Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pat's Words

My grandfather, George Partridge, was born November 25, l905 - one hundred and five years ago tomorrow. Even though he's no longer with us, it's always special for me when his birthday falls on Thanksgiving. I love the blessing he used to say before meals which the girls used to call "Pat's words". Happy Thanksgiving.

Father, we thank thee for the night
and for the blessed morning light,
for rest and food and loving care
and all that makes this world so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
to be to others kind and good.
In all we do and all we say,
to grow more loving every day.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Needless Markup

I’m still recovering from the agony and the ecstacy of being a Giants fan. Now I have to try to understand the election? Was there really a Teapocylypse? Is a Blue Dog a bad dog? What about the Congressional Commission? We just had a huge surplus and now there’s a tremendous deficit. I am still proud of my “A” in college statistics and I love a good bar graph or pie chart, but some numbers are higher than I can even visualize. Trillions, billions. What does it all mean?

I understand that, although neither of them won, more people in California voted to legalize marijuana than for Meg Whitman. I voted for Brown with a sense of despair. This state is MESSED UP. I disagree with the premise, that we, as voters, are qualified to run this state by initiative. Unlike Meg Whitman, I always vote. The reason I vote these people into office is so they will make these decisions. I expect them to know more about things than I do. We all know the initiatives are written to trick people. Sadly, it works.

On a local level, our county supervisors have never met a consultant they didn’t want to hire. It’s all about covering their you know what. If they don’t want to take responsibility for the massively expensive policies they’re creating, then they shouldn’t be in office. With the pension bombs exploding left and right we see so clearly how self-serving politicians truly are. Pandering to their district, the lobbyists, the special interests, their sex drive - it’s overwhelming. I had a huge crush on Eliot Spitzer until he turned out to be Client Number 9. I thought he was so sexy in a tough, smart, New York white collar kind of way. Now he’s just another slime ball.

Life is too complicated. Maybe I need to lie down and stop thinking about it all. Oh, look, it’s the Neiman Marcus holiday entertaining catalog. Look at this gorgeous food. I can just order Thanksgiving dinner online. Fabulous. Dinner for eight. They don’t offer Turducken so we’ll just have to be traditional. We’ll start with Brie en Croute ($60.00) and stuffed mushroom caps ($75.00) as an appetizer. Add broccoli and cheese casserole ($78.00), green beans ($70.00), some glorified mashed potatoes ($65.00) and sweet potatoes ($52.00). Put corn bread stuffing ($60.00), turkey (only $65.00), cranberry relish ($45.00) and one pecan and one pumpkin pie ($50.00 each) into the “shopping cart”. Terrific.

Let’s see. Including tax and shipping charges the grand total is over nine hundred dollars. Add some wine and rolls and you are talking about a very pricey meal. AND you still need to do all the set up and clean up. We could order Thanksgiving dinner for eight at our local, independent grocery store for only $l50.00. Seems like a bargain as we once spent that much there for a piece of meat (and a head of garlic) for Christmas dinner. Besides, I love the market and we have to support it or our friend, Cris, whose family owns it, will be mad.

Eric’s been doing a little perusing of Neiman Marcus catalogs, as well. He’ll read anything I leave in the bathroom. He’s had some fun with this one and thought he could do a little of his own online shopping. He was tempted by the Tory Burch family chariot electric tricycle (pictured with purse dogs - no doubt extra) for forty-five hundred, but there’s also the gingerbread playhouse for fifteen grand to consider. He was also charmed by descriptions of a trip to the cultural hub of Marfa, Texas, where a concierge will work with you to create a “one-of-a-kind” experience of three days and four nights. Trips to Hawaii are usually sold as four days, three nights, but whatever. This is Texas and for a starting price of $9,500 per couple, not including transportation, it’s such a deal. The other option is the tequila party for up to seventy-five guests in your home for $l25,000.00. That’s one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars. A celebrity chef and celebrity event planner are also included with the VERY special tequila.

