Sliding Doors


MOVIE TRAILER OF SLIDING DOORS

Sliding Doors is one of my favorite movies. As soon as I saw the trailer above, back in 1998, I knew I had to see it.

I went to the movies alone and armed myself with a jumbo popcorn slathered with extra butter, a large coke, and some chocolate covered raisins.

Gwyneth Paltrow played Helen, a London advertising executive. After she gets fired from her job, she devastatingly walks out of her office and plans to go home via subway.

And then fate kicked in, and two side by side scenarios emerged.

In the first scenario, Helen squeezes her way into the subway train just as the sliding doors are closing. Too bad for her, because, she comes home and finds her boyfriend, Gerry (played by John Lynch), in bed messing with another woman. Heartbroken Helen leaves Gerry, eventually finds the love of her life, and lives happily ever after.

In the second scenario, the sliding doors shut in her face, and she misses the train. While hailing a cab, a mugger tries to run off with her handbag, and she falls, hitting her head. By the time Helen arrives home, the other woman is long gone. Gerry continues to cheat on Helen, and poor suffering Helen lives a miserable life.

I was recovering from my own misery; a harrowing and heartbreaking familial divorce, so I found the movie sadly relatable.

What if I had never moved back to New York? What if I never went to that stupid party? What if I said no instead of yes? What if I decided to go it alone and have the baby anyway?   

As the movie tracked through both storylines, I had no idea whether Helen got on that train or not.

But I was rooting for Helen. I was silently praying that those sliding doors shut right into her face. I was crying throughout the entire movie while shoving handfuls of overly buttered popcorn with a side of chocolate raisins into my mouth.

My tears weren’t for Helen; they were for me.

Because I had been the leading lady in my own version of Sliding Doors.

Haven’t we all?

The theme song Thank You from Sliding Doors

 

Championship Brisket

This past February my husband and I drove several hours with our grandsons to Lake Placid for the 2019 ECAC Hockey Championships taking place at the famous Herb Brooks Arena.

Cornell was in the finals against Clarkson, and it was EXCITING!

After trying time and time again to score on Clarkson during the second and third periods, Cornell sophomore forward Tristan Mullin tied up the game up with 5:41 left in regulation.

The crowd went nuts.

The Cornell fans were jumping and screaming and ready for OVERTIME!!!!

I was in my glory, bear-hugging my husband, and looking forward to creaming Clarkson…

…Until the grandsons tugged on my sweater while moaning that they were tired and wanted to go back to the hotel.

What????????

I tried everything in my power to talk them out of wanting to leave, assuring them that they were going to regret their decision.

I offered them hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, tablet time. You name it, I bribed them with it.

Until they started to cry.

So, what choice did I have but to take the boys back to the hotel?

As we were leaving, the Cornell fans were shaking their heads in shock. “YOU’RE ACTUALLY LEAVING?” several asked in astonishment.

Trudging back to the hotel, people who couldn’t get tickets were hanging around the arena, listening to the game on their phones, while I made one last-ditch attempt to convince the grandsons to go back.

Forget it. They were determined to go sleepies.

When we got to the room, they collapsed on their beds and were sound asleep in minutes.

Me? Not so much.

It was early, and I didn’t know what the heck to do with myself.

I didn’t want to turn on the lights or the television for fear of waking the boys, so I started combing through my phone for something to do.

When in doubt my go-to phone fallback is not Facebook or Instagram.

It’s looking up recipes and then mixing and matching them to come up with my own personal spin.

So, here I was in the dark, with nothing to do.

What better way to spend my time but to look up brisket recipes?

In between writing down a combination of recipe ideas, I was getting a play by play update from my husband via text.

Text from Hubby: Galajda [the Cornell Goalie] just left with a knee injury! The net pushed on top of him from behind, and the idiot officials never stopped the play! I wish you could see this craziness.

My reply: Yeah, okay, thanks. Why don’t you rub it in?

Then I scribbled down a killer brisket rub I found.

Text from Hubby: Turns out Galajda might have also injured his neck while trying to lift the net off his back! McGrath replaced him with just 3:47 left in the game. The Cornell section is going insane!

