Friday, July 29, 2022

Their Wedding

We're traveling, leaving before the crack of dawn and changing planes in Denver.

Wearing masks for hours because everyone has gotten COVID and we have not.

Going from LaGuardia to Brooklyn during rush hour; listening, no doubt, to TBG extoll the virtues of living anyplace other than New York City.

But once we arrive at the hotel, the adventure begins.  We will set out on a pilgrimage.  Pizza;  pastrami on real rye bread; and bagels - all those foods that New York City's exceptional water make so much better will be sought out and consumed.  

My special undergarment will be sorely taxed to keep all that deliciousness from popping my close fitting dress out to when are you due proportions. 

And I won't care.  

I'll be surrounded by love and chaos and people I ought to see much more often than I do.  There will be fine dining and excellent clothing, fascinating conversations and ridiculous situations.  There is potential for awkwardness bordering on hostility, but mostly, there will be love.

It's a wedding after all.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

We Voted

The doorbell rang during dinner last night.  A skinny, middle aged, white guy in shorts and a funny cap stood a respectful distance from the open door.  He was representing Your Vote Your Voice.  He wanted to be certain that TBG and I (reading our full names off his phone) had received our mail in ballots and that we knew that yesterday was the last day to mail them in.

Yes to everything, said I.  Did he know where the nearest ballot drop off box was located?  He fumbled with his phone for a while as I wondered why he wasn't prepared with that crucial information before he rang my bell.  Eventually, I told him that I'd look it up myself, I thanked him for his efforts, and I went back in to finish my dinner.

It was a valiant effort.  It just didn't add much to my voting experience.  

The County Recorder's website is new and improved with a just-elected young woman running the show.  It's flashy and happy and it took me waaaaaay longer than it should have to figure out where to drop our ballots.  Seems to me that as we enter crunch time the link to the drop off sites should be front and center on the home page.

Oh, well.  No one asked me.  And I found it, eventually.

There's a station in the closest public school's gymnasium, but who knows where on the campus that is?  I'm not looking for a long walk in the heat.  There are a couple of churches which have offered their lobbies, but they are out of the way for our errands today.  We'll be going to Westward Look, the resort across the street from TBG's doctor appointment.  There's no specific location mentioned on the website, but the lovely lady who answered the phone is now on a hunt for the answer as I type to you.

Alas, the website located voting places, not ballot drop boxes.  The delightful lady told me that voting will take place there next Tuesday.  She had, of course, no idea where I could drop off my ballot.

Back to the phone, on terminal hold, back to the website, found the Early Voting Sites box in the bottom corner of the busy page, clicked through and found two places kinda sorta on the way.  We'll drop them off this morning

I put the I VOTED sticker on my sunshield.  I feel good about the choices I made.  My work here is done.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

It's Nice To Know

Niece is getting married.  The family drama surrounding the event is worthy of a telenovella. 

This one isn't talking to that one.  That one cannot be in the same room with those ones.  These are angry because others won't be there.  Others are angry because those will be and you can't be the only one not peeved.  It just wouldn't be right.

She's managing as best she can.  Her fiance is a true mensch, supportive and loving and understanding.  But all those and that and this and others are up in her face more often than they need to be.  

Planning a wedding is stressful enough without your family deciding that you must accommodate their whims.  Fortunately, my edge of the family has no whims.

And so, she calls me.  

She's always called during times of crisis.  I have always loved being the one to advise.  This is no exception.  Her choices are based in logic, reason, emotion, and despair.  It's a small affair with an extra large impact.  Everyone feels the right to be insulted, abused, demeaned.  She's just one young woman, running a small business, designing and creating her own wedding dress, and managing the craziness all at the same time.  Sometimes, it's just too much.

And so, last week when a message from her arrived on my phone, I smiled, put on my Helpful Aunt face, and opened it up to find this:  It makes me smile that not all my family suck all the time.

My heart swelled.  My cheeks went into full grin mode.

I'm glad we don't suck was my reply... and then my brain went straight to Fiddler on the Roof....

Do I love you?  I suppose I do.

          And I suppose I love you, too.

