Friday, July 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, FlapJilly

I've known her for 2 years today.
She once was small enough to fit in one forearm.
Now, she's a big girl,
with big girl ideas and emotions.
She says Please and Thank You and I Love You, Grandma.
I need nothing more.

Happy 2nd Birthday, FlapJilly!!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Politics 2016 - My Boys Speak

Big Cuter called with 3 reactions to President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention:

  1. Four More Years.... sadly, not possible.
  2. "Don't Boo.... VOTE!"
  3. When people like that give endorsements like that, it should be taken seriously.
*****
TBG is quite impressed with the men on stage -- for their devotion to the strong women in their lives. 
These are my guys.  These are the kinds of men I want as role models for FlapJilly.  These guys would be my friends.
*****
I really like the men in my life.

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.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Rant - Politics 2016

Every time I think about either one of them being in the Oval Office, I get a little nauseous.  But, like P. J. O'Rourke, I think that she is #WrongWithinNormalParameters and so I'm #Settling4Hillary.

She is evil, but so much less evil than he is, that I will hold my nose and vote for her, much as I voted for Ralph Nader and John Anderson:  because the process matters.  None of the John Anderson or Ralph Nader opponents terrified me, so I could afford to let my ballot convey my outrage.

2016 is different. Trump is an impossible choice for me; his divisiveness, his misogyny, his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions stop me before I even consider the fact that he's not proposed a single real plan. Building a great wall, standing shoulder to shoulder with the NRA (haven't heard him renewing his pledge to change their thinking on Can't Fly/Can't Buy), replacing ObamaCare with something better.  He won't say what he's going to do on foreign policy, because he doesn't want to alert our enemies.  It seems that he views the American people the same way.  It seems that we can't be trusted with the information.

This is one way in which government cannot be run like a business.  In business, personality is trumped by capital.  In business, holding your cards close gives you an advantage.  But government shouldn't be a Win/Lose proposition, where I profit and you don't.  That's tyranny.

I've seen nothing that shows me a warmer side of Donald Trump.  I have to believe that if it existed his campaign would have brought it to my attention.  I don't think he has one.  For example, I direct you to his comments about Bill Clinton's ill-fated get-together with Loretta Lynch, the one where the conversation revolved around golf and grandchildren.... or so they said.  Mr. Trump couldn't believe it either:
"I love my grandchildren, but if I talk about them for more than nine or 10 seconds, after that, what are you going to say?" 
As anyone who has read a FlapJilly post  knows, I am the living, breathing proof of the fact that it is possible to spend well more than 9 or 10 seconds talking about my one grandchild.  If I had 8, like Mr. Trump, I could spend all day.  But, it's more than the soundbite.  It's the off-handed way he dismisses the possibility that he would spend time doting over his family.

Shall I be crass and say he could probably spend all day discussing the relative beauty of his wives and his daughters?  Probably not, because then you'd think of Bill Clinton, whose behavior on and off the political screen is not something I'm anticipating with glee.  And there I go again, about to rant and rave about Hillary when I know I shouldn't give anyone another reason not to like her.

We need her because we cannot have Trump.  #Settling4Hillary is a call to arms, I guess.  She may be wrong, but she is #WrongWithinNormalParameters.  He is just wrong.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Service Department

Do you feel anxious when you bring your car into the dealership for a minor service? Do you wonder what else they might find lurking under the hood? Do you hide your valuables in the trunk so as not to tempt the technician? Do you vacuum the inside before you enter the service bay to show that you treat your vehicle with proper respect?

I do.

We've owned 40 some cars in 40 some years of marriage. Some people travel, some buy art, some buy cars. TBG is firmly in the latter category, and I've been the benficiary of his love through Porsches and Ferraris and Lotuses and BMW's and more parts of the Honda inventory than most people can name. Some I've bought myself, some I've been surprised to open the garage door and find a new car sitting where something else lived when I left.

In each instance, I was introduced to the Service Department; he worked, I did household chores, but he wanted to be certain that I was treated with respect. “This is the person who will be bringing the car in for service,” TBG intoned with a serious mein. “I expect that she will be treated like a queen.”

They smiled, but he meant it. Apparently, when you are a repeat customer in an upscale dealership the salesmen have sway over the service department. They knew who I was when I drove in for an appointment; I was greeted by name. I was met with coffee or water. There was fruit on the receptionist's desk and the waiting room had desks and comfy chairs and a television or two if I decided to hang out and while the work was done. If not, I always had a loaner car waiting.

