Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Daisy had been ill before moving down to Davidson, but she did OK on the car trip and improved over the first few days in the new house. When I took her in to her new vet last Friday he said, "three to six months."

Alas this was not to be. Saturday afternoon Daisy took a turn for the worse, then Sunday morning I was driving her to the emergency vet and she died in the car. I had my hand on her little belly and I could feel a relaxing for her. The vet washed her body and wrapped her in a towel so I could hold her for a while.

Well, you know how it is when your dog dies, it's sad. She was such a good dog. We got her before Karen and Chris even got married, and Daisy grew up with the quads. "Daisy" was their first word. She was jealous when they were babies, and she would mope on her couch. Then when it was time for Cheerios she would get down and get in line for her share.

Yes, she had her own couch. She loved it so much with many sighings of pleasure that we didn't have the heart to keep her off it. When we moved from Cambridge to Amherst, one of the movers just loved Daisy. He had a talk with her and said, "We'll move your couch last." Daisy made friends wherever she would go.

When I worked at Grace Church I would bring her into the office once or twice a week, and she would run up to Robin for a treat. Then Daisy would sit in my hat.

Denny used to call her "Miss Gray," and when they drove together in the car they made quite a picture, two bearded ones in the front seat. Her little furriness was so appealing, and so was the way she would skip and frisk on our walks. We had her special songs and her little routines, her little dance of the front legs to demand food. What a good character, with her own mind and her own doggie dignity.

I miss her very much, Daisy the very good dog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A New Life

I'm wondering if the new life might be a non-writing one. People who don't write seem so contented about it. Perhaps I will get nails manicured and take care of wardrobe. Take ballroom dancing or gourmet cooking lessons. Finish War and Peace--or rather, the middle section, because I have read the beginning and the end. There might be so many better things to do with my time than writing, thinking about writing, organizing writing, trying to publish writing. One could paint wooden dolls.

It's hard to escape one's destiny though, small as it may be. Renata Adler wrote, "I wonder who are those women picking through garbage cans at two in the morning. I think they are writers who don't write."

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I look in the mirror, and my grandmother Tillie’s face looks back: full-cheeky, round, no more long jawline. Ditto Tillie's body (full-cheeky, full-bosomed, like a powerpuff pigeon). Why doesn’t this bother me today? Although I have plenty of reasons to revile myself it usually isn’t about my body or my weight.

Today’s revilings have more do to incorrigible shallowness, smallness of love, meanness: all the things Jesus said get between self and God. However that’s a subject for another day. The topic right now is acceptance of looks.

Which I think is because I had a husband who found me beautiful at all my weights. It’s true in early middle age Denny used to speak wistfully of his vanished “cat-burglar”--my slender 30-year-old flat-chested shape in jeans and turtlenecks. But Denny the eternal sensualist found beauty in all ages and shapes. As years advanced, our birthday and Valentine's Day cards started to show old decrepit couples dancing, or entwined (a great Steig one), or one showed an old wrinkly man sneaking into a tent of a fat large beauty. In between cards and frequent little love notes, Denny constantly, daily, exclaimed to me, “You’re brrrrtiful!”

During his chemo when he lost so much weight he would look at me and wistfully remark: “You’re so full-figured.” He could give husband lessons, really. And that’s why I still feel OK to resemble Grandmother Tillie, some foundational security came from Denny. I still have the cards and notes, for example.

The main fat-body worry today is of course the health and blood pressure and stuff. Don’t worry I’m not ignoring vegetables or anything like that. But look around you at all the good-looking fat old ladies! Plus, my brrrrtiful grandmother Tillie lived to the age of 93.