My reply: I’m going insane sitting here in the pitch-black combing through brisket recipes.

Hmmm, add a little dark sugar to ramp up the gravy flavor.

I was furiously writing down my brisket ideas as my husband continued to furiously text.

Text from Hubby: Clarkson just scored 14:36 into the extra period, That’s it. They won 3-2. What a rip-off. So unfair.

My reply: What’s unfair is I’m stuck in this hotel room looking up freaking brisket recipes. And I’m getting hungry. Can you bring me back a hotdog?

The next morning, the boys wanted a blow by blow description of the game.

Really????  NOW you’re interested in the ECAC game of the century?

While my husband told them about the game, I told them about my search for the perfect brisket recipe, which I was going to name in their honor.

Then we packed up and drove several hours home as the boys exclaimed how they couldn’t wait until they came back for the championships next year.

Yeah, okay, as if I’ll drive a gazillion hours to look up brisket recipes next year.

I missed the most exciting hockey game of the season, but I was able to cobble together one heck of a…

ECAC Brisket Recipe
1 Brisket roast (4-5 pounds with at least ¼” fat all the way around.)
1 Pound bacon (or 1 pound turkey bacon marinated in ¼ cup Olive Oil)

Rub:
1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For later use in the gravy: 2 cups beef broth, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ½ cup dark brown sugar

Mix the rub ingredients together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the oven rack in the upper-middle position.
Poke holes in the brisket with a knife and then rub the brisket with the mixture.
Place the bacon crosswise in a broiler-safe 9 x 13 pan. Do not use glass.
Place the brisket fat side down on top of the bacon.
Place the rest of the bacon crosswise on top of the brisket.
Tuck any loose ends of the bacon under the brisket.
If using turkey bacon, pour the remaining olive oil into the pan.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 5 hours.
After 5 hours, take the pan out of the oven.
Remove the foil and then set the bacon aside and carefully turn the brisket over fat side up. Then place the bacon back on top of the flipped brisket.
Replace the foil and return to the oven.
Turn the oven off and leave the brisket in the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, pour the juice from the brisket into a large saucepan.
Remove the bacon from the brisket and discard.
Add the beef broth, vinegar and dark brown sugar to the saucepan.
Heat and simmer the gravy until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the sauce to the brisket and place it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take the brisket out and remove any fat on the top.
Reheat at 250 degrees for about 1 hour.

In case you want to see the ECAC Championship craziness

Beach Body on Demand

As a result of my recent complaining to my daughter that my weight was creeping higher and higher, she set me up with a fitness app.

For just $99 per year, I am now able to stream hundreds of workouts on my television, phone, or computer.

My favorite workout is called the 21 Day Fix.

My streaming trainer Autumn’s favorite thing to say while I huff and puff:

“You give me three weeks; I’ll give you the body you always wanted.  And it will get easier, I promise.”

Sorry Autumn, but it’s going to take way more than 21 days to fix what I did to myself.  And I’ve been hanging in there with you for 40+ days now, and it’s NOT getting easier. And BTW, I’ve lost two puny pounds.

The best part of Autumn’s routine is when she shouts 3-2-1 nicely done.

But I keep on trying. Because what’s the alternative?

So, every day, I force myself to stream the 21 Day Fix and jump around my bedroom as best as a 66-year-old can.

The only results I’ve seen so far: My knees are killing me, I have a crick in my neck, and a non-stop Charlie horse in my abdomen.

Last week my abdomen hurt so bad I looked up the symptoms of a hernia.  I was sort of hoping I had one so I could quit working out.

Okay, I did lose those two measly pounds.

Until this year, when I would hear my friends complain about their muffin top, I didn’t know what that was.

Oh, but now I do.

The first sign of that belly blob over my jeans caused me to bolt over to my computer and type in Muffin-Top.

Yep. I have the muffin thingy.

According to the Urban Dictionary: “Muffin-Top is a word used to describe the unsightly fat that bulges over the offender’s waistline.”

OFFENDER?

