Monday, July 31, 2023

Happy Birthday, FlapJilly

Why did you decide to become a pitcher? I asked the birthday girl, a State Champion All Star softball player, a day or two before her Big Day.  

Well, it looked like fun.  (insert big smiles on both sides)

And, it's complicated.  

And I like complicated. 

So that's why.

The kid's mind is so interesting.  

She's got the story of her birth down pat, from her Mama and Gramma planting flowers the day before; to the early back pains; to her first action out of the womb - grabbing her mother's thumb.  

We three shared telling the story, they correcting my so-obvious-to-them errors, all of us smiling and laughing.  She ended with this:

And then I was born. 

And now I'm playing softball. 

The passage of time made clear to all of us.  

It was a moment.  We paused to appreciate that..... then they arrived at the 7-11 for their Slurpees.

They spent 8 hours at the beach on the actual anniversary of her birth. I spent the day remembering every moment of that day,  9 years ago, when she brought her own special joy into the world. 

Happy Birthday,  FlapJilly!!

Friday, July 28, 2023

It's Too Hot For A Coherent Essay On An Important Topic

I did nothing but go from air conditioned space to air conditioned space, and I was exhausted.  

I stopped at the car wash, got out to use the vacuum, and managed to finish the driver's floor mat before I succumbed to the heat.  

I spent 15 minutes at the nursery, pricing plants and soil for the Grandma's Garden grant.  I took one turn around the outdoor space; I felt as desiccated as the seedlings I passed.  The plants agreed with me - it was just too hot to be out in the sun.

Now, we're used to heat.  We're used to prolonged periods of heat. We are used to triple digit temperatures.  We're just not used to all of that without a drop of rain.  It's almost August and we've had one decent storm.  

Last night the ticker below the soccer game (I'll get there eventually, I promise) warned us about the Severe TStorm moving at 15mph right in our direction.  We heard the clouds before they began darkening our world.  It was like being under the hovering destructo machine in Independence Day. 

I put the huge MagLite from our days in Marin (where power outages were not infrequent) on the coffee table and lit all the candles in all the candleholders in all the windows, and, with TBG taking care of the worrying part, We both sat back and watched two shows at once.

The soccer was on the tv and the lightning was out the windows, giant horizontal flashes behind the cloud announcing the oncoming thunder with authority.  Neither TBG nor I thought it would be prudent to step outside and take a photograph.

I started today by asking a Pilates friend if she got any rain beneath the clouds last night.  With the same rueful grin that was on my face, we shook our heads in wonder and despair, similar goose eggs created by our fingers.

The power stayed on.  The electrical storm passed.  I woke up to NPR promoting a conversation about Climate Psychology, the burgeoning field of responding to the despondency produced by our changing physical world.  

I did nothing but go from air conditioned space to air conditioned space, and I was exhausted.... and this is why we got here.  Please don't tell me that the planet isn't changing.  I have grandchildren to consider.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Catching Up in Snippets

Oppenheimer is the best movie I've seen in decades.  

It's everything a movie can and should be.  Each part of the process - cast, script, cinematography, sound - is wonderful.  There are no flaws.  Though some complained that 3 hours is too long, neither TBG nor Not-Kathy nor Dr K nor I felt the need to get up and stretch our legs.

It is riveting.  It's surprising.  It's startling and deep and nuanced.

And don't worry, you won't spend half the film agonizing over Oppenheimer's downfall.  The time-shifting story solves that problem.  It also allows you to dig into the why's. And those why's will stick with you after you've left the theater.

NB: See it in IMAX or 70mm with surround sound.  It was shot in IMAX.  It's a big film, a movie that couldn't be a play.  You deserve to see it at its best.


The NYTimes ran a story about the Folly Tree Arboretum, a "natural museum" curated by an arborist architectTucker Marder, a 33-year-old artist, on five acres of his family’s land in East Hampton, N.Y.

Take a moment and think about the value of his family's land, 5 acres of which is dedicated to his folly.

