What does it feel like to open the New York Times tab on your laptop and read, “The Privilege of a New Start?” Infuriating. The article is about Rupert Murdoch’s (age 92) engagement to Ann Smith (66). It’s all about how men have the capacity to reinvent themselves by marrying someone decades younger, whereas women do not.

“We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together.” While an ironic, even witty remark, his words nonetheless contain that sense of futurity, of more life left, that new marriage conjures. Everyone has a right to pursue such pleasures, but the playing field is hardly level.” 


So I was going to write about ageism and sexism today. I had read the latest National Geographic article titled, “Patriarchy is not destiny” with my morning coffee. I was all up in a fury about how a 90 year old MAN could blithely refer to the “second” chapter of his life, especially while leading the charge of misinformation in the news industry all while being sued by Dominion voting machines! Then my Son-in-Law texted me –

School shooting at Covenant in Nashville,

reportedly multiple injuries (one website said 4 dead including the shooter). 

VUMC is on mass casualty alert.

And now I’ve been on a family text chain all morning. I’ve been posting and reading and watching our local coverage. My body has been alternating between flight and fight, sending messages to my brain that our time here on earth is up; we can’t save the planet and we’re killing our children… we seem to be OK as a country with children dying in their schools.

The extreme Right BatWing of the once GOP is not willing to give up their assault weapons. Please make me understand why you need these guns?

A teenage girl walked into a small Christian school this morning with TWO assault rifles and a pistol! She was shot dead by the Metro Nashville PD. Thank God our brave police officers did not stand around waiting for permission to engage. Still, THREE children were killed, and THREE adults. SEVEN DEAD.

I am sick. Sick to my stomach of these cowardly politicians who send Christmas cards of their families holding guns. Sick to death of their concern for a fetus. Sick of their thoughts and prayers.

Bob just asked me what I wanted planted as he needs to put his hands in the dirt. I have no more words. The Groom texted that Vandy is supposed to go back to normal, they didn’t get mass casualties. Seems a girl shooter doesn’t believe in spraying bullets randomly. Looks like she targeted her victims.

Want to read up on the history of assault rifles?

“Today, the AR-15 is the best-selling rifle in the United States, industry figures indicate. About 1 in 20 U.S. adults — or roughly 16 million people — own at least one AR-15, according to polling data from The Washington Post and Ipsos.”


Some people go to church on Sunday.

Some fry wings and watch college basketball, and some bundle up for a hike in the woods while their kids are in Hebrew School. Yesterday our whole family, armed with cleaning products, walked over to a neighbor’s newly built house to erase the black spray-painted hateful messages they found on the white brick siding. It was reassuring to see so many people coming to help, to see the police presence along with a few news outlets.

“A search is underway for two individuals who spray-painted swastikas and hateful messages onto five homes in Sylvan Park. Metro Police released Ring doorbell footage on Twitter from one of the residences where the individuals can be seen spray-painting the messages on Sunday. Police say the incident took place early Sunday morning.”


My immediate reaction was to stay home.

I thought Nashville had turned its back on winter, but there had been a frost. Searching for a puffy jacket seemed useless. Moreover, I felt useless and demoralized. I’d done my fair share of picketing and organizing, and yet tonight TN will again pass THE MOST EGREGIOUS ABORTION BAN in the whole country.

What good would come from a nana who was just learning how to walk again without pain? My second immediate reaction was to bake something. Baking always helps; it helps me and it helps the recipient. But there was no time. The Bride and Bug would be stopping by to walk with us, and the Groom would join us as soon as the Pumpkin’s’s soccer game was over. Bob started packing the mineral spirits and sponges…

On Saturday we strolled around the local Farmer’s Market. Yes it was cold, but I remembered Margaret Renkl imploring us not to buy grocery store flowers. So I stood in a long line for tulips. There were not many left, but after picking out my colors – deep dark magenta, pink and white – the young man behind me said, “You’re a very smart shopper.” I thanked him for the compliment and said I was always an “outlier.” But he wasn’t referring to my choice of colors, he meant I’d picked only flowers still in bud!

