Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Family Home Evening

My dad, held forth happily from Cedars where Aliki has been by his side, even sleeping there and reporting dutifully to me all of his bathroom functions, using the terms pee pee and fu fu which were used by my mother and father during my childhood, the later, fu fu was unique to my family to the best of my knowlege, although my research has been less than vast. I guess it is sort of quaint that my dad taught this embarrassingly stupid alternative to poop to English- as a third or fourth- language speaker Aliki. Tomorrow he is going to have a pacemaker installed implanted inserted or whatever they do. He is almost ninety and even though he has trouble hearing me, it was great to hear him happy and optimistic on the phone and to know that my stalwart (although fucking crazy and I say that to her face) stepmother is at his side. They are both fine, if not more than occasionally annoying, people and I love them both dearly.

The boys are returned from camp and they are the same and changed and beautiful. I missed them so. Both are eager to return to Jew Camp next summer, as I remember going to my happy place of Camp JCA many times over the long , often lonely, other 49 weeks of the year. The scholarship they got was a gift, but one that I will be giving too, with unreduced tuitions for many future summers. Another addition to what I balefully refer to as expenses essential enough to tap into equity for.

On Saturday we labored mightily to get the boys situated in the basement upon their Sunday return from camp, so that their previous room could be totally demolished on Monday. Which it was. And the boys love their new suite and spent the day decorating their individual rooms. The main floor of our house is shrouded in plastic and gaping and treacherous and coated with thin toxic seeming ghostly dust. This afternoon, the ceiling in Spud’s freshly painted spiffy new room collapsed due to some plumbing problems for which the contractor blames the plumber who blames the drain guy who blames the contractor.

My family is together after our longest separation. I hope we never live in more pathetic situations than we live in now that the wall is down. Coffee cups and loaves of Trader Joe’s breads coated with fine gray cremains. And what an asshole I am that this is my biggest problem and boo hoo hoo, I may not be able to go to Big Sur. Himself is here, bailing basement water and laying to dry a dozen baseball caps. Niall is here, screaming at the Dodgers and stoically taking in the flooding of his brand new room and the wreckage of his stuff. Leo is here, so says the trail of dirty dishes from t.v. to computer and the incessantly ringing telephone (cellphone TKO vs. Magic Mountain).We’re all home and each of us has said fuck today. The fan spins. Vin Skully’s on the t.v. I was so lonely.

I'm Kitchening instead of Blogging, but...

On Craig's List:
restaurant for sale - $50000
Reply to: sale-385163791@craigslist.orgDate: 2007-07-30, 8:40AM PDTI bought this restaurant last april from armenian who works at same building and he is still working at the same building and good customer also.. But I realized that this is not for me.. because I don't know about armenian food and can't speak armenian.... So I hope somebody who is armenian take this restaurant and make more money.. monthly Gross income : 14,000 Rent : 2,900 (including gas, electric, water, cam etc) asking price : $ 50,000 many new equipments like Two Storages, Two Plazma Tv's & DVR camera...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Murphy Boys at Jew Camp #7

I Would Drive All Night Just To Buy You a Pair of Shoes

Chris’s birthday party under the redwoods ended on Sunday and I packed up and hit the road about 10 p.m. John returned from Ireland on Saturday and opened an unsigned typed written letter from his birth mother which he read to me over the telephone. I pray for this woman who suffers, but the letter she wrote was spectacularly cruel. I understand the pitiable condition of the writer, hating herself so much she is doggedly determined to be hated in return. We are still deeply wounded but we will not relent in our love for her even though she implies that my husband's very existence has crushed and continues to crush her life and soul. My husband. My children. My self. We are innocents and we are wounded that you would will us not to even BE. I was not born of you but I cannot picture myself BEING without John and our sons. But we will BE and we will love and we will pay tribute to and glorify, with every second of our lives, your drunken fuck with the married architect. I hope one day, your shame will be assuaged somehow by our miracle.

Summer's road has been long and I have been so lonely and brought so low. My artifice of refinement was busted wide open and I was returned with a hard slap to feeling dirty and vulgar and coarse and ugly and deserving of hatred because I used words that hit raw nerve and resounded back to me with such a wallop that I feel sad and changed and sensing of loss. Irreparable damage, but with it the potential for boundless growth. Patience and love.

