Nashville’s First Pedestrians

Too hot for pictures in Nashville. Way too hot.

I read Eudora Welty’s “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” just before leaving for Tennessee, and it set up our new landscape perfectly.  Not really for the regional dialects or the social commentary or the geo-racial politics. Simply because of the way she describes the God damn heat. Or maybe it’s the way she just describes everything else in the story that makes you sweat. It’s sort-of a head-first-into-the-deep-fryer type of feeling. Motif of internal punishment…damned to eternal flames and gnashing of teeth? Fine, whatever, please just don’t leave me here to slow roast like this BBQ.

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You can’t win.

And it’s hot.

It looks like the town’s on fire already, wherever you go, on every street, with crape myrtle trees and mimosa trees blooming their heads off. And a thousand cops everywhere you go, almost too young to start shaving, but streaming sweat. I’m tired of cops.

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But we made it to Knoxville, too, and it was a little less hot. I brought Sylvia Townsend Warner and Janet Hobhouse, so I cooled myself with Gothic English countrysides and anxious New Yorker apartments, respectively.

Overall, I really enjoyed our Southern jaunt. The luxurious smell of savory biscuits in the morning, the eerily vacant sidewalks, the gratuitous use of mason jars and second person plural….ya’ll know what I’m talkin’ about. From the day we packed far too many light cardigans in our luggage tagged for BNA to the day we tossed our ‘what would Dolly do?’ tote bag into the overhead compartment of our flight back to SEA, I’d say we were as happy as two stuffed squirrels drinking miniature bottles of bourbon and playing cards.

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Donner, Party of Seven?

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When I was kid I thought the drive from Davis to Tahoe was just about the longest, most agonizing ride you could experience. As it turns out, the directions for the longest ride to Tahoe are as follows: Head South-East on the wrong freeway and end up in a touristy gold-mining town.  Then take a slow, windy detour to the Auburn In N’ Out. Follow the same road after making yourself sick from a mix of peanut butter pretzels, ginger beer, and Ira Glass’ ever-so-smooth, always-so-nasal voice. Stick head out window to ensure that you are still alive. Arrive, dear friend, at Tahoe to reap your reward.

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Yolo county, California

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We were just in Davis for a short while, but below are some things that happened while we were there that aren’t reflected in these photos:

More fresh eggs in the morning

Joey ate a five-year-old’s grapes

Tim’s bike tour through Davis

Michelle’s pool and an inflatable orca

Dad’s gnocci

Guadalajara in the park

Sunburns

Davis night scene??

Megan somehow planned out the rest of our trip

Lots of talk about In N Out

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Brooklyn is my neighborhood

Carson McCullers wrote a cute, brief essay on Brooklyn that was published in Vogue in 1941. Since I’m sure absolutely nothing has changed in Brooklyn or even New York in general since then, I thought I’d share a piece in honor of Mia’s new home, and, more importantly, give me a taste of something to look forward to when I visit in August.

“Miss Kate is a good woman,” this competitor said to me. “But she dislikes washing herself. So she only bathes once a year, when it is summer. I expect she’s just abut the dirtiest woman in Brooklyn.” His voice as he said this was not at all malicious; rather, there was in it a quality of wondering pride. That is one of the things I love best about Brooklyn. Every one is not expected to be exactly like every one else.

I could have quoted Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I think McCullers is one of the few authors Mia and I both read and liked, so it seems a little more apt. Now, onto the photo montage of the home and memories Mia left in Seattle. This is gonna be better than a mixtape! There are so many pictures of Mia on this blog!

Family, Home, Me

My dearest of dears, my friendest of friends is putting together a pretty incredible project in her town of Xerém, Brazil. Her photojournalism/storytelling project is engaging the kids in the community she works with there, as well as everyone else from home and abroad. So, I highly recommend 1. checking it out here 2. participating.

So, Michelle, here is my submission for photos of home, family, and a self-portrait.

