Bippity Boppity Who?

16 01 2019

My sister and I are an unusual pair.

One of us looks like Mom and the other looks like Dad.

One of us is a Republican and the other is a Democrat.

One of us married Prince Charming

Prince Charming, 1981 . . . he’s still pretty handsome, today,

The other married The Beast.

The Beast, about 1983 . . . now almost fully domesticated.

Both of us, though, are delighted to be sisters. We feel very lucky to love each other as family and respect each other as women. We are also both very smug that we married heroes without a whit of help from any fairy godmothers!

Can you tell which of us, over 30 years ago, channeled our inner Cinderella and who was Belle? At our age, we look more like we might be handing out poison apples!
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Can You Hear Me Now?

9 01 2019

Oh, boy!  This is a tough one.

As hard as I try to be clear in my communications, there are times when folks just miss my point.  That can lead to unnecessarily hurt feelings or uncontrollable giggling. While I do enjoy a good laugh, I am always embarrassed and frustrated by my failure to get an idea out of my head, through my mouth, and into another’s ears without having it garbled in the transmission.

This morning, I listened to Michael Strahan’s conversation with Kevin Hart.  I was hoping Hart would make amends to the LGBTQ community and folks who support them in a more concrete (contrite) way than he has done.  His demeanor frustrated me because I want to like the guy – I did like the guy.

Then, I wondered what exactly he means when he says “I’m over it.” Is he saying he does not care whether or not people think he’s a bigot?  I don’t think that’s the case.  What if he means, as I picked up in one snippet of the conversation, that he knows he has grown as a person; the way he lives his life is the evidence of his contrition; and he’s just tired of having to try again and again to un-ring a bell that he sounded years ago?

What if he means “If you can’t forgive me, why should I keep trying to apologize?”

I still wish the very entertaining and very funny Mr. Hart would have chosen a different way to express himself on the issue of LGBTQ. I am still a little (okay, maybe a lot) uneasy about his bristliness on the subject. That said, I think that listening to him and Strahan this morning has served a valuable purpose for me.  I am going to try very hard to hear what people mean, instead of getting quite so hung up on how they speak.

I know that words are our weapons of choice right now. I will not oversimplify life to the old “Sticks and Stones” adage of our playground days, but, for me, it’s time to stop jumping on one soundbite, one quote, one ill-chosen adjective without trying to hear the whole idea of a thing.  I found myself taking what I now see was the easy way out, tuning out ideas that were not presented with language that felt good to my ears.  It’s time for me to stop being so lazy.

I will try hard to say what I mean.  I will try equally hard to hear what you mean.

Listen up!  I am.

My handsome dad in the 1960s. He never had trouble making his voice heard.




Hey Nineteen

2 01 2019

For some reason, when I looked at the new year, 2019, my brain decided to torture me by thinking “Hey, remember when we were nineteen?”

When I was 19, there was no red-eye correction. There was angst.

Try as I might to NOT remember, and I am quite old enough to be forgetful about many things, I do recall 1973. I’d be embarrassed to admit to the many stupid things I did that year, except that they brought me to this ’19.

So, let’s talk about my 19 and this ’19. Be careful if you consider making a similar inquiry . . .

When I was 19, Badlands, a film based on a true serial killer was in movie theaters.  In ’19, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a film based on a true serial killer will be in movie theaters.

When I was 19, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. In ’19, the Supreme Court may re-decide Roe v. Wade.

When I was 19, the top selling album was Harvest by Neil Young. In ’19,  Neil Young will release new-to-the-public songs (and he still whines.)

When I was 19, Billie Jean King played against Bobby Riggs in a heavily
rigged (no pun intended) tennis match, to give “the fairer sex” some distinct advantages . . . Billie Jean “won.” In ’19, Serena Williams and Roger Federer faced off (with doubles partners) for real. Serena and her partner lost, but she gave Federer a fair fight.

When I was 19, President Gerald Ford  said, “It’s the quality of the ordinary, the straight, the square, that accounts for the great stability and success of our nation. It’s a quality to be proud of. But it’s a quality that many people seem to have neglected.”  

In ’19, our current President tweeted “HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!”

When I was 19, there was a President who was being investigated by a Special Prosecutor.

In ’19 there is a President who is being investigated by a Special Counsel.

Either everything old is new again, or we are truly unable to learn from our past. I fear, if my report card is any indicator, we might be doomed to repeat this grade. I think it’s time for some extra credit homework from all of us.

No red-eye – and no angst – in ’19, but there ARE wrinkles.




Well, I’m Glad That’s (Almost) Over!

26 12 2018
Cause for more than a few holiday woes . . . but they’re honey and fig and raisin and walnut and almond and orange and brandy and . . . we’ll diet next week!

