Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My First Rerun

Since I'm aspiring to be a television writer, it seems appropriate that I get around to having my own re-run. It's not a case of narcissism. At least I hope not. A friend's grandmother died today. She lived a long life and died peacefully in her sleep. But that's not really much consolation when you really love someone. His hurt was obvious, and reminded me of when Gwennie died at almost 101. It was pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook, pre-blog. I never wrote about what it was like being there with her at 2 in the morning, watching, and holding her hand as my mother and I waited for what we knew would be coming within hours. And I'm not going to do it now. But I did write about Grandma Shirley's passing this summer. And I thought I'd run that again today, just in case my friend happens to read. Once you stop hurting, remember the good stuff. Remember the fun. I'm sure that's what she'd want. What any grandmother would. I can't hug you E. but I'm thinking of you. Best wishes. Suze

Grandma Shirley

We just found out tonight that my paternal grandmother died yesterday down in Florida. Grandma Merino, or Shirley, was in her day what would be called a spitfire. Her personality was the polar opposite of my maternal grandmother, Gwen who died almost three years to the day before Shirley. Gwen would never wear slacks, drink liquor or swear (unless losing badly at cards...man did she let one fly once!). Shirley however was a California country gal who could ride with cattle, toss back a few and let the expletives fly when called for (and sometimes when not).

Maybe because of geography, but more likely because of divorce, I was never close with Shirley when I was growing up. It wasn't until I hit college that we started to bond. When I was 17 I cut classes for a few days and took a bus and two trains to go from Kutztown to her home in Long Island for a visit. She took me drinking. Yeah, I got hammered with Grandma. She made me try her favorites, all of which I hated. Grasshoppers, Melonballs...basically anything green and disgustingly sweet. Having just read Catcher in the Rye, I was inspired to switch to Holden Caufield's favorite, Scotch. Grandma switched right along with me. We spent the next day nursing hangovers and hanging out at the pool. Not your average "baking cooking with grandma" memory, but one I'll never forget and remember fondly.

Soon after that bender, Shirley moved to Florida and never looked back. She wasn't the type who looked back much. Maybe that's another reason we weren't terribly close. It dwindled down to a bi-annual letter or phone call as time went by. But when she did come north to visit, she was always the same as I remembered...a free-spirit with a great sense of adventure and no filtering of thoughts. (She could tell you she loved you, and that you looked bloated in the same breath, LOL). My kids thought she was a riot. Which, if you overlooked the "bloated" remarks, she was.

In the end, Shirley couldn't remember much. But I'll always remember her. And I may just have to have a Grasshopper this weekend in her memory. Raise some hell up there Shirley!
Love, Suzanne

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Case You Missed It

For the very few of you who had legitimate excuses for missing it, such as a death in the family, alien abduction, or ...no those two are the only legit ones...here's the best part of Scrubs from last night. Just turn off the playlist to the left and listen to "This World Keeps Turning" by Gavin Heaney, aka "Latch Key Kid."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do You Remember? ... Well Your Wife Does!

If you know me even slightly, either from real life or from the internet, you probably know that I’m an insomniac. Through social networking I’ve discovered a lot of fellow zombies, and every single one of them is a woman. Why is this? Maybe there’s a uterine-based explanation. Maybe the cuter you are the less sleep you need. ;-) But it’s more likely due to our inability to shut the brain down because there’s just too damned much whirling around up there. Now this is not a slight on men. It’s just a fact that we have more going on upstairs. Guys, it doesn’t matter if you’re a neurosurgeon, nuclear physicist or fry cook. Your brain holds less information than your wife’s.

I doubt any man reading this blog knows his wife’s social security number. But you bet your ass she knows yours. And your children’s. All your children’s shoe and clothing sizes, their most recent illnesses and vaccinations, and the numbers for all the family doctors. Not only the names of your coworkers and friends, but your children’s teachers, their friends, their friends’ parents names and phone numbers. When every project at school is due, and the grade the last project got. Every birthday, anniversary, phone number and address for every member of both sides of the family. When the dog needs to get its shots. Exactly how many pounds of hamburger are in the freezer. What comes out of the checking account automatically every month. Not only your checking account number, but the routing number and the three-digit security codes on the backs of all your credit cards. The balances of all the credit cards, and how far behind you are on the payments. The PIN numbers for your debit and credit cards, and the passwords for your email/Facebook/Twitter/Ebay/Paypal accounts. The names of your neighbors and some of their kids. When the next class party is and who’s supposed to bring what. Your shoe/inseam/neck sizes and your favorite tie. Who will eat what, who hates what and who’s allergic to what. When each car is due for inspection. When she’s supposed to get her period, and whether she should panic this month if it’s late.

This is the coding that swirls about in our insomniac brains as we lay there at night. While Albert was blissfully dreaming of splitting atoms and taking showers with Marie Curie, Mrs. Einstein was laying there sorting the pantry in her head and trying not to forget Albert's suit at the cleaners. Personally, I don’t think I can cram much more data up there. Every time I have to memorize a new phone number I misplace a pair of reading glasses. This is not a coincidence. I’ve reached the saturation level. If something goes in, something else has to come out. This is why I now call both my sons “Fred” and call every kid at school who yells “Hey Mrs. Stanley!” simply “Kiddo.” My husband is “Dear.” Not as a term of affection, but because his first name has been replaced by our license plate number. However, his Social Security number is 565-70-…….

