This post is dedicated to Lois, who is way more than just a party girl. Anyone who reads her, feels her compassion, joie de vivre, and savvy perception of the peculiarities and charms of daily living. She captured the evening of June 27 in less than 1000 words, and created a gift that will last forever in my heart. Lola, thank you so much! We need a martini date!
And to everyone who commented and shared Lo’s post on social media, thanks.
Me, with my disdainful attitude toward social media, is having an intimate dance with Facebook. Don’t ask me why but, I say let it rip because I am loving my 15 minutes of fame.
I wonder why? Perhaps it’s something as simple as I feel safe. There is someone to watch over me…
I also want to thank:
Lucy for dreaming about a red shoe shower:
John, our pianist, who recorded the most beautiful rendition of the Satie waltz, “Je Te Veux.”
Pat and Bill for making our brunch a success despite the MIA caterer.
Ali and Bill for much needed pots and pans, AND for providing all that yummy Blanc de Blanc!
Jen my office mate, who despite pressing and urgent legal matters, found time to review shoe, jewelry and Spanx options with me.
Deb, who always kicks in to gear and saves the day.
Laurs for being my flower consultant, vase consultant, wedding dress consultant, rearranger of unwanted pockets of fat and all-around support system on EVERY thing:
Marianne for being Marianne, and everyone who knows her knows what I mean. She is gracious, and kind; thoughtful and organized. She loves laughter, and loves to laugh, and always brings joy to the table.
Anita because she is my mom, and was a perfect mom through wedding planning.
Naomi because of her pragmatism and thoughtfulness. She made the appointment at David’s Bridal that led to finally securing a dress to wear.
Linda for my gorgeous flowers.
xo to everyone.
This past Saturday, my dear friend, Julie, was a 59-year-old, first-time, bride. No less lovely and ebullient than a decades-younger bride, she was beautifully gowned in sequins, her hair was uplifted and curly; her smile an eight-hour ear-to-ear. Her whole self sparkled. And the party, thrown on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, was a celebration for the ages.
The room of 100-plus people, who ranged in age from 5 to 90, pulsed with love and gratitude, topped off with an unspoken, all-inclusive aura; an acknowledgment that to have all these people gathered together in the same room — Julie’s and Steve’s closest friends and families — was a gift.
A self-professed worrier (a sampling from the weeks before: “…the logistics are making me so nervous!” “I’m checking weather every hour!”), Julie was engulfed in the moment on her wedding day and impervious to any intrusion of anxiety. (“How is she?” I had texted our friend Laurie, who was helping her get ready. “Incredibly calm,” wrote Laurie.)
The weather was as bad as it could be — pretty much a notch or two below Hurricane Sandy. Many of us walked (some of us galloped in high heels) the two blocks down the boardwalk from the hotel to the restaurant while battling double-digit wind gusts and slanting sheets of drenching rain that undid hair; ran make-up. But the storm was not a wedding crasher. It, instead, escorted an intimacy and warmth into the room. Mazel Tov! C’est La Vie! Bring It On!
I’ve often said that Julie and Steve are the most solid couple I know. Together for just under ten years — independent, both, but purely devoted to each other. They are in love. And simply by virtue of the wisdom that comes with being middle-aged, no doubt, they know what to do to remain committed and in love for the rest of their lives.
This was also the first marriage for Steve. Unencumbered by previous marriages, children from other marriages, and the uncertainty that may accompany a marriage at the age of 20 or 30, he and Julie both exude an air of settling in for the long haul. A comfort level that can only come with an awareness that there may be less days ahead than behind, so let’s get at it! An all-knowing, we’re-in-this-together comfort. True companions, who, as Julie has said, “will forever have each other’s backs.”
(And that middle age, laugh-it-off, don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff insight was tested the next day, when the caterer for the post-wedding brunch for 70 people didn’t show up.)
So, because there’s no such thing as too many “Mazel Tovs,” Mazel Tov!
And never stop laughing:
Model airplanes were all the rage when I was a boy. People would spend hours assembling replicas of World War II bombers or historic planes like The Spirit of St. Louis. The really ambitious kids (usually high school age) put motors on their models and flew them by radio control.
I was reminded of this because of two events in the news recently. First, one of the places where people used to buy radio-controlled planes — Radio Shack — filed for bankruptcy. That’s really sad. First we lost record stores, then book stores and now we are losing electronic supply stores. What’s next, newsstands?
The second recent event that brought the old radio-controlled model airplanes to mind is the flight of a drone onto the grounds of the White House. The President was in India at the time and no damage was done, but the incident further tarnished the reputation of the Secret Service.
Drones first came to the attention of the American public when the military began using them in Pakistan and Afghanistan to target terrorists. But they have been around for years. The civilian versions are usually equipped with GPS and camera and can be programmed to fly a specific course. Prices have dropped in recent years and you can buy a good one now for under $100.
The most popular type of drone is what’s know as a Quad Copter because it has four propellers. They can fly for miles from the controller. And that makes them perfect for search and rescue operations, farming applications and traffic reports. In fact, I would not be surprised if drones replace helicopters for traffic reports in the very near future. They can be sent airborne quickly and moved around with ease. The cameras today are high definition, and they cost a tiny fraction of what a helicopter with a pilot and camera crew cost.
Drones are the future of delivery as well. Amazon announced recently that they want to deliver packages by drone. The FAA is not cool with that yet, but the day will come. I certainly can see newspaper home delivery services using drones in the future.
Yes, it seems likely that the air will be full of drones in the next 20 years. It’s not flying cars, but there is something Jetsonian about drones. Oh sure, there may be problems with abuses like Peeping Tom Drones and Police Drones. There may even be drones falling out of the sky on to people. But every new technology has bugs to be worked out. Hell, we’re still working out the bugs in the Internet after more than 20 years. I have confidence that drones will become commonplace, along with self-driving cars.
