Monday, November 30, 2009

1979 Redux

My friend, Lynn & I throwin' the gang symbols before leaving for our 30th High School reunion....just to let you know where we fall on the nerdometer.

So I went to my 30th high school reunion this past Saturday, which was incredibly fraught with
apprehension, not to mention wardrobe malfunctions. Who was to know that two weeks prior to this event my wardrobe would turn into a closetful of clothing that my grandmother wouldn't be caught dead in? Or that the one pair of hip, properly fitting trousers I owned would be eaten by a gas tank cover?*

We got there and it was immediately okay. While checking in I turned and introduced myself to a classmate behind me. As my friend Louise said- "You will not recognize a single male from your class." It was true. It was fun to try to dredge up details with each of them. Not to say that there wasn't a table full of broad shouldered males who refused to get up and mingle, but as I said, they refused to get up and mingle so I didn't have to figure out how to talk to them..... 30 years later.

As a high school student I was relatively bright but different. I had tremendous deficits in math and really loved the arts. Because of that I tracked along with the future non-academic sorts in math. And the powers that be saw Art as an extra so there was no college track art classes. Signing up for Auto Body was the same as signing up for Painting III. Not trying to pass too much judgment here- just saying that I got to know a lot more of the student body than most.

One particular classmate sidled up to me- trying to place me exactly. We realized we shared airspace in Graphic Arts (which fell into Shop classes- go figure?) and advanced Sculpture. A few of us were looking at the old year book photos when this guy slyly says to me "Oh her- she had the best boobs in the whole class."

Sigh..... Not that I was offended. I have heard the word "boobs" once or twice in my life. I suppose I could have played a lady and told him how crass he was, but I suspect he knew he was crass. My disappointment is that, as in High School, my face still says "I am your best friend. Talk to me like your locker room buddy."

Whatever..... maybe in my next life I'll come back as my sister Abby, who looks like a woman even in a ridiculous hat.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cosmic Return

I fell in love. It was both fast and slow paced. It was one of those vacation flings while I was out in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. We met on a Thursday in a casual way- just a quick glance across a room. On Saturday we got together, but it didn't seem right so I didn't pursue it. By Monday morning it had become a full blown obsession, but I was on the plane back home.

Despite my qualms that they were a little too snug I was on the phone by Tuesday to tell my boyfriend "go buy me those pants! They are in the back right. They are corduroy but they look like velvet. They are Christopher something brand. They are half price. I must have them. Size 6- accept no substitutes."

He arrived home two weeks later with the trousers. They sat on my bureau wrapped in tissue and a little bit of regret. Perhaps they were too tight? Who was I to think I could fit into a size 6. Perhaps when I tried them on I was just having a thin day? Will I look ridiculous?

I finally put them on one morning and they fit like a glove. The corduroy was so fine, so black, so soft and amazingly did not pick up every stray white hair from my dog. This was meant to be. I wore them once. I wore them twice. They didn't stretch out and hang droopily off my butt. I LOVED these pants.

But the third time is a charm. I was meeting a client after hours on a Saturday afternoon. I wanted to look professional but Saturday relaxed. I paired the beautiful black trousers with a lapis lazuli three quarter sleeve blouse. I looked great. I assured my boyfriend I would be home by 5. The clients were difficult but engaged. I am sure my outfit tipped the scales- especially those pants. But the clients didn't leave until 5. I raced out the door of the gallery and jumped in my car. Damn! I need gas. I am racing to fill the tank but the pump isn't working. I screeched over to the next tank and fill up. I grab my receipt but noticed that someone had left theirs. I fatefully ripped it off and threw it in the trash and then turned to get into my car. And ran into my gas tank door.

The clip tore through the beautiful, soft fabric of my pants and into my hip. I was bleeding and pissed. I had only worn them three times and they were gone- nothing tears quite like corduroy. It is designed to open up like a Ziploc bag. Repair was not an option. I was so pissed that I couldn't even call my boyfriend to say I was running late. I would have bitten his head off. I hated the whole world for wrecking those trousers.

