Wednesday, May 31, 2006

They don't build 'em like they used to

Yes, that's my husband. Not bad for a man in his 50's. I think he needs to work out a bit more, but, I really can't complain.

Mr. Cruisin is a remarkable man in many ways. This is not the first time I've written about my groom, and of course, won't be the last.

That's because he continues to provide me with excellent fodder for my blogging journey.

Now, unlike most Jewish men, my hunk can swing a hammer, climb a ladder, manuever a drill, tote that barge, lift that bail...yeah, yeah, you get my drift.

He must have somehow been blessed with a mutant gene, that allows him to set a plan in motion...fix, build, and just about do anything.

Thing is, he really CAN do just about anything he puts his mind to. He spends time reading and educating himself, until he knows the ins and outs of whatever it is he sets out to accomplish.

He has taken on woodworking...building two beautiful wall units, a kitchen table, and various other projects involving wood.
He can fix leaks, solve electrical problems, build gates, install broken name it...he can do it.

The main thing is, he's not afraid to try...


So, when he discovered that our wood patio cover of almost 20 years was rotting away due to termites (hey, I actually understand those little guys...they go after wood like I go after icecream) and rot in general, he pronounced that he was going to rebuild the entire patio cover.

Now, mind you...this man is well into his 50's. This is no easy undertaking for a guy in his 20's. It means tearing down all of the existing wood, moving beams, climbing up and down a ladder, bringing in new wood, painting the wood, and climbing up the ladder and carefully placing the wood to form a new patio cover.


My theory, of course, is to F*#KING HIRE someone.

Which he did actually think about doing. He even had someone come out to give an estimate. Of course the guy never called back, which set my man in motion.

Every day for about two weeks, Mr. Cruisin would walk outside...

and look up. Yes, that's right...look up.

Gaze, contemplate, think, gaze some more and think some more. If I didn't know better, I'd swear there was a Hooter's waitress sitting on top of the patio overhang that he was looking at everyday.

Truth be told, I could deal with that. Makes alot more sense to me than watching my husband look longingly at a patio cover.

But that's how I knew...I saw it coming. Each day his head would tilt just a little more. The drool became more and more prominant.

Until finally, about one week ago...he came to me and said "Cruisin-mom...I'm fixing the myself".

"Oh crap" I thought. (or said out loud, I can't remember which).

Before I could take a breath, he was hammering, pounding, and in general, ripping it up. The cover was "goin down". And that was that.

Now, I don't mean to sound ungrateful...because I'm incredibly grateful. He has saved us more money over the years, than even I can figure out what to do with.

But, it's worrisome. I worry about him climbing up and down, and straining himself. This is no easy undertaking...but can I stop him?

Pu-leeze. Of course I can't.

I tell him what I think, (you shouldn't do this, pay someone, what if you fall off the ladder, it's too much for you, blah, blah, blah) while I watch the words breeze in one ear and out the other.

And then, I surrender. I stock the fridge with plenty of diet coke, and the cupboard with plenty of chips (to keep him nourished of course) sit back, and watch my man go to town.

I married a man who is not afraid to work hard and create.

He inspires me everyday.

As I walk through my home, if you look closely, you can see my heart beaming, (remember E.T.'s heartlight?) while I spy the numerous projects that are the exquisite creation of my husband's two hands.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Like, Oh ma gawd

You are looking at a picture of Westwood Theater. Westwood is home to U.C.L.A.

And home to my teenage years.

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 60's and 70's, there were only a smattering of things you could do on a Friday or Saturday night.

And, yes, cruising down Van Nuys Blvd. was one of them. It's true, no cliche. It was like a rite of passage. We'd start at one end, and work our way down to the an Italian restaurant with the best garlic rolls imaginable. We'd go inside, buy the rolls, and gather in the parking lot.

We were actually pretty good kids...just wanted to eat and flirt. That's it. Innocent really.

But, what if you wanted to see a movie? Back then it was actually referred to as a "first run" movie. A brand new movie.

No such thing in the Valley. If you wanted to see a first-run movie, you had to go into Westwood.

