deadly semantics

"People get uptight about the most bizarre things," Jeff said, nodding, as I showed him the pictures. I agreed.

I'd been zeroing in on a sweet little parking space at the store when the battered blue Dodge had caught my eye. I tossed my car into 'park' after whipping around the row, and had my camera ready before I walked by the car.

While I'm legally allowed to photograph cars, I prefer to do it as inobtrusively as possible.

Unwanted souvenirs

First, before you read, see these photos of the Washington Monument that we took. You may now resume your regularly scheduled entry. - Amy.)

Broad view, Heather:

Close-up view, me:

We slipped away shortly after seven a.m., in more daylight than I expected for this early on the first of February. I took the first leg of the drive, slanting us east from Huntsville toward the sudden outcrop of hills just south of Chattanooga.

Shopping with the Muslims

This was my world, supposedly; but as I looked around me I realized that suddenly my long reddish hair and casual jeans marked me as the outsider.

I called it "Shopping With The Muslims."

Jeff would laugh every time I mentioned it, with that rich, cackling, my-crazy-spouse-cracks-me-up laugh that means both "I love you" and "You're insane." It's a laugh that reminds me of why I like my occasional flashes of eccentricity; while there is one kind of satisfaction to be found in living up to the expectations of others, there's another kind to be found in occasionally turning those expectations on their collective ears.What's the fun in living when, from day to day, you do nothing but exactly what your friends, spouse, and family expect you to do?

Nevertheless. The story, Amy, the story.

Last chance groceries in the Winn-Dixie saloon

Christmas Eve. The last thing standing between my current state of consciousness and Christmas morning was a few hours and a vast, primal craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream that felt more akin to heroin withdrawal than a mere, mortal craving.

I was drinking tea on the couch, doubled up on sugar and memories. I had the remote control. Jeff and I were browsing through the wan, unappealing TV listings. This was the night of endless nutcrackers and carols, and there was not even a hope of halfway-intriguing television between then and dawn on the twenty-sixth.

I was trying not to think of home, in the same desperation and utter lack of success that one might encounter while desperately attempting to avoid thinking of a white elephant after having one suggested in conversation.* * * * *

"If we stay up late enough we could watch the local meteorologists track Santa during the evening news."

Coat number something-or-other

Supposedly, childbirth is something like this, on a grander and more primal level: you hate every single moment of the process but, the moment it's over, you forget the pain and oooh and aaah over the end result.

Bonus point #1 to childbirth: the end result provides you with one Eternally Good Guilt Trip card for the rest of your existence.

Bonus point #1 to furniture finishing: people look at you funny if you kick off your shoes and prop your feet up on your kids when company comes over. Bonus point #2: unless your table sets amazing new records for furniture intelligence, your college tuition costs are pretty much guaranteed to be nil.

Bonus point #2 to childbirth: grandtables are rare, and according to rumor, not nearly so satisfying as grandchildren.

seven deep and seatbelt free

In the time when man reckoned his life by season and snow, it was called the hunter's moon. The hunter's moon meant many things, sinking low in the sky, gravid with the promise of winter; the time to procure the beast and fowl that, preserved, would be the mainstay of winter.

In the time of rapidly shifting electrons, it is nothing more than an impediment to the Leonids.