Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Thank You

I'm so happy to be preaching to such an appreciative choir.  Yesterday's comments helped me move on from lonely railing at the wind to knowing that I'm not alone.

Friends from LaMaze class are in town; we're seeing a lot of them.  Each time, we find ourselves saying Oh, no, let's not talk about him as the conversation strays in that unfortunate direction.  He's omnipresent.  

I do have confidence in the American people and in our system.  It held against his minions once on election day and again on January 6th.  That doesn't stop me from being terrified. 

It's time to start writing Get Out the Vote postcards again.  The first request just came to my inbox.  These are going to be important months in American History.

Do you think everyone throughout time imagines that they are Living In Interesting Times?

Monday, March 4, 2024

I'm Done

I've been anxious for several days.  Driving home on Friday, I catalogued all the pieces of my life.  There is nothing to stress over, beyond the fact that age is taking its toll on our bodies.  Everything is fine and yet I'm still antsy.

The cd I was playing ended.  As I hesitated to turn on NPR, I realized the source of my angst.  It's the Lying Liar and all the tentacles he's using to poison my America.  

I once wanted to be a Supreme Court justice.  Now, the thought of sharing a room with Clarence Thomas makes me quiver and quake.  There was a bipartisan border solution, which was just what he asked for, yet he stomped on it for political gain, putting the legislative process up for sale.  And don't get me started on the ChristoFascistFool's minions have in store for reproductive rights.  

Naming the source helped..... a little.  But today, Sunday, my brain nearly exploded.  The news was filled with a NYTimes poll (the NYT.... gee, it must be legit, right??) showing Trump trouncing Biden in November.  The front page stories included that tidbit, plus other ways to make America seem hopeless and in crisis.  

I threw out everything except the Magazine and the Book Review and the Style section.  There's the rest of the paper, recycled before being opened and certainly before being read.


Then Substack came to my rescue.  I follow Jay Kuo, a Stanford/Berkeley educated lawyer.  He explains complicated situations in almost real time, except on Fridays when he gives us memes and funny animal videos.  He exposes the inadequacies of the poll here.  For those who want the TLDR version (Too Long Didn't Read for you neophytes), here are some highlights:
  • I do not believe Biden is tied with women nationally 46-46… Biden got 57% of women in 2020. You're telling me that, post-Dobbs, his support among that demo group will drop to 46? Not credible
  • The poll was conducted in English, although it included non-English speaking Hispanic voters.
  • Older Latino voters, whose native language is often Spanish, are some of the most reliable Democratic voters out there. To ignore them in the poll and focus nearly only on English speakers understandably delivers wacky results. The Univision poll, by the way, had Biden over Trump 58 to 31 once you included Spanish speakers, who skewed 62-26 for Biden.
  • The youth result skews toward Biden, but at half the rate other major polls suggest.
Finally, it's 200 days out from the election and most people aren't as obsessed as I am.  I'm not sure where the bias comes from, but I'm done with the NYT.... except as noted above and the games during the week.  For me, as the article in Vanity Fair suggested last month, the NYTimes has become a gaming platform with an occasional news drop.

Friday, March 1, 2024

I Love My Brother

It was a wonderful birthday, with cards and flowers and a balloon.

Little Cuter found a beautiful spaghetti fork

which she packaged with two more practical ones and a butter dish.

My brother sent me this:

It was packed within a few cardboard boxes cut to size, bubble wrap, foam paddiing, and enough scotch tape to humble a less determined package opener. I gave up on the scissors, moved on to the Exacto knife, and with the sender listening on speaker phone I revealed the gift. He's taken a class at the local community college and created my birthday present.

It came with its provenance detailed on the side of one of those boxes:

Contains: Recycled brownie container (part of a Hanukkah gift I sent them), part of a left over bag of concrete mix, red pigment, recycled copper gutters (from his house), abandoned copper tubing, telephone wire, 14 gauge wire, almost properly sized brass rivets, traces of tin/silver solder and flux. Wilt proof flowers are impervious to desert heat and bitter cold. Guaranteed to tarnish like the Statue of Liberty. Requires no routine maintenance. Prefers bright sunlight or deep shade or anything in between. Impervious to pests and disease.
WARNING: Contents will hurt if dropped on your toe. Do not eat unless you have very strong teeth. Various components probably known to cause cancer in California.

He's taking two more classes now - Creative Writing and Tap Dancing.  Creative Writing made sense to me; I've been reading his occasional newsletters since I went away to college.  But Tap Dancing?  

Why not?  I have two heels and ten toes.

Yes, he now owns tap shoes.  

I love my little brother.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leap Year - A Snippet

I was due on the 29th of February.  G'ma tried to reason with me, but her body betrayed us and I came two days early.  I've always regretted that.

Eighteen was a wonderful age.  

Perhaps I can incorporate that feeling into my intention to live this year with lighthearted energy.  They do seem to go together.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

What Is That?

I didn't realize that construction skills would be necessary when I began Grandma's Garden.  

