Friday, December 28, 2007

Sixteen Years

Dear John,

On December 28, 1991, we went out for coffee. That lasted five hours. We went for a walk, remember? And ended up in a church, peeking in on somebody else's wedding. I swore of Family, Children, Domesticity, all sort. Here stands that resolve in 2005.

After coffee, you asked if I wanted to come over to your house for dinner. A meatloaf supper. It is Vast Testament to my keen interest in you that my answer was yes. And you lived in a carriage house! I was sure you were gay, you were so pretty and the place was that quaint. And clean (except behind the tub but I discovered that later). You even had a pretty black square plate with decorative sand design sitting on a coffee table. What was not to like?

Here's your youngest, running, about three years ago. Look at those cheeks! Those munchkin legs!

Meatloaf supper, indeed. I stayed two days. When we finally parted, you admitted relief. Your single (serious) reservation about me had been laid to rest: despite the tie dye leggings I wore (with groovy black leather boots), I was not a Deadhead. Indeed, I could barely distinguish between musical groups. I asked: "Is that the Beatles" when Simon and Garfunkel came on. Still, you loved me. I moved in a week later.

Here is the first time Scarlett went on an official stage, in front of a significant audience. She's the one with her eyes shut, all anticipation and joy.

Now, I can't advise hauling over suitcases within a week of the first date. But I did. My friends were worried. I was just days out of the last relationship, after all. And then there was History: "Remember Brian? Remember Kevin? Steve? Hassan?" Yes, Impulse tended to overtake.

But I knew this was different. Right before I moved in, you told me you loved me. With clarification. You said, "I love you. To like four degrees out of ten, because we've only known each other six days."

Here's Stryker with bad hair that's even worse now, doing one of the yo-yo tricks that helped earn him that national championship. We learned about the tournament the very morning it started. You dropped everything and rearranged your whole day so he could go. And I wouldn't have to do it (at the Mall of America).

When I was pregnant with Scarlett, we knew the baby was a girl. You said, "I hope she gets your brains and my looks." I pretended to be appalled but I hoped so, too. I guess the jury is still out on the brain thing, but she's looking every bit as adorable as nine-year olds go.

We actually met three months before that very first December 28th date. Remember? We shared a table at Dunn Brothers Coffee shop because the place was jam-packed. A man playing an accordion was conveniently located two feet from my head. You didn't hit on me. We exchanged pleasantries.

But then an odd thing happened. You appeared in one of my dream. We were doing silly, routine things like grocery shopping and getting a car fixed. We mowed a lawn. I woke up but remembered because the dream seemed, well, real.

Things weren't going well with my current boyfriend. I was thinking about him while preparing to visit and mused: is Kevin the one I'll spend my life with?

"No. It's the guy from Dunn Brothers."

That thought popped --whole and instructional --into my head. My next thought was: "I better find out his name."

So the next time I saw you at Dunn Brothers, I stopped at your table and got that name, encouraged Invitation. Before long, I told you about the dream and directive. I guess that was okay with you.

On my birthday you gave me a beautiful ring and a card that said, "Looks like we're getting married."

We have a history of unilateral decision making about our relationship. But I guess that's working out.

And you still look every bit as good as you did the day the woman in the car next to ours flashed you her phone number at the red light. Remember how she wrote that out, on a big piece of paper and held it up to the window?

Happy Anniversary--and, you're the one who remembered and bought the gift. I am lucky in love, indeed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

January 20, 2009

Today the Supreme Court's pick for President flew to his Texas ranch because he just can't quite wrack up enough vacation time.

Poor guy needs some R & R. All that language strangulation must be taxing.

While en route to Crawford, he signed a couple of bills. First, he tackled the 10 billion dollars Congress demanded for those fussy constituents back home. For pet projects, silly things like infrastructure. Roads and electricity, that sort of thing. Bridges.

Remember that inconvenient bridge collapse? The one right around my Minnesotan corner?

And in a released statement, our guy scolded that naughty Congress for their wanton ways:

"I am disappointed in the way the Congress compiled this legislation . . . These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful government spending."

