Friday, February 28, 2014

I had a window seat. The man sitting next to me was beautiful. His skin was the darkest dark. Muscles gleamed. A dog yipped incessantly two rows ahead. The man smiled at me sardonically.  I thought babies crying on planes were bad, he said. He went to sleep, his mouth slightly open. I nodded off, my head dropped, yanked up. I pushed the shade up as the plane descended, a thin blanket of gray and underneath, blue. Just so much blue.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm off to Seattle this afternoon, where I'll be meeting some new people and attending the Caregifted benefit on Friday night. Word is that Molly Ringwald will be singing jazz and the great poet Robert Pinsky attending. Heather McHugh, the Master of Ceremonies, Saint of Caregiver Recognition and Poet is responsible for this beautiful event, and I'm very excited to be a part of it! If you haven't already, please visit the Caregifted website and look around. There's a wonderful video, photos, testimonials and even a place to donate, if you're so inclined. I look back on my week in Victoria, a grant from Caregifted, and realize, yet again, that what I received was literally life-changing.

On another note, are ya'll watching the second season of House of Cards? No sooner had Downton Abbey finished then I opened up my Netflix and watched the first episode. I won't type any spoilers here, but what happened churned my stomach. I was into the first season, and have just now finished the second and third episodes, but I'm wondering why exactly I'm watching such vile people. I've never been a big fan of Kevin Spacey, although I concede he's an incredible actor, and the relationship between him and his scary ice-queen wife, played by Robin Wright, is something to behold. But, it's just gross -- the whole thing -- and at the same time sort of boring, the way perversity is sometimes boring.

Stupid Meditation on Peace

        “He does not come to coo.”
                    —Gerard Manley Hopkins

Insomniac monkey-mind ponders the Dove,
Symbol not only of Peace but sexual
Love, the couple nestled and brooding.

After coupling, the human animal needs
The woman safe for nine months and more.
But the man after his turbulent minute or two

Is expendable. Usefully rash, reckless
For defense, in his void of redundancy
Willing to death and destruction.

Monkey-mind envies the male Dove
Who equally with the female secretes
Pigeon milk for the young from his throat.

For peace, send all human males between
Fourteen and twenty-five to school
On the Moon, or better yet Mars.

But women too are capable of Unpeace,
Yes, and we older men too, venom-throats.
Here’s a great comic who says on our journey

We choose one of two tributaries: the River
Of Peace, or the River of Productivity.
The current of Art he says runs not between

Banks with birdsong in the fragrant shadows—
No, an artist must follow the stinks and rapids
Of the branch that drives the millstones and dynamos.

Is peace merely a vacuum, the negative
Of creation, or the absence of war?
The teaching says Peace is a positive energy.

Still something in me resists that sweet milk,
My mind resembles my restless, inferior cousin
Who fires his shit in handfuls from his cage.

(lifted from the Poetry Foundation page)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Korean Spas, Catholics, Epilepsy, Stigma, Seattle and Other Astonishing Things

So, I did a little work today for the non-profit that helps kids in foster care. I commented on a friend's article on a Catholic mother website and veered off topic and then regretted it. I think it was the Catholic part that set me off. I also went to the Korean spa for a scrub, and when I was finished I told a friend to remind me to do it more often. Honestly, it's like being reborn. Speaking of Korea, I just read an article about South Korea changing the name of epilepsy to cerebral electric disorder. "They" are doing this because of the stigma surrounding the word -- and the condition. In Korea, epilepsy has been considered the result of "evanescent spiritual forces and even demonic possession." I'm not sure what I think about changing the actual word and how much it might remove the stigma. I do remember, though, back in the day, when people would ask me what was wrong with Sophie, and I'd tell them she had a seizure disorder. It's not EPILEPSY, is it? they'd inevitably answer, and then I'd sigh and tell them yes. Back in the day, I'd also tell them the statistics and how epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in the world, that anyone can have a seizure at any time in the life-span. Blah, blah, blah. If the person asking me was utterly clueless, they might add, But can't they give her something for that? or the even more clueless She'll probably grow out of it, right? I'd politely answer the questions, make them feel better and then scream in my mind.  As for the demonic possession part -- well -- there are certain types of seizures that perhaps warrant that description, especially if we didn't know any better. When Sophie had atonic drops, she could be standing up or even sitting on the edge of her bed, and in the blink of an eye -- or even half-blink -- her face would be planted on the floor. I don't think I could have pushed her any harder or quicker if I'd put my hand on the back of her head and slammed it there myself. The fact that it happened, sometimes, upwards of a hundred times a day warranted demonic as a descriptor.

