Sunday, December 28, 2014

Closer to the Heart

During the summer before 7th grade I spent three weeks in Florida with my friend Jason. We stayed at his grandparents’ house in Winter Park, just outside Orlando.  It was July, and very hot and very humid, well it least it was for someone who grew up in New England, and who spent her summers on the beaches of Cape Cod and Maine.  Fortunately Jason’s grandparents had a pool and a really cute neighbor, I forget her name, but they both kept me distracted. Our daylong excursions with Jason’s grandfather (I think his name was Saul) brought us to Disney, Sea World, and Cape Canaveral. And even though Jason and his grandparents weren’t very religious, I was still expected to go to Mass. My parents must have said something.  I remember getting dressed for church and latching my new shark tooth gold chain around my neck. It dangled between the v-cut of my brown and tan velour collared shirt as I sang along to Christopher Cross...sail-ing, take me away...  Being a good friend, Jason accompanied me each Sunday.  We rode our bikes across town trying to stay in the shade of the palm and oak trees. The church was air-conditioned.

I returned to Florida last week and spent seven days in Miami helping out a friend. I had been planning on taking a little time off work before Christmas.  I had started my new job nearly a year ago and had only used a few of my vacation days thus far. In fact, most of them were erased as I recovered from my heart procedure in August.  With winter coming early to Maine this year and daylight in short supply, I hoped to find warmth and some sun to recharge my fading batteries and fight off my reoccurring depression. At first it looked like Southern California would be my destination, but just as I was about to book a hotel room and flight, I saw a post on Facebook, a friend was looking for help.

Miami skyline from Mt. Sinai Medical Center
You see, my friend, well we were barely acquaintances until last week, was looking for someone, female, trans if possible, to be with her at the hospital and at the motel as she had and recovered from her gender confirming surgery.  So I scrapped my plans for California, and quickly found a flight to Florida instead. On Tuesday, December 16th, I drove her from our motel in North Miami to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in a rented white Chevy at 7am to check-in.  By the time I paid the parking lot attendant the full price at the end of the day, my friend was recovering in her hospital room.

Me and Marissa
I cannot express how fortunate I feel having been invited to share in such a personal event and earning the trust of a virtual stranger. Don’t get me wrong, as I told my new friend, I was doing this to help her out, yes, but also to experience as close as possible the procedure I too hope to have in the very near future.  As I spent time with my friend, we discovered we had several things in common beyond our trans identity. In addition to our fondness for potato chips, our paths nearly crossed 48 years earlier at another hospital. We both were born at St. Elizabeth’s in Boston, just 28 days apart. Her birthday is February 1, 1967 and mine March 1, 1967. We grew up just 5 miles from each other. 

The night before leaving Florida, I drove north on Route 1 towards Fort Lauderdale to meet another friend for a drink at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood.  I had known she was somewhere Florida after reconnecting via email recently, but we hadn't seen each other since soon after our college graduation, 25 years ago.  I sent a message earlier in the week, and wouldn't you know it, she was only 10 miles away from our Motel. With a big smile and a warm hug we  joyfully picked up from where we left off. 

While I don’t believe in the maxim, “things happen for a reason”, I sometimes notice the unexpected intersections and patterns that occur in life and nature, like the Fibonacci sequence found on the palm tree rings I first saw in Florida in 1979 and realization that my new friend and I were also at the same RUSH concert at the Boston Garden 35 years ago on December 6th 1982, trying to sing like Geddy Lee.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

On my Way

My mom turned 80 just a few weeks ago, I milestone indeed, that is unless you know her mom made to 100!  My mom looks great and is full of life.  I should be so lucky.  Along with a few family members, we celebrated by singing Happy Birthday Mimi! as the clock struck midnight on November 11th.  But that wasn’t enough. My family is having another party this weekend.

There should be enough activities, games, and food choices for a group of 50 or so well-wishers.   I’m helping to buy the Chinese take-out and bringing a few desserts, no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and apples squares.  One thing is a for sure, there will be a “slide” show, full of wonderful photos of my mom from her childhood to present day, but also her seven children, my dad, her sisters, sisters and brothers in law, friends, nieces and nephews, her mom and dad and their family and friends, and of course her 17 grandchildren.

