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3 Jan

Pick a word.

Resolve something.

New year. New you.

Eat less. Move more.

I’ve got your word right here, buddy — but, NSFW.

I resolve not to scream it loudly in public.

New year. Same me.

Supress less. Exhale more.

Here we go.

You Should Know

21 Dec

Despite everything, I am still grasping, digging my nails in, to a tenacious belief that things are going to be ok. Not with some fragile, fingers-crossed, maybe-it-will-work-out hope. With defiant hope… hope that screams all your demons back to the hell they came from and belong to.

You don’t belong to them, any more than your DNA is your destiny. You may wander the streets scanning for them, but I am the one who will scour the streets searching for you.

When you were little, before I knew you, tiny pirate flags began coming to me in the mail. Mysterious, unexplained, with  a different symbol on each. And although I did not know of you, I saved them in a closet until one day, I got a call about a little boy who loved pirates. Then I understood.

You still fancy yourself a pirate. And I still have the signal flags. For as long as I live, I will be the keeper of the the flags that bear your name, warn you of danger, wave you home.


The Green Bowl

5 Mar

I washed out your food bowl tonight.

I fed the other two dogs, and noticed it there in your corner, where it has been for a week, empty and purposeless.

Around it, a scattering of the dried food pieces you would nudge out of the way to get to the morsels of wet food — offerings on the altar of your senior pickiness.

But I washed out your food bowl tonight, gathered up the leftover bits of food, then scrubbed the floor with a Swiffer to wipe away your traces and my tears.

Tomorrow, perhaps I will vacuum up behind the chair you loved to sit beside, put your collar away, and maybe even stop hiding my shoes under the bed so you won’t lick them all night.

And next week, I’ll collect your ashes, and maybe someday stop hanging my hand off the side of the bed in the night so I can feel your nose nudging me.

Someday, but not tonight.

I washed your food bowl out tonight.


“Into the Woods” Definitely A Trip Worth Taking

18 Feb
Full disclosure: we are a family of musical theater nerds, and were delighted when the Woodlawn Theatre invited us to be their guests at a showing of “Into the Woods.”
Photo credit: Siggi Ragnar

Photo credit: Siggi Ragnar

Tight musical harmonies, magical sets, and one of Stephen Sondheim’s most accessible works come to life in San Antonio’s historic Woodlawn Theatre — and they all add up to a don’t-miss local theater performance.

The story pours the traditional fairy tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Rising Hood and Jack in the Beanstalk into a witches cauldron, and stirs them up with a hearty shaking of social commentary and adult humor that looks at the dark side of happily ever after.

All the actors’ performances are solid, but Megan DeYoung’s turn as the Wicked Witch was truly spectacular, and had the audience laughing during her cleverly subversive rap of the “Witches Entrance,” while sighing at the emotional punch of  “Stay with Me,” and “Children Will Listen.” Trevor Chauvin hits the perfect note as Jack, and his “Giants in the Sky,” was a definite high point.

The Woodlawn Theatre itself is rich in history — John Wayne himself hosted the premiere of “The Alamo” there in 1960, and this gem of San Antonio’s Deco District is being lovingly restored bit by bit to its former glory. If you haven’t been down yet to see a show, make the trip for this one.

Into the Woods  runs this through March 16. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling the box office at 210-267-8388. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays 3 pm. Tickets cost $15 – $23 with discounts for students, military and SATCO members. Go on a Saturday night, and hang out in the lobby lounge afterwards for “Broadway Nights,” featuring local singers taking their turn in the spotlight. Feel brave enough, and you can bring your own sheet music and sign up for a turn at the mic.

Lee Ann

31 Jan


The first thing you should know is that she would be really mad at me for posting this picture.

She was so reticent about sharing pictures that our circle of close friends, who first met on a cooking website, had a running joke that all this time we were picturing her as a genteel blonde New Englander, she was probably really a sassy black soul-sister. I’ve known her more than a decade and I have seen exactly six pictures of her, and four of them were taken with my camera.

The second thing you should know is I will never not miss my friend Lee Ann.

In all the years I have known her, talking almost every day, she has made me laugh more times than I can count. She has prayed with me, cried with me, cussed with me, rolled her eyes with me, had my back, set me straight, listened to my stories, shared hers, given me advice, told me I didn’t need advice, asked me for help, offered me help, and gotten dinner on my table by sharing her recipes.

If you know Lee Ann from her blog, Elle’s New England Kitchen, you already know she can cook. She would do her own “Chopped” challenges, and I would have loved to see her on the show, all gentle sweetness and light and brilliance until someone crossed her. Then, she would unleash one of her completely unexpected zingers that would leave her opponent shell-shocked and everyone else rolling on the floor.

Lee Ann and I met on a cooking website when we were young moms. I went there to find out how long I needed to boil eggs. I left there with friends I know I will have for all my life.  In the years that have passed, we have been there for each other through the birth of children and the loss of them, the death of parents, new jobs, lost jobs, marriages beginning and ending. We are spread out over four countries, and if you looked at all the different life stages, personalities, political and religious beliefs you would think “no way are they friends.”

But we are, and Lee Ann was at the heart of that friendship. She had four precious children of her own, and she mothered us, too. She was the kind of friend you hope to grow up to be. When I read through our private emails and conversations with me, I realized none of them were about her. They were all about another one of our friends, someone she was worried about, hurting for, wanting to help.

With her death, I have seen this week the strength of what she has built as her friends solider up to help her family, and comfort each other. And yes, sometimes in the midst of it, we have unleashed zingers that leave everyone laughing until our sides hurt. Because above all else, Lee Ann brought joy.

She loved snow, and she gave me Sarah McLaughlan’s “Wintersong” album. As I played it yesterday, the lyrics settled in my heart like a blanket.

“This is how I see you
In the snow on Christmas morning
Love and happiness surround you
As you throw your arms up to the sky
I keep this moment by and by.”
Until we meet again, my precious friend.


29 Jan

for Elle


We had a snow day last week.

in South Texas

and of course, it did not

actually snow at all.

Just froze.

So we did, too… stopped everything.


Then, for two days, the sun came out

and it seemed winter was over.


But Tuesday, a bitter cold blew back in.

This time, I saw tiny flakes fall.

Just a whisper, then dissolving into nothing.

Like they were never there at all.

You, who loved snow, would have laughed

at our excuse for winter.

But I will never get to tell you.

And I am afraid spring will

be a long time coming.

Today for lunch…

9 Jan

First day back after break, nervous third grader reading the televised announcements for the first time told the entire school, “today for lunch the cafeteria will be serving rotten paste bake.”

I think she meant rotini pasta.

Her description did make me wonder, though — the “cheese filling” has always seemed a little gummy.

At least paste bake would stick to your ribs.

—-  rimshot —-

I haven’t eaten school cafeteria food since the New Year. My lunches have been as follows: spinach salad no dressing, tuna or chicken breast, 100-calorie almond pack. Greek yogurt with cinnamon and three dots of honey for breakfast. Banana for snack.  Eat, rinse, repeat.

I really want to end 2014 a lot lighter than I started it, but sometimes I am not so sure I can do it.

I was thinking about that as we walked into class today, and then one kid asked, “can I turn on the announcements?” Second kid, “can I pass out papers?” Third kid, “can I go fill up your water glass at the fountain?”

And I decided not to say, “no, I’ve got it.”

I said yes, yes, yes.

And I realized something this second week of January — maybe this also needs to be the year that I finally learn there is no big accomplishment in saying “no, I can do it myself.” Perhaps it also needs to be the year I give up some control over all the little things to gain it over the big things.

First week gone, 5 pounds down.



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