I went to a Divorce Party last night. A friend finalized her divorce after 30 years of marriage and wanted to celebrate. She had a lot to celebrate.

I’ve rarely seen such a dramatic transformation in a person in such a short time. We’ve known her for 14 years and we’ve never seen this relaxed and happy version of her. She has changed physically too. She lost 25 pounds, changed her hair and looks like a different person. She has an inner glow about her. Her inner happiness and self-confidence shows. She’s not depressed, angry, or feeling bad about herself. The marriage was weighing her down.

I tried to get her to see the toxic nature of the marriage three years ago. She admitted that there was little left in her relationship except anger and resentment. They led separate lives with little positive communication and no love. He refused to acknowledge his contribution to the problems. He also refused counseling and showed no interest in changing in any way.

The one thing she had left in the marriage was hope. She still, somehow, believed it could work. She was not ready to pull the plug. Now she looks back and wonders why she couldn’t see the writing on the wall, those giant, black letters screaming “It’s over! Get out!”

She wasn’t ready to see it.

I had the same experience with my son. Tom and I saw that it was time to end his severely dysfunctional and destructive marriage years before he was ready to accept the inevitable. He too had a major transformation when he left the negative relationship. He became more relaxed. He seemed lighter, more positive. He laughed more and looked like he had shed a giant weight off his back and heart.

But he could not end his seven-year marriage – until he was ready.

Something happens inside of us when we are suddenly receptive to change. A light goes on or a switch is turned somewhere in our psyches. Suddenly, things gel. We see things differently. The blinders are gone and so is the hope. People cling to the familiar. We, as a species, hate and fear major changes in our lives. And divorce is one of the biggest and most difficult.

Sometimes with divorce, people can’t see past the pain and hassle of the separation and divorce process. They can’t focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Many people can’t even see the light. They don’t believe they’ll have a better life on their own. All they see is how they are feeling at that moment — lonely and heartbroken.

It takes people time to prepare for change. It can’t be rushed. I never pushed my son or my friend. I supported them through endless decisions to just give it “a little more time.” I led them to the water to see if they were ready to drink. When they weren’t, I backed off. That’s why I could be part of the divorce celebrations when they finally came.

I have to admit, my life is better now that both my son and my friend are divorced and happy. We wanted these divorces to happen, for personal, selfish reasons as well as for altruistic ones. So even if you desperately see that someone needs to end a relationship – shut up.

They will let you know when they are ready.


Some of us really were looking and listening. Although all the liberal publications were saying Hillary Clinton would win big, I was hearing other voices. Michael Moore, to name one with whom you might be familiar, was saying the opposite. So were other important analysts — all issuing warnings that it was not going to be so easy. There were many things that could go wrong. Not only had the fat lady not sung, the concert hadn’t even begun and the orchestra was just tuning their instruments. Too early to pop the corks.

Even when we say “What could possibly go wrong?” which means we really do know that things always go wrong, regardless of whatever plans you made, it’s rare that absolutely everything goes wrong at the same time.


That is what happened for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Who’s fault was it? Hers, certainly. The FBI? Absolutely. The Democratic and Republican establishments’ unwillingness hear the angry voices in coal country and the rust belt. The people who neither Democrats or Republicans have been able to help for the past 30 years have felt abandoned. They have a point, but there’s a huge question whether or not there’s much to be done. No one can turn back the clock to the glory days of American manufacturing because that was substantially based on a postwar Europe in smoking ruins who, of necessity, bought their “stuff” from us.

You aren’t going to bring back the coal industry. Oh, maybe a little will be revived, but those miners need to learn new skills, like the fishermen of New England who have lost their livelihood as fisheries closed due to persistent, relentless, over-fishing.

We have voted badly before and clearly, we can do it again. We have yet to plumb the true depths to which w can sink.

We have voted badly before and can do it again. We have yet to plumb the true depths to which we can sink.

Change happens and sometimes, no one is to blame. The world keep turning. Crying and shaking ones fists at the sky while howling “Stop the world! I want to get off!” is futile and pathetic.

A very big change happened yesterday. How much we will we personally, as individuals, be affected? It depends on too many different variables to make an educated guess much less a prediction. In any case, big changes to law and legislation don’t happen overnight.

The remnant of Bernat Mills. A reminder of how things can change.

The remnant of Bernat Mills. A reminder of how things can change.

Many voters who got Trump into office are going to have a bad case of buyer’s remorse when, in the not-too-distant future they realize there won’t be a wall. The mines aren’t coming back. America’s manufacturing base is not coming back any more than the empty mills in the Blackstone Valley will ever again transform cotton and wool into cloth. Sometimes, when it’s over, it’s over.

