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2016’s Big Finish

Why do you call your son Seventeen?

When John Glenn died earlier this month I felt really sad—another light on this planet extinguished in a year that saw the departure of so many points of light: Prince, Glenn Ifill, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, David Bowe, Natalie Cole, Harper Lee, James Alan McPherson, Gary Marshall, Janet Reno, Sharon Jones. There are still more celebrities, of course, and dear ones much closer to home too.

Soft spots for celebrities are as personal as the movies that speak volumes to us or the song that goes onto a perma-this-is-my-story playlist. John Glenn’s departure was more personal to me still—he was a man I was lucky enough to meet on several occasions as my father covered his presidential campaign. Senator Glenn and his wife Annie were gracious and dazzling in person, the authentic embodiment of the way they appeared in media-ready images.

With care but no hesitation, I crafted a status update for Facebook about Senator Glenn’s death. Sharing the obituary a Facebook friend of mine had posted, I added these words: Another amazing hero departs 2016 … I like thinking of you, Senator Glenn—a man I was fortunate enough to meet during the presidential campaign—up among the stars where you belong. Orbit in Peace. A few of my friends responded to my post, adding their own kind words and memories. Our interaction there doesn’t even qualify as a footnote in Glenn’s life, but he clearly made an impact in each of ours, a part of what it can mean to be famous.

For most of us, there’s no formal notification. My father had a student, author John Yount, who quipped that he wanted to open the mail one day to find he’d received a single-line letter: Congratulations! You are now rich and famous. When I ask Google about Mr. Yount, I’m pleased to see his name and his books come right up and pleasantly surprised to note that at 81 he’s alive, presumably retired from an illustrious career as a professor at the University of New Hampshire, where we visited him when I was quite young. Did he arrive at “rich and famous?” Perhaps in certain circles, allows my mother, Ninety-Two, who remembers him. His books were well received critically and, my search reveals, he was heartily praised as an important influence by John Irving, another student of my father’s, another writer who went on to rock the literary world but I remember as underfoot in our house when I was growing up.

I don’t know if I’ve met more famous people than most—rich and famous both evaded my father, but his literary and political activities certainly brought us into contact with more than a few luminaries. It is this fact that I marvel over as I study the Senator Glenn obituaries. With a slight shock I realize that Senator Glenn died on the anniversary of another important celebrity in my life, John Lennon, shot thirty-six years ago when I was living in Tucson with my father. When I went to find him, to tell him the news, my father was visibly moved, shaking his head sadly, “What a world we live in,” he grieved. “What a world.”

Rich and famous must add layers of challenge in today’s age of over-exposure; celebrities live a hyped-up version of the navigation between private and public we each must explore. When I launched OverneathItAll in 2011, it was designed as a challenge to keep me committed to a regular writing task. With plenty of exceptions, I’ve posted somewhere around the full moon and the new moon ever since. Wanting to provide some thin shield of privacy for my family members, I named my children by their ages, just Eight and Eleven at the blog’s debut. Now Fourteen and Seventeen are living larger; with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts of their own, they’re learning to shape their own public images even as they have become characters in the online version of my life.

My blog has made me neither rich nor famous, but it has consistently connected me to a loving and lovely readership and it’s kept me living the questions through an awful lot of drama and adjustment and changes and transitions. Just when I think, as I sometimes do, that it’s time to give it up, a far-away friend writes to me about something I’ve posted or a new connection arises making me want to double-down. And, as a result of posting consistently, owning a yoga studio, publishing a novel, and perhaps most of all having an unusual name, I Google well. Because I do try to keep my posts kind and true, to be generous on Facebook, and to stay away from Internet vitriol, I been mindful but unconcerned about the wide world of the Internet.

So imagine my surprise when a recent flurry of renegotiating my financial realities hit a pothole with one company that first underwrote and then dropped (and has since reinstated, thank you kindly) a policy for me because I am an author and a blogger and I live in the “limelight.” Moonlight and sunlight, certainly. The sparkle of my children, absolutely. Limelight? That was news to me.img_7567

Wednesday, 12.21, Sunrise, 7:39am; Sunset, 4:48pm. At 4:45am (CST), the sun started its long wintery journey back to the north. The moon was silvery and full just a few days ago. With my peeps home and snuggling in for the winter holiday, some year-end business projects to attend to, and a little time off from yoga teaching, I’m going to hit the pause button here just until January. I bid you and yours a joyful holiday season and a wonderful New Year! As always, thank you for our journey together. Love, Rxo

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Guilty Pleasures

What do I envy about my children’s lives?