My love has returned and now I have returned to him and we eat the Spartan little meals of ancient couples and lie together in bed in air thicker and hotter than in Donegal or Felton. Sharing a pillow last night, ceiling fan humming and cooler air beginning to waft in, with bugs and flies and moths through the torn screen, my lungs filled with the scent of my husband and my recent conundrum about prayer (asking?) and meditation (listening?) seemed like so much fucking hot air. There was nothing else in the world.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Shabbat Shalom and infinite love to heal to heal our infinite wounds from Mount Hermon. Namaste.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Murphy Boys at Jew Camp #4 Spud's 1st Day

Dear Niall,
I confess that my heart isn’t in watching baseball without you. I saw pictures of you scaling a rock wall and it looked like you were having a pretty good time. Are you remembering to use sunblock? Daddy and I spent a lot of money for you to waste even a second of the fun fun fun that we are trying to buy for you for a time out due to sunburn. Plus, sunburn hurts so it’s more than just money you know.

There were a number of pictures of you on the website with your helmet but there was only one picture of Leo who looked like he was being tortured. I bet he really is having some fun and I hope you are too. Have you found anyone at least to talk about sports with? I remember the good cool feeling of the pool there under the tall trees. It was greener when I was there before. I am sure they are talking to you like crazy about the drought…probably going on and on like Dad and I do about stuff like that to drive you out of your mind.

What are the kids in your cabin like? Is your counselor’s mental health to your satisfaction? Are you feeling ok and liking where you are? I sure hope so. I really miss you. Tell Leo that if he is mean to you I will paste one of those photos of him in the sink with Ana onto an email and make sure every kid in his cabin gets a copy. Just say the word.

Please please please write soon! Do you need anything? Is the food ok? Do you laugh a lot? (and you can sing if you want to—really, what goes on at JCA stays at JCA) and I hope the fresh air feels good to you.

I love you.

The Murphy Boys at Jew Camp #3 Leo's First Day

Dear Leo,

I always thought campfire was really cool. Do they still do funny skits and stuff? Are there some kids who actually have some musical talent? Live music with an open fire is a great life memory for me. This is why I'm looking so forward to Big Sur.

Are you having fun? Are you warm enough? I saw a picture of them torturing you on the rock wall there (note to whoever censors this for inappriopriateness: We paid a lot of money for this camp and even though the kid's name is Murphy, he is Jewish, A bar mitzvah even! What's with the rock wall? I expect to see more HAPPY pictures of my Leo on the website or next year he'll be camping with the Immaculate Sisters in Limerick and his dad can pack his duffel)

Don't worry Leo. I won't embarrass you by using any dirty words. Are there any cool kids or are they all dorks? Is brother ok? Tell him to shower and change his underpants. Does he seem happy? Are you happy?

Can’t wait to hear from you. (Note to camp letter censor—pass word that I authorize use of whatever force necessary to get this privileged child at your expensive camp to write his poor lonely mother).

Have a good Shabbat.
Your psycho mom.

Is Any One Cool Enough for this?

I'm going:

DOCUMENTAL shows films at the Unurban Coffeehouse,3301 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, 90404, 310-315-0056,free admission from 6-10pm. Info:310-306-7330www.myspace.com/sevendudleycinemaMONDAY, July 16. CINEMATIC INTERVENTIONS at 8pm -Experimental filmmaker extraordinaire John Cannizzaroscreens FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH ('06, 13m) the last Super8mm home movie: a cine-poem to time, childhood & thecolor of memory, AND an eye-opening 90 minute programof mutiple projection (16mm, video, live spoken word,bongos - the future of movie viewing?) layering ofavant garde, educational, travelogue, animation films& more. This genre-mashing phantasmagorical happeningsatirizes our daily sensory overload to reveal thehidden effects of moving image art and media yogamassaging. Special macrocosm mash-up of Luis Bunuel,James Joyce and Marshall McLuhan. Plus experimentalfilms from 6-8pm including shorts by Bryan Konefsky,who coined the term "Cinematic Interventions."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Murphy Boys at Jew Camp #2 Sugar Sugar!

This is from the first night Camp Fire at JCA and shows why my edgy bad assed urban kids are probably pretty pissed off at me about now.

