writing down the sun

blogging as therapy, penelope trunk’s son, and tmi

Posted in blogging, parenting by annie on April 18, 2008

Over the years, I’ve been a fan of Penelope Trunk and her Brazen Careerist blog. I was puzzled at first by the apparent animosity her posts and columns at Yahoo! on career advice.

Certainly, Penelope was a fan of the nonintuitive recommendation — her advice would set conventional wisdom on its ear every now and again. But I never saw anything in those posts that would justify the depth of vitriol she seemed to attract.

There was one blog post — I don’t even remember the context, but Penelope was taking exception to one pundit’s position on something or other, and her major objection to the woman was not based on the substance of her opinion, or the research that backed it up. Penelope objected to her because, as she put it, the lady was “fat.”

But even then, when the shitstorm hit her comments (and I contributed, after some deliberation of the “do I really want to get into this?” variety), she did the honorable thing and issued that rarest of beasts: a true public apology.

So, all was right with the world, and I went on admiring her chutzpah.

Then she started blogging about her marriage.

Briefly (as briefly as I can because the whole thing makes me squeamish): Penelope decided to use her blog, the topic of which is clearly built around her stature as a career counselor or consultant, to air some very private and somewhat dingy laundry about her relationship with her husband.

That’s one thing. Another is that Penelope was unkind about it all. She apparently continued writing about it even though her husband wasn’t at all OK with letting her readers in on their marriage woes. Through marriage counseling stories and quite honest revelations about how she and her husband attempted to implement the advice they got there, Penelope invited her readers into her marriage. She revealed not only her own foibles, but also her husband’s, and seemed to insinuate the real problem was his inability to get with the “stay at home dad” program.

Some people admired her for this. Others fell into the “Too much information!” camp. I was definitely in the latter group. But what the hell. It’s her blog, right?

Today I find out she’s also — and somehow I missed this, but it’s right here in the Times and she even apparently admits it and then defends it — blamed her son’s autism for her marriage’s dissolution.

Her defense:

“It is a generational issue,” she said. “We think it will be a big deal, but it won’t be to them. By the time they are old enough to read it, they will have spent their entire life online. It will be like, ‘Oh yeah, I expected that.’ ”

To which I can only respond, “Lady, if your son expects to read on the internet that you blamed his medical issues for your marriage’s breakup, you’ve got bigger problems than some displeased readers.”

There’s personal revelation — and there’s personal reflection. And I don’t know that there’s value in both. Each writer has to decide for herself where her line is — you know the line. The one that lies between you and your own personal “never going there.” Apparently Penelope’s line is, as my Grandma used to say, “a fur [far] piece” because there’s not much she won’t say.

To which I offer this: You have more important roles and functions than being a blogger. And this: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Finally, this: The hell?! TMI!

strokes, part two

Posted in spirit, the brain by annie on March 13, 2008

The universe’s sense of timing continues to amaze me.

Just a day or so ago, I wrote about how the media is focusing on women and strokes. And then yesterday, I got an email prod from TED that … well. Let me back up a bit.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. But it’s so much more than just some pseudo-intellectual group of glad-handing self-congratulatory “thinkers.” TED’s the real deal.

Once a year, TED gathers to listen to thinkers on the forefront of their fields give “the talk of their lives” in 18 minutes.  And then TED puts the video — professionally edited and tightly-shot — online, for all to see and hear. TED does some other stuff that’s laudable and fantastic (choosing three individuals each year to “dream big” and helping them achieve those big dreams — that’s probably my favorite part of TED’s mission).

But it’s those videos I want to come back to for a moment. One in particular, from a lady named Jill Boite Taylor, a neuroanatomist who had what she calls “a stroke of insight.”

Jill’s story begins informally and amusingly enough with a light-hearted, self-deprecating recount of  her recognition one morning that something really wasn’t quite right, and her growing awareness that the “not right” was actually “very very wrong” — she was having a massive stroke.

Jill humorously recounts her travels back and forth between the two hemispheres of her brain as the left side — the one now housing that massive bleed — went on and off line, taking with it the awareness of just how dire her predicament really was.

But somewhere around the 13:40 mark, the whole tone of this talk changes. It is not funny anymore.

It’s serious — but more than “life and death.” It’s humanity.  And it’s something you really need to see to fully understand why you need to see it.

