Thursday, January 21, 2010

The U.S. of Emily

On my way to help my in-laws for a few days, I stop in St. Paul/Minneapolis first for some rest and relaxation with Susan, my old friend from high school in New Orleans.  It's finals week back in Madison and a good time for Mom to take her nagging sideshow on the road.  Chip's major hurdle this week is pilling dear Brucie the cat.   He swears the cat is looking at him differently and that indicates some wear and tear on his psyche.  Cats always look at their owners with some level of disdain.  The pilling changes little.

We stop between shopping and wine tasting for a dose of humidity and splendiferous aromas of home....we Southern Belles have got to keep our complexions moist.  A quick trip to the MIA in the afternoon.  My attitude toward art museums is this: go see something new, but don't be in a panic to see every last thing.  An exhibit featuring Czech photographers of the 20th century.  Who knew?

Next stop, Spokane on our way to Pullman, WA. Susan and I considered it spring like in MN with temps in the thirties and I'm welcomed to eastern Washington with near fifty temperatures which linger through my whole trip here.   A beautiful drive on 195 from Spokane to Pullman with seriously breathtaking views of the rolling hills of Washington farmland, Steptoe Butte, the mountains of Spokane and miraculously, winter wheat .  Exposed due to the lack of usual snow cover, beautiful green fields that lay deceptively dormant.  I realize how little I have been looking out the windows on all these trips over the years and yet not really seeing.  Too wrapped up in the mundane.  It's good getting older if only to appreciate what you've missed along the way.

Five glorious last days with my niece before she returns to Shanghai.  I'm prepared for a cry on Sunday because this baby won't be this baby the next time I see her.  Our love affair ends soon and I'm trying to remember everything about her.  The little freckle on her right leg.  The stork bite at the nape of her neck.  Her wrinkled nose and toothless wide grin at positively anything I do.  I'm Big Mama.  She can do no wrong by me and we as co-conspirators do very un-Chinese things like expose ourselves to drafts and roll on the floor with our legs out of our pajamas for better toe sucking and get so riled up we spit up all over ourselves to the worry of her mom.  Tonight was bath night and I'm drenched in her scent.  Baby wash and shampoo, baby lotion, a little balmex, ...she's all over me and I'm going to sleep in these clothes.  

Today we had to do a little business around the Department of Homeland Security and I'm convinced having a baby at immigration greatly increases one's chances of being expediently processed. The paperwork was minimal but of course nothing's simple anymore about being not native born.  Maybe it never was. 

Fox News blithers on in the waiting room...the official network of Homeland Security I suppose.  John Stossel and Frank Luntz blah-blahed their way through hardball questions like, "Just what are them Democrats up to now?"  Even Gordon Liddy appeared in a commercial.  It was surreal and would have been laugh out loud funny if it didn't make my soul weep.  While there, we broke many of the strictest rules of homeland security such as no eating or drinking, no cell phones and no cameras. 

With a withering look, Emily might have said, "You'll get this bottle out of my hand with whose army now?"

We were in and out in an hour, Emily working it with all the ladies behind the plate glass windows.  Shucks, her mom ain't no terrorist...look how cute she is! God Bless America.

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