The Murphy Boys at Jew Camp #1-Your Kid is a Liar

From the Camp JCA Shalom Literature:
Interpreting Letters from Home:
There's never enough food REALLY MEANS I had four grilled cheese sandwiches and they wouldn't give me a fifth.
I hate this place. I hate this place. I hate this place, I hate this place REALLY MEANS I'm angry because I had a fight. I'm O.K. I'm just blowing off steam.
I have a terrible fever and the nurse wouldn't do any thing REALLY MEANS I went to the infirmary with a 99 degree temperature. The nurse told me to come back at evening sick recall to be checked again.
They told me you called about NOT writing letters REALLY MEANS I told the Camp Director that I wrote six last week. To Aunt Selma, Grandma Helen, Aunt Millie, Cousin Fred and Harry.
Dear Mom and Dad, Broke My Legs, Love David REALLY MEANS "Gotcha. You care." (Camp would call if even an x-ray were taken).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Please Make Me Shut Up Please

Cliff’s Edge patio with the writer daughter of writer daughter of Hollywood legend whose mother has written revealing purgative memoirs which have, while I for some reason defended them, caused pain and family crumble. One of my first published essays caused a rift that still hasn’t really healed in my own family. And every word was true and it was a wonderful piece and one I am proud to have written, but one I would write differently, Rashomon-like, now.
I have already mailed letters to my kids at camp where I will be driving them on Tuesday. My mother used make sure a letter met my arrival and there were letters which made me laugh every day but Sunday. I’d send sweet and funny notes home, every one of which she has saved and is now moldering in my garage, waiting for me to take on the correspondence of my youth.

Himself and I met via a lonely howl and a letter that made me laugh. This is the longest we have been separated and while I bet it’s using a lot of power, I keep the laptop logged on pretty much all the time, waiting for "You’ve Got Mail". Yes, I am an AOL cretin. Fuck you all with your g-mail accounts which don’t play media files and your MACs which crash and can’t play Lauchcast Radio and make the Budget website look like it was designed in a sheltered workshop.

Himself and I are communicating via e-mail as we are far apart and these are trying times.
I have in the past few days scrawled "quiet" in my notebook again and again, Bart Simpson at the chalk board, admonishing myself to shut the fuck up. The truth is beautiful but the truth causes so much pain. Himself’s interest in things Irish has long been fueled by him knowing that his birth mother was an Irish native. His adoptive parents were good Irish Americans but to my knowledge had no attachment to, nor curiosity about the Emerald Isle. The "it" of the Irishness is transparent and many years have been spent in painstaking research, here and in Dublin town hall, tracing his heritage back many generations and actually visiting family farmland in Galway.

Intensive snooping around revealed that a second cousin was a Dublin mover and shaker. I asked Himself if I might contact her on his behalf and he assented and forwarded me all of his genealogical research. I sent her a carefully written e-mail and attached his family research and itinerary for this trip.

My husband is studying Irish language at Ghleann Cholm Chille on the rugged craggy coast of Donegal, a gorgeous spot where he lives spartanly, but as an introvert and craver of quiet and new to spoken Irish, the pressure to interact so much and drink in this odd sounding language must be daunting. Every minute of it is a tribute to the birth mother he has longed to know.
I received an e-mail from Dublin confirming that I had indeed contacted Himself’s 2nd cousin. The cousin had contacted the birth mother after receiving my e-mail. After giving the matter some thought, the birth mother decided she wished no contact with John and requested that the rest of the large family have none either. In fear the letter from the birth mother might precede it, I forwarded off this note to be read in Donegal.

I wrote in truth because I wanted to give my beloved the mother he so yearned to know. He just wouldn’t listen to me telling him that knowing your birth parents can be overrated. I wanted to be a hero to my husband and make him love me more but instead I have brought grief and shame.

There is a silver lining and that will be given equal time in my next installment here but for now, I didn’t light shabbat candles for myself last night and felt undeserving of them. I let myself be alone and lonely and prayed my husband return from a month of trial and tragedy and magic to a better place and a better wife.
Namaste, and shabbat shalom, really and deservedly

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


This morning in the confessional Dan pointed out to me that perhaps I am flying too close to the sun. He suggested I might have embarrassed myself by releasing too much emotion in my interaction with two different artists during the last week. I find however that both of these conversations (Dan suggested I might record future ones and be frightened and disgusted by my own intensity) inspired my thoughts and writing substantially in the days that followed them. But I can also recall these interactions with a sense of being self conscious, holding forth in the movie of my life and do feel a bit squirmy. I reread my journal last night and it was filled with good ideas and then thoughts so outrageous, full of shit and megalomaniacal they make me cringe( ICKY ICKY ICKY) but often these wild passionate rants level off and build some equity for me. Which is why I drag Richard and Dan into the confessional near every morning and I pour out my heart to my husband and Diana and the dearest of my friends in long e-mails. A blast of love for all of you who are brave enough to bear my loudness and not fade away.