Going from the city to the valley (or vice versa), is referred to as a trip over the hill. No, there's no passport required, no toll booth collecting money, no border patrol. You just get in your car, and make the trip. But the difference between valley folk and city folk continues to be a sort of war of the classes. The city folk maintain a sense of culture and sophistication. While valley folk, remain tasteless, know-nothings.

So, the trip to Westwood was essential, if you wanted to see a brand new movie. I can remember waiting in line for hours to see "The Way We Were" the rain, no less, because that's just what you did.

When the Exorcist came out, I had a part time job doing "marketing research". This meant, that at the age of 18...I actually got paid to go into Westwood, interview people coming out of the Exorcist, to garner the opinion of the masses.

Now, that was a tough job! I even recruited a couple of friends to do this with me. So there I was, doing what I would normally do on a Friday or Saturday night, and getting PAID for it. Not a bad gig.

After seeing a first-run movie, the rest of the evening always went the same'd promenade around Westwood, going in and out of shops.

There was Wherehouse Records. There was Stan's Donut shop. And a little swapmeet that was paraded out every Friday and Saturday night. We'd stroll the streets, laughing, eating, but mainly, and most importantly...looking for boys to flirt with.

When we had eaten enough donuts and flirted with enough boys, it was time to make the trip back over the hill.

But when you're in your teens, hunger is the operative word. Donuts was just an appetizer to what would come to be our staple for the late night hours.

DUPAR'S...the evening would end with a trip to the home of the best pancakes, this side of the Mississippi. And coffee...had to have lot's and lot's of coffee.

Dupar's still exists, although not the one that I frequented. That has become a deli. Not the same.

Now, you can see any movie you wish in the valley. In fact, the truth is, you never have to leave the valley. There are plenty of restaurants, and movies, and malls.

I suppose that's good for people dwelling in the valley. Less driving. Less time wasted on the freeway.

I have lived in several cities since those days of growing up in the valley.

But I'm grateful for where and how I grew up...for those drive's over the hill,

and the memories of my youth.

(this post inspired by a seemingly innocent comment on Wanderer's last post...go read it and see if you can discover the inspiring comment)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Who will you be voting for tonight?

Oh, so you think I'm shallow, because I LOVE American Idol?

Me and 50 million others...I guess I'm in good company.

I will be voting for Taylor, my favorite from day one.
(well, I really don't vote, I do have a life, you know).

He just exudes joy.

He has a great Michael McDonald type of voice.

You gotta love a guy with gray hair.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Will you still need me, when I'm 64?

Update to my last post.

This is what happens when you don't grow old with someone.

You suddenly notice their wrinkles, age spots, and not so smooth and silky skin.

How did this happen to my Paul?

Thank goodness this hasn't happened to me ;)

Friday, May 12, 2006



What I would have given to be That Girl!

I loved Marlo Thomas. She had everything an 11 year old girl could possibly dream of.

I thought she was beautiful. She was funny and smart and wanted to be an actress (well, her character did. She had already made it).

Her boyfriend in the show (Donald) was so nice and sweet; caring and attentive; and willing to put up with all her bubble-headedness. She was making it on her own and on her own terms.

She was the original Mary Richards (MaryTylerMoore show).

She was perfect!

As far as I can remember, she was the first female television character to strike out on her own.
She had not been married, widowed or divorced. Just a single woman trying to make it in the big bad world.

This was a time when women were ready to burst at the seams and become all they could be.
My role model had been my stay-at-home mom...until becoming a widow, when she had to go back to work. A few years later, circumstances would allow her to stay home again.

It gave me a chance to experience both worlds...stay-at-home vs. working mom.

I liked it better when my mom was home. It felt warmer, safer... especially at a time when things in my life had been turned upside down.

But I understood that she needed to work. It was necessary for our well-being. Children have a great capacity to understand more than we think. But because of that, sometimes we expect more out of them than they are really ready to handle.

In a sense, my mother had become "That Girl" at the same time as Marlo Thomas. But certainly not because she wanted to. She was widowed at such a young age...all her dreams shattered. Believe me, she had no desire to become "That Girl".

The feminist movement was gaining momentum, offering to bring choice, opportunity, and independence for women.

That was 40 years ago. Where are we today?

