Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Comfort Food

My mom was a really good cook — nothing fancy — but she made superb comfort food. A terrific Rice Pudding. A killer Beef Stroganoff. A simple but exquisite Strawberry Shortcake when strawberries were in season with homemade biscuit-type cakes (2 layers), fresh just-picked strawberries and homemade whipped cream with vanilla bean. She wasn't a snob about cooking everything from scratch though, she also had her store-bought delicacies.

I just made one of her best comfort dinners — Stouffer's Welsh Rarebit. It's just a frozen box of cheddar cheese sauce, but it is so good. My mom would make one of the most fattening dinners in the world with that sauce, toast and bacon. Here's how.

Take two pieces of white bread, toast it, cut it in triangles. Cook up about 5 pieces of bacon — really good bacon. Crumble it on top of the toast. Pour the sharp cheddar cheese sauce on it. [Edith J from PA on the stouffers.com does it with tomato slices, but I think that throws off the texture big time. You don't want something wet and slippery competing with the cheddar cheese sauce.]

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About WiFi

Notice WiFi is everywhere this week?! Talk about ubiquitous! Business Week has some good backgrounder pieces on it. Also, Kevin Werbach and Esther Dyson's Release 1.0 goes to town on "The Gang of Three" — Web Services, Weblogs and WiFi.

High Wire Act

Word comes of a man and wife who lose their lovely baby of 74 days. Wait. Read again. Not possible. Those who die must be of 74 years, not 74 days.

So we read again. Oh, no. Oh, yes, 74 days. Such a sadness. Such a sinking feeling, or more likely ... free fall into darkness, no net below.

Our hearts go out, but we wonder if we can ever do enough good, bring enough kindness, kindle enough warmth for these forlorn parents as they begin to walk a cold, cold road.

This is like a bad circus act. We thought the ropes would hold. We'd tested them, more than once. Each safety line that runs from man to wife to child to uncle to aunt to grandpa to grandma to friend to neighbor, they looked secure. We were doing great aerial feats of derring-do, we were flying high, we could soar, knowing all the ropes were in place. But someone's taken the evil villian's cartoon-character knife to a particular rope, see the close-up of each fraying thread of the mighty rope. It could go at any second.

We're waiting for them to pass us the flying swing, ready to take the leap. Once, twice, third time's the charm. We grab the glittering swing, arc up, but suddenly fall. Wait, no, this can't be happening.

We fall and fall and keep falling. But there is a safety net. The people have rushed from all sides to catch you, hold the safety net poles for you. But you won't take a quick somersault out of that net to bounce happily to your feet and floor, any time soon. You'll lie there a long time, looking up at the sky, wondering if any of the other ropes you trusted will hold. You'll test them all. Wife and friend and stranger and boss and woman in front of you in line at the store. You'll search their faces. You'll question them. You'll say the wrong things to them. They'll say the wrong things to you. You'll recall every other loss you've ever suffered, every other free fall. You'll wonder how bad you can get on the way to getting good.

And then one day, much to your surprise, you will find yourself believing that the world works. You'll find yourself standing up again, feet firmly planted on the ground, much to your amazement, ready to climb the rope ladder and perform your death-defying stunts once more.

[My condolences to the Cringley family and thanks to Chase's dad for bravely writing about this. Thanks to Doc for letting us know about this.]

Monday, April 29, 2002


Last night I wrote about how each blog I read has so much personality and is so unique. (See 4/28/02 below "Big Blog Fan Me"). This became the breakfast discussion this morning.

He: What kept you up so late, I thought you were coming to bed?

She(ME): Well, I started writing something in my blog.

He: Figured.

What is it about other media that manages to ERASE unique human voice from their communications? My husband thinks it has a lot to do with COST of production. He reminded me of the movement in cable access tv (circa 1980's) when it looked like everyone in the world would have a video camera and could produce their own talk show cheap. It didn't happen because the cost and the technology were still barriers to entry.

He's sensitive to this because he's worked in the movies where the battle royale is how a writer/director can work on such a long collaborative project and still create something with a true voice.

Blogs sound like the people who write them, because ONLY the people who write them, are WRITING THEM. No committee design. No advertising influence. No ratings, sortof.

So what I was getting at below was that each blog has such a clear voice and ... dare I say ... brand? I'll leave that there, a tiny kidskin gauntlet daintily tossed out, for the rest of you to tear apart and sew back together as you wish.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Big Blog Fan Me

It's wonderful to come in on a Sunday evening and pull up a cozy armchair in all your blogs. What a treat. Doc Searl's Earthy, Techy, Older-but-Wiser, Straight-Shooting Times Square Ticker Tape Non-Stop Newsroom Blogathon, David Weinberger's Erudite but Just-the-Guy-Next-Door, I mean, Professor-Next-Door, Suede-Elbow Patch-atorium, Rageboy's Tease-a-Matic "just back from somewhere great, more soon" Zone, Jeneane Sessum's Mall 'o Blogs (she's got so many and all great), AKMA'S Wine and Wafer, Rock and Roll Narthex, Tom Matrullo's Floridian Tuscany of Lovely Lingua Frank, Kalily's Growing Garden, Dane's Darned Good Rodeo, Megnut's Not-Nutty Nuthouse, Peterme's Pretty Perceptive Potluck, Gate's Not So Outta Context Cottage, Jennifer Generous Abode, Heather's Snowy Somerville Sunroom, Dan Pink's Just One More Witty, Funny, Insightful Thing After Another, Heath Row's The Other Hundred Hip Things He Forgot, Seth's So Succinct Solo Soundings, Gaspar's Camera Obscura, Gilmor's Much More and More-atorium, Jean-Yves' Evening Atelier, One Blue House's Maison Bleue Adossee A La Colline, Marek's Manic Morning Room, Mary Wehmeier's Just-Plain-Dealing Deep Concerns and Considerations, LivingCode's Long-Living Lovely, Loving and Longing Livingroom, Mike Golby's Far-Away-Nearby-SafeHouse, Sullivan's Schoolroom, Gretchen's Don't-Mess-With-My-Pretty-Smart Head, Mike Sander's Serious Thought-atorium, Working Mom's Worries Wonders and Wows, Tom Shugart's Neighborly Neighborhood, Evhead's Heady Headroom, Steve Himmer's OnePotMeal of Lobster, Moxie and New England Rumination Ladled Up on a Reflective Platter, and all the rest, don't feel slighted, there are so many great ones now. Thanks All.

Let There Be Peace on Earth

By Jill Jackson and Sy Miller

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth,
The peace that was meant to be.

With Earth as our Mother
Her children all are we,
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now;
With every step I take,
Let this be my solemn vow:

To take each moment and live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Copyright 1955 by Jan-Lee Music. Copyright renewed 1983. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Scared Shitless

The stock market, the supermarket, all markets are saying we're scared shitless about what's going on in the Middle East. As well we should be. It needs to end. Pray.

[BTW, I love and bless Fay Magid, who must have been wonderful and who's website helped me find out who wrote this song.]

Java Jive

Hey, I like Lori's Daily Grind. She's writing interesting stuff and I LOVE the fact that she overhears some very fascinating conversations in her gig as a coffee barista and shares them on her blog. All writers should do this.

She's written about Oprah giving up her book club and I have a lot to say about that ... let me see ... how to begin. Give me a few more grumbling weeks. Yes, stay tuned on that subject. I'll just say one thing. If I ever meet Jonathan Franzen in a dark alley, he better get his snotty little ass in gear and make a run for it.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Hey Arnold The Movie

Can't wait to see the HEY ARNOLD movie on June 28th. I'm a big Nickelodeon fan. For a dozen or so days after September 11th, all we watched was Nickelodeon, so my six-year-old didn't have to see the news — maybe so WE didn't have to see the news. Next to the TV we had the boom box set up with headphones, so the grown-ups could listen non-stop to National Public Radio.

I had a very strange ongoing experience of mixing the video of Rugrats playing in the sandbox with audio of firefighters describing rescues at Ground Zero or seeing Hey Arnold in their downtown lot playing baseball and hearing mothers talking about their lost sons. It was good to know SpongeBob SquarePants was safe and sound, deep down under the blue ocean at Bikini Bottom while the rest of us were unable to open our mail, imagine a normal day at work or get on a plane.