Dang. Who knew?

First thing I did after reading the Urban Dictionary was to throw out all my below-the-belly-button pants, jeans, and leggings.

Next, I ran out and bought a bunch of mom-type lower body clothing.

Then I turned on my television and slogged through another Beach Body workout with my new bestie Autumn.

I so wish that exercising was as easy as eating.

My Grandmother’s World War II Home Front Job

In the late 1930s, my grandmother Mammy (pronounced MayMe) came to Bridgeport, Connecticut from Caribou, Maine as a single mom in search of a better life for her and her young daughter.

Soon after she arrived, millions of unemployed Americans went to work to make weapons of war, many of whom were women.  My grandmother was one of them.

She had a 3pm-11pm shift at Remington Arms boxing bullets on an assembly line.

She had other jobs as well—at least three or four at the time, but Remington was her bread and butter.

Remington Arms was a sprawling 73-acre manufacturing complex on Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport and was among the biggest munitions factories in the world, employing over 17,000 workers and producing tons of ammunition and weapons each year.

For women like my grandmother, the war brought enormous change in American women’s lives and was a crucial step on the road toward equal rights.

Before the war, women were second-class citizens and were unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. World War II was first a stimulus, and then became the model for women like Mammy and solidified their place in the job market.

I’d like to think that my grandmother’s experiences helped to lay the groundwork for the women’s movement in later years. And I know for sure that her experiences in the factory and her work on the assembly line helped to shape the way she raised me.

Whenever Mammy spoke about her work at Remington Arms, she recalled it fondly. While we never spoke of her job in terms of whether her work helped the democratic cause, she always spoke of her pride in the work she did, including the enormous amount of overtime she booked, week after week, month after month.

For Mammy, her job at Remington Arms was a vehicle for lasting change and offered her hope for a prosperous future. It altered her thinking about who she was and gave her pride in what she had accomplished during the war.

As a result of her work boxing bullets, the American dream was more than wishful thinking. It was finally within her reach and had become her goal.

World War II was the catalyst for change, and America was undeniably transformed by the end of it.

And so was Mammy.

Pam 6/2/52-5/20/09

This is one of two photos I have of my cousin Pam in her before life—before her life took too many tragic turns.

I combed through my albums looking for the oldies but goodies to honor her today.

I was hoping to find some photos of us together as carefree kids, with no knowledge of the devastation awaiting her.

It saddened me that I only found two photos of the before Pam.

The one above, of her alone, and one of Pam with her husband Joe, before he heartbreakingly passed away at 38 years young.

Just two photos before her world came crashing in on her.

Before her husband died.

Before her son died.

I met Pam on March 6, 1966.

I know this because going through some old files last week, I found an entry I wrote on some Rheingold Beer stationery all those years ago.

A sign from Pam reminding me of the where and the how.

I was a nervous wreck that March day in 1966. I didn’t need to read my old notes to recall the terror I felt.

I was meeting my future family and it was going to be awkward because they knew my mom for several years, but they didn’t know about Theresa. I was a dirty little secret.

I couldn’t blame this family for being upset. They were Catholic like us, and I was the mortal sin.

The meeting started out not good. But in the end, it didn’t go as horribly as I thought it would.

Because of Pam.

She made it okay.

She was beautiful inside and out, and I never forgot her kindness.

We weren’t blood but everyone who saw us together thought we were sisters.

Can you see it?

 

 

Ballroom Competition and Mother’s Day

It’s May 12, 2019, and I’m writing this blog post for my mom.

I’m reasonably sure she doesn’t read or even know about my blog.

But it’s Mother’s Day, and I’m missing her. Badly.

So please stick with me on this blog post?

A close friend of mine invited me to Philadelphia to watch her compete in an Amateur Ballroom Dance Competition called the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.

Now let me be clear. I know ZERO about Ballroom dancing, so whatever I blog here is from a know-nothing perspective.

And if you bear with me, you will see how I managed to intermingle her dance competition with Mother’s Day.

My friend is an amateur, but extremely talented ballroom dancer, who partners with a masterful professional.

