Rise of the WhoodaWhattie now?

As an older woman, I have had the wonderful opportunity to seek out and enjoy many interests and hobbies that life has to offer. Although not the thrill seeking type, I am drawn to diverse and eclectic energies which grant me the opportunity to meet a lot of really interesting people. I have a knack for enjoying the fascinations of others without having to know its history. For instance, I thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter area in Universal Studios without ever seeing a single Harry Potter movie. I moved through Hogwarts not recognizing a character, dragon, broomstick or wand but was delighted by the excitement it brought to others.

This brings me to my latest trip to Walt Disney World with my eldest adult daughter; a self-described Disney fanatic. I will preface this by stating that I worked for Disney back in the early 90’s and developed a deep appreciation for the brand. As a cast member, I was fortunate enough to learn the importance of attention to detail and care put into the guest experience. Heck, I even participated in the Tower of Terror sandbag/human testing before the attraction opened to the public. Getting wedged off track in the elevator shaft and having to be extracted by the construction crew was a thing, but overall, an unforgettable experience. But I digress.

Although I know I will feel as if I were hit by a bus, my IWatch stops counting steps after 1 million and I need a portable defibrillator, I go to the parks with my daughter because she is the most fun to watch react to her surroundings. This last visit did not disappoint; 13 hours in Hollywood Studios.

But what does one do in Hollywood Studios for 13 hours? Everything. Twice.

First things first, we meet with my old arch nemesis, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and get that out of the way. I must admit that my stomach bouncing tolerance is not what it was in 1994, but worth it to explain that Rod Serling wasn’t just some random fella chosen to be in the video. Next, Aerosmith coaster. The old stomach was really starting to question my choices at 8:30am.

It was now time to venture to the back of the park to the literal mother ship; Star Wars.

Now, I will be the first to admit, just like at Universal Studios, that I have never seen a single Star Wars movie. That’s right. No Hans Solo, Vader, Chewy, Billy Dee, nothing. I think we all have been bombarded with enough material since 1977 to have a general idea of the story, so I’m not a complete failure. Having no prior knowledge was not going to ruin my fun, in fact, my daughter made it her personal responsibility to fill me in on EVERYTHING. This brings me to the most recent Star Wars installment and the attraction we were about to experience.

“Mom, we’re getting on Rise of the Resistance”

“Rise of the WhoodaWhattie now?”

“Rise of the Resistance! We’re going to fight the First Order!”

“Can we First Order me a drink?”


Genie+ and we’re in. Without ruining it for those who haven’t experienced the attraction, I will share my brief explanation of what went on in there for approximately 30 minutes of walk-through, motion simulated, trackless, dark and speeding drop-ride action. In closing, please enjoy this text I sent to my other daughter who asked what it was like:

First off, I guess I was recruited for some covert operation and was taken aboard this star cruiser airplane looking thing with about 30 other people. There’s a dinosaur dude in the cockpit and the guy I recognize from the Dune movie trailer and hosting SNL comes on the screen and wishes us luck. So far, just a lot of galaxy out the window. Then, we get captured and taken out the door by the Rhythm Nation back up dancers (missing the earring key) and they take us to a holding room. They seem pretty full of themselves and are barking orders, not answering my questions and I have questions. Then, Adam Driver yells at us and demands we tell him where the secret something is. I mumble it’s in my pants because I like Adam Driver and the lady next to me giggles. Then, a laser breaks us out of the holding cell where we are instructed to run into a room and board the escape vessel driven by a droid thingy. Then, Adam Driver chases us through an enormous, multi-storied maze with all the Star Wars gadgets I’ve seen on toy store shelves all while insisting I give up the whereabouts of the secret somethingorother. Natalie is elbowing me because every time Adam Driver demands this, I keep pointing at my crotch and laughing. After what looked like a fierce space battle from my one eye because immersion rides make me nauseous, some random animatronic Black dude and the dinosaur looking guy again successfully help us to escape. It was awesome!

