Saturday, May 31, 2008

Love is like a Rock!

E! Entertainment News reports that Dwayne "THE ROCK" Johnson is officially a free man. May 19, 2008 marked the date on which he was declared single. You know what that means? That's right. Guilt-free lusting for your's truly. He's absolutely divine. A hunk-o-fabuloso dream walking! He's the extra fudge and brownie topping on the most rich vanilla ice cream. He is the extra protein punch in a banana smoothie. He's who makes me drool.

My friend who lives in Venice Beach, CA reports that he's spoken to Dwayne at the gym. My pal says he's genuinely kind and hella good looking. Not as ginormous as one might assume. But in Hollywood few men stand over 6' tall. So, someone with a Greek God presence, such as Dwayne, would be heads above them all. Mmmm and what a lovely head it is.

GET SMART, anyone? I don't care that it's being panned by the critics. He's beautimus. When he smiles and ::swoon:: raises that eyebrow ... well, you can find me in the the theater. I'll be the puddle with the bucket of popcorn.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvey Korman ~ I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

Well, this isn't news that beloved straight man Harvey Korman has passed away at the age of 81. So many fond memories we've all shared. I don't think there's a person alive who wouldn't recognize his work from Mel Brooks films or the Carol Burnett Show. Oh how I loved watching that program. Who else could bid Mr. Korman farewell better than Carol herself. Thank you for the laughter, Harvey.

I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, or sing a song.
Seems we just got started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'

There's a time you put aside for dreamin',
And a time for things you have to do.
The time I love the best is in the evening -
I can spend a moment here with you.

When the time comes that I'm feelin lonely,
And I'm feelin' ohooooo - so blue,
I just sit back and think of you, only,
And the Happiness still comes through.

That's why I'm glad we had this time together,
'Cause it makes me feel like I belong.
Seems we just got started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

I've been feeling relatively uninspired to sit and write. Putting my fingers to the keyboard and expressing myself just isn't flowing freely. I don't know that I could be a professional journalist because of that notion. I suspect if my livelihood was on the line I could muster a story. However, it's not. So, I haven't written much. If it's any consolation, I have thought about it. I blame the weather, economy and my lack of consideration for eating properly (grad parties and Memorial Day picnic fixins). Oh, and the weather has sucked so much that getting outside to walk hasn't been tempting. I made the most of the exercise DVDs I own, but nothing compares to getting out in nature and challenging myself to push myself to go around the track one more time.
I received my Rebate Stimulus Check. Don't bother calling to borrow money. It was, essentially, already spent before I received it. All the end of the year field trips my son went on broke the Bank of Miss Riss. Factor in that I wore out both pairs of walking shoes. They were on their last tread to begin with, but I pushed them well beyond their life expectancy. So, I splurged on myself and picked up some new sneaks. They breathe better than the all leather ones. So, walking in the summer months won't be so stressful on my dogs.
Can we talk about ridiculous gas prices? Not like anybody needs to be told, but if you're like me you're struggling. I do as much as possible on my way to or from work. Extra trips in the car are luxury items. This town is not bicycle friendly. Actually, it's not very pedestrian friendly. Walking from Aroma Park to Kankakee is not only difficult due to lack of sidewalks, but you take your safety in your own hands. Walk quickly and carry a side arm, kids! Kankakee is not the town it once was. At my son's age my friends and I would walk or bike everywhere. The worst thing we concerned ourselves with was a stray dog chasing after us. Woe is me.
I do have happier news. I'm about an inch away from buttoning my skinny Levis. I know I have about 20 pounds to go before I could sit in them and still manage to breathe. Or, not spontaneously urinate from too much pressure on my kidneys and bladder. I've been wearing bras that barely fit 3 years ago. Now, I can confidently put them on without fear that breast matter will ooze from the sides, bottom or top. That's damn cool if you ask me. I still have that squishy back flab that's impossible to hide with summer tops. But guess what? It's progress and I'm proud.
I shopped around for surf shorts that aren't overtly masculine. It ain't easy, but I'll find the perfect pair. I found a swimsuit website that caters to larger breasted women. It'll be a hefty price to purchase, but when your boobs are bigger than most newborn infants, it ain't nothin'. The tops are designed like a bra. In other words, they have inner support, underwires, non stretch straps that adjust and wider back bands. Once I get my order, I'll report back the fit. If I like it, I'll give out the site name. If I hate it, I'll give out the site name.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You're a good man, Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown: Sometimes I feel I've given birth to the real life version. Man-cub is a wonderful boy. He never gives me grief. He's loved and adored by his teachers. Unfortunately, he's been pushed into relative isolation due to being different. I've mentioned in previous posts that he's come a long way after his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. In brief, it's shoved under the umbrella of autism.; a very high functioning form in my son's case. Behavior modification and educated teachers have given him a great edge. He's smart, funny, compassionate and willing to always try. Unfortunately, children his own age aren't always compassionate and understanding. So, that puts him in a position of going it alone even when he's in a large group.
Six Flags Great America wasn't everything I had dreamed it to be for Man-cub. The students were allowed to have free run of the park. They weren't assigned to groups or particular chaperones. When my son disembarked the charter bus his gait was lagging. I knew he had to be exhausted, but there was a slump in his spirit. I greeted him with excitement and inquired where the Batman basketball came from. He said he won it playing a hoops game in the arcade. "COOL! We can play H.O.R.S.E at the school yard," I exclaimed. He didn't seem thrilled.
I started throwing questions at him about what rides he went on. He didn't bother with the roller coasters because the lines were too long, and "I want to share that with you, mom."
"Who did you hang out with? Were you with Brandon?"
"Only for a little bit."
"Well, who did you hang out with? Was there a group of kids you wandered the park with?"
"No. I pretty much was alone. I saw other people with our school t-shirts on, but I didn't hang out with anybody."
My heart sunk to my feet. I was so saddened. I had to ask why, and his reply was, "The kids at my school are pretty much jerks to me. They make fun of me a lot. I'm okay. I had fun, really."

