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Showing posts from September, 2009

Imagine all the people...celebrating more birthdays

It was days, really, between learning my friend was being sent home, cancer treatment suspended, and learning she had passed away. Sadly, the first symptom came well after the cancer had already metastasized and spread. They began intensive treatment, aggressive. It was hard on her, but she had a lot to live for: loving family, loving friends, and two beautiful children, as well as all of her work, including a book she authored for children about children on the autism spectrum . That was her: a do-er. She was the sort of person you could picture growing older, still doing. I could even picture her forty years from now blowing out a cake full of candles. In my imagination, over her cake, her hair was still bright, as it was before she got sick. She’d do that, I knew, keep herself looking nice. She’d have a big smile, and she’d tell everyone they shouldn’t have made such a fuss, but everyone would ignore her because they knew she was deeply touched -- family and family times were every

The American People in their Righteous Might*

* Title from a speech by FDR immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor Eight years ago I was so pregnant I was at that "oh no you didn't go and make me move, now I'll have to sit on you and crush you" stage. When I woke up that morning, I lay on my side, the left, of course, with my knees slightly bent, of course, and I contemplated the floor. Was it going to be easier, I wondered, to maneuver the upper half of my body upright first, or to kick my legs hard enough to get momentum to drop them over the edge of the bed to help hurtle me into a standing position? In the end, hunger is what really got me out of bed that day. But still, I moved at the speed of snail. That's why I was still in my car zipping through Salem, slowing only to consider stopping for a pistachio donut at the greatest little bakery right before the historic square. In my mind, the morning is molasses slow motion and details are vivid. It was a gorgeous perfect New England fall day. Brill

Anger in another language

I've been subtly correcting my children lately. Persistence has anger management issues, which I realize is the definition of a four year old, but directing that from anti-social to acceptable communication is the definition of mother. "Stomp your foot, say I feel angry! That's okay! It's not okay to hit or say hurtful things!" If I had a dollar for every time I said that the private school tuition would be paid for. We used to say mad. But the phrase "I'm mad" began to get under my connotation, denotation, and grammatically OCD skin. I did not like picturing Ophelia. I did not like being put in mind of a mad bull, someone enraged; greatly provoked or irritated; angry; abnormally furious; ferocious; extremely foolish or unwise; imprudent; irrational. Although upon reflection, perhaps mad is the right word, after all. But we've stuck with anger. Angry sounds like something you can get under control. Mad, enraged, fury does not. Betty Draper