Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Days Will Come to You All Year

"Your parents spoil us," Jay said to me a couple months back.  

"How so?" I replied.  But I didn't really need to ask; I was already scrolling through a list in my mind.  Plane tickets.  Fillet mignon.  Hosting us for weeks on end.  Dad's fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs.  Letting us veg at the cabin.  Fillet mignon.  Providing vehicles.  Free teeth cleanings.  Movies and dinners.  Fillet mignon.  

"Strawberry pie," he said.  "I can't wait for strawberry pie."

No, Jay isn't turning 119 or 911.  Nor is he turning 11.  It's still pretty safe to say, though, that he's an old man.

And if you haven't experienced Croshaw's fresh strawberry pie, you are missing out.  Big time.  It really is that good.

Happy Birthday, baby.

                                  (...and thanks, Mom and Dad.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Airplane Snapshot

{This week has been absolutely crazy, but I don't want to desert my Wednesday goal already... So here's something I wrote the last time I was on an airplane.  It's brief--think of it as a descriptive snapshot.}

From my vantage point, ten thousand feet in the air, the land stretches wide and brown and wrinkled.  Dry riverbeds weave their way through the lowlands, black and branching like veins.  The tortuous routes of streams prove that the path of least resistance is long and winding.  Lakes bleed across the terrain like large inkblots.  The airplane's shadow skits below us, small as a mosquito.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mission: Accomplished

You may call me Master Lindsay.  I guess you could say I'm a pretty big deal.

And having my parents here?  What a gift.
And making breakfast for my mother on her day?  A sweet experience.
Does life get any better?  I think not.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where's Lucy? Take II

I found her here twice this morning.  It's her new favorite napping spot.  Personally, I don't get it.  

And now,  Where's Lindsay?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Writing Wednesday: OLLU

In contrast to BYU, my alma mater nestled in the mountains and bordered by stately neighborhoods, OLLU, my graduate school, is in a rough part of town. Here on the south side, San Antonio's dinginess is covered in peeling layers of brightly-colored paint. Whereas time has added softness and dignity to the neighborhoods adjacent to BYU, the houses and buildings around my graduate school have sagged under the weight of decades. Mesh and bars, often in cheerful reds and yellows, are layered over the doors and windows of businesses and residences alike. Advertising is different here: the billboards are in Spanish, and the businesses loudly announce their wares and specials in vibrant block letters painted on the sides of their shops. Even the branch of the local chain grocery store is painted in garish hues and proclaims itself a "mercado." New graffiti appears almost nightly, and the streets teem with mangy, collarless dogs and stray cats. It's a different world here.

Our Lady of the Lake University sits in the middle of this neighborhood, the convent's spire rising out of the collection of surrounding houses. Looking past the scaffolding that branches like ivy around Main, the shell of the building that burned two years ago, the University's facade is beautiful, even impressive, with its castle-like towers and cream colored stone. The library, across the street, is contemporary but consistent with the old style of the campus with its large, arching gothic windows and transepted layout. A long, thin lake borders the north side of campus. It serves as a sanctuary for myriad birds; ducks and geese and sometimes swans socialize along its banks, with an occasional brave soul venturing on webbed feet across campus. A tree on a lone island just off the shore houses scores of beautiful white birds during nesting season.

The modest quad is perpetually shaded by the sprawling canopies of several mature oaks. Sunlight filters through the leaves during the day, and the breeze carpets the bare concrete with shifting patterns of shadow and skittering leaves. The campus is speckled with statues of Mary and saints; they are often draped with silk flowers and tucked away in surprising corners.

It really is a beautiful place, a peaceful place, though I rarely venture out of my rundown building at the edge of campus to enjoy the atmosphere.  And while it wasn't even on my radar as a potential grad school two years ago, I'm glad I came here.  So, though I can't call it benevolent mother--my alma mater will always and forever be BYU, where I grew into myself--OLLU has been, in turns, annoying younger sister and wise friend, the place I reached out of myself.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bath Time

The other day, Jay came home and announced: "We're going to give the cat a bath."  

I tried to explain to him that cats don't need baths because they're so compulsive about keeping themselves clean.  And because they hate water with a passion that is difficult to quantify.  And also because I was afraid we would look like we'd walked through a forest of thorny bushes by the time we were finished.  

But my protests fell on deaf ears.  "She needs a bath," he said.  "It's been six months since her last one."  

I explained that the only reason we'd bathed her then was because she had fleas and was dirty from living outside.  

But he still held squirming Lucy with one arm while he turned on the water and stopped the drain.  Before I even had time to grab the shampoo, he set her in the water.  She yowled and cried and her feet scrabbled against the bottom of the tub.  

Once she was wet, after a few more half-hearted attempts to squirm and scratch, she stood meekly still.  We lathered and rinsed as quickly as we could, and I lifted her out of the tub into my own towel.  She shook in my arms, from cold or fear or fury, I couldn't tell.  

She was spiky and skinny as I toweled her dry.  She looked so small.  "Like a drowned rat," Jay said.

She wouldn't stop shaking, so I held her on the bathroom counter for a minute with the blow dryer on a low setting.  She hated it.  

I don't advocate bathing cats on a regular--or even biannual--basis.  But she's sure been soft for the past few days...