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May 14, 2017 / thackersam

Mr. Buzz Kill or Life Beyond the Rally

My boss, whom we will refer to as Buzz, for obvious reasons, is a real Debbie Downer, a Negative Nancy, a Doubting Thomas, and one big buzz kill, ergo, his new moniker (he’s also a bit of a Nosy Parker). I have long nicknamed him Mr. Curmudgeon and stuck a big yellow smiley face on his office door. It’s still there. He likes it.

But oh, how he loves to argue every point and you just want to bop him upside the head. And mind you he’s one of those guys who has to have his phone on at all times because god forbid he misses a call just because he’s in a pesky meeting in which we are reporting on our recent trip to New Orleans and what we learned at the conference. Bop. For some strange reason, on this day he had changed his usual ringtone, Van Halen’s “Jump” to that Hall and Oates ditty, “You Make My Dreams Come True.” It was just oddly optimistic of him, particularly since he spent the majority of two hours bursting every bubble I had brought back with me. I never know though which one he is going to present as his own idea.

The next day, when his ringtone had returned to the better suited “Jump,” as I sat across from him in his office while he fiddled with his hearing aid, the battery flew up and dropped on the floor, somewhere. It had done a bounce and roll. Buzz crawled on the floor as I suggested that maybe my slighter build and two working eyes would be more useful. “Have you thought about how you’re going to get up,” I mused, but I don’t know if he heard me. He was laying practically splat on the floor behind his big imposing desk, concentrating on an area under the side desk. I hovered over him then glanced at the door that I always close behind me when I’m in his office, because we often disagree, loudly. I laughed. “I hope no one comes in now, because they’ll think I’ve killed you,” I said. I think he may have heard that one.

I told my Associate Director about it. “Especially you,” I said. “You would think I’d finally done it.” She grinned and nodded. “And I know what you would do,” I said. With her still nodding I suggested she would turn, after shouting “my lord woman, what have you done,” go get our millennial, and together we would devise a plan to dispose of the body. Because that’s the kind of team we are!

And speaking of solidarity, on Wednesday night I attended a meeting by the organizers of the Women’s March on NYC, to make some decisions regarding life beyond the rally. I was feeling it, and my sense that others must be feeling it too was confirmed when I got the invitation to the meeting. What else besides assemble in protest could we do, and what areas should we concentrate on in addition to that big one. There was a lot of talking, story telling and the like, so the only firm plan of action is that we will meet again soon. They had pretzel rods.

I was flattered when organizer Kat recognized me from volunteer headquarters on the day of the march in January. I had mentioned that the night before the march on the conference call the number we were told of registered marchers had double from the week prior’s figure and was then 200,000, and that as I stood on the southeast corner of 47th and Lex directing the oncoming crowds the next morning, I could somehow tell that it was a lot more than that. She said that while the press was reporting 400,000, someone else in authority had indicated that it was closer to 700,000. Then she told me when she started organizing the March as an adjunct to the main Women’s March on DC, she had filed permits for 2,000. “And then I just posted it on Facebook,” she smiled.

The next night I had a facial.

BTW – I called my stepmother in Holland to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. We had a nice chat, though I didn’t understand much of what she was saying other than “nice plants” and something about how the new president of Indonesia has contacted her about paintings of her first husband who had been the country’s premier artist until he was murdered nearly 25 years ago. The last part of that is true. He was the premier artist for decades and he was murdered.

As she approaches 91, it has become more and more necessary to respond according to her tone of voice with either sympathetic or enthusiastic ohs and hmms, use “oh that’s nice,” very carefully, and gently glide over the question, “So when are you coming over.” Key words like “nice man” alert me, particularly the helpful kind, but this time I surmised she was speaking of someone in the past. When she was still living in her apartment, to where she is returning tomorrow or the next day as soon as they take the pictures off the walls of her room in the nursing home where they are trying to kill her because she knows too much, the nice boys she referred to who were in her home at 4:00 in the morning her time, were cops. But they were nice boys. I know I shouldn’t poke fun, but she’s been heading down her trail of delusion for a long time and she’s not turning back to the real world, so when we speak on the phone, I just join her in her world. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that she is now going home in a day or two, as opposed to next week, as she has been repeating for years. But as I’ve been saying, her voice sounds strong and once in a while she’s been right.

