Tuesday, April 14, 2015


It's Tuesday morning and my heart hurts. The day outside is pewter gray and there's a tightness just below my throat, signalling perhaps that my "mood disorder" is fixing to have itself a play day.

I'm also anxious that I'm not far enough along in my book project, just a little overwhelmed by all the interviews I have yet to conduct, details not yet pinned down. This might be a normal stage of the process. The only thing I know right now is I will get it done. The how isn't so clear to me yet.

We're looking to buy a used car. Our trusty 1997 Jeep finally died. My friend Monique just got a great deal on a used car but she got caught up in her life and her license expired. She has to do the 5-hour class and road test all over again. She asked us if we would keep her car in our parking spot until she gets her papers squared away. She said we should drive it until we get a new car. Talk about the universe providing our needs.

Monique was the first friend I made when I moved to New York City. We were freshmen together at Barnard. She's an engineer. Back then, we were standing next to one another in a line to register for classes during orientation and we just started talking. She was stressing about Freshman English and I was stressing about my Math requirement. We laughed and pledged to help each other. And we did. And we do.

Last Thursday, I met my blog friend Susan Landry of Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie in the flesh. She was in the city for a few days, visiting her son. We had a lovely time discussing our lives over tea and cappuccino in the Hungarian Pasty Shop, a neighborhood institution that Susan used to frequent back when she lived in New York. It was great being with her. It felt like we already knew each other, just immediate comfort. And I have never seen a photo of Susan that does her justice. She is beautiful! We loved that we were able to finally meet; our children beat us to it though. Some months ago they had a meal together in Ithaca where my daughter is in college and Susan's very accomplished son has exciting ventures in the hospitality business. We fond mothers fantasize that they may work together yet.

I'm lucky in this world.

But so damned moody.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I've been binge watching Sons of Anarchy and I'm not sure what I think about it. It took me about four or five episodes to become invested in the characters, and I only persevered because my son was such a fan and kept saying I'd get hooked. I'm not sure if I am. I may finally have found the series that played better in doses of one episode a week. It's so unremittingly intense, and almost cartoonishly violent, and nobody trusts anybody, which wears me out. I want to be able to trust one corner of the action, but I can't. There's no place to shelter and put down roots. Disaster is always looming, and sometimes I have to just turn it off mid-episode and breathe. Nor am I truly in love with any of the characters. They all have their sordid, brutal sides. Some of the psychological characterizations run deep, though, and everyone's acting is consistently strong, especially Katey Sagal who gives a powerhouse performance as motorcycle club first lady Gemma Teller Morrow.

So tell me: Did you watch the series? How did you feel about it? Who was your favorite character? In your opinion, which was the best season? (No spoilers please! I'm only up to season 4 and I still plan to watch the whole thing.)

Pop quiz: What does SAMCRO stand for in SOA? If you know this without resorting to Google University, you're probably a true fan.

Then again maybe this post is just an excuse to run that photo up top of Gemma and Jax. I think it's kickass.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


My son was looking for photos to post on Instagram in honor of National Sibling Appreciation Day last Friday. The Halloween photo of Cleopatra and the Ninja is one of my favorites of the pictures he found, though it's not the one he posted.

He posted this one of the sibs in the papasan chair when they were babies. My daughter says she remembers when this picture was taken. She says it is her first memory.

In response my daughter posted this picture. Then brother and sister proceeded to trade insults in the comments section ("Nobody likes you so I guess I have to love you." "You may not be the world's best sibling but you're my sibling and I wouldn't have it any other way. Love you sis." "Haha stop lying. I am the world's best sibling. Love you bro.") Just more proof of their love for each other.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Out in the city

My choir rehearsal on Monday was in midtown, near where I used to work, my stomping ground for going on 20 years. I took some photos of my old commute home, and enjoyed being out in that part of the city again.

The reddish brown building is Carnegie Hall and on the far right in the distance is the diamond-studded Hearst Building, home to numerous magazines you know and love.

This photo struck me as the juxtaposition of old and new construction in the city, stone and steel, church and commerce, sacred and profane.

