In-law Thanksgiving

This weekend is usually designated as what I used to affectionately call “in-law Thanksgiving,” when you gather with the non-alpha in-laws to celebrate the holiday (as opposed to the real feast with your actual family).

For further clarification, the “alpha in-laws” are typically the woman’s family. I’m not sure why that is. It likely harks back to that old adage my grandmother often cited, “A son’s a son ‘til he takes a wife. A daughter’s a daughter all her life.” While that is not always the situation, fortunately, it worked out that way for me. My family was the alpha. I’m not sure I could have survived had it been otherwise. There were three sisters-in-law, and having only a big brother, I never really understood how to relate or get along with sisters. Besides, two of those women viewed my husband as the “baby brother.” And my mother-in-law? She was my brunette Marie Barone of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (impeccably portrayed by the late Doris Roberts). I never questioned the precept governing alpha in-laws as long as it was working in my favor. Continue reading

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“First Man” – Not a Movie Review, Just a Baby Boomer’s Perspective

I finally got to the theater again to see a first-run movie – First Man, and unabashedly admit to having thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I loved it, and intend to see it again. Unfortunately, if social media is any indication, at least one of the stars (Claire Foy) does not share my affection for this land of the free; home of the brave that spawned the courageous men and women profiled in the story. However, that attitude was not evident in her performance. Additionally, there was some controversy over omission of the flag planting. I don’t know if there was conscious intention to deflect credit for this amazing accomplishment from the United States, in an effort to promote globalism. I hope not, and I am especially glad I resisted my first impulse (based on that controversy) to boycott the film. I would have only cheated myself out of a great movie.

But, as the old writer cliche goes, “I digress.” This is neither a film review, nor an essay on Hollywood Meets Politics (and why we wish it wouldn’t).

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Paul McCartney – Yesterday and Today – Stories Now Told

I just read the GQ article “The Untold Stories of Paul McCartney.” Writer Chris Heath’s interviews with Paul revealed many things even this lifelong fan never knew about the former Beatles/Wings/singer/songwriter/icon for a generation.

I was pleased and relieved to realize the energy, intellect, excitement, and mental clarity we perceive in Sir Paul is, apparently, an accurate impression. The 76-year-old is definitely still all there.

Heath unearthed far more than the sweet story behind “Let it Be” of how Paul’s mother Mary came to him in a dream – oh, so much more… I found, especially interesting, the insight to the Wings’ song “Jet.” While the title was for a pony they had named Jet, Paul seemed to suggest that early in his marriage to Linda, his father-in-law was a “kind of a nuisance,” and might have been the “Major” in that 1973 song.

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Youth Does Have a Shelf Life – Nobody Warned Me

There’s a Rolling Stones‘ song “Time is on My Side.” When I was very young, I believed that. As a matter of fact, I embraced this fallacy until about four years ago.

Truth is, time is never on your side. It is always the enemy.

On some level, I think I was caught up in the great Baby Boomer deception. We were to be the perennial teenagers. Continue reading

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New Tennis Shoes – A Whiff of Nostalgia

Ahh… the smell of new tennis shoes.

My granddaughter got new tennis shoes today, and while lacing them for her, I got a good whiff of that brand-new sneaker smell. I don’t know whether it’s the fresh canvas or pristine rubber. There is just something special about that aroma that really took me back to another time and place. My first memory of new tennis shoes is when I was six years old. My brother, then 12, helped our cousin with a landscaping project. With some of the money he made, he bought me a pair of red, Keds-type sneakers that I had been wanting. How I loved those shoes! I believed I could actually jump higher and run faster in those wonderful red shoes. Continue reading

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I Used to be a Music Maker

Once upon a time, I was a music maker.

I was first a poet.

At age 11, my main Christmas gift was a guitar. Not unlike millions of other kids mesmerized and inspired by the Beatles, I believed I could better express myself musically.

Cradling my guitar, I carefully crafted chords to fit my words.

Composing was a solo act. Yet, I enjoyed harmonizing with a few friends who shared my passion. Continue reading

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The Hierarchy of Problems Principle – Just How Miserable Are You?

More than a few decades ago, as a newlywed, I was complaining to my mother about a situation that felt important to me.

After only a brief period of the ear-bending, Mom abruptly shut me down by reminding me of a family member with a much greater problem. She ended with a comment along the lines of how (in contrast to our relative), I didn’t know what a problem was.


It’s true, my worries were merely emotional and mental, unlike the physical health crisis to which my mother referred. Nevertheless, it was my introduction to the hierarchy of problems principle. Very similar to the adage, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet,” there was an order of importance and degree of difficulty, so to speak, before one could qualify for sympathy in my family. Continue reading

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