As a fan of “Dancing with the Stars,” I was super excited to finally see Bo dance.

First, it was off to New Jersey for a two-hour lesson and practice, followed by picking up the mother of all sequined dresses.

I’m pretty sure the dress weighed more than Bo!

Then we spent a quiet evening at the Westin Hotel in Philly.

And the next day, while Bo prepared for her competition, I went to the ballroom to familiarize myself with the dancing lowdown.

There were numbers on every table, so of course, I quickly grabbed a seat at my lucky numero 18.

The table was set up with battery-operated fans, bottled water, lots of tissue boxes and neatly folded perspiration cloths.

There were at least seven judges, heads bent low to their table, busily writing stuff down.

Professional photographers were snapping photos and videographers were busy filming the competing couples.

Watching the contestants compete, I couldn’t help but wonder if they had day jobs.

I imagined, for example, that the hot tamale in the senior novice division doing the Cha-Cha in an ever-so skin-tight green dress, was an accountant by day.

“Number 476—the Cha-Cha, let’s hear it for the contestants.”

There was the Rumba, the Swing,  and the Mambo.

I was mesmerized by the abundance of illusion, glitter, sequins, feathers, and spray tan. And those splits! Oh my.

And every time a dance duo would glide by me, they would smile and gaze adoringly at me.

I was patting myself on the back that my slit wide-leg pants, glitter top, globs of face makeup, eye shadow and mascara had paid off…until I realized that there was a ginormous mirror behind me.

While the contestants were throwing back all brands and sizes of bottled water, I was happily throwing back a Chardonnay.

Two of the male dancers at my table were in deep discussion about hair gel, while I was mesmerized by one particular male dancer on the floor.

Not only did he have impressive dance moves (not that I would know), he had swag.

Mr. Swag competed with more than twenty different female partners, and he danced them to winning status every time.

Which got me to thinking: Does he live near me?

A thought balloon hovered over my head: The Terster in a tight green dress…okay maybe not so tight, because of, you know, the belly roll…

But there is the Terster—floating around the dance floor with Mr. Russian Swag Guy. And the winner is!!!!!!!

Okay, I was having a blast, but you know Teri.

She can always pull something out of the past to put a damper on any old day.

And this is where Mother’s Day comes in.

Because back in the day, my mom was an Arthur Murray dance instructor, so a lot of the songs and dances reminded me of how she would sing and dance around the kitchen on Huron Street with a phantom partner.

Once in a while, she would grab my hand, and we would float around as best we could in the cramped spaces between the table and chairs and the fridge.

Well, my mom floated, I clomped.

The flashback of the two us—with my mom so carefree and happy.

Back then, if she was happy, then so was I.

And of course, my grandmother would be sitting at the table, smiling, but covering her mouth, lest we would see her loose-fitting dentures moving around.

Maybe I looked forlorn, perhaps a little distracted. I can’t say why, but the young woman sitting next to me placed her hand on my arm. “Are you okay? Are you watching someone out there?”

I was a little choked up, so I merely shook my head no.

I pulled out a tissue from one of the several boxes on the table to catch the tears in the corners of my eyes.

Leave it to me to take a perfectly enjoyable dance competition and make a weepfest out of it.

A couple of minutes later when I had my emotions in check, I told the young woman about my mom and Arthur Murray. Well not Arthur per se, but you know what I mean.

She had bleached blonde spiky hair, a nose ring, and a mohawk motorcycle helmet. Not exactly ballroom material.

She told me that her mom was a senior novice. “The vision in lavender,” she said, as she proudly pointed her out. I answered that my favorite color was lavender.

And then she told me everything I needed to know (or not) about ballroom dance competitions, her passion for motorcycles, and how her mom got her mojo back through competitive dancing.

In between dances, contestants would come to the table and fan themselves, yank out a handful of tissues, and gently blot the sweat off their faces.

Then there came a series of songs that just stabbed at my heart:

♪ Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears ♪

I grabbed for a tissue and ordered another glass of wine.

