Happy Birthday to My Love

June 30, 2015

There was a man who had a wife,
Made her happy, saved her life.
Protected her from all things vile,
Kept her safe and made her smile.

Showed her Paris, showed her Rome
Helped her heal, became her home.
Loved her, loved their daughters, too;
Taught them, praised them as they grew.

Cared for others, did not grouse;
Did his charts and fixed the house.
Fed the dogs and manned the grill,
Checked the homework, paid the bill.

Ever decent, ever kind
Wicked humor, brilliant mind.
The years ahead, a happy fate-
Moments of perfection wait.

A Shakespearean Anniversary Sonnet  Written in a Hummer


In ’89 we married, in a storm.
‘Twas August 12, a score plus seven since.
The bride was dressed in white, as was the norm;
Her bridesmaids’ gowns, a peach to make one wince.

It was a truly magical event,
As was the honeymoon that happened next.
We ate and swam and sailed ’til we were spent
But the mayo – lettuce hotdog left me vexed.

The years since then have brought both joy and strife-
Three lovely girls for whom our hearts beat true;
Beloved pets, dear friends, our home, our life,
And happy memories, many; sad ones, few.

This man who fills my days with peace and laughter
My love, my Duck, my happy-ever-after.

A Poem on My Love’s Birthday

The man I love is kind and wise –
Sandy hair and blue-grey eyes.
Oh! To sleep in his embrace!
(He always lets me share his fries).

Slings and arrows – bears with grace
He runs his miles, keeps the pace.
Listens, though he’s tired and sore,
He makes our home a happy place.

Loves his pups (and mops the floor)
Loves his daughters even more.
Calms my fears and eases strife –
My Duck, the Doc, my evermore.

I wish I were a better wife;
Sweeter, kinder, lean and lithe.
But will love him all my life.
And I will love him all my life.

A Sonnet for Super Bowl LII

February 4, 2018

In Boston, nigh, the streets are filled with boasters
Made fatuous by years of winning Pats.
Beer swilling maw or hipster Facebook poster,
They spew legume-wrought gasses as they blast.

Three hundred miles south, another town
Whose citizens can speak the letter “r”
No dynasty nor national championship crown
Just Philly blood and cheesesteaks – well, so far.

But soon – tonight- this valiant gang, so driven,
Shall take the field and show THEM how it’s done.
When no one takes the victory as a given,
When only Eagles pride and heart doth make them run.

The call us underdogs, and we know why.
But sit back, now, and watch our Eagles fly.

Gun Values

May 23, 2018

Little Mommy always encouraged us to think. We spent time as a family talking about issues at the dinner table. We were expected to participate. Since we were not allowed to leave the table until we ate all our vegetables, Little Mommy served Brussels sprouts at least once a week. Because Brussels sprouts SUCK, and everyone HATES THEM. So, Little Mommy served them at dinner. So we would linger. And talk. And listen. And think. And grow consciences.

The tradition continues.

Tonight at dinner, my daughter, only a year removed from being a high school student in America, expressed how it feels to be living in a country where gun rights are more important than the lives of students who cannot yet vote. “I was born in this country and have lived here all my life,” she said, “but it doesn’t feel like a country that values my life.”


We told her to blog, to get involved, to connect with Parkland students. We told her to get active, to get out the vote.

We hope she will.

But, hey, all Americans who don’t have to walk into a United States school…guess what? This is what it feels like to be a young adult in the USA. Gun violence? Active shooter? It could happen any day. It could happen tomorrow, in any school, anywhere. It probably will. These are YOUR KIDS. This is their reality. Every. Single. Day.

If we adults thought there was a chance that we’d be shot at just for entering our workplace each morning, we wouldn’t tolerate it. Things would change. We’d elect different leaders.

If an armed gunman could walk into the chambers of Congress, do you think our lawmakers would have a second thought about whether the Second Amendment should be the sacred cow to which there can be no reasonable or legitimate opposition? From the Latin…NFW.