"Are you just tired? You seem sad. Is it a mix of the two?" "I'm a little of both. "

Damn it! I wanted this to be so much more than him walking about an amusement park alone. I'm furious that the chaperones would allow this. I'm sad that even the boy who Man-cub calls his friend didn't stick with him. I feel like I've done something to fail him.

I realize that part of having Asperger's Syndrome is a delayed ability to socialize. They are often content playing alone. Working in groups as an integral participant is a challenge. They're able to be with a group, but they'll opt to work just on the outside. Even with that knowledge I still ache for him to find a true friend. Someone who'll accept his quirks and aloofness. I feel helpless.
I know that I can't and won't be able to make everything ideal for him. I realize there are roads that he must take alone ... but I want it to be his choice to be alone on that path. Not the only option.

Memorial Day

I'll be working this Memorial Day holiday. It's unfortunate because I was looking forward to spending time with family members, but it's luck of the draw when working in retail. I had also requested Sunday and the following Saturday so I can attend graduations for my niece and nephew. With that, I have to put in my hours Monday through Friday this week.

So, while I'm working, several of you will be dragging out your grills, putting brewskies on ice, setting up the Hillbilly Golf set and hammocks. That's all fine. It's what I would have been doing, too. Memorial Day traditionally marks the open of the summer season. It's a time for families to gather together and enjoy an additional day off from work and school. But what does this holiday represent officially? Most people know, but lose sight of its meaning while in pursuit of partying.

Just in case a reminder is required, I went to the most obvious source of all to get the background of Memorial Day: The United States Department of Veteran Affairs website. Here's what they describe ~
Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.


To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taking flight; fighting to remain grounded

Every parent understands how difficult it is to trust another person with their child. When the Man-cub was a toddler, finding appropriate day care was difficult. What looked good on the outside or sounded ideal turned out to be horrific. Once he was old enough to attend school it was easier. Yet, I still had to put my faith in the system. I had to turn my baby over to people I hardly knew! I'd worry daily, but I had to relinquish some control. I couldn't keep him at home forever.
In the course of his 13 years he's gone on field trips. I've signed the permission slip. Once again, someone else will be handling the safety and well being of my spawn. Those field trips were always situations of keeping the kids in groups. No running amok. He saw "Blue Man Group" recently. It was an all day event, but I knew he was tucked neatly in a large group of kids and chaperones. Veering a bus in and out of Chicago traffic was more of a threat than anything else. He arrived home safely. A great time was had by all. The same thing occurred when he went to "Medieval Times" last year. All the students kept in a bundle. A very small risk that anyone would be lost. Today marks a change. On this day I am testing someone else's ability to look after my son. That person is himself.
As a reward for maintaining merit points and good grades, several students including the Man-cub are heading to Gurnee, IL. Six Flags Great America awaits 7th and 8th graders. Chaperones will be there, but the kids will be given free run of an amusement park. I handed him a wad of cash so he can eat plentiful and buy a souvenir if he desires. Yikes!
As I drove him to school I gave him the standard behavior & advice run down: 1) If you get separated from your group don't panic. Find an information booth. 2) Ask yourself: Would Mom let me do this? 3) Don't reveal how much money you have. 4) Don't give someone else your money. 5) Don't eat a ton and then get on the new Batman Begins ride. 6) Check in with chaperones at the designated time. Check your watch before getting in line for a ride. 7) Don't poop in the charter bus bathroom. You'll never live it down. 8) Take your glasses off before you get on a roller coaster or a ride that flips you around. 9) Scream so you don't lose your breath on that first drop of a roller coaster. 10) Have a great time and remember how much I love you.
I am only mildly panicked. I've never done this. I've never let my son go somewhere that requires me to put my faith in him being sensible. There have always been adults around to monitor nearly every move and corral the kids. An amusement park is a great place for him to spread his wings and fly. I'm just having a hard time staying on the ground while he takes flight.
[photo from the flikr album of: mr. oji]

