Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ten Post-Election Pursuits for Donald Trump

Warning: This is a political post, sort of. I will not feel bad if you decide not to read further. I feel your agony, your anguish, your annoyance at the insanely drawn out contest culminating in a Presidential election. Americans also have the opportunity to vote for candidates vying for numerous down ballot offices: every member of the U.S. House of Representatives, one-third of the Senators, and various state and local positions. Finally, when the entire event is over, what we are all praying for will hopefully occur – a (temporary) reprieve from 24/7 political tirades. Most likely wishful thinking, but I am an optimist. I predict journalists, pundits and talking heads of all stripes, from the alt-right to the far left and everyone in between, will take time off for a few days, giving the rest of America a much-needed media vacation.

What I wish to discuss is not the pre-election hype, but life post-election.

The Big Question: What will The Donald do?

Speculation has begun, and I am jumping in with my:

Ten Possible Post-Election Pursuits for Donald Trump
 In no particular order:

* Fed up with campaigning and the public, Trump becomes a hermit, following the example of a past wealthy offbeat recluse, Howard Hughes. Trump never appears on a news program, talk show, radio broadcast, TV show, or any public media platform again. No longer subject to his rants and tweets, a collective sigh of relief is heard throughout the land.  

The Current Miss'd America
Drag Queen Mimi Imhurst
a.k.a. Braden Chapman
* Forming a band with sidekicks Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and Roger Ailes providing backup, The Donald and Defenders are a conservative sensation. Their first major gig is the NRA national convention, April 2017, in Atlanta, GA. The group is also angling for a prime-time TV spot on the Miss America pageant in September 2017, followed by a performance at the Miss’d America contest sponsored by the Greater Atlantic City LGBT Alliance.

* Trump, unable to exit the limelight, fashions a media empire (a plan previously mentioned by astute observers).

* Trump begins divorce proceedings against wife #3, Melania. At the same time Melania files for divorce, then writes a tell-all book. To help jump-start her story, here is a list of ghostwriters. Or Melania can ask Michelle Obama who will be ghostwriting her FLOTUS book. Meanwhile Trump’s time is consumed seeking wife #4, his sexual exploits splashed all over the tabloids.

* Trump spends the first months of his newfound freedom dictating his account of the 2016 Presidential campaign, and then outsources (to India) production of the book, TV show, and movie versions.

* Enjoying campaigning so much, Trump again pursues political office, challenging Bill de Blasio for the job of mayor of New York City in 2017.

* The first six months post-election Trump remains in seclusion, no one sure where he is or what he is doing, eventually emerging unrecognizable from a luxury spa, flanked by a bevy of beautiful broads. He considers competing in one of the physically challenging reality TV shows such as Survivor or The Amazing Race, but decides against it. Instead he buys the shows.

* Trump moves to Russia. Putin allows Trump and his entourage to live in one of the old palatial residences attached to the Kremlin.

* Trump resurrects his brand, licensing his name to hotels, restaurants, furniture, clothing, and accessories, becoming the best radio and TV huckster ever, hawking goods in a never-ending series of commercials and infomercials on FOX networks to die-hard supporters.

* Trump buys H&R Block and becomes their #1 tax consultant.

What do YOU think Trump’s next move will be?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Autumn Respite

Fall is a time of transformation. Leaves change color and for a short time enchant, then abruptly drop and cover the ground. Temperatures vary widely, one day warm and sunny followed by cold, wet, gray days. Daylight diminishes. I awake in darkness and dusk swoops in earlier every evening.

Our bikes patiently waited for us over the long spring, summer and fall, standing in a corner of the garage, dusty, confused and anxious for action. Where were riders? We have been negligent this summer and fall, ignoring perfect weather as life interrupts.

A couple of unusually warm - 80 degrees - days beckoned hub and I outdoors and away from everyday distractions. We walked along the boardwalk one day and cycled farther afield the second day. Here are some pictures of our autumn respite.

The fishing pier - and the Atlantic Ocean. 
Our town beach.
(Dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer, and officially
any time. But off-season dogs rule!)
The Boardwalk, perfect for walking, cycling,
or simply sitting and enjoying the beautiful day.
And of course the best part of a day outdoors - ice cream!
Non-fat - both the ice cream and the hot fudge.
 I don't want to know what is in the concoction. It tastes wonderful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Woman in the Polka Dot Dress

My mother-in-law, Irene Baer, passed on Monday, October 10. She was 90 years old and one helluva feisty lady. This is one of my favorite stories about her, edited from a 2011 blog post.