Do you remember the weather that day? It was a beautiful September day — more like summer than fall. A week or so later there was a day with weather much like September 11th and I remembering being suddenly frightened when I went outside, some how feeling that such weather could again bring disaster.

Sometimes I don't recall how we all made it through that month of September. It was perilous. I remember feeling like, "just keep walking, one day at a time, don't look back, just make it to Christmas." And I remember feeling very sad and still barely breathing at Christmas, but relieved we'd made it through. There wasn't a thing you didn't worry about this past fall if you had half a brain or half a heart — terrorism, anthrax, racial/religious violence, high alerts, economic disaster — you name it.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Time On This Earth

Reading Kubler-Ross' On Death and Dying. Some amazing book. I can't help thinking we're all coming to terms with losses on a daily basis, big and small. We lose jobs. We lose parents. We lose our youth as we grow older. My son misses the carefree fun of pre-school, now that he's a senior statesman (first grader). On September 11th we lost friends, heros, strangers, but more than anything, lost a sense of safety and security that still saddens me. Big grief there. We wear the widow's weeds for at least a year.

Yesterday, I threw away a very large pair of Nike hightop sneakers — my dad's last shoes. Getting good at grieving. Getting good at loss.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Ideal Workers Of The World Unite

Also, on the subject of Women and Work (see blog entry below), one of the clearest, hardest-hitting books I've read lately is Unbending Gender: Why Work and Family Conflict And What To Do About It by Joan Williams.

Williams is a lawyer and this book is not the gushy feminist momist stuff you might expect, but rather a labor lawyer's cold and hard-headed analysis of why work and family just don't mix.

She describes the concept of "the ideal worker" who subordinates all other concerns of family or personal life to the greater glory of the corporation. Her ideal worker can travel at the corporation's convenience, relocate at the drop of a hat, stay late, wine and dine clients 'til all hours and usually sets the tone for how all other workers are measured.

Of course, this means the ideal worker is usually a man, not as often a woman and rarely a mother (or working parent with bottom line responsibilities at home), but she leaves the conversation open about how destructive this kind of life is for women as well as MEN.

The ideal worker is essentially a robot. And when men, especially younger men, wake up to the brutality of the workplace, then all of us will benefit. I think many men ARE waking up. I think many men are sick of being absentee parents. I think men will demand more and more humaine treatment (they are treated far worse in a corporate setting when they ask for flex-time or parental accomodations). I think we're entering a neo-humanist world.

Women With Attitude

Peterme.com takes on the much hyped book Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children, by Sylvia Anne Hewlett in his blog entry, Are We Entering a Post-Feminist World? He has insightful things to say on this book which argues that brainy successful corporate women may be winning the race at work, but apparently pay the price of no children and no boyfriends/husbands at home, in order to succeed.

One of his discussion participants points us to the Salon review by Joan Walsh who really digs deep and challenges many of Hewlett's opinions. As a mom, she hits the nail on the head when she says the real problem is the zero tolerance of any humans — moms, dads, or simply people — in the corporate stucture. One way ticket to Free Agent Nation. She gives this advice,

The advice I'd give my daughter, thanks to the survey data, would have less to do with blunting her spirit and intellect so as not to intimidate a mate than finding a career path where she can work for herself, and steer clear of dreary corporate America, until corporate America cleans up its act.

Two excellent writers on this same subject who deserve lots more attention are Arlie Russell Hochschild, (Second Shift) and Anne Crittenden, (The Price of Motherhood).

Memory Lane

I found my Archives! I don't know why they went away, but the other day I went to look up something from February and all I had was April! This was very scary. I tried to noodle it out and after diving into Blogger's idiot-proof FAQ's, I fixed it — thanks folks.

I've been reading old stuff and checking old links — many are no longer working — but my very first blog entry is still there and the link still works!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002


Gotta wonder what the whole story is behind Karen Hughes leaving the White House. Hughes is Bush's right-hand and left-hand woman it sounds like. I'm sure we'll be hearinig more about this.

Out of This World

Well, I've jumped all of Kubler-Ross' five stages of grieving and now arrive at stage six — stuffing my face with treats from Trader Joe's and watching movies — frozen mango (slightly thawed), peanut butter pretzels, smoked salmon, vinegar potato chips, organic root beer — out of this world. I've got the DVD of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg which someone loaned me a long time ago and I've finally got a chance to watch, as well as the complete Dr. Zhivago. Now, if I could just dig up a copy of Inside Daisy Clover. (Sorry to be so lazy as not to embed links ... tomorrow, tomorrow, I promise.)

Out of Context

Don't miss Jeff Gate's site, Life Outtacontext. His first bike ride of the spring is great fun to read — even here in Boston where we're having SNOW! And his tortured hunt for his missing Palm Pilot is certainly reminiscent of the hours I've spent looking for my little lost Handspring Visor.

Out of Balance

Read Maureen Dowd from "When Father Knows Worst" The New York Times, March 22, 2002:

A monsoon of sickening stories lately illustrates how twisted societies become when women are either never seen, dismissed as second-class citizens or occluded by testosterone; the church subsidizing pedophilia; the Afghan warlords’ resumption of pedophilia; the Taliban obliteration of women; the brotherhood of Al Qaeda and Mohamed Atta’s misogynistic funeral instructions; the implosion of the macho Enron Ponzi scheme; the repression of women, even American servicewomen, by our allies the Saudis.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Ye New Human's Movement

Under the title Ye Olde Women's Movement, Dan Pink writes today (on his terrific blog) about a very old book discovered in England called Woman's Worth (circa 1640) on women's superiority to men. Boy, I'll bet her husband shoved that to the back of the drawer ... or probably hid it in the barn.

Meanwhile, my trend-o-meter has been getting very strong readings for the past year or so that we're leaving feminism behind and entering a new HUMANIST movement.

The "powerful woman" is recalibrating the out-of-whack yin/yang balance everywhere. Women don't necessarily want to run everything — just most things and have the same privileges and fun boys have been enjoying for years and years. Most of us have realized we've been seriously sidelined from running the world and that's about to change. Take a look at the world, have men done such a bang-up job?

Are these new women -- let's call them neo-humanists -- the boring drab serious feminists of yesteryear? No way. They are vastly more dangerous because they're smart AND sexy. How many clues do you need?

In music, check out Destiny's Child, Independent Woman. Madonna's What It Feel Like To Be A Girl. In cartoons, you surely haven't missed The Powerpuff Girls. In movies, Charlie's Angels, Lara Croft — Tomb Raider and even Legally Blonde gives you a tip that they will use an arsenal of deadly force — peroxide, pedicure, Harvard Law degree.

For books, don't miss The Alphabet Versus The Goddess, it's a real mind-blower. Also, demographically speaking, you better read the introduction to The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northup. Honestly, can you imagine so many women going through "the change" in America all at once demanding at home, at work, and in the streets what they've been denied for so long. Oh, shit!

Heath Row's Kill Your TV Movement

I like stuff at this site. Check it out. Here's my kill-your-tv suggestion. My girlfriend in Maine has a bunch of kids and when her two boys were teenagers and seemed completely ZOMBIE-GLUED to the TV one summer, she came up with a great solution.

She offered to let them take the TV into the woods and shoot it with shotguns. It was an irresistible offer. No more TV at their house. I don't recommend this for city dwellers.

Also, per Heath's link about TV making teenagers more violent in Nature, I don't think teaching them to shoot the idiot box addresses this concern.

Isn't Your Boss Great?

Oh, yeah, right. I just wanted to give you a headline that might buy you some time in case you boss walked in, allowing you to quickly toggle to the faux spreadsheet you keep to disguise net reading splurges and a few seconds to look serious and busy. Do you realize you probably learned this technique from an older sibling or a kid in the neighborhood — an ancient tradition — of looking angelic while stealing something to eat from your Mom's kitchen. Your mom was probably cool, but of course, your boss is a jerk.

Fess Up!

I have a site tracker and I get the sneaking suspicion most people read blogs AT WORK, the Sat/Sunday traffic is always off compared to the week, no matter what I write. It seems like many people are reading blogs Monday - Friday from 9:00 - 5:00. Is it true? I don't work in a regular office that way, so I don't really know.

