Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Journal Sept. 30: East Coast Travels

Among my first posts here was an essay I wrote after walking the Breakwater in Cape Cod. It occurred to me that there were other more subtle life-altering experiences from my Boston trip this past July, as well as one large one: the tour of Harvard.
This weekend, I will take my first trip to new York City...Yes!
When I return next week, I will share more about these travels....and what, ultimately, they have meant, or will mean, in the long run.
Would like to hear about others' life altering and mind expanding visits.....

Sorry this isn't much of a well-written post...Consider it a prelude to some real creativity later on....  Taking a much-needed rest tonight.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Journal for Tuesday: My colleague's new dog

Over a week ago, I reported about the unfortunate death of my co-worker's dog, Molly.  I met this beagle mix only a week before her demise, just outside of the building where my colleague and I worked.  This past weekend, less than two weeks after Molly succumbed to seizures, my friend and her family applied to foster a new dog, an active Jack Russell Terrier-Chihuahua mix they named Roxie.  Well, happy to say that after one night, this family decided to adopt the dog.
(I think fostering a dog is an artificial can a real dog-lover hand over to another owner the creature for which they cared and showed love?  Fostering is step one in true adoption...)
Today, I met Roxie.  She wiggled inside the car when she saw me outside the window, and was barely on the sidewalk before she happily assaulted me with her little paws and tongue, knocking my glasses off my head.  The looks on the faces of my co-worker and her husband were as glowing as I have ever seen on a proud and hopeful canine caregiver, and I knew they had made the right decision.
Some time soon, Mark and I will take the plunge, and let another creature into our hearts and home.  Maggie, I think, would approve. 
(Here's a photo of Maggie that I hope will become world-famous, as the icon on my Comments profile on the Huffington Post.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daily Journal Monday September 28: Writing, and Ideas

I want to live a writer's life.  I want to get up in the early morning, have coffee, read, exercise, and get down to it, lost deeply in my zone of creativity, for 5-6 hours. 
If I could abandon my job and sustain my life, this is what I would do.
I want to break free of the sterile suburban strait-jacket.
Mark and I share this feeling....and I believe both of us, in our own way, are on the brink of great change....And change has always been difficult.  Whenever I learn something new, for example, I often get boiling mad......Maybe as a way of defending myself against my earlier ignorance.
This is the same thing with creativity....when I am in the zone, my body temperature rises, as though I were in a warm bath, or cocoon, and emerging from that feeling is liberating.

Ideas for fiction:
  • Create connected stories about living as a gay couple in a nondescript Chicago suburb. The tone could be funny, desperate, coolly ironic, or radically liberal....
  • A short novel about a young man who is incarcerated for a crime, and enters into a dog-training program, which moves him in unexpected directions....
  • Stories about a college student in 1975, on a midwest he navigates the political and social landscape, and the lure of the company of his dorm-mates, as he explores his emotional landscape..
  • A novel in monolog chronicling the life of a film-obsessed narrator, who tells about his coming of age in the '60's and '70's in terms of the movies of his day....with an appendix with a brief capsule review of every movie mentioned in the text.
  • A play..... A "domestic" drama with an all-male cast.....
  • I would love to do a biography, for the stage, of Joni Mitchell...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: "Nashville"

This is it...One of my top-five, all-time favorite films.  Once again in the spotlight after the passing of Henry Gibson, my friends and I were inspired to have a screening at the house last night.

A masterpiece.... The most exuberant example of Robert Altman's characterisitic is a party with an edge, fun and challenging, heartbreaking, topical (prophetic, even) and wholly exhilarating......From the opening title sequence you feel that you have really seen something, been part of something unique....the movie is a panorama, a time capsule of the '70s at the height of Bicentennial fervor, a populist satire, a glimpse into the lives of musicians, politicians, publicists, lawyers, hangers-on, dubious journalists, southern Blacks, dreamers, assassins, eccentrics, and families.  In seemingly haphazard fashion, Altman observes a controlled chaos, with emphasis on controlled.  There is a casualness to the recorded dialog, the movement of characters from scene to scene, that can baffle the casual moviegoer, but which rewards the observant viewer (and listener) with a rich, rhythmic, colorful and provocative experience. 