          It doesn't change a thing, but even so, .... it's nice to know 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Que Saguaro, Saguaro

Remember the decapitated saguaro?  It stands about 5' tall now, so taking a photo of the severed top was a challenge for me.
It's intricate and hard and crusty and spiky.
And, poking out from the pleats,
right at the edge of the cut, breaking the skin apart with surprising strength
some looking sadder than others
but most of them are full and thick and happy
Each one will be an arm.
This is going to be a very interesting plant.

Or, as TBG said, que saguaro, saguaro.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Things Fall Apart

Nothing lasts forever, despite the Liberty Mutual ads' claims to the contrary.  My house proved this to be true over the weekend.

The pool is dead.  The entire control panel is dark.  There's no filtering, no heating (not that we need it when the temperature is triple digits boiling melting sweat dripping hot), and no circulation.  The detritus blown in by the ferocious storm last night is drifting lazily on the surface.  There's no gentle current from the machinery to waft it all toward the filter.  

TBG says it's not safe to swim - bugs and disease and stuff - and while I disagree with his assessment of the situation, I'm staying inside in the air conditioning because it's just too damn hot out there, even for swimming.

One of the overhead outdoor ceiling lights shed its cover.  There were pieces of cross-hatched glass all over the ground when I went out with the laundry and the drying rack.  The light is still in the fixture, uncovered but still shining.  How this came to be remains a mystery.  TBG thinks it might be lightning from last night's storm, but how the strike could have gotten under the overhang is incomprehensible to me.  

All we know is that there was glass on the ground and the offending lightbulb is seated higher than our tallest ladder..  

Sweeping in triple digits is not fun.  We tag teamed the chore, one of us pushing the big yellow outdoor broom, the other peering closely, looking for random slivers that will cut our bare feet if we can ever use the pool again.  Then we switched jobs, because he kept missing little pieces,  insisting that they were white spots, not glass, although I saw them glistening in the sunlight and knew they were sharp.  

I communed with my parents as I used the dust pan I inherited from them.

We turned all the knobs we understand on the pool's control panel.  We flipped all the circuit breakers we thought might influence the machinery.  We swore.  We sweated.  

TBG called the pool guy; I refused to bother him on Sunday.  

There are a bunch of old movies we want to watch.  I have 7 books yet to open from the library.  There is laundry to be washed and folded and groceries to be purchased and cooked.  It's really too hot to enjoy swimming.

Why am I sitting here moaning about the fact that I can't use my pool?

I hate it when things break and we don't know how to fix them.  

There's no reason for me to be anxiety ridden.

And yet, I am.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Ben's Bells

When he was little, Mr. 17 and I spent a lot of time painting ceramic flowers at Ben's Bells

They are put together into hanging bells - some for sale, like this one gifted to me by Beautiful Annie after I was shot, and which has lived on the fireplace's gas key in the living room ever since

and some bigger ones that are left in random places for passersby to find and cherish.  

I once got to place one.  I put it on the short iron fence at an outdoor cafe, then watched people walk by without noticing it.  The woman who found it thought it was lost, but the attached tag reassured her that it was hers to keep and treasure.

Her face just glowed. 

Today we painted and chatted.  College and girls and siblings and careers and general nothingness helped us pass the time as he and his mother and I sat at a small table and put dots and lines and smiley faces on shapes that had already been painted with solid colors. 

It's nice to know that things we did a decade ago have not lost their luster.

Did I mention the best part?  It was all Mr. 17's idea.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It's not really a good deed, but I am being punished.

Swimming is great exercise, but it doesn't do much to strengthen my stair climbing musculature.  So, after 35 minutes of laps, I decided to use the pool steps to work on that.  Silver Sneakers suggested using the pool steps after hip replacement ("be sure to stay out of the way of others using those steps") because if you fall you just land in the water.  That made sense to me, especially since we don't have a handrail.

Up I went, surgerized leg first, supporting all my weight until my left leg met it on the same step.  Repeat twice more, each time getting more difficult as less of my body was buoyed by the water.  I used my hand on my quadricep for balance, but my legs powered me up.

It was a major accomplishment, another first time since 2011 experience.  It felt great.  I smiled.  I bragged about it.  I did it again the next day, this time skipping the matching foot on the step.  That's a lot harder, both in balance in in strength, but, again, I was a success.

And then I woke up this morning.

My knee hurts.  

My quads hurt.