So on her birthday, after enjoying breakfast together, my mom and my two sisters and my dad went to a casino. It’s a thing they’ve been doing for years.  While I was invited that morning to join them, I decided not to go. It’s not really my thing.  Instead, I spent a few hours combing through stacks of photo albums, looking for photos of my mom and other possible images to be included in the slide show. During my investigation I came across many possible photos for the show, I also stumble over a few images of me. You know, me before transition.

I have an uneasy relationship with images of me from my past. At first I hated seeing them, they were an uncomfortable reminder of a previous time that didn’t reflect who I was. But over the past few years I’ve come to understand a little more about why my reflection and images of me were and are so troubling.   I’ve learned that my identity was often invisible, and the reflection and images I saw of myself, didn’t mirror what I expected to see, a girl. Instead, I saw someone else. Boy has that created a few problems. But don’t worry; I have a really good therapist. 

So I forwarded about 60 images to my brother who is putting together the show.  In the process I took photos of a few images I thought were significant enough to put aside as keepsakes. There’s one of me, probably 12 years old, in cut off jeans holding my extremely long black and white cat, Roosevelt. I remember crying so hard when I learned he had died. There’s another at my 10th birthday. I’m wearing a deep blue mohair sweater decorated with Aztec-like patterns. I’m standing in front of my cake, holding up all my fingers with my typical broad grin, unconcerned about my bowl haircut. 

Anyway, Thanksgiving was just the other day and I had the good fortune to have been invited to dinner at my ex’s house. We’re still close; in fact she lives just a mile down the road, which is really convenient, except when kitchen utensils suddenly go missing.  The guest list included me and my ex, her boyfriend, his ex and her girlfriend, and their teenage children. It took me hours to find the perfect outfit, you should see the wreckage in my room and the pile of discarded clothes, but I managed to pull it together and was only 20 minutes late, not bad for a LeBlanc (my mom’s maiden name). All and all we had a really nice evening, stuffing ourselves, being ignored by the teenagers, having a few drinks by a bonfire, listening to records (that’s right), and eventually cleaning up to progressive rock music, like Yes and Jethro Tull, don’t ask.  As we were leaving, my ex realized we failed to take any photos of the evening.  That’s okay I thought, I had a good time without any pictures and I have the lyrics from Aqualung stuck in my head, “…flowers bloom like madness in the spring.”

If I’m lucky enough, in a little more than 30 years, I’ll turn 80. And with a big smile, I’ll hold up my 10 fingers and flash them 8 times.  Some days, life seems really short.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm not a Mainer

While I’m not a Mainer, I had the good fortune to spend sunny slices of my childhood here, on the beaches of York and Kennebunk, climbing the rocks of Acadia, finding snakes on Deer Isle, and driving across the Airline to catch a ferry from New Brunswick to visit my grandparents, Camille and Marie, in Nova Scotia.

In the summer of 2002, after a brief tenure teaching in Maryland, my then partner and I, both quit our jobs, sold our house, and moved back to Maine (we had briefly lived in Winslow a few years before and found Maine to be a special place). And If I can help it, I’m not planning moving away anytime soon. You see, four years ago I embraced my identity as a transgender woman.  I did so partially because of Maine and the people who call Maine home. As you probably know, Maine was one of the one first states in the country to pass a non-discrimination law protecting gender identity and expression. And while that is significant, I had found a network of trans friends and allies who were, and still are, great supporters. Unfortunately in the process I lost my job, among other things, and wasn’t able to find a new position as a teacher, which broke my heart.  I’m employed now, but it took awhile to get back on my feet.

My new job as program coordinator at EqualityMaine has reintroduced me to Maine. And in the short time since starting last winter, I’ve traveled nearly 30,000 miles across the state, from Eliot to Machias, and many points in between; schools, coffee shops, police stations, and even the Statehouse. I was nervous, almost hesitant taking the position, knowing I’d be traveling to parts of the state that have little exposure to trans folk like me.

But you know what, it’s been okay, I was going to write “great”, but there’s always room for improvement (that’s the teacher in me). I haven’t heard many negative comments about who I am, well about my gender that is; there are plenty of other comments.  And yes, I get stares and second glances, but I guess Mainers are too polite or private to say anything to my face. The worst is when moms and dads herd their kids away from me in public, at Target, or in women’s restroom. I’m not a monster, and that hurts. I do think I’ve used a lot of energy worrying about the negative and I pay extra attention to my surroundings, just to be safe, and I’m sure it takes it’s tool. It must.

