Sunday, April 29, 2007

YOWZA!!!: Knights 6, Barons 5

An exciting proud moment. I'm not a sports mom. I show up when I can, but I barely follow the game. For the most part I couldn't care less if they win. I worry about boys getting hurt and standing up to the pressure. More than once I've told my son, my son, "just quit the team - it's too much time." Perhaps this is his way of rebelling - not only by continuing, but excelling beyond all expectations. Surprising all of us, even himself. Doing so great! I'm so happy for him. Sweet victory!

You read it right, boys and girls. In a stunning upset, the amazing 2007 McCallum Lacrosse Team made team history with a first-ever win over perennial lacrosse power St. Mary's Hall on a hot afternoon at Noack Fields today. The victory advances the Knights to the District Championship game at Noack Fields Sunday, Apr. 29 at 4:30 p.m. vs. the #1 seed Austin High Maroons.
MVP of the game for the Knights was Daniel Steinman, who scored 2 goals, won seven face-offs, and led the team in ground balls with a whopping 13. The Game Ball went to goalie Wyatt Pierson, who had 10 ground balls and a season-high 20 saves, including 7 in the 4th quarter when the Knights held the Barons scoreless for the final 9 1/2 minutes to preserve their 1 goal lead.
Come out tomorrow and support this remarkable team as they take on their next quest: A place in the State Championship Final Four.
Full report to follow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Have a great time at your fest Ebert!

This isn't a film biz blog but I can't believe that any of my normal stops didn't link to this essay by Roger Ebert on his current health situation on the eve of his Overlooked Film Festival. Maybe I'm just behind in my reading. In any case, am glad Lisa Rosman directed me to it today.

We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I’m not going to miss my festival.

Why do I want to go? Above all, to see the movies. Then to meet old friends and great directors and personally thank all the loyal audience members who continue to support the festival.

At least, not being able to speak, I am spared the need to explain why every film is “overlooked,” or why I wrote “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.”

Being sick is no fun. But you can have fun while you’re sick. I wouldn’t miss the festival for anything! (complete)

Roger Ebert is a towering figure in the film world. A huge fan, a tireless writer, and at times a heroic champion. We've been wishing him well during this whole sorry process of illness, treatment, recovering and relapse. Today thrilled to applaud his can-do spirit and excitement to enjoy his annual fest - doctors be damned. A toast to you Roger!! Enjoy!

The Ultimate Identity Crisis

I was moved by this LA Times article by Mike Pennar.

I broke the news to Tim by beginning, "Are you familiar with the movie 'Transamerica'?" Tim nodded. "Well, welcome to my life," I said.

Tim seemed more perplexed than most as I nervously launched into my story.

Finally, he had to explain, "I thought you said 'Trainspotting.' I thought you were going to tell me you're a heroin addict."

Transexuals have the ultimate identity crisis, often involving decades-long struggles. My heart aches for the few stories I've come across. The doc Southern Comfort by Kate Davis is a brilliant look at a man who died of ovarian cancer. When she was finishing it, Kate thought she was making a film about the prejudices of the medical system against transsexuals. I didn't see it that way. Hell, everyone dies of ovarian cancer. To me, Southern Comfort was really about the deep search and struggle to be who you are, no matter what the odds. It's about how some people have to work so much harder to find their community and love. About what it's like to be shunned for just being who you are.

Years later I came across She's Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a wonderful book which has remained one of my favorite reads and which I still recommend constantly. Funny, desperately sad, and beautifully written; it's the first person narrative of Jennifer's transition from James. I love the book so much I figured out a way to contact her (isn't email grand? It's made real Holden Caulfield's old dream. ) And orchestrated a face to face meeting after a Reel Paradise screening at the Maine International Film Workshop some years ago. We didn't stop talking for hours. It was a true thrill for me.

