Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twenty-nine and a half years ago, a tall skinny blond guy walked in the door of the apartment I was living in - he was the cousin of a roommate - and the moment I saw him I thought, "That's the man I'm going to marry." Oddly, I was dating someone else at the time, but the heart, or mine at any rate, pays no attention to such things. Unfortunately, his did. After pining for him (and even breaking up with the boyfriend!) to no avail, I filed my odd little first thought about him sadly away in the circular file marked 'Idiotic thoughts and dreams I've had.' It's a big file and very full.

After some ascetic years for me spent in the serious pursuit of art (in artfully paint-spattered clothes of course), and some seriously misguided relationships for him (he dated a sorority girl! They had nothing in common. Go figure!), the wisdom of the heart prevailed. Four and a half years later, dear reader, I married him.

That was twenty-five years ago today. Looking back now, it seems like we were babies who hardly knew each other. But I know him now, and I'd do it again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ms. Muddle

"My dear, I am worried about you. It seems to me that you are in a muddle... Take an old man's word; there's nothing worse than a muddle in all the world. It is easy to face Death and Fate, and the things that sound so dreadful. It is on my muddles that I look back with horror--on the things that I might have avoided. We can help one another but little. I used to think I could teach young people the whole of life, but I know better now, and all my teaching of George has come down to this: beware of muddle."
(Mr. Emerson to Lucy Honeychurch in A Room With a View.)

I haven't been writing here much lately because, honestly, I'm in something of a muddle. I thought I'd sort things out, get through it, and be able to start writing sensible and thoughtful posts again, but it seems to be a fairly big muddle I'm in. The kind of muddle that is so deep that getting out of it changes who you are. So here, because you are all so sweet and deserve an explanation, are the basic issues I'm trying, inadequately, to sort out:

1. Lately, my husband has been more fatigued than is normal for him. Finally (after much hounding from me) he went for a check up. The doctor said that his liver function is somewhat compromised because of lack of circulation. Which means that, down the pike, we may be facing a liver transplant. When K. was first ill, we spent a lot of time in the transplant clinic, in waiting rooms full of transplant patients. Most of them were either desperately sick from organ rejection or bizarrely bloated from steroids. It's not a road I want to go down, but of course I will if I have to.

In three days we will have been married for twenty-five years. He is the pillar that holds up my sky, and all I want is another twenty-five years with him.

2. My mother is, it's clear to me, in the earliest stages of alzheimer's. She is still functioning pretty well, but I see that in the not-too-distant future she won't be able to live independently and will need to come an live with us. Which is as I want it to be, but it's a big change, the idea of caring for the parent who always cared for you.

3. My special-needs daughter is going through a seriously rough patch, crying and screaming a lot. She's gone through worse, and she always comes out of them, but it's exhausting when you're in the middle of it.

There I am in a nutshell (emphasis on the word nut). So if I'm writing less, calling less, visiting you and/or your blogs less, and am just generally not my usual peppy and voluble self, I hope you'll understand that it's not you. It's me and my muddle.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An utterly enchanting film!

I just saw this film, The Beaches of Agnes, by and about Agnes Varda, a well-known French Nouvelle Vague filmmaker. I can't recommend it enough! It's brilliant, tender, and very funny. Go see it if it comes to your area!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I've been a very bad blogger lately. Let's blame it on the holidays and their various distractions, joyous and otherwise. For us as a family, one of the joys will be that my mother is coming for Christmas. My kids simply adore her. And I mean that they adore her in a pure and simple way I can't anymore.

So for me, one of the 'otherwises' will be that my mother will be coming for the holidays. I do really love her to pieces. But Laws-a-mercy (as my grandmother used to say) she makes me crazy as a loon. She inevitably comes out with a corker of some kind. Some of her recent winners are:
"If I hadn't married your father and had you children, I could have been a Virginia Woolf Scholar." And, on hearing that a fortune teller said I'd be famous "It will probably be because one of your children is famous."

But if she has a misguided head (and mouth) she does have a very loving heart, and for that I forgive all the rest. So I'm reading Deborah Tannen's book about the messages and metamessages of mother/daughter talk and I will try very hard to hear what she means and not what she says. And I will try very hard not to smack her upside the head. Really.