• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Find Me Somebody To Love

I was never very good at weekends, and long weekends could be my undoing.  When I read in William Todd Schultz’s biography of Diane Arbus that she killed herself on the Monday of a long weekend, I felt deeply sick and sad. Those Mondays in the city over a holiday weekend can be so grim. The city hissing quiet. Things folded up. Movie theaters barely filled, the air conditioning rumbling like dawn’s garbage trucks. And everyone away at some fabulous place with friends and capris and some asshole in a kiss the chef apron grilling swordfish steaks and asparagus. For a while, to combat loneliness, I joined a hiking club on that met on  Sundays. It turned out to be a tight knit group of Holocaust survivors taking 3 mile hikes in a thirty mile radius outside the city. Then, we would take two tables at Bagel Nosh on the upper west side and eat. I don’t know why other people are workaholics, but for me work was my great escape from myself. It still is. This is a post for weekend writers. For every little bit of time that you can steal, that you can protect, that you can work.

Enough. What are you doing this weekend and at what cost?

120 Responses

  1. I’m hanging out with an itinerant monk and driving him to the airport in the morning. He travels all over the world, with a focus on Africa. He was a nice Jewish boy who dropped out of high school in the 1960s and later became an editor for the dozens of books of Bhaktivedanta Swami. Right now he’s writing a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. At what cost to me? None. I’m getting way more than I give. And I’m TOTALLY going on tour to Africa sometime in the next year. That place is hoppin’.

    • And as someone who used to wander the desolate streets of South Beach, back when you could ONLY go there in the daytime, when it was home to ever-dwindling numbers of retirees and Holocaust survivors and ever-increasing Mariel refugees and drug dealers, when it was haunted by the ghosts of the boom years of the first half of the twentieth century, when it was dying, dead, decayed. I have to say, it never occurred to me to kill myself. The stench of rotting glamor was a tonic to me. The beautiful people of old were dead and gone, but was I not young, beautiful, and alive right this very moment? It was my turn!

      I had the joint to myself, except for a few old ladies visiting the kosher butchers, their windows crazed with twisted Hebrew neon signs never lit, because they were never open past dark anymore. The tiny little drugstores whose shelves held dusty specimens of products that probably hadn’t moved in twenty years, which I bought solely for the archaic labels they sported.

      It was open territory, and I claimed it. Like a dog marking telephone poles and fire hydrants, I pissed dreams all over the town. But other, bigger dogs, namely the producers of Miami Vice and the New York venture capitalists, lifted their big hairy hindquarters and washed away my scent markers with their money and power and gentrification, making their big dreams, not mine, come true. Many times since those days I’ve wished to kill myself, but walking the streets of pre-resurrected South Beach made me feel more alive than I had ever been.

  2. It will be another weekend of volunteering, of struggling to make $10 fit a $20 need; there will be weed pulling and pruning, vegetable garden tasks and raking, bread baking and dog walking – I fear I am becoming Eleanor Rigby.

  3. I’m working Saturday, but I’m taking Tuesday off—it’s our 19th wedding anniversary.

    My husband and I are going to dinner in a restaurant where we won’t worry about children’s menus or making sure there are enough red crayons to go around. I’ve talked him into seeing The Avengers with me afterward—took me all of ten seconds, which is part of why I married him.

    Every spare minute beyond that I’ll be attempting to amuse two kids, cleaning the garage, and working on my Dad’s 80th birthday gift, which absolutely has to be mailed on June first. If time runs out, I’ll FedEx him a Superman cape instead.

    • Happy anniversary. We celebrated our 18th this year. Have a wonderful time and pat yourself on the back for hanging in there.

      • Wait ’til you’re married more than half your life, or maybe you have been, guess what happenes…yup…dinner and a movie.
        Congrats, in this world 19 is a BIG deal.

      • Thanks. It hasn’t always been easy—we’re two stubborn people. But then again, sometimes stubbornness has kept us going . . .

    • Happy anniversary!!!! I’ve read that bronze is the contemporary material of choice for the 19th anniversary. Perhaps a bust?

    • Happy anniversary, Sarah! If my husband puts up with me another nine years, it will be a miracle. I’m going to keep an eye on you to see how it’s done.

      • Averil, my parents have logged 62 years of hitchhood. Luck played no small part in that, as my dad had served in two wars before their twentieth anniversary. I’m given to understand that the first thirty years or so were the hard part, and it’s been a cinch since then.

