Monday, July 31, 2006

181/365 A Seventh George

This European-trained pastry chef is about to open his own place in Portland. When the art-opening crowd spills outside, he kindly offers to hold my jacket as I reenter the near-steaming gallery, all the while explaining to my husband the five types of roux.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

180/365 A Sixth George

A wiry marathoner, he’s got that energy associated with skinny guys. He paints plein air, the outdoor world misting and watering his creative juices. Anglers covet his fly-fishing scenes, but he doesn’t fish. He is the visual scribe and reporter, the mirror, the interpreter.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

179/365 A Fifth George

He lives at the corner of Art and Logic, blurring the creative and technical. His photos are evocative and precise. Among his intriguing short films is the model rocket launch, camera attached to the rocket: liftoff, spinning groundskyhorizon, parachute, spinning until signal is lost.

Friday, July 28, 2006

178/365 A Fourth George

Musician, skilled caller of dances, George can take the most clumsy into his arms, and for those five minutes, she can waltz. Simply speaking with him makes a person feel like the only one in the room. And naked hot tubbing? Mais bien sûr!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

177/365 A Third George

A Russian kept alive by the Germans to translate between guards and prisoners, he came to the states a refugee and started over at a Pennsylvania college. Having lost his academic credentials, he began as janitor and student, but soon became a beloved professor.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

176/365 Another George

A photographer with a heart of gold, his interiors—diners, barbershops, sugarhouses, pool halls—call up something archetypal . . . for North Americans, at least. He’s patient with those of us who aren’t sure a good portrait can be had. There’s no question he’ll get one.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

175/365 George

He’s the husband of a foreign service officer who’s been assigned to Dakar, Beirut, Cairo, and Riyadh. This was a twist I couldn’t have predicted for the guy living the three-bachelors, one-apartment lifestyle near Baltimore, but it’s one completely in keeping with his intellect.

Monday, July 24, 2006

174/365 Kraig

The theme for Craig’s birthday party was Bad Art. Kraig pasted Art’s face onto Michael Jackson’s body on the Bad album. Hands down, the most creative gift.

When I think of Kraig, though, I see him that September day, waiting in Geneva for Ingrid.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

173/365 Ingrid

Though he’d left BFW four years before, Tim got the news almost immediately that former colleague Ingrid had been on SwissAir 111. She’d moved on too, to UNICEF, and that night had been heading to a meeting in Geneva. Anyone who’d known her mourned.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

172/365 Claire the Clown

demonstrates the canjo, picking out songs on the single string. She’s all big shoes and greasepaint, but pretty, and she talks with us, nonclownlike. The circus plays a new town every day. Paul buys her a Sprite. After the show, he kisses her goodbye.

Friday, July 21, 2006

171/365 Another Paul

He’s all about the presentation, the way the food looks on the plate, serving up meals garnished with edible flowers from his yard. It isn’t officially summer until I’ve had that gin and tonic with him on some perfect porch, ice clinking, glass sweating.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

170/365 Vi

Was it you? Was it me? Was it mommiedearest? All I wanted was a decent haircut. The shag you gave me looked nothing like Leyla’s. I wanted it to grow out, but you hacked it back every time. Even the Fresca couldn’t placate me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

169/365 Jean

We sent Jeanie a genie puppet for her birthday. He emerges from his lamp via a Velcro-fastened lid. Her mother reports Jeanie loves it. Her first three wishes are:

(1) a pony
(2) a playground
(3) a new family

This four-year-old sounds freakishly normal.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

168/365 Jay

At the twentieth, he claimed he didn’t remember me. Seven years, same bus, same homeroom. At the twenty-fifth, I didn’t seek him out, not looking to be not remembered. But leaving at the end of the night, he calls out, “Goodnight, Indigo…” What the…?

