The Best Part of Day 2 in Denver


Susan, right, and Marcia, making the marriage license look like a work of art.
Susan, right, and Marcia, making the marriage license look like a work of art.


On Monday afternoon in Denver, Marcia and Susan completed their marriage license. The state of Colorado allows self-officiation so that no JP or minister or other “official” needs to perform the ceremony and complete the paperwork that says a couple is recognized as married.

Their sons, Sam and Tim, signed as witnesses, but I got to witness the entire process. I am so proud and happy that I did.

Marcia has about the most gorgeous handwriting I’ve ever seen. It’s copperplate, so she had the privilege of filling in the blanks except the signatures. Sam took video, which captured everything, including a couple of “exclamations” when they thought they’d put information in the wrong place. I was sure that they hadn’t and of course all was perfect.

Thank you to U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby and 10th Circuit Judges Carlos F. Lucero and Jerome A. Holmes who allowed this event to happen.

Denver Day 2

So yesterday Marcia and Susan and I sat around in the a.m. Tim jumped out of bed, showered, and ran off to Denver School of the Arts to be in time for his noon job teaching music to elementary school children.


I put together the notes for the writing workshop. Weird displacement, being in Colorado and Connecticut at the same time.

Then the three of us went for pedicures, having stopped at the school for Tim to witness the marriage license.

The extremely dexterous tech rebuilt my big toenails – not sure how good the synthetic will be for the new nail growth, but they  will look good for the wedding.

We stopped at a garden supply store, which was loaded with beautiful selections, but the place must use gallons and gallons of water. Marcia and Susan bought plants for the yard and flowers for the bridesmaids.

Susan had a brief lie-down when we returned home.

Things began  to coalesce in the evening when Marcia went to the airport to get Valerie (Mark’s wife), arriving from Berkeley, and Debbie and Jim (Susan’s sister and husband), arriving from a long European tour.

Susan ordered pizza on the theory that everyone would be hungry.

Before the travelers arrived, Janet and Ian came over because Valerie was to stay with them. They brought a huge peach pie (made in a 9 x 13 Pyrex) with a few pits tucked in. It was made by their neighbor called Lee, real name Leather. One taste and I was sure that the  crust was made with lard. Nibbled around the crust and  so far the stomach has been OK.

Pizza was odd – sweet tasting and the cheese sort of Velveeta-ish as Susan said. We drank another bottle of the Ravenswood. Everybody raved.


One bolt of lighting and crash of thunder was followed by a considerable break and then it started to rain. Apparently it also stormed badly overnight – thunder, lightning, downpours, of which I heard naught.


Denver Day 1, cont’d.

In lieu of getting riled up by my seat mates, I turned to an old New Yorker where I found an upsetting interview of Adam Lanza’s father. Still preferable to listening to the conversation to my right.

It was hot-hot-hot – 97 degrees – when Marcia picked me up. We had a wonderful chat in the car. More at her house.

Paris on the Platte
Paris on the Platte


After some coming and going Susan, Marcia, and I went to lunch at Paris on the Platte, a nice sandwich place with fascinating artwork on the walls. It  was still serving brunch when we arrived at 1:30, but we all opted for lunch. Marcia and I had the Old Country with mozzarella, smoked gouda, artichoke hearts, red peppers, ripe tomatoes, pesto oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and black olive spread. (As a general rule, I’ll eat pretty much anything with artichokes.)

I had a small side salad in which the waitress spilled the dressing all over the sandwich, and Marcia what looked a skimpy amount of fruit. Susan had the New York Times, bagel, smoked salmon, capers, red onion.

After lunch  Marcia and I went to Target – a superstore where we bought hors d’oevres, lights for the yard, beer, soda, and a truly frightening amount of wine.The Ravenswood zin was $9 a bottle, and Susan and Marcia raved about it. Their friend Delaine (sp?) came over and drank her vodka with pickle juice and pickle garnish. Then Susan had half a sandwich, Marcia and I had smoked salmon, crackers and fruit.

