Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Getting Better

I haven't commented on my physical well-being in a while.  Today, a good day, seems like the time to bring you up to date.

I decided not to climb the Sears Tower this November.  It's not that I couldn't do it, it's that I don't want to train for it.  The thought of spending an hour a day for the next twelve weeks in a stairwell became ever less appealing.  I can tramp up the only steps I regularly encounter (to the Pilates studio on the 2nd floor) without holding on (most days) to the railing.  I can plant each foot firmly on the tread, lifting my knee high enough to land on the next one without canting to the left.  Most days, I don't need both feet on one step before proceeding onward and upward. 

Going down is a whole 'nother story.  Then, again, I don't know a lot of people my age who spryly bounce down stairs.  Hiking down was always harder for me than hiking up; this feels like a return to normal. 

Well, almost.
After shavasana (corpse pose), my second favorite yoga asana is balasa (child's pose).

It's used after a strenuous pose, to rest, balance, and reset your self for the next series.

It's a long lovely stretch from the tips of your fingers to the base of your spine, with your tailbone moving gently away from your shoulders which are gently moving away from our neck. Your arms are reaching long, opening up your armpits while keeping your shoulders down your back.

For the last 8 years, my hips hovered somewhere near the ceiling as I tried to lengthen my back and fold my thighs to my chest.  I couldn't get there.  The most relaxing pose was one of the most stressful poses, thanks to being perforated.  The whole folding thing was aspirational rather than actual.

Lately, I've been noticing small improvements, and then, last week, I found myself in full extension, belly resting on my thighs (before I engaged and lifted it just a touch).  It was a moment, denizens.

I can do high kneeling (lower legs flat on the ground, body upright from the knees to the head) now, without worrying about canting or tipping to one side. The muscle and nerve damage in my right thigh seems to be repairing itself.  I know that I can build on existing muscle tissue (that's the point of weight lifting, after all) but I don't know if I can create new muscle tissue.  I know that the nerves regenerate at 1mm/month.... and it's been a lot of months since bullets made a disastrophe (thanks, FlapJilly for the perfect word) of my gait.

I can get myself into mermaid, bending my right thigh in ways that were unimaginable and painful a year ago.

My butt is not flat on the mat, but it will get there. Of that, I am certain.  For now, I'm working on lifting up and out of my hip flexors.  The fact that I can consider the finer points of the movement is amazing.  Until recently, I couldn't even approximate the position.

And so, this morning, when The Pilates Diva had me go through the motions, I didn't ask for an adjustment to the routine.  There was no pain.  There was no fear.  There was some trembling, but that just shows that I'm working hard.

Working hard is the answer.  The Pilates Diva was run over by a truck soon after I was shot.  We both know what rehab is like - the unending, repetitive, pain-in-search-of-recovery feeling that this will go on forever.... until there's a breakthrough and your smile lights up the studio.

Today was a very smiley day.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

RIP, My Friend

We were friends in Junior HIgh and we were friends in High School and then I never saw her again.  I don't remember why, or if there even was a why.  We just stopped being in one another's orbit.

Before our 20th High School Reunion, in 1989, I found he once again.  Would I see her at the party?  No, she said, her life was empty; she had no husband, no children; it didn't measure up to what she was sure everyone else would be sharing; she didn't want to be there, listening to that, feeling bad about herself.

I didn't press it.  I hung up the phone (yes, we actually spoke on the telephone back in the 20th century) and thought that the years hadn't changed her much.  She was still the glass half empty girl I'd listened to when we were teens. She played Janis Ian's odes to loneliness on her guitar, while I sat on the floor beside her.

She wasn't at the 40th Reunion, but so many others were that I forgot to wonder about her.  

I looked at the posts about the 50th Reunion, held last week, and saw her face on the In Remembrance poster.  I gasped and held my heart.  TBG muted the television and held my shoulders as I told him the only fact I had - my friend was dead.

An internet search brought up nothing.  I posted an inquiry on the Reunion's page and received an email from a friend, who heard from a friend, who heard from a friend.  She had married a wonderful man who cared for her as an awful, debilitating disease took her life.


It's so strange to have her occupying a piece of my self when, for decades, I hadn't considered her at all.  It's another reminder that tomorrow is not promised.  I'm going to bake brownies and send them to my children........ just because.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Happy Birthday, FlapJilly

Five years ago, at this very moment, her mother was not reading The Burrow. She was giving birth to the most fabulously styled 
tiara wearing
rock star! 
Happy Birthday, Princess FlapJilly!
May all your dreams come true.