These children who have become cannon fodder for the NRA can’t vote. Until they’re on the verge of graduation, they have no voice. So they live in a world where they have to go someplace, every day, because it’s the law, and hope they don’t get shot at.

“Why are guns more important than the lives of people who can’t even vote?” my daughter asked, in tears.

I had no answers.

When guns are more important than lives, we have become a morally bankrupt society.

Kids Today…and What We Can Teach Them

May 28, 2018

So Michael and I went to Whole Foods after our work out this morning to pick up some snacks for later today and also to have some pizza. Because Whole Foods makes really, really good pizza.

When we arrived, there was no cheese pizza. The guy making pizzas told me it would be about 10-15 minutes because he had a to-go order. I said that was fine, that I would wait. I stood patiently watching the French Open as this very nice man made his pizzas.

Shortly after he had finished the to-go order and had put a cheese pizza in the oven, a very tall father wearing a red t-shirt, with three school-age kids, all wearing Vineyard Vines, came over and began milling about the various available pizza selections, which, at that time, were limited to lemon ricotta zucchini and mushroom/meatball. Which is great if you’re an adult, but not so much if you’re a kid. The family walked away, then came back. They stood right next to me, not two feet away.

Another guy came up and asked the chef if there was any cheese pizza. The guy looked right at me and said, “yes, it’s coming right out, and this lady is waiting.”

The pizza comes out, the guy puts it on the counter (it’s self serve), I reach for the spatula, but Red T-Shirt pushes Vineyard Vines toward the counter. I’m standing RIGHT THERE. Kid take the spatula and Dad helps him get a slice.

I say, “you know, I’ve been standing here 15 minutes waiting for the cheese pizza.”

Without even looking at me, the guy says to his kid, “say you’re sorry,” in a tone of voice that communicates, “there’s nothing to be sorry for, my precious, perfect child who can do no wrong, and fuck you, you dumb bitch.”

The kid says nothing, takes his pizza and walks away with Red T-Shirt.

I call after him, “You saw me, the pizza guy told you I was waiting, and still you allowed your kid to butt ahead of me.”

He turns around and with a really nasty look on his face says, “He said he was sorry, and he’s nine years old. What’s your problem?”

I say, “Actually, he didn’t say he was sorry, and nine is old enough to know to wait your turn. So is forty, or however old you are, for that matter, but if you don’t know how to take turns, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t, either.”

He said, “hey, you got your pizza, didn’t you?”

Which, indeed, I did. It was good, too.

As I ate my pizza, I wondered if perhaps the kid was on the spectrum, or had some special needs, and that made me feel bad about how I had acted, except I’ve parented a child on the spectrum, and in our house, that wasn’t an excuse not to follow the rules.

Then I thought, maybe he’s having a bad day and really just needs a blow job, and I felt bad for him, but then I thought, that’s true of many men, and it’s also not an excuse not to follow the rules.

Then I thought, to what extent did my impatience to get my pizza (recall, if you will, that Whole Foods pizza is REALLY good) influence my behavior, and I thought, more than it should have, and that’s not a good reason to be confrontational.

Later, we saw the guy in the parking lot as we were getting into our car. He was struggling with a stroller. I said to Michael, “I owe him an apology.”

“No, you don’t,” he said. “You didn’t do anything wrong. He was a jerk who needs to teach his kid some manners.”

I felt bad about it nonetheless, and if I had been alone, I might have approached him and said I was sorry. Since Michael is smarter than me and contemplated the very real possibility that this guy might have punched me in the face, he kept driving.

Once at home, I got out my pruning shears and trimmed up a few trees, all the while asking myself how I could have handled things better, and I wish I had handed my empty pizza container to the kid and said in a sincerely nice old lady voice, “hey, can you get one for me, too?”

I don’t know if that would have made the point about the social contract that we should always wait out turn, but perhaps it would have clued the kid in, for a split second, at least, that the world does not revolve around him, as I am fairly certain Mom and Dad have taught him it does.

