Countdown to Sequester and other problems

“Sequester” will be a reality in less than two weeks.  Economic and political chaos visible on the horizon.  The Congress and the White House are in their respective corners, blaming each other.

McCain is yelling “cover-up!” on Benghazi, while under Bush’s watch, the attacks on our embassies were incalculable and the lives lost a moral travesty.

Syria is being armed by the Russians, even though Britain made a statement that Russia had stopped, further isolating Prime Minister Cameron from the EU and the world.

The President golfs with Tiger Woods. It is ok now, say those who only speak on the condition of anonymity, because he isn’t running for re-election.  I guess Michelle Obama hasn’t taught Barry enough about the rage of women.

The White House rankles partisan divides by leaking an immigration plan. Marco Rubio flamed out in his response to the State of the Union.  So much for Time’s savior of the GOP.

The Keystone Pipeline and fracking are gaining momentum even as the dire environmental implications are clear.

Ashley Judd is taking on Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat.  He looks ever more like a chicken that Frank Perdue wouldn’t serve.

For anyone keeping score on this contest between the government and nation, the nation is losing.  Badly.

Tax Day is coming up and for the first time in my life (read, even under George W. Bush), I am not proud to pay my taxes.  Why? A bunch of clowns run our government.




Once they were young

I was cleaning out a relative’s apartment this weekend (yeah, more death and destruction in Bloggerville).

While I was cleaning the Collyer Brothers-like apartment (though not a home), two timeless axioms of my youth (one from my grandmother and one from the rabbis) came to mind:

  • Wear good (and clean) underwear just in case you are hit by a bus so the emergency room doctors will know you come from a good family (and presumably treat you better); and
  • Live every day as if it were your last on earth.

How do these concepts work together, you ask?  Work with me, here.

While there may be loftier connections, mine is decidedly mundane:


And the corollary:  Get rid of pictures, outfits you haven’t used in a long time, do your laundry EVERY DAY so that no one has to see anything that could make him or her go blind.

Because everyone was young, wild and stupid, once (maybe more than once).  Just don’t leave a record of it, for others who are cleaning out your home to find.

Examples of acceptable things to leave behind:

  • Kick-ass black leather skirts (regardless of your age at death) and even tasteful lingerie;
  • Memorabilia and photo albums (that don’t have nude or semi-nude pictures of you with other, now aged or dead relatives, however young or not you were at the time);
  • Keepsakes, necklaces, etc. (of whatever or no value) that your family members can wear to carry you with them always;
  • Phone number of 24-hour cartage company to cart away some of the inevitable detritus;
  • List of accounts and financial representatives; and
  • A last will and testament.

Examples of things NOT to leave behind:

  • Dominatrix outfits, even if still in the box;
  • 1970s Polaroid photo album of various poses of you and your partner naked from the waist down;
  • ANYTHING from the 1970s for that matter;
  • Collection of 20 years of junk mail (not every collection has value); and
  • Gross piles of dirty laundry strewn about.

Did you stop at “Polaroid photo album of various poses of you and your partner naked from the waist down”?  Yeah, I knew you would.  Yep.  I almost went blind.  And I had to stop once I realized what it was I was looking at.

I know, once they (and we) were young.  Once, they (and we) were middle-aged.  Hell, do it in your 80s.  But if you are in your 80s, burn the pictures every night.  And in your 90s, don’t take pictures.  Because you will forget that you have them.  Because, with most of your life in the rear-view mirror, it is almost a certainty that you violate the Rule of the Ages:


This blog will self-destruct in 25 years.

Blessings of a Snow Ball Fight

SOB and I went over to Dad’s house to pick him up for lunch.  Our destination? The Coffee Shop of the Un-Dead.

SIDEBAR:  SOB and I, in or nearing our 50s, bring down the average age of the patrons by at least twenty years.

After the usual scavenger hunt for important papers that Dad has hidden among the solicitations for fraudulent charities, we worked up an appetite.  His home attendant, Heather (who is fabulous) joined us for lunch.  (Dad’s and her rapport is terrific.  We are soooo lucky.  And I hope she feels the same way.)

