Sunday, June 30, 2002

Divorce Pasta

A friend who is getting divorced, writes me a quick email:

Just cooking some pasta, wandering from kitchen then back to my office to read your blog, back to kitchen to check on the shells. Not cooked yet..

Back to Blogsville -- some great stuff ... and then back to the pasta -- shells, cherry tomatoes, broccolli, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper -- it's a special recipe I'll call "divorce pasta" as I notice everything is cooked, EXCEPT I didn't have the wherewithal to cook the broccolli which is VERY al dente, i.e. raw and hard as a rock.

What the hell, better than forgetting to cook the noodles. My life is total shit with my soon-to-be-ex doing everything to beg me to stay. Too little, too late. I point this out. Presto chango, he's doing everything to make me leave. I'm staying put. He's the guy leaving.

The days are like a bad school play -- everyone forgetting their lines, no one hitting their marks. Things just drop out, things like cooking the broccoli. It's all about going out of the house with one earring on or going to the store without your wallet or pulling over on the side of the road to cry for a few minutes and then ... you muddle through the rest of the day.

You find yourself arriving at nighttime, not at all sure how you got there, but suspect the puffy eyes in your mirror and a few empty cans of Diet Coke around the house may have something to do with it. You notice with shock and surprise you've made it through another painful day. Many kind friends from all over -- blogfriends, workfriends, friendfriends are flapping their angel wings around me and caring for me, helping me and cheering me, so I can't complain. Oh, but please let me!

Go for it, whine, complain, bitch, moan, keen. Girlfriend, not to worry, this too shall pass. I kinda like the recipe anyway.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Locke Link

In my interview over at Frank Paynter's site, I mentioned something Chris Locke had said on NPR's Marketplace show and put an audio link into the text. I hate audio links, especially if the stuff is interesting and I want to save the actual words. So then I thought, hmm, I should put some of the actual text into the interview, but then I couldn't decide which part, because the whole thing was pretty damned interesting. So, without further ado, here's the whole thing.

[BTW, Jeneane did the hard work of transcibing it. Take a bow, girlfriend. Thanks for the words, Chris.]

Chris Locke, Marketplace Morning Report Transcript: Weblogs 

I think one of the hottest things going on today on the net is weblogging – or blogging to its fans. And basically, it’s very simple tools that let you write whatever occurs to you on a daily basis. It’s sort of like a journal; entries are date stamped and in chronological order, but aside from that, it’s just tools that you don’t have to know all the technical ins and outs to get your stuff online. 

Sounds like a diary. Why would anyone want to put something that personal online? 

That’s been a question for a lot of people. Especially people from traditional media, saying it’s trivial nonsense, it’s garbage. But garbage to one person is of high value to another, and the way the Internet works is that people group together around things that interest them. So the audience isn’t the mass audience, it’s little tiny micro audiences that aggregate around things people are saying that resonate with their own concerns. There has been an enormous amount of stuff written and said about the phenomenon of weblogging, which two years ago didn’t exist, and today there are something on the order of two million of these things in existence. It’s been a hockey stick spike. 

And the most important and interesting thing about it is that people are talking about things that are deeply intimate and personal. 


Well, that’s a good question. People are talking about things like love and loss and joy and death and sex and like that. And the fact is, there’s never been an outlet for people to say who we are. We have news and advertising and politics and mindless entertainment ala Disney, if I can say that, not that I have anything against mindless entertainment, but we just haven’t had, as a species, a way to talk to each other through a public medium about things that really concern our lives. 

There’s been a lot of bemoaning of the fact that the Internet has not lived up to its potential. This could be one aspect of the Net that is living up to it’s potential? 

Well, it speaks exactly to that question. The moaning and groaning is coming from the expectations of the commercial sector, which says, it didn’t pan out to be what we wanted it to be, which was another advertising medium. But at the same moment that there is this hand wringing and disappointment on the part of corporations, you have this ramp of people enthusiastically getting online for the precise purpose of speaking to each other about matters that are critically important to us as human beings. Not about what we can buy, or what we bought, or what we plan to buy, but what we’re doing here on this planet, what we’re doing with each other, and what we might be doing. 

I don’t mean to make it sound so deadly serious. Sometimes it is, and sometimes its lots of laughs. Some of it is noise, and some of it is amazing stuff that just hasn’t ever had a chance to “be” before. 

What does it say that it took the Internet for this kind of discussion/dialogue to take place? 

