If I could go back and change my past, I wouldn’t. Life isn’t anything like a box of chocolates. You cannot pick and choose the pieces you like and leave the rest. Or, as my mother did, cut each open to see whether you like it before you eat it, leaving all those gooey messes behind.

circle of life teepee door

You pick one, close your eyes, pop it in your mouth, and bite. If you don’t like it, try a different one. Maybe it’ll be worse. Or it might be a chocolate cherry cordial. Mm, yum.

Just to mix my metaphors, I’ll leave it as it is, was, will be. My life is really all one cloth. You can’t pull out threads without ruining the tapestry.



What is your favorite month of the year?

October. It has amber sunlight, scarlet maple leaves. Crisp air.

New England puts on her party clothing and sings hosanna. I take out all my cameras and run around like a crazy person trying to capture it all before it goes away.

Do you drink coffee at all?

In the morning. Two large cups. After that, no more until the next morning. BUT. Those two cups in the morning make the difference between waking up and spending the whole day in a semi coma.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I washed poodles. I developed a deep loathing for the smell of poodle shampoo. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in the early weeks of pregnancy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tolerate that smell without feeling a little queasy.

List:  If you play video/computer games list 5 games you like? 

I play little bubble popping games on Facebook — which is pretty much all I do on Facebook. I used to play Caesar, Civilization, and a variety of “Sim” games. All of them were “improved” until I didn’t like them anymore, or they became unavailable.

I play computer versions of Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, and a couple of others, but I don’t think they count as video/computer games. They are merely computerized versions of board games.


Sometimes, when I go looking for a picture, I find more than I bargained for. In this case, an entire file of pictures Garry took in Hyannisport. I downloaded them, but apparently that’s all I did. Only two of them ever made it into publication.

Last night, while the Boston Pops played a bunch of drivel instead of the patriotic, inspirational music I expected, I went through the file and realized these are great pictures. And here they are! Summertime on Cape Cod.

At the dock in Hyannisport, by Garry Armstrong.


The first time I heard the word “adultery,” I assumed it meant the sin of growing up. I’m not sure I was entirely wrong.

I thought adulthood was about freedom. Not having to take orders from parents, teachers, and every grownup in the world.

It turns out that bosses were less fun than teachers, and everything was ultimately about money. Working for it. Saving it. Using it well. Building a career that would support the life you wanted. Having enough so your family could have a house and nice things.

I rebelled against it, the whole concept … and went off to do my own thing, dragging my son with me. I took a sharp right turn into unexplored territory. And it did indeed give me a great deal of satisfaction, not to mention many experiences that were beyond price. But I still had to work and money was still the bottom line.


Money is the issue, unless you have so much you never have to worry about it — an experience I’ve never had. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but having enough will buy physical comfort, peace of mind, and a good chunk of freedom to do as one pleases.

When I was little, I remember hearing my parents talking in soft voices at night behind their closed door. I wondered what exciting things they were discussing. Would I ever have such adult conversations in my life?

Indeed, I had many of those conversations. Because they were talking about money. How to earn it, how to spend it. What they needed. What they might be able to afford for themselves, for us. That’s the basic issue of adulthood in this world. Maybe it has always been this way.

The freedom I was looking for definitely is part of reaching grownupped-ness … but so are a heap of responsibilities I never considered. Having to work when it isn’t fun and not what you want to do. And the worry and insecurity that goes with it.

Next time around the wheel, I’ll try to do better. I give myself a solid B minus on this round. Which might be an overly generous assessment.