May 7, 2017 / thackersam

The Big Easy and Not So Easy

I got home last night, this morning actually and walked in at about 1:30 after a 1½ day conference in New Orleans, which started the evening before with keynote speaker Anna Quindlen, a marvelous story teller, followed by a nifty reception with an open bar and some lovely hors d’oeuvres. I went with my associate director, a first for us in the many years we’ve been working together. I had to fight hard to get “them” to let the both of us go as the conference fee was a fraction of the travel expenses. Mind you, it was not easy to convince them that I needed to go in the first place, and then I was insulted with the insinuation that if I required my associate to go as well, perhaps I could not handle the taking in of information and reporting it back. But this story will not dwell on the negatives, it celebrates the kindness of others. I obviously won the fight (hooray for our side) and my associate and I garnered loads of valuable information, ideas and feedback from our attendance and our ability to discuss our new knowledge and many confirmations of our opinions that will prove to be a wise investment.

By the end of the conference, we were exhausted as our sponge-like brains were bursting. Plus, we were in New Orleans. Yesterday morning, which now seems like ages ago, we learned that our 7pm flight back to NYC would be delayed an hour, and later learned that it would be delayed by nearly another hour on top of that. (I must say that it is nice to be in the company of a seasoned traveler who remembers to check these things.) Plus, crossing a time zone that was an added advantage going, was going to now cause us to land well after midnight.

The flight went well and there were no further delays and no one got dragged down the aisle with their tummy exposed (I wore a camisole under my shirt just in case). At some time before 1:00 AM, as we blearily rode the escalator down to the taxi level at JFK, I turned to my associate and told her that it had been a pleasure traveling with her, because it was. “Same here,” she replied. “And I hope never to see you again,” I said. “Same here,” she replied.

A big shout out to our company’s travel coordinator!

Oh but I’ll bet you’re wondering about Max during the three days I was gone. Not to worry. He had wonderful care by a wonderful person, someone who those who know her consider themselves most fortunate. Including Max. And though he is purring up a storm, crying to let me know he is exposing his belly that I’m not allowed to touch, and is excitedly tearing into his scratching posts leaving shreds of cardboard strewn about, he still won’t cuddle. But there is love in his eyes and he is a great guy, so I’ll give him that. We all have our demons that cause that oddity we seem to have no control over. Perhaps he got stuck in the birth canal or sat upon by his mother long before we met.

Needless to say, Max and I both are glad I’m home.

Nola Cigar1 - EditedBTW – I bought a cigar and smoked it practically to the nub. We were walking up Bourbon Street Friday night and for some reason the frequent whiff of cigar smoke, a scent I have never cared for, was now quite appealing. I have never smoked a cigar before, not even a puff, but without much deliberation, I turned into the next cigar shop I saw. Without consult, I decided that the panatela would be just right for me, and the young clerk, who had obviously dealt with my kind before, had no problem with my request for him to light it for me, and he lit me up with minimal but needed instruction in a totally non-condescending manner. My associate and I continued our trek up Bourbon Street as I enjoyed my cigar. It just seemed like the thing to do. Are you supposed to inhale?

One last thing. The next morning, yesterday in fact, I wondered what the hell I ate the night before that caused my tongue to be black. Scarily black. I had to brush my tongue at least three times before it returned to a somewhat normal color. I was reminded later of the cigar.

Alberto! More coffee please!

Not responsible for typos.

April 30, 2017 / thackersam


Three Christmas’ ago, I invested in an expensive laptop. A Sony that was the perfect size, had touch screen and lit keyboard. I got the lifetime Microsoft Office and security. I was going all out, but within the first six months the D popped off. I was not happy, and even more unhappy when I was told that I would lose the laptop for two to three weeks while it was sent off for repair. All was well after that, for a while. I loved my laptop. It was very portable and writer friendly. On weekends, it went with me wherever I went.

Then last summer, the screen started getting wonky. I could coerce to work, even treating it to kaleidoscope videos which seemed to give it a little boost of energy and provide a steady picture. I knew however, that eventually I would have to bring it back to the Geek Squad and lose it again for a couple of weeks. The warranty had long expired, but I was willing to sink in some more bucks to have it up and running again. Not to bore you with a pan of the Geek Squad, who treated me quite rudely by not even showing up for the scheduled appointment (in contrast, the people at Best Buy were really swell), and later informed me that the model had been discontinued and there were no parts to repair it.

So I searched Thumbtack and found a guy who had lovely reviews and said he was an authorized Sony repairman. Turns out he could not fix the problem and the only solution would add up to near $500. Again, I love my Sony laptop, but I surmised that more problems were in its future, and that was too high a price, so I paid him the $25 diagnostic fee and got back my laptop that now has no screen whatsoever. Andrew Silverstein, the so-called repairman killed it entirely without any warning that this could happen, with no acknowledgement that the screen, which had been wonky, was now kaput when he gave it back to me, and no apology. Fuck him and fuck Sony.

