Thursday, January 24, 2013
Testing Testing 1, 2, 3...M
• Posted By panthergirl @ 7:02 AM • • •
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Do the Math
The terrorists are responsible for the rise in texting while driving. Yes, here's my theory: Since 9/11, we not only have to watch the news but we also have to read a CRAWL of other news at the bottom of the screen. So the message is, it's not ok to do only ONE thing at a time. We read while watching TV, play computer games while we're on the phone, and therefore feel guilty if we're 'just' driving. At the very least, sitting at a red light without doing SOMETHING feels like time wasted. So the next time someone rear ends you while sending a critical "OMG" to her BFF, thank Bin Laden.
• Posted By panthergirl @ 9:22 AM • • •
Back By Popular Demand - Christmas 1962
You know, Hollywood really isn't "Tinsel Town". Brooklyn, NY circa 1962 was most definitely Tinsel Town. Not to mention Ugly Slipcover Town, Hideous Lamp Town, and Flocked Wallpaper Town.
Still, I hope you enjoy seeing these old photos, mostly to check out the hot toys of the period. (My sister is holding a Barbie with a blonde bubble hairdo). These were a few of my all time favorites! The "Showboat" by Remco included the characters and scenery for four different plays. My favorite was Heidi, and my friend Andrew, not yet out of the closet at 8 but already a theater buff, always wanted to play "Frauline Rottenmeyer".
Here's a closeup:
Another huge favorite that year was the "Haunted House" by Ideal. All I remember about it was that there were tons of little doors and windows to open, and that it scared the crap out of me. What's not to love? Please note the black and white bowling bag in the background. Bowling-related gifts were big in my house. See the previous post re: the bowling obsession.
And here is my mother, who'd usually venture out of bed at about 10 AM, hours after we had ripped through all the booty.
My father wasn't big into getting up with us at 5AM, but I think he did most of the shopping and definitely made sure he bought stuff that HE would like (note the "Service Station" in the first photo). And when I was about ten, he bought me a HO Slot Car racing set and I honestly remember he and my uncle elbowing us out of the way so they could go head to head with 3" Lotuses and Porches. Whatever!
• Posted By panthergirl @ 8:35 AM • • •
A Very Tacky Christmas Redux
Had to bring back this fan favorite, but it's been enhanced for your re-reading pleasure.
Never let it be said that I don't post unattractive photos of myself. This was certainly one from my five-year "awkward phase", but I couldn't resist. (Don't I look like the daughter of Edith Prickley? C'mon... you know I do!)
Christmas, 1960, Brooklyn NY. Click on the photo to see the important details: Fake tree, dripping with tinsel, sitting atop a room fan. Manger, not under the tree (because that spot was reserved for the room fan), but instead topping the Admiral television set (that TV had a record player in the drawer...snazzy!), under the bowling trophies. As mentioned previously, bowling trophies were everywhere in my house...including several on headboard shelves over my parent's bed. Hey, whatever turns you on! Note the Astro-Base, one of my favorite toys. Since I was the third girl, I lucked out and got all the cool "boy" stuff. And notice the game "Finance" which was clearly the bargain-basement version of Monopoly. My parents were the king and queen of Brand X.
In the background is my Aunt Mary, all primped up in what appears to be a dress with petticoat, and conversely there's my Dad, who clearly hasn't shaved for days.
It appears that someone also bought me a coat for Christmas and left the price tag on. That must have been my mother. (Why should Santa get the credit? She paid good money for that coat!)
And speaking of my mother... here's a classic Christmas moment from her: When my eldest sister got married and had kids, my parents would always visit them for the holidays. One year, when my niece (who was probably in her late teens) had opened a gift from my parents, she rose, said "Thanks, Grandma.." and went to give my mother a kiss. Ever the practical one, my mother waved her off and said "We'll all kiss at the end."
(When my father died in 1995, my sister and I sat together at the funeral and in one of those "break the tension" moments I looked at her and said, "We'll all cry at the end.")
