comments: 114


It's weird, how summer makes you feel sometimes. As a child, I remember it feeling so long, the nights going on so late, and night after night everything felt the same. My parents sat in our backyard every night, for hours. I never knew anybody else's parents who did that. We girls had the second floor of the house to ourselves and if we were home, we'd be up there. We had a deck with a sliding door off of my bedroom. From the deck, you could not see our parents but you could hear them, vaguely, the murmurs of conversation, or laughter. You knew they were there. You could smell ragweed (always a favorite of mine) and tomato plants and our dad's endlessly lit Newports, the smell of smoke so hateful, and so familiar. There were fireflies, and mosquitoes. It was humid there, in Chicago — many times after moving to Oregon my father said that he missed hot weather, "those balmy nights," and I always thought that was a too-kind, almost romantic way of describing that cloaking, heavy heat, but I know what he meant. My sister would be playing a Fleetwood Mac record. The other one would be on the phone. One or another of us was frequently on the phone past midnight. Our parents stayed up until one or two or three a.m. We almost always went to bed before they did. I think when he said balmy he meant all of it. All of that.


Clover Meadow and I walked through the neighborhood yesterday, our regular route, the one Audrey and I used to walk, past overblown roses and dried-up lawns and chalk-written sidewalks with important messages, all of it beautiful to me. She walks with such sweet enthusiasm you just can't help but feel like you two could walk, circling the neighborhood in quiet, shuffling communion, for miles, as long as it takes until it feels like you belong. All is well.


I've got bigger problems, anyway: Andy is growing a beard and mustache. Help.


Nice to see you're back on track with that precious puppy.
As for Andy & the know it's those handsome Avett brothers who are to blame. Just drop "Rolph Harris" into the conversation and see what he says. It worked for me with Ricardo. xxxxx

I'm sure Audrey is walking right there with you and is watching over you. Be happy. -C ^..^

Has Andy been inspired by Swingtown and the 70's? Will it be that kind of beard and stash or a more modern one? Have you seen the beard on the dad and daughter team from You've got talent? That's an odd one right out of the sci-fi channel.

I'm sure Audrey is walking right there with you, watching over you. -C ^..^ (be happy!)

It could be worse--unless it's a fu man chu moustache and a soul patch...then it really couldn't be worse.

My thing with facial hair is how the hairs often stray up your nose when you kiss. I hate that! :D But the look can be quite dashing and distinguished, don't ya think? Apparently, not from your cry for help. LOL......Glad to know you're doing well.

Kelly Grace says: August 13, 2008 at 10:33 AM

What a poetic post! Perhaps you should rename your blog to "Posie Get Prosey" :)

You know, I used to hate facial hair but now, I've rather grown to love it. I bet Andy can pull it off.

The growing out period is the worst. After the beard got grown, I became sort of fond of it.

Oh no! Beard and mustache?! Actually I'm worried because my Andy wants to shave off his beard (goatee actually). He would not be my Andy without it. Ah boys. . . what WILL we do?!

Ugh...what is it with men and their periodic desire to grow facial hair? Every so often my husband gets the same idea...! I just shut my eyes and try to act like it isn't happening, then after a few days, he starts to itch and gets mad cause he can't grow it in some spots, realizes he looks goofy and shaves it all off....ahhhh...smooth face bliss. Until he gets that urge again. Yikes. Good luck, I will shut my eyes and wish for you.

Oh boy. I've been there with the beard thing. It wasn't until I got all the females we know to tell my husband that he looked like a 70's porn star, that he finally shaved it off. Phew.

I remember how much longer summer nights used to seem, hanging out with friends in the darkness (I was raised in the country), it's our back door neighbors who sit out all night and that soft murmuring is more annoying than "balmy."

As for the facial hair, once the beard gets to a certain length, it's soft for you and scratchy for them. Then, there's the upkeep--my lazy man found it to be too much and off it came. Good luck.

