A Miraculous Good Friday to You!

Ten years ago on Good Friday my dad was dying. Not like, he was sick and frail and was going to die soon. Dying. Multiple organ failure and that Friday his kidneys were beginning to fail. Renal failure generally means you aren’t long for this world. He had been ill for weeks. My parents came home early from Palm Springs, a trip he never had any memory of. When they returned to Portland they went to St. Vincent’s hospital for testing and then home and then back to the hospital for close to two weeks and that was when the organ failure from congestive heart failure almost got him.

I was married to Mitch then, stay-at-home mom and the girls were 4 and 6. I remember Matea, the cleaning lady (who was only in her 20s at the time) was working. My father “discovered” her. She called him “Sir”, even when referring to him. “How is Sir?” instead of “How is your father?” Matea has a thriving business today and I will say that is in no small part due to my father’s efforts to spread the word about how great she is. Anyway, Matea was at the house, all 4’10″ of her and she said, “I so sorry Maggie” and I fell apart and cried all over her.

Good Friday is a horribly sad day. This past Sunday, Palm Sunday, I teared up as I do every year at the reading of the Passion.

‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’

That line gets me every time. Jesus was human and he knew what was coming and reeeaaallly did not want to do it.  The story is so awful. A good man was taunted, tortured, and murdered. He was abandoned by those He trusted. What a dark and empty day. And that is how I felt, that day in 2004. So sad and scared.

I have a strong faith and I have never asked “God, why are you doing this?” When the shit comes down, I’m not blaming God,  I’m praying for God’s support and when necessary just letting Him handle it because I can’t. This is the season of miracles and back in 2004, the miracle came in the form of Dr. H. Dr. H was a friend of my dad’s and also the Chief of Internal Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital. And he had one more thing to throw into the mix and if that didn’t work, we would have to say goodbye to my Dad and I knew none of us were ready for that.

And on the third day he rose again. “He”, in this case, being my father. On Easter Sunday, the nuclear antibiotic that was being IV’d into my dad began working and brought him back! Miracles don’t have to be supernatural, sometimes miracles are trained professionals and modern medicine. Sometimes miracles are foster parents or paramedics. Sometimes miracles are good Samaritans or teachers or friends or dogs or technology. And I always thank God whenever a miracle happens.

adorable-candy-help-distract-easter-ecard-someecards

In other Holy Week news. Derwood is being confirmed into the Church tomorrow night. That amazes me. I certainly didn’t ask him to convert, this is something he has been thinking about long before he met me and this is the year he’s doing it. I can’t imagine picking a religion and putting it on. To me, it is a true leap of faith. And when you throw Catholicism into the mix, dear God!

The Catholic Church is a mess just as any huge bureaucracy is a mess and I have been appalled at the priest sex abuse scandal, the coverup, the greed, etc of the humans who run the organization that is the Catholic Church but it has never affected my faith. I love Catholicism because you always have the chance to start over. Every single day. I don’t find the Church to be one of hellfire and damnation but one of forgiveness. No matter how far gone you may feel, you can always start over again. There is always that opportunity to live a little longer, a little better, a little happier.

We had my dad with us for another year and a half. That was a miracle.

Derwood is taking on the mystery of faith tomorrow night and that to me is a miracle. I am so proud and so in awe of his decision. And he will have his new beginning, which I’m sure will rub off on this ol’ cradle Catholic and give me a new perspective and interest in my faith and religion.

Happy Easter. I hope the renewal and miracle of Easter stays with you throughout the year.

 

Just two Catholics just takin' a selfie.

Two Catholics just takin’ a selfie.

 

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We Got A Floater!

Upon my return from spring break in Palm Springs, I read Mike Calahan’s story about his parents’ anniversary (you should be following him, if you’re not — go do it, we’ll wait) and it reminded me of some of the more twisted O’Connor family moments and one of those happened in Palm Springs.

