Desperately seeking “Apps for Dummies”

Well, not Apple apps especially.

I need help with any apps that are supposed to enhance my photo library or make on-line anything easier.

For a while, I have wanted to post an adorable picture of my son on my blog, but I have wanted to photo-shop it so that his eyes are blacked out for privacy (let me dream that identities can be protected).  And, apropos of nothing, I wanted to combine a few Adobe pdf scans into one document.

I sit down at the computer and an Adobe reader update is downloading.  Hmmm, I think.  The system that lets me combine files, mark up scanned documents, fill out governmental forms, etc. from my office laptop.

Adobe, I think again.

Adobe, I determine as my answer to all things technological.

ADOBE, I decide to purchase more applications.

ADOBE, I know will make my home computer dreams come true.

ADOBE, it becomes my mantra.

I click my heels twice as I also click on my credit card information and off to Oz I go. (Funny, Oz requires credit cards these days.)

I think Oz turned out better for Dorothy.

Two hours and two large glasses of wine later, I haven’t been able to combine my pdfs into one, but I managed to export my photo libraries into the netherworld.  Coming soon to a world wide web address accessible to you.

I wouldn’t care about having those pictures out in the world (they will bore anyone who is not inextricably tied to our families), but there ARE the teenage/post-adolescent fat pictures of POB (partner of blogger) and me.  Those could go viral.  Otherwise, if you need a soporific, have at the family pictures.

So, to all of these “make your life a snap” apps, I say, “Give me my typewriter and Polaroid camera.”

Oz was a bust.

 

 

Kids are amazing

I come home and TLP (our son, the little prince) cries out:

E-mom, E-mom, look at my awesome new summer stripey pajamas!!  Don’t I look handsome?

[Note to self:  I might think he is the son of G-d, like any good Jewish mother, but I need to pretend that he isn’t.]

He looks adorable, but the pajamas made me think of Steve McQueen in the movie, “Papillon”.

I said, “you look like a prisoner on Devil’s Island!!!

And TLP responded, “that’s what I said to Mommy [POB (partner of blogger)]!!!!

How do you know about Devil’s Island?

It was in something I read about penal colonies in Africa.

There is such a book and you read it?

Well, a lot of famous and important people like Nelson Mandela were imprisoned in penal colonies.

That was Robben Island.

It was just an example.  I could look it up for you.” I was amazed by his knowledge, even though he seemed to know an ooky amount about penal colonies.

Thanks, buddy, I’m good.

Ok, wanna play?

After we played some, I looked up Papillon, the movie, and after seeing a clip — the Internet can be awesome — it turns out that Steve McQueen wasn’t wearing a striped prison outfit after all.

So where did we both get that image of prisoners in striped pajama-like clothes in penal colonies.  (Must be another Hollywood flick, because I don’t think TLP has seen Holocaust footage.)

Anyway, as you can see, in order to hold my own with my not-even 9 year-old, I am going to need some serious intellectual reinforcements.  Paging Dr. Einstein?

Excuse me while I put my head in the oven.

This is how a formerly nice Jewish boy publicizes his book?  He is a meteorologist and he wrote a book about dew and hail?  No?  He is a convict and the book is a JEW in JAIL???? 

This man’s poor Jewish mother is now on the run from her friends and family.  I understand there is a compound in Abbottabad that is a real steal but it requires some cleaning.

Who is Grover Norquist and why is he so powerful?

Check this guy out.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist.

Why is this man more powerful than the rest of us voters?  Why does he get to trump the one-man, one-vote rule of our democracy?

If you think I am joking, read this:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-24/norquist-emerges-as-barrier-to-u-s-debt-deal.html.

Most of the GOP lawmakers have signed a pledge prepared by his organization that there will be no new taxes or increases in taxes.  According to the Bloomberg article, Norquist, President of “Americans for Tax Reform, says he has secured written pledges from 40 of the 47 Republicans in the Senate and 233 of 240 party members in the House. More than 1,300 state-level legislators, governors and even auditors have also signed, Norquist said. That includes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Ohio Governor John Kasich, all Republicans, he said.”

Of course he was lobbying for Fannie and Freddie before he was against them as emblematic of government waste and overreach.  (He may not be wrong, but he says it with unclean hands.)   “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac brought us this collapse … This was criminal negligence on the part of Barney Frank and Dodd.”  Really?  Really? 

