Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eunice's Audition, Part Two

Hmmm. Now, where were we?

Nervously, I rolled Eunice into the long narrow room filled with plain seats and old white walls. I signed in. I assessed this place to be a borderline dump. I surveyed the room full of six other people….. A red-headed bombshell, with bright-pink lips showing mucho cleavage, skin tight spandex and wearing roller blades. Eunice and I sat in the corner waiting for Overboard to park the car and come fill the role of pushy stage-mom. Eunice was the only unicycle in the room and I was puzzled. There were two smaller guys down from me there to audition for “the boxer” part. They looked nothing like Sylvester Stallone or George Foremen. Down from them was a midget that I recognized from movies. I swear he was an oompa- loompa. Across from him? A plain Asian girl in a green top.

The room was quiet and still until Russia (that was her name), the Buxom Tart, asked about Eunice. We started to chat about unicycles; she said she had just learned to ride. I mentioned I was hoping to buy a 24” cycle soon because they are better flatland cruisers and that is what I like to do. She asked if I was interested in selling Eunice.

“Are you kidding me tits? I mean toots?” blurted out in my head as I politely answered, “Oh, no.”

Next the administrative lady with the long blond hair asked for my scan number. Huh? Next thing I know I was at the computer keyboard putting in my 411 … shoe size, suit size, height and weight. I fibbed by five. Who doesn’t? Then she took my mug shot and presto, I had a scan number. I can proudly say that I am officially just another number.

The Casting Director with the knit Rasta beret and long curly locks that draped beyond his shoulders frantically came in and out, taking one group at a time; gripping a big T.V video camera in hand. During this time Overboard and I chatted with folks around us for what felt like forever (an hour-and-a-half).
I asked the extremely kind administrative lady how many would be auditioning for the unicycle rider part. She paused, perused her clipboard and answered, “Three.”

Yes, three. As in, Stooges and Amigos.

Much better odds than I anticipated! When Rasta Director was rounding all three of us up, it was determined that my Eunice was the only unicycle. The other two said their agent never mentioned bringing one. At that moment, I loved my new BFF, Debbie at Maveric Artist Agency.  The Director asked if I would be willing to share mine.

"Well sure, but I would like to go first" I said (it is custom set for Unicycle Rose and I don’t want anyone messin with my game). Overboard leaned into my ear, like the perfect stage mom, and whispered, “You don’t have to let them use it. Then you will definitely get the part.”

She's a crafty one. I giggled as I patted her leg and told her I couldn’t do that. The Director was appreciative (it’s always wise to sprinkle good karma around). It was our turn to leave the room with the Casting Director. The Buxom Tart,  Asian Lady, Rasta Director and I headed through the hallway down the back staircase into the parking lot. There I handed him a folded up paper that will be explained in a separate post. I was ready to hop on, but he said we were filiming in the alley. I was holding Vitamin Water (really for balance and concentration) and he told me I could put it down because it would not help me get the part. I reluctantly set it down like a toddler releasing his favorite blankey. Holding something helps me balance, really! Next, the Rasta Director set me up against the wall and asked me a few questions with a camera in my face.

“How long have you been riding?”
“I received my first unicycle for Christmas when I was ten” (BTW, I never asked for one.)
“Can you juggle?” he asked while looking through the lens. (What, are you kidding; I can barely make sharp turns). I smiled and said no.
That was that.

I stepped up onto Eunice and away we went down the filthy narrow alley way. Then, while filming, the Director with the grey curls yelled, “Now turn around.”

Eeeks! I am used to turning around in my large suburban culd-de-sac; I just can’t whip out the one-eighty. I did my best, but became more nervous. I fell off. I could not get back on. Under pressure... stay calm……He was extremely kind and cool. At last I was rolling again, all was good. Overall I did the best I could for the circumstances.

Next, the Asian girl adjusted Eunice to her height (that felt wrong) and she had to hang on to the trash can to get started. Once going, she did fine. Last, the Buxom Tart attempted to hop on while holding on to the wall. Clearly, she did not know how to ride a unicycle. At. All. Not one bit. Zip. Nada. She never stopped hugging the wall. Did I feel bad for her? Nah. It was clear her strengths lie in other areas.

So, it looks like Unicycle Rose or Asian Girl will get the Vitamin Water commercial part. I should know in a couple days. If I hear nothing (isn’t that an oxymoron?) it was not meant to be. I don’t know what will happen, but I am positive of one thing. I am sooooo not a big-city girl. Los Angeles makes me crazy.

