Saturday, June 18, 2011


Emily is speedy, and can cook Hawaiian, American, Chinese, and Hungarian style.

But JC, who's meticulously careful and a clock-watcher type of cook, can cook wonderful pork chops, or ham steak, and beautifully fluffy mashed potatoes, and okra.

Em loves his cooking and JC loves the meals she prepares.

I must admit, after I've spent hours at the computer, and then, taken my dally barre, and danced full-out a section of my dance (that's my daily ritual), its utterly delightful for hear the intercom buzzing, and John announcing, "I've got dinner for you, Em, come up and make us our salad!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011


"A Brief History of Time," this guy's best-seller science book, sits beside our bed. His vision of the world -- black holes, the big bang, time, space, speed of light ... I turn the page (mostly I have to go back and read it again), and after a page or two, I'm sleepy and turn off the light. Much of what's in this book I sort of grasp, but I can't really feel what it means.

What I do understand is what life is like for Hawking. His situation is worse than paraplegia. After a head-on collision, I was a partial paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. It took me -- wow -- a long time, money, prayers, a lot of doctors, 125 exercises twice-a-day for two years, and every ounce of will power to keep at it, to regain normal bladder and bowel control ... standing ... walking, and yes, re-learning basic ballet, and finally dancing.

Well, next to Stephen Hawking, what I did was "easy as pie."

He was born in 1942. He's 69. Exceptionally smart, always interested in math and science, he got a B.A. degree at Oxford in 1962. He planned to stay there and study astronomy, but impulsively, left for Cambridge (their observatory had better equipment), and got involved with theoretical astronomy and cosmology.

At Cambridge (around age 22), he started developing symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), a type of disease which cost Hawking almost all neuromuscular control. Even so, despite almost overwhelming limitations, he began working on his Ph.D.

Today Hawking, one of the world's most famous, important, theoretical physicists, is almost completely paralyzed from ALS. He needs an electronic voice synthesizer, in order to communicate.

Because of what it took for me to become my husband's lover again, I wonder about Hawking's private life. He married and had three children (successful adults now); he divorced, and married his nurse. Could he, did he, does he have a sex life? Yes, I think about things like that, but erase them from the blackboard of my thoughts -- there are many things about Hawking (and me) that are much, much, MUCH more important.

Like Newton and Einstein, this man has been opening the world's eyes. Today, Stephen Hawking is on the Discovery Channel. He created and recorded a 10-part series for them, that you can also download and see whenever you're in the mood. In the "The Story of Everything," Hawking explores time, travel, and the origins of the universe, and recently added an episode, "Fear the Aliens," about predators on a distant terrestrial planet.
Like a mind-reader, Hawking asks questions about things we wonder about -- for instance, what is a black hole? what's ahead for our planet? With clear sentences and marvelous music, photos, and filmed visions of the universe, he enlightens us, and entertains all of us, oldsters and youngsters.

Lou Gehrig started losing his strength at 36. He was diagnosed at 39, died at age 42, calling himself "The luckiest man on the Face of the Earth."

I recently wrote a post about religion -- and the comfort people I know get from the idea of life after death. Last month, Hawking said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or after life for broken-down computers. that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

It comforted me, as I explained in my post, "What if there's no hell."

Lucky, lucky us -- we still have an alert Stephen Hawking observing the world, and excitedly sharing with us, thrilling us with what he's still learning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Heather, it's very important -- what you posted on Facebook about the Vatican's handling of child abuse issues, and the fact that the Church's study on abuse was greeted with "incurious contempt."

(The word incurious keeps reverberating -- it means lacking a normal or usual curiosity, uninterested).

I think we've been hearing about the subject for such a long time, (I don't have the number at my fingertips but it's been more than a few years) that people are worn out. I've been sensing, and this is just my personal feeling, that people are tired of so many, many things that are being avoided and not dealt with -- like the wrong-doings within the Catholic Church.

I went roaming on your wall, reading current posts, and older ones and saw -- wow -- the areas you are tackling, absolutely need tackling. . But I couldn't click "like" or make a quick comment on any one issue. I just wanted to click, click, click "like" a half-dozen times, and click your name, send thanks to Heather Mash for watching over so many important issues for us.

There's too much to protest -- that's what I am feeling -- in the federal government, state, city, your neighborhood, on the social networks, and I don't know what to do. What can I do, or you do, other than absorb one more wrong thing that's happening?

Also, right now, we're into pre-election politicing -- people carping, arguing, putting down just about everything -- summarizing again and again how wrong everything is that the White House is doing, and how wrong everything is that the Republicans are suggesting.

Heather, this is my frame of mind, but I am justifying my own change in what I'm writing about. So I am hoping you will ignore what I'm saying, and at the same time -- the truth is -- I'm hoping you'll approve, and say enthusiastically, "Yes, go ahead Em!"

I've been writing a new post every day since March, 2009. I started posting on FB in May of 2010. I see that FB "friends," most people with whom I developed what I thought was real communication, have disappeared, are incurious, or gone into "blogging" -- posting stuff that expresses what's on their minds, and to me, much of it seems like "tweeting," (high pitched, peeping, spur of the moment little chirps that are easy to dismiss).

You're not doing that Heather. The shoe doesn't fit, but you have become a real blogger, a reporter, discusser of major political, social issues, and I'm feeling what I've said -- feeling, worn down by so many things that are need fixing..

I don't want to write about Romney, Palin or any Repub candidate, or Weiner's lies and crotch pictures, or Casey Anthony's horrible crime -- not while we're hearing about all that every day, almost every hour. My husband is in final rehearsals for two Shakespeare Plays in Central Park, and I'm working with an editor on re formatting my seven novels into e-books for Kindles. My husband and the editor need my eyes, ears, opinions, throughout the day.

I saw a message from you in my e-mail, just now, and haven't read it yet.

I miss you -- our personal back and forthing about you moving into a new home and me needing a vacation. I know I only need to say "I'm busy, I'm weary," but I see how deeply you are involved in current issues and want to explain why I can't jump on any of the bandwagons with you right now. I'm going to check the current e-book edits, cook a Chinese dish for my husband's midnight supper, and then I'm going to read and enjoy your message about your new house xoxox.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Emily has always said it was love at first sight. John, carefully, tactfully, doesn't agree.

It happened in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. John was playing the lead in Tennessee's outdoor drama, "Chucky Jack."

Emily explains -- "My Dance Drama Company was in residence in Gatlinburg for the summer, playing the Indians in the show. I was married to Mark Ryder, who choreographed the Indians and other dances in the show. I came to Gatlinburg to find out if, in fact, Mark and I were ending our professional partnership, as well as ending our marriage.

The Cullums talk about their courtship. The time they spent together in Gatlinburg was the beginning of their love story .