In college, my freshman year, our theater department presented a play about a woman having a stroke. I wasn’t in it — I think I did usher one night, though — but despite the quality of the production (and it was high — I went to Catawba College, now recognized as one of the nation’s leading college theater programs), I found it impossible to watch.

The reason was my dad, of course. He’d been the victim of a stroke my junior year in high school. Dad had been on a business trip, as had my mom. They both came home the same day — a Friday. The dog, Digby, went a bit nuts over Dad, which was odd — barking madly, whining, and generally making a nuisance of himself around Dad’s feet. When Dad went into the bathroom, Digby sat outside the door and cried until he came out.

Dad did look tired, I thought, but in typical self-obsessed teenage fashion, I thought no more of it — not even when Mom reported to me that Dad had gotten so sick while driving on his trip that he’d had to open the door, lean halfway out and throw up right on the road while sitting at an intersection with a green light, with all the other cars’ drivers honking at him.

Mom had had a flat tire outside the city limits; she’d left it there, and caught a ride with someone else — that night, Dad went with her to go change the tire.  Two hours later, my brother Tom called from the ER where he was working a shift as a paramedic. He’d gotten a call for a gurney in the parking lot; when he wheeled the gurney outside, he discovered his patient was his father.

We found out later that Dad’s stroke, lumbering in his brain all week, exploded while he was kneeling down on the side of the dusty Wilson County road changing my mom’s tire. Somehow — I never knew how, and I’m not sure she did either — my mother finished changing the tire, dragged my father into the car, and got him to the hospital (where she was assistant director of nursing) — a 20-mile drive — within 20 minutes.

He eventually recovered sufficiently to live independently — which he did, moving to Topsail Island in a tiny, cramped, chaotically-messy trailer my senior year.

Dad didn’t have any spiritual epiphanies, as far as I know, after his stroke. I wish he had. Jill did, and she speaks of it with poetic purity and elegance.

random thoughts, the tv edition

Posted in celebrities, old friends, tv by annie on March 11, 2008

legal disclaimers

I saw Canterbury’s Law last night. Well, actually, this morning, as I’d taped it on DVR (how did I survive before DVRs?). I was very happy to see that it (mostly) got the law right. I have this “thing” about TV show runners who create these lawyer-centered shows (and I’m talking to you, Berlanti, & your Eli Stone writers) without a single thought to the most basic legal realities. My thing is I hate them. They need to stop, now.

strokes must stop

I’m glad to see this new focus on strokes in women. I suppose due to recent information released to the press, we’ve seen several articles (here’s one) about the subject, how the rate’s increasing (though still small), how to avoid them.

My father’s life, and thus the lives of all my immediate family members, including my own, were inexorably altered by his stroke of the hemorrhagic variety my senior year in high school; my mother suffered a series of transient ischemic attacks in her later years that left her searching for my name at times.

So: quit smoking, get your blood pressure checked and managed if necessary, and take a walk every day, if you do nothing else.

there can be only one …

Ghost Hunters vs. Paranormal State: No contest. Ghost Hunters. Every time.

“old” as in past. not old as in … you know. old.

Something’s apparently in the water. I’ve talked with several friends lately who, like me, have been compelled to get in touch with old friends through the internet. All this has been going on in the last few weeks, actually. I’m sure it goes on all the time — it’s just strange that it’s hitting my circle of friends independently and all at once, without any planning or hints.

and the walls come tumblin’ down

Finally, in keeping with the theme of this “random thoughts” entry: tonight is the fifth in a line of seven new episodes of Jericho that represent the magnificent power of the people to make network television brass dance like puppets for peanuts. DANCE, PUPPETS. DANCE!

Why You’re Not Seeing More Of Me

Posted in relativity by annie on July 14, 2007

She comes over infrequently, but when she does, it’s usually marked by at least one naked insult. She’ll say it with a laugh, as if that makes it all right. I’m left with a choice I find discomfiting: do I tell her to shut the hell up? Or do I ignore the insult – act as if it never happened? What, exactly, is the best reaction to this woman and her disapproval?

I’m inclined not to blame her for the way she is. They’re pretty much all like this – her whole family. Only one – my mother – escaped that peculiarly virulent strain of heavy handed judgmentalism. The fact that they’re related to me no longer means much to me, since my mom’s death. I’ve been trying – somewhat ineffectually – to escape their clutches for some time now; Mom’s conciliatory presence and desperate need for family togetherness kept pulling me back in. Her death opened a door, in a way, to a future without them.

