Here and There

Friday, August 31, 2007

New Favorite

Unlike the Alison Krauss song, this new favorite does not replace any old favorites, it's simply an additional favorite. I love this book! I don't know why it took me 17 years to discover it. When I finish it, I shall definitely post some favorite lines and some of my own inspirations. But for now, for a little "taste":

"Violets smell like burnt sugar cubes that have been dipped in lemon and velvet, I might offer, doing what we always do: defining one smell by another smell or another sense."

I've finished the smell portion of the book and now I'm on to touch.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.

There is a very upsetting commercial on TV right now. Two little boys are walking home from school. One says to the other: "No one asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up."
The other boy says, "Maybe it's because of your name."
The first boy replies, "Richard?"
"No! Smucker."
The voice over explains that if your name is Smucker in the town of Orville, everyone knows you'll make the best jam ever. To make it okay that little Richard will be forced to make jam, the boys find a barrel of jam near the barn and Richard declares, "I love jam."

I hate this commercial.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

There was an episode of the Simpsons in which Marge starred in a musical production of "A Streetcar Named Desire." As Blanche DuBois, she said the famous line "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Blanche was a crazy drunk lady being led away by mental hospital attendants, and it is certainly true the helpless do need to depend on the kindness of strangers. I myself have never really "depended" on this. In fact I am always surprised by the kindness of strangers.

But for some reason this line came to mind this morning after I received a pleasant visit, some garden roses and banana bread from a very kind neighbor I had never met.

It is nice to be surprised by the kindness of strangers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Home Alone

So this morning is my first day "home alone" with Lily. I had a moment of timelessness, identifying with women through the ages, where I felt doors echo shut all across America, all throughout history. My beloved is gone, the light is definitely morning time, the day is before me, and what do I do with it? Am I supposed to unload the dishwasher? Am I supposed to hold the baby even though she's sleeping? What about the laundry? And if I turn on the TV and watch The View, is that entering into a black hole of daytime TV I will never return from?

I just slept more.

I wish I had an Ethel who would come over right after Peter walked out the door and say "Let's play Canasta."

That would be fun.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

She's here

Lillian is here. She's sweet as pie and we're enjoying her so much. It's strange to have so many firsts in a week, but one I will relate here is our first walk together as a family. Stepping into the sunshine after being inside for the first few days of Lily's life was surreal. Peter wore her in the baby wrap thing (and Kate wasn't jealous) and we walked out into this very mild, golden afternoon. I thought I could detect something in the light akin to that fall coming way I blogged about last August. We walked up the street slowly, quietly. When we took a turn on 7th street to come back, there were a couple birch trees dangling their branches over the sidewalk. We walked through them. I noticed them and I was glad about that. We came home and that was that. First walk as family. There are moments when the whole thing about having a baby is just too special, it's exhausting. Then there are moments when it is so mild and sweet that it is easy.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Big Sister

When she realizes these aren't for her, in her anger, I wonder what she'll pee on?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pick up your bones!

Often at lunchtime, people working in our neighborhood come sit in their cars and eat. I always used to think this was kind of sad. It always seemed kind of lonely for those folks.

Yesterday, at lunchtime, we were sitting on the beige couch, and I saw a man pull up and park across the street. He had a little white truck with a ladder tied to the camper shell. I figured he was working in the neighborhood and found a quiet place to eat his lunch. I was right. He got out and pulled huge blue cooler from the back- not a lunchtime cooler that looks like a mini-version of a big cooler, this was a cooler that most families pack entire picnics in. I kind of laughed and watched him get settled: he turned on the radio, he rolled down his window, he got out a newspaper and he locked his door. (I thought that part was kind of weird)

I was watching TV and out of the corner of my eye I saw something that always catches my eye, that little flick of the wrist and arc through the air of a litterbug. Oh no. He threw something out the window. Maybe it was an applecore. That's okay, an applecore is okay...sort of, not really. But it looked like a bone. "Was that a chicken bone?" I asked Peter. We both watched this guy eating something off a bone and throw another bone out the window. The way he was nibbling it and holding it looked more like a rib to me. Sure enough the guy ate 6 ribs and threw all his bones out his truck window. Then he proceeded to drink out of whatever tupperware his ribs came in (was it rib juice?) and wipe his face, put his cooler away and leave.

Meat bones aren't good lying around on the street, cats and rats and other creatures will find them, they don't just "go away". The whole time the guy was there we talked about what to do. Peter said he would go pick up the bones while the guy was still there in the truck and I said I would just shout from the doorway "Can you pick up your bones?" but Peter's idea was better. When he saw the guy start to leave, he walked out with a plastic bag to pick up the ribs as the guy started his 3-point turn to leave. I'm pretty sure the guy saw him. I hope he saw him picking up the ribs in his rearview mirror.

There have been many times when I have witnessed littering and said something to the litterbug, and many times when I've said nothing, but picked up the litter, and many times when I've not had the chance to do either, most often while driving. It's a weird thing because if you say something, it really shames the person. Rightfully so, but it's awkward. Even if you want to just gently remind, it comes off as shaming. I think the reason this is so is because if you don't litter, you simply don't litter. You never forget and accidentally litter, you just don't drop your crap on the ground. So if you see someone litter, you're challenging them on something they have chosen to do, their personal code of garbage disposal.

I wish I had a foolproof phrase or technique for when I witness someone litter, but I don't. I saw a bumper sticker once that said "Litter bugs me". That was fun, but that doesn't really cover it when you see someone drop their picked clean ribs in front of your home. You want to say "Pick up your bones!" Is that okay?