Wednesday, December 28, 2016

another year

The holidays will always be the hardest I guess. Christmas was our big day. In New York, we visited with family and friends, but once we moved here our celebrations were small and focused around our immediate family.

Of course, the family has grown and expanded in wonderful ways. Seeing Charlie begin to understand the magic of Christmas gives me such a pang. How much Jim would have delighted in him, spoiled him rotten.

Jim is always in our hearts no matter the day. Every time I see this old photo I'm upset that a great shot was out of focus. Then I realize that this is just how he will always be for us - just out of reach, but always in our hearts.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

away alone

             I'm back from the writer's conference in Salem. There would have been flowers waiting in my room when I got there. Gingerale and fresh strawberries, too.
         The election happened while I was there. On a dozen counts, I missed Jim so much this week. So much to share, needing his level feedback so badly. Swinging between miserable, heartbroken horror for our country and then the salvation of a small, intense gathering of other writers wrestling publicly with issues they were having with their work - I got back to my hotel room one night and actually picked up the bedside phone, his number front and center in my mind. First I laughed, then I cried.

     I went to a professional tarot reader while I was there. A first for me. I told myself I needed the experience for the book. I got what I was really after. Along with a kitchen sink full of admonitions of avoiding negative people, she asked me who the Big Laughing mustache was and told me that he's always with me, encouraging me to keep working on my art and to be there for the babies. I didn't need to pay someone for that, still....

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

thanks FB

The "memories" function of Facebook will just gut me on some days. From September 19, 2013 :

"There is rumbly laughter coming from the next room. Music to my ears."

That memory was music to my heart today.

Found Jim's passport from his school trip to Spain in '71.  Ladykiller. yes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

echoes from the past

My sister-in-law, Dawn, sent an envelope of photos yesterday. Many were copies that I sent to Jim's parents through the years. Lots of the boys school studio pictures. A handful, like these, I have never seen since they were first taken. In some cases, never. These two took my breath away.
Jim, meet Jake  6.2.85

Monday, July 18, 2016

give me strength

I study this fine face and I see that little crease of worry between his eyes and I remember promising him that I would handle things.

Now I have to remind myself that we will handle stuff together, as a family.

We will be alright.

But I miss you, babe.

Monday, June 6, 2016

His angel

Now that Charlie has his first "big boy" haircut, he looks more like Jake every day. This pictured startled me yesterday.

Jimmy is watching over Charlie these days.

Friday, June 3, 2016


We would have had a real bash for this one. Tomorrow would have been our fortieth wedding anniversary.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Some days I miss him so much it's hard to breathe. Hard to want to breathe.

Monday, April 25, 2016

the videos

1991 Christmas at Nanny's...oh, the HAIR!
The box arrived over a week ago and I've only looked at two of the tapes.

We have very few videos of our family. For a short while I had an ancient super 8 camera and there are a handful of short, jerky films that have been put onto VHS.

The box my sister sent down has a dozen tapes from my Dad's collection starting with the Christmas morning my brother got him that huge video camera 1990.  A scene: Jimmy is sitting on the couch, Jake is bouncing in and out of the frame, Colin nearby engrossed in some gift. Jimmy tells a dirty joke smoothly editing it for mixed company. It was hilarious and so wonderful to hear his voice.

My task is to convert all these tapes to digital...daunting and wonderful at the same time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

the fun begins

Charlie is fast coming up on language, his way first.

When the boys were toddlers we spent a lot of time discussing just what the hell they were trying to tell us. They clearly had needs and opinions that they wanted us to understand, and it was up to us to figure out what "ardibury, bamagor and tunka" meant. Jakes main inquisitor was "Zat?". You could almost hear Jim's Bronx accent.

He would also be happy to take you by the hand and drag you to the scene of whatever was going on. I can see Jimmy looking at me for help. I had none most of the time.

It was always a delight when one or the other of us finally figured out what Jake was trying to tell us so earnestly. He had an elaborate experimental language going on with lots of gestures,  complete with looks of disgust.  I can remember Jim trying so hard  to keep a straight face while Jake was on a babbling tear....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Facebook dished up this as a memory today, but I'm a little mortified to share it with the world again.

It's old and sweet and I'll just keep it here.  Back when Mama was a hottie and Daddy was crazy.

I have no idea where we were or what the occasion was but we got a lot of mileage out of that dress and his (wedding) suit.

Friday, January 8, 2016

his Opus

       There are some who might think that I'm running out of things to say, to post here. On the contrary. It's just that the things that I am thinking and feeling are so deep, so personal. It's like I can hear his voice again after a long silence. Not just the youthful exuberance and laughter. It's the steady confident voice that kept me grounded, keeps me moving forward and comforts me.

I watched all of "Mr. Holland's Opus" this morning with Charlie. Anything with music is OK by him. The first time Jim and I watched it I thought it was entertaining  if just a tad sappy, but I'm a sucker for Richard Dreyfus.

Over the years, I discovered it was one of Jim's favorite guilty watches; he'd let it run any time it was on. I see these things we once shared with different eyes now and a more open heart.Today I paid close attention and recognized some of it's appeal.

I came in on the scene where he meets his newborn son. How he was transformed by the moment. One thread of the story was about how a man had to set aside his passion for making music to be responsible and care for his family. Good thing for all of us that Jim's passion, after family, was his work.

The movie chronicled the teacher's whole career and gave us bits and pieces of our history along the way in snips of film and popular music, something else that Jimmy loved.  If you haven't seen it and plan to someday, don't watch the following clip - it's the last ten minutes of the film.