Dear Justin Trudeau, Won’t You Be My President?

It’s election season and I’m obsessed. I want to know what’s going on every moment of every day in the world of politics. I want to know who’s in the lead in the polls and who put their foot in their mouth. And I need to know what that ghostly fellow, Julian Assange is going to do next. WikiLeaks, wiki-shmeeks!

Well, this I can tell you: All this craziness has me thinking of one thing and one thing only:

Why can’t Justin Trudeau be my president? Continue reading

Liz, Pierre and Siri

I need to find myself a larger home. I’m not kidding. It seems the one I’m living in isn’t big enough anymore. Not since my new roommates moved in. The ones that go by the name of Liz, Pierre and Siri.

Oh, I haven’t told you about them?  Well, allow me to fill you in.

Henry doesn't know what to make of all these roommates.

Liz has been living with me for two years now, ever since I got my new Camry back in 2010. She’s my GPS assistant, and knows this city like the back of her hand. If she had one, that is.

In fact, Liz knows how to get around anywhere in the whole country, probably even Canada and Mexico, assuming we ever ventured out there. Unfortunately, the only place she can’t get me to is Hawaii.

I know this because, on a lark, I once asked her to take us there.  We got as far as the Pacific Ocean, which means we drove west for 8 minutes. Once there, she broke down in tears, realizing she didn’t know the rest of the way. And, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it would be impossible to get there, anyhow, by crossing the ocean in a car.

“What can I tell you?” she said, “I’m landlocked.”

“Don’t worry, Liz. I know it’s not your fault.”

“I’m only human,” she replied, choking on her words.

“Well, actually, about that,” I said.

Then there’s Pierre, whom I assume is French Canadian. I don’t know why I assume this,  except that his accent is rather robotic and clearly that can only mean he’s from Canada. He may even be an undocumented worker—one never knows with Canadians. Every time I ask him for his identification papers he ignores me, but, I put up with him because he’s my butler. And by butler I mean, he takes phone messages for me when I’m away.  Though lately, he hasn’t had much to do, given that I’ve rid myself of my landline once and for all.

My latest roommate arrived last month when I joined the millions of cell phone users who depend on Siri, that clever gal who comes with her very own iPhone 4S.

My only problem, is that I’ve yet to get into the habit of using Siri. I mean, here I have a helper, a personal assistant and I don’t delegate anything to her! I’m still doing it all myself, while she props her feet on my coffee table, watches TV all day long and waits for me to give her something to do. Go figure.

So, the other day, I decided it was time to sit down with the roomies and tell them that, from now on, they’d have to pull their weight.

Which is when Pierre, said, “Excuse me, I think I hear the phone ringing,” and left.

Liz, said, “Don’t pressure me. I’m still feeling bad about our ill-fated trip to Hawaii.”

Siri, flippantly added, “How much are you going to pay me? I’m an Apple and I don’t come cheap, you know.”

Which is when I replied, “Well, then, what good are you, roommates, if you can’t help around the house? Can you at least help me with my blog?”

Liz offered, “I can do a blog on the best way to get from California to New York,” to which, I shook my head and said “I think that’s already been done by a guy named Mapquest.”

Pierre yelled from the kitchen, “Don’t look at me for help! I’m all thumbs when it comes to typing.”

Siri added, “The best thing I can do for you is remind you when it’s time to write your blog. That’s my forte.”

“You mean, you can nag her about it, right Siri?” Pierre said sarcastically.

“Alright, alright,“ I replied, feeling defeated.  “You guys are a bunch of freeloaders, so forget I said anything.”

“Great!” said Liz. “How about you make it up to us by taking us to see a movie? I know a great drive-in and can get us there in not time flat.”

“I can look it up and tell you the schedule,” chimed in Siri.

“I’d make us a reservation for dinner but, Mon Cherie, you got rid of the landline.”

“Okay, okay, enough! I’m not going anywhere with you guys until you learn to tow the line.” And, with that, I went upstairs.

