Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I tuned into about five minutes of the Utah Jazz game tonight--and this (sad experience) sent me into a meditation on basketball, its place in my life.

Some of my earliest memories are basketball games. My next oldest sibling, a brother, is ten years older than me. That means that when he was a freshman in high school (14), I was four. When he was a senior in high school (18), I was eight. My brother was a basketball star. And some of my earliest memories are the games he played. The high school he (and I) attended had around 300 students (9th through 12th grades). The baseball games were played in the city “armory”-- bit bigger than the tiny gym in the high school. I was happiest when my dad found a seat near the little stage where the piano was located. Then I could use the space to mimic what I really cared about at the basketball game--the cheer leaders. I grew up in a very sexist world. Girls didn’t play basketball (in fact when I grew up we played girl’s rules, a whole other post). Girls could: (a) play in the pep band or (b) be a cheerleader. At 4 to 8, I imagined myself as a cheerleader. By the time I arrived at high school, I had learned that I would play in the pep band.

Perhaps this experience--the gap between the glamour of my little girlhood and the reality of my teenage world--traces the structure of me and basketball. The continuing gap between wish, desire, fantasy--and reality.

Fast forward. I spent much of my early adult life living in Salt Lake City. Cheering for the Jazz. We came close but were thwarted, most memorably in my engaged Jazz days, by Phoenix and Seattle, as I recall (or was it only Phoenix in those days).

Then I moved to Sacrmanto. My husband’s job yielded us free tickets to the King’s games. Mostly pathetic, but then rising hope. And somehow I remember those fantasies, those desires were thwarted--by the Seattle Sonics.

And so now I live in Seattle. The Sonics are pathetic. And threatening to leave the city for Oklahoma City (because the Seattle tax payers won’t cough up money for a third new arena (we already have one for football, somewhat successful, and one for baseball, not so much so).

So tonight I find myself routing again for the Utah Jazz. And yet another round of disappointment (assuming of course that the Jazz didn’t manage to overcome their twenty point deficity--now wouldn’t that be a wonderful story).

So should I give up on basketball? Can’t quite get there. My father somehow polished sports into my genes (though it never did occur to him that a daughter might play as well as cheer). But again, another story.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Companions and solitude

So how long has it been since I wrote? Why? Companions. Friends. Visitors. My friend visited for two weeks. My husband was here for two weeks. (My husband flew off to Scotland this morning). This time was on some levels difficult for me. Defer to others. Lose yourself. Was it these people? My patterns with these people? Me? I’m certainly left with these questions. And no immediate, easy answers.

It is clear that the basic patterns of my life these days assume solitary time. My work (yes I’m back to work) overwhelms me with people, talk, conciliation, compromise, listening (NOT one of my top skills). My personal life must leave me solitary time. This I know. So to what extent do I need people. I certainly want the answer to be that I thrive on the people I love--my kids, my grandkids, my husband. I do love times with them, look forward to time with them. . . . . . .

But I am just so relieved this evening. The first really alone since mid-February (except for three days in the middle). What does this mean? (Another question to contemplate should I have solitary time for such.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bev's true true colors

It seems that Bev is mostly succeeding. She is a happy soul. And she is finding a happy path at her day program and her new home. The girls at her home see her as the little sister (she is small, cute, clueless). The girls are helping her, protecting her, cuddling her, forgiving her. She spent the first few days cycling through her routines of misbehavior, but also of charm. I think she will be okay in both places. Stay tuned!!!

An alternate good to God's good

I just revisited Brideshead Revisited (the BBC version with Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier--original novel by Evelyn Waugh, adaptation by John Mortimer). To me this mini-series (I still need to read the Evelyn Waugh book) is a devastating meditation on religion--and a gem of television drama. The first time I saw this series my much younger self was overwhelmed by the last episode.. The Laurence Olivier character accepts last rights (his last act in lifeis to cross himself) though he has been estranged from the church, living in sin for some twenty-five years. As a result of this episode, the Julia character (daughter) pushes away the Jeremy Irons character--because of the gulf opened up by religion and belief versus skepticism. Finishing the series tonight, I was no less moved by this episode. Found myself in tears.

Julia (Diana Quick) rejects Charles (Jeremy Irons) because she is terrified that marrying him will mean embracing an alternate good to God’s good. The good that Catholicism signifies in this series haunts me. The mother is sweet, loving, lethal. All of the children are damaged by her love and by the church.

I’m not sure the alternate good must exclude God (though I have little talent for belief myself). But a god that wins out must be on the side of life. A line from the last episode, from the nurse about the Lord Laurence Olivier character. Says the nurse. He resists dying. Not because of a zest for life but because of a fear of death. I do not want this to be an appropriate epitaph for my end, and for my life.