(But Got Arrested Instead)

Photo by Kim Daniels on Unsplash

Mom didn’t mean to get involved; she only wanted to help. She just felt somebody should call the wife of the man who was getting arrested, to let her know that her husband wouldn’t be home for dinner. As it turns out, mom didn’t make it home for dinner either. It was uptown New Orleans, February 9th, 1973. We all remember the date because it was also dad’s birthday.

“It was the first snowfall in New Orleans in fifty years,” Mom told me recently, as we watched whiteness blanket the patio picnic table from the comfort of matching Lazy Boy…

Photo by Heiner from Pexels

Hey there long-suffering single sister, this tip is for you! And you can thank me with a picture from your scaled-down second wedding on a public beach.

If you’re like me, you’ve been dating waaay too long post-divorce. It’s a BIG problem. We’ve no time to lose! I am so much less cute and so much more crazy than I was even a year ago! I don’t look anything like my sun-kissed snapshots from last summer. (And men complain about that, right? They say that I should update my pictures. Are they insane??)

Over the years I’ve had several shots…

A timely message from my much younger, unsober self.

Photo by Author

Summer, 2020

The Unsent Postcard

I have a stack of unwritten postcards, collected from my travels, purchased with the intent of sending them to those back home. In recent months, I have taken to writing out these postcards to friends and family, both to cheer them with sunny images as they shelter in, and to support the United States Postal System.

Not long ago, I came across a card featuring a hand-colored photograph of a windmill in East Hampton, New York. To my surprise, it was not blank. Tightly scrawled sentences, in rudimentary French, it was meant for a friend in Paris.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

For years now I’ve puzzled over this quote taped to the inside of my spice cupboard, alongside other inspirations. I’ve always liked it, but now it’s starting to make sense too. It’s a call to action of course, but one that demands thoughtful, precise response — nothing sloppy. In the last few weeks, humans young and old, from all walks, here and abroad, have shown me that they know what to do with this time. It’s heartening.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Tired of playing cook, maid and laundress to your teenager and getting nothing in return? Feel like you’re sharing space with a month-to-month boarder who speaks little English, instead of the fruit of your loins — loins marked by battle scars from his breech entrance into the world? I get it. It used to be like that here. But I live in a brave new world today, I conquered my teen, and I can show you how to bring yours into submission too. Attitude and timing are everything. Live by those bons mots of ‘Old Blood and Guts’ and “Do…

Photo by Maria Newsom

Two springtimes ago we were all together, celebrating both matriarchs over wiener schnitzel and soft pretzels at Workstatt in Brooklyn, on a stretch of Coney Island Avenue with zero ambience. I was enjoying rare eye candy: my two sons in blazers and button down shirts. Last spring, on Mother’s Day, my parents weren’t up for the drive down to the city. My brother, divorced like me, had a date. So it was just a low-key party of three: my two boys and me.

Every year, like Ebenezer Scrooge visited by the ghost of Christmas past, I am haunted by two-parent…

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

10 important questions to consider

I think so. But then I’m still single. I do however have a thicket of friendships and at 54, I’m not devoid of self-awareness — a working romantic partnership does feel within reach. Close enough anyway, to share some ideas that have worked for me in long-term dating.

Are you being picky or just choosy?

It’s a good question to ask, whether you’re deciding on peanut butter or people. Where should you compromise, and where should you hang tough? At the supermarket or on the dating site, there’s a difference between being hyper-critical and just discerning — which are you? Take externals. I like someone with good…

Photo by Frank Zhang on Unsplash
  1. How many people are having virtual sex right now?
  2. Forget that good citizen crap, I could give a high-flying fuck about filling out my Census right now.
  3. I agree. That assignment on the sweet breads of Mexico is beyond stupid.
  4. Forget that you just lost your whole morning’s work because you forgot to hit “Turn In” on Google Classroom, you dumb ass. Just go back to playing Jetpack Joyride on your phone.
  5. Will they notice that I’ve sneaked the canned peaches from this “Grab ’n’ Go” school lunch into their breakfast smoothies?
  6. I don’t like playing with you anymore than…

Photo By Maria Newsom, Cookie by Kevin Castro

What was it about this latest holiday season that made guys crawl out of the egg and dart crown molding and offer a peck on the cheek under my mistletoe?

Okay, I didn’t hear from my third-grade crush, but pretty much everyone else checked in, either in person, via phone, text, direct message, eCard, or even a throwback, glitter-shedding Christmas greeting. The list includes:

  • Two old boyfriends with whom I have meaningful friendships today.
  • A man I’d started dating in October but had stopped dating by November.
  • Three male friends I haven’t yet dated, and it’s not on the table.

Hand-Colored Photography by Richie Fahey

Christmases past make me think of my father standing on a ladder, cutting corners by zig-zagging the pre-LED lights back and forth on only the forward-facing side of the ten-foot Douglas fir. And my mother, bracing the ladder below, making him take them all down and start over, going round and round clockwise, taking care not to leave any back branches bare of colored bulbs. Same Advent drama, year after year, and in the end, same glorious, trimmed tree.

Valentine’s Days past do not call to mind any such ritual, however. Apart from those 15 years of marriage when I…

Maria Newsom

Amicably-divorced mom to 2 adolescent males & a lizard. My writing & loosely-measured recipes live at marianewsom.com — sign up there for my newsletter. she/her

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