Saturday, March 31, 2007

After Party

David and I went to the Opera Ball After Party Saturday night. Honestly, I was dreading it, but it turned out that we had a lot of fun. We bumped into our old friend George O. Jackson and his sigother, Marjorie (aka Buzzy). We haven't seen them in forever -- they live in Austin. They were our refuge during Hurrican Rita, the safe haven we were headed toward but didn't make it to. Although we ended up safe enough in Katy at the Kayser's, a happening which was one of the most delightful and generous surprises we've had as a family.

At the Opera Ball After Party, David and our friend Mark Yzaguirre were being honored for their community service along with a handful of other "young Houstonians who make a difference in Houston." Mark has been the president of Aurora Picture Show for the past several years, and David created Spacetaker.

After we'd been there for 25 minutes, David left to go to the bathroom and Mark, his wife Katherine, and I started talking about the upcoming IBP Gala, whose theme is the Tortured Artist Gala. We talked about who we'd go as. I said maybe I'd go as Camille Claudel. Claudel was a significant French sculptor who just happened to be Rodin's lover. I could also go as myself.

While we discussed it, I suddenly felt this energy push me forward. I thought I heard Mark say, "turn around," even though he denied he actually said this. I turned and saw Lynn Wyatt standing behind me, with four young men flanking her on either side. I felt like I was breaking the law by obstructing her view to the dance floor, so I moved off to the side. Like it was choreographed, everyone else also moved out of her way, clearing for her a path to the dance floor. She wasn't gonna dance, I don't think. She didn't look any of us in the eye, but she did keep this friendly smile on her face. It was as if she were royalty, and I guess that if Houston had a queen, she'd be it. I felt totally ridiculous standing there, looking at her. But I couldn't stop looking at her, and you know what -- she is a professional-being-looked-at person. Clearly, she has staked her fame on being looked at; she was unflappable. I completely flapped and had to leave the tent to go to the bathroom.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pee Party

Yesterday, I sat nursing Diego while Clara left to go pee pee on her little potty in the bathroom. After almost 15 minutes went by, I suspected that maybe there was pee pee elsewhere than in her little potty, so I got up, Diego still attached to my boob, and walked to the bathroom to check on her. I found her having a tea party in the "mommy/daddy potty," as she calls it. She was drinking toilet water out of her pink toy teapot's spout. Needless to say, I freaked out. While hyperventilating and screaming "NO NO NO NO! We don't drink toilet water!" I asked myself mentally if I wasn't perhaps going overboard with my freak out, since I tend toward the hypochondriac end of the spectrum. I wanted to gauge whether my freak out might scar my daughter, or worse cause her to hate the potty. Quickly, though, I decided that my hysterical reaction was entirely appropriate given that we don't, in fact, drink toilet water, and for very good reason.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ain't It the Truth

My first writer-in-residency job with Writers In The Schools took place at Browning Elementary, off Northwood in the Houston Heights. 1991. I taught creative writing to three classes of third graders once a week. The school's population was predominantly Hispanic. Every week I hauled myself out of bed EARLY and crossed town armed with xeroxes of famous and not-so-famous poems to share with the students in hope that these writings might inspire them to write their own poems and/or stories.

During one of my visits to Miss Alcorn's class, a fire drill happened. You would have thought that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy AND the Grim Reaper had all arrived in the flesh for a pep rally. The kids could not contain their excitement over this break in their routine, and the whole point of the fire drill was to train them to exit the building while containing themselves.

As I navigated the pandemonium, walking behind the wiggly line of Ms. Alcorn's students, a boy named Gus turned to me and, as if he'd suddenly stumbled upon a treasure chest full of gold bricks, exclaimed "BUTTS ARE EVERYWHERE!"

In that moment, he became one of my favorite students ever.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


In my twenties, I landed in some difficult existential situations that caused me to 1) drink a lot 2) have a lot of boyfriends 3) get sick a lot 4) drink a lot. At a certain point, I stopped bathing regularly and I could barely get out of bed during the day. Finally, my then-boyfriend, a truly wonderful man, carried me to our car and drove me directly to a therapist's office, an event which marked the beginning of my talk-therapy years with a kind woman whose last name, Fine, reassured me psychically that some day I would be just that: Fine.

