Friday, December 19, 2014

SONY Hacked Over “The Interview”

but all joking aside...
 

We’ve been hearing about the SONY emails that were hacked and the threats by North Korea over the movie, The Interview.” Everyone has an opinion. We shouldn’t show it, it’s too dangerous. We should show it and not cave in to terrorism. We shouldn’t allow our freedom of speech to be violated. And on and on it goes.

I am just a simple person. I have no sake in this issue either way. I rarely go to a movie anymore. I probably wouldn’t go to this one. But, every time I hear a news story about this situation I want to cringe. We do have more important things to focus on in the US and globally. This ridiculous movie it taking time and attention away from far more serious issues.

Here are my thoughts. I think just because we have freedom of speech, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it responsibly. There has to be some degree of common sense applied when you are planning to open a can of worms. There will be consequences to free speech. Those consequences should have been considered prior to making a moving provoking and antagonizing a man, a tyrant of a communist country, who doesn’t have any love for our country. A man who watches his own people starve while he expects to be treated as a God. A man who has access to nuclear weapons and has alliances with China. A man who would not take kindly to being made a laughing stock in front of the world. Did SONY really believe that a man like this would just do nothing while their movie ridiculed him on an international level? Or didn’t SONY care, thinking what can he possibly do about it? Well, now we are finding out what he an do about it. Their precious, scandalous company emails are being exposed for all the world to see. Who is laughing now? This is just the tip of the iceberg too. I will be willing to bet they have far more damaging emails to release when they feel the time is right. SONY is now so concerned, they are willing to pull a $200 million dollar movie to prevent more embarrassing exposure of their executives. But is this the end of it? Will things get worse? They have set something in motion and don’t have the means to stop it.

Every idea someone in Hollywood has isn’t necessarily a great idea. This is one of them. Those who feel the movie should be shown, despite the threats, really have no idea what the consequences will be. Movie theaters won’t show it because they are now on notice that they may be putting people’s lives at risk. Did we need to be put in this position? Did we need another international problem to deal with right now?  Thanks to SONY we have one.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Counting Christmases . . .

 

I have always loved Christmas. The other day it occurred to me how few Christmases we have to enjoy in a lifetime. I lump Thanksgiving in too, because both holidays are for celebrating time with loved ones, great food, laughs and memories. And that’s special and important, right? But do we really appreciate Christmas as much as we should?

Let’s say we live to be 100, just to make things simpler. That would mean that out of the 36,500 days we walk the earth, there are only 100 Christmases (and most of us are going to have a lot less). Just 100 days or however many our lifetime allows. That doesn’t seem like enough to me and it’s kind of sad.

We can’t spend those 100 Christmases with all our loved ones. First, our parents and grandparents already used up a lot of their Christmases before we were even born. That means we might be lucky enough to share about 50 or 60 Christmases with them. By the time our children are born, we have already used up a chunk of our Christmases, so we may have 50 or 60 left to spend with them. There is going to be some overlap when we can have both our parents and our children with us for Christmas, those will be fewer yet.

All this calculating made me realize how much more precious these holidays are to me. My parents are long gone. I can't share any more Christmases with them. I can’t bring them their favorite jumbo shrimp or pignole cookies that they were too frugal to buy for themselves. I can’t hear my mom telling everyone how her cooking is better than mine or how beautiful my girls are. I can’t hear my father’s laughter as he hugs and kisses his only grandchildren on the cheek. Those Christmases are gone.

My girls are still living at home. They aren’t babies any more, those Christmases are gone. I try to pretend they are as excited about Christmas as they were when they were young children and still believed in Santa. I try to buy gifts that will surprise them, which gets more difficult every year. They don’t get us up at the crack of dawn any more. Now my husband and I are up early and the girls sleep in. There is none of the anticipation about what is in the colorfully wrapped packages. They know they will find items they put on their “list.” No real surprises. Now, we even wait for my brother to arrive and we all open our gifts together, not first thing in the morning. We make the most of the day, while our parents are noticeably missing from the conversation. We reminisce about Christmases past. That’s all we can do.

Better cherish each Christmas we are given. Time with our loved ones is the real gift of Christmas. There is never enough time to spend with those you love, and there are never going to be enough Christmases for me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Who is Bill Cosby?



