Oct 10, 2014

Life after death: I want to believe

Painting by Billie Doux based on a photo by David Muench
I've lost my share of loved ones. Probably more than my share for my age. Parents and grandparents, my sister. Aunts and uncles. My favorite uncle Richard died of cancer in 2002. I lost Nelson, one of my closest friends in the world, to AIDS. And John, a man I was involved with for a long while and nearly married three times, died a couple of years ago.

Aug 24, 2014

The most difficult cat I ever knew

My cat Spike died this past Friday night. He was fifteen, nearly sixteen. I thought I'd be relieved, but honestly, I've been crying all weekend.

Aug 3, 2014

Pining for the Fjords

The morning after the city tour and cultural evening, I woke up feeling blue as well as stiff, from all the walking. I was thinking about my late sister Ruthie again, that she had never gotten to do something like this. I thought about her a lot during this trip, my first to another country.

Jul 20, 2014

They're stark naked, so get used to it

The highlight of my trip to Oslo was the "cultural city tour". We took a bus through the city. I sat with a man named Henry who at first thought I was British (I was born in New Jersey -- I do not sound British), and who then asked me questions about my workplace, most of which I couldn't answer.

Jul 12, 2014

Bits of Oslo, the Spektrum and the King

The view from the hotel.
I attended an international library conference in Oslo, Norway in August of 2005.

As I mentioned before, I grew up poor and was working poor most of my adult life. I'd never had the money or opportunity to visit a foreign country, and often thought I never would. Norway was the first foreign country I ever visited, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I kept a journal, which is where these posts came from. (I have a good memory, but not this good.)

Jun 12, 2014

Get outta town

Four Corners Monument, March 2014
I've always longed to travel. Haven't done much, though. It always comes down to money, doesn't it?

May 6, 2014

Sleepless in Pennsylvania

Back in mid-March, I was so happy when I found my new apartment. It's clean, good sized and affordable, in the city but close to the suburbs, only a mile from my relatives, and it has an outstanding view. (I just might post some photos of that view.)

I should have known it was too good to be true. What do you do when you have neighbors who just won't stop partying?

Apr 25, 2014

The good, the bad, and the 405

Photo by Daniel Hallorann
"This other Eden, this precious stone set in the silver sea, this earth, this realm, this Los Angeles." -- Steve Martin (and Shakespeare), L.A. Story

This past March, I moved back to southeastern Pennsylvania after twelve years of living in Los Angeles. When I went to the bank to transfer my account, I told the teller I'd moved here from Los Angeles. He said, quite seriously, "I'm so sorry." A couple of weeks later I was in a salon having my hair cut, and during the conversation I mentioned that I had just moved here from Los Angeles. The stylist said, and again, she was completely serious, "Why would you do that?"

Apr 16, 2014

And now for something completely different: Hummingbirds

I like feeding birds. The first day I was in my new apartment in Los Angeles (omg, 2001), I saw a hummingbird outside my living room window and just went nuts -- they're soooo tiny!  I eventually got a cheap feeder and set it up on my balcony. The cats loved it. Although sometimes Spike got so excited that he would try to go through the screen door, so I would have to block it with cardboard or a box fan. It helps that it's always summer in Los Angeles. Okay, so it's not, but it feels that way when you only get two weeks of winter.

Apr 12, 2014

George W. Bush, portrait artist

Billie's "painting" of Bush from an existing photo
"I think a lot of us wish he had become a painter as opposed to a president. We all could have been saved a lot of trouble." --art critic Deborah Solomon.

I once heard a simile about George W. Bush that stayed with me. It was that he was like a teenager who stole his father's car and crashed it into a brick wall.