Which is when Siri turned on the Tivo, and the four of them sat down for a game of Canasta, followed by a round of Word with Friends.

Farewell, So Long, It’s Been Swell

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room:  I am getting old. I have an expiration date.  Which is why I’ve launched my Farewell Tour.  Which really means I’m trying to do all the things I didn’t get to during the first half century of my life. It also means I’m returning to some of my old stomping grounds to recapture life as I remember it.

Some people would say, “Monica, that’s not a Farewell Tour you’re on, that’s your Bucket List.”  But “bucket list” sounds so provincial, so bargain basement. Call it what you will, but I’m on my Farewell Tour, which started in Europe.  I  had never been to Europe, not even during college when it was all the rage to “find” yourself by backpacking across the continent while smoking pot.  Which probably explains why I didn’t find myself until sometime in the last decade.

Our European tour would not have been complete without a visit to Florence, Italy.

So facing 50, I booked my European tour with my daughter. And there was no way we were going to do this trip backpacking.  It would be hotels all the way, and I was leaving this trip up to the experts. We signed up for a posh tour that took us from London to Rome and I’m so glad we did. It was truly a wonderful trip!

During the 16-day journey, we got to know and spend time with our fellow travelers, who hailed from all parts of the world (Canada, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and of course, the U.S.) and who were just as nice as can be. We were like goodwill ambassadors from the U.N. enjoying a pleasant romp through Europe. Each day, we’d rotate our seats on the bus so that everyone had a chance to get a nice view and we all smiled and said polite things about the scenery and the weather. The Saudi family pretty much kept to themselves, but when the day of departure arrived, we all huddled for a big group hug and bid each other a tearful goodbye.

Other items on my Farewell Tour:

Taking my daughter twice to New York, including once during the holidays, which is the time to see the city, if you ask me.  We saw six Broadway shows during the first trip, but only got to see one on the second, due to an untimely strike by the union representing the theater production crew. This forced the cancellation of most of the shows. I blubbered like a colicky baby when we took a behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall, recalling all the shows I’d seen there, as a kid from Queens. I also got a thrill seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live and in person, from a very prime locale (thanks to my friend, Mandy).

I sobbed during my Farewell Tour of Radio City Music Hall. Such memories!

I attended my college reunion. Though I didn’t remember anyone, I got all misty-eyed while walking through the hallowed halls of my old alma mater.  I also fell into a heap, climbing the steep hills of the campus. If you ask me, they really need to provide golf-carts to help us decrepit alumni get around campus.

We took a trip back to the Northwest–Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, where I spent the early years of my adulthood, under the cover of rain clouds. It was absolutely divine to reconnect with old friends—and visit the Pike Place Market again.

My high school reunion. This was the first and perhaps the only high school reunion I’ve attended. Very eye opening, too. First of all, as it turns out, everyone has aged, including moi. Bottom line, I probably should have made a point to go to my reunion earlier, as, at this age fewer and fewer go, and our class size was small from the start. But thanks to Facebook, I’m in touch with quite a few of my high school classmates. So in some ways, everyday is a reunion!

Perhaps, best of all, was making two trips back to Venezuela, with my children who’d never been there before. It gave them a chance to meet their relatives and discover a bit of the Latin side of their heritage.

I still have many more stops to make on my Farewell Tour, but I think I’m off to a good start. I hope to return to Europe, perhaps to Vienna and Prague. Madrid and Barcelona, too. I’d also like to see my family in Caracas again, and, perhaps, take a cruise to Alaska.

Not all on my Farewell Tour is about travel. I’d like to one day write a book, and spend time with my grandchildren, assuming my kids settle down (though they should know, I’m in no rush for this one). I figure my Farewell Tour is going to last a long time. At least, another 30 to 40 years. So I can wait. In the meantime, I’ll just keep adding to my tour. After all, I believe in long goodbyes.