This morning August and I slept in. We awoke to a beautiful day, blue skies and a sunny warmth at the windows.  The past few days here in Oklahoma have been rather difficult. On Sunday, Family Day, we  headed off to Edmond, OK for record hunting, children's book shopping, Goodwill thrifting and organic fruit and veggie buying. We found ourselves under layers of rotating clouds, feeling the electrifying static of an atmosphere in motion. The lightening was unlike any we had ever experienced. It came without rain, without low, pregnant, dark, ominous clouds. Soon, we heard what sounded like a jet crossing the sky, but the roar never grew fainter, it was steady and constant. We didn't think it was thunder, looked around and saw no motorcycles, no heavy machinery... it was thunder that had no end.

It was at this point that I checked my phone and saw that we were in the middle of tornadic activity. The weatherman stood in front of a red screen and was excitedly telling viewers to seek shelter now. Then the screen changed and there was a cloud, I looked to my right and there was the cloud that was threatening to fall to earth, angry, destructive, frightening. Neither one of us had ever been so close to a funnel cloud or seen a tornado. We drove out of the city as fast as we could. While it's been said never to try and out run a tornado, we have a GPS with a live, radar weather map. We were able to see where the danger was coming from and able to make an informed decision. It was a Sunday, there was no traffic on the freeway, another plus.  We listened to the weather alerts and reports that were coming in. It was above and hitting the areas were we had been shopping. It ht the location we had just fled.

As we drove  down the freeway, the cloud remained to my right for several minutes and I could see it change. It was very much alive, it was difficult not to anthropomorphize it.  It was as alive as any wave I have ever played with in the ocean, as alive as the full moon rising right before your eyes, living and breathing. It is easy for me to understand how people worshipped these gods and didn't want to anger them.

Years from now I'll tell August about this and how at a few days from turning 13 months, she sat in her car seat calm, happy, oblivious to the hazard and at one point held my hand, bringing me comfort. I made her laugh and giggle to calm myself. We stopped in Shawnee to continue our grocery shopping, feeling quite relieved. We left the town while "bubbly" mammatous clouds began to form above us, unfamiliar with what they meant. We drove home, and had dinner. I checked the weather and a tornado struck Shawnee an hour after we left. Footage of it destroying a mobile home park was taken from the grocery store where we had been. Too close.


Typewriters have always been in my life, until recently. I am without one at the moment. My parents owned several, that they used daily, even after I left home. While in college I would receive typewritten letters from my Abuelita in Mexico. As I read them I would picture her at her typewriter. She always had the dual red and black ribbon and typed in red quite a bit. I only remember her having one machine, it sat on a shelf. It was gone the last time I visited.

I never did officially learn how to type. Instead I took a drama or a sociology class, that didn't stop me from collecting typewriters. I picked up my first machine while away at school, garage sale find. They were always a staple at garage sales. Thrift stores would group several together, rusty or dirty, stretched ribbons, dusty, keys all stuck together, messes. My lil treasures. I'd buy Underwoods, Remingtons and Olivettis, and enjoyed cleaning them up. All were unique, possessing their own idiosyncrasies, never broken. Eventually I stopped seeing them around as often and was happy with my pieces. I never got around to actually playing with them as much as I would have liked. Just as I began too, I had to pack them away again. They sit in storage awaiting a forever home one day.

A new book has been published on a favorite artist named  Dom Sylvester Houédard, who was a Benedictine monk and concrete poet, Notes From The Cosmic Typewriter: The Life And Work Of Dom Sylvester Houedard. He worked with an Olivetti Lettera 22, and that is one reason I bought that typewriter when I came across it. It was also the typewriter my Abuelita once owned.  

Dom Sylvester Houédard, 69, 1964. (Collection: Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry)

Who you a beach.

Who we meet and when we meet them has always been something that has always fascinated me.  You never really know how long someone will be in your life.  Even when you think you do, you don't really. Ebb and flow.

In 1985, I met my best friend. We sat next to each other at lunch and I would overhear the conversations she was having with her friends. I thought we had much in common so I started talking to her and haven't stopped in 28 years. Just spoke to her this morning. I met another girl that year in school and we also had much in common but we lost touch a year or two after we met. Our lunches were never at the same time, we only had one class together. Never saw her again.

In Spanish class, decades ago, this girl just happened to sit in front of me because the seat was empty. We started talking, she asked if I could help her out in class and we've been close friends ever since. That same year, I had a falling out with my roommate, a girl I thought would be in my life for years and years. We even spoke of our children one day playing together and owning homes in the same neighborhood. Never saw her again.

There was this anthropology class I took one summer and across from me sat this beautiful girl and her cute boyfriend. They introduced me to their group of friends and we all hung out that summer. They moved away soon after that. August and I visited that beautiful girl, who is now married to someone she met after she moved away, and they have a beautiful baby boy who was born two weeks before August, almost to the hour. When we hung out those months, all those years ago, I never thought that one day our babies would have a play date. I hope we can see more of each other. I'm the one who moved away this time.

I met my husband in 1999. He was working at a coffee house and I was working at a library. Our lives crossed briefly then. One afternoon, just out of the blue, without prior introduction, he gave me a beautiful  book he thought I would be interested in. I was. I read it, I wanted to talk about it but he was gone. I ran into him here and there but we never said much more than hello to each other. There was a smile, a wave, a nod, always from a distance. Then, I just stopped seeing him around town. The book sat on the many shelves that came in and out of my life for years. It held two stories, the one it contained and the one it was a part of. We ended up in the same record store one evening and still, no conversation, no clues, absolutely nothing indicating that in five years we'd have a whirlwind romance, and a baby girl.

We all have these stories, connections lost and found, re-connections, bad connections, disconnections. Go with the natural ebb and flow. 


I have learned to work anywhere, work fast, enjoy the process and not strive for perfection when I have these brief moments to make something. No matter what it is. In this case, birthday thank you notes.