Upon his return from the Sacramento oven, Mr. Halfstory and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on expensive can-or-glass encased drinks, bananas and eggs. Because my girls won’t eat before games, we are desperate to find something they will ingest, to avoid the panicked cry of “I feel like I’m going to throw up!!!!”, the subsequent humiliation of that possibility and the fear that the scary shortstop with the jaunty hair ribbon will kick their butts when no one is looking. The first thing I saw there – other than the aisle-blocking mom giving her kids 700 gluten-free cookie choices – was an older gentleman pushing a Yorkshire terrier in a cart and towing another cart, loaded with all varieties of melon, behind him. I had more questions about the melons than the dog but I’ve learned not to ask too many questions in Whole Foods, and not to encourage too much conversation. I did once, a long time ago, and the bagger ended up offering me sad information: “your bags smell.”
I am reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers, recommended by what seems like every literate human, but, more importantly, the L.E. It’s turning out to be one of those books I don’t want to finish but really must finish. An aged-out foster child bucks the odds and stumbles on a new, hopeful life, using her rare talent and her survival skills. Will her foster experiences crush her or will she find that elusive sliver of happiness? The foster parenting details are harsh and disturbing, made worse by how sparingly they’re written. Juxtaposed with flowers and their layered messages, Diffenbaugh has created a wildly inventive novel. I suspect I’m not the only one who now wants to know this flower language, although my needs would be simpler (as I come from an ordinary, albeit loony, family and I would only use them when I no longer care to speak to my Mr. Halfstory and his offspring). What plant means you really bought that? And which blossom means I can smell those jeans from here?