Why I’m Voting for Jed Bartlet for President

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Why I’m Voting For Jed Bartlet for President

I never discuss politics on social media. In this political climate, no matter what your political affiliation the wrath of Satan will come at you from the other side. There is no civil discourse and I find it incredibly disheartening and tragic that we as Americans can’t simply have an opinion and not be sought out for pain and suffering for our beliefs.

However, this election I have decided to take a stand. I will be casting my vote for Josiah (Jed) Bartlet and I’m praying he once again picks Tim Matheson for his Veep. Any guy who could handle the guys in Animal House should be able to handle Congress. Well maybe.

Watching the West Wing reruns, which I do regularly, makes me long for the good old days when politicians hated one another, but were polite when they stuck the knives in someone’s back.

There have been times lately when I truly believe America will be totally fine in their battle against the coronavirus because the toxic atmosphere of politics today will take down the virus. No match.

People are so angry and aggressive we have become a nation of pitbulls and there seems to be no limit to the mean. Racism and anti- Semitism are fair game and hate has become an overt pastime that comes with no price to pay.

Friendships, family relationships and businesses have all felt the wrath of this new normal.

Jed Bartlet is the only man who can calm the waters and restore peace.

No one would dare call C.J. Craig fat at a White House press dinner.

Who could ever accuse Josh Lyman, Toby Zeigler or Sam Seaborn of inappropriate behavior? Leo McGarry was even coerced by Jed to hire a Republican, Ainsley Hayes in the White House.

Could you ever see that happening today?

Okay I know, you’re thinking Norma, hello, this wasn’t real life. The West Wing was a television program so you need to come back to reality. Politicians like Bartlet don’t really exist and never could.

I know I know, I’m very well aware of what politicians are, probably more than most since I’m a journalist and possess the anti-politician gene.

I’m dog they are cat, born to be at odds. I get it.

So here is my solution. Since Jed was created by genius Aaron Sorkin, perhaps he should run.

In West Wingland life was good, people were human and the politics were admirable. Crises were averted without name calling and shaming one another.

Since Sorkin imagined this political utopia let’s give him a shot at bringing it into the real world.

So Mr. S, I’m throwing your hat into the political ring whether or not you care to be there.

America needs you and it’s your duty to serve your country. To paraphrase a line from one of the episodes, “we’ve all been down that hole now and you know the way out.”

I’m volunteering to be your press secretary and Matheson for your vice president. Look out Congress the Belushi tamer is coming your way.

Sure I’m kidding, sort of, well maybe kinda, but the point is life imitates art or vice versa. In these times of anger, pure mean and contempt toward one another, perhaps this is the solution.

I for one can think of no other so I’ll throw my hands in the air and shout Bartlet’s campaign slogan, “Make America Nice Again.”

Stay healthy everyone and take heart, if you run out of toilet paper you can always use your ballot for the upcoming election.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Great Reasons to Hate American Politics

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Two Great Reasons to Hate American Politics

I find it difficult to narrow down my distaste for American politics in so few reasons. I am certain if I let myself I’d find hundreds more. Case in point, Congress, there’s 535 damn good reasons right there. But I’ve promised two and I shall stick to that number. After recent threatening remarks by Senator Charles Schumer on the steps of the Supreme Court I realized that Dorothy was in Kansas no longer. No one would have ever dared disrespect and threaten the court when I was young; it was simply unacceptable let alone ever considered. I have watched as politics in this country have devolved into the evilest and most horrifying experience since the shower scene in Psycho. Make no mistake it is on both sides of the aisle.

The first and probably most offensive reason to me is the plain old-fashioned meanness of the whole process. The political arena has the aura of the wicked witch’s candy-coated house in Hansel and Gretel. Oh sure there’s candy in freedom, but inside awaits the horrible oven where she cooked children. I say this with true regret as I relate the tale of what was a true disappointment in my youth the first time I cast my vote.

I was over-the-moon excited. As a Baby Boomer I had lived through tumultuous times, the 1968 Democratic Convention, Martin Luther King, John, and Robert Kennedy assassinations, the Chicago Seven, Watergate, Elvis going into the army, two Darrens on Bewitched, mini skirts and the sheer unattainable skinniness of Twiggy. I was patriotic and excited to become a true member of the club, a voting American about to make my voice heard. I considered it a privilege and an honor, and still do.

I waited in line at the firehouse on my corner and signed my paper to receive my ballot. Back then in primitive times there was paper. I wasn’t certain about how to do it correctly so I asked the woman who’d handed me my ballot for help. She smiled and I pointed to Hubert Humphrey and said, “Do I mark here to vote for him?”

Her face soured immediately and with a chill in her voice that would put an instant end to global warming answered, “If that’s what you want, than I suppose.”

The air immediately left the patriotic balloon I was riding and I fell to earth with a thud. Her tone and look changed the moment from exuberance into ugly and my joy at voting was now colored with negativity.

Oh sure you may say, you were too sensitive. Yes perhaps, but at that time in America I was still foolish enough to believe that we had a right to free speech, free thought and to vote for whomever we pleased without suffering the malice of others. I think that’s why we have the first amendment because our forefathers understood without this freedom there could be no freedom.

Sadly that experience is a Sunday school picnic by today’s standards. A look, a snide remark pale by comparison to what one may suffer today. One may get beaten or worse for their political views now and it seems to be getting worse each day.

Friends and family members have become alienated and people are afraid to exercise free speech. On our college campuses students believe they have the right to silence those with whom they disagree and tragically some turn to violence to exercise that pitiful point of view.

