Thursday, February 23, 2006

Honey, does this make me look fat?


But that is how many women feel about their husbands.

I, on the other hand, see my husband as my Knight in "maybe-needs-a-little-polishing" armour. Not a perfect person, but, hey, like I am?

He is my best friend.

He is the man who thinks I look good with no make-up (well, okay, sometimes he says "hey Cruisin...just add a little lipstick").

He is the man who still thinks I'm funny, even after hearing the same old stuff for 23 years.

He even thinks my butt still looks good (let's hear it for declining vision).

No matter how many times I say, "let me just tell you how I feel about this", he takes a deep breath, bucks-up, and listens.

Even if I'm a raging, PMSing, crazed out of my mind, woman (who now can shoot a gun...scary, huh?)...he just looks at me and waits it out.

He can fix anything and build anything. You name it, he can do it.

He is unassuming and loves simple things (hence, his marriage to me).

He gets angry with me when I put myself down, or sell myself short.

My husband is not a believer in the "prescribed" holidays...i.e.,Valentine's day . His theory being, "no one will tell me how and when to love and celebrate the people in my life".

Now, while that may sound curmudgeony to is what I know.

This man has come home to me and my children, every single night of our marriage. He has never taken a trip without us. (the poor man!).

He surprises me with tickets to concerts he knows I'm dying to see (although, he forgot Paul McCartney...oh well, no one's perfect).

When I mentioned, in passing ( about 6 months prior), that what I'd love to do for my 50th bday is go to Disneyland...just the four of us...he and my kids surprised me the morning of my 50th with a trip to Disneyland. (not to mention a surprise party the next night). He LISTENED.

He surprises me with a gourmet dinner when I've been at a professional training all day. (that's more than he gets...hey, you got a problem with turkey sandwiches?)

He is the funniest person I know. (Don't tell David Letterman I said that)

He has been my number one supporter and inspiration for this blog.

Let me explain:

I have been trying to get my computer challenged brother to read this thing for months...but he is, well, computer challenged.

So, husband, who believes in my writing so much... went to the trouble of actually printing out every page of this blog, to send to my brother to read.

He did that, not because I asked him to, but because he so loves what I write and feels that my brother is missing out on knowing a different side of his baby sister.

Woah...may not seem like a lot to you...but to me...there are no flowers, or candy, or jewelry that could ever compete with that.

I am guilty of not always expressing what I feel (Mr. Cruisin's reading this and thinking, "Christ, when don't you express what you're feeling?)

I want my husband to know, that I do not take him for granted. I have known, from too early of an age, that life can change in the blink of an eye. And so, I keep my eyes wide open and take in all I can.

Afterall, how many men will sit on the couch and forcibally watch American Idol with you, while eating a gallon of icecream, and screaming: "ooooooo, Ace is sooo cute!". And let's not forget Dr. McDreamy (right, girls? are you with me?).

Just wanted you to know, Mr. Cruisin-mom...I'm still crazy about you. (okay, no jokes about the "crazy").

Most people who know you, don't know what I know.
The gifts you give are laughter and love and heart and soul. I saw those things in you, and I knew that with you, my life would be full.

I guess you are my Knight in shining armour, after all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

So, what's the deal with...

I notice there are times, I will have the very last comment left on someone's blog.

What's the deal with that?

Is it because my comment is so brilliant, no one can follow it up?

Have I stopped people dead in their tracks, because what I've said makes no sense?

Have I offended the sensibilities of the 25 other commentors?

No, really, I want to know. This is a bizarre phenomenon. And it's happened too many times to just be a coincidence.

Now, it's no secret that I think I'm hysterical. (Remember, if I'm going to spend time here inside my head, I may as well enjoy it). So, if the problem is that no one can keep up with my sense of humor, this I can understand.

But more brilliant than the other commentors? C'mon...even I know that's not true.

Making no sense to the other commentors? Well, yeah, that's a good possibility.

And what's the deal with commenting for the first time on someone's blog and getting no response? Not even a "hey", or "hi", or "welcome", or "my God, you're sick!"

NOTHING, NADA, BUPKIS. This has happened to me more times than I care to mention. Do I take it personally? Should I take it personally? What is the protocol for responding to new commentors?