Women are often demeaned if they choose to stay home...just the opposite of the 1950's. Women who stay home, often criticize those who work outside the home. And yet, we are supposed to be able to choose.

It seems there is always a price to pay with choice.

Maybe we have too much choice today. Maybe it was better when roles were carefully defined and layed out for us. Maybe too much choice causes too much confusion.

Subsequently, male roles have changed as well. Men are not always sure how to behave. Should they be strong and independent? Should they be emotional and needy?

Of course, if they're too strong, we accuse them of being uncaring, unemotional, non-communicative. If they're too emotional, we accuse them of being weak, wussy, whimpy.

Oh brother, how can a guy win?!

I suppose the answer regarding choice is this (in my humble a opinion)...

No matter what the matter the discomfort or hostility it may bring...I believe choice is better.

Without choice, you can't grow. You can't reach your potential. You can't spread your wings and fly.

My fascination with "That Girl" was probably just that...I saw in her the chance to become something different. I saw that it was possible to spread my wings and fly.

I know most women today, do not have the luxury of choosing to stay home. Supporting a family can rarely be done with a single salary.

But my parent's generation was much more willing to go without the luxuries that we baby-boomers will not do without. (so much for anti-establishment, anti-materialism, and a general distrust of people over 30)

My mother has often told me how dinner in a restaurant was a rare treat. Going out on a Saturday night?...have you heard of a blue moon? One t.v. was all you needed. Vacations, which were few, were a ride in the car somewhere, certainly not on a plane.

My parents stretched a teacher's salary farther than you can pull silly putty. All because my mother's dream was to stay home with her children.

So is it by choice that women work outside the home? Or is it out of necessity? Do women work to fulfill a need for independence and identity? Or is it because they cannot make ends meet otherwise?

Whichever way, I commend all of us. Because there is no harder job than being a mom. No job can tug at your heart, or fill it up more.

And whether there is a right or wrong way to do it(stay-at-home or work outside the home)...who knows. I'm sure there are studies and statistics that will prove the validity of either side.

So, where are we 40 years later?

Well, when it was my turn, I decided (being a woman of the 60's and 70's), I would avail myself of all the opportunities.

I went away to college. Acquired two degrees. Began a career. And then married and had children. My wings had significantly spread. I knew that I could be the *architect* of my own life.

The funny thing is, even after all the *blue prints* had been drawn, and I had spread my wings...

I stayed home to raise our children...

By choice.
If you are a mom, I wish you a happy mother's day...
Whether you stay home or work outside the are special.

Here is what I believe: When your child comes to you, whether by giving birth or through adoption, a little piece of your heart gently breaks off and goes to that child. For the remainder of your life, you will never again feel or think just of yourself. You are forever changed.

To my mom...thank you for the piece of your heart that you gave to me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'm a perfect A*#hole

Warning: if you're under 40, you may not want to continue reading.

Yes, that's me, getting a colonoscopy.
(Maybe I should be focusing on getting a little laser hair removal).

As the wonderful joys of turning 50 continue, yesterday I experienced yet another activity in the great adventure...the colonoscopy.

Since Katie Couric has managed to drum into all of us the importance of colonoscopy, I knew that my time had arrived. It was time to partake of this dreaded procedure.

So, let's start at the beginning.

Several things would need to be done in preparation for the big event.

First: A leg and bikini wax. When you know a doctor and several nurses are going to be seeing you in all your glory, it's important to make sure you are, at the very least, smooth and silky.
(Judging by the picture above, my esthetician may be in need of a few continuing education courses).

Secondly: A trip to Victoria's secret is a must. You don't want to be caught by your doctor and nurses in an old pair of high-rise grandma underwear. A new sexy lace thong will wow the medical staff everytime.

Thirdly: 36 hours prior to the procedure, no solid foods are allowed. Liquids only.

So in preparation, a trip to In and Out Burger was made. I had to have a favorite last meal, of course, and what better than to chow down on a burger and fries. Only to return home for a huge bowl of icecream.

"Liquids only" means: coffee (thank God), soda, popsicles, broth, and water.

I made a trip to the market to stock up on all the items necessary for my 36 hour delectable feast. Lime jello, lime pops, chicken broth, and 7-Up..."diet 7-UP" of course; wouldn't want to put on any extra pounds.

