Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Musings on the Afterlife, as in -- Is there one and how shall I pack?

Do I know more dead people now than alive?  Is that what it eventually comes to?  Is there a cafĂ© up there where all my relatives and friends who’ve died before me gather to read whatever they damn well please, now – no pressure to finish House of Mirth.

Are you transformed when you die to your best-looking, neatest appearance?
Will anybody whisper, “why doesn’t she do something with her hair?’  Or will I suddenly have a discernable part?  When you die, does your hair revert to its original color? Or is there a way-station where I can get a touch up for my roots?

Is there a desk to check in?  Is everything included?  Are some extras – like a harp –
part of the basic plan?  Can I use miles?

Will the Sunnis and Shiites still be fighting?  What about the Palestinians and the Jews? Or will we all finally get along? 

What about people who were no longer speaking to me on earth?  What’s the etiquette on that? 

Does my Curves membership automatically transfer up?  What about my magazine subscriptions that renew until you notify them otherwise.  How long until they stop badgering my heirs?

Are couples still married in heaven?  The vows say, “Until Death do you Part.”  Should I assume that this will make my marriage null and void and that if my dear husband precedes me that I shouldn’t get all huffy if he’s met someone new?  And in that case, do I still have a chance with Paul Newman/

When people say, “you can’t take it with you,” will we learn that Republicans have a actually found a way? And does take it with you refer as well to opinions, beliefs, superstitions and prejudices?  Is evolution accepted?  Or from day one, is creationism all that heaven allows?

Are there calories in heaven?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Adventures in Driving at Home in Connecticut.

I back out of my drive.

My armpits gush like twin faucets so old and broken they can no longer be turned off.   My hands clutch the steering wheel – the palms thick with swamp life. The overpowering fear I have of driving a car again makes me a breeding ground for bacteria. 

If penicillin hadn’t already been discovered, I’m sure I ooze the microbes that made Fleming famous, if only he swabbed me first. 
I have traveled around the world and back. And yet, before I even journey out of sight of my house, I am a gibbering, whimpering petrie dish.  

Yes! Without a map or a guidebook,  I’ve found a Dunkin’ Donut!  

Oh, it's easy to be a fearless traveler in Burma or Nepal.  Who could lose sight of  the Shwedagon Pagoda or Mt. Everest?   On the other hand, how does anyone find a landmark in Milford, Connecticut?  Every block has a mall, a donut shop, a gas station and a deli! It all looks the same to me.

My over-size polka-dot drink glass is too large for the car's cup holder, so I lodge my iced decaf between my thighs and head for the highway. 

Now stealthily onto I-95.  My heart hides in my stomach -- I can feel it beating against the steering wheel.   It hopes that even if I have a heart attack, somehow secluded and cushioned by my belly, it will survive.

All the people on the road this morning are unaware that I am driving again.   Worse,  if I am not super alert, I can upend the futures of generations of strangers with one bad lane change.  

It is not just that I am living in a new town -- even an unfamiliar new state.   The Audi is also a new for me. Besides, except for a couple of practice forays I have not driven any car for eight months.  

Partly it's that I'm mending a  badly broken wrist from a fall in Mexico.  In fact, I am on my way to hand therapy now.   Jed, my husband, who has driven me twice a week for months is away for two days.

Gaining confidence, I speed up,  passing exit  25  -- ready to turn swiftly onto 25A.  What?  There is no 25A.  I am at exit 24.  I've passed my exit.  Not to worry, I will simply get off at the next exit, zip around and re-enter I-95 North,  get off at  25A and figure out where I am from there.

First part executed perfectly.  I am off I-95 and ready to turn left.   Except instead of the turn signal I touch the windshield wipers and suddenly they are all going at once, front and back.   

I manage to quiet the front wipers --  the back wipers keep up a noisy Charleston as I drive.

Up the North ramp, windshield wipers dancing on my back window as I look for 25A, but there is no 25A exit.   When I exit, I recognize nothing.  

My tuchas is on fire!

Oh, no!  I must have accidentally switched on the seat warmer because my ass is burning and I am shifting around in my seat like a fried egg on a griddle.  The good news is I can grab my iced coffee and reach around to chill my backside.

Then just as I am about to give up forever I spot the turn in next door to Hand Therapy!

Despite detailed directions home,  the 25 minute drive takes me slightly less than two hours.  I am tempted to say that only Lewis and Clark in surveying their territory may have covered more of an expanse of land than I did that afternoon.   As a byproduct, I can probably provide a fairly accurate census of three counties by adding up every man, woman, and child I stopped for directions.  When I arrive home I re-read my direction and realize I was supposed to take exit 27A not 25A. 

The next morning, after an hour’s drive to meet my friends Linda and Judy in a town or two over from me,  Judy finds the switch to turn off the seat warmer. No wonder I am burning up, she says.  During this week’s  2-day 94 degree heat wave,  I have somehow set the heat on high instead of turning on the air--conditioner.

Funny!  The heat never bothered me in India.


What happens when the traveler decides to stay home?

This blog had a simple premise.

I like to travel and I like to eat.
Combining the two in one blog seemed the perfect combo a few
back when I started this blog..
But then something happened I never anticipated.
My husband and I fell in love with a house!
So instead of packing our bags and leaving for the airport,
we packed our stuff in boxes and moved to Connecticut!

A house!  A basement!  A yard!  A garden!  Two driveways!
Ours.  All ours!  And no passports!  Well, there is the mortgage.

So just as I used to pore over travel magazines and Kayak for deals,
I am poring over garden brochures and wall color swatches.
Of course,  I’m still taking trips – but mostly now it’s traipsing to Loew’s and Home Depot.

