Oct 212016

Vote in November 2016As I write this, we in the U.S. are just short of three weeks away from the most contentious presidential election of our time. I’ve been voting for many years and have never seen anything quite like this. There may be logical reasons for it. I don’t know. All I know is that many of us are going to go to the polls to vote for (probably) one of the two most disliked candidates in history.

That being said, the answer is NOT sitting this one out. Despite the importance of picking the president, there are other contests on the ballots. There are local elections and questions. Go for those. Vote for any number of reasons but, please, do not stay home.

In that vein, let me offer you Old Busted Hotness’s Guide to Voting in the 2016 Election. Before I give you the benefit of my wisdom (HAH!), let me state that I am not in support of any candidate currently on the ballot, not the main two nor the lesser two. I offer no commentary on either side. I throw this out there for you and me, that we may vote without violating our collective consciences.

Old Busted Hotness’s Guide to Voting on November 8th, 2016

(1) If you openly support one of the two main candidates for president, by all means vote your choice.

(2) If you don’t like either one, but feel one of them is the lesser of two evils, by all means vote for that person.

(3) If you feel that one of the other two candidates more reflects your values and choices, by all means vote for one of them.

(4) If you feel that you cannot, in good conscience, vote for any of the main four, write someone in. If you supported someone in the primaries who didn’t make it, say, Bernie Sanders on the left or possibly Marco Rubio on the right, write their name in if you can. I say “if you can” for the following reason.

I have recently learned that Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma and South Dakota do not allow write-in votes on presidential ballots. Not sure how they did this, but that’s how it is. If you live in one of these states, you will have to make a selection from those on the ballot or leave it empty.

On the other hand, Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming let you write in anybody and anything. Vote your husband, your best friend or your dog, if you like. There are no restrictions.

The other 34 states all have some type of qualification to get on the ballot as a write-in candidate.

Whether any of this will change prior to November 8th is unknown. Many unprecedented things are happening this year. This information is as of my research today.

(5) If you don’t like the main four and you don’t want to write someone in, provided you can, leave this blank and go on to the local elections. These will probably have a greater effect on your day-to-day life.

( 6) Don’t forget the questions! These will impact what happens in your community and/or your state. If you have questions on your ballot, please answer them if you do nothing else.

The main consideration here is not violating your conscience. Too many years I have pushed a button or pulled a lever and felt like I had to take a shower as soon as I got home. This year, I have been getting brain cramps trying to figure out what I will do come election day. This is the process I’ve worked my way through and now I’m at peace with what I will do. . . . or not do.

Folks, November 8th is coming, like it or not. Please vote for who/what you feel you can. Alexis de Toqueville reportedly said, “In a democracy, people will elect the government they deserve.” After watching this election unfold, this statement scares the beejeebies outta me! So I will show up and do my best to cast my conscience. There is nothing more any of us can do.

OBH over and out!

Nov 222015

They say that our oldest folks remember where they were and what they were doing on the day Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. Younger folks remember where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. Folks in my generation, they say, remember were they were and what they were doing on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember.

I was days away from my 11th birthday and I was having a great school year. Why? I had my first black teacher and I was so excited. This may seem a strange statement nowadays, but in 1963 it caused quite a stir in the school district. Many had withdrawn their children from that school because of it. Her name was Mrs. Johnson and she was the best teacher I remember from elementary school. I can still see her when I close my eyes. She was tall and beautiful and, like me, she loved history.

On that fateful day, the PA system crackled as all teachers were ordered to report to the office. We were given an assignment and told to wait for Mrs. Johnson to come back. We all sat there and did our work without a monitor. There was someone patrolling the halls in case of emergency and the doors were left open. My class sat there and dutifully did the assignment. Things were very different back then.

When Mrs. Johnson walked back into class, you could see that she was crying although she was trying to hide it. We were really worried now. The teacher was crying? All we were told, all she was allowed to tell us was that something terrible had happened for our country and we were being dismissed. We were supposed to ask our parents to explain it. There were a bunch of scared kids in that classroom, let me tell you! To this day, I wish she would have been allowed to tell us what was up. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was imagining the end of the world on my way home.

