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What I Didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation

Though a five-day-sail around Maine in an old schooner was not my usual jam, it had the elements I enjoyed: my husband, a getaway, and time to read and knit. So I agreed, and a month later, after reading all the literature they provided and watching the video, we set out.

My husband loved the rental car, the ferry ride to Connecticut was a pleasant break, we had an engaging meal with a Boston-based friend, and discovered a lovely village with a veg-friendly chocolatier. Then [cue the ominous music] we made it to the ship.

We knew it was “cozy” and “rustic” — we’d read the literature. But we didn’t know those words actually meant “cramped” and “somewhere between unsavory and gross.”

Since pictures are worth a boatload of words, let’s start with our cabin. Here it is in its totality:


Now we’ve joined up with the tour of the rest of the ship. Let me show you the bathroom that all the cabins on our side of the ship will share:


Yes, it’s an actually a boat head, and I’m OK with that. I’m a boater and I know how these things work.  But look again at that photo. Do you see a sink? No, you don’t!

“Use hand sanitizer” they say. You know, the alcohol-based stuff that “kills 99% of germs” but removes zip that might be clinging to your hands?

Before moving on, I just want to say that my boat, about half the size of this one, HAS A SINK.

We leave our side of the ship (mind the ladder-steps) and cross the deck, dropping in on the galley where they prepare the food and we, the passengers eat. Oh, yes, this is also where the one and only shower is located:


To recap, you make your way up, across the deck, and down into the galley where you take a shower in the very near vicinity of staff and vacationers. If you’re unlucky enough to be the “third or fourth person in a row to take a shower” you are requested to “please either empty the shower basin or call a crew member to do it, happily, for you.” While you are freshly washed and in view of staff and vacationers, of course.

Want to get clean but avoid the whole shower scene? You can leave your cabin, come up on that same deck, ask a crewmember for hot water, and then carry it down to your cabin where you can’t stand with the door closed, so you have to sit on the bed and wash yourself. Remember those ladder-stairs? Let me show you what you need to descend holding a basin of hot water:

     

Speaking of water, it begins to rain heavily. Post dinner, we find our cabin soaked and seek out the captain. She sends a guy who looks like a cast member of Mutiny on the Bounty to “see,” but it turns out he already knows. He grabs our stuff, moves it to a vacant and dry cabin (same size) and goes about stopping the leaks. He doesn’t grab towels made of paper or cloth, but he does grab something from the closet that’s made to soak up liquid:


Yes, that’s a diaper. And that is Cookie Monster.

On the outside, I look like I’ve just seen the ghosts of Fred and Mary tRump. On the inside, my brain is beating back my stomach before it launches into a gastric hurricane.

I turn to my husband and say, “You’ve known me a long, long time. You know I can’t handle this.” This better-than-anyone man sighs and says, “I know.”

However, the part of me that eschews shirking what she’s started doesn’t want to disappoint him, as I know he’d love to help crew the rig. Since we’re spending the night in port, I muster up my recently departed fortitude and declare, “I’ll give it a try tonight before deciding.”

We venture to the galley where we see someone bang her head on a very low beam, another person complaining about leaking, and drips emanating from a few spots. The crewmember by the stove (not the cook) says they know the ship leaks. “It’s old. It was built in 1916 so that makes it 126 years old.”

No, bud, it doesn’t. I guess they don’t care about math skills when hiring the crew.

Finally, we return to our mini-cabin. My husband fetches a basin of water so we can brush our teeth (oh, ick). He takes the smaller part of the berth because the light is closer to the other side, and he knows that I want to read. He starts watching a movie on his phone; I ask him what he’s watching. “Red Sea” he says without even a teeny trace of irony crossing his face. Oh, this man is amazing.

I text my kids and my son’s partner, telling them how miserable I am and how I’m convincing myself that bolting would not define me as a quitter. And even if I was a quitter, so what? I had my sanity and a commitment to all things sanitary to protect, right?


I start reading Where the Crawdads Sing. Delia Owens is a talented writer! My husband falls asleep and I keep reading, only to pause so I may stress eat all the vegan chocolate I bought. Well, not all of it. I saved one piece because I think I may have been full — it’s hard to tell when a bunch of line dancers are doing “Cotton-Eyed Joe” in your stomach.

