Friday, April 29, 2011

Mommy Dearest

We, as moms, are always praising our kids for something: being smart, being beautiful, being driven, being athletic, and on and on. We are so proud of our children and let them know as often as we can. That's why they grow up to be healthy, confident and successful adults. But how often do we children praise our moms? Probably not very. And as kids, we think they are not very praiseworthy. They are annoying, they are intrusive; butting into our business way too much, they have too many rules, and they are definitely not cool. I can't remember ever telling my mom one positive thing about herself. And now that I think of it, I don't think my own kids give me kudos for too much, either. Hmmmmmm. Pay back’s a bitch.

But as we age, we grow to appreciate just who our moms are and how they have helped mold us into who we are today. Granted...they have molded both negatives and positives...but since Mother's day is just around the corner, let's just concentrate on everything good our moms have done for us.

I know as a child I was pretty remarkable! Or so I like to believe. Ok...maybe not. But I do know I was quite the annoying little girl. I would bug my mom to play cards or jacks when I didn't have a friend over to play with. And many times she did. But when she decided she wanted to get a little snooze in before starting dinner...I didn't really like that. Once she had fallen asleep, I would sneak into her room, crawl up to her bed, and while on my knees, with my face practically touching hers, I would slowly pry one of her eyelids open with my thumb and index fingers. "Mom...are you up?…get up. Mom". She would then open her eyes, give me one of her looks, and out the door I went. "But mommmmmmm."  I haven't really grown out of that stage...just ask my kids. I tend to do the same annoying things to them. I just can't seem to help myself.

Who other than your mom would sing your praises when you show her your dance steps of 'Shuffle off to Buffalo' even though they look more like you're having a seizure than tap dancing? And who would tell you what a beautiful voice you have even though the dog is covering her ears? We could be going through that awkward pre-teen stage of gaps in our front teeth, 20 lbs overweight, pimples starting to pop out, but to our moms, we are still beautiful.

No one gave better hugs than my mom. Every morning, as soon as I got out of bed, I went to my mom in the kitchen for my wake up hug. There was nothing more comforting than that. I was ready to start my day. But little did I know that my morning breakfast drink she made for me every day for the first 17 years of my life could have killed me. Chocolate milk in the blender with a raw egg. She was either trying to kill me or make me into the next Rocky.

She would brush my hair and put it into a ponytail to get me ready for school. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my skin was pulled back so tight, almost looking like Joan Rivers, that it caused my head to throb the rest of the day. I figured since I was only in elementary school, she must know what she’s doing and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. As I’ve aged, I have tried to replicate that look, to no avail.

Some of my favorite memories ever were when my mom would play the piano and the whole family would gather around and sing. We were the Von Trapp family without the melodious voices. But we still had so much fun. I probably know every show tune ever written. It was a sad day when I found out they sold the grand piano before moving to L.A., but I guess finding space for it in their new home would’ve been like fitting an elephant into an elevator. How I miss that piano.

I miss the days of lying on the couch while she waited on me when I was home from school sick. She was so attentive and comforting, making sure I had everything I needed to recuperate. She always was so concerned about how I was feeling no matter how big or small the ailment. If it hurt me, it hurt her ten times worse and still does to this day. I have done and felt the same with my kids. And when they’re sick, they sure have taken advantage of that. I’m surprised they haven’t gone out to buy a bell to summons me in case I don’t hear them right away.

There is no other relationship like a mother and child. She’s our doctor, our confidant, our personal chef, our laundress, our playmate, our taxi driver, and our security blanket. She’s beautiful inside and out. And although we may not always see eye to eye, it’s what’s in our heart that matters most.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom…I love you with all my heart.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One...Not the Loneliest Number

There's a lot to be said for being alone and single. There’s more to be said for being in a relationship…but since my status is currently single, let’s concentrate on those positives instead. I know many who are not capable of doing that and jump from one relationship to another. But I have to say, I have gained so much knowledge about myself from staying single for a few years after each of my relationships. It gave me time to sit back and reflect on what the hell just happened and what was I thinking. Maybe a little too much time!

I'm not going to bash on the men I've been involved with. Well…yes I am. I’m just not going to name names. You never know who reads these blogs and who knows who. So without saying whether it was a particular husband, or boyfriend, or just some random person…I will just tell you what I've learned from them, in no particular order.

