I Hate Disappointing People

Last year at this time I was teaching Mah Jongg at the Coral Bay Club on Atlantic Beach. The classes were sold out and had huge waiting lists which no one got off of, causing great consternation. I came back later in the summer and did it again, but the waiting list remained. So the club scheduled me a year in advance to come three times this summer for six different classes of two to three days each.

My first two classes were supposed to be in two weeks. Sadly Mah Jongg is not something that can be done in a social distancing way. Despite pleas for me still to come I had to cancel these classes and follow the governor’s rules for gathering.

Mah Jongg is the definition of non-essential. No one needs to be at risk to learn to play. Besides it won’t do anyone any good to learn and not get to play and practice right away.

No one is more sad than me. I love to go stay with my friend Reba and have a few days at the beach doing what I love most, sharing the game of Mah Jongg. I just can’t be responsible if someone gets sick by doing it right now.

My July classes are still on the calendar and we will reassess the situation then, but no one should plan their life around getting to come to Mah Jongg class. If you don’t learn this summer I will be back next summer. Just chill at home with a good book and good health.


Safe In The Car Too

I know I am safer at home. I am trying to do my part by staying home almost all the time, but today I did venture out. At last, in Durham, Hair salons were allowed to open two days ago. My darling hairdresser Suzanne called last week to give me an appointment to get my hair cut for this morning. You would have thought it was Christmas.

She owns the salon and I have been very worried about her business being closed for so long. Weeks ago when I was supposed to have a haircut I put my haircut money and tip in a ziplock bag. Then again last month on the date of my regular Appointment. So today when she was finally able to see me I gave her the bag of money for all my haircuts. It is important to me that she is able to stay in business.

I felt very safe getting my haircut with her. I waited in my car to be called in for my appointment. Everyone was required to wear a cloth mask the whole time. Only half the stylists can work at one time so there were very few people there. I had to answer some screening questions and have my temperature taken before I could continue. I had my hair washed and cut with my mask on and it wasn’t an issue.

Suzanne is working seven days a week from 8-2 so other stylists can come in on a shift 2-8. It is a lot of logistics to reschedule all of us who had already made our appointments for a whole year. I asked her how long she thought it would take her to catch up and she figured six weeks. Of course that was catch up with getting everyone’s hair done, not earning what she lost.

After the adventure of going out in the world for a haircut I came home and did some work and then Shay got very antsy. Having to supervise Russ on Zoom calls all day can get monotonous. As she was wiggling with me by the steps to the garage I asked her if she wanted to go in the car. She sprinted down the steps and bound out to the car. I could barley get the door open before she jumped in and assumed her position on the center console.

So Shay and I just drove around a bit. She looked out the window and smiled. Two teenage girls pulled up beside us and waved at Shay. She threw back her head toward them.

We know we are safer at home, but today it felt like we were also safe in our car. It was just nice to see a different part of the world, even if it was less than a mile from home.


We Need Hope

Hope is something I hold dearly. I was born an optimist and have honed those skills of ignoring the bad and elevating the good. There is a fine line between being a Pollyanna and just seeing the good more than the bad. This does not mean I stick my head in the sand when confronted with something unpleasant. I am more likely to call out the bad to challenge it.

This weekend Russ and I had the pleasure of meeting our friends M & S’s first baby boy A. There is nothing like having a baby in a Pandemic to take your mind off what is going on in the world. Although we certainly couldn’t get close to the darling boy, we were able to bring him a quilt and a casserole for his parents. There is nothing more hopeful than a new baby. Not to put any pressure on him, but he could grow up to be a great President or spiritual leader.

Tomorrow I am going to be a guest on My friend Carl Johnson’s Facebook Live show Optimistic Opportunities. I used to work with Carl at Durham Magazine and he is a highly optimistic person as he has spent his life in sales. I am not sure exactly sure what we will talk about, but neither of us have ever had trouble talking to each other.

Carter has recently had a huge dose of hope. She started a running campaign three days ago to help raise money for things connected to George Floyd and equal Justice. In three days she has raised over $1,300 and some big pledges based on how far she runs. This has bowled her over because the money has come $5 -$10 a time from poor college students and some bigger amounts from kind adults, some she hardly knows. It has been a big bag of hope to her that there is good in the world. I am thrilled that this is the lesson she is getting from this.

For now I am going to stay on the sunny side that all these protests will help improve our country. I am hopeful Covid-19 will teach us some lessons on how to be better humans and I am Optimistic that we will survive and thrive again.


