Secret Pop

Sep 11, 2006

Nothing is awful. Nor is anything awesome.

After a week of sequestration and a night of mistrust, I drove to San Diego this morning to spend some time with my family. It was very family-ish and good. My dad gave me sincere hugs and said he loved me, and he smelled very nice like he always does. Beulah showed me the slide show she made in memory of Tasha, and we cried together over it. Sarah and Beulah and I went swimming, and Audrey came with us, and everyone delighted in what a funny little goofball she is. Especially when riding around on a kickboard. I experimented with my Canon 30D and took extraordinary pleasure in selective focus. And my mom seemed delighted to have her three girls all together in the same room. She taught us to make jiaozi (I'm pretty sure Sarah already knew how). And she congratulated us when the dumplings were pretty and Chinese-looking. And she clucked gently when they weren't. When we ate them, Beulah was in charge of the background music, and she decided to play a lot of Beach Boys songs. Somehow, the topic of my historically non-working digestive system came up. While we were eating. And Beulah delighted in making fun of me by replacing Beach Boys lyrics with words about poop wherever possible. I helped. I'm a good sport, and I know a lot of words. But I couldn't help but wonder why it's okay for us to talk about this at the dinner table when no one in the family seems to be able to stand a photograph of me with my dog's tongue touching my mouth. My mom also minds a great deal when I tease her about her garage sale and estate sale "findings." She showed me an impressive lambswool rug she bought for five dollars, and I said, "Someone probably died on it." And she boiled our handmade jiaozi tonight in a really huge Calphalon pot she got for forty dollars. I said, "I'll bet some old people used to boil their dentures in it. And they're dead now." Those little japes really get under her skin. But sing a Beach Boys song with the bass line replaced with repetition of the word "bowel," and I guess you're fine. Maybe she would have minded if company had been there. Or maybe she was just riding out the high of having been proud of us. I think it really meant something to her that her three daughters were helping her make dumplings. I heard her announcing it to her sister-in-law on the telephone as we were finishing up. And she mentioned wanting to make a tradition of this. I'm for it. I love jiaozi. And I love knowing how to make those perky little dumplings with my own two hands.

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