June 22nd: Not for Wimps


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Last night was so hot that we decided to get some AC at the ER… yeah right…

In the morning, when I took Caroline took the doctor, the doctor expressed a concern about Rhabdomyolisis, a breakdown of muscle tissue which can result in kidney failure. Caroline’s urine came back negative, so we decided to observe it for the day. At dinner though I saw that Caroline was not doing well, with bad pains in her stomach and back.

I made a judgment call, (and the doctor had told me, “when in doubt, take her to the ER”) and was momentarily thinking back of my ectopic pregnancy, years ago. Jon was out of town, I was a month pregnant and started having bad cramps. Since Will was in bed (he was barely 2 at the time) and I was very early in the pregnancy, I decided to toughen it out. Like a home miscarriage. Not as cool as home birthing but since it was close to midnight, I didn’t feel like jumping in the car, dragging along Will etc etc. What could be so bad? Maybe a little worse than a really bad period. Thank God I did have the wherewithal to call the nurse line. Listening to my symptoms, the nurse told me to get to the nearest hospital pronto. She essentially saved my life (aside from the doctor who did the surgery) because if I had stayed home, I would have died from internal bleeding.

So Caroline and I headed out and arrived at John Muir’s ER at 8 PM where it was rush hour. Side note: America’s ER’s tend to be more overcrowded than their European counterparts because people without or limited insurance postpone going to the doctor and then end up at the ER, and often when it is too late. It was a dramatic evening: like the guy who walked in, in shock, towel pressed to his face, his face looking like roadkill from falling off his bike. There was a little girl throwing up and curled up in the fetal position who wasn’t seen until 11PM. Or the heavily overweight guy with chest pains who almost started crying when he told the intake nurse that his father had died of a massive heart attack. Or that black woman, who walked in funny, then was put in a neck brace and started having seizures. Or the little kid with the infection on his arm: The entire family entourage was there, most of them without teeth (meth?)– the toothless mother who went braless with jugs that reached to her knees, was wearing a garbage bag on her head as she was dying her hair green. Or the elderly mother, wheeled in by her daughter: shaking like a leaf, disoriented and holding a coffee mug to throw up in. The mug clearly wouldn’t do.

In comparison, Caroline’s suspected affliction looked tame. But the doctor took her symptoms seriously and ordered blood tests. They all came back normal. Phew! Better safe than sorry. Walking out  near midnight, I did wonder about the little girl, the woman with the seizures, the guy with the chest pain and the old woman who was so out of it. Even with Obamacare we’re nowhere near to where Europe and Canada are, but without it, these ER scenes will become progressively worse.

Give me your hungry, your sick– well under TrumpCare we can all go to hell, and the poorest among us in particular. I don’t recognize this country anymore. It feels like a Dickensian reality and soooo 19th century…

First thing this morning was Frankie at the vet’s — the guy still has a UTI, and his skin has a yeast/fungal infection for which I got pills, shampoo and a mousse. Also more tests– all at the tune of $400. There goes that Mendocino weekend Jon and I were planning…

As for the pills, shampoo and mousse, I think I may try some of it myself because I have some dry patches, too, and can’t afford to see a dermatologist (facetious again– just adding this because many people tend to believe my poetic license. Like when I told my students one day that the Dutch dropped the case system (that German has, i.e. the changing of the article and ending of adjective and noun, depending on its function in the sentence) because, as I lied, they were still angry about the Germans having confiscated their bicycles during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. And you know, when you touch a Dutchman’s bicycle, you mess with his soul. So when the Nazis grabbed their bikes, the Dutch went like ditch those cases. It only inhibits foreigners from learning your language.

Anyway, to make a long story short, hopefully we’re all on the mend in Nursing Home Wiener, where, soon, residents may start dropping like flies from sun stroke and heat exhaustion. As I’m typing this, drops of perspiration are beginning to affect my RAM so it’s time for a cold shower. I’m eyeing that shampoo and mousse for real.

Have fun with your Friday and stay cool!

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June 21st: Another Wimpy Day


So yesterday I was cursing the fact that my home office lacks AC, but today I was counting my blessings for having the freedom to work from home: Caroline came downstairs with excruciating muscle pain, so we saw the doctor and are waiting to see how things develop with her today but if they don’t improve, it’ll be tests.

But working from home also means being close to the Hayward Fault Line and today we felt two big jolts, which reminded me that living on the edge is just a way of life in California.