Friday, July 26, 2019


I tried to listen to the news today, but it hurt my heart.  Time passes and nothing changes.  I fear for our country, and there's nothing I can do about it. 

So, I'm focusing on the wonderfulness that was 1939.  Not World War II or the end of the Great Depression, but the movies that were released that year.  That's what makes me smile.

The Best Picture nominees alone would fill my DVR - Gone With the Wind, Love Affair, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Wizard of Oz, Ninotchka, Dark Victory, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights.  I've never gotten past the crazy Communists in the first few scenes of Ninotchka, but otherwise those films are all on my list of All Time Favorites. 

But there is more, so much more.  Babes in Arms, Beau Geste, Drums Along the Mohawk, Elizabeth and Exeter, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Intermezzo.... I'll watch any of them anytime.  And I have.

Last week, TBG and I watched Five Came Back (again) in Indiana.  It was released in 1939. So were The Roaring Twenties and Another Thin Man.  I'll watch Nick and Nora even in their lesser outings, and I have.

The Women came out in 1939 and so did Lady of The Tropics.  Hedy Lamarr is the perfect antidote to the bitchiness of those Hollywood icons, if you're looking for a double feature.

Gunga Din  and Young Mr. Lincoln, Son of Frankenstein and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - every great male actor has a star turn in 1939. 

Destry Rides Again, Dodge City, Union Pacific, Jesse James - the Wild West is well represented.

Shirley Temple's Little Princess and Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever would keep a youngster occupied on a rainy afternoon. 

Miriam Hopkins, George Brent, Billie Burke, Edna May Oliver, Una Merkel, C. Aubrey Smith, Maria Ouspenskaya, Mischa Auer, Wendie Barrie, Flora Robson... actors I recognize, whose names I remember, who impress me..... they were all in films in 1939.

And these don't include the noir films that didn't make the top 50.  TCM shows them on Saturday nights; it's our Date Night treat. 

Spending the last hour with you and these films has been like sorbet.  My brain is cleansed.  Thanks for helping me through.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

On Mueller - Random Thoughts

The man is taciturn.  That didn't make for great viewing, but it made me smile.

He was exactly the same man who held my hand as he explained the DOJ's strategy in sentencing my shooter.  He stuck to the facts.  He made certain that he understood what we were asking before he proffered an answer.  When he smiled, the whole room joined him.  When he spoke, the room listened intently.
The Democrats were certainly well prepared.  Their questions came with visual aids.

The Republicans spoke fast and furiously, and they had nothing for me to read while they were talking.
There was a lot of reference to the absence of documentary evidence.

No one asked if the parties involved delivered all the information that would have made the Report more complete.
When Sen. Jackie Speier gave him a minute and thirty-nine seconds to tell the American people what you want them to take away from this report, Mr. Mueller didn't need all 99 seconds to admonish those in power to use that power to keep us safe.

He's focused on the interference with our elections.  It would be nice to see someone in power do the same.
You don't have the power to exonerate anyone.  There is no Office of Exoneration, is there?

Republican snarkiness did not advance the conversation.  Of course, Mr. Mueller does say in the Report that if he could have exonerated the President he would have done so.  The fact that he did not speaks loudly, at least to me.
The second half was better than the first.  It was obvious that Mr. Mueller was sounding a warning, a warning that Adam Schiff led him through.  Clearly, concisely, step by step we heard the Special Prosecutor agree that the President's behavior was unethical, problematic, and, he interjected, a crime.

That's serious stuff right there.
Was America watching?  TBG's spin class political nerds were cycling instead of watching - on purpose, they said.  If they weren't in front of the tv, then who was?

I know that my boys and I saw it.  Did you?  Did it change your opinion?  I don't imagine that it did.
There's a new drinking game, created on my couch last night as we watched the What Will They Say and How Will They Say It lead up to the testimony.  Every time someone says most Americans have not read the Report you get to raise your hand high and say Ashleigh Burroughs did !! while imbibing your favorite beverage.

We've been doing it in our house this morning, with Kirkland Sparkling Water and orange juice as chasers.  If it goes on into the evening, when harder liquids are more appropriate, I'll probably be glad that I finished this post before noon.
I went out and about, had a lovely day, and came home to watch Nancy Pelosi once again not ask for impeachment.  Schiff and Nadler said that we will be judged by our response to this.  Elijah Cummings invoked generations yet unborn.  I get that there's a lawsuit and that there is more testimony to be uncovered, but it seems to me that no matter ow much evidence is gathered very few people will be changing their minds.

They are so busy keeping their jobs they're forgetting to do their jobs.