9:00 p.m. Sunday evening is when the liquid diet began. By the next morning I was starving, but I persevered. I never knew broth could taste so good. My tongue was a lovely shade of green all day from my excessive lime intake.

Step four: Beginning at 5:00p.m. the evening before the procedure, I had to drink gallons of colace. This is, shall we say, the way you "clean out" in preparation for the procedure.
At 5:00 I began drinking. This stuff tastes worse than liverwurst.

Every fifteen minutes you must drink a glass-full...and wait.

Wait for a veritable explosion.

But, just my luck, 2 hours pass and...NOTHING, NADA. At this point I'm sure I'm the only person in the history of colonoscopies to not be "moved" by this disgusting medicine.
Of course my husband decides this is the time to break into his best Three Stooges impersonation, and starts paging "Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard...looks like we have to blast".

And this is supposed to

So I continue on...with courage, patience, diligence, and tenacity until...YES! I feel the earth move (well, not really the earth). And for the next four hours...I'm in, shall we say, a cleansing marathon.

At this point, I would not have been surprised to get a call from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, beckoning me to be the next "water feature" of fountains, shooting dancing water 240 feet into the air.

At the finish of my marathon, I thought, wow, I'm sure to have dropped at least 3 pounds, and quickly ran to the scale. But nope, not me...I actually put on 1/2 a pound. Geeesh, I mean, what's the point of all of this, if you're not going to drop a few pounds.

Finally, feeling clean and not so fresh...I went to sleep in anticipation of the big day.

I arrived at the hospital early, checked in, and was asked to quickly undress down to just my socks.

So much for the trip to Victoria's secret.

The female nurse came over to ask a few questions, explain the procedure, and proceeded to notify me that the doctor, anesthesiologist, and the assistant were all male. She would be in the room if I so wished.

I had to think for a often do I get to be in a room, surrounded by three men, who all are there just to stare at my tush? So, of course, I opted for the three men.

I had them all laughing and talking like school boys within minutes. Afterall, what turns on three men in their 30-40's more, than a 50 year old broad in a hospital gown, with a tube up her nose, coyly awaiting one of them to push a tube into places where the sun definitely does not shine? I mean really...what?

Next thing I knew...I was being wheeled back into recovery. I was shaking like a leaf, a reaction to anesthetic I suppose.

But here's the great part. The nurse told me that my job, while in recovery, was to pass gas! Can you imagine?...someone requesting me to, well, let it rip? Who knew a colonoscopy could have such perks. She was begging me. In fact, she wasn't going to let me leave until I had. Oh joy, rapture!

Being the lady that I am, I couldn't just begin breaking wind in front of a perfect stranger. The nurse said "oh, you want to play tough, do you?" The next thing I knew, I was hearing strains of the 1812 Overture, cannon fire and all, over the loud speaker.

Wow, what inspiration. I was right on cue with the cannons! The nurse smiled.

Having commenced with a "ripping" performance worthy of the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles, I was soon released to go home.

Accept for one tiny polyp that was removed, but hopefully nothing to worry about, it looks like I'm...oops, I mean...I have, a perfect a*#hole.

And so, another great adventure to add to my "memory book" of the year I turned 50.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Do I make you randy baby, do I?

By now, most of you realize that while Cruisin' Mom is quite a spiffy name, it's not my "real" name. My real name is Randi (although, this may not be my real name either, but for the sake of this post, let's just say it is).

Which brings me to the next question. What the hell were my parents thinking when they gave me this name?

It was 1955, and I guarantee you my parents hadn't a clue what the English version of randy (horny) meant. In fact, the story behind the acquisition of my name is really quite sweet and innocent.

My mother was dealt a first name that, while I can't reveal specifics, brought her years of teasing by her classmates. In junior high, she took it upon herself to reinvent her name, and may I say, that she did this in a most clever way. She crossed out a few letters, and the ones that remained, backwards, gave her a new name. Ingenious!

So when the time came to bestow a name on her long-awaited precious daughter, a lot of thought was poured into this decision. She did not want to see me suffer the slings and arrows of her childhood.