The meanness is palpable and has turned what once was a country where people left their doors unlocked into one where neighbors lock out those with whom they politically disagree. We may not have shared the same points of view, but it never escalated into hatred and violence.

I always thought a healthy discourse between Americans what was made this country so great. We were allowed to argue about what candidate was best, why we thought so and why we believed they deserved our vote. I felt incredibly grateful to be able to speak out when I looked at the Berlin Wall and how oppressive and frightening it was to live under a totalitarianism regime.

The negativity and sheer disrespect for others displayed not only by Americans, but also by our elected representatives has shifted the karma of this country from one where the streets are paved with gold to the old west where shooting someone for interfering with your enjoyment of a beer was acceptable.

Have we become that egocentric that we believe our intellect so far exceeds those with whom we share the common bond of citizenship?

Reason number two deals with something quite different, the right to like or dislike whom we please. I know it may sound a bit simplistic at first, but in reality it truly is not. Human beings are emotional creatures and until the robots take over and the world becomes solely intellectual we will continue to allow our subjective experiences to guide us.

Hence when we vote our emotions play a part. What one finds reprehensible in one politician may seem endearing to another.

It’s how we’re built and we could no longer change this part of ourselves than find a gas station charging twenty cents a gallon.

We bring our biases into every decision we make. We decide what we like, whom we like and how we will live our life based on previous life experience accumulated through years of living. It’s who and what we are.

If we had a friend we liked and she always wore a certain color red sweater perhaps we’ll be receptive to that shade of red our entire life. Happy memories color our decisions as well as bad ones.

It’s for this reason we may choose to shun someone or take an instant dislike or embrace someone at first meeting. It happens all the time. I am certain this is also true of politicians. Why we may like or dislike them.

Does one perhaps remind you of a teacher you hated in school, a favorite uncle that always showered you with great gifts, or maybe even a neighbor that passed out the best Halloween candy. We have long forgotten the why of our bias, but it has become so engrained in us, it’s unconscious.

If someone chooses to vote or not vote for a politician we like they may have good reason for their decision. The choice may even be an emotionally driven one of which they aren’t even aware. On an emotional level it’s pointless to argue and that level so many times is far more powerful than intellect.

Hating someone for their feelings or bias based on their experience is foolish. It’s like saying I hate you because you’re too educated. That is so un-American. The diversity of this country is what makes it so unique and special. Remember the whole melting pot analogy?

We are all special, and as Americans entitled to think and speak as we please, unless of course that speech may bring harm to others. We are a charitable country that always reaches out to those in times of need.

During Katrina did anyone say I want my donations to go only to a democrat or republican?

When Kennedy died did anyone care about party affiliation as we sobbed shamelessly on one another’s shoulder?

I guess I’ll sum up this blog with a wonderful story from World War I about what is now referred to as the Christmas Truce of 1914. In his book, Silent Night, by Stanley Weintraub, he recounts the story and the following are excerpts.

“All was jarringly quiet on the Western Front when a British sentry suddenly spied a glistening light on the German parapet, less than 100 yards away. Warned that it might be a trap, Brewer slowly raised his head over the soaked sandbags protecting his position and through the maze of barbed wire saw a sparkling Christmas tree. As the lieutenant gazed down the line of the German trenches, a whole string of small conifers glimmered like beads on a necklace.

“Brewer then noticed the rising of a faint sound that he had never before heard on the battlefield—a Christmas carol. The German words to “Stille Nacht” were not familiar, but the tune—“Silent Night”—certainly was. When the German soldiers finished singing, their foes broke out in cheers. Used to returning fire, the British now replied in song with the English version of the carol.

When dawn broke on Christmas morning, something even more remarkable happened. In sporadic pockets along the 500-mile Western Front, unarmed German and Allied soldiers tentatively emerged from the trenches and cautiously crossed no-man’s-land—the killing fields between the trenches littered with frozen corpses, eviscerated trees and deep craters—to wish each other a Merry Christmas. Political leaders had ignored the call of Pope Benedict XV to cease fighting around Christmas, but soldiers in the trenches decided to stage their own unofficial, spontaneous armistices anyway.

“Not every fighting man, particularly those who had just seen comrades killed in action, felt moved by the Christmas spirit. Gunfire continued to be exchanged in certain locations along the front, and in some unfortunate cases soldiers were killed by enemy fire as they emerged from the trenches in the hope for a day of peace. The unsanctioned truce concerned high-ranking officials, afraid that their men might lose the will to fight, and outraged others, including one young German corporal who would launch the next world war. “Such a thing should not happen in wartime,” Adolf Hitler scolded his fellow soldiers. “Have you no German sense of honor left?”

“As the sun set on Christmas, the fighters retreated to their respective trenches. A few ceasefires held until New Year’s Day. In most locations, however, the war resumed on December 26. At 8:30 a.m. in Houplines, Captain Charles Stockwell of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers fired three shots into the air and raised a flag that read “Merry Christmas.” His German counterpart raised a flag that read “Thank you.” The two men then mounted the parapets, saluted each other and returned to their sodden trenches. Stockwell wrote that his counterpart then “fired two shots in the air—and the war was on again.”

“The guns of World War I did not fall silent again until the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918. The Christmas Truce, however, provided an unforgettable memory for many such as the British soldier who confessed in a letter the following day, “I wouldn’t have missed the experience of yesterday for the most gorgeous Christmas dinner in England.”

Regrettably, this is a story that probably couldn’t happen in today’s world. The heartfelt yearning for love, home and family these soldiers exhibited exceeded politics and penetrated the very soul and essence of humanity.