Speaking of Catholics, there's the medieval case of Christina the Astonishing, a woman who lived from 1150 to 1224 and whose seizures were understood to be her willing submission to demonic torments to provide much needed respite for those in purgatory. The medical abstract I read about Christina stated that her case was unique in that she provides an ingenious link between the demonic and divine explanations of the disorder. Oy. Catholics! Neurology! (You can watch Nick Cave sing her life here)


Well, that was certainly an irritable rebirth, wasn't it?


I'm a bit wired up having been in terrible traffic all day. The dang Academy Awards are on Sunday, right up the street from where I live, so streets are closed and helicopters are circling and it's hard to not be a hater and feel it's all bullshit. On the plus side, I'm getting ready to fly to Seattle tomorrow to attend the Caregifted benefit. I'm excited because I've never been to the rainy city, and I think Heather McHugh's foundation is one of the most outstanding in the country and certainly deserving of donation. You can visit the site here. Heather told me that she'll be showing the Extreme Parenting Video Project at the benefit, so many of you will make the party virtually! If you haven't seen the video and would like to do so, go over to my right sidebar and click on my picture holding up that sign. I'll be leaving Los Angeles just as some rainstorm of the century hits it, and word is that Seattle will be sunny. What are the chances of that?

I might not be posting very much over the next few days, but I promise to get out of this irritable mood and rebirth myself.

Casting my mind back to George Herbert

He was one of my favorite old poets. I still remember The Collar, reading it for some English class or another in college, sucked in and sucker-punched by the last two lines. I felt faint in church as a girl, saw the black dots floating in front of my eyes as I stood and sat and stood and kneeled again. What did I love in such seriousness? Where did it fly? 

Prayer (I)

Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
         God's breath in man returning to his birth,
         The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
         Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
         The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
         Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
         Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
         Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
         The land of spices; something understood.

George Herbert (1593-1633)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Thin Line

Do you wish you had an electric car, Mom? Mom? Mom?


Do you wish you had an electric car?

Not really. I don't really care about cars.

Why not?

Because I really don't.

What about riding in a Blimp over Dodger Stadium when we win the World Series? Would you want to do that?

No, not really.

Why not? That's on my bucket list. What's on your bucket list?

Parenting can go either way, but it's a thin line between joy and insanity.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How We Do It, Part XLI in a Series

Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary
There are burning bushes all around you.
Every tree is full of angels.
Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.

Macrina Weiderkehr

There's a blue hallway leading out from Sophie's room, and right to the left is a framed poster. It's been there for years, but this morning as I led Sophie out to take her to school, she stopped and turned toward the poster. What? I asked Sophie, are you reading that? She literally cocked her head and stared at it for a few moments, and I read aloud, Everything is going to be ok. She turned her head back and faced forward and took a few steps, then did the same thing, first looking at the vines on the wall and then ahead at the books on the shelf. My father sent me a check a very long time ago, helping us to fund some sort of treatment or therapy for Sophie, so long ago that the tiny piece of paper that was clipped to the check is nearly indecipherable and curling at the edges. I've kept that piece of paper in my purse along with several other slips of paper and mementoes. Everything is going to be ok, it says in my father's dense yet elegant script. It's ok, it's ok, we've whispered to Sophie over and over as she's seized, over and over and over. It's ok. Everything is going to be ok.

