Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean They Aren't Out to Get You.

Brian and I had very half-assed plans for Thanksgiving, which fell through as such plans are often wont to do. This is actually kind of awesome. Even though we basically spend every waking moment together, we'd both been secretly harboring the desire for some quiet holiday alone time (with each other that is), away from the bustle of friends and family. So we've planned for a perfect him-and-me day, a day of Lord of The Rings movies topped off by far too much food for two reasonable people and some snuggling. I picked out some recipes, and tommorrow we'll enjoy our quiet and romantic holiday of dork movies and comfort food. Perfect.

So anyway, today I headed out to do my Thanksgiving shopping, figuring, it's just the two of us, how hard could it be to find and buy the ingredients for our simple yet Thanksgiving-y meal?

Answer: absurdly. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a cornish game hen in this town, the day before Thanksgiving? Five stores and a trip across town, that's how hard.

But that isn't what I wanted to tell you about. The most interesting part of my shopping excursion happened at the very beginning: I was walking down our street (in the direction of Bi Rite, my first fruitless foray). It was raining, so there I was, yellow boots and rainbow umbrelly, when I looked up and noticed a small group of French tourists ahead.

The reason I noticed them was that one of them seemed to be taking a picture. The reason I noticed that was because my nose was itchy, and just as I looked up and saw the camera, I was sort of schnirrfing it against my mitten. There was no penetration, mind you, it was a perfectly acceptable outside-the-nose schnirrf, but still: not the pose you'd like to be sporting in some random (French, no less) stranger's holiday photo.

Anyway, we passed one another, and after we passed, I wondered what had been so scenic that they'd decided to take a photograph in the first place. I walk down this particular street everyday -- it is, in fact, my street -- but I'd never noticed it as being particularly aesthetically pleasing, other than in your basic no-place-like-home kinda way. So I turned, thinking maybe this is my opportunity to see the street anew, as others see it: a scenic, quintessentially San Francisco, view.

I turned. And, Reader? They were taking a photograph again. Back the way they'd just come. Of me.

So it got me wondering: am I famous in France? I have no illusions about the readership of this here blog. If Maggie Mason is "famous among dozens," then me, well I'm famous among multiples of zero. My readership consists of close relatives and former college roommates on a good day. But could some small cadre of Gallic blog enthusiasts count me as their hero? Does my writing translate better somehow, into French? Or did they just like my umbrella?

P.S. I have invented the best pizza ever: roasted fennel and shallots, with sage pesto and apples. I am a genius. Notify the French.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cameras Came Then to Replace Descriptive Paragraphs

I took a class this weekend with Lynda Barry called "Writing the Unthinkable". In it we did lots of five-minute exercises designed to dredge up memories and excavate images. I'm going to try to keep doing these, and post the results every day. Sometimes I might draw pictures, too. Sometimes I might post the same thing as the day or even a week ago before, but with new bits added in. I really have no idea.

Oh, and I stole that title from a poem by Martha Ronk.

I am with Mary in our bedroom. We're sitting on the carpet, playing with the dolls we got as a hand-me-down from Mrs. Marshall's granddaughter. I'm holding Custer, Mary's is and Indian. Their legs are bowed, like they're riding horses, but we've already killed the horses.

"They bleed and bleed, until just water comes out. That's how you know they're dead," Mary says. Mary's always explaining things like that. Shes' two years older and has already started school. I'm scared, the way I always seem to get scared. How much do you have to bleed before water comes out? Are the horses dead forever? I don't remember ever playing with them again.

I can't remember ever playing with the indian again, either, or even what his name was, or if he had one. I think his horse did. And for years, bow-legged Custer haunted the bedroom, hiding beneath the bed, standing on top of the white plastic shelves, propped up against the wall, crashing barbie parties with his blonde mustache and his painted-on army clothes.

The top bunk was heaven. We took the horses up there, and the indian, and Custer, too. Mary's patchwork blankie was the clouds. The sun shone on the treetops outside while Mary and me hummed taps and Mary told me how the indians buried their dead in treetops so their souls would be closer to heaven. Later that day, I wondered how you'd recognize your family in heaven, if everyone were ghosts with the same big black eyes painted on their long white blankets.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Shoes!

The weather's gotten colder, bringing my lack-of-comfy-shoes-that-aren't-sandals into stark relief. And then today, as Brian and I were waiting for our sammitches, I saw them in a store window: a pair of clown-yellow Doc Martens, just my size:

My choice of socks this morning was just a happy accident.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things I never knew about my (paternal) grandmother

1. She got her BA in nutrition because she loves science.
2. She prefers clean-shaven men.
3. She's the one that gave my great-uncle Buzzy (nee Oskar) his nickname.
4. Her dad favored her younger sister. "That took a while to get over."
5. She still wonders if she could have saved my grandfather's life.