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd demonstrating against the Vietnam War at Kent State University, four people killed and nine wounded. Controversy surrounds the exact sequence of events. What is not questioned is the impact that episode had on our country.

The college I attended hugged the Hudson River in upstate New York, and the town rose steeply up a hill where a university sprawled across the top.  My girlfriends and I sometimes dated the university students, attended concerts and sports games, and visited a particular dorm where my girlfriend’s brother and his friends resided.

One warm spring afternoon a few days after Kent State, ROTC took over the university's football field for year-end events. ROTC – Reserve Officer Training Corps – had become a controversial group as anti-war sentiment spilled over onto college campuses.

My girlfriends and I were invited to watch the ROTC ceremony; a friend was leading the parade. We decided to watch the events from a knoll overlooking the football stadium. Three of us settled down on a grassy area.

Soon anti-war demonstrators surrounded us.

ROTC activities began on the field below, the band playing, people marching, speeches given. The protesters ramped up their demonstration, chanting anti-war slogans and waving placards. It was all very civilized, non-threatening yet dramatic.

Suddenly a slim woman, about five feet two or three inches tall, dressed in a sleeveless white dress punctuated with large colored polka-dots, appeared. Grabbing a placard from one of the demonstrators, she began beating him on the head with it, shouting, “if you don’t like things move to Canada” – or something like that. 

The demonstrators, most days conservative, clean-shaven, short-haired, neatly dressed kids, well-behaved and non-threatening (future engineers), suddenly froze, silent, staring at the spectacle. 

The woman stopped after a few minutes and stalked off. Who was that crazy lady? 

The events on the hill went unnoticed by the folks on the field. The ceremonies continued, events concluded, and we walked over to the dorm to meet our friends, immediately launching into a detailed account about the peculiar woman who disrupted the anti-war demonstration. 

In the middle of our narrative several people entered the room. My friends and I stared, open-mouthed and unbelieving.

Standing in front of us was the Woman in the Polka Dot Dress, the crazy lady of head-bashing fame. 

A couple of years later, in a ceremony presided over by a rabbi and witnessed by 120 people, the Woman in the Polka Dot Dress became my mother-in-law.
Irene Baer
January 6, 1926-October 10, 2016
(she loved hats)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Toilet Talk

What would every homeowner or renter, house dweller, cleaner, maid, housekeeper, and servant desire to make cleaning tasks easier?

An article tucked into a corner of this week’s Sunday paper introduced me to a household necessity with a twist most of us would love in our homes.

A self-cleaning toilet.

The price: $695. Not a fortune, but not exactly an impulse buy.

Not a self-cleaning model.
I have not purchased a toilet in a few years and had no plans to buy one in the near future, but the article caught my attention. I decided to compare prices of the self-cleaning toilet with a non-self-cleaning one; the kind of commode found in most bathrooms.

I am becoming my mother when it comes to buying stuff. When contemplating the purchase of an item nowadays the cost seems outrageously expensive. I know about inflation and new models and state-of-the-art technology and materials, but…

Surfing the net I discovered new toilets (would not consider a used one, although available online) range from just over $100 for a basic working model (I assume all new toilets function properly, flushing easily every time) to toilets in the five figures.

One design – advertised as a throne (what else would you call a toilet selling for an outrageous sum of money?) - priced at $15,817.50.

That is NOT a misprint. I immediately scrolled past the throne.

Less pricey models displayed on the screen. A toilet and washlet unit with metallic stick remote cost $5,746.40.

My eye stalled on the ‘remote’ part. A toilet with a remote control? My first thought was: what happens when on the throne, business finished, it is time to flush and the remote is nowhere within reach?

I don’t know about your house, but in mine remotes end up all over the place. And I have a small house.

Viewing the item on YouTube, I stared at the remote. It looked like a computer, with lots of flashing lights and a number of keys. How many choices are needed to flush a toilet? There were more than two flush options, plus additional keys.

The remote appeared larger than TV remotes, but small enough to be carried by anyone. That poses a problem, especially if kids of any age, or all ages, live in or visit the house. I foresee a lost remote resulting in an unusable toilet, at least until a replacement remote is purchased. Maybe the owner should always have an extra in case of emergency…

I know what a toilet is, and what a remote is, but admit my ignorance of the term washlet before researching this article. I learned a washlet is a toilet seat with a bidet. Push one of the keys on the remote and streams of water hit the user's backside. I used a bidet once, years ago when traveling overseas. Now the two - toilet and bidet - are available in one unit. The wonders of modern technology!

