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Archive for September, 2016

Instead of talking about Trump corporations wheeling and dealing their way through loopholes, jumping over restrictions, and just generally thinking the law doesn’t apply to Mr Trump when he conducts business in Cuba, we are all complaining about how he objectifies women. Miss Universe vs Fidel Castro. In case you missed it, Hillary had this to say about that:

Clinton told reporters aboard her campaign plane that the actions appear “to violate U.S. law, certainly flout American foreign policy, and he has consistently misled people in responding to questions about whether he was attempting to do business in Cuba.” http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-live-updates-trailguide-hillary-clinton-blasts-donald-trump-for-1475184860-htmlstory.html

The media jumped on the Miss Piggy train, instead of skewering his debate performance. In particular near the end,  when he was asked if he would support the outcome of the Presidential election, he smiled and did his usual semantic dance of divert and deploy a lot of other bullshit into the answer…thereby calling into question our democracy as a “rigged” system, in the same way he disavowed our first African American President with his “birther” nonsense for years.

HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election. And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters? TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country. The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.

HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.

So it’s conditional…IF she wins…and in Trump land that’s a very big IF…that’s a “let’s throw some doubt into our process IF.” That’s somebody may be voting one thousand times in Pennsylvania, felons are voting in Virginia; that’s the button might just get stuck on Clinton in Ohio. And all you second amendment folks know what to do about that right? It’s like we are meeting Faust incarnate, in real time.

You may find this article by a linguist about Trump-speak as enlightening as I did. It’s not just that when unscripted he avoids answering a direct question like most politicians. It’s disordered, full of careening sideways hyperbole, half-thought-out phrases, eruptions of memory and self-aggrandizing. He is a master salesman, using words like, “Some people say,” and “Believe me,” as catchphrases to make the unsavory seem plausible. He is treating us like QVC customers. If this is what we the people want in a leader, well I guess we deserve him. http://www.vox.com/2016/8/18/12423688/donald-trump-speech-style-explained-by-linguists

“His speech suggests a man with scattered thoughts, a short span of attention, and a lack of intellectual discipline and analytical skills.” 

This morning’s Twitter tirade against Miss Universe is just more of the same old. Sure he’s a misogynistic pig, but that’s something we women of a certain age recognize clearly. This is not news, but we pick it up and feed on his incessant weight-shaming rants. He exhorts us to check out her reality show in Venezuela, she’s no Mother Theresa. Well you Mr Trump, are no John the Baptist. You are the Master of spin, the Ringmaster of election as entertainment, the Oz behind the Twitter curtain. Look how you keep us talking about YOU!

The American people would never bargain our democracy on your vote.

 

 

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Last night the Trump train went off the rails.

I’d rather use a transportation metaphor than a sporting event for “the greatest show of all time debate,” because any sport involves two usually, equally prepared teams – two opponents with a job to do, and that just didn’t happen. Because one candidate has an A game and the other doesn’t know the rules of any game except maybe the Con Game.

Halfway through their 90 minute exchange, Hillary Clinton told the Donald that indeed she had been preparing for the debate and not campaigning over the weekend; she said she had been “Preparing to be President.” <wink>

And at that moment the cloudy sky parted and a ray of sunshine hit Clinton on her perfectly highlighted head!

But most of the time, I felt as if I needed a body language translator, like the one who pointed out that if Clinton shrugs her shoulders while talking she is discounting what she just said. Or if Trump looks down and left he is lying. Because I just couldn’t stop watching last night’s train wreck: Trump’s inane sniffling which I chalked up to allergies, but some on Twitter thought might be a problem with “blow;” his exaggerated swaggering and swaying along with smug lip posturing; plus his inability to complete a simple sentence left me dumbfounded.

It was as if she was on the train to Pennsylvania Avenue and the conductor had already punched her ticket.

And he got on the wrong train, to some Monopoly board street, and forgot to buy the damn ticket…and anyway why would he need a ticket? He’s so big and important and we (the American people) should just forgive all those nasty things he may have said in the past, because for all we know maybe climate change is a Chinese hoax and President Obama is an imposter, and not paying taxes IS the American way…and just because a silly Tweet might enrage him, we should still trust him with our nukes. Right?

Trump points his tiny chin in the air and says, “That’s called business, by the way.” Declaring bankruptcy not four but six times! http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/21/hillary-clinton/yep-donald-trumps-companies-have-declared-bankrupt/  Stepping all over his vendors and not paying others, making more money while millions of Americans see their life savings dwindle down to nothing after the great/recession/depression of ’08, these are Trump tactics after all. The rest of the world must think we are collectively losing our minds.