    • Tetman’s right–the first 30 years are hard, then it gets easier. We’ve made it 43 which I continue to marvel at. Congrats on 19, you are defying odds. Good for you.

  4. Those three-day weekends are one of the Congress’s great and generous gifts to the American people, doncha know.

    This weekend? I’d like to get a little rest on Monday since I’ve been working so hard these past few months my eyes are crossing, but I don’t know. Long weekends, holidays, and vacations from my day job are opportunities to get more readingwritingmarketing done.

    But there are other pressing matters in my life these days. My wife and I have known since February we were moving this summer. We’ve known since April that we’d both be moving together to the same place. The dollar shit has hit the debt fan and we have to bug out of here ASAP (but with 30 days’ notice). My library is packed up, and this weekend I’ve got to start packing other stuff.

    It gets better. My next-door neighbor was abused by her husband. He left her before she could get her revenge on him, so she decided to do a little transference and get it on us by complaining to the city about our cats, which she seems to have mistaken for dogs. Her boy offered to shoot them, or so she told me, to which I responded that she should let her boy know that he was not the only person hereabouts who had guns. No shots have been fired, but the Animal Police showed up at our door and now my wife has received a criminal summons to appear before the judge and prove our cats are street legal.

    My wife, the criminal. It gets better. She had last autumn what was to all appearances something of a meltdown. Without warning, she shut down her licensed massage therapy practice and broke her lease. Her lessor sued her, and now, three days after she’s due to appear in court for being some sort of cat crook (not a felon of felines, merely a misdemeanant of meowers), she’s due to be back in court for a summary judgment hearing. I don’t know–she didn’t tell me till it was too late, but it seems she may have thought that if she ignored the civil complaint, it would go away. Ladies and gentlemen, please heed my advice–if you get a document from a court, don’t ignore it.

    It gets better, but not much. Today we received a notice from the IRS. Something about our tax paperwork being insufficient. Something to do with a licensed massage therapy practice. I’m sure we’ll get it all straightened out. Meanwhile, we’re trying to find a place we can afford to move into without appearing to be desperate criminals, frauds, and tax cheats on the lam. At least my credit rating is sterling. That’s all that counts these days.

    So dealing with all this is how my holiday weekend’s shaping up.

    NB–I gave up smoking and I’m not going back. And if I wanted to smoke, all I’ll have to do this weekend is step outside and breathe. There’s a massive forest fire upwind of here. The fruits of a century of forest mismanagement on the part of the executive branch of the federal government.

    Chickens coming home to roost. As for rest, I can rest after I’m dead.

    • I’m glad the move will be together. My spouse and I got on best when we had problems to solve. I often think he creates them for that reason since I myself am, of course, blameless.

    • A criminal on the lam, here amongst the lambs. Someone grab Tetman before he makes a break for it!

    • I have a solution. Ignor the notice from the IRS and you’ll have a nice place to live, no cats to fuck up your life and a really long vacation at no charge, oh wait, there will be charges but no money will be involved. Have a nice day…ah…have a nice weekend.

    • Damn Tetman…sounds like you ought to just go ahead and try to make “shineola” out of that shit – it has all the makings of one hell of a story. (you probably know this already)

    • New Hampshire is lovely this time of year…

    • Your sense of humor is intact. That drives the debt collectors crazy. So, you know, happy trails and all like that…

  5. Well, bracelet girl that I am, I plan to finish the fucker yet again. Probably mostly in a parking lot adjoining a soccer field, in the backseat of my car with my MacBook and a double shot of espresso and/or a bag of pita chips at my side.

    What seemed like a couple of quick fixes when first I glanced at the track-changed ms has become daunting and Sisyphean. I need to weave in backstory. Solidify a friendship so I can destroy it. Parse teenage sex without really parsing it. Oy. Gimme a swordfish to grill. A ping-pong ball to smash. Averil, are you still in town? Let’s go to the movies.

  6. What day is today?

  7. I will be cherry picking and making jam. The trees are loaded and I’d love some help. Any takers?

  8. The sun doesn’t set until midnight these days, so I am hyperactive (so are all the people I know). On the list: build garden beds, shop for dirt, plant, sand and stain a deck, drive 4 hours (RT) and attempt a 15-mile solo backpack journey, packraft a river, and visit a new brewery. Oh, and revise a chapter in my book. What the hell am I thinking?

  9. I don’t do holidays, but on long weekends I try to save at least one day for reading. All day. It’s lovely. Sometimes I spend the day watching videos, which is just as lovely but in a different way. There will be snacks.

