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December 21, 2014
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River Muse

Diary of a patient—Part one

I sleep well, generally. So when a pain in my gut woke me mid-REM on a recent Saturday, I knew something was wrong. “Where is the appendix?” was my first thought. But no, this pain—a burning acute bullseye of pain—was on the other side. When I touched the spot, it burned like the proverbial poker.  Read more

Lost & Found

During a long life, one loses things. I was warned that in moving out of our long-time city residence things would be lost. I was prepared. But what about the things that are found? This, I was not prepared for.  Read more

New Year’s resolutions

My son asked me what my New Year’s resolutions were. I told him I don’t make them anymore but I have some to offer the rest of you….  Read more

  • Stop assuming the worst of your fellow human beings. Maybe they are just deaf to your needs. Tell them what you want and ask how you can help them.
  • Speak softer, but clearly. Make eye contact.
  • Don’t forget to ask, no, really ask, how their day/week/life is going before ranting about your own. Don’t rant. Okay, maybe a little. Sometimes.
  • Stop watching Fox News.
  • Watch less MSNBC.

Sandy’s Legacy

We will always remember Hurricane Sandy. Not for the mighty wrath of her destruction, but for the odd serendipity of her timing.  Read more

So vote, already

Even though I think this presidential election is clearly between two opposing points of world-view, I find it hard to get caught up in the drama of it, as I have in the past. Maybe it’s my age. My generation has seen its share of pivotal elections—Stevenson v. Ike, Nixon v. Kennedy, Bush, Sr. v. Clinton, Gore v. Bush, Jr. Each time the zealots on both sides have predicted doom should the other side win. And if it were true, we are living in it. Maybe we are.  Read more

A secular ceremony

When you’re short on religion, as is my family, you have to make your own ceremonies for important occasions. It helps if you have good planning skills. We don’t. In spite of all our shortcomings and recent obstacles, like my aunt’s stroke, we wanted to have a family memorial for my uncle at the place he loved best, on Fire Island. His cremains had been languishing since May on a marble mantelpiece in the townhouse he shared with his wife for the last 40 years of his life.  Read more

Eric & Andy

Did they really camp it up?” a friend asked when I returned from a nephew’s wedding. “Well, no” I said. “They’re the straightest gay couple I know.” Not that it wasn’t a fun wedding—it was. The reception was held in an artist cooperative near Rochester, where the artists also serve as staff for events that foot the bill for studio space. Their artwork is everywhere. There is a whole room dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, but she was not the mascot for Eric and Andy’s wedding.  Read more

Eric & Andy

Did they really camp it up?” a friend asked when I returned from a nephew’s wedding. “Well, no” I said. “They’re the straightest gay couple I know.” Not that it wasn’t a fun wedding—it was. The reception was held in an artist cooperative near Rochester, where the artists also serve as staff for events that foot the bill for studio space. Their artwork is everywhere. There is a whole room dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, but she was not the mascot for Eric and Andy’s wedding.  Read more

Downsizing for the future

“I don’t want to end up like my father,” my Narrowsburg neighbor tells me. His 98-year-old father lives alone in his own home, reliant on family to bring him meals and keep him company. His life savings went to pay for nursing home care for his ailing wife and he retired from yard work last year at age 97.  Read more

One man’s legacy

At first my uncle Hal was just the one my aunt was marrying—essential, almost peripheral, enigmatic. No one could match her in beauty, so he matched her in intellect. An intellect of physics, an appreciation of ballet and opera to match her yen for Yeats and Jung. But I didn’t know any of that at five years of age, when they married. To me, he was the husband. I didn’t know why she needed him, but I got that it was important. He was awkward and mostly silent, not glib like the rest of our family. He wore thick glasses and his hair in a brush cut. I almost didn’t see him in the glare of the rest of our family—raucous and laughing, well-oiled. But by the time my step-father had disappeared, he was still there and now a father himself. His whole being seemed to swell with the creation of his family.  Read more

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