Sunday, January 31, 2021

And this berry girl

Her caption on this image, posted in IG, was: "Is there anything better than coming home to your dog?" Woman and dog certainly look quite content. My girl and her boyfriend continue to be fairly busy inside their quarantine bubble up there in Cambridge, and I pray they and their cohort group all stay well. Both members of the couple who tested positive for covid before the holiday break are now better, though they both had to stay isolated in campus housing for the entire season, seeing no one, feeling sick and achy. But, fingers crossed, they both seem to have escaped what is now being called "long covid," and are back to their socializing selves. 

For my part, I am still mostly staying inside my house and quietly panicking over the proposal I have to write. I have not started, don't know how to begin, and I keep reminding myself that it always feels this way—except maybe this time, more so? I don't know. But this imposter angst is an old, boring story. I'm so tired of it myself. 

Far more interesting is the news that my niece, Dani, who's been living with us since she graduated college in May 2019, will be moving to hipster Brooklyn in a week, moving in with a friend, a young woman from Britain who was a housemate when they both did a semester abroad in Australia. This friend now lives in New York, having been hired by American Express to do something very techy, and she was looking for a housemate. They looked at apartments in Brooklyn two weekends ago and a week later had been approved for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom place with floor to ceiling windows, a balcony, and in-unit washer dryer, in a brand new building. This week, they signed the lease. 

This New Jersey born, Maryland raised young woman, whose family now lives in Orlando, Florida, is now a bona fide New Yorker. Part of our annual Thanksgiving crew, she says she knew she would move to New York after college since she went Black Friday shopping in the city with her older cousins when she was twelve. My man and I helped her move some of her stuff into her new place yesterday, with the rest of the move happening later this week, once Wifi has been installed. Life changes again.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Miss seeing this boy

That's my darling boy just months after he made me a mother. His eyes are asking questions here: What's that thing Daddy is pointing at us? How can I get my hands on it to more closely explore? He always had that active and intense curiosity about his world. Below is a photo of him with his fiancee, and his future brother and sister in law. I swiped it from Facebook. They all look happy, so I'm happy.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

This guy (Update)

My love hasn't been feeling well, a headache that comes and goes, body aches, and a general feeling of fatigue. It worries me when he admits to not feeling well, because he has to be feeling really lousy to even notice such a thing. Last night he went to bed early for him, and this morning, he went to get a covid test. I am trying not to panic, because he hates that kind of fuss when it's about him, so I'm outwardly functioning as if maybe he caught a cold, or ate something that didn't agree with him. I pray it's just a passing thing. Funny how one's consciousness shrinks to the only essential thing when someone you love isn't feeling okay. It just started snowing.

Update on Jan 27: Test results came in by email at 5 a.m. this morning. My man woke me to let me know that covid was “not detected.” Major exhale. He’s still having the headaches though. Maybe there’s been a change in atmospheric pressure? Or something. Headaches, sniffles, a new ache somewhere, these are the kinds of symptoms we just shrugged off and weathered before the pandemic. Now we self-scan for every change inside the body and wonder what it means. My niece said last night, “You ever wonder if this is how the world ends?” I will admit that all the new and more contagious covid mutations are worrying. We’re not in line for the vaccine yet, so nothing to do but just sit tight. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Her birthday


Today is my mom's birthday. She would have turned 99 years old. In this picture, she is the age I am now, and doing a damn sight better job of aging than I am managing. She always was a beauty, with the gentlest of laughs, yet a will of oak, not steel, because steel is cold, and her will was warm, nudging you to do exactly as she wanted you to do, because she had this kindness about her, an aura, that made you want to please her.  Even so, as a teenager, and even as a young woman, I flexed my oppositional muscles as if it were my duty to do so, until at last I came to understand that never in life would she have asked me to do or be anything that did not richly serve me. The blouse I am wearing in this photo was crocheted by her already arthritic fingers. I still have all her crocheted creations. I miss her so.

Costumed boys

I could use some lighter fare around here. The world has been so weighty of late. I have been escaping when I can into costume dramas, maybe because they generally bear no resemblance to the immediate present. If you know me you know I love a costume drama, and now with Bridgerton and The Spanish Princess, I get to see more inclusive versions of such shows. For no reason at all except that they all provoke me to imagine meeting them in the roles and eras they play on screen, here are some of my favorite costumed boys.