My connecting tendons and ligaments are announcing their presence with authority.

I am doing my best not to limp, but bending my knee is approaching excruciating.

Rehab is supposed to hurt (unlike regular exercise).  In this instance, I believe the affirmation in the poster on the wall at the gym - Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body.  I haven't used these muscles this way (the way God intended them to be used) in more than a decade.  I have to keep reminding myself of that fact.

I'm like a rusty old car that just got an overhaul.  I'm trying to figure it all out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

No Filter

Europe is on fire.
Here in Tucson, it's only the sky that is burning.
This was the first night.
And then there was this the next might.
The yellow lights are the torchieres and the chandelier, but the rest is attributable to God.
That lavender is something I haven't seen in anywhere else.
We may have lost the race to combat climate change.
I'm looking for anything to make that a more palatable situation.
These sunsets fit the bill.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Dereliction of Duty

First of all, dereliction is a lovely word. was concise:  a word for neglecting responsibilities.

Oxford Learner's Dictionary gave me this: the fact of deliberately not doing what you ought to do, especially when it is part of your job.

Merriam Webster came a bit closer to what I had in mind with this:  intentional or conscious neglect.

But my favorite, the one that resonated most with me, came straight up from Google: 
the shameful failure to fulfill one's obligations.Emphasis on the shameful, if the man could feel shame.  Duty, something else our former President has taken great pains to avoid (cf Pvt. Bone Spur), is a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility; a task or action that someone is required to perform, according to Google.The moral obligation part is what's missing from DJT, because, as far as I can tell, he has no morals (cf. the Access Hollywood tape).  Cambridge  English Dictionary puts it in language that even our former Commander in Chief (a thought which is still terrifying) can understand:  something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to doThere's that pesky lack of a moral compass again.  You can farm out your job, but doing the right thing rests squarely on your own lap.  And what a capacious lap that is, DJT.  I can hardly wait until the next hearing. tells us that Dereliction of duty means that person willfully or negligently failed to perform his or her duties or performed them in a culpably inefficient manner.

I'm looking forward to the evidence they have collected.  

The shit show may finally be coming home to roost.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Jagger Pants

FlapJilly is a voracious reader.  Her library card is a cherished possession.  Barnes and Noble gift cards make her swoon.  Little Cuter turns off her light and removes the books from her bed after she's fallen asleep; she can't bring herself to say "Stop reading, it's late!"

Graphic novels and chapter books.  Dog Man - a man/beast combo - replaced the unicorn princess books which followed the other, easier to read ones, until she hit her stride.  In a switch that brought a smile to my face and my brain, she picked up one of her mother's favorite series - The Baby Sitters Club.

The books I bought Little Cuter in Barnes and Noble in Corte Madera, all the way in the back of the store, were pink.  Now they are much more than that.  They are full color graphic novels.  

Because the kid is an avid reader, I'm not fretting too much over the need to turn literature into a comic book.  I've always been of the opinion that as long as they are reading, I don't care what it is.  .FlapJilly has proven that she can plow through dense pages.  Still......

All my worries disappeared when FlapJilly told me about Jagger Pants.  

Mick Jagger and his pants appeared in my granddaughter's book.  The pants we called Bell Bottoms are now eponymous with the Rolling Stones lead singer.  Everyone with whom I share this delightful bit of trivia laughs.  

And so, when Taos Bubbe and I walked into H&M and bumped into this table inside the front door

there was no doubt that I would be sending a pair to my granddaughter.

Yes, there was a matching top.

Yes, if they fit I'll go back and get the black and the grey ones, too.

Yes, she will be thrilled.

I wonder if Mick knows just how special he still is.

Friday, July 15, 2022


It starts with the clouds.  They are high and numerous and cumulus and they move rapidly.  Some are higher and some are denser but they're all up there, competing for the same space, and when they crash into one another there's a very big bang.

It's fun to watch the thunder happen.  

The lightning strikes are horizontal and vertical and ginormous.  Were I a person with patience I'd sit outside with the camera on the tripod and wait for the most propitious moment to click.  I'm not, so you must use your imagination.  

After the clouds comes the wind.  It comes from the east as well as the west, with gusts from the south moving the plant detritus in wonderful patterns, leaving piles of mulch conveniently under the the trees that dropped the pods.  