Today I struggled with the waterproof, 100 gallon, storage chest with cushion.  They sent me eight screws; I could only find use for six of them.  This might have concerned me, but they were the last parts in the instructions and after arguing with the clip in plastic sides for about an hour I wasn't interested in continuing the conversation.

I was dealing with attaching the hinge when kindergarten arrived.  I wasn't my usual welcoming self, so most of them stayed on the playground.  There were a lot of first and second graders who tried to help me solve the problem, which was resolved when the third graders entered the picture.

I was sitting on the old bench, admiring my work.  

What's that?

Hmmmmm, thought I.  

What does it look like?

Silence.  Bewildered looks. I started to laugh.  It wasn't disguised.  It was obvbiously a box.  It didn't occur to me that they were really asking how we'd be using it.

I had some fun suggesting that it was a banana peel.... a third grader.... and by then we were all laughing pretty hard, and continued to laugh as others came through the gate and wondered just like they did.  

Each group eventually got around to what would be stored and why were there screws lying on the bottom (cf paragraph 2) and what would we do with the bench that was chained to the fence and what was that cushion all about?

It was all about this:


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Happy BIrthday to Me

72.

Little Cuter says I am not elderly, not in my 70's.  Mid-eighties might be another story..... but why go there right now?  

John Steinbeck, Elizabeth Taylor, a favorite cousin, and I all share this birthdate.  It comes at a lull in the holiday calendar and right in the middle of the snowbirds' season.  Many friends come to town; I consider them all birthday gifts.

We'll go to dinner with the usual suspects at a 40 year old Italian restaurant none of us have ever tried.  It has unlimited garlic bread.  Elastic waist pants will be in order.

I've had ecards and physical cards and pre-birthday texts.  I'll go to Prince tomorrow and get some birthday hugs (these things have a way of becomng known, it seems) after a birthday breakfast with Taos Bubbe.  

72 is starting out quite well.



Monday, February 26, 2024

She Gets Me

JannyLou came for a visit this weekend.  Fast Eddie had a cold (not COVID; he kept testing just to be sure) so he stayed home.  It was old home week without one quarter of us; somehow, we made do.

She had plans with her sorority sisters on Friday night, so she breezed in and out, taking a garage door clicker so she could return at her leisure.  It was fun saying Don't be late and Drive carefully and, my favorite reminder of Little Cuter's time at home during college, TBG wondering Do you have cash?

The kid went back to college with a roll of twenties, because Dad kept offering them to me.

We stayed up to be sure she got home okay.... well, we stayed out in the living room after 10pm..... and she came home with the smile you get after spending time with people who've known you since college.

She spent the next morning with a bestie, dining out for lunch and bringing home Costco steaks and country bread for dinner.  I wouldn't let her help with dinner preparations.  I wanted her to feel like a guest.... even though she kept insisting that she wasn't a guest at all.

Dr. K  and Not Kathy came over for dinner and conversation and laughing and catching up.  It reminded me of what I lost when our neighbors moved to Phoenix - a blending of my friends, hearing old stories through new ears, reaffirming the fact that we are not alone in our outlook or beliefs.  There are others out there if we can find them.

She left this morning after french toast and strawberries for breakfast and a walk across the street to see what the new-since-she-moved-neighbors are doing to their 12.5 acre spread.  

There seems to have been a house or two behind the overgrown vegetation, untended for the seventeen years we've lived here.

And now she's gone and the house is empty again.  I like the people who bought her house, I really do.  But it just isn't the same as having JannyLou nearby.

******

I didn't know what to do with the two asides indented up there.  Parentheses seemed bulky.  Adding them to the paragraph was equally awkward.  So, I made up my own construction.  I hope you like it.

Friday, February 23, 2024

An Outbreak of Stupidity

I usually like going to Whole Foods.  That wasn't how I felt today.

I managed to find a cart without a napkin or a crumpled wax paper wrap or a tissue wedged in the corner.  

The produce section is under construction and nothing was where it was supposed to be.  

There was a mass of humanity blocking every aisle.  No one was touching the fruits or veggies.  They were just standing there, talking, making it impossible for me to reach the tarragon and the shallots.  When I finally got to them, the shallots were buried beneath discarded skins.  

There was no broccolini.

There was a poodle, on a leash, without any indication that he was a service animal.  Just a dog, out for a walk in my grocery store.  His human had him on a long leash.  This was not conducive to the smooth locomotion of carts.

The fresh pizza was congealed, frightening, and suspicious looking.  I turned toward the newly displayed pre-sliced packs of turkey breast as a more viable option to bring home for lunch.  The woman who placed them was being very precise and I admired her dedication to the task.

They offer two kinds, smoked and oven baked.  The distinctions are marked on the labels, which the worker bee had placed face down in the cold box.  In order to figure out what was where, I had to turn over package after package.  They weren't in any real order.

At the checkout lane (I avoid the self check outs when humans are available), a group of 5 adult men who should have known better were chatting up a storm.  They weren't checking out.  They were talking, standing in a loose, large circle, completely blocking the two open lanes. They were happy to move once I wondered aloud if they were in line, but what were they doing there in the first place?

