Monday, February 23, 2009

Ask Clarissa

I usually hate Mondays but it was actually a relief for the weekend to end. Ryan and Lauren both had other places to be and I was alone with Abigail the entire weekend in that tomb of a house. Esperanza was around on Saturday for awhile but not on Sunday. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and come to work at the coffee shop.

Something about Abigail creeps me out. I already told you she can seem younger than she is. Don’t ask me to explain it. She just does. And then the next moment she’s like this worn out, wrinkled bit of humanity that has always had too much money and too little fun. The weird thing is, she knew without me even saying anything that I didn’t want hang around the House without the other girls there. She even joked about it. Lucky for me I had a date on Friday night and double shifts on the weekend.

The date was okay. The guy’s name is Nathaniel Chance but everyone just calls him Chance. He’s a senior psych major. Psych majors are probably the hardest people to go out with. Think about it. They are into your brain the whole time. Not so much because they want to be, but because they are spending all their good hours absorbed in the study of how people behave and think, and they are doing that because they chose it. They chose the major, which means they like that stuff. Really like it. They want to be at it the rest of their working days. So they can’t help it. I couldn’t help but wonder if Chance was secretly and subconsciously picking apart everything I said or did. And if he knew that’s what I was wondering, he would find that very interesting.

I kinda like him though. I wished he had asked me out again on Saturday, but he didn’t, so I had to go find some friends to hang out with so that I wasn’t wandering the catacombs with Abigail.

I am reading a book Abigail loaned to me. It better hold my interest more than the last one did. I have hope for this one. It’s As I Lay Dying. When she handed it to me I told her hey, that was the name of a heavy metal band out of San Diego and she told me no, it was book by William Faulkner.

Thank you, thank you it’s Monday and Lauren and Ryan are back . . .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love, Lauren

Hey, Raul:

The tulips you sent me for Valentines Day are just now starting to wilt a bit. Too sad. They are still so beautiful, though. Clariss and Ryan an Esperanza wanted me to keep them in the kitchen but Abigail said absolutely not. Those flowers are mine alone. They are on my dresser and are the first thing I see when I wake up each morning.

It was a busy week and I am ready to kick back at my parents’ this weekend. I know you and Cole can’t come this time, but I secretly hope something will change and you will be able to come after all. Ryan’s going to see her sister’s new baby in Fresno, so Clarissa’s nervous about being alone with Abigail. It’s actually kind of funny. Clarissa doesn’t have too many weak spots. To see her visibly unnerved by the thought of being alone with Abigail is very interesting to me. It’s like she’s afraid Abigail will remind Clarissa there’s still so much she doesn’t know about herself. I told her that and she told me to go choke on some caviar. Hah! I nailed it and she knows it.

I suppose I should tell you it’s not going to be all sun and relaxation at my parents’ house. My dad wants to chat with me about where I see our relationship headed. Yours and my relationship, Raul. Can I call you later today? We don’t have to talk about this yet, if you don’t want to. And I am not asking you to tell me where you see us in ten years. I think my dad’s just wondering if you and I are dating right now just for the fun of it. I’ve realized I’m a lot like my dad, so whatever he wonders about, I wonder about, too. . . . Call me?

Love, Lauren

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mercy's Quill

August 1691

I borrowed a book of poems from a family in Boston that Papa knows, written by Lady Mary Wroth. Many lovely verses within its pagea. O, but this one that I shall copy here in my own little book so I shan't forget it. So sad. Love she gave and it was handed back to her. Poor thing. I hope 'twas only a season:

Drown me not, you cruel tears,
Which in sorrow witness bears
Of my wailing,
And love's failing.

Floods but cover and retire,
Washing faces of desire,
Whose fresh growing
Springs by flowing.

Meadows ever yet did love
Pleasant streams which by them move,
But your falling
Claims the calling

Of a torrent curstly fierce
Past wit's power to rehearse;
Only crying, Or my dying
May instead of verse or prose
My disastrous end disclose.

Monday, February 9, 2009

In the Kitchen with Esperanza

Okay, so Lauren tells me you want the recipe for green tea smoothies. First, these weren't my idea. Why you'd want to mess with berries and bananas and ice cream - the only decent ingredients for a smoothie - is beyond me. I only fiddled with this concoction because the girls wanted them. If you ask me, I think they look like a potion mixed in the laboratory of a mad scientist.


This is enough for two to three people depending on how big a glass you are using.

First brew some green tea. Don't get the cheap stuff. Get a nice package of green tea, by the bag, if you must and brew some and let it cool. Don't cool it by adding ice cubes. Let it cool on its own. You put ice cubes in hot brewed tea, and you will dilute it to uselessness.

Then add the following to your blender:
  • 1 cup ice and crush it
  • 1/2 banana - or just toss the whole thing in there.
  • 1 peach, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger - I just shake it. Guessing here.
  • 1 tblsp of honey or one good squirt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
Blend all this together and then add:
  • 1 cup of cooled green tea
Blend just until uniform. Pour into tall glasses. If you have fresh mint. Put a couple leaves on top. It improves the look.

These are actually good for you. I'll give you that.

I am needed back in the kitchen. Clarissa is boiling water. . . .

Friday, February 6, 2009

Abigail on the Classics

It's been a long time since there were young voices in my house. Lauren, Clarissa and Ryan have been here more than a week. Sometimes the house is electric with their noise and movement. Sometimes it is like they aren't even here.

There have been moments since they moved in when I have felt like a very old woman; when they dash down the stairs with little white earphones in their ears, and when they pour a bowl of cereal while punching numbers on their tiny phones, and when they decide at 10 p.m. to go out for orange juice.

There have been as many moments when I have felt like time has worked its way backward and I can almost seeTom Kimura stepping in off the patio and telling me the hummingbirds in the hydrangeas have hatched.

I was the age they were when I told Tom I didn't love him even though I really did. Funny thing: I can't imagine a one of these girls being as foolish, and yet they seem much younger than I was.

I have let Ryan use the Kimuras' old gardeners cottage for her studio. I don't know why I still think of it like that. There hasn't been a gardener living in it since the 1960s. And that man wasn't even a Kimura. It was a musty mess when we cracked open the door, but these resourceful young women had it cleaned up in no time. I am glad there is nothing left in it to remind me of when Tom and his father lived there. And yet, I am reminded anyway very time I poke my head inside. I want to give the girls their space and Ryan certainly doesn't need me interrupting her painting, but now that the cottage has been aired and open, I am drawn to it.

I loaned Clarissa another book, As I Lay Dying. She told me it sounds incredibly depressing. I told her it is actually more about how to live than how to die. And she said she'd read it and see for herself.

I picture a long conversation in the cottage when she finishes.