Altman has said that he viewed directing as an activity more akin to painting than to directing traffic. His palette is a subtle red-white-and-blue motif at first, becoming darker as the film's themes take hold and the plot lines grab us and carry us through to a shattering and multi-leveled conclusion. The music, with most of the songs written by the actors themselves, contributes to an atmosphere and  mood that soars, makes us think, makes us weep, even makes us laugh.  No movie since has ever looked...or sounded...the same, and produced the same mix of emotions...This is a true original.
The actors are uniformly excellent, playing against type.....Among them Henry Gibson as the pompous country Star Haven Hamilton, Ronee Blakely as the superstar Barbara Jean, who comes to life in song and succumbs to madness and the assassin's attention; Barbara Harris, as a free-spirited wife of a redneck, who has an unlikely dream of becoming a singer or star, and gets her chance in a shocking and unlikely way, in a foreshadowing of the Amercian Idol mentality....Lily Tomlin as Linnea, the lonely wife of attorney Ned Beatty, raising two deaf children as she is being seduced by the womanizing rock star Tom, played with intensity by Keith Carradine.  Every time I have seen this movie with others, there is total silence during Carradine's number "I'm Easy", which won the film's only Oscar.
In 1975 when I first saw "Nashville" as a college freshman, my buddies and I discussed the movie all night....especially the final 15 minutes. 
Movie-lovers...Do yourself a favor...check this one out....On a good wide-screen TV, with good sound... And RUN to any theater that ever revives it....
What do you all think?

"Daily" Journal September 27--Sunday: Remodeling, and Living Together

I am resolved to keep this Daily Journal daily...if even by recording only one or two lines.  It has been a weekend filled with activity.
I had a long and serious talk with Mark about my recent inability to focus on one thing instead of four or five.  I feel such urgency to finish a story, start a play, read the latest books, understand the news of the day, or visit my favorite blogs.  In the meantime, while doing the hard introspection and work required to enter the creative space, I worry that I am neglecting Mark, or my family obligations, or connecting with friends, or being excellent at work (event management for a local Community College), or my voluminous reading, or keeping up with the latest films... Or the CONDO REMODELING PROJECT!
See, I stay at Mark's house, but I own a condo of my own.  For a while, thanks to our archaic and discriminatory gay marriage (non)-laws, we were legally unable to "cohabitate" for several years.  Now that legal obligations have been fulfilled and deadlines are past, we now have the opportunity to share a home (his)...but first I want to sell my condo.  The contracting and purchasing of materials, the organizing and packing and moving, loom like a phantom that seeps into every aspect of my life..... 
Today, we emptied all the kitchen cabinets, and packed and stored all of it. 
Even though we had to make concessions and maintain separate households for years, Mark and I have managed to make it work, by setting our own rules for the relationship without trying to force it into a preconceived model. 
This week: the kitchen gets re-done!  Next Weekend: our trip to New York City!  Lots of material for life-changing events.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Journal for September 23--Final Night Caring for the Poodle

I've been away for a while.....busy....Will start posting on different topics very soon...MOVIES  books....
Ways we re-invent ourselves....
My dog-care activities has defined me in new ways...
Hope you enjoy this true anecdote about my poor unfortunate blind charge....

