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At the risk of giving this trip the evil eye, we appear to be golden this morning.

My husband & I have the one open seat on this flight right between us. Until last night we weren't even seated together. I downloaded this airline's iPhone app, checked us in, changed our seats, & got electronic boarding passes right onto the phone.

This is the first time I've been on an Airbus, & so I'm not sure if the seat belts on these are longer than usual, but not only am I not needing an extender, I've got almost a foot of belt to spare. Whee! I can even put down the tray table.

We're about to take off- only 30 minutes late, which ain't bad given yesterday's prediction for horrid weather in the northeastern corridor. Mom called 24 hours ago asking me to bump the flight forward if possible, as the news made cancelled flights sound likely. Dutifully, I called, but the only alternative took us from a non-stop, arriving mid afternoon, to a Byzantine overnight route changing planes first in Houston, then again in Chicago, arriving 15 hours later in the late morning. Wisely, I chose to stay put. Unless the weather take a major turn for the worst, we should be on the ground only 1/2 an hour after out original ETA.
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Chloe is a competitive figure skater and a fellow ginger. (My family - go figure.) Her father's my first cousin. In this video she's shown demo'ing one jump and a spin.

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Not that I want to twist arms, but if anyone out there wants to support a young progressive running for office, my nephew can use all the financial support he can get.



James and his wife have been active in supporting the LGBT community since they were in college. This is the nephew who came to me after the enactment of prop 8 to say, "Please tell me that you guys got married." (Not "did you?", but "please tell me you did.") He's been very up front about his support of LGBT people and for his support for overturning Ohio's constitutional amendment that bars marriage equality; sadly, it's likely going to cost him votes with Beachwood's large orthodox Jewish community, as well as with the handful of X-ian conservatives there.

James and Carly met at the University of Vermont, where he was the president of the local Democratic club. After graduation he went to law school at Case Western, while she left for the Peace Corp, serving in Namibia for just shy of 3 years. While in school, he interned in DC, first for Sen. Patrick Leahy, then for Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

They've decided to stay and settle in the Cleveland area, where they feel progressive politics actually has a future. He was elected to their county's central Democratic Committee before finishing law school; now, two years out, he's running for city council. Carly is just starting her MSW at Case.

If anyone is so inclined, please go to http://www.jamespasch.org. If you decide you wish to help financially, just follow the link there.
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All gratitude to Anne Herbert for this thought.

Last Thursday was my husband's birthday. We partnered 32 years ago, when I was 26 and he, 29. I'll let y'all do the math.

After wracking my head for weeks what to get him, it hit me mid morning. He is happiest when he's building things. Tools are easy. Knowing which tools to get, not so much. In an event, it was off to the local pawn shop, who carry used tools of good quality, at less than I could acquire them elsewhere on short notice. I pulled into the public parking lot around the corner from my destination, and had just started towards the kiosk to pay for parking. In the past 2 years, most of the downtown parking meters have disappeared, and now, you walk to an automated kiosk, and pay to get a paper receipt, which you then leave on your dashboard. I wasn't 3 feet from my car, when the door to the vehicle next mine, a car that was already running and had just been pulling out, opened and a woman called out to me. "Wait!"

I turned. She scurried over to me, pushed a small scrap of paper into my hand and said, "here. Use this." She smiled, then departed. She had just handed me a parking receipt with half an hour on it. I looked up to see her already backing out of her spot, and with a slightly dumbstruck look on my face, smiled at her and waved, mouthing, "thanks," not that she could hear me over the traffic noise, with her windows rolled up. Twenty minutes later, I exited the shop, a laser level and a finish sander (with dust collector bag) in hand. With that, it was back to the office.

The following night, we went out to dinner with Jan, the dear friend who was Best Woman when we got married, to celebrate his birthday. All three of us ordered the chowder, followed by the calamari, both dishes they do exceptionally well. Mom had mentioned to me, she had sent him a card for his birthday, and I asked if it had come. He had picked up the mail on the way to the restaurant and indeed there was a card from her, but he had not had time to open it. When we got home, we fell into bed, intent on marital time before sleep overtook us, but alas the long day and the good food got the better of both of us. Despite our ardor, fatigue won out and too soon we were out cold.

In the morning, he opened the mail and there was a card from Mom, the face of which read, "To my Son-in-law".

This is huge. (and yes, there was a check inside, identical to the ones I know she sends to my sisters' husbands on their birthdays, but for the first time, she has called LJ her son-in-law!) Somebody, pinch me. I need to be certain I'm not dreaming.
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An e-mail from my sister Joan arrived yesterday labeled "good news". I'm always a bit wary of opening e-mails in which the tagline reads something of this nature. More often than not I expect them to be something which introduces a nasty virus, Trojan or worm. This however bore the news that our nephew Stephen had proposed. (I'm not using the royal 'we' here. Stephen's mother is my other sister.) The e-mail however was quite brief, & said nothing as to the answer to his proposal.

I texted him, "so, did she say yes?", to which I got a resounding, "Yes!!!"

I spoke to mom as I drove home last night, which was midnight her time. Natalie, now my nephew's fiancé had called her and bubbled over the phone, "Grandma! He proposed!" Note, this was the first time she's ever called mom grandma. My mother responded, "so sweetheart, did you say yes?"

Natalie squealed.
"So sweetheart," mom continued, "did this come with a gift?"
"Uh huh, it sure did!"
"So he gave you a diamond did he?"
Natalie squealed again. "It's huge!"

