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Finding Things To Make Me Smile

Today’s political climate and vitriolic commentary from the White House have me searching for things to make me smile.

I am fortunate because there is still a lot to smile about.

A blue jay calls our patio home.  Pretty Boy stands guard in the cypress tree outside our kitchen window and chirps the second I enter the kitchen in the morning. After his breakfast ration of seed, he listens as I inquire about his day. His visits make me smile.

YoYo Ma performed a Bach concert at the border in Laredo, Texas this past weekend. A Chinese-American lending his talent to comfort asylum seekers is a reminder about our common humanity and it warmed my heart.

After a spring storm, I noticed two ducks frolicking in our swimming pool. They do not appear to be ducks that are from around these parts. I am happy they stopped by for a visit.

The thing that makes me smile; and laugh out loud, is the image of the current leader of the free world boarding Air Force One with toilet paper dangling from his foot. In and of itself this is sophomoric humor. I plead guilty.

Consider this; did someone choose to remain silent about his predicament? He was riding in a limo and there is zero chance he got the tp there. Someone had ample opportunity to rid him of this embarrassment before he climbed out of the limo and walked the walk of shame all the way across the tarmac, and up the stairs to the plane.

I believe someone CHOSE to remain silent. I’ll bet it was a woman and that makes me smile.

For the record, Pretty Boy thought it was funny too.


I Have No Words

Just when I start to believe misogyny has reached a plateau, I discover something that takes my breath away.

Texans who boast about our state being the best spout a patriarchal point of view. It is a bald-faced lie. Best perhaps if you are male, but if you are a woman, it is far from best.

I believed the so-called bathroom bill represented the worst of our elected officials. I wanted to believe its failure signaled change.

I hoped legislation that positions Texas solidly on the path to a dystopian state was over. I was wrong. Julia Jacobs posted this story in the NY Times.

Failed Texas Bill Would Have Made Death Penalty Possible in Abortion Cases

I have no words to describe the inner workings of a mind that could conceive of proposing the death penalty for women under these circumstances.

Like many of my friends, I have tried to practice tolerance for those whose beliefs differ from my own. Falling short on tolerance; establishing boundaries and limiting exposure has served me well.

Out of words to those whose views differ so vastly from my own, I am borrowing John Pavolitz, Giving Thanks for the Bridges I have Burned.

When John wrote this in 2017 , I wonder if he had any idea that two years later, the conditions that inspired him would escalate.


I Am a Hugger

Poor Joe Biden’s dilemma has me wondering; what’s an innocent hugger to do? A hug or a pat on the shoulder is not in the same category as groping, grabbing and unwanted kissing, or are they?

Are we to abstain from spontaneity when we feel affection for another person?

Last week I crossed paths with my gastro doc. We both stopped to chat, and I hugged him. I think it was mutual, he didn’t shriek or withdraw. He is a jokester and if you gotta have a colonoscopy may as well have it with someone who’s fun. After a colonoscopy a hug is no big deal. However, Biden’s issue caused me to wonder if I made my doc uncomfortable.

I am a hugger, however, to be clear, I am picky about who I hug. For instance, I wouldn’t touch Dan Patrick with a ten-foot barge pole. I’d kiss a spider before I’d hug Ted Cruz. As for DJT, nuh-uh never, even if you paid me.

On the other hand, I do not like it when someone invades my personal space. Do the recipients of my hug feel that I am not being respectful of theirs?  

Men don’t complain about hugging and as for touching; that’s something most women don’t do.

As an uncompromising feminist, I am conflicted about the issue of coming forward years after the fact to complain. It isn’t hard to step away from an unwanted hug. I would think most women, even the most reticent, would have no problem giving a go-to-hell scowl to an unwanted smooch on the top of their head.

Women need to focus our outrage on rape, sexual assault, and gender inequality. Grandstanding about a decades-old hug reinforces negative female stereotypes.

As for me, those that I hug know my gesture is one of genuine affection. Unless I receive negative vibes or someone runs the other way, I’ll continue to hug.