The manufacturer of this unique item (in case you are interested)? Toto, a Japanese company and the largest toilet manufacturer in the world . All models do not cost upwards of $5,000. Some advertised for as little as $2,000.

Therefore my shock at a $600 toilet proved premature.

The idea of a self-cleaning toilet intrigued me. I went online to check reviews. Unfortunately we do not have a Consumer Reports subscription, so could not read the magazine’s reviews. I found product reviews on other websites, but nothing about the self-cleaning model.

Suddenly my bladder urgently requested a potty visit. I decided enough is enough. It was time to move on and forego the purchase of an elegant, expensive, self-cleaning throne. My current one works fine. I guess I will continue cleaning it myself.  

No more toilet talk today.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Car, Car, C-A-R

The car has become... an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete.
                     ~Marshall McLuhan, 1964

America’s love affair with the car stretches back to the moment the first Model T Ford rolled off the Detroit assembly line on October 1, 1908. Gas and electric cars were initially developed in France and Germany, but Americans adopted the automobile and made it theirs.

America’s wide-open spaces begged for a low-cost, convenient means of transportation. Trains did not reach everywhere. Horse-and-buggies were slow, uncomfortable and tedious.

Cars changed the face of America and Americans fell in love with their cars. I am going to take a leap and say most car lovers are male. I owned a couple of cars I liked, specifically a red Saturn and a red PT Cruiser. But I do not love cars. Hub gets mad at me when car shopping, asking, “What kind of car do you want?” My response: “A reliable one. With great gas mileage,” not caring about things like horsepower, engine size, emissions, wheels, weight, etc. We replaced cars when the eight- or ten-year-old vehicle constantly broke down, almost nickel and diming us to the poor house.

The Model T was not the first vehicle aimed at the growing middle class, but Henry Ford combined state-of-the-art design and reasonable pricing to produce a “car for the great  multitude”The first Model T sold for $825, about $20,448 in 2016 dollars

As Ford improved the manufacturing process the price dropped. By the time the last Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1927 a car cost $290 (only $3,875 in 2016 dollars). Over 15 million Model T's sold from 1908 through 1927.

The average American could seriously think about buying a car. Commuting to work, taking Sunday drives with the family, going on vacation; “motor touring” changed the country’s work and play habits. Despite the fact that cars broke down frequently, we bought them, drove them, pampered them, took pictures in, on and around them. Cars starred in songs, artwork, ads – everywhere.

But today America’s love affair with the car is changing. I grew up a suburban kid, and the car transported us everywhere. Today hub and I live in a walkable and bikeable community and love it.

I marvel at the SUVs and other mega cars maneuvering congested highways, parked at malls, sitting at traffic lights, standing in long lines to pick up kids at school. Cars will always be an integral part of America’s lifestyle.

However I am happy thrilled to be part of a growing minority of Americans getting reacquainted with mass transit, bicycles, and their own two feet. We will (hopefully) transform the landscape of the nation once again. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Surviving the Presidential Debate

As if the long, drawn out, excruciatingly painful Presidential campaign could not get worse, the American public will soon suffer experience 90 minutes of babble - the First Debate of the 2016 campaign.

The two candidates face off Monday night, September 26. I am not looking forward to the occasion, but will reluctantly watch. I do not want to miss whatever happens. It might be boring, it may produce quotes or pictures that will go down in history (positively or negatively), perhaps capture evil looks from the candidates, result in captivating dialogue, bitter verbal exchanges, or an incident no one can imagine beforehand.

Who wants to miss The Donald vs. She Who Would Be Our First Female President?

It will be difficult sitting through the entire spectacle. To make it more palatable, here are a few ideas to survive sanely.

Begin the following preparations a couple of hours before the debate begins:

Purchase a box of expensive chocolates.

Stock your freezer with your favorite ice cream.

Dress for the occasion in a comfortable ensemble – PJs, sweats, anything goes.

Fully charge electronic devices - phone, computer, iPad, etc.

Buy noisemakers. You might decide to support your candidate, or heckle the opposition.

Cook your favorite comfort dish, or order a preferred cuisine – Chinese, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican – what a gastronomically diverse country we live in!

Collect items above and place within easy reach of your most comfortable chair.

Take a pill.

Pour a glass of your favorite wine, beer, or other libation.

Immediately before the debate begins:

Settle into your comfy chair.

