Archive for February, 2009

Hairduckus Midwesternis

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

duck's ass hair-don't

I don’t remember seeing this duck’s ass hair-don’t much in California, but it’s a perennial favorite here in the nation’s plump midsection. It looks like the hind end of a diving duck, all back-fluffed and stiffened with heavy product application. It’s often seen on drug reps and other be-slacked and be-heeled bizgals, which is what these two ladies looked like. I see it at the Y at least once a workout, and I’ve been trying to stalkerazzi a shot since I moved back to the heartland. It’s as much a sign of my homeland as the Big Red “N for Knowledge” on the football stadium, or our awesome snowboot wardrobes.

Also, for those of you who’ve seen me lately—with my seventies rocker hair and my silver upshoots—I know I have no room to talk, being several weeks beyond shaggy and many months past a prophylactic re-hueing. In fact, I’m dialing the salon as we speak.

Crank It, Shake It

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Amadou & Mariam is my joy music. You should see what I get up to when Fantani’s playing loud in my headphones. Here’s Sekebe, to guide you into Friday night:

I would follow them like the Dead.

In fact, perhaps that should be Plan Z, now that someone let the air out of my 401K and I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

Special note to Amadou and Mariam: I want to be your token whitegirl dancer. Ask around—I can shake it! Call me!


Letters Who Love Too Much

Friday, February 20th, 2009

In my quest to relive my old skool Sesame upbringing, here’s golden soulman (and all-around good sport) Smokey Robinson being stalked by the letter U.

I always knew U was a little unhinged, you can tell by that deep well and those reaching arms. This reminds me (in that skipped stones sort of random synapse way) of Hockney’s Alphabet, a delightful abecadarian published in the early nineties to raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS. The book was filled with essays on all the letters of the alphabet, and my favorite one was Julian Barnes on the letter U. He wrote about the word “unless,” calling it the most sinister word in the English language:

“Remember it from frightening stories in childhood: Unless this isn’t the door we came in by…

Imagine it in bankruptcy: Unless I’ve misread the figures…

Fear it close to home: Unless, of course, I don’t love you anymore….”

Mmm, isn’t the word sinister apt here? Such a coiled and loaded little onomatopeia: roll it around in your mouth and see how it sneaks in through the window and slides up the staircase…


Flashing the Gang Sign

Friday, February 20th, 2009

gang signs

And that gang is, apparently, the MerMen. See how his ring finger is fused to his fuck-you finger, all the way to the top knuckle? Ford’s got syndactyly, or webbing, on his left handa cross-generational gift from his paternal great-grandpa.

He’s also got webbing on his toes, which came straight from mom.

“Well, he won’t be able to wear rainbow toe socks,” I told my sister in the hospital, and this is about as much of a difference as the webbed feet will make to him. I remember that Amy had a bad month in the seventies when toe socks were in fashion. Mom decided, and rightly so, that if one of her girls couldn’t wear them, none of us would. And if I wasn’t entirely gracious about that decision back then, I would be now. In fact, I did not buy toe socks when they reappeared a few years back, in solidarity with my sister (and also because I can barely tolerate flips-flops, but then, taking a stand is not always entirely without self interest).

As for the hand, they’ll probably get that snipped, which will be something he’ll hear about later; one of those unremembered oddments we’ve all got—this vaccination scar, that funny-shaped birthmark, the brace you wore until two because your feet were wonky.

When Ford’s attention span is longer than one enthusiastic nipplesuck, I will tell him he was born with superpowers, and that we could tell from the webbing. And also the cuteness.

The Dude Abides

Friday, February 20th, 2009

the dude abides

Here’s Ford on Day 3, nestled into the boppy, on the lap of his mother, who’s sunk deep in the cushy rocker, which is probably where she’ll stay until the newborn is not quite so new.

He’s tethered like a spaceman to a UV machine that’ll tame the jaundice that seems to be our birthright (I was an orange rabbit my first week or two, apparently), and that makes cribs and transport a real pain in the ass. Ford doesn’t mind, though. He’s got mom and milk and a parade of loving faces bobbing dimly in the distance, like orbiting planets.

25 Things About Kitty

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

 little kitty with pigtails!