During our sessions together, she'd put me into a trance state, and I would "travel" back in time to a period where I was experiencing an anxiety similar to the one I was feeling in the current timeframe. One day when the anxiety I carried into her office was crushing my chest, I found myself, during the trance, standing before a door in a dark hallway. Behind the door, this greenish light radiated so brightly that it threatened to break down the door. The door was in the middle of my chest, and when I came out of the trance and explained the image, the door became a drawer, a drawer in my chest filled with dangerous light.

The light petrified me. I was sure that it was radioactive, emitting some type of psychological poison through my veins. I was sure it was symbolic of a deep dark secret I was keeping from myself because the truth was too horrible to bear consciously.

I saw Ms. Fine intermittently over several years. Towards the end of our work together, she was beginning her practice as a Mindfulness teacher. I took the first eight-week workshop she offered. Two students signed up; one dropped out, leaving just Ms. Fine and me.

We started each 2 1/2 hour session with a body scan, where we lay on the floor in corpse pose, mentally scanning our bodies inch by inch for places where we were holding stress. When we'd find a place, we would bring our awareness to it and then let the stress go. After the body scan, we discussed our findings with one another. Next we did some gentle yoga. Again, we discussed the resistances, the limitations the yoga showed we were carrying. Then came the hard part: 20 to 45 minutes of sitting meditation, sometimes called zazen. We'd close with a reading from a spiritual tradition -- Zen, Native American, Hindu, Christianity, etc. No matter what anxiety I carried into her office, I always left feeling lighter and freer and seriously better. During the week, I tried to rise in the early morning to do yoga and sit for a while before getting ready for work.

In the last session I had with Ms. Fine, I experienced a physical revelation during the body scan. I found myself back at the door with the light behind it. At least two years had passed since I'd been there. I decided it was time for me to face this tragic light; I was strong enough. As I pulled the door open, the light became viscous, like lava, and it rushed through my heart into my body, not burning me, rather lighting me on fire, a divine fire. I felt like I was having the best sex of my life; the feeling was so intense. I let the fire roll in me and around me. It went on and on and on.

Finally, I came back to the room with Ms. Fine. I opened my eyes and sat up.

"What happened?" she said, aware that I was drastically changed by something that had taken place.

I told her about the experience, bawling tears of gratitude and humility. How could I have been so fooled? I wondered. Why did it take me so long to realize that the light in me was not going to kill me, that the light in me would let me live more richly than I had ever imagined?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

First Date, June 30, 2000

We went to the Glassell School and watched Belle du Jour. Then we went to his apartment and had a picnic on the hardwood floor. We talked until 3 a.m.; then we kissed; then he drove me home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

House and Home

David and I are searching for a house to buy. Our budget requires us to be "creative" or "pioneers." With our budget, people say we need to have "vision," to be able to see not only the possibilities inherent in any given property, but also the future; i.e., trends regarding how certain areas are going to develop, or not develop. I have this type of vision, and I have intuition, and armed with these two things, I still have not found a house that turns me on. What I do NOT have is a realtor, and common wisdom tells me that this is what I really need. However, I cannot break away from house crack long enough to find a realtor.

One of the issues that divides David and me in our search for our future home is wood paneling. I am generally for it, if it's in good condition; David is generally against it. I don't mind it if it looks like this:

But David would rather it not be there at all.

I grew up with wood paneling -- pecky cedar paneling -- in our ranch house. It smelled great, but was full of these big naturally occurring holes that lizards liked to crawl in and out of while my siblings and I were sitting on the couch watching after-school cartoons. The lizards were huge, practically dragon-sized compared to the little lizards that I see in Houston. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen ANY lizard in Houston that is larger than all the lizards that crawled in and out of our family room walls.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Music Lessons

When I turned seven, my mom asked me if I wanted to play an instrument. I said, "Cello." She said, "Hell, no." Too expensive. She said, "Guitar looks kinda like a cello, right? How about the guitar?" I shrugged my shoulders into saying yes.

My first teacher, my only teacher, was mom's friend Janet Boucher. Her house was hidden up in the hills, and she kept chickens, goats, and a horse on her property. She had long black hair, wore caftans, baked her own bread and drove a VW van. The first song I ever learned was "Stewball," a song about a racehorse by Peter, Paul and Mary. The second one I learned was "Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. The third song I learned was "Folsom Prison Blues," by Johnny Cash. The forth song I learned was "Blowin' in the Wind," by Bob Dylan. I mustered up the courage and told Janet I wanted to learn something by John Denver, my teen heart-throb at the time. The next week she taught me "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

From then on it was John Denver every week for a long, long time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Crack is Whack; Life is Fresh

I remember visiting New York City in 1983 with my mom, my sister and my cousin Sue. We took a taxi to the Bronx to visit my mom's alma mater, Mount Saint Vincent College. On the ride up there, I stared out the window, feeling a little frightened but mostly energized by the city. As the neighborhood grew grimmer, I spied this massive instance of graffiti sprayed on the side of a red brick building: a large orange background with the slogan "Crack is Whack; Life is Fresh" painted in black. I wondered silently what it meant.