The snow made getting to the Coffee Shop of the Un-Dead a little treacherous.  SOB took Dad’s left arm, Heather took his right and I walked behind, with my arms out and my stomach tight, ready to catch him under his arms if he fell.  All was fine and Blogger Family Protocol, while ready, did not have to be engaged.

After lunch, when we cleared the treacherous parts, and having survived the meal without any of the Un-Dead patrons actually becoming Dead, we all got a little giddy.

SOB was walking behind, and I was holding Dad’s right arm.  When I came upon some snow that had settled on shrubbery, I whipped my hand around and —


Direct hit on SOB.  Heather, holding Dad’s left arm, not to be outdone, slammed me with snow with an impressive hook shot behind Dad.  I made SOB substitute for me on Dad’s right, so I could take the offense and pummel Heather.  Then SOB and Heather ganged up on me.  All the while, two people are making sure Dad didn’t fall.

It was a winter ballet performed by people in their 50s with the precision and grace of children (ok, maybe not, but this is my blog).  Then, as we are about to walk into his lobby, we needed to pelt Dad a little and very gently, so he didn’t feel left out.  So add a 92 year-old to our folly and frolic.

When the doorman saw us all, he said to Dad, “Doc, looks like you won!!”

He did.  We did.  A snow ball fight (after a fashion) in New York City with my Dad and our new extended family that includes Heather.  In life, things never turn out the way you imagine.  But not everything has to be tossed out just because life has its own trajectory and its own timeline, separate from our hopes and expectations.  Nope, not everything we know needs to be tossed out, even in the despair of reality.  Except for snow balls.  They need to be tossed every time there is snow.

The art of racing past the pain

Shortly after Dad’s injury, SNOBFOB took me to lunch, to guide my entry into the “new normal” of my family responsibilities.  She ever so gently (ok, Jewish-gently) inducted me into the club of people with dead and dying parents.  It was also a little like when your mom talked to you about the joys of tampons.  You knew you needed the information but you really wished you weren’t old enough for the conversation.

SNOBFOB set about to prepare me for the ups-and-downs, the despair and the acceptance.  The rollercoaster.  As only someone who has lived this can.

In the months since, SNOBFOB has tried to help me see what is doable (and the best way) and what is not doable.  What is and IS NOT my responsibility.  What I can and CANNOT change.  I am not always good at setting limits.

So, just yesterday, over lunch, SNOBFOB hit me with a whopping reality check:  I do not need to take on every enfeebled family member’s problems and still I can keep my promises to Mom and Grandpa. I know what SNOBFOB did for her parents and aunts and uncles.  She can tell me to slow down or “chill” or stop being so damn depressing.  It was so incredibly LIBERATING.  Because Dad I can handle, but . . . .

Today, SOB and I were reviewing the past week’s worth of Dad-related snafus, bizarre behaviors and tense moments.   And, the tone of our conversation was, well, (new) normal. 

The new normal is getting to be ok.  Not great, but ok.  And I can even laugh and have fun during the ups-and-downs.  In fact, the laughs and the fun are much more important now.  Precisely, because life is a roller-coaster. 

Thank you, SNOBFOB, my very wise friend.

The First Sunday in February

It is a Homeric epic.

Winner takes all. 

Family allegiances ripped across a field as brother battles brother.

Harbaugh versus Harbaugh

For glory. 


The Civil War?

Well, in a sense, except with a half-time show and commercial interruptions.  I give you . . .

The Super Bowl.

And more important than what happens on that ball field in New Orleans is the number of chicken wings purchased today.  It is a sign of economic recovery.  No joke

The estimates are that 250 million chicken wings will be consumed. 

One wing for every person in this nation. 

If more is purchased, then it is a sign of economic rebound.  If less, well, then, we are spiraling down into the Obama Recession (as I overhead someone saying after Friday’s GDP numbers). 

Or maybe people are eating healthier foods?       Maybe there are more vegans?    

What if there is an uptick in hummus, bean salsa, kale chips and those gross meat substitutes?   

I am not giving up on soy futures just yet.  But those twelve-pack taco and chicken finger samplers advertised on TV did have a certain appeal . . . .