Speaking of self-driving cars — that seems to have a lot of potential for providing a way for the elderly to get to the supermarket or the drugstore without endangering anyone. New technology does not allow these autonomous cars to get close enough to another object to hit it. Soon, the Little Old Lady From Pasadena may be hitting the road in something made by Google or Apple. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind that myself. Old age is going to be fun after all!
This is my personal concert hall.
Every morning that I emerge from the swimming pool,
(and isn’t that one inviting pool?), I belt out “I Feel Good” by James Brown and dance around the shower stall.
Through my 20s, when I swam 6 days a week, and my 30s, when I clipped a day; all through my 40s, when again another day was shaved off and now in my 50s where it seems I only make it into the pool 3 days a week, I have sung “I feel good dah dah dah dah dah” as the chlorine is washed away. I feel a little smug and very satisfied because my laps are over with and I deserve breakfast. In the old days I treated myself to a bagel and melted cheddar cheese, but with age and creeping glucose levels, I try to get excited about oatmeal or yogurt.
And as I approach my 60s, my resolution is to maintain the 3-day a week regimen for forever. Swimming has sustained me through thick and thin, love and loss, angst and subliminity. How could I ever give up something that makes me feel so good?
Maria and I recently visited Susan and Mark, old friends of ours who live in North Carolina, and we were at a loss for something to fill a Saturday afternoon. The women wanted to go to shopping for drapes to match the cushions, or vice versa, which to me seemed only marginally less painful than having a root canal. Mark agreed, and as he flipped through the local paper we found the answer: a gun and knife show.
Neither of us owns guns or non-kitchen knives, so we figured we’d get an education.
The show was held in a cavernous building that must have been two hundred yards on a side. The admission fee was ten bucks, and there were two lines to get in: one for unarmed customers, and one for those “carrying.” It was perfectly okay to bring a gun. They just wanted to be sure it wasn’t loaded when you walked through the door.
However, they didn’t frisk anyone to see if they had a pocketful of bullets. And there were a dozen vendors inside eagerly selling every variety of ammunition, clips, autoloaders, silencers, scopes, and other deadly accessories, so if someone had come to the gun show with mayhem in mind, there wasn’t much to stop them. Except, I suppose, the deterrent effect of the other 200 gun-loving patrons, surrounded by weaponry, who presumably would turn the shooter into a multi-ventilated shadow of his or her former self before too many shots had been fired.
The first table we visited was a knife display. These weren’t your grandma’s knives – there were razor-sharp mini-scimitars, Bowie knives longer than David Bowie’s list of hit songs, and tiny purse-friendly switchblades in designer neon colors. They even had a medieval-looking hand weapon that consisted of a leather-wrapped stick with one, two, or three spiked metal balls dangling from the end on an eight-inch chain.
I wanted a picture, and was positioning my smartphone over the table to snap a shot when a grizzled guy chomping an unlit cigar appeared on the other side of the table.
“No pictures of the flails,” he rumbled. Feeling foolish, I pocketed my phone and picked up the two-ball model, as if testing its heft.
“Pretty nice,” I said, clueless as to what to look for in a quality flail. “How much?”
“Single ball twenty bucks, two for thirty, three for forty. Stainless steel balls, genuine leather grip. Handle’s hardwood.”
He awaited my reply. In my khaki shorts, New Balance walking shoes, and gray cotton golf sweater, I didn’t fit his usual customer profile. We moved on.
A guy walked by with a rifle slung over his shoulder, and I realized why people brought weapons: sticking out of the barrel was a wooden dowel with a paper sign taped onto it reading: “FOR SALE OR TRADE.” It reminded me of the popgun rifle Wile E Coyote points at the Roadrunner that shoots out a flag reading “BANG” when he pulls the trigger.
The next table was arrayed with 50 rifles in a row, each chained to the next so you couldn’t raise them much above table height. Their burnished wooden stocks and oiled barrels gleamed in the harsh fluorescent lights. Similarly, the handgun tables had hundreds of sinister-looking weapons, from petite two-shot ladies’ pistols (the vendor’s description, not mine) to hulking hand cannons that would terrify Dirty Harry.
The sheer number and variety was staggering. We approached a rifle vendor and I picked up a small-bore shotgun. At a loss for words, and inspired perhaps by the walking FOR SALE gun signs, I asked, in my best Elmer Fudd voice:
“Excuse me – would this be good for hunting the wascally wabbit?”
The guy behind the table smiled thinly and turned away, clearly not interested in such nonsense.
I actually considered buying a self-defense baton. These are metal sticks that, when you flick your wrist, telescope in length from one foot to nearly three feet. Tapering to a dull point, it locks open and will only collapse again if you strike the tip solidly on a hard floor.
“Say you’re in a parking lot, and some guy’s comin’ at you with a broken beer bottle,” the seller proudly explained.”You can whip that open and give him a hot rap on the head or arm or leg or whatever, make him feel some real pain, from a couple feet away.”
He jabbed the end of the extended stick at my midsection and chuckled.
“And a poke with this here into some soft tissue can be very persuasive.”
I resented the insuinuation that my abs constituted “soft tissue,” or rather, that he could so readily discern that. But he was right: that hard metal stick created a well-defined, non-negotiable boundary between us.It seemed like a bargain for only 25 bucks. But then, I’ve been around for sixty years and haven’t yet found myself in need of a “soft tissue persuader” or head rapper.
So why would I need one now? I’ll just avoid honky tonk bars at closing time and save myself the money. I passed on the deceptively innocuous-sounding baton. But I couldn’t resist asking the vendor before I left:
“Could I use this to whack a wascally wabbit?”