Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Burned Away

It’s been warm so far so I haven’t had to wear my toughest fur.  It’s the bulky, long haired one which has kept me comfortable at whatever temperature Chicago has thrown my way.  My beautiful blue fur has a pretty big tear in the back.  I’m not complaining. It’s been so good to me for more than 30 years. As back up, I have my mother’s mink jacket.  I was thinking of selling it recently, but it wouldn’t bring a price worth it’s sentimental value.

When it became a “thing”, I didn’t pay any attention to people who questioned my devotion to my furs.  It was always way down on my list of issues.  But now, when I read of the dead animals in Australia (did it actually say “billions”?), I weep for them and the ones in my closet.  

Do we deserve to be served so well?  We, who ignite the fires?

Friday, January 3, 2020

No One Else to Blame

As I watch Australia burning, I remember a glorious experience a few years back. I wrote about it and included it in my book.  I wonder what the penguins think of us now.  

Who Will Survive

One of my favorite experiences was when Bill, Natalie and I went from Melbourne to Phillip Island.  The lure was the arrival every evening at sunset of hundreds of penguins.  They would emerge from the ocean, cross the beach and climb the slopes to their natural nesting place.

The Australia tourism people -- always in good taste --had erected stands where we could watch the penguin parade but not interfere.  We were instructed politely to maintain quiet and no cameras.  It was magical.

The recent article in The New Yorker about the survivalist billionaires reminded me of this "back to nature" moment.  Despairing of our institutions, or maybe fearing a revolt, they are "getting away from it all" by burrowing down in lavish bunkers in Kansas.  Or, buying up property in remote New Zealand at such a rapid pace that the natives are feeling invaded by nervous Yanks.

I don't know if there are penguins in New Zealand.  But I'm sure there are other sea creatures who eye the shore.  Maybe they see the panicky humans searching for a nesting place. Making sure "I've got mine."  Then, maybe they just turn around and return to the sea.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Keep on Imagining

Imagine all the people living life in peace

Happy New Year
All of us who keep dreaming

Monday, December 23, 2019

Footsteps At My Door

It occurred to me today that I am entering (or have I been here for awhile?) the obituary stage of life.  You read the stories about people who have been meaningful to you as their deaths are honored or at least mentioned.  Some are younger.  Most are around my age.

The lame joke, of course, is that you look for your own name and if you don’t find it, you know you are alive for another day.

Today’s obit was of Ram Dass.   Born Richard Alpert to a middle class jewish family, he took the LSD trip in the 60’s, became a spiritual guru, wrote “Be Here Now” and, in general, was a major cultural player in a far different time.

I was drawn to Ram Dass as was my best friend Marsha.  We were struggling when suicide and divorce shattered our lives as young women and mothers.  Did the “spiritual guru” stuff help? Hard to say for sure.  I know I’m glad for his presence as I think about him now.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Signed by Hand

A story in the Washington Post caught my eye.  “People are Turning to Robots to Write Their ‘Handwritten’ Cards.”

After college I went to work for Adlai E. Stevenson.  It was his 1956 campaign for President.  Our headquarters were at 69 West Washington in a building torn down long ago. We were told that the atomic bomb secrets from the University of Chicago were stored there during WWII.

I wanted to believe that the secrets were actually kept in the small, windowless room where I worked with my colleague Mary Lou.  Our job involved secrets of a much less earth shattering nature, but we still were warned to keep things to ourselves.
Since it’s been more than 50 years, I think it's okay to reveal our tedious work.

We had a robot hand machine that held an ink pen.  It had been programmed to replicate Adlai E. Stevenson’s signature.  The trick was that the ink could be smudged to make a note look individually signed. The notes went to various VIPs.
I believe what Stevenson wrote in those letters and what he said to the nation was his own.  No robot stuff from Russia.  

History has been kinder to Ike,  but I loved the experience of being on Stevenson's team.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Searching for Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers is quiet and slow.  He seems to be able to stay in each moment before accepting the next one that arrives. Even though he changes into a sweater and sneakers at the start of his show, everyone he works with says he is not playing a role.  They say he just takes himself to his TV show to spend some creative time with us.

I grew up way before him and my kids just missed him when they watched TV.  But you're never too old or too young for Mr. Rogers.  And now, some are saying the whole country is aching for a dose of his approach to life.

I'm not so sure. I see those Amazon delivery trucks zipping around.  It's not Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, but mine.  One Click!  One hour pick up!  Next day delivery!

It's not just the speed.  It's being selfish and mean.  Yes, you can easily convince me that it's always been this way.  But then, a Mr. Rogers pops up every once in awhile and you can convince me that there will always be another "Mr. Rogers" waiting in the wings.

Reflections on watching the PBS documentary about Mr. Rogers and the fictional movie about him now playing in theaters.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Tree in Time

Bonnie and I don't actually try to eat in the Walnut Room.  We leave that to the families with their young children who are everywhere on the 7th floor.  It's very well organized.  A beeper will call you to the room, usually after a one or two hour wait.  But that doesn't mean that we miss out on the pure joy of seeing this year's spectacular tree.

When we see two girls dressed in black velvet, we immediately remember our own "angels" on our annual trips to Marshall Fields.  Too bad the magical toy department is long gone.  And, (I still have trouble with this) it's Macy's now.  But the Frango Mints are everywhere, even next to the Starbucks on the bottom floor.

This year, I bought some stuff from Amazon.  And I felt guilty when Target delivered my package in one day.  It doesn't have to be that fast, does it?

But as long as I can I'm going to be downtown at Fields/Macy's at Christmastime to do some in person shopping, enjoy the great tree,  and cling to all of the happy memories.

Happy Holidays!