Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Night Tonight

Tonight is Academy Award Night.  After all the years of watching it, I never am never bored with the parade of gowns and the glint of jewels.  For the average woman, after Prom, how often  do you get to wear a ball gown?  The Awards used to be "the" change to walk the red carpet and pull out the glam one more time.  Today, there is a award show every month.  There's very little build up anymore.  But, I am a loyal fan.  I will be on the couch, in my jammies, with my iced tea scoping out the hits and misses.  OK, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, I'll check out a couple tuxes too. Just on the side here, don't you think Brad looked better when he was with Jennifer?  Remember the shaggy Scooby Doo beard?

There are few actresses today that can display the glamour of Old Hollywood.  Catherine Zeta Jones is one of them.  That woman is ravishingly beautiful. 

The other part of it is that we don't know every iota of trivial information about her.  Good.  I don't want to.   That's why I can't add Angelina Joli to that list.  In the "Brad Years", she has become more dignified and dresses  better.  It's not that I am a Team Jennifer person, which I was, because look at Elizabeth Taylor, that husband stealing hussy, and  'm still a fan of hers.   No, with Angie (that's what George calls her so I will too.) it was that bit about kissing her brother like a drunken sailor and that other thing of wearing a vial of blood around her neck when she was married to Billy Bob or maybe it was the other husband.  I didn't need to know that and the kiss, well, some things you can't unsee.  I know "OLD" Hollywood is gone.  This is NEW Hollywood.  But just for tonight, I want to see oodles of glitz and miles of glamour.  

A lot is said about Ann Hathaway having old Hollywood glamour.   I don't see it.  I could be wrong.  I think she is usually dressed appropriately.  No fake flower hands grabbing her boobs.  No side cleavage. I'll have my eye on her tonight.  Having said that, I don't get the hosts this year.  Ann and James Franco.  Really?   We'll see.  Billy Crystal is a hard act to follow and to me, the only person who has come close is Hugh Jackman.

I've seen most of the movies.  I've got my ballot marked.  My biggest problem is that Amazing Race is on at the same time.  I don't have a DVR so I will be flipping for a while.  My team needs my support too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love and My Transister Radio

I woke up this morning with a migraine.  Actually, this was the first time that I had a dream in which, I had a migraine. Weird. So I downed my prescription meds and went back to sleep.  After the headache is gone, my brain still feels kind of bruised, so I usually lay on the couch with the curtains closed and listen to Pandora radio Motown,  on my computer, eyes closed, ....very low.

Today that brought to mind lying in bed when I was 12 -13 years old with the transistor radio I had gotten for Christmas.  That radio came in a brown leather case and never left my side through my high school years.  I have been a music lover since Elvis kissed  his hound dog on Ed Sullivan.

Of course, back then, there was only AM Radio.  Being from Michigan we could pick up some Canadian radio.  CKLW, out of Windsor,  became "the" station to tune in.  WTRX (trix to us) or WTAC (pronounced wee tac) then.  I'm sure everyone has their own memories of how important the sound track to our lives was.  Like your boyfriend's British Sterling or Dad's Old Spice can conjure an instant image, so can hearing  "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen or "A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum".

My best friend lived across the street from me so all summer long, we were at one or the other's house for dinner and to spend the night.  That radio was always on.  How we wanted to call in dedications to one or another loves of our lives.  Of course, those boys didn't know that.  It was love from afar.  Those calls were long distance and that was nothing to take lightly.  You had to have permission to call long distance.  Only once did we ever do that.  I still remember the song.  It was "Are you Lonesome Tonight" by Elvis from all the Montrose girls to all the Montrose boys.  There!  That should show them!  They'll wish they had asked us out now.  I think we were about 14.

At 14 I started High School and dating.  The sleepovers with her became less and less.  She was 2 years older than me and was not allowed to go to dances and movies due to her family's faith.  We stayed close friends but I grew away from the idea of those radio requests.  The music then became background for dates, dances, parties, and young love and breakups.  It filled summertime cars that were cruising, and rushing to work to  serve ice cream and hot dogs to classmates that lined up at the service window, on Saturday nights.  Those transistor radios were still on,  in the background.

My sister will still call me when she hears on her radio, "We'll Sing In the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett.  It was the breakup song from my first love as a High School Freshman.  We laugh every time.  Actually, maybe she's laughing at me about it.It was a breakup song about my Freshman boyfriend.  After dating all football season, ( wore the varsity jacket and sprayed Ambush on it. ) he broke up with me to date my best friend. ( No not the neighbor) She and I remained friends and they later married.  Weren't  we mature?  I did the typical thing of sending her to talk to him for me.  That was the last time I made that mistake. We remained friends through graduation. ( She's the one with the T-Bird from another post.)  It just occurred to me that if I was 14, my sister was 11. Why does she remember this? hmmm? I think there is a sadistic joy there somewhere.  Kidding....