And no, this isn't "Latch Key Kid" playing, it's Jack Johnson. HA! (But don't forget to listen for him at the end of Scrubs Tuesday night at 9 on ABC. It's okay if you do,guys. You're wife will remember.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!...Attaboy Clarence...I Always Wanted a Yo-Yo!...Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

Between being sick, being away and simply being a procrastinator, this year I’ve somehow put off a lot of the Christmas things that I normally would have tackled by now.
  • Shopping: I only started yesterday and had a panic attack at Toys R Us when I realized I’m screwed.
  • Baking: Nada. Not a single cookie in the house. One year by this time I had baked 1,000. Santa will be lucky if he gets an stale Oreo. My grandmother is turning over in her urn.
  • Cards: “Merry Christmas everyone!” That’s your card this year from the Stanleys.
I have yet to even watch a single holiday special on television. I missed the Big Kahuna, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Yeah, I own it on tape, but that’s somehow not the same. So last night I went online and found all of the shows that still remain to be seen. There is a TON that is either absolute treacle or inanely stupid. But I’m making sure to catch some of these below. You should too, and I’ll tell you why.

“Frosty The Snowman,”
Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 on CBS
We showed this to our preschool class the other day as a treat. The kids loved it, but we teachers had a couple of questions: Didn’t Suzy’s parents notice that she was missing all of Christmas eve while she holed up in a boxcar with a rabbit and a snowstranger? Did they put out an Amber Alert? And why the hell did Santa drop her off on her roof and then just take off? It was a three-story house! How the heck did Suzy get down? Incredibly dangerous, Kringle.We want answers.

"Eight Crazy Nights,"
Friday, Dec. 18 at 10 p.m. on MTV
Adam Sandler’s animated Hanukkah movie. I’m recommending this because my friend Kara was the supervising producer. I can think of absolutely no other reason. None. Es tut mir bahng.

“A Very Brady Christmas,”
Tuesday, Dec 22 at 1:00 p.m. on ABC-FAM
Just because it’s so nauseatingly Brady that you have to watch it once every five years. Plus, you can make fun of the replacement Bradys. I mean, come on Susan Olsen! Like you had much else to do that month!

Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. on ABC
I know it’s not a "special." But it’s their holiday episode. And my friend Gavin Heaney, yes…here comes the plug…Latch Key Kid…is having his song “This World Keeps Turning” featured during the closing scene. This is huge. Important to me. Watch it. Friends and relatives will be tested Wednesday morning to find out which of you didn’t. Christmas presents will be adjusted accordingly~I’ve saved my receipts. Here’s a link to him rehearsing the song. Yes, this is also required viewing and will be on the test.

“The Polar Express,”
Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 10 p.m. on ABC-FAM
For Tom Hanks.

"11th Annual “A Home for the Holidays,”
Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS
A huge concert spectacular shot during my recent visit to LA and edited by my genius brother-in-law Conrad Stanley. Plus, you can find his wife and kids in the audience. (I can't get it to embed properly, but you can check it out here http://bit.ly/7G2Zst)

“Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town,”
Thursday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC-FAM
Because it’s the only time all year you’ll hear the word “Burgomaster.” (Yes, I spell checked it!)

“It's a Wonderful Life,”
Thursday, Dec. 24th at 8 p.m. on NBC
Now this one I’m just putting in for my husband, who loves this movie and complains that he can’t enjoy watching it anymore because he knows I hate it, and he can’t believe he married a Wonderful Life hater. Why do I hate it? Because the cynic in me can’t help but project the storyline beyond “The End.” I keep picturing the next day, when someone sobers up and gets around to asking “Hey, why did George need all that money after all?” By then the holiday spirit would have passed, someone would have gotten pissed, and Potter will have gotten away with it all. I would have preferred an ending where Potter gets hit by a trolly and they find George’s drunken uncle’s deposit slip in his pocket. But that’s just me.

“A Christmas Story,”
for a solid 24 hours beginning 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on TBS
Because this is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. If you don’t agree I don’t want to know about it because it will be the end of our friendship. Jean Shepherd for Pete’s sake. And being a complete loon for all things 40s, this one just does it for me. I can quote 80% of it. I own the radio and the chrome bowling ball decanter set and half the kitchen props. Yes, Melinda Dillon’s hair is completely inappropriate for the 40s. I’ll give you that ONE complaint. Other than that, I don’t want to hear a word. Fuuudddgge.

“Miracle on 34th Street,”
Friday, Dec. 25 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC-FAM
For Natalie Wood. And Maureen O’Hara. And John Payne. And Edmund Gwenn. And William Frawley! Come on, it has Fred Mertz in it! It’s just the most perfectly cast holiday movie ever.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Caution...Teenager Now on Premises

Today is monumental. Mommy monumental. Today my son is a teenager.

