the names

Fifteen years later, today I am going to leave this right here because literally anything else is just noise.

“The Names”

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.

A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,

And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,

I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,

Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place

As droplets fell through the dark.

Names printed on the ceiling of the night.

Names slipping around a watery bend.

Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot

Among thousands of flowers

Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,

And each had a name —

Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.

I say the syllables as I turn a corner —

Kelly and Lee,

Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.

When I peer into the woods,

I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden

As in a puzzle concocted for children.

Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,

Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.

Names written in the pale sky.

Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.

Names silent in stone

Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.

In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.

A boy on a lake lifts his oars.

A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,

And the names are outlined on the rose clouds —

Vanacore and Wallace,

(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)

Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.

Names etched on the head of a pin.

One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.

Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,

The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.

So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

sip and spell

Sip and spell? What in the world is a sip and spell? It sounds a lot like sit and spin…remember what a great dizzy inducing vertigo toy that was? Good times! Fun times! When America was once great, right?

Well sip and spell here in the Central Valley is the Great Valley Bookfest’s Sip and Spell Adult Spelling Bee where participants and spectators enjoy delicious wine and appetizers while participants spell words like synecdoche and pococurante because they can…or once did when they were elementary school and middle school spelling bee nerds back in the day.

Sipping wine and spelling. What could possibly be wrong with this?

Well, nothing really since it is all in good fun that will benefit the Sierra High 2017 Sober Grad.

I know!

Working with the Sierra High Class of 2014 Sober Grad, I can attest to the fact that the best fundraising events were the ones where adult beverages were consumed by adults. Go figure!

Still it is a fun event which supports a worthwhile local event for some kids I just happen to know and can say I watched grow up while living here in this community. So join me and my team, Thursday, October 6, 5:30 to 8 pm – or until the last team (our team) is standing! Tickets are $20/person and need to be purchased in advance here.

Until then, I’ll be here…studying.

ready for Fall

It is currently 95 degrees outside and try though I may to not turn on the AC because of last month’s crazy, stupid PG&E bill because it was crazy, stupid, typical triple-digit hot, here I am with the AC on.

I am so ready for Fall.

The jacket I received in my latest Stitch Fix box reminds me I should be thinking about Fall.

Football reminds me about Fall.

Everyone’s mad love for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes reminds me that I should be thinking about Fall. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes? Meh! I could care less. But I respect those of you who love, love, love all things pumpkin spiced…even the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. All the pumpkin spice everything just reminds me that I really should be thinking about Fall.

And the magic that my darling, first-born child did with my hair today also reminds me that I should be thinking about Fall.

Pumpkin spice she called it which is funny considering that she struggles to say the words pumpkin spice almost as much as she does trying to say moist.

As she reads this, she is probably muttering under her breath, Oh my gawd, Mom, I hate you. No, she doesn’t really hate me. She just hates the way I can say moist so easily and freely in her presence…kind of like the way her partner at Lux Salon does. Speaking of Lux Salon in the 209, it is definitely THE place to go to for all the pretty colors and fabulous hair.

 

sprinkling stardust

Today lunch with my grand girl, Hazel Faye. A last minute invite but a special invite all the same because it is Hazel inviting me to lunch at school.

I can eat chicken nuggets or fingers or bites…better yet, school cafeteria style pizza. I can do this because I can literally do all things if one or both my grand babies are part of the all things.

Except…

Apparently you can bring lunch for the both of you to share, or there is “stupid hot lunch” (her words) or her mom making lunch.

Clearly stupid hot lunch or brown bagged lunch prepared with her Mommy’s own two hands is not good enough, not nearly good enough for Mima.

Heh.

My grand girl is no dummy. She might get some of that from me. She very likely gets a lot of that from her Mommy.

Me, I’m easily influenced by a lovely, blond, gap-toothed, tall 3rd grader.

Lunchables, juice boxes, sliced apples with caramel and yogurt dip all packed into my green bag. The rest of the grandparents brought Happy Meals, KFC and Dominos Pizza.

Whatever!

I’m THAT grandparent.

Hazel did not seem to mind. In fact she gladly invited her classmates whose grandparents were unable to attend to join us. She gets her tender heart from me…and her Mommy, and her Dad, and her aunties and uncle and her Papa, and her other grandparents.

And after lunch…

Obvious and logical choice. Strong work PTA!

But the reward is priceless.

Priceless.

Moments like these I want us both to remember forever.

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.

~ Alex Haley

inside on the outside

Regina: But you’re, like, really pretty.
Cady: Thank you.
Regina: So you agree?
Cady: What?
Regina: You think you’re really pretty?
Cady: Oh… I don’t know

~ Mean Girls

Yes, when I find myself in times of trouble sometimes the only thing that makes sense of it all is to quote Mean Girls…if quoting Lennon and McCartney doesn’t work especially in what appears to be a shitty world full of some sometimes pretty shitty people…pretty, shitty people included.

Forgive me, I might be whining a little as I see beautiful people showing the hollow, ugly core that is on the inside. The most perfectly beautiful of people can sometimes be the meanest, the cruelest, the ugliest; and thanks to their social media and their desire to remind us all just how awesome and cool and hardcore bitchy they are, we get to see the ugly on the inside.

When I was trying desperately to survive the cruel awkward that is adolescence coming to terms with the reality that I wasn’t pretty…in the eyes of equally insecure peers…I wasn’t lucky to have social media to reinforce what the adults in my life then were trying to teach me…that the prettiest of people actually were super ugly assholes. How that would have helped me then.

You’re like really pretty but thanks to what you share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat, we can see what’s really inside whether your mocking, shaming or celebrating bad choices because I mean…u gotta do it sometimes. Trust me, we see it. It is forever, yes, even if it’s Snapchat. Karma will one way or another come back to you. It has to.

In the meantime, I will try be more like this beautiful person because no beauty shines brighter than that of a kind heart.

How our family got so lucky to have someone as beautiful as him, in our lives I will never know but I will give thanks for such a wonderful gift that always inspires and compells me to be better.