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From the Grandstand

     It’s nice to view the game of life without worrying about who will win. I’m off the field and up in the stands. Since I am a Grandmother to eleven brilliant, beautiful, fun young people who call me “Bubbles,” I’m calling my perch, “The Grandstand.” After all, Bubbles do rise.

The Grandies Big D’s Little G’s.

    At this stage of life, I don’t know everything, but I know what I needed to unlearn and I have picked up some experience and wisdom along the way.

Mother Nature

   It’s about time in this world of instant knowledge and information that some wisdom is dispensed. I have been in the game a long time, and also observed life as it played out around me. I should have bought a rubber donut to sit on years ago to keep my mind from wandering. So this blog is from the Wise Woman, make that Wild and Wise Woman. Tune in, we’ll have some sporting good times.

Blessings, Patricia aka Bubbles

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID

The Covid virus is ruining my retirement, possibly the last years of my life.

I listen to the young ‘uns whine about their “Rights,” their “Need” to go to the beach, restaurant, mall. Why should they wear a mask? They say, “I’m not sick.” The idea of being a carrier is beyond their understanding or caring.

I ask, “If you don’t like wearing a mask, how would you like a ventilator?”

Beyond that, I have more past than future. In a few years they’ll be out traveling, partying, visiting friends. Me? I probably won’t have that luxury. I can’t travel, go to a party or visit my ever-decreasing number of friends. A dream trip to the Hudson Valley for our grand daughters’ graduation from law-school was cancelled. Our trip that we had been looking forward to for three years was off. So, no traveling for us.

I’m sacrificing the last years of my life to keep others from getting sick, and I admit, to keep healthy in the time I have left. The past four months have been a liminal time. Time to work in the garden, time to sort and file all those photos in boxes. Time to clean out the files of a lifetime. Time to enjoy my home and husband. Time to take classes in my pajamas on zoom. Time to finally finish “War and Peace.”

Life has settled to a leisurely pace. No jumping up and running to meetings. No hustle. We rise later than we did. Have breakfast together, read the paper, which is thin. The comics are still the best part of the news. Sometimes we conference call old friends just to check.

I miss having friends over for a bar-b-que. I miss stopping by an old friends’ home for a cup of tea. Then, when I’m counting my losses I think of my parents. The depression-era losses of farm and food. World War II losses of friends. The restrictions of ration tickets, travel and housing. My dad talked about how hard life on the farm was in the 1930s but I never heard them complain about the difficulties of their lives or their rights.

Maybe this self-quarantine is a gift. If we use it right, it can be a time for reflection, a time to enrich our lives. A time to look back and see what others’ have sacrificed for us to have this moment. I told my children, “attitude makes the difference.” I’m working on mine to make this a prime time.

Happy 4th of July.

Blessings, Bubbles

SLAP ME INTO NEXT YEAR

If my mother were still alive, I’d ask her if her offer to slap me into next year is still on the table.

I am tired of 2020.

Tired of the negative politics, tired of listening to Cheeto Man lie, tired of Covid restrictions, tired of seeing people gather without masks, tired of them whining about their “rights,” tired of being disappointed in Americans not caring about others, tired of watching grocery people, nurses, doctors, etc. work so hard with so little appreciation, tired of people who think they know more than the experts, tired of people who say “they” are coming to 1.rob their homes, 2.burn their boats, 3. take their children,etc.. tired of those who forget we are all immigrants and took someone else’s home. Tired of answering phone calls that tell me my friends are sick or dying. I’m too tired to add all the rest. It’s exhausting.

Will we learn from all this? Will we be a better nation? Will be better individuals?

One friend says, “Let’s celebrate New Year’s Eve this Saturday, then the New Year and get this annus horriblis over. Good idea.

Now, I think I’ll go take a nap.

THE NIGHTSTICK

Since my last post, the demonstrations continue, some peaceful, some crazy. The people in Seattle who are taking over a police station seem to be more than a bit deluded. That station belongs to all of the people no one can make it theirs.

We need the police. We need good police. If you have never been coerced and frightened by an out of control police officer, it’s hard to imagine what a breach of trust and faith it is. I have had that experience and still tighten up when I see a motorcycle officer.