♪ A time for us, someday there’ll be
A new world, a world of shining hope for you and me ♪

I mean seriously? These songs were hardly conducive for a happy Teri outcome.

I grabbed a few more tissue, said a quick goodbye to my punky friend who was busy videoing her mom and bolted out of the ballroom before dark Teri reared her ugly head.

Plus, it was almost showtime for Bo!

A flurry of stretching, hair, makeup and then the donning of her elegant sun-yellow gown.

Bo’s dancing was superb. She was a vision in yellow—a beautiful ray of sunshine. Bo and her partner danced with elegance and spot-on precision. I was so proud of her.

She breezed through the Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Fox Trot, Quickstep, and the Tango, and took first place in all of her heats.

Her last dance was the Fox Trot. The song was Fly Me to the Moon.

Thank God for those tissues.

How many times had I adoringly watched my mom float around our dumpy kitchen on Huron Street while singing that tune?

A lifetime ago.

What I wouldn’t give to have one more chance at one more dance.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

Triggers

They can randomly slam into my psyche at any time or any place.  A smell, a sound, a sight.

And those unpredictable triggers can elicit a pounding heart, a sigh, a sob, a painful pit in my stomach, or a full-fledged meltdown.

Driving to Pennsylvania for business three weeks ago, I was stopped at a red light and happened to look at the car behind me through my rear-view mirror.

A drop-dead gorgeous guy was staring at the so-so looking girl sitting in the passenger seat. The so-so girl was staring straight ahead stiff as a statue.

To anyone else, this would have been a nothing burger. No there there.

But I could sense trouble brewing. Call it intuition from experience.

So, I kept looking.

As the light turned green, he roughly grabbed her face with his right hand, yanking it in his direction. She swatted his hand. He pulled hard on her hair. She never stopped staring straight ahead.

I didn’t budge. I couldn’t drive. He put his hand to the horn, and I jerked forward and pulled over to the side of the road as soon as I could. As he sped by me, my eyes locked with hers.

I wanted to chase them down, jump out of my car and pull her out of his. Save her, because a long time ago I didn’t have the courage to save myself.

Trigger.

I sat shaking and shouting.  LEAVE HIM!!!!! LEAVE HIM!!!!!

Once I got control of myself, I continued driving. But it ruined my whole day.

That’s how it happens.

Something awful crashes in on me unexpectedly. The melancholy, the anxiety, the overwhelming sadness. The anger. The frustration.

Yesterday a young boy roller-bladed past me as I was pulling my car into the garage. His hockey stick swayed back and forth as he glided along. I watched him skate until he disappeared.

Trigger.

I stumbled into the house and grabbed a pen and paper.  I tried to write it out and then set it aside by shoving it into my bulging treasure trove file of heartbreaking notes.

I’ll get back to them one day.

It’s my written way of calling a friend. My lifeline of sorts.

And then today, I had to drive into town to drop something off to my client.

I was feeling good. Until Nights in White Satin came on the radio.

I pulled into a parking lot where I could close my eyes and breathe.

And just like that, a flashback.

♪ Nights in White Satin, never reaching the end. Letters I’ve written, never meaning to send

It was 1968. We had just left the hospital. He was driving. Her burns were severe. Worse than anything I had ever seen. And the pain she was in. I was afraid she would die. Afraid of being afraid.

So afraid.

Nights in White Satin came on the radio.

♪ Gazing at people, some hand in hand. Just what I’m going through they can’t understand ♪

He pulled the car over. And buried his face in his hands. He let out a God-awful guttural sound.

I loved him. I hated him. I pitied him. I pitied myself.

♪ Beauty I’ve always missed, with these eyes before. Just what the truth is, I can’t say any more ♪

I knew then, as I tried to block out his wailing that as a family we were cooked.

To Joe Biden: Don’t Touch and Don’t Joke

I decided to write this blog post for two reasons:

#1: My Republican friends are angry, and rightly so.

#2: As a MeToo I can’t tolerate stupid.

Plus, does Joe Biden think his inappropriate touching is funny?

I don’t know about any of you, but the above photo that I chose for this blog post is especially creepy. It makes my skin crawl.

