Monthly Archives: July 2011

Reconnecting Francine

There’s a screensaver on my monitor that I can’t decide if I love or hate. I don’t remember how I came to use it and I have no idea how I turn it off or change it. Computer functions such as these are beyond my patience to parse. Let’s just call it magic.

What happens is a photograph is pulled randomly from memory and dances across the screen for 10 seconds or so – a smiling face of a friend, a Halloween costume from 15 years ago, that day at the lake, a kiss from my husband, the cover of a book I’ve written. And because the photos are so fleeting and there is no continuity between them, it’s almost a kaleidoscope of emotions to watch. Pieces of memory falling into place then instantly shifting and falling again, then falling again.

If I watch the screen for 60 seconds or so I’ve skimmed 25 years. The down side is that I have a ten-second peek at things I have forgotten but there is no way to go back there, no way to find the file path the photo was pulled from. Somewhere in memory there’s the next moment as well – the hug after the kiss, the lake sunset – but there is no way to get there. If you click on the photo the screensaver disappears. The joy of seeing the image turns to pain as it slips away from view and another appears. At random.

Recently I’ve been reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in years; friends I’ve shared joys with in the past. It started with my husband’s funeral in April, where so many people came from so many places in our memory. Family. Colleagues and former co-workers, distant relatives, clients he served and employees who served him sitting row upon row in a sanctuary filled with love and remembrance.

Next has been the reconstruction of my career after being laid off in June. I went to the San Diego Magazine open house and shared wine and laughter with people I used to work with under deadline. This week I went to the Press Club party and discussed the Coronado murder with folks whose last discussion with me centered on the Republican National Convention coming to San Diego in 1996. Yesterday I had lunch with Sue Garson, last seen some 12 years ago at a fabulous party in her home. For years we were close and I watched her parlay her Reader press pass into free entrance to museums in Istanbul and interview access to royalty in Europe. Amazing woman. We’ve made plans to walk in Balboa Park.

Finally, I’m moving back into a home that I used to live in 25 years ago, newly divorced with two small children. I peeled back the carpet this week – so new and fresh when it was installed, now matted and frayed. Front stoop so small where we stood for that first day of Kindergarten photo. The arbor sagging above the stone patio where icing dropped in globs from cupcakes at the High Tea where rough and tumble Girl Scouts dressed in their mothers’ finery and wore hats. The heater that burned my daughter’s leg. The sidewalk where my son fell again and again and again until he learned to ride without training wheels.

Images startling in their clarity but also fleeting, a wisp only, of the past I want to reconnect to, resurrect, and reconstruct for the future. Let’s just call it magic. 

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Obama/Shriver 2012

by Francine Phillips

It makes perfect sense to me. Joe Biden, no offense, can retire now, capping a significant career with leadership of the Senate. He offered the tie to the Old Guard that Obama needed to capture traditional voters the last time around. Thank you, goodbye.

Maria Shriver should be the Obama running mate in 2012. The charisma factor will shoot through the roof.  Shriver is media-savvy, smart, beautiful, she has the political pedigree, and is someone who gets things done.

In the last few years she took on the issue of Alzheimer’s in honor of her father’s battle with the disease and brought it out of the closet. She produced an award-winning HBO series, wrote a book about it (which included an essay from Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis) and got on every news program in the country to start an Alzheimer’s conversation in America. If she can get people to engage with a horrifying, fatal disease that no one wants to admit happens to anyone under 70, think what she can do with issues of hunger, unemployment, and corporate gouging – things that America WANTS to talk about. I say let her at it. Especially now.

There are really three powerful women in America with name recognition – Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Maria Shriver. Ok, four. Oprah doesn’t count. Loudmouth Michelle what’s-her-name-running-for-president REALLY doesn’t count. She’s Palin-lite and since Palin herself is a lightweight, that makes her pretty much a – dare I say? – flake. No apology forthcoming.

Hilary is stodgy – which makes her a diplomatic gem. She gets the entire global connection while the rest of us are trying to remember who we are at war with, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan?  How many countries have Taliban presence?  Is there really a Muslimization of Africa campaign. (I first heard this term when I interviewed one of the  Lost Boys of Sudan and it made things so clear.)  Hilary should stay put.

Maria would be great as Vice-President. She can handle the media spin duties so Obama can get back to fixing the country and she can send the e-mails. She can talk the pants off talk show hosts.  She’s had an insider window into the Republican Party as wife of Arnold and knows where the weaknesses are hiding.  Ok, not exactly hiding. Even the Republicans know where their weaknesses are – they can’t unite. Maria could blow them all away in any debate.

Aside: Donald Trump and the birth certificate – really?  Isn’t this the same party that wanted to change the law of the land so Arnold could run for president?

And speaking of Arnold. This is a golden moment.  What woman in America wouldn’t want to support Maria who gave up so much for love – her political views, her home, her career – and got burned? Who wouldn’t want to elect her to an office higher than Arnold can ever attain?  Vice President Shriver is just too delectable to pass up as we stab our ballots in that little private booth.  It’s an extra bonus that Maria is doing what we all wanted Hilary to do – she’s leaving him.

America is just not going to go back to white men aging gracefully to rule our land. Sorry Mitt and that other look-alike guy.  Sorry Joe. 

I think Maria’s next step should be into the dais of the Senate Chambers. Adding her to the ticket will electrify voters. Leave it all behind and go kick ass. 

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