Close your eyes, try to relax, take several deep breaths, breathe slowly in and out.

Turn on the TV; any channel. Almost every one plans to televise the debate.

If lucky you will fall asleep before the debate ends (or before it begins at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time), in which case everything missed can be seen and heard on multiple TV stations, the internet, newspapers, Twitter and all other social media outlets immediately after the debate as well as days, weeks, months and forever after.

If really smart you may skip the debate altogether and enjoy whatever activity you would do if not watching the debates.

And still indulge in the ice cream, chocolate, wine, and food. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Best of Boomers Travel into Fall

A vision of the season:
Baby's (a.k.a. my granddaughter's) first fall.
Festivals fill the fall calendar, and hub and I spent a day wandering our town’s Funfest. Saturday’s wet weather kept people indoors, but Sunday’s warm, sunny sky lured crowds outdoors. A variety of activities amused the crowd. Craft vendors sold wares, local businesses promoted products, charities publicized their causes, bands provided music, food stands nourished the hungry, a dog show offered an opportunity for proud owners to show off their best friends, and rides, games and hands-on activities entertained the kids.

Laura Lee Carter of The Adventures of the New Old Farts also had a great time this weekend enjoying the fall colors and some fabulous Celtic music this week at the Spanish Peaks Celtic International Music Festival! Come share in the fun!

Carol Cassara also had travel on her mind this week. When it comes to travel, it's necessary to give up any illusion of control. Over at Heart Mind Soul, Carol Cassara describes her latest travel follies 

Everyone likes to save money when they travel--Carol shares her tried and true budget travel ideas here.

Tom Sightings of Sightings at Sixty is staying home for the next month. Deferring full-time retirement, Tom explains why he remains a Man at Work.

This week on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about what to do if you were one of the 500 million Yahoo users whose accounts were hacked. The account information stolen includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, some passwords and, in some cases, security questions and answers. Credit card and bank account information, which is stored in a different system, wasn’t stolen, Yahoo said.

Wherever you may wander this week, take a few minutes to check out our boomers. They love to hear from you. 
Another vision of the season and
a fall ritual for the youngest generation -
riding to school, or in this case,
riding to the bus stop.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Unfolds

I did not realize September 22 is the first day of fall, or autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere). The word fall stems from Germanic origins. The French contributed the word autumn via Etruscan and Latin words. Whatever you call the season that follows summer (Germanic origin), it crept up on me this year.

The American colonies used the term fall, commonly used in England. When the colonies declared their independence, some patriots widened their vocabulary and, as a protest against the mother country, adopted the term autumn. Not really, but it makes a good story…

Fall arrives every year at the same time. No surprises, no pre-announcements or preparations necessary. I suppose I was not paying attention. That happens at times when in retirement mode.

One reason I was unaware of the arrival of the momentous event is because I made a calculated effort to minimize listening to the news, watching news, and perusing social media. Although the entire world will not vote in the Presidential election on November 8, and other happenings occur around the world, you would not know it from casually listening to the radio, watching TV, scanning the Internet, talking to acquaintances, or accessing other means of communication. What do you think the inhabitants of planets in far-off galaxies think of the Presidential media circus? Great entertainment and puzzlement, for sure.

No matter what else happens, seasons come and go. The season leading to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December madness beckons. The days grow shorter. A chill in the air warns of summer’s end. Stores publicize hiring plans for the holidays. Restaurants announce seasonal closings or reduced hours. The pharmacy down the block no longer boasts 24/7 hours.

My garden begs for attention. I think about fall plantings and seasonal cuttings, but an action plan remains elusive.

The air conditioner no longer runs. A hot summer generated sky-high electric bills. Low utility bills, at least temporarily, will be welcomed. I can dream about spending those extra dollars.

The best part of the season (for me) is trading skimpy summer clothes for additional coverage.

Organizations ratchet up activities. Meetings and social events begin filling the calendar. New episodes of favorite TV shows air and new shows launch so we can enjoy hours of mindless entertainment.

Fall, or autumn if you prefer, is time to prepare for colder temperatures, more time spent indoors, and longer nights.

It is time to take a favorite blanket out of storage and install it on my comfy chair, bring sweaters and pants out of storage and pack up summer clothes. A shopping trip will stock shelves with items ignored over the summer but soon desired, like hot chocolate and hot cereal. And it is time to think about cooking a luscious-smelling pot of soup.

Summer fades to fall and treads lightly into the cold, dark winter season. Whatever happens after Election Day November 8, winter arrives December 21.

