THE LETTER

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Dear Mrs. Campbell:

All of us here at CNN appreciate your concern. We know how hard it is to discern between “fake news” and the real thing these days. We understand your confusion between facts and alternate facts. As a matter of “fact,” you are the 307,9981st person to write to us about this. For your convenience, here are some guidelines we hope you might find useful when checking your Facebook and Twitter feeds, the prime source of news in America these days:

FACEBOOK:

  1. If the source of the news article is “The  Idiot Damn Left,” chances are there is a 400 lb. person sitting on the bed composing that article, according to the current administration. You might want to do a bit of fact checking.
  2. Sean Spicer is not called “Spicey.” By anybody in the same room with him.
  3. The Ice Bucket challenge is over.
  4. Cutting and pasting a post about cancer and leaving it up on your feed for an hour will actually not cure anything.
  5. There are not millions of voters who rode the bus in from Central America to vote in the election.  There are no buses that run from Central America to Dayton, Ohio. The dead people are also not voting. The Walking Dead is a TV show. We know the current administration likes TV shows, so perhaps that is the source of the confusion here.
  6. An “alternative fact” is actually not a fact. The citizens of Bowling Green are all still alive as of today.

TWITTER:

  1. If the person posting the tweet’s user name is @frigginthewhitehouse, the tweet probably has a liberal slant. If the person posting the tweet’s user name is @kellyanneRULES, you can assume that tweeter is Republican.
  2. We aren’t really sure what a “leightweight chocker” is, but apparently, Marco Rubio is one of those, according to the administration. We do know, however, that the word “honered” is actually spelled “honored.” That is a fact.
  3. If a tweet is posted by our current Commander in Chief between the hours of midnight and four a.m., we suggest you fact check it.
  4. If anyone employed by the current administration retweets it, it might be a good idea to fact check the original tweet as well.
  5. Mitch McConnell has no sense of humor. He is NOT the University of Maryland’s mascot. Those tweets are not factual. Mr. McConnell isn’t laughing.

Mrs. Campbell, our suggestion to you is to take a break from social media for awhile. The weather is nice in Ohio (yes, Global Warming does exist) despite the fact that it is February. Perhaps you might take a long walk. Try to focus on the news that isn’t confusing to you for the time being: The Clooneys are having twins! Burt Reynolds is 81! Betty White isn’t dead!

Thank you for your letter, Mrs. Campbell. We sincerely hope you feel better soon. You may have to wait four years, but in the scope of the universe, four years is just the blink of an eye.

Sincerely, the folks at CNN

NOTE: This letter is fiction. No, wait–it’s factually alternative…

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IT’S A GIRL!

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HELLO, BABY!

She was born, and I was there. My granddaughter. Her name is Birdie, and she is wondrous. I will never forget witnessing her birth. It was an honor.

This birth took me back to my own childbirth events,and the tumult of parenthood. The anxiety, the rushing, the fatigue. We were parents in the days of Dr. Spock. I think we thumbed through two editions, looking up crises like Coxsackievirus, croup, diaper rash, and teething. We worried about poking our babies with diaper pins. Then, MY GOD, teething, diarrhea, fevers, and vaccinations-we hated them because of the needle sticks, not autism — nobody worried about that yet.

It was as if our identities as adult humans were erased, and we became Mommy and Daddy. We even called each other that. We were consumed with legos, baby proofing, play dates, and lost booties.

Then came toddlerhood, preschool, elementary. Bullies. Those endless soccer games. Packing lunches. With two girls, as soon as they got old enough to compare, there were the constant wardrobe issues — if tights were not popular, God forbid I suggest they wear them on a cold day. Gum stuck in hair. The facts of life, inevitably brought up in conversations in restaurants, LOUDLY. Balanced meals and absolutely no junk food (sort of).

Then high school, the partying. Worries about drinking, drugs. “Condoms? The Pill? What do we do?Curfew or trust them?”

Then, they left for college. After three days of sobbing, we both looked around and said, “Hi.” We realized that all the time was free, AND IT WAS OURS. We went to movies. Cooked recipes with multiple steps. Binge watched. Forgot about “waiting up” for anybody. We didn’t need that huge car anymore!

We looked around, and Mommy and Daddy had vanished. We had ourselves back. The nest wasn’t even a nest any more; it was our house! I wrote two novels. His band had so many gigs it wasn’t even funny.

We forgot who we were for a few years. But we are back.

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NESTING

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Four more days. We have a target date. If all goes as planned, there will be a new baby sometime on Friday. Induced labor. This is the last weekend that little Charlie will be an “only.” We are all trying to tattoo it into our memories, but it is inevitable that in a few years, we won’t be able to remember very much about what it was like when he was the only important guy.

