Archive for June, 2011

In the midst of learning how to increase stitches at the Wednesday morning knitting circle, a woman I barely know looked up from across the table and asked about my older dog, Buddha. The last time I’d joined this group of interesting women was weeks ago, and I was touched that she remembered my rant. Buddha is now 15; and all one hundred pounds of Samoyed-Shepherd, polar bear sweetness is reduced to a quivering mass of  splayed feet and white fur during a thunderstorm. And the problem is, when he falls down on a tile or wood floor, he can’t get up. And because of his arthritis, he won’t let us touch his hindquarters anymore.                        

This is what I have learned from my old man, Boo:

  •  Patience – if I put a small rug in front of him, he can pull himself up;
  • Determination – when we go outside to throw the ball, he will steadfastly wait by my side for Miss Bean to run and fetch it back so he can get his treat too;
  •  Confidence – he knows that only the front door has the right angle of steps he can negotiate, so he waits only by that door to go out and will stop and watch as his family walks out any other door;
  • Courage –  no matter who comes to the door, he slowly pulls himself up and barks ferociously, even if he is the last to hear them;
  • Mindfulness – always a Hedonist, he would do just about anything for a good back scratch or belly rub in the morning

Here he is waiting for us to come inside, it’s too hot to play today.

The Good Steps

I am happy to report that Buddha has a new lease on life. After a long talk with our lovely veterinarian, Dr Barbara Butler at Earlysville Animal Hospital, Boo Bear has completed his first week on Rimadyl Chewables and is actually attempting to run and play again with his little sister. It is an anti-inflammatory, canine arthritis pill and it has changed all our lives. And the woman who asked about Buddha, well she’s British and married to an art historian. We went out to lunch to explore the new Whole Foods, stay tuned!

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In the past 48 hours, my old reliable car died and I’ve had to reboot my computer a total of 6 times. Finally, with tech support Bob on the phone, I unplugged everything, made myself a new pot of coffee, and voila, I’m online after restarting microsoft and firefox. UGH. This morning the Bride called from her new iPhone (why do they capitalize the “P”?) very happy and carefree even though she was about to start a shift with the sickest of the sick, in the MICU. She had downloaded all the medical apps she needs, her music went up into some cloud, and she was hoping the battery could last 30 hours instead of the 3 minutes her old Blackberry might last on a good day.

And I apologize up front for bringing up the obvious Weiner Roast. But while I was unplugged and car-less, this guy’s Twitter Package  seems to be all over the news cycle. I feel for him, really, he too was having technical difficulties. He cried last night and explained that he only meant to send the pix to one girl and not put it out on his Twitter feed. Poor guy, he pushed the wrong button. Married less than a year, he has engaged in this type of techno-dalliance, or sexting virtual affairs with maybe only 6 women. I remember when I thought good, old fashioned phone sex was weird. Now we have to watch some picture of an obviously waxed chest over our morning coffee and think what? Shame on you Anthony?

Then a plea – today is the anniversary of the Bush tax cuts – dropped into my email: “Our country isn’t broke, but if the Republican’s intellectually dishonest claim that we are is met with silence, our country’s moral compass may become broken.  “Hello,” our moral compass congressmen…I am supposed to write to my congressmen and tell them it’s time to tax the heck out of the super rich. I agree, if you’re in finance getting millions or billions for an end-of-year bonus, why not share the wealth? I may also tell them all to find their North Star, keep their cells in their pockets, and their exhibitionism to themselves. Do your job! How is sexting risque photos different from a naked guy in a raincoat flashing someone? Answer, it’s not. But lying about it, to your wife and the public, now there’s the rub. Sorry Shakespeare, I couldn’t help it.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

A View from the Deck

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As I watched LiNa, the oldest competitor (29) to play in the Women’s Finals,  win the French Open, I was ecstatic. She had that star quality, like Federer or Baryshnikov, to make their sport/art look easy. At one point, as LiNa was tossing the ball into the air to serve, a Chinese fan yelled something from the stands. She let the ball drop. The announcer, with a French accent, said that the Chinese fans have not yet learned “…the rules of deportment in tennis.” Silence, s’il vous plait.