I don’t know if it feels monumental because he is now a teenager, or because I remember exactly what I was going through when I became one. Granted I was a girl and as we all well know, girls (and women) mature earlier (and more thoroughly) than boys (and men). But the day I turned 13, I had hormones pumping through my system faster and harder than water flows through my basement sump pump during a flash flood. When I turned 13, I didn’t dream of getting roller skates or my ears pierced. I dreamed of getting a hickey from Mark Hamill. Or Shawn Cassidy. Or Donny Osmond. Or all three. (Watch out for us preachers' kids.)

Luckily, I think those kinds of thoughts aren’t yet going through my 13-year-old’s head. I’m pretty sure I’d know if they were. He shares a room with his little brother. When he demands more privacy, I’ll know I’m in trouble. We do take all the teenage wasteland precautions...although he has an old computer in his room, we didn't hook it up to the internet. Certain cable channels are blocked (Chris didn't want me watching them either...but I figured out the code!) The only thing we finally caved on was that when he woke up this morning, we had finally created a Facebook page for him. Who did he friend first? Us. Then some relatives. Maybe he's just yanking our chain. Or maybe he's still pretty innocent after all.

Right now, thank God, it’s still seems to be all about baseball cards, iTunes, and Nickelodeon shows. Not so much Nick cartoons like Sponge Bob anymore. It’s mostly iCarly these days. Never heard of iCarly? It’s this show about this doofy sculptor who has has custody of his kid sister. She’s a super cute 15-year-old brunette. With a really cute blond best friend….Oh crap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Welcome to the Discovery Channel

Dear latecomers: This blog will make very little sense at one point unless you've turned off "Teenage Wasteland" on the playlist to your left. Song #2, "All Becomes One" accompanies this blog entry. Please forward playlist to song #2 NOW. Gracias!

The decade of the ‘0s is wrapping up. Un-freaking-believable. Remember the Y2K panic when nutjobs were stocking up on canned goods, cash, barrels of water, and guns…convinced the world would come to a grinding halt when its computers' programs all rolled over to the year ’00? I didn’t stock up on anything beyond beer and chips that New Years Eve, but I did have just a slight twinge of worry that the ATM machine might eat my card the next day. Which it did. But only because I was overdrawn. Too much has happened over the past decade to reflect properly in one blog entry. 9/11. Our Ben. War. Grandma Gwen making it to a feisty 100 as if by sheer will, only to will herself gone the next summer. Too much for one entry. Too much for one book. So let me just stick to 2009.

For me, 2009 could simply be described as my year of discovery. I discovered a lot about myself and about others. I discovered places, faces, talents, terrors, music and muses. Everyone makes New Years resolutions, which usually last six weeks at best then fall by the wayside. I’m no better. Let me introduce you to my museum of resolutions. The treadmills that end up large clothes racks, the knitting gear in the bottom of the hall closet, the 20 words I learned to say in Spanish. Todos ellos cayeron en el camino. (Don’t be impressed…I Google translated that…just like you’re about to do.) But I decided that 2009 was going to be different. Why? Because I was a couple of years into my @#$%ing 40s and knew that if I put off change one more year, I’d put it off forever. I was determined that when 2009 came to its close I wouldn’t be the same Suzanne. Well, it’s closing. You tell me.

I’m by no means a delicate flower, but there’s 40+ lbs. less Suzanne than there was last Christmas. And next year there’ll be even less of her. I discovered just a little more willpower and resolve. I quit the PTA. Not because I didn’t enjoy it (stop laughing) but because I knew I needed to devote more time to working on Project Suze. While I still have “people pleasing” ingrained into my soul (that backstory’s a whole other book), I discovered the ability to say “no” on occasion. You don’t see me wearing the scout uniform this time around. I do whatever I can, for whoever I can, whenever I can…but I can’t lead everything anymore. I discovered I don’t want to.

I discovered it’s never too late to make new friends. In “real life” I’ve made terrific friends through #2 son Ben (how Charlie Chan did that sound?). For example, I have a new red-headed male kindred spirit down the road who, despite having an equally warped and filthy sense of humor, somehow managed to attract a lovely wife and make three sons…all of whom I’ve seen naked. Several times. I have two lovely new mom-friends in the neighborhood…one whose son shares Ben’s first name, the other whose daughter will assuredly one day share his last. Remember, the girl’s family pays for the wedding. The rehearsal dinner will be at Applebee’s.

But most of the progress in Project Suze (a completely narcissistic title I admit), has come as result of my discovery of social networking. Screw MySpace. I’m not 17 or in a band. I’m a Facebooker. I keep it for day-to-day, face-to-face people. People I’ve actually met. Or am 100% convinced I’d like if I did. I’m also…I’m...I’m…I’m a tweeter. SHUT UP. Let he who has not updated cast the first stone. Yeah, I tweet. God it feels so good to admit that in public. I USE TWITTER. Wow. Like coming out of the blue birded, fail whaled closet. (Yes, I’m well aware some of you don’t get those references. Too bad for you. Google.) Say what you will ~ relatives, kinda-relatives, naysayers. To paraphrase Chico Escuela, “Twitter been berry, berry good to me.” If you don’t get that reference, please just click on “next blog” at the top of this page!

