Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Musings

I learned today that David Axelrod, President Obama's closest advisor and longtime political strategist is on his way back to Chicago, where he will be "cranking up" Obama's re-election campaign. I was always interested and excited that Axelrod was so close to the President, namely because he has a daughter with a severe seizure disorder and because his wife, Susan Axelrod, has been instrumental in raising awareness of epilepsy through her formidable non-profit foundation called CURE. I think that the last few years has brought much more publicity to the general cause, including several segments with the Axelrods on 60 Minutes and an entire issue of Newsweek Magazine in 2009. Among the many informative articles in that issue was one about the Axelrods' personal struggle with their daughter Lauren's seizure disorder.

As I read the article in The Los Angeles Times newspaper today about Axelrod's tenure at the White House, I was struck by his answer to the reporter's question regarding healthcare reform:

Reporter: You played a big role in passing "Obamacare."

Axelrod: I came at the healthcare law from a very personal place, because I have a daughter with a chronic disease. I was a young reporter at the Tribune when she started seizing, when she was 7 months old. We were in an HMO. They didn't cover her drugs, which were running $8,000 to $10,000 a year. They were talking about brain surgery. I was making $45,000 a year. We almost went broke...The night that the bill [healthcare] passed, the president was in there with the staff watching the vote, and I slipped out and came in here and closed the door. I was overcome.

That statement obviously resonates with me on many levels -- both intellectually and emotionally. I am confused, overall, about healthcare reform, grateful that it passed, however flawed, but frustrated by its huge limitations and its cut-off reach. At this point, I'm not sure how one goes about making it better without resorting to resignation, disappointment, ranting and raving. The collision of those who believe in the efficacy of government with those who believe it to be intrusive and even evil pales in comparison to the collision between the rights and needs of individuals and those of big business. I lose hope, often, that we will ever be a society, a country that values our children over our "way of life" and the almighty dollar.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rainy Sunday

I've been sitting in bed nearly all morning, drinking coffee and ignoring my children by only uttering yeahs and neat when they ask me something or show me something. I'm reading Keith Richards' Life and Susan Casey's The Wave and if there are two subjects completely opposite to my life right now as I live it they might be rock and roll as practiced by the Stones and surfing big waves as practiced by Laird Hamilton and native Hawaiians. Life, though, makes me think of my first husband and all the records we listened to, first in our rented farmhouse on the outskirts of Chapel Hill and then the rented pentecostal church in east Nashville where we lived once we were married. How so much time and life can have gone by is weird --

This is what the rest of the family is up to --

Spanish homework

the creation of a Football Shrine -- I didn't ask for details

Valentine, wishing that someone would pay attention

iPad  book

Blog Gems #8

Jen at The King and Eye is hosting another Blog Gems, where those of us who participate, go through the archives of our blogs and find something that suits the week's theme. Today the theme is Holiday, and you can find my link HERE.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Afternoon

REMINDER: A Mother's Day Out Giveaway for Southern Californians or Visitors

I have two tickets to give away for you and a guest to have a special afternoon and evening of entertainment featuring a new show called "In Mother Words." This show, "written by some of contemporary theater's most talented voices, tackles the subject of motherhood in an eye-opening, hilarious and irresistible night of theater and makes its West Coast debut with award-winning actors Jane Kaczmarek, Saidah Arrika Ekulona and James Lecesne." 

I plan on attending with a friend and am excited to have the opportunity to give two tickets away to one of you!

The show will be at The Geffen Playhouse, here in Los Angeles on February 19th at 8:00 PM. The Geffen Playhouse is a non-profit that gives back to the community every year. This event, like all programs at the Geffen Playhouse, will go to benefit numerous community outreach programs. The Geffen Playhouse has six major education initiatives that engage more than 18,000 students and community members in the live arts each year, touching people of all ages who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to experience theater. These programs extend the reach of traditional educatio programs to include children from as young as toddlers at the theater's Saturday Scene performances, to seniors as old as 100 with the Geffen's landmark CREATE program. So, not only will you be able to enjoy a fun day, but you'll also be helping the theater to give back to the southern California community!

Please leave a comment if you're interested in entering the giveaway. I will randomly choose a winner and announce the winner on Wednesday, February 2nd!

