Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I heart Letterman

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I LOVE David Letterman.

Yep, that's me, and Dave. See a resemblance?

Now, I've noticed lately, that my comments are waaaay down. Perhaps I have lost my magic; perhaps it's preoccupation with the holidays; perhaps I'm not as important as I would like to believe I am.

So, until I see more comments here, I really don't see a reason to grace you with my wit and wisdom.

Instead I shall provide you with this link.

I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please comment.

If I receive enough comments, then perhaps I shall reward you with a posting.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=FD-K8P-7rTI

Sunday, December 24, 2006

One year ago today I had this to say...

Perhaps some would call this cheating. Some may call it sheer laziness. I call it..."hey, this wasn't bad writing for the beginning of my blog, and since many of you were not readers yet, you missed it...therefore, I feel compelled to share it with you, so that those of you who did not read it the first time, will have a chance to learn a little bit more about me".

Whew, that was exhausting.


I want to say just one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? PLASTICS!

When I was a little girl, we would often visit my grandparents in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. They were Russian immigrants who came here by way of Canada to New York and finally to lovely Los Angeles. In those days, L. A. was filled with dreams of Hollywood, orange groves, blue skies, and year round sunshine. They lived in several places before I was born, but the place I remember was their apartment near Fairfax.

What I remember most about their apartment was... PLASTIC! Every sofa, every chair, was dressed with a specially sized covering of clear PLASTIC. Now, as if that weren't enough...even the carpets were shielded with plastic runners.

My formative years were spent trying to figure out why. What would lead these two little Russian immigrants to such strange behavior?

Was it for comfort? I don't think so...considering that trying to pry yourself off the couch without leaving the skin from the back of your legs was no easy feat...I don't think it was for comfort.

Was it for cleanliness? Perhaps...I suppose there's alot to be said for being able to hose down your furniture at the end of each day.

Was it for status? Maybe...The 60's was a time for PLASTICS, as was so aptly pointed out in the movie "The Graduate".

Was it for protection? Could be...we know the '80's was all about "protection"...maybe they were just ahead of their time.

Whatever the reason, I do know this...that plastic covered furniture is a memory I now hold close. My grandparents lived a hard life. They left their home to come to a land of great promise...promises that were in many ways fulfilled. But they had to live through the death of their only son. And I can't remember a day where I felt their anger, resentment, or the unending pain that I now know they must have felt.

My grandfather lived to the age of 93, writing love letters to my grandmother 'til the day he died. Not a visit would go by, where he didn't tell me the latest joke. And, although my grandmother complained that she hadn't slept in 50 years, she lived to the age of 89, dying only a year and a half after my grandfather.

Maybe, in the end, the reason for the PLASTIC was this...Preservation.

It preserved the furniture that to them meant they had "made it"...they had achieved the American dream. And within that dream they preserved a marriage, a family, a life together for 63 years. I'm grateful for those memories and the model of a long lasting marriage made of ups, downs, hard work, humor, love, and loyalty.

Maybe that guy's advice in "The Graduate" wasn't so far off the mark after all.

(post inspired by Danny Miller)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

technology meets hair

(this is my 100th post...who knew when I began 1 year ago, that I'd have 100 things to say. Thanks to those of you who stop by here, and truly make it fun for me to write).

I have great hair. No, really, just ask anyone who knows me...they'll tell you:

"Cruisin has great hair".

The main reason my husband married me was because I had great hair. (he tries to tell me it was for my superior intellect, but I know better).

Now, I can't take credit for this...my father had great hair, and my father's mother had great hair. (and by great, I mean...lot's of it). It's simple genetics, and that is that.

Through the years, I've had people ask me where I get my haircut...no big whoop.

But last week I think I experienced the ultimate in the age of technology.

Upon having just had my hair cut (and colored...gotta keep the gray at bay), I decided to do a little shopping at a local Mervyn's. I was wandering around the store, with my usual dazed and confused look, when suddenly I was approached by a woman around my age.

Not unlike many strangers have stated to me in the past, this woman wanted me to know what a great haircut I had.

She then proceeded to ask me where and who cuts it. She vigilantly took down the information. She wanted my name, so she'd be able to tell my hairdresser whose hair she'd like hers to look like.

But she started to think (aloud, mind you, as if I'd really care), that perhaps she didn't want to insult her own hairdresser, by leaving and trying someone new, and having to explain to her own hairdresser why she had opted to go somewhere else.

So, she and her friend decided that it was best to snap a picture of me so she could show her own hairdresser how to cut her hair.

Out came the camera-phone.

What could I say? I mean, this was my shining moment...the moment I could truly help another human being.

After all, if I could help this woman's self esteem by simply showing her the way to better hair...why, I would have accomplished a mitzvah, a good deed. And during the holiday season...this is the time to give of oneself, no?

I had no choice but to agree to her request. She took a picture of me from the front. Then she asked me to turn around, so she could represent my backside as well. And, let' s not forget about the side view.

So there you have it. Who knew that my greatest assest, my hair, would someday enrich the life of just one woman. And if this woman feels better about herself when she receives her new haircut, who knows what she will go on to achieve...a "pay it forward" moment, if you will.

Now, if this heartwarming story about a little camera phone doesn't explain the far reaching effects of technology on the human condition...well, then I don't know what will.

And, in that moment, I knew I could return to my shopping, with the knowledge that I had behaved in the true spirit of the holiday season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ramblings (or, how not to end up like Brad and Jen)


Well, I just picked myself up off the floor where I was eating handfuls of jelly bellies.

Sounds weird, you say? Well, let me explain.

Our annual Hanukah party is this Saturday night. You can read about last year's party here. A staple of the party is a big jar of jelly bellies from Costco. I bought that jar today, and of course had to hide it from the vultures, I mean my family, so there would be at least a few left for the party.

Well, the problem with hiding things from others, is this: you know where you hid it!

Now, if you have followed this blog for awhile, you know of my unnatural love for jelly belly's.

So, about an hour after hiding them, I remembered and thought to myself: "Eureka, I have jelly bellies in the house"!!! So, what's a girl to do? What else...find those little buggers and start shoveling them in.

It just so happens I hid them in a lower cabinet in the laundry room. So, I bent down to grab them, open the jar, and lo and behold I fell right on my a*#.

And there I sat. With the jar. I opened the jar. I ate. Lot's and lot's of jelly bellies. Ummm, good.

I thought to myself, well, this is certainly "blogworthy". Actually, it was "pull out the video camera, she's sitting alone on the floor shoveling j.b.'s into her mouth as fast as she can" worthy.

That was rambling number one.

Here's rambling number two.

Last week while attending my work's holiday lunch, a 30 year old volunteer for the center I work for, asked if I had a boyfriend.

See, apparently she thought I was a widow, and that I should be fixed up with somebody.
After contemplating how to answer for a moment or two, I thought that perhaps I should tell the truth...that I had been happily married for 21 years. But I asked her if she knew any men around the age of 50 to fix up with my friend.

Her reply:

Oh, I don't know anyone THAT old!

I immediately asked, "jeeeeeeez...how old was this guy you wanted to fix me up with"?
She said, "well I'm 30...so, someone around that age".

Now may I say, this was getting more intriguing by the minute. I mean...Mr. Cruisin probably wouldn't notice that I was out on a date with a much younger man. He'd probably be asleep on the couch, or repairing bushings, or refurbishing the entire house or something.

So, why not go out on a date with a much younger man? I could be out and back before Mr. Cruisin finished napping.

But then I thought about Brad and Jen...afterall, he just went out to make a little movie, and we all know what happened there.

Goodness knows, that's not what I want...no one could make me laugh like Mr. Cruisin.

But hey, a girl can fantasize for a moment right? Afterall, how often does a flashing 51 year old get asked to be fixed up with someone in their 30's?

Hmmmm?...tell me...I'm waiting...............

(happy hanukah everyone)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mr. Cruisin: walkin the red carpet


I started this blog back in June '05 so I could comment on others.

