Sunday, July 13, 2008


Highway 285.

Left turn lane to home. "los vaqueros" says the stucco sign in dark letters shadowed by winter's rust.

Today was one of those days. Those days when it took everything in me to flick on the blinker. Today I didn't want to stop. I wanted to look back from the top of Lamy hill and then get back in the car toward nowhere. Patty Griffin would sing me stories in the shaky speakers and the windows would stay down. I would watch the sun disappear from somewhere I've never been before. Today I needed to go. Far away. In that windy car.

My heart needed to wander. My head insisted on thinking.
I turned on the blinker.

I went home.

Hello stucco sign.
Hello jackrabbit.

Hello house. Hello mom. Hi sis.
Hello book. Hello pillow.

I'll feel alone in a book. Yeah. I'll read a book.

I feel a skinny shoulder rested against me.
"It's so good you're home. I have to look at this bed without you in it everyday and everyday it makes me sad. I don't want you to go again. Mom and dad say it's good that you're there but I don't get it. You say you miss home. And I miss you. So you should just stay."

I'm not a fraction of the sister you deserve.
and I don't have answers.

I don't know why.

And no, I'm not surprised you're the only girl invited to that birthday party tomorrow. It's cause you're awesome. Even boys see it.



This strange neighborhood. Barns and slippery dirt roads. This pretty house. Russian sage and silver rocks.
These pretty people.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

They're asleep.

They all aren't in beds. One may or may not be asleep on that coffee table.

Parents night out. They'll be back soon. Exhausted or tipsy, they'll rub my head and probably thank me for making sure their kids didn't follow through with their plans to make a zip-line that stretches from this 4th story deck to the woods below. You're quite welcome, intoxicated relatives. It was a good time.

Meet the littles.
Helena may be three, but she has better hygiene than I. She clips her bangs to the side and has a tube of lip gloss in her pocket. Also, she knows all the words to lips of an angel. Isabelle, competitive and paranoid, is an emotional wreck. 3 years old and hair in her eyes. Chloe doesn't say a lot. She's a little more than six years old with an incredible sense of fashion and the freaking cutest pair of bird legs.

Meet the middles.
Moe and Ella are always together. I don't think they've agreed on a single thing since the beginning, but they love having the other around. Lukey is beautiful. I may or may not have a crush on my 8 year old cousin. Dyl makes fun of everything always. The middles adore Austin. He enjoys having an audience. Yez is classic. Long blonde hair and always taking care of the littles. She spent a chunk of last night showing me how to use an ipod touch. Trent is always barefoot and doing flips off of things. Elise is different from the rest. She's always in the background watching. Always watching. Dear Elise, what does the world look like to you?

Trev, Dev and Cayla. Things haven't changed. Puberty came and went away. They're 15 now and just as ridiculous as they've always been. They're never are apart. They're always doubled over laughing at something that doesn't translate well when they try to tell someone what's so funny.

Dani. It's so good to see Dani. She's asleep on the couch with some of the middles. She's the same as she was. Still sings show tunes when she's antsy, still laughs about life better than anyone I know. I don't know if we have anything in common. But it's always been that way. promqueenstudentbodypresidentsoccerteamcaptainfullridescholarshiptopfivepercentofgraduatingclass, hi. I love you.

I wish Sep was here.

Next day.

I was up till 4 last night.
Charles. British accent, black rimmed glasses, box of reds, and a little bit drunk. He kissed me on the cheek and told me it was a pleasure to see me again. Uncle Dave, Charles and I in the kitchen. Plastic cups of wine and scattered conversation.

He's the father of my aunt's sister's kid and his father is the second wealthiest man in the UK.

He asked me questions about life. Told me to be grateful for the head on my shoulders. Told me to be grateful for this glorious family tree.
He told me about sitting in the first row of David Bowie's last concert. He felt so light, he thought his skin floated away.
We talked in circles. I was completely wrapped around Charles' slurred words. He's lived a lot of life running away from life.
Billionaire? Yeah.

Yesterday we biked to the lake. 7 miles and lots of granola bars.
Hi Mr bike rental man. We need 29 bikes. Yeah. 29.

River rafting today. We might have paddled into a tree. And that big rock. And maybe that bridge too.
Paddle, Rani, paddle! Rani! You're fired. Give your paddle to Yez.

People raise there glasses a lot around here.
If I made a toast it'd sound like this.

Here's to life. Here's to feeling a little bit in-between.
Here's to the way that sun feels on skin and that car ride through the mountains above the lake. Here's to those humans that have been in love for half of a century and the way they look at each other across the table. Here's to no cell reception, you dedicated business men and text happy fifteen year olds. Here's to taking up space. Here's to those conversations that leave new thoughts. Here's this strange family tree. Here's to that kid who thinks about time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I steered my sister around in a shopping cart today with her arm stretched as far as it will go yelling, "Onward! Wait... I think I see the... yeah! Turn around! I see... yeah, I saw cake supplies back there!" Winding around the store several times, my sister and I aren't efficient grocery shoppers.

We get back in the car with bags of birthday supplies. Two of us driving down Old Las Vegas highway with windows down and Magic FM in the speakers.

Her face changes.
"I don't know why I'm a person. Or even what a person is. So life feels scary."
Tears. Mo's tears come fast but they go away even faster.