In 2003, I took the girls (then ages 3 and 5) down to visit my parents, who would go to the desert for a couple of months in the winter. That year they rented a house owned by the daughter of a friend of my dad’s. The house had been built probably in the ’30s. It was a long house with bedroom wings off the kitchen/living area and all rooms had doors out to the patio area. It was a comfortable, pretty house with beautiful Mexican tile throughout. The garden areas were lush and bright with bougainvillea, cacti and palm trees, the Mexican tile accented the garden walls, fountains and pool. Really an ideal vacation spot.

The girls and I arrived in the late afternoon. If you have ever flown into the Palm Springs Sonny Bono airport, you know how cute it is. It’s mostly open air, it has a play ground and during spring break all the arrivals of children are met by waiting grandparents. It’s very sweet.  My parents were thrilled to have the ladies arrive for a nice long visit. (When the girls were younger I always figured I could raise them in Portland, or I could raise them in Palm Springs or Gearhart….so why not vacation for as long as possible?)

My parents also brought the shih-tzu, Fred, to California with them. The three of them drove from Portland to Palm Springs in my dad’s giant gold Cadillac de Ville, basically a living room on wheels. I loved that car, the suspension honestly made it feel like the car was floating.

cadillac

This isn’t my Dad’s car but it is almost identical.

 

Anyway, we arrived at the pretty house, ate dinner, went to bed and woke to a beautiful sunny morning.

My mother gave me and the girls a tour around the back yard area being sure to close the door into the house so the dog didn’t follow us because he was old and blind. We found all the floats for the pool and looked at the fountain and so on and so forth. Oops, someone left the door open (to this day I think it was me but my mother always said it was her. I’m sure so she wouldn’t wind up hating her first born till the end of time.)

“Fred! Freddie!”

Where’s Fred??

No Fred. We can’t find Fred. Minutes pass and my mother gets edgier and edgier.

“Maggie, pull back the pool cover!”

So, with my mother and the girls standing there and my father in the house, I pull back the blue pool cover and yep….we got ourselves a floater.

My mother starts screaming for me to get the dog out of the pool, the girls are moon-eyed in stunned silence, and in I go (with my clothes on) to pull a fucking dead shih-tzu out of the pool. My mother is screaming like a mourning middle eastern woman and my father comes out side yelling that he had to take some nitroglycerin because the screaming was giving him heart palpitations.  My mom is now giving mouth-to-mouth to a dead dog. I hustle the girls into a bedroom to watch “Bear in the Big Blue House” and go back to the scene. My mother is sobbing, my father is upset, I guess, but he didn’t really show emotions like that and I think he probably wanted to go back to his coffee and morning cigar and paper. We bundle the dog in a towel and my mother takes him to a vet for cremation. I offer to go with her but she says very dramatically that it’s something she needs to do by herself.

While she takes care of that, I get the girls in their swimsuits and get on with the day. They get outside and look at the pool and then look at me, “We’re not going in there.” My ass your not going in there, put on your damn water wings and you’ll be fine. We are not spending two weeks in California without putting you in the pool.  Girls go swimming, Dad is fine, all is calm all is bright.

My mother returns from the vet, absolutely wiped out. She is standing in the circular drive telling me about the vet, she’s a mess and there are red ants crawling up her leg and she looks at me and says, “I think I handled that pretty well.”

Sure, that was great Mom. The girls aren’t at all traumatized and Dad didn’t have a heart attack so I think we’re all good.

Ahhhh, spring break in Palm Springs.

Postscript:

My Mom said that there was always a warm spot in her bed where Fred used to sleep. Maybe six months later, my parents got another shih-tzu named Henry. But by that time, my dad had a touch of dementia so he thought we had two dogs (although he never saw them together). There was Fred and then the “other” dog, Henry. My mother was going crazy dealing with my dad and this whole uproar over the two dogs so she told us we just had to call Henry… Fred. We called the new dog Fred and my dad said, “Look at that Fred! And you know what? That other dog is gone.”

And once the new dog came along, the warm spot on my mom’s bed went away.

Here’s to you Fred the First.

fred the first

 

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I’m Right Here!

No, further down. Down here, in Southern California. I’m in Palm Springs for spring break. It took some doing but I’m here.