To think how happy I was that day; petting dogs in the sun and picking out French radishes only 24 hours before five homes in my neighborhood were vandalized. On Sunday I thought this must be a bit how it feels when African Americans see a Confederate flag or a Confederate general on horseback adorning the state capitol grounds. I felt hunted.

It’s not as if I’d never seen a swastika before, but it was always within its historical context – a documentary about the Holocaust, a book by Elie Weisel. I’d never stood witness to this hateful symbol IRL, in real life, only in two dimensional film or paper. Anti-semitism to me has always been a remnant of our collective past, after all Shakespeare wrote about it. Still, every year the ACLU sees an increasing number of crimes committed against Jews.

Hate crimes in general have been increasing in numbers across the country. But ever since Mr T was elected, his followers have felt free to say aloud what had previously remained silent. In 2021, the FBI reported 7,759 incidents. The problem is, one can’t assume that every police department reports its hate crimes to the FBI.

“The numbers released this week represent the hate crimes reported to the FBI last year by 15,136 law enforcement agencies across the country. Some experts say the true number of hate crimes is likely higher, since not every crime is reported to law enforcement, not every agency reports its data to the FBI and many agencies report no incidents.”While these numbers are disturbing on their own, the fact that so many law enforcement agencies did not participate is inexcusable.”


Of course, I went with my clean-up crew. I met the owners of the new house, an architect named Oscar and his wife and two small children. They had just moved in three weeks ago, and he designed their home. Yes, Oscar drew the plans for their forever home. I felt like crying on his sidewalk. People kept coming to help, all in all maybe a hundred neighbors stopped by to erase hate. I made a poster, “LOVE WINS” and met a beautiful black lab named Olive.

I saw footage of my daughter last night on the local news, one of many washing off Oscar’s home, which happens to sit next to a church parking lot. Watching my Grands scrubbing that wall felt bone-crushingly sad. Didn’t I deal with my children being harassed enough because they are Jewish? The swastika drawn into the condensation on a school bus window. The swastika drawn in a notebook.

I try not to be cynical. Today, I will be grateful for the tribe of helpers that showed up with buckets and power washers… and for my tulips which are just starting to open.

Building Fences

BANG! BANG! BANG! Hello anybody home?

And a fine cold March morning to you. Today we are replacing the old, dilapidated wooden fence that encircles our backyard. At 8:30 am on the dot, they started tearing down the fence. It’s supposed to take just one day. This is one of those times I wish I had a noise cancelling set of headphones; I guess I could make like a younger person and head off to a coffee shop to write, or I could try the Bride’s house down the street.

But, this is Spring Break week, so the Grands are home. Between my babies and the bulldog over there, and the BANGING over here, I doubt any cogent thoughts will appear on this page. I guess Pandemonium must be happening at every house with young children this week. After all, there are always Star Wars contraptions to build with Legos. My Ps and Qs (peace and quiet) will have to wait!

After scanning the usual papers on screen with my coffee, it seems like there’s nothing new to report: Mr T is blaming Pence for January 6, isn’t it incredible we are still talking about the twice impeached ex-prez? Regional banks are rebounding, and Russia is still fighting a war it cannot win. The new George Lucas museum is going up ever so slowly in LA. Speaking of LaLa Land, did you see the Oscars? One bit of good news – for the first time in years, Bob and I managed to see the winning movie, “Everything Everywhere All At Once!”

EEAAO is not for everyone; I’ve heard mixed reviews from friends. For me, it is a movie about LOVE and the ties that bind us all in this dimension. I’d choose to do laundry and taxes with Bob again. Michelle Yeoh was nothing short of excellent at the job of mothering. After the last couple of years, I’m sure many of us have been rethinking our parenting skills, and trying to time travel.

That night, as I was getting into bed, I asked Bob if he thought I’d be a different person if my father hadn’t died and my mother never took that car ride to Wilkes Barre July 4, 1949. I imagined growing up in Scranton, PA surrounded by cousins and grandparents, a place where our ancestors are all buried. I would have become a good Catholic girl. I would have grown up with my sister Kay and my brothers. We would have read comic books in the front of my father’s drug store. But I don’t like to dwell in the past.

