Friday, June 30, 2006

Those summer nights

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in the 1960's was magical.

There was nothing like the valley nights. The air stayed warm and still until it was time to be safely tucked into bed.

I remember the first year we lived in the valley, we had no air conditioning. We all slept downstairs just to stay cool.

We didn't have a pool, so finding ways to stay cool was the the ultimate goal each and every day of those childhood summers.

We ran through the sprinklers any chance we could.

The sprinklers were our ocean...the slip n slide, our lazy river.

I can still remember the song of the ice cream truck and the dripping rainbow popsicles.

A nice long walk to Van Nuys Blvd. ended with a double feature of Elvis for 65 cents.

Cupid's Hot dogs were the way to go. If you had some extra money, Bob's Big Boy was the way to spend it.

Outside for hours (no computers, or cell phones, or dvd's to buy) playing anything we could think of.

Statue, tag, hide and seek, cowboy and Indians, Barbie's, Mystery Date, Twister, roller skates with keys...

If you're a baby boomer, some of this might sound familiar.

Each generation holds memories that burn an unending pathway to the heart, soul and mind.

It was 101 here today. Maybe the heat is getting to me.

Or maybe it's just the memories of summers gone by.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You never forget your first

This is the link to my very first post one year ago.

Hard to imagine I had so little to say, isn't it?

In fact, I had so little to say, that I would not make another post until six months later.

But isn't that the way with most firsts? You begin slowly, awkwardly, unsure of yourself.

You practice, get more experience, become more proficient, and suddenly you're not so bad.

Some may say you're actually pretty good.

First job, first kiss, first interview, first...uhem, well, you know, first time behind the wheel of a car, first taste of icecream.

Nothing imprints itself into your heart and mind quite like a first.

Thank goodness for firsts.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


This is one of the last pictures my dad would take of me.

It is symbolic of the kind of photographer he was. My dad loved taking pictures. He would make us pose, then snap...pose, then snap...repeat.

He'd drive us CRAZY!!! The picture above, is the result of taking several pictures in a row of me with my parakeet. The sun was shining...I could no longer gaze up.


My dad would have loved digital photography. He could have snapped, scanned, created, shaped, cut, and posted to his heart's content.

Tomorrow being Father's Day, I can't help but think about my dad and all that he had missed. He would never know the technology that comes so easily to my children. To him, it would have sounded like something from a sci-fi movie or an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Imagine describing computers, and digital cameras, and cell phones, and answering machines, and ipods, and blackberries, and dvds, and tivo, and cd's to someone whose life ended in 1966.

And yet, these are all things we can't seem to live without 40 years later. Our lives revolve around this technology. How is it that life could be so different just 40 years later?

How could life NOT be so different 40 years later?

Several weeks ago, I took my husband by the house I lived in until my dad died. I pointed out how the brick walk he set 45 years ago, was still there. My husband, being the do-it-yourself person that he is, seemed quite impressed.

For just one moment, I had a glimpse of what the relationship between my father and my husband might have been. Perhaps they would have helped eachother with home projects. Maybe they would have shared a diet coke and a laugh, while building a project or two together.

I like that image...I think I'll tuck it neatly into my heart.

Being a dad is not a position for the weak. How do you balance being "the man" of the house, with being "sensitive"? How do you teach your children what you know is right and yet, let go just enough to let them grow and conclude what is the proper fit for their own mind and heart?

I would like to pay tribute today, to two men who have helped shape my dad, who you can read about here, and my husband, who you can read about here.

If my children become dads one day, I hope they will find their own way to father within the context of their unique personalities, discovering what works for each of them.

And, I hope they will remember, and come to know and embrace the the roots of loyalty, humor, and hard work from which they came.

Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Did you know I'm a Princess?

Recognize this picture? Unless you were born yesterday, it's hard to imagine you don't know who that is. But just in case you were born yesterday...I'll elaborate.

That is Princess Leia, aka, Carrie Fisher.

Twice in my life, I have been told that I resemble her. And you know what? I can see it.

Look at the babkes on either side of her head. Notice the gun. It's easy to see how someone could mistake her for me.

The first time I was told this, many years ago, I was dining in a restaurant called Ed Debevic's...a 50's diner that I believe no longer exists, where the servers dressed up and took on the character of someone in the 50's.

Toward the end of the meal, the waiter excitedly announced, "hey, I know who you look like... that girl in Star Wars".

I immediately blushed. Of course my kids and husband thought the guy had lost his mind...but I could tell, this guy could really get his "Hollywood" on. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that it was "tip" time, and the guy just wanted me to feel like a, uh-hem, princess.

A couple of days ago, I was told that I resemble Carrie Fisher, for the second time in my life. Now, I figured it had to be true...I mean, to a be told twice constitutes...a pattern...a validation, if you will.

