samedi, février 27, 2010

Stamp your feet

I'm wondering why there is so much national rage popping up in our media.

It infests a lot of our dialogue on issues from taxes to climate change to health insurance...

Is it the weather?

Global tragedies in Haiti and now in Chile?

Lack of productive work for more than ten percent of our neighbors?

Lack of communal connection abetted by the ability to "connect" here?

The fact that we are fighting two wars?

The cascade of foreclosures?

I don't have an answer (doh). I can understand why troops and under or unemployed folks would be furious. Though that never, nevern never excuses violence.

But what about the rest of us?

Do some of us just need to stop expecting people to figure it all out for us?

Or is there something deeper going on here? I have no idea -- yet it appears that it's easier to have a tantrum than an answer.

vendredi, février 26, 2010

Heart of a nation, heart of the world

You don't have to have an American on the podium to be proud.

That's one of the lessons of the figure skating competition, which was really all about heart.

A heart that, tragically, gave out before one mother saw her daughter's Olympic prize-winning dance.

The heart to display technical skill and dramatic fireworks beyond the South Korean champion's apparent wildest expectation.

The heart to skate after a performance that left the audience on its feet, the ice brimming with stuffed animals, and your competitor pretty sure of the gold medal.

And then, of course, the heart of a grieving daughter, who somewhere found the inner strength and profound bravery to turn her tears into something beautiful for all of those who watched.

One of whom, I can't help but believe, was one proud mom.

mardi, février 23, 2010

I can do it myself...

Everyone who has had a child recalls those toddler years, when children push the boundaries of their circumscribed worlds.
Standing up. Bringing a fork brimming with potatoes to one's mouth. Putting on a sneaker.

Each task becomes an occasion for celebration of a kid's mastery over her or his world. And then, of course, there is the illusion that he or she is autonomous. That's one that many adult still bask in until illness or some other crisis challenges it.

I can do it myself, Dad! My fork!

But the fact is, they don't have the experience to know what is safe, and what is not, what they can do, and what might better left to the old folks. That's even one that teens find it hard to grasp. My boyfriend! My car!

Although I'm clearly no longer a toddler (no, I am not) I still sometimes wonder if I'm not taking on jobs that might better be done by others. Not housecleaning, no worries about that. I'll take all the help that I can get. And I paid someone to help me organize my kitchen, living room and bathroom so that when sellers come through they might be able to see themselves living here, rather than a crazy writer lady and her two eccentric kids.

But why won't I let the young man across the street mow my more than an acre of old farmland?

Why do I take such pride in living in a town that many people around Philadelphia simply haven't heard of? Why am do I chuckle inside when the physical therapist says : I know you'll be back, Elizabeth. You push yourself too hard?

Do you have arenas in your own life where you simply don't wish to ask for assistance? Do you still get a cheap thrill out of doing something on your own, when maybe someone could give you a hand?

I dunno why I have this rebel streak. But I did ask a realtor to see if my possible new house has a ghost. Ghosts, you can't control. And what if it was an eerie visitor with an authority problem? I've got all that I can manage with the kids -- and meself.

dimanche, février 21, 2010

Ten confessions, or why the Choo isn't on this foot

As a condition of accepting this terrific Sugar Doll award, I need to share ten things you most likely don't know about me. I'm finding this tougher than I thought it would be, in part because I've been shedding my (metaphorical) clothes in public for years.

That is to say that I've dug deep into my family and personal life, even my literary adventures in dating, for various columns and previous blog posts.

So if you've seen or heard it before, just skip on to the next bit of lingerie.

1. I have size 12 feet, so I can't go out and buy suggestive shoes in my size. I'm lucky if I can get the granny loafers -- or I can choose that orange thigh-high boot that no one else bought on the Macy's outlet rack.

2. But I'm tall (around 5' 9'') so hopefully people don't spend too much time staring at my sensible shoeware. As for my feet -- "you run on those?" asked the physical therapist.

3. I grew up about half a block from Prospect Park West and took the Seventh Avenue bus to and from St. Ann's School in the Heights, making sure I had a king-sized chocolate bar for the way home.

4. When I left for college, I was pretty convinced I was going to be an actress. And I was very involved in theatre throughout most of my college years. But I didn't quite believe in my talent or spunk enough to make a go of it.

5. While a student in Princeton, a fellow student and I housesat one summer for the late Peter Benchley and his really nice wife Wendy. I still recall talking literature one evening with Peter. He was a neat shoot off the literary dynasty.

6. I met my ex when I interviewed him for a feature.

7. I still continue to look for mentors who will help me become a better writer. I love good editors.

8. I tend to get crushes, even at this age, on brainaic journalists -- there is something very exciting about someone who pushes you intellectually.

9. I put chocolate chips in my trail mix, eat chocolate for a snack, and usually have chocolate ice cream in the freezer. Notice a theme here?

10 Sometimes I like the striptease, and sometimes I wonder what on earth I'm doing online, exchanging often silly and mostly inconsequential bits and bytes of information with people I may never meet. But I keep doing it, aware of the fact that....

Sometimes "connecting" keeps one from truly showing up.

But you knew that....

Sorry, gotta run! People to "see." Really. See.