The parking lot is a nightmare.  Avoiding being sideswiped is barely possible.  Today was no exception, with someone careening into the lane the UV and I were occupying, not thinking that another car might actually be on the road.  

My shocked face was visible through our open windows.  His unrepeatable comment was totally unwarranted.  Unlike him,  I had stopped to check the intersection before barreling through.  

I spent a few minutes wondering what kind of new car I'd get to replace the one I wish he had totalled. Then the light changed and I fled the scene.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Happy Birthday, George

Here, once again, is my somewhat annual rant about President's Day.  Just like last year, I didn't realize it was President's Day.  I was too wrapped up in the terrifying notion that the former guy might be the next guy to pay attention.  Here in Arizona, we have Rodeo Weekend this Thursday and Friday so schools remained open.  It may have been a Legal Holiday, but my trash was picked up right on schedule.

I'm not the only sentient being who is struck by the strangeness of it all.  NPR told me that February 22nd had been a Federal Holiday from 1879 all the way through until 1968 when Congress standardized almost  all the Federal Holidays and George ended up with the 3rd Monday in February.... which will always be before his actual date of birth... and, as long as I'm ranting, will always be after Abe's on the 12th.

I'm all for celebrating your Birthday Month, but that's just plain ridiculous.  

Here's the rest of the rant, reprinted and slightly edited.

*********************

Mary Ball Washington gave birth to a boy child on February 22, 1732. Unlike many of the stories surrounding this man (think cherry trees and coins across the Potomac and standing up in an open boat as it crossed the Delaware) this is an indisputable fact.

Mary was not in labor on the third Monday of February.  She produced her child on a specific day - the 22nd day of February.  His birthdate didn't move around according to the federal holiday calendar.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln met her second son, Abraham, on the 12th of this month.  Like Mrs. Washington before her, she was not in labor on an indeterminate day sometime in the middle of the month.  It occurred on a certain day, a day formerly commemorated by school children and mail carriers alike.

Alas and alack, these fine gentlemen have been conflated into Presidents and their birthdays combined into a generic celebration designed primarily to afford employees the opportunity for a 3-day weekend in the middle of the winter. What was wrong with the old system, I wonder?  As an elementary school kid I looked forward to those random days off in the middle of the month.  One day, breaking up the routine.  One celebration for each president - pennies examined on the 12th, leadership and lying (not) on the 22nd.

There was no time for a weekend away (not that G'ma and Daddooooo could have afforded to take us anyplace anyhow) and there was no competition between students for who went the furthest and had the most fun.  It was an opportunity to go sledding at Bethpage (the Black Course was used for many things in my youth; this was the best of them) or to meet friends at the bowling alley and then walk to Smiles (our precursor to a 5-and-dime) where we cruised the aisles until our parents picked us up.

It was grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon on the side, eaten on paper plates and accompanied by the admonition Don't Tell Daddy since the bacon was not exactly kosher and he cared a lot more than did G'ma.  There were snow forts to be built, snowball fights to be fought, snow men to be built. The entire neighborhood roamed from front yard to front yard, creating and tumbling and finding warmth and drinks and the occasional bathroom in whichever house we happened to be in front of when the need arose.

And now?  Now President's Day is always an event.  It's a long weekend for which plans must be made.  It has no intrinsic meaning, no relationship to George or Abe or any of their colleagues.  Their faces are used to advertise white sales and car sales and furniture sales.  What began as tributes to great men has devolved into spending opportunities for the masses.

Am I bitter?  You bet.  A day off followed by another one 10 days later.... what better way to combat the winter doldrums than that?  A random day, a day to cuddle under the blankets with your sweetie or to do all that laundry that interfered with your weekend plans and so still sits in the basket, mocking you.  A day to explore the neighborhood and have lunch in that place you've driven by 100 times before..... a day just to be.

Sometimes, when I was a girl really was better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

An Irrefutable Argument

It is true that there are those who've drunk the MAGA kool aid and are just waiting for the poison to seep into the rest of us.  There are those who will not listen, and that is sad. 

But for those who might have a small chink in their armor, maybe because they love you, and who might be willing to listen and think about what you're saying,  you might try this:

The State of New York found that your guy is unqualified to do conduct business unless two, separate monitors sign off on the deal.  He cannot write a check unless it is cleared by different entities, each of whom is endowed with total oversight of the man's affairs.

If the State of New York thinks he's not to be trusted with his own business affairs,  why would you trust him with the country's spending, budgeting, forecasting?  These are your tax dollars he's spending.... or grifting.

That's the kind and loving way of saying what I heard in a cascading series of talking heads following the lead.  That's herea;

So, the man needs a babysitter.  Actually, two babysitters because he's such a bad boy.  Can't trust him with a marker, let alone a checkbook.

Mommy, may I?  What a massive blow to his ego.  He's built his brand on being a brilliant business man when all he's done is make stuff up.  

He can't be trusted with his own checkbook.  Why in the world would anyone trust him with ours?