Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paradise Lost

We spent the past week in paradise and before I go further, just let me say thank you to Gary Reed, the best grandfather and father you'll ever meet. 

It was his decision to give his family memories rather than money in his golden years. And oh what memories. Thanks to Gary, Jeff, his siblings and their partners and Ali and I spend a week together in Turks & Caicos under a benevolent sun where the most difficult decisions are beach vs. pool and where to have dinner. It's such a great time that Alison has never once complained that she's the only kid in a group of old people.

Her unprompted message to Grandpa after we got back was, "I love you. I love you. I love you." And she does. Ali has grown up in a world where color doesn't matter and love is love. No matter what. She simply doesn't know another way, and if that's all we ever give her, then I'll be happy that we gave her what matters most. 

The Reed family is a great one inside or outside of paradise. If you can swing it -- even if it's just a dinner out somewhere -- I highly recommend making memories over leaving cash to your kids. We all cherish our time in Turks, just as we cherish the idea that we all look forward to sharing time together as a family. 

I'm grateful every day to have been taken in by this group of folks. They're truly keepers. I travel in cold weather to see them, too. It's just as great with them in Maine at Christmas. Well, as great as it can possibly be when you trade sand for snow and bikinis for parkas.

I could spend the rest of this post complaining about what we found when we returned from paradise. 

In a nutshell, Indiana's governor and all but one GOP legislator approved a bill that has been widely perceived to be permission for businesses to discriminate against those they believe are an affront to the business owners' faith.

The bill is really a legalistic bit of verbiage that mimics federal and many other states' laws. But the way it was discussed and signed, and the people who pushed it -- one of whom chortled to his followers that never again would an Indiana business have to serve a homosexual if the owners didn't want to -- was just awful. On national television today, the governor said protecting the rights of the LGBT community wasn't on his agenda. He refused to say the new IN law wouldn't allow discrimination. 

The words that make up the law no longer matter. People across the globe are now assured that Hoosiers are bigots who believe the LBGT community's rights are not equal to others. Clearly, some of us are. 

But I like to think that most of us are not. It's not that we believe one group deserves more freedom than others. We believe everyone deserves the same share of freedom as everyone else. Color, gender sexual preference simply shouldn't play a part in how you divvy up the freedom pie, the rights pie, the humanity pie.

Seems to me that the sect that pushed this law is OK with the world as long as it is the majority power.  Treating everyone equally means that they would be equal, too. How terrible. 

There's a lot of talk now -- at least in the circles in which I move -- that this is the step too far that will reset the clock and bring the state political system back into sanity. 

One can only hope. Pray maybe. But to whom? 

Paradise seems lost.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Never try on swimsuits with your daughter

Few women past the age of 40 look forward to swim suit shopping. I'm sure of it. I'm not even sure 40 is the magic age, but for most of us, there comes a time when you'd rather have your toenails pulled out by gypsies than face the dressing room and a pile of rayon strings.

For me, there was no way out. Spring Break was days away and I was down to one worn-out swim suit. I made the mistake of going with Ali on my first venture out.

She's two months away from 14. I, well, I am not. She's a small on a bad day. I, well, I am not.

Yet we found ourselves there together in the same swim suit collection talking about colors and styles, two-piece or one and what the hell is a tankini anyway.

She quickly found some really cute suits. I was struggling to figure out how the back fat I was sure I'd sent packing had found its way back. It was only as I contemplated making a noose out of one of the strings that realized I'd been trying on the wrong size. 

I brought home a couple one-pieces, which did not win rave reviews from the Captain. He didn't say he hated them, but the reception wasn't fabulous.  So, while Ali went to her YAT session and I'd worked out Saturday, I walked over to the mall and ended up trying on  -- in my size -- a few more. I sent pictures to Jeff and called him to alert him to give me advice.

"Cool," he said. "Porn on my phone."

It wasn't porn. Let's just be clear about that. The reception to them, however, was much better. The one-pieces went back.

Today after taking Ali to a movie with a friend, I ventured back out there. At Macy's, I stumbled onto the $150 "Miracle" suits. They're guaranteed to shave 10 pounds off you then and there. Somewhat of a doubter to begin with, I have to say I started to think about trying one on. And then I thought about my niece Kaitlin who's starting down an amazing recovery process after being in a terrible car crash.

