Voter Fraud is a Hoax

My husband and I are voting by mailing in a paper ballot this year. We live in the President’s official county of residence, Palm Beach, the only place in the country, according to him, in which paper ballots will represent legitimate votes in November.

The county is on the up and up, we agree. The Palm Beach County Board of Elections actually mailed out application forms for mail-in ballots over the summer, and we received ours a month before the August primary. We were glad to have the extra time with the ballot to educate ourselves on who we were being asked to elect.

Palm beach county elections

Although I supported Democrat newbie Guido Weiss in the primary, incumbent Lois Frankel won, and supporting her in November is critical — her opponent will be racist, anti-Islam Laura Loomer whose dangerous language has been banned from social media platforms. Please ignore her.

In the other races, it was satisfying to see a Florida Senate race with our Democratic candidate, fellow New Yorker and current Florida Representative Tina Polsky, on the ballot, and we have a Palm Beach County Judge Jaimie Goodman, who’s been blasted for his lack of decorum, in a November run-off with lawyer Adam Myron to retain his seat. Voting matters.

I have covered banana republic dictators who are more subtle than that in attempting to rig the elections or undermine votes for their opponent.

Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

Voting by mail is secure

Hoaxster Trump is selling the lie that mail-in ballots are fraudulent votes. Every county in this country is on the up and up, and — because the Trump Administration has failed to protect us from the Coronavirus— more people than ever before will be voting by paper ballot.

Voting is our civic duty

We’ve been given ample notice to not assume that the US Postal Service will adjust its schedule to accommodate our procrastination. When our November ballots arrive, we will fill them out and send them in. If you are an American, please use this link to find your county election office to request yours today. If you are not an American, pray for us to remember our civic duty.

I don’t care who you vote for. But don’t let this election be stolen by people trying to deliberately engineer it so not everyone can vote – – or so that not every vote will be counted.

Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

Has the Coronavirus Ended Dressing Up?

Most of the clothes in my closet have not been touched in more than a year, largely due to my illness last year. During my three-month hospitalization, I lost one-quarter of my weight, so my clothes hung on me when I was finally home. As I regained my strength, I slowly regained my weight, and am right back to where I was before my ruptured aneurysm. In theory, I can wear anything in my closet.

But I haven’t. Just about the time I felt like myself again, ready to enjoy a night on the town and maybe even doing a little traveling, the pandemic hit. I haven’t been inside a retail shop or a restaurant since mid-March. My bank is doing business only in the drive-through window. I’ve been to FedEx twice, feeling moved to share physical possessions with family and archival repositories — my mother’s collection of family letters, poetry and other paper ephemera is going to the Winona County Historical Society.

So, I’m home, laundering the same small pile of clothing over and over. Workout clothes for the morning, one of three pairs of shorts and a t-shirt for the afternoons, sweats or even pajamas by dinner time. Now and then, a pair of jeans. A suit and cover-up for a couple of careful beach visits. Sketchers. Running shoes. Flip flops.

Forget heels. Even in my professional 1990’s business days, the height of my heels was never more than 3 inches. I last wore a pair of pumps to read at the annual luncheon of a Boynton Beach book club a year and a half ago, and my daughter assured me that they had seen better days. Into the garbage they went.

Who knew that I’d have something in common with opera diva Renee Fleming, who has traded her 5-inch heels for clogs. Yes, clogs! In her recent article in USA Today, reporter Carly Mallenbaum quotes the star:

I don’t think I’ll ever wear high heels again.

Renee Fleming

The sales of dress shoes has plummeted 70 percent, Mallenbaum cites. Slippers and Crocs are the Coronavirus shoes-of-choice. Crocs were my go-to shoes in the hospital. About half-way through my three-month stay, one of my many roommates left behind a pair of worn pink Crocs and they became mine. Although it took a minute, I could get them on and off without ringing for assistance. The day I first walked, they were on my feet.

Walking for the first time, OLVG Physical Therapy. A fellow-patient took the video on my phone, for which I thank her: Dank u wel!

And socks. Mallenbaum tells us that socks are now qualifying as shoes.

Socks certainly make a statement. My gift of palm tree socks to the nurses and doctors who saved my life in Amsterdam was a huge, optimistic thank-you!

The nurses at OLVG, 7-A!

This pandemic has people wondering if dressing up is a thing of the past.

In April, clothing sales fell 79 percent in the United States, the largest dive on record. Purchases of sweatpants, though, were up 80 percent.

Stephanie Gonot, The New York Times Magazine

I’m right on-trend with the slob-chic style Patricia Marx wrote about in The New Yorker:

People are feeling that they are getting away with something. We’re conducting business and making money, but — ha ha! — we’re in our pajamas.

Polly McCall, psychotherapist

It is bad enough that everyone is dressing like a hospital patient, but now I’m realizing that it’s worse: the working cohort has stolen the retiree wardrobe.

No. You are supposed to earn loose-fitting lounge wear by suffering through years of tight waistbands and pantyhose and high heels. That’s why they call it work. Slob-chic has lowered the bar.

I worry that the lowering of the bar threatens retirees with losing our special status until I remember that there is still one thing that we can call our own: carping about change. “Why, when I was employed we wore slips and padded shoulders and heels…”

It’s good to know that you’ll still know us, not by our outfits but by our endearing whining.

Water As Corona Calming Balm

I floated today for the first time in months and emerged from the ocean renewed. It was a baptism of sorts.

To be held by something so big and so gentle was a profound relief. Perhaps in that moment, I returned to the womb, or perhaps it’s just that gravity, and the very grave situation that has surrounded us all for six months, was temporarily absent, and all that was asked of me was to be still. I breathed with the waves, noticing but not controlling myself being lifted and lowered by each small swell.

There were a few other bathers in the water today, the first day since the non-event of Hurricane Isaias that we’ve returned to the beach. A young boy, perhaps 12, and his mother were in the water when we arrived. I noticed him hanging off her, thinking back to the days that my daughter and I were also water pals. Then, I saw his wheelchair.

A year ago, I was just learning how to walk again after my close-call in Amsterdam ( How I Survived My Amsterdam Vacation, Part One: We Got Kicked Off the Ship.) For months, I lay in a single bed, unable to move my legs. When you’re in bed all the time, your body doesn’t work enough to give you that nice ahhhh of relaxing at the end of the day, and how I longed to feel that release.

When I taught water exercise classes, I finished each class with a relaxing meditation, to this Hawaiian tune. Kawaipunahele repeats the refrain, “inseparable, secure connection.” Yes, that’s what I felt the moment I released myself into the salty water today. And I knew that, even for a few minutes, the boy was free of his wheelchair and supported by that secure connection in the ocean’s salty vastness. His mother, too.

I’ve just finished reading Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui. I love this book for all its takes on the connection between humans and water — it’s broken into sections on survival, well-being, community, competition, and flow. Check out this glowing review by Mary Pols in The New York Times. Tsui’s research on her subject brings all sorts of connections to the topic and I know I’ll be dipping into it frequently. Here’s today’s connection.

Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.

Ishmael, Moby Dick by Herman Melville

It did me good to get out, drive along roads I used to frequent daily, and see people (at a safe distance) enjoying the paradise we live in here. The ocean breeze, the sound of waves, the salty air, and the largely empty beach returned me to my real self. The one who writes to figure out what’s going on. The one who’s very grateful to be here at all.