It’s the thing that’s most exciting about the Internet. Broadcast media have at their heart the function of serving as a carrier wave for advertising. So the content that’s developed for broadcast – and I mean that very generally, both print and television and so forth – is developed to get the kind of bell curve audience that will gain the most eyeballs for the advertiser. 

The concern is not what we care about. It’s sitcoms and sound bites and little news blips. But they don’t tend to be those edgy sorts of sometimes bothersome matters that really define what it is to be a human being. This, to me, is really important. And to a couple million other people who have just discovered each other. 

It’s really self-selecting. People hook up around what they’re interested in. I’ve read kids who have got to be no more than 15 years old writing just brilliant stuff. 

Not to burst the anti-commercial bubble, but it seems to me this is something the publishing world would be interested in? 

I say that in Gonzo Marketing. From this kind of source we are going to get the next Milton, the next Shakespeare, the next Mozart, the next whatever kind of genius people we’ve had in the past. That didn’t stop at some point in our history. It is still happening, and they’re emerging.  

Film makers and digital music, the whole nine yards, is coming bottom up. That’s my whole rant. It’s coming bottom up in the sense that they’re not top-ten best sellers, they’re not even coming out of writing programs at universities. Today they’re 12 years old and they’re in chat rooms and they’re weblogging, and they’re getting really literate and really good with the language, and some of these people can just turn cartwheels. It’s going to be pretty amazing. 

But the fact is, they’re not motivated now to go the traditional route, because people have total creative control. Yes, you can make money if you can sell a book or an article. But they’re getting immediate and instant gratification form people sending them an email two minutes later saying, “Oooh, killer post, man.” 

Friday, June 28, 2002

Frankly, Frank

Frank has interviewed me over at his site. I'm sure he added all that spicy stuff -- I would never talk like that. Well ... maybe just now and then among friends. Thanks, Frank

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Summer Kitchen Strategy

My mom had a habit of getting up early on those summer days that started hot and only got hotter like today, to do her cooking early. She did her preemptive boiling at dawn. She'd boil a dozen eggs to use later for deviled eggs -- hers were zingy with mayo, sharp mustard, bit of vinegar, the perfunctory paprika. She boiled potatoes, so they could cool in the fridge and turn into potato salad by the end of the day. The last boiling water was for real iced tea -- which was hot at dawn and ice cold by lunch.

She used to sit on the porch steps with us on those real scorchers that ended in rain by evening. She'd sing "Soon It's Gonna Rain" from The Fantastics to us kids and watch the heat lightning that would bring a cooler breeze.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Rageboy Rocks, Rolls, Returns

Big thanks to Gary Turner for giving our esteemed blogmentor Rageboy his Lifetime Achievement Award with the unusual result of NOT putting him out to pasture, like old Academy Award winners, but au contraire, bringing him back to life. Rumor has it he's pregnant. So that's why he was in confinement. That first three months is always dicey. But no better time than summer to be barefoot and pregnant.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Summer Love

I am really in love with this summer. I bought fruit today -- cherries, plums, apricots, bananas, peaches, cantaloupe. I love the lushness of the fruit, the colors of the skins, I like picking off the little stickers as I wash and fondle each piece. The sun on my skin is welcome, I'm not fretting about sunblock this year, rather unlike me. My skin is getting the blush of those cherries. I bought a lipstick last week called Watermelon. Going native, hair getting streaky blonde and dry, sand between toes, a wisp of bright green seaweed dries on the back of my calf, I'm flip-flopping as I walk.

Spending long afternoons with my kid and his friends, I walk about in my one-piece bathing suit for hours on end, it rides up a bit on my bottom, but I could care less. More serious considerations to attend to -- sandcastles to build, popsicles to lick, lemonade stands to staff at the end of the driveway. We argue over pricing -- 25 cents I say -- these modern kids look at me like I'm nuts and say $1.00.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Water Prayer

Somewhere in Texas, on this hot day in June, my friend Liz is burying her mother who died of cancer last week. Today is the funeral. I'm in Boston thinking of her and swimming and swimming and swimming in the blue pool and sending out a water prayer for her as my hands come together in prayerful positions, then part, one breast stroke after another. Hope she's managing, give her strength, let her heal, let her get through this, let her cry a poolful of tears. Splash, splash, splash, splash.

I am remembering as I dive down below the water and with googles see chrystal blue water and people's bodies suspended in watery support, the day my mother died and how disturbing it was to see people rushing about in the world for no good reason. Didn't they know the game was over? Where were they rushing to?