I love those little trips down memory lane when I'm listening to the radio or my ipod.  They can trigger anything.  "Sweet Child of Mine"  by Guns & Roses reminds me of the tanner when I was going for a Vegas trip.  It can be anything.  You never know when you'll  get to go on a little time travel journey.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just a Random Rant

I am a news junkie,  but you don't have to be,  to have heard about our 4 Americans that were hijacked on their sailboat/yacht by Somalian pirates and then murdered.  Just days ago we heard of the hijacking and the ransom demand.  We knew there was little hope of raising millions of dollars when this couple had all of their money tied up in their boat.

I am furious and heart sick that these thugs attack innocent people.  Part of me is angry that these two couples were in this area of the world to begin with.  It's a blame the victim thing, but we know it is so dangerous in those waters.  I don't want to feel that way so now I feel guilty because I do.  I wouldn't go there.  I just wouldn't.   Daughter # 2 and I love all things Egypt.  We have watched  Dr.Zahi  Hawass dig up every and anything. We know more about ancient Pharaohs and Nefertiti's linage than our own.  I have looked into group tours and cruises but I knew, even before this months over throw, that Egypt is an unsettling tourist area.  I won't go there.

I'm not a complete travel wimp.  Terry and I along with both younger daughters were on an airplane and a cruise ship in October, the month after 9/11.  I wasn't going to let the bad guys win by staying home. It distresses me that this has to be a consideration.

Remember the backpackers hiking/mountain climbing in Iraq and accidentally crossed into Iran.  Seriously?  There are no other mountains to climb?    They had to do that in Iraq.  In a country that does not like us.  In a country at war.  Now 3 of the 4 are still being held to be tired as spies.  I want to ask them that too.  What the hell are you doing there? 

I send my prayers to the families of the couples that died trying to live their dream.  It shouldn't have ended this way and it makes me mad. They were grandparents and parents.  Just like me.  It's just wrong.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Would She Think Today?

Meet Evelena Dixie Giles Taylor.  She was my mother's Grandmother, Mimi.  She was born in Waverly, Tn. in 1869.   I barely remember her.  She was very elderly and blind from cateracts when I was a small child, about 6 or 7.   I remember Mimi sitting in a rocking chair.  I also remember she loved fried chicken and could strip a neck bone in minutes. Her choice folks.  I think that "eat the whole bird" thing came from being through the depression and from living in a time of growing and raising your own food.  Those were hard times.  She lived with my Mother's family, in Kennett, Missouri,  as long as my mother could remember.  They shared a bedroom from the time my mother was a young girl until she left home as a married lady of 18.   Can you imagine sharing a room with your grandmother?  I can't.

 Evelena was 92 when she passed away.  Only recently my sister found these pictures of her.  My mother passed away about 4 years ago.  She was an avid genealogist but for all of her hunting she failed to share the pictures closest to us.  I think her quest led her to her own past and she didn't give much thought to the people she knew, that maybe we didn't.

This is Mimi with her children.  My Grandfather is the little guy in front.  He was born in 1900 so she was 31 when he arrived.  This would make her about 37-38 here. 

This is more how I remember her. Always in a long sleeved cotton dresses, even in the heat of those hot Missouri summers.

I wonder what she would be thinking about life today and if she would think the days gone by were "the good ole days"?  I think they were pretty hard.  My Mother-in-law always said "there was nothing good about the old days".  That young woman with the umbrella looks like she doesn't have a worry and the elderly lady at the bottom looks like she has been through a lot.

Today, my sister is called Mimi by her 2 grandchildren.  One of them is Evely.  I think the first Mimi would have liked that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Those 80's Ladies

I don't know what made me think of this song today but I did, so here it is.  It was released in 1987 and being 37 at the the time, I could relate to a lot of what this song is about.  I left off the entry and went straight to the main verses that rang true for so many of us.

   K.T. Oslin's  80's Ladies

We were the girls of the 50's.
Stoned rock and rollers in the 60's.
And more than our names got changed
As the 70's slipped on by.
Now we're 80's ladies.
There ain't been much these ladies ain't tried.

We've been educated.
We got liberated.
And had complicating matters with men.
Oh, we've said "I do"
And we've signed "I don't"
And we've sworn we'd never do that again.
Oh, we burned our bras,
And we burned our dinners
And we burned our candles at both ends.
And we've had some children
Who look just like the way we did back then.