I grew up watching Bill Cosby on television. I grew up laughing at his jokes and stories. He was a family man. He was an intelligent man. He was a role model. He was funny. But, no one is laughing any more. Another woman came forward today, number 14 I think, with rape allegations. This isn’t doesn’t fit with the Bill Cosby I knew and loved.

Who is the Bill Cosby I know? About 30 years ago, 1986 to be exact, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. The news coincided with my brothers birthday. My husband and I decided to get three tickets to Cosby’s one man show on Broadway and take my brother. We had a great time that day. Cosby sat in a chair in the middle of the stage and did some new material and some of his best loved material. The thing that stands out in my mind is his routine about going to the dentist. We had lots of laughs. Fast forward to 1998. I had two daughters, ages 10 and 7. Cosby was auditioning children for a new show, “Kids Say The Darnest Things.” My husband and I took our girls down to try out for the show. There were so many kids there that day. My girls weren’t the most outgoing kids, but they were smart and cute. They weren’t picked, but the whole experience was exciting and a lot of fun. Around that same time, give or take a year, I got four free tickets to a taping of “Cosby,” the show that followed “The Cosby Show” with the Huxtables, which featured Madeline Kahn. We couldn’t bring the kids to the taping because no one under 18 would be admitted, so we asked our friends to join us. The taping took a couple of hours. They shot two different endings to see which one got the most laughs. It was very entertaining and we all enjoyed ourselves. That is the Bill Cosby I know.

One thing I will never forget was the day the news spread that Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, was shot to death while changing a tire on the highway. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the depth of his sadness of losing his only son in such a senseless act of violence. Bill Cosby was at work when he was informed of his son’s death and went home to comfort his wife, Camille. The media, like a pack of wild wolves, followed him to his home, flashing camera lights in his face and imploring him to make a statement. Standing on the front steps to his door, seconds from going in, they yelled to him, “how do you feel?” With grace and composure, Bill Cosby, still in shock about the devastating news, made a brief statement about his grief before entering his front door. That is the Bill Cosby I know.

I’ve heard Bill Cosby speak out against the ills of society. He blamed parents for the high incarceration of black youth, for their illiteracy and drop out rate. He has spoken at many university commencements. He has no shortage of advice and wisdom for college graduates on what they should do with their lives. He has advice for everything: parenting, marriage, education, declining morality, you name it and Bill Cosby will talk about it. He will talk about everything except these rape allegations that go back 30 to 40 years.

Recently, Hannibal Buress, a comedian, made a joke about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, during one of his sets in Philadelphia. Here is what he said that ignited a huge controversy:

“It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fuckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” Buress said. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”

"I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns," Buress says later. "I've done this bit on stage and people think I'm making it up.... when you leave here, google 'Bill Cosby rape.' That shit has more results than 'Hannibal Buress.'"

Shortly after this incident, Bill Cosby (or more than likely his social media manager) invited everyone on Twitter to make memes of him. The unexpected results were a barrage of Cosby memes all about rape. And now, Cosby is being cancelled from a booked personal appearance on Letterman.

Today the fourteenth woman came forward with rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Fourteen woman have said something. It makes me wonder how many haven’t? I have read a couple of their stories and they were similar. I find it hard to believe that Bill Cosby, a beloved comedian, could be an alleged serial rapist. I knew of one case where a woman said she was the mother of his child and the matter was settled out of court. That’s it. I chalked it up to a case of marital infidelity that resulted in a pregnancy. But apparently there was a story about his being accused of rape in People Magazine many years ago, that I never heard of. I don’t understand it. How could he do the things he is accused of and how did I not hear of it before now? This is not the Bill Cosby I know. So who is Bill Cosby? I just don’t know any more.

 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Continued Disappointment in the Catholic Church . . .

 

It’s really, literally a sin that I can never find a “good” story about the Catholic Church. I never hear anything good, for example, about the Church opening up a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, donating money to Doctors Without Borders, helping to end the genocide in Africa, feeding children in Third World countries etc. Maybe they are doing something and it’s not being publicized, but I doubt it.

