Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peach Sangria: The drink no summer party should be without.

Yes, friends, I'm giving you the recipe. You can thank me later. (I gave you the recipe for the Pad Thai a while ago. If I weren't so lazy I'd link to it.) I call this a "summer" drink, but I'll not pretend we won't be drinking the stuff year-round.
White Peach Sangria

2 Bottles dry white wine (you can use the cheap stuff)
1 Small(est) Bottle Absolut Peach Vodka (the smallest bottle costs $8-$9 Roof Bros, behind the counter)
12 Tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 Cup white sugar
1 lb peaches pitted and sliced
3/4 cup seedless white grapes, halved
3/4 cup seedless green grapes, halved

1. In a large pitcher, combine dry white wine, peach vodka, lemonade concentrate and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced peaches, red and green grapes.
2. Refrigerate sangria until well chilled, at least 2 hrs or overnight to blend flavors. Serve over ice, and use a slotted spoon to include sliced peaches and grapes with each serving.

This recipe makes enough for a gaggle-of-girls dinner party with four rowdy participants drinking at a very brisk pace, but not quite enough for a pool party of eight (should have doubled it for that event!). Once the liquid is gone, the soaked fruit is delicious, but packs a powerful wallop. You've been warned.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rocky Raccoon

A raccoon I photographed this afternoon lollygagging in a tree on a branch about 25 feet above the ground. He was clearly enjoying flirting with us from his safe perch. [click for larger version]

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Letter to my 20-year-old Self

Dear 20-year-old Suzanne:

No, you are not going to die any time soon.

If you were going to die any time soon, there wouldn’t be anything you could do about it but live each and every second being fully conscious, present, and attentive to that moment. But that's how you should always live. Remember: This is the lesson.

Stop being a drama queen. It’s not all about you.

Wear tighter jeans, lower cut tops, and bare more skin in general. It’s all nice and small and perky and firmly packed right now. This will not always be the case.

You are an artist.

Nice job on valuing your friendships. This is a skill that will save your life on more than one occasion.

Hard work and knowledge and education and experience and integrity are great, but these are not always the qualities that get people ahead in this world. Stop being surprised and learn to cultivate your connections and talk a big fat line of BS when necessary.

Everything's going to be okay.

All you need is love.

You’ll feel better when you’re 35.


PS You turn out to be a dog person! Who knew?

What WOULD you say to your 20-year-old self?

I came across a link on my cousin Amy's Facebook page to this NPR story. Cassie Boorn (pictured above), a 22-year-old blogger, having found herself in need of advice, decided to pose the question, "What would you say to your 20-year-old self?" to bloggers on the internet in general.

Can you even imagine how much I love this concept?

Read the responses Cassie received right here. There's also a link on the page for you to submit to your own letter. I can't think of a single blogger I read whose letter I wouldn't find absolutely fascinating. You should totally do it. (And yes, my own letter is comin' right up.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Color of the Year

Still not many words. It does not escape me that I've stopped writing and started decorating. Slathering on rich, satisfying paint color and obsessing about shapes and scale and placement and lamps. Apparently, I need a creative outlet of one kind or another. There is something so hugely satisfying about putting my stamp on a space in a big way. It is, in some deeply fundamental way, a HUGE RELIEF (??). The charcoal paint color is something I've been dreaming about for years. The turquoise is a color that has called to me my entire life. Most recently in my travels. The waters of Key West are turquoise; to me it is the color of the Caribbean. Many of many of the pools and lakes of Yellowstone are turquoise. I've always been opposed to blue painted walls but...turquoise. Turquoise is something else entirely.

In fact, turquoise, it just so happens, is the Pantone Color of the Year. I ask you, who knows color like Pantone? (And well, obviously of course, me.) Nobody, that's who. Here's what Pantone has to say about this luscious hue:

Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, Turquoise evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a languorous, effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of wellbeing. “In many cultures, Turquoise occupies a very special position in the world of color,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “It is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, and a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky. Through years of color word-association studies, we also find that Turquoise represents an escape to many – taking them to a tropical paradise that is pleasant and inviting, even if only a fantasy.”

Whether envisioned as a tranquil ocean surrounding a tropical island or a protective stone warding off evil spirits, Turquoise is a color that most people respond to positively. It is universally flattering, has appeal for men and women, and translates easily to fashion and interiors. With both warm and cool undertones, Turquoise pairs nicely with any other color in the spectrum. Turquoise adds a splash of excitement to neutrals and browns, complements reds and pinks, creates a classic maritime look with deep blues, livens up all other greens, and is especially trend-setting with yellow-greens.

