Dec 19 2012

Merry Christmas?

securedownloadThis past week has been so intense in so many ways, that I’ve been wishing for nothing more than an hour – one measly hour – to sit down and write. If I don’t get the time in the morning, it just doesn’t happen. And so, the lull from my end. Perhaps it’s gone unnoticed, as you’re all running around too. When will I steal my hour? Now is not the time. But I’m going to start and hopefully find time to circle back and finish.

I’ve spent days trying to wrap my head and my heart around the Newtown heartache and I just can’t come to grips with it. I suppose the ability to tune out or turn off some of the bad is indicative of some modicum of mental health. It’s survival really. But I’m finding myself not wanting to put these children and their teachers and their parents in a little drawer and shut it with a click. I just don’t want to.

Maybe it’s the time of year – fraught and heady – busy and lovely. Maybe it’s the fact that so many of them were first graders – Devil Baby’s age. So tiny. And so many. My God.

Within minutes of hearing about the shootings, I had to be at Devil Baby’s school for a gingerbread party. I had to stop in the bathroom and stifle the sobs – give myself a pep talk or Devil Baby would know – she reads me like a book. I had to get it together. Wiped tears, bright smile, frosting, skittles in cups, crushed candy canes, muted whispers with other mothers. It was terrible. Also beautiful. Little people with their chapped lips and static-y hair, colored sprinkles, sneaking licorice bites, ignorant, innocent.

When things like this happen, we’re supposed to hold our children close. We’re supposed to give thanks for our loved ones and count our blessings. I get it. All of that is true. But I’m struggling.

I’m having trouble because those people in Connecticut are just like me. There is nothing that differentiates them from me. So as I carry on with my little Christmas traditions and get all teary at all my Christmas concerts, instead of feeling thankful, I feel crushingly fragile – because that’s what we are. Our sturdy little babes are fragile. Our peace is fragile. Our lives are fragile. Even our country, the muscular jocular USA, is broken. Beyond repair, I think.

And also, what about them?

The same things happen every year at this time of year: the parties, the concerts, the plays, the scramble to find tights, the little handmade gifts from school. Normally, it’s a source of comfort, of celebration. It’s a chance to stop and think and say yes, things are good. Thank you. But this year, I feel like I’m clutching a ball in each hand and I’m powerless to let go of either. In one, a cold, heavy ball – impossibly dense and dark, dripping with anger and despair. In the other hand I have a ball of light – it’s warm and lovely and holds all that is good, all that I love.

This year I am walking around holding these two warring truths in my heart. And this year, the twinkly lights and the children’s voices and the smell of cookies and pine trees are tinged with a great deal of sadness.

Do we need the dark to have the light? Not this way, we don’t.securedownload-1

Apr 22 2012

Floating Away

If all had gone as planned, I’d be in Buenos Aires right now with my mother. Instead, I’m killing time in the Atlanta airport, the boredom so intense that I’ve been driven to a desperate act. Posting from my iPhone. This is tricky business, this thumb typing. This placement of words into a box so tiny it threatens to preclude both rereading and revision. Never a good thing.

I tried to go to Argentina yesterday, when I was supposed to, after hasty preparations and and huggy goodbyes. I should have known I wouldn’t get far. Supergirl begged me to do my imitation of the Japanese tourist from Disneyland screaming “Capaten E O!” into her cellphone. In a moment of weakness, I relented, which was not only a misguided attempt to leave my daughter with one last funny memory (it’s hilARIous, you should hear me) should I meet an untimely demise on my trip – it was also stupid, because everyone knows it’s bad karma to make fun of people before air travel. Especially international air travel.

Long story short, mechanical issues – missed connection to Buenos Aires. The only reason this is even something worth writing about is the almost unbearable sense of lightness I had walking into the airport yesterday. But not lightness in the way we like to talk about it. I felt unmoored. As if at any moment I’d go flying to the ceiling like a mistakenly released helium balloon.

It is disorienting to leave my whole brood, knowing full well I’m putting huge distances, multiple countries, between us. Ok, I just realized I don’t know how to scroll back, so I really am reduced to 3 line increments. Consider this performance art.

What is even MORE disorienting, is to spend 4 and a half hours in MSP, listening to music, paging through Harpers Bazar, half enjoying it, half gripping the seat so I don’t start to drift up toward the ceiling, half wondering if my persona makes any sense here in this airport without my peeps and THEN end up having to go home. To reenter life and have one more night before I have to go back to the airport and try again to go to Argentina.

The sliding doors make a sucking sound as I leave the airport, and just like that, I am my weight once again. I am substantial. Grounded.

Long story short: burgers, the couch in a puppy pile, a couple episodes of Malcom in the Middle, pjs, two more chapters of that unicorn book with Devil Baby, one more warm entangled night’s sleep with Dash, an early morning lake loop with Foxy, blueberry pancakes. One more look at that broken pinky toe on Saint James. More smooches and goodbyes. Take two.

Which brings me to this piano bar in the middle of terminal E of the Atlanta airport and this tuna sandwich, this second glass of wine, and these streams of strangers going places who don’t even seem to notice that I’m in danger of floating away.