Bob is busy building a dog gate for the Bride’s front porch. Then the next project for us, after the new cedar fence, will be refinishing the old floors in this new/old house. The contractor had to plane red oak to match our 1920’s floors to patch up the old hearth spots. And in order to do that, I will have to empty my Snug?! Since I use a file by pile approach, this my friends will not be an easy task.

There’s a break in all the action outside. I’ve done a walk-about to see what flowers, herbs and shrubs survived this past winter. All our front foundation hedges are brown unfortunately. The whole row of lavender I meticulously planted last spring is dead. Rosemary didn’t survive either. One tiny ornamental grass did pop up, and the lilacs are starting to bud. And the Grands have arrived to watch the fence go up!

I gave them an assignment with my phone. The Pumpkin will be the Artistic Director, and the Bug will be Head Camerawoman. I asked for pictures from the metaverse of our yard, anything artistic about fence building? I think we can find art everywhere if you’re willing to look. And you won’t need a pair of googly eyes either. We’ve never lived behind a fence before, but I’ve come to treasure our privacy in the backyard.

Dudes in Drag

When I was at Camp St Joseph for Girls, I sang “If Ever I Would Leave You” in drag. I was maybe 13 or 14 and the nuns thought nothing of it. Since I was the tallest camper who could carry a tune, I was dressed as Sir Lancelot in Camelot. Is it called drag when girls dress like boys and perform musical comedy hits, like Victor Victoria? What about Shakespeare, where men always played women?

Back in the day, I’ve witnessed many a guy on stage dressed like a Hawaiian Hula dancer. The trope is funny, with coconuts on their hairy chest. Mostly it was the big, brawny football types who felt secure enough in their own masculinity to don womens’ clothes. I’d never even heard of drag until I was in my 30s and we went to a bar in Key West. Our Big Chill group took up a sizable part of the audience and we had tons of fun.

And now here I am in Nashville with a Drag Star Hair Stylist!

Tennessee is the first state in the union to ban public displays of drag to “PROTECT” our children. What exactly are we protecting them from… ? TN Republican legislators say drag is “harmful to minors;”  They called it an “adult cabaret” that would “appeal to a prurient nature.” My hair stylist in his alter ego, aka The Britney Banks, attended one of the protests. He/she held a sign that said

“Trust Politicians PARENTS”

I absolutely cannot trust politicians to keep our children safe. Safe from what, from learning their own history in school?

Safe from what? reading books that may make them uncomfortable?

Have politicians kept our children safe in their schools? Yesterday, I bought three purple Columbine plants for my garden, and every time I say that word, Columbine, I feel that tragedy deep in my bones; when two teenage boys killed 13 students and teachers and wounded more than 20 in 1999.

Politicians however, have voted against enhanced background checks after Sandy Hook, where six adults and 20 CHILDREN were murdered. They did nothing again after Uvalde, where 19 children and 2 teachers were gunned down. Children are simply pawns to be sacrificed on the altar of Republican Greed. If you haven’t heard Jon Stewart parry with Oklahoma Republican State Legislator Nathan Dahm you’re in for a treat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCuIxIJBfCY

It’s a bit long – they must go through a series of free speech and 2nd Amendment chaos – but wait till the end. Stewart asks Dahm if it’s true that he doesn’t like drag queens reading to children. Oh my, well of course that’s true. Then Stewart, with righteous indignation in his eyes, asks him why it’s OK to infringe on free speech but not OK to regulate firearms? And Stewart’s trick question is, “DO you know what the leading cause of death is for children?”

It’s not drag queen readings. It’s GUNS!! Yes, now guns surpass motor vehicle collisions, and unlike adults, where the majority of gun deaths are suicides, “…for children, 65% of firearm deaths are homicides and 35% are categorized as suicide.” I guess there is the occasional accidental suicide when a toddler finds mommy’s gun in her purse and shoots himself, but honestly 65% of firearm deaths are murders! And our leaders cannot even reinstate the Assault Weapon Ban?