If it's true, it reminds me how boring and mind numbing jobs are. I knew that, but it's always nice to have it reconfirmed.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Earache in China

Oh no! Sounds like our blogmeister, David Weinberger and his son are about to experience Chinese medicine. In his latest blog for the BostonGlobe.com, David says his son Nathan's got sharp pains in his ear.

I hope it goes well for Nathan. I've never had worse pain myself than earache pain and I've never had a more harrowing parental experience than caring for a kid with an earache.

There's a big lag with his blog entries, so Nathan's probably well by now. I'm wondering if the lag is on David's part and I don't think it is. If I have my Handspring CityTime World Clock working correctly, they are 12 hours ahead which means David should almost be able to submit a Sunday morning blog on our Saturday night. Is the Globe stupidly slowing down the process by overediting?

Florida = The New California

Or at least The New York Times thinks so. I get the sneaking suspicion our fellow blogger and friend Tom Matrullo may have something to do with this.

Friday, April 19, 2002

I'll Stand By You.

[This was originally posted on 4.19.02. This is about my dad's death on April 9, 2002. It's for Dave, so glad he isn't facing this and his father is recovering. We'll all keep praying.]

Can I talk about this? It's a little grizzly, a little scary. Turn back now if you like. It's about what happened when my dad died last Tuesday morning (4.9.02).

Over the weekend, he had been very ill in the ICU with an infection — septis — which is a poisoning of the blood. It's rough. Very hard to come back from. Dire.

It makes your body shake and shiver. So my very tall, once very athletic, handsome dad, looked like a very skinny shivering rabbit, his frail paws clutching the sheets, tubes and needles and IV's and lines jammed into him everywhere. The nurses and the doctors were doing everything they could, but my dad looked more like their science experiment than a person. It was a heartbreaker.

We were there many hours, as time would melt and pool, sometimes flying by, sometimes leaden, always sad and surreal. By early Monday morning, we'd summoned all the siblings who lived out of town to make sure they could get there if they wanted to see him one last time. The doctors were still trying to keep him going, but he wasn't responding to 4 days worth of their efforts with antibiotics and everything else they could come up with. His blood pressure was something dreadful like 60/40, a number I'd never seen.

My dad, now 83, had never wanted to be on life support and we had it in writing from a time in his 70's when he was sharp as a tack. He had a "Do Not Resuscitate" order on his chart. Still, we thought we would have to tell the doctors to just give it up and let him go.

It was wrenching. It was like being forced to kill someone. My sister and I were prepared to tell the doctors Monday morning, but in fact, the doctors told us they thought there really was no hope and had we considered "comfort care" — which means letting him die naturally. They did us a favor by suggesting it and supporting our decision to do that. They let us off the hook. You can't make a decision like that without thinking, did I let him go or did I kill him?

By noon, all my family had decided together in a dingy little waiting room, decorated with someone else's lung xrays, that we should let him go. They remove all the tubes, IV's, catheters, everything. At last, he was free of all the apparatus. They gave him more than enough morphine to be very comfortable.

It was a little like inducing labor for a pregnant woman. You know what will happen, you just don't know WHEN. But as joyous as the birth of a baby can be, this waiting turned us all to stone, but we knew we had to stick by him.

We all stayed until late, but finally I was just too exhausted, so I went home around 6:00pm to take care of my son and husband. I felt like a rat doing it, but I knew I had to.

I actually slept that night — not well, but better than I expected to. I woke like a shot at 4:45am Tuesday morning. I got dressed, out the door and to the hospital by 5:45am. Per usual procedure, I had to call into the ICU to get permission to see him, but ask first if he'd made it through the night. The nurse said he'd made it through the night comfortably, whatever the hell that meant.

I went in. I was the only one there with him. He was breathing with difficulty, sucking each breathe, as if his last — which of course they were. I talked to him, held his hand, prayed. The nurse saw him stir and told me he knew I was there. At about 6:30am, his breathing slowed, and since I'd been with my mom when she died, I knew what was coming. I was just quiet with him. I told him mom really missed him, it was all right to go.

Do you wonder if there is a soul? I don't. You can feel it fly out of the room. I did with my mom. And I did with my dad. It's beyond religious. It's primal and basic. It's a lively vital force of nature that has gone out of the body it once animated. I knew when he went. I was happy for him.

The young nurse came in in a bit of a fluster. She seemed to require scientific proof. I said, "It's okay, I know he's gone." She rushed out and got a stethoscope to check his heart. I thought she was so stupid, anyone could see he was gone. It's as if we are hardwired to see death, know it and then turn away from it — tend to the babies and children with their great silly liveliness.

She nodded yes and said, "I'll get the doctor." I sat down in a chair like a lump. I was alone with him. Why me, Dad? Why was I the only one there? I suppose it was an honor, perhaps I could handle it best? I don't know. I sat quietly until the doctor came. He was kind. I was crying. He asked me to step out in the waiting room while they tended to my dad — "tended to the body", no, they didn't say that, thank goodness A nurse let me use the phone to call my husband who was getting my son ready for school and then, I called my sisters.

In the waiting room, there was a funeral on CNN, by satellite from London, the Queen Mother had died. It was great to hear them talk about how much fun she'd had, how she loved to dance — very similar to my Dad. It was a wonderful thing to watch. I watched it for an hour, glued to it, me and Christiane Amanpour, watching the lovely hearse. I was waiting for my other sisters and their husbands to come over to the hospital. They arrived and I was glad not be alone anymore.

What If It Happens On My Watch?

When my mom was very ill with lung cancer in 1997, my sister and I shared her care at home in her last weeks. I did the nights, my sister relieved me at dawn to do the day vigil. Sick and dying people are usually much more lively at night, I learned.

I had a therapist at the time, thank goodness, and I remember breaking down in tears one day, admitting I was so scared to have my mom die when I was "on duty." I asked him, "what if she dies when I'm there — what do I do?" The pressure of giving her shots of blood thinner to stop clots, keeping her lips damp with a swab, giving her morphine, singing to her, making her comfortable, just being with her, was getting to me and I just didn't know how I would handle it at the moment she died.

He was a good man. He said slowly, "there's actually not much to do at that point." It was so simple and so obvious. I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me, but of course, when it's over, it's really over.

Strangely, what I imagined was not at all what happened. My mother died at 7:30 in the evening — between the two shifts — with me and all three of my sisters, my brother, my dad, my two brother-in-laws, her granddaughter all around her bed, at home. Nine of us barely fit around the bed and we were all there to help her move on.

Get Off Your Lazy Butt

Here's my quick Halley's Comment Fit not Fat Regime. I think Dan Pink's concern with American obesity is right on. He's a good man -- he might just save your life!

1. Get off your lazy butt and move, at least once an hour. Sound easy? It's actually not. Notice that it's probably MORE that you are accustomed to moving.

2. Change your commute in some way or another so you have to WALK for at least 15 minutes each way every day. Park farther away, or don't drive, or just start rollerskating — do anything.

3. Watch out about eating in restaurants. You really have NO IDEA what's in the food. If every dish came with the same Nutrional Information you find on store bought boxed food, you'd be a little surprised when the Carbonara announced that it contains 283 grams of FAT!

4. If you must eat out, go Japanese. It's hard to find seriously fattening Japanese food.

5. Forget the gym, unless you're really very fit. If you're fat, it's only MORE depressing. Exercise at home.

6. Admit that you have to exercise in the early MORNING — while you're still asleep essentially — because once the day starts, it's tough to find the time.

7. Have an affair. All that sneaking around is good exercise, especially if you're worrying about getting caught, you'll be a nervous wreck — that will cut your appetite nicely. And honestly, nothing takes the weight off like spending a good part of the day prancing around naked. Of course, all that screwing helps too. Gets your mojo working big time.

8. Spend some time in a nursing home with all the stoke and heart disease patients — there are not too many THIN ones.

9. Expect to blow it and fail often. Just be sure to reduce the time between diet attempts to no more than 24 hours. If you go nuts at McDonald's on burgers and fries on Monday, it doesn't mean you need to be depressed for a week and start "being good" on Friday. Try, try again SOON.

10. Diet food sucks. Eat REAL food and lots of it, but eat most of it at breakfast, a little at lunch and next to nothing at dinner.

Will I Be Pretty, Will I Be Fat?

Remember the old song? Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be. The future's not ours to see, que sera, sera. When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, "What will I be?" "Will I be pretty, will I be rich?" Here's what she said to me.