  10. this weekend. various children’s activities requiring my presence: dance performance, soccer game. various weeds begging to get their roots exposed. the gym, perhaps. not likely. stolen moments of reading. avoiding my book.

  11. Well this weekend I get to see my daughter who I had to financially, (plane ticket) rescue from the DR because of political unrest, (protests after elections). She cried when she hit US tarmac. Welcome home babe.

    Actually I have three days off from my management job in retail where I have to deal with all you MFing out of town summer customers. You rip open boxes, and then take the pristine one, you, unfold, mess up, destroy, smash and crack what I try so prettily put in place. American consumers are rude, arrogant and they shit on the toilet seats.

    I’m the one smiling, kissing your ass, the one who tells you where the best fish restaurants are while I’m loading your car with shit you don’t need. I’m the one who tells you how much I like your butt-fucking-ugly flip flops and where can I buy a pair. I’m the one who cries in the car on the way to work because I want a vacation somewhere else and I don’t get one. I’m the one getting three days off in a row, (wow, finally a vacation to clean my house). I’m the one who intellectually deserves a fucking break because I’ve put in the time honing a craft which, when you take your snotty nosed brats to the beach, will provide you with a distraction from their antics. Welcome to summer at the shore and read my fucking book… someday.
    Have a nice day.

    • I just can’t wait to get to work. I pity the customer who asks me where the ladiesroom is. I’ll think I’ll send her to the mensroom and tell her the picture of the man on the door is a women in slacks and the urinals are drinking fountains.

    • Just to clarify, I was speaking of ‘you’ in the figurative. Everyone here is very polite, neat, the kind of customer I long for.
      Maxwell House saves the day again.

    • Leave the box. You might like the fringe, ya’ think?

    • Your well-earned frustration reminded me of the women selling embroidered dresses at a Yucatan market some years ago. I watched the women patiently attempt to help the loud, blustery American tourists. They smiled, nodded, yet spoke blistering curses in Spanish at the unsuspecting customers. They eyed me suspiciously when I laughed; sold me a pretty dress at a great price and didn’t say a word until I walked away.

  12. Entertaining in-laws, making excuses to work. At what cost? My husband’s patience. So, maybe not working at all. I owe him one.

  13. It’s solitude in the city for me this weekend. I’m still recovering from last weekend in NYC with the inlaws. While the others in my tribe will be in the country or at the beach, I’ll be sitting by my fire escape, drinking wine & thinking, in catatonic bliss.

  14. What am I doing . . . ? It’s Friday morning. I haven’t even punched in yet. How the hell do I know what I’ll be doing when the sun goes down? I’m horny and thirsty. Maybe I’ll catch my wife in a closet and cut the lights or stop the car by the river’s edge or wake up her up at three in the morning to go to the doughnut shop. As a last resort, I’ll grill swordfish. That always works when I’m horny and thirsty.

  15. I’m going to try to be a good mother. God help me.

    I would venture to say that people who kill themselves on a Monday don’t have children. If they did, they’d do it on a Friday.

  16. Since my husband and I suck at planning things in advance, we will not be loading up HA”RV”EY for a trip to the mountains where he would spend the days fly fishing and I would spend the time wishing I could write like Dorothy Allison while I stare at my laptop and do like I do with most of the replies I put out here. (write, erase, write, erase, read, erase, write)

    The cost of not getting away? Feeling guilty if I don’t invite my single daughter and five yr old grandson for a visit during these three days. This visit would have to include all day Saturday, plus spending the night, which means they wouldn’t leave until around mid day Sunday – at the earliest. But if I don’t extend this invite, then I know exactly what will happen. They will stay home, because she doesn’t have the money to do much else. They will sit inside their small house, even though it will be nice and she will read on her Kindle, while he will lie on the floor, pushing his trains back and forth and back and forth. She will fix him lunch at promptly 11:30, fish sticks, mac and cheese and pears. He will lie down to rest – or not. She will read some more. They will look out the window at the sunny outdoors and think about going outside, but she’ll eventually say, “no it’s too hot.” She will drift back to the couch to read, he will go back to his trains. At promptly 6:00 p.m. she will fix him dinner. Chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and mandarin oranges. He will have lined up his trains over and over again by this time. He will eat, take a bath and go to sleep – or not. That will be day one in their three day weekend. And my guilt knowing this schedule and what they will – or mostly WON’T do – will not allow me to write without thinking, I wonder what they are doing now? So, I will have them over, sacrifice the time, so I won’t think about them by themselves. We’ll ride bikes and he will play under the bee shaped sprinkler I bought last year. He’ll get in the sandbox and make sand castles and talk about trips we’ll take to the beach. We’ll all go on a bike ride, and throw rocks in the creek at the half way mark. We’ll cook out – not tuna steaks and asparagus – but hot dogs and hamburgers. I’ll watch him play and she and I will talk about my latest book. She will want to know when she can read more chapters, and I will say….when I get the chance to write more. And she will smile because she knows I’m sacrificing, I’m giving up that precious time to write – just to be with them.

