Sunday, August 28, 2005
Just dropped Kelso off with the women who will be boarding him this week while Lucas and I go on vacation. I'll miss him, but frankly I'm looking forward to five days without dog-walking.
I'll have my laptop but hopefully won't spend TOO much time online (Katrina better stay the hell away from the Northeast!). Weather permitting, we'll be playing golf and tennis and exploring the great outdoors here.
I might drop by and post some reruns just to keep things moving around here... and next Friday, September 2nd, I'll be the guest blogger over at Michele's place. See you there!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
This week's entry is not immediately obvious, in terms of the theme, but trust me. It's appropriate.
My son Lucas and I got up this morning with a delightful plan to take our bikes to a nearby trail (one of those used-to-be-a-railroad bike trails that are cropping up everywhere). I don't use the Mini Cooper for escapades like this (nor for extended car trips like the one we're planning for Monday, but more about THAT later.)
So, I strapped the bike rack to the back of my SUV, loaded up the bikes, and then had to back out of a parking space which is dangerously close to my garage. In an attempt NOT to hit a red car parked next to it, I wound up hitting the garage itself with the bikes, blowing out my back window. Lucas was crying (he was in the back seat and the sound was very frightening), I couldn't believe I had done it. (Note: Not one person in my condo complex came out to see what had happened, although the noise was unreal. Reminiscent of my third day living here, when my dog grabbed a neighbor's cat by the neck and was shaking her. I was screaming "No! Stop! No!" at 6:30 AM, and no one came out. Remember Kitty Genovese?)
ANYWAY... It's not bad enough that it's Saturday, the insurance people are complete idiots and glass places close at noon, but we are planning to take a trip up to the Catskills on Monday morning. On the way, we're scheduled to drop off Kelso (my enormous greyhound, hence the license plate) at a boarding facility, but now I have no driveable truck. My day has been nothing but chaos as a result.
Bottom line? I'm driving Kelso in my Mini Cooper to the boarder's house tomorrow. Get out the shoe horn and Vaseline. Quick. Then we'll take the Mini on our trip, stuffed with me, Lucas, our suitcases and two golf bags. Cue the shoe horn.
Update: I'm renting a Ford Escape Hybrid SUV instead. With the insurance discount and them paying part of it, it will only cost me $22/day! SO worth it.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
So, without further ado, here's my mix (oh crap...just saw that I wasn't supposed to post the list until 9/15):
I Just Wanna Make Love to You - Etta James. Just a GREAT sultry song.
Hallelujah I Love Him - Eva Cassidy. Ditto.
Somebody to Love - Queen. Perfect anthem to blast in the car.
Silver Thunderbird - Marc Cohn . Wonderful ode to a vehicle, and to a dad.
Thunder Road - Springsteen. Next to Born to Run, the best Springsteen driving song ever.
Oh Girl - Chilites. I like listening to this in the car because Tony Soprano listened to it before he went to beat up the guy who was sleeping with his ex-mistress after he dumped her. And it's a great song.
Ooh La La - The Faces. This song reminds me of those silly platform shoes that Rod Stewart and Ron Wood wore back then. Oh wait. So did I.
Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood - Leon Russell. The best 10 minutes you'll ever spend in your car.
I'm Looking Through You - The Wallflowers. Great cover.
Rain King - Counting Crows. Another one to crank up.
Toxic - Britney Spears. OK, stop laughing. I hate BS as much as the next non-trailer-trash person, but I love this song!
I Try - Macy Gray. Poor Macy. Smoked one too many joints, I think. But her first album and this song rock.
Crazy Love - Van Morrison. Holds a very special romantic place in my heart.
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - George Michael. I'm not sure whose son he's talking about, but who cares? This is one of my favorite live performances.
Ladyshave - Paul Oakenfold. Mitsubishi really knows how to pick music for their commercials.
Up the Junction - Squeeze. I really could have put ANY Squeeze song in this spot, but I'm always happy when this one comes up in the random mix.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
To my beautiful Emma, I say "Happy Birthday, honey. I love you."
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
My father died 10 years ago today. This photo was taken only a few weeks before his death, when Lucas was 8 months old. Although he could be a harsh father, he really loved babies and it shows here.
I thought it was fitting to rerun a post from March 13th.