Well, I don't need to ask my mom, I can ask Dan Pink at Just-1-Thing. He's been warning us repeatedly that we'll all be VERY FAT if we don't watch our fries and shakes. And if you used his nifty AGE-O-METER on his cool site on March 19, 2002, you'll also find out how old you'll be. I'll be 99 and ... yep, very fat!!! Ugh! Say it ain't so, Joe!

Well, whether you're 12, 22, 32, 42, 52 or 62, heck, even 72, there's a LOT you can do to stay slim and resist the long, slow slide into Fatsville. Come back soon, I'll be writing about it all day.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Rukeyser Resurrection

He's back on tomorrow night on CNBC -- same time, Friday's @ 8:30pm, NOT the same channel.

Okay, I'll come clean. I do (did) watch Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. I especially miss an old WSW regular, the ultimate nihilist and mega-pessimist, Marty Zweig, who hasn't been on much lately. But I like Rukeyser a lot and was sorry to watch the boneheaded moves by PBS to rid themselves of him. When they pulled a "Bob Villa" on him a few weeks ago and fired him, figuring he wasn't pulling the younger crowd numbers, they really blew it.

Here are just a few GREAT comments from JumpTheShark.com about their idiotic first show without Rukeyser. If you missed it, it was pretty poor.

-- Tonite (3/29/02) for sure. With Louis out of there and and a bunch of geriatric panelists (except for that lunatic Grant) that poor sob from Vanguard looked like I feel when visiting the relatives in the nursing home. No more PBS contributions from me.
-- Tonight (3/29/02) -- I agree with the last person. I just fired off an email to MPT and my local PBS station to tell them tonight's show was either a wake or a root canal. I couldn't quite decide. How they figure setting a bunch of geezers in front of the camera is going to nab the coveted 25-45 demographic more than Louis Rukeyser is beyond me

Break a leg, Lou. (But please, don't end up in a nursing home.)

Marek and Megnut

Both these sites are really excellent and something happened at both Megnut's and Marek's sites recently that makes them mega-easier to read. Tiny fonts and too broad margins have been exorcised! Thanks very much.

Don't miss Megnut's Blog Wizard today. It lets you answer key questions like:

4. I believe weblogs:
a) will transform journalism as we know it
b) are nothing but un-fact-checked crap spewed by people who spend too much time online

Chez Marek there is always something interesting going on, they serve up a great meal with good house wine and they're open all night.

Maybe, instead of talking cease-fire, Palestinians and Israelis could start talking about how much they love their children.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

No More Halley McBeal!

Darn! I guess she was just getting too damned skinny. Couldn't find any clothes for her to wear. Actually, there was a lot of good writing there ... let's watch where it migrates.

Here's the story from today's Variety:

'Ally' adjourned -- Kelley decides to end program

It's over for "Ally McBeal." Series creator/exec
producer David E. Kelley has decided to end production
on his hourlong Fox dramedy, wrapping the show's 5-year
run on Fox. Kelley informed the cast and crew late
Wednesday afternoon.


Finally, someone else, (other than me) is talking about how parts of the US -- maybe California -- could eventually consider secession. I've seen this trend coming for a long time, even BEFORE Enron so royally screwed them. If you look at Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Santa Barbara and San Diego, you'll see there's enough technology, entertainment and science brain power in these communities alone to make one very $unny $unshine $tate, I mean Country. They also do something better than anyone else -- something essential to innovation -- they actually cultivate true diversity.

Check this out from Fast Company. In a piece by Anni Layne Rodgers about futurist Juan Enriquez, How Genomics Changes Everything, she outlines his thoughts how intellectual capital really will create wealth in new regions and determine power in this world.

... Though a similar secession is unlikely within the United States [ed., he'd discussed Slovenia in the prior paragraph], Enriquez warns that 50% of the country's wealth is generated by about 2% of its territory. Those pockets of innovation create the most patents, scientific discoveries, and economic value. They also differ greatly from most other regions in the country -- in ideals, priorities, and hopes for the future.

"There are four genomic regions in the United States: the republic of Torrey Pines, in San Diego; the kingdom of Cambridge, in Boston; the farm of Rockville, in Maryland; and the let's-try-it-again mecca of Silicon Valley," Enriquez says. "Those four regions are the largest sources of new patents in the United States. And then there are places here that still put warning labels on high-school textbooks saying that evolution is merely a theory. There are whole ethnic groups that are not science literate.

So much for e pluribus unum. If you take Weinberger's prescient thoughts on the subject of linked communities, this gives one a whole new way to look at the "geography" of a new world order. Are we transcending space AND geography with new communities of thought?

Chinese love Small Pieces Loosely Joined *

I am noticing that David Weinberger's new book is actually best savored as the Chinese do -- backwards. In fact, this is why he is currently in China. (A brilliant marketing strategy on his part.) They have a fine appreciation for his book.

If you go into a bookstore and pick up the book off the shelf, like the Chinese, you'll want to read the BACK cover FIRST. David's posse -- including down dudes like Richard Saul Wurman, Lawrence Lessig, Tom Peter, Chris Meyer, Dan Pink and Don Norman -- have written serious raves for this guy.

Keep reading from back to front. Start with the LAST chapter. Chapter 8: Hope, is a humdinger. I love it.

Now read the LAST paragraph of every chapter from BACK to FRONT. For instance, read the end of Chapter 7: Matter here. It's wonderful:

Web relationships go deeper than mere clickable links. As with the worlds of fiction, nothing on the Web is independent of us and our meanings and our interests; for this reason, we can't make the mistake of thinking that what "really" counts is the stuff that's apart from us. On the Web, there is only passion, words, and the presence of others, in grand, shifting, ineffably messy relationships. Those connections bind us into something more than we are as individuals pieces of organized matter; they are what's most real on the Web. In this, the Web is like the world we live in … and is unlike the world as we think about it when seized by a fit of realism. Our default realism is a wildly, even insanely, inaccurate description of human life. The virtual world of the Web exposes more clearly the truth of our everyday lives. This is why the Web -- this disruptive technology, this oddball world -- feels so familiar and so welcome.

The Web: unreal and proud of it.

Keep going through this book and loving it more and more, just the way the Chinese do. After Chapter 1, you'll realize you love this book so much you might want to actually own it and read it from front to back. Besides, you've pretty much cracked its spine and your American Express card is sitting in your wallet feeling kind of itchy anyway.

Only stop when you come to the front inside flap. Hey, you found it! There's the price! You can buy this gem! Go up to the counter, buy the thing, take it home and then, enjoy reading the front cover!

[*with all due respect to the Chinese, especially to my husband, who's Chinese American.]

Monday, April 15, 2002

Thanks Dervala

Dervala Hanley blogged my stuff on my Dad's death today. Thanks so much, Dervala. My links aren't working, but if you read April 8, April 9 and April 10 below, you'll see some of the stuff I wrote.

My dad died nearly a week ago now. I can't believe it's been a week. I'm glad it's falling into the past. Neat trick. I am feeling a little better.

I'm printing out the pieces, Ten Top Reasons to Witness Your Dad's Death and When My Dad Wakes Up This Morning and sending them on PAPER to my sisters and brother. Never know how long these blog words will really last, do we?

Dervala's site is cool, don't miss it.

Patriot's Day in Lexington, April 15, 2002

Patriots Day in Lexington, April 15, 2002
by Halley Suitt

I saw a Minuteman,
Get in a minivan,
Down by Battle Green.
I saw a Redcoat,
Chatting on a cell phone,
Press one for land, two for sea.

The Regulars are coming!
The Regulars are coming!
To our town on a regular basis,
On a regular day in April
They bloom in colors bright
Poppies red,
Crocuses blue,
Snowdrops white,

They've come complete, with fife and drum
Just to remind us
That behind us, at Buckman's Tavern
They'd had enough of April Tax Time.
And from that day, as shots rang out,
Tea would pour free
And brave they could be
To make a new place for you and me.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Way Good Wehmeier

Mary Wehmeier has been kind enough to blog my Top Ten Reasons To Witness Your Dad's Demise which I wrote here on April 7 (see below). Seems like you can't get there from here easily -- i.e. I'm not sure my links are working correctly, but I'll check them.