That evening while my mom and her college roommate drank wine and gabbed in the dining nook of her Upper East Side efficiency apartment, I watched the news. A newscaster was reporting about the "war on drugs." Suddenly, a picture of the same graffiti flashed on the screen. "I saw that today!" I said to Alicia and Sue.

"What does it mean?" Sue asked.

"I don't know," I said. It was the first time I'd ever heard of crack.

I thought of this today while listening to Dean Becker's "Century of Lies" on KPFT, Houston's Pacifica Radio station. He had Matthew Robinson on the show, Robinson is the author of "Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy," by Matthew Robinson and Renee Scherlen (2007, State University of New York Press). I probably won't read that book, but I'm glad they took the time and energy to write it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Clara Belle

Today she read the word AM. She pointed to the word and sounded it out. AM-azing.

I remember the day she was born. I always will remember it as if it happened yesterday. I do in fact feel the rush of Time's winged chariot. It's so close, The End, when The Beginning is always, also, so near.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On the hills that rose across the valley from my house, a giant C was emblazoned on the hillside. Most of the time, the c was set off by brown grasses, but sometimes, in the springtime, it gleamed from a sea of green grass dotted with herds of grazing sheep. The C stood for Capistrano, and it had been put there by some high school kids from Capistrano Valley High School in the 1960s. Until my father told me the story of how it got there, I thought it stood for Christa.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prince Charming

David is up for a community service award sponsored by the Houston Grand Opera in conjunction with their Cinderella Ball gala extravaganza on March 31. Clearly a marketing scheme for the Opera to try and lure young people into their aging audience, they have created a text-message-based voting campaign, a la American Idol, in their attempt to appeal to a younger generation. I myself have never seen American Idol -- honest -- but I did finally figure out how to text message from my Razor phone so that I could vote for my husband. The winner will be named "Prince Charming" at the Cinderella Ball's "Ever After" Party.

Gag me with a glass slipper.

HOWEVER! I am totally in support of David being recognized for his tireless and dynamic community service, and so I'm urging you to vote for him by texting the phrase "everafterhim" into your cell phone and sending it to 66937. When you get the ballot in your message box, please check "A" for David Brown.

You can look David's profile as well as the other candidates by going here. Please note that David is the only candidate who included his wife in his "dream dinner guests" list.

In my book, he has already earned the title of Prince Charming.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Today, a lone protester staked out a spot in front of the Post Office on Richmond with handmade signs bearing the slogan "War On Stupidity." As in "we're warring against stupidity;" as in "rage on, Stupidity." Of course, G.W. Bush's face graced the signs, too.

This year when it came time to Bush's State of the Union Speech, I forced myself to watch it. The only way I could stand to do so -- normally the sound of his voice affects me like a cockroach crawling into my ear -- was to pretend I was a Republican. I enjoy pretending, so I kind of got excited to listen to the speech, pretending that Bush was my hero.

As I listened with this perspective, I found myself liking him a little bit, not liking him enough to really like him, but liking him enough to feel compassion for him. He has a hard job. I'm sure his stupidity doesn't make it any easier for him to do that job. Or maybe it does.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

California Dreaming

Passing Time

In my home town, the mission bells were rung every hour on the hour. For many years, a man named Paul Arce rang them. He'd begin pulling the bell ropes to the tune of "Oh Maria, Madre Mia," a Mexican hymn to the Virgin Mother. Then he gonged a bell for however many hours we were marking at that time, one, two, three, four, etc. On the half hour, say at 4:30, he'd clap a bell once. The passing of my entire childhood was marked by the ringing of these bells.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Whale Watching, 1980

Humpbacks fanned sea water from their flukes. Vanessa puked because she left her dose of Dramamine on shore. Along the barges’ edge, we watched some dolphins skimming in the wake, undulating muscularly. We learned that whales leave behind their footprints, slick wet coins upon the water’s surface.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I'm finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You'll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I'll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.