One part Tony Soprano, one part Ralph Kramden and a pinch of Bugs Bunny...that pretty much sums up my dad, Sal. He grew up in the streets of Brooklyn, one of eight children (there was a ninth, but he fell from a fire escape as he played with his older brother, my Uncle Joey. Somehow I never trusted Uncle Joey). They lived in a tenement building above the barber shop that his father owned and next door to the woman who would become mymother. (and also "next door to Moider Incorporated")
A sweet, quiet man, my father served six years in the Navy during WWII, including a stint on the USS Lexington. He was at Pearl Harbor for a weekend of R&R when he and his shipmates were suddenly called back and they left, stealthfully, in the middle of the night. It was December 6th. Because of this incident, he was convinced that FDR knew the bombing of Pearl Harbor was going to happen, but allowed it as a way to get us into the war. During the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Lexington was torpedoed and poor Sal had to await rescue while bobbing around in the Pacific. As a kid, not realizing the magnitude of this event, I would tease him and call him "Chicken of the Sea" when he didn't want to join us in the water at Rockaway Beach.
Our relationship was a complicated one. For years I just thought he was a horrible, abusive father which in many respects, he was. He was generally sullen, having been forced to forego a dream of being a carpenter and moving to California in the 1950s by my mother: The Queen of Control and Manipulation. She insisted that he take the civil service exam, stay in Brooklyn near her mother and sisters, and get a job with a pension. He spent his working life delivering mail.
We paid dearly as a result. His hair-trigger temper and ill-fated attempts to control me, especially, resulted in aberrations of parenting that began with verbal lashings, humiliation and sadistic "discipline". We feared him. He never said much, but talked with his hands like Tony Manero's father in Saturday Night Fever. ("Hey! Watch the hair!") By the time I was a mouthy and wild teenager, he was hauling off and punching me full-fisted in the face.
It may seem strange to you, but after many years of psychotherapy I came to pity him. I realized that Sal was the puppet...and Margie Dearest was the puppetmaster. She controlled him, she used her wiles and her sexuality to get him to do whatever she wanted. She'd instigate arguments between us, she'd put words in his mouth, she'd challenge him with "you're gonna let her get away with that?" until he had to take action to prove his manhood. He was miserable and he was trapped. I quoted him in my earlier post about marriage, where he said "If you wanted to be happy, what the hell did you get married for?" Sadly, this told me how low the bar had been set for him. He gave up everything to please a woman who could never be pleased.
I don't think I could have ever found it in my heart to forgive him had there not been moments of genuine love and affection that seeped through. Unlike my mother, I think he really did love us...especially as babies. This became evident to me when I had babies of my own and saw the warmth in his eyes. I knew, too, that by loving my children this way he was expressing a wordless apology to me. (My mother, on the other hand, once said "So sue me!" when questioned about her parenting style.)
My father died when Lucas was only 8 months old, and I'm sad about that. They would have adored each other. Thankfully my daughter Emma did get to experience the "real" man...the one who wept as he held her as a newborn, who held my hand as an adult to make up for all the times he couldn't do it when I was a child. While I can never forget the mistakes he made, I am wise enough now to understand the grey areas. My Dad and Emma at my wedding to Tony, 1993. Photo by Rob Fraser.
Monday, August 22, 2005
In no particular order:
A Day in the Life. A personal diary, yes, but Curator Ben has a gift for conveying SO much with a photo and a VERY brief narrative. It's a beautifully designed site with gorgeous photography, hilarious videos, and two awesome hounds. The hook: His is the blog for people with ADD.
Last Girl on Earth. Deni's blog is a must-read. A professional rock-violinist, her stories are priceless, always accompanied by laugh-out-loud visuals, and best of all ... video. She has made two videos on the streets of New York, asking strangers to recite lines requested by her readers. The girl's got balls. Plus, I've met her in real life and she is just as warm, beautiful, funny and interesting as you'd want her to be. The hook: You never know what she'll come up with next!
Bored at the Beach. Another fellow New Yorker, C-Mac is the Seinfeld of bloggers. Only more prolific. Every day (at least once), he offers up his perspectives on the minutiae of life... usually highlighting something that particularly pisses him off. The hook: C-Mac always creates a mini-dialogue in his comments box, because every post ends with an opening for his readers to add their experience with the subject of that post.
Artsy Science. Tracy is a microscopist and totally cool guy. He often posts photos of ordinary objects taken with his super-duper-microscope (ok, it's not called that) and let's us guess what the object is. A few of us have even sent him things to shoot (like bearded dragon skin, in my case). The hook: Where else can you see velcro magnified a jazillion times?
Random_Speak. Although this is mostly a personal diary blog, L comes up with the most incredible retro images to accompany her entries. The hook: Great visuals.