How tragic that we, citizens of the greatest country in the world cannot put aside our hate and intolerance to respect the political opinions of others.

I know what my Christmas wish would be this year; that we all find a way back to love and brotherhood in the purest form and stop the ceaseless hate and anger. As Americans we share too much good to turn it all so bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Great Reasons to Hate American Politics

 

I find it difficult to narrow down my distaste for American politics in so few reasons. I am certain if I let myself I’d find hundreds more. Case in point, Congress, there’s 535 damn good reasons right there. But I’ve promised two and I shall stick to that number. After recent threatening remarks by Senator Charles Schumer on the steps of the Supreme Court I realized that Dorothy was in Kansas no longer. No one would have ever dared disrespect and threaten the court when I was young; it was simply unacceptable let alone ever considered. I have watched as politics in this country have devolved into the evilest and most horrifying experience since the shower scene in Psycho. Make no mistake it is on both sides of the aisle.

The first and probably most offensive reason to me is the plain old-fashioned meanness of the whole process. The political arena has the aura of the wicked witch’s candy-coated house in Hansel and Gretel. Oh sure there’s candy in freedom, but inside awaits the horrible oven where she cooked children. I say this with true regret as I relate the tale of what was a true disappointment in my youth the first time I cast my vote.

I was over-the-moon excited. As a Baby Boomer I had lived through tumultuous times, the 1968 Democratic Convention, Martin Luther King, John, and Robert Kennedy assassinations, the Chicago Seven, Watergate, Elvis going into the army, two Darrens on Bewitched, mini skirts and the sheer unattainable skinniness of Twiggy. I was patriotic and excited to become a true member of the club, a voting American about to make my voice heard. I considered it a privilege and an honor, and still do.

I waited in line at the firehouse on my corner and signed my paper to receive my ballot. Back then in primitive times there was paper. I wasn’t certain about how to do it correctly so I asked the woman who’d handed me my ballot for help. She smiled and I pointed to Hubert Humphrey and said, “Do I mark here to vote for him?”

Her face soured immediately and with a chill in her voice that would put an instant end to global warming answered, “If that’s what you want, than I suppose.”

The air immediately left the patriotic balloon I was riding and I fell to earth with a thud. Her tone and look changed the moment from exuberance into ugly and my joy at voting was now colored with negativity.

Oh sure you may say, you were too sensitive. Yes perhaps, but at that time in America I was still foolish enough to believe that we had a right to free speech, free thought and to vote for whomever we pleased without suffering the malice of others. I think that’s why we have the first amendment because our forefathers understood without this freedom there could be no freedom.

Sadly that experience is a Sunday school picnic by today’s standards. A look, a snide remark pale by comparison to what one may suffer today. One may get beaten or worse for their political views now and it seems to be getting worse each day.

Friends and family members have become alienated and people are afraid to exercise free speech. On our college campuses students believe they have the right to silence those with whom they disagree and tragically some turn to violence to exercise that pitiful point of view.

The meanness is palpable and has turned what once was a country where people left their doors unlocked into one where neighbors lock out those with whom they politically disagree. We may not have shared the same points of view, but it never escalated into hatred and violence.

I always thought a healthy discourse between Americans what was made this country so great. We were allowed to argue about what candidate was best, why we thought so and why we believed they deserved our vote. I felt incredibly grateful to be able to speak out when I looked at the Berlin Wall and how oppressive and frightening it was to live under a totalitarianism regime.

The negativity and sheer disrespect for others displayed not only by Americans, but also by our elected representatives has shifted the karma of this country from one where the streets are paved with gold to the old west where shooting someone for interfering with your enjoyment of a beer was acceptable.

Have we become that egocentric that we believe our intellect so far exceeds those with whom we share the common bond of citizenship?

Reason number two deals with something quite different, the right to like or dislike whom we please. I know it may sound a bit simplistic at first, but in reality it truly is not. Human beings are emotional creatures and until the robots take over and the world becomes solely intellectual we will continue to allow our subjective experiences to guide us.

Hence when we vote our emotions play a part. What one finds reprehensible in one politician may seem endearing to another.

It’s how we’re built and we could no longer change this part of ourselves than find a gas station charging twenty cents a gallon.

We bring our biases into every decision we make. We decide what we like, whom we like and how we will live our life based on previous life experience accumulated through years of living. It’s who and what we are.

If we had a friend we liked and she always wore a certain color red sweater perhaps we’ll be receptive to that shade of red our entire life. Happy memories color our decisions as well as bad ones.

It’s for this reason we may choose to shun someone or take an instant dislike or embrace someone at first meeting. It happens all the time. I am certain this is also true of politicians. Why we may like or dislike them.

Does one perhaps remind you of a teacher you hated in school, a favorite uncle that always showered you with great gifts, or maybe even a neighbor that passed out the best Halloween candy. We have long forgotten the why of our bias, but it has become so engrained in us, it’s unconscious.

If someone chooses to vote or not vote for a politician we like they may have good reason for their decision. The choice may even be an emotionally driven one of which they aren’t even aware. On an emotional level it’s pointless to argue and that level so many times is far more powerful than intellect.

Hating someone for their feelings or bias based on their experience is foolish. It’s like saying I hate you because you’re too educated. That is so un-American. The diversity of this country is what makes it so unique and special. Remember the whole melting pot analogy?

We are all special, and as Americans entitled to think and speak as we please, unless of course that speech may bring harm to others. We are a charitable country that always reaches out to those in times of need.