"I don't like being scared and confused. Nobody else seems scared and confused."

My heart jumps into my throat.

"I have a hard time doing stuff when I don't even know why I'm doing it. I'm scared because I can't find why I'm doing it."

Today I remembered.

I can't write on the first page of a notebook.
That I can't be alone in this New Mexican life. A face over my shoulder or a curious ear on the other side of the wall.
I feel alone in my closet. Yeah. I feel alone in my closet.

Today I made a cake. But only half of the cake wanted to come out of the pan. Which is totally cool. Cakes are allowed to express themselves too.

Today I watched my brother play guitar.

Today I ran into an old friend. I'm glad you fly airplanes and race motorcycles, and yes, your dad has told me that a four year college education is an enormous waste of time and money. No, I haven't talked to the other guys. Yeah, I still drink coffee. No, I don't know if the coffee I drink is fair trade. Yeah, I heard about Tiger Woods. I recommend the lamb gyro. Say hi to your sister for me.

"Here's to Trev's 16th because Rani loves it."
Thanks, Dad. I'll raise my can of diet coke because I love you. Not because you've been successful in convincing me that toasting is classy or retro or something. Also, the lavender button up was a good choice.

"Rani, I meditate before I go to sleep. People think it may be hippie or weird. But it's just trying really hard to relax. I think about wind. Lots of wind with thousands of leaves. Then I can go to sleep."

Dear 8 year old Mo,
Find a time warp and jump in it.
Love, Rani

Dear society,

You don't need me.
I know I'm supposed to work really really hard to make our relationship a good one, to push and shove until you say my name, but the truth is, dear colorful machine, is I don't know if you're worth it.
And I kind of like my butterfly catcher. I'd have to clean it up or paint flames on it or something if I wanted to use it in our relationship.
I'm sure you're nice and all, but I'm not going to look for any piece of my purpose in your ups, downs and trends or look for satisfaction in the times you pat me on the back via paycheck or fame.

Love, Rani

Dear moon,
Say hi to that kid by the fire for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My cousin has a fish you can see through.
and I don't approve of the mini-eel.

"Rani, are you texting with one finger?"
"Mmmmaybe... is that not cool?"
"Mmm. That's just... different. That's good that you do that, Rani."
Thank you, fifteen year old cousin.

It's good to be in this house again.

Loud and whiny, my uncle is a walking TV show. He thrives on the stress that his presence creates. Thank you for existing, Uncle Steve. You're even cooler for knowing all of the words to Candy Shop and for wearing your grandmother's glasses because you lost yours.

My aunt is beautiful. Her hair was made to match her personality and she never sits still. When I ask her how she is, she responds, "we're..."
She gets a little bit lost in her love for her kids.

(some hours later)

On the airplane.
The grids below inspired so many pages of the sketchbooks of my youth.

(more hours later)

I forgot I lived in a dome of stars. I found Polaris. Take that.

My brother is a hyper he's never been before. He thinks its a good thing. He thinks its a great thing. But I'm not sure. I kind of miss him. He's productive, yes. But productivity isn't a ticket to contentedness.
Maybe this is good. I should give him room to change. If life is a bike, I'm gripping the handlebars tighter than I ever have before, he says.

My house feels the same. My closet looks the way it did when I was 16. My jars of pens and vintage coke bottles look the same plus a layer of dust.
James Dead, Elton John, Howlin Wolf... I missed these men that live on my wall.
I'm relieved to find that my shelf of songs from the '80s that my parents think should have stayed in the '80s is exactly where I left it and looking as rad as ever.

My black curtains still blow in the wind and I'm a little bit happy to be home.

My heart isn't light but living feels pretty good. I turned up the music and opened the window. These new days are going to be a lot different than the ones that came before today.

But that's alright.

I still don't like straight lines.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

aunt lee's

I sat in a row boat and got my jeans wet.

I napped on a dock and wore a bandanna on my head.

I can still do semi-cool trampoline tricks and land on my feet. Adulthood, I'm not your fool.

I learned about urban dining and ran through Portland barefoot.

Today life is tangled but life is pretty.
I don't like straight lines anyway.

just as it was before.

We’ve done this for two decades now, you and me
We climb the ladder nailed to the tall tree
Juice boxes and sandals; we sit on the end
This tree house, this moment that happens again and again

Ten years old us plus some things that are new
We’ve added some meaning, meaning to the things that we do
We’re allowed to ask that growing up not keep all of its promises
We’re allowed to sit up here and forget about all of the losses

Young you and me but now we’re less afraid
Young you and me but less time to play
In this tree life feels just as it was before
So life must move in circles, this life must be more

We still have tangles in our hair; still sap on our hands
We still like it best when our feet dangle above land
Not everything will change, not everything will turn mundane
You and me and this moment again, this will always be the same

It’s a beautiful battle in this forest of ferns
I won’t let you loose this one, in and through these grown up turns
It’s a beautiful battle between ten and twenty
Same things again, but this time it’s different, this time we’re ready

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time to see me from far away today.
It’s time to sit in a car and embrace the fog-brain that comes with staring out the window.
Life’s been new and a little bit surreal. Gwoatmeal, the library, and a certain hall door.

Pita chips, lawn mowers, and a cat with issues.

I'm ready for my camera to live again.
I'm glad that I won't take a spanish test ever again in life.
I need more sharpies.