Did Betsy DeVos Change Her Mind?

Betsy DeVos , Trump’s new Secretary of Education visited a public school in Ohio yesterday with Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

Allegedly, Betsy DeVos was originally planning to visit several Brooklyn, NY public schools instead of going to Ohio. She changed her mind however when she learned of the actions of a courageous Brooklyn teacher, Saul Revere.

Saul allegedly commandeered the gym teacher’s megaphone and somebody’s unlocked bike. He then raced from public school to public school broadcasting, “The Rich Bitch is coming! The Rich Bitch is coming!”

Three cheers for Saul— one of Brooklyn’s boldest!

Showdown at the Double Doors

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I was leaving the post office. She was arriving.

Through the glass, we saw each other approaching the doors.

We arrived at the doors at the same time, on different sides.

She pulled open her door for me and waited for me to walk out.

I pushed open my door and waited for her to walk in.

We stood there, letting all of the air conditioned air out of the post office, sizing each other up.

I’m seventy-one. She was at least 10-20 years my senior. Her hair was “done” and not a hair was out of place. She wore those Florida resort clothes that only snow birds back in New York for the summer can sport. “Go ahead,” she said, holding the door for me, a vicious smile spreading all over her “worked on” face.

“No you go,” I replied sweetly, ever so sweetly, never speaking the B word.  I made a slight bow as I motioned her to walk through.

Her eyes narrowed and locked on mine before she walked through her own open door. Those eyes said, “It ain’t over, bitch. We will meet up again.”

I got in my car, put on my soft rock station, opened the windows, and sang along with my music.

Conservation of Energy

Hello Folks, any of you who might still be left out there…

You might relate to this block if:

  • You talk to yourself
  • You aspire to be a person who is “organized and gets things done.”

As I was staring at the birds at my feeder this morning and talking to myself, this is what I said:

“Rose,  stop it.  If you use up your eyes on the birds now, your eyes will not work for you when it’s time to write.

Rosie, if you look at the birds and think about them now, you will use up your mind and it won’t work when you are trying to plot out the novel.

Girl, if you work on plotting the novel now, you will surely need a nap. Then you won’t be able to start the new project…the one that was going to make you and the family….lots of money.

Doody Head, if you use your energy to write on your sweet dying blog now, you will not be able to do any of the above—so you might as well go back to bed; remember 40 years of going to work; remember traveling there on snowy, rainy, icy mornings; and then snuggle in and sleep late.

Nighty night.”

Do You Suffer from Too Much Stim?

4837735360_644ed14665_ohref=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/40936370@N00/4837735360/”>Abode of Chaos</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>h

Are You Unnerved by Too Much Stim?  Take This Test to Find Out.

  1. Your dear friends invite you and another couple to a small dinner party.

a. You can’t wait because you love being with good friends, and you enjoy eating great food.

b. You look for an excuse not to go.

c. You never received the invitation because you and your crowd are all forty-ish, and you don’t do dinner parties at home. When you entertain at home, you offer drinks, snacks, more drinks, more snacks, and dessert.

2. When you arrive at your friends’ home you hear the strains of music coming from their stereo or hi fi or whatever the heck we used to call that thing that plays (ahem) records. The music you hear is jazz. It is very loud jazz.

a. You start snapping your fingers and saying things like “Groovy, man, groovy!”

b. Your upper lip starts going numb, which your doctor assured you is a sign of stress.

c. You say, “Thanks, I’ll have a white wine,” while you’re still wearing your coat.

3.The drinks are poured; the hors d’oeuvres are luscious and:

a. The conversation flows; everyone (including you) is bright and witty.

b. The conversation flows; everyone (but you) appears to be bright and witty.

c. You smile, nod appreciatively, and when someone asks you, “What do you think?” you answer, “Yes, I have a new shrink.”

People who can’t do “Too Much Stim” have given the following answers:
Question One: a\
Question Two: b and/or c
Question Three b and/or c.