I’ve met lots of great people through Twitter. Met online, then actually met in the flesh. John from Vieques, Puerto Rico, a telecommuting techie who shared tidbits on his beloved island, then eventually a few drinks at sunset. Flo from Burbank, a writer-turned-lawyer who shared advice on sitcom writing and life in LA, then eventually a great sushi lunch near Sunset and Vine. Steve from LA, an television writer/series creator/all-around great guy who bought Boy Scout raffle tickets from me before he even met me, then let me parade a friend’s Flat Stanley around his show’s set. Sarah from London, a techno-wizard who’s me circa 1990, and will be sharing a pint with me in a few weeks during her visit to New York. But I wouldn’t be toiling on scripts and planning my next visit to LA if it weren’t for two particular tweeters…Kara and Gavin. I’ve never really been able to toot my own horn. But I have no problem tooting theirs. Like it or not, here it comes kids.

Kara. (I’ll omit her last name for her privacy…but give the okay and it’s in kiddo). A Philly gal moved west. Phillies fan to rival any man. Hardest working woman in her field. Not an exaggeration. Works for and with an industry icon. Pure happenstance how we met online. It involved international travel, the BBC and a midget. But we clicked, connected and eventually met on the east coast a couple of times, then out west. Verizon owes us both a huge “thank you” for our rabid texting during the World Series (Wahoo!...@#$% Lidge!) Despite her frantic pace and weary workload, Kara has always taken time to help a friend. A lot of people in her position would have blown off the world’s oldest newbie. But Kara’s an incredibly supportive person who I consider a mentor, and more importantly a true friend. You’ve been helping me work on me and my goals. Now…let me help you with your frozen yogurt dependency.

Gavin. Gavin Heaney (I don’t care if he wants privacy, he’s not getting it). As Cali as they come ~ from the too-long blond locks to the board wax and guitar picks in his pocket. Hardest working man in his field. Not an exaggeration. Works for and by himself; not yet an icon. Again, pure happenstance how we met online. It involved the “I Love You, Man” movie soundtrack, east coast insomnia, west coast PR…and a midget. But like Kara, and at exactly the same time, we clicked and became friends. Despite booking gigs and promoting his newest Latch Key Kid album “All Becomes One” (available on iTunes, Amazon or through www.latchkeykid.org …yeah, I can promote with the best of them), Gavin took an actual interest in what I was doing, helped flesh out a story idea, critiqued it along the way, and put me in touch with someone who could offer more expert advice; someone who has since also become a very good friend. I’ve blogged with his songs in the background before, and you’ve probably wondered who the hell he is. Well he’s a renaissance man. Correction: a renaissance dude. Whatever LKK song you’ve involuntarily heard on this blog…every word sung, note penned or instrument played was done solely by Gavin. If you want to “meet” him, check out what some kids from his old high school just created (but be sure to first turn off his song that's on the playlist to your left):

So 2009 was my year of discovery. I discovered I’m not as old as I actually sometimes feel, that I can still become something/somebody new. I discovered I’m not completely without talents. Although I can’t animate/produce/compose/sing/strum…I can cook like a demon, write decently, make people laugh and still iron the crap out of a pleated shirt. I’ve discovered I’m not too proud to ask for help from friends when needed. And when you discover friends who can create something from nothing, and still take the time to help you along your way, you’ve got to toot their horns. So “toot” to all of you. Here’s hoping by this time next year, we’re all in the places we’d love to be, doing the things we’d love to do, with the people we love by our side.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Frosty Funnies

I'd love to take credit, but it's Christmas and Santa's watching. Thanks Liz!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time for Christmas

As I sit here wearing two sweaters because I’m freezing despite having a fever, with a nose that could rival Rudolph’s and a cough like a Winston-Salem executive, I’m looking for any excuse to put off a national pre-Christmas tradition…the sorting of the bills. All moms know of which I speak. Trying to figure out exactly how much Santa can pony up. Keep in mind, I’ve also got a son turning 13 in four days. Thank God we don’t have to do a bar mitzvah.
I have done absolutely NOTHING Christmas-wise yet, which is so not me. No cookies. No music. No shopping. No cards. I haven’t a clue what to get anyone. But I do know what I’d like for myself. Time.

If I had an extra hour each day, my house would be a little cleaner.

If I had an extra day each week, I’d be a lot more organized, play more with the kids and maybe go on a date (with my husband).

If I had an extra week each month, I’d read a book, write a story, tackle projects, make some money…get ahead.

If I had an extra month each year…I’d explore.

But the time we have is the time we have. And we’ve got to make the most of it. So from now until Christmas…a little less time on the computer and little more shopping. A little less time with the laundry and a little more baking. A little less time contemplating time and a little more enjoying what’s left of the season…before it’s gone.

