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Showing posts from March, 2015

Spare Change

Like thousands of others, I had grown indifferent to them. Not to the mother, the father, the child, the sister, the brother, the young, the old, the mentally unstable, the sick, the alone.But, them, the collective totality of the nation’s homeless. His was one of the first images I saw when I pulled up to the 7-11 this afternoon.I took in the parking space, the car to my left, the car to my right, and the man about to ask me for ‘spare change,’ in that order. I am a single mother of three, I cannot recall ever having spare change.When I can, I give to people who ask.Though, my definition of when I can likely differs from yours.When I can doesn’t mean I have extra money—we have acknowledged I never have extra money.But, it’s when my heart breaks over the possibility of this person’s reality: the cold sidewalk, the hungry children, the incomprehension of it all. I stepped out of my car and without fully looking at him, I knew him. I knew he was homeless, I knew he was about to ask me for ‘s…

Hot as Hell (on the ice) Diary of a former Hockey Mom

My son is an ice hockey player, well he was two seasons ago when I was certain we were staying in Baltimore and the investment in a career hockey player was a sound one.It took me two seasons to decide to stay in Maryland (at least through December).Vester is back on the ice and he’s still hot.He races around the rink with…well, not grace but speed. When he was fivemy son started ice skating, he was a tiny liability on the ice, the little person people thought needed looking out for.So, they recommended I teeter on the ice, to keep him safe.So, donning ice skates and maternal attitude I slid out on the ice. Ok, that’s not quite how it happened. I sort of walked, sort of side stepped, holding on to the wall, and mainly crept along the edge of the rink as he sped in and out of people, raced other skaters, and did hockey stops back and forth across the ice in a spray of almost $1000 perfection.It didn’t take long for the well meaning rink employees to suggest I leave the ice, perhaps it was…

Death of Another Publication

Another publication has slivered in to oblivion, tucked its thin, shiny pages and high-tech, glossy covers between its trembling bold-fonted legs, and kissed its ISBN number goodbye.  

To be honest, though I have seen at least one issue of Woman's Scope Magazine--the issue its publisher left in our office bearing my name (though I had never written anything for her) as a contributing writer. I have never read it, nor visited the website, looked for it in a venue, or considered writing an article, letter or post to it.

The structure of publishing as an industry is crumbling, seemingly by choice.  When I spoke with Woman's Scope's publisher Janet Leak, she was enthusiastic about the corners her magazine would turn if it could only make it through this rough patch which to her reflected the next three months and to me reflected the past twelve. I asked if she had a blog (I had assumed she had a website) and she didn't.  Since we had spent a class discussing the benefits of …

Comment on Comments

Lately, I have been trying to communicate more. With friends, family and colleagues, I have a tendency to communicate in doses. So, when I decided to join the community of blogger—about a year after I started blogging—it was somewhat cautiously. I started by commenting on other writers’ pieces on Open Salon. Most writers here are a lot better at reading other’s posts and commenting, it’s really a community. I dangle along edge. After a few comments here and there, I was ready to comment on a few other sites. Yet, not all sites were ready for me, or ready for me to comment that is. For some, you either had to register, create a profile, or otherwise commit in order to comment. I see the benefit of ‘Hi, I’m (insert username) and I (insert comment here). But, I prefer the ease of posting a comment with less effort. I don’t mind supplying my email address as a sort of guarantee that I stand behind my words. What I mind is the assumption that I have the time (or inclination) to provide my…

In search of a Raspberry Martini: A brief review of the Apothecary in Lancaster

I'm a mom. I don't go out often, so when I do, I like to get what I want.

I've been in Lancaster for just over two years now. For the past six months I've been searching (well, hoping to find) a Raspberry Martini. I hadn't realized what a difficult search it would be. I was at a pub the first time I asked for one.

"I've never made one but if you tell me how to make it, I can do," the bartender said.

I don't actually know how to make one; I just know how to drink one.