Upon disembarking the attraction, a cast member said “May the Force be the you”. I replied

And also with you

Storm Troopers!
In my best Bill Murray lounge act singing voice, it’s STAR WARS

Ah, Matrimony

Relationships are tough. We are hard wired to seek companionship. We want to love and be loved. Most of lifes detours, from the pole in a strip club to the prisoner on death row, can be traced to our lack of or inability to quench this thirst. Why are some people successful in relationships and other are not? Judging by the self-help section at the bookstore, no one knows but everyone has an opinion.

I’ve been married for 20 years. I know a tiny part of the reason is because we both fear conviction for murder, so staying together is a better alternative. I would also agree that because we acknowledge and appreciate this theory, we both sleep better at night.

Anyone who tells you marriage is entirely blissful is a liar or has a rogue pharmacist. Sure, it’s great when you are experiencing newlywed sex, sleeping naked, vacations for two and quiet dinners. However, life happens and you can work to steer the runaway train together or get off at the next stop. I was lucky enough to find someone not only willing to steer this train, but ride it across wobbly bridges, through dark tunnels and even help get it back on track when it occasionally and inevitably derails.

With 20 years under my belt, I think it is only fitting that I throw my literary hat in the ring and provide you with a few tips you may not get in a traditional relationship guide. Strong successful marriages are not sugar coated, so neither will my advice.  

·       As you can probably imagine, humor plays a big role in our household. If you can’t laugh, it won’t last

·       Go to bed angry. Not every situation can be solved in a timely matter and you’ve got shit to do in the morning

·       Sex won’t always be great but if you don’t speak up, it won’t get any better either

·       Don’t argue naked. For older couples, that’s ammunition (long titties, no ass havin, wrinkly mother fu*ker)

·       Don’t make excuses for bad behavior. It happens. Own it and move on

·       A courtesy flush goes a long way

·       Your spouse does not complete you, they should complement you

·       Be the Ride or Die, but understand that sometimes the ride or die needs to know when we’re stopping for food and if you got directions before we left because last time…

·       Cut your toenails

·       Keep up your appearance for yourself. Everyone benefits when you feel good and look good

·       Your kids are not an excuse, they just change the game. Be flexible

·       Listen, even when it’s the silliest nonsense you’ve ever heard

·       Spending time apart is good for the soul (and your blood pressure)

·       When telling a story, get to the point

·       Don’t talk shit about each other to people. It’s disrespectful

The person you attract is defined by the person you present. Don’t expect someone to treat you any differently than you are willing to treat them, okay?

There is also more than one person out there for you. If it doesn’t work, try again. When it does, it’s pretty amazing. Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes, we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find the frog we can be comfortable enough with to make children and carve out a life together. Then, you can look at that frog after 20 years and still know it’s a frog, but it’s your wrinkly old frog, and that still makes you smile.







What are you Hiding?

I was in Nordstrom last night trying to find an under- eye concealer that would disguise what I’m told is a genetic problem and not due to my crazy life. As the sales lady applied and applied layer after layer of color corrector, secret camouflage, ultra HD concealer and miracle eye wand, it became very apparent that this was no secret and there was no miracle. I’m a mess.

Up until now, I have been able to “put on a good face”. I have maneuvered through the past 10 years with the uncanny ability to be witty, give good advice, care for my family, volunteer for everything, please my man and be the friend that sticks with you when everyone else has gone home.

Well, the jig is up.

As I walked through the mall with my “old lady makeup” purchase (fondly named by my eldest), I began to wonder what the women surrounding me, mindlessly sifting through sale racks, were experiencing. How many would attend the high school graduation of their first born this week and seize up with the fear of letting go in the fall. How many were overwhelmed with the day in and day out challenges of having a special needs child. How many were struggling to make end of life care arrangements for a parent in their final stages of dementia. How many were questioning their worth.

Life has handed me its share of crap and I completely understand that it’s all relative. My bullshit may be another person’s day off. I get that; however, it certainly doesn’t diminish what we each experience. I try to give each tough situation its dignity and perhaps sprinkle it with a little humor to keep us all grounded.

