We pet owners swap parenting stories just like those with human children do. The other day, a neighbor was complaining about her poodle being a finicky eater. She buys all her provisions at a place called Just Food for Dogs which features such products as beef & russet potato, turkey and whole wheat macaroni, and venison with squash. This is a common conversation in L.A. I feed Rose some kibble with a little chicken thrown in. Am I a bad mother or what?
Ten days after 9/11, I flew to lower Manhattan for a conference. It had been scheduled a year in advance. Before going, colleagues discussed whether it was wise to make the trip, and we all decided it was imperative to participate. There was such unspeakingable sadness in the city then. With no taxis allowed below Canal Street, I was dropped off and had to walk with my luggage the five blocks to the hotel, which was also a staging area for first responders. It was a devastating time. And yet I remember thinking that New York, out of all places, had the resilience, creative capital and relentless energy to survive and thrive. Take that, Ebola.
Painting by Alexandra Pacula
Today, I could no longer delay a car repair I’d been fretting about. When I got the call from my neighborhood mechanic that the car was ready, I walked over with dread. He took my credit card and sighed, “you’re not going to like this.” I took a deep breath. But then he grinned and said, “no charge!” We hugged. When I told him I had to race home to watch the World Series, the mechanic whispered that he was a Giants fan, not something readily admitted to in L.A. We hugged again. To top it off, the Giants just took the first game 7 – 1.
Amazing by Mel Bochner
Even I was enchanted by George Clooney’s marriage to the fabulous Amal Alamuddin, featured in this photo, as she’s being fitted for her gown designed by Oscar de la Renta. News was just announced of de la Renta’s death at the age of 82.
Today, a friend who is an accomplished poet and writing teacher, admitted that she never finished Giliad by Marilynne Robinson. I didn’t either. What acclaimed book did you quit?
Illustration by Austin Kleon
With all the ebola hysteria, it’s a good time to remember the virus we’re infinitely more likely to get, especially because there’s something we can do about it. A few years ago, I was finally persuaded to get my first flu shot by a doctor friend who works in a free clinic. He explained that the shot may not be so important for me, given that I’m healthy and would likely survive the flu. But I could transmit it to someone who is more vulnerable.
Sculpture by Ivan Navarro
Yesterday, I got an indicator on my iMac that the trackpad batteries were low. Apple’s design is so seamless, I couldn’t see where the opening was to remove the batteries. So I googled it and found an illustration with clear instructions which began with, “Use a coin to remove the battery compartment cover.” And I wondered, who keeps coins around anymore?
Sculptural cube made from pennies by Robert Wechsler
“Whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.” - E.E. Cummings (born on this day).
Feelings by Simon Evans
I’m in a wonderful book group. Right now, we’re reading The Waves by Virginia Woolf, which I find pleasurable, but difficult. Last night, when we assembled for our monthly discussion, someone suggested we each take a character and read passages of the book out loud. It was an inspired way to absorb Woolf’s complicated prose. Try it sometime with other adults (or by yourself). It’s liberating.
Illustration by Tom Gauld