Sometimes, late in the evening, I relax after a long day with a hot bath, my computer nearby streaming something from Netflix, an iced beverage beside me. If I feel like it, bath complete, I can keep right on watching in bed or I can surf the Internet and post nonsense to Facebook, or I can chat into the night online with a west-coast friend. I don’t have a bedtime.

Granted, if I do stay up indulging myself, the morning call to my treadmill that is meant to start the day might be met with a grumpy thump on the snooze button. I really do get up early and work hard all day, but the choice to relax and stay up late, like eating too much chocolate, is often more alluring than minding my very real need for sleep.

And then there are some nights I can’t sleep. After turning this way and that, finding the pillow too cool and then too hot, flipping the covers off and back on in a hurry, sipping some water, putting drops in my eyes, and wondering if I should go downstairs to make hot milk, after moments like these I’ll reach for my computer just for some way to try to wind down. It’s not a good solution and I usually end up cross with its light rather than enchanted by anything I find to look at.

It was after just such a night when I had gone to bed at a decent hour but then woken so often I finally got up, made a snack, warmed a cup of milk and carried my computer up to bed to watch something, anything to take my mind off being awake, that I was reporting on my night to Fourteen.

“I can’t wait until I’m a grow-up,” he said, “so I can stay up late and eat and watch whatever I want. It sounds really fun.”

On that morning as I went about my routine, sipping tea while I made school lunches and kept Fourteen and Eleven on their way to their buses, I wanted to retort—well, I wish I was fourteen and someone told me when to go to bed and fed me and made sure I got where I needed to be with my homework done and my equipment clean and provided money for the bills so there’s electric and water and … but before I complained I thought for how it must sound to him. When I was living the strains of being the adult, he was seeing freedom, just as I was seeing the freedom to relax in the care of a grownup.

In the first-ever guest voice here at Overneath It All, Fourteen comments a further:

Guest author Fourteen at his computer, headphones on because he is, after all, a teenager.

Guest author Fourteen at his computer, headphones on because he is, after all, a teenager.

As a teenager, being an adult seems wonderful to me. I suppose that I’m in the middle between childhood and adulthood, and at this stage in my life, adulthood looks to be the better of the two options. Certainly, adults have more freedoms and can stay up as late as they want, but what really appeals to me about being an adult is having my own space in the world.

To have one’s own space is a great thing, be that space a house, apartment, or even a dorm room. From my experiences at sleep-away camps, it is a liberating experience to be able to do just about whatever I want. I also find the idea interesting to be able to really make a space in the universe obviously my own.

Another thing about being an adult is that it looks like an accomplishment. Many people ask me “What do you want to do when you grow up” or “What do you want to be when you grow up” in casual conversation or when trying to make small talk. My answers to these questions have varied greatly, but generally end in “but I’m not sure.” As an adult, I would rarely be asked this question, and I think I will try not to ask it, as it pressures kids into deciding their futures too soon.

Fourteen lives his questions and they’re not small. From my vantage point I’d love to encourage him not to be in a hurry to grow up. That’s best left unsaid, but I can ask myself, would I really want to be a kid again? What do I actually envy about their lives? It would be fun, I think, to go to school again. I’d be better at it this time, would enjoy learning, would take stellar notes, wouldn’t be stressed out by studying, and could probably do fairly well on exams and papers. I’d love to be taken care of—meals planned, shopped for and prepared, laundry done, outings, special events, and vacations booked and paid for—for a while. But life is a series of learning experiences, something I don’t have to go to school to explore. And I’m enough of a control freak that being cared for would become claustrophobic quite quickly. I don’t envy my children many of their first-time experiences, like travel abroad or performing on stage, because I get to experience these firsts with them, through their eyes, anew. So I guess what I envy my children most is sleep—they both fall asleep easily. Eleven sleeps ten hours a night; Fourteen between eight and nine.

On the other hand, when I can’t sleep, I’m in my own room in my very own house, a place that is expressly my space. I own Radiant Om Yoga, another space I’ve designed just the way I want it to be. Nobody bothers me about what I want to be when I grow up because I’ve had three careers already—it’s better not to inquire! And I just discovered Orange Is the New Black on Netflix; what’s not to love???