Riding in a cab, I passed by the Julliard School of Music just as the sun was setting and the sky was doing something operatic. The colors. The light.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Life is running

My girl continued her 21st birthday festivities all through her spring break, first with her brother and cousins in D.C. last weekend and then in the city with her crew of six, four of whom came into town from their respective colleges this weekend to help her celebrate and some of whom slept over; in the midst of it all my husband did the altar arrangements for Easter in honor of his late parents and they were exquisite; we went to church as a family and to brunch afterward; we shopped for a car to replace ours that died but we didn't buy; my son bought a bike to ride to work and do triathlons this summer; my girl and I huddled in blankets and binge watched the rap soap opera Empire all day Friday and it was perfect; I filed Important Documents that needed filing; my son and I fussed and made up and fussed and made up; he brought home a young woman to meet the family and she was lovely and easygoing; I went to therapy; I went to choir practice in midtown and felt nostalgic for my old stomping ground; the man and I went to a fancy exhibition opening at the natural history museum where he is an ichthyologist; he looked rather hot in his dressed-up-natural-scientist uniform of tweed jacket, white cotton button down shirt and tie paired with blue jeans and docksiders; we sipped red wine in mood lighting next to the soaring Allosaurus skeleton and chatted with his fellow scientists; throughout I gathered pictures, not always of the actual event but of the moments surrounding them. Here are a few snaps from the week just past, proof that I am doing my life. Brownie points if you find the "Life is running" slogan in these pictures.

Friday, April 3, 2015

2.08 a.m.

I'm just so sad. Despite the daily functioning, I feel down, out of sorts, my emotions like a wave, advancing and collapsing, changing moment to moment, set swirling by any small thing. I sit here contemplating the idea that suffering is born of the wish for things to be different, and that we would suffer less if we stopped resisting what is. I try to accept what is, especially that which can now never be any different, the loved ones gone from this earth, but there are other things in my life that I don't accept, and I do wish they were different. And so I suffer. I know this makes no sense to you, it's almost 2 a.m. and the whole house is asleep, and I feel bereft and empty and out of sorts, even though my daughter is home for spring break and I wish to be happy for her, but I can't fake it. I am lost and anxious and sad and I try to block it because she is so empathetic and I don't want her to absorb these feelings. The house was full of people all day today. I was acceptably social even though I wanted to run away and hide and wallow. I wanted to sit quietly and miss my mother. Instead I talked and laughed and was social until everything fell apart inside me. And now, in the middle of the night, there is nothing left but this lonely desolate feeling I cannot name or truly share.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


"I am slowly, painfully discovering that my refuge is not found in my mother, my grandmother, or even the birds of Bear River. My refuge exists in my capacity to love. If I can learn to love death then I can begin to find refuge in change." 

― Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place


I don't have a clue what that last line means except that I am seeking a way to make peace with the fact that everything changes—everything has changed. I look in the mirror and I am not the same. The face staring back at me is older, sadder, not wiser. My mother died and I gained ten pounds and ten years in the mirror. My attention feels fractured. I cancelled my Atlanta trip. I think I need to stay close to home, gather myself, start over.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This loved face

I was intrigued on my last post by some of the comments suggesting that the Quann sisters look like the women in my family. And then it hit me: They look like my mother as a young woman! No wonder I found myself gazing into their faces; there was something much loved about the contour of the cheekbones, the point of their chins, the softness of their eyes, the willowy stances. Even the particular burnished brown of their skin reminded me of my mother, who from photos I've seen was every bit as stylish as the Quanns. The pictures here are of my mother as a young woman, right around the age the Quann sisters are now. Do you see a resemblance? What do you think?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Quann Sisters

Identical twins Cipriana and Takenya Quann of Brooklyn are stunningly gorgeous and they're revolutionizing fashion. Those sweet faces. The sisterly body language. The vintage layering. That crown of hair! Yes, it's all their own. These pics are from their website, Urban Bush Babes. I'm mesmerized.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Today she is 21

Twenty-one years ago this incredible spirit child was born and I have been humbled and grateful to be her mother. My darling girl, I am so happy you chose us as your family. I do not take lightly the great privilege and blessing of having you as my child. I wish you everything in this life that your pure heart desires. Mostly I wish you a light heart and a quick laugh in the face of all life's uncertainties. Know, always, you are equal to anything.

So, wonder of wonders, I actually baked her cake though my girl added the Caribbean blue color to the icing. We sang and cut the cake a day early since we wouldn't see her on her actual birthday. She is in Washington D.C. with her brother and cousins, celebrating turning 21. What a glorious looking crew. My lovely niece promised to send me photos throughout the weekend so I can vicariously participate in the celebration!

The outfit my daughter is wearing was picked out for her by her cousin, aka her big sister, who had it waiting for her arrival. She instructed my girl to get a very particular style of shoe to wear with it. We went shopping for the shoes yesterday and my girl settled on a pair of nude-colored sky high heels that I am quite sure set that outfit off dramatically. I so glad she has a big sister like my niece to take social and fashion control at times like this. Happy birthday, my sweet girl. We love you so.

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