Friday, July 31, 2009


I am drawn again and again to this theme, the antithesis to my thesis.  I am electrified by the idea that someone might control me (in bed, in life) through sheer force of a composure that I rarely feel; through their own restraint that I could only hope to mirror; even, dare I means of punishment, soberly applied.  I have no faith, however, in my own ability to regulate myself.

I have never yet been able to locate my own dispassion.

For truly I am not disciplined.  Whatever I've accomplished has been by haphazard inspiration or sudden whim.  My creative drive is scatterbrained, an emotional free-for-all, an anxious reckoning.   

My fantasies often conjure the man who would rein me in even if by force.  Who would govern, restrain, and control me where I was unable to do so myself.  Of course, in real life, what good and suitable, respectful and kind partner would ever impose his own super-ego on a woman he cared for?  

I know that, but still—

as I stare down an obstinate chapter of my book--


--Master, please help me find my discipline!

--only by my rules.

--yes, Master.

--there will be no 2 a.m. bowl of Rice Krispies.

--yes Master.

--the infernal crunching is distracting to us both.

--yes Master.

--you will sit here across from me, where I can watch you.


--you will work until I am satisfied with the result.


--or you shall taste the lash.



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Just Wanted to Bite the Buttons off His Frock Coat, One by One

All through the "Half-Blood Prince" matinee I attended today, I couldn't stop thinking about those buttons on the Potions Master's coat.

I've mentioned them before.  I thought I wanted to lick them.  But today I realized that they are cloth, not glass, and they would need to be bitten instead.

Bitten off one by one.  While he waited impatiently but with a stillness born of well-practiced discipline.  While the frock coat opened just a little bit more.  And then a bit more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Your Biggest Fan

I have bragging rights as the winner of MJ's "Guess the Brits" competition.  Perhaps it's a dubious honor, perhaps you think it just means that Sarge and I watch too much television.

But little did you know, it has a greater and even more embarrassing significance.

My UK readers, commenters and lurkers alike--from England, Ireland, Scotland and not yet Wales (though I hold out hope)--God, I adore You.  I have a crush on You.  And I may even be in love with You.  The gorgeous accents that have our Brooklyn staccato and even our Southern drawl beat all hollow, the way you say "fortnight" and "bloody hell," "duvet," and "herself" for "her" and "she"; and the way You measure Your chocolatey, custardy recipes in metrics that look for all the world like a favorable numerological prediction to me; the way You have kept on that mysterious "u" where our American laziness has truncated--"parlour," "favour," "flavour" and "colour" indeed! I can't even remember anymore whether I'm supposed to spell "gray" with an "a" or an "e," but I know which I like better--I like Your way!

So, Limerick London Belfast Dublin Glasgow Derby Liverpool Manchester Cardiff--the delicious names linger on the tongue--the regional differences like a mystery religion, and I've only yet been admitted to the church foyer...

I've been holding back, too shy to tell You the truth about my feelings; how could I ever measure up?

But now that I am officially champion at Guessing the Brits, I suppose the truth has come out anyway.  Yes, this Brooklyn girl is Your biggest fan.

Edited: Now I've gone and kindled a nice little flame down in the comments.  I suppose this is what happens when I try to objectify You.  Why not just lie back and be objectified? It can feel very nice sometimes. 

Edit part two: yes, I know the above edit is totally beside the point to the discussion below.  But I think it's funny, and I'm funny, and I had to include it just to humor myself.  

Saturday, July 25, 2009


downtown San Antonio, Texas

The road trip is finished, and I have taken temporarily to my bed. No, really I have. I am so utterly spent that I have been unable to get up and be my usual self, full of vim and bustle, tidying and cooking and organizing everyone and everything around me (that may or may not be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'll never tell).  In between sips of my delectable Cafe du Monde chicory coffee, I have entertained myself with cackling over the Twilight books, forcing myself to read the dreadfully arch and affected New Yorker (a girl needs a little culture, however bitter the pill to be swallowed), and occasionally waving to Hedgie from the pillows.  Sarge rousted me for an hour this afternoon and took me for a walk like a recalcitrant dog, but aside from that, it's been bed and more bed.  In honor of this post, I have for the first time in two days made said bed, an accomplishment of which I am inordinately proud. My counterpane neatly arrayed, my coffee balanced, hair brushed into two pigtails (yes, it is the truth), the reclining is not quite so shameful, and if someone should happen to pop in on me I am at least presentable.

In an effort to take stock, I shall hereby abridge and truncate these previous long 12 days journey as follows:

Best: The New Orleans cemetery.  Oh how I loved it.  I might have to move in there...

Worst: gas station bathrooms.