Because of the unexpected dismissal, no buses were running. My parents were both working and I couldn’t get a ride. So. . . I walked the five miles home. It seemed like it took me forever. I was not the athletic type so it probably did. When I got home and burst through the door, my mom, dad and grandparents were sitting in front of the new color TV my dad had proudly purchased a week or so before. They weren’t even notified that the school had dismissed us. That was the level of shell shock America experienced on that day.

I quickly learned what happened and was very upset, as was the entire country. But I was 11 years old. My upsetment was two-fold. Yes, I was upset that our president was dead. . . . murdered. But there was something else and it didn’t hit me hard until the funeral.

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and I share a birthday. She is five years younger than me, but we were born on the same day. Every year since Kennedy’s election, my family made a big thing out of the fact that my birthday was Caroline’s birthday, too. This little girl was less than a week away from her 6th birthday. And there she stood at her father’s casket. I was so upset for her! I kept thinking to myself, “This shouldn’t be! She shouldn’t have lost her daddy days before her birthday.”

I remember being glued to that TV set through the whole funeral, not exactly a fun thing to do for an 11-year-old. And I kept staring at Caroline, wishing her to be okay. John-John famously saluted the casket. He was three. I didn’t think he understood, but I knew Caroline did.

I cried for her that day and for many years after. We are both old ladies now, but I still can see that small child desperately trying not to cry despite the realization that she would never see her father again. And I can still feel what I felt for her on that day, the sadness and the grief that no one who is almost six years old should have to feel. To me, it was okay for the country to mourn, but Caroline shouldn’t have had to.

Fifty-two years have gone by since that fateful day. My memory is not what it once was but, for that brief moment in time, John F. Kennedy’s funeral stands frozen in my mind. And I still think of Caroline. Her dad, mom and brother are now gone. And although I have seen many pictures of the now 58-year-old woman she’s become, to me she will always be that little girl standing in the funeral procession trying so hard not to cry.

Nov 062015

OBH Sparkling BoobsMost folks associate the word sparkling with champagne, right? Not boobs. Not hardly. Up until recently, I did, too.

It was time for the annual boob squish. I dutifully made my appointment and, on the day appointed, headed over to the diagnostic imaging place. The lady who called me back was very nice, professional yet sweet, and answered my questions.  She even explained about the fancy, schmancy new, 3-D machine she was going to use, how it worked and she showed me how it was so much better than prior models.

And then we got down to it. She had me as delicately placed as one can be between the killer plates when I hear her gasp. Hey, wait a minute! She didn’t even take any pics yet. What gives?

I hear a giggle and then I hear, “Carla, you have sparkling boobs.” I’m like. . . . HUH? She is still giggling as she comes over and gets me out of the machine. She brings me back behind the screen to show me the preview and, sure enough, there are little glowing spots all over my boob!

She asked me if I had used any perfume with sparkles (on my boobs?), or maybe sparkling bath stuff. I’m not exactly the Sparkle Plenty type, so I told her no. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, but we had to get the mission accomplished. She sent me into the bathroom with wipes and instructions to wash thoroughly. I washed. The pictures got taken, sans sparkle.

When I got home, I just HAD to know, so. . . . off to the bathroom I went testing all my bath products.  Not a sparkle or a glow in any of them.  Since it came off in the wash room, it definitely wasn’t my sparkling personality. What had I used?

And then it hit me. Body spray. I love body spray. Sure enough, under the light I saw very minute sparkles in the body spray. I sprayed my hand and put it under the light, just to make sure. Busted!  It was the body spray.

Word to the wise: Before going for a mammogram or any other imaging study, I would think, do NOT use anything that has any type of residue at all.  It will show up on the film.  And, after all, who the hell wants sparkling boobs?

Pass the champagne, please.


Aug 172015

MicrophoneI read an article this morning about a gun range in the back of a church. The article opened with the words, “Praise the Lord. . . . and pass the ammunition.” All of a sudden, the old WWII song of the same name flooded my brain and now it’s stuck there. I’m old, but not quite WWII vintage.  Where did that song come from? It didn’t take too long to remember.

