Saturday, March 31, 2007

Boo Booze

When I mentioned in my last post that I'm going to be on The Today Show, someone commented that there has been a lot of bad blogger press about this story featuring moms who drink "socially" during playdates with their small children.

I watched the video of the woman featured in this piece who tripped over herself trying to explain that she and her friends don't "get drunk", and that she watched her parents drink all the time (surprise, surprise) and never witnessed any bad behavior.

As any of you who read this blog know, I'm no prude. But this story made me sick. It's not that it's so horrible for someone to have a drink while watching her child, but is it SO difficult not to? The woman said that no one would bat an eye if dads were drinking while supervising little kids, but I certainly would. I don't see it as a double standard thing. I see it as a/ a poor message to kids ("Mommy's stressed and needs a belt.") and b/ potentially dangerous on a number of levels (Mom/Dad is impaired when child gets hurt, or child takes a swig when no one is looking.)

One of the biggest differences (and there have been many) I noticed when I moved from the city to the 'burbs was the whole culture of drinking. It just didn't seem to be the same in the city. Here, you can't walk into someone's home without them immediately offering you a drink. I was dropping my son off one day at NOON. I was literally getting out of my car, leaving him at his friend's house, and getting back into my car. His friend's dad offered me a glass of wine and was so insistent that I had to say "no thanks" several times before he got the message. I was starting to feel really uncomfortable about leaving my kid there, and if he were younger I wouldn't have. I know that at 12 years old he would call me if there were a problem. I've since seen this dad clearly loopy on several occasions so I'm not so sad that Lucas doesn't visit their home anymore. He had dinner out with them a few times and he said that the dad drank quite a bit and then drove home (thankfully my son rode with the mom, but the dad took his two younger children in his car). This isn't the only parent that I've seen impaired around his or her kids, and I think it's irresponsible.

Call me judgmental... I don't care. When you sign on to have kids, you've agreed to change your life in some ways that aren't so much fun. And maybe saving your cocktail hour for adult time is just one of those ways.

Note: I don't think this is the mom on the segment I saw, which was a "follow-up", but she was on the original piece. Interesting that her father was an alcoholic, no?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today was here... today!

A producer from the Today Show, a camera crew and author were at my house today interviewing me for a segment that is going to air sometime between now and mid-May. I don't know how this happens, but it will be the third time I've wound up on TV after contacting a news show (and there was one time when I wrote to Dr. Phil about my daughter and high school homework woes. They called me to be on the show, but my daughter refused to talk about her issues on national TV. Go figure!)

They were here all day, interviewing and shooting. When Lucas got home they even shot us walking Kelso and me gazing into the woods from my deck. Who knows how much of that will end up in the final segment, but it was fun. See... watching America's Next Top Model really does pay off.

I'm not going to tell you what it was about... but i'll post the air date as soon as I get it!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Photo Friday: Sentimental

Raggedy Ann is really the subject of this week's theme. My daughter got the handmade doll for her first birthday, but didn't show much interest until she was about 2. After that, "Raggy" became not just a sleeping companion, but a constant presence. We went NOWHERE without Raggy. When my daughter's dad and I split up, Raggy had to travel from house to house, and if for some reason she had been left behind, one of us had to get in the car at 10pm and chauffeur Raggy back to her rightful place, next to Emma.

One fateful day, Raggy sat in the stroller while Emma played in the playground with her "manny", Arthur. After a few hours, they returned to the stroller to find the precious redhead GONE. Someone had stolen Raggy. (Who does that?) When I came home from work that night and heard the news, I cried. It was like a death in the family. Emma was inconsolable.

We called the woman who had made Raggy and asked if she could make an identical one. Our plan was to tell Emma that she had been found, not that she was being replaced by a new Raggy. The problem was that by that time, most of Raggy's face had been kissed off and she was in pretty rough shape.

So, when the new Raggy arrived we explained that she had gone to a "spa" for a makeover. Emma bought it and all was right with the world.

Over the years, I think there were about five Raggys...each replacing the other seamlessly. Emma is now 21 years old and has every one of them and still keeps the latest one with her wherever she is sleeping. If that's not sentimental, I don't know what is.

Maybe my determination to keep Emma connected to her heart-doll was driven by my own experience as a child. This is a photo of me with the stuffed animal that I held dear. My beloved poodle that was bought to appease my yearning for a real dog. I walked her on a leash, dragging her up and down the streets of Brooklyn. When my mother determined that she had gotten too rank, she threw the poodle into the mouth of a roaring garbage truck as I watched in horror. I may not have erased that memory by treating my daughter differently, but I can rest assured that her sentimental feelings about Raggy will not be forever marred by an unhappy ending.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Torture and the Hair

The rash that won't go away, the cockroach you just can't kill, the festering boil that is Sanjaya. Thanks to Howard Stern and friends, he will continue to wage an assault on our eyes and ears for another week.

