Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Godiva Disessa <> wrote to me last week.

Mar 14, 2023, 6:57 AM

(My Real Name),, I am reaching out from the Financial Assistance Department, where I have been assigned to assist with your recent application for hardship assistance. I have reviewed your application and am pleased to inform you that you have been pre-approved for up to $37,000 in financial support. Our program is designed to provide unique opportunities to those facing financial difficulties, and I would be honored to assist you in enrolling. To that end, I would like to schedule a call to discuss the details of the program and answer any questions you may have. If you are available, please call me back at: 8‎‎5‎5-435-523‎5, to schedule a convenient time for our call. I will be available during normal business hours, 9 AM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time, and will make every effort to accommodate your schedule. I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you soon and help you take advantage of this exciting opportunity. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Godiva Disessa - Financial Assistance Department   

There are so many many many ways to dissect this, I hardly know where to begin.

The Financial Assistance Department of what, I wonder?  

I haven't made a recent application for hardship assistance.  I'm not feeling much hardship right now, not more than anyone else faced with the high cost of gas (forty cents a gallon cheaper at Costco than QuickTrip this morning, but edging closer to $4 for regular once again) and airfare ($2000 for my grandkids and their parents to visit us, using one mileage-paid-for-it ticket) and eggs ($7.99 a dozen yesterday at Albertsons). 

I'm thrilled that someone wants me to have $37,000.  I just don't know why it's not $38,000 or $29,000.  Is there some magic algorithm that indicates I'd be delighted with just that amount?  This is a question I would love to investigate more fully, but I don't have the skills or the imagination to know where to start.

What do you suppose the unique opportunities might be?  Crypto?  Telemarketing?  Selling Cutco knives?  Inquiring soon-to-be-debtors want to know these things.

Social Security has sent emails and snail mails warning me about scammers preying on the elderly.  My younger friends don't seem to receive these solicitations as often as TBG and I.  

This email reminded of Daddooooo, who wrote a check to every charity that sent him a set of address labels or a key chain or even just a charming letter pleading their case.  He didn't have a lot of extra cash, and he was a sucker for a sob story.  

Those small checks he wrote to starving children and medically underserved patients and veterans needing prostheses seemed legitimate, if somewhat of a financial stretch, for a couple on a small fixed income.  But the requests were legitimate, even if they were generated by selling lists of donors.  

Godiva Disessa, on the other hand, comes straight out of the How to separate desperate people from their money playbook.  Were I in dire need of cash, no doubt I'd return her call.  She seems pleasant enough.  She's willing to meet me when and where I am. She's not shaming me for needing help, she's offering it at my convenience.  And what are those opportunities?  

Curiosity killed the cat.

I'm deleting the email as soon as I finish typing this post.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Something New in the Universe

It's not a urinal, although the comparison struck me as I posted the picture.
It's my new contact delivery system.  It made me very happy when I peeled back the lid.

Every other package I've ever opened, regardless of the manufacturer, has presented the contact floating in a round bowl.  In order to get it out, I had to pour the contents into my open palm to retrieve the contact, or scrape the finger holding the contact along the side of the bowl, trying not to break it or scratch it with my fingernail as my knuckle bent to lift it out.

But when I opened my new prescription in the new, water filled, 30 day continuous wear configuration,
I discovered that not only were the contacts themselves cutting edge technology, but the container itself had been updated.

I slid my finger into the concavity of the contact and slid it out effortlessly.  I didn't pause to be sure I wasn't cutting it with my nail or the edge.  It was on my finger and out of the package without angst.

In a world where customer satisfaction is all too often  sacrificed for ease of production and corporate profits, it's nice to see that someone is paying attention to the person who uses the product.

It's also nice to see something that I took for granted being looked at with a fresh eye.  I wonder if it was one of Temple Grandin's Clever Engineers who thought it up.  It's so obvious.

Monday, March 20, 2023

March Madness

Yes, it's a sports post.  I've tried to be clear;  I've put hints in parentheses.  

