Monday, July 31, 2006

home again

I've been vacationing in Maine. It's been good. I swam in Sebago Lake 2 or 3 times a day. I read Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write and then I introduced myself as " a becoming writer" all week. I'm excited to catch up with everybody's blogs. It's good to be home.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thursday 13 for Jessica

Last week was Jessica's 29th birthday. But not just that: we now know she is safely 13 weeks pregnant. We will welcome and love another treasured person in our family. Wow. I imagine I will be a playful vibrant grandmother: I certainly know there is plenty of wonder and mystery to share and discover.

In honor of Jess' birthday, here's a Thursday 13 for her:

1. 15 minutes after Jess was born, I ate a ham and cheese sandwich and could have eaten another.

2. When Jess was 14 I made her get a summer job, thinking the value of work and her own spending money was a good thing. She and her friend Annie found work in a shoe factory. After resisting the whole idea, she came home the first day with a new found enthusiasm. "it's really cool, mom. They'll pay you in shoes instead of money."

3. Jess could be a top notch detective. When Charles Stewart murdered his wife, she was weeks ahead of anyone else in saying he did it.

4. Jess could also be an attorney. At the youngest age she could persuade you her made-up words for scrabble were real.

5. Jess could also be a professional shopper. Nobody finds bargains like this girl.

6. She and I took a 3 week trip to the West Coast when she was 12. We started in Berkeley, drove down Highway 1 to LA and Disneyland,then San Diego, then drove across the Red Desert (?)through Utah to the Grand Canyon, where we rode mules half way down and my fear of heights just about had a heart attack.

7. I could tell Jess loved Mike the first time I saw them together.

8. Their wedding last September is a permanent best-memory: I can still remember every detail. They couldn't stop laughing through most of the solemn ceremony and that made the priest and minister laugh too.

9. The wedding party and parents, all formally dolled up, were trollied to the 3 pm tour of Fenway Park, before the 6 pm wedding in downtown Boston. The pictures of us all in the bleachers are priceless.

10. There is nothing worse than seeing your little child's feelings hurt by her friends: you'd like to beat them up for being mean, but of course, alas, you've got to choose a more non-confrontational path.

11. Jess has held on to almost all her friends from junior high, high school, and college.

12. I can't explain what makes Jess so funny, but you just have to listen to her for a few minutes and you know that she has a cynical and unique wit and way of seeing that no one else does.

13. I would absolutely positively run right into any burning house to rescue this daughter of mine. And knowing that, since the day she was born, has made me a better and better person.

Happy Birthday, Jess. Here's to everything ahead. Love Mom

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

1. I had a parakeet named Chris who died upright on his perch. I couldn't believe it.

2. I'm in physical therapy to take care of my termpermental back and it's almost like going for a massage.

3. I love to stay up late-late and get up early-early.

4. I love this quiet time: sometimes I watch late night tv, sometimes I write, sometimes I read, sometimes I fall asleep on the couch.

5. Besides pizza and bread, I'm pretty fond of Dunkin Donuts boston cream donuts. I haven't had one in about 6 months...

6. My daughter Jessica is funnier than anyone else I know

7. jb taught me the value of good shoes.

8. We just painted our kitchen/den/dining room (small rooms) green/yellow on the top walls and orange on the bottom (with cream trim) and it came out fantastic. We were holding our breath after the first coat

9. I read tarot cards. The first deck I ever had was a James Bond set my mother gave me for Christmas. I don't really tell details about the future but the counselor in me gives a pretty good read.

10. I wish I could volunteer more for the Red Cross but I never seem to be free when they call me.

11. jb and I had a cookout last weekend in our "new" backyard. Our neighbors and friends came and jb, her sister cindy,I, and several friends cooked and prepared a good spread of appetizers, burgers and goodies.

12. I'm following the seasons here in Western Massachusetts: blueberries, cherries,unbelievable corn on the cob, and peaches are currently in.

13. Some day I plan to pull a police car over for speeding on the highway--my version of a citizen's arrest.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not Ready to Make Nice

"I'm through with doubt.
There's nothing left for me to figure out.
I've paid a price.
And I'll keep paying.
I'm not ready to make nice.
I'm not ready to back down.
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round.
It's too late to make it right.
I probably wouldn't if I could.
Cause I'm mad as hell.
Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should."
The Dixie Chicks

A few years ago the country-singing Dixie Chicks publicly criticized President Bush's actions in Iraq. They were effectively blackballed throughout country music and their song play and careers came to an abrupt halt.

It's not my intent or style to use this blog to advance my political opinion, or anybody else's. But taking this stand took courage and I admire that.

The Dixie Chicks are back with a new cd called "Taking the Long Way". And in that cd is a song called "Not Ready to Make Nice". Without knowing in advance how they and their music would be received, they made another decision to stand by what they believe in. You might not agree with them, but I for one admire their courage yet again.

And it's gotten me thinking about courage and conviction. I like the clarity and firmness of "not ready to make nice". It's clean and honest. It's realistic about consequences. And it's free of guilt. In this teetering time of nuclear weapons and tough guy approaches, I vote for more not less courage and conviction. And on a more mundane level, following the recent writing prompt on "guilt", I find it refreshing to be so clear and firm. No late night tossing and turning about something you believe is right, and that's a good thing.

