27 July 2010


Home Sweet Home., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

I miss the days when life was simpler... When I lived abroad in a town that was older than country I was born in, full of enchantment and adventure and kind-hearted care-worn people who enjoyed life's simple pleasantries... working to live, not the other way around.

Where every morning a bread truck came by delivering delectable pastries and fresh baked bread. Farmers tended to their livestock and gardens and I bought fresh eggs every week from my landlords for the equivalent of a dollar. Elderly people swept the stoops and sidewalks every day and cared for the graves in the local cemeteries. There were times when I was even late for work because a Shepard was herding his flock down main street, but no one complained and no one minded.

At nights I slept with my windows open, even in winter, and at precisely 3 am a train would pass in the distance bellowing its soft whistle... that was the only sound the nighttime held. I've never slept so soundly since.

I miss the walk from Bibergau to Dettelbach each weekend with my Chinese Pug, Paco, and how we would sit for hours at a sidewalk cafe dining on Goulash soup and Bacchus wine.

Where fests were frequent and drunks were happy. Friends gathered often and unplanned for coffee, dinner, or just a long walk through the scenic wonderland that is Germany.

In spring, there were Federweißer and flower stands aligning the streets of small villages. And summers were never very hot; no one had air conditioners in their homes because a fan or a fresh breeze from open windows worked just fine.

Winters were often hard and always cold with the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen... a cold that would bite through whatever layers you could pile on, but there was always the fragrant aroma of sweet Glühwein in the air to warm your insides.

And the most dangerous thing that ever happened to me (short of driving on the Autobahns) was opening my front door one morning to find a neighbor's escaped goat who was just as startled as I was.

There is not a day that has gone by since that I haven't missed, ached for the only place that ever truly felt like home. When life was simpler and we worked to live, not the other way around.

"The worst feeling in the world is the homesickness that comes over a man occasionally when he is at home."

...Edward W. Howe

20 July 2010


Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Sometimes there are no words.

Sometimes there are too many and they back up and congest as if in a traffic jam, all competing to arrive at their destination, their purpose, whatever that may be... incomplete and jumbled; some stuck on a round about, distracted, "Hey look kids, there's Big Ben..."

It's frustrating, this brain constipation, especially for one who writes. --Needs to write, like one needs to breath.

"A scrupulous writer in every sentence that he writes will ask himself... What am I trying to say? What words will express it?... And he probably asks himself... Could I put it more shortly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing open your mind and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself."

...George Orwell, "Horizon", April, 1947

16 July 2010

some days...

5:366 | Some days..., Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
You know it's gonna be a great day at the office when you have to call the "Po-Po" before you've even finished your morning java!

Yessiree Bob. It was that kind of day.

It all started in 2008 when a PhD-clad native foreigner comes in for a consultation regarding a complex domestic/business matter involving such nonsensical details as murder, terrorism, and a lot of money. The Husband, Esq informs her that it's not something that he can help her with and wishes her luck. Though apparently, "No" is not in her vocabulary.

So she calls and calls and calls. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every two weeks, sometimes months pass before she comes out of remission and begins her crusade again.

When I first began working at the law firm last year, I unknowingly made Ms. X an appointment and asked her to send over copies of the documents pertaining to her matter for review. The Husband, Esq immediately recognizes the paperwork and meets the woman in the front office on the day of the appointment to politely inform her once more that he is not interested in perusing her matter and that he cannot help her. That's when all hell broke lose. Ms. X became highly irate and began yelling about justice and us protecting murderers and other such outlandish insults while being repeatedly asked to leave.

Yet she continues to call, asking for The Husband, Esq, and leaving lengthy unintelligible rambling messages in very poor English.

It's as if shortly after each conversation, she simply "resets" herself retaining no information what-so-ever other than a fixation on The Husband, Esq and an obsession with this matter of hers. And the scene plays out over and over and over again like some bizarre broken record. --I mean really, what sane person would continue to stalk a lawyer who has many times made it clear that he will not take your case and who you have continually accused of being in cahoots with murders, terrorists, and the opposing camp? Why on earth would you want someone like that representing you in the first place? --Somewhere along the way, this lady clearly fell off the turnip truck.

A few weeks ago, The Husband, Esq made the unfortunate mistake of answering the phone himself (which, like, never happens) and who should he find at the other end of the line but Ms. X wanting to talk again about her case. More persistent this time, he tells her again that he is not her attorney, is not going to be her attorney, and cannot help her. In between insults and insane accusations, she asks "How much are they paying you to do this to me?"