If you have no clue about any of it, you might take solace from this clip of Anderson Cooper.  

His incomprehension is magnificent.  He owns it, completely and totally.  We all have our blind spots.  I can appreciate it if you stop reading here and come back tomorrow.

But, I've been having some pithy thoughts that I'm happy to share with the rest of you, so, read on, if you care.


My Arizona Wildcats lost in the first (of 6) rounds, on Thursday (the first day of the tournament weekend).  This is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have them winning the whole damn thing.

Their performance was lackluster and frustrating.  They wielded those huge bodies like giant marshmallows.  I've never been 13 inches taller than another person my age, but I have to think I could prevent them from scoring at will. 

As I said, frustrating.  


I could do a whole post, or at least a section right here, on NIL and foreign players, but why?  It's legalized bribery.  There's nothing else to say.


I knew something, from a reliable source, that would have materially changed my picks. I felt guilty about trading on inside information, so I didn't act.  

The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous that seemed.  There are plenty of people who know something no one else know.  Why was I holding myself to a higher standard?  I was just doing what investigative journalists do; I was tracking down leads and speaking to informants.  

I spent a fair amount of time lamenting the what if's until the players themselves made everything moot.  

And, as they say, that's why they plan the game.


By Sunday night, #15 Princeton had trounced #2 Arizona and  #16 Fairleigh Dickinson University sent #1 Kansas home (in what's being called the biggest upset ever).

I texted our favorite (Kansas) Jayhawk to extend our condolences.  Her reply was particularly apt: This tournament is madness.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I know nothing about the origins of the holiday.  I do know that once the boys made it clear that corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes did not hold a candle to pizza, Little Cuter and I began a delicious tradition of eating, ravenously, voraciously, turning to our fingers when that bite eluded the fork.  

I've missed her every March 15th since she went to college.  

Her brother in law brines his own meat, creating three huge trays, each with a different recipe, enough for the family and friends that filled his house.  I'm jealous of the food, but not the public setting.  Part of the joy I take is in the messiness, the pure hedonism, the lack of propriety or respect for anything except getting the tastes into my mouth as efficiently as I can.

I usually use a dish towel instead of a paper napkin.

I am slovenly and unapologetic.

So, for whatever reason we celebrate you, thank you St. Patrick for having a day.


Yes, of course, now I'll do the research.

Thursday, March 16, 2023


I can certainly see why you'd say the were weeds.
Scruffy doesn't even come close to how unkempt it looked.
But the flowers are beautiful
and delicious
But when it's cleaned up
I think it looks more like a flowering meadow. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Give the Customers What They Want?

I needed a large sprayer bottle.  I was in CVS and couldn't find what I wanted.  I drove across the parking lot to the Ace Hardware, parked, walked across the tarmac, approached the door..... and then my day went to Hell.

I almost didn't go in.  

I needed the sprayer.  I didn't want to waste gas driving around looking for one.  I decided to make it a teachable moment, rather than give in to my fear.

The cashier asked how I was doing.  I'm a little bit anxious, than you.

The Assistant Manager was standing next to the sprayer.  He smiled at me. I smiled back, trying for rueful, as I said that I was sad that I wasn't going to be shopping in his store any longer, now that he was selling ammunitions.

Well, ma'am, you have to give the customers what they want.

There was (to me) a lengthy pause as I stared at his face.  No, you don't, not if you care.

I lost it when he told me not to worry.  I told him about being shot with Gabby and how the first place the shooter went refused to sell him ammunition and if the second place had exercised the same kind of discretion Christina would be 21 right now.

Paying for my sprayer I asked the cashier, new to her job, if she had been trained about selling ammunition.  For the second time in a minute I was told not to worry. I'm allowed to worry.  I was shot with Gabby Giffords.  

We should all be worried. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

What I Found

I've been going through closets.  I've been finding lots of interesting things, including this: 
The cap gun is probably mine from my Annie Oakley days.  The holster looks too new for a 60 something year old leather strap and pouch.  I have no idea where it came from or why I have it.

