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Archive for the ‘Books, Journaling, Wedding, Country’ Category

I’ve heard people say, the day after #HumanRightsDay, that they will lose their faith in people if Alabama elects a pedophile like Moore tomorrow. Granted, seeing pastors and some southern Republicans stick by him is confusing and contradictory if you happen to be a practicing Christian. Listening to Mr T’s robo-call of support is yet another nonsensical stunt from our Groper-in-Chief.

But it’s Moore’s racist point of view, and his willingness to endorse the agenda of the NRA that is truly frightening.

After all, it’s not just what he did as a middle-aged man with a teenager – it’s how he will vote as another old white guy in the Senate that is truly frightening! How can you say you believe the woman who was 14 when Roy Moore sexually assaulted her and simultaneously want the man in office. Easy, Trumpsters write this off as another “boys will be boys” moment. Locker room talk? It never happened. Denial is a powerful thing.

Maybe, but it’s a ‘bless his heart’ kinda Southern thing too, this Fundamentalist/Baptist faith in a God who is all powerful and therefore can take the rap for anything bad that ever happens; this is on the other side of a religious spectrum of ‘it’s a bad idea for one’s religion to guide policy in the US…’ ya know, cause the founders were trying to SEPARATE church and state.

“Moore suggested that a lack of faith in God may have played a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as he quoted a passage from the book of Isaiah in a February speech at the Open Door Baptist Church. The passage suggests that because God’s message was rejected, sin will come like a high wall that suddenly collapses.”

Then he compares that high wall to the Pentagon. He indicated that God may be upset because “we legitimize sodomy” and “legitimize abortion.” Families were closer during slavery! He has even blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on Americans who have, “…forgotten the law of God.” He believes we are a sinful people. I believe he is insane! https://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/27/roy-moore-outrageous-things-he-said-243207

Remember when Congress failed to pass a universal background check after the Sandy Hook massacre? That’s about when I lost my faith completely. Our legislators showed their true colors back then, and as my brother Eric likes to say, “We have the best democracy money can buy.”

They are willing to sacrifice 90+ lives a day to gun violence, and would now like concealed carry gun owners to be able to carry their weapons across state lines with impunity. So if a woman flees to a neighboring state, her abuser can easily bring his weapon of choice along for the chase. Republicans really respect women and girls, right? Women who lost their children in a classroom, girls who are being strangled by their gun-toting boyfriends.

Being an old school feminist, I’m really glad the #MeToo movement has started a revolution of sorts, but I wonder how we can bring about the kind of common sense gun reform our country so desperately needs. How about making it easier to vote, instead of harder? That could be a start, along with throwing the money/lobbyist class off the Hill.

Tis the season for sharing. Who cares whether you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?” Not me. While you decorate your trees and light your candles, while you go to the church or synagogue or nature trail of your choice, while you make your end of year charitable donations, think about ways we can make our country more equitable and just for all our citizens. I’d like to keep my faith in humanity.

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There’s no way around it, Hanukkah starts next week and shortly thereafter is Christmas. Great Grandma Ada told me she’s setting out for the mall to buy presents for all her little ones, and she needs some new makeup! I told her to be careful about “sale items” on the way to cosmetics, they can pull you away from your shopping goal.

“I don’t shop for myself anymore,” she said, “I shop my closet.”

“Ha, I shop my Pod!”

Or at least I wish I could shop my Pod. Almost every day that little Pod creeps into my conversation. I went to make chili, but my can opener was in the Pod. My super duper deluxe meatloaf pan from Williams Sonoma is in the Pod, not to mention my winter boots, hats and sweaters. Our mountain home sold so fast, Bob had to return for the final Pod Casting last summer, so I’m hoping all these things are in my Pod.

I never thought we’d be one of “those people” with a storage unit. Listen to Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on these wonders of the modern age; we Americans have so much crap we have to rent space just to contain it all! He called our homes “garbage processing centers,” and warned that once something leaves any part of the house for the garage it’s never allowed back in.  http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/videos/jerry-seinfeld-standup-tonight-show-20141224

I really really hope that no one accuses Jerry of sexual impropriety…

Sure the people who bought our home wanted the furniture, but that left all our personal belongings, including artwork, that would never fit in this tiny town home. Bob and I had packed for a month’s stay, thinking we’d go back and forth to Cville this winter. And I admit, we’ve been living the minimalist lifestyle pretty happily until now. The weather has changed and I’ve been missing my vintage blue Dutch Oven along with winter clothes. Although to be fair, we did visit the Pod once this Fall.

