The Waiting is the Hardest Part

26 08 2015

I am not a traveler.

Let me rephrase that; I am a militant non-traveler . . . and yet, here I am, in Mexico . . .

after a four hour plane ride, an hour wait for ground transport, an hour in a 12-seat shuttle bus with thirteen other passengers, seventy-five minutes of check-in comedy, and seventeen of my in-laws.

We’re together to celebrate my dear father-in-law’s upcoming 80th birthday, which is the ONLY reason I accepted this challenge to my homebody-ness. I’m told that other folks actually do this – and I shudder as I type this – take vacations – on a regular, like annual, basis. I am dumbfounded.

It’s been eleven hours since we left for the Newark airport and I am finally reunited with my luggage. Whew, I feel some semblance of control re-entering my system.

The resort is lovely – thanks to my generous sister-in-law.

The room is spacious – thanks to my generous sister-in-law.

The booze is free  did I say thanks to my generous sister-in-law?!

Okay. I’ll make the best of it.


Image courtesy of my brother-in-law.

A Brash Suggestion

19 08 2015

8-19 blog

This meme came into my view, this morning, and I – to my own surprise and dismay – found myself compelled to question the Dalai Lama. I know, I know. Who do I think I am? I think I am someone who not only reads the advice and counsel of sages, thinkers, and poets; I consider it.

I originally thought, “Great! This is so true.”

Then, I thought “Sir, I think you have made a mistake.”

Yep, I am criticizing the Dalai Lama.

Before you set fire to my blog, just hear me out, please. I believe that the planet does need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers. I also believe that those ARE the successful people.

Here’s to all you successful, wonderful, kind, funny, compassionate, creative, loving people!

Friendly Fire

12 08 2015

One of the things I’ve noticed, as I have begun to grow up, is the change in my circle of friends. I am not talking about changes caused by the inevitable job transfer or retirement move; I am talking about the selective culling and rebuilding I’ve been doing, without even realizing I was actively doing it.

Upon examination, I see that my friends share a few traits. They are highly ethical. They are kind. They are reliable. They are decent.

They are also smart.

With all those common traits, there are vast differences, too. I’ve come to realize that (by design or accident) my friends have wildly divergent viewpoints on many issues: social, political, ideological, and fluffy. They and I disagree on a lot of things and they disagree amongst themselves.

There was a time when I felt it necessary to be surrounded by friends who shared my ideas about life. To be challenged was too frightening because I was unsure of my position. Now, I realize that being challenged will either lead me to better understand why I hold a given position or it will give me insight into why I might need to modify my stance. This works for me, whether it involves the desirability of the Designated Hitter Rule or the viability of the Affordable Care Act.

My friends make me better and stronger because they’re not just like me.

They make me happy because they just like me.

Top Ten Republican Debate Questions We’d Like to Ask

5 08 2015

I am thrilled and excited to introduce a guest writer for tonight’s post. Without further delay, here, with his thoughts on the upcoming Republican Debate, is Pig Newton.


I,  Pig Newton, would like to ask these questions of the ten contestants on the Pander is Right . . . I’m sorry, the Republican Presidential Debate, tomorrow evening. Forgive my impolite tone, please. I am just a little bit miffed to have been overlooked for the festivities, as I am, in my considered opinion, highly qualified to be center-stage:

I am a white, privileged male, who lives in a gated community and I’m named after two political icons – pork and the Gingrich who stole Washington.

10. Not counting the Second, what’s your favorite Amendment?

9.  Since Planned Parenthood is in jeopardy of being defunded, do we really need a Secretary of Labor?

8.  Has anyone seen Rick Perry . . . oops!

7.  Who was the better president: David Palmer or Jeb Bartlett?

6.  Our twist on the parlor game F*#k, Marry, Kill – Hillary, Bernie, Biden: who would you Tax, Indict, Swiftboat? 

5.  Explain, in the length of a bumper sticker, why Trump’s ahead of you in the polls.

4.  The preceding debate’s been called “The Kids’ Table.” How upset are you that they got the pizza and ice cream?

3.  Of all the world leaders we’ve “helped resign,” who do you miss most?

2.  Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show – great news or Best News EVER?

1.  Education – Yes or No?

BONUS: Match the Campaign Slogan to the Candidate Game

Trump                   El Canadienne

Bush                       School’s Out Forever

Kasich                    The Great Hydrator

Huckabee              Not Your Father’s Wingnut

Christie                  Jesus Take the Wheel (So I can eat this donut)

Carson                   A Breath of Fresh Hair

Walker                   I’m Moderate, Sorry

Cruz                       The Smart Brother

Rubio                     Shut Up and Vote for Me

Paul                       Constitutionally Illiterate


Bonus Question:

Would you like to see a Trump-Palin ticket? What if it were for Wrestlemania?

