Women like us: I miss Oprah


When I began finding errant hairs growing from my chin and neck, I plucked furiously. Then I called my mom to see what she does about this annoying cosmetic problem.

“On your neck? Huh.”

I tried her twin sister, who also had no personal experience with my problem.

I love them both, but there have been quite a few times when I’ve had to look elsewhere for womanly advice or tips. My mom is a thin, perfectly proportioned, white woman who looks younger than she is and who can walk into any dressing room and look gorgeous in whatever she tries on, which fits perfectly, of course.

I can relate to this experience in the sense that I am also a white woman.

For a long time, I turned to Oprah. Oprah’s like the big sister I never had, ten years ahead. She has an ample chest and curvy figure and dreads dressing rooms like I do. I don’t think I ever watched a show about unwanted facial hair, but there could have been one and, regardless, I’m sure she would relate. By the time her broadcast show went off the air, I was no longer watching daily, though I knew she was there if I had time and needed her. It’s not the same now. We don’t have cable and, in any case, her new shows and channel are a different enterprise, focused on spirit and big ideas – what I do all day anyway – and no help with wild sprouts of hair, so it’s been a while since I could really lean on her.

About 10 years ago, Oprah had a show on perimenopause, which is when I learned that word. Menopause is the time after all menstrual periods have stopped for at least one year. Perimenopause is the weird, sometimes decade-long time of flux between normal monthly cycles and menopause. It’s what a lot of women mean when they say “going through menopause.”

At the time that show aired, I had begun to experience regular migraines, trouble sleeping, sweeping mood swings, the intermittent grip of high anxiety, the aforementioned hair in fun new places, and some other things I can’t remember (bonus: memory is also affected by perimenopause). Before watching the Oprah episode, I had never laid them all out like that in a list because I didn’t think of them as related symptoms. They were just some of the various ways I was falling apart, health-wise.

Oprah knew there were a lot of women like me so she did a show, bestowing the word we didn’t know we needed in our vocabularies, and offering help. The doctor on the show that day commented that we often talk about estrogen levels but it’s actually the interplay between levels of various hormones that causes symptoms and problems. She had a handy PowerPoint-style presentation listing “too high” or “too low” slides with either estrogen, testosterone, or progesterone at the top, and symptoms below each one. When she got to the chart showing low progesterone, it may as well have said, “Deborah Lewis, this is your life.”

Seeing my nurse practitioner shortly afterwards, I said, “I saw an Oprah show and I think I may have low progesterone.” I recited the symptoms I’d previously thought were unrelated and she said, “I think you might be right. Let’s test it.” Then she wrote down the details of the Oprah episode so she’d be prepared when other patients inevitably came in to follow up on the show.

When I asked my mom about perimenopause and menopause, she didn’t know exactly when the change happened. It was masked by a medication she was taking and her cycles had simply stopped by the time she went off the drug. She didn’t remember any problems in the years before that. Neither did my aunt. Everything was smooth sailing in those dressing rooms.

As it becomes clear that I’m one of those women with a long perimenopause, a cornucopia of changes and fun new surprises, I’ve been missing Oprah, wishing for an old-school show on perimenopause, part two, “The Later Years.” Most of my close friends are younger than I am so I’m the perimenopause pioneer. As the eldest granddaughter on both sides of the family, whose grandmothers are dead, and whose mother and aunts cannot provide any useful information about managing this time, Oprah was the big sister I needed and still need sometimes.

Oprah’s the one who could frame expectations for what was about to happen, the one who could say with authority, “Let’s go to another store where the clothes are made for women like us.”


photo credit: By vargas2040, Cropped by OsamaK [CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

The exuberance of forsythia


I have friends who hate forsythia. Detest it. Feel the need to proclaim their disdain on social media. For all I know, they probably spit on the bushes when they walk by them. I’ve never tried to plant or tend it so maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe it’s invasive or threatening to other nearby plants. I’m trying to be generous here: maybe they have good reasons for spending their energy hating a plant.

As for me, I delight in it. When we have enough warmish spring days in a row, it peeks its head out with bright – practically neon – yellow blooms, stark against its long, woody, still leafless stems. Everything else in sight – even the early showstoppers like Bradford Pears and cherry trees – is still tucked in for winter and biding its time, when forsythia shows up early to the party, wearing an outlandish hat and too much lipstick, carrying a game of Twister, hollering, “Let’s party!”