Keep your fingers crossed and only buy Vitamin Water if I get the part!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eunice's Audition, Part One

My agent called this morning (goodness, I love how that sounds) while I was working in fourth grade checking in masses of homework. The casting call for the Vitamin Water commercial arrived earlier than I expected….unicycle riders were scheduled to audition from 3-4PM today. Yes, TODAY! And I did not squeeze in a shower this morning….UG!  Frantically, I phoned my husband who thankfully was able to pick up the kids from school and I scooted down to Santa Monica with Overboard, the perfect stage mom. I was nervous, you know, real jittery (before leaving, I feared low blood sugar and drank orange juice, chowed on turkey meat and string cheese to stabilize my emotions and ginormous anxiety level). Driving to Los Angeles, I drew a blank on what to expect. Stashed in this small room with ten midgets (okay… little people, but I AM a little person at 61 inches, but not a legal midget), boxers, gymnasts and other unicyclists, I felt like a jack-in-the box waiting to pop. It was clear that these side-show acts were seasoned actors as they all possessed a scan number. Scan number?

“What the what?” I pondered.

I’ve never heard of a scan number outside of Target or Vons. I had to input my information into the computer system so I could legally be there. I felt like a Hollywood outcast and package of Oreos at the same time. Regardless, now I am scan-able Hollywood talent.
Next, I leaned into Overboard and asked for a drink of water. “You don’t want to ruin your lipstick,” she replied. Minutes later, her hand lifted up and over my head to arrange my brown hair amongst my black visor (I was told to wear my typical unicycle riding gear). I felt like a Brady kid on the set. “STOP, Mother!” I whispered glaring into her huge blue eyes. We giggled. It was a fun two hours to spend in an unfamiliar place with my loving, Overboard Mom. Note that I was the only adult there with a parent chaperon.

As much as I desire to share the fascinating details of my audition, I am pooped out, totally drained, not to mention that my pubic bone is sore from the last two days of practicing for my big unicycle-riding Hollywood debut. Because of today’s drama, I will sign out early. I must add that the highlight of this experience was viewing the herd of midgets. For once, I felt like a giant!
Tomorrow I will give you the details of what happened. For now, I am off to beddy-bye. Keep your fingers crossed and drink you Vitamin Water!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eunice goes to Hollywood

I put on my Unicycle Riding shorts this morning, promising myself I would accomplish two things today:

1. Take a ride on my single wheeler. The weather in Southern California is gorgeous. Daylight Savings Time has arrived and THIS is prime unicycle weather.
2. Visit Home Depot and purchase oodles of flowers and spend my Saturday with my hands in Mother Earth. Spring has sprung!

So I knocked out Number Two, but that took me five hours that I squeezed in between my kid’s basketball games. Despite running around in biking shorts, my can never found the seat of Eunice the Unicycle… until THE email arrived. Through my blog a talent agent found me! Talent Lady’s email read “I’m the Sports and Specialty coordinator for Mavrick Artists Agency. I'm am currently looking for a female who may be interested in auditioning for this commercial as well as things that come up in the future.”

Well, shoot yeah, I emailed her back and she gave me more information about the casting call. Vitamin Water is putting together a national commercial and female unicycle riders between the ages of 18-35 are needed (along with skinny men, a male unicycle juggler and gymnast). She said finding a female unicycle rider has been difficult so she googled and found me (So, THIS is how I am to be discovered?). Excited and yearning for Eunice, I hopped on and took her for a spin up and down the street at sunset. Loved it! Back from my ride I saw that Talent Lady responded. I had to come clean with her that I am (waaaay) over thirty-five. I sent her a picture via e-mail to see if I could squeeze under the radar. She said even if I was sixty-two, but could pass for thirty-five, I was in. I passed!

“Jeez, she must REALLY be desperate.” I thought.
At that point we had to talk on the phone so I could get the scoop on my budding new career. We had a  long chat and then I had to send her a picture of me riding Eunice. She said she would call me with the casting call time and date … THIS WEEK! The only picture I own of me on Eunice is the one on my blog that Cutie-Pie took two years ago. I could not send her that old thing! Time for Eunice and me to smile big for our photo shoot with my favorite (read as ONLY) Photographer/Technical Wizard/Hunk of a Husband. After I sent, dare I call her, “my agent” the pictures, she called me! Great, because I had questions. How many others will be trying out? She guessed twelve. Eh, not such bad odds. Not so good either. Especially if a busty, blonde eighteen-year-old shows up. Wrinkled brunette me will exit, stage left.