It was not until Dec. 12, that I actually started to regulary write here.

So, as I approach my one year anniversary of writing on a regular basis, I have been re-reading the things I wrote last year at this time.

As I read through my past posts, I am quite impressed. I didn't know I had it in me to be so funny at times, so thoughtful and esoteric at times, and just plain ridiculous at times. (not to mention quite modest, don't you think?)

I reported this to Mr. Cruisin...letting him know that I was quite impressed with some of my writings...referring of course to some of my more moving, thought-provoking pieces.

And here is what he said...

"Gee, my favorites are the ones about me".

and he said this quite seriously ( yeah...enough about me, let's talk about me)

Mind you, my husband is a simple, unassuming guy. He isn't flashy and hangs onto possessions for a very long time (lucky for me, he likes things that are old, yet in fairly good working condition).

So, it's rather adorable that he would come up with such a statement. (you can imagine how much he is loving the fact that I am referring to him as adorable).

And it's true, he has been my greatest muse. He let's me make fun of him and gush about him. How cute is that? (can you see his eyes rolling right about now?).

I think that he secretly (well, I guess with a statement like: "Gee, my favorites are the ones about me", maybe it's not so secret) likes being the focus of a great deal of my writings.

And what's not to like if you really think about it. Afterall, I've:

  • compared him to Paul McCartney (in a good way, that is)
  • referred to him as my "knight in shining armor"
  • sung his praises when it comes to fixing my sagging bushing
  • bragged about him taking on our rotting patio cover
  • provoked sympathy from readers when he broke his toe.
Come to think of it...he gets more attention around here than I do. Why, he was even dubbed with a nickname: Mr. Cruisin!

But, am I jealous? NO WAY! Afterall, this being the season of giving, I am in touch with my inner "giver". Tis better to give than receive, right?

So, if I can make this poor old guy feel like a star...why not. In fact, I think that I get the largest response of comments when I write a Mr. Cruisin post. And, I don't think asking me to roll out a red carpet, and flash my new digital camera at him when he comes home each night is asking too much, do you?

Who knew when I started to post "for real" last year, that my husband would become a star here just one short year later.

So, let's hear it for Mr. Cruisin...my muse, my man.

(we'll see how many frickin comments come in because this is a Mr. Cruisin post...Ba-Humbug)

(oops, did I just say that out loud?)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Brain on the loose

Have you ever wondered how one event changes the course of your life?

Last year, I asked this question on my blog.

I did not get one response.

Was this too threatening a question? Too thought-provoking? Too intimidating? Too esoteric? Or just plain stupid?

Now, at the time, I had only posted 4 times...I was a blogger "newbie", if you will. But I thought it was a pretty good question (if I do say so myself).

Of course, for me that answer has always been obvious: the death of my father at age 10 had to be the most life changing event of my life. But...I wonder if there were others.

And, is it events that change our lives...or is it our reactions to events that change our lives?

For example: Two people can be driving along and suddenly hit a flurry of traffic. One person may succumb to this situation with anger and bitterness. While another may blast a Frank Sinatra CD, enjoying the extra time spent in the car singing her lungs out (that would be no one I know persoanally).

The event changes both of these lives (they will arrive late to their destination, thereby setting off a chain of other events, etc). But it's really the reaction to the event that impacts our personality, our health, and our relationships with others.

Is this all too confusing? Perhaps...but it's food for thought. Probably only food for my thoughts.

So, there you have it...a glimpse into my mind. Now you know what's running around loose in there.

If you care to comment this year...be my guest. If not...I'll know not to ask this question again next year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How I spent my Thanksgiving vacation


You may have noticed (or NOT) that I have been suspiciously quiet these last five days on the blogosphere.

Perhaps you have been enjoying my absence :)

But, guess what...I'm baaaack!

I left for the east coast last Friday, returning to L.A. today. I surprised my brother and sister-in-law for her 5oth birthday. They had no idea I was coming. Even my mother, who left five days earlier from L.A., had no idea I was coming. Only my, niece, who I recruited as my chauffeur, was privvy to this great caper of mine.

I haven't seen my big brother for 2 years...my sis-in-law for 3 1/2.

When I learned they were having a birthday party, I immediately decided that I wouldn't be attending. Afterall, it was Thanksgiving weekend, the busiest travel weekend of the year.

But about a week prior, something inside of me clicked. I remember hearing stories throughout my childhood, about people who found the money and time to attend funerals across the country, but wouldn't go while the person was alive. I didn't want to end up being one of those people. I wanted to be there with them to celebrate, and not wait until tragedy struck.

I really wanted to be there.

So, I figured out a way to go and not miss Thanksgiving with my husband and kids. And...to avoid the nightmare of travelling.

My thought was, that by Friday, everyone would have reached their destination for Thanksgiving, so the travel would be light. I would return Tuesday, after everyone had made there way home from the holiday weekend.

And boy was I right. The plane was only 85% full on Friday, allowing me to have a full row of seats to myself! And today...zipped right through security, little crowds, and our flight was smooth sailing.

I had a wonderful weekend. I am so grateful for the relationship I have with my brother and sister-in-law, nieces and nephew...even living 3000 miles away from eachother.

I even played a new game...Scattegories...almost as much fun as eating icecream.

I did the right thing this weekend. I filled myself with a wonderful, loving, Thanksgiving dinner with my husband, children and extended family. And then spent the weekend filling myself with memories and love.

So that's why I've been missing from the blogosphere the last five days.

...just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The sentence finisher


One of my favorite t.v. shows of all time was Seinfeld.

He managed to take the mundane moments of life and turn them into an hysterical 1/2 hour show that we couldn't wait to view every Thursday night for years.

One of the watermarks of a Seinfeld episode, was his ability to make an everyday behavior bigger than life.

One episode that clearly stands out is that of the "close talker", played by actor Judge Reinhold.
(pictured above in Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

You know this person... the one that invades your space, your personal invisible boundary, moving right smack into your face while talking to you.

The other day, my husband noticed something about a friend of ours, that I had not been aware of.

He finishes your sentences...he's a sentence finisher!

I couldn't help but laugh hysterically, thinking, this is one episode Seinfeld missed!

This is the person who, while you're talking, is busy thinking up the best ending to your sentences or sometimes, your entire story. Before you can spit the words out of your mouth...they have already judged and executed the remainder of your story.

Now, if you're a brand new couple, this behavior is quite adorable. "Oh, don't you just love Susie and Joe together...they're so in tune with one another that they finish eachother's sentences".
"How romantic, how cute, how adorable, how endearing...they complete eachother".

Of course, cut to that same couple 20 years later, and Susie is reaming Joe for constantly cutting her off, never letting her finish a sentence, or get a word in edge-wise, and for doubting that she has a valuable thought in her head.

Joe is screaming at Susie for being a blustering loud mouthed bitch, who never shuts up unless she has a bowl of icecream in front of her.

(no, no, despite what you may be thinking, I'm not talking about me and Mr. Cruisin...he knows to keep his mouth shut when I'm talking).

Now, if you're not a couple, and just two people talking...it's a little more difficult to lambast the person for cutting you off. I mean, afterall, that lambasting should really be reserved for those closest to us...wives, husbands, children, parents...you know, the people we love and care about the most.

Never waist a good reaming on someone you don't really care about intimately and passionately.

So what to do when confronted with this kind of person? I say, why not have fun with it.

And here's how...

See how many sentences or stories you can start, and have that person finish. You know, kind of like mad libs or a sentence completion game. Become a sentence-finisher enabler!

Keep score in your head. How many sentences were they able to complete? How many entire stories of yours did they already know the ending to?

And why not just keep increasing the stakes as you go along...start telling about your bathroom habits; relay a story about your sexual escapades with your husband...

and see where the sentence finisher takes you!

Yahoo...what fun!

So, the next time you find a sentence finisher's behavior annoying, it's time to look in the mirror, girlfriend (sorry if you're a guy...what's the guy equivalent to girlfriend?) and ask yourself...