In addition to its sheer proclamation of color, I love the way forsythia branches jut out in crazy, spiky, improbable, irrepressible angles, the plant world’s version of the way Elaine used to dance on Seinfeld. It says, This is how I grow, damn it. Woo hoo! It’s spring! I love the way it naturally grows, untamed, wild, exuberant. It pains me to drive past a lawn where someone has taken matters into his own hands, trimming this marvelous beauty into symmetrical bland balls. Forsythia trimmed like this is merely a round bush with a haze of yellow, a herald with his mouth duct-taped so his announcement is garbled. When I see forsythia reined in this way, it reminds me of women who go too far in plucking their eyebrows. Like eyebrows, which on occasion can be too unruly and need a wee bit of help, I understand forsythia requires just a bit – but not too much – pruning help from a restrained gardener, to help it grow into its natural shape without becoming overgrown. Last year’s efforts paying off in early spring blooms; restraint flowering into exuberance.

I’m writing this in the fullness of Holy Week, which follows a fantastic and full weekend of hosting Nadia Bolz-Weber’s visit to Charlottesville, which follows a fantastic and full week of traveling to the Navajo Nation with students on an interfaith service trip. It’s been non-stop lately and I know I’m not the only one.

In the midst of this, the sheer timely gift of forsythia. Something we don’t have to create or remind or schedule, something beautiful that just shows up on time. Something lively, bright, festive, and over-the-top enthusiastic. Something that knows what time it is even when we want to stick our heads back under the covers for another month. Something that simply is – unmanaged, unchosen, uncomplicated beauty. In a leafless, weary world: a gorgeous, energetic, reliable gift of bursting bright beauty.



photo credit: “Forsythia,” © 2012 by Barbara Eckstein, CC BY 2.0

Winter Afternoon Haiku. No Snow.

bird footprints in winter sand

I wrote these a few weeks back one afternoon, enjoying the late light but wishing for snow.  Looks like we might be getting some today, at last.  As I burrow in on the ultimate snow day – retreat! – here are two slightly different takes on winter hibernation.


Afternoon light slants

Winter’s long shadows stretching

Golden sun descends


Netflix beckons me

Siren song of temptation

Ten seasons of Friends



photo credit:  © 2015 by Woody Sherman

Why I Watch The Walking Dead


I’m a squeamish watcher.  If it’s a cop show and someone gets shot in the leg, my hand instinctively grasps my own leg.  If it’s a horror movie, I involuntarily repeat-shout “Don’t open the closet!  Don’t open the closet!”  One time, watching the first X-Files movie, I started to wonder who in the theater was talking so loudly before I realized that coming from my own mouth was this high-volume mantra, “Oh, no!  Oh, no! Oh, no!”

So, I’m not a likely viewer of The Walking Dead.  [Spoilers ahead.]  I don’t care about zombies, just like I didn’t really care about vampires when I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel (in my book, still the only worthwhile ones among the many vampire-themed shows and movies).  I’m not especially interested in knowing the “rules” of how zombies are made and how they can get you and what attracts or repels them.  For me, zombies are just a vehicle for delivering story in a heightened and focused way.

Here’s the kind of thing I mean:  In season two of The Walking Dead I realized with a start that until that very moment I’d never wondered or even considered what anyone (besides Rick, the obvious sheriff) did before the world started to unravel.  During a scene on the sanctuary-for-a-while of the farm, Andrea and Dale are talking. Dale says to her “But you were a lawyer.”  Andrea, practically and matter-of-factly says “I’m nothing now.”  In that moment – a season and a half into watching the show – I realized I’d never once considered anyone’s previous jobs.  When’s the last time you spent time with anyone for more than ten minutes without obtaining this information?  What do you do? is almost always one of the first things we learn about someone.  I’d spent a season and a half with these characters and never even wondered about past lives because, in the world of this story, all that’s important now is what kind of person you are and how you can be part of the group in order to survive.

I routinely look away when zombies are eating or when something particularly gruesome is happening – I don’t need to see (or hear) that in order to get the point.  But I can’t look away from the show as story because it’s telling some of the most soulful, character-driven stories out there…  Who are you when everything and every one you knew and loved is gone?  How is community created and sustained?  What do we retain and preserve from our previous lives and culture when the rules have completely changed?  Where’s the line between caution and hospitality?  In what ways does violence change who we are and in what ways does it show us who we are?  What does leadership look like?  How do we make ethical choices when all the parameters for ethical behavior have changed?  How to we (re)define good or bad?