This morning, yet another call... The Associate, Esq answers and the same ole song and dance begins. She is told to stop calling our office. You can't make me she says and why is The Husband, Esq plotting against her?

Not 15 minutes later, guess who shows up? That's right, Ms. X.

The Husband, Esq tells her to leave and the high-pitched murder of the English language commences as she begins her conspiracy tirade about us protecting murderers, working for the other side, and not upholding justice and so on. Meanwhile, I'm on the phone with a client who I promptly interrupt and hang up on to phone 911.

The Husband, Esq states once more that we will not pursue her matter, cannot help her, and that if she continues to contact us in any manner then we will be forced to file a Harassment suit and seek a Protective Order against her. Further, if she comes to our office again, she will be arrested for Trespassing. Hysterically pissed, she finally departs.

Next comes a real estate attorney who shows up for a 10 o'clock closing. We don't do real estate law; never have. I finally determine that he is looking for an attorney who used to occupy our current office space 4-5 years ago so I kindly look up the address, write it down, and call the other office for him. Then he says to me, "This is why I have a full time person in my office to make sure things like this don't happen and waste my time. I don't know why she couldn't look up the correct address but I'm not happy about this." Oh pu-lease, you're a real estate attorney, get over yourself!

There is a reason that lawyers have such a bad reputation.

Anyway... A police officer arrives moments later responding to our call. The Husband, Esq and I explain the circumstances and events, describe Ms. X and provide her name. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, the officer knows Ms. X as he just arrested her two months ago for pulling a similar stunt showing up at an IRS building alleging that the government owes her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The police officer leaves and would you freakin' believe it? Ms. X calls again (Thank God for caller ID)... three times. I let it roll to voice mail where she screams out yet another crazy-ass message that I cannot fully make out... Something about assisting hiding murderers, China, Korea, and we better not call the police on her telling lies.

All this before 11:00 am.

Okay, really, I have nothing against crazy people in general (hey, most of my best friends are crazy people!) and I do greatly sympathize with those struggling with mental illness and emotional crisis. I've (half-jokingly) suggested on more than one occasion that perhaps we should consider an on-staff shrink or at the very least subletting some office space to a mental health professional... But give me a break; I am human and my sympathy only stretches so far. STOP INVOLVING US IN YOUR PERSONAL PSYCHOTIC HELL AND GET SOME FREAKIN' HELP.

...Just another day in your friendly neighborhood law office!

"I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people."

...Desiderius Erasmus

15 July 2010

the giving tree.

the Giving Tree, originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

I remember the first time I heard that poem. I don't recall how old I was nor what grade I was in, but I do remember I was young and in elementary school and my friend Amy had brought in Shel Silverstein's book, "The Giving Tree," to share with the class...

Instantly my young self fell in love with the poem thinking about the sweetness of magical friends and what a good tree it was to the little boy...

However, age and experience does tends to change one's perspective doesn't it?

I remember a couple of years ago when I was hit with a sudden burst of nostalgia for The Muppet Show and purchased several DVD's to watch with my daughter, containing fantastically classic episodes with stars like Carol Burnette, Peter Sellers, Steve Martin, Elton John, and Julie Andrews... I was amazed at the amount of adult humor each show contained -- stuff that had sailed right over my head as a child. I had watched The Muppet Show faithfully as a little girl (back before remote controls when the TV Guide told you what was on and when) and each episode was new to me all over again and I still love it. But, some thirty years later, I am watching with a different pair of eyes...

And The Giving Tree, well, it's no longer that happy childhood poem for me. --It's a sad reality. It's life in full circle. And as we age and endure all that life throws at us, our experiences deepening in steep gashes, that circle repeats: as the boy, as the tree, as the boy, as the tree...

The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree....
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.
And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
And when he was tired,
he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree....
very much.
And the tree was happy.
But time went by.
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.
Then one day the boy came to the tree
and the tree said, "Come, Boy, come and
climb up my trunk and swing from my
branches and eat apples and play in my
shade and be happy."
"I am too big to climb and play" said
the boy.
"I want to buy things and have fun.
I want some money?"
"I'm sorry," said the tree, "but I
have no money.
I have only leaves and apples.
Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in
the city. Then you will have money and
you will be happy."
And so the boy climbed up the
tree and gathered her apples
and carried them away.
And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time....
and the tree was sad.
And then one day the boy came back
and the tree shook with joy
and she said, "Come, Boy, climb up my trunk
and swing from my branches and be happy."
"I am too busy to climb trees," said the boy.
"I want a house to keep me warm," he said.
"I want a wife and I want children,
and so I need a house.
Can you give me a house?"
"I have no house," said the tree.
"The forest is my house,
but you may cut off
my branches and build a
house. Then you will be happy."

