Tuesday, June 4, 2013

a quick post

Things for which I am grateful:

1. Friends and family: over the holiday weekend my brother and his girlfriend were visiting, which was great fun. We ate large brunches and went to museums and all cooked together in my wee kitchen and the dogs got huge amounts of attention. The guests flew out Sunday afternoon and Monday morning Berowne and I had breakfast with Claudio's parents and watched the little town parade. I don't think having good people in your life can be better illustrated than by your ex-husband's parents inviting you and your boyfriend over all the time.

2. Books, naturellement. Of late I've read: several more trashy mysteries, a weird creepy Dutch novel which I liked but didn't think was as good as the hype would have it (The Dinner, by Herman Koch), another of Denise Mina's good disturbing books about Glasgow (Slip of the Knife), an excellent John McPhee that I somehow hadn't read before (The Pine Barrens), a book in a series I like very much about a free black man in 1830's New Orleans (Dead Water, by Barbara Hambly), and a book of political essays by my grandfather (Freedom and the Public: Public and Private Morality in America, by Donald Meiklejohn). I enjoyed reading all of these, in different ways. There is so much out there to read, and it is wonderful.

3. That moment in the wee hours of the morning when you wake and realize the temperature has dropped enough to warrant a blanket. I do wish this moment would sometimes come in the wee hours of, say, a Sunday morning, as opposed to a Tuesday, so that the perfect sleeping weather could be savored. But I'll take it anyway. 

4. The new meditation I am practicing which states that when negative emotions arise, one should try to "let the story line go and abide with the energy" (Pema Chödrön). Since I both replay unfortunate encounters in my head over and over and OVER, and tend to try to repress negative emotions, this reversal of those habits is a fascinating exercise. 

5. The dogs, of course. Although last night when we all went upstairs to bed Bingley sniffed at the door of the spare bedroom, freaked out, and ran downstairs. This happened a couple of times. Finally I opened the door, fully expecting a bat to fly directly into my face, and let Bing investigate. He trotted into the room, looked around, and then happily went into the master bedroom and his crate. Naturally I lay awake long after Panic Hound was snoring away, pondering the nature of the obvious haunting in my spare bedroom. It is probably the ghost of the horrible pants I wore in many of the old photos which live in that room's closet. "BEATRIIIICCEEE... HIGH-WAISTED BAGGY JEEEEEAAANNNNSSS..." Brrrrr. 


  1. Can you describe Freedom and the Public, please? Thx.

    Also, thanks for the all-too-specific jeans memories I'm now struggling to repress. And the vests I wore with them.

    1. It's a series of essays on the widely-perceived opposition between public interest and private interest in America (Professor Meiklejohn didn't believe that this opposition need exist, but acknowledges that many Americans think the two concepts are forever enemies). He talks about many Supreme Court decisions around privacy and a citizen's right to free speech / religion / political affiliation, etc. As it was written in 1965, there's a lot about Communism and nothing about women or gays, but it still is pretty applicable when it comes to the idea of the "public good" and how eradicating government is not the solution.

      If it sounds familiar to you, it's more likely that you've read something by or about my great-grandfather, Alexander Meiklejohn. He was a First Amendment scholar and his books, unlike Freedom and the Public, are still in print.

    2. Oh, yeah, you gotta have the vests!