"Christmas Everyday" by Latch Key Kid (Gavin Heaney)

John Stewart for President

Well no, not really, but damn if that man isn't near-perfect. Watch from start to finish. Yes, even YOU Mr. Farmville. I guartantee that at least 109% of you will find it spot on.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Friday, December 4, 2009

Surviving Suburbia

I live in a very small suburb of Philadelphia. It’s not rural by any means. I mean, we don’t cow tip on Friday nights…although I do have ready access to a cow, goats and evil hens through the kids' 4-H. No, this is your typical east coast bedroom community: a pharmacy and/or bank on every corner, dueling over-priced ice cream parlors, roaming teens with nothing better to do than practice their angst in the park, and the world’s worst library (I think their flag has 48 stars). A good part of our Main Street could be the set for a “Leave It to Beaver” sequel. And despite my bitching about being stuck in suburbia from time to time (translation: constantly), our family is actually a fixture at borough events. The benefit (curse?) of working for the local newspaper.

As much as I hope to be paroled and head west, I do have to admit that this little burg has its appeal. We have concerts in the parks every summer. We have a kick-ass holiday parade. Our high school, while ridiculously enormous, has a great rep, sports teams and marching band. Santa Claus actually drives down each and every street throwing candy from a fire engine on Christmas eve. And then there’s tonight.

The annual Christmas tree lighting in Lansdale. People pack the “downtown” (HA!) park to listen to carolers, eat free hot dogs, and mingle with locals they haven’t seen since the last summer concert. “Little Miss Lansdale” (a friend’s daughter this year) and Santa arrive on a towed sleigh, flip the switch lighting the tree, and shake hands with scores of eager rosy-cheeked townfolk. My boys get our traditional holiday photo with the mayor. Everyone then walks over to the library, which upon reflection may not be that horrible, to give their letters to Santa and watch the animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

So we have a Starbucks. We have a Salvation Army. We have a SuperFresh. And we have a soul. Suburbia. Bloom where you’re planted.
But have an exit strategy.

"Suburbia" by Pet Shop Boys. Only because Latch Key Kid didn't have a suburban anthem (Get to work on that, Gavin).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

North Penn High School Football Highlights


(Note: Blogger Redwolf7782 wrote about this blog entry recently, wondering why I posted the video. Clue #1, Redwolf: I know the musician. Clue #2: I'm married to the video editor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blogger Block

Can't think of a #$%^ing thing to write. So just go insane looking at the optical illusion below while listening some cool music and stop checking the blog until I tell you there's something worth reading!.....Oh, and if you live in Southern California, go to the O.C. Tavern, 2369 El Camino Real in San Clemente on Friday night at 9 p.m. to see Gavin Heaney (Latch Key Kid). And do me a favor, leave a comment below on which you like better, going by Gavin Heaney or "Latch Key Kid."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gotta Give It a Try

Tonight I ate something that someone “found” somewhere. No, it wasn’t old gum from under a desk or half an Aunt Annie’s pretzel from the food court floor. It was an enormous wild mushroom that an amateur ‘shroom hunter we know found in the woods this weekend. Why he didn’t eat it himself, I don’t know (I’m trying to not think sinister thoughts right now). I’d like to tell you the conversation that transpired as we fried this sucker up in olive oil and garlic, but it was SO funny that I had to write it into a script instead of finishing dinner. When I was done, I started thinking about all the other weird items we’ve put into our mouths throught the years. (Note: I know five Jennifers on Facebook, and I can guarantee that right now three out of the five are giggling…while the other two are praying for us.). I’m thinking more along the lines of:

Play-Doh: What kid hasn’t eating this? It’s colorful. You can make it look like food. It’s soft. Sure it smells like absolute crap, but the eyes trump the nose when you’re three. Why else do you think Hasbro makes sure the formula’s non-toxic? They know diapers and pull-ups are going to be coated in colorful #2s the day after Christmas and birthday parties. Been there. Eaten that.

Ex-Lax: Now granted, it’s been years and they may have finally wised up on this one…I hope! But back in the day, the highly intelligent makers of Ex-Lax decide it would be a smart move to make their intestinal drano the same shape/color/texture/taste as chocolate. Genius! Every child on the planet got into their parents secret medicine cabinet candy stash at one point, only to double over with the runs an hour later in the car. Been there. Eaten that. And later, every high school pothead thought it would be funny to bake some into brownies and give them to a “frenemy.” Been there. Baked that. (What are they going to do with that confession, take away my diploma? Good luck. Even I can’t find it.)

Un-labeled alcohol: Back in the underage day. When you’d gather what you could from the cabinet above the family fridge, and all meet at a friend’s house on a Saturday for Space Invaders, pizza and petting. Maybe it’s Jack Daniels, maybe it’s cooking Sherry, maybe it’s Manischewitz (only a possibility when Larry Schwartz was invited). It didn’t matter. They all got thrown up exactly the same. Been there. Drank that.