Yesterday I happened to come across two stories that turned my stomach. The first one had to do with the Vatican speaking out against the assisted “suicide” of 29 year old Brittney Maynard. Brittney, who had everything to live for, was diagnosed with brain cancer and told she had six months to live. She suffered from excruciating pain and seizures and decided she was going to end her life, on her terms, on November 1st. She moved to Oregon with her husband because it is legal to end one’s life there with dignity. That is what Brittany chose to do. She chose to end her suffering and that of her family, She chose to decide when she was going to die and not allow cancer to pick the date for her. She chose to be surrounded by her family and she passed from this world into the next. And then the top “bioethics” people at the Vatican decided to weigh in. They called her actions “reprehensible.” They say her actions were undignified. Instead, she should have lived out her remaining days in agonizing pain while those who loved her watched her suffer. Is this what the Church calls love and compassion? Brittney was dying, it was inevitable. She didn’t choose to get cancer. Why should she let cancer choose her final hour? Why did the Church have to say anything at all? They want to make their position clear that suicide, for any reason, goes against their teachings? So what? The Church itself is responsible for many reprehensible things. You don’t here them denouncing their actions. All I ever hear about from them is damage control and excuses. Brittney had every right to end her own suffering. Oregon gave her the legal means to end her life in her own terms. No one asked The Catholic Church to weigh in on her very personal decision.
 
Anyone who has witnessed a loved one dying in the throes of pain, from cancer or any other disease, would praise Brittney and be happy she found a way to end her suffering and leave this world peacefully. I watched my father die in pain. I begged the hospice to help him. They told me they were afraid to give him more morphine because it might kill him. My father was pleading to die. Instead of dying peacefully, in his sleep, from morphine, he died in agonizing pain. I would not wish that on anyone.

Moving on to story number two. A pastor of a Catholic Church, Our Lady of Pompeii, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan decided to end it’s decades long lease with Greenwich House’s Senior Center. He told them they would have to leave the premises, causing panic among the members. Although the seniors paid $2,000 a month in rent to the church, Father Walter Tonelotto decided he was able to make more money from renting the space to film crews. The choice was clear. Get the seniors out. (Do you think the Vatican would call this “reprehensible?”) The seniors serve 1,400 meals a week to people in need. The space occupied by seniors is also shared with homeless and handicapped people who hace come to depend on the Senior Center. When a lawyer for the seniors raised their concerns with the Diocese of New York, they were told no such plans were in effect. They spoke to the pastor and he denied asking them to leave. That’s when the lawyer produced a letter from the pastor, to the group, asking them to find another location by June 1st, 2015. There will now be an investigation into the matter. Is this the action of a charitable, compassionate, loving church?

The Church has a very long history of reprehensible acts. Their despicable actions go back in time for centuries. I would love to read a book, or series of books, focusing on that subject. I only know the tip of the iceberg and I am disgusted. I am sick of the hypocrisy. I am sick of them telling followers how they should live their lives and then breaking all the rules to suit themselves. This reminds me of something Cher said when we were in the middle of the Church’s child sex abuse scandal. The Church had the audacity to criticize Cher and Madonna for wearing very large, gold crucifixes. Cher’s response was that the Church should clean out it’s own house before pointing it's finger at others.
 
I can’t help but wonder when is the Church going to clean out it’s house? When are they going to be the Church they profess to be, the Church they want us to believe they are? I don’t think it will ever happen.


Friday, October 24, 2014

My Thoughts on Ebola . . .

I wouldn't make a very good medical technologist.
 

I know we are all sick of hearing about Ebola, but I am preserving my thoughts for posterity. Since Ebola broke out in Texas, I have been doing a lot of reading and questioning about the disease. I am not a doctor, nor do I have a medical background of any kind. I do, however, have a pretty good understanding of medical conditions when they are explained to me. So, I do understand that Ebola is not highly contagious, but at the same time there is no question that it is a deadly disease for which we have no vaccine or real treatment.

