sixtiestosixties

I was something in the 60s but now I'm just sixty something.

Swimwear Shopping

 

Summer!

Summer!

Summer is upon us which means it’s time for bathing suit shopping. I did mine early so I thought I’d share some of my acquired wisdom. Many of these tips are applicable to men as well as women except for those involving boobs.  My tip to any man who has “moobs” is to keep his shirt on. Or maybe buy a really binding rash guard. Then you might get away with looking like a really cool, old surfer dude.

To make your experience more pleasurable grab your funniest friend and go to lunch first. Have a couple of drinks but not too many because pulling bathing suits on and off can be a real bitch. It requires a certain amount of strength, balance and coordination. (This alone is reason enough to go to the gym every spring.)

Be prepared not to take yourselves too seriously. Summers fly by way too fast to waste them fretting over a bathing suit

Keep in mind the new, energy-efficient lighting used in stores these days will mask the true color of the merchandise and makes everyone’s pallor look like they are about to puke. Swimwear is going to expose a lot of jaundiced looking skin. And that black (slimming but too fucking hot) suit you are going for may actually be a really gaudy shade of purple.

Men generally just put on something that looks like baggy boxer shorts and wonder what the big deal is. But men’s suits are getting much shorter and snugger and your legs and butt don’t look that great anymore either. And if you are unhappy about shorter and tighter (and I can attest to hearing male grumblings in the stores ) just go try on a speedo and check out your yellow tinted gut and sagging parts in the mirror and you will humbly have a better understanding of what women suffer.

Women’s bathing suits are now styled to hide a figure flaw. But just one. Any woman who has only one figure flaw still probably wears a bikini. The rest of us have to choose what we want to most hide. This may be a good time for another drink.

Once you have branded yourself with your worst flaw and taken your choices to a window to see what color they really are you are ready for the dressing room. Don’t let your friend get too far away. Women will not want to come out of the dressing room. They don’t want to be seen.  Men on the other hand, will not want to go in. They don’t want to try anything on. But  I am fucking tired of you don’t want to have to make returns.

Merchants don’t put three-way mirrors in their stores anymore. This is where you need an honest friend to tell you how your ass looks because you won’t be able to see it. This really pisses me off. Just watch people walking around these days and you can tell no one knows what they look like from behind. If they did they would pass on a lot of the shit they buy. Stores have figured this out.

If you have a camel toe (women) or we can tell which side you “dress”on (men) go get a bigger size.  I don’t care what size you think you are or want to be or were last year. Get a bigger size! Size really doesn’t matter here.

And please girlfriends…there is a good chance your high beams are going to go on if you get in the water so make sure when you stuff them into your suit they are pointing north. This will instantly make you look younger.

Lastly, to save yourself from potential humiliation make sure you get your suit wet and take a look at yourself in good light before you go swimming in it. (Thank God I was out of town and didn’t know anyone. I don’t even want to think what I looked like walking away. I did remind myself though that my stomach only exhibited a ripple effect because I was blessed with three children and my boobs were, if nothing else, still mine and still healthy. Or perhaps I just shopped for the wrong figure flaw?)

So good luck and happy shopping! I hope you enjoy some great summer days by the water proudly wearing your new, well-selected suit hiding underneath your favorite cover-up.

 

Ready for the beach!

Ready for the beach!

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Mother of the Year

A break in the action.

A break in the action.

 

I’m reflecting this Mother’s Day.

I never won the mother of  the year award. I came close once. Of course the kids had all left home by then for distant corners of the earth and I don’t think I actually saw any of them that year so maybe it wouldn’t have counted anyway.

Not that I didn’t try to be a perfect mother. It was just so hard. The kids Things always got in the way of my best efforts. I’d dress them in a crisp clean outfit for the first day of school and they would splash in the mud on the way to the bus stop. I’d get them a nice haircut and then have to cut big hunks out where they got their gum stuck. I’d take off their training wheels in the morning and then take them for stitches by lunch.

Trouble's brewing.

Double double. My toil and trouble.