I have learned the new meaning of a compliment. I never realized that a compliment comes in the form of a criticism [or so he claimed]. "You're smart, you should read more".  "Your eyes are pretty, you should wear less make-up". "Your eyes are pretty, you should cut your bangs much shorter so I can see them." "I like your body, you should wear different clothes to complement it." "You have nice hair, why do you wear it so long." My answer back..."Have you MET ME? Or is there another woman you thought you were dating? Go back to the line-up and pick out your Barbie, Svengali."

I have a much louder voice than I ever knew could come out of this mouth. Screaming matches...I do not like them at all, although I was forced to participate in a few. When did talking go out of fashion? And who can think when you can't hear yourself over the shouting? I lost every fight because the decibel made my head throb. I found out I'm not good at comebacks on the spot. In fact, I’m pretty frickin’ awful. I come back with some of the most inane retorts ever. My best one…”Well, yeah, so”. I need time to think. I need time to collect my thoughts. I need calm to have a reasonable conversation and then I actually CAN have a good repartee. I have also discovered how many types of ear plugs are on the market. I would sneak them in my ears while he was ranting.

I AM superwoman. So many of us moms are. I never thought of myself as having super powers, but I do. I'm not sure which superior being I am, but I definitely fall into one of those "SUPER" categories. I could change diapers, do laundry, hold down a full time job, take care of the bills, the housekeeping, the meals, attend school functions, kill spiders, unclog the toilet, help with homework, read bedtime stories, and satisfy the sexual appetite of my partner...all in a day's time, while my partner did......hmmm...I still haven't quite figured that one out yet.

I am a good listener. I found out that men's ears are there for decoration only. (And maybe to hold their eye glasses in place).  In just a few conversations I learn so much history about the person I'm dating. But I don't understand why they don't ask questions back. Probably because their ears don't do incoming sounds. I don't like to talk about myself but it does get kind of boring when all we are talking about is him: his job, his hobbies, his kids, his income, his every single frickin' thing... for hours, and hours, and hours. My favorite quote of all time..."Ok, enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do YOU think about ME?" Being a good listener can go only so far. Those ear plugs sure come in handy. Good thing I purchased them in bulk.

When did blowing your nose into your hands in the shower become ok? I have no idea if this section actually belongs here but I’m including it anyway because it’s disgusting and I don’t miss that at all. One of the great things about being single…not putting up with other’s disgusting bathroom habits. I mean seriously…blowing your nose in the shower? I know you’re in the shower and you can wash your hands, but still…ewwwww. And I’ve had more than one guy do that, so that means it is a guy thing, not just one person’s gross habit. Although I guess there may be some women out there who do that? Nah…I don’t think so. Of course there are quite a few other ‘men only’ proclivities…the ball scratching, the remote hogging, the farting, the burping, the blah, blah, blah…but we’ll just stick with the nose blowing shower visual at this time.

Finances. I learned that going from a two income household to a one income household is not exactly what I thought it would be. I should have thought that part out a little more thoroughly before I chose to be single. But the positives did outweigh the negatives at the time. Next time, I’ll remember to think that one through a little better. But I definitely learned from it. I found out being a "nice guy" and asking for nothing, gets you nothing. So nothing is what I got towards the house, the kids, the expenses. But I did gain knowledge and knowledge is power. And like I said...I have super powers. Now I just have to use them to find that SUPER man. I’ll bet my real name is Jaime Sommers.

Please note...I  love men. Man bashing for blogging purposes only. I hope this didn't offend anyone of the male gender.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dial M for Murder

It was just another ho hum day at work. Or so I thought. Got up at 6AM...took my long commute of 10 steps into my office. Worked a few hours. Then left for a business lunch. Now, understand... I rarely go to lunch with associates because I live far enough from the advertising hub that it would keep me out of the office for too many hours. So this was a rarity. And a welcome break from the routine doldrums.

I gave myself an hour and a half for a drive that should only take 45 minutes. I got on the freeway and traffic was moving along at a steady pace. Unheard of for a Friday afternoon. I felt relieved knowing I would get there on time. It was a gorgeous day outside, I was singing in the car, checking out the other commuters, feeling pretty good...and 45 minutes later, to the minute, I exited the freeway at my destination.