I was in my late 40’s driving in a part of the City of Orange that I was unfamiliar with. I was on my way to pick up my daughter and the carpool of 4 other kids. I was unaware of the speed limit and wasn’t paying attention when a motorcycle cop pulled me over. He directed me into the parking lot of a closed store. I should have stayed on the street. He sauntered up to the driver’s window and asked, “Do you know how fast you were going?” I told him I wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t familiar with the road. I was on my way to pick up my daughter from school. He raised an eyebrow and said, “Your daughter will have a long wait.” I was taken aback by this. Why would he say that?

I told him, whatever you say, just write the ticket I need to get the kids. He told me, that’s right it is what I say, I’m in charge here and those kids will wait until I’m ready to let you go. He returned to his motorcycle and came back with a ticket. “You do what I say,” he said again. Then he told me to drive straight ahead. There was no outlet from the parking lot except the way I came in. I asked, “Why?” “You do what I say,” he shouted.

I thought I needed to get out of the parking lot so began to back up to do a U turn when he shouted, “STOP.” “What?” I said. “You are trying to run over my motorcycle.” I looked at him and said, “How stupid would I be to run over your motorcycle with you standing there.” He said,”I don’t know how stupid you are. I said I’m in charge here.”

I told him it was not against any law to exit from the only driveway possible. I mentioned that since there was only one way out, that’s where I needed to go. I made the U-turn and turned right on the street to pick up the kids.

I looked in the rearview mirror and there he was in hot pursuit. He looked like a bad cartoon character. I thought this guy is crazy enough to shoot out my tires. By this time I was furious. My mistake was I pulled over on a side street with lots of apartments. Since it was 3:15 in the afternoon, no one was around. I looked back and he jumped off his motorcycle with his nightstick in his left hand beating it on his right palm. I got out of the car and faced him. It crossed my mind that I may arrive at a hospital unconscious with no witnesses to what happened to me. I had no doubt that if I were my college-age or highschool age son he would beat them senseless.

He looked at me with utter disdain and said, “You are just a spoiled woman.” At this point, I told him I was getting back in my car and going to pick up the kids, which I did. He stood on the street and stared hard as I left. I still wasn’t sure that he would unholster his gun.

I later called the Orange City Police and reported the incident. His superior said his report was the same as mine. I used no foul language and just turned around. I told him I wanted the cops’ actions reported because I felt he was out of control and would hurt someone. He said he would put it in his record. I was very naive, I thought he would. I’m sure now that he didn’t.

I still hold my breath when a motorcycle cop is behind me. I am white, blond, and so, unused to this type of treatment. How enraged would I be if I were stopped and treated like this even once a year, instead of once in a lifetime? How frightened would I be if I knew he would use that nightstick on me because my skin was darker and he was in charge?

HATE WON’T MAKE US GREAT

I just returned from a Black Lives Matter Demonstration. I’m proud of my community. Hundreds of people came, they were polite, didn’t block traffic, loot or spray graffiti over other people’s property. They publicly voiced their opinion. One of the best signs, in my opinion, was, “Enough is Enough.”

Mine read, “Hate Won’t Make Us Great.”

The crowd as far as I could tell behind the masks was mostly young people. This gives me hope that the ugly bigotry of older generations is passing on at least a little bit. I know with the Corona Virus many of the older people stayed home at the peril of their health. I hope it occurs to them that this is what black people feel every %*&^ day. Particularly if you go out of “where you belong.” Think about it. Living as a “person of color” in the United States is at the peril of your health and perhaps life.

I just got an email from my favorite god daughter, Laura. It’s a quote from Shannon Griffin.

Speaking out against white supremacy and race-based violence does not make you anti-white, anti-police, right or left. It makes you pro-justice. Pro black life, pro accountability. and pro racial equality. Caring about the life of another isn’t political. It’s human.

From my Great in many ways nephew, Nathan

For those who are upset about rioters and property damage more than hundreds of Black lives taken away from racial injustices from the police, I see you, and I want nothing to do with you.

If you have actually been paying attention you will see that the riots break out when people who aren’t part of the protest take advantage of a large crowd, and cops initiating violence on peaceful protesters. The Oregonian is looking for 4 individuals who started the riots in Portland, and they are all white. BLM is nothing but peaceful and productive. I know I’m a white male, so I’m aware of my privilege, and I’m using it to stand for what’s right.

George Floyd was the tip of the iceberg. After hundreds murdered from racist cops, we won’t stop until justice has been served. It’s time to rebuild the system. If you disagree, this country has no use for you. You’re a disgrace.

Don’t waste your time trying to argue with me, you’ll just get embarrassed. Just save us both our time and unfriend me.

