Archive for May, 2018

I promise I’ll get to Roseanne.

Lately, I’ve been telling myself we’re getting back to normal. Ms Bean is back to daylight savings time (our evening shift emergency vet tech pet sitter had her gleefully staying up all night). Now our senior dog is back to playing with her neighbor in the spotty sunshine, a delightful Lab-mix named Hodor, in the Quad.

Bob and I are heading back to the gym, reacquainting our muscles with some resistance and weights. Everyone in Nashville is complaining about Summer having appeared too soon – but we experienced two Springs, in TN and NJ, so we’re not feeling cheated. Oh, and my hubby has started flying a small plane again and picking up garbage.

You know about the once a year historic neighborhood Spring Cleanathon, but did you know that every month Bob joins a bunch of his fellow neat freaks with a bag and a grabber as they canvass our streets picking up trash? He’s made a few friends and they always end their excursion with free pizza at a local sports bar!

Did you know the author David Sedaris can spend up to eight hours a day picking up trash on the roads of his neighborhood in the English countryside? Last night I was left blissfully alone while Bob attended a monthly private pilot’s meeting, so I tried to multi-task – meaning I was reading a book AND listening to the radio/Sonos. Eventually, Terry Gross’ interview with Sedaris won out. The humorist talked about picking up garbage as an antidote to his OCD, and what he prefers to write about…

Instead, Sedaris prefers to write about “bad behavior” — both his own and others’. “Is it my fault that the good times turn to nothing while the bad burns forever bright?” he asks. http://wboi.org/post/forget-good-times-david-sedaris-far-more-interested-bad-behavior#stream/0

This morning, in my “damage report” over coffee, Bob told me we may have finally turned a corner as a country. He was referring to Roseanne’s Twitter feed and CBS’ swift response; she apologized for her “joke,” but like bad behavior this little mix of words may just follow her to her grave, and beyond.

It’s as if we’ve been adrift in a hurricane of political dirty tricks, with a president alone at the helm of his amoral leadership. He is a prevaricator, zigging and zagging around our allies and our enemies. Nikki Haley considers his unpredictable outbursts as leverage at the UN. But really, could Roseanne be the straw that saves our republic? Even Fox news is condemning her Twitter talk.

America just may have had enough of this new Mr T normal – this anti-intellectual, crude, narcissistic, bigoted free-for-all.  I couldn’t watch his speech last night in Nashville, we call BS. There is no place in our city for your childish outbursts.

But we did find a splash park for the Grands with ALL the Grands on hand. And that was nothing like normal, it was fabulous!


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I have two brothers, both Vietnam Vets, who will not be marching in a Memorial Day Parade tomorrow. One step-brother Eric, a dentist in St Louis, has been involved with the “Take Me Home Huey” traveling helicopter memorial and documentary film:

Steve Maloney’s mixed-media sculpture Take Me Home Huey is composed of a transformed boneyard U.S. Army Huey helicopter that served as an air ambulance during the Vietnam War.  The historic helicopter was shot down in 1969 during a medical rescue in Vietnam. The serial number of the Huey is 67-17174; the aircraft is commonly known as #174.  The crew chief Gary Dubach and the medic Stephen Schumacher died bravely during the medical rescue attempt.  https://takemehomehuey.org

Eric had returned home to the states for a one month leave when his Med-Evac helicopter was shot down. Two men lost their lives; in fact, my brother, who was the Aircraft Commander/pilot, and a Gunner are the only two from his unit who are still alive.

Dr Jim, my psychologist brother in MN, told me this morning he was over there (in Vietnam) “Keeping us safe from Communism,” while Bob and I were protesting the war and trying to get him back home – and NOT in a body bag. It was our modern day Civil War, re-electing Richard Nixon nearly killed me. I can imagine Jim smiling as he recounted this – he was a First Lieutenant, an Intelligence Officer. He spoke a few languages and was stationed in Saigon. Jim rarely talks about the past and will be preparing a spare bedroom tomorrow for his sisters’ visit in the near future.

And although they didn’t grow up together as brothers, they have grown closer over the years partially due to their combat brotherhood. Our older brothers, Mike, a Korean Vet and Brian, career Air Force, have been gone for a few years now.

In our hometown, Great Grandma Ada’s husband, Hudson Favell, will be sitting in the lead Jeep for the Memorial Day Parade. A Navy Vet, he served in the Pacific during WWII; 92 years old now, he was the only grandfather my children ever had. And he’s been a doozy! Always carving wood totem poles and helping us out on any half-baked renovation project we could think of. They married when the Bride turned two under the same tree as our wedding, in the same parking lot, in front of Ada’s house.