That, of course, is easier said than done. So, when sister #2, a particularly unwelcome variant, showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly a few months back (visiting sister #1), I was taken aback. All my post-funereal resolve evaporated. I could have opened the door, told her coolly but civilly that she wasn’t welcome here and let that be that. But I let her in. I talked to her. I showed her photographs. Hell, I hugged her.

This gives me no pleasure – me, the person who’s always trying to earn her dead mother’s respect by striving to be as kind as she was in life. I know the bigger thing – the kind thing – is to forgive them their trespasses and move on. But something in me needs to cut them out of my world to be whole. Rather like debriding a wound – removing an abscess – cutting out the infection. They’ve done enough damage, I think.

Then, I think, have they, really? Have they done any damage at all? They’re awful, to be sure. But did they leave a permanent mark and leave me worse off than before? Yes, to the former – not really, to the latter. Worse off – that would imply a lessening. And their transgressions haven’t lessened me – or my brother, from whom I discovered that the inferiority trip hadn’t started with me, after all.

Maybe I fear the part of me that’s actually hurt by the insults – that wants approval, approbation. That’s a part I’m not at all comfortable with – it’s a part that goes against everything I think I am.

I honestly don’t know what to do, except avoid the situation altogether.

And that’s why she’s not seeing more of me.

The Mean Doctor Blues

Posted in writing by annie on July 8, 2007

Reading Emily Yoffe’s piece for Slate in which she recounts her experiences being a human guinea pig for a bunch of med students filled me with a wistful longing. How I wish my experiences with doctors were anywhere near that hopeful.

To be honest, most of my doctor encounters have been pretty uneventful. I inherited a charming, handsome general practitioner from my mother, Dr. B., and he is my primary care provider. He listens pretty well, and if I have to wait an ungodly amount of time for an appointment, that’s offset by the walk-in hours he provides with his physician assistants on staff, and an eclectic assortment of magazines in the waiting room (not to mention a TV that isn’t tuned to Fox).

So why is it that it’s the bad experiences that stick in my mind? Specifically, one encounter in particular, with a doctor I nicknamed “Dr. Pig Jowls” – for a reason I can’t relate here, as it would identify the unfortunate man pretty clearly. Dr. PJ was my brother’s surgeon during his final illness – esophageal cancer. Jim’s diagnosis came too late for treatment, so we were left with palliative care, part of which involved inserting a feeding tube, after which Jim would never eat solid food again. An awful enough fate, to be sure, so why the fates decided that we needed the additional hell of Dr. PJ escapes me.

I say “we.” Surely, it was Jim who was exposed to the worst of it, being the patient and the one dying. But it was my mother and I who, oddly, became the angry ones – angry enough to consult the hospital administrator, who said all the right things but apparently did nothing, and whom we never heard from again.

Dr. PJ’s assault began with the first appointment. His nurse coldly demanded $200 before Jim would be allowed in the hallowed halls of his treatment rooms. Jim, having been out of work for months prior to this, didn’t have the cash. My mother, being a senior citizen on a fixed income, didn’t have it either. So until I could help them out, they were stuck. They’d traveled 45 minutes south to his offices, and the staff knew they were coming. They couldn’t have told them up front this was going to happen? More to the point – what?! You’re going to turn away a dying man who can’t eat food because you won’t bill for $200? And – how much?! Dr. B, by way of comparison, charges $50 for a visit, and that’s average around here. True, Dr. PJ’s a surgeon, but still – $200 is a princely sum in these parts.

The offense wasn’t over with the loan shark tactics, unfortunately. Dr. PJ’s rudeness extended all the way to the operating room and then some. After Jim’s surgery, Mom (a retired RN and former hospital administrator, whose mind was plenty sharp back then) questioned both Dr. PJ and the nursing staff repeatedly on the protocol. She was told by both – don’t use the tube until Dr. PJ sees him again. That appointment was two weeks away. In the meantime, my brother choked down liquid shakes (and promptly threw them back up again).

Shortly after the second visit, Jim’s tube became dislodged when he stumbled while going to the bathroom. Mom took him back to the hospital, where Dr. PJ was to reinsert it. She called to ask me to step in for her, as she was due in the Social Security office to see about getting Jim some benefits, and someone needed to be there when the doctor came out. This was to be my first – and last – encounter with Dr. Pig Jowl.

