Category Archives: The Porch Swing

Where's Joe?

I’m looking for Joe Biden.
Has anyone seen him since the election?

I mean, besides that one time when he drank a beer
in the Rose Garden with those other guys?

If you see him, ask him to contact me, ‘k?

Where’s Joe?

I’m looking for Joe Biden.
Has anyone seen him since the election?

I mean, besides that one time when he drank a beer
in the Rose Garden with those other guys?

If you see him, ask him to contact me, ‘k?

The Delicate Art of Reconnection

Have you ever used Facebook to get in touch with someone you hadn’t talked to in many years?
Sometimes, it’s simple, fun, and easy. For example, I’m now FB Friends with a bunch of my younger second cousins, a far flung group some of whose members may barely remember me. I get a kick out of keeping up with them. One young woman is a cool San Francisco artist whom I last saw when she was a year old.

Other times, the whole reconnecting thing seems trickier. C’mon, you must know what I mean, right? Well, maybe I’m the only one, but there have been occasions when something like this happens:

1. Idly enter Long Vanished Person’s name in FB search.
2. There they are!!
3. I click “add friend” and “enter personal message.”
4. Then, I dither and debate the perfect tone and content for the brief message:
“Hi, remember me?!” (of course he remembers me, we flipping lived together for over a year.)
“Wow, Facebook is really something, isn’t it!” (too lame.)
“Gosh, it’s been so long. I grew up, got married, had kids, and what about you?” (I’d never friend someone who said that.)
“I heard about your dad passing away, and I’m really sorry. What else is new?” (wrong, wrong, wrong.)
5. Finally I compose a message, hit send, and wait.
6. Well, lo and behold, I’m now FB Friends with Long Vanished Person!

So far, so good, but what happens next?
I’ve decided to try to reconnect with a few of these folks.
Just in case that’s not modern enough, I’ll blog about it!
Here are the victims, er, beloved new FB Friends:

1. First, and easiest, an old friend from the town where my DH and I lived as newlyweds, * cough * about 27 years ago. This friend I’ll call “Nancy” because that’s her name. She was one of a shifting group of SAHMs with babies & kids in the same age range. I remember her as really funny, smart, and kind.
However, I didn’t much like living in this particular hot, sprawling, military town whose name starts with an F (I’m looking at you, Fayette-Nam), and in 1988 we moved to the Land of the Tarred Heels and never looked back. She sent me a funny birthday card about 17 years ago, but basically we’re totally out of touch.

Her son gave me the email address and encouraged me to write, but What to say? What if she’s joined a cult? Wants to convert me?

2. and 3. are equally challenging, so, flipping a mental coin,

2. A young man whom I last saw when he was 3 years old and who is now in his 20’s. I was a good friend of his father’s. Unfortunately, his dad committed suicide when the young man was a toddler. I was So Mad at his father for doing that, although in retrospect, I see warning signs that weren’t obvious then.

I was determined that, when the little boy grew up, I would be available – maybe to tell him more about the positive fun side of his dad, or just to listen if that’s helpful, maybe pass on souveneirs I’ve kept all these years. The son has the same wild look in his eyes as his dad did, it’s spooky.
Anyway, after I wrote a mild-mannered, hopefully-not-crazy-sounding message, we are FB friends. I have no idea where to go next, but I’ll let my nonexistent public know when/if I figure it out.

3. Last, and a bit of a classic – my first “serious” boyfriend. With the perspective of * another cough * decades, I see that we were just doing what young 20-somethings always do – engaging in Much Drama About Nothing – you know, jealousy about such burning issues as “you talked to her all during the party!!”
I liked him before all the drama, and would like to be friends again, but there are a couple of weird quirks (aren’t there always?)
First, we grew up in the same area. I knew his siblings and still know a couple of them, and in general we know each other’s childhood families. I don’t know, maybe that’s not such a weird quirk.
Secondly, after we split up (*cough in the 1970’s *) he went on to become a fabulously successful film producer. Name 10 blockbuster movies of the past decade, I guarantee you he was involved with a couple. He’s basically in that “rich and famous” category that includes a lot of public information about a person. So, I don’t know, you don’t suppose he’ll think that is why I’ve looked him up, do you?

So, where on earth to start? I’m going to take these people in order, decide whether or not it’s a good idea to contact them, and see what happens!
If you’ve had similar experiences, bring ’em on!

Pete & a Grammy & My Cousin-in-Law

Time for some bragging. Y’know my cousin Mai?
mai
I knew you’d remember her.
Well. Y’know Mai’s husband, David Bernz?
davidlrg2
Right, that’s the one.
Well, Pete Seeger won a Grammy award for folk music, for the CD
Pete at 89.
pete-seeger

David Bernz, my cousin’s husband, or as I’m calling it cousin-in-law, was the Co-Producer of the album. I think that’s pretty cool!

Let’s Talk About the “Suleman Eight”

I’m a little irritated by outrage over Nadya Suleman,
the California woman who had octuplets.
So, maybe if I write for a few minutes, it will become
clearer exactly why the furor bugs me.

