Archive | July, 2011

Jul
15
2011
I Got No Patience and I Hate Waiting

Yesterday, when my dog wouldn’t come downstairs right away after I called him for his evening walk (what the hell, Chuck?), I realized the world is conspiring to make me ADD. My time management skills need work, and it is pretty easy for me to get sidetracked, I’ll admit it. But my distractibility is not all my fault. And I swear I wasn’t always like this.

I hate waiting. If I have access to anything even remotely interesting (let’s say for the sake of argument, the internet) while I wait, then I go off task.

While I waited for Chuck to get his fluffy ass downstairs yesterday, I got the idea for this post. I found some paper and a pen and started to jot down my thoughts before I forgot them. In the middle of this, Prince Charles Fluffbatten-Windsor finally decided it was time to walk. I made him wait. Apparently he doesn’t like to wait either, so he left the room. Vicious cycle perpetuated.

The ungodly slowness of my work PC has filled my soul with rage. It hates waking up in the morning even more than me. Each morning when I log on, it’s all “WHOA! You again? Back so soon? Hold up, you’re interrupting my REM sleep. I’m dreaming about crashing Outlook when you try to send an email it took you half an hour to craft.”

I hate wasting time, so waiting for my computer to respond to my commands for more than 30 seconds makes me mental. I’ve started angrily muttering to myself like a crazy person. This is charming, No really, take your time, I really don’t have time for this shit, I’d like to take you outside and beat you with a baseball bat, oh hi, Boss!

I start a task, my computer inevitably hangs, tempting me to do something else while I wait. Next thing I know, it’s an hour and a half later and my chai is cold, I have 12 browser tabs open, my iPad on my lap, and a finally-opened window on my PC I can’t remember the purpose of opening.

I wonder how much efficiency is lost due to whatever in the hell gremlin causes technology to screw with us. I guess I could make more effort to stay focused on the task at hand, but I just don’t believe anyone should have to focus on waiting.  Plus, they pay me too much to stare at the hourglass on my PC and seeth.

My home computer is starting to behave like this too (Macs, they just work!), only instead of an hourglass I get the spinning beach ball of death. I worked from home today and the beach ball spun in Firefox for 30 minutes when I tried to check my work email.

Maybe my computers are trying to tell me something about work?

Jul
11
2011
Why It is Important to Know Your Family Tree

When I answered our rotary phone, the voice on the other end of the line was unfamiliar. I didn’t want to tell him I was alone in the house.

But this guy was persistent. He peppered me with questions about my parents’ whereabouts, when I expected them back.

“Wait, who are you again?”

“I’m your cousin Joe.”

Yeah right, buddy.

My Mom was an only child. My Dad’s brother never married. I don’t have any cousins.

But Mom did. I quickly checked my mental list of Gram’s siblings and their children. And came up empty. Nope, no idea who this guy on the phone was. All I knew is he was creeping me out.

I can’t remember if I bothered to apologize first or if I just hung up. But I definitely hung up on “cousin” Joe. Then I checked the locks on all the doors and huddled up in a corner of the couch looking around in paranoia waiting for my parents to get home. At which time I told them the story about how a strange guy claiming to be cousin Joe called.

My Mom didn’t miss a beat, “Yeah, Joe…did he say why he was calling?”

Oh crap.

My grandfather died before I was born. I wasn’t very familiar with that side of Mom’s family. But there was most certainly a cousin Joe.

So Mom had to call her cousin Joe to explain that her daughter was a moron. She made me get on the phone to apologize. I muttered an apology, but Joe took care of most of the talking. He looked forward to meeting me…at his father’s funeral.

Shit, shit, shit.

He mentioned a spanking might be in order for hanging up on him. I would find out soon enough he was only kidding, but not knowing Joe at all (obviously), I worried about the possibility anyway. At best, I knew I would be teased mercilessly. I would be introduced to each and every long-lost family member as the girl who hung up on Joe. As I wrote in my diary, “UGH!!!!!!!!!!”

As if this funeral would not be special enough, my Dad was nowhere to be found that morning. As much as we wished he had just skipped town, we all knew that wasn’t likely. We sat on the couch all dressed up and ready to go and worried he would make us late. Until he finally used his one phone call to let us know he was indisposed. “Say hi to Mom, from JAIL.”