See what I mean about the young ones…as the old song goes “You have to be taught to hate and fear…you have to be carefully taught.”

The Orange Toad who is living temporarily in OUR White House is not included in the person of color description. Thank God, he’s in a category of one.

WE hope for better days.

Blessings, Bubbles

I Sure Could Use a Little Good News.

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed me down. I’m spending time with photo books, editing old writing, working in the garden and just sitting. 2020 is not a stellar year. We have, Covid, Trump and Riots. All threatening and all wrong. The National Catholic Reporter has a great read on racism in this country.

“Every white person in this country — I do not care what he says or what she says — knows one thing. … They know that they would not like to be black here. If they know that, they know everything they need to know. And whatever else they may say is a lie.” — James Baldwin,

Think about this one. Your skin is darker, so you are less than, ignorant, and can be killed without impunity. I am of primarily Norwegian background, with some Irish and German on the side. I am blond and blue-eyed and fair-skinned, so that makes me superior. Right? I look at all of you brown-eyed people who discriminate against those a bit darker than you and want to point out that I am indubitably superior because of my lack of melanin in my skin. Of course, my straight stringy hair is also superior to curls. It’s very white privilege.

My sisters are even fairer than I am, so I guess that gives them an up on me. When are we going to look at the content of a persons character instead of the color or lack of it of their skin.

Since I am a writer, I object to poetry and writing contests only for people of color. Since when was that a check for excellence on the author of anything? If you’re good enough it shouldn’t make a difference. There are no contests for white people only, so what does that tell me? I am sick of the whole people of color stuff. I am a color.

The killing of black people especially men is another issue. Why has it been excused for so long? A mother cannot send her son to the market without worrying he will be stopped or worse jailed and murdered. That’s what it is, murder.

I was stopped by an out of control cop one afternoon when I was going to pick up my daughter from school. I wasn’t paying attention to the speed limit on an unfamiliar street. He pulled me over in an empty parking lot. He asked if I knew the speed limit. I admitted I didn’t. I said I was on my way to pick up carpool so I couldn’t dispute him, write the ticket. I used no inflammatory language just told him I was concerned about my child. He said he was in charge and my child would have a good long wait. I went to turn around, backed up a bit, to leave the parking lot and he yelled, “Stop, you are trying to hit my motorcycle,” which was parked a good ways behind me. I said, “How stupid would I be hit your motorcycle with you standing there.” He replied, “I don’t know how stupid you are but you do as I say.” There was one way out of the parking lot, so I completed my U-turn and exited to the street.

I looked in my rear view mirror and there he was in hot pursuit like some B movie. I made a mistake by pulling to a side street. I stopped, got out of my car and stood by the door. He jumped off his motorcycle with his nightstick in his left hand beating it on his right hand as he came toward me.

At that moment I thought I would arrive at a hospital unconscious with no witnesses. I also had no doubt that if it were one of my sons that he stopped, they would be in the hospital. I also believed that if I were black or he stopped a black man we would be lucky to get to the hospital alive.

I told him I was getting back in my car and leaving, which I did. He didn’t follow me.

I reported this to the City of Orange Police, who said his version was the same as mine. I asked for this episode to be put on his record. The Sargent said he would. I was naive and believed him. I am forever sorry that I didn’t pursue this.

I appreciate the job and the sacrifice the police do in our cities. They don’t know if the person they stop has a gun or is drugged out. If I need someone to protect me I am happy to see a policeman. But I still tighten up when I see a cop behind me.

I worry when our black friends come to visit. I don’t want to be humiliated if they are stopped and asked what they are doing in Newport Beach. Yes, I would be humiliated. Unfortunately, they find it usual. It also really pisses me off when the affluent college graduates in this town, fly their flags and yell, “We beat them.” “We” is mainly a team of black athletes who, if those same people saw them walking down their street would call the police. Believe me, I’ve heard the comments when they think everyone agrees with their bigotry.

One of my friends, a black woman working on her graduate degree in finance at Claremont was stopped and asked what she was doing there. She is a lovely lady and was in her forties at the time. The policeman made her get out of the car and spread everything inside the car on the hood. She had books on finance and economics. He looked at her student ID and said, “Oh, you’re a student.” Then he turned and walked away. It seems driving while black is a mini crime and they’ll try get you for something else.

How many times would that have to happen to you before you would turn from just mad to rage. I can tell you my one encounter with the cop from the City of Orange still makes me mad.

