Archive for June, 2002

Jun 30 2002

Good news/bad news

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Things are looking up. Since it’s us, though, there is a decided good news/bad news flavor to it.

The doctors told Mom that she has a year or two. They are going to start some kind of hormone treatment to stop the cancer from spreading and to help with the pain. If it doesn’t work, then they’ll go on to chemo, radiation, and the really bad stuff. That’s about as good as one could hope for once they say “advanced breast cancer.” So good news: years, not months. Bad news: probably not more than two years. But who knows? That woman is a survivor. And she has a positive attitude, which goes a long way.

My sister Megan has spent the past few months training to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She got her exam results in Friday’s mail, and I am proud to report that she got 100% on the practical and 90% on the written. Also on Friday, the Coast Hospital called to see if she could come in to talk with them about the one EMT opening they have, which she applied for on the day she had her accident. Ironically, she was on her way to drop off her application when it happened, so she ended up at the hospital after all, just not the way she intended. But she did drop off her application once they released her from the ER.

So she went in to talk to them yesterday, and just when they were offering her the job, they got a call, and asked Megan to come with them. But the call was, sadly, for a 22 year old boy who had committed suicide with a deer rifle. There was little to do but listen to his stilled heart and call the time of death before the police took over.

Megan took it well. I guess it’s a baptism by fire that shows she can do the job. One intense first day at work! Good news: you get the job. Bad news: you have to immediately go to a suicide scene. But I guess if you take on that kind of job, you have to expect that kind of thing.

I’m so proud of her! And I’m glad my Mom is OK for now.

Things are looking up.

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Jun 28 2002

Love/hate: Scary Stuff

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Love/hate for Friday, June 28, 2002
Scary Stuff

I think real life is scary enough without adding to it by reading scary books and watching scary movies. Although I am technically a grown-up, I’m still uncomfortable in the dark. I usually blame it on my extremely poor eyesight, which makes it impossible for me to see what monsters and danger are lurking until I locate my glasses by groping around on the nightstand. But the truth is, I never outgrew the fear of the dark, which is simply fear of the unknown. I think fear of the unknown is a very basic human emotion, and has probably been with us ever since we first crawled out of the primeval swamp and started walking. So I find it amazing that anyone would actually want to be scared on purpose, provoking the age-old “fight or flight” response.

Unlike John, I watched very little TV as a child. We only had one little black & white set, and our parents were very careful of what we watched. They made sure we didn’t see the horrors of the Vietnam War, or mindlessly spend hours staring at whatever happened to be on. We lived in the country and played outside mostly, and read, so I grew up with very little exposure to violence, either real or fictional. I think that’s why I get more upset by it than John does, or than most people do (I almost wrote “normal” people, since restricting your kids’ access to TV today is probably child abuse in some states, and is almost certainly very unusual indeed).

John has gradually increased my ability to deal with horror movies and books, though there are still some things I cannot or will not watch. “Silence of the Lambs” gave me an anxiety attack, for example, and I’m always not looking during gross parts in movies and TV shows. John also introduced me to Stephen King and Christopher Fowler, both of whom can be categorized as horror writers, though I think of them as story-tellers first and foremost. No-one can tell a story, or remember what it’s really like to be a kid, than King, and no-one knows London better than Fowler, whose descriptions of gore and mayhem are, well, poetic.

But scary books and scary movies still have the power to give me nightmares. So I don’t allow them into my imagination near bedtime, and if I can avoid it, I don’t sleep alone.

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Jun 27 2002

Love is in the air

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Love is in the air….

Candi & Brian are newly-weds, Anathea just got engaged and is planning a romantic autumn wedding in Maine next year, and Scully popped the question in such a charming and original manner that of course the answer was yes.

Congratulations to all of you!

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Jun 26 2002

Wrap It Up

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My one and only niece, the one and only Cat, turns 20 next week. My one and only nephew, the one and only Ben (he should thank me for talking his mother out of calling him Nicholas) turns 18 in August. Since I’m one of those annoying people who buys presents as they see them, whether the occasion is two weeks or ten months away, I already have their presents.

Ever since Cat was a baby, she has shared my love of jewelry. When she was little, she used to sit on my lap and play with my jewelry, saying “Sparkly”. Now I have the fun of buying it and giving it to her. When she turned 18, I gave her a white gold belly ring with a teeny diamond in it. This year, it’s a red coral bracelet, which my sister is going to bring home with her, so I don’t have to mail it.