    • What a terribly tough position to be in.

      • It is…, the guilt sometimes just absolutely wears me down. I don’t want to think about her having such a pitiful little life, but it seems so centered around what I just described – and then add in the highlight of the week – a trip to Walmart. God, I’m setting myself up to be in a real funk. Gah.

      • I just ordered VICKY SWANKY IS A BEAUTY, thank you. I’m trying not to be the person who always has advice to dole out but have you heard about Anne Lamott’s latest book? She wrote it with her son, who is now a young father. It’s all about navigating the grandmother/mother road. I realize your predicament is specific but perhaps you will find some helpful ideas in it. Something, at least, to dilute the guilt.

      • I was trying to reply to your last comment, but the “reply” line wasn’t there. On VICKY SWANKY IS A BEAUTY…” be prepared. And by that I mean, it might be the case like reading poetry – you get it or you don’t. I didn’t get it, but, even so, it has helped me write.

        I have heard of Anne Lamott’s book, it seems I was reading about it on her blog or someone had provided a snippet, but it was the part where she was complaining about waiting on his chapters like she’d had to wait on him to finish his schoolwork -something like that. It might be worth it to, as you say, dilute that guilt. That or several beers. :>)

      • ha – looks like my reply “fell” into the right spot. Thank you as well.

    • I don’t think your grandson’s life sounds bad at all. I grew up with constant activity & chaos and I would have loved that kind of quiet routine, with a mom who reads books. Guilt should come if there’s emotional or physical wreakage on the horizon, not from imaginative time with trains or a trip to Wal-Mart. Unless, of course, your daughter’s super depressed. Then that could be a problem, but not necessarily yours. Good luck sorting it all out.

      • Wreckage, not wreakage. Sorry…

      • Good point, November. I’m so sensitive to keeping children active. I naturally assumed this was a bad thing.

      • Well, it might be a bad thing. It’s hard to tell. I just wish donnaeve the best as I know how hard it is to let older children lead their own lives. It’s not easy being a mother, but as kids mature it’s really impt. to try to cut the apron strings and allow them to struggle a bit, on their own. Easier said than done, for sure.

      • Thank you all… I really appreciated reading all of these perspectives and the well wishes, very generous and thoughtful of you folks. It meant a lot for you to take the time…

    • Very inflective. Good choice, the little boy will never forget your prompting. I was raised without a Father after Vietnam.

    • My most precious childhood memories are the times spent with my grandparents. Sometimes they would rescued me on a Friday afternoon- waiting in my parents’ living room for me to return from school. We went fishing, I was allowed to eat as much cereal as I wanted in the morning, we explored flea markets and lumber yards and occasionally I was allowed to help in the work shop. Undoubtedly, my presence in their house required them to dedicate time and effort (and cereal) that could have been spent just for their needs, yet at that age all I knew was that I was unconditionally loved. Never-the-less, during those visits I also remember my grandmother was able to crochet numerous tablecloths and my grandfather built our summer cottage. I helped them at those tasks, too. I’d like to think my efforts mattered.

      I hope you and your grandson will be able to have similar good adventures and that those adventures may compliment your writing.

      • Heartfelt; reflective,nice. Thank you.

      • Thank you Karen…invite extended, he’s bringing his…..trains. Bikes are out and tires pumped. Cereal? He likes Fruity Cheerios and there’s a new box just for him in the pantry. I feel better already. Geez, this was almost like a mini psych session.

    • I just have to reply. I hope it falls into the right place in line.

      The one thing none of us have is enough time. You are making memories for your grandson and for you. It doesn’t seem like he needs rescuing. The weekend isn’t about you giving up something, it’s about giving something of yourself to someone you love.

