Sunday, July 31, 2016

A tale of two pimples

Aren't I lovely?
This morning I was greeted by two different zits. One on my cheek, probably from clogged pores because it's been so damn hot and humid lately. One under my chin, courtesy of an ingrown hair. A whisker, if you will.

This leaves me feeling old. And I don't like it.

Of course I feel old. Because I am old. My oldest friend is arriving in less than two weeks to celebrate her 60th birthday. I am crossing the Rubicon next year. According to the US Government, I am not middle aged, I am old.*

I'm going to catalog everything that's bedeviling me physically, and it all feels age related.

•  My hair is thinner by the day.
•  As is the skin on my eyelids.
•  As are my eyebrows.
•  Yet I am noticing more and more sturdy dark hairs on my chin.
•  No matter how hard I try to combat it, the skin on my d├ęcolletage is wrinkling.
•  I got depressed, thanks to the menopausal hormones coursing through my veins, and took Lexapro to keep from crying all the time. The Lexapro made me fat.
•  I am unable to lose those pounds.
•  I walk slower than ever.
•  My eyes are worse (must remember to make an appointment with the optometrist).
•  I think my hearing is weaker.

Oh, well. It's the price of still being here. I shall try to be grateful that I'm above ground and able to age.

*I am more than halfway -- 68%, to be exact -- to my final curtain.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sunday Stealing

1. You’re building your dream house. What’s the one thing that this house absolutely, positively MUST HAVE? (other than the obvious basics of course) A nice view. I can't imagine living in a basement apartment and looking out onto people's feet all day.

2. What is your dream car? One with a driver.

3. What is your favorite website that isn’t a blog. I spend a lot of time on Amazon.

4. iPhone or Droid, which do you want/have? I've got Droid and I'm fine with it. (Though last week I dropped it and now the screen is all cracked.)

5. When you’re feeling down or lonely or just generally out of sorts, what do you do to cheer yourself up? Drink and shop. If I had a man in my life, I'd do something else.

6. Tell me about something or someone that you love that most people seem to hate. Pigeons

7. What did you want to be when you grew up? A great singer/dancer/actress. Alas, since I'm tone deaf and klutzy, that wasn't in the cards.

8. Would you go on a reality show if given the chance? NO!

9. Who was your favorite teacher when you were growing up? (Grade school, Middle School, Jr. High or High School only.) My American History teacher in high school. He was inspiring, encouraging us to comprehend what we were learning, not just puke back facts and dates, and to think for ourselves. "Do you see, do you know, do you understand?" he'd shout if he felt our attention lagging. "Tell me if you don't understand." His passion was infectious.

10. You get one pass to do something illegal or immoral. What are you gonna do? Skip paying my property taxes. I could use that money right now.

11. What were you doing 10 years ago? Worrying that the Cubs would trade my beloved Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux. They did.

12. By this time next year, I ... want to have a better grip on my finances.

13. What is something that you need to do but you've procrastinated on? Vacuum. 

14. Which fictional, TV show character you would shag anytime? Oh, Don Draper!

15. What is your greatest pet peeve? Space hogs. If you didn't pay for a separate fare for your backpack, get it off the seat next to you!

16. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles? In June I went to Muskegon, MI, for my niece's commencement. She graduated Cum Laude, and I'm so very proud.

17. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus? Thesaurus. On Thursday I needed a workable synonym for "choose" or "select." I was disappointed.

18. Do you have a nickname? What is it? When I was little, my dad called me "Andy Panda" and "Tiger."

19. What are you dreading at the moment? Donald Trump

20. Do you have a meme you think we should steal?  (Yes, an old trick. But c'mon now. I gotta give it a shot. It's a lot harder to find memes now. But it's ok to answer "You're lazy" and  call it a day.) I Take Surveys and Kwizgiver has some specific good ones. (I left the links on the Sunday Stealing site.)

Because Kwizgiver got me thinking ...

This past week saw the anniversary of Jacqueline Kennedy's birth and the nomination of Hillary Clinton for President. On my post observing the former, my blogging buddy Kwizgiver asked, "Would she be fun to have around for this historic moment?" Which got me musing ... 

These two First Ladies had a lot in common.

•  John Kennedy and Bill Clinton each romanced more than their fair share of starlets and beauty queens, but when the time came to wed, they each went for brains.

•  Jacqueline Bouvier and Hillary Rodham each believed the men they married were less their choice than their destiny.

•  Rose Kennedy and Virginia Clinton were frequently exasperated and confused by their extremely independent daughters in law.

•  Both of these women share an almost pathological need for privacy which, given their  life circumstances, is completely unreasonable. I think it's because neither of them could bear the thought of having the disappointing truth about their marriages exposed. And yet the truth came out and humiliated them both.

I love this photo of an emotional Jackie in Caroline's wedding day.
•  Caroline Kennedy and Chelsea Clinton both grew up in the public eye, and both made their mothers proud. It makes me happy to know that Jackie, who died rather young at 64, did live to hold all three of her grandchildren.

Both wives were political partners. But here's where 50 years of history reveals its impact: Jackie hid her influence on her husband.

