Category Archives: Rant

Words With Friends

Standard

words with friends

Warning:  This post is contains words I find annoying, disturbing and/or disgusting.  If you are offended by language, this post is not for you!

 

 

 

 

It began with the constant use of the F word during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Once I tuned into it, I heard it everywhere and bristled each time.

Female.”

Hearing “female candidate” I envisioned a cartoon uterus in a pantsuit and sensible heels, a stylish scarf fashioned out of her fallopian tubes, and her ovaries tucked safely in her pockets.

Ridiculous, I know. But,  “male candidate” wasn’t used with the same frequency, if at all.

“Female” is clinical.

Unless you’re employed in the field of animal husbandry, issuing an A.P.B. for an alleged perpetrator, transporting a patient, or working in the coroner’s office – skip the word female. It refers to genitalia.

I prefer “woman” as it encompasses the entirety of a human being.

While I was busy cringing at the F word, the tape of Trump using the P word surfaced.

Ick. Ick. Ick.

For the love of hoo-hoo’s, vajayjays and vajeens everywhere, wasn’t that word left back in the junior high boys’ locker room?

Guess not.

The misogynistic and absurd bragging (among other things) spurred a protest of the new U.S. President. On January 21, 2017,  200,000 women gathered in D.C.  sporting their functional, yet cleverly named pink Pussy hats.

Meow. I get it –  giving the word a different kind of power. Even with those darling little ears on top – I preferred kitty cat hats.

The cringe factor of these words brought to mind a recent girls’ trip where our mutual dislike of “moist” resulted in a conversation about all sorts of awful words.

Just the mere reference to something unappealing like “pustule,” “seeping,” “oozing,” and “ointment” causes cringey feelings. No visual aid necessary.

One friend hates the word “pimple,” and her husband hates the word, “fester.” It’s no wonder these perfectly suited soul mates have enjoyed nearly 30 years of wedded bliss!

Another friend confessed that any labia reference, either major or minor – made her uncomfortable.

We all agreed “scrotum” hits the ears wrong every time.

Coincidentally, one friend was on a run of making her own almond milk and almond hummus. She shared how her teenagers groaned in protest every time she referenced the necessary tool which is key to the process: a “nut bag.”

35 years ago, this same friend was a horrified teenager when her mother signaled the end of a day of shopping by announcing in a department store, “Well, it’s time to go, I’ve shot my wad!” 

Another friend mentioned the word “grundle.” I admit, I had to Google it. It sounded like something out of a Harry Potter novel. Nope. Lemme just say….T’aint what it is.

Of course “smegma” (just for you Madge), “girth” and “lube” are all included on the the repeat offender list. I apologize for typing those.

Some words sound worse than their actual definition, like “chickpea,” “uranus” and “penal” for instance. “Clematis” clearly sounds like a lady part and not a lovely flowering vine.

Personally, I hate the terrible imagery that comes to mind when I hear “blow-out,” and “brain-fart.

While we’re on the subject – I propose we nix the crass “anal-retentive” or “anal” in favor of the more genteel “particular.

It isn’t only anatomical terms and descriptors of unpleasant things that are bothersome.

Mothers can all agree on a mutual disdain for “not me” and “sucks.”

Men are bugged by a words of a different sort.

They seem to have a strong dislike for the apathetic “whatever” and the snippish “fine.” They also lose patience with the incorrect use of “literally,” the often used, but nonexistent “irregardless,” and the redundant “very unique.”

Just mention corporate conference call speak and watch the eyes roll:

We don’t need to think outside the boxregroup, or tag up later. Please, just table it ALL. At the end of the day, we’ve had enough of moving forward. We have fully penetrated and are saturated with equitable outcomessolutions-based everything, and win-win situations.

Yep, there definitely seems to be a “disconnect” here

Words can be so terribly overused that they lose their meaning. Have you noticed practically everything is described as “amazing” on a daily basis. Hey, I realize my generation did the same thing to “awesome,” but we used it more comically, and less earnestly.

The moment I heard a lovely wedding gown described as “badass,” I knew the word had lost its impact. Remember when that only applied to bikers, rockers, and the military?

I realize decorum and manners have waned in favor of an air of familiarity in our increasingly casual society.

This is never more evident than when a server or clerk addresses a group of women as “you guys” or even in Southern California as “dudes.”

Look, I’m not expecting to hear “Madames.”

“Ladies” or at the very least, “folks” would be a refreshing return to the service standards I was taught.

Do you think I’m too easily offended, or being a ball buster?

OUCH!

I don’t even have a pair, and that really makes me wince!

 

 

Advertisements

Family Jewels

Standard

Where it all began

Where it all began

I received some disappointing news last week.

In a few short months, a family-owned jewelry store in my hometown is scheduled to close after nearly seven decades in business. With roots in the “old neighborhood,” five generations of my family, from my grandparents to my great nieces, have worn sparkly things and watches purchased at Freeman Jewelers.

