Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Defy the laws of tradition (not nature)

I hate when they have reporters on camera during active storms. My husband is probably why: He wants to see these folks get eaten by overgrown sewer gators.

I know there are so many more problems at stake in the world than first-day coverage of major natural disasters ... but as large swathes of the East Coast tuned in last night for information on Hurricane Sandy,  I had to ask (aloud ... to a roomful of husband and dog ... kids had already gone to bed) if it's finally time for major news organizations (like CNN) to get rid of (or at least diminish the presence of) people reporting live and on-camera from the storm surge.

I mean ...


Every time they cut to someone in a raincoat screaming against the wind about how eerily dark the city is or how high the waves are (or were, as the case may be), I was almost angry.

These guys were clinging to road signs and fighting gusts for the microphone, while telling viewers why no one should be traveling around (like they were). I was slack-jawed as one reporter recounted how many injuries his crew had suffered -- the result of blowing signs and debris -- even though they were "taking precautions" and being "safe" (while standing amid flood waters in hurricane-force winds).

And the news they delivered seemed ... well ... mighty unoriginal.

"What about the hospitals?"

"What about the fires?"

"What about climate change?"

"Why are we wasting time with some guy in front of a casino on a mostly deserted street?"

"Do people REALLY want to see this person swept away?"

My husband just shook his head ...

In abject disagreement ...

And chuckled:

"I'll tell you what I want to see. I want to see an alligator from the sewer swallow him up."

"Or a shark ... washed in from the river?" I offered in jest.

"Better yet."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Like riding a bike


Two wide tires and an oil-covered chain moving the heavy, blue frame forward. Kickstand up, helmet on, she and the bike held upright by the placement of pygmy wheels.

An ordinary rite of passage.

And it eluded us.

Tricycle. Bicycle. Scooter. Didn't matter.

She never wanted to ride any of them.

So I never pressed.

I told myself she'd learn ... eventually.

Honestly, though, I thought she'd drive a car before she learned to ride a bike.

And that haunted me more than the worries piling on about just growing up. The guilt of not taking advantage of the right advantages. Should we be doing this? Should be we doing that?

Magic 8-Ball says: "Reply hazy, try again"

"When I was her age I was riding all over the universe," I thought to myself, wondering all the while what good will really come of comparing childhoods three decades apart.

 Also wondering what she'd miss by never learning to ride a bike.

Independence? Freedom? Rush-hour traffic? Possible collision with a car?

"Maybe it's not the worst thing after all," I reason.

"Why grow up too fast?"

Magic 8-Ball says: "My Sources say no."  

And as these things go ... on a crisp, fall day ...  months after pretending to enjoy the twice-daily walks to and from the park, trailing behind her brother, who was careening down the sidewalk on his training bike as her bike leaned unused in the carport ... she popped the question:

"Will you take my training wheels off? I want to try riding the bike for real."

And within a few tries, she was off and riding.

Wobbly but balanced.

Mission accomplished.

Magic 8-Ball says: "It is decidely so."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Light and dark

Last week, on this day, I learned that a very dear friend had died. Unexpectedly.

I haven't been able to organize my thoughts about his loss. They are still scattered and obscured by disbelief.

But I feel so fortunate to have known him. So fortunate that he called me a friend. And so incredibly confused that every time I think of him -- not of his loss but of him -- I smile.

His wit. His complexity. His joy. His optimism. Even his sarcasm that was devoid of snark. All these and more are gifts he generously bestowed on friends. He made me understand how it's possible for someone to give you so much that it lifts you up instead of weighs you down.

And how leaving all of that behind is just unthinkable. 

There is no "moving on" from a person like him. 

No. Robert is someone you take along as you go forward.

Monday, October 08, 2012


logo instagrammed

"This is a very good scone. Where'd you get it?"

"Ahhhh ... a bakery."

"What bakery?"

"Ahhhh ... Starbucks."


"Starbucks isn't a bakery. ... It's a coffee shop. ... Like McDonald's."

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Pardon me ...


One hundred seventy five years of presidential history ... and a ringtone.

Monday, October 01, 2012

There's a reason Canada is at the top of North America


Annnnnnd it's not just geography.

Canada -- and countless other nations -- have a little bit of wonderful called Kinder Surprise, a huge (and I can't stress this enough - HUGE) plastic capsule containing a toy surprise (often parts and assembly instructions), which is then encased in a delicious, albeit thin, milk chocolate egg shell.

When the toy is assembled it might be a dinosaur with a waggly tail, a robot, a fist-sized spinning top, or even a hard plastic glider.

There are endless possibilities.

But the United States won't allow Kinder Surprise because of a 1938 law prohibiting the sale of candy with an embedded toy or trinket. In fact, the FDA recently re-issued its import alert on these delights because "non-nutritive objects in confectionary products pose a risk of choking."

To be sure, the law means well. People probably shouldn't bake small toys into candies, cakes and cookies without some kind of containing device that is too big to be ingested.

But if I were a kid today, I'd sharpen my pencil and write my representative to have this stupid law changed.

I'd much rather have easier access to toys and chocolate than guns and bullets.