• Posted By panthergirl @ 8:34 AM • • •
Monday, October 17, 2011
The Ghost of Halloweens Past...
As some of you already know from past blog posts, I *love* Halloween. I thought I'd just post a bunch of Halloween pics from past years, apologies for those you've already seen.
Emma's first costume, a race car built around her stroller so she could "march" in our local Halloween Parade in Brooklyn.
Lucas as Clark Kent:
Lucas as Dexter (of Dexter's Laboratory on Nick)
Lucas as Waldo. I love Ebay.
Me as "Old Spice", the newest Spice Girl, for an office party:
And my all-time favorite photos... Emma as a "wacky travel agent" at age 10, and Lucas... the cutest damned Alfalfa at 10 months old.
In more recent times, we've included Kelso in the fun:
The cop and the convict:
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Dressed as Grandma:
And in case you think I've lost my mind, consider where I'm coming from. My mother dressed me as the Virgin Mary for Halloween. I wasn't sure whether to ask for candy or a room at the Inn.
• Posted By panthergirl @ 5:16 PM • • •
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I haven't blogged in AGES, but I want to win this so badly and one of the ways I can do this is to promote it here!
SOMEONE I know and love has a birthday coming up, and that someone would love this...
Wicked Witch Ruby Slipper Bookmark Giveaway!
• Posted By panthergirl @ 3:19 PM • • •
Thursday, April 14, 2011
With the impending death of All My Children, I just had to repost this with a few updates
Before there was "Reality TV", there were Soap Operas. I confess, I TiVO "All My Children" every day and watch it every night. My sister and I will usually devote at least 15 minutes of our daily phone calls to discussing what happened in Pine Valley that day, as though we were talking about people we actually know.
And in some ways, we do know them. We've been watching since the beginning, and Erica Kane reminds us SO much of our middle, evil sister that we feel completely familiar (and familial) with her.
Soap Opera life has some very distinct advantages, as well as some general oddities that seem to exist in every sudsy town:
- Most people appear to have jobs, but few ever have to show up for work.
- Almost everyone in town works at the hospital. This usually leads to family members treating other family members (when and if those medical professionals actually show up for work). There are no doctor's offices, no pediatrician's offices. Kid gets a cold? Take her to the hospital!
- People frequently commit crimes (trying to kill others, for example) but the police are rarely called. Pine Valley has a Police Chief but he usually lets the would-be murderer go free once he gets the nod from the would-be murderee. (And he just illegally swapped his dead newborn with a box o' baby that was left in a patrol car. Nice one, Jesse.)
- Soap opera people never get colds but they frequently lapse into comas, go blind, get trapped in floods, develop amnesia, get stuck in quicksand and get kidnapped.
- Soap opera houses (even mansions) are never locked. People walk in and out at will.
- Only in soap operas are housekeepers named "Lucretia".
- Soap opera people often fake their own deaths. Generally, if a body is not found, you can be fairly certain to see the "dead" person again once their attempt at non-daytime TV fails.
- Soap opera people never say "goodbye" when they finish a phone call, have only recently started using cellphones and NEVER watch TV unless someone in town just got arrested.
- Pregnant women develop a belly, but don't gain weight anywhere else.
- Soap opera kids should be morbidly obese because moments after entering a room they are always whisked away for cookies or ice cream.
- No one ever has pets.
- People frequently come back to town looking like someone else, after "amazing plastic surgery" which apparently also involves a voice transplant.
- Soaps take "love/hate relationships" to a whole new level.
- One of the aforementioned hospital jobs is apparently "hair and makeup", since comatose women continue to be completely madeup and coiffed.
- Almost everyone winds up finding out they have children they didn't know existed, including the women.