Monday, July 17, 2006

167/365 A Third Martha

Sometime circa 1974, afternoons after school, Martha and I would play at the house next door, the new house, the one under construction. We’d check out the progress, run from basement to second floor, neither trespass nor danger a blip on our youthful radars.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

166/365 Teresa

If there’s a lull, advised the children’s entertainer, say the word underpants. Brings on hysterics, guaranteed. When Teresa utters the word herself, it happens. I say it to her, and it happens again. Wouldn’t a good aunt honor successive birthdays with a thematic gift?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

165/365 Another Martha

Her birth was surrounded by celebrity: her namesake godmother the dancer, her father the actor (there’s even an action figure). When I first heard her poems, I wondered when I could buy a book of them. Our friendship began when I asked her that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

164/365 Another Joe

Breaker of my best friend’s heart, I know that youth did you both in—bad timing—but what if it had lasted? I can’t imagine a world without her daughters, of course, but way back then, it was such a big love. Wasn’t it?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

163/365 Lorayne

I’ve seen my cousin only a handful of times. Five years older, beautiful, talented. She could draw cartoon characters, like Momma, from memory. The summer of 1975, the Moody Blues was her band of choice. Just what the truth is, I can’t say anymore.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

162/365 Louise

It’s the photo she shows her therapist: Mom at the center, looking for the way out; Dad happy and clueless; brother too cool for them; sister’s head thrown back, impatient; and little Louise, peacemaker, daring lens and anyone to check out her new purse.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

161/365 A Fourth John

Below the museum’s eaves, our office was retreat and refuge from—well, everyone. Sweat and banter got the quarterly out; now that cocoon of ours is history. The crinkle of cellophane reminds me of him: “What are you eating?” he’d demand, as would I.

Monday, July 10, 2006

160/365 M

A damn good square dancer. Really knew how to swing a gal. Upstanding citizen and family man. Started sending notes to my school postbox and offering me rides home. The night he leaned over from the driver’s seat, I remonstrated, “You’ve done this before.”

Sunday, July 09, 2006

159/365 Jokes Exchanged with the Tackleshop Owner in a Pub by the Spey in 1997

His: Why’s a woman like a hurricane? She comes in wet and wild, and when she leaves, she takes the house and the car. Mine: What’s the difference between Mick Jagger and a Scottish sheepherder? The sheepherder says, Hey McCloud, get offa my ewe!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

158/365 Stan

Freshman year, mailbox, I open a pornographic Xmas card. Stan has the box next to mine. Notices. Wants one. I send Alison his address, he gets an annual card too. Four years and it’s the only thing that ties us together. So to speak.

Friday, July 07, 2006

157/365 Jamie

I was riding the train, minding my own business, when it was held up by bandits. We were stopped on the tracks; I was taken hostage. The one called Jamie threw me over his shoulder and ran off. Fantasyland had its dangerous dark side.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

156/365 NPD

What I learned from all that: Never let someone take advantage of your caretaker instincts. Question any such instinct you detect in yourself. Narcissists, although charming, are capable of changing just one thing: the characters surrounding them as they search for the perfect reflection.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

155/365 Brad

Consummate host, his dark side and humor draw me. One perfect dinner party: the grand dining room, boy artists (his partner, mine) huddled at one end, all light and form; faintly macabre gals (Brad, Craig, me) spiraling ever higher with every sip and bite.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

154/365 Jane

She fills the elementary school with music, donating violins and cellos. She’s been both lawyer and sailor. She’s painter, sculptor, writer, musician, dog lover, supporter of education for all. She’s a faithful member of the figure-drawing group and plays violin with Cacophony. She’s 87.

*Cacophony: A play-together-for-fun group featuring Jane (violin), Lizzie (cello), Tim (recorder), and Rebecca (flute/recorder).

Monday, July 03, 2006

153/365 Richard

One hazard of wealth is the greater chance of being hit by a Hummer when biking in your neighborhood. When the boy’s father calls to insist his son’s a good driver, Richard has to agree. After all, at sixteen, kid’s only hit one person.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

152/365 Gene

We took a road trip to a wedding, and in Flint, he introduced me to Vernors. He freaked my parents out because he was 23 and I was 18. He freaked me out because it was the most physically innocent “relationship” I’d ever had.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

151/365 Deb

We were sister-outlaws. On vacation, we rigged an aluminum canoe to be a Viking ship using rope, markers, twigs, and discarded boxes. We stealthily paddled it to Little Osgood Pond, where the unsuspecting menfolk were fishing. Our intent to rape and pillage was clear.