How have I let this person down? How have I not enabled them in becoming the most proficient sentence-finisher they could be?

Perhaps you have been unwilling to share, openly and honestly. What's a little sexual escapades story among friends...

And bathroom habits? ...why, crap, I've already shared the intimate details of my colonoscopy with you...

Perhaps we can do a "sentence finishing" test run right here...go ahead, fill in the blanks.

Okay, here goes...

last night Mr. Cruisin and I.........

Sunday, November 19, 2006

another day

How observant are you?

Yeah...YOU!

C'mon, look around...notice anything different? Look up...keep going...your getting warmer...yep...that's it...my ramblings are now from a "51" year old wife and mom.

Yesterday, I turned another page in the book of Cruisin-mom.

51

Funny, it smarts just a little more than 50. Don't get me wrong...I'm not unhappy to be here. In fact, I love my 50's. It's just so damned weird to say...

"I'm in my 50's".

How can it be? "And yet, everything around me and about me, tells me I am in my 50's:

I flash.
I have grey hair (well, under the brown dye).
People in their 40's call me "ma'am".
The kid at the movie theatre offers me a senior ticket.
I don't sleep at night.
I remember with great clarity, the Beatles visit to Ed Sullivan.
I voted just a "little" Republican (but mostly Democrat) in the last election. (HORRORS)
I prefer to go out to dinner at 5:00 rather than 8:00.
People are talking to me about their bowel movements.

It all points to the "50's".

But it's okay, because I'm not alone. The planet is lousy with baby boomers. And we happened to see one of them last night doing a one-woman show.

Carrie Fisher (princess Leia), just turned 50. She is performing a brilliant one woman show at the Geffen theatre in Westwood, CA. called Wishful Drinking.

We arrived at the theatre about 45 minutes before show time, and thank goodness we did. What a people watching lalapalooza it was. We even saw Carrie Fisher enter the theatre right through the front doors, as they have no artist entrance at the Geffen.

Rob Reiner (Meathead to those of you old enough to remember All in the Family), was in the lobby waiting too...he did, afterall, direct Carrie in my favorite movie When Harry Met Sally.

Her show covered her life, from her birth into Hollywood royalty (Debbie Reynold's and Eddie Fisher...or as she put it for the younger people..."the Brad and Jen of this era, with Angelina Jolie being their Elizabeth Taylor")...through her pivotal role in Star Wars, her marriage to Paul Simon, her boughts with drug abuse, rehab, mental illness, the gay father of her child...right on up to the present.

She was funny, engaging, heartwarming, and who knew she could belt out a tune?

And...Mr. Cruisin managed to once again...LISTEN!

I mentioned that I'd love a digital camera for my bday, and what did he do? He surprised me with the Canon powershot and a printer to boot!

Now, although this camera seems to have every possible function known to man...
don't expect any pics of me.

For some odd reason, they left off the "make the 51 year old broad look 25 again" function...so...

NO PICS FOR YOU!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Take me home

Curtis, the take home chef
inspired by Neil

On my third date with Mr. Cruisin', he brought me back to his house and cooked me a meal.

Yes, it worked...I was duly impressed, and knew that this was the man I had to marry. Let's not forget this is the same man who had decorated his livingroom with splashes of mauve (oh relax, it was the '80's you know).

We dipped cubes of sourdough bread into a lovely fondue, as we gazed into eachother's eyes.
We drank wine, and laughed, and talked...all the while I was thinking...Yep, I could do this the rest of my life.

Well I fell for it, hook, line, and cheese. Months would go by before I would wake up and notice that this guy hadn't cooked another meal for me.

Now don't get me wrong...he took me places and bought me plenty of meals...but the actual cooking of one? ... uh, uh...no where in sight.

Once we married he, of course, cooked meals here and there...but few and far between. Now, I will say that no one makes a turkey sandwich like my husband. And he does have a rare talent of turning a watermelon into a hippopotamus.

But just last month something changed all that. We happened upon a t.v. show on TLC channel called "Take Home Chef".

A chef named Curtis, picks up babes (well sometimes men, but mostly hot babes) in one of the fancy markets in L.A. (Gelson's or Whole Foods). He helps the woman pick out ingredients for someone's favorite meal...a husband, friend, children, roomate...and together they go back to this person's home to cook a meal.

The idea is that whoever the meal is being cooked for, will come home to this wonderful surprise of this strange chef and an entire camera crew in their home.

Now, Curtis, a hunky, friendly Australian, has a wonderful way of cooking...you know...a little of this, and a little of that...but everything must have olive oil in it.

While cooking the meal, he is completely flirting with the hot babe, but all the while we, the viewers, are learning all about how to cook this fabulous meal.

Well...Mr. Cruisin' is completely enthralled with Curtis. I'm not sure if it's Curtis' hunkiness, or the Australian accent...but Mr. Cruisin' can't wait for this show to come on.

Am I worried about this unusual attraction to Curtis? Hell no.

And here's why:

Every time Curtis cooks...Mr. Cruisin' goes rushing to the market and cooks up the same thing!

Tell me this isn't like striking gold. My husband has been inspired to cook, all because of one hunky Australian.

Several times a week I come home to the smell of something incredible wafting through my home.

And there's Mr. Cruisin' practically dancing around the kitchen...shaking salt and pepper and olive oil anywhere he can. It's the most excited and animated I've seen the guy, since thinking he could be the next American Idol.

Thanks to Curtis...my husband has become a chef extraordinaire.

So girls, the lesson here is to never give up hope...just when you think that after 21 years you may never get more than a turkey sandwich...something happens to turn your world, or should I say kitchen, upside down.

Although, don't tell Mr. Cruisin'...but everytime I go to the market, I get all dolled up, waiting for Curtis to come find me...

Afterall...

I am a hot almost 51 year old babe.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Area 51


I can't believe it.

I'm eating my ice cream and watching Desperate Housewives, and on comes a commercial for Christmas.

And then another.

HUH?

Is it my imagination, or does the whole advertising thing get started earlier and earlier every year?

I just finished stuffing all of the left over Halloween candy down my throat...the Thanksgiving turkey hasn't even been captured, and already the Christmas ads are here.

In these commercials, it's snowing.

Of course, here in L.A. it's 90 degrees.

And if I don't buy Hanuka invitations soon, the only available invitations and decorations will be for St. Patrick's day.

Do you think a Shamrock can pass for a Star of David?

In the midst of all of this...I'm turning choke, cough, choke 51 in less than two weeks.

Things are spinning and spiraling faster and faster each year.

Unfortunately this includes my body parts. And they aren't spinning and spiraling in an upward motion if you get my drift. Well, that's a post for another time.

Anyhoo, back to the holidays. And my birthday. And trying to figure out how it is that I am turning 51, which somehow feels even more surreal than turning 50.

When you turn 50, even though it's old (don't believe 'em when they tell you that 50 is the new 30), people make a big deal out of it. After all, it's a milestone right?

But 51, well...let's just say everyone "fuh-gets" about it.

Now, not only are you old...but no one really cares.

So this year I took the bull by the horns and decided I would go see my look-a-like in a one woman show the night of my birthday. I'm draggin' Mr. Cruisin along.

Poor guy, never in his life did he dream he'd be sleeping with a 51 year old broad.

But that's how life goes...one minute your a hot 25 year old babe...the next minute you're hot alright, but it comes in flashes.

So, while scarfing up the rest of the Halloween candy, and preparing to capture my Turkey, I will try to enjoy these next two weeks and bask in the glory of being a 50 year old.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm singin' and dancin' in the...SHOWER?


I don't think I've made it a secret that I love "Dancing with the Stars".

Call me shallow, call me what you will.

I have racked my brain about what it is I find so irresistable about this show.

Is is the stars themselves? Is it the professional dancers? Is it the live band trying so hard to do their own special rendition of songs we all know? Is it the amazingly skimpy, sexy costumes that I could only fantasize about wearing? Is it Joey Lawrence's bald head?

