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March 26, 2020: EXPLANATIONS, CORRECTIONS & NANCY
EXPLANATION: First I want to clear something up. A few days ago, I said that I decided NOT to wear the beautiful socks Carolyn gave me for my birthday because they didn't go with my red vest, even though I KNEW without a doubt that no one would see either my vest OR my socks, as I am in seclusion.
Several people responded with encouraging words: "Be bold!" etc. And I realized that I had not been clear and therefore people thought I was adhering to an external fashion standard in seclusion. No no no. I meant that, even if nobody would see me, I still had to meet my OWN aesthetic standards. For me, orange with red doesn't cut it. Even if nobody's looking.
But TODAY I put on a kinda turquoise aqua shirt and--- Voila!
I know I don't look so great, but it's very very difficult to get a flattering selfie when you're holding up your foot so you can also get your shirt in the frame and you're 73 years old. It's not a good look for someone over 70, in my opinion. But I made this sacrifice of my vanity because I could not BEAR the thought that I presented myself as needing encouragement to be bold.
One. Several people wrote to say that of COURSE I wasn't bitten by a bee because bees don't bite. They STING. This is obviously true, and it just shows you how long it's been since I had an encounter with an aggressive bee. I even forgot the word for it.
TWO. Several other people wrote that it was in fact a DEMOCRAT, President Kennedy, who lowered the maximum tax rate from 90% to 70%. Then Reagan lowered it to 50%. It now stands at 37%.
But when FDR was President, for everything you earned over $500,000 (equal to $1.2 million today) you gave 90% to the federal government. And there were STILL plenty of rich people!
I don't know. Maybe I won't do corrections anymore. I'm getting bored typing this. I think I just have to do the necessary research before I write a blog so that I know what I'm talking about.
I think it was interesting, though, that all the people who commented on "Bite vs. Sting" were women. And all the people who commented on tax rates were men.
Today the morning sun was out and the leaves of my Japanese maple were glowing.
I love Japanese maples and I always wanted one in memory of my sister Nancy, who died in 2009. I had planted one years ago, but it didn't make it. But now I have a new gardener, Michele, who is an old friend. Michele and I were emailing early one morning, about her niece's theatrical career, and I wrote, "Oh by the way, I want to plant a Japanese maple in memory of Nancy." And she wrote back, "That's amazing. This morning, I'm going to take a Japanese maple out of a client's garden. She doesn't want it because it's not perfect. I'll bring it straight over to YOUR garden!" I love when things happen like that. So this is the first Spring of Nancy's Japanese maple in its new home. It seems quite content
THIS IS NANCY.
I think you can see in this photo how PRESENT she is. She's like that in every photo taken during the year and a half she was suffering from melanoma. Me, I'm just hanging out on the driftwood bench. Nancy is ALIVE. She is open to you. She is reaching out to you who are looking. She's saying "I'm here. See me."
Nancy handled dying with such grace. I don't mean that she was always cheerful, always strong. She was just so much herself and so alive and so experiencing every moment. It's an enormous gift you give to the people around you, if you can die with grace. When I was feeling fearful of dying from the coronavirus, the thought of Nancy calmed me. She was only 59. She didn't receive the great blessing of getting to 73. And yet, she embraced her dying. She lived as fully as possible until she could live no more, and somehow that was okay with her.
The photo above of Nancy and me was taken by Janaki, Nancy's closest friend. Janaki lives in Santa Barbara, and the three of us went away together for two long weekends, renting houses on the beach. We took the time because Nancy was dying. I guess that's one of the good things about cancer. Often, the disease gives you the time to fully express your love, to do the things you want to do but under normal circumstances put off forever.
Nancy was a doer of jigsaw puzzles and every other kind of physical/visual puzzle. Every New Year's Eve, she and my brother-in-law George had a party for the neighbors at their house, with a big table to work on a huge jigsaw puzzle. That's how they welcomed in the New Year. On the beach weekend, she focused on this game. Can't remember the name. I don't have the patience for such things.
Here's Nancy and Janaki standing on the cliff right in front of our beach house. I took the picture through the window. They had been best friends since high school. They didn't see each other that much because they lived far apart. But their bond was deep. I loved getting to know Janaki better, sharing our love for Nancy.
Well, it's midnight. I keep thinking I'm going to write the blog first thing in the morning, and somehow I get around to it later and later. I think I'll stop now. Thank you for reading this far.