How to Live, Part One

Bernarr Macfadden
c. 1899

Starting today,

I do believe I'm going to make an attempt to answer or respond to each of your comments. It's only fair to continue a conversation, right?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Heavenly Shoes

Cleaning out drawers, an old tape cassette, tiny, pinched writing, this song:

CBD Hippie Chick

What's that look like to you, O Doubtful Fearful Dictator of the Randomized Double-Blind Placebo- Controlled Trial?

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Colleges are eschewing their very purpose — to educate people — so they can attempt to become finishing schools for yuppies or discount degree mills.
Matthew Saccaro 
As I continue to whack weeds and forge a new path for Oliver, I am constantly mulling over the state of education, too, for Henry -- will he stay motivated and interested (hopefully), will he be able to go to the college of his choice (probably not), will we be able to afford it (definitely not)? I'm at once suckered in and repelled by the planning that most of my friends have to do with their kids as they move closer toward high school graduation, and when I read this article today, I felt the substantiation (is that a word) of my gut feelings which are really just swirling about, not fully formed. But like the proverbial cow chewing her cud, I'll be thinking about all of this for a while.

Reader, what do you think?


Saturday Morning Re-post: Cahuenga Dream

I drove down the 101 South this afternoon, got off the Cahuenga exit and crept through Hollywood. When Bob Marley came on, I was transported, as I nearly always am, to another life nearly thirty years ago. I was going to write it, the memory, the music, the sway, a porch, was it the beginning of spring, another college year? Tonight, bourbon in my throat, I searched for the words and typed a bit, knew it had come before and found this:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Acupuncture Dream

On the way over, I knew already what I was going to think about when the needles were in, the door was shut and the music was on. I knew that I was going to go back to you, to a house on the side of a road, a wooden porch, a Carolina dusk of sticky left off soft, a folding chair with rusty legs, your worn khakis and the reggae sway as I pulled into the driveway. I knew I'd think of it as I drifted off, my channels open, your guitar put down as I leaped into your lap, my head thrown back where you kissed my neck, your wide smile, tilting.

Friday, February 21, 2014

When Homeschooling and Han Dynasty Men Collide with Technology

So, this morning Oliver and I were reading in his History of the World book about China in the seventeenth century -- while the Protestants and the Catholics were battling it out in the Hundred Years War, the Manchus were dictating to the Han Chinese about their hair (shave your forehead, grow a pigtail). I asked Oliver to use his iPad and pull up an image of a Han Chinese, and being dyslexic he spoke into the device and we got this:

Evidently, Siri or whoever the heck inhabits the iPad, misunderstood Oliver and gave us some hot Chinese men. Hilarity ensued, and it was hard going to get back on track with the historical executing and plundering and conquests.

There's some larnin' going on in these parts (and not pants!).

Good Lord. I imagine someone is blocking my post as we speak --

I'm drinking coffee and devouring the sun. I'm contemplating, uncomfortably, last night's conversation with the teenager about grades, about technology, about disappointment and distractions, about what the hell we're all doing on this decaying planet. Sleep was something tossed at me last night, and if my bed were a person, she'd laugh as she swung a bat. A home run! the crowd would cheer, and I'd be the one who reached high, so high it hurt but not high enough.

Ladies and Gentlemen of A.D. 2088

Thursday, February 20, 2014

UPDATE 2: A Medical Marijuana Update: The Behemoth Moves, God Said, "Let There Be Light" and Other Wonders

Wow Wow and More Wow:

Read this.

Of special interest, at least to me, is the addendum at the bottom of the article by Orrin Devinsky. He's done a bit of an about-face or, at the very least, recognized (by the groundswell of retorts, I'm sure) that the previous Op-Ed offended a lot of people and didn't properly address our community's concerns. That the Epilepsy Foundation of America came down on the side of the families and that Devinsky spoke of proof and compassion fills me with hope and wonder. I feel a bit as if the several hundred of us using Charlotte's Web and other high-CBD strains are at ground zero for what might very well be a revolution in epilepsy treatment.