In real time, she was assumed to "hate" politics. Turns out that isn't true. What Jackie hated was press scrutiny and analysis. She enjoyed her place in history and believed completely in her husband.

Listen to her oral history. She admits, after prodding, that she did indeed author the first-ever White House Guide Book. But only because the curator was slow and distracted! It's not like she wanted to do it.

And, OK, maybe she did help her husband with one of the most famous American speeches of the 20th century. ("Ask not what your country can do for you ...", "Let the word go forth ...") But really, she didn't do that much. She was recovering from John Jr.'s birth and he'd sit on the side of her bed and read his notes to her and, you know, talked to her, asked her opinion. 

Listen to her talk with pride about charming Khrushchev, Nehru and DeGaulle. Lest she overstep, she also insisted she had no political opinions that were not her husband's.

Solely on the strength of her will and personal relationship with the French Minister of Cultural Affairs, the Mona Lisa left the Louvre for the first time since 1913 and arrived in the United States. All JFK did was show up at the unveiling. Yet she barely mentions it in the oral history.

And the familiar look of Air Force One? She came up with the design that's been used by every President for the last 50 years. Her original sketches are at the Kennedy Library. She drew it out. She chose the font and those two particular shades of pale blue and the placement of the American flag. The only deviation from her original design is the addition of the Presidential seal. This she doesn't mention in the oral history at all.

So I think Jackie would have been shocked in 2000 when Hillary Clinton chose to run for Senate. She would understand Hillary's need to resume her career after the White House and after Chelsea left for college. She once told Gloria Steinem, “What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren't supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown — watch the raindrops coming down the window pane?” And after Onassis died and her own kids were on their own, she embarked on a career as book editor.

But to run for public office? To choose to remain in the public eye? To create a portfolio that could rival her husband's? No way would JBKO -- born in 1929 -- understand those choices.

Running in New York social circles, Jackie met Donald and Ivana Trump at society and charity functions. I can't imagine her liking them. Jackie took taxis to work and only redecorated her luxury apartment at 1040 5th Avenue when forced to. (She rather bitchily used to say that it was her sister Lee who had time to keep track of whether throw pillows should have tassels this season; she was too busy.) Trump enjoyed flaunting his wealth. On the other hand, she did marry Ari, and he was about as vulgar as they come. So maybe she found The Donald amusing.

 Jackie stares down the paparazzi Hillary doesn't even notice
We do know that she and Hillary were fond of another. While Jackie wouldn't vote for Hillary -- she never voted again after 1960 because she wanted the last vote she ever cast to be for the man she loved -- she would have lent her name and her money to this campaign. 

And I think she would have been proud to be quoted in Hillary's acceptance speech. In December 1963, in response to Khrushchev's condolence call, Jackie wrote:

"The danger which troubled my husband was that war might be started not so much by the big men as by the little ones. While big men know the needs for self-control and strength, little men are sometimes moved more by fear and pride."

Those are the words Hillary used to indict Donald Trump: Jackie, sharing her opinion through the prism of her husband's wisdom and accomplishment. Yes, I think she would have liked that.

Happy Reminder

Every year I take the August Happiness Challenge. Here's a brief explanation of the Challenge: "Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world."

You're invited to join me. Visit me with a link to your daily August happy, and I'll come read it. I've found that experiencing other peoples' everyday pleasures is a great mood lifter.

It helps if your August Happiness Challenge posts are marked with an icon. Just something that means "happy" to you. Here's a pair of my past happys.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Jamming (1977)

1) In Jamaica, "jamming" means to celebrate. What's going on in your life today that's worth celebrating? I don't have anything that must be done today! That makes me happy. 

2) The group that became famous as "The Wailers" originally called themselves "The Teenagers." What was trendy when you were a teenager (clothes, music, etc.)? Going back to the year I turned 13, I'll say FRINGE!  Both girls and boys wore fringe vests and I had a shoulder bag that was dripping in fringe.

3) Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley were very close. In addition to being bandmates, they were friends in elementary school and later became family (Bunny's dad and Bob's mom had a daughter together). Who has known you the longest? My longest friendship dates back to Kindergarten. We're still going strong. In fact, she's flying in from California in twelve days.

4) Does the person you named in #3, the one who's known you longest, know you best? I don't know if she knows me best, but she is the one I'm most comfortable with.

5) Bandmate Peter Tosh became an avid unicycle rider. What's your favorite form of exercise? Stationary bike.

6) Bob Marley was known for his signature dreadlocks. When were you last in a stylist’s chair? One week ago today.

7) Marley's charisma is credited for popularizing reggae music the world over. Are you a fan? Not really.

8) Mr. Marley is one of the highest-earning dead celebrities, and manufacturers pay his estate to use his likeness to sell their merchandise. What dead celebrity have you seen recently on a t-shirt, mug, poster, etc.? Marilyn is ubiquitous, isn't she? I find it ironic that the little girl lost who couldn't get enough love during her life has been discovered and loved by every succeeding generation, now that she's gone and can't enjoy it.

9) Random question: Have you ever had your palm read? Once, years ago. I don't remember a thing about it, except I felt it was a waste of $10.