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After waiting quite awhile for my Uber, I’ve got my boarding pass in hand because for some reason I couldn’t check-in online. What in God’s name did we ever do before the internet? My job in this not-yet-frozen tundra is done. My brother is on the road to recovery.

Being the youngest of six children has its drawbacks; I could never get a word in at the dinner table, and I was always terrified whenever an older sibling drove me anywhere. It must have been part of the big brother contract – always drive fast in small sports cars.

My brother Dr Jim likes to reminisce about growing up “poor.” Since he remembers our Year of Living Dangerously I assume it’s true. But for me, growing up in Victory Gardens, I never felt “poor.” I wore that awful maroon uniform to Catholic school, always had enough food and a new pair of shoes. The Mahons provided unconditional love and puppies so what else did I need?

When asked about his hobbies, Jim who is still a working psychologist, likes to talk about golf. All his teenage friends were getting golf clubs one Christmas and the Flapper told him,

“There’s a country club down the road, maybe you can get a job as a caddy?”

Jim’s goal, once Spring arrives is to get back out on the golf course, and back to work of course. My short term goal is to celebrate the L’il Pumpkin’s Birthday once I get back to Nashville.

Long term? Voting in a Blue Tsunami and maybe a little Karaoke. I was 16 when Jim got his first Lieutenant bars. That’s the Flapper on the right!

I’m Flying Again

The turnaround was quick; maybe I should have been the 60s stewardess instead of my sister Kay? One day you’re walking on a beach trying to avoid stepping on sea slugs, and the next you find yourself packing for snow “showers.”

In the meantime, we finally installed The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Great Grandma Ada’s TV! I have a feeling she is destined to become a binge watcher, after all, once I introduced her to Pinterest all bets were off. She would still like to find artistic inspiration from paper and not her iPad, but she jockeys technology like no other 94 year old I know.

I left Bob a few instructions: Don’t watch The Greatest Showman without me! Don’t early vote without me! Keep an eye on Ms Bean’s swollen jaw, she and Maple aka Meatball had a bit of a tiff while we were away.

And speaking of the great showman, we were discussing Stormy losing her lawsuit against Mr T this morning on the way to the airport – Bob tried telling me that public figures have a different standard of proof for slander. That because she was an actress we get to say whatever we like about her, First Amendment and all that.

Not so sure I agree. And if someone started a Go Fund Me to help Stormy pay T’s legal fees count me in. After all, on this gorgeous Fall day as I’m about to take off for parts up North, I was thankfully NOT patted down randomly by TSA. So there is Hope.

Because I managed to squeeze in a haircut with my favorite stylist!

Tropical Storms

It’s Fall Break y’all so we’re checking out another part of Florida. While everyone else was heading inland to Disney, we thought we’d try our luck on Anna Maria Island and lucky for us, Hurricane Michael passed us by!

I’m not complaining but there are basically NO bugs here. You’d expect to be fighting off mosquitoes at dawn and dusk, but I’m remarkably bite-free. I have seen pelicans, piping plovers, white egrets and a Great Blue Heron.

Our transport for the past few days has been “Meatball,” an eerily quiet, electric golf cart/dune buggy that reminds us of the Mini Mokes of old. This vehicle is the highlight of our trip for the L’il Pumpkin who just asked us if the moon is far away and we’re moving or is the moon moving?

Pretty astute commentary from an almost four year old bouncing around in the back seat!

The infamous red tide has started to recede. There is a faint, funky smell on the bay side of the island, but the Atlantic side is just fine. Hurricanes and tropical storms tend to rearrange the beach and bring new life to inlets and tributaries.

This little seven mile stretch of Florida has surprised me. It’s quaint. Old fashioned. Friendly. It’s like we stepped back in time to a small LBI meets the Vineyard.

Tonight we stopped for ice cream and they actually had a flavor called “Super Man!” We are missing Oktoberfest at home but wish you all a happy Fall!

Buon Giorno! It seems that most of our little courtyard of Nashville neighbors are traveling to Italy this season. Rocky’s parents, a cute young couple, just returned from hiking around the Amalfi Coast, and Kudra’s mama is currently in Cinque Terre! FYI Rocky is about three pounds of Yorkie-mix and Kudra is a sweet grey tabby cat. Lucky for me, I’m the kitty sitter.

I love coming over to my neighbor’s house in the morning. The sun streams onto the screened porch and cute Kudra climbs up on my lap for a pet, or maybe a love bite depending on her mood. You can’t hear the street noise, only birds and squirrels, so it’s almost like a meditation; no Bob asking me where I’m going (to the bathroom honey), no TV background Michael Avenatti noise or pundits wondering how Supreme Court Justice “I Like Beer” Brett Kavanaugh managed to be sworn onto the highest court in the land.