Halfway through the book, I guessed the ending. Thrillers have never been my thing because I don’t like death and I’m kind of particular about details, but I digress — the book is incredibly well written and so I read it all.  Now it’s about 4:30 am, I’ve got chocolate-covered teeth, and I have to go to the bathroom. Oy, don’t even ask.

[I’m going to skip the part where the people in the next berth were whispering quietly most of the night, except for when someone went to the bathroom and pumped, pumped, pumped to flush—then they giggled like first graders.]

So I started another book. (See? I have coping skills.) And I kept reading until my husband woke up. There’s a lot of shimmying, swaying, and getting out of each other’s way (impossible, really) so we could each get dressed.

And then we packed and told the captain we were leaving. “OK,” she said and shrugged. Google tells me we weren’t the first ones to vamoose from a Maine Windjammer, and we may not be the last.

Sinks, dear readers, are not luxuries.

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard conversation: “She wears glasses, right?” “No.” “I’m sure she wears glasses.” “No, she definitely doesn’t. But she talks a lot.”

~~ Overheard: “I didn’t say that. I thought it, but I didn’t say it.”


~~ Overheard: “Luke [redacted], get back here before I make you eat Grandma’s pie!” (I could have misheard “Grandma’s pie,” but I can’t for the life of me think what else sounds similar for the mom to use as a threat to a kid of about five.)

~~ The situation was growing a bit tense. The cash register clearly showed the change due as $11.20 but the person on the purchasing side said he only received $11.10. He was told twice — quite loudly the second time — that he got 20 cents.

The mystery was solved as the exasperated cashier tried a third time to enlighten the purchaser. “Lookit, I gave you a ten, a one, and two nickels… oh, damn, I forgot how much nickels are worth!”

~~ I went to a marvelous wedding last week. The participants and their families were stunning, the church was magnificent, the reception venue was lovely, and I was able to have extended conversations with my daughter, son-in-law, and some cherished friends. As readers know, my daughter is enceinte, and my friends all gushed with excitement for her and her husband. One friend said, “You know you have a bunch of aunties here, right?” and my heart just about exploded with joy and love.

~~ An (actual) aunt of the bride told me a funny story about her father. Seems he has a routine of walking to his basement each time he needs a new kitchen trash bag and comes back upstairs with just one. So she grabs a bunch from the basement and puts them in the kitchen. Once dad sees them, he brings them all back down and scolds his daughter, “Stop treating me like an old man!”

Her reply: “In three years, you’re gonna be 100. You ARE an old man!”

~~ Boaters in the August issue of my new magazine are bottomless, topless, barfing, arguing, selfie-ing, imbibing, singing, insulting, and jiggling! (That’s just one story!) Please check it out: https://boatingmagli.com/

~~ This is where I’d talk about the economy, but the same colleague who called me out for predicting a recession in 2006-07 wrote me earlier this week to chide me for doing it again. She wrote, “I’m not saying you contributed to anything, but it doesn’t help when you talk down the real estate market or car sales or consumer confidence. We all need to be optimists!” I thanked her for being such a loyal reader and disavowed any ability to make the markets tank. But in case I’m being terribly naïve and I do possess the key to economic stability, the fiscal outlook in the USA is just rosy!

~~ Did you read the reports about starving/dying reindeer and the die-off of fireflies? Having a climate denial occupant in the White House isn’t supplementary to Putin’s plan. Melting glaciers, forest fires, droughts, floods and the disappearance of creatures before they can be saved gives Vlad more places to make scads of money. Ushering in tRump has weakened the US, driven former allies to bond with Russia, and made the world Putin’s oyster (well, not literally — the oysters are dying off, too).

Oh, yeah, and China’s having a grand old time at our expense, too.



                                                                             
                           

 

  

             


   

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend! I may or may not write another blog this August. I’m sapped of energy by Thursdays and I could use a month of naps.  See you in September unless I feel refreshed sooner.

LET’S GO METS!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “Let’s just say she looked trashier than what I put at the curb on garbage collection days.”

~~ Overheard:  “I’m a big believer in payback.” (Uh-oh. Somebody better look out.)

~~ Overheard from a woman on the phone: “Mom, mom, mom, you gotta listen. Hospitals don’t allow birds to visit.”