-- Bob Dylan, "Idiot Wind"

Two people meet, become friends, confidants, soulmates, whathaveyou. Each carries in her front pocket a kaleidoscope of experiences, which she fingers as she speaks and listens. Soon she takes it out and sets it on the kitchen table between them. "Look," she says. "Look at how it looks through mine." This is called, "Getting to Know You."

After a time, a million little somethings happen that trip the circuits inside one of them, and the other does and doesn't understand what happened to the wiring, but the current feels rawer, knob and tuber, shock it to her. Their separate worlds stop gliding side by side and collide.

But once upon a lifetime, they hung and spun the world through one another's eyes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

These Little Piggies

When I was a child, my feet garnered a lot of attention, specifically my toes. Long, thin, situated relatively far from one another, they have big "heads" and look like aliens growing out of my feet. My toe nails curve over the head, like helmets, intensifying their alien-in-a-spacesuit appearance. To top it off, the nail on my pinky toe is almost non-existent. And I developed a habit at a young age of picking it, so that what was left, was mangled beyond recognition.

Throughout my life, people have stared and laughed out loud at my feet. I was thinking about this today, about how my cousins used to make so much fun of me while camping at the beach during the summer, how they pointed and laughed and whispered to one another while pointing and laughing. As I remembered, I thought to myself, "Well, it's a good thing that they're far away from my face, out of sight most of the time! Covered by shoes!"

I think my children might be spared my toe-genes. I've already examined their feet, and they look pretty perfect to me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hallucinatory Heat

I'm so nervous about the approach of summer. Nervous is too light a word; in truth, I'm terrified. This coming summer I will have not one but two children to shepherd through the ENDLESS days of Houston's summer while trying to mitigate the stifling heat, humidity, the ravenous mosquitoes. What in the world are we going to do?

I remember in the old days (around 1993), I would deal with the Houston summer by pretending that I lived in Vietnam. I'd do this in a couple of ways: first, by lying in bed all afternoon in my green silk slip, smoking cigarettes, perspiring and staring languorously at the circling ceiling fan. I imagined I was a character in a Marguerite Duras novel. Or something. The metallic drone of cicadas created the monotonous soundtrack to my performance for myself. Outside, bamboo, birds of paradise and elephant ears grew a screen against my window, like a Henri Rousseau painting.

When I went outside (no longer in a slip, but protected by loose-fitting cotton or linen clothing), I'd let my eyes blur so as not to see the American cars and business signs; I could scramble any English I heard into something that sounded in my head like nonsense. By tricking myself into thinking I was living in an exotic foreign country, I could appreciate the heat, actually embrace it. When I remembered that the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes composed my real life, I crumpled under the oppression of reality.

When that happened, my imagination moved me to Paris.

*I found Rousseau's painting "Exotic Landscape" on images/rousseau1.jpg

Sunday, March 11, 2007

From One Cake to Another

When I was 7, my brother Marco, then 5, acted so out of control sometimes that my mom figured something must be "wrong" with him. Finally, she took him to see an allergist in Laguna Beach, a doctor who did a skin prick test on him and delivered the news that Marco was allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, corn, citrus; and, furthermore, he had a sugar intolerance. I remembering hearing this report from my mother and having my jaw drop. I remember the drop of my jaw. I remember asking, "what is he gonna eat?!!" In answer to my question, my mother pulled a bag of rice cakes from a shopping bag.

First of all, they looked nothing like cake.

Second of all, they tasted nothing like cake.

I recently discovered that I am allergic to some of these things, too; only it took me over 30 years to figure this out. And, also, as I'm figuring out, it is difficult to think of things to eat when staples like wheat, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar (hello, CAKE!), are no longer available.

Ah, rice cakes. Welcome back.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Memento Mori

--from a mosaic in Pompeii

Friday, March 09, 2007


My brothers and I used to play in the white oak that grew in the corner of our front yard. Perched in its branches, we sailed the world. The white oak had everything we needed for our journey: a galley, a hold, a deck, sailor's quarters, a sturdy "crow's nest" in the uppermost branches. It had a plank, too -- a branch where mutinous villians had to hang upside down by the crooks of their knees.

Almost everyday during my childhood, I climbed a tree: oak, walnut, pine, sycamore, mangrove. Most of our forts were made within the confines of a tree's branches. There was a huge red pepper tree down the street, whose branches fell like a weeping willow's all the way to the ground, leaving a hollowed out area in the center around the trunk. We set up house underneath that tree, and many of the toys we brought there remained there for years.