Funniest: the donkey who fell hard for my sister, followed her around, brayed sweet donkey nothings in her ear, and stared wistfully after her as she tried to leave the little farm across the road from my MIL's.

Scariest: The hotel room we checked into,  and then out of five minutes later, that looked very much like a serial killer's abattoir might look after all the action but before housekeeping had visited.

Most Delicious Meal: a toss-up between Cleburne Cafeteria in Houston and Mary Mac's tearoom in Atlanta Georgia.  Both places, truly Lucullan.  And I'm sure I've used that crazy word before this, in a fit of exaggeration about something or other, but it really applies here.

Most Delicious Individual Food: bread pudding soaked in bourbon.  Hands down.

Most Disgusting Meal: Texas Land and Cattle.  I might take my dog there for scraps.  Then again, I might not.  Getting drunk and just slightly belligerent helped the teensiest little bit.

Most Disgusting Individual Food Item: The  "baked" potato at above.  Nothin' like biting unsuspectingly down on a forkful of crisp raw potato.

Most Boring: the un-politically correct lecture we got from the docent at the old plantation in Baton Rouge Louisiana.  You would think it might have been interesting, seeing as how he had a most peculiar take on the whole, er, slave issue.  But it wasn't.  He reminded me of Professor Binns from Harry Potter.  

Most Interesting: wandering into an old hotel in downtown San Antonio, and discovering that Robert Johnson had recorded some of my favorite songs in a room there.

Ugliest: the fussily be-ribboned china doll with the gruesome simpering expression given to Hedgehog by some relatives.

Most Beautiful: the eerie swamps and wetlands of Louisiana and Georgia.  Seen in dusk, just lovely.

Most Shameful: In desperation, feeding poor dear starving Hedgehog cold Chef Boy-ar-Dee ravioli straight from the can with a plastic fork, in a gas station parking lot.  Without doubt one of my lowest parenting moments.  However, she seemed to enjoy it.

Most Surreal: Purchasing my red beans and rice from Boudin King in Jennings, Louisiana, I went to pick up some napkins on my way out, and found myself staring down a gigantic pile of tracts that said, in big cheerful letters, "if you don't accept Jesus Christ as your lord and Savior you will burn in the fires of hell."  I became immediately convinced that they were trying to fatten me up for the slaughter, and hightailed it out of there.  However, I would still recommend Boudin King for all your boudin needs, if you ever find yourself in the backroads of backroad Lousiana.  Just make sure your Star of David is tucked all the way into your t-shirt.

Favorite souvenir: no contest, a true crime book I purchased at a Stuckey's in East Texas.  Written and vanity-published by a local sheriff, an account of a disturbing murder he had solved. I confess to being initially amused at the florid title: "So Innocent, Yet So Dead."  Yet to my surprise, it is actually rather well-written.  Score, a direct hit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Written by Hand

click pic to make larger

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Orleans, Louisiana: Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

I had so many random things I wanted to post, but this evening I'm sitting in an Atlanta hotel room, completely exhausted, unable to stop thinking about the New Orleans cemetery...

We blew into the French Quarter by car, this afternoon, just for a cafe au lait and some beignets--we spent less than an hour there all told--but it was one of the most intense hours I've spent in, oh, perhaps years. Chicory coffee--delicious. Oh, so very delicious. Beignets--well, I'm still finding powdered sugar, like sand, 12 hours later. In the car. On my nose. Everywhere.

A serendipitous parking spot in front of an above-ground cemetery yielded one of my favorite moments in life so far--perhaps it's the Goth in me, I don't know, but even in broad stark white blazing daylight, this place was--well, for some reason, I don't have words for my feelings about it. Unusual for me, to be struck speechless. I love graveyards anyway, and this was the very distillate of graveyard--the crux of it--stumbling about in the crowded crumbling little death houses was like making one's way through a crowd of the dead themselves...

I wanted to linger, but thought that if I did, they might catch me and keep me...even this little bird, the only other animate thing around, came to perch and was instantly held like a piece of statuary:

I tried hard to capture the heat and existential claustrophobia of the place, but couldn't quite...

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I think I was a little bit in love with this singing fellow, but maybe it was the margarita talking:

I guess I just have so much respect for the people who make a living doing their music, whatever sort of music it is. I'm a little bit jealous, and wonder what my life would have been like if I had tried to do it with my fiddle.

Look at the beautiful faces. This is a job--maybe sometimes, I hope, a joy too, but a day job nonetheless:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boiled Nuts, Alligator Meat, Texas Home Cooking, Visionary Art, and Donkeys: A Summary

We've seen some strange and wondrous sights as we crossed the American South. Sampled some culinary delights. Been educated.