Everywhere he goes people thank him for his service. In an elevator in the rehab a woman shouted into his ear that she’s a history teacher and was just teaching her kids about WWII. She bent down to his wheel chair and shook his hand. Vietnam Vets never really got a thank you, the Korean Conflict wasn’t even considered a war, I wonder what our Afghanistan and Iraq Vets are hearing.

On this Memorial Day, I will toast all those who served honorably and less than honorably. Those who committed suicide and those who died in combat or at the side of a road, those who came home with scars we can see as well as the scars we cannot see.



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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law will be enforced in the EU beginning today. It gives people “The right to be forgotten,” which I assume means you could wipe out all online information about yourself. Wouldn’t that be nice?

It is also quite a nuisance for American companies, since some of the biggest tech giants have their European headquarters in Ireland. But let’s face it, in an age when our Facebook data can be sold to Russia for their treasonous purposes, we’d all like to see “Privacy” right up there with Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms.

As we were driving home yesterday, Bob said that some electronic billboards will be set up to read your car’s license plate as you meander by, and then custom design ads for you! If you’re driving a Beemer, you’ll get a Tiffany ad – a Jeep might get an Orvis ad. Remember that Tom Cruise 2002 sci-fi movie Minority Report, where he plays a cop who gets the data about an intended murder, and so he arrests the guy?

I remember a scene in the movie where Tom’s walking down a street and the ads are changing as everybody passes them, it’s like that. Now.

But back to Ireland and the soul-searching companies like Google are faced with, here’s an answer: if the Irish vote to repeal the 8th Amendment that bans abortions in the country, then stay and change your privacy laws. Today is the vote. It’s that simple because women’s rights are human rights. Disney told the state of Georgia they would move production to another state if they didn’t comply with LGBTQ rights. Why can’t ethics become a major component of big business? When our governments fail us, capitalism may be able to right our ship.

And in other news about Tom Cruise, the Rocker just finished scoring original music with the theme song for Mission Impossible 6 Fallout. As a kid, I loved Mission Impossible, it was exciting and you never knew if someone was who they say they are. They might rip off a face mask and ta da! Like our Pumpkin tearing off his Hulk mask and showing off his muscles, transformation is a big part of the American Dream. But let’s face it, we are all changing – retiring, traveling, downsizing, aging – transforming our empty nests to at-home gyms.

“This message will self-destruct…” now that was one good privacy feature.

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Every day Great Grandma Ada reigns supreme at the rehab hospital in NJ. Friends and family drive from all over the NY metropolitan area to pay homage to our matriarch. Some even call ahead to find out her physical and occupational therapy schedule, which is either efficient or intrusive depending on your point of view!

Ada continues to progress and improve. She’s walking pretty well with a walker, the staples are out and she’s been cleared for a shower. And although she tells me, “They give a good sponge here,” I’m pretty sure she’s happy about it.

The rehab hair stylist is in love with her, as is the 97 year old man, Adolfo, down the hall. She knows which aides are depressed and what every nurse needs is a delicious chocolate truffle from her dresser. We brought her the blanket we made from Shutterfly, with pictures of her family all over it and a gigantic blue bird in the corner. It’s a show stopper!

Soon it will be time to plan for the future. One friend tells her she can’t return to the Big House built on a rocky hillside. Too many stairs and obstacles. Another wants her to join her in a continuing care community. Nobody wants her to leave them, she is the mother and mentor to a tribe of interesting people – artists, therapists, chicken farmers.

But Bob’s brother Jeff and cousin Nancy are ready and willing to make the transition easier. Ada’s been telling me for years that all her friends are “In transition.” Now it’s her turn. Fifty years in one house is enough; her life will be smoother on one level, with others caring for her for a change.

We couldn’t have done this without Great Grandpa Hudson’s daughter Becky and Billy her husband. They came for this Memorial Day Parade which will honor Hudson’s WWII service. We have quite a team!

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I was born in the Year of Living Dangerously. Our circumstances of birth can be tossed up to faith or chaos theory, depending on lots of factors that include education and culture. And luck.

The Flapper always told me that I was the “…only child she planned.” This statement had a bitter edge to it – because of course she lost me after her car accident, and it refers to the not/quite/complete medical knowledge of the 1940s.

My biological father, a pharmacist, was losing the use of his arm. He actually used a mortar and pestle to make medicine so this, and his near-constant headaches, impinged on his family’s economic health. Psychiatry was fairly new and hip, so naturally my parents consulted a psychiatrist.

“Your husband has lost the will to live,” he told the Flapper. Then he recommended she have another baby, number six! Me.

My father died of a brain tumor 7 months after I was born.

And even though I was raised by foster parents, I always knew the Flapper was my “real” mother and I had older brothers and sisters. We’d travel from NJ to PA to visit my other family every month.