Luckily, I had the forethought to purchase a backup laptop and got a relatively inexpensive 15” Acer Chromebook that has come in very handy. I can do lots of things with it, including watching movies in bed, and have shared a fascinating video of birds for cats and people with Max, who doesn’t quite understand the whole deal and can only watch for a few minutes before getting frustrated. I last much longer.

But, the Chromebook, which I do like having, is a bit too heavy and big to lug around, and is not writer friendly, at least not for this writer. Plus I miss having a touch screen. The screen shows faint traces of my fingertips as I often forget that the Chromebook’s screen will not respond to my touch. I didn’t need perfect, and I didn’t need expensive, so I searched and researched which laptop would be best for my current needs. I would have to forego the lit keyboard, and thought I could go even a little smaller than my 12” Sony, and ordered an 11” Dell.

My first computer, which I still have only to play the best version of spider solitaire, and which really takes up too much space for the one purpose, is a Dell. My first laptop which I bought myself for my 50th birthday, is also a Dell, but it has too many limitations and is completely outdated. As much as I love my now useless Sony, I thought going back to old-reliable Dell would be my best bet.

My little Dell laptop arrived on Monday and I was getting it set up when it suddenly would go no further. I tried everything, even used my Chromebook to look up the manual, and then went to live chat for Solutions, which was a waste of time. I then had to call Dell and got an extremely patient person on the phone. Ana May and I were on the phone for over two hours trying all sorts of things, and forging ahead. Towards what should have been the end, the internet dies so I have to call Spectrum, the stupid new cable company and try to figure out what that guy was saying and not just because of his accent but because he’s a tech geek and was speaking too fast and making assumptions that everyone knows what he’s talking about. But he finally fixed it while the Ana May was still on the other line. And I was just considering cutting the landline because the cable bundle is running me now $164 a month, and I only need the phone in case I need to call or receive a call from my soon to be 91-year-old stepmother in Holland.

I am pissed that Dell would ship out a computer with issues as if nobody tested it out beforehand, but truly Ana May was great. I kind of miss her now after spending all that time together. Even the WiFi tech, who I had to keep yelling at that there was no number, each time he told me to click on the number on the screen, was extremely patient and polite. It amazes me with the abuse they must take on the phone by often rightfully angry customers, that they can remain so calm. It is a talent, and one that I don’t have. I’m not the worst, but I can get pretty testy when I am frustrated like I was Monday, however, I do warn people when I am getting cranky. Hats off to Ana May, and when I write to Dell to tell them how disappointed I am with them that they would ship out an ill-functioning laptop, I will sing Ana May’s praises.

So I now have a little 11″ Dell laptop that is as cute as a button and had its first outing today as Alberto poured my coffee. In fact, I now have a total of four laptops, so I have no excuses left. But I’m sure I’ll think of something.

April 23, 2017 / thackersam

The Slider Dilemma

Why is it, do you think, that badder is a word and gooder is not? I thought perhaps badder was just acceptable slang – but nope, there it is in the dictionary. It’s a legitimate word, as is baddest, but there is no gooder. If’ I am trying to be a good person, which I am already but need improvement, being better doesn’t seem to cover it. I need to be gooder. And best, for this discussion, cannot replace goodest.

And you know what that means? It means I have no conducive nor acceptable pieces of writing to post tonight. Some good stuff I don’t want to share and a couple of – nah, that’s kind of dumb – reactions when I look down at the page. So get ready to ramble.

I got a new notebook. It’s purple, not exactly a shade I like and it doesn’t go with my lavender pen (Reminder – I buy 10 packs of multi-colored Pilot G2 07 pens and have to use the lavender one sometime. Please keep that in mind if you ever see me writing with the pink one). But I’ve got near every color and shade of spiral notebook ever made, and this purple I don’t have. It’s also college-ruled, 100 sheets, 9X12, Staples’ finest at $2.79, which shows I no longer scrimp on my writing tools. In my scrimping days, I would wait for the after-school sales and buy five wide-ruled notebooks for $2. No more. I’m serious – as I write in my purple notebook with my lavender pen. Oh – and the cardboard cover is still so nice and stiff, and I’m only on the third page so, so I’m writing on a hard surface rather than a pile of paper.