Continue reading

Glad Tidings

mairin_Happy_Bird

 

This blog post is for my friend, Katie, who asked me to write about glad….not sad, bad, or mad.

We’ll start with just a speck of “sad.

Last week the deck outside my kitchen was a sad place. There were no birds and no pesky squirrels. That’s because I stopped putting out water in my bird baths. I didn’t have any bird food out either. I stopped putting it out three years ago when there was a bear on our block. I stopped the bird food at that time because I was afraid of bears coming for it, breaking into my kitchen,  fighting me for my tuna fish sandwich, and finding the chocolate chip cookies I had hidden in the back of the pantry for my late night visitor, the elves.

At that time I discovered that I could bring birds to my deck with just water in two plant saucers and I didn’t need to put out bird food.  Throughout the summer and most of the fall I was really good about cleaning and refreshing the water in my saucers, but when the cold weather came, I stopped.

I got lazy. My leg hurt. I went to doctors, took tests, and got a tentative diagnosis of a muscle strain(? ),tear(?), and of course, the usual arthritis. During this time, I kvetched and canceled my annual Thanksgiving gathering. I was busy worrying about myself. Trust me. I was not worrying about birds or those pesky squirrels.

But, do not despair. Here comes the “glad” part of this tale.

Gladness starts with my family. My daughter came and after we joked about it possibly being my “last Thanksgiving,” under my tutelage, she cooked our traditional hot clam dip, carrot pudding, cracker stuffing, and cranberry relish. She left some for me, and took the rest to her beloved in-laws in Connecticut with my blessing. This was one year I did not want her to split the day by driving two hours each way to sit at two Thanksgiving tables. I knew she would feel as much at home at her husband’s childhood home as she did at our house…probably more so because her mother-in-law is probably much nicer and doesn’t pry, like I do. As usual, the fathers on both sides are perfect and can do nothing wrong. Moving along…

All my traditional guests (family and friends) found places to go and all invited Jerome and me. Gail sent over some turkey, her famous corn pudding, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Everyone wanted us or wanted to cook for us.  I chose to stay home because if I had gone to one person’s house I would have been in trouble with the others.

People, even those who did not traditionally come to me for Thanksgiving, called and asked how I was doing.

Now, about the birds. Guess who came to their rescue? You got it. Jerome, the Great and Good! Off he went to the garage, and he found an old bird feeder and some bird food that we had stored in one of those metal holiday cans.  He put the food in the feeder and hung it from the tree. He cleaned and refreshed my dry birdy water parks with clear warm water. He poured a different kind of bird seed (thistle) on an old cookie tray and anchored the tray on a small table with a rock.

Looking out at my deck this morning, I saw the essence of glad. I saw my birds in total ecstasy. Tufted titmice, chickadees, white throated sparrows, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, Carolina wrens, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, and a mockingbird were fluttering around my deck, eating, drinking, swimming, chirping, and singing. It was like they had licked postage stamps of LSD! And those darn squirrels? Ah yes! They were right back to their insane scampering, jumping, and humping each other.

Joy was restored. Life is good. I’m glad to be alive. I’m glad I have my family, my friends, my leg pains, my birds, and even those damn squirrels. I’ll take Glad anytime, and I’ll cherish it!

 

 

 

 

 

How to Gain Weight and Exercise Your Brain at the Same Time!

Photo Credit: Boogies with Fish via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Boogies with Fish via Compfight cc 

In my earlier post, I said my brain was frozen during the summer.  But only part of that was true. So let’s move on to the subject of Neurology and the Brain.

As The Nothing Expert, I am qualified to write about the brain because I have one. Now that I have your attention, let me just say that my brain does not work like the brain of a millennial. I cannot multi-task. I’m lucky if I can do one teeny, tiny task at a time, and then for mental reinforcement, I munch on some chips, and dip.

In 1955 in our fourth grade class, I wrote the script for a puppet show, and then I decided that someday I would “Write a Book.”

When I was sixty, I started my book, and it only took me ten years to write it.

