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September 21, 2014
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River Muse

They paved paradise

During the 20 summers we spent at our little bungalow near Monticello, we would occasionally wake to the sound of Bobby Somer’s tractor revving up to mow the communal property. If it was a weekend, when the 11 families that comprised our co-op were likely to be in residence, I would make a mental note to ask Bobby to hold off on mowing until the weekdays. But then, in less time than it took to put on a pot of tea and shower, the tractor would be back on its trailer and peace would once again reign in our little patch of paradise in the Catskills.  Read more

Survivor

Sometimes you have to go back to go forward. Forty-five years is a long way back though. When I was a young teenager there was a lanky English lad who was new to our high school. Somehow I nabbed him for my boyfriend. He had rosy cheeks and dark hair and an easy laugh. He also had a ripe body odor—unaccustomed as he was to the use of American deodorants. He liked science-fiction and the BeeGees and Phil Ochs. He took me to see “Hair” on Broadway. We didn’t talk about ourselves much, but then, what was there to know? We had hardly begun to live. Or so I thought.  Read more

Change

I remember a time when death was an anomaly in my life. A grandparent’s passing celebrated with an Irish wake and a funeral mass. Now it seems to haunt the everyday, wagging its finger like a told-you-so teacher.  Read more

Why do I do it?

Why do I do it? I asked myself this question many times during the last few months while rehearsing a new play for a decidedly short run in Milford, PA. The play, “Four Score and Seven,” was written by a theatre buddy of mine, John Klemeyer. We once played opposite each other as the murderous brother/sister, husband/wife team in Ira Levin’s thriller “Veronica’s Room” on another way-off-Broadway stage in the Catskills. So that was one reason in favor of the dozens of car trips between Narrowsburg, NY and Milford and New York City to rehearsals and finally, performances.  Read more

The dreamer

When he was younger, my son would pepper me with questions about how to do things. “How can I make a one-man flying machine?” was one that piqued his interest early on—enough so that he bypassed Mom’s knowledge base and went straight to the President of the United States (then Bill Clinton). Bill wrote back, telling Conor that NASA was working hard on things like that and that Conor should study hard and stay in school. But Conor was a dreamer. He was a creative kid who could be kept happy and busy with a lump of Sculpey clay or a pencil and a pad of paper.  Read more

Ah, brief spring!

Maple catkins droop as tender Amelanchier blossoms herald the arrival of shad plowing upstream to deposit their lucre of roe in the riverbank. Everywhere forsythia and daffodils arch their slender necks in a riot of yellow, proclaiming the end of another gray winter. Redbuds will follow magnolias, then dogwood, each one taking its turn in the unfolding until all are green again, the architecture of branches obscured by leaves that sway and float in the breeze of spring, the warm breath of summer.  Read more

A new muse

Medical terminology is my new muse. It’s almost poetic. “Mass, mobile and firm” was the caption on one of the snapshots my doctor handed me of my recent endoscopy, while I was still woozy from the Propofol (reportedly Michael Jackson’s drug of choice).  Read more

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.