Happy First Day of Spring, gentle and lovely readers. May it be sunny where you are, xoR

Letting Go

How’s your week?

I am so lucky, I thought as I watched Vicki kick off her shoes near the coatrack, tossing her how ya doin’ question at me. Every day at the studio I see people walk through the door, happy to be headed for their yoga mats. We exchange greetings and inquire, really ask, how things are. Regulars I see two and three times in a week follow the events in my life as I follow theirs. “How’s your week?” might be followed by a catch-up question about one of my children, the status of my car repair, or a query about last weekend’s guest instructor at the studio. In return I hear details about vacations and irascible bosses and family drama. I ask practice-related questions, too, and so I learn about aches that are healing and check in with mommas-to-be as their bellies swell.

We head up the ramp into the studio and I routinely invite students to leave behind their distractions, their to-do lists, their worries, their lives. For the time on the mat we focus on the lift of the arch in the feet, the extension from fingertip to fingertip, the breath flowing easily in and out. The studio is designed to hold space for the practice with little to fixate upon and a wide-open ceiling. Practice is the time, I say over and over, to let go.

Vairagya, the Sanskrit word for nonattachment, is one half of a pair of essential principles of yoga; the other is Abhyasa, or practice. Taken together, practice leads you in the right direction, while nonattachment keeps you from getting distracted by or stuck to pains and pleasures along the way. Persevere to let go; let go to persevere.

When Vicki asked me about my week, I was closing my laptop, giving up on finishing a message I was working to write before the first few people arrived for class. Maybe I sighed a little, and I said, “just can’t seem to get one thing good and finished this week.”

Vicki looked at me and replied, “They say that not finishing things is one of our biggest stress producers.”

“That explains a lot,” I laughed. Later I found myself thinking about what she said.

Not finishing things—a thought, a letter, an editing job, a household chore, a to-do list of errands—does stress me out. I can be deep in thought or trying to remember everything I need for the day and Eleven or Fourteen will launch into something very important to them and completely unrelated to whatever it is I’m thinking about. I try to be present for them, to bear witness, but sometimes they’re being goofy and utterly random. Friday morning, I was backing the car down the drive in something of a morning rush to drop Fourteen for before-school band practice, Eleven started to detail her Christmas shopping plan. Fourteen was talking about String Theory. I just wanted to know where my telephone was.

Fourteen deposited at school, Eleven and I went to Panera for breakfast. Settled in our usual booth, Eleven with a book and two muffies and me with an egg and cheese on a multi-grain bagel and my laptop open, I looked at Eleven and said, “I can’t put my mind on my phone.”

We joke in my household that I’m more of a teenager than either of my children because my phone is nearly always close to me. Texts, phone calls, social media postings, and email messages are all a part of my yoga studio world. I keep my phone next to my bed so my mother, Eighty-Nine, can phone me upstairs if she needs something. When I’m not home, Eleven or Fourteen can telephone to let me know they’ve reached home safely. And, too, my phone is a social outlet, connecting me to friends far and wide.

Complete with "Blue Dog" as painted by Eleven several years ago, my phone at hand as usual.

Complete with “Blue Dog” as painted by Eleven several years ago, my phone at hand as usual.

By the time we were back in the car and on the way to school, I was feeling alarmed that I had in fact left my phone at home. I don’t like being unreachable to my mother, my children, the Friday morning yoga teacher, the myriad of tiny matters that come up during any given day … Contemplating taking the time to return home for the phone, I found myself saying no thank you to Eleven’s generous offer to use her phone for the morning. “You can still text and make calls,” she assured me.

“Thank you, Sweetie, but it’s not the same. It won’t help if someone is trying to get in touch with me.” It’s not my phone is what I really meant. “I’ll email your grandmother and let her know I don’t have it with me today. I’ll be reconnected with it by twelve-thirty or so.” And when that happens, I thought but didn’t say to Eleven, I’ll be reattached to you by our electronic umbilical cord, a happy byproduct of giving both of my children cellular phones. “So,” I reassured us both, “I’ll be fine until then.”

After she got out of the car, I thought, how silly of me. I should have at least had her try calling my phone with hers to see if it’s in the car. She would have been helping me, and I would know if it was buried somewhere in my workbasket. As I drove along, I continued to try, without success, to remember where I had put the phone after unplugging it from the charger earlier that morning.