Good luck!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Big toe of sculpture found in the Piazza del Popola, Rome, Italy

I've never mentioned it before, mainly because I cringe at mentioning the super physically personal, but I have an arthritic big toe and a heel that tends toward plantar fascitis. Both ailments hit me when I was in my mid-forties, and now that I'm coasting toward the end of this decade (I'll be 48 in August!), gathering grey hairs, planting rue, well, I'll acknowledge it. It's downright embarrassing, I think, that one toe can dictate not only what type shoe I must wear (black clogs only) but also cause enough sharp pain that my eyes prick with tears. Sometimes, I catch myself nearly whimpering as I stare at the toe, trying to be only mindful of the pain and not judging of it (otherwise, my head would spin with the tangential reminders of my need to exercise more and lose weight, not to mention impending old age).

I get a very cool email every day from the website A.Word.A.Day (thanks to my friend, Jane, of the iPad beneficence). Along with the vocabulary tutorial, the site has A Thought for the Day at the bottom and this morning's was particularly appropriate for me as I try to ignore my big toe:

The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.
--William Hazlitt, essayist (1778-1830)

Anybody want to join me?

I'm thinking we should stage a Rumba Rave at Anthem Blue Cross. At The Improvised Life, I learned that "the Spanish guerrilla collective flo6X8 has been making a series of benignly disruptive and moving actions in banks, as protest for what they believe is a corrupt system. They favor flamenco, with its roots in Andalusian gypsy culture, as their means of expression, most often with dancing or singing.

Here they are, blasting music and dancing wildly in a bank in Seville. Crank it up and watch it -- especially the freaked out faces of the bankers and security guys, trying to figure it all out and put a stop to it.

We need to find out where Anthem's headquarters are, though. I've always suspected that it's in some deep, dark bunker, underground, or perhaps rising like a monolith from the ground, windowless and inscrutable.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Free Enterprise, Anthem Blue Cross-style

Tiger Mom in cage

The saga of getting Vimpat on Anthem's formulary so that we can afford to give the drug to Sophie continues. For me, each day begins with a review of whom I need to call, to whom I need to send a letter and whom I need to email. I have a friend working on speaking with my assemblyman about the matter, someone who is on the insurance commission -- not health insurance, but he's closest in power. I have a colleague at the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles who is in contact with a director over at the national office; evidently, this matter comes up all the time and there are even educational documents for the insurance company to read (at their leisure), bringing them up to speed on issues unique to epilepsy and anti-seizure medication. Anthem is not alone in private insurance company ignorance. Surprise, surprise. In addition to the grievance process with Anthem, I've also filed a complaint with the California Insurance Commission, advice given to me by some higher-upper at the Epilepsy Foundation. It's a lot of make-work, if you ask me, incredibly frustrating and inefficient and all in the name of FREE ENTERPRISE.

Go figure.

The highest irony of all is the letter I got yesterday from Anthem. It seems that "due to increased medical costs," Sophie's insurance premium will be increased another 35% by April 1st. Her insurance premium has been increased 69% in the two years that we've had it. I've mentioned before that we were unable to add Sophie to our family policy because of her pre-existing condition. While this is changing, I should also note that our health insurance premium (for The Husband, myself and our two sons) has increased by over 80% in the three years we've had it.

The salary of the CEO of Anthem Blue Cross was over $10 MILLION last year. Here's a tasty tidbit of free enterprise at its best:

Anthem and Wellpoint had at least two internal initiatives to fund: multi-million dollar lobbying efforts to kill reform, and payment of plump severance packages to executives and highly compensated CEOs, such as Angela Braly, whose $10 million salary is augmented by off-the-books benefits and stock options. It was Braly who announced bluntly at a business meeting that the corporation puts profits over people: "We will not sacrifice profitability for membership. (from

Enough said.

I'm off to make those calls, write those letters, pull myself up (and hopefully others as well) by the proverbial bootstraps and revel in what The Ohioan Tan Man (Speaker of the House Boehner) called as late as last week, "the greatest healthcare system on Earth."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


If you'd like to read an amazing, unorthodox observation of last night's State of the Union Address and how it pertains -- or doesn't -- to the world of children with disabilities, click

HERE. Jeneva is one of the best writers that I know of on any subject relating to disability.