This will probably go nowhere, but remember dreams are free! I can hope and smile all I want, well, at least until I find out that I did not get called back to the April 9th shoot. At that point, I will live in reality, I promise. But for now? I am the new (older than thirty-five) spokesperson for Vitamin Water. Think Jared and Subway……

I will let you know when the casting call is…stay tuned, think good thoughts and drink your Vitamin Water!

My Aorta

My cousin Aurora is eight months older and almost a foot taller than five-foot-half-inch me. Yes, that half inch is important. Lucky giant her. I’d pay big money for a couple inches and she’s got extra. At our eighth-grade graduation she could tell that I stuffed my bra with Kleenex and she let me know it. I would have smacked her, but my arms could not reach. We grew up really close, going to the same school, celebrating every holiday together in matching dresses, sharing friends and Hello Kitty stickers, arguing about Hello Kitty stickers, spending summers at the beach,  explaining to me what "hump" meant along with loads of other life memories. Funny thing about Aurora is that somewhere along our young adulthood I renamed her Aorta because when I studied the cardiovascular system and came across the word ”aorta,” I thought it sounded like Aurora. One day, in rebuttal she busted out my new nickname, Left Ventricle (thank you, 11th grade science class). After we laughed out butts off, we remained Aorta and Left Vent for years.
At twenty-nine years of age, my first son was born with complex congenital heart defects (aortic and left ventricle problems included). Premonition? Weird cousin vibes? Maybe both. When I told her about my son’s heart problems we did our best to glean some humor from it all. It wasn’t easy at the time, but I can always count on Aurora to pick me up when I’m low as she has survived many struggles and has managed to crawl out from the pain pit full of energy and light every time.
Aurora now lives in Portland, Oregon and visited Southern California last week. I had not seen her in almost a year. She still overshadows me in height and humor. Authentic, genuine Aorta can really make me laugh. This August, she will graduate from Nursing School, having spent her last few years buried in medical books filled with aortas and left ventricles, among other fancy and complicated Latin medical terms that seem to roll off her tongue these days.
When she was here, we had many laughs about our growing healthy children, wacky immediate family and her hilarious nursing internship experiences (an old senile man put a lollipop stick down his wiener!). Like I said, Aorta is a few months away from graduation! Did you hear me people? I said she’s a few months away from grad-u-a-tion!!! This is huge and I want to take this opportunity to say “Aorta, you rock!! You have put so much hard work and sacrifice into this degree and I am impressed that you managed it while juggling all of life’s stuff. I love you.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WARNING; 4.0 to 6.0 earthquake is likely in Southern California March 24-26!!

This gorgeous mountain is what you see when you look out our front window. Residing here for eleven years, it has been a favorite part of my home and I consider it my mountain. If I glance over my shoulder while typing this, what do I see? That mammoth rocky mountain that never moves. Well, it is not supposed to. With the way earthquakes have been rocking our globe lately, I can’t help but think my mountain may do a shimmy soon. This reality scares me.

Growing up in Southern California, I have come to acknowledge that earthquakes are part of life here, just like sandy beaches, Disneyland and Hollywood. I hate this rockin’ part of our state. I always have. However, I realize that whether it is cyclones, blizzards, tornados, tsunamis, floods or volcanoes, anywhere you live there is some natural curse that comes with the territory.

The thing I hate about earthquakes is that there is no warning. Zip. Nada. I googled California earthquake prediction and found this: WARNING; 4.0 to 6.0 earthquake is likely in Southern California March 24-26 (Visit http://www.quakeprediction.com/ to see for yourself).