My Grandmother.

I grew up with my beloved Grandmom singing to me. She sang the songs she knew, songs of WWI, WWII and the world she grew up in. I got lots of strange looks in elementary school when I would walk around quietly singing How you Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?

(Where’s Paree, Grandmom?)

In fact, until I was an adult, it never dawned on me that Over There was a WWI song (along with Paree). I just thought it was one of those great old songs I saw in the black and white movies I enjoyed with Grandpop on the weekends.

The memories are flooding back now.

Grandmom taught me about the Easter Parade and wearing a proper bonnet.

(What’s a frill, Grandmom?)

She taught me all about a bicycle built for two, although I’d never seen one in my childhood. Not the most coordinated of young girls, I had enough trouble learning to ride a bicycle built for one.

(Why would I look sweet on a bicycle built for two, Grandmom?)

She taught me about being short with blue eyes. My Grandmom was short with green eyes, barely 4’8, actually, but I always thought that beautiful song about the 5 Foot Two dame was written for her.

(How do you coo, Grandmom?)

When she sang about those horrible Depression years, I always wanted to run and get her a dime. I knew I could spare it even if Buddy couldn’t.

And guess who was probably the only first grader in 1950s Philadelphia who could beast the Charleston? We did that in the basement on rainy days.

Grandmom’s been gone for a while now. I was so blessed to have this remarkable woman in my life for 51 years. Few are so privileged. Most of the songs she taught me are also long gone, except when they live briefly in the old movies on AMC and TCM.

Most adults today wonder what the hell I’m humming when the memories come over me. They don’t know.  I do.  I remember. And that’s when the better parts of my childhood, in the guise of a very tiny tiny lady with blonde hair and green eyes, overtake me.

I miss you, Grandmom.  But don’t worry.  I’ll always Keep the Home Fires Burning for you.

Until we meet again. . .

Feb 252013

Yarn mixedLast night I had another one of those life-changing moments. . . and this one was a doozy! I have been blessed with a long life full of adversity. That’s not always bad. It’s taught me a LOT and how to change up mid-stream. I’ve had to reinvent myself many times in these decades, but last night threw me for a real loop.

You need a little background here to explain. When I was young, my Grandpop used to babysit me while my mother worked. Grandpop was the most important man in my world. In some ways, he still is. . . and he’s been gone since 1979. He’s the one who taught me to roller skate, ride a bike, draw, make things and do everything that makes childhood wonderful. We used to go to the park every chance we got. I grew up in a city and the park was peaceful. We talked, we drew, we laughed, he taught me about the different birds and squirrels. Total bliss for a little kid.

One rainy day we couldn’t go to the park and there wasn’t really much to do at his house. I thought we’d just watch TV or color. He disappeared for a moment and then came back with some things in his hands. He said, “Come here. I want to show you something.” He handed me four pencils and a ball of string and then proceeded to teach me how to knit. He taught me to knit in a seamless circle because that’s all he knew.

Grandpop was from a huge family with lots of brothers and only one sister. His mother knit all their socks. She pressed the boys into service, even as older teens. They had to knit so many rounds on the socks before they could go out at night. Grandpop was always thought of as the “dumb” one in the family, but he was smart about this. He figured the better he learned it, the faster he could do it and the faster he could get out of the house!

So on that rainy afternoon long ago when I was five, he taught me a new skill and created a monster, all in the course of about an hour. From that point on, I knit everything there was to knit. If I couldn’t figure out how to do it, I went to the library and took out books. Two years later, I found a book at Hoy’s Five and Dime in Sea Isle City, NJ on something called crochet, bought the book and a hook and taught myself how to crochet. I never liked it as much as knitting, but I did it from time to time and when the situation called for it.

Fast forward to last night in another world where that little girl is now an old lady with lupus, fibro and arthritis, a lot of it settling in her hands.  About five years ago, a doctor told me to quit knitting due to hand strain. Yeah, right. After all those years of knitting English or right-hand throw, I taught myself how to knit Continental or left-hand throw (easier on your hands). Now I can knit seamlessly with either hand. Well, I could. . .  

