Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dear Amy …

Watching the game, drinking beer* and getting ready to write to Amy, my former admin who contacted me out of the blue last week. I really don't know what to tell her I've been up to, and OK, I admit that this post may just be a good way to put off composing something I don't know how to start. (Hey, I'm a professional writer! I bill by the hour! I can rhapsodize eloquently forever about the value of "creative avoidance.")

Today my emoticon has remained at "happy," and it's accurate. How to convey to Amy that my life, while low on drama, is high on contentment … and, to borrow from the Boss, that's alright with me?

My job's fine … I'm fat but fine … and I checked in with the fam today and it seems like all is well there, too.

My sister's family came back from vacation yesterday and today my 9-year-old nephew reported the highlights: he caught a 22" fish -- the biggest of his "fishing career!" -- which he photographed but then let go … he played with a kid named Dakota and Dakota's younger sister, Erin … the family cat is very happy they're home … and he feels my mom, his grandmother, did "a very good job" caring for his turtle, Georgina, in his absence. (My nephew has always been generous with praise.)

My mom is worried about my older sister's very troubled daughter. Since my mom was ill recently, you may assume that I'd view this as a bad thing. An unnecessary drain on her strength. But no, right now, I think it's a good thing because it means my mom is back to being her old self again. I know she loves and appreciates and depends on me. But it's nothing like the adoration she feels for her grandchildren. My older sister's daughter was unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and this is worrisome because, in the past, this niece has been a cutter and she's even attempted suicide. Perhaps a regimen of unconditional grandma love is just what both grandmother and granddaughter need.

If my life was a novel along the lines of Little Women, of course I would be Jo (doesn't every girl see herself as Jo?) and my uncle would be Aunt March. He's rich, imperious, grumpy and seems to get pleasure out of only two things: his elderly tiger-striped tabby and discussing his wealth ad nauseum. However, unlike Aunt March, much of what makes him irascible and disagreeable is that he's dying slowly of Parkinson's Disease. That's why, weirdly enough, I am happy to report that he just sold his house at a loss. That house had been chosen and decorated by his late wife and it was too big for one person. His new, smaller home will have a smaller yard with neighbors nearer by, and, best of all by his lights, selling it at a loss of about $40,000 gives him the opportunity to really financially screw his much-hated stepdaughter. So much of what gave him his identity -- his good looks, his prowess on the ski slopes, his competitive time in 5K and 10K races -- is gone, stolen from him by Parkinson's. Manipulating this deal, playing financial chicken with someone who couldn't afford to lose when he could, made him feel alive again. He's really pleased with this deal (even with the loss he won't have to touch his principal), and so I'm pleased for him. Because while I don't especially like who he's become, I do understand him. And, as often in families, not liking someone doesn't preclude loving him.

Except for the part about my nephew's fish, none of this is appropriate "out of the blue" small talk for Amy, though, is it? Maybe if I switch to ink on paper, I'll think of something suitable to say …

*If the momentum of this game doesn't change soon, I'm switching to something stronger.

Look at That Girl Now

I'm watching a Law & Order: SVU repeat on USA and am impressed by Marlo Thomas. In the episode "Poison," she's Mary Clark, once a judge, now a high-powered Manhattan defense attorney. Yes, she looks terrific for a woman of about 70, but that's not what impresses me. A skillful surgeon and his knife just might deserve the credit for that. No, it's her performance.

The madcap, optimistic, super-trendy and aspiring (if never quite successful) actress of That Girl is a crisp, efficient realist who is tailored in both dress and manner. She uses her familiar alto voice to great advantage here. But instead of, "Don-ald …" or "Dad-dy …," she mutters admiringly, "Well, I'll give you this: you've got balls."

I guess this just goes to remind me that stars are actors.

Unconscious Mutterings #24

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Loneliness :: "All the lonely people, where do they all belong?" (Eleanor Rigby)
  2. Traffic :: Jam
  3. Chaos :: KAOS (Get Smart)
  4. Burp :: 'Scuze me
  5. 500 :: Indianapolis
  6. Movie :: Theater
  7. Coma :: Amnesia, evil twins, and other soap opera plot devices
  8. Bark :: Meow
  9. Stare :: Glare
  10. Angelina :: Ballerina (the world's best-dressed and most graceful mouse)
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