When my 11-year-old daughter and I decided we would go to Paris, it was largely a reaction to our visit to India, which is not an easy place for inexperienced American travelers, one of whom was under the age of 10 at the time.
Securing our visas alone was quite the adventure and that was before we’d ever left Nashville. Getting to the Taj Mahal? Holy wow. THAT was the most difficult travel experience I imagine I’ll ever have.
So upon our return to the US after that trip (and really, I don’t mean to slag on India; we’re both very grateful to have had that experience), 9-year-old Lily asked if we could go … somewhere different than India … the next time we left the country.
Two years later, Paris it would be.
Paris with my 11-year-old daughter, Lily. Our second morning, jetlagged and confused, but figuring things out.
We are back in our room after leaving at 6 am to take a tour of castles in the French countryside. We didn’t make it. We missed our bus by 5 minutes even though we left an hour and 15 minutes early.
I just couldn’t figure out the subway and got lost too many times to get there in time. So we will do castles tomorrow. Lily was great while I had my tearful meltdown. It is raining and cold, and this kind of day is better suited to museums and hot chocolate anyway, she said.
My first memory of Mom as a working mother is from second grade. One of the kids in my class was sort of famous because his mom taught third grade in our school. The only kid who seemed more exotic than him was our own teacher’s kid. We knew what his mom was like at school. Here was a kid who knew what she was like in real life!
With my younger brother starting kindergarten, my mother began substitute teaching that year, and this put me on a third tier of teachers’ kids. No one had her full-time, but most kids had her at some point. That made her like a supporting actress, which made me almost cool.
The next year, Mom was a full-time teacher with her own class. She taught sixth grade, so while my friends were all too young to be her students, she was definitely a lady people knew. We could not go to the grocery store, ball park, or Mt. Juliet’s one (at the time) fast food restaurant without someone stopping to chat with Mrs. Stivender.
The guitar case-induced injury sustained during Saturday night’s impromptu dance party appears to be in the getting-uglier-before-it-gets-better phase.
It’s about a two-inch (or inch-and-a-half… however long a guitar case snap typically is) slice across the top of my left knee, surrounded on all sides by a bruised knot.
I don’t know if this will heal before Thursday, when my calendar says I am to dress in cocktail attire and hang out with Prince Edward.
And I don’t know what I more enjoy discussing: My guitar case injury, or my date with Prince Edward.
That may be a polite embellishment (including the identification of this event as a “date”, which in fact it is a work engagement), but allow me to begin with the guitar injury.
This photo was taken in the second half of my 20s. I am now in the second half of my 30s. Really, though, I just like the look my daughter is giving me. I think that’s one thing that probably won’t ever change.
I turn 36 on the 14th of May. Many things I’ve learned thus far in my 30s challenge assumptions I made in my 20s.
Here is a Top 10 list.
Hoping you’ll add your own wisdom, especially those who’ve already rounded out the back half of this decade.
A friend of mine found himself instantly and achingly attracted to a woman he met at a business mixer. She was an accomplished young executive, like himself. An extrovert who never met a stranger, like himself. Interested in politics, well versed in novels and music, beautiful and confident to a point bordering on cockiness. Like himself.
The attraction horrified him, especially once he realized it was returned.
She was single. He was married.
Police ordered everyone in the entire city of Boston to lock themselves inside wherever they were. Tanks rolled down city streets. Subways shut down. Gunshots ricocheted in residential areas.
So far, a 19-year-old kid has eluded this massive manhunt for hours after his older brother was gunned down by officers he attacked, including one he killed, in Friday’s wee hours.
“Up since 3:50 a.m. and can’t get enough of this story,” wrote one of my Facebook friends who is a journalist. “Woke up the troops around 4:15, and a long day ahead. Hard to explain to non-journos, but I can’t imagine doing anything else at a time when so many rely on us to share information.”
I’ve been in news for 15 years and am well acquainted with the instinct that drives us toward the center of action.
But I’m not sure that was the only factor at play on Friday. I’m not even sure it was the primary one.
I’ve asked my grandmother several times over the years to tell me about Maude Pick, her aunt Pearl’s lifelong companion and housemate.
Maybe because the issue has been discussed so persistently lately on the cable news networks she watches between Andy Griffith reruns from her easy chair on her lake house porch, but this Easter weekend – following the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments on the Defense Of Marriage Act – she seemed more relaxed when talking about the relationship between Pearl and “Pick” (as Maude was known).
The video here was shot by my daughter on that lakeside porch in teeny Dadeville, Alabama. My mom and I are in a few shots, as is my parents’ golden retriever. It’s a little grainy and jumpy, and I wish I had photos of Pearl and Pick, but I love this all the same. Regardless of what you think about this issue, I hope it inspires you to ask your grandparents interesting questions, and to record their responses.
Life is short. Love is always.
Thanks to Keith Miles for this photo of me, which he took at the city’s kickoff for its 35-year planning process.
When I was a reporter in The Tennessean’s Williamson County office, one of the things I could count on was a daily phone call from a cranky but hilarious school board member who absolutely loved to gossip about his fellow board members and make outlandishly inflammatory accusations of school administrators.
These calls were frequently conducted from his bathtub and often he’d be smoking at the same time. I know this because I could hear the splashing and exhaling. Also, because I asked him. If a man is naked when he calls, it’s best to know it up front.
Anyway, this guy is on a long list of characters I’ve been graced to know because of what I do for a living.
I was a reporter in a newspaper bureau, covering the county school system and writing stories about things like dress codes, standardized test scores and school board politics.
I enjoyed it but grew bored after a couple of years. I was pretty sure I wanted to be an editor. Or, more specifically, in charge.
When one of the designers in the office built an internal website for employees to get to know each other better, she had us fill out a survey that included our plans for the future.
I answered, “The boss of you.” Continue reading