Before the days of open adoptions, I sort of experienced one. Well, this week we discovered another member of Bob’s family that I had no idea existed. His brother had a daughter in 1970, and she was given up for adoption back before a father’s consent was needed. In fact, this father didn’t even find out until many years later when she started looking for him.

Don’t you love social media! She found me on Facebook and was hoping Bob was her biological uncle!

I wonder if her eyes close when she smiles. Or if she has a wicked sense of humor.

I wonder if the FBI knew almost two years later that the code name for the Trump-Russia investigation, “Crossfire Hurricane,” would still be capturing our interest. That The Rolling Stones warned us about this egotistic real estate magnate back in the 80s when he managed one of their tours by billing his name TRUMP above theirs in marketing.

We all come into this world kicking and screaming. Alone. In fact, the Bride just ended her night shift by delivering a baby in the parking lot of her hospital. Without a hurricane or tornado in sight.

But our families forge our character and help us make sense of the life we are given for a small fraction of time. It’s up to us to forgive our parents, to grow into adulthood and get on with the ADLs (activities of daily living in OT lingo). To fit into the jigsaw puzzle we get. To make our way, to pay taxes.

And to win back the House and Senate from this mad crossfire hurricane.

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On the day I married Bob, under a tree in Ada’s driveway, somebody must have walked me down the cobblestone steps. I just don’t remember who; my biological father, my foster father and my step father the Judge were all long gone. Maybe my brothers had the honor?

Ada told me that both her parents walked her down the aisle, which is a Jewish custom.

When the Bride and the Rocker married, Bob and I strolled down the garden/orchard path together. That seems more modern even though it’s an ancient tradition – after all, we are no longer “giving the Bride away,” just like we stopped promising to obey.

So I think we should just chill about poor Meg’s father in Mexico.

Leave the man alone. Everybody has some type of wedding drama. For us it was spiders and snakes.

The Bride’s last residency rotation before hopping on a plane for her wedding had been infectious disease. She landed in Cville and said her wedding perspective had changed; she’d lost a three year old to a brown recluse spider bite. She promised there’d be no Bridezilla shenanigans and the big day went off without a hitch.

Except for the snake bite that almost killed our dog Buddha. And the blue wedding napkins I forgot.

On the Rocker’s wedding day in Palm Springs, it started to rain. In the Sonoran desert no less. But the rain stopped so beautiful Aunt Kiki could walk to her groom on her father’s arm.

Neither rain, sleet nor anything else will interfere with royal protocol this Saturday. Father or no father, the rodeo must go on!

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What are your Mother’s Day plans? Brunch or breakfast in bed? Ada and I have brunch plans with Bob and cousin Nancy.

We’ve been reading up on the upcoming royal wedding! A self-confessed Anglophile, I can’t get enough of Meghan and Harry. By all accounts, this Mothers Day will find Doria Ragland sitting with the Queen and her daughter Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle for high tea.

Ragland is a geriatric social worker who raised her only daughter alone, and sounds like an amazing “free spirit.” I wonder if Harry knows his new mother-in-law-to-be is a certified yoga instructor as well?

My MIL is a certified sex therapist, just sayin, and while talking with Great Grandma Ada this last week, I’ve learned a bit more about my husband’s family dynamics. I now understand how Bob is doubly related to some cousins – and if you happen to be watching “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” on Netflix, you would be getting a taste of Ada’s early married life.

On her wedding day in 1946, her mother-in-law walked right up to her and said, “My mother isn’t here because of your family!”

Turns out the woman was a Zionist and went to Israel, so much for the art of inflicting guilt!

Anyway, I won the lottery when I married into Bob’s family because of Ada! I’ve been watching her face light up every time she opens a card and celebrating every new step. Learning how to walk again after breaking a hip is hard work at 93, and every call, visit, card and flower are helping to mend her bones. Her windowsills are bursting with cards! As one friend wrote:

“Remember that our minds create opportunities for our bodies and hearts to heal.”

In my mind I’ll be creating a fascinator for the Big Day, and hoping for a speedy recovery! Happy Mother’s Day to all y’all!

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May is mental health month! Who knew? It’s not like we can all wear pink ribbons, walk/run a race or get a mammogram to feel better.

Still, let’s try this checklist for our mental health:

Are you getting enough sleep? I need at least 7 hours and I keep my bedroom device-free.

Are you moving around enough? I don’t mean tracking every heart beat with a watch or taking a spin class. I mean walking outside and noticing Spring’s awakening.

Here is NJ the cherry trees are in bloom. Back home their petals littered our front yard and peonies are blooming. I’m lucky to have two Springs this year.

Do you have a support system? Friends and family who show up when the going gets tough? And I don’t mean an email like “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” I mean like a bowl of chicken soup.

After all, loneliness can kill newborns and can be devastating at any age.

