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This Is Where I Leave You

When Judd Foxman’s father dies, he and his brothers Paul and Philip and their sister Wendy gather with their mother for 7 days of shiva. Judd has discovered his wife in bed with his boss, his brother Paul and his wife are angrily trying to have a baby, Philip brings home another woman but this time she’s a 44-year-old life coach, not a 21-year-old barfly, and Wendy’s husband spends all his time on the phone, making deals and barking orders. The next 7 days are, predictably, painfully raw, tragedy and comedy in a blender. I actually really liked this book and was shamefully in the corner of every dysfunctional Foxman. But it reads like a movie in every single way. I found that distracting. And, indeed, it has been made into a movie with Jason Bateman as Judd and Tina Fey as Wendy and Jane Fonda as their mother. NICE casting!

Divided We Fall

Just spent a quiet Wednesday afternoon watching this very affecting film by activist Valarie Kaer, in which she takes to the road in the aftermath of 9/11 to examine hate crimes against the Sikh-American community.  So disturbing.

Big weekend

I feel like something big happened here this weekend.  Ben got a haircut.  His shoulder-length hair was swept into a ponytail and CHOPPED OFF.  By choice. And this is not the biggest part of it.

One of you may remember that Ben decided to be an attorney for Halloween last year.  He decided in September and never wavered, spent Halloween trick or treating with a borrowed briefcase for his loot.  So after a year of watching Dr. Who episodes with Karl, we were not surprised when Ben decided to be Dr. Who (to be more specific:  David Tenant as Dr. Who, the 10th Doctor) and stuck with it, but we were surprised when he said he was going to cut his hair to do it. Surprised and holding-our-breath delighted.  We’re fine with long hair. We’re not fine with long hair a kid won’t wash or brush.   I made the appointment in September and when the day came around, Ben went willingly to the shearing. He hasn’t had short hair since he was 5.  FIVE.  When I saw his neck and his shoulders — his ears, oh Lord — I wanted to lick him. I really did.  It was like seeing my 5-year old baby all stretched out and with better vocabulary.  He looked an entirely different boy to us, all long-lashed eyes and enormous red lips, pale skin and long neck.

But it turns out that was not the big thing.  The big thing was how he has handled it.  On Saturday, after the hair cut, he was very morose.  He’d made a mistake, he looked like a girl (really? more like a girl than when you had LONG HAIR?) and he never should have done it.  Lucy said she knew this was going to happen.  She is very wise and not blinded by optimism like her silly parents.  It was even worse on Sunday morning when he woke up and realized he really was stuck this way.  But I noticed that there was no storming, none of the previous day’s over-the-top language.  He was sad in the car on the way to church and we all walked in looking no doubt like our dog had died.  None of us can stand when one of our herd is sad.  It makes us ALL morose.  Ben huddled next to Karl in church, removing his hood as he sat down.  And then I heard him singing the hymns and it was the sweetest sound.  I love my son with rabid devotion, but that kid can hold onto an unhappiness with…  well, rabid devotion.  To hear him singing within 24 hours of letting his main identity piece go was nothing short of a miracle.  Well, I was in church so let’s call it a miracle.  He seemed better as they day wore on and this morning, when Lucy (perhaps the most tormented of us all by any of Ben’s sadnesses) said “Ben, do you feel better about your hair this morning?” Ben said “I’m just trying not to think about it.”

Does this sound amazing to you?  It does to me.  The fact that he was practicing almost sanguine resignation instead of rabid gnashing of emotional teeth blew my mind.  He’s almost 11.  Maybe he’s — should I say it? — maturing?  This weekend felt like this Dr. Who episode where the Doctor is fighting these aliens who have infiltrated the British government.  They look like solid English folk until the Doctor challenges them and then they unzip their human “suits” and reveal their pig faces.  Okay, it’s Dr. Who!!   I am NOT likening my son to a pig person.  But this weekend feels transformative. I’ve got a human in my house and he’s growing up.

Go FreeTrade and AWESOME for Christmas

Hello lovely friends.  I know I’ve been gone a very long time so there may only be 2 or 3 of you looking at this in December.  If so, pass it on to your friends because this blog is a Christmas present.

Karl and I have a dear friend Peter (who has a dear wife Kristin and a dear new baby Moses — hey Family!!) who is also a FABULOUS musician.  We’ve given some of you his music by way of cds of his band Ordinary Time.  So, here’s the present:

Ordinary Time is offering a FREE  ep download of Christmas music from their album In The Town of David.  I promise you, you will play this music every year and never get tired of it.  I said Peter is fabulous, didn’t I?

Just go to and look for the gorgeous cover art you see above — again, by Fabulous Peter.  You can listen to samples or, in exchange for your zip code and email address, download FREE music.  Noisetrade won’t use that info for anything except sending you ONE follow-up email.

I am not going to start a Favorite Things Christmas list because Oprah already does it and she already called the ipad her favorite thing.   But for this one Christmas, I offer you this one Favorite Thing.  Try it.  Share it.  Merry Christmas!!


Here’s something I meant to post in May.  But it, like a bag of Cheetos, has not degraded a bit with time.  Still tasty.

Ben has been studying the physical concept of work in school, as in the actual expending of energy.  He has been testing me [“Mom, I’m thinking.  Is that work?”] and making lots of pronouncements:  “Believing in God is not work!”

Lucy said today:  “What time of day was I born?”

Me:  “Well, I think that I went into labor with you late at night and you were born early the next morning.  I didn’t labor long with you.”

Lucy:  “What does labor mean?”

Me: “Well, when you’re ready to have your baby, your uterus starts to contract …. [too much information, Lucy is drifting] …. and all those contractions are called labor.  Get it?”

Ben [from far away in the house]:  “That’s work.  Scientifically!”

You bet your behind, kid.

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Hey all.

I know I’ve been MIA all summer and this may seem an abrupt re-entry, but it’s been 90 years since women got the right to vote in this country and I celebrate it!  Today is National Women’s Equality Day, created by Congress in 1971 at the behest of Bella Abzug, who has a totally bitchin’ name.

If you’re student-ish and geeky like me, take the quiz at the National Women’s History Project website.  I’ll only say this:  1.  I only got one answer correct. 2.  Go New Zealand!!