The best soaps are the ones that don't take themselves seriously, which is why I love AMC. My favorite Erica line of all time was years ago, when she was married to and hated Adam Chandler. Adam had been kidnapped and Erica was getting ransom notes. She suggested to her mother that a good way to get rid of Adam would be to refuse to pay the ransom. When her mother looked horrified, a reassuring Erica explained, "But Mother! I'M not going to kill him... the kidnappers are!"
Gotta love it. Gonna miss it.
• Posted By panthergirl @ 4:14 PM • • •
Saturday, February 26, 2011
All in the Family
Having most of my online time sucked by Facebook and Twitter has meant very little or no blogging for me. Oh, I run a rerun from time to time but haven't taken the time to really WRITE. I'm determined to do more actual writing this year. We'll see.
In the meantime, I'll use this space to shamelessly plug the new blog that my daughter Emma has started. It's a children's book review blog called Short Easy Words like "What About Lunch?".
She really understands what children like, and many of her reviews are/will be written after "test driving" the book during story time at the Scholastic Bookstore in Soho where she works.
If you have kids or know anyone who does, pass it on!
• Posted By panthergirl @ 9:11 AM • • •
Monday, January 31, 2011
The Best Snowstorm Story I've Got
When we lived in Brooklyn in the mid 90s, we had two parakeets: Guido and Rudy. Although a parakeet and not a parrot, Rudy could talk and it was pretty hilarious. He'd say things like "Lemme out, goddamit!" and "Beam me up, Scotty!". If one of us had a bad cold we'd suddenly hear Rudy "coughing".
One fateful morning we approached the cage and Rudy was puffed up like a big snowball (this isn't the snow-part of the story. Bear with me.) Below him lay Guido, dead as a doornail. Emma, age 9, was devastated (but at least she didn't have to spend the night with the corpse like Rudy had). She put Guido in a little box, took him out to the backyard of our brownstone and buried him. Then she sent him a postcard, addressed to "Quido, Heaven." (She could never pronouce "Guido". Some Italian SHE is!)
A few months later, Rudy was acting strange. My husband Tony took him out of the cage and instead of flying around, he walked on the kitchen table like someone failing a sobriety test. Seeing his distress, Tony cradled him and the bird died in his hand. Very sad. Emma, of course, wanted to bury Rudy right next to Guido, but this was 1994 and there was about 3 feet of snow in the yard. What to do...what to do...
Tony got some plastic wrap and wound it around the stiff little body of Rudy, and put him in the freezer to keep him preserved. Every time the snow was about to melt, we got slammed with another storm. We knew that Rudy's burial would have to be postponed until Spring.
In May, I found out I was pregnant and we made plans to move from Brooklyn to Connecticut in July, to be closer to my job.
A few weeks after the move, I bolted upright in bed one night and yelled: "RUDY!!!!" Yep...we had moved out of that house leaving a Rudy-sicle in the freezer for the new tenants. After the initial horror, we could not stop laughing. (And now I imagine this is a story another family tells as well!)
• Posted By panthergirl @ 8:06 PM • • •
Monday, January 10, 2011
Six Weird Things
A blog post from 2006, pertinent because of #4. I have not collected these in a long time, but now I can add one to the list: Jared Lee Loughner.
My blog buddy Metro Dad posted a meme called "Six Weird Things About Me That I Haven't Blogged About Before". Since I'm pretty uninspired in the writing department these days (work is sucking my brains out), I figured this is an easy one to keep you entertained:
1. I have been struck by lightning.
Yes, I really have been. I was about 22 years old, sitting in my apartment watching an electrical storm. I sat on the window sill with my hip against the metal casement window, and my foot on the radiator. Perfectly grounded. The next thing I knew, it felt like someone had thrown a rock through the window and I did air time across the room. I was shaking and crying and had a nice big burn on my thigh. I know now that I should have been checked out for neurological damage, but I didn't know it then. Being struck can lead to all kinds of things like depression and anxiety, both of which I have. Who knew?
