I saw this article in the New York Times recently, about over- and underestimating our skills.  It’s really interesting, and even includes a link to a “test” you can take on a specific skill to see where you fall on the over/under scale.

But this made me think about other types of “skills” and specifically about friendship.  I don’t know anyone who would say they are not a good friend; and most people probably would agree they could be a better one.  But do we over- or under- on our estimation of how good a friend we actually are?

Personally, I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot lately.  I think I may overestimate how good a friend I am, but I know I try.  I try to remember what my friends say about what’s going on in their lives; I try to check in if there’s something important that’s come up; and I try to be available, even if it’s not convenient, when they reach out.  Basically, I try to be present.

But do I succeed?  How can I know?  All I can really do is try to be the friend I want to have.  Luckily, I have some really good examples in my life.  I hope you do too.  And I’m sure we all have some really bad examples around too.  What I’m learning is that you can let go of those people, or at least limit your contact with them.  No matter how close you may have been in the past, some friendships don’t last.  Or they just change, not always for the better, but then, also not always for the worst.

I don’t have some smart wrapping-up comment to make (regular readers will know I rarely do) except this:  we hear a lot about how romantic relationships are hard, but not as much about our platonic friendships.  And I’m here to tell you that yes, they are hard too.



P.S. I Love You

The other day, I posted on Facebook how I dislike the abbreviations “love ya” and, even more so, “luv u”.  And I do.  It’s not just because I’m old (teehee), but because in adults at least, it’s just so damn precious.  I’ve heard the arguments that those phrasings are more “casual”, more like “I love you as a friend, in a non-romantic way”, but when did love become solely romantic, or even need to be defined?

My family and closest friends say “I love you” or just “love you” a lot.  And it doesn’t diminish its value,nor do we need to define its “depth” by abbreviating it.  Somehow, we have fallen into the habit of defining love and “weighting” its importance and value.  And I think we lose something by doing so while at the same time giving certain “types” of love a false gravity that limit it.  Think about the importance we give to the first saying of it in a romantic relationship, and how that might even stop people from actually using the words.

To quote James Joyce:  “Love loves to love love.”  Try it.  Say “I love you” more often with less concern about its gravity.  You’ll be pleased with the result, I bet.  And have fewer regrets.



N.B.  And please don’t come back at me with the LMM quote about love.  I prefer Joyce’s version.

I’m So Tired, Part Three – Another Rant

In August of 2016, I wrote this.  And in November of 2017, I wrote this.

And here we are, in February of 2019, and it’s time for part three.

On Tuesday of this week, Senator Bernie Sanders declared himself a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.  There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to start.

I could give you article after article about who he really is (given the lack of serious vetting in the last primary); I could point out that HE IS NOT A FUCKING DEMOCRAT and that taking advantage of the Party’s resources after the damage he does is just wrong; I could note how many great candidates we already have who will ensure his talking points (and you know we can all recite them by now) are heard and discussed; but let’s be real.  Unless you agree with me, you’re not even listening.  You’ve proved that again and again.

Even before the announcement, his Bernie Bros were attacking the other candidates on Twitter.  Now they’re not only doing that, they are attacking those of us who are #VettingBernie (it’s clear from last time we’ll need to do it ourselves to get some response from the mainstream media – some of whom are starting to pay attention, thank God).

It’s exhausting.  Whatever you may think of what happened in the last primary, it’s over.  And I’m doing my best not to discuss it at all (but yes, I will push back when the same false narratives are brought up and the gratuitous attacks on HRC start).

During the last primary, many of us held back to avoid this ugliness.  I’m far from the only person who lost friends even before the general election.  But this time, I won’t hold back (and hey, you in the back, trust me that for all I said, there was a lot more)… and I will also be looking out for others and defending them against the attacks we can all expect.  We need to take one lesson from the Republicans, and stick together. And that means not allowing a small group of voters to run us off during the process designed to allow us to choose.

But I’m already so.damn.tired.








It’s Thanksgiving Day.  I don’t really love this holiday, but I love my friends, so I will be sharing a meal with them.  Right now I’m home, watching the parade, counting (some of) my blessings.

  • I have family who made sure I know they are missing me and love me very much.
  • I have friends who will put up with my whining and STILL want to eat with me.  Or at the very least, text or talk with me!
  • I was lucky enough to spend this morning with myself and my cat, thinking and writing.
  • I got to spend part of my quiet morning making a side dish for today…something I used to make with my mother…something my aunts made (with gentle family sparring over whose was best).  While doing so, I got to revel in all.the.memories.

Yemisee. My mother’s version.











  • I had yemisee* for breakfast!
  • Later, there also will be wine.
  • While it’s been a tough year, I’ve learned a lot about myself.
  • I’m still standing.

The list could go on, but the cat wants a cuddle.  For what are you most thankful this Thanksgiving?


*Yemisee:  A Greek dish based on rice, onions, mushrooms, raisins and pecans.  You can make it with meat or without.

You Have Something That IT Has Not

I love Bikram Yoga.  I love the feeling of being part of a group, moving and breathing and resting and moving again, as a group.  I also find that somewhat disturbing.