I confess to being bored to tears (and an update)

by the Chinese Tiger mother debate. I'm not even going to link to it because it's just too much trouble.

I run with a real streak (the proper word for group) of tigers. Their names are: Claire, Erika, Michelle, Heather, Ken, Andrea, Melissa, Karen, Carrie, Jody, Tanya, Christina, Jeneva, Sara, Sarah, Lilith, Sally, Jen, Emma, Louise, Alicia, Eric, Vicki, Mary, Ellen, Jess, and countless others. If you don't see your name here, it's because you prefer to be anonymous, but I know who you are and I love running with you.

UPDATE: The streak that I run with, here, are those of us who struggle daily with the particular needs of our children who have or have had disabilities. I am bonded with all those who are mothers -- and fathers -- but national discussions, like that of the Chinese Tiger Mother thing, seem especially irrelevant in relation to parents struggling with their children who are disabled, sick, dying or dead.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Poetry

William Blake - America, a Prophecy (1793)

My God, I loved this poem today when I read it on The Writer's Almanac:

Tuesday 9:00 AM

A man standing at the bus-stop

reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.
--Denver Butson


Things neurological run together and when Sophie flings herself forward and sideways, always to the right and sometimes to the left, banging her head sometimes and jerking it's not a seizure but a seeking of sensation and some people think that I'm strong that I'm amazing, actually, when, actually, I'm not not at all but rather frustrated as any mother might be whose toddler, perhaps, has thrown one too many tantrums that day so she raises her voice sharply knowing that that's no good and yells stop it knowing that the child, in my case, the teenager, my Sophie is innocent and not so innocent because she stops responds to the voice the tone and looks straight at my eyes in the rear view mirror so I know she knows but her humming, too, the loud humming which might be an attempt to communicate or might be the brain rebelling against the wean of Keppra or perhaps the adding of the Vimpat (the drugs, the drugs!) so even if the seizures are dimmed and slowed and disappearing there is something residual enough to make what I imagine is a tingling hum in her head but the hum in my ears and then my head drives me crazy enough to crank up the music to drown her out and myself my eyes are dry but my heart is jumping and in this case it's only Van Morrison wailing Sweet Thing that calms me down. And I will stroll the merry way And jump the hedges first And I will drink the clear Clean water for to quench my thirst And I shall watch the ferry-boats And they'll get high On a bluer ocean Against tomorrow's sky And I will never grow so old again And I will walk and talk In gardens all wet with rain Oh sweet thing, sweet thing My, my, my, my sweet thing. An old man jogs by with knee-socks and the song changes to I may go crazy before I see that mansion on the hill but for a moment, there, I was myself.

Awesome poster making the viral rounds

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Name Calling Week Part 2 - The Older Grades

So many of you commented on my blog post last week describing Oliver's participation in his school's No Name Calling Week, and I thank you for all that support and recognition! This week it's the middle school's turn, and Henry showed his customary grace and bravery by standing up with his peers and explaining his discomfort with the word retard.

Since these were middle-schoolers, I believe the stakes were even higher. One of the main thrusts of No Name Calling Week is bullying, and after three students did a short, personal presentation, several teachers and the principal recounted their own experiences with bullying and name-calling, stressing that these incidences can be wounds remembered for a lifetime. It was a terrific age-appropriate assembly, and once again I was proud and moved that my children attend such an exceptional school and that they participated so openly.

Sea and Sky

Glorious is really the only way to describe the southern California sky in January. And glorious, too, the sparkling water. I took Henry and Oliver down to Newport Beach where we met Erika, Phil and little Izzy of The flight of our Hummingbird and went out in a boat to do some whale-watching. We didn't see any whales, but we did see an incredible pod of dolphins, hundreds and hundreds of them, leaping and arcing in and out of the ocean, their black bodies slick as they sliced through the water. The boys ran up and down; they ate nasty nachos and exclaimed over the dolphins, the seals and sea lions; the boys tickled Izzy's feet, and we all marveled at her constant happiness. We turned our faces up to the sun and let our shoulders drop, relaxed.

Back on land, we ate a delicious lunch together, bought entirely too much candy in a local candy shop, hugged each other good-bye with promises to get together soon and then headed back home.