Unfortunately, leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, bankers and traders abandoned their own set of rules of conduct. The SEC and the Feds remained silent as we slid deeper into a recession. Reagan had opened the playground to deregulation, and there was no adult supervision; players became greedy, and lost sight of the bigger picture. Can you tell, Bob and I watched the HBO movie this week, adapted from Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book, Too Big to Fail? It is a must read, or see.

Bob's dessert cell pix

But back to the anniversary dinner from the last post. I didn’t take my camera, at Bob’s request. A wedding rehearsal, golfers, and a family of geese were traversing the green outside Fossett’s window. While savoring the Chef’s tasting menu, a woman was arriving late to the table of six next to us. Every single man at the table stood up as she approached, which led Bob to say, “You don’t see that too often anymore.” Well maybe not, but in the South you do. Our head waitress greeted us by name… deportment can most definitely be a cultural thing. An older woman I respect once told the younger Bride to watch how a man treats the wait staff at a restaurant, that and the way he behaves with his mother are the single best, earliest predictors of his character.

LiNa, when asked about her age said, “Age just paper.” Maybe the global financial crisis is just paper, or  maybe the media needs to keep putting names and faces to the problem, to shine some light on Obama’s team, still trying to right this ship of unemployment and debt  statistics that is listing our great country toward a banana republic. Because following Palin’s mystical bus tour around just doesn’t cut it. And we all know that silence and indifference are the two key ingredients to any economic or societal meltdown.

One of my favorite NYTime’s columnists, and like Sorkin, a reporter with a mind and a conscience, Nick Kristoff says it best about “Our Fantasy Nation” today.


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I made the reservation online with something called OpenTable. It’s our 32nd wedding anniversary and our plan is to feast at a “high dollar” (country term) new restaurant, not that it’s new – just new to us. It’s actually Fossett’s at Keswick Hall, and I’m looking forward to sampling Chef Dean Maupin’s gastronomic wizardry. We like to get dressed to the nines once a year and celebrate this day with alacrity.

Clifton Inn Denied

When the Rocker was small, I’d always come up with a ‘word for the day’ as we drove to school, or hockey, or the beach. I was a dictionary.com for my family, fighting the good fight against too may “likes” and incomplete sentences. “Alacrity” is my all time favorite word. I really thought it was possible, that between the mind-numbing, ego shattering grind that was public middle school, I could insert a small bit of optimism and light into their over-scheduled day. I knew once they hit the age of sixteen, all bets were off.

Teenage Rocker

So when I read, via a Facebook link from a dear Shore friend, about Jonathan Franzen’s Op-Ed in the NYTimes titled Liking is for Cowards, Go for What Hurts, I was intrigued. He proposes that our current immersion in technology is detrimental to our common humanity. In fact all this “liking” in social media, in his opinion, is leading us into a collective abattoir of narcissism. That love hurts, and so we can shield ourselves effectively by all this beeping and humming gadgetry. It made me laugh a little, because the last good fight I had with Bob was about texting in the car – to be clear, he thinks I should be talking with him and not texting while he is driving….

In my defense, I found out about the tornadoes in MA yesterday before anyone else, I knew what was happening in Egypt before the network news knew, and since I am still such a news hound, this technology contributes to my overall sense of happiness. When I found out, the old school telephone way, that one of  our favorite restaurants was “totally booked,” I turned to Google to find something new. Once someone asked us how we managed to make love last, and my response is that we both feel free to say whatever pops into our heads.  Humor and learning to fight fair are essential ingredients in any long lasting relationship. The love part was always easy, it’s how you handle those acrimonious trenches that matters. Marriage is like a roller coaster, you don’t get off till it stops. and ps, I loved reading Franzen’s book Freedom on my Kindle!

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