Archive for March, 2009


March 19, 2009

I heard “In the Air at Night” by Phil Collins on the radio, and saw Don Johnson in my mind, driving down an open Florida highway, in a scene from “Miami Vice.”  Our friend Dennis used to love that show, praised for its cinematic qualities back in the ’80s.  He would sit in front of the TV in the large Victorian mansion where we rented rooms to RISD and Brown students.  Dennis was a salesman, and a good one.  He always had a smile for people and could make anyone laugh.  As a single 40 year-old with the scars of a bad case of acne he must have had as a young man though, he was lonely.  He came from a large family.  When I was down or upset he would say, “What are you complaining about?  You’re living in a mansion, married to a doctor…”  When Lindsay was only a few weeks old he would hold her while he watched Miami Vice so we could go out.  A few years later, he and another friend, Virginia, were hit head on by a drunken driver on a backcountry road in Iowa.  She died instantly.  Dennis lived as a paraplegic for years, with “phantom” pains in his lower body the doctors could not explain.  Maybe 10 years ago now he passed away.


Making friends on

March 19, 2009

My 17 year-old posted, with our help, for the first time on  She received several promising “welcomes.”  In reply, she said she wanted to talk to “the gay who called me dude.”  This received an angry response regarding the sender’s true sexuality.  In apology, she cited her problem with spelling, but was told that was obvious, given the fact that she spells her screen name “Haszard.”  That mispelling is intentional, she answered, and I don’t know what has happened since.

Haircuts and the gym

March 19, 2009

I just got my hair cut after wearing it down to my shoulders and in a ponytail most of the time for about a year.  Now it’s like a pageboy, but with layers and falling kind of forward, which is in style.  My husband told me tonight that he likes it, and that “it even kind of matches the kitchen because it looks like it’s from the 1950s.”  I swear to God he is crazy.
Also, I took my daughter to the gym for the first time today.  As we were moving around on the elipse machines, she asked me if I was aware that the butt is the strongest muscle.  I said no, but it made sense because people walk as their most common activity.  Just then a man came by, another exerciser, and she said, “Excuse me, sir, do you know why your butt is your strongest muscle?”  He smiled and said, “Yes, it’s your biggest one.”  I told my daughter it isn’t that good of an idea to ask “strange” men questions about butts at the gym, not being able to hide my smile.  She said, “Oh, sorry.”  I should probably add she’s still learning about social skills.  A couple of years ago she would not even have been able to have that conversation.

Separated out

March 19, 2009

I was part of a group of kids who, in third grade in Lexington, MA, were identified, tested and placed in an “advanced program” based on superior I.Q. scores.  When I ran that by a current sophomore at Lexington High her reaction was, “What?”  It didn’t register at all.  She is happy with the way the LABBB, or disabled, kids go to her school.  It helps the “regular” kids accept them, she says.  We were told we were the best and the brightest, of the best or one of the best school systems in the country, and so we were expected to do exceptional work.  Pressure, but I like it.  I still like it.  We had the best teachers, an accelerated curriculum.  And we were put into a social group of our peers, which made it easier to find friends than I think bright kids have today.  Today they have to be the exceptional person that is not supposed to talk about their exceptionality, that is supposed to get along with non-exceptional kids who may actually give them a hard time often.  And they have to seek out other kids with their interests or talent–on their own, with often scattered schedules and fragmented social lives or even less than age level social skills.  It’s a real life model, but since when is high school like real life?  And why should kids be expected to deal with real life and grow up at the same time?  Isn’t childhood somewhat about being put into some kind of structured environment in which to grow?  I have been to three institutions of higher learning since Lexington High, and taken classes at at least three more, and am very happy with the education I received in Lexington.  I feel fortunate to have had it.

Orange Crush

March 19, 2009

My daughter and I were playing Rock Band.  “I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush,” I sang.  (REM)  I guessed that orange crush was agent orange and, after watching the video online, she said I was right.  I thought about how killing people is a horrible job, and when we were young we had to either go to college or be sent to kill, be killed or both in Vietnam.  (Or go to Cananda or to jail or be declared insane.  For life.)  I have friends that did all of those and more–lost weight, only to be told to come back in three weeks, for example.  I asked her if she saw why my generation was so turned off to the older generation, and she said, “Yes.”