I’m done listening to prevaricators, and all the useless prognosticating…this weekend just plumb wore me out.

The weekend started out Thursday on a high note however, I accompanied Bob and the Bride to a Planned Parenthood shindig with our delightful 91 year old neighbor, Burdelle. The keynote speaker was Irin Carmon, the co-author of the 2015 book, “The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” I couldn’t wait to hear how this legit, liberal icon on the SCOTUS got her start.  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/books/review-notorious-rbg-the-life-and-times-of-ruth-bader-ginsburg.html

Ms Carmon, once a writer and editor for Jezebel, is an “…MSNBC journalist known for her smarts and feminist bona fides.” She was quite charming in person, strode right up to me and introduced herself. I immediately wanted to know more about her, this Harvard alum, this confident, competent young woman who wore bright red lipstick. Before I knew it, I was in a tight circle of women looking at her wedding pictures – Ruth was her officiant!

“She came all the way to Brooklyn,” Carmon said. Her talk about Justice Ginsburg did not disappoint.

Did you know there’s a children’s book about RBG? The Love Bug has a copy –  “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.” So just to be fair, I had to stop by Parnassus and pick up a signed copy of the Property Brothers new children’s book, “Builder Brothers: Big Plans” for the L’il Pumpkin. Not that girls don’t build things too…insert strong arm emojis now. Wasn’t sure if I should include a picture of the Bug in her pussycat headband planting an oak tree, or this one?

We #StandWithPlannedParenthood

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A Star is Born

 

“This job has side benefits!”

Great Grandma Ada said, as two tall, handsome young men escorted her to the stage. And so the laughter began.

My Mother-in-Law Ada was the honored guest and a featured speaker at her retirement community’s 2nd Annual Fall Film Festival yesterday. This particular organization has over a thousand continuing care and assisted living campuses all over the country. Their incredible “Optimum Life Engagement” director, Carol, met Ada months ago and enlisted her immediately, since we all know how charming and disarming this 94 year young Brooklyn babe can be!

We arrived early for the Red Carpet! Carol had provided a special parking spot, an actual handler (Lauren, an adorable Millennial), and hair and make-up people. The tech guys in the back adored the Marvelous Ms A…I was looking for E! News…

I told her later she threw a little Bette Midler into her speech, but she said, “No, don’t you know who my three famous role-models are?” I guessed to no avail – then she said, “Sophie Tucker, Margaret Mead, and Eleanor Roosevelt!” Not a bad trio.

Her son Jeff told her she’d hit the big time, corporate America. This was no Hadassah talk, after all, she was following a series of short films that residents had created on iPads to help celebrate aging and change some stereotypes.

It was an emotional rollercoaster, one woman used a teapot from her grandmother as a metaphor for her feelings about agism. A man saw the reflection of his younger self as he transitioned from home to a motor home. But listening to Ada was like rolling down the home stretch. She told us about being a family counselor, living in NJ for over 50 years and finding herself in TN. Feeling bereft at first, but taping into her sense of humor and a determination I knew she would find again.

“Life has other plans,” she told us, and she chose life. The Jewish Community Center has voted her IN, and last night we celebrated with Turkish food, her favorite. Just as her great grand daughter is starting Hebrew School this month, Ada is starting to bloom in this fertile Southern soil.

ps #HireAda was trending last night! Could talented senior motivational speaker be her next act? Here is Dr Ada with her new manager, Carol, backstage in the Green Room.

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The Balcony View

Since the weather has decided to oblige, Bob and I thought a Fall outing would be just the ticket for the Great Grands. First we drove to Cheekwood, a gorgeous botanical garden, but they were closed due to a private event. So we hemmed and hawed because anything worth doing would have to supply wheelchairs, and guess what? The Nashville Zoo has not only wheelchairs available, but electric scooters!

We only lost Great Grandpa Hudson once, near the flamboyance of flamingoes. But the normally elusive animals were putting on quite a show – gibbons flew through the air, baby meerkats frolicked next to our feet, and the Andean bears had decided it was time for a swim. Great Grandma Ada thought we should cap off our adventure with a visit to a food truck, and luckily for us Google came to the rescue.

Unfortunately, the Grilled Cheeserie truck was also at a private event, but we found the Cousins lobster roll truck in mere minutes!

It was a perfect outing. Needing a break from the non-stop coverage of Kavanaugh’s “righteous” anger, we also  needed to separate from social media maladies like supposed evangelical “Christians” becoming indignant about smearing a “good” man’s name. After all, patriarchy runs deep, it’s biblical. Remember Mary Magdalene?

