A VERY HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, AUNT HELEN! BY TOM CURLEY

I have a wonderful family. Most of them live in Minnesota. Oddly, we don’t talk much. It’s not that we don’t like each other. It’s not that we’re mad at each other. We all get along just fine. We just don’t. Talk.

Maybe it’s because we’re WASPs. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) We tend to talk to each other when we need to. Don’t ask me why. I guess it’s a WASP thing. (I’m sure I’ll be getting angry emails from WASPs who do talk all the time. Sorry.) Maybe we forget because life tends to keep us occupied. We do all get together, but very rarely. Usually it’s because someone dies. We all got together for my Uncle’s funeral, my Mom’s funeral, and my Dad’s funeral.

Last weekend Ellin and I flew out to Minnesota for another big get together. The only difference was this time it wasn’t for a funeral. It was for a birthday. My Aunt Helen’s birthday.

My Favorite Aunt
My Favorite Aunt

My Aunt Helen’s 100th birthday! My younger brother Todd from upstate NY came as well as my older brother Roger from Ohio. Helen’s two children were there along with their children and their children’s children. She knew there was going to be a party and that the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were going to be there.

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Four generations

But they didn’t tell her about me and my two brothers. That was the surprise. My Aunt Helen and my parents had this odd thing about surprises. When we were growing up, the only place we ever went to on vacation was out to Minnesota to visit my aunt and my uncle. More often than not, we just showed up unannounced. Surprise! We’re here for a week! Now, my cousins and I have always thought this to be really strange. If you show up unannounced most people will not only be surprised, but also more than a little annoyed.

But not my parents or my aunt and uncle. They loved it. It was their thing. So that’s what we did. And she loved it.  The look on her face when her three nephews walked out to say happy birthday was worth the trip.

Surprise!
Surprise!

She’s gotten pretty frail and her voice is very soft and sometimes the words she wants to say have a hard time coming out. After getting over the shock of seeing us the first thing she said was. “I never thought I’d see the kids again”.

The Kids
The Kids

The kids are 62, 64, 65, 69 and 74. The next day there was an official party for her at the home where she lives. All sorts of friends showed up as well as four generations of family.

All the kids
All the kids

The secret to her longevity? I don’t know. She’s a tough old bird. Maybe it’s because her granddaughter Erica told her years ago when she was a child “Grandma, you have to live to be 100”.

You did it Grandma
You did it Grandma

Maybe it’s because she has at least one beer every day.

Cheers
Cheers

Maybe it’s because she always said it was her goal to make it to 100. When we reminded her of that she said. “I guess I have to come up with another goal. Do you think 105 is unreasonable?”

Hell no Aunt Helen. It’s not unreasonable at all.

See Ellin’s view of this celebration: IT REALLY DOES TAKE A VILLAGE BY ELLIN CURLEY

SPEAKING OF SPEAKING OUT …

DISCOVER CHALLENGE | SPEAK OUT!


As Garry was switching channels, he paused briefly on the news. “Senators protested the president’s …” and then he clicked on through. No need to listen. Something awful was going on, but these days, something awful is always going on. It is less than two weeks since Number 45 took office. Doesn’t it feel like so much longer than that? It is hard to imagine what we will be experiencing three hundred days from now.

I am not sure we will still have a country, or if the world will exist. We are living not merely in interesting times. We are living an absurd, surrealistic nightmare from which we cannot awaken. 

I have been having nightmares. Not the wake up screaming kind, but the anxious kind where I’m looking for something, but cannot find it. I forget the details of the dreams after I’ve up, but I remember the seeking, searching, not finding, looking further … until finally I give up on sleep. It is not restful. I am having a national nightmare in my personal dreams.

I hope things settle down, at least a bit. I don’t think I’ll survive four years without a full night’s sleep.

By Mike Marland - @mikemarland
By Mike Marland – @mikemarland

So, speaking of speaking out, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m a bit low on righteous indignation today, but I should be ready to rock n’ roll by tomorrow. I’ve been so pissed off at having a president who I think is 1) a sociopath, 2) demented (as in suffering from dementia), or 3) the anti-Christ. Alternatively, Lex Luthor, wearing an orange wig.

What’s left to say?

That this is a guy who has never read a book? Can’t write anything longer than a tweet? Has no sense of fairness, or honor? Cares about nothing except himself and (maybe) his own? Who is willing to do anything to get his own way, no matter who or what is destroyed in the process?

I’ve said it before, echoing and being echoed by many others.

I’m embarrassed that my country voted in this bloated tick to be president. I’m ashamed of my countrymen. I never imagined I could feel this way. I have not always been entirely happy with how, as a nation, we have behaved. I hated the war in Vietnam, appalled at how we treat Native Americans and people of color. Yet, I always believed we had our heart in the right place. That we were a nation with a moral compass that holds a fundamental belief in doing the right thing. Even though it takes us a long time to figure out exactly what “the right thing” is, I always thought we were going in the right direction, if slowly.

Now? We have lost our way. Our moral compass is kaput. We stand humiliated in front of the world. And we aren’t even two weeks into this administration. What new horrors will be perpetrated before his term of office is finally over?

Moving to the ridiculous (or is it?), check this out. I am not the only one who thinks maybe DJT is really Lex Luthor with a rug.

Jimmy Kimmel Turns Donald Trump Into Justice League’s Lex Luthor

For more posts with varying degrees of rage, irony, humor, and despair, you can read any of these recent posts. The list includes a post by Tom Curley and a couple of reblogs.

ON THE SCENT: COME BACK, SUPERMAN!

HELL NO!

DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU

JUST SAY NO

I’M GLAD MOM DIDN’T LIVE TO SEE THIS

LOVE NOTE FROM THE NETHERLANDS

PRINCESS LEIA AND THE WOMEN’S MARCH: A FITTING TRIBUTE TO CARRIE FISHER (Reblog from Sean Munger)

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR, HE OPENS A WINDOW YOU CAN FALL OUT OF – TOM CURLEY

THE INAUGURATION: AN OBSERVER VIEW (Reblog, Gordon C. Stewart, Views from the Edge)

SHARING MY WORLD – WELCOME TO FEBRUARY!

Share Your World – January 30, 2017


What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?

Grand Canyon 5

I hate to sound like everyone else, but yeah, it’s The Grand Canyon. It is awe-inspiring. Breathtaking. And still photographs don’t do it justice. Maybe with film, but it’s so huge, so engulfing. I think you need to be there to feel the magic.

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? 

I had an older brother and a younger sister, which puts me right in the middle. My brother died of pancreatic cancer about 8 years ago and my sister vanished into a world of drugs and I don’t know what else. So, I am the last member of my immediate family. I used to be the middle kid. Now, I’m the lone grandma.

72-Antique-Marilyn-Matthew-1952
My big brother Matthew and me — probably 1952, in Holliswood

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

warm boots

I’d prefer to be a loafer, but if I can’t loaf, then I will sneak. Unless you could pull me up by the bootstraps. Do boots have straps?

new shoes feet

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

I have eaten alligator and crocodile and while I wouldn’t seek them out, they were okay. Escargot, on the other hand, was yucky. Garlic flavored worms. My husband said I should try them. This from the man who won’t eat peas or lima beans. On the other hand, he was right about the calamari. A plate of fried calamari is great. I’ll travel for that!

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m glad I don’t seem to have cancer (again), but the state of the body politic is horrendous. It feels like the world is crashing and burning everywhere I look. Hard to see much good coming out of this mess. I think we’ll be lucky if we manage to hang on to our freedom. My wish for next week is that I wake up from this nightmare and discover it wasn’t real, merely a terrible dream.

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