And then I got offended. 1. because you shouldn't through around words like "miracle" as if they're penny candy. 2. because I'm sure lots of women actually shell out $150 for a piece of fabric that temporarily squishes their flab with Spanx-like compression. But it's not a miracle and it doesn't fool anyone into thinking they're suddenly ready for Sports Illustrated.

So I didn't buy it. I did, however, find some bargains over at TJ Maxx for $20 each that the Captain declared successful.  More important, I think they're OK and I'll be able to hit the beach as confidently as any woman my age can. 

It appears I have survived shopping for swim suits and come out the other side. It's the first top-down day of the year and Kait is home from hospital.

Now those, are miracles.

Oh, also Jeff and I got all dressed up and went to a party last night hosted by Pattern magazine. It's a fashion magazine and how I'm involved with it is a very long story. What's important is that we seemed to fit in just fine and came away from the event -- it was held at IMS -- with a gift for Amy Tokash. Or maybe Tom. All I know is Tony Kanaan probably doesn't cringe when swimsuit weather approaches.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Of endangered nipples and regurgitated panties

We were struck by good fortune this weekend and got to have Alex and Hannah Ogden over. With them came Gladys, a guinea pig the size of a small rabbit or a large rat, which, while squeaky, was mostly well-behaved. Certainly less boistrous than the children.

Except when they decided she should be released from her cage. Alex was holding her and decided she might like it inside his shirt. She rooted around a while. He giggled. Alison giggled. Hannah went to apply her make-up as the girls were soon due at a YAT class downtown.

When Alex invited Gladys to leave his shirt, however, she declined. She wiggled into his left sleeve. Then explored his tummy. Then his right sleeve.

Alison thought a carrot might lure her out. "Hee-re Gladys. Come on Gladys. Come on."

A nose emerged. It wriggled. A head followed. Then teeth. They latched onto the carrot and quick as a bullet, she disappeared back into the shirt, carrot firmly in her teeth.

"She overpowered me," Alison claims.

A second carrot was dangled in front of her. Then a third. It's worth a reminder at this point that Gladys is not a small guinea pig. She probably weighs five pounds. But she normally only gets three carrots a week. So not only was she warm and snuggly, she had a steady and unusually robust supply of snacks.

Then, she found an even tastier treat.

"Gladys! No! Don't bite my nipple!" came the repeated call, accompanied by much dancing around. "Hannah!"

Some might have dropped the rodent then and there but Alex is a gentle soul. He cradled the thing with one hand to protect its fall, using his other hand to protect his parts.

For her part, Hannah paused while applying her third coat of mascara. She considered the situation, cocked her head and listened a while. Then continued with her application.

Getting Gladys back in the cage ended up taking all three of their efforts, and one more carrot. 

I inquired if there was blood involved.

"Not from Gladys," I was told.

Alison and I had some shopping to do Saturday. Her for school, me for my niece Annie Strahla who's getting married. Her bridal shower is tomorrow so of course I shopped today. I'd planned to stick to her bridal registry list, but we started our shopping spree at Michael's for Ali's homework assignment.

While searching for part of Ali's shopping list, I stumbled across a really cool item that can't possibly be on Annie's registry (but should.) Two women were in the aisle talking up a storm. I took the item down, studying it while I mentally debated the ettiquette of going off the list. They didn't budge and were clearly devoted Michael's shoppers.

"Oh that's just darling," one of them said. (They turned out to be Bridget and Stephanie who goes by Jewell at work. We're very good friends now, and if Annie hates her gift, Stephanie/Jewell wants it.)

But it's not on the registry list, I reminded them. 

"That doesn't matter. She'll love it. Trust us."

OK then.

On the way home, I was talking about Annie and that led to a story about her dog, Bo who once had a habit of eating her panties. He stole them from the laundry basket. (I think.)

"Were they nice underwear?" Ali asked.

"I don't know," I responded. "I know she never wore them again."

"Well she couldn't," Alison said. 

"Oh, they came out again," I explained.

"Well she shouldn't," Alison said amended.

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