~~ Overheard in the supermarket: “Those chips make me look bloated, those chips make me feel bloated.”

~~ You know you’re a bit of a piker when the yoga instructor flew on a trapeze over the weekend and a fellow student bungee jumped, but all you did was celebrate National Ice Cream Day.

~~ Car sales are down, I read, but every single vehicle in the parking lot looked like it just rolled out of a dealership. Except my 2002 auto, of course. I don’t care all that much about cars anymore* but I’m betting that the owners of all the cars surrounding mine don’t feel their stomach drop and their blood pressure rise every time their ride whines, wheezes, sighs, burps, or flashes.

*When I was a practicing attorney, I found that my car mattered. Clients got some satisfaction from seeing me emerge from a car that was more status-y than the other attorney’s auto as we arrived or were leaving a closing. I have no concrete idea why, but I’m sure astute analysts would equate it to some primal urge or another.

~~ You know how some people can perform superhuman feats of strength in emergency situations? I couldn’t even twist the cap off a bottle of kombucha when it was 100 degrees and I was approaching pre-dehydration!

~~ I saw one of my favorite authors at a nearby bookstore this week. Adriana Trigiani is both an accomplished storyteller and a warm and witty speaker, so if you ever get a chance to attend one of her appearances, do so.

You may be rewarded with a tearjerker story about a family member’s unhappy marriage before she elicits peals of hilarity telling tales of other family characters. For instance, she was in the grocery store shortly after her Nona’s death when she burst out crying. Her husband was alarmed because she was inconsolable, but couldn’t understand what set her off.

Finally, she sobbed out the reason. “Look, it’s Sweet n’ Low! I didn’t know anybody bought that in stores! How do they make money when grandmothers steal it from restaurants and give it to you to keep in your purse?”

~~ I was wearing my “She Persisted” tee shirt. Someone wondered why I was spreading a “She Perished” message.

~~ Along with car sales truly being down (but Tesla loss less, woo-hoo), I had a chat with a real estate agent who is thinking about getting into pharmaceutical sales. Why? “Amazon is getting into listings,” she said. “I can’t compete with someone offering a $5K gift certificate if you buy a house — I usually just send those cantaloupe and watermelon bouquets or a dozen cookies.”

~~ Yeah, so despite what you hear and may even see in your portfolio, this economy isn’t healthy.

~~ So the more North Korea launches ballistic missiles, the more tRump says they aren’t launching ballistic missiles. The more we know about his interactions with Russia, the more tRump says “I’m fully exonerated.” And the more children and families quake with fear and face mistreatment, the “Be Best” champion of children plans for Christmas.

  
                 

                     
                                           


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
LET’S GO METS!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard from a white man looking at his phone as he talked to another guy: “It's a white guy. I knew it was a white guy!”

~~ Overheard from man riding a bicycle and chatting on the phone: “Sorry, but I was distracted looking for your ass all over the beach.”

~~ Overheard as two women walked together: “Your mother is a Catholic? For real?”

~~ The yoga class is scheduled to start in a few moments, but I figure I can grab a quick peek at the beginning of the tickertape parade for the World Cup champs. I click on a TV network via Twitter, and a booming announcer voice greets the team with, “Hello ladies!” Oops! About a dozen women on mats turned as one towards me, all saying “Hello” in unison. Totally adorable … and embarrassing!

~~ I reluctantly returned a phone call from a would-be client, as the voice on the phone sounded nice. I introduced myself and before he could tell me what he needed from a lawyer, I advised him that I was no longer in practice. “Oh, uh-huh,” he said. “But you just did my brother’s closing.”

His brother must have closed before 2013 ended, or he’s mistaken about who represented him, I informed him.  “Oh, uh-huh,” he repeated. “I believe you’re incorrect.”

Now I’m both annoyed and sorry I wasted my time. In an effort to remain polite, I said, “Sorry, one of us has a faulty memory, but either way, I can’t help you.”

I said “good luck” and hung up just as he was in the midst of his third “Oh, uh-huh.”

Thanks, universe, for reminding me I don’t have the people skills to run a service business anymore.

