Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Farewell Sweet Thomas

There is probably nothing worse than having to put a beloved pet down. Unless it’s putting your parents down. (I am kidding so no backlash please.) It’s like saying that a good place for an elderly parent is in jail – three meals a day, TV exercise. Or on a cruise, meals and drinks included (which, by the way is cheaper than an assisted living facility).  I don’t want to make light of this but in my family we have always tried to find some humor in the most tragic events ..

It’s awful when a pet dies  of old age or is klled in an accident, but having to take it to the vet and not coming home with it, is traumatizing.  You know when you rescue or buy a cat or dog, that chances are it will go before you. (Unless it’s a parrot – which is not a canary.  Our canary had a nervous breakdown so we had to return it and I have no idea where it went),  But a real pet, one that depends on you to stay alive is a different story. This beloved pet becomes a part of your life, a part of your family. They snuggle with you, sleep with you, and they can complain to you. In return for unconditional love they expect nothing except food and maybe a walk.

While all that seems simple enough, it is not. Because they are an intimate part of your life, they shape the person you become. Especially if you have them from when they are babies and you are young.  Our dear friend Daniel had to put his cat Thomas down yesterday.  Thomas was old and asthmatic.  He wasn’t the kind of cat that snuggled up to strangers but he was not mean. He had a big heart and accepted all the other animals that lived with him.  Daniel had him from the time he was a teen and Thomas was a little kitten with big ears. I might show you a picture but it will break your heart.

At some point, I mentioned that I was allergic to cats.  Daniel trying to be accommodating said that he could get rid of Thomas, not to worry. But of course he didn’t mean it. Daniel couldn’t give away a white rat, yet alone his precious Thomas.  But such is life, many people have a pet because it provides a service. This is not the case for anyone I know.  My cousin Stevie has three bull terriors because they needed to have homes. Jordan has Ernie – their sleeping habits and need to be loved are identical.  My brother always had a nice pit bull. The last being Cooper, who was very sick. Jeff knew the time was near and apparently so did Cooper because he watched intently while Jeff dug his grave – talk about heartbreaking.

Anyway, our pets bring something to our lives that cannot be explained in words. Tears are a much better way to tell the story.  So sleep well sweet Thomas. You will be forever missed—even by me.  We're just sayin'.....Iris

Where Do I Fit In?

When is it that we realize we don’t fit in.  Maybe a better question is, how do we realize we don’t fit in.  Maybe fit in needs a definition.  Lets start with tattoos.  Every young, and some old people, have a meaningful tattoos. Some are elaborate pictures of God knows what. some are small and represent important times in one’s life. Some express love, or strength, or a personal issue. To be truthful, I don’t get it.  No matter how magnificent they manage to be, I think they look like dirt spots, and my instinct is to try to wash them off.  Maybe it’s an age thing. But I don’t think so.  When I was a kid and had friends who were sailors (all sailors have tattoos--even smart ones), I still wanted to wash them off.

There are so many places I now I don’t fit in that I cant figure out where I do.  For example, I have been wearing black tights for years.  People kept telling me that they were inappropriate for a person of my age and I kept telling those people to f--k off. Well now it seems that jeans are out and “yoga” pants are in. So where does that leave me. Am I in or am I out. I don’t take yoga. I just want to be comfortable. Is there no place for comfort?  Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do something without an explanation. 

There was a segment on Oprah a few years ago where they had an expert discuss what you should wear if you are over 30.  The first thing that impressed me was that 30, instead of 20, was the cut off age. However, almost everything they discussed and determined shouldn’t be worn by people over 30, was something I wore. Woe is me, I thought. And then here we are only a few years later and all the things with which I decorate my body, are things that are acceptable. It’s terribly confusing.