Here are the facts as I understand them. When Ebola broke out in Texas, there had been no preparation or real protocols in place there or anywhere in the United States. This lack of preparation was a huge mistake because we knew it was just a matter of time before someone would enter the country carrying the disease. Because of that, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) put lives at risk. When the Texas hospital called for protocols, they were told to look online on their website. They had no training. The healthcare workers caring for patient Duncan had no protective gear to wear for two days. They were told to cover their exposed necks with medical tape. Even though they were highly exposed to the virus, none of them were quarantined for the full 21 days. Instead they were told to self-monitor until they had symptoms, while going about their daily routine. The first nurse, Nina Pham, notified health officials when she started running a fever. She was diagnosed with Ebola and hospitalized. The other healthcare workers were still not quarantined. The second nurse, Amber Vinson, managed to take two flights to and from Ohio and go to a bridal shop for three hours before showing symptoms. The response was to hospitalize her and try and track down everyone who was exposed on those flights, retracing her steps to all other places she happened to go. Common sense tells me if she had been quarantined from the beginning, no one would have been exposed and no resources would have had to be spent tracking down people, but what do I know?

Next thing I hear is that they are going to exercise precautions at certain airports in the US by taking the temperature of everyone who comes off the plane from affected countries. Seriously. My first thought was, why aren’t they taking the temperature of everyone before they board the plane? What happens if they develop a fever two days after getting off the plane? Again, I am not a medical expert. I would love to know why they didn’t just quarantine all passengers arriving from the affected countries in Africa for the full 21 days? After all, that would seem like the best precaution to me to avoid risking other people’s lives here. I questioned these things based on common sense. I think the CDC may be finally coming around to my way of thinking on this.

I know Ebola can only be spread by contact with the bodily fluids of a living or deceased person who has the disease. The CDC says it’s not airborne. Not airborne, means the droplets don’t dry in the air and remain there, like the flu. However, if a person with Ebola sneezes or coughs due to allergies or a cold, and you happen to be nearby, there is a chance you can be infected from the propelled droplets. The CDC says the Ebola virus can live on surfaces for hours, but I read a study that it can survive on glass and plastic for days under the right conditions. The CDC doesn’t mention that. The CDC cleverly says there have been no reports of people getting Ebola from dogs. Yet Nina Pham’s dog was quarantined and the dog of patient in Germany was euthanized. I ask myself why? So I researched and found a study that says dogs can be infected with and carry the Ebola virus and potentially infect humans. Now it makes sense. Maybe no one has gotten the virus from a dog in the US, but the potential is there. I don’t trust the CDC to tell us all the facts, just the facts they want us to know. I don’t trust most media organizations to do responsible reporting and give us the facts without sensationalizing every story for increased ratings. We have to educate ourselves in these matters if we want to get to the truth, everyone else has an agenda. My agenda is to know all I can to try and keep my family from being exposed to even the slightest risk of getting Ebola.

Dr. Tom Frieden is the head of the CDC since 2009 and is tweeting all kinds of facts about Ebola and the care of patients. He may be a highly qualified medical doctor, I don’t know. What I do know is that from 2002 to 2009 he was the Commission of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The only other thing I remember about his tenure is that he seemed overly concerned about “supersized sodas.” I wish he had been as concerned about Ebola and our country’s preparedness for it. Instead, it “sounded” to me like he was blaming the Texas nurses for not following protocols; the protocols that he never put in place. He finally had to admit he underestimated the need for healthcare workers having intensive training in handling patients with infectious diseases, effective protocols, and a closer monitoring of those people potentially exposed and at risk for developing the disease. Finally, it seems he is taking action that makes sense.

The risk of getting Ebola may be very small, but when it comes to my loved ones, it’s a risk I’m not willing to take. So, in my opinion, we should be erring on the side of caution. Those exposed to Ebola should be quarantined immediately for 21 days, not allowed to go about their business until symptoms develop. Healthcare workers should be protected by the strictest of protocols and the best protective suits. They shouldn’t have to risk their lives and those of their families because the CDC was not ready for an outbreak. If we aren’t going to stop flights from the afflicted countries, then all those arriving from there should be quarantined for 21 days, fever or no fever. Maybe my ideas are extreme, but I believe in better safe than sorry.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teachable Moments . . .