Why can’t we treat a gun like a car? I used to ride in the front seat with my Daddy Jim. Every time he braked, his arm swung over and pushed me back in my seat. I even did it for awhile with my kids, who used to sprawl all over the back seat to and from the beach with towels and dogs running rampant. Kids are not dying in cars as much anymore because politicians have passed regulations that require parents to take certain measures and buy car seats and not even let them sit in front until they reach a certain height…

Bless Gov Lee’s heart, his priority is not exposing children to Drag Queens, but hey, the more guns the merrier! I wonder when his Christian cohorts will want to end bachelorette parties in Nashville? Or Purim costumes for that matter at a synagogue, where a man recently dressed as Queen Esther. Are we going to infringe on religion? You get my drift. These two know and love my aforementioned hairstylist, and I’m more than OK with that!

The Art of Healing

This morning, as usual, I opened the door to let Ms Bean out. This is usually a perfunctory task, like making a cup of coffee, done without much forethought. Like sleepwalking, since that first cup of coffee hasn’t touched my lips yet. The unusual part of this morning was the wind, warm and coming from the south. Bean paused on the porch, lifting her nose to the new day. She stood there for many minutes, surveying the neighborhood, smelling the wind. And I didn’t rush her as I might have in the past – go on girl, go do your business. No, I stood vigil with her, watching, listening, feeling the wind on my face.

With coffee cup in hand, I opened my laptop to this essay in the New York Times about finding joy in everyday things:

“Instead of thinking about what you find enchanting, which may feel too difficult to answer, Ms. May suggests asking yourself a different question: What soothes you? It might be going on a walk. Or visiting an art museum. Maybe you enjoy watching the shifting clouds.”


Katherine May, the author of Wintering, said that every morning she likes to go outside and smell the air, “like a dog.” Her new book, Enchantment, is on my bedside table. I looked twice at the title article on my screen, “How to Feel Alive Again,” and felt compelled to click on it. It seems like every day I wake up and go through my mental to do list, only to finish the day without accomplishing one single thing! But what if I’ve been stuck in this holding pattern for a reason. What if my checklist is all wrong?

For seven months now, my sole responsibility has been to walk again, without pain. Can I do bridges again, how about Pilates? I look at the step stool in our pantry with dread, and decide never to use it again, not even the first step. Look what happened to my sister Kay. My purpose in life has become never to fall again; not from a bunk bed step, or a slippery or wonky sidewalk. Avoiding pain at all costs is the fulcrum to days spent wanting in my mind to organize a closet or lock my self in the Snug and work on my book.

And at night I’m thankful to be still standing; I’m grateful for Bob since he finished insulating the attic so I don’t have to look at the pull-down attic stairs next to my desk. In trying to avoid falling, I’ve been ignoring what May calls “soothing” or enchanting everyday things. I’m sure this list would be different for all of us, but it’s about time in my healing process to just get on with it:

To listen to Mozart; to write in my Snug without interruption; to make asparagus soup; to walk Ms Bean; to visit the Frist Museum; to knit my grandson a sweater… to name just a few. Would organizing my new closet be enchanting? No, but it could be satisfying. The closet was finally finished when I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t pass through its door. Now I can see patterns and color, now I can edit (or should I use the overused “curate”) my style, such as it is. Eileen Fisher devotee, coastal nana stuck in a landlocked red state. Post Pandemic. We are post pandemic right?

The motto on my Thistle Farms coffee cup says “Love Heals.” In other words, it doesn’t or shouldn’t hurt like the Everly Brothers song. So as we bid hello to March winds, I’m determined to walk slowly and appreciate the small, ever-present grace of each new day. Like teaching the Love Bug how to make soup.

Fat Tuesday

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, the Bride joined us for a quick Korean lunch of Bibimbap!

After trying out an Uzbekistan restaurant with our Germantown crew last week, we all decided to meet for dinner every month at a new and/or unusual place. Bob and I get to choose the next March culinary pit stop, so I asked my creative daughter for her thoughts – and I am paraphrasing here but – this famous Nashville chef, Deb Paquette, who owns Etch and Jasper’s to name a few famous restaurants has said that Korea House is her all-time favorite! And it’s right in our neighborhood.

