Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Politics 2016 - Snippets from the Democrats, Tweets from Trump

The first speaker I heard was Cory Booker. I loved his biography, United, I was impressed that an old and dear friend has supported him for decades, and he sealed the deal when he wiped his sweaty bald pate without skipping a beat last night.

He quoted Maya Angelou, and reminded the audience that they knew the words. There were echoes in the arena as those who did recited them along with him. He was powerful and thoughtful and I really had to laugh at The Donald's tweet:
If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.
I wonder how much The Donald thinks he knows about me?
Anastasia Somoza was delightful and thrilled and excited and happy and everything a twenty-something thrust into the spotlight should be. She was the neatest antithesis to The Donald's mocking of the NY Times reporter who also lives with Cerebral Palsy.  

But my favorite part of her speechifying and question answering was when she was asked why she supported Hillary - as a woman, as a young activist, as a disabled American.  This is a kid whose outlook on life should be spread over the Convention floor.
The cameras didn't focus on the catcalls and the boos from the stage.  I'm with Sarah Silverman; Bernie or Bust is just ridiculous.  Their screeching was annoying.

But I wonder if the cameras stayed on the podium because the speakers kept speaking.  The Donald likes to stop and stare and deride his cantankerous opponents.  I like the Democrats' ignoring them much more.
Elizabeth Warren does a better job attacking Trump than trying to take the high road,  although I appreciated her efforts given The Donald's tweet after her speech:
Elizabeth Warren, often referred to as Pocahontas, just misrepresented me and spoke glowingly about Crooked Hillary, who she always hated
I don't get the whole Pocahontas thing; does The Donald think it's funny?  It gains no traction, it's so obviously inappropriate, that the whole Crooked Hillary thing gets swallowed up in my disgust for his overt racism.
As Mrs. Obama pointed out, our children are watching.  They had the opportunity last night to see a tall, smart, black, feisty woman speak from her heart.  She was elegant and eloquent and TBG and I were teary on the couch.

Can her words be an antidote to the vitriol from The Donald?  Perhaps.  It's telling that she is the only person about whom he did not tweet last night.
Paul Simon walked out on the stage and started to sing.  There were boos and catcalls and lots of pent up Bernie Forever angst spilling loudly over the arena.  We wondered where Art Garfunkel was, since Bridge Over Troubled Waters is, arguably, his song.

And then the cameras turned to the delegates.  What had been contentious was, after a chorus or two, harmonious.  Arms around shoulders, swaying side to side, singing along and healing.... at least I hope they were healing.
And tonight we sat through How I Met Your Candidate from 9/11 survivors and first responders and Senators (some related by marriage) and colleagues and then Bill took over for nearly an hour and told a love story that had me reminding myself that marriage is very hard work.

I loved the broken glass ceiling and Hillary talking to any little girls who might have stayed up late, and when she told them them that she might be the first woman to become President - but one of you will be the next, my heart just about exploded.

I'm not sure Millenials, girls who grew up with Roe v Wade and Title IX, understand why.   I'll wager that the rest of you had a moment, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's Too Hot to Think

The Democrats have started - and I'm too hot to concentrate.  Paul Manafort's lobbying on behalf of dictators kept me riveted to Slate this morning, but I'm too hot to put my outrage into words.  My car needs a bath, my plants need more water, the dishwasher is full - and I'm too hot to move.

I'm also too hot to think.  So, I will share my new favorite photo, taken by my most talented daughter, and return tomorrow with pithy analysis and deep thoughts.
Can you feel the love?

Monday, July 25, 2016

BlogHer'16 - Am I Going?

I've gone every year since I got shot. I spoke on a panel one year.  I saw bloggers whose words I knew but whose faces were mysterious creations of my own imagination, until I ran into them across a table, or in an elevator, or over the buffet line.

I've gone with Little Cuter and on my own.  I've used it as an excuse to see old friends, sharing languid lunches by the Pacific Ocean or in the MOMA Cafe.  I've collected more swag than any woman my age should care about (and yet I do).

I've shared champagne with strangers as we listened and cried and shared moments so real, so fragile, so honestly shared from the podium that the air in the room took on its own dimension.  It was filled with hope and enthusiasm and encouragement and intelligence - always with intelligence.