Hemingway's Pool

Also significant is that turquoise was the official color of my paternal Grandmother's 90th birthday not too long ago. This grandmother has come to be referred to by me as Micro Minnie the Pocket Grandma--she's small but she's mighty. Here's her cake:

And here's Micro-Minnie herself flanked at her party by several of my cousins and their dad and their kids. NOTE! Turquoise dress (of course):

Clearly, I come by the love of turquoise honestly. I've also lately become addicted to and inspired by checking out House of Turquoise every day. What about you? Is there a color that inspires you? One that you are repeatedly drawn to? One that you have A History with? What is it?

I assure you, you should surround yourself with it. At least a little bit.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Another grainy photo from the Blackberry. Today I switched out the black cabinet end tables in the living room, trading them for the white tables originally in the bedroom. Which do I like better? Should I leave it this way? Definitely, the 2-drawer end tables as a practical matter work better in the bedroom giving me an additional four deep drawers for my constantly overflowing wardrobe (married or single, rich or poor, the condition mysteriously persists). Though it's not pictured, the black end tables darken up the charcoal bedroom considerably. Of course, I begin to consider painting them....because I'm...CRAZY!

Have an opinion? Leave it in the comments. Or go ahead and leave me to my overthinking madness. I probably deserve it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Turquoise: First Look

It's grainy and taken with my Blackberry, but here's a first look at my turquoise accent wall in the living room. I'm seriously ready to make out with those lamps in back seat of my '60 Chevy. I had other (white) lamps all picked out, then saw the turquoise globes (Pier 1). It was...all over! Obviously, I plan to actually get around to hanging the Doisneau and the mirrors rather than leave them leaning on the back of the couch. I have more painting to do and, hopefully, I will get better photos at some point with the good camera. The paint color is actually more vivid than it appears here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Bedroom (Cont'd)

Still no words to speak of, but plenty of design news today. I completed wall two of the bedroom. Here I pan to the right--you can see the right edge of the Palmer painting featured in my last post--as I photograph the first edge of the newly finished wall:

Yes, it's a little blurry and there's a glare, but I'm tired. This image does not do the lady in the drawing justice (formerly the lady in my hallway), a Christmas present from my mother. The lady simply HAD to relocate to the luscious new digs. Here's the entire wall:

Can you even? I know I can't. What can I say? LOVE. But it's been a bit of a bitch getting here what with me having to contend with a hefty set of plantation blinds pretty seriously interfering with me hanging those yummy watered silk pinstriped drapes. In the end, it would take screws, nails, and all the powers of the Bosch 10.8 volt Litheon i-Driver with Quick-Change Chuck along with the VERY LIBERAL application of four-letter words to get them exactly where I wanted them (they just graze the floor...BY. GOD.). The other piece of art many Paducahans may recall as a pulled print etching of the Texaco by former Lowertown artist Mark Barone. Near as I can figure, the only thing missing in this bedroom of artistic wonders is one of Nikki May's latest works of ladies sketched in her antique book.

Much has been made over at Facebook about the ceiling fixture in this room; a hideous thing that I've taken to calling the boob light:

Yes. MUST go. This newly sophisticated space simply cannot BEAR the now highly offensive stench of the boob light much longer. I found the perfect fixture at IKEA which, naturally, isn't available except in-store (the closest to me of which is in Chicago or Cincinatti). I may settle for this which is much like the IKEA fixture:

Obviously, the fixture is less about style than the need to better light the art in the room but even as utilitarian as it is, it is a huge step up from the boob light.

Also, today's special design find, a tiny (!) lamp from Pier One:

I had to have two, of course, to light my dresser.

Otherwise, Tallulah, for one, is very happy in the newly evolved space. You see her below in a photo I snapped from my blackberry this morning She is settled in to my favorite spot in the bed all ready for another long day of observing me going about my labors. It's exhausting for her, you know. Really.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And...MORE charcoal.

