Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Confess

The year is almost over —  out with the old, in with the new.  So before the clock ticks down here are the topics for posts I THOUGHT I'd write about and didn't.  They just stayed "drafts."  Some had titles some did not.  In no particular order, here are the posts that didn't get written:
  • I'd heard the columnist/commentator (in the truest sense of the word) David Brooks say that at some point in our future, my future, minorities in the United States will become the majority.  I wanted to write about —  how had demographics changed?
  • The Freemasons are the oldest and largest fraternity my father wasn't a joiner —  my father was a Mason, in fact a Grand Mason.  He wanted to be buried with his Masonic objects.  There is a story to be told.
  • A final post on television, My All-Time Favorite Series – Our World, profiling Battlestar Gallactica (2004), Homeland, and I hadn't gotten the third.
  • Being your own medical advocate because my dear colleague and friend Dr. Meg Korpi —  who has been battling cancer this past year has reminded me —  (as I well knew over the 27 months of Robin's cancer, but it's almost been a year since her passing, so I needed reminding) you must be your own medical advocate.  Meg is a believer, a wife, an aunt, a researcher, an educator, a comfort in the world and a dear friend, human being, advocate, beautiful shining light AND a fighter.  May she win this fight in 2014.
  • A look at some of the worst television we feed on as a culture and then cause the growth of more shows on
    such as — 

America's Worst Tattoos

My Crazy Obsession

Extreme Cougar Wives

My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

  • Once there was a time BEFORE everything we ate was chemically treated.  Now, it's true that you can try to avoid chemicals by eating organic and local, but you still can’t avoid what’s coming down from the sky. As our friend  and third-generation-Iowan-farmer  Aaron says, “Water knows no state lines.”  We need to wake up.
  • I wish I knew what was fair.   I wish I could magically figure out the give and take that's mandatory — if you're going to be successful in a relationship.  I think it's really hard to always make choices that match the ebb and flow of two people who are each in their own orbit of life and yet coexisting as a couple.
  • Decades ago I did what I did this year left my full-time job to go freelance.  Back then I was young, single and fancy-free.
  • And a set of random quotes that intrigued me:

"Have your fear, don't become your fear" Rev Ed Bacon

"I love myself exactly as I am." Deepak Chopra

Truth trumps loyalty   Rushworth Kidder

"Regrets are mistakes you don't learn from..."  Analeigh contestant on ANTM 

"A love so profound that it allows us to forgive."

Can I live what I know?

  "Look for the wealth in your life...Ben Stein aug 4 on CBS Sunday Morning

"You're making a mistake."

"I'm used to them by now."  the newsroom, first episode

"You put that all together really fast." Maggie

"It's not an original story..." Mackenzie

"She's like a sophomore poli-sci major from Sarah Lawrence"

"Don't go to the well, there's no water there."  Trudi to Peter on Mad Men

and my favorite

“Children begin by loving their parents. After a time, they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them” Oscar Wilde

Well, maybe these drafts get tossed out with "the old,"  but, when you can,  comment  on which draft I should save! 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Wishing You Every Good Thing

Dear Friends, Dear Readers,

I'm taking a break, enjoying the holidays and the turn of another year and the love of family and friends. And I hope you are doing the same wherever you may be.

If you're wishing for something to read, search the archives or the labels and find something to read about my life in publishing, about the things I collect, about the importance of character and family, or about the loss that's inevitable in all our lives.  I have my favorites, but I always wonder which post is a favorite of yours?

In the meantime, wishing you and yours every good thing... 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Facing the New Year

Clearly I've been having a problem writing.

I know why.  Partly it's the holidays and all they demand.  Partly it's a year since my sister-in-law's brain cancer took over and ended her life.  Partly it's the looming of another year gone by and another year when I've not achieved what my contemporaries (in fact a few years younger) Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates have achieved.  Yes, that's aiming a bit high but even a smidgen of their success would be huge.

It's the time of year for reflection, regrets, reassessment, and rejuvenation.

Reflection: What did I gain this year?   What did I lose?

Regrets:  Looking back what would I have done differently?

Reassessment: Moving forward what needs to change to make me and those I love happy? 

Rejuvenation:  What can I celebrate in terms of my accomplishments and how can I challenge myself to fill my soul and make my body healthy?

Am I willing to put in the time and energy to answer these questions?

Can I answer those questions?

Can you?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Every Picture Tells A Story — Don't It?

Amongst all the trees in my living room  51 of them to be exact  one wall is devoted to people  all of them close to me but none of them known to me.  I'd like to introduce you to a few of them...just one grouping of my people.