On the other hand, don't think I'm some sort of naive lady, exulting in the capitulation of the Powers That Be. There's so much politics involved here, Big Pharma, the FDA, the DEA -- hell, the kinds of spats that happen on the cannibis groups on Facebook make my skin crawl. Who the hell knows how it will all shake out? We'll keep documenting the anecdotal evidence of Sophie's dramatic decrease in seizures for the first time in nineteen years (even as powerful AEDs are withdrawn!) and crossing our fingers and toes that the supply of Charlotte's Web is readily available to us.

In the meantime, I'm going to start learning how to grow and make it myself because I don't trust anyone.

And you can hold me to that.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Things I've Noticed About Medical Marijuana, Sophie and The World in General

When I put on Sophie's socks in the morning, she doesn't startle when I touch her foot and then go into a seizure.

When I put on Sophie's pants in the morning, she doesn't flex her foot so rigidly that I can't get her pants leg over it.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper reports that the case against the archdiocese of Los Angeles regarding pedophile priests and Cardinal Mahoney's specific participation in shielding these men, shuffling them around the church and then hiring legions of fancy lawyers to defend him is now settled. Many of the abused will receive monetary damages, the Catholic church had to borrow from cemetary funds to pay the damages and Cardinal Mahoney never went to jail.

When she wakes up in the morning, Sophie doesn't spend forty-five minutes having myoclonic seizures.

Sophie has no body odor or clammy hands and feet.

Not a day goes by that some article or another appears about medical marijuana and its effects on epilepsy. I'm noticing that The Powers That Be are rattling their sabers, bemoaning the lack of evidence, rattling on about double-blind placebo studies blah blah blah and never once mentioning that our children have been subjected to dozens of drugs in what surely must be an experimental fashion as the combinations are near endless and no one seems to know apparently what these drugs do and have done to our children's precious bodies.

The boys and I have eaten dinner with her for weeks and weeks, and we haven't had to go into rescue mode when Sophie has a seizure at the table.

Red plants produce green conical blossoms that break into yellow flowers all on their own.

My favorite medical expression on the inserts of anti-epileptic drugs: Mechanism of action unknown.

I haven't had to drag Sophie down the hallway to her room after a seizure in weeks and weeks.

You should read these two beautiful posts before the month of February is out:

American Promise
I Just Looked Around and He's Gone

Reader, what have you noticed today?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not much to say

I just typed out there's not much to say in answer to a friend's anguished question to me regarding the death of dear Maggie this past weekend. And that's the damn truth. I think about Maggie and my friend Sally, her mother, nearly every moment. I opened my eyes this morning and wondered how Sally was opening hers. I think about my Sophie and her own fragility. I think about the fact that she's going weeks without seizures for the first time in her life and what that would mean if she were to suddenly die. I think about Oliver's cry, not too long ago, what is it all for? I think about the Buddhist tenets of suffering, of clinging and not-clinging. I think of the men and women of Wall Street, those that I read of today, the several that I actually know, their secret society where they dress up, act out, mock those that have less, exalt their own goddamned positions. What is there to say about that? I think of the pink Japanese magnolia petals against the blue sky and how the pink curls at the ends into white then brown then falls then rots. I crush it between my fingers, and it stinks, but only faintly. There's the memory of scent behind the decay. But there's not much, and I really don't know what to say.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Maggie Margaret McDonald

It's with a heavy, heavy heart that I dedicate today's post to Maggie McDonald, one of the brightest lights to shine in our community. Some of you might know Maggie from her mother Sally's wonderful blog titled Maggie World. That's where I came to know her, lighting on her shining face, reading of her raucous sense of humor and her dogged persistence to live life joyfully despite serious disability. I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie in person several years ago when I visited San Francisco, and I can still remember her riotous joke-telling -- Maggie couldn't talk, but she used an augmentive communication device and loved a good joke, told me several the afternoon we sat in her house. I texted Sally on Saturday morning, expecting to get together with them again. I had hoped Sally and Maggie would join us in Golden Gate Park on another beautiful day. I looked forward to hearing some more jokes and to laughing with Sally, too, whose dark sense of humor easily rivals my own. Sally called me, though, and told me that they had lost their girl the night before, unexpectedly. Unexpectedly because while those of us in this extreme parenting world might expect to live beyond our children, it's still shocking, still unexpected when they leave us. My heart goes out to Sally, her dear husband Steve and their beautiful sons, Tim and Eddie. I am blessed to have gotten to know Maggie through her mother's words and then my visit with her, but I'm going to miss her. We all will.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I'm ready to go back to college