Ever notice that I use dashes a lot? I think it’s because sometimes a comma won’t do, and I never understood the whole colon, semi-colon thing. Life would be less confusing if we eliminated the semi-colon altogether. Perhaps when my current need to be RallyWoman has come to fruition, and marijuana and prostitution are legalized (marijuana first, but think of how legalizing prostitution would benefit the economy, not to mention the prostitutes), I will start a campaign to abolish the semi-colon. Oh don’t – what about this issue or that me, I’m doing my part and by the time I reach my goals, I would be entitled to a little frivolous protesting.

Anyway, I’m going to a business conference with my lovely associate director soon and I want to at least lose the three extra pounds I put on rather than dropped, meaning that I now have 6 lbs I’d very much like to lose before I go. It’s doable if motivated and I swear I could feel the first pound sliding away. But then – I’m on this event committee at work and as I have some experience planning business events, kind of a lot of experience actually, I’m looked to to do much of the planning like site selection.

After my noon acupuncture session for my neuropathy the other day, I took a looksee at one of the venues we’re considering that happens to be in that area, a bar in FiDi called The Malt House. The young Irishman who had been showing me the digs started going over the menu of platters and hors d’oeuvres (I LOVE hors d’oeurvres!) causing my stomach to rumble. I begged him to stop, having not yet had my lunch. So, he fed me. Yes, I’m easy, and yes, I can be bought with free food. And this was mighty good. I chose to sit at the end of the bar near the kitchen that provided much elbow room, so not to take up a table during a the Friday lunch rush. It looks cooler, too.

The young Irishman would surprise me and soon a tall mound of salad adorned with very thin slices of whole pears was placed in front of me. It also contained pear julienne and chopped pistachio nuts, with a champagne dressing. Sound good, right? You may recall that I do not like fruit in my food. I like fruit – Alberto serves me my berries every weekend, as he did this morning, and I eat a few navel oranges during the week, but not in my salad, nor on my duck or in my alcoholic beverages.

Well, this salad got gobbled up in its entirety, and not just because I was hungry. I eyed the three pork tenderloin sliders I had waiting for me as I ate the salad. I could have one slider and bring the other two back, I mulled thinking of my extra poundage and my colleagues back at the office. But there were three people I would need to share them with, and I am not that nice of a person to be giving up mine. Was my associate still doing her Lent thing? Cause that would solve that problem, however as I tried to resolve my dilemma, the first slider, which was topped with an incredibly light onion ring and aioli was gone, and there was a bite taken out of the second. And then another bite. I soon realized that I could not bring just one slider back, and long story not as long as it could have been – I still have 6 lbs to lose. But we are now 99% sure we are going with this place.

BTW – I do not associate all men with this attitude, as I would hope I would not be associated with women like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and the bought and paid for woman who is currently costing New Yorkers millions, but a big thanks to the advertising industry that forced the rapist-mentalitied Bill O’Reilly off the air. Shame on him, shame on fox news for that attitude that women do not deserve equal pay, but hey, we’ll pay millions to our boys in hush money and severance, when they should all be in prison wearing nothing but assless chaps. Just sayin’. Here’s one for Hillary, buttwads.

And then there is Alberto, who takes very good care of me. I don’t know if he’s a good man or not, but he is the goodest waiter. The pictures – that’s Alberto delighting a table of three young women last week, and conversing with a little boy this morning.

Aside – I chose the Earth Day rally in Foley Square yesterday over the Science March yesterday. “Tens of thousands” attended the latter, and maybe about 200 were at the rally. I’ve attended rallies in the rain before, but for this one, either the organizers or the AV guys did not take the weather into consideration. Anybody think of maybe a bullhorn as a backup?

Update – Sunday morning weigh-in=5.5 lbs to go.

April 16, 2017 / thackersam


I’m getting that antsy feeling again. That feeling of going – going someplace new. Sooner rather than later. Oh, I’ve been wondering where I should go for a very long time, considering the options. The Netherlands is always an option, but it is the only one I’ve actually physically explored and during my last visit nearly a year and a half ago, it was ruled out. (For those who need a refresher, please refer to the accompanying picture, which is the Inner Selfie I took while there, and wrote about in November of 2015.)

I am kind of a homebody, though. I never had wanderlust, and have not been to many places. When I used to travel for business, I could say I’d been to Chicago and L.A., but as those trips for my job in conference management sometimes lasted up to 10 days of all work and no play, at their ends I just wanted to go home. I saw little of the cities I visited, but I did like D.C. and Boston and if I had a friend in either, and probably a job, they would be strong contenders. I also remember Colorado Springs as one of the most beautiful places with the nicest people, but that was from 30 years ago, and the only person I know there is Lt. Joe Kenda. They do seem to have had a lot of homicides there.