I thought about Ada and her friends meeting at a NJ diner every Tuesday, and how I used to join them when I was in town. It was sad to see their numbers diminish over the years, but that sense of predictability and camaraderie appealed to me. Also not having to cook was a bonus. Is this another sign that I am aging; like watching Jeopardy? I think it’s more of a need to stay connected with our Italian cohorts since we moved a few miles away.

My foster parents used to go out to dinner, at the other diner in town and yes NJ has LOTS of diners, almost every Sunday. I would order the exact, same thing every time, veal parmigiana. That was before I learned about veal being a baby calf only six to eight months old and all. I must say that shopping and cooking for your family was not layered with climate or ethical considerations back in the day. I was supposed to clean my plate and that I did because they, the Greatest Generation, endured the Great Depression.

Which meant that nothing went to waste!

I remember giving up PIZZA for Lent, and I remember a priest rubbing ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday, and all the statues getting covered in purple cloth at Sacred Heart Church. I’d never been to a Mardi Gras festival until we started traveling, so the whole eat/until/you/burst idea never came up in my childhood… except for the cleaning your plate problem. And Nell never allowed booze in the house, so Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat or Pancake Tuesday, was news to me, but think about it. It almost feels like Yom Kippur.

The whole making your confession thing and asking for absolution – only instead of not eating anything for a day, Christians give up their favorite food until Easter arrives. And then watch out, it’s chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs galore! Fasting seems to be a big part of most religions, either for a month or a day; in retrospect, deprivation should lead us to enlightenment, or hallucinations at least. Fat Tuesday, yesterday, was the end of Mardi Gras season, and it makes sense that the custom of drinking and dancing and throwing beads around was just this new Christian faith adapting to pagan Roman rituals.

“After Christianity arrived in Rome, old traditions were incorporated into the new faith and debauchery became a prelude to the Lenten season. This fusion resulted in a hedonistic period of boozing, masquerading and dancing with a heavy dose of religion.”


On Fat Tuesday the world witnessed our President standing in Poland, after visiting a war zone, and talking about meeting the Pope. He was met with a large cheering crowd, wrapped in blue and yellow Ukraine flags while he spoke about freedom. In contrast, the Russian imperialist sat while giving his state of the Russian state speech to a small group of elites in a strangely blue ballroom. He touted lies with impunity and said the West started the war in Ukraine, and I find it hard to believe the Russian people accept this nonsense propaganda.

Following the breakup of the USSR, the numbers of Russians identifying as Orthodox Christians has surged every year. Russian Orthodoxy was the main religion in Ukraine, until the Ukraine Orthodox church recently split from Russia… after 300 years. Instead of fostering healing, peace and diplomacy, Christianity has taken sides.

Ukrainians are not only giving up their brave men and women, their livelihoods and their schools and homes to Russian bombs, during Lent they are expected to abstain from meat, meat by-products, poultry, eggs, and dairy products! I wonder how many soldiers, on both sides, will be getting ashes smeared across their foreheads today. The online Britannica tells us that “The ashes serve as a memento mori and are often accompanied with some variation of the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” … Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence, where only one full meal and no meat are to be consumed.”

We are all stardust, we are all peace seeking humans. But there are times to pick a side, to stand up to a bully. Silence and indifference must never win again.

This was yesterday on our favorite French island!

Love is in the Air

… along with more balloons.

And we were too, flying into Manhattan for a sisterly visit. The City was pretty in a late winter way. It seems there are less people walking about, maybe it’s because we were on the West side? The wind was crisp and bitingly cold, the sun peeked through now and then. I walked into a small market to buy black and white cookies for Kay, and a young woman looked straight at me – which is never done in NYC if you can help it – and said.

“Is that a Rachel Comey?” And so we struck up a small conversation.

“Yes,” I said referring to the designer of my colorful long puffy coat, “and I bought it at Target last year for $50!”

She proceeded to tell me exactly what Comey clothes she scored at Target. These short, pleasant conversations with strangers are some of the moments I’ve missed the past few years. I suppose wearing a mask makes small talk unlikely. Still, I’ve grown accustomed to random women shouting compliments at me, “I love your coat!” almost every time I wear it. It’s a hard coat to miss, its wild/pink/magenta/navy/persimmon abstract design shouts LOOK AT ME. And this young woman made my day.