Each month, I make the trip to see dad. I’m really the only one he recognizes anymore and my time with him is a priority. It’s Friday before Mother’s Day weekend. This is going to be a quick trip and I plan to return Sunday afternoon in time to spend the day with my kids. Since it’s a quick trip and it IS my special weekend, I decide to treat myself to Airport Valet Parking at $25/day. I have never used this service, but what the hell. Live a little, right? Right.

I find my father in terrible condition and call for an ambulance. He is hospitalized. I spend the next 5 days at his bedside, advocating on his behalf with specialists from all medical fields. I keep his medical records meticulous and I’m so prepared, many physicians remark that they assumed I was employed in the medical field. Meanwhile, there are people at home who expected my return and need direction. I’m making calls, arranging transportation and solving problems from the hospital for my people who rely on me to make it all work out. Only one chaotic instance of the elementary school principal calling me to ask what to do with my youngest child left standing after school seems to be a small victory for me. I can do this.

Day 5

I’m running on about 3 hours sleep a night and a diet of Redbull, Subway and chardonnay. Dad is not responding to treatment, so antibiotics are changed. He’s not being discharged any time soon. The weather has seesawed from a cold and rainy 55 degrees to 94 and sunny. Here come the storms. Now, it is important to note for story continuity, that home there is a 500-acre family farm. I am alone in a 150-year-old farm house that my contractor swears is haunted. My grandmother fell off the porch in a rocker and died there, my uncle nearly chopped off his head in a terrible chainsaw accident behind the house. Dead. Lastly, my grandfather cut off 3 fingers while building a chair in his workshop and he also fell off the roof and landed on an axe, but he didn’t die from any of that.

Back to the storm. While speaking with my husband, I can see the sky brewing up my next form of bullshit. I half-jokingly inform my him that if I lose power, I will jump out of an upstairs window. As the words are coming out of my mouth, I lose power. If you’ve never experienced pitch blackness and total silence, let me tell you, it is terrifying. I gathered candles and barricaded myself in my bedroom which now resembled some sort of ghoulish tomb, dancing with creepy shadows I was sure were going to kill me. It is also important to note that I had a .38 and a box of ammunition on the bed with me for mortal intruders, because that’s how I roll. My cell phone battery is draining, so throughout the night, I keep going out to the car to charge it. I am now sitting under the car port, head on a swivel, headlights on, loaded .38 in my lap, charging my phone and mumbling something about fuck my life. Earlier, my husband had suggested I just go to sleep. I hung up on him.

Day 6

The sun appears, the power is restored 14 hours later and I’m already headed back to the hospital. I stop at Target to pick up a few t-shirts and some sweat pants because I had only packed for 48 hours, so around day 3, I started digging into my farm attire (which isn’t pretty). Dad is improving.

Day 7

Dad can be discharged and taken back to his nursing home. I decided it’s best for me to transport him so that we don’t further upset and confuse him in an ambulance. I can chat with him on the ride and remind him of familiar places and stories. We’ve traveled these roads together thousands of times so it will be good for the two of us.

With help, I get him into the car and slide into the driver’s seat. He turns to me and says, “Where are you taking me, Lady?”

Me: Dad, it’s me, Jessica. Don’t you know who I am? Look at me. I’m your daughter, Jessica.

Dad: I find that very hard to believe.

Me: Why? Why, Dad?

Dad: Because my daughter is better looking and has nicer clothes.

So, there you have it. Out of the mouths of elders. Now you know why I was at Nordstrom last night. I hope my purchase will help my father to recognize me when I see him next week.

Oh, and by the way, I will be returning to Airport Economy Parking. The $225 treat myself, valet bill could have paid for my under-eye concealers.



