My Mamma, Claire, and her good buds Les, Carol and Dana performing The Highwaymen, one of the greatest songs of all time, at First Friday at The Enchanted Alpaca in Hood River, Oregon.
I seem to notice babies more often when I’m with Cascade, who has a serious soft spot for teeny tinies. When we travelled to Asia together this summer, I tried my hardest to document some of the lil ones who stopped her in her tracks n stole her big ol beatin heart.
It wasn’t like the cemetery in Havana: construction workers repairing cracked marble, clearing dead brush, oiling rusted gates etc. Hurricane Sandy had damaged the majority of graves in Santiago de Cuba and no one was rebuilding or repairing.
I spotted the diggers long before I could smell their boozey sweat. It was ten AM in the Santiago de Cuba cemetery and the sun blasted like it was twelve noon. As they walked up, a grizzled rope and two cigarettes between the trio, I wondered where they were coming from, where they were headed.
It kinda felt like the diggers had been around since the first grave of the entire cemetery was dug. Something so constant about them. Like they were always there and always had been and always would be. Time blending, heat, rain, hurricane, morning, afternoon, evening, digging all the while.
the ALL SORTS
I didn’t realize I took so many photographs of cars when I was in Cuba. When I got home and began looking through my pictures, I noticed a pattern: I’d taken nearly all of my car pictures from a moving car.
Whether riding shotgun through downtown Havana, or in the back seat beside mom, sweating and taking turns fanning the pair of us, I’d try to take decent shots of what we passed. So I tried to get homes and cubans, land, ocean, propaganda, and most often: cars.
In Havana 3 buildings collapse each day. The government repairs government buildings. No one is there to fix the rest of the buildings. But the cars, those have been up and running at the hands of the people since they were purchased.
The cars aren’t perfect, but they run — and they’ve got serious personality. The whole time I was there I kept meaning to make time to watercolor them. They could have been watercolors on wheels – they were cartoonish in that way. I didn’t paint when I was there, even though I’d brought all my supplies along, but did once I was home.
I cannot resist taking photographs from the car when I pass through beautiful land. The photos are never great quality — they blur, lack sharpness, and are often too dark or too light — but they capture the feeling: forehead pressed to cold window, awe.
We drove six hours from San Antonio to Santa Fe, then continued for 8 hours the next day to Aspen. We stayed on Highway 285 most of the way and to me the car ride never felt too long; these were the best two days on the road.
We caught Thunder and Lightening the first day, before Santa Fe. Skies stayed dark the next day as we crossed the rest of New Mexico and part of Colorado.
In Ojo Caliente – a town with one gas station, one cemetery, and not much more – there was a man named Utimio Lopez. As I filled my car with diesel, he let me take photographs of his car and then of him.
He pointed his finger the whole time, squinted, and wouldn’t smile wide enough to show his few teeth. He asked what I thought of his home, New Mexico, but I struggled to come up with words that would make him understand how it had struck me deep, to my Bones.
It’s very upsetting when it happens – the whole gagging in public thing.
It’s revolting. There is absolutely no way to be gracious about it. The worst is when someone else gags because it’s so disgusting that it makes me gag, and usually that makes someone else gag, and then it’s one big chain reaction.
(Like when my 5th grade class had a beach party and fed Bruno, my Yorkie, too much cheese and he threw up on my leg/swimsuit and then I threw up on him….)
Thankfully there are not many things that trigger it (I don’t feed Cobalt a lot of cheese), but there is one especially terrible thing that does. Shell when there should be no shell.
In: Crab cake, seafood soups, scrambles, omelets, hardboiled eggs, etc.
Shells are just DIFFICULT for me.
Which is why I forced myself to come out of mine (hee hee hee) at Big Fisherman Seafood in New Orleans.
I was excited but also dreading lunch because I knew the right way to eat crawfish & shrimp. I’ve seen people do it. And I was nervous. I was fine shelling them myself but was feeling terrified of sucking the juices and brains out of the heads.
So I decided I’d fake it. I tossed the first few heads in the ‘done’ pile hoping it’d go unnoticed, letting juice dribble down my arms like a pro, not using a napkin, etc. It went completely unnoticed.
I could get away with it easily – but m’buds were loudly sucking their crustacean heads, oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over each ounce of juicy meaty brainy flavor, and I understood I had to just go for it. At least once, to see if I was the loon in the dark.
I just was like, “noiii gegging, goi” (aussie accent in my head to help), and I sucked the brains mercilessly (see below). Thank goodness because those flavors & texturess were 2 die for and did not make me g@g.
I am learning that road tripping is daunting because you’re never in one place for very long. It is not possible to do everything we should do in each city. And this is very stressful to me! This is road-travel anxiety, and it’s no bueno.
In order to ditch it, I began thinking of this trip as precursor to future travels. Where I’ll spend more time someday, where I won’t etc. This mindset flushed the travel anxiety by the time we got to Nashville.
The night we spent had: warm air, live music in every bar, every restaurant, every hood. Lots of Honky Tonk where we went, but knew there was way more 2 explore beyond Broadway.
The day we spent: at The Filling Station aka “Brews to Go.” They boys were in holy-beer-heaven. They bought 96 oz of local beer and immediately were determined to find a nearby BYOB before the beer sweat all its cold away.
We visited a store down the street called Imogen + Willie (Denim designers whose collection is described to be as “folksy as if it had been painted by Grant Wood“) hoping to find a recommendation re: BYOB. And they gave us a whole list of “Imogen + Willlie Favorite’s.” Homes who we talked to said we had to go to Mas Tacos because “What they do for lunch is re-di-cue-luss.” (w/ that good old twang).
We went and waited in quite the line. It was HOT and the 56 year old in front of us told me how the music industry kicked him to the curb after 40 years “Because he was making too much $$” and now he was in Nashville and “at least he had good tacos across the street.” Then he told me I should be a singer.
We tried all taco types (including fried avocado and sweet-potato quinoa), plus the grilled corn & queso, AND the black bean soup. And o’lord.
Cobalt was overjoyed (he had access to left-over taco meat which he stole from my fingers…), and we chatted with another road warrior who was going West-East, finished the beer, and saw a colorful Nashville lizard (who knew).