Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Job

The constant is change. I’m taking a new job starting in mid October and oh my, I had forgotten how hard it is to leave a job. There’s some thinking I need to adjust. I’m leaving a small organization and there is a lot to do to be able to leave and to make sure that everything is in place and that things are in good shape for the person who will follow me. Yes, just a touch of perfectionism! Ok, more therapy for that!

I’m excited but tired. Sad but happy. Nervous but encouraged. I’m looking forward to my new colleagues and to work that I can throw all of me into and to being part of a team again.

Will this change our relationship? I worry about that. John says no, but hey, he’s a guy. For today it’s all to the good and will be if I worry less and sleep more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Married Life

People keep asking me if it feels different to be married. Yes and No. No because we still live in the same apartment, the grocery list is more or less the same, I still use my favorite Sharpies to mark the newspapers before he reads them, I buy two half gallons of milk at the same time and he still shakes his head (but we never run out—or low).

But different too because something—some teeny anxiety --has settled down inside of me. Different also because I think about his family now as my own as well—and gratefully they have reciprocated so I have these wonderful in-laws and extended family. There is a little bit more “we” in my vocabulary though knowing my old tendencies I’m careful to not lose the “I” as I know that is the surest way for me to lose the “we” and the happiness I’ve found.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sexual Healing

I do believe that sex is life giving. It is for me. Maybe I overestimate the power of sex or my own sexual power but there are moments when I think, “Every time he has an orgasm I am saving his life.” Ok, maybe that’s a kind of a ramped up, X-rated Florence Nightingale but there is something to it. Libido is life force. An orgasm is “le petit mort”—a little death. Sex is a little life and a little death.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Man A Can A Plan

I am NOT a good cook. Let’s get that straight. But I like to play with food and I LOVE cookbooks! I have tons of cookbooks which makes everyone laugh when they see the shelf in our kitchen. But it’s the culture, language, history, social-psych thing.

Tonight I made a meal from one of my favorite “weird” cookbooks. I have a whole category of weird cookbooks: The Beet Cookbook, The White Trash Cookbook (quite extraordinary in every way) and today’s pick, a cookbook called: “A Man. A Can. A Plan.” This is a cookbook for men who can’t cook—bachelor of a certain era, divorced guys, it’s written very guy—explains what utensils are—“grab one of those big spoons with holes in it”. And it’s made of that very thick, shiny cardboard, the kind of paper used for books for babies. But the cool part is that the recipes are based on food that comes in cans. Yes my dear friends who only eat organic or local or vegan will DIE. So die. There is good food in this book—Think Grandma. Think church supper.

Tonight’s yummy casserole was “Spaghetti Western”:

Two cans of Spaghetti O’s. One can black beans. Half pound ground round, two chopped scallions, 2T grated cheddar, 2T chili powder. Cook all in one pan. Six minutes tops.

Add nice salad: Baby spinach, Bibb leaves, a tomato, salt & pepper, juice of half lemon and olive oil.

Dinner was ready in under ten minutes and it was delicious (And there are leftovers)

One serving: 500 calories and 14 grams of protein. Which means I can have biscotti and ice-cream while we watch another episode of “To Serve Them All Our Days.”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Death Weeps

September 12 2001

Even the dead weep at a time like this.
All those on the other side, making preparations to welcome such a large group.
Death is going door to door in New York City walking past doormen, going up dark stairways, down halls and taking the train to Long Island and Connecticut and getting off at little Cheeveresque stations in the suburbs.
Death nears exhaustion, leaning in one more doorway, waiting for the buzzer to be answered. Hesitating, sighing, tired.
She has tears in her eyes as she visits another house, and another and another.
At night death goes down to the site and sits on the rubble wishing it wasn’t true.
Some of the dogs come and sniff at death, then back up and give her a funny look.
Even death is too tired to be moved.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Yesterday, Labor Day, we went to Yankee Stadium to see his New York Yankees and my Baltimore Orioles. It was a perfect end of summer. And, also, a kind of unofficial end to our honeymoon. We managed to stretch our post-wedding travels from art and history in Paris to sand and salt at the beach, then to joy and frustration on the golf course and finally ending the summer and our honeymoon at Yankee Stadium with an Orioles win!

I realized watching the game that we have so much in common and so many differences. We do like many of the same things: Literature, music, baseball and golf, but we like them for different reasons. I love a live baseball game. I love the look and smell and sound and history and arcane sports trivia. I like knowing how baseball impacted history and how it has come to be the perfect spiritual metaphor. And John, well, he cares about the actual score—winning and losing. How ‘bout them O’s?

And now, the day after Labor Day, it’s a new year. Time for new pencils and red plaid shirts and knee sox and loafers. I still want new loafers every September. Though I’ve moved from Bass to Cole Haan to eyeing Chanel. New shoes, new life, new start.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Excerpts from Yglesias's A Happy Marriage

“He was vigilant. He no longer feared that one of her infections would kill her, as he had in the early days when cure was a real possibility. The end was inevitable and very near. She had to die of something because cancer does not kill alone. It kills with accomplices, so why not a sepsis?”

“He talked in narrative spurts sorely in need of punctuation and editing, without proper endings or middles. It was a symptom of fatigue and an adaptive response to the way most people reacted to his wife’s frightening illness: they interrogated Enrique intrusively about the logistics of Margaret’s battle while carefully avoiding discussion of its denouement…When he raised the subject of victory or defeat for Margaret, and friend were quick to end the conversation, he would intone to himself in a whisper: “I am become Death, the destroyer of chitchat.”

“In truth, he could find no comfortable place to sit in the company of her illness. He would feel guilt and shame no matter how he behaved. She was going to die and he was not; in the undeclared war of marriage, it was an appalling victory.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happier than Fiction

I’m a writer and a reader, yes. But sometimes so amazed, delighted and wondrous at finding a story in fiction that is so perfect for my life.

The day before we left for our honeymoon, I grabbed a new paperback from the shelf at my local bookstore. The title attracted me: “A Happy Marriage”. The perfect thing for a honeymoon, yes?

Yes. “A Happy Marriage” by Rafael Yglesias. His 5th novel. He also wrote “Fearless” which is one of my favorite movies. But this happy marriage is a stunning tale. It is to some degree the story of Yglesias’ own marriage. The courtship, love affair, struggle and finally devastation—all still in love—as Yglesias cared for his wife who was dying of cancer.

Coincidence? Act of God? Just literature doing what it does? Literature giving a wedding gift?

Literature on its own and the literature of caregiving. Intensity of language and of medicine. Man and woman. Husband and wife. Sickness and health. Until death or “The end.”