I planned to include a picture of that right here,  but now it's raining. 

This is not the rain you see back East, or in Chicago, or in Marin.  This is firehose stuff, drops going crosswise and then straight into your window, ferociously, announcing their presence with authority.  It often only lasts for a few, intense minutes.  The sky will clear, the sun will come out, the wildlife will creep out of their hidey holes and begin to prey upon one another.  The air will smell of creosote (you either love it or you hate it) and the ions make your arm hair stand on end.

It's letting up as I type.  The first ... the hungriest?? ... lizard just emerged.  But there's another cloud system gathering over Mt. Lemmon, and those usually head our way.  It's going to be a loud and bright night.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

A Mid-Day Margarita

There was a time when I could drink in the afternoon.

After receiving our masters' degrees, my fellow graduates and I spent a bleary afternoon and evening together, drinking all the champagne that the caterers had abandoned at the official reception.  The festivities included no naps.

On vacation, a beer in the afternoon was a prelude to the forthcoming activities, if not an integral part of them.  I don't remember being energetically impaired.

Today, TBG and I drove just west of downtown so that he could eat the best hamburger ever.  It was 3pm.  He had an late breakfast, I had a small late morning snack.  We were both hungry. Was it lunch?  Dinner?  Lunner?  Linch? 

It didn't matter.  It was, he agreed, the best hamburger ever.  

It was also huge.  

I also ordered a margarita.

Perhaps I'm just a lightweight, but there was a lot more tequila and a lot less margarita in the glass before me.  I tried my level best, but I could only get half way through it.  I left a few bites of burger, too.

I managed to stay awake during the 10 minute drive home.  I changed into comfy clothes and joined TBG in front of MSNBC.  He began snoring immediately.  I caught myself before I drifted off and came in to type to you.... and this is all I can think about.

Not Giblet's 4th birthday.  Not Niece's upcoming wedding.  Not my garden.  I'm overwhelmed by drooping eyelids and slow fingers.  I'm going to join my husband for what has now become an early evening snooze.  

I'm going to remember this next time I'm tempted to drink when I plan to stay awake.  It just aint' happenin' anymore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

My Primary Ballot

This was all of yesterday's mail.

Only one of the candidates identifies with a party (Democrat).  Planned Parenthood is highlighted (a good thing) but other than that there are just buzz words to consider.

There are alliances forged on walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors together.  Does liking one of those candidates mean I should lean toward the others?  

Do I vote for my young friend, who will answer the phone if I call, or do I vote for a more traditionally seasoned candidate who might be perceived as more competent?

I have strong feelings for some races, and no idea at all about others.  The Voter's Guide is my go-to bathroom reading; it's as good a place as any to ponder.  The statements aren't that interesting, but they are a good place to start for the basics.  

The number of Republican candidates railing against woke investments (whatever they are; our socially responsible portfolio has outperformed the market for several years now; well, it's only taxpayer's money that is at risk, after all) is matched only by those opposed to CRT (preferring, I suppose, the white male gaze of history). Bodily autonomy for women is not addressed.  Nor is any proposal for caring for all these soon to be unwanted babies entering the world.   

Guns and the 2nd Amendment also figure heavily in their statements.  I shudder to think what our state would look like without Gabby Giffords as a native daughter.  

Apparently (as I read somewhere; kudos to the original author) Republicans believe that life begins at conception and ends at a mass shooting.

Democrats don't seem to like guns or regulating female bodies.  They do have plans for extravagant social programs, offering to tax the rich to pay for better schools, a plan which the voters approved and which the Legislature keeps trying to overturn, and which seems like a great idea until you realize that lots of rich people want to retire here and they don't want to hear about a tax surcharge on the wealthiest 1% of them.  

And Americans are aspirational; we all assume that, given the right circumstance, we could be right up there with Bill Gates.  No one wants to anticipate paying more taxes, even when the average increase would have been about $23,000.... not bad when your taxable income is over $1,166,666.  

So we're stuck in a purple state, with the realities of the Wild West bumping up against a dysfunctional State Government (see the fraudit) and a whole host of new voters - Northerners moving with their companies (see Caterpillar in Tucson); increasing numbers of Latinos registering;  and serious efforts to counter voter suppression.