"Taking the Long Way" is a really fine album. The Dixie Chicks have had their comeback tour cancelled in some states and venues due lack of support or concerns about safety. While there's still plenty of fans, I encourage you to buy the cd, enjoy it, and support these 3 women for speaking their minds and exercising their backbone.

Not ready to make nice is the opposite of numb, and I'm for more of that too.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Thursday Thirteen

1. I have a master's degree in rehab. counseling

2. The best hot chocolate I've ever had was at Angelina's cafe in Paris

3. I know how to use an electric screwdriver

4. But I don't know how to change a flat tire (and probably never will)

5. I went to a butterfly sanctuary today and was afraid of the butterflies (they flew all over the place)

6. I eat red meat 2-3 times a year

7. I eat chocolate 2-3 times a week

8. I like grocery shopping and paying bills but I hate doing laundry and vacuuming

9. My 2 week stint with the Red Cross in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina changed who I am--for the better

10. I stash away 20 dollar bills a couple of times a month and one time I accumulated over a thousand dollars that way

11. The funniest movie I've ever seen is "Sordid Lives"--I've seen it 3 times

12. I don't accessorize very well

13. When I come across a joke I like, I'll tell it to someone else every chance I get

A Zen-ie Thought for the Day

A man walks into a diner. When the waitress comes to take his order, he asks her:

"Did you see me come in?"

"Yes", she said.

"Have you ever seen me before?"

"No", she said.

"Then how did you know it was me?"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thoughts about Blogging

I'm starting to wonder about connections and friendships from blogging. It's weird to share, to learn about someone, let alone care about them, without knowing them in some other context, or perhaps never meeting, seeing their face, hearing their voice, knowing where and how they live. One of the contributors to Illustration Friday has "disappeared"--she hasn't made an entry in weeks, and I find myself worrying about her, wondering what happened. It feels oddly strange that I'd like to know she's ok.

For a couple of years I was part of a dog group: we'd meet in the middle of a park every day with our dogs; we'd talk, laugh, catch up, philosophize--all this on a first name basis but not much else. Ususually we didn't know eachother's last names,about our work selves, homes, kids, backgrounds etc. But we knew what was happening day to day, as we shared stories about the best shoes for sub zero (ughs), places to take our dogs, the murder of sharon's beloved son, and the rearranging of jonatha's music and career. I remember thinking how lovely it was to have relationships based so fully and soley in the present moment.

Is blogging the same kind of connection? Can you really come to know someone in this way? How are personal boundaries different, if at all? How can you be who you are and yet be discreet in what you share about yourself?

These are my thoughts on this fine Thursday night. Any comments?

Thursday Thirteen

1. I would drive all day to have lunch or dinner at Mr. Sushi in Brookline. I order the california rolls, chicken terraki rolls and shrimp tempura rolls--no raw fish for me--these three are a piece of heaven.

2. The first time I remember deeply crying was when i read Nobody's Boy. I was probably 1o and it was the first book i ever checked out of the library

3. I was cast as Aida in a Neil Coward play my senior high school school and during a few performances I made up my own lines a couple of times, to the pleasure of the audience and to the dismay of the lead actress

4. I can uncover or create any resource for any occasion. I'm just persistent.

5. I love playing slot machines even though I lose every time

6. Two of my best friends were killed in accidents before they turned 30

7. I love Paris for reasons I don't understand but I could live there

8. I'm a good counselor

9. My first car was an Austin my father rebuilt for me. It had little hands that stuck out for directionals and I was only allowed to drive it two miles to the busstop and back. He later rebuilt a Metropolitan for me, which was probably the smallest car ever made. It had a little bench for the back seat.

10. For the first time in my life I have a yard with full sun. I am a squealing-with-delight gardener these days.

11. I am re-inventing myself as a writer. When my first publication occurs, I plan to celebrate with a hot fudge sundae,and then a trip to mr. sushi.

12. I love my laptop computer more than I ever dreamed I would.

13. I'm 58 (wow!)but feel alot younger: I'm pretty satisfied with my life these days.

ps A: this is for you. I was arrested for breaking and entering at age 13 because i and 2 of my friends happily met three boys we liked for a little get together in the woods of a private boarded up estate. one of us got the idea to open a window and check out the estate. first we stood on a little table and broke it, then an alarm went off, then the car wouldn't start, and then appeared two policemen who actually surrounded us. it took a week for them to call my parents about it and my father brought me to the policestation and volunteered me to pick up leaves as a punishment. I was mortified, and by the way, none of the three of us ended up with any of the guys. such is the life of a 13 year old...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Prompt that Preferred Summer Lounging

Since I suggested this prompt, here it is, but be forewarned: I'm imaginatively floating in an imaginary pool, readying for an imaginary margarita.

The Road Not Taken

I took a left instead of right
And followed an unlikely sight.
Up ahead beneath a tree
Was someone looking just like me.

She quinched her eyes
She looked surprised
She shook her head
And finally said,

“Because I’m here
I’m never there.
I may look lost
But that’s the cost

Of being me and never you
I recommend it through and through”