Piper the blind poodle is a poignant study of a dog. Her milky eyes "stare" in the direction of sounds or light, and when she cocks her head and "looks" at me, with her vacant pupils, she resembles an ancient statue, or "Little Orphan Annie".
Among her ailments is a skin condition that leaves her hyper-sensitive to being touched. When she does approach me for a walk, she rubs against me as though starved for affection, but when I try to pet her, she snarls menacingly. She snapped at me once.
She is ever-vigilant for her owners, and will spend long minutes standing completely still, facing in the direction of the front door or the garage, listening for a familiar voice.
With me, she is very cautious..... And for someone like me who loves to be close to dogs, it hurts a lot to know that she prefers to keep me at a distance. I am unaccustomed to creatures, canine or human, being cautious of me.....Holding me at arms length, as it were.... That kind of caution makes me feel blue, unwanted, deficient in some way.
I gave her her space, sat with her each night in the family room, and talked to her in a gentle and friendly way.
Last night.. she walked near me, touched her nose to my hand..... Then, she walked across the room, picked up her squeaky toy frog, and squeaked it for me, in playful challenge.
All of my self-doubt melted away in that moment. She is a smart dog, as it took her only a week to lose her fear of me  (!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Journal Sept. 20: Day 3 with the Blind Poodle...and What I'm Reading

As a dog-lover, and one who prides himself on how easily dogs take to me, it is a challenge to spend a lot of time with a special-needs dog who prefers to be left alone.
The poodle I'm caring for, who is blind, is often disoriented and growls and barks at noises she doesn't understand.  Because her skin is very sensitive, she dislikes being petted for more than a second or two...she will snarl and snap if she feels uncomfortable.  I have learned to give her her space, walk her when she emerges from her crate, and let her come to me.  I talk in a calming voice and she seems to like that. I have very mixed emotions, especially when she looks in my direction, responding to the sound of my voice, and stares at me with her glazed eyes and cocks her head comically in anticipation of a treat. Four more nights....
I am now reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth", a collection of short stories.  Lahiri's voice is steady and she pays attention to the mundane sequence of actions in everyday activities, while using delicate language to explore the anguish of a broken heart, or the feelings of being trapped between cultures, family members, or generations.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daily Journal September 18--The Blind Poodle

For a few years now I have agreed to care for the dogs of a few friends who travel often.  My regular cuatomers are a Border Collie, a Wheaten Terrier, a household of three (A 10-year-old Golden-Shepherd mix, a 14-year-old mixed breed, and a 5-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who can't walk), and a sweet black Poodle who is blind.
I'm sitting with the blind poodle this week.
She is a sweet dog, but very devoted to her family and so not warm to me.
I try to be patient as she makes her way...she does not like to be petted by me, and doesn't always eat well.  Because she is often disoriented, she growls for no reason...and at other times, she is excited by my presence and comes to me and jumps up on me.
As the week goes on, she should come around, as she did last March when I first sat for her.
In a way I do this to keep dogs in my personal life---Mark and I have not replaced Maggie yet.  I realize too that it is a way I define myself.....and have invented a new use for myself, one that could be in high demand, and may become a source of sustenance in lean times or retirement. 
Besides, I do it for the dogs, and love it.

Movie Love: Henry Gibson

I just read Harry Shearer's small gem of a tribute to the late actor Henry Gibson on the Huffington Post, and I was compelled to comment:
I was pleased to see Mr. Shearer's tribute to Henry Gibson. I especially loved Mr. Gibson's portrayal of Haven Hamilton, the pompous, flashy country star in "Nashville", a film that is among my personal top-five, all-time favorites. Henry Gibson was not fodder for the celebrity machine, and was sometimes overlooked and underrated. I appreciate Mr. Shearer's reminder to us of Gibson's calm and wisdom in an entertainment industry that increasingly rewards egotism and hurtfulness. I hope that by his passing, a new audience will discover "Nashville", which, to me, is his finest gift and legacy to movie lovers.
(Read more at:
I have neglected to post reviews of my favorite films, as promised......and I will correct that oversight this weekend.  So:  COMING SOON: "Nashville"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Journal September 16-- Re-Invention: A Review

