Jul 26, 2014

Finding my 'maybe'

About three times this past year I've felt an odd and overwhelming need to give thanks. It's taken me to an interesting place.

Jul 15, 2014

The funnies: LTYM, Boston, 2014

It's not always easy to laugh freely. Daily annoyances, over-the-limit personal baggage and the sheer grind of Life, can preempt the handiest of smiles and reserve them instead for self-identified 'perfect' moments, which are invariably few and far between. So to tease them out of people, can be a Herculean task.

Jul 14, 2014

Un-stereotyping 'motherhood': LTYM Boston, 2014

I'm annoyed by the word Motherhood'.

It's too easily associated with over-simplistic tropes of noble self-sacrifice, loaded with implied superiority and dripping with saccharin sentimentality. The narratives seem reductionist at best, marginalizing at worst. As if you can't be capable of love if you haven't had a child. As if that there truly is no greater joy than parenting. As if the only path to wisdom and empathy tracks through a landscape of dirty diapers and sleepless nights. And by the way, what of the Fathers?

Jul 10, 2014

A whale named 'Hancock'

It's almost as if I never saw the whale...at least, if you go by the pictorial records of my days. 
The way memory seems to work is that the ones you preserve (visually or by retelling) stand in as summaries of the entire experience as the surrounding details fade, even the important ones. 

But this was the first of my many whale watching trips, where I had the ability to easily archive this joy on my handy phone camera. Yet I didn't click. Not much anyway.

Jul 8, 2014

Bonfires and things

The mop-topped little boy looked like he was about 5 years old. He stood quite still just outside their Yurt, a few hundred yards from our campsite.

   "Are you going to the beach?" he called to Oyon, who was the obvious focus of his attention.

Jul 2, 2014

Scratching on rocks

This beach is crowded with rocks of many colors. Some stack comfortably together and others tumble in the tide. There's a salty tang in every breath and prickles of hot sun on suncreen-less skin are so intense that sensation overwhelms any concerns about UV rays. It's promising to be a lovely afternoon on the island where we are camping. I'm starting to hear the quiet in my mind as my hands busy themselves with nothing.


Jun 16, 2014

Fathers Day

This Fathers Day my husband requested I not make a fuss on Face Book about anything around it in our home. There's too much sharing on social media these days for our comfort and though I blog about all things personal, even I'm developing a bit of a privacy reflex when it comes to the crowded world of FB.

Sugared almonds, fathers and brothers

North End, Boston

Many years ago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted a Pavlovian association for me with almonds. I'm sure many, many others too think of the bitter smell of cyanide and a tired man forfeiting his battle with disappointment ('Love in the time of cholera'). Yet I had strong memories of almonds in my life before, though I'd all but forgotten. 

They had to do with my father and brother. They were not bitter.

Jun 6, 2014

Threads that make me ME


The moods that flit across my face
Are way too slow to match the pace
    Of my tumbling streams of thought.



I've ideas, plans and then some more,
Dreams and stories in my store,
    Whether or not I ought.


For some may say my childhood asks
That grins and giggles be my tasks
    But I really don't agree.



My questions, tantrums, even whine,
Are threads that deftly intertwine, 
   To make me fully ME.


May 28, 2014

The anatomy of 'Greys'

“Sandra Oh is leaving!” screamed the blurb from my Facebook news feed recently.
“Sandra WHO?” I thought, dutifully clicking on the link. 
Turns out NBC's  prime-time drama, 'Greys Anatomy' hit the usual high finale note as the 2014 season ended. 


'All about my mom' book
Now, whenever I imagined blogging about TV, I saw myself indulging my immense 'West Wing' fixation, though it's passed into the annals of television history years ago. I imagined some delicious deep delving into it’s glowing idealism, deconstructing its themes and inferring its inner messages with an adolescent glee. 

Even my seven-year-old caught onto my mania. Mainly because I complained incessantly about my nasty addiction and how it was eating into my free evening time while spiking TV viewing hours into the stratosphere - compared to my usual near-zero baseline.



May 20, 2014

Shed-petals and a pause

Yesterday I saw a blossom storm. 

The GIS application I was working on had been frustrating me all day before finally giving in to my debugging efforts about 5 minutes before I had to leave for my train home. One of the biggest challenges of doing iterative problem-solving in my job is that its often 'two steps back for one step forward' as I test new methods and tools until suddenly - success is in sight. That moment almost always arrives just minutes before my train home. 

May 12, 2014

Peeling back the cover. Just a teeny bit.


On our computer hard drive is a video of my Mother-in-law (MIL) playing with 7 month old Oyon. He is struggling with the lid of a transparent plastic box full of his favorite blocks. His pudgy fingers are clumsy though, seem to have a mind of their own and the blocks remain tantalizingly close yet out of reach. He lets loose a series of those peculiar baby grunts that are pre-amble to frustrated wails. In our home video, my MIL waits a beat while he makes another futile attempt, then gently takes the box, pries open a lid corner and places it back within his reach. Baby resumes fumbling but now manages to work a fingertip under the crack then peel open the entire lid. A delighted coo follows, then the entirely satisfactory clicking of blocks being struck together then a  droolly silence as like everything else those days, they get mouthed. Between his previous struggles to get at these elusive toys and now, something shifted just enough to let him translate intent into action. I had just witnessed one of his first significant experiences with persistence and innovation, enabled by the natural instinct of a practical woman who might have smoothed his way entirely (by opening the box for him) but chose instead to help him help himself.

May 7, 2014

Other Mothers

As Mothers Day looms (Sunday, May 11th here in the US), my thoughts are wandering from my own motherhood to that of others. Perhaps I'm somewhat primed by the live reading I was recently part of - 'Listen To Your Mother'. I came away altered but more by the stories the other mothers shared, than by any catharsis of my own.

Every year I look around in disbelief at the complete immersion in Mother-love, Mother-respect and Mother-spending that this day brings in the U.S.

Apr 25, 2014

Boston Strong

There was an unusually grim faced gentleman across the street from me today in Boston as I (and he) waited for the 'Walk' sign. He caught my attention first with his grimacing face, second because he was wearing shorts on a day when the predicted high was just around freezing and third, because descending from his left shorts leg was a prosthetic limb.