The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

April 15, 2004

Tax Day, and catching up

Originally posted on Diary-X

From now until January 2005, my husband will get home from work before six o’clock, not after nine o’clock. He will sleep in with me on Saturdays, and we’ll make scrambled eggs and coffee and read the paper together. O happy, blessed Tax Day! This time of year, the end of tax season, always feels like the start of my summer. Later sunsets, warmer weather, and someone to grill me a chicken breast. Life is good.

So last week was Holy Week, and…

…John, who suffers from pretty bad heartburn, had an endoscopy, which went fine (or as well as things can go when you’re sedated and have multiple tubes snaking down your throat). John has no ulcers to speak of, so the doctor’s just going to up his heartburn medicine. He also commended us for placing cement blocks under the head of our bed—apparently this is a great way to combat heartburn. I’m getting used to slowly sliding down the bed as I sleep, waking up with my feet dangling off the bottom. Oh, the sacrifices one must make in a marriage…

…I started my spring class, a poetry writing workshop. And I don’t think I’m the worst poet in the room. (This is the kind of thing I worry about, tiresome perfectionist that I am.) I’ve taken many a fiction writing workshop, but never poetry, so I jumped at the chance to learn the craft. For my first poem, I wrote about Moose. I know, I know: isn’t that something a crazy dog lady would do? But I didn’t want to share deep dark family secrets or embarrassing emotional stuff right off the bat—I hardly know these people. I was actually proud of my work (it’s not a sappy, I’m-a-freak-about-my-dog kind of thing). I’m debating whether or not to post it here. Not sure yet…

…I went to my first neighborhood block club meeting. It was held in an old Jewish synagogue. There were about twenty people in attendance—a few white yuppies, an Indian guy, a Vietnamese guy, a black guy, an older white woman, an older gay man, a grizzled guy with a long ponytail who took copious notes, and a blue-haired dogwalker wearing biker half-gloves on his hands. It was a good feeling to be there; it gave me a sense of community. And I also enjoyed being inside the synagogue, looking at the Hebrew carvings, reading the announcements for Passover events. I just finished the book Girl Meets God, so I felt like I had some understanding of what takes place in a Jewish house of worship. (I recommend that book, by the way. It’s so refreshing to read intelligent spiritual writing that’s not all touchy-feely, syrupy evangelistic stuff—and that doesn’t have an axe to grind. The author is very real, very human, and not sanctimonious at all.)…

…I went to our church’s Good Friday service alone and knelt in the darkened sanctuary, listening to the story of the Passion and, as I do every year, trying to understand the magnitude of what I profess to believe. Then, less than 48 hours later, we celebrated Easter, incense and fancy hats and smiles and alleluias and an embarrassing moment in which I actually teared up during the hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” and had to stop singing and bite the inside of my cheek in an effort to compose myself. I have no idea why that happened…

…the pigeons had babies. The three of them are mashed together in the nest, ungainly and matted with scrawny necks and big black eyes. Their mother keeps a careful eye on them from the rooftop next door. I’m tempted to walk up to the nest for a close look, but then I picture Momma Pigeon swooping in and clawing at my eyes, so I keep my distance. (She's somewhat evil looking—charcoal gray, with those glittery red pigeon eyes.) A few weeks ago I wished the pigeons were perched over our door instead of our neighbor’s, but now that I see the tributaries of bird poop running down her screen door, I’ve changed my mind…

…while I was walking Moose one afternoon, we passed a scruffy-looking man on the sidewalk who paused to ask this question: “Have you ever eaten dog meat?” When I replied that I hadn’t, half-amused and half-horrified, he kept on walking. These are the times when I’m grateful Moose doesn’t understand much English beyond "dinner" and his own name.

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