Dang. I wish I was still in college, walking through the stacks, running my skinny fingers over ancient books. The boys and I wandered around Stanford today, and I dragged them through the reading rooms of the beautiful main library, up through the floors of the stacks, past the little carrels. It smells exactly the same -- dusty and dry, ike medieval battlefields maybe or French poetry. I wished to be twenty again, a boy just around the corner, my books at my hip, the smell of everything that was and everything that was to come.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reason and Feeling

My heart's been racing nearly the whole day, and I can't get out of my mind that opinion piece in the New York Times nor the four hundred-odd comments, most of which are push-back. I'm thinking of Blaise Pascal whom I studied and read voraciously for quite some time. I'm thinking of his statement that all of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling. I am told or feel compelled to be reasonable, yet it's feeling that grips the back of my neck, threads like fish through my brain, brightly colored, still elusive. Is it laziness that prevents me from writing a letter with reason to the paper or a surrender to feeling?  Is it ego that compels me to raise my voice and desire to be heard, to be, in a sense vindicated? That opinion piece by Devinsky and Friedman was the proverbial nail in the coffin, as I lay dying. There's no reason, there, only feeling and the feeling is only as desolate as freedom. Freedom feels like doing whatever the hell it wants with certainty, the powers that be be damned.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On Devinsky and Friedman's Opinion Piece in the New York Times About Medical Marijuana

I'm going to fly through this post with my initial reaction to the New York Times' recent opinion piece on medical marijuana, titled We Need Proof on Marijuana. That means it's what I think on the fly after reading it, in light of my own experience giving Charlotte's Web to my nineteen year old daughter for the last several months. And since I'm a very fast typist and perhaps an even faster thinker, I'm going to slow myself down and number these thoughts. Here we go:

  1. First of all, Orrin Devinsky and Daniel Friedman are huge in the pediatric epilepsy world, and I know both of them. I haven't seen either in as many years as I've lived in Los Angeles, but they are excellent doctors and good people.
  2. I'm immediately put off by the line drawing that accompanies the article -- a Cure All Magical Elixir -- and its implication that there's something fishy going on.
  3. The rest of the piece is patent bullshit and makes me despair again over the vast and seemingly irreparable rift between the professional epilepsy world and the rest of us -- the caregivers of these kids with refractory seizures.
  4. My daughter has been on twenty drugs in as many years and not a single one of them has done anything to control her seizures or heal her in any way. In fact, most of them have caused her harm: discomfort, pain, irritability, anorexia, systemic abnormalities, headaches, ataxia, more and different seizures, nausea and the risk of death. In the short term and over the long term. 
  5. On Charlotte's Web Sophie is now having no seizures for weeks at a time. For the first time in her life. Unless Sophie has been faking multiple seizures a day for her entire life, this is no placebo.
  6. If Sophie were to die, five years from now -- hell, TWO years from now or even several months from now -- because of the "long-term effects of medical marijuana," I would be grateful that she had those days or months or years free of seizures for the first time in her life and in the life of her two brothers who have watched her seize daily for their entire twelve and fifteen years. I am decidedly NOT grateful for the life that the so-called "studied medications" have allowed her to live.
  7. Devinsky and Friedman state their concerns for the long term effects of medical marijuana on the child's brain. I understand their concerns, and I understand it's in their interest -- and the hundreds of thousands of children with epilepsy's interest -- to study this plant, but when they write this: Where is the data showing that marijuana is effective for epilepsy? Although parents may report improvements in their children, it is important to remember that the placebo response is powerful, and the placebo response is greater in pediatric than adult studies. Before more children are exposed to potential risks, before more desperate families uproot themselves and spend their life savings on unproven miracle marijuana cures, we need objective data from randomized placebo-controlled trials I feel the condescension that I have grown to expect dripping from their mouths, the page, the screen, the universe they live in and have lived in as long as I began navigating it on June 14th, 1995. I have an unequivocal lack of confidence in that universe.
  8. I am glad that Devinsky and Friedman are appealing to the federal government to remove marijuana from its draconian place as a Schedule 1 drug, but this train has left the station and, given the tone of this piece, frankly, I don't give a flying foo-foo what the Almighty Neurology World thinks.
I'm not just seeing. I'm spitting stars.