Smells like Teen Drama

Last week, my eldest daughter texted me asking for a ride home from the bus stop. The bus stop is half a block. Was someone bullying her? Was she hurt? I asked for an explanation and the only response I received was a plea for my arrival. I decided to walk, just in case there was a bully. I wanted to make my presence known if I needed to get in somebody’s face, of course, only if necessary. Much to my surprise and relief, she was just crying. Then, she walked right past me, no acknowledgement whatsoever.

“Hey, mom’s here” I say as I trail her down the sidewalk. “Just like you asked. What’s wrong?”

“Just never mind”.

Okay. So I am begged to come literally 200 yards meet the bus and I’m greeted with a “Never Mind” and tears. What is a mother supposed to do with that? Probably not what I did. I chose the old follow and nag tactic. It went something like this:

“Why did you ask me to come down here and pick you up if you’re not going to tell me what’s wrong? I’m your mother. You should want to talk to me. Why don’t you talk to me? You know, I would give anything to be able to talk to MY mother. One day, you’re going to want to talk to me and you know what? I won’t be here because I’ll be DEAD. That’s right. DEAD. And you’ll be crying I want to talk to my mother but it will be too late, because I’m DEAD! Really? You’re ignoring me? I can’t believe this. You better stop walking right now and turn around and answer me, young lady. Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong with you?”

Then, I closed my eyes and opened my arms, expecting a crying teenager to run into them for comfort. Arms still extended, I opened one eye and then the other. To my dismay, there stood a teenage girl staring at me and trying her best to wish that we had already arrived at my DEAD scenario.

Apparently, motherhood has different stages. I laugh because I know this. I cry because I swore I would never allow my children to think of me as I did of my mom when I was a teen. Was mom on my top 10 list of favorite people? Not even in the ballpark. Did I love her? Yes, well. Yes.

And so it goes. I must learn patience and the art of teenage space. Eventually, she did come around and I think I gave her some pretty good advice. Will she follow it? Probably not, but that’s okay. I realize that part of growing up is actually giving them to space to do so, knowing when to offer up those arms to hug them and knowing when to just trail behind and keep my mouth shut. I’m going to try it…someday.

A Rant About A Rant

This week, I have been in some interesting conversations about people in the news. The primary target has been Richard Sherman. Apparently, he was rehearsing for his debut in the WWE. I don’t believe anyone was prepared for that kind of in-your-face response, but he never used profanity and he really kind of looked like Hulk Hogan as he talked directly into the camera. I even joked about him sounding a bit like Little John and resembling Predator (the dread locks and larger than life look in his pads). If he were going to join the WWE, I think Predator would be an excellent name for him. I found it to be pretty amusing.

Meanwhile, many of you were not in the least bit amused. Some of the words being tossed about included Classless, Rude, Embarrassing, Unprofessional and Thuggish. Then, there were the comments that went straight for the racial jugular. Those, I found, were probably the least bothersome since you really need to consider the source. It’s the commentary that seemed to suggest that this man doesn’t know his place; that he has no right to show raw emotion literally less than 2 minutes after walking off the field where he just made possibly the biggest game-winning play of his career. To judge a man’s character under those circumstances, I found, to be absurd and hypocritical.

You can’t have it both ways. If we sit in front of our 60” HD screens to watch freakishly large men battle for sports supremacy each week, then we have to take some responsibility for the hype. The crowds cheer for the big hits, the sacks, the massive line defending the goal. Seriously, it’s like choreographed war games with a few rules thrown in. It can also be like a beautiful dance with the gorgeous runs and passes. However, it’s the brutality of the sport, the pure adrenalin that gets us going by watching these professional giants confront one another in the contest for victory. We can’t get enough, and these warriors feed off of our energy. So, next time a player comes off the field and doesn’t give an interview like he’s sitting at a tea party, get over it.

Well, that was a day of my life I cannot get back. I would like to help you with some headlines you can bypass as well. That will leave you plenty of time to read a book, go for a walk or learn to cook something new. Here’s a quick wrap up of headlines you can avoid, now that you have me to break it down for you.

What Spanx are doing to your internal organs: Hopefully, squashing the shit out of them so I appear smaller.

