Mary along the way

maryWhen I was 40, a teacher asked me if I knew what I could trust. “What in the world can you believe in?” he wanted to know.

“Certainly not you,” I said. This pleased him. “Certainly not my family,” I continued. “Certainly not M — or any man.”

“Not friends. Not work. Not school. Not books,” I continued.

“Not money, my house, this country, my memories.”

“Not the laughter of children, my child, not hope, even.”

“Or a kiss, lips on wet skin, not even an in-breath.”

But, when I imagine Mary — the sad eyes, those tears, her vast love — I find myself thinking there’s that, at least. I can trust that, certainly.


Many thanks, late at night…

liebster awardI am grateful to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by late at night… (a great blog that was also nominated). Here are the rules of the award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

  • am a mother of a wonderful, brilliant, talented daughter
  • am a big lover of dogs
  • have been twice married/twice divorced
  • certainly am hoping for a chance to find another love
  • could buy a New York City block with my student loan debt
  • have an unpublished novel
  • am very disappointed in Congress
  • can be funny and irreverent
  • am loyal, and at times have been stupidly so
  • was born in Brooklyn/grew up in New York
  • am a big fan of Rachel Maddow

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

  • Book or movie?

Truly Madly Deeply, a 1991 movie with Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson

  • Superstitions – Do you have any?

You won’t see me walk under a ladder.

  • What scares you the most?

bugs and Republicans

  • You are ship wrecked on a deserted island, what 4 things do you wish you had with you?

a shower, a bed and blanket, my computer, the life I left behind

  • What movie can you watch over and over?

Groundhog Day

  • If you could be any famous person, who would you be?

Jane Goodall

  • Do you have phobias?

More than I can count

  • What do you wish you had more time for?

I think I have enough time for everything.

  • Do you have a hobby?

Nope…well, writing for my blog?

  • If you could have any author – living or dead – write your biography, who would you choose?

Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • If you could un-invent something, what would it be?


3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

There are so many wonderful blogs, but I am not able to find 11 blogs that advertise the fact that they have fewer than 200 followers. I’ve got my eyes out, though!

The Daily Creative Project

Canadian Hiking Photography

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

I confess I don’t know what “tag backs” are.

Dogged by karma

dogsI have a complicated history with dogs. When I was around ten, my father, a devout dog lover who knew I would have given anything to have one, took me on an outing during one of our weekends together and bought me a beagle from what is now known as a puppy mill but from what seemed to me then as a farm in the country. We cared for her for a few days in his city apartment until it was time for me to return to my mother’s house in the suburbs and to face what it would mean to have a dog there.

My mother, who was extremely scared of animals small and large, was extremely scared of this puppy, Pinky, and it didn’t take long before the whole plan to make me happy with a pet unraveled and before I was left to care for her entirely on my own without the support of either parent or of my older brother. I still feel great pain about leaving her outdoors on a lead for hours at a time or about locking her away in the basement when I was at school, and I have never been able to forgive myself for yelling at her and for hitting her when she didn’t behave the way I wanted her to behave. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that my mother told me she had simply opened the front door one day and had let Pinky run off, though the official story until then had been that she had given the dog to someone who had acres and acres of farm.

Then, when my daughter was around ten and would herself have given anything to have a dog, Lucy, a wild and glorious German shepherd, came to us and stayed for about seven years. She was not an easy girl, and it took a very long time for her to decide that she wanted to live with us; once she appeared to have made that decision, however, she became a most loyal and loving dog, though I was not always the best human to her. As with Pinky, I have never been able to forgive myself for yelling at her when she didn’t behave the way I wanted her to behave.

I have spent the past several years thinking about getting another dog and had even become addicted to watching the Dog Whisperer on TV in the hope, I see now, that I might finally learn how not to be irritated by a dog being a dog and how to care for it in the best and most loving way.

Now, my daughter, who recently moved back to the city where I live, and I are talking about getting another dog and about somehow sharing the responsibility of caring for it. This makes me so happy. And afraid. It’s just that I’ve gotten more cranky as I’ve gotten older, not less, and more intolerant about the world not conforming to my idea of how it should be. Maybe an old dog can teach me some new tricks.


father sonAs I get older I am more and more hounded by (or more and more made aware of) the droning, inner negativity that follows me wherever I go. It is as if we—this vast, dark sink hole of cranky mean-spiritedness within and I—live out our own sorrowful destinies without hope of mutual understanding or reconciliation. Everything is fair game for this other one, and, once in her sights, no one can hope to escape her cruel judgments. Least of all me.

Then, while waiting for my plane in the Denver airport yesterday, I witnessed something that silenced the both of us: a father, determined to keep his very young son occupied while they waited for their flight, played a game of baseball with him, and neither had a ball, bat, or glove. For half an hour or more we sat transfixed as we watched them pretend to hit, throw, and catch an invisible ball and to run around invisible bases. The father even called strikes and announced home runs.