I'm the ultimate what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of gal. Bluntness and honesty are my trademarks. I can't imagine the torment of creating a public face at odds with an inner reality. Can't imagine how it's done or the toll it takes.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Glorious Spring evening

Just back from a walk on this glorious Texas spring evening. My east coast friends poorer for having no idea how lovely it is here. The fragrance, the cobalt blue sky, the low trees, college kids playing softball on the spacious UT intramural fields. I walk around the neighborhood as dusk descents into dark, the Hyde Park streets inviting and warm, the arts & crafts cottages a salve for the eyes. Utterly happy to be here. Happy to be walking these streets safe from the worry I've experienced everywhere else. Invigorated by the night, always invigorated by the night, and revitalized after this particularly tiring day.

Up way too early for an 8am breakfast meeting at local power spot Las Manitas, then 3 hours on a conference call, sequing into 3 hours with my daughter, then another 90 minute conference call, struggling the whole time with challenges and problems I'm don't know how to solve. Actively listening and learning, but really not sure of the solutions and my role. Volunteer work - film, nonprofits, growing up, and Texas Politics. One of the lobbyists an audio dead ringer for Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights. It makes those 3 hours easier to take, a joy almost. I find the Texas accents appealing, the wordsmith refreshing. Listening all day to lots of others good at what they do. Speaking well. Making smart judgements. I listen and struggle with my role.

A nice (rare) home cooked meal with the guys. Exhausted, I decide to take a walk. My Thursday three-hour dance routine dislodged by the second call and dinner. The dusk is glorious. Feeling good about the people in my life. My neighborhood. Feeling for the young ones in my orbit who are learning to feel their way around. Feeling good about being there for them. Remembering how hard it can be to make your way. Wishing them all well. Feeling gratitude for my life and even for the little ipod that I enjoy so much, generously given to me as a gift.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Great New Yorker piece on This American Life

Love this Nancy Franklin New Yorker piece on the new TV version of This American Life.

For years people have been encouraging me to tune into This American Life. Friends have been sure I would love it. I was sure I would love it too! Had no doubt. But somehow I never actually got around to listening, (except for the hilarious How's Your News? segment) even when I was given a CD. It's only recently, when my local NPR station switched from broadcasting Selected Shorts (which I had grown to love) to This American Life, on my weekly drive down to yoga, that I finally got a listen. And I didn't love it. And felt terrible about it. This Nancy Franklin piece really spoke to my discomfort.

An excerpt:

Glass begins each show with an introduction to the day’s theme—which might be something like lost love, or what power and powerlessness do to people, or what it’s like to be a teen-age girl—and then he returns to provide commentary between the show’s segments, or “acts,” as he calls them, and to close the show. (He also does segments himself.) He describes the show’s structure this way: “There’s an anecdote, that is, a sequence of actions where someone says ‘this happened then this happened then this happened’—and then there’s a moment of reflection about what that sequence means.” He goes on, “It’s the structure, essentially, of a sermon; you hear a little story from the Bible, then the clergyperson tells you what it means.” Well, no wonder my head is exploding—meaning is being forced into it. When it comes to meaning, I prefer to grow my own. Sometimes, after reading certain magazines or watching certain TV shows, people speak of feeling as though they needed to take a shower; after listening to “This American Life,” sometimes I feel I need to roll around in the dirt. (complete)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Daily Texan writer Alex Navissi faces the Bravo music

Highly amused at the writing voice of this Daily Texan writer Alex Navissi.

From his blog:
Now the crazy. Let me quote an excerpt from my TV column today...

"Finally, this week was the premiere of the BRAVO hairstyling series, "Shear Genius." The pun department at BRAVO is, well, shear genius. The development folks, on the other hand, need to come up with something other than this lame attempt at "Project Runway." They failed with "Top Chef" and "Top Design," but "Shear Genius" is a whole new brand of bad television. Contestants like "Dr. Boogie" (I'm not making this up) styled hair with twigs, feathers, and in the case of the winner - yes the winner - a treasure chest that opened when the model pulled her ponytail. The old cliche about watching paint dry also applies to blow drying wet hair. No one cares. I miss Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum."

