Tuesday, March 31, 2020

April Fool's Day

We haven't been notified by the government that April Fool's Day is postponed due to the virus so I'm proceeding as usual. Tomorrow morning Robin will find this in our kitchen...

Monday, March 30, 2020


I hope everyone is safe and healthy. If you need anything (including an ear to listen), reach out to me. We have to stick together during this tough time.

Ground was broken on my new garden this weekend. That's good news. Aching muscles are bad news -- but inevitable when you normally work at a desk. My back isn't used to shoveling dirt. No regrets, though; I anticipated physical pain in this new project and am willing to put up with it. When I feel an ache, I remember how hard my mother worked to keep two boys safe and happy. I view endurance as gratitude.

What are you up to?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

My New Project

Three things came together recently and led me to do something rewarding: create a memorial garden.

The first was a strong impulse I feel to show appreciation to my mother for her herculean effort raising my brother Richard and me. My mother died early when she was only 54 years old (1991). She's been gone for thirty years now but is not forgotten. I don't have a physical place to talk to her so I want to create one. It will help me express my emotions for her lasting contribution to my life.

I've never gardened before. The idea sounds cool but I never tried it. I've long believed gardening might become a hobby of mine when I got "old." Well... that time seems to have arrived. This is the second factor moving me to create a memorial garden.

The third impetus is the Coronavirus. We're all sitting at home, bored, looking for something to do. What better than pursue a long-held desire? Now is a perfect time to initiate projects consistent with public health safety.

I plotted out some space in our backyard, researched how to garden and ordered memorial plaques. I got two -- one for my mom and one for Robin's father Milton whom she loved dearly. I predict she'll feel as good about this idea as I do. Since Milton's death in 2006, Robin has been thinking about him frequently. She leaves messages for him on his Legacy web-page.

My plan is to fill the garden with beautiful flowers. I don't know which will grow so that'll be a trial-and-error process. I'll plant a bunch, see which thrive and replace those that don't. Tending to a garden is, I hear, a major part of its appeal: you watch living things and actively nurture them. Connecting with nature is something I like to do so gardening is a natural fit.

What do you think? Have you ever gardened?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Surviving Adversity With Humor

Record stores sell old vinyl cheap so you can take chances on things that may or may not be good. Last month I picked up David Brenner's first comedy album (1983) for only $3; I finally got around to listening to it. One of his bits resonates today.

Brenner jokes about how New Yorkers are tough and can handle anything. He says, "This happened once; I saw it happen. There was a steam explosion in the street and a manhole-cover flew up into the air. When manhole-covers fly up in the air, your typical New Yorker's reaction is: 'I call heads.'"

Friday, March 20, 2020


I have a question for you. The question affects me (quite seriously) but you guys hold the answer. I don't know it; I have only observed different reactions from people that arise for reasons unknown to me.

The question is: why do some people accept me as female when others cannot?

I am who I am and the perceptions of others don't change that. I've been this way since birth and my condition will never change. I know in my heart and soul that I'm female as surely as you know you're human and not a dog.

When meeting new people, some are able to see and accept me as female; others cannot. Why?

Is it the depth of their empathy? Their prior life experiences? Their contact with people who are different? Their understanding of gender? Their tolerance of social deviance? Their emotional intelligence? Their awareness of gender-diversity?

I honestly don't know why some of you are able to see my true nature and be open to becoming my friend while others write me off instantly as incomprehensible. This matters because, to the extent possible, I'd like to be accepted. If I can learn what the common reason for acceptance/rejection is, maybe I can consciously deploy that knowledge to convince strangers to like me or at least perceive me accurately.


P.S., Thanks to Megan for the beautiful drawing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Surviving The Apocalypse

I have a suggestion for the future.

In the coming weeks we'll be forced to hunker down. There will be no sporting events or new entertainment to distract us; Hollywood and television productions have shut down. We'll get bored and, even worse, some of us will feel isolated. Humans are social animals and without interaction, we suffer.

