Monthly Archives: July 2016

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Bust

donald-trump
Something YUUUGE happened to me this weekend. The harrowing and disturbing thought occurred to me that Donald Trump might actually end up in the White House.

I really thought that his over-the-top pontifications, offensive, misogynistic rants, narcissistic proclamations, beyond-belief exaggerations, self-adoration of all things Trump and lies heaped on top of more lies would be wearing thin with his supporters right about now.

Hugh Hewitt, a well-respected conservative radio talk show host, said it best: “Ignoring Trump’s flaws is like ignoring Stage IV cancer.”

But Trump supporters are all in. At all costs. A “shove it” to “the rest of us.” To hell with cancer.

According to the professional fact checkers, Trump is the most compulsive liar to seek high office.

The nonpartisan Politifact has rated only 2 percent of Trump’s assertions as 100% accurate. The Washington Post has rated 70% of Trump’s statements as lies. Instead of self-reflecting, and making some presidential tweaks (vs. non-presidential tweets), Trump barred the Washington Post reporters from campaign events.

I am so sick of the Trump show all the time. Every time he opens his mouth with another one of his Trumpisms I can’t help but respond under my breath.

But there is zero point in muttering to myself. So I have decided to mutter out loud to hopefully get some of my frustration out in this blog post.

Trump: “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, and I would love to do that.”
The Teri Tome: I would love for you to do that as well.

Trump: “I know more about ISIS than the generals.”
The Teri Tome: Yeah, okay.

Trump: “I never said Japan should have nukes.”
The Teri Tome: Uh, yes you did.

Trump: “There is no drought in California.”
The Teri Tome: Liar, Liar. Presidential wanna be pants on fire.

Trump: “The unemployment rate is 42 percent.”
The Teri Tome: Last I checked, the unemployment rate was just under 5%.

Trump: “Students who participated in Trump University were provided a substantive, valuable education.”
The Teri Tome: In the words of the late Will Rogers: “It ain’t what you know, it’s what you know that ain’t.”

Trump: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
The Teri Tome: Okay, I concede, this is probably true.

Trump: “Putin is a nicer person than I am.”
The Teri Tome: Okay, I concede, this is definitely true.

Trump: “Crime in the United States has gone through the roof.”
The Teri Tome: Violent crime has dropped by 50% since 1990.

Trump: “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry.”
The Teri Tome: Not if the rising seas swamp Turnberry first.

Trump: “I have a club in Palm Beach that is open to everybody.”
The Teri Tome: Trump’s club is open to everybody who pays $100,000 to cover the membership fee.

Trump: “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
The Teri Tome: Do you think I have the IQ of lint?

Trump: Trump Winery is the largest winery on the East Coast.”
The Teri Tome: Trump Winery isn’t even the largest winery in Virginia where it’s produced. I prob have more wine in my liquor cabinet.

Trump: “I have more employees than anybody in the state of New Jersey.”
The Teri Tome: P p p poker face, p p p poker face.

Trump: “Look at these hands. Are they small hands?”
The Teri Tome: Call me sight impaired, but they look smallish to me.

Trump: “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself.”
The Teri Tome: Hmmmmm, I’m pretty sure Curiel is good.”

Trump: “Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, ok?”
The Teri Tome: Sounds like someone’s been living under a rock.

Trump: “I alone can fix it.”
The Teri Tome: You’re killing me here.

Trump: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
The Teri Tome: Whoever told you to be yourself gave you the worst advice ever created.

Trump: “I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
The Teri Tome: I’ve never seen such a small mind inside such a big head.

Trump: I’m really rich, I’ll show you that in a second. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocios.”
The Teri Tome: Show me the money already.

Trump: “I am a constitutionalist. I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.”
The Teri Tome: Sounds like a lot of number 2 to me.

Trump: “I will be so good at the military your head will spin.”
The Teri Tome: Now I get why some animals eat their own children.

Trump: “If I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote”
The Teri Tome: NO WAY, JOSE.

Trump: “As usual, Hillary and the Dems are trying to rig the debates so two are up against major NFL games.”
The Teri Tome: The debates were scheduled back in September 2015 by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

Trump: “I got a letter from the NFL saying ‘this is ridiculous, why are the debates against’ — because the NFL doesn’t want to go against the debates because the debates are going to be pretty massive from what I understand.”
The Teri Tome: Joe Lockhart, an NFL spokesman, confirmed the NFL never sent a letter to Trump.

Trump: “I like three debates. I think that’s fine. I think it’s enough. If somebody said, “one debate,” I’d rather have three. I think they’ll be very interesting.”
The Teri Tome: Believe me, folks, the debates are going be interesting! And let me tell you, they’re going to be YUUUGE, okay? I am expecting tremendous things during those debates! Great stuff. The best ever. They are going to be unbelievable. Think big things. Great. Big. Things. Unreal. Big league. Many people are saying this. They’re going to be something never before seen in this country. Never ever seen. They are going to make your head spin. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking yuuger than yuuuge.  