Sunset Over Los Angeles and My Dad and I

All photos except for the last one were taken by Oliver at Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook.

Home School, Science, Bread and Butter

So, this morning we did some experiments with the new chemistry kit and then I dropped Oliver off at his urban homeschool science class. I read a bit in the car, took a walk and bought a baguette at a crunchy granola hipster market. I bought some fancy French butter with sea salt, too, that was ridiculously expensive, and then I unashamedly smeared it on the baguette with my fingers in the car. I know that if I were sexy Nigella Lawson ya'll would think I was great and love her! but I'm just me, with sea salty buttery fingers and a half of a baguette in a brown paper sack in my white Mazda.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The-Not-Into-the-Olympics-Spectacle-Girl is moved

It's no confession but, rather, the disgruntled ravings of a Not-Into-the-Olympics-Spectacle-Girl that makes me admit to crying a bit last night when I watched this story.

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, Part One

one of my favorite childhood/teenage books

On Sophie's hair, throughout her life, but particularly when she was a baby:

Is her hair naturally curly?

No, we perm it regularly.

On an explanation that Sophie's "problems" were due to epilepsy:

Can't they give her something for that?

You know, we hadn't thought to consult a doctor. Maybe we will!

How do you do it? I never could!

Hmmm. When it gets really bad, I mainline heroin. Otherwise, I guess I'd just lie on the floor and do nothing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My dad's visit

Right around the corner from my house and cross the street from this art installation titled Madame Mao on Lenin:

is this:

I just left my father and Oliver wandering the aisles where I imagine they could  live if someone brought them food. There are projects afoot -- lighting and gardening, sprinklers, an end to the large foam sheets that lie in the shed from the last visit. My father is 77 years old and in remarkable shape. We went for a long walk before the OSH odyssey, and during that walk, he told me his life story from about age 12 when he had his first job delivering groceries in upper Manhattan to age 25 when he began what became a nearly fifty year career at Saks Fifth Avenue. There was army service in there, meeting my mother, working as a stockboy and then a clerk and then a very young executive. He went to night school in Brooklyn for nearly ten years but never got a degree.  He is the son of southern Italian immigrants who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1920. His father owned a bar and grill in Harlem, and last night we had pondered the question of prohibition, wondering whether the business was a speakeasy. Here's a photo of the bar and grill that I've posted before:

So many stories, and I'm excited and grateful to have this time with him to hear them. I intend to write them down, gather up the stories, maybe write a book to share with our family.

More later --

Random poetry


Not the one who takes up his bed and walks
But the ones who have known him all along
And carry him in

Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked
In their backs, the stretcher handles 
Slippery with sweat. And no let-up

Until he's strapped on tight, made tiltable
And raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait

For the burn of the paid-out ropes to cool,
Their slight lightheadedness and incredulity
To pass, those ones who had known him all along.

Seamus Heaney

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pop Pop is here and at work

That's my fabulous father who has paid us a surprise visit while my mother is traveling elsewhere. We've already been to the new neighborhood hardware store, purchased some stuff and he's fixing things. I am a lucky, lucky woman to have such a father.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On Becoming a Lacrosse Mother

Henry is Number 10

My baseball Saturdays have now officially become lacrosse Saturdays.