We went to the funeral without Dad. Cousin Joe did not spank me. He did tell the story of my hanging up on him to anyone who would listen. I did shrink in horror, which of course triggered the obligatory game of “let’s tease the shy preteen girl for being shy” that well-meaning but overbearing family members inexplicably like to play.

But the day wasn’t about me and soon the teasing was over. Now I mostly remember this day as a glorious break from Dad. “Minus one,” Mom, my brother, and I felt a little lighter. We might have looked just a bit too happy to be at a funeral.

This post is in response to this week’s memoir prompt at the Red Dress Club.

Take us back to an embarrassing moment in your life.

Did someone embarrass you, your parents perhaps? Or did you bring it upon yourself?

Are you still embarrassed or can you laugh at it now?

Jul
10
2011
Playlist Weeks 24-26: A Flannel For My Face

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard. I only have 109 of 2,724 songs left, so I think this should be the last week of the iPod shuffle challenge.

Here is the playlist summary:

* Songs listened to in weeks 24-26:  327

* Completed:  96%

* Number of double shots:  10 (Genesis * 4, The Police * 3, The Beatles, The Innocence Mission, Interpol)

* Number of triple shots:  1 (Genesis)

* Number of quadruple shots: 2 (The Ocean Blue, Genesis)

HIGHLIGHTS:

* The Producers “What’s He Got?” A song from my youth in the 80s, so infectiously catchy I never forgot it even though I never hear it anymore. Every once in a while, it would pop into my head and I had no way to satisfy my desire to hear it. Amazon Marketplace to the rescue, compilation CD purchased for one song. “Hey!”

* The Cars “All Mixed Up” My older brother loved the Cars, and I kind of had a crush on Benjamin Orr. I missed the Cars when they played here a couple of months ago. I was bummed to miss out, but it wasn’t really the Cars without Ben Orr. I know Ric Ocasek wrote all the music, creative genius, blah, blah, blah. But all of my favorite Cars songs were sung by Ben Orr. Lovely voice. I’m glad Ric Ocasek wrote this, but I’m even more glad Ben Orr was there to sing it.

* Bonus: Before I moved to D.C., my favorite radio station in Rochester played a song by the Red House Painters that haunted me. I knew I was already familiar with it, but I couldn’t put my finger on who did the original until it was almost over. All of the sudden, “the Cars” hit me and then I realized just how brilliant this cover is. I should have highlighted it when it came up on the shuffle in week 11, but my long discussion of “Mama Said Knock You Out” that week (which I’ve just noticed is now supported by a You Tube video that’s been removed, but I’m not bitter) precluded it.

* Squeeze “Tempted” The title of this post comes from this song. I love Squeeze, although since this was the first of their songs I ever heard, I think they engaged in some false advertising, since Paul Carrack doesn’t sing on any other Squeeze songs (to my knowledge anyway). Paul Carrack’s distinctive voice kicks serious ass, so when I heard other Squeeze songs, I remembering thinking what the hell? As much as I love Squeeze and the songs Glenn Tilbrook sings, “Tempted” will always be my favorite Squeeze song. In preparing this post, I uncovered a Sting cover of Tempted, which blew me away, and I’m not sure in a good way. I’m mostly just baffled I didn’t know about Sting’s version before and even more impressed by Paul Carrack’s vocals.

* The Police “O My God” I adore the Police. I went to Catholic school, and after Synchronicity came out, my school brought in a local Christian rock band to entertain us one day. At least I assume they were local, because they sucked. They were really pissed about this song. They provided some tsk-tsking to the Police, and I wondered if they’d ever really listened to the song, or were perhaps just really dense. Sting sings over and over about God, “take the space between us and fill it up some way.” I can’t pretend to know exactly what Sting meant, but blasphemy doesn’t sit high on my list of explanations. Imagine my horror as I sat in my school’s gymnasium and had no choice but to listen to this awful band butcher a great song by 1.) attempting to perform the music and 2.) reworking the lyrics. I wish I could remember their name, so I could see if there is any internet evidence of their useless existence.

* The Grand Candy “Made a Devil” This is one of Dave’s very talented guitar teacher‘s songs. This video was from the Grand Candy set preceding Dave’s “jam class” show in December.