But getting back to the Holland idea, there are so many things weighing heavy on the pro side, particularly lately, as they rely heavily on wind power and seem to be the masters of it (I just read that their electric trains, and not of the Lionel variety, now run on wind power), and they put out the best video appealing to trump to make The Netherlands second, which I think we should honor based on their efforts alone. They also have really great fruits and vegetables, endive is so incredibly cheap, most people speak English, I can figure out the Euro, and am familiar with the modes of transportation. And there is this apartment sitting there empty of its resident, that I can live in. But, there is that one humongous con that flings all the pros up into the air on the seesaw of life. And that con, my step-mother, is what caused that face (again, please refer to the picture). If I go, she returns, and will be my roommate in HELL.

However, I think I’d like to stay in the States. I did say, long before the unbelievable happened, that if it did happen (as I thought there was a good possibility it would), I would have to stay and fight. I’m RallyWoman after all. I attended the Tax march yesterday and next week is the March for Science. Note to self: remember to get rally shoes, not so much for marching but for standing in one place for more than an hour.

But, where to go, I wonder. I live in the hub of the universe, an experience I would not trade for the world, and can honestly say that the past five years living in Manhattan have been my happiest years. I have to chuckle at that because in that time I’ve had cancer twice, lost my oldest, bestest friend suddenly, lost another old friend of ours just months before, and have that thing with my feet that has been progressing. There have also been some awful sorrows for people who are very dear to me. But I am no stranger to extreme suckiness and anyone who knows anything about my history knows that this is just par for the course. Still, my current living environment has been very satisfying. Plus, I live in a blue state in a city where we even liked our red mayor. Bloomberg, not Rudy. I may be done, though.

Where can I vent my frustration and do my part in a fight that we can win, practically at the drop of a hat. Should I go to a red state where the fight may be less frequent but perhaps more intense? Should I go to Berkeley, where I could become Rabble-Rousing RallyWoman? Maybe just somewhere mellow, or I could find myself a smaller (and by that I mean shorter), less expensive and a bit quieter city to love. I would really like to have my own yard. It wouldn’t have to be a big yard. It could be a small back patio where Max could sun himself and I could grow tomatoes and marigolds. Some forsythia maybe.

Oh but gosh darnit, I’m afraid I’ll be stuck in the wondering phase for a while until I prompt myself to start wandering. And being a homebody, well, you get the picture.

BTW – I just started acupuncture Friday for my neuropathy. I’ll let you know how it works.

A total aside – I think it should be mandated that every movie made from now on must include a David Bowie song.


April 9, 2017 / thackersam

Bell Bottoms and Pea Jackets

I didn’t know the girl that lived in the house behind ours. Actually, I had known her years before in school, but didn’t realize that her parents had moved there, where we hadn’t known the occupants since my brother and I were tykes. They were there a couple of years I think, before their daughter Monica came back to live with them, when she was no longer herself.

She was a bit of a tough girl when I met her back in our 8th grade English class. She didn’t hang with the popular girls or the cheerleader wannabes, she didn’t seem to want to. Believe it or not, I was kind of a dork. I mean, I was an individual, but was torn between being myself and being like everyone else, without having a freakin’ clue how to do either. Monica – she had long straight blond hair and always wore her pea jacket over her skirts. She complimented a dress I wore once, a stupid, florally pink thing with these poofy sleeves. She thought it was pretty. I assume I did too, back then. It was before I discovered that it was just easier to wear black. One time, when moccasins were all the rage, she laughed at me when I walked in to the classroom with the fringe on my brand new pair going all which way around my ankles. She got down on the floor and fixed them for me.

Another time, I was buying poster paints at the local art store and she, having tagged along with our mutual friend was leaning on the counter next to me. There were two small jars of paint missing. I had put them down on the counter to pay for them, but where could they be. The young sales clerk and I searched the counter for them when Monica produced them from the sleeves of her pea jacket, laughing that that was how she shoplifted. The clerk seemed to play along. She was a little intimidating. But likeable. It was hard to know how to react to her.

I didn’t see much of her in 9th grade though we were in the same gym class. I happened to have the first pair of hip-hugger bell-bottom pants in my junior high school, and I was getting more politically minded, so the dorkiness was shedding. In fact I wore the bell-bottoms on the day slated for the girls to rebel and wear pants in school to challenge the no-pants on girls rule. We won, though it may have been one of those concessions that was not that difficult for adults and authority to make. Besides, the girls in high school were already allowed to wear pants. But I took a chance as the majority of the girls, including my two closest friends then, did not. Perhaps that is when RallyWoman was born.

