Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Our quest for the perfect home continues. We thought we could write an offer to buy a house that would be contingent on the sale of our house, since that’s the way we bought the house we live in now. Wrong. I don’t know how we got away with it last time, but it ain’t workin’ this time. Our latest find was a recently remodeled house with lovely features, including a heated built-in pool, hillside gazebo with expansive view, and the office plus workshop plus workout room of Ron’s dreams. He was practically drooling in the pool by the time we left. It didn’t have much space for my part of the living system, but we could always remodel and add a room for my office if the price was right. Sudi (our teenager) has not even seen the house but wants us to buy it because it has central heating and he can skateboard to his friend Brett’s nearby. Ah, if life were only that simple again for me. We made an offer. The seller loves us. He practically invited us to pitch a tent in his garage. But no contingency. “Call me when you sell your house,” he said. What are we to do? Sell our house out from under ourselves and go where?
Cindy-the-Realtor to the rescue. I didn’t realize that we can sell our house with a seller’s contingency that we find a replacement home before the deal is done. Wow. What a concept. Cindy-the-Magician-ess. She better be a magician-ess. Otherwise we will end up living in a storage unit at Big Four Lots, looking at a view of concrete and rebar, stumbling around town in a stupor, muttering “tile in the master bathroom,” “trash compactor,” water filtration,” forced air heat,” “gas stove,” “gotta have trees.”Perspective: I remind myself how very many people around the world would trade places with me in a heartbeat to have the choices I have.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
While looking at a house (which we made an offer on by-the-way), we saw a sign posted over the owner’s desk that read:
“Grandchildren are your reward for not strangling your teenagers."
We told the owner we'd take the house if we could keep the sign.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
In celebration of Presidents’ Day, I want to share with you a quote taken from Ronald Reagan’s diaries. This entry was made on May 17, 1986. I always thought that Reagan was asleep at the wheel but perhaps he was more awake than he seemed. Or perhaps even a man in the early stages of Alzheimer’s could see what half the country couldn’t (twice). Here’s Reagan’s perception:
A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at “The New Republic” and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Perhaps you followed the scandal about James Frey’s memoir (A Million Little Pieces) touted by Oprah that later turned out to be pure fiction. Poor Oprah was duped into feeling such compassion for Frey’s unbelievably gruesome and horrid experience. If it hadn’t really happened no one would believe it. But in fact it didn’t happen. Columnist Levi Asher published guidance for authors about how to avoid memoir scandals. The guidance is based on real occurrences. You can read Asher’s full article at: GuardianHere are his eight rules:
- Do not use the word "memoir" unless you mean it.
- If you're not sure whether what you're writing is a memoir or not, guess what? It's a novel.
- No more than half a page of plagiarism per book.
- Don't make up exact dates that you can't remember. Instead, be general: "The most important day of my life was the day of my son's birth, in the summer of 2005 . . . "
- Just say no to sending a friend out in public with a wig as you.
- If you're in a flame war and you're about to go sock puppet, take a 10-minute break and go to a coffee shop without a wi-fi facility. Maybe the walk will cool you down.
- Go ahead and make up dialogue. Everybody except Tom Wolfe does.
- Pick a name. "Benjamin Black is John Banville" is just not a good look.
Friday, February 15, 2008
My husband was so disappointed that I didn’t post to my blog on Valentine’s Day. I think he wanted me to send a message to the wide world about how much I love him, which I do of course, and I don’t care who knows it. But I couldn’t’ think of what I wanted to say for Valentine’s Day until very late in the day. And this is it. Here is a quick list of what husbands can do for their wives if they really love them:
1. Pay us a real compliment about our physical beauty (often). Not something like “you smell like a girl” (which my daughter’s boyfriend, now ex-boyrfriend, actually said) or “I like your breasts.” Something more along the lines of “you look beautiful in that dress” or “I have to kiss those lips,” or “you are so voluptuous.”
2. Go to the doctor. Get regular check-ups, have him check your prostate even though it’s humiliating. If you aren’t feeling well, find out what’s wrong. Ancillary: do what the doctor says to do, like take aspirin every day to protect your heart and quit eating hamburgers. Don’t smoke. Get exercise. Don’t make us worry about your health.
3. When in the presence of non-football fans, limit your conversations about football to under two minutes. When in the presence of football fans, don’t stop, don’t stop.
4. Get up in the middle of the night with the baby. Don’t put beer in the baby bottle, just walk the floor with her.
5. Load the dishwasher. (Not just on Sundays.)
6. Put the screwdriver back when you’re done with it so someone else can find it. And stop swiping my hammer.
7. Open your socks up all the way before you toss them in the laundry.
8. Compliment your daughter more often on her brains and talent than on her looks. Compliment your son more often on his thoughtfulness and talent than on his athleticism.