Everyone Deserves Equal Justice

The police reaction on George Floyd trying to buy cigarettes with counterfeit money was to send four officers who eventually threw him to the ground and one large police officer kept a knee on his neck for eight minutes until he was dead. It was an over show of force for the crime, even if he didn’t die.

45 calling protests over George Floyd’s death “act of domestic terror” that may have him call in the military to stop them is an even bigger over reaction. Our military is to protect our country not fight our own citizens. 45’s lack of compassion, leadership and any heart whatsoever is making an already terrible situation so much worse. Gassing peaceful demonstrators is not the American way.

True leaders take responsibility when times get tough. We have someone who has shown no ability to say,”I hear you, I feel for you, I understand you, I hurt for you, I want to make it better.”

Not acknowledging bad things, except if they are being done to him is his modus operandi. That will never change. I am tired of narcissistic leaders. Please, please look for new leaders who have some kind of heart. Who understand that having teams of smart people with them is important, who make plans and contingency plans and contingencies for their contingencies, who understand that making things good for most is good for each individuals. If any are oppressed it is bad for all.

Of course looting and destruction of property is bad, but if no leaders sit down work with protestors things will never get worked out. All people deserve equal justice. I fear under 45 we will not have any dialogue and frustrations will just continue.


Carter Channels Her Frustration For Good

Watching what is happening in America is difficult for us all. I don’t have any answers besides voting when my adult child asks me how we can fix things. For a twenty something this is no where near enough action and for a fifty something I agree with her. I am frustrated too. I can only imagine that as white people of privilege if we feel frustrated that it is only one millionth of what African Americans are feeling. I can never put myself in their shoes, but I still have empathy and wants things to be better.

Late last night Carter posted something on Instagram that is her way of helping. She has decided to raise money for Black Lives Matter by running every weekday at 5:30. Running is not something anyone in our family is very good at. Carter started running last week just for her mental and physical health. As she felt that it was helping her she decided to use it as a platform to help others. You can watch her late night deceleration on Facebook at Carter Lange if you are friends with her.

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Orchid Children

I am the care taker of many orchids. I am not an orchidist, just a baby sitter. My collection of about thirty plants started about twenty years ago. Russ found that giving me an orchid from Family Garden was a fool proof gift. Turns out our sun room is an ideal spot for the plants with cold nights and hot days. The gift Russ would give each year last many many years with little or no care from me.

At most I splash a bit of water in each pot about once a week. I have never fertilized or repotted a single plant. Every once once in a while I throw a dead brown leaf away and only twice have I ever given up and thrown a whole plant away.

It amazes me how these plants thrive and produce so many gorgeous flowers for so long, year after year.

I liken raising orchids to raising children. They come out the way they are going to be. I can’t change them. I do a minimal amount to keep them alive and still they thrive. If I do to much I would smother them. Best to let them find their own way and then they flourish.

At some point they seem to be dormant and then suddenly they blossom with unexpected beauty. Their success brings joy for it is all their own. I am just a witness.


Just Slip Out

Being President can not be as much fun as 45 thought it was going to be. He can’t just say whatever he wants on a Twitter now no matter what kind of executive order he puts out. It’s not a royal order, just an executive order.

He can’t claim that having him as president is the best thing that ever happened to citizen’s pocket books. As someone who likes to claim he has control over things as big as the economy he has finally learned that any President does not make or break the economy.

Being President is a 24 hour, seven day a week job. You can’t go out and play golf while things are falling apart and not take flack for it. Vacations are also looked down upon during a crisis, no matter how badly you need a vacation.

If there is a pandemic you can’t have large rallies to try and get your fix of blind adoration to keep you going. You have to stay locked at home like everyone else in the country.

With as bad as things are I am waiting for 45 to say, “I’m not having any fun being President. I think I am going to stop. I am too rich to keep doing this job.” Any excuse to stop is all I am looking for. 45 deserves to have fun as long as he is not President.

I know that going to Mar-a-lago without Jeffery Epstein won’t be as fun. We haven’t heard from Rudy in a while, maybe he can rustle up the same kind of fun 45 likes. Princess 45 has not been about so she can’t be having any fun either. Maybe she can pull her best Veruca Salt impression and say, “Daddy, I’m tired of people being mean to me and my husband. Let’s leave this horrible Washington DC and go to Florida full time.”

Something has got to push him over the edge to drop out. The fear of losing the election should be enough to get him not to run. Then he can say he won 100% of the elections he ran for and that is the best record he will ever have.

Come on 45. You know you hate your job. You are old enough that you can retire and no one will say anything. Hey you are still young enough that you have time to get a couple of new wives. That is so much more fun for you than what you are doing now. You know you hate it. It’s fine to go, really.