Monday, May 19, 2008

David Cook is a master seducer?

I'm an avid American Idol watcher. I wouldn' t go so far as to say I'm a fan. I make fun of the show, the judges, the contestants. I'll give kudos when they actually perform in a manner that will make me stand up and take notice. I might even be accused of lusting after a male contestant I deem worthy of calling eye candy, ie, Michael Johns aka 'Roo. However, his departure gave me no other reason to tune in other than snarking with fellow blog buds on Sean Daly's Pop Life blog. Yeah, good times.

This evening, actually, just moments ago, I checked my Myspace account. I read bulletins posted by friends. This one in particular has be baffled. I'm stymied by the content. I can't relate. I'm at a loss for words. The original author wasn't credited in the re-post by my friend Kim. It only said, "thanks DCFP." I'm supposing that means David Cook Fan Page. However, I searched the myspace page by the same name and no blog was posted. I wish I could fully credit the mastermind of this theory. This epiphany that has brought me to question my own libido. Am I dead down yonder in the paw paw patch? Have I missed something other women over 30 have felt? Is David Cook a master seducer when he's on stage? Does his body language really resemble that of love making? Do his crescendos depict the height of orgasmic pleasure?

While I review Mr. Cook's performances on youtube, I'll leave you with this DC fan's hypothesis on why women over 30 crave the weekly foray into the depths of their subconscious lust.

For weeks now I've been trying to figure out what in the world it is about David Cook that made women age 30 and beyond become psychotically obsessed with him. It'd be one thing if we were tweens, or even co-eds or 20Somethings. But we're beyond that right? We've got careers, or families, marriages, etc. etc. But this Cook comes along and now he occupies at least 75% of my mind. I'm operating on minimal brain capacity and so can only perform basic body functions right now, like breathing. I hope my boss and husband won't notice. And I know I'm NOT alone. Seriously, we don't even get like this for George Clooney or Clive Owens.

What the hell is going on?

Well, i think I've finally figured it out. What DC does to us is not something the tweens or even our 20Something sisters would really "get". You see, when DC sings, he doesn't just sing. He's actually doing all of us. And he's been doing us one night a week for nearly months now.

Go back and watch "Hello" again. Ladies, watch how he rocked his body back & forth & back & forth in the beginning and tell me it doesn't make you think of something else. Other AI contestants dance (awkwardly) and shake to the music beats, but our DC here...when the camera gets a front shot of him and he's shooting that CFM stare right at you, tell me you don't feel like he's right on top of you. And not just the CFM stare either, watch his facial expressions throughout the whole performance. You'd think you are doing something to him! He makes you feel like a woman just by his expression when he sang the words "loving you" of the line "or is someone loving you." And then comes that high note crescendo (and that crescendo happened EVERY time he sang), I tell ya, if Norah Jones still doesn't know why she hasn't come, girlfriend she needs to get herself to YouTube immediately. And just watch his face as he withdraws his voice from the microphone. Yeah baby, that was good for me too.

Of course it helped too when he was crooning those otherwise smaltzy corny lyrics but like Simon said, he made it almost believable.

And it never gets boring either. DC did us every way he could. With him we had...

Sweet passionate with Hello, You'll Always be My Baby, and Music of the Night, and First Time I Ever Saw Your Face...

Hot and heavy with Baba O Reily I'm Alive, and Day Tripper..

Fun and playful with Happy Together, Hungry Like a Wolf...

Rough with Billie Jean and Eleanor Rigby...

Try some weird stuff with Little Sparrow and Innocent.

My DB, blessed his heart, and to all the boys I've loved before, you guys are great, really, but I don't think 99.9% of men on earth knows how to do a woman in so many ways in like 2, 3 months time. I don't know, maybe only DC can.