Clothes and tattoos  are only two areas in which I don’t fit.  Probably the largest place I don’t fit, is thinking about life goals. Older people knew what they were going to do from the time they were 16. People my age didn’t know what they were going to do because we were always out on the street protesting some injustice. Young people who have goals, whatever they are, sit back, sip  a latte,  and wait to see what happens. Rather than be proactive about where they want to be, It seems to me that they sit back to see whats going to happen, and then decide ‘whatever’  and if they want to be involved in this process.

How difficult it is for those of us who never want to be on the periphery, to become part of the mainstream, when we cannot even identify what the mainstream is meant to be.  I am on Facebook to figure out what everyone I love is doing. But why do we need to Tweet to be a part of the social conversation? Why do we need to use the word “trending” in order to find out what’s new and what’s hot.  The sun is hot, the day is new... what more do you need to know?

And so here i am trying to figure out how to fit in without compromising my values or my core. Not sure it can happen, and not sure I want to be part of this mainstream. What I do know is that I’d like to be me. No frills and no hashtags. So where do I go from here?  We’re just s@yin’…#Iris

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sir Richard Attenborough

If someone asked me what my favorite job was in all of my eclectic life, I wouldn't have to think twice about it.  Producing the Premiere of the film Gandhi. No contest. From our very first meeting  which was on an elevator at Columbia Pictures.  I was there so "Dickie" ( which is what his friends called him and I still consider myself one), could interview me about going to India to produce an official opening of the film and one or two press screenings.

I was on the elevator and when it stopped, Dickie was standing there. So I said, "you know I've been riding on this elevator for hours so I could pretend our meeting would be an accident. I'm Iris your new best friend."  He got on the elevator and gave me a big hug -- which he did frequently, and we started to laugh.  The laughter continued for the three months I was involved in the project.

The whole assignment was totally ridiculous. Specifically, we were hired to produce an opening in India, Washington D.C, and Atlanta.  Oh, and some VIP screenings at the American Film Industry.  I saw the film so many times I thought I wrote it. Anyway, Living in the Raj Hotel in New Delhi with Sir Richard was hilarious.  At that time, klieg lights were a fantasy. Electricity on the street was non existent. The President who was attending the film insisted on having tea during the show -- not at intermission. Taking care of Danny Kaye was impossible. Moving an entire community out of the parking lot of the movie theater where we were having the screening was inexcusable, And Attending a dinner with Indira Gandhi was incredibly inconvenient. Everything that happened would have made the whole thing a nightmare, but it wasn’t, because Dickie had a sense of humor about everything, absolutely everything. So we smiled and laughed until it hurt. The goodbyes were tearful. And when "Gandhi" and Dickie won the Oscars, we all felt that we were part of the win.  And Dickie being ever the most gracious gentleman who ever lived, thanked us with an invite to be a part of his life.

That didn't happen of course, but a few years later, when he was directing "a Chorus Line" in New York, I was going to be in the city so I called to say I'd love to drop by to say hello.  He never hesitated, "of course darling", he said. “I can't wait for our reunion."

My drop by turned into an entire afternoon. He stopped the rehearsal to introduce me to the entire cast. After each scene he asked me if I liked it. And at the end of the day we had a drink and a lovely goodbye. That was the last time I saw him.  His life was pretty busy. But he was unforgettable in so many ways. He was generous, funny, adorable and loving.  I was so fortunate to have met and worked with him on this incredible project.

He had a long and productive life. Anyone who ever met him, worked with him, or admired his work will miss him. My most vivid memory of him was at Constitution Hall for the after film reception in DC., at his suggestion we danced down the center staircase like Fred and Ginger and once again laughed until it hurt. Working with Dickie  was the most fun I ever had.
Rest in peace Sir Richard. You will forever remain remarkable.   We're just sayin'.... Iris

Sunday, August 24, 2014

That's Why It's Called "The News"

“And don’t forget, If you see news report it to us.”   That was actually said by a network anchor.  Never mind which one. She was absolutely serious. And my guess is that most of the viewing audience thought twice about it.  It turns out there are just a few of us, especially other blobbers, who care about the facts.