I do have to mail Ben’s gift, though. It’s waiting patiently for me to take it to the post office. He is going on a trip to Belgium in August with his friend Alex, and I thought this gym bag would be the perfect thing for him to take with him. Now, Ben was 8 or so when his parents moved from Canada to England, and Canada is still, to him, The Promised Land. He keeps up with all Canadian news and sports, so he should be thrilled to tote around a bag from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but Ben left his in Waterloo, Ontario.

Although buying the perfect present and/or card for any occasion is one of my very few talents (the only actually useful talent I have is cooking), I am terrible at wrapping them. Plus, I hate it. Wouldn’t you think I’d be a really good, artistic present wrapper? But sadly, no. It must be a combination of general impatience and implied geometry that makes it impossible for me (also probably why I’m such a terrible pool player). You should see the brown paper horror that is going to arrive on Ben’s doorstep a month hence (I’m sending it surface mail, the snailiest of snail mail). It is the parcel version of Frankenstein’s monster. I got John to wrap the actual present, though, so it’s very neat and nice looking. I got the store to wrap Cat’s for me. That’s my usual solution to present-wrapping: get the store to wrap it up, whether it’s on-line or in person. It’s always worth it to me because I’m:

1. Terminally lazy;
B. Terrible at wrapping.

Also my solution to pretty much anything I don’t want to do is to pay someone else to do it (see #1).

So I figure, I’m happy, and the person getting the gift is happy, too. Last Christmas I didn’t have to wrap a thing, and I’m not planning to this year, either. Though I already have most of the presents, of course.

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Jun 25 2002

Home again

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Imagine my surprise when I checked in at the San Diego airport on Sunday to be told that my reservation was for Saturday, the day before. I explained that I would never have made my return reservation for that day and time, since I was picking up my sister, arriving from England three hours later than the flight United thought I had reserved. Maybe to make up for this, they got me a seat on the next flight to San Francisco, in “economy plus”, which means you have a little more space. Airplanes are not classless societies.

I set off the metal detectors again, and also had to have my shoes x-rayed. By this time, I was panicking about both missing the flight and being on it. My Mom had given me some ativan to take, and I discovered that it doesn’t seem to work as well for me as valium, or maybe I just need to take more. To add to the horror, I had a window seat, which I hate, because you can see just how far it is to the earth. On the other hand, we flew right up the coast on a sunny day and it was beautiful: Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey.

Back at work yesterday morning first thing. I’m so beyond tired that I’m like an extra from Night of the Living Dead. And you will be amazed to hear that we still don’t know any more about Mom’s prognosis, despite her meeting with the doctor yesterday afternoon. We’re just getting the usual “more tests, waffle, waffle, bullshit”.

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Jun 22 2002

County Fair

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I bet you were surprised that there was a love/hate yesterday, but believe me, hospitals are much like jails in the infinity of time and the uncertainty of when you’ll get out, which is your dearest wish.

Mom is home again and feeling much better. I am amazed by how much just having me here seems to have given her a positive attitude. I now have some idea of how celebrities must feel when they sign an autograph for someone: no big deal for the celebrity, very little effort, but the fan is thrilled out of all proportion. And although our relationship has been stormy since Day One (I set the tone by arriving butt first), when something like this happens, none of that matters. It all just gets swept away as if by magic.

She felt so much better yesterday that we went to the County Fair for a couple of hours. It was a lot like the one in Charlotte’s Web, and we petted baby goats, lambs, rabbits, pigs, and ducks. Unlike the Charlotte’s Web fair, though, this one had an Elvis theme and included items from Graceland, which had never before been seen outside of Graceland. There was the green couch from the Jungle Room, his desk and gold-plated phone, his briefcase with a phone in it, original movie scripts, his driver’s license, birth certificate, and several of his jumpsuits from the Vegas Elvis years. Yes, they are tacky, but magnificent in their tackiness, and also exquisitely made.

We had a blast.

We entered a raffle for one of Elvis’ very own Cadillacs, this one a powder blue 1976 model with gold-plated hubcaps. If I win it, my sister Megan has a brand-new car, a big American tank to replace her totalled little plastic car.