Perhaps it's all of that.

Mostly, I just love to watch dancers. I am awestruck by how one can move and contort their body in such a way, that it becomes a beautiful dance. It seems unfair that only a select few have the true capability to do this.

Are you born this way or is it training?

The other day, I told a friend that I have two fantasies...to be a dancer, and to be a singer.

Now, mind you, I have no aptitude for either. When I sing, my kids ask me to please "SHUT UP" (but very politely, mind you). When I dance, well, let's just say Jerry Springer and I would make perfect dance partners.

This friend told me "you can do both Cruisin'...all it takes are some lessons". I laughed, rather loudly, in her face.

Really...can you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Can you make Audrey Hepburn out of Mama Cass? (of course Mama Cass could sing, couldn't she?) Can you make Fred Astaire out of Herman Munster?

I mean, come on, they couldn't even make "Britney Spears" out of Britney Spears.

So, no...I don't think you can make Paula Abdul out of Cruisin-mom.

But one can continue to fantasize, right?

So, this morning I'll go into the shower, like I do every morning...and put on a great concert.

(oh please...like you don't do that?)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

would you like that warmed up?

(this post inspired by Wendy)

I love coffee.

I started drinking it when I was 16 and never looked back. I suppose at the time it was the one thing I could do to feel mature...sit in Dupar's coffee shop and drink coffee...just like a grown-up .

My little Russian Nana (grandmother) used to ask me: "Honey, vhy do you drink that dirty vater?"

Yeah...tell that to Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. Who knew, that 20 years later that dirty vater would become an industry unto itself. (well, not that coffee wasn't already an industry, it's just that who knew it would become a "designer" industry).

And why is it that Starbuck's is so popular?...How come people flock to pay $3.00 for something that was only 50 cents, with free refills to boot, not so long ago?

Now, this may surprise you, but I like my coffee black. That's right, you heard me; BLACK. None of this wussy cream or sweet and low or sugar for me...uh uh; oh no.

What is it about coffee that makes it so irresistible? I can't get enough of coffee flavor.

I love:

Coffee icecream (yeah, now there's a surprise)
Coffee candy
Coffee yogurt
Coffee cake (does that count?)

Now, I'm sure the caffeine has nothing to do with it. That morning jolt and rush, that comes after those two mouthwatering cups that I savor each morning means nothing to me. Really.

It's simply the magnificent flavor that beckons me back everytime.

But I started to think, what has coffee meant to me throughout my life? As I approach the ripe age of 51, I realize that my coffee habits are simply a reflection of my life stages.

As a teenager, coffee was the gateway to dating. It meant staying up late, talking, giggling, and flirting. Yes, drinking coffee was just part of the early mating ritual. If you drank coffee at 16, it signaled to the boys that you were "mature" enough to date.

On to college. Of course, coffee is mandatory in college. How else can you pull an "all nighter" that it takes to start and finish a 20 page paper that's due the next day? In fact, I'd have to say that through my twenties, coffee was essential.

Coffee got me up every morning to face a treasure trove of jobs all through my twenties. It kept me going at night so I could stay up late, while my girlfriends and I were on the hunt for the perfect man each weekend. Did I just say that out loud?

thank goodness Mr. Cruisin came along when I was 27...that hunt was getting pretty old. Perhaps having Dick Cheney along would have sped things up.

Coffee shops were where some of my most memorable conversations with friends about life, love, politics, and religion were held into the wee hours of the morning.

Marriage and then babies came along. You know, those sweet little beings that, although under 2 feet tall and often less than 8 pounds, control every move you make. Within a few months, I actually began to look like I could've auditioned for a part in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.

But once again, the faithful java was there...waking me each morning, so I could perform my motherly duties.

And all through my forties and now into my, ahem, choke, cough, fifties...coffee has been a social bridge.

The local Starbucks on a Sunday morning, for many years, was the place to be. After the movies on a Saturday night, let's go out for coffee. Now, I'm too lazy to go out to Starbuck's on a Sunday morning, and who bothers with the movies anymore...finding a good one is almost impossible.

But the last several years, coffee has continued to perform a very important function.

Each and every morning, Mr. Cruisin and I sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee. This is where we quietly, calmly discuss:

our lives, children, politics, work, what's broken and needs to be fixed, who is ill, and who is doing great things, will we always stay in this house, should we go out with so and so next weekend, didn't you love Grey's Anatomy last night dearest (yeah, he really says that to me), what's for dinner tonight, and what's on your agenda today.

A simple cup (or two) of coffee in the morning has become our anchor. Every morning is spent connecting through coffee. It's the time we simply talk, with few distractions. Our children have left for their day, and we are free from responsibility and duty. Okay, maybe it's only for 50 minutes...but 50 minutes without distraction is like 500 minutes in dog years (or something like that).

And so it seems that coffee has done more than provide that extra jolt needed to get going in the morning.

It has provided the stability, routine, and warmth necessary for two people's hearts and minds to connect each and every day.

Hmmmm...maybe Howard Schultz knew exactly what he was doing.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shine



When you hear the word flashing, what comes to mind?

Well, of course, your local pervert in the latest London Fog trench coat, right?

Unless you happen to be a 50 year old woman. Then the word flashing takes on a whole new meaning.

And it ain't pretty (not that your local pervert flashing his wares is, mind you).

Yes, it's finally happened. You perimenopausal ladies know the mantra...the dreaded question that we can't seem to stop asking...

"Is it hot in here, or is it me?"

I can hardly stand hearing myself ask this question...I can only imagine how my poor husband feels.

But, alas, this is my new reality.

Of course Mr. Cruisin is sure I'm hot all the time because that's what naturally happens when women are near him. I, of course, lovingly assure him that is not the case.

With my new found condition, I seem to be up most of the night, shall we say, glistening.

And figuring out what to wear for the night's retire, has become quite the challenge. I start out cold, since temperatures here in L.A. are dropping to a low 50 degrees at night (sorry east coasters).

A nice pair of sexy flannel p.j.'s call out to me. I climb into bed, fall asleep, only to be awakened by a cold sweat. There. I've said it...

SWEAT!

My next move is to change into something more comfortable. Out comes the summer sleepwear, and all seems right with the world again.

Back to sleep...only to awaken a few hours later...FREEZING.

And glistening again.

Back to the sexy flannels. This quick change of costume continues throughout the night.

All the while, my husband is comfortably "sawing logs" next to me. How nice for him.

Before I know it, the alarm is sounding off, and it's time to wake up. WAKE UP? When did I ever sleep?

Now, the good new is, I have the television to soothe me while I drip. Who knew that T.V. in the middle of the night could be so educational. I have learned more about diets, exercise, hair products, Suzanne Somers, and GIRLS GONE WILD than I ever thought imaginable.

All the while, I try to grasp the purpose of this nightly shvitz. After spending years experiencing the joys of our once a month visitor, this is our reward? Why does mother nature want us to glow and drip at this particular time of the lifecycle?

I would have to say the answer to that one, is the answer to everything else in life...SEX. I mean, come on, what's sexier than a woman in flannel p.j.'s sweating profusely? Let's not forget the fact that I'm up all night, ready to go.

But, there's more:

Why, sweating is just like being on vacation in Hawaii all the time. In fact, I've added a blue drink with a little umbrella to my nightly regimen.

And you know what? My skin has never looked better. It's like a free facial every night.

Getting up to change outfits all night long, is better than aerobics.

I guess this flashing thing isn't so bad afterall.

My message to menopausal women everywhere is this:

Don't worry, enjoy the drip and don't sweat it...

turns out...

this is our shining moment.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sagging and Loose


It is the day before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. The day when Jews around the world ask God's forgiveness for sins committed over the last year.

My beloved husband comes to me on this day to announce:

"Cruisin...your front end is sagging".