The little girl who couldn't stop crying during Tuesday night's Idol was like manna from heaven for Joel McHale of The Soup. She was too good to be true!

Last night, I watched the show on TiVO when I got back from dinner out. I thought my TiVO cut off before I got to see the judges' reactions to that sham of a vote-off. But from what I understand, the judges were nowhere to be seen last night. Absent in protest?

What is the real problem here? Why doesn't "Idol" limit the number of votes ala DWTS? Because they can't say "after 30 million votes..."? When 15 million are coming from Sanjaya's mother, the numbers hardly impress. Based on prior "winners", the votes mean nothing anyway. Ruben Studdard anyone?

C'mon, Sanjaya. Have a little self-respect and throw in the towel. One woman in California is on a hunger strike until he is given the boot. Can you blame her? She's simply trying to reduce the volume of upchuck after next week's performances.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dancing with the Stars Who Didn't Make It Onto The Surreal Life

Billy Ray Cyrus. Need I say more?

Yes, I am watching the car wrecks of all car wrecks: Dancing with the Stars. With all the money that this show is making, do you think they could spring for the ACTUAL recordings of the songs? As if watching the 'dancing' weren't bad enough, the music reminds me of every bad wedding band I've ever heard (no, not mine. I never use a band when I get married).

Still, it will all be worth it if Heather Mills' leg flies off.

(I know, I'm going to be struck by lightning. Fear not. Been there, done that.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Macho, Macho Man...

"300". The most hilarious serious film you'll see (or won't see, if you're smarter than me) all year.

I made the mistake of believing the 8.3 rating on IMDB, not realizing that those who voted were probably 18 year old boys who like to scream "raaaargh" and pound their chests. At the movies.

The dialogue is absolutely ridiculous. One reviewer hit the nail on the head when she pointed out a moment when a character says "This won't be over quickly, and you won't enjoy it." That's a one-line assessment of this film. Although I wouldn't say I didn't "enjoy" it. I was laughing so hard I was crying. How can you not enjoy a film about the Village People confronting Grace Jones, Quasimodo and Dumbo? Especially when it tries to be so. heavy.

You think I'm kidding? If you see it, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

I realize this was inspired by Frank Miller's graphic novel. But this isn't a graphic novel. It's a cartoon. It's the Road Runner in Speedos (with a lot of impaling and decapitations).

If you do plan to see this film, you might not want to schedule it before or after a meal. If the gore doesn't make you nauseaus, the script will.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dick Objects to Vagina

If you are living under a rock and haven't heard this story, please click the link and read it.

Basically, three high school girls (in MY district High School...yay!) were facing suspension for daring to utter the word "vagina" in an open mike event at school. They were reading from Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and refused to compromise the piece by substituting the language with oh, I don't know, va-jay-jay?

The principal, named Dick, says this is about "insubordination" and not censorship. Ok DICK...whatever you say, DICK. I strongly suggest that you not utter your name in front of a group of high school students ever again.

In a related, but not newsworthy, story: I was subject to something similar this week at work. No, I did not say the word vagina. We use an application called "Parts" which is changing its name to "Blue". In preparation, I had some posters made that say "Does winter make your Parts turn Blue?" The legal department rejected it, saying (with a straight face) that the language was "too risque". Those dirty-minded lawyers. Mind you, I work for the company that makes that men's deodorant with the completely sexist TV commercials that run on MTV.

But, to quote Tom Petty, "I won't back down." I'm taking my cue from the Vagina Girls.

The Real "Mr. Bean"

Apropos to this week's Photo Friday theme: Addiction

Ever wonder how Starbucks became the behemoth company it is today? I attribute their success to one man, my late ex-husband Tony...Lucas' dad. Yes, his coffee addiction built every one of those Starbucks stores you see, one Venti Cafe Americano at a time. (He didn't even buy the Mochafrappacaramellolatte crap...just your basic cup o' joe. But he did also buy truckloads of ground coffee to make at home.)

This was a typical day for Tony. We'd wake up and if I started to chat with him as he rose from the bed, he would back out of the room as he answered me. The coffee pot was beaming him downstairs, and he had no physical control over it. Then, as I'd be getting ready for work, putting on my makeup in our tiny bathroom with no counter space, he'd arrive at the doorway with MY cup of coffee. The expression on his face and the gentle way he cradled the cup would have made any observer believe he was bringing me manna from heaven. Sounds nice, right? Call me ungrateful, but there was no place to PUT the cup, and while I enjoy coffee it doesn't have quite the same euphoric effect on me.

He would proceed to have at least two more cups (one of which he would take into the bathroom with the newspaper and a cigarette. YUCK! Who does that??), while a second pot was brewing. Before leaving for work, he'd pour that pot into a large thermos (10 cup) and off he'd go.

That thermos took him through the morning. At lunchtime, he'd go to Starbucks for a few Venti Cafe Americanos. They knew him by name. At more than one location.

