It is hard to blog about certain things when the image of a masked terrorist holding a knife to an American journalist on his knees in the desert is seared into your mind. And now there is another, and they even took a video of it.
It is hard to read and watch and listen to the news, and hard not to, and hard to avoid it anyway because the headlines pop up wherever you look. It is hard to know that while we live in relative comfort, parts of the world are in the middle ages, and hard to know that we are not so safe as we think we are and that the very city (Minneapolis) where my daughter is teaching ESL (now ELL) to Somali children is the same city where a Somali neighborhood is a breeding ground for ISIS recruitment of disaffected young people, as reported on NBC Nightly News.
It is hard to hear our once-passionate president say blandly that "we don't have a strategy yet" for dealing with Islamic extremists in Syria, and to hear him say that "not doing stupid stuff" is an accomplishment, and also to hear him say, as we seek more urgency and reassurance, "The world has always been messy," while as Frank Bruni put it in an op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times, "'Messy' is my kitchen at the end of a long weekend. What's happening in much of Syria and Iraq is monstrous."
It's hard for me personally because my friend Patricia is gone. We were blogging partners, often writing on the same topic; one would lob a ball into the other's court and then it would return with something comforting or funny or just the words, "I know how you feel."
That is basically why I have not written much in the last couple of weeks.
So. I think I see another tiny squamous cell cancer on the back of my hand – just a little raised freckle that looks odd to me – and I will have to make an appointment to go to Boston to have it checked out and probably get another punch biopsy. Ouch, but still.
So. I watch the US Open. I go to USopen.org and watch the press conferences and recaps. I read about Roger Federer's wife Mirka and look at all the family pictures. I watch him float around the court and I remember years ago when I was in the hospital around this time of year and my sister said that for a good distraction from leukemia and chemotherapy, I should turn on the Open "and watch Roger Federer who does not sweat."
It worked then, and it works now. For a while.