I think diversity is great. But we need to celebrate diversity not stay in our comfortable groups. I love to go to the Latin First Communions and Quinceaneras. The Gospel Mass, the Hungarian celebrations and Papa Cristo’s Greek restaurant, Mayur Indian Food in Corona del Mar. But I want to be included, just as I want to include friends of every background in our lives.

We might have to go our of our own confort zone. We can be who we are, retain our cultural backgrounds, share and enrich our lives.

Blessings, Bubbles

ZOOMING

The newspaper gets thinner every day. I’m hard-pressed to find any news but Covid. I know that’s about all that’s happening in the world. We need to zoom in close and think about it. Think about using the media we have to stay close.

Perhaps if we stay home and wear masks when we are out it won’t be so bad. Less murder, less robberies, less wear and tear on the planet.

I enjoy being home. I do miss seeing my friends and family live. I miss the hugs. I miss the social part of life. The gatherings in my garden, card games, exercise in the pool. I miss my grandies who live in the north. I miss the graduation we couldn’t attend.

If we can hold on for just a bit more, perhaps we’ll tame this virus. Perhaps we can get back to whatever we think is normal. If we get impatient we can lose good people. We will prolong suffering.

I copied the preamble of the Constitution in a previous post, it says promote the general welfare. All the “It’s my right” people seem to skip over that part. Right now I’m having a hard time respecting those who think rules are for the other guy. I’m wondering why they need to go out without a mask and stand so close to each other. The Golden Rule seems to be, do unto others before they do it to you. They aren’t sick, they are ignorant. The idea of being asymptomatic and giving illness to another is beyond their capacity to understand.

E Pluribus Unum is the original motto of the United States-Out of Many-One. The motto most quoted now is “God Bless America.” That means all of us.

Sheltering

Some guy who owns a gym put up the first page of the Constitution of the US to proclaim people’s right to go to the gym. He could hold classes outdoors and have people spaced apart, but no he wants it his way. It would have been good if he read the part of the Constitution where the government is to take care of the common good and the welfare of the people. People are also protesting that they NEED to go to the beach. It is their right.

Meanwhile we have lost more people to this virus than to the war in Vietnam. So now it’s our right to go out and spread sickness. I know it’s been a tough 9 weeks. We’ve all lived it. I believe those of us who are not obviously sick still need to be aware that we can carry a virus, show no signs and give it to others.

If this is the hardest thing you will have to do in life, you will be lucky. If you need to be outside, work in the garden, sit on the curb, but please do not be the one responsible for someone else’s sickness or death. It’s like going to a public place and waving a loaded gun. It may not go off, but if it does you are the killer. You may not know the one you gave the virus to, or the person who gave it to you. It won’t matter. This epidemic will continue because you couldn’t give it a little more time.

If you still believe you have rights over other people who’d like to stay well and live. Don’t wear a mask, don’t wash your hands, give someone the toilet paper you’ve hoarded. Go to the beach. Drink a little Lysol before you go.

VIRUS VICTIMS

I read an article in the morning paper stating that the Class of 2020 is “robbed” of a joyous milestone. The lead sentence says, “high school seniors and their families are “denied” the traditional graduation ceremony. A disappointment to be sure, but not a robbery. Gads, I’m sick of the victimization.

            So the class of 2020 was robbed and denied a graduation ceremony. Why the sensational approach? Poor me, poor us.  The writers of this article need to get away from their victimization myopia and look at what is happening.

            This class of 2020; the teams that have reached the finals of their hopes; the Olympic athletes; those that are staying home; all of us have to contribute something to the common good. Perhaps this is something that is not denied. Perhaps it is a gift that all of us that have been “robbed” can give to our society. We have not been cheated, we have been offered a chance to focus on other people and make a positive act, a bequest to our future.

These young people are not called to war as their parents and grandparents were. They’ve been asked to give something up.

The war is in the ER and hospitals and on the street. The enemy is invisible. Doctors, who don’t start their profession until almost thirty, are risking their lives every day. Nurses are working and risking, paramedics, hospital workers, grocery clerks, government workers, delivery people, all the people that are trying to make the world safe for the rest of us, are not celebrating. They are in the vitally important Finals and playing for all of us.

Get a grip here. This is our chance to be heroic. To sacrifice for something bigger than we are. You are not a victim. Attitude makes the difference.

Stop griping and be a hero.

Blessings, Bubbles

EMOTION

A good cry, a good scream, a good tantrum all have their place. Just warn those around you.