2. I cannot stand beans of any kind.
Can't even be in the same room as a bean. This is really because my father tortured me with them as a child...the classic "eat them cold for breakfast the next morning" scenario. Baked beans, kidney beans, and worst of all...lima beans. Not the green ones, the white "cannelini"variety. The pivotal incident happened when I was about five. That night at dinner he told me that I didn't have to eat my lima beans. I could not believe my good fortune! Too good to be true! Indeed...when it was time for dessert, I got a big bowl of vanilla ice cream -- riddled with my previously discarded beans. I had to eat the entire thing until I gagged. (My mother recently told me that the intention was to get me to like beans by 'disguising' them. Uh huh.) I can barely write this paragraph without vomiting.
3. I am named as Inventor on an International Patent application.
I developed a web-based application for the multi-billion dollar company I work for, at a point in time when the type of work I do was rarely managed by computers, let alone web-based applications. The patent was for a "method of doing business" and I wrote the document myself (our patent attorney didn't understand enough about what the system was). The patent has been pending since 1999, but since other companies have since developed similar systems, we are no longer pursuing it.
4. I collect newspaper clippings about murderers and serial killers whose names contain either "Wayne" or "Lee".
You would not believe how many there are! AND... one extensive study of serial killers was conducted by Wayne State University. You cannot make this stuff up.
5. I never test drive cars before I buy them.
I know, it makes no sense. But at this point in my life it's tradition. (The same rule does not apply to husbands, although I can't say the test-drive has helped me anyway.)
6. I have an irrational fear of bees.
I have never been stung, but I worked as a research assistant one summer to an allergist who was doing a report on bee sting deaths in the US over a 10 year period. No conclusions could be drawn. Some people, like beekeepers, had been stung a million times...then, BAM. Dead. Others had never been stung before. First time, BAM. Dead. Some knew they were allergic and were being treated. Didn't matter. Some dropped dead, some went into anaphylactic shock, one was in a coma for 30 days, one had complete internal hemmhoraging. While other 16 year old girls were working at the supermarket that summer, I was transcribing accounts of doom and gloom and having a recurring nightmare about getting a box of bees in the mail. Twilight Zone, I think.
• Posted By panthergirl @ 3:42 PM • • •
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Happy Birthday, Lucas
My little guy turns SIXTEEN today. How the heck does that happen? Why, just yesterday (wasn't it yesterday?) my water broke around 1AM on a Sunday morning. Within an hour we were driving from CT to NYC, the Pulp Fiction soundtrack blasting. One of the sometimes amusing and sometimes infuriating things about Lucas' dad was his coffee addiction. He could.not.function.without.coffee. So, for the last month of my pregnancy we had to make a pot every night before bed just in case, because if he didn't have time to make and drink coffee he wouldn't have been able to drive me to the hospital. Or, he would have fallen asleep at the wheel. (This coffee thing was chronicled in this post.) So, while I paced around the house contracting and cursing, he drank his coffee. We woke 9 year old Emma, put her in the car and off we went. Instead of yelling "son of a bitch" with each contraction along the way, I sang "Son of a Preacher Man". It worked just as well.
Lucas was born only 3 hours later. (Don't let anyone tell you that a short labor is better. I did it without drugs, as I had done 10 years earlier for Emma, but it wasn't easy.) Emma was present for all but the final few [intense] minutes, and she even gave him his first bath, right there in the birthing room.
He was a really amazing kid from the start. He walked at 9 months, spoke clearly by 18 months, in full sentances. It was almost creepy, because he never talked 'baby-talk'. No mother-translations were necessary. He imitated people. He told jokes. He learned to use the computer, working the mouse independently, before he turned 2 years old. He read the first Harry Potter book when he was 4. But along with his staggering intelligence came a tortured sensitivity, not terribly different from his dad's. He once told me that he was a "70-year old man in an 8-year old body". Then he lost his father, which gave him more to deal with than any 8 year old should have.