Rege-Jean Page plays the dreamy Simon, Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton

Sam Heughan plays the King of Men, Jaime Fraser, in Outlander

Aaron Cobham plays the soldier Oviedo in The Spanish Princess

David Dawson is compelling as King Alfred in The Last Kingdom 

Thursday, January 21, 2021


I can't get over this young woman, a tender 22-year-old Los Angeles native, who overcame a speech impediment to give such an extraordinary performance of her inaugural poem, one that so fully captures this moment. I love that our new First Lady Dr. Jill Biden found her and recommended her for the role she played in yesterday's uplifting proceedings, and now Amanda Gorman's life is forever changed. Then again, she was always going to be a star. This interview with Anderson Cooper reveals more of her story. Honestly? I'm as gobsmacked and rendered speechless by this beautiful young poet as Anderson Cooper clearly is. He called her "a Supernova."

Also, we have a new president and vice president! Yesterday I cried so many tears of joy, and last night, I slept like a baby.


The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Amanda Gorman
Biden-Harris Inauguration poet
January 20, 2021 


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"There is always light"

“We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one ...
There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

—Amanda Gorman,
Biden-Harris Inauguration Poet,
January 20, 2021 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Reckoning

"In Brooklyn, New York, 1948, a girl posed for photos on a street corner on a rainy day." Thus read the caption on this trio of portraits by photographer Rae Russel of that beautiful child. I'm posting her pictures because I want to save them, and because I'm aching to post something innocent and hopeful here, even as I bear witness to people and events that are decidedly not.

I won't go on at length, it's all too depressing, but I will say how dare right wing assholes ridicule Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for the visceral fear she felt during the siege on the Capitol. Given the vile and vulgar death threats AOC and the rest of her Squad receive daily, she had every reason to believe her life was in danger from certain Republican colleagues who may have given material aid to the insurrectionists, and who were now locked in the safe room with her. There was the Colorado QAnon House Rep who gave a "reconnaissance tour" of the Capitol the day before, for example, and documented it with an Instagram post in which her guests in full Trump regalia flashed the white power sign. She also tweeted "This is 1776!" as the mob stormed into the Captiol, and reported Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts to the rioters in real time. And that's just what we know. How is she not yet arrested? Also, who ripped out all the panic buttons from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley's office the day before the siege? 

Hilton Als, Pulitzer Prize winning staff writer and theater critic for the New Yorker, posted this on social media, and it pierced me right through. It is hard to describe the constant vigilance of being Black in America; it's the low shrieking hum you live with, and eventually stop noticing as, for the practicality of survival, you accommodate your being to it. But it takes its toll, until one day you wake up and find yourself not just breaking, but utterly broken, and there's nothing to do but gather up the pieces and begin fitting yourself together again, because those you love are bent over beside you, doing the same. Hilton Als captures the feeling exactly. 

On news reports this week, military men and women have analyzed crowd videos and identified operatives moving through the buffoonish rioters with apparent deadly intent, using maneuvers they recognize from their own training in military ops. Then there were the videos of rioters impaling cops with the poles of their blue lives matter flags, and violently crushing them against doors. As AOC said, she never wants to hear MAGAs declare blue lives matter ever again. 

Across the country, arrests are happening by the hundreds, and one meme joked that now the white supremacists are grasping why their forebears wore hoods. The cosplay insurrectionist in coyote skins and buffalo horns has already asked Trump for a pardon, saying he was only "answering the president's call." Here's another picture, because one shouldn't always have to rise above, and because that little girl on a Brooklyn street corner would be pushing eighty now, and even though we elected a Black man of surpassing decency and intellect as president twice since she was photographed in the rain, it turns out that in large swathes of America, very little has changed. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

What we're learning

For those of you who have been here with me for a while, this is my nephew, Aunt Winnie's grandson, who for the past two nights slept on the mable floors inside the Capitol with his fellows-at-arms. Some of you met this young man as a little boy in these posts, and followed his sometimes heartrending story. You know he was ultimately secured, and is now a college graduate who after getting his degree in criminal justice a year ago, trained for the National Guard. His goal is to join the Secret Service or US Marshal Service. He's a law and order sort, and ironically may have voted for the other side. Whatever his leanings, I don't want my nephew having to confront any white supremacists trying to burn everything down. To me, he is still a callow youth, nervous and untried. And in the wake of the insurrectionist president's second impeachment yesterday, this political era looks a lot like civil war. Plus, as we all saw a week ago, to the MAGA terrorists, blue lives apparently matter only when those blue lives are threatening Black, Brown or Jewish ones. 