Over the years, the Main Attractions were just that - Main Attractions.  Sheryl Sandberg borrowed Little Cuter's pen.  Indra Nouri shared my table.  Martha Stewart talked about everything (except prison) and Barack Obama addressed us via video conference.  The women whose email exchange created the Black Lives Matter hashtag shared their wisdom during a panel and in front of the stage for much longer than we had any right to keep them but they were so passionate and articulate and so willing to help us understand.

Ava DuVernay and Gale Ann Hurd opened my eyes about the battles still being fought on the large and small screens in Hollywood.  Queen Latifah introduced exceptional bloggers at the Voices of the Year presentations; she was really really late but we were really really glad that we had the patience to keep our seats.  She was a celebrity, for sure, but she also had a brain.

Last year, I walked out of Gwyneth Paltrow's address.  The woman has fabulous legs and a flawless complexion but her business seems to be deciding that she likes something and then trying to get me to buy it.  She offered no insights, no charming anecdotes to make an important point, no, not one thing.  I went to MOMA and stared at The Bather; it was a much better use of my time.

This year, the keynote is Kim Kardashian West, according to the breathless email I received from SheKnowsMedia, the entity which subsumed BlogHer few years ago.

I checked the details on the sender, then replied, wondering Have I been Punk'd or is this for real?  The sender wasn't receiving email.

And then I went to the website and was reminded that Sarah Michelle Gellar was the opening act, and that, even though the subtitle for the event is Experts Among Us, Mayim Bialik is speaking at lunch on Saturday.... the same slot once occupied by Sheryl Sandberg.  Mayim Bialik may be an expert with her blog on parenting as a modern Jewish woman (it is much glossier than The Burrow) but she's not the COO of Facebook.

Oh, did I mention that there will be a Q&A with Sheryl Crow before Kim Kardashian's speech?

The more I typed, the easier my decision became.  I'm staying home.

Kim Kardashian?  Really?

Friday, July 22, 2016

How To Feel Better About the World

After watching the drama over substance of the Republican Convention; after listening to the President of Estonia tell NPR that a Trump decision to withhold support if a NATO ally were invaded meant "the end of NATO itself, NATO, around which the world has been organized since 1949;" after driving behind 20-somethings texting while bumbling along in the fast lane; after Monsoon rains quashed my plans to test my knee in the pool; after all of that, I couldn't summon any positive energy at all.

Then, I read Intrepid Cat's Facebook post, and my world took on a sunnier hue.  I'm copying it in its entirety, and following her lead this weekend.  I'm ready for snacks... served by old people...... of which I am certainly one.  I know what a pokestop is, but the gym and leveling up and the Snorlax are beyond my interest in Pokeman Go... because I am an old person.

Reasons to give blood:
1. We have not developed better alternatives to donated blood.
2. I know people who have benefited from donated blood.
3. I am healthy enough to donate and it doesn't freak me out too bad.
4. They are collecting blood at a church with both a pokestop and a gym and it is a perfectly valid reason to hang out in an air conditioned room leveling up myself and the gym so I get to put my shiny new Snorlax in and be gym leader AND old people give me home made snacks at the same time!

Happy Weekend, denizens.  Share a pint, if you can.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Injured, But Unbowed

Was it playing offense so that Mr. 11 could learn to take a charge?

Was it the impossible-for-me-but-I'll-try-it-nonetheless piece in Pilates?

Is it the loosening of my psoas?  The increased mass of my gluteus minimus?

I don't know.  All I know is that my left knee, my good knee, is swollen to the size of a small grapefruit.  It is tender to the touch, although much less tender than two days ago when it hurt so much I wasn't hungry for dinner.

This is one of those times when I'm glad I share my space with someone who's experienced these kinds of injuries before.  He's gentle and soothing and fetches me ice packs and the adjustable cane and anything I want from the kitchen once my leg and I are comfortably ensconced on Douglas, pillows supporting the damaged limb.

He's also brutally honest.  "Once it happens, it will happen again," is among the more encouraging tidbits he's shared.  "We're getting older; our bodies are more fragile; you have to be careful," he goes on and I grit my teeth and listen because, despite my fervent desire that it not be so, he's right.

That doesn't mean I have to like it.

I've been here before.  I think I was more stoic then.  Back then, my only job was to heal. Right now, I am supposed to be training to climb the Sears Tower.  Without expectations, sitting still turned out to be a transformational experience; I had 14 weeks to think about the unthinkable.  But now, today, I should be sweating instead of grimacing.