So tomorrow, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s the international day to recognize individuals from around the world who were killed because of anti-transgender violence. And I feel honored to have helped a little and organize two events in Maine, one in Portland and the other in Bangor. And while I'd like to think I'm safe, I'm not. We will read the names of nearly 200 people who are no
longer alive, simply because of whom they were, and that’s just the reported and known cases. Sadly, there are many, many more. 

Last week the GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) National Climate Survey was released, including a snapshot of Maine.  This is the most current data about how LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) youth are faring in school. Unfortunately it wasn’t good news.  81% of LGBTQ youth reported being verbally harassed in school, and nearly 40% reported being physically harassed and abused because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression. 

I hope you agree it’s critical we stand together and support the trans community as well as LGBTQ youth, not just on Transgender Day of Remembrance, but at PTA and school board meetings, at the Statehouse, and when we talk with our neighbors over coffee or shoveling our driveways. If you like, let them know you know me, a transgender woman who loves to laugh and swim in the ocean, because we are better people than the state we’re in.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Middle of Nowwhere

A year ago today,  I ran the New York Marathon. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging, as I was just one of 48,000 participants who traversed the 26.2 miles from Staten Island, to Brooklyn and Queens, then Manhattan and the Bronx.  More than 2 million
spectators lined the route, cheering all of us to the finish line in Central Park. In the end, after four hours, I finished, and felt horrible. It took me more than two hours longer than both the female and male winners.  I did finish a little ahead of Pamela Anderson, but didn’t see her on the course. She was on the Ellen show later in the week talking about her experience. She looked good with short hair.  We’re the same age, if you were wondering.  

Four years ago I ran the Las Vegas Marathon. It was my first one. The race was in December, and the weather was nearly perfect.  I had been to Vegas the previous summer on a cross-country road trip and stopped to see a college friend.  Yes, it was hot, very hot, 110 degrees in the shade. She was a rock-climbing make up artist from New Hampshire.  Having seen my recent collection of drawings and paintings featuring Barbie dolls, she thought one of her clients would love them.  I was a little overwhelmed when she mentioned it was Pamela Anderson.  Nothing came of it, but I thought it was really cool that she mentioned me to her.

I haven’t run as much this year. I got a new job and I’ve been sick.  After a heart procedure sidelined my training this summer, reoccurring upper respiratory infections this fall, along with allergies have stirred my asthma, making it almost impossible to sleep; no less run.  But, I’m stubborn and stupid. So last Sunday, 358 days since I ran the New York Marathon, and with idyllic weather for late October, my short walk turned into a jog.  About a mile from my house I had to stop. I was coughing, wheezing, and couldn’t get a full breathe of air in my swollen lungs.  Those of you, who have asthma, COPD, or some other breathing issue, know what I’m taking about. It was like breathing underwater, and despite an ongoing fantasy, I’m not a mermaid.

I took a few puffs from my rescue inhaler, turned around and began to walk home. That didn’t go very well either. After a quarter mile or so, I had to stop again. I sat on wooden rail next to a park, waiting for my breathing to return to “normal”.   After about twenty minutes, I started feeling a little better and walked some more. An hour after leaving my house, I made it home, a small victory.  It’s funny, I’ve run nearly 5,000 miles over the past five years, sometimes they’re easy and sometimes they almost kill you.

This morning, after being on Prednisone all week, and my lungs improving, I was tempted to lace up my Sauconys, but opted instead for my hiking boots. The wind was howling, and the rain was mixing with snow.  It is November after all.  After a half mile down my road I turned east onto a new trail that runs alongside the Batson River and eventually meets up with a brackish section of
Tyler Brook. You see, my castle, (which is actually a ranch built in 1968), is nestled next to hundreds of acres of conservation land and sits just a few miles from the ocean. I know; I’m spoiled.  The wet leafy walk passed through a forest of birch, oak, beech, and pine, crossing streams and stones covered with lichen and large granite boulders left behind from the Laurentide Ice Sheet 35,000 years ago.   
After about an hour and a half, I thought I had become trapped in some maze or endless loop in the woods.  I had lost all sense of direction, and everything began to look the same, like the backgrounds in cartoons.   I couldn’t be lost; I was less than mile from my house.  About ten years ago, I took an orienteering class in the woods of Western Maine. The course was an overview of how to use a compass in the woods. As we introduced ourselves, we let the group know why we were taking the course.  One person mentioned they didn’t want to die alone in the woods.  I thought of that as I passed a pleasant looking plush green and yellow bed of moss and newly fallen leaves. 

