Monday, July 29, 2013


My mom just sent me this picture, which she found among her collections of photographs (as a scholar and historian, my mom is the best curator of the family's past), to remind me of a February 14, 2007 post on this blog.

On that entry, written the month after I started this autobiographical journey in January 2007, I talked about my abuela Jo (now long gone) and how she surprised me with her loving phone call that Valentine's Day. How I miss my dear abuela.

I also talked about my beloved titi Bebi, who now has dementia and lives in a nursing home, and how she took this photo of me (those are oversized pink curlers on my head) when I ran outside one afternoon to play, clad only in my old-lady panties (and, it appears, my pantuflas or slippers).

So, so much has changed (for both the better and the worse) in the past six years. Time goes by so quickly that it's hard to keep track of how we've felt or what we've said or what has meant a lot to us. I'm so thankful to my mom for pointing me back to this past of the past and for finding this photograph.

Because, even though time marches on irrevocably, and we lose touch with (or actually lose) those we love so much, I can still see my self in this old photograph. Because, when all is said and done, the past is never past until we forget.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Did you see this picture from NASA?

If not, it's worth checking out the story:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peach season!

Summer in Ohio is truly lovely (well, except when, as happened last year, temperatures soared to the 100s!). It's a time when time slows down for those of us whose jobs allow us some time off (I'm not fully there yet since I start working full-time again on Monday), and it's a time of sounds and sights that make summertime poetry.

When I hear the first cicadas, I know we're full in summer, and that didn't happen until just this past week, when I returned home from working the Summer Teaching Institute. It's the time for cherries, which are my very favorite snack and of which I simply can't eat enough (one cup of cherries is only 84 calories!).

And, of course, it's the time for peaches! Yesterday, my husband and I went to the nearby town of Granville for their wonderful farmer's market, and came back with a bounty of farm-raised eggs, home-made bread, organically grown onions and the first peaches of the season (aptly named Flaming Fury).

Today, it'll be a day to make a cherry pie for my husband (his favorite) and a peach cobbler, just because. But mostly I love to have the peaches as nature intended them, naked.

Summer around here is also the time to have the windows open, which is something the cats love. My husband and I aren't air conditioning people and while we hear our neighbors' ACs going on and off all the time, we are the odd ones out because, unless temperatures in the house go over 83 degrees, we cool the house with fans and we tend to sleep only with the ceiling fan whirring gently above us.

Summer is also the time for reading non-school related books, and I'm now in the midst of James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom, which is superb. I decided to go for it (it's a pretty hefty tome and will take me some time to finish) after we visited Gettysburg and I realized how little I actually know about the Civil War, even though I teach that period in many of my literature classes.

My undergraduate major was History and Literature of Latin American and I find that the interdisciplinary training I received (unbeknownst to me) then has made it practically impossible for me to analyze literature without placing it within its historical context (historicizing is what we call it in academia). That contextualization makes literature (or any piece of art) more interesting and relevant. It was like learning that Mozart's Requiem was written for a father who made his life impossible. Such knowledge definitely changes the perspective of things.

Tomorrow I dive into the maelstrom of three weeks of full-time teaching for our bridge program at my small college on the hill. While I am looking forward to teaching and to getting to know the students, I know it will be grueling. But well worth it and, after that, I will still have about a month to really do absolutely nothing very relevant (except plan classes for the fall). I'm looking forward to that and I'm pledging here and now that, next summer, I will make more time to do what summer tends to do best: nothing in a rush or on a deadline.

Friday, July 5, 2013

An anniversary filled with adventure!

Today started nicely enough as my husband and I celebrated 19 years of being married to each other. After running some errands, he came home with this lovely bouquet, and we already had reservations at our favorite romantic restaurant (about an hour or so away from home) at the Inn at Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills. This is the third year that we've celebrated our anniversary there and it never disappoints.

But this time the trip there was very different. As we got off the highway onto the ramp that would take us to the road that leads to the inn, my husband noticed a dog running on the side of the road. The dog darted in front of our car, so we stopped and got out. The dog seemed like she wanted to get into the car so we let her get in and drove on, certain that we couldn't just leave her there to be hit by a truck or worse.

We stopped at a nearby vacationing area near the lake and called the Hocking County Sheriff's Office and they told me that they'd get the Dog Warden to see if they could put her in the dog pound until the owners were found. So we drove on to the restaurant and she stayed in the car (it was rainy and cool so she was perfectly alright) while we had our anniversary dinner. My husband went to check on her and found her calm and enjoying not being out in the elements (she was wet and full of burrs so she'd definitely been through some rough terrain). We also told the innkeepers who, very helpfully, contacted the nearby park ranger and asked for help in determining if someone was desperately looking for a missing dog.

After dinner, my husband made arrangements for us to meet up with a Sheriff Deputy at the Dog Pound, which is closed for the weekend, so the dog could stay there. We had already planned on giving them our information and telling them that, if the owners weren't found, we'd come back for the dog. We didn't know what we'd do with her since we are certainly not in the market for another furry child but we both agreed that the dog was simply too wonderful to have her put down.

We waited for a while at the Dog Pound until, finally, my husband saw the Sheriff's car and, to our delight, when he arrived he told us that he was being followed by the dog's owners! They, as we imagined anyone who loved such a wonderful dog would do, had searched high and low all over and near the campground where she had bolted after hearing some firecrackers early this morning. But this was all on the other side of the highway from where we found her so we're not even sure how the dog even crossed the busy state road!

It was a teary reunion for the owners and for me because it was such a happy ending, and such a lovely way to end our anniversary, doing what was right for that poor dog. All is well that ends well and Kia, as we found out she is named, is now happily reunited with her family.

At the inn, the owners even treated us to our wine because they were so grateful that we'd rescued the dog. Everyone we told the story to thanked us, which made us more convinced that we'd done the right thing.

Now safely home we're both exhausted after spending a lot longer out than we thought we would, but we're both so glad that we could contribute to a very happy ending for everyone, especially for Kia. This 19th anniversary will probably rank up there as one of the most memorable of them all!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4th!