The information now coming out about last week's siege on the Capitol is nothing short of shattering. It has emerged that some right wing members of Congress conducted what is being described as "reconnaissance tours" of the Capitol the day before the riot, which was noted because no tours of the building had been given since last March. When Capitol police asked the MAGA paraphernalia-wearing visitors to leave due to covid regulations, the Congress members objected and said as their guests the Trumpers had permission to be on the premises. 

Last night, Rachel Maddow showed new video of a woman rioter instructing the mob where to go based on a floor plan they had acquired, Maddow's point being that the riot was more carefully planned than it first appeared. In addition, Colorado's newly elected Q-Anon House member Lauren Boebert, a woman with a criminal rap sheet back home and a husband with a record of exposing himself to minors, was live tweeting Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts in real time to rioters storming stormed the building, a criminal offense that put the Speaker's life in danger. I confess I was skeptical of early reports that the insurrectionists had inside help. My poor little mind couldn't imagine such a betrayal by elected officials who had sworn an oath to protect and serve, even after the past four years. I need to be a little more cynical because it appears that certain members of Congress did in fact give rioters material aid, and some members of the Capitol police, too, have been suspended, and one arrested, for possibly conspiring with the mob. We can only hope all the bad actors will be held accountable.

Oh I could go on, but it's all too much. Besides, it's unfolding on TV every hour, so long as you're watching anything other than Fox New. Suffice it to say, as bad as it was when the mob stormed the Capitol screaming for Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi's heads, it could have been so much worse. I really wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would do a nice little indoor ceremony for the inauguration and call it a day.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Three stories

1. The crowd that swarmed into the Capitol last Wednesday, January 6, 2021 (set it down so history will never forget), was chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" That was their rallying cry. Outside on Capitol grounds, a wooden gallows with a prepared noose had already been erected.  Mike Pence was on the Senate floor when the insurrectionists broke windows and breached doors and surged inside. Lucky for him, Secret Service whisked him to safety. Who does Mike Pence think the noose was for? And yet he cannot bring himself to invoke the 25th amendment to remove from office the craven president who incited this threat on his life, simply because he chose to do his constitutional duty to certify the electoral college votes in Congress. I suppose a man who so robotically served a cruel and despicable shell of a president for four years can hardly be expected to be a profile in courage now.

2. We all saw that black Capitol police officer backing up away from the crowd down a hallway, the one who ran up the stairs ahead of the mob, dropped and then retrieved his baton, but did not use it. I know for a fact some people were shouting for him to fight back against the advancing threat, and reading his apparent retreat as weakness. Turns out Officer Eugene Goodman got to the top of the stairs, looked to his left down a short hallway and realized the door to the Senate chamber was wide open and unguarded. Knowing Senators were still in the chamber, he then made the decision to use himself as bait to draw the rioters in the opposite direction. He shoved the rioter at the front of the crowd to aggravate him, ensuring he would pursue and the other rioters would follow. Officer Goodman kept backing up, leading them to away from the Senate and giving our elected officials and their staffs the additional sixty seconds needed to safely exit the floor. Officer Goodman averted a hostage situation and saved lives. He is a hero.

3. You probably saw the photo of the big, burly red headed white man holding a traumatized black woman in a bear hug as a crowd of Trump supporters menaced her. One arm at the right of the picture is at the moment pepper spraying her face. It looked like the man with his arms wrapped around her was part of the mob that had already beaten, spit on, stomped, and brutalized her. It looks so bad that when his employer saw the viral photo, the man was fired. In fact, he had picked up the woman up bodily, yelled for the people around them to back off, and carried her to safety, saying to her, "It's okay, I got you. These people want to kill you. I'm going to get you out of here." Yes, he was there with the mob, likely a Trump supporter himself. But he was where he needed to be that day to save that woman's life. She called his employer and explained that to her, the man was a hero. She got him back his job.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Because love



It happened. I suppose it was inevitable. Ginned up by the president himself, Trump's white supremacist extremists and election fraud delusionists laid siege to the Capitol on Wednesday. When it was done, five people were dead, including a Capitol Police officer. At a rally immediately before the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump had exhorted his cult of followers—who call him their "God Emperor"—to "stop the steal" by marching to where Senators and House Reps were at that very moment counting electoral college votes to certify the Biden-Harris win. 