And then BAM! I got off the freeway ramp and the cars were at a standstill. I thought...ok...this makes sense. Lunch time on a Friday afternoon, beautiful day out, people leaving work early, yadda yadda yadda. But as I sat in traffic on the surface street, waiting for the light to turn green, I heard the whirring of a helicoptor’s rotors. I looked up through the sunroof and there it was hovering overhead. I didn't think much of it but after a minute or two, I realized it was quite loud for only one copter. When I looked up again, there were two more circling the area directly above me. Uh oh...3 choppers...hovering over me...not a good sign. Since I knew I wasn't guilty of anything, that meant something ominous was going on around me. Oy vey!

I called my co-worker who was meeting me, to let him know I was now going to be late. 100 yards from my destination and NOW I am running late.

"Hi George...I'm right near the restaurant but they are diverting all the cars away from that direction. Do you know what's going on?" "Oh, yeah...there's a murderer on the loose." he said so nonchalantly. "I'm sorry...I must have a bad connection. What did you say?" "There's...a...murderer...on...the...loose. They are searching for him. They closed down 3 schools and cordoned off the area." 

You have got to be kidding me! I wanted a diversion from my everyday work routine but I didn't ask to be part of Starsky and Hutch.

"Ok...well, I'll be there as fast as I can. We aren't moving too quickly. See you soon." [I hope]. I sat at the light for about 15 minutes and finally they guided me in the opposite direction of where I needed to be. Great! Having no sense of direction I started to panic. I knew I would be getting totally lost. I was hoping to make a U-turn and just back track...but nooooo. The cops had me turn left onto some side street. I just followed the traffic and proceeded to.......stop. Again. I then sat for a half hour trying to figure out how to get back to the main street where the restaurant was. I called George to tell him and the others to start eating without me. 

I was sitting in front of an elementary school where there was no sign of activity. It was obvious this was one of the schools on lock down. Every passer-by was a suspect to me. And there were quite a few pedestrians walking by. I became a Profiler. He's wearing a beanie...should I call 9-1-1? He's walking his kid in a stroller. I doubt he's a murderer. He's got tattoos and low-rider pants, looking a little shady. Should I call 9-1-1? Being the ex-wife of a cop, I'm sure I am an expert on profiling. How cool would it be if I nailed this perp! that's gonna happen. I'm so chicken shit I made sure all my windows and doors were locked and closed the sun roof.

So after about a half hour I finally made it back to the main street but then they diverted me even further away. I tried to circle around and circumvent the blocked off area but ended up right back in the same place. Like I said, when they gave out a sense of direction...they skipped over me.

My cell rang. "Hi George". "Where are you?" " the same place I was when we talked a half hour ago". "You haven't moved?" "Well...yes. I did. But I circled around and turned back onto the same street I was before." "How did that happen?" " know that phenomena they call a sense of direction?" "Yes." "Well...I ain't got one! Nada, nothing, zilch. I believe they did a recall on mine."

So there I sat for another half hour. The news vans were all over the place. I asked one of the cameramen from NBC if he knew what was happening. "Yeah...there's a murderer on the loose." No shit, Sherlock. "But do you have any update?" "We heard they're close to capturing him."  Well...that's good news, I guess. Let's just hope the capture isn't right outside my car. Gunshots were the last thing I wanted to be dodging. I slid down as far as the steering wheel would allow me to go. Forget about panicking about getting lost...getting murdered moved to the top of that list.

Finally, traffic started moving. I slid back up so I could see over the steering wheel, made it onto the main street and proceeded to go in the direction of the restaurant. YAY. I proceeded to drive right past the restaurant. UGH. I went down to make a U-turn and was driving back and they diverted me again due to construction. It was ridiculous. Two and a half hours later I finally got there! Next time I'll remember to leave ample time for a murderer on the loose. We had a lovely lunch and I went home.

I was watching the news that night to see what the whole story was. I was hoping the cameraman captured me on tape but he didn't. Another failed opportunity at stardom. And as I was watching the story unfold, there's the mug shot of the murderer. You know my tatted up low-rider pant wearer shady guy? Yup...that was him. I coulda been a hero! I coulda been a victim. I coulda just stayed home and not gone to lunch. Just another ho hum day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's gonna be a bumpy ride

What is it about flying that makes me so fearful? Oh, that's right...everything. From terrorism to mechanical heart races from the minute I wake up on the day of the flight, until feet on the ground at my destination. Usually people-watching at the airport takes my mind off of the whole flying experience. But not this time!

