Opera can be embarrassing. The music is wonderful, the poetry is 19th Century sentimentality. How can you listen to lines like "Oh sweet kisses, oh languid caresses and I, quivering, unveiled those beautiful shapes!!!" without wincing?

Placido Domingo, in a recent Great Performances production, talked about singing Tosca. Why he loved it. It's the emotion, he said. Lines like "languid caresses" bother him not at all. He gets it. He gets into it. Listen!

And the stars were shining… the earth Read more about Heartfelt

My Favorite Sister

My favorite picture of the three days I spent with my favorite sister is one I carry only in my head: in it my sister Joan, her husband Mete and I are sitting around their kitchen table in Lafayette, IN, Joan and I on our netbooks, Mete on his Ipad, sipping tea and talking - yes, talking to each other. At the same time. It was a true communion of spirits. Read more about My Favorite Sister

Time Travel

Last week I got into the wayback machine and leapfrogged through a kaleidoscope of past lives. There was first a visit to my brother's house on the north side of Chicago, a little north of the neighborhood in which I lived with my first husband and where I brought my first child home. I remember riding the Ravenswood El into work and fighting my way east to the lakefront against biting winds and blowing snow. I remember when the Prudential Building was the tallest skyscraper in town. Read more about Time Travel

Work, work, work.

Slave, slave, slave.

That is the mantra I sometimes grumble to myself these days when doing some paltry little task that I know is far from actual work and a galaxy from actual slave labor.

It is, of course, a bit of self-mockery.

In a time long ago and a place relatively far away, my ex-husband and I owned an 80-acre farm. He had an actual job. I did a lot of the actual farming. Read more about Work, work, work.

Home Alone

It's cloudy this morning. Cool. Green. Red and white twinkle lights left over from the summer parties are still plugged in. There's a lavender and gold play castle sitting in the garden house window. That's left over from a party - a year or two ago? A rusty iron dragonfly is leaning against the blue-needled white pine, both temporarily bereft of the variety of juncos and chickadees that will soon be here. I know this, because I just refilled the suet feeders, hoping to lure the first waves of the winter people. Read more about Home Alone

Letter to the Class of '61

I am sorely tempted to quote Bilbo Baggins who said, on the occasion of his one hundredth and eleventieth birthday, "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Which is only to say that there are few of you here, outside of my beloved fellow Girl Scouts, whom I ever really knew at all.

And yet, here I am, come back to the town whose dust I brushed from my feet too many years ago. Because now, I like to think, I have grown up enough to be able to do so. Read more about Letter to the Class of '61

Depression or Ennui?

I got a call from a friend of mine this weekend that touched a chord with me. She recently turned 60, her mother just died, her daughter may have found someone with whom to share a life, and she has permanently resigned a volunteer position she has held, with distinction, for many, many years.

Last weekend she held a huge yard sale, offering up not only items from her mother's life but long-held items from her own. And she was feeling iffy about it. This year, for her, seems to be a year of letting go of things. But she isn't yet certain if there will be something to take their place. Read more about Depression or Ennui?

A Dream of Peonies

There are few things I miss about Midwestern weather. And given this summer, I blow the earth of Seattle a kiss each morning as I greet another day that will, perhaps, rise to somewhere in the mid-70's.

But there are, actually, a few things I do miss. I miss towering thunderstorms (sans tornadoes). I miss sultry summer nights, when the heat of the day lingers in a light sheen of soft moisture on one's skin. I miss peonies. Read more about A Dream of Peonies

The Zen of Parties

"The party in the house reached her ears as a chorus of incoherent conversations, supported by a solidifying stratum of rock music which gathered everyone there – all the different shapes and sizes and colors and personalities – into one dance. The many-layered music wove its web of rhythm and the crowd moved with it, choreographing themselves into a party that was a dance or a dance that was a party. Read more about The Zen of Parties