~~ For some reason I cannot explain, my mobile phone occasionally starts talking in a high-pitched voice that sounds like a reel-to-reel or cassette tape forwarded at high speed. Usually, it reads a text or a tweet, but the other day it started reading the terms of service of some app or another I didn’t knowingly download. Do you know how long the terms of service are on those things? (No, it’s unlikely you do, because 99.9% of us hit “I agree”) right away. 

   I’m fumbling with my purse pockets (of course I open the wrong zipper first) as Speedy Lady is zipping through lots of words and people are giving me a funny look or two. I fish out my purse and turn it off (I don’t know how else to stop her) just as she squeals, OR FACE PROSECUTION. Now I’m thinking, what the hell kind of app was I possibly downloading that might take legal action against me and how quickly should I run for president so that I can also be above the law?

~~ Did you ever think we’d have an occupant of the White House that would choose to be called a racist so we’d stop calling him a rapist? I fear for the lives of his “targets.” Though I know he does not.

 
     


   
                                 
     


                                 

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
LET’S GO METS!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “She said she’d find out and get back to me. It’s been like five weeks.”

~~ Overheard: “I grabbed for it and he stomped on my foot.” (This sounds both violent and misguided.)

~~ Overheard: “She wasn’t as attractive as she thought, and I told her so.” (I am truly hoping this was a poorly constructed sentence, and the she and the her are two different people. Otherwise, get over yourself, man in sweaty tee shirt that said In dog beers I have had only one.)

~~ Overheard: “I don’t like to shop at any place where they don’t give out samples.”

~~ While walking to my car, I saw a woman struggling with her cane and her groceries. “Do you need any help?” I asked. “Do you want a tip?” she asked in return.

I sorta laughed as I replied, “No, I just want to help.”

“Then thanks, but I need to practice for when nobody is around.”

OK then.

~~ The conversation veered quickly from weather to climate change (as it really must these days). My friend said she almost slugged a member of her country club who announced by the pool, “It’s starting to rain, people! Better call your congressman and tell him to pass a law!”

Did she think he was making a joke? “Oh, no. He’s a huge ass that frequently says to women, ‘I’d harass you but I don’t want to get sued.’”

The club allows that? “When I complained, they said legal counsel told them his [air quotes] coarse humor [air quotes] is not against any of our rules.”

~~ It’s a quick trip (if at all) from “coarse humor” to sheer misogynistic jackassery. Like the candidate for governor of Mississippi (guess which party) that won’t allow a woman to be a part of the reporters' pool that covers him. He attributes it to his faith and fidelity to his wife, but I think the POS has no faith in his own sense of ethics and morality.
https://mississippitoday.org/2019/07/09/robert-foster-gop-governor-candidate-denies-woman-reporter-access-because-of-her-gender/

~~ In a very rare move, my spouse and I went to the movies. We saw “Yesterday” and really enjoyed it. Who cares what the critics said about a lack of chemistry between the leads? It was a love story between the audience and the Beatles, not the cute people on the screen!

~~ While buying tickets, we saw this sign. I’ve been puzzling over it on and off for days, but I haven’t got a clue what it means. Want to take a crack at it?

~~ If you’re a reader, you know I’m a sports fan. And long term readers know I hopped on the women’s soccer bandwagon about the same time Brandi Chastain became a well-known figure (before that time, though). So sharing that I watched the US Women’s National Team defend their Gold Cup championship is no surprise. Neither is that I watched while working and also while accompanying a loved one to a doctor’s appointment.

What is a surprise is, intolerant sports fan that I am, I didn’t bat an eye at the bandwagon-eering from a gazillion feminists near and far. If one of “my” teams wins quite a bit (yes, I know that’s rare) I’m the first to sneer at a Joannie or Johnny Come Lately who tries to identify with a winner. But I knew that this team transcended sports and represented the promise that my generation* made to those that came after — hop on our shoulders and stand tall, because one day it will make a difference.
*The generations of women that came before us promised the same. We assured them that they didn’t let us down, but we were also tired of waiting for-freaking-ever.

~~ While flying into and out of North Carolina in May, I saw more than a handful of women reading a book with a bright yellow cover. I figured the universe was trying to get my attention, because this brightly colored book by Jen Sincero had an awesome title: You Are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
It’s a self-helpie book, but Sincero puts the pieces together in a very illuminating and approachable way. More than once I said, “I do that!” and by the next page I’d say, “Damn, I could totally do that instead!” If you have aspirations of becoming better at your bad ass self, give it a read.