It’s sadly obvious that Trump’s supporters don’t care if he is a pathological liar and missing a few screws. But the rest of us should.

Dane’s Room

Mother & Son A

Our old, in-desperate-need-of-a-facelift house is way too big for the two of us, but we simply don’t have the heart to sell it.

Back in the day, with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, it suited our family of six—three daughters, one son, and me and my husband, very well.

As one-by-one our four children moved out of the familial nest, we anointed each bedroom officially and forever theirs.

When we refer to a bedroom, it is always by their first names. “The lamp in Amy’s room is out.” “The fan in Amelia’s room isn’t working.” “We need a new mattress in Elsa’s room.”

But any mention of Dane’s room is always a painful reminder of the decision our son made to disown us.

There have been sightings of Dane by some of us, here, there and everywhere. A painful reminder that he is so close, yet so far. I once spotted him on a train, and it broke my heart to sink down low into my seat for fear he would reject me.

But he made a decision a long time ago to walk away. To try to explain how his decision affected our family would take several chapters in a clinical perspective. Our loving family unit of six was now painfully and heartbreakingly down to five. Besides me, the remaining four family members have their own personal and painful degrees of hurt. But I can unequivocally assure you that Dane’s decision to leave us in his past was the single most agonizing event of my life.

But I can only speak for myself. The rest of my family have their own tales to tell. Or not.

I realized that Dane was never coming back when he stopped sending me an obligatory text two times a year. To be clear, I waited months upon months for those two texts. Even though the slightly veiled brusqueness and unsigned texts of “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Mother’s Day,” showing up on another mother’s phone might send them into the depths of despair and depression. But they lifted me up. They made my whole birthday. They completed my Mother’s Day. I felt near to his heart for 2 out of 365 days.

Five words over twelve months painstakingly and slowly turned into 50 words over 120 months. Ten long, mournful years.

And then in the eleventh year, no birthday text. I was devastated but convinced myself Dane simply forgot it was my birthday.

On Mother’s Day, I checked my phone every few minutes, until late into the evening, when I finally gave up. And the reality of the horribly sad situation finally sunk in. It wasn’t possible that he had forgotten about Mother’s Day. Dane’s refusal to send me a Mother’s Day text could only mean one thing: I was no longer his mother in his eyes.

As I write this, the pain sweeps through my entire body, and I find breathing difficult. My beautiful and once loving son is gone from me.

Back to our old house.

We now have four beautiful grandchildren, the oldest is seven; the youngest is one. And several times a year Dane’s siblings and their ever growing families sleep over for a weekend of chaos, lovefesting, and bonding.

Each of the siblings bedrooms has a particular plus: Amy’s room has the crib, Amelia’s room houses all the games, Elsa’s room has a king size bed and a cotton-top mattress.

And Dane’s room has the most impressive collection of classic children’s movies you can imagine. At least a hundred of new and old, which has been the delight of all of the grandkids since they were born. Each one has their favorites; each one takes pure delight in the movies in Dane’s room.

For years now, every time the grandkids visit, they immediately invade Dane’s room to pick out movies and insisting no matter what time of day or night it is—that we watch together, and I make them popcorn.

On the family weekend sleepovers, the bedrooms are parsed out by their given names. Amy’s room goes to the daughter who needs the crib, and the two other girls fight over which will get the king size bed. The two youngest grandkids sleep with their parents.

The two older grandkids enjoy the privilege of staying in Dane’s room by themselves, which not only houses the revered collection of movies but also has an enormous pullout couch so that they can curl up, lay back and enjoy a show and some popcorn before going to bed.

And that is how Dane’s room came to be deemed the grandkids favorite.

Sometimes after the grandkids have gone to sleep, we all hang around, drink wine and reminisce. Once in a while one of the siblings will ask: “Why?” “What happened?” And when my tears start to flow they try to reassure me. They try to soften the blow. “He’ll be back.” “He knows we love him.”

On a recent visit, as my seven-year-old grandson helped me put sheets on the pullout couch, he couldn’t stop talking about Dane’s room. He chattered non-stop, revisiting and extolling its virtues.

“Dane’s room has the best movies ever.”

“Dane’s room has a secret door to the best bathroom.”

“Dane’s room has the best television.”

“Dane’s room has all the cool blankets.”

“Dane’s room has so many awesome trophies.”

Every sentence that my loving grandson threw out there was like a stab in my heart.

As my grandson stared at a photo of Dane as a young boy, he quietly asked, “Do you love Dane more than me? Is Dane your favorite?” The look on his innocent face just about broke me down. I tenderly explained that I could never pick a favorite. And that my whole family was my favorite.

I was weary. I’d had enough memories of Dane for one day.

“Come, we’re done here,” I murmured softly as I took his hand to leave Dane’s room.

“Can I ask you one more question?” my grandson queried, as I shut Dane’s door, hoping to also shut down my inner screaming.

