My father's mother has always been something of a legend in my life. She died when I was about two years old, and I have no memory of her. What I do know about her is that my grandfather used to take over the shuffleboard table at the bar so that she could dance on top of it. I know that she once held my grandfather by his ankles out of a second story window after he came home drunk and wouldn't bring him back in until he promised never to come home drunk again. She had eight children; seven made it through infancy. Legend has it that she was one of the most caring, joyful, and bighearted people ever to have graced the Earth. Legend also has it that she was a total badass.
I also know that she used to say if we ever traveled to County Cork in Ireland and met someone with the last name Busteed, they were certainly part of our family. I had the amazing good fortune to test out this part of the Legend of Grandma in June. Thanks to the magic of Facebook, about 100 descendant...
My favorite thing about Dublin was the pub culture. Every night, Rachel and I would push open a pair of heavy wooden doors, grab a stool at the bar, and sip a couple of pints late into the night. The scene was so low-key. It made sense to me that "pub" is short for "public house." It felt like everyone's living room. People came to the pub and did their own thing - jamming with friends on fiddles, watching the Euro Cup on TV, talking with the bartender on duty. The pub is so home-like that you don't even get kicked out at closing time. When it's time to lock up, the bartender quietly closes the shutters and locks the front doors so no one can come in, but he doesn't ask anyone to leave. He'll pour you another pint and quietly tell you about his travels in the USA. He'll reveal that he has lived above the pub since 1965, and how Dublin has changed a lot in that time. When the beer starts to hit you and you ask to pay your tab, he'll direct you to the back door that empties onto a sid...
Well, HELLO Queer Martha! It's been a while. Sorry about that.
I am not a "summer person."
I do not like the beach. I do not like being hot. At the same time, I do not like air conditioning. I do not like mosquitoes. I do not like the pressure that I feel to "have a great summer" when all I want to do is curl up and die in a puddle of my own sweat.
Also, can I bring up the cruel irony that summer is the season of bare legs - dictated by fashion as well as the ever-looming specter of heat stroke - yet it is also the season when body hair seems to grow that fastest and thickest? Is that just me? I feel like I shave my legs in the morning for an evening out on the town bare-legged and bawdy, but by the time night arrives the state of my leg hair makes me believe that I dreamed I shaved. I know that can't be true, however. I don't dream during the summer because it is too goddamn hot to sleep.
Ever since summer break and Girl Scout Camp disappeared from my life, summer lost every rede...
Every once in a while, there are tiny events mixed into the goings-on of the day-to-day make you stop, take a look at your life, and say, "Well, what do you know? I'm an adult." I'm not talking about paying your bills, picking up the tab when you are out to eat with your parents, or buying your cat food before she runs out of it. Those are things that you are supposed to do in order to be a responsible human being. Those moments don't feel special. Those moments don't suddenly put your adulthood into perspective as you shout out to no one, "I do what I want!" No, the moments I'm talking about are more spontaneous and, often, significantly less honorable. You know what I am talking about. Here are some examples:
1.) Drinking on a weeknight alone in your kitchen while you listen to the sweet, soft sound of Terry Gross's inquisitive voice.
2.) Deciding that yes, you are only going to eat pie for dinner, and it is going to be delicious.