And these people know what they're talking about. They are fellow bloggers that I had the pleasure to meet, who shall remain nameless, unless they choose to name themselves.

There was a bit of a twist to it this time. They said I look like Carrie Fisher from "When Harry Met Sally" days.

Why of course, why hadn't I seen it myself? This is my absolute favorite movie in the world. I've watched it at least 25 times. I realize now, the similarities between Carrie and I are endless.

Let's compare, shall we?

Carrie Fisher is hysterical. I'm hysterical.

She has brown hair. I have brown (gray) hair.

She is half Jewish. I'm Jewish.

The father of her daughter left her because he was gay. Mr. Cruisin is a happy guy.

She's a brilliant writer. Well, we all know, I'm a brilliant writer.

She's had a successful movie career. I have home movies dating back to the 50's that are quite entertaining.

Her mother danced with Gene Kelly. My mother, well, didn't.

And so there you have it...Carrie Fisher, my virtual twin.

And so, next time you see a gal walking down the streets of L.A. that you think is Princess Leia, just remember, you are probably looking at moi.

But, please don't approach can have your people call my people, and perhaps we'll do lunch sometime.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The lovely garment above is called a mammography cape.

Little did I know that while undergoing a mammogram, you could actually make a fashion statement.

And...a fashion statement representative of not only one, but two different decades. I first wore ponchos way back in the '70's when I was a hippie wanna-be.

A few years ago, I thought, why don't they start making ponchos again...they're cute, easy to put on, functional, and will make every baby-boomer feel young again.

Well, guess what? That's exactly what happened. Two years ago, I found a poncho. It was fantastic, freeing, youth-inducing.

So when I found this picture, I thought...perfect...just the thing for women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's to make getting a mammogram a nostalgic experience.

Little over a week ago, I had my yearly mammogram. I am diligent about this, and have been doing it every year for the last 10 years.

Today, while driving home, my cell phone rang. (well, I should say, played the happy little tune from Sex in the City).

I answered only to hear:

caller: "Is this Cruisin-mom?"
me:" Yes, it is...who's this?"
"Well, this is your doctor's office calling, you'll need to come back in to retake your mammogram".

My heart sank. I knew this couldn't be good news. I quickly asked why, and here's what she answered:

"We need to take another "view" that we were unable to get the first time".

me: "Is anything wrong?"
caller: "Oh, we just need to get another view...can you be in today at 5:00?"
me: "YES, I'll be there".

How many different things go through your mind when you are asked to repeat a mammogram? Too many to mention.

My kids, what about my kids? Who will yell at them, and nag them, and tell them to clean up, and love them more than the ocean is deep?

And Mr. Cruisin...he comes across indestructable, but I know he'd be lost without me. (shhh, don't tell him I said that).

How can I possibly do this to my mother with all that she has lived through? And my brother...who has always protected me?

Ice cream, what about ice cream? Who will win the next American Idol?

What about my dog, who follows me wherever I go?

I could go on, but as I said, there was to much to mention.

A wave rushed over me...I couldn't breath.

As I was driving home...I just so happened to see Mr. Cruisin driving down the street...I honked and had him pull over. I told him about the call. He said, "I'll come with you".

I can only imagine what he was feeling. My husband is not a "mushy" person. But I know how deeply he feels. He is a man of action, much more than words. He will do anything for a friend, no questions asked. And being his best friend, I knew he'd be there for me.

We drove to the doctor's and as we drove, I burst into tears. I admit, I was scared.

I entered the mammogram area, and asked the tech, what was really wrong. I knew it couldn't just be "the view". She told me that something had "changed", since a prior mammogram and they needed to get a better view of the area. She said a doctor would look at it immediately for determination.

Now, as any woman who has had one knows, mammogram and the flattening, stretching, cranking, and picture taking of one's breasts, is not the most pleasant experience...but you do it, because it's just what we have to do. It's well worth the early detection, and prevention, that is hopefully the result of a yearly mammogram.

I sat and waited, all the while still thinking, what will I tell my husband, my children, my mother, my friends.

Mr. Cruisin sat patiently in the waiting room.

The tech came back out, and told me everything was okay.

I quickly got dressed, came out to the waiting room and told Mr. Cruisin the good news.

He hugged and squeezed me. We both...breathed. I'm not sure who was more relieved.

I had been given a gift. All I could think about was how quickly life can change in the blink of an eye. I thought about all the women who did not get this reprieve, and bravely set out to do battle with breast cancer. I thought that perhaps, I needed to think about what was really important, and worth getting upset about.

So I came home, saw my son, and yelled at him for leaving dishes in the sink...

and I knew, that everything would be okay. At least for today.

(for another viewpoint on mammogram, read Sweettooth's post here)