Thursday, June 28, 2012

what to do when it's hot, hot, hot

Since it is approaching 100 degrees today, and expected to be over 100 tomorrow, I have turned on the air conditioning and have tried to find indoor activities.  So far the best thing I've found is to fold laundry and watch movies on Netflix streaming.  I can highly recommend the following (descriptions courtesy of IMDb):

  • "The Way" (2010) written and directed by Emilio Estevez and staring his father, Martin Sheen.  "The Way" is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his "California Bubble Life". Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On his journey, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives.
  • "Housewife, 49" (2006, TV)  In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a non-governmental scheme designed to chronicle the lives of ordinary people. When war comes Nella defies her over-protective husband to join the local Women's Voluntary Service. Initially diffident she blossoms thanks to the dominant but kindly Mrs. Waite,and enjoys her independence as a useful war worker. The film also shows her relationship with her two sons as well as the effect of the war on the community and ends by explaining that Nella kept in touch with the Mass Observation project until her death in 1968.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I will miss Nora Ephron.   We should all watch "Heartburn" on Netflix Instant View in her honor.  It wasn't an award winning film, but it's one of my favorites.  Being semi-autobiographical it has a realism that is missing in her other romantic comedies, although I love them, too.  In her writing and interviews she could use an understated comedy to make us reflect on our humanity and humanness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

addendum to Trinity University graduation post

Adrienne has gotten a new job!  She really is starting a new post-college life.  She will be in a career transitions program which after a year of training and mentoring will place her in a career path professional position.  It is a very competitive program and she had applied before and not even gotten an interview.  But this time she not only was selected but was selected with a targeted position that has the highest salary level offered.  And she did it all on her own.  The rest of us had no idea she had applied again.   This is truly life changing for her.  I am so proud of her. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit

 Excellent quick read from New York Magazine

Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit

Health care is a privilege that my friend's daughter did not have when she was between jobs and diagnosed with stomach cancer at 34 years old.  They eventually found, in another city, a hospital and surgeon who would operate on her despite her lack of health insurance.  Her parents are paying the bill for the rest of their lives.  We hope she lives as long as her medical bills will.  She started a new job which offered health insurance two weeks following this major surgery.  Her stomach cancer is a pre-existing condition and further treatment for it is not covered by her health insurance.

Can someone explain to me why this is considered her "personal choice"?

of this and that

We had a lovely dinner and evening with Katie and G.  They treated us to a wonderful dinner at a fondue restaurant as a combined and belated Mother's and Father's Day celebration.  We had a super good time and we discovered a restaurant that makes my father happy!   Since they prepared the fondue right at the table he could keep them from adding any garlic, and he also loved that fact that each bit he had was hot.  If only we had known this 25 years ago!  

After dinner we returned home where we all drank too much wine and then one of Daniel's friend's since first grade came over.  We always enjoy him and he is really like another son/brother.  He has struggled with his sexuality (we have though he was gay since elementary school but he took a longer time to realize it) and he is having tremendous difficulty in telling his parents he is gay.  I feel so sorry for him.  I can't imagine that his parents will have a problem with him being gay but he just so worried about telling them.  I feel so badly that this still has to be such  heartbreaking discussion in this day and age.  It is destroying lives and family relationships so unnecessarily. 

Katie and G stayed for breakfast on Sunday and we started talking about the great move to Ann Arbor.  They have so much to get done.  They started on making the list of what to get done and what to move.  I will help prep the house to be rented and will help financially with the move but there is so much that they must physically do to sort, throw-out, pack etc. that I just cringe at the whole process.  I just want them out of the house so Charlie and I can do the work that it needs to get a good tenant.  I know that it will be a long, hot summer with that hanging over their heads.

We topped off the weekend with dinner with some friends from Miami who were in town for their son's induction into the State Department Foreign Service.  We had a great time chatting and hearing about his new post in Nigeria.  The only downside was I believe that I was served caffinated coffee, not decaf, and consequently I had a burst of energy all night when I should have been sleeping.  I did, however, make great progress on finishing Sharon's baby blanket so not all that energy was wasted!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I have too many pairs of sandals

While cleaning the house I've found a pair of sandals that I've kicked off in every room and two pairs in the sitting room.  I've only been home from the cruise for two days and I've managed to leave a trail of sandals everywhere I've been in the house.  I must think they are like breadcrumbs and they will lead me back to vacation.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cruise Report

It really was fun!  Unexpectedly fun.

Leaving from Baltimore was a breeze and set the tone for everything else.  We parked literally next to the terminal entrance and walked right into the building.  Daddy's check-in was a breeze since he was booked in a suite and didn't have to stand in line.  We met him and M. and then made the trek into the ship.   Found a table at the buffet area and got some lunch while we waited for our rooms to be ready.  It was noisy, crazy, and full of people but Daddy seemed to love it..

Our luggage was already at the room when we got down there.  The suite was lovely and large and I think Daddy and Maureen really enjoyed it.  We met back by the pool and found a table to sit and watch the party festivities.  A theme through this cruise was "we found a table".  It was like I had a table and chair fairy who would always have one available when I needed one, even when every seat was occupied.