Michele. If you are one of the three bloggers who doesn't know about Michele, here's your chance to find out. (Also a chance for me to plug the fact that I'll be guest-blogging over there in about two weeks). The hook: Michele's blog is the hub of this giant wheel we call the blogosphere. It's the cocktail-party of blogs.
Enjoy these, and if you haven't visited them before be sure and tell them how you got there...
Sunday, August 21, 2005
If you volunteered to have a Sim created of you but haven't checked in recently, do it soon... we Goddesses have ways of dealing with those who don't come visit...
Friday, August 19, 2005
Today's Photo Friday entry is more "snapshot" than art. It's my daughter Emma telling me how old she is (was... she turns 20 next week).
Another item of note in this photo is my mother's haircolor. What is it about moving to Florida that causes dark-haired lovelies to go "blonde"? I call her particular shade "Palomino". When I go down to visit her I can't help but notice all the olive-skinned women with beige hair and upside-down glasses (the ear piece on the bottom instead of the top of the lens). Must be peer-pressure or something.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Since the networks are in Fall Preview mode, I decided to give my readers a little "Fall Preview" of what's to come here at The Dog's Breakfast over the next few months:
"The Orifice" - A real life look at some of the assholes I've worked for (and almost worked for)
"The Pedo Files" - An edge-of-your-seat account of the multiple times I narrowly escaped being sold into white slavery.
"Big Sister" - Family drama, starring me and my estranged (and strange) older sister, seen here on the left. Think of it as "La Cage Aux Folles" meets "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"
"Pantherella" - A documentary about child labor, with my mother playing the part of Kathy Lee Gifford.
"Before There Were Air Bags" - A stranger-than-fiction account of the thirteen car accidents and one moped accident that did not take my life.
"You Missed Me" - Inspirational tales from one who has been struck by lightning, run over by a horse, thrown out of speeding vehicles and subjected to my mother's cooking and survived to tell about it.
And, of course, more vintage photos and stories from the past featuring my parents, the fugly twins, and people with names like "Mary the Buttonhole". Stay tuned!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Stay tuned.... The Dog's Breakfast is getting a new look! In the next day or so, you'll see what I mean. I designed it myself, and Ro from Ciao! My Bella is working on the template.
The summer's almost over, and I'm going to be back in the swing of things very soon...posting daily (or close to it). I've been walking 3 miles or so every few days, and during those walks I often plan future blog posts. I know I've slowed down considerably this summer, but I promise to keep you entertained come Fall.
In the meantime, has anyone noticed how many television shows being touted for the Fall season seem to have several similarities? Semi-creepy, unseen aliens or predators, one word title. ("Surface", "E-Ring", "Threshold", "Numb3rs"). Remind you of anything?
How about this word? "Original". What a concept! But it'll never sell.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Just turned on The Today Show, and they are doing a segment called "Cheapskate Week". I have to admit that watching this, featuring people who do things like fill their own jelly donuts, make diaper pails out of popcorn tins, and bring ziplock bags to the movies to divide up popcorn... makes my hair go on fire.
One of my ex-husbands said I would "go across the street and around the corner to avoid a sale", and he was probably right. I've only been to Wal-Mart twice (and couldn't wait to get out), don't comparison shop, and am a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". I know it's irrational at times, but hey...I've never claimed to be a completely rational person.
Why this visceral aversion to bargains? As with most of my other neuroses, I have to blame my parents. As children of the Great Depression, they turned penny-pinching into an artform. My mother made a lot of our clothes, and in doing so made them about three sizes too big so they'd fit for several years. This explains why, in most old photos, we look like refugees from Uzbekistan. She also made clothes for my Barbie doll, which was great except for the fact that she didn't want to have to buy special snaps (you know, the right SIZED ones), so the clothes had closures as big as Barbie's head.
Getting a greeting card from my mother meant (and still means) receiving one that had been previously sent to her, with the inside cut out. All of the food in our house was "Brand X" or awful store brands like "Ann Page" and "Krasdale". Although my father loved ice cream, the best we got was Breyer's Neopolitan, or maybe a Cookie Puss cake from Carvel for a REALLY special occasion.
My father loved electronics and gadgets of any and every kind (we had air-conditioning before anyone else), but I still remember the "brand names" that graced them all... Setchell-Carlson, Bonsonic, Royce Union... some of which, I think, fell off the back of a truck. Since he was a mailman, our house was FILLED with tiny versions of many products (free samples that had been addressed to houses that didn't exist). We used miniature cans of Rite Guard and Arrid Extra Dry, ate from little packettes of Carnation Instant Breakfast, and read magazines that had a big square cutout on the cover. Occasionally we'd score big and get someone's 8 free records from Columbia House, if they moved away before it was delivered. And there was Joe the Dented Can Man, my father's favorite place to shop for canned food.