Can a prayer travel from a swimming pool of blue water in Boston to a hot dry Texas funeral home? Perhaps. My strokes stir a friendly breeze from the East Coast which wanders west and puffs a small wind her way. This prayer flips the edge of a dotted swiss curtain in the front room, next to one of the ushers who is sweating in his black suit as he hugs Liz, telling her not to worry, everything's gonna be okay -- the day is cooling off and the evening will be better.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Why I Go To Church

I go to church most Sundays. I belong to the Pilgrim Church here in Lexington. It's a UCC, United Church of Christ church, you can check out the link, but it won't tell you why I go to church.

Let me start with why many people DON'T go to church. I had a really interesting email conversation with Mike Zellers about why he doesn't go to church. If I've got it right, he said there was so much language in the sermon and other parts of the service that he didn't necessarily agree with or believe in, he felt it would be hypocritical to sit there and either not say the words or mouth the words not believing them. Things like, (from my church program this morning) "(Leader) Lift up our hearts. (People) We lift our hearts to God. (Leader) Christ is with us. (People) Christ is in our midst. (Leader) Let us pray."

I get what he means. You might be tempted to stand up and say, "Hey, wait a minute, I'm not so sure Christ is in our midst. I mean, I'm not sure at all. Honestly, I don't even know what that means. And let us pray ... I'm not sure I can get my head around "let us pray." If I can only pray, if I actually believe this thing about "Christ in in our midst," well, you'll have to count me out on the praying part too."

Not a lot of people say this kind of thing at church. In fact, people who think this way tend NOT to go to church. But what they don't know is that a lot of churchgoers have days where they don't believe Christ is in their midst either. Me included. There are days where I could testify that Christ is definately NOT in my vicinity. Heck, there are days when I'm not even sure who Christ is, or was, or if he ever really was at all! But going to church is about more than this.

First of all, it's about going some place on a given day of the week -- not work, not Starbuck's, not the health club -- where you meet people of all ages who want to think about spirit. They are not doing spreadsheets, they are not ordering Cafe Americano Venti with extra ice, they are not doing bicep curls -- all worthy endeavors I spend time on other days of the week. They are trying to figure out how they might love others better and improve the spirits of those around them, and, perhaps selfishly, but probably not, improve their spirit as a result. I particularly like being there among MEN who are trying to cultivate that side of their lives, since most everything in our society pushes men in the other direction.

Of course, I also go to church because Judy Brain, our minister is so excellent. Her sermons are terrific, moving, funny, cogent, relevant, inspirational. I go because I love the hymns and the poetry of the lyrics -- old time poetry. I go because I love the Bible stories and can't imagine reading any American, English or European literature ever written, without some knowledge of this book. I love celebrating the seasons of Christmas, Lent, Easter and the sense of continuity this gives you as the years go by. I love the symbolism of the wine and wafer, the process of communion, the knowledge that people have done this for centuries and are doing this all over the world on Sunday morning at the same time I'm doing it. I go because I want my son to understand the traditions of the church and feel welcome there, wherever he ends up -- praying in a small college chapel, or visiting the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

I go because I have a community of friends there that welcome you no matter what tattered and torn state your soul might be in any given week. They know loss, they know kindness, they know patience, they know love and how to talk about these things. They know everyone will face death of family, friends and self and have ways to fathom these events. I go to give this back to everyone there, since they've been so generous to me.

This morning we sang "Lord, I Want To Be A Christian." -- the very simple classic Negro Spiritual that says: "Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart," in verse one. The next three verses are just as plain, "Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart." followed by "Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart." and finally "Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart." It says it all.

I go to church because I want to feel suffering when I am near those who are suffering, and try to give them some comfort. I go to church because I want to open my heart to pain and joy and not shy away from it. I go to church because I want to get in the habit of choosing love over fear, every time I get the chance.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Breakthrough Book

I'm always into a little light summer reading of the type that suggests we're watching the end of the world as we know it . Terence Real's book I Don't Want To Talk About It: Overcoming The Secret Legacy Of Male Depression is just such a book. It spells the end of patriarchy -- not that we didn't notice that institution melting before our very eyes anyway. Big thanks to Chris Locke for finding it -- Terence Real and Carol Gilligan did joint therapy case histories in her recent book recommended on Rageboy's site.