Oh, yeah, his partner in his lobbying venture was convicted in the Abramoff scandal.

I guess it begs the question: how stupid are WE?  After all, we as a country elected representatives that promised to be doctrinaire no matter what happens, no matter what they find when they get to Washington, no matter what they learn on the job.  If these representatives took that pledge after we elected them, that would be treason, because they would be beholden to someone not “the people” or the “nation”.  Yes, treason.  TREASON.

Grover Norquist is made possible through the ignorance of us all.

It’s raining, it’s pouring

We, in NY, are luckier than most — we didn’t have massive flooding, destructive tornadoes, out-of-control oil spills sullying our coast lines or active volcanoes.

But if this rainy, gray weather doesn’t stop soon, I am moving to Seattle or London.  At least there no one deludes him or herself into thinking that the sun will come out tomorrow.  In fact, no one bets his or her bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun. (Apologies to Orphan Annie.)

It is just Gray.  Dreary.  Soupy.  Frizzy.  And Sleepy.  Give me a few minutes, and I will come up with two more Dwarfs.  But forget Snow White.  Let her sleep (she is the one who sleeps, right?).  Why wake her for this weather?

Hitting the roof

Ok, ok, ok, ok, ok, even the Republicans, Boehner himself, have acknowledged the catastrophic nature of our nation’s defaulting on its obligations. Yet, lawmakers are trying to leverage our need to raise the debt ceiling to exact political points.

Yes, lawmakers think they can play brinksmanship with our future.  The mere fact that our politicians would keep the world — and us — in suspense until August will erode our creditworthiness abroad and the global confidence in our economy.  We think of us as a society where our word is our bond.  Well, look in the mirror.  It isn’t pretty.

Imagine how you would view a country so divided in their “parliament” that one side is willing to risk ruin to have its way — slash and burn tactics.  So, just because we are the United States of America, you think we can mess with this stuff, without ramifications?  If you do, you are arrogant AND crazy.

Am I good with so much debt? No way.  I pay my credit cards on time.  I can afford my mortgage and could pay it off tomorrow. I believe that a person, a family, a country must live within its means.  If we need to spend more, then someone needs a second (part-time) job.  We didn’t do that and fought two wars and gave tax cuts to people like me who never asked for one, didn’t need one and didn’t want one.  So, now we have to live with the consequences. And I am willing to pay more in taxes to clean up George Bush’s and Trent Lott’s and Bill Frist’s nightmare.

It is important to note that the GOP — under whose governance drove us into this debt hole — is the party that is playing it to the bone.  Not because they are arrogant; but because they are hypocrites.   And the hypocrisy is so galling that it makes me want to go to the Congress and shout: “WORRY ABOUT US AND NOT YOUR POLL NUMBERS, YOUR JOBS AND YOUR POWER!!!!!!! FIX IT NOW.” If there is a report of a middle-aged lunatic screaming in the House of Representatives, you’ll know that I may be off-line for a while, in federal custody.

I think we have to raise the debt ceiling, not only because the credit of our great nation is at stake, but because it makes sense.  And, although I am an unabashed and unapologetic liberal, I am conservative in my investments and my rationale for raising the debt ceiling is, to my mind, steeped in the rudiments of getting out of debt and on a sustainable course.

It is, perhaps, counter-intuitive that a shirt-maker in bankruptcy should be allowed to borrow MORE in order to pay workers to stitch together the pieces of cloth so that they become shirts.  Scraps of cloth are worthless; however, a completed shirt sells for something.  That differential is presumably more than the amount borrowed.  The net effect is that there is a meaningful exit from bankruptcy where the assets of the company are maximized to pay off debts and re-emerge on sounder footing.

We have many fights ahead about just how we re-emerge from this mess a stronger nation, indivisible, with liberty, FAIRNESS and justice for all.  Let’s give ourselves some breathing room, for our sakes and the future of our country.

You may disagree with me on principle (IFOB (Italian friend of blogger) and JR (old friend from Camp Wingate/Camp Kirkland): go at me) but you can’t disagree with the necessity and exigencies of the circumstances — with a no-win choice, you must choose to raise the roof.

