Frank Lloyd Wright

A green and brown mirror with geometric shapes reminiscent of a Frank Lloyd Wright design hung above the leather couch. I first saw her reflected in that mirror, almost by accident as she passed between the stairs and the dining room behind me.

She was willowy of body and limb. If thin fly-away hair could be called willowy, she was willowy from head to toe. My quick glance didn’t reveal anything unhealthy about her thinness. She looked strong and moved with confidence. I had expected someone weak and ill looking.

Steve, sitting on the couch facing me, saw her also. “Estelle, come in here and meet . . .”

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I grabbed the first taxi in line as I exited the airport. It stank of stale cigarette smoke. Too late I noticed a sign on the window proclaiming that this was a smoking taxi.

At 10 PM there was little traffic. The driver drove like he was on the autobahn, rather than a rather quiet American freeway. He launched into a ranting speech about the state of politics and what should be done to fix everything he deemed wrong with the government. Then he turned off at an exit that would not lead to my destination.

“What are you doing?” I said, “This isn’t the right way.”

He smiled at me oddly in the rear view mirror and said, ” . . .

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children playing at White Sands National Monument
Those kids are not floating on air. They are on sand so white you can’t even see it. The sand is slow today. There was a rain so remarkable the governor went to Alamogordo to remark on it. Now the sliding at White Sands National Monument is a bit slow. But fun is possible if you figure out how to drive your cardboard sled just right to get down the gypsum slopes in a hurry.

Here’s the secret. The front flap of cardboard is like a brake. You hold it up to go and drop it to stop–suddenly! If you fall of during the abrupt stop, that’s even more fun.

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Days Inn

The same woman, the same forced laugh, the same path by my not-in-the-least soundproof door. She started around 9:30 and went by at least once every half hour until 3 a.m. She liked yelling at people in distant reaches of the motel.

She stopped at 3 a.m. exactly. I know because that’s when I opened my door and smashed her head in with a heavy wooden chair from my room. I had a bit of trouble getting it lifted up high enough to really twack her good, but the weight of the chair was most satisfying in its downward path.

It wasn’t quiet, as I’d hoped, after that. More people yelled and ran around a lot, causing an uproar. Then the police . . .

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Easy Mac

There’s a nine year old in my house. For a month. It’s insane around here. Luckily I love her more than air.

Her idea of a great meal is to toss a package of Easy Mac in the microwave and eat up. She’s always fascinated by the way the mac comes out of the microwave all lined up. “Like crystals or fractals,” I always say, when she remarks on it.

I wonder if someone could create a science lesson on crystals or a math lesson on fractals based on boiling a bowl of macaroni in a microwave for 3 1/2 minutes? It always strikes me as a lesson plan gone to waste when she stirs in the cheese.

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Terminal Delays

I arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport right on time. I had a nine-year old in tow. After an interminable line in the blazing sun to check our bags, we reached the Arrivals and Departures board. The flight was scheduled to leave two hours later than anticipated! Within in a few more minutes the delay had stretched to three hours. “Weather in Houston,” was the mantra from the airline officials. Our two pilots sat in the gate seating along with us. Soon every one there was threatening violence against someone who admitted to carrying a chocolate pie. Airline officials promised pre-boarding exceptions to anyone bearing chocolate pie. That doesn’t entertain a nine-year old for long, so we cruised the local eateries, including Amy’s Ice Cream . . .

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Band Contest

This is not the way to get to band contest. No, leaving the sheet music behind on the way to a high school band contest is not a good idea. Driving madly back to your own town on a flat tire is not going to improve your performance. Falling down the bandroom steps in your haste and breaking a bone in your foot is going to render you unable to play, or even walk onto the stage where the entire band sits waiting for your arrival.

But if you close the curtain, get carried out, sit down, open the curtains again and then pretend to play, your band can score a One! And you might not even be the only pretender. . .

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Small Blessing

The mini blinds look like Ramen noodles,
It’s possible that we may need another rug,
A lamp cord lies severed from its plug,
The electric blanket ripped and ratty,
Papers on the floor chewed to confetti.
Yes, we are blessed with a new puppy.

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Sharon had a personality like a daisy. Cheerful, bright, warming. But complex and with a lot of depth. She did a great deal of studying of various spiritual practices and tried really hard to apply them to her own life. Humans being the flawed creatures that they are, she didn’t succeed in building the perfect or even a spiritual life. But she tried, which is more than a lot of people do. You know the drill: inappropriate men, scraping by without enough money, decisions that seem stupid only in retrospect.

The best thing about her was her nonjudgemental nature. You felt safe with her, wrapped in a warm cloak of approval and love. People who don’t judge are so rare a commodity . . .

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I stood before the stove, mesmerized by the pan of sugar water I was boiling up for the hummingbird feeder. The roar of the garbage truck barreling down the alley brought me back from my pot-watching mental time warp. I turned off the heat and set the pan aside to cool.

For several days I had suffered these wandering moments. I couldn’t get my mind off Margie McNamara, the young officer who brought evidence into my forensics lab last week. She . . .

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