I guess it's all about priorities. My parents did manage to raise three kids on a postman's salary (although my mother also worked or collected unemployment most of the time), and we always had new cars that they paid cash for. They never had credit cards until they retired and we never felt like they were strapped for cash.
Still, while I appreciate their efforts, it has left me with a psychotic disdain for sales and bargains.
So... fess up. Are you a Cheapskate? Are you the child of a Cheapskate? Or are you, like me, the Anti-Cheapskate?
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Every morning, the first thing I do is turn on the television. I keep the remote on the bed next to me, and put it on as soon as I open my eyes. If I see a commercial, I know that everything is ok.
I can hardly believe it's been almost four years. Maybe on the anniversary we should all post our stories from that day...where we were, how we heard...
Friday, August 12, 2005
...although it looks like one!
High School graduation, 1973. Call the makeup police.
(thank god for the cap and gown, because the outfit underneath was vintage '70s hooch.) I fancied myself a real ar-teest, although the painting makes me cringe today!
This week's entry is another in the "No Cameras Allowed" series from my trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The artists are the same as the one's in last week's entry (Complexity).
The funny thing about these pictures is that for all my wacky escapades, I really am a "rule follower". (Much to the amusement of my close friends). I cross at the corner, keep to the right, don't litter, etc. etc. Aside from my arrest when I was 19 (more material for the Fall Exblogaganza), and a few personal indiscretions, taking pictures in a place where I am not supposed to is a BIG transgression for me! In fact, the only reason I did it was because it was a business trip and a group of us had an assignment to complete in the museum which required pictures.
So... all of that aside ... this is my "violet" entry for today. Hope you like it!
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Eliminated from "Star Search", way too good for "American Idol", Jordis Unga is a standout talent on this summer's "RockStar: INXS". I know, I know...it seems like a dumb concept (replacing the irreplaceable Michael Hutchins), but all of the singers are surprisingly good, and Jordis is G-R-E-A-T.
Her haunting and soulful rendition of Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" is permanently etched in my brain. Don't take my word for it... download it here. Then come back and thank me.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Since so many of you liked my "made out with my high school science teacher" factoid, I decided to provide some visual reference of him, and two other guys who would be arrested if they did this stuff today. In the tradition of Glamour do's and don'ts, I've obliterated their identities.
If you can't read what Mr. Science Guy wrote, it says: "Dear Marian, I don't think it's necessary to wish you anything. You have it all -- use it well. My love always, Tony." Although this was written in Senior year, our flirtation started when I was a Freshman (14 years old). What is most astounding to me now, looking back, is that one day when we were making out in a locker room, a PRIEST walked in on us and said, "Oops...sorry!" and left! He was probably getting busy with the altar boys.
These two clowns were Math teachers, but I had no interest in them. Mr. Geometry on the left wrote: "To Marian, I want your body. Love & pinches, Joe." Mr. Algebra on the right said "Marian, good luck & all that with ya future and especially with your latest bounce of life!" (what can I say? It was 1973. I went braless. We had to spice up that uniform SOMEHOW.)
It was probably unrealistic to think that you could put 20-something guys in that situation (all girls' Catholic School) without having them go a little crazy, and we were more than happy to do the crazy-making. I'm convinced we would have behaved better in a normal, co-ed public school environment with boys our own age.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
If you have not seen "Vera Drake" , get thee to the video store ASAP.
Aside from the incredible performance by Imelda Staunton and the brilliant direction by Mike Leigh, the story makes it crystal clear why abortion needs to remain safe and legal for all women. The movie is about so much more than abortion...it's a riveting character study and a glimpse into a still-reeling post-WWII England. But I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, knowing that if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned in this country, we will be catapulted back into a past where women had to rely on the services of the inept and untrained (albeit, in this case, well-meaning).
Although rich women will always be able to have their pregnancies disappear at will...poor women will die. Or give birth to babies they don't want, can't afford, and can't care for. Some of those babies/children will wind up abused or dead. And while I do welcome dissenting opinions, I would ask anyone who reacts with "adoption is an option" to get real. There are already thousands of "less desirable" babies and children in this country who are without homes. Couples who can afford it are going outside the US for white or Chinese infants. Or, paying upwards of $10,000 for healthy white babies in this country (one classified ad I spotted even specified "male". Yeah, those people really just want a baby. Uh huh.)