So short term, we’re OK. Long term, don’t know. But we’ll deal with it as it happens. We should know more next week. Thanks to everyone for your support and caring – it has really meant a lot to me.

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Jun 21 2002

Love/hate: London

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Love/hate for Friday, June 21, 2002

I love London. I have loved it as long as I can remember. My father was English, and because of this, we often went to England to visit his parents. Later, my father retired back to his native land, and I would visit him there at least once a year. So, one way and another, I have been going there all my life, and I have a deep and abiding love for England in general and London in particular.

I now realize that I was very lucky to have a home base in Wimbledon, which is technically London, though located at the very end of the District Line on the Underground. It seems to me that London, in the guise of Greater London, has been encroaching ever outwards, and sometimes I wonder if it will eventually take over the entire country. Anyway, when I get to London, I head for Wimbledon, where My Room is always waiting for me and I slip into my London life without a second thought.

Dr. Samuel Johnson, he of so many bons mots, famously and truly observed that ?he who is tired of London is tired of life itself?, and I couldn?t agree more. Though I have been there dozens of times, possibly even scores of times, there are still things I haven?t seen that I?d like to, and others that are so wonderful that visiting them once a year is not enough. I used to think of my trips to London rather like the children?s story about Frederick the Mouse. Frederick spent the summers storing up enough colors and flowers and sunlight to get him through the long, dark winters, and on my trips to London, I would try to absorb enough paintings, theater, great houses, history, and time with my father to get me through the rest of the year.

London is a treasure house of these things, and it is exciting to be in such an ancient and beautiful place. In the middle of London, near St. Paul?s Cathedral, there are remains of Roman walls, and in the nearby Museum of the City of London, you can marvel at the Roman houses that were some of the city?s first. The city has been inhabited for many centuries, and as someone who lives in such a new country, I love being somewhere that life has gone on for centuries. And as someone who is half English, I also feel the connection to my roots. Generations of my father?s family were Londoners, and I like walking the streets where they lived and worked.

You can also walk the streets that have known some of the greatest authors, painters, actors, and philosophers the world has ever known. You can drink a pint in the same pub as Charles Dickens or Dr. Johnson himself. You can lunch where Winston Churchill did (at the Savoy Grill), and see a play in theaters once graced by Sarah Bernhardt and E Terry. You can see the great Hall of Westminster, which recently sheltered the Queen Mother?s coffin at her Lying in State, but also where King Charles I and the great William Wallace were both tried for their lives. You can visit the Tower of London, built in 1066. 1066! You can even visit many of the Queen?s royal residences, including Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, but only if she herself is not in residence.

I promise you, you will never see all of London?s wonders, but it?s worth a try. And that’s not even mentioning the wonderful collections of the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, and the Tate Modern, or the places easily reachable from a London base, such as Hampton Court, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral….

And one final note: the myth of bad British food is just that. Some of the best and most memorable meals I have ever had were in the UK, notably the Walnut Tree in Wales (the great cookbook author Elizabeth David?s personal favorite); the River Caf&eacute, and the Tate Restaurant, with its gorgeous mural by Rex Whistler.

For those who don?t know where to start, I would suggest the Eyewitness Guide to London, which lives up to its promise of ?showing you what other guides only tell you? and City Secrets: London, which even taught me a thing or two about one of my favorite cities in the world.

So partly because of its childhood associations, partly because of these visits to my father, which were, as he said in his last letter to me, the high point of the year, and partly because of this ancient city itself and all its wonders, I will always love London.

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Jun 19 2002

Hospital Daze

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Well, this has been a strange day so far. I’m writing this in Balboa Naval Hospital, while my Mom is sleeping and recovering from the surgery this morning.

The day started with my brother calling me at 4 am, upset because Mom’s ride to and from the hospital had fallen through. We couldn’t get a cab company who was willing to take a credit card over the phone, so she ended up driving herself in.

My sister called me at work and told me that Mom was having some of her vertebrae cemented together because the cancer had deteriorated her spine. While they were in there, they took some fluid to see how far and fast the cancer is spreading. She would be in no shape to drive herself home.

So I called my boss and told her I’d be in San Diego the rest of the week, then went home, packed (good thing I’m used to it and always have toiletries ready to go), called the airline, kissed John and the cats good-bye and went to the airport.

