Monday, September 29, 2008

Girding for Battle

First scrub clean and shave until surfaces are smooth. Remember that everything will be scrutinized.
Brush your teeth. Battles have been lost early by dismissals of "she's got bad breath."
Put on Spanx. It helps to show that you are lean and hungry.
Wear your best clothes. It will help you feel strong.
Your face is important. Pluck every stray hair. Stray ones make you look foolish, not wise.
Apply the mask. In this case, Origins Ivory.
Eye brightener. It makes you look like you have slept soundly.
Don't forget the lipstick. It will help you smile.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One of My Tribes

I went to the Bi-Annual Meeting of the Former English Majors of America also known as the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey.
Getting there was half the fun or half the misery depending on which of my multiple personalities answers the question. Lately the directions from Mapquest have been a little lacking, but as I drove along yesterday I imagined that they were created by a 21 year old woman stuck in a cubicle who was very very stoned. They sent me on the most obscure back roads of New Jersey that I had ever been on...go .3 miles on LeatherBucket Lane, turn left on Doe Run Drive, .1 miles, 3.9 on route 513. There must have been 32 turns and nothing was on a major road.
But I traveled rural roads I'd never been on past streams and farms and fields of pumpkins. There was lots of mist, some deep ravines and at one point a hawk dove in front of my car. Thank you stoned girl in the cubicle.
But once I was there I saw

Maxine Kumin!Gerald Stern!

And lots of other poets...but the most important poet there was my friend Penny. We've gone to the festival together three times. There was lots of tears and laughter, all crammed into the too short hours of the day. Her favorite poem is "Morning Swim" by Maxine Kumin. And we were both in the tent when Kumin said that she wanted to recite a poem from memory and she closed her eyes and took us all on a morning swim.
As for the ride home: Route 206 to 80 to 202. But those Mapquest directions are safely tucked away.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm churchy

I come by it honestly. My father was a minister. My mother's father was a minister. So were her three brothers. And I'm sure that she would have been one too if ordination had been an option when she was a young woman. As it was, she was the best minister's wife I've ever met, but I might be a little biased.
I am not completely open about my churchiness to everyone in my multi-dimensional life. It's just not cool to believe in God, or go to church, or pray so I put in a little compartment called Sunday morning. I sometimes stop in a church near my office for noon services and it feels illicit, stepping out of the bright street in that dark building with its familiar musty smell. It would surprise the people I work with as much as telling them I had two drinks at lunch.
I like the hymns, the language of the Book of Common Prayer. I posted a golden oldie yesterday because it summed up what I wanted to pray for my friends going through a dark night that's lasting more than a week. I like coffee hour after church where I catch up with people like sweet Marjorie Davison, 93, just a little crushed out on me because I think I remind her of herself when she was younger; or Rob who sells cars and likes to trade stories about our kids; Catherine and Bill, the Immortals of our parish. We talk about nothing and everything and really, they don't know much about me but we do gather once a week, say words in unison, sing hymns and hug. Sometimes I think that's all it takes for good to happen in the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Saturday Night I Dreamt of Sarah Palin

She was my new boss. My current boss, Andy and his assistant, Daryle, had been let go. I wondered if it was because they are Democrats. (Andy still has a poster from John Kerry in his office window. Daryle's office is my first stop each morning because she remains optimistic about Obama and can usually find the silver lining to my gloomy, pessimistic, loser mode mood.)

Anyway, they were gone. I didn't know how I had not been fired, but I knew I had to save my own ass. I immediately felt bad that I hadn't kept up with my monthly reports and wondered if I could recall all that I had done in the past six months.

She came into my office and was wearing a brown jacket and black skirt. Looked sharp. And looked sharply at me and I knew that I was toast. I tried to brown nose her by saying, "I thought you did well on the second night of those interviews with Charlie Gibson. The first night, not so well." It was a mix of honesty and criticism that doesn't work too well when I'm awake either.

She just looked at me like I was so gone. I'd like to say that I woke up screaming but I just woke up scared.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Me in a Meeting

The hunched position, the legs crossed, the suit, the nice make-up. The push back question: in what sense? That's me in a meeting that I didn't prepare for...ouch.

I don't know what the hell the Bush Doctrine is either, but I know that it must be evil because it has Bush and Doctrine in it.

I remember when I would be getting ready for a tough conversation at work and would call my brother Tom for help. "Always return a question with a question," he would say and I would be completely flummuxed. Like how? Or I could do it once, sit back and relax and they would come at me again.

"Where is the money that was here a minute ago?"

"Why would you ask that?"

"Because I want to know."

"Oh, well, uh, there are forces out there, forces that are hellbent on stealing the very same money that you are asking me about! And it's my job to protect that money! Is that the money over there?"


"Over there," and I beat it the hell out of there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Deep in Palinville

I have finally read so much about the whole Palin thing that I feel a little ill. I had drilled deep enough into the blogosphere where I was watching a wobbly video of Sarah Palin speaking at the Alaskan Republican Convention in March (it looked like a very small gathering of balding shoe salesmen in a Westin Hotel). The video was purported to prove that she could not have been pregnant. "I couldn't walk in heels when I was eight months pregnant" said one commentater. She kind of wobbled! I could see that!
See why I feel ill? When McCain announced her as his candidate I have to admit that she hit that sweet spot that Hillary never did. Hillary reminded me of a couple of bosses that I have had, the kind that would make me stay after school, I mean work. Sarah Palin on the other hand, hunts! fishes! has probably camped out! Of course I could never vote for her because A) she's a Republican; B) believes in abstinence only education; C) believes creationism should be taught in schools; D) is against abortion and choice; E) looked into banning books; F) just a guess, but don't think she likes homos; G, H, I and J) is a Republican.
Why is watching her go down in flames so compelling? It is bringing out the worst in me as a woman. But, but, the twists and turns are fascinating. Someone (not me, I'm ill, remember?) has to find out when that episode in Desperate Housewives aired and see if it might have provided the light bulb moment for Sarah Palin. I picture her in the governor's mansion, a quart of Ben and Jerry's ice cream on her lap to dull the pain that she feels now that her daughter has told her she's pregnant. To escape reality she tunes in to a little Desperate Housewives. She sees Brea with the false pregnancy pillow and has an a-ha moment! Suddenly her problems are solved...