nonBlog - April 2008

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A Little Brain Dead—Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I have become convinced that losing a parent is like having a small stroke. It destroys a piece of your brain. It feels like your brain is functioning  perfectly well and you are going about your business like a normal person. But then evidence shows that’s not the case. You go to move your arm, say, and nothing happens.
I am working and socializing and volunteering and mothering just like always. But I keep making these weird mistakes. The first time I went out to lunch with a friend after my father died, I parked my car and left the hatch up for two solid hours, with bags of Goodwill donations filling the cargo area. Nobody stole anything, and why would they? Passersby assumed no lunatic would leave their hatch open unless they were in the immediate vicinity, unloading.
In the course of one week I forgot—clean forgot—three of the kids’ appointments. In the hour or two beforehand, I was perfectly aware that the appointments were on the calendar. I had it worked it my head who needed picking up and dropping off and in what order. But when the hour arrived, there I was at my computer, typing.
This morning I was crossing the street. I looked left—white car coming—and then looked right—nobody there—and walked right in front of the white car. The driver went ballistic. I’m not trying to kill myself. It’s just that my synapses are misfiring. It’s like my father went off to heaven and took a piece of my gray matter with him as a souvenir.


Glamour Girl—Thursday, April 3, 2008

I’ve been such a dark cauldron in the wake of my father’s death that I have failed to report a ray of sunshine glinting off the pot: my daughter Olivia’s first publication in a national magazine. I certainly didn’t imagine I would write that sentence quite so soon in her life. I thought she might—oh, I don’t know—get her driver’s license first. Or maybe graduate from junior high.
In the April issue of Glamour—page 85—is the News section. The top story is called “Kids to Hollywood: Just Say No!” and is accompanied by photos of Brad Renfro and Amy Winehouse along with Mischa Barton’s mug shot. The intro paragraph says:
Here’s hope that the next generation isn’t learning by example from all the celeb DUIs, rehab and OD investigations of late. When we asked preteen girls to write letters to the stars, they didn’t mince words. Refreshing!

Quotes from girls follow, chosen from “Dear Celebrities” letters the editor received when she circulated a submission request on the Internet. It was forwarded to the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto Yahoo group, and I saw it several weeks ago, on the last day the editor could receive responses about potential girl contributors. I wrote to her right away, telling her about Liv’s (no doubt inherited) talents. The editor said great, she would send a courier in the morning if Liv could hand-draft the letter that night.
Not much notice, especially for a winter Wednesday. On winter Wednesdays, Liv has a long drama practice followed by a guitar lesson at the School of Rock. She doesn’t get home until 7:30pm, at which point she has to eat dinner and start her homework. I didn’t tell her about the opportunity until then because I didn’t want to distract her from everything else she had to do first. But boy, Liv is one hard-working kid. She not only composed the letter right away and went through at least a dozen drafts to get a clean handwritten copy, she also did every bit of her homework even though her school permits you to write a note if something unusual comes up. All of this took her until 1am on a school night.
The editor told me that she was surprised to receive dozens of submissions in response to her query. She chose just four quotes; Liv’s is the last. It goes like this:
“Drugs don’t make you happy, and then you have an awful hangover. I want to ask, Seriously, celebrities, why?”

--Olivia Losee-Unger, 13, San Francisco



New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.