And folly it is.  Because in addition to the plants he has been gifted or purchased, he's also stolen quite a few cuttings.  And both he and the reporter are very taken with the whole thing:

Mr. Marder drove to the school a few years ago, and (when no one was looking) took a few cuttings.

Taking a cutting does not harm a tree — it’s akin to snipping a lock of hair — nonetheless, there are times when Mr. Marder hasn’t made arrangements with whatever entity is in charge of a tree he’s after, so he will proceed with caution. He often wears a bright yellow utility vest to make him look more official. “Sometimes I just sit in front of the tree in my car for extended periods of time,” he said. “It can be scary, depending on the politics of the place or the tree. You don’t want to be confused for a vandal.”

This past winter Mr. Marder made his move — but after taking his cutting (he declined to say what city and location this particular tree was).....

I'm a garden girl.  I'll go anywhere for a good display.  But the arrogance of this rich kid - how are you not a vandal when you're impersonating a utility worker and taking a piece of someone's property? - has me scratching this one off my list.


A young person of my acquaintance has announced to the world that after 7 years of living a bisexual live, they have now realized that they are pansexual.

I don't care.  I liked her before and I'll like her after.  It's none of my business and I don't know why it should be my business.

I just wonder why she thought the news required an Instagram post.


I'll be back with the Women's World Cup tomorrow..... unless I get distracted again.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

A Strange Day

The morning temperature was in the 90's.  It felt cool.  

I drove to Pilates on empty roads.  School starts next week (?!?!); my guess is that families are sneaking in one last vacation trip. The parking lot was empty, too.  All the prime spaces - close to the door and under the trees - were available.

Pilates practice was perfectly tailored to my needs.  By hip joints were swimming in synovial fluid by the end.  Motion is lotion, one of my physical therapist's bon mots, is as true as it is lovely to say.  I sashayed down the stairs with a friend, pausing to mail a postcard to Giblet, and got into my delightfully shaded car.

Little Cuter says that Giblet squeals every time he gets mail.  I spent the drive home imagining his joy.  

The cleaning ladies were busily at work as I said Hello I'm taking a nap and headed straight to the bed.  A brief phone call and a quick Amazon order later, I was asleep.  Not nap asleep.  Completely, cannot keep my eyes open, body and mind fatigued to the limit asleep.  

Two and a half hours later, I was up and ready to go.  My house was sparkling clean.  I went to the library and now I have 10 books waiting for me.
Some are LARGE PRINT which makes reading in our really-too-dark living room a lot easier.  

Lisa, the manager in the grocery store this afternoon, caught my eye in the way-too-long checkout line. Before I knew it there was a new lane, right next to the one where I was waiting.  I stopped to thank her as I left and got a big smile in return.  

My car was, once again, under a shade tree.  I found an old Mark Kelly for Senate sticker to hold down one edge of my sunshade's Make Trump Lose Again sticker; I admired it as I took off for home.  I got all the groceries and library books inside in one trip, accompanied by the truly awful music TBG's truly wonderful spin instructor plays for his Zoom class.  

I worked on the garden grant, deciding on rakes and secateurs and trowels for the scholars.  My tax dollars at work, I went to the interwebs to update GRIN's website..... and it was gone.

Vanished.  Scuttled.  Disappeared. No where to be found.  Just the dreaded error message, which felt particularly ominous to me.

File not found (404 error)

If you think what you're looking for should be here, please contact the site owner.

I am the site owner.  I've been asking myself all afternoon where it could be.  I paid GoDaddy for something this year.  I know I did and I know I have the records. I also know that I'm comfortable sitting with the transiency of life, knowing that everything has a beginning and an end, feeling at peace with the end of one incarnation and the start of something new.

As I said, it's been a strange day.  I am the last person to take a failure of technology in stride.  My angst starts in my gut and moves through my lungs and heart until it lodges itself firmly in my brain.  It is disproportionately overwhelming.  

And I'm not feeling any of it at all.  I'm just enjoying this day.