I don’t dispute the Obvious Conclusions drawn
by Everyone Out There.
Of course! it’s ridiculous to have eight babies at once,
still crazier for someone who isn’t married, and
weirder still if you already have six kids.
And, yes, the mom might have a screw loose,
or be seeking attention, who knows?
Furthermore, the doctor did indeed
take a big foolish risk.

So, okay. We all agree.
Ms. Suleman showed bad judgment by seeking fertility
treatment, given her circumstances and
the large brood she already had.
The doctor showed bad judgment by accepting her as
a patient and by implanting so many embryos.

But . . . what?
Well, for one thing, on any given day a zillion people
use bad judgment regarding choice of mate, timing of
child-bearing, family planning or lack thereof,
marriage, divorce, family size, child-rearing, and every
other aspect of family life.
Every single day some folks have kids without having
a spouse, and other people marry the wrong person,
leave perfectly good spouses, and still more people
decide not to have kids or to have more children, even
though it’s the wrong decision for them to make.
Every single day some folks bribe children with candy,
others allow too much TV, or hit their kids, or they’re too
strict or not strict enough, or whatever.

Most of the zillion daily instances of bad judgment
never require Official Action, but when bad judgment
crosses certain agreed-upon lines, then the Law or
Social Service may intervene.

Other than that, why is it anyone’s business?
Wait!
I hear a voice saying “it’s our business because it’s
going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money!”
Nonsense.
Of course children in an impoverished family
will use more tax-supported services than children in a
middle class household. But – these eight don’t use up
any more tax dollars than eight kids dispersed among
three or four poor unmarried mothers.

Plus, since when is “costing taxpayers money” enough to
make someone else’s mistakes into my business?
Cigarette smokers cost us all more money than these babies
ever will, and what about tax money spent on
injuries and illnesses that are traceable to alcoholism,
addiction, obesity, riding motorcycles, etc.?

Don’t get me wrong – If Nadya Suleman were my daughter
or sister, I would have stronglyadvised her against having
octuplets. But, being as she’s a total stranger, I guess I don’t
think it’s our business.
I think We All should just Back Off and Butt Out.

Besides, am I the only one anywhere who is kind of curious
about them? Nadya is pretty – I bet the octuplets will be
cute! And what if, against all the odds, she makes something
of her life and is able to raise them? I mean, I know it was
a dumb thing to do, but it’s done now and it’s not the babies’
fault, is it? Here they are – Welcome to the World, babies!

Let's Talk About the "Suleman Eight"

I’m a little irritated by outrage over Nadya Suleman,
the California woman who had octuplets.
So, maybe if I write for a few minutes, it will become
clearer exactly why the furor bugs me.

I don’t dispute the Obvious Conclusions drawn
by Everyone Out There.
Of course! it’s ridiculous to have eight babies at once,
still crazier for someone who isn’t married, and
weirder still if you already have six kids.
And, yes, the mom might have a screw loose,
or be seeking attention, who knows?
Furthermore, the doctor did indeed
take a big foolish risk.

So, okay. We all agree.
Ms. Suleman showed bad judgment by seeking fertility
treatment, given her circumstances and
the large brood she already had.
The doctor showed bad judgment by accepting her as
a patient and by implanting so many embryos.

But . . . what?
Well, for one thing, on any given day a zillion people
use bad judgment regarding choice of mate, timing of
child-bearing, family planning or lack thereof,
marriage, divorce, family size, child-rearing, and every
other aspect of family life.
Every single day some folks have kids without having
a spouse, and other people marry the wrong person,
leave perfectly good spouses, and still more people
decide not to have kids or to have more children, even
though it’s the wrong decision for them to make.
Every single day some folks bribe children with candy,
others allow too much TV, or hit their kids, or they’re too
strict or not strict enough, or whatever.

Most of the zillion daily instances of bad judgment
never require Official Action, but when bad judgment
crosses certain agreed-upon lines, then the Law or
Social Service may intervene.

Other than that, why is it anyone’s business?
Wait!
I hear a voice saying “it’s our business because it’s
going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money!”
Nonsense.
Of course children in an impoverished family
will use more tax-supported services than children in a
middle class household. But – these eight don’t use up
any more tax dollars than eight kids dispersed among
three or four poor unmarried mothers.

Plus, since when is “costing taxpayers money” enough to
make someone else’s mistakes into my business?
Cigarette smokers cost us all more money than these babies
ever will, and what about tax money spent on
injuries and illnesses that are traceable to alcoholism,
addiction, obesity, riding motorcycles, etc.?

Don’t get me wrong – If Nadya Suleman were my daughter
or sister, I would have stronglyadvised her against having
octuplets. But, being as she’s a total stranger, I guess I don’t
think it’s our business.
I think We All should just Back Off and Butt Out.

Besides, am I the only one anywhere who is kind of curious
about them? Nadya is pretty – I bet the octuplets will be
cute! And what if, against all the odds, she makes something
of her life and is able to raise them? I mean, I know it was
a dumb thing to do, but it’s done now and it’s not the babies’
fault, is it? Here they are – Welcome to the World, babies!

"The Road to Inner Peace"

Om . . .

I am posting in its entirety an email I received this morning with the subject line
The Road to Inner Peace:

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, “The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished.
So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn’t finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now!

Pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace…

Hee hee, giggle, giggle.