On a semi-side note:

I’m reading Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea right now, and I was reminded of these people (family) and places (home) that are so inseparable from who we are and how we see ourselves. I suppose this photo project really gets to the crux of that, but when reading Mishima I was reminded of what it’s like to be a child and to take great meaning in the relationships between so many other people, places and things— mostly by allowing them to play a much more intimate role in characterizing what I thought of myself. I remember trying to understand my world by creating rules for how things must be, how people and places had to align, because that was just the way things were. Once I had rules for the world I could understand how to exist within those norms. I want to say a big part of growing up (sigh) was letting go of those rules, of those direct lines we draw from bed to safety or from home to family or from one heart to another….but really I think I ended up drawing more lines, building more relationships between places and feelings, or between people and myself.

Of course, Mishima’s Noboru captures it all so perfectly drastically:

“Noboru and mother– mother and man–man and sea– sea and Noboru…

He was choked, wet, ecstatic. Certain he had watched a tangle of thread unravel to trace a hollowed figure. And it would have to be protected: for all he knew, he was its thirteen-year-old creator.

‘If this world is ever destroyed, it’ll mean the end of the world,’ Noboru murmured, barely conscious. I guess I’d do anything to stop that, no matter how awful!

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Oh hey, Blog, how you been?

My least favorite thing to read when I’m scanning other blogs is: “It’s been a while since I last posted…” It’s a line much overused, in my humble opinion, yet here I am, implying that it belongs here.

A lot has happened since my last post. Not ‘a lot’ like zombie attack ‘a lot’ but, ‘a lot’ like the ordinary happenings of a Lindsay ‘a lot.’ For one thing, I did get an iPhone, which has made it a bit more difficult to bring out my camera when I have one sitting so nicely in my pocket. So, what better way to share a few Lindsay adventures than through that new gadget that sucks up time and sometimes makes phone calls too.

Let’s start with when I received cool things in the mail from Maureen.

Or when Mia introduced me to my new favorite sandwich at Salumi’s, and we were both in Heaven.

When we continued for a “Second Lunch” in the International District.

I met a great dog on a sunny day.

Took a stroll near my apartment.

Attended my first hockey game.

Ate my way through Valentine’s Day.

Made a dent in Mia’s white chocolate mountain.

Took some pics of a Swede-heart.

Tim came to visit after his 2 month trip in South East Asia.

Made a second trip to Salumi’s.

Attended a robot flash mob!

And it went really well!

And made some new friends!

To watch a really nice piece KOMO 4 did on Make-A-Wish kid, Alex, and his wish to help humanity using robots click here.

 

Only One Woof

We lost a member of our family this week. Nike, our beloved dog of nine years. I think I was fifteen years old when we brought him home in a towel from Nike Lab Rescue. He was our first family dog, despite including “puppy” on my list for Santa every year until I was no longer at the acceptable age to be writing said lists to Santa. But I’m glad we waited, because he was a perfect dog, perfect in all the ways that a great dog can be; loving, peculiar, and complete with all the makings of a true friend.

I was thinking about Nike today in the bookstore. I thought about ‘man’s best friend’ and I thought about my brother and Nike. I thought about the concept of friendship– that peculiar, loving thing. It’s possible that my earliest idea of friendship was shaped in part by one of my favorite bedtime stories, “Only One Woof” from James Herriot’s Treasury for Children.

The story is about two sheepdogs, Gyp and Sweep, and their owner the farmer, Mr. Wilkin.

“Those two really love each other, don’t they?” I asked.

“Mr. Wilkin nodded. “Aye, they are great friends. They are never apart.”

In the story, Mr. Wilkin gives Sweep away to another farmer, despite him being the better of the two dogs at herding sheep. He keeps Gyp, the dog that never barks and lacks much skill for herding. A year passes before the dogs reunite for the first time at a sheep-herding gathering. And, at the sight of his brother across the field, Gyp barks for the first time in his life.

The two are separated again, and Gyp lives on to be a silent dog.

Mrs. Wilkin looked at Gyp again, and she smiled as she remembered. “Poor old lad. Eight years old and only one woof.”

There are a lot of things we will all miss about Nike. It’s strange to think I’ll never again hear his high-pitched yawn, or the sound of his tail sliding against the couch in one smooth, satisfied wag, or even the tapping of his paws against the wood floors as he sneaks into the kitchen while Dad makes dinner.

The reason the story of Gyp and Sweep is still unforgettable to me is probably the same reason we all mourn the loss of Nike: they both taught me a great deal about love and what it means to have a friendship that lasts for a lifetime– regardless of distance, circumstance, or however long that lifetime turns out to be.