Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

02
Aug
15

Out of Mothballs

11800103_150342288631618_8056253078256854643_nYes, that’s me and yes, I’m back. It’s been five long years since I’ve written this blog and now here I am, back again. I am back because I’m publishing my awesome novel, Beauty and Other Vices, on Amazon and in order for an awesome new writer to sell his or her awesome new book, one must shamelessly (but oh so awesomely) crow about one’s absolute awesomeness via every possible free media outlet. You will soon be awesomely sick of hearing from me.

So, where the hell have I been? I’ve been here, doing the usual stuff we all do, work, play, getting married, getting a masters degree, getting the kids out of high school, getting drunk, getting lucky, getting not so lucky . . .

In all honesty, I stopped blogging because coming up with new ideas every week is tough! And writing is tough! And being funny is tough! And Game of Thrones premiered on HBO!

I had an easy out, going back to school to get the government-mandated master’s degree, so I took it and then it was just another thing and another thing, and then five years had gone by and now I’m 50! So, I figure I’ll give it another crack and shamelessly self-promote my book and everyone will love it and buy it and a movie will be made and I can make a cameo appearance like Alfred Hitchcock or Peter Jackson and I can attend the Oscar Ceremonies where the Oscar will Go To Me for Most Awesome Screenplay and I can retire and write more awesome books and make more cameo appearances and have more Oscars Go To Me . . .

Ahhh – Livin’ the Grammatically Butchered Dream. (Remember when Cher balked at “the Oscar Goes To” and said, the more direct and correct, “the Winner Is?”)

So, tune in next week sports fans for more insightful and awesome musings about things of which I feel like writing, not the least of which will be my awesome book, Beauty and Other Vices!

30
Aug
10

Ode to summer

So, it had to happen. Summer had to end. Unfortunately, it’s just ending too soon.

I love summer. I love everything about it. Except Triple E. I hate Triple E. Triple E is the one thing I do not love about summer.

(A brief aside: for those of you fortunate enough not to live in southeastern Massachusetts, below sea and I.Q. level, Triple E is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a mostly fatal virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. And even if you manage to survive, you are left in such a state that you pretty much probably wish you were dead.)

Triple E, in a word, sucks.

But I digress.

I love summer. I love the heat, the bare feet, the sleeping later than 5:30 a.m., the staying up past 10 p.m., the wearing of the bathing suit all day, the tanned skin, the birds in the morning, the peepers at night, the dripping watermelon, the beefy tomatoes, the sweet corn, the kids’ laughter outside…

But I think if I had summer all year long I’d be dead.

I Love summer.

I Love summer with a Vengeance.

I am to summer what Lance Armstrong is (or was) to the Tour de France. Unfortunately, I do not have the benefit of controlled substances so, I am, therefore, exhausted.

Every day in the summer I wake up and say, yes, I literally say this out loud: What are we going to do today?

It’s like I’m on that old game show, Beat the Clock, and I have to get in as much fun as possible before the autumnal equinox. I am that crazed contestant in that money wind machine, snatching at summer days like they’re one hundred dollar bills.

All I can think is, summer is short don’t waste it.

DON’T WASTE IT!

It’s like I was raised in the Great Summer Depression and had to go without July. Like every hour of summer is a shaving of soap and I must scrounge up every one I can get and work it into a good lather.

And this summer was tough. It didn’t rain once. All right, maybe once, but that was the day we went to laser tag until midnight.

Every day I woke up, secretly hoping, wishing for just one rainy day…rolled over and saw the sun. Half of me was happy, the other half resigned, but determined.

Must go on, must have fun, must go play beach volleyball.

I am to summer what Arnold Schwarzenegger is to Sarah Connor.

Now you know why there hasn’t been any words written in this space since May. The sun came out.

I am to summer what a gerbil is to his exercise wheel.

And, I have to be honest, I am ready to get off.

I’m ready for the cool nights, that clean snap in the air, the colored leaves, pumpkins and hardy mums. The new season of Survivor.

I know, I’m breaking the Cardinal Rule of Summer, wishing it away, but I need a break.

