Of the weekend, we will say nothing, we did nothing. No movies, no dinners with friends. No parties. We didn’t change anything about the house or about ourselves. We went nowhere of note (a coffee house, the library). Time tiptoed along. We walked far in the mornings and witnessed others walking far, or running or paddling or pushing strollers loaded with dozing kids. The heat held off until noon. The house stayed cool. We lay down on Saturday afternoon and woke up three hours later stunned to find ourselves in the same day. We sat at the kitchen table yawning, the room as still as if it were morning again, as quiet.
August 29, 2015
I know I am middle aged by how much domesticity roils through my writing, my photos, my discussions. Back in my mid-20s, when I worked a corporate job, I would eat lunch in the cafeteria with my older coworkers. (Sometime during that time they made a smoking room in the cafeteria, forcing the smokers into one hazy space with their cigarettes. They were terribly offended.) At lunch the talk would turn to gardens, the weekends spent mulching and trimming back, the best place to plant a hydrangea. Inside I would roll my eyes. How do I keep myself from becoming that person?
A few decades later, here I am snapping pictures of the cosmos crowding the path, the invasive passion vine that’s taken over what was once the veggie bed. I talk bathroom remodels and pest control with friends. And on my day off I make okra pilaf, jetting to Trader Joe’s to buy bacon, and read about infusing my vodkas with summer’s fresh berries. The domestic is all around me, and so often I’m like a downhome version of some celebrity lifestyle blogger, offering up the picturesque and enviable without the high price tag. Here is my CSA basket. Here the nectarines I cooked on the grill.
And here the laundry I woke to this morning, folded in front of the TV while watching an awkward and accurate movie last night. In the kitchen, cheese wrappers and ringed mugs collect on the counter. There the stain from the nail polish I spilled last week, there the half-read magazine folded over and sliding off the coffee table. The house teems with all that needs to be done. Will I ever make it through those piles? Is the fig tree dying from lack of water? What are we going to do about the tiles that have fallen off the porch? Why didn’t I plant the basil in a more protected spot?
July 25, 2015
It was roads becoming rivers, homes becoming boats, sky becoming midnight dark in the mid afternoon. It was the whole city in front of the tv watching Jim Spencer cover the weather. Tornados to the west, to the north, to the east. Cropping up. On the ground. Sweeping through. It was alarms going off in the studio and in the house. Johnson City, get in your safe place. Marble Falls, get in your safe place. Cedar Creek. Bastrop. LaGrange. Never before. And the rivers overflowed and downtown became a flood and dumpsters floated on Lamar. And one young guy in cowboy boots clung to a fence outside the football stadium and the whole city watched him being rescued in a boat. And Jim Spencer led us through. Don’t worry, he said. Put as many walls between you and the outside. Turn up your tv. You will be okay.
May 25, 2015
It should still be my month of praise songs, so I could tell you about the lamb, charred on the outside into a perfect crust. The crumbly cheese we chipped off into pieces and ate with olives and salami. The bright white walls of the house, and the photos of Turkey, and the inky wine I had to go out and buy myself as soon as I could. If it were still my month of praise songs, I would sing to friendship and conversation, to shared meals at wood tables. I would not stop until I praised the dog circling our feet seeking scraps, the radicchio made tender and sweet from grilling. And the deck, how I would sing to that deck. Downtown bright through the trees, jasmine thick in the air, sitting together sharing old stories until it was late, later than we realized. Oh, the song that I would have sung.
May 2, 2015
Put on mascara. Start the piece I am writing about students’ held transcripts. Catch up. Simmer down. Resolve anything. Turn the two-step double turn without grimacing. Became a confident dancer. Finish my dinner. Find Chris’s lost glasses. Clear the list. Buy socks. Stroll the busy paseo of a Spanish city, which is what I wish for every Friday night. Pay the bills. Weep. Sing. Order the gelato, despite its fine presentation.
January 30, 2015