I hadn’t knit in a while. My hands had been really painful, but it never dawned on me that it would affect my knitting. I picked up some needles and yarn and took off on a new pattern. I stopped after about two inches. I wanted to cut my hands off. The pain was incredible. I stared down at what I had done. It looked all right, but I couldn’t do one stitch more without screaming. I sat there and cried as I tore the project out.

I have changed things many times, as I said at the beginning. I have changed ways of doing many things, I have changed jobs, I have changed my core beliefs about things. But somehow, knitting never changed. It sustained me through a lot of hard times. It wasn’t something I did. It was who I was. Now that “me” was no longer.

I told myself it was temporary, that it would pass. I know better. The pain has been getting worse and worse over time. I simply refused to acknowledge it. Last night, that pain drew a line in the sand and said “NOTICE ME!” in letters too big for me to ignore.

Once I stopped crying and got my head on straight, I started to think. This was NOT going to get the best of me. . . but it was coming damn close. . . too damn close. What to do? I tried casting on again and noticed that the searing pain was in my left hand, not my right. That was good as I’m right-handed. The word “crochet” sailed across my mind. One hand. One hook. All that yarn could still be put to good use. “But I don’t like to crochet all that much,” said Old Busted Hotness’s brain. “Too damn bad,” answered Old Busted Hotness’s common sense.

So I located my hooks, got some yarn, found a pattern and tucked it all away in a bag for today. When I take a break, I’m going to crochet. As a kid, I taught myself to knit anything. Now as an old lady, I’ll teach myself how to crochet anything. I can do it. I’m just stubborn. But I’m not giving up fiber. I’m betting on the fact that it’s the fiber that’s who I am, not the motions of knitting. Making things. . . watching something come alive in my hands. That’s available in crochet, too.

So lookout below, folks! Old Busted Hotness is on to something new. It’s Changeup No. 3,457,895 or thereabouts. The number matters not. What matters is that I can still do it. Admittedly, this one’s gonna be harder. It will be worth it. My lips to God’s ears. 🙂

Feb 112013

Pope BenedictPope Benedict XVI shocked the world this morning with the announcement that he would resign the Papacy at the end of this month. He not only caught Catholics worldwide unaware, but even his close friends claim they didn’t know he was going to do it.

He’s old and he’s sick. He’s probably tired, too. And while 85 is not ancient, as Popes go, he’s still getting up there. He had a stroke in the early 1990s and I believe I read he has heart problems, too. They say he tried to resign before becoming Pope, but stayed on as a favor to his good friend Pope John Paul II.

You know what I think? I think he woke up this morning and had a moment of personal revelation. Revelation about what, you say? It’s waking up and realizing things have to change and change now. Right now. That you can’t go one minute longer with things the way they are. You can’t do what you did yesterday without dire consequences or even. . . death.

Those of us with chronic illnesses known these moments well. Some of us know only one. Some of us know many more.

It’s waking up in the morning and you can’t swing your legs out of bed. All those errands you have to do will have to be done by someone else.

It’s waking up and your hands don’t work anymore. All those articles you were going to write aren’t going to get written until your hands (hopefully) come back to life or you finally install that Dragon software that’s hiding on a top shelf.

It’s not being able to get through the day without intense pain unless you rest a few minutes an hour. You didn’t have to do that yesterday, but you do today.

Personal revelation. Not crying about it. No wringing of hands. Simply knowing your life has to change and it has to change now.

I think that’s why Pope Benedict did what he did. I think with all his ills and the fact that he’s getting on in years, all the hatred directed at him over his stances on modern issues, just. . . well, all of it. I think he woke up and said, “Lord, I simply can’t do this anymore. Forgive me.” And then he wrote his formal resignation and shocked the world.

If you haven’t had one of these moments yet, trust me when I say you will. It may come at 18. Like Pope Benedict, it may not come until you’re 85. But a personal revelation moment will come. What will you do? You’ll have to change.  You’ll have to change right now. My prayer is that you will be ready.