During Katrina did anyone say I want my donations to go only to a democrat or republican?

When Kennedy died did anyone care about party affiliation as we sobbed shamelessly on one another’s shoulder?

I guess I’ll sum up this blog with a wonderful story from World War I about what is now referred to as the Christmas Truce of 1914. In his book, Silent Night, by Stanley Weintraub, he recounts the story and the following are excerpts.

“All was jarringly quiet on the Western Front when a British sentry suddenly spied a glistening light on the German parapet, less than 100 yards away. Warned that it might be a trap, Brewer slowly raised his head over the soaked sandbags protecting his position and through the maze of barbed wire saw a sparkling Christmas tree. As the lieutenant gazed down the line of the German trenches, a whole string of small conifers glimmered like beads on a necklace.

“Brewer then noticed the rising of a faint sound that he had never before heard on the battlefield—a Christmas carol. The German words to “Stille Nacht” were not familiar, but the tune—“Silent Night”—certainly was. When the German soldiers finished singing, their foes broke out in cheers. Used to returning fire, the British now replied in song with the English version of the carol.

When dawn broke on Christmas morning, something even more remarkable happened. In sporadic pockets along the 500-mile Western Front, unarmed German and Allied soldiers tentatively emerged from the trenches and cautiously crossed no-man’s-land—the killing fields between the trenches littered with frozen corpses, eviscerated trees and deep craters—to wish each other a Merry Christmas. Political leaders had ignored the call of Pope Benedict XV to cease fighting around Christmas, but soldiers in the trenches decided to stage their own unofficial, spontaneous armistices anyway.

“Not every fighting man, particularly those who had just seen comrades killed in action, felt moved by the Christmas spirit. Gunfire continued to be exchanged in certain locations along the front, and in some unfortunate cases soldiers were killed by enemy fire as they emerged from the trenches in the hope for a day of peace. The unsanctioned truce concerned high-ranking officials, afraid that their men might lose the will to fight, and outraged others, including one young German corporal who would launch the next world war. “Such a thing should not happen in wartime,” Adolf Hitler scolded his fellow soldiers. “Have you no German sense of honor left?”

“As the sun set on Christmas, the fighters retreated to their respective trenches. A few ceasefires held until New Year’s Day. In most locations, however, the war resumed on December 26. At 8:30 a.m. in Houplines, Captain Charles Stockwell of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers fired three shots into the air and raised a flag that read “Merry Christmas.” His German counterpart raised a flag that read “Thank you.” The two men then mounted the parapets, saluted each other and returned to their sodden trenches. Stockwell wrote that his counterpart then “fired two shots in the air—and the war was on again.”

“The guns of World War I did not fall silent again until the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918. The Christmas Truce, however, provided an unforgettable memory for many such as the British soldier who confessed in a letter the following day, “I wouldn’t have missed the experience of yesterday for the most gorgeous Christmas dinner in England.”

Regrettably, this is a story that probably couldn’t happen in today’s world. The heartfelt yearning for love, home and family these soldiers exhibited exceeded politics and penetrated the very soul and essence of humanity.

How tragic that we, citizens of the greatest country in the world cannot put aside our hate and intolerance to respect the political opinions of others.

I know what my Christmas wish would be this year; that we all find a way back to love and brotherhood in the purest form and stop the ceaseless hate and anger. As Americans we share too much good to turn it all so bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Fat Are You? 110 Pounds Thinner, Thank You

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How Fat Are You?

110 Pounds Thinner, Thank You

I haven’t really ever taken on weight as a subject, but I feel it’s time to impart my take on the whole food/weight thing. There are so many opinions in this area the lights of Broadway dim by comparison.

Many of those opinions lack the true knowledge of living in a fat world and what it means to be bursting out of your clothes and not see your feet for years.

I lost 110 pounds twenty six years ago and have managed through daily battles to keep it off. No applause please; just throw money.

This is not a tome to brag about my weight loss or have everyone cluck his or her tongue and say, “Well she’s not really that thin, just how fat was she?”

I merely feel it’s time for someone who has been there and done that to speak out.

Losing weight is not a war one ever wins. It’s a series of battles and many we unfortunately lose.

Every day in human existence is fraught with land mines waiting to explode under our feet.

No matter how we start our day, we have no guarantee how it will end.

We may think, today I’m going to eat healthy, and then suddenly a friend calls and says, “I’m picking you up in twenty minutes; I have reservations at that fabulous new restaurant we’ve been dying to try.”

Resolve or no resolve, you’re going down. No one is going to go to a restaurant that makes the most phenomenal pizza outside of Naples, Italy and have a chef’s salad.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned in this life it’s that there is no black and white, only gray.

Why should we be torn with guilt if we have the pizza?

Shouldn’t we be jubilant at the prospects of enjoying something new with a friend?

I want to say right now I’m not espousing eating pizza and not following whatever it takes to stay healthy, and I know there are many schools of thought about this. I am strictly talking about guilt related to food. I have already designated pizza as my last meal so I’m not objective here.

Not any conscious decision to eat plant based, vegan, keto or any of the other new age versions of a healthy diet may change your relationship with food. Unless you are dead set on doing so.

This is all about you, your snickers bar and the relationship you share.

How does one lose weight really? Is it a combination of foods? Many would have us believe that if you eat a certain food with another they become best friends and attack your fat together.

Okay whatever! I’ve never found two foods that would gang up to attack fat. In my body it’s every man for himself and it’s been my experience that everyone has a different body.

I have a friend whose doctor told her that she has the metabolism of a corpse.

