Saturday, March 20, 2010

other news of note

  • Matt got his official acceptance to go to Shanghai in the fall
  • We're starting to talk about wedding plans: what kind of wedding we want and where
  • It's spring!
  • Going tonight to see a new production of "Hard Times" at City Center, third in the series from the Pearl theater company (first two were "Playboy of the Western World" and "Misalliance." After tonight we'll get back to serious theater-going
  • my pain continues but grows stranger. The awful morning pain that lasts about 3 hours goes all the way from my back/hip to my foot, with particular intensity in my ankle. Very strange. We go back to the doc Tuesday but are no longer expecting to get a real answer. No idea where we'll go from here
  • starting to have a social life again; beginning to make plans to see all our friends. We still have to go slower than I like because my energy flags after a full day at work. But we'll pace ourselves
  • healthcare reform is heading to a vote tomorrow! We are so psyched
  • stories we've been following include: Bart Stupak, John Ensign, the shocking developments in Virginia, DADT. Jon Stewart's imitation of Glenn Beck Thursday night was brilliant. Stephen Colbert's take on Beck was pretty damn good too
  • It's house-showing season, starting tomorrow with a couple of people, to be followed by open houses in April. Think happy thoughts

Thursday, March 18, 2010

adventures in parenting

It's been an interesting week, with Matt home. He was great -- as up and cheerful as he gets, though there's a knot of anger inside him that doesn't seem to go away. We talked a lot about the similarity of our worldviews and coping mechanisms: the essentially malevolent universe, the need for escape clauses, safety nets and the importance of maintaining an outsider's status. He and Nick got along better than they have to date.

And it was a great week with Liv too. We celebrated her birthday at a great restaurant -- Del Posto -- with the three of us plus Liv's boyfriend and two close friends. Great meal and a great evening. She told me yesterday that it was the greatest meal of all of their lives. And Nick commented that he feels his relationship with Liv -- always good and strong -- has only gotten better.

But my two kids managed over the course of the week to never be in the same room at the same time: not once. That certainly eliminated the hostility and stress of recent visits, but left me with an odd feeling that I can only express in this way: I feel like I'm the mom of two only children. That's the best way I can describe the situation.

It could be worse, of course, if my relationship with either of the kids was shaky. With Liv and me there's never a problem. With Matt of course there have been issues and we had problems pretty much from the day we moved into this house (that he hated so much) until last year when it all finally broke open and we dealt with what had driven us apart.

So the good news is that both relationships are strong, but the peculiarity of the situation is always there and during this week it became clearer.

Never dull.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It's Sunday morning and for now the weather has calmed a bit. Matt came in last night and it's great -- even though our initial instinct was "it's been a long day; we'll talk tomorrow" we ended up sitting around the dining room table (the 3 of us, with Nick) talking politics and policy. Nick and I agreed that Matt strongly reminds us of Ezra Klein (our favorite baby wonk.) We shared a bottle of very good Malbec, a gift from a new employee, and hung out for a long time just talking. We'd done a lot of shopping so the house was full of food for Matt, which he always appreciates. So good to have him home. He's locked in for Manchester, and within about a week he'll know for sure about Shanghai.

Needless to say Olivia wasn't here when he got home, but their paths are sure to cross in the next few days. Matt will be out tonight with his dad, and we're cooking. I found a new recipe for an updated country captain stew that we'll make tonight for the three of us.

Nick and I are going to carve out a couple of hours today to make some plans: theater, our next Carnegie Hall series, our spring/summer plans to head up North. Yesterday got away from us, between work, Liv's SAT's and Matt's arrival. So today will be planning day. We may also see if we can throw in a quick trip to Belize for late spring.

I started reading "The Family" yesterday (the book Rachel recommends by the author she has on the show whenever one of the topics is the family, the fellowship or C street.) Absolutely terrifying. If even half of it is true the organization needs to be investigated by the IRS, the CIA (lots of freelance diplomacy and statecraft going on), the FBI and anyone else with a stake in this. It's shocking.

