Obama’s First Hundred Days

Much was made all weekend on the political talk shows about the conclusion of Obama’s first hundred days.

You must understand that I’m a nut about voting, elections and my country. That includes the President.

In case you don’t believe me, this is the picture and email I sent out on Election Day, November 11, 2008.

Me voting
Me voting

Hey, it’s me, Christine, voting for the first black man running for President.

Thanks Martin, Bobby, & JFK for making it possible. You should know, I didn’t vote for him because he’s black, but I know without you guys I wouldn’t have the opportunity to vote for him at all.

And here’s the thing. Obama might not remember my name, but it doesn’t matter, because I know his. And, win, lose or draw, he has made me feel better about my country again.

Vote, friends and family. Except Mom, Uncle Gerry, Aunt Molly, John P and Dee. Conservatives are supposed to vote TOMORROW, not today.

Love you all.


It took me a long time in the voting booth to get the picture. I kept leaving part of me or the voting machine out. I was facing the wrong way under the curtain so finally someone asked me if I needed help. “Yes,” I said, “I need lots of help, but not with this vote. Thank you though.” (Always use a thank you at the end of sarcastic remarks in a predominately Republican town. Always.)

Anyway, you now get that I’m a bit nutty when it comes to our country, which means I have thought a lot about the first hundred days of the Presidency. Here is my review, which not surprisingly, didn’t seem to be addressed at all by any of the Pundits.

Obama’s First Hundred Days

In this new inclusive; it’s all about all of us Obama rhetoric, we must look at more than just Obama’s actions, but those of everyone involved.

Kudos galore to President Bush (the one who just left, and I join those that couldn’t wait for him to be gone.) You have handled yourself with dignity and elegance by not getting involved as Obama tries to deal with the mess my US has become.

Kudos to Michele … love the garden, love the strong arms every picture shows holding up the hopes of us all.

Cheney. What do I say to you? I do wonder if when you wake up in the morning your wife looks at you and says, “Dick, Dick, Dick. Keep it shut today. You had your chance and will have to live with the perception of who you are and what you did. And, if I were younger, I’d divorce you in a heartbeat.”

Vice President Biden. You are the only thing that really scares me. Thinking before you speak can really assist you moving forward. And, I do hope that Obama is telling you to stop or he won’t have those weekly private lunches that mean so much to you anymore.

You go Hillary!!!! Those frequent flyer miles are adding up for sure and it seems you are doing a great job of not upstaging anyone. That said, add a colorful scarf now and then ok? To think I thought you were a sore loser. Well done.

Mr. President Obama. I have no friggin’ idea if what you have done this past hundred days is fabulous or a disaster. No idea whatsoever. And neither does anyone else. But, I will tell you that I love the way you have done it all. And, if that is any measure of the results that will surface over the coming few years, you are winning big time.

And, me and you and the rest of Americans? Not sure I did much in the first hundred days to assist you. Tell me what to do.

Business Financial

The 3/50 Project

I love this project.

It’s called the 3/50 Project and the premise is really simple. Basically, it’s a to do list with numbers to help local businesses stay in business during this difficult time.

Whenever you break down numbers in a cool way, you actually feel like you can make a difference. I live mostly in the Hamptons in New York. The Hamptons has tons of small businesses that make the Hampton’s character what it is. I can surely make this work here.

The 350 Project

I am going to follow the 3/50 system. For sure, I’m going to stop in three local businesses. I’ve already decided what they are.

I’m going to spend at least $50 each month at the local stores, and I’m going to invite my friends to do the same. I guess I have 50 friends in the Hamptons (although I should deduct 20% for the cynical part of me that sometimes wonders if people pretend to be friends), and I’m going to email them.

Then I’m going to upload this to my Facebook account and see if anyone forwards it to their friends.

I am not going to order postcards from (love them) because I’m trying to lessen my carbon footprint (what is that anyway? Footprint? Are you kidding me? It always makes me think of that guy Big Foot who probably isn’t real in some country or other that I used to read about more than I do now.)

I’m going to tell Sarah (my fabulous daughter) that she can spend $50 a month on my credit card in local stores in her area. She lives in New York City, though, and I will have to explain to her that Tasti Delight is not a local store even though all the sales persons there know her name (and her roommate).

Then I’m going to tell the three stores that I stop in that they should print out the homepage from the website, frame it and put it on their check out counters.