The original plan was to paint only my bedroom charcoal. I bought the lamps, the bedding and curtains (to be photographed later) and chose the paint (Behr, Dark Granite) at least a year and a half ago (exactly at the time I became taken up with school) with the intention of bringing it all together in the bedroom. Meanwhile, the charcoal paint crept on to first one, and then another kitchen wall. I've had to take a couple of days off work and firmly commit myself to finally turning my attention to the bedroom to make this happen. I'm thrilled with the result. I had thought to use a large vintage metal Coca-Cola sign for a headboard (some readers my remember it from my erstwhile Lowertown barn), but once complete, the look was far too sophisticated for so folksy a touch. Nothing but the Mark Palmer painting would do!

Not that I'm finished or anything. I've got more painting to do and curtains to hang and I will likely replace the tired old ceiling fixture that looks like a boob. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Charcoal: The obsession continues

So, I should have taken a before shot. But here's the after of my latest painted kitchen wall. Dark, velvety charcoal. Isn't it delicious?

For comparison, at the upper left-hand corner, you can see where the charcoal ends. As I was pondering the spot ("Where the Charcoal Ends") last night, I imagined the charcoal side is lively, vivid life and the weak yellow side but a pale imitation.

Swear to God, I'm working on a longer post. I have not abandoned or forgotten my little blog and, I promise, I will be back in my usual form sooner rather than later. Thanks for your patience.

You know I love ya more'n my luggage.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

San Francisco: The Trip in Photos

Oh my gosh, you guys. I am tired. And I have edited and uploaded these pictures I don't know HOW MANY TIMES...OY VEY! Anyway. If you are interested in seeing the captions that go with the photos, you can flip thru here.

[Note to my Dad: Hit "play" and then in the bottom corner of the photos hit the button that has four arrows. This should maximize the photos to the size of your screen.]

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BART, Baby!

Two geography tests, a mountain of work-work, a much-needed hair trim, and one hell of stressful packing situation all stand between me and my upcoming trip with my two BFs to the City by the Bay. But that all just got okay, because only moments ago, I pulled out of my very own mailbox, MY BART CARD! WOOOOOO! It is pictured above in blurry--but still discernible--glory.

That's right, people...

She's got a ticket to rye-hide! She's got a ticket to rye-high-hide! She's got a ticket to ride!

And she don't care!

[I'll be taking my laptop and camera and, by God, I plan to post! Don't quote me on this. Especially if tequila becomes involved.]

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I was sitting on a bar stool this weekend drinking the traditional Sunday Bloody Mary talking over the details of my friend Nikki's (pictured above with BF Ricky) new love affair (she calls it a "de-briefing", I call it a "post-mortem"; potato potahto). And if it were anyone but Nikki, in the interest of privacy, I wouldn't have even written the previous sentence. But anyone who knows Nikki knows that her life is Out There. She has carried on a long-distance romance for the last several months culminating in a real life first-time meeting a few days ago completely played out, in words and pictures, in front of 901 of her closest Facebook friends. Thankfully, the relationship is working. But if it wasn't? It wouldn't be working in front of her 901 closest Facebook friends as well.

That's just Nikki.

And, despite my proclivity for writing in this blog in public and for anyone in the whole wide world to see (many thanks to both my readers), I still consider myself a private person, much MUCH more so than Nikki. As she put it yesterday,

"I'm transparent. You're...opaque."

And although I share many details of my life here, it's true, I am opaque. In fact, I am a little crazy private with the exception of to a trusted inner circle of friends. But...still. As I've written before and in more than one blog post before that I am, for some reason, always haunted (maybe even obsessed) by the notion that I shouldn't be. That opaqueness is overrated. I can never quite shake the feeling that my reticence is holding me back from...something. Maybe because when I do overcome it? Stuff like this comes out. Stuff that I feel way better about that my usual blog fodder.

As it happens, at the same restaurant where Nikki and I were enjoying our Bloody Marys, some other friends of mine were hanging out in another section. I ran into them on the way out and in their party was a friend who writes for the Tribune. Of course I had to ask this friend if he knows Roger Ebert, my favorite movie critic and movie columnist, which lead to a conversation about Ebert's frail health and then a subsequent Googling.

Friends, if you haven't seen Roger Ebert in a while, prepare for a shock because this is what Roger Ebert looks like these days:

Talk about your transparent. The photograph above is from this excellent piece on Ebert by Chris Jones in Esquire. You can read Ebert's thoughts about his situation as well as the Esquire piece in his blog right here. Ebert has this to say about the photo:

I got a jolt from the full-page photograph of my jaw drooping. Not a lovely sight. But then I am not a lovely sight, and in a moment I thought, well, what the hell. It's just as well it's out there. That's how I look, after all.