“Fit in” food: Now we all learned our lessons from youth to stop eating things from the medicine cabinet or toy box, and drinking things without first asking their proof, but this is the category that even the most respectable adult still deals with on occasion. Mostly when meeting new people or at business dinners. Examples? Say you’re at a dinner at a Korean restaurant with a group of highly successful business women, and a good friend (who sometimes reads this blog) says, “Would you like to try the raw spicy crab? It’s delicious!” Your heart might be saying, “Right! Would you like to try this tube of Vaseline Intensive Care hand lotion in my purse?” But your head says, “Moron, put the uncooked crustacean in your mouth immediately.” So you do. And it’s not bad. And you fit in. And you may even try it again. Or you may be handed monk fish liver two days later at the world’s greatest sushi restaurant by the same good friend, and your heart is saying, “Orange Play-Doh…have you learned nothing?” But again your head tells you to put it in your mouth immediately. So you do. And it’s not bad. And you fit in. And you’d even try it again. (You don’t know any places that serve Rocky Mountain Oysters in LA, do you, Kiddo?)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thnk U !

All the remnants of yesterday's Thanksgiving meal are in the fridge...the half-eaten pies, slightly burned stuffing, congealed gravy and turkey carcass I brought home for soup but will probably never touch. And as I give thanks for aluminum foil and Tupperware, I think of other things I'm grateful for. Things like:

Twitter. Okay, you social networking snobs…don’t judge me. Anyone who’s reading this uses either Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or a combination of the three. Funny how staunchly anti-Twitter some Facebookers are. And how anti-MySpace some tweeters are. A social networking caste system. I dig them all. (Granted, I never touched my MySpace after I opened it because I'm not 17 or in a band). Say what U will abt Twtr, U FB elitists, but it’s been GR8 4 me. Sure I now abbrv evrythg I write 2 save space. But I’ve met lts o GR8 ppl thru Twtr. So scrw U.

People who “get” me. Who get my sense of humor, my politics, where I’m coming from…and going. And people who don’t “get” me, but like me anyway. The overly serious or right-winged folks I know who, for one reason or another, like me despite my cynicism, constant quips and my left leanings. I like you too, despite your moronic Fox-fueled beliefs and complete lack of humor. Well, most of you. A couple of you I have plans for (insert evil laugh).

People who put others before themselves. They’re out there. Those of you who worked the soup kitchens yesterday, even though you were out of town. Those of you who gave up soccer games to work scout food drives two Saturdays in a row. Those of you who tell people to screw holiday shopping and make a charitable donation in your name instead. You know who you all are. I’d name you, but I know you’d hate it.

The person who invented cheese. And TiVo. And alcohol. And the iPod. And sushi. And laceless Chucks. And sex.

Online dictionaries and thesauruses. Also called concordances, references, sourcebooks…

www.UrbanDictionary.com How else would I ever keep up with the 20-somethings I know? Or how would I have ever found out what *u*k*k* was? (Please…for the love of God...don’t look it up, Mom.)

The ability to clear the browsing history on the shared family laptop after looking up things like “*u*k*k*.”

GPS devices that allow you to tool around LA like you know what the hell you’re doing, and to find the nearest well-lit ATM at 2 a.m. (Although that condescending “Recalculating” the Garmin gal says when you don’t take her recommended turn really pisses me off. Pushy, passive-aggressive dashboard driver! I heard you the first time, but there was a dog in the road! Lighten the hell up or I’ll give TomTom a go.)

Really good music that I can listen to 100 times without getting sick of it. And the kids in the car with me who are sick to death of it but let me listen anyway. I’m sorry you know all the words to every Latch Key Kid and Eric Hutchinson song. I know all the words to every damned Barney song ever written. Consider us even.

And lastly, I'm actually thankful for my evil psychotic dog. It’s because of you that we now truly appreciate the cat.

note: I had to edit *u*k*K* from my original posting. Despite a "for the love of God" warning, people were looking it up then emailing/texting/tweeting me that they were shocked. People! If you can't abide by a "for the love of God" warning, don't shoot the *u*k*n* messenger!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Said Goodbye to Hollywood

I’m back. Yeah, I know I didn’t blog while I was in LA…sue me. The week was busy, went phenomenally well, and exceeded all expectations. Fortunately, I was raised to set the bar very low, so as long as I wasn’t mugged, shived or driven out of town on a rail my expectations would have been surpassed. But this week would have exceeded the expectations of even a normal person. So "thank you" to everyone I met who helped/encouraged/guided me, who passed on their now treasured business card, who allowed Flat Stanley onto your set, or who plied me with raw fish. You all know who you are. I adore you all. I have an extra kidney, type A+ blood and ¼ of a liver I’d happily donate to any one of you (I can’t vouch for the quality of the liver…thank you, Jim Beam).
There won’t be any name dropping in this blog entry, 'cause that ain’t my style, but I met a few famous people during my stay. Sure, I could tell you how I sat so close to Seth MacFarlane that I could have pinched him, but that would sound dumb. Yeah, I could tell you about being next to Demi Lovato at the craft services table during the filming of her show, but then I’d just come off like an ass. (And I’d be required to admit that I had no idea who the hell Demi Lovato was until 20 minutes earlier). Actually both people were very nice and rather unassuming. I was really more excited about meeting the people who write for these "celebrities." And I met some awesome writers this week who were incredibly friendly and helpful. So thanks guys. You know who you are. See the above referenced donatables. They’re yours.