Then millions of people told me “Ha. Ha. You cannot publish a book without a platform and billions of followers. Get a platform.”

A platform means followers, billions of followers, even some from outer space.

And so, I put the book away, and decided to seek followers, on Facebook, Twitter, and on this blog.

Along the way I met some very wonderful people and I have enjoyed their blogs, comments, and our shared conversations. I still don’t get Twitter, and I’m past the point of caring how I screw up on Facebook.

But I have not been a good girl this summer. I have failed to write in my blog and I have failed to comment on other people’s blogs. I beg for your forgiveness, if you are one of my followers.

That’s because I have been working on my book, again. You cannot just write “The End,” on your last page and then say “OK World, Come and get It!”

Actually, I have been learning how to publish the book. Now if we break that up into steps, I would say that publishing a book takes about a zillion steps, all of them new for an old broad like me. And I can only concentrate on one step at a time, or I will get frazzled, eat too much, and gain 25 pounds of flesh, in my thighs.

So, who had time for writing? Not me.

Also, I never mentioned the book because somewhere in the zillions of publishing pointers, there was a warning on “shameless self-promotion.”

So, I am going to try to do the unheard of “Walk and Chew Gum” at the same time. In the coming weeks I am going to work on a few more steps, all at once! Along the way, I will tell you more about the book, but I will try to do it in a way that isn’t shameless self-promotion. 

Now where is that butter pecan ice cream? I’m spent.

Summer Brain Freeze

Photo Credit: Artotem via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Artotem via Compfight cc

Am I the only one?

My thinking brain functions about two or three hours a day, and then it stops. Those hours are at dawn. If I don’t use my brain during that very short window of opportunity, I am in deep doo-doo. This spring and summer, I admit, my thinking brain has been asleep. My non-thinking brain has enjoyed summer reading, playing, vacationing, entertaining, cooking, eating, entertaining, imbibing and a big fat bunch of crying on the bathroom scale.

As a human, I find there are many acts which require thinking, and this realization often leads to conflict. Writing is one of those thinking activities.  I often say, “Rose, you nitwit! You have not blogged for almost two months! You should get a flogging for not blogging!”

Then I made the mistake of writing the first draft of this blog yesterday at four in the afternoon, a time when my brain was not working. Here is what I wrote about my failure to blog:

Every author of every self- help book about blogging castigates those profligates like me who allow our gray matter to ooze out of our skulls like magma and harden over us like the poor souls of Pompeii who were permanently hardened during the eruption of Vesuvius…

Now, dear reader, I had great fun writing that sentence; and no, I don’t want to revise it two thousand times. I am seventy years old, and I just don’t want to! Period!

Ah, that was so freeing!

(Please forgive me. I’ll be so sorry I published this when I read it during my optimum brain time tomorrow at dawn.) Right now I’m going back to sitting and staring out at my deck at the robins and the bluejays as they fight over my bird bath. It’s my window of opportunity to do just that.

My Search for the Red Phantom

Photo Credit: budandjackie via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: budandjackie via Compfight cc

Sixty years ago I saw my first scarlet tanager. I was ten.

I was sitting outside “in the country,” and I don’t know what made me look up, but there was the most beautiful bird I had ever seen.  I called it a “real bird” because it was different than the plain brown birds I was accustomed to seeing. A “real bird” was the kind of bird I only saw in the Golden Guides my parents bought for me.

The scarlet tanager was in a tulip tree. The tulip tree was a “real tree” which I had also recently identified from my tree books. The days of pouring over those books were finally paying off.

I don’t know how long the gorgeous red bird graced me with his presence, but I do know that at the age of ten, it was one of the most joyous experiences of my life.  It was the day my hobby was born. After that day, and for the next sixty years I searched for another scarlet tanager and another tulip tree. The tulip trees were easy. I saw many of them.

But the scarlet tanager quest was unfulfilled.