Nursing Home Wiener continues: Teddy had some off days (may have been the heat) and Frankie’s losing so much hair that before you know it, he’ll look like one of those scary naked cats.

Another vet appointment tomorrow.

His gait is also quite unsteady and when he descends the kitchen stairs, he doesn’t jump like his former self, but lets himself drop down the stairs, letting gravity take its course. It sounds like a bag of potatoes spilling down the stairs and it looks pitiful. Poor guy. At least I have one “patient” who can talk– the other two are awfully silent, unless they see cats or smell BBQ.

And then there is work; I have a humongo job to do in July and in the few spare moments, I’m still working on my campus novel to get it ready for publication. I also need to update you on Henry Miller… but where’s the time?

Yesterday, I got a call from an old friend with whom I worked at Rosetta Stone, and he just got his PhD at Duke and in between career advice and talking about Europe, we couldn’t help but trash academia and all the unethical things we’ve seen happening on our bucolic campuses. I mean, today another story broke about the former Chancellor at UC Berkeley who is getting sued by his housekeeper (for telling her to hide income from the IRS). The Dean of the Law School was sued too because he liked to cuddle a bit too much with his personal assistant (and you should see the guy, eek) but as far as I know, he’s still gainfully employed. The CEO (and fellow scumbag) at Uber on the other hand was forced to resign this week. Clearly, actions have no consequences when tenure is your last name.

To switch topics, I’m jealous of Will who’s Eurotripping all over the Old World and seems to do some modeling on the side:

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What can I say? When I was young, I don’t think I realized how good it felt to be young and have a fab body. Now the excess pounds have taken hostage of my waist since entering menopause. With my chronic shortage of time, I wish I could get some time back by trading in those pounds. Men just start to look leaner and more suave at this age– and yes, those little wisps of grey hair give them the maturity and gravitas we’ve been wanting to see in them long ago, like when we were dating them.

We, on the other hand, morph into bags of bones, double chins (horrors), bags over our eyes that make people ask Are you sick? or Are you tired? to which I want to reply: No bitch, I’m just getting old… And omg we sweat like everyone’s worst hot flash.

No wonder some men trade us in for Maseratis.

But I can’t feel sorry for myself because when I look at Frankie, and I see those pathetic grey patches of bald, wrinkly skin and the hair he’s dropping like he’s doing chemo, I know there’s no need to despair, because I still have great hair.

(I’m being facetious here…)

 

 

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June 19th: Back to the Bay for Father’s Day in the Haight


Caroline and I returned from the Netherlands on Friday, so we had the Father’s Day Weekend to recover from jetlag:

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I hit a funk of sorts, which coincided with an oppressive heat which was so intolerable that we escaped into the city yesterday, to visit the Summer of Love Exhibit at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

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Even though the West Coast Left came out of the hippie movement and Free Speech Movement, I think we’re possibly overstating the political significance of The Summer of Love.

Mind you, in 1967, there was no Internet or Facebook but somehow the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco became the central gathering place for the Summer of Love. Hippies from all over the United States fetched a Greyhound bus or hitchhiked to the Haight, and center of the so-called Diggers, a group (www.diggers.org) which was not unlike the Provo group and movement in Amsterdam.

Originally, they were a theater group but soon they became a political and anti-capitalist hippie movement that declared possessions and ownership the root of all evil. Wanting to abolish trade, they started Free Stores (much like the white and free bicycles in Amsterdam by Provo) all over the Haight where you could come and take what you wanted. Every day, there was free food in the park as well, and there was a free clinic for health care.

The ambiance was pretty groovy in 1967 but sadly, the druggies took over from the Diggers. At the end of 1968, there were more heads and freaks than hippies or true reformers and thus that special summer of 1967, its music, its flower children and its idealism turned into a winter of LSD. Hence maybe Eric Cartman’s quote who said that hippies wanted to save the world but all they did was smoke dope and play frisbee.

What has remained is the Victorian and many-colored homes in the Haight. The free stores are gone but the eclectic shops, vintage clothing, the smell of incense (as well as marijuana) are still there, and the atmosphere, albeit tarnished by mass tourism, is still somewhat palpable. Janis Joplin lived in the Haight, at 122 Lyon Street. Rumor has it that one room was painted black completely, and that, if you walked into her house, you stumbled over the empty bottles.