I had lost sight of the blue blazes that had guided my morning walk, so I turned back and retraced my steps.  I must have drifted off the trail somewhere.  You know, the road less traveled and all…that’s me. I eventually saw the unnatural flash of color affixed to the trunk of a birch, and returned to the loop trail I had wandered off from. With my fingers and cheeks wet and cold, I found the trail-head and walked home, content.  I hadn’t seen or heard another human the whole time.  Maybe I'll watch this year's race on TV, and possibly an episode of Baywatch.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don’t Go to Church Anymore

This afternoon, Comet C/2013 A1, better know by its thoroughbred sounding name, Siding Spring, raced past our neighbor, the red planet Mars, at 35 miles per second, hurtling towards the sun.
Traveling from a place called the Oort Cloud, which is a swarm of icy objects believed to be debris left over from the birth of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, this space traveler will eventually turn away from the brightest star in the sky and it’s gravitational pull, returning to whence it came, a million of years ago.

Before I sat down to watch the simulcast (yes, I’m an space geek), I took a long walk in the woods behind my house.  You see; I don’t go church anymore.  Instead I spend time in nature.  I’m usually running along country roads, snowshoeing across fields, swimming in the ocean, or walking in the woods, all with the same destination, home.

This time of year in Maine the woods are spectacular.  Lemon yellow birch leaves explode alongside the amber leaves of beech trees like fireworks on the 4th of July.   The earthly scent of decaying wet sugar maple leaves and needles from the towering white pine decomposing under each step reminded me that winter is not too far off, but the warmish humid air rustling through the stubborn oak leaves, hushed my concerns.  Like Frederick the Mouse from one of my favorite childhood books, I told myself, I can stack wood another day.

Walking quietly along the edge of a field, I heard an unfamiliar song in the wind, and then noticed two small birds fluttering from branch to branch. They reappeared every few seconds, singing a jumbled high pitch call that sounded like the chattering of children. No bigger than a lime, the two chased each other from bush to bush, and then I noticed a flash of red from the top of one of their tiny heads, but with the speed of a comet, the Ruby-crowned Kinglets vanished into thin air. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spread you Wings

I know, I know, the movie Mulan is racist, trans-phobic, fat-phobic, and more, but I couldn't resist. I watched the Disney classic for the first time this morning.  That's right, I've avoided this animated fantasy and many newer Disney films for years.  But this morning, as I was recovering on my couch from a near perfect long run, I gave in.
And despite all that is wrong with this engaging, and at times silly film, the message is clear. Women and girls are smart, passionate, strong, and yes, defiant in the face of history, culture, and society that doesn't value us for what we're capable of.  A recent example of this is Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, who at age 15, was shot in the face for believing girls should be educated. Malala is a fighter and she survived. But she is a benevolent leader, using words, books, and pencils as weapons against oppression, not violence and hate. 

So on this National Coming Out Day, I wonder, as friend questioned earlier today, what's the purpose of such an occassion?  For me, it seems like I've been coming out my whole life, but there were times when I was pushed back in, or chose that closet for safety, for the privilege of gender, for the security of a job, and for the comfort of a relationship. Being a transgender woman, is a unique experience, not only because I've have lived a life in two genders, so to speak,  but because when I leave the protection of my house, I'm outing myself. I know I'm seen as transgender, or something worse, but I'm okay with that.  It's taken a life time to get that point, but I think it gives me special powers, being able to confront people's expectations of gender just by being me, just by buying milk at the grocery store.  But I'm human too, and as I listened to the character Mulan sing about the disconnect between how she feels on the inside versus what she sees in her reflection, I know that there will be many more tears, but hope just as many smiles, as my journey continues.  

What's on next, Lion King?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fading Sun

It’s hot for September, but in those tiny blue shorts she gave me goose bumps.  My hand brushed her leg and her skin felt like the faded white sand made soft after millions of years of rocks and sea life crashing and decomposing together. Lying next to each other on beach towels we laughed in envy as we watched a small group of teenage girls teaching each other how to shake their ass out of sight from their parents. Hungry afternoon clouds quickly swallowed the sun, so we packed up our gear and zip closed my colorful striped cooler. I never had those youthful experiences as a girl.

