Saturday, February 14, 2015

Redux: The Best Snowstorm Story I've Got

There's no business like snow business, so time for a retread.

When we lived in Brooklyn in the mid 90s, we had two parakeets: Guido and Rudy. Unusual for a parakeet, 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 pronounce "Guido". Some Italian SHE is!)

A few months later, Rudy was acting strangely. 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 wanted to bury Rudy right next to Guido, but this was the winter of 1994 (storm after storm) and about 3 feet of snow covered the backyard. 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 until he could get his proper burial. Every time the snow was about to melt, we got slammed with another storm. We knew that Rudy's internment would have to be postponed until Spring.

A few months passed and I got pregnant, so we made plans to move from Brooklyn to Greenwich, Connecticut during the summer so I'd be closer to my job.

A few weeks after the move in July, I bolted upright in bed one night and yelled: "RUDY!!!!" Yep...we had moved out of the house in Brooklyn leaving a Rudy-sicle in the freezer for the new tenants. After absorbing the horror of our mistake, we could not stop laughing. (And I'm pretty sure that "we found a dead frozen parakeet in the freezer" made a good story for those people as well, after the vomiting stopped.)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Happy Birthday, Lucas

My little guy turns NINETEEN today. How the heck did 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 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.

And did I mention that it's Elvis' birthday, too?

Friday, January 03, 2014

Hello Stranger

Baby boomers have struggled for years with hypocritical "don't use drugs!" warnings to their own children, when in fact they themselves have almost no recollection of the late 60s and early 70s. But what about the standard message to avoid 'strangers'?

I've had online friends since I was pregnant with my son in 1994. Then, when I adopted Kelso in 2003, I joined a forum for other greyhound adopters and connected with people there. I started this blog in 2005 and have maintained online relationships with many other bloggers and readers of this blog. With VERY rare exception, I have never met these people and don't even know what their voices sound like, what regional accents they have, how tall they are. I don't think of them as anything less than my friends. Yet, when my son recently talked to me about some of the 'friends' he plays a video game with via Skype, it took every ounce of muscle control to keep my eyeballs locked in place. "They're not your friends!" I wanted to shriek, followed by "Don't smoke pot!"

Then I thought about my online people. People who supported me through all kinds of family drama, divorce, death, a myriad of illnesses as well as sharing in the many joys in my life over these years. I feel completely and totally connected to them, their families, their children I've watched grow, marry and have children of their own. I've felt crushed for them when they've lost someone close: human, canine, feline or even reptile. We've made contributions to each other's fundraising efforts, supplied votes in online competitions and in one case held an online memorial service for a woman who died after having her baby...and then each made one square for a quilt for that baby to keep. She'd be almost 19 now, like my son.

Sure, there have been jerks. There have been 'catfish'. One of those catfish fooled a LOT of intelligent adults with 'her' blog. This is something I did teach both of my kids...that you don't have to be stupid to be duped by someone online, that people who do this are very very good at it. If they were good people they'd be Oscar-winning actors. And believe me, I still think it's dangerous for children to interact online with people they don't actually know.

But for me, if I were to subtract all of the people I've met online since 1994 from my life, a big hole would remain. Even my doomed foray into online dating gave me fodder for a pretty funny blog post called "Dates with Nuts". The internet has forced us to redefine a lot of things not the least of which are the words 'friend' and 'stranger'. And maybe even family.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up - Redux

Given the bizarre coincidences that happened this week (the guy from Chesebrough Ponds who recognized me here in NOLA, 15 years later, AND the fact that my son's roommate shares my birthday and his mother shares my son's), I had to repost this which is clearly the most incredible coincidence I've ever experienced in my life. I challenge you to tell me a better one:

I know I haven't posted in a long time... sorry!! But something happened tonight that is too long for Twitter OR Facebook, so here I am. I'm also posting this on top of another bizarre incident I reported back in '07, so you can see how weird my life is in general.

Last week, I received an email from a company called Camp Meds. They are handling all medications required by campers at my son's (and apparently many others') camp. I'm not crazy about the idea, because you have to pay a $50 handling fee and you really don't know who is doing the handling.

Anyway, to increase my anxiety a little more, the email I got from them was intended for someone else, and attached to it was the personal profile and prescriptions of a camper who is NOT my son, along with a copy of the girls' mother's insurance ID card, phone numbers, etc.

I was horrified. I let them know and they pretty much blew it off as a "mistake". On Friday I decided to call the mother in Seattle to let her know what had happened.

She called me back today. We talked for awhile, she gave me her email address so I could forward the email to her, and then she said "You live in Westchester, right?" (she knew from my area code). I said yes, and she said she used to live in NY, but on Long Island. I asked her where on Long Island and when she told me the town, I said that my son's dad came from there. She initially thought he had MY last name and said that she didn't know the family, but when I said HIS last name she said, "Oh I knew them! I used to hang out at their house! Tony used to buy us liquor... I went to high school with Cindy..." She knew the whole damned bunch.

I still cannot believe it. And I thought the story below was the weirdest thing that ever happened to me...


Pay close attention to all the details, for each one is critical to how this story plays out.

I normally leave my house at about 7AM and get to work at 7:30. This morning, because I was watching the news from Minneapolis, I left at 7:50. No biggie, except I knew there was a big management meeting/announcement taking place at 8:30 and I wanted to be sure to get there on time for that.

Since I pulled into the parking garage at 8:25, I went straight to the meeting instead of dropping my things off in my office first.

Most people had settled into their seats already, but I found one open chair next to my boss. I had to climb over a bunch of people to get to it, but I did it.

After the meeting was over, the 200 or so attendees filed slowly out. A woman walking next to me noticed my little shopping bag from a jewelry store in a town near mine. "I love that store!" she exclaimed. "Me too," I replied.

Then she said, "I used to shop there because I lived in V--- (my teeny town)". "I live in V---" now", I replied. "Oh, do you live in the O--- Condos?" "Er... yeah", I getting a little creeped out. "Where in O---- do you live?" she asked. I told her my street name. She looked pale. "I lived on that street too...what number?"
"173", I said. "I lived at 172", she replied. By this time, both of our jaws had to be scraped off the floor.

Now, I tell you... what are the chances?? Like I said, normally I would have arrived at work early enough to drop my little shopping bag in my office. I could have sat ANYWHERE in that room of over 200 people. I've been sick all week, so chances were good I wouldn't even have been at work today.

I'm buying a lottery ticket. Seriously.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Testing Testing 1, 2, 3...M

Making good on my threat to resurrect the blog, but need to see what this new Blogger is all about. Hopefully someone will leave a comment so I can see what I'm up against here. Really don't want to have to start a new one in Wordpress.

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.

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!

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.")

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:

"Greyhound's Anatomy":

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.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

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!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unreality TV

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.

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!