Then I’m going to call one person a day for 35 days and remind them that they read about it on my Facebook or my blog or in one of our favorite stores and ask them if they did things to send it forward too.

Right now I’m going to bed. I’m exhausted thinking of all the things I’m going to do.

But first, thanks to a blogger friend of mine, Kathryn, from Snippet and Ink, who played it forward to me.

Movies & TV Women

Ladies Who Lunch

Yesterday a company I do business with had about twenty people to lunch at their new location. Turns out it was mostly women. It was cool and sunny, and I was dressed nicely for me, and I had a swell time talking with the girls over a buffet of salads and desserts that were yummy. After the lunch, I spoke to a few of the women who were there and all said they wished we did girl lunches on a regular basis. They felt better after having been to it. I agree.

There are such good girl’s lunch scenes that come to mind. In When Harry Met Sally, there is that scene where they are at lunch talking about Sally’s break up and her friend pulls out her rolodex of guys to put together with Sally, I laughed along with the rest of the audience. Let’s face it, no one supports better than girlfriends, and having had more than one husband, I can say that with certainty. Oh, oh, and then there’s the amazing scene  in The First Wives Club when they work through their friend’s death at lunch and Bette Midler touches Goldie Hawn’s face to feel her latest botox injection. Love that scene.

My mother used to have people come by unannounced for coffee in the morning – women who lived next door or down the street. The dishes were still in the sink – and I’m talking about dinner dishes from the night before, not breakfast – and no one was embarrassed. I believe my mother was often in her robe. I have never had anyone stop by unannounced for anything, let alone coffee after her working husband left for the office in the morning. Most of my friends leave for work before their husbands, and if they don’t, they are online getting stuff done before heading out. Besides, none of us own robes.

I realized last night that I think I’m connected to my friends. After all, I’m on Facebook, this blog, texting, twittering, cell phone 24/7 access, but I haven’t had a ladies lunch in a really long time. It’s actually embarrassing to write that last sentence that has so much technology associated with my personal relationships, and I’m going to stop twittering right away to make a political statement about my new direction. There is way too much technology in my interpersonal communications.

And, so I have decided that I will host the next ladies lunch in a month or so. It will be fabulous. I will have a beautifully set table, make the dessert the night before, plan the menu a week early, use my silver that hasn’t been shined since Bush Senior left office, have a bow around my dog Luke’s freshly washed neck, fresh flowers from the garden I don’t have yet, and everyone will have a fabulous time and invite me to their Ladies Lunch a month later.

Yep, that’s the plan.

Movies & TV

TV New York Housewives

I realize that by admitting I watch New York Housewives I am essentially admitting I have no depth,  occasionally stay up until 11 o’clock, and perhaps worst of all, give credence to five women who deserve none. I get all that, really I do. But truth be told it’s not about any of them at all. It’s about feeling superior to each of them when you break them down and that’s why I watch it.

I would also like to offer in my defense that I’m not alone. Every now and then in a conversation with someone or other, I look at a flick of recognition in their eye and jump on it, “Wait, you watch New York Housewives, right?” At first, they tend to deny it. “New York what?” “Of course not.” “Don’t be absurd. No one watches it.” “Do you?” I have become more secure over the years and will reply, “Alas, I’m afraid I do. And, I love it. In fact, it’s over for this season soon, and I’m so very sad, I cannot tell you.”

My really smart friend (she went to an Ivy League college which I mention in hopes you will start to realize I’m not a loser) J and I discuss the happenings each week. We discuss them on a very serious level. “Can you believe what so and so said?” It’s always one of my favorite conversations of the week, and it always ends with one of us asking in wonder, “Do you think they have any idea when they watch about how they appear to the world?” We are incredulous that they allow themselves to filmed doing and saying things that are so beyond the pale that one has to believe they are out of it.

I have also had moments of panic over my tenure with New York Housewives where I think that perhaps I have no idea how I sound, appear etc. either? What if none of us have any idea how ridiculous we seem to others? So, I head to the mirror last night at midnight and had a conversation with the mirror, alias a friend, where I tried to be me. I was horrified. I still am. I have not slept all night. Ok, that’s a lie, I fell asleep at 4:00 this morning.

I’m going to a lunch today with a number of women from my business life. I know what I’m wearing, and I plan on not speaking. If I do I will excuse myself first and practice in the mirror in the ladies room before uttering a word. I have practiced ‘looks’ I will allow myself to have on my face. They include a huge smile saying “You are so funny”.  I also have “I’m so sorry you are feeling this way.”