* Slow Runner “Rainy Face” I only know about Slow Runner because the Grand Candy played a show with them last summer (although by now I would have heard this song in a KIA car commercial). I don’t like seeing bands I don’t know, so I checked them out first. While most of the songs I previewed didn’t do it for me, their bio melted my cold, dark heart. So charming. If you ever need to know how to write a good bio, check out their website. Their show was pretty charming too–just two guys sitting on the stage. The instruments involved a little old Casio keyboard that looked like a toy. They have a song called “She Wants to Wrap Her Legs Around the World.” The audience, including me, could not help but snicker, but they really seemed earnest about the song. Strange. Here is my favorite Slow Runner song.

* Lords of Acid “Rough Sex” This song cracks my shit up. I don’t know if that’s what they’re going for or not, but if they were going for sexy, it doesn’t work for me. This is a key example of my theory of Euro bands, which is simple. The men in those bands should not sing (Lords of Acid, Hooverphonic, Komeda, I’m talking to you).

* Interpol “Success” This is the first song on Interpol’s latest album and it spoke to me immediately. There seems to be some disagreement about the lyrics, but I love the lyrics at least as I understand them. “I have succeeded, I won’t compete for long…I’ve got two secrets, but I only told you one…” And my favorite part:

Somebody make me say no, no

Somebody make me say no, no

Somebody make me say no, no

Somebody make me say no, no, no

Yes

* Coldcut “Colours the Soul” When I first got Sirius, I systematically listened to each channel in genres that appealed to me for ten songs to see which ones I liked (have I mentioned I’m anal?). On the Chill channel, I heard this and it definitely helped me to chill. I should listen to this and to Sirius Chill more often, since I clearly need to chill (even God said so).

Jul
9
2011
Mississippi Mud Bars

Years ago, I got some sample Mr. Food ooh-so-easy Recipe Collection cards in the mail. The free cards were supposed to entice me to purchase the rest, but I simply kept the one for Rocky Road Fudge Brownies. I remember liking them a lot and they were quite easy to make since the recipe used boxed brownie mix and mini marshmallows.

I’m snobbier about my recipes these days. I recently got a great new baking cookbook called A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. The Candy Bar Shortbread recipe (topped with Toblerone) was worth the price of the book by itself. But when I flipped through the book and saw the photo of Mississippi Mud Bars, I became obsessed. The picture looked sinful and I was dying to try them. They were like Mr. Food’s recipe only completely from scratch, so they had to be better, right? Plus, the description asserted “this is a definitive, perfected version.” Alrighty then!

But I never seemed to have an appropriate occasion for making them. Dave and I need to eat a whole pan of these things like we need a hole in the head. Over July 4th weekend, we were invited to an all-American themed potluck and cookout. Yee-ha! Mississippi is American!

MY NOTES ABOUT THE RECIPE (also noted below with *)

These were pretty easy to make. There is some chilling involved before you can frost them, so you need to schedule for that. I also had to buy a new pan (11- x 7-inch), a size I haven’t needed before this recipe and don’t see needing again. The pan looked so wee, but it produced plenty of bars. Goldman, for reasons I don’t fully understand, likes to blend batters and icings in a food processor. Apparently she is not aware of how annoying my food processor is to clean. I used my mixer.

The most difficult part was getting the bars out of the pan since I didn’t want to cut them in the pan. I was able to get it out onto a cutting board in one piece using a big spatula after loosening all sides with a plastic knife (didn’t want to scratch my brand new pan). If I ever make these again, I’ll line the pan with a foil sling to make removing the uncut bars easier. I made Dave cut them since getting 32 bars out of an 11 x 7 sized slab of marshmallow-spackled and frosted brownie was a messy game of Tetris I didn’t want to play.

Dave and I each tried one still cold from the fridge and they were so sweet I felt stoned. I have a very serious sweet tooth, and these things were approaching too sweet even for me. The comments I got at the potluck seemed to signal the same thing–over the top rather “ooh, it’s so good” (to steal Mr. Food’s phrase). They tasted considerably better to me once they came to room temperature. So even though they are very messy, I strongly suggest NOT serving them cold.