As it happens I saw a great deal of news today.  It started early in the morning when I took Tyrone (our puppy) out for a walk.  There were deer on the lawn and Tyrone chased after them, barking and growling.  He did not catch them, which is good because he weighs 10 pounds and they were substantially bigger.  But it was pretty exciting.

Whew, then there was more news. Probably I should have started with yesterday’s news.  Tyrone and I went to the movies. He rides in his little canvas bag and every once in a while when the music gets loud he looks at the screen. He especially likes Indian music, so yesterday was amazing because we saw “the Hundred Foot Journey.”  He gave it 3 Paws. 

After the deer event we drove to the store to buy some potting soil.  Then we went home and planted some flowers. Fall Flowers have their own style and if you plant different colors close together it is like a rainbow, with different shades of red, green, yellow, and blue. Boy, that was something. The whole neighborhood was talking about it…. I think.

After the garden store we went to a well known discounter to buy a hose.  You see, when we bought the house we didn’t realize that the garden water was in two different locations and you would need a 1000 foot hose to water all the different plant locations.

Next, Tyrone threw up. When he was outside he ate too much grass and so throwing up was bad news, but news none the less.  Let’s see, I did a laundry, called my cousins, tried to reach some friends coming in from Hawaii, made hard boiled eggs, and chicken & rice for Tyrone—since his tummy is upset.

Well, I called that network and reported my news for the day.  There were no murders, or robberies that I know about so I couldn’t report that news.  And they didn’t seem much interested in me or Tyrone or fall planting, or the excitement of the deer chase.  But that was my news. They never said it had to be earth shattering or ugly.  They said “news.”   I don’t understand their immediate rejection, but as we say quite frequently when we hear something we didn’t know about…. Its all news to me!   We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hang On (and Not Just Sloopie)

When I was about 17 my cousin Frankie decided to get rid of her dining room table, chairs, and breakfront.  These were no ordinary pieces of furniture.  It was blond wood. The table was kidney shaped with an extension that was also a kidney.  The chairs were delicate and shapely (very 50‘s) and the breakfront is as unusual as the table and chairs.  They were getting rid of it and although it was probably expensive, it went out of style and they wanted to replace it.  Soooo..... I begged to make it my own and simply store it in my aunt’s basement.  They agreed. 

It stayed in the basement until my aunt sold her house. By that time I was ending my college career and getting married. (It’s what we all did in those days and that lasted about as long as the table was in the garage).  The table has been a part of my life for quite a few years. It has been lugged from wherever I lived to wherever I moved.  It is a a conversation piece.  Over the years it got terribly stained with ink etc. It needed to be repaired and I thought it would be wonderful if it was lacquered.  It was not easy but I found a person to do it.  However, rather than lacquer it he stored it in an old warehouse.  It took us months to find it.  We never found him.  Two of the chairs were missing but we had all the other pieces.  Joe, a handyman who had been doing some repairs around my house brought his truck and we gathered it all up. Much to our surprise, Joe said he could do the lacquering, (of course he could), so he took it and a month later the furniture was mine again and it was gorgeous.

But that’s not what I wanted to blob about.  That story was merely a preface.  When my Aunt moved and we cleaned out her house, I discovered some vintage clothes in the closets in the attic which no one wanted.  Mostly they were considered old rags, but I loved them and cherished them, and wore them, for years.  People often commented on them, (not in a nice way), but I felt sure they would eventually be prized possessions -- not valuable in a financial way, but in an emotional way, I always considered them treasures.  I knew I was simply ahead of my time.

My clothing has always been unusual.  For years I have been wearing black leggings as a staple.  There are quite a variety of them in my drawers.  (I have added some color to the collection but leggings are my pant of choice. Some friends said they were inappropriate. They meant I was too old for them. So What!  Comfort became more important than style.  But wait, this morning the style news was that everyone was wearing “yoga” pants (black leggings) for other than exercise. In fact, they are a direct challenge to jeans.  The sale of leggings has increased 45% in the last two years.
Once again, I was ahead of the times.

