Sunday, February 28, 2010


Three weeks until the first day of spring. I spent lots of time removing ice and snow from the driveway and front porch. Last night I watched "A Prairie Home Companion," but I either fell asleep or got otherwise distracted toward the end of the movie. I couldn't decide whether you had to be a solid fan of the radio show in order to appreciate the movie. I've listened to it from time to time, in bits and pieces, and sometimes it's a little funny, and sometimes the musicians are really great. It used to play at our house on Saturday nights when I was five, six, seven years old. My mom thought the "Ahooa Hot Sauce" commercial was really funny, but I did not.
Today I will try to travel somewhere.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things That Start With "Z"

Sometime this morning I dreamed that my children went to the zoo with a friend. When everyone returned home, I discovered that the friend had helped the children take some seals, or perhaps sea lions, from the zoo to have at home as pets. We did have a pool that was kind of hidden in the floor. But it was unclear to me what to do with them. I thought they should be returned, but then we would all face serious consequences, no matter what. We could keep them as pets, but why? Was chlorinated water OK? Every once in a while I would check in on them, while pondering what to do, and they seemed to have enough water and food. What should we feed them? What if the pool ran out of water? Do they have to have water to swim in, to live? I was stuck with the burden of figuring out a problem that someone else created for me. A big problem. If only I could take those seals back to the zoo, and not raise any suspicions and not have to answer any questions, everything would be just fine. (Can you imagine? "Pardon me, Zookeeper Al, we mistakenly thought these seals were ours, and then, upon getting home, realized we should never have taken them out of their rocky little habitat here.") It just wasn't possible. The consequences were inescapable. The burden was just too big. There were too many of them. Six, maybe 10, 12.
In waking life, about two weeks ago, I lost the zoo magnet that was on the back of the car. I miss that magnet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The children were gone from the house all day and all night. The house was very quiet. We all worked to clean up before they left. One hat was left on the floor in front of the couch, a striped, funky handmade hat left behind in the rush of their departure. The little hat has been with us for 13 years, and was a gift from a friend. The hat made me realize how just a few short years of childhood after the busy toddler years lead to little pieces of our youth being left behind for bigger and better things. And then we are all grown up, a long and painful and never-ending process. I hope they return soon, so I can help make the rest of their childhoods the most productive, educational, healthy and love-filled childhoods they can be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Altered Realities

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus mysteriously appeared with no fanfare at the little theater downtown this Friday. I'm not sure when this movie was released, and I'm pretty sure it didn't come to the bigger, modern theaters at the mall and the new town center here. This is Heath Ledger's last movie, the one in which he died during the filming and Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Ferrell replaced him in the Imaginarium through-the-looking-glass parts. My expectations were probably too high for this movie -- I anticipated fantastical special effects, an unusual set of characters and situations, explanations that made sense, and good acting, but none of those expectations were met. When one steps through the imaginarium, scenes unfolded that seemed no better than the 1960s-ish effects from the scenes in the Mary Poppins movie in which Mary Poppins and friends sing with the penguins, fishes and carousel horses. Maybe that was supposed to make it charming and old-fashioned, but it seemed gritty and unimaginatarium-like to me.
The following day I watched "The Wolfman," for which I had no expectations. I suspect this movie had a bigger budget, because the scenery was beautiful and dramatic, the characters were believable, and Anthony Hopkins was just a little bit terrifying. In both movies, reality was changed by the supernatural, but in very different ways. There are those movies and situations in real life when our realities are altered, sometimes as if by magic or the supernatural. Some people crave that altered reality and some people steer as far away as possible from it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How About That Weather?

I believe, without measuring, we got about 14 inches of snow Saturday. I shoveled six to eight inches out of the driveway Friday night, about six inches more Saturday morning, an inch or two Saturday afternoon, and another inch on Sunday. Make that 16 inches, then. I would venture to guess that the amount of snow in this county depends on what side of town you measuring from. I saw the blue sky and a glimmer of brilliant, sideways sunlight, ever so briefly on Saturday from about 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. I also made some amazing rack of lamb with couscous and lima beans this evening.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How a Rock and A Leaf Can Make a Drive Home Better

In October we were taking a walk in the neighborhood. We found a cement post by a dentist's office that was about three or four feet high. It's the kind of post that prevents cars from crashing into a dentist's building. We put a red maple leaf on top of the post, with a rock on top of it to hold it down. From October until now, we check on our leaf and rock, when we think of it, when we drive by. It makes us smile a little bit, to know the leaf and the rock are still there, and because, in a way, the leaf looks like it's waving to us. They've almost become our friends. It also makes me happy because it reminds me of how we can amuse ourselves, and construct our own intricate realities, to make life sweet.