And so the boy cut off her branches
and carried them away
to build his house.
And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time.
And when he came back,
the tree was so happy
she could hardly speak.
"Come, Boy," she whispered,
"come and play."
"I am too old and sad to play,"
said the boy.
"I want a boat that will
take me far away from here.
Can you give me a boat?"
"Cut down my trunk
and make a boat," said the tree.
"Then you can sail away...
and be happy."
And so the boy cut down her trunk
and made a boat and sailed away.
And the tree was happy
... but not really.

And after a long time
the boy came back again.
"I am sorry, Boy,"
said the tree, "but I have nothing
left to give you -
My apples are gone."
"My teeth are too weak
for apples," said the boy.
"My branches are gone,"
said the tree. "You
cannot swing on them - "
"I am too old to swing
on branches," said the boy.
"My trunk is gone," said the tree.
"You cannot climb - "
"I am too tired to climb" said the boy.
"I am sorry," sighed the tree.
"I wish that I could give you something....
but I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry...."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy.
"just a quiet place to sit and rest.
I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening
herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting
Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.

14 July 2010

Raleigh's finest.

Liam & Officer Mick.
Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
It's almost never a good sign when you arrive at your home to find a policeman waiting...

A little over a week ago, we pulled up our cliff of a driveway to find one of Raleigh's finest. Kevin and I immediately thought, "oh no, what now?!!" while Liam of course shrieked with joy, "A policeman daddy/mommie!" (Curiously, he often addresses us as one entity.)

Kevin steps out from the car and greets the young officer who informs us that he is investigating neighborhood property damage caused by a BB or pellet gun... "Interesting you should say that," Kevin replies, "someone shot out our attic window recently with a BB gun." And of course, the officer asks to take a look.

Loaded down with perishables, we head into the house through the incredibly messy garage herding the kids, Liam who is excitedly chatting up the policeman and complimenting him on his shoes while his sister mischievously grabs a beer from a garage shelf and pretends to drink it. My arms are full and thus am unable to wrestle the alcohol away from the minor so I resort to shouting to my other half, "Kevin, grab the beer from Isabel," before I even think what that must have sounded like.

Inside, we maneuver through the kitchen which OMG had been smeared from pantry door to refrigerator to counter top to sink with Nutella, though that's not at all what it looked like. How did we miss that???

We all go outside, look at the window and then upstairs for a look within the attic -- which is connected to Liam's room (the room he doesn't sleep in). Liam is simply beside himself to have the policeman in his house and in his room (which has no bed because again, he doesn't there; he sleeps in our room).

At this point, all I can think about is getting a phone call from Social Services: children drinking, unsanitary kitchen, and where do these poor kids sleep??

After taking some photographs of the window damage for the officer's report, I asked the officer if he would be kind enough to oblige me with a photo of himself and his new biggest fan.

That, needless to say, made Liam's day...
(and miraculously, still no call from Social Services).

"I'm not against the police; I'm just afraid of them."

...Alfred Hitchcock

09 July 2010

meet Piper.

meet Piper., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

Don't ask me why, but we decided somehow that we didn't have enough responsibility and unruly charges in our life, so meet "Piper," a 7 week old female Jack Russel pup we just added to our wildly unpredictable family.

That makes six of us (counting the two pooches). Even numbers are good, right?

About three years ago, I had gotten it in my head that we needed another dog, that our one year old son needed a dog, and that is how we ended up with Teach... Teach was a sweet little lab-mix rescue pup full of happy dogness and sad little puppy eyes that would melt your soul. He was smart, too smart for his own good, had a very sweet disposition, and was full of boundless energy. The vet had predicted that he would be a small to medium sized dog. The vet was wrong.

Teach grew and grew and and grew. Poor obnoxious, destructive mutt -- the kids were afraid of him and our geriatric canine, Morgan, had not the patience for his endless shenanigans, so he was lonely and spent a great deal of time entertaining himself by eating our house and playing tug-o-war with the garden hose. He ate toys and potting soil, the railings off of our deck, siding off the house, shoes, phones, pens, knives, books, clothing, and anything else left carelessly within his great reach. And he barked his deep baritone bark, a lot, and the neighbors complained, constantly. Poor pain in the ass. He really wanted to be a good dog and he was deep down, but he just couldn't help himself. *Sigh*

It broke my heart to have to find him a new home (I've never given up on any animal I ever took in - from turtles, birds, cats, mice, ducks, possums or dogs... yes, I even raised possums). No worries though, Teach has a very happy ending: friends of a friend who had a rambunctious, energetic wild thing themselves were looking for a companion... and when Teach met Zoe, he had truly found his soul mate. They raced around our yard like maniacs and wrestled and tumbled and ran some more. When it was time to go, Teach had his mind made up already and wild horses couldn't have stopped him in his unbridled excitement; he didn't even look back when he left us. --And Morgan, well, she was just happy to have her quiet, uneventful days returned to her.