And selfies?  David has been taking pictures of himself (he is his favorite subject, as well as the only person he can count on to test a camera or a lens) for 100 years.  He has also always been ahead of whatever the style trend. Style may be an exaggeration, but he is certainly ahead of most trends.

And so faithful followers, these struggling blobbers would say, it you like it, keep it and someday you too will be ahead of the trend. Don’t you hate that the word trend, or trending has become an adjective.  We’re just sayin ---  Iris

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Do You Spell Militarization?

Wait a minute! Hold the horses, or the mules, or the rabbits. Surely this can't be the United States — the place that allows people to protest peacefully. It's no wonder no one takes to the street when there is some kind of injustice. Let's look at the situation with an eye toward fairness.

So there was this black teenager who was doing whatever. And the next thing you know he's lying on the ground with 11 or twelve bullet wounds in his back. Does it really matter how many bullets went into his body, so in our attempt to be fair let's say it was only four bullets. As my mother would say, dead’s dead.  And as has been the behavior of the community lately, people decided to go to the streets and protest. That's when the police armed with machine guns, riot gear and yes, tear gas (like it was Iraq), pounced on the pesky protesters. 

And then, two actual reporters, who were sitting in McDonalds, writing, got arrested.
Surely, they didn't get arrested for covering the protest. That only happens in a dictatorship, never in a democracy. They must have been arrested for something other than being on site journalists. Like, maybe they asked for extra tomatoes or onions. Having not been in a McD for some time, I imagine there are still onions on a burger. Or maybe the police thought that the reporters were being disruptive. Stepping into other persons personal space. There has to be some respect for personal space at a burger joint, after all, the fast food emporiums are America.  It's easy to understand why riot police would protect the rights of the customer.

How did all this happen? And when I say all this, I mean the over zealous police commandos who feel the need to use weapons senselessly because why else would they have them.  If you have a plethora of anti-terrorist equipment you absolutely want to make sure there are no terrorists lurking in, say a McDonalds.  You can probably trace some of this back to the Democratic Convention in Denver where as a normal person (Normal is relative) heavy militarized police were everywhere trying to intimidate unarmed peaceful attendees. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.  Something has gone awry. Maybe because it was those leftist Dems the police were correct to be intimidating. But what was amazing was that no one complained. Not the delegates or the journalists. And certainly not any McDonalds devotees or Presidential candidates..

The President did acknowledge that the police had no business arresting or harassing the journalists. Something about first amendment rights -- talk about pesky.  The unfortunate thing is that you can't go backward. We cannot unarm these heavily and stupidly armed defenders of what?  Do you think any of these people or their supervisors ever read the Constitution.
I know, that was uncalled for and it's mere snobbery (rhymes with robbery), for which you might need the police.

Now I will share the bottom line. The police need to disrobe before they take any emergency calls. If they can do their job naked then I say go for it. Shoot anyone you want to at any time you feel like it.  The protesters need to be wearing silly hats and I can guarantee no one will shoot or throw tear gas canisters. And most importantly, never try to do anything beyond eating a Big Mac or chicken paws at a McD. If God had wanted us to do anything else he wouldn't have invented park benches.   We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Losses

There were two terrible losses yesterday. Robin Williams died as a result of years of struggling with depression. As everyone agrees, he was a comedic genius and a brilliant actor.  He brought beyond memorable moments into all our lives. You can pick the year and the character and whether it was Robin as an alien, as a doctor, as a soldier, as a teacher, as a nanny or as a genie, there is no way anyone could forget his performances. We can all hope he is out of pain and he and Jonathan Winters are sitting around in heaven making Groucho laugh. 