Freezer meals. I am making as many of them as I can. That brand new chest freezer begs to be filled. Slight problem: casseroles are not an option. This is a challenge, but I have great social media friends who have given me a long selection of other options. The shopping cart tomorrow will be groaning.

Laundry. One load a day now. Soon to be many.

Trips to preschool? I have practiced the way. But thank God for my dear friend Siri. She and I will become bosom buddies in the next couple of weeks. I have nearly memorized the four-page (single spaced) instructions that my totally organized daughter has compiled. But I may still pull an all-nighter Thursday evening, just to make sure that I have all the gate codes, home alarm procedures, and TV remote (three of them) sequences well in mind.

Grandpa arrives in a week. There is a to-do list for him as long as my arm.

This brings back so many memories. As I struggle to wrap my head around show and tell selections, whether or not to use bubble bath or that baby wash stuff, trying to decide which of the many snack selections (all organic) to put in the CARS lunch box, I think of my mother. I wonder what she thought of the lists I left her 39 years ago.

I am mainlining vitamin B.

 

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BIG NEWS FROM MY DESK!

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Authoring a novel is thrilling. Getting it published is sublime. Having a SECOND novel published? UNBELIEVABLE!

My new book, CROSSING THE STREET, is now available for preorder in the paperback edition on Amazon! Order Here

If you preorder:

  • I will be in seventh heaven
  • My book will rise up in the Amazon algorithm
  • This will help me sell more books
  • I then may become famous
  • I can then write MORE books and maybe call myself “a bestselling author”
  • I will be able to buy some more new shoes
  • My family will be proud
  • I might get a swelled head
  • but I promise not to be insufferable

Thanks to all of you who support me. Many hugs!

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TODAY, TOMORROW, AND THE NEXT DAY

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For many of us, these are uncomfortable times. The future looks murky; and we face the next few years with at best, some anxiety, and at worst, full blown fear. It is difficult to be a writer of humor at the moment. Nothing seems funny. In order to perk myself up, I have cobbled together my own set of coping strategies. I think all of us who feel as I do are doing the same. I thought I would share, even though nothing about them is funny.

I have decided to stop feeling guilty about certain behaviors. Instead of thinking of myself as a “slugabed,” I now feel that drinking coffee against a pile of pillows with a crowd of cats, listening to podcasts in the morning instead of leaping out of bed to “greet the day” is good for my soul. The fact that I have coffee stains on the front of all of my pjs, and I imbibe cat hair along with caffeine is of no consequence.

I take my time getting dressed. Not because I have all sorts of wardrobe decisions to make. Nope. I wear the same jeans, sweatpants, and tee shirts that I have been putting on forever. But now I look in the mirror and study my face as I rub in the “anti-aging” cream and try to note if it is effective. I give myself “mirror facelifts” and wish I looked that taut. I root through my sock drawer, wondering how much longer I should wait for the mate to that argyle sock to show up before I throw it away. As I pull the shirt over my head, I imagine what it might be like to be blind. I look at the bedspread and try to lose myself in the pattern of flowers and leaves. I rearrange the seven throw pillows. I admire my own decorating skills.

Downstairs, as I push the Swiffer around, I think about all of the millions of people who agree with me politically, and who won’t sit still for injustice or having a tyrant in charge. That gives me strength.

Then I take a deep breath. I think of what makes up the dust that I am gathering-could it be particles of the people who lived in this house a hundred years ago?

I think about those people, and what worried them. Disease-the kind that overcame children and swept them away, or crippled them. The Great Depression–what sorts of economies did the people who lived here practice? Did they worry about what they would eat? Did they sit by this fireplace, darning socks and feeling chilly, because they couldn’t afford all that expensive coal for the furnace? Did they think that things would never look up again?

I look out the window at the tree in my back yard that must be at least a hundred years old. Did a little girl, long dead, run around the base of it, humming? Did some fearless little boy try to climb it? How many bird’s nests have been in it? Then I think about what this house must have looked like when it was newly built in 1912, all bright and shiny–the tree in the back yard just a little sapling from the nursery. The bannister didn’t creak. The family that built it proud of all the latest things, like the sink in the guest bathroom, which is now an antique. Those people loved this house. They were happy here. Life went on then, as it will now.

Sometimes, I like to listen to classical music. Wait. There has always been music! Nobody stopped writing music. Even in the midst of World War Two, people wrote beautiful music. And words. Books were written. Poetry. Nothing stops us from creating beauty, even in times of terrible stress. Another deep breath.

These are the things I dwell on now. And when a headline stabs me or worry starts to creep in, I look out the window again. And I breathe.

 

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