A lot has changed since the last time I was in LA. The Farmers Market on Fairfax is the same, but is now surrounded by an enormous upscale mall, and the price of everything in the market basically doubled. The last time I was at the Farmer’s Market, I discovered fish tacos. This time I discovered scarves. I also discovered that my junior relatives aren’t kids anymore! My nephew who I once bathed in the sink is now way taller than me, with a deep voice, Jonas Brother face and exceedingly hairy legs. And he now refuses to bathe in the sink. The other nephew who once crammed a peanut butter sandwich into the family VCR is now waiting to start college next semester and has replaced his love of peanut butter sandwiches with taquitos (which could also fit into a VCR, if they still even exist). And my niece, the “baby” of the California faction, is in middle school and every bit the actress and honor student. Their parents and I haven’t aged a bit, however. Funny how that happened.

I saw a lot of the expected while in LA…the older Beverly Hills women with faces pulled so taut that their ears now flap when they blink; the younger women with bejeweled “dogs” the size of kittens in their purses, sharing non-fat soy milk “ice cream” cones the pooches lick-for-lick; the script writers doing revisions in the corner coffee shop so everyone can see what they do for a living, while three models pick bits off a shared bagel with their manicured talons and complain how fat they are now that they're no longer size double-0; hipsters lined up outside clubs on Sunset, not wearing enough for the chilly night air and pretending that they’re dancing about when they’re actually shivering in their tube top and skinny jeans; and the men in their Bentleys with women that look like their granddaughters but are actually their third wife (the trophy wife having aged out at 40).

But I also saw a lot of the unexpected: The high powered suit who didn’t have to give me the time of day but willingly gave advice, encouragement and contact information; the two friends who went WAY above and beyond for me; the friend who surprised me; complete strangers quickly becoming good friends; and a lot of helpfulness in a town where I had been warned to “trust no one.” Of course, I may get hugely bitten in the ass somewhere down the line, but my ass is big enough to take a chomp.
So thank you LA peeps. Your advice hasn’t fallen on deaf ears and your kindnesses will be returned. While your traffic may be deplorable, your gasoline overpriced, and your airport a royal pain in the ass…your sushi more than makes up for it. Until we meet again in February…later, dudes. Rock on. (And Dear, thanks for handling the kids solo for an entire seven days. The house looked awesome, the fish weren't dead and the boys had a great time. Now...about Los Angeles...)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

She packed her bags tonight, preflight...

Wheels up in 10 1/2 hours. I'm forgetting something. I know I am. I won't know what it is until that crucial moment when I HAVE to use it. I'll let you all know what it was when I get back. Hopefully I will not have contracted H1N1 from the screaming baby I'm bound to be seated next to. Seven hours later I will be in a rental car, probably on the wrong highway and cursing US Airways for losing my luggage. That's the "glass half empty" version.
Here's the "glass half full." This song will be playing at a ridiculously high volume in the car, and will just seem so damned appropriate. (Just hum your favorite song, Sarah from London who you can't get the playlist to work over there). By this exact time tomorrow I will hopefully be somewhere warmer, drinking something cold, eating something hot, with someone cool. Now accepting applications. Talk to you on the other side, folks. ~Suze

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

(Mostly) Alright with Me

Sitting here looking at sushi shaped flash drives got me thinking about things that I hated as a kid and how times have changed, or not. But I'm busy writing today, so here's a quickie blog:

Sushi. Then: "Raw fish? That’s so gross!"
Now: "Raw fish? Pass the wasabi."

Alcohol. Then: “That smells disgusting. Can I taste it? That tastes awful.”
Now: “I’m going to need a ride home.”

Pea Soup. Then: “It looks like vomit. I’m not touching it.”
Now: “It looks like vomit. It’s delicious.”

Liver. Then: “I hate it! It smells awful. It’s gross. You can’t make me eat it!”
Now: “I hate it! It smells awful. It’s gross. You can’t make me eat it.”

Cartoons. Then: "Yay!
Bugs Bunny's on! Hurry up everybody!"
Now: "Yay! Family Guy's on! Everybody get out of the room!"

Coffee. Then: “That smells good, can I have a sip? Ugh! That’s icky.”
Now: “Just stick a straw in the pot, would ya?”

Sex. Then: “They put what where? Get out! That is disgusting!”
Now: “Psst...you awake?”

(And BTW...how awesome is this song?)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Streets of Gold

I lead a double life. People who know me only online know more about it than most people who actually know me in real life. So this blog entry will make more sense to them than to the moms at school, Scout parents and folks I actually work with. No, I'm not a hooker or a coke addict. I don't have the body for the first, and my allergies would make me sneeze out the second. I'm a writer. Well I was a writer, put it aside for kids/scouts/PTA and took it up again. I've been working on it for months, have made some great and helpful friends, and am taking the next step next week.

This coming weekend, in addition to the usual half-dozen loads of laundry and litter pan scooping, I'll be preparing for a trip to LA in nine days. That means a last minute haircut, a bit of shopping, a lot of ironing and trying to get the house ready for my week away. That's right. MY week away. The boys and husband will be on their own in Pennsylvania for seven whole days. I am leaving casseroles in the freezer, outfits layed out for Ben (I trust the older two can dress themselves) and plenty of clean underwear in all their drawers. USE THEM boys. Someone will have to get the boys to school, home from school, and both to scouts. Please remember to feed the cat and the fish. There are three fish in the tank now and I want the SAME three there when I get back. If you forget to feed the dog, that's fine. (At least our mailman will appreciate that joke).