Then he signed a bill approving 70 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whew! Good thing he was on his way to the ranch for some R & R. Just releasing that grammatically correct statement must've been super stressful! Sorta like nailing that slippery nuclear thing or knowing how to pronounce the names of his presidential peers.

But he sure makes that war trick look easy.

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton knew that the Republicans had the deal sealed on war spending: they didn't even leave the campaign trail to vote against it. And even though I am one of the people counting the days until someone new takes office, I wonder how long, how hard, it will be for anyone to fully pull back the brake and stop this train.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


After the birthday debacle, not only did John do well, but it appears he went directly to Canada to get me the exact bracelet in the ad. Thanks, Santa.

The last time it snowed so much over Christmas was 25 years ago. The Matron was just a wee thing. Of sorts. Relatively speaking. Generously. Anyway, we took the children sledding at dusk. The family, wishing a greater carbon footprint, drove the four blocks home. I walked and saw this.

And in someone's yard, snowflakes spun into brilliant colors.

And here, walking up the hill to our house.

The night was black, yet brilliant with snow and holiday light. After all the hustle and hurry-up of wrapping, and getting here and there, that half hour ( I lingered, those four blocks) was the first deep breath in a week.

Funny. It wasn't much, but that walk-- alone, awake, suspended--was the first time the humility and grace of the season overcame.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Correspondence

Dear Scarlett,

You are a very loving child. But I am afraid that I can’t give away your gifts. Each gift is specially elf-made only for a specific child. If the child isn’t there, the gift can’t come through the chimney or window. Once the gift is in, it cannot leave. So here I am, inside, with presents that cannot leave.

Scarlett, every Christmas many, many children like you leave a similar note, concerned for children with less than they.

Every time a child asks to give up their gifts to others, my Magic allows me to take toys from the Emergency Bag (because sometimes presents fall during the sleigh ride – we travel swiftly) and give more toys to poor children. So the more children who have plenty think about others, the more those children are helped.

Kindness always touches others. You can also give away your extra toys, clothes and books to a homeless shelter. Those are the children I worry about most. They’re the hardest to reach, without a chimney or window! Please ask your parents to help you pack up what you don't need, and give away.

You know the meaning of Christmas: Love. So love in your own family (even the brothers) and that will change the world too.



Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry, Merry


I stumbled across Straight No Chaser on The Gav Managerie. This is just wonderful.

Remember the technological drool that runs down my chin?

Earlier today, I wrestled with Blogger to upload this. For those of you not in the know, Blogger is a giant Gnome who sits at a Star Trek-like command post, gleefully thwarting Mary's every move--jabbing those blinking buttons with manic laugh--just because she is the matron.

As in old. Running behind the Next Big Thing, shouting, "Wait for me!"

But, I finally got the video up. Enjoy.

Happy Christmas Eve! We're all sugared up, and ready for Long Sleepless Night and chaos, generally.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The King of the Dogs Died . . .

is the song Merrick has been singing lately. Yesterday, I told Merrick that the whole family was going to be home for dinner.

He said, "No we're not. Thurston's not here."

Thurston would have turned 15 years old this month. Here he is, his Regal Self, and the day before our first dog (unable to walk, stand, eat, poop and in terrible pain even while staggeringly over-medicated) was put to sleep.

Now he rests, here.

Cadbury Gorilla

This ad is the rage in England and a YouTube hit. When asked by NPR's Scott Simon how the commercial might fare in the U.S., Fallon International's Lawrence Green replies, poorly.

"I think, dare I say it, there is a degree of literacy in advertising in the UK market that may not be matched in America."

Simon and Green's exchange noted that the Brits have nurtured their market with decades of charming, creatively-led commercials. On this side of the sea, we have a tendency to stand up and shout: Buy This!!

I felt a sense of solidarity with those guys, talking about American ad acumen. Every day I drive by a hideous electric billboard. It is currently flashing an ad for: The She's Gonna SCREAM Diamond Sale!!!!

Between the electric pop and the outdated insipid femininity (oooh, I can jump up and squeal too, sugar Daddy) I feel nauseous every time I drive by.

Gonna buy me some Cadbury . . .