Some things never change. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Where in the World Would I Go?

I usually pass over the countless quizzes confronting me as I peruse Facebook, but one quiz recently caught my eye.

Titled If Trump is Elected, Where Should You Move?, the nineteen questions narrow down the 150+ countries in the world to the one that suits an individual perfectly.

The questions do not cover what I consider important considerations like climate, cost of living, or whether or not a person speaks the language, but include a variety of philosophical and political concerns, such as diversity and government intervention.

Where, according to the survey, should I move should Trump be elected President?


Not a bad choice, although I have not visited the country. It is on my bucket list. I speak a little Spanish. I love the food. I can order meals at a restaurant, buy food in a grocery store, and ask directions. I may not understand the directions given, but with immersion in the country and language that might come eventually too.

Hub took the quiz also. The country recommended for him after January, 2017, should Trump be elected President?


Hub faces a number of problems with Japan. He does not speak one word of Japanese. The cost of living is high. He is not fond of sitting or lying on the floor, and when he gets down, has trouble getting up again. He likes Japanese food, but doubts he will enjoy the cuisine three meals a day, everyday.

Should we become ex-pats we will not see our families frequently, but mine will probably visit and stay a while, knowing how fond they are of Trump.

If hub moves to Japan and I relocate to Spain, we will not see each other very often since the countries are on opposite sides of the world. Transportation costs would be exorbitant.

I invited him to move to Spain with me, and he is considering the possibility. He may not be as happy as if he ventured to Japan, but we would be together. The cost of living is reasonable and the climate, food, and accommodations probably to our liking.

I am not sure we would sell our house or rent it while gone. Who knows what will happen by 2020? We might want to return home and celebrate, or not, depending how much damage four Trump years does to the country.

Should you wish to contemplate alternative places to live after November 8, the quiz is here.

Meanwhile I am going to begin brushing up on my Spanish.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Our Waitress Scored a D

Hub and I spent a day driving around town on errands, eventually finding ourselves near a favorite eatery. Our stomachs demanded food, and it was lunchtime.

Quickly seated and handed menus, the waitress inquired about drinks. We requested water.

Waiting patiently for our thirst-quencher, we perused the menu and decided what to order. We waited, continued to wait…and waited. Twenty minutes later, no water. Another waitress passed our table and we mentioned our liquid deficit.

Eventually our waitress returned, waterless and breathless, “I was busy serving other customers and then the phone rang. Sorry.” Again we requested water.

About five minutes later two glasses of water materialized. Before the girl disappeared again we ordered lunch.

Our meal showed up in a reasonable period of time. The food was delicious and portions huge, and I could not finish my taco salad. When the waitress stopped by to ask about dessert, we declined and asked for the check.

The bill arrived, not exactly in a timely manner. Hub perused it carefully, a longstanding habit, furrowed his brows and said, “How much was my fish burrito? Do you remember?”

“Nine dollars, I think,” I answered.

“That’s what I thought. It says here $12.”

“Maybe she charged for the platter, and not just the burrito.”

We patiently awaited the waitress’s return, but she was otherwise occupied. Possibly busy in the kitchen, but my guess is on a break, probably behind the building eating or smoking.

One smoke or sandwich later the waitress reappeared, but ignored us. Finally hub caught her eye across the room.

She walked over and hub said, “I thought my meal was $9.”

“Oh, well,” she began, obviously annoyed, “the menu is wrong. The burrito pescado, the fish burrito, is the same price as the shrimp burrito, $11.50. I am supposed to tell customers that, but I forgot to tell you.”

“That is not my problem,” hub states, “the menu says the cost is $9.”

Grabbing the check, she stalks off. A few minutes later she returns and plunks the revised check on the table. Hub inspects it, takes out his wallet and places cash on the table.

Our waitress returns for the last time. A scowl adorning her face, she snatches the cash, turns to leave, grabs two lollipops sitting on the edge of the table and stomps off.

“Did you see that?” I said, amused but also irritated, “I hadn’t noticed the lollipops and don’t want them, but to take them away because she is pissed at us…”

Exiting the restaurant I smile at the waitress, now behind the cash register. She turns her back to me.
Not our waitress,
but a close likeness
Hub shakes his head, “She didn’t even redo the bill right. She took $2.50 off the total, but I wasn’t going to argue. And I left a decent tip.”

“She doesn’t deserve it.”

“I know…I don’t think she’s going to last long at the restaurant." We laugh and hurry off, ready to move on.