Another Trip to the Hotel Bar

“Connectedness. One thing leads to another. Often in unexpected ways.” ― Holly Goldberg Sloan

One never knows what will happen when you cross the threshold of a bar, take a seat on a barstool, and engage in conversation with the friendly bartender. After a couple of drinks, you might find yourself sharing your life story. Bartenders, by their very nature and skill set, are proxy confessors, stand-ins for our spiritual leaders and moral authorities. Sometimes, a bartender in turn, will reveal details about their own life. This is one of those stories. Continue reading

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A Filmgoer’s Guide to the Best Films of 2017

“Cinema, for me, has always been something like music composed with photographic images.” Roger Ebert 

Continuing the metaphor of cinema as music, 2017’s playlist featured all genres, tempos, and beats, from comic book heroines, car chases, psychological thrillers, to fantasies, historical events, satire, and romance. Apes waged war against people, countries battled each other on land, sea, and in the air, mothers and daughters argued, three billboards in Ebbing, Missouri asked a provocative question, and all the money in the world could not save the reputations of Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and most recently, James Franco, and a long list of Hollywood men whom were exposed and called out by the #MeToo movement, which is changing the culture of the filmmaking industry and giving voice, long overdue equity, and opportunity to women, much like the change ignited by 2015’s #OscarsSoWhite. Continue reading

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Another Trip Around the Sun

“My life is better with every year of living it.” — Rachel Maddow

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Grateful. The past weekend I celebrated another trip around the sun, 365 days, one-day-at-a-time. Songs come to mind, the first from the soundtrack of my life as a young woman growing up in the fifties and sixties, Bob Dylan’s, My Back Pages, followed by memories of people, both here and gone, and my gratitude for their presence in my life, Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Who Knows Where the Time Goes?  Continue reading

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Finding the Light in Dark Times

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” — Edith Wharton

It seems timely — that on the eve of the New Year and the eve of the January Supermoon — I take a look back at the past year and look ahead to the New Year, while I search for the light to give us hope in what can only be described as dark times.    Continue reading

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Words Matter: The Seven Banned Words of 2017

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” — Yehuda Berg

“It’s a beautiful thing the destruction of words.” — George Orwell, 1984

Earlier in the week I began writing a blog post. Since it was the holiday season, I thought I would reflect on memories of the past and muse about what holiday traditions mean for me today. The draft I was working on was entitled, ‘Tis the Season: Memories and Musings. As sometimes happens, I couldn’t get in the flow of the subject, words and ideas were not coming to me, the proverbial writer’s block. Instead, I edited the opening paragraph three or four times without making any significant progress. Words and the messages behind them are important and matter. They are the tools of the writer and the fundamental way we all communicate to achieve understanding. Continue reading

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Another Dispatch from the Hideout

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu

It seems that I’ve retreated to the hideout again. For those not familiar with my earlier post, the hideout is a virtual one, described as follows, “I don’t have a cabin in the woods, or a bunker in the basement, I only have my home, a 645-square foot apartment. It’s where I wake up in the morning, retreat at the end of the work day, hideout on the weekends when I’m writing or feeling introverted, and end my days, often falling asleep on the couch watching TV. Yeah, I’m that girl. I live alone and most days I’m happy with that choice.”   Continue reading

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The Toilet Zone: Unhappy Anniversary

Note: This is the sixth installment of The Toilet Zone, a commentary series on the Trump presidency.  

“You can’t move forward until you look back.” — Cornel West

First, let me go on record. I resisted writing another opinion piece about the Trump presidency. This past week marked the year anniversary of the election — and for many of us — Trump’s startling, shock-wave inducing, tear-filled, head-shaking victory, followed by intermittent denial, and expressions of WTF!  Every day since the election, I’ve consumed more than my fair share of news and commentary on Trump’s presidency and the state of the world. I’m more awake than I care to be most days. Continue reading

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Remembering Jane

Jane Rowe 3/25/1932 -10/19/2017 

Jane was many things to many people. To me, she was a friend, the mother of a friend, Michele, the spouse or partner of friends, Carol, Bea, and Elthea, a mentor, a member of a fellowship we shared, and my first sponsor in that fellowship. Together with other women we founded a peer support recovery center WISH (Women in Support and Healing) which continued to sponsor meetings after the doors closed. I had the privilege of recording Jane’s oral history interview for the University of Wisconsin – Madison Libraries Oral History Program, LGBT Community, 1960s-Present. Continue reading

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Me Too — DAMMIT!

Trigger Warning: This essay contains firsthand memories of sexual molestation and harassment.

From my memoir, Perfectly Flawed:

“It was during one of those occasions I lay napping on the guest bed at my maternal grandmother’s house, on the chenille bedspread under the picture of the geese taking flight from the marsh, Charlie came into the bedroom to wake me.  As I struggled to gain consciousness and understand what was happening, I could feel Charlie’s beard stubble scrape my cheeks like sandpaper. His beer and cigar-soaked breath was at my ear, breathing heavily. Continue reading

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The Toilet Zone: Tipping Point

Note: This is the fifth installment of The Toilet Zone, a commentary series on the Trump presidency.

“There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.”

This week I reached my limit, the tipping point. I momentarily went off the rails, posting on Facebook, using social media as my primal screen therapy, echo chamber of sorts. It was in response to this past Sunday, when a crazed white male gunman, domestic terrorist, lone wolf (you choose the descriptor) massacred innocent people attending an outdoor country music festival, 58 dead, almost 500 wounded or injured. My nephew and his family live and work in Las Vegas. My nephew John is a Metropolitan Las Vegas Police Officer, one of hundreds of first responders and heroes, including concert-goers who stepped up to help save lives. Continue reading

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