Today my brother told me about how he was on a walk earlier today and got stopped by some missionaries. He told them he grew up Mormon, so he knows their angle.
They asked why he stopped going to church.
They asked him if he still believes in God.
Those are not topics he’s going to talk to just anybody about.
Those are topics even I can barely broach with him.
I mean, people exercise their faith/philosophies very differently. And it sounded like those missionaries were trying pretty hard to get my brother to open up. And it would be one thing if he actually wanted to talk, but it sounded like one those situations that, no matter their efforts, because he didn’t want to talk, they weren’t getting further in that conversation. You know?
Today I only rinsed some of the conditioner from my hair during my shower. And now? My hair feels so silky! I just worry it’ll look and feel greasy tomorrow.
A few weeks ago I got my pixie cut cleaned up at a chain salon. As the stylist snipped, hair rained on the black cape. Not just my dark-brown-almost-black hair, but a bunch of grey, too. The question is: Do I call those lighter hairs grey (definitely with an E) or silver? I mean, I’ve dyed my hair silver in the past, and it has looked rad. And I’ve definitely earned mine, so.
I’ve started a nightly face cleansing routine. Pores and wrinkles and age spots in my face; the slightest crèping in my neck and décolletage. In my 20s and through my 30s I didn’t really wash my face at night. I guess I let the oils in my skin do all the work, and only occasionally my skin would break out and I’d call it yet another puberty. But now, it seems my skin is actually starting to dry out. If I can’t control my silvering hair, then I should be able to regularly clean my face, right? Besides, after washing and moisturizing, I like how soft my face feels.
I forgot to post yesterday, June 25. It was on my mind to do it. You bet I’m gonna backdate this. (June 25, 2021, 10pm)
We went on a hike to Stewart Falls. It’s an out-and-back hike, totaling four miles. There are some moderately steep parts and some rocky areas, but mostly the trail gently rolls, and it’s shaded with a few sunny parts. I mean, you still have to watch not to trip on roots and tumble down the mountain. All in all, it’s a really pleasant hike with some amazing vistas. One of my favorites.
It’s a little bit steep but relatively short descent past the plungepool, and that’s where we usually go on this hike before turning around.
My brother came along with us, and I think he really liked it, too.
Z especially loves being near the waterfall, and she calls this area, “Good Dinosaur water.”
Have you seen Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur? You should.
Yesterday I asked my brother what he knew about switching out old electrical outlets, the ones with just two slots and no grounding hole. I asked if he had a current reader, and he said he has a multimeter.
Our house is oldish, built in 1955. Most of the electricity has been updated throughout the house, but a few old outlets remained. Thinking about working with electricity sort of freaks me out, and I knew that my brother has all-around experience with lots of handy stuff.
So we went to the hardware store and walked to the outlet section. There are so many types! And prices run the full range. But Brother picked out what he thought our house needed. Nothing too fancy.
When we got home I took a nap while Bro switched out the outlets. Reilly read a book while Z watched Ratatouille. The breaker box labeled a lot of the outlets wrong, so we spent some time finding out which switches actually controlled which outlets. Bro found out about one via tiny shock. Zzzt.
My husband and my brother are talking about tonight’s Jazz game. I overhear them commenting about one of the Grizzlies’ more aggressive players, who happened to foul out. Memphis is a young, very physical team. But the Jazz are patient and selfless. They are versatile and deep. We have our strong players, but everyone is capable of stepping up, which is what had to happen when Mitchell was out for about six weeks on an ankle injury. They’ve earned their number one seed in the Western Conference.
Reilly is reading fan comments online. I hear my brother laughing.
Today was a good Saturday. We bought a gift for Reilly’s nephew who graduated from high school this week. We went out to eat, then we took Z to a park, which she didn’t want to leave. I did some yard work, and I sneezed for an hour after coming inside. The pollen. The merciless pollen. I took some allergy medicine, and the sneezes are now under control.
My Fitbit tells me that I slept 3.5 hours last night. I am ready for bed.
The two guys are in the tv room, still talking about the Jazz.
You know when you’ve slept well and you awake refreshed and it’s gonna be a great day, no matter what? That’s today.
Like it’s mostly puppies and rainbows today, but layers of the other stuff, too. The add-perspective stuff. A cross section of all the strati is beautiful, and it’s important to see.
Reviewing posts from the past couple of years has revived my desire to write as an outlet. To journal feelings for my own mental health.
From June 2019 I began documenting some grief, which still isn’t complete. Which also isn’t a thing that doesn’t really arrive to completion. I’ll definitely revisit that.
Then: a long break to November 2020, when I got upset because it was the election, and emotions were running so hot, both from my cozy echo chamber and friends whose opinions differ, and I didn’t know how to navigate certain relationships. And the immediate reaction was to withdraw from facebook, and unfriend toxicity. I still think that was the right thing to do.
Then this month. With Hilary Hahn’s new album release, and me being a total fan. And today I’m being an unapologetic fan. This album is the bomb. Do they still say that? This album is the shit? That feels weird, though I have taken to swearing more. My official review: Paris is perfect.
AND, my little Zinger’s birthday is coming up next month. My brother’s, too. Gosh, my heart is so full.
I was going to write another entry about Girls’ Camp, but my brother put this picture on the internet. I saw it on Friday, and I laughed the way you do when you see something from the past that triggers a million good memories. My heart smiled. I called Frank Saturday morning to ask if I could use the photo for this blog, and he didn’t even hesitate. “Yeah,” he said, the way he says it.
