Thursday, May 30, 2019

News of the day

I have to say I'm a little irritated with Robert Muller, who finally spoke on the record yesterday. I'm annoyed by his stiff-upper-lip decorum and nuance. Could he please come right out and say the president if guilty AF and needs to be removed? Because let's face it, his supporters don't do nuance. Last night, as I listened to Rachel Maddow and really took in anew how egregious the president's lies and wrongdoings are (because I do do nuance), I decided to switch over to Fox News just to see how they were reporting the bombshell of a news day. There they were, crowing about how Robert Muller has revealed himself to be a "partisan hack" and there is no obstruction, no collusion. Read the fucking report! You don't have to consume all 400 plus pages. Any part of it will reveal the truth. It lays out the obstruction case in the clearest possible terms, but as Muller took pains to explain yesterday, current laws prevent him from bringing charges against a sitting president so Congress will have to do it. Honestly, the dishonesty and fraudulence of Fox News is mind-bending. It doesn't report the news, it obfuscates it. It might as well be called Trump TV. Finally, when they ran a clip of Rush Limbaugh braying about Muller's lies, I clicked away. I had a sick, sinking feeling that our country will remain forever divided and riven with hate because we live is two completely different realities, and never the twain shall meet.

Also, why exactly isn't the president subject to the same laws governing criminal behavior that the rest of us are? Okay, done ranting. Back to worrying. I'm way behind in my work, y'all, or at least it feels that way. I don't have enough material to write the chapter summaries of the book yet, and my subject is a very busy woman, trying to save the world. That's actually not hyperbole. She also isn't really practiced in talking about herself. She instinctively resists the full spotlight being on her, and I have to really dig into her stories to get the visual and emotional details that will help me bring them to life on the page. It is always a mountain to climb, damned Everest in fact, to get enough material to sustain a manuscript of seventy-five thousand words. I have often found myself looking up the weather on some date from decades ago, so that I can say what kind of day it was, what the sky was doing, how the air might have felt against the face. I find I can't truly write a scene until I can visualize it like a movie in the mind's eye, and feel the emotions threading through it in my chest. I'm definitely not there yet with my current subject, and I'm trying not to panic. I don't only do nuance, I can also do panic quite readily.

But really, the most concerning thing yesterday was when my niece came to me and said that her heart was pounding fast, it felt like it was knocking against her spine. It had started the day before but she thought she was just nervous about the exploratory interview she had with a publisher the next morning, which by the way went stupendously well, and who knows, she may have an opportunity at the publishing house when she finishes her magazine internship in August. Anyway, after the interview, her heart started galloping again, so we went to Urgent Care where they did an EKG and asked her lots of questions and pronounced it "a benign heart blip" due to the cold medications she had been taking earlier in the week. They said if it continues for two more days she should see a cardiologist and they gave her a list of heart doctors who will take her insurance. 

When we got home my daughter called to ask if she'd been drinking a lot of caffeine. She said no, she's been drinking herbal teas with no caffeine. But then she went to check the tea and found that it was indeed caffeinated. My daughter said, "You might just be getting old, because one day I could drink coffee and the next my heart was exploding out of my chest, and I've never been able to drink caffeine since then." The racing heartbeat continued till evening, and my niece admitted that the night before she'd been afraid to go to bed in case she woke up dead (see what I did there?). Well, at 11 AM this morning her room door was still closed, so I finally knocked. No answer. I cracked the door and peeked in and she seemed to be sleeping peacefully, but just to be sure I walked over to check the rise and fall of her breath. She opened her eyes sleepily. "Just making sure you're alive," I said. She smiled and said the heart felt a bit better and I left her to continue sleeping like the brand new college graduate she is. She should enjoy sleeping in because next week, she starts her internship at a magazine. Adult life awaits.

Tonight my other niece and her husband who just moved to Dallas, will fly in for the weekend for a wedding. They'll be back again two weekends from now for another wedding, and another cousin's daughter will also be here for a week, overlapping with them, on her way back to Jamaica from Singapore. Her dad wants her to get to know her New York family better. She's a lovely, kind soul, who I met for the first and only time at our family reunion three years ago now. She is 19 and has just completed her first year of medical school. She has recently been through a very difficult experience, so I really want her to have a good and safe time with us.

