Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dinner tonight.

August 29, El Cerrito.

Mostly I'm by myself with the babies.
So. It's 10:15 PM and I haven't gotten around to eating dinner yet.

Like a feather.

August 27, El Cerrito.

Thinking again about the New Orleans stories. The attachment to home, universal, my home, my land, my country, the rest of us mavericks in their wanderings, no strings attached and home is where the heart is, and my babies.
The lightness of being!

View from the parking lot, Playland.

Monday, August 20, 2007


August 20, El Cerrito.

An NPR story last week, reading Harper's magazine sitting on my stoop in the morning, after Nicolas has fallen back asleep and before Dylan wakes up, soaking in the sun, unusually warm these past few days, watching the kitties that have set up house outside the trailer, fast becoming adopted, Tintin et Milou or Azamat and Borat, depending on the day, the picture of cute, what else.
What it boils down to is people going into depression, even wanting to commit suicide down in Louisiana because they're living in trailers "meant for short vacation trips," (the NPR story,) the grief of losing a house, ie a life (Duncan Murrell on the dying of New Orleans since Katrina,) and I find myself more baffled than moved, struggling to understand, struggling to feel that loss he writes about, the despair the Katrina evacuees talk about.
I went online after listening to the NPR story, I wanted to see the trailer park, the trailers, maybe then I could relate. The trailers were brand new and the park looked like a dream place to unhitch any trailer, junk or new; it was green and roomy, shaded by tall pines, I would go wild with the gardening there, remembering how I tried to scrape life out of that solid-packed dirt area the exact size of my trailer I called my front yard out in Rubidoux.
As for losing a home I can't speak for it because it has never happened to me, but I find it equally hard to understand how a heap of belongings can so much define you that you feel such unspeakable grief over the loss of it. The writing in Harper's is masterly, harsh and dreamy and beautifully evocative but the reality it interprets escapes me.
Because things happen that way, at the same time I was reading those stories I met a Romanian woman at the playgrounds and she talked about how people in this country have so much, and of course they don't seem to know it (what else?) She and her husband emigrated to this country after their daughter came here to go to school and never returned. She talked about how hard it was in the beginning here, missing home, even though home was where she never even knew a washing machine until 1992; she talked about her mother, who worked until she was 93 and never felt depressed a day in her life, about living ten to a room, raising her children on a Romanian school teacher salary, about the Communist regime taking all her "bourgeois" family belongings away after World War II, everything wiped off; she used the term bourgeois, it had the sound of a dusted, discarded antique, it sounded so European, and so odd, like her Eastern European memories in the America of this age of affluence and ease.

Friedman, Fridman.

August 15, El Cerrito.

The in-laws came to visit this week. Sheyla, Fridman's sister, her boyfriend, Alain, and their eight-month-old boy, Friedman, just left on a plane back to Dallas, Texas, after driving over and spending five short days with us. Sheyla named her son like her brother, my Fridman, except she spelled it the way it's spelled as a family name so it wouldn't be misspelled all the time. It fits a baby even less than an adult and had to fight its way out of my mouth.
At least he won't have to carry such heavy expectations: she also liked Rembrandt.

Monday, August 06, 2007


August 5, El Cerrito.

It's been a drizzly-grizzly day.
I'm loving it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The carnival.

The fair.

August 5, El Cerrito.

Away to the carnival in Turlock yesterday to drop Fridman off.
It's the Central Valley, it's hot, it's dusty, it's a world away from the Bay Area. The carnival is Butler Amusements, the company that raked in most of the crew workers from Chimera when the circus closed last month. It's a huge affair, an array of "sleepers" lined up behind the fairgrounds, and private trailers, and trucks, a small city on the move.
The fairgrounds are crowded, it's the annual county fair. Fridman wants Dylan to see the cows, we watch the milking operation, the two of us mesmerized, city folks that we are, really. Afternoons taking pictures of county fairs in rural Illinois, pacing the stalls and chatting up the farmers all come rushing back with the smells, the heat, the sweat, with the sight of Four-H kids meticulously caring for their prized animals, blond heads, long legs, young boys on the verge of adulthood, cheeks flushed, the girls all business, not to be disregarded, whole families meeting, the fathers upfront, shaking hands, the grandfathers, the wives, the babies behind, and everybody is there because it's the big get-together of the year.
The carnival is mostly the noise of the rides and the sullen looks of the men in the stands, one job short of drifters, but also the families, the young Dads with tattoos, and the teenagers, girls and boys all about hanging, the mating game, groups of them eyeing each other, the girls squealing on the rides, the boys tight-mouthed, hormones in full swing. The afternoon air is charged with their whispers.
It was tough for my darling husband. His first job outside of the circus, like a fish out of the water, struggling for air he seemed, agonizing for days on end over the decision whether to sign up or not, there was another possibility and it was a circus one and better paid but he would have been away from us for three months, he would have missed his son's birthday a second time, so he took a big adult step and went to the carnival.
Oh but there are circus people there.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


August 1, El Cerrito.

Peanut turned four months yesterday.
Dylan kisses him all the time - then us, then the gorilla on the book cover, then the model in the fashion magazine, so we can't really say for sure what it means that he kisses him all the time.


July 28, El Cerrito.

An Argentinian couple moving to Spain was having a garage sale over the week end a few blocks from where we are and we could have furnished our whole future-imagined-hoped for house with the stuff they were practically giving away, almost new: a bright red Ikea sofa, a futon sofa-bed, spiffy-looking bookshelves, two twin beds with good mattresses, you could have all that and more for under $200. I was dying to buy the Ikea sofa, but where to put it? I would have settled for outside as trailer patio furniture but Fridman wouldn't have it.
We got a smaller bargain, a dollar for a pair of remote toy cars, one of which even works, and a haircutting machine, the kind that gives you a military-looking edge, also for a buck.
And so Dylan got his first haircut. I wanted it so bad, the tangled hair was driving me crazy, and we had to cut off a chunk of back hair the other day because there was no way to untangle it, and now I look at him and I want to cry for the baby I lost. He looks as if he'd grown overnight into a child, the baby dissolved, cast off like the hair, a memory now.
I want my baby back, I who cringed under the slow pace of Dylan-baby days only last year. I want my baby back before he heads off to school and I lose him even more, before he's off to college with a wave of the hand and kiss on my cheek. They were right in the end then, time does go by too fast.
Only he was never mine, was he.

Before and after.