Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Politics and Oscars....

Key West -- Amanda and Jim came to town last Thursday (Feb 21). She was stressed from months of running Bill Richardson's presidential campaign (and doesn't he look relaxed and happy sporting his new beard now that it's over?) Without a break, she's gone right into managing Tom Udall's campaign for Senate. On Friday we hosted a fundraiser for Tom's campaign. I've known Tom for 28 years but until now I'd never heard him speak as a Congressman (which he's been for 5 terms).
He was impressive, as well as warm and friendly to the 85 guests who had gathered in our garden to meet and hear him. Tom voted against the war in Iraq from day one. He's a superdelegate, too, and explained why he's not endorsing either of the democratic presidential candidates at this time.

George's introduction to Tom was funny but some people didn't get it. George's former wife has been married to Tom Udall for many years (at least as long as George and I have been together and that's 28 years). Amanda grew up with all four of us -- Tom and Jill (her mom) and George and me. At her wedding seven years ago, both "Dads" walked her down the aisle. I knew Jill when we all lived in Santa Fe. She gave George my name as someone he might want to have dinner with when he came out for a semester to be with Amanda. (He was teaching at Columbia Law School then.) This may sound very seventies but it's worked out well. So when George introduced Tom, saying, "He's the true family values candidate!" those in the know got his joke.

Once the party for Tom was over and he flew back to DC, Amanda and Jim got some much needed R&R. Wish we could have kept them here longer -- you could actually see the stress disappear day by day. On their last night in town we all went to the Tropic Cinema for their annual Academy Awards party.

Key West's amazing Christopher Peterson worked our red carpet as Joan Rivers. He's a fabulous guy who not only is a super entertainer, but is always ready to help out by lending his talents to a non-profit (like the Tropic). Here he doing his Marilyn Monroe bit.

Here are Amanda and Jim with "Oscar."

Even a local rooster got into the act.

Then back to our house to finish up the Key Lime pie they brought home from Blue Heaven.


While we're talking politics I confess to being obsessed by this primary campaign. I haven't been as excited about a candidate as I am about Barack Obama since I was voting in my first presidential election for John Kennedy. I watched the 20th debate with sweaty palms, praying neither one would get negative. I'll support either Democratic candidate but I'm hoping it's Obama. He makes me believe in the possibilities. Yes, I know it's going to be a mess for whichever candidate is elected. But he's so smart. I have to believe he'll surround himself with equally smart advisors. If he's running next fall, I'll be out there working for him. Someone asked me the other day, Are you voting against Hillary? And I answered, No, I'm voting for Obama. Then I gave her my reasons. There are some women who think if you're a feminist you should only be supporting Hillary. I think being a feminist means we've evolved to the point where we get to choose who we think will be the best candidate and make the best president, regardless of gender, race, or anything else. But, hey -- if Hillary's the candidate, I'll be out there supporting her. Will be glued to the tube on Tuesday night (March 4).

Oh, about the Oscars -- loved the couple who sang the song from Once. I was rooting for them. So glad they won. Maybe they should give Oscars to political candidates?
XX Judy

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Know It Must Be True Because....

I heard it on the radio. Tuesday, February 12, 8am (I was in the shower at the time enjoying my trusty shower radio. The announcement came on just after the news and caused me to drop my bar of soap.) Today is the birthday of Judy Blume. She's seventy. What?! Is this a joke? I turned off the shower, wrapped myself in a towel and ran to give George the news. He said, Happy Birthday!

Okay, so it's not the first time my birthday's been announced on the radio. And I've never lied about my age -- I'm proud of it! -- but that number -- that Seven-Oh! I've never paid attention before. Not when I turned fifty. My mother had died the summer before and I wasn't in the mood to celebrate. Not when I turned sixty. I was on a book tour for Summer Sisters the summer before and was busy moving into a new house in Key West that February. But this one feels like a milestone. On the one hand I feel incredibly lucky -- I'm healthy, active, my mind and memory work well (in my opinion, anyway) I have more creative energy than I did a couple of years ago, and George thinks I'm hot (hot-ish?)

On the other hand, there's a lot to think about -- things I'm not sure I want to think about -- like how many good numbers are on the other side of 70. I think about the party I gave my mother to celebrate her 70th. I thought she was old, didn't I? I think about my friends who are seriously ill. About how we have no idea what's coming down the road. But then I realize this isn't productive thinking. And I decide to focus on the bright side. I decide to go with 70 is the new 50! (Okay, so I sound like the anti-Dennis Hopper in that commercial).

Although I'm a party girl (in the sense that I like giving and going to parties) we've been pretty much partied out in Key West this month. So instead of a party George took me away to a magical, romantic island. This is no hassle travel -- just an hour from Key West by car and boat -- no airport, no security, just throw a bag in the back of the truck and off we went to Little Palm Island.

I loved every minute of our time there -- well, except some of the dramatic weather -- but even that made our time more memorable. On the 12th, the sky was lit by lightning from about 6pm. For those of you who don't know, I'm phobic about thunderstorms. I panic, I need to be in a small, dark space. I'm like a frightened dog who crawls under the bed during a storm. But once I realized there was no thunder -- just lightning -- the panicky feelings eased. Hmmm -- maybe I'm right when I say the phobia began on July 4th when I was very small and my father sat me on the hood of our car so I could see the annual fireworks display. I think it was the unexpected boom after the sky lit up that scared me. Maybe now, with some help, I can conquer the fear. That would be something!

