Pooh character quiz.

And I will now admit, there is one person on my FB list who I can't remember at all, not even a little bit, but we had so many college friends in common I felt I was in the wrong for not remembering him, so I clicked "accept" instead of "ignore," expecting that any day now, some dining hall conversation would surface in my memory. That hasn't happened yet, but from his facebook activity, he seems like a very nice gay man, of the sort I was often having dining hall conversations with.

A jumble. Like the real world, facebook is a jumble.

Today, though. Today, a friend who was a couple years ahead of me in high school set up a facebook group for people who went through my high school's extracurricular theater program, those of us who consider ourselves students of its director.

I do. She taught me English and Theater, and she was my advisor, a role that was a little like being an untrained shrink, at my school. I chose her because I was a techie, a set builder, in fact, and it was not something I can easily explain to someone who wasn't there, but it was serious, what we were doing there, at School That Saved Me High. We were in high school, and therefore prone to tearing each other to shreds, but what we created? It was professional, and obsessive, and joyous, and good. We had chutzpah, and we taught it to each other. We had no stage: we started with a black box and transformed it into whatever we wanted, making magic with things we designed ourselves on graph paper purchased for math class and built with power tools we mastered along the way. (I specialized in staircases, because I was good at trig.)

Of course, theater was a multi-grade activity, so in a very real way, my cohort at school is not my class at all, but everyone who did theater during my four years, from three years older than me to three years younger, and there were some legends still echoing from the classes that graduated immediately before I arrived. Scrolling down the group my friend created, it was like being at the virtual version of the high school reunion I've been longing for for at least 20 years.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tough audience

Z.: Say somethsing dat I thzink is funny, and den I'll write it down.

A.: The pressure! The pressure!

Z.: Dat's not funny.

(I wonder where she gets that from...I wonder....)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow day

snow day

(photo courtesy of A. Z. is on the left, Impish Neighbor Girl on the right.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Outside the store's window, the snow is sedately filling the air above the street, melting the moment it touches anything. There are no customers today. Behind the register, I'm knitting a baby blanket in fine-gauge merino for an old friend's newborn, and letting my own stillness fill me.

My wall calendar, newly changed to February, says "excavate," and shows hands on a shovel flinging up dirt from behind a mound of earth. January was "fix," with strong fingers making a tool usable again. Flipping one page too many, I read "resume," in March, but I tried not to see the picture. Time enough when we get there.

Monday, February 2, 2009


There are hellebores about to bloom in my garden, small green pokes of curled tulip leaves. And dog poop, but that's how it goes.

I stopped on my way back home from the co-op, found a pruning saw I had forgotten I owned, and pruned back the branch of the forsythia that I had trained myself to duck around every time I go in and out of the house.

A little more space. A little more hope.

Jo(e), February is a short month. Don't get me wrong, it can still be a fucker, but it's easier, further south, where you can see winter's hold breaking up earlier.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hey everyone

I just remembered something.

It's February. That means January is over.

Thank god for small mercies.