LATEST BLOG POSTS (all categories)

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I can say, definitively, that the perfect number of children to have wasn’t two. My mom should have had ten children. Or maybe zero. But two was way too little. Or probably much too much.

My mom taught me about life through her example, as most moms do. I learned from her amazing successes. But I learned even more from her spectacular failures. The retrospective of my mom’s life that I play in my head is like watching that old Wide World of Sports commercial – “The thrill of victory. And the agony of defeat.” The one where the skier goes flying off the trail and hurtles into the crowds. In my mom’s case, the agony of defeat was a slow-motion spill across decades.

When Mom was eighteen, she experienced the thrill of victory by enlisting in the Women’s Army Corp. That’s right. My mother wore combat boots. She was also a five-two, double-D, red-headed bombshell who looked like some sexy-adorable mash-up of Marilyn Monroe and Pippi Longstocking.

Partly, Mom joined the Corps because she was smart and she was poor. But mostly, she joined because becoming a WAC was an...

Holderness Fathers Day Video

I write this on Father’s Day in honor of my own dad, the King, and of Galahad, my Prince Charming. I was doing my deep research for this essay on Facebook, where most of my deep research is done, and I happened upon a Father’s Day video created by The Holderness Family. I usually find their stuff really entertaining since the couple is charming and they create amusing parodies. This one, though, had home videos sent in by their viewers of dads doing goofy dad things with their kids. And it got me. Chills and eyes stinging a bit with tears.

You’ll see if you go to the video, that these are average-guy-dads – not models. They are in various states of average-guy-dad dress. In fact, they are mostly wearing schleppy shorts and t-shirts. They are average-guy dads doing average-guy dad things by playing with their kids: dancing, jumping on a trampoline, swimming, biking. Yet I got a little thrill by watching them. I don't think I'm the only one thrilled as the video has racked up almost 8,000...

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I say this is part 73 assuming there will be a part 74. How can I be so sure? Because I know that I am human and prone to fucking stuff up. I’m not exactly sure of the exact number of fuck-ups I’ve had … those kind that make your stomach drop … where you start out of a sleep groaning that it was not, after all, one of those bad naked/late-for-work/I-don’t-know-the-words-to-the-aria-I’m-singing-on-stage dreams. My ever-so-precise algorithm was to take the average of slightly more than once a year and add a pretty heavy dose for my undergraduate career.

My latest screw-up starts with my NeighborFriend texting me to ask something very simple.

We are in Cabo. I have our mail on hold, but would like to send something to you so it doesn’t arrive too late. We’ve got tickets to Muse on Saturday night.

No problem. The price will be an invite to Cabo next year.

Ha ha. Wink. Nudge. Except … it ended up being a problem. In the back of my mind, I tuck a little flag to remember to be on the lookout for a package for the...

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“I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.” ~ Letter from Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf

Those of you paying close attention will immediately take note that this is the same Vita Sackville-West to whom Violet Trefusis (the inspiration for the blog name) was writing love letters.

The hussy! The female philanderer! <Come on, Maddie … Read the title of this blog entry again.> The perfectly normal, if bohemian, woman. For those following the thread, this was the progression: Violet got to Vita a few years before Virginia did.

Now, lest my friends read this blog and think I will declare my undying adoration and ask them to run away with me to France the next time we meet, it is somewhat unlikely (dammit - France with my friends sounds outstanding!) However, I do admit to having strong feelings for a blessedly large number of women. They are my friends. They are my tribe. They support me and I hope that I provide some small measure of...

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I just finished this book and I thought it was fascinating. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it in other blogs. Its (very well researched) premise is that our agrarian society has messed up a good thing.

Yep - lots of fodder for some blog topics. One topic is that the bonobos (apes that are our closest relations according to DNA evidence) are matriarchal and peaceful. Sex is used for social bonding and to settle differences ... seemingly to the mutual benefit of all. Boy bonobos aren't picking fights because ... well, there is enough to eat and plenty of sex.

Do I think we should be changing the very fabric of our own culture to imitate our ape cousins? Well, yes, maybe I do. BUT I know that isn't ever going to happen. So girlfriends, you need not grip your husbands quite so tightly when you come visit. I am highly unlikely to invite you both in and suggest we run upstairs to the bedroom for a group howdy hump.

However, it does make me sad, and somewhat wistful for an age where there was enough. Where there weren't haves and have nots. [And believe me,...

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Something’s gotta give, right? To create enough space in my life to try this writing thing, I gave up a pretty big director-level corporate job. That was a scary decision for me. I've been working full-time since I graduated from college 763 years ago. I define myself by my career. I got a pointy-headed advanced degree for my career. For a few years, I traveled 5 days a week for my career. I postponed kids until I only had two ancient eggs left because of my career.

My husband, Galahad (shockingly, not his real name), and I had lots of discussions about this. We have been married for over 25 years. Since we were DINKs for 13 years before we procreated, our finances are in pretty good shape. The house and cars are paid for and we carry no debt. Galahad has a good job with a large tech company. It’s all roses, right? Why in the hell am I even worried? I should be sitting on a couch with nubile beauties fanning me and offering me peeled grapes.

Except … there’s that retirement thing. Those savings were a little...