Like all of you, I watched the violence and mayhem with my jaw on the floor. Members of Congress were whisked out of the House and Senate chambers as armed rioters were breaking down the doors, shattering glass with crowbars, endangering the lives of men and women who were only doing the people's business. No one, absolutely no one, failed to notice how law enforcement handled these white insurrectionists with kid gloves. News anchors contrasted their mild response to the paramilitary violence unleashed on peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors last summer, including on that day when Trump wanted to hold a Bible aloft for a photo op.

At the height of the siege, one officer even pointed two rioters in the direction of soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office. They didn't find his office, but their cohorts found House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, where they posed for pictures with their feet on her desk, going through her mail and her laptop. Hours later, when the building had finally been secured, Congress returned to its ransacked chambers and finished the job of certifying Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next American president and vice-president. They were determined not to let insurrectionists stop them from doing what the law prescribed, though more than one hundred Republicans, led by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, still objected to the votes as being illegitimate. 

Of course, their objections were completely performative, with no basis in law or possibility of success, staged only to appease the cult of Trump. Arguably, these Republicans overplayed their hands, which are now bloodied by the dead on their doorstep. This was a dark day for our country. The siege on the Capitol was nothing less than a failed coup, incited by the American president and his henchmen. Whether Trump will escape the consequences of this dastardly act, too, remains uncertain.

Image: BBC/Reuters


Wednesday, January 6, 2021


It appears that Democrats Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff will join the Senate from Georgia, historic wins on both counts, a Southern state sending a Black man and a Jew to the upper legislative chamber, also a first for Georgia. Now Biden can actually govern, without the spiteful obstructionism of Mitch McConnell and his cronies. What a delicious irony that Georgia will give Democrats control of the Senate and make possible passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The late great Congressman from Georgia must be smiling down at this turn of events. Of course McConnell and his judges will surely press cases all the way to the Supreme Court in continuing Republican attempts to surgically disenfranchise certain voters. But at least we will have more arrows in our quiver to combat that. Besides, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is an ancestor now, too. Don't f*ck with the ancestors. Also, let's just make Stacey Abrams the Queen of Everything.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

To undo the folded lie

            All I have is a voice
            To undo the folded lie,
            The romantic lie in the brain
            Of the sensual man-in-the-street
            And the lie of Authority
            Whose buildings grope the sky:
            There is no such thing as the State
            And no one exists alone;
            Hunger allows no choice
            To the citizen or the police;
            We must love one another or die. 

            W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939


Real talk? I've reached the point in this quarantine life where I wake up each morning and wonder if there's any point in getting dressed for the day. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do because I live with people, and am not yet past caring that they may soon think me disreputable. New York is so very changed, the streets, the train stations, the parks hauntingly empty, now that the cold has arrived. Our numbers are ticking up like everywhere else, though we are still under a ten percent infection rate statewide. On the other hand, lots of people get tested here. In some states, people only get tested when they arrive at the ER with symptoms, so their infection rate is unbearably high, and we have no idea what the real truth is, whether more tests would yield a lower infection rate, or an even higher one. 

We're all still stumbling around in the dark when it comes to covid, and now there is a plan afoot to give half the dose of the Moderna vaccine for the first shot, and the second half of the dose for the second shot three weeks later, so as to be able to inoculate twice as many people. The Moderna experts have apparently said the protection imparted will be "identical" to that of the full dose for both shots, which begs the question, if half a dose is so very effective, why wasn't that the prescribed dosage to begin with? 

My son, as it happens, will be receiving the Moderna vaccine, first dose, today. When I called him yesterday with these questions, he said, "That doesn't sound right. That's not how they did the studies." He'd been away with his love at an Airbnb upstate for the new year, and hadn't watched or read any news, so I filled him in. But he wasn't about to indulge my hysterics. "Look," he said, "This is Big Pharma we're talking about. If they can get you to pay for twice as much as you truly need, do you have any doubt they'd do that?" 