And let me quote an e-mail from John Pierson...

"Hey Alex-

How have you been? Saw the "This Week in TV" column
today. But more importantly, Lauren Zalaznick read

Who is she? President of Bravo and, as it happens,
guest in the Master Class tonight at 6 pm. I was
planning to hide the DT, but somehow she found it on
her own despite the fact that she didn't land until 4

You should come by Studio 4D since I'm sure we'll be
joking about you later.


Uh-oh! I had actually planned to go to the lecture anyway because I love BRAVO, but now I was nervous. I didn't know she was coming to campus until last night after I left the DT and I didn't figure she would read it. Plus I was kind of drunk when I showed up to the thing. Sho' nuff, Lauren Zalaznick brought it up and we discussed my review/she kept bringing it up and kind of teased me a little. Well first Pierson asked if I had the balls to show up. My balls = huge and I made my presence known via the good ol' hand raise.

It went well. I really do love BRAVO, just not those three shows. And really, I kind of love to hate them. Todd Oldham's voice, for example, is a great source of humor. After the show a few kids came up to me and lauded my handling of the situation. Then I talked to Pierson and Zalaznick. I think we're BFF now. Then, to make it crazier, we all went to dinner. Us three + Janet (John's wife) + four or five other students. It was surprisingly chill, considering she playfully ribbed me for the past couple hours and I trashed her latest show of which she was immensely proud. She answered all my questions, she was very kind, she knew a ton about the TV industry (duh), and at the end she said it was a "pleasure" meeting me. This was a rare victory in my life. I'll remember this for a long time. This also is exactly why I don't wanna be a journalist. You never know who is reading. It's kind of flattering she read it, really. Man all of it was so cool and surreal!

Love his take. And it was a fantastic evening. Lauren was dazzling with her unpretentious smarts. Super quick in her listening and understanding skills, on top of everything current, yet able to distill all to its essence when speaking. I was so impressed with her great attitude: game for everything, no demands, no fatigue, just OK, I'm here, happy to be here, let's see what Austin is about, this is fun. Truly inspired by her example. And surprised too to really see the adoration of all things Bravo among the college age crowd.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

my son turning 17

My son is turning 17 tomorrow. Funny, I don't call him "my baby" the way my mother still refers to me. I was the third of three. Her last. He's my second of two, and yes, my last child, but that still doesn't make him my baby. Maybe because he never seemed that. He was due on Cinco de Mayo and surprised me on April 16th. I still had last month pregnancy questions for my ob/gyn after the delivery. Early, not everything totally worked yet. He ended up back under lights 24/7 for several days to bring down the toxic billyrubin. I had a newborn but I didn't. Visiting him in the hospital, then eating out at a restaurant with John. It was sad, but it was so much less than the others were struggling with on the ward. He came home fine, able to nurse, just a wee on the cranky side for a baby. Relocating to Maine for 2 months when he was that age himself, one of us had to spend the daylight hours inside with him. He couldn't take the elements. He was a baby you couldn't over stimulate. We had to let him lie still, and just watch. Just settle. Not a big smiler, but adorable still. And big. As he grew, the NYC firemen I used to run into at the Jefferson Market loved to count the rings on his chubby thighs and arms. When I'm nostalgic I go more quickly to the toddler years. He had curly blonde hair and was irrepressible. Running joyfully trying to keep up with his 3 year older athletic sister. A truly adorable toddler. And not easy to handle. No easy library reading programs for me. He was a little wild but clearly an old soul. It was obvious. As was his compassion, particularly for babies smaller than he.