Jennifer Lawrence says she has “armpit vaginas”:  I think she has mouth vagina; a deep dark hole where weird stuff has been known to come out.

Is NASCAR ready for a gay driver?: I thought that was settled in Talladega Nights.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was video- taped drunk again last weekend: So were most students on college campuses.

Two Cookie Jars filled with Marijuana found in Justin Beiber’s home: You would think with all that weed around, his music would be better. Oh, and who cares.

Alex Rodriguez Suspended for 2014 MLB Season: Now, he can lay back at his pool, sipping mojitos with his $300 million dollars and wait till 2015 and another $50 million. That’s showing him.

The Boyfriend

We have our first boyfriend in the family. I have to say that I am pretty excited for my daughter. She’s nearly 15 and I think that is a fair age. I trust her, but I’m not “Channel 6 News at 11” stupid. I never underestimate the tenacity of a hormone frenzied teen. The other night, my mini-me told me she had a rehearsal that wasn’t on the calendar. Immediately, my mind went to the old “I have a practice at the school and you need to take me but I’m really going to pretend to go there wait till you leave and sneak off to my boyfriend’s house” mode. After some detective work, it turns out that she really did have a practice. Poor thing. She never even knew I was investigating. Would she even know to pull something that sneaky? Damn skippy she would.

I feel like I have been preparing my girls and myself for the first boyfriend since they were old enough to talk. There were the pre-school conversations about the boy who kissed her on the cheek. That’s so cute. He likes you.

In elementary school it was more about diffusing the gross factor. I’ve listened to countless stories of how he said she was stupid, explaining that a 5th graders game was pretty sad and for the most part, he’s brain-damaged.

Middle school contained more brain damaged boys, some with weird facial hair and funny voices, but that’s about it.

Now, high school is all about damage control. The conversations have become dramatic arias about relationships that I clearly don’t understand or couldn’t possibly have experienced. I listen, face completely devoid of emotion. I have learned that if you begin to even crack a smile, it will be met with a “Mahmmmmmm! Gahdddddddd!” So, I sit like a statue, rolling my eyes on the inside.

I try to add a nugget of wisdom at the end, careful not to begin with a “when I was your age”(I was told that anything after that sentence turns into Charlie Brown’s teacher talk). I can usually get in a good piece of advice if I pretend to say it in passing. However, now that the boyfriend has entered our airspace, the commentary has become far more pointed and direct.

If you’re going to give your daughters advice, you better be willing to lead by example. It is impossible to teach your daughter how to have a healthy relationship if you can’t consider yourself a role model.

One of my pet peeves revolves around the use of the word “bitch”. Ooh, I hate that word. I especially can’t stand to hear it in everyday conversation. If you call me a bitch, prepare to be cursed out or worse. No man should ever call you a bitch. You have to make it clear that this is unacceptable. Now, if you allow this type of talk in your home, it’s not so easy to insist a boyfriend show your daughter respect. A man who calls a woman out of her name is a man who doesn’t deserve her attention. Ever.

A young lady will emulate relationships she sees. If you make bad choices and demonstrate destructive behavior; guess what. Get your act together.

My daughters are constantly reminded that their bodies are not the equivalent of a roller coaster. Contrary to some opinions, their physiques are not created for the amusement of others; to hop on for a ride, have fun and then get off. I teach them to respect their bodies by feeding them physically and spiritually. When young ladies understand the majesty of the human body, she is more likely to take great care of her own vessel. Girls who have little to no self-respect tend to become jiz depositories.

It’s okay to be affectionate toward one another. When you kiss, hormones and neurotransmitters rush through your body. Along with natural endorphins, they produce the euphoria most people feel during a good kiss. In addition, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate, so your whole body receives more oxygen than it does when you’re just standing around. Also, along with the increase of the heart rate comes the increase of blood flowing to different parts of the body. Would you care to take a wild guess as to where that blood is rushing to in the young man? That’s right, my dear. You can say that kissing is the gateway drug of sexual activity. Do not pretend it means anything less.