Mom warned me prior to leaving that he had been ugly to her and to Jim that morning. Specifically, he’d said in a loud and sarcastic voice that if Jim was just going to rip the tube out, he wasn’t going to keep putting it back in. My blood ran hot in my veins. I knew Jim would never have torn the tube out deliberately – he demonstrated no signs whatsoever of not accepting his fate. In fact, we’d all been so impressed that Jim – the alcoholic, the emotionally damaged one who strongly resisted acknowledging any flaw or problem – had risen so gamely to this seismic challenge and kept his balance so beautifully. There was something heroic in the way he faced his death, all along.

But here was Dr. PJ, accusing Jim of deliberately sabotaging his handiwork. This tidbit set the mood for the confrontation that followed. He threw open the doors to the waiting room about an hour later and looked for Mom. I recognized him immediately – having never seen him before – and walked over with a polite smile to introduce myself. His eyes narrowed as he quizzed me about my relationship to Jim; he was reluctant to give me any information, and sounded exasperated when he asked where my mother was.

I took a pause and said loudly, “She had to go to Social Security office to get his benefits started before he dies. She asked me to step in. What do you have to tell me?” It had the intended effect – all eyes were now on him, and he knew it.

He started off in a low voice, as he began to recount the procedure, which went well. But he lost it again quickly as he started to insist that Jim had been drinking before the incident and that he simply could not do that anymore.

I think I yelled, “What?!”

Dr. PJ was accusing my alcoholic brother of drinking. Drinking alcohol.

Let me count the ways this is absurd:

  • Jim was barely able to walk by this point, let alone drive a car. He hadn’t left the house except when driven by one of us for weeks.
  • Jim could barely tolerate drinking lemonade or Coke. Alcohol would have made him gag and vomit.
  • If Jim couldn’t drive or walk, where was he supposedly getting this alcohol? From my 80 year old Southern Baptist mother who’d been haranguing him to quit drinking for the last 30 years? Somehow, I doubt it.

Still, Pig Jowl insisted my brother had admitted this to him. What he’d said, I quickly fathomed, was “I’ve had something to drink.” Jim, like me, was the child of a nurse and a pharmaceuticals salesman. He’d grown up around the medical profession, and knew that you’re not supposed to have anything to drink or eat before surgery. He’d told his doctor this, who interpreted it as an admission that he’d been trying to get sloshed.

While this was playing out in my mind, Dr. PJ was blathering on. Furious, I interrupted him and said “Why did you tell my mother that Jim couldn’t use the tube before he saw you, two weeks after the insertion of the tube?”

He blinked. “I said no such thing.”

“Oh, yes, you did,” I said, “and there are witnesses to this.”

He steadfastly refused to admit it, suggesting perhaps my mother was “confused.”

I threw up a hand to shut him up. “I’m going to the administrator right now.”

“Fine,” he said. “The offices are that way.” He gestured off to another set of doors across the lobby, turned on his heels and stormed out.

That was the last I saw of him.

I went straight to the administrator’s office, but only a VP was able to see me. She was very nice – she’d lost her husband to cancer, she said. She offered me a milkshake recipe that her husband had been able to tolerate. She seemed concerned about the blatantly incorrect post-op directions Mom had received but seemed to blame the nurses, instead of PJ. She said she’d pursue the matter and vaguely mentioned some “chain of command” the corporate owner of the hospital required be followed, and it might “be awhile” before I heard anything.

And that – three years ago – was the last I heard from her.

Since that time, I’ve struggled to let that go. Yet every single time something brings it to mind (something like Yoffe’s piece – and no, it doesn’t happen often) the maddening sense of frustration and howling indignation on my brother and mother’s behalf comes flooding back. I wish I’d ripped him a new orifice – verbally, of course – right there in the crowded lobby. I wish I’d been able to inflict as much emotional damage as he did on my family.

But, I didn’t. I did “the right thing.” I complained, bitterly, if politely, to the “right people.” And nothing happened. Well, nothing as far as I’m concerned. My family received no apology, no satisfaction. My brother died the day before New Year’s Eve that year, not even managing to see a new year dawn. And just two years and one month after that, my mother was dead, felled by her own battle with cancer.

So, I hope those med students that examined Ms. Yoffe are also getting some fundamental education in how to be a human being with their patients. I hope that they are being told even now by some professor that there will be serious consequences for a failure of civility as gross as Dr. PJ’s. I hope – but I don’t hold out much hope. It seems arrogance is as much a vaunted quality as skill with a stethoscope in the medical profession these days. Would that it were different.