Some people run and are incredibly active all day. Others sit at their desk and write, some try to get in a bit of walking when they can. The point is we are all different and our calorie count should reflect these differences.

I could never eat what an athlete can. I have to allow for the fact that some days I’m sitting and writing, or reading or pitifully inactive.

I can’t eat much on those days or my metabolism laughs at me and starts building new fat condos in my midsection. I can hear the construction noises as I go through the day.

I also know that certain foods love me too much. So much in fact, once I eat them they never want to leave. Like that guest at the party that keeps talking even as your eyes are closing. These would be the carbohydrate family.

Oh you all know them; the breads, chips, cookies, cakes, brownies, candy and potatoes clan. They are so in love with me I think the fat under my right arm is all from the onion rings I ate at Big Boy when I was sixteen years old.

They love to snuggle in the smaller crevices of my body and expand to fit their needs.

Chocolate is my biggest nemesis because it knows it owns me. So once I have one piece of Sees candy it keeps screaming for more knowing full well I haven’t the power to say no.

I have found however that eating these carb foods earlier in the day does give my poor, old tired metabolism a bit of extra time to face them head on. There may be casualties, but not as many.

The sad part about loving food is it’s an affair that never ends. Not until the doctor says you must stop eating those foods or die do you give any consideration to a break up.

Sadder still is that so many are not swayed by such threats and continue eating until the inevitable result.

However there are those that keep eating, are overweight and can’t get through a door and seem to keep on keeping on even as skinny people die.

Go figure? I can’t.

There is one silver lining to getting older. You can’t eat as much. Hence the sharing of a sandwich by couples at the deli and the early bird special.

So what can one do to fight against the cravings and love we all feel for our foodie favorites?

I can only say what has worked for me and I must add not all the time, but a battle or two.

I eat 90% of my food early in the day. I find it prevents me from gaining. Even when I treat myself to pizza I can diminish the damage by giving my body the whole day to work its magic.

I don’t eat at night for two reasons, I gain weight and I’m up all night feeling full and yucky. Yucky referring to a term used to describe bloated and full from that chocolate cake I shouldn’t have eaten before bed.

If I’m craving a certain food I make a plan to eat it beforehand.

Say I want a chocolate brownie, which I guess would be most days actually. Anyhow I say to myself, okay I’m going to the mall on such a day. I will go early and walk around for an extra hour to work off my brownie. That way I don’t feel as guilty.

No one should diet. That is the key. Everyone should find their sweet spot of maintenance and eat that many calories every day. Then we can treat ourselves to something wonderful once a week.

I literally think about what would make me happy in my cravings closet and plan for the moment. Surprisingly there are many weeks you don’t need to, or if you put off the craving it dissipates and disappears.

One of the worst things I used to do was get a craving for example Oreos, but there were none in the house. So I would try every food in my kitchen to alleviate the need for that Oreo taste. Results, no Oreos and a weight gain at the end of the day. Just learn delayed gratification and you’ll find it a good friend for life. Many nights I’d think of a food I want to eat and say okay I’ll eat it tomorrow and by the morning I didn’t want it anymore.

I’ve found it helps when you crave a cookie or piece of candy to buy a single serving not bake or buy a whole package. One cookie probably won’t hurt, a whole package loosen your belt time.

If you’re a crunchaholic and need to hear your food being eaten from a mile away, I won’t suggest an apple even though it could work for you.

Although apples are the better choice, I know when the potato chip or popcorn craving comes a calling one must open that door.

Still there are many great options today. Tasty low calorie choices so you don’t have to do the damage to your waist you once did. You can also change your favorite recipes to be a bit healthier and calorie lighter.

We all have good and bad days watching our weight. One bad choice doesn’t lose the war. You needn’t go crazy binging because you feel guilty over that Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Just eat and enjoy, then move on making healthier choices afterward.

I know all the things I’ve told you aren’t new or different than what you’ve heard before, but surprisingly most people revert back to old habits where food is concerned. I have to take each day as a different foodie challenge and deal with it accordingly.

Fat cells are little gorilla warriors just hiding inside your body waiting for you to slip up and then they attack.

I admit I eat much healthier now, far less food and treat myself less frequently; although I have been known to lose many battles to chocolate gummy bears and paid a hefty price.

The most important thing is to like yourself, stay healthy, be proud of every battle you win and never wear elastic waist pants.

Weight loss is a difficult opponent and if you win, the prize is feeling and looking good.

Wishing you luck and just write me if you need any support. No war was ever won by a single battle or a single soldier, so go out and win, win, win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Queen Elizabeth, All Americans Aren’t Meghan

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No, Queen Elizabeth, All Americans Aren’t Meghan

With so much attention these days on the royal family and no millennials, I’m not talking about the Kardashians; I’m feeling immense sympathy for Queen Elizabeth. Why you ask, would Norma Zager feel sorry for the Queen?

With very good reason actually. She is a queen it’s true, but she is also a grandmother. Incidentally a very involved one since Harry and William lost their mother so young and it fell to her to become the female authority figure in their young lives. It must be very difficult for her to watch her grandsons unhappy or making bad decisions, just as any grandmother would.

William seems to have towed the party line. Despite his enormous pain at the loss of his mother, he rose to the occasion and selected and fell in love with a woman who in all aspects reflects a royal demeanor. Kate not only won William’s heart but she succeeded to win over the English people and the world. Her grace, refinement and charm have succeeded in creating a mate for the Prince that most deem highly appropriate and positive for a future queen.

Harry as we all have seen, has not dealt well with his position and tragic history. The loss of his mother took a large chunk out of his soul that he has been unable to repair and of course could never replace.

