C is for Childhood, anointing purity thereof

Granddaughter holding grandfather, Hayward, CA.

A month’s daily output here has been dramatically interceded upon by a marked jolt to my Pops’ biographical timeline, in the form of another stroke. He has surprised us by being the proverbial Eveready bunny after past setbacks.

Not so, this time.

This afternoon, my daughter took his hand in hers (first holding it alongside my hand, and then taking it into both her own). For minutes upon minutes on end, she stroked the back of his hand, and then his forearm. Put her soft-soft nine-year-old girl cheek against his hand. All the while, smiling at him radiantly, deeply. As if she knew something he and I didn’t quite.  We both looked on in wonder.

(By way of explanation to the children: “Think of DadDad as a magnificent castle, and room by room –  sometimes a whole wing at a time –the lights are going out.”)

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B is for Buddha

Polaroid Transfer Buddha-Old Sukkhothai
Buddha in Bhumisparsa Mudra, Old Sukhothai, Thailand

Buddha, providing me positive role modeling since the late 1990s.

This is a bona fide Polaroid transfer I did of a bona fide analog film slide I took with an actual, physical film camera in 1997, on my beloved’s and my “sweetiemoon.” (That’s non-marriage for “honeymoon.”) We went to Thailand for about a  month following our commitment ceremony. Her brother’s gift to us had been frequent flier miles enough to go anywhere in the world. First class.

Back in the olden days, there were actual physical bookstores, so we went to one (Cody’s, the late great Berkeley institution), sat down in the Travel aisle, and pulled book after book off the shelf. Seychelles? Chile? Thailand, a Buddhist country in which it was reputedly easy for two “unaccompanied” women to travel, won out. So did we.



A is for About time


Girl at dusk, Berkeley, CA.

“A” could be for a hundred and one things, A hundred and one things, but we have to start somewhere. Apolplectic. Amblin’. Anti-social. Agita. Anima animus. But one has to start somewhere, and so thus with About time do I start a month o’ photos, a semi-annual (by which I mean, somewhat annual and not every half-year) tradition here at Casa LD. Casa El Dee, as a reader long ago suggested.

About time I return to this very helpful place. One of my biggest challenges is about time, generally speaking and particularly in an era governed (perhaps ruled? not always benevolently?) by Moore’s Law.

I usually resort to this month o’ photos thing when I’ve fallen to a very low output, which I have as of late. This time around, it is attributable to some of the usual reasons, and other less than usual. The usual: the press of the actual of life  against the virtual, and the increasing challenge of representing the lives of increasingly subjective subjects. The less than usual: some good – such as a big redirect of my online writerly (mostly editorly) att’n to VillageQ, née Lesbian Family; some less than good – such as renewed/ intensified internal familial stressors, stemming from the gentle, insistent decline of an aging father, the difficult-to-process (and -manage) estrangement from sibling, and protracted employment instability. By which we really mean, insufficiency. The stuff of early 21st century midlife living.

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Self-portrait: After the Thanksgiving feast, Berkeley, CA.

The above scene is the dining room at my brother-in-law’s,  also effectively known as my back yard. Of interest to no one except my cat, who can’t read, is that the critter to my left is Emma, also known as She Who Can’t Stop Raiding My Cat’s Food Supply.

We co-house with my brother-in-law and his family, but in the cheating way, since by now (after 5 or 6 years in the same duplex) we have our own discrete homes on the shared lot. They’re heavy investors in our home, and we share finances and water bills and vehicles and lawn mowers and waffle irons and the gargabe & recycling cans and, up until recently, a phone bill (my brother-in-law’s tweens began to have their own cell phones and the number of accounts just got an eensy bit too much to manage).

We have neatly printed lists, sequenced by general food category and aisle, for our two local grocery stores (the mainstay, Trader Joe’s, and the organical produce source, Berkeley Natural Grocery), and we alternate taking on grocery runs for each household weekly. The cashier usually gapes at the groaning shopping cart (to the brim! every time!) and I have but to say: “Co-housing for the win!” It being Berkeley, they pause a beat, get it, and then tuck into the multi-family haul.

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