Now, you all know that I haven’t flown since Dad’s funeral, which was just a few days before 9/11. I hate flying so much that I have a therapist, and I hadn’t had time to psych myself up for this at all.

I was surprised that I breezed through the check-in and security so easily. I didn’t have a bag to check, which helped, though oddly, my platinum watch and my some-kind-of-metal underwire in my bra set off the metal detectors. This has never happened before, so I’m assuming they sent the metal detectors to sensitivity training.

And with the help of the two v’s (valium and vodka, yes, in the morning), I got here. And now I’m in the hospital mode that I remember so well from when Dad was in Stanford: a mixture of boredom and fear, waiting for the doctors. They told me three hours ago that he’d be here, but not yet. At least Mom’s asleep and I’m here in one piece. It was all worth it to see the look on her face when she saw me.

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Jun 19 2002


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Thanks for your support, everyone. I’m heading to San Diego in an hour to pick my mother up from the hospital after several gruesome tests. Wish us both luck, and keep us in your thoughts. I should be back on Sunday.

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Jun 18 2002

Bad month

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Warning: what you are about to read is a big, fat downer.

I usually try to keep things fairly fluffy and frivolous around here, because I am mostly fluffy and frivolous. But sometimes you just get overwhelmed.

This June is may have actually surpassed the previous record of horrible month held by June, 1996, in which my brother’s dog died, my father’s dog died, our old family friend Allie Cave died, and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, followed by a radical mastectomy.

As I write this, my older sister Beth and stepmother Margaret are meeting with St. George’s Hospital. Today, right after our first Father’s Day without our father, also happens to be exactly ten months to the day since my father died, and they are meeting to discuss the wrongful death suit we have brought against the hospital. In keeping with the fluff rule, I probably haven’t mentioned here before that my father’s death was due solely to medical malpractice and incompetence, which adds a deep layer of misery to the grieving process. It is easier to accept the sudden death of a loved one if it was due to a terminal illness and couldn’t be prevented or stopped, than it is knowing your father is dead because of a series of stupid mistakes. If they can’t reach an agreement with the hospital, and I doubt they will, we’ll take the case to court, which means re-living all the horrible details until the conclusion of the case. All we want is for the hospital to admit their negligence and to re-evaluate their procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother went in to have a mole checked and the doctors told her it was melanoma. They did tests and discovered that her breast cancer had metastasized as well. More tests followed, and next Friday the results will be presented to a board of cancer specialists and they will decide the best way to attack the cancers. We haven’t given up hope, but she’s definitely looking at serious chemotherapy and there is a possibility that I will lose my remaining parent.

Yesterday, my younger sister Megan was sitting in her little red Geo Metro at a stoplight in Fort Bragg when a van rear-ended her, smashing her car into the van in front of her. Thankfully, Megan is OK, but the car is totaled. It sends chills down my spine to think that her car was essentially destroyed when it wasn’t even moving. I hope the next car she gets is good, heavy, American steel, like my Mustang. I know rationally that she’s OK, but all I want to do is go up there and see for myself.

I hope the Fates, or whoever runs these things, is done with us for this month, because I don’t think I can take much more.

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Jun 17 2002

Day Three

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Candi’s on her way home today. Hopefully, she’ll be able to get on an earlier flight on stand-by, instead of the one she’s scheduled to be on that gets her home around 1 in the morning! That has to be the main drawback of Priceline: you can’t specify the times, so you usually get stuck with the worst possible/least desirable flights, like the ones that get you home at 1 a.m.

Despite that, the complete lack of parking anywhere in the city except in tr&egraves expensive parking lots and the surprising lack of choice in soda in restaurants, I think Brian and Candi had a pretty good time. I hope so!

We rounded off their whirlwind visit yesterday with a trip to Alcatraz. It was a beautiful, sunny, postcard kind of day, and much warmer on the island than I had thought it would be. It’s usually windy and cold out there, but not yesterday. It’s mating season for the birds on the island, and we were charmed to see baby seagulls, balls of grey fluff, taking their first hesitant steps on their long legs and mother gulls sitting calmly on their nests right beside the paths.

We took the audio tour, which includes both guards and inmates talking about what it was like in the bad old days, and had such a good time that we had to literally run for the ferry!

It was wonderful to have Brian & Candi come out and visit us, and I hope they come back soon!

