Hurricanes.

When a hurricane is headed our way, we do our best to be ready.  We stock up.  We lash down.  We board up.  We hunker down.  We gas up and occasionally run to higher ground. We drink.

But when push comes to shove and that sucker comes ashore….which it inevitably  will ….we’re still at the mercy of Mother Nature.  All that planning and preparation?   Frequently right out the window and gone with the wind.

Mother Nature’s not always a welcome guest.  She’ll behave exactly as she wants to, regardless.  She can rip our houses apart, yank our trees up by their roots, threaten us with surging tides, and generally cause havoc. She’s the one with her hands on the tiller and she’s always gonna have it her way.

We watched Ian as we watch all hurricanes.  We studied the models, we assessed the tides, we listened to the alerts, we behaved responsibly.

But, in the end, it all came down to one word, sent to me earlier on Friday morning by an old college roommate.  It said simply: Prayers.

Happily for us, Ian took another path. Sadly for many, many others, Ian was a truly devastating event.

In Search of Our Third Booster.

Will it ever end?  Will we forever be in search of a vaccine for the latest Covid variant?

We clearly don’t know but, in the meantime, we do what we think is best.  A sore arm is but a mere pittance in the face of the alternative.

With all that in mind, we called our local pharmacy to schedule the new booster.  We were nicely given a “slot.”   A time frame. Our pharmacy is a very civilized and thoughtful operation.  Besides, one of the owners is our neighbor. 

When we arrived, there were two people in front of us.  Whoa, we said.  This will never do.  We’d been hoping for a much longer line. 

Why, you might ask?  Aren’t long lines what we’ve hated about this whole covid-shot thing from the very get-go?

True. So true.  But here’s the thing. This particular pharmacy has an extensive medical equipment department.  And, right there in the middle of said department, are the most luxurious, comfortable, adjustable, spacious reclining chairs you could ever imagine. 

Facing but a mere minute or two to wait for our shots, we realized we’d been denied the opportunity to nestle, scrunch, and just relax in those wonderful chairs.  To get our “fix.” To imagine how grand it would be to just take one home with us.  We wondered what to do.  Our names would be called momentarily.  We couldn’t just ignore the shot-givers, could we?

Sure we could.  And we did.  We waved others through to the top of the line and thoroughly enjoyed our time in the womb-chairs. No one was upset.  Least of all us. 

After a while, we eased ourselves up to the counter and got our shots. We were also supremely relaxed.  A win/win situation if ever there was one.

Sketch thanks to wallsheaven.com

Scabs and Splinters and Zits. Oh, My!

When the children were growing up, scabs, zits and splinters were common afflictions. I wasn’t keen on the scabs or the zits but, oh, those splinters. 

I always figured the zits would dry up and the scabs would fall off but splinters needed attention.  Further, they needed MY attention and they needed it right now. Wait right here, I’d say.  Don’t move a muscle.  I’ll just get my needle.

Sometimes the child stayed put for the surgery but more often than not, he took off for parts unknown.  We both knew, however, that the splinter would eventually have to meet its maker.  Splinters don’t just go away by themselves.

I like to think that I had pretty good splinter-removing skills.  Further, it was fun.  At least for me.   I’d gently probe under the skin with the needle, expose the alien body and tweeze it out.  Voila!  I’d say.  See now, that didn’t hurt at all, did it?

There was never full consensus on that issue so I’ve just had to assume, for all these many years, that my splinter skills were good, very good, indeed.  I miss all that.  Oddly enough.

What a Woman!

Indeed she was. Queen Elizabeth II of The United Kingdom! Few would disagree.

And now we watch as The U.K. makes the orderly transition to King Charles, the III.

We follow the pomp and circumstance.  The pageantry, the horses, the trumpets, the wigs!  The furs, the helmets, the capes and flags!

It’s not our custom but we can certainly enjoy watching theirs.

There’s also honor, respect, order, peace, dignity, and grace. 

Once upon a time, we shared those important values and guiding tenets in our own governmental transitions. We can only hope we’ll find our way back to them one of these days.

Gather Ye Scarabs While Ye May.

