About

THIS BLOGGING LIFE

When I started Kalilily Time in November of 2001, I already had retired from a well-paying job I liked and had taken on the responsibility of helping out my then 86 year old mother. I had moved into an apartment across the hall from her and was struggling to adjust to the fact that her increasing dementia meant that my ability to have a social life was rapidly decreasing. I finally even had to give up ballroom dancing, which was my favorite exercise, creative outlet, and opportunity to interact with other people.

On the morning of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I was in the middle of a West Coast Swing dance lesson when someone came into the room and brought us out to watch the live television report. My world began a drastic change that day, both big picture and little picture. As my mother’s dementia began to worsen and her needs assumed priority over mine, I became almost as homebound as she. Blogging helped to keep me sane through 8 years of being a primary caregiver, and I became the first President of Blog Sisters. My mother passed away in November of 2010 at the age of 94, after submitting to the ravages of late-stage dementia and renal failure. I still blog. Sometimes.

In 2001, there were only a few dedicated bloggers, and my son, b!X was one of them. He helped me to launch my first blog on Blogspot, and, several years later, redesigned it for Moveable Type. Now I am on Word Press, thanks to his continuing efforts to keep his mom happy.

I chose the alias “kalilily” when emailing was in its infancy and women were warned to keep their actual identities secret. The “kali” part is for Kali, the formidable Indian goddess of death and destruction (so necessary for rebirth). The “lily” is for Lilith (another formidable archetype) and for Elaine the fair, Elaine the pure, Elaine the Lily Maid of Astalot, from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Those archetypes suited me well at the time.

LIFE AS IT IS

At the beginning of 2009, I left my 92 year old mother in the care of my brother and moved from my residence with both of them in the Catskill Mountains of New York to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where I now live with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. My old crabby lady cat, Calli, moved with me; the two already resident male cats did not understand why my crabby cat refused to befriend them — which is a moot point now, since, at 17 years old, Calli had used her her ninth life as of early 2013.

I have reinvented myself countless times throughout my life, and now I am trying, again, to figure out who/what/why I am, both as a blogger and as a aging female.

I am 73 years old — a mother of two and a grandma of one amazing 11 year old, who is being home-schooled (which means that every day is a learning adventure for me as well).

I was married in the 60s, divorced in the 80s and was a published writer while and since.

I’ve had several careers, and all of them relied on my communication skills, especially as those helped to promote changes in entrenched dehumanizing systems. For my last twenty years in the workforce, I had various administrative positions with the New York State Education Department, including as a grant writer of a proposal that brought in $10 million for a statewide project in Math, Science, and Technology. I have both a B.A. and M.A. in English and Education. I retired in 2000 so that I’d have the energy and stamina to give my mother the help she needed. It wasn’t easy. I moved out of her house when I was seventeen and vowed I would never live with her again. Sometimes you have to do the right thing because — well, because it’s the right thing to do. And then you find that you need to take care of yourself, and the right thing becomes something else.

In my life BC (Before Caregiving) I used to write poetry, and I’ve had some published over the years, the most notable in 1998. Together with another local poet, I published a chapbook, Eating Disorders and other Mastications. Twice I was accepted by and participated in competitive poetry workshops offered by the Writers-in-Residence Program of the New York State Writers Institute — one led by John Montague and the other by Eamon Grennan. The Berkshire Review published one of my poems developed in Montague’s workshop. For several years, I served on the Board of Directors of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild and was a co-editor of Gates to the City, the literary anthology for the Albany, New York Tricentennial celebration. In the summer of 2010, The Ballard Street Poetry Journal published one of my newer poems.

I’ve been a feminist all my life, even before I knew what the word meant. My friends have always included both men and women. My significant others have only been male, and I used to be a pretty good ballroom dance partner for some of the best of them.

I am a television fan of any program or novel that features smart, sassy, kick-ass females. They’re usually written by women, but one of my favorite male writers is Terry Pratchett. I love his irreverence and clever truth-telling. I am a devoted fan of his old Granny Weatherwax, and I aspire to be as good at practicing Headology as she is.

If you have the time and inclination, you are welcome to read a revealing interview with me conducted by Frank Paynter soon after I began blogging. It’s all there, with expletives undeleted.

You can contact me at ekalilily at gmail dot com

THE NAME IS THE GAME

KALILILY: We are all both light and dark, and our shadow side is often even more powerful in our psyches than our sunny sides. It is up to each of us to get to know our shadows and learn how to dance them into a positively channeled personal power. Kalilily Time is my place to do just that and to express my personal objections to the attitudes and actions of neocons and the overly right/eous, most of whom seem to have forgotten how to live by the Golden Rule and by the spirit of our American democratic history. It’s my place to take delight, not only in my right to dissent, but also in the pleasures of my constantly changing Croney life.

And, when the dark spirit moves me, to BITCH about the things that drive me personally crazy as I do, for example in the following:

Usually a Woman

Most women will spend 17 years caring for children and 18 years helping an elderly parent.

It’s usually a woman, you know,
who opens a hand, lends a heart.
Usually a woman, you know,
who makes a full plate,
sends a silly card,
welcomes someone else’s child
into softly tireless arms.

It’s usually a woman,you know,
who gives in, gives up, gives.
Usually a woman, you know,
who knits her brow over fevered ones,
endlessly stitching raveled sleaves.
It’s usually a woman, you know,
who nurses, nods, kneels.
Usually a woman, you know,
who comforts, cares — not just, you know,
for moments, but, you know,
for life.

Oh, I know. There are men
who do that too. But how many do

you know?

copyright Elaine Frankonis 2004

Old Lady Rap-Back

you don’t see me
not really with
my angles softened
my curves
gone to middle thick

I see that your gaze
doesn’t stick
on my face
lined with time’s weary tricks

I know you got it
tough rough never enough
you think that’s new?

I grew a tough skin
long before you
rode into surf and sin

and as for fuckin’?
I was mouthing it
long before your sorry ass
passed its first gas

I know the words but
I make a choice of voice
that says more than you
think you know

copyright Elaine Frankonis 2004

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Oh my. Or should I say oh f***? Love the poem. Unlike you, Kalilily, I can’t make things with my hands. I can only make things with my brain. Not really much different. We all have different talents. I do wonder what will happen to the young women who dismiss us because of our faded appearance. I have given up spending much time thinking about them, except to feel a bit sad — for them, certainly not for myself. My physical strength is waning, or I might give one or two of them a good wake-up SHAKE.

  2. I AM WAKING UP INTO THIS NEW JOURNEY…A WOMAN FACING HER SIXTIES…TRYING TO KEEP A STRONG SPIRIT ALIVE IN SPITE OF PHYSICAL CHALLENGES. FEELS GOOD TO READ THESE. THANKS.

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