~~ Raise your hand if you’re not friendly with (and don’t knowingly hire) pedophiles, rapists, racists, homophobes, fraudsters, xenophobes, Fascists, or anti-Semites. 

 
                 

           


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
LET’S GO METS!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “Happy? No, I’m not, but I will be when I’m called home to the angels.”

~~ The woman made reference to a family venture being set up in Oregon. She said Oregon multiple times, but also stressed how one family member’s girlfriend “wants to hear nothing about moving to Utah.” I interrupted to ask if I’d misunderstood where the business would be located. “No, it’s Oregon, but the specific region is Utah.”

This is a woman with a post-college degree, so I started to question my sanity. As soon as I could search out of her sight, I tried to see if there was a town or city in Oregon named “Utah.” The image on the left is all I came up with. The image on the right — as authenticated by the Army Corp of Engineers and my second grade teacher, shows that Oregon and Utah are still two distinct states.
Not for anything, but this woman thinks tRump is “good for the USA.”

~~ Walking along the boardwalk the other evening, I spied two couples encountering each other as one pair began jubilantly shouting and dancing, “WE’RE GONNA BE GRANDPARENTS! WE’RE GONNA BE GRANDPARENTS!” The other couple applauded. I smiled as I walked on, thinking the excited display was a bit over the top. I’d prefer a more demure announcement:
We’re gonna be grandparents.
~~ Usually, I’m the one who’s doing the eavesdropping, but the other day the tables were turned. While attending a bridal shower, a friend asked if I was planning on a baby shower for my daughter. “No,” I replied, “Jews don’t do showers.”

The look on the faces of the two women across from us would likely not have been any more incredulous had I jumped up on the table and started to sing “Heartbreak Hotel.” I felt I should quickly explain: “Jews take showers! We like shampoo, soap, and all that stuff. We just don’t give showers for Jewish babies-to-be!”

~~ OK, I can just picture a few of you readers about to email or text me about the superstition against baby showers. I only know what my mom passed along to me: We avoid baby showers (and making big purchases baby before the baby is born) for fear that a giant fuss about an unborn baby might attract evil along with good (poo, poo, poo). “Don’t give it a kinnahora,” mom would say. Who am I to tilt at this windmill?

~~ While at yoga yesterday I thought of this awesome analogy — Wow! I can’t wait to write this up! I was jazzed about how splendidly I could draw together two seemingly diverse ideas. But as soon as class was over and I reached for my note pad and pen, the subjects, my correlation, and everything else about it was gone. It may come back to me, it may not. Either way, rest assured you missed being dazzled and we’re all the teensiest bit deprived by my lack of recollection.
~~ You know what’s kind of fun on a hot day? Walking up to an ice cream truck where there are a couple of kids queuing up and paying for the ice cream. You can’t stand around with the kids afterwards, though. That’s enough to unnerve parents, so pay and skedaddle!

~~ My now-weekly economic prediction still sees a recession (not around this corner, but in the vicinity). This week’s evaluation was bolstered by three things: a report on the radio about the auto industry faltering, a real estate agent moaning about having to take on a second job at Walgreens, and the U.S. Treasury yield curve officially being inverted for a full quarter. Those are just three indicators, so there’s no need to start buying gold bullion. Except, wait, isn’t one of tRump’s new Fed nominees a gold standard hoarder?

~~ What the hell is going on in the USA? If you’re appalled, get moving!


     
                 
 
     

~~ Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
GO TEAM USA!

LET’S
GO METS!
Pre- and post- break

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ You know what? I just can’t. I can’t tell you the silliness I overheard, I can’t tell you about the stupid things people did and the ways I should have responded, but didn’t.

That’s because I can’t express how disgusted I am with the administration and (in) justice system of the USA, and I can’t bring myself to write about the deaths and devaluation of humanity practiced in our name.

I can’t even articulate my ire watching a rapist prance around and call himself the Commander-in-Chief, and I cannot voice the fear I harbor about war.

My stomach turns over so violently that I cannot broach the subject of women’s rights being incinerated by religious extremists and the GOP. In what world is it anyone’s business what individuals use for contraception and how they exercise their reproductive rights?