And then it was Monday… GoFundMe was launched in the Netherlands today, a feat I and my Dutch colleague helped make happen, so I’m moving on– new clients, more work, and hopefully a little less heat…

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June 14th: The Stillness of Vermeer… in Delft…


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Will is already shopping for PhD programs and wanted to see Delft, so we drove there yesterday — after the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, Delft was like walking back in time, exuding the stillness of a Vermeer painting. The sun broke through and look at that sky and the way it’s reflected in the canal. You don’t have to go to Venice to see this kind of beauty. Vermeer captured something similar of his hometown, in the famous picture and View of Delft, although this postage type stamp doesn’t do the original any justice:

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And I apologize: I started this blog when I had just arrived at my brother’s but being back home is trying to get most mileage out of our connections with family and shoring up ties between me and my siblings. With both my parents gone, I feel I’ve cut the umbilical cord with my native country and the relationships with my siblings have suffered, too, which happens when you live at the other end of the world. I’m typing this at home, on the couch, early in the morning, waking up from a deep, jetlag-induced sleep.

Jon picked us up from SFO and we were immediately plunged into the Trump intrigues and lawsuits and, having driven on Dutch roads and highways, I couldn’t help but feel shocked with the third-world feel of our roads and traffic congestions. Waking up, I read this article in the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html?mcubz=1.

Over the centuries, the Dutch have turned a national and existentialist threat into an opportunity and the US seems more and more mired into the past where 19th-century solutions are supposed to solve 21st-century problems. So after living more than 23 years in this country, I feel, for the first time, that Europe, not the US is where the future and enlightenment lie, and some of this has to do with the fact that countries like the Netherlands haven’t abandoned their people. There may be poor people in the Netherlands, but most of them have access to food, free education, opportunity and health care that won’t break the bank.

Why does a country like America have so many hungry children? Surely, we have the wealth to feed those children? I do blame our leaders from both parties. We have become a corporate “democracy”, soon to be oligarchy, and while based on freedom, justice and liberty for all, we’ve lost touch with our foundation and values and are becoming a country like Brazil, when we should be emulating Western Europe, a place our founding fathers ran from.

So am I looking to move back? Yes. Or rather, ideally, I would like to downsize at home and dream of having a small place in the US and a small place in Europe.

But first I’ll have to work more to earn that. Speaking of which, I got the green light from Peet’s to translate the Dutch biography of Alfred Peet (another Dutchman, or, as the NYT obituary suggested at the time: the man who taught Americans/Starbucks how to drink and roast coffee) into English and met with the journalist who wrote the book (in Amsterdam). The book should be available at Peet’s stores before Christmas, so stay tuned.

Here are some more pics from my trip:

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Bathroom in Delft– the tulip doesn’t need to be watered; it gives you water when you hold your hands underneath it.

And here is Will in Delft, pondering PhDs in Europe: TU Delft? Zürich? Oxbridge?

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Family dinners:

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The new, and adorable addition to the family, Tom:

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More family…

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And yes, photo bombing is universal:

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Big bro at a local bruin café:

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Walks at 10 PM, still light outside:

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And amazing skies:

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Back home, the stillness of Vermeer, the simplicity of Mondriaan and the blessedness of above skies were quickly dissolved by the noise and madness of a country in turmoil. We can do better… not by closing our borders and building walls, but by borrowing what’s good, and pragmatic and what works elsewhere.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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June 12th: Vincent (Van Gogh) Has My Ear…


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“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.”

~ Vincent van Gogh

This morning, Caroline and I went to see the Van Gogh Museum. We had been there years ago and the Museum has been modernized, but I was totally bumming out on the whole experience as so few works of his were on display; there was a part about the self-portraits, people who influenced him and painters whom he influenced, a part about his letters, and a great big part of selling Vincent paraphernalia. The Vincent van Gogh Museum has prostituted Vincent and it made me sad.

Over dinner with Will and Caroline we talked about this and Will had been there earlier this week: “Granted, I was a little high, so it was amazing…” he said, which he quickly qualified with “I liked how the different parts had a narrative, and it was about following the narrative and combining them with the paintings.” Point well made. Or maybe he just made that point because he wanted to order another beer and I was paying for dinner…

I was pleased to see Vincent’s letters have gained a larger prominence. Henry Miller loved those letters and has named Vincent as one of his big influences. The letters are not just letters from one brother to another, or the letters of a painter but they are literary. I remember reading them quite a while ago but I was equally impressed. Good writers may also paint but may not paint well and good painters may write but may not write as well as they paint, but this didn’t apply to Vincent. He wrote just as well as he painted.

Sadly, he hardly sold a painting or made any money from his letters.