Monica sightings in high school were scarce, and early on when we were 14 and 15, my friends and I liked these older guys, more than five years older. We invited two over one night, and they came to my friend’s house really drunk, probably drug enhanced, with a barely mobile Monica in tow. For a nanosecond she recognized me. “It’s you,” she slurred at me before her eyes closed. I was jealous. I really liked one of these guys. I don’t remember seeing her again after that. Rumor, based strongly on the truth, was that she and her friend Sue had stolen a prescription pad from our mutual friend’s psychiatrist father’s home office, and had gotten into a really bad accident in a stolen car. Sue was pretty banged up, but Monica was in bad shape.

The people who had moved into the property angled behind ours, were psychologists we learned, and we new there were a couple of teens, as we could hear them in their pool. Then came the animalistic noises, and I could see through the tall, wooden fence that had been erected long ago by previous homeowners, that a long, zig-zagged ramp had been built. At some point in time, I found out the noises were from Monica and the ramp was for her. Sue had talked about what she and Monica were going to do when she got better, but Monica was not going to get better, and her coming back home didn’t mean she was coming back. She was gone.

I don’t know how long she lasted in her vegetative state, but I believe she outlasted both of the guys with whom she came to my friend’s house. One had walked in front of a train and the other had gotten in such a bad car accident that he had to spend months in a body cast and after a long recovery, choked to death after when he passed out without his necessary neck brace. Well, that was the story, which is plausible as the last I saw of him in a bar, down to a partial body cast, he looked like he hadn’t learned any lessons from his situation. But both deaths were caused by severe drug and alcohol abuse. And I assume Monica’s too.

I thought of Monica yesterday. I had passed a woman pushing a young woman, possibly a teenage girl with long hair and a deep inward stare in a wheelchair. Sad, whatever the reason. And sad for Monica. I liked her. She was really quite different, but one has to wonder how the daughter of psychologists, growing up in the suburbs with a darned good school system, wound up as she did, as a cautionary tale.

BTW – Tonight’s post was not going to be another political rant, nor was it going to be about this ancient of my history. I had written about the Ex and how he’s changed, blah, blah, blah, yet he still has these issues with women, blaming them for everything… but I can write about him anytime. I do however still want to mention that we saw the movie The Zookeeper’s Wife when we got together this past Wednesday, and I highly recommend it. I don’t understand the criticism I’ve heard, that it’s too much about this couple (that would be the zookeeper and his wife) and not enough about the Holocaust. I found it to be a lesson in kindness and how we should help one another, a lesson that should be open to all factions and events, and something we should remember always.

April 2, 2017 / thackersam

Blow Away Dandelion

I can’t blame Bill O’Reilly for being distracted by his own shallowness. I too find it hard to listen to those I disagree with. I’m not however, an old crotchety, sexist bigot, with an overblown ego fueled by the idiocy of others, but I have had many a shallow moment myself. I am in good company with those who can’t get past the McConnell mutant neck, and when I look at Ryan, I can’t help but think he might be a good-looking fellow if not for that enormous nose. The ugliness of the current president has always been there and when I set eyes on him the very first time decades ago, I deemed him to be the epitome of “the ugly American.” And he just keeps getting more hideous. His creepy kids require full access to a variety of stylists and his third wife who is sucking New Yorkers dry, has a voice so irritating I wouldn’t have blamed God if s/he struck her down after she said “Let us pray,” before reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a rally a month after the inauguration, based on voice alone and not just the hypocrisy. But she does have a voice, mind you, and any momentary pity I felt for her, and I did, for a moment, is long gone. These are not attractive people.

Kelly Anne’s spackled on make-up is less of a distraction for me as it just adds to the amusing ridiculousness of the words that come out of her mouth. I will admit that she does bring the humor to this whole situation for me. But that bannon guy, holy moly, what a freakin’ ick-face, totally. I can’t listen to him, nor look at him. I actually do not know what he sounds like. So while we shouldn’t back off O’Reilly for his idiotic remarks and offensive demeanor, we should understand his limitation as an unevolved person that is a beacon to those that are threatened by evolution, and by truly intelligent people they like to consider beneath them. His comments were not inappropriate for him. Quite the contrary.