Now, I realize that an important component of atoning is a willingness to be honest with yourself and your loved ones. So I decided that I must be one lucky woman to have a husband who is willing to be this open and expressive.

As if that isn't endearing enough...he continues from there.

"...and your bushings are loose".

Wow, at this point my heart is all a flutter, and quite frankly, I'm feeling pretty hot.

"I've got a brand new part that's strong and erect, not like the last one that was all floppy and flimsy. Give me about 5 hours and I'll have the job done".

That was it. I knew I had to prepare, and fast.

I ran to the drawer to pull out the little Victoria's Secret number I had purchased for my colonoscopy, because afterall, how often does your husband of 21 years announce that he's going to spend 5 hours getting the job done?

While I spent the next 1/2 hour readying myself, Mr. Cruisin was in the garage tending to who knows what.

I showered, powdered, put on a little lipstick. I even brushed my teeth. A dab of perfume, and I was ready to go! Why this almost 51 year old broad was feeling 38 1/2 again!

I waited patiently until I could wait no longer.

I stepped into the garage only to find Mr. Cruisin on his back.

Woah...in the garage? Well, that would be a new one, but hey, you only live once, right?

Except for the fact that he was on his back...underneath my car.

When I asked him what he was doing, he exclaimed:

"I already told you. Your front end is sagging and your bushings are loose.Those new parts arrived, and I'm under here fixing it for you. You'll need to give me about 5 hours to get it done".

"And by the way...why are you wearing that ridiculous thing from Victoria's Secret?...didn't you get that colon thing done already?"

Well, that was that. All my hopes, dreams, and fantasies thrown out in one fell swoop.

But, just as he had promised...five hours later, after a long hot shower and a couple of Advil, he had gotten the job done.

And there was Mr. Cruisin, sprawled out, waiting for me on the sofa...

snoring.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Glazed


inspired by Neil's latest post.

We all know there are many things that influence who and what we become in life. That being said, I must confess, that the donut has played an important roll, oops, I mean role, in my life.

From the time I was a tiny girl, I can remember my grandpa giving me this advice:

"As you go through life, keep your eye on the donut, and not on the hole".

For years I wondered what this meant. I liked the sound of it. Afterall, what could be better than being told to look at donuts?

Well, in my estimation, being told to eat them would have been better.

But I accepted this sagely advice and went about my life.

I spent the first five years of my life in Inglewood, California. Some of you may know this as the original home of the Laker's (the Forum), but what you may not know is that Inglewood is the home of Randy's Donut's.

I always thought it was amazing that a donut shop had been erected in my hometown and named just for me. But I could never understand why they didn't spell it correctly (you know, with an "i"). When I was five, we moved to the San Fernando Valley. I never had a Randy's donut in those five years, and never have since.

The years went by, and Winchell's donuts became the consummate donut of choice. It was at Winchell's, that I would learn to truly love and respect the glazed donut.

In high school, as I have mentioned in a previous post, Westwood was the place to be, and many Friday and Saturday nights were spent leaning at the counter of Stan's donuts.

In my college years, I would master and perfect the art of donut eating. Going away to college was eye opening to say the least. You are afforded a new independence that extends to all levels of your being...one of those, of course, the independence to eat whatever foods you so desire.

No longer could my mother tell me what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat.

And what better way for a 19 year old to manifest that independence than to eat donuts? (None, I dare say).

So, thus began my journey on the road of differentiation. In order to strike out, and be different from the generation before me, I knew I would have to eat donuts.

One might think that one donut a day would be enough to achieve this goal. But noooo...I would begin each morning of my college career with not one, but FOUR glorious donuts.

Yes, it's true. (oh...maybe that's why I had packed on an extra 20 pounds by the end of senior year).

When college was over, I moved back to West L.A. into a tiny apartment that was coincidentally (yeah, right) within walking distance to, you guessed it, a donut shop. Arlene's donuts. The most amazing donuts this side of the Mississippi.

It was there that I would learn about inner strength and control. I learned that it was possible to eat one donut a day, and still enjoy the independence necessary to differentiate from the generation before me.

(Arlene's donuts has since been torn down, and resurrected as none other than...Starbuck's)

I was beginning to understand the lesson my grandpa was trying to teach me, all those many years ago.

Imagine my confusion, though, when the donut "hole" was invented. Which was I to keep my eye on now?

As the years sped by, my donut intake would lesson. Diet fads would come and go as quickly as first dates...leaving me no choice but to dump the donut. No fat, low carbohydrate, no sugar, protein only...all of these were to leave no room for the donut.

But in my 30's all that would change. With the birth of my sons, the donut would re-enter my life.

For those of you who have children, you know that a sporting event, a birthday sleepover, or just a plain old Sunday morning, is not complete without donuts.

When my children were old enough, we began a tradition. I would take them to the local donut shop (as good as Arlene's by the way) the first and last day of school as a celebration of sorts...a rite of passage, if you will.

As we sat and indulged in our donuts, I would gently pass on the sagely words of my grandfather. I did not take this responsibility lightly.

It is a rare occasion today, when I actually indulge in a donut. But I stick with the donut that got me through those tender early years of life. The donut that taught me the lessons my grandpa so wanted me to embrace.

The glazed donut was and will always be the donut of my life.

And, I now know what my Grandpa's advice was all about.

He knew that to get through life, you must remain focused on what's real, solid, and not full of "air".

I suppose, that without really knowing it...I did just that. I've never been one for flighty dreams, or unrealistic thoughts. Some may call that boring. I call it down-to-earth. Some may call it unimaginative. I call it matter-of-fact.

Because I kept my eye on the donut, I attained much of what I had set out to achieve. That's not to say that life is not without it's ups and downs (some more down than up).

But I have figured out what's "real", and that's where I focus myself. My heart and soul center around my family, my work, and all that is real.

And that is my "donut" these days.

Now, if you'll excuse me, all this talk of donuts has made me hungry.

Think I'll go eat a...

glazed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saddle shoes



I love fall.

I'm not really sure why. Perhaps it's the idea that order, once again, sets in.

School begins, holidays abound, the new season of t.v. shows commence.

When I was young, I remember anticipating the start of school. I knew that a new pair of shoes (black velvet saddle shoes are among one of my favorite memories) and perhaps a few new dresses or skirts were coming my way. A trip to the dime store (yes, I'm dating myself with such language) for new school supplies was always on the schedule.

(Just an aside...I think saddle shoes are the greatest...I don't understand why they haven't made a comeback...maybe I'll start the trend...if you see someone strutting her stuff in saddle shoes...you'll know it's me).

My grandmother was a talented seamstress, and would actually sew beautiful dresses for me. My 7th grade picture was taken in a dress she made for me in "psychodelic" fabric. Yeah, yeah... psychodelic was actual terminology of the day (late 60's), thanks to Timothy Leary and a few little acid trips he took.

It seems that today, we aren't really allotted the time or space to just enjoy the fall. The season has barely begun. Here in L.A., I don't think a leaf has even had the dignity of turning a different color (and yes, leaves turn, even here in lala land)... and Halloween is already being forced to compete with Christmas decorations and gift items.

And what about poor Thanksgiving? What's a turkey to do? Pushed aside for the sake of a pumpkin and a tree.

But, nonetheless, this is still and will always be, my favorite time of year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

McDreamy

Well, the new fall season of t.v. has begun...

Life just doesn't get any better.

Deal or No Deal...BACK

Dancing with the Stars...BACK

Grey's Anatomy...BACK...McDreamy is back, girls.

Need I say more?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Bunch of...

Okay, so how do I say this nicely?

You guys are a bunch of suckers!

You couldn't tell from that amateurish writing that the last post was written by none other than...

ME?

Geesh.

Your comments blew me away.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Other Me


I found this children's story.

It was a day I would always remember.

The beginning of fall, the end of September.

I ran home from school to lie on my bed.

Events of the day swirled through my head.


What could go wrong did so for me.

Starting with recess…a kick to the knee.