I can’t breathe when I think about corporations and billionaires with vile agendas (I’m looking at you coal companies, anti-vaxxers, and foes of privacy) spending massive amounts of money to obliterate our rights to clean air, clean water, our own information, and to live.

I can’t even envision a USA without respect for the laws, the Constitution, and the sanctity of voting.

And before this nightmare is ended, how many people will die from internment, starvation, dehydration, botched abortions, lack of affordable healthcare, or murder because of the color of their skin, the way they define their gender, and who they love?

I. Can’t. Even.






 

 



Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend and a celebratory 4th of July. See ya.
LET’S GO METS!
Puh-leez

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard from amongst the six pre-teen kids having dinner with four adults on Father’s Day: “You stupid Mexicans! I’m gonna build a wall around my steak.” A woman who I’m guessing was his mom doesn’t reprimand him. She just barks, “Eat off your own plates.”

~~ Overheard: “I’m chubby. It’s OK, you can say it.” (Side note: if she was chubby, Humpty Dumpty is a swimsuit model.)

~~ Overheard: “I told him he had to go to the prom because his father went to prom, I went to prom, his sister went to prom, and all his cousins went to prom. You just do prom.” (Not if you don’t want to, Mom.)

~~ Three of us were chatting, and one recounted an incident I saw the previous day. She described the protagonist, a woman who looked to be around my age, as “an older woman.” Did that mean I looked younger? Or am I reading something into a comment where zip exists?

~~ I’m just gonna come right out and say it: my family is a bunch of quitters. A bunch of us were treated to a Mets’ game by one brother and sister-in-law. Here’s most of the group shortly after the game got under way:

             

Here are those same seats by the 8th inning:

You gotta stay until the end, my friends. The Mets almost blew their lead and avoided the bottom of the 9th on a game-ending play at the plate. You know who I celebrated with? My husband, who was just relieved he might not have to stay for extra innings! I wanted to high five and chant with someone, but I had to do it with a bunch of younger, drunken fans as we walked down to ground level.

Family is so much better when they don’t bail! (Dispensation given to the one ailing person, but everyone else gets a temporary demerit in my silly fan book.)

~~ Note to GT's Kombucha and the stock persons at Trader Joe's: the labels for these two drinks look way too much alike, but they sure taste different (especially when not expecting a throat full of cayenne). Please make the labels more distinct and/or please don't place right next to each other on the shelf.

~~ Manufacturers are spinning back and forth, trying to figure whether tariffs are going to crater their profits. A friend working for a business with factories in China says the company has had three board and executive meetings since May trying to decide whether to “eat” the 25 percent, push it back onto a supplier, pass it along to the customer, or some variation. Or, he relates, they can “move operations to Vietnam, but that’s going to take up to a year.” This is not the mark of a good economy.

~~ Know what’s not the mark of a good citizen? The woman who says to me, “Look, you can dump on tRump all you want about trashing the Constitution, but people don’t give two shits about that. They look at their stocks and pensions and smile.”



       
               


               
    



Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend. I’m about to celebrate 40 years of marriage to the most wonderful person I know, so I intend to have an awesome celebration with him!
LET’S GO METS!
P.S. THEY ARE SO CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard from a neighboring bathroom stall: “Don’t touch that! There ain’t enough soap in the whole wide world to clean that off you!”

~~ Overheard: “Then he repeated it but I still had no clue. That’s when I figured he was having a stroke.”

~~ Overheard: “I can’t look away. It’s making me cry. But I can’t look away.”

~~ The remark above was made by someone nearby while I was touring the 911 Museum in NYC. My husband and I had put off visiting because of all the usual associations that make everyone uneasy. Two friends from law school days hadn’t gone, either, and when the subject of a joint visit was broached, I was in.

The day was a gorgeous one (reminiscent of September 11, 2001), and the company supportive of each other. We took a guided tour where we learned much more than the museum’s markers alongside the artifacts and displays revealed. For instance, this artwork is called Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky; these squares represent both the people lost in 1993 and 2001 as well as individual shades of blue in the sky that fateful day.