A bit like rosebuds, scarabs have faded on the vine. And in popularity.  They’re currently and ignobly pegged as “vintage and/or “estate.”  Neither term bodes well for longevity.  Or further production. So Carpe Diem.  Time’s a wastin’.  Get’em while you can. 

If you’re under forty….or fifty… you may not know what a scarab is.  And, I, for one, feel a bit sorry for you if that’s the case.  But those of you over fifty?  Well, you know of what I speak. 

My cousin, Ann, who is much better at recall than I am, made reference to her scarab bracelet just the other day and it all came rushing back.   Then I, myself, went rushing to my jewelry box to make sure my scarabs were still where I thought they were. Happy day! There they were, way in the back of the box but safe and sound, nevertheless. 

And, I might add, looking just as snappy and colorful as they were when they were “in.”  All those many years ago.

I’m pulling my own scarabs out of storage as I write this.  Sadly, I have no McMullen blouses, saddle shoes or circle pins to wear with them.  And if those things don’t ring bells with you, well, I can only do so much explaining in one little space. 

Where is “Grace?”

Where did she go?  She was here just moments ago.  She was sharing her life story with us. 

And what a life she’s led.  My, oh my!  The people she’s known, the places she’s been, and, of course, the money she’s made.  All of that has made her, at least in her opinion, the most interesting person in the room.

We quickly understood that our job, as hosts and guests, was simply to listen and be impressed.  Not just impressed by all she’s accomplished, but impressed that she would even come to our little gathering!  She already has too many friends, she’s quick to explain.  And, now that she thinks about it, she’s not at all sure why she’s even here.  At our simple abode. She usually doesn’t accept invitations like this one.  But us being us, we were appropriately attentive and admiring, as we were meant to be. So where, oh where, could she have gone?

She probably just slipped out the back.  No need to make excuses.  Her work here was done.

But, wait a second.  That wasn’t “Grace” at all.  The real Grace is sitting quietly, just over there on the sofa, a soft smile on her face.  She’s met a lot of impersonators like that one and she’s wisely lost interest.  She knows the real Graces in this world don’t behave like that.  They’re interested in others.  They ask. They listen.  They encourage.  They participate. The don’t speak only of themselves.

I’m walking across the room this very minute to sit down and visit with the real Grace and I can hardly wait.

Dear Dr. Rushdie:

First, let me say I sincerely hope you’re continuing to recover from the atrocious attack on your life. We know you’ve lived your life on the edge.  You’re accustomed to disagreement and the potential for danger, wherever you go. With that in mind, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this had happened in a third world country.  Or, frankly, in any country where your world-view is not appreciated or understood. 

But here!  In the United States! And at the Chautaugua Institution, of all places!  It simply takes one’s breath away.

We’ve been to the Chatauqua Institution.  The Mister and I.  We know, first hand, how wonderful it is. When you enter the campus, you’re surrounded by peace and serenity. It’s in the air. Residents and guests are there to explore, think, share and grow.  All due to the Institution’s respect for free speech and independent thought.  Differences are not only welcomed; they’re encouraged.  Discourse is part of the deal.  Violence is not.

The karma of the Institution has been damaged.  By one man.  And you’ve been deeply wounded.  By the same man.  I hope both you and the Institution recover in full. The paths may not be easy.  But you’re strong.  Both of you.  And you, each of you, still have so much work to do.

With best regards from Life on the May.

Why? I Ask.

This is a picture of a catalytic converter:

This is a headline in our little paper earlier this week:

Why? I’d like to ask the robbers.  Why do you want more than one catalytic converter?  Even if you really want more than one, why go to the trouble and risk of stealing it/them? And then just keep on doing it? Over and over? Again and again?

Why do all that for something that hangs under your car along with all the other nasty bits?  And is, by its very nature, yucky, dirty and oily?   Why?  For heaven’s sake, I ask. Why?

Lacking a response from you, the perps, I went to my source to try to understand. I asked the Mister just exactly what a catalytic converter is and what it does.  It’s a “thingie” he said, that reduces the amount of harmful pollutants and noxious toxins that would otherwise go into the air we breathe.