When teams were chosen, I was called last.

Stuck with the “losers”, it happened so fast.


When I answered, “Who sailed the ocean blue?”

My only reply was “1942”.

The class roared with laughter, I turned bright red.

I couldn’t wait to get home to my bed.


While wrapped in my blanket, day became twilight.

At once, something flashed, so big and so bright.

It flew past my window, I’d never suspect…

What I would see next, just wasn’t correct.


I opened the window and all I could see

Was a downright, completely new kind of me!

I thought and I pondered, “What’s happening here?”

I looked even further, but all was not clear.


I glanced to the left and then to the right.

The me over there said, “Hold my hand tight”.

“I’ve got plenty to show you, don’t be afraid”.

“Beyond this window, new dreams are made”.


I climbed through the window and there it stood.

The world’s largest slide, carved out of wood.

I sat on the slide and down we went,

While screaming out loud, “Where am I being sent?”


At the end of the slide stood a big sign,

“As you go through life, don’t merely recline”.

“ Don’t just sit back!” it went on to say.

“Life is a journey, you take each day”.


“You’re in charge of your feelings”, the other me cried.

“Just do your best and always take pride!”

We continued to walk through giant, lush trees.

The other me spoke, I listened with ease.


Was this really happening? Was she really me?

Or was it a dream, only I could see?

Time passed quickly, the next thing I knew,

It was time to go back…would she come too?


As a dazzling light flashed over my body,

I slid UP the slide, rather quite oddly.

The other me wept, and said her goodbyes,

both of us wiping the tears from our eyes.


Before I knew it, I was back on my bed,

Remembering things the other me said.

It was the day, my life changed forever.

The lessons she taught were simple but clever.


“We came through the window so you would know,

There’s always a choice of which way to go.

If you don’t believe me, just look in the mirror,

You’ll be surprised by what will appear”.


Could it be true? Do I hold the key?

The way I feel is all up to me?

All l could do, was take her advice.

I promised myself, I wouldn’t think twice.


I looked in the mirror, and what did I see?

The craziest thing…the other me!

I knew then, it was me all along.

I knew then, I could be strong.


So, if you’ve had a day where nothing seems fair.

A time filled with feelings you can’t quite bear.

Just look in the mirror…who’s looking right back?

The one you can trust to keep you on track!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Oprah, Bon Bons, and the Pool Man


It seems that much has been written about the children going back to school, so I thought I too, should jump on the bandwagon.

From the time my children were in pre-school, everytime they'd start a new school, (elementary, middle, and high school) I would cry like a little baby.

I wonder why my oldest wouldn't let me take him to his first day of college?


My kids would look at me like I just lost my mind...and in the midst of my sobbing I would explain ..."one day when you become a mom, you'll understand"...

(For some reason, my two boys never really appreciated that statement).

But for a mom (since I'm a mom, I can't speak for dads), the ritual of sending your baby out into the world is heartwrenching.

At least in pre-school, I knew they would still be nurtured for the couple of hours they were there...learning songs, reading books, and fingerpainting. So I suppose that sending them to kindergarten was the hardest. No longer would they be so coddled and cuddled.

What if my baby needs a hug? What if he has to go to the bathroom? What if falls and splits his head open?

With each passing year, this task of dropping them off to the "wolves" became a little easier. In elementary school, I became involved in PTA and volunteered in the classroom, so I would see what both the teachers and my kids were up to.

You can imagine how much my children loved having me around (stifling their independence and freedom to cause havoc and mayhem).

But I was a stay-a-home mom and therefore my duties were to make sure I sufficiently embarrassed my children all through their growing up years.

Now, what most women won't tell you, is that they're secretly thrilled when the children go off to school...THAT'S RIGHT...you heard me!

And why, you ask? Well, duh, why do you think?

That's when we get right down to the business of crackin' open the champagne, eating bon-bons, "engaging" with the pool man, taking bubble baths, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, and let's not forget, All My Children.

Without Oprah, afterall, how would I know which books to read, or makeup to wear, or how to make my man... you know..."satisfied".

When my youngest entered high school, I knew that my school volunteering days were coming to an end.

Because, here's the deal folks...and listen carefully...

No matter how cool you think you are?

YOU'RE NOT.

This seems to be a tough one for us baby boomers to swallow. Afterall, we were the generation who invented cool.

We had Dylan, the Beatles, and Springsteen. We knew how to dress and keep our bodies looking young. I made sure I watched MTV, knew the latest bands, and all about pop culture.

But, to no avail. Because every generation, just like the one before, must be different from their parents.

They must work their way toward independence and self-actualization.

They must not conform to the ways of the adults around them (although they all conform to eachother...ever notice that every generation of teenagers all look alike?).

So, what's a volunteering mom to do when those days are over? Well, I can only speak for myself, of course.

I wave goodbye to my children as they drive off to school. I lay around in p.j.'s, watching Rosie on the View...waiting for the pool man to arrive.

Okay, not really, but it sure makes for a better story than the real one.

I still get a little pang when my kid's drive off. But now I drive off too. I've gone back to work in a field I'm passionate about.

And, although I don't eat bon bons, I do admit to eating icecream every night. I've figured out what make-up to wear, and even how to satisfy my man without watching Oprah.

Life meanders and changes, slowly and quickly, all at the same time.

Sometimes, I long for the days of holding my children's hands as I gently passed them over to big world.

But the day comes when you must let go.

And there's nothing Oprah, or even the pool man can do,

to mend the little hole in your heart that's created

when that time arrives.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

There's no place like home

When I was 5 years old, we moved from "the city" to "the valley". If you live in Los Angeles, you know what that means. I have touched on this subject here.

The valley was the place that a young couple could comfortably afford to buy a home, away from the city, and raise a family.

The years I spent on this street in the valley were magical. The kids on the street, although various ages, could spend hours together roller skating, bike riding, playing hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, and just generally running through the neighborhood.

Although I spent the first five years of my life in another home, the one in the valley is where I carry the most memories of my father.

When a child experiences the death of a parent, grief is revisited over and over again as you progress through life. At each new stage you come to understand it from a different perspective. New feelings are uncovered, and hopefully an opportunity for growth is found.

Many years ago, after the birth of my second child, the enormity of taking care of two children led me to a deeper place of dealing with my grief. As I navigated through these feelings, I began to think about my home in the valley...the one I grew up in...the one I associated most with my dad.

I even began to dream about that home and imagine what it would be like to go inside. I wondered how it would be to visit the lavendar bedroom, the bathroom mirror that my dad and I would stare into together while making funny faces, the kitchen where my mom would make a proper dinner each and every night, the empty living room where I learned to do somersaults, the master bedroom where I could find safety with my parents.

It was 1993, and I could not stop thinking about going inside that home. I almost felt a sense of urgency, that somehow, walking through this home...my past...would be healing in some way.

I was able to track down the owner of the home, and wondered if I should contact them.

Imagine getting a letter or phone call from some young woman saying..."you have no idea who I am, but I was actually the little girl who lived in this house first, way before you did. I would like to come walk through the house because I have some feelings of grief I would like to deal with, so you won't mind if come right over, would you?"

Yeah, right, no problem little (psycho) girl...

But, I felt determined and certain, that this was just what I needed to heal my heart.

And, when one feels determined and certain, one will do just about anything.

I contacted the lady of the house. I explained who I was and began to rattle off things about the house that only someone who had lived there would know. (you know, kind of like the killer who knows information the police have kept out of the public).

I named neighbors who were still living there, and even ones that had long sinced moved away.

She believed me...whew!

We talked. She was kind. And even said that she would be willing to let me come to her home.

But, as life sometimes just happens...nature took it's course...

As I mentioned above, it was 1993...the end of 1993, when we spoke. A few weeks later, the Northridge earthquake would hit. We would speak again following this event, only to have her tell me that I could come after their repairs had been made.