Awaken the next morning to the chirps, cries, and buzz of birds, squirrels, and cicada; I realized I’m closer to fifty than she is to thirty. I try to convince myself that’s okay, but the fleeting weight of time crushes me like waves crashing onto the rocky coast. She didn’t stay the night. It’s not as though I expected her to, but I had dreamed of being held by her long arms, arms that flap like a seagull when she dances. Arms that make me smile.  

Heading to refill my glass of water, I recognized I drank too much, and hoped to find my friend asleep on the brown leather couch in the living room.  My feet stick to the kitchen floor splashed with fruit juice, vodka and white wine from the night before.  Through squinted eyes I noticed her abandoned half empty glass sitting on the edge of a stack of fashion magazines I barely look at any more, leaving a dark condensation ring on the surface.  All the lights were left on and the TV screen was brilliant blue, like the bachelor buttons cut from my garden and placed in a glass vase, bending towards the adjacent window and the rising late summer sun. The message “No Signal!” bounced across the electronic surface like a ball from a video game when I was young. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

See you Tomorrow

I just want to call my friend, and ask her if she really visited me in the hospital last week, or was it just dream, a hallucination from the medication I was on as a team of cardiac specialists inserted catheters into four veins through my stubbly groin to reach my heart without cutting open my chest and splitting my ribs apart. The reason I wondered, was because I became unconscious partially through the procedure and don’t remember waking up.  In fact I kinda like the idea of it all being a dream. It would be a nice dream for a change.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Three years ago, at age 44, I decided to embrace my identity as a Transgender Woman.  My transition began during the long winter of 2011, and day-by-day I've stumbled my way into the person I am today. During this emotional process I've shed many layers from my previous identity that had accumulated over time. It was like I had been wearing a suit of medieval armor, heavy and cumbersome, all my life.  And while I feel free these days, I know I’m more vulnerable and susceptible to the world around me. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

We Used to Have Nicknames

Under a remarkably brilliant blue sky, I drove from Raleigh to Pinehurst, in an off-white Fiat that I had just rented from a young and uncomfortably happy Enterprise employee.  I was on my way to visit my parents who were enjoying an early spring at their condo in North Carolina.  I felt slightly nervous and a little sad as I was about to spend three days with them at a very conservative golf resort for the first time openly as a transgender woman, and teary-eyed, as I recalled one of my first visits to the Tar Heel State in 1992, with my then girl friend, future partner, and now ex. 

While I was apprehensive about the visit, I desperately needed some of my mom’s nurturing optimism and my dad’s predictability.  It hadn’t occurred to me when planning this trip that what I really needed was to get away.  Not just get away from my job and commitments, but also to get away from the sadness I was feeling.  My ex partner and I had separated nearly four years ago, and were divorced in two years later after being married for seventeen, yet we continued to live together until last month.  So after twenty-two years, we were no longer roommates. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hearts of Gold

My Parent's 50th, 4 years ago
54 years ago my parents were married.   I am one of 7 children and feel incredibly fortunate to still be part of their lives.  Three weeks ago I spent a long weekend with them at their condo on a golf course in North Carolina.  As we usually do, we reminissed about the past, talking about friends, family, teachers, coaches, and neighbors; people that made us laugh, inspired and challenged us. And of course we thought fondly of the ones we miss who have passed away or have moved out of our lives.  I like to think I share my father's love of story telling and writing,  but my mother's humility, so today I'd like to share an email my dad sent today, looking back 54 years to the day he married my mom.  

Hello to all,
Yes, today represents a specific anniversary and as such Mimi and I had lunch at Chick-fil-A.  We thought it was fitting in that the meal served 54 years ago at The Commander Hotel opposite the Cambridge Common was also a chicken dish.  Probably roasted with veggies.  Today's was grilled, served in a bun with fries (don't tell my diabetes group of docs).  We reminisced about the attendees, some of which drove a good distance from places such as New London, Conn. and Lewiston, Me.  We danced to' La Mer' and were entertained by a great family friend of my mother's, one Kate Cadigan.  She could play the piano and sing with grand style and effect.  My brother, Herb, gave the requisite toast to which my old mentor from The Heights newspaper at B.C. the Reverend Arthur A. MacGillivray, S.J. whispered to me, "Pure Hallmark".

