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Before midnight

I’m one of those women. The kind who had a poster of Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything up on her dorm room wall. The kind who memorized lines from Singles. The girl in high school who read the horoscopes of the boys I had crushes on.

I’m a romantic, and my enthusiasm for romance still exists, even though I’ve been married for almost ten years and am living in suburbia with two kids and two cars.

I am thrilled to pieces about the next installment of the Richard Linklater series Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. If you don’t know the story of these three films, allow me to educate you.

Before Sunrise came out in 1995; it’s the story of Jesse (an American) and Celine (a Frenchwoman) who meet on a train and realize quickly they have a lot in common. They enjoy talking to each other so much that they get off with each other in Vienna and spend the next day together before Jesse has to catch a flight home.

In the movie, they’re young, dorky, easily inspired. I’ve never been a huge Ethan Hawke fan—a little too much grease, a little too much hair in the face—but his fervor for life in this movie is infectious. Flash to 2004 (nine years is the theme), when Jesse meets Celine again in Paris on his book tour. Once again, they have a long soulful conversation, sharing thoughts and reflections they’ve had about life in the nine years since they last saw each other. I hate to tell you what happens in Before Midnight, because Before Sunset leaves off with a mystery. Will Jesse get back on the plane, or stay in Paris with Celine?

I haven’t seen the movie, but they’re together, trying to find the spark of romance they had when they first met.

If you’re too cynical to enjoy watching two people talking about their deepest darkest fears and realizations and feelings as they stroll through the most beautiful cities in the world (Vienna, Paris, and somewhere in Greece), then I don’t want to argue about it with you. Next you’re going to tell me you don’t believe in God, either.

I, on the other hand, love the premise and lines from the movie. I love the way the characters share truths about life, and the very idea that you can share so much with a person you barely know. That perhaps you can be more of yourself with a stranger than the people you’ve known all your life.

I’m counting down the days until this movie is released. And on the way, I’m going to watch the other two in the series to warm up. In case you’re just as excited as me, or simply intrigued, here are some glimpses.


Before Sunset (1995)


Before Sunrise (2004)


Who cares about another Great Gatsby film, give me Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke! I’ll be in line on May 25th.


Sounds for Spring

May 11, 2013

Way back, I was a college DJ. I loved picking songs that felt like they went with the radio slot I got each semester, whether it was early morning or Saturday dinner time. And the season has a lot to do with the kind of music I want to listen to.

Certain albums always feel like autumn to me, like Radiohead’s OK Computer or In Rainbows. (This probably has a lot to do with the September release date of their albums.) In winter, I like to listen to Cat Power or Nina Simone. When spring comes, I pull out albums by Sarah Harmer, Leona Naess, Jeff Buckley, and the Innocence Mission.

So in celebration of the old Janarama show, here are a couple of spring-inspired tunes that I think you’ll love.

Leona Naess, “Leave Your Boyfriends Behind” from the album Thirteens.



And a longtime favorite from The Innocence Mission’s album Glow, “Bright as Yellow.”

And I do not wish to be a rose,

I do not wish to be pale pink,

but flower scarlet, flower gold,

And have no thorns to distance me,


but be bright,


bright as yellow,

warm as yellow.



All I Really Need to Know I Learned from My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher

May 10, 2013

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I’m thinking back to my own experiences as a teacher. When I worked at a Catholic school, this was the week that the mothers brought in food for the teachers to have a special lunch. The food was delicious, and it was a special break from routine. Now […]

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Good People Everywhere

May 8, 2013

I haven’t been blogging much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been trying. Each time over the last few weeks that I’ve started to write a post—something about yoga, or teaching, or meditation, or writing a novel—I give up after a few paragraphs. Everything I’ve been trying to say sounds too preachy, not quite right. […]

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Staying the Same

April 23, 2013

  “Change is constant,” people say. It’s a phrase we always hear, even though saying the words never actually gets to the heart of it. I’ve written before about change, about how much I’ve wanted to avoid it. One of the things I found so hard about teaching college was the constant change—transitioning of semesters, transitioning […]

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New Places

April 11, 2013

  Every year, when National Poetry Month comes around in April, I get excited about the encouragement to read and re-read poetry. It makes me happy to know there are others out there like me who look to poetry for solace. I think poems are the parents of all other writing, and they comfort me, […]

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SuperWoman and the Party Planner

