Archive for October, 2012

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Dani lived upstairs with her mom and two little sisters. She was a gawky thing, too tall and too skinny, with orange-red hair and a heart-shaped face. For Halloween that year, Dani’s thirteenth, her mother bought her this little French Maid costume; very authentic, right down to the frilled white headpiece.

Mom had to work the big party at the club that night, but she’d given Dani permission to take her sisters out for trick-or-treating. That permission, however, was conditional: two loads of laundry, washed and dried in the community laundry room, and folded on the couch before they went out.

Responsibility is something a girl learns to take on or rebel against early in a place like The Villa, and Dani was one of those that took it without question. By seven p.m., she was finished with the first load and waiting on a dryer for the second. She’d costumed herself and her sisters early, so they didn’t miss that first rush, the one where all the good candy gets gone. The stilettos her mother had loaned her for the night, were dangerous for traipsing up and down the stairwell a laundry basket, so Dani had donned a pair of fuzzy piggy slippers and slap-slapped her way back to the laundry room to see if one of the dryers was free.

She’s there, this skinny little French Maid, leaning against the wall in the laundry room, tapping her slipper-clad toes to a hip-hop tune no one else can hear, when He comes in, sliding all quiet-like around the edge of the doorframe across from her. Making mental notes. Taking inventory. He doesn’t belong to the Villa, doesn’t even belong in it, but Dani doesn’t know that, and Dani doesn’t run until it’s almost too late, until his hands are up on her, finding out just how skinny she really is beneath that costume.

She runs hard then.

And fast.

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More than fourteen thousand page views here on Laurustina this month and only four comments. Really? Is it me? Do I talk too much? (My sister will be laughing right now.) But seriously, you people are ridiculiously quiet. So that's it. I'm giving you the floor. And as I once told The Great Bryan Adams, for chri'sake if you don't have anything else to say, write about your socks.

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Last week, I was scouring the library for resource books on Memoir. I didn't come up with much beyond the handful I'd already dug through, but later the same night, while re-shelving my own books in our new office, I tripped over Tristine Rainer's “Your Life as Story; Discovering the New Autobiography and Writing Memoir as Literature”.

It's one of the books I bought while researching my thesis on Therapeutic Writing a decade ago and the spine is familiar as any other on my shelf, but I haven't cracked it since September of 2002. I picked up the book, flipped through it and laughed. If I'd found it in the library, I'd have declared it “Exactly what I was looking for!” and clutched it to my chest while running for the check-out line. Instead, it was waiting casually to be remembered and rescued from deep shelves five feet from where I sleep.

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Five days after Alice reveals herself as, well HERself, and two days after she breaks the news to Jay and Max, we have the following conversation.

So who should we tell next?”

Everyone” she responds.

And when should we tell them?”

Immediately. But you should be the Chief Informer, because you're good with words.” She's clearly pandering but I let it slide. After all, I've been trying to manage the disconnect between this child and the rest of the world for long enough that by now it's second nature.

I start my awkward announcements that same Monday morning at the Skilled Nursing Facility where I work as an Office Manager. I'm sifting through a stack of papers from my mailbox in the Admitting office when my coworker Sherry asks one of those polite-chatter questions.

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I'm a big fan of Trader Joes' sauces. I keep a fat stash of them in the cupboard, including my favorite Curry Simmer Sauce, Thai Red Curry Sauce and their Basil Pesto. My favorite use of TJ's Pesto sauce dish consists of blanched asparagus and green beans tossed with a fresh cheese ravioli, but this quickie pesto chicken pasta dish is now a close second. I added fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan to mimic the pesto and a pop of grape tomatoes for sweetness.

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