If a young man is respectful, he will not embarrass you or put you in a position where your character may be compromised. Your reputation precedes you. Make sure it’s a positive one.

A dad or consistent positive male role model is the most important part of relationship building for a young lady. This is where she gets her healthy dose of self-respect and understanding of how it feels to be loved and cherished. If this man tells her that she is beautiful, smart and worth being treated only with the highest admiration, she will take that knowledge into future relationships with potential suitors.

My last piece of advice, this week, was to choose wisely. It’s nice to be a couple, but a couple of what is the better question. Be as particular about a young man as you are about your choice in shoes. Believe me, if they are worth your time and attention, they will understand and happily submit.

I have only hope that my daughters will listen to my advice. I know they will have to find their own way but I can sleep at night knowing we have laid a good foundation. It’s also easy to sleep knowing I have a .45 and a shovel.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Holiday Gift Giving

Each year, my husband attends an event on the Saturday before Christmas. This sacred occasion is called “Man Day”. I have been told that Man Day is held annually as a day of camaraderie where all the men can shop together for their wives. My husband swears that the support of his man friends is helpful when choosing the perfect gift for me. Apparently, he and his buddies have been searching for this perfect gift for 17 years because I have yet to see it.

Man Day traditionally begins at Hooter’s where the men gather to chart their shopping strategy. My husband and twenty of his closest friends, insist that the wings at Hooter’s will sustain them for the virtual lifetime of shopping they must endure. Several hours (and several beers) later, they strike out in search of that present. I have intelligence from a reliable source (a Man Day participant that I bullied into confession) that last year, they never left Hooter’s. However, I am told, first stop is the mall, followed by a local jeweler who sets up a full bar so the men can shop and shake off the holiday gift giving jitters. The pressure must be unbearable…

Christmas morning, I open my gift, smile, let out a sigh and say thank you. Excuse me, but does this man live in the same house as me? Is he even on the same planet?
I have the same conversation with Man Day spouses every year so I have decided to give gentlemen a few tips for shopping this season.

• Look in your wife’s closet. Get the right sizes and write them down. We are not all the same size as the petite 19-year-old sales girl. If you come home with an XS and your wife is an XL, it’s not a compliment and you’re in trouble.

• Scarves suck, unless they are from Hermes (and chances are you don’t even know what that is).

• Don’t buy us shoes. It’s the equivalent of us trying to buy you a car. You will probably buy what you like and we will end up with a pair of clear heeled hooker pumps with ankle straps.

• Nobody wears a size small in under garments except nubile young girls. You aren’t married to her, you certainly don’t know her and I’m assuming prison is not for you. If your wife or girlfriend happens to wear a size small, screw her.

• You can’t go wrong at Tiffany’s. That little blue box contains the antidote to whatever ails her. Let me help you: http://www.tiffany.com.

• Stay away from appliances. My ex-husband once gave me a shop vac.
My EX-Husband.

• Spa certificates are welcomed. A nice, strong masseuse to work out those kinks would be great since you always fall asleep after the first rub.

• Don’t tell her to go out and pick it herself. That’s just lazy and we don’t consider that a “real” gift. We’ll take it, but it won’t count.

• Ask her girlfriends. They are your gift-giving Yoda’s.

• Don’t take your “Man Day” friends’ advice. They are as clueless as you.

Most of all, if she says “Don’t get me anything this year”, GET HER SOMETHING!

Ladies, even though they don’t always get it right (or even get in the ballpark) I will leave you with this nugget of wisdom:

After complaining about a gift I received one year, I was given the best advice ever. My friend, who my children affectionately call Aunt John, laughed out loud when I told him of the pearl earring offering. The last thing I would ever wear is pearl earrings, but that’s what I found under the tree. He said to me “Sistah, if your man can go to a jewelry store and pick out exactly what you would love without your help, you’ve got bigger problems because he’s gay”.

Good luck out there!

