Monthly Archives: January 2016

well now this is galling

Hillary blamed for her husband’s affairs — as a co-conspirator, an apologist or, worse, the root cause of his philandering?

I’m writing this even while at a loss for words about how wrong this is. Fortunately, Michelle Goldberg, at Slate, is more coherent: “Hillary was a betrayed woman who nevertheless fought to salvage a marriage and political project she believed in. Perhaps she shouldn’t have. But the Times editorial casts her as an icy schemer stage-managing her hapless husband’s misdeeds. It turns her from The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick into House of Cards’ Claire Underwood, from victim to villainess,” writes Goldberg.

You have been warned: I’m going to write more on this when I can find the courage to read Trump’s take on it.

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45 Years

Saw this movie on a chill, dark day, snow falling softly, the first of the year. Likewise, the movie was quiet and dark, nothing to inspire a flare of awe or any kind of feeling in me, actually—just a story of two people in underlit rooms, and, they learn, an underlit marriage, even on the eve of celebrating its 45 anniversary.

I looked longingly at Charlotte Rampling. C’mon, you’re a beauty. Dazzle me! You play a deeply intelligent and proud character! Surprise me!

But she refused to be a circus monkey, entertaining on command. Laudably, I suppose. Her gaze was obscured by heavy lids. She wore unflattering cotton shirts and ill-fitting jeans. She smiled wryly at times but otherwise seemed joyless. Again, commendable that she stayed true to the appearance and mood of her character. Here, she is in the prime of her beauty, without the gloss and glamour typical of the film stars of her day.

Measure: Charlotte Rampling

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Cleanse Day 17

What’s most revealing about this process is discovering the foods I really crave and those I never think about. Meat, for instance: Don’t need it, never crosses my mind. Cheese, pasta, bread and sweets (except for a brief infatuation with a slab of fudge last night): same.

Wine, though, a deep red on a winter’s night, or a fizzy Vinho Verde after work. I miss the way it alters my mood, mellows my jangliness. I imagine a Friday without a nice glass of something and it feels like a desert of virtue. Work, followed by more work, followed by finally folding myself into my covers, as sober as a vicar. I think I’m a wino.


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Just finished Transparent


Tagline should be: And you thought your family was nuts.

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new year’s resolutions for other people, 2016

It’s a ritual of mine to helpfully help people and machines select vows to better themselves. You’re welcome!

  • To my husband: stop reading the newspaper aloud while I am trying to read it to myself, silently. He never really finishes his sentences so it is received as a whole bunch of mystery outbursts. This is what he is saying right now: “It’s just like the South African one.” Sixty seconds later: “Creed, can you believe it.” Sixty seconds later: “Did you read that thing about the Uighers?”
  •  To the makers of self-service platforms and kiosks and checkouts that offer no service at all: Either stop making them or, at the very least, stop calling them “service.”
  • To New Year, New You headline writers. This is a hacky, media trope that must end. Worse: #newyearnewyou.
  • Same message goes out to the same (or different, doesn’t matter) writers who call anything “the Brooklyn of..”
  • To people on the streets of New York City, do not: stand in bunches on street corners, blocking me from stepping up onto the curb; stop without warning; walk in groups of more than one (also known as walk in groups); have dogs or baby carriages in tow; be there when I try to turn a corner. Do walk more or less like this:

Don’t break stride.

  • To the child who doesn’t text me when I text him/her, or return Facebook messages, and let’s not even discuss emails and voice mails: Call your mom.


  • To the makers of smoke alarms: Can you figure out a way quieter way to alert us that the toast is burning? It’s really not that big a deal.
  • To Donald Trump. Go to hell. And take Ted Cruz with you.





Standing in line to not have someone help you. That’s what I feel like, Shop Rite and American Airlines, at your self-service check-outs and kiosks. Why call it service at all, why not just “self” as there is no service now is there? I am also looking at you clunky SAAS platforms that Time Inc. uses so it know longer needs to employ actual service providers like HR, IT and payroll employees, and that don’t talk to each other so you have to bounce among them inputting the same data all over the place. Even worse, they don’t change the error messages from alerts such as “cell value does not match data field” — which might more helpfully be translated as “use all four numbers to enter year of birth.”

File this under “New Year Resolutions for Other People” (see post) and also “Things I Am Supposed to Like But Do Not Like All That Much.”

Cleanse Day 1

herbs in cheesecloth

herbs in cheesecloth

I start with the incalculable enthusiasm, untempted by coffee and, as the evening beckons, wine. Chai with soy milk for breakfast, a Kind bar for the plane. The rules, lest we’ve forgotten:

  • No alcohol
  • No dairy
  • No animal-based foods of any kind (vegan, that is)
  • No gluten
  • No processed foods
  • No caffeine (this one we can ignore)
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A noble life

This book from Lily and, along with Anne Lamott’s Small Victories, I am inspired to write again, after a long dormant spell. The change of scenery helped as well — a week in the desert with views like this every day: 

Here is what I wrote poolside at the Desert Hot Springs Spa, courtesy of Lamott and triggering a vow from me to leave them behind: Resentments are wire-monkey mothers, something to hang onto because we believe we have — or deserve — nothing better.

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