Once in a while, a commentor comes along that is completely inappropriate, and then you have a whole other problem on your hands. Do you acknowledge that person? Do you encourage them? Do you delete them?

I think a blog is very personal; a part of you; an extension of you, if you will. It can be very violating when someone attacks you on your own blog.

I won't stand for it. I wouldn't stand for it in person, and won't stand for it on my blog.
Even though it's public, it is still MINE.

So, please, comment...say your peace, be funny, witty, intelligent, whatever. But if you can't be nice...then be prepared to be deleted.

And hey, if it makes you feel any better...If you're the last comment here, it probably means you were brilliant!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm Ready For My CloseUp

"In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes".
"It's not what you know, it's who you know".

Well, did I learn a lesson over the last few days.
Fame is fleeting.
And fame is best achieved when you associate with someone famous.

Now mind you, it was never my intention to associate with someone famous.
Actually, for "15 minutes", it was I who was famous.
I was the esteemed winner of Seraphic Secret "guess the 10 year old contest".

As the official winner of this contest, I was immediately sent a Chanel gown (cut on the bias, no less), Jimmy Choo heels, and Harry Winston jewels to wear while retrieving my prizes.

As many of you know by now, I went to a shooting range with Robert Avrech the day I picked up my winnings: The Hebrew Kid Book and a Seraphic Press Cap. (By the way, the gown cut on the bias was just moved, it breathed...the heels on the other hand, not so perfect...not easy to maintain a steady stance when shooting the Dirty Harry gun).

I also, as you know, brought the Avrech's a chocolate chip babke (well, actually, I had purchased two, but was so nervous about shooting a gun for the first time, I ate one of them on the way over to Robert's to calm my nerves).

I came home and immediately sat down to write about my "adventures in shooting". I knew that Robert would too, but of course, mine would be much funnier and endearing.

What? He's a professional screenwriter, you say? Don't let that impress you, no really, don't.
Okay, okay, so it is impressive that he's a professional Emmy award winning screenwriter, award winning children's book author, and well known, award winning blogger.

Which brings me to the point of this story.

I had 27 comments to my post within 2 days. A record. I was something!
I knew I was hot. I had what it takes. I had hit my stride.

And so I figured it was time to move on to my next post. I wrote a lovely, heartwarming tale about my Bird From Hell. I worked hard on the story, giving it my all.

I knew I was pretty famous now, and that of course, people would be lining up to read anything I had written.

I woke up the next morning to 3 comments. Don't get me wrong...those comments are from 3 of my loyal commentors: Pearl, Regina, and Wanderer. But that's all I got...3 comments!

Just the day before I had been famous, the toast of the blogging town...people were coming in droves just to read me.

But now I knew the truth. It was unavoidable. The lack of commentors could only lead me to this one conclusion.

I was famous by association. I was famous because I knew someone famous. I don't know, maybe it was the babke, or the fact that I could aim and shoot for the throat (heck, even Dick Cheney couldn't do that).

But my heart tells me, NO! People were coming to read me because I knew someone famous.

Whatever the reason, I now knew that my 15 minutes had come and gone. I was famous for knowing someone famous. NOT because of my great, funny, endearing, might-as-well- be-professional writing. My fame had flown the coup.

But I will persevere, move on, and continue to write. Commentors may come and may not.
That's okay...I'll always remember that special day, that moment in time that I was famous. I will always remember the Chanel, the babke, and the bullets.

And we'll always have...

The Shooting Range

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Very Tweet Story

Meet my bird. I will not reveal it's name in order to protect the bird's anonymity and privacy.

Although some of you are familiar with my bird from Seraphic Secret, I felt this bird deserved a post of it's own.

For sake of easy identification, we shall call the bird "Bird from Hell", or BFH for simplicity. (perhaps this will aid as a clue to the personality of said bird).

Nearly 21 years ago, when honeymooning in Hawaii, the hotel, in an attempt to create a tropical atmosphere, had scattered birds around the lobby and various parts of the hotel. My husband was fascinated. That was the beginning of our road into bird hell.

