The Sweetest Little Moments from 2011

Keeneland; Lexington, Ky.

In no particular order, though I numbered them just to make it easier to read – here are some sweet little moments from my 2011. I think when you’re having a great time, every little bit of it sparkles.

1. Lily in the Heathrow airport: It is a complicated airport and we were racing to catch our connection to Bangalore, India, and we had to ride a shuttle, a train, and pass through several security clearances. Just getting to this point had been a bureaucratic nightmare, and I think my mother and I had our doubts we’d ever get to India. My daughter Lily, 9 at the time, never waivered. My favorite moment is standing on a shuttle, feeling a certain peace at our lack of control over the situation. I looked at Lily and she said very calmly, “We’ll make it.” I thought for the first of many times on that trip – Damn, she is so grown-up.

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Tree Painting Needs a Name (other than ‘Tree Painting’)

I need a name for this painting.

It took me almost a year, which I realize sounds ridiculous given that it’s basically just a blue background, naked tree and various colored blobs functioning as leaves / petals. And I didn’t even paint most of the tree part.

It wasn’t an issue of procrastination as much as it was one of wanting (and being able to) do something on my own terms, in my own zone, without deadline or expectations.

I’m not an artist; who cares if it sucks. It’s not for work; who cares if I don’t finish it.

So each phase of it, I did with deliberation and care. The right music, the right people, the right cocktail. Continue reading

Infinite, infamous party of us

Pretty sure this is Brennan's, New Orleans, ca 1975. My grandparents are on the right.

I’m sorry, Mr. Heavily Tatted Server Guy.

I wanted to buy you a shot – God knows you could have used one, dealing with all us. And your colleague the Sunday prior – send a bloody mary to that poor thing.

We can be too much.

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Is this an art project, or a history assignment?

Four months ago, this old farmhouse window was stacked with several others in the back room of an antique mall on 8th Avenue in Nashville. As of Palm Sunday, it’s been redeemed.

I love this window-turned-junk-turned-photo-art-thing because it’s layered in stories. Here are some, most of them true.

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Tradition is conceived without planning

One of our family traditions is to tailgate before Auburn games. Food is themed according to who Auburn is playing. (Hot dogs when we play Georgia; pork bbq for Arkansas.) This just started at some point and has endured. (From left: my cousin, Lacy Sibley; me, with a bottle of champagne; my sister-in-law, Elaine Stivender.)

We had “Multimedia Night” tonight. We gave it a name so we’d remember to do it again in the future. Lily sat in my lap, her long legs folded mantis-style atop mine, folded in the Indian style. Two short torsos. Four long arms. Through blue eyes (hers) and hazel (mine), we watched music videos from Neko Case and Amos Lee. We looked at Facebook photos of my dad’s work in India, of her aunt and uncle’s vacation to Hawaii. We “liked”. We commented. We read blog posts aloud; she wanted to hear the ones I have written about her. We mixed “roots rock” and “slow blues” on Garage Band, a program she gets instinctively and I merely appreciate.We laughed a lot. When I said, “I love you, Pea,” she said, “I was just about to say the same thing.”

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Even the most cut-throat, dirty games prove sentimental

Playing Monopoly at Thanksgiving 2009.

My 8-year-old daughter just completely destroyed me in Blokus, which is a strategy game won by good planning and strong spatial sense. She giggled as I feigned frustration, exchanging eye rolls with her father when I took too long to make a move. She put bunny ears over my head when she thought I wasn’t paying attention. She played a fourth hand on behalf of the cats, and “they” creamed me too. She ultimately lost, though, to her father. He wasn’t going to let the kid win just because she’s a kid. Good. She’ll remember that.

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