Sep 11 2011


I was in Michigan visiting my parents with Saint James. My dad was at work, my mom was playing tennis, Doctor Dash was back in Minneapolis. We had not spoken yet that day. Cup of hot coffee in hand, I was trailing Saint James as he toddled around the house – the way we do when our first born is just one year old. My parents have beautiful Brazilian cherry wood floors, pristine and uncreaky compared to ours. Both of us in bare feet, we passed through elongated rectangles of sun and shadow, Saint James on the balls of his chubby feet, me back on my heels. The only sound I remember was the black lab’s nails clicking on the floor as she followed us – making a haphazard parade of three. Sasha moved up near Saint James and I nudged her to the side so she wouldn’t knock him over, sloshing some coffee on the floor. I went to get a paper towel and that’s when the phone rang. It was my mother. Viste la tele? She sounded out of breath, but it could have been the tennis. I turned on the TV in my parents’ bedroom and watched, not understanding at all what I was seeing. At that point, both planes had hit and the footage being replayed had the look of fiction. Of an action flick. Roiling smoke, balls of fire. Diehard. I ran to scoop up Saint James, put him in the room with me and shut the door. I sat on the bed to watch and listen, because this needed to be explained. What about the people above the holes? I thought of being in my office in Boston, overlooking the harbor – what it would feel like for my building to be pierced through the heart like that. I didn’t see the falling people until later. I had to be told by the voices on TV. My mom hadn’t gotten back from the club yet when the towers crumbled, slowly, almost gracefully, the buckling buildings seeming to elicit a gasp of horror from the universe. Or maybe it was just my own.

Apr 21 2010

Pure Joy

Some people walk around in rose tinted glasses. It’s enviable, really. I certainly do not and in some ways, this blog and the writing I do here is an attempt to stop, take notice, and really look. Really see. Pry my grimy tenacious thoughts off of myself and point them out at the beautiful world. Try on some rose tinted shades for a change. It’s so easy to forget. To ignore. To take for granted. But bulbs, man. Bulbs are magic. They lurk underground – frozen dead brown ugly nothings. Until out of nowhere, they split and soar, and out of earth that looks truly forsaken, they send riotous leggy beauties, just because and all for free. What a sight for sore eyes. What a gift. Pure joy. Here’s a promise to myself. I’m writing it here, so I don’t forget – so you hold me to it: I will plant more more more bulbs of joy this fall.

white dafdaftulipsyellowOh, and uh, Circus Lady? That app? It rocks.

Oct 30 2009


We got a break in the clouds today for a couple hours and I forced myself to take a walk. Seeking a bit of solitude and anonymity, I drove over to Lake of the Isles for a change of scenery. The wind was capricious, whipping the water into a feisty chop and sending the leaves skittering for their lives, like hordes of movie extras in Godzilla.

At one point, I saw a chubby dredlocked young woman give the finger to the back of a lanky hipster guy wearing skinny jeans as he slunk past her on the path. He had no idea she had given him the finger and she had no idea I had seen her give him the finger. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know each other, but I suppose if they had, it would have made more sense. Only to me, it made complete sense. She had the look of someone wearily trying to whip herself into shape. His very existence was an affront to her, for no other reason than the fact that he cut through her line of vision, sending a ripple through her foul mood. 

Being privy to this unguarded personal moment, this human hiccup, this hasty gesture, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of kinship with the chubby woman because I too am wont to a bit of the behind-the-back-finger-giving. Nuns, teachers, librarians, my parents, a partner at my old law firm, pharmacists, drivers, volleyball coaches. One time Doctor Dash turned around abruptly on his way to the garage after we had argued and caught me flying the infamous double fisted fingers. I know, how mature of me. Can you imagine glancing behind you and seeing your wife in the window giving you not one, but two frenzied pumping fingers? It’s absurd and simply one of those things Doctor Dash has long ago learned to accept and ignore. You can believe I holstered those puppies pretty quickly, feeling more than a little sheepish.

The truth is, sometimes we need a way to say fuck you, with out saying fuck you. We need the release, but we need it to dissipate, to flutter away in the wind like a dry leaf. To have it land, to have it stick, would be inflammatory, unfair, rude, hurtful. The Lake of the Isles finger had nothing to do with the guy and everything to do with the girl. I know how these things go, so I veered off the path rather than pass her. If the hipster slinker pissed her off, the yoga pants power walker might just have put her over the edge, possibly into double fisted pumper terrain. And who wants that comin’ at their back?

Apr 25 2009

Far Away Friend.

dsc_0213Yesterday, before my adventure with Red Vogue, I was feeling shitty. Sad and shitty. After dropping the kids off at school, I drove around the lakes boohooing and feeling sorry for myself. I called my college friend, Tartare, in Seattle and left her a pitiful, weepy voicemail, apologizing and blubbering and apologizing some more for being so pathetic. I know I sounded absolutely over the top melodramatic, but I couldn’t help myself. The tears just kept coming, pooling in the bottom of my Kanye sunglasses.

Tartare called me back and bless her heart, without a lot of verbiage and fuss, she managed to gather up all my cards that were strewn over the floor, shuffle them, cut them and set them in a neat pile in front of me. She may be far away, but her powers are mighty. Like this.

Jan 19 2009

Under construction.

I realize that maybe some of you are wondering if I did indeed perish during my wisdom tooth extraction given my extended absence here, on these pages. The truth is, I’m fine, thanks for your concern. My hero, Rip Van Techno, is helping me set up a better blog, so that hopefully it will be easier to navigate and generally less dumpy and amateur-looking. I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about being able to clump my writings together into categories, as I do have some themes emerging . . . and this new blog platform should help me do that. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. In the meantime, if you’re really dying to know what’s going on with me . . . pick up the damn phone! Wish me luck. Y’all know how challenged I am in this department.

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