Years later, we were vacationing in Las Vegas, where the hotel felt it was incumbent upon them to provide daily entertainment by the pool. I guess allowing the guests to acquire the rest and relaxation that they had been pining away for, was not their idea of proper entertainment.

The entertainment just happened to be a "bird show", including several kinds of parrots doing various tricks and such. The birds were beautiful and entertaining to watch. So of course, my husband got the big idea that we needed to have this kind of entertainment at home.

Because, at the time, running after a 4 year old and 1 year old was not enough entertainment.

So, as he does with everything he takes seriously, (you should have seen what the poor guy had to go through before marrying me) he began researching the pros and cons of owning a blue and gold macaw.

To my not-so-good fortune, he found that they could easily acclimate into a family and home situation. So, about a year later, we were making our way to a bird store to purchase BFH.

Now, what you need to know about birds, is they bond with one person. Usually that person is the one that feeds and tends to them the most. So, of course, BFH took to my husband like a duck takes to water (pardon my bird-pun). Every day he would feed BFH through a tube until BFH could eat on it's own.

I have to admit, BFH was quite sweet in the beginning...even endearing. BFH would regergitate food for my husband, because that is how a bird shows love and loyalty...isn't that sweet?

Since you cannot outwardly detect the sex of a bird, we referred to BFH as a male.

As BFH grew, it became feistier, and more talkative. Never on command though...would just sit on it's perch and say "hello", hi, and could say it's name.

Since my kids could never see fit to walk all the way into another room to find me, they would yell "MOOOOOOOOOOOOM" from another room, and of course I would always yell back, "WHAAAAAAT". It did not take long for BFH to learn that when the kids yelled "mom", it was the cue to yell back "WHAAAAAAT". There were some benefits to this, as I didn't have to answer them anymore, BFH took care of that for me.

Too bad the damn bird couldn't have learned something useful, like cooking.

As time went on, the bird became, well, frankly, a pain in the ass. Messy as all get out.
And bite...this bird loves to attack...and God forbid you get near my are toast.

But, BFH was here to stay.

About 2 years ago, BFH gave us quite a surprise. For about 2 weeks, it was continually misbehaving, ripping up newspaper under it's perch, climbing up and down, and not listening at all. I thought, this is it...I've put up with enough from this damn bird...poops, bites, screaming, paper ripping...ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH!

It was the night of the academy awards and I'd had it. I put BFH away in it's cage for the night. A little while later, one of my kid's called us to come running, because the bird was SCREAMING and SCREECHING. BFH was agitated and climbing up and down the perch.

(warning: the following is graphic)

You could see the bird's rear end growing bigger and bigger, when suddenly....PLOP...out of our "Male" bird's behind, an egg came tumbling out.

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT"??? We all screamed. I of course, cried with joy. BFH was a GIRL.

After 12 years of referring to this Bird from Hell as a boy, we were now looking at a girl.

Suddenly everything became clear...BFH was not really a bird from hell. Turns out BFH had long been experiencing gender confusion and PMS. I don't know any other woman who, under these circumstances, would not have been a bitch on wheels as well.

For years, others had been squelching her feminine side, and her God-given right to want to shoot someone's head off during that special time of the month.

Since this discovery, things have definitely calmed down. Once a month we make sure she has infinite amounts of icecream and chocolate and we can safely make it through.

My poor husband can only dream about a day when I will (once a month) be as calm as "the Bird from Hell"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Anything you can do, I can do better

Did you ever end up doing something you swore you would never do? Well, today I did just that. Thanks to my friend Robert Avrech of Seraphic Secret.

Turns out...Annie Oakley ain't got nothin' on me! Yep, that's right.

Since I was the esteemed winner of the Seraphic Secret "guess the 10 year old" contest, Robert was going to send me my winnings: an autographed copy of The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden and a Seraphic Press baseball cap.

Being that we only live 35 minutes from eachother, I thought, why not just pick up my prizes directly from Robert. And while I'm there, we can swing by the shooting range.

WAIT A MINUTE! REWIND! PLAY THAT BACK!...The shooting range???

Robert has tried for nearly a year to convert, not to orthodox Judaism.
But to a gun toting, card carrying, Bush loving Republican.