Strange.  Strange, indeed. I'm not used to this peace.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

And Then There Was This

I'm still going to write about Oppenheimer and the soccer.  But Sister's morning text sent me reeling.

so much for having some place to run to when the anti-semites come for us again. (sic)

It's possible to be Jewish (or Jew-ish) and in favor of Israel's continuing existence while being revolted by the current political situation.  Gaza and the West Bank and the settlements are morally indefensible.  Greater Israel is literally indefensible.  

Israel does not have a written Constitution.  It has a ruling coalition formed from the gazillion parties on every millimeter of the spectrum which make up the Knesset.  To call them far-right is barely extreme enough.  They are led by an indicted autocrat with a big mouth and a bigger ego.  And now their Supreme Court has been disemboweled.

The people have taken to the streets.  The pilots are refusing to show up for Reserve Duty.

The notion that there is a haven from anti-Semitism, a place that has to take me in if the rest of the world comes a-calling, has always been a comfort for me. 

Up until now.

Monday, July 24, 2023

He Came, He Saw, He Conquered

There is so much to write about - Oppenheimer and USA Women's Soccer and grandkids' accomplishments (from holding a rattle to riding without training wheels).  But I have to finish what I started back in June

After 4 attempts to get the replacement Comcast box delivered to my home, I went to the store itself, brought it home, and couldn't do a thing with it.  The tech was to come on Sunday morning, between 8-10.  He was here the whole time.

He rang the doorbell at 8:01, a tall, laconic, middle aged gentleman with an inscrutable demeanor.  Neither TBG nor I could get 2 words out of him.  He looked at the tv.  He looked at the boxes.  He asked for a step stool to reach the control panel high up in the corner of a closet.  He wandered around the outside of the property; I saw him following the fiber optic line around to the open space behind our house.  He was gone for a long time.

He spent a great deal of time on his phone, comparing readings with standards and checking for updates and doing whatever else these guys do with their electronics.  It's all a mystery to me.  That's why I asked for a technician to come and fix things.

He worked on the internet.  He worked on the 2nd tv.  He replaced cables and wires and connectors, some of which were frayed and split and useless.  We haven't ever lived in a house long enough to have the cable wires fray.

When he turned on the television, the difference was striking.  The picture is brighter and clearer.  The edges are sharper. Our joy must have unlocked something in him, because all of a sudden he was Chatty Cathy, explaining what he'd done, what had been worn down, what he replaced, and, checking to be sure that I had the insurance plan (we do) he said there was no charge, shook our hands, and left.

Two hours.  Two months.  Whatever.  It's fixed until they decide it needs another upgrade.  

My work here is done.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Joy from USDA and Grandma's Garden

I once had a grant for Grandma's Garden from the Department of Agriculture, through COoperative Extension here in Tucson.  I'm now filling out an application for another grant, just as wonderful as the first one.

I can look on Amazon and copy and paste exactly what I want into the form.  Everything I buy has to be in service of nutrition.  Luckily,  I've trained the scholar gardeners well.  They now routinely ask if I'll cut them some salad.  It will be a pleasure to buy starts of all kinds of lettuce, of Romanesco broccoli, of scallions, and of stevia, which the kids like most of all.

What makes me happiest about all of this, after I get over thinking about the fun we're going to have in the garden with our new tools and soil and plants, is that I'm getting tangible returns from my tax dollars.  I share the roads and the common defense with every other American, but these supplies are just for us.  

I'd be spending my own dollars, or donor dollars, on this.  

Instead, I'm getting some of my own back.  

It feels great.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Just Plug This In Here....

TBG and I decided to put the whole Comcast/Xfinity cable box upgrade on hold for a while.  Our tv was still our tv, all our shows were viewable, and what we'd saved was still saved.  He was satisfied, and as the primary viewer in the household, that was enough for me.  

I'd like to finish watching Ozark, but Netflix is on my laptop so I wouldn't really care if the tv sets suddenly vanished into thin air.  Not so my husband, who saw a message reminding him to replace the boxes or else.  He couldn't remember what it said exactly, but that it was enough to make him sigh and say it was time to move on. 