It was startling.  I picked up a folder and my eyes got stuck.  

The boots have a high heel.  Unless Little Cuter takes ownership I guess I'll have to take responsibility.  

TBG took one look at it and said THROW IT OUT! Why do we have that?  THROW IT OUT!  

And I did.

For a while, the Annie Oakley/Calamity Jane piece of me treasured that cap gun.  I loved the lurking and the skulking and the bam-bam-shoot-em-up adventures my cousins and siblings and I had in and around our abutting yards.  

Those are powerful memories.

My, how times have changed.  


Monday, March 13, 2023

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - Random Thoughts

TBG took me out to breakfast at Cryin' Onion, where the thinner-than-a-crepe-but-it's-still-a-pancake filled with blueberries drooped over the edges of the big, round plate.  

Fresh squeezed orange juice and an efficient and engaging server made up for the 10 minutes we'd spent sitting in a booth at IHOP, untended and feeling unwanted as the staff walked past, studiously avoiding our eyes, until we left, my hopes for their *NEW* BERRY TOPPED CREPES dashed.  

But the sun was out and the highway was the best way to get there and we zoomed south a couple of exits for what was, I am certain, a much better version.
The sunny day tempted me to work on the weeds in the front yard.  

I pulled, I sprayed (a little - there are really too many at this point to try any other way).  I pulled some more.  

The bluebells are lovely.  Everything else is truly a weed - the wrong plant in the wrong place.
I showered off the gardening and donned athletic attire - shorts and a tee shirt that I bought specifically for myself.  

It's rare that I buy those things; I'm still wearing hand me down shorts from Big Cuter (before his growth spurt). TBG continues to donate to my collection of comfortably over-sized tees.  

It felt like more than changing my clothes.  It felt like donning attire.
Christina's path was filled with enough bicyclists and walkers to keep me company from a distance.  It's hardly a dangerous space, but neither was a grocery store on a Saturday morning.  I pay attention more these days.

TBG is thankful for my vigilance, which costs me nothing and is, no doubt, to my benefit.  

Plus, his concern feels like a giant hug.
The Bracketology for March Madness was announced at 3pm, by which time I'd showered (again) and joined TBG in front of the television.

Arizona's playing Princeton in the first round.  I'm sure there will be more on this, but today that's all I really cared about.
Veggies and marinated meat on the bbq for an early dinner, a 1950's sci-fi epic on the tube, with three or four other oldies-but-goodies ready for our viewing pleasure as soon as I finish typing to you..... life is good.

Friday, March 10, 2023


I've written this before and I'm sure I'll write it again.  Girlfriends are the best.

I've had a lot of them in my life lately.  

Miss Mississippi and I talked on the phone for 90 minutes before one of us looked at the clock and we both realized we had to go.  

The Social Justice Warriors are here from Chicago; she and I walked and talked and talked and talked this afternoon and, despite her husband's fears, we'll still have more to talk about over dinner tonight.

The Chauffeur is getting Mr. 19 (in Chicago for a solo Spring Break) into the East Bank Club on a guest pass.  Being who she is, she finagled him 2 days to visit.

My daughter's smoothie recipe, a quick text from a Playgroup Mom, delightful conversations with the women who run the landscaping company and the Pilates studio and the hair salon and the doctor's office - all encounters with woman who were upbeat and helpful and smart.

I'm a lucky woman.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

TFOB - Part 4 (the last one, I promise!)

There were some pretty fabulous stories at the Female Agents of Change panel.  Moderated by the former editor of the Arizona Daily Star, these women

Bobbie Jo Buel, Dahlia Lithwick, Sheri Brenden, Jemele Hill

covered topics from abortion to Title IX, stopping off at racism, sexism and Donald Trump along the way.  

