Building an Ark?

This morning we woke up in the Palmetto State. This trip to the Isle of Palms was planned months ago. Before surgery, before the thousand year biblical flood and dams breaking everywhere. Before we knew what we were made of. 

We passed fields of cotton in standing water, like white cranberry bogs. We passed lots of roadside gun shops. And because the Intestate was closed, we passed iconic small towns on two lane highways. I was tempted to go into a Lifeway Christian Store, maybe thay had a small model of Noah’s ark we could borrow?

But Bob brought along every navigational device known to man. He downloaded WAZE in order to be on point with crowd-sourcing traffic/flooding detours. I wonder if future generations will know what to do with a map?

We are no strangers to flooding; we moved to our mountain from the Jersey Shore and watched our tiny river swell its banks and invade our cars. We knew to watch the cycle of the moon and the tides. But what we didn’t know was how floods happen inland, and we didn’t know about Climate Change. We know now. 

Wish us luck, we have another 150 miles to go before we reach the ocean. Driving toward muddy flood waters wasn’t what I had in mind for this short vacation with the grandbabies. 

The sun is out and this is not a Bruce Willis movie. Still I wonder when the Waccamaw River will crest? Maybe we should fly?


Man Baggage

We’ve been visiting doctors lately. One gentlemanly Southern doctor in a bow tie plopped his black Doctor’s Bag down on the desk and introduced himself. He was young, meaning maybe 30 something, and I was surprised enough to mention his old-school bag. 

He pulled out the tools of his trade and did the most complete physical exam I’d ever seen in my life. Lots of hammering for reflex checks. Lots of listening via stethoscope. 

I’m not sure Bob ever carried a doctor bag per se. He always carried an old fashioned, beat up brown leather briefcase. Not as snazzy as DeNiro’s vintage case in The Intern, but just as efficient.

Bob carried lots of paper back in the day since he’s been an ED director for much of his working life. He remembers when he could no longer find his Mad Men briefcase in any store after using and abusing the original till it fell apart. That, he tells me, was a sad pre-Internet time! 

Today, in a small black duffle bag you’d find his iPad. The stethoscope still holds a place of prominence, but so does a Mophi for charging devices. This old duffle is getting threadbare. I asked him what most young doctors are carrying these days, and he told me backpacks. 

I was all set to get Bob a backpack – something with gravitas if possible – when we saw DeNiro pull his calculator out of his briefcase, right before trying to turn on his laptop. I laughed, didn’t he know there’s a calculator in his phone? Then I saw his flip phone. Later in the film, one of his younger colleagues found a sweet ancient briefcase on eBay.

So now I’m all about that Google search for a new briefcase. I know some hipsters carry old WWII messenger bags slung across their chests. And obviously some young docs have kept the mystique of the Doctor’s Bag alive, but there’s just something very 007 about the standard leather briefcase with a nice lock under the handle. Don’t you agree?   

Notice the handsome Darth Vader neck brace and the minimalist desk. Notice the body posture. Welcome back Doc!


“We’re gonna have a good time!” Even though it’s not a “special” birthday, marking a decade or anything, it’s nice to know I’ve made it through another year on the mountain. As Bob would always say, “It’s better than the alternative,” meaning I could have had a funeral. Nothing like an ER doctor to put things into perspective.

According to Native American culture, I was born during the Duck Fly Moon. And last night, unfortunately, we missed seeing the total eclipse of the moon in VA due to a stack of clouds. Amazing pictures have been scrolling across my Facebook feed, along with birthday greetings from friends near and far. Sometimes I just shake my head at political commentary, or shrug about people sharing TMI, but sometimes you just gotta love social media!

Today we plan on going to the movies to see Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in “The Intern.” People are raving about it, even my brother, Dr Jim, told us it’s a good take on aging. He said when some HR person asks DeNiro, the new intern, where he sees himself in ten years, and the answer is, “You mean when I’m 80?” his expression is priceless.

We could use a good laugh. And to be honest, I don’t see myself on this mountain for another ten years. I reluctantly moved South to be closer to the Bride, but she’s working on her career in Nashville while the Groom’s interviewing all over the country. Who knows where they will settle; and the Rocker and Ms Cait? I’m pretty sure they will be West Coasters for the foreseeable future. It’s time Bob really thought about retirement, and it’s time we thought about our Golden Years.

When we are no longer driving, I’d like to live in a walkable neighborhood. We know only too well how circumstances can change. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the serenity and the views from my aviary, I know we have another move left in us. But for today, I’ll eat some cake and think about all that tomorrow.

Sunset on the Porch

Sunset on the Porch

Bet you thought I was going to write about the Pope? Nope. Don’t get me wrong or anything, but once a lapsed Catholic, always a bit of a doubter. Humility was driven into us in Catholic school, and you know who you are my fellow Sacred Heart peeps. It’s nice to see a Pope who practices the Catechism we were taught in the 1950s.

Anyway, today is the highest and holiest day of the Jewish Year, Yom Kippur. It’s a day to ask our family and friends for forgiveness, and to cover all bases, we ask God to forgive even those things we may have forgotten to ask him/her about! It’s also a fast day – meaning Jews everywhere are starving! It’s the one day in the year a Jewish mother won’t ask you, “Did you eat?” This must be where Lent came from, and even Ramadan – give up something good to eat and all your sins will be forgiven.