Despite it all, Ebert continues to work, goes on, continues to watch and review films, and, as always he shares the details of his life pretty unflinchingly. Like Nikki. Totally unlike me. I continue to wrestle, for reasons I don't even begin understand, with the question of my opaqueness. I continue to resist transparency.

But I admire the hell out of those who don't.
[Photo Credits: Nikki #1, Ricky #2]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

iLove it: The Oscars

Get my take on this year's Oscar race right here at iList. Don't miss your chance to attend the gala Oscar event planned at Maiden Alley Cinema on March 7th. Cast your vote and get all the details here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Reindeer Games on Truman Drive

As always, I posted a link to my last entry on Facebook and it sparked a discussion about whether or not there exists any photographic evidence of me in my teacher garb. Sadly, I don't believe any pictures were ever taken; all that elaborate imaginary gaming was so the norm on Truman Drive as to go completely unnoticed. Just as me randomly engaging in five-minute handstands leaned against the hallway wall or studying my multiplication tables while sitting in the splits in order to prolong my stretch time was just another day in "Normal". Yes, the name of the town in which I lived.

It's occurring to me that I was a weird kid. Or, let's say, weirder than I ever before considered.

You see above Exhibit #2. Photographic evidence of my weirdness that DOES exist. That is me on the left and my cousin Diana on the right. I am still suffering from the Chocolate Hair virus. We are near to exactly the same age; a span of only three months separates our birth dates. We would have been 14-15 years old here (several years past my aforementioned teaching phase). This is our attempt at dressing terribly fashionably and then being insufferably cool posers while having our picture made by my mother with the 110 Kodak. We were far too haute to smile. It may be hard to tell by looking, but we have as much make-up on our faces as humanly possible; peer closely and you can tell our eyes are lined with what appears to be blue-gray crayon.

I have to, on some level, hand it to myself, I guarantee I staged that scene and masterminded both looks. As clothes go, it isn't too far off what was probably considered at least a little cool back then? I was an eager monthly student of all my Mom's Cosmos and Vogues and had my own subscription to Seventeen.

On the other hand....BWA HA HA! The flowers? No idea. Perhaps I thought them just the right additional touch. Baby's breath is, after all, so avante guarde. Kind of like those rich gold curtains and the plush, deep shag carpeting beneath our feet. It was the seventies, people. And we were rockin' it.

As it turned out, this was near the end of my time on Truman Drive. Six months after this picture was taken, my parents would split, and my connection to Diana interrupted in a way that, as life turned out, would not ever really recover. If you had told our younger selves that the day this picture was made, in June of 1978, we would not have believed you.

Monday, February 01, 2010

1801 Truman Drive

As it happens, I visited the exact site where this post took place just now. You see above, in all its glory, 1801 Truman Drive. My apologies for how dark that photo is [edited to add: this photo should appear somewhat improved now]. For various reasons, I do not have access to photo editing software and the house was terribly back lit (and I had only my bberry at the ready). You can likely tell the place is your average 1970s generican house, but like any one's childhood home (I lived there ages 7-15) it holds more memories for me than this beige exterior suggests. In my youth, the house was painted a barn red, was wood rather than vinyl sided, and those are not the original windows.

Like many houses on the frozen central Illinois tundra, the place features a full basement which equated for me to an enormous skating rink. Or rather it was what I THOUGHT was enormous at the time. (It is still enormous in my mind.) An average Saturday morning back in those days here would find me bounding out of bed, hopping down the steps, lacing on my skates, queueing up the soundtrack to, say, "Oklahoma" on my pea green record player and skating in endless circles as I sang along. I knew every word and note; the same can be said of the "Wizard of Oz" soundtrack, the "Sound of Music" soundtrack and others. I was a very show-tuney kid.

One corner of the basement was devoted full-time to my "classroom". In those days, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I would grow up and be a teacher, an ambition that I now find abhorrent. Regardless, the corner classroom was elaborate and perpetually in session in case the mood struck me do to a little lecturing. I had a stand-up chalkboard, a bulletin board that changed seasonally (themed--pumpkins in October, snowflakes in the winter, hearts in February, etc.), my teacher's desk, an authentic gradebook just like the teachers used, curriculum books, and desks filled with my dolls and stuffed animals as students. Each student had a profile, there was the "smart" student, my doll, Elizabeth, the middle-of-the-road student, my stuffed Rabbit, and the problem student, Charlie, my ventriloquist doll who never studied or made more than a "D" and was constantly disruptive in class. Despite my best efforts, Charlie never improved as a student.