First off, these two biker guys from Ohio don’t know what the heck to do.

The guy on the left is rolling his eyes at the guy on the right.

And the guy on the right, is side-eyeing the whole seedy scene, like WTF?

And secondly, is this woman married to one of these guys????

I don’t know about you, but if I were her significant other, I’d be extremely annoyed. (Extremely annoyed is putting it mildly.)

I mean, back off Joe.

So, in answer to my friend Ken’s VERY valid question:

“And by the way America this picture is OK because the creepy old white guy is a Democrat where is #MeToo?”

I can’t answer for every #MeToo, but I’m here Ken, and I’m disgusted.

And I will not vote for Joe Biden.

I would first like to say this about anyone running for president:

IF YOU’RE 70 OR OLDER, YOU NEED NOT APPLY.

And that includes Bernie.

And Trump.

Oh, wait. Trump can’t quit.

Because if he does, he’ll probably get arrested.

Sad.

Anyway, let’s get back to Biden.

Seriously Joe?

You see the photos.

Don’t you think they look creepy?

Do yourself a favor.

And don’t run.

But if you choose to run, exercise some self-control.

AND STOP TOUCHING PEOPLE.

And don’t try to make a joke out of it.

Because inappropriate touching is not funny.

Oh, and as far as asking if it’s okay to touch someone.

You think asking and having someone say yes makes it okay?

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It doesn’t make it okay.

Stop touching people.

Because if you ask, they will probably say yes, even though they don’t mean yes.

AREN’T YOU GETTING IT?

YOU’RE POWERFUL, SO PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO SAY NO TO JOE.

Stop asking, and stop touching.

And above all, stop joking about it.

Joe,

PLEASE.

I used to have a lot of respect for you.

But your time has passed.

For a lot of reasons.

You’ve been a stand-up guy.

So do the right thing, and don’t run, don’t touch, and don’t joke.

 

Signs from the Universe

I’m constantly asking myself: Is this a sign, is that a signal, or is it all just a coincidence?

And I’m always looking for coincidences and/or signs based on dates my loved ones passed, birds, butterflies, coins, the number 18 or its multiples, blah, blah, blah.

Some Teri sharing, before I lay it all out for you…

In the Jewish numerological tradition of gematria, the number 18 has long been viewed as corresponding to the Hebrew word “chai,” meaning “life,” derived by adding the eighth and tenth letters of the Hebrew alphabet, chet, and yud.

Many Jews who write a check on the occasion of a celebratory event, will use a multiple of $18, which is synonymous with “L’Chaim,” or “To Life.” So, if you ever receive a check from a Jew with an odd numerical value like $432, you’ll know why.

My husband and I like to tell the following anecdote regarding a used car we once purchased in Florida while visiting family:

The next-door neighbor of my sister-in-law quoted us a price of $17,500 for the purchase of his several-year-old Mercedes E350. My husband made a counteroffer—of $18,000. The neighbor looked at us like we were nuts, but he immediately shouted, “Sold!” He thought he’d gotten one over on us, but that long-in-the-tooth car ran like a lucky charm and gave us many years of excellent riding. So there.

Back to signs.

You name it; I look at it as a possible signal; from someone gone from my life through death, or denouncement, or people I love, but no longer have a relationship with.

And unfortunately for me, the list of dead, those who have denounced me, and those I have let go of for my own reasons is a long one.  Way too long.

So, in order to deal, or maybe to heal, I’ve programmed my brain to watch for patterns of coincidences.

My husband laughs me off and calls them “coinkydinks.”

But I can’t find the funny in any of it. Because I do think that something way more than chance is at work in the universe. Or at least in my universe.

Which is why I want to share with you a recent set of events and see what you think.

A chain of coincidences so eerily meaningful, that they must have been meant for me.

Friday, March 22, was the day my grandmother Alpheda Fox died 36 years ago.

She died on a cold and rainy night on that direful March 22, 1983, twelve days before my 30th birthday.

I was devastated. So devastated that I threw up for weeks after that. It turns out I was devastated, but I was also pregnant. A sign for another blog post.

