Who wants to cancel Marilyn?

Marilyn Monroe downtown Palm Springs.
“Forever Marilyn” is being unveiled this weekend amidst protests.

There’s a big brouhaha in my old hometown. The statue called “Forever Marilyn” will be unveiled Sunday evening in downtown Palm Springs, Calif. The 26-foot Marilyn stood near the same site from 2012 to 2014 — and nobody objected. In fact, it was quite the tourist attraction.

Now there’s a protest being organized by Palm Springs’ very own Trina Turk, the famous designer. There are women’s groups from as far away as Los Angeles planning to protest the statue. Good luck to them — the temperature in Palm Springs was 123 degrees yesterday!

What changed from 2012 to 2021 that made Marilyn Monroe controversial?

According to an article in The Desert Sun, the local Gannett paper, “A protest in opposition to the installation is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Museum Way between Museum Drive and Belardo Road, according to a Facebook event created by the Women’s March LA Foundation.” Here are some excerpts from the article:

The foundation’s chapters from the Inland Empire and Riverside along with local organizations are coordinating on the protest, which is meant to “voice our dissent to the statue being installed on Museum Way,” according to Trina Turk, co-head of a participating group called the Committee to Relocate Marilyn.

The installation has been the subject of controversy for months. Some have voiced opposition to the statue’s planned location on Museum Way, while others have decried its general presence in the city as misogynistic and antithetical to Palm Springs’ values. 

Meanwhile, supporters say the statue will drive tourism to the city following months of closures for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts — the hotels association organization that bought the statue and is organizing Sunday’s event —  said the its prior installation in the city from 2012 to 2014 brought “millions and millions of dollars in publicity” and “immensely helped all the businesses in downtown Palm Springs.”

A group under the name “Me Too Marilyn” held a protest against the statue in May. That group’s leader, former Palm Springs Art Museum director Elizabeth Armstrong, has called the statue “hyper-sexualized” and said the Palm Springs City Council did not solicit enough public input before deciding on the Museum Way location.

From ‘Forever Marilyn’ to be unveiled Sunday; protest planned by Women’s March, other groups
James B. CutchinBrian Blueskye Palm Springs Desert Sun

I don’t believe Turk is the one calling for Marilyn to be cancelled. From what I’ve read, her objection is the location. But others think the statue is sexist and misogynist. They don’t want the statue to be up period. For example, the former director for the Palm Springs Art Museum Armstrong is upset because she thinks it encourages “upskirting.” She said the statue will literally be mooning museum visitors.

What are your thoughts about “Forever Marilyn?” Do you think it’s sexist and misogynist? Or do you think it’s a blast from the past of pop culture? Should Marilyn Monroe be cancelled? What are your thoughts about cancel culture?

Amy Osaka — did she make the right decision?

Waffles the pug
Waffles, my daughter’s emotional support animal, has given her much needed comfort this past year.

I read this piece about Amy Osaka today. I’ve seen her name in the news, but until this morning I hadn’t read the stories. What I gleaned, the 23-year-old tennis super star is suffering from mental health issues and doesn’t want to speak to the press. She knew she’d be fined, she was okay with that. But in the end, she decided to withdraw from the French Open. I was interested in Osaka’s story because depression and anxiety are not foreign in my family tree. Here’s more from the article:

“Mental difficulty can be mysterious, even to the sufferer. We’re also still amid a pandemic in which ordinary interactions with other people have been stifled, and routines and lives have been disrupted. If you’re doing OK, it’s tempting to think everyone else should be doing OK, too. That’s not the way it goes, however. A little bit of empathy can go a long way.”

Listening to Naomi Osaka
Sports are getting more attuned to mental health, but there’s still a long way to go
Wall Street Journal By Jason Gay
Updated June 2, 2021 8:44 am ET

“On the matter of Naomi Osaka and the French Open: I suspect a day will come when people will look back upon this moment and be mystified by how agitated it all got, how a player opting out of routine press conferences and deciding to leave a tournament because of concern about her own mental health became such a global uproar. I suspect there will be a time in the future when an athlete’s revelation of depression and anxiety—or anyone’s revelation of depression and anxiety—won’t launch a zillion casual diagnoses or judgments about an alleged lack of mettle.

“I think (I hope!) we’re going to reach a point that when a person says they’re in mental distress, we will just…listen.

“But we’re not there yet. 

“We’re not there yet because mental health in sports, like in many occupations and environments, remains a complicated, under-discussed subject, still wrapped in stigma and dated notions about toughness and “gutting it out.” We’re getting better, no doubt about it—more workplaces are offering mental-health resources for employees, and in sports, Osaka has been preceded by star athletes like Michael Phelps, Abby Wambach, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love, who have openly discussed mental-health battles of their own. 