Monday night after work I went to the mall to get a bathing suit. I tried on a few at Macy’s and one was okay. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get in a snit. I just said, “this is who you are and you have to find a bathing suit that fits so just get on with it.”

I then thought about Land’s End at Sears….they would surely have a matronly tankini for me. I walked allllll the way down to the Sears end of the mall and found a bunch to try on but couldn’t find a dressing room. I bumped into a smiling Sears man who did not speak English as his native tongue but he pointed me in the direction of a dressing room and then I realized he was following me. I had asked directions from the Sears Roofing man and he wanted, really WANTED to talk to me about getting a new roof.

I eluded him and found the dressing rooms. Again, I didn’t cry and got one that works. Of course, the top is three sizes larger than the bottom but it still works.

I then got a pedicure in the mall pedicure place which entailed much smiling at words I couldn’t understand. Being told things cost $33 or $5 or no charge. I have no idea what was going on but I have cute orange toe nails now.

I had to fly to California. I got through security in the random check through line which I have no idea what it is or why they picked me but it goes much faster. I then went to the bathroom and dropped my boarding pass (one copy, I had two) in the toilet. I do that when I fly to California.  Had a nice flight down and chatted with the woman next to me only to discover that I had made out with her brother way back in the day. He is mentioned here.

And now I am in Palm Springs!

Here is the backyard:

pool

This evening we are going Village Fest or something like that in downtown Palm Springs and hopefully I will find a book store. Das Boot not being a good vacation read. I did just finish another book so you can check that out on my reading list.

And that’s all. I will have more and better photos soon!

Thank you Andrew at Shut Up, Dad for noticing that I was gone! Such a nice boy.

I have a very twisted Palm Springs story that if I am not to busy driving around with Annie and looking at Frank Sinatra’s house or soaking up the sun, I may blog tomorrow.

 

Pinterest! Seriously, Enough!

I go on Pinterest and Pin things. It’s fun. I have pinned many pictures of sheets I’d like, boots I wanted for Christmas, fire pits for the back yard, couches, rugs, food, decorations. It’s Pinterest, that’s what you do. Do you do Pinterest? Pinners can like other people’s pins and repin them if they like them. A lot of people have been liking one of my pins. A LOT of people, I get notifications everyday, all day long of people liking and repinning one of my pins. The same pin. Every. Day.

I have used Pinterest for furniture like this:

sofagreen cubescutechair

Aren’t those lovely pieces? Those aren’t getting repinned constantly.

What pin is so popular? Is it one of these:

This year's project for the back yard.

This year’s project for the back yard.

goodies for birds to make nests

goodies for birds to make nests

or some good food like this:

Hello grilled brussels sprouts and aioli. You make me happy.

Hello grilled brussels sprouts and aioli. You make me happy.

Summer is coming!

Summer is coming!

Perhaps any of these fantastic miscellaneous pins….

I have the Tee Time purse. If you Pin it, it will come true.

I have the Tee Time purse. If you Pin it, it will come true.

or

orange peel and vinegar make your own cleaner

orange peel and vinegar make your own cleaner

One of my funny Lenten pins?

lent meme

i-dont-always-give-up-things-for-lent-but-when-i-do-itll-probabl

Me, at the end of Lent.

Me, at the end of Lent.

Nope.

What pin is being maniacally repinned daily??

This one:

Weight Watchers Broccoli Cheese Soup. I've never even made this.

Weight Watchers Broccoli Cheese Soup. I’ve never even made this.

Perhaps I should make it.

springbreak

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Portland in Black and White

Saturday night Derwood and I went to dinner at Toro Bravo in NE Portland, I have heard that it is always crowded and doesn’t take reservations. It opens at 5:00, so we went at 4:45 so we could just scootch in when it opened. We arrived early and found that there were dozens of people already in line. Stunned, we drove around the block looked for a parking space, we drove by a housing project, Nike Factory Store, library, etc. We circled, parked and got in line. Food is fabulous, great night.