We had to schedule an appointment because presumably our Pod is stacked very high in a warehouse of similar Pods, like a sci-fi storage unit of astronauts in suspended life forms floating through space. It was one of those 90+ degree days and a crane dropped our Pod in the middle of a sunny, melting asphalt parking lot. We could only dig maybe a quarter of the way in, before heat exhaustion got the better of us – winter coats were salvaged along with some shoes and a chair or two.

And so there it sits, our poor little Pod, among thousands of similar Pods, waiting for us to find a beach house.

And while I extolled on the wonders of online shopping to Ada, who hasn’t tried Amazon yet, I drove myself over to my favorite independent bookstore, Parnassus, to pick out some special books for my little ones. Hint, if you have a three year old, she will love “Escargot!” Here is their gift list for children this season: https://parnassusmusing.net/2017/12/06/big-gift-list-2017-kids-teens/

Next, I walked over to a local designer pop-up boutique. Then down the street to our antique shop, where I can always score something fun and unusual. I found a beautiful silk and cotton scarf imprinted with an abstract guitar that was a perfect birthday gift for Aunt Kiki there. And I’m planning a visit to our amazing friend Robin’s pet boutique, “Come, Sit, Stay!” Because we only buy gifts for children during the holidays, and the occasional rescue dog. IF they’ve been good.

This December, I’m praying for a friend who broke her leg in too many places while saving her small son from drowning in TX. I’m sending positive vibes to a friend whose son is about to get a cardiac work-up in AL. And I’m wishing all those LA fires would just plain stop, and that our family and everyone on the Left Coast stay safe. And I wish Mr T would just resign already, instead of singlehandedly setting the mideast on fire with this Jerusalem business.

And I’m hoping when (or if) I’ve lived for nine decades, I’ll still think it’s a good idea to buy some new make-up!

So if you’re shopping for kids from 3 to 93, don’t let the holidays get you down ladies! Shop local, drink wine while baking cookies, and maybe splurge on a new winter hat! With pompoms, cause that Pod, you know. Thanks http://fannyandjune.com/shop/ Nashville!

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This past weekend back in Nashville, Bob and I stole the Love Bug for an afternoon. Our local Nature Center, Shelby Bottoms, http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Nature-Centers-and-Natural-Areas/Shelby-Bottoms-Nature-Center.aspx sits on the side of the Cumberland River with tug boats pushing gigantic barges right by lovely hiking trails. And to mark the Center’s 10th Anniversary, they had a party with wood cutting artist, Julie Sola, engaging people of all ages. Julie had prepared gorgeous cuttings of local birds and taught the Bug how to roll on the ink and press out a design.

And of course, we had birthday cake!

Today, the Supreme Court will take up the merits of wedding cakes. One might think that if your business was a bakery, you should not be able to discriminate against anyone…for any reason. But this particular baker in Colorado refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple, and now he gets to plead his case before the highest court in the land. In a way around the issue, his lawyers have framed the argument differently:

In June, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the baker’s claim that designing a custom wedding cake involves expression. If so, forcing him to design a cake that violates his views conflicts with the freedom of speech protected by the 1st Amendment, his lawyers say. The justices will not hear his separate claim that requiring him to make a custom cake violates his right to the “free exercise” of religion also protected by the 1st Amendment.”                             http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-wedding-cake-20171205-story.html

Now I’m not a lawyer, but “free speech” and the “free exercise of religion” have been used as synonyms by the Religious Right for ages. Let’s put the Ten Commandments up in our court house square, let’s all hold hands and pray before the football game. It’s like they forgot why our country threw off the yoke of Great Britain in the first place – the Anglican church didn’t speak for Thomas Jefferson. In fact, he wrote his own Bible! “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” which omitted pretty much every miracle in the Bible because our Founders believed in science and reason.

You’d have to think Jefferson would have fought against Climate Change from the get go, and not worried over Personhood claims, or cakes for that matter.

When the Bride and Groom married on the adjoining Blue Ridge mountaintop to Monticello, they disdained the traditional wedding cake. My reluctant Bride wanted cupcakes, there would be no ceremonial cutting of the cake and smashing a piece into someone’s mouth. They incorporated Jewish and Christian tradition into their ceremony, including a reading of “The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real.”

Christianity is, after all, a Jewish sect that got really really popular. But what if Judaism was the dominant religion in this US of A? Or Hinduism? Should our restaurants only serve dairy and meat on different nights? Or maybe only serve vegan meals? And btw, we only create gluten-free wedding cakes for couples who fit our limited, fundamental definition of the Bible…

If you want to go to pastry school, but you don’t want to bake a cake for a black and white couple, or an immigrant couple, or a hillbilly couple, or a mixed-faith couple (you get the drift) then just make baking your hobby. Pick something else, be a dog catcher, or an electrician. Be a park ranger! Don’t bother the Supremes with your myth.