And yet, the sun came up and I was here to see it... even if it was from the couch.  I'm having a hard time having a hard day from that perspective.  Thanks for listening to me whine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Who Said What, When - A Snippet

Did Mrs. Trump write her own speech?

Did she listen to former First Ladies' speeches and incorporate their words into hers?

Did President Obama do the same sort of thing in 2008?

Does it matter?

I don't know.  I don't care.  I just want this all to be over.  I am tired of judging a candidate by his wife and his children and Scott Baio's tweets.

Then, again, CNN has been running The Race to the White House and I'm not sure I'd have been happier in 1828 or 1948.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

End of Summer With The Boys

As our very mature Mr. 13 reminded us, school begins in 3 weeks.  
The roads in Tucson are empty as families squeeze in the last trip of the summer.  
I needed some quality time with my favorite young Tucsonans before Middle School swallows them. 

It started with breakfast.
and continued through lunch. 
 Costco pizza got him through until dinner.
I'd forgotten how much growing boys can eat.  

It's not that we didn't work up an appetite. 
Ninety minutes at LA Fitness where I knew I shouldn't have stepped out onto the basketball court let alone tried to help him learn how to take a charge.  I'm icing my knee as I type this.  I hurt, but I'm smiling.  

This is a delightful 11 year old boy.  He's right on the cusp, clinging to boyhood as his brother thrashes his way through puberty, taking no prisoners along the way.  And so, while Mr. 13 was allowed to have the perfect day - alone, in his underwear, playing video games - Mr. 11 conquered the beast.
shopped for personal hygiene products 
while failing to find a decorative container for the plant we bought for his mother.  

There was more basketball

and a quick call to Big Cuter so he could remind me that Moneyball told Billy Beane's story and since Mr. 11 and I saw Billy Beane on ESPN at lunch and had been talking about baseball analytics and since Barnes and Noble is a favorite destination when either of those two and I are together it was a perfectly marvelous confluence of happiness as we three readers chatted and then smiled and then the two of us in Tucson went to Barnes and Noble and shopped. 

 Retrieving Mr. 13, we were on our way to tae kwon do when hunger struck again.  
I drove more quickly than he anticipated. He wanted to finish up and be on time for class. That was an ill advised combination at which we all laughed.  The ice cream ended up in his mouth and on his hand and covering his chin but not one drop on my brand-new-I-will-be-furious-if-you-spill-in-it car. 
It's okay now.
School can start.
I've had my dose, and I sent them off with a smile.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Wouldn't Buy a Dishwasher From These People

My regular medications have been on automatic refill with BCBSAZ for years.  They called and emailed to let me know when a refill was on its way; just as I began to worry that I was running out, BCBSAZ reassured me that all was well.  They allowed me to cancel the refill with one click.  If the doctor's office was tardy in replying to their request for a new prescription, they let me know.

And so, because the system wasn't broken, they decided to fix it.

I was vaguely aware of the change, but managed to switch one of my prescriptions during a phone call requesting my assistance with contacting the doctor for an updated 'scrip.  It took some time, but the woman was lovely and the pills, I hope, are on their way.  I didn't need more of the other medication for two months.  I said I'd wait to deal with it.

And so, when I received a lovely letter from the new provider, OPTUMRx, with this optimistic greeting:

I decided to renew the other prescription.  I had nothing else to do.  105outside means I stay inside.  Rather than start the third Phryne Fisher mystery (you really should try them; they are absolutely perfect), I went on-line to try.

The website requested a copy of my prescription.  Since this wasn't a new medication for me, I didn't have a prescription; I just had the bottle with the prescription number on it.  Mildly frustrated, but still willing, I called BCBSAZ.

Let me assure you, denizens, the phone experience was no more Hassle-Free than going on-line.

The first question is: Who Chose The Muzak?  Mozart, Patsy Cline, Jerry Garcia... music exists which does not assault my eardrums and my psyche.  Scratchy, easy listening, sloppily played light jazz is not on that list.  Unfortunately, fifteen minutes or so of the hour we spent together was purely one-sided; they played, I tried not to listen, I played silly computer games, and I waited for a supervisor.

The young man who eventually answered my call requested verification of my identity (but different questions than were asked to get through voice mail to him... giving credit where credit is due), asked me what I wanted to do, and then told me I couldn't do it.

"There is only one refill left.  It won't let me do it."