I tell you that to discuss this. Toro Bravo is a cool restaurant in an old building in an old Portland neighborhood, located 75 yards from a housing project. The area was a “Do Not Enter” sort of place 20 years ago but the area is gentrifying.  Do you know how many African Americans were in the restaurant?

Zero.

Portland, Oregon for all its progressive politics and hoopla over food and cycling, has a secret…although not a very well-kept one. Portland is a deeply segregated city. In my opinion (which you are all entitled to), this city is so busy patting itself on the back for its organic foods, farm to table restaurants, recycling and composting programs, trams and light rails, bike lanes and boxes, etc., it ignores the very ugly reality that the black community in this city has been systemically disenfranchised and continues to be pushed to the outer fringes of the metropolitan area.

Anecdotally, I know that Portland Public Schools has been failing African American students since before I was born. My mother taught at Boise (pronounced: Boyce) Elementary in Albina, a predominantly black neighborhood. She told me stories about dealing with parents who were beating the crap out of their children because they thought that would make the kids perform better in school, about begging the administration and school board to get certain bright kids out of the school and somewhere where they would have a chance, about watching the news and seeing one of her favorite students following in his father’s armed robbery footsteps.  Today Boise is in the bottom 15% of Portland Public schools, the population is 60% black, almost 91% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. Fifty years later and not much has changed, maybe nothing has changed.

I have done a bit of research for this post and these are my findings:

According to the 2012 U.S. Census, 2 (TWO, dos, deux) percent of Oregon’s population is African American. The nationwide average is 13.1%. The 2010 census shows that 6.3% of Portland’s population is black. A 2007 census report says 3.1% of Portland’s businesses are owned by African Americans.

Here is an excerpt from an article on OregonLive.com by Nicole Hannah-James:

The seeds of gentrification were planted during World War II, when African Americans from the South flowed into Portland to take jobs in the shipyards. Portland officials and community members, from real estate agents to bankers, pushed the black community into a small area called Lower Albina, near the present-day Rose Quarter, through redlining and other now-illegal practices. White Portlanders fled, and the city began a long pattern of disinvestment. Street and sidewalk repairs were neglected, and the city did little to develop businesses or enforce housing codes, said Karen Gibson, a Portland State University urban planner who has studied gentrification and is the author of  a 2007 study entitled “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000.”

Many banks refused to make home loans in black areas. Some residents were denied loans for less money than their bank-approved car loans. Appraisers artificially devalued the area’s housing stock, so even people who did own saw little growth in wealth or equity that they could tap to maintain their homes. Predatory lenders swept in, and the area became ripe for drugs and crime.

“Portland is smug about its progressivism,” Gibson said. “But Portland is in denial, and whites don’t want to acknowledge how their policies benefit them — someone had to sacrifice for these nice 20-minute neighborhoods.”  She asked: “Do we want equality in this city? What do we want?” (Emphasis is mine).

I am a native Oregonian and I was never taught in the public schools I attended that Oregon has a long history of racism and segregation, albeit handled much like it is today. Say nice things but do the opposite. Back when Oregon was just a territory in 1844, slavery was deemed illegal BUT

“That same 1844 law ordered all black people out of the Oregon Territory under threat of lashing. This “Lash Law” mandated black people be publicly flogged every six months; however, before it could be enforced, it was modified and the whippings were replaced with forced labor.” Pete Shaw, Oregon Occupier.

The Oregon Occupier sounds like a publication that has a pretty strong agenda so I ran the Google on Lash Law and Mr. Shaw didn’t make that up, plenty of information available on that and other exclusionary laws.

Any of my native Oregonian friends ever heard about this? In 1848 an Exclusion Law was passed banning any “negro or or mulatto” from living in Oregon Territory.

You can read more here

So decades have passed, Portland mayors and city councils have come and gone, and nothing has changed. A few months ago Portland’s mayor, Charlie Hales, said “The job is starting to look like more fun now.” I suppose that is because all the tough problems have been taken care of. Oh Phew!

“He gets excited talking about the big issues: How to keep Portland’s neighborhoods livable, how to bring smart development and services to east Portland, how to maximize and accelerate development around TriMet light rail stations on the yet-to-open Orange Line through the eastside.”  Andrew Theen, The Oregonian.