She had no idea my sister fell off a footstool and broke her hip, or why I was standing in that market, or that Bob and I were In the middle of an emotional week visiting Morningside’s acute care rehab. For a split second, I almost felt “hip!”

We took most of the NY family out to dinner one night – Lynn, her daughter and a great cousin or is it nephew Kris and niece Annie, who is married to Bart, a Physical Medicine and Rehab Pain doctor. Bart is also French and he and Annie have been instrumental in cheering Kay on her road to recovery. It was a delicious night with the two doctors comparing notes, and finding out that Annie is pursuing her private pilot license! Bob won’t be the only pilot in the family.

Did you happen to see Rihanna floating above the Super Bowl Sunday night? A friend said she thought the halftime show was ageist because you had to be under 40 to appreciate it. I wasn’t that fond of all the white-clad dancers, they reminded me of the Groom’s spacesuit stint in Covid PPE. Riri’s red pleather outfit was an unusual way to announce her pregnancy, and I’ve got to give her credit, her performance was spectacular. Not sure I’d allow myself to be hoisted singing and dancing above the crowds while with child. Wait, I’m sure the answer would be no. Thanks.

Heck I wouldn’t go up in a hot air balloon when the Bride was a newborn!

I did go floating above the Shenandoah Valley with Bob in a hot air balloon after moving to VA. I figured the kids were grown and could take care of themselves. It was exhilarating watching the cows try to hide from our huge, noisy, menacing presence in the sky; until I realized we were at the mercy of the wind. The balloon pilot could take us up and down, but we had to be on the lookout for a big green field or meadow in order to land.

And I had to be OK with that, with not knowing. In a sense, this aging business puts us all at the mercy of the wind. I can only hope it will stay at Kay’s back, pushing her recovery forward, until we both land on our feet.

Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate!? This is the only pic I could find of the coat, please excuse the close-up.

Balloon a Palooza

Sometimes I feel like somebody’s watching me, for real.

They’re counting how many times I click on cute pictures of Welsh Corgis. Right now, Pinterest thinks I’m a wallpaper obsessed, coastal grandma who loves dogs, and they wouldn’t be wrong. The other day I was watching TV and some actor said “Alexa” and whaddyaknow – my phone’s little hologram lit up and started swirling, and we’ve never invited Alexa into our house!

We have invited three guys into our house today to do some air sealing. Since our new/old house’s HVAC unit can’t keep up with the extreme heat and cold, Bob is determined to find all the leaks and stop them in their tracks. We’re not so much worried about our gas range, which I love btw, as we are simply being comfortable inside when the weather outside is 8 below. Today is a perfectly sunny day to create a wind tunnel at our front door.

By tonight we should be comfy cozy, sipping hot chocolate while watching President Biden deliver his State of the Union Address.

And boy do we Tennesseans need some good news. Our very own Governor gave quite the speech at his State of the State Address:

“Brushing aside calls to tweak one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday unveiled plans to funnel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to anti-abortion centers as he declared the state had a “moral obligation” to support families. Lee, a Republican, said he wants to create a $100 million grant program for nonprofits commonly known as “crisis pregnancy centers.” If approved, Tennessee would become one of the top spending states on such organizations known for dissuading people from getting an abortion.”


And he also refused millions of federal dollars to help fund HIV education. Here we are, in the 21st Century with a leader who wants to whitewash history and force women to give birth. I honestly never thought I’d see this day. Maybe we are banning books, but at least Lee isn’t asking to monitor female athletes’ menstrual cycles. Not yet. No, he smiled and called TN “prosperous” and “unrivaled.”

We are most certainly unrivaled with: the most infant and maternal mortality rates: the least per pupil spending in public schools; and we’re number 3 in the country in the most violent crime category. Thinking of Memphis, I wonder if police shootings are counted?

Bob and his air quality crew have just disrupted my chain of thought. There is thermal imaging and caulking happening all over the house but especially in my Snug where the attic stairs pull down from the ceiling. And poor Ms Bean is walking aimlessly about trying to corral all these strange men.