I drove past the big building with the big COMCAST sign on the big road through town today and took action into my own hands.  I drove around the parking lot several times.  I followed all the signs that said COMCAST.  Everything led to Employees Only signs.  Sometimes those were accompanied by NO TRESPASSING signs.  I could not find an outer door;  I made a u-turn and drove around the front again, just to make sure. 

This was not a friendly, welcoming environment.  I opened Google Maps and found an Xfinity store 1.1 miles away.  I walked in, was greeted, waited less than a minute, and was at a table with Justin, a delightful young man who listened to my tale of woe and nodded sympathetically as I ended with I want someone to come to my house and install it and I don't want to pay for it because I am old and I've tried 4 times and I'm just done.  I was smiling and Justin was smiling and even his manager was smiling when he came over while making his rounds.  

The manager left a new box on the counter.  Justin looked, smiled, picked it up and went back to the store room and brought me the correct device.  I just kept smiling as he unpacked and plugged in and secured a small pin in an even smaller hole.  Just plug this into the wall and this into the back of the tv and you're good to go.

I don't usually go into places like this without one of my children.  There were words and phrases I'd heard before but couldn't pick out of an electronic line-up.  I smiled, took my bag of goodies

and drove home.

TBG couldn't believe I was going to do it myself, but I was confident and smiling..... until I turned the old box around and saw many more wires going in than there were holes in the new device I was holding.

I spent half an hour or so with Sheik, chatting by typing as he helped me make an appointment.  By the time he was able to connect to the proper people and secure Saturday between 10 and noon for me, I wrote to a Chicago friend and admired my newly manicured front yard out the window.  

I'm still smiling.  I'm going to be smiling when the tech comes and smiling when I plead my case for a free home installation of something that was supposed to be just plug this in here......

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

It Rained

The entire month of June was dry.  That's not how it's supposed to be.

Half of July passed, and still there was no precipitation.  Things were beginning to look dire.  My two year old desert willow was becoming unmoored from its home.  Animals had taken up residence beneath its root ball, as evidenced by the multitude of holes dug around the tree line.  Without sufficient rainfall, the tender new roots were shriveling up.  The upper branches were still green, but the leaves were brown.  If I could reach them I'd pluck them off; I do not like dead foliage trying to draw nutrients they don't need.

The leaves are the little engines that could.  They are the factory that changes sunlight and CO2 into oxygen and sugars to fuel the planet and the plant.  Without them, there's not much that the branches and the trunk can do.  My newbie was struggling, mightily.

But yesterday afternoon, the 40% chance of rain was moving closer and closer to actual clouds overhead.  They were big and dark and accompanied by fierce winds.  Hours passed.  The wind kept blowing, tossing the eucalyptus bark from the neighbor's tree to fill my pool and my yard and my roof with detritus.  

How do I know it landed on the roof?  When the heavens opened and dumped a torrential downpour, large hunks of eucalyptus bark came flying out of the rooftop scuppers.  The water was fire hose powerful.  The wind stopped and the rain fell straight from the sky.

I was on the phone with my littlest grandkid, Honey Bunny.  Her mom props the phone in front of her face and we video chat.  She talks more to Grampa than to me, but I am rarely at a loss for words so it's all fine. When the rain started I must have yelped in surprise because I was rewarded with what I think of as her Confusion Face.

There's a lot that's new when you're 3 months old.  Watching your grandmother cavorting in the rain was certainly a novel experience.  I danced and gave thanks to whatever deity sought fit to send us wter from the sky.  The baby watched carefully.  

I was in heaven.  Walking around outside when the rain stopped, TBG and I reveled in the ionized air.  He's not crazy about the smell of the creosote bushes that exhale after it rains, but I can't inhale enough of it. Once I was done, I went inside and did my allergy inhaler.  There is, apparently, too much of a good thing.

