Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘life’

Why I’m Banned from Watching Election Night Results

election 2014

Google Images


I have the opposite of the Midas touch when it comes to choosing political winners.

Do you want to guarantee your candidate will win?

Just convince me to back the other guy.

Independent, Democrat, Republican – it doesn’t matter. I back candidates of all persuasions and, with inexplicable regularity, they lose.

In our house there is a 100% chance of an UPSET on election night:

  • 99.9% of the time I’M UPSET because my guy loses
  • a measly .1% of the time there’s an election upset and my candidate wins

Two years ago, the latter – an election upset – caused a chain reaction. An upset of such epic destruction that I am now banned from watching tv on election night.

It all began innocently enough. After an hour of watching early returns – all races going as expected (the other guys winning) – my stomach signaled time to eat.

“What do you want for dinner, pasta or salad?”

“Let’s have pasta.”

“Do you want spaghetti sauce or pesto?”

“The marinara sauce, please. With meatballs.”

“Want some wine? We have a bottle of that cab you like.”

“Not tonight, thanks.”

“Well I’m going to have some. It’ll make my candidates’ defeats easier to swallow.”

Twenty minutes later, butts back in our arm chair recliners; tv trays placed squarely in front of us; warm marinara sauce smothering the thick strands of red onion pasta in bowls atop our trays, we dug in. My second glass of wine – full to the brim – beckoned within easy reach on the tray next to my pasta bowl.

A steady stream of election results scrolled across the bottom of the tv screen as the talking heads preened in their illusory self-importance.


A breaking news alert!


election results

Google Images


One of the state elections was unexpectedly trending for the underdog – my guy. The guy who had no chance was on the verge of being crowned the projected winner!

I jerked my head up from my spaghetti bowl, turned to Hub with a startled, “Did you hear …” and never finished my utterance.

Apparently when I last left my chair, I hadn’t given the foot rest the solid kick needed to lock it in place. My head jerk and body turn were enough momentum to set my chair in motion.

Slow-w-w-w-w-w Motion

The kind of perceived slow motion occurring when you realize something terrible is about to happen and you are powerless to stop it.

As the foot rest snapped abruptly upwards, catching the legs of the tray and launching it towards the tv, my body was thrown back in sync with the now-reclining chair.

I thrust my arms forward in a futile attempt to grab the rapidly receding tray. Alas, we were catapulted in opposite directions.

I yelled; Hub yelled; the tv tray crumpled; the bowl flew; the glass shattered; red wine splotched; spaghetti splattered.


The beige carpet, the freshly painted white cupboards, the books and paper piles and yoga mat – all covered with the gory aftermath of a blood and guts murder.

Politics is messy business …

Does anyone want to catch a movie Tuesday night?


Autumnal Interference

I want to write. I should write.

Days like this get in the way …







Siren calls I can’t ignore. Swept away by sunshine’s grace.

The Time I Was Mistaken for a Drug Runner – Part 3

Fortunately I drove across Illinois to Michigan without a repeat of those flashing police car lights in my rear view mirror. Dad was recovering well, and I remained in Michigan for a week. There were lots of family members present, lots of emotion, and lots of logistics to settle so I was immersed in helping Dad and Mom make decisions.

I kept re-playing my Iowa incident in my mind. Having been fleeced in a scam years ago, ironically by someone posing as a cop, I wasn’t convinced I hadn’t unwittingly provided my driver’s license and registration data to an identity thief.

I decided if I still had doubts after I returned to Colorado and checked all my bank and credit card activity, I’d contact the Iowa State Patrol.


Source: Google Images

Dad’s chemo/radiation plan established, and Plan B’s for local food, driving, cleaning and therapy support if needed, I left Michigan – not wanting to leave Dad but wanting to be in Colorado with Hub.

Lo and behold as I drove the 30 mile stretch outside of Des Moines, this time heading west, I saw two cars pulled over across the highway in the eastbound lanes. Each time the car was boxed in by a police car at its front and rear. The occupants were clearly cuffed, sitting by the side of the road. There were piles on the side of the road as police removed everything from each car – in one case even the back seats had been pulled from the car.

cop search

Source: Google Images

Once home, I got online and confirmed the Iowa information on ‘my paper’ matched the official Iowa State Patrol website and nothing fishy had shown up in my financial accounts. I stashed ‘my paper’ back in my car’s glove box and put that whole episode out of my mind until a year later when Hub and I packed the car for our September 2010 visit to Michigan.