On his 5th birthday for some reason he calmed down and became incredibly focused. Still a lively happy active boy, but able to handle school well. By 6, he could subtract time backwards. Mostly to complain about my lateness. And so he's grown, year after year. Always wise. Always delightful. Really great company. A kid who seems to know who he is at the core. He can have fun. But he can also be patient when the fun's not readily apparent. Except for the allergy genes we like to blame on my mother, he lucked out with a great mix in the DNA crapshoot. On our kids' birthdays, we moms can't help but think about what our kids have given us. How they've made us more than we were before. The gift of motherhood. The gift of their company. Love given, and love received. My heart is swollen with pride and gratitude for this young man, I get to call my son.

John's UT Master Class on the radio (yes John Pierson)

For the second year in the row, Austin's highly rated NPR affiliate is broadcasting selected edited shows from John's fantastic UT Master Class. Today's show features Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News and Bob Hudgins, the Texas Film Commissioner. Listen here.

Back from Minneapolis, Boots and All

Just back from a great couple of days in Minneapolis, MN. My first trip there though I've several good friends from the area. Loved the look of the small bit of downtown we drove through. Big impressive buildings - substantial. Some wonderfully old, many new and beautifully designed. Had a lot of fun sharing what makes Austin such a great media/film town in the all day summit of media professionals and regional leaders. And had a particularly great later dinner out. Twelve of us. Smart, funny, highly entertaining locals mixed in with the few out-of-towners like Brian Newman of Renew Media, and Laura Ivey of Odd Lot Entertainment. Somehow the table dynamic worked perfectly - small enough for us to converse together, toast enthusastically, and also to enjoy quality one-on-ones. Really a good time! Particular thanks to Jane Minton of IFP North and Hafed Bouassida and his wonderful students at MCTC.

Going through security on the way out of Austin: my chock-full shoulder bag, my clothes bag, my laptop, John had the liquids, I bump into the detector pulling my boarding pass from my back pocket and have to go through again. They stop to check my boots. "Need to run a test on these..." Across the aisle the female guard runs them through a machine, and hands them back as her male co-worker exclaims, "Nice Boots!"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Best Birthday Ritual Ever

From one of my favorite people in the world, my good close friend, Amy Elliott:

I think I told you - the thing I did to commemorate 30 was take up smoking again for the year. I had quit at 20 (for the most part) but (and I think we share this) really still love it. I figure smoking one year every ten is a way to cheat death and give me something to look forward to on a major birthday (not that those milestones bother me). I haven't had a drag since my 31st birthday, as scheduled, and plan to do the same thing at 40, if it's still legal.

If I only I could trust myself to stop again, what a great concept....

Monday, April 09, 2007

visions of paradise

so I just was browsing around thinking how much longer can I wait to get portable email. I found a website: and took the video demo. I'm watching the camera part and realize, hey, I have those pictures on my camera, and my palm too. (no camera phone yet.) They look like a Fijian island, a Fijian sunset, even two Fijians sitting in a tree. These are obviously the most generic photos used to entice and represent the ultimate vacation pics. So is that funny that I have the same ones from my year away? Or that we're less special than we think we are - rather just part of the generic paradise dreaming populace?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A couple of other funny links on Easter morning

A couple of other funny reads on this quiet Sunday Easter morn. I always forget how the world shuts down on Easter. Luckily, I remembered last night as we were walking into Zodiac - the very excellent new David Fincher film, and hit the HEB grocery before it closed at 1 am.

From the statesman by John Kelso:
Numskulls pilfer hooch, ditch camera

Stupidest stunt pulled so far this year by young folks in the state of Texas?

Right now I'd hand the trophy to those nine 18- to 22-year-old guys and gals who broke into Austin game maker Richard Garriott's property in the hills southwest of town, drank up his liquor, took pictures of themselves partying — and then left their digital camera behind. (more)

And from the the NYT Book Review - the TBR: Inside the List column by Dwight Garner:

Best-case scenario:

Gary Paulsen’s novel “Hatchet” (1987), about a 13-year-old boy who survives in the wilderness after a plane crash with nothing but a hatchet, has become a young-adult classic: the “Cast Away” of the preteen set. But “Hatchet” is only now making its first appearance on a Times best-seller list — because, it seems, the book helped save a life. According to the father of Michael Auberry, the 12-year-old Boy Scout who was lost in the North Carolina woods for four days last month, the book’s lessons stuck with his son and helped him survive. “I think he’d got some of that book in his mind,” Michael’s father told The Associated Press.