And now, the lines in front of the Van Gogh Museum are almost as long as those in front of the Anne Frank Museum, and the once-obscure little Vincent may well be bigger than Rembrandt and Vermeer combined. What is Vincent’s appeal? Is it the mental illness? The ear? The explosion of color when he gets to the south of France? Is it the story of the unrecognized genius? Or is it that damn Don McClean with his starry, starry night?!

Anyway… after all the Vincent-mania, I dropped Caroline off at the Airbnb (she got my sore throat now) and I headed over to (Dutch) friends who, after 20 years or so in the US, just made the move from the US, back to the Netherlands.

Yes, they got out in time…

They live on a lovely house boat among grazing cows, voluminous Dutch skies (Marsman: de lucht hangt er laag) and country quiet. It was great to talk about new beginnings, impressions, ups and downs, life after America and the fear we both expressed, i.e. not wanting to grow old (and wanting) in the States. It’s not a country for old men. So yes, I’m checking real estate ads over here, and weighing the option of moving back. For real. Or rather, if we can afford it…

Opening the old laptop after dinner, I was flooded again with work requests — the kinds that say EOD (END OF THE DAY), meaning they have to be finished by the end of the day, but it was already my end of the day, while the day had only just started in California. Yikes. And I needed to fucking blog, and I haven’t even told you about my magical meeting with Peggy Stein of the Indische Kwestie yesterday, but that will find its sequel on and through The Indo Project. Launching into my work files, I thought back of Vincent, that sad little ear and his drive to paint and paint and paint, which came to an abrupt end with a gun shot to the chest.

I do have a wimpy life, compared to that, so stay tuned for more blog entries from a wimpy adult…

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June 11th: When Your Kids Start Behaving like the Locals, Maybe it’s Time to Go Home…


After a lovely time in The Hague, seeing the Mondrian exhibit at the Gemeentemuseum, stopping by on the beach at Scheveningen, but especially: overdosing on baby Tom:

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it became time to pick up Will from Schiphol. He was returning from South Africa, a life- altering trip or so it seems from the stories (and the missionary beard). Btw he wants a haircut and we all say: WHY?! We waited for about an hour at Schiphol but finally, he came through the doors:

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The dude in the rear (on the right) is probably thinking it might be his Dutch girlfriend who’s welcoming him home, but it’s his little sis. And here Will is, looking cool in the elevator:

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We drove to Amsterdam where Will is staying with his cousin Tim, and Sophie, and Fred, the amazing dachshund, who barks at you when you look him deep in the eye… Then Caroline and I went to our Airbnb in Amsterdam Zuid, which is to die for. The kitchen is better equipped than mine at home but parking fees are horrendous.

Will joined us later, biking like a true local and when we set out for dinner (Caroline and I in the car) and Will on his bike, Caroline could not resist the temptation and lean out the window when passing Will from the rear, and yelling KLOOTZAK! (which means asshole, for the uninitiated). Right. When the kids start behaving like the locals, maybe we overstayed our welcome already…

Dinner was lovely, outside, and the kids were marveling at how light it stays at night. All I can say: we’ve really lucked out with the weather, thus far. Then the kids went clubbing and I went to bed, feeling old and boring. Although clubbing really wasn’t my deal at their age either, so I’ve always been boring.

Now I’m getting ready for my meeting with Peggy Stein to interview her with regard to the Indische Kwestie (for The Indo Project), and I probably should work for the rest of the Sunday, as well Monday and Tuesday, which means that I haven’t fully assimilated yet, because when you walk downtown on a weekday, whether it’s The Hague or Amsterdam, the locals all seem to be on vacation, but I think it has to do with the large part-time economy of the Netherlands (read: people here know all about life/work balance).

Other impressions? The Netherlands is still overcrowded, although their extreme talent at organization doesn’t make it feel like Bangkok, we should have an Albert Heijn in America (let’s sacrifice one large Starbucks for that), produce and flowers, like these

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are still dirt cheap, Mondriaan’s early work is just as interesting as his abstract stuff:

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summer birds sound different from the ones in California, people are better about picking up dog shit these days, and the Dutch will still offer their opinion even if you didn’t ask for it. Also, my son shouldn’t be buying beers from a stranger in Vondelpark, and paying ten euros for two beers is ridiculous. The guy was so grateful that he offered some weed to go with, but lo and behold, Will declined. What did I say? My kids are becoming more Dutch than the Dutch themselves, because yes, as I told my American students at the time, the Dutch do way less weed than Americans, even though Americans tend to think all the Dutch are potheads when they can paint like Mondriaan and Van Gogh.