 Some of the plants were still perky this afternoon, surviving triple digits once again, ever thankful for whatever moisture nature decides to send.  The temps are still much too high, and there's not much hope for more rain this week, but I'm holding the memory of dancing in the rain - it's all I have left.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

A Laundry Disastrophe

It all started with the table.
It was our first dining room table, bought in Chicago in the 1970's.  It has leaves that pull out from each end, making it perfect for small gatherings and seders, too.  It retained its original glory until Big Cuter began eating at the table.  I'd prop his sassy seat at one end and shovel food into his mouth with reckless abandon.

Once he began to feed himself, table manners were the last things on my mind.  He was happy spreading his oatmeal or spaghetti around on the table before finding his mouth.  Place mats were just one more thing to wash; they were easy to do without.

Then, one day, I looked at the table.  Half of it was shiny and bright.  The other half was distressed.  We'd finished the finish.

With the legs taken off, the table sat in storage for years and years.  TBG periodically asking me why we were keeping it did nothing to make me want to give it away.  Far from it.  It made me love the thing even more.  So, when The Cornell crew came for brunch last month, it seemed appropriate to drag it out and open it up on the patio.

Covered with a tablecloth, it looked just fine.  But then I found the unopened container of Johnson's Paste Wax and decided to remedy years of neglect.  I took two small microfiber rags and went wax on/wax off along the grain.

Then I washed the rags.  I put them in with clothes.

Do not do that.  It is a really bad idea.  

According to the interwebs, the only way to keep the rags from smelling up the house after using them for that purpose is to put them in a plastic bag.  No one mentions cleansing the rags.  My guess is that they are one use and dispose of items.  I wish I had thought of that before I put them in with my favorite t shirts and towels.

I washed and dried them and tried to fold them but the stink was overwhelming.  I put them back in the washer.  And back in the washer.  And back in the washer several more times.  Sometimes on hot, sometimes on cold, sometimes using the Sanitizing setting just because it was there.  There was no change.  

I filled a bathtub with detergent and baking soda and vinegar and swooshed them around for a while in that solution.  The stink now had an unmistakable salad dressing vibe along with the wax.

Drying them didn't work, either.  It didn't seem to set the smell any more, but it didn't make it go away.  One quick sniff told me that.

Back to the interwebs, after the fact, I found that no one in the recorded history of electronic sharing of information has ever asked that question before.  How to get paste wax smell out of clothes is just something no one but I seems to wonder about.

I began reading related articles, the ones with clothes in the search description.  SOmeone had smelly shiny cabinetry; the problem solver suggested sunlight to help degass  them.  FQE Chemicals says  “(d)egassing,” a term frequently used in the petroleum processing and production industries, is the process of evacuating hazardous vapors from the interior of processing vessels and piping.

I was unsure if cloth and processing vessels were similar enough, but I was out of options. I loaded into the laundry cart and draped them across the lawn furniture.
After spending time adjusting them for full effect, and picking up the ones that blew off, I am happy to report that the experiment was a success.  Sunlight was the answer. 

I've been sniffing them and they smell fine, but I'm going to let them soak up the rays for the rest of the afternoon.  I want them thoroughly degassed.

I love it when nature solves my problems.  I'm not so thrilled with myself for getting into this situation in the first place.  I have no answer to TBG's plaintive query: Why would you do that??

Monday, July 17, 2023

A Lazy Day

Five years ago this weekend, I was hanging out with Flapilly while her Mommy and Daddy were at the hospital, pushing out her baby brother.  We slept in the king size guest bed, which didn't prevent her from flinging her foot into my face.  She doesn't remember it, but knows it as a foundational story, along with brownies with whipped cream and sprinkles for breakfast.

Little Cuter texted from the softball tournament weekend that the rain outs and the 10pm games were all part of the core memories her family was making.  Giblet's startled Holy Shit that was fast as the 100 mile an hour fast ball hurtled into the padding between them at the Louisville Slugger museum is part and parcel of that memory, as much as his big sister's exploits on the field.