Sheri Brenden's big sister was a junior in high school when she filed suit in Minnesota because her school did not have a girls' tennis team.   It wasn't a class action suit; that would have taken too much time.  She wanted to play in her senior year, not spend it in a courtroom.  She and her co-plaintiff won their suit, and the result was Title IX.   

Her proud little sister wrote the story all these years later. She's still beaming.

Dahlia Lithwick (Big Cuter: OH! From SLATE!!) had us laughing from the start.  The Supreme Court was inching closer to equality.... we could see it from our porch was her rueful description of Trump's court packing.  It is his ignorance, though, which seemed to bother her the most.  Lock her up isn't rhetoric.  The crowd couldn't have agreed more.

She said she was pushed to reveal her own #MeToo moment from years ago when younger colleagues spoke out about a judge's harassment in 2020.  Her description of the internal dialogue which took place was remarkably revelatory in a setting where she didn't know a soul.  She came to two conclusions.  You can be a Bystander or an Upstander.  There is complicity in silence.

Jemele Hill disappeared from ESPN shortly after calling out Donald Trump's racism.  A white male colleague reassured her that she'd have no trouble finding a job.  After all, they're looking for YOU.  Out of the 405 female sports writers at the event, she was the only woman of color.  I'm good, but I'm not that good was her tart response.

What made me happiest, though, was her comment at the end of the conversation about power.  I didn't know when I was young how to wield the, I'm Thor!
Alex Prud'homme, Julia Child's great-nephew, was there, too, promoting Dinner With the President and sharing stories about Presidential food and state dinners.  Here are some of my favorite bits of information, in no particular order, and with no effort made to turn them into connected paragraphs.
  • Lincoln lived on apples and cornbread and coffee.
  • Jackie Kennedy modeled her State Dinners on the grand parties of Louis XIV, the Sun King.
  • Eisenhower like to cook.  He was good at the grill.
  • The White House kitchen which prepares the State Dinners is small - 27.5' long and 22' wide.


That's it for the TFOB.  It's my favorite weekend of the year for many reasons, not the least of which is that it makes for great fodder for The Burrow. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

TFOB - Part 3

Jim Nitzel, Malcolm Nance, Mark Leibovich, David Corn

I spent some time with the talking heads I see on tv every night.  They were all perfectly comfortable with their broadcast credentials - Malcolm Nance called himself a spy who talks on tv.

After spending the day watching Tucker Carlson being excoriated on MSNBC, I had a greater appreciation for this, from Major Garrett (formerly of Fox News) - Defending the truth is not BIAS!

David Corn reminded us that the GOP has always included the Far Right - Joseph McCarthy, the John Birch Society, Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson - and then Nance was on, again.  Today's Far Right has been infiltrated by Russia, and Putin knows an idiot when he sees one.  

There were lots of heads nodding as he described Trump giving his base and the toady politicians who follow him, permission to be nasty - then they will be respected.  Switching gears and speaking directly to the C-SPAN BookTV cameras airing the event live, he called out those who were listening and thought of themselves as good Republican Trump lovers, demanding that they pay attention to what's happening in the real world. Or, his face full of disgust, call it the Trump Party and be done with it.  

Mark Leibovich shone the brightest light on the part that upsets me the most. Our Constitution is based on expectations ..... Trump exploded them.  David Corn said what we'd all been thinking: 
  • The base has become radicalized. 
  • The leaders are afraid of them.
  • Obama's election freaked out the base.
It was a room full of believers being preached to by smart people who agreed with us.  I started to worry about being in the bubble, but then thought back to Major Garrett - Defending the truth is not bias.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

TFOB - Part 2

 Do you know Temple Grandin?

She's a Colorado State University professor of animal sciences, an animal behaviorist, and an autism activist.  Labeled autistic, she didn't speak until she was three and a half.  On Saturday, she spoke eloquently and passionately and intelligently about animal behavior, the lack of shop and sewing classes in public schools, the hands on classes where visual thinkers thrived.  

