Her hair might be curly, but her head's on straight.

When she was four years old, my older sister covered herself head to toe in mud, including what had been a brand spankin' new outfit all in white, but left a half-inch perimeter around her hairline and eyes. My mom's weird sixth sense told her Julia would end up completely on the opposite side of the cleanliness spectrum and took a picture to guard against possible denial. The photograph shows her on our sidewalk with bemused grin and grimy fingers still playing with the stickiness of the mud on her left palm.

Freshman year of high school Julia was my ride to school. Every single day I was ready at least five minutes after she wanted to leave. Things got thrown, words got screamed, but she never once left me.

We didn't talk much about boys and things; no one in our family did. But when I had sex for the first time, she was the only person I could think to call.

Once we were going to a holiday party with all her friends in Richmond, and she was wearing a pair of nice black pumps with one of the heels held on with packing tape.

She has a crush on her yoga teacher. I take from the same teacher at a studio here in DC, so she begged me not to tell him that she slept through his class last week.

She says her lifelong problem of not being able to tell right from left has actually helped her mirror her students when she teaches yoga. "If I never knew it was supposed to be my right hand, I can just assign a new name to it for an hour and a half."

She doesn't follow sports, but she made a spreadsheet for her office NCAA tournament pool and won. Happy Birthday, Julia.


Lasting relationships

My parents did long-distance for the past six years while my dad was in graduate school. For the last two Mom has mostly been in Atlanta with him, but at first, it was only on the weekends. In those initial visits, they would pick out a nice restaurant, listen to a concert, or browse in a bookstore, back to back, turning to each other with their finds.

His dissertation is on the optimal frequency, trajectory, and amount of fuel injection in diesel engines. She is a high school French teacher who has not had a math class since 1970. But she sits and nods, listening to him puzzle over a graph that isn't the expected shape, asking for laywoman's clarification, saying "write the next five pages. Leave this for tomororw morning."

My dad huffs from bedroom closet to kitchen to utility room. When he finally turns around, confused look on his face, ready to ask, "Janice, where are my keys?" they're in her extended hand.

My mother and I were looking over her wedding photo album last summer while we were planning my older sister's ceremony. She paused on a page with a picture of my dad staring out a window, hands in pockets, and then one of my grandmother adjusting Mom's veil. "We were such kids," with almost disdain in her voice. Then she looks up. More matter-of-factly, "still kids. But not nervous anymore."

Whenever my father goes to the store, the bank, the post office, he wants my mother to come with him. It isn't just that he wants to make mundane tasks fun, it's that he doesn't want to miss out on time with her. After thirty-one years. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.


And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

I know I said no more two sentence posts about my day, but I have to tell someone what just happened. My office is situated right next to the bay area: you know, printer, fax machine, office supplies, bulletin board, administrative assistant. Heavy-set black woman in her mid-thirties. I can hear her engaged in telephone calls all day long. Which is fine, I just shut my door, turn up my music, and give my section an imaginary pat on the back for being so self-sufficient. Right now my door is ajar because my economist was just in here. And what comes trailing in from the bay area but the wavering strains of,

I just called...to say...I love yoo-ooo-ooou!

I shit you not. The kicker: during the serenade, the second line was ringing, possibly with an actual business call, but it went unanswered.


Collecting resumed

A while ago I decided that I wasn't going to put up any filler any more, no two sentence "here's a story from my routine today" posts. I always wanted this to be less frequent, more thoughtful writings, and I figured I just had to hold myself to that. That decision gave me an excuse to delay any writing at all, a vicious procrastination habit from school that dies hard. Even harder without academia's deadlines. Not to mention I have been legitimately busy, without internet access sometimes.

No more excuses, I'm going to try to post a couple of times a week from here on out. But this is a great opportunity for me to suggest to my three readers to subscribe via feed. My favorite feed reader is bloglines.

Now I just have to decide whether to finish the six now outdated drafts I have started...