Monday, September 29, 2014

Notes on last summer

Grammatically correct Bangkok graffiti.

Old editors don't die. They just wander the world critiquing graffiti. Never mind the expression. It's typical of the trade. The Language Barrier's Itinerant Editor is actually expressing pleasure over the correct use of the apostrophe. Thus we are going back to Bangkok for more. Before we leave, I have much to do. That is why, of course, I am doing a blog post which I must begin with a lament.

I blew it! Thea Bella and Kristiana stayed with us for five weeks in Florida this summer but I kept only the barest record of their wonderful visit on my external memory, otherwise known as this blog. Now there is not, for the cold winter nights ahead, a reliable path back to those sweet memories, only flitting recollections of the quirky details, things five-year-old Thea said and did. So, for my future self, here are three memories. May they lead to more.

Every night, Thea would invite me to come listen to the bedtime story, Harry Potter. At that point, they were nearing the end of book two. I would bring my pillow and lay on the end of the bed and Kristiana read to us. She is a fabulous reader. Very dramatic with perfect, distinct voices for each character. It was very entertaining. Thea's memory is much better than mine. She knew the plot and all the characters by name and the reading seemed to energize her. With the irrepressible curiosity of a five-year-old, she asked a lot of questions, all the while doing things like standing on her head and bouncing on the bed. That took some getting used to as, being grandma and all, I became instantly drowsy and was happy to drift in and out under the spell of the words. It was a bedtime story after all. In any case, this endearing nightly ritual became, for me, one of the defining moments of the summer.

Another defining event was how Thea, being so enamored by the sometimes even 90° water of the Gulf, refused to come out even long enough to eat lunch. She'd run ashore, grab her sandwich, give grandpa his, then they'd have to run back into the water. She would only eat standing in the waves. By the end of the summer she was snorkeling, beginning to anyway, and fearless in the surf. 

Mesdames K. and T.
An electric evening at the jetty

Then there were the amazing, wild tales she and grandpa made up about everything. I wish I'd recorded some of them. For example, they discussed reflections in mirrors. The little Florida house has many. She wondered if the Theas in the mirrors were real. That story almost got out of hand. They pondered which was the real Thea. Was Mirror Thea the real Thea? Was she her reflection? I almost pulled the plug on that one because, for the one moment Thea considered that, her eyes took on the appearance of dark, faraway vortices. Luckily, the next moment she rejected the idea and declared that, without a doubt, she was the real Thea and the Mirror Theas, each and every one of them, were their own separate persons. Naturally on the last day, when she and Mom were preparing to leave for the airport, she went around saying good-bye to them all and wishing them well.

As for our time in LA with M. Lee's mom, way back in July, at some point I will also do a post on it. M. Lee even requested that I do. A first! For the record, I started one before Thea and Kristiana arrived, also back in July, but it still languishes in draft. When Mesdames Thea and Kristiana came, blam-o! I did manage my morning five minute write, before Thea got up, but that's about it. My hat is off to all parents with fledglings in the nest. I think we forget, once our kids are launched, how totally engaging they are. There's never a second. It would be 9 or 10 PM before I could finally sit down to write about the day, then suddenly I'd wake up disoriented, exhausted, laptop gone dormant, cicada singing away in the mangrove dark and I could only toddle off to bed, the day gone and unwrit. So for now, minimal as it is, this will have to do.

Shane, Lee and Kathy at the Getty - LA

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fiona's story

I found a "note to self" on my desktop tonight. It had one word, Fiona, and a link to the video below. Thank you, past self. Watching it pulled me back from the abyss I fell into today fiddling with the endless details for this upcoming trip. So I'm embedding it here for my future self, because the time will come again, and for anyone else happening by who might like, or need, a sweet story about now.

PS. If you happen to know who did the song, please let me know. It's not only perfect for the video, it's just good.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Flying by

Home, sweet turn-around. We've just got back from Portland, Oregon. It was the last leg of a four month journey and the Big Event, the birth of Baby Chance, Supermoon Boy. Now we're back in Nevada. It's home but feels more like a traffic circle. Nevertheless, we have long-time friends here, our "stuff" is here, the Bird Park is here. Things are where and the way they are supposed to be. Maggie, aka the 7 o'clock magpie, showed up for peanuts the first morning we were back and, at the moment, sparrows fill the bushes and trees and several are enjoying a raucous dust bath party on the ground.

Squirrel underpants

And then there's my office. In case you've ever wondered where the center of the Universe is, cluttered though it be, it's my office. And, for the moment, I am there ... here. But not for long. We are leaving again at the beginning of October and won't be back until mid-January. Of course I'll still be here, the Language Barrier that is. It's home everywhere. And home is where the heart is..... which is family.

Cousins Thea, Leo and Frank

Baby Chance and Dad

Our ultimate destination is Thailand for three months. I guess it's fair to say we're in a rut. We were also there last year for three months. Yes. There is a whole big world out there, and time is running out, but we really like Thailand. But before Thailand, we're going to New York with Lee's mom for a brief visit and after that we'll all go to LA for a few days. Then she returns home and we return to Thailand. At this point, we're there more than anywhere else.

My pot

Life is strange. I never thought I'd be traveling like this. Several years ago, starting over and dirt poor, I bought a small copper-bottomed sauce pan at a secondhand store. I was delighted. It was a good omen. Revere Ware. My mother always said it was the best. I was still with my then-husband but, in fact, was more like a single mom raising three kids. A lot of meals came out of that pot, all though their childhood. And, being the absent-minded type, I burned a lot of food in it. However, I pride myself on always restoring it to some semblance of it's original secondhand glory. Now, 30 years later, a little worn though it be, all things being equal, it's still got a ways to go. I cooked my oatmeal in it this morning. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Supermoon Boy

We were expecting him to be a couple of weeks late, like his brothers, but you know what they say about a rising tide floating all boats.

Leo, Frank and cousin Thea greeting him.

Plus, the night he was born, Frankie put his hand on his mom's belly and said "Baby out" and a few hours later, riding the waves stirred by the gigantic Harvest Super-moon, Baby Chance did just that.

Mom, Baby Chance and now big brother Frank

Frank was adamant about wearing his orange tshirt to the hospital the next morning to greet him.

He's beautiful.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A day in September

I just want to remember this, this sunny September Saturday afternoon. The only thing on the calendar is "New Baby". In the meantime silver puff artichoke seeds detach and float away into the sky and the children sail off into a future I shall not see.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

On the road again

It's smoky in Susanville. There's a forest fire somewhere nearby but, so far, no indication of road closures.

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
~ photo source:

We've seen lots of Burners on the road today, even though Burning Man ended three days ago. We figure they must be members of the enormous volunteer crew that are the heart of the event. Like everyone returning from Black Rock, they are easy to spot. They look like ghosts. They, their vehicles and ragtag bikes (including the tires), are chalky white with playa dust. The Prius ahead of us says it all but not a glitzy 'magic" Burner art car way . The license plate simply says 1TRIBE.

Burner car on the road
posted from Bloggeroid

OK. We're about to head into the mountains and off the grid. I'll edit the typos later. See you on the other side.