So, when Pilates Diva texted to ask for my advice on her family's ballots, I said Katie Hobbs for Governor and the rest is undecided.  She replied that she liked  the third candidate in our Congressional race, a young engineer who works at Raytheon.  

Can he be a good guy if he works for a weapons manufacturer.... albeit the second largest employer in Tucson?  

This just gets harder and harder.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


That's what I saw on the dashboard after my hearing check-up.  That's a lot of 1's adding up to a lot of degrees.  One hundred and eleven of them.  It was too hot to sit there and take a picture. 

One hundred and eleven degrees to walk through.  One hundred and eleven degrees heating up the inside of my car, despite the sun shield.  

Plants require supplemental watering in the afternoon.  So do humans.  I'm carting around the extra large Camelback water bottle, and refilling it more than once.

Our pool deck is usually cool to the touch.  This morning, it was hot enough to make me dance as I was skimming the surface.  The water bugs were paddling happily until they weren't and but I left most of the leaves on the bottom.  Close enough for government work, as a favorite instructor assured me.  

The sun is out, the clouds are high and fluffy and few and far between.  It looks beautiful, but no one sits outside.  Restaurant ads brag about patio misters, but the air conditioned indoor seating is always full.  

Taos Bubbe and I are considering walking around 4th Avenue this week; she wondered if it's going to be this hot until Friday.  Honestly, I'm afraid to look at the forecast.  

Monday, July 11, 2022

Searching for Solace

Except during Pandemica, I have always resisted watching tv during the day.  I spent Saturday watching all of this:

I tried to read, but my brain kept wandering to a broken 8 year old.  Lauren Groff usually draws me in, but even her love letter to Marie de France, Matrix, left room around the edges.  Perhaps James Patterson would have been a better choice, but the library was all out of fun reads.

It matched my mood exactly.

I swam, but images of that little boy and his twin brother wouldn't leave me alone.

I started to cook dinner, but ignoring my incipient sore throat was taking more energy than I could muster.  All day long, the feeling that something was creeping around inside of me, trying to make me feel sicker than I wanted to feel, had been winning.  

Which came first - the sickness of the spirit or the body?  

I thought today would be better.  I read the Sunday paper, heartened by the Editors' Note that, despite Gannett shrinking their opinion content, my Arizona Daily Star will continue to print op-eds and letters to the editor and, most important, cartoons.  And there, at the top of the page, was Doonesbury, once again hitting it straight on, no punches pulled.

Reprinting it in The Burrow requires a $35 licensing fee, so click through to the comic right here.

'nough said.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Another Member of the Club

They met young.  Both with dark hair and blue eyes, they had individually decided, early in life, to marry someone with those same characteristics.  After all, it was such a win in the genetic lottery it deserved to be treasured and passed along.  

The fact that they were both smart and thoughtful and funny and driven might have had something to do with their successful union over the years, but I've always clung to the dark hair and blue eyes theory.  It makes me smile whenever I think of it.

We were friends when our kids were young and we were all in Chicagoland.  They lived near Michael Jordan, so there was usually a good story or two to be told.  He and TBG were Goldman Sachs colleagues and she and I were happy to find one another amongst the wives.

She was a prosecutor who wore a pager on her belt.  She left parties to assist the police in securing bad guys.  Her voice on the phone was precise and commanding as she grabbed her coat and purse and waved goodbye.  I thought that was pretty cool, too.

She went to celebrate the 4th of July at the annual parade in Highland Park, and ended up in the hospital with injuries.  There's a long road ahead, with many surgeries to come.  Someone has set up a Meal Train.  They are well insured.  They have lots of family and friends around.  Time will pass and bodies will heal.  

But the psyche will take a little longer.  Their close knit community now has a Before/After moment, and so do they.  It's life altering but, as Gabby Giffords says, we look forward, not backward, with COURAGE.

It shouldn't have to take courage to go to a 4th of July parade though, should it?

My friend is another example of someone who was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing with the right people when some fool with a high capacity weapon decided to make it a bad time for all.

And now I'm hearing about an 8 year old with a severed spinal cord, whose twin's body was also ravaged by bullets, whose mother sent her surgeon to tend to her babies and not her and I am so mad that steam is pouring out of my ears.  My fingers can't go fast enough, trying to get this out and on the screen so that it will lessen the pressure building in my head which is filled with actual, boiling rage.