Mayor Hales is also very concerned about Portland’s “basic services” like roads and parks and getting more money from the city’s taxpayers. I don’t find any discussion of the racial divide in this city when I read his state of the city address. Portland continues blithely down the Livable City path. We are so progressive! We are so beautiful! Who wouldn’t want to live in this Nirvana?! Welcome to one of America’s most livable cities and it is #1 according to this report and here’s another one.
 
 
Just don’t look behind the curtain, you might find out Portland is a fabulous place to live as long as you’re white.
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Shame on you Paw My Gosh

Do you follow Paw My Gosh on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or Tumblr or whatever the hell other place there is for following things? Paw My Gosh is one of those websites with cute dog pictures and stories and videos about darling animals and the wonderful things they do. Up until last week, I followed Paw My Gosh on Facebook so I could enjoy pictures of puppies and bunnies. Unfortunately, Paw My Gosh posted something which I found absolutely despicable and I had to unfollow them.

The title of the offending post, which you can see here, read: “A Hero and a Coward”. The story took place in rural Argentina. A 14-year-old girl (that is all the detail given regarding the girl, she is 14) abandoned her newborn baby. A dog, who had a litter of her own, dragged the baby back into her little hideout, where the baby was eventually found by someone who heard his crying. The dog is the hero. The 14-year-old girl is the coward.

No back story. The 14-year-old child in the Argentinian countryside is a coward.

Was she raped?

Is she developmentally disabled?

Where are her parents? Where are any adults?

No story, she’s just a coward.

I was disgusted that Paw My Gosh called a child in this situation a “coward” and I posted as much in the comments. I also said I was unfollowing them because of it. I know, like they care but still, it’s a matter of principle.

I unfollowed Paw My Gosh, however I continued to receive notifications of responses to my comment. It soon became clear that people thought I was calling the girl a coward, which I would NEVER do. You may ask, “Maggie, why would they think you were calling the girl a coward?” I’ll tell you why, because Paw My Gosh changed the title to the post after I, and many others, wrote that we were appalled at the use of the word “coward” to describe a 14-year-old giving birth out in the countryside in Argentina and abandoning the baby. (I’m not saying that is a good thing to do, but clearly there is more to the story.) Anyway, people were confused because they couldn’t see the original title “A Hero and a Coward” so they attributed the name calling to me.

I was sickened by the number of comments cheering the dog for being so “humane” and condemning the 14-year-old girl. The dog acted on instinct, that’s what dogs do. I’m a big fan of dogs. I have rescue dogs (and cats). You know what I love more than dogs? Children. Human children. Commenters were flipping out about who was caring for the dog, what about the dog, help the dog!!! What about the child who had a baby? Is anyone concerned about what the hell is going on there? Is anyone trying to help that kid who is clearly in desperate need of assistance and as I mentioned, is a human being? I don’t know the answer to that because Paw My Gosh did not see fit to provide any information other than a 14-year-old Coward abandoned her baby.

I also noticed that a post which had had more than 100 comments, suddenly had about half that many.  Comments are missing, including my initial comment which ended with Unfollow.

Paw My Gosh labeled a child in distress a “coward”. Then, when there was justifiable push back from their audience, they removed the word and deleted all the critical comments.

Paw My Gosh, please explain this. Please clarify who is the COWARD? The frightened 14-year-old child, living in a Catholic, 2nd world country (at best), who abandoned her baby? Or your staff who didn’t even have the balls to apologize but instead quietly took down the offensive word and deleted the comments calling them out for an egregious lack of human compassion?  We have no idea why the girl did what she did or that she even realized the consequences of her actions. For God’s sake, she gave birth to a baby alone outside!

As has been seen on this blog, I have had to take the backlash for what I have written. I didn’t go back and edit the contents of the original post. I didn’t delete comments critical of me and my writing. I owned it and that isn’t always easy. It’s not as hard as being a child, alone in a field giving birth and abandoning the baby but it’s mildly unpleasant.

