Posts Tagged ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’


Stories and Sequiturs and Sleuthing, Oh My!

August 10, 2011

The bus rattled down the dusty gravel road, and I squinted up to see if the bouncing would drop the window down.  It was far enough into spring that the afternoon ride home was uncomfortably sticky, and no matter how carefully I counted when I was getting on the bus (“Four back.  No, five.  Wait.  Okay, yeah, I’m sure eight is good.”), I seemed to have the knack for finding the seat where the window would slide two tantalizing inches downward before getting wedged stuck.

I could see the boys we’d just dropped off trudging up their driveway.  They’d tied their heavy winter coats (which our mothers insisted we still needed in the mornings) around their waists, and looked equally as hot and miserable as I was.  Evan was the older and already in fifth grade, and sometimes I could ask him to smack the window down for me, but not today.  Today had been Book Fair Day (one of the seven observed holy days in the Ali universe), and as I had been standing there in the library, basking in the warm glow of new books, his stupid brother Marshall had come in with the rest of my class and started making fun of The Baby-Sitters Club Little Sister books, and all girl books in general.  Marshall and I cordially hated each other anyway, and I wasn’t going to speak to him, or his brother, if I could help it.

I scowled at them through the glass, slouched down, and pulled my knees up.  The backs of my legs were hot and sticky, too, so I crammed my own stupid heavy winter coat underneath them and started scrummaging through the book bag for my precious new acquisition.  My stop was towards the end of the route, and if I focused I could get a lot finished before The Turn.

*Cue Thrilling Music*


Vhat zee patient ees tryink to say ees. . .

October 18, 2009

An informal (meh, make it formal, go ahead) poll of people who know me well would tell you that one of my greatest faults is that I am, by default and until last extremity, a chicken.



Chekov’s Gun. . .

October 1, 2009

Anton Chekhov famously instructed writers, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Yes, that sounds familiar.


The Evolution of an American Ideology

March 3, 2009

A few thoughts on my lunch hour. . .

The Pledge of Allegience:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

(I dare any of you who went to school in the US to be able to type that without hearing it in that rhythm. You know the one . . . )

–written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist.

–originally, “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Bellamy chose not to include the terms “equality” and “fraternity”, deeming them too controversial in regards to equal rights for women and blacks. (Dude wasn’t stupid–he realized that all three combined don’t give you Captain Planet, just the French Revolution.)

–in 1923 “my flag” was changed to “the flag of the United States”—to ensure that immigrants knew which flag was intended. (‘Cause, y’know, the whole moving to a DIFFERENT CONTINENT thing could get confusing.)

–in 1942, on FDR’s suggestion, the appropriate civilian salute during the pledge was changed to the current hand over the heart position. Bellamy’s original ended with the arm outstretched, palm up. (This felt a little creepy to a president engaged in a war with Hitler.)

–the words “under God” were not added until 1954, under the Eisenhower administration.

The Knights of Columbus had begun lobbying for a reference to a deity in 1951, and believed echoing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address phrase was the most appropriate. However, it wasn’t until Eisenhower heard a sermon by Rev. George Docherty (a native of Scotland)—on Lincoln’s birthday—where Docherty emphasized that the pledge should reflect the American spirit and way of life as defined by Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address—and endorsed the inclusion of “under God.”

(the cynic inside me is noting that this inclusion happened during the Cold War—when many of the politicians in our government felt that the American spirit was often defined by “Not A Godless Communist”—although even the cynic agrees that much of what is right about America is contained in the Gettysburg Address, and will admit to having memorized it in the third grade.)

–in 2004, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg noted that to Lincoln and his contemporaries, “under God” meant “God willing”—making its use in the pledge (as a quote from Lincoln) ungrammatical. I have, of course, altered the texts below:

“. . . It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, God willing, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one nation, God willing, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”

This geek moment has been brought to you by the implementation of Employee Lunch Hours at TWC, with additional funding from the society of It’s Too Bloody Cold to Go Outside.

The full text of the Gettysburg Address


The Pan-Continental Birthday Bash Expands!

January 6, 2009

Okay, I think I’m going to cry. . .

My best friend has a four-year-old who is without a doubt my *favorite* guy ever. I used to be able to spend a lot of time with him, but since I moved to NY–not so much. The other night, she was putting him to bed, and he said, with profound gravity. . .

“Mama, I’m going to marry you when I grow up.”

“Thank you, sweetheart,” Nic replied, a little taken aback, “but I’m already married to Daddy, and you can only be married to one person.”

Mikey drifted off to sleep, but apparently still had the subject on his mind, because the next morning he appeared for breakfast. . .

“Mama, I know that you’re married to Daddy.”

“That’s right.”

“So I decided that I’m going to marry ALI!”

Hey ya’ll. . . I’m betrothed!

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Mikey reminded Nic that he was still planning on marrying me. Nic mentioned that my birthday is on Friday, and Mikey immediately added my party to his busy calendar (isn’t he sweet??). Nic explained that I was in New York, and wasn’t having a birthday party, so. . .