I never seemed to make the right decisions. If they said they were sick and I let them stay home from school they would be running around the house 30 minutes after the bell sounded. If I said they were fine and made them go to school they would be puking 30 minutes after they got there. I’d let them cry it out in the crib like they told us to. Only I went in after nap time once to find a baby with his foot stuck in the rails of the crib. What if it had been his head? I thought they were lying when they were telling the truth and telling the truth when they were lying. It seems like I was saying “I’m sorry” more than they were.

I’d try to be super organized but often got mixed up and somehow always seemed to forget it was picture day. And I really hate to think about what might have happened the day nobody picked up baby girl from soccer practice.

And I didn’t have a glue gun to “help” with school projects. Remember those  mothers? God I hated them.

My disciplinary approach was all over the place. Some got spanked. Some didn’t. Two of them love to remind me of how I chased them up the stairs waving a wooden spoon in the air.  Some got their temper tantrums ignored. Some got put in time out but one in particular refused to stay there and damned if I was going to stay in there with him. They all got grounded. And I yelled. A lot. I figured it was all right to yell “I’M NOT TELLING YOU AGAIN TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM.” I was just proud of myself for not yelling what was really running through my head which was more like, “YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT! GO CLEAN YOUR FUCKING ROOM! IF YOU CAN’T EVEN PICK YOUR FUCKING CRAP UP HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO EVER HOLD A JOB? DO YOU THINK I AM GOING TO SUPPORT YOUR LAZY ASS YOUR WHOLE LIFE?”  So I still hold to only yelling “clean your room” was really good.

In my defense mine weren’t the easiest of kids. They cut down a tree in the woods which hit a power line and knocked the power out in half of Chesterfield County. They built a haunted house in the playroom and passed out flyers to the whole middle school but neglected to tell me about the invites. The oldest two smashed up and broke everything we cherished so by the third one there was  nothing left in the house to break. She made up for it with cars

Beautiful bad ass baby girl.

Beautiful bad ass baby girl.

 

My kids didn’t grow up getting a blue ribbon for everything. And they certainly didn’t grow up with a blue ribbon mother. Maybe this “everybody gets a blue ribbon” thing is really to make the mothers feel better. It’s a tough job. Always has been, always will be. Each generation of mothers faces unique challenges.

Yet somehow, despite my children lacking a perfect mother they managed to grow up to be three outstanding adults. (Maybe it’s because I wasn’t perfect.) I love them so. Mothers Day means something very different to me today. My own mother has been dead for 20 years and my children are long gone from my household. So it’s no longer a Hallmark Day. It is about celebrating that I had the privilege to be a mother. So even if I never won a mother of the year award I am so grateful I got a green participation ribbon. Best contest I ever entered.

 

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New Years Resolutions

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Here we go!

I’ve been thinking about making some New Year’s resolutions. Have you noticed that “resolutions” seem to have been rebranded everywhere as “intentions”? That sounds a bit wishy-washy to me. I don’t see an “intention” as necessarily having a measurable outcome.  I see it as on the slippery slope to “I meant to”. Most of the things I intended to do in my life didn’t get done. I am totally OK with this new vocabulary though because if there is no call for results it allows me to just think about making changes without any real plan. It also pretty much eliminates the chance of failure.

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To control or not control. That is the question.

The first intention I’ve been pondering is my tendency to procrastinate. My need to work on this one is made pretty clear by the fact it’s the middle of January as I start writing this. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not as important when you start something as when you finish it. It’s also important to keep in mind that some things we start really aren’t worth finishing. And some things we think we are finished with we haven’t even really begun.

My next intention is to be more positive and cheerful. (Except of course when blogging because then I wouldn’t know what to write about.) I tend to complain a lot. It doesn’t take much for me to get on a rant. I can whinge on the weather, the government, Comcast, bad drivers, slow service…just about anything I can’t control. Hmm…did I just write “control”? There’s a loaded word. Control. Or lack thereof. And coming to terms with having less and less of it both real and perceived as I age. Is this what makes me get grumpy?  I intend to spend some time thinking about this. Maybe I’ll start when the weather gets better.