First Holy Communion crosses, add-a-bead necklaces, charm bracelets, rings from Dad, Christmas gifts hidden in tree branches, engagement rings, and custom designs and settings have marked Sacraments, life milestones and special occasions.

.

My Mother is no longer able to wear the jewelry she once enjoyed so much. As her dementia progressed, she began throwing her jewelry in the trash. Someday it will be worn and enjoyed again by another generation, but for now, it is safely tucked away.

Her jewelry was purchased from this family owned store. The value of this jewelry is not in the precious metals and stones, it is in the memories. The memory of helping Dad select just the right gift. A tiny, wrapped box hidden on a Christmas tree branch. The memory of Mom’s face when she found it, and the delight when she unwrapped it.

For our family, there has never been another place to purchase jewelry. Or get a new watch battery. The Freeman family has been a constant. They are genuine, friendly and ethical. Their merchandise is beautiful and unique. They catered to every budget. While I am happy for the 2nd generation, sibling owners who will now enjoy some well-deserved retirement relaxation and fun; selfishly, I am sad to see them go.

I feel like we have a shared history, and I will miss them and their store.

Where will we shop now?

I’m not interested in Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Collection, and I definitely won’t ever say  “I went to Jared’s.”

Buying and receiving jewelry will never be the same.

Another family owned business, a lovely home furnishings and decor store also recently closed its doors after 30+ years in my hometown. Apparently,  the trend towards online purchasing, and folks furnishing their homes with cheaper decor, rather than investment pieces, had resulted in declining sales.

How sad.

I hate that this keeps happening, but I understand how it does.

In our pursuit of paying less, we have moved away from buying from the “little guys.”

We’ve been seduced by perceived savings at national chains, big box stores, and on-line retailers.

The falling prices at Walmart are enticing. Personally, I’ve never felt good walking into a Walmart. I find it rather depressing and avoid it. Now Target on the other hand….

We head to Target for household items. Instead of sticking to our list, we suddenly find $150 in “must-have” purchases.  Come on, who hasn’t looked at their bank statement or credit card bill and thought, What the heck did I buy at Target last month?

A 20% store coupon makes us antsy.  We must to get to the mall before our coupon expires.  We can’t miss the chance to  “save.”

I confess, I recently took a spin on the Old Navy merry-go-round.

They were having a sale.  I went shopping. I earned super cash. I spent the super cash. The next day, everything was 30% off. I shopped again. I earned rewards.

Yippee!!!  I was saving SO MUCH MONEY that my Gap Visa bill was……$500. Wait, What? How did THIS happen? I finally got off that ride.

We sit on the couch, shop online,  and with one click enjoy almost instant gratification. They tell us: folks who bought this, also bought….this. So, we toss that in our virtual shopping cart, too.  Amazon Prime. Free shipping. Brown boxes on the porch.

But, are we really saving anything?

Of course not. We’ve been tricked into buying way too much stuff.

Shame on us.

With all these big box bargains and online deals, we are losing more than just our own cash.

Locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of city. Community means people. These business people are more vested in their community than any big chain could ever be.

Losing the family owned businesses in our communities is also leading to the retail homogenization of America.

Every city and town has shopping centers with Kohls, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Staples, Home Depot, etc. It  is revolving scenery, with only changes in landscape.

We can buy the same stuff in every city.

This is especially evident in department stores.

Macy’s and Bloomingdales INC line will soon have us all looking like these guys:

Some folks thought Star Trek..I think they all bought the INC line.

Some folks thought Star Trek..I think they all bought the INC line.

We are at risk of losing our individual style.

Even worse, communities are losing their individual personality.

What do we often love to stumble upon while traveling?

A charming downtown area. A walkable shopping district. Drinks or dinner followed by checking out the area, on foot. Whether it is a nostalgic or modern vibe, these areas give a destination its personality.

If we purchase a trinket, gadget, Christmas ornament, or article of clothing, it automatically has the memory of the shop where it was purchased and the trip we took, attached to it.

The same can’t be said for items randomly purchased at the mall, or a national chain. It’s just bland stuff.

I’ve had enough bland stuff. I’m hungry for local flavor. I want locally owned businesses to come back…STRONG.

Make a plan to celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 29th.

Stay away from the mall madness and the big chains.

Plot out some locally-owned shops to check out.

Support a hometown artisan and enjoy the added benefit of buying American made.

I bet you’ll find some unexpected treasures.

If shopping isn’t on your agenda, you can still participate.

Start your weekend by grabbing breakfast at a Mom & Pop coffee shop.

Visit your local hardware or paint store while working through your “honey-do” list.

Instead of watching the game at a chain sports bar, grab a beer at a locally-owned joint.

If dining out isn’t in the budget, hit the butcher shop and dine in.

Shop small on November 29th.

And then, make a habit of it.

Locally owned businesses are the precious gems in our community settings.