I’m signing off because I’ve wasted way too much of your time already…

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June 8th: Farting Seems a Trend on International Flights


So Caroline and I flew Virgin and really had no complaints as far as the flight went (professional crew, and even the food was somewhat decent), but when you’re cooped up with fellow humans for 10 hours, I think it’s really rude to turn the cabin into your own personal fart zone.

It was also really upsetting for the Edwina with the red psycho hair in front of us to steal Caroline’s blanket when she took a bathroom break (no Caroline had not been farting). As a result, Caroline hardly slept a wink and in Manchester where we changed flights, the flight to Schiphol was delayed because it was windy in the Netherlands (isn’t it like always?). We rented a nice car and we were marveling at the quality of the roads– this happens when your own country is becoming a Banana Republic and doesn’t care about potholes anymore. It seems a particular Californian problem btw.

In The Hague, we’re staying with my sis and Caroline was crashing during dinner– I stayed up too long, talking but then I haven’t talked to Ellen and Pieter and Olivier in years, so hey, it’s all good and no one was farting. The delicioso meal and fab cheeses after dinner did give off a scent but that’s the good kind, although my dad always used to crack that certain runny French cheeses smell like a nun, coming by on a bicycle… Also, if the wine were really good, he’d say it was like an angel took a little pee on your tongue. Yes, the Dutch, so earthy…

I woke up at 4 AM and checking my phone, I noticed I needed to do some work, so three hours later, I tried to sleep some more but wasn’t very successful.

This morning Caroline and I walked through the city center of The Hague– zombie-like though not too out of it to notice how men stare at Caroline, up and down, in a sexual, lascivious sort of way– gross. I feel like stepping in, staring back at them or saying (like my grandmother used to say): “Is she wearing something that might be yours?”

Or maybe I should just lift my rear and fart at them.

Yes, I left Holland as a young woman, and now I’m fifty & fat and returning with a grown-up daughter– it’s a different world for sure…

The flowers, on the other hand, are still out of this world:

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June 5th: Holland Bound…


2017-06-05_1331The truth is… We miss Will. Due to his grueling schedule at Northeastern and the coops he has to do, we hardly see our boy.

On his way back from South Africa, he said he’d spend some days in Holland, and since I haven’t seen my relatives in three years, I booked a flight with Caroline for a little June reunion with Will and the family.

I may have to work for some of it, but also hope to take a little time off to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Mondriaan exhibit in The Hague.

We’re leaving tomorrow, so I should be packing.

On the plane, I hope to  work on my manuscript of When the Ivy Prospers, so hopefully I’ll have a final draft by the end of this summer, so that I can spend more time with Henry Miller by the Fall. Please check out my GoFundMe campaign here.

Please also check out my Henry Miller blog and my last entry on Miller’s mother:

I’ll definitely be blogging from the Lowlands, so stay tuned.

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May 31st: Watch The Keepers (Netflix)


This week I became absorbed with Netflix’s crime documentary The Keepers about the sexual abuse of a priest who got away with it for years by being moved to another school/church (Remember Spotlight?).

At one of the schools, a nun and teacher, Cathy Cesnik, found out about it and was ready to go to the police, but was killed in 1969, a murder that was never solved. I will not say too much about the documentary as I highly recommend you watch it yourself, but there were similarities with my own story, especially when it comes to victim blaming and the power of our institutions who prefer to look the other way and don’t have the best interest of the people at heart.

When perpetrators don’t get caught (and some of them may actually get promoted), they will repeat offend and their circle of abuse will widen, claiming more victims. You just have to wonder how people who look the other way (and thus enable the perpetrator even more) can live with themselves. They are part of the system rot and just as accountable for having failed the system and themselves. I’m not discounting that speaking up/whistle blowing comes with its own risks as this documentary showed so well: The hero of the story, the nun who was killed because she knew too much and was about to go to the police, showed that risk, and so did the victims who ended up suing the church. But for people in positions of power not to be receptive to complaints or discount them because they don’t want to question the status quo or ruffle certain feathers– those folks don’t deserve to be entrusted with that power and need to be held accountable, too.

The bigger picture here is the problem of intentional concealment and of systems /people having so much power that they can call the shots and, consequently, can do so much damage in such a short time that the due diligence of justice, of collecting evidence etc. etc. can never keep up with all of this foul play. This leads to widespread corruption, for if one potential abuser sees how another abuser is above the law (“When you’re famous, they’ll let you do anything…”), it encourages, if not promotes a culture of abuse (and silencing) which seemed to have been the MO of the Catholic Church and, in my case, the MO of the patriarchy of our academic institutions as well.