It wouldn’t be a new year with out some kind of health intention. I’m tired of the “lose ‘x’ number of pounds, make ‘x’ number of trips to the gym, eat ‘x’ number of vegetable a day”.  I’ve made quantitative resolutions about those things time and time again changing the value of x yearly as needed.  I’m going to keep it simple this year and risk irritating  math purists.  x=my pants fit. And since I’m making intentions and not resolutions leggings count.

Every year I tell myself that I “should” call certain people or I “should” visit certain old friends. Not this year. No more saying “should”anyway. Should is an obligation. It becomes a to do list. I want to do this for me. I don’t spend nearly enough time with the people I love the most in this life. What the hell have I been waiting for?

And then there are the people I hang on to that serve no purpose in my life except to bring me down in their own special way. We all have these people in our lives. (We are all probably these people in someone else’s life as well.) Why do I hang on? I intend to disinvite them from my life and make room at my table for better companions. I will have to think about this for awhile though because it’s not always clear who’s who.

I also intend to do more. But not more of the things you cross off a list. I want to dream more, dance more, sing more, love more. I want to hear more stories. I want more time with my friends, more time with my family. I want to fill my year with joy.

What are your plans this year?

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Thanksgiving 2013

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Celebrate your world!

I love Thanksgiving! I love the whole notion. At least the old one before it became a shopping day for Christmas. But I choose to hold to tradition and keep it a day to gather, feast, share stories, and bask in love and community. I have celebrated Thanksgiving in all sorts of places with all sorts of foods and I have found I can be both thankful and have family squabbles anywhere. I can be with a crowd of 40 or a crowd of one or two. Gratitude and warm memories are always with me on this day no matter where I am or who I am with. If you think I am being overly warm and fuzzy you should know that Thanksgiving has  also carried with it some of my life’s toughest stuff. To name a couple there was the year my son’s seat was empty because he was at war in Iraq and we didn’t hear from him for weeks at a time. We set him a place anyway. There was the year we gathered at my dad’s house and had a take out holiday dinner from Publix grocery while Dad waited at the funeral home for us to bury him. When you consider the true meaning of Thanksgiving it isn’t such a bad time for a funeral. This year I have much to be thankful for. I have many excuses reasons to raise a glass and much to laugh about.  I hope you do too. 

10 Things I am thankful for this year:

1. My local Costco in Florida is nowhere near as crowded as my Costco in California. The folks here are rookies.

2. I  have not had any weird illnesses, broken bones or new meds prescribed this whole year. Of course I did miss my annual physical so who knows.

3. Mick Jagger is going to be a great-grandfather. This means two things. We WILL forever be young and rock and roll really is here to stay.

4. I resisted the temptation for another year not to get a new dog. My new mantra is “go around the world first”. Then I’ll get a dog and go around the block. I recite this when my dog loving Facebook friends post all those sad pictures from the dog shelters.

5. I am grateful there are no more obits or eulogies that I will be responsible for. That torch has been passed. But I reserve the right to have my funeral and write my own BEFORE I die. Why should I miss the one thing that’s all about me?

6. Since I finally got my husband out of the office and working from home I can eat dinner as early as I want. Now I know why old people eat so early. (Not that I’m old mind you .) It’s  just because they CAN. And the earlier you eat the earlier you can have cocktails.

7. I have people who actually read my blog . And some great friends who keep me encouraged and motivated to write more when I find myself writing less.

8. I am apparently so well connected that people I have never heard of send me “friend” requests on Facebook. OK, so we all get these but I’m going to allow myself a couple of days to think I’m special.

9. None of my children will be here for Thanksgiving. I love and miss them but it is an opportunity to value my life without them. I will be cooking with friends this year. Hmmm….a table of friends or a table of siblings?

10. And the number one reason I am thankful this year is that after surviving a heart attack and prostate cancer this past year my husband is still here by my side. After enduring multiple appointments, procedures and surgery at the Mayo clinic, he is once again healthy. He can also now get out of the house by himself and leave me the f*** alone  enjoy himself. Love you honey! Take your time.

