in class last night, my mind wandered and my hand wrote in cursive. the only time i write in cursive is to sign my name. looking at the paper, my cursive resembles a third grader’s. it looks i’m writing in another language. pig latin and cursive. i don’t remember when i stopped writing in cursive and returned to printing.

cursive is supposed to be fluid and therefore easier to write, but when have i ever taken the easy route?

our homework this week is to write a terrible story.


foreign pearls of wisdom

because i only speak english, i’ve long been enchanted by foreign idioms. i love the word play of literal vs. figurative and how a combination of seemingly normal words can mean something totally different.

bulgarian: big cloud, little rain. (translation: all bark, no bite.)

brazilian: i have nothing to do with the fish. (translation: beats me.)

montana: all hat, no cattle. (translation: all bark, no bite.)

german: aller anfang ist schwer. (translation: all beginnings are difficult. the first step is the hardest.)

argentine: es un papa. (literal translation: it’s a potato.) (figurative translation: piece of cake.)

italian: in bocca al lupo. (literal translation: into the wolf’s mouth.) (figurative translation: good luck! break a leg!)

french: coup de foudre (literal translation: a bolt or flash of lightning.) (figurative translation: love at first sight.)

do YOU (yes, you) have any sayings i can add to my vocabulary?

convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #53

i am talking to strangers?! what? why?

i placed my purchases on the countertop.

employee: i see you’re buying the night balm.

me: oh yes! it’s the most amazing stuff.

employee: i know! i go through it like nobody’s business.

me: this is my third tube. i’m obsessed. i use it all the time, not just at night.

employee: oh i know. it’s especially awesome in the winter here with all that wind and cold and stuff. they were out of it for a whole month because it’s so popular and we just couldn’t keep it in stock.

me: i’m not surprised. this stuff is genius.

she switched back into salesperson mode as she packed up my purchases and explained the survey on the bottom of the receipt. i was surprised at the formality of the rest of the conversation, but it sure was delightful having met someone else who shares my affinity for this chapstick.

[and consider this my plug for the night balm. it very well may change your life.]

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how a memory works

after skiing in smaller groups all day, we took one run as a whole family (mom, dad, brother G, and sister J (sorry E, you weren’t born yet)). it was J’s first time on the trail, but G and i, having been down that black diamond numerous times before, were racing and showing off for sister J who was methodically swishing her way down the mountain.

it was springtime and the sun turned the snow into slush. i zigged. my ski zaged. i flipped. my knee did something it wasn’t supposed to. i don’t remember the pain but i distinctly remember laying there wondering how i got there. skis were removed (mine, my parents) and placed in x’s around me as a slight form of protection while we waited for the ski patrol.

riding backwards downhill strapped into a toboggan was more terrifying than skiing a double black diamond.

the next thing i remembered was waking up and remarking how my knee felt cold. i looked down and my leg was immbolized in a full brace with just the knee cap exposed, hence the chilliness.

the next next thing i remember is wearing it at school. seeing as i was in the third grade, we walked everywhere in lines meaning there was always a huge gap between me and the next person — hey, you try walking when you can’t bend your knee — and it was the most mortifying thing. actually, come to think of it, the unevenly spaced lines might have been out-embarrassed by the moment(s) when i had to go to the nurse to use the bathroom because i couldn’t work the brace by myself. (again, it was third grade, people).

to this day (knock on wood), it’s the only serious sports injury i’ve had and seeing as i’ve recently returned to the land of skiing and snowboarding, i asked my mom just last week what her memory was of this momentous occasion.

she said, and i quote, “It was late in the date and the slope was slushy. We were on a black diamond, you fell and twisted your knee. In a week you were all well and playing basketball.”

there are so many things about her statement that don’t coincide with my memory that, umm, wow, where do i even start? (1) three sentences? i know we were on text message, but this was A BIG MOMENT in my young life. at least give me four sentences to round out a paragraph. (2) a week? a week is all it took for me to recover? (3) basketball? oh yeah, i guess i did play that sport once upon a time. i haven’t played in who knows how long because i was only ever good at stealing the ball. shooting? naw. passing? eh. dribbling? ha. jumping? yeah, i didn’t get those mumford height genes that all three of my siblings did.

memories are an odd thing.

to me, it was/is a HUGE memory. i was young, fearless (case in point, see brother G’s comments), and unaccustomed to injury. it impacted my life beyond the slope. it lingered and gave me a story to tell. i felt brave and scared all zipped up in a ski parka. that event remains a startling (if incomplete) image in my brain.

to my mom, it wasn’t a big deal. i was out of commission for only a short while and i made a complete recovery. her brain pushed it aside to save room for, you know, her bigger memories like, say, those four times she gave birth. those memories alone ought to obliterate any miniscule memories of a child’s minor injury. granted, she did remember the event (albeit in clipped, sparse detail), which means it must have been somewhat memorable.

maybe, just maybe, my memory is overinflated and her version is the accurate one.

i guess it all depends upon which perspective you’re coming from.

have you ever had a memory repeated to you that changed the way you viewed it? it’s kind of mind blowing, isn’t it?