It would be nice if it would stop here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


To the 9 people who read today's post before the pictures were added - SORRY!

A Prince and Princess Birthday Party

When your children's birthdays are 16 days apart, there's really no reason to have two separate parties.  The Cuters shared parties until he wanted a football party and she wanted a sleep over.  Little Cuter followed what she learned as a kid, and hosted a dual Prince and Princess Celebration for her children on Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service kept warning us about Excessive Heat. The party was to be held outside.  We worried.  SIR placed fans strategically around the deck.  Big Bob brought his canopy to cover the picnic table area.
 There were coolers with Prince and Princess Approved drinks and a large quantity of SIR's patented sangria.
Last year, I drank it and spent the afternoon on the couch, lazily and drunkenly holding my two week old grandson.  This year, it was so hot that I sweated it out before my liver could process it.  I was able to chat with the company and help with the cake, but I kinda sorta missed the buzz.

Little Cuter and SIR are experts at hosting this kind of event.  They pulled out all the stops.  There was a Slip 'n Slide
and a swimming pool
and enough cousins to keep Giblet amused.
There was a bounce house and a water table and kid picnic benches.  There was an 8' unicorn sprinkler and Brother, the magician.
FlapJilly had no idea that her uncle was so talented.  He put a wad of paper in his mouth and pulled out a long string.
He showed the kids how to make trees out of rolled up newspaper
and had them wave them to Happy Birthday when the cake came out.
Giblet had a smash cake
and then, recognizing that running around was necessary to burn off all that sugar, SIR brought out a bucket of water balloons
Saying goodbye was hard
but the pain of leaving was leavened by the opening of presents while wearing her princess attire.
All in all, it was a Onederful day

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

More Adventures

Along with books and games and making a sign for the arrival of her Funcle, Big Cuter, there was another trip for frozen yogurt.

This time, Gramma missed the turn.  FlapJilly said that I ought to have listened to her when she told me to turn.  The kid has an uncanny sense of direction.  She notices when Daddy takes a shortcut and the landmarks she's used to are different, and she was certainly aware when I drove past the corner for Urban Swirl.  Luckily, there was a large, unused, paved soon-to-be driveway in which I could make a U-turn.  She was glad that the end result was chocolate fudge with a variety of Gummy Worms and peach loops and orange and green frogs. 

In case you were wondering, she's still Wonder Woman's biggest fan.
With multi-colored nails ready for her birthday party the next day, 
she tried to go to sleep at the regular bedtime.
Mommy caught her before she could meander down the stairs to ask for a back rub.
Thirty minutes later, her back properly massaged, all was quiet in the bedrooms.

The grownups settled down to watch the end of Fleabag's first season.
It was a trip into angst..... the exact opposite of where I had spent the day.

Monday, July 22, 2019


First, there was Little Passports with Daddy.
It's a monthly subscription service Little Cuter suggested as a gift a few years ago.  The kid and her father love it.  He reads and guides, she listens and plays.  This month we learned about natural wonders.  There were matching activities and coloring pages and lots of fascinating facts.  Even the grown ups learned something new.  

It was somewhat challenging with little brother cruising around the table,
but somehow the Passports and the big kid survived.

She stayed home from pre-K the next day, a steamy hot weekday we all agreed was too hot to play outside.  So, with the very very very ripe and soft bananas, Gramma and FlapJilly created banana bread.  She knew exactly where Mommy stores the whisk, and set to work combining the ingredients.
I thought I could show her something fun to do with a stick of butter and the baking pan, but the kid was way ahead of me.  You do this so the batter doesn't stick to the sides, Gramma.  Did you know that?
Yes, I did.  
I also agreed that it was absolutely delicious, if not altogether too hot to be eaten without being reduced to smaller pieces.  She found her own knife and did her own cutting.  
Sigh.... I remember when she said Thanks, Gramma when I had to do for her.  They grow up so fast.

There was lunch and there were books and there was hide and seek and there was playing The Game of Life (with rules abridged for the young).  

And there were marshmallow people, a craft we created with supplies from the grocery store.  It was fun to slide the big ones down the bamboo skewers.
It was more fun to put the chocolate chips and the small ones into the holes Gramma poked in the spots she chose.  Squeezing the icing was more than a 4 year old's hands could manage, so, with careful direction, I made a Mom and a Dad and a baby and a unicorn sister (note the point atop the 
 right facing one in the back).
We used the fruit and veggie basket normally used to harvest tomatoes to hold them up, because the Asian noodles we used for Daddy's legs were not sturdy enough to support them.  We didn't bother with appendages for the other three. 