Arguing while playing mini-golf, Camp Mom, cheese-and-cheerios sandwiches - that's what come to mind without much thought at all.  There are phrases we say, people we laugh about, memories we share.

It's been too hot to do anything outside lately.  Instead, I've been on the couch, thinking about the past.  Taos Bubbe called it a lazy day.  If it doesn't rain soon, I'm likely to have a lot more of them.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Linda McCartney's Phtographs

Dr K and Not- Kathy came with TBG and me to the Center for Creative Photography's Linda McCartney Retrospective this afternoon.

Thanks to their brilliant parking directions, we ended up right by the steps down to the undulating ramp  beneath Speedway (which is as busy a street as its name implies) which deposited us at the entry to the U of A's repository of all things photographic.  The exhibition space began with the donation by Ansel Adams of his own collection of his works, a sneaky deal with the legislature securing the $300,000 needed to create the building, and all of a sudden Tucson was the place to be if you were looking for a venue to venerate your work.

This summer's exhibit is curated by her family, and the hagiographic accompanying notes are proof of that.  The notes further annoyed by identifying and contextualizing Simon and Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Collins, Eric Clapton and Cream. Icons of my youth are now history.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

He portraits of rock stars are evidence of the access she had -  as an office assistant at Town and Country, she grabbed an unwanted invitation to a cruise on the Hudson with the Rolling Stones, took some photos and sold them that afternoon.  She captures relaxed moments, up close and personal, some revelatory, some blank.  TBG thought Yoko Ono was concealed.  We all noticed that John Lennon never smiled.  We laughed at the candid of their young son balancing a tube of breadsticks on his upper lip while sitting alone at an elegantly set table.

Some of them stuck with me.  The pictures Paul took of her spoke to me just a little bit more.  The collection was collated by Linda's family; I'm  enjoying thinking that they saw her in these photos they've shared. 

I liked the history lesson. But as far as the actual photography goes, I think Little Cuter is better.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Happy Birthday, Giblet

You were a pudgy little baby who's turned into a kid with no hips to hold up the elastic wait pajama pants that are your favorite things to wear.

You ask more questions in less time than any human on the planet, which both exhausts and delights your parents.  You often want to call Gramma and Grampa to share a piece of news.  When the news is shared you smile and say That's All and walk away.  The information was imparted, what else was there to do.

You didn't like the feeling of wet bathing suits; there are many adorable-but-not-shareable pictures of you after the birthday party guests had left, naked as a jay bird, and happy as a clam. Having a July birthday means you get to play on the slip-n-slide and the blow up waterfall castle and the big-kiddie pool and the swing and the motorized Jeep and Mustang.... all the things your Mom and Dad have provided, since Pandemica, for fun.

It's a nice life, kiddo, surrounded by stuffies and soft blankets galore.  You've got all the fresh fruit you desire - strawberries and mangoes and apples and strawberries and did I mention strawberries and don't forget the red grapes.  

You are loved.  A lot.  Happy turning 5 years old today.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Where A Rant

Where are the grownups over there?

The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has a very full calendar this summer.  If he thought he was busy when Dr Fauci wanted to talk to him about the Pandemic, he's going to be really surprised when he finds all those court date taking up his time.

It is stunning to me that millions of people are willing to put him back in office.  

Reality Winner spent years in prison for revealing one report, a report detailing Russian interference in our election.  The lying liar took battle plans.

He took a lot more, too.  He took the country to the brink of disaster.  And he's the front runner for the Republican nomination.

Is there no one but Chris Christie who is willing to offer an alternative to a twice impeached, twice indicted, lying liar?  I cannot imagine what the debate is going to be like.  

There must be a principled argument against Bidenomics.  There must be someone on the other side of the Democrat's notion of foreign policy who can frame a coherent sentence.  The lying liar certainly can't come up with either one of those, of that I am certain.  

Where are the grown ups?  

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

American Food - Random Thoughts

A commercial for Stouffers' lasagna brought me right back to raising and educating my kids.  