For all of this and more I say “Thanks be to God.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Moving

IMG_0412Moving sucks. I’ve done it so many times it should be a breeze by now but it just gets harder. Things always go wrong. And the people you are paying thousands of dollars to do the job will treat you like crap. The one exception is the sales rep who will be totally charming while making promises no one will keep. The only real guarantee is you will be pissed.

The person I most wanted to hurt was the pushy SOB who hauled our cars. He missed his calling. He should have been an arrogant little dictator somewhere in the world instead of driving a truck. There was no way to win with him.

The “conversation” escalated something like this:

“Excuse me sir, but these cars were to have been delivered to our driveway next Friday. This is only Monday. I’m not even in town.

No, (jack ass) I am not going to meet you tonight. It’s already 9 o’clock and as I told you I’m not even in town and I don’t own the house yet. I can’t park the cars at someone else’s house. It’s called liability(asshole).

Look, it’s more than 40 miles from our hotel to that Home Depot and it’s too late. And since you won’t deliver them in the manner of our contract (as we were assured by the salesman) we have to drive a rental to meet your demands. That makes three cars to get out of Home Depot and two drivers. Do you understand simple math? 3 >2. Sure you can talk to my husband (you misogynist prick). But you’ll be sorry you asked. He’s breathing fire by now.

OK (you mother f*****). Just to get you off our ass we will get up at 4:30 in the morning to meet your demands and be there by 6 to finish your job for you. Then you can be on your way to abuse your next customer and eventually rot in hell.”

The following day I had a nice little conversation with the driver.  This guy was at least smart enough to know he was better off trying to bullshit me than to deal with my fire-breathing dragon.

“But when you pulled out you told us the  van would arrive this Wednesday. Not next Monday or Tuesday. Where the hell have you been? I know you wanted to run by your house in Texas but hey, that’s not what I’m paying you for. You told us WEDNESDAY ! My husband has to fly back to California for a business meeting on Sunday morning and you have all his suits on your f***ing truck! Not even in California is anyone going to take a man seriously in a business meeting wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Yes, it is very clear to me you don’t give a shit what the sales rep told us.”

As for the loading/unloading crews, my advice would be don’t even look. Not coming or going. Much too nerve wracking. All we could do was repair the walls and scrub the spots off the carpet when they left.

In the end, the move is only as good as the packers. Unfortunately, these workers are on the bottom of the pecking order and get paid the least. So why should they care about your stuff? Probably the nicer your stuff the more they hate you. They have the power to make or break your move. And your heart. They can bring you to tears. I can deal with a smashed toaster oven, bent 40 plus year old wedding pewter, and wadded up clothes that will need to be relaundered or dry cleaned. But they broke the head off my doll. The one my parents bought me for  Christmas when I was six. My dad told me some years back that they had 26 dollars left in the bank on Christmas Eve and he went and bought the doll. It cost 25. My mother sewed her dress.  I gently lifted her out of the box she had been jammed into and watched her head roll across the strange floor I was standing on.  And that’s when I finally lost it. There is no way to avoid it. In every move forward in life something you love is left behind.

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Jury Duty

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I recently had the privilege of upholding my civic responsibility and reporting for jury duty. I want to be clear that I am very thankful that I live in a country where we have well protected legal rights. That being said, I still hate jury duty and I am stuck in a vortex where I get summoned over and over. I keep moving from state to state yet they still find me. When I complained to a friend, she first shamed me and then suggested I might get an interesting trial. Really? Has she ever had jury duty? It’s boring minutiae and I have the attention span of a rabbit on crack. Luckily this time I was able to take the ferry downtown and walk the few blocks to the courthouse even if it meant taking two hours to travel five miles. Still it beats the usual driving all over the city  looking for a parking space that costs more per day than the juror’s “pay”. Nothing like jury duty actually costing you money.

Court employees in San Diego really are nice though in that So Cal  “chill, dude” kind of way. Once we were all settled in they showed us the cheesiest instructional movie I’ve ever seen. It begins with beautiful shots of California to manipulate you into feeling pride and then hits you with the bad news. “California has crime that needs to be ‘resolved’.” Since I’ve lived in ten states and I found them all beautiful and crime ridden this didn’t exactly move me to tears.

