Remembrance

final-goodbyeThis weekend, the ashes of one of my closest high school friends / old boyfriend were scattered in the ocean near where we grew up. And as friends and family gathered on a beach yesterday to remember the fun and joy he brought to others, I’m reminded all too poignantly that sometimes neither age nor experience, success nor family, love nor friends, have anything to do with how we leave this world.

There was a beach memorial service that I couldn’t attend with the people whose lives my friend touched. Of those that I know, I haven’t seen many of them in more than two decades. I wish I had been able to join. And as I see the pictures both of the memorial service and of our high school years that my friends keep posting, I think how it’s amazing that despite three thousand miles and two decades, it’s actually so easy to slip back into the days of our youth.

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No Words

I have no words. As someone who has built her career on her ability to use words effectively and well, this simple statement is both humbling and terrifying. But those emotions are simply reactions to the other emotions that threaten to engulf me. Today, on this Sunday of what has been an eternally long weekend, I am filled with pain and sadness, helplessness and fear, sympathy and empathy, righteousness and anger, fatalism and passion, loneliness and solidarity.

The sign my daughter made and carried on January 29, 2017 at the Boston protest against the immigration ban

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I have one request. Have compassion.

Advance apologies – I’m going political on you. But long-time readers of this blog know that this topic hits very personally to me. I was listening to NPR the other day, and a story caught my attention. The story was about a just released documentary entitled, “After Tiller.” Created by pro-choice advocates (so I’m sure it has quite a lot of bias), the film attempts to communicate the reasons why doctors and clinics who perform late-term abortions make the decision to continue doing something that is so clearly fraught with danger. From what I understand (and I should note that I have NOT yet seen it), the film also looks at the people who get late-term abortions for both medical and non-medical reasons. The part that struck me was this statistic: Today there are only FOUR doctors in the US who perform late-term abortions. To get to them, it seems you often have to be pretty desperate.

This is the box that Carrie put together for us to memorialize Baby Girl. Filled with pictures, blankets, hats and footprints, it's something we cherish.

This is the box that was put together for us to memorialize the life that wasn’t. Filled with pictures, blankets, hats and footprints, it’s something we cherish.

Six years ago, my then husband and I were presented with an almost unthinkable “choice.” Continue reading

Practical Whimsy’s Fried Rice Recipe

Weird departure from my usual fare here. I’m not super fond of cooking. I’m not great at it, and I find that it takes me twice as long to cook as I ever intend it to. But I do make a few dishes really well, and much to my dismay, one of them is fried rice. One of the jokes among my friends is that the only thing I can cook (well, with any regularity) is fried rice. And potstickers. Nothing like conforming to stereotypes.

Recently, an old roommate of mine asked me to send her my “recipe”. And since a few other folks have asked me for it over the years, this is the easiest way to throw it out there. It’s been about 13 years since my roommate has tasted it, so I hope it lives up to her memory.  Continue reading

“Girls Can’t Be Superheroes”

My daughter K is mildly obsessed with superheroes. And while I take full responsibility for having planted the initial seed (and watering it daily with encouragement and the occasional new superhero-themed book or shirt), she’s taken the idea and just run with it.

“K, what do you want to wear today?”

“A superhero shirt, superhero underwear and pants that tie…if we have them, please.”

When we first introduced K to superheroes – your typical Batman, Superman-type fodder – she expressed an interest in them, but it didn’t become a daily undercurrent. And in fact, her enthusiasm was dampened for a bit last fall when a classmate told her that his daddy said, “Girls can’t be superheroes.”

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In the Wake of Boston: One Child’s Question

“Mumma, you’re never gonna die, right?”

Yesterday was the day after here in Boston. I heard someone on NPR describe it as a city-wide feeling of melancholy. To me, it feels like a pervasive quiet permeating the city – a quiet laced with an odd mix of determination, defiance and community layered atop deep, deep sadness. We are a city united not only by mourning, but also by our resolution to persevere against the evil that confronts us. And our country cries and fights with us.

“Mumma, you’re never gonna die, right?”

Monday, I did what almost everyone I know did. I left work early to find my loved ones. I picked K up from school, and I gave her a hug. I tried to pretend that disaster hadn’t just ripped through my adopted hometown. We played games. We role-played (I was K, and she was “mommy”). And we pretended to be Bat Girl and Wonder Woman fighting off bad guys. Just like every other evening.

“Mumma, you’re never gonna die, right?”

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In Pursuit of Happiness

A couple months ago, I had dinner(ish) and drinks (more of this) with a friend, and in the course of our conversation we spoke of many things – “of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.” We talked of opportunities passed by and wasted potential – and ultimately, whether they mattered when considering one’s overall happiness. Continue reading