Education phased out ways to enhance object visualizers she said, while bemoaning the demise of the Clever Engineer, working in the shop, inventing mechanical devices.  We've lost the ability to make things, reminding us that the chip was invented here, but isn't made here.  

There were three more take-aways I want to share:
  • If I have to take a course to use the software, it's a failure.  I shouldn't have to learn to use the software.
  • A young man identified himself as "on the spectrum" and asked When you're weird, how do you sell your work.   Her answer was simple and direct - You sell your work, not yourself.
  • And then she explained Elon Musk.  A visual thinker, he's good at the object projects - space, cars.  Twitter is a verbal, linear program, and well out of his wheel house.
Tomorrow I'll move on to the talking heads I see on tv who came to Tucson to talk about Trump.  I'm in too good a mood, thinking about Dr. Grandin, to go down that rabbit hole this afternoon.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Tucson Festival of Books

It's my favorite weekend in Tucson.  
Free to the public, there are hundreds of author presentations, 
indie publishers hawking their wares, 
tents devoted to science and food and racial justice, and a kids' village.
There were giant games to play
and an even bigger heart to walk through.
There was a NASA Solar System Ambassador, whose explanation of gravity's effect on space actually penetrated my brain.
Her outfit was outdone only by her demeanor.  She looked that happy even when she was explaining Einstein.  (By the way, did you know that Jupiter's day is longer than its year?)

I was struck by the footwear of the men on one panel.
I was in the front row for Jemelle Hill's fabulous sneakers.  
It was sunny and in the 70's.  
Visitors were in shorts and t-shirts, blue jeans and backpacks, baby strollers and wheelchairs.

I have no idea what these two were up to.
I didn't notice Jack Sparrow until I was editing the photo.
Mostly, I was obsessed with the bathroom pompoms.

It is wonderful, as David Corn said, to be surrounded by people who love books.
We come in all shapes and sizes.
Very few of us were on our phones.
It's my favorite weekend in Tucson.

Friday, March 3, 2023

I'm Going to Walk Away

I rescued the Homeowner's Association once before, offering up Fast Eddie to fill the leadership vacuum.  He healed schisms and settled disputes, his folksy charm belying a canny intellect.  He loved doing it as he eased into a full retirement.  The neighborhood thrived under his gentle guidance.  

Then he moved away and, once again, I had a hand in convincing another charming and intelligent person to take on the job.  She's a pleasure to work with, running crisp meetings that end in record time.

Through it all, I've been the Landscape Committee.  My duties involve tending to any egregious excesses.  Lifting the tree impinging on the roadway was my major accomplishment.  Over the past 10 or so years, I've probably spent 2 hours on landscaping issues.  

But I'm done.  I don't want any more meetings in my life.  I don't want responsibilities that don't bring me joy.  I'm embarking on the Adulthood of Old Age, and I want to make the most of it.

The most of it doesn't include my HOA.

Thursday, March 2, 2023


I opened the blinds to this:
It just got better.
The sun came up.

I'm driving to pilates,  then walking with Taos Bubbe. More pictures may follow. 

Snow in the desert..... living here never ceases to amaze me. 


If your're reading this without the pictures of snow, come back a bit later in the morning.

There's a ticker going across the bottom of the tv screen describing high winds and thunderstorms and snow until 11am Thursday.  

I want to post it.  Come back when it's live.


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Triple Sessions - A Snippet

It's a snippet because I'm exhausted.  

I sat in traffic on the way to Pilates at 8.  I misunderstood the teacher's instructions and ended up doing something a lot more difficult than what she had in mind.  I did it well and I was proud.

I zipped home, retrieved my mat, and was at Yoga in Tohono Chul  for the 9:30 class.  It was ccccold when we started and warm and sunny when we finished, full of radiant health and wonder at the world surrounding us.

The day was so beautiful I walked through the gardens, following the new signage to the new location of the old Children's Museum of Oro Valley.  It's more of an activity space than an actual museum, but I think the grandkids will have fun following the signs to get there.

