Notre Dame, 43, dear friends, spring, corruption, and NYC

What a hell of a week this has been. Good god, people. In short, Notre Dame burned, I turned 43, we had an exceptionally dear old friend and his partner (an exceptionally dear new friend) stay with us for two days, spring sprung and I gave part of our garden a happy do-over, the Mueller report was released to the public albeit more than lightly redacted and two days AFTER yam received it, Barr has confirmed for himself that he’s part of the trump crew upon which history will not look kindly, and tomorrow I’m taking the boys to New York for the weekend as my parents, post-retirement, decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in NYC by renting an apartment in Brooklyn for two months (April and May). We’re taking advantage of this unseasonal proximity to enjoy a quick visit!

I can’t tell you how my heart hurt on Monday as the news from Paris grew increasingly grim. When the Notre Dame spire, engulfed in flames, fell into the cathedral, my eyes filled and I gasped with sadness. We were just there. The kids, especially Ol, were and remain as sad, and yet we are all grateful that the structure’s shell and most of its many historical and artistic treasures were saved. Today I heard a report that another 15 - 30 minutes of burning would likely have brought the entire Cathedral down. Can you imagine? 845 years hinged on the dedication and training and refusal to quit demonstrated by the Paris fire department. I bow to them.

Hard to believe we were just there and now so much is gone.

Hard to believe we were just there and now so much is gone.

That afternoon, our friends arrived, and they lifted my spirits enormously. Tom and Colin went to college together, they lived together afterwards, and I met Colin several years into that- was it seventeen years ago? He and I became fast friends, and although we’ve never lived in the same city/country since, we’ve kept in close touch. He was in our wedding, we see each other when and where we can, and it was with joy that I received his note about staying with us while he and Emad passed through on their US road trip. It was if Emad and I had never not known each other, and I think the three of us talked for 8 hours straight.

Tuesday was my birthday, number 43. It was such an incredibly happy day. I took a long walk with one of my favorite people and most treasured friends, worked in my yard, felt an outpouring of love from family and friends, and went to a great dinner with Tom.


Wednesday found me sadly saying goodbye to Colin and Emad (isn’t that the best, though? when you enjoy people’s company so much that parting is somewhat mournful), going bananas in the yard but finishing it enough to have one of my favorite neighbors over for wine in the new chairs, and calling it a day when I realized I’d way overworked myself in all respects.

Today, Barr gave an absurdly partisan, duplicitous press conference about the Mueller report and then released the 448-page report, some pages of which are almost totally redacted. Additionally, I got a crown, ran 98 errands, read hundreds of tweets by legal experts parsing the report, and feel like so much of the world is broken as fuck and full of destruction and evil and decline.

And yet, Notre Dame was saved, and I have such good friends, and such a loving family, and my perennials are thriving, and tomorrow I’ll get to hug my mom and dad and on Saturday see Burn This on Broadway, and I think I’m looking and doing really well for 43, and I’ll take it. I won’t stop fighting, but there is also a lot of good, and I’m thankful.

Ol is ten, Roux is Ruthie, NZ's PM shows real leadership, and away we go

My baby turned 10 this past Sunday; both boys in double digits now, and soon, Jack will be a teenager. This year, Oliver wanted a cake that pulled together much of him: our cats, St. Patrick’s Day, his love of boxes and Star Wars. And so I crafted cats from fondant, and made a square layer cake, and frosted it green and decorated with tiny gold shamrock-bedecked coins, and topped it with a cool banner I ordered from Etsy. He loved it, and I am glad.

Ol’s 10th birthday cake

Ol’s 10th birthday cake

my darling boy

my darling boy

Jack has spent this week at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia on a space research trip he applied for through school. He and his group have been taught how to use the 40-foot steerable radio telescope to collect data, got to meet NPR’s Ira Flatow and hear his presentation as he was being honored with an award, and even visit Polyface Farm in Virginia. I have always wanted to go to Polyface and cannot believe the remarkable educational opportunities the boys’ school provides. I am exceedingly grateful. Two of Jack’s science teachers are chaperoning this trip, and while they have little connectivity in Green Bank, we’ve gotten some updates and it sounds like the trip has been incredible. They return home today.

As it turns out, Roux has gone completely by the wayside and even Tom is calling our new cat Ruthie. She is such a spritely, darling little peanut, and it just fits perfectly. Do y’all know that she chirps like a bird? It is priceless. Little chirpy trills emanate from her all day.

Nutmeg is still not interested in being her friend, but he’s calming down, and I think they’ll find their way.

The horrific attack on two mosques in New Zealand has been hard to ingest. But I am grateful for the leadership the Kiwis have in PM Jacinda Ardern. Did you see she has already announced a country-wide ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles? She has also enacted a buy-back program: “‘the government will create a buy-back program to pay owners "fair and reasonable compensation," which she estimated could cost the country between $100 million and $200 million. She said the guns will eventually be destroyed. She said no one will be prosecuted over any weapons they turn in. "Amnesty applies. We just want the guns back.’“

Not a week later, and NZ takes decisive action to protect its citizens. What inspiring leadership. If only we could see such leadership here.

Tomorrow commences spring break, and we are lucky to be heading to Paris. It will be so nice to get out of town, out of country, out of context for a bit. Y’all keep your fingers crossed our housesitter doesn’t need to mediate any feline mayhem.

RBG is here!

We are totally smitten with our darling new girl, RBG! She is such a Ruth, so I don’t know that T will get his way re: Roux, but we’ll see. She is settling in nicely. Nutmeg is thus far largely ignoring her presence. Hope they bond at some point, but I’ll take no vengeance for now!


Isn’t she delicious? A tiny, velvety soft peanut, such a beautiful grey, purrs like a motor, doesn’t bite, doesn’t scratch, makes air biscuits, and is very tidy. Heaven! The boys are beyond thrilled.