Don't think I was teaching in my street clothes and my skates either. Oh, heavens no. The getting ready for a teaching session often lasted as long or longer than the session itself. I had a separate wardrobe for my teacher self which included hand-me-down dresses from my cousins that I found appropriate, or cast-offs from my Mother's extensive (and I do mean extensive) wardrobe. My teacher's garb included high-heels, always skirts. And make-up. Full-face make-up with lots and LOTS blush, robin's egg blue eye-shadow and Maybelline Great Lash. (The make-up also culled from my Mom's cast-offs). Once appropriately dressed, powdered and coiffed (think Aqua Net), there was much time devoted to the choosing of the proper Teaching Jewelry. For this aspect of The Look, I had access to my own as well as my mother's jewelry boxes. Often, The Look would require earrings, necklace, bracelet AND a pin in order to make the proper statement. As a final, but still not-to-be-taken-lightly step, the Proper Perfume was spritzed on liberally. Very. Liberally. Normally, I chose from my own collection for same: Babe, Charlie, Love's Baby Soft, Heaven Scent, or Cache. Usually Cache. Cache was Serious Perfume. For Serious Teachers.

Once transformed, I spent a considerable amount scrutinizing my teacher self in the mirror from every angle, verifying that, indeed, I had perfectly captured the The Look. After that, I decorously pranced down the basement steps to face the daunting task of pounding the three R's into the reluctant heads of my students.

It was a lot of work.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I don't know...

Seriously. Am I ever going to start blogging again?

I don't know.

What happened last night?

I don't know.

But it was HILARIOUSLY funny. Like, so funny that I couldn't stop laughing. And thinking to myself,

HA HA HA, self! This is going to make one HILARIOUS blog post. AMAZING short story...HA HA HA! Boy, howdy, it's just WRITING ITS-OWN-SELF up in here! BWA HA! You can't make this shit up, self!

And then I woke up this morning. With my cell phone plugged into a charger that wasn't, in turn, plugged in to an outlet. And pretty much no recollection of what happened last night save for the thoughts outlined above.

It wasn't until tonight (24 hrs later) that I realized I have photographs taken last night stored on my blackberry. These are my friends. Wearing a cap that says, (because the photos make it too blurry to read), "Armed and Dangerous".

Folks? Let me tell you. Last night? This was THE FUNNIEST SHIT EVER. Armed and Dangerous...HA HA HA! Get it? "Armed and dangerous". Wow. It was pee-your-pants funny at the time, I assure you.

And then there was this. This was one very HILARIOUS and also very MEANINGFUL GESTURE last night:

Yah. No idea.

I think I had fun last night. I for sure need a notebook. And a crayon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Ghost of a Winter Past

[First, a windy preface. Let me just go ahead an apologize for the lack of posting right now. This blog has been through dry spells before but never quite like this. While it's true that I'm taken up with work and school (but school again only very recently) and my social life, there's something else afoot. My last post of any substance was a bit of an oversharing departure, and often now when I sit down to write, something entirely different than my usual, chirpy blog fodder comes out. It is, in a word, The past. I'm not sure what to make of it--is it just therapy? Is it part of a larger story that needs telling? Is my blog voice gone? (Gotta say--doubt it.)

I've written here before about the creative process. It's a thing that is a little scary to me in that I'm not always consciously in control of what I write--oh I don't mean I fall into a trance-like state and channel the Almighty--but it's not entirely unlike that, either. Except in this case the Almighty is just me (and let me interject here that I think I just might be the Almighty and that you just might be too but that's a whole 'nother story). In any case, what I'm saying is that I can sit down to write about the weather or what happened at the drive-thru but then find myself for no particular reason at all back in 1974 sitting in my Dad's Gran Torino. Or smoking Marlboro Lights watching the Anita Hill testimony in 1992. I don't know why. I do know that when I write about the past, details that I would have thought were long forgotten come back to me. In technicolor. It's all still there. And writing is the miner's pick that unearths it.

To make a long story longer, the following is an example of one of my flights of fancy into my past. It's totally pedestrian, but it's a page-filler; a blog-safe example what comes out when I write these days.

To assuage my guilty conscience, and because I love you guys, I post it for those of you still pining for my blog fodder. Both of you.]


