Take One and Pass it Along

“Is The Nightingale good?” I asked Rosalie last month, when I noticed the bestseller on her nightingalecoffee table.

“It’s not great literature,” she said, “but, yes, it’s really good. Take it.”

I was startled, but as Rosalie gave the tour of her lovely Park Avenue apartment, I realized that she was serious. The apartment is beautiful, fabulous, even. It does, though, have New York proportions. “We are the only apartment in the building with outdoor space,” she said when she showed our group her lovely little deck and barbeque. Her son’s piano—we got a mini concert—is one octave smaller than standard to fit in their son’s room.

No space for every book one might want to read. So I accepted the book, happy to have something fresh to read on the plane.

“Isn’t it great?” a fellow passenger pointed at The Nightingale as I was getting settled in an exit row.

“Haven’t started it yet.”

“Oh man, I’m about halfway through and have been balling my eyes out.”

High praise, clearly.

It’s taken me a bit longer to read than usual…life has dealt a complicated hand lately. It’s nice, though, sometimes to escape the present, even if it’s to go back to Nazi times, as two sisters work in the French resistance. And I felt satisfaction as I identified the scene, on page 260, that caused my fellow passenger such emotion.

And now that I’m finished…

I’m going soon to arrive, in a few hours, to visit Myrta.

She’ll like it I think.

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Has There Been a Woman on the Moon YET?

When she was a little girl, Jessamyn asked me that question all the time. Sometimes every hillaryday for weeks.

It made no sense to her that 12 men, but no women, had walked on the moon. In her world things changed—improved–in very speedy fashion. Last week she was in the second grade, this week she’s in the third grade. Yesterday she had both front teeth; today she doesn’t. Last month training wheels, now she’s doing tricks on her bike.

So if there is an obvious inequity in the world, why don’t they just fix it?

Who “they” is and how it should be fixed was a more complicated question.

She knew that girls are just as smart as boys, smarter even sometimes. And she was very aware of inequities in the world.

“I didn’t know a man could be a doctor!” she said when I took her with me to my ob/gyn appointment. I smiled at that one. Her pediatrician was a woman, and both girls loved their dentist: Dr. Susan.

With Hillary now on the fast track to the Democratic nomination, maybe Jessamyn’s future daughter daughter have a whole different set of questions.

Like, “Why can’t I have ice cream for dinner?”

Posted in current events, Family, law, Life Experiences, Motherhood | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Has There Been a Woman on the Moon YET?

  1. Sue Stoffel says:

    funny your blog landed in my inbox by crazy coincidence, and I realized I knew you…
    I hope you and Jeff and the girls are all well. I have fond memories of our time in Zurich when the girls were so young. Laura is getting married in September, Amanda lives and works in LA for Gagosian, and Carla just graduated from Tufts Veterinary and is working for the OIE in Paris. What I remember most was your awesome Great Dane. Would be great to reconnect one day.

    • Karen Ray says:

      Wow…what a coincidence. Are you in Zurich or the US? I’m actually on a plane to Zurich–first time in years!–at this very moment. Will send you an email. Thanks for writing. Cheers, Karen

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Lululemon, etc.

First the confession: I have a lot of exercise clothes.

Partly I work out a lot, or tell myself I do, and also the line between work out wear, and street clothes has become ever more blurry.
The wicking zip front shirt in cranberry—thank you, Cullen!!—works as well for the park or the grocery store as for yoga. And oh the joy of stretch fabrics. One of my personal goals in life is to feel as comfy as I do in pajamas, without actually WEARING pajamas. Exercise pants accomplish that goal in an ever more stylish way.
Still, I was really surprised the other day when I pulled a pair of Lululemon black pants out of my drawer. The fabric felt great as I put them on but, When did I get these? I hardly ever buy from Lululemon. Partly, I can’t stop gagging at the prices. Also the skinny young things who work there are snotty to less-young me. “They’re nicer if you walk in wearing Lulu,” says Jessamyn.
But why should I have to coax people to be pleasant to me at stores where tights are over $100?
So, the few Lulu pieces I have are “emergency” purchases. “Emergency” being defined as once when I was on a trip and forgot exercise wear completely. Another time I came across a pretty teal top at less than half price.
Is 60% off an emergency? It can be.
But these were black pants. No emergency. They were comfy, and a really interesting geometry, if a different fit than I usually pick. I checked the size, but with Lulu the size goes away when you remove the tag.
But I didn’t want to be late for my exercise class with Jessamyn so stopped pondering and hustled off.
Several hours later, over appetizers with Shannon, Jessamyn looked at me in surprise.
“Hey, are you wearing my pants?”

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Some of you may have heard about a Basketball Game…

Well maybe you’ve been hearing about the big basketball games. Tonight is start of the gameNBA finals. Cavaliers vs. the Warriors. The other day was Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma Thunder.

Game 7.

I knew it was a big deal only because some people in my family care a lot. Some don’t. I’m a “don’t”, but try to go with the flow.  We are hanging out at my sister Alicia’s house. She hasn’t been feeling well. Sabrina and David want to watch the game. A lot. Sabrina keeps asking Siri for the score. “It’s a four point game,” says Sabrina, “Now it’s a six-point game,”

Alicia is asleep.

“Which remote does what?” asks David. There are three remotes on the table.

“You have to get the right source, I know that,” says Sabrina. They are pushing buttons willy-nilly to no effect.

I’m hopeless with this stuff, can barely turn on my own television, so, to be helpful, I text my nephew Prestin at college in Chicago. He texts back which remote control is which. Still no joy, so I give him a call. With an actual telephone. While David and Sabrina juggle the remote controls and their frustration, I go another route.

Fire up my little Macbook Air, dig the password to Xfinity out of my password vault and soon enough Sabrina and David are huddled around the baby screen of my computer.

I’m not watching.

But I am some smiling.

Sometimes persistence trumps ability.

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Mother’s Day Gear-up…

Well, “normally” we’d be in serious gear-up mode for Mother’s Day.

Shirley Carson Ray

Shirley Carson Ray

Alicia would have already ordered the flowers from the three daughters. Alicia likes flowers and loves getting to order them…always some variation on pink. We would reimburse for our shares later. I would be figuring out where we should go for brunch. Got to reserve early for Mother’s Day. Somewhere with food that everyone will like and not too noisy so that Daddy can hear.

Sabrina would do the head count. Will any of the grandchildren be available? or will it be just “us”.

None of that this year.

I had been worried about the first Thanksgiving without Mama. And certainly the first Christmas, but somehow I had missed the idea of the first Mother’s Day.

But am sure thinking about it now. The idea of loss is so odd. Some days are okay-ish and then someone asked me a basic question about family history and my mind instantly went to, I need to ask Mama about that.

Sigh. The funniest things catches one unawares. She would like that her ballet school is being transformed into a beautifully restored home. It was always her goal to “save” an old Victorian from destruction.

Enjoy this Mother’s Day…never know how many you get.


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