I need a vacation from my summer vacation.

It’s like I’ve been in Vegas for the past nine or so weeks, except instead of gambling and drinking I’ve been hiking, swimming, biking, camping, and barbecuing.

I am to summer what Wayne Newton is to Las Vegas and I have a summer hangover.

But, in the meantime, I have one day left.

And the sun is out…

29
May
10

A Rock and A Hard Place

So, it’s springtime and a not-so-young-anymore woman’s thoughts turn to flights of fancy and…yard work.

Yeah, that’s where I’ve been oh these long weeks. Out in the yard. Working. No more sitting in the house. Blogging.

I had a pool put in last summer and, while I love my pool to the point of actual physical desire, I miss my back yard.

Once upon a time, I had this really great back yard. It was one of the main reasons I bought my house. The lawn was green and lush and quite picturesque. Just the kind of lawn that made you want to break out in cartwheels.

Now all I’m breaking out in is the sweats and back spasms.

You see, my formerly picturesque, green and lush back yard now more closely resembles the post-apocalyptic landscape beyond the Thunderdome.

Or the surface of the moon.

But with more rocks.

I never knew that there were this many rocks on Earth, never mind in my back yard. It’s like one of the ten plagues of Egypt. The Rock Plague.

And I could wander around back there for 40 years, picking up rocks and still not get them all.

The Taliban would love my back yard. They could stone all kinds of people back there and never run out of ammunition.

I told my son I would pay him twenty-five cents per rock that he picked up. He liked the idea until he discovered that picking up rocks was a lot like work. He quit after about 12 rocks.

So now, the rocks just sit there. Mocking me.

I cannot bring myself to pick up these rocks. It truly is like a plague. Or like plucking gray hair. You pick up one rock and ten more rocks appear in its place.

It’s just too disheartening, so my new strategy is to simply concentrate on the front yard, ignore the rock plague in the back yard and wait and see what grows back there.

Something will grow. It’s inevitable. There’s already quite a congregation of dandelions back there wagging their snowy afros at me.

Why is it always dandelions? And crab grass?

Nothing ever grows that you want to grow and if it does, it never grows where you want it to grow.

It’s like my yard is a middle-aged bald man. No grass grows where he wants it to, on his head. But random, unruly patches are sprouting all over his back, neck and shoulders. 

To tell the truth, even my front lawn is a mess. It looks great from a distance, but up close, it’s another matter entirely. Kind of like Cameron Dias.

And it’s a shame really because I used to have a beautiful lawn.

Back when I didn’t live there.

I remember when I first looked at my house. I was so impressed with the lawn. It was so thick, so green, so lush. It was obvious that the people who owned this house were lawn people.

You know those people, those lawn people. They are of a different breed, like bird people or reptile people.

You can always tell a reptile person’s house because they have that one window with that creepy, poltergeist light glowing out into the night. There are only two explanations for a light like that: some kind of cold blooded reptile pet or a grow operation.

Either way it’s a lifestyle.

Lawn people have a lifestyle. It’s sort of like a priest’s lifestyle.

Lawn people are completely committed to their lawn. Lawn people have sacrificed everything to their lawn. Lawn people never go away. Lawn people are always home. Lawn people get up early and work in the yard all day. Lawn people do not hire outsiders to tend to their lawn. Lawn people are well versed in the proper application of Scotts products and can recite passages from the directions on the back of the bag. Lawn people have big, shiny lawn tractors with all kinds of big, shiny attachments.

Lawn people use words like putter.  

Now there’s a word that is the exact opposite of onomatopoeia.

Putter around the yard. Puttering implies some level of pleasure. Some level of fun.

I don’t putter around my yard.

I work my ass off. I slave away. I get filthy dirty.

And I sweat a lot.

Puttering congers up images of flowery gardening gloves and rubber clogs and iced tea.

I got none of that.

I got rocks.

A whole lot of rocks.

Yup, I am Charlie Brown and it is Halloween and it is going to be a long night.

08
Apr
10

All the Little Things

I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything particularly amusing to write about this week.