That wasn't enough out doors for me.  I headed to Christina-Taylor's path and walked for 2.5 miles at a brisk pace, listening to the History Chicks and reveling in the weather.

I picked up a few things at the grocery store and came home to the couch.

I suppose I could think of something besides a recounting of my day.... but I'm exhausted.

Yay for Science!  I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dinner With The Boys

They will always be The Boys, though they are now Mr. 17 and  Mr. 19.  

They tease the way they did when I was taking them to pre-school - the big brother asserting dominance and the younger one shrugging it off with a smile that lights up the room.... even when the barbs strike close to home.  

They eat the way they did when Amster and I took them for breakfast after we finished working out - with good table manners and big appetites.  

Tonight the conversation was also about working out and food and friends and school, just as it was all these years, watching them grow from babies to young men, approaching adulthood, right on the cusp.  

It was just the four of us; Amster's tummy kept her home.  My heart was full - the boys wanted to come and celebrate even if Mom couldn't join us.  We had memories to share and jokes to retell and questions that went unanswered . 

Why didn't Mom put me in baseball? from the kid who begged me to take him to play basketball as soon as he could dribble.  

Did I play baseball? from the other one.

We will have many more years to figure out the answers.  We're in each others' lives forever..

Monday, February 27, 2023

A Birthday Weekend

I used to celebrate my Birthday Month.  This is just a scaled back version.

I haven't cooked except when I wanted toast a bagel.  Snooze gave me a free birthday pancake Friday morning.  It was covered in vanilla cream, strawberry coulis, strawberry mascarpone, fresh strawberries, and almond streusel.  It was the richest thing I've ever eaten.  I left very little on the plate.

We went to Ole for the 2nd meal of the day in the late afternoon, with a celebratory margarita (the best in Tucson) to mark the occasion.  The toasted bagel came when the after effects of dinner at 4pm took their toll.

I vacuumed and sprayed and cleaned and folded in the midst of another cleaning frenzy that fed my soul in a way that walking outside in rainy, cold weather just wasn't going to do.  We watched UofA basketball lose at the buzzer, which had me laughing through my tears (How did he make that shot?????) before we left for another meal-at-an-odd time with our favorite Cornell couple, The Class of '63.

They've joined us for my birthday since my 60th.  It's always been wonderful, and this, at Locale, was no exception.  The flatbread pizza (pear, gorgonzola, carmelized onions, candied pecan, arugula, and aged balsamic) was sweet and crunchy and soft and surprisingly unlike anything ever called pizza before.  I loved it.  Sipping a bright orange aperol and prosecco cocktail made it all just a little bit better.

We ate the leftovers for dinner.  I had yogurt for breakfast and we'll order Chinese food in the late afternoon to tide us over until Monday, when, after breakfast (of unknown origins at this time), Amster and her boys will join us at Flemings.  TBG will have his favorite food (steak with bearnaise sauce) and I'll be surrounded by the people who've loved me the longest in Tucson.

It will have been a lovely weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Yard Work

We are preparing to have the outside of our house painted.  Wind and sun and heat and time have eroded the stucco and peeled the paint.  It's time.

There are all kinds of new products - including Rhino Shield which wanted nearly $50,000 to seal our home with a 25 year warranty against anything looking less than perfect.  In 25 years we'll be midway through our 90's, which makes this a very hopeful purchase.

Our previous painting company was purchased by a larger painting company, after extensive review of their personnel and practices.  We liked knowing that the service we valued in the past was appreciated by this new ownership.

We also liked the price and the 10 year warranty; celebrating my 81st birthday doesn't seem that far fetched.  

There is a lengthy list of instructions, including RELAX, midway down the page.  Today, though, I did not relax,  Instead, I did what I could to comply with the requirement that all vegetation must be 2' away from the surfaces to be painted.  