Okay, so what do I really mean by re-invention?  And why haven't I dealt with it directly on this blog? (It has been a week, after all...)
The second question is a good one to begin with.  I have to say that the very act of creating this site has been a reinvention, and I didn't make that clear to my readers (because it was so obvious only to me)......It's scary, and I guess I didn't want to jinx it by being too cocky this early in my "career"...How's that for an excuse for avoiding my own topic?....Each post is an experiment...a rehearsal...a practice for something more significant....your comments and support fuel my efforts.....
  Reinvention, to me, is taking what's there--the dreams, the abilities, the talents, the hopes--and discovering new uses for them, new ways of achieving them.  It can be as simple as outward appearance, ways to stay healthy, trying a new style of dress, shedding a pound or can be a protection against the uncertain economy, something to "fall back on", learning something that you can use now, or can be a summoning of courage (and evaluating of resources) to try something new (writing a play, learning a language), to go somewhere you've always wanted to go (New York...two weeks!!)  to create something unique (a painting, a photograph, a play).....AND ALLOWING THESE TO HELP DEFINE YOU.
It can be discouraging if you're trapped in a routine.....
So, if you're in that spot, or if you're on the brink of making a change or doing something new, why not leave a comment, and find some encouragement from the stories of others? 

My journey so far:
  • much so that my political views, attitude toward culture and media and openness about myself have significantly changed...Like an attitudinal body-building regiment
  • Working out....Not Charles Atlas exactly....but finding enjoyment in it...a shared activity with Mark...and making new friends
  • Writing a lot more
  • Wanderlust...a newfound fascination with the possibilities of travel....I need to travel outside of the US again; it is a real goal.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dog Story--September 15

I posted on Saturday that a co-worker adopted a dog three weeks ago, and that the dog became very ill.
I'm sad to report that the dog didn't survive her ordeal with seizures, and distemper. My friend said she never saw her husband cry as hard as he did that morning.
What is it about the death of a canine companion that causes us to grieve so deeply?   I've reflected on this many times in the year and a half since Maggie our basset hound left us.
Maggie lived in the present. She didn't reminisce...and she could make no plans for the future beyond her next meal, walk, or treat.  She knew how to manipulate us to get what she wanted, but did so with such goofy sincerity and eagerness, that it made me laugh, and I usually gave in.  What did it hurt, really, as long as she was safe and healthy?    Her dependence on us aroused in me an instinct for protection and love so free of ulterior motives, that I felt a child-like, innocent exuberance with her.  I could not bear the idea of her being hurt.  I fiercely  protected her from bad weather (in her coat and head scarf, she looked like an extra in "Fiddler on the Roof"), kept her away from threatening neighborhood dogs, and did what I could to avoid seeing loneliness in her already droopy eyes..  And she rewarded us with good humor, playfulness, and a willingness to keep us warm in bed. 
What doesn't go away is the pain of not being able to explain to her why she had to leave us (she was being destroyed by seizures)....I have felt that I could never forgive myself for that ultimate betrayal.....But Mark and I remind each other that in her own way she never questioned us (except to try to escape from a bath or nail-clipping) and would hold nothing against us. 
The veterinary staff was extremely kind, and did nothing to exploit our grief. 
The daily pain has subsided, but there's an emptiness ....And anyone who knew her (she was sort of a neighborhood ambassador) understands....
We sprinkled her ashes in a small corner rose garden..the roses are flourishing...and the rabbits and squirrels still play there...they miss her too.
And so, I've dispensed with the sad story right away....and from now on, all of my Maggie anecdotes will be happier ones. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daily Journal, September 14: A Provincetown Journal

Mark and I took a trip top Boston and Provincetown this past July to celebrate our shared birthday (July 6) and to experience the East Coast, to which I had never before traveled.  On the trip, beginning with our plane ride between O'Hare and Logan Airports, I kept a hand-written journal each day (it's too cumbersome to carry a laptop for a week's trip).  In it I wanted to create as detailed a picture as possible of the geography, architecture, people, and attractions we experienced. 
My favorite entry described our crossing of a breakwater from the shore of Provincetown to almost the very tip of Cape Cod.  I was recovering from a minor leg sprain I suffered at home while playing basketball (how butch) and I am not always fond of water.  Plus, I had never tried to navigate jagged rocks with a sharp drop on either side.  I was lacking confidence, and several times wanted to turn back.....But then something clicked and I began to see the path, the water, and my relationship to it all as a great metaphor......and it put me on the road to a new direction.......and it still inspires me.....