We also lost Dotty Lynch, pollster, activist, political genius, teacher and friend.  She was not as well known as Robin, but she had an enormous impact on the continuing struggle for women to be accepted as professional political people. More than that, she was a great friend, loving, sensitive, brilliant and funny.  We worked on any number of Presidential campaigns, none of them easy. A few of them successful. When we ran into one another on the road or in some event in DC, we promised one another we would always maintain a sense of humor about issues that many people considered serious.

There is no way you can or should compare these two losses. Both leave an absence in our lives that no one else can fill.  They both had the courage to take a chance on their careers.  Robin in the Arts and Dotty, in Politics.  They were both generous in sharing their expertise. They were both loved by too many people to count, and they will both be missed by people who were friends and people who were strangers.  I am just sad. And, much as I want to, I cannot have a sense of humor about this..... Hope it will come. We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hold On: Time Is Flying

This morning when I went to the market, there were three or four couples, one over 80, one mid 50’s and one in their teens, holding hands.  They were not giving each other love glances nor were they making out in the parking lot. They were simply walking into the market holding hands.  Holding hands is my favorite expression of love. It is intimate and caring without being overtly sexual.  You can do it in public without someone yelling for you to get a room. But it can be equally personal, like when you are in bed, just before you fall asleep and the tenderest way to say I love you is to touch one another without any pain. Kissing is also good but it doesn’t last as long and holding on to one another.  It’s possible to wake up in the morning still holding hands and never thinking more about it than you would a “good morning”.  But when it is missing you notice and feel the absence. 

Enough mushy sentimentality.  At one point or another someone has said to us, or we have said to someone, “Don’t rush your life away.”  When we are 10 we dream about being 20. When we are 20, we want to be 21 so we can buy a drink, or it turns out a pack of cigarettes.  All of a sudden we are 40, or 50, or 60, and we just want to be 20 or 30 or 40.  My Grandfather use to warn us that life was like a train. When you are young you are on the Local. Then (and it seems to happen overnight), you are on the Express.  Platitudes like ‘live everyday to the fullest,’ or ‘live for today because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,’ make some sense, sometimes. But not in retail.  The market and Dollar Store I visited today are already displaying Halloween crap.  Costco has hundreds of kid’s costumes on display.  And if you like Candy Korn, the time has come to buy, buy, buy.

How can we reconcile not wishing our lives away with the ever present next holiday?  This summer went very quickly.  August is almost gone (which I start to feel the second week of every month), and available to all of us are Halloween costumes.  Nevermind the Jewish Holidays in September, when as children we got to buy one special outfit (not for school) for Services. We don’t have time to take a breath before we are buying turkeys, holiday cards, and presents ad nauseum.  Then it’s next year and we have to learn to sign our checks differently. I would like to live life to the fullest, but who has time?  We rush through the day, the night, the month and the year. Finally when we take a breath we are not 30, or 40 or 60.

Sometimes, and only sometimes,  I want to stay in bed with my beloved puppy, and possibly David, and just hold on to a hand or some fur, for days, just watching the time pass.  I know that I will never relive the minute that has just passed, but I want to remember how much I enjoyed it.  Alas, now it’s time to weed the garden, make dinner, and write a blob do it’s time to get out of bed.  We’re just sayin’ Iris

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The East Room

Walking up the driveway...

It seems to be one of those Anniversary years:  D-Day 70th, LA Olympics 30th, US almost invasion of Haiti 20th, John Kerry running for President (yes, that John Kerry)  10th, and Olympus High graduation 50th.  Among others.  For many years the editors at TIME would proclaim “we don’t DO anniversary stories….” as if to justify their reasons for not doing stories which I was involved in.  But in so many cases, they came to realize (over a lot of years, since the editors list was ever evolving) that it isn’t simply a chance to put a candle on a historical cake, light it, then have a piece of cake.   Anniversaries are best noted when they are a time for reflection and pondering.  None of us really get to appreciate what makes things tick at the moment they are ticking.  Very often we need the advantage of hind sight to see what should have probably been obvious at the time.   Not to take advantage of looking back would be another missed opportunity to try and remember what things were about, what were the time lines, and who did what to whom and why fore

the Podium in the Pressroom 

 WH scribes being in touch with their world

President Obama at the East Room Arts Awards

This reporter, crossing Pennsylvania Avenue having just shipped
film of Nixon Resignation/Ford Swearing In
©2014 David Hume Kennerly