This all sounds very silly, but it was a serious addiction. If he did NOT have coffee for a few hours he'd fall asleep. No matter where he was, or what he was doing. When Lucas was an infant, I went out to the store one afternoon for about an hour. When I pulled into the driveway, I heard my infant SCREAMING inside the house. I ran in and found the baby in his little seat, two feet away from a sleeping Tony who was in a slumped position on the sofa. It took me no less that 10 minutes to rouse him. As always, when I did manage to wake him, he swore he was not sleeping.

I avoided leaving him home alone with Lucas as much as possible. When I did have leave him, I would suggest that he not sit on the couch at all. Then, when Luke was 4, I came home (again from a 15 minute trip to the store) to find Tony passed out and little Lucas sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by 4 empty yogurt containers, several empty bags of chips, and eight little applesauce cups. Tony did not hear me enter the house, and I was tempted to take Lucas and then call ... asking how everything was going and if I could talk to my little boy. (Thinking I might be able to scare him into different behavior) Of course this plan would not have worked, because the phone wouldn't have awakened him.

He took Lucas to the movies once and when they arrived home, my son told me that "a lady had to help me wake Daddy up". Thank god the "lady" wasn't a hair-dye wielding child-napper. And so much for father-son movie dates.

At dinnertime, he HAD to have a glass of wine or a beer. But if he hadn't started a pot of coffee prior to dinner, therefore having to wait for it after the meal, he would often fall asleep right in his chair. It was not unusual for us to clear the table and go off to our evening activities, leaving him right there. He'd usually come-to around 9PM.

I often suggested that he needed to go to a sleep clinic, that he might have sleep apnea, but he adamantly denied a problem. However, one evening we went to a local children's carnival with the kids. While there, Lucas spotted a little playground area with a $1 entry fee. I was out of cash at that point and Tony only had one dollar in his pocket. However, the coffee demons were beckoning him. As he lied and told Lucas he didn't have enough money, I rolled up my sleeve and slapped my forearm: the universal sign for "You are a junkie, you asshole." (Sorry to speak ill of the dead, but this was beyond anything I could fathom.)

It probably became scariest for me after we separated, because I was terrified that he would inadvertenly start a fire in his apartment when Lucas was there. (All of our plastic kitchen utensils, like ladles etc., had been disfigured from being left on the stove near an open flame.) I also knew that a smoke alarm would not have broken through his 'coma'. I told all of this to the court but they did not limit his custody rights. Thankfully, no harm came to Lucas (he was also thoroughly trained as to how to check the kitchen constantly and how to call 911.)

Only because Lucas was not with him, I find this final story the funniest of all. He drove his car onto the Bridgeport Ferry in CT which goes to Long Island. It's a $90 trip with your vehicle, and takes about one and a half hours to get across the Sound. His sister was expecting him at her house in the Hamptons that afternoon. Hours and hours went by and she did not see him. She called me, but I had no idea what happened.

As it turned out, he was reading on the top deck of the boat and fell asleep, head hanging into the open book. He fell asleep and made THREE ROUND TRIPS. His neck was severely sunburned, but what really burned him was that he was charged for all three trips!! As with most other things, he took no responsibility and blamed the crew for not waking him up. (They may have attempted, as I had so many times, and given up.)

Bottom line is that he was a self-medicater. Many people accept drugs and alcohol as the addictive substances that people abuse to balance their own brain chemistry, but I can tell you first-hand that coffee can be just as bad. I hated having our lives controlled by chemicals. While I like to have my coffee in the morning, some days I'll purposely skip it just to assure myself that I can.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Things That Make You Go "WTF?"

I was in a restaurant today for lunch, seated a few tables away from Frank Gifford. He does not look like this anymore, by the way. I've seen him several other times, always accompanied by Kathie Lee, but not today. She's pretty scary looking in person too. I was tempted to go tell him that people are brought to my blog in droves, several times a day through Google and other search engines, with a burning desire to see a photo of "Kathie Lee braless". (This is probably the most searched for term on my blog, although I have never posted such an image. This is followed closely by a search for "Jo Frost's tits". Go figure.)

I saw a segment on The Today Show about how credit card companies are screwing around with people, jacking up finance charges so they never, ever get out of debt. I decided to look more closely at my American Express bill, and whaddya finance charge had risen to 30% !!!!! So, I called them and just like that, no questions asked, they lowered it to 13%. Hmm.

Sabrina voted off American Idol....

Sanjaya NOT voted off American Idol.


Jesus married with kid(s): Impossible!!!
Jesus comes back from the dead and flies up to "heaven": Totally believable!!

Hokey dokey...

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Beg Your Parton

How (or why) does one go from THIS Kelly Pickler:

to THIS one:

(see video clip here). What a shock, that she idolizes Dolly Parton! Looks like a case of Single White-Trash Female!

Photo Friday: Alone

....... almost. ;)

(not that easy to be alone on Daytona Beach)