RECIPE

Bars

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, measured and then sifted (*I refused to sift a third of a cup of cocoa, I mean…seriously)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional (*I used and would strongly recommend otherwise there will be nothing blocking the sugar rush from killing you)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (*I used my new standby, Hershey’s semisweet)

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, optional (*didn’t use)

1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme

Icing

3 cups powdered sugar (*I ended up blending in close to 3/4 cups more because it just didn’t seem to be getting sufficiently stiff (heh-heh))

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder, measured and then sifted (*sift if you want, see if I care)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

Steps

Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray an 11- x 7-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and place it on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet (*the author has her reasons for this which I don’t think are necessary, but I did it anyway because I worried the batter might spill over–it didn’t).

Blend sugar and butter until pasty. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. Fold in flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend well. Fold in nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut (*ick!) and blend briefly. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake until set and firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes (*I baked close to 30 minutes and wish I’d done a little less). Spread marshmallow creme on hot cake and refrigerate, uncovered, 3 or more hours.

For icing, blend all ingredients until stiff and glossy. Using a metal spatula, spread icing on chilled uncut bars. Chill to set icing. Cut into bars (*good luck with that!).

Jul
7
2011
She Was The One

The Saturday morning beach traffic they’d so carefully avoided by driving down on Friday trapped Emily as she drove back from the grocery store. She had promised the kids frozen waffles  but then forgot them at the store. Going back for the waffles took considerably longer than she wanted it to, but she sighed and tried to stay in vacation mode.

The beach house was still quiet when she got back. If the kids wanted to sleep in, she wasn’t going to stop them. It would give her a chance to be alone with Todd.

But she couldn’t find him anywhere inside. Emily walked out to the patio overlooking the beach and saw Todd sitting on top of the picnic table. He sat with his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands just watching the ocean. Her mood lifted at the sight of him. The swish of the waves coming in masked the noise of her return and unnoticed, she felt compelled to watch him.

Emily’s eyes followed Todd’s gaze as he watched a woman running on the beach. She smiled and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t unusual for Todd’s head to get turned by a beautiful woman.  Emily wasn’t the jealous type. Todd had opportunities to be with other women, they’d even had a brief period while dating when their relationship was open. But he chose her.

Still, after fifteen years of marriage and two children, Emily kept a mental list of desired self improvements. Maybe someday she’d even have time to work on some of them. The kids kept Emily plenty busy. While Emily was fulfilled by caring for the family they’d created, she understood why Todd might sometimes enjoy a little eye candy. Emily was “Mom” now. Hell, most of the time Todd referred to her as “Mom” too.

She was about to make her presence known to Todd, when she noticed him sit up as the runner on the beach got closer. Emily studied her and couldn’t see anything particularly striking about her, nothing that would grab Todd’s attention. She wasn’t in any physical distress. In fact, Emily thought, they looked sort of similar. They had the same hair color, some of the same features. The runner was obviously more fit, maybe a touch younger. She just looked fresher somehow. Emily doubted this woman’s significant other called her “Mom.” The thought made Emily’s hand involuntarily try to smooth the flyaway hair she forgot to comb before shopping.

Emily’s next breath caught in her throat when she heard Todd call out,

“Kelly?”

The sound of Todd’s voice startled both Emily and she who might be Kelly.

It took Kelly, for certainly this was Kelly, a second to register Todd before the slightest smile of recognition passed across her face and she said, “Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me.”

“No, it’s Todd,” he said in his signature smart ass way, which would have made Emily laugh, but simply made Kelly tease, “I know who you are, dumbass.”

The bantering continued and Emily really wanted to hear what they were saying. She strained to hear them, but nothing could drown out the thought overwhelming her.

That’s her. She was the one.

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Red Writing Hood is a writing meme from the Red Dress Club. This week’s writing prompt was: “The most frequent advice I come across for amateur writers is, “Write what you know.” “What you know” doesn’t necessarily always mean “your comfort zone.” For this week, take what you know out of your comfort zone. Try a new genre, a new time period, a geography you’ve only dreamed of, fantasy or historical instead of contemporary fiction, try the male POV if you usually write women. Or vice versa. Switch it up. See where it takes you.” Word count limit= 600.

This post is a work of fiction and it was the most difficult post I’ve written to this point. I’m always so impressed at TDRC writers’ fiction posts, but I have steadfastly avoided fiction and clung to memoir. So when I saw this week’s prompt to do something different, I took it as a personal challenge. Out of my comfort zone, indeed!

