My complacency elected Donald Trump, and for that I am truly sorry.

Oh, I voted.

In fact, I voted for her.

In my people-pleasing “don’t rock the boat” manner I wheeled my rolling walker behind the heavy curtain in our old-fashioned voting booths and quietly pulled the lever. (If I had to do it in a big open space like I saw the First Couple have to do it, I would have had some panic issues.)

I didn’t even think of it as “the lesser of two evils,” I thought of it as the only rational choice.

I even clicked on the voting machine switches extra lightly, as if people could hear me vote. I felt a sense of relief as I left the polls. Still, I told no one, as I I didn’t want to disappoint a loved one, and I didn’t want to become embroiled in debate.

Since my brain surgery 10 years ago doctors keep congratulating me. It is as if surviving a tumor that strikes primarily young men was something I deserved some sort of credit for-one Doc shook my hand like I won an Olympic gold. I never felt that way. But I felt that way about voting Tuesday. That I deserved some sort of medal for overcoming obstacles  physically, and mentally, emotionally and literally to get out and vote.

Not having my old confidence to debate (due to aphasia and the inability to hold on to a thought for more than a few seconds (think ADD on steroids), I avoid ‘talking  politics.’ On a certain level I started to feel less entitled to my opinions and that I should just leave it up to quicker, more articulate tongues.

I used to feel that everyone around me could do or say what they want but in the end, they, same as me, would go behind the heavy curtain and get one single vote. Naïve, and again, I am sorry.

I apologize to every person that will be marginalized by the incoming administration.

I am not deluded that speaking my mind would have changed the outcome of the election, but it is embarrassing that so many didn’t have a chance to know where I stand due to my conflict-avoidance behavior patterns.

Next time I will be more vocal, clearer and more transparent. The same things I expect from our government elected officials.

Next week: “Taking a knee.”

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My Letter From Edward Albee-(Out of the memory box #3)

My letter from Edward Albee Circa 2002

My letter from Edward Albee Circa 2002

Edward Albee’s passing last week was a little hard to take: we only have a couple great American Playwrights left. I wrote him a letter once, and he wrote one to me. The letter (above) was a response to my effusive love of the play “The Goat.” I thought I was the only person that would love the play and I wrote Mr. Albee so he wouldn’t get his feelings hurt when the mixed reviews started rolling in.

(The reviews were so mixed, some critics didn’t review it at all, while it went on to win the Tony award for Best Play 2002). When all of your plays are held up to your “big” play, Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which you wrote when you were 30, life can seem like a downward spiral, I suppose.

Turns out  Mr. Albee didn’t need the kudos from me; in addition to the Tony, the was a runner-up for a Pulitzer that year. I put the tickets in the memory box and didn’t think too much about it until last week, when I saw Mr. Albee’s obituary.

*

We rushed into to the theater and took our seats as the house lights flashed a couple quick blinks for the two-minute warning. We sat up close to the stage in the historic Golden Theatre, so close that when Mercedes Ruehl smashes a plate during a climactic scene, I just about jumped out of my chair. There were glass shards lining the edge of the stage. How nobody lost an eye is part of the magic that is Broadway.

Bill Pullman, the level-headed President in the film Independence Day paired with Ruelh. Together they used Albee’s words to lead you to forget how life is when you think YOU have it weird.  The lead actress does the only thing you can do when your husband might have a very hairy mistress. She drinks.

Jeffrey Carlson, (Hitch, All My Children) , did an amazing job as an awkward teenager playing an awkward teenager in an awkward play. Years later I would find out he was no teenager-kudos to hair and makeup.

I was so mind-blown by the content of the play that I wrote a letter to the playwright, Edward Albee. Surprised when he wrote me back, one sentence from his letter would forever change me:

“No two people see the same play!”

Think about this, it not only rings true, it magnifies the theater-going experience and it means that even your grandmother might enjoy a play where sex with a goat is analogous to all of man’s depravity. It seems so simple but it served as a springboard to freedom to write some of the grittier things that, up until that time, caused me to shy away.