      My grandmother gave up her summers so my brother and I could live with her. We were city mice; she was a country mouse who gave us the stability of roots and hotdogs and beans every Saturday night. No matter where I lived, or how many schools I went too, her house was the place I came from.
      My grandmother died when I was pregnant with my first daughter, she’s twenty seven now.
      You know those really beautiful sunsets you see once in a while, the ones which flow from orange to red and lilac, to deep blue, my Nana crochets them. I know she does because when I was five, and nine and eleven, I saw her make them as she sat in her aluminum glider on the front porch while we waited for the Good humor man.

      • I loved this Wry… I suppose I looked at it like “giving up” something because all I ever want to do is write. And when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. Either way, I appreciate your words and thoughts on this, and am glad the way I wrote about my daughter and grandson didn’t make them sound needy or otherwise to everyone. She’s strong and he’s well adjusted so it’s really about my guilt – not what I think they need – you know?

        One other thing – you write beautifully and it’s shown in all of your posts.

      • Beautiful, Wry. Donnaeve, I hope you all have a peaceful weekend, something every child (and grandma) deserves.

    • Your grandson will remember the bee shaped sprinkler and the bike ride and the fact that you were there to make it happen. He’ll remember that when he’s grown up and you are gone. Can anything be more valuable than the assurance of warm memories for him? Allow yourself the luxury of a pat on the back, you deserve it. And he’s a lucky boy.

      • Thanks Mary Lynne! Here’s a new one we may have added – drinking my homemade lemonade/orangeade. (I didn’t have enough lemons so I added in juice from fresh oranges…it was a hit since he drank just about the entire pitcher.) :>)

  17. I’m going to make my floors shine, rid my garden of unsightly weeds, make homemade lemonade, do every last bit of laundry, grill locally grown vegetables and grass fed kobe beef burgers on my Weber, charm my in-laws, delight my children and their friends with s’amores and ghost stories told around our outdoor fire pit, loose 50 pounds, whiten my teeth, take the dogs for a 5 mile hike, sew new curtains for the dining room and learn to speak Italian. Then, Monday evening I’ll finish my novel.

  18. Saturday – preparing 2 packages for requested manuscript. Sunday – going to the beach with daughter. In matters of the heart, it has always been feast or famine for me. I wish you the best.

  19. I plan to spend the weekend projecting all my anxieties onto my child.

  20. My comment history here tends to binge behavior, so I might have missed him during one of my dry spells, but where the hell has harripants been? I went to his blog and he hasn’t posted since April 19th. Hope he’s okay. Anybody here been in contact with that fella?

  21. I’m spending $0.00 all weekend spending time with my pregnant wife and four children, with family visiting from Fla., my Mom, and from Northern Utah and Southern Arizona, my sister and nieces. It wasn’t always like this; and, oh yeah, I’m awaiting a response from Betsy Lerner to be my agent in publishing a one-of-a-kind book named TRYOULOGY. Lots of love, and the rat race isn’t for me. Working to exist and existing to work. It’s a choice. I’ve been a millionaire and I’d prefer to be with loved ones and have less. I’m just sayin’.

    • Mike – she said in a recent post she liked the “hard to fit” type of stories – the quirky stuff that doesn’t quite fall neatly into the existing genres. Have to say, your title is intriguing and definitely “quirky.” I’m with you on your work ethic too – I wasn’t a mil, but it sure was a rat race. Good luck!

      • Query Letter

        To the agent this will concern: Betsy Lerner

        My name is Michael E. Durgin, Pen name; Michel D’Aragon. Address: 511S. 600W. Hurricane, UT.: Phone# (435) 635-1470, email: mikedurgin43@yahoo.com, cell# (207) 484-8078. My book is titled: TRYOULOGY. The genre is Experiential, Spiritual, Self-help and is completely non-fictional.
        TRYOULOGY is about overcoming adversity, setting goals and taking action. Many individuals in these encounters are mentioned in documented real-life experiences of mine with temporal and coinciding spiritual ramifications. I am in constant contact with the reader explaining my path and challenging them to act as I did, if the reader wants to experience spiritual awareness and supplemental self improvement through a new awareness. Over the last eighteen years these experiences have unfolded for me. My purpose is to help others through grieving and the journey of life to continue to contribute and create a living YOULOGY instead of a dying Eulogy.
        I am Michael Edward Durgin, and pen-named Michel D’Aragon after my French and native American roots. I was born in Japan along with a brother and sister as my father was an OSI agent in the Air Force. Vietnam, divorce and many hardships that have become part of my makeup have occurred. I have traveled and lived in inner cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural communities. My life consists of a fifty-fifty split from a dark and corrupt existence to a spiritual family oriented life based on a series of traumatic events leading to a 180 degree turning point of conversion. This change of heart happened 18 years ago and I am personally on a mission to help others to the better half of my existence through example and writing. I lost a wife of my four children suddenly due to a seizure, suffocation; had a second wife who was Samoan help me until our conditions rendered our marriage terminal; and am grateful for my current wife of three years for her love and nurturing that my son Isaiah,14, and my daughters: Elizabeth,13, Naomi,12, and Rebekah,11, and my nephew Jesse,15, whom I had for 8 years during many attempted adoptions. My wife, Dana, and I are hopeful for more children and a life together forever. Our dog is Rhodesian Ridgeback, Asher, 1 year old, and our two kittens, a Maine Coon Cat and a Tabby who are sisters born in Caribou, Maine, where we just moved from 8 months ago. We are one happy family even though we are meager of means. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. Donna, any suggestions? Thank you for caring.