Constructive criticism is welcome, but I implore you to break it to me gently as I am a delicate flower and fiction virgin.

Jul
5
2011
Way Past My Bedtime

I have written about my sleep issues before, but I haven’t fully explained I have always been a night owl.

This has never been a convenient trait, and it drove my parents crazy. They would put me to bed and we all knew this was a silly game we were playing, that I was not going to sleep.

Whatever I did, I couldn’t make much noise and I couldn’t use much light or they would notice and yell at me to go to sleep. I would usually read with a flashlight or strain to see the words by the light from the hallway. When I heard my parents coming upstairs for bed after local news and Carson’s monologue, I’d quickly close the book and pretend to be asleep.

Then at 12:30am, I would quietly switch on my tiny 5 inch black and white TV and tune in Late Night with David Letterman. All I had to eliminate the sound was a cheap plastic earphone, yes, earphone in the singular. As often as I could get away with, I would huddle up in my bed and watch Letterman, which I could only hear through one ear, and try to stifle my laughter. I was nine. I was so sleep deprived at school, it’s a miracle I passed fourth grade. Luckily for my academic career, we got a VCR when I was in fifth grade.

I loved Dave’s quirky and irreverent sense of humor. He did silly things. He made fun of his employers mercilessly. He didn’t pander to his famous guests. He would often run a joke into the ground, yet somehow it would continue to be funny in spite of, or perhaps because of, the repetition.

When I started high school, I guessed my homeroom teacher was a Letterman fan before we ever talked about it. The first day, he had us go around the room and introduce ourselves and say something we enjoyed doing. I can’t remember what I said, but so many of the other girls said they liked to ski it started to become almost creepy. He started joking about this and would not let it go. At one point, he broke in and called out for a show of hands: “OK, who skies?” Some of the others groaned, but I just laughed. He was funny, like Dave.

I still have some of my favorite episodes of Late Night on tape in my basement. There was the crazy suit series, like when Dave dressed up in a suit of magnets and attached himself to a giant (GE!) refrigerator, the episode where Dave got Sonny and Cher to sing “I Got You Babe,” and my personal favorite segment ever, when Dave tried to take a fruit basket to General Electric as a gesture of goodwill after they bought NBC and basically got told to talk to the hand.

This very blog owes its title to David Letterman. Dave would try to start new catch phrases (“I can’t stand the itching, but I don’t mind the swelling.”), and he introduced me to the word logy.  Logy refers to feeling sluggish and Dave would often say he felt a little logy. Perhaps because watching his show made me so sleep deprived, the concept of logyness resonated with me. It became one of my signature words.

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This post is in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club. This week, the prompt was “to think about a TV show from your past. What feelings does the show evoke? What memories does it trigger?”

Jul
5
2011
Playlist Weeks 21-23: My Whole Life Has Been A Constant Ailment, You Can Provide A Simple Remedy

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I am supposed to write about what I heard each week. I’m five weeks behind. I started getting sick the day before my day trip to NYC, and I went anyway because I really didn’t want to miss my opportunity to see The Book of Mormon. I’m glad I went, the show was really good, but the 18-hour day really knocked me out. The virus took hold and wouldn’t let go for a week. So there wasn’t any progress on the shuffle challenge at all during week 22 because I didn’t go to work.

Five weeks worth of songs is too unwieldy, so I’m just going to cover the first three of these weeks, and catch up on weeks 24-26 next week. Then I should be back on schedule, and almost done (at 92% as of today)!

Here is the playlist summary:

* Songs listened to in weeks 21, 22, and 23:  200

* Completed:  84%

* Number of double shots:  6 (The Innocence Mission, The Police * 3, Stereolab, Simon & Garfunkel)

* Number of triple shots:  0

Now is the time in the iPod shuffle challenge when I think “Didn’t I hear that already?” a lot. These weeks were also annoying because my beloved/hated noise-cancelling headphones finally died (again). I spent over $50 to have them repaired/replaced by Sennheiser for the second time in a few years. Since that process takes weeks, I had to use the ear buds for awhile. I am NOT an ear bud person.