I was at Greaves Park the next time I tried.

"Let me see what I can do," the bartender's enthusiasm was a bit disconcerting.

He poured "Martini" from a bottle, dropped in actual raspberries and began smashing the berries. The result was a pink, pulpy mixture that looked "like baby vomit" according to a friend and tasted like pencil according to me (yes, I tasted it).

I sloshed it around a bit when he gave it to me. I edit my words but not my facial e…

From Baltimore with Love (Repost)

Two feet of snow. Outside of my back window, icicles slowly drip, snow glistens, trees bend.  Occasionally a squirrel—a reckless naysayer no doubt—rushes up a heavy branch. Out front, my children, neighbors and I have piled two feet of snow into treacherous mounds of four or five feet, packed behind cars, along narrow parcels, squeezed anywhere so we can all get out—when they plow our small cul de sac. At 1:45 AM, a bulldozer beeps, light shining as if it is not 1:45 in the morning, up my street.  Accidentally, the small truck knocks over a mound of snow as it turns.  It is not so much plowing snow, as making tracks over it in some areas, through it in others. By morning, my street is more clear than it will be in 24 hours, but today, I am on vacation. When I think of vacation, I think of warm sand, blue waters, music.  If I think of a snow vacation –and I rarely do—I picture skis, a cute bunny suit, and warm cocoa. The State of Maryland is under a state of emergency. Two days and tw…

I do--Maybe

Most of my friends, acquaintances, and family are in relationships of one kind or another with varying degrees of happiness and commitment. I don’t envy them. Still, as I prepare to date seriously—with the intent to commit (at least) to dating—I find myself reconsidering what I once considered spam. Every two weeks I receive email about how to promote love and happiness in my marriage. Which would be great if I had a marriage I wanted to save. Up until recently, I deleted these messages with regularity. Today, I pause before I click delete. Would I—in the right circumstances—ever marry again? I no longer know the answer. I don’t mind not knowing. And, truth be told, I’m kind of glad I’m asking.

Finding Words (Repost)

We are there to pick up books. Not cozy mysteries, romantic thrillers, young adult dramas, or preschool serials. Just books: free books.
I admit free is part of the fantasy.
And, there is a fantasy. The moment I read about the Book Thing—a warehouse stuffed easel to easel with books of all topics, languages and genres—ok, so I don’t think such a description existed, but surely it was implied—I fantasized about finding the perfect book. The book I absolutely needed, right then.
I am a believer that when I need to find something, I find it.This is not the same as believing if I lose something I will find it.It’s better. A lot of things happen by chance, by design, or divine, and some things—like the right words at the right time—just happen.
At the Book Thing, my 3 children—a teenager, a middle schooler and a preschooler—pick up books indiscriminate of subject matter (more or less). I pick up books I had long forgotten, like the Bobbsey Twins (after reading it with my 4 year old, I rem…

345 Degrees (Repost)

I don’t drive to DC. I drive to the metro, park, and ride.Rather, I park, figure out how to purchase tickets, ask an attendant or knowledgeable-looking traveler for help, wait for the metro, then, I—we—ride. I herd children –three of mine and one friend it always seems like a good idea to invite at the time—on and off trains without bothering to disguise my bewilderment when we reach China Town Gallery and have to remember which track goes the direction I want to go. On a good day, we have our choice of seats –theirs facing backwards, mine facing forward—and the only unruly chatter comes from someone I gave birth to. This time when we get on the Redline, we are standing.“We” implies but does not include my four year old (I am holding him), but the older children and I.Just like “standing” does not imply we were not swaying, bumping, pushing, sliding, and teetering along with other people “standing” on the train. Yet, I find the train is less stressful than driving to DC. “Driving” implies b…