When my mother was a child, there was little girl living down the street whose name was, you guessed it...Randi. She never forgot the name. To her it was the antithesis of her was cute and full of spunk.

She thought this would be the perfect name for her that would never provoke that would signify a spark and a sort of casualness. She would give me a more feminine middle name, which I could choose to use, had I not liked the first name.

How much much care taken to make sure I would have a name that would not bring the hell she had encountered with hers.

As a little girl, I thought it would be cool to spell it RANDEE. I tried it for a week until I got it out of my system.

I had only met two other "Randi's" and one "Randy" as a young girl. I shared a classroom with "Randy". My only memory of "Randy", is when he ran up to me in the reading circle of 2nd grade and burped in my face. Ahhhh...the sex-play of early childhood.

I have since met only a handful of other female Randi's throughout my 50 years, so my name, to this day, remains quite unique.

Upon graduating from high school, I was forunate to do what many were doing in the '70's...the obligatory "trapsing" around Europe.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived in London. Everytime I introduced myself to a man, I received quite the look of admiration. They seemed to take a liking to me immediately. Being only 17, I just assumed that the men of England were finding me irresistable, cute, and spunky, just as my mother had hoped I would be.

Little did I know, that everytime I introduced myself, I was relaying my sexual urges. Everytime I shook someone's hand and revealed my name...I was letting them know I was ready and raring to go.

This nice, sweet, spunky girl had become a roaring tigress, with one plane ride.

To top things off, people were coming up to me in the street, asking if I had fags (cigarettes)...
Why on earth would I bring gay people to England with me?

By the time I was clued in, the damage was done. Thoughts of grandeur filled my head. At the tender age of 17, I thought I was a woman of the world. Afterall, I seemed to know how to bring a smile to the faces of men and women alike...all over the United Kingdom!

What power, what panache, what influence I seemed to have. Or so I thought. When I was finally brought to my senses upon learning the "English" meaning of my name, I was quite embarrassed. I couldn't flee the country fast enough.

What's in a name, you may ask?

Sometimes more than your "well-intentioned" parents bargained for.

Afterall, how could they predict that someday, that spunky little name would have all of London...

excited to meet me ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

5000 and counting

I love this picture. It describes exactly what I imagine a group of bloggers, meeting for the first time, would look like. How could bloggers possibly speak to one another without computers?

In June 2005, I officially set up "Cruisin-mom". I had been reading blogs for awhile by then, and thought it was about time I start lavishing a few lucky recipients with my 2 cents worth of comments.

Lucky them, right?

I knew I would never write anything of my own, because afterall, what on earth would I possibly have to say.

Well, after 6 months of Pearl and Robert pushing and prodding, I finally decided it was time to open my big mouth and put my money where my blog was.

Little did I know that up in that brain of mine, a whole lot of thoughts and feelings were just waiting to jump out and tell a story. I didn't even know I knew how to tell a story. (of course, some of you may think I don't)

But that's what I have been doing since December. Good, bad or indifferent...the stories have been coming.

I'm a shameless self-promoter. When I first began writing, I didn't hesitate to leave a comment on anyone's blog, telling them to come and read mine.

It's not because I think I have something better than anyone else to say. It's not because I write better than anyone, because God knows that's not true. It's not even because I need some ego-filling acknowledgement.

The fact is, I love the interaction. I find it fascinating, stimulating, educating, and most of all, heart-warming.

Without comments, this whole pursuit would be rather boring.

Because of this blog:

I have learned more about my religion than I knew existed.
I have learned more about conservative politics than I ever really wanted to know ;)
I have learned about what is in the hearts and minds of people spanning the timeline from childhood to adulthood.
I have learned what many women felt and remembered about becoming a young lady.
I learned to shoot a gun (OY).
I learned to bake babke (well, no not really, but I can purchase a mean one).
I have learned that many share my taste in movies and music and many don't.
I have learned that I had more to say about my dad who died when I was 10, than I could have imagined.
I have learned about the unthinkable, unimaginable grief that others are journeying through.
I have learned that my husband is a great sport and loves me to depths that even I was unaware of.

After I set up this blog last June, I never looked at it again...until last December.

What I noticed was astonishing. 87 people had come to visit my blog. And I hadn't even written anything yet! I couldn't understand why, so that became the subject of my first post.