I wouldn’t be as furious as I am, if Paw My Gosh had just taken the heat and left the post and the comments alone. But they didn’t.

So Paw My Gosh, why don’t you grow a pair and own what you wrote?

Cowards.

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Om on a Friday Night

Today I bought a yoga DVD at Target. It is two DVDs one for 15 minute results on upper body, lower body, abs and all over conditioning and one for cardio burn. I also picked this one because Mariel Hemingway is in it and I like her. I came home from work, changed into my yoga clothes, got the mat out, unwrapped the DVD, got the weird strip off the opening part and was ready to go!

I moved the furniture, rolled out the mat, put the DVD in the player and here we go.

Oh, there’s an advertisement, I’ll just skip over that.

And another ad, skip by that.

One more ad, and I’ll skip that one, too.

Annnnd here we go!

Oh dang, it’s all pixelated. I must have flipped through it too fast and upset its chi or something. I’ll just take it out and wipe it clean on my yoga pants and blow the dust out of the DVD player that plays my Looney Toons DVDs just fine.

I’ll just let it play the ads and do a little stretching. Ahhhh….

The first ad is for his other DVDs, I’ll stretch out my lower back. Good.

And then one for a five day package to get you going. Their voices are soothing so this is okay.

And lastly, a yoga starter package with a mat, strap and blocks and DVDs. Not a bad idea. Stretttcchhh…

Ohgoddammit!!! It’s still fucking pixelated! I can sort of see Mariel but I can’t understand what they’re saying!

Ack! I took it out again and soothed it to give it a 3rd time’s a charm try!

Ad, skip. Ad, skip. Ad, skip

And fuck me! This is scratched! It’s not working!! I am going to break this stupid remote in half and feed it to the damn DVD player.

You know what?! I’m not doing any damn yoga. I tried and it didn’t work. I’m going to get some wine.

Namaste, you DVD yoga bastards.

drinking alone

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Oh, I Got Yer Oscar Right Here!

I’m a bit late in the week for my annual Oscar post but this one took more effort than what I have done in the past. That’s not true, I don’t know if I’ve done an Oscar post before and I am too lazy to go look.

First, I have created a scientific diagram showing all the major award nominees and the films they are nominated for. I really don’t have to do much more than insert that and the post is done. But I got nothin’ much going on so I may as well give you my opinion which you are entitled to have.

2014oscars

Scientific Oscar Diagram

The blue lines show who the winners are going to be and what film they were in.

Now for my ever insightful insight.

I don’t know why the Academy went to 10 nominees for best picture other than they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Oh wait, that can’t be it, can it Robert Redford?

Best Film

Captain Phillips wasn’t that good, the Somali guy who is nominated for Best Supporting Actor is the best thing about the movie and if it were another year, he’d be winning. I haven’t seen Her or Philomena but might be able to correct that by Sunday afternoon. Wolf and American Hustle are both really fun movies but I don’t know about Best Picture. August: Osage County was good but felt too much like a play on screen (and it is originally a play). Nebraska, very sweet movie. I didn’t see Gravity because that is a movie about one of my worst nightmares. I think Dallas Buyer’s Club is one of the best movies I have ever seen but I don’t think it’s gonna win. 12 Years a Slave is a very fine film with beautiful performances. It didn’t really connect with me for some reason but it is my opinion that it will win Best Film of the Year.

Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey. There I have said it and that is all that needs to be said.

Best Actress

This leads us to one of my big issues with movies these days.  We know too much about actors. It is very difficult to watch movies with famous actors in them and not think, “So and so is doing a great job acting up there.” Meryl Streep is great in August: Osage County. The woman is so gifted, although it supremely pissed me off that she didn’t mention Margaret Thatcher when she won for the Iron Lady. Poor form Meryl. Anyway, watching her or Julia Roberts, I’m thinking “there’s Meryl and Julia, acting together.” It’s not their fault, it’s just distracting. I think Woody Allen’s poor choices are going to make it tough for Cate Blanchett to win. I haven’t seen the movie and now I’m not going to because I don’t want to be responsible for Woody Allen making one more dollar for anything. I suppose it will go to Amy Adams who is very good in American Hustle, Best Actress of the Year…meh but I think she’s going to win.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence is  a force of nature and I think she is hilarious, delightful, exciting to watch in American Hustle (everyone in that movie was hitting on all cylinders) but this isn’t her year. June Squibb is a hoot in Nebraska but nope.  Julia Roberts, see above. Sally Hawkins, didn’t see it but I love her name.

