Not quite Mario Andretti, as I’ve been called before, I drove to St. Louis thoughtfully yesterday. I was successful in escaping Iowa City’s impending snow storm and in rescuing Courtney from her hotel room, showing her around my hometown on a rainy day, and feeding her tons of family-created deliciousness at London Tea Room and Nino’s– while also catching her inspiring book talk at SLU. When public radio ceased to fuel this drive, I listened to the Oprah and Friends show on my mom’s portable satellite radio. After hearing Oprah explain her creation of the term “shlumpadinka” and why we should all buy an expensive trenchcoat and white jeans, I was about ready to switch to the indie station. Then, she gave an intro to her Soul Series.
Dr. Larry Dossey wrote Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine in the nineties, and Oprah professed that it has proved prophetic– that scientific study after scientific study has shown that prayer can be the path to healing. My first thought was: you’ve got to be kidding me. I just don’t know how to swallow this idea that a higher power is waiting around for us to ask favors. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, so I assume that happy thoughts are the underlying reason for any demonstrated efficacy of prayer. Then I realize that Dr. Dossey is talking about third-party prayers. Double-blind prayers. Halfway across the universe prayers.
It will come as no surprise that I love Eli Stone. (I’ve been watching online, for those of you aware of my TV situation).
The show combines two of my favorite things – George Michael and a belief in signs.
On the series premiere, a very handsome George made a cameo, singing the 90s anthem Faith. Each episode (with the exception of the pilot, appropriately titled “Pilot”) is named after a George Michael song — Freedom, Father Figure, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. And a George Michael song has figured prominently in the storyline of almost every episode thus far.
It’s kind of like the show’s creators flipped through my fantasies, plucked this particular one out of my head and made it come true.
Last week, I roamed around northern New Mexico with 9 friends. For all intents and purposes, the high desert climate can be downright hostile. Noses bled; bloody cracks formed right where the nostril meets the dry air. We dodged cactus needles, burned in the sun and slipped unknowingly into constant dehydration. We ate hot-like-fire green chile. We barely slept.
But there are other hostilities bred in such a spare wide open landscape. Like, three female puppies at a gas station, probably on their way to be drowned. Shivering, underfed, terrified small animals, not so different from anyone else in the world. Today, on the streets of New York City, life continued in its hostility, a cousin to its desert version.
Every now and then I know there’s no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you
Every now and then I know there’s nothing any better and there’s nothing that I just wouldn’t do
–Bonnie Tyler (written by Jim Steinman)
While Kimmi was stopping strangers on the street to tell them about the lunar eclipse, I was frantically calling loved ones. “Are you watching it right now? Why not? It’s when the earth shadows the moon. Didn’t you have to learn that in school? There’s not going to be another one until December, 2010. Go outside!”
Turns out that if I were from Pakistan, I may have been accused of putting my unborn nephew in grave danger last night. I told my sister to go outside and look at the lunar eclipse, even though she protested that it was too cold. And now I find out that it is widely believed in South Asia that a pregnant woman must not go outside during a lunar eclipse for the safety of her unborn child.
We had friends in town this weekend, and on Sunday morning, we ended up at Maria’s Taco Xpress, a local joint that’s owned by an eccentric taco Goddess named Maria Corbalon. On Sunday mornings, the outdoor patio (that’s decorated like a garage sale crossed with your grandmother’s attic) transforms into Hippie Sunday Church, where folks of all religious traditions come out for some damn fine tacos and raucous singing and dancing.
I was so taken by this overwhelming spectacle that I forgot to record any video, especially of the wild McMercy Family Band performing Neko Case’s “John Saw That Number,” one of my favorites of hers. The spindly, brown-braided woman on the upright bass thumped and whacked it with her whole body, and reminded me of a person straight off the frontier. The percussionist rattled a Nalgene bottle with uncooked popcorn in it.