"To reach the far end of the cape, and then to the beach, it is necessary to walk across a mile of large rocks with a sharp drop off to the sea on either side. Looking at the uneven path as it extends and converges almost to invisibility on the horizon, it seems a daunting task for one who is less adventurous and who is afraid of losing balance or getting hurt.........

The promise of the beach at the other end, with its openness, tranquility, expansiveness, and its exclusivity at an edge of the world that few are hearty enough to reach, except by boat, (which was an option)--that promise was seductive.......

This was a trip that Mark wanted to make. At first I was reluctant, even terrified. As I made the first tentative steps, and saw the unevenness of the rock surfaces, the large gaps between some of them, the pointedness and randomness of the path, I fretted.....what if I hurt my leg again, or sprained an ankle? or if I slipped and fell into the water below? And did I have enough energy to make the trip back?........

I ventured out, convinced I couldn't do it....hesitating at every rock that was turned at a funny angle....not enjoying the vista, but worrying about the distance yet ahead.... Not enjoying the water, nor the cool breeze all around me....thinking that I had a chore to do, one of great risk, one that might prove painful or too time-consuming.......

Mark was very patient. As much as he really wanted to get to the other side, he offered to stop and turn back whenever I got too anxious. People began to pass us in both directions. All of them were friendly and seemed not to notice or be bothered by our slow pace, my hesitation.......

Suddenly, at the very moment I was convinced I had to stop, I remembered that as a youngster I was discouraged, even forbidden, from taking risks, or testing danger. I had internalized this philosophy and I realized I had lived much of my life this way. It occurred to me that the path of rocks represented my life to this point. I saw that I had been driving myself to distraction by my fear, my inability to focus, to concentrate on the task, and achieve completion......

So I made up my mind to do two things: First, concentrate on each rock in front of me, master the difficulty of each one, and steady my pace, rock by rock. Second, I would stop occasionally, check in with Mark, look toward the horizon, and take in the scenery and feel the air around me, before moving on, step by step, rock by rock....

Soon, the rocks seemed to level, the pace steadied and increased, I ignored the treacherous spaces between the rocks and the steep dropoffs, and I began to enjoy the walk. I stopped checking the distance ahead of us, as I naturally knew that the goal was nearer....

The journey over the rocks explained a part of my life, and I wept, saying that if I finished this journey, I would finish the novel and the play I began to write but despaired of finishing. The image of taking each rock step by step will remain significant as I confront life's creative tasks and the rewards that will be waiting at journey's end....."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Daily Journal September 12-- How 9/11 Made Me a Reader Again

After 9/11, I turned off my TV and started reading again.
The catch-phrase was, "the world changed on 9/11".  And for a time, the world did seem different, judging from the television images.   For days afterward, there was almost no other coverage except from Ground Zero.  We were taken to police stations, firehouses and churces; we listened to the emotional testimonies of witnesses, and of those who lost loved ones.  We were reminded again and again of the images of the planes striking, of the buildings sinking into the ground.  

It appeared that a new gravity was taking hold in the country, a new seriousness...No longer would the insipid episodes of a "Survivor"-type reality-TV show satisfy a newly grown-up populace matured by tragedy and "reality".  

It was a time in which I became aware of just how little I was learning about the world around me, how little I understood what might have led up to the disaster.  I felt powerless by my lack of knowledge, unprepared to deal with the possible ramifications of another attack, maybe one in which I might lose my own loved ones or have my freedoms removed.  I realized I had spent far too much time in front of a television, and neglected my early passion and skill for reading and storing knowledge. 