Mary's site is full of fascinating, deep, smart stuff and I'm officially counterplugging .... or should I say counter "plogging" it. Add it to your daily list. It's way good.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Lawrence on Death

I have been thinking about D.H. Lawrence and a scene from Women In Love. I'll go look for it. I may be mixing it up in my mind with Sons and Lovers.

The only window was death. One could look out on to the great dark sky of death with elation, as one had looked out of the classroom window as a child, and seen perfect freedom in the outside. Now one was not a child, and one knew that the soul was a prisoner within this sordid vast edifice of life, and there was no escape, save in death.

Found it. It's Women In Love, Chapter 24. It's about the death of Gerald's father.

THOMAS CRICH died slowly, terribly slowly. It seemed impossible to everybody that the thread of life could be drawn out so thin, and yet not break. The sick man lay unutterably weak and spent, kept alive by morphia and by drinks, which he sipped slowly. He was only half conscious -- a thin strand of consciousness linking the darkness of death with the light of day. Yet his will was unbroken, he was integral, complete. Only he must have perfect stillness about him.

No one writes better about grief and sex than Lawrence. After his father dies, Gerard is so disraught, he walks through muddy fields and graveyards in the middle of the night to find Gudrun, his new love. He walks, as if in a trance, right into her parents' house, right up the stairs, right into her bedroom for the first time. Shocking for post WW1 English literature. Death, the mud, the misery of it all leading to a passionate coupling -- well, just read it. Lawrence was amazing.

'But why did you come to me?' she persisted.

`Because -- it has to be so. If there weren't you in the world, then I shouldn't be in the world, either.'

She stood looking at him, with large, wide, wondering, stricken eyes. His eyes were looking steadily into hers all the time, and he seemed fixed in an odd supernatural steadfastness. She sighed. She was lost now. She had no choice.

`Won't you take off your boots,' she said. `They must be wet.'

He dropped his cap on a chair, unbuttoned his overcoat, lifting up his chin to unfasten the throat buttons. His short, keen hair was ruffled. He was so beautifully blond, like wheat. He pulled off his overcoat.

Quickly he pulled off his jacket, pulled loose his black tie, and was unfastening his studs, which were headed each with a pearl. She listened, watching, hoping no one would hear the starched linen crackle. It seemed to snap like pistol shots.

He had come for vindication. She let him hold her in his arms, clasp her close against him. He found in her an infinite relief. Into her he poured all his pent-up darkness and corrosive death, and he was whole again. It was wonderful, marvellous, it was a miracle. This was the everrecurrent miracle of his life, at the knowledge of which he was lost in an ecstasy of relief and wonder. And she, subject, received him as a vessel filled with his bitter potion of death. She had no power at this crisis to resist. The terrible frictional violence of death filled her, and she received it in an ecstasy of subjection, in throes of acute, violent sensation.

Golby on Me

Mike Golby writes so wonderfully well and I am officially going public — I confess that I sneak over to his site on a near-daily basis to slurp up his great stuff and I'm a lazy shit not to have listed him on my blogroll until now. He's mixed me up with Jennifer Balderama, which is interesting, because it was actually Jen's writing that gave me "permission" so to speak, to write about my Dad's illness. Without her courage (and numerous kicks-in-the-butt by David Weinberger), I would never have done it. I know this will be the most shocking confession you'll read here, but I'm actually a rather shy introspective person. Go figure. So, don't worry about it Mike, even I mix myself up with Jen sometimes.

Gillmor on Microsoft

Really appreciate Dan Gillmor's stuff this week from Washington on the Microsoft anti-trust trial. The word "anti-trust" as a term takes on new meaning when he writes:

Someday, unless Microsoft changes its ways -- there's still time -- it will be brought down from a combination of its own arrogance, law enforcement and pure market forces. Then it will learn, too late, that it has no friends. Temporary allies, yes. But no friends. And that will be Microsoft's own fault.

No friends. And no one trusts them. Anyone who gets in bed with Microsoft should expect to catch a lethal sexually transmitted disease and not survive their evening of pleasure. Intuit is the lucky prom queen who staggered out with a dress in tatters, but with her life.

Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in this new FREE-FALL environment where highly respected, long-established, extremely powerful institutions are suddenly imploding at record speed and dropping like flies — think Roman Catholic Church, Enron, Anderson.

It's a slippery slope when no one trusts you and your reputation is one of economic domestic violence. If someone (Apple, Linux, Palm/Handspring) can wake us from our WINDOWS WORKS hallucination and slip something into our hands that actually DOES WORK, something reliable, robust, simple, and elegant, maybe we can change the game.

Dave Winer is especially great on this subject and the death of Hailstorm here.

Friday, April 12, 2002

And Why I Love Men

I wrote the meanest, silliest thing below about men. I'm so sorry. Please ignore. Of course, I'm just terribly sad, mad, glad about my dad. I've always wondered why all those "emotion words" rhyme in English. Also they have that "ahhhh" sound, like stick out your tongue and say "ahhh".

Anyway, here's why I love men. They are brave. They are constantly called upon to be brave. It doesn't seem fair. They are expected to do things like kill bugs on the wall of summer cottages. They are expected to have flares in the trunks of their cars. They are expected to be strong and hold other people when they cry. They are expected to do such hard things. They are expected to get jobs and make money. Women want them to be more emotional, or SO WE SAY, but hate it when they are overly emotional. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Especially these days.

Been thinking a lot about all the kind things my dad did for me -- moving me in and out of dorms, apartments, jobs. Helping me buy cars. So many things and he was just a man, that's all.

I love the way they get up in the morning and shave -- how unpleasant that must be. I love the way they sweat and how it smells. I love the way they look in a tie, a nice leash you can grab and bring them up close fast when you get the urge to kiss them. I like the way you'll see a guy on the street and his tie catches the wind and flaps in his face with a little slap. I like their big hands and big feet, makes you feel safe.

I like their crazy projects -- they do a lot of projects these men. I like the way they read the paper. I love the ones who still carry cloth hankerchiefs. I like sitting next to one in a meeting, peeking at the hair on the back of his hand, then on his wrist, then on his forearm, his sleeve rolled up and then trying to imagine how hairy he is under all those clothes. I love the bald ones too, especially them, they are fearless. I love the way men get up in front of a room and make some super boring Powerpoint slides actually slightly interesting. I like the way their hair sticks straight up sometimes. I like the way they get all moony and sloppy over watching Little League on a summer evening. I like the way they drive off with the family early on a holiday weekend in a stationwagon for some silly historic trip to Sturbridge Village. I like the way they let their kids hang all over them like they are a climbing structure in the playground. I like the way they worry about their families. I like the way cherish their old ratty tee-shirts. I love men.

Broken Cup

I have to face it. I am really just so sad today. I've been racing about trying to ignore it, but SORRY, CHARLIE, it doesn't work that way.

My heart is shattered. A broken cup on the floor. I have to fix it before anyone finds out how broken it is. I am squatting on the floor like a little girl in a little blue dress with patent leather Mary Jane shoes on, white anklets, and I have a messy pot of glue, and I am trying to glue together a million shattered pieces of this broken cup and then the tears well up flooding me and I have to admit I can't fix this cup. Cup, what happened to you? Dad, where did you go?

Community Chest or Chance?

Been reading Clay Shirky on community and reading others, like Tom Matrullo's, thoughtful responses to his interesting essay. I can't help thinking about a technology conference I attended in 1998 where a room of about 100 internet luminaries (all men) and five of us women (all women) were discussing ecommerce and shopping. After about 25 boring and infuriating minutes of the conversation where the men went on and on about shopping, and consistently ignored or belittled anything the women had to say on the subject, three of us women sought refuge in the ladies room.

None of us knew one another, but there was instant community. Behind closed doors, we exchanged glances, no words. I rolled my eyes into the back of my head, to say THESE MEN SURE KNOW A LOT ABOUT SHOPPING -- READ: ZERO. None of us spoke, but there was instant communication. We all started to laugh, the laugh said NOTICE THEY DIDN'T HONOR OR RESPECT ONE WOMAN'S OPINION ON SHOPPING, DURING THE WHOLE DISCUSSION. We shook our heads, saying wordlessly WHY BOTHER?! Lipstick applied, we returned to the "conversation."