Teeth Grinding Phrases and Adverbs

In 2011, I published my list of annoying aggravating, teeth grinding phrases. Today the list is outdated and naive .

“If you will” topped my list. At the time I said, the term is pretentious. Plowing ahead, awash in arrogance, I went on to proclaim “Beg to differ” is downright spineless. I am ashamed I offered the following suggestion, “Heck, don’t beg. Disagree or have a fist fight, but don’t beg.”

In my view, “awesome” continues to hold first place in aggravating phrases.  Most of the situations to which “awesome” is attributed are not.

That brings me to “my bad”, “totally” and “like.” Mercifully you don’t hear that as often today. No woman over six years of age should utter these words unless she wants to label herself as lacking ability in any endeavor other than chewing gum.

I still don’t understand the phrase “thinking outside the box.”  My thoughts don’t live in a box. Most of the time they are all over the place. It would be more efficient if they were filed away in a box. When asked for a creative solution or a different approach the thought would hop out of the box, ready for action.

I never know what I am supposed to do or say after a warning that someone has “issues”. Most of the time the “issue” alert comes from a smug, superior attitude of someone I don’t like anyway.

How was I supposed to know that In 2019, annoying phrases would blast forth daily from the White House? Who could have imagined that an illiterate hot mess would be our President.

Trump has no problem stating he has all the best words —– adverbs.

Trump’s vocabulary would make my sixth-grade grammar teacher have the vapors. When he says he feels badly, my eyes water and ears hurt. I cringe and hurl expletives at the television.

He’ll get no argument from me. In addition to the burden of impaired feeling, he does a lot of other stuff badly too.

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, says, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs “

We can only hope.

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Tolerance and Diversity Alive and Well at the Supermarket

Home or curbside delivery of groceries has a dark side to it. This service separates us from the one place where commonality unites us and tolerance and acceptance co-exist; the supermarket.

Our neighborhood supermarket is not a small bodega, but part of a large chain. A mini united nations, hijabs, turbans, and saris mix freely with saggers, soccer mom’s activewear, high fashion stilettos, business attire and retired folks sweats.

I’ve been tapped on the shoulder more than once by a shopper who speaks limited English wanting to know where an item is.

The other day, I asked a tall black man if he would grab the horseradish off the top shelf for me. He asked which heat level I wanted and when I replied, “extra hot”, His mom dressed in her African kaftan, clasped her hands to her chin and smiled her approval. I didn’t know if she smiled because she approved of my choice, or because we are both short.

I wandered over to the olive oil section and as I read the ingredients listed on my selection, this very handsome young man sidled over to me and said, “you might as well cook with lighter fluid.” Thoughts of who I could hook him up with raced around in my brain until he introduced his partner, another handsome young man. While giving me a brief rundown on a cooking class they were taking, I wondered, how did they know I was approachable. I am in that demographic group that if one believes pollsters, is intolerant of just about everything.

I concluded it must be the white hair, code for “grandma” everywhere, as babies from all ethnicities wave and smile at me from their mother’s shopping cart.

Not everyone is as tolerant of older people as babies are.

Often, portrayed as stodgy, not with it; comparable to the “use by date” yogurt taking up space in the fridge.  I observed an older couple as they pushed their shopping cart to the exit of the store. Walking side by side, the woman reached over and gave the man a little pinch on his hinny. So much for stodgy; I’m guessing putting their purchases away first when they arrived back home was not a priority.

I’ve seen every ethnicity, combination of diversity and age group at our supermarket interact without any hint of controversy or discord.

It occurred to me the reason why may be because the one thing I have never seen there is a big, red, ugly MAGA cap.

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You Might As Well Be Happy

Mary Margaret first published this October 6, 2016. She struggles to be happy every day since the election. Trump’s tariffs increased the price of Mary Margaret’s top items on her food pyramid; tequila and avocados.

If the unthinkable occurs and Donald Trump wins the presidential election the dire predictions are depressing. Life under a Trump presidency makes my head hurt just to think about it.

I have fifteen plus years of experience in dealing with jackasses elected officials in Texas.
They set the gold standard in teaching women how to survive under the leadership of cretins.