As a three-year-old I learned to read, and being a child in poor health, books were my hobby, my companions, and unknowingly I sped ahead of my peers in knowledge.  As I moved into my adolescence, and even into college,  the habit of reading books gave way, unfortunately, to other things.  In my peer group, the one in which I  wanted to belong, it seemed that world-knowledge was not important.
About three weeks after the 9/11 disaster, as the press exhausted its material for 24-hour coverage, and people not directly affected by the attack were returning to their normal lives, I found myself channel-surfing.  Regular programming had returned after weeks of nearly continuous images and analysis of the tragedy.  It all looked so crude and insensitive to me;   I was dismayed that people were ready to go return to these distractions.

Right then, without giving it a second thought, I picked up the phone, called my cable provider, and canceled all but my most basic service; all other channels were dropped. 

I made up my mind then to start reading....starting with books about religious thought and history and the history of the middle east.  Soon I added novels, non-fiction about science, politics, movies, animals, and other topics.  I started to feel like I was part of something again, and since then, have averaged about 50 books a year.

In the days ahead I hope to write about some of the books that shaped my thinking in time since 9/11, and how unwittingly the activity of reading put me on the road to re-inventing myself.

I hope my readers will share their most significant reading here too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Journal September 10----Dogs in my World

I guess you might say that there are few people who love dogs more than I do.  This is the first of many stories I will publish about the dogs I have known......and Maggie, the basset hound Mark and I raised for ten years, was the most significant one: most humorous, most challenging, most lovable, most heartbreaking.

A woman I work with adopted a beagle-mix three weeks ago, and now, the dog is having seizures, the same thing which afflicted Maggie until we made the agonizing decision to show her one final act of kindness.  My co-worker's dog, named Molly, has already found a place deep in the affections of her entire family.  I have a feeling it will be a very emotional recovery; providing the dog recovers, and I hope she will.
Maggie left us on Groundhog Day, February 2, 2008.  But it is as though she still controls our home....her presence is still felt....we have little reminders everywhere.  Friends ask us all the time if we are getting a new dog.  I think we will someday.  For now, I am happy to share my stories of Maggie with you.  Hope that all of you will tell me about your favorite canine companions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama's Health Care Speech--September 9

Yes, millions of us are right now feverishly writing our impressions of President Obama's Joint Congressional Address on Health Care Reform.  But, the mighty ocean is filled with drops of water......
(Let me first say that I am a proud liberal Democrat and an Obama supporter...amazing, since less than 10 years ago I was leaning Republican....The story of that transformation will appear here in future posts.....An early metamorphosis into a re-invented man....)

The scenario I imagined this morning went something like this:
I hope tonight that Obama directly addresses all of the criticism of his health plan as he lays out the details......that he reminds Congress of his ideals, and maybe some of theirs....alludes to the balance of power.....even blasts the right wing media!! Of course, that's my ideal.....he will pay lip service to all of the right things....In the balance, I fear nothing will change.......
Now that I've heard it.....I thought the speech was brilliant .......First of all, he called out the right-wing media and put Republicans on notice that they, too, would be called out if they misrepresented the plan.  He actually addressed "death panels"!  as lies.  He did not back down from illegal-alien coverage or abortion coverage (both a NO in the plan), and kept his cool as he was heckled by a congressman from South Carolina.   He stated how the plan will cost less than unfunded Bush initiatives (Iraq, tax cuts for the rich).......  Second, he presented details with an evenness and enthusiasm that made those in the chamber who were not applauding appear dour one reviewer commented later, they were window-dressing......Third, he presented reasonable goals: security and stability for the insured, coverage for the uninsured, and slow growth of costs....... Fourth, he put the Public Option in  perspective as an ingredient of the plan, not the whole meal. For those of us who hoped he would have the courage to adopt a European-style plan, this didn't seem to go far enough, but he was reasonable and convinced me for now.