Seriously, I can feel it expanding in my skull.  My temples are throbbing and my eyes are searching for answers - in the sky, on the oriental carpets - and then I turn inward and there is only sad. 

All this so that a 20something can be free to buy a weapon like that?  

I do think that life and the pursuit of happiness came before the 2nd Amendment in the Framers' minds. 

I keep thinking that this is the event that will shake America to its core, that will take liability protection from the manufacturers, that will require serious background checks and the merging of all the lists in the land so that hardly anyone can slip through the cracks (like our shooter here in Tucson).  

I keep thinking that, until I remember the Las Vegas Massacre - 60 dead and nearly 500 wounded at a country music festival where, I am sure, there were a lot of 2nd Amendment freaks getting their peculiar freak on while the bullets were raining down from 32 floors above.

That one, I knew, was big enough and horrible enough and touched people who might otherwise be opposed to sensible gun restrictions and..... well, we all know how that turned out.

Dead schoolkids don't matter.

Dead grandparents don't matter.

Dead parishioners and patriots don't matter.

I am so so very angry.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

My Face on the Silver Screen

Betsy WestJulie Cohen, and a cast of a dozen or so producers and techies and shleppers came to our backyard last spring, masked and socially distant, to film me telling my version of what happened on January 8, 2011.

They offered me makeup (I shouldn't have turned it down) and hair styling suggestions (I went with Little Cuter's idea) but that took up almost no time.  Mostly, they worked on the lighting and the sound and although nothing but my face fills the screen I know that they were conscious of the foliage behind me.  

They let me talk and they asked pointed questions and they requested that I use Christina-Taylor's name instead of a little girl, a friend, a neighbor.  She was the hook for so much of the story at the time, after all.

The process was fun and surprising and interesting and informative and special.  These women sat with RBG and now they were sitting in my backyard.  This is a movie that will play on CNN and will open in movie theatres next Wednesday, July 13th.  And I am in it, telling the story of that day, of CTG and me counting the number of legislators, one of whom she was about to meet.

Last night, there was a special, invitees only, premier of the movie.  Taos Bubbe went with me; she held my hand during the sad part.  But it's not a sad movie at all.  It's triumphant, as is Gabby herself, a 1% survivor who makes progress every day, who founded Friends of Aphasia here in Tucson, who jokes and loves and never looks back.  

It's worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

What A Morning

My Yogi is taking the week off, so I could sleep in instead of setting the alarm for outdoor yoga this morning.   TBG kissed me goodbye before he left for spin class, and I rolled over for another hour or so.  

That was the last unencumbered moment I had.

When I really woke up, I reached for my phone to see what was on my calendar for today.  The phone wasn't on my nightstand.  It wasn't on my bathroom counter (often forgotten there when I'm getting ready for bed) nor on the library desk nor the pull out tray for the keyboard (another favorite hiding place).  It wasn't plugged in in the kitchen, it wasn't in my purse, and it wasn't on any visible countertop.

The search was on.

I called the thing, but it went straight to voice mail without ringing even once.  From past experience, I knew that meant the battery was dead.  Ever hopeful, I called Big Cuter, interrupting a business meeting (I do love him working from home and multi-tasking his mother's pleas and his bosses queries in real time) to ask him if the Location Finder he has for me on his phone will work if my phone has no juice.  No, sorry, Mom... did you lose your phone?

Thwarted, I called Albertson's, which was the last place I remembered having it (clipping digital coupons while shopping is not my favorite thing to do but eggs were $1.99/dozen with the coupon so.....).  No one had turned it in.

Now my search became frantic.  I felt beneath pillows.  I look under furniture, I opened drawers and cabinets, retracing the chores I'd done yesterday (a lot of them), searching for the places I've found the device in the past - on a random closet shelf, on top of the washing machine, hidden under miscellaneous crap on various counters.  But there's not much clutter since I've been working on keeping the piles in check; the phone was no where to be found.

My car underwent a similar cleansing - trunk, under seats, between seats and consoles and doors, in every compartment - with the same results.  I went back in the house and began all over again, carefully checking each and every room and closet and drawer.  It was all to no avail.  I went on line and made an appointment at the Verizon store for 1pm.