Gramma and FlapJilly gave her parents a break and took a bath together.  We got very clean.  We giggled a lot. 

It is going to be very hard to leave this crew. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Best Day Ever

That's what FlapJilly said about yesterday.  Who am I to disagree?

There's a big difference between a kid going to pre-school and a kid ready for kindergarten.  The former is delightful, ready to be influenced, charmingly naive.  The latter knows what she wants to do, when she wants to do it, and is willing to explain her reasoning.  She can be convinced to change her plan, but the reasons had better be compelling.

Plans.  My girls love plans.  With a plan there is certainty and the absence of surprise.  You can ask questions and receive answers that calm the anxiety that comes with spending a day in a new way.  Though she knew she was in charge of the activities - Whatever you want to do, sweetie, we're on it - she required reassurance.  It's easy to love being with Gramma and Grampa when you know what's going on.

So we had breakfast around the corner at our favorite eggs and bacon place then came home to play in the yard.  I was given a tour of the plantings and the hardscape and the wild and wonderful world that is the vegetable garden.  Buying four when two would have been plenty, not considering what would shade another, overwhelmed by the broad leaves of the squash blossoms and the purple cabbage trying to find the sun, there's room for a small person to get inside the gate and harvest the produce.  A grown up would be in trouble, struggling to find a place to put more than one foot down at a time.  It's going to be interesting when more than the tiny tomatoes begin to bear fruit.

We took the American flags from the flowerpots and marched to our own drummer, chanting A-MER-I-CA to a variety of beats and notes.  Grampa explained the meaning of the stars and the stripes and the colors on the flag, but we waved them with abandon, not considering the importance of the individual elements.  I followed dutifully behind, well aware that FlapJilly was keeping an eye on my performance.  Knees high, flag cocked over one shoulder while the other arm swung forward and back.

Without pausing for a breath, we chased birds and ran from kisses and drove her pink Mustang in ever widening circles.  We told stories and examined Mommy's hydrangeas and admired the first flower on the Ketchup and Mustard rose (the unfurled petals are yellow, the opened bloom is pure red).  Gramma was exhausted, but the kid was unstoppable.  We were both hungry.

We collected Grampa and drove to Sassy's for burgers and fries.  Sassy's was closed, but it was Tuesday not Monday when they are usually closed.  Tony Sacco pizza was a few doors down, and that was fine, but we were sad to learn that Sassy's is out of business.  Sigh..... the food was outstanding and the chalkboard kept the kid amused while the grownups chatted.  It's a real loss for this community and for my stomach.

Dropping Grampa off at home, FlapJilly and I continued our adventures.  Sky Zone has trampolines of all sizes.  It also has a foam pit.  Theoretically, you're supposed to crawl through the squares and touch the wall at the other end.  FlapJilly was content to jump from the trampoline into the pile, once she had me positioned in the exact spot she determined was mine.

I was happy to oblige.  I thought I owed it to her.  Before leaving the house we located the special socks Sky Zone requires.  We took the ones that looked like hers,  only to discover that, though they were the right color, they were Daddy's.  I can make it work, she said, and she did... stopping to pull them up to her toes and down to her ankles in between stations.  We paid for an hour, but 40 minutes was quite enough, thank you.

We headed to Whole Food, picking out stuff for dinner, then drove to Notre Dame to pick up Mommy.  FlapJilly's been there before; she has lots of acquaintances who greeted her with joy.  My big girl is no longer too shy to reply; her Hello's were quiet but heartfelt.  With only one wrong turn we ended up at Mommy's cubby.  Somebody got to work as someone else cleaned up and got ready to leave, and then leave we did.

Picking up the baby, driving home, feeding the kiddos then ourselves, and suddenly it was 9pm.  American Ninja Warrior amused us for an hour, then deep conversation diverted us for another hour.

Did I mention that I'd had a big day?  Remember yesterday, when I was too exhausted to proofread?  Today will be a better experience, though.  We keep Giblet home today, and he naps.

So do I.

Thursday, July 18, 2019


I waited to post the July 18th post until I could upload pictures.  Then, I went to sleep.

Going to the computer to write Friday's post, I found Thursday's sitting on the dashboard.

It will be live at midnight Friday.  For now, here's a photo of why I got distracted:
That's a pretty good reason right there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


The plane had a problem.  It required a visit from Maintenance.  We sat on the tarmac, with the door open, the temperature outside hovering around 110.  Hot doesn't begin to describe it.