I had no idea then that these trees were growing into me, that I was growing into them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Things I Have Done that I've Been Paid to Do

State Park Aid
Host Helper
Writing Instructor
Copy Editor
Program Developer
Teaching Assistant
Research Assistant
Writer in Residence
English Teacher
Private Tutor
Corporate Recruiter

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Without End, a Celebration

Tonight there was a celebration honoring the poet Adam Zagajewski and his 19 years as a visiting professor at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He was my teacher there, so I went to the celebration at the Menil Collection.

As the evening of homages by Ed Hirsch, Jennifer Grotz and Sara Rothenberg progressed, I did not expect the flood of emotions I found myself swimming in; I could barely contain my feelings of sadness. I wasn't sad that Adam is leaving -- I haven't talked to him in years. Rather, my sadness grew out of the landscape that developed inside me, indicating the gulf between my life now and my life then, back when I was a young poet.

I was once a young poet. As a young poet, I was filled with so much feeling it nearly destroyed me. Ardor: I brimmed with it.

Tonight, I found myself drowning in memories that reduced me to near-pure ache. I missed my old self, as self-destructive and awful as that self might have been. As I listened to Sara Rothenberg play Chopin's Ballade #4 for Adam, tears poured down my cheeks. Moments I'd forgotten from so many years and so many years ago swelled up in my imagination. I missed my old arduous self, as passionate and sincere as that self might have been.

At the end of the night, an old friend named Pam Diamond introduced me to a young man named Jericho. "He's a young poet," she said.

"I used to be a young poet," I said.

"What are you now? A young fiction writer?"

"No," I said. "Now I'm a middle aged blogger." I laughed at myself, by myself.

Driving home, I thought about how poetry used to be everything to me, and about how teachers like Adam and Ed stoked the fire that burned in my soul. And for a few minutes as I drove home on West Alabama, after deciding not to go to the "reception" at Lillie Robertson's house, I weighed the life I had then with the life I have now. There is no comparison. They are two different lives, but I am the same soul.

And it dawns on me now that this is what our experience here on this earth, in these bodies, is: many, many different lives experienced by the same soul, who is changed by each life, but who remains, also, the same.

Monday, March 05, 2007


My doctor pulled a one-inch splinter out of the back of my thigh today. I got it from a bench at the Japanese garden in Hermann Park when I slid right on a bench to make room for Clara. Dr. Knafo prescribed antibiotics in case of a staph infection, but I haven't taken them yet because I'm thinking that maybe my body will heal itself alright. Because I'm nursing, I would have to take clindimycin, 4 pills a day for 10 days. That's a lot of antibiotic-taking. My other doctor friend tells me that I might not have to take them; the body does a good job of healing itself. The foreign object is out; the wound was cleaned. Who knows.

I swear some days I feel like I'm literally falling apart.

I remember a time before this...this...what is it? Middle age? a time before middle age when the thought of my body falling apart dwelled in another universe. I trashed my body by drinking and smoking, and I thought nothing of it. I remember hearing people say, "the body is a temple," and I was like "what? whatever!" Now I think about the fact that my body is a temple, a temple for my life.

If I trash it, then where will I live?


Tonight I want the ocean, its thick breath lapping
up against my body. I want the muscles of the waves
carrying me down into whole prairies of kelp and coral.
If for some reason the sea should be sleeping,
I want to wake it with my bones clamoring
in the cold, my hair stroking its sides,
my sighs escaping through its beaded skin.

I sought the desert because it opened like an evening
oyster revealing sticky amber pearls. It's true:
it was as sort of sea swept by sand.

I ravished mountains: their damp labyrinths
of oaks and firs. Moss roses unravelled in my hair,
charred pinon chaffed my cheeks. It was ugly; so I left.

I tried men, smoke, drink, and drives,
women, work, dresses and dreams
but I couldn't escape the feverish fix
of the sea's tongue upon the shore,
the abrupt shudder of a wave slapping sand.

I want open-palmed skies. Generous horizons,
lagoons of gulls. Not fixed lights against this
neon dusk, but beacons swellling in siren's songs.

So I call the moans of lighthouses.
I call the flame of Western suns.
I call drift wood rot, oil rig slicks,
quarantined beaches thick with sludge
and the deepest burns my body can stand.

Even if no more but this --
if it is given, it will be mine,
and I will call it mine.


Saturday, March 03, 2007


Sometimes, people ask me what religion I am. My students sometimes wanted to know -- what do I believe in? as in God. For many years, my answer has been the same: "I believe everything is everything." You know, like in Sly and The Family Stones' "Let Me Have It All."