One of the most beautiful, pregnant-with-meaning, but spare scenes in the series to date was during last week’s episode.  Rick and Tyreese are standing outside a white wooden church in daylight.  They’re both holding shovels, standing in front of holes they’re making, with bloodied sheets covering a pile of dead bodies next to them.  The bodies are those of several people they’ve killed the night before in a kill-or-be-killed battle.  The dead had previously held them captive and were intending to butcher and eat them – that was their answer to survival in this bleak time.  But Rick and company – though they knew they had to kill the cannibals in order to live and so that others might live – do not leave them uncovered and unburied where they’ve fallen.  Because of Rick and company’s answer to violence, ethics, and survival, they are taking the time to bury the people who acted like animals and who had treated them that way.

The scene would have been enough just for that.  Enough just to see Rick and Tyreese completing the sweaty, hard work of burying people behind the church, working side by side to keep the smallest semblance of order and dignity and ethical behavior in a crazed and panicked world.

It would have been enough.  But they say just three lines of dialogue.

Rick says to Tyreese, “I never asked how it was for you, making your way to Terminus [the place the cannibals lured them].”  Tyreese, who had to kill a child along the way, says, “It killed me.”

They keep shoveling in silence.  We are watching them in a wide shot, edge of the church in one corner, pile of bodies covered with a bloody sheet next to the holes, green woods behind them, birds singing incongruously.  Not breaking the rhythm of shoveling, Rick says, “No, it didn’t.”

No, it didn’t.  Those who are dead feed on others.  Those who are dead don’t bother to properly bury the dead.

This is why I watch, sometimes holding my hand up to block the parts I can’t watch.  I watch because when everything else civilizing has been ripped away, what you do with the dead and who you become in the places you thought were dead tells the story I need to hear.

[Bonus:  For those who weren’t geeky enough to pause this week’s episode and copy down the Bible passages listed on the wooden board in the church, I’ve got you covered.  They deal with life in and after death, God bringing life to lifeless places, suffering, and resurrection.  I imagine the priest putting those up on the board after everything started going down, long after there were parishioners left to read them, in an effort to make sense of the terrifying new reality in terms of God’s promises. Here they are:  Romans 6:4, Ezekiel 37:7, Matthew 27: 52, Revelation 9:6, and Luke 24:5.]


photo credit: “Zombie Apocalypse” © 2005, Stephen Dann, CC BY-SA 2.0

Friday Five for Summer

On Fridays the RevGals play a little writing game together.  Today’s the summer edition and I’m playing…


 1.  What makes you happy in your happy hour? (kicking off shoes, reading a book, a cocktail, lemonade~~essentially, what do you do to relax at the end of your week…)

The most refreshing indulgence lately is this coconut yumminess from Smitten Kitchen.  Combine it with a long, light-filled evening of baseball.

2. I have a pair of shorts that I jump into the minute I get home for the evening–every day in the summer. What’s your favorite summer “garment”?

At any time of year:  Bra removal promptly upon arrival home and pj’s.

3. I have discovered, after living here in New England for 7 years, Ipswich fried clams. Oh. my. OH MY! Do you have a summer food you might splurge on once or twice in the summer?

I wait all year for ripe homegrown local tomatoes.  I dream of them in the winter and start salivating by May.  In late July through August (and sometimes into September) I eat them at least once a day.  Tomato sandwiches, BLT’s, Greek salads, ratatouille, sliced on a plate with salt and pepper…  You can not go wrong with a tomato in the height of its season, one of the simplest reminders of God’s enduring providence.

4. Do you have a specific fond memory of summers of your childhood?

At my grandparents’ house in the country, we helped hang laundry on the clothesline, slinging clothes up and over, using the wet weight to help pull the line near enough for our short arms to use the pins.  We went back out to take down the scratchy, stiff-dried, wind-scented clothes, yanking on the now-higher lines until the clothes came down in our hands and the pins popped off and landed in the grass.  Like baseball players with the sun in our eyes, it was hard to follow the flying pins against the lit sky.