I've rarely seen any man participate equally in a community. I've seen men jockey for position to lead a community. I've seen men get off on creating an audience and coercing that audience into "sharing" and lauding to his brilliant opinion. I've seen men use a community to compete for the attention and resources of its members to improve his status. I've seen many men use ad hominem arguments to undermine and destroy their fellow "community" members. If a community is defined by the notion that putting the needs of all its members first and individuals second is fundamental, the premise that men know anything at all about communities is questionable.

Surely you've witnessed the way women, often complete strangers, gather at a party in the kitchen or in the backyard and make instant alliances bridging age, class, political leanings. That's community. The only man I've ever heard speak or write on this subject with any insight is John Perry Barlow -- graced with three daughters, an ex-wife and a few zillion girlfriends -- he has a solid understanding of the community of women and considers us lethally subversive. I take it back, two other men write about this iceberg subject in an insightful way ... Michael Moore and Tom Peters.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Errands, Details, Phonecalls, Shoes

Endless list of stuff to do before the funeral tomorrow. I bought new black shoes, dropped off my son's pants at the tailor to be hemmed, returned a zillion kind phone calls, went by the church to check on when the flower arrangements could be delivered, haircuts for me and my son, made sure my husband's suit is ready. All a blur to keep you from the matter at hand. When we slow down by Saturday, we'll be sad. Had the oddest thought today, since this is my dad's funeral somehow my mom should be here. He was there for her funeral, only seemed fair. Your mind gets a little off kilter in these post-death days..

At the cleaners, I asked the tailor, an older Italian lady, if we could get my 6-year old's pants hemmed and cleaned by tomorrow, she said no. Then I said calmly, "well, it's for a funeral and I need them by tomorrow, so if you can't do it, it's okay, I'll just check on another tailor." I tried to take the pants back from her and she snatches them away from me. "Funeral?! We do it." She would not let go of them.

I said, "thank you, great, see you tomorrow." and left. In the car, I suddenly realized that she thought I was BURYING a six-year-old boy in those pants. I shuddered and called them back to explain it was my dad who had died and these were his grandson's pants. She was relieved. I couldn't imagine her spending her day sewing the pants of a boy who had died — how's that for sad.

BTW, we're not burying anyone, we're cremating my dad. I came across this amazing poem today while reading something completely unrelated.


It nearly cancels my fear of death,
my dearest said,
When I think of cremation. To rot in
the earth
Is a loathsome end, but to roar up in
flame — besides I am used to it.
I have flamed with love or fury so
often in my life
No wonder my body is tired, no
wonder it is dying.
We had great joy of my body.
Scatter the ashes.

— Robinson Jeffers

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

When My Dad Wakes Up Today

When my dad wakes up today, the first thing he will notice is that he is dead. But he'll take that in his stride, because my mom will be cooking bacon downstairs and getting the coffee ready and these divine smells will keep him from worrying too much about it. He will dance a jig as he jumps out of bed, to realize he's got his young healthy body back. He'll pant with excitement to find a Life Magazine on his nightstand. It will be 1948 and he will be 30 and he'll be in Youngstown, Ohio long before they had a zip code of 44444.

He'll dance a "ain't I cute" happy dance in the mirror to look at his strong, lanky, 6'4" body all dressed up in a perfectly well-worn pair of red plaid flannel pj's, size XL, his boyish dark brown hair thick and devilish. He'll marvel at his graceful dancing feet, like a baby in a crib discovering his own new toes, ready to do their entrancing steps. He'll fly downstairs to grab my mom for an impromptu kitchen Lindy, cranking the post-war Big Band music on the kitchen radio and arching her backwards into a ballroom swoon, safe in his steady, strong arms.

She will say with a sexy sneer, "What the hell's gotten into you?" And if the frying pan weren't full of hot, greasy bacon, crisping up perfectly -- even she can't burn the bacon in heaven -- she would take the pan and give him a whack on the butt with it, but instead a swipe with the spatula will have to do. He will yank her by the apron strings reeling her towards him, into a big hug and kiss. She'll finally just give in and let him mess up her pretty make-up. But then back to business, she'll push him away. "Get out of here," she'll warn with a phony sternness. "Go get the kids."

He'll stop dead in his tracks to realize he even HAS kids. She'll point out the kitchen window to the yard -- a green heaven of wavy, windy, grass and flowers, daffodils blooming, bending down to bow to him, on a perfect spring morning. Jean and Bill will be 10 and 8 and mucking about in a mud puddle with sticks and leaves, fascinated with the tiny boat they've built. My dad will choke up to see this, but my mom will have none of this early morning lollygagging, pushing him out the door.

The screen door will slam with a happy familiar whack, and my dad won't miss that often ignored sound of home. Look at him grin. He will relish it, but not for long, because he'll nearly fall over his old retriever dog, who will shoot from stage left to see if he can upend this happy man. The dog's got the paper in his mouth, and every damned story is good news, one better than the next, but he'll have no time to marvel at it. He'll run to his kids and scoop them up, squeeze them so hard they'll whine, "Dad!" They'll roll on the grass in a mock wrestling match, the two of them unable to keep a good man down.

When he drags them in the house, my mom will see two kids covered in mud, and her husband up to the usual malarkey. "March," she'll order, pointing towards the bathroom. Dad will supervise the soap and make the thing bubble, splash and spill all over the bathroom, making a bigger mess than either kid could muster, much to their delight. They'll be in giggles and my mom will hear them playing. She'll serve up the fried eggs, over-easy, just right and the perfectly crispy bacon, the A&P coffee will be dark and rich, she's pouring it now. She'll take her apron off slowly, hang it on the hook, sit at the table primly, a shapely wise and wonderful brunette, suppressing a grin as she hears them horsing around. And with a yell, she'll begin a new day, "Get in here you ruffians!"

They'll come flying in a pandemonium of boyish, girlish crewcut and braids, grins from ear to ear, trying not to laugh. But where's my dad? Obviously planning an entrance, the kids can barely control their giggles. My dad will turn the corner now, all eyes on him suddenly. He's still his pj's but now sports a porkpie hat, and has a beard of bubbles, "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!" he sings out. The kids run to swipe the bubbles off his chin.

"Cut that out. Get over here and eat your breakfast," Mom gives Dad her best scowl, makes her "no-foolishness" face. They sit down to breakfast, she passes my dad the biscuits. He deftly applies butter and honey. "Katie, my girl," he says, with a smile that can never stop, "I've died and gone to heaven."

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

There's Been a Death in the Opposite House

My dad, Bill Suitt, passed away today about 6:55am. I was lucky to be there and he went very peacefully. This has always been one of my favorite poems by Dickinson. Feel free to blog me a poem like the great one Steve Himmer left for me at OnePotMeal.com . Thanks to all for the kind words.

There's Been a Death in the Opposite House
by Emily Dickinson

There's been a death in the opposite house
As lately as today.
I know it by the numb look
Such houses have alway.

The neighbours rustle in and out,
The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out, -
The children hurry by;
They wonder if It died on that, -
I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in
As if the house were his,
And he owned all the mourners now,
And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, -
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.

Monday, April 08, 2002

And So We Pray

"Grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy."

--The Book of Common Prayer

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Top Ten Reasons To Witness Your Dad's Demise

[My dad has been gravely ill for four months. My family and I have been through a roller coaster of ups and downs, as his health has improved, only to crash again and again. I've spent a lot of time in nursing homes, hospitals, ambulances. I can't help but think God's got some reason for showing me these dark and sometimes bright moments. I like God. He's a good guy, really. So, here's my attempt to see the good in these bad times.]

1. It lets you say a long, slow "I love you" and "good-bye."

2. It reminds you that it really is "ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

3. It lets you see tons of sick people and that makes you hit the gym big time.

4. It gives you a kick in the pants to make a will and especially a "living will".

5. It gives you a grip on what the hell matters and what doesn't.

6. If you're an entrepreneur/se, you realize the aging population and it's not-yet-invented but desperately needed products will be a goldmine of opportunity.

7. You get to see your own genetic "wheel of fortune" played out.

8. Sure helps you think of your retirement savings in a brand new way.

9. Makes you brush and floss your teeth and pray you'll have some at 80.

10. Opens your heart to all the dreadful shit everyone else in the world is going through.

Take A Little Time Today

Don't get crazy about losing an hour today. Take some time to do nothing. Drink some coffee. Sit around. Read the paper.