Two weeks ago I photographed the President awarding the annual Arts and Humanities prizes to some very deserving folks in an East Room ceremony. (Among them John Kander (without Ebb), Linda Rondstadt, Dianne Rehm, and Albert Maysles.)  I was cleared through the gate with a little time to spare, and as we gathered in the outdoor area near the pressroom for the “final escort” to the East Room,  remembered so many times I’d waited there, going back to the days of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.  The floor plan really hasn’t changed that much, at least in the Press area of the West Wing.  The podium is next to the sliding door (how many times has THAT door been slid?)  which serves as the entry to the “Lower Press Office” and the walkway up to the the Upper Press Office, the Roosevelt & Cabinet Rooms, and the Oval.  It is a place which is filled with history. My first visit there was in July 1967, during my TIME photo internship.  My mentor and pal Wally Bennett took me to the White House, introduced me around, showed me where to stand on the main riser as LBJ entertained the King of Thailand (then a key ally on Vietnam) in a State Arrival ceremony.  He also hoped I didn’t screw up too badly.   In the course of those 47 years, I have been do the White House dozens of times, but it never gets old, it never gets boring, it never fails to cause the otherwise dormant pits in my stomach to clench their bad selves and remind me that this isn’t just some ole mansion, it IS the White House.  I have always loved that walk up the big circular driveway to the Press Room, passing Pebble Beach (the tented areas where the TV folks do their stand ups, and deliver the news both good and bad), angling past the donut shaped West Wing entrance, and into the little alley way to the Press Room.  It never fails to remind me how fricking cool it is to be there, what a privilege it is. 

I remember very clearly the tense atmosphere of the place in Nixon’s final week.  Dave Kennerly had put together a dinner that week with the Fords and a few other friends, and it was clear that Vice President Ford, who apparently had already been told, gave nothing away.  And prior to Ron Zieglers announcement Thursday (August 8th) afternoon that the “President will address the nation tonight…”  we couldn’t really have imagined that he might resign.  It was the direction things were going, but the actual contemplation of something which had never happened before in two centuries of the United States was a bit mind boggling.  We watched Nixon’s announcement in silence.  

The next day, everything played out on a script never before performed.  At noon Nixon spoke to his staff in the East Room, and at one point, for the first time ever, I was touched by what he said.  He spoke of his family, and in particular his father. No one uses the phrase “I remember my old man….” without meaning it, referring to the “poorest lemon farmer in California, who sold his farm before they discovered oil on it.”  It was a moment of pathos, tension, worry, and an hour later when Jerry Ford was sworn in, great relief.   It all happened in the East Room, that amazing space owned by the People.  

As President Obama started handing out the Arts awards, I was struck by something as I looked at the finder of my camera.  Something in my subconscious was jolted, and I realized that for all the times I had been shooting in this room, something at that moment looked particularly familiar.  I lined up the far chandelier and the window, and it looked so familiar.  When I got home that night, I opened my laptop and found the Widelux picture of Nixon’s final speech to the staff.  I’d been in almost the exact same spot forty years before.  It had somehow burned itself, that perspective, into my memory.  And in a way I felt my own sense of relief, reassured that as good or bad as any one President might be, there is still enough momentum and mojo in the system to right itself.  For two hundred years people have been watching events in the East Room, and I am happy to have been one lonely camera for the last forty. 
Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. He died twenty years ago this month, and like most of you thinkin' about your dads, there isnt a day that goes by that something he said, did, or swung at with a 5 iron doesn't come to mind. He was born in 1906, a full 3 years before the US Government even owned its first aeroplane, and grew up wide eyed and open to change, in the age of planes, cars, trains and modernity, and loved every bit of it. He could look at -- lets face it -- an UGLY -- new building construction and utter "isn't that a gorgeous building..." not so much because of what it looked like on the outside, but that it represented a place where good people would be able to go to work every day. He remembered the tough days of the Depression, and though the family lost what had become the first chain of jewelry stores on the West Coast, they were never destitute.