I’ve been telling my grands that when I cook, I add this very special ingredient, TLC. And they totally get it – from carrot cake to lasagne, there is no room for hate in my hands.

The Love Bug wanted a piece of the Shelby Bottoms’ birthday cake with the red balloon, so of course I skillfully executed the perfect slice for her. Julie talked about her children’s book, the story of a dog named Milo, while the Bug recounted our story of Miss Bean catching a bird in mid-flight, right before our very eyes. I screamed and made her drop the poor thing. Then she displayed her creation. My Grand Daughter had drawn flowers and stars on the paper before adding the chickadee print. And it was pretty darn sweet!

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What the heck is happening? First, Clarence Thomas, then Donald Trump, and now Garrison Keillor; right after our Minnesota Nice Guy published a piece supporting Al Franken? And really, Charlie Rose…

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the sexual misconduct allegations swirling about, let alone the height of a North Korean missile launch, and where it might land in the continental United States. To be fair, we were in LaLa Land all last week, blissfully unaware of “Breaking News.”

Except for the Little Pumpkin, pulling up a chair to help me chop vegetables, and looking into the mirrored backsplash at himself. “Nana,” he said, “I almost lost my eyebrows!”

“Join the club!” I said, while everyone burst out laughing. Ah the joys of being a redhead.

My beautiful and amazing SIL Jorja (also a redhead) hosted over 20 people for Thanksgiving. The childrens’ table on the patio was so adorable, I actually wanted to sit there. The last time she cooked a bird was in 1998 – since she and my brother Mike opened The University Club in Oxford there’s always been a professional chef at the helm. But California got sunnier once Jorja moved West, and the feast she prepared (with some pies and lasagne thrown in for good measure) was delicious!

From 7 months to 70, we all had a jolly good time. Especially all of our little cousins!

We stayed with the Bride and Groom in Venice Beach. We rented bikes and tooled down to the Santa Monica Pier with the kiddos in a trailer. Bob successfully tried out a Segway. We walked along the Boardwalk, and one day we strolled along the canals. The Love Bug got to play with the Rocker and Aunt Kiki’s new kitten. We all tried some Poke, which is Hawaiian, a bowl of delicious sushi-like yumminess.

I discovered yet again that I love the Golden State, and it’s been good to my son. The Rocker just won a Clio for his work on Dunkirk. Chances are you’ve seen a new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer that he composed.

I wish I could find the old elementary school tape that he and his buddy Alex filmed in our garage. They made a meticulous stop-action cartoon using little Star Wars action figures. How could I explain to his teachers that in fact, he was able to concentrate When He Wanted To Create Something.

Now that we’ve returned to Nashville, I worry about this next generation of young boys. I taught my son to respect women, but my generation was so busy making feminism work, passing Title IX, telling our little girls that one day they too could be President, that we may have forgotten a few simple rules.

No means NO. Asking permission is not the same as getting permission. And it’s never OK to run around in your skivvies in a workplace. Unless you’re three years old and fully potty trained, then the whole Nature Boy look is appropriate. Now, it’s time for action and adventure! And while we’re at it, let’s go look for those missing eyebrows.

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It’s that time of year. A time to think about gratitude and sheer luck – we happened to be born in these United States and not in say, Syria. We get to roast a turkey and kick back to watch football, we’re not packing up our meagre belongings to flee across borders, escaping bombs, and worse. We’re making cranberry sauce. We’re trying politely not to talk politics.

Bob and I are packing tonight for California. We’ll be catching up with the newlyweds, and meeting up with nieces and cousins for Thanksgiving. My amazing Sister-in-Law, Jorja, is hosting the combined clan in Pasadena. Big props to her, she lost my brother Mike several years ago, but family is everything to her. And she just moved to Cali to be closer to her grandbabies, so we can relate!

Did I mention the Rocker won two Clio awards? He composed the music for the trailer, Dunkirk, the movie by Christopher Nolan about WWII. About altruism and honor, sacrifice and courage. I was thrilled when he told me, almost as an aside. I remembered when we sat at a cafe on the street in Silver Lake, and he saw Nolan get out of his car. The Rocker was still “taking meetings.” I had faith in him; somehow, I knew everything would work out. I can’t wait to see those golden statuettes!

