Guns? Are you pro or con? Explain your point of view.
I am so anti-gun I don’t even know where to start. I don’t object (in theory, anyway) to hunting as long as the animal isn’t about to go extinct. There are plenty of deer and probably enough venison for all who want some.
But people? All the kids who’ve been slaughtered? People in church? People just listening to a concert? It’s not okay in any way at all and please do NOT tell me that guns don’t kill people. No gun by itself kills anything, but put it in the hands of a killer and then, they kill. And without a high-powered military-style weapon, these murderers simply could not do the amount of damage they do.
I don’t want to hear about “prayers” and “thoughts.” I want laws that keep the nut cases away from powerful military-style weapons. And yes, I WOULD take away their guns, those racist losers who think murdering people in churches, concerts, or schools is the cool thing to do. I would take away their guns and their freedom for the rest of their lives.
How would your country change if everyone, regardless of age, could vote?
I’m assuming we’re talking about lowering the voting age to 16 (or something like that). Obviously, infants can’t vote.
I have no proof for any of this, but my best guess is we’d see a big change in gun laws because many, if not most, young people favor sane and sensible gun control laws.
I think you’d see a big jump in the minimum wage. Kids are often the people trying to live on that pitiful money. I’m pretty sure young people would do something to fix the cost of student loans and tuition at state universities. The rest? I don’t know but I live in hope.
What’s your cure for hiccups?
Breathing into a paper bag. If that doesn’t do it, drinking water and swallowing without inhaling first.
What’s the coldest you’ve ever been?
Those mornings when I had to stand at the top of the driveway waiting with Kaity for her school bus.
In January, it was often below zero and there was wind, too. And the bus was almost always late. Man, that was SO cold!
If you would like, share a story, a photo or some thoughts on you may be thankful for this week!
I’m still here. Still breathing. Still writing and taking pictures. The world has not improved, but mine hasn’t gotten worse. These days, when things don’t get worse, that’s the same as better used to be!
Don’t people realize that you have to use twice as much one-ply as two-ply so you end up not saving any money? And that’s not taking the comfort factor into consideration.
2. OVER OR UNDER
On the subject of toilet paper, it’s OVER people! The patent application for the toilet paper holder shows the roll going over, not under.
3. WEATHER CHANGES
I’ve been checking the weather regularly and we’ve had an unseasonably warm spell. The one day I forget to check, the temperature dips 25 degrees and I freeze my buns off in my unsuitably light clothes!
Some days I wake up thinking about the cinnamon sugar croissant at my local bakery. It’s amazing! It’s one of the few things that can make me break my perpetual diet (I’m on Prednisone and gained ten pounds last year). I look forward to this sugary treat all the way to the store – and they’re out! I can taste the disappointment and it’s nothing like my beloved croissant.
SLEEPLESS AT DAWN
My dogs wake me around 6 AM to feed them. I stagger downstairs and go through their morning routine in a sleepy haze. I stumble back to bed and fall right back to sleep. Except when I don’t. There are days when, for some reason, I wake up completely somewhere between the bedroom and the kitchen. I am suddenly full of energy. This is a problem because I go to bed around 1 AM and I need more than five hours sleep to get through the day. So I lie awake thinking of things that agitate or depress me and just exacerbate the situation. Finally I’ll fall back to sleep, but that sleepless hour or two is SO annoying! Chronic insomnia must be unbearable.
I’ve put a reminder on my phone that’s set to go off the same time every day to make sure I don’t forget to take my medicines in the morning. (I never seem to forget at night). I don’t forget often anymore, so I’ve gotten used to turning off the reminder each day after I’ve taken my meds. But now I’m so used to turning off the reminder, that I turned it off automatically the other day even when I hadn’t taken my meds.
I forgot to take my pills but I turned off the reminder anyway. On Autopilot. Something is wrong with this system – or is it just me?
LAZY GUARD DOG
One of my dogs, Lexi, is my self-assigned protector. She sounds the alarm with loud barking whenever she sees or hears something outside of her definition of ‘ordinary’. Unfortunately, she’s also lazy. So when she’s on the bed with me and hears something ‘suspicious’ downstairs, she doesn’t go down to investigate or scare off the intruders. Instead, she leaps up and proceeds to scream in her high volume, piercing bark, directly into my ear!
If I go prematurely deaf, it won’t be due to the loud rock and roll of my youth – it will be all Lexi’s fault!
