I was driving to Costco to pick up a new pair of glasses early yesterday afternoon when I heard the first reports of the latest terrorist attacks in Paris. The kind man who retrieved my glasses for me was born in Germany near the French border. He asked me if I had heard anything further than what he had picked up at work. I told him what I knew, and we talked for a little while about why such things happen. About disaffected youth and discrimination and joblessness and the desperate search for some kind of meaning in lives that can find little else than whatever jihad has come to mean. Read more about Nothing

Spider Time

There are a couple of definite changes that have come over me in the last few years, not counting menopause. For one thing, I no longer keep a careful eye out for vampires. For another thing, I don’t freak out when I walk into a spider’s web. Read more about Spider Time

Thoughts on the Mad Men Finale

Way back in 1960 or so, I wrote a high school essay in defense of advertising, in which I proposed that whether or not products ever did for you what they promised to do, sometimes they could help you feel better about yourself for a while. You put on a certain brand of lipstick (I gave up wearing the stuff aeons ago) and while it doesn't substantially change you, for a while you might feel as if it did and sometimes that feeling is something you need to carry you through the day. Read more about Thoughts on the Mad Men Finale


The rain this afternoon is no more than a whisper. Nothing worth mentioning, really. Last year's brown leaves are caught in the year-round, unremarkable green of the skimmia - I think it's a skimmia - and stuck in clumps, like old birds nests, among the confusions of the St. John's wort. The pots that don't have the dead or dormant remains of last year's plants have sprouted gray green beards of weed and moss. Read more about Uninspired

Working Out

"She'd drive to the bathroom if she could get the car in the house." So said an old boyfriend of mine about me, and he was so right. He loved walking. I just wanted to set a spell, smoke a cigarette, and read. If we had to go someplace, I wanted to get there as soon as possible so I could sit down, smoke a cigarette, and read. Of course, at the time I was also the size of a #2 pencil, so I didn't really feel the need to monitor my diet or take up anything strenuous. Read more about Working Out