15 September 2001

It was Christmas, and I had gotten a plastic stove and refrigerator, and many other things. It's the stove and refrigerator I remember most, though, because I kept trying to take my godfather David's candle away from him to set it on the stove so that we could light it and it would look like Grandma's stove. David was sixteen, and if there was a god of ideal playmates in my two-year-old world, it was my godfather. But he kept trying to take the candle back: "You can't do that, Ris. Ris, you'll break the stove." "I have to cook," I said, busying myself with the little pans that came with the stove. "I need the candle, Ris."

"Marissa, come on, let's get your coat on," said my mother. "Where are we going?" "Just outside." "Why?" My mom got me bundled up and carried me out to Grandma and Grandpa's driveway. Joe was going around with his dad's lighter, lighting the candles that everyone carried. I looked around. The neighbors were out in their driveways, too, some of them, holding candles. I looked at my family's faces. Everyone was solemn. They sang "Silent Night." I got passed around. When I was back to my mother, I whispered, "Why?" again. She said, "There are people fighting in different countries. We're keeping a vigil for peace, and for some people who have been taken prisoner to be freed." "What's a vigil?" I said. "It's when you wait, and keep watch. Sometimes you pray and sometimes you sing songs, and sometimes you just wait and think about the people who are hurt."

I was two and a half, I think. What's the point of all this? Point is, I remember it. I remember the point of it. I remember that my mom didn't shy away from telling me that there was fighting, or that people were being held against their will; she didn't go into gory details, but she gave me the information gradually. And that sometimes the only thing you can do is remember. Don't underestimate your kids. They may remember what you tell them, in these days. It may jump out in their memories, no matter how little they are. I remember exactly what happened with Challenger, but I was older then. I just want to say, don't assume your little ones won't listen or won't remember. They might.

My baby cousin Rachy has a little boy of her own. This boggles the mind. I knew she was pregnant; intellectually I knew it. But then I got to look at this kid, real and yawning, baby cousin Rachy has a baby. She already has a little girl, and now she has a little boy, too.

The mind boggles.

Amber and Evan came over last night. Evan is growing a beard, which he reports is very scratchy. He also had a birthday present for me.

Here's me with my birthday present! This is what happens when I laugh and try to look wild-eyed and fanatical at the same time. Evan and I talked at the birthday party about starting a movement. I said no, no movements, no way was I going to start or join a movement in SF. Movements really annoy me, because they're about themselves rather than just being about writing whatever good books you feel like. But Evan felt that we had enough young upstart SF writers to start a movement. So he thoughtfully provided the glasses, the beret, and a book labeled "My Manifesto" so that I could start this movement. Isn't he thoughtful?

This is the longest birthday ever. I love birthdays.

And I must admit that I am also rather fond of berets. Even if the lavender tank top doesn't really go well with the manifesto thing. I didn't really want to go change into a black top just to take the picture. I had no coffee anyway, so it was doomed to be incomplete.

Behind me on Mark's computer, you can see Sunshine Startweezer, our bear. The moose is not yet pictured. Nor, I suppose, the other moose. Someday I will get moose pictures. Someday when I'm more done with that book than I am now.

So we tried to eat at the Olive Garden, but they told us it would be 45 minutes, and last time we went there they had no olives anyway, so we left and went to Mexico Lindo instead. Good salsa. Decent crab enchiladas, although they had too much crab in them. Good conversation and so on. Amber had to leave right after our rather late dinner, since she has a flight she had to check in for at 5:20 this morning. She and her flight attendant friends were all a bit nervous. Understandable. Evan stuck around and played "Before I Kill You, Mister Bond" with us for awhile. It's much better with four than with two, but maybe I just say that because I won three games out of four.

Today, the tentative plans are to talk to Timprov some more, hug the sleepy Mark, have lunch with him, head up to Oakland to hang out with Tim and maybe Heather, and...I dunno. Work on Reprogramming, read Parallax (other stuff kept coming up), watch a movie, maybe, or maybe just hang around here talking all evening. Being home and safe and quiet. I've been wanting to play Go with Mark for awhile, but I always feel quite defensive when I play Go, and I don't really want to feel defensive any more than necessary today, so maybe we'll do cribbage or something like that instead. Something familiar and comfortable. I hope.

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