ellenkushner: (Default)
Mom wanders into living room from bedroom where she & Dad are watching a DVD from the library.

Mom:  I can't stand what Dad's watching.

Delia:  What is it?

Ellen:  Ummm....It's called.....Um, Psychotic Hillbillies Killing Each Other in the Woods - 

Delia:  Deliverance?

Mom (shudders):  That's it.

She joins us for Middlemarch.
ellenkushner: (Default)
"I could have protested her decision, but I knew that I would merely be seen as playing to type . . . . We want our comforting traditions to stay suspended in sap while our families constantly revise their understanding of us like software that updates automatically. Instead, traditions crumble and nostalgia yields to melancholy, but our identities, to our families, are as fixed and stagnant as fossils behind glass.  

"Anxious to demonstrate how mature and flexible we’ve become, we return to our birthplaces and we’re cut down to size, encountered as predictable once again."
--  Heather Havrilesky, Our Family Christmas, Rescinded, NYTimes Sunday Magazine, 12/21/12
ellenkushner: (*Simon van Alphen by Nicolaes Maes)
The scene: A Florida beach, where Delia, Brother & I are discussing where the Family should eat tonight

Brother: When you make a choice for a group, you can't worry; you just say, "Fuck'em if they don't like it!"
Me: Yes! Yes! I have this theory, "Some people just lack the "Fuck it!" gene! Though me . . . I mostly have it, but sometimes I don't.
Brother: May I be permitted to say that you have it, ah, unevenly apportioned?
ellenkushner: (Default)
In family condo in Florida (Sanibel Island). Dad on the phone with local computer tech help that is clearly of the irritating variety. When he gets off, I express my sympathy. He seizes a teaching moment:

Q1: How many people are below average?

A1: One half.

Q2: How many are made in God's image?

A2: O.....K.....

I think it is only fair to add that he comes up with this stuff because, like me, he is a natural snarkmeister - but has been fighting it all his life, with a little more success than I - maybe having kids makes you want to set a good example? Or maybe I need 25 more years, and a few more good koans.....
ellenkushner: (LUBLIN witches)
So here I am in Cleveland, nominally helping my mother change over all her dishes & scrub her kitchen for Passover - but actually typing & waiting for her to get up from her latest nap.  She is 82, my dad's 83, and they are still living a very active life, in pretty full command of all their faculties & abilities - except for all this resting & napping business.  Most instructive.

And useful to me: In the old days of Pesach prep, I would have been kept busy for 12 straight hours, scrubbing & hauling & polishing...!  But now, mom is content to work quietly with Delia - who never gives her any backtalk, and waits patiently while she remembers where she put the sugar bowl - while I sit at the livingroom table fussing over the fact that The Witches of Lublin is airing this week on radio stations nationwide,* and Welcome to Bordertown is launching in paperback (with cool new cover) this Tuesday.  ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly & I will be running a Really Cool Contest as soon as the Blessed [livejournal.com profile] taraoshea  finishes her gorgeous redesign of the Bordertown website....!

I look forward to more resting and napping in future.

* Lots more stations than I thought are airing Witches!  Full list here (to the best of our knowledge).  And a big THANK YOU to whoever it is in Fayetteville, NC, who tipped the wink to WFSS on our behalf: the station says they were "alerted by a listener" to the show. And to my pals over at Sleeping Hedgehog for putting up the letter I just wrote to my friends in Boston about WGBH airing the show this Sunday at 9!

ellenkushner: (Joan of Arc)
Seldom do I read my Friends' List - but such gems when I do!

[livejournal.com profile] isabelswift  's Advice on what to do when you are at the airport and discover your flight has been delayed, and Advice to young writers, cunningly disguised as a Lesson in Cocktail-making: A Twist of Lemon

[livejournal.com profile] tithenai  on the Teasing Threshold (and Safe Words thereunto)

[livejournal.com profile] deliasherman 's reviews of every play we've seen lately, plus that Census meme

and finally (pasted from [livejournal.com profile] time_shark , because why try to improve upon perfection?)