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Jun 16 2002

Day Two

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Yesterday, Candi & Brian met the Pacific. We drove there through my snooty neighborhood, passing the houses used for the exteriors in “Party of Five” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”, through Seacliff, and then to Ocean Beach.

When you get near the ocean, the pine trees are bent backwards and slope away from the shore from years of wind and weather, looking very dramatic. It was bright and sunny, no hint of fog, though a little windy. Brian wasted no time in taking off his shoes and socks and experiencing the Pacific up close and personal. I think it was a little colder than he expected. And when we took a picture of Candi and Brian on the beach, the ocean, in its perfidious way, snuck up and surprised them, though fortunately they didn’t get very wet. John’s right, you just can’t trust the ocean!

Drove through Golden Gate Park and then out to 19th Avenue, whic leads to the Golden Gate Bridge. We crossed the famous bridge and paused at Vista Point to take pictures and admire the view. I am almost certainly prejudiced, having fallen in love with this place so many years ago, but I think that this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And nowhere else looks like it.

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Jun 16 2002

Father’s Day 2002

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Me (barely out of the Beastly Baby stage) and my Dad. That’s my older sister running around in the background. When Dad got home from work, he’d always rough-house like this with us, and of course we loved it.

Love you, Dad. Today and always.

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Jun 15 2002

Day One

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I woke up to fog yesterday morning, and while I usually enjoy the fog – it’s like soft focus and therefore flattering, in addition to making me feel like I’m in a cinema noir movie or a Raymond Chandler novel – I really didn’t want Candi’s first sight of the city to be shrouded in fog, the sky a pitiless white. Fortunately, the fog burned away by the time we met up, and so far, the sun has continued be on its best behavior. And you know how capricious it can be. Sort of like me.

We walked all over the place, down to Aquatic Park, where we had lunch at the homey Pompei’s Grotto before heading to Pier 39.

While there, we decided to see about tickets for Alcatraz on Sunday. When we got to the box office, the cashier said, ominously, “I’ll see what we have left.” It was either noon or 3, so we went for 3. I was surprised that it was so sold out, since it’s pretty early in the summer, but the cashier reminded us that it was Father’s Day. Is going to Alcatraz a Father’s Day tradition? Anyway, we have our tickets, so we’re set.

Met up with Brian at the hotel where he had been giving a seminar for the past few days, buying a really cool coat for Candi along the way at Buffalo Exchange.

We had dinner at the always charming and wonderful Victor’s. It’s probably our favorite restaurant, an oasis of comfort and complete lack of pretension. The decor hasn’t changed in generations, the one bathroom is reached by walking through the kitchen, and the wait staff hasn’t changed in the decade we have been going there. The clientele is usually people from the neighborhood and cops, so it was disturbing to discover that the party behind us consisted of people talking about golf and the fact that one of them had paid the highest price on record in his neighborhood for his house. On the other side were people of the type you would see on the 41 Union bus, the guys all with same haircuts, all talking about money and sports, saying things like “extreme” and “sweet” while the girls compare the size of their engagement rings and the success of their latest diets. I hope that Victor’s hasn’t been discovered by the rich and boring crowd.

In spite of the loud and boring conversations all around us, we had a great time together, enjoying the fantastic food and the pleasure of being with friends.

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Jun 14 2002

Love/Hate: The Ocean

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I am the envy of all. I’m spending the whole weekend with Candi and Brian! See you later!

Love/Hate for Friday, June 14
The Ocean

As long as I can remember, I have loved the ocean. As a child, we left land-locked New York State each summer for the joys of Mt. Desert Island, Maine, a place much more appealing than its name. We learned to swim and sail in the cold blue Atlantic – I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how. My father worked at a lab where we could take out one of the lab’s rowboats if we had passed the test of swimming from the dock to the Point, which of course we had.

When the tide was low, we could walk out to Bar Island, being careful we had enough time to walk back to town before the tide was high and cut off all access until the next low tide. We often swam at Seal Harbor, where we could swim out to the floats, and Sand Beach, where we had to walk out and swim back. One of my favorite childhood memories is of coming out of the water at Seal Harbor, lips blue with cold, and going to lie down on my father’s sun-warmed back, snuggling my cold, wet face into his neck. Yet he never complained. Dad, unlike my mother, who was a lifeguard in high school and college, rarely went in the water. He lay on the beach and read the New York Times instead.