Moreover, they will discover that as much as the man supposedly makes the office, the office of the president will remake Trump.

This isn’t a toy job. By the time President Trump realizes what he’s gotten into, he won’t be the same guy. Reality has harder edges than TV reality shows.

The presidency changes those who take office. Always. Which way it will go this time, we can’t know. I’m pretty sure the candidate doesn’t know either. It’s going to take time to sort it out. Determine who the power players will be. Who will populate the Trump cabinet. And who will be on the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, back in the deep blue Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we didn’t vote for Trump. We did legalize marijuana and vote to protect farm animals from cruel treatment. Yay us.


That first marriage was a mistake. It had to have been because it didn’t go the distance. Maybe it wasn’t a mistake. Maybe it was the right thing when it happened, at that time. Later, when we were older and had changed, the marriage no longer fit. Is moving on the same as failure? As error?

I know that the assumption these days is that relationships which don’t last forever are mistakes. I disagree. A lot of pairings were perfect — in their time and place. In the context in which they were born.


Time moves and life flows along. The world changes as does what we need, want, love, like, enjoy. Sometimes dramatically, sometimes gradually. Change is life. It’s great if a couple can evolve while remaining compatible, but if that doesn’t happen and we move on, does that mean whatever happened before is nullified? That it was a mistake?

The end of something — or that something ended — does not define what went before. We are composed of millions of pieces. Unlike a jigsaw puzzle, our pieces can be put together many ways to form different pictures. Over a lifetime, we’ll rearrange our pieces many times. I would hope so, anyway. A life without change doesn’t sound like much of a life.



Family. You never know what’s going to happen, but you do know that whatever happens, it will be complicated.

A couple of days ago, my granddaughter arrived and moved into the southern end of our house, otherwise known as “downstairs.”

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

With Nitro, the puppy. And laundry. I will not go into any of the details of how this happened because I’m not entirely clear on them myself. It just happened. Like a meteor hitting the house or a flash flood. There we were, enjoying a quiet Sunday.

My son, the leading edge of the oncoming wave, explained that Kaity was on her way over.

“How nice. A Sunday visit,” says Granny Marilyn. Fifteen minutes later, she was moving in. With puppy. Nitro.


Garry, who had gone into the shower a little before the arrival of the son, emerged to find himself in a new world order. Although I explained that it was just as much a surprise to me as to him, I suspect he thinks I’m holding out on him.

I’m not. Honest.

I don’t know how long this will last. It’s fine with me, however it shakes out. If anyone is going to live with us, my granddaughter would be my first choice. Garry’s too, though he is worried about finding himself in charge of Nitro. I understand his concern.

As long as she house breaks and trains the puppy properly (I think he may be growing in the general direction of pretty big) and she keeps the place reasonably tidy, I’m good. Kaity grew up in this house, so there are no surprises laying in wait. She is comfortable in the space, knows that autumn brings the mice and spring, the ants. Though I think Nitro will be a formidable force with which any invading critter will have to reckon. He grows as I watch.


Everything else will sort itself out. This is probably a healthy move for Kaity. It’s time for her to separate from mommy. We all need to do it and it’s never easy. She can lead an independent life here, with little interference, but backup when and if needed.

I’m a bit pixellated by the rapid changes in life, so if I’m not writing as much, it’s because I’m busy absorbing a new reality. Keep in mind that Kaity could change her mind and leave tomorrow — be gone as fast as she arrived. I’m not quite sure how much to invest in this. I think I’ll keep my head low and let it sort itself out.

If I have learned nothing else in the past decade, it’s that young people need to make their own choices. Unless they ask for advice? Shut up, be supportive, be loving, and keep out of the line of fire.




1 Corinthians

11   When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12   For now we see as in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I too am known.

I’m not usually big on quoting the bible, but sometimes — and this is one of those times — no place says it better.

72-BW-Light of the desert-MAR-Superstition-011316_311

I was an “old” child. When I was very young, I talked like a much older person. I read “adult person” literature and thought of myself as very mature. I wasn’t. I was intellectually precocious, but still a child. Who used big words and almost understood many adult things.


Almost. There are a whole lot of things that simply don’t make sense until you’ve lived a life. Reading about life isn’t living it. A child, no matter how smart, is never more mature than his or her years and experience. That’s perspective.

Perspective isn’t static. At 10, you see things through 10-year-old eyes. As years and decades roll on, you see the same things differently, sometimes extremely so. Perhaps you really do see through a glass darkly. Or you should. If decades of living don’t change your perspective, something is wrong — with you or the life you’ve lived. We are supposed to change. The only things that don’t change are dead.