I remember one of my high school students raising his hand. When I called on him, he said, "I believe that, too." I bet he did believe it, too.


I'm sitting here tonight, listening to music by Tony Barilla. I found it right next to Al Green's "I'm Still In Love With You," album, which I was putting back during my search for "Fresh," as I was wanting to listen to "Let Me Have It All." While I put the music up, I thought to myself, "Intuition, you choose." So I looked and there next to Al Green was a compilation of music from shows by Infernal Bridegroom Productions, much of the music written by Tony, who's leaving with Emily for Kosovo tomorrow.

Kosovo seems so far, so foreign. I'm sure Tony will thrive there. Emily says they'll be there for a couple more years, maybe. Emily is a human rights activist/lawyer. In her early 20s, she started a non-profit organization in Houston to help Bosnian refugees navigate the maze of issues they would face when they arrived in the U.S. after the war. Now she lives in Kosovo and spends her days navigating back and forth across a bridge, to help negotiate a peace between the Albanians on the South side of the river and the Serbians on the North side. You can read all about where Tony and Emily are going here: stuck inside of heathrow on the IBP Forum.

I just heard the Opening of the opening of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros. It took me back to that show, one of the first we did after Jason Nodler left, one of Tony's first as Artistic Director. I remember those damn Rhino heads breaking my arms at the end of that play. I worked the head behind Cathy Power. I felt like we were stashed in the hold of a slave ship, rowing our ship through the ocean in darkness. The effect of all those Rhino heads crowding into the room as Daisy and Berenger fall apart -- no words. Fantastic.

When Jason Nodler left, I was sad, too. Very sad. Sadder than I knew what to do with. I can't even talk about when he left, I was that sad. When friends leave, it breaks your heart a lot most times. If they're good friends, favorite friends.

Friday, March 02, 2007


I'm in a rambling mood. Maybe it's the full moon.

I remember the time Gail Wronsky, my poetry teacher in college, told me how much she liked a rhyme I made in some poem. The rhyme was moon and eyes. Her comment confused me for a long time.

I remember having to take off my jeans one summer day while walking from Kroger down Montrose to 29 Pinedale. I was wearing this long poet's shirt from CP Shades to protect my skin from the sun, and I idiotically wore jeans. I had taken the bus to Kroger, but it was a Saturday, and the 34 wasn't running much. Waiting at the bus stop near Kroger in the heat and humidity was already killing me, so why not, I thought, just walk to the next stop?

Because it's 99 degrees and 97% humidity! That's why.

Anyone doubt global warming? Spend 17 summers in a row in Houston, TX and then tell me global warming isn't happening. If you do, you can join my idiot club, because truly what kind of brainiac walks down Montrose in the summer in jeans and a long sleeve shirt? THIS KIND. I have my reasons. What are yours?

Regardless of the heat and humidity, I kept walking to the next stop, and the bus never arrived, so finally there was no bus stop between me and my apartment, and I realized I had pretty much walked three miles or so home. This realization woke me up to the debilitating heat rash I was suffering from. I had just walked under 59, and of course not even the shade could help me. I took off my jeans, hoping that my poet's shirt looked like a minidress (it covered my butt, but barely.) It would have been no big deal, really because who cares, right? I walked down Montrose wearing only a shirt and my underwear. Other people have probably walked down it completely naked. The problem was that Jerry Finger's new highrise on Montrose (near the Masonic Temple) was being built, and the construction crew was working on the facade. What kind of clich├ęd coincidence is that?

So when I walked by, I had not a bunch of guys looking at me, but like two out of twenty noticing me, and those two didn't even catcall. If I hadn't been so embarrassed, I would have felt humiliated.

I just remembered that Emily (of Emily and Tony who are leaving Sunday for their new life together in Kosovo; I need to hook them up with my friend the foreign service agent, I mean officer, who's moving to Macedonia) lived at 29 Pinedale, too.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I have a few.

Recently, Heather Armstrong of Dooce fame celebrated the 6th anniversary of her website, the one she was fired for keeping. I've been reading her blog ever since she received a place in Time Magazine's 50 best blogs. She held the place of honor for best parenting blog. I think she's a great writer most of the time -- funny, poignant, intelligent, irreverent. I like her style bombastic. In her anniversary entry, she poses the age old question about what one would do differently if one could. While I have many regrets, namely ones that involve the loss of old friends, there isn't anything I would do differently. For this peace, I'm grateful.