HA! Who does he think he's dealing with? Me... A lifetime liberal democrat. Not so Bush loving. Not so gun loving.

Then I turned 50. And something else took over. That something else being... you better try a few things you would never try, because you aren't exactly getting any younger.

But, I thought to myself, what's left. Afterall, I've had several brushes with fame.

Jay Leno has flashed me, I've dined with the voice of Bart Simpson, luncheoned next to Mickey Rooney and I married a man who will probably be the next American Idol...what could possibly be left?

And then I remembered. My friend Robert had offered to take this mild-mannered little Jewish girl to a shooting range.

So, that was it. I knew I had to do it!

I showed up at Robert's right on time (with a chocolate chip Babka cake, because my mother taught me well. Anytime you go shooting, make sure you bring your host a babka cake. They'll appreciate the gesture and perhaps be less likely to turn the gun on you at the range).

We drove off in Robert's car, but because I talk too much and wouldn't stop hounding poor Robert with questions, we missed our exit and got a tour of parts of L.A. that, well, let's just say you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. But, not to worry. Afterall, I was on my way to becoming a "sharp-shooter".

We finally made it to our destination. Upon arriving, we were asked to sign an affidavit stating we were not crazy. I fooled them. I signed, left a thumbprint, and off we went.

Robert had 3 guns for me to choose from. A rifle and gun from the old west (just like Wyatt Earp would have used, he explained). The other, a 45 Dirty Harry type somethin' or other (well, probably not really...but it seemed like it to me).

Robert carefully showed me how to take my stance, breathe, hold the gun, point and shoot. I loaded and unloaded the guns.

And then, like Annie Oakley herself...I took my first shot. Up and over the target the bullet flew. Okay...just my first shot. No big deal.

So I kept going...bang, bang and bang again...I HIT!!! A little low, but I hit.

Now I was feeling it. Power baby, power. I continued shooting with the gun from the old west.
Until it was time to move on to the 45. I shot...woah...that thing had some power...scary.

Then it was time for the rifle...much easier...steady, aim, fire...YES...I hit the head, the abdomin, the throat.

As I turned around to report to Robert..."hey look at me, I'm hitting"...he very kindly suggested that I might not want to turn with the gun, as it was pointing toward him...OOOPS!

I continued to shoot. Hitting almost every time. Robert pointed out that I was pretty good for a first time shooter and that I had an unusual amount of hits to the throat.

"Nobody aims for the throat, Randi, that's unbelievable", he explained.

Apparently, my goal was not only to kill 'em...I was gonna shut 'em up too!

Oy, listen to me. Just yesterday, I was a peace loving, non-violent, sweet woman.

I came home to excitedly show my husband the targets I had shot at.
He's still sitting in a corner cowering.

One advantage to this whole thing? I can sit on my couch eating icecream, watching t.v. and I don't think anyone's gonna try stealing the remote from me.

No longer am I just a pushover mom, or dutiful wife... no sir, not me.

Thanks Robert...for a fun day...(and lucky for you, I'm no Dick Cheney) not so sure the rest of my family thanks you...but, hey, who cares.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Link to Letterman

Here is what I didn't reveal in my last post...

While Jay was toddling by in his stinky little car, his head swiveled, did a double take, and yelled out, "Hey, you look familiar!"

That's me, age 7. Quite a hairdo for a 7 year old, don't you think?

And those teeth...can you say braces?

Little did I know that about 15 years after this photo was taken, I would discover I had a male "look-alike".

I was always an avid Carson fan. Throughout the 1970's and 80's, I'd end each night with Johnny and his guests.

One night, a young comedian made his first appearance doing stand-up.

I was mesmorized, couldn't take my eyes off the screen. A shiver went down my spine and goosebumps up and down my arms. Every cliche you could think of, I felt.

Upon completing his routine, Carson waved the young comedian over to his desk...the holy grail of approval from Johnny Carson, that every new comedian sought.

I couldn't move, I couldn't speak. I was dumbfounded. The icecream bowl fell from my hands.

It was just like looking in a mirror.