I travelled a lot in 1998 - 2000 and I always tried to stop and take some time in the airport to drink something at Starbucks and buy a City Mug. I have mugs from a lot of cities. But check these out — they're making GIANT CITY MUGS now. Love this giant San Francisco mug.

Once when my marriage was not going so well, I joked to my sister that if we ever got divorced, I'd take my son and my city mugs. I'd leave the rest.

Clock of the Longer Now

We change the clocks today and how have so many clocks sprouted in my house without my noticing!? There's the microwave clock which I changed in such grogginess, I think I set the cooking timer for 5 hours or so. There's my Dunesbury clock on top of my computer monitor, it has sea green rubber square edges, a gift from a dear friend when we went to Starbucks in Santa Monica shopping once. There's my Casio wrist watch — an analogue/digital combo — the clock face set to EST Boston and the digital set to London time. My Sprint cell phone took care of its own clock, still amazes me how that works. And, of course, there's the software clock, Bill Gates not letting any of us forget the daylight savings time switch. Off to calibrate my clepsydra!

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Back In The USSA

Rumor has it David Weinberger is back in the U-S-S-A! Send up a smoke signal man. Boy, he must have a serious suitcase full of jetlag.

David, you didn't take a boat I hope!

Make Believe

A fellow blogger is in town visiting from San Francisco and I was trying to do a blogger's meal tomorrow Sunday, pulling together some local Boston bloggers and our honorable guest, but everything is coming crashing down around me as my dad seems more and more desperately ill and I can't be far from the hospital.

His illness has been such a roller coaster for months, you feel as if you should resist falling for the idea that it's really serious this time. It's too painful to get repeatedly trashed by it, as he takes a terrible turn for the worse and then, suddenly he's well again. Fooled you!!! We try to go on with our lives and make believe everything's okay. Sometimes it's a healthy distraction to live, to work, to visit with friends, but at other times it seems a shameful act of selfishness.

Tonight my minister, Judy Brain came over to the ICU and was so kind. I really appreciated her simple words of prayer and her loving care of my dad and the rest of my family and me. She always knows the right thing to say.

We've had nights where we really wondered if he would make it through, and this one looks grim. And so, we pray.

Friday, April 05, 2002


It means "Do Not Resuscitate". They have it on my dad's hospital chart — in big letters. It was something he requested years ago, long before he was so ill. They ambulanced him fast yesterday out of the nursing home, with a serious infection, high fever and 70/40 blood pressure into the hospital's intensive care unit.

My sisters and I noticed the waiting area on the ICU floor is not very welcoming. People don't stay there for long, we figure. The other waiting rooms we'd been in over the past few months were bigger, more comfortable, decorated for extended stays, adorned with thicker magazines, a box of toys for toddlers in the corner of the room.

His heart went into arrhythmia, they gave him a drug to stablize him, almost needed to try the paddles. His head looked dead, with no blood pressure to bring oxygen up there, he had the pallor of the pages of a brand new coloring book.

We stand by his bedside, but you can't connect with him — he's got an oxygen mask on, other tubes going here and there. DNR means no ventilator to breathe if he might need that. It means let him go.

Outside the ICU in the un-waiting room, I pray and I ask God if it's allright to want him to find a way OUT of here. Surely, it's time. He is wasting away and at 83 is so tired. Is it a bad thing to pray for — someone's death?

I think of all the people who have sat in this chair, in this place and all the prayers spilled all over the waiting area, I'm knee deep in them. A ticker tape parade of prayers — most begging their loved ones will recover. I can pick them up and read them, love letters all — mothers praying for young children to bring them back to life, back to their arms to cradle, lovers praying for their fiances to come back to them, to make it through surgery so they can marry and grow old, siblings praying for younger siblings to make it through a frightening illness. And I pray too. God, take my dad gently, show him the way.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Heather Snow's Passover

I love what Heather wrote here about Passover and religion and family. Don't miss it.

Also nice, Heather's descriptions of getting up at dawn to row on the Charles River.

Why I Love AKMA

This is too obvious and easy to tell — because he has the courage, creativity, wisdom and spunk to talk about the BIG SUBJECTS in fascinating, compelling ways and leave no stone unturned. Another thing, he doesn't seem to put his religion in your face. No small feat for a priest. I also love his blog titles which are usually links to cool song lyrics.

And of course, one more reason to love him, he's written a terrific review of David Weinberger's new book Small Pieces, Loosely Joined. Love ya, man.

Why I Love Tom Matrullo Too

Because he's a funny, generous, hilarious, eloquent writer and I have absolutely no idea if he's actually a real person, but what the hell, who cares?! AKMA started this and he has much to say on the subject.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

New Job

I do lots of things. I help people write and edit books on technology/marketing/net phenomena. I do my own writing -- fiction and non-fiction. I write business plans. I also have a real estate license. I got it on a whim last year, since it meant going to a crash course on real estate law for two days and taking a licensing exam on a computer touch screen -- sounded like fun. So I just started working in Central Square in Cambridge doing apartment rentals. If you've ever tried to find an apartment in Boston, you know it's a bear. But fear not, just call me, have I gotta deal for you!

The best part is all the walking around Harvard Square learning the names of the streets -- a poet's dream -- Trowbridge, Ellery, Dana, Lamont, Hovey. A spring day, fresh after rain, with a hundred cobbled streets to walk. I love it.

And then there's carrying all the keys around like a warden, opening up apartments and looking in on a hundred lives, or a hundred futons when it comes to Cambridge -- a fiction writer's dream -- each door opens like a new hardcover book, full of the most unlikely characters.

Needless to say, I am the soul of discretion and if you need a place to live, drop an email.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Blogger Gets Raves From Fans

"In this age of obnoxious banner advertisements and company links, I never thought I
would display a link button so proudly. I hold my Blooger button up high on my daily blog
page for all to see and experience for themselves. My life has been forever changed."
-Brett Wilms

"Who knew? Blogger gives me the ability to say however much or little I want without
much hassle. I'd be lost without it!" -Desiree

"Me, myself and Gangrene would like to sing a song. For Bloggers a jolly good fella, for
Bloggers a jolly good fella. Thank you Blogger, you rock my world." -vergeN

"Blogger lets me update readily, without letting me break the hell out of a carefully laid
out design - with a minimal learning curve. Excellent." -Josh

"I've been thinking about putting a journal on my website, but it seemed so tedious to do
it the regular way. With you people, though, I can just write what I'm thinking and ftp
without a care in the world! Thank you!" -Laura

"Blogger gives me a chance to vent and voice. I am very opinionated and loud. Blogger is
patient." -Jess

"the insides of my brain look so much prettier when i blog them. thanks for helping me
fool the masses." -kellygirl

"blogger really IS the weblogging craze ... most of the folks out there didn't know
anything about weblogging before blogger came along. It's so fabulous - whenever I think
of a new project to publish online, it's always in a blogger form." -meade

"Blogs are teh only way I'd ever keep my site up to date. I couldn't imagine a more
complete solution - the folx @ Pyra are wicked awesome!" -Jako

"I changed my site within an hour to use it as publishing tool for updates. It's extremly
effective. I also appreciate the quality of the implementation and the great
Userinterface" -luigi

"Why didn't somebody think of this sooner? Then maybe my updates would have been
less traumatic to churn out! This is good stuff." -Jay

"If it wasn't for Blogger, I'd be in Archive Hell. Blogger, you're Da Bomb. :P" -Jayde

"Blogger is like the friend that always listens. Whenever you have something to say,
Blogger will always be there for you." -Percy

"Blogger lets me do what I love, and that's write, without all the hassle and BS.
Definately something I could've used a couple of years ago. I love Blogger!" -Leila

"How I ever even tried to blog without Blogger is now beyond me. I wish I'd realized how
easy it is to use earlier." -Mollie

"what a great tool! so convenient and useful without being a crutch, which would be
anathema to a hardcore notepad girl such as myself. way to go!" -t r a c y

"My whole site is build with blogger,all subpages and stuff.it's so cool,thank you blogger."