Just going to highlight a few songs this time:

* The title of this post comes from Kevin Gilbert’s “When You Give Your Love To Me.” I’ve mentioned him before. I first heard of him in Toy Matinee and then lost track of him. I was saddened to learn he died way too young. I managed to find a copy of his CD Thud (released about a year before his death) in a used record store a few years ago and I’m ashamed to say that “When You Give Your Love To Me” was the only song that really stood out on first listen. The other songs were somehow just beyond me at first. I’m always impressed by his lyrics, which are so clever and often biting. It took me longer to warm up to the music. But I did. This song is still my favorite though. It’s sarcastic, funny, yet hopeful and (I hope Kevin wouldn’t mind me saying this) adorable.

I found a series of videos on You Tube of Kevin supporting Thud outside a record store in Colorado. I was so happy to find these, but they depress me a little too. He deserved more success. Why Sheryl Crow became so successful while Kevin Gilbert had to play on the sidewalk to support his album, I’ll never understand. Here’s a link to the album version of the song.

* Mew “The Zookeeper’s Boy” This is the first Mew song I ever heard, courtesy of the Sirius channel formerly known as “Left of Center.” Hearing a new song I like enough to buy the whole album has become very rare for me. But I bought And the Glass Handed Kites and did not regret it. The album is meant to be heard in one sitting. I listened to it on repeat while cleaning our new house in 2006. I keep linking to live Mew videos because I’m so impressed at how they sound live. I’d love to see them one day. Maybe a trip to Denmark is in order?

* Craig Mack (featuring everybody and their brother) “Flava in Ya Ear” I love everything about this song. I love Puffy mumbling “You know we had to do a remix, right?” I love the irony of having so many featured rappers that Craig Mack isn’t that involved. I love that LL Cool J’s involved. I love the weird off-beat quality to the last “I’m kicking new flava in your ear” part of each chorus. This song reminds me of visiting Dave in Syracuse during grad school. Syracuse had shitty radio stations, so we ended up listening to the R&B/rap station most of the time. Dave’s car during grad school was the biggest piece of shit. He painted over the rust in geometric shapes. He installed a radio that had no knobs. There was no air conditioning. He eventually wore a hole straight through the floor of the driver’s side through which you could watch the ground go by at highway speeds. That was always a thrill.

* The Innocence Mission “The Lakes of Canada” I try not to highlight songs without a You Tube link, but I have to make an exception since this is one of my favorite songs ever. The Birds of My Neighborhood album came out right before my wedding, which we had in Canada. Hopefully my old boss isn’t reading, because hearing this song reminds me of the hours I spent daydreaming at work about finally being in the same city as Dave after so many years waiting for him to get his ass down here.

* Tuscadero “Nancy Drew” You know how parents get antsy to clear their house of your stuff the second you move out? That’s what this song is about. She’s pissed that her parents threw out her Nancy Drew books, etc…

My favorite line of this song is: 

“I collected all fifty-six
And you threw them out
You’re both such pricks”

In the years after I left home, Mom and I had protracted negotiations about when I’d go through the attic and several times a year she threatened to throw out my stuff. Luckily, nothing was lost…except something extremely precious that, ironically and tragically, I had purposely given back to her for safe keeping.

My grandmother made quilts and because I was a girl, she made me a pink quilt when I was little. When I got older and asserted my love of green, she finally made me a new quilt. A beautiful quilt, a green quilt. I loved that thing. It got to where I couldn’t sleep without it. I took it to college. I even carried it to Dave’s room when I slept over there. It came with me when I moved into my first apartment in D.C. Years of use started to take their toll. Tears and holes started to form. My Mom’s cousin who can sew patched it a few times, but the situation was becoming too dire for patches. With regret, I stopped using it to protect it from further damage. Dave was moving here and I didn’t have room in my apartment to store anything we weren’t going to use. I asked Mom if she’d keep it for me until we had a bigger place. I begged her not to throw it out. I was clear about wanting it back.

Sometime later, when I visited home, I noticed a flash of green in the back of my brother’s minivan. Under the Cheez-It crumbs and the other detritus of small children was my beloved green quilt, lining the back of the minivan. It was ruined. I felt ill. My Mom insisted she hadn’t given my brother the quilt. I dropped the subject. But every time I think of that quilt my stomach still catches with the sense of loss.