 Yet he had a feeling about how people should be able to work, to provide, and live a life of dignity. And two-putts. In the 30+ years he drove his massively finned DeSotos across the west, representing watch companies (Gruen, Omega, Eternamatic, Croton) he always had his golf clubs in the trunk, and would grab a quick nine holes at the end of a sales day. "In all those years, I never met a jerk on the golf course," he was proud to share with me one day. It was as if being the last guy to drop in with a foursome was a way to charge his batteries both physical and metaphysical. His gregariousness spanned generations, and he had a good handful of golfing buddies my age as well as his own. He had a pair of really weird weights, and used them - those handle & weight, unbalanced 1950s things which lived in the bottom of his suit closet. And he used them. He stayed in great shape his whole life - don't I wish I'd look like that at 75? And no, I can't wear a double breasted-suit that well either.

Going back a couple of generations in a small town in Russia, a pair of siblings married a pair of siblings, and the better part of a century later my folks - technically cousins of some kind, met as adults, and decided to get hitched. Dad had been seeing a girl somewhere -- NOT in Salt Lake City, and till he met mom,it was getting kind of serious. But he let her down as... well.. as softly as he could. "You're a great gal, but I'm gonna marry my cousin," goes the family lore. Mom and dad hung in there for 54 years. When he passed away, Jordan, then 8, said "I'm sure gonna miss him." And boy, was she right.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Goin' Home Again

Some people would say “You can't go home again.”  I would disagree. You can go home again as long as your expectations are limited and you are prepared to be just this side of disappointed. I have no idea what this side means but it sounded thoughtful. Last week we were in Arlington  Va. Where we lived for almost 30 years. So what did I expect? My friends remain my friends.  No one crossed us off their list because we were gone. With that said, no one rushed into anywhere to see us. That's not fair. The trip was last minute and people were not waiting around month after month in hopes we would appear. But it was cool.

The biggest change was the amount of construction and building in DC and in Va. Places we
remember as examples of the community were gone. Like Yanni's a wonderful French bistro
where we spent endless hours eating excellent food and bonding with Lettie and Yanni the
proprietors. They sold it before we moved but it still existed and that was somewhat comforting
because we could say, "too bad it's not what it was.”

HB Woodlawn, Jordan.s school from 6-12 grade was unchanged for the most part and that was
reassuring. It was a very special place and never duplicated despite schools across the country
attempting to be HB.

When I go to Va. There are things I like to do. I go to every Trader Joe’s I can find because,
unlike NY, I don't have to wait in line, and there is usually quite a wonderful selection of wine.
Then I go to Tyson's Corner to buy blackened chicken at a stall in the mall. (Yes I'm a poet
and I know it). Then I have to meet a friend at the Mclean Family Restaurant  (aka MFR) where every important political person makes an appearance. It's a fun place to go and in fact when I
wrote, "So You Think You Can Be President" I cornered Newt Gingrich over a cheese omelet and home fries to write a blurb for me.

And he did it.

The truth is, there was nothing left for us in Arlington. The politics that I loved was no longer love able. Jordan wanted to go to LA., and David can be anywhere. But I miss the beauty of DC. And I miss my friends, they are irreplaceable. And I miss the plethora of delicious Asian restaurants. What I don't miss are the drivers and the traffic jams, unnecessary lights & siren motorcades, and the political bullshit that now is tedious and laughable--unless you are suffering their consequences.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris