Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shit my daughter says

My daughter, who has resolutely defied my attempts to indoctrinate her into the wisdom of yoga, has somehow absorbed some of yoga’s trickiest lessons and is now teaching them back to me. 

The other day I was in a state of panic about my parents, who live 2,500 miles away and were not answering their phone. They’d been off the hook for 24 hours. They are ancient, frail creatures, and the last time they left my radar for an extended period, they were in the hospital, my mother officially admitted after a fall and my dad sleeping on the floor next to her despite the resistance of the hospital staff. 

So my anxiety was not entirely unjustified. I confided my distress to my daughter. And here is what she e-mailed back to me: “remember that its out of your control.”

It’s hard to explain why those words are so comforting. But they are the perfect response to this kind of situation. Because somehow I felt I could prevent disaster if I were just smarter or could be in two places at once or  … but in fact it was out of my control.

Oh, and they're fine. They simply didn't notice that they'd knocked the handset off the hook.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I don’t cook. I wish I did, but I just can’t coordinate three dishes to arrive at the finish line at the same moment. And the stress of trying kills me.

So I am hugely appreciative of those who do this clever thing. And this week I had three marvelous meals that filled me with gratitude and well-being. 

On Monday night, Other cooked chicken with a sauce of curried pureed cashews that restored my appetite after weeks of anomic anorexia. 

On Thursday night, my friend S casually flipped switches on her Vitamix to produce homemade hummus—to top a salad of greens, tomatoes, couscous and sunflower seeds—and homemade banana-blueberry-strawberry sorbet garnished with walnuts. I farted happily all the way home.

And Friday, my friend A dashed together a lunch of poached salmon and salad and rhubarb.

Is there any greater kindness a friend can render than cooking for you? These are not transitory acts that are digested and vanish. They linger on in memory, like that lobster sauce on pasta my friend B whipped up last summer and …

The perfect day

Last Monday I had a perfect day. It started out looking grim: five engagements, each threatening the integrity of the next. 

1. A 9:00 appointment with a hand surgeon—who said he could indeed perform a rare procedure to declaw my right pinkie, which is curling into itself from a genetic disorder called Dupuytren’s contracture. 

2. An 11:00 yoga class across town. I NEED this yoga class.

3. A 1:00 dental appointment and cleaning downtown.

4. A stint on the breast-cancer help line from 2 to 5 in midtown.

5. Home for dinner with friends, who arrived at 7. 

This day was way too tightly planned. Public transportation could not possibly support it. But here’s the thing: it worked. There is nothing more fulfilling than completing this particular form of Manhattan marathon.

If I'm so young at heart, why do I look like such an old lady?

I am as strong now as I ever was in my teens—steadier, actually, now that my raging hormones have subsided and my lymph nodes have been cut out, leaving me sweatless.

I’m coordinated, flexible, sturdy. Inside, I’m young.

So why do I find myself doing all the old-lady things I swore I would never do: I wear my hair dyke-short and gray. I have not only purchased but actually wear a slipper-like boat of a shoe called Easy Spirit. I wear clothing so without charm, its only and obvious justification is comfort.

How did I come to such a pass?