Here's my suggestion: write letters. Not e-mail, real letters. Pull out some paper, think about family and friends you haven't spoken to in ages and write them. Tell them what you've been up to, ask about their lives and share fun facts. Then drop the missives in the mail. You'll be rewarded with happy phone calls and other responses from people you like, all grateful you reached out to them.

I wrote several friends today. For amusement, I used my 80-year old Royal, built in 1939. It's a manual typewriter so it doesn't need electricity, just heavy strokes. I signed the letters with a snazzy Montblanc rollerball. Write letters YOUR way. Express your individuality and enjoy the process. Everyone benefits!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Jerry Lee Lewis

A decade ago I saw a terrific show on Broadway ("Million Dollar Quartet") about the true story of a 1956 jam-session at Sun Records by four musical giants: Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Last week I took Robin to see it again at a local theater in Northport. The productions were both magical.

Of these four musicians, do you know if any are still alive? You probably know Elvis died at 42 and Johnny moved on at age 71. You probably don't know that Carl died at 65. Did you know that Jerry Lee Lewis is still alive? He's 84 and still a character.

Jerry Lee led a wild life. After a meteoric rise, his career crashed when it was revealed he'd married his 13-year old first cousin Myra when he was 22 years old. Amazingly, she was his THIRD wife. He married twice earlier and neither divorce was settled before he moved on to the next one. Since then, Jerry Lee married four more times, for a total of seven wives.

My favorite Jerry Lee story is when he got busted in 1976. It was 3:00 in the morning, he was drunk and somebody lent him a gun. So what does he do? He drives over to Graceland, accidentally crashes through the gate and demands to talk to Elvis. Elvis refuses to see him and calls the cops. Probably a wise move since Jerry Lee had a history of violence and once came close to killing his bass player.

It's probably also not a surprise that Jerry Lee had IRS troubles. He owed the government over $2 Million and they seized all his assets (including five motorcycles). As I said, he is a character. I'm amazed he's still alive.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Playin' Around

I had some unexpected free time today so I pursued my favorite hobby -- playing with clothes. I had an outfit planned with a vintage orange jumpsuit but, sadly, that didn't work out. Buying clothes at thrift-stores without trying them on yields hit-and-miss. This morning it was a wild miss.

I salvaged the jumpsuit (which doesn't fit me above the waist) by using it as wide-legged pants. I pulled a top out of my closet that kinda sorta goes with it and added white heels and a scarf-belt. Surprisingly even though the outfit isn't impressive, creating it on the fly gave me real joy. I enjoy improvising.

It's obvious to all that I'm no influencer, just a simple gal trying to find happiness where I can. This is where I aim my efforts.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Winter Walks

My new hiking hat (Dorfman Pacific) and warm winter jacket (bought yesterday at REI) kept me toasty this morning in 20-degree temperatures.

It's fun to be outdoors in any weather!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Relaxing With Reggae

When I was in college and law school, I relaxed from intense academic effort by smoking dope and listening to music. Usually at the same time. Both calmed my anxiety and gave me sorely-needed rest. My favorite genre, popular at the time, was reggae music.

Everyone knows Bob Marley but my preferred reggae man is Max Romeo. Max sings beautifully and his lyrics address political and social issues like poverty. I admire his courageous sympathy for the disadvantaged. Plus his songs rock.

Remembering Max's best record ("War ina Babylon"), I realized I haven't heard it in four decades. So I searched for and found the album, now available on purple vinyl. Purple! And it sounds as grand as it did back in the late-1970s.

I'm happy to report that Max, 75 years old, is alive and well. His career soared in the beginning but later fizzled. At one point, Max was toiling at a NYC electronics store when a producer coaxed him to return to Jamaica and play again. He did and prospered. Now three of his four children are pursuing musical careers.

Have you ever heard reggae music? If not, start with Max's "War ina Babylon" (available at Amazon).