We sobbed at the little pajamas of a child flying on a doomed jet, marveled at the composure and bravery of first responders (and the sacrifice of the canines), and paid our respects to a lost classmate. We looked around at the thousands of photos on display, stopping to conjure up a bio from time to time. I was crushed by the beaming photo of a lovely bride who had called her husband that morning to tell him she was pregnant.

As I looked at face after face frozen in time, I became plagued by just one thought: could any person there ever imagine that when she or he faced the camera that the photograph would end up in a museum?

If you haven’t visited, and you’re in the vicinity, do go to the museum. Just don’t go alone. Be with someone who will offer a shoulder if you need it and be prepared to do the same.

     

~~ The day was still sunny and warm when we emerged, and we needed to bring our moods back into the positive sphere. So we decided to eat (these are my kind of people, after all). We asked until what time the café above the museum was open, and with 30 minutes to go, we headed there. It was an inviting space with just one problem: it was an eatery without food! Making our way back down, one friend said to the guard who’d answered our previous inquiry, “They have no food!” He grinned and replied, “You asked what time it was open until; you didn’t ask if it was still serving.”

~~ The four of us set out for a nearby Italian restaurant, but we couldn’t find it. Our phones took us on a ridiculous loop-de-doop as we alternated between laughing and feeling frustrated (and maybe a tad foolish). We ended up getting the scoop from passersby: the restaurant was nearby, but on the third floor. That explained it — we never raised our eyes skyward!

~~ Walking along the boardwalk the other day, I remembered a woman who told a story on herself that made her a candidate for the shallowest person ever. Seems she used to walk this boardwalk regularly, looking scruffy and sweaty, and “always passed a lot of the same people.” So when she got invited to a party at the catering chateau on the boardwalk, she made sure she looked as swanky as possible. Then she stood at the window of the establishment for hours, waiting for a boardwalk walker she recognized to spot her in her spiffy attire and sleek grooming. “Can you believe nobody I recognized even looked at me?” she whined. Yeah, I can believe it.

~~ When there are cop cars in front of Trader Joe's and an employee yelling at customers to stay away, I'm going to take that as a sign from the universe that I don't need an avocado all that badly.

~~ Congrats to the St. Louis Blues. I detest your city but I respect your team. That’s why I rooted for the Blues instead of the Bruins — I respect Boston but I detest that team. (Explanation provided upon request.)

~~ Uh-oh. I didn’t know. Did you?

~~ I’d love to wish you a “happy” Flag Day or whatever you say to commemorate this day, but ever since that chump of a man humped the emblem of our country, I have a hard time conjuring it with pride.

Maybe this will work?

~~ Just when you thought that no person in their right mind would say _____________, tRump says it. Our Constitution is in shreds and the majority of our residents are emotional wrecks from his graft, chaos, lies, criminality, and sheer stupidity. Steve Bannon told us destruction and devastation was “the plan,” and as it unfolds, please do two things: contact your Congressional Rep and Senators every day to insist they take him out, and repeat morning, noon, and night: “THIS IS NOT NORMAL.”

 

 
   


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.
LET’S GO METS!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “What kind of sick idiot says he knows three people who died from what my mother has?”

~~ Overheard: “It was very sweet. Like buy the dentist a new Tesla sweet.”

~~ Overheard:  “If my husband did that, I’d be a widow.”

~~ Hearing a tale of a divorced spouse paying for a life insurance policy where the ex is the beneficiary reminded me of a story. It occurred in the mid-1980s, before I learned to never represent just one side of a divorced couple in a real estate transaction.

I was retained by an apparently bright and calm woman named “Janice.”  Everything proceeded smoothly throughout the transaction, until Janice and I sat down at the closing table with “Mr. Janice” directly across from her.

During the closing’s entire 90 minutes, Janice glared at her ex-husband and repeated, sotto voce, “I hope you die.

Without pausing to breathe or sip water, Janice droned on and on and on:  “I hope you die.  I hope you die.  I hope you die. I was stressed to the core and everyone else at the table was equally unnerved.

“Janice, I know this must be stressful.  We can find you another room to sit in,” I said. She never answered me or took her eyes off her ex. “I hope you die,” she snarled.

I suggested/pleaded, “Janice, this is not productive.  Do you want to step outside for a while and calm down?” “I hope you die.  I hope you die. I hope you die,” she repeated, shaking her head no.