The resemblance was nothing short of amazing. I knew in my heart that this could not be a coincidence. There had to be a connection.

And his humor...why this guy was almost as funny as me! That's when I knew for sure, that I had to find out...who was this fresh, new comedian? And why did he look just like me?

I knew these would not be easy questions to answer. My work was cut out for me. This would be my personal journey, my Mount Everest, my Olympic Gold Medal, my Oscar.

I followed the career of the young comedian closely. I would not give up until I knew...why, how could this person be my veritable twin?

Soon, he would have an irreverant Late Night talk show (predicated on throwing produce off of tall buildings) that would gather a loyal following.

As his popularity soared, my quest to find my connection to this man intensified.

Years have gone by, and I still search for the answer to my question. I may never know or understand how this man, my clone, my comedic connected to me.

But, I will continue to wonder and search and know, that somehow, someway... David Letterman and I share a link, a heritage, a genetic pool.

For now, that will have to be good enough.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My very own "Tonight Show"

Here's what I love about living in L.A.

My husband and I, unlike the normal masses of America sitting down to watch the Superbowl this afternoon, decided to go out for a Sunday drive.

It's 81 degrees here today, slight breeze, wispy clouds throughout the sky, sun shining. You couldn't order a prettier day.

As we were driving down Ventura Blvd. through Encino into Sherman Oaks, we happened upon a crazy little open-air "steamer" car, blowing lot's of stinky steam out the back as it toddled along Ventura Blvd.

From the back, we could see the man's tossled gray hair and his outfit consisting of blue jeans and a work shirt.

My husband turns to me and very confidently says, "That's Jay Leno, you know!"

Well, being the dutiful, submissive, always agreeing wife that I am...I of course, gently state back, "The hell it is. How would you know that anyway?"

My husband lovingly says back to me, "I know he has that car, because I read". (As if to say to me, "something you might like to try").

However, I continue to press on..."Yeah, but how do you really know that's Jay Leno? It can't be Jay Leno. Why on earth would Jay Leno be driving down Ventura Blvd. on Superbowl Sunday, all by himself, where everyone will recognize him? Why wouldn't he with his wife on his day off?"

It just didn't make sense.

So, I told my husband to drive up along side him, so we could get a look at who was really driving this stinky little car.

Sure enough, it was Jay Leno. Sweatin', and crankin' and working like a dog to drive that stinky little car. This man makes millions. Where was his limo? More importantly, where was his wife?

Well, now I was on a mission. I was going to get Jay to say hello to me.
And why not? If he was out there, all alone, in full view...then I figured he was fair game.

He was going so slowly down the street, that we couldn't help but get way ahead of him as we were making our way down Ventura Blvd.

So we decided to pull over (and of course get a Starbucks) and wait for him to drive by. While I stood on the street waiting for Jay Leno, my husband waited inside Starbucks, clandestinely plotting to clear the place out by yelling "There goes Jay Leno", and thereby moving to the head of the line. But he managed to contain himself.

I, on the other hand, could not (contain myself, that is)...I stood on the sidewalk...patiently waiting for Jay to make his way down the street. It took a few minutes, but there he was!!! I gave Jay a great big sexy smile (okay, it was a stupid, goofy smile, but, hey, this is my story to tell any way I please, isn't it?).

Lo and behold, I caught his eye (must have been the sexy smile)...and he smiled back and flashed me (no, don't go there) a peace sign.

So, just remember...While the rest of you were gorging yourselves on hot dogs, chips, and beer, I was having a brush with fame.

And, I know just what Jay was thinking. "What's that gal with the incredibly sexy smile doin' all alone on a Sunday afternoon?"

Translation: Geez, how desperate can that broad be, standing on Ventura Blvd. all alone on a Sunday afternoon, with nothing better to do than wave down a huge celebrity like me.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

There once was a boy...

There he was...the new boy...cute, bitchen (a term for the time), a pompadour in his hair, tan, tall, and did I mention... cute?

I knew it...he was the boy I'd marry. At the very least, my boyfriend.

His name was Marty. It was mid-year and he was brand new to our school.

It was 6th grade (still elementary school in those days) and I was 11...with the confidence of a wet noodle.