I noted a few descrepancies between the movie and my personal experience:

  • The movie informed us , “You may make friends on the jury who you’ll stay in touch with.” Right. Nobody stays connected with anybody in California. That’s why everybody moved here to start with.
  • We were assured, “Everyone gets called…even lawyers, judges and elected officials.” True. They get summoned. They just never actually get put on a jury.
  • I observed the men in the movie were dressed in coats and ties. The guy next to me was wearing shorts and flip flops.
  • The jurors in the film were interested and attentive. The potential jurors in the jury lounge were texting or working on their laptops.

In typical Hollywood spillover style the list of credits for this film runs longer than the film itself. Every lawyer, every judge is duly noted. Good to know they were real people because they sure as hell couldn’t act. But hey, at least the court was attempting to make you feel like part of the process.

We were informed there was a five week trial, a six week trial and several 3-7 day trials on the docket. I started to sweat. What happened to the one to two day ordeals I usually got stuck with? Like the ones back in South Carolina where if you weren’t a native you were screwed since three quarters of the jury pool were excused for being related to the defendant, having taught the defendant in third grade, or belonging to the same church as the defendant’s mama. I told myself to calm down. But five or six weeks? How would I ever survive that? I had no excuse to get out of it. You had to prove you’d lose your home or starve to death in a week away from work. Or be half dead.  Not being able to pay attention that long was not going to cut it. I wondered if they would strike me if I burst into tears.

I got through the morning without being called. So far so good. On lunch break I decided to eat real food in a real restaurant. I really wanted a glass of wine but decided drinking on jury duty was not being a responsible citizen. Returning to the jurors’ lounge, I waited again to be summoned to a court room. People were called away by the dozens. It was getting to be well into the afternoon when I noticed there were only about 15 people remaining of the original 400-500.  And then we were dismissed! I couldn’t believe it! I’m good for a whole year! I’m never this lucky! Maybe I should have hopped a flight to Vegas.

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The Pope App

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The world has a new pope! Now we should all download the new Pope App so we can keep up with whatever archaic business Pope Francis is up to. I wonder how much the app will cost? A tenth of your income perhaps? There has been a lot of hoopla about this as if it really means we will see any significant changes in the Roman Catholic Church. This use of technology is supposed to help draw young people back into the faith. Somehow I can’t see the younger generation jumping on the doctrinal band wagon just because the Vatican is using social media. On the positive side, Pope Francis is a Jesuit and Jesuits are known for their smarts. Young people like smart. He’s also from South America and is a product of the Liberation Theology movement which swept through the southern hemisphere in the 1950s and 60s advocating social, economic, and political justice. Young people also like this ideology since when they were growing up everybody got a blue ribbon. But he has already spoken out against women priests and gay marriage. Oops! I guess it’s just social equality for some. Women and gays are to remain behind in limbo. I doubt this line of thinking works for the younger generation. Frankly, it doesn’t work for me either. I expect we are all going to hear the same old stuff, albeit preached a new way.

Still, this new connection from the Vatican could have far-reaching implications throughout Catholicism. This could be the biggest thing since the Church went out on a limb, got rid of Latin, and began proclaiming the faith using languages people actually understand. It took great courage for the Church to risk understanding among its followers. The people began to realize that molesting the altar boy was not actually part of the mass.

Now we could be entering a whole new format for worship. Maybe there will even be a Vatican 3.0. The future generations of Catholics, instead of staying home and watching mass on TV in their pajamas and getting into the wine early on Sunday, can go to church by simply logging in. Finally, all those well-chosen confirmation names will have a purpose. They can become holy passwords.

Think of the choice of parishes!

At St. Twitter’s…. when the priest tweets, “Peace be with you.”,  we can all tweet back, “And also with you.”

At Our Lady of Pinterest…. we can “pin” the virtual holy communion where we can visit it all week to remind us that no matter how many sins we are out committing we can repent repin next Sunday.