What does a successful relationship look like to you? People in harmony with each other. It doesn’t mean no one ever gets mad or fights or squabbles, but overall, a sense of contentment and ease. Comfort.
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for? Cooking meals while leaving nothing to clean up. Garry could win one for “The best folder of clothing. ” He’s really good!
What do you wish you knew more about? These days? Ornithology.
What is better in your opinion – asking for forgiveness or permission? I’ve done both. I don’t think one is better or worse. It just depends on what is going on at the time and which action is appropriate.
What’s the best thing about your life right now? Not working for a living. I REALLY like retirement.
I was feeling distinctly grouchy this morning. It is my 72nd birthday. My mother never made it this far, so I figure I’m already ahead of the game. From here on in, it’s extra innings.
I wanted to sleep late. I wanted a day off. I wanted …
The dogs were barking at 5, so I got up and gave them a cookie — and went back to bed. They barked a little more, then finally shut up. I thought I was home free, but then the phone rang. After which someone else called, and finally, one more call. These were real people, so I had to answer the calls. After each call, I drifted back to sleep, but after the final call, I realized it was futile.
No rest for the wicked.
If you don’t think Heaven nor God exists, you might want to answer by saying something outrageous, just for fun!
And the great, deep, booming voice says: “Welcome, Marilyn. In this place, you will NEVER have to cook another meal. Ever. Unless you want to. We have our own chef who also cleans up!”
And I say: “Wow. This really IS heaven!”
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
No coffee in the morning.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I’m never alone in my car.
How would you rate your memory?
According to my neurologist, it’s fine. According to me, I want to know why I’m in the kitchen. At least I always know why I’m in the bathroom. That’s something.
What’s one song that always cheers you up, no matter how blue you’re feeling?
Pancho and Lefty. Something about the melody, the very cool lyrics — and that I think it would make a great movie.
Gender, height, clothing. More or less in that order. Unless they are VERY tall, in which case I will notice that first. Although sometimes, I see people dressed so weirdly, I don’t notice anything else and all I do is keep saying, “OMG why would ANYONE dress like that!”
What three habits do you feel would improve someone’s life?
More money than they need, good health, and a relationship they enjoy.
What takes up too much of your time? Would you stop that if you could?
Blogging and taking pictures. And writing. And processing pictures. And arguing with customer service. Especially the last one. I would give up fighting with customer service in a nanosecond.
My favorite toys
Photo Garry Armstrong
But not writing or taking pictures. I don’t think I’ll ever give either of them up. They’ll have to pry the computer or camera out of my cold, dead hands.
Cookies (biscuits to those elsewhere), pastries, pie or cake? If not, what does your sweet tooth crave?
Not much these days. I like sweets much more when I was younger. I’m as likely to lurk around looking for salty stuff these days.
Gratitude? Are You Happy? If so, why? If not, why not?
If I were healthier, I might be absolutely joyful. Unfortunately, I’m not. I’m okay, though. I bit whiney. I’m managing. But health matters. Take care of yourself!
I visited my favorite doctor last week. She is the only one of my original set of doctors I kept when I changed insurers. Despite her not being covered directly by my new insurance, she “gets me” in a way that only someone who has known you for a long time possibly can.
I hadn’t seen her in while — she was on vacation — so we had some catching up to do. We talked about me, her, life, getting older, and how things don’t feel like they did when we were young. Mostly, we discussed how important it is to feel better.
Anyone who has been sick for a long time knows what I mean when I say:
“I just want to feel better.”
There comes a moment in time when whatever is wrong with you has dragged on for what feels like an eternity. You can’t remember what it was like to feel good. You’ve done everything you are supposed to do yet still, you feel like crap.
Whether it’s cancer, recovering from surgery, anxiety, bipolarity, the pain of chronic illness — or any combination of the above plus all the other things I forgot to mention — there comes a day when all you want is to feel better.
You really don’t care how. Whatever it takes, whatever drugs, surgery, therapy, whatever. Please, make me feel better. I want a day without pain. Without anxiety, depression, or nausea. I want to feel normal, whatever normal is. Because I am not sure I remember “normal” anymore.
The problem is that feeling better isn’t considered a medical issue. As far as doctors are concerned, feeling better is your problem, not theirs. You can’t test for feeling better. You can’t plot it on a chart.
There is no medical value to how you feel. If you can’t put it on a chart or turn it into a statistic, it’s not real and not important.
To me, it’s the only important thing. Since feeling lousy isn’t an illness, feeling better isn’t a cure. If it isn’t a cure, the medical community isn’t all that interested.