Mom began to muse about what to send them as an engagement gift. I said I think I should probably stop that the champagnery near the house, and have them ship one of their better bottles of bubbly and pair of designer champagne flutes. Mom responded, "and where are you going to have them shipped?" My nephew and his fiancée are currently living on opposite sides of the country. He's in Seattle doing what's best described as a internship with an investment group. My understanding is most people in his field, spent several years doing this kind of work before going back to school for an MBA. She's in Philadelphia in her second year of law school at Penn.

I think I'm going to send each of them a split of champagne instead, along with a single flute. They can toast each other over the phone!
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I think I going to start lobbying for that 27 hour day.

It's been a while since I posted, long enough that some of you (not the ones I'm currently playing Words with Friends with) may be wondering what the hell is going on with me.

Two of my nephews have just graduated, one from law school back in Ohio, the other undergraduate at USC. My sister, bless her soul, made it clear to me that I, preferably with my husband, needed to make the trip south for graduation. Mind you I didn't need all that much prodding; LA isn't all that far. So, graduation and Mother's Day gifts in the hand, the two of us decided to rent a car and drive. We left both his car and mine with our Satanic mechanic, got into a 2010 Prius and drove south after work Wednesday night. No matter how hard I try, I always manage to leave an hour or more after I intend to get out of here. We left Santa Rosa at about 7:30 PM, and managed to go just over 300 miles by midnight. We pulled into gas up at Lost Hills 30 miles north of the Grapevine and roughly 100 miles from USC and decided it was time to bed down for the night.

On the road again at 7:30 the following morning, I drove while my husband napped. I will tell you I had never seen anyone recline their seat all the way, and with their seat belt still on, flip face down to sleep. I guess there's a first time for everything. He was still lying facedown as we dropped down off of the Grapevine into the San Fernando Valley. We got to the USC campus just in time to park and make my nephew's 11 o'clock tour. Josh has been a campus tour guide for the last four years (a paid gig) and the only people signed up for this final tour were his friends and family. As he said, "walking backwards will never be the same."

The boy has graduated cum laude from USC's Marshall School of Business with a degree in marketing with a concentration in cinema, and hopes to end up in the business end of the entertainment industry. Economically, this is a tough time to break into that business and like most of his fellow graduates he does not have a job lined up yet. However, he's bright, speaks incredibly well, and thinks well on his feet, so I truly believe he will find what he's looking for. It just may take a while for him to find it. As the valedictorian of his class said in her speech, "not all who wander are lost."

My older nephew arrived from Cleveland, with his girlfriend in tow. This is the first time I'd met the woman and I have to say, I'm impressed. The two of them went to college together at the University of Vermont, graduating three years ago. Their relationship has survived his three years in law school (Case Western Reserve, where my husband went umpteen years ago) and her 2 1/2 years in the Peace Corps. She got back from Namibia six weeks ago, just in time to be chief manager from my nephew's successful political campaign. (The beginning of the month he was elected to his county's Central Democratic committee. Sunday he graduated from law school.) She's bright, funny, and breathtakingly beautiful, and shares my nephew's left wing politics. This is one wedding I will be happy to dance at. (Keep in mind, dancing at weddings is a dangerous thing for me; I fractured my ankle dancing at his mother's wedding!)

My husband and I have been together almost 29 years, but in all that time his contact with my family has been minimal. They were on the East Coast, we were in California, and alternative sexuality was not something they cared to discuss, particularly not mine. Given that my father was ill, seriously so, for a very long period of time, I chose not to push. However, does it really take a genius to put two and two together? I was living with the same man, first in a one-bedroom San Francisco apartment, then a house with him, and then we moved 60 miles and purchased a home together in another city. We finally had "the talk" seven or eight years ago.

I have to hand it to my mother and sister. They were both exceptionally well-behaved! No cutting remarks, no haranguing (well, minimal haranguing) and everyone was absolutely warm and hospitable towards my husband. My brother-in-law's extended family is all in the LA basin. He's the only one of his family of origin not to relocate from New York to LA. LJ had a crash course this past weekend on who's who. He also finally had a chance to see just how many redheads there are in my family. (This coloring doesn't run in my family, it f@#king gallops!)

Saturday morning everyone, save husband and I flew out for Cleveland and the other graduation ceremony. We slept in, and at noon and started to drive up the coast. We thought we'd take the scenic route, avoiding the Central Valley, opting for Pacific Coast Highway. Once we got to Ventura, we stopped for lunch, and decided to take 101 the remainder of the way. Incidentally, avoid the Hong Kong Restaurant in Ventura at all costs. The worst Chinese food I have ever eaten! When was the last time you saw a bear leave most of his meal on his plate? This stuff was so awful that I couldn't wait to get a Listerine strip into my mouth to get rid of the taste. Worse, I kept belching for the next 3 to 4 hours and every time we have to deal with that awful flavor again! YUCK! Thank God for breath mints.

Time for me to head for home, more to follow tomorrow
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I'm feeling major angst.

It appears someone I know well and value deeply has likely cried wolf, which in turn has created a major situation within their family home. I'm on the outside looking in, more a bystander than a participant, yet I feel very wounded by what has happened. It's difficult for me to simply accept what's going on as I care deeply for all that are involved this mess, but in reality, I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to either change or fix it.

So here I stand, on the outside looking in, praying for clarity for all involved, in hope that the truth will out and a healing can begin.

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