Baby Bean is Growing

 BabyFruit Ticker

Friday, January 30, 2004

I just had the most ridiculously random longing for a strip of Belt Line Road in Addison, Texas. It's a strip almost entirely populated by restaurants of every ilk with the notable exceptions of the city water processing plant, and a large SAM'S warehouse store.

I had the longing for the SAM'S store for some strange reason, and for a pizza place a few blocks up called Pizzaria Uno which has the best deep dish personal pizzas that I have ever eaten.

I suddenly had a strange, heart wrending desire to go to that restaurant with my friend Allison and drink root beer and diet coke and eat deep dish pizza. This is odd not in the generalities of the desire, but in the fact that I do not believe I have ever been to that particular restaurant with that particular friend before, and why I should combine those two desires with the desire to visit a warehouse store

is completely beyond me.

french phrase of the day

Courgettes Rondes Farcies
Stuffed Round Zucchinis

--Thanks to Chocolate and Zucchini

Thursday, January 29, 2004

inner space

I love my cube. Being an artistic type, one wouldn't automatically assume that cube dwelling eight hours a day would give me pleasure, but it does. I only wish it had a door. And a ceiling. I guess I'm just a claustrophile - I love small enclosed spaces.

As a child, I gravitated towards small spaces. I loved the tiny half-bath attached to my bedroom. I played in the narrow space between the wall and the hedge in the front of our house, and in the empty window box below our dining room window. For a while, I had a drafting table in my bedroom with a small filing cabinet under it. The space under the desk was much too wide, but the space under the desk behind the filing cabinet was a perfect little cave for hiding from the world.

And that's really what it boils down to. That's why I love these manufactured walls covered in grey burlap. I love having my own space. I love that it has drawers and shelves and nooks and crannies. I like to just go into my cube and hibernate. I don't even have to talk to anyone all day if I don't want to.

At lunch, I usually go out and sit in my car. It's perfect. I lounge in the back seat and eat my lunch and read my book and -- thanks to the modern marvels of tinted windows -- hardly anybody even knows I'm there.

I go home every night to an 800 square foot apartment and a boyfriend and a cat. I love it, it's a nice apartment, but I don't have any place to hide. I feel a little bit exposed without a tiny bathroom to shut myself in, or a desk to crawl under.

Maybe that's why I love my cube. It's an outlet (inlet?) for my need to be in a small space. I just have to resist the urge to crawl under my desk. It's just such a perfect space.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

french phrase of the day:

C'etait super!
It was great!


A beehive -- a real one. Snow white and spectacular. Teased magnificently to add at least a foot to the diminuative woman's height.

Big black wrap around sunglasses. The kind you get after going to the eye doctor. The kind that fit over your regular glasses. Looking like big black bug eyes. Alien eyes.

Brown dress. Edged in crisp white piping. Like frosting on a Martha Stewart cookie. Gingerbread woman. Pearly white pastille buttons.

Walking to work. Walking right out of 1965 and into the new century. Up the hill, past the Starbucks and La Salsa. I figure she must work at Carrows or Denny's.

"What'll it be, sugar?"

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


The little girl in the coffee shop was beautiful. She had thick straight blonde hair and beautiful pale blue eyes. She stared at me over her mother's shoulder while we waited in line, and suddenly, a huge grin broke across her chubby face. It wasn't a normal grin. Not a child who has not yet learned not to trust strangers, but a grin of recognition. I felt it. For some reason, as that beautiful blonde child smiled so warmly at me, I got the deepest feeling that she knew me. She recognized me and I, in my twenty some odd years since infancy, had forgotten her.

Her mother ordered and received her coffee and I placed my order and left. But I couldn't shake the feeling that that child had known me. And I felt sad that I could not remember her.

Monday, January 26, 2004

When I Cried

I remember the first book that made me cry. I was in junior high, probably seventh grade, and I had discovered a series of fantasy books called The Dragonlance trilogy. Not unlike The Lord of the Rings and other fantasy standbys, it follows a group of unlikely adventurers on a quest to save their world.

The first book had captured my imagination and I had fallen madly in love with the characters as I followed them in their fight against evil. I eagerly devoured the second book, hungry for more tales of my new friends.

Towards the end of the second book, a very central character dies, midway through the quest.

This was totally new to me. In most books I was familiar with, the author did not kill off the main character. Grover did not unexpectedly keel over in "Grover Sleeps Over." Bad things had happened in the "Little House on the prairie" books, but they had always been couched so kindly that they hardly seemed bad at all. Even in my favorite book, "The Secret Garden," it is said that one character, "died in the war," but it was mentioned so much in passing, I hardly gave it a second thought. In my books, my friends were alive and well every time I opened the pages.

Not this time.

