Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back porch politickin'

During my years (decades) as a journalist, I could never be publicly involved in politics. That was a no-no in the newsroom: no-no to yard signs, no-no to candidate contributions, no-no to bumper stickers. Even though I never covered politics or hard news of any kind, it would be too easy for readers to call me out for interviewing too many Democrats, even on the subject of low-maintenance gardening. (And, believe me, they would. In this town, we had to give equal time to both high schools - on stories as innocuous as trendy senior pictures - or suffer some disgruntled parent's wrath.)
So, it was especially fun this weekend to attend my first real grassroots political fundraiser - with people from both sides of the party line - for a guy we hope and pray will become the next governor of Kansas. It was a rousing, old-fashioned affair including stump speeches from the hometown boy candidate (whose mother taught both of my kids) and his running mate. It felt great to be a participant and not just an observer from afar.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My work here is done.

     Last night, after enjoying a lovely dinner with two high school pals - one from Milan; the other from Portland - I bumped into a couple of local friends who were enjoying a glass of wine on the restaurant's patio. They invited me to sit and chat. In the midst of our conversation, another party got up to leave and one of the women approached me. "Are you that columnist from the Sunday newspaper?" she asked, slightly giddy from the wine. "I used to be," I replied. "I've been waiting years to thank you," she said. "Because of your column, I decided to start watching 'Mad Men' and fell in love with Don Draper. My friends had told me about the show but it wasn't until your story that I decided to check it out. I just can't thank you enough."
    This is the column she was talking about that I had completely forgotten. (Obviously, I was a tad smitten.)
    In my youth, I dreamed I'd have a career that could make a real difference in this world.  Hey, it's not world peace or a cure for cancer, but I made one woman happy. And, that will have to do... for today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

They're back....

Photo from the Lawrence Journal-World, my former employer
My sleepy little summer burg turns into a riotous college town once again this week, as thousands of students move into their dorms (five of which are a block-and-a-half from my house). We locals will try to stay out of their way for a few weeks, avoiding Target and other 'stock up' stores like the plague and driving defensively, even on our way to the grocery store.  I'm always secretly excited to see them return in the fall.  Like the swallows to Capistrano, but with less poop. (Well, at least, we can hope.) Yet, I can't help but note the difference between Move-In Day 2014 and Move-In Day 1973.  Today, you see parents and siblings in full sweat, lifting and schlepping their college kid's belongings...and then some. In August of '73, my mom and dad literally dropped me and my stuff on the sidewalk in front of my dorm, hugged me 'goodbye' and took off.  I don't think they even bothered to check out my room. After all, they had four more kids to get home to. Hover? My parents didn't know the meaning of the word. (And, I think I'm a better person for it.)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin's legacy: Love and awareness

Every cloud really does have a silver lining... albeit thin, sometimes. So it is with the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. The actor's death is already prompting a national conversation about depression and other mental health disorders. And, in the case of this story by the American Society of Aging, the dialogue includes the incidence of depression in baby boomers, which is surprisingly high. Did you know that white men over age 60 have the highest rate of suicide in the United States? I sure didn't. That statistic should give us all pause. We need to remember to check in with each other often, and that means going beyond the cursory "How are you?" That's about all I've got to say. It's been a tough week.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I hereby defer to the SJG

I haven't posted in a while because I'm entertaining the Short Jewish Gal and, well, that's a full-time job. You can see what we've been up to on her blog. It's been a whirlwind of work, play and meals, and I've taken great pleasure in introducing the Hollywood girl to the wonders of Kansas. (I've spent an inordinate amount of time telling her how great the weather is, compared to what it could be.) Today, we head to the big city (as in Kansas City) where we will bunk at my childhood home for a couple of nights and check out the arts scene. Oh, and eat barbecue. That's a must.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Brace yourself, Jayhawkers. Here comes the Short Jewish Gal!

The SJG in Santa Fe.
Yippee!!  My sister from another mother - and father, religion and time zone - is coming to visit tomorrow! She explains why and describes her mounting level of excitement here in her delightful blog.  I am looking forward to showing this Hollywood gal the beauty and wonder that is Kansas...and a little bit of Missouri because, well, that's where the airport is and it can't be avoided. Oh sure, we don't have palm trees, but we have mosquitoes bigger than dogs, thanks to all the recent rain. And, the forecast calls for good ol' fashioned thunderstorms every day she's here!! 

Boomer Girl Review: Ultimate Oriole Feeder

I've still got a way to go before I'm feeding pigeons on the steps of St. Paul's (which I never thought was a bad thing to do ...