So unbeknownst to me and without my consent, DC has seduced me into an extra-marital affair before I even know what hit me. And now, in 2 days this affair must end.

No!!! No!! Don't stop!!!! Baby please keep going!!!

How the hell does DC know all this by age 25? Or is he even aware of what's he's done to us?

The Phantom of David Cook is there, inside our minds
I wish that I could fully credit the woman who originally wrote this. Should I find out who, I will gladly post her myspace or website address.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

American Idol and the scheduling upset

I've been watching American Idol season 7 from the beginning. I'm talking about from the God forsaken auditions. I was glued to my television when that feathered fellow sang a song to Simon. I was horrified by the hairy dude in the Princess Leia metal bikini who got waxed in hopes of them taking him seriously. I didn't turn away when the emaciated chick who lived in a studio apartment with 3 cats, 2 dogs and her mother attempted to sing like Janis Joplin and then threw a psycho trip fit when they told her no. I was there. I was blogging live online with Sean Daly and the Pop Lifers -- sounds like a church band, doesn't it?

I had no scheduling issues. I seemed to always be off on Tuesdays. Tuesday is the night the kids performed. I worked one Wednesday evening in that entire period. That is until I expressed my desire to be off on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Then it suddenly became a scheduling issue. While hovering over my supervisor's shoulder I declared, "I'll work any night except for Tuesday and Wednesday. You have 5 others to choose from." I had already been penned in to work Monday night. Aces! He listened. He heard my plea. The following day I got to work and guess what occurred? That's right. He changed my night to work from Monday to Tuesday; performance night. What the flippin' hell!? Graciously, a co worker traded with me.

The following week; a repeater. He did it again. I told him I have very few requests or guilty pleasures in life. I have little outside fun. Please, don't go and jack up my weekly, creative love/hate expression for this show.

Tuesdays weren't an issue, but somehow in the grand scheme of life, me having Wednesday nights off might cause the Earth to fall off its axis and life as we know it would cease to exist. Fine! It's elimination night and group sing. Who gives a crap, right? WRONG! This coming Wednesday the ugly beast reared it's ugly head and I'm scheduled to work on Wednesday evening. Actually, a long freakin, horrible shift of 11:30-9. That's FINALE night. That's when the Battle of the Davids happens. All season I've watched this putrid, horrific folly and I'm going to be denied my right to snark with the best of the best of the best snarkers on the planet? I don't think so, Tim.

I let too many Wednesdays slide. I gave the impression that I wasn't serious about my quest for craparific television. I hadn't put my size 11 foot down and insisted that I needed Tuesday and Wednesday night free for snark. He took advantage of my good nature. There are other bodies who are willing and able to work a 3-4 hour shift. It could have been manipulated for my benefit. I ask for so very little in life. Why can't I have this eensy weensy joy? WHY!? WHY!?WHY!?-- she wails like a horse toothed ice skating diva after being clubbed like a baby seal when Greenpeace wasn't looking.

I've contacted a co-worker to help me remedy this debacle. The scheduling is so tight that I'm unable to simply switch a night. Well, I could, but guess when night is the only night that I'd manage a swichcarooni? You got it. Tuesday. UGH! Pissy doesn't even describe it. Oh! And I had requested the entire day of Thursday off so I could be available to chaperone my son's Great America trip. IGNORED! I will not be ignored! I get really funky and vocal when I'm pissed. Granted, they have enough chaperones. So, my presence isn't required, but there's a principle in question here. No one else had asked for Thursday, May 22 off. Yet, I am denied. No reason for it other than he just doesn't observe the giant desk calendar with people's requests written on it. He did it to another associate, but that was worked out with ease. Of course! Bastards.

So, I sit in wait today. My co-worker supposed to call to let me know if it's yay or nay. I'll lose a couple of hours, but this is a freak show that cannot be missed. As soon as they torture us with the most horrifically written song of the decade and a cavalcade of filler guest performers prance across the stage it won't matter. When the winner of American Idol 7 is announced and they are forced to sing a shittily written song while 800 pounds of Mylar confetti falls upon their disbelieving melon, it won't matter. It just doesn't matter! The fat lady will have sung and the snark fest of the year will have passed and will have missed out.
Newsflash! The co-worker I first offered my hours to cannot work for me on Wednesday. However, there is another willing, able body who has graciously taken on the task. Thank you Alan-bo-balan.
I should also note that my supervisor boss person called to apologize for overlooking my request. Apparently, the co-worker with whom I vented doesn't recognize a rant; nor, understands the words, "I'll take care of it. Don't mention this to him. I just needed to get it off my chest." Yes, my lesson is, once again, learned. D'oh!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A walk in the park