When we left our tour group in Prague, and hopped on a tram to see the city we didn’t see a conductor or an engineer. The tram moved along of its own accord, like a drone, stopping every few blocks. We wondered how we should pay for our ticket, but noticed everyone else was just getting onboard and sitting down. Later, we found out you need to buy your tram ticket elsewhere, at a convenience store, and just keep it in your pocket. It’s all on the honor system. Once in a blue moon, an official may come aboard a tram and check tickets. If you are a freeloader, you will get a hefty fine.

I hope that the undecided among us, the Millennials thinking about voting for a third party, the Republicans who know a con game when they see one, will consider casting their vote for Hillary Clinton in November. Because Mr Trump doesn’t believe in an honor system, in our Allies, or in fair trade. He postulates about 400 pound shut-ins hacking the DNC and tells Fox he was self-righteous for not mentioning how Bill treated women.

Trump lives in an alternate reality, where private jets await and gold escalators move him around his tower. He invites people to touch his hair, like Rapunzel, so he can prove to himself and others that he is real. And maybe by telling us he’s renovating the post office on Pennsylvania Avenue, he’s purchased his Hotel in DC, because he fully expects to have his name emblazoned across the Front Lawn, win or lose.

It’s not like Trump is on a different track to the Presidency…he doesn’t need a train ticket because he thinks he owns all the Monopoly railroads. His Wild Card is Putin and whatever else jumps into his head and spills off his tongue. And after all, he had six Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Here is my man on a tram, with Google Maps. Priceless.img_4677

 

 

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Forget Fashion Week. And don’t talk politics with me, I’m feeling sick about the whole darn mess. Shall I tell you what I want, what I really really want?

A dress.

I’m on the hunt for a dress for two glamorous occasions – our 50th high school reunion next month, and my son’s wedding next year. Yes, I don’t think it’s too much to ask this dress to do double duty. One occasion will be a beachy/Cali vibe, while the other will be what, more of a, “Of course it’s you, I’d recognize you anywhere after 50 years!”

Seeing as in 1966 I was dressed usually in loafers and kilts, my primal brain is feeling that approach/avoidance sensation. First because lots of our old friends have become new Facebook friends, and I can’t wait to actually SEE them again, and second, this is the avoidance part, because I remember hunting for a Mother-of-the-Bride dress in 2010.

“Everything I try on either makes me look like a stuffed sausage, or a Peggy Sue prom queen,” was my lament to Bob six years ago. We even traveled to the big city of Richmond, but came back empty-handed. Here is one of the few pix from the Bride’s wedding where I do not have a huge scarf draped around me – the detail from the back is telling. I need straps first and foremost! jm-0925

Unfortunately the fashion industry didn’t listen to my sobbing pleas for help then, and now it’s only worse. Yesterday I listened to NPR in the car, with Tim Gunn talking about his industry’s failure with plus-size women. He had this to say to the Washington Post:

Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/08/tim-gunn-designers-refuse-to-make-clothes-to-fit-american-women-its-a-disgrace/?utm_term=.410b22a78cad

Thanks Tim, and yes designers are thinking about size 0 to 6 instead of size 16, but lots of us “Women of a Certain Age” fall somewhere in the middle and still cannot find a decent dress to save our lives. I noticed that Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday Mr President’s dress is going to the auction block and should fetch around 2-3M. OK, so what if she had to be sewn into the thing and couldn’t sit down the whole night. Rumor has it it’s a size 12! Would it be oh so hard to design a dress just a little less sexy than her sequined, see-through number? Maybe something not matronly or childish?

I totally get Hillary’s pant suits now…

Designers I have a tip for you. Stop looking at movies for inspiration, or the 18th Century. Start looking at us! What makes our bodies look good? Yes we have ‘born babies’ and were the first generation to breast feed our offspring since our immigrant ancestors stepped off the boat in this country. Sure we have a few pounds to lose, but we’re not obsessively dieting anymore. We register people to vote. We work in and out of our homes, we swim, we walk our dogs! We are Nanas, hear us roar! We are genuinely happy women, until we start dress shopping.

If you think you may have a solution to my existential problem, feel free to PM me. Or comment. I’m open to online shopping in 2016. After all, it was only after Leslie Jones posted her plight to social media, about her hunt for a red carpet dress, that a designer stepped up to the plate. Sample size is not the normal American woman size folks! http://www.vogue.com/13452803/leslie-jones-ghostbusters-premiere-christian-siriano/

And if all else fails, I might just go vintage in my closet!

gallery-1474499742-marilyn-jfk

Getty Image

 

 

 

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Last night I had a nightmare. Of course it involved a car, my usual scenario. It was one of those “Please let this be a dream” nightmares as I was waking up. It had all the usual elements: I was lost; the man driving the car was a maniac; and technology was winning. Yes, my iPhone was in my dream. When I tried to open Google Maps to find my way home, it was stuck – I couldn’t move the screen – it was stuck on me, on the pedestrian me, and someone was watching my every move…maybe I shouldn’t see that new movie Snowden?