This is an IV bag filled with blood-like sugar something or other. Oliver thought he'd put it on Sophie's IV pole when she gets her next IVIG infusion. I was glad Erika heard him, because now she can vouch for how seamlessly my children move from the crazy to the casual.

The sun was setting on the coast -- the colors and changes so remarkable that it was almost distracting. We turned up the music and sang with Grace Slick, Allison Krauss and Carly Simon -- all three of us at ear-splitting decibels in the car. I can't remember when I've felt more happy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm a tiny bit in love with Wallace Shawn

whom I saw and heard read last night at Royce Hall at UCLA. I indulge myself every year with a subscription to the Writers' Word series and because it's a single ticket, my "seats" are very fancy: in the third row, center. When I saw John Updike a few years ago, several months before he died, I could have literally jumped into his lap -- which I actually literally wanted to do. And tonight, I peered up and practically over the top of Wallace Shawn's perfectly round bald head. He was charming and clever and a bit self-deprecating and a bit stern and overall, a bit amorally moral. I think of myself, sometimes, as a bit amorally moral so I related to his views on what he describes as real world, fake world and dream world. Shawn describes the real world as a scary place -- mainly talking about America and the direction we're headed or have been headed (and he was particularly contemptuous of those in our country who advocate for and protect the extremely wealthy). He describes the fake world as the world we think we live in (a democracy) and the dream world as the world of art. When he talks, he doesn't sound judgmental as much as matter of fact and bemused, all at once. I wonder if it's called moral relativism -- a term I hear thrown around by the conservative right as something to be scorned. In any case, I absolutely agreed and felt a sort of release when I listened to him voice thoughts that those of us without a platform, who aren't filling giant concert halls to capacity are perhaps reticent to reveal. (Lately, the constant coverage of the Arizona shootings has made me feel uncomfortable and I think about all the killing of innocents and soldiers in the two wars we continue to fight and I wonder why we aren't in the streets pulling our hair out over this? lining the streets and weeping? )

Here's a passage from the first essay in his book titled The Quest for Superiority:

Beauty can be important in a person's life. And people beguiled by the beautiful are less dangerous to others than those obsessed by the thought of supremacy. If an afternoon of reading poetry has given me a feeling of profound well-being, I don't then need to go out into the street and seek satisfaction by strangling prostitutes. Art can be central in a person's life. If the art we create is beautiful enough, will people be so drawn to looking at it that they'll leave behind their quest for power? Beauty really is more enjoyable than power. A poem really is more enjoyable than an empire, because a poem doesn't hate you. The defense of privilege, the center of our lives for such a long time, is grim and exhausting. We're exhausted from holding on to things, exhausted from trying not to see those unobtrusive people we're kicking away, whose suffering is actually unbearable to us.

I bought a copy of Essays and read the one from which I took the quote above while waiting in a line that led to a table where Shawn sat smiling like a Cheshire Cat. I told him it was weird to stand in line for a signature but it must be weirder to actually sit and sign your name over and over. He looked up at me and smiled.  I'm a sucker for a signed book.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Twelve Year Old Boy Conversation

On the way to Henry's lacrosse game today, he asked me Mom, do you know who the fattest U.S. President was?

I said, I forgot.

He said, President Taft. He was so fat that they used a crane to put him in the bath.

I said, Really? I think that is just a legend.

He said, Uh-huh! It's true. And the bathtub was big enough for four men and he could hardly fit.

I said, Uh-huh.

He said, Mom?

I said, Yes?

He said, Wouldn't that be so cool if our bathtub was that big?

What could I say?

Yeah, that would be great.

(then again, if the conversation had been any more taxing, he might not have had the energy to play such an awesome game of lacrosse):

Henry, the one in the red helmet

Friday, January 21, 2011

No Name Calling Week

My boys attend a local charter school that has a constructivist philosophy and is very progressive. Next week, both the elementary and middle schools are participating in No Name Calling Week,  an annual week of educational creative activities designed to end name-calling of all kinds, with lessons and activities for all the students. The week was inspired by the young adult novel The Misfits and is "presented in collaboration with more than 50 national education and youth service organizations, including the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the National School Boards Association and the National Education Association."