As a mom of a 7-year-old boy who's right in the throws of being "socialized" into a man, {"Only sissies cry!" "1st graders don't have blankies!") this was particularly incredible to read.

"Boys do not need to be turned into males. They are males. Boys do not need to develop their masculinity. They are masculine, no less than girls are feminine. Once we understand that "masculine identity" is not about an internal structure but rather a socially accepted definition of what it means to be male, then the processes by which we impose those definitions on boys sharpens in clarity. Like the Procrustean bed, like circumcision, the oldest and most common rite of passage throughout the world, boys "become" men by lopping off, or having lopped off, the most sensitive parts of their psychic and, in some cases, physical selves. The passage from boyhood to manhood is about ritual wounding. It is about giving up those parts of the self that do not fit within the confines of the role. It is about pain and the withstanding of pain."

Baby You Can Ride My Bike

I have a new bike and something cool is happening. Got it at Target. Every time I take it out for a quick tour around town like this morning, I enter the golden age of Halley, (age 12, that is) and am transported to the North Shore of Long Island, Orient, Greenport and Shelter Island in particular, where I hung out with a girl tribe and rode bikes non-stop. I'm remembering my wicker bike basket on the front of the handlebars, festooned with the occasional hair ribbon, or maybe a 4th of July ribbon, which by Labor Day would be faded beyond recognition to a sun and rain ravaged pink, grey and faint blueberry.

We girls were tough. I was the queen of LOOK MA NO HANDS and shunned the handlebars. I rode everywhere with no hands. Any biker worth their salt could steer with their hands in their jeans pockets ... I even remember the jeans ... yes, the original denim pedal pushers, tight and skinny, I had yellow ones and bricky red ones, they hung from a hook on the bedroom wall in our rented barn at the beach, all I wore all summer, with a few white girly sleeveless cotton blouses to go with. There wasn't a turn or a curve I couldn't manoeuvre with a quick shift of my hips.

I also remember my long lost friend Hilary who invited me down to Florida with her family that 8th grade year for February vacation. We dedicated the week to swapping special girl skills -- I taught her to ride handlebar-less, she taught me to pucker up and whistle. I could never get the hang of whistling until that great vacation. Hilary, did we eat enough Arby's Roast Beef sandwiches? Talk about fun.

I Beg Your Fucking Pardon

David Weinberger has coined a new gesture -- but not given it a name -- go see the picture on his site.

C'mon David, is it the UNFUCK, is it the FUCKME, is it the SCUZI, MY FUCKING FAULT or the decidely polite, I BEG YOUR FUCKING PARDON sign? Give us a clue!

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Blogsisters Hit The Beach

I had so much fun meeting Elaine at York Beach on Wednesday. What a day. And so much for this "old lady crone" stuff -- Elaine is a peppy babe! And she had this swell Blogsisters tee shirt on I really was jones-ing for. We walked along the shore for a long while. Then we sat on the wet sand which stretches very deep into the beach and far out towards one beautiful blue stripe of ocean and talked and talked and talked. We wished all our blog friends were there and talked about all of them, how much we love them, how much we miss them, how strange it is to get to know perfect strangers so well so fast. What the hell blogging is about anyway -- didn't solve that mystery.

The cool wet sand was grey dark and as I stretched out, the seawater started to seep into my jeans from ankle to bottom and then the sand stuck to this, making me look like a breaded veal cutlet on the back side only. We walked up to her beach house to do tarot cards on the back porch with her co-vacationer, Michaela. We drank tea and got warm in the hot sun on the porch. The sand started to fall off of me, like a little hourglass, reminding me I had to leave soon. The relaxed, far niete, do nothing, snooze like a cat in the sun mood was begging me to stay, but I couldn't. Elaine, thanks for a great great day. Getting to know you, getting to know all about you .... getting to like you, getting to hope you like me, ... suddenly I'm bright and breezy ... (something about nicely ... something about precisely), yes, you're my cup of tea.

Monday, June 17, 2002

So Many Motherless Boys

[February 23, 2002 -- Women are telling their stories. Women are finding their voices. Women are blogging their way to a new world. Women are blogging from under the burqua, so check out this story from the BBC Online. Thanks to Kevin Marks and Jeneane Sessums for this story.

Imagine what world we're looking at if we actually stop silencing women -- whether in the Middle East or the West. We've got a ringside seat to the colossal meltdown of patriarchy as we know it. And all we had to do to get to this point ... is tell our stories ... just tell the truth. Like that woman at Enron did. And that woman at the FBI did. And the mothers of boys molested by priests did. And bloggers are doing worldwide. And who will benefit ? Everyone -- women and men, girls and boys -- all free to live and love and be real.]

