Monday, August 28, 2006

Big Mama's Birthday

Yes folks, the rumors are true. Mommy is 44 years old today.

Woke up to a light rain falling on our summer cottage. I was in a cozy bed under warm quilts. Just me, my husband, my son and my dog. It was a tight fit but everyone wanted to get into the act of falling asleep with mom on Ellen-eve.

We all had a lovely breakfast and headed out to Provincetown where I finally got a chance to weave in and out of art galleries. If only I had the money to buy art...until then we'll just have to make it at home.

We ate at the Lobster Pot (see above pic). This restaurant is the height of culinary achievement in Benjamin's eyes. It is a very reliable place to eat (even Gourmet recommends it!) and it's customary to go there at least once during your stay out here. What makes us laugh is how very adament Ben is about us patronizing the place. Mama mia - the boy still eats off the kiddie menu!

Afterwards Ben and Brian presented me with my VERY OWN Boston Red Sox baseball cap. I also got a great book on meditiation written by Pema Chodron, the well known female Tibetan Buddist monk. I also gave myself the gift of joining up with my writing mentor/editor again after a long break filled with self doubt.

We went for a walk on a deserted bay beach with Saki, happy to be the only people in sight for miles. Afterwards we went home for a dinner made by yours truly. Clam chowder, a cold lobster salad and a nice white wine followed by an excellent Carvel ice cream cake! I made Ben a "crabby patty" a la Sponge Bob Square Pants. Basically, a crab cake topped with chopped pickle, tomato, mustard, ketchup and lettuce on a toasted sesame seed bun. According to Ben - it's the closest we'll ever get to cracking the secret recipe.

Brian just finished drilling us with Trivial Pursuit questions. Ben knew all the history answers. I knew all the ridiculous answers.

As I blew out the candles, I felt so grateful to be living in a safe environment with a healthy family, a job, a cool dog and a lot of laughter. People in Israel never have that sense of safety we take for granted every day, nor do people in Iraq, Gaza or Afghanistan...or parts of this country where people fight violence and poverty everytime they step out the door with their children.

In some small way, I know that what I do for a living helps move things forward - if only just a bit. My father always says that education is the great equalizer. I couldn't agree more.

Now help me blow out those candles and make a wish!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Close Encounters of the WASP Kind

So I'm standing at the deli counter at a grocery store in Provincetown silently waiting my turn.
The woman before me places her order. She is blond, ivory white, in a crisp summer outfit.
And then she spoke....

"Yes, could you please give me a half pound of the chicken breast or the turkey breast please. What's most important is that it should be extremely dry. That's how we like it. Which would you suggest to be the driest of the white meats?"

My jaw dropped. Having been raised by an Italian mother that request is tantamount to saying "please direct me to your most burned piece of toast, the more charred the better."

I knew that voice. She was the replica of my mother in law only forty years younger.

Do you know how much time I spent in therapy discussing the "food issues" around WASP family gatherings during the holidays? I'll never forget when my mother in law put a three pound roasted chicken down on the table to feed five people. My husband could have eaten the whole thing! At first I thought she was angry at us but then I came to understand that what she hated was the need to eat food. I took my wonderful therapist's advice -eat before you get there and there won't be any more tears of confusion or hunger.

Of course if I wanted a martini, they would gladly hand me a Methuselah sized bottle of gin and send me on my way - - no questions asked.

Go figure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I'm having such a wonderful vacation.

This is the first time since childhood that I've ever gone to the cape for three straight weeks. Every morning I go for a walk at around 6.45 am. It's a magical hour. Very few cars, just the fisherman types driving by in their trucks and a few high powered bike riders.

During this walk I thank God for all that I have and for this beautiful world we live in. I ask for guidance on how to be an instrument for good and how I can somehow alleviate suffering in other people's lives.

If there was a class for remedial praying - I would be in it, including remedial praying summer school. Most of the time God must be reacting to my prayers by thinking "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what the hell is she actually trying to say?"

Monday, August 21, 2006


I heard that there will be a documentary on HBO in the next week or so made by Spike Lee titled The Day the Levees Broke. Wish I could catch that one but I'm far from the land of cable consciousness here in my sleepy sea village.