I remember it was late at night. I was reading before going to sleep, curled up in my bed, under the covers. The house was quiet and dark, save my bedside reading lamp. As I read the terrible description of my friend's death, and his companions grief, I remember feeling the telltale prick of tears behind my eyes. Before I had finished the chapter, I was quietly balling, grieving right along with them.

I had never experienced anything like it, and I have rarely since. I felt so connected to these fantasy characters that I could not let one of them pass on without a modicum of grief.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

For Harry

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

--e.e. cummings

(see Harry here)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Written 11.6.03

The store smelled like age. It reminded Lily of the persistant smell of an elderly person's home, or of a seldom visited attic; as distinct as the smell of a library, or a shoe store. It was located in the corner of a mostly defunct strip mall in an awkwardly shaped space that Lily surmised went for cheap because no one else wanted it. It was operated by the Lutheran private high school, and Lily preferred it to its corporate counterparts like Goodwill.

The clothing racks were virtually overflowing with the cast-offs of every variety. A few items were of the kitchy retro sort that could be called thrift store chic, but most were plain, drab, tasteless pieces that would likely remain on the racks for years.

Normally, Lily dug through the fabric looking for burried treasure, but after a few racks, her interest waned. Instead she turned to the other part of the store where anything that could not reasonably be considered clothing was kept.

Here, the thoughtless accumulations of a lifetime came to rest.

Written in a bathroom stall in Benildus Hall at the College of Santa Fe:

If equal affection cannot be,
let the more loving one be me.

What is this all about?

I'm really good at beginnings. I've got the hook down pat. I can reel people into a story, create interesting, dynamic characters, describe beautiful settings, and set up a pretty good plot. I've even got a knack for important scenes and chapters. I'm just not very good at endings.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I've written one or two pretty darn good endings. They just didn't have beginnings or middles to go with them.

What I'm really good at is starting a story and then never finishing it. What can I say. It's a gift. I have notebooks from high school and college filled with snippets. Some are only a paragraph, not even taking up a full page. Others go on for pages and pages. But they all just sort of end. Abruptly. With no warning.

Occasionally I go back to them and actually do finish them, but only occasionally. However, it's that elusive eventuality which causes me to keep them all, regardless of how trivial they may seem at the time.

Some people hoard newspapers or magazines because they think there might be something important in there somewhere. Other people collect shot glasses or matchbooks or spoons so they won't forget the places they've been.

Me, I collect thoughts. Just random thoughts that pop into my head. It just so happens that they're frequently in narrative form. I've been doing that since childhood, narrating my life inside my head. It's like a constant voice over -- like the Wonder Years -- running through my mind. Sometimes I'm in the stories in the guise of another character. Sometimes not. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that I get them down on paper so that they don't spill over into my regular life. Like Superman wearing tights and red speedos in his off time so that particular habit doesn't interfere with his Clark Kent life.

Of course, I'd be interested in your thoughts. A lot of people who read my snippets get upset because they want to know the ending. So do I. If you think of one, let me know.

A dream I had this morning:

The sand colored sky swirled and began to migrate towards the purples and pinks of the spectrum. Fingers of color spread out across the sky like tendrils of a tiny vine creeping up a sandstone wall, reaching into the cracks to hold on for dear life.

The wind began to pick up a little. Michael hugged his guitar to his chest as he walked past the place of arrival. He watched the sky with curiosity, and a bit of apprehension. Calista was agitated. Something was coming.

He walked along the barbed wire fence that had grown up from the ground overnight. It was new, but it didn't look new. Its points were rusty and caked orange with age, its posts weather beaten and grey. Although the evening was warm, Michael suddenly felt cold. Something was worrying Calista, or she never would have put up this fence. The only thing he could not understand was whether it was to keep something out, or to keep them in.

The fence stretched out for miles. The mountains that had dominated the horizon a few weeks ago had shrunk into dusty rolling hills that made the horizons seem further away. And the fence, this new fence, marred the landscape, cutting it in half with an ugly barbed wire scar.

The only thing that remained the same was the tree. He could see it now, just beyond a little dip in the land. She was trying to hide it from him, but he knew where it was the same way squirrels remember where they've stashed their nuts, or the way monarchs know to return to the same trees on their trek south every year. He felt it. In his bones.

As he crossed the rise, he suddenly saw a figure sitting beneath The Tree. She was huddled near its trunk, knees clutched to her chest, staring out into the uneasy sky. Michael felt his pace quicken.

When Sara saw him approaching, she quickly stood.

"You felt it too," she said. A statement, not a question. He nodded. "I thought I should come here," she continued, but then found she couldn't think of anything else to stay.

As Michael moved towards the tree, he noticed that the fence had driven itself up straight through the trunk. A wave of hot anger passed over him. What before had been an unsightly manifestation of Calista's whims was now a personal affront to him.

