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I am middle aged. Forty-two. The hubster and I have been together for twenty-two years. And this very evening, this boyish utterance, in a half-awake state, “I was dreaming about bananas,” though sweet and funny, was hardly a surprise. There aren’t any surprises left. I have seen all of his cards. They are lovely and fine and worn at the edges. Beautiful, even.

This is not about me wanting to be with someone else. The hubster is everything I love in a person, everything, and me being with another would look an awful lot like me with him, because I am not keen on that other jazz. I had a friend who was obsessed with dating a bad boy. Her ex, who was not kind, terribly insecure, and cheated on her, apparently was not bad enough. I dated plenty of them as a young person, men who were unkindly about my appearance or casually told me they spent the night with other women as if they were talking to a wall and not a real-live person with feelings. It was awful, and I hated it.

I just get a little terrified when I think that if we live to be ninety, we will be together for seventy-one years. This is a long time by human standards and sometimes discomforting to think how much more worn those cards will be, down to gossamer and still no surprises. I kind of like surprises, novelty. It is why I watch so many movies (recommendations coming soon!) and know so many restaurants in town. We ate there six months ago. It’s just too soon!

Then I read Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and she kind of rails against married couples talking about how hard it is. But it is! The hubster will never be as detail oriented or questioning or interested in home improvement projects as I am. I will never be as tolerant as he is or love discussing software design. It took me eight hours to update the look of my blog (Did you notice? Century Gothic rocks!), and I was nearly insane with irritation. He does this kind of thing for a living, every single day.

There is no map for this territory. People get married and stay married and don’t really talk about the day-to-day, the boredom, the irritation. Why people take up hobbies and have separate vacations, I suppose. Sometimes marriage is wildly difficult, and I wonder if I am insane to do it. But most days I know I am one lucky gal, plodding along in my peculiar way with the finest human I have ever known and think, seventy-one years is nothing, really.



My mind’s a wanderer this morning, running a zig-zag track to an unknown destination, obscured and isolated in the scrim of distance. I keep thinking about the boy who died at the Marathon on Monday, the word “peace” scribed in his learner’s hand, the face that said, “I am kind, gentle, heart-full.” And my friend Jon, who ran Boston in years past, my heart jittery with worry that he was there, that his swift limbs might be among the many obliterated in those harrowing milliseconds of abject cruelty. I and we were lucky, he did not run this year, but someone else’s Jon did, and my heart is filled with agony and hope and prayer for a lissome recovery of mind, body, and spirit.

I used to feel grateful, safe in a bubble of security. Then the outside world turned up the volume, and I couldn’t help but hear it.  People were shot pumping gas, murdered in their place of work. The hubster had a gun drawn on him just across the street, our car got stolen, and myriad neighbors  had their homes ransacked by thieves. No one is safe from the world. Accidents and incidents happen; aeroplanes fall from the sky; guns are fired; grocery stores are robbed; slurs are uttered; women, men, and children are harmed in every manner we can conjure.

I trip and stumble, dumbfounded at the wickedness. I cry hot tears. I hug my knees and rock away the pain. But I do not let it deter me from the love I am wont to share, from moving about in the world, from seeing the blue of the sky and green of the grass, from smiling and uttering hello, from being kind or trusting in the good nature of most. That I cannot abide.


This weekend, while sewing away on a quilt, I listened to Pema Chodron. It is something I like to do, a sort of movement meditation, my fingers cutting, pinning, and stitching her words into my very own mental quilt. One that will warm, comfort, and protect. Something beautiful and flawed, too.

She was talking about a time in her life where she felt a kind of anxiety and terror without a storyline, and no matter what she did or thought, it stayed with her, this heavy presence. Then she spoke to her teacher about it, and he came to recognize it as the Dakini Bliss, where it had seemed like such a burden to Pema. She made it bad, and upon the realization and her desire to actually sit with it and feel it as bliss, it went away.

I have had a similar anxiety for the past few weeks, also without a storyline, also something that I have demonized. Then I heard Pema’s words and realized that it doesn’t have to be a burden or an indication of yet another of my failings. What if I allow myself to be curious, lean into it, as Pema says, not label it, and see what happens? What if I just let it be and not relinquish my power and self esteem to it? What if I let it be bliss?

At that moment something opened in me, and I laughed, an exquisite rain of gratitude falling over me, tender and warm. I’m okay and whatever I am feeling is, too. It might even be bliss!


This is the light of morning, after an early rise Wednesday, thirsty after a late night date with Carson Daly. It was a good show that one, with music from The Naked and Famous, “Punching in a Dream” and “Young Blood,” and a beyond beautiful looking movie from director Benh Zeitlin called Beasts of the Southern Wild (review here). The fil-um is in the queue and the sounds are on the hi-fi. Sho-nuff and many thanks, Mr. Daly.

It was the first warm day for what seemed like ages, dry and sunny, and I wore a dress and sandals, no cardigan required. Hello summer, I’m so glad you could join us.

I drove downtown to pick up the hubster from work, and we headed northwest to Cafe Nell. All the windows were open, happily wrapping us in the breeze. I hit the jackpot with their drink called the Williamsburg – whiskey and absinthe, big and strong like ox! It’s a good thing I was not driving home because I couldn’t even finish one. I told you – I am a cheap date.

We ate delicious food worthy of kings: clams and frites! asparagus! trout! spring pea risotto!

A molten lava cake!

Just look at that spoon, eager to dive back in.

We also very much enjoyed the company of our servers, a whole host of handsome fellas in Levi’s, save the one black sheep with a brand I didn’t know, whose pillow perm was a perfect match to his sweet smile. We talked of music, being the black sheep (I am old hat at that), art, writing, and stylish spectacles. A very fine evening.

Here’s hoping the weekend, yours and mine, is equally grand…

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Not Young


Sometimes I cannot help but feel the heaviness of impermanence. Like I’m carrying a bowling ball, but if I dare set it down, even for a moment, to rest my arms and soul, that I will lose something precious. Irretrievable. It takes all my courage to go on, to breath it in, let it go, and move forward.

The cats, at seventeen and thirteen, are not young. Paris has cloudy eyes and has now started to limp a little when she walks. Milo’s had an occasional gimp for several years. They are going to die. So are you, me, and everyone we know. One fine day. Just let the cats go before I do, for I fear their ways will not get them far in the company of others. They are ours. We are theirs. We understand each other.

A friend of mine has breast cancer. Such heavy words. Another friend had it last year. My neck has a muscle knotted so damn tightly that sometimes I think will snap at the slightest movement. Signs of transiency and frailty. My body, despite all it can do, is not young. My hair is turning grey. I wear bifocals. My cheeks and knees are sagging. It’s only going to keep going. I hope for a long time. I hope at least until my novel is published, kissed those lips again, looked into those eyes, hugged that beautiful soul, seen the summer blue of the sky. But we never really know, do we? What will our last moment be? Happy, I hope, near to grace and all that is fine.

Embrace the everlasting that vanishes with the tide. Watch Paris sit on my lap like a granny and Milo step lightly, helping me put sheets on the bed. Read this sentence and feel gratitude, for this breath, for rainbows in the evening sky (arriba!), for friends near and far, for love, for this moment that is all we have.

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