Speaking of Morgan, oh, the look of betrayal on her face when we brought this puppy home said clearly, "I cannot believe you are doing this to me again." Don't worry, I told her, this one won't get so big and you can still be the Alpha dog.

So far so good!

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."

...Sir Winston Churchill

all decked out.

our new deck! =)
Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
After several weeks of sweaty labor in this outrageous heat by numerous talented general contractors and painters, the long overdue major repairs and face lift on our house are complete! (I have no doubts that our neighbors are as excited as we are!)... not to mention our new mac-daddy party deck ready for grillin' and chillin'!

Now if only the temperature would drop 30 degrees and the pesky flies and mosquitoes would die off, perhaps I could enjoy it... Woohoo!

Somebody please tell me again why on earth I moved back to North Carolina???

"The idea that leisure is of value in itself is only conditionally true. The average man simply spends his leisure as a dog spends it. His recreations are all puerile, and the time supposed to benefit him really only stupefies him."

...H. L. Mencken

08 July 2010

skull vases.

skull vases.
Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Keeping with the Mexican folk art theme, here's another of my eBay purchases that I am quite pleased with: a Día de los Muertos inspired skull vase painting by Dallas artist Sami Valens, which hangs appropriately next to Frida in my kitchen...

It makes me smile. =)

"And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile."

...John Henry Newman

06 July 2010

sometimes magic bleeds.

Bleeding Neon Santa Monica, originally uploaded by Zen Cat.
Sometimes the magic just bleeds out...
And sometimes that's a good thing because your proximity is such that you're infected and inspired and can't help but to smile from the inside out.

Sometimes though, it happens while you're not looking and the next thing you know, you're on empty... like today. Something I can't put my finger on, as of the earth just spun off its axis like when the washing machine balance is off and you get that extra "thump thump" on the end of each rotation leaving you feeling inexplicably out of sorts...

I prefer the former.

"Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic."

...Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 86 The Tail, 1851

03 July 2010

being followed.

bidding adieu.
Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
One of the things I love best about being Liam's Mommie is the often humorous constant barrage of interestingly unique comments and intriguing observations he springs on us regarding the world around him.

(Of course, the constant chatter and crazy questions is also one of the most exasperating aspects of being a parent, but I digress...)

Yesterday en route to school, Liam asked, "Mommie, why is the sun following us?"

This was one of those moments when I realized that no matter what answer I provided in return, it would indeed fail miserably at capturing the wonder and enchantment which filled his little mind.

Sometimes, a question is just perfect, all by itself.

"You know children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers."

...John Plomp

01 July 2010


flower., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

Once upon a time, our little guy made a wonderful transition from crib to toddler bed and slept like an angel in his own room. We were so proud.

And then along came a loud, scary thunderstorm one night and frightened him right into our bed where he has been reluctant to leave every since. We spent hours and hours on many a night sitting outside of Liam's room waiting for him to fall into sweet slumber only to awaken at three a.m. with a foot in our ribs or a headbutt to the nose as he nestled in between us. Finally in an exhausted compromise to overcome sleep deprivation, we simply gave up and decided to move his bed into our room. So, our nearly four year old son now sleeps at the foot of our bed.

You can imagine the inconvenience of this arrangement without the need for elaboration, but hey, at least we're able to get some badly needed shut-eye. We can only hope that he moves out before college.

While this does somewhat simply our bedtime routine, he no longer falls asleep by himself and so, bedtime goes something like this...

Tonight (my turn): Liam and I are laying in bed; I have just finished reading two short stories about Biscuit the puppy with Liam "reading" the "Woof! Woof!" parts. Afterward, he is quietly reading his book to himself as he likes to do and I am watching television. When he is done, he clunks me in the head handing me the book and informs me that he is finished and turns his back to me, which tells me he is almost out for the count.

The room is quiet, the volume is low, and suddenly, my son rolls over, creeps up close to me whispering sweetly into my ear in his angelic little boy voice as though he is sharing with me something truly sacred and says, "Jelly don't go in the freezer... jelly goes in the 'frigerator Mommie."

I stifle a snort of laughter, "That's right baby, jelly goes in the refrigerator."

And with that, he's out. =)

"As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children."

...John Adams