April 1, 2013

SuperWoman has met her high-maintenance match with her progeny, TalkMonster. Especially now that he’s turning six. (SuperWoman, despite her super-ness, would really like an instruction manual for how to deal with an almost-six year-old who alternates between knowing everything—including how she should drive—and bursting into tears over the unfairness of life.) TakMonster has a lot […]

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Honoring Oneself

March 19, 2013

“Self-knowledge promotes choice and action, and many people feel unready for either.” –Caroline Myss   Caroline Myss’s  Anatomy of the Spirit has been a transformative read for me this year. I bought the book two years ago, but didn’t start reading it until January 1st when I felt that I was ready and open for spiritual guidance. […]

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A New Path

March 5, 2013

There is so much poetry in our lives. For months now, I’ve been practicing detachment. I’ve tried to acknowledge what I can control and what I can’t, and that sometimes, the only thing I can change is my attitude. I stopped shopping for extraneous things. I started writing a novel in November without a plan, […]

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Why I’m a Quaker

February 27, 2013

I think I’ve always struggled with identity, labels and categories. Who am I? I have wondered. Where do I fit?  In my twenties, I wondered when I could safely start calling myself a “woman.” It was unclear when the official shift came from “girl.”  Next it was “teacher,” which I adopted quickly because it was my profession. […]

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Imagination Is a Muscle

February 1, 2013

For a long time, I’ve lamented that our culture doesn’t accept imagination as a healthy part of adulthood. The overemphasis on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, in fact, are proof that we seem to think imagination dies in childhood, that when you grow up, you have to be practical. Follow the […]

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Destination: Adjustment

January 15, 2013

Be careful what you name your blog—it just may come true. Not to say that three years after my first post, I’ve reached the end-all, be-all of attitude adjustment. No one can claim that, except maybe the Dalai Lama, or Jesus. But even those gurus have bad days, I’m sure. The Dalai Lama killed a […]

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SuperWoman Panics in the New Year (and Becomes a Yogi)

January 3, 2013

SuperWoman knows that the beginning of January is the time to take stock. Not for soup, but for life. SuperWoman tried to do this on New Year’s Day. She woke up after only five hours of sleep (children don’t care how late you got to bed celebrating), drank tea, went to yoga, read a little […]

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Flying Through Life

December 18, 2012

On Friday morning, I took my daughter to visit the school where her brother attends kindergarten. We sat in on the preschool class as they went through story time, played with toys, ate snacks, even went to gym class and raced around orange cones. The kids were so precious; there was so much joy. We […]

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“Husband and Wife”: The One month Post-Election Episode

December 3, 2012

Setting: 6:30 p.m. Late fall. Wife is sitting at the dining room table browsing her laptop and sipping wine while the kids freak out about all sorts of things. She ignores them. Sip. Wife reads an article on The Huffington Post about Mitt Romney’s sad Thanksgiving dinner, a turkey and sides from Boston Market. Then […]

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Glimmering Moments of Beauty

November 30, 2012

I wrote an article recently where I articulated a feeling I’ve had for a long time. No matter which era we live in, our heritage,  background, or status in society, every human being experiences occasional moments of beauty. There’s a lot of struggle in life, but I think it’s those glimmering moments that help us […]

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The Age of Discovery

November 23, 2012

Now that my son is five and in kindergarten, he’s learning a lot of truths about the world. Some of them are exciting and inspiring, like how to spell and read his storybooks. Other truths? Not so joyous. As wonderful as it is that my child is learning to read, it poses a little bit […]

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Good Things About Cold Weather

November 5, 2012

  I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, but in my effort to work on Extreme Attitude Adjustment, I’m trying to find something good about the oncoming winter months. (A Noreaster and snow in the first week of November? Not so much.) I can always handle autumn without problem—it’s my favorite season. But in […]

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Superwoman Does Monday (And Don’t Feel Nothin’ Like Super)

November 5, 2012

Want your head to hurt? Spend approximately 59 minutes with TalkMonster and WonderMess. To be fair, Superwoman had it coming. It was a cold Monday, the air holding the scent of winter in its breeze. Superwoman woke up in the dark and couldn’t bear to exercise, so she threw on a sweater and some cheap […]

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Write a Novel? Sure.

November 2, 2012

Two weeks ago, the family and I took a drive up to New York State to visit my sister-in-law in a quaint town that overlooks the Hudson River. I was stressed about the drive, since keeping kids relatively quiet and entertained for three (or more) hours in a car ain’t easy. There’s a lot of […]

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