 

If you are a mother, you know that you are always trying to find teachable moments for your children. Sometimes these moments will present themselves and sometimes we have to create them. We start teaching from the day our babies are born and never stop. We teach them their first words. We read to them so them develop a love of books. We tell them not to touch the stove because it’s hot. We teach them self help skills like getting dressed, eating with a spoon, using the potty. And, even as they become adults, we go on teaching by imparting the lessons and wisdom we have learned throughout our lifetimes.

This morning I woke up thinking about this because last night I watched a two and a half minute video/advertisement for feminism that had five little girls in it using the “F” word. I know they did this to make a point and for shock value. Everyone is probably talking about this video today. It was all over the news last night. But no one is talking about their topic of “feminism” and inequality of pay. Everyone is talking about how offensive this ad is and how they exploited these little girls. They are trying to understand how the parents could allow their daughters to be used in this way. The video is supposed to be about the power of women, but is anyone getting that message when all we can focus on is the young girls using profanity? What are we trying to teach our girls? Vulgarity equals power?

I recall years ago riding the bus with my husband and my girls, who were about 7 and 9 at the time. A teachable moment presented itself. Diagonally across from us were four or five teenage boys and girls. They were laughing and talking loudly so we couldn’t help but hear them. Every other word they used was the “F” word. They used it in every part of speech possible: verb, noun, adjective, adverb. I was appalled because I didn’t want my girls listening to this vulgarity. Then I realized that as much as I wanted to, I could not protect them from the realities of life. There were going to be times they were going to hear the “F” word when I wasn’t around, and I didn’t want them to think it was okay. So, I used this as a teachable moment. I asked them if they heard what these teenagers were saying. They quietly nodded with eyes wide open. I told them this kind of talk is not appropriate, it’s not cool, it’s not funny. People who have to talk like that have a limited vocabulary. It shows a lack of intelligence. Our language comes with thousands of words we can use to express how we think and feel. The “F” word never has to be used at all. It’s not nice. It’s offensive. We don’t use that word. The girls seemed to understand my point and I was satisfied that I had turned a negative experience into a positive lesson.

Years later, when my older daughter was about 15, the word “whore” was being used a lot. It was used in conjunction with other words like “attention whore,” “shoe whore,” “food whore,” etc. I don’t know how this fad got started or why. Even Mario Cantone had a Broadway Show called, “Laugh Whore.” One day my daughter came home and told me she is being called a “- - - whore” at school, and she thinks it’s funny. I don’t happen to recall what word they placed in front of “whore” because all I could hear was the word whore. I was stunned for a second. I told her I didn’t find it funny. She explained how it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just what people do now. Everything is followed by the word “whore.” I told her I had never heard of this before and didn’t like it. I went on to tell her she needs to put a stop to it and now allow herself to be addressed by any form of the word “whore.“ Of course, she thought I was making a big deal out of nothing, it was all fun and games. If you know anything about teenagers, you know that they know everything and parents know nothing. It’s harder to get through to them at this age, if you can get through to them at all. I decided I needed to have a serious little chat with my daughter about this new trendy usage of the word “whore.” First of all, I explained to her, that the word “whore” has been a derogatory and vulgar way to address women since the beginning of time. This word is not funny. It has a long history of being offensive to women. It doesn’t make it okay to use now because it’s attached to another word and meant to be funny. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke. Secondly, you should respect yourself enough not to allow anyone to address you by any term using the word “whore.” What starts out being funny can sometimes stick, like nicknames. I asked, “Is this the way you want people to think of you?” By your allowing them to refer to you in that way and laughing at it, you are condoning it and saying it’s okay. It’s not okay, it’s sickening. Just because other kids think it’s funny, doesn’t mean you have to go along with it. Maybe they aren’t old enough to appreciate the degrading meaning this word has for women. But, I’m telling you and now you know it’s unacceptable. You should tell anyone who calls you that to stop, you don’t like it.

My daughter listened to my lecture. I didn’t know if I had gotten through to her or not. I couldn’t be with her at school to see if my words had any impact. I know I gave her something to think about. She had a decision to make. I just had to hope she was going to learn something from what I said and correct the situation. She did. A couple of days later she came home from school. She told me that this boy was referring to her as “- - whore,” and she told him to stop because she didn’t like to be called that. I told her I was proud of her, it was the right thing to do. More importantly though, I believe she really understood why it wasn’t a joking matter. She understood that she had to value herself enough not to allow herself to be degraded, even if it was supposed to be "all in fun."