I decided I might as well be happy and look on the bright side.

  • A Donald presidency could inspire Democratic legislators to create Pulitzer worthy oratory.
  • The lobbyist will kill off each other in their quest to prove the art of the deal with the Donald, er… President.
  • With no lobbyist to appease and screw up everyone’s lives, legislators can binge watch House of Card or Alpha House and prepare for the next election.
  • Republican legislators who denounced “the Donald” created a demand for a new business paradigm. 
  • Universities will offer courses in how to walk back public denunciations. Courses like How to Appear Business like and Hold Your Nose 101 or Filing for Bankruptcy can be Fun 102.
  • Get Motivated added Chris  Christie to their speakers’ circuit. He will address How to Purse Your Lips and Lie Through Your Teeth for his portion of the seminar.

The economy could improve.

  • The market for self-help and survivalist books will sell hot off the press.
  • Liquor sales will explode.
  • Medicare will cover hair transplants, orange hair dye, and tanning booth sessions for men.

In parting, here are a couple of stock market tips; invest in concrete; the price will skyrocket. Takes a lot of it to build walls.

Hoard white sheets now and sell them at a two hundred percent markup to hate mongers. 

Hey, don’t judge! This just makes me smart.


“Trump Covers Most of the 13 Things We as Seniors Want.”

I knew better than to open an email with this heading from an old friend. Anything with the heading Seniors is usually going to make me madder than hops. But the topic hit two of my hot buttons.

I was curious to see how an otherwise intelligent, successful person could drink the Trump Kool-aid and I am out of the loop on blanket endorsements by older people.

This brief caveat preceded the list of thirteen things seniors want:

“Truthfully, we are usually in agreement with most of what he says but wish someone else was saying it.  But you have to listen to him and not be distracted by his showmanship and obnoxious behavior. But what matters is that he covers most of the 13 things we as seniors want.”

  1. Put “GOD” back in America!
  2. Borders: Closed or tightly guarded!
  3. Congress: On the same retirement & healthcare plans as everybody else.
  4. Congress: Obey its own laws NOW!
  5. Language: English only!
  6. Culture: Constitution and the Bill of Rights!
  7. Drug-Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before & during Welfare!
  8. Freebies: NONE to Non-Citizens!
  9. Budget: Balance the damn thing!
  10. Foreign Countries: Stop giving them our money! Charge them for our help! We need it here.
  11. Fix the TAX CODE!
 If this was a blanket endorsement by older people, I'm beginning to understand why they are tools for pollsters. Urban dictionary: Tool: One who lacks the mental capacity to know he is being used. A fool.

Here’s my take on thirteen things that seniors admire about “The Donald.”

All of their rantings about morality has sent the far right segment of the older population off the rails. Do a balance sheet of “wrongdoings” of Hillary vs Donald and get back to me.

The demographic that correctly identifies these folks is bigotry not senior. When it serves their purpose they drag God, respect and the military into the equation.

Nothing about Trump’s behavior indicates he has a clue about godliness.

He has totally disrespected the office of the Presidency.

As for the military, I guess many of these folks forgot Trump had bone spurs when it came time to man up.

Older people are not given due consideration and often have to deal with exclusion and marginalization.

To my friend who sent the email; I know I won’t hear from you again and to tell the truth, I’m not sorry.

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Respecting Political Differences When Donald Trump Is the Difference

Does respecting political differences mean we should forgive Trump voters? I’m having a hard time with that point of view. Let me re-phrase that; I have a difficult time putting Trump and respect in the same sentence.

Two years of not mentioning the elephant in the room during family and social gatherings and I’m done.

Respecting political differences was easy prior to Trump.

But, if you voted for his full frontal, narcissistic attitude, it reveals aspects of your character I cannot admire and I’m having a difficult time getting past that.

Accepting him at face value, had his history and past behavior been buried, should have tipped off even the totally clueless that he is horribly flawed and unfit to lead anything.

When it comes to family members who voted for him, it is especially horrifying if it is an adult child. Conflicting and competing reactions race around in my head.