The reality is, unwanted pregnancies happen. They don't need to result in unwanted children. It's all well and good to be "pro-life", but when that does not extend beyond childbirth it's just a hypocritical load of bullshit. Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one.
Can you tell this is a real hot-button issue for me? ;)
Friday, August 05, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Please go and tell him his big fan Panthergirl turned you on to him!
My blogbud Frally has come up with five questions she'd like me to answer, so here goes:
Q: What's the special ingredient for a great wedding? (If anyone's going to know, it's you my dear)
Although I had three unsuccessful marriages, the weddings were great. My first husband and I decided to get married on the 1 year anniversary of our first date (which was also the night he moved in with me). We made plans to go to Hawaii and have a private ceremony there. We kept it a secret from everyone but our parents, but they weren't invited either. The first few days were spent getting our license and finding a location (Waimea Falls Park on the North Shore of Oahu at dawn), a justice of the peace, a photographer and a witness (the woman who worked in the park volunteered). We hired a Rolls Royce and driver to take us from Waikiki to Waimea. I wore a little white cotton mini dress and an orchid in my hair.
My second wedding was the best of the three. We decided to get married in October and have a costume wedding (you know how much I love Halloween). My future ex-husband was a Broadway stagehand who came from a very blue collar town in New Jersey, so all of his friends and family were either stagehands, cops or firemen. It just so happened that one friend's girlfriend worked at a costume store and she provided the most amazing outfits for most of the guests. We went as Rhett and Scarlett, the best man was the Phantom of the Opera. There were cops in Renaissance costumes replete with tights and plumes. The wedding and reception took place at a restaurant that overlooked the Hudson River so we arrived by speedboat to the great amusement of our guests. Our "aisle" was a long rickety pier, and we did our slow processional to the blaring strains of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Wedding March. Very campy. The ceremony was performed by a Nakota medicine woman. It was a great wedding. The marriage, however, lasted a little more than a year. (the happy ending is that he and I have remained close friends, and he has maintained a loving relationship with my daughter.)
The third was a smaller event at Tony's home because his mother was dying of ovarian cancer. We were married by a minister from the Ethical Culture Society. Tony's mom was a real trooper and danced with her husband while my then-five-year-old daughter tried to pull the hem of her skirt down to cover her catheter tubing. She passed away 3 months later, the day before another one of her son's got married. Our pictures are among the last that were taken of her.
Fun facts: The same photographer worked my 2nd and 3rd weddings. It's quite hilarious to look through his portfolio and see me getting married twice. Wedding #2 was featured in Bride's Magazine. That photographer went on to shoot celebrity weddings including Whitney Houston's.
Q: Is there anything you can tell us about New York that we possibly wouldn't know?
A: If you are in New York, you are expected to walk according to traffic patterns (keep to the right) on crowded sidewalks and public stairways, like going into or out of the subway. It's always easy to tell the tourists because they are constantly bucking "traffic".
Q) What is your most embarrassing moment?
MOST? Ah, that's a tough call. But there's a funny one that comes to mind. On the trip to Hawaii described in my first answer, the in-flight movie was "Raggedy Man". It was 1982, in the olden-days when in-flight movies were actually MOVIES, not DVDs or videotapes. We're all intensely watching a particularly suspenseful scene when I felt something tickling the back of my head. It startled me, but I figured it was my husband-to-be trying to freak me out so I ignored it. Again, I felt my hair move every so slightly, this time closer to the top of my head. I looked over at him, annoyed and rethinking this whole wedding idea, but he was staring straight at the screen. Finally, I felt it again and I reached up to see what the heck was touching me and it was a PILE of movie film that had unraveled from the projector above my head. The whole plane cracked up laughing. (At the very end of the movie, when we were about to find out the identity of the murderer, the film burned up inside the hot mechanism. A woman who had seen the film before had to stand up and tell us all how it ended.)
5) When you come back in the next life (that is, assuming that we do), what would you like to come back as?
Me, with money.
Monday, August 01, 2005
The results are, once again, amazing. New Yorkers are SO up for anything, so totally uninhibited, and so much fun. My requested quote was, "Hey Panthergirl...would you make a Sim of me?" So now I'll have to actually DO it!
Having met Deni in person, it doesn't surprise me that people respond so happily to her. Go visit, watch the movie, and be on the lookout for her new CD!!