We have our road trip ritual down. Hub drives the first shift when his caffeine is going full bore. Thus he’d be driving the dawn stretch on the second travel day heading east from Des Moines.

des moines sign 1

Hub has a lead foot.

Hub has a deaf ear to my “slow down” pleadings.

I reminded him how anxious I get about being stopped, and I pulled out the “if you REALLY love me, you’ll …” card. I could tell he didn’t think the whole ‘drug runner’ episode would be repeated, but he humored me by staying under the speed limit as we left Des Moines. We didn’t leave the Holiday Inn until 7am, so the sky was light.

About 25 miles east of Des Moines, we passed a police car idling in the crossover. The policeman pulled out as soon as we passed him.  He drove slightly behind us, but he stayed in the left lane. For ten excruciating minutes nothing happened, except for my heart rate skyrocketing as I rummaged in the glove box for my by-now-badly-faded-therma-fax ‘paper’.

Suddenly he accelerated forward, lights flashing. Instead of motioning us over, he zoomed in behind the car ahead of us which bore California plates. Both cars quickly pulled to the side of the highway.

All I can surmise is he ran my plates through the system while following us, and my car was still documented as ‘little old lady; no longer runs with or without drugs’.

I was so giddy, I wanted to shout, “SUCKER!” to those hapless Californians, but knew the karma would surely kickback.

Fast forward to 2014; Hub and I are preparing for our annual visit to Michigan.

And I have a new car with new license plates.

Undocumented in Iowa.

I don’t know whether to place a ‘Bro’ Don’t Cuff Me’ or ‘Been There Done That’ sign in the back window.

Save your bail money just in case.


Postscript: I wrote this series last week AFTER we returned from our road trip to Michigan in my new car. We rarely saw a police car in any state. Curious about the lack of activity around Des Moines, I located an online report about two Poker players from California who – this month – filed suit against the Iowa State Patrol for a 2013 traffic stop in which police searched the car and confiscated $100,000 in winnings. The suit claims the officers had no probable cause to search the car resulting in unreasonable search and seizure targeting out-of-state cars. Police still have not returned all the money.  (I’m not sure why the poker players would take their winnings in cash and drive around with it in the car!)

This series is an anecdotal story, not intended to imply judgment on profiling, drug wars or police tactics. I continue to place my trust in our public safety officers.


All Changes Have Their Melancholy

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Anatole France


That quote is a tad dramatic for this topic, but back in April I was feeling a loss too keenly to write about it. I’ve read many a post by a parent or grandparent experiencing this normal life transition. I suspect knowing it’s normal didn’t make it any easier for them either.

Raqi has always been ‘our’ grandbaby.

As is often the case in step-families, we had to wait our turn. A first granddaughter was born to Hub’s older son. Next a first grandson was born to Hub’s younger son. Naturally parents are very protective of their first-borns, and naturally the biological grandmothers expect to have those babies to themselves. While Hub and I visited and occasionally babysat, we didn’t have the luxury of much one-on-one time with those two babies.

By the time Raqi came along, her older brother was three; both parents were tired, stressed and steeped in career paths; and biological grandmothers had “been there; done that”.

Raqi seemed ripe for the taking!

raqi baby


When she was two weeks old, she had her first overnight with us. That quickly became two overnights a week, and even more when Mom and Dad could stand the guilt of relinquishing her. It gave them much-needed relief; gave three-year-old Sparks time alone with his parents; and gave Hub, Raqi and me an opportunity to bond with each other in a way I never imagined.

Not only has our bond flourished for eight delicious years, but we have become closer to Sparks and his parents than we would have otherwise. I will always be grateful to my stepson and daughter-in-law for making us such a welcome part of their home and their family.

In April we took our first spring bike ride to the pond near our house. After we circled the pond several times, Sparks and Hub headed home to get the football, but Raqi wanted to stay at the pond.

She normally chats non-stop and is always in close physical contact with us. So it was unusual when she left me with the bikes; walked over to the tree and stared quietly at the water.



After about five minutes, I walked over and leaned against one of the other trunks. I didn’t say anything and eventually she began telling me how sad she felt that their family was moving to another house. When I asked her why, she explained that she had lived in that house since she was born, and all her memories of her life are in that house. She went on to talk about her bedroom and how much she loved the color and the wall decorations and how many times she and I played with her dolls in there.

She talked about the living room and playing ‘Hot Lava’ and doing the Hokey Pokey and learning to turn cartwheels. She talked about the basement and how much fun we had playing in our ‘family band’ and dancing to music videos.

She cried, saying she’d never be happy in another home.

It broke my heart.