So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for:

  • My Little Pumpkin running into my arms
  • My Love Bug singing to me as a turkey in her school play
  • Bob agreeing to move to Nashville
  • The Bride and Groom in their new house, paying off their med school loans
  • The Rocker and Aunt Kiki not just surviving, but thriving in LaLa land
  • Great Grandparents who are still living independently

Life is about change, I know. And I vow to embrace whatever the future holds. I am California dreaming and I prefer not to think about North Korea, or a president who tweets like a Kindergartener. I’m happy not keeping up with CNN. I’m happy making chicken masala for our crew tonight.

Despite our differences, we Americans can gather around our Thanksgiving tables, and be grateful we are free to worship and speak freely. We are free to take a knee. We are free to be… totem poles of love.

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Make it stop! Let’s admit it. We all want it to stop; every day a new allegation about some older white guy sexually harassing a younger woman.

You would think we are a country born of Puritans who would impeach a sitting president for a consensual affair with an intern. But hey, it was a BJ in the Oval Office. And she was an adult with a proclivity for berets. And anyway, he admitted it, and apologized, right?

This was a part of the conversation I was having with my hair stylist, Chase, this week. What we didn’t know at the time, was that another crazy white man whipped out his semi-automatic rifle in California and fired at an elementary school, killing five people. Like many mass murderers, he first killed his wife. When news started to trickle out, I was taking a selfie of my new hairdo. Oblivious, I drove through the Gulch and met Bob for lunch.

My brother’s daughter teaches music in a California elementary school. Her two beautiful little girls attend the same school. Initially, I panicked. Then I learned that all praise was going to the school secretary for locking down the building so fast. Or God, with thoughts and prayers. I’m so sick of thoughts and prayers. Praise Jesus, all those “active shooter” drills have paid off!

Chase and I like to discuss how organized religion has ruined many a family gathering. He grew up Southern Baptist, never feeling accepted, while I talk about Catholics and Jews. I’m sure everybody and their grandparents will be talking about sex around this Thanksgiving table, after they hold hands and thank God for our abundance. The whole school shooting thing will be simply a footnote, next to Aunt Mary’s oyster stuffing.

I became weary of all the sexual allegations floating through social media when I read a piece about my hometown hero, John Grisham. Author, lawyer and handsome script writer, he was being interviewed by a British journalist to promote his latest book, “Gray Mountain.” Maybe he thought he was safe to speak freely? He said he thought sentencing for child pornography has gone too far, he cited a buddy of his in Canada who had “too much to drink” and somehow downloaded something about 16 year olds. It was a sting operation.

“He pushed the wrong buttons.”

And so Twitter took off calling Grisham a pervert when he was merely stating a fact. There’s a lot of middle aged white guys in our prisons it would seem! “The length of federal sentences for child pornography has increased 500 percent in the past 15 years, according to the advocacy organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/16/john-grisham-says-sentencing-for-child-porn-offenders-is-too-harsh-they-arent-real-pedophiles/?utm_term=.aee6aaca0fdf

But hey there are hardly any mass murderers in our prisons, mostly because they either shoot themselves or are shot by the police. Look at that TX church shooting last week. Was it only last week? Why a vigilante hopped into a truck with his gun and pursued the killer. Now that, people, makes great news coverage! Everybody should own an arsenal of guns, it’s the American way after all.

Even Grisham’s thrillers have some overtly violent undertones. Although I rather appreciated his argument, that the actual makers and distributors of this particular genre called child porn should not get less time in prison than the guy with a laptop. In a robbery of innocence, they’re not even driving the getaway car, these balding bad guys are watching the chase on a monitor. So they are complicit, but to what degree?

This does not excuse Roy Moore, who was banned from roaming a mall on the hunt for young girls. I hope the voters in Alabama can make the distinction between active and passive participation. Or will they believe it’s all a conspiracy from the “fake news?” Sexual harassment is a bipartisan affair, but taking the NRA’s blood money is NOT.

Look at Al Franken! He was a comedian at the time he supposedly French kissed a USO cast mate (with her permission) and “pretended” to grope her while she was allegedly “sleeping”; he wasn’t running for the Senate at the time. Oh, and she was an adult, an active participant in a comedy routine.

Another funny man, Louis CK , has found his bad behavior plastered all over the news. Most women I know never thought he was funny, there was always too much anger underneath his persona. If you want to know what male white privilege looks like, it’s him. He thought that by asking a woman (again an adult, and once 2 adults) if it was OK if he whipped out his willy made everything just fine. Almost a consensual self-mastabutory act in order to burn off all that stage energy. And he hasn’t really apologized, though I’m sure he’s “seeking help” since his career is tanking.