Yesterday we finally had sunshine and temps above 70. Just barely, but I didn't have to wear a coat. I threw on my walking gear, tossed my iPod in my bra. I have no pockets or that armband doo-hickey for iPods. The thing isn't nestled between Thelma and Louise. I tuck it in the upper portion of the strap right above the meaty part of my boob, and it stays put. It's better than slipping it in my undies and praying it doesn't slide too far south.
Anywho, I cue up the 50 minute program for power walking and make my way to the park near my home. I usually ache for the first 10 minutes. Then, the happy hormones kick in, and I no longer feel the twinges in my thighs. Once the program ended I decided I wanted to bask in the sunshine. So, forgetting that I'm a 42 year old adult, I climb up on a picnic table and stretch out. I realize this probably looks compromising to the people working in the Forest Preserve office adjacent to the walking track. So, I pull my legs up to appear more casual. As if!
There's a breeze to offset the heat of the direct sunlight. My mind drifts to various scenarios in my life. I can't specifically recall anything because in that short time my head is clear. I forget that gas is $4.00 or more a gallon. I let go of the workplace woes. Released is the angst over my financial state. I pay no attention to the road construction. Jackhammers and the smelly remains of asphalt diminish. It's just me, a picnic table and sunshine.
By this point I'm listening to Imogen Heap singing about a guy she can't seem to ignore no matter how hard to tries ... Goodnight and Go. "why'd you have to be so cute?" She asks. Yeah. I can dig it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blah blah ~ Shut up!

Sometimes there are days, instances, moments where I just want to scream, "Shut up! Will you please stop talking!? Enough already. Thank you."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Out of Character: Step moms

In nearly every movie ever conceived it seems that step mothers are evil, conniving women who are out to destroy everything in their paths to break the bonds between their husband and his children. I'm here to blast that pattern out of the water. I can speak from experience that not all step mothers are created equal.

I will admit that when my father first announced that he was remarrying it was a shocker. He chose the day after my sister Maureen's nuptials to drop the bomb. I don't even recall hearing much about this woman he was to marry; the woman who would be ::daunting music:: my step mother. I think when he made his intentions known to most of us I had to feign enthusiasm.

I need to backtrack for a minute. I had been somewhat disconnected from my father for about 3 years. Call it post mortem confusion. I was a young teen without a mother and dad wasn't available in his own misery and grief. The household was in calamity and I was in dire need of love and guidance. Watching my father lick his wounds had no priority in my life. There were circumstances that pushed me to, in essence, run away. I needed a parent. I needed my mourning acknowledged. Dad and the one brother who still lived at home were swirling in a sea of self-absorption and leaving me alone in a big house at the tender age of 16. I had always been protected and looked after. In a short time our home was turned upside down and anger seemed to be the only emotion expressed. I couldn't bear to be alone any longer. So, I moved in with my sister(s).

So, dad announced that this woman named Nancy would be his wife in less than a week. I didn't attend the wedding. I showed up for the reception after my shift at Monical's Pizza. This woman had no meaning to me. She was just a flight of fancy for a man who was tired of being alone. Yeah, at 19 I was selfish, but I had my own demons to deal with. I had been literally walking around in a haze of denial. In my mind I sincerely convinced myself that momma hadn't died. She was just gone for an extended visit with friends. Subconsciously I knew better, but I utilized whatever coping mechanism I had. That was it. Mom was coming back and dad was betraying her.

Nancy, as it turns out, came to be a driving force in reconciling my father with his bewildered, grieving children. We all had issues in dealing with our mother's passing. I didn't want to embrace this new frontier in Dad's life. However, she never thrust herself or her son on us. She patiently waited. She didn't insist that we love either of them. She wasn't intrusive. She was simply Nancy.

Time would pass and I quickly learned what an amazing woman my father had married. My relationship with him strengthened and became better than it was before mom had left this world. He learned to reach out and communicate in a manner I'd never witnessed before. I got the father I always needed, and it was Nancy who let him BE that man. It's hard to explain, but there was a transformation in him. He was given a new lease on life and he was happier than he'd been in ages. WE were happier.

Nancy was so far removed from the stereotypical step mother. She is a friend. A confidante. If I need to talk; she listens. If I need advice; she'll dispense it if I ask for it. If I don't take that advice, she doesn't say 'I told you so.' She supports me in my errors and rejoices with me in my triumphs. She's everything a girl could want in a mom.