I wonder what that Chinese surveillance balloon was spying on? Did it fly over TN? Did it catch the L’il Pumpkin rollerblading? Did it take a picture of Bob walking Bean? Did it see Bob using his metal detector to try and find the property markers? I wasn’t very worried about the balloon, it immediately went into the “things that cannot be changed” category in my brain. After all, doesn’t TikToc get all our information anyway? I’m assuming either Alexa or Siri are constantly monitoring our every sound, while some satellite is taking Google earth pictures of our homes. We like to delude ourselves into thinking privacy is our constitutional right.

And as much as we’d like to create an air-tight house, I’d much prefer to live in a state that values women and education no matter what the weather.

I could not watch the video.

The Memphis special squadron that took it upon themselves to stop a young Black man for some unknown traffic violation, and then beat him to death. I thought the carnage might end as police cams and onlookers with cell phones recorded the shootings in the back, the knee on the neck, the vindictive assaults. Everyone whispered, “Thank God they are Black officers,” as if this somehow made what happened to Tyre Nichols acceptable. It is not. This morning, we learn that more police and emergency personnel have been relieved of duty, although no one else besides the original five officers, has been charged with murder… yet.

“The Memphis Fire Department has also said it pulled two personnel from duty in response to the case and launched an internal investigation.”


Did you know that a climate activist was killed while demonstrating in a forest outside Atlanta? Their name is Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (who identified as non-binary), also known as Tortuguita, was shot in the abdomen by a Georgia State Trooper. They were protesting the plan to turn a large section of the 85 acre forest into a training camp for police and firefighters – calling it “Cop City.” Activists around the globe were shocked. “Environmentalists for years had urged officials to turn the land into park space, arguing that the tall, straight pines and oaks were vital to preserving Atlanta’s tree canopy and minimizing flooding.” https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/protesters-question-circumstances-surrounding-stop-cop-city-activists-death

What do you think? Should we build more police training centers with gun ranges, or preserve our public parks? Should we build more preschools or more prisons? The banality of economics, of guns vs butter, is never ending.

Over the years, I haven’t had a lot to do with the police. Granted I’m White, I’m ghostly, Irish White. And my step-father was a judge, which may have colored my young ideas about the justice system. In some ways, I felt a part of the system, like the police were there to “protect and serve!” It wasn’t until I started working at Head Start in Jersey City that I realized African Americans have an entirely different idea about policing. That they would never call the police because A) they wouldn’t come, and B) if they did, it would only make things worse.

I’ve never called the police myself, but I have had them call on me.

I was served a summons once, many years ago, by a sheriff In NJ letting me know I was being sued. Another time a nice young officer showed up at my door to remind me to keep my dog on a leash – oh and btw the neighbor who complained is “well known” to them. He’s the same lovely guy who set up a bear trap on his property to keep the local children from running into his yard. Here in Nashville, I had a young female officer come to my home for a statement after someone stole my wallet in a Panera, although I never heard from the police again.

When Vietnam happened the police became the enemy. The protest movement of the late 60s consumed our generation; Kent State, the killing of four unarmed students in 1970 by the Ohio National Guard while assisting the campus police.

As I marched by the buses full of guardmen and women during the DC Women’s March of 2017, I have to admit I was skeptical. Why were so many National Guard standing by for our peaceful protest? Later, I wondered why the National Guard were not standing by on Jan 6 of last year at the planned insurrection?!

I heard the First Gentleman mention “The banality of evil” as he spoke about the Holocaust last week. About how seemingly good people can become conditioned to incremental abuses of power. How the silence and indifference of the German people allowed the Nazi Party to dehumanize Jews and Gypsies and LGBTQ people. How violent acts triggered by prejudice became ordinary occurrences. How Six Million Jews were lost.

How many more Black, unarmed people are we willing to lose? How many peaceful protesters need to be sacrificed? Have we become a society so habituated to gun violence, so polarized, so willing to accept the idea of a 6 year old shooting his teacher that we raise our hands – that we wash our hands – in surrender?

I asked the Love Bug’s friend’s father. who is Black, if he ever gets pulled over by the police since he moved to Nashville. He smiled and said, “Only 16 times this year.”