All that’s been going on around these parts is the Big Flood. The National Disaster. The National Guard people and Humvees at every corner, sand bags and detours and fish all confused, swimming in the street.

And lots and lots of people in lots and lots of pain over the loss of their homes, belongings, peace of mind.

There’s just nothing funny about that.

I had this same problem following the earthquake in Haiti. How can I write some goofy column when so many are dead, dying, suffering?

The world is a terrible place. The world is a wonderful place. It just depends on what kind of day you’re having.

I like to think of this column as one of the small good things that can maybe provide a smile, a LOL or maybe even a LMAO!

One of my students asked me not too long ago how to be happy. I told him I don’t know.

I think happiness is an individual thing. Kind of like your eye color, or your target heart rate.

But I told him what works for me.

I am able to maintain a healthy degree of happiness by remembering to enjoy all the little things. After all, you can’t count on too many great, big happy things, not every day can be Christmas morning, but there are all kinds of little happy things, little unnoticed miracles, all day long, pretty much every day.

Like kids barefoot and laughing and catching fish in the middle of Route 18 – right smack in the middle of a National Disaster.

So, back then, when the earthquake happened, and my student was trying to find a way to be happy, I felt compelled to compile a list of all the little things in life that make me happy:

Russel Crowe

Clive Owen

70 degree day in March

“Survivor”

“Project Runway”

“Sex in the City”

“House”

dogs

cats

some people

cartwheels

Manhattans

Harpoon IPA

margaritas

wine – all kinds

matzoh ball soup

those little umbrellas you put in drinks

hot tub

hot shower

Tabasco sauce

the Heat Meiser and all those claymation Christmas shows

a big, fat, orange, rising June full moon

sunrise, sunset

Susan Boyle when she sang on that show

Netflix

iTunes

Facebook

Newbury Comics

“Charlotte’s Web” the book

riding the chairlift with my kids

riding the chairlift without my kids

Christmas Eve

Yankee Candles

Pixar movies

bare feet

fresh cut grass

snow men

kickboxing class

making a great spinning CD

singing really loud in the car

heated seats

Fenway Park

sunglasses

patio tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar

the frogs in summer

Fluff

pajamas

Milky Way ice cream

a fire – indoors our outdoors

jumping on the trampoline

texting

leaf blowing

the end of school bell

my morning coffee

coming home

And so on and so on.

And that’s all I can think of lately when I drive past these homes that are now sitting in the lake and see all the things ruined and lost.

Sometimes all you have are the little things.

And a lot of the time, if you string them all together you can make one big happy.

So, if you have your own list of all the little things, please comment back and post it. I could use another smile today.

27
Mar
10

fortysomething

So, a few people have come up to me this week asking: “Where’s your blog?”

Can I just say, for the record, that I hate that word – blog. Sounds like something you might pull out of your nose. Why can’t it just be a column, like in the newspaper? Why, just because this compilation of words exists on the world-wide-web of deceit, must it be renamed to sound like a personal matter?

Blog? You might want to talk to your OB/GYN about that.

Anyway, where’s my column, I mean, blog, this week? Well, I told these few people that it was my birthday and I was taking the week off. I certainly couldn’t tell them that I was, in fact, still recovering from my birthday weekend in New York City and had not yet reestablished the necessary neural connections to put pen to paper. I mean type to screen.

That’s the trouble with being 45. I still use terms like pen and paper. And column.

And it takes me a week to recover from New York City.

Yes, I admit it. I over did it in the Big Apple on my birthday weekend. Too much Little Italy, too much Irish Pub. Too much and much, much too late at night.

I went to New York to meet up with a group of old college friends. We all attended college during the Reagan administration. Now we all look like someone in the Reagan administration.

It’s so weird, growing older. I don’t really mind being 45. I find the whole thing rather humorous, actually. And I just can’t believe it, somehow. I’m Forty-Five. I remember my mom when she was in her forties. She was so much older than me, so in charge, so sure of what to do, so Grown Up.

Now I’m the Grown Up.

Sometimes I’m appalled that I’m the Grown Up. That I’m in charge. That I’m the one pushing the grocery cart.