I hear people my age or even younger saying “Well, that’s the way I am. I’m not going to change.”

Yeats' Grave

There’s a terrible finality in that statement. A sad finality, like a eulogy for “self.”

Someday, I’ll be too old or sick for change. The end comes to everyone. But until then, I hope my perspective keeps changing. I hope I revise my opinions often and contradict myself frequently.




I’ve been finding pearls of wisdom all over the place. A few from television and movies, others from fellow bloggers. Today’s gems (and I’m not kidding, I mean gems — no sarcasm) come from Cardinal Guzman.


Let me start with the Cardinal. His “life game” guidelines resonated with me:

  • Take care of your loved one and loved ones.
  • Have fun, but don’t get addicted to it.
  • Their shit stinks too, so it doesn’t matter what they think.
  • Improvise.

Taking care. I take care of my loved ones — friends and family — to the extent that they allow me, and I am able. I no longer believe I can fix everyone’s problems — or mine. Within the limits of money, time, health, and distance, I do what I can. It’s pretty good. If I won the lottery … but that doesn’t look likely, especially considering I haven’t bought any tickets. (Maybe I should buy tickets.)


Have fun. I do. It’s different fun than I had years ago, but it makes me smile and laugh. I get some good pictures too.

Their shit stinks too. Not only does other people shit stink, but some of those other people have bigger problems than me. None of us never knows how difficult someone else’s path is. If they are nice to me, the will have my support — even if I don’t have much beyond moral support to offer.

Improvise. He or she who cannot roll with the punches, change with the seasons of life, adapt to the stuff that is constantly assailing us from every direction, are doomed. If you don’t change, you ossify and die in place.

72-Garry on donkey by Ben-Superstition-011316_106

Living means changing. Many people declare “they can’t change because they are what they are.” That’s never true. They are convinced not changing will save them from getting hurt or having to learn new and uncomfortable skills. Instead, ceasing to move in life becomes a recipe for death before burial. Only the dead are frozen in time.

Improvising also means reinventing oneself. Often. As we age, we don’t so much give up things, as we adapt to the limitations we encounter. If I can’t ride horses, I can take pictures of them. I can enjoy being around them.


I can’t hike long distances, but I can walk shorter ones. I can take pictures, write, read, and talk. I can laugh. And I’d better do it now, because tomorrow has no guarantee. As far as I can know, this is tomorrow.

Grab a handful of life and get on with it.

I’d like to add that the entire experience of living would be greatly improved by people being kind to one another. By not walking around so fearful of getting hurt that they hurt everyone else. Self-protection is overrated.

Be nice, be kind. Help where you can. It’s free. It’s easy. It makes you a better person and the world a better place.



This is one of those disorganized, rambling posts that we all write sometimes. Sorry about that. I had a few things to say and this seemed a good place to say them.

No one is perfect, least of all me

I should be more patient. I’m patient with tedious, repetitive work. Kids and animals get a long lead. Adults? Not so much.


Raymond Reddington on “The Blacklist” dropped this pearl the other night:

“They say youth is wasted on the young. I disagree. I say wisdom is wasted on the old. No one wants it. In fact, everyone hates it.

With that in mind, here’s a little list:

characteristics of very important people
  1. They know everything. They have an opinion about everything, but no facts — or as they say in the west, “All hat, no cattle.”
  2. They never admit they are, were, or could be, wrong.
  3. They reject change. They will not revise an opinion or change their way of doing something because “this is the way I am and have always done it.”
  4. They are self-destructive and self-defeating.
  5. They expect sympathy when they do themselves in. Again.
  6. They blame everyone else for their problems. The whole world is out to get them (a sure sign of great importance).
  7. They are proud of being ignorant.
  8. They don’t read books or newspapers.
  9. They believe their opinion is “as good any anyone else’s.” (No, it isn’t.)
  10. They brag about their achievements, but you never see any evidence of these achievements.

All living things change, even if slowly. Only death is unchanging. If I seem to be of a different opinion than I was the other day, it’s probably true. When I learn something new, or see a better way to do something old, I try it.

I’m never sure I’m right, but I know when I’m wrong.

The rumor about old people is that we’re more patient than the young. Not exactly. More tired, yes. More patient? Not really. The older we are, the harder it is to suffer fools — and the better we are at recognizing fools.

Don’t there seem to be more fools than there used to be?

I want to trust people, so I assume they’re well-meaning, even if wrong-headed. I’ve been mistaken many times. You’d think I’d learn, but I don’t.

Even if it works out badly, I’d rather get hurt than give up.