This rocky little island is the first place to see the sun rise on the Eastern seaboard, and it is a breathtaking sight to see. Well worth getting up for, and if you don’t feel like hiking more than 1,000 feet up a pink granite mountain that early, you can drive to the summit. You’ll even get a little card certifying that you saw the sun rise at the first place to see it that day in the entire country.

And it’s a wonderful feeling of freedom to skim across the waves on a sailboat. We were brought up on Arthur Ransome’s wonderful Swallows and Amazons series, in which a family of children learn to sail on the Norfolk Broads. These books inspired us to learn to sail ourselves. In fact, one of the pleasures in store for me on my trip to England this fall is sailing the very same waters as in the stories.

But now I live on the opposite coast, on the Pacific Ocean. I think they look different, and not just because the sun rises over one and sets over the other. No matter which ocean it is, I love to sit and watch the waves coming in. It’s soothing and makes you feel part of the whole cycle of life, connected to our seafaring past, the ebb and flow of life itself.

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Jun 13 2002

French Leave

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A link via the always-amusing Kelly led me here, where the question was asked: what was your best summer job? Mine was definitely the summer when I was 17. It was the first time I had ever been to Paris, and I’ll tell you how I got there.

The summer before, a couple of French scientists, husband and wife, had come to work for the summer at the lab where my Dad worked, in Maine. They had two little boys who were not only complete hellions, but could only speak French. So they ran through the pool of available baby-sitters very quickly.

My Dad kindly offered my services without asking me first. I had cleverly refused to take Home Ec in 7th grade, on the grounds that I already knew how to cook and spending days making Jell-O was pointless, and took French instead. It seemed a good idea at the time, but little did I know that it would lead to my spending the summer instilling manners into Olivier and Thierry. I never did manage to break their habit of being naked on the beach, but that was the least of my worries. BTW, the one and only time I saw “Star Wars” was with Olivier and Thierry, and I spent the whole movie translating it for them.

Apparently my Miss Manners boot camp was pretty successful, because the parents offered to pay my way to France the next summer. I didn’t really believe them, but voil&agrave! A plane ticket to Paris was produced. I stayed in Paris for a week with friends of the scientists, who conveniently had two handsome sons a little older than I was at the time who very kindly showed me the sights.

Then I took the TGV to Nice, and spent the summer there. The family had a beautiful old house overlooking the city of Nice, and I had a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room in a tower! The bed was very high and had a flight of little wooden steps up to it. Every morning, the boys would come running in and jump on the bed yelling, “Time to get up! Yes, please!”

We’d spend the day at the beach or messing around in Nice. That’s where:

– I acquired an addiction to caffeine that endures to this day, thanks to the morning espresso.

– Discovered how truly repulsive Gitanes and Gauloises were.

– Horrified two old American guys in leisure suits on the beach who were making remarks about all the topless girls. One of them asked the other what time it was and I said, “Oh, about 1:00”, and they fled. They didn’t think I knew what they were saying, since I only spoke French to the kids. I’m sure they continued to be sexist jerks, but not on my beach.

– First went to Monaco.

– Got a really bad sunburn, yes, while topless, which will probably lead to skin cancer one of these days.

– First tasted pesto and bouillabaisse and French bread and friture de pays.

– Fell in love with France.

If you have to work, that’s the way to do it. It’s all been downhill since then.

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Jun 12 2002


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Is there anything cooler than having your best friend’s first novel on your nightstand?


I do all my best thinking in the bath, though thinking is relative with me, given the depth of my shallowness. While in the bath yesterday, it occurred to me that I seem to have an obsession with ginger, yet I never noticed it before.

My perfume and my bath stuff are all the ginger collection from Origins. I love the spiciness of the ginger and the freshness of the citrus. And you don’t smell it on every other person. And you don’t completely repel innocent passers-by, leaving them gasping in your wake as the wearers of the unspeakable Calvin Klein perfumes do. I find Eternity, with its clingingly pervasive urinal cake aroma, particularly hideous. Once John and I were buying cologne for him in LA, and the salesman said he hated all the Kleins. With a look of utter disdain and elegant repulsion on his perfectly tanned face, he said, “I could never recommend it.”

