That and This

March 1, 2007|Posted in: Uncategorized

Notes on small things:

Cold hands. Why must we have cold hands?

White eyebrow hairs. Why must we have those? Especially like an inch away from the rest of the eyebrow hairs. What is this, segregation?

My gorgeous ring. Did I mention my gorgeous ring? I did. Well, sorry. But it’s awfully nice.

Hail. Wow, it’s loud.

Nasty baked-on crapola after a lovely steak dinner. From now on I am relegating all beef cookery to the Man o’ My Heart.

The Decembrists: My birthday CD is The Decembrists’ The Crane Wife. So if Herman Melville wrote alternative rock, it would sound like this. Kind of like The Highwayman meets U2. Or some such.

Reading the Little House books aloud to a child is a revelation after several years’ abstinence from these stories. I am reading the part about the plague of grasshoppers and the crushing weight of Pa’s failure to make a wheat crop. The hopes dashed, the mounting debt, his 300-mile-walk in tattered boots to find harvest work to feed his family. Unbelievable heroism by ordinary people. I can hardly read a chapter without getting choked up. These are on my list of all-time Great American Novels — Laura Ingalls Wilder did us a great service by writing down her life story, however glossed over and fictionalized. She’s on my list of saints.

My current reading list also includes The Mother Tongue – English and How it Got That Way; The Red Book; Catch a Fire – Bob Marley’s biography; Shogun (not still, again — yum!); and I think that’s all for now. Waiting to start a whole new rank of books when I finish this batch. Reading – I heartily endorse it.

Homemade focaccia for dinner tonight. So yummy. Bread machines are a fabu invention. And focaccia bread is always a hit — brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt and rosemary, plopped into a cornmeal-dusted pan and, voila, 15 minutes till Hot Crusty Paradise.

I love how Spellcheck reads focaccia as “fogyish, dogcatcher, quackish, freakish, cowcatcher?” And “fabu” is possibly “Fabio.” As if. Focaccia doesn’t even sound like cow-catcher, does it? Say it three times fast…(you know you’re doing it right now)

Kids have appointments all the time: orthodontist, dentist, physicals, eye exams, therapy, and when you add that up and multiply by a number larger than three but smaller than five, you get a wacky week of driving. That’s all I’m saying. Then add in rehearsals and practices and work days and special events — and then they want me to drive them to their friends’ houses and the mall and Park Street. And they forgot their lunch, or their homework, or their jacket, or their science project. All aboard the Calgon train.

Wah. (That’s me whining.)

In the midst of all this madness, there is hope, and faith, and love — there are reruns of CSI to watch, popcorn to pop, yarn to play with, perfume to spray on, menus to plan, weekends to savor. Weddings to plan!!!

We went out with friends Friday night (to the Lost Weekend Lounge, if you must know) and had Irish Car Bombs, which are a half-pint of Guiness with a shot of Jamieson’s and Bailey’s dropped into it — then gulped down. Tastes like a root beer float, but kids, don’t try this at home. Seek professional help.

At that same evening, a 20-something friend of our pals Colin and Frances said to me, “Oh, you’re the older couple who they like to go out with…” Yeah, heh heh, that would be us, over here in our walkers, fixing our dentures, wallowing in dreams of our long-ago youths. Sigh.

I saw a yellow finch on the fence the other day, so vibrant against the dark rainclouds heading in from the Bay, and I need to wear my glasses all the time, but it was very goldy-yellow on its belly with black stripes on its head near the eyes, and very small — about the size of my fist, maybe. Tennis ball size. About the same color as a tennis ball, too. Maybe it was a tennis ball, actually, now that I think about it, with black writing on it. Since I’m so damned old, with white eyebrow hairs and a carful of kids and bad vision, who the hell knows?

Take above with teaspoon of salt. I jest because I’m fine with it all. Except on the days that I’m not. And a Car Bomb will cure that in a trice.

Time for CSI. Ciao, bellas…

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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