I suppose I got to look good three times. Well- what is it that they say? Pride goeth before a fall.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"How's The Water?"*

I became smitten with David Foster Wallace a few years back when I read this brief couple of paragraphs by him in the Atlantic Monthly.

I had never read anything by him before seeing this cover essay asking 100 of our country's great thinkers to give us something to think about. It clearly did just that. His succinct essay stopped me cold and I wondered why no one had bothered to say this before. I also wondered who this man was.

I got one of his books- A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. His writing is dense and not easily digested. Keep your dictionary handy. If you want to take a look, again, at those things we take for granted.... he is the writer for you.

He killed himself at the age of 46 after a long struggle with clinical depression. It was sad, but almost like a freight train bearing down on you- an inevitable conclusion. It really puts a focus on the tragedy of mental illness (?)......and such a loss for humanity.

Don't know why he has popped into my head again. Look him up. Keep him alive.

*From his address at a Kenyon College graduation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stop Making Sense

It's not easy being green.

I ran into an old client on the street the other day and we did a quick catch up conversation. He told me he had just gotten back from South Africa.

"Wow! How was it?"

"Weird. Despite the end of apartheid there is still this thing hanging over the country."

I told him about another friend who had gone to South Africa recently who had a similar observation- official discrimination has ended but the different races do not mingle on a social level.

He ended with "We are so lucky in this country. We just take it for granted."

I know that things are not peaches and cream in this country as far as discrimination goes, but there is a broad acceptance of different people- or at least an abhorrence of crude and ignorant displays of intolerance. There is also room for conversation about acceptance/inclusion. I watch from the sidelines, bemused, as gay people fight for the right to marry. (This "right" isn't as desirable as one might think- I am not a huge fan of this legal institution.) This is a conversation that never would have taken place 20 years ago. I think of my clients who openly refer to their partners. The shame and stigma of this acknowledgement seems to have vanished. I was also pleasantly pleased by the near seamless mixing of Hispanics and Anglos in New Mexico during a recent visit. When I lived there 20 years ago the resentments were palpable between the two races.

There are still many instances of discrimination, hatred and even violence against those who are different. I think, as a country, we don't recognize how things have changed over time. We have every right to be proud of our continued struggle towards universal rights.

Bash on!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I use to be an okay cook but my skills have deteriorated over the years. First I was married to a man who thought that Chef Salad was the height of cuisine and now I live with a man who cooks far better than I have ever dreamed of. I still enjoy cooking... I am just no damned good at it. So while my boyfriend is away for a few weeks to explore our vast country I have taken to blaspheming his kitchen.

I am celiac, thus cannot eat wheat/gluten. Pasta is right out. I have been wanting to try Polenta Lasagna for a while as a way to get my cheesy goodness spot satisfied. I had all the ingredients I thought appropriate but was too cavalier to look up a recipe. Really how hard could it be? Polenta, sauce, fresh mozzarella, pesto-right? I layered, baked and awaited my righteous reward.

I suppose there are cookbooks for a reason, like say, to tell you that a bunch of moist ingredients will blend into a monolithic pan of ingredient. It didn't taste too bad but there is something about the word "lasagna" that evokes distinct layers of different textured items. This had turned into a loaf of very cheesy, slightly tomatoey polenta. In and of itself- not terrible.

I had it for dinner two nights in a row and then had it for lunch today (the downside of cooking big complicated dishes is eating them for several days.) I mulled about what had gone awry. I realized it wasn't the food, it was my attitude. If I stopped thinking of it as lasagna it became more palatable. When I thought of it as a lovely, cheesy side dish I loved it a little bit more. But what would I call it- polenta pudding?

I am guessing there is a larger life lesson here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I took this photo last fall on Route 103 in the middle of nowhere. It is one of those visual non-sequitors that I love. Santa in Autumn?

I have been feeling unsettled as of late and I can't quite put my finger on it. But I do recognize the symptoms as they have cropped up for me periodically in my life. I keep buying stuff as if I am trying to fill a hole. I am aware of it but I still allow myself to do it because it tends to run its course after a certain dollar amount..... and when I realize it doesn't solve any problems.

But in the meantime...... my wardrobe has gotten a serious updating!