“I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.” -Joseph Addison


As I type this afternoon, my lower back reminds me of the food and flowers I installed in the yard yesterday, taking advantage of the break in the rain to rearrange some of the dirt in the side yard and back yard, to add some color to the atmosphere, and to signal to the birds that they, most of them, are welcome.

(How do I let the woodpecker who weekly hammers into our shingles know he has worn out his welcome and is uninvited to the feast?)

On the side yard, I have: strawberries, tomatoes, cilantro, chili and bell peppers, two types of cucumbers, leeks, mint, basil, and four marigolds to ward off snails.

The soil is teeming with worms and is moist for feet. It is ready to grow.

The back yard contains: blackberries, grapes, and blueberries. It has lavender, rosemary, thyme, chives, rock roses, roses, daisies, and ranunculuses.

The evening air, last night, was filled with the heavy scent of roses, a muddle of basil, lavender, and mint, and the musky undertone of upturned earth, the eau de cologne of spring.


It’s Spring


It’s spring and in the eighties today. The afternoon is streaming through the blinds and into the living room.

Mr. Right is is resting in one of the ribbons of light. The black part of him is especially warm and he glances up at me and suggests that I ought to find my own spot in the shine.

I still need to grade twenty-three midterms, twelve poems, twenty narratives and two batches of interviews. Not that anyone’s counting…

Where Is Everybody?

where is everybody

I went to pick my mom up at the airport on Wednesday evening, and I was the only one on the train over to meet the incoming flight.

Going solo to the arrivals area made me think of being the sole passenger on the bus home from Tlacochahuaya. And, the airport tram is as thudding and rickety as Sexy Boy’s coach or the disco bus that always had every window open to let darkness in and the music out.

On this conveyer, though, I was really alone. There is not even a conductor or music, just a voice insisting I hold on tight.

New Cat Smell


In one week, we got a new car and a new cat. Both are black and white and just what we needed. In fact, the cat came with the name Mr. Right.

Beyond the colors, the other important similarity is that both are investments we’ll ideally have for years to come.

While the car is new, the cat is five and has, we found, a broken back tooth that makes his breath smell, to be kind, not as delightful as new car smell.

We have tried calling him Mr. Right (and a couple dozen other names to see what he’ll come to). Mr. Right is clearly not his real name (it was perhaps the shelter’s marketing genius), but once his tooth gets fixed, he’ll be even more Right.

I Chose Blizzard Pearl


What do you when you are sitting at the Toyota dealership for, no exaggeration, hours? First, I spent some time thinking about ways the process of buying a new car could be way simpler. Then, I read through all of the brochures, manuals, and paperwork I could find. I texted a few people to let them know I was looking at a new car. I played a few rounds of Word Scramble on my phone, read the free highlights from the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, and New York Times apps, and thought about ways the process of buying a car could be way simpler.

It turns out the old car I was turning in was Nautical Blue Metallic, and, even as rusted as it was, was worth something toward the Blizzard Pearl beauty sitting on the driveway right now.

I’m no longer concerned with how long I had to wait in the sales area. Instead, I have spent the past few days trying to figure out why it took me so long to get this smooth white ride.