Washing lot.




Not my usual crowd: beautiful young women with piercings and tattoos and jeans or stockings heavily ripped with beautiful babies in tow, the kind that are 2ish. All kinds of others are also at the laundromat. Each clearly with their own story and their own clothes, like me.

The last laundromat I used kicked me out so to speak; not really because I’d already finished washing my two turbo loads and was leaving. Said I wasn’t allowed to come back. Said the clay reside from my kids clay projects was making the place dirty. Hello. People come there to wash dirty things and mine aren’t dirty enough to even need detergent.  Anyhow I only do this three times a year and that was 4 months ago. Therefore I am not going to said but going towards downtown to the in-between hood with the bigger, seedier yet more expensive laundromat.

I have enough canvas mats covering studio tables to make them heavy enough to warrant three trips to the car. The parking lot is an experience not separate from the mat. When the tiny kids run into the street, it’s ok because the street is the parking lot which is the car, which is perhaps also the home; a small traveling home complete with vibrant small plants growing in brilliantly painted small pots on the dashboard.

A gentleman of hard to dicier ethnicity and age entering the open door questions loudly to anyone who might care to answer, “What time is it”? Another guy answers “Ten of Six”. I say, “Wow, so late”. I was thinking it was maybe 3:30, Sunday time.

The questioner says “So early”and he sits on the bench eating a candy bar with such comfort that I wonder if he is even there to wash clothes. A little later he notices that a woman has dropped a sock loading her machine. He says “You dropped your sock” but she doesn’t hear him because she has huge headphones on. Rather than shouting an entering question, his voice is whipsy now, old and frail, offering advice from a bench.  ” You dropped your sock”, he says again with a little effort but still she can’t hear. The third time succeeds. In a way he cared and it was pleasant to be around that caring.

After all the jumbo washing and drying, I was carrying the clean and folded mats to my car. When I was leaving with the second pile he said to me, “Goodbye. Nice to see you again.”  I agreed. It was pleasant, even though it didn’t make sense because  I’d never been there before.




After my son and I biked 600 miles in 12 days, he jumped off a wall he’s often jumped off and sprained his ankle.

That was a week ago because it takes a 16 year old a week to figure out it’s sprained by the fact that it isn’t getting better.

So we know. He needs crutches. Kaiser doesn’t sell crutches but at the doctor’s visit they’ll give them to you. So, a doctor visit is too much as usual, (due to high deductible) therefore we “google” “crutches”.


I do this first and get offers of surprisingly pricey crutches. They are inexplicably expensive even in supposedly cheap places like Walgreen’s. When Noah googles “crutch”, he gets an entirely different response. He gets all this “church” stuff, referring to belief in god as a crutch.

I probably had the word “buy” in my search. Noah says he had nothing but “Crutch”. Maybe. Noah’s relationship since the get go with reading has been to guess the word first and recheck it later if necessary. It’s gotten him this far. He considers spelling yet another storefront the computer is making obsolete. So maybe his crutch is the computer.

I’ll take “god” over the computer. We ended up borrowing crutches from a friend.


What’s gone

I look at the framed photograph on the window sill of my mother with my daughter and all of a sudden my mind jumps to “she’s gone” and for a moment I wonder “who?”

The sure side comes in and says “Mom died”  but somehow my daughter in the picture as a three year old is gone as well. An almost seventeen year old is not a three year old.

Still part of the three year old remains, just as part of my mother remains.

Here and not here. Like most of existence; here and not here. Partly somewhere else but where?

Flavors and Colors

My mother liked dark chocolate and mint, my Aunt Martha also. Even though they didn’t like each other, they both liked dark choclate with bright white mint inside. Inside those slim little paper sleeves, with the black and gold or shiny emerald green.  Should be a few lying stylishly on the silver tray in Grandmother’s dining room. I hope the elevator works. Always feel a bit like a caged bird in there, singing as I go higher until it comes to a clangy metal, abrupt stop and I have to fight the cranky gate.

Cherry Vanilla was another favorite of my mother’s. For ice cream. Does that still exist? What about peppermint ice cream, the pink kind. Is it amidst the rocky road and the cookie dough?

Who knew they were going to change the names of what I considered centuries old, unchanging colors? Who knew you were going to be able to buy a watercolor set without Alizarin Crimson?  My grandchildren will probably not paint with Cerulean or Ultramarine Blue. They’ll be called something else.

Old World Blue and Medium Blue Straight Up, or something..

Real Life. School Supplies

There is a difference between Office Max and Office Depot. Office Max has cooler folder designs. I went back again to get more.
A latina with her small daughter (and small son and husband) is asking us people behind her in line something intensely. I am thinking maybe she doesn’t have enough money to finish the sale and am ready to contribute. But no, that isn’t it. So I ask her in Spanish and she answers in Spanish but I still don’t get it. Either do the other people in line. Then, with the two languages now all-mixed-up and lots of (very important) hand gestures, I get it.
The folders (which she is buying for her daughter’s school) are $0.01 each (that’s one cent) but there is a limit of 5 per customer so she has enough money for the whole school which is like $5. and she is needing people to help her 5 cents at a time. We all of course help now that we understand the situation but there’s only 4 of us in line. Is she going to be there all day, I wonder. I give her some bills also. “For the cause” I say.
I am thinking WTF which is what I usually think about any situation involving public school, and ask her in Spanish the name of her daughter’s school.  “Ascend” she says, “in Oakland”.

With a mother like that, those kids can possibly go places, even with school as bad as it is.