Brian Tobin, a NYC Original

On August 13th, my friend Brian Tobin passed from this world into whatever heaven we perceive. He was a gentle soul. We met in the early 90s and he told me he was available to help me cart my PA and gear to gigs far and wide. And that he did. He was better than a mail carrier. He showed up in rain, snow, floods, extreme heat, he was there for me. He never missed a NYC gig.

When I got a job offer in South Florida, I called him, and he cheerfully agreed to drive me (and my two pets) from North Jersey to a moon landing called Port St. Lucie. Brian was living 20 miles away, then, in Tequesta, with his wife Meta, and he became close friends with my husband, Greg.

Brian has been a tightly knit part of the fabric of my life for so long, and now that he’s transitioned to the other side, I’m okay for a few days, and then I just break down in tears. I’m grateful to Meta for her friendship and for the love and care she gave Brian over the last months of his earthly existence. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but she did it with grace and love. I am honored to count her among my friends.

I chose the New Mexico landscape with the single insistent cloud to represent my buddy.   Jesus, I’m going to miss him.

For all of you who are grieving for a loved one, I am with you.

Photo credit of Brian: Rod MacDonald

One Step Forward…


Last Thanksgiving Day, I was putting several heavy dishes up onto a high shelf with my right hand. All of a sudden, it felt like a small explosion took place in my elbow.  I had a houseful of guests, and I thought I just “tweaked” a muscle, and it would calm down, so I plowed through the day. And the days after that.

December came and went, and then January, February, and then, in March I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and saw my doctor, and she referred me to a specialist. As it turns out, I hadn’t strained a muscle, I had torn a tendon in my forearm, (which explains why I had to have a friend and colleague carry my computer bag on and off several planes because I couldn’t lift it). The specialist gave me a cortisone shot and said come back in a month for the second shot.

Fellow procrastinators, you know what happened after that… my elbow felt better and I figured I was good.

Nope. Not by a long shot. I’ll be making that appointment for the follow-up shot tomorrow.

I took the photo above from my hotel window in Boston a few days ago. I could actually lift my arm high enough to (just barely) make the shot.

An Early Southern Spring

It’s barely March, and spring has sprung in Southeast Virginia.

It’s barely March, and already the daffodils are blooming, the Bradford pear trees are ablaze with white blossoms, my tulips are pushing green leaves up through the ground, the redbud trees are buzzing, and periwinkle carpets the hill with their tiny blue blossoms. 

I can’t remember spring ever being so early. In the Northeast, where I lived until I was beating down the door of middle age, March still held one or two gut-punches of snow, wind, and rising damp. I was always cold. Until I moved to South Florida, and there, I was always hot–I’m entirely unsure which was worse. 

So, here, in Southeastern Virginia, the moderate climate never ceases to amaze me. If it snows, the scenery outside my window is magical…and then the snow is gone a few days later. The languid summer days drift by, and the fall is gentle. I will say, we do have our stretches of gray skies and drizzly days, but I don’t mind. 

Like Goldilocks, I’ve finally found my “just right.” 

The Time to Take A Stand is NOW! – Re-post

I’ve never been very good at publicizing my blog, but in looking back at this post, I realize I have to do better. I stand for democracy. I also stand for kindness, compassion, and living by the Golden Rule. This was first published on Jan. 28, 2017. I’m reposting it because I believe in its truth. If you also agree, please share with your network. 


To say I’m disappointed in this past election cycle would be an understatement, but I am choosing to live my life, as I always have, based on kindness. Many of my friends and neighbors supported as J.K. Rowling would call him, “You-know-who,” and I don’t fault them. That is how a democracy operates. You get to vote for the candidate you choose.

That said, I will remind you that the United States is a nation of immigrants. Our greatest successes have come from the hands and minds of people from other shores. Immigrants are welcome in my America.

Refugees are welcome, too. Many countries, including the United States, refused to take in refugees from the Nazi regime, and 6 million Jews died, and hundreds of thousands of other not-particularly-lily-white-looking people were likewise murdered. It wasn’t that long ago.

In my America, healthcare is available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

We are all entitled to protect our earth, and especially our water supply from those who would destroy it to line their already cash-bloated pockets. So, yes, join me and #StandWithStandRock and oppose the North Dakota Pipeline which will eventually leak oil into the water supply. And insist on the end of the violence being perpetrated upon our First Nation Water Protectors who are being shot with rubber bullets (which cut through cloth and skin), hit with water cannons, and tear-gassed on a regular basis. BTW, You-know-who has a financial stake in this project. 

In my America, education is a right, not a privilege. And it’s not okay to be a racist, woman-hating, violence-advocating asshole. Nope. Not okay.

For our veterans, WE MUST TAKE CARE OF THEIR MEDICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SOCIAL needs. We owe them more than that. Step up, America.

So what are your plans for the next four years? I suggest you join me and #RESIST. If you’re an ordinary person like me, this is not a comfortable position to be in. I made my first phone call to the US Senators who represent my district this past week to tell them the North Dakota pipeline must not continue. That was a big deal for me because all the people in my real-time life know how I hate using the phone. Just a quirk, but still, I did what I believed was necessary. So, ordinary folks, get brave. Stand up for what is right, but more than anything, practice being kind. To the cashier at Wal-Mart, to the co-worker who irks you, to the asshole who just cut you off in traffic. Now more than ever, kindness will save the day, because at the end of this and every day, this is what democracy looks like.

Bring It, 2017!

A Writer Gives Thanks


On this, the last day of 2016, I wish all my readers the hope and strength to carry us through the new year.

Thank you for your love, friendship, support, comments, and for allowing me to dream.





New Theme, New Insecurities

I’ve taken the drastic step of changing my Wordpress theme.


Okay, I’ve taken the drastic step of changing my WordPress theme. For about 40 minutes, I struggled with those things you struggle with when the cyborg in your computer takes control, but suddenly without me doing anything but a “carriage return” (bahahahaha) the font has changed and all seems to be tenuously well.

The image is a painting on display at the  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It expresses my feelings for this change entirely. I’m looking down the well at what was, and recoiling at what is, as far as formatting, fonts, and so on.

I’m sorry if this post ends up in the back of your closet as the damp sock you lost track of. I’m going to blame my husband, Greg, even though he has nothing to do with any of this.

A Sign

2015-07-20 12.09.32

This greeted me as I arrived for work this morning, and being an extremely literal thinker, it made me laugh.  My Uncle Frank, who was a sign painter, and worked as an artist for the Workers Project Administration (WPA) during the not-so Great Depression, would have loved this, too. Some of the murals he painted during the Depression are still on display in the hidden board rooms of NYC. He worked from the late 1930s through the 1960s, and because he was crippled by depression and anxiety, he settled on being a sign painter–and he was a good one.

One of my earliest memories was sitting on his lap in his studio with a paintbrush, his hand wrapped completely around mind, guiding the brush and the paint on the paper as letters magically appeared. It was thrilling, and I so loved Uncle Frank. I guess he sensed we shared the brain-wiring that carries depression and anxiety from one generation to the next, and he probably felt I would grow up to share his journey as an artist (in my case music and poetry) with the same issues. He was so kind to me. I wish the medications we have today, the ones that let me lead a “normal” life, were available to him. I know that his life would have been very different–and perhaps more joyful.

Depression is a sometimes fatal disease that no one seems to want to talk about. If you, or someone you love, has depression and/or anxiety, please reach out to the healthcare community. It’s not an easy road to feel better, and sometimes there is a lot of try and try again–but treatment today is an option that my Uncle Frank didn’t have, but luckily, you and I do.

Take this post as a sign.