Rather than argue with him, I asked him to transfer me to a supervisor.  (Cue the bad music.)  Even though he assured me that "They won't tell you anything that I am not telling you," I had higher hopes and so I waited. (Keep hearing that music.)  After 10 minutes or so he came back to assure me that he was "still waiting for a supervisor to pick up,"  so I stopped feeling ignored and went back to smashing colorful objects, reminding him that I had nothing else to do this afternoon, and that I would wait as long as it took.

I'm glad I waited.

Barbara came on the line, calling me by name, verifying the pronunciation before she said anything more than Hello.  I was smitten.  I might not be able to reorder a generic, but BCBSAZ was suddenly treating me with respect.

What could she do for me?  I told her that either the system or their training was broken - that rather than tell me I can't do something and stopping right there, the agent might have been given me a plan.  I told her that I was fairly competent, but if my fragile, elderly mother had called and been brushed aside as I was, the results would have been unpleasant - tears at best, unfilled medication at worst.  "This isn't ice cream we're ordering; it's life saving pharmaceuticals on which we rely." 

She tried.  She wondered what the agent was thinking.  She asked if I'd hold while she did some investigation, paused, and offered to call me back.  Relieved that I would be spared more awful tunes, I told her that I'd be home for an hour, and I thanked her on behalf of my ears.

She laughed.

I played some more, wrote a letter, made ice tea, and answered the phone.  The news wasn't great, but it was delivered with dignity and graciousness and a real understanding of the issue. There is no way to enter the prescription in the system unless I want an immediate refill.  If I want the pills in two months, I have to call back again, go through voice mail (Cue the music), and deal with another agent.... one who might be better than the young man whose behavior so confounded his supervisor that she was planning to have a chat with him right after she was sure that I was okay.

She agreed with everything I said.  She spoke with precision and thoughtfulness.  She listened and she heard and she acted.  When I told her that I wouldn't buy a dishwasher from a company which treated me this way, when I said that health care was too important for me to be left in such a situation, when I wondered why I was being treated poorly when I am among the least expensive patients they have to insure, she didn't try to justify the unjustifiable.  I could feel her nodding as I heard her murmured agreement.

So, I'll call back in a few months and try again.  Meanwhile, I'm sending this post to Barbara and her supervisor, because amid all the confusion and the road blocks she never once made me feel as if I were to blame.  She made me feel like a valued customer.  She is a keeper..... and she deserves a raise.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Politics 2016 - The Gossip Edition

There is no reason that any of the information contained within this post should be used as a reason to vote for or against anyone.  Family members can't be controlled.  Candidates shouldn't be saddled with the baggage of others, no matter how closely they are related.

That said, this is a great story.  And it's one of those that can be told with just the facts.

Chris Christie was the U.S. Attorney who, in 2004, prosecuted Charles Kushner.  There was no question of Kushner's innocence; he pleaded guilty to 18 felonies, including illegal campaign contributions and tax evasion and witness tampering.  He received the maximum sentence.  The witness tampering is especially delicious. Kushner hired a prostitute to seduce a cooperating witness.  That witness was his sister's husband.

Juicy, yes, but why is it relevant?

Only because Charles Kushner's son, Jared, is married to Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

Only because Jared Kushner is described all over the interwebs as a close adviser to Donald Trump.

Only because Chris Christie is heading Trump's transition team.

Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when those three are in the same room?

As I said, it's a delicious story, one that I just had to share.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

All These Mouthy Women - A Snippet

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.... Notorious RBG.... Cornellian.... Supreme Court Justice.... and, according to the presumptive Republican nominee, a woman whose mind is shot.

Hillary Rodham Clinton.... Democratic nominee (no one seems to feel the need to include presumptive).... Wellesley and Yale alumna....  Secretary of State, First Lady, Senator... and the woman whose Google search with her name and shrill brings up 281,000 results.

What is wrong with these females, anyhow?  Why can't they keep their opinions to themselves?  Did they never learn manners?

I am so fed up with this line of argument.  I find myself screeching at my car radio.  I really thought we were past this.

If shrill doesn't define Donald Trump, I don't know what does, but words like bluster and pompous are used to describe him.  Shrill is a girl word in the way that Mr. 13 explained that "slut can't be for a boy, Mom, because it's a girl word."  

Perhaps a female president will be just the wake up call those 8th grade boys... and those boys who still act as if they are in 8th grade.... really need.


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