In autocratic regimes, any effort to reveal or disclose crimes and misdemeanors will be delegitimized, attacked and silenced. Our commander in chief engages in this every day, by sending out tweets into the world that constantly delegitimize the press, and attack the facts and the various investigations. The Trump administration has even openly said it wants this Russia story to go away, and no, not because it interferes with governing, but because it might implicate them. The Catholic Church engaged for years in obstruction of justice, leading to more altar boys being fondled and more Catholic school girls being raped. If we let this happen, if the GOP stands by condemning none of those insane tweets, the GOP, just like those people in power I referred to above, are part of the rot and corruption while we, the citizens of this country, who entrusted them with our vote, will be fucked over and over again.

Watch The Keepers, be aware of the analogy, and shudder…

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May 29th: Giving Back…


On this Memorial Day, “giving back” seems an appropriate topic, so I want to share the following with you. When my kids were growing up in Orinda, which is a sheltered and affluent community in Northern California just outside of the city of San Francisco, I was a little concerned about the bubble we were in. With Orinda being very white and with fellow parents who were definitely more well to do than we were, I didn’t want my kids to think that Orinda was the norm. Also, having grown up in Europe myself, I didn’t want my kids to think that America was the world (as in the misnomer “World Series” which isn’t a world series at all).

In California, there’s an additional luxury/first-world problem, since we have it all in this state: beaches, mountains, great climate, cosmopolitan cities, some great universities, good wine, delicious food and incredible scenery. (Caroline just told me the other day that the people are better looking here than in the MidWest, but I can’t vouch for that).

In fact, we are a bit like the French in what we have, and that can lead to a certain complacency and national arrogance when it comes to your sense of place.

When the kids were little, we tried to tell them to open their minds and took them traveling, but one summer, Jon and I were sorely disappointed that when we proposed that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia, the kids balked, said it would interfere with their “social schedule” over the summer, and Caroline threw a hissy fit when she heard how long the flight was going to be. We were disheartened. Were our kids spoiled rotten already? My heart sank when I heard the fierce opposition of the kids over the dinner table. I mean, we got a great deal on the tickets but traveling to Australia was going to cost money regardless, and I feared dragging two pubescent ingrates all over Australia (and having to pay for it in more ways than one…).

I mean this was them on a ferry in the harbor of Sydney:

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And we were so glad we paid for this bus tour around Melbourne:

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Fast forward.

For parents who have kids this age and who feel the same way, or feel the same fears, things truly do change when your kids become adults. Both Caroline and Will have changed into caring, compassionate adults who no longer shun travel, they don’t fret over long flights nor do they hesitate to give back. Since going off to college in Chicago, Caroline has even mentioned once or twice how she’s realized she is very privileged and how grateful she is for getting the chances that she’s getting. Will’s the same way. He has been given a great education and is showing the stamina and resolve to want to be a success, but is also committed to giving back.

This week, I was touched seeing these pictures of Will working in the townships of Cape town, South Africa:

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Seeing these pictures, I suddenly remembered how Will at 3, was tearing down the corner at King Sooper’s in Denver, when we lived there. Denver is a pretty white city, or was when we were there, so seeing Asians or blacks was rare… so… when a big black guy stepped into Will’s path, almost colliding with the toddler, Will looked up and said a loud-mouthed: “Yikes!” I was so embarrassed and a trifle worried, for was my kid a racist?!

Well, seeing Will’s pics and work in South Africa, helping hundreds of people with the chance to have cheap/free glasses made me realize I didn’t raise a racist, or a spoiled, provincial kid. He turned out exactly the way I wanted him to be: Willing to broaden his horizon, eager to travel and giving back. But he was also giving back to me– he gave me the opportunity to be proud of him and the person he has become. I cannot take much credit for it, because raising kids really is a crapshoot and all you can do is do your best and hope and pray, but when they land on their feet like this, and, on top of that, are willing to look past the privileged place they call home, you realize life gives back, too. Humbled and grateful, I’ll sign off here.

PS I owe you a Henry Miller blog. Hope to write one soon about Henry and his mother and what she meant for his feelings about art and creating art. If you haven’t seen my GoFundMe page yet on the money I’m trying to raise to fund the travel to find Henry’s letters and manuscripts all over this country (in research libraries), you can find it here: http://www.gofundme.com/henrymillerrocks

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