      • Mike – just curious – have you visited Query Shark – there’s a wealth of info out there on just how to put together a solid query letter. …http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

        I only skimmed what you had here, and I’m assuming this is your query in it’s entirety (except that last sentence or two !) but one thing I would suggest is to eliminate a lot of the personal stuff you have – keep it crisp and succinct.

      • donnaeve, i shall vouch, i shall testify, witness shall i bear–queryshark’s a must-go place to study on the writing of a query of effective impact.

        or, in other words, mikedurgin43, if you haven’t been to queryshark, donnaeve’s right. and if you have, she’s still right.

      • Tetman – Lordy, that made me laugh. Now let me print this out to show my hubby that sometimes, I am right – really.

      • Anonymous (Wry maybe?) and MIke D, not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but here’s another great resource for Query help – http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

        At the bottom is info on non-fiction proposals – although I think some of the guidance given to fiction query letters serves well for non-fiction as well (from a structural standpoint)

        • Thank you Donna for your help, time, and understanding. This is all new to me. My life is in TRYOULOGY and I have lived many between the covers. This will lift others during times of great trial, tribulation and adversity. I must edit again on an editable pda in formats needed to submit as my manuscript is printed on paper and yet to be on disc. You would enjoy it as you are golden.

        • Thank you, the proposal 20-40 pages. Peter Rubie; when I finish, will you critique? I will share.

      • No worries…It’s the least writers can do for one another…have a great day and good luck with TRYOULOGY.

  22. Naptime. Best tradition I ever instituted in our household. From 1-3 on weekend days, phones are turned off, the doors are locked, the dog is crated, the children understand it’s “quiet time,” and there will be no interrupting of Mommy’s (and often Daddy’s) nap. A friend of mine recently revealed that she assumed our weekend “naptime” was a euphemism for ” romantic mommy and daddy alone time,” but no, thanks for the faith in me. But no, it’s my naptime. It’s how I continue to be the hyperactive, insane, manic person I have come to know and love.

    • The mark of civilization is the nap. The absence of naps throughout most of America encapsulates what is wrong with a people exhausted unto delusion.

  23. I’m going to do as little as possible. And read a former co-worker’s manuscript. On page two, I’ve already identified a character who is based on the boss who ultimately drove me to quit that job so I’ll likely be comforting eating, drinking or both.

  24. We’re not going to ponder the implications of my posting being so soon after being paged on Twitter. (Seriously, Betsy, look what you’ve created here.)

    Well, Montreal cares not for Memorial day – or at least it cares only enough to let my son out of school but not my husband out of work. But it *does* know how to make good use of humid, happy weather, so tomorrow we’ll be at Pointe-a-Calliere’s Cultural Feast whose theme this year is Japan. Nom noms ahead, my friends.

    • Oh. I forgot the part that matters most. I will be eating Garrett’s caramel popcorn. ::sigh:: Yes. A friend just flew through Chicago this very night. Oh, tomorrow. Come quickly.

  25. Today is the grand opening of the long awaited carousel in Saranac Lake. The hand carved animals are interpretations of Adirondack critters, including a blackfly, otter and deer. The location of the carousel is in the William Morris play park, a parcel of land donated by the well known agent and his wife. Later in the day we’ll be having a party to celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday. She’s looking forward to the party, not so much to hitting the half century mark. It’s a tough one, but she has reason to celebrate. The rest of the weekend is hang out, do stuff at home, hiking, biking, maybe even some swimming at a secluded spot far from the tourists dizzy from taking advantage of the first day free rides on the carousel.