Ginger and citrus seems to be big with me, too, because the only cookies I really like are Carr’s ginger lemon cremes. The balance of spicy, crispy cookie and cool, tart lemon filling is irresistible. I have been known to eat the entire box in one sitting. OK, I pretty much always do. I also adore gingerbread and candied ginger, but otherwise I’m not much of one for dessert.

The final proof of the ginger obsession is that I so admire red hair, aka ginger hair in England (think Ginger Spice). It is amazing to me that something so beautiful just occurs in nature, like hummingbirds or roses or sunsets. Despite the admiration, I have never dyed my hair red and my husband is only the second redhead I have ever dated, the first being a high school boyfriend whose mother hated me on sight, correctly suspecting me of despoiling her baby. If it’s ginger, I’ll probably love it.

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Jun 10 2002

Remain in Light

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Man, I hope the weather stays this way for Candi and Brian’s visit this weekend. Well, Brian will be here tomorrow, but no Candi for us until late Thursday night, so late that it will practically be Friday.

It’s bright, sunny, and pushing 80? F or 27? C for those of you unfortunate enough to be subject to Celsius, aka Centigrade (and what’s the difference, anyway?). Even though I lived in the semi-Metric hell that is Canada for a few years, I never did get used to the whole Metric thing. I had spent my formative years with feet, yards, inches, and gallons, so it was way too late for me to figure out centimeters, meters, and so on. I never did. 27? still sounds cold to me.

Anyway, I hope it stays bright and sunny and the City is at its pretty best. I had company for the first weekend of June and it was windier than Chicago. Ever notice when you go to visit someone, the weather was always great the week before you got there, or improves dramatically the week after you leave?

So, if you were going to spend a weekend in everyone’s favorite city on a warm, sunny day, what would be tops on your list to do and see?

4 responses so far

Jun 08 2002


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I’ve been so preoccupied with my birthday this week that I entirely failed to notice the untimely passing of Dee Dee Ramone on Thursday. It appears that nature abhors a Ramone, since we lost the late, great Joey just before his 50th birthday last year, and Dee Dee, at 50 this year.

Since you all know how old I am, I can freely admit that I have loved the Ramones since high school. The first time I heard them, I was enchanted. My friends and I even went to New York just to see them play. And in the intervening 25+ years, they never lost their charm for me.

Their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year was too little, too late. They have always had a dedicated fan base, but not a widespread one. Although they have influenced countless very successful and popular bands, the top ten lists pretty much escaped the Ramones. Little did they realize how literal the title of their last album would be: We’re Outta Here.

And half of them are. But they never gave in, never stopped being the Ramones. Their work will live on, in their music and others’. The X-Files’ Langly said it best:

“You want to know why Joey Ramone’s my hero? Because people like you never managed to grind him down. They never stole his spirit. He never gave in, never gave up, and he never sold out, right until his last breath. And he’s not dead. Guys like that, they live forever.”

2 responses so far

Jun 07 2002

Love/Hate: Naps

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Love/Hate for Friday, June 7, 2002

Naps are never a good idea, unless you’re planning to stay out late for a really good cause, like seeing the New Year in while visiting Edinburgh, which is the most fun you’ll ever have while wearing a winter coat. I did that two years ago, and that may well be the last time I took a nap. Mostly, I think they are evil and mess up your body clock.

If you’re at home and nap, you won’t be able to go to sleep at the normal time, and will have a really hard time hauling your ass out of bed the next day. If you’re like me, it’s not so much the day immediately following the sleepless night where you feel exhausted, but the one after that. Two days of feeling tired and cranky because of a nap. Can it possibly be worth it?

If you’re travelling overseas, you’ve been stuck in a plane for hours, cramped and miserable, being fed weird food at weird hours and unable to sleep (though there’s always someone on the plane who sacks out before take-off and doesn’t wake up until landing or even later, flaunting their flagrant and almost certainly drug-induced sleep in front of everyone else). So you are jet-lagged and in the throes of what is essentially a travel hangover. But if you give in to the nap temptation, you’ll never reset your body clock to local time. Even though it’s hard, you should stay awake until 8 or 9 and then sleep for 12 hours or so, awaking refreshed and ready to have fun, your body on local time.

So for me, naps aren’t evil because they are self-indulgent. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who is more self-indulgent and less apologetic about it than I am. I just think the bad outweighs the good.

5 responses so far

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