“It’s a work in progress, however. The awkward debate over Osaka’s departure signals that athletes and sports are still figuring this out. We’re not yet ready to nurture mental health in the way we do a pulled hamstring or badly sprained ankle.”

I read another article from the Wall Street Journal about how employers are trying to accommodate younger employees who are much more open about their mental health:

“Naomi Osaka did something this week that would be unthinkable in many workplaces. Citing her struggles with depression and social anxiety, she said she wouldn’t be able to carry out what some see as a key part of a professional tennis player’s job: talking to the press.

What Happens When Mental-Health Issues Get in the Way of Work
Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open is a public example of a private issue facing many companies By Te-Ping Chen
June 3, 2021 7:31 am ET

“The 23-year-old Ms. Osaka—the world’s highest-paid female athlete—isn’t a typical professional, nor is the French Open a traditional workplace. But Ms. Osaka’s openness about her mental-health struggles is a public example of private issues companies are increasingly facing as a young generation more candid about such challenges joins the workforce, employers say.

“Companies have been adjusting to meet employees’ needs with more mental-health support and services in recent years. Yet Ms. Osaka’s announcement and subsequent tournament withdrawal highlights an especially thorny question: How can an individual’s mental-health needs be accommodated when those needs affect the ability to do parts of the job?”

Waffles and my daughter at the beach
Waffles with my daughter at the beach last summer.

What are your thoughts about Amy Osaka? Should the tennis world have given her accommodations for her mental health? Or, did she make the correct decision to step back and take care of herself? Do you think employers should give accommodations to employees who are suffering from mental illness just as they would physical ailments?

I wrote a post a few years ago about the GOAT Michael Phelps and his struggles with depression after hearing him speak in the Palm Springs area. You can read that article here.


Have you heard about the imposter syndrome?

I notice when phrases and terminology trend or get popular. Can you say overused? These terms jump out at me because I’m interested in words and phrases. I’ve run across “imposter syndrome” several times the past few days. What is the imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/imposter-syndrome#signs
young blond boy at the beach
My son at the beach prior to 9/11 and 2008.

Here’s an article about the Imposter Syndrome millennials and how they are insecure about their finances in the Wall Street Journal By Julia Carpenter:

“I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to managing my money.” 

“I just know I’m going to screw this all up eventually anyway.”

“I don’t deserve to be earning/saving/spending as much as I am.”  

These are some of the thoughts that run through my head whenever I open my banking app or check my credit score—me, a personal-finance reporter at The Wall Street Journal. My confidence in my job and my confidence in my own finances are two different things. And I’m not alone in feeling insecure about managing my own money.

As we discuss career trajectories and feelings of social belonging, many in my millennial generation are familiar with “impostor syndrome,” the phenomenon of doubting your own hard-won success and feeling like a fraud in certain spaces. This kind of self-destructive thought pattern can also infiltrate our feelings about our finances—and all too often does for millennials.

One source of many millennials’ insecurity is the scars of the 2008 recession, says Maggie Germano, a financial coach based in Washington, D.C. At that point, millennials were either early in their careers or still in school, so they had little or nothing in the way of reassuring experiences to fall back on. More than a decade—and another recession—later, many are still hesitant to claim their newfound success.  

“They always feel things will fall apart financially,” Ms. Germano says. “I have clients who make really good money but then still worry about losing everything.” 

This fear means you can have a harder time making tough money calls or trusting your own decision making. I feel this in my own life: I often agonize over seemingly simple financial moves and constantly second-guess my own instincts. 

On top of that, the widening gap between those who could sustain their financial stability in the pandemic and those who couldn’t can lead to greater feelings of financial impostor syndrome, Ms. Germano says. Financial survivor’s guilt is a common phenomenon in the coronavirus pandemic and can lead those who have done well to question whether they deserve to be so fortunate.

I’ve talked to my kids and they say 9/11 and the 2008 market crash really marked them for life. I’m not sure if they are suffer from the imposter syndrome but those two events make them very unsure of their financial futures.

Add this crazy 2020 global pandemic and I am frightened for them and their distrust of everything we took for granted as the American Dream. They reject the system that we took for granted growing up.

I believe the insecurity of not only the the major crisis my kids have lived through has shaped their lives and their politics. They don’t believe in the same things i do. They don’t believe in either party.

I wonder If their lives hadn’t been touched by such extreme events would they have different outlooks today?