So that’s what I’ll do next time.

Keep Your Deeply Held Religious Beliefs Off My Body

June 25, 2018

After giving birth to her first child, Nicole Mone Arteaga suffered a number of miscarriages. When she recently became pregnant again, her doctor monitored her carefully on a weekly basis; at 9 weeks, however, she learned that, tragically, the baby was not developing, that there was no heartbeat, and that the pregnancy would not result in a live birth. She was offered the option of an invasive surgical procedure or a prescription medication that would allow her to resolve the pregnancy at home, and which was likely less expensive and less medically risky. She discussed the matter with her physician, who ultimately issued an prescription for an “abortion drug.”

Ms. Arteaga did not want an “abortion,” and this pregnancy was no longer viable – no beating heart, no living fetus. She was heartbroken, because she had wanted this baby very much. But since there was nothing else to be done, she went to Walgreen’s to fill the prescription, aware that it would induce painful uterine contractions that would cause her body to expel a pregnancy she desperately wished to keep.

When she went to collect her prescription from Walgreen’s, the pharmacist on duty refused to fill it because of his “deeply held religious beliefs.” He expressed those “deeply held religious beliefs” to Ms. Arteaga, in front of other store customers and Ms. Arteaga’s 7 year old son. Ms. Aretaga attempted to explain her situation to him, but the pharmacist refused to budge.

Eventually, Ms. Arteaga was able to fill her prescription at another Walgreen’s store and then went home to complete her miscarriage. Walgreen’s has commented that, under Arizona law (and that of five other states), a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription when doing so would violate “deeply held religious beliefs,” but that the pharmacist must then step away and allow the prescription to be filled by another employee. That did not happen in this case, and Walgreen’s was appropriately apologetic to Ms. Arteaga for the conduct of its employee.

Everything I just wrote is a fact.

Here’s my take:

The pharmacist in this story thought his right to live his “deeply held religious beliefs” was more important than Ms. Arteaga’s right to fill a legal prescription ordered by a medical doctor.

He believed that his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to violate Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law.

He believed that he had a right to impose his “deeply held religious beliefs” upon a customer who, through no fault of her own, was in need of a prescription medication.

He believed that his refusal to serve a customer who was understandably distraught over losing a pregnancy was consistent with his “deeply held religious beliefs,” none of which, it would seem, include the value of compassion.

He believed that HIS interpretation of his “deeply held religious beliefs” required Ms. Arteaga to, oh, I don’t know, continue the pregnancy until it ultimately terminated itself, with whatever medical risk that may have involved.

It is bad enough that this moron determined that his “deeply held religious beliefs” trumped Ms. Arteaga’s own motives, ethics and values – about which he made unfounded and inaccurate assumptions; what’s equally atrocious is that he also attempted to override the professional judgment of her physician.

Last time I checked, pharmacists don’t hold medical degrees. They don’t examine their customers, take medical histories, lay hands on them, or have discussions with them about treatment options.

Do they have to know something aboue medicine and physiology? Of course. But they aren’t physicians, and this particular pharmacist did not know whether or not there may have been extenuating circumstances which would have ruled out a D & C or a natural conculsion to the pregnancy because, guess what?


I find it outrageous that this pharmacist thought his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to override not only the judgment of someone who had ACTUALLY BEEN TO MEDICAL SCHOOL, but also to determine that it was his right to decide for Ms. Arteaga how she should deal with her dead fetus. That she, too, may have had “deeply held religious beliefs” about abortion was something he apparently never considered, nor, apparently, did it trouble him that shis prescription was not being filled for the purpose of terminating a viable pregnancy (thought it was none of his business in the first place whether it was or not) but, rather, to bring to a final conclusion what had already happened.

It is outrageous that some in this country believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” are morally superior to the “deeply held beliefs” of those who may not agree with them.

It is outrageous that those same people believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” entitle them make decisions for the rest of the world, including by refusing them access to healthcare.