The American people decided that mass murder is just a part of the deal we made with the devil and the NRA, and until recently, sexually boorish male behavior was acceptable, so long as it’s not rape. And maybe now we need a sincere apology, so long as the particular aberration involves a penis and not a gun, oh it doesn’t involve children. Molesting vs killing children?

After all, Mr T’s little hands have been known to do their share of groping. He liked to walk into the Miss Teenage America dressing room to see girls as young as 15 naked, and bragged about it. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/timeline-of-trumps-creepiness-while-he-owned-miss-universe-w444634

Let’s hope he doesn’t push the wrong button.

The California gunman this week next killed his neighbor before going to the school. “At the time of Tuesday’s attack, Neal was out on bail for assaulting a neighbor with a deadly weapon in January, police said. That neighbor, whom police did not identify, was among those Neal killed during his rampage.” His second victim was his neighbor. Isn’t it strange how crazy people don’t kill so many people in other countries?

But the fact that a known domestic abuser with an arsenal had run amok hardly caused a ripple in the media…guns are endemic to our American society. It’s a cowboy culture, canonized in the film industry. The Second Amendment is our right! Five years after the Sandy Hook massacre, we’d much rather debate electing a pedophile in a red state.

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It’s been a busy weekend. Not busy like Great Grandpa Hudson’s busy Veteran’s Day celebrations, but busy enough. On Saturday, Bob and I stopped by a new Vietnamese restaurant opening in our neighborhood; and that evening we saw the spectacular “Jane” documentary with the Bride’s family, about Jane Goodall and her beloved chimps of the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. As we were leaving the theatre, I remembered interviewing Dame Goodall in Rumson in the 90s.

She was slight like the Flapper, elegant in an easy way, no makeup with her grey hair pulled back in the proverbial ponytail. Wrapped in a long poncho. I remember the determination in her eyes, so focused and bright.

Last night we walked down our alley to meet our 90 year old neighbor, Burdell, and walk to a presentation on the history of Germantown. Our little outpost neighborhood in Nashville started out with an abundance of slaughterhouses in the 1840s and began developing into a mixed residential area until the 1950s. It was an old-school slide presentation and when a certain house on Monroe St appeared, Burdell whispered, “Turnip greens.” Seems a woman would sit on that front porch yelling, “Turnip greens!” all day long.

And I thought I had entered into a Southern novel and was wishing my sister-in-law Jorja  was here.

Burdell and the man wielding the laser light single(or double)handedly rescued Germantown from becoming an industrial zone in 1979. The city wanted to build an emissions testing garage across the street from those venerable old homes, so our buddies ran quite a protest with press coverage and champagne and donuts! Certain homes became historic landmarks and an architectural review board convened to save the tiny row houses and bungalows from extinction.

Now we are back to being a mixed residential zone, only the new condos and apartments being built are hardly affordable. In fact, a new town home next to an old funeral home and across from a pet store just sold for over 1M.

At least that’s what Bill told me. This is how I get my news these days, from neighbors walking past our porch to the coffee house; from Bob’s “damage report” every morning; from BBC and Nashville Public Radio; and for up to the minute “breaking news” from Twitter. I’m changing my habits. Gone are the days of yelling at Morning Joe over coffee. Instead, this morning I watched a video clip on my laptop from the Today Show of Joe Biden.

First I just watched his facial expressions, without sound. Then I punched in the sound as he answered Savannah Guthrie’s question about some juvenile Tweet Mr T sent regarding North Korea’s leader being “short and fat.” Biden was measured and serious, we are no longer laughing at Mr T’s buffoonery. He said he’s known many presidents, and that our children and grandchildren are watching, that our country used to lead by “The Power of our Example.”

We all know you can teach a child through lessons, words and workbooks, but it’s our example as teachers and parents that sifts through their consciousness. I wanted the Love Bug to see “Jane” because she also loves animals, and being outside collecting bugs. If you want your child to not develop an eating disorder, you don’t grab their arm or threaten at the dinner table. One models a healthy lifestyle by living it. Just thinking about two man-baby leaders trading sarcastic middle school Tweets with those same fingers that can access nuclear codes is more than horrifying.

They are putting humans on the endangered species list. When Jane’s chimps ventured south on the Gombe, they were systematically annihilated by a different group in that area. Territory is hard-wired in our brains I’m afraid. And Mr T goes to China and comes back with a branding agreement for his name to be used on hotels and escort services among others, but nada on North Korea. There is a move to impeach this president, have you signed the Need to Impeach Trump petition yet? https://www.needtoimpeach.com

We are walking on a tightrope.

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