Who can fathom the human mind and why it changes direction?

Ah!  But tasting!  That hasn't changed. Only right now it's mostly produce we grow ourselves
in our Straw Bale garden.  But, that's for another post!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Soon After I Moved to New York...

Soon after I moved to New York after graduation I found myself in an upper balcony of Grand Central station with a professorial looking man, probably somewhere in his 50’s. who was licking the bottom of my shoe.

This was not what I had set out to do that evening.  My goal was much more commonplace – only to type 50 words or more with less than two errors at the shorthand and typing class I attended most nights, since learning my BA in English from a prestigious University meant bupkes to potential employers.

I was waiting in Grand Central for my roommate Francine to finish her classes so we could go home to our walkup together.  I was wearing, what I can only say was an extremely sophisticated blue wool cape with black piping that I’d taken from my mother.  It was, I believed, an unusually charming garment, as well as jaunty,  that would set me apart from the other newbee New York girls and would grant me that je ne sais quoi mystery that eluded me back  home in Detroit.

As I waited for Fran, a large man wearing a raincoat and glasses approached me.  Noticing me carrying my books, he said, he realized I was a student.  What a coincidence!  He was a professor at Columbia, he explained.  Did I want to make some extra money by taking part in an experiment he was conducting with young graduates like me?

“I’m waiting for my roommate,” I said.  “Oh, it will only take a few minutes he said, to fill out a research form.   He was all set up with some other young woman on the balcony above us.  He gestured upward.  How much money had he said the experiment paid?  Was it $20?  I can’t remember now.  But as he said it would only take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire and by then Fran would surely have arrived.  What did I have to lose?

If he said straight out that he was a nut job or a lunatic, I’m sure I wouldn’t have followed him.  But he said he was a professor.  He looked like a professor. I had learned at the University of Michigan that professors were much, much, much smarter than I was and this made me think that my cape, my books, and the fact that I’d graduated from the University of Michigan had probably erroneously made him think that I was much much smarter than I was.  To tell the truth, I was flattered. And since Fran still hadn’t shown up yet, well, why not?

Up on the balcony I looked around for the table with the questionnaires, the other young women graduates, the sign that said Columbia University and seeing none of that became suspicious.  “Where’s everybody,” I asked. “Show me your ID.”

With that he lay down on the floor on his back, grabbed my foot, and started licking the sole of my shoe.
 “Walk on me, step on me,” he pleaded!

“Let go of my shoe,” I screamed.  I think I kicked him.
“Come back, come back, you don’t understand,” he said, as I ran.
Whatever else he added, I was click, clacking down the stairs and away from him.  I rushed across the lobby and saw Fran.

“There’s a man up there who said he was a professor and he grabbed my shoe and asked me to walk on him.”

“We have to tell a policeman,” Fran said.  We had only been in New York a few weeks.  We knew New York was not Detroit.  But was this a common occurrence?  Did experiences like this happen a lot?  Was this man really a professor from Columbia?  Were professors from Columbia now and again deranged?  Could living in New York do that to you? Should we call our parents and go home?

The policeman listened and took the information. I told him that this man was a Professor at Columbia.  He told me he doubted that.   He told us to be careful and not hang around Grand Central.  He may have told me to wear another coat for a while.  I decided not to chance it ever and threw it and the shoes away.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Retiring

After 48 years as an employee for hire, I am not aggressively looking for a new career path when I retire at the end of December. 

No more W2s for me, no siree.  Instead I’m looking ahead to a clearing of the decks, emptying the old belfry, and dismantling of the fine-oiled machine I have become over the decades.

But that doesn’t mean I am giving up the world of business entirely.  In fact, I plan to devote myself full throttle to an endeavor that I just thought up the other day.

As soon as it occurred to me, I shared it with Jed. With any luck, it will never falter, always prosper, and offer a spectacular ROI.   It’s called “The Business of Us.”

The Challenge is nothing less than keeping the two of us healthy and afloat for a period of years not so excessive that  we dribble and our kids no longer let us visit, nor so ridiculously short that we miss the season finale of “Mad Men.”

The Business of Us will never be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.  Still, for my money, it’s looking like a much better investment than, well,  Facebook.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Justices Okay Strip Searches. Oy Vey!

I don't have washboard abs. Mine have slid downward like crumpled laundry down a laundry chute and have settled in a lumpy clump at my bottom. Sure, at times it's bothered me, but honestly, I've never been as concerned as I am right now. It seems that The Supreme Court has ruled that police can strip search people they arrest -- even when there are no grounds for suspicion. It's true that I tend be law abiding, and should not have too much to fear. Still, I find it disconcerting that my private body -- which at worst is a fashion sin but in no way illegal -- can be inspected by a stranger, at will. No disrespect, to be sure, but what's with these Justices? Even my gynecologist lends me a sheet. Just what is happening in America? Strip searching ruled legal for innocent-before-proven-guilty citizens! Plus, gun laws in Florida that protect both shooters' rights and concealed weapons and have led to the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. I brood, until I have an epiphany. There is a vital and perhaps even beneficial connection hidden within these decrees. If everyone were to undress in common cause with the newly arrested there would no longer be the possibility of concealed weapons. As a result, the reflexive kill-rate would drop faster than my hips. What's more, if everyone disrobes, conservatives and liberals might find although they look at the world differently, to the world they look the same. This gives new meaning to the phrase, "Citizens United." Maybe the Supreme Court has done something really farseeing after all. In support, I've joined a gym.