And for those special services how about Holy Facebook Basilica ?

Pope Francis shared Easter mass.

Sunday at sunrise.

“Christ is risen!”

1.1 billion likes.

This is not as farfetched as it may seem. The new mystery of faith is how a person can type a few words on a keyboard and the whole world can read them. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “religious icon”.

How about it? Do you think it can work?

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Giving Thanks

Let’s Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving is upon us once again. I look around, and like many of us, I get enraged at things such as politics, General Betray us  Petraeus, my diminishing retirement account, and the San Diego Chargers. I hear myself grumbling,”What the hell is there to be thankful for?” Then from somewhere a Sunday school voice pops into my head and whispers to me to count my blessings. I know there are many things I have to be thankful for. But the Litany of Thanksgiving is rather obvious and overdone and can make you feel guilty and like an ingrate. I think this year we should all look beyond the usual. Sometimes it really is the little things in life that bring us the most joy and gratitude.

Here are some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. Chocovine. I mean red wine and chocolate all in one? Can it get any better than this?

2. My son lives in town and has two dogs. Now I don’t have to get one.

3. Despite my gym being closed for repairs for the last 6 weeks my pants still (barely) fit.

4. I am in no way related to the Kardashians.

5. I am still able to lift the turkey in and out of the oven by myself.

6. Skype. My grandchildren live over 7,000 miles away. Yes, that’s 7 thousand miles. Now if the technology gods could just come up with a way to beam them up from ” down under”.

7. Despite our dismal economy and the phenomenon of a generation of workers being forced to hit the reset button over and over my three kids are finally all happily employed at the same time.

8. Blogging. I can actually write and be read without having to have an editor. There are no rejection letters. OK, so there’s no money either but I get to hit “publish” all by myself. That’s POWER!!!

9. I don’t eat Twinkies.

10. The gift of laughter. It is the  simplest and most useful of life skills and I could not survive without it.

Think outside the turkey this year. What are some of the little things you are thankful for?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Elections and TV Coverage

The public peacekeeper.

Have you noticed that most public places that blare TV at you are no longer tuned to news programs but to ESPN? It’s a matter of security. I feel certain this is to avoid fistfights. It’s an unwritten policy at my gym not to have any news networks tuned in as the owner has had to eject grown men from the premises for throwing punches at each other during a news show. I noticed ESPN was even on in the airports and hotels when I was traveling the last couple of weeks. It is, after all, an election year and the closer it gets to Nov.6 the angrier people are getting. Now there is even arguing about whether given the choice you would vote for Romney’s Irish Setter or Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog. What the hell is wrong with people? Don’t they know both of these breeds are fairly stupid dogs and we would all be better off with a German Shepherd? There’s a clue here.

A far better choice.

ESPN is winning the public space ratings primarily because news stations aren’t really news stations anymore. They are loud, obnoxious mouth pieces for political parties and we all know which ideology controls which stations. It is human nature that people only want to listen to their chosen pack of lies and want nothing to do with the lies of their opposition. We want our lies validated, not challenged. Thus, must of us only want to hear from our chosen “news” station. The thing is, if it were really news the stations would all be reporting pretty much the same “facts”. (Remember Huntley-Brinkley and Walter Cronkite?) Instead, today’s news shows all but incite riots. I personally don’t want to hear any of the political pundits shouting across the airwaves because I think they are all a bunch of asses but it doesn’t take long for ESPN to bore me. (Also,as far as sports go,  I am a Charger fan and just like the politicians they start off the game with big promise then fail to deliver in the end. I’m not sure how much longer my  TV can survive without a shoe going through it.)

On the news shows we have to hear the spin doctors trying  to make a bunch of stupid, immoral, politicians look good.  On ESPN we have to listen to the spin doctors trying to make a bunch of stupid, immoral sports figures look good. Do Americans really swallow this stuff? It scares me to think so. I think most of us would agree that the vast majority of sports stars are majorly sleazy but as long as they win we don’t care. So the sports talk shows provoke fewer fights. Unless of course there is an actual game on in which case public venues are better off turning to the Food Channel because this is obese America and we all like to eat. And we are able to have civil discourse on which fatty, over salted foods are best for the country.