5. Use these words in a sentence: snail, baby duck, camper, ice cream, surfboard, cherries.

The camper indulges in the simple extravagance of cherries for breakfast, fished from the bottom of the cooler and cold as ice cream, accompanied by the small progress of a snail moving across the picnic table, a baby duck learning to glide in the nearby lake, and the promise embodied in the surfboard waiting atop the car.


photo credit: © 2008 by Erich Ferdinand, CC by 2.0

Return to Pottery

return to pottery

Two roads diverged…Go left for pottery! (My teacher’s studio sign.)

Last week I was so full of anticipation, driving to my pottery teacher’s studio, I stopped in the road to take this picture.

We usually have a break in the class schedule from late October through early January.  This year our teacher had an unfortunate break in her ankle, so the pottery pause was even longer as she recuperated. Even in a normal year, two months is a long time to be away.  The first day back is awkward as we try to remember where our hands go and precisely how we manage to move clay around into shapes.  On purpose.

But last week we finally sat at our wheels again and got gloriously messy.

Soon enough I’ll have pictures of pots.  Today I simply give you a giddy woman’s mid-road-pause-picture, full of anticipation for what’s next.

10 Movies Worth a Second Look

popcorn in the midst of popping

I return to certain movies the way I crave mashed potatoes at certain times, for comfort.  Because I’ve seen them so many times, watching one again is like dipping back into a story I’ve been part of a long time.  I know large chunks of the scripts, not because I ever set out to memorize them but because I just kept listening until some of the language became mine.  It’s the same way I learned the Lord’s Prayer in church:  repeated exposure and a certain cadence that stuck without purposeful effort on my part…

 [Click here for the rest of the story and my list of 10 comfort films at the catapult magazine website.]


photo credit: © 2010 Drregor  CC BY-SA 2.0


5 Old-fashioned Things Everyone Should Know How to Do

I read Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe last week and when he got to the chapter on maps I knew I needed to say something about that.  That lengthy chapter goes on about the horrors of navigating by GPS and I agree with much of what he writes, though I’m not here to chastise you for liking your GPS.  Or to chastise you at all.  grand lake, colorado

But it got me to thinking about the markers of progress that aren’t always what they seem and the things we leave behind in a hurry and then wish we knew how to do.   I work with students, fledgling adults still trying a lot of things on for size, so I see first-hand how narrow and confining a technology-will-solve-it world view can be and also how empowering it is for a 20-year-old to learn to bake a loaf of bread from scratch.

I can be just as much of a nostalgia-waxer as the next person but this isn’t about looking back longingly for a bygone era.  This is about handling your life like a grown up.

Without further ado, I bring you 5 old-fashioned things everyone should know how to do:

  1. Use a map.  Paper, hard to fold – yes, that one.  This is about context.  If all you do is plug in an address to your GPS you have no context for assessing its directions.  Even when it is 100% right, if you make a mistake you don’t have the greater context to see what you’ve done and how to fix it.  I have been on many spring break trips with students to remote areas where cell phones and GPS gadgets don’t receive their lifeblood signals.  Then what?  Even if you prefer to use the GPS (and it works and its signal is strong), if you take the time to review your plans on an actual map so that you can see more than just the step you are on – that you are going east and the river should be on your right until that last turn – then when the river shows up on your left you will know something is amiss.  You don’t have to love maps or frame them as art in your house or purchase a sextant or be able to find north by the moss on a tree.  But learn how to see the bigger picture.
  2. Follow a recipe.  “I don’t cook” is not acceptable.  If, after following this step, you choose not to cook because your personal chef would be out a job or you like spending all your money at restaurants, fine.  But make one thing from scratch with a recipe.  See that it is not magic and that if you can read you can do it.  Know that if you had to or started wanting to, you could make meals for yourself and others.  Know you are not helpless and you have seen at least one thing become something edible and nourishing, assembled from raw ingredients and the work of your hands.  (Get started.)
  3. Place a phone call to someone you do not know.  Though some would argue this is becoming less necessary, there are still occasions when you will need voice-to-voice interaction and help from someone you have never met.  You will not be able to text it or just call and hang up and wait for them to notice the missed call and return it.  It’s likely you will need to do this at the least optimal time for learning an uncomfortable new skill, like after the death of a grandparent when you are trying to call the insurance company or the funeral home.  Practice before you need it.  Role play it with a friend and some tin cans connected by string.  Whatever it takes.
  4. Make a budget.  I know it’s not sexy.  I know you may not follow it to the last cent.  But know how to do it.  There is no mystery to this at all.  You don’t have to be a “math person” (I’m not).  This is a skill enhanced by computer software like Quicken or websites like Mint – you don’t even have to do the math yourself, but you do have to sit down and think about it and get it all in one place.  You write down your sources of income (How much do you get paid?  Any other side gigs or family inheritance income?).  Then make a list of your routine expenses for each month (rent/mortgage, utilities, cell phone, groceries, gas, loans, retirement and savings) and more occasional expenses (insurance, property tax on your car, Christmas gifts, clothes).  The total of the things you listed for income should match or be greater than the total of all expenses.  If it’s not, you need to make more money or spend less.  It’s simple but hard.  Not knowing how to make a budget while wondering every month why you don’t have enough money to cover your bills is silly.
  5. Make something – anything – with your hands.  You can run full-on into a new artistic endeavor like caning your own chairs or throwing pots or painting with watercolor.  Those are fine pursuits bringing pleasure and relief and the inspiration of creation to your life.  But you can also create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table out of construction paper and fall leaves.  Make a card for someone who’s been ill or grieving.  We spend more and more of our life – like me typing this and you reading it – on screens with only our brains and fingertips doing the work of creating and receiving.  Keep the rest of you alive with tangible projects that beautify your life and the lives of those you love.  You don’t have to think of it as “art” if that makes you squirm.  Think of it as the gift of your time and attention – a gift to you and to those who will share it.  Watch what happens to you as you pour yourself into it.  Appreciate how it’s still there when the power goes out.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