I'm replaying those scenes this morning, as I sit in an AutoNation Customer Lounge, waiting for The Uvula to have her first oil change. I paid a massive fee upfront so that I never have to pay for service; at least, that's the way I remember the discussion. The gentleman who checked me in crossed out the $34.71 total on the invoice, so I have that part right.

Of course, there was a small glitch in the process. I remember my saleswoman telling me that the Service Department would touch up little scratches whenever I drove into the Express Service lane. That lane also provides free fluid top offs and air pressure checks. It was another little piece of wonderfulness the dealership was offering me and I was thrilled.

Apparently, my memory and the information the service guy has are at odds. He offered to order an $8 bottle of touch up paint for me to do the work myself. Since I am not handy, I'm reluctant to apply color to my car door, even though the little white marks should be easy to cover, acccording to AutoNation's minion. She's not in until 1; I'll have to make another trip.

And so, while Little Cuter is interviewing for a new job, while FlapJilly is hanging with Auntie Mel, while Big Cuter is at spin class and Amster is in San Diego, I am sitting, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for The Uv to emerge from the garage.


I hope she's having more fun than I am.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Futbol! - A Snippet

We all watched Little Cuter play soccer, we loved the Women's World Cup teams, but that was the extent of our soccer madness.  

Yet, when Portugal won the European Cup on Sunday afternoon, I knew that they were playing without Ronaldo, the premier player in the world (unless you like Messi), who had hoped to win in his 4th and final attempt to bring a major championship home.

This knowledge crept into my brain without my active participation.  I've watched none of the games, though I've sat on the couch reading a book while TBG was enthralled... or napping.  I haven't listened to the sports talk shows since the Cavaliers made his heart sing, and I know we haven't talked about soccer over dinner or folded laundry.

I can't remember the name of the tree with the pink flowers in my front yard, but I have Futbol! information at the ready.  I find this to be sad and funny and startling and amusing all at the same time.


Friday, July 8, 2016

My Body, My Self

That title resonates with women of my generation. Everyone knew someone who had one and was willing to share.

The book introduced us to ourselves, with mirrors and contortions and sympathy and understanding.

This was before full frontal nudity was a cable tv standard.  This was when I Am Curious Yellow's foreign film cachet combined with a flaccid phallus drew college students to campus movie theaters, only to leave long hours later, wondering why they'd spent the time.

I was thinking about all this as I waited to ask my massage therapist a question.  "Where exactly does my psoas connect to the front of my hip?" I want to place my rubber therapy ball correctly when I'm doing my homework, and I couldn't be sure I was there.

There is up close and personal to parts you don't normally touch in public.  There is why I switched to a female therapist.  There is where she was moving my fingers so I could be sure I was feeling the right spot.  There is what we were examining in the hallway outside the dressing rooms, off the main studio floor but still visible to anyone using the space.

I wasn't bothered.

I can't imagine G'ma in a similar situation, although I can't imagine G'ma in tights and a tank top, either.  I can imagine what she's thinking right now: "At least go inside and close the damn door!"
But, why?  It's my body, my self.

And it's going to carry me to the Sky Deck of the Sears Tower on November 6th.  I'm going to touch whatever I need to touch to help it do just that.

Times have surely changed.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I Was Appalled, and Then I Wasn't



Mid-afternoon in the grocery store. Not Whole Foods or Sprouts or anyplace special, just my regular old grocery store on a sunny afternoon. There's no shade, so I park as close to the air conditioning as space allows. The local glossy magazine ran an article about the dangers of going outside when the temperatures are in triple digits. Hikers are dropping like foolish flies, taking off for 6 miles in the desert without water, bodies found by frantic rescue teams. I'm taking no chances.


Feeling very self-righteous about taking care of my heart and not over-heating my blood, I cross the asphalt, sipping from my water bottle, admiring the blue skies with high white puffy clouds, watching the cars but not paying much attention to the people around me.


I heard him before I saw him.


A dark braid halfway down his back rested in a sweaty pool on his plaid shirt. His grey shorts came to the pad of his knee walker, his right knee and right hand connected him to his transportation.


His left hand held onto the grocery cart, laden with plastic bags of colorful fruits and veggies and boxers of cereal and rice. That was all I could pick out as he sped down the incline from the entrance of the store, cart dragging walker and looking very precarious.


He came to a perfect stop at the trunk of his car and grinned at my look of horror.


"Oh, please tell me that they offered to help and you refused. Please don't make me have to go in there and holler at them."


He kept smiling as he accepted my outrage on his behalf, as we compared the travails of damaged bodies, as his wife came up and joined the party. Her cart was full to overflowing, as was her laughter. She nodded her head in sympathy to me; what can you do with these men, she seemed to say.