I write this post today, because 5000 visits have been made to my blog. Thank you!

Woah...that means that in someway, somehow, things that I had to say, touched someone.
(Or not...maybe they just wanted to come see why someone had to the nerve to post such crappy writing).

Maybe someone laughed or cried, thought about things in a different way, or just realized they are not alone...upon reading something I had written.

I'm just a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend...that some people like, and some, well, maybe not so much. I'm a pretty good one special or famous.

But writing has made me feel special in a way I never expected. It has allowed me the opportunity to formulate thoughts and feelings into feel them, see them, and share them.

To me, the comments are everything.

They are what make the writing worthwhile.

They are the connection to other's thoughts, feelings, and hearts, that make this world just a little smaller, a little warmer, and a little less overwhelming.

And that just might even be better than t.v. and icecream.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How much is that doggy in the window?

This is *Beatrice* (not her real name...I am obliged to protect her anonymity).

She is a rescue dog. That means, 10 years ago, we were fortunate enough to meet and adopt her.

I was wanting a dog. We already had a cat, and a bird from hell, so it was definitely time to add man's best friend into the mix.

I knew we needed a dog that would get along with a cat, 2 kids, a bird and a husband (not necessarily in that order). So the hunt was on.

I read the newspaper daily, searching for the perfect dog to fit our requirements. One day, there it was... an ad describing a dog that had been abandoned, along with a cat, at a groomer's. She had subsequently been taken to a kennel, where she apparently resided for the next 6 months.

She was taken in by a local rescue group, that was actually in someone's home, to be put up for adoption. Upon reading the ad, I quickly called and set up an appointment to meet her the next day. My children, who were only 9 and 6 at the time, and I, piled into our big red van ( we no longer have) and off we went on our adventure to add a new family member.

We arrived and immediately met *Beatrice*. She was so shy and forlorn. Her head hung low, but her sweetness shined through. The kids took to her was love at first sight.

She was free, neutered, came with a collar and leash and 10 pounds of dogfood. And...she was returnable if we found that she didn't fit with our family.

Interesting concept, don't you think? If only this arrangement could be made with children. (I'm only kidding, or am I, no need to call the authorities on me).

We completely surprised Mr. Cruisin, who had been expecting a black full-bred lab. OOPS!

Upon entering our home, her first task was to befriend the cat. Knowing our cat, this would not be easy. This cat was a bully from the get go. He was declawed and still managed to bring squirrels and birds to their knees. Other cats ran when they saw him coming. Let's just say, that to learn this cat's last name was Corleone, wouldn't have come as a great shock.

The dog and cat were brought face to face. They looked, they sniffed, and the cat made his decision. He picked up his paw and proceeded to smack poor *Beatrice* across the snout!
He showed her. I'm grateful he didn't leave a mouse's head in her bed the next morning.

Well, the cat made his point, but the funny thing is...for the next three years (until the cat died) they slept together in the same room. They had made their peace.

I am the pooper scooper. Yep, that's my job. I wanted the dog, so I felt it was my responsibility. You know, it can be quite relaxing to scoop poop. You're out in the fresh air (well, if you can stand the smell), all alone with your's rather zen-like, actually.

So, here we are, 10 years later. No one loves me like *Beatrice*. No, really, it's true. Even Mr. Cruisin can't hold a candle to the amount of kisses and attention she lavishes upon me every time I walk through the door. I suppose that is something only another dog lover would understand.

When a pet dies, very often people go through a grieving process, equal to that of losing a human. And why not? For some, a pet is the closest friend they will ever or have ever had. I don't say that's the case for me, but I do know the day *Beatrice* dies, a little piece of my heart will be broken.

She has been loyal. She has been loving. She listens to me no matter what I have to say. She never contradicts me. She always wants to play. Even if I accidentally step on her, she forgives me. She follows me wherever I go. She wags her tail and lights up when I walk into the house.

How many people in your life give so selflessly?

I do not think dogs replace human relationships or contact. But I do think, that the love and companionship that a dog gives to the well-being of one's soul, should not be underestimated.

Thanks *Beatrice* will always have a special place in my heart.

inspiration for this post from Pearl