Quakes freak me out! Out of nowhere there is loud rumbling, then the lights sway, the floor rolls. I panic and duck for cover as I shiver with fear. A big quake I remember shook at 6AM, February 1971, and was centered in the San Fernando Valley (Sylmar), where we were living at the time. It registered a 6.6 magnitude and made the sidewalk in front of our house buckle! All the crystal and glass chachka flew off the shelves and my sister, Miss Piggy, and I carefully picked the broken glass pieces out of our shag green carpet. After the 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake of 1997, I swore I’d leave this state. However, I am still here and although it’s terrifying to be jolted, I try to be prepared. How do I prepare? When I go to the market I pick up an extra gallon of water. Oatmeal, oil and canned goods are bought a bit at a time too. I did research on what basic items we would need (listed below) and see cheese cloth is the only item I am missing.
Californians, it is not a matter of if, but when, the Big One is going to jiggle my big beautiful mountain and my nerves.  I hope I am prepared, are you?
Earthquake Supply & Equipment Checklist:
• Work gloves
• Ax - weighing at least 6 lbs.
• Shovel - both flat head and pointed
• Broom
• Hammer and nails
• Screwdrivers
• Crowbar or Claw Tool - 36" or longer
• Plastic sheeting rolls
• Plastic garbage bags - heavy duty, 30 gallon or larger
• Small and large plastic bags
• Coils of rope and wire
• Tent - family sized
• Tarp - PVC or canvas, minimum of two, 8' x 10'
• Sleeping bags
• Cheesecloth to strain particles from water
• Cash - small bills and coins
• Dry food
• Water
• Clothing
• Walking shoes and socks
• Local road maps
• Fire extinguisher - a dry chemical type is recommended with a size rating of 2A- IOBC, with an earthquake restraining strap, a hose type nozzle and a metal head
• Compass
• Flashlight w/ batteries, or chemical light sticks matches in a waterproof container
• Small radio, battery-powered
• Entertainment - family pictures, notebooks and games

Monday, March 22, 2010

Linda Belly and The Best BSer

There was that season of my life where I attended baby shower after baby shower and although happy for the new parents, going through the motions of “another baby shower” felt rote. Not this time! There were many highlights to this wonderful Sunday afternoon. Two I’ll note because one was refreshingly creative and the other innocently comical.

My cousin Larry and his wife Cyrena are expecting their first baby in three weeks. All of us attending were anxious to hear the name of our newest family member, as they were going to announce it at the end. I was excited to hear the chosen moniker, but knew I would become nauseous if it was Emma or Emily. Please, enough of the Emma Dilemma!
After opening the mountain of gifts, Larry and Cyrena went inside and said they would be right back for the big reveal. Minutes later they returned and invited both of their mothers to join them. Slowly they lifted the veil of her maternity shirt for the big announcement that was stuck on her ginormous belly… LINDA! There is so much meaning behind this family name. Linda is Larry’s mom (my Aunt Linda) but I did not realize that Cyrena’s mom is named Linda also. Double whammy! It was a sweet moment, filled with simple joy and hope, as you can see by the pictures. I loved how those two went about broadcasting the the baby's name. Original.
Innocently Funny?
Assigned seating at any luncheon can be a blessing or curse. Yesterday it was all good as my sisters, Miss Piggy and Cutie-Pie, as well as my gregarious cousins and I sat at the fun table near the back. During gift opening, we had plenty of opportunity to sip wine, share stories and laugh. We were gabbing on the topic of how kids grow up too fast. I noted that our generation was innocent at the tween stage and it freaks me out that many children have adult knowledge of sex and violence so young. It seems to be the American way and I don’t like it. My cousin Kat agreed and explained how innocent she was as a kid.

When she was twelve, Kat went shopping to pick out her big sister’s birthday gift. After searching the mall she bought a big button that read “World’s Best BSer.” She thought it meant World’s Best Big Sister. Ha! Ha! Uh, I don’t think so. I found her story sweet, funny and refreshing.
Hopefully, Baby Linda won’t grow up to comprehend what it means to be the Best BSer too early in life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Favorite St. Patty's Day Memory

A few days ago I tucked in my twelve-year-old son and a thirteen year old was in his bed the next morning. Lucas was such a sick baby that I did not know if this birthday would ever arrive. It did! What a joy watching him grow up. Thank you, Lord!

It seems we just celebrated his tenth birthday, Irish Style. Lucas dressed up like a leprechaun, which will probably never happen again now that he is a cool teenager. I have a hard enough time convincing him to wear clean clothes without holes. It is safe to say that just as my green beer days are long gone, so are the days of dressing him in a green suit, bowtie and fake nose for a St. Patrick’s-style birthday party.

He was such a cute lil' green dude. Oh, to be ten again! This is by far my favorite St. Patty's Day memory!

Now he has moved on to a Mach 3 razor, shaving cream and crackling voice.The ipod ear buds are permanently glued inside his ears and he wants to learn how to drive a car really bad. All in good time...

Happy 13th Birthday Lucas and Happy
St. Patrick's Day!