We're watching the savage acts of motherless boys in the microcosm and a raging battle between yin and yang in the macrocosm. The ability to care for others, to nurture, to feel empathy, to feel compassion, to even tolerate the weak and vulnerable in society, to have any tolerance at all, is taught at your mother's knee and has fallen into disrepute.

The desire to be on top, to be in control, to be the one in power, to be greedy, to be selfish, to hold a gun to another's head, to possess, to belittle, to denigrate, to destroy, all these impulses thrive in a society where women are undervalued.

And don't think for a minute I'm only talking about countries where you see the parade of pretty blue burquas. Americans made a deal with the devil in the past few years, to consider jobs and money our fundamental religion and make sure women and children lost any value in the economic landscape.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

My Dad The Swinger

[March 11, 2002 -- Happy Father's Day. This was something I wrote about a month before my dad died this year. One thing I take away from it -- he sure knew how to live. One thing I bring to it -- forgiveness and acceptance.]

Nothing is simple, is it? Good news, my ailing dad MIRACULOUSLY seems to have beaten the pneumonia and he's back in the game. Truly incredibly. My genes are tough!

Bad news, I'm having a hard time visiting him. I shared these thoughts with a friend on email and he said, put them in your blog, so here goes. Deep breath.

Okay ... subject: my dad. Quick synopsis: Adult, maybe, adulterer, definately. He spent a lot of his life philandering, that is to say, cheating on my mom, making her insanely miserable. He had a lot of fun. He was 6'4", handsome, thin, very charming. He dated a lot of the Revlon babes when he was SVP of Advertising there. Rumor has it he dated Julie Newmar, yes, the original Catwoman.

When I was growing up, I NEVER saw my dad. We lived in Connecticut and he was always "in the City" working (read:playing). When I was about ten years old and I was invited for a sleepover at my friend Nancy's house, we sat down to dinner and her dad was there. I was really confused since my dad never made dinner at our house. I asked "Why's he here? Did he get fired? Why isn't he in the City?"

We had it in our family lore that my dad would drop dead early, hopefully not in some ladies' boudoir, and my mom, the tough, strong, saintly one would live on and on, be the doting grandma and peppy senior citizen, happy to finally enjoy her life without his selfish demands and selfish behavior. Wrong.

And strangely, you sometimes wonder if only the selfish survive. I mean, no disrespect, but think about it, the people who are really out for themselves often have finely honed survival skills.

Even now at the nursing home, bedridden and 83, he doesn't lack for charm, wit and charisma. I cringe (and later laugh) when the nurses tell me on a daily basis, how adorable my dad is. He's a survivor. And you gotta love the guy.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Dear Kitty

[I posted this opening to The Diary of Anne Frank a few months back because I thought it was the true precursor to blogging. Lately I recommended a book to Rageboy about voice and the end of patriarchy called THE BIRTH OF PLEASURE by Carol Gilligan. She writes wonderful stuff in that book about Anne Frank's diary entries and how they let Anne define a new voice. There were in fact three versions of the diary -- the first one which was raw and unedited, the second version edited by Anne right before her death, the third and the originally published manuscript which was edited by her father. By comparing the three versions, Gilligan shows us how the first one with it's honest, sexy, vivacious voice shows a girl becoming a woman and by establishing a new voice, becomes a new self. This is exactly what I think is happening with blogging, we are finding voices that will ultimately make us new selves, or as David Weinberger likes to say, "we are writing ourselves into existence." If Gilligan is right and we're witnessing the end of patriarchy, the fresh honest style of blogging by both women and men will certainly hasten its demise.]

July 8, 1942: "Margot and I started packing our most important belongings into a school bag. The first thing I stuck in was this diary ....Preoccupied by the thought of going into hiding, I stuck the craziest things into the bag, but I'm not sorry. Memories mean more to me than dresses."

Monday, June 10, 2002

When My Dad Wakes Up Today

[April 10, 2002 -- Could I have actually written this TWO months ago? Seems like both two years and two minutes, since my dad died on 4.9.02 . We make taffy of time when we grieve and mourn -- we pull it, we stretch it, we yank it, make it salty with tears and then we let it snap back into place. The phone still rings these days and I slip ... thinking, "Hey, maybe it's my dad!" So, remember today, no matter how bad the traffic, how annoying your co-workers, how hot the weather, how boring the task, whatever else you are, you're alive! ]

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."