Fast forward a few years. In 1999 my world -- our world -- would be rocked again by dad becoming ill. Like mom, his decline was rapid and his passing surreal. I had been living in Georgia. I wasn't there to say good-bye, but my last conversation with him was filled with declarations of love. The past was shut away and we had become closer than ever. Nothing was left unsaid. No regrets.
For many that might have left a house divided. That wasn't the case. Nancy was and is the matriarch of our diverse clan. For many of the grandchildren she is Grandma. She's the only grandmother they know. She's the one who spoils them to the best of her ability (and the big kids, too). This post truly can't give her the justice necessary. It's hard for me to put into words the important role she plays in my life. In all our lives. She is astounding. If ever there was a question over whether unconditional love exists, I would tell you to talk to my mom, Nancy.
She entered my life at a tumultuous time, and managed to calm the storms. She took a wayward sailor and brought him into port. She reunited a broken family without realizing she'd done it. That woman I was determined not to like is a woman I now proudly call Mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I've been contemplating what I'd write for this occasion and nothing really jumped out at me. I decided to just sit down and let my fingers do the talking. Sometimes, my best writing just spills from my phalanges. More so, it flows from my heart.

My mother, Mary Caroline, lost a short term battle with ovarian cancer in June of 1981. I think we found out in March, 1981 after a surgery that was merely to correct diverticulitis. Truly, I believe that was just a cover. Mom didn't want to face reality and her presumed early mortality. Her mother died of cancer. Therefore, so shall she. BUNK!

I lived an angry existence after her passing. I hid it from everybody, but it was underneath. I didn't lash out or rebel. I believed my mother was watching me and I didn't want to let her down. I never did. Everything in my life up to that point was about making Momma and Dad happy. No regrets, mind you. I was the youngest child of eight. Looking back I feel that I had to fight for every morsel of attention given to me. There is no doubt that Momma loved me. She had a special brand of love for each of us. She viewed us as individuals and treated us as such. I've struggled over these 27 years about her love. For whatever reason, my subconscious only remembered more of the bitter than the sweet. Finally, I have released the anger. I wasn't really angry with her. I was angry that cancer got her. I was angry that she didn't take better care of herself. I was just angry.

I finally started coming to terms with the realization that she wasn't gone on a convention with The Bonnie Belles (barbershop chorus/Sweet Adelines). I had graduated from high school. Most of my close friends went away to college and life as I knew it ceased to exist. I found new friends, worked part time, and went to Kankakee Community College full-time. I survived. I still didn't rebel. It would have been temporarily excusable if I had, but I chose to just be a regular teen ager. I rather enjoyed being known as the 'good kid.'

I had been fortunate to have friends whose mothers loved me. My friend Karen's parents were an integral part of maintaining my sense of family and gave me guidance during my mother's illness and death. They took me to church, invited me to family get togethers and delivered tough love when I (we) needed it. I never took offense. They loved me. I spent many hours at their home. It was the structure I required. And boy oh boy was Karen's mom strict! To this day KK tells me she still irons her sheets and pillow cases. Never is laundry put in the closet without being ironed first.

My dear friend Tommy's mom was always welcoming to everybody who befriended her son. She's still like that. There was such a sense of comfort sitting in her living room and just hanging out. She never made us feel intrusive. We were a goofy brand of kids. She'd just laugh along with us. What makes her even more special is that she knew my mother and her brothers. They all went to Catholic school together as kids. What better extension than having someone in my life who actually knew my mother?

What really started to melt the icey exterior around the memories of my mother was when I gave birth to my darling Man-cub at 7:10 p.m on Friday, August 5, 1994. Holding what had only kicked me none-stop for months made me realize there was no way my Mother hadn't loved me with her entire being. I was an extension of her soul.

This brings me to another woman who has helped shape me and guide me; an extension of my mother. She is my sister Maureen. I was like a 10th birthday gift to her as my birth day was just hours after her golden birthday ended. She was there with me when my son was born. His father was there, too, but his weak stomach kept him from being useful in labor and delivery. Everything we learned in Lamaze was lost. Maureen was the surefire back up that I needed. She got nose to nose with me when I was on the verge of hyperventilation. Back labor on a gurney. A gurney I had basically been on all day due to the labor/delivery rooms being occupied. My little man was determined to come into this word facing the heavens. She stuck up for me when the nurse would gaze at the monitors and declare, "that's not a bad contraction." When, indeed, some were causing me to nearly blackout. She was right there when they told me "it's a boy!" Because of her mothering throughout my life, she almost feels she's a grandmother to my son. After that there was no doubt who would be Man-cub's God Mother.