Oh, but we're all grown up now.
All grown up,
But none of us could tell you quite how.

We were the girls of the 50's.
Stoned rock and rollers in the 60's.
Hunny, more than our names got changed,
As the 70's slipped on by.
Now we're 80's ladies.
There ain't been much these ladies ain't tried

I, too, had been born in the 50's, a rock and roller in the 60's and married, given birth to a daughter, and divorced in the 70's. 

Then I had two more daughters in the 80's so my life track separated from a lot of my old friends.  For my new friends though, my LARC (Life After Red Cross)  friends,  were doing the same thing. New marriages, younger husbands and new babies.  I think us 80's ladies took a look around and decided we were doing things a little different than our Mom's did.  I had old classmates that, at forty, were empty nesters.  I was still taking a daughter to Kindergarten registration.

So flash forward to today and I can say my empty nest and I are still getting acquainted.  Daughter #3 left home for the Grand Teton State Park to work at a lodge as seasonal help when she was 20.  She would work 6 months and be home 6 months, when the lodge was closed.  That went on for 4 years.  Even this past year she had been back and worth between a Michigan sister and us, so the nest was refeathered periodically.  She is now happily working in Michigan, full time with real benefits.  Yay!

With the economy the way it is, there are a lot of young people not able to make it on their own, for any variety of reasons. I have close family members that graduated from colleges thinking they would go out and just "get a job".  They are working, but they are not making the money those degrees should generate and we are all glad they have that job.  This is not the world we had.  I look at my own daughters and wonder what song they will write.

 Daughter # 1 is 37 now  The same age I was then.  hmmmmm  I like to remind her of these things just so she knows that when she thought I was an old fart, I wasn't.   I was still that 60's rock and roller.

Just between you and I,  I am still waiting for 80's Big Hair to make a come back.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Miss My Stilletos

Happy Valentine's Day you lovely thing.   My boomer feet will no longer tolerate walking on tippy toe for hours, or even minutes now.  These are officially "sit down" shoes and we all know what that means.  A walk from the car to the event may be too far.  I may need to get dropped at the door. 

From the time I started working professionally, (I don't think scooping ice cream cones required dress attire) I wore heels.  About 3/4 of my jobs were sit down jobs and the remaining 1/4 was retail management.  During that period my corns developed corns but one must suffer to be beautiful.  I think a friend's mother shared those words of wisdom.  Suffer I have for my heels.  They're just to darn cute. 

At one point I had work shoes and Vegas shoes with glitter and towering heels. We were going  2-3 times a year back in the early 90s when 1/2 the people were still dressing in suits and cocktail dresses for the shows.
Once I kicked off my shoes under a table at Caesar's Palace and my feet were so swollen, I couldn't get them back on.  Was it worth it?  Oh, you bet.  I learned to keep those babies on so I could toddle out feeling no less pain than the bound feet of the geisha's.

Winter didn't mean snow boots.  Heck no.  Winter meant these boots. The idea was to stab the snow and ice to keep from falling and, no, I never did.
I have no need for all that glam anymore and I am sure I would not last 5 minutes in them.  I am resigned to the dreaded sensible shoe.  The flat cushioned sole.  The comfort shoe.  Oprah doesn't care what I'm wearing when we share my living room at 4:00.  She has on her "sit down shoes" too.

Who am I fooling.  I just might buy a pair to bring out of hiding after Terry's gone to work and just put them on to admire and drink my coffee.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Lights are Out

One of my favorite television programs came to an final end.  "Friday Night Lights" has been on for 5 years.  I have followed them from network to network and then, this last year they were only on Direct TV.  Terry was able to get a copy from someone for now we are watching the final season.  If you are not a fan,  "Friday Night Lights" is about small town,  high school football in Texas.

 Both Terry and I were lucky enough to attend small high schools.  Mine has a total of about 500 students in the entire school.  I'm not sure how many were in his, but it was very similar.  He played football in high school and then at a small, private university.  All three of our daughters went to the same school I did.  When your school community is that small, you know everybody.  Much like the television program, the town rallies behind the players, the school and the students. 

I think the die hard viewers, like myself, can relate to what was happening on the field and in the homes of this fictional town. In my own home, we agreed to have Daughter #1's best friend, in high school,  live with us.  She was 16 years old and both she and her brother had come from such screwed up, divorced,  parents that both were emancipated at 15.  This sweet young woman had lived with the football coach and  his wife for a year before coming to us.  The coach had grown children so she was a little lonely there.  Her brother was an all state football player himself and lived with another team mate and his family.