I crashed early and tried to read a  Precious Ramotswe story but couldn’t figure out which book was up next in the cue.

Slept great and felt virtuous that I was up at 8 a.m. (10 EDT).


Denver Day 1

Blog was on hiatus so I could fly to Denver to attend the wedding of my very dearest friend Marcia to Susan, her partner of twenty-five years. The federal appeals court that invalidated Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage has jurisdiction in Colorado, too. So when the clerk in Boulder began issuing licenses, Marcia and Susan jumped in.

Marcia asked me to be her bridesmaid, and since I’d be bugging her since 2008 when Connecticut legalized gay marriage. I was so thrilled and promised myself I wouldn’t cry (much.)

Entries will follow my adventures.

Mustang at DIA that killed the sculptor
Mustang at DIA that fell on the sculptor and killed him

Saturday: up at 5:30 a.m. (a practice for Sunday) to secure a boarding pass aboard Southwest. I was No. 44 on the A list. They now reserve 1-15 for preferred preferred or whatever, but I don’t understand how I could not be in the 16-30 group since the flight originated in Hartford, and I hit the “send” button right at 5:40.

Up at 3 on Sunday, put everything together, got dressed. Larry arose at the ungodly hour to drive me to the airport. Love pre-screened. Nothing was open except McDonalds, so I bought water and tried to sleep once we took off. I must have at least a little because I didn’t feel nearly as tired when the flight landed at Midway.

There we had the best setup. The crew made us stay on the plane till the departing passengers left. Then since we arrived a half-hour early, they let us off with just id., and we were allowed to reboard before everyone else. It was a couple and two little kids, plus me.

I bought a really good Café Americano and wandered around the airport. We were in an annex off Concourse A, so it was a bit of a walk back and forth – a good workout. While we were waiting to reboard, an firetruck showed up, then an ambulance, then a police car, then an EMT vehicle. They came into the terminal via an outside staircase from our plane – about ten guys to “check out” a guy in a wheel chair. I don’t know what happened, but the flight departed on time.

The family  that reboarded was sitting in front of me. The mom had purchased Money and  People, cover photo:  a picture of a guy with really ripped abs. (People, not Money.)  Mom and Dad were joking about how she’d use Money to cover People, so observers wouldn’t think she was reading trash.

When the little girl asked her father what her mother was reading, he said, “Mommy porn.” She said, “David!” and punched him in the arm.

A few minutes later one of the kids the father asked how old he was. He said, “Well, are you talking about Weekday Daddy or Weekend Daddy? Because Weekend Daddy is about fifteen!”

Fully awake from the Americano and a good laugh, I read an old New Yorker (amazingly depressing interview with Adam Lanza’s father) and made an effort to ignore my seat mates: a seriously out of shape former baseball player who was complaining about his job; the latter a guy who worked for Staples and had just moved twice in a couple of months because the first rental had been sold. The only part I caught – the bb player asked how Mr. Staples could live in whatever neighborhood. Laugh, “You don’t look Hispanic.” Reply: “I used to live on the South Side of Chicago!” Double laugh.

To be continued.

RIP, Louie Zamperini

To acknowledge the passing of this great man, I’m reviving my commentary about Laura Hillenbrand’s biography Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, which I posted January 7, 2012. I had just finished reading The Great Migration and was struck by one detail: When I picked up Unbroken I couldn’t help thinking that the opening sections were a very different narrative of the immigrant experience that nevertheless shared a great deal with the stories of Ida Mae, George, and Pershing.


Again, this is a book that doesn’t need my endorsement. Louie Zamperini, the son of two people who arrived on American shores from Italy, begins life as every parent’s nightmare: almost as soon as he could walk, Louie was running away, stealing, or setting fires. It is truly a miracle that he didn’t wind up dead or maimed, or at the very least in prison for a long, long time. Instead he became a hero of war – a survivor in the most intense sense of the word. I’m only just at the point where he’s about to set out on his first true mission in World War II as the bombadier in a plane that none of the flyboys wanted to see leave the tarmac.