TBG came home a few minutes later.  My face told him that I was upset, my words led to one statement - it's in the house, because you looked up something for me last night, right here on the couch.  

Feeling a lot better, knowing that I hadn't dropped it while loading the groceries on my last excursion, I stopped hyperventilating and got back down on my knees to look, for the third time, under the couch and behind the pillows and between the cushions.  TBG looked between the armrest and the end table, moved my portable laptop desk, and there it was - just waiting for me to figure out that it had fallen when I picked up the crocheting I'd plopped on top of it.

Much hugging and laughing ensued.  I raced to meet Taos Bubbe for lunch (only 8 minutes late) and tried to call her to let her know I'd be delayed.  The phone rang her number and she didn't answer.  I hung up, at least I thought I did, but it kept ringing.  I kept hanging up and it kept ringing and then she answered and we talked over the rings and then I turned the whole thing off and started again.

With a no longer ringing telephone, I picked her up and began to drive to lunch..... going perpendicular to our destination until I came to a traffic light that was no where near where we wanted to go.  I went the long way around (rather than making a u-turn and, no doubt, finding a police cruiser on my tail because it was just that kind of a day) and we sat inside and declined to share a bottle of wine at 11:30am, even though it was a 1/2 price Tuesday.

The chicken salad sandwich (with fries, because my soul deserved them) and the conversation took the angst out of my day, for the most part.  But I'm keeping my phone in plain sight from now on.  This was not a morning I care to repeat.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Enough is Enough

He doesn't know what made him decide not to join his fellow realtors.  He told his wife that it just didn't feel right.  

So he stayed home and didn't ride on the float in the parade.  

So he wasn't one block away, laughing with his colleagues and waving to the crowds, when another skinny white boy with too much firepower and not enough brains began killing people.  

I heard the news on the radio and called their house.  I can't remember ever feeling so glad to hear their voices.  

It was a glimpse into what my friends must have felt back in 2011.  

So I went home and watched the Police Chief and the Mayor and the Governor and the Senator say all the things that all the Police Chiefs and Mayors and Governors and Senators say every time .... every single time....  

According to NPR there were bodies and body parts on the streets of Highland Park.

When is enough enough?

Monday, July 4, 2022


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. 

I have our flag jammed into the column supporting the courtyard's overhang,
as I do on all the flag flying holidays.  

I'm wearing my red white and blue tie dye - the dress, the tank top, the even bigger tank top - as I go through my day. 

I'll make red white and blue strawberry shortcake (strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream) to go with the All American BBQ featuring hot dogs and burgers and corn on the cob, and I'll miss inviting Fast Eddie and JannyLou over to share in the fixin's.

I'll spend some time with the Americana section of the bookshelves, 
searching for answers to how we got to this point, how we managed to let our institutions come to the brink of disaster.  There must be something in all that verbiage about all those white men that can enlighten me.  

Big Cuter, the history major, tells me that 1/3 of Americans have always been antithetical to the notion of The United States, and he gave me the historical references to prove it.  

Our former president turned over the rock under which they were hiding.  It's a heavy, disgusting, foul rock.  It's our job to clean up the mess it revealed.  

It's election season.  Let's get to work.  This democratic republic is worth saving.

Happy Fourth of July, denizens!

Friday, July 1, 2022

I really needed something to cheer me up this morning.  

The world's going to hell in a handbasket and I am not enjoying the ride.  

We are tearing down instead of building up.  

The future is uncertain but feels bleak.

Nothing is going the way it ought to.

And then I turned into the driveway and saw this:

Before The Yard Guys gave it a drastic pruning, my Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) was dying from the inside out.  After its haircut, with the innards exposed to sunlight, the main plant seemed to be doing just fine.  

Last week I noticed a few green sprigs at the bottom.  Somehow, without my paying attention, they turned into a lovely little bush of their own.

Maybe that's an answer.  Cut out the rot.  Expose the old and withered, hanging on for dear life, willing to kill the plant in order to survive.  Let nature take its course.  

If only the political world were as easy to manipulate as the natural world.  I'd be happy to fix things with a quick call to The Yard Guys

(Sorry this is late.... I forgot to add the photos last night.)