Cheers to all my Irish friends! (Clink!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mental Constipation

Wait! It is at the tip of my tongue, the answers to those questions. Or the name of that person. I can see their face, but can’t remember their name, or where I know them from.

Can’t. Spit. It. Out.

I smile, and then turn away. I have a grand idea and as soon as I sit down to put it on paper, I get a brain freeze.

Stuck. Again.

It happens often. The more I realize its happening, the more anxious I become and before I know it I have a full-blown case of mental constipation. Trapped facts, thoughts, answers and ideas. I am stumped, and puzzled; fog settles between my ears. Is this how Alzheimer’s feels? If so, I am on my way, just like my Grandma who covered shirt stains with white out. She demoted me from granddaughter to “that lady with the baby,” becoming just another face without a name to her. So sad.
I need a brain laxative. Can I have a prescription for a little orange pill that will unleash all the information, order and creative juices and make them flow from my head to the keyboard or to the tip of my tongue? I promise to stay close to the computer the next morning because how embarrassing would it be to gush  information, rambling ideas and scattered brilliance in public?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Emma Dilemma

This is the term I coined when I saw our fourth-grade class list for the first time. Why? Lack of originality by parents. One fourth of the girls are named EM: Emilie, Emily, Emma H. and Emma (last name Lee. No Kidding. Emma Lee). All darling, bright EMs.

What is with this name that means “industrious”? In 1880, Emma was the third most popular name. In1999, Emily was number one. What are the two most popular girl names for 2009 and 2010? You got it. Emily is number one and Emma, number two. I read on line that it takes about 90 years to pass before we are willing to revive an old name. If this is the case then we can expect Emily to move over and make room for Betty, Dorothy, Virginia and Mildred.

My little sister, Cutie-Pie, is pregnant! Emma gonna tell her to avoid the name Emily, and to start the 90-year revival cycle with Mildred (that ought to go over like a lead balloon).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eye Made A Big Mistake

We all make mistakes. This story is from that category, Errors Only Made Once.
Have you ever been on a cruise? Have you ever bought a drink or two on a cruise? Having gone on a few in the past, I refused to shell out big clams for cocktails. Rip off! It was the year our large group of friends were all turning forty and thirteen couples celebrated with a mini-cruise to Mexico. I was scheming on how I could get the Captain on board with us. That would be our friend, Captain Morgan.
The day before we set sail, I came up with the brilliant idea to fill the contact solution bottle with rum. After filling ‘er up, I tucked the bottle into my bathroom bag and set out a new unopened bottle for my husband, whom I had not shared my genius idea with … yet.

Coming home from a long work day, Ralph went straight upstairs to remove his lenses. I knew something was terribly wrong when, from downstairs, I heard him shrieking. Okay, more like a really loud, angry, sort of screeching. I ran upstairs, fast as a bullet, fearing for his eyes and my life. He had bypassed the new unopened bottle of solution and dug into my bathroom bag. His thinking, "Why open a new bottle when there is an opened bottle around here somewhere. Must use every last drop."

While I am thinking, "Why be conservative with stupid contact solution? OPEN THE NEW BOTTLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! It's okay to have two open solution bottles at the same time!!"

Ack! Eeeks! Oooops!

He innocently lubed-up his eyeball with Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum! It was a modern-day “I Love Lucy” episode and what I would have given for a diverting knock on the door from Fred and Ethel. I had some splain’n to do! I felt terrible! Terrible! I took the saying “You always hurt the ones you love” to a whole new level.

THIS is the kind of mistake you only make once. I apologized profusely as he rinsed out his eye, waiting for the burning pain to end. I begged him to see the humor in it. He was not laughing, as the humor angle was not easily seen during the chaos. Time passed. Being the amazing, understanding, best-husband-in-the-world, he did forgive me and we laughed about it all the way to Mexico. You can see by the picture of Ralph on the cruise, that he was fine...especially after he put a few squirts of “contact solution” in his Coke!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Every Day Above Ground is a Good Day

Today is my birthday! I refuse to moan about aging … wrinkles collectin’, boobs-a-saggin’ and memory-a-slippin’. My heart and mind do not view life that way. I am overjoyed, delighted and thrilled to celebrate the droops and gray hairs. Do you know why?