Dating While Dead: An Intimate Personal Essay

I often cheer for the delinquent, the misfit, the misunderstood, the unstable, disenfranchised, disillusioned, disheartened, the despaired. But, I don’t date them--at least not on purpose, and never for real. At times I am attracted to--but not committed to--improbabilities. I am, at least for now, selectively single.   It took me a while to realize I was hurt by my ex-husband’s affair. And so, for a while, I didn’t. I am not one of those women who wonder why with all of the attractive, successful, “eligible,” single men around the Beltway, I remain single.  As a “self aware” woman, I recognize, admit, and acknowledge certain flaws, characteristics, strengths, and traits, and yet, I cannot self diagnosis my own injuries. Which does not mean I don’t self medicate. I pop men as if they are tiny, dispensable, candy-coated cough drops. For the past few years, I have substituted relationships for “relationships” with various built in trap doors.  I often admit my attraction to absurdities.  Even…

Addicted to Ink (or HTML, Pixel, Font)

Several times a day I pick up the pen, well poise at the keyboard, to write something for tomorrow.
As a journalist, I write with a sense of immediacy.As a writer, I write with a sense of timelessness.Writing forward takes practice, patience and more practice and more patience.
And so, I’m training myself to write and curbing my addiction to instant gratification somewhat disguised behind two blogs, a Facebook, LinkedIn, and a Twitter.I’m writing pieces for tomorrow.At least, I try to.I find myself writing with the best of intentions and instead of saving it, I post it and link it and tweet about posting and linking it.

Seasons of Graduation Part III (repost from Open Salon)

The following night we are shopping for my daughter’s graduation dress, a summer dress she picks out.While I worry that it is not quite dressy enough, I keep my concerns somewhat to myself.
The morning of her graduation, my daughter is a princess.Her light-blue summer dress is simplistic; the aura of royalty is within her.
My youngest is distracted many times during the first hour of his sister’s graduation.He is distracted by sitting on a metal chair, perching on my knees, pretending to listen to the speaker.All he wants to do is see his big sister walk across the stage.Well, honestly, all my four year old wants to do is leave, but I tell him we can’t leave until his big sister walks across the stage.
Many awards are given to many of the same children who storm, stroll or saunter up to the stage again, and again.My daughter’s name is not called.High School will be different, I think.While she is in advanced classes now, she really has to work harder to be involved in sports, arts, a…

Seasons of Graduation: Part I Grad School (repost from Open Salon)

The 2008/2009 Master’s candidates of JohnsHopkinsUniversity ZanvylKrieger School of Arts and Sciences is filled with parents, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, employers, employees, writers, scientists, researchers, investigators, dreamers, doers, achievers, and thinkers in various phases of career, achievement, life, goals.
The crowd is a blur of family, friends, colleagues, alumni, faculty, police.The ceremony, despite applause, cheers, a few ‘I love yous!” and even fewer, “You made its!” is orderly, subdued, Hopkins.
We are changed, and yet unchanged.
For many of us, a Master’s degree marks the end of an education but surely not the end of learning.We are now tasked with applying our education to obtain knowledge. We are challenged to reach for new goals and as Hopkins Graduates, to achieve them.
Surrounded by fellow graduates, it is an indescribable feeling, this task to use knowledge to achieve knowledge.As a Hopkins grad, I am armed with the confidence that the Dean; the speak…

Learning from Ourselves (repost from Open Salon)

My grandmother was the caregiver of the family.  She was a career nurse for years, then practiced at home by mending hearts, stitching relationships and suturing wounds.  I did not inherit this gift. Medical conversations make me uncomfortable.  They always do, they always have and I have little reason to believe they will not continue to forever and ever amen.  I was driving when Elise called.   “I’m pregnant,”  she cried,“I don’t know how it happened.” Elise is 36--she knows how it happened. What surprises me about all of us, my sister, my closest friends, myself, is our ability to make the same mistakes.We rewind the mistakes of one another, of ourselves and instead of reliving them as memories; we relive them in our realities.  It's time we changed the endings.