Another thing on our list of to-do's is to dismantle and move the table that Nick set up in the bedroom for my convalescence. I used the table while I was out for everything from work to meals, but now it makes me think of a sickroom, and it's time for that to end.

The pain continues pretty much as it's been for the last week or two. My energy is about back to normal, so I'm more productive, and I can plan around the worst parts of the day. But I'd love to know when and if this will end, whether once this heals I'll be good as new, whether my back will continue to be a problem. Still significant uncertainty.

One last thing: we watched a new episode of Frontline last night, about a journalist allowed to live with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Fascinating and as always with Frontline, very well done and highly recommended.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This was a week of re. Re-immersing, re-entering. Getting back to work and actually having my meetings in person instead of on the phone. Seeing people -- people! The problems I left were there waiting for me, and that's fine -- I'm ready to deal with them. Fresh air. City streets. All deliciously refreshing and welcome.

My energy is still variable, as is the pain. As has been the pattern, the worst times are morning and night; daytime is best. I'm good in the office for anywhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of the day, and I take care of everything else by phone.

Started PT yesterday. Went back to my old place on 56th Street. Inconvenient but wholly worth it. The last place I used felt more like a mill. My guy -- Bo -- seems knowledgeable and careful. He also suspects an inflammatory problem, plus lingering back issues. We'll see. I'm determined to be thoroughly compliant, as I have been since the surgery.

Liv is set for the summer at Berklee, and she's so psyched (as am I.) Her birthday's next week. She didn't want to do anything too elaborate, but we're doing a dinner for 8 or 9 at Del Posto in the meatpacking district. And I'm giving her a clothing allowance. She's as happy as can be. And she wants Nick and I at dinner (not Matt though; a bit awkward since he'll be in but we'll manage.)

Matt's in for a week beginning Saturday, which I'm really looking forward to.

Our social life is at a standstill for about another week. We'll keep this weekend quiet and then next week we have a lot going on: besides Liv's dinner we have our next Carnegie Hall concert (string quartet) on Friday, and a new production of "Hard Times" on Saturday. Really looking forward to it.

Watched the new episode of "House" last night, and I found the main character -- a patient/blogger -- interesting and relevant. She counted on reader response much more than I do (I have a lot of what Susie calls "silent stalkers") but I completely understood her need to record her life and to experience it through her writing.

Otherwise we soldier on. Lots to follow in the news: Massa's implosion (made even more interesting and sweeter by his appearance on Glen Beck); the healthcare happenings, the shocking developments against gays in Virginia, the gathering storm between the Supreme Court and the administration, the way the public option clings to life. Wow.

I ordered two books we heard about on Rachel: "The Family" and "Crazy for God." Nick and I are going to each read one, then swap and compare notes.

It's good to be re.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

inching forward

some updates:

  • finally, finally going back to work Monday, at least for part of the day. Can't wait. I've been doing more and more work from home, but it's not the same as being there

  • doc hypothesizes my ridiculously slow progress this way: that both he and the rheum suspect an underlying inflammatory condition (in his words: "we can't find it but we can smell it.") Something ought to explain why I'm such an outlier.

  • nice birthday dinner Wednesday night at Alberto's. My first time out and I managed reasonably well

  • Liv now has her sights directly on Berklee College of Music as her first-choice school. She's all set up for their summer program and now we'll have a laser-focused action plan to help her get in there. School looks amazing -- we got their brochure yesterday and Liv is reading and studying it, cover to cover. Her Starlight project will help, and it's an audition-based acceptance process. So everything I learned through Matt's admission process is unhelpful -- we'll learn a whole new way

  • We'll drive up to Boston in July to help her settle in for the program. Decided to go the day before and make an event of it. Will be great.

  • Matt's overseas adventure is falling into place; looks like he cleared all the hurdles and it's a go. Go Matt! He'll be in the week after next and can't wait to see him