"I told them I'd be fine," he said. "I like doing it, if I can."


And that allowed me to leave outrage behind and join in singing the praises of If I can, I should - my mantra these days. I can carry the smaller baskets of laundry, so I do, even though TBG tells me to wait and tries to take them out of my hands. I do my best with flats of bottled water, though I draw the line at Costco's 40-packs; they are beyond me, for now.


But I force myself to do what I can, to walk when someone offers to get it for me, to park in the farthest spaces in the lot .... once the temperatures drop to a more normal degree. It's a much better outlook than prefacing everything with Can I Should I Will It Hurt Don't.


I heard that running through my head on the treadmill as I began my training program this weekend. It was right in line with let's go home and forget this, but that refrain I had to resist. I've made a public commitment. I'm climbing the Sears Tower. I have to train. I have to get this out of my head.


It's not helpful. It's hurtful. It's on automatic pilot and I need to reboot.


I found myself listening with one ear to the don't's as I heard myself saying aloud You Can Do This.


Seems that I resolved the issue without realizing it. I was announcing to the world (okay, to the sweaty guy in headphones two machines down) that I was capable, that I would finish, that I could do this.


Having a goal in front of me is making a difference. Saying it out loud and in print and in pixels is making a difference. Knowing you are there, watching, waiting, wondering, keeps me focused.


Once again, denizens, Thanks for helping me heal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Defining Event

I am going to climb the Sears Tower.
I know, I know, it isn't called Sears Tower anymore, but I worried that opening with the startling announcement that I was going to climb to the top of the Willis Tower would leave you flummoxed, wondering what it was, where it was, and why you should care.  
There are 103 flights of stairs to the Sky Deck.  That's 2,109 steps.
I just got a little teary, thinking of maneuvering myself from the couch to the front door, every one of those 5 steps an exercise in mind over matter, in will over strength, in desire over capability.  
I found an appropriate 8 week training schedule on-line, after discarding those that included jogging and running up stadium steps.
I can do so much more today than I could six months ago, and that can be said for the last five years of six month intervals.  Deep tissue massage combined with Pilates got me here; strength training with weights in the gym combined with intervals on an inclined treadmill and stair climbing twice a week will get me to the Sky Deck.
I am tired of looking backward.  I need a new defining event.
I used to mark my life by where I lived; "We were on Buena."  "That was in the living room in 16.  That happened on Clark Street." Since January 8, 2011, I've marked the passage of time since I got shot.  That's a less than uplifting memory to revisit on a regular basis.
Brother and a Playgroup Mom and I are committed.  The link is here.  If enough of you want to do it, we can make a team.
I am NOT soliciting donations for this.  I'm doing it for myself.  I am accepting encouragement and smiles, though.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A New Look

I spent the day housecleaning at The Burrow.

I wonder what you think.

Is the new look distracting or peaceful?  Does  Click Here For More make you nutty or do you like seeing lots of posts all at once?  Does the new font make it easier to read, or are my words fading into the background?  Did you notice that I'm posting at 12am instead of 6am?  Do you care?

Comments, please.  I really want to know.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

Today's the day the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and tweaked for two days by delegates from the thirteen united States of America. It was signed by most of the States on August 2, after the rough draft had been written cleanly on parchment.

I love the fact that we celebrate an act of government, rather than a piece of paper. I love contemplating the bravery of those treasonous men... for treason it surely was... and the ideas behind the words they were endorsing.

So, take a moment and read the letter to the world, sent by the colonists in 1776.  And if you are spending time with relatives-of-a-differing-political-persuasion, and the overhead fireworks aren't sparkly enough.  try the italicized paragraph below as a conversation starter.  

You can thank me later.
*****
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

Friday, July 1, 2016

Politics, Sex and Religion

Those were the topics I was told to avoid.  Those were the topics Miss Vicky reminded us to avoid.  And yet, onward we plunged, fortified by the alcoholic beverages we were toting at 3 in the afternoon.  A margarita with Amaretto, a beer in a pilsner stein, and one red wine of indeterminate vintage fueled the far ranging discussion of ethics and would you go there? and how can they say that?  and though we weren't all on the same page, we were in the same chapter.

There's not a good choice.  #Settling4Hillary.  How could anyone be so ignorant, so unaware, so incurious?  We've known each other for more than a decade.  We've hiked and we've bowled and we've dined and vacationed and shared friends and friendships and I'm always interested to hear what they have to say, what they've been up to, where they're going next.  The conversation flows smoothly and gently, with jibs and jabs as appropriate.

No one has ever walked away until this afternoon.

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