His behavior has been erratic, embarrassing and decidedly un-royal, but the public forgives his weaknesses and trespasses because he is loved.

Enter Meghan Markle. Oops! Now we have a new wrinkle in the royal laundry.

From all accounts the Queen Grandmother seemed to be welcoming because as we all know, what makes our children and grandchildren happy, is fine with us.

Yet, things quickly took a negative turn when Meghan’s family exhibited the signs of, how shall we put it, less than classy and talked to a hungry press about their dirty family secrets.

However, instead of placing the blame where it belonged with the Markle clan, she chose to deride the royals. Poor pitiful Meghan no one stood up for her as she was being attacked by her own family.

I’m sure it hurt in fact I know it does, but what was her reaction to this unpleasant piece of Markle business?

She became defensive instead of understanding that it would never do for the Queen or Prince Charles to come out swinging at anyone.

It is simply not done.

Meghan believed that because she is an American, she can open her big American mouth, as we all do and state her opinions. So sorry Honey, but you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Perhaps the press might have reacted more favorably toward you had you not been so obvious in your distain toward all things royal. It is what it is, get over it.

The royal family lives by a far different standard. Oh, of course they are well compensated for their lack of ability to speak their minds at all times, but sweetie get a grip. A crown is not free and comes with a cost.

Obviously Kate understood this truth and it’s why she’s a beloved member of the royal family.

While poor Meghan was crying into her Hermes handkerchief, she was also slathering her negativity upon Harry. Hasn’t he been through enough? And hasn’t the Queen?

Few people can resist the pomp and circumstance of the royal family. They are the reality television of England and watching their foibles and fashions is a guilty pleasure shared by countless Americans.

The viewing audience for the Kate and Wills’ wedding was astronomical and of course we all sat transfixed to the screen as yet another Windsor regaled us with the possibility of an English happily ever after, despite the grave feast of disappointment offered up by Charles and Diana.

Americans were nostalgic at how much Kate reminded us of our own royal Princess Grace, and aside from the gowns and uproarious chapeaus donned copiously on that royal day, I was struck by something perhaps most overlooked.

Of course as a grandmother, I see things differently and through the lens of all things grandchildren and

I was surprised to witness the fact the Queen of England seems to feel the same way.

Although the wedding was beautiful I managed to escape teary moments, romance aside, until for one split second I found myself face to face with a grandmother’s love and then the tears flowed like water.

Yes, right there in St. Paul’s Cathedral as William and Kate stopped after their nuptials to bow in respect as they headed back up the aisle, the Queen bowed her head and I saw the Grandma lip quiver as clear as day.

Oh she caught herself of course as any self-respecting and quite contained royal would do. Elizabeth more than most is dedicated to composure as the monarch, yet for one brief second she couldn’t contain her grandmother’s love for her grandson.

Her lip quivered and she looked down to hide the rush of emotion only a grandma could feel watching her beloved grandchild heading out into life, a married man, a new wife and a new life.

I imagined it must have been especially difficult for her as perhaps a fleeting memory of William’s pain at losing his mother washed over her and forced her to stand staunch against the tide of emotion attacking from all sides.

And of course Elizabeth in her well-practiced and inimitable way retained composure and caught that tear before it escaped her eye to fall onto a careworn cheek.

Yes, despite all of our differences at that moment we bonded as grandmothers, and I knew for certain Elizabeth is quite human after all. She has her weaknesses and one of them is William.

Her façade, her inner strength, her public persona all fell away when faced with the emotions of grandma love.

Shame on me for my utter surprise when so many of her grandchildren have praised her devotion. Princess Eugenie for example recounts how, “Granny would take us raspberry picking, and we’d have the raspberry jam that we picked that day on the table for tea.”

Kate first meeting her was surprised to learn the Queen played video games.

And yes part of my surprise does relate to the reputation of the English for being more affectionate with their dogs than their children.

I now know I was wrong and proven so by a quivering lip.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that indeed the Queen of England and I, an American cousin, have so much in common.

We are both no more than grandmas and that is a powerful and positive bond no matter who or what you are.

Now as her new great grandson, Archie, is removed to a country far away I’m certain she is saddened. A face-time chat is only second best to holding your grandchildren and great grandchildren in your arms and coochy-cooing them in person.

Since we can’t always choose our loved ones’ partners, even royalty, it’s more evident than ever to me that life doesn’t always turn out as we planned for any of us, even if you’re the Queen of England.

 

 

 

 

Chewbacca has Left The Building

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Chewbacca has Left the Building

Peter Mayhew AKA Chewbacca, Chewy, Han Solo’s BFF and iconic sidekick died this year without the usual fanfare accorded a superstar.

There were no news breaks, day and night and even weekly coverage like a Kobe or a Michael, just a sense of loss on so many levels from Star Wars fans.

Not to denigrate from others’ greatness, but if you cut us do we not bleed?

To a Star Wars geek the loss of Chewy is a giant blow, pun intended. He was able while wearing a costume to evoke emotions some actors can’t do while the camera is staring right at their face. He also suffered physical pain and difficulties while creating an iconic character and handled it all with class and professionalism.

Chewy was lovable, loyal, funny, protective and smart. His utterances transcended words and fans loved the character and appreciated that the man who played him hit exactly the right notes.

I want to know who decides. Who says this person is more important and deserves more coverage than another? Who in the entertainment business speaks for us all?