It’s even getting risky to watch the election coverage in the privacy of our own homes. At my house we make sure we are fortified with wine before the debates start. Then we start yelling at the TV. Fortunately for us we are pretty much on the same page politically. Basically, we think they are all morons. But in many homes family members are having intense, ugly battles over this stuff. (Fox News and CNN are probably the real reason Arnold and Maria broke up.) I often wonder how my in-laws would have fared in this political climate if they were still living. My mother-in-law was a die-hard Democrat her whole life and my father-in-law was a staunch Republican. They watched and listened to all the news available in the old days and read two daily papers front to back. They passionately argued politics for 66 years. But they did it with respect and conceded points to each other. Maybe we would all do well to take a page from their book. Until we do I’ll just keep ordering wine by the case.

The candidates? The news team?

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Leaving on a Prop Plane

Just three planes and I”m home!

I just had the joy of flying across the country and back in one of America’s luxurious airliners. I needed to travel to a small airport which has limited service but an abundance of fog. This meant multiple legs on the trip and an extra hour of circling the runway at midnight in a really loud prop jet hoping the fog would lift so as not to have to land 90 miles away and board a bus. This kind of stuff can’t really be helped so although it’s added misery I made up my mind to just grin and bare it.

But we all know air travel could be improved.

I’m not going to run on with the usual gripes about the airlines: the way we are crammed in, the lack of food and drink, and the surliness of so many flight attendants. You know what the problems are. I am used to bringing my own food and plenty of water because I can count on the airlines not to offer me any. Three ounces of water is not sufficient to ward off dehydration on a five and a half hour flight.  I don’t mind bringing my own but I figure they could at least come by with the trash bag. Most of the time I see the attendants sitting in their little service area eating their own lunch. I hate to interrupt them by handing them my trash but there really is no room to keep it in the seat pocket. That space is already taken by my knees.

Neither am I going to say much about the TSA although I can’t understand how you can get through security quicker at LAX than at an airport that has four outbound flights a day. In such a small airport the TSA doesn’t really have much to do so they go through everyone’s luggage right as it’s checked. Helps with the boredom. I really don’t like people perusing my dirty laundry (literally or metaphorically). And I absolutely hate it when I have to stand there and watch. I prefer to be humiliated anonymously. Do I need someone to judge my underwear?

The real problem though, as I see it, is the other travelers. Rudeness rules the day. So does poor hygiene. People are just nasty these days in all possible ways. And animals? I love animals and have sat near dogs many times. They are usually better behaved than their owners. But I draw the line at having to smell cat pee for five hours. The smell of cat pee is exactly why I don’t have a cat. This was the first time I ever saw a cat on a plane and I hope I never have to smell see one again.

And what don’t people get about “a small personal item”? This does not mean a backpack that would be a challenge for a marine to carry. Or one that bounces off the heads of everyone already seated on its’ way down the aisle. And yes, shopping bags count. Not really a carry on?  Yeah, right. It’s packed with more stuff than checked baggage. What useless stuff are all these people buying on vacation? Planes are SMALL folks. Really small. And no one is that special.

Did anyone learn anything on “Watch Mr. Wizard”? If not, here’s a science lesson for you: gas expands at high altitudes. If you have a sealed bag of something like chips or crackers you will notice the bag will blow up full and tight. You can pop it like a balloon. The gas in your stomach expands too. But unlike the sealed bag there is a way out for intestinal gas subjecting all aboard to recycled farts for hours on end. That little air blower over your head doesn’t get any new air once those doors are closed in preparation for take off. So everybody keep on bringing those fast food fries and onions on board so we can all breathe them in both before and after they are consumed. The smells blend in nicely with the germs from all the coughing and sneezing. Best to pack something to hold over your nose and get a flu shot.

Who do the airlines think they are kidding when they say “sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip”? It actually pisses me off to hear that. Just hurry up and come by with the beverage cart. Then I can buy some alcohol to get through the whole ordeal.

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