The Dreaded Word: Race

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Health, Politics | 11 Comments

Untitled, 2000 by Mark Steven Greenfield

Untitled, 2000 by Mark Steven Greenfield

The latest news about healthcare and race has Carine Fabius pulling out her passport.

Coming up with something devastatingly original and fun to write about would have made me feel edgy and special but it turns out I am not so outré. Alas I am just like many who write about the issues of our times—I can’t stop thinking about the pervasive issue of RACE. Ever since the healthcare debate began I have felt like one giant sigh. A sigh grown so outsized that it now drives my most desperate desire: to leave the United States for other shores.

On one hand, I am in the very attractive position of having dual citizenship—American and European Union—so it would be easier for me than most. But the bigger, more annoying question is always: What country doesn’t have gaping issues? None, I suppose; it’s just that I always expect more from America, foolish, foolish woman that I am.

Tales abound about how during the Civil Rights Era, officials in towns across the South chose to fill municipal pools with cement rather than share them with blacks, thus denying all their citizens the refreshing merriment provided by the pools on hot summer days. With Obama in the House, we thought we’d come a long way, but no, baby, things are so the same it makes me want to sigh some more. Read more

Before the Fall

Filed Under All Posts, Courage, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 8 Comments

photo by M.A. Howden

photo by M.A. Howden

The change of season has Melissa Howden working on her equilibrium.

We just hurtled into fall. The autumnal equinox has just taken place. But lest you think you’ve missed anything, know this; the actual equinox (etymology = equal & night) actually takes place several days after the event depending upon where you are, geographically speaking.

In my neck of the woods, we will experience equal amounts of day and night within a minute on the 25th and 26th of the month. What does any of this mean? Generally speaking it means that the Sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. It is a turning point—literally—in the year, the seasons being determined by the tilt of the Earth on its axis. It is also the time when we enter into the astrological constellation of Libra, the sign of balance on the scales.

THIS is where metaphor is made manifest. I find this time especially meaningful if not extremely challenging. I’ve been off kilter, out of step, unsure of my center, off my game, call it what you will it has not been especially pretty.

Simply put, I. AM. OUT. OF. BALANCE! Read more

My Lovely Bones

Filed Under All Posts, Politics, Prudence Baird | 22 Comments


A doctor’s prognosis brings Prudence Baird face to face with her “inner old lady.”

I love my town. What’s not to love about a place where the local doctor goes by his first name (Dr. Walter) and hand-writes notes to his patients?

Recently, one of Dr. Walter’s letters arrived in the mail. I recognized the familiar scrawly handwriting that could only belong to a doctor.

“What’s in the letter from Dr. Walter?” asked my husband.

“I have no idea.”

“Shall I open it?” he asked, ripping open the envelope. “Oh,” he paused. “You have osteoporosis.”

Surely my husband wasn’t talking to me?

I quickly looked around for Sally Field.

Moi, osteoporosis? A flying nun’s disease? An old lady’s disease? How could this be? Read more

Still Rockin’ in the Free World

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Media, Pop Culture | 13 Comments

Tom Jones, photo by Cathy R Fischer

Tom Jones, photo by Cathy R Fischer

Cathy Fischer’s hot fun in the summertime means live music, good friends and not postponing joy.

Tom Jones knocked my socks off. He danced, he sang—soulful and sexy. From Prince’s “Kiss” to “Sex Bomb” to the classic “It’s Not Unusual,” Sir Tom (yes he is a knight) had the crowd in a frenzy. Those of you who scoff, think again. The crowd spanned teenagers to baby boomers—singing along, dancing and eagerly throwing multi-colored lingerie. Then when Tom pulled up his sweat-soaked shirt to reveal a very fit 69-year-old body, well, I…I digress…

Staying “hip to the groove” is a state of mind.

Recently I joined my 50-something pals Mara and Shelly and our friend Jeff at the Outside Lands three-day music festival in Golden Gate Park. Leading up to the day, I was certain we’d be the oldest ones there—me, with my salty pepper hair and all—but I was mistaken. Read more

I Didn’t Go To Lunch That Day

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Media, Pop Culture | 9 Comments


1969 is known for Woodstock and “The Summer of Love,” but for Christie Healey, it was a special winter day when she was at the right place at the right time.

I was doing a little paintwork touch up around the house the other day, musing about my life and thinking how satisfying it can be to paint over things—chips, scratches, cracks, dust. NPR was playing in the background and I heard a review of Ang Lee’s new movie, Taking Woodstock. I don’t remember much about Woodstock. Not because I was there, I (unlike others of my generation) will emphatically state, I was not there. My defining music moment happened in January of 1969.

I was working in the marketing department of Tyne Tees Television, a commercial TV station that occupied the fifth floor of an office building on Savile Row, London near Regent Street. My boss, Oliver Trigg and his tall, handsome sidekick, John Finch, were off to the boozer for their usual lunch of a pint and some rib-sticking food. They asked if I wanted to join them. I was working on some magical marketing numbers that needed to be presented later that day and, reluctantly, said no. I settled down in Ollie’s office to study the most inventive fiction ever created by humankind, audience demographics, when I noticed some activity on the roof opposite. I opened the window and leaned out.

There was lots of musical equipment being set up, drum kit, amps, guitars on stands and mikes. A door to the roof slowly opened and some women drifted out and settled themselves off to one side. Good Lord, it was the Beatle women. Then the door opened again and the Beatle men appeared. By this time I am hanging out of the window about 30 feet above the opposite roof. The first chords struck and the Beatles launched into their last concert. Read more