Aha, I said to myself. Now I get it and I too, just like the perps, would like a few good catalytic converters.  I can think of many places where they’d be ever-so-helpful and timely right about now. And not so much as one of those places is under my car.

The Six “P”s of Success.

They are: “Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” 

It’s a good motto in general and, seemingly, should be just that much more important to those with murder on their minds.

Many of us, here on Hilton Head, live in “gated communities.” To visit, you need a pass, requested by a resident and then given to you by a security guard at the entrance gate.

Like all workplaces, the security gate-houses have unique cultures.  For the most part, they’re congenial, pleasant, places to work, but, apparently, there are those times when tempers flare. 

As a recent story goes, two security guards at one of the communities decided to “off” their supervisor by putting “eye drops” in his personal coffee machine.  Yes, eye-drops in coffee can kill.  Who knew?  Further, it’s a felony and can land a person behind bars for 25 years or so.

But here’s the kicker:  The supervisor was scheduled to be out of the office on that particular day.  As a result, he was never anywhere near his deadly, eye-drop-poisoned, coffee pot.  A foul and foiled plot, indeed!

That’s great news for the supervisor, of course.   But, wouldn’t you think that if you were planning to kill someone, you’d check the intended’s schedule?  Be up to date on his whereabouts on his day of doom? Proper preparation V. piss poor performance and all that jazz? 

As it happened, all’s well that ends well. The would-be perps are doing a bit of time behind bars, and I don’t think the Six P’s will be of any interest to them any time soon. They’ve got other stuff to ponder.

How Sweet “IT” Is.

“IT” is an old movie, made in 1988, directed by Woody Allen, and titled “Another Woman.”

It’s classic Woody Allen.  All those glorious shots of New York City, fabulous music, and actors we’ve long admired.

Gina Rowlands stars, supported by Blythe Danner, Gene Hackman, and, of course, Mia Farrow! Beautiful people in beautiful roles.

The story line was fine.  Not memorable but ala Woody Allen, it was never meant to be the driving element.  He’s all about his characters.  His “peeps.” Their lives, their struggles, their purpose, their angst.  And nobody does angst like Woody does angst.

What this movie didn’t have, and what made it so sweet, were cell phones.  As in, the lack of thereof.  Personal interactions were face-to-face.  There were no jangling ringtones coming from people’s pockets, altering the mood.  Characters stayed in character, uninterrupted by interruptions.

I simply sat back and enjoyed the elegant art of filmmaking. Took in the sights and just chilled out. Went with the flow. How very sweet it was, indeed.

O

Geez Louise, Beez.

Didn’t your mother tell you to measure twice and cut once?

Maybe you just forgot that.  But here you are now, with a boat too big to leave its port.  And the good people of Rotterdam have decided not to dismantle their sweet little iconic bridge for you. Which, unfortunately, is the only way you and your brand new boat can get to the other side.  And, which you most certainly want to do.    Otherwise, really, what is your “largest sailing yacht in the world” going to do with itself?

Listen, Mr. Bezos, I feel your pain.  I really do.  OK, maybe not on such a grand scale, but still.

See, when it comes to measurements, The Mister also has a a bit of an issue.  It’s nearly impossible to recount the times that floors, shelves, cute little bird feeders and more have needed some (or many) adjustments.  A quick trip to Lowe’s usually suffices for his oppsies but that “measure twice and cut once” thing still applies.

While our little mishaps are just that…….little…. yours is more of a David and Goliath kind of thing.  Aka, ancient treasured bridge V. a billionaire’s brand new, seriously outsized, boat.

So, Mr. Bezos, on a personal note, I am very grateful to you and Amazon for bringing all-things-necessary to our doorstep during Covid.  And I thank you.  But given all that, I still feel compelled to root for that sweet little bridge.

And There They Sit.

My barbells.  My cute little pink barbells.  So dainty and lady-like.

They’re right there on the floor, next to the sofa.  Each weighs a mere two pounds.  I could easily pick one up while I’m watching television.  Or reading my Kindle.  Do a few reps here and there.  Watch those crepe-like crinkles on my arms melt away.  Poof! Just like that!

What could be easier? 

I ask myself that question every day.  Several times a day in fact, as I walk past them.   And I agree with myself that it would be ever-so easy to do just that.  