How’s your appetite? Everything in moderation is a good mantra. Food fuels your body and as we age protein becomes even more important. Forget food trends and eat what you love, it’s good for our bones and bellies!

I’m happy to report that Great Grandma Ada has her mojo back. And it’s all a mind game, because the surgery went well and her bones are like oak trees. Her indomitable spirit is alive and well. After decades of counseling couples and throwing life preservers into drowning marriages, she’s back to doing what she does best.

Caring and comforting, schmoozing and laughing. Ada loves life and there are many many people who love her! This is a long road, and the mind/body connection is strong in this one.

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Do you believe in miracles? The book on my nightstand is “Anatomy of a Miracle” by Jonathan Miles.

This young vet has been paralyzed for years when he, one day out of the blue, gets out of his wheelchair in front of a convenience store and walks again! His doctors are puzzled, but not to worry, the Vatican has sent a miracle investigator.

It seems that one of the soldier’s friends started a “prayer chain” on Facebook praying to a certain bishop or someone who already has one miracle under his belt.

And as everyone knows, to reach sainthood one must have performed TWO miracles!

Well folks, I know I’m a day late and a dollar short, but I’m humbly asking for your prayers. Yesterday was National Prayer Day, and Bob and I watched Great Grandma Ada take a few tiny steps to get into her wheelchair.

Last week she fell and broke her hip. The surgeon said she has bones like an oak tree and so the repair went well. Now comes the hard part at 94. Learning to walk again

So please send some good vibes to Adala. The most amazingly smart and vital woman you’d ever meet has a long road of recovery ahead of her; but she has wonderful friends and family to support her.

And if you believe in prayer, maybe even light a candle. Or start a prayer chain?

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Here’s how it all started.

I was Wonder Woman this past weekend. I decided I needed an alias to care for the Grands, so I donned my new Brian Nash tee shirt of Diana Prince in her tiara. It worked!! Particularly for the three year old, he was perfectly happy to let me be in charge, and I tried my best to be a benevolent ruler.

I decided who would go first up and down the stairs.

I told the Love Bug that mud doesn’t “accidentally” get thrown on her brother, and she should apologize…like she means it.

And I told them both that if someone throws mud on them, they should throw mud back!

I agreed with their Father that we won’t “kill” bad guys, but we put alot of them in jail.

We learned that if we want to do something really really bad, that whining about it doesn’t make it happen.

The Love Bug said that singing more than one song at bedtime would be preferable. I sang four – two in Yiddish and two in English.

And I had NO idea how much they loved broccoli!

So today, as I was relaxing at my house, doing laundry and walking Ms Bean as usual, I heard about the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. I thought to myself, how can they have a roast of a President who has absolutely NO sense of humor? It makes zero sense. And I happened to see Anna Navarro skewer a Republican about Mr T’s misogynistic remarks on CNN, and the hypocrisy of the Trumpeteers.

Anna said that Latinas would kill each other if they even tried to do a comic roast, and I thought, yep Jews would also kill someone. Bashing somebody’s looks or their family or their competence would definitely be a death sentence. OTOH, in my Irish family, this sort of thing happened every day!

It was much ado about nothing for me. How can you find ANY humor in this presidency? The best bet would be to just put off the WHCD until we elect someone with a soul. And then I went to Whole Foods to shop for Cinco de Mayo.

We are hosting a neighborhood celebration and I will be teaching folks how to make my famous “Mango Tomatillo Salsa!” As I was checking out, I was impressed that the young man knew what tomatillos were, but even more impressed with the young woman bagger who remembered the code number. I told her my husband was also good with numbers.

“He still knows the phone number from my college dorm,” I said with pride.

Then she asked if we’d met in college, and I said, “Not exactly, we knew each other in high school but he went to Woodstock.” I usually have this sad, semi-sarcastic look on my face whenever I mention this split in the space-time universe of our lives, and she said semi-seriously:

“What’s that? Is it like Burning Man?”

The young man, who was a musician of course, gave her the same look I did. Incredulous. And I thought to myself, okay, I’m officially OLD. I’m that old person who is so cute but makes no sense. Who makes Google Maps route me without highways. Who pulls into parking spaces so she can pull out face first. Who is always losing her cell phone and forgetting her umbrellas all over town.

But I can still laugh at myself, and I can still relish a good joke. Changing lies to ashes to eye shadow was a great line about the Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is pretty astute at changing direction while her voice is like chalk on a chalkboard. And I won’t pick up the feminist card here, she is deserving of derision. GOP women can be just as deluded as men on policy issues.

“She is a fan of fantasy football, New Kids on the Block and the television show “Mad Men.”

All things I abhor. Maybe because I lived that Mad Men world, and it wasn’t pretty. Or funny. I’d rather be Wonder Woman, any day.






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