Saturday, June 08, 2002

More Snow In Boston

[March 25, 2002 -- Well there's really NO snow today in Boston, but Rageboy just dropped me an email to ask who this brilliant blogger Heather Snow is. RB, she's a friend of mine -- if you ever read my darned blog you'd know all the cool brill chicks -- I told everyone about her last March! He's way excited about her posts at her own site and Blogsisters about women creating their own glass ceilings. Me too, it's excellent stuff. Check it out here and at Blogsisters. Blog on, Heather!]

Wait, I don't mean weather! Heather Snow's started a new blog and it's great! She does ecommerce writing and other stuff at MIT. Check her blog out here.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Kiss of Death

[As you know, this summer, my new blogging is over at BLOGSISTERS, and here at Halley's Comment I'm doing a retrospective of earlier posts. This was a post I did on January 15, 2002, while my dad was still hanging on by a thread. I remember looking at the IV's in my dad's arms and the song "I've Got You Under My Skin" was playing on the radio in the room that day. We do what we must. I was no angel of mercy -- many days I just didn't go to visit him in the nursing home because it was too damned depressing. My dad passed away April 9, 2002.]

My dad is dying. He's 83 and was shuffling along pretty well despite a very bad heart, until December 2 when he fell and broke his hip. He's been in and out of the hospital five times and in two rehab facilities in a month and the "happy holiday season" wasn't too much fun.

Some good came of it. A friend gave me this amazing book How We Die. Nuland writes poignantly about how most people long for two final scenarios — to die with dignity and not to die alone. Most Americans will not get either.

It is painful, sad and scary to go into these places (nursing homes) where so many people are so needy. They reach out for you, like kids left late at daycare.

My dad has dementia. Doesn't know who I am most days. I sit with him for as long as I can, just holding his scrawny hand, his skinny arm bruised from too many IV's. I play mind games to cheer myself up, to keep my half-full glass from emptying. As I sit there, I am now cataloguing every kiss I've ever received. I have received some excellent kisses and would like to acknowledge and thank all parties concerned.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Come Clean

[February 18, 2002 -- Wrote this as so many of our institutions were simulaneously crumbling this past winter. Interesting how we're worried about many other things three months later. We still are concerned about who's telling the truth, however and it's still hard to be sure who is and who isn't.]

Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear ... We're watching the Enronians drop their pants (a few of them) and tell the truth about what was really going on. We're watching the poor pathetic guy who ran the crematorium in Georgia be forced to come clean. We've had it with hockey dads beating the shit out of fellow hockey dads and pretending they weren't. Enough with priests abusing little boys and being protected by their superiors. We've had it with lies. Come on, just come clean, tell me the truth!

My sisters and I used to watch To Tell The Truth when we were kids. We already knew TV sucked, so to make it more interesting, we mostly watched it upside down on the couch, our legs straight up on the back cushions, our heads nearly touching the floor, our braids flopping in arcs rugward, blood rushing to our 5, 10 and 12-year old heads. And even upside down, you could always tell who was telling the truth and who wasn't.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Alright Already!

Yikes! Thanks for all the email! This going dark until September has rattled many cages. Everyone's asking me to come back to Blogsville in the kindest ways. Here's my revised plan.

At Halley's Comment this summer, I'll post "Greatest Hits" of my stuff from the archives that I want to repost. At Blogsisters, I'll post new stuff on an occasional basis.

Blogsisters, think of it as really juicy femail. Even better than email. I need to get down with my girl tribe and there's no better place to do that than Blogsisters. I posted there tonight. I just read a great piece over there by Jennifer Balderama, bloggeuse extraordinaire, on sex and pix, which links to a post on her site about how you just can't see enough men's penises in movies these days. True, true. Maybe we could go back and restore all the old films by cutting and pasting in the male member in critical places. Frankly, Rhett, I DO give a damn.

And can I take my hat off to Jeneane Sessum the mega-energetic creator of Blogsisters and her extra-great sidekick, Elaine of Kalilily fame. Jeneane, you are my super baller woman, go girl! Elaine, you share the blood and guts female wisdom of all ages, but I must ask "Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" (I think good.)

At Blogsisters, we're busy as heck. We women are reinventing how people will talk to one another in a brand new world — ALL people, men and women, old and young — and it's definately the coolest place to hang this hot summer.