Weekends ago, my youngest son and I rode our bikes to a cemetery tucked in the green Conejo Mountains. It was a beautiful ride to acres of rolling grass and foliage, abundant with serenity and peace. We strolled the grounds glancing at the grave stones. There, I visited my friend who died at thirty-eight after a bike accident (please always wear a helmet). Then I said hello to my dear friend’s sister who passed away at thirty-three after a failed lung transplant. A bit farther up the hill was my neighbor who dropped dead of a heart attack at fifty-three. I rode away from there with a heavy heart acknowledging two things. Every day is a gift and nobody wants to die young.

In light of that bike trip, I exclaim with great joy and gratitude that today I am forty-two! Plus, I have hit the birthday trifecta because I am life-filled, have good health and find myself in a happy place. I have not always felt this way, as Helen Hayes said, “The hardest years in life are those between 10 and 70.”

Celebrating with our dear friends this weekend reminded me that lasting friendships are another reason to look up to heaven with appreciation. So cheers to me and you, birthday or not, because we have been given another day to love, laugh and sag. Embrace it because no wise man ever wished to be younger. Clink!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Big 6 Great Datexperiment

We feel like old married guinea pigs. It is thrilling.

The Great Datexperiment is one date a month that revolves around one of the Married Life’s Big 6 essentials. We were given a sealed envelope, through our church, and told not to open it until our date officially started. The envelope sat in my cluttered car for a month and we forgot about it until yesterday, when we received the second date envelope. We were behind schedule. As luck would have it our kids were gone all afternoon, setting the stage for The First Great Date which was focused on romance. May I share the highlights and maybe even inspire your marriage? This was an amusing and unusual afternoon.

It’s the Little Things
One step was my husband had to incorporate three suggested pet names into the date conversations. These names included Bambie, Eye Candy, Cowgirl, Mamacita, Gangsta Baby, Magic Princess or Honey Bunches of Oats. In turn, I had to pat him on the can at least two times before the date was over. Our real-life version of this step is that my husband calls me Critter and I flick him on the head often.

Food for Thought
We had to pick from a list of questions and answer four. It was insightful because we don’t discuss this sort of stuff regularly...who does?
-When we were dating I tried to impress you by_______.
-What is the best date or trip we have ever been on?
-If we could plan vacation just the two of us, where would it be?
-I get a kick out of watching you________.
Our real life version goes like this: Can you wash my whites? You kicked me in bed last night.

Picture This
This next step was a cute one. With our camera phone, we had to take a picture of the two of us and use the picture as cell phone wallpaper. Our real life versions were my husband had the standard wallpaper that comes with T-Mobile and I had an adorable photo of our two boys. Not anymore.

Over lunch we chewed on questions:
-Would you rather take a one-week $5000 vacation or go on five different long weekends that cost $1000 each?
-Would you rather eat and never gain weight or speed and never get caught? No surprise, we both went for overeating.

Then we went on to digest which of the five love languages is the most important to each of us. There are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch or Acts of Service. More questions followed surrounding love languages. Our real life version: Who knew there were Love Languages?

The Thought is ALL that Counts
This was our favorite part. We had to select a store (we chose the $.99 store) and buy each other a $2 gift. Separated, we had ten minutes to purchase it and meet backup, then exchange gifts and tell each other why we made our selections. I debated over nine different items. It was tough only having two bucks to spend. One gift I decided on was a rock carved with the word “Harmony.” Imagine our laughter when he gave me my gifts and one was the exact same rock, but with the word “Peace”. He also bought me bulbs to plant, candles, and his own rock that reads “Wisdom.” You can never have too many inspirational rocks lying around your house.

The date ended with selecting a place for dessert. Or daters could forego the dessert and go to a secluded place and kiss in the car. We both were stuffed with Mexican food leaving us no choice but to act like hormonal teenagers. Let’s just say it felt awkward driving around a park, looking for a private place to smooch. I felt embarrassed, too old to be doing this sort of thing. Our Honda parked, we made out. Strange and exciting. It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

If this sounds like something you and your Honey Bunches of Oats would like to be part of, go to

I wonder what Date #2 will be like. Hubba, Hubba!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

From the Mouth of Abe

Working in education I come across many quotes from famous Americans. Here’s my favorite from cherished, wise and respected Abraham Lincoln.

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do themselves.”

What would Old Abe think of his United States of America in 2010?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thanks, Tiger!

Tiger Wood’s affairs were disappointing news; marriages everywhere leaned in to hear what went wrong. I watched a show, Good Morning America, interviewing a psychologist discussing infidelity. Tossing around the reasons why folks have affairs and lie to their spouses, the psychologist said something that stuck like gum on my shoe. It is a quote I keep in my mental back pocket along with everything else.