We sat on the porch for dinner -- George made sure I faced away from the lightning.

We enjoyed dessert (no singing waiters, just a message written in chocolate sauce, and a yummy molten chocolate cake) on another porch, while we listened to a very good jazz trio.

The next day we had a windstorm with 50+ mile an hour gusts. We didn't care. Each of us wanted nothing more than to sit and read. My friend Cynthia gave me a copy of Sue Miller's new novel The Senator's Wife to take away with me. I found this story of loyalty, betrayal, marriage, and friendship, engrossing and I've been thinking about it and the characters ever since. It's one of those books that sneaks up on you slowly. Don't want to give any more away.

Our last day was glorious. Blue sky, sunshine, absolutely perfect. I took out a kayak and explored the mangroves.

While George had a snooze....

We took the 6pm boat back to Little Torch Key and on the drive back to town caught the kind of sunset Key West is famous for.

Thank you for all your birthday wishes! I hope you have happy birthdays, too. And now, it's back to real life. The fourth book in the Pain&Great One quartet is due the end of April and I haven't started writing yet. (But I have been thinking!)

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Love a Parade

This blog is starting to have too many pictures of me. I'm going to watch that from now on. But when you're Grand Marshal of a parade -- well, you have to show it, right? How else would you know I got to sit atop a fuzzy pink cushion?

Why did I agree to be Grand Marshal of the International Women's Flag Football "Kelly McGillis" Tournament? This is what I told the local paper when they asked the same question: Because I believe in encouraging girls and women to go for it! If sports is their passion they should get the same respect as young men who play on teams.

Also, I was horrified a couple of years ago when a local parent complained about the IWFFA playing on the fields at her daughter's elementary school because she assumed (and feared) that her daughter would be exposed to lesbians. Gimme a break!

And I thought it would be a hoot! How often do you get to be Grand Marshal of a parade?

Okay, so it wasn't much of a parade. There were no marching bands. And it was all over in half an hour. But I had the fun of riding behind the Key West Blue Jays as they chanted and even turned cartwheels up Duval St. These are the youngest players in the tournament.

The international teams dressed up for the occasion. Here are members of the Swedish team. Love their "locker room" theme.

And here's a member of the Finnish team. Have no idea what their theme was.

As the parade headed up Duval St. a guy called out to me, Are you Kelly McGillis? Missed my chance on that one.

Jimmy Weekley, former mayor of Key West, who happened to be walking down the street, seemed really surprised to see me atop my fuzzy pink cushion, instead of grocery shopping, which is where he usually sees me since his family owns the local grocery store.

Can't say the sidewalks were crowded with well wishers. Strangers on the street are funny -- when you wave to them, they either wave back enthusiastically or act as if they don't see you. Or worse, as if you're going to ask for something they don't want to give. But most people gave the players a thumbs up. Yay, team!!

Good luck to all the women who'll be playing flag football through the weekend! See you at the next parade.
XX Judy

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Key West -- First it was George, stepping off a friend's deck, glass of wine in hand, to greet me at a housewarming party. Which was really sweet -- except he missed the two steps, wound up on the ground with cuts and bruises on one leg (nothing new for my accident prone honey) and a stress fracture of his ankle on the other. So now he has a soft cast and a Big Boot.

Not that The Boot is about to stop George. Can't ride his bike? He rented a tricycle for the week. The seat looks like it belongs on a John Deere tractor. Impressive!

On Monday, riding my bike home from the gym, I paused to check traffic on a cross street, leaned way over and to the left because a car was blocking my view and Boing!! A searing pain shot from my lower back to my leg. Have no idea how I got the bike across the street and up on the sidewalk. After that I couldn't move. Stood there holding onto the back of my bike basket. Managed to dig out my cell phone and called George. He and a friend with a car rescued me. The friend said I looked like a Seward Johnson statue. I guess that explains why the guy in the truck who saw what happened didn't make a move. And the woman walking her dog, too. She stopped to chat, explaining that her dog always sniffed for the longest time before deciding where to do his stuff. I didn't say a word, which didn't bother her or her dog.

George and friend got me into the car, then drove me home. Lucky for me the wonderful Stacy (physical therapist) was in the neighborhood. She says, 72 hours and I'll be okay. Actually, I'm pretty much okay now, unless I decide to move around too much. No bending from the waist. Lots of icing and new stretches. But this means I'll miss tap class this week. Sad. (Though after seeing the funny but painful movie, The Savages, with those Sun City, Arizona dancers and residents riding around on trikes....well, I didn't like thinking that was my future.)

This afternoon I'm going to be Grand Marshal of a parade. Ride down Duval in a convertible, waving like the Queen. I've never been in a parade. I wish I still had my baton -- not that I'd be able to twirl it with my bad back. George says, Don't tell them you hurt your back and don't walk like it either. You don't want them to think you're some old woman. Thanks a lot, George!
So, off to get ready!