This country was founded upon the principals of religious freedom, including the freedom to espouse viewpoints different from those purportedly held by some asshole pharmacist working at Walgreen’s.

And guess what else? Just because you call them “deeply held religious beliefs” doesn’t mean that I have to bow to them, or that they’re “right.” It just means that they’re yours.

I’ve never had a miscarriage, but I know plenty of women who have. Most of them were extremely excited to learn that they were pregnant, did everything they could to maximize the chances for a healthy pregnancy, and were heartbroken when they learned that the pregnancy had terminated. Those who miscarried spontaneously have described the pain and the emotional trauma of their experiences, which for many required them to retrieve the “products of conception” and deliver them to their doctors in order to make sure the miscarriage was complete.

Others learned that their pregnancy was over on the ultrasound table, and were sent home to await the miscarriage or undergo a painful medical procedure which has risks of its own. I don’t know which would be worse. What I do know is that each and every woman who has ever told me about a miscarriage – whether she has gone on to have more or other children – was deeply traumatized to lose a baby she very much wanted to parent, and the pain is still there even years later.

Bottom line, Mr. Walgreen’s Pharmacist? Ms. Arteaga came to you for a prescription she never wanted to have to fill, knowing from past experience that the process awaiting her after she took said medication would be painful and traumatic. Your response was to get up on your deeply held religious high horse, buttressed by the smug self-satisfaction of someone who has exactly ZERO understanding of what is like to be pregnant, or to lose a child to miscarriage.

Because I was curious, I looked up whether or not pharmacists take an oath with regard to the discharging of their duties; turns out, they do, and it includes, as the very first item, way at the tippy top of the list, the following:

“I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.” https://www.pharmacist.com/oath-pharmacist

Looks like, in addition to Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law, this guy also violated his oath as a pharmacist. I guess the “welfare of humanity” and the “relief of suffering” are irrelevant in the face of one’s “deeply held religious beliefs.”

I also guess that those “deeply held religious beliefs” do not include the basic concept of “don’t be a fucking asshole.”

The Legacy of Suicide

June 10, 2018

It is tragic that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both chose to end their lives. They were young, brilliant, and had so much yet to accomplish. If only they could have found a way to hang on.

What’s troubling is that these two gifted people, both of whom called New York their home, opted not to reach out for help despite living in a city that probably has more mental health professionals per capita than any city on earth. We know that Kate Spade had been treated for depression, and that Anthony Bourdain had conquered personal demons, including heroin addiction, without relapsing, and one imagines that counseling of some sort might have had something to do with his sobriety.

So, both were aware of and had access to mental health services, and since they had (likely) made use of them in the past, to some benefit, one assumes that stigma was not a factor in their decisions not to reach out for help. Certainly, the resources available to them given their financial comfort did not make care inaccessible.

Clearly, given these considerations, both must have been, quite literally, not in their right minds. I tell myself this over and over so I can understand how…how…you end your life knowing that a young daughter (Frances Spade, age 13, and Ariane Bourdain, age 8) will spend the rest of her life wondering why she wasn’t a good enough reason to hold on.

I don’t pretend to understand what was going on for Spade or Bourdain as they took the steps to end their lives, but amidst my sadness that they left us too soon, I cannot shake my anger at the inherent selfishness that robbed two children of their parents.

Children do not understand how painful and crushingly hard it can be to be an adult, and even though they may, someday, come to terms with their parents’ suicides, the memory and impact of this trauma, visited upon them so early in their lives, is something they will confront over and over as they get older…the thing they have to overcome, rise above, beat back day after day after day, in an effort not to let it consume them.

It did not have to be that way.

I have battled depression and anxiety for much of my life but wasn’t diagnosed until my 40’s. I’m a very functional, go go go kind of person, and it never occurred to me that the plunging depths of inexplicable sadness that overcame me from time to time was anything other than personal weakness. With the help of an excellent therapist and the right medication, I’ve gotten to a place of good mental health and tranquility. I was lucky to have had the support of my husband and dear friends, not to mention access to really good health care and health insurance that enabled me to get the help I needed. Again, I was lucky.