Let’s do what we can to make sure they continue to SHINE.

shop small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rights and Wrongs

Standard

In my late-30’s I was referred to a urologist. This was a new frontier for me, and not something I was at all comfortable with, because, well…. because I have lady parts.  I mean, don’t only old guys see urologists?  Naturally, I was apprehensive.

On the day of my first visit, the waiting room was in fact, full of senior gentlemen. To say I was feeling embarrassed and awkward would be an understatement. I felt as if I had accidentally walked into the men’s restroom, and instead of saying “oops!” and making a hasty exit, I had pulled up a chair and taken a seat near the urinals.

The nervousness continued once I was in the exam room.  I know my way around a gynecological exam room, but a urologist has a whole different bag of tricks. Ladies, even the stirrups are different. That embarrassment and awkwardness disappeared when Dr. Ronald Gilbert walked into the exam room and introduced himself.

He was close to my age and just had an easy way about him. He made me feel comfortable with him, and the situation. His upbeat, high energy, talkative nature, simply didn’t allow for any awkwardness. We talked about his kids, his wife’s interior design talents, travel, local events and music. He was a great balance of professionalism, kindness and good-humor.

He was also an excellent Doctor. After being misdiagnosed for a few years, he very quickly diagnosed me correctly, and successfully treated me for a rather pesky autoimmune condition. That was 12 years ago, and under his care, I have remained basically symptom free. Had he been a great restaurant or movie, I would have insisted everyone should go immediately. But urology doesn’t come up in conversation often, so it is not something I ever really talked about. My family and close friends, who knew I saw Dr. Gilbert, were aware of how much I sincerely liked and respected him.

My reason for sharing this so publicly now, is that my wonderful Dr. Gilbert died on Monday, January 28th just 2 days shy of his 53rd birthday. He didn’t die of natural causes or a prolonged illness. He was gunned down in his Newport Beach office in the middle of the afternoon.  An office that I know well, located in a beautiful building, in a complex filled with of some of Hoag Hospital’s finest physicians. As the cliché goes – things like this just don’t happen here.

When I heard the news, I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to imagine the shooting, or how terrified the front office staff, and the sweet senior gentlemen in the waiting room must have been. It has left me shaken. The combination of gun violence and (presumed) mental illness has now claimed the life of someone I know, in an unlikely location: a location that I frequent. This was a horrific and senseless event that resulted in the tragic loss of an exceptional man.

Since December 14th, the topic of gun control has been hotly debated. Full disclosure: I have family members who are responsible hunters. I respect that tradition and all that it entails.  I personally own two guns:  a .32 and .38, both Police Specials with 2-digit serial numbers that I inherited from my Dad’s handgun collection.  However, I am reconsidering my gun ownership.  They make me uncomfortable. It almost makes me nauseous to think about them. As I have previously written, I don’t have any answers to the debate on gun control.

However, I do have many questions: starting with questions about how mental illness is viewed in this country.  Why is it regarded and treated any differently than a physical illness? When asked  if a condition was  “mental” or “physical” a neurologist replied with an annoyed, but firm, “There is only one brain. Of course it’s physical! It is all physical!” He is correct.

Why then, do we differentiate between the two? Why is insurance coverage for mental illness so limited, compared to coverage for physical illness? Why do we label people with mental illness as if they are their disease? Why do these mental disorders make us uncomfortable, and cause us to distance ourselves from those afflicted, when we are so supportive of people with other illnesses.  Why is there still such a stigma associated with these disorders and illnesses? Why is it still acceptable to use the word ‘crazy’? Why are some families left powerless and helpless when it comes to dealing with a family member with a mental illness?

We might as well change the saying “I could be hit by a bus tomorrow.” and replace it with “I could be shot tomorrow...” Sure, we have secured our airports, courthouses and banks, but that’s it. Contrary to what we would like to believe, our schools are not secure.

The combination of gun violence and mental illness has resulted in mass shootings, and deaths at schools and on school buses; as well as hospitals and medical offices; at shopping malls and in movie theaters; in hair salons; at political gatherings; on U.S. military bases; and countless places of business. Can we keep ourselves safe as we move throughout our communities, while we go about our daily business? How? Where do we begin?

People are calling for more controls and legislation. How do we find our way through the already-tangled web of rights and legislation that has complicated our current situation? In my opinion, the NRA, ACLU, and HIPAA legislation, all play a role here.

According to the lead story on the Huffington Post this morning, gun deaths since the Sandy Hook shootings now top 1,280.  Dr. Gilbert was one of those 1,280, but I am not concerned with his rank in those statistics, and my intention is not to politicize his death.  He was so much more than his death:  he was a family man; a husband and father; a man true to his Jewish faith; a solid member of our community. Many of his patients considered him a friend. He was important to so many people, and he is exactly the kind of person the world needs more of.

The fact that we have lost yet another exceptional human being due to the combination of gun violence and (presumed) mental illness makes me sad and angry.

How ironic that in this great country, our combination of so many freedoms and rights, has in some ways, contributed to so very many wrongs.