Thursday, November 30, 2006

303/365 A Third Jim

When I think of him, I think of Spanish fare and rioja and siestas, of live music and lively dogs, of a big-screen TV after a big meal: warm things, celebratory things. He and his ex-wife just remarried. They are warm and celebratory too.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

302/365 A Third Wendy

She’s an MD who listens to plants, lets them tell her how best to use them for healing. She stands at the intersection of logic and intuition, coaxing the power of each into a more potent whole. She’s why Craig can’t categorically hate doctors.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

301/365 Another Karen

Tom is explaining to Jack that Karen’s his (Tom’s) stepsister, and Jack is saying that he doesn’t want a stepsister, and Tom is saying that if Jack could have a stepsister like Karen, he might think differently, because Karen is the best stepsister ever.

Monday, November 27, 2006

300/365 T. Jack

He’s named Timothy after an uncle and Jackson after Timothy. At 7, he’s grown into that unknowable little-boy space to relatives who only see him once a year. No more supercuddling; no serious conversations, either. He’s all energy and territoriality and dominating his sister.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

299/365 A Fourth Chris

was the only one of Paul’s “and guests” who had the slightest bit of homophobia, and of course that meant that she was the only one who got hit on at the gay bar in Schaumberg. She was dying to get out of Elgin.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

298/365 Tish

In an office full of Vermont jeans-wearin’ casuals, our bookkeeper always arrives impeccably dressed, no stranger to heels and hose. During staff meetings, my eyes rest most often on her: a canvas of perfect color coordination and accessories draped on a curvy, statuesque frame.

Friday, November 24, 2006

297/365 Another Vicki and Another Pam

Beautiful, sweet Pam was a shoe-in for third-grade May Queen, until Vicki’s bully cousin started threatening the electorate. Pam was assigned to Vicki’s eight-girl court. Vicki was a vision in white; Pam was probably in the pink pairing; I was relegated to pastel green.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

296/365 Todd

emphatically stated that any family making $50K per year should be able to give $2K of it to charitable organizations. Of course, that can’t be true in all cases. But his fervor inspired me to be more determined, decisive, and disciplined about my giving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

295/365 A Sixth Dave and a Third Chris

We were college seniors; they were our 27-year-old friends. Their liking us felt like a backstage pass to adulthood. Music at their parties reinforced my suspicion that I was born almost 10 years too late, that I’d missed an adolescence with the good stuff.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

294/365 Another Kathy

Because it was so cliché, it didn’t seem possible that the 18-year-old blonde-beauty waitress could really be sleeping with Dominick, the somewhat sleezy manager of the catering company we worked for. Not Tony, the hot maître d’. Dominick. On again, off again. High drama.

Monday, November 20, 2006

293/365 Kevin

befriended me when we both lived at the service center, when college and I were “on a break.” Taught me to make begos, a hot kielbasa-cabbage-sauerkraut dish. “Begos, beer, and little girls,” he’d say in Polish. He brewed the beer for his own wedding.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

292/365 Kristina

is actress, dancer, director, stage manager, usher. She rehearses shows with Aidan while the grownups talk endlessly over dinner. Then she outlines the boundaries and direction of the stage, and tells the audience where to sit. It is best to do as she says.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

291/365 Carl

The physical configuration of my tenth-grade geometry class changed weekly as the teacher seated us in test-score order. We’d stand up; he’d call out names and return your test at your new chair. I don’t remember what happened in the case of a tie.

Friday, November 17, 2006

290/365 Ira

In my parents’ gang-o’-eight, he was a favorite with the next generation. He’d mastered the art of banter. One summer I took his course on liberation movements. The first day, he asked us: How old were you when you learned to stop asking questions?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

289/365 CB

Generous of time, talent, and spirit. The day we met, he was the babysitter in the kitchen already prepping dinner. I don’t think my friend said cabana boy, but she offered some similar term. I wonder if the servicing-the-desperate-housewives rumors about him are true.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

288/365 Jerry

salvaged old canoe canvas for paintings, keeping the irregular torn edges. Mine’s nailed to a leafy dark board; the canvas captures five marshed bitterns, a bird I’ve never even heard in the wild. The subtle colors seem unlike her, and yet I’m guessing not.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

287/365 Another Heidi

social activist, midwife, lost a Latin lover to leukemia, later fell in love with her nephew’s other aunt (a complicated breakup, that). Now she’s mom in a traditional family. After so much pain on the road to her dream, I hope it’s blissfully fulfilling.

Monday, November 13, 2006

286/365 Another Roger

started fly fishing only last year, and he’s taken to it like a—well, you know. A fish to water. He’s got the enthusiasm of the freshly converted and has probably been out more times than I have in the past ten years. Fanatic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

285/365 Mary Ellen

stoutly refuses to attend the fire hall’s annual wild game supper, says she can’t even stand the smell of it. She sends her family, then relishes the time alone. I love this fall ritual, but it shocks my aging body. Still, venison meat loaf . . .

Saturday, November 11, 2006

284/365 A Sixth Tom

was different from the rest of his family, five or six generations of whom had stayed put in that Pennsylvania town. Possibly he’s most like his Slovakian forefather, a guy who knew when it was time to leave things behind and try something new.

Computer hiatus: Major difficulties. I'll post when I can find Internet access. My apologies for any long silences.

Friday, November 10, 2006

283/365 Maude

Really, what did I expect? I’d answered her office e-mail offering up Joan Armatrading tickets, for godsake. But with her name, I was expecting someone . . . older. Straighter. Something about her took my breath away. Not that she remotely noticed. Anyway, the concert was good.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

282/365 Perry

Our state rep needed petition signatures, so he went where the people’d be on Saturday morning: the dump. We were new in town, and only registered voters could sign, so he administered the Freeman’s Oath to us right then and there. Welcome to Vermont.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

281/365 Joanne

asks me to fold my ballot once more before I push it into the box. Turnout’s been high, the day’s not halfway done, and thrice-folded ballots have been easier to shove further down with a ruler. I return the pencil on my way out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

280/365 Judith

I didn’t know there was a wrong way to color until my first-grade teacher scolded me for letting my crayons wander outside the lines. Despite this slight, I was the one to get help when she fell backward off a chair, knocking herself out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

279/365 Danielle

My hairdresser’s beauty dwarfs everything near it; I look at her in the mirror as she works. Her hair-color changes captivate, as does her accent. Our bimonthly gossip is missing only a sturdy bar to lean against and the pause of a glass raised.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

278/365 Another Jim

His driving us to the airport, letting us leave our car at his place for two weeks, then picking us up again seems an utterly selfless act. It bears a sweetness that can be tasted and savored, a sweetness never meant to be repaid.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

277/365 Pam

She was a chubby kid—chubbier than me, even—til suddenly, in eighth grade, she got skinny and began dating one of the most classically cute guys in school. We stopped walking home together, and I never heard Bowie’s “Changes” in her room again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

276/365 Max

shared the same fortieth birthday as Godzilla, a fact not lost on his birthday party, the first real fun I’d had the monstrous week Tim and I began commutermarriaging, Tim off to a land where there were fewer buildings to crush and toss about.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

275/365 Philippa,

political liberal, can’t escape her British class-system roots, will never be able to not know a fellow countryman’s background. Even here, she’ll casually drop shocking comments regarding the local hoi polloi (things most of us have guiltily thought). I rather adore her cringeworthy bluntness.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

274/365 Gail

was the queen bee, the honey that made the office flow and things stick. MDs and PhDs buzzed around, relied on her for scheduling, production, gatekeeping, overall mechanics. Without her, they’d be nothing. Imagine who she might’ve been had she been born with money.