I don’t know how bad it was for Spade or Bourdain; pretty bad, I’m guessing. What I just cannot understand is how you take that step knowing (as Kate Spade clearly did, according to her suicide note), that such an act is the equivalent of throwing that same child into the middle of the ocean and hoping someone will rescue her before she drowns.

I’m trying hard not to be judgmental or to minimize what must have been a private hell no one understood, one so isolating and complete that the certain trauma that their suicide would inflict upon their daughters was acceptable collateral damage.

I have often said to myself, “I may be a crappy mother, but I’m the only one they have. They deserve to have a mother who is there, imperfect and wanting though she may be, and I will try to get healthy, if only because they need me to.”

When you choose to become a parent…and in our country, with birth control and abortion both legal and available, it is a choice…your life is no longer your own. It becomes about the welfare and well-being of another person. Don’t want that responsibility? Use birth control, abstain, abort, or give up for adoption. All are available to you. You have a choice.

But if you choose to parent, then guess what…whether you are 14 or 24 or 42, your life as you knew it is now over, and it becomes about what is best for the child YOU have chosen to bring into the world. If you can’t do that, DON’T. Because the person you brought into this world has nothing but YOU to count on. Not up to the task? Then DON’T.

I just think that Frances and Ariane, who didn’t ask to be born, and who relied upon the constancy of their parents, deserved better.

Why Robert DeNiro Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Say Things on TV (and other things Trump Supporters Think)

June 12, 2018

I see on Facebook that many are up in arms that Robert DeNiro took the stage at the Tony Awards on Sunday night and began his presentation by saying, “F*** Trump.”

DeNiro went on to say some other things after the standing ovation he received from the Broadway artists, actors, musicians, authors, dancers, playwrights, set designers, techies, composers, directors, producers, costume designers, and film critics in attendance had ended. I wasn’t aware of this, because I rarely watch the Tonys, nor, I suspect, does anyone else who isn’t a Broadway artist, actor, musician, author, dancer, playwright, set designer, techie, composer, director, producer, costumer designer, or film critic.

But DeNiro said what he said, and now everybody is talking about the Tonys, which, I suppose, is good for the Tonys, and probably the most interesting thing that has happened at a Tony ceremony in years. A lot of people who don’t live in New York City are angry and offended, and you know what that means:


Just for fun, and because I was waiting for my argument to be called this afternoon, I read some of the comments of those who claim to be shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you – at DeNiro’s comments. I also read the responses of people who aren’t six-year-old girls, and here’s what I can tell you:

People will find any reason to pick a fight, even if in doing so, they are revealed to be just about the stupidest, inconsistent, hypocrites to pick up a smartphone.
But, to be fair, let’s examine some of the stated reasons people are unhappy with Robert DeNiro and his antics and see whether anyone has a point (spoiler alert: They don’t).

1. “He used the F-word, and I find that OFFENSIVE!”

Most of the people who raised this concern also went on to express their support of our president, which is surprising, because that same president ALSO likes to use the F-word, as well as other words, like “p****,” as in “grab them by the….” If you’re offended by the F-word, it’s probably a good thing you don’t spend a lot of time in the Oval Office where, we are told, that word gets used a lot.

2. “I mean, he said ‘f***’ on national television!”

If all you knew about America was what people posted on Facebook calling out DeNiro, you would be of the impression that none of us EVER said “f***,” or tolerated it when other people did. I have to tell you…that’s not the case. I hear people use that word in public at least 15 times a day, and casually, by people ranging in age from 15 to 85. With the exception of Catholic nuns and preschoolers, pretty much EVERYONE uses that word. Which doesn’t mean it’s okay, just that pretending to be shocked is pretty disingenuous.

Complaining that you are actually OFFENDED by the use of the f-word is even worse, because I’ll bet you at least a few of those complaining about DeNiro’s choice of language have seen “Goodfellas” at least once, and if you don’t like the f-word, well, then you’re probably not going to like “Goodfellas.” Give me a dollar for every time that word gets dropped in “Goodfellas,” I’ll retire and raise alpaca.