lake george islands, ny

Chilling out on Lake George, NY

As a snow day kind of gal, I can languish a bit in summer.  Wilt, actually.  When I lived in Atlanta I thought the whole town should just shut down for the entire month of August and everyone should lie down naked in the air conditioning and not move until the end of the month.  This seemed like a reasonable response to the heat.

Though I almost never think of a snowy day as “frightful,” the same cannot be said for sweaty sweltering summer days.  So when the RevGalBlogPals web ring posts an enticing group blog prompt in celebration of cooling off, well, I’m all in!

Today’s Friday Five:  Tell us how you beat the heat with your favorite…

1.  Cool treat.  Homemade lemonade, on the tart side.  Lemons, water, sugar, and ice.  It doesn’t get much simpler or better than this.  I’m not even much of a lemonade drinker, but when I squeeze it myself and the whole kitchen has that lemon-spritzed smell, and I pour it from a beautiful pottery pitcher…well.

2.  Cool drink.  Frozen margaritas in a salted glass, partaken of on a porch.  With my feet up.

3.  Cooling-off place.  The neighborhood pool.  The past couple of summers I’m remembering how much I love to swim and it’s great exercise without sweating.  Plus, it’s quite entertaining to listen to the neighborhood kids playing, saying things like, “You be the Barbie shark.”

4.  Cool clothes.  First, the bra must come off immediately upon returning home.  After that, anything feels cooler.  I love tank tops, baggy summer cotton pajama pants, and bare feet.

5.  Best alternative to air-conditioning.  My time warp answer:  Piling into the back of my grandfather’s truck right after dinner but before sunset and riding the back roads with my hair whipping my face.  I felt grown up and safely cared for all at the same time.  It was too noisy to talk so I had my thoughts to myself as the world sped past.  We’d come home to darker skies, cooler air, and a yard full of lightening bugs.

Brought to You by the Number 5

RevGalBlogPals web ring posts a group blog prompt each Friday.  Though I’ve been a member of the ring for a couple of months, this is my first time playing.  Here we go!

Whoosh! My calendar is packed. And June is almost gone! There’s the old saying, “Bad luck comes in threes” but I’ve decided that “Busy-ness comes in fives!” So this week we’ll take things five-at-a-time. Tell me:

1. Five flowers you’d like in a bouquet or in your garden:

Daisies.  Simple, homey, earthy, elegant.  There were a lot of daisies in my wedding bouquet.

Lavender.  It flowers so I’m counting it.  Fragrant and purple – what more do you need?

Peonies.  Old-fashioned and charmingly droopy.

Knock Out roses.  Plentiful, wafting scent, and apparently harder to mangle and kill than regular roses.  That holds promise for me.

Crape myrtle.  Again, I’m counting it because it flowers.  Leggy and pleasantly pruned.  Though I have to admit I always want to spell it “crepe.”