Thank You

29 07 2015

Thank You

In one very special circumstance, these are difficult words for me to say:

I am not a graceful receiver of gifts.

I’m one of those folks who’s always more comfortable with credits on my side of the ledger.

What? LEDGER? What ledger?

You know the one, the mental scorecard we keep that tracks who bought the last round, who baked the last batch of cookies, who held the door last. It’s a deeply ingrained habit for lots of us, especially those of us who have a whit of control freak (or, perhaps, inferiority complex) in our personalities. We want to be sure we do not take advantage of our friends. Even more, we want to be sure our friends never feel that we might be getting more than we give. It’s always all about us, isn’t it?

Well, no, it’s not. Here’s why.

When someone gives you a gift, it is their intention to do something nice for you because they want to do it. It makes them feel happy. There’s no need for reciprocity. As a matter of fact, if you do try to repay the kindness, you ‘ve completely undone the whole damn thing. It’s a GIFT, not a trade!

Stop keeping score with your friends. Loving acts of kindness and generosity are not so trivial as to be counted and catalogued; they are to be appreciated, period. That is how real friends do it. Give gifts for the joy of giving.  Don’t ruin your experience or your friends’ experience by making it a competition.

This afternoon, my dear friend Erica gave me a gift – two glorious hours of her time. She also gave me this stunning home-grown bouquet.7-29 15

I said, “Thank you,” and she smiled. That’s how you do it.

I’m sixty-one years old and I am learning to get over my gift insecurity. If I can do it, so can you.

Nothing But the Truth

22 07 2015

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Most of us over the age of seven have heard this adage and, for the most part, take it seriously. When it comes to infomercials, “Nigerian princes,” or time-share deals; it’s solid gold. Of course, there are times, when we should suspend our skepticism and just revel in a moment of goodness, even if it may have been embellished or just plain made up, if it lifts our spirit.

If, no matter how cute that Photoshopped squirrel with the purple umbrella in your newsfeed, you can’t let go of your cynicism regarding the “too good” stuff, then I have just one request.

Believe the corollary, too.

If it sounds too awful to be true, check your sources before you believe it – especially before you repeat it.

The truth is the best antidote to the fear-driven, hateful things we’re being bombarded with from our radios, televisions, and social media feeds. Yes. I know there are seriously horrible things going on in the world. No, I don’t think the answer is to pretend they don’t exist. I think we owe it to ourselves and our families and our friends, though, to not add to the awful by recycling invented crap that just pisses us all off.

It’s one thing to give up spell-checking and grammar checking – it’s another to give up on facts.

As President Andrew Jackson said, “It’s a little pitchy, Dawg.”

Tune it up.

P.S.  The squirrel with the tiny purple umbrella is (almost) real!

Golden Years

15 07 2015

Let’s talk about old people.

You know, people in their Golden Years.

Those people whose kids are long grown and gone from their care.

People whose faces display the well-worn paths of Time.

People who, at their age, must spend their days eating soft foods and waiting for the Grim Reaper to come calling for them.

I remember being young and dumb enough to have felt an odd mixture of contempt and pity for retirement-agers . . . now, I am one, but this is NOT about me.

This is about my mother.

My mother redefined Golden Years this week, when she won TWO GOLD MEDALS at the National Senior Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota – Ladies Singles Bowling 85-89 age group and Ladies Doubles Bowling  80-84 age group.

Here are the details, with a nod to Sports Center’s format:

Name: Millie Krauss, a.k.a. Mad Mildred

Height: 5’5”

Weight: 140 lbs.

Age: 85, yes, eighty-five!

Sport: Bowling, right handed, four-step approach.

Equipment: 14.5 lb fingertip bowling ball (Most women half her age are rolling balls that weigh less than 12 lbs.)

Mad Mildred, in her quest for gold,  bowled a total of 21 games over 6 days, averaging over 160 per game. (Average for women across all age groups nationally is about 130!) She bested her nearest competition by 30 pins in singles and, with her partner, 99 pins in doubles.

There are many more awe-inspiring things about my mother than her bowling scores, so that should give you an idea of just how spectacular she is. Even a bad photo, like this one my cousin snapped with her phone, is worth a thousand words. It was taken right after Mad Mildred won her singles event and it shows the kind of spirit that inhabits a body that refuses to acknowledge calendar years; the joy of achieving a goal (Hell, the determination to still set goals); and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Mom won 2

As a public service announcement, I’m warning the Grim Reaper that, if he comes for Millie, he’d better be ready to find her, then catch her, and then be prepared for the fight of his career!



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