I was surprised when Oliver came home from school several weeks ago and told me that he might want to be a part of the week's activities and call attention to the word retarded that he said is used constantly on the playground and in conversation even by some of his friends. Of my two sons, I would say that Oliver has been the most self-conscious about having Sophie as a sister, particularly sensitive to the stares that she receives in public and often painfully conflicted and embarrassed. We have spoken for a very long time about all of these issues, and I've always encouraged him to be open about his feelings, even when they're difficult. He has told me before how much it bothers him when people use the word retarded; in fact, he once said in an angry outburst after Sophie had a big seizure that I have to deal with all of this at home and then go to school and hear people call other people retards.

Today, Oliver and a classmate did an amazingly brave presentation on two words whose indiscriminate use  bother them deeply and personally. I crouched in the middle of the play-yard where hundreds of kids sat in rapt silence and watched as these two nine-year olds stood up for what they believed in and educated all of us. Both Oliver and his classmate introduced themselves and told the group who they were. Then they each discussed the name-calling that they had been hurt by. Elizabeth spoke about her gay parents and Oliver spoke about Sophie.

I was humbled and awed (and extremely teary).

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Sophie can't really isolate her index finger and point, but she can swipe pretty well and really responded to the first program we downloaded called Baby Chord.

This is all just so exciting!

A little info and education (if you're not in the epilepsy/special needs world, you don't need to read)

Thank you for your responses to my last post about Sophie's new medication and my frustrations in getting it added to Anthem's formulary. The drug, called Vimpat or locosamide, is a relatively new anti-epileptic drug.

It is NOT investigational. Like most AEDs, though, it is approved for persons 17 years and older which is, perhaps, the arbitrary glitch that we're encountering. However, many of the drugs approved for use in epilepsy are approved for older children and/or adults and Sophie has been on all of them, no problem.

Second, the consensus overall is that EPILEPSY MEDICATIONS SHOULD NOT BE SWITCHED OR SUBSTITUTED. GENERIC VERSIONS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED. You can read more about that here.

Third, there is no appropriate anti-epileptic drug that Sophie has not already tried. Too many double negatives? Sophie's epilepsy is refractory to medication, meaning that no drug or combination of drugs up to this point has helped her. We can only hope that new drugs, as they become available might do so.

What I am trying to do, with the help of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, The Neurologist and the drug company itself, is to educate Anthem about these issues. This sort of thing happens all the time and is extremely detrimental, as you can imagine, for many epilepsy patients. What goes on their formulary of "approved" medications appears to be systematically arbitrary.

I'll keep you posted and thank you, again, for all your support and advice! Keep it coming!

The Anthem of Woe

On my third try of the week, I finally reached a human being in the grievance department of Anthem Blue Cross. While the new medication that Sophie is on has been approved by the insurance company, it is not on the formulary (spell-check does not recognize this word which leads me to believe that it's bullshit), so we must continue to pay 50% of the cost of the drug. How and why the insurance company decides what drugs go on the formulary (formulaic, formulated, formidable, formatively) is dark territory indeed, and after today's conversation, I am no closer to understanding anything. I remained civil -- in words, not in thoughts -- and impressed upon the agent how important this was to us and that I found the arbitrariness of the decision hard to understand but she only stated over and over I understand your frustration ma'am, but the grievance department can only make these decisions and you can't speak directly to the grievance department but must wait for their decision and they have thirty days but I can tell you that you will not succeed because you can't just put drugs on the formulary.

Remember the movie Brazil?

Terry Gilliam, the creator and director of the movie said I've always had a great distaste for authority and bureaucracy and all the additives that they breed.

I suppose I will continue to find my solace in poetry.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Blessing

A good friend from New York City -- the kind of friend who I speak with only once a year or so but who I feel connected to beyond words -- sent Sophie an iPad in the mail. I don't know what to say other than thank you.

Thank you, Jane.

The universe shifts so subtly sometimes, it takes my breath away.

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.   
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me   
And nuzzled my left hand.   
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

-- James Wright

Combining weather and politics is tricky,

but that's what I'm going to do. Yesterday, I wrote a short post about the glorious southern California weather -- it was sort of my response to the scores of gorgeous winter snow photos and toasty fires and hearty soups that I've been reading about in many blogs -- but mostly it was because I feel enormously grateful to live here. I lived on the east coast for all but the past twelve years of my life, and I've never felt so certain that this was the best place for me to be, at least in terms of weather -- but that's enough for the weather.