BTW – Or, in other news this week, I was rather dismayed that Crayola has decided to discontinue the lovely yellow-colored crayon that we all know as “dandelion,” in favor of a shade of blue. Well, it just better be a special blue! Dammit. So of course I had “Dandelion” by the Rolling Stones going through my head, but was singing it as “go away dandelion.” But “blow away dandelion” fits with my wishful thinking as Hillary is out and about, talking and inspiring, and looking refreshed and recharged. And that started Springsteen’s “Kitty’s Back” playing in my head. Kitty was not a woman to be messed with.

As I press Publish, I am about to re-watch last week’s episode of Big Little Lies, which I am just loving. I do have my theories about tonight’s finale, but only one that I’ve bet money on with Cousin Bratty. This is right up my alley. No, they’re not giving a lot of clues about the murder, but they really are. I still can’t predict the end though. Along with everything that is intriguing about this series is the soundtrack and the choice of songs from several decades. Hearing Grace Slick’s vocals alone on “White Rabbit” in one episode reminded me of what a powerful a voice she had. But when they ended another episode with Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Ball and Chain, I just went into another world listening to Janis Joplin belting it out and feeling oh so very lucky that I was around when she was. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I wonder if Bill O’Reilly had a hard time listening to her in the sixties based on her appearance.

March 26, 2017 / thackersam

Interpretation: Triumph

I bitch about it a lot, even though I don’t often write about work, but I actually kind of like what I do. And I’m good at it. I just don’t get the recognition I deserve, which fit in nicely with last week’s post. Since then our stats are now 15 percentage points higher than last year, without asterisks, and could, by some remote chance reach 90%, considering that we are in the dwindling aftermath. My team and my skills were very instrumental in these nifty results. I am boasting, and I am pumped. It’s a good feeling.

A few weeks before the results came in the Friday before last, I had registered for an AMA symposium that I thought may be interesting and educational. It was free to AMA members and being that I am a member through the medical school for which I work, as they are a good source of information, I thought what the heck. Yeah, I am an AMA member. So, this Thursday evening, with a certain amount of spunk from our most-excellent stats, I went uptown to the meeting and took a seat in the back of the room. There was a lovely spread, no coffee though, and I partook of the pre-symposium reception, eating mostly, but I did chat a bit with a couple of women from supporting organizations. I’m not a schmoozer, and really not good at small talk, but you’d be proud. It was a small group considering it’s the AMA, I’d say about 75 attendees, and specific to the field I am in. However, I was the only one there of my ilk, yet I did not feel out of place. In fact, I, who would rather not speak publicly, thank you very much, even stood up and asked a question, thus alerting others to my presence, though that was not my intent.

The meeting ended half an hour late, and we didn’t even get to the last topic. After the keynote speaker, who addressed working within the new administration given immigration restrictions and the healthcare bill, it was the third topic that most, including me, were there for, as it turned out, and which took a great deal longer than planned. But it finally ended and I got only as far as circling 5 for excellent for the first question on the evaluation form when I heard a woman seated next to me ask if she could ask me a question. Turns out she’s one of my students. I’m not a teacher, nor a physician, I’m primarily a writer, but she, and the five others I found standing over me in the aisle waiting to talk to me, had reached the stage in their educations during which my name is bandied about. I became Ms. Popularity that night, and was even approached by the chair of the AMA coalition that organized the meeting after I eventually shooed the students away.

I left feeling jazzed and woke up the next morning feeling the same way. In fact, the mirror reminded me that confidence and acknowledgement are very attractive qualities, and, even through my fuzzy eyesight, I thought I looked pretty.

BTW – Both I and the AMA are pleased by the outcome, or non-come, of Friday’s events and hope that all involved suffered humiliations galore from their failure. I just had myself a very nice week.

March 19, 2017 / thackersam

Passionate Kisses

The women’s bathroom where I work has five poorly designed and poorly maintained sinks. The one closest to the door provides an ample supply of water with which to wash our hands, but of the other four, one offers a spray lasting no more than one Mississippi and there is the one that is missing its sippi altogether. The problem exasperates when one has to coordinate water and soap. “Is it too much to ask for soap AND water,” said the colleague with whom I was bitching about the situation. This of course prompted me to burst out in song, after a query into her knowledge of the song “Passionate Kisses,” of which she had none. We’ve actually shared barbs after too much wine at an event, so if she thinks I’m nuts, it’s all good.

