My parents put down their Great Pyrenees yesterday. He had cancer in the joint of his left front leg.

We got him almost six years ago. I had already moved back in with my parents when I found out I was pregnant with a girl. My dad, realizing that he would be the only male in a house with (soon to be) four female humans and two female dogs, decided to find a boy dog to help him stave off the estrogen.

He found Bear through a rescue program. The story goes that there were several other families that wanted to adopt Bear that day, but when my dad saw him, he knelt down so they were at eye level and Bear came right up to him, and the rescue people knew my dad was the one who should take him home.

We used to joke that Bear would be the dog that Joley could ride, and in fact, he was the only one of the three that tolerated her babyness without complaint. He watched out for her more than the others.

He drooled constantly. He was so stubborn that we could never cure him of his deep, slow barking. And he was huge and lumbering, and when he'd just been groomed his fur looked and felt like a marshmallow cloud. He had tiny soft triangles for ears and big droopy jowls, and he was incredibly strong.

I loved him. And the worst part, besides feeling like I've lost some bulwark in the world, is feeling like his life could have ended differently. That better choices could have been made.

It didn't hit me until today. I kept hoping that my parents had changed their minds and decided to amputate the leg instead of putting him down. Then, moments ago, an image of his huge carcass on its side, somehow deflated to only skin and bone and wiry hair, floated to the surface of my mind. And now I can't help but face the fact that everything that was Bear is gone.

He was a good dog, and I miss him terribly.


things I like this week, vol. 26

Perfect insouciance.

. . .

From a friend of a friend's facebook page.

. . .

A self-portrait less self-conscious than mine have ever been.

. . .

Four figures in the scene. So fascinating.

. . .

Cate Blanchett without Photoshop. I love her, and this photo only confirms it.

. . .

It's unusually shaped, and supremely sinister. I want it in brass to wear with everything.

. . .

Who knew a bowl cut could look so sexy?

. . .

Perhaps the moment that door slammed shut is the instant from which all the time springs.


the tucson tango festival: a reflection

I am finding it difficult to write anything cohesive about this weekend. I've started this post at least three times already.

It is not enough to tell you that it was exhilarating, or to tell you how many hours I danced - I don't even remember well enough to count. It is not enough to describe the leads I met, or explain the ways my dance improved (and then degraded from soreness and lack of sleep), or to say that I went to milongas six nights in a row, or to say that I stayed Saturday night from 9 pm to 6 am and danced almost every tanda.

Perhaps it is enough to say that when there was music on, my feet moved, whether I was on the pista or not. Or that my friend Melissa's voice was so soulful as she sang and danced simultaneously with a man who was simultaneously playing a guitar and dancing with her that I shed two full tears. Or that Sunday morning dawned so grey and misty and lovely that I felt nothing but energized as I drove the long, damp road home, the sun burning orange below the clouds to the east. Or that, in the end, I was happier with good conversation and a slim female arm through mine than I would have been attempting to please the upper crust of dancers.

There was much about this weekend that was good and beautiful. I love tango for the reasons that I love so many things: because it involves intimate connections with people I value, and because it is ephemeral. It exists only as long as we are dancing, only as long as a shared breath.


sonnet xi

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails.
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face.
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of QuitratĂșe.

-Pablo Neruda
trans. Stephen Tapscott



Am a bundle of mixed emotions, this evening. A grab-bag, if you will. It's not terribly pleasant and definitely not productive.

However, I came across this image and it immediately made me feel better:

Do yourself a favor and Google image search "tulip field."

And I have just discovered Otis Spann.

And in less than 24 hours I will be attending the inaugural milonga of the Tucson Tango Festival.

So things are quite happy, after all.


I am in need of a vacation.

One where I could smoke

(I don't smoke)

walk across a sun-filled courtyard

take a blue boat far out on an azure sea.


the tango shoe post, pt. 3

Hell yes.

Also, I've been wanting these for about 6 months, now, and have successfully resisted purchasing them. However, my willpower for not buying new tango shoes is growing thin, especially as the Tucson Tango Festival is happening next week, and I will be able to try on several pairs in my size.

One can never have too many Comme il Fauts . . . but one can have too many debts on one's credit card. Sigh.


things I like this week, vol. 25

Believe in the holy contour of life

. . .

Strange and ridiculous and lovely.

. . .

The moon wobbles.

. . .

How to Write: a memo from David Ogilvy, of which my favorite is no. 10:
If you want ACTION, don't write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
. . .

I have a soft spot for goldens. (Who doesn't?) This one is the aide to a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. The article is worth reading for emotional impact alone.

. . .

The crash triggers the camera. More here.

. . .

The photographer's portfolio is impressive.

. . .

It is oddly intimate to watch someone else putting on her morning makeup.

. . .

Despite the old stereotypes, educated women have better sex, have longer, healthier lives, and are less likely to get divorced. Get working on those degrees, ladies.

. . .

I’ve often said that when I make a portrait what I’m really photographing is the space between the sitter and myself.
- Alec Soth
. . .

It's a quotation from The Little Prince. How strange to see something that in my head is feminine and soft and child-like on such a hard, masculine body. I appreciate the contrast.