See. Shows like New York Housewives can serve as motivation for self improvement. Don’t tell me there is no value in it.

PS check out this blog which gives more about the ladies of NY Housewives… I, of course, looked at it as research for this piece.


Respecting Left Overs

Last night I went to dinner with some people a friend wanted me to meet. I ordered lamb which was amazingly delicious. It came with green beans and au gratin spuds. I ate half of it and asked to take the rest of it home. I put it in the refrigerator when I got home and had this amazing feeling of virtuousness that I thought was strange. I woke up this morning thinking about it and said, “Get a grip, you are losing it.” But alas, my mind kept going.  I took the cost of the dinner last night (interesting that I would do that when I didn’t even pay for it, but whatever), divided it by two like I was a fiscally responsible person.

What is going on? Usually I either tell the waiter not to wrap it, or I take it and leave it in the car, or I leave it on the counter, or I leave it in the refrigerator long past the time when the food ceases to be food and becomes some living something or other no longer resembling what it was originally. Trust me I never think about the food gone uneaten on my plate, and I certainly have never written about the take home food from a great dinner in my diary. But I feel so virtuous. I really did put it in the refrigerator with pride and a sense of responsibility.

It’s not the money. It was something else. It was a sense of noticing what was around me. It was a sense of finishing the meal. It was a feeling of control. Now, I’m not suggesting that the one fry left over from a MacDonald’s run (I swear I don’t go to MacDonalds) is going in the freezer for later, but I am suggesting that leaving a path of left overs – food or otherwise – behind us as if they didn’t matter and didn’t come from hard earned money and effort is over.

My people come from New England stock that wastes nothing. My cousin (Pam, forgive me) is a bit younger than me and used to visit me when I was pretending to be a grown up in my first marriage and she actually was a grown up in college. Once she was heading back to school and asked me if I could cash a check for her. She handed me the check made out for $1. I looked at her said, “Who are you?” She got defensive, and I shook my head in incredulous sympathy, gave her the dollar and threw away the check. But I think of her this morning and realize that she has been doing with her leftovers what I did last night for years, and she is a happy person.

Peter Matthieson starts his book Men’s Lives with a quote I understood later was taken from someone else (bummer, I was wowed by him when I thought he wrote it). The quote reads “And, it’s men’s lives we eat for breakfast.” I get that quote big time. That left over lamb included a bleeping sheep, a farmer raising the green beans and potato, the chef in the kitchen who cooked it, the truck (or three) that delivered it, the waiter that served it (ok, I’m done, please tell me you get the point even if I can’t quite put my finger on it?).

The bottom line is that this new world that emerges from the ashes of our financial collapse offers something that is really quite nice. My finances are in better shape then they have ever been, but I notice them more. I feel more connected to them and to the lamb in my refrigerator.

Sports Women

Eight Belles Week: It’s Kentucky Derby Time

I have a picture of Eight Belles in my office on the wall. You remember Eight Belles. She was the filly that ran in the Kentucky Derby last year and broke both her legs after finishing second in a field of nineteen boys. She was only the fourth filly to run in the Kentucky Derby in a bunch of years (I can’t remember how many). Sports Pundits all across America sang of her strength, her commitment, her heart. Animal activists cried of the cruelty of the race and said this should not be happening. It’s the dirt rather than grass; there are too many in the field, there is too much inbreeding and the lower legs are no longer strong enough, and so on.

I didn’t watch the Derby last year and have always felt the fraud when attending Derby parties where everyone seemed to really care about what horse crossed the finish line first. If I bet, it was based on the way the name of the horse struck me, not anything about the horse. And, I stopped going a number of years ago when I realized that I just didn’t feel good about watching them run, run, run being beaten with sticks the whole time. I wonder if the Olympic runners would run faster is someone ran behind them beating them with stick? I am told it doesn’t hurt, but I don’t believe them.

Six Belles Her trainer was very strange. “She ran a whale of a race. She ran the race of her life,” Jones said, fighting back tears. “She ran great. She went out in    glory,” Jones said. “She went out a champion to us.”  Don’t you think that’s a strange thing to say? But let’s not dwell there; I’m sure he’s thinking of her this week, and so am I.