Dinner in the dining room was nice and the food was good.  I did have to get our dinner tables switched since we were not together.  Didn't understand that since the reservations were made at the same time, under the same account name, but I ran down to the dining room when we arrived and made certain we were all set and they were able to make the switch for us.  That was one of my key things is to check on anything that could go wrong BEFORE it went wrong. 

While at sea we did cruise things, like walk around and around and around, and then find a chair for a bit of sun bathing.  We did do breakfast and lunch in the buffet, which was the part of the cruise that I liked the least.  No, I actually loathed the buffet but my husband didn't want to deal with the dining room for breakfast and lunch. I did see the child licking his sticky hand (the whole hand, including all five fingers) and then grab the serving utensil.  When I reported this back to my husband I hoped he would see the need to eat in the restaurant but his response was "Well, his hands were sticky."  So I took a deep breath and would grab the utensil with a paper napkin and take food from the very back of the serving pan so that the handle wouldn't have been in contact with that food.  I survived.

The time in Bermuda was perfect.  I had arranged a private tour before we left and we had a wonderful tour guide who had made every effort to assure that he included places and views of things that my father wanted to see from his time in Bermuda in the early 1940's.  He talked with my dad, answered all his questions,and was very gracious.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.   Bermuda was beautiful, roads were scary, people were nice.  There is a high standard of living and very low unemployment.  Main industries are tourism and insurance and, I guess, taking care of lots of rich people who have homes there.  I would return and since we saw the island from one end to the other on this tour, next time I would pick just a place or two for a longer visit.

Things I learned on this trip: 
  • I really don't like to have the wait staff encouraged to be overly friendly.  I don't like the  "Mrs. Jane"  address which just reeks of plantation obsequiousness.   The waiters are professionals, not my friend nor my servant.  They did an excellent job and took care of our very small special requests - like seeing if there was any pistachio ice cream left from the previous day which my father had loved - and I tip for service, not friendliness.
  • People just eat too much and I can't imagine what stories are told in the staff areas about some of the gorging of the guests.  Plates were piled mountain high in the buffet area like these people were never going to get another meal.  I overheard people bragging about how much food their table had consumed in the restaurant.  OK, a teenage boy might want/need a second entree to be full, but most people do not need more than they are served.  It is wasteful consumption which makes the American's look like total boors.
  • Gin and tonic is my new summer signature drink.  They made a great G&T on-board and the liquor prices were lower than any place in the Metro area so I have no idea why people spend all this effort trying to sneak on liquor in their luggage.
  • Try sliced almonds on soup instead of croutons.  I hate croutons on soup or on salad.  The sliced almonds in the cream of asparagus soup were just the perfect touch and what and easy thing to do do to make it elegant.
  • Maureen just ignores my father's childish behaviour and I should learn to do that too.   She is lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed her on this trip, and she really understands how to deal with my father in a way my mother and I never did.  
  • Charlie needs to get away from work now and then and maybe a cruise is the way to do that.  I so enjoyed him not having a cell phone or any email.  While we were in port in Baltimore, still with cell service, his phone was constantly going off - two calls in the terminal when they don't allow cell phone use and I thought he would be arrested, more calls during our lunch on the ship.  And then on our return before breakfast he had already made calls to check on his airplane and to work.  I knew we were back to reality.
So, we had a good time and I may even do it again.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

we haven't even left home yet

and my father and I have had our first argument.  Tomorrow we leave for the Bermuda cruise.  While I was at his house downloading a book to his Nook I told him that I would put things in my carry aboard bag for him so he didn't need to deal with one.  He said that he had no carry aboard bag, that everything was in his suitcase.  I said, "But you need to carry aboard your medicines and your hearing aid stuff.  We don't want to be without it in case your luggage gets lost. I can put that stuff in my carry aboard."

Well, those of you who have followed bitching about my father can anticipate what came next.  First we had the explosive "NO, I'm not carrying anything on board."  To which I responded, "I know that.  I'm going to carry it."  After much discussion - through gritted teeth on my part and at high volume on his part - we agreed that I could pull the medicines from his bag and he would ask Maureen to to put them into her carry aboard. 

But the hearing aid stuff.   AH, there started the lies.  First he said that the stuff was buried in the suitcase and it would be fine.  I said "Humor me.  Just take it out and carry it on board.  You need your hearing aid batteries."  "NO", he exploded, "the bag is all packed."  So I said it wouldn't be hard to find the box, I'd just carefully unpack the bag.  He really didn't want me to do that so I knew something was up.  Clearly I wasn't going to find the hearing aid stuff when I unpacked and I didn't.  At that point we had to look all over the house to find it because he didn't know where it was.  Once we finally located it I left it in the little pile of things for Maureen to carry.  Without his hearing aids we couldn't possibly have a conversation without the entire ship listening in.  Luckily he is willing to wear them (not so much with his teeth, and I didn't check on those.)

I will be locked up at sea with this man for 6 days.