"i would've had a personal website years ago if this had been pointed out to me sooner.
perhaps this isn't a bad thing..." -katya sloane

"i feel liberated by blogger" -bitek processor

"Instant wit, instant fun and instant updates. Oh Blogger, do it to me." -Dee

"Blogger is a wonder drug that I can't stop taking no matter how many clinics I goto. God
bless your heart Blogger!" -Lesley

"Thank you Blogger. You've saved me from "hiatus syndrome". The ability to update
frequently, quickly and easily is blogger heaven!" -Carlos

"Before Blogger made it's internet debut the Internet started losing personality and
interaction. Journals, poetry, and writing were getting too boring. Blogger has brought
back the fun and excitement!" -Lindsay

"blogger is a very useful, online tool. blogger let's me post my thoughts without having to
make a link, make some room on my page, and then upload. Type, post & poublish, and
it's in my archive, and on my splash page, withing a minuntes." -jon

"I've always believed that if people really knew me, they would acknowledge my natural
ability to rule the world. Now that Blogger has made it easier to share my thoughts, I've
been crowned Queen of Lithuania! Thanks Blogger!" -frykitty

"Thanks to blogger.com, I've been lucky enough to find some very special and talented
people whom I never would have known otherwise. Thankyou blogger!" -ravelle

"Blogger is my life. I am in love with it. My best friend told me that my blog has become
my boyfriend. My blog has replaced all needs for love, affection and errrr (other things)
:) hee hee. She thinks I'm "dating [my] blog" ;)" -Angie

"Blogger is just great! I am going out of the country for two months and at the moment I
am living away from my regular home. Blogger allows me to stay in touch with all those
people I would normally stay in touch with otherwise. It has changed the way I write on
the web!" -Darren

"oh, blogger. i could not sleep last night. it seems my dreams are powered by you. my
days and nights are filled with thoughts of you. i thank you pyra." -rony

"Blogger is a drug. If I don't get a fix, I get itchy." -David V. Gagne

"Blogger is fantastic - it allows anyone to turn their thoughts into the literary equivalent
of a 24-7 webcam without spending most of that thought coding..." -johanna

"Blogger: don't leave home without it. Or else take a text-editor, FTP-client, details of
your FTP-directory and a copy of 'Uploading Your Webpages for Dummies'. Trust me,
Blogger's easier." -Rory Ewins, Seven Weeks to Madagascar

"Blogger is sweeet, you can update from anywhere on the world without any problems!
And it's more than an update script, we are a big family =) !" -Alex Kaiser

"This is the bestest, most user friendliest, and easiest updater ever! I can finally update
everyday from anywhere." -Ran

"I've only had it a week, but I'm loving the heel out of it! Just 3 clicks and I'm updating
rather than the usual drama." -Victoria, thirteen.net

"Blogger has given me insights into my friends that I never saw before. It's great!" -Kat,
digital ramblings

"Blogger is the ultimate way to enter the most private diary and/or stand on the most
public soapbox. Totally liberating!" -Diane

"better than any webring, blogger lets us discover each other in ways no other site ever
could. long live blogging!" -bwg, the bwg update

"It's as if someone opened up the barn door on the Augean Stables of my brain and
diverted a nearby river into them! Thanks, Blogger!" -Ezrael (Matt Rossi)

"Never before have I felt so compelled to share my private life with strangers on the 'Net!
Thank you Blogger!" -Erich S. Arendall

"Addicting. Blogger is the goods." -Sa, girlsareweird.com

"Blogging is fun but I'm afraid I'm gonna end up with seven blogs that I'm obsessed with
updating and six hundred blogs that I have to read daily. No big deal, could be worse. I
could have a constant pinching sensation in my nether regions. But I don't!" -Biz Stone

"It is absolutely amazing how much I update since I discovered Blogger. It's made
keeping a website current easier than I ever though possible." -Rachel Rogers

"Blogger's the first on line application I feel passionate about. In a non-sexual way.
Honest." -Caroline, prolific.org

"Thank you for bringing what the web *was* all about back to the average web user.
You have made the web interesting again, an exchange of ideas. salut!" -Paul Watson

"i'll never have to write those hello-kitty perl update scritps again!" -Aryn Ryni,

"Blogger actually holds sway over the moments of my everyday life." -Justin B Hanknis

"If weblogs are the crack-cocaine of the world wide web, then Blogger is a pipe made
from the most finely blown glass." -Alan, gliff.org

"Blogger eases information exchange, brings people together, and gives a voice to
anyone who wants to speak. this is what the internet was supposed to be about." -ryan

"Thank you, Blogger, for making it possible for everyone to have a voice, not just the
people chained to their computers." -Karen

"It truly is a great tool, Blogger. and you rock for supplying it. I'm amazed you do it for
free." -Keith Brown, keithbrown.com

"Since Blogger, I keep forgetting that I can only "right click- 'blog this!' on the computer!"
-mark olynciw, riothero.com

"blogger elimates the sheer thrill of laziness by allowing even the lazy to update. how
frustrating!" -sarah

"you know something is a killer app when you feel lost without it. blogger is that app."
-brig, eatonweb

"Why couldn't Blogger have existed years ago? Think of all the time I could have
saved!....Blogger makes my life so much easier. And my updates so much more frequent."

"Blogger is the simplest to use and best executed example of 'browserware' that I have
ever seen." -David Galbraith, Moreover.com

"Superlative achievement! Compared with 99% of the software that you pay for, this free
tool is more useful, better designed, and more robust." -Arnold Kling, Internet Bubble

"My scripting nipples get hard just thinking about blogger!" -Kysa

"With Blogger, there really is no excuse not to have regular updations. Dammit!" -Jen
Honner, trashed.org

"Needless to say, I am impressed. Insanely simple and powerful." -Lekhani

"I am a very lazy man. Blogger allows me to stay that way by packing power with ease.
Thanks Blogger!" -SledgeHBK

"I think you guys saved me about a week worth of scripting and two handfulls of hair."
-Michael Wilson, turbo

"How could i get the time to pack all the bits of stuff i want to share w/ other infojunkies
without Blogger ??! Only highlight, click this, click that, and it's done !" -Benjamin

"Blogger. It's incredibly easy to use, but at the same time packed with power. I often
post from 4 or 5 different computers, at all hours of the day." -Scott Bauer, Liblog

"For those of you who don't know what blogger is, go check it out now. It's wonderful."
-Jordan Running, Digital Swirlee

"Blogger is wacked out on drugs and speed. Whoa baby - watch that new, intricate and
clever interface do its thing. Woof." -Barbelith

"After reading weblogs for two years, Blogger gave me the tools I needed to maintain one
of my own. No matter where in the world I am, when I need to post an entry, Blogger's
there for me." -Eric Wagoner, Kestrel's Nest

"wow. i really dig the look of blogger 2.0. the layout is fresh, the features are full and,
dammit, it's a lot easier to use! take the time to check it out! hell, use it to start your
own `blog." -phishtail

"i love blogger. i access this website more often than i talk to my mom (and i live in the
same house with her)." -erica (icey)

"Using Blogger made me realize that maintaining a weblog doesn't have to be tedious."
-Nikolai Nolan

"...my very own dad, just days away from his 60th birthday, has jumped into the wacky
world of blog writing, and the sole reason it's possible....is due to Blogger..." -Anil Dash

"I simply could not do my weblog without Blogger. It does the hard stuff for me and lets
me concentrate on what I want to say." -Dan Hartung, Lake Effect

"In short, if you want to maintain a running list of posts like a weblog, then Blogger is a
great way to go." -Epinion by threefour, The Easy Way to Maintain a

"...if you'd like to run your own regularly-updated page of musing and memage, BLOGGER
is just the online app for you." -NTKnow

"Can i just say that blogger is the coolest web app i've ever had the chance to use?
Very, very slick." -Lane Becker, monstro.com

"This is huge! Pyra's created an application called Blogger that lets you edit a Weblog on
their server, but save and show it from yours. Good going guys!" -Bill Humphries, More
Like This

"I'm very impressed. I've been planning to set up my own server using Frontier, but I
think Blogger might do everything I want." -Michael Zajac

"...I love it. It's exactly what I need: a web-based web publisher, keyed specifically
toward weblogs." -Dan Hartung, Lake Effect

"I think Blogger is the only way my site would be seeing any updates for the next couple
months!" -Dinah Sanders (aka, MetaGrrrl)Be assured I won't put goofy blog entries here today. I'm just not that clever. Also I hate April Fool's Day.