Monday, November 23, 2009


Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday, back when I took the weekend off from the entire world and used those four days to write a big new project all alone without interruption. I didn't even stop to eat, choosing instead to fast every year. My idea of a fast used to be many pots of herbal tea with lemon and spoonfuls of peanut butter for energy, straight from the jar, as needed. Four days would launch me at least half way into a full length play -- my full length thesis production at Iowa only took three days to write, but that was because I was so afraid of what I was writing, I raced through the whole thing, panting over the keyboard.

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful because after almost four years of trying to adopt, we have finally (fingers crossed) finished most (if not all, dare I say all? ever?) of the paperwork. We have applied for a visa to allow my husband to get into the country, after three rounds of vaccinations, to pick up our son. Yes, he is our son -- we "passed court" in October, so we are parents times two now.

Soon we will actually have a date for when Scott will travel, and then I will really be excited. Now my heart does little leaps. My stomach lurches in the middle of ordinary events. It is almost like pregnancy. Much more like new love.

I have the urge to nest. I have purchased new linens and towels. It has been painful to resist remodeling my entire home, but I have resisted. I am determined to put in a second towel bar, but that is as far as I will go.

And I will be thankful. I am thankful. I will look round our Thanksgiving table and feel blessed. I already feel blessed, and Thanksgiving is still a few days away. I will be painfully aware of how little my second son has to eat in the Congo. I will not starve myself like Simone Weil. I want to be strong and healthy when our little guy shows up in a few weeks.

The race is on -- will Izzy show up before Eddie turns seven? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Remember The Wall


Michelle and Ann and I were there. Checkpoint Charlie. Our passports processed.
We exchanged the prerequisite amount -- eight dollars each -- and spent our day
Trying to spend it all. Every pfennig, every mark on the other side, the empty
Secret city sans echoes except sounds of soldiers' boots. Soldiers dared us
Come closer, to the wall, to the watchtowers, to the razorwire, come closer
To us. We've got guns. We're watching you. Kommen Sie, Kommen Sie,

Silly American girls. Blonde, redhead, brunette, Charlie's Angels,
Smiling our American smiles, wearing our blue jeans for prying off,
For sliding down, for slipping free of, they offered to pay us for them,
To sell them on the black market where we could not spend enough
In spite of all the beer we drank and paid for everyone in the biergarten too.
Thin, tall, blonde, young Dieters and Dirks toasting, pushing back on their chair legs,

The old ones crumpled over their beers. Extras on the film set of our lives.
The ones who dared to mingle. Did they get paid to tell us they were happy there,
Unemployed like that, or was it the beer? Leaving, as the sun would set, we
Squinted into the future, turned back at the edge, true Americans, to toss our unspent
Coins for the soldiers to retrieve for their brothers and sisters, or children,
To tell them about the American girls, how we had no use for them or their money.


When the wall came down, the televised celebrations showed a joyful
Destruction, the tearful reunions. My cousin brought home photographs
And rocks. In Paris the days grew darker early. People
Shivered when they spoke of the new Germany, unified.
At the charcuteries, boulangeries, patisseries, les cafes,
No more bon weekends. I heard instead quick blessings, shuddered prayers for peace.

In the vestibule, an old man stopped me, pointing to my name on the mailbox,
Juif! His hand to his heart, he whispered, moi aussi. Insistent, he mouthed
Moi aussi and moved his hand between us as if to stir a pot of soup, kinship assigned
Across continents. The two of us will die together when the Germans return, Mademoiselle.
His gaze I held and smiled my American smile. He shuffled home alone, his slippers
Scuffed across the stones to the staircase, when the Germans return, Mademoiselle.


Twenty years have passed since the wall was torn down, since Paris stood waiting,
With a mouthful of fear. My suitcase empty, I returned to my country
Found love, had children, bought roomfuls of toys. Twenty years have passed
Since the wall was torn down. The East as the West fills up with stores of stuff to buy.
In Paris, no more francs, no more pfennigs, no one left
Alone on a dark stone staircase waiting for the Germans to return.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where I am Right Now/Brussels Sprouts

I'm at the Indian Road Cafe on Indian Road, the only road in Manhattan, sitting in the back by the fireplace (faux) where the knitters are knitting. I am not a knitter, but I have a lot of respect for knitters. If I could knit without getting totally stressed out over the fact that I can't write while I knit, then I would knit, but I hardly get a minute to write as it is. The knitters and I are talking about brussels sprouts which I love, and my six year old loves them too. There is almost nothing more wonderful than sitting down to eat a family meal, and my son says, "Brussels sprouts? I love those!"

I cut them in half and toss them with sea salt and olive oil. Some days I add lemon juice and lemon zest, some days sliced sun-dried tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add sliced shallots or red onion and/or garlic if desired. Bake in a pyrex dish in the oven at 350 for half an hour or until starting to brown. Prefer cauliflower? Do the same thing with those, and enjoy!