She nodded or shook her head in response to questions, paused to listen when I explained documents, and signed everything I put in front of her,. But mostly she chanted, “I hope you die.


When the closing concluded, I grabbed my fee, file, and briefcase and bolted out the door. Darn it but curiosity got the better of me, so I waited for Janice to exit.  As she walked down the corridor, I semi-elbowed her into an empty office.

“Please tell me what the heck was going on in there.  My nerves are frayed from you whining on and on and on. You must really, really hate that man.”

She looked at me quite calmly, reverting to the bright, composed woman she was prior to that 90-minute torture session.  “I’m really sorry,” she said, gently patting my arm. “You know, of course, that when all the debts were paid and things were split, I only walked away with $15,000 from the sale of this house. But the judge in my divorce ordered that ex-husband of mine to maintain a $100,000 policy on his life.  So I HOPE HE DIES!  That’s the only way I come out ahead.”


~~ A few weeks ago, I shared a snapshot of some awesome socks that I loved and a wonderful, generous friend bought them for me! I am so excited to wear them and to cross my legs strategically in the proper company.


In the spirit of the universe providing, I am going to gush over these today:

~~ A mother is driving herself a bit batty, worrying about whether she’s doing enough and if what she is doing is best for her child. “I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing,” she laments. We reassure her that no one really does know, and that parents have been playing it by ear ever since Adam and Eve. Her child is a teen, so said teen’s demeanor is erratic (hello, hormones and stress). The conversation wasn’t about me, so I didn’t interject how I bought this book many, many years ago when trying to puzzle out a parental conundrum:
See? Nothing’s changed. Parents are still confused and flummoxed. We just do the best that we can and hope we cause no lifelong harm. (The book was published in 1991. If it’s still in print, I recommend it.)

~~ I know a woman who told her kids on more than one occasion, “Save it and tell the therapist I’ll pay to undo all the things you think I did to you.”

~~ I’m not making light of either therapy or teenage angst, but I sure am trying to say that if we’re lucky enough to want and get  kids, we need to realize that we’re flying blind — talk to others and you’ll see.


~~ I’m at yoga, doing a pose on my right side that seems fairly simple to me, but was confounding the woman to my left. Hmm, I thought, she must be a real newbie because this is easy. BAM! Yoga and its disapproval of ego immediately kicked my ass: on the left side, I couldn’t get the pose at all, despite the teacher trying to coax me.
~~ She used to be a Democrat, my friend said, so she was surprised when someone she hadn’t seen in years said she was now a tRump supporter. “What? Why?” The response is sickening: “Because I believe in G-d and my country.”

~~ As promised, I’m going to share my thoughts and observations on the economy. I’m a reader of research and numbers and an observer of people and their predicaments, so take my words as you will: The economy is sluggish at best and any growth sectors are way below the rosy predictions of tRump & Co. I’ve recently read about the “art bubble” that may soon burst, but I don’t give a rip if that aluminum dog Steve Mnuchin’s dad bought was overpriced. I am concerned about the housing bubble and the looming threat of student loans and sub-prime auto loans. Income inequality is an ever-widening chasm, and the tariff BS needs to cease. (Although there are some “I don’t care about politics” people who might get off their duffs if avocados start costing $5 apiece.) If workers, producers, and consumers continue to be used as pawns in tRump’s international pissy-fits, we’ll buy less, make less, and hurt more. I know there are conservative and libertarian economists who are actually chortling in glee awaiting a recession, banking on it to push us towards a free market. But the banks own people’s house, cars, and future prospects, and they will get theirs one way or another. What will the average Americans get? Older and poorer.

~~ Holy cow, this has been a hell of a week. Nobody ever heard of Vietnam and it was too far to travel for a war, weather changes on both sides, and don’t believe the things you hear if I tell you not to do so. If you’ve bristled at my calling tRump a grifter, what do you call it when taxpayers foot the bill to haul his adult kids around Europe? These people are (allegedly) rich, superfluous, and totally undeserving of a million dollars’ worth of limos etc. on our dime. But I love how the Brits and so many on the continent protested his presence and policies. They took to the streets and now it’s our turn.


 

     
   
     

  


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.
LET’S GO METS!

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