Last night a pedestrian was killed by two cars in Keswick. Someone just walking along a road, was hit by a Volvo of all things and then hit again by a pick-up. And a few weeks ago, a woman from California was dropping off her Freshman son at UVA, when she was killed in a relatively new shopping center here in Cville. She and her husband and daughter were just crossing a street, she had probably made her son’s dorm room bed. Maybe his sister had organized his CDs? Do kids still have records or is everything on their phones?

In VA, everyone stops for pedestrians, at least that was my understanding.

The day before, Bob and I had just been to Trader Joe’s in that place and remarked at how the design – the streets, the parking, the signs – was God-awful. http://www.nbc12.com/story/32808255/family-dropping-off-son-at-uva-struck-by-car-mother-killed

We go to Trader Joe’s for two things, Bob’s maple syrup and my unsweetened green iced tea. And we might go to the new cinema in that shopping center, the one I call Stonehenge but is really “The Shops at Stonefield.” In fact we plan on seeing that new Amy Adam’s movie about aliens there, because I need to be frightened just a bit more before Halloween. Here is the trailer that the Rocker produced:

Amy Adams Deals Directly with Aliens in ‘Arrival’ Trailer

I feel like I am living in a nightmare, a war zone lately. Seaside, and Chelsea and a knife-wielding monster in a MN mall. But then I am reminded by our President, who is in New York at the UN, that we must open our hearts to Syrian refugees. Only to read a convoy of trucks full of humanitarian aid was barrel bombed on its way into Aleppo today. I am reminded that in fact, I am not living in a war zone, but these poor people are. The cease fire, such as it was, is over. Russia is playing coy, not claiming responsibility, I imagine waiting to see who will win the US Presidency.

And so we talk about Skittles, and baskets of deplorables.

Maybe the best news of all was hearing that five years from now we will all be driving around in driverless cars. This IS good news, right?  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/business/ford-promises-fleets-of-driverless-cars-within-five-years.html?_r=0   17ford-master675

 

 

 

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My Grand Daughter left her Monkey on the plane going home to Nashville. The whole family went into crisis mode. Just to be clear, the Love Bug does have an emergency back-up Monkey, but it’s lacking an eye and wouldn’t fool her one bit. The airline was called and online reports were written; the small independent toy store in Charlottesville was searched.

“But this doesn’t look like her Monkey, ” I said.

Why would a stuffed animal company named Jellycats decide, in the course of four years, to make Monkey’s tail yellow and his feet brown?         img_5207

My plan was to wash and distress the new Monkey, and try to pass him off as Lovey Monkey #2, but to no avail. Ebay was a total fail.

“No, not worth getting a different one,” the Bride said.

But I did get the Bug a new Monkey, and shipped it off yesterday with its very own letter from Nana. The Love Bug has other endearing nicknames, which is why she is called Ms Magoo Two, after the Bride, who was the original Ms Magoo.

We all have to learn how to deal with Love and Loss eventually, still I thought she was just too young, too little, too tender…

Nana

Charlottesville, Virginia

Dear Ms Magoo Number Two

I have searched high and low, near and far, up and down, all over town for Monkey, and I have some news.

It seems he has decided to take a Grand World Tour on that airplane. As we all know, monkeys are very curious, and he wanted to see what other monkeys in other countries are up to:

To visit Lemurs in Madagascar

To visit Orangutans in Borneo

To visit Chimpanzees in Tanzania

To visit Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

And Lowland Gorillas in Cameroon

Monkey knows you will miss him, and he will miss you too. And so he has sent his twin sister to keep you company. Her name is Mona the Monkey!

Mona is very kind and funny, and she loves meeting new people! She likes to listen to your stories, have tea parties with dancing and singing, and just generally be the Belle of the Ball!

Like her twin, she loves to snuggle best of all.

I hope you will allow Ms Mona the Monkey into your heart Ms Magoo Two, and give her a chance to be your very dear Lovey. At least until Monkey decides to return to Nashville, Tennessee, whenever that may be.

She told me she cannot wait to see your new house and playroom, your new classroom and meet all your friends at school. She also told me she thinks you should be a Princess for Halloween, because you are already a Princess to her!

I really had so much fun in New York with you darling girl, and I promise to come and visit soon. I love you a bushel and a peck and oodles and boodles of macaroni noodles!

