The Brain Place

Continuing our story of the New England vacation from Sermons in Stones . . .

Indigo expressed a desire to go to “the brain place” while we were in Boston, which, it turned out, meant a university. Any university, really. But a family friend, S., is a rising senior at MIT and is living in Cambridge for the summer, so later in the day of the Public Gardens, we met up with her after her work, had a personalized tour of a bit of MIT, and all went out to dinner, which served as a combined birthday celebration for a couple of members of the party whose birthdays were close to that date. S., unsurprisingly, was a knowledgeable, candid tour guide, and best of all: she is minoring in linguistics, which just happens to be Indigo’s passion.

So we, the parents, trailed behind while the two of them geeked out about Toki Pona (Indigo learned it this spring; S. wants to), other conlangs, the delights of German syntax, and other things of great interest to them. They are not of particular interest to either Joy or me, but there is nothing like watching your kid light up as she finds someone who cares about the same things she does. They talked a mile a minute. This despite the seven-year gap in their ages. S. treated Indigo like a peer. We didn’t expect any less from her, but it was still cool.

Indigo is a ways from making decisions about post-high-school education, but for someone with a well-developed intellectual interest, college starts to be visible on the horizon. The week before our trip, her older cousin was visiting us and colleges, and we trooped along with him to Stanford. Visiting its linguistics department, and then MIT’s–both renowned, and currently emptied out by summer and COVID, of course, but adorned with photos of current students and professors–is the kind of thing that can make it all live in the imagination.

What MIT has that Stanford doesn’t, though, is bunnies. Yes, bunnies run wild and free on this big-city campus. Alerted to their presence, Indi immediately said, “That’s it, I’m going to MIT.” I think she was joking . . .

Goodbye, middle school!

She has officially been promoted from 8th grade! The school did a lovely job of conveying pomp and circumstance via video yesterday (including playing “Pomp and Circumstance”), and today she dropped off the iPad, picked up the t-shirt and tassel, signed the Class of 2021 banner that will hang in the school next year, and posed for photos.

First (?) Mothers’ Day card

Made in kindergarten. Eight and a half years later, Indigo observes, “My Spanish was terrible.” It wasn’t that bad. (Translation of the card: “Thank you for giving me food and care. Happy Mothers’ Day, mothers of my family. I love my moms very much.”)

I love this period, in which we are distinguished by our hair length and our height, and because we are basically stick figures, the way she makes me taller is by extending my neck an even more extraordinary amount than Joy’s. No wonder she used to say I was a giraffe.

Art archaeology

Art archaeology

Some of Indigo’s art gets tossed. Some gets framed and hung on the wall. Some, she tries to toss but we rescue. And some, none of us wants to keep or discard, so it goes into a pile for me to photograph some day. She’s actually getting quite good about photographing it as she goes, but I still have a boxful from her earlier years, and I am finally digitizing it.

A few nuggets from last night’s round:

First or second grade. I love the sand at the bottom of the ocean, and the way the partial coloring of the sky makes it look like something huge has just sent up a splash. Maybe it was a whale.

First rule of pre-printed paper: fill in the O’s, D’s and R’s.

Indi went through a phase when she made a lot of lists like this. Maybe an expansion of a school exercise? I will translate.

My life.

–I have two very good moms.

–I have two ears one nose two hands two eyes and one mouth.

–I have seven caves. (Ed. note: neither she nor I knows what she meant by this. I suggested that it might mean “orifices,” as in the old joke about having seven holes in one’s head, but she was sure she hadn’t heard of any such thing. My Spanish dictionary doesn’t give any figurative meaning for “cueva”: just “cave,” pure and simple.)

-I have a lot of books.

-I have a lot of stuffed animals.

-I have a lot of toys.

Sometimes she just listed words. This page is headed, “Words in English and Spanish.”

A photo from an Our Family Coalition event. I love what she wrote on top. Nas = nice, which is a logical guess.

Para V.

I have never had a root canal, so this may change, but right now what I hate most in the world is going through boxes of papers and miscellaneous stuff. However, what I gave Joy for our anniversary was a stack of coupons for me to do household tasks, and two of them were “Go through two boxes in the garage.” She redeemed one this week and I am duly, unhappily plowing through the boxes. Quite a lot of the contents are ancient tax documentation and other easily-tossed items. And then once in a while I find a gem. I can’t remember how old Indigo was when she wrote like this, but I remember the stage well and could decipher this pretty well. Now-thirteen-year-old Indigo enjoyed it too.


We think it says:

Para (for) V. (Indigo says: it must have been for Veronica, classmate, or Veronika, pianist at church, and I thought “too long to write” and just wrote “V.”) How are you doing? Is your family doing all right? Send me a letter. ❤ Indigo.

I have no idea why she crossed out the first two attempts at a signature. They look good to me. It is striking that at that age, her “n” looks like an “h” (causing older Indigo to snigger–“shit?”) but she can make a heart perfectly. I love “orat” for “all right.”

I’m sorry, Veronica or Veronika. Apparently, this was meant for you.

Christmas Still Life with Cat

It’s 7:08 on Christmas morning. How come the cat and I are the only ones awake? And who’s the kid in this family anyway? *drums impatiently*

As Joy is quick to remind me, when Indigo was born and we needed to figure out holidays, I didn’t even want to celebrate Christmas. “We’re Jewish Unitarian Universalists,” I said. “I don’t believe in Jesus Christ and all that.”

“Amy, you lead Christmas services every year!”

“Yes, well, that’s for my church . . . If I really celebrated the holiday that means the most to me, we’d just do Solstice.”

“Solstice, schmolstice,” she said. “I want presents!”

“So we’ll do Hanukah like when we were kids.”

“I celebrated Hanukah and Christmas when I was a kid.”

I snorted, though gently. “That seems like trying to have it all.”

“Yep! What’s wrong with that?” she said.

And that line of argument won. Being me, I have to justify it by recalling that I really am very happy Jesus was born. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Joy herself draws the line short of having a Christmas tree. However, the years of erosion from Indigo’s lobbying have led to this rosemary plant from Trader Joe’s now making back to back appearances. Indigo decorated it with earrings of mine. But we are definitely never putting up lights. Bah, humbug.

The stockings were hung from the postcard rack with care

Eventful day

Eventful day

As I shared on Sermons in Stones, I joined Indigo for an art workshop at our local library yesterday. I want to post photos of the notebook cover she made. I love her sense of design.

Front cover:

Back cover:

Then we went across to a gallery where we’d seen the exhibit separately and both liked the art. A jewelry pop-up was in progress; it was lovely stuff too. Right there and then, Indigo (who has been thinking about it off and on for years) said she wanted to get her ears pierced. I said, “You mean, today? Now?” We had just enough time, well, theoretically, before we had to leave for the church auction. She said yes, and an hour and a half later we were headed to the auction with these brand new accessories.

She didn’t even flinch. She says she works hard at that. As an outlet she just said a deeply-felt “Ow” after each one.