More visitors from Maintenance arrived.  The Pilot left the cabin.  Another worker brought a new computer, at which point the flight crew thought to make an announcement.  Information is a crucial component of calmness while trapped in a steamy silver tube.  Spending an hour sweating in ignorance left 150 people on the verge of mutiny.  There was no water.  There was just angst.

It should be just a few more minutes, folks was what they told us 10 minutes before they allowed us to deplane and cool off in the terminal.  I washed my face alongside a dozen other women who were in various stages of distress.  But, the air conditioning worked inside, there was free water or soda at the desk, and an hour or so later we were back on the plane.

There was applause when the last Maintenance guy deplaned.

We landed closer to midnight than dinnertime.  We were hungry, but we were more exhausted.  It was only 9pm in Tucson, but we'd driven and waited and waited some more and it's always a good idea to get on the new time zone as soon as possible so we chatted with SIR and Little Cuter for a while then went downstarirs to sleep.

Sleep was an illusion, a fantasy, a wished for outcome that was just out of reach.  My brain said it was early, my body screamed otherwise.  I tossed and turned and readjusted and reorganized and debated getting up and reading The Mueller Report.

At some point I did fall asleep.

Not very many hours later the door opened, the lights went on, and FlapJilly was jumping on the bed, delighted to share the fact that it was Morning Time.

Now, there is nothing in the world I love more than hugging my grandchild, feeling her arms around my neck, her juicy kisses smothering my face.  But getting out of bed this morning was truly an act of mind over matter.  My eyes refused to focus.  My stomach was unhappy.  FlapJilly chose my clothes because I was incapable of making even the simplest decision in the bedroom, where the pillows were calling my name.

I perked up and we had The Best Day Ever according to the kid who stayed home to play with Gramma and Grampa.  We ate out for breakfast and lunch, we ran around the backyard, we went to Sky Zone, the trampoline jumping place, and the grocery store and picked up Mommy and played with Giblet and she was so tired that she couldn't fall asleep.

Now, I'm on the couch watching American Ninja Warrior with the grownups and trying my damndest to keep my eyes open.  It's 9:30.  I'm exhausted.

There's a reason that you age out of childbearing.  I'm proving that fact right now.  It's a good thing there is spell check and that erasing errors is easy.  This post has been a mess.  I'm going to sleep.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Skipping the 50th Reunion

I had a fabulous time at my 40th high school reunion.  You can read about it here and here and here.

Roomie and others organized a 50th Reunion, opting to hold it on Long Island.  There will be visits to the school, a trip to the beach, a night time soiree, and, I'm sure, much much more.  I won't be there to partake.

I'll be watching Giblet walk and FlapJilly jump off the slide into her kiddie pool.  I'll be harvesting veggies from their over-planted garden and driving to pre-school and dance class.  I'll do laundry and vacuum and cook dinners, all the chores that impinge on my girl's free time.  We'll pick her up from work and bring her home where she'll have nothing to do but play with us.

It will be much more relaxing than a reunion.

I won't have to judge or be judged.  There will be no stressful moments staring at the clothes I've packed, wondering what will be "just right/"  I won't be stared at by people trying to remember my name, and I won't be staring back  wondering the same thing.  I won't have to tell the story of the shooting over and over and over again.  I won't have people commenting on my nearly-but-not-quite-there-yet-semi-fluid gait.

I won't be sharing pictures of the grandbabies.  I won't be looking at anyone else's picture, either. 

I'll miss catching up on who's done what and where they are now.  I will have to rely on the posted photographs to see the changes in a building that was old when I attended, to watch the waves crash on the sand, to count the wrinkles on others' foreheads.  I am okay with that.

There are groups going off together on pre- and post- party adventures.  Would I have been invited to join them?  Who knows?  I spared myself the angst of feeling excluded; some things from high school do not change.

MTF was going then not going then going then giving away the bed she'd saved for me then ..... I'm really not sure what she's doing.

A classmate now living in Phoenix is looking forward to seeing me next weekend in New York. 

A college suite-mate wondered if I planned to see her freshman roommate, my high school classmate, at the event. 

There were lots of strings trying to pull at my heart, but none of them had the tensile strength to draw me in.  I just really didn't want to go.

And, y'know what?  I'm all grown up now.  That's excuse enough.

Monday, July 15, 2019

A Travel Day

Allegiant changed the time that the plane to South Bend leaves Mesa.  Instead of getting up at 3am to make a 6:35am departure (it's a two hour drive/park/walk from Tucson) we can now sleep in, go to the gym, have a leisurely breakfast, and leave the house mid-morning for a daylight trip to the airport.