My cousin from Virginia is also coming to attend a funeral in New York this weekend. Then at the end of the month, the daughter of one of her friends will stay with us for a week to attend a pre-college program at Fashion Institute of New York. I met mother and daughter when I was in DC two weeks ago for work. I was staying with my cousin and they came over to make my acquaintance, as I would soon be hosting the daughter. She is absolutely lovely. She is being raised in an evangelical Christian home, yet argued passionately with her mother about the cruelty of the abortion bans sweeping the country, and her mother, who is very pro-life, to her credit was completely open to her daughter's perspectives and did not try to convince her otherwise.

It's noon and my niece just emerged. She says her heartbeat seems to be settling back to normal. She's in the kitchen making herself breakfast, which will not include caffeinated anything.


  1. since I'm dealing with the same issue, rapid irregular heartbeat, stress is also a contributing factor. so you will have a revolving door of visitors for the next month. must make it hard to get any work done. it would for me and I'm having a hard enough time getting back to work in the studio with no visitors.

    as for Mueller he was pretty clear, if the president had been innocent he would have said so. and this not indicting a sitting president is just precedent. there is nothing in the constitution that gives presidents a free pass when they break the law. apparently someone somewhere down the line decided that it would be too disruptive to the nation for the police to arrest the president and everyone has fallen in line since. he basically told Congress to do their job but with republicans in control of the Senate even if the House did impeach, McConnell would table it like everything else that has passed the House since the Democrats gained control. end result is that Trump and his minions are emboldened and think they can do anything they want with impunity.

  2. I find the whole Mueller thing very confusing. First- I have heard via reputable report that presidents can be prosecuted while in office. So, what's going on there? True or not true?
    And why couldn't he just say, "We did find the president guilty of A,B, and C but we are not allowed to prosecute him while he's in office"?
    I really do not get it. Any of it.
    I'm with Ellen- how can you get any work done when you have so much going on in your home? I know that being there for your family is of utmost importance to you but I know I could not do it.
    Worrisome about your niece. I'm glad y'all took her in to an Urgent Care. I know you'll follow up on it.
    Strange times we live in, eh? Good luck with the writing. I know you'll get there but it sounds as if in this case, it's going to be harder simply because you don't get as much time with your subject as you'd like.

  3. I found myself yelling at the television yesterday while Muller was speaking first JUST EFFING SAY IT (except I actually swore as you know) then right after AND STILL NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

    has your niece ever had panic attacks?


  4. I am so glad you went to see a doctor with your niece. There are so many stimulants that can cause the heart to go crazy - even in green tea and chocolate! - esp. with added stress.

    We don't understand what's going on with this president and how he can stay in power now. What's next? The earth is flat?

  5. I've been off caffeine since 2009 when I developed a life altering arrhythmia. That includes chocolate which can also mess with your rhythm. Your daughter's comment about getting old is funny, I see them all as so very young.
    You do have an active life with the weddings and the visit. I loved your description of looking up the weather so you'd have a picture in your head of the day in question.
    I'm with you re Mueller. Say it man! Use standard English and just SPIT IT OUT - HE'S GUILTY.

  6. All I can say is can Americans please vote that man out before he does more harm to the world. Maybe that's why your niece's heartrate was so high:)

    I love how you open your home to friends and family.

  7. Even though I understand the adherence to rules that caused Mueller to say what he said, I'm a little irritated, too. Can somebody in charge not speak up and start the tide turning against the president? I'm also worried, because it seems like impeachment could come back to bite the Democrats in any of several ways. I can't imagine having Trump as president of the US for four more years.

    So glad your niece was checked. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and like your daughter observed, it's not necessarily predictable what your body will do next. You can be fine for years and then not. It's hard to give up caffeine, too. I've had to do it. No hot drinks (because cocoa is out, too), no chocolate. Wah :)

  8. Well, my heart would be beating fast too if I were on the verge of starting an internship, had a potential job interview AND I were drinking caffeinated beverages! I bet it will pass once these life factors subside and your niece settles into more of a routine.

    You are so right about Fox News. I often check out their web site just to see how they're playing the news relative to the Times and other major media outlets. It's like another planet! They mix up the news and commentary, so readers can't easily differentiate the two, and while everyone else is talking about issues critical of Trump they will invariably be harping about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez or Nancy Pelosi. It really is like a Star Trek alternate universe.