If He Could Talk to You Today

A year ago today, my little brother J.R. passed away. It was a long, sad, heart wrenching descent into the grips of alcoholism. I know, upbeat topic for today, right? But this week, this week alone, I have had two people who I love very much tell me about their family's heartaches because of addiction. One friend told me her son is in trouble with cocaine. He is a father, with three kids. Another friend was recounting the sadness and horror of losing her nephew to a … [Read more...]

Same Little Legs Still Carry You

The little girl in the bright yellow tee-shirt caught my attention. Must have been nine, maybe ten. It was rainy, not a downpour, rather one of those spongy May mornings. Stationary raindrops clung where they landed, glistening spheres on feathery iris, pale and pearly white. The landscape was awash in purples, pinks, grey and green. Many shades of green. I noticed her because she was alone. This is a rare sight on a busy street during the morning rush and the little … [Read more...]

Three Little Words

He had no idea the maelstrom of emotion that would blow in behind one short, declarative sentence.  On a day when I was supposed to get a make over at the Clinique counter, with a particular interest in the “Dark Circle Corrector” and a new, natural look, which for me is code for “get out of the 80s”, but I cancelled due to too many competing demands for my squeezed-into-two-precious-days life now, I went to the gym instead. The gym was just one entry on my unrealistic … [Read more...]

Brotherly Love

The first person to show up for my first-ever book signing was my little brother Paul. It’s a good thing the restaurant manager didn’t throw him out. He does, after all, look like a homeless person. That’s because he is. Sure, he couch surfs from one person’s house to the next, until something or somebody nudges him to the next. Paul’s been without a couch to call home since my mother passed away six years ago and I honestly don’t know how he continues to survive, but … [Read more...]

If You Don’t Stop That, You’ll Go Blind

The email from her Blackberry said it all. “At a funeral. Back in the office soon.” It is a telling reflection of the world in which we live when a person feels a compunction to return an email in the middle of a funeral. This is beyond the pale. I am not throwing stones however, as I live in a glass house, which you’ll understand in a minute. The person who felt an overwhelming obligation to respond to one of 9,000 emails she probably gets in a day,  I’m sure, just … [Read more...]

It Gets Settled

If I could reach out to the victims of Jerry Sandusky with a single message, it would be this: someday it just won’t matter anymore. Before somebody throws a molotov cocktail through my front window, please hear me out. I’m not saying that what happened to them wasn’t criminal. I’m not saying that the perpetrator and the people who served as his de facto accomplices with their silence and accommodation, shouldn’t be punished. Heads should roll. It’s just that in the … [Read more...]

If You Died Tomorrow Would You Live to Regret It?

Hi y'all, I'm working fast and furiously on the book, but wanted to share a short OP ED I sent to the New York Times today after reading about Steve Jobs, being born in San Francisco in 1955 under less-than-perfect circumstances. Sound familiar? A lot of this is old news to you, I've lifted a few lines from previous posts. But I was hoping to stimulate some thought outside my circle of readers. Mostly, I just wanted to say hello. More soon. Peace and love, Jean If … [Read more...]

The Working Class

So I’m sitting in a bar in St. Louis last week at a going away party for a friend. She got a new video editing job in another town, pays more, and she’ll be able to work on better projects. You can only edit so many fried chicken videos. One of the guys sitting at the table, a local indie movie guy, who comes off a little cocky because he’s made a couple of movies that a few people liked, starts railing on the people who work at fast food restaurants. “I always check … [Read more...]

My Brother Mike

There just wasn't putting it off any longer. Hell, I'd had the phone number for two weeks. My niece Amy had tracked it down through tax records. Take that, Google and Facebook. But I had waited. Waited until I was in a quiet place, with nobody else around, so I could focus on what to say. What do you say to somebody you don't know but with whom you share the same father? "Hi, I'm your long lost sister, the one your daddy got in trouble with his wife over...." At the … [Read more...]

Tommy and Beverly Were Lovers

I hate saying goodbye. I left my son Nate and his wife, Melissa, in Los Angeles and drove up the coast a few days ago, my melancholy usurped by nerves. I hadn't really felt this way yet. One would think a gal with a dog, who's not too adept at changing tires or reading GPS, facing a daunting journey of more than 8,000 miles would be a little jumpy from time to time. Well, sure, when the sun goes down and I've still got 162 miles to go until my next stop and my eyes … [Read more...]