And then some other times I’m psyched that I’m doing it. That it’s actually working! I feel like Mary Tyler Moore at the beginning of my own show, throwing my beret in the air, “You’re gonna make it, after all!”

How did this happen? How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house!

It is a true fact that the human mind cannot imagine living in a body that is older than 29, so it just ignores the whole thing.

Your mind says “You’re 12! Do a cartwheel!”  So, you do a cartwheel, except you’re not 12, you’re 45 and your back goes out and your butt crack shows.

Your 29-year-old mind says, “Go to New York and stay up ‘til one in the morning!” So, you go to New York and stay up ‘til one in the morning and it takes a week for your mind to dry out and six days in the gym trying to shrink your butt back down to the size of Little Italy.

I don’t belong in New York City on a Saturday night at one in the morning. Who am I kidding? I haven’t seen one in the morning since O.J. was on trial. And I haven’t seen this many people in one place since the last faculty meeting. A big night for me these days is having two glasses of wine on a Friday and actually remaining vertical long enough to stand up and stagger to bed.

I should’ve gone to New York for my twenty-fifth birthday, not my forty-fifth. Twenty years ago I could’ve stayed up all night. Twenty years ago I wanted to stay up all night. When I was in my twenties, all I wanted to do was stay up.

Now all I want to do is go to bed.

But back then, I never wanted to go to bed. I always figured that the minute I went to bed, something amazing would happen and I would miss it.

Now, in my forties, I understand that amazing things are a rare occurrence and if they do occur they certainly never occur in any of the hours after 10 p.m. In fact, nothing good ever happens after 10 p.m. and if It does, I can always DVR it.

I spent more nights in my twenties staying up waiting to see what amazing, cool thing was going to happen. I spent a decade of my life like Linus in his pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin.

You block head.

It’s funny how your priorities change as you get older. When I was younger, all I wanted to be was famous. A famous writer. A famous actor. A famous singer. A famous anything. I didn’t care about the money. All I wanted was fame, for everyone to know my name.

Now, in my forties, all I want is money. The hell with fame. Leave me alone. I vant to be alone, dahlink. I want to be the J.D. Salinger of rich people. I don’t want anyone to know who I am. I just want them to send money. Preferably large bills.

In my twenties, I was always looking for The One. My Soul Mate. That One Special Man who I knew would make my life complete.

In my forties, I now realize there is no One Special Man. There’s the One Man You Can Stand. And, if you’re lucky, he’s rich. Or at least handy around the house.

In my twenties, I never made my bed. Now I make my bed every morning. I make my bed on weekdays and on weekends. I make my bed religiously. Making my bed borders on a religious experience. I make my bed because I love sleeping.

In my twenties I did not love sleeping. Sleeping was just an annoying interruption to the oh, so many amazing things I had to stay up for. Like watching my best friend light her cigarette backwards.

Now I love sleep. When I get into bed at night, I literally make audible sounds of pleasure. When I get into bed, it’s like it’s the Fourth of July and the fireworks are exploding over the Charles River. Ooooh. Aaaahh.

Overall, I gotta say, that I like being fortysomething. I like where I am in my life. It’s like I can finally relax. It’s a very satisfying, Zen kind of thing.

Or maybe it’s just my muscles atrophying.

13
Mar
10

Multi-Tasking Mama

So, I’m getting dressed the other morning at about 5:30 a.m. No, I’m not in the military nor do I keep any livestock, though my job is a bit of a hybrid of both, I’m a public high school teacher.

I like to start my day entertained, so I have Fox 25 on in the background. Well, following a highly entertaining story about a Chihuahua being pulled, literally, from the jaws of death, death in this case taking the shape of a free-range, Australian python, Kim Carrigan comes on with a story about a recent study that shows women need about 20 more minutes of sleep than men because women are Multi-Taskers.

Multi-Taskers. Sounds like what the Cat in the Hat was doing on his ball with a rake, and a cake, and a fish on his hat. Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

The Cat in the Hat, the original Multi-Tasker. Oddly enough, he’s a male, proof positive that this is a children’s story.