See, the other day, in my class, there was one person who just couldn’t find the rhythm in the final breathing.  Everyone else was together, but just as we breathed out, this person breathed in.  And so on.  And since there’s a sound to this breathing, we all knew.

But then I flashed to my favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time, and the first time Meg meets IT.

At Indiana University Bloomington: the world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of a human brain.

For everywhere she looked, everywhere she turned, was the rhythm, and as it continued to control the systole and diastole of her heart, the intake and outlet of her breath, the red miasma began to creep before her eyes again, and she was afraid that she was going to lose consciousness, and if she did that she would be completely in the power of IT.

And I started to wonder, what’s better?  To move with and be part of the group or to fight the rhythm?  It’s obvious to say “it depends”, but on what?  In today’s class, again, there was one person fighting the movement of the class, working at their own pace, not moving with the rest of us.  And of course this person had set up right next to me.

And I flashed back to a later part of my favorite book, when Meg defeats IT and rescues Charles Wallace, and is returned to her family.  And how she does that is, to me, how you know when it’s time be part of the team and time to strike out on your own.

Mrs. Which leaves Meg on Camazotz to confront IT with a final gift:

Yyou hhave ssomethinngg thatt ITT hhass nnott.  Thiss ssomethinngg iss yyour onlly wweapponn.  Bbutt yyou mmusstt ffinndd itt fforr yyourrssellff.

The first time I read this book, I could not imagine what this meant.  I read on, as fast as I could (and that’s pretty fast) to find out.  What kind of weapon could this tween girl with whom I identified so closely have to fight the force of evil that had stolen her brother?

Love.  Simply love.  And the ability to remember love and still love the one who was, at that moment, not himself and standing against her.

And choosing love allows us to know when we should be part of the group, and when it is time to move ahead alone, and fight.

That’s all.

Our Circus; Our Monkeys

Remember that saying that was everywhere a while back:  “Not my circus; not my monkeys”?  I was reminded of it by a t-shirt I saw today.  Well, guess what?  Since the 2016 election, that’s a privilege we don’t have.  It is OUR circus, and sadly, they are OUR monkeys. 

I’m not going to list all the reasons you should be paying attention; that list exists thanks to Amy Siskind.  I’m not going to try to appeal to your better nature; if we’re honest, we can all admit that in the end, most of what do is driven by self-interest.

And your self-interest is at risk, or may already have been damaged.  If you believed the lies that 45 spouted during the campaign, I’m sorry for you.  But if you still believe in him, open your eyes and look at what is actually happening and listen to the lies he is telling.  Perhaps you don’t care about people of color or LGBTQ people or asylum seekers, so look at how what is happening is affecting you.  If you are genuinely better off, congratulations on being part of the one percent.

I’m not talking about issues outside your day-to-day life.  Maybe you are (wrongly) pleased that he scotched the Iran deal.  Maybe you (wrongly) think the way in which he moved our Embassy in Israel was beautifully handled, and even if it wasn’t, it was “time”.  Maybe you (wrongly) believe that asylum seekers should be jailed for a misdemeanor. But I’m talking about YOUR LIFE.  Are there feuds in your family?  Have you lost friends?  How’s that tax “cut” doing for you?  Is anyone you love at risk due to the changes in the ACA?

None of us can deny that no matter what you believe on the issues, this country is divided and becoming more so everyday.  If you think it’s not deliberate on the part of this administration, you’re not paying attention.  And the impact of that will, in fact, be your circus.  Look out for your monkeys.  I am.  I will be.


Thirty Years Later (Yikes!)

I just spent a weekend at Amherst College, celebrating thirty years since my graduation.  For much of my time at Amherst, I felt like an outsider, and at the first few reunions I attended, I still felt that way.  But I went, and mostly I had fun.  Often I missed references to events, to shared memories I did not have, to people I did not know, but there were always some good times.

I spent much of my four years at Amherst in this building, the Kirby Memorial Theater.

I thought twice about going to Reunion this year.  After all, I am currently unemployed, and I don’t know what will happen next.  My life is not where I thought it would be at this time, and certainly not where I thought it would be last fall when I volunteered to be on the Reunion Committee.

Some of my classmates have already written about what Reunion meant to them, whether in long or short form, or in beautiful blog posts.  I’ve spent today reading those, laughing, crying, and writing this post.

In past conversations with classmates and others, I’ve noted what, for me, made my Amherst education so special, and what has kept those friends in my life.  Amherst, even for those of us who felt less included, gave us a common language, even a style, in which to discuss the hard things, both personal and not.  Though for me, as I chose Amherst without knowing much about it (though my blog post on why seems to have disappeared from the College’s website), I still have moments when I wonder if I made the right choice.

And my takeaway after thirty years?  I did the right thing.  I will continue to jump in with both feet.  I will take the risk.  And I will keep going back.


(P.S.  In case you’re interested, here’s a post about Amherst I wrote just before my 25th Reunion.  I’m linking here as the sit-in mentioned came up during this past weekend.)

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