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chasing Rainbows

Last night, the warm spring light of the evening mixed with milky clouds towards the horizon in the southwest as I drove from one end of Maine to other.  Pale pinks and yellow grays combined in swirls and the late April sky resembled the surface of Jupiter.  Twelve hours earlier I was racing East from Bangor to Machias along Route 9, known to locals as the Airline, which connects the Queen City to the Canadian boarder and Calais.  Maine Driver’s
Rt. 9 Washington County Maine
Licenses, used to have the phrase, “Where America’s Day Begins” printed along the top edge with the image of a sunrise and a lobster boat.  Now, my license has a Moose standing above a heart indicating I’m an organ honor and the image of Mt Katandin along the top. 
My day began an hour earlier at the Vacationland Motel, in a room where the lock didn’t seem to work all that well.  The night before I told myself that nothing bad would happen, but took precautions anyways, stuffing a towel at the base of the door and wedging the desk chair under the loose handle, hoping these meager steps would allow me a few hours sleep.  Earlier in the day I was presenting at a conference at the University of New Hampshire.  It was the first time this year that I felt the warmth of spring, and my armpits became wet with nervous sweat as I thought about my talk.   I noticed it was 73 degrees on the bank sign as I turned onto a different section of route 9 in Wells, 160 miles away.   Not surprising, I saw a shirtless man raking leaves in his front yard. His dark hair covered his round torso like a black bear and contrasted greatly to his bleached white skin that had been hibernating for the six months of winter that had just ended.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Like a Heartbeat

Staring at the institutional blue walls in the emergency room, I wondered why they're so drab and lifeless.  Suddenly the room was full of people wearing colorful tops and warm concerned faces. They seemed practiced at not looking alarmed, but their actions weren’t casual, especially their eyes that wandered with regularity to the monitor above my exposed left shoulder. The voice of a nurse comforted me as she asked questions,  "It’s going to be okay Gia, do you have any drugs on board, cocaine, marijuana?" "No, " I answered.  "How about alcohol?"   I replied, "yah, vodka and wine," as the nurse standing to my right drew blood from my arm.  Fortunately my roommate was home last Sunday night, and while she was in bed fighting a horrible cold, she still drove me to the hospital.   

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Thing with Feathers

After an exhausting, yet exhilarating two weeks of traveling and attending conferences, I was headed home.  My Southwest 737-700 series Boeing airplane landed in Portland Maine just before midnight, but not before circling out over the dark and deep North Atlantic on a cold, but not frigid winter’s night. Now that I’m working in Portland, the 32 mile drive has become routine, and I tend to drive quickly down the turnpike, often sharing the highway with a handful late night drivers and the occasional truck hauling wood products to a their awaiting warm southern destination.  Flipping between John Tesh’s radio show, Intelligence for Your Life, and First Wave satellite radio, I realize I was tired, and raced home.

Exit 32 arrives and I step on the gas of my white 4-cylinder Elantra, trying to catch the fleeting green light and pass through the intersection to the route 1 connector and the back roads to my house. I don’t see another car the rest of my drive.  With a half mile to go, I turn right onto my tree lined road, and pass the darken
Into the Darkness      Maine
homes that are scattered acres apart, separated by woods and small fields.  No picket fences here. After leaving the highway, I drive a little more causally, aware that critters, like deer and the occasion moose, may suddenly appear in the road in front of me.  Before reaching the driveway, my salt covered headlights catch the slinky crawl of a small animal crossing the road.   It’s safely in the other lane and just about to disappear into the forest, but I notice a brilliant flash of white. I smiled to myself, knowing that the skunk and I avoided a life altering collision.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Everything Counts

I returned to work this week after being unemployed for 19 months.  It was the longest time-frame where I didn’t have a reliable or consistent paying job since I had starting delivering the Wall Street Journal in 1979.  I can’t explain how satisfying it was to pack my lunch, which consisted of a smoked turkey and avocado wrap sandwich with chipotle mayo, low-fat plain yogurt with blueberries, baby carrots, cranberry-lime seltzer, and water, last Monday morning.  It was like meeting an old friend.   

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Night and Day

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past -

 I celebrated Christmas with my family last Saturday.  While there were many hugs and kisses, and a few tears this year, thanks for the bracelet mom and dad, there were just as may laughs filling my parents’ crowded house. Between the chips and salsa, and sips of vodka, the smiles seemed as bright as the lights on the tree, especially as we cheered on my young nieces and nephews dancing on the small area of gray carpet cleared of discarded green and red wrapping paper and gift boxes.