I’m not sure what I wrote to Mr. Albee that garnered me such a profuse thank you note, and it was likely the last handwritten note that made it into the memory box before email took over the correspondent world.

Rest In Peace Edward Albee 3/12/28-9/16/2016

 

 

 

When you need a little help from your (blog) friends

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With the abundance of “blogging schools” and the excellent WordPress advice available I was pretty sure I could spruce up my blog on my own.  I realized early on that I didn’t want numbers/stats for the sake of just having them, and that a comment, even a negative one, meant someone was reading, and that was what I wanted: to reach and feel connected to an audience. Not that the numbers aren’t nice!

A sister blogger once said she enjoyed the randomness of my blog. It is true that I tend to write about whatever I feel like writing about on any given day. One of my passions is adoption reform. I am currently working on a piece with a goal of finishing by January 2017, the proposed time-frame my personal adoption records will be unsealed, according to NJ State Governor Chris Christie. I’m not holding my breath, but keeping my eye on the ‘Gov.

I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to blog so much as write about adoption. (I will still be blogging about advances in brain health post surgery and of course, kittens).  I was bogged down in the blogosphere until I found FistBump Media. (Full disclosure: I met the founder when our paths crossed at a conference once, although the other few hundred attendees make the memory fuzzy for both of us).

Three things set FistBump apart from other programs out there:

  1. The information is presented in bite-sized pieces, and the assignments are manageable and leave time for writing. The folks at FistBump help focus on taking the next step. It’s easy to circle back and go over something once you get an overview of that particular lesson.
  2. The instruction is presented totally backwards from all other programs I have tried-at first I was confused by this but I immediately saw the value of taking the steps in the order they are presented. This is probably my key take-away-the concrete steps I could take in order to prevent getting bogged down so I could keep going.
  3. A program of this kind can only be as good as the leader. Here is where FistBump shines, an attentive team that provides support in a timely manner-complete with encouragement that does not appear to come from a robot. In Dan King you get a warm and willing coach/cheerleader, and that makes all the difference. A look at the videos will show you if the material is going to be right for you.

If you have any questions ask-ask me or contact Dan directly at:

FistBump Media

1988 Wood Hollow Way
Sarasota, FL 34235

941-780-4179

I tend to get overly excited about things-I’m pretty stoked about the introductory (one week) offer that is the equivalent of a couple of trips to Starbucks. I know a few of you personally who have been looking for a program like this-THIS IS IT.

The Stanford Convicted “Sexual Assault” Case…One thing you can do

In whose dictionary is rape "20 minutes of action?"

In whose dictionary is the definition of rape “20 minutes of action?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In May of 1984, I was a young mother hanging baby’s clothes out to dry, the intense gulf coast sun finishing the job before the laundry basket was empty.  Problematic sand-spurs surrounded my feet, which did not curtail my loud wailing of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Our neighbor, George, would sometimes offer up something from the day’s catch, and in the evenings we would push the stroller down to our little beach and watch the sun go down.

It’s impossible to avoid cliché when talking about losing our innocence after the rape/murder of Karen Gregory occurred just blocks away from our home in the serene town of Gulfport, Florida. Her name might be familiar to some of you as her case had some unusual twists and became the subject of a television series, extensive news coverage, and a book; titled https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/878240.Unanswered_Cries by Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas French.

My friend Beverly was a close friend of Karen’s and came to my apartment the next day to tell us the news. We sat and cried together and went to the hardware store for new locks-fifty dollar locks on our $205-a-month apartment.

Not a stranger to rape-that-makes the news (I wrote about it here) I decided to let the professionals write about the Stanford rapist, Brock Turner. I really didn’t think I had anything to add to the extensive media coverage the case has already seen. Until flashback!

Beverly was a social worker and a champion of rights ahead of her time. We were outdoors at a music festival where she operated a booth displaying her wares: silicone breasts with lumps in them (to teach about breast self-exam) and lots of literature about  contraception and self-defense.