Meanwhile, the doctor keeps telling you you’re fine. Except you don’t feel fine. You are tired, in pain, crabby, unable to sleep. Nauseated. Exasperated. Depressed. Fed up with everything.
Just three of my doctors believe feeling good is a legitimate medical goal. One is my primary care doctor, the next is my cardiologist and the final one is my shrink.
Her task is to help me feel better. “After all you’ve gone through,” she says, “that’s what I can do for you. I can help you feel more like you used to feel before all that horrible stuff happened.”
She understands. She gets it. I’m going to keep her. The hell with insurance.
I just read a memoir by Jamie Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein’s oldest child and I absolutely loved the book!
The central characters are fascinating and complex as well as endlessly entertaining and the circle of friends is mostly famous people who are colorful and fun to read about.
Friends of my mother’s, the Coopers, lived in the same Park Avenue building in New York City as the Bernsteins for over a decade and became friends with the Bernstein family.
The oldest Cooper child, still a friend of mine today, was Jamie’s age and played with her for many years. I grew up hearing stories about the Bernstein family through the Coopers, so I feel a connection to them, however tenuous.
One of the stories I heard had to do with an incident at the Bernstein pool in Fairfield, CT. The middle Cooper child heard the word ‘gay’ from one of the adults and went up to another adult and asked him what gay meant. Leonard Bernstein was gay but lived a straight, family life for decades before coming out of the closet. That was necessary during the forties and fifties, and even the sixties, if you wanted to have a significant career. This story takes place during the closeted years.
The adult who the child approached thought it would be funny to tell the curious little girl to go ask Leonard what ‘gay’ was, so she did. Apparently, she got a paean about what wonderful, creative people gay men were and how glorious it was to be gay.
I’m sure this elicited lots of laughter around the pool that day.
Getting back to the book, the main reason it resonated so much with me is that Jamie and my childhoods had a lot in common. I’m only three years older than Jamie and we both grew up Jewish in New York City at the same time. Jamie was only half Jewish, but the Jewish half, Leonard, was strongly Jewish, at least culturally.
We both lived on Park Avenue in the same Upper East Side neighborhood and went to prominent private schools in the city. We both spent summers and some weekends at our second home in Fairfield County, Connecticut – Jamie in the town of Fairfield and me in nearby Easton. Our mothers were both beautiful and fashionable former actresses who entertained often and impeccably.
However, the major experience that I shared with Jamie, was living in the shadow of a famous father. The title of Jamie’s memoir is “Famous Father Girl,” a nickname given to her by someone in her grade school class.
My father was not as universally well-known, but in our social circles and in the social science fields, he was a celebrity. Kids at my school knew that my father was an intellectual giant and he was spoken of with respect and awe by their parents, many of whom were psychiatrists, like my father.
Jamie’s mother used to excuse Leonard’s excesses and eccentricities by telling her kids that this is what comes with ‘genius’, and my mother did the same thing. We had to forgive a lot of character flaws and social missteps because my father was a genius.
I can understand why superstars are surrounded by apologists and enablers because I grew up with that dynamic. In fact, my father was absolved of almost all paternal obligations and responsibilities, including talking to his child on a regular basis. At least Leonard Bernstein interacted with his kids, played with them and talked to them all the time when he was around.
Bernstein with his wife and three kids
Bernstein, Jamie and Michael Jackson
Bernstein and Jackie Kennedy
Both of our fathers spent a lot of time teaching their children about their fields of expertise. Jamie learned about all styles of music at an early age and I knew about psychology, sociology, anthropology, as well as history and archeology (a favorite topic of my father’s) while still in elementary school. Both of our fathers were also hard acts to follow and we spent our young lives trying not to disappoint our larger than life parents.
Jamie tried to write and sing music for many years and I felt the need to excel academically, at least through college. I got a life, finally, in law school and stopped trying to be at the top of the class, which was a great relief. I’m sure Jamie shared my lifelong feeling of not measuring up in some significant way.
Ironically, both Jamie and I found our voice and our passion in our thirties by becoming mothers. Years later Jamie found a true career running educational music programs based on her father’s Young People’s Concerts. I found myself in my father’s adjunct career – writer.
He published seven books over the years and numerous professional articles, which I helped my mother edit from the time I was fifteen. I publish blog posts and have the scripts I write with my husband performed by our audio theater group.
So Jamie and I each took something from our mothers and something from our fathers and later in life, came up with our own mix, creating satisfying lives for ourselves.
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