“In one age after another her image was reinvented, from prostitute to sibyl to mystic to celibate nun to passive helpmate to feminist icon to the matriarch of divinity’s secret dynasty. How the past is remembered, how sexual desire is domesticated, how men and women negotiate their separate impulses; how power inevitably seeks sanctification, how tradition becomes authoritative, how revolutions are co-opted; how fallibility is reckoned with, and how sweet devotion can be made to serve violent domination—all these cultural questions helped shape the story of the woman who befriended Jesus of Nazareth.”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/who-was-mary-magdalene-119565482/#A1kBRpgIwYOqJUGc.99

In looking back, it turns out that this Jewish woman was NOT in fact a repentant prostitute, which was what I’d been told back in Sacred Heart School. In fact, there were many Marys alive during the time of Jesus. But Mary Magdalene was there at the crucifixion, and she was there at the apparent resurrection from the tomb. She was in fact an important disciple, someone who was loved and respected by all accounts. What would Jesus do today with Dr Christine Blasey Ford?

Jumping around in time like a WOMAN Time Lord in a souped-up TARDIS is taking the balcony view. You take a deep breath and look out over the crowded multitudes, summing up the past and trying to predict the future. Misogyny has had its place in history, and I believe we are about to rewrite the next chapter from a human point of view. Great Grandma Ada has always talked about her mother being alive when we mere humans first took flight on a North Carolina beach, and also seeing our first small steps on the Moon!

On the ride home last night, Ada mentioned friends of a friend who both had PhDs and quit their jobs to open an Egyptian food truck! I was trying to figure out how Egyptian food differs from Jewish food (pretty much not at all) while listening to the astonishment in Ada’s voice; like we women won the vote and Title IV and the ability to play Dr Who and now we want to cook…in a truck?

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#BelieveWomen

Today is my birthday, and this particular one I find hard to believe.

It creeps up on you, it stalks you in the shadows; first you notice some wrinkles on your arms of all places, then a furrow in your brow. After West Nile, you need glasses to see. You stop dying your hair that fake red color, because who are you trying to impress? Your hip continues to ache and your knees complain. Your husband retires.

Small pieces begin to add up to a whole lotta years – 70 to be exact. But instead of feeling discouraged this morning, I’m hopeful about the future. Last night, after coming un-glued being semi-glued to the TV, Bob and I attended a small Nashville-style fundraiser at Third Man Records for the Democratic candidate for the Senate: https://www.bredesen.com/meet-phil/  It was a feminist antidote to our times.

I came of age when women died from septic, illegal abortions. The luckier ones had their fertility compromised, or they were secretly ushered off into “Unwed Mothers’ Homes” where their babies went to the highest bidder, or Catholic Charities. Everyone knew a girl in high school who disappeared. This is the kind of “Great America” we might be forced to endure again, if Brett Kavanaugh is voted on today, out of committee, and ever closer to a life-time seat on the SCOTUS.

Did you believe Dr Christine Blasey Ford?

The indelible hippocampus where memories are stored in our brains is a reservoir of trauma and pain. I remember being hit by Nellie when I called her “Mommy,” because she’d promised the Flapper that I would never call her that name.

I remember playing alone across the street in Victory Gardens, up a small hill, when a car drove very slowly by with a man exposing himself to me. I didn’t even have the words to tell Nell what happened.

Like seeing Mark Judge arranging shopping carts at the Safeway, I distinctly remember waking up and leaving that house, with a boy I didn’t know trying to undress me, and the look on my friend’s face, a boy I had gone to Catholic school with, in the living room. A look of surprise and shame followed by denial because I was furious, yelling and throwing things at him.

I didn’t report it because his buddy didn’t “rape” me and I felt guilty for being there. I don’t know where that house is, I don’t know how I got home.

Do you believe me?

We were up close and personal last night while Emmylou Harris’ haunting voice sent waves of healing grace down my spine. She sings of heartbreak and loss like no other, the years only smoothing her tone. She has her very own animal rescue farm here in Nashville. She was born one year ahead of me, her mane of silver white hair hanging over her acoustic guitar. I’d always loved her, she and Joni were our sheros. Like Anita Hill. Like Christine Blasey Ford. Like Kamala Harris.

And another reason to feel hopeful – Pennsylvania voted yesterday to deny spousal abusers the ability to buy guns! “CeaseFirePA is pleased that the PA House of Representatives today passed HB 2060 by a vote of by 131-62.  This bill takes important steps to disarm domestic abusers and make Pennsylvania families safer. CeaseFirePA has been proud to stand with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and working with constituents across the Commonwealth to pass this critical legislation.” http://www.ceasefirepa.org/updates/

Thanks to Moms Demand and all the women who will no longer stay silent, who will change our culture in this first year of the #MeToo movement. Who can use more than a smile to turn the world on? I #BelieveWomen

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