Shadows in the Desert: Marcy and Randy
12 favorite posts of 2016
My husband’s kooky or brilliant conviction that he knew the location of a hidden treasure led to two delightful trips out West — Up a Creek, but Unsinkable: Weekend in Denver and An Empty Nester’s Tour of the American West. No treasure though:
“I know that look.
“I grew up watching It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World roughly every Sunday afternoon of my childhood, sitting next to my father on our seventies-orange couch. So I’ve seen that look plenty of times.
“It is the look of a man who thinks he is about to claim a hidden treasure as his own.
“It is a look that cannot be denied.” (Continue reading)
This painful post sat in my drafts folder for over a year while I agonized over whether to publish it. I don’t understand exactly why, but the urge to publish it would not go away and seemed to block me from writing anything else until I did:
“Growing up, Steve was a proud misogynist, calling women ‘Ws’ for ‘wenches,’ as in this I-swear-it’s-true command to an old girlfriend: ‘W, get me a beer,’ in front of our family while watching football.
“To my never-ending horror, she got up and got him a beer.” (Continue reading)
I’ve rarely made political comments on my blog, but this anti-Trump post just bubbled up out of me and needed to be published, no matter how tiny its impact. I wrote at least 2,000 extra words and cut it down for days. My take considers Sandy Hook deniers, science fiction, and Trump:
“We’ve now entered the post-truth era, where facts no longer matter to nearly half the country, and the bad news keeps on coming as Donald Trump puts together his team…. With the choice of Rick Perry for Energy, the department he famously forgot of the three he had vowed to eliminate, I keep expecting Trump to jump out from behind a barrel like Allen Funt and yell, ‘Smile! You’re on Candid Camera.’” (Continue reading)
“I’d given the horse a little kick, as instructed, and here it was a mere two seconds later and everything had changed, all confusion, like a wave knocked me over from behind and its pal the undertow snatched me and dragged me away.” (Continue reading)
This little post answered the prompt “Where did the time go?” in the required 42 words. Many of the responses to the prompt considered lost decades, but I tried to show the micro adjustments needed in the moments a tennis ball approaches. Tennis continues to enchant and baffle me:
“The ball springs off his racket toward my sweet spot; I’ll smash a forehand down the line: racket back, turn sideways, little steps, line it up, track it…” (Continue reading)
6. Friday night date night just got better, and cheaper, and did I mention I didn’t have to leave the house?
With the start of the academic year a few months ago, I became an empty-nester and started cooking fancy meals for my husband and me more than ever, I guess to fill the empty space in my heart with delicious noshes my picky eater wouldn’t eat. This post from February marks the start of it all, back when we still had a high schooler at home:
“By getting my husband on board to hang out and help, cooking at home on a Friday night transformed from an exhausting chore to a fun event.
“We listened to music and had some wine while we cooked scallops with asparagus, a splurge for a home meal, but a pittance compared to if we’d eaten out.” (Continue reading)
“How good could this sandwich possibly be, as you find it, pass the glass cases of jade bracelets and gold necklaces, and finally get the food in some bags to go, only to wander around the bustling streets of Manhattan for another half hour looking for a place to sit down and eat? (Continue reading)
“I stare at a spot on the ceiling, bright blue sky, white clouds, pink spring blossoms in the corner of the light box. I once would have clung to this, a haven in my anxiety, but now I don’t care. Throw whatever you want at me. Pain. Blood. Small talk. Scheduling. I’ll endure. I tell myself, ‘You think this is bad? This ain’t bad.’” (Continue reading)
“Years after my father died I found an old camera with a half-used roll of film from an afternoon my kids and I spent with him in his backyard pool. I had switched to a digital camera and never finished the roll. After my nostalgic afternoon going through the drawer of old photos, I shot off the rest of the roll and dropped it off to be developed.” (Continue reading)
“3. Arrive at noon when it’s 100 degrees and the exact worst time to begin hiking a mountain.
“4. Gasp for breath at 12:10 p.m.
“5. Ask yourself why you are doing this at 12:11 p.m.
“6. Stop hiking to take a photo to fool your husband into pausing so you can catch your breath.
“7. Stop hiking to take a drink.” (Continue reading)
“I love the beginning of every hike. The buzz from the road quickly fades away and is replaced by the gurgles of streams and the rustling of the wind through the trees. For long stretches of time, the cares of the outside world fade away too, with the only concerns being which line of stones to take across a stream, or the looming thunderstorm that quickens my steps.” (Continue reading)
“After watching the fascinating film Ex Machina, I fell into a rabbit hole reading about the Turing Test, sidled over to whether the Blade Runner replicant test counted as a Turing Test, and ended up scoring a 54 percent likelihood that I myself am a replicant. It’s a simplistic test, so I wasn’t too fazed. That is, I wasn’t too fazed until my husband scored as more likely to be a human than I.” (Continue reading)
And a few more pictures…
Jewel-toned one-pot pasta: Beets cleaning an extra pot
This has been a year of changes and challenges. Thanks to the readers who visit and comment. I would love to hear about your 2016 or your plans for 2017.
Happy New Year!