As I am, in fact, a woman and I am actually engaged in the act of multi-tasking as Kim Carrigan speaks – dressing and listening to the news and drinking coffee and thinking about how it’s Friday and that means casual Friday and I don’t know if these jeans will make my butt look too big…Look at me, look at me, look at me now! – I feel comforted by the knowledge that it’s not just the United States government that is throwing away perfectly good money.

But, they could’ve just asked me and saved themselves a bundle.

It is a true fact that most women do more before 9 a.m. than most men do all day, so, of course it only seems right that we should get that extra 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes. Big deal. That’s not even a re-run episode of Friends.

I loved that show. In fact, I loved that whole ‘90s Must-See-TV lineup. Except for Caroline in the City. Notice how you never see a Caroline in the City re-run?

Multi-Tasking. Sounds like something you should not attempt without a helmet. Or the proper immunizations. Or maybe multi-immunizations.

Even now, I am Multi-Tasking.

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

Injecting obscure and random ‘90s TV trivia into this very blog. Kind of like watching Family Guy.

According to this, no doubt, highly scientific study, women’s brains are hard-wired so that they can perform several tasks at once.

This is good news in Vegas.

And in some areas of New Jersey.

I could’ve told them that. Any woman I know could’ve told them that. Women go out of their way to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. They have to because the men can’t.

Got some laundry to do? Well, better put it in and then go out and mow the lawn and while you’re at it, put on your headphones so you can review that Mandarin Chinese dialect you’re learning. And don’t use the ride-on mower, use the push mower so you can get in a good cardio workout.

You see this same behavior in the wild. Female lions taking care of the babies, hunting for food, going to the watering hole, chasing off the hyenas…and what are the male lions doing? Lying back in their Acacia tree recliners licking themselves in places human males can only dream of and wondering when dinner is going to be ready.

My ex-husband can’t even yell at the kids in the back seat of the car when the radio is on. He has to turn it off and then yell at them. It’s a miracle he can even have the kids in the car and keep the car on the road.

I, on the other hand, being a woman and all, cannot only admonish my children in the backseat with the radio on, but I can reprimand them in time to the music, inserting relevant, scolding lyrics into whatever tune is playing and belt it out with just the right amount of intimidating feeling, all the while driving with one hand and using the other to confiscate their electronic devices and summarily beat the two hooligans about the head with them.

The car is a great place for multi-tasking of this kind. Where else can you get so much accomplished while moving closer to Walmart?

And the car provides the perfect environment for talking on the phone. There is no more satisfying experience for the true multi-tasker than talking on the phone while driving. It’s like your own portable phone booth. Imagine how many more disasters Superman could have prevented if only he’d had a car and a cell phone.

I don’t even use my home phone anymore. I’d shut if off if not for the white trash implications and the Comcast Triple Play (insert hysterical laughter here) Discount. My home phone is more decorative than functional at this point. Sort of like an exotic relic hanging on the wall, like those old intercom systems in the ‘70s, a quaint reminder of a bygone era when one had to communicate at zero RPMs.

Historically, the car has been a great place for multi-tasking of many kinds, but with talking on the phone and driving one does not incur the worrisome rabbit nor humiliating field sobriety test.

There are men out there who can do more than one thing at a time. You’ve seen them. The guys with the car with the Bondo on the left front panel and the purple neon lights underneath. Or the guy with the half-painted house and the blue tarp curtains. Or the guy with the deflated Nativity Scene on the right front lawn and the radioactive Easter eggs hanging from a tree on the left front lawn.

This is not multi-tasking. This is undiagnosed ADHD.

Remember how the Cat in the Hat trashed the place? Remember how neat and orderly everything was before mom left?

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

And, like a typical man, he has to bring in some machine to do the clean up job for him.

And, you know as well as I do, that he wrapped up that ridiculous contraption and gave it to his wife for Mother’s Day.


07
Mar
10

The Cleavage Assembly

So, I pick up my son at school the other day and he gets in the car, all disgusted with this bad-smell look on his face, and he tells me all about this assembly he just attended, an assembly that shall here and forever after be known as: The Cleavage Assembly.