I don't question that he might be right, but then why is Dr. Fauci, whom I trust, against this half-dose approach? "So will you get only half a dose tomorrow?" I asked my son. "No idea," he yawned, as it was early, and I had woken him from sleep. "But don't blow up my phone all day tomorrow asking about the vaccine. I'm getting it late in the afternoon. I'll call you when I'm done." You see what kind of mother I am, anxious, hovering, and my children have learned how to back me off. Still, as skeptical as I am of this half-dose plan, would I take the vaccine if it were offered to me tomorrow? Yes, even the half dose. Looking down the barrel of a covid apocalypse, I guess I'd hedge my bets. (Update: It appears Dr. Fauci may yet convince the vaccine decision-makers not to mess around with the Moderna dosing.)

Georgia votes on its two run-off Senate races today. Let's hope that despite Governor Kemp's and Secretary of State Raffensperger's blatant record of purging state voter rolls and shutting down voting sites in majority Democratic districts, they continue to stand firm against Trump's attempt to trash the will of the people. Let's hope they recognize our common cause in ensuring the integrity of today's election, because even with their egregious history of voter suppression, it's never too late to do the right thing. As the poem here says, in the face of hunger, separation, state cruelty, and lies, we cannot lose hope. We humans have no choice, really. We must learn to love one another or die.

 Also, my daughter adores her dog.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A good and preposterous New Year

A year ago, I was wandering along that verandah, after having brunch with extended family at Strawberry Hill overlooking the Blue Mountains, at the end of a joyful week-long gathering to celebrate my niece's wedding in Jamaica. We all brought in the New Year in a penthouse suite overlooking the lights of Kingston harbor, and I remember reveling in the grace of being surrounded by all the people in this world I love best. None of us could have imagined the separation and loss the dawning year would bring. I think we would have laughed a little longer and held each other a little tighter.

At midnight this New Year’s Eve, the man and I toasted good riddance to 2020 with our niece who lives with us, sang Auld Lang Syne, then cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed. On New Years Day, I mostly worked, then climbed under the covers and finished reading Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker, a fascinating but sad account of mental illness in one family. I am now reading Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford, her memoir of being sexually violated by older boys as a fifth former at the prestigious St. Paul's boarding school in New Hampshire. I'm so taken with her voice in this book. She rejects the notion of being a victim and is claiming her full power in this telling. The way she does this bears studying. As far as I've reached, the narrative is so well done, a rallying cry to and for women. 

I'm so happy and relieved to be able to read whole books again. The concentration to do that went missing for a good long while. Possibly, the ground for its return was tilled by the absorbing novel I just finished editing, in which I completely lost myself. I'm noticing now that outside my window, it has started snowing, while in the reaches of my house, my niece is playing "Colors of the Wind" on her cello. To this lovely sound, I'm slowly clearing the decks of overwork.

I have this morning sent my subject's final changes on first pass pages back to the publisher. Their offices were closed last week, but they wanted to have the pages back in time to work on them first thing Monday morning, hence the Sunday deadline. The entering of insertions, deletions, and comments on the PDF was a fairly intricate process, not a tracking system I've used before, and it took some downloading of software and close study of the publisher's instructions to get it right. In the email to which I attached to first pass pages just now, I signed off by wishing everyone a "good and prosperous New Year." When I proofread the email, thankfully before sending, I saw that what I had actually done was wish everyone "a good and preposterous New Year." What the hell, autocorrect? But appropriate to the times, no? 

I mean, the imposter in the Oval Office until January 20, is more unhinged than ever as he mounts his last ditch efforts to overturn the election. This after his legal team's fifty-nine challenges claiming ballot tampering and voter fraud (but only in states where he lost) have already been ruled without merit by the nation's courts. We should be grateful that at least one branch of government stood firm against authoritarianism. The latest seditious effort by Republicans to reject Congress's certification of the Biden-Harris win on January 6 won't work either, and it's a pathetic spectacle. You know how they say walk a mile in my shoes? Well, I can say with absolute certainty that in their shoes,  I would rather give up the power of political office than pander to the cult of Trump. 

See how I'm trying to not devolve here into the profanity any contemplation of our current political reality always provokes in me? My elegant and dignified mother used to say, "The moment you resort to swearing, dear heart, you've lost the point." I don't actually agree this is always the case, but sometimes, I go with it just to imagine her smiling down at me, serenely nodding her approval.