As I was sitting at my gate waiting to board my plane, I tried to calm myself as best I could: drinking coffee, watching the people, and playing brick breaker on my phone. They started calling groups to board, but I don’t think organizing into groups really has made any difference in moving the line along more quickly. You still have those people who stand in the aisle, putting their carry-on in the overhead rack, then deciding they need some article out of it, but remain standing in the aisle while they open it, looking for what they need, closing it back up and putting it back up there. Then they have to turn it around eighteen different ways to be sure it fits correctly. The groups shouldn't be made according to who made their reservation first; they should be based on IQ. All the idiots to the back of the line.

We have all had our share of horror stories about the person next to us on the plane, but I had never experienced one like this last one. Not only was he far from petite, but not the most aromatic, either. I reached up to the air vent and blasted it so that it was directly shooting towards my nostrils. I was gasping for air but preferred to have trouble breathing the air from the vents than the air from his breath and arm pits. As I sat there with my chest heaving, I took out my book to read. As soon as I started reading, Mr. Arm Pit Breath decided to strike up a conversation. Seriously? He had 20 minutes prior to that to get in the small talk. “Where’re you headed?” “To Iowa. My company headquarters is there”. “Oh, what do you do?” and after 15 minutes of the question/answer part of the flight I decided to put an end to that. “I’m really sorry, but I’m in a very exciting part of my book and would love to get back to it. I hope you don’t mind.”  “No, not at all. You may want to turn it right side up though.”

A half hour into the flight, the attendants were rolling the drink cart that blocks the aisle from every full bladder needing to relieve themselves. Mr. Smelly Pits ordered a mixed drink on ice and immediately started slurping. One of my biggest pet peeves (just one of them…I do have quite a few that I did experience on that flight alone). Slurping……….oh my god. And then the ice cube jiggling. I didn’t know how I was going to contain myself from saying something, but I did. I put my headphones on and avoided eye contact so as not to drive myself up the wall and out the emergency exit. I had to keep upping the volume on my ipod, because if I heard one more slurp or jiggle, I would have grabbed the drink and finished it myself just to end the torture.

About an hour into the flight, they were serving that rubbery, processed crap they call food. I had brought my own snacks to avoid intestinal problems, but Mr. Slurp-All had ordered airplane food. Actually, he ordered two servings of airplane food. One for him. And one for him. That would be two for him. And then he proceeded to smack his lips when chewing. Are you frickin’ kidding me? By that time, my volume was so loud on my ipod I thought I was going to burst an ear drum. I decided to eat my chips so that the crunching in my own head would drown out the lip smacking, drink slurping, ice jiggling, arm pit smelling, putrid breath, larger-than-life man next to me.

He managed to finish his food in about 12 minutes and decided to take a snooze. Thank goodness. Now maybe I could get some of my own snoozin’ in. Who was I kidding?  Of course I couldn’t because the guttural sounds emanating from his flapping uvula and enormous nose holes were deafening. Even over the sound of the engines, this man had louder noises coming from his body than fighter jets flying over a war zone. And not only were sounds emanating, but I believe some noxious gasses were being blown out of another orifice, if you know what I mean. But somehow I managed to fall asleep only to be awakened by the pilot making an announcement.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. You may have noticed the propeller on the right wing is not functioning correctly.” 

I’m sorry……..WHAT!?! Of course I didn’t notice. Who am I? Amelia Earhart? How the f**k would I notice that a propeller is not functioning correctly? And why are you telling us this? Wouldn’t it just be better to keep this information to yourself and just land the frickin’ plane somewhere without alarming 200 passengers?

“We are not sure what the problem is but we will be turning the aircraft around and stopping at Midway Airport to get it checked out”.

Really? You’re not sure what the problem is? Then how the f**k did you expect US to know there was a problem? My heart was pounding out of my chest, my blood pressure was soaring, and I was in a state of panic. I looked around and everyone else was as calm as can be. Huh? I didn’t get it. Did they not hear the same pilot I just heard? Why was I the only one that seemed to be just a tad bit disturbed by this news?

My drink slurping, lip smacking, arm pit smelling, farting snorer of a neighbor slept through this whole episode. I couldn’t even lean on him for comfort. Not that I would literally want to lean on him, but it would have been nice to have someone to talk me through this.

“Hello again ladies and gentlemen. We are now descending into Midway Airport. Thank you for your patience. You will be departing the aircraft and we will advise you when it is safe to get back on board to continue into Cedar Rapids.”

Are you out of your f**king mind? There’s no way I’m getting back on that plane. You can keep my luggage. You can keep the money I paid for the ticket. You can keep my neighbor Mr. Shrek. But me? I don’t think so.   