  26. Hi Betsy,
    I like your sentence:” I don’t know why other people are workaholics, but for me work was my great escape from myself”.

  27. Thank you Betsy, your timing couldn’t be better. I am alone in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and instead of visiting world renowned gardens I am working on my play. I felt guilty until i read your post. The sound of the movie air conditioners. Bravissimo. A detail only another exile could love.

  28. I taught and sailed a contemporary boat, an English longboat, and a racer, all in deep clear water, with the Cascades in the background. A group coelasced, and is now scattered. I slept on the ground a couple of nights, and was reminded of why people live indoors.

    I miss Lola, and yearn for home.

    • Missing makes us love all the more.

      Yearning to be back to the ‘cave’ …we’ve come a long way. Paise the comforts of modern man, a pile of pine needles to Sealy, and pissing behind a tree, to Kohler.

  29. Husband power washing house… hanging outside of second story window…yellow anagonda hose whipping the siding. Water pours down the windows…like a hurricane to-do-list. The pump thing on the back of John Deere gator gasping…poor thing must have COPD.
    Now it’s running smoothly like an outdrive on Long Island Sound.

    Where is the peace and quiet of the Church of Saint Mattress?

  30. Betsy, Your post reminds me of when I was a lowly magazine editor in the late 70s and early 80s. “Everybody” either had a share in the Hamptons or manuevered an invitation from the one rich guy on the masthead whose parents had palatial digs in East Hampton. I retreated to tar beach in my shabby brownstone on West 20th with books and poetry. Alas by Monday night, my resolve had beyond crashed, nothing got written, depression set in and I resorted to the stactic-y black and white tv (with its 5 channels) and the rotary phone dialing anybody who might be willing to admit they were around. Why oh why couldn’t I write? I shut down and hid and after a bad night’s sleep, I would show up at the office steeled for the water cooler. IDK maybe those days will inform my writing some day…that feeling of the traffic-less avenues, shuttered stores and the hum of that far off air conditioner that I did not have. Even now Holiday weekends can still bring on that twinge…though my life is crazy happy nutty with four 20 somethings and a benevolent bear of a hubby who drives me nuts. The youngest has his birthday today so memorial weekend is a mass of cars in the driveway, wet towels strewn poolside and across the lawn, the constant smell of cheeseburgers on the propane grill…
    I’m almost through the first draft–maybe four, possibly five more chapters. When I can shut out everyone and face myself and work through the holiday weekend, maybe I’ll have something.
    Tetman, you are amazing–if someone starts a fund for you, count me in!

  31. The dinosaur air conditioner fired up. The brass register cover gets too cold for the dog so he switches to the wood one.

  32. Yes it’s a holiday weekend, yes some of us are alone and yes some of us stand amidst burgers and beer or champagne and brie. Whether we are alone in the city or sailing a boat, writing, or trying to write, please, yes please let’s not forget what this day is about.

    You bitchers and moaners, you celebrators, your station in life is your choice but you get to choose because someone sacrificed their own. I really don’t mean to sound like a PSA but I just took out the flag which draped my grandfather’s coffin and with it were my father-in-laws and my dad’s. They were all veterans. They lived long rewarding lives after they served but the flags remind me of the ones through history, who never got that chance, and the ones today who are remembered by families who mourn them.

    “They died for us”, sounds so cliché but they did. I guess there is no other way to put it.

    I hate war, I hate that we have had to go to war and that we are at war. I hate that I am powerless when it comes to decisions, made on my behalf, half way around the world or on Wall Street. Though we are able to vote, we are impotent when it comes to the big picture. War to war, paycheck to paycheck the battle is daily. Political diatribe aside it’s all just so fucking sad.