Boiled peanuts are a strange, multi-faceted experience. You purchase a styrofoam container of them, under advice from husband and friend, ladling the roiling contents, burning your face with hot steam. You clamp a lid down on them so the steam can do no further damage. Back in the car, you sample one. It is burning hot, and the shell yields easily. The nut inside is so soft that it practically melts. But the taste? Disgusting. have to try one more to ascertain just how disgusting it really was. Yes, disgusting. Then a third. Hm. Wait, maybe it's not so bad. At least the texture is kind of nice...a fourth. The taste isn't so bad. A fifth. Okay, it's good. A sixth. Delicious, even...Sarge says you need an ice cold Coke to go with.

As for the Alligator meat, we didn't. We wouldn't. We couldn't. And "fresh from the swamp," isn't that an oxymoron?

Cleburne Cafeteria was everything it said it was and more.

The Orange Show cannot really be explained, but if you're interested look at the link.

The donkey lives across the road from my mother-in-law; he is free-ranging with four other donkeys and a two goats. They have a shelter and a feed and water station, and their owners come by every few days. I've never met such healthy, lovable creatures. They will lean against you silently if you let them, waiting for a scratch behind the ears and a carrot.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scenes from Along the Road

A long day on the road.

We began with some bad coffee luck. I am a true coffee addict, and I must must I tell you have a strong cup of coffee. Let's just say that I tolerate a triple espresso quite well. You can imagine my chagrin when I ordered an iced coffee and was handed this atrocity:

(of course, you can also see that in my desperation for some caffeine, any caffeine at all, I actually drank some of it. Feh. If I'd wanted a glass of iced milk, I'd have ordered it).

We drove and drove, through Georgia and Alabama. Not quite as long as yesterday, but still we are all exhausted.

We ended up in a long-haul truckers' rest stop--the sort of place that provides showers for the truckers and sells everything from beef jerky to tube socks to pillows to caffeine pills. (It was quite fun to browse the odd selection, and we even found a color-by-numbers velvet picture for Hedgehog. She completed this baroque masterpiece on the way to Mississippi) In the ladies' rest room, I came face to face with this machine--very convenient indeed, no?--does it say something about the truckers' diversions?

The third slot of said machine boasted "a variety of 6 different sensual items to create your fantasy," and of course I began guessing: a little feather? a duct tape sample? I couldn't resist making the purchase--and here's what they had to offer:

A little disappointing, but still, drive her wild with pleasure--do you think it can cash that check? Would you trust anything you'd procured in a truck stop bathroom?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Road Tripping Downfalls" (or, Hedgehog's Catharsis)

Hedgehog says:

"This is a list of complaints:

Complaint #1. I objected to this trip. And I was right.

Complaint #2. Why I was right is because getting cramped in a horrible car for about 14 hours. Is that your idea of fun?

Complaint #3. I thought I had picked boring, lousy books to read on the trip. And I was right.

Complaint #4. It takes too long to get through the states.

Complaint #5. I fear that now whenever I enter the car, after this road trip, I will remember the road trip with precise detail.

And, dear readers, those are most of my main complaints."

Mama says: let's hope tomorrow's better than today.

And weren't the waffles at Waffle House tasty?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Road Tripping

We leave tomorrow in the early a.m. for parts unknown--well, parts known but not clearly.

I have abandoned my Easy Rider allusion as it becomes clearer that the upcoming epic will be more burdened than easy...but such is the privilege of traveling with a little one.

There is so much we can't do with Hedgehog--ghost tours, honky tonks, voodoo shops, getting drunk in New Orleans, buying and setting off fireworks in the Carolinas--but we're substituting swimming pools and alligators and this place so in the end it will be satisfactory, one hopes.

Well, we shall see, we shall see...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Continuity is the main pursuit of my adult life. I live three blocks from my childhood home, I send Hedgehog to the same school I attended for 12 years, and before that to the little preschool that I went to in the 1970s, and my own mother attended in the 1940s. We summer in an old cabin by a lake in which four generations of Weather in the Streets girls have summered over the span of seventy years.

Sameness is a sort of obsession for me. But it is not always easy, inhabiting the places of one’s youth and of the generations before. There is a sometimes awful burden of memory that one must carry in the places of the past. On some nights, putting Hedgehog to sleep in my old bed, I hear my dead father’s mug of hot chocolate gently tapping down on the side table, the soft swish as he turns the page in his novel, an occasional creak as he shifts in the chair, and much later the click of the lamp being turned off. His chair sits in the very same corner of the living room in our lake house. The very books he read still occupy the nearby shelves. I know he’s gone, but at the same time he isn’t really. Just as my grandma Eva still hangs her sheets on a sunny windy day. As Aunt Abby drinks Tab and lime in her striped beach chair by the water. As Grandpa Max walks the Dobermans in the field behind the house—I can hear their collars jingling—and sometimes I know I see his shadow among the lengthening shadows of the trees.