I love men with beards, rugged and dangerous, pwooooarh! Enjoy!!!

Oh, lucky you. I think facial hair is oh, so sexy. My daughter's father is quite a handsome man in all his Paul Bunyan glory! You made me laugh today. Yesterday, I cried while reading your post about your beloved Audrey. I watched the video clip of her running on the beach and it just touched my soul so deeply. I'm sending lots of good wishes your way. Enjoy the facial hair!

Oh, I miss "balmy" nights, too! We live a little further down the coast from you -- it's never warm here in the evening, either.

I don't miss it *every* night, but every once in awhile... a warm breeze, murmured conversations, fireflies... I could go for that.

Lovely writing, as always -- so evocative!

As for Andy's facial hair... I've got nothin' for ya. I'd be in a panic, too.

scott is not very hairy when it comes to facial hair, so i guess i'm lucky. he tried to grow a mustache once and it was sad. i think i have more hair on my upper lip, although it is BLONDE.

i love david beckham/brett favre's stubble - i wonder if guys can get facial hair implants ;)?

i just hope andy doesn't go for mutton chops or the soul patch like howie mandel. man, i would shave that sucker off in his sleep and blame in on sleep walking!

Alicia - old childhood memories of summer are so cherrished. They are of simple times and freedom. I have fond memories of living in Pennsylvania with similar very balmy nights. My parents would play cards with my aunt and cousin and I could stay out and play night games. It was safe and no one worried. I had such freedom then. It was a good time. Thanks for sparking memories.

dear lord. straight to the problem:: jeff has tried to convince me for years and years and years that his beard (when he's growing one) is soft, not scratchy. to which i reply, "Bullcorn!" when he grows one or gets the idea my carrot is, "Well, I guess I won't be able to kiss you that much anymore." that usualy works... sometimes it doesn't... and then I start to wonder... hmmm? and kiss him anyway. :o)

You with your eternally strengthy core, and stunning words that don't just paint pictures but put the reader in the very spot of which you speak. You are a true inspiration, A. So glad to know (almost) all is well.

(and I'm afraid I can't help you with the mustache/beard dilemma because I think they're H.O.T.)

"All is well...and all will be well"

That is probably my favorite quote of all time (though I'm not sure who said it!)

Try it...the facial just might like it. That's why I adore the Avett Brothers, lol, tons of facial and head hair! I got a thing for burly men apparently.

I grew up in southeastern Va and our nights were beyond balmy. What I remember most were the sounds - crickets, cicadas, tree toads -millions of them, all pouring out a huge racket every night. That's what I really miss here in the mountains of Pa - summers never really sound like summer to me any more. As for the heat and humidity, well I'm just as happy to miss that.
As for beards, my husband had one when we met and we had been married a couple of years before he suddenly shaved it off. To me, it looked like half of his face was missing when I finally saw his chin several inches higher than where his beard had ended. What made him get rid of it was that it was going gray before his hair did - vanity brought the razor out.

Love this post.

But a beard? Why!? :-)

A beard and mustache!!! LOL!! Well, that's one thing he can do that you can't! AND, he'll be warm this winter...

Been there with the beard thing. More than once. It's always a goatee. Probably cause he can't grow a full beard. I tried not kissing it and I tried ignoring it. I tried pretending I was kissing Kevin Costner. I like facial hair on movie stars but not on my husband. Guess cause I know I won't get to kiss Johnny Depp or Kevin Costner... Anyway, I think what finally got the razor to the goatee was my husband catching a cold. He believed that he spent more time touching his face thus spreading cold germs. I turned on my Stepford Wife persona and told him he was so clever and I would never have thought of that! Maybe since Andy is a nurse he will decide that for himself. That is key though- he has to decide for himself. 25 years of marriage has taught me that with things like this, the less said the better!
Good luck.
p.s. I love how my dog's tail wags the whole time we are walking. Such a simple thing makes him so happy, and a wagging tail is such a happy thing to watch.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.