Saturday, August 30, 2008


I must say, I started all this blogging business impulsively. So far I have been typing while terribly distracted and barely paying attention to what I have been saying. And yet I am thrilled to be doing it. I keep sorting through things in my mind and thinking, "ooh, I should post THAT on my blog" for all the world as if I have been doing this forever. Or as if I have any idea what I am doing. As if I even peruse a blog myself every now and again. (I may say, I do this rarely.) Or as if I have anything important to say. But I guess I feel I do. In my own rudimentary way.

My mother said tonight, "I guess I don't understand this whole blogging thing. How you write something and send it out into the universe--"

"Blogesphere," I said.

"--blogesphere, and expect people to read it?"

"But that's the very thing, the excitement of not knowing who will read it," I said. "After all, isn't all published writing the same way? You send it off and you don't know who will see it. Right?"

"I suppose," she said, sounding uncertain. Perhaps I was a bit too vigorous. My father often likes to quote Stephen Vincent Binet in that publishing a book of verse is like sending a rose petal into the Grand Canyon. Well, this is my rose petal. For now. Also, it will help me keep up with everyone while Ari and I make our mad dash through the major transitions of the upcoming year. He: starting day care, which entails moving from my tender mercies, such as they are, where most of life is molded to his rhythms, such as they are, soon to be jockeying with other children for attention and understanding and nap schedule, and being jostled past his own tenaciously social nature with overstimulation many hours of the day. And me? Starting a second year social work placement at a location I will not name in this context--probably won't be very different. That's okay. We will both adapt. But I won't have time much in the future for email.

Tonight the cicadas hum outside, a vigorous strumming for mates, and the ocean susurrates its own drowsy melody. It's time for bed.

I guess

that last post was about nostalgia, pure and simple. That nostalgia is its own beast, and it will hang on to anything while you are feeling it. It is yearning for permanence, and an unwillingness to accept impermanence.

Ironic that as I was writing that, my dad was going in for routine blood tests and his PCP called my mother to say he was severely anemic and needed to go straight to the hospital for blood transfusions. Emergency room visits are no fun. Finally my dad was admitted and over seven hours later, had two infusions. Feels better but is in no way cured. We will see about what happens next. I had all sorts of plans for visits with family this weekend; nothing is as you expect and the more you cling to hopes of this sort, the more you suffer. That's for sure.

My mother wants to know about the title of this blog. I think what I meant is something of an existential pun. That theoretically mama is in charge, but in fact, all the words that come out of mama's mouth go.... are as impermanent as anything else. Even though by starting this blog I am obviously trying to buck the trend there--trying to render some sort of new-smell type of permanence on what is so obviously not really going to last.

My mother balks at what I am writing, saying, that of course things last. (My mother is not a Buddhist.) She wants to know, what about the words that stick in your brain forever? I say, yes but then you die. Her response: but when you die, everything stops anyway, that's not an argument about anything. I say, but we are all changing every day. Even those words that we remember with such ferocity, they do change, even our perceptions of them change. Sure, she says, but so what?

And, she wants to know, will anyone read this? Yes, I say, with that certainty born in me of being my father's daughter. How will I know if anyone is reading it, she wants to know? Well, you will read it, right? I say. Yeah, she says, somewhat unenthusiastically. My mother, after all, has a campaign to run (local, not Obama's) and my father and their dog to look after.

Today my cousin called and offered to take Ari for me so I could go to the hospital and get my father. Once I did finally get to the hospital (having taken a wrong turn and berated myself mentally for my incompetence and then tried to tell myself not to berate myself--ah, it's exhausting to be me) I found myself rendered superfluous since my uncle Arakel was there, and he took Daddy home for me. I was utterly useless. That was OK. I ate a cookie on the drive home and tried not to care about it all. I tried instead to feel grateful that we come from such a big, gorgeous, amazing family. I DO feel grateful for that, actually.

OK. Ari is napping and maybe Mum and Dad might need my help, instead of laconic conversations about the philosophy behind blogging. But a bit about that: if I do wind up with time to run this blog--and I may, largely because I won't have time to be spending any social time with loved ones this upcoming year except for Mum and Dad and the Roommates--what, you may rightly ask, will I be blogging about? Here you go: my life, dull as it is. There's incentive for you. And that is to say I will be writing about my son, my peculiar but lovely living arrangements, social work school, being a therapist, being an oddball, being a single mother (of sorts), being part of a lovely and odd family (oh yes, don't I know who will be reading this, if anyone, mum?), politics and current events as seen through that slightly paranoid lens, and spirituality, of the Bu-Jew type. Now you know what to expect.

Elul awaits another entry. Anon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Need to start while it all ends

This is the oddest way and day to start a blog. I am about to go into an impossibly busy year; I am taking care of my wandering toddler. But I was struck by the poignancy of saying good-bye to my dear friend who I have not seen in 4 years. She returns to France. Ari chases the dog who bites. I must go pick up my car and then go to a bakery to get supplies for my parents, then drive down to RI for the last weekend of the summer. The summer is over. Will I take Ari to the yard first, to ride his new (to him) tricycle? Will he live to see his fortieth year, or will global warming short change every child on this planet? How do these worries seem to elide into one another? As I say good-bye to my dear Suzi and her beautiful wife and daughter, I realize I am letting my fears of what might happen in this world drive my life. And that is not living. That is merely taking up house room in this fearful, miraculous world of ours. Suzi is such a good example of living life vibrantly and gently, all at the same time. I want to be like her. Or something close.

I get to read Harper's magazine--another thing that I won't have time to do this fall, read for my own delectation--and am struck by what they say in Findings on the back page. Predictions are that penguins will be extinct in 2037. Ari will be only 30 years old. He will never know the planet as I did. Do any of us?

I used to envy my parents' childhood. I mean, not exactly. Not my dad's, surely, though he did get to go roam the World's Fair, he says, alone, when he was not yet 10. He did deliver flowers all over the City (New York, for those who don't realize that New York is The City) by the time he was 12. There were some idyllic parts, but really, it is my mother's childhood that I always wanted, thought was the norm, thought was Every Life, the milk in the glass bottles delivered to the back door, the neighborhood stores, the riding around until twilight on your bike with your neighborhood friends. 1934-1952, prosperous and WASPy, that gorgeous sheen of everything done right: beautiful house in the suburbs, academic job, Bach in the house at all hours, Wednesday pasta nights, learning Latin by age 10, life turning by the seasons: Christmas carols in Woolsey Hall, Easter hunts in pastel dresses and May poles, swimming and sailing with cousins in Newport--all of these stories have the element of myth to me. I want to create a Jewish Buddhist much less prosperous and much more urban version of this for Ari. He climbs in my lap now, insistent. It all isn't possible. But still we all try.