As more proof that it had nothing to do with the F-bomb, remember when Meryl Streep called out Trump, without using off-color language? People hated on her, too. It’s not the word, it’s the man, and his supporters – like him – just go batshit crazy when anyone criticizes thim.

3. “I’m tired of listening to Hollywood actors give political speeches!”

Some think that Hollywood actors/directors/producers, etc. should not be allowed to express their opinions. Some people also think this about professional athletes but are okay when people like Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, or Kid Rock have something political to say. As with Number 1, if one is going to adopt a policy concerning who gets to say what, then one ought to be consistent. Also, the First Amendment.

And P.S.? The people who don’t like it when the entertainment industry talks about politics are the same people who elected a reality star to the highest office in our country.

4. “Roseanne got fired, but it’s okay for DeNiro to say f***? Double Standard!”

Actually no, because, (a) what Roseanne said was racist and anti-Muslim, whereas what DeNiro said, essentially, was that Trump is a poor leader, which is neither racist nor anti-Muslim; and (b) Roseanne was fired by her employer because it found her exercise of her First Amendment rights to be contrary their message/mission – which apparently is okay if you’re an NFL team owner. If you don’t like what DeNiro said, you can act like Roseanne’s boss (ABC TV) and not watch his movies or patronize his restaurants. So, no double standard.

5. “Those Hollywood elite don’t care about world peace!”

You know who ALSO doesn’t care about world peace? Donald Trump! Trump embraced the idea of reunification of the Korean Peninsula,
like, 15 minutes ago, for the sole purpose of currying favor with China and Russia and because someone told him he would win a Nobel Peace Prize if he did.

And don’t say he’s been working on it for months, because all he’d been doing through last fall and winter was calling the leader of North Korea names, some of which were kind of funny, but not necessarily helpful if peace and denuclearization is the goal.

I think, moreover, that if you asked DeNiro and the Tonys audience how they feel about denuclearization as one strategy for achieving world peace, they would probably say, “that would be super! You know what else would be great? If we didn’t alienate other nations which for decades have been important friends and allies!”

So, to those who think Trump’s “Give me a Nobel” stunt is worth applauding, all the while advocating for a return of Russia to the G7, I say, when our president has behaved like such a dick that Canada – CANADA – is pissed off, you don’t get to hold up Trump as the peacemaker.

6. “DeNiro has no morals so you shouldn’t listen to him.”

This one is my favorite: Some criticized DeNiro because he’s “been married twice and has a set of twins with a woman he is not married to and was linked to a protitution ring.” Given that Trump’s voters were able to get past the fact that he (a) ended his first marriage by having a very public affair; (b) got his mistress pregnant out of wedlock, and then divorcing her; and (c) has had a lot of sex with women in the adult entertainment industry, you would think Trump supporters would LOVE Robert DeNiro!

7. “Actors have no right to speak about politics because all they do is put on costumes and say lines that other people wrote for them.”

Sort of sounds like a politician, if you ask me.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter what DeNiro says, or that some people are annoyed. The arts have always led the way where social justice is concerned, and they will continue to do so, whether Trump like it or not. We are a far more liberal country now than we were fifty years ago, and in fifty years, we will be more liberal still. Those in government who attempt to legislate “morality” and “values” almost never succeed, and even in a country that, God help us, elected that asshat, a majority support equality for all regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. What’s more, most young people consider that issue pretty much closed, and guess what? They’re the ones who will run the country someday, just as most who were born in the fifties and sixties (those who aren’t assholes, anyway) are sincere in their desire for racial equality.

You can stoke your false outrage and pretend to be offended that someone you know to be a pretty outspoken person said something you didn’t like, or you can admit what we already know to be true: If you support Trump, you’ll find a reason why anyone who opposes him is the anti-Christ. Because that’s what y’all do.