Christmas in 2010

"The Night Before Christmas" over Skype. Keeping up with the Jetsons!

Happy Holidays!


You made me laugh one day in study hall by singing the Backstreet Boys with attitude, and I was glad to find a kindred, someone who valued education but was just as serious about silliness.  Everyone talked of your laughter and charity.  I can only hope for such a legacy.

Your sister was my constant companion during the darkest time in my life. Her story and other events of that year made me aware of how brutal the world could be, but her friendship numbered among the things that made me up for the struggle. ("And I thought I wouldn't have to be / with you / a magazine.") When I wrote about angels eleven years ago, I was writing about her. She loves you so.

I know she has my back down here, and I hers, and maybe you could do the same for us up there.  For what it's worth, I asked my grandfather to look out for you, to "show you the ropes." I know that sounds ridiculous, but please forgive us the limits of our mortal understanding, and our imagining of what comes next.

Meanwhile, back here, I will remember you, and I will strive to honor you by continuing your good work.




Prayer of Saint Francis

It's a time when words are failing me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Rental Car

I've been cruising around in a rental car of late. Another Dodge Charger.  It has satellite radio.  I'm digging 50s on 5.


Sao Paulo Snapshot

I arrived 11:00 AM on Tuesday and left 11:00 PM on Wednesday, but there was still enough time to note:
  • Wonderful Christmas decorations on Ave. Paulista, a bank wrapped like a present, a bridge stuffed with oversized toys.
  • The $140 cab ride that resulted when the driver stayed parked outside my meeting for 3 hours.
  • The meeting itself: confrontational but successful.
  • All right, Henrique, with your Darren Criss eyebrows, and your hairy arms, and your ill-fitting uniform, and "Your room is on the twenty-twoth floor": that's enough.
  • The mall didn't have a Santa.  It had a nativity scene.
  • Gay couple holding hands. Teenage lesbians, one had braces, kissing in McDonald's.
  • Traffic at all hours.
  • Things you should check before planning to wear a new shirt, just ripped from the plastic, to a meeting: does your room have an iron?
  • The cab driver who played Enya: stroke of brilliance.  It makes the ride so peaceful!
  • Feijoada for lunch. At the restaurant, they served different types of meet in different pots.  I watched to see if any of the locals picked from the Ear/Tongue pot or the Feet/Tail pot, and none of them did.  At the table they told me they had never seen anyone eat it, but that using those parts gives the dish better flavor.  F. said when she cooks it herself, she uses them but removes them before serving.  And you put oranges in to absorb the salt and the "grass", meaning grease.
  • Chatting about the latest presidential election there, and what the kids wanted for Christmas.
  • Brazilian surprise that English doesn't have a single word for the symbol $. In Portuguese, it's cifrão.
  • The handshake always involves a clasp on the shoulder or the back or some other touch.



This was supposed to come after the “Describe Yourself” post. There is a story here, but I didn’t see the humor in it until a friend pointed it out. An elephant walks into a bar. He goes home with a guy. The guy learns sex without love isn’t all that great, the elephant decides he’s straight. Lolz!

(I would lift a line from another story.  Walking with Kennedy in the Metropolitan Museum’s Hall of Arms and Armor, talking about summers in Colorado: “That’s when I found out I wasn’t gay.”)

Truthfully, I’d end up wanting to tell it as a romance (another defining quality). Never forgets elephants.  The elephant didn’t just walk into a bar. The elephant took me to the Mapparium and J.P. Licks years before on a pleasant not-a-date.  On the way uptown to my apartment we held hands in the taxi. And later the elephant made a joke and, well, whatever happened he seemed very sweet.

The elephant lives in the Midwest. He is married to a woman. Now the elephant is going to be a father.

Other angles to investigate: anger-sadness that the arcs of our lives didn’t curve together for a little longer? He should have called three weeks later, when I was home, mingling with a herd of others that the same sentiment applies to.  Anger that he could move on? Anger-anger that I’m self-centered enough to think that.

Sad-angry that he might be making a mistake.  Angry that my view of the world isn’t universal.  Sad that we’re too distant now to ask anything.


I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

The only thing I knew about I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was the title, but I decided to read it when I saw an article in Westword mentioning that the author, Joanne Greenberg, lived in Colorado. I enjoyed it. I came away wondering why I hadn't read it before.

P.S. The mention did not say it was written under a pen name, so it was tricky to find in the library.

P.P.S. Joanne Greenberg teaches at the Colorado School of Mines! I have always been fascinated by that school (mostly because the first time I heard about it, I thought it was the Colorado School of Mimes).


The Music Lesson

Mrs. Sab offered practical advice on drinking enough water each day (that I think the Today Show covered last week): "PEE: PALE!"