Quirky and interesting, empathetic to the pain and suffering of others (Katrina victims and citizens of Haiti have been on the receiving end of his generosity). Maybe experiencing his own devastating loss has created an understanding that most kids don't have. Still, he has remained a funny and entertaining kid to be around.
Someday, I hope he'll feel like an 8-year old boy in a 70-year old body. In the meantime, he's got a few adventures ahead of him. (Driving, anyone? Yikes!)
And did I mention that it's Elvis' birthday, too?
• Posted By panthergirl @ 8:25 AM • • •
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Why I Became a Feminist
My annual Thanksgiving weekend blog post!
Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving turned me into a radical feminist. Or, maybe I was born one and Thanksgiving just confirmed my inate belief that women have traditionally been treated (sometimes willingly) as second-class citizens.
Of course it wasn't just this particular holiday that validated my beliefs. Every Sunday, during the eleventy-seven course extravaganza known as "dinner", the same dynamic would be present. But I refused to buy in, even as a little girl.
In this photo, I am seven years old. I'm wearing an apron, as is my grandmother, my mother and my middle sister (for some reason, my eldest sister on the near left either escaped kitchen duty or shed the apron immediately afterwards. (My mother also seems to be either admiring the nasty perm she forced on my stick-straight hair, or she's thinking "You'll wear the apron and you'll LIKE it..."
I didn't mind the prep work all that much. My grandmother always made the macaroni from scratch. (the term "pasta" was never used. It was macaroni, no matter what it looked like.) She'd let us knead the dough and then she'd roll it out and cut the squares of ravioli or strips of lasagna. She'd lay a sheet on her bed, sprinkle it with flour, and place the finished pieces on it to dry. Also placed there were the strips of dough that would never make it to the table...gobbled up raw like so many strings of licorice. We loved the raw dough.
We'd stir the gravy (no, not sauce or tomato sauce...it was gravy), helped roll the meatballs, cut the provolone into little squares for antipasto. We sliced the pepperoni, put the turkey in the oven, rolled up the braciola (pronounced: bra-JOLE) and prepared plates of salad that featured iceberg lettuce, black olives and a red vinegar that came from the wine cellar in our basement. All of that was kind of fun.
The meal was generally a festive event (unlike our daily family meals, which are fodder for another post altogether). Everyone drank homemade Chianti (even the kids, and my mother who would offend everyone by putting orange juice and ice cubes in hers), and stuff themselves with everything from soup to nuts. Quite literally: Minestrone, antipasto, macaroni, meatballs and other meats, followed by salad, turkey, fruit and nuts. My grandfather would entertain us by cracking walnuts on his bald head. Then, percolated coffee accompanied by cake, pastries and cookies that were also sometimes made by my grandmother...particularly the anisette cookies with pignoli nuts. Those were my favorites.
But it was the after-party that infuriated me. The women would begin clearing the table and marching like lemmings back into the kitchen to clean up. Remember, this was before dishwashers and Teflon. We're talking HOURS worth of pot scouring, washing and drying dishes, wrapping leftovers, wiping down counters and tables and collecting linens. The men would do the thing that has spawned cliches to this very day: sit around the living room and watch TV, with their belts and flys open to free their bloated bellies.
By the time I was 7 or 8, I'd take advantage of the commotion and slip away. Thanksgiving would usually take place, as it did here, in my grandparents' apartment upstairs from us in our two-family home. I'd make my way downstairs and in the peace and quiet of my room, or better yet our "finished basement", I'd read the newspaper. When I began to do this on Sundays as well, I'd tiptoe down there and read the Herald-Tribune and my favorite comic strip: Miss Peach (little kids with giant heads).
As an adult, I once dated a guy whose family still functioned this way on holidays. The women cooked, the women cleaned up. The men ate, the men digested. When he suggested that I join the feminine cleanup brigade, I asked if we were going to pick up the plates with our vaginas. He decided to help out, and I was happy to assist him.
• Posted By panthergirl @ 8:24 AM • • •