There were very few occasions where heating up one or two or three of those 9x11 aluminum foil pans was inappropriate.  With a Farmer's Market salad and loaves of garlic bread on the counter, lacrosse players and soccer players and PTA moms and classrooms and teachers all were feted and none went away unhappy.

We have a new favorite burger place.  I cruise the menu, but TBG is faithful to the Classic Burger.  It is adorned with American cheese.  

I do not understand American cheese.  It impresses me as being a conglomeration of chemicals pressed flat and wrapped in more chemicals sealed together with more chemicals.  

It doesn't feel like food to me.  
My ultimate American food moment came in the kitchen of our Chicago house.  

The Cuters were 5 and 3, sitting at the table, waiting for lunch, before he went to afternoon kindergarten and she took a nap. 

They were snacking on little American cheese and Cheerios sandwiches.  I was heating up Spaghetti-O's.

I felt like a commercial.
If the docents at Tucson's birthplace garden are to be believed, real American foods are squash and beans and corn - the Three Sisters.  

Planted together, the beans grow up and through the corn which shields the squash below whose vround hugging vines keep the soil cool and moisture from evaporating into the hot desert sun.  .

I eat those foods, too.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Say What????

 ‘Woke’ is defined as a gift to persons of different complicated matters that when transcribed into the local pedigree of those of a system that is not full of a computation of elements affecting the underlying commitment to bringing about that which is paramount within the psyche to conflagrate those into an aberration of ones self-realization to covet that which when realized is pointed out to be that which can be remitted in a near feeling of being ones’ own self which when projected will allow others to find their true wokeness.

David ben Avram


Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.


That is a letter to the editor printed in the Arizona Daily Star this morning.  I have no idea what it means.  
I've read it half a dozen times, including just now as I copied it into this post.  I read it aloud to TBG until he begged me to STOP because I don't understand a single word you are saying.
I sat next to him, watching the LPGA,  concentrating on the California coastline more than the athletes, and tried to make sense of any part of it.
It's hard to parse it, because it's all one sentence.  I flash back to college and R D Laing's Politics of Experience, whose first page includes gems such as this: 
"My experience of you" is just another form of words for "you-as-l-experience-you", and "your experience of me" equals "me-as-you-experience-me". Your experience of me is not inside you and my experience of you is not inside me, but your experience of me is invisible to me and my experience of you is invisible to you.

That actually does make sense, if you take your time with it, but as a freshman psych major all I could do was laugh.  

At least Laing used punctuation. 

I know that the Star has been trying to prove that it will publish letters from a wide variety of viewpoints.  I hope that the rambling-without-making-much-sense subgroup is mollified.  I, for one, am appalled that this is the fate of local journalism.

Friday, July 7, 2023

An Entirely New Thought

Queen T brought it up.  I can honestly say that the thought had never crossed my mind; if it did, it didn't make any impression at all.  That it might have been discussed and I don't remember it is improbable.  As I said this afternoon on the video chat, My head was exploding.

We were discussing the beautiful baby she calls her own, a child named for the earth and the sky.  Her mother grew up in an SSR; she has no religious traditions to speak of.  (In Ukraine, the day on which one chose to celebrate Christ's birth last year was a political statement. )  She has embraced my son's cultural Judaism with enthusiasm and introspection.  

They want the baby to have a Hebrew name.  She asked if her husband had a Hebrew name.  I couldn't answer.  The thought had never occurred to me.  I couldn't believe the thought had never occurred to me.  How was is possible that 40 years after his birth I had never considered the fact that her husband had no Hebrew name.  Not only that, neither TBG nor I had ever considered that one way or the other.... not that either of us would have been opposed one from being given.  We just didn't think about it.

As I said, my head exploded.  

I went back to the genealogical album G'ma created.  It's filled with sepia photos of relatives she knew, some of whom I knew, and of those who died, of cholera or in the Warsaw Ghetto, before they could say hello.  Each of them has a Hebrew name, some echoing TBG's very Protestant, American heritage.  I have a Golde and he has a Golda, and they are just a generation apart.

