Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Humility of Insomnia

When people complained to me that they couldn't sleep, I said, "So, read a book or bake bread." Until the last couple of years when I began to experience occasional sleepless nights myself, I never realized how useless you are without sleep. You're just too tired to concentrate, but when you lie down in your bed, energy goes through you like fire ants. Anyone have any cures that are non-pharmaceutical?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

After a great drama, I have to put my fingers in my ears

Today I went to see Laura Linney in Time Stands Still, a fascinating play about a couple who are war photographers and how sharing those experiences brings them closer together and tears them apart. It's also wrestles with the question: Is it moral for a photographer to be snapping shots of people who are being massacred, set on fire, dying, instead of putting down your camera and trying to help them. As soon as the show was over, members of the audience started complaining, "That was depressing," "That was a downer." Why didn't they go see Lend Me a Tenor or La Cages aux Folles? This happens each time I see a serious play. Next time I'm bringing post-theater earplugs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rapture of Being a Noticer

Went to see Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, at the Roundabout Theater. I was blown away by the sets, the acting, especially Cherry Jones' rendition of Mrs. Warren. But during intermission while I was on line at the Ladies', I saw another show just as memorable. A tall, bony, older women with orthopedic sandals (I wear them, too), and a large, chisel-cut nose, was at the sink, looking in the mirror. She took the hairpins out of her white hair. It hair fell down to her mid-back. When she combed it, I could swear I saw tiny stars glinting in its sheen. As continued to comb her hair, her body swayed gracefully forward and back. She was unaware of me watching her private ritual, but I couldn't have looked away. She was a young woman again, perhaps imagining herself getting ready to see her fiance. Finally, she wound her hair back into a topknot, pinned it with the long bobby pins I hadn't seen since my grandmother died, and returned to her public self, an gaunt older woman with a chiseled face and an overly bright green jacket and orthopedic shoes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo, (Candlewick Press) a children's book, is top-notch to read if you want to learn about layering, that is, having elements that weave through the story, giving it depth. See how she uses Blake's Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright to enhance the magic of this story about a boy who was whalloped by his father for crying at his mother's funeral, the grief that he kept in unopened suitcases of the mind, causing a rash so severe on his legs that the principal barred him from school. Read how this boy, with the help of a girl named Sistine, as in the Sistine Chapel, heals his heart through friendship and love.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This recipe is from my friend, Kim Ballerini, a English professor and the best cook I know.

This recipe and the Ostriker poem was sent to me by my friend, Kim Ballerini, for Rosh Hashonnah. Enjoy with me:

Pot Roast Brisket for slow cooker

3-4 lb beef brisket
2-3 Tbs flour1
2 Tbs herbs de Provence4-
5 carrots cut into circles2 big onions sliced1
14 ounce can of beef broth or beef stock
1 cup luscious red wine (optional) but it is a great option2
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of sliced garlic
Salt and Pepper

Put flour, herbs, and salt and pepper in a large bowl or large Ziploc bag. Toss brisket in flour mixture and then place it in the slow cooker. If there is flour left over pour it over the meat. Layer the carrots and onions on the top. Add the beef broth and optional red wine and and cook on high for approximately 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Do not add potatoes--it just muddies it and I have no idea what those brussel sprouts were about—say no to such things. Let the ingredients be what they are. Serve the meat and sauce over "No Yolks" brand dumplings. They are in a clear bag and look like noodles but they call them dumplings. I don't know why. Serve the food and let the wine flow in deep red jewelled bliss. And all is well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Opportunities to express yourself creatively are endless and can come at any time

When I was an art major in college, the head of the department made it seem that there were a few annointed souls who would become artists and the rest of us could forget it. True, one of their choices did show at the Whitney Biennial and has a lot of success, but the rest of us found our way as well. I became a writer; a friend a caligrapher, someone else a sculptor who teaches at a fine university, etc. So if you're creative, never let anyone tell you that you won't find your way to express it in the world.

My friend, Cara, a psychotherapist, is taking up acting in her middle years. She's already landed a few things and here she is in a pilot for the Discovery Channel...hold your breath...as a therapist running a support group for people who believe they have been abducted by aliens.