It was Beverly on that day that taught me that rape was not about sex, but about violence.  There were ad campaigns stating just this very fact in every media outlet (before internet this meant Walter Cronkite and your mother). Women and men shared a rare united front on the topic: rape is violence against women.

Fast forward to today and how far have we come?  The (accepted) term “rape culture” in itself is problematic. There’s a blurry, underlying sort of fuzziness that seems to say “It is part of the culture. Get used to it.”

The Stanford Rapist (excuse me, the Stanford Convicted Sexual Assaulter to be legally correct), wants you  to “get used to it.”  In case you have been living under a rock, his dad even explained, in his comments to the judge:

These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.

If you don’t want to “get used to it” (after all, it was “only 20 minutes of action”-if the dad talked like this did this swimmer  have a decent chance growing up?), we need to remove a judge from the bench whose judgment clouded by swimming medals. We need to return to the 80’s on this one and re-frame rape as the act of violence it is.

I like to post about adoption, kittens, my favorite self-loathing authors and the like. It seldom occurs to me to sign a petition, mostly because I never really expect it to help much. Here is your chance to be heroic. Go to Change.Org. Be Karen’s Hero. The Stanford Victim’s hero. My hero. Thank you.

UPDATE.

In The words of Emily Littella, Never Mind.

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/06/113155/stanford-rape-judge-petition-recall-laws

 

 

Announcement: Comedian Vinnie Brand has no more fucks to give.

Intense, and intensely funny!

Intense, and intensely funny!

Figuring out how to get six people from four different families together for a night out on the town is no easy task. Fortunately The Stress Factory is there to lend a hand, providing the location, the drinks, the eats and the laughs.

We began when our overly efficient waiter zipped one of our beers away before we drank it. Other than that, the service was super friendly and effective, so choreographed as if it was part of the show. (They did bring a new beer). I thought of dinner as just something to line my stomach before accepting the two-drink minimum challenge, but it was actually a tasty and economical solution to the “how do we all meet up” before the show question.

We were at Vinnie’s fourth show of a five night stand. You would think he would be tired (a geezer by today’s standards) but the opposite is true, he is just hitting his peak. It helps that he no longer gives a fuck! It is a life philosophy that serves him well, and has you leaving the show not giving a fuck about whatever baggage you carried in. Politics, racism, kids today, whatever is eating at you, it is eating at Vinnie too-and he has no more fucks to give!

Vinnie worked the crowd with an especially funny “If you see something, say something” bit that killed. Part of his special comedic magic is the truth underlying most of what he points out about society. Profiling. Piercing. Race. Nothing is sacred. As you can see on the set list, he began by telling you “Don’t be offended.”

His ability to spot and select audience members that will either 1. eat out of the palm of his hand, replying in predictable ways that will give him the opportunity to advance through his plan or 2) say something so unpredictably shocking, which gives Vinnie the chance to do what he does best (winging it). People who were ‘hightlighted’ during the show were seen leaving with Stress Factory swag bags for their troubles; nothing says “I’m sorry” like a mug with someone else’s logo on it.

As a lifelong follower of Vinnie’s career (our dad’s were part of a trio of friends that snuck beers into each other’s coffins so they could enjoy them together in heaven), I had a front-row seat to watching Vinnie’s career grow like a “this is your life” episode. (Ask your grandparents). While older, tried and true material is always enjoyable, this new set is less about family and friends and more about the head scratching issues faced in society today.

A bit about tattoos provides a prime example of audience reaction. DTF (go ask your kids) was both an observation of todays tattoey peircey culture and an education on the type of slang one might see in an online dating profile. 50 percent of the crowd gasp-laughs-bellows and the rest shake their head in amused agreement.

At 54, there are a lot of things Vinnie no longer gives a fuck about. When you leave the Stress Factory after a night of laughter, you won’t give a fuck either, and that is the main point of comedy, right?