I know I write about a particular song ad nauseam at times, like I did with “Smooth” months back, but I swear that songwriter Lucinda Williams and I must be kindred spirits. We share the need to be granted the simple things in life, comforts more than necessities, like pens that won’t run out of ink, that are perfectly reasonable requests, topped off by those passionate kisses. She wrote the song in the late 80s, which was a Grammy winning single for her and Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1993, and is included on Carpenter’s album Come On Come On. And now that I have the album on CD, as my tape deck destroyed my cassette version my Sunday workout is now a one hour and 22 minute compilation of voice, aerobics, yoga stuff, weights and stretching. Weeknight workouts are still 40-55 minutes, but “Passionate Kisses” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” are included every time, and I no longer care if the neighbors hear me belting them out at the top of my lungs.

When I bought the CD at the Upper West Side Housing Works, the cashier told me she had recently seen Mary Chapin Carpenter and the perfectly voiced Joan Baez in concert. Neat. And speaking, or writing, of Housing Works, I discovered that my trip to Brooklyn Heights yesterday could only be three quarters completed because the shop across from my favorite Chinese vegetarian restaurant had closed just days before due to a “mutual agreement” with the landlord. Darn it. Still, I got what I needed at Trader Joe’s and PetSmart, and had a lovely lunch.

And now, circling back to the workplace, on Friday we got results that my department is responsible for, so I am repeatedly told, that were 13 percentage points higher than last year, and is a real good number even without the tweaking of the wording to give it a boost. And it is an important figure. So, shouldn’t I have a substantial raise and bonus? Shouldn’t I have this?

As I write, Alberto is keeping my coffee cup filled, has brought me my usual, with all my particulars that have evolved over that past couple of years: salad instead of potatoes with a bottle of vinegar on the side; dry whole wheat toast, which is not as bad as it sounds; and a bowl of mixed berries rather than the regular fruit cup, because long ago I mistakenly called it berries while ordering and he’s made it special for me ever since. Shouldn’t I have this? Alberto makes sure I do, and while I do not require passionate kisses from him, his dahlings and sweethearts will suffice until someone with whom I’d like to share passionate kisses shows up. I’m not dead yet, you know. But the concept of “food to fill me up,” as asked for in the song, is my right, it’s the right of our elderly and incapacitated citizens, at least, and of poor school children who need sustenance to learn and survive. It’s not too much to ask for. So why do those who do want and already have too much, way way too much, want to deny them. That’s not very nice. 

BTW – Thanks to Chuck Berry, for all he did for the music world. And, while I’m bidding farewell, I’d like to give a shout out to Judge Wapner, who provided me with a pathway of interest into our legal system. 

March 12, 2017 / thackersam

Sally Ride & Molly Kool

I must have been in my early-twenties the first time I saw Sally Ride. Her strides were long as she walked alongside her fellow astronauts, all cameras focused on her. She was a striking figure in her flight suit, looking confident and cool, with an acknowledging smile that showed a combination of humility, amusement and “yes, I am very qualified for this job.” She was chosen out of a handful of female astronauts to go up into space. Every news program showed the same thing with the footage of her walking outside at NASA amongst the aircraft. They all slowed it down to the pace of “Mustang Sally,” not the whole song of course, just the chorus that goes “Ride, Sally Ride.” Sally Ride oozed cool. And she was going to be the first American woman in space. The two female Russian cosmonauts that beat her made her third in the world, but she went first in 1983 and then again a year later, and helped develop a robot arm (“cause that’s all you need”).

After NASA, Dr. Ride, physicist, went on to be a college professor and started a program to promote enthusiasm for the sciences to students, particularly girls. She was a proponent of NASA to the end. I was saddened and surprised when I heard of her death at the age of 61 in 2012, as I could swear I had just seen her speaking on behalf of the space program not long before and I didn’t know she was sick. She appeared as she always had, professional, committed and unflappable. Sally Ride deserves all the accolades that were bestowed upon her. She is truly an inspiration for women and should not be forgotten.

Now, Molly Kool, well I didn’t hear of her until about a week after her death at the age of 93 in 2009 when the New York Times printed her obituary.  I couldn’t help but notice the name, speaking of cool. Molly Kool was the first female North American licensed ship captain, earning her license in 1939. The daughter of a sailor, it was in her blood, and when she inherited her father’s cargo scow, she was determined to be its captain, and licensed. She was the scow’s captain through the mid-1940s, and although Canadian, she settled down in Maine, where, six decades later, she passed away two days after her birthday.

Both Sally Ride and Molly Kool are icons that faced obstacles in their chosen fields based on their sex, and both have really cool names.

BTW – I love Cher. Always have, always will. Just sayin’. No reason.