Lupita Nyong’o welcome to the big time….Best Supporting Actress and she deserves every award and accolade she has received this season. Brava!!!

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto. Just Jared Leto. They didn’t really need to nominate anyone else once Dallas Buyer’s Club came out.

Best Director

Martin Scorsese is not going to win. I really enjoyed Wolf of Wall Street but thought more than once, “that’s just like Goodfellas”. So Marty, not this year. Alexander Payne made a very original movie in Nebraska but I don’t think it’s his year. I’m going to with the conventional wisdom that Alfonso Cuaron is going to win for Gravity.

What are your thoughts? I’ve included a survey so you can vote, too!

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My 5×5

Thanks to Carrie Rubin for posting her list and for Benzeknees for having the idea.  I don’t have blogger’s block, I’m just a lazy blogger. I’m always writing blogs in my head but can’t be bothered to actually type them out. HOWEVER, I cannot resist a good list opportunity. Here is my 5×5 list blog.

5 Things I am Passionate About

  • Good manners (Spaldinggetyourfootofftheboat)
  • Good grammar (or should I say well grammar?)
  • Fundraising
  • Food (Please see list of Things I Say A Lot below)
  • My shows

5 Things I Would Like to Do Before I Die

  • Meet my grandchildren (I need to live for a few more decades because there is no way I want any now)
  • See Annie in a movie. (My daughter, I have seen the movie Annie)
  • Go to Italy with Derwood
  • Live in Gearhart
  • Go to Ireland with anyone who wants to go

5 Things I Say A Lot

  • I’m fat
  • Fuck
  • Fuck, I’m fat
  • Drive up!
  • Will you get some wine while you’re at the store?

5 Books or Magazines I Have Read Lately (More details on my reading list page)

  • March
  • Wiseguy
  • Andersonville
  • Cooking Light (no, I’m not)
  • Colgate Scene

5 Favorite Movies

  • Parent Trap (the original although the second one is okay but not a favorite)
  • Lost in Translation
  • Dallas Buyer’s Club (Oscar post is tomorrow!)
  • Philadelphia Story
  • Gone with the Wind (duh)

What do you think? If you want to do this, and of course you do, be sure to include a link to Benzeknees original post!

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A Life Story That Got Me Thinkin’

The ever brilliant David Dixon’s post last week ties in exactly with this post so go look at it.

Fabulous, right?

My parents used to call the Obituary section of the newspaper “The Irish Sports Page”. Like them, I read the obits every day. I love the stories which most of the time make me smile although there are those heartbreakers in there.  So much of life is encapsulated in the obituaries; life’s tragedies and triumphs, marriages, divorces, accidents, celebrations, war, friends, family, neighbors, history, community….all in the obituaries.

I spotted an obituary a week or so ago, it caught my eye because it was so long. The deceased, William Wood Wessinger, was born in 1917 so of course, it was a long obituary….there was a lot of ground to cover. Mr. Wessinger was born in his family’s home in Portland in 1917.  He went to school,  he was a Boy Scout, played sports, went to college. Like many American men of his generation, he enlisted in the army in 1941. He was a harbor master and was decommissioned in 1945.

After the war, Bill took a job in Eastern Oregon as a freight forwarder and then returned to Portland working for Luckenbach Steamship Company. He met his future wife, Patricia, at a homecoming party held in his honor in 1945. The two were married for 65 years and had five children and 14 grandchildren.

In 1949, he went to work for his family’s business as an assistant treasurer and went to school at night taking accounting classes and eventually earned his CPA in 1951. During the ’50s he worked closely with his brother to get the family business headed in the right direction as it had been been failing since the end of the war. The two brothers worked closely together for nearly 50 years.

