June 2021

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Free Us

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.

Joan Didion


Hi ALL! Though summer has yet to officially begin, the heat (SO hot!) and sun and wild rollick of garden blooms speaks otherwise, so here we are with my recent favorites.

Tokyo Girl, which is not a movie but a stellar t.v. show. It follows Aya from a teenager dreaming of moving to Tokyo, to a recent college graduate making the move to the big city, all the way into her 40s. I loved this! It’s so rare to find a show that feels so true to a woman’s emotional journey, dreaming of one life while another unfolds. Additionally, as someone who has never visited Japan, it was such a treat to get an intimate look at neighborhood life in Tokyo.

Arctic – a man struggles against weather and polar bears after his plane crashes. He is mad-clever and great at systems, but his burden becomes far more dear when the helicopter come to his rescue crashes, and he must help a woman in far worse shape than he. Not a thriller in the typical sense, but Greg and I were seriously stressed out as we rooted for the pair to make it to safety. And bonus, what beautiful scenery!

All Nighter – A father with poor communication skills enlists his daughter’s ex to help him find her after she fails to return his phone calls. Silly and funny and light-hearted.

Freaks – A father and daughter exist in isolation, only venturing outside when absolutely necessary. But why? Is it delusion, madness, a criminal past? Something strange is going on, and the film makers sure kept us guessing!

The Assistant – Spend the day in the life of an assistant to a very important and powerful entertainment mogul. A subtle and disturbing glimpse at the sacrifices people make to bring their dreams to life.

Map of Tiny Imperfect Things – A teenager relives, a la Groundhog Day, one day over and over again, no deviation from the norm. Until a young woman enters the scene and he is flummoxed. It takes ages, but he finds her again, and they form a friendship before coming to grips with what it might take to move into the future. All.The.Things. Yup.

A Fantastic Fear of Everything – A crazy romp with a man who spends far too much time in his head and not nearly enough in the actual world. Paranoid and squeamish, he sees horror lurking around every corner, even laundry freaks this guy out. We laughed A LOT.

The Farewell – Billi, a flailing artist, learns her beloved Nai Nai (grandma) has a terminal illness. Against her family’s wishes, she travels to China for a wedding banquet to say goodbye without arousing suspicion of her diagnosis. Tender and filled with love, with a pro-collectivist nod. By not disclosing her illness, the family takes the burden off Nai Nai and shares it, so she might live more peacefully. Chew on that.

Uncle Frank – 1973. A rather sheltered Southern young woman moves to New York to attend the college where her Uncle Frank is also a professor. During a party at his apartment, she learns he is gay. Soon after, her grandfather dies and the pair drive down for the funeral. A story of love and understanding, a fair dose of hatred (self and other) and fear, of those who can cope with gayness, and those who cannot. Brilliantly done.

Long Strange Trip – When I was in college, my friend Mitch and I had a shared love for Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin, and Big Head Todd. Where I could not join him was in his affection for the Grateful Dead. As much as I tried, no matter how catchy, I did not like Truckin’ or Uncle John’s Band. I could not abide a Touch of Gray, and said as much. He was kindly and told me the JAMS were where it’s at. End of conversation.

Here we are, some twenty-nine years later, and Long Strange Trip pops up on Prime. If you know me, I’ll watch any documentary of quality, regardless of subject. Greg joined me, and we loved it. I scribbled song titles as the fascinating history unfolded. Turns out Mitch was right. It IS the jams. We’ve been playing a pretty steady stream. Apologies all these years later, my friend, wherever you are.


Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.

Napoleon Bonaparte


When I gardened in Portland, I could generally expect plants to reach their potential the year after putting them into the ground. Here in Colorado Springs, it takes a good three years for plants to equal that size and maturity. How different life is in the high desert, with our house perched at a majestic 7000 feet. But, alas, it does happen, and this is THE year! The garden, and the peonies in particular, are the best they’ve ever been, with giant beautiful blossoms currently bursting. I am taking in the scent of my favorite coral charm, on my birthday, of all wondrous days. The one, this year, that I turned FIFTY.

We celebrated with a trip to Mirch Masala and the i-Cool rolled ice cream spot because that is exactly what I was craving. At 50, I really know what I do and do not want, and have no qualms about expressing myself.

I have found that I am more at peace than I have ever been, on every level. I know what I can and cannot control in my life, what is worthy of fussing over, and what is best left ignored (annoying neighbors and stressful news on the very top of the list). A new level of freedom, truly.

I have also made peace with my body, realizing how perfect it once was with me utterly blind to it, to recognizing its current state with deep affection. The softer belly, sturdy legs coupled with weaker knees, strong arms, eyes blurry close-up and wholly capable of spying movement far afield, and feet that prefer solid orthotics. Oh, and the wrinkles and thousands of grey hairs weaving a mystical topographic map of my wondrous life of adventure.

Most of all, you will not be surprised to read, I remain luckiest in love. Greg is the best partner, friend, and cuddler I could ever have conjured with a magic wand. Our life together is one for the ages.

I have no platitudes for you… Every day of your lives is practice in becoming the person you want to be. No instantaneous miracle is suddenly going to occur and make you brave and courageous and true.

Audre Lorde


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