My kids just really, really, really hated Hatcher!

Now to get back to reading You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers which I promised a friend I'd read back in September. Cooking some Chicken Tortilla Soup in the afternoon. Then Sopranos and Entourage tonight. A perfect Sunday.

stumbling onto and building boats

Feeling a wee tad nostalgic this morning so looking up some old friends on the internet. An idle pastime, a huge time-waster, procrastination assist. But what I like about it are the surprises available from the ramble - like a walk in the woods. Charting familiar terrain you can stumble on new paths.

Like this morning I bumped into courtesy of the author, singer, NYT science writer, Andy Revkin (who I swear, packs more into a day than anyone else I've ever met...). Never having heard of before, I found a article that describes it as,

A new Boston website aims to bring order to the tens of millions of weblogs proliferating online and provide one-stop shopping for overwhelmed Internet surfers. In the process, it could put some cash in the pockets of Internet scribes pecking away in obscurity.

The site,, positions itself as a kind of eBay for online writers and their readers -- a gathering spot for musings and discussions on everything from wine and computers to fitness and spirituality. And, with a business model that could shake up the writing profession, executives from Gather Inc. are recruiting bloggers by offering them a share of the company's advertising revenue.

Or from Social Networking Grows Up

The year-old site is trying to create an online space for the NPR crowd. But do they have time—amid kids and careers—to hang out online?

But then I also found this, from the Hudson Fisheries Trust, which is an amazing project!!! Building Bridges, Building Boats was just getting started as we left the Cold Spring/Garrison area. Otherwise I would have signed my kids up in a minute. What a fantastic learning opportunity!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wow, loving the NYT Business section on Apr 2

My reading outside of this computer screen is way, way off. I remember how exciting it was to return to books after the early mothering years. I never gave up movies, keeping that a priority via babysitters, but missed much of my precious reading time. Now I barely read books at all, and magazines and newspapers only intermittently. Sometime in the last ten years I compiled a list of the papers and magazines I kept up with - I was responding to a friend who kept all newspapers and magazines out of her house, and also to the question, "what do you do?" The answer was, I keep current." Impressively so. Now my skew is shifted. There are days I don't mind as it's all shit and bad news. But somedays I'm surprised and delighted and regret my myopia.

Like today. On the kitchen counter I found a stack of folded papers from Monday, Apr 2. (My birthday!) which of course I hadn't bothered to read that day. In a rare breach of John's careful organizing and archiving, this edition was separated from the pile. Pretty much every single article was interesting -from David Carr's superb "Thousands of Laid Off. What's New?", to Laura M. Holson's, "Warner's Digital Watchdog Widens War on Pirates," about Darcy Antonellis and her fascinating career trajectory. Julie Bosman's "Pushing a New Writer Upstream" about the pre-selling of a new author. Angelal Macropoulous, "A Misfired Memo Shows Close Tabs on Reporter," about the really interesting misdirection of a Microsoft PR company's email to the Wired journalist covering the story. And more. But all good. All interesting.

David Carr's piece my favorite: an excerpt:
“Newspapers have shifted from going after mass audiences to targeting upscale audiences. This is a great story,” Mr. Martin said, referring to the Circuit City layoffs, “but it’s about working people. There have been dual wage systems before, but here you have something completely different — the wholesale firing of people who did their jobs well.”

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yeah for the home team

Superb NBC television show Friday Night Lights won a prestigious Peabody!