I watched Henry play two games of lacrosse today in two different locations for a total of three hours game time, 2 hours of pre-game warm-up and another hour of driving. The first game was a high school game, and Reader, it was intense. Henry's team played a high school that is known for its football team (I believe one of the best in the nation?), and a few of the lacrosse players (who also play football) had tattoos. I'm not sure what strange karma I'm acting out by being the decidedly unathletic and disinterested mother to a kid who at one point nearly knocked heads with another over something illegal or another, but I acted nonchalant while I died inside. A fellow parent whom I vaguely remember from flag football days, at least six years ago (when the boys had neither hair on their legs nor tattoos),  as a screaming type of coach-father, nodded at the posturing of the two boys, and when I asked him what the problem was, he said, Testosterone. Good for Henry. I never know what the hell is going on on the field, so I nodded my head,  but in my mind they were roosters with their chests puffed up. Don't worry, though, Reader. I refrained from using my words, at least those words that I am quite skilled at using, and I shed all metaphors and stood up occasionally to shout strong and admonitory verbs. Karma is a bitch.

At the second game, I believe my son was actually thrown out of the game toward the end for yelling something or other at the ref, but how would I know what the true story was as I was finishing another chapter of The Luminaries in my car.

Saturday Three-Line Movie Review

I went to the Chilean movie Gloria with great expectations that I'd sit in orgasmic joy watching a middle-aged woman find herself and prove her sexual identity in spite of her age or size or whatever, and while Paulina Garcia's portrayal was what they call a tour de force, I left the movie feeling depressed and hung over for the rest of the day. This is no Shirley Valentine, a movie I found charming, sweet and superficial, but more cinema verite, and while my view is perhaps contrarian, I felt dragged down and through the dark bars and false night-clubs of Santiago and utterly not seduced by the man with whom Gloria has a passionate affair. An intense female movie about aging, Gloria lingers on Garcia's face, her every expression, is a film about seeing, actually, and while I'm on the subject, Gloria's over-sized and awkward glasses that I could never quite figure out (were they purposefully vintage?) distracted me throughout the whole movie which might be the review right there: I just didn't want to see it.

Other 3-Line Movie Reviews:

Labor Day 

Friday, February 7, 2014

When I Don't Love Los Angeles

I was just drinking some coffee (it was bitter) and eating an English muffin with egg white and turkey bacon (it was kind of gross, really), waiting for my morning movie to start (you'll get the three-line review tomorrow) when the woman pictured above walked in. She was Swedish, and she wasn't young. I'm not sure whether she was a Sikh practicing Kundalini yoga, getting ready to jazzercise or was just out for a cup of coffee on a Friday morning in Los Angeles, but this is the sort of stuff that makes me not enjoy the life here. I simultaneously feel superior and intensely inferior. I think Why? when I look at her, head to toe, and then I think God. I wish I were a thin, tall blonde Swedish woman with a smile on my face. I feel old this afternoon, bitter like my coffee and missing New York City where my dark hair, black tee-shirt and careworn visage might be appreciated. Better yet, I bet I'd be a goddess in Cosenza, my ancestral home in southern Italy.

Reader, what's happening in your parts (not pants)?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How We Do It, Part XL

I hate it when people ask me what Sophie knows. I don't know what Sophie knows. I'll say everything and I'll think nothing. I'll say nothing and think everything. A man once asked me whether she knew anyone, whether she could feel love. He popped peanuts into his mouth. He was nice, I heard, and now he's dead. A child therapist once asked what her abilities were, how much can she really contribute to the family? After I removed the hatchet from my chest, I cleaved her in two. So, I don't know. I've hissed at Sophie in the night when she doesn't sleep, when she's seized and is awake, agitated, her brain a seeming jumble, a jungle -- trees, a forest, dense and dark and obtuse. A ruin, her life and mine. These are jungle thoughts. I've hissed at her in the night, not nice, so not nice, and I know she knows me then. She knows me and I'll imagine she hates me. I reframe the not-knowing to punish myself. Where she leaves off and I begin or where I leave off and she begins. I am thrust backward to a motel room in La Jolla, the year of El Nino. The rain pelting down. The navys of the two rooms we shared, the electric stove, the overhead fan. The crib. How she never slept. She was so beautiful, her hair a cap of ringlets, her head tilted. She smiled and folded her legs, even then.


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