This little girl was the first to join my "family." She's standing anxiously alone in an airport with some luggage marked Canadian Pacific AIrlines (now defunct).  The wooden frame this photo is set within is delicately carved along the sides. The back is signed "Dawson '74." 

Next to join my troupe is what I think of as a mass-produced hotel art. I've always called her "Lydia."  She's very Deco and there was a similar image of a vase of flowers which I didn't purchase, having spent the royal sum of $4 for Lydia.  At the time, an $8 investment was more than I could spare for a want and not a need.  I do regret that at times.

The magnificent horn player at right is a Mirage Editions 1981 poster done by John Martinez who is famous for doing New Orleans Jazz Festival posters.  I asked my cousin Ara what instrument this guy was playing and he seemed to think it was a zurna (a conical oboe) which didn't mean much to me but was an instrument from Anatolia which encompassed the birthplace of my grandparents.  No wonder I was drawn to this image.  [I hope you will forgive the shadows and reflections in these images that cloud their actual beauty.  While I am an excellent collector, I'm no photographer.]

On the right, this grim gentleman is "Uncle Gene," a member of The Wedding Party series painted by Nan Gressman.  Part oil painting, part collage  with his newspaper shirt, pasted paper collar and tie  no one understood what I saw in this gruff portrait of an old man.  All I can say is that the blue background of this canvas is scattered with bits of tobacco embedded in the paint  and for some reason, his stern face, pronounced cheekbone, and the thought of him puffing on a pipe filled with cherry tobacco made me want to bring him home.  And bring him home I did  despite his sorry expression.

Talk about grim  these two  these two, I don't know.  I was in a local thrift store sorting through the framed pictures (always looking for wonderful frames) when I came across these two old souls.  I tried leaving them behind, said I didn't need to spend $3 on these sorry souls, even if the metal frame was old with intricate engraved designs.  The quintessential Old-World couple who immigrated to America without a sou, centesimo, quid, pfennig or penny in their pockets.  These folks look miserable!  But — but  they could be Italian, Lithuanian, Albanian, or  Armenian  what's your guess?

This work is far crisper and more toward grays and charcoals than I've been able to capture.

And that brings me to the image at top of this grouping: Untitled (Launching No. 2) by Tom Gregg.  I was single.  I had lots of discretionary income.  I loved art.  It was my first trip to Block Island and there in the Sea Breeze Gallery was a stark black and white image of two boys kneeling expectantly in the dusk (or dawn), about to launch their boat.  It reminded me of those old Polaroids with the scalloped edges.  The gallery owner told me the artist was a student at The Rhode Island School of Design.  A student!  I bought and framed his work just as I imagined.  In spite of the dark and the hush  these two boys  I sensed their hopefulness and dreams.  

Glad someone in this family is looking forward and not back. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Clock With Contempt For Time

Growing up in our kitchen there was a clock.  Everyone had a kitchen clock.  It was simple, it looked like chrome, it kept time.  

This clock, my mother's kitchen clock, would  for no reason at all  start going backwards.

See for yourself.


My mother hated that clock, felt frustrated with that clock, swore she'd get rid of that clock if it was the last thing she did. But to me it was amazing. I LOVED THAT CLOCK and begged her to keep it.

"Mommy, mommy, please!  This is a GREAT clock!  What clock did you ever see that goes backwards?  Mommy!  It's a clock that doesn't care about time!!  It's like no other clock in the world."

She just shook her head with a disgusted look on her face, unplugged it then plugged it back in (which often made it reverse direction) and left the kitchen.  And one day  when I came home from college for a holiday  the clock was gone.

Then, years later when I was finally getting married (as my Gramma would remind me) at my engagement shower I opened the last box (another from my mom) and there, nestled in pink tissue paper, was the CLOCK!  Though she was still shaking her head in disbelief that anyone could want this clock, she'd saved it for me and now it was all mine.

A clock that went backwards. How great was that?  It felt as if that clock had a personality and it was feisty.  Irreverent.  Able to go against its very purpose and show it had a mind of its own.  How often does that happen?

Our first real home, a townhouse, was the place I got to hang my beloved clock.  Upon closer inspection I realized it was only painted silver  so I repainted it to match the trim in my new kitchen, a muted teal.  I plugged it in, and then, rather anxiously, waited for the time it would go backwards, hoping for my clock to reverse direction and slowly tick, tick, tick the seconds the wrong way.  Thankfully it did. And there that clock kept time and in two houses more.  Whenever it felt like it, it went backwards.  Oddly enough, that made me happy.  And it still does.
On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful to my daughter for showing her technologically-challenged mother how to embed a video!