Friday Night Lights NBC

No dramatic series, broadcast or cable, is more grounded in contemporary American reality than this clear eyed serial about the hopes, dreams, livelihoods and egos intertwined with the fate of high-school football in a Texas town.
Produced by NBC Universal Television Studio in association with Imagine Entertainment and Film 44

Which is awesome. If you haven't been watching, you should catch up with the online stream.

And pretty great for Spike Lee too, with his masterful and heartbreaking, When The Levees Broke. Heartiest congratulations!

I love Miranda July

Her work just speaks to me. All of it. Check out the website for her latest - a book of short stories to be released on May 15th. It's hilarious and wonderful. As so much of her work is. Funny, and poignant. Searing and magical. One of the stories was published earlier in The New Yorker this year - (Sept 18, 2006). I loved it. Can't wait for more.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Birthday pic

Here's a nice birthday pic shot by my good friend and blogging inspiration, Matt Dentler.

But it brings up an odd dichotomy. I don't blog under my real name. Of course my friends know who I am but strangers get a more abstract view. I write both very personally, and yet not about my real life at all. I barely mention the kids, leave out tons of daily details and affiliations, and haven't (until now) posted personal photos. I've enjoyed the gray.

This is the second time that Matt has linked to me by name. I'm both flattered by the positive attention and wary. Does it matter? Will readers linking from Matt expect more of a dedicated film blog? Is there a downside to owning my random thoughts publicly? Will it reflect poorly on me? On John? I'm not really sure how I feel. (Like Peggy wrote once, " Embarrassed about your blog? Heaven forbid. The whole point of a blog is to put your life up where everyone can see and comment on it. Wait, though, you already did that!" rather hilariously referencing the documentary....)

I did have a lovely 50th birthday. It was great to celebrate with John, and Chris, and Kate and Matt, and the few others who I shall delight in keeping anonymous. In these narcissistic times we live in, it's nice to keep some zones of privacy. Isn't it?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

From 40 to 50

So in more mulling about this upcoming birthday, I started thinking about this last decade. What happened between the landmarks of 40 and 50?

I'd been excited about turning 40. I fully expected a new tier of ease and self-confidence. Instead I ran into a brick wall. Ruptures in my marriage, the first serious seam I wasn't sure we'd recover from, then health problems and general disorder. 1997 was a difficult, painful year but I came through fine, stronger, better. This last decade an amazing one.

Some Highlights:

- Fell deeper in love with email. Hardcore. (Though surprised to just learn that my beloved Highland Chain provider actually started in Sept. 1994. Before that I wasted hours with the more often than not, dysfunctional AOL. Not sure exactly when email entered my life but it took with a vengeance. I remember when my neighbors brought up the Highlands Chain idea, the concept of a local internet community with email, I said, "what a stupid idea." Then I became the poster child, an intense power user to this day. (Thank you Richard and Susan Bates.)

- Mothered my daughter from age 9 to 19. My son from 7 to 17.

- Created and produced our IFC cable TV series Split Screen with John. Four years, 66 episodes, over 100 active filmmakers working. A true joy. Terrific entertainment. Spawning features The Blair Witch Project and How's Your News? while providing early first looks at American Movie and Waking Life. Tim P slipped out of our lives for awhile but in walked Amy Elliott and PH O'Brien in a big, big way. And Mike LaHaie. And Josh Braun. And too many others to mention. A wild ride indeed.

-Taking the plunge to direct and loving it. (Thank you Miranda.)

- Curated a night at The Moth in June 2001. In the Dark: Filmmakers Illuminate with storytellers Peter Hedges, Bingham Ray, Caroline Kaplan, Darnell Martin, Pam Yates. (Thank you Judy Stone.)

- Spent years getting a local school referendum passed. Personal power politics in a small town. Learning how to build coalitions and get things done. Along the way some surprising, deeply satisfying friendships.

The small town love and beauty of Garrison and Cold Spring, NY. Understanding what it's like to be in a place where parents and friends really look out for one another. A real community. A rich home while it lasted.