Does anyone else feel like the space between Christmas and the New Year is just a whole week of weird?  Our houses are wastelands of gift wrap, tinsel, pine needles, and cookie crumbs. We are uncomfortable in clothes that fit just fine a few weeks ago.  We need to restore some order to our lives, but

Not

Just

Yet . . .

We have to endure this final week of the year with all its reminiscences, recriminations, returning of atrocious gifts, and resolutions.  I feel like my feet alternate between hovering about six inches above the ground and mired in it up to my ankles.  I’m telling you, it’s just a weird week.

I think the real reason this “not quite over” week irks me is that it is the ending of the year and endings are always melancholy.  What, exactly is ending, though? The “8” at the end of the calendar – nothing more, really. When that’s replaced next week by a nine, my home will still be home, friends still friends, and family still crazy. How silly of me to let this man-made time accounting system affect my mood.  It’s just another few twirls of the globe, so let’s dance through it and into 2019!

Whether it was a two thousand meh-teen or two thousand GREAT-teen – and I believe 2018 was more good than bad – I hope you feel as I do – grateful to have had this year and excited to start a fresh new one! 

Happy 2019!





Ghosts of Christmas Past

19 12 2018

In a 2010 article, psychologist Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. wrote that “nostalgia is a longing for circumstances that no longer exist or have never existed. Nostalgia has a utopian dimension due to the considerable role that imagination plays in it.” 

Holiday nostalgia has folks in my town wishing there were photos of the Christmas lights that a man who lived just  a few miles away would put up every  year. Mr. Lerew had decorations that NO ONE else even thought about having back then, much less, having so many in one place.

I don’t need pictures.

I remember the Santa in the chimney and the spinning artificial trees on the roof; the snowmen on the giant ferris wheel, the choir coming out and retreating into the church, the reindeer on the big merry-go-round, and the sleigh, and the lights – oh, my!  the lights – on every straight edge of the house, the garage, the lamp post, and every tree growing in the yard! 

In my mind, there has never been and will never be a display to come close to this one . . . and as long as there’s no photo to show me just how small the ferris wheel really was, how much better the new LED displays are in comparison, and no recording to let me hear the poor sound quality of the scratchy Christmas records playing through their loudspeakers, it will remain 100% one of my favorite Christmas memories. I wouldn’t trade that for a Santa sack full of Facebook shares!

This season brings out the “remember when” in all of us, the “life was better when” stories. Of all the things I miss about my childhood, of all the wonderful experiences I am sorry younger people will never have, this is the biggest – the feeling of remembering in my own context . If I’d had a cell phone in 1964 it would not be possible. As it is, my memories are not digital; they are rose-colored.

This Christmas, I wish you all

Moments lived in them, not viewed through the screen,

Food savored and shared, not Instagram seen

Old text read aloud to the children’s delight,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night.

Piggy Stardust
Rebel





If You Can’t Run with the Big Dogs

12 12 2018

A few decades ago, I, like most of my peers, was struggling to climb the corporate ladder. It was a common goal for almost everyone I knew. We judged our self-worth by our paychecks. We were our job titles.  We strived to be the lead dog, but the majority of us found ourselves somewhere in the pack, which meant we were dealing with a lot of a$$holes ahead of us.

Now, in my retirement, I see that even the lead dog is in the harness. 

I don’t believe there is anything wrong in wanting to climb the corporate ladder IF that is what makes you happy.  If you are not fond of heights or unsure footing, though, why put yourself through that? Sometimes the view from beneath a tree is as lovely as one from a summit.

If you want to run with the big dogs, that’s okay.  I’m fine on the porch, visiting one.

This is Gabriel, a real BIG DOG- eighty pounds of gentle heart. He keeps me company in my massage therapist’s office.




All I Want for Christmas

5 12 2018

This holiday will be my sixty-fourth Christmas.  That’s a lot of Christmas lists! I’ve had lists for Santa that have included a rocking horse, a Betsy Wetsy doll, a Ouija board, roller skates, Beatles records, a piano, Wishniks, and, and, and, and . . .

Even though I still want to believe in Santa Claus, I no longer have a long list of “I wants” for the holidays.  I just want one thing this year. I want peopleto be nice to each other.  

I realize this is not an easily fulfilled wish. There’s a lot of not-niceness swirling around in the world.  It will only get better if we all try harder to be nice. I know I am not nearly as nice to others as I should be, but I am really making a conscious effort to do better. If I can be nicer, I believe anybody can do it.

I’m tired of playing the “choose a side” game in every aspect of my life.  To live in the constant agitation of being for or against everything; to always feel the need to defend or attack; to view the way in which people relate to every event, large or small, as either an affront or affirmation is just exhausting.  I am not playing anymore. 

It’s time for a new game. Let’s play nice.

Santa’s watching.

The Elf, Himself, brought to life by my talented sculptor friend Diane. http://troutmanoriginals.com/