I'm going to enjoy this new naming opportunity.  I'm not imposing (!).  I was asked to help.

But before I start in on their kid, I'm going to spend a few more minutes wondering why I didn't do the same for my own.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Is This Really Necessary?

At our 4th of July celebration yesterday, I was introduced to the notion of a piston powered golf ball.

After a nice long laugh about exploding club heads and volatile golf balls they were able to explain the concept to me.  

Apparently, lining up the club and the ball and the hole is the secret to success.  Most people lose that connection on the down stroke.  They lose power, they tilt the club, they yank it one way or the other, all while trying to connect with an object that doesn't move.

This handy dandy, $1100 gizmo solves all that.  You figure out your line, put the club head in position, and push a button.


For courses that eschew carts, this presents a whole new dimension in assisted golf.  

Or, is it AI taking over the golf world?  Will we need our bodies any more?

The whole thing seems fairly ridiculous to me, except as an adaptive device in rehab.

Isn't the whole point of sports to move?.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Another Anniversary

It was a beautiful day.  She was surrounded by family, on a blanket next to the parade's viewing stand, perfectly situated so that they wouldn't miss a thing.

Then the bullets started flying.

She is a friend from our Chicago days.  She is having her moment in the spotlight, as the one year anniversary of the devastating injury that's up-ended her life throws yet another spotlight on yet another human tragedy.

Someone on NPR made a point this morning, one I've been mulling over all afternoon.  It brought me back to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, where he hopes that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth.

If we are a government of the people and for the people then why are 8 mass shootings in two days still a thing that happens?  Seems that the people, 70 or 80 percent or more, want sensible gun legislation - that's the of the people and for the people part.   But that whole by the people thing needs some work, don't you agree?  

The people who are writing the laws and making the rulings don't seem to have incorporated the for the people part into their decisions.  

So we go back to where it all starts - in the voting booth.  I'm stocking up on pre-stamped postcards before the rates go up on Sunday; I'll be sending Get Out The Vote reminders as the requests from organizers come in.  I'll be sure to share the links when they arrive.  

After all, we have to do something.  This situation is just untenable.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

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 always 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. 

Wearing my red white and blue tie dye - the dress, the tank top, the even bigger tank top - as I go through my day, bringing red and blue berries with whipped cream to the new next door neighbors who've invited us for late afternoon snacks, I'll be remembering what we always did.   

Happy 4th of July, denizens!  Let us live to continue to protect and create a more perfect union.

Monday, July 3, 2023

This World

Blasting affirmative action but leaving legacy admissions in place is probably not the best way to reduce the lingering effects of systemic racism.  Then, again, my guess is most of the justices haven't read the book.

Here's a long but relevant passage, from page 437

In the 1970's newly emergent "conservatives" as they self-identified, broke from the liberal past/future refrain that the nation still had a ways to go.  They pointed to the legislative gains of the preceding decades to claim that the nation had arrived; Black people in the here and now were no longer facing racism  Conservatives framed supporters of affirmative action as "hard-core racists of reverse discrimination" against while people, as Yale Law professor Robert Bork claimed in 1978.

Let's not address the wealthy parents who endow a building or donate to the athletic department to aid and abet their applicants.  The Cuters went to school with those parents.  It felt just as unfair as the letters other kids received, urging them to apply.

In 2001, the year Big Cuter was applying to college, white people became a minority in California.  My son wondered if he could apply as a minority now.

I never thought of myself as white.  I was Jewish.  One of our family's foundational bits of knowledge was that Daddooooo's youngest brother was one of the four Jews admitted to MIT, getting in despite the quota.

It's never seemed like a good idea to me, but I can't come up with a better one.  

I always tell the applicants I speak to about Cornell that what you study is less important than who you meet.  Expand your horizons.  Learn something new.  Join something weird.  Make different friends.

It helps if there are enough differences in the student body so that everyone has a chance to make a different friend.  The Supreme Court seems to disagree.