I never warn anyone. My preferred screams are an ululation for joy, and a throat searing anguished screech in the car with all the windows rolled uptightly.

The latter I do less than I used to. When the kids were small it was a once every other day occurrence. I began to think I might have a career in opera. I could hold the note for a long time sitting in the garage or trill it down the incline of a freeway off-ramp.

I once told a single friend that I had thought of screaming in the car as I drove off the end of the Newport Pier. She was aghast until eight years later, she had a husband and a child of her own. She asked for a ride.

The crying part is a snap for me because I was born with my bladder behind my eyes. I can stand at the card rack in the drug store and read birthday cards, tears streaming down my cheeks. School plays dissolve all of my mascara and when a grandie smiles, “love you,” I choke, “I love you too.” I look away so I don’t worry them with my watery response.

I don’t believe I ever had a tantrum. Gladys, my mother, did not allow that. After all a tantrum is a two person event. Tantrums need an audience and no one ever paid attention to me long enough for me to get going.

I am thinking that now that my husband has lost the hearing in one ear, I could stand on that side and practice. He wouldn’t even look up and I might become quite proficient. Trouble is if I throw myself on the ground and kick my feet it’s risky at my age. I might break a hip or hurt myself badly in other ways. Then there is the problem of getting up off of the floor.

Maybe I could warn someone, after all, so they could call 911.

Today is the birthday of three of my favorite people. My lovely, patient daughter-in-law, Karen. My twin nephews, Dan and Dennis. There must be something special about people born on this day. All three are good, kind and loving. That’s the real success in life. Happy Birthday to each of you. Celebrate Life!

Blessings, Bubbles

STRICKLY GERM-PROOF by Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)

This is a poem my Dad used to read to me. All I could remember is the Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup. A good one for this time

Strickly Germ-Proof

The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylatic Pup

Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gamboled up;

They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised,-

It wasn’t Disinfected and it wasn’t Sterilized.

They said it was a Microbe and a Hotbed of Disease;

They steamed it in a vapor of a thousand-odd degrees;

They froze it in a freezer that was cold as Banished hope

And washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap.

In sulphurated hydrogen they steeped its wiggly ears;

They trimmed its frisky whiskers with a pair of hard-boiled shears;

They donned their rubber mittens and they took it by the hand

And elected it a member of the Fumigated Band.

There’s not a Micrococcus in the garden where they play;

They bathe in pure idoform a dozen times a day;

And each imbibes his rations from a Hygienic Cup-

The Bunny and the Baby and the Prophylactic Pup.

This may be a good time to read some poetry.

Try Mary Oliver and Billy Collins. One will make you think, the other will make you laugh. Blessings, Bubbles

THE LEARNING CURVE

The Corona Virus epidemic consumes the news. Television, radio, newspapers are almost totally covered with stories and admonitions.

We are told to stay at home, yet the beaches and parks are filled with people here in Corona del Mar, Ca. and all over the country. Young people are told to stay away from elders so they seem to believe this is a problem only for the elderly. Most of them if they get the virus will survive, some will not. How do we get them to understand that their lives will be changed for a long time if they do not follow what they are being told to do.

Doctors and other health care workers are risking their lives daily. People working in the markets and pharmacies are also risking their lives to help the rest of us. Restaurant workers, shop keepers, and other service workers are out of a job. Still, too many people are thinking only of themselves. They hoard, they gather in close groups, they are privileged and no one will tell them what to do or where they can go.

I know young people feel invincible. They think the old people will get sick and some die. Some of their friends will get sick and die also. The economy is suffering and will continue to suffer. Too many thoughtless people just don’t “get it.” They don’t seem to understand or perhaps care that in the long run it is their way of life that will change. No sports, no concerts, no school, etc. Life will be constrained for a long time if some continue to do as they please. Some of us will never recover financially.

My husband and I have been confined for two weeks. Some days are productive, cleaning and arranging files, doing those projects around the house we have put off, working in the garden. I don’t know how the next few weeks will be. We’re trying to make the best of it. Have a leisurely breakfast, talk and enjoy all the small things of life. We miss our friends and relatives. It’s one day at a time. We have much to learn through these times.

This is from Martin Luther writing about the plague.

Let us all do what is expected of us. Let us live with hope that our country will rise and join to do this as a nation. The preamble of our constitution says “We the People.” We are in this together. Like it or not it’s time to live up to our values and show the world we are united, that we care about each other.

Read this again. It’s the best.

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Good health and blessings, Bubbles