And then I remembered that my car would know if my phone was present. I hit the U-connect button on the steering wheel and there was the reassuring voice: “U-Connect Phone, Ready!” The phone was in the car! Happily I commanded the car to call Eleven, but I realized she’d had enough time already to stow her backpack, and with it her phone, deep in her locker. I settled for sending her a mental message to relax—she could reach me if she needed to.

At Starbucks, computer in front of me, phone and note pad to my right, I worked through my to-do list—balance the books for the studio, write a practice for Absolute Asana, an advanced class I teach once a month, make notes for a blog post I would write in the afternoon about nonattachment … how can I encourage nonattachment, I pondered, if I am ridiculously attached to my phone, my rolling phone booth of a car, my computer, my daughter?

Baffled by my own query, I flipped over to Facebook to post a message on the studio page. My attention was arrested by a status update: RIP William Weaver, Bard College. My brain derailed. The William Weaver? Did my mother know? How’d it happen? When? Well, I thought, it had to be, but it took quite a bit of searching on the Internet to confirm that the man who had died earlier in the week at the age of 90 was the man my father served with in the British Field Service in the early 1940s. Twice my family visited him in Italy and over the years we saw him in New York City. Most famously the only translator Umberto Eco would allow to touch his work, William Weaver was a man my brother and I called “Uncle.”

When I regained my equilibrium, I’d forgotten what I was doing. I felt that edge of discomfort—something left unfinished. It was time to go and my progress had been waylaid. I walked my brain back along through my list, posted the status report, finished the blog note I was making, and packed up to leave for a class. On the way to my next gig, I phoned my mother to break the news to her—preferring for her to hear it from me than discover the obituary online.

We passed the news back and forth, inspecting it, testing our memories of the man’s details, saying some of the things we always say about the literary men and women of the twentieth century that were a part of our shared past. By the end of the phone call, we were gently laughing. She asked me where I was and I told her I was passing a sushi restaurant she likes. We said goodbye and my car announced: “Phone call completed.” I smiled at the closure—together we detached from William Weaver even as we warmed to his memory. My electronics allowed us to connect to one another.

And with that it arrives: Attachment is one directional, like a one-way street. Connection moves between and among. I am attached to my phone and my car, sure, but it’s because they are the connective media between me and the stars in my universe. It’s okay to talk about and encourage nonattachment on and off the mat because we don’t have to give up connection. And when we shape time to connect to the beings and the practices we love, life is  sweeter and it becomes easier to detach from all that no longer serves.

In memory of William Weaver, and with gratitude for all of you under the full November moon. Thanks for sharing my journey, Rxo

Electronic Gift

What do you want for your birthday?

Honestly, I can’t imagine any better gift than this column, a gorgeous response to my July post entitled “Dear Abbie.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/news-opinion/facebook-no-substitute-airmail-says-5758020

With love and happy dances under the full August moon … see you when I’m 48. Namaste, Rxo

Dear Abbie

Dear Abbie

What do I want to say here and when do I want to say it?

These are questions every writer needs to ask, probably on a regular basis. They’re questions every yoga teacher asks, pursuing the practice with the students looking expectantly up at us from their mats. Hell, they’re questions every single one of us should ask as we move through our lives, alongside, “Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?” My mother, Eighty-eight, used to insist to a much younger me that I could say anything in the world as long as it met those criteria.

The publication date for this post is July 8. That’s the birthday of a woman I’ve known since we were nine years old, from the days I spent in boarding school in southwest England. I am reminded of one moment from those years every time I offer my yoga students the opportunity to rest lying flat on their bellies, arms outstretched to tee, heads turned softly to one side. I call it Lying-on-the-Grass-Asana in memory of one day when I was eleven, my daughter’s age. I walked across the playing field to the English meadow at the far boundary of our school. I may have sat for a while, watching the rounders game on the field, but at some point I decided to lie down, flat on my stomach, stretch out my arms to hug the earth and turn my head gently to one side. I was aware of how big the planet felt, how small I felt, and how right it all was even so.

When I left Dartington Hall to return to the states for junior high, birthday-girl Abbie and I became steadfast pen pals. Letters flew across the Atlantic, sometimes not even answered before the next one was written. Move after move I have toted with me the collection, such that just now I was able to walk down to the totally cluttered disorganized basement and put my hands on the box: letters from Abbie.

