New Baby

And I mean brand new Greg Bennett (Samick) acoustic/electric OM 8CE. Solid cedar top, rosewood back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, Grover gold tuners, Abalone rosette and purfling, Fishman onboard preamp.

Photos here and specs here. I did not pay anywhere near this much.

I am SO happy!

Thanks to Peter for inspiring my nostalgia trip and reminding me how much I missed owning a guitar.

Not So Bad

From the brilliant Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Jungian psychoanalyst and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves:
“There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as “nothing but shyness”- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman’s mind.

“If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged.”

I’m a software developer.

I’ve made it in this profession in spite of the worst, most vicious male chauvinism, almost as bad as my fellow pioneers have encountered in fire and police departments.

I’m not rich, photogenic or tiny, but my profession puts me somewhere near the top of the social order, at least among educated people.

When I think about a certain gentleman and his old love affairs, it hurts my heart. Reminding myself that I’m a software developer lets me breathe again.

Today, at the gas station, I encountered a Suzanne – tiny and dark, with delicate hands. She was driving a better vehicle than mine, some kind of nondescript SUV, and I allowed her to cut me off at the pump. Of course, she didn’t acknowledge me, much less thank me.

Miraculously, when the Suzanne was done, a tall, blonde, blue-eyed woman pulled up and gave me a big smile.

She was driving a Hummer.

Bless you, bless you, Viking sister! May your tribe increase.

Well well well well and well and truly said

From Salon’s Cary Tennis:
“The way I see this is that the hard damage done by parental abuse is that the person, the soul, the “I” in the child experiences a threat to its survival by its creator, the one to whom it looks for life. Experiencing such a contradiction is a kind of soul death. The child has no recourse to logic or knowledge that might counteract its experience. What the child experiences is that he or she ought not exist. Then, in later life, as we do with what we learn from our parents, the child gives expression to this message that she ought not exist. Thus we see such children grow up to be suicidal and self-destructive, cutting themselves and cutting off their feelings through numbing addictions and consciousness-altering distractions.
This is the message I think a child gets when abused by a parent: You don’t deserve to be alive.”
From Joe Soll:
“Our society doesn’t want to acknowledge what has happened to all of us, to give us respect. And truth be told, I lost more than a leg, I lost my mother. But wait, I got a prosthesis, a new mother, a substitute. Why doesn’t it work just as well?. Why does it still hurt? Of course our mothers lost a baby… but they got no replacement, no substitute. Respect is truth, no secrets, absolute honesty. We can all deal with the truth. Have we in adoption had our eyes wide shut? Isn’t it time they were wide open?
“Well, how can we give ourselves the respect we never got? By learning to experience our feelings. By learning to make I statements about our experience. By learning to say I feel sad because, I feel angry because, I hurt because. And when we say these things out loud for the first time and get validated for the first time, the feelings become real in a way they can never be if un expressed. And once the feelings become real, we can start to understand why we feel what we feel and once we understand why we feel what we feel, we can start to change the way our experience affects us today.
“We can respect ourselves by expressing our anger at what happened to us.
“Having anger about something that happened to us and expressing it does not make us angry people. We need to express it. If we don’t talk our anger out, we will surely act it out or act it in, in either case, it is destructive. It is poison and will poison our lives and relationships unless we release it.
“We can respect ourselves by expressing our sadness. Feeling sad about something sad that happened does not make us crybabies or wimps. We need to express it. Keeping our pain in is destructive. It is poison and it will poison our lives and our relationships unless we release it.
“The only way that I know of to be truly happy is to give ourselves the respect of feeling all of our feelings. If we don’t feel the bad ones, we cannot feel the good ones. Those around us often try to minimize our losses, our experience. We must not buy into that. We can respect ourselves by acknowledging the true extent of the effects on us of the events at the beginning. If we don’t acknowledge the full extent of our wounds, we cannot heal. Only by acknowledging the truth can we begin to heal from our wounds.
“If I am in an accident and go to the ER and they don’t examine my wounds, don’t clean the depths of my wounds and get the dirt or poison out, I will get an infection, the wound may heal superficially, but the infection is there never the less and I will pay a price. Only when I respect myself and take the risk of opening that wound again and clean it out will I be able to truly heal.
“Healing involves a lot of pain, but the alternative.. I guess we (adoptees) have all lived it. We need to give ourselves the respect to climb the mountain of pain that leads to healing. The mountain is steep, but climbable. There are many crevices on the way up, but each crevice still puts you closer to the top. And we are all here in this adoptive family to help each other, nurture each other, support each other, share with each other and learn from each other on this road to respect and healing.
“Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote Women Who Run with the Wolves, has said that those who have been abandoned and face it and work it through can become the strongest people on the face of the earth. Don’t doubt it for a second, Only the Brave do this work.”

An Important NLRB Ruling

“This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.”

Readers’ comments on this article are almost as interesting and heartening as the article itself. There are the usual corporate apologists, but the great majority of recommendations – outnumbering the apologists in some cases by as much as 10:1 – are in support of comments favorable to employees.

The erosion of workers’ rights should be much more of a concern in public discourse. The NLRB’s stand is a welcome and long-overdue break from the usual. I am so grateful that this group of tough, smart attorneys and advocates are on our side.

Yard Work

Finished the mow at Edgewater. Never could get the big lawnmower started, which is annoying, but I got the leaves off the grass, front and back, before the rain started this afternoon. Right now, it is pouring.
Brought Emme, James and Ethan to Sea Mist. James said it was a lot more fun than sitting around playing with the computer all afternoon – yes!!
Sandwich Agway posted an advisory that it is not to late to plant bulbs, so long as you do it within the next two weeks. Guess I wasn’t too late after all.

Notes to Younger Self

– Give that good looking boy in shop class a try.
– Stop smoking.
– Don’t even attempt to fit in with the true-blue-Jewish kids.
– Change your name as soon as you can legally do it.
– Take at least a year off between high school and college.
– Don’t attend that stuffy, uptight institution that beneficently granted you early admission.
– Find a place that likes blond, blue-eyed, athletic women and live there.
– Master tennis or golf.
– Get into programming as an undergrad.
– Stick with guitar lessons.
– Hire a private investigator to find your mother before she dies in 1979.
– Get your own photographer to take your high school graduation photo.
– Forget about everyone in your adoptive family except for your father, your cousin Cara and your aunt Margaret.
– Don’t believe anything that the “experts” tell you. They are probably wrong.
– Name your son “Todd”.
– Don’t let the sons of bitches get you down.


I like November. It has much to recommend it.
We get an extra hour of sleep.
It’s still Autumn. The foliage, while muted, is still beautiful.
It includes one of the neater holidays of the year, Thanksgiving.
The days and nights are cooler, making it easier to work and to rest.
Another thing about November is leaves. I’ve done a rake twice at Dixon and started on Edgewater this weekend. I couldn’t get the big lawnmower started, so have done everything by hand so far, filling up the truck twice.
Clumps of soaking wet leaves started to kill the grass, as I feared, and their tannin gets on everything, clothes, hands.
I’m going back today with my electric mower to try to clean up the rest.

I Tried

The camera hates me. Always has, even in my younger days and now, with bags and wrinkles, I look in photographs like someone whose face has been pushed through a glass door.
People have criticized me for years for being camera-shy, so I gave my phobia about being photographed a run for its money by booking two appointments on the first of this month: one with a photographer and one with a makeup artist.
As a result, I do believe that the old adage about silk purses is absolutely true.