    • July 23, 1950

      Dear Folks
      I have a little more time to write now than I did the other day. In case you didn’t get the other letter there was $80 in Travelers checks in it.
      We are aboard a Japanese Ship (I can’t pronounce the name of it) We will get to Korea in the morning or at least we are supposed to. We have to sleep on the floor, eat “C” rations, wash in helmets—all the comforts of home.
      Tell Bob that I am in a 57 M.M. Recoiless Rifle Section, which we do not have yet and I haven’t ever seen either but we will get them in Korea. I am an ammunition bearer and carry a carbine. There is five men in our squad.
      The coast of Japan is in sight now, it is only about a mile (1) away. The name of it is pronounced Sasabu (I don’t know how it is spelled)
      We pick up a convoy of ships and escorts here—I hope.
      We drew 40 rounds of ammo this afternoon and will get some more tomorrow.
      Tell Toby and the rest of the kids to be good and to behave themselves.
      Okinawa (or what I saw of it) was dirty, filthy and almost primitive beyond your imagination.
      I got seasick on the first day out of Frisco and again on the 11th, 12th + 13th days as we ran into a typhoon. Don’t ever believe that it isn’t a miserable feeling. I wanted to vomit till my boots came out my mouth. One of few times and I hope for the last I missed three complete meals—so you know I must’ve been sick.
      I did not have time to get my baggage and equipment that was stored in the Walker, so they just gave me new stuff in place of it.
      Please keep these pictures for me.
      Well I can think of anything else so I’ll close. Write soon


      (Henry Owen Callis, killed in action, Hadong, South Korea, July 27, 1950)

    • Go to the Bohemian Grove and you’ll understand how wryte you are.

  33. Here’s the Monday, which makes me totally relate to this post!

  34. Thanks Tet.

    I thought of posting this on my blog but honestly no one reads it and it deserves an audience. This was published a while back, is too long for here I’m sure but I know how respectful you all are. I am asking please read and I am saying thank you.

    It was Memorial Day, 1984, and for some reason it seemed important to my husband and me that we fly a flag on the day which honors America’s fallen soldiers. We had been living in our house for six months, obtaining a flag for the pole out front was low on the list of things to do. But on that morning I remembered we did indeed have a flag, a huge one that would be perfect. It was given to me by my father and laid at rest under sweaters and quilts at the bottom of my cedar chest for over a decade.
    The flag had actually belonged to my father’s mother, presented to her graveside, folded and tucked into it’s perfect triangle, after being ceremonially removed from my grandfather’s casket in 1949. I was a year and one day old when Pop died. The flag had never been unfolded since.
    At first I thought using Pop’s flag might be disrespectful. But I checked with a friend who knew about such things and he said flying the flag would be an honorable thing to do.
    William Oliver Munn, ‘Pop’, had been a doughboy, in the war to end all wars. Miraculously he returned home unscathed to raise a family. Each of his three sons served in WWII, by then wars were being given numbers.
    So it was on that Memorial Day morning I called my eighty-five year old grandmother and told her we were to hoist pop’s flag.
    “Take pictures,” she said. Her voice cracked.
    We unfolded the flag carefully so as not to touch the ground with it and clipped it to the line. I stood back, camera in hand, ready to capture on film the touching moment for my grandmother. Slowly my husband pulled the line, raising the flag with its 48 stars, to the top of the pole. Then, as we were told to do, we lowered it to half mast until noon.
    It was a warm and windless Memorial Day. I wanted to see the flag fly, but it lay limp against the pole. I raised the camera and spoke to my grandfather for the first time, “How about a breeze pop?” And, as if his hand had swept across the sky, the trees rustled. The flag unfurled.
    I snapped one picture, then set the camera aside, overcome by the moment. I am as convinced now as I was then that Pop heard me, and for a moment blew the breath of life into the folds of the cloth that had covered him in death.
    The breeze diminished, the flag rested at peace until noon, when it was raised to the top of the pole. It is a beautiful flag, Old Glory, a special flag that came to life in honor of an old soldier after being buried at the bottom of a cedar chest.

    On this Memorial Day we are flyong Pop’s flag again. Over the years we’ve flown it many times and when, as the song says, the ‘day is done’ we fold it into a triangle and place it back in the cedar chest with the flags of my father, Robert Munn Sr., Navy, WWII – my Uncle, Walter Allen Munn, Army, WWII – and my father-in-law, Guido Pianta, Army WWII. Sadly too many flags to choose from now.
    But, this day is not only about a collection of flags that have draped the dead. As noble and as honorable as that is, Memorial Day, as my husband’s cousin said, is not only about those below the ground but about those above the ground as well.
    Let us honor that.

  35. I traded COOKIEs from my cookie company for vegetables at the Farmers’ Market. I got eggs, too. The egg guy doesn’t eat breakfast and he knows I’ll bring him COOKIEs.

    My friend, Samuel James, was playing steel guitar for the patrons. Children are proof of his talent. Children are great judges. I would never let a child read the book I just wrote. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1822966921/ministry-of-love-initial-publishing

    No one reading this is a child. You can read it.

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