-Discovering the mind/body connection. (Thank you Healers: Mhairi, Karen Gorney, Linda Blaikie, Teresa Peppard, Karen Greathouse, Allison Anderson.)

-A serious committment to yoga and now pilates. (Thank you Magda Schoenfeld, Kate Graham, Shelley Gilbert, Angela D. Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle.)

-Cannes 1999 with IFC. An unforgettable night celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary. Attending the Dogma midnight premiere at the Grand Palais, the after party at the Hotel du Cap, the sunrise on Paul Allen's yacht. Spike, Jarmusch, and the Blair Witch guys in town in a big way too.

- Actually everything with Kevin Smith. The Movies. The Family. The Friendship. Hanging at the House.

-Natalie Goldberg's workshop at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos in 2000.

-Paris for my 45th birthday with Nan and Beau. Amsterdam a few years later.

-10 days in Fiji. Then a year. Every second of it.

- Reel Paradise.

-New Zealand. And yoga for 30 days with Philip & Coral Savage.

- Cleaning the house to move first to Fiji, then again, more permanently, to Austin. Torture til I discovered the joy in dispersing our material goods. Christmas in July.

- Wireless internet

- Gaining weight steadily. Losing 30 lbs in 6 months in 2001-2002. Yea!!! Gaining it back in 4 years.

-Moving to Austin. Coming from a place I loved to a place I love even more! The easiest transition ever. Loving Austin with its great energy, wonderful people, and quality of life. All my wonderful good new friends here. Immersing fully into the Austin Film Society, proud to be part of its rich history and vital present.

-My friends. Those of you who see me through. Turn me on. Make me laugh. Make me think. Help me feel connected. Make everyday worthwhile. Thank you.

- John. Ever mercurial and exciting. Brilliant. Impatient and confrontational. But funny, and kind, and loving too. At the center of it all.

Turning 50 on Monday

I'm turning 50 on Monday. And while I feel no need for a big to-do or life changing marker, I am finding myself mulling a bit. Well, mulling a lot. About what a great ride it's been. How much I love John, and the kids, and a wide swath of friends. It all so unlike what I'd imagined. Not that I imagined much...maybe that was part of it. Sure I had glamorous images, like the NYC literai party scenes in Capote, or like Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and their set in the great doc When We Were Kings, but not really for myself. I had yearnings but a torturous present. It was hard to see past that.

Mulling more too because of a trip back into the files. Needing to find some paperwork for my sister...neither one of us clear about some banking from 20-odd years ago that's now essential as her first just turned 21. I climb up the steep ladder in the garage loft, perch on my grandmother's old suitcase, and take a deep breath. Long typewritten letters from my father. Breathe again. I realize I've come to prefer the imagined sanitized version of him. The real guy too difficult. The reality painful. Not dwelling on my own writing in this dalliance down memory lane. Instead letters from some remaining friends. Letters from many now passed out of my life. From Alison and Jessica and always the ones I love from Karl - cranky, and smart, and loving from so many years ago. I'd forgotten there were so many. And it reminds me to reach out and prod him into writing again right now.

These long years John and I have traveled together. It feels like a moment but it's actually 25 years. I think at the time Karen C. gave me a note with a quote from Marilyn Monroe that said something like, "Twenty-five years, that's a quarter of a century... Makes a girl think." My 25th birthday my first with him. 25 years later, unimaginable then, impressive and exciting now. "Half-a-life" "Half-a-life" rattling over and over again in my head. A ridiculous film that John, Bingham and I used to laugh about endlessly when we worked on the opening in NYC - and I can't even think why. Because of the guy's thick french accent? Because he was only 35? So now close to 50, the details gone to me, only the pleasure of the memory, and the amusement of the phrase in my head. It's been a half a life with John. Half a life ago, I could never have imagined I'd be so happy now.