Morning Mantra

Every morning I languish a little in bed. I listen to the birds who are calling for Spring. I listen to Bob making coffee in the kitchen. I try to remember yesterday’s Wordle. Then I stretch, just a little, like Ms Bean would do after getting up from her comfy bed. I take note of my pain – my neck is blessedly quiet, how is the right hip, how far can I bend the knees? I expected that my bones would ache in the morning with age, and improve as I moved through the day. Instead, it’s the opposite. My body is at its best when I awake, and as the day wears on, the osteoarthritis kicks in.

Lately though, my first thought is about my sister.

My sister Kay is the oldest one of us still living. The glamorous, Lipstick Feminist Stewardess of the 50s and early 60s. My sister, who at 15 carried me to my foster parents after our Year of Living Dangerously, and left me in Victory Gardens, never to forget me. The working, single mom on the Upper East Side of New York who was a template for Holly Golightly. Audrey Hepburn’s character and Kay both survived a traumatic childhood, and navigated rocky romantic relationships. I always looked up to her; I envied her ability to draw and paint like a Dutch Master. She had a way of being in the world that was easy and full of confidence. Kay is an artist and charismatic still, and only slightly directive like a big sister.

Last week Kay took it upon herself to clean the top of the refrigerator. You may ask why would an 88 year old decide to climb a step stool? I know I did. I’m also pretty sure I’ve never cleaned the top of my refrigerator. .. ever. That being said, she fell and broke her other hip. The good hip. Her surgery was just four days ago and her daughter, with help from local family members, is helping to manage her transition to acute care rehab. Living alone, for most us, will prove too hard eventually. We Boomers need to plan for continuing care long before we need it, before a medical crisis. I guess it’s just too hard to look our mortality in the face.

About three years ago, Kay told us that her hospital was starting a new Geriatric program for its medical students. Maybe it was a response to the pandemic, but my sister was asked if she’d like to participate. My brother Dr Jim and I encouraged her, and since she had already mastered Zoom for our Sunday sibling sessions, we thought she’d enjoy chatting with a young person. And of course, she loved it! So much so, that Kay has now met the young medical student, Esha’s, friends and gone out to dinner with her a number of times. And although this is the season for exploring residency programs all over the country, thankfully Esha has been at her bedside and helping us connect with her orthopedic team.

I remember my stylish sister: having cherries jubilee set ablaze at the Rainbow Room; walking to the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney and the Guggenheim; my niece’s wedding at the Convent of the Sacred Heart; going to the Big Apple Circus in Lincoln Center; walking to the Madison Deli for our favorite sandwiches; meeting Dr Jim at an outdoor cafe when he returned from Vietnam. I was drinking Grand Marnier and the smell of oranges always brings me back to that moment, waiting with my sister.

Bob has started up the elliptical. And Ms Bean is roaming around the house wondering if it’s time for a walk. Our senior pup is deaf and mostly blind, but she can still smell like a trooper and insists on her daily walks around the neighborhood. Wouldn’t you if you had 100 million sense receptors in your nose? I’ve heard her slow sniffing is like reading the gossip column every day. Still, in January, I find myself wishing that Bean would get on with it. After all, walking is a big part of my recovery.

The Bride has loaned me a book by Katherine May, “Wintering: the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.”

“By winter, she means not just the cold season, but “a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.” In Wintering, May writes beautifully of her own recent bout with a personal winter, a period when she felt low and overwhelmed, out of sorts and “out of sync with everyday life.” 


I guess my winter started early last year, in the midst of summer actually. I was told by multiple doctors to, “shut it down.” No traipsing off to Italy. No more walking! I had to rely on Bob for everything and he was my rock. And now that the pelvis has healed, I must be “careful” for the next few months and build back my strength. I’ve graduated from water PT to land PT.

Yesterday I asked Bob to deliver some of my homemade soup to a neighbor who is experiencing her own winter, caring for her husband. We are, all of us, buffeted by seasons of joy and sorrow. My sister is strong, and smart and willing to walk again. I’m beginning to see the signs of Spring.

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