Hillenbrand brings the same energy, insight, eloquence, humor, and general elegance of prose to Unbroken as she did to Seabiscuit. We feel the exhilaration and exhaustion Louie experiences as he breaks record after record on the track, only to have war cheat of him of Olympic gold in his races of choice.

Unbroken is the 2012 choice for One Book One Middletown so stay tuned for more on the book and the activities that will encourage an entire community to come together around a book.

And from today: It is because of this book that I’ve made some wonderful friends with an amazing collection of veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, including a wonderful new friend in Australia. And most of all my compatriot and the woman who keeps me organized for the writing group, Christy Billings.

Thank you, Louie. May you rest in peace.

Fish Tales

Paul Greenberg’s American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood has changed my attitude toward fish, which I eat regularly.


  • No more “wild caught” salmon. It’s been frozen at least twice, unless one can buy it on the dock in Alaska.
  • No more pollock, which means no California rolls and other fake crabmeat with sushi because it’s farmed in questionable conditions.
  • Shrimp. I may torture the servers as Greenberg does because much of the product comes via slave labor from Vietnam. Or I may just troll for canned stuff at the grocery store that doesn’t say “Product of Vietnam.” I can skip it, too.
  • I’ll eat more oysters because I know that the places I buy them get them from local waters and are diligent about cleanliness. As M.F.K Fisher said rottenness is evident to the nose, so there’s almost no danger of eating anything spoiled. Plus I found a pearl in one some years ago.
  • Greenberg confirmed my view that tilapia isn’t really fish: It lacks flavor; the name sounds like a disease; and it lacks nutrients.
  • Shad – that great favorite for spring in New England – I’ll grab as much as I can for the six-weeks or so that they come upstream in the Connecticut River. I gather that New York’s second season in the fall has gone the way of oysters in the bays around the city.
  • I’ll also enjoy bluefish again as soon as I find a new supplier. My previous one seems to have taken himself off to parts unknown, which is making all of us desolate and angry at his selfishness.
  • Mackerel has never been at the top of my list – maybe because my father used to buy it and feed it to their regal feline Mr. Toby (short for Tobermory after the Saki story). I tried the canned stuff on Leo before I knew cats shouldn’t eat human food, and he dragged it all over the kitchen floor even though I cut and tore it into what I thought were small enough bites. But I may try it again.

Real Lessons

bustedKristen Hare on Poynter writes that Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City served up misinformation about journalism. The piece appeared because Sarah Jessica Parker will be returning to the role of scribe in a television series based on Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, the memoir by two Pulitzer winners about “Tainted Justice,” a take-down of a number of members of the Philadelphia police department.

Hare says that Carrie, Parker’s character in the TV and movie franchise, showed viewers that it was OK to ask many questions in her columns; that expensive shoes are a must for the work-at-home writer; and that there was no ethical problem with dating a politician when one is writing a sex column.

Sex and the City bore about as much relationship to real journalism as Law and Order does to real detection and jurisprudence. None of Carrie’s behavior really had anything to do with with the business of writing for pay. Her “job” was merely a vehicle to explore the sex lives of the four friends. Carrie spent much more time drinking Cosmos, eating cupcakes, (both without gaining an ounce), buying shoes, and dating than she did writing. Oh, and by the way, people in newsrooms don’t sit around yelling, “Get me rewrite!”

Parker is playing a writer because  Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker uncovered an incredible morass of lies, “shakedowns,” sexual assaults, and terrorist threats by law-enforcement officers.  When the articles came out, I remember thinking, what took so long? The Phila. P.D. was notorious from the days when Frank Rizzo opined that he should send his guys to invade Cuba. I was fairly certain it didn’t get any better after I moved away.

There is absolutely no reason to compare frothy Carrie Bradshaw to the serious reporters who underwent personal and professional traumas to produce their amazing series. I truly hope that the writers don’t “sex up” the grunt work, and terror, that went into “Tainted Justice.” Parker’s roles, aside from the franchise, lean heavily toward comedies, but she’s a good enough actress that she should be able to do justice to the part.