That makes TBG, the self-appointed designated driver, very happy.

Of course, since that plane lands in South Bend, unloads and reloads and returns to Mesa, coming home means driving in the dark.  There are no children at the end of that segment of the journey, which will take place after a day of fun and laughter with the grandkids and 3 hours breathing recycled airplane air.  TBG was not amused.

Enter Marriott Reward to the rescue.  We've collected points on our credit card and through the time share we never use and can't seem to get rid of.  There's a Courtyard by Marriott around the corner from the airport.  For $10, plus one night's stay, we can leave our car for 10 days.

The airport charges $11 per day, the remote parking a few bucks less.  It turns out that staying overnight and driving in the daylight is the least expensive option we have. 

Whether I can get him to actually check into the hotel and sleep in a strange bed when his own house is just 100 some miles down the road remains to be seen.

I will keep you posted. 

For now, imagine me traveling to see the two most wonderful small people I know.  I'm not concerned about the humidity or the mosquitoes or anything at all.  I'm just about as excited as a human can be.

Friday, July 12, 2019

An Old Friend

We grew up 20 miles from one another, though we met in 1970.  We lived together in 1971, across the street in 1972, across the country in the '80's and across the county in the '90's.  Now, I live across town from her grandchild and she drives across a state or two to visit us all.

No, it wasn't too hot for here granddaughters to swim in the morning, so her girls became pruney, playing with 30 year old water cannons I've lovingly toted from Chicago to Marin to Tucson, while their Bubbe and I talked about people I haven't thought about in decades.

We reorganized the lives of those we know and love.  We solved the problems of the world.

We agreed that if everyone in the 5 boroughs of New York and the neighboring counties in Connecticut and New Jersey would call 5 people outside The Metropolitan Area (because, as all New Yorkers know, there is only one, real, Metropolitan Area) and tell them what we all know - Donald Trump is a Buffoon.  Has always been a buffoon.  Everyone laughs at him.  No one wants to do business with him. - we could change the course of history.

We took the girls to my new favorite restaurant, Charro Vida, which has the added benefit of being basically gluten and dairy free.  That fits with their guts, and there were chicken tenders and a recognizable burrito on the kids' menu and yummy home made chips and a spicy salsa verde that tempted a suddenly tentative 9 year old.

I love 9 year old girls.

We finished our gelato, which, we agreed with the almost-7-year-old, has more taste than ice cream, and strolled to the Little Blue Truck (which is anything but little).  We made plans for her next visit and for our retirement and I drove away with a smile on my face.

It's lovely when a friendship ages well.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

It Matters

Are you overwhelmed by the whole Jeffrey Epstein mess?  Do you wonder who did what - not in terms of his awful behavior, but relating to the conflicting stories the lawyers are spewing?  I can simplify it for you - They Never Told The Victims.

TBG and I have been stewing ever since the news came out.  Can you imagine if they hadn't involved us? came out of one of our mouths every hour or so, whether we had the news on or not. 

The Federal Prosecutors all the way up to Eric Holder, the County Attorney, the FBI Victim Services advocates and their Pima County counterparts all kept in touch.  Over the course of the case, they called, they emailed, they forwarded documents.  They always began the same way :  How are you two doing?

They cared.  They had our best interests at heart.  They represented us.  We never doubted any of them for a moment. 

I find it impossible to put myself in Epstein's victims' shoes.  I tried, but the terror was overwhelming. 

We had the comfort of knowing that the system was as outraged as we were, that they were committed to an outcome that kept us safe and that recognized our losses.  Without that, I don't know that I'd be able to go out my front door.

That a Trumpian is rewriting history is no surprise to me.  That U S Attorney Alex Acosta made a clandestine deal with the devil while consciously excluding the victims is low, even for these guys. 

I know.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Kodiak French Toast (Kinda Sorta)

SIR makes the best pancakes.  Just ask FlapJilly.  
In addition to a liberal dose of Daddy Love, Little Cuter says the secret is Kodiak is inside this box:
It's on the shelf at Costco.  It came home with me on Monday; I opened it tonight
It looks beautiful, doesn't it? 
It's light and richly textured, between fine and ultra-fine, and has a lovely, tawny tint.  
I had all the ingredients required for Kodiak French Toast.
I also had bacon and eggs, just in case.

I covered the strawberries with flour 
and made pancakes which I cut into cubes and put into an egg and milk and cinnamon bath.  
I baked it for half an hour, then made my back up dinner.
It didn't look terrible when I served it. 
Upon reflection, we were glad there was a Just In Case back up.