She was with us for a about 1 1/2 years before she went back to her Mom's house.  She was  the Homecoming Rep riding the convertible that year,  and on the Blueberry Festival Court.  Her dad came to drive the car she rode in.  Thanks Dad. He also gave her for a birthday, one year, one ticket to see Cher, at a venue 90 miles from us.  Once ticket.  Needless to say, she didn't go and no one would buy it.  Not one, single ticket. Her brother got a number of scholarships and is a coach himself now.  She also has a college degree and is doing well.  That small town team of ours had a 62 game winning streak while my girls were in school.  The signs that lined expressways from town to town cheered them on.  They were eventually beat in a non league game by a rivaling, neighbor, school on their field. That 12 mile ride home was a long one.

Then there is the Kenny Chesney song "Boys of Fall" song. I asked Terry if he was aware that the last game was, really the last one.  The last time he would put on that uniform.  The last tackle.  The last time he would walk off the field.  The last time unlacing those shoes. The last time he would hear the crowd cheer.  He said, "No, I just knew it was done.  I knew I wasn't big enough to keep going."  

Now my grandsons, ages 8 and 9 have put on that uniform.   I hope the whole town is behind them too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where's the Fun?

It is just the beginning of February and I am already planning some summer fun.  Well, I would be planning it if I could find it.  Having moved to a new, to me, area of the country, I don't know where to look for the things I enjoy.  For instance.... theater.  Not movies, but stage.  Having lived in Mid Michigan, we could go to Detroit or even Toronto, easily for a Theater experience. 

Over the ten years that the "The Phantom of the Opera" was in Toronto, we saw it there, four times.  I saw it one other time in Lansing.  Need I say, I love that it.   Thank you Andrew Lloyd Weber.  Terry's favorite is Les Mis.  We were fortunate to have near us, a Cultural Center, in Flint, Michigan. Yes, land of despair, crime, and unemployment.  Students could buy left over tickets, the morning of the production, for $12.00.  Daughter # 2 did that several times for all kinds of productions and performances.  You never knew where you may be sitting, but you were in at a small price.  I was lucky enough to have her agree to go with me and to buy tickets for Etta James about 3 years ago.  She was a very frail little lady at that time, but her voice was amazing and so were our seats.  Row 10, on the aisle.
She did "I'd Rather Go Blind" and her iconic hit "At Last" that brought the packed theater to it's feet.  I thought she did too many flourishes ( very much like Christina Aguilera)  to a classic that needed nothing extra, but, hey, it's her song.  Her classic. Maybe she was bored after singing it a million times.  I was just thrilled to be there.

We had the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing venues as well,  No summer is complete without a Kenny Chesney concert.  The closest he will be touring to me now, is the next state.  This time of year brought the excitement of what or who were we going to see in the summer.  Kind of like getting the Burpee Catalog in the mail the day after Christmas... excitement for the new season.  So after years of seeing live productions, I am searching for more.  Raleigh, NC is about 3 hours from me.  That would work.  It's a trade off.  I live on the coast now.  I get that perk all year long so I'm really not whining.. Ok, yes I am.  Who would have thought that living in a suburb of Flint, Michigan, I would have been spoiled by having such an abundance of opportunities within an hour travel distance. 

We are not theater snobs.  I have enjoyed "Chicago" done by high schoolers that brought tears to my eyes.  They were that good.  I noticed a hand bill for "Hairspray" being performed by one of our local high schools.  Maybe we'll give that a try.  I'm looking for some summertime fun.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Congratulations To Us.

My husband  (Terry)  and I had a whirlwind courtship (Who says that anymore?) and engagement, getting married in January 1982.  Last month we celebrated 29 years together.  And the 6 month before that....
We did everything you are not supposed to do to have a long and lasting marriage.

 1.   We met at work.  (Office romances never work.)

I was a 31 year old divorced Mom of a 7 year old daughter.  He was a single, 26 year old cutie.  I was 5 years out of an abusive marriage.  He had 2 girlfriends that lived 200 miles apart and, of course, did not know about each other.  I wasn't looking for a husband.  I was looking for some excitement.  He was 5 years younger than me.  Seriously... a baby.  He was a player.  He was obviously not looking for a wife.

We worked together for about a year before I asked him out.  Refer back to "I Am Woman- I can do anything...."  Our Birthdays are a week apart.  His July 9th and mine is July 16th so I asked him to come over to my house for a Birthday drink. (frozen, fresh strawberry daiquiris).  He did....where he proceeded to ask me about 500 job interview questions.  In addition to all the first date questions, he asked:  Do you make Christmas cookies?  Would you like to have more children?  I sat in one chair and he sat on the couch.  We drank a bottle of wine, asked and answered questions until it was almost dawn.