I was talking to a friend the other day about the changing definition of "Dad". This friend is my age, and we agreed that when we were kids, a "Dad" was something entirely different than it is today. Today? A Dad might quit his job to stay home with and attend Gymboree classes with his baby. Or, today's Dad might whip a delicious gourmet dinner for his family. He might even be a Room "Father". Okay, so I made that last one up. (Does anybody remember Room Mothers anymore? Do they still have those?).

Let me assure you, these are not the kind of "Dads" those of us of a certain age grew up with. Back in our day (the old lady reminisced, one liver spotted hand pressed thoughtfully to a withered cheek), Dads were forces to be reckoned with. They did not cook. They did not play (generally speaking). They were Serious about Stuff.

Dads were all about Work. Going to Work. Staying at Work. Working overtime. Getting Work done.

Weekends were a dangerous time with Dad. Because he might notice you lollygagging around sucking up all the oxygen and put YOU to Work. Your best bet was to slink off and be unobtrusive on the weekends. Just get the hell outta there, hop on your banana seat bike (with a playing card attached with a clothes pin so it made satisfying flapping sounds as it slapped the rolling spokes) and pedal your lazy little butt on over to a friend's house (no cell phones...HA!) until the Dad danger had passed.

Dads got up Early. They Made Good Time. They calculated gas mileage. They Grilled Meat (This is NOT to be confused with cooking. Proper grilling was a manly task.) They tended lush green weed-free lawns.

Dads ate red meat. And potatoes. And fried chicken. If they were feeling REALLY crazy? They ate spaghetti ("eye-talian food").

Above all, back then, Dads were the Keepers of the Car. This was extra Serious Business. The Oil must be Changed. The Tires must be Rotated. Only a certain brand of gasoline could be burned. If another brand of gasoline had to be burned it could cause the worse thing ever. It could cause...KNOCKING.

If the engine knocked? You could be rest assured it was going to be a very, very bad day. And if the dreaded knocking was going to happen? It was usually at start up in the driveway.

The setting here, then, is a brutally cold Central Illinois winter. I am eleven years old. My parents both worked at the same large company and thus rode to work together each day. They also deposited me at school on their way. Which is how the whole fam ended up in the car together M-F at an obscenely early hour. It went a little something like this:

(Turns the key.)

(The engine springs to life. Dad revs the motor.)

Rrrrrrraaaaaarrrrrrr. RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAR.

Gaaaawd DAMN.

What...WHAT IS IT?

(Glancing up from my book in the back seat. I'm reading my latest "Little House on the Prairie" installment: "These Happy Golden Years." For the third time.)


(More revving...)

(Putting a palm to her throat and glancing frantically around the driveway outside the car.)
What?! No....WHAT?

(Now a little red-faced. He revs again. ONLY LOUDER.)


(shouting over the engine revving)
You mean to tell me you don't HEAR THAT DAMN KNOCKING?!

(Calming down.)
Oh, uh, yes. Yes, I think I do hear it.

(Eye roll. She doesn't hear it. Back to my book.)

(still revving)



(Dad leaps from the car and pops the hood. Despite it being the dead of a frigid Midwest winter, the heat is not yet on. Because you have to let the car warm up first. Always. )



(She draws a silver tube of lipstick from her purse along with a compact and begins expertly reapplying her bright pink lipstick.)

Oh, GOSH, we're going to be here all day.

No, we won't. It won't be all day.
(She carefully slides a Kleenex between her lips, blotting them with a practiced motion, then purses them into a pout as she studies her reflection and re-checks her eyeliner.)

Do you have any gum?

(She drops the compact and lipstick back in her purse and halves her last piece of Doublemint with me. We begin popping our gum in stereo. Dad returns to the car bringing with him a sub-zero blast of arctic winter air.)

Can we turn on the heat yet?

(Slams the car door, cocks his head slightly left, and with squinted eyes begins listening intently.)

(Simultaneously stop popping our gum.)


(Exhales a defeated sigh, draws a Winston from the depths of his topcoat and lights up.)

Are we going?

(Peers at her incredulously through the smoke cloud he has just exhaled.)
We can't just drive around in a car that's knocking like this.


I have a test today.

(I liked school. I was a freak.)

Well, we should go back into the house. It's awfully cold out here.

Understand, my Dad is, at this point, facing a veritable "Sophie's Choice". Will he pick work or will he pick the car? How can a man pick between the two?