Our house is 1 story.  It's laid out to maximize the views and provide privacy to the bedrooms.  That translates to a fairly extensive footprint, around which I have planted or allowed wildflowers to grow.  I'll wait for the gardeners to bring their electric slicer to cut back the rosemary hedges.  Everything else was fair game.

I set out with my Japanese saw and my long handled pruners.  I pulled what I could and chopped what resisted.  I trimmed the backs of the sago palms.  I chopped down scotch broom (an invasive that grows tall and sprouts flying white blooms on fairly unattractive foliage) and pulled out dozens of volunteer brittle bush plants that really could have been pooped out in more visible spaces.  

I sawed off a curving branch that has annoyed TBG for months. I created a proper path around the outer perimeter of our abode, removing branches and plants, cutting off a cactus paddle or two,  making a place that only the painters will walk a lovely spot for a stroll.  

I deposited the prunings from the inner courtyard in the trash.  I left the detritus outside the wall, in neat piles ready for the yard guys to collect on their next visit.  I put away my tools and locked the potting shed door.  I remembered to turn off all the lights. 

I wore the long gloves Little Cuter sent me and a long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt over that and long tights and socks covering my ankles so I was un-bloodied (a relative miracle when it comes to me and the garden).  I took a shower and washed plant life out of my hair and off my face, put on soft sweats and Big Cuter's flannel shirt from 9th grade, and came to type to you.

Once again, my work here is done.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

I'm Glad She Spoke - A Snippet

I understand that there may be issues with the trial down the road.  But delaying tactics will be no surprise when it comes to holding TFG legally responsible, so, really, what's the big deal.

Watching Emily Kohrs, the foreperson (and how I loved seeing that scrolling across my screen) of the Atlanta grand jury investigating election meddling, made me smile.  It made me laugh out loud.  

This 30 year old woman didn't vote in 2016 nor in 2020, yet she waxed eloquent on the virtues of participation in the government. 

It's the only way it works.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Happy Birthday, George

Here, once again, is my somewhat annual rant about President's Day.  I didn't realize it was President's Day until Little Cuter told me she was staying home to celebrate with FlapJilly, whose school was closed.  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 and The History Channel runs back to back episodes of The Presidents but that's about the size of the historical component.  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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Using The World

Friday night, TBG and I went to church with friends.  We spent an hour or so listening to Cornell professor Annette Richards perform on this splendid, delicious, marvelous organ

Saturday night I heard a local blues band outdoors at Club Congress before walking across the street to dine, al fresco, with friends. 

SIR and Little Cuter and the kids spent Sunday at the Field Museum.

And today, Monday, The Kibbitzer and The Doula and I went to the movies.  Masked, inside, in a large and nearly empty theatre, and, for my friends, their first going-out-to-the-movies-since-Pandemica experience.  

Lunch outside at Flora's Market Run was an extra added bonus, just like seeing an old friend stroll by and stop for a brief Hello.  

It's really quite wonderful to use what's around us.  Little Cuter and I agreed - it's the good kind of exhausted.

(Sorry this is late.... I forgot to update the time... you'd have found it at 6:43pm if JannyLou hadn't alerted me to its absence.)

Monday, February 20, 2023

A Cleaning Frenzy

It came over me all at once.  Every where I looked, there were manageable tasks just waiting to be tackeld.  My nightshirt was comfortable, my Kizik's made me feel as if I were floating on air; I got to work.

I sorted out my closet, after coming to the shocking realization that I will never again be a size 6.  There are Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren and Carlisle Trunk Show black wool slacks that come no where close to zipping, let alone snapping.  

Plus, they have belt loops.  I've already consigned my belts to the Give Away box; I see no reason to deal with anything more complicated than an elastic waist.  I hung the trousers beneath dry cleaning plastic bags as they started their journey to one of the many clothing banks around town.  

There are two more "areas of interest" in the closet, but they required more thinking than I was willing to expend at the moment.  They can wait.  They don't detract from the work that's done.