I like that they’re still there, where I live; the animals and the people. But I know also that I’m bound to the old much too tightly; I can’t get away. If I leave, you see, I leave them all behind and it is over.

(I like ghost stories very very much, and if you'd like to read two more from my past, check out Window Ledge and one about dad.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Miss My Blog

It's so hauntingly beautiful in the North Country, and I'm so happy to be here, but I am having a terrible time with my internet access and my diabolical MacBook track pad, which is betraying me so cruelly, and so am unable to post my musings and ruminations and I feel deprived of one of my most treasured outlets for my particular brand of insanity...

In truth, when I look at the face of it, I don't have much to say. Vacation has set in and taken hold. There is very good soft ice cream around here. We favor a local roadside stand, Martha's Dandee Cream--we refer to it as "Marfa's" in honor of baby Hedgehog's charming elocution--and indulge in rather Lucullan swirly custardy cones with sprinkles. I like coffee flavor, Hedgehog orders orange cream and vanilla swirl. Others among us go for straight up chocolate. Between that and all the sunshine and fresh air and dipping in the lake, the fireworks and long walks down country roads, I am pretty well anaesthetized...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Funky (a guest post by Sarge)

Was Heaven in the Backseat of My Cadillac? Possibly. I feel that I may have some expertise in this matter, as I once owned a 1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. In fact, I am not seriously opposed to the notion that Heaven could very well have been in the front seat of my Cadillac. The front seat was a bench-type seat which is not too remarkable since few sedans had what we called bucket seats in those days. What was remarkable (besides the vastness of it) was that it was a 6 way power bench seat. It went back and forth, tilted, reclined, I swear you could turn the damned thing into a bed-- one with "Magic Fingers" at that, if you were given to constantly jiggling the little toggle controls rapidly back and forth. I was not so given. I was more interested in jiggling... well you can see where juxtaposition and innuendo are taking us. And that car was a great place to juxtapose.

With a front seat of those dimensions the back seat was not even necessary. Of course on a double date (God, how gross were we? Did we have no shame? No? Not even a sense of privacy? Strange I could have sworn I had one, apparently not.) Heaven was often in the front and back seats of my Cadillac, with room for a Coleman cooler full of beers to boot. I'm just getting started so Don't Stop Me Now, You Sexy Thing.

We'd Get Up and Get on Down (Like a Sex Machine).

Yes, we would Partyup and Kiss (actually if I remember right, I saw Purple Rain sitting on the hood of that car at one of the last drive-in movie theaters in New Jersey) and we would probably Do It All Night

We experienced Pain, Pleasure, Ecstasy, and Bliss in that car.

But don't get the idea we were just a bunch of Sexoholics. We'd park and turn up the radio and get out and leave the doors open and we'd Shut Up and Dance (okay those were probably unfair references, they were songs by one of the best bands nobody ever heard of, El Grupo Sexo).

Those were great days, when driving a ten or fifteen year old car meant you were driving a piece of serious Detroit Iron, not just that you were driving an old car. We would do stupid, dangerous things and know that they were stupid and dangerous (let's face it, we lived in pretty much a perpetual state of what the Penal Law defines as Reckless Endangerment) and when we got our boo-boos we laughed at each other instead of crying to someone else. But we knew that What Is Hip was doing your own thang unashamedly. The Caddy was not a trendy car, Porsche 924's and Trans Am T-Tops were all the rage, but it was cool and it had a style of its own, what's more it had substance (472 cubic inches under the hood and 2 and a half tons of GVW worth of substance).

Let Me Take You Higher. We'd go out driving, put on the radio (NOT the stereo) and Sing a Simple Song.

We went everywhere in that car. Can You Get to That was a question that was always answered affirmatively.

That car epitomized funk to me (and not just cause the power windows didn't properly seal and there was a slight mildew issue). In fact you could probably fit a moderate sized band, plus roadies and equipment in the beast. The trunk was roughly the size of the car I currently drive.

Sarge signing off from Theme Thursday guest blogging. Thank you faletme be mice elf.

editor's note: that editor being me, Leah--I must add, I have learned a great deal from reading this post. Now I have to live with it. When Sarge and I were first dating, I made him a special sexy mixed tape (remember those?) that included that Hot Chocolate song, "Heaven's in the Back Seat of My Cadillac," never dreaming of the memories it the time, he was much too circumspect to tell me...Sarge, you motherf!@#$er. And p.s. "Can You Get to That" is my personal bar none funky song, by Funkadelic, and if you've never heard it, please go do so immediately.