Casamurphy is a dusty mess although I finally got around to cancelling the newspaper subscriptions and some day the basement will be done and I’ll dump all the rotting take out in the fridge, but until then, and the kids leave for camp, with our funky house and lack of adult man, we are roughing it. I am happy for my three adventurers, I hope that I too may steal a few days during which I can shut the fuck up and not feel pressured to think in any language or cover payroll and direct the movie or mastermind the church of me. If the planets align correctly in the next days, remodeling will have advanced and Budget Films will be able to self manage and connections in the north will be made (Jesus Harry, can you at least call me from the gym or the stylist or the haberdasher or somewhere?) I will flee this hotness and BE somewhere where the tape of me would have no human voice for a bit. Quiet.

Yes. I know there is no apostrophe in tacos.

For those of you who were embarrassed on my behalf.

A Blog Reader Who Doesn't Count on Me For Sex! (a fluke..)

Nice note from Clara who writes with that same unnamable sweet thing that attracts me to her and the splendid Riley:
This is my confession: Wait, before I give it I'll add to its value by telling you that it's my first confession in a really long time--months probably. I belong to the hide-your-little-peccadillo's school of living your life. Okay, my confession is this, and it may be hard to believe, but, I'd never actually read someone's blog before today. I only had a vague impression of what a blog was. I was intrigued by the part where you say that your blog is read by no one. I took that as a challenge, and so I read it.

Now, is it proper blog etiquette to respond to the stuff in it? I'm going to assume so. I'm really sorry about missing Iris's thing. I think it's great that you guys all came together for her. I'm sorry about the death thing, too. I have trouble being all zen and philosophical about death. Mostly I find it devastating when people die.

I'm glad you're getting rid of your flabby butt. I'm glad you found Josh.

It's really hot, isn't it? (I know that's a nonsequitor, but still, it is hot.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Dead Sibling Society

My husband is condemned to dial up in a remote part of Ireland where he toils learning the language of his forbears. After years of intensive written study and a lot of formidable translation he finds himself in an advanced beginner level, and feels himself to be at bottom of the class with head awhirl. How I miss my sweet scholar.

Saturday we came together at Mary Beth’s to hang with Iris who recently lost her little brother. The Murphys have been blackballed from MB’s for many years, since my children and Robert Goldberg decapitated every Barbie in the house and it was wonderful to see how it’s been filled with color and feel how full it is with love there and how sweet Barney the beagle has turned snow white and is still a compulsive eating machine. Years ago he raided some little girl birthday party bags and polished off enough colored Tootsie Rolls to leave pastel poop throughout the yard for a week.

Gwenie is on a tear that we should all improve our physical condition and has shamed us all into boot camp with Miss Burke, the gym mistress from Immaculate Heart who has guaranteed to whip us all into shape post haste. Jan Crary and Dianna Gould Saltman, marathon walkers and uber buff broads (although neither has turned 50, just wait) have been voted off the island but as soon as we find a locale where it will be convenient to pick up a post session ice cream cone, gym class will be in session for the rest of us and our weary flabby butts.

I took Leo, Spuds and his friend Diego and Josh to the beach to ride bikes yesterday and Josh is ruled, like Himself, by being a spaced out genius and while thinking deep thoughts he wandered away from us on the Santa Monica Pier. We used our wits and were reunited and then returned for a great Thai dinner with Barry and Elyse. Barry, like me, runs a small business and has worked continuously since childhood as a tuxedo rental clerk, electrician, and now running a large storage and shipping facility for art collectors. Like I’ve always been called to write, Barry’s first love is music. He is an accomplished drummer, and like his son has a beautiful singing voice. Elyse, the animator is aglow post Bar Mitzvah and flourishing illustrating children’s books and drinking in the richness that is life after Disney.

Like dear Iris, who lost her brother Stu, Elyse and Barry (I think within in the same year) both lost brothers so this, in addition to being parents of psycho teens, we are all living children of parents who have lost a child and we have all been, and are continuing to be changed by that. Iris’s brother died the same week she was clearing out her desk, taking early retirement, after 27 years at the L.A. Times and while she gave the situation all due attention, it was physically impossible for her to arrive in Florida prior to his death and she feels impotent and regretful. I made it to Las Vegas and held my sisters hand while she slipped away but it really made no difference to the dead hand who was holding it. I was able to tell both of my parents that I held their broken daughter’s hand while she died which made me a fucking hero but let us aspire to keep our dead and living and broken loved ones close and guffaw at the irrelevance of these stupid fucking bodies.