Photo courtesy Oregonlive.com

Photo of William Wood Wessinger courtesy Oregonlive.com

Bill was civic-minded, working for numerous public and private charities and causes over the course of his lifetime.  He clearly was not interested in the spotlight because the only photo I can find of him is shown above and was the one his family selected to put in the paper for his obit. He was an outdoorsy man who loved climbing mountains and skiing. He slowed down after his wife died in 2011 but continued to be close to his family and walking his dog, Cowboy, who he got as a rescue from the Oregon Humane Society.

That’s a nice story isn’t it? I am a pro at reading obituaries and I can read between the lines.  Oftentimes, obits will list all these professional accomplishments and at the very end mention that so and so had a spouse and children. Yee, that’s not good. Mr. Wessinger’s obituary is not like that at all. He was clearly close to his siblings and parents, had a long and fruitful marriage, was involved in a ton of athletic activities with his wife and kids, did more than his fair share for non-profits, etc. A full life, well-lived.

Soooooo….this is what I got to thinking about….

What I didn’t mention about Mr. Wessinger is he is from a very prominent Portland family and the business was Blitz-Weinhard Brewery, which is now owned by SAB Miller. Which is neither here nor there, except for the fact that this man didn’t just sit around living off his grandfather’s money. He grew up in privilege moving to Dunthorpe when it was a new Portland neighborhood, he went to Cornell and played lacrosse.

BUT he also enlisted in the army and was a WWII vet. He worked. He went to school at night. He was married to the same woman for 65 years. He created one of Oregon’s great success stories with Henry Weinhard’s Brewery. The list is long of all the charities he supported, he helped create the first student housing at Portland State University, he was a quiet philanthropist who has left a strong legacy in the arts and outdoors in the Portland area and throughout the state.

Um, Paris Hilton…what are you up to? Do you think the latest generation (not the Greatest, the latest) is up to the task of being responsible tenders of their forebears’ legacies?

To those whom much is given, much is expected.    John F. Kennedy

It seems, based upon absolutely no research of mine at all, that the latest generation of old money families is more focused on Celebrity than participating, than working, than recognizing that their privilege gives them unique opportunities to affect change, to support arts and letters, to create, to help communities and the world at large. They are partying and becoming faux-celebrities who have accomplished nothing.

I have been running the Google on wealthy American families and the word I am looking for is “celebutante”. These are the offspring of wealthy people who go on to be famous because of how much money their family has. Think Hilton and Kardashian.

One of the country’s wealthiest families is the Hearst family. The movie Citizen Kane is a fictionalized account of William Randolph Hearst, founder of the family media empire. Some of you may remember Patty Hearst, granddaughter of William, in the 70s she was kidnapped and brainwashed by the domestic terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army. During her time in captivity, she joined the SLA and is now a convicted bank robber. It was a really weird story. She has since married and has two adult daughters who are both “models” and “actresses”. Her daughter Gillian has been a strong supporter of condom use. Not in Africa to stop the spread of AIDS, just when you’re screwin’ around definitely use a condom.

The Johnson family of baby shampoo fame is a fairly hot mess what with one of the brothers on trial for sexually abusing his step-daughter. The family has a long list of scandalous stories but one of the more recent is the death of Casey Johnson, daughter of NY Jets owner Woody Johnson.  She died at the age of 30 from drugs or diabetes or organ failure but probably she just died of too much money and being engaged to Tila Tequila.

The Bronfman girls, Clare and Sara, heiresses to the Seagrams liquor fortune are in some sort of trouble because of $150 million that has gone to a cult.

In these super-wealthy families, I’m finding many of them are on the boards of the companies or foundations. It is hard to find information on them probably because they don’t want the publicity and don’t get it unless something really awful happens.

Is it not just them?

Perhaps I am being unfair, are the upcoming generations all more spoiled than the ones that came before? I know I was required to work 40 hours/week during the summer at my dad’s office starting the summer before I entered high school. My kids have never held jobs like that. What do you think?

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