9. Be willing to compromise on finances and recognize that for your wife the children’s financial needs are more important than yours.
10. If you have a job that you hate and it’s making you crazy. Quit. The stress is killing you and your wife. Get a job that makes you feel better. (But do get a job. Unemployment is not an option.)
11. Go to the sleep center and do the test so you can get a forced air machine, stop snoring, sleep better, and give your wife a good night’s rest for a change.
12. Remember that watching old movies on TV is not a substitute for a romantic evening and a satisfying roll in the hay.
13. Stop waiting for the children to leave home and the dog to die so you can get your wife all to yourself. She’s having the time of her life with the children and the dog. Don’t kid yourself, you won’t be nearly entertaining enough to fill the void when things settle down. And you won’t be able to eat all the food she is accustomed to cooking.
Just remember that a little appreciation and help with the daily work goes a long way. It’s a team effort. It’s a game of inches (as they say in football). I could go on but I’ll stop here. Ladies, what would you add to this list?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
OK, forgive me for being so unoriginal as to post a message from the great British comedian John Cleese on my blog instead of thinking up something clever on my own. But this is really too funny. And of course as an American I am clearly unable to manage an original thought without benefit of a thesaurus, two computers, six cups of English Breakfast Tea (diluted with gooey milk), several members of the BBC, a plate of spam, and a stiff upper lip. Don’t hurt yourself reading.
From: John Cleese
To: The citizens of the United States of America:
In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up 'revocation ' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell- checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem , God Save The Queen.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. Holden Monaro's are also approved.
8. All intersections will be replaced wi th roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.
9. The Former USA will adopt
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer i s also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of
13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try
14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of
15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.
God save the Queen.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
My life is complete. I won a blue ribbon,
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Pinch me. Is it real or am I dreaming? I had to choose my candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination between a brilliant, ambitious, outspoken woman and a brilliant, ambitious, outspoken multicultural, part African American man who was raised in a third world country. I had to choose between two very intelligent human beings. Both with integrity. Both saying real things about real concerns. Is this still America?
The second time Reagan was elected I researched the possibility of emigrating to New Zealand. But my family and friends are in this country. And I’m not too crazy about sheep. So I stayed. But I moved to a remote 40 acres in rural California to hide out. The first time W. stole the election, I started listening to NPR every morning. Molly Ivens and Michael Moore helped me survive. The second time W. stole the election I stopped listening to NPR every morning. It was more than I could stand to hear anything about what was going on. I went on a media diet. After all, who was I? Just an uncounted vote.
I used to be a political activist. I was even arrested for blockading a nuclear weapons facility. But in recent years I have lost hope. Yesterday I voted for Barack. He has the audacity to hope. I think I do too again. Although I would most dearly love to see Barack in the White House, I confess that I would not be too disappointed to see Hillary. Short of doing the job myself, well, these two candidates are the real deal. Is it my country again? Pinch me.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The fun is back in football, folks.
Without putting too much negative energy out there into the universe, I gotta say it was sweet to watch that plate taken away from the lips of those big bad Pats at the final moment. My kid brother Dan has been a Giants fan all his life and after tonight’s game he turned to his young son Jacob and said, “If you ever wonder why life is worth living, you think back to tonight’s game.” That says it all.
I have watched those Manning brothers with admiration and delight for years. Eli’s determination to win in that game tonight was a sight to behold. He and his whole team. What a remarkable defensive effort on the part of those Giants, huh? When those Manning brothers get married and have children, you better believe that every football team in the country is going to be trying to sign their boys when those third generation Manning boys are in diapers. Well, those of you who love football saw the game and those of you who don’t do football, well you have no idea what I’m going on about so I’ll shut up already.
The game was the final shining moment in a lovely perfect weekend. Squidfest last night was spectacular. A delicious dinner with good friends served slow and special. Friends I have known for years and years, who have known me through thick and thin. The Squidmistress Linda was at the birth of all my children. The venue was the new home of friend Jim whom we have known for nigh on 30 years. His new home that he moved into a few months ago with his fiancé, after finally finding the love of his life when over 50 years old.
Life, like football, is a game of inches. You never know what’s around the corner. What might tip the scales one way or another. What might let you win against all odds. I have to say that I realize that I live in paradise. And I am truly grateful. My greatest hope is that everyone in the world will have the opportunity to live in paradise too. Even the Pats? Why not? I can afford to be generous. I wish them life in paradise too. Just without that Superbowl ring.