If you don’t want your mate to take a lover, then be a lover.”

Great advice. It is a simple reminder to keep the lover in both of you alive. You might be scratching your head trying to remember what the heck a lover is? Other words for lover are fan, devotee, follower and enthusiast. Defined by Encarta it means:

1. sexual partner
2. somebody having a love affair
3. somebody who is devoted to or adores a  particular something

When I think of the word L-O-V-E-R, I crave more of definition number three, while my husband wants definition number one. Between us, we attempt number two. It is not easy. Being married almost sixteen years, I realize the challenge in being a lover to your spouse might evoke a distant, foggy memory. Change that. Start by action or words depending on who you married. Once you do, one small spark might start a fire. Maybe not, but isn’t it worth a try?

And to think I stumbled on this quote because Tiger kept lovers all over the place. Despite the let down in his behavior, I took away something positive. Thanks, Tiger! Hubba. Hubba.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Things That Bug Me (Today), Part Two

1. Throwing away leftovers. The Italian food addict in me wants to gobble it all down because it just feels wrong to dump half of my favorite cake (white-on-white). Then I remember that lesson from food rehab: Food does not have feelings. Toss it.

2. Dust bunnies. Tough fluff to exterminate. Can I get my house tented?

3. Finding a parking spot at Costco on the weekend. Might they consider a parking structure or limit admittance? Ha! It is ridiculous though. Once parked, I cart my way in as oversized folks stop to eat free lunch samples. It clogs the sea of shoppers who just want to buy Diet Coke, toilet paper, milk, bread and go home. Move it along, people!

4. Lunch Duty at school. I went to college to watch K-8 graders eat like starved, hyper piglets then run around attacking one another? Please no. I thought I aimed higher.

5. Dog Drag. I am bugged that our dog, particularly Sara, scoots her can across the rug. Her bottom must be irritated and so is my carpet. Ewwww.

6. Fourth graders who pick their noses as if they are alone in their bedroom. Then they pick up the pencil and write. Pause, and then start digging again. Kleenex and hand sanitizer sit a few feet away. More than once I have walked up to a kid and handed them a tissue after watching them dig for gold. You would think that would embarrass them to stop the behavior. It doesn’t.

7. Prognosis. A word that reminds me how temporary this world is. Savor every day with your loved ones. It bugs me life has to work this way.

8. Worldly pressures. Face it; there is always someone richer, smarter and thinner. Digest this truth and move on because when you get that prognosis it really won’t matter how big your bank account is, your IQ or what the stupid scale says.

9. The Balance. I can balance on my unicycle, but I struggle to not over-nag, keep my car clutter free and put a straw in the bottle of Chardonnay.

10. Earthquakes. They have bothered me for 42 years. The big shaker is rolling to California any minute. I say don’t be bugged, be prepared … buy extra water and sell for profit. Just kidding, sort of.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last Names That Make Me Laugh

Last names are fascinating. Consider my neighborhood of four hundred homes, built in the early 80s, two stand out more than the other three hundred and ninety–eight. Why? They post a carved wooden sign on the garage and front of the house displaying their last name. People do that sort of thing, you know, like The Gomez’s, The Smith’s The Fong family…you get the idea. I think it’s cute and homey…if that is a word.

However, it cracks my family up that the only two homes advertising their ending moniker are The Frickers and The Fagnants. Huh? Yes, you read that correctly. I know we don’t choose our last names, they are passed down and “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”, as the school’s kindergarten teacher says. I would not advertise Fagnant or Fricker because of exactly why I am writing about them; both contain socially avoided and politically incorrect words. But they are these homeowner’s proud last names. Isn’t it funny that the ONLY two of four hundred houses that display their last name would both be unique and borderline offensive?

Curious, I googled “funny last names” to see if any could top my neighbors. These were some real ones I found along with wedding announcements that show hyphenating last names after marriage is not always a grand idea. I discovered a dentist named Dr. Coward, a Kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Brush and her assistant, Mrs. Comb and a foot doctor named Dr. Tredwell. One person told of a Catholic cardinal with the last name “Sin”, Cardinal Sin. And the winner of the “Bad Baby Names” contest went to a lady named Iona Knipl.

Hmmmm. In the big picture, my neighbor’s names are mild compared to what other folks have to lug around. Regardless of that truth, I will still snicker when I drive past their homes.