I think I can tweak the recipe.  I have high hopes for the basic concept. The texture was fine; the crunchy parts were delightful.  Perhaps it was the strawberries, a fairly flavorless batch.  I'm wondering about vanilla.  I might take the whole recipe to Penzey's and ask for suggestions.

In the meanwhile, I'll stick to what I'm good at and avoid what I'm not.
This, I think, is my first and last Food Blogger post.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Handling It Well

There was an issue with the registration process.  The details are less important than the wonderful way in which it was resolved.

The issue raised many questions.  Should I show up?  Will anyone else show up? Do I need to bring supplies?  Those were the logistical issues.  But there was more.  We were peeved.  Who is responsible for this mess?  Which Board is active in the summer? Who is in charge?

As usual, I took the bull by the horns.  I sent an email to the people I deemed most likely, stating the problem in short, declarative sentences.  This happened.  Then this happened.  It's a problem.  Can you fix it.

I had no expectations.  It's summertime.  It's 4th of July weekend.  I checked my email before turning things off for the night and found a delightful apology .... not for the problem, but for taking so long to respond.  She was working on the problem, she was glad I'd pointed it out, she'd involve those who she needed, she'd get back to me.

It was perfect.  And it just kept getting better, even as the problem got worse.

I tried.  I failed.  I emailed.  They worked on it.  It was still buggy.  Then it worked, and they thanked me for my help.

I was flabbergasted.  Instead of feeling put upon, they were apparently thrilled to have the opportunity to figure out a problem, to learn their new jobs, to help someone.  I kept apologizing for being so persistent.  They kept telling me it was more than okay, it was welcomed.

I've never had so much fun with a computer problem.  I've never had such a lovely back office solving one, either.  I love The Happy Ladies Club.

Monday, July 8, 2019


I watched the whole thing.  I didn't open a device or wield a crafting tool.  I watched and cheered and remembered Little Cuter's Daring Devils and Don't worry, Stephanie's back there at sweeper and road trips to Ukiah.  Soccer's a game I can follow, and the triangle offense makes much more sense to me on the pitch than on the (American) football field.

I love Sue Bird's So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend take on Megan Rapinoe's demeanor, prowess, and purple hair.  I loved my daughter's admiration of Mia Hamm, for her performance on and off the field.  My heart was bursting as I watched another generation of role models, American heroes in a difficult time, defeat an undefeated team to win the championship.

As JES wrote,  I think I'd almost forgotten what "soul-stirring" meant.

And then, because the day needed whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry on top, my girl posted this:

As if today’s win could get any sweeter, I watched the whole game with my girl on my lap, insanely grateful to share these incredible role models with her just like my mom did for me at the World Cup final in ‘99
Thank you, US Women's National Team.
Thank you very very much.

Oh, and by the way:  EQUAL PAY!

Friday, July 5, 2019

What Are You Doing Today?

I'm still wearing red, white, and blue.  I seem to have a lot of flag related items lurking in my closet's random niches.  I'm still flying the flag; I might put it out all weekend long.  

I'll deadhead the geraniums which are wilting in the heat.  I'll play mah jong with Scarlet.  I'll listen to the Boston Pops.  I probably won't watch Trump's Self Celebration.

I know I'll be thinking of home.

G'ma made salad and cut watermelon and shucked corn.  Daddooooo lit the charcoal and cooked chicken or burgers or London Broil.  We ate outside, at the picnic table, on paper plates.  We had soda at dinner.  

The grown ups sat in folding chairs, wide, woven strips of yellow and white striped plastic sticking to bare legs even after the sun went down, as the kids collected fireflies and toasted marshmallows, building a mini-bonfire atop the coals with tinder from Daddooooo's curated cache. 

My aunt and uncle and cousins were always there.  They lived next door; our back yards and our lives bled into one another. Kids from the block would wander through; we did have the best swing set in the neighborhood.  

I have those images clearly in the front of my brain.  I can smell the night.  I can feel the humidity. And, on those rare occasions when no one was quarreling, I can remember the love.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July

reworked, revised, revisited...yes, you've read parts of this before

The sky is pure blue, "painted that way as G'ma said every time she looked up.  The occasional fluffy white cloud drifts by, and I'm hearing G'ma remark on that, too.  The flag in front of the house is swaying, the pole wedged between the base and the capital of one of the front columns, secured with thin, silver, crafting wire.  

It's an elegant solution to TBG's reluctance to put holes in his house;  I feel like Daddooooo every time I wrap another ring around the post.