New Articles at Associated Content

Posted in what i'm thinking now, writing by annie on June 7, 2007

writing down the sun

Posted in writing by annie on May 19, 2007

It’s staring at me.

Eye to eye, nose to nose, so close if I sneezed I’d have to apologize profusely to it and hand it a tissue.

This project is the mother of all intimidating projects. It won’t let me go, but it won’t let me start it, either.

OK, that last bit is rubbish. I’d love to throw the responsibility for my seeming inability to get a handle on this thing off on the project itself but the truth is, it’s my baby. No one is forcing me to do this except some inexplicable inner drive to see it out there – a conviction that it needs to see the light of day, and that others need to have it. I take no credit for the genesis of the project – the underlying ideas are neither original nor are they particularly earth-shattering. The uniqueness lies in the way I discovered they could be strung together and connected to form a sturdy foundation for something everybody wants to learn how to do, desperately.

(Vague enough for you? Sorry about that. Can’t be helped.)

And now, the self-imposed deadline is but two months away – less than that, really. And while progress has been made, it’s of the delegated variety. Now, it’s time for those who’ve assisted me in this to step back and turn it back over to me. It’s time for me to step up and run the ball down the field, to use a trite sports metaphor that I despise.

And for the life of me, I can’t seem to muster the … the gumption, I guess … to get it going. It scares me, this project, for a lot of reasons. One is that it will require me to practice what I preach. It has the power to reveal me as a fake or a genuine person of integrity. I believe myself to be the latter but I also know we all have the capacity to appear, or behave, as the former. And that scares me a bit. Another reason is that it will require a willingness on my part to abandon, with finality, all my excuses for “Why I Haven’t _____________” (fill in the blank with any self-improvement project I’ve undertaken over the last 40 years).

(I still don’t feel 40. When am I going to feel 40?)

And yet, I know – even as I know I’m totally free to abandon this project and liberate myself from its awesome power over my feelings of adequacy and self-worth – that I’m going to hold my breath and dive in. I know I’m going to start, and I’m going to go great gangbusters for days on end, and I’m going to run into brick walls, and I’ll step back, bloodied but unbroken, regroup, and try again, and that some days will seem like endlessly shoveling a mountain with a teaspoon, and other days will feel like racing the wind, but when all’s said and done, there will be a finish line. There will be a closing, and an opening. An end and a beginning. And I’ll shake myself off and start all over again. I know this because that’s what I do. And I can’t really stomach the thought of being any other way.

Still in Love

Posted in strung out by annie on April 21, 2007

We’re still in the heady honeymoon days of the new relationship, my violin and I. I love him, he responds with – well, as much fervor as his $50 little body can muster.

So far, I’ve practiced every day since picking it up from Earl. I have graduated from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to my first semi-classical piece, “Ode to Joy.” (Semi- only in that it’s a very simplified arrangement.) I’m still having trouble keeping a nice intonation shifting from the A string to the E string and back again. Oddly, I don’t have that same problem between A and D – wonder why that is?

I’m concerned about my wrist placement and the bowing movement in general. I keep wondering if I’m doing it right. And then I bump headlong into the real problem with teaching yourself – who’s going to correct those bad habits before they become ingrained? Perhaps a teacher is more of a necessity than a better instrument, then, at this point.

But the category for this post is “passion” and so I’ll return to that topic. It’s something that’s been lacking in my life lately, in massive quantities. Even the breakup of my marriage wasn’t terribly passionate. Sad, surely, and a little bittersweet. Yes, there were some arguments but  mostly civil ones, promptly resolved. We’re not angry at each other, we still hang out periodically as friends, and we’re both very much “as one” where our daughter’s concerned.  I’ve missed that passion – feeling a deep longing for something has got to be one of the most amazing sensations in the world, a gift of being human.  So, I’m particularly intrigued by this development, or realization of the previous passion I’d felt for the violin. Why now? What made it jump from what it’s always been – a pleasant “someday/maybe” fantasy – to what it is now – a fully realized “MUST do this” project?

Was it the separation? Or are both those things merely symptomatic of a larger awakening?

Earth to Alec Baldwin

Posted in celebrities by annie on April 21, 2007

“Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child. I’m sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.) I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case.”