My husband rejects the notion that our kids have had it rough because of 9/11, 2008 market crash and COVID-19. He pointed out wars like the Civil War, World War I and II, and Vietnam. The 1932 stock market crash. There are all sorts of tough times in our nation’s history. Maybe this feels different because I’ve lived through it. And my kids have too.

baby girl at the beach
My daughter at Laguna Beach before life was traumatic.

Do you experience the Imposter Syndrome? In what situations?

Do you know people who suffer from the Imposter syndrome? Who are they?

Do you think our kids lives have been altered by 9/11 and COVID 19?

What other phrases or terms have you heard lately?

Looking back at May 2020

Last year in May our daughter was staying with us. We had taken up tennis, sort of, and we were swimming in our backyard pool with a bungee cord tied around our waists anchored to a weighted umbrella stand. My big concern at the time was wanting the city pool to open and being able to swim with our team.

This morning we woke up to a flood in our courtyard and we had to turn the water off to the house while we wait for someone to fix it. I decided to drive to the city pool in my new town, because I can shower and wash my hair after my swim. I got about halfway there and realized I forgot a towel. So, I turned around and came home, driving 30 minutes for nothing. Now I’m not motivated to return. It’s one of those days…But better than last year, for sure.

Here’s a look back to my thoughts from last May:

Ruth Hardy Park with Mt. San Jacinto
The park.

First the good news. Things are opening up a little bit in our county and my daughter and I played tennis two mornings in a row. Prior to this week, the tennis courts were padlocked. I found that almost as annoying as the pool being closed. It looks so wrong to see padlocks and yellow tape wrapping around our park, parking lots, playground equipment, etc.

Ruth Hardy park with playground roped off for COVID
COVID playground at our park.

Before we became a full-on swim family, my kids took tennis lessons. My daughter was at preschool at the time and two of her good friends were taking lessons with her. My son had his buddies in his group as well. The instructor was a big goofy tennis pro who the kids called “Charlie Farlie.”

I took lessons in high school with my mom at the University of Washington, some sort of fun extension class. It was in the Hutchinson gym and there were huge windows up several stories in height. My mom and I both managed to hit the ball out those windows — several times — and we weren’t even trying! I’m mentioning this because my daughter and I do have some sort of background in tennis, although we’re hardly proficient at it.

Brick north face of Hutchinson Hall on Stevens Way East. The building hosts the School of Drama, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. The 1926 building (architects Bebb & Gould) was named for long-time faculty member Mary Gross Hutchinson,
Hutchinson Hall where my mom and me took tennis.

Fast forward to when we decided to homeschool my daughter for middle school. We had several homeschool families on the swim team and I envied their schedules. There were no late nights after practice completing pages of math problems or filling out worksheets for them. These homeschooled kids were really smart, well behaved and looked so happy. So we gave it a whirl. We went through a phase where we started our day with a bike ride around the park, played tennis together and then returned home to hit the books.

This week brought me back to those days. We had fun reminiscing about them and laughed at our bad shots while enjoying the cool mornings. I got a better workout than I do walking around the park. I got my heart rate up because my tennis is mostly running to corners of the court to pick up balls.

Now for the bad news. The city may not open up the pool. It’s been closed since shelter in place began 55 days ago. I was going to write a letter to the city to complain when our team was no longer allowed to use the pool, but individuals could lap swim. By the time I was composing my scathing letter, the pool had closed altogether.IMG_9355

Our town’s main industry is tourism. The hotels have been shuttered along with vacation rentals for two months. There’s no way to enjoy our beautiful weather, golf courses, tennis courts and hiking trials unless you are a resident. That means the city budget is devastated. Along with the pool, the city is talking about closing the library, animal shelter and cutting salaries, too.

We have one of the most gorgeous pools in state. Our Piranha Swim Team has a history of more than 50 years — one of the longest running teams in California. The kids who go through the program can swim in college if they choose. I think our success rate of kids going on to the next level is close to 90 percent. It was the single best thing we did for our kids in terms of activities. They were Piranhas from age five until they went to college. My daughter represented Piranhas in the summer after she went to college. I can go on and on about how great the team was for my kids, and now for me as a swimmer, too. It helped develop their healthy lifestyles, competitive spirits, and their character.

I’ll be devastated is the pool doesn’t reopen.

Palm Springs city pool
My Palm Springs pool with the mountain view.

What was your May 2020 like compared to this year?

The Case Against Parenting Advice

Mother with young son at the beach.
Back in the day when I believed I was a great parent.

I used to be big on giving parenting advice. I’d talk to newer parents on the pool deck and give them advice about swim parenting. I had after all learned from great parents with older swimmers. Lots of advice gets handed out in the stands — like what to feed your kids between prelims and finals and how to start the college recruiting process.