Daddooooo was big on ingenious remedies to intractable problems.  He was also big on flags and the 4th of July.  We always went to the beach.  We always stopped at Custom Bakers on the way home, where the owners always let us go back and stick our fingers in the vats of frosting.

We always went to the Boardwalk in Long Beach, arriving as the sun was setting.  Skeeball and mechanical fortune tellers and the smell of the ocean, too black to be seen but too noisy to go unnoticed, occupied us as we waited for night to fall.  We practiced our ooohs and aahhhs; we were in fine form by the time the booms and the bangs began.

Through it all, the flags were flying.

There was a big one in the bracket beside the garage door, until the house was painted and further holes were frowned upon (is this some kind of male thing I just don't get?). A pole-holding-tube was sunk into the flower box, and while it was neither sturdy nor attractive, it did the job and as far as Daddooooo was concerned that was that.

There was a plastic flag attached to the car's antenna, and all our bicycles had flags on the handlebars. 

I'm not letting the tradition fade away.  
Happy Fourth of July, denizens! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Why Did I Keep Reading That Book?

I had an over-sized illustrated book of the Tales of Washington Irving. It scared me.

If you Google that phrase, the first reference is to Kreepy Kids Corner. It's comforting to know that I am not alone.

I was in elementary school, old enough to read chapter books, old enough to feel terror. And it was terror that I felt, every night, as I lay on my bed, reading The Headless Horseman.

With my head to the foot of my bed, reading by the light from the hallway, I can still conjure the image of the black horse and the voluminous black cape and the head in the hand of the rider, galloping, black tree trunks and a purple and orange sunset feeling all together too real.

I knew G'ma and Daddooooo were there, outside my half open door. I knew it was only a story. I knew I was safe. I was still really really scared.

And, I kept reading that book.

Most people think of the story of Rip Van Winkle's long long nap with a smile. I know it for the horrifying tale it is Take my word for it. I have nothing specific to point to, just an overwhelming sense of dread every time I think about him.

There were other stories, I'm sure; it was a thick book. But this is where my memory ends.

Did I like being scared? I read Stephen King until Christine made me look askance at Annabelle, my first car. That's the last time I consciously picked up a scary book.

I won't watch Twilight Zone, even though I am assured that it's weird, not scary. I fervently disagree. I've seen a few; I remember them all. The Third Eye Guy, the Guy Outside The Plane, but mostly Burgess Meredith's broken glasses as he sits on the steps of the library, the last man on earth, typing it brings me to a very dark place.

I don't know why I kept reading and re-reading that book.

I've never said this "out loud" before, though I've thought about lying on my bed, and the book, and the scariness of the stories and the pictures on and off for my whole life.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Summer Vacation

Little Cuter is taking a long weekend and she inspired me.  I'm taking the day off from posting.
I will give you this close up of the agave stalk I wrote about in June. The flowers are just aching to come out.
 I find it an I can't believe how odd that is kind of way.

I'll be back tomorrow with words of wisdom, wit, or whimsy.
Today, I'm going to enjoy the sunshine.

Monday, July 1, 2019

What I Did

I couldn't watch the news.  Every channel had pictures of a drowned man and his toddler daughter.  I couldn't look at it.  I just kept saying to myself, over and over and over again, This is NOT my America.

I know it is my America.  It's FDR's decision to turn away the St Louis in 1939.  It's The Trail of Tears.  It's internment and red lining and SCOTUS sanctioned voter suppression.  But that image was just too much for me.

I had to do something.  
So, I shopped.
 I took $100 and went to The Dollar Store and bought 50 pairs of flip flops and 10 boxes of crayons and 10 small pads of paper and 10 little toys.  I bought toothbrushes and small packs of tissues.  I filled my trunk with the clothes waiting to go to Goodwill, with the brand new sweatshirt that fits no one in my family, and with 4 bottles of Dove Body Wash, just because.  

I drove to the former Benedictine Monastery, which owner Ross Rulney (for whom a chair at the right hand of God is reserved) has leased to Catholic Charities to use as a shelter.  He's not charging rent.  Instead of sitting empty, since January the building has seen more than 10,000 migrants.

10,000 migrants.
Since January.

I had to let that sink in for a while as I waited for the security guard to direct me.  It's a beautiful building in the middle of town.  Except for the police car in the parking lot, there's no indication that this is anything but a religious respite from the real world.
There were kids running in the yard and volunteers helping me schlep my treasures and I left with a donation receipt, instructions on how to begin the Volunteer Registration process, and a full heart.

These are folks on the other side of the border crisis.  They are on their way.  Volunteers are helping.

I left feeling a lot better about my America.