Didn't she understand that I didn't care if she had a broken shower, or if her ceiling was on the ground? I was a woman wanting to heal the heart of the little girl inside me. Who cared about "red tags" or FEMA?

I called one more time...she made every excuse not to let me come. Who could blame her really. To her I was just some nutty woman wanting to walk through her home, searching for ghosts.

How could she understand what walking through that home could mean to me? How could she imagine the little girl who once slid down her stairs on her tummy, or ran through her kitchen looking for oreos and milk, or cried in the safety of a once lavendar bedroom?

She could not.

I never called again.

I have driven by that house a couple of times since. Each time, I hope that someone is standing outside so I can tell them my story and ask to walk through.

I drive by, hoping that I can tell them...I'm the little girl, who rode a bike for the first time in that driveway, who felt safe with her mom and dad and brother and dog and turtle, who put on her roller skates with a key, and played Barbies til dark.

Thirteen years ago, I really thought that going through my valley home would be the key to healing the wound of grief.

I now know, it's okay if I never go in. But if I happen to drive by one day, and they are kind enough to let me...

I know it is something that this little girl from the valley would be forever appreciative of.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The TOE

Well, it's time for an update to this post. I't been almost three months since my hunk of a man, decided to rebuild our patio cover.

Judging by the picture above...alot has changed in three months.

Obviously this project has taken longer than expected, taking on a veritable life of it's own. But my husband has the patience of a saint (duh...he married me, didn't he?).

Of course the summer he decides to take on this project, is one of the hottest on record in Los Angeles in years. It hasn't been easy keeping the diet coke stocked.

Every evening after slaving away at the office, my husband comes home to a home-made turkey sandwich, lovingly slaved over by moi. He then goes to work. Painting beams of wood, measuring, sawing, hammering away.

Slowly but surely, a new patio cover is coming together. All of my worries about him falling or breaking some part of his body were, of course, unfounded...

NOT!!!

Just as it was beginning to look like we were out safely out of the "contsruction" woods...this happens (in the words of Mr. Cruisin', as he describes his calamity in an email to a friend)

So there I was installing the last joist...
I position one end of the 12' joist on the outer beam and walk the other side up the ladder while it is on my shoulder.


Put a 6x8" block on the top step of the second ladder to hold the house end of the joist up and then get off the ladder and jack the joist the remaining 2" into place.

Perfect!!!. I can do construction!!! I could be on This Old House!!!

Quickly, I grab the steel joist hanger, manage to get 5 out of 6 screws in when the 6th screw flies out of the screw gun. No biggie, scurry down the ladder to grab more screws.


While I am down, I guess I can move the second ladder out of the way now that the joist is secured.

That is about the time the train left the tracks. I forgot about the 6x8x10" block of wood previously mentioned.

Newton's laws of gravity and physics are immutable and the inevitable happened. I see the block falling and pray to a higher source that the block doesn't deflect it's trajectory and go thru the slider window.


The higher source hears me, lets the block hit the third rung and land on my left foot. I guess something or someone had to pay the piper on this one. I figure it won't be that bad because I didn't go thru the slow motion thing that normally occurs during normal disaster...

HA!!! You know, it is true, one can see stars when injured if the impact is great enough. Strangely, after a couple of minutes, the second toe next to that ugly little one on the end goes numb.

Great, now I can finish in comfort. About and hour later, I take off my shoe and sock and see that my toe is the color of a ripe eggplant and approximately doubled it's normal girth.

It looked like an eggplant with a toenail on it.

So, there you have it. A broken toe...there's nothing to do for a broken toe but grin and, well, bare it.

All I can say is, thank goodness purple is my favorite color.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Threads


One day, a person appeared in my life as quickly as she vanished. She left a footprint on my mind, that has never disappeared.

It was the summer before I would turn 14. The summer of '69. While at sleep-a-way camp for 3 weeks, I would meet a girl named Jenny.

She was smart. Really smart. A bit bohemian, especially for one so young.

I instantly felt a connection with Jenny. She was a cabin-mate...one of maybe 10 other girls.
But she was the one I was drawn to.

We would talk for hours. About nature, the meaning of life, the world in general.

I'm sure I had had meaningful conversations with friends before this, but for some reason, conversations with Jenny were different. They caused me to search my not-so-very-old soul for answers and ideas that I didn't know existed within me.

When we spoke, I didn't feel shy.
When we spoke, I felt smart.
When we spoke, I felt that every word that flowed from my mouth, counted.

As a teenager, I remember that the intensity of friendships was so thick, you could touch it and sometimes, even hold it. Perhaps it's the emergence of hormones, or the fact that identifying with friends takes presidence over identification with our parents. I only know that the strength of adolescent friendships knows no limit.

I would only know Jenny that one summer. A few letters may have followed, but the connection would soon fade.

Years would come and go, but I didn't forget Jenny. I couldn't help but wonder what had become of that young, bohemian mind. I simply wanted a glimpse, but would have to be satisfied with never knowing.

People weave in and out of our lives, much like the yarn that holds together a favorite blanket. And just like a blanket, those people keep us "warm" as they pass through for that brief moment in time. Without one of those people, there would be a hole left in the blanket.

And that is why I know now, that people are in our lives at specific times for specific reasons. Some stay longer than others, some even stay forever. But each one gently and sometimes, not so gently, weaves their thread, adding to what makes us who we are today.

Jenny is one of my threads. It's strange, but somehow I know, that without her, something would be missing.

Years later, I could not tell you the content of those conversations we had. But I have never forgotten that moment in time...

when I first came to know a deeper part of me.

All because of a tiny thread

named Jenny.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Reunited, and it feels so good.

This is what many of the boys looked like when I graduated high school in 1973. Quite the "do", wouldn't you say?

High school. For many, the greatest time of life. We were young, still thin, no cellulite. Okay, a few zits to deal with, but nothing some good make-up couldn't cover up.

A time that was stress free, no cares in the world, friend's galore...right?

WRONG

High school was tough for some of us. Not unbearable, but tough. Had it not been for BBYO, a Jewish youth group for boys and girls, I'm not sure I would have had any social life at all. Through this group I felt connected...I belonged...I was important.

We had "socials" with boys, teaching us the ways of young love.
We performed good deeds, one of which was volunteering to entertain the sick children at Children's Hospital.
We had elections for board members, teaching us the ways of politics.

For me, it was life saving.

It's not as if I was unable to make friends in high school, but I just never really felt at home, until joining this group.

I attended my 10 year reunion, nonetheless, mainly because I was feeling better about myself by then. I had been dating Mr. Cruisin for awhile, had two college degrees, but most importantly...NO MORE ZITS. So...why not show-off.

I was glad I attended, and surprised by how many people had actually remembered who I was.

So when it came time to attend the 20 year reunion, I was all over it.

By then, I had all the confidence in the world. Hey, I was married, had two kids, no cellulite yet, and still NO ZITS.

I thought, why not attend. People remembered who I was at the 10 year, surely they would all come rushing over to me again at the 20 year.

I have a theory about the 10 year vs. the 20 year reunion:

At the 10 year, everyone is very busy strutting around, showing off what they've accomplished in the last ten years.

By the 20th, everyone is much more relaxed and settled with their lives.

So, the night of my 20th reunion, I was actually pretty excited. Nervous, but excited. I knew I'd have Mr. Cruisin by my side, and at the very least he and I would have a good time together.

We arrived at the hotel, all dolled up, and ready to face the class of 1973. Upon entering the hotel, there were plenty of people running around, giggling, screaming, hugging...genuinely excited to see eachother.

As Mr. Cruisin and I walked through the lobby of the Marriot hotel, I stared at the faces going by me. Everyone was wearing a name badge with a picture from senior year of high school, so that if you didn't recognize the person in the "present", you would certainly be able to identify them by the picture of the "past".

We walked around for several minutes, and I was stunned by one observation...

I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE ONE SOUL.

As we continued to stroll around, looking for somewhere to check in, I began to feel myself wilt.