Thirteen years later I catch myself sounding like my mother. I realize how much her patience was tested. I have one child and it's tested daily. Yet, no matter how it all comes around, at the end of the day I can lay my head to rest knowing I gave it my best. I kiss my son goodnight hoping he will never question that my love is unconditional. I say a little prayer that God will give me more time on this Earth than my mother had.

I have been fortunate to have many amazing mothers grace my life. I would be remiss to neglect to mention another incredible woman in my life. That is my sister Mary. She's given life to four children; raised 3. Her only son became ill and died at the wee age of 6. She has done an remarkable job in the face of adversity. I cannot fathom how, but she is an incredibly strong willed woman whom I admire greatly. She took me in when I felt lost shortly after our mom died. I needed guidance and safety. She supplied it until it became more feasible for me to reside with Maureen. She's always been a guiding force as, not only a sister, but a friend. I know how cliche' it is to say that, but this is undeniably true. Her daughters astound me with their accomplishments.

I hope everyone has been as blessed as I have been. Motherhood isn't an easy job, but it's one I knew I was destined for. The pay is lousy, the hours are long. The stress is insurmountable, but one thing is for certain: The rewards are priceless.
The book pictured is a must for all parents. Particularly mothers of sons. It doesn't matter how old my son gets I will carry this refrain with me: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wishin' and hopin'

My friend Lydia wrote in her blog today about taking a walk in the Hollywood Hills with her friend M. While walking they came upon a wishing tree. In Eastern culture, casting your wishes to the tree will bring you what your heart desires. I'm sure finding this treasure was unexpected; yet, wonderful to behold. She tells of how she read the wishes already tied up on the tree. They were selfless hopes and dreams. She dared not look upon her friend's wish card. Lydia compared this to telling someone what your wish was as you blew out the birthday candles on your cake. Taking a wish card and a pen from the tree, she made her wish. Making certain it was secure so it wouldn't blow off and find it's way out to sea via the storm drain. In her post she shares a website that allows anyone who goes there to cast a wish on the virtual wishing tree. I did so. So can you. I think in these economic, social and political hard times we can benefit from many beliefs ... and a little positive thinking never hurt anyone.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Toying with American Idol

I had some free time. So, I used it wisely by amusing myself. The Legend of Billy Jean is on the tube. I know how it ends. Therefore, I needed additional activity to keep me from eating.

American Idol 7 ~ Top 4 a real snoozer

I asked my 13 year old son to poke me with a stick if he caught me falling asleep during the performances by the top 4 contestants on American Idol. I can't believe this is the direction voters have taken. Apparently people are sleep deprived. Obviously I yearn for more entertainment. Clearly America can't choose a proper Idol (much like presidential candidates). What to do? What to do!?
By now everybody knows Jason Castro totally obliterated Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man. Seriously, I think he wants to just go the hell home. He overtly demonstrates that he's just bored with the entire process. The weather back home is probably ideal and he's itchin' to just hang out, dude. I implore the droves of teen voters who text their Castro votes in until their knuckles are bleeding to STOP THE INSANITY! Why, oh why couldn't you have done that for 'Roo? You can't run your fingers through dread locked hair. He admitted one of the tendrils fell OFF during a dinner date. That isn't appetising, girls.
Syesha needs to stop with the shifty eyes scanning for who is looking at her or where the cameras are. She annoys me. I don't care how well she sings (or not). The tears? Give me a break! She was fine until Paula said something about how much she's changed. The chick is an actress! She wasn't great. She wasn't terrible, but I'm sick of watching her.
David Cook couldn't have been less lackluster (unless he was Jason Castro). That was the worst rendition of "Hungry Like the Wolf" EVER! His take on Baba O'Riley put me into a rage similar to the night 'Roo was voted off. I still think DC has the greatest amount of ability and talent in the bunch, but jeez! What was that? I think he wants to get Daughtry'd so he has control in the direction he career goes post Idol. Just sayin'. Well, a lot of people are speculating that it's the way of the new Idol.
The insanity just needs to stop and I think they need to hand the crown to David Archuleta right now. He'll be the one to mostly benefit from winning. The kid is talented. He can sing. He rarely hits sour notes. His stage presence makes me a uneasy, but he's young and that's to be expected. He is perfect for the puppeteers behind American Idol. He can get a headstart on his music career, make some cash and divorce his parents so he can quickly crash and burn the way of Macaulay Culkin.
Paula Abdul seems to be sharing some smoke with Jason Castro. It was decided during a live chat on Pop Life that Paula is using Madlibs or those phrase magic refrigerator magnets to pull together comments. She's out of her mind and topped herself with this gem directed at David Cook, "watch your soul." I don't know if that's a warning or she's experiencing hallucinations. Whatever the case, I want what she's having!