There used to be an expression, “stupid money” meaning people had so much money they could be stupid with it. Really stupid. It’s not so easy since we’ve lost our dots and coms. I still know quite a few people with money. LOTS of money, and none of them are stupid. I don’t know who IS stupid enough to buy some of these catalog items, but apparently there must be someone. Right? Perhaps it’s the people who just closed on a house one town over for 6.3 million cash. Maybe they need a housewarming tequila party and a Tory Burch Tricycle and a gingerbread playhouse. Forget the trip to Marfa. They probably don’t have enough money left and have to stay home.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Note to Readers

It’s been nearly a year since we’ve been using analytics to track readership on Pearls and Lemons. Visitors have logged on from twenty countries and thirty-four states in the U.S. There have been hits in twenty cities in New York State and seventy-one in California. Some found Pearls and Lemons by accident when they were googling Bob Weir (“Party to Benefit Boyle Courts”) and logged right back out again. Many have stayed and become loyal readers. I so appreciate all of you, especially the new readers in London. We’re not viral, but we’re growing. I owe sincere thanks to several people.

Eric insisted I start to write and has been the source of many excellent lines. Fritz (I still think of him as Freddie) suggested I start a blog. I was a blog virgin, even as a reader, so there was a learning curve. Michelle Slatalla gave me some great ideas and Lucy provided technical support. Lana has been far and away my most supportive reader and Allie is a PR whiz. Linda and Janet can be counted on for pre-publishing feedback. It’s their fault I posted “Too Bitchy for a Blog”. I apologize to everyone I made cry at work. With a title like “The Dishwasher”, I know you were expecting something humorous. Stay tuned for “Needless Markup”.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Backhand Fronthand

There are many shots in tennis. Some of them are actually on the court. When my daughter, Allie, was young she took a few lessons. Afterwards, I asked her what they had worked on. She told me they practiced serves, volleys, backhand and "fronthand". Fronthand? It was so cute that I resisted the impulse to correct her. With adults, it’s another matter entirely.

Players, how often do you say you like to be in forehand or backhand positions? Excuse me? I know this is a righty world, but living with a lefty tennis player has shown me the error of your ways. For a lefty, the deuce court is, in fact, the backhand and vice-versa. Lefties do have their advantages and leave it to me to exploit them to MY advantage.

At the club level, players will often fail to notice their opponent is left handed. When I’m playing with my lefty partners I try to keep it a secret for as long as possible. I’ll deny it even if someone asks. We have several other advantages, as well. Nobody has to serve in the sun and there’s that famous twisty junk. The serve can also spin the opposite way - right into the body. Playing mixed with Eric is a lot like playing with my friend, Trish. It’s maddening for their opponents. They’re both fiery, Irish and very tall, with long wingspans. They can judicially apply the special sauce, although Trish becomes offended when I say she puts junk on the ball. She insists she worked hard to learn how to make the ball bounce backwards away from her opponents. I agree just to placate her. I’d recommend a southpaw partner to anyone. You just have to know how to manage them.

There have been some left-handed tennis players who made the sport seem like a WWF smack down. Tantrums on the court were made famous by Jimmy Connors and even more so by “Superbrat” John McEnroe. Uncomfortable, disgusted, we were unable to turn away from these spectacles and even now can view them on Youtube. In the men’s challenger tournament I recently attended there were plenty of primal screams to be heard. Testosterone and frustration can take over. I should know. In the heat of competition I can feel the testosterone myself. It’s somewhat acceptable. The brat attack is not. Racquet throwing, swearing (even in Hindi) and going after the chair ump is not acceptable. Frustration is part of life. Unfairness is part of life. Bad calls are part of life, especially in sports. It’s a question of how you handle it. My daughter’s water polo coach once wisely said that there are bad passes, bad catches and bad calls. Deal with it.

Eric likes to cheer for the lefties, but I’m not always so sure. Capricious and judgmental, I may not be able to pick my favorite based on cuteness or sock style. Sometimes it’s that character thing. If a player is mean and rude, that settles it. I’m not rooting for them. Actually, I’m rooting against them.

I watched the semi-finals of the singles in the tournament with complete disgust. Sitting in the sponsor box, in the front row, I saw and heard such a display of bad attitude that I wanted to knock the players’ heads together and put them both on a time out. This is the challenger circuit, guys. You’re really, really good, but you wouldn’t be anything without the sponsors who deserve a better show, whether you win or lose. Unfortunately, one of the bad boys had to win and faced eighteen year old American, Ryan Harrison, in the finals. Ryan (with me in photo) made a great showing at the U. S. Open and is considered our next, great hope. He’s also the nicest guy - a wonderful role model for the kids all week. Ultimately, he was crushed by the number one brat ( I mean seed) in the finals, despite all of us rooting for him. These guys are right. Sometimes life isn’t fair.