Saturday, August 26, 2006


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...


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


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 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?


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...


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.


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 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...


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 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? 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?


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Weighing in on Mel (why not, everyone else is)

So, a fifty year old white guy steps out of a bar, gets into his car to speed down Pacific Coast Highway, in a bit of a drunken stupor.

Just his luck, he's pulled over by a Jewish cop. Eureka! What could be better for an anti-semitic, rich, drunk, white guy, than to be pulled over by a Jewish Cop...perhaps, a female Jewish Cop?

The rich, drunk, white guy unloads on the Jewish Cop in an anti-semitic hits the papers...the t.v. and anywhere else the story can make it's way to.

Now, mind you, rich, drunk, white guy realizes he's f*#ked up royally, hires every p.r. person available to write up an apology, and moves swiftly to make sure those words are conveyed to the media.

Not only does rich, drunk, white guy decide to cleanse his body of the evil alcohol, but realizes that his spiritual soul needs a good talking to by none other than some of them evil Jews, you know, the ones who started all the wars? Wow, we really are the chosen people! Cool!

Well, it seems that this one rich, drunk, white guy, has completely tilted the world's axis. News media, talk show radio and t.v. is all a flutter with this news.

I mean, afterall, rich, drunk, white guy is from HOLLYWOOD...what could be more important than HOLLYWOOD? Really...what?

So every talk show host has to weigh in on rich, drunk, white, guy...

"when you're drunk do you say what you mean?", "do you mean what you say", "are you revealing the real you?", "are you revealing things taught to you by your holocaust-denying father who you won't denounce while publicizing your latest works on God himself"?

Everyone from Dr. Phil to Geraldo Rivera have had something to say.

Dr. Phil wants to know "so how's that an-ti-sem-ee-tism thing workin' for ya, Mel? Why don't cha come on my show, and I'll completely humiliate you like I did Pat O'Brien?"

Geraldo said that if the world can forgive him for four divorces and finding nothing in Al Capone's vault, then the world will probably forgive Mel. Nonetheless, the Jewish half of Geraldo was quite pissed about the whole incident.

Hmmm, funny, haven't heard from Dreamworks yet...

Thank goodness this rich, drunk, white guy has given us such a story (and such a surprise) to focus on these last several days. Because, Lord knows, we don't won't to focus on those nasty little terrorists half way around the world.

Now don't get me wrong...I think rich, drunk, white guy was out of line too. Especially a rich, drunk, white guy who holds himself out as someone important enough to teach us the history of Jesus Christ.

But, quite frankly, the joke is on he has to go spend all of this time, cleansing his soul with none other than a whole bunch of them Jewish spiritual leaders. They'll probably have him dancing the horah, and eating lox and bagels in no time.

But don't worry Mel, Geraldo is right...we'll all forget about this real soon and move onto the next important Hollywood story...because afterall, that's what it's really all about it...

WE worship and put people on pedestals, people who don't deserve to be there, and then go crazy when they fall off.

Maybe we need to think about who we are worshipping and why...maybe that is the real crux of the problem.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Should we support Israel going after terrorists? Just ask a mouse.

Mouse Story ...
A mouse looked through the
crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered -
he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard,
the mouse proclaimed the

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap
in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and
said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you
but it is of no consequence to me.
I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a
mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said,
"I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse,
but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.
Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a
mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse.
I'm sorry for you,
but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected,
to face the farmer's mousetrap-- alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house --
like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the
darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake
whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife.
The farmer rushed her
to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup,
so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's
main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued,
so friends and neighbors came
to sit with her around the clock.
To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died.
So many people came
for her funeral, the farmer
had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you,
remember --
when one of us is threatened,
we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life.