Today Abbie is a writer for Media Wales, the mother of three growing children, and the wife of a producer for the BBC. Modern, adult life has, to be sure, adjusted our communications. We stay in touch via Facebook posts and occasional email messages. But I still try, once in the summer in honor of her birthday and once around the holidays, to write her a real letter. It makes me feel at the same time in touch with my friend and my younger self. When I receive a birthday letter from Abbie, I make an occasion out of reading it. A smoothie or a cup of tea and a patch of grass under a tree somewhere and I travel back in time to the meadow where we used to romp when we were free after classes.

Abbie is an amazing flower in the meadow of my own making. That’s a phrase I used for the first time, the meadow of my own making, while I was teaching at the corporate site where I lead yoga practice three days a week. It is precisely the kind of hippy-dippy flowery phrase that yoga teachers say, words strung together meant to soothe and ease. One of the students in the class smiles all the way through, even when she comes up against a pose she doesn’t like. Meadow-day it was a hip opener that we deceptively propped with a blanket and then held for a long time. I commented on Stacey’s persistent smile, and another student suggested perhaps it was a grimace and made a pained face. “We don’t do face yoga,” I quipped, quoting one of my favorite teachers. “Why not?” the grimacing student, a man, asked. “It might help, you know, lift everything.”

What I meant was that we work on keeping the face serene when we practice. What he meant was, is there a practice that would do for the face what the Asana do for the body? I had once done a little investigating and found, as with so many self-improvements, a dazzling array of promises on the Internet. I told him I’d dig in a little deeper, but in the meantime everything that we do reflects on the face and he should step deeper—and the phrase just arrived—into the meadow of his own making.

Sentimental, sure. Then again, that’s why they come to see me. And the day of this class was a day when it was entirely too easy to believe in the meadow. A pleasant 80 degrees with a light breeze and glorious yellow sunshine accompanied me on my fifteen-minute drive over. I walked in and asked for requests—our usual Friday practice. Savasana came the first response, without missing a beat. The silence that followed was an assent. They were tired today, okay. But what else? The pose suggestions came along. Pigeon said one, Rabbit from another. Heart-openers requested another. Shoulders please. A bunny and a birdie and a nap, I said. Sounds like we’re in a meadow today, and I asked them then to come onto their backs, knees bent, soles of the feet together. After a few breaths they started to ease the knees together and then open them back out again, a slow flying butterfly, and visualize the next flower, and then the next, and then the one after.

Which is all to say that the meadow came spontaneously, from the energy in the room. Closing our eyes got us out of visual impact, away from the feedback of the face and into the body. I sprinkled the meadow imagery throughout the practice, never sure if I was laying it on too thick. At the end, tucking their blankets around them in Savasana, I invoked my new phrase again, inviting them to rest in the meadow of their own making. As I walked the room, rubbing my hands together and placing them on their shoulders, I watched them relax and bloom, the flowers that they are.

When asked what the decorations would be for his famous Black and White Ball, Truman Capote replied, “The people will be the flowers.” And I am so lucky, I think, that in my meadow there are so many flowers: friends, like Abbie, who I have known for nearly forty years and those I’m just getting to know; yogis who smile even when they don’t relish a pose; strangers who respond to the bright orange of my car with delight; Eleven and Fourteen who are thriving this summer; Eighty-eight whose wisdom I cherish; people who have yet to walk through the door and join the Radiant Om Yoga community.

So, what do I want to say on this particular day? I want to say that my heart is full of gratitude, and that I’m glad I’m a yoga teacher and can get away with inviting you to skip through the meadow of my own making, to lie on the grass with me, to let go of the world for just a little while and realize at the same time we’re in it. This is it. And it’s good.

Happy Birthday Abbie! This isn’t a real letter, so I owe you that, but it’s from my heart and in honor of your birthday and the new thunder moon. To Abbie and all, thank you for sauntering along with me, Rxomeadow

You’ve Got a Friend

What’s the big deal about Facebook?

Thirteen, the son so recently known as Twelve, signed on to Facebook the morning of his thirteenth birthday. He created his account, uploaded a photo of a Lego model as his profile picture, and sent out a few select friend requests. I was at my laptop in the kitchen, waiting, and I became his first friend.

