Community, Friendship

Moving on.

The dog threw up at five this morning. Then again at seven. She won’t have a name until the three loads of laundry are finished. And I swear she can’t reach the Halloween candy.

My Seattle pied-à-terre entrance is in back of a house and up thirty five steps. I have had all of three trick-or-treater’s in the last three years. But for 364 days of the year I store a purple plastic pumpkin, bloody hand decal and illuminated spider web for just this one night.

Why? I continue to claim this is my least favorite holiday. But consider the one or two faces that struggle up the steps clutching wands, gowns, masks, bags of candy, oversized pants, dogs. Then the rifling hands. Then the “Thank you!” and thundering feet descending back down the stairs, dashing off to the next house, fast, as my back yard might be a little bit SCARY.

All Hallow’s Eve is heartwarming. And brings back memories of Disney princesses, Robin Hoods and Ninja Turtles of days gone past, of borrowing bits of costume from across the street, contriving swords out of boxes, spraying glitter on a line-up of star wands, of trailing the neighborhood pack of kids with other parents, keeping a respectable distance sometimes with warming libations tucked in our pockets. It’s good memory of friendship, taking care of one another, of October leaves and the harvest moon.

This afternoon in the pouring rain I will carve a pumpkin, light it with a Glassybaby (of course) and wait. Even for one smiling princess. And remember Robin Hood in his green tights filched from his sister’s dresser. Of Princess Jasmine. And remember community is the backbone of who we are, regardless of political party or race or sexual identification. We are the people who will make tomorrow happen, together, raucously, maybe with a wand, hopefully with a ballot. We will move on and make it work. We always have.

Then Olive and I will turn off all the lights, the universal signal that this eve is over and go to bed at eight due to our early day, full of good thoughts and hopefully a memory of that knock, knock, knock at the door and a chance to meet a new neighbor.


Olive, Halloween 2015. She wants to be Newt Gingrich this year. I suggested we reuse the same costume.



I have an unusual relationship with chairs.

Forty years ago, after falling off a horse and bodily taking down a post + rail jump, I was x-rayed (pre-MRI days) and was diagnosed with a cracked vertebrae. Twenty years later, countless MRI’s, three herniated discs and three children later, I had the cutting-edge surgery that stabilized my L-3, 4 and 5. But for four decades, I have had to adjust to a very different center of gravity.

Which leads me to chairs. And life.

I sit on the edge. Otherwise, my left leg goes to sleep or my sciatica barks. The trick is to sit at a certain angle, with butt bones hard against the edge, feet planted flat, straight upright. No slouching for me. In restaurants I make a beeline to the seat against the wall so I don’t trip the wait staff. At home, a very odd assortment of hard backed chairs, usually designated to the kitchen table or hallway are my choice for movies. In the kitchen I mostly stand. On airplanes I suffer and fight tooth and nail to book an aisle seat for stretching breaks.

Sometimes at dinner parties I switch the placecards.

I have to make demands for the best arrangement and be fearless about getting my way. So I don’t suffer. So those around me enjoy my company. Apply a little fearlessness so I can accommodate this alternative center of gravity and find peace.

Today, I worry for a friend and feel a sense of vertigo. I find myself on the edge of a high-backed red stained wooden chair, perched, searching for fearlessness, to find my center of gravity and core of faith. I watch my bird feeder teeming with birds and cast a prayer out to my friend, her family and the doctors that make her care team who are making difficult decisions.

I wish them fearlessness: Because even if no one agrees or you change the seating arrangements, you must sometimes be fearless to make things right.


Olive prefers the couch.




How To Be Fearless