The day before yesterday, I posted one of my usual diatribes about the healthcare system -- I tried to keep it light and poked fun at the ridiculous name that the Republicans in Congress have bestowed on their repeal plan (it's honestly worthy of a country in Swift's Gulliver's Travels!).

The Land of the Repealing the Job-Killing Healthcare Reform Act

Well, today, I have a terrible cold but I'm still coasting on sunshine and was interested to read the following statement by Dr. Bill Frist, former Republican Speaker of the House:

It is not the bill that [Republicans] would have written, he said. It is not the bill that I would have drafted. But it is the law of the land and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make that system better, for that patient, for that family, will be based.
[The bill] has many strong elements,  Frist added later. And those elements, whatever happens, need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented. But how do you do it? How do you do a lot of what is in this law?
With the possible exception of the use of the words cuddled, and snuggled, I'm encouraged. 
When I rant and rave about The System, especially as it directly affects my own family and, particularly, my daughter, I am entirely cognizant of the fact that WE are not the whole story. I am not the whole story. We have problems and frustrations, but we are supported, well-loved, privileged. I rant and rave at The System because I know tens of thousands, if not millions of people are affected negatively far more than we are affected. I think it's an obligation to point out these problems, perhaps over and over, but more importantly, to believe in and look for solutions, to work toward solutions, to vote for those who you believe are bringing solutions, and, most importantly, to tell your story.

There appears to be no thread to this post -- weather, lemons, lemonheads, doctors and stories.

Make of it what you will.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It needs to be said

that it's gloriously warm here in Los Angeles with a clear blue sky and blooming Meyer lemons outside my back door. The Husband picked all the tangerines off the tangerine tree that are too sour and seedy to eat, but he's making jam with them. The lettuce has been picked from the garden, and the chard and artichokes are coming along. I've got on a tee-shirt and a sweater is tied around my waist for later when it cools down. It's January 18th, and I'm grateful to live here.

In lieu of

a thoughtful post, motivated by rage or sorrow or humor or wonder, I'm making a bit of a list. Here we go:

**I'm tearing through a non-fiction book right now -- something I rarely do, preferring to read the "non" around the fiction (meaning it sits on the bedside table and is read in bits and pieces over a period of months, if not years) -- and it's about waves and surfing and right now Laird Hamilton. It's called The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey. I'm a bit of a freak for surfers and surfing even though I've never done it, so this book is absolutely perfect escapism and perhaps will, for me, be a bit of an obsession over the next few weeks, sort of like Ms. Moon and her Keith Richards thang.

**This website. It makes me think of an old nerd boyfriend I had in college. And he didn't look anything like Sean. But he was cool and brought flowers to my dorm room when he picked me up.

**This website because I am a nerd myself, always have been and always will be, at heart. Another old boyfriend once told me that when I wear my glasses, I'm the spitting image of Marcie, Peppermint Patty's sidekick.

**I'm hooked on the television show Modern Family. It's the only thing I'll watch right now, along with my sons. The three of us sit and roar at its zany, sweet comedy. I love every character, but I think Cameron is my favorite.

**I just saw the Mike Leigh movie Another Year. It was slow. I was struck by how close Leigh filmed the characters' faces, and no one was attractive -- so different than our American air-brushed blow you away beauty shots. It was moving and hard to watch, sometimes. I find movies about marriage tiresome. But if I wrote more, this post would be thoughtful, and I don't want any of that.

**I'm still irritated by and trying to ignore this whole astrology change-up. I'm a Virgo, and I'm standing by that.

**I'm a tad over-interested, as well, in this site and have even signed up for the communal knitting project. I started knitting in college, and the first sweater I made was for my boyfriend (not the nerd, the other one). It was a Fair Isle with about four different colors -- cream and dark brown and beige and blue. It took me forever, and when I gave it to him, he couldn't pull it over his head. The neck hole was probably big enough for a child, and this boyfriend had a huge head. What can I say? It was the 80s.

**I bought a pair of swimming goggles with the intention of going to a local community center pool and starting to swim. The one I chose is known for very large women who don't care what they look like. They're also closer to eighty years old than fifty. I hope to be a goddess there and get some exercise to boot.


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