Still beautiful.

(Originally posted September 14, 2010.) La moñita is disappearing. Moñita is the Spanish word for “little ponytail” and it’s what we’ve always called the hair patch at the center of my dad’s hairline. Removing his baseball cap reveals the remaining gray strands. Back in the day, la moñita was a child’s fistful-worth of wiry black […]

The walk.

(Fourth, and last, in a series.) Mami and I walked the one and a half miles along Jersey Avenue from Doctor Miami’s office to Unico Towers. We walked past the corner where my husband B’s ground-floor, bachelor-days apartment is now a sweets and ice cream shoppe (with the quaint “e” at the end that means […]

Doctor Miami (Part II)

(Third in a series.) Nancy la criticona had been too quick to judge Doctor Miami. He kept Mami included in the conversation. It was about her, right? She was present in the examination room. We all knew English, but he punctuated the discussion with well-chosen and timed Spanish phrases, the kinds of idioms that Mami […]

Doctor Miami (Part I)

(Second in a series.) I met Doctor Miami for the first time on Friday. Mami had said he used to be ¡Tan flaquito! Being too skinny causes major concern for Latina mothers. She mentioned he’d gained weight, but Doctor Miami was not the doughy middle-ager I’d expected. He was too tan, especially for New Jersey […]

The main event.

(The first in a series.) Ladies and gentlemen! This afternoon in front of Unico Towers for Senior Residents here in Jersey City, New Jersey, in a raspberry scarf, blue jeans, and practical walking shoes, weighing in at 115 pounds, stands the indomitable, unfazed by bloodclots, kidney stones, stillbirth, miscarriages, MFA program maniacs, jealous bosses, backstabbing […]

Fallen angel.

It began as a not-torqued brain day. I knew it as I lay on the pull-out couch, even before I opened my eyes. Sign #1: The window in my in-laws’ basement does not have light-blocking curtains, but the brightness did not anger me. It was quiet. Only the soft hum and whistle of my husband […]

How to eat ice cream.

(Excerpt from Every Last Drop, posted on September 28, 2015.) Mami and I are long-time, ice-cream eating professionals. We don’t waste a drop. We have a system: Lick around the edge of the scoop first, then continue toward the top to eliminate overhang. Nudge the scoop with your tongue into the cone opening; not too […]

Sugar and spice.

Perched regally in my booster chair and resplendent in my tutu, I was almighty. I gazed upon my kingdom. What I saw pleased me: potted herbs and a mini-mist bottle on the kitchen windowsill. The shiny copper canister that I knew held a spoon embedded in sugar. The steam puffs that rose from the pot […]

Little town blues.

It was a torqued-brain day. This is different than a code-red day: I wasn’t at maximum anxiety, only slightly breathless and jumpy. The excess nervous energy twisted the grey mass behind my eyes only slightly. The flood of excess stress hormone in my system is less, but still gives me a dull, insistent headache like […]