My grandmother went by the name of Freda, but her given name was Alpheda.

She never liked her name, but I loved it and thought it was a one-of-a-kind original. Like her.

For those of you who know me or are readers of my blog posts, you know that my grandmother played a significant and huge part of my life.

Anyway, this past March 22, I was up at Lake Placid over the weekend for the ECAC Men’s Ice Hockey tournament.

Depressed, and on the way to the Herb Brooks Arena that night, I silently asked my grandmother to send me a sign to let me know she wasn’t gone gone.

In my one-sided inside voice conversation with my grandmother, I assured her that it didn’t have to be a major sign, but something that would stand out to me. Something that was too coincidental not to be a sign from her to me.

It was a long shot request, and I forgot about it.

We got to the rink early. The Harvard players were skating onto the ice.

The first player to come out was wearing number 18.  Okay.

His last name? Fox. OKAY.

His first name? Adam. Whoa.

Not only did it start with an A, but Adam was a consequential man in my grandmother’s life. The longer story of Adam I will save for another time.

But the shorter story was that when Adam died, he left my grandmother enough money to help get us out of that horrendous apartment on Huron Street.

Huron, with an H.

Harvard, with an H.

18

Chai

Life

Fox

A

Alpheda

Adam

H

Huron Street

It had to be my grandmother somewhere out there in the universe: I’m still here, Teri. I’m still here with you.

Anyway; sign, coincidence, coinkydink…whatever.

I was a very happy Teri who didn’t feel sad or depressed any longer and who didn’t have to pretend to enjoy herself because my grandmother was in the rink.

Despite Adam Fox playing one heck of a game, Harvard lost to Clarkson.

Adam was on the losing end, but I had won. Big time.

And unbeknownst to him, Adam Fox in his number 18 jersey was my Friday night hero.

And beyond.

Any thoughts?

 

The NRA and Russia

“The National Rifle Association is setting aside years of documents related to its interactions with a Kremlin-linked banker, as the gun-rights group appears to be bracing for a possible investigation, according to sources familiar with the situation.” – CNN, 4/27/18

The FBI is purportedly investigating whether Alexander Torshin, a top Russian banker and ally to Vladimir Putin, illegally funneled money to the NRA to help sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

Additionally, at least three congressional committees are probing Russia’s 2016 operations and have also shown an interest in Torshin, who is a lifetime NRA member and has attended several of its annual conventions.

The NRA has fought every meaningful attempt at gun reform. Now, it appears that they may have broken the law. But Republicans in Congress don’t seem to care. And neither do Trump or Pence.

Now the NRA is bracing for an investigation into possible campaign finance violations with Russia, and yet many Republicans in Congress still take their money.

This from Bloomberg News back in August 2016:

“Torshin, a leading figure in Putin’s party, has been implicated in money laundering by judicial authorities in Spain. … Spanish investigators alleged in an almost 500-page internal report that Torshin… capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks.”

A summary of the report obtained by McClatchy DC Bureau linked Torshin to Russian money laundering and described him as a godfather in a Russian criminal organization known as the Taganskaya.

According to McClatchy DC Bureau in January 2018:

“FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of …  the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said. It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.”

According to NPR in March 2018:

“A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned. Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.”

According to Business Insider in March 2018:

“The National Rifle Association is fielding a growing number of questions about its ties to Alexander Torshin…  who has been described as “President Putin’s emissary” in the US … said that he knew President Donald Trump through the NRA.”

According to Mother Jones in the May/June Issue 2018:

“Now attention is focused around a middle-aged Russian central bank official and a photogenic young gun activist from Siberia who share several passions: posing with assault rifles, making connections with Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates, and publicizing their travels between Moscow and America on social media. Alexander Torshin and his protégé Maria Butina also share an extraordinary status with America’s largest gun lobbying group, according to Torshin: “Today in NRA (USA) I know only 2 people from the Russian Federation with the status of ‘Life Member’: Maria Butina and I,” he tweeted the day after Donald Trump was elected president.”

We all know what happened to Maria Butina.