It was just like being back in high school. Not one person recognized me and vice versa.

My heart started pounding, my eyes welled-up (just a little) with tears. After twenty years, was it possible that I was even more unpopular than I was in high school?

I began to feel a wave of panic rush over me, as we continued walking around, not recognizing one person.

I knew I was not popular in high school, but this was just plain hurtful. How could I not be able to recognize one person and, not one person know who I was?

Finally we found the check-in table. I told the woman at the table I was here for BLANK high school, class of '73. She looked up at me and quizically asked, "HUH?"

I repeated myself and she just stared at me.

Finally, I looked at the sign posted on the table, which stated: OTHER BLANK high school reunion, class of '71.

WTF

I was at the wrong reunion!

I knew that several reunions had taken place at the Marriot hotel, and just made the assumption that mine was there as well. I never bothered to do what most people do, which is to thoroughly read the invitation.

Fortunately for me, a company that plans reunions for high schools, had planned both my reunion, and the one I was now stuck at...so they were able to tell me which hotel my reunion was actually at.

We hopped in the car and raced over to the other hotel. I walked in and people were immediately recognizable to me. A few actually came over and greeted me too.

I met up with a group of girls I had known, even from junior high, and had a great time.

Better than I expected.

Mr. Cruisin sat back, and watched as I talked and laughed about days gone by.

In this one night, I would live through a rush of many familiar feelings...

At the first hotel, I was the young girl, all dressed up and hopeful, only to find that not one person wanted to talk to me.

At the second hotel, I was the young girl, who, for a brief moment in time...felt like she fit it.

I didn't attend my 30 year reunion 3 years ago. I didn't feel the need. There was really no one I wanted to see. I no longer felt curious. Perhaps I no longer had anything to prove.

I had come a long way in those 30 years. No longer shy and wondering why anyone would want to be my friend, or date me. I knew I'd have a better time eating icecream and watching t.v. in the warmth of my home.

Reunions are strange really. Why do we have a need to reconnect with people who were a part of our lives for one fleeting moment in time?

For some, it was the only good time in life, the only time that made sense, hence, the need to go back and relive it. For others, it's simply a time of wonderful memories to reconnect with. But for others, it may have been a difficult time of life, creating the need to go back and prove that they're okay now.

For me it was the latter.

That, and the fact that I no longer had...

zits.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hold the chicken salad

Addendum: I cannot possibly do the job that other bloggers are doing in their amazing reporting of the war. So, perhaps, if I can add a laugh or two to someone's day, in the midst of the horror...maybe that's not such a bad thing.
A scene from the movie "Five Easy Pieces" with Jack Nicholson as Dupea:

Dupea: I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee, and wheat toast.
Waitress: No substitutions.
Dupea: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?
Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelette. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.
Dupea: Yeah, I know what it comes with. But it's not what I want.
Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind.
Dupea: Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee, and a side order of wheat toast.
Waitress: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of toast...an English muffin or a coffee roll.
Dupea: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you?
Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager?
Dupea: ...You've got bread and a toaster of some kind?
Waitress: I don't make the rules.
Dupea: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Waitress: A number two, chicken sal san, hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Dupea: Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
Dupea: I want you to hold it between your knees.
Waitress: Do you see that sign, sir? Yes, you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm.
Dupea: You see this sign? [He sweeps all the water glasses and menus off the table]
This is, perhaps, one of the most memorable cinematic scenes in movie history. Partly because of the great dialogue, but mostly because of Jack Nicholson's delivery. Anyone old enough to have witnessed that scene...has it etched in their mind.

Is it just me, or does restaurant service seem to be deteriorating? Perhaps this is just a Los Angeles phenomenon.

I'm not a particularly picky person. Just because I rival Meg Ryan in When "Harry Met Sally" when it comes to ordering on the side, doesn't mean I'm picky...just means I know what I like and I'm not afraid to ask for it.

I remember having my own little "Five Easy Pieces" scene in a restaurant many years ago. I was with a group of friends in a coffee shop, late one night, to get some dessert. One of the men ordered a hot fudge sundae, with the fudge on the the side.

The waitress informed him that the only way she could bring a hot fudge sundae was with the fudge on the sundae.

He again repeated that he wanted the fudge on the side. She again repeated that she could only bring it on the sundae.

This went back and forth several times, until someone screamed out: "Does the fudge already come on the sundae, or does it come in a bottle on the side, and if so, why not just put the fudge in a bowl on the side, rather than on the sundae?"

She offered to bring over a manager. The manager came over and informed us that...Yep, you guessed it...the fudge could only come on the sundae.

We were all quite sure that we had just fallen into the movie Five Easy Pieces... except this was no movie...this was REAL!!!

A few weeks ago, while dining in a Los Angeles restaurant with two friends, one of them ordered chicken parmigiana. When our order arrived, the waiter sat down a plate of something entirely different in front of this friend. When she inquired, the waiter told her that they were no longer serving the dish she ordered, and just brought out something else he thought she might like.

HUH?...you don't inform the customer that the dish she ordered is gone, and give her another choice? Another in our party found saran wrap in his food, another's was cold, and the waiter never came back to see if we wanted anything else.

Another restaurant I frequent, brought out half a salad rather than the whole one (okay, so maybe this was the restaurants subtle hint to me to lose a couple pounds off my J.Lo derriere) that I ordered. I really didn't want to be charged for a whole one without reaping the benefits of stuffing myself with a full salad.

Well, that's two restaurants off my list.

Now, when dining at my favorite restaurant, In and Out Burger, I don't expect a romantic ambience. Therefore, little children screaming, is perhaps a bit annoying, but to be expected.

BUT, if I go to a fancier restaurant, ready to spend a bit more than the $3.00 for a full In and Out meal, I kind of expect a more subdued atmosphere.

But what seems to have erupted from this generation is complete entitlement. That means that little children rule the restaurant world. Apparently, it is no longer the obligation of parents to make sure their children behave in a manner appropriate to a "nice" restaurant.

Personally, I do not think it's the children's fault. First of all, why do parent's insist on taking small children to restaurants with white tablecloths and a chalkboard stating the specials of the evening?

When our children were young, we stuck to "family" restaurants, where if a kid acted up a bit, it wasn't unexpected. (When our kids began acting up, one of us would walk out of the restaurant with them until they calmed down, thereby not subjecting the other patrons to tantrums of my children...bad enough I had to hear it!).

And the owners of the restaurants are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they ask the parent's to corral in their children...the parent's will most likely:

leave in huff and be sure to spread the word about this "unaccepting restaurant",
do absolutely nothing,
or allow the children to step up the behavior. (yes, I've seen this happen...the parent's actually urge their children to run around the table a little faster, and scream a little louder).

So while the rest of the patrons watch in sheer horror, these families take over the restaurant, and essentially win.

But, what do they win? Tell us Don Pardo...

These parents win children that are spoiled, obnoxious, and argumentative. They win children that won't understand why no ones wants to date them, and why bosses want to fire them.

Oh well.

Sounds like I'm picky? Well then, you try taking your well deserved time out on a Saturday night, spending your hard earned money, only to have small children running through the restaurant while screaming right next to you.

When I was a kid, going out to dinner was mainly reserved for special occasions. And we would go out to some pretty fancy restaurants. Otto's Pink Pig was reserved for anniversaries and special birthdays. What a nice Jewish family was doing at Ottos Pink Pig, is beyond me...but, hey, who was I to question a free meal.

We would dress in our best clothes, and knew to act polite and quiet. If not, I wouldn't be able to order a Shirley Temple. I knew my limits.

My only question today is this...

Do you think the lack of restaurant service I seem to be receiving these days has anything to do with the fact that whenever we went out for one of those fancy dinners, my brother and cousins, and I would sit (but very quietly, mind you) and make "concoctions" with our drinks?

You know...pouring all the salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup, mustard, and anything else we could find, into our drinks...and then asking one of our poor, unsuspecting parents to take a sip?

KARMA :)