Monthly Archives: November 2008

Lessons All Around

My eleven year old wanted to see the photograph of the kids, the kids of the mom who was killed here in Dallas in May. She knew I was writing about the murder. (mckinneymurder0012) Yesterday, the story came out and at first, she only wanted to see the pictures of the girls. But then, she began to ask what happened, how it happened, where it happened, why the police couldn’t prevent it. Whether she died at the scene or the hospital.  I told her that the man who killed her, her ex-husband and the children’s father, was emotionally unstable, and became violent once his wife divorced him. 

“I would have stayed with him, just so he wouldn’t do what he did,” she said.

I told her to pick well, so it wouldn’t ever get to that decision. Make sure you trust your instincts, because they are usually right. If you think something funny is going on, it probably is. If you feel uncomfortable in a group of people, get up and leave. If something looks odd on the sidewalk in front of you, cross the street. If your brain rests on some thing, some remark, some behavior, and it sits there, don’t ignore it. 

“What will the kids do if the Grandma dies?” she asked.

She’d not dying, I told her. She nodded. It felt right.


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C’mon Hillary

Though I thought she’d be tapped for the Health and Human Services slot, I am confident that Hill will do a bang-up job at State, if she takes the job. I am glad that President-elect Obama found a good spot for her, as she was in need of one. And, look at Bill, agreeing to all sorts of divulgings today. Very nice. They look like a really happy couple these days, to me, anyway, from the outside looking in…supportive, chummy, affectionate. Love love love it. 

A lot of PunditPeople think, though, that maybe she and Barack have too much under the bridge to appear as that unified stuck-together one-view chemical compound that they must be. They say that other world leaders can see in a nanosecond if there is light in between them, the way a child might play one parent off the other. That is so dumb. Clearly, if a smart woman takes a big job, she will be smart about it. If she isn’t, she will be ineffective, which is one thing the Clintons don’t know how to be.


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Happy Birthday, Daphne

Today is the day. Thirteen. Still little, but so big, too. Or becoming big, in the process, that I have watched with wonder. Talented, kind, smart, fair and beautiful. Full of promise. So proud. 

I love you, Daph. Way past the moon.


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Should Be a Law Against It

This morning, I had to go to Family Court for something silly. While you wait for your turn, you can sit in the seats in the back of the courtroom and listen to the cases of the people ahead of you. One after another, in threes, an attorney would approach the bench with two people, a married couple. The story was the same for each trio. A child or children were neglected or abused by their parents, and the two people were asking the judge for conservatorship. They were aunts, uncles, great uncles. In several cases, it was the mother who had abandoned the child. The father was unknown, not listed on the birth certificates. In all of the cases I heard, the judge granted the request. Generally, the children had been living with their relatives for at least six months already.

My ex-husband’s attorney hauled me to court to simply agree to something that could have been agreed to on the phone or by mail. She wasted two hours of my time, but earned two hours worth of fees from her client. And, in the midst of such serious and life-changing difficulty for so many families, she wasted the court’s time…scheduling the “hearing,” sending out notices, standing before the bench. The nice judge told us to settle it in the hall. Talk about silly. 


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Palling Around

Very nice moment at the White House, boys. Lovely, really. I have decided that when Laura Bush moves back to Dallas, I am going to make her my new friend. I know that we probably disagree on a few political matters, but I am intrigued by what she doesn’t say, which is a lot. And I bet we have much in common. One of our old babysitters lived in her room at SMU. We are both moms of two girls. We love words and books, and most important, have dealt with ditzy male people. Anyway, I have a hunch about Laura. I think she’s smart, and I’m sure she has weathered more than we know. I like her. I hope she likes me.

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A Different Kind of Friendship

I had the opportunity to write about the unlikely friendship between a bone marrow recipient and his donor, two men whose backgrounds and coordinates on the globe would typically keep them from ever meeting. Read here about James and Klaus, from today’s New York Times. 

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Don’t Touch My Face

I do not go to shopping malls, if I can help it. Usually, I can help it, since the stores in a mall, if I need them, can be found with a sidewalk in front. Never a movie in a mall, or a restaurant. Anyway, I needed a particular kind of store today, and there were four of them in the mall, in one place. I had to research an item, so it made logistical sense to do it in one place. 

So, I’m walking through the department store, the “anchor,” as the mall people say, when a woman approaches me. I had stopped to look at a bracelet, which was next door to the makeup section on the first floor. 

“Would you like to sit down for a perk-me-up?” she asked me, looking serious.

She did not have a white coat on, oddly, like the other makeup ladies. For a second, I wondered if she was a decoy and a thug was stealing my wallet. “You know, a touch up?”

“No thanks,” I said, pressing my purse into my shoulder.

I circled the wristwatch case, seeing nothing, and moving on, into the heart of the mall structure.

“Wouldn’t you like a perk-up?” she asked again, not smiling.

How odd. She asked me twice. There were 8,000 people at the wristwatch case, this being Dallas. I did not need to be perked up, I thought. I am perky. Why did she think I wasn’t? Did I look not perky, not touched up, not, well, cheery and spry?

It was late in the day. I had already been places, done things. So maybe I looked a tad windblown. She didn’t look so hot, I thought, checking the closure on my bag. 

“No,” I told her, firmly. I made a beeline for the big hallway outside, with the ducks. There are ducks in this particular shopping place. They climb on a bridge, if you are lucky. 

I did not find what I was looking for, after all. On the way back to my car through the department store, I took another route to the door. I kept checking left and right for the makeup lady. Imagine, avoiding a makeup lady. It was time to go home. 

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