My advice around the pool deck morphed into a weekly column of sports parenting advice. You can read my five years of articles here. But then the COVID year hit and I no longer believe I have anything valuable to share. OR the right to give advice.

My daughter had a very tough year with being laid off and struggling with anxiety and depression while sheltering in isolation. I looked on without knowing how to help. For a month or two she didn’t want to talk to me and I’d learn how she was doing from my husband or my son. It was beyond hard. When that passed and she texted me, I was so grateful. But, I learned from her lots of things that I’d done as a parent that was awful and wrong. I think I overlooked signs of her anxiety and depression for years. Why on earth would anyone want to take advice from me? Maybe I can share what not to do. If anyone wants to listen.

This hard, hard year makes me understand that most parents don’t want to hear advice from anyone. I know I never liked unsolicited advice from well-meaning parents. We’re all winging it and it’s a job that doesn’t necessarily get easier as our kids get older. We’re trying to do the best we can.

Mother with baby girl.
Me and my baby girl.

What are your thoughts about parenting advice?

It’s a Carefree Kind of Day

Carefree Arizona fountain
A fountain in Carefree’s city center.

Today I went to the Farmer’s Market at the city center of Carefree, Ariz. Don’t you love that name? I do! The town is tiny and is literally a stone’s throw from our new home. I was surprised walking around the small market. Nobody was wearing masks! I didn’t see a single one anywhere. Not by the vendors, not by the shoppers. Two weeks ago I went to the Farmer’s Market and everyone was wearing masks.

I felt free. I could breathe. I was happy as I said hello to strangers and smiled and got smiles in return. Definitely a Carefree feeling.

Colorful art at Carefree Farmer's Market.
Colorful art at the Carefree Farmer’s Market.

Then I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things. I wore my mask inside because that’s been the rule. I asked the checker, who was wearing a mask, if masks were required in the store. I had noticed other shoppers weren’t wearing them. She said, “The signs came down a month ago. We’re required to wear them, but not you.”

I took off my mask and said, “Wonderful!”

She said, “Enjoy your oxygen! I’m jealous!”

The work of sculptor Arthur Norby, Stampede depicts a horse with a cowboy apparently trying to head off a herd of cattle. It was originally designed for Javelina Crossing in Indianapolis. It was installed in Carefree in March, 2008. It is bronze, listed as unique and 10 feet tall.l

What are the rules for wearing masks where you live? How does it make you feel?

Sights from Pike Place Market

First thing this morning I rushed to see my mom. I called her last night to remind her I was here. The parking lot of her retirement community was cordoned off with yellow tape to force everyone to drive to the front entrance. I parked and got soaked in the pouring rain to get my temperature check for my one-hour appointment. Then I was instructed on how to drive around the complex to get to my mom’s assisted living building. They had installed barriers so nobody can access the community without first checking in at the main entrance.

View of rhododendrons out my mom’s window.

Mom was so excited to see me, but didn’t understand the one-hour rule. I told her it’s because they only allow two visitors in at once, and they want to make sure everyone has a turn. I explained that I’d be coming back each day to spend the hour with her and we could leave and go for a drive to anywhere she wants to go. Today was pouring down rain and cold. She wasn’t interested in going outside. She didn’t sound enthusiastic about the idea for tomorrow, either, but we’ll see. She looked good and it felt wonderful to be with her in person after missing her since before COVID. We were all worried about her because her home is located a few miles from the one in Kirkland, Wash. that had all the deaths early on. They had an outbreak in Mom’s home, too, but she stayed healthy through the entire year.

It’s very strange to have only one hour with her, but I’m here for several days.

Puget Sound view from the market
View of the Puget Sound from Pike Place Market when the rain stopped.

Pike Place Market is one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle. I’m thankful for the chance to go today. And for my friendship with my dear friend I met in college. It’s a treasure to have a friend you can trust, count on and share your deepest secrets. We may not talk to each other for a year or see each other for several, but once together, it’s like we’re still in our 20s and no time has passed at all.

Here are a few photos from Pike Place Market today — a day of rain, sunshine, hail and friendship:

selfies with masks
We decided to do a COVID selfie to remember this year.

La Panier Bakery, Pike Place Market
La Panier Bakery, now in its 38th year.

More photos:

Public Market sign at PIke Place
Red Snapper surrounded by salmon
Dungeness crabs at Pike Place
I have a painting of my favorite food that from 35 years ago of this fishmonger’s unique display of Dungeness crabs. My friend gave it to me when I left Seattle for Palm Springs.
Flowers at Pike Place Market