2. Five books you want to read (or re-read):

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (re-read)

Friends for the Journey by Luci Shaw and Madeleine L’Engle

The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner

And the Mountains Echoed by Haled Hosseini

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (re-read)

3. Five places you want to visit:

Kauai, Hawaii

Cinque Terre, Italy

Anywhere in Alaska


A remote campground I know in Montana, with my husband (I hope he comes on the other trips, too.)

4. Five people you’d invite for tea/coffee/beer and pizza:

Jeff Daniels

The Car Talk brothers (I’m counting them as one.)

Alice Munro

Wendell Berry

Sarah Polley

5. Five chores or tasks you’d gladly give to someone else:

Cleaning the bathroom

Cleaning the kitchen sink and strainers


Raking/dealing with fallen leaves

Washing out my clay-splattered pottery clothes after class so they are clean enough to put in the laundry!

BONUS: A five ingredient recipe! (This is harder than it sounds!)

Fail!  This is, indeed, hard.  My best contenders are the 6-ingredient recipe I posted earlier today or my veggie revision of this Giada recipe.  Making just the bean dip, you follow her instructions using these 5 ingredients:  olive oil, canned artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, cheese, lemon zest and juice.  (I often leave out the basil.)  But then you still have to add salt and pepper.  Alas.

Mad Men, Freaks, and Netflix Binges

Before Netflix I went to the video store.  (This is not a new phenomenon.)  My favorite one was like a used book store, with stacks and vintage posters and narrow aisles just wide enough to get lost in.  It had two floors and foreign language films.  Rows of French movies I would pick up and put back and re-rent, following from one to the next on the trail of a director or writer or actor who stood out.  At this store, you could shop without a smart phone and ask a question about What year or Wasn’t he also in and the clerks rarely had to look it up, though they sometimes argued with one another.  art music ideas coffee sign in floyd va

When they started carrying whole seasons of television I changed my habits.  I still watched obscure foreign films or fondly remembered classic ones, but I also started renting several discs at once right before the weekend when they let you keep them for three days.  Whole seasons of Northern Exposure or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but from the beginning this time and all the way to the finale.  I picked up shows I had never seen or cable programs I didn’t have access to and dove in, years after they’d aired, coming up for air three days later, satisfied but also ready for the next binge.

But it really started before video stores.  I was the kind of kid who could easily spend the entire day on my bed with a book, so immersed in what was happening in the world I was visiting that I’d actually startle when someone came in calling my name.  It was like coming up from a delicious dream into waking life, trying to pull myself back out of the page and into the room with the real live people in it.  I loved reading a novel in one sitting or in one luxurious weekend, watching closely as the story and the characters set off on their arc and eventually bent towards the final pages of the story. 

That’s why I do things like watch five seasons of Mad Men in two weeks, popping them like candy and staying up way past my bedtime.  It’s reminiscent of those long summer days on the bed in my room, reading until reality intervened.  It’s the long story arc of a season, and seasons combined, that seduces me.  Just one more.  I have to see where it’s going.  This is so delicious the way they’ve brought back the image from season one.  Watching them back-to-back in a condensed time period brings into high relief the details that build to create a world, or an undercurrent.  Watching with the remote control in hand, I often skip back to a previous scene or episode to check out a hunch.  That is exactly what so-and-so said to the other guy in the second season…  The blocking in that scene is an exact mirror of this other one.  Dipping back into Freak and Geeks last month, which I had obstinately missed out on when it aired, was a way to re-visit my own adolescence as well as a “when they were younger” guessing game of surprises.  So that’s how Judd Apatow ended up working with so-and-so.

It’s a literary, cinematic, artistic payoff and it’s also extremely indulgent.  So Friday, alone in the house and in the mood to be lost in another place and time, I leave Netflix for iTunes, where Don, Peggy, and the gang from season six lives.  Imagine my surprise when I see Don having a new affair with the older sister from Freaks and Geeks.  But she was just in high school, debating a runaway summer on the road with the Dead!  (Never mind that she was last seen in 1980 at 18, wearing an oversized army jacket and now, a decade later in my own life, she’s a middle-aged housewife in 1968.)  I stay in my pajamas well into the day, snuggled on the couch, sinking back into the tail end of this arc, anticipating and dreading the end.  But knowing I’ll find another story to follow soon.