But I knew I could make Marty like me. Somehow, someway, he'd see that I was the one. The one who'd change his life. The one who would make him feel welcome to this strange and new school.

And so began my quest.

A week or so had gone by since Marty's arrival. Several recesses had come and gone. Finally, I knew the perfect time had arrived. The time to reveal myself to Marty. The time he would meet his future girlfriend, and eventual wife.

So, I did what any 11 year old girl in love would do. It had to be just the right moment...the perfect opportunity. And one day, it happened. There may as well have been a rainbow shimmering in the sky. Everything in my entire being knew that this was the moment. My heart was beating fast, my palms were sweating, my breath, shallow.

And happened. It was recess, once again. I slowly began walking toward Marty on the playground. With several girlfriends behind me for support, he was surrounded by the boys.
As my heart continued pounding, I continued walking. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Closer, closer, and closer I came to Marty.

He gazed into my eyes, and I knew this was it. My one moment in time. I walked right up to him, like a brave diva. I mustered up all the confidence I could and...
WHACK...I kicked him as hard as I could in the shin.

How else could a girl show her love, her intentions, and make her thoughts known?
There, I had done it...I had shown Marty how I really felt.

Apparently, Marty saw fit to express his feelings as well. He lifted his foot and once again, everything moved in slow motion. WHACK...he kicked me right back.

Only difference was, Marty was wearing Wing Tips. (for those of you who aren't familiar...these were hard, heavy, black shoes with a nicely formed point at the toe).

I was humiliated. Devastated. I slunk away with my head so low, it would have taken a crane to lift it. How could this have happened? How could Marty have kicked me back? How did I seem to know that his kick didn't have the LOVE behind it that mine had had?

Somehow the humiliation passed, and the semester was comimg to an end.
It was 6th grade graduation.
There was going to be a party for the boys and girls in someone's home.

I worked hard, and took my time to look pretty. It was to be my first ever boy/ girl party.
I was scared, excited, nervous...but maybe this would be the last chance to prove to Marty that I was the girl for him.

Don't ask me where the parents were, but somehow we played a game of spin the bottle.
The bottle began spinning, and I watched as it came to a stand-still.

Thank goodness it didn't come to me first.

The boy and girl kissed. I looked on as they stuck their 2 sets of lips together and didn't move. While the two held their breath...the rest of us counted the seconds out see which couple could hold their lips together the longest...1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand, and so on, until they had stuck like glue for up to 12 seconds!

My heart was about ready to jump out of my chest. I wanted to be anywhere but at that party. I didn't feel pretty, I was scared, I had no idea how to kiss. I just wanted to run.

Now, it was Leanne's turn. My bestfriend in the world. She was to spin the bottle toward her destiny. And don't you know...she spun that bottle...right to Marty! HOW COULD THIS BE?
How could my best girlfriend do this to me? And let me tell you, she did it alright! They kissed, we counted.

1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand...all the way up to 15 one thousand!

My life was ruined...over, ka-put. It was just too much to bear. Right then and there they had become boyfriend and girlfriend. My best friend and the boy I was to marry.

I don't think life could have gotten any worse than that moment. I couldn't wait to get home. I can't remember now how I got home or how quickly. I just know that when I came home, I knew I had changed. I knew that life was never going to be the same. It had happened. My first heartbreak. My first betrayal by a friend.

Life wasn't supposed to be this hard. Just the year before my father had died. Wasn't that enough? How could life be so cruel? And, yet, what I learned that night was invaluable. I learned that every boy will not like you just because you think they should. Every friend you make, will not necessarily stand by you.

These were important lessons to learn at such a young age. And I'm glad I did. I would go on to date other boys until the real love of my life would come along. The man who would see me as beautiful even without makeup and dressed in torn up blue jeans. The man who would accept my "kick" and love me anyway (and not kick back).

And I would learn, who my true friends were to be. Who would stand by and support me and not try to sabotage the things I found important.

I am grateful for these lessons.

But, I still think of Marty, and what could have been.

And what could have been was a beautiful, unscarred leg...because right where Marty kicked me, right smack in the middle of my shin...a great big scar forever remind me of the love that was never to be.