But, instead those little suckers just sit there.   And sit.  And sit.  

They remain untouched.  Unmoved.  Unused.  They’ve become permanent fixtures.   Floor art, if you will.

There’s absolutely no good reason not to take advantage of them and their obvious benefits. There is, however, one very important reason and it’s the only one that counts:  I simply don’t want to.

“What Can We Do?”

It’s a difficult question asked by young women who will inevitably feel the impact of the Roe v. Wade decision.  They, themselves, may be affected and/or they’ll certainly know others who are. The issue is just too big to escape.

They ask of us who are older but not necessarily wiser:  “What can we do?”

And, I as one of those elders, have no answers. 

I know this, however.  Madeleine Albright said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.”   So, I say to those young women who are looking for answers:  “Do anything.  But do something.” 

The “something” doesn’t have to be momentous.  The Mister’s father was famous for saying:  “Many a mickle makes a mackle.”  While some of us who were new to the family were initially befuddled by that particular adage, we soon learned that it means that even “micro” responses can effect “macro” issues.

So, go ahead and put some “mickles” out there. “Mackles” are sure to follow.  Oh, and grab a few good men along the way. There’s no reason they can’t be part of the solution. This is NOT just a woman’s issue.

A Fourth of July Memory

Once upon a time, in a land far away, we were members of a small family-oriented club.  We celebrated most holidays in understated fashion but the Fourth of July was big.  Great big!

For starters, we had our own fire works display!  Family picnics ran the gamut from candles-and-caviar to buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  We played silly games and sang songs and marched to patriotic music, a flag bearer leading the way. 

The highlight of the day was the always the baby race.  An oxymoron if ever there was one.

We’d create a circle out of anything that was handy….beach towels, tennis racquets, shoes.  The babies (all under walking age, by virtue of strictly mandated rules) were placed in the middle of the circle and the mothers, from outside the circle, cajoled their babies to come to them.  The first baby to crawl to its mother won something.   What that something might have been doesn’t matter.   What mattered was the pure fun and silliness of the whole thing.

Some babies cried, of course.  Some ate the grass they were sitting on.  Some stared at the sky.  Others sucked their thumbs in bewilderment or tried to cop a toy from the baby sitting next to it. 

The “race” was usually called before it was over. The babies, being non-competitive and in no hurry whatsoever, soon lost interest. As did, eventually, the spectators. The event always ended in mutual agreement that there would be no “winner” this year.  Just a bunch of smiling moms, dads, and grandparents. It was all just exactly as it should have been.

Happy Fourth of July to all. 

Photo thanks to themidwestdailynews.com

Who’s Watching?

We are.  The Mister and I are watching the Jan. 6 hearings.  Closely. We know we’re not in the majority, but that’s okay. 

In thinking back to other hearings, we found that around 100 million viewers watched at least a portion of the Watergate hearings in 1973.  That equated to some 70% of US adults at that time.

The Clinton/Lewinsky hearings in 1999 had a steady viewership of about 80 million viewers – about 40% of US adults.

The McCarthy hearings had about the same response.

Reportedly, opening night of the current Jan 6th Committee hearings drew some 20 million viewers, equating to 8% of adults in the US.

The second hearing, aired during the day, drew 11 million, down to about 5%.

The third and fourth Jan. 6th hearings each drew about 9 million, or approximately 4%. We can assume that the 5th hearing’s audience was about the same.

The decline in actual viewers and percentages of those who follow important, democracy-challenging, events is truly remarkable.

In a theater-of-the absurd comparison, O. J. Simpson, in 1995, had about 150 million followers, or about 75% of our population, who tuned in nearly every day of that seven month event!

So, maybe the real question is: Who’s NOT watching the Jan. 6 hearings? And, more to the point, WHY aren’t they watching? Is it simply indifference, which is antithetical to the whole concept of democracy? Or it is something else entirely?

Finally, a postscript to all the Roe v. Wade protestors: Carry on, please. Peacefully and in force. For the moment, you are our great hope. There IS power in numbers. We have to believe that.

Cartoon sketches courtesy of fineartamerica.com and 123rf.com