 

Kisses and Hugs,      

Nana

 

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It was a constellation of events. The Bride and Groom had a wedding to attend this past weekend in NJ, very close to Great Grandma Ada and Great Grandpa Hudson’s home. And even though we were just in Nashville for the Love Bug’s pirate birthday, we wanted to continue the love, so we drove north. At one point I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride, driving on 81 and 287, I forgot how many cars and trucks drive so close and so fast. Guess I’ve become a VA driver. Good for Bob, he still loves to hustle on the road!

The Bride wanted to introduce the Bug to the Big Apple. Taylor Swift is her number one crush of the moment, and she knows the singer moved from Nashville to NYC. She was hoping for a celebrity spotting, and so we ventured over the George Washington Bridge and down the East River. The same route that was embedded in my memory, when my family would take the bridge to visit my sister, Kay, on the Upper East Side.

What we hadn’t factored into the weekend’s equation was our only free day for New York was Sunday, September 11th.

I did not sit and listen to the names, because I know one of the names.

I did not write about 9/11, because I lived through that day. Waiting for the Bride to call me from DC. Wondering where the Rocker was since he had left his high school, along with his friends. Worrying about Bob, who was helping to coordinate disaster relief at a marina.

I did not play a video about boat rescues, because my friend was on a ferry that returned with ash covered people.

Since we only had a short time on Sunday, we decided to stay uptown. Men in saffron colored robes approached me, and I waved them off like a true New Yorker, but said “Sorry” like a Virginian. Pigeons fluttered in the glorious sunlight that streamed through the buildings. I asked my Bug if there were more pigeons or people in NY, and she smiled and said, “People.”

But actually the city was strangely quiet. Reverent. And it wasn’t until I recapped our day for Bob – at the Metropolitan Museum and visiting Aunt Kay – that tears filled my eyes. Because we went straight to the museum’s rooftop, where I was intrigued by the Roof Garden’s “PsychoBarn.” http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2016/cornelia-parker

A facade, the Queen Ann farmhouse looked as if it had dropped out of a Kansas tornado into this spectacular setting. Like a stage setting, It is “Simultaneously authentic and illusory.” The artist was alluding to a child’s fascination with transitional objects; something that helps to “…negotiate their self-identity as separate from their parents.” I told the Bride if only it were yellow, instead of red, it would have looked like my NJ home.

And as we gazed across the trees of Central Park, at the skyline of NY, I felt a certain nostalgia. But also an overwhelming sense of calm, a serenity usually reserved for my mountain view. I told Bob it was only right for us to be there, on top of a tall building in the center of one of our most beautiful cities, on this sacred day.   img_5189

 

 

 

 

 

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Last night, for only the second time in my life, my dog was attacked. The first time this happened, I was walking 100 pound Buddha. 

Four dogs flew through their invisible fence and stood growling and barring their teeth. Time stood still. I wasn’t sure what to do, but many Sherlock Holmes-like scenarios ran through my head. 

Should I let go of the leash so as not to be entangled by it?

And just as I was calculating that in a split second Buddha calmly placed his whole white, furry Polar Bear body sideways in front of me. Never looking into the dogs eyes, he stood his ground, showing them the grand beauty of his size alone. 

They continued to growl, but softer. I knew what to do. “Heel” boy, and we walked away from that  encounter, our heads high. 

But last night I got sucker punched. Returning late from Grandma Ada’s, I was walking Ms Bean back into the hotel on her leash. Right near the front door, an old hound filled with tumors started to growl and I didn’t think anything of it  until he started to pummel forward. 

He bit Bean in the neck and I can’t remember time standing still. In fact, it sped up and we went around and around, it didn’t occur to me to drop the leash. Finally Bob intervened and my poor Ms Bean had pulled her head out of its collar to run away. 

But the worst was yet to come. The  hound’s woman stayed in the lobby, apologizing as Bean cowered underneath me. Bob told her we were fine, when in fact we were not, and the night manager asked her to return to her room – asked Bob if we we would like to call the police, to press charges. 

As the woman left the lobby, she muttered some insult at us. At that point I went into fight mode, leaving Bean with Bob I nearly ran after her and stood within an inch of her life to tell her exactly what I thought of her and her aggressive, unhinged and unleashed dog!

She backed down. 

You do not mess with a Jersey girl masquerading as a Virginia country woman. This morning we will walk Bean in the Park. Maybe I will try meditation, sometimes I feel like I could fly. I will ice my pinky finger again, that same one is a soft shade of leash-twisting purple. Bean seems fine, there was no blood, only the residual stream of adrenaline dripping through my veins. 

But there will be papers filed. It’s true about never going home again.  

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