This is his school picture from kindergarten. Did Mom lay out his clothes? No, she did not. Frank got up and got himself dressed in a fine, pin-striped suit. Made for a 5-year old boy. I like to think he took one last look in the bathroom mirror and adjusted that Windsor knot, or at least made sure the clip was secure in the collar, before he walked a mile to the bus stop along a dirt road. In his dress shoes. The vest was a nice touch; not too formal, but still keeping some sophistication.
You can tell the summer was winding down. Frank’s brown hair with darkish blond streaks along the hairline implicates the Caucasian in him. He combed his own hair and parted it the way Mom and Dad taught him. He’s been out in the sun. His bronzy tan hints he probably had a good summer of playing in the neighborhood, and the thought of starting school so far from his mind, because forts and treehouses and soccer in the front yard were priority. As they should be.
I wasn’t going to point this out, but would you take note of the size of that boy’s noggin? I’m sure his shoulders kept nice and cool beneath the shadow of that considerable skull. If I had known about bobbleheads 21 years ago, I would have tried tapping Frank’s head as often as possible to see if it would bounce up and down from the neck, connected so obviously by a spring. This is probably the reason he didn’t give a toothy smile: he was too focused on keeping his head still.
When I talked to Frank on Saturday about the photograph, he told me he didn’t even know how to smile, at least for a camera. He kind of has a monkey mouth here. But you can still see his dimple. And you can see the earnestness in his big, brown eyes. Because he’s five. This was when we could still call him “Boo-boo.” That was a nickname he had ever since he was born. I figured out that term could be slang for a mistake, and I’d go around announcing my brother was a mistake, having no idea what I was saying.
Can you see the scar in his right eyebrow? That’s from when TIMMY YATES SHOT HIM POINT BLANK WITH A BB GUN. If I think about that too much, I feel as if I still want to show that Timmy a boo-boo from my foot to his teeth.
When Frank was in kindergarten, I was in sixth grade. I was a member of the student patrol, and the last 10 minutes of school every day I stood at my station to keep the students from cutting corners, walking on the grass and running all over campus on their way to the buses. I wore a fluorescent orange plastic/vinyl belt with a badge pinned to the cross-strap that ran from the shoulder to the waist.
Sometimes my post was close to Frank’s classroom. When the dismissal bell rang, my brother’s class exited from the portable in a nice, orderly line. He would see me, break form, walk up to me and give me a hug. And sometimes I did not always welcome his affection. I sometimes pushed him away, because I had to keep my eye on all the deviant children who were so intent on stepping on the grass. Because they’re kids.
It wasn’t until well into the second semester of that school year when I started hugging Frank back. It took a while for me to realize he might like seeing his sister at the end of the day. I certainly liked seeing him, and I wasn’t embarrassed. I was actually more ashamed of pushing him away so I could do my awesome and incredibly important job on the school patrol. I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was, and I’m glad Frank woke me up to that.
I can’t remember if we went to the bus stop together, or if we walked home together all the time. Frank matter-of-factly recounted to me once on our walk home – or maybe it was while we were in line to board the bus – how I held his arms behind his back and pushed him forward and he fell on his face. And all because he said to me, “No skips, bubble lips!” He laughed pretty hard relating this story to me, by the way, like two hours ago. Because he’s twenty-six and just relived a kindergarten moment – not the hurt of my pushing him so much as his cleverness that provoked my anger. Because he’s that way.
And so it continued as we grew up. I began junior high school and the homework really started to pile up. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my homework and Frank irritating me somehow until I got up from my chair and Frank took off laughing and I chased him around the house until I could get to where I could shove him pretty hard onto the couch. Which was what he wanted.
I remember making him so mad he chased me around the house and I locked myself in my parents’ bathroom and then a moment later I looked down at the floor and saw a knife blade sliding side to side from under the door, and I’d hear him laughing, and I banged on the door until he left the door and returned the knife to the kitchen. Nothing was child-proof in our home. (You do remember all the horror movies we watched together, right?)
Whenever our parents weren’t home we’d do backflips on the couch or have wrestling matches, with our stuffed animals as an audience. We’d play catch with my brother’s stuffed bear, Allen (David John‘s BFF), pretending it was a football and dove into the couch for the completion. We’d play Houdini or something like it, where we’d take turns trying to escape from having our wrists bound behind our backs. We’d stay up late until we saw our parents’ car pull into the driveway, then we’d turn off all the lights and run to our rooms and pretend to be sleeping.
When Frank was about eight years old, he went right up to my dad and requested not to be called “Boo-Boo” anymore. This felt like a really significant moment in our family’s history. I could sense a shift of gears: my brother was growing up. And this could mean that he could nearly crack his skull open while diving head first into his friend’s shallow pool and my mom freaking out at the clinic where the doctor sewed up the gash with eight stitches. Because he’ll always be Boo-Boo.
We got along more than we fought. It was just the two of us, and I’ve always adored him, even when I behaved like the Mean Big Sister. He always forgave me. And I always forgave him, and we resumed playing until we fought again, and we forgave and hugged and talked and bonded and grew up and became the best of friends who happened to be related. The overall effect of this photo is downright fetching. You can’t help but notice Frank’s cute, little-kid cheeks, the way he looks directly into the camera, the depth of his eyes. If you have the chance to speak to my brother for the first time today, you would have no problem believing this is who he was, because he’s the same person now. Because he’s my brother.