So. . . (this seriously makes me tear up). . .

After much consideration (he was a little disturbed that I wouldn’t have a party), my best friend, my “bro”, and my favorite little boy are going to be making a Funfetti cake (my favorite!) and having a party for me this weekend, complete with a place set for me at the table!

Nic, Mike, and Mikey–I love you guys, and MISS YOU so much!


Skating on the Shoulders of Giants

April 12, 2006

If anyone out there is a Hockey Fan, you know that OLN has been playing The Legends of Hockey lately. I’ve been riveted.

I can hear my uncle talking as I’m listening, can hear the kids who are all around me at the rink.

I can see forward to the day when Caruso will be there, too. (Go Caruse! OSU Hockey!)

I have fallen in love with this game.

There is something special about it–something about the way the smell of the ice lingers in your head, the way the sound is so much sharper in the rink. It’s beautiful. It’s alive. It’ such a gift to have been able to work with it.

I come from a hockey family. A goalie family–I usually claim that it’s genetic. My grandfather didn’t play, but you can see his philosophy in the way my uncle plays. You can see my uncle in every goalie he trains. . . the style is so pure, so aggressive. . . the epitome of the goalie who places himself as the last guard of his team, and does so with joy and style. My cousin has inherited that goaltending style. My brother, and two other cousins play defense (mostly), and they have it too–even the hotshot. That bone-deep love, the way there is honor and integrity to be found in defending your goalie, your colors, your team.

My mother, my aunt, my grandmother–they don’t play. They might even tell you that girls shouldn’t play the game. (They’ll say this now–they wouldn’t have before they grew up.) My (girl) cousin and I agree that the girls are hockey cheerleaders because the boys really couldn’t handle the competition (well, and because we’re busy coaching from the stands). Being a fan, for us, is serious business. The forces of good and evil WILL swing to conform to your will if it is strong enough. And honestly, in my family, strength of will is not often in short supply.

And so we come to me, who cannot do anything the easy way. In me, there is this strange need to look for meaning, to find that strange golden flood of adrenaline that comes with touching epic moments.

It occurred to me tonight–my cousin the goalie comes home this week. Plans are being formed to find ice time. And after two years of work, I have suddenly earned my place on the ice. I’m still the weakest link, and I understand that, but I’m there. I can tape up, and lace my skates, and take that hypnotic step-glide, stick in hand, fidgeting with my gloves. I have earned that place for myself.

And I will look across the faces of my family, and I am so very proud to be in this pantheon, and so supremely grateful to have had this quest, this game, and this epic moment.


“C’mon Gate, Jump in the Car.”

May 5, 2005

My entire life, if anyone asked me what the worst thing I could imagine was, I would answer them without hesitation.

(No one ever asked, but I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have stock of answers to such questions, just in case.)

The thought that would make my stomach clench up against my spine, and make me cry just to think about, was the fact that one day my grandfather would die, and I lived in mortal terror of the day it must inevitably become reality.

My grandfather–“PaBuck”, from when I was too stubborn to say “Papa” and too little to manage “Grandpa Buck”–is, was, and shall always be the epitome of cool. Civil War buff, cooking connoisseur, mechanical genius, and the original Fonzie, there was absolutely nothing that PaBuck couldn’t fix. Skinned knees made him shake his head, and broken hearts made him give you a hug, and even the worst of teenage angst could be whisked away by the sound of a Harley rumbling into the garage with donuts in the saddlebags, and an almost certain invitation to come and spend the night with him and Grandma. And Mom was required to let me go.

Did I idolize him? Oh, yeah. I did. And even though I know his faults–and have more than once informed humanity at large that he is stubborn, and headstrong, and absolutely unrelenting–and he is!–it doesn’t matter. The simple truth of the matter is that there was nothing so horribly broken that he couldn’t fix it, no situation beyond his control, and no day that wasn’t an adventure when he came around.

The call came four years ago, and it was every bit the hell that I thought it would be. My strongest memory is of members of my family, just hugging and holding on to each other, because every single one of us was wondering how on earth life could ever be normal without him around.

Tonight, I was sitting on the couch, flipping channels and thinking it was about time for bed, and suddenly I remembered one holiday–Thanksgiving or Christmas, something cold–and how the room looked and the mental image of him sitting in the rocker, cheering the football game. And I miss him, and it’s making me cry, and I just wanted to sit down and close my eyes, and share him with everyone else, because there are not enough people in the world who got to know him (although he was friends with all of them–and every Waffle House waitress in a seventy-five mile radius). And even though I know that he knew–and knows–how much we loved him, and even though I know that he’s strong and healthy now, and still looking out for us–I just had to say, publicly and out loud, that I love him and miss him and it still hurts like hell, and for the record I think dying is a stupid, stupid idea.

I guess that’s about it.  G’night.