Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thoughts About Nora Ephron

I will never presume to be even half the writer she was.  She was one of the best ever, and to say I admired her is a gross understatement.  She was a heroine to me.  Hearing the news this morning that she has left this earth much too early produced sincere tears.

Her words inspired me to work harder at my craft.  I watched her movies over and over - especially Sleepless In Seattle, You've Got Mail and her last, Julie And Julia, finding new reasons every time to laugh, and learn.  There are lines of hers I quote often in my everyday life: "It's a sign!" (from Sleepless),and "I cannot help myself (from You've Got Mail), just to name two (you have to know the movies to understand the quotes).  She created characters that never leave your brain; heatwarming, complicated and always humorous.

Her essays made me laugh, too, but also gave me thoughts to ponder, and, sometimes, she did both at once.  For example, this particular quote on aging:  "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.  You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck."

How could anyone who puts pen to paper (or fingertips to a keyboard) not be motivated by that kind of writing?  And a lovely addition to her legacy as a writer are all the positive comments I've heard today from those who knew her personally; she was a good person, a true friend and someone who lived life in a way just as original as the characters she gave us.

My hope was that I would be enjoying new books and screenplays of hers for decades to come.  Whenever I saw her name in a credit, I knew I was in for a writing lesson and entertainment that would not disappoint. I always hate it when special people leave us too soon.  That couldn't be truer today. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remembering Daddy

Today's the day we celebrate the men who have assumed the monumental task of raising offspring; a good thing to do.  I served my deserving husband breakfast in bed this morning, and will call my son, father of one, and relay my best wishes to him.  But, as I think about what this special day means to me, my thoughts are of the man I always called "Daddy".

I remember first his smile and laugh.  He loved to tease, tell silly jokes, and revelled in happy times with family and friends.  A grateful smile would grace his face whenever he spoke of his love for my mother.

It wasn't until his senior years, though, when he endured heart surgery to lengthen his days, that he was comfortable expressing his love with words or a hug.  I reasoned that, when he faced the possibility of death, he wanted to be sure he took every opportunity he had left to let those he loved know it. 

He'd not been raised in a household where such demonstrations ever happened.  I can still hear him saying, with emotion in his throat, how he never knew what love was until he married my mother and experienced her caring as well as her family's.

I inherited his quick temper and stubborn attitude (which my husband has softened over the years), but I learned many wonderful lessons from him about how to be a good parent.  He was strict, which I sometimes resented, but later respected.  He was generous while teaching me when to be frugal, and made me appreciate what true generosity means. Those lessons were only a small part of the gifts he gave me as a father.

I wasn't ready for him to exit this life, but I knew he was lonely for my mother who left us before him, so I tried to rationalize that it was for the best.  But, to this day, over fourteen years later, the sound of his voice, his love of music, food,  wine and good times are still a part of my daily memories - and I miss him so much.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.  You taught me so much - and believe it or not, you still are.  That's a terrific legacy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Merriam-Webster defines the word "anticipation" in a number of ways, but two of them ring strong with me today.  The first is "pleasurable expectation" and the second is "visualization of a future event". At this moment, I am experiencing both - and grinning from ear to ear.

It's taken several years, during which time we have struggled as so many others have, to simply afford the necessities of life and keep a positive outlook while doing that.  But we are beginning to see a small shaft of light at the end of this recession tunnel, and it's enabling us to fulfill a promise we made to our two oldest grandsons.  One month from today, the four of us will be "on the road" to Florida and Walt Disney World for a much-awaited vacation!

Granted, we will not be living the perfect advertisement dream of staying on Disney property and enjoying all the extras that such a resort experience provides.  We will be staying with an old - and generous - friend who is also helping us gain entrance to the theme parks for a lot less money.  But none of us care.  We are all simply giddy about the prospect of "getting away" and taking in the magic of a place we called home for many years.

I haven't written much about my Disney days on this blog, and I've had friends and acquaintances tell me I should write a book about those times, which I've declined.  But my husband and I both spent way too many happy years (and some difficult ones too, I admit) in the Magic Kingdom, and all over the Disney property, that make us nostalgic to return.

The plus to this trip is that Alex and Christopher haven't been to Walt Disney World in ten years.  They really don't have much memory of it because they were so young.  And I think I'm more excited about sharing this trip with them, and creating memories for them that I know, from experience, will last a lifetime.  That's the best kind of anticipation, and it's going to keep growing, I know, over the next thirty days.