 

Non-bloggable moments

College friends were in town this weekend and those who were in town on Friday came over at our house for a late bite.  We were all catching up on each other’s news, and I was telling a story, and my dear, dear, friend, let’s call her DCFOB (DC friend of blogger), exclaimed, “this story isn’t on your blog!! I thought everything was on your blog!!”

Dear, dear, DCFOB, not everything can be on my blog.  Then, no one would talk to me.  So, yes, there are wild and crazy stories — just ask IFOB (Italian friend of blogger) but there need to be blog-free zones.  In fact, one of our dear friends prefaced one conversation this weekend by stating, “this is a blog-free conversation!”

So, everyone, I try to be tactful where others are concerned.  I am not always (or often) successful, but I do try.  Really, really, hard.  And some stories . . . well, I think I have shown exceptional restraint.  But, when senility starts to eat away at my discretion, just hope that the memories get lost too.  Otherwise, be afraid.  Very afraid.

High School Reunion

THIRTY YEARS.

Thirty years.

Thirty YEAHS (said like a New Yorker).

It isn’t as if we were celebrating 30 years of marriage or a career.  We were celebrating surviving for 30 years since we last saw each other as a group.  “So, whatcha been doin’?” would require days, if not weeks, with every classmate, in order to catch up.

But we only had a few hours.

I was the class nerd whose parents couldn’t afford to have me keep up with the clothes and accessories of the others.  So, I always felt I was on the outside looking in and, sometimes, some of the girls were mean.   And, of course, I had an inkling that I was different somehow (later, to realize I was gay).  I think it manifested by not understanding how to connect to the other girls; I was always at home talking with the guys.

So, this is was a loaded event for me.  But I had a plan:

look thin and prosperous.

Except I hurt my arm 10 days ago and hadn’t been to the gym.  And, POB (partner of blogger) is no longer employed.

Great plan; bad execution.

So, I was bloated and feeling unprosperous.  And yet I am a lucky person in life and I am really happy, so, Saturday, I had a new plan:

Just make sure the make-up is flawless and the lipstick color is awesome.

So I put on comfy clothes and went.  There was a small pre-party at a classmate’s chocolate shop, with people who were always quirky and kind enough to accept my bizarro-ness and eccentricities even then.  Immediately upon entering the chocolate shop, all trepidation disappeared.  And the years melted away in such a warm and wonderful way.

[Just a side bar about the chocolate shop: Bond Street Chocolate, www.bondstchocolate.com, a tiny, fabulous place that is worth the schlep to East 4th Street; it isn’t actually on Bond Street].

Everyone was instantly recognizable.  Same laughs, same voices, same cadences and same energies.  Some looked so fabulous that I just know they have their own Dorian Gray-like pictures in their closets.  They were AGELESS.  And no scalpel touched their faces.  (Maybe some hair coloring and under-eye cover stick but that was it and we are 48!!)

We all arrived at the official party.  The turn out was amazing.  And, again, people were instantly recognizable.

Life has tread on all of us.  We lost our harder edges.  The mean girls weren’t mean anymore.   Those old distinctions didn’t matter anymore.  We all had happy times, disappointing times, scary times, and sad times and that makes us all a lot more grounded than teenagers spending grades 7-12 together in a tiny Upper East Side private school.

I left grateful for the occasion to reconnect with people who share some of my past and, I hope, part of my future.

Older? Yes. Wiser? Hmmm.

I thought that wisdom came with gray hair (and wrinkles).  A cosmic consolation prize for an aging gameshow contestant.

My parents got wiser and smarter as they got older (well, until they started to forget everything, so let’s leave that).

So my point is that I was expecting to feel a growing serenity — that you’ve-seen-enough-of-the-world-to-know-that-things-work-out-and-you-can-roll-with-the-punches-of- life kind of feeling — by the time the wrinkles started appearing under my eyes (or would be appearing but for the daily slathering of face cream).  Actually, the wrinkles are there, but if you apply the hydrating cream, then put on make-up and never, ever, wear your bifocals when looking in the mirror, then the wrinkles just disappear.  (Is this too much back story, here?)

Instead, I feel more anxiety and less sure about the world around me.  (AND, I have gray hair and wrinkles.)

I will be seriously bummed if I bypass the serenity thing and go straight from high-anxiety to senility.  Actually, that may get me to about the same state of mind. 

Ok, never mind.