A Hallmark Holiday; A Cynical Look at December

Last Saturday night, my family sat down and watched videos from our past holidays. It was so sweet to watch the expressions on my children’s faces as they giggled at the film from Christmas morning 2005. There were American Girl Dolls, Care Bears, stationery sets and ice skates. I have to admit that I got pretty misty-eyed looking at that screen and hearing little voices chirping “Santa IS real”.

Fast forward to 2013. The sweet angelic voices have turned into shrill yapping noisy debates about who stole who’s iPhone charger. This is not our greatest Norman Rockwell moment.

Even so, I love the holiday season. We celebrate everything from Hanukkah to Kwanza. I believe our children should be exposed to all cultures in an effort to help them understand, appreciate and respect all people. In our home, you will find several homemade menorahs, five Christmas trees, African-American art and Kwanza lights as well as a butt-load of Department 56 villages. It’s a freaking winter wonderland of diversity up in here. Even though it sounds magical, it is in no way a Hallmark Holiday Season.

Like yours, this is a dysfunctional family. We run the gamut from “can’t wait to see you” to “don’t even invite them unless you plan on posting some bail”. I am here to tell you that there is no such thing as described on a Hallmark Card, so you can relax now. I will also add a sigh of relief since everyone I know would want to straight up murder that fake Hallmark family.

What is it about this season that makes rational people turn in to maniacs? I am so irritated when I see folks sleeping in tents in front of Best Buy and Kmart. There is absolutely nothing in there that requires that kind of senseless time commitment (however, I did see an advertisement for a 50” TV at Wal-Mart for $288, but I digress). Last year, I had a friend phone me from Toys R Us. She was standing in line for a toy but didn’t know what the toy was. It was just a line full of excited people, so she got in it. This, mind you, is an educated woman.
It’s re-goddamn-diculous. You can’t make it to a PTO meeting, but you are out at 1am, playing a sinister game of parking lot musical chairs, to get a deal on more stuff you probably don’t need. The holiday hypocrisy knows no bounds (except for that 50” TV deal. Wait. It’s probably not HD, so never mind).

The holiday season also has this creepy penchant for attempting to bring families together who don’t speak to each other 364 days of the year. I am here to tell you that it is perfectly acceptable for you to excuse yourself from this gathering. The Thanksgiving anxiety of either cooking for a small army or sitting in the home of a virtual stranger for 6 hours is more than any of us should have to bear. I can’t think of a worse punishment (for yourself or for others that will have to endure your presence) than to be thrust into an uncomfortable intimate situation such as a holiday dinner.
Here’s my advice to you. If you don’t see these people during the rest of the year because you don’t have anything in common besides DNA, Thanksgiving is not the time to play catch up. Try spending some time when the stakes aren’t so high. Really, you don’t want your annual get together to be remembered by your hockey puck rolls and dry-as-dirt stuffing. This is most certainly accompanied by monotonous conversation about the weather and your surprise at how the kids have grown since you last saw them. Take a look over at the Kid’s Table. They aren’t happy with you either.

If you do have to sit at the awkward table and manage to expand the conversation, please try to stay away from religion and politics, unless you are like me and prefer to liven up dinner by bringing up these wonderful topics. I also enjoy ranking on my in-laws’ signature Buddig Beef cheese pimento ball thing that everyone raves over. I hate it, and I like making choking noises when anyone takes a cracker full. I also like to announce that I have bit down on an egg-shell in my deviled egg and perhaps cracked a tooth.

Personally, I would much rather have Thanksgiving with the people who mean the most to me. I like to actually look around the table and be thankful for those I see. I will save the days in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s for quick visits to extended family and friends. I like to call these visits the “Holiday Hit and Run”. You’re in, you’re out and it’s virtually painless.

Many people will tell you that life is short, but I believe that life is long. Try watching the clock this Thanksgiving at your third Cousin Betty’s house and tell me if that is not the truth.

I know you will not take my advice, and neither will I. Many of you will be picking through bins of junk at Wal-Mart like seagulls at an unattended beach picnic, while others suffer through dry turkey, cheap wine and bad conversation. I will, once again, rail on the freaky chipped beef appetizer while pretending to be astounded that children do get bigger in a year’s time.