I moved on to the kitchen.  Countertops were cleaned and polished.  The cooktop glistens.  TBG vacuumed all the floors.  Our public spaces are now pristine.

I was not finished.  The garage lay in wait.

The remains of the Christmas decorations were piled along one wall.  The Valentines Day box was nearby.  I've been gathering donations for Deseret Industries  and the Food Bank in bags and cartons along another wall.  Grandma's Garden tools and supplies occupied half of a third wall; that's as far as they got after long days with Prince Scholars left me unable to do more than toss them out of the trunk onto the ever growing pile.

I sorted.  I tossed.  I replaced.  I stacked.  I reorganized. I swept.  I showed off my accomplishments to TBG, who was properly impressed.... awestruck....mesmerized.... well, perhaps I exaggerate.

Later this afternoon, I'm going to Club Congress to celebrate with The Kibbitzer and The Doula and Dr K and a host of other vacationers who are enjoying the clouds and the cold with the rest of us.  Typing to you was the last thing on my list.

My work here is done.  

Friday, February 17, 2023

How To Feel?

I liked her until I didn't like her.  I trusted her until I didn't.  She's the only person I ever told I just cannot be your friend. 

We shared activities with our children, even a road trip.  She was good company, always up for an adventure.  Still, I didn't really trust her.  I was always on guard. 

Years and miles separated us.  I was curious about her, but nothing more.  The long ago wounds never lost their sting.

Not very long ago, she fell ill.  Yesterday, she died.

I feel nothing.   I'm sad for her children, for her ex-husband, for those who loved her.  For me, there's no emotional component connected to her at all.  

Her death is just another reminder that we are getting old and that this is happening more and more frequently.  I'm getting used to the emotions that accompany these announcements; I'm noticing their absence right now.

Remembering when my parents' friends began to die, I didn't laugh when Little Cuter told me to take your high blood pressure medication and keep exercising.  

I could definitely feel her love.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Weather Woes

It's been cloudy all day.  It was raining when I woke up, and it's continued, intermittently, all day long.  It's not monsoon rain, interesting clouds making raucous noises as the lightning streaks and amazes.  Nope, it's just a low, grey blob, no real shape at all, as far as the eye can see.

Occasionally, there's a patch of blue which lures us outside .... to freeze.  It's 42 degrees out there.  Running into the grocery store for a loaf of bread without taking my scarf (at least) and my jacket (the one with sleeves) was a big mistake.  

The clerk gathering stray carts and I shared a look of utter dismay.  Like Miss Clavell in the middle of the night, I thought something is not right.

Last week I contemplated turning on the pool heater; today, I'm wearing heavy sweatpants and a flannel shirt.  I was going to bbq dinner; instead, I'm contemplating making a pot roast.

The Doula and The Kibbitzer are arriving for an annual hiking and biking two week vacation.  Every time they come, the sun disappears, taking with it the warmth.  I love seeing them, but I'm wondering if I should steer them elsewhere........

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Valentines Day at Amphi Middle School

Once again, Grandma Suzi brought Valentines to the middle school.
Some of the scholars wrote copious words of love and encouragement.  
Some didn't want to commit to sitting down.

Some decorated their faces.
Some just wanted me to take their picture.
Once they realized the photos were going in The Burrow, these scholars were happy to smile for the camera.
The young men took the project quite seriously.

Some of the cards were silly.
Some were kept private.
With the help of Google Search the flag of Tanzania appeared.
Cutting out a perfect heart took several tries.
Once the doily's place in my Valentines history was established, the oldest girls went all in.
There was kibbitzing. 
There was posing.
But mostly there was love.

I've been doing this for a dozen years.  Every year is filled with hugs from tweens who look nothing like the kindergarteners I met years ago.  Do you remember me?  What's my name?  I'm terrible with names and faces... especially faces that have matured over the past 9 years.

But they asked about the garden, and they asked how I was doing, and they paid attention to my answers.  They shared memories that made us smile.  We have history together.  

It was a wonderful lunchtime.