– Alec Baldwin (statement published on his official website, http://www.alecbaldwin.com, which is as of this writing inaccessible presumably due to traffic spikes)

I’m not much of a celebrity-watcher. I never really saw the point, honestly. I figured most of the truth never saw the light of day, thanks to hard-core managers and minders, and the stuff that was published was either sensationalized, wildly puffed, or just downright false. Plus – nothing personal, guys – but you celebrity types always seemed a little silly to me. Caught up in stuff that had nothing to do with my life, you play out these little dramas in the public eye, then throw temper tantrums about how you have no privacy. But it’s that same lack of privacy that made you a star and brought you those countless gift bags people keep throwing at you, so – that’s a puzzle, to me.

Yet this little tirade of Alec Baldwin’s definitely caught my eye. When I first heard of it, on some random radio morning show, I came in mid-story and so spent the first several hours thinking he’d said these awful things to his ex-wife. I was vaguely aware he used to be married to Kim Basinger, and there was some drama going on over the inevitable divorce, but it was rather surprising to me that (A) someone so used to having his private life splashed across tabloid pages would ever lose control like that on a recorded medium and (B) someone who has to be so very careful about his public image now, thanks to an ongoing courtroom battle, would lose control like that on a recorded medium. But, I reasoned, marriages generate a lot of hate when they fail, and who am I to judge if the man loses his cool and runs off at the mouth like that to his ex?

Then, I found out the truth. This was directed at his daughter. Who is not even yet in her teens.

Now, I’m in. Now, I have something to say.

I say this as the mother of a young girl, age 7 going on 30, who is absolutely capable of pushing every single button I have and testing my patience to the very ends of its limits. Have I ever lost my cool with my kid? Uh – yeah. A lot. Have I ever said things I regret? Of course. Have I ever called her a “pig” – much less a “rude, thoughtless” one? Or told her she has no “brains” or “common decency”?

Never. Not once. Nor would I ever.

And this is what separates us from the celebrities, I think uncharitably, realizing this construct places the famous on a slightly lower branch of the animal kingdom from the rest of humanity. That’s too harsh. I’m sure not all celebrities would do this to their kids. I’d like to think none of them would – that Baldwin is some aberration, a genetic throwback to generations of celebrities long past, that homo celebritus has evolved since his kind roamed the planet. Yet in Baldwin I see the manifestation of what I think is the root cause of the issue with celebrities, no matter what the nature of the trainwreck they find themselves at the center of: they’ve started believing their own bullshit.

I think it may happen this way: perfectly normal human being hits Hollywood (or whatever center of insanity serves as the locus for the industry said human being is drawn to). PNHB works hard, achieves some modest success, whereupon the entourage descends. Stylists, PR reps, managers, agents, lawyers, hangers-on – and this creates the all-elusive buzz. Once the buzz starts, there’s really no going back. You’ll either ride the train to celebrityhood or you’ll fall off, crash and burn and wind up on an E! TV “True Hollywood Story: Where Are They Now?” special.

It’s on that train that the transformation happens. PNHB goes from “perfectly normal” to … not. From “human being” to “celebrity.” And they begin to believe the lines that those hangers-on start feeding them, and the inevitable result: a celebrity with an overblown sense of entitlement. That entitlement is what causes tirades like Baldwin’s, I think. They honestly think the rules just don’t apply to them.

And then, when it all blows up in their face? We get the Non-Apology. Baldwin’s really is a textbook example. Note how he never really apologizes for what he said to his daughter, although he does manage a weak “sorry” for “losing [his] temper.” He reminds us that all parents “lose their patience” (a true enough statement but one which in no way describes what he did), and that the real villain here is the one who released the tape and thus injured his daughter.

Call me crazy, Baldwin, but I think what injured your daughter was hearing her father call her a rude, thoughtless pig who lacked brains and common decency.

No Pain, No Gain?

Posted in strung out by annie on April 20, 2007

I got the bright idea today to schedule out my day carefully, using violin time as a reward (which it is, absolutely – at least for now, hopefully for a long time to come).  So I decided to start practice at noon – giving me an hour and a half to play before going to pick up the kid. Basically, I tripled my playing time between day 1 and day 2.

All I can say is “Ow.”

My finger tips – especially the index finger, left hand – feel like I’ve been typing on the Devil’s keyboard of FLAMES.  I have learned my lesson and will adjust practice time accordingly, at least until the callouses start to build up. I never thought I’d say this outside of pointe class back in my ballet days, but “Yay for callouses!”