That weekend Daughter #1 and I were sharing a cabin "up north"  (only in Michigan is a compass setting a destination).  Terry called in a sick at work.  He joined us for 2 days.  He just jumped in. Met my daughter and my parents and had our first date in the same week.

  2.    2 weeks later, he proposed.  Within a month of our first date, I had engagement ring on my finger.

  3.    6 months later, on January 9th,  we were married.  We would have gotten married sooner but I wanted to  claim "Head of Household" one more year on my taxes.  Always the sensible one.

  4.   We had Daughter # 2 the next January 25th, just a couple of weeks after our 1st Anniversary. 2 years later we had Daughter # 3. 
From the beginning Terry sang this song to me.  If I could only get him to do the choreography too.

What do we say to our daughters about all of this?   We tell them don't you dare do what we did.  The chances of that working were slim.  We are incredibly lucky.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Misty Blue

I always listen to Pandora music set to Motown when I am on the computer.  Once in awhile, an artist just owns a song and no one else can do it.  I feel that way about a couple.  This is one of them.  Thank you Dorothy Moore from 1976.

Unfortunately, it stops abruptly, but is very much worth the listen.

What happened to "Company"?

Where did the Company go?

When I was growing up, we had company.  That meant the parents, probably Mom, invited another couple with children, over to our house, for either dinner or an evening playing cards. 

Company started with Sunday dinner company.  That generally consisted of either fried chicken or pot roast with vegetables.  Mom was not an inventive cook.  She  had a couple of "go to"  Sunday dinners and that was it.  My SIL, on the other hand,  is a fantastic cook.  She makes the most mouth watering pies, cakes and pizza you have ever dreamed of tasting.  Then she will post a picture of them on Facebook.  You can smell the lucsiousness of them through your monitor.  A few days ago she mentioned she was in the mood for banana pudding.  That brought back such memories of those Sunday dinners.  On one occasion, Mom had made banana pudding for dessert for her best friend's family.  The oldest daughter was just a year younger than me, so then, about 12.  She walked into the kitchen, in time to see Mom bring the big bowl to the table and asked, " Is that garbage?"  Her mother was mortified.  She evidently did not have any southern cooks in her family.

The other company times were the card players.  There must have been a Black Jack/poker phase during the 1960s because my parents were not really game players, but they could play cards for hours.  In the earlier years I know Mom mentioned playing Rook, but I don't remember that. I do remember being 11, 12,  or so and laying in the big bed I shared with my sister, counting the "company" man's swear words.  My parents did not curse, so this was a big deal.  By today's standards, they were mild words, a damn or a shit here and there, but to us, they were countable words.

It was much better to have the card players at your house than to be the "Company" yourself. .  That meant a night of  trying to sleep in a strange bed and then getting woken up to be walked out in the cold, to a warmed up car, and driving home.  Of course you were asleep in the car, and again, had to wake up to go into the house and crawl into your cold bed.  I hated that.

On these game nights, I vaguely remember the men drinking beer, but not the women.  In those years, there may have been a rare bottle of Mogen David in the refrigerator, for a special occasion, but nothing else.  It was just unsweet tea or pop/soda and chips

I think women working stopped most of the "company".  Mom started working when I was 14.  After that I don't think there was company anymore.  We had the misfortune of not having any relatives close.  We were in Michigan and all the relatives were in Missouri and Arkansas.  I'm sure that made a big difference. No going to Grandma's or Aunts and Uncles or having them come to our house. So, with no company, there wasn't anyone.

As an adult, I was were able to do the Sunday dinner more with my sister and brother when our children were little.  When they became "Tweeners"  and older, even that stopped. The gatherings became only a holiday thing and after a time, organizing that became impossible with children becoming adults with commitments.

Those in between years, before the children grew up, and I was working, there was no time for company for dinner.  Many years I worked retail so I valued my free Sunday with my family.  Even when I wasn't in retail, I was tired darn it.  I didn't want to cook for company on the weekend.  I guess everyone else felt the same because we didn't get invited to friend's houses either.  My BFF and I tried a family dinner here and there, but we both just let it go.  She was tired too.

In all of this, I do not count family as "company".  To me, there seems to be a difference.  Cooking for family was familiar.  It didn't require anything special.  It could be special, and often was, but it wasn't necessary.  Family is about being together first and the food was second.  Maybe I was having company and being company all along and didn't know it, but I think it was one of the things that went away like Gidget and Moondoggie.
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