I ganked this fantastic photo of my legendary friend Mary off Facebook. While I never did that 25 Things About Me meme for myself, here are 25 Things about Mary and Me:


What Land Is This, So Free?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

bullet through crayons

In honor of my 500th post (I do go on, don’t I?), here’s a reverie on our various selves, the multitudes contained within each of us:

I am a Hittite in love with a horse
I don’t know what blood’s
in me I feel like an African prince I am a girl walking downstairs
in a red pleated dress with heels I am a champion taking a fall
I am a jockey with a sprained ass-hole I am the light mist
in which a face appears
and it is another face of blonde I am a baboon eating a banana
I am a dictator looking at his wife I am a doctor eating a child
and the child’s mother smiling I am a Chinaman climbing a mountain
I am a child smelling his father’s underwear I am an Indian
sleeping on a scalp
and my pony is stamping in
the birches,
and I’ve just caught sight of the
Niña, the Pinta and the Santa
What land is this, so free?

-Frank O’Hara

I was reminded of this poem by Zadie Smith (herself no slouch at slipping on new skins), who included it in her essay on Obama’s many tongues. Reading that piece was like mental origami; I ended up with fresh folds in my brain, as though the paper cranes I made could take actual flight.

Amazing image by David Neff.

He’s Here! We’ve Been Waiting So Long

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009


Last night, in a darkened room of hush and push, I saw my creative sister accomplish her most creative act: giving birth to her son, Ford.

My new nephew was named after my dad’s dad, who ranched in the Sandhills of Nebraska; a man who cared for cattle and planted trees, working earth and herd for his family’s betterment. Ford means the place in the river where you can cross over, so I like to think of this Ford acting as a bridge between the family of my growing up, and how we’ll all grow older together.

He, like any offspring, is what will keep us young, give us a reason to work and to play. But coming so late in the season, when our classmates have kids old enough to elect leaders and drink legally, Ford’s arrival seems like the essential sign of spring, more hopeful than crocuses, more lifting than a fifty-degree day that melts all the old snow.

Ford is also a verb, the act of pushing onward, forging ahead, getting to the other side. He forded his first life’s divide last night, and I mean to be there when he crosses his next, and next, and next.

Welcome to the world, Ford. Welcome to the family, young son, little monkey, joy magnet—we are all so glad to meet you.

Shotgun Wedding

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

shotgun close-up

My sister got married yesterday, which was excellent timing, since her water broke this morning, and you know how the Baby Jesus feels about unmarried mothers. (Or most of them, anyway.) In a welcome influx of testosterone and personality, we’re adding both a brother and a nephew to the family this weekend (my sister does not mess around).

Speaking of testosterone and personality, it looks like the Baby Rudder will be a little fire sign like me, instead of the Pisces his parents were hoping for (hello, favorite aunt status!). I’m headed to the hospital for handrubs and encouragement, as soon as my sister “does a little laundry and catches up on some work.” (Perhaps she has a sock drawer to organize, and can finally get the family photographs sorted, as well??)

By the way, that sound you’re hearing in the distance is my mother hitting speed dial on the telephone tree, which is as rooted and branched as a Baobab. I got the first call at 6am, and I suspect she will have spun herself to butter before the parents-to-be even hit the maternity ward. This is their first grandkid, you know. My parents have been awfully patient with their geriatric pack of non-producers.

More later! With pictures! (I’m to stay above the midline, my sister tells me.)

Happy Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

heart island

I have a funny relationship with Valentine’s Day.

meat heart

As an often-single woman who’s allergic to the wedding industry and not sentimental in the correct directions for mainstream expressions of LUV (although wildly tenderhearted in all my hopeful deepquirk ways), I’ve developed a bit of a hard shell (complete with liquid center) about the whole thing.

robot bag

Mostly, I’ve spent Valentine’s day with Stella, the other heartbeat in bed with me for the past seven years.

wool heart

But this year, I’m actually in a relationship. (No, not with Archie, with a real-live human person.)

bed jump

And we’re going to dinner at my favorite place in town tonight.

match head

I let him off the hook for presents, because really, presence matters more. (That, and a couple of decent glasses of wine.)


So whatever you’re doing today, have a happy one and spend it with those you love.

world hug

(Even if they have four legs and terrible breath).


Images: heart island, meat heart, robot bag, wool heart, bed jump, match head, enough, world hug, wolfman