Finally, he concluded with an impassioned, historic appeal to the heart and character of Americans.  The audience listened in hushed attention as Obama related the details of a letter ,written in May by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, to be revealed upon his death, in which he stated that we face a moral issue...with "the character of our country" at stake.

Even so, I am nervous about Obama's continued faith in bipartisanship.  I am also skeptical about how many of the talking points (such as mandating coverage regardless of preexisting condition, no caps on coverage, or limit to out-of-pocket expenses) will be negotiated away in an effort to reach compromise.

However, it will be an exciting time for us in the Obama camp, now that he finally appears to be ready to censure those who would rather score short-term political points by killing the plan rather than finding a long-term solution. I am more optimistic than I was this morning. 

Daily Journal September 9; Our Labor Day Visitors

My partner Mark and I had a small barbecue in our backyard this past Sunday afternoon, during Labor Day Weekend. We did the usual suburban cookout on the back patio, fought the yellowjackets who bombarded us but meant no real harm, checked our behavior (no spontaneous kissing or holding hands on the driveway--more on this in future posts about living gay in a conservative middle-class suburb), and sat around later in a digestive lull before we finished off our guests with ice cream sundaes. Mark invited his 86-year-old mother, his sister and her husband, and our soon-to-be 90-year-old neighbor, Millie.....

Millie reminds me of both of my late Italian grandparents. She is tiny, like my grandmother was, barely five feet tall; and has my grandfather's coarse facial features, including a prominent nose above a small mouth with bowed, thin lips. She was very comfortable at our house, and very grateful to be there. She dominated the conversation, both in the number of stories she told, and the volume at which she told them... She did not mean for others not to get their word in; but she so clearly needed to leave a record of her life's more unusual moments, that no one minded letting her go on.

I speak here of reinventing myself......and it is while listening to Millie's stories, and Mark's mother's many anecdotes of her past, that I am reminded that, if all goes well, and if I attain their longevity, I have at least another 35 years left...about half a lifetime in modern terms. So I am having a conversation with myself----and often with Mark----about what life will be like, and what it can be, given the uncertainty of the world, the fragility of older age, and our resources. Can I go back to college? Will I write a blockbuster novel? Will we travel the world? Will we remain reasonably healthy, and can we make that happen? And on and on............ Reinvention, large and small...This is the guiding principal of this journal.

Re-Invention--an idea I mean to define and discuss throughout.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Journal, September 8-- Obama's Speech to the Kids

Here in the suburbs of Chicago, there has been a big debate over Mr. Obama's school speech. Although a small number of parents were reported to have contacted the schools in protest, these nasayers have dominated the coverage of the story. If parents are engaged in their children's education, and talk to their kids, there's no reason to be threatened by what will be a memorable moment for most schoolchildren. I can't understand those who would "not let Obama speak to their kids alone". Yet kids are subject to seriously questionable influences every day, at school and in the media. You can be sure that none of them are using their influence to encourage kids to work hard and finish school.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Daily Journal: September 7 2009 Invention.....Kiddieland

    I intended to begin my first-ever blog by talking about invention.  But I saw a rather remarkable story on the nightly news about a small suburban-Chicago amusement park called Kiddieland that will be closing its doors after 80 plus years.  It seemed like a good place to start.....My parents took my little sister and me to this park, with its gentle rides and bright colors, when we were very young.  It was always a special treat. It has become part of the romanticized memory of childhood, and it's a place I thought would go on forever, like my junior high school (torn down) or Marshall Fields, or an old German restaurant we always visited (The Heidelberger Fass) which no longer exists.....I have not thought about Kiddieland in why did this story move me so?  (And what has this to do with reinvention?)...Seeing the end of this children's amusement park is one more reminder that the world as I knew it is disappearing.  I can either disappear with it, or adjust---no, thrive---in new ways.  ...So in order to reinvent myself, I thought it would be good to go back and see where I came from, and understand how these anecdotes from the past have helped to make the person I am now.  Looking back is a good preparation for reinvention...a word I'll briefly define soon.  I hope I get some company on this journey.