Eight Belles will sit on my wall for a long time to come. I draw strength from her. She gets added to the list of strong women in our history who have gone before, done their best and didn’t always get what they deserved.

Thanks EB.

Business Technology

Are you kidding me? Mozy needs to change Ad Agencies.

Dear Devin at Mozy,

The following email blast from Devin at Mozy (he’s probably the President, don’t you think?) was sent to me because somewhere I signed up for something that didn’t honor the “we do not give your email address to anyone”.  I was bored today and opened the email. I read this three times trying to find a different way to see it.

Does Mozy really think that the men were worried about their information being backed up while escaping the plane that had just landed on the Hudson River? “Those who used Mozy to back up their data were able to focus on other things than back up without the fear of losing their data.” Tell me no one read this before it was sent. Tell me the President of Mozy is screaming at someone as I write this about the absurdity and the narcissistic test case of the article headlining their newsletter?

I see it clearly. Sullenberg says, “Prepare for impact,” at which point Jorgenson yells to Wiley in the row behind him,  “I backed up with Mozy, and you?” Please get a grip.

PS. There is a typo in the first sentence. I like the picture though.

MOZY Monthly Newsletter – April 2009

Flight 1549

Flight 1549Paul Jorgensen had just come from a meeting at Goldman Sachs when he boarded US Airways Flight 1549. He sat down in seat 1A next to the window, pulled out his notebook to capture of few thoughts, then put it away and prepared for takeoff.

Seated one row behind Jorgensen was Bill Wiley, also traveling for business with a computer onboard the plane. In fact, he brought a couple of notebooks with him. But he, like Jorgensen and all passengers, abandoned his personal belongings and focused on saving his life when the plane crash-landed into the Hudson River.

Both men had been backing up regularly. The difference is Jorgenson backed up online with Mozy, and Wiley backed up his two computers to thumb drives. Jorgensen retrieved his data back from Mozy, but Wiley lost 250 GB of his employer’s information. The stories were detailed inUSA Today and ComputerWorld.

In moments of disaster, those who use Mozy are able to focus on other things than backup without the fear of losing their data. At Mozy, we’re grateful that all passengers on Flight 1549 were in the hands of such an skillful crew and were able to return to their loved ones without any loss of life or significant injury.

Be safe,
Devin Knighton

Parenting Women

The Trollop: Or Teenage Boys Grow Up

Being the mother of a daughter, I have envied my friends who have sons. “They will always love you,” I tell my buddies. “A son loves his mother no matter how many shrinks he sees. Not true of daughters.”

My friend Caroline has the perfect seventeen-year-old son. Aside from the fact that he has eyes with lashes longer than my sixth grade jump rope, he is nice and actually enjoys going places with his parents. They take him skiing, to the country on weekends, and even out to dinner during the week. He is perfect.

Caroline called me early yesterday.

“Something’s up, something big. A trollop called him twice this afternoon, and now he just rushed out of here with his roller blades.”

“Well, call me as soon as you know anything, but I’m sure she’s a slut.”

I received the following text in the afternoon. I think she took to her bed and couldn’t talk on the phone. It reads.

“David and I went for a ride in the car and saw him with her in the Park. She has perky breasts and long brown hair. What do I do now?”

My response was immediate.

“There is nothing you can do. Life as you have known it is over. He’s not going to want to want to go skiing anymore. He’s going to ask to stay home and you can’t let him or you will be grandparents before he graduates high school. Think Sarah Palin.” Did I mention my friend is a staunch Republican and there is nothing like rubbing her nose in Republican shortfalls when she’s down. 

An hour later, I receive the following text.

“How can I thank you for your support?”

I pick up the phone.

“It’s me. I am being supportive; I just want you to be realistic.”

“Do you think I should put condoms in his room?”

“ABSOLUTELY not!!!! That would be like telling him you’re going to be there through the whole thing and he will never be able to get it up until you are dead.”

Last night my friend drove her son and the trollop to the movies. They actually sat in the back seat of the car and she was in the front like Jeeves.

“Why didn’t you let David drive them?” I asked impatiently. Talk about gluttons for punishment.

“Because he’s sick.”

“It better be terminal.”

“Did he kiss her goodnight at the door?”

“I don’t know, I had to park a bit ahead of the house because there was no room at the curb.”

“Why didn’t you sneak out the car and peek out from behind the trunk?”