I’ve been cooking up a storm since returning home. Bob lost a few pounds while recovering from his Cervical Spine surgery in NY, so I feel it’s my God-given right to make dessert these days. Dressed in a Darth Vader neck brace/collar, Bob has spent a few hours watching football lately, both college and professional, and of course I’ve come along for the ride – cause I’m a ride or die girl!

And even though watching football makes me feel like I’m back at the Roman Coliseum watching, “Gladiators (who) were generally slaves, condemned criminals or prisoners of war,” I could appreciate the choreography of a good first down. Nurses would walk into Bob’s room and offer up some banter about the team on the screen – football was that equal opportunity conversation starter. “Did you see Brady walk on?” Or “I’m from Pittsburgh you know,” one nurse told me after I said I was a New England Patriots fan. Whoops.

Still every time I’d hear that distinct sound of helmet meeting helmet, I’d cringe. We’ve known what repeated tackles can do to the brain for years now, research and science has finally won out over owners and NFL managers. One guy got booted off the field for head-butting an opponent. Repetitive Head Trauma, so many concussions over the years, and still we watch these giant men crash into each other. Is it really good sport, or are we kidding ourselves?

When the Rocker and Ms Cait flew out on the red eye from LA to visit Bob during his hospitalization, we learned that our son had worked on the sound design for Will Smith’s new movie trailer, Concussion. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-concussion-movie-nfl-20150903-story.html

NFL games are the only programs that regularly deliver the kind of big ratings that were once taken for granted by broadcast television. Nearly all of those viewers watch the games and their commercials live in an age when delayed playback of shows is common. As a result, the NFL was able to demand $5 billion a year in rights fees from its television partners in the pact that runs through 2021.

God forgive us for watching so much football. And please point our new baby grandson toward soccer!    IMG_3227

First Jobs

At one point, in the build up to last night’s debate, we heard about the very first job each Republican candidate held as a youngster. Mowing lawns, life guarding, and all the usual career choices that open up to a sixteen year old aspiring politician. 

My very first job was temporary, wrapping Christmas presents at a women’s clothing store. Later that summer I was a counselor-in-training (CIT) at Camp St Joseph for Girls. I had to quit that job suddenly when the nuns found out I was the coordinator for night time trysts on the golf course between the boys camp and the girls. You may have heard the story, passing notes to the altar boy while receiving Holy Communion…

CITs lived in a limbo between the freedom of counselor life and the rules and regs of campers. I was happy to leave my childhood behind and get on with growing up! That summer helped me realize I was finally a “Lapsed Catholic.” 

I made a whopping $500. I lost my faith. And I cut my long hair. My feminist sensibility was growing roots. 

When I heard that Trump’s first job was collecting rent for his father I had to laugh. The arrogance and sense entitlement was ingrained. He must have learned that the world was his oyster at an early age. That everything comes easy with a little hard work and a lot of powerful privilege and leverage. 

When this bubble bursts, he can always go back to collecting the rent.  Here is the Love Bug, the next generation of feminist warriors, practicing her Jedi Knight moves!


Happy Birthday

My daughter the Bride was born at 6:02 in the evening 36 years ago on this day! It was a beautiful sunny September day, in fact Bob took a little time that weekend to staff the medical tent at the Josh Billings run aground race. It took me awhile, but I finally forgave him for leaving me alone in the hospital.

And forgiveness is what Rosh Hashanah is all about. We listened to the shofar this morning at the family service. It’s the start of a new year and the slate is wiped clean. We say we are sorry for words or actions that may have hurt others. Some find it easy to say, “I’m sorry,” it rolls off the tongue or may include an eye roll. It becomes meaningless. 

When I was in Catholic school, we went to confession every Friday. We only had to tell a priest and say some prayers to get right again with God. Jewish people everywhere have only one shot a year to dig deep and seek out those they may have harmed. 

It’s only ten days of reflection, before Yom Kippur, but we need to be inscribed in the Book of Life. It’s an intense period of time. So if my words were in any way hurtful my dear readers, please forgive me. My intention with this blog is to keep my family and old Jersey friends and new friends close and speak my truth. 

I’m grateful for this New Year and for my wonderful daughter. She not only brings her Daddy milkshakes, she downloads podcasts and juggles a husband, children and a pretty insane job. Happy New Year to all and Happy Birthday sweet girl. We are all striving to be happy.  


Uber Nation

While we were in NYC, we had a number of choices for transportation. My big sister Kay’s apartment is on the East Side and the hospital’s on the West. I’m not great with the subway, and cabs I was told, would be too expensive. 

So Kay gave me the number of a car service. I called them:

Once they asked me if I was ready to go now. I said “No,” I was hoping they could come in exactly two hours. They said to call them back when I’m ready. 

Once I called them after dark, a bit later in the day. The guy who a answered the phone said, “Sorry, I’m already at home eating dinner.” Each time it seemed he hung up the phone a little harder, as if to say I had a helluva nerve bothering him. 

I felt like Goldilocks. 

Because the third time was just right. The Bride grabbed my phone and downloaded Uber.  

So far I’ve met drivers from the Ivory Coast, Nepal, and Ecuador. The cars were spotlessly clean and ranged from a huge Escalade to a Toyota. I love using the App, putting in my destination and watching all the tiny cars on my cell, driving around on the Uber GPS map and hearing the ding that says someone is coming my way!

There is no money changing hands, and there is no tipping. And it’s cheaper than a taxi or the temperamental car service. 

Sometimes it’s hard to leave our comfort zone. It requires a certain degree of trust in people; “As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.” 

Uber is a good thing! It’s  the universe unfolding as it should.  

Waiting for Uber


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