 

 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Half-Empty Nest . . .

A rare occurence these days
 
 
For twenty-five years I had a full nest. My two girls commuted to and from college every day and spent plenty of time at home studying, watching television, leaving clothes and shoes around the house for me to trip over and a sink full of dirty dishes to keep my hands sanitized. Nothing much changed from their transition from high school to college. We still managed to have dinner together as a family most nights and exchange stories about our day, our friends, and the ups and downs of life. But one day my older daughter graduated from college and went to work. She was missing all day, every day. Then, three years later, my younger daughter graduated and got a job working the second shift at a lab. My daughters are two ships passing in the night. They went from seeing each other all the time to maybe one or two evenings a week. Our regular family dinners have been slashed to once a week. And although I know I am lucky to still have them “home,” I still miss us all being together. I miss watching my girls interact with each other. What’s a half-empty nester to do?

I hate setting the table for two or three, when there should be four of us sitting there. Sometimes I have to rearrange my daughters’ seats so there isn’t an empty seat separating three of us, and making the absence of the one that’s missing that much more obvious. I change my meal plans for dinner based on which one of my daughters will be eating with us. They each have their preferences and I try to accommodate whomever is home that night with something they will enjoy. I have to make extra of certain meals because I need leftovers so my younger daughter can have her “dinners” at lunchtime the next day, before heading out for work. The “leftovers” also fill in for my older daughter’s hot, healthy lunches for work, since she hates sandwiches. So now, instead of planning nice family dinners, I have been relegated to a short-order cook.

When I dust and vacuum the floors, there are no feet that need to be lifted, no shoes to pick up. I just go about my business in a house that is so quiet that the eerie noise from the refrigerator motor is all I can hear. There’s even less laundry. My older daughter has decided to take care of all her laundry herself even though I tell her she can add items to the family hamper. I can buy less snacks because there is no one home to eat them. The sink doesn’t get full of dirty dishes during the day. As soon as a couple of breakfast mugs are washed, the kitchen is closed pretty much till dinner. In fact, the whole house stays a lot cleaner, a lot longer, when I am the only one roaming through the empty rooms. I guess I should be happy.

It’s not like I miss the extra dust, laundry or dirty dishes. We could all do with less of those things. But I do miss the reason for the extra work. Those not so little feet going up and down the stairs to get their laptops, are now running around an office. The hungry little mouths opening refrigerator and cabinet doors looking for snacks are waiting for their lunch break. Today, as I walk into their rooms, I fix the slightly askew comforters on beds that were made in haste, not out of laziness, but out of a rush to get to work. I close the wardrobe closets that were left half open after the day’s outfit was selected. I adjust the couch pillows and see the jackets that were thrown haphazardly on them last night are gone this morning. And there goes the refrigerator motor cranking its “American Horror Story” noise.

I remember watching the movie “Marty,” starring Ernest Borgnine, years ago. It’s a great movie about a single guy who is still living with his mother into his thirties. One day his mother is talking to her sister about the “empty nest.” Here is what Aunt Catherine had to say (in her Italian accent):

“These are the worst years, I tell you. It's a gonna happen to you. I'm afraid to look in a mirror. I'm afraid I'm gonna see an old lady with white hair, just like the old ladies in the park with little bundles and black shawls waiting for the coffin. I'm fifty-six years old. And what am I gonna do with myself? I've got strength in my hands. I want to clean. I want to cook. I want to make dinner for my children. Am I an old dog to lay near the fire till my eyes close? These are terrible years, Theresa, terrible years . . . It's gonna happen to you. It's gonna happen to you! What are you gonna do if Marty gets married? Huh? What are you gonna cook? Where's all the children playing in all the rooms? Where's the noise? It's a curse to be a widow, a curse! What are you gonna do if Marty gets married? What are you gonna do?”

Okay, maybe things are as bleak as Aunt Catherine makes them out to be, but some of her words do hit close to home. I guess I better start preparing myself for the full empty nest and figure out the answer to Aunt Catherine’s, “What are you gonna do when your girls get married? It’s a gonna happen to you. What are you gonna do?”