Could Gray Hair Be My Silver Lining?

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Cathy Fischer, Reinvention, Style | 29 Comments

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

Cathy Fischer’s third and final installment of her “hair trilogy”

I thought of writing about a topic other than my hair, but my dear friend and chemo companion Wendy (who accompanied me to all four treatments, where we’d yak for a few hours, leaf through magazines, then go out for a fabulous lunch) insisted that I update those who are anxiously waiting to know if I’ve gone gray or returned to being a slave to color.

First, a quick recap/update:

In January, I posted “Wigging Out” which chronicled my going from hirsute to hairless, in just three days. It started when my hair began falling out after my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. I shaved my head, preemptively, to avoid the horror-induced depression of finding clumps of hair on my pillow or even worse, having a head resembling the cruelest of all male baldness patterns—the Franciscan monk look.

In hindsight, the quote about the “joy” of being hairless was true. It was a relief not having to shave or pluck, cut or color, for a few months. I’m pretty sure that most of the money I saved on hair maintenance went directly to shoe purchases. “Do what makes you feel good” was my motto, which often manifested itself in the form of new shoes, dry vodka martinis or extra crispy french fries. Read more

A Classy Lady

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Family | 12 Comments

Mireille Fabius at age 20

Mireille Fabius at age 20

Carine Fabius takes a good look at the person behind the role of mom.

It was my father’s birthday recently, and when I called to wish him a happy birthday, he went into a long and detailed account of why he and my mother are so lucky at this time in their lives. It mostly had to do with the great bunch of kids they had. (My father loves to make long, dramatic speeches with well-timed pauses for effect, and this was no different.) As he talked, I kept thinking about how lucky we kids are to have such great parents. And since I once wrote on this site about my father, I’ve been thinking about the classy lady who gave me life. You should meet her sometime!

My mother is physically gorgeous; always has been. Her signature scent is “Le” de Givenchy. She makes great cocktails. She is political, vociferously so. She thinks Haitian Vodou is for the uneducated masses, but she believes in spirit entities and channeled communication. She can cook up a mean batch of rice and beans. She belongs to a gourmet club. She is generous, generous, generous. Read more

Oh Daddy-O

Filed Under All Posts, Group Posts | 2 Comments


With Father’s Day this Sunday, we’re thinking about men. We hope you’ll enjoy reading or re-reading last year’s timeless Father’s Day posts.

Cathy writes about being the daughter of a hard-working immigrant, who now well into his eighties, keeps on keepin’ on with a joke repertoire powered by Mac. Connie gets real about how her handsome musician father took a powder in her youth. Melissa reflects on being a child going through divorce and coming out the other side. For young Prudence, her father was an impressive presence, but he had other priorities. Carine paints a picture of her colorful dad and their spirited relationship and Christie’s loving portrait of her son speaks to the responsibility of raising boys.

Read more about heartfelt and heartbreaking experiences with men both close and far >> (Scroll down the page to see all the posts.)

Soup is Good Food

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Health | 8 Comments

Photo by Blair Stocker

Photo by Blair Stocker

The unseasonably cool weather has Connie Stetson cookin’ up good thoughts on good food.

Up here where I live in the Sierra foothills, or the tullies, the sticks, the weeds, the outback—it is not unusual for the temps in mid-June to be tickling the soft underbelly of the low 90s. A harbinger of the dreaded dog days of summer—July, August, September, when temps reaching the high 90s to 100 are typical and loathed, and locals just sigh and say, “Well, at least we don’t live in Phoenix!”

But this June it has been downright and blissfully cool, so tonight I’m slipping into my softest, warmest jammies and I’m making a homemade soup, a split pea soup with ham to be precise. As comforting a comfort food, aside from mac and cheese, as you can get. (And by the way, if there is a heaven, I’ll expect to be able to eat all the mac and cheese I can stomach without gaining weight, so there.) I can smell it now as I type: the onions, garlic, carrots, peas, celery, the ham hocks, all bubbling together, the fragrance wafting through the house, feeling like a warm hug. If I had a cold I’d feel better already. Read more


Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Family, Relationships | 12 Comments


For Christie Healey, family is chosen and distance is a state of mind.

I have moved many times in my life. Perhaps the most significant was the move from my home village to London in the late Sixties. Looking back it seems that this tearing away from my family and the small world I had known for 17 years set me on the path of the wanderer. The wanderer becomes part of a very different family.

My family is now made up of those I left behind: a sister, two nephews, a great-niece and a great-nephew; a son born in the U.S. and friends I have made over the years. My son has taken up my wandering lifestyle. He now lives in Hawaii. I live in Minnesota.

I have close friends, old and new, in Minnesota, but the rest of my magically selected family live in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, New Mexico and many other places. We come together whenever time and money permit, and sometimes when it doesn’t. Just because I need to see their faces, hear their voices and feel their presence wholly and completely. Read more

Is it Too Late Not to Have Kids?

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 10 Comments


For Prudence Baird, shopping for camping gear with her teenage son makes climbing mountains child’s play.

Ah, teenagers. You gotta love ‘em. Or not.

Just at the time your peers who had the smarts to drop their litters in their twenties or early thirties—or perhaps the smartest ones who decided not to have kids at all—are decorating a second home in the Hamptons or having their teeth capped and eyelids “done,” you are hauling an ungrateful hunk of hormones to R.E.I. to buy a backpack for his school’s mandatory weeklong trek in the Green Mountains; an outing designed to build esprit-de-corps.

A typical exchange begins subtly. “I don’t see why I have to go.”

Like a symphony, it builds, “What’s the point of going camping?” and “Why did you make me go to this school?”

Here comes the bridge: “Why did you force us to leave Los Angeles?” Read more

WTF California?

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Politics, Relationships | 17 Comments

Photo by Melissa A. Howden

Photo by Melissa A. Howden

I’m getting gayer by the moment.

I’m guessing my burgeoning gayness is in part my indignant response to those intent upon denying me and my tribe, our equal rights in this country. The rights to marry, to adopt, to care for our loved ones, to have the benefits of insurance, inheritance and whatever else all ya’ll get as standard operating procedure.

It’s a strange time this. On the one hand being gay is like a newly desired accessory tantamount to seasonal fashions—the color, a hemline or a purse (Ellen DeGeneres is a CoverGirl after all). One newly “out” celebrity is proclaiming to any media outlet that will listen that she has always been out, which, I happen to know, is absolutely not the truth and who really cares anyway? So while some are scrambling to proclaim their gayness and claim their seat as the new gay poster child, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which denies gays the right to marry in the state. Well that is not exactly true either. The 18,000 gay couples who were legally allowed to marry by the same Supreme Court last year in the window of time before the Mormon Church essentially paid for the Proposition to deny that right, those couples can be married. Are you following? I did say it was a strange time. Read more