My wobbly legs barely got me off the airplane steps and onto the runway. This airport was so small that they didn’t have a jetway. We walked from the plane to the terminal and I just sat for a few minutes, trying to calm myself now that I was on solid ground, figuring out my next move.  I checked out other airlines and flights and made a decision.

Did I mention how luxurious the Greyhound bus line is? And they depart Midway Airport every hour and stop in Cedar Rapids. I slept like a baby the whole way there.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I got the Music in Me

I was driving home from an appointment one afternoon; pink, purple, orange and blue sunset in the rearview mirror, 80 degrees outside, sunroof open with the breeze wafting through, and Prince blasting on the radio. There I was, bopping to the music like a teenager, loving Prince. But as I was belting out ‘Purple Rain’, I started listening to his voice and wondered why it is that I love him? His voice really isn't that great, he screeches in parts, he's kind of strange looking, yet I love him. I don't know any song he sings that I don't love shakin’ and groovin’ to. [Let’s go crazy’.]

George Michael singing ‘Faith’ came on the radio next and I was doing some serious boppin’ then. I can’t even imagine what I looked like driving down the freeway. I used to have the biggest crush on him till he decided to become a psycho nut case and creeped me out. But I still love his music. [Cause I gotta have faith’.] 

And why is it that singers don’t have to be good to be good. It always amazes me that you don’t necessarily need talent to turn out a great song. Maybe I should rephrase that. You don’t have to have a good voice to be talented. And you don’t have to have talent to make tons of money. 

But you have to have IT. And some people just got IT and some people don’t.

I mean…please tell me how Joe Cocker became famous. He screamed many of his songs and looked like a raving lunatic while he sang, to a point that it was uncomfortable to watch, yet I love his music. [‘You are so beautiful to me’] 

I am a huge fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I’ve gone to their concerts almost every year since high school. Mostly CSN sans Y, and quite happy Y was missing. I wasn’t a huge Y fan, but he did add to the harmony of the group. Solo though…his voice could shatter glass. I’ll admit he had a couple of songs I did love, but other than that, he sounded like he was having a prostate exam and the doctor was squeezing way too tight. [Needle and the damage done’]

Before I ever saw him sing, I always thought Bob Dylan wore a clothes pin on that schnoz. I’m not sure why he made it big, but you can’t help but sing along to his music. He’s definitely not much to look at. He definitely doesn’t have what is defined as a beautiful voice, yet he’s a classic and an incredibly great song writer. [Like a rolling stone’]

I know many will disagree with me on this one…but I just don’t get the fascination with Sting. Women find him sexy and I find him rather awkward looking and think his music pretty much sucks. There was only one song of his I liked, but other than that, I don’t like his voice, his look, or anything about his music. I do find his name to be quite appropriate though. [‘Let your soul be your pilot’]   

Meatloaf? Really? Meatloaf? Need I say more? [‘For crying out loud’] (decided not to post video on this one...couldn't find one I could listen to long enough!)

I could go on and on and on. I love music. I have music playing during most of my waking hours. I work to it. I shower to it. I drive to it. I was going to say I cook to it, but we all know that’s a lie. I microwave to it. I work out to it. The only time I don’t listen to it is when I’m asleep or glued to the TV. I love going to clubs and listening live. And what is it about musicians that is such a turn on? I don't care what they look like...I am instantaneously attracted to them. (oh…except Meatloaf). But my biggest attraction is the saxophone. I’m not even sure if it’s the person playing the sax, or the instrument itself. But wow! It turns any song into an aphrodisiac. [‘europa]

There used to be a small club near where I lived when I was young and single, and on most weekends, Billy Vera and the Beaters would play there. They had 3 of the homeliest sax players blowing their instruments and I was drooling over each one every time I listened and watched them play. Didn’t care what they looked like…I was in love. [‘At this moment' 

I’m not quite sure where I was going with this. I started out thinking about my drive home and how the music affects my entire being. It can literally create my mood. If an emotional song comes up, it will move me to tears. I pace my running stride to the beat of whatever song is on my ipod. There are so many incredibly great singers out there, and so many not so great singers who I still love listening to. As a little girl, like so many others, I sang into my sister’s vibrator, imagining myself on stage, as the next Cher. I had the hair, someday I would hopefully have the body, maybe even my own Sonny. But unfortunately, I never had the voice.

But I definitely 'GOT the MUSIC in ME'!

                       ***videos posted are songs I DO like***