Monday, May 5, 2008

"I feel like a super hero"

Per usual, my morning consists of watching the news on Fox Chicago. They just aired a human interest piece about an 11 year old paper boy who saved an elderly woman's life. He noticed mail and the paper hadn't been picked up for a couple of days. He went to his mom and said that he was worried that something wasn't right. The police were called and they discovered the woman had fallen. She'd suffered a broken hip three days earlier and was unable to call for help. She was severely dehydrated. The police and paramedics informed this wee hero that had he not shown concern and reported it the woman would surely have died within hours.
This little fellow is also mowing this woman's lawn and picking up her mail until she's home from the hospital. The woman's nephew was interviewed and stated that his aunt had just talked about what a great little paperboy she had. "And she's hard to please. So, that's really saying something." The toe-headed hero's mother glowed with pride as she talked about her son. Who wouldn't?
So, in this world where we think 'kids today don't care', keep in mind that there are kids who care. As a parent, it's up to us to teach them compassion. Demonstrate it; live it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

IRON MAN ~ Go. Now. Awesome!

Robert Downey, Jr. has just won my heart. I proclaim him my newest celebrity crush. He is supreme in IRON MAN. His natural smirky charm just oozes from every delectable pore. The movie simply fantastic. John Favreau directs this latest Stan Lee comic turned big screen phenomenon. Favreau also appears as Tony Stark's driver. Great! Stan Lee makes his Hitchcockian appearance per usual.

I am not a film maker; nor am I a writer or profess to know a lick about making movies. However, I do watch a lot of movies and this one will have me in line again at the theater. I'll own it on DVD. I'll anxiously await the director's cut super deluxe edition. The entire audience at the 11:55 a.m. showing were captivated, as well as, humored. I wouldn't suggest this being appropriate for wee tots, but my 13 year old loved it. There are jokes and innuendo that had the adults laughing; physical humor that tickled the kids' funny bones. The uber high tech gadgetry will appease the nerdiest geekazoids.

RDj will certainly have any doubting Thomas's dismissing the notion that Favreau brought in the wrong man for the role. Unlike many superhero alter egos, Tony Stark isn't some shy goober who happens to luck out due to some bio hazard accident. There's a suave charmer beneath the metal. Tony has control over his destiny and isn't afraid to use his new found power via technology to set wrongs right. Holy shiikes! Have I mentioned that you have to go see this movie? DO NOT WAIT FOR VIDEO! It's a must see on the big screen. If you can get to an IMAX theater to view it, DO IT!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Robert Downey, Jr.

I'm taking Man-cub to see Ironman tomorrow and I don't know who is more excited. I'm willing to bet that I'm edging him out in anxiousness. Robert Downey Jr is one of those actors I've always pulled for. When he was battling drugs and rehab, I was praying he'd come out alive and recovering. It's been five years of living clean and sober. I read that in previous projects he had to supply his own insurance because the film companies wouldn't cover him. He was a high risk. Now that he's sticking to his rehabbed ways the film company gladly forks over the insurance. I also read that John Favreau pushed and insisted that RDJ was the perfect choice to play Tony Stark.
On my favorite blog Stuck in the 80s, Spearsy posted about the fallen stars of the 80s. Those who've dropped from good graces. A few years ago RDJ would have found himself on that list. However, today we're only seeing him in fantastic shape with a new lease on a career as he celebrates his 43rd year. Unlikely superhero, sure. I'll give a mini-review and reaction from a 13 year old boy after we return. In the meantime, enjoy this Elton John video for "I Want Love" starring the man of the hour: Robert Downey, Jr.

She's got legs

There are times I cater my blog subject to a photograph I find absolutely kick-ass. This is one of those times. I've not been secretive about my love of black and white photography. In my previous post about breasts I declare that I don't have jaw dropping gams. I used to joke that I my legs were perfect as long as they were in the air. Yes, it sounds quite scintillating to make such a claim. It actually stems from an observation I made during an aerobics class. We were instructed to be on our backs, legs up. From that position we had to raise our torso, twist at the waist and meet our elbow to the bent knee of the opposing leg. This photo made me remember that incident. Naturally, I wasn't wearing latex with stilettos.
As I make my way toward my goal weight, I realize my legs are looking better. Power walking is trimming and shaping my calves. My thunderous thighs are thinner. I know because my pants drape from my fanny rather than hugging my speed skater thighs. I'm thrilled about my progress. It's not fast and furious, but I know my efforts aren't wasted.