He’s up to ten friends, as of this writing, two of whom are classmates. The other eight are family members. He posts, infrequent, are along the lines of “May the Fourth be with you,” for Star Wars Day, 5.4, and “I built a cool 60s car out of Lego. It is red.” When I ask him about his inactivity on Facebook, he shrugs and parries back, “I don’t really get Facebook. Why do you like it?”

He’s dropping off to sleep and I’m sitting on his bed, so I’m spared having to fully explain the appeal of the online world. Then, too, I find myself mulling the question—why do I like Facebook and what is the big deal? My question is heighted by my current struggles to understand Twitter—they are not tremendously active struggles. I’ve been so stymied by Twitter-speak that I have been steadfastly ignoring my two accounts, one for myself and one for my business.

Thirteen is never going to know a world without computers. I did. I typed page after page in high school on a manual typewriter and survived college with a modest electric, chewing through ribbons and forever out of liquid paper. The computer lab in graduate school allowed me to access a squat flickering Macintosh II, and I carried my in-progress assignments, thesis and first professional resume around on floppy discs. In 1990, with a full-time teaching gig paying me just enough to live on, I took out a bank loan to purchase my first computer—a Macintosh LC—and a laser printer, the envy of all of my colleagues at Suffolk County Community College. It was worth every penny.

It was 1994 when I added a dial-up modem, the thing hissing and screeching across the phone line. I paid for email and Internet access on AmericaOnline (AOL), for which the monthly subscription rate was around twenty dollars. It was far easier to use than its competitor, Compuserv, and I was rewarded for waiting through the ear-splitting sign-on for that happy indicator: “You’ve got mail!”

About that time I was asked to join a committee at my community college to write a technology grant. All English teachers, we were the wrong group to try to guess the future of the computer world, but our job was to ask for monies that would move us from our own little Mac lab, where I regularly taught both journalism and developmental writing classes, into that brave new world. I remember the chair of my department saying, his hand gesturing an arc above his head, “it’s all going to be about the double-u, double-u, double-u, the World Wide Web.”

And so it is. Perhaps it’s only natural that we need programs like Facebook to organize our experiences on the web. But why do I rely on it so heavily and why do I bridle with recognition when people criticize Facebook—it’s making us more lonely, they say, or it’s a terrible waste of time.

When I joined Facebook it was just emerging out of the college world where it started—the extended learning teacher at my children’s school asked me to join because, she said, it would be a way to keep in touch over the summer. For a long time I rarely checked the site and had only two or three friends. As more and more people shifted onto Facebook, it soon became the connective tissue among my work, home, family, and pre-family lives.

And therein lies one of the delights, for me, of Facebook. I have moved across state lines or international borders fifteen times. In the world prior to the Internet, I kept in contact with at least one person from each of those moves through letters and calls and holiday cards. It has been a surprise each time, which friends have been willing to do the work to stay in contact and which have not; which have fallen away after time and which have reappeared. Since Facebook, the number in that last column has grown considerably.

Like the saw I recently bought to remove the tree branches that threatened to smack me in the face when I mow my lawn, Facebook works beautifully if you allow it to do what it does well. For me that means it provides a brain cleanser, like Snood or Tesserae once did when I owned those first few computers, between tasks. Only instead of being a video game, Facebook allows me to check in with friends and family. On the most basic level, I like that when I sit down to write holiday cards now, I have a much better sense of my friends’ lives.

But it goes deeper. Connect with one past love, an old friend, or a long lost relative and you’ve got a new reason to smile and a slightly more secure foothold in the universe. Make a new friend—as I have done—with a mom you see in the hallways at dance, getting to know each other through status updates, posted photos, and exchanged messages, and you’ll be meeting her for tea on a sunny Saturday in June. Or maybe, find a like-minded stranger—as I did when I tentatively contacted the founder of my father’s fan page—and have someone you can call upon when you need specialized assistance.

I’ve learned to tend carefully what I post to Facebook, much like writing this blog. I confess, there’s almost always a story behind the story, but Facebook offers a place to present my public face, my best self. On a bad day, I might post a status that’s a veiled reference to how I’m feeling, something close friends will intuit and respond to with messages of support; most days my mini-autobiography status updates are designed to illicit smiles or conspiratorial nods or the sense in anyone who might care to know that I’m doing just fine.

June’s full moon is shining on all of us tonight, its light and glow and phase the same wherever we are, the best connection of all. Enjoy, Rxo

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