As a parent was I a failure? Did I somehow fail to convey the standard of common decency and humanity? Where were you during your high school civics class? Did you sleep during World History? (I would have known had you failed the course.)

On the other hand, I encouraged you to think for yourself and not follow the crowd; it was okay to be different, (BUT NOT THAT DIFFERENT.) How can I be horrified that you chose to do exactly that?

Other family members fall into varying categories. Siblings fall into the category of having received more of the crazy aunt/uncle’s DNA than I like to acknowledge. I sigh, “It could be worse,” and try not to think about it.

As for what in-laws think about me: well who is surprised? They always knew something was a bit “off” about me anyway; even worse I managed to corrupt one of their own.

What I think about their views: I’m not surprised; I always knew something was a bit off about them, except for the amazing one I married.

Respecting political differences is difficult to reconcile when the consequences of those differences will take decades of recovery.


Group Texting Can Be Dangerous in the Hands of Novices

Group texting is the fastest way to piss off just about everyone. The odds are in favor of somebody getting hopping mad. The stench from broadcasting a comment intended for a lone recipient is insurmountable.

This has happened to me on more than one occasion. For instance, it’s 10:00 PM and I receive a text from my friend Sarah. She wants to know if I am attending Peggy’s lunch the following day.

I respond, “Hell no, the last time I was at Peggy’s house she served something that looked like dog food. In fact, dog food would have been an improvement, but I came up with a plausible whopper to escape the event.”

Immediately after I hit the “send” button, “recipients – Sarah and PEGGY  flashed briefly on the screen. There is no way to recover from that. Seconds later, I receive a group response from Peggy informing Sarah, she is serving chateaubriand for two.

I didn’t believe it was possible for me to make matters worse, but I managed to overachieve.  A dear friend sent a text message saying she was just fine after a somewhat delicate outpatient procedure. Believing she might need a bit of encouragement, I replied with a bawdy comment or two (okay, it was three.) Seconds later, my phone blew up with notifications from women I did not know; my friend’s prayer group.

It was a learning experience. I have never seen so many biblical references relative to my comments.

I checked the settings on my text message app. There is no way to block group text messages. I called my cell provider whose lame suggestion was to tell my friends not to send me group text messages.

I sent a group text message to all contacts. Again, a learning experience. I was not aware of the variety of lascivious emoji. My phone is silent, but email is overflowing. If I can just remember not to “reply to all.”

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How to Survive that Left Out Feeling When Your Workout Gear is Tacky

My workout gear, rescued from the Goodwill bag, wasn’t wonderful when I bought it at Wal-Mart. It’s a gym. I’m supposed to look gross, with bed head hair, no makeup, sweating and grunting .

Women look at me as if I don’t belong there and I am intimidated. I feel as though I am in the nightmare where you show up in public in your underwear and everyone laughs.

Most arrive at the gym sporting designer workout gear; perfectly coiffed with every hair lacquered in place. Freshly manicured nails highlight astonishing jewelry. They leisurely stroll to the weight machines, heads held aloft leaving a cloud of Shalimar in their wake.

Struggling to lift a 15 lb weight, no expression of exertion registers on their face. Closer inspection reveals they are unable to emote facially. They have been stretched six ways for Sunday. Behind the massive bouffant hairdo is enough leftover skin to cover my sofa.

Some are accompanied by a buff young trainer named “Nick” or “Alex”. You never see a big rawboned Olympian female trainer with these chicks. Presenting body images that most women cannot achieve without starvation, surgery, and liposuction reinforces unrealistic expectations. I think they should be banned from the gym.

If I owned designer attire, I would not wear it to the gym. A buff young trainer is not in my budget. I will never look like these women and I’m not sure I want to.

If you ask me, the gym is penance, not performance art. I’m gonna go have a big burger with fries and a Hefeweizen. If I’m lucky maybe I can find some work out gear that still fits.

Note: This was my first blog post, written February 2010. Shortly after, I found a gym where women wear old clothes, no makeup and, though none will admit it, go for a hamburger and fries afterward.

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