From Erzebet YellowBoy and Papaveria Press:

All proceeds from sales received through the Papaveria website from Monday, 14 March through whenever will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. Nicole Kornher-Stace is also donating all royalties from the sale of The Winter Triptych to the same. Read her announcement here.

Today is my mother's birthday:  the Ides of March - and yes, she's already gotten that card from me. More than once.  At the age of (now) 81, she flew down to Sarasota today to start combing the fancy GoodWill shops for furniture for the condo she & my dad just bought down there.  I think by now she has even forgiven me for asking her once, when I was very small, "Mom?  Were you born in one of those 'hundreds' years? Like... nineteen-hundred?"

(It may have been shortly after that that my dad decided to teach me the noble game of Cribbage  - so that I would learn how to count!)
ellenkushner: (TPOTS SmallBeerPress (Clouet))
The story I'm frantically trying to finish on time, "The Man with the Knives" (about Alec on Kyros) needs, of course, a scene where he shows up and blows everyone in Sofia's village away with an unexpected feat of emergency surgery. My father's specialty is research & rheumatoid arthritis - but surely he knows enough to help me out? Particularly since he has a big collection of antique medical books. So: Phone call:

EK: . . . So anyway I've found a field manual from the Civil War online, but I'm not sure I understand what it's saying. [ADDED] Can I do something with crushed ribs and letting out a hematoma?
Dad: OK. Well, what century does this occur in?
EK: Sometime between 1500-1800
Dad: That's a little before the Civil War.
[Discussion interrupted. Dad will call back later.]

EK emails Dad:

p. 107 "When the lungs are wounded . . . . "
earlier in chapter - trephining?

Dad to EK:

Trephining is good.
From Wikopedia:
"Evidence also suggests that trephanation was primitive emergency surgery after head wounds[2] to remove shattered bits of bone from a fractured skull and clean out the blood that often pools under the skull after a blow to the head. "

Have him trephine to evacuate a subdural hematoma.

And so it goes. We just had a lovely talk about scalp wounds. Any surgeons out there?

Or even someone who can quote Patrick O'Brian chapter & verse? I betcha anything Stephen Maturin does cool surgery I could steal. Scalpels only, if possible, please. A drill would simply ruin the scene.
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
Ellen: Do you have the address of the friend we're seeing tonight?
Delia: No, but I'm sure it's in our email somewhere.
Ellen: I just wondered if you'd pulled it up and printed it out in advance.
Delia: Yes, well, that alternate universe is not the one we're living in right now.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Skip the jokes, OK? I'm really sick of them. My mother never tells me to "Eat a little something" - indeed, she looks askance when I announce that I'm hungry - which I am every couple of hours, and as a result can't believe everyone else isn't, too, which is why I'm always offering people food. My mother does not "guilt" me when I don't call her often enough; indeed, when I do call her, she gets antsy after about 10 minutes and says, "Well, that's enough for now." My mother keeps a kosher kitchen and reads fluent Hebrew. When she was 17, her parents caught her packing her bags to run away to fight for Israeli independence, and grounded her. All 3 of her children have Biblical middle names. She's a Jewish mother.

The Jewish Women's Archive, a terrific organization I worked with some in Boston, invites us to post your own photos of our Jewish Mothers on their Flickr page.

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month and in celebration of Mother's Day, the Jewish Women's Archive is creating a special photo collection about "Jewish Mothers."

Photos can show a Jewish mother, now or in the past, in any context -- mothers at home or at work; mothers in the family and in the community; mothers of different generations and family constellations; formal portraits or candid snapshots.

How would you like to represent Jewish mothers?
ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)

...was a week ago today, in Norfolk, VA. I intend to write about it, but am a bit busy right now. So here's a glorious collage of the festivities, made by my talented cousin [livejournal.com profile] stonz. I am the one in the striped skirt, hidden behind the chuppa pole (next to my other brother). My dad is walking the bride down the aisle. I found the blue jacket for her online, and made her buy it for the rehearsal dinner. You will recognize Delia amongst the dancers, next to my nephew AJ, across from my cousins Paul & Debra.

We are all so happy for David & Lucy Rebecca. They've waited a long time for each other. It's never too late to find the one you're meant to be with.

October 2014

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