Or should I say it added to my broken heart. For months Hub and I had been dreading the changes that were coming – not just the physical change of their home which, indeed, held so many memories, but the loss for the two of us as Sparks and Raqi move into adolescent/pre-teen preoccupations, and baby/toddler absorption fast-fades in the rear view mirror.

Even though they will always be with us; they won’t.

I know I don’t have to explain that to most of you.

It’s our job, as parents and grandparents, to prepare our children to move out into the world beyond our arms. The beauty is we do it well. The melancholy is we do it well.

That day, I tried to reassure Raqi that we will – as a family – carry memories of that home in our hearts, and we will help each other remember. I also promised her (and myself, although I don’t quite believe it) that we will make just as many good memories in their new house.

Within three days of moving, Raqi had fallen in love with her new next door neighbor Em. Those two girls became inseparable for the rest of summer, Raqi going so far as to write Em a “love poem” when Em left for a week on family vacation. My heart beams for both of them.

Hub and I are learning to find joy being interested observers as Raqi’s world widens, thankful we have front row seats.

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 3

When Hub and I started dating, ski trainwe occasionally rode the weekend ski train to Winter Park, which was such a luxury because after a chilly day on the slopes, we could all party relax on the train on the ride home.

One Saturday, a fellow passenger  – who obviously partied relaxed too hearty – stared cross-eyed at Hub and me cuddling in our seat then slurred, “Zou look like brudder and zizter.”


We weren’t dressed alike that day but since then, when we see a couple dressed alike, we look at each other, “Promise me. Never!”

I’m not talking about those bad-dude, leather-decked, heavily tattoed bikers with their wind-whipped babes on the back of their hawgs. They’re wearing BLACK and you know how much I *heart* black.

I’m talking about those harmless little white-haired, stoop-shouldered elders Blue Jacket 1in their MATCHING pale blue jackets. What is it about the elderly and pastels – especially blue? Is there some rule like the “No white shoes until Memorial Day” that decrees once you reach 85, your jacket has to be pastel blue? And if you’re married and 85, your jackets have to match?

No siree! Not only will you never catch me in a pastel blue jacket, you’ll never catch Hub and me in matching apparel anything.

        * cricket  cricket  cricket * (sound of uneasy silence)

Fine. That’s not quite true.

I have another Sammy Secret.

If I tell you, I’m going to have to kill you. Some secrets are just that embarrassing sacred.

I’ve never had a waist to speak of. I’m best described as a tree trunk. Fairly straight up and down as in: thick waist + smallish hips = straight up and down.

Consequently I’ve always had trouble finding pants that fit. Women’s lower-half clothing is designed for pears and apples, not tree trunks.

If I get pants wide enough for my waist, they are too big for my hips. If I size down for my hips, they squeeze my waist. In addition my legs are short enough that I have to shop in the “petite” section. Did you know petite means “very sparse selection”?

Worst of all, whether petite or regular size, clothing is invariably too short/tight in the crotch resulting in a wedgie-like condition to the extent that I find it utterly painful to sit and barely tolerable to stand.

Two summers ago when I pulled my skorts and shorts from the closet, I realized a sadistic prankster had snuck in and shrunk everything. Nothing fit.

Cruelly, I was faced with that dreaded trip to the clothing store. The thought made me a little crazy.

I cannot justify or live down what I did next, but for some inexplicable reason instead of heading to the store, I opened Hub’s dresser drawer; removed a pair of his white briefs; and put them on.

What’s even more shocking than trying them on is discovering they fit! (Why do men’s butts get skinnier and women’s get wider as we age?) Sure there was a little excess room in the frontal area, but crotch-wise, hip-wise and waist-wise, the briefs fit. Comfortably!

I swear I’m not a cross-dresser and I wasn’t seeking a new line of underwear (like I said, inexplicable impulse).

But I desperately needed summer apparel for my bottom half. Why not shop in Hub’s closet?

Lo and behold, his black shorts fit me perfectly! Not only were they tree-trunk straight, but they had oh-so-comfy crotch space for my delicate self.

I raced to the store; bee-lined for the Men’s-Is-the-New-Women’s Department; and returned with 3 black, 1 tan and 1 gray pair of shorts.



I pulled out my Perma marker and tattoed my labels so we could tell them apart in the wash.




Mission accomplished, I poured myself a gin & tonic and toasted my Fashionista Coup. Two summers hence I’m still loving my men’s shorts.

When I was 10, I remember vowing, “When I get married, I’m ALWAYS going to dress up for my husband.”

Instead, I dress just like him!


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