The sad part of the story is I admit, “I am the worst birder in the entire world.” On Audubon outings when I am on my best game, and I can see color, I can identify birds that are close up. On outings when I am on my regular game, I can confuse pigeons with bald eagles.  I have learned to laugh at myself and have tried to educate myself. Even though I am “the worst birder,” I love being outdoors, being silent, and absorbing the sights and sounds of nature into my soul.

No scarlet tanager. How can that be? The bird books says he (the bright red male with black wings) is up there, but hard to find. Hard to find! I wonder how many other scarlet tanager searchers have been seeking the red phantom for sixty years? I am supposed to listen for him. Well, I mix up all my bird vocalizations, much as I try to work on improving my sightings.

I’m sure if I asked for help, from the many wonderful birding guides I’ve known over the years, I might have seen my tanager decades ago. But I didn’t. Mine was a private desire, lingering in my psyche for so many years—my tanager was becoming my holy grail.

(Of course, between my cataracts, retina surgery, touch of macular degeneration, hearing problems, perhaps I should be given a bird watching handicap…I don’t know what that is, but I know golfers get one) Oh well, I digress.

So the other morning I’m just sitting at my kitchen table and looking out to my deck where I have a bird bath (a plant saucer with two rocks in it for balance) and guess what! There, sitting on the edge of the plant saucer and leaning in to sip the water, is my scarlet tanager—the bird I have not seen in sixty years!

The last time I saw him, I was wearing plaid Bermuda shorts, a sleeveless shirt, and red or blue Keds sneaks. I probably went into the house and ate a tuna fish sandwich on white Wonder Bread, cut in squares by my mother. Maybe I cooed to my brother sleeping in his crib. If it was a Sunday, maybe my father was there reading the travel section of the paper and eating bread and butter, or maybe borscht.

That’s why, the other day, when I saw the scarlet tanager, I cried, hard.

It took me a long time to recover, and I was glad I was alone. I thought “No one will understand.”

But I do hope you will.

And, my scarlet tanager? I don’t know where he is now. But I am hoping he will drop in again.

Magnolia Tree with Empty Nesters

magnoliaThe month of May makes me remember springtime in the 60’s, high school cheerleading days. This blog post is dedicated to cheerleaders and their coaches.  You should be sorry you didn’t pick me! Actually, I never even tried out in high school in the sixties. I was not ergonomically designed to be a bouncy cheerleader; perhaps if there were a team for professional seat sitters, I might have qualified.

Anyway, let’s fast forward to springtime in about 1977. A grown woman with two children now, I had the house (no more apartment 33B!); the magnolia tree in the front yard (can you believe?) and its zillions of fallen magnolia petals on our lawn (my lawn? me?) and our walkway (uh oh…slippery when wet…possible lawsuit?)

Add my son, who was three at the time, and now let’s add a bunch of his able-bodied contemporaries. I gave each of them a brown bag, and I guess you know where I am going with this story. “Ready! Set! Go!”  I cheered. I jumped!  I clapped! I might have even done a few cartwheels. My team of three year olds scampered and gathered, scampered and gathered, and emerged… VICTORIOUS! Their bags were full of magnolia petals, and my lawn and walkway were petal free!

So, if you read this, and you were a cheerleader, I hope you realize that my not being on your team was…your loss! Nah nah nah nah nah nah!

I’m sure I awarded my victorious team of petal baggers with something—probably ice cream. We were just on the cusp of the healthy snack movement in those days of the late 1970’s.

But those days were long ago. Now, my magnolia tree still stands on my front lawn and its petals still fall. I took this picture of it yesterday. I sweep the petals off the walkway so no one will fall if it rains. The petals on the lawn will decompose with time.

Lewis and Sparky

A couple of years ago, Jerome and I were out in the gorgeous Canadian Rockies. I was eager to see wildlife, particularly bears.  Finally at the end of our vacation, somewhere near Emerald Lake in British Columbia, we saw a small black bear off in the woods.  A triumph for us!  When we got home and told our neighbors about our bear, they laughed.  While we were three thousand miles away, a bear was right down the block from our house raiding a  neighbor’s bird feeder.  Go figure.