Watching the Academy Awards, while hoping my gag reflex didn’t fail me I was shocked that Kirk Douglas’s death wasn’t mentioned the entire night until the pictures of the dead rolled on the giant screen. Kirk Douglas is just one of the throng? Really? Seriously?

I know that most of old Hollywood was either dead or missing in action at the awards ceremonies, proving the theory that old people are not welcome, but to not even mention a man like Kirk Douglas, an icon, and a legitimate legend.

At one point in the “festivities” Tom Hanks who was speaking about AMPAS, ended with “I am Spartacus,” alluding to Kirk Douglas’s iconic words in Spartacus.

That was it. A shout out to Hanks, but can’t the academy do better?

Not a single actor acknowledged him in any way. No “we lost a legend a few days ago” speech, nod or comment on a man that so contributed to Hollywood’s reputation. Just a cavalier, “another one bites the dust,” kind of attitude.

Tom Hanks was the only one who felt compelled to honor a legend? How sad.

What are the Academy Awards anyway? The entire industry takes itself so damn seriously, but it is that one night a year we are most reminded of their ego.

The fashion is no longer as entertaining as when Joan Rivers mocked and trashed the celebs parading across the red carpet. The movies are many no one has even seen or heard of anymore. Heaven forbid a movie that actually rakes in billions should be given a shout out. Hello Avengers, Star Wars, etc.

A place where Hollywood goes to convince itself it’s more than all that and stars become political commentators while everyone pats everyone else on the back because they finally caught one of the bad guys, Harvey Weinstein; with no help from Hollywood, by the way.

A show where the best acting is done by the losers who pretend to be happy for those who just beat them out for the award.

Shouldn’t there be a category for the Peter Mayhews who must act beneath ten tons of makeup and a confining costume. For someone who can create a character that is beloved by hundreds of millions across the globe.

Chewy didn’t need no stinkin’ subtitles to create a legend.

I’m not equating Kirk Douglas and Mayhew. They were far different actors, yet both excelled at their craft.

If numbers are the judge Chewy had as many fans as Michael Jackson or Kobe Bryant.

If character is the criteria, Mayhew and Harrison Ford created a more iconic and world renown team than Abbot and Costello.

Perhaps it’s because the geek in me was fired up when Chewy and Kirk Douglas’s deaths went so unheralded by the news and their own colleagues.

Douglas was part of a time when Hollywood was golden and stars were stars, and the big screen held magic and wonder because movies were played on giant screens instead of an iphone. One escaped into the world of make believe not into the palm of their own hand for escape.

Douglas was a true gentleman and an artist. I met him and I can say that first hand.

Mayhew was part of a franchise so gigantic that only something as huge as the mouse AKA Disney could take over and be trusted to carry on its greatness.

Unfortunately, I should be more surprised than I am by the slight, but in the end I, with all my fellow fans salute two Hollywood greats, along with many others that left the building this year.

The Hollywood sign outside my window is looking just a little rustier and older than before.

No Beverly Hills plastic surgeon can cover the mark they both left on the entertainment world.

RIP Kirk and Chewy, you will never be forgotten.

 

 

 

Meeting an Old Friend for Lunch

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Meeting an Old Friend for Lunch

“In a better world we will find our young years and our old friends Jean Antoine Petit-Senn

Yesterday I met an old friend for lunch. As happens in life Carole Montgomery’s comedy career led her to different states to reside and as time passed and career and raising a family took her back to New York, our daily lives encroached upon our friendship. We stayed in touch through social media and occasional phone calls, but life and time can separate even those with whom one shares a true affinity for fun and a cache of happy memories.
Carole and I became friends during my time as a stand-up comic. Since we both worked in Las Vegas a great deal, she was the opening comic for a show called Crazy Girls at the Riviera and I was a regular at the Improv located in the hotel, we saw each other a lot. We also had much in common sort of, I couldn’t gamble and she knew all about it, so she taught me. She was from New York and incredibly street smart and I was a protected Jewish princess from Detroit. She was calm and cool in a time of chaos, while I was an hysterical crazy person.

Okay, so you’re wondering why we were friends, it was just a no brainer. We liked each other and enjoyed one another’s sense of humor. I thought Carole was hysterical. I laughed out loud at her jokes and respected her guts and fearlessness. She was my female Lenny Bruce. She worked blue and I came off like a Jewish mother. I guess it was the difference in our styles that made it so easy to appreciate each other. Whatever it was we remained in touch and yesterday we met for lunch.

Carole is out in Los Angeles for work and to promote her new Showtime Special More Funny Women of a Certain Age premiering Saturday, March 14th.

It had been as though no time had passed, as is so often the case when old friends meet. Like hearing a favorite old song on the radio that conjures up a treasured memory.

We ordered and then caught up. Being as we only had a lunchtime we prioritized and shared the highest items on our friends-need-to-know-priority list, family, work, future, new goals and projects and tomatoes or tater tots with our omelets. We compromised and shared both.

After saying goodbye I spent a good part of the day recalling life events we’d shared, show business insanity, our kid’s successes and the birth of her son, now of course grown and a force of his own. It seems our children inherited both our determination and senses of humor.

Of course as one ages it becomes apparent that people move in and out of our lives for reasons unknown. Yet, it’s also true that as people move away from us new ones come in.

I must ask why this is so. Why can’t we have everyone in our lives all the time?

Good question, but no answer.

Perhaps there is no room. Can’t say I agree with that one because our hearts are big enough to embrace the entire world. Even though people may physically leave our lives, they don’t leave our hearts.

I realized that fact yesterday over lunch with Carole. Although we’d been apart I still felt that sense of friendship. I wanted her to succeed and help her, although she is doing just great without any help from me.