Jesus Christ, what a season…

Confessions of a middle aged woman

I’ve been looking in the mirror lately. A lot. My 48th birthday is around the corner and I have been somewhat stunned to visit what that truly looks like. I used to demand strangers guess how old I am. Now, I just growl when the grocery store clerk says “Paper or Plastic, Ma’am.” My mind and body are changing rapidly, mostly for good, but some, not so good. Thankfully, I can find humor in most anything. It’s amazing how time sneaks up on you while you’re sleeping, grabs your facial skin and shakes it loose from your skull. When I bend over to pick something up off the floor, my facial skin completely detaches from my head. I almost have to tie it back with a pony tail holder. When did this happen? When did I begin to grow old?
Well, I guess it is true that none of us will leave this world alive, but I would like to be somewhat recognizable. I can just hear my girlfriends now as they stare at my lifeless body in the casket. “She used to be so cute. She looked so tired in the end. Her poor husband.” This is why I have left specific instructions in my will to be placed in the casket upside down so at least my shoes will look fabulous. I really haven’t done that, but it’s not a bad idea. Nevertheless, I began to write down some of the more noticeable changes that have occurred on this work of art that is my body.
I have always considered myself attractive. I’m not being vein, just honest. I was cute. Mixed kids naturally are pretty and I modeled from childhood through my college years. By college, I was 5’8”, 112 lbs. with glorious, firm boobs. Years later, cute got me a cute husband. Cute also got me pregnant; 3 times. Standing in the mirror, 112 lbs. is now a distant memory and those perky boobs are now two different sizes, shaped like the balloons clowns use to make dachshund puppy bodies, filled with pancake batter. I tell people by bra size is a 36 Long. Oh, I forgot to mention that my hawk vision has been reduced to that of a bat.
Monday morning, I had an appointment with, how would you say, a physique improvement specialist. Okay, a plastic surgeon. I wanted to treat myself to a birthday present, so I went to have a chat to see what was available to me. I felt like walking in and just laying down on the floor and yelling for help. Fortunately, this particular surgeon is an acquaintance of mine (our daughters are friends) so I trust her opinion. We decided to start with something small that would still make an impact. The first stop, my face. I began to tell the surgeon that I had these lines on the sides of my mouth that were becoming more prevalent. What she said next was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. “Oh, marionette lines”. What? She might as well have said ugly monster witch lady lines. Who wants to have a face that resembles a creepy marionette? Get out the needle, lady and do your thing. I was told that one vial of some stuff will obliterate those lines. I was ready. At that point, I didn’t care if it was acid (which I later found out it was).
Okay, let’s begin. First needle stick. I start to feel a little warm, then molten hot lava warm. I begin to yell “get it out get it out get it out”. Next was “I’m going to throw up. There’s no sink in here and I’m going to throw up”. Then, it was “I can’t feel my hands. I’m numb from the elbow down”. Finally, “I’m goin’ down!” Poor doctor had to lay me flat, cover me in ice packs, give me one of those kidney shaped thrower upper thingies and hold my legs up in the air. I was hyperventilating and nearly fainted. I also threw in a hot flash for good measure.
Upon regaining my composure and some of my dignity, I was able to get through the procedure, which took an excruciatingly whole 45 seconds. The results were immediate; the lines disappeared. However, my plan had been to discuss my blog with the good doctor in order to suggest I be used to demonstrate some of her procedures to potential clients. In turn, I would blog about the wonderful experience. Somehow, I didn’t think that was an appropriate way to end this visit. “Gee Doc, let me sweat, hyperventilate, puke and then pass out to show how painless and easy your procedures are”.
At any rate, I feel much better. It was definitely worth it. I won’t be such a wimp next time. It is also important to note that until I told him, my husband never even noticed the difference. He then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t need to erase those lines for him. His old age is clearly taken a toll on his sanity.