Maybe I still haven't gotten over reading Gone With the Wind but the more I think about it the more that the Federal response to Katrina seems like a mutation of the Reconstruction. It seems like people in New Orleans should be seething in anger at this country. That place is still a friggin hell hole. Is it because most of that city was poor and black?

And why hasn't the press stayed on it?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

By the Sea

We spent four hours at Longnook Beach today. It's a wild beach. Huge dunes and untamed waves. Everywhere you turned there were seals, blue fish, minnows - - and they had no intention of leaving because of a few freckled nude and semi nude humans.

Ben asked us what animal we would be if we couldn't be human. We were mulling that one over when he said "there's no way I'd ever be a butterfly". I asked why and he said "because butterflies don't ever know their mommies". He has no idea what those words meant to me.

Brian spends most of his time in the ocean. Swimming out too far, weaving through the waves with the slickness of a seal. He is so happy in the water. Out there all by himself. He stays out so long that I finally got him to wear a thermal swim shirt and shorts. It's pretty clear that he's just visiting us here on dry land. His heart is lost somewhere in the Atlantic.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I'm up on the far end of the Cape with Ben and Brian.

Three weeks of ocean, bay, woods, cooking, hiking, reading, swimming, writing, biking, sleeping, music and I forget what else...

I'm slowly forgetting where I live and what I do for a living.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Red Alert

Liquid bombs.

What will people think of next? How do governments keep ahead of all these terrorist schemes? It's just too much.

What is motivating these rageful acts? Is it because thousands of people have died in Iraq and now one thousand in Lebanon - - and no one intervened? Is the message to these people that some lives are worth more than others? That a dead Lebanese child or Iraqi child means less than an American or an Israeli? And why are some of these Muslim sects determined to kill each other?

Why does Iran want to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth"? If I lived in Israel with my son -- how would I want my government to react to that statement with Hezbollah a stone's throw away from my door?

I wish I understood the history of the middleast better - so I could understand what motivates these actions - where the rage comes from and the desperation.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Branson, Missouri

I have a very sketchy idea of what Branson, MO is all about. But I'll tell you one thing. This country needs tons more with lots of variations on the theme!

First of all, it keeps entertainers employed long after they fall out of fashion. It helps me to sleep better knowing that Tony Orlando, Joey Heatherton and the entire cast of Hee Haw have gigs and health benefits.

I also like the idea that the performances are all hours of the DAY and EVENING. I wouldn't mind going to see Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Chrissy Hines or anybody else for that matter at 2pm instead of 11pm. Who gives a rat's ass as long as the music is good.

If only there could be a P.S.122 or spiegeltent in every state.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Below the Mason Dixon Line

Recently I chatted with a few colleagues at work trying to identify what we would consider American Icons.

Both friends quickly suggested that the novel Gone With the Wind was surely among the top ten. I'd seen the movie but never read the book.

Well...I'm reading it now. Perhaps it isn't at the pinnacle of American Literature but I have to say that I find it a complex and fascinating story. As a matter of fact - - someone should remake Gone With the Wind - - with a screenplay that more fully honors the novel.

Since I'm on a role I also rented Cold Mountain. It's a great movie - - a painful movie, but I'm glad I saw it.

Rhett Butler was right. Almost all wars are about money and greed. It's a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. Just like Iraq. Nothing's changed.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shock and Awe

Sorry folks. It's difficult to post when violence in the middle east continues to escalate out of control.

Bodies continue to pile up in Iraq. Isn't the number over 2500 troops and over 100,000 civilians? Now Lebanon is decimated with children dying at a faster rate than the Hezbollah militants. People in Israel live in constant fear as well.

Some members of the press suggest that the latest military activity in Lebanon is based on the "clean break" strategy developed several years ago by US neocons and Israeli conservatives. I googled "clean break" cheney and came up with a long list of supporting documents and commentary. I'm not in a position to know if this strategy is in fact being used as a blue print or not...but there are similarities and it scares me.

How long before someone makes a statement here?