"Doesn't she hold anything sacred?" he asked loudly, fingering the barbs he could see pressed into the tree's thick outer flesh.

"She's worried," Sara replied, as if that explained, or excused, the atrocity. Suddenly, a cold burst of wind blew at them, and Sara hugged herself against the cold.

"Don't take it out on us," Michael muttered. He looked around. "What are we waiting for?" he asked Sara. She shrugged.

Near the tree, the fence posts widened horizontally, creating a sort of bench. Michael took advantage of it, laying his guitar across his lap. Silently, Sara joined him. And they waited.

They did not have to wait long.

Before long, the silence was broken by an eerily familiar yet totally foreign sound. Michael looked around, startled. There, on the other side of the fence, two lights were visible in the evening gloom.

"It can't be," Sara whispered. Yet it was. Trundling towards them slowly was a sea green mini-van, headlights on, illuminating the strange evening. Sara suddenly grabbed his arm. "Michael -- it's your mom!" she hissed.

The mini-van slowed to a stop with a squeak of the breaks. For a moment, the engine idled, then died. The lights, however, stayed on.

For one brief moment, Michael thought it might be a dream. He wondered if Calista had brought them here to see this, another of her creations. Yet even as he wondered this, he knew it wasn't true.

The driver's door swung open with a creak, and a short, stout woman with curly brown hair and just a few streaks of grey emerged from the van. She stepped gingerly out into the dusty brown landscape and peered around in the gathering gloom.

"Michael?" she called, tentatively.

"Yes mom." She looked slightly relieved.

"There you are! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find you in the woods. Hello Sara. Come on home with me, Michael. It's getting dark." Michael looked around despite himself. There were no woods that he could see. Only the single, big old Tree that was always there.

"I can't come home, mom," he said. "I've tried, but I guess we're not through here yet." He marveled at the vision in front of him. It was his own mother, not a day older than the day he had left. He remembered her pouring his orange juice that morning into the juice glass with the red rooster on it. He could still smell the blood of the valencias flowing into his glass, could still see the drops of orange liquid on the red and white plastic table cloth.

"Don't be silly, Michael," his mother replied. "Get your friends. I can drop them all off home so they won't have to walk in the dark." She paused squinting at him in the light of the headlights. "Their mothers will be worried, too."

Michael shook his head. "We can't." Suddenly, Sara sighed softly, and rested her head on his shoulder. He put an arm around her.

His mother looked doubtful. "Well, all right then. Not too much longer though. And don't expect me to keep your dinner hot for you." She turned and went back to the van, opened the door, and got inside. The engine started with a rough growl, and the headlights grew momentarily brighter. They heard her shift the car into reverse, and slowly, the sea green monster backed away from them into the darkness until the headlights were gone.

Michael found himself hugging Sara closer to him as the darkness pressed in around them. She snuggled her head into his neck, and he suddenly realized that she loved him, and that he loved her, too.

"Let's go home," he said.


Linda turned off the radio in the mini van. The bubble gum pop and ingratiating DJs were suddenly too much for her. She thought of her son. That short, dark hair, his solemn face and his friend Sara with her bright blue eyes. They had seemed awfully close. She squinted, trying to remember. In fact, she had been resting her head on his shoulder. She suddenly had a flash of her son, but tall, with a man's broad shoulders and a man's beard. But that was ridiculous. He was only ten years old.

Linda didn't think much more about it as she fixed dinner, nor as she sat and ate with her husband. Michael often stayed out late on warm summer evenings. He would come in smelling of grass clippings and ozone from water on hot cement, and he would let the cicada songs in as he burst through the screen door and let it slam behind him.

She didn't think about it again until she was drying dishes after dinner. Two forks. Two glasses. Two white china plates. She paused, her damp flour sack towel in one hand, the last plate in the other. It occurred to her, that Michael wasn't coming home. She gasped with the suddenness of the realization and dropped the plate. Her husband came rushing into the room and she fell on him, sobbing for her lost son.

"Honey," he soothed her, "it's been almost five years since Michael left. I thought you'd gotten over the worst of it now." And she realized that it had been five years since she'd gone to look for him in the woods. He and his friends had never come home.


Michael and Sara walked back to the village with their arms around one another. It felt good, Michael thought. It felt right. That's where she was meant to be, in his arms. But as they reached the first of the little huts, he realized that she would go into her hut, and he would go into his, and he would have to be without her.

"Sara," he said, stopping still a few feet from the first huts. "I... I don't want you to go back to your house. I want you to come to my house." He paused, trying to remember the words that had been forgotten. "I want you to marry me. To be my... wife." Sara smiled.

"I know," she said. They continued to walk, and they passed her hut completely, and he felt a surge of strength.

He realized that seeing his mother had caused him to remember something they had all forgotten. He remembered love.