Monday, June 7, 2010

In Search of...a book, a website, and the fortitude to make them both happen

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged in quite a while, and been thinking to yourself, what has Ilene been up to? I've missed her pearls of wisdom and dry wit. (Or possibly, the thought never crossed your mind and you were happy that I wasn't ranting about how bad American Idol was this season.) Well, I'm back and ready to catch you up...on both my wit and my whereabouts.

If Blanche Dubois "always relied on the kindness of strangers," I have been relying heavily on the kindness of friends. In the immortal words of one of them, "Ilene, if you can't afford to pay people to do things for you, then you have to learn how to do things for yourself." And that's how I came to design my own website...with the help of said friend, Sue Fabisch. (Fortunately, the do-it-yourself mentality has not yet spread to plumbing and electrical wiring, but there's really no telling.)

So now I have a brand new website to invite you to visit. It is: and I'm very proud of it. It took more hours and painstaking work than I care to think about, learning curve for the technologically challenged and all that.

And remember how when I started this blog, it was in the hopes that it would help me get a book deal for my memoir by amassing legions of loyal readers? Well, after much deliberation and reading an article in the New York Times about the merits of self-publishing, I finally decided to do it. I mean, why deny you, my lovely readers, the chance to read my book any longer? And so, again, came my reliance on friends - for cover photos, layout and graphics, editing, you name it. When you do something yourself, heck, you never really are "doing it yourself." Like raising children, it takes a village.

Okay, so while I've quoted both Tennessee Williams and Hillary Clinton in one blog, I might as well dip my toe into politics. Oh, where to start...

I'm going to start with something that makes me happy - our newest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Yes, a single, Jewish broad from New York on the bench makes me happy. And having attended Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard ain't too shabby either. So I say "Yay, sister." And while I'm at it, since Obama appears to be sinking in the squandered opportunities of the mandate with which he was elected, I'm thinking, at least at this moment, that his Supreme Court nominees might end up being his greatest legacy. But it's too soon to tell.

Have I waited long enough to talk about healthcare reform? Yes, the legislation passed. And for an in depth look at what that really means for you and me, you'll have to wait until I attend a day long meeting next week about what it really does mean. However, here's what I know for sure: my premiums are still too monumentally high, and my coverage isn't any better. Strike one. I have, however, met with two of Tennessee's state senators since we last gathered here.

It started, as most healthcare activities do for me in Nashville, with a call from the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign, asking me to go with one of them to meet with some senators the next day. I being one to never pass up an opportunity like that, decided to say yes. Why not? So off I went the next day to Legislative Plaza, (where I started having PTSD about the 2000 presidential election, but that's a horse of another color entirely). Anyway, I met up with the THC person and asked what it was we were supposed to be requesting that these senators do in our meetings. Among other things, it was to keep daycare centers open for the mentally ill so they don't wind up back on the streets, in jail, or in mental hospitals, all of which cost the taxpayers a lot more money.

The first senator we met with was in his eighties and the spitting image of Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard. He was hard of hearing, completely uninterested in what we had to say (which he couldn't hear most of anyway), and every time he would lean back in his chair and close his eyes to formulate a sentence, I was sure he was on his last breath. Our useless meeting lasted ten minutes, during which time he told us he wouldn't vote for anything that cost money. I thought he was a Republican when I left, which it turns out, was not the case.

The second meeting went only slightly better. This senator was in his seventies and regaled us with tales of his impoverished youth. He also gave us a nifty lapel pin and a blue book about Tennessee, two items I'll treasure forever - if I could only remember where I put them.

Switching gears to pop culture, I can only say that thank God that Gilligan's-Island-run-amok show called Lost is finally over. (All outraged readers, please send your emails elsewhere. I hated the show.) And yes, American Idol totally jumped the shark. The most moving part of the whole season was the farewell to Simon on the final night, who, let's face it, we'll all be watching when his new show comes out next season. And speaking of Simon, here's wishing him marital bliss.

As summer arrives, I am gleefully looking forward to reading more. After all, my summer TV watching is confined to a couple of U.S. marshals, a Hamptons doctor, and a guy who can tell when people are lying. I don't really care if America does have talent or who thinks they can dance. I need a break from fake reality for a while.

That brings me to the book I'm reading now about the Secret Service. Is there any president who wasn't a philanderer? Well, Nixon wasn't, but he was a cold, cold man. Granted I'm only on page 40, but so far Obama's only sin is a cigarette. I say let the leader of the free world have a smoke if he wants to. The world is clearly ending anyway.

To wrap up on that happy note, you know how else beside the oil spill I know the world is truly ending? I agreed with Liz Cheney and George Will about Israel's actions in Gaza when they were talking about it on This Week yesterday. The fact that I could agree with those two on anything, let alone Israel, is a sure sign of the end of times.

Well, that's it for today, folks. It feels great to be back. Thank for stopping by, and please tell your friends.


  1. Hi Ilene,
    I'm thrilled to be included as one of the readers of your blog. I just read my first (but not your first!) entry and I'm already delighted and hooked! What is the name of the Secret Service book you're reading? It sounds great.
    I'm glad I found my way on to your mailing list! Looking forward to much, much more!!
    Carol Terry (United Methodist Communications)

  2. Wow, such vitriol! LOL. Sorry, Levy, but our days of watching Starsky and Hutch together are long over. As a Lost-hater, you and I are on different sides of the island my friend. Am I Jacob and you Smokey? Only time will tell...

    In the meantime, I am at least giving TV a chance. Persons Unknown shows promise, Jillain Michaels inspires me, and Pretty Little Things is sure to provide delicious mean-girl entertainment.

    In a world where an oil spill wreaks havoc, I'm turning to the comfort of my cathode ray tube.

  3. Oh, Ilene...good to have you back in the blog. Keep going!
    love, your webmaster,

  4. Carol, I'm thrilled that you're thrilled! And the name of the book is In the President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler.

    Burstiner, let's just agree to disagree, except for Starsky & Hutch, about which I'm certain we'll always fondly agree! And if you can tell me when and where Jillian is on, I'd like to watch her. Actually, I need her to show up on my doorstep, but that's a whole other story!

    Sue, my webmaster,
    God Bless.

  5. Glad to see you blogging again! What do you think about the "Corporate Death Penalty"?

  6. Jillian is on NBC on Tuesday at 10. It's a nice little diversion, though I think you'll find her extremely irritating. LOL!

    Hey, you used to like the Love Boat, too!