Yes, The Cleavage Assembly.

Only in this day and age could there be such a thing as The Cleavage Assembly.

Now, my son is a bit young for his age. My son, thankfully, has yet to discover the many apparent delights and mysteries found in The Cleavage. Aside from Megan Fox, my son exhibits little interest in the opposite sex and remains instead fixated on killing things with his thumbs and talkin’ smack on X-Box Live. This, of course, is fine with me.

“DO NOT LOOK AT THE CLEAVAGE. DO NOT TOUCH THE CLEAVAGE. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT THE CLEAVAGE.”

This from my son, pretending to be the middle school principal, sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was still terminating. The principal at my son’s school used to be a prison guard or a drill sergeant or something like that and he has the mean looking earring and barbed wire bicep tattoo to prove it.

But what else is there to say, really? You have to keep it simple for boys. It is a true fact that boys in middle school cannot understand more than seven words in a row, unless, of course, you’re supporting an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket launcher on your shoulder.

“The Cleavage.”

This is how my son refers to it now. Like The Cleavage is wrestling professionally.

“And in this corner, weighing in at a fascinating and flirtatious four pounds, able to hypnotize and handicap any man in a single bound: The Cleavage!”

The Cleavage. Sounds like some horror movie monster that creeps out from under your bed at night, attaches itself to your face and replicates your DNA turning you into something unnatural like Tori Spelling or Kenny Rogers.

My son goes on and on in his principal/Arnold voice and I listen, fascinated by my tax dollars at work.

Half of me wants to laugh. Half of me wants to cry. When did The Cleavage become polite conversation at the middle school level? When did The Cleavage rear its ugly head in the lower grades?

Back in my day, there was no cleavage. Anywhere. Well, maybe on my father’s calendar in the garage, but that was about it. And there certainly wasn’t any cleavage at the middle school. Nobody had any boobs. And if anyone did, they certainly didn’t bring them to school.

I think I remember one girl who had, shall we say, matured faster than the rest of us. One girl. She was very popular.

Now everyone is very popular. Everyone is maturing a mile a minute. Is this evolution at work? And if so, to what end?

I read an article recently about how the average IQ is dropping. Is there a correlation here? The average IQ is dropping, the average cup size is growing and all the guys’ pants are all falling down.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe hot bodies cannot coexist with big brains.

And shouldn’t cleavage be reserved for us older women? Why are all these tweenagers showing up at school like they’re going to entertain the troops?

I remember buying clothes for my daughter when she was little. Back in the good old days when I still had some control and some money left. Everything was delightful little cupcake dresses and lace ankle socks.

And then she hit seven years old. At seven years old, she no longer fit in the clothes in the girls’ section. We were then summarily ousted from the garden and forced to shop in the slut, I mean, Tween section of Macy’s.

The Tween market, for those of you in the large boob/small brain category, or for those of you fortunate enough to be hanging onto some of your hard earned money because you decided against continuing your blood line, is a stupid name to define the consumer market between the ages of eight and 12 years old. Apparently, some advertising executive decided this is the optimum age wherein to train little girls to dress like hookers. Funny he didn’t realize that the moms are the ones with the cash.

I couldn’t believe it. One day, it was Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, the next the Red Light District.

I know the school has a dress code. My school has a dress code. The problem is no one follows it. Between the girls and their Hollister tank tops and the boys with their pants falling down it’s a miracle anyone has anything on at all.

And it is a challenge, to say the least, to enforce the dress code. How does a teacher tactfully address the issue of someone’s daughter’s over exposed torso area? Seems to me, in this litigious day and age, just broaching that particular subject could result in any number of unwanted outcomes, not the least of which involves the Fox 25 news crew.

And, then, of course, there’s the issue of the kids’ right to self expression. There’s about 10 jokes to be made here, but I’m not touching it.

So, what is a poor 12 year old boy to do? I don’t know. I guess he could take the age old advice and keep his nose in his books.

Or hope for six more weeks of winter.




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