Whether or not old friends are near or far away we never seem to stop wanting the best for them.

How many times have you heard something regarding a childhood friend and been moved by either joy or sadness at the news?

Friendship is a bond that connects us to one another, but can distance break that bond? Or does it simply stretch like elastic until it can be lax again?

In my experience the evidence is clear. Although we may find ourselves separated from old friends, once the connection is reset the bond is strong.

I’m certain there were times in your life you’ve thought of someone and suddenly wanted to hear their voice. Perhaps an old song, place you visit or picture someone shares on social media conjures up a memory.

It may be over Facebook or other social media, maybe an old-school phone call works best, but whatever the means the outcome is the same. As a result of the outreach we are filled with happy memories and good feelings about wonderful times shared.

I think old friends are a kind of medicine we can easily afford and with no scary side effects.

On a blue day instead of hitting the chocolate maybe a phone call to an old friend might do more to elevate your mood.

If you are remembering someone that has left your life simply pick up a phone and call to say hello or drop a message on Facebook or Instagram. Rekindle a happy time and share joyful thoughts. They may have been thinking of you, too.

Just because life has taken you to new places and experiences doesn’t mean we have to lose the older, good parts of ourselves forever.

Many times there are reasons we must part, but perhaps there are also good reasons to reconnect.

So make two people happy today and reach out to an old friend. It’s a great way to brighten two lives.

 

 

Maj at the Mall

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Maj Jong at the Mall

Every week five friends play maj jong at the mall. The first question from those who hear of our location is, “Where at the mall?”

I answer, “In the food court of course,” and they shake their head nodding it makes sense.

And it does. Aside from the fact it takes Karen ten minutes to find a table that doesn’t wobble, or text us to, then disinfect it we have found the perfect location.

Maj is a total snacks game. There are usually nuts of some kind, m and ms, chocolate gummy bears, (we should never have discovered those), chips, cut up veggies for the diet conscious, drinks, coffee and for the more adventurous even lunch.

So it always falls to the hostess to plan the eats and it can be tedious and a great deal of work.

Problem solved at the mall.

Everyone can eat what they want, drink the best coffees and of course we still sneak in chocolates for those of us with absolutely no self-control.

(I’m raising my hand here but you can’t see it of course.)

Even if I begin the day with a healthy mindset vowing not to eat junk food, a lot can happen to change my resolve before I sit down in front of those tiles. Perhaps the son of a bitch who cut me off in traffic created the need for a handful of m and ms to calm me down. Yes, I’m a chocoholic and I admit it freely.

Yes, it’s well known that will power is not an absolute. One’s need for chocolate can change in a millisecond depending on circumstances. Is this a good hair day or are my locks determined to have a mind of their own? Why does my make up look like I just turned into a raccoon? I know these damn jeans fit yesterday what’s going on here with this muffin top situation?

Get me the damn Sees Candy! Where once Shakespeare advised Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery,” I say get thee to Godiva.

The real fun about the mall is the little community that assembles there, and they are quite a cast of characters.

There are always other tables of maj players as well. Now there is even a table of rummicubers.

Next to our usual table is a group of older men from Israel. There are probably ten of them and they eat, talk, tell stories and love to flirt with us. Sometimes they bring baked goods and offer them up to us.

The security guard always stops by to say hello and ask who’s winning then stays to chat.

Of course there is also the assortment of customers that come and go with their various dishes and sometimes screaming children.

Another group comes in after five to have dinner. Among the five o’clockers are Virginia, now 99 and Francis, now 92 along with their male friends that make sure they have what they need. Virginia’s boyfriend bought her a gorgeous watch for Christmas.

The same people show up every week and if someone isn’t there everyone else notices.

After the maj game is over Randi, Deb and I shop for a while and Janet buys dinner to take home. Karen meets her husband Mark for dinner and after shopping we stop by to chat with Virginia and her friends to show off our new purchases before we leave.

It’s rare that we go through a day without a friend of one of ours walking up to the table to say hello. Or people stopping by to ask, what is that game you’re playing.

Obviously we don’t play as many games as we would were we at someone’s home. Nor is it as quiet.

So you ask, if you’re serious maj players why do you play at the mall with all the distractions?

That’s the point. We love the distractions. Okay occasionally it can get a bit raucous at the retired men’s table and yes the screaming kids bother some more than others.

Our maj game has become a highlight of our week. We have not only all become great friends, but we have added so many interesting people to our lives.

We all can’t wait to get there on Fridays to see everyone and hear about one another’s week. What’s the latest news or just saying hello and meeting and greeting everyone?

So thank you for bearing with me because I do have a point here. Malls are dying and that is terribly sad.

In a world where people are watching a techie toy more than each other, the mall is one of the last bastions of community left.

It’s not just that we all enjoy ourselves it’s also about the kids. You see them hanging out, having lunch, talking laughing and interacting with one another. If the mall goes away will kids ever look at anything ever again besides Instagram or have any sense of what if feels like to be part of a community?

Man was not created to be alone. Just like wolves we travel in packs and are happier to do so. Even the Romans gathered together in the coliseum to feed the lions.

The mall offers a place that is completely inter generational and a safe place to gather and share happy moments.

The sad part of what’s occurring is that malls are closing because the stores can’t compete with online business. Yet a mall is so much more and the loss would be incredibly damaging to social interaction.

The day Amazon can provide me with interesting people to meet, greet and play maj with will be a cold day in California. I have to believe that for now maj at the mall will be a safe haven for everyone, for a long time to come.