“One more,” I answered him, the all too familiar pain sweeping through my body; my breathing quickening, praying that his question wouldn’t send me over the edge.

“Who’s Dane?”

 

The Fledgling Bird – Was It Pushed out of the Nest or Did It Fall?

The-baby-bird

My daughter stopped by today to explain as lovingly as she could to stop trying to fix things. She asked me to listen to a podcast about accepting that some things aren’t fixable, nor should they be. It’s part of life. Situations happen. Things aren’t always meant to be fixed. Accept situations for what they are. Accept people for who they are.  Face it. Mommies can’t fix everything.

After my daughter left, I decided to spend a little time trimming back some flowers. Chillax. Reflect on non-fixing.

As I hummed along, I thought I heard a faint cry of a bird. I looked around and couldn’t see anything so I resumed my trimming.

As I reached to pull a weed out from under one of my Leyland Cyprus trees, there it was—a tiny fledgling, struggling to fly and crying. I immediately and angrily looked up into the trees. Where was its mother? Couldn’t she hear its call of distress?

The phone rang, and it was my girlfriend. I told her about the bird. “Leave it be,” was her advice. It’s not me to leave anything be.

I ran into the house and pulled apart a slice of bread and ran back to the tiny bird who was still crying helplessly. I was fairly cognizant of the fact that the fledgling probably couldn’t eat bread, but I was in the fixing mode.  Podcast shmodcast.

I cooed softly to the baby bird asking “where’s your mommy?” I inspected the ground to make sure there were no ants or other bugs that could hurt it. And then I went into my office to try to finish up a project I was way past deadline on.

But every couple of minutes I had this nagging pull to go outside. To see what was going on. Look around for the mommy. And make sure no cats or squirrels were lurking about.

All afternoon I ran in and out of the house watching this stupid little bird. Why wouldn’t it just fly away? Jump onto a bush already, get to higher ground. Why didn’t it stop crying and try to help itself?

I googled what to do if you find a baby bird out if its nest. What I read was that maybe the baby fell out of its nest or maybe it was pushed. Pushed? What mother would do that I asked myself.

After some reflection, I answered myself. Okay, I suppose it depends on the child, or in this case, the fledgling.

No matter whether it fell or was pushed, I frantically continued to run back and forth from my office to the fledgling. The hell with my deadline.

On my way out of the house for like the fiftieth time, I saw the mommy, perched on my deck. I got very close to her and was able to take a photo. Okay, it was a little blurry because my hands were shaking but she never moved. This mother was defiant.

The-Momma-Bird

When I tried to get close to her baby, she swooped down but kept her distance.

I felt tremendously relieved that this baby bird had someone who cared after all. The mommy was hopping closer and closer to the fledgling while keeping an eye out for me.

I went back into the house, but I couldn’t focus on work at all. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t focus on anything but that damned baby bird. How long was it going to hop around? Was it hurt? Was it incapable of flying? Was it hungry? Please stop crying already.

Was there anything I could do to fix it?

I poured myself a glass of wine to calm down a bit. This bird had me all nerved up. I had been at this for five hours already! If you’re wondering, yes, I recognized the ridiculousness of the situation, but I simply couldn’t control myself.

That’s when I decided the only thing to do was write this blog post. Try to calm myself down and record it.

In between running in and out of the house checking on the bird situation, I was writing this post—cell phone in hand, should a photo op present itself.

The mommy bird was edging closer and closer to its baby but not fast enough for me. What was she waiting for? Come on. Help out your crying kid already. Fix the situation. Solve the problem. Avert disaster.

I finally had them both in my window view so I could now stay comfortably inside my house and go from window to window between the baby and the mommy. Willing mommy to come closer, I couldn’t stop going back and forth, window to window, the glass of wine still in my hand.

My husband warily observed the absurd situation and just shook his head in amazement. Nothing surprises him about my behavior any longer. He knows my MO.

I finally gave the bird fiasco a break and forced myself to try to burn some of my energy on the recumbent bike. All the while forcing myself to stay put—to keep peddling. Willing myself not to think about the fledgling. Leave the worrying to someone else. Someone else? Get a grip Teri. We’re talking about birds here.

Okay, so forget about working out. I jumped off the bike to check on mommy. She was still standing guard and hadn’t budged.

I thought about getting back on the bike, but I just couldn’t. I was too anxious. So back on the deck, I went.

The mommy was gone! But the baby was still crying. My husband, relaxing on the outdoor swing watched in astonishment as I ran in and out, out and in.

And then I saw the mommy! She was hidden in the tree coaxing her baby bird to join her, teaching survival tactics. Showing her baby how to blend in and conquer a dangerous world.

The sound of the ringing phone brought me back into the house. It was my girlfriend again. “You’re still screwing around with that bird? It’s been over eight hours!”

While on the phone with her I ran back out to the deck listening for the crying bird, my husband now in tow. And to my relief, the baby was still crying but high up in the tree this time.

Kudos to the mother. She had done her job. She had fixed things. Her baby was safe for now.