Dec 25 2014

Happy Birthday, Supergirl

loubIt’s peculiar thing to be the mother of a twelve year old girl. I don’t know that it would be strange for everyone, but to me, it is. Maybe it’s because my 12th year is incredibly vivid to me. It was the year that my parents plucked me from the public school and turned me over to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, so the nuns could teach me how to wear a skirt and fill in the spiritual holes my parents feared they might be leaving behind due to our busy lives. And yes, there was the education too. But I’ve been told that the uniform was the biggest draw – a surefire way to soften my tomboy ways and teach me to sit like a lady. Query whether any of it worked at all.

So I have this very vivid memory of this very vivid year in my life. A year filled with angst, emotion, new girls, all girls, intense schoolwork and shrill, obnoxious laughter. And what I remember of this coming of age, is not quite jiving with the kid in my house. Supergirl also switched schools this year. And yet, she is so much more self-possessed than I ever was. I can’t get in her brain, I can’t truly know what she’s thinking or feeling, but man, from the outside she’s as centered, happy and easy as they come. Will this be the year she remembers as the year her mind kind of woke up? I wonder. She seems like she’s been awake for a long time.

It’s funny to me that my parents thought they might be able to effect some change on me, my ways, my persona. When it comes to Supergirl, I can’t shake the feeling that she landed on this earth holding within her all the tools and talents she would need to become who she is. I’ve said it before, but I can take very little credit for her. This is not a kid who has needed much in the way of molding. Dash and I pretty much sit back and watch as she makes her way through, vicariously enjoying the ride and watching her grow up in a world where (to her) every one is a potential friend, or at least someone worth having a conversation with.

As my girl embarks on her 12th year, I feel as grateful as ever – I am lucky to call this little chick my friend. As of now, she’s game to pal around while I do errands, keeping me entertained with a seemingly endless stream of amusing stories and quirky observations. What I notice with her and my friends’ girls around this age is that they really are like little ladies. They look like kids, but all of a sudden they have this capacity to communicate and understand that makes them really fun to be around.

But I’m also excited. She’s the kind of person with slightly off-center curiosities and she finds a way to go deeper. I’ve always admired that in other people. This past year I’ve watched her explore the worlds of jazz, yarn bombing, succulents and cacti, cartooning and entrepreneurship based on human connection – the latter a pretty successful sidewalk “free advice” stand that yielded copious tips and some new found friends and fans. She was like Lucy, but nice. She also became kind of Jewish for a while, joining a group of kids for snacks at Lady Tabouli’s before Hebrew school on Wednesdays. I can’t wait to see what else she decides to explore and try her hand at. I can’t wait to meet the people she connects with. I can’t wait to see what comes next for my Supergirl.

Happy birthday, to my dear sweet girl.

May 3 2014


If it involves Richard Linklater, I’m in. He is absolutely the director of our generation. Slackers was the first movie I saw in those turbulent post-college years that truly represented the ramblings – physical, metaphorical and verbal – that my friends and I were on. And Dazed and Confused remains one of my favorite movies to this day. Brilliant, funny, cruel, honest and such a slice. I love it. So much.

Many of us are watching our boys morph from little boys into teens, in that shuffling, mumbling and heartbreaking way that remains utterly mysterious to us mothers. I know what it feels like to be a teen girl, with the big feelings and the torrents of tears and laughter. Too many thoughts, too many emotions and too many words. But what does it feel like to become a man, when you mostly choose to keep it on the inside, letting us see only glimpses of the joy and angst that play catch with your growing heart?

This movie was filmed over 12 years with the same boy. What a labor of love. I am so there.

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Sep 16 2013

Music Monday: Patti Smith

2d946c9aI had the indescribable pleasure of seeing Patti Smith perform this past week at a cool event called Station to Station – a traveling art installation featuring concerts, art and artisans choo-chooing its way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Unlike my usual m.o., I actually came to Patti through her look first, her writing second and her music third. It seems I’ve always unconsciously knocked off her iconic androgynous style – flat chested, no hips, her tomboy look always worked for me. Still does. I wear many different things, but I am most myself in a pair of Chucks and jeans. That’s what I wear when I want to be free. Or invisible. Or invincible. I was a total nerd and stole a white oxford from Saint James and basically wore the black ribbon outfit pictured above (also the cover of her Horses album). Felt like a goofball and also, a million bucks.

A few years ago I read her quiet gem of a memoir, Just Kids. It’s about her friendship/love with Robert Mapplethorpe, and I must admit it shook me. These people were so extremely outside of my experience growing up – basically finding no other way to live than to completely mesh life and art, so that one bled into the other until they were indistinguishable and often deeply painful. I read it again with the ladies of my book club, the second time leaving me free to concentrate on her words and how she delicately strung them together like the beaded necklaces she and Robert used to wear. Her writing is so beautiful, tender, strong and honest – really just a way to describe her too.

She took the stage with her son, Jackson. (Don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of watching a mom and her boy make music together). She was soon joined by Gary Louris, Mark Mallman and a few other local musicians. She pretended not to know their names, but she did of course. They were utterly and obviously in her thrall – grown men, accomplished musicians, full-fledged rockers just happy and jazzed to be on stage with her. It’s not often, in this society, that a woman of that age gets to command that much respect and adoration. It was inspiring to say the least.

She is simply bad ass. But she’s also delicate and her voice sounds unexpectedly young and sweet. I think that she has lived so authentically her whole life, that she’s one of those people you can see into. She’s complex, she’s a thinker and a creator, but she’s very very clear about who she is and what she is. When you can see and feel someone with that immediacy, their art goes straight to your heart. There are no layers – no artifice – no attitude. Nothing to get in the way and distort the art. She very simply gave us the gift of herself without a lot of fanfare. And that is her power.

She dedicated this song to all of our “loves” and to her love, the late Fred Sonic Smith. Talk about a swooning moment. Top five, people.

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Apr 5 2013

Spring Musings

adrienneThis year for spring break we road tripped to Michigan to see my family. Maestro de Bife is back from Australia, Golden and his wife, Delicious Apple, were due to have their second bambina, it was Easter. We figured we’d spend spring break immersed in familial milestones as we so rarely get to do.

I had fully prepared myself for the possibility that Manzanita’s little sis might not be born while we were there, but as it turns out, Delicious Apple went into labor as we were driving towards them all. Petite Pomme was born on March 27th and couldn’t be more perfect, with my dear Manzanita suddenly thrust into the role of older sis and big girl – she’s hilarious and sweet, with the tiniest little naughty streak as perfectly befitting a two year old.

Something about being home makes me feel so acutely aware of myself and where I’m at in life. What am I doing? How am I doing? How did I get here? Where did the time go? Where’s my Esprit sweatshirt?

Partially, it’s the sandwich effect of being a mom and yet being around my own sweet mother and all the objects and landmarks of my youth – the Burger King, the Dairy Mat, Shane Park. I am out of my own castle and back in the castle of my girlhood. It’s so familiar and cozy – the meals and wine, the strong personalities, the quick brewing and passing stormy tempers, the laughter – but it’s my past and it was created by my parents, with their aesthetic, rules, likes and dispositions. It represents their adventures and travels, their high standards and hard work. My castle is different – it’s messier and dirtier, for sure, but the wall colors are brighter, the music is louder, the furniture is more random and most importantly it’s ours. Take a queen out of her castle and she can’t help but feel ever so slightly adrift and introspective.

Also, since our families don’t live near us, I see my kids acutely through their eyes. Any brattiness or funniness feels magnified and more noticeable because they don’t necessarily have the entire context – they don’t live the days in and days out. I can’t help but wonder what my family thinks, how my kids are coming off, whether they realize how kind and chill they really are. Good manners are my thing, but even more so when the people whose opinions I care about the most are watching. I wonder if they can tease out the subtle balance of the things we’ve taught them and the things that are just pure them – that tightrope of childrearing where you can do a lot, but you can only do so much – and I mean that for better and for worse, because some of my favorite things about my kids are the things we had nothing to do with.

Plus it’s spring! We take a deep breath, a big stretch to the ever warming sun and mutter a tiny prayer of thanks and good riddance to a winter that goes on about a month too long in these parts. We get a chance to clean house, both literally and metaphorically, start fresh, try out new ideas, give new policies a whirl. We get to keep the good, pitch the bad and promise ourselves we will live our days with more intention, attention, gratitude and lightness. But how? Specifically. How?

There’s nothing like going home to bring into clearer focus what it is to make a home. There’s nothing like going back to the past to clarify our hopes and wishes for the future. And there’s nothing like family to remind us that almost everything we do and know, comes from them.

Feb 16 2013

The Tipping Point

valentines-day-sermonsValentine’s Day is an unofficial anniversary of sorts for Doctor Dash and me. It was on that day during our senior year in college that we cooked steaks with blue cheese in my little blue house in South Bend and finally fell into couplehood after months of being best friends and dancing around it. Actually, I was the one doing all the dancing. Dancing up close one day, dancing away the next. Dancing all in circles. A fickle whirling dervish, indeed. Dash, it turns out, is a patient man. Thank goodness for that. Then and now.

This Valentine’s Day marked 21 years of our being together. My math man also pointed out that we have now been together more than we’ve been apart in our lives. I have spent more than half of my life with Dash at my side. It’s staggering. We didn’t meet that young and we’re not that old now, so how can it be? Yet there it is. It’s simple math, and it blows my mind.

We spent Valentine’s night with the kids and we usually do, and I cooked steaks with blue cheese sauce as a small nod to our wee beginnings. We’ll get our proper date night on Saturday night when we go see Book of Mormon and then out for bites in some twinkly bar. I can’t wait.

I suppose I could say how different things are from way back when, but they don’t seem that different. Aside from more responsibility and less flannel, he and I are pretty much the same. I still look forward to seeing him at the end of the day, stepping out with him on a chilly night or lingering at the table after dinner while the kids bounce about not really clearing like they’re supposed to. Actually, when I picture any after dinner scene, I guess it is different. Perhaps I’ve forgotten how footloose and fancy free we once were.

But you grow, adapt and live, with the days piling up behind you at an alarming clip and then one day, you tip. Which means not much more than a moment in time to look back and to look ahead and be grateful.

I love you, Dash.

Nov 29 2012

Seeing Clearly

louYou know how you can go days at a time and you’re so busy that your kids are pretty much a blur. Just little heads of different colors, asking for a signature, jabbering about school, fighting with each other, stealing cookies off the cookie sheet. Even when you finally sit down to dinner together, they carry on in their expected roles: the whiner, the peacemaker, the brooder. Little heads of different colors with different voices, all doing what they always do.

I’m exaggerating, of course, but only to suggest that there are certain times when you see your kids more clearly than at other times. You see them on the inside. You see what makes them tick. You see their trajectory. And when you get these glimpses . . . man, it is good to pay attention and hold on.

This morning I had a half an hour with Supergirl because Devil Baby had chess club. I know, funny. But I predict that she will become some kind of evil chess genius if she sets her mind to it. She will confuse all the nerd boys with her porcelain skin and high ponytails and she will take great pleasure in beating them. Just a guess.

Supergirl and I dropped her off and hightailed it to Turtle Bread for some quiche (protein girls, the both of us). We were sitting in a booth with her facing the window, which meant I got to look into her green eyes, vivid and shiny in the morning sun. We were talking about which boys she might invite to her roller skating birthday party. As I named names, she would react and explain and I realized this child is the epitome of diplomacy and moreover, kindness.

Wellllllll, she’d smile. Not sure we’re exactly on the same wavelength, if you know what I mean.  (Finger air quotes around “wavelength”). I DO know what you mean. But when I was nine I would have called him a freako and teased him on the bus.

Here’s a girl that has figured out the simple truth that it is better to like everyone even if you don’t hang out with everyone. It’s better to see people for who they are, with all their quirks, and be totally ok with them. I’m not trying to make Supergirl sound like Mother Theresa. She’s not. But she is easy on people – she’s cool with people. And as someone who benefits from her positive light and her forgiving eye, I can say this is a good thing.

The picture above was taken at the MCAD art sale a couple weeks ago. She walked around the whole building with us and after a while excused herself to go back to the room where the students were drawing comics for tips. When we finally caught up with her, I sort of lingered back to watch because it was SO obvious she had found her people. She was leaning across the table, chatting with the college students, watching them draw, eavesdropping on what they had to say. I am not exaggerating when I say she would have hung out for hours. I had to peel her out of there with a spatula.

As we walked out she said I like this place.

I know.

Sep 24 2012

Music Monday: Nirvana

21ccd83b5593ecaed7b7b09b5bcfa2aed935b208Apparently Nevermind was released 21 years ago today. I remember when Dash, Dolly and some other friends road tripped to Boston for fall break, they came back with this CD. It had blown their minds in the car and I distinctly remember Dolly loading it into the six CD changer in our living room, pressing play and letting us listen for a minute before saying listen to that bass! It made me giggle – partially because Dolly was talking like a boy, partially because the music sounded new and weird compared to all the classic rock we had been loading up on during those years and partially because she was totally right.

We were 21 – young enough to claim this album and this band as our own, but barely. For people who were teenagers and preteens in 1991, this is it. All of it. Hearing any song off this album out in the wild (and by that I mean out in the world) never fails to give me shivers. This is music by youth, for youth, of youth.

And just listen to that bass. Lithium.

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Sep 22 2012


The Heidleberg Project

I’m a Detroit girl. Well, not actually Detroit, per se – I just like saying that – but a suburb to the north. Still, Detroit was my sun as far as cities go. I orbited around, obliviously taking care of the business of growing up, with increasing plunges into the city itself as I started high school. Our brother school was a Jesuit high school called University of Detroit – U of D – and surprisingly, there was little effort to keep us Academy of the Sacred Heart girls away from the boys on Seven Mile Road. Not that it would have worked anyway.

Avalon International Breads, Detroit

Detroit is a fascinating city and in August when I went to visit my family with the kids, I got to bushwhack a little and experience it as a curious grown-up as opposed to a silly, clueless girl. Normally when I go home I sort of regress to my adolescent state – overcome by inertia, I feel like coccooning at my parents’ house, grazing my way through the pantry, watching tv and twirling my hair – maybe letting out a long dramatic sigh every once in a while.

santimeatI’m only partially joking. The truth is that now that the kids are older, I was able to see our visit home through a different lens. Detroit, in parts hopeless and beautiful, is no longer just a place to be ignored, the backdrop for youthful (and dangerous) shenanigans – it’s a place to explore. Just like any other city we would visit. And in this city, we’ve got contacts.

HeidleburgMy siblings live in town and as young adults figured out the city – the hidden gems, the rhythms, the fingerprints. My fairy godmother, Gretchen, is a veritable historian. Curious, intrepid and knowledgable – if there’s an interesting nook or a cranny with a story, she has found it, explored it and can tell you all about it. Sweet Juniper, a blog that’s been in my blogroll from the beginning, has been a lyrical yet honest peek into what it’s like to raise kids in the city; he describes a burgeoning arts and food scene, feral homes being engulfed by nature, mom and pop businesses thriving because of corporate America’s aversion to a high risk markets, empty lots being turned into bountiful and nutritious gardens.

She may be a broken down beauty, but she’s got plans.

emSo this time, in addition to long wine-soaked meals with my family, boat rides and swims in Pine Lake, celebrating two birthdays and squeezing my delicious niece, Manzanita, we did a little exploring. My top three highlights:

brickEastern Market: The mac daddy, grand poobah, god father of all farmers markets, this is the oldest market in the country. It’s colorful and urban and cool  - I liked it so much I went twice. Also Supino’s. Best pizza ever. Worth the wait.

dollheidlebergThe Heidleberg Project. Detroit was literally burning and out of the ashes rose the Heidleberg Project. Artist Tyree Guyton started to fight back with art and created an indescribable polka-dotted neighborhood. Watch this short movie about it – SO FASCINATING! I can’t believe I never went there before. This on my permanent and forever lists of places to visit when I go home.

saltwallFairway Packing Company. My favorite thing of all. Thanks to Fairy Godmother’s hubby, Cabezon, we got to go inside this temple of meaty beauty and see how it’s done. We wore white butcher’s coats and toured the dry age room with all the best cuts hanging out for the area’s best restaurants and clients. The Himalayan salt wall is stunning – a glowing work of art in and of itself. We bought gorgeous steaks, pork shoulder and brisket for the week’s dinners and parties and watched as they were broken down for us. Saint James was all eyes and quiet appreciation. Boy knows his good meat.

All of this was a round about way of getting to this recently released documentary. Detropia explores Detroit’s complicated and painful history, its rise and fall, mingled with the exciting, grass roots, outsider art fringey changes that are happening right now. I can’t wait to see it. I don’t think this sugarcoats anything, which is good – Detroit is better salty anyway.

Jul 19 2012

Summer Girl

Lou_Sunset_069Photo by Kathy Quirk Syvertsen

When Red Vogue emailed me this picture she took of Supergirl, I gasped. It’s so beautiful . . . and those legs. Those legs are no longer the awkward flailing crazy legs of a little kid. They are the legs of a big kid. A coordinated, water loving, game-for-anything bonafide big girl.

Oh, my heart. We are on the verge.

I suspect Red Vogue already had this picture in her mind’s eye when she proposed a dusk dip and photo sesh to Supergirl. She knew Supergirl would do exactly this, because Supergirl approaches everything in her life from a place of yes, why not? and then how about . . . ?

I need to be more like her.

Jul 4 2012

Embracing an Ordinary Life

facesSomewhere along the line, it seems, we all put bumper stickers on our minivans that say Extraordinary or Bust. At least, that’s what this NY Times article posits. As a society, we are so fixated on success and accolades, on concrete, external and preferably loud and bedazzled celebrations of our (and our children’s) accomplishments, that we’ve forgotten what it means to live an ordinary, magical life. Everyone is a genius who is destined for greatness. Except that’s not true. So why not step into that chasm and live there, and live there well?

As someone who started out fully outfitted in the trappings of success, including the trim little lawyer suits, and dropped out, I HAVE to believe that the small and ordinary things I do for my family mean something. This blog is an attempt to find weight and truth in the things that don’t end up on a resume, that don’t get me a pat on the back from a partner in my law office, that don’t bring me money.

But even I, who has every reason to try to redefine success for myself, fall short when I start to feel like I’ve fallen short. Even I, whose last shred of self worth is tied up in this, does not know how to answer this simple question: Does she live up to her potential? Depends who you ask, I suppose. But certainly, don’t ask me.

I love this article and that someone is saying hey, there’s more to life . . .

I love the idea that my soups and sauces and swims count for something. I love that my kids know that I do serious food shopping at the farmers market, that before age 12, they know about fresh eggs and delight at the sight of a bright orange yolk. That’s because of me and it is not nothing. I may not be closing multimillion dollar deals any more, but I have a brood of food lovers, readers, dancers, swimmers and laughers. And it’s because of me.

Right here, right now, riding this jittery wave of my morning coffee, I’m taking credit. In this moment, I’m not going to be shy about not “doing” anything in the conventional sense. I’m taking back the little stuff and holding it high in the air like a banner.

Because it matters. It has to.

Jun 6 2012


shadowdancingThis past Sunday, I found myself standing in a park at twilight, watching my son and a group of his friends sprawled on a big green hill in the distance. They had been there for hours, celebrating the end of 6th grade with pizza and frisbee and water balloon shenanigans, and now a cluster of them had simply dropped onto the grass – haphazardly like a handful of strewn pennies, and far enough from us to avoid the hook. These kids have been around long enough to know that a cluster of newly arrived moms means another twenty minutes, easy.

Bone tired and barely able to string two words together after my weekend at Notre Dame with my old friends, one would think I might have been in a hurry to go home and get to bed. But lucky for Saint James, my list of ailments after my weekend of debaucherous catching up included a swollen knee (I was disinclined to climb the hill), no voice (I couldn’t yell for him) and more emotion than my heart could bear.

In my addled state, I actually had to step away from the other parents before anyone saw me welling up. I walked a few paces toward the hill and simply watched. This is how it all starts.

Kids in the grass. Talking. Talking.

The funny thing about a reunion, is that it really does play tricks with your sense of space and time – especially if you also happen to have a group of friends who are balls to the wall and ALL IN from the second their feet alight from cars and planes in South Bend. It was as if no time had passed. We partied like 21 year olds partying like rock stars and that’s not something this mother of three gets to say out loud. But we did.

And these friends, who for months, sometimes years at a time have been so far away from me, were suddenly within arm’s reach. Space and time collapsed so that I felt like a 21 year old and a 41 year old at the same time. As if by magic, I was the girl who squandered words and time and laughter like they were going out of style. Who assumed the world to be chocked full of lionhearted boys who would always make me laugh and soul sisters who understood everything about me.

But now I’m old enough to see how lucky we were and to be acutely aware of the pleasure of laughing again with the people who have, hands down, made me laugh more than anyone else in my life. This kind of connection is not a given, it is a gift and to have gotten that gift as early in life as we did, is nothing short of a miracle.

There is a wit and a wildness to my friends. A keen sociability, an inability to sit still, a yen to stir up trouble and an insatiable fun tooth. I got a good arts and letters education at Notre Dame, but it was with my friends that I learned the important things. The stuff about people and friendship and love. About making yourself happy and making other people happy. About planning for fun. About being grateful. About having a nose for adventure. About pleasure and laughter.

About noticing.

And so it is because of you guys and thinking of you guys, that I found myself standing alone in a park, letting my son linger on a darkening hill with his friends.

Because I know that this is how it all starts. And I know that this is everything.

May 14 2012

Mother’s Day and Music Monday: Waylon Jennings


When my guys were tiny, I felt they had me literally on my toes. Every eye in my head, and then some I didn’t have, were trained on whoever happened to be at the age most likely to stage dive off the top step or slip quietly unnoticed to the bottom of a pool. It’s exhausting work, being the mama of small children and I’m here to say that it does get better.

For about a nanosecond.

All is well and good until one day you wake up and realize you’ve got to find those extra eyes in the back of your head again. You’ve got to keep your ear to the ground and cultivate a nose for news. You’ve got to be available and aware because everything gets quieter and more subtle.

What’s more, in the midst of developing these heightened senses, this deeper awareness of what’s going on INSIDE the heads of your kids, you have to pretend to be totally chill. You have to hone your casual opener to the finest edge, so they don’t even hear the envelope tearing, don’t even realize the contents are spilling out.

And while on this tightrope of respectful, cool, hyper vigilant awareness, you need to juggle, like, twenty three different eggs in the air. Because just as things are starting to get tricky in this new way, the shit hits the fan and your family is busier than ever.

This is where I am right now. I am barely keeping it together, barely keeping up – which is frightening, because I suspect this has only just begun. But I dig it. These young people are getting VERY interesting. Curiously, I think I might be better at this than I was at that. Maybe it’s because I have a keen connection to my goofy, confused, scared, and overly imaginative 12-17 year old self. For some reason, that part of my life is really vivid for me, and for better or worse, it may just come in handy.

How about a little country croon for all the mamas out there, muddling through with grace and humor? And when I say grace, I mean tripping and falling and flubbing and sucking and brushing ourselves off and starting again. Because every day is a new day, and every day we get to try again. Thank heavens.

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May 7 2012

Music Monday: The Beastie Boys

fb2d5d0d2866c09bde38f500b1814f0483ce170bOf course, a little Beasties in honor of Adam Yauch, MCA, who died of cancer last week at age 47. It’s sad. He’s but a bit older than us and his arc, represents our arc. It’s more than cliche at this point to say that the Beastie Boys brought hip hop to the white kids, but it’s true – the Beastie Boys brought hip hop to this white kid, via the boys at our inner city brother school, U of D. Imagine me, with wild perm and silver braces, bopping around to Fight for Your Right (to Party) before I had any real party experience under my sailor rope belt.

I never got sick of the Beastie Boys and their shaken up beer spraying mug in the camera antics because they grew up too. Their music evolved and so did they, while managing to stay cool and relevant. “They spent their career gently deflating their penis balloon” writes Sasha-Frere Jones in the New Yorker. How hilarious and how apt. It’s true. We grew up. They grew up.

I’ve been reading about Adam Yauch in the last days and I had no idea he directed many of their videos under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower and started a production company that produced, among many, the very cool movie about graffiti artist, Banksy, called Exit Thru the Gift Shop – which I loved. In addition to all his work in support of the Tibetan freedom cause, he was a dad and a husband.

So here’s a video Yauch directed for the song, Shadrach, where each frame was painted by hand. It’s gorgeous and was included in the 22nd International Tournee of Animation.

Rest in peace, MCA.

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May 4 2012


zA voyage never fails to stir everything up inside of me so that when I’m back home, everything has settled back into its place, but in a slightly shifted way. I suppose that’s a rather inartful way of saying that you come back and see things differently.

I went to Argentina with my mom and my official position was that of wingman. I was there to help with heavy burdens, both luggage-wise and emotional. You see, my uncle, her brother, has melanoma and she (we) needed to see him. To say hello and then goodbye.

Maybe it’s because I was traveling with my mother alone, or maybe it’s because I was back in Argentina where I was born, or maybe it’s because we were there to spend time with someone we might not see again, but the time I spent there has a dream-like quality to me now. It’s as if the days had fuzzy edges, one bleeding into the next and although the time passed quickly, I have the sense that I was acutely aware of each bittersweet moment.

Strangely for me, I went into a zen-like state where I felt completely content to sit for hours in my uncle and aunt’s kitchen, drinking tea and chatting. Various members of my giant tribe would stop in to visit and I would sit (always in the spot nearest to my uncle) and listen. I had no agenda. There was nowhere else I needed to be. Nothing I needed to do.

I was there as a wingman. My job was simple. I made sure I could scoop up sadness where I saw it and tuck it away. I made sure I basked in my uncle’s kindness. I made sure I got a few beautiful pictures of the four siblings together when they happened to be in the same room. I took pictures of old pictures at my uncle’s house – that’s him with my aunt when they were itty bitty. Aren’t they cute? They met when my aunt was 13. Their’s was a love for the ages.

Argentines don’t mess around when it comes to conversation. We talked of faith and death, of health, of blessings, of family, of distance, of voyages, of politics, of so and so who knocked up so and so and acted like he didn’t know it until an intermediary told him he needed to check out the kid because it looked just like him and he did and it knocked his socks off and then he fell in love with and got married to the knocked-upee. They needed to catch my mother up on all that good old fashion juicy small town stuff. Oh, the stories.

My relatives are story-tellers and there is a certain Latin drama that runs through their tales making everything sound just a little bit magical to my Americanized sensibilities. There is something about this place and these people that resonates deep in me and I feel simultaneously very at home and yet very foreign. Dash saw this picture of me with my two cousins and one of their daughters and he said You can tell these are your people. You look like them. You fit with them.

I do.girls

Mar 11 2012

Soupapalooza Week 3: A Luscious Cauliflower Soup

cauliflower soupNot for the picky eaters in my house, but man, oh, man, is this soup ever simple to make and tasty to eat. Creamy, divine and as white as that snow that seemed but a figment of our imaginations this winter. Check out my post over at Simple Good and Tasty!

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