“Because I didn’t think of it and you weren’t there to tell me what to do.”

“Next time, call me on your cell phone.”

It’s now Thursday night and the trollop is over watching a rental movie in the family room with the no longer perfect son. David and Caroline are stuck up in their room wondering if they can come down and go out to dinner. I have spoken to her twice during the last hour, and she has finally come to grips with the fact that she is going to be bitter shortly.

Daughters are looking better and better.

Movies & TV

Movie Review. Run Fat Boy Run.

Run Fat Boy Run.. Don’t you just love the title? It wasn’t until after I finished watching Run Fat Boy Run that I realized the last year has been a series of serious, depressing films that were brilliantly done, but did nothing to elevate my mental state. And, let’s face it; we can all use a lift. Between Obama’s scary road to climb, more than four thousand dead in a war that seems to have a shelf life longer than Hostess Twinkies, and an economy that put my shares in Citibank on the shelf at the Dollar Store, a movie that is real and witty and poignant  that also hits on all our personal insecurities in a cute and dysfunctional way is just what the new President should order.

The story line is simple. Dennis is the out of shape (let’s be real though; he’s no fat boy) loser who can’t quite believe that the pregnant girlfriend he left at the altar has fallen for a hugely successful, athletic and good looking winner. So, he sets out to win her back against all odds and surrounding opinions by running the same marathon as his ex’s new boyfriend. What happens is totally predictable, but the way it happens isn’t. The acting by unknown actors (what would happen if every actor could only do one film each?) is just right out of your own neighborhood and each character has something in them that each of us has in the people that make up the fabric of our own lives. The eight year old son (Matthew Fenton) is not the cutest boy you have seen, but he sure looks like he belongs to his parents and hangs with your own children in your local park. His expressions speak so much louder than his words. Perfection. Our protagonist, Dennis, is played by Simon Pegg, who to date is best known as the Godfather of Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, Apple. His anger is real; his commitment wavers the same way mine does every time I set out to exercise and win physically. And, he’s not cute enough to win her over in the end; but that’s ok too. The only weak link is the love interest, Thandie Newton, who plays Libby, the girl left behind and the one who rises about the infantilism of the two men fighting for her. She can’t do the anger thing and there were times that it’s needed.

And, the run theme is throughout. He leaves her running; he gets her back running, and it makes me want to run somewhere toward something too. Run, all you humans, Run to see Dennis the fat boy – who isn’t really fat – be someone we all long to be. See the movie because we must find fun movies with good messages about commitment, friendship and growing up that can charm us into being better. 


Congratulations Eugene Robinson. Way to go.

I was so pleased to see Eugene Robinson win the Pulitzer for his columns following this past election. I went to the Washington Post to read them. They are wonderful, and I urge you to go and take a moment to read them and travel down memory lane from last year’s exciting and challenging election ups and downs.

Robinson’s Pulitzer Winning Columns

My personal favorite is the one following the election night. Paragraphs such as, “Then, when Michelle’s mother, brother and extended family came out, I thought about “the black family” as an institution — how troubled it is, but also how resilient and how vital. And I found myself getting misty-eyed again when Barack and Michelle walked off the stage together, clinging to one another, partners about to embark on an adventure, full of possibility and peril, that will change this nation forever.” He saw through my own tears in that moment and put the perfect words to them.

What does it all mean? This mild-mannered man who patiently waits for Joe Scarborough to finish his narcissistically long-winded tirades on MSNBC’s Morning Joe always seems to be pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of his expression of the obvious. I always look forward to him on the show; and I always marvel at his calm. Is it real? Or, is he just so guarded that he knows better than to show emotion around those of us who mistake emotion in a person of color as anger?

My father built a large resort in St. Maarten in the mid seventies. Arthur Ashe was one of the touring pros. I had dinner with him twice, and he exhibited that same calm no matter what the conversation held. He also suffered from bleeding ulcers which are often brought on by keeping emotions buried. I noticed it in Obama all through the campaign. Where was his passion? His anger?

We might see a change. Robinson’s column today calls for Obama to be angry, which in view of his own demeanor is interesting indeed. Be bold great people of color. Find the passion now and let it show.

Regardless of what all this calm brilliance means or costs those who should not have to watch their words, I wish you congratulations Eugene Robinson, and I also have a sense of pride for this new country and world that is looking beyond color, or maybe within color, to see what is brilliant and best for us all.