I'm a bit worried about sticking out like a sore thumb in LA and Beverly Hills. I'm over-30, under-tanned, over-weight and under-hip. And worst of all I'm iPhone-less. I fear being arrested should I whip out my non-touchscreen cell phone in public. I'm going armed with nothing but a script, a suitcase full of TastyKakes for a Philly-transplant friend, and a smile ~ which will also stand out because it's not bleached.

There's a lot of sushi, a little Conan, a lot of laughing and a little threat of martini bars in store for me. In a dream world I'd come back with an agent, future appointments or a job offer. But I'll be temporarily satisfied if I come back sushi-sated and slightly tanned, having met some helpful people, some people that I know and some that I've only met electronically. There's the writer-turned-lawyer-turned-cat-rescuer; the surfing singer-songwriter-musician (you're listenting to him right now) and his extremely helpful manager; the in-laws; and the aforementioned Krimpet-deprived amiga. I haven't been this excited/nervous/terrified in a long time. Yes, I know odds are not fully in my favor. But you never know. Sometimes good things happen. Wish me luck...and that the kids remember to brush their teeth at least once while I'm gone.
*You can check out more music by Gavin Heaney (Latch Key Kid) by visiting

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

All in All, We're Just Another Kid in the Mall

Today I willingly went to a place I normally avoid like the plague ~ the mall. When I was 13 or so and in California, I practically lived at the mall on weekends. Now I try to avoid even driving past it. It’s not really that bad of a place. I don’t know why it gives me hives. Maybe it's the traffic, the parking lot, the gaggles of giggling girls and "whatever" dudes everywhere you turn. The oddest thing is that I fondly remember being one of them. But the mall I lovingly remember had stores which no longer even exist. Such as:

Custom t-shirt shops. The stores where you’d pick your style of shirt, then the rubberized iron-on transfer of choice from a giant book. They’d fuse your Bay City Rollers or Star Wars transfer onto your shirt with those giant presses that are probably now used to make paninis somewhere. The shirt would smell of melted rubber for days. And if you were lucky it would last about four washes before it started peeling. Somewhere in this house is an old Shaun Cassidy jersey. Or what’s left of it.

Orange Julius. The grandpa of smoothie joints. Sure they’re still around in some places as part of the mall Dairy Queen, but you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one back in the day. Some malls even had two. Such a simple menu, two Julius flavors. No wonder they’ve been trampled by the competitors. Orange and strawberry just can’t compare to Very Berry Blitz with Soy Protein and Wheat Grass. (Excuse me, I just threw up a little).

The video arcade. The arcade was the pickup joint for the too-young-to-drive set (if the guys could take their eyes and hands off the games long enough to notice you in your Calvins.) If a boy challenged you to a game of air hockey, you knew you were in. Until you wiped the floor with him, then you were out again. I miss Centipede and Pac Man ~~ I refused to be relegated to Ms. PacMan, that ghost gobbling whore in a bow.

The mall movie theater. None of our area malls have attached movie theaters, but they all seemed to back in the day. Which was perfect for us less than honest teens. “Dad could you drop us off at the mall? We want to see ‘The Black Hole’ for the third time.” Parents would be so grateful to get you out of the house for a few hours that they’d drop you off, watch you buy your PG tickets, walk past the minimum-wage ticket ripper then happily drive away. Then you’d leave your theater and walk over to see Animal House or later, Porky’s. Of course you would rely on the one friend in the group who had the PG film to give you a crash course on it in case your parents suddenly got a clue. Which they never did.

The record store. This is where the majority of my babysitting money was spent. Hours sorting through LPs (for the kids reading this: they were big black CDs with tiny holes in the middle) and cassette tapes (spooled brown ribbon in a plastic case) and 45s (medium black CDs with big holes in the middle). If your mall’s lucky enough to still have one, got there quick. It'll be gone next week.

Today’s mall adventure revealed that while a lot has changed since I was a mall rat, a lot has remained the same. Parents still dump off gangs of pre-drivers looking to pass the time and hook up with the opposite sex. Girls hang with the girls and boys with the boys, until they pair up at the food court over a slice from Sbarro. I may take my husband on a mall date sometime in the near future. We can hold hands and kiss while sharing a plain old Orange Julius. Nothing gives me more pleasure than making 13-year-olds squirm. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick up my son from middle school. In my bathrobe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

I’m watching the kids carve pumpkins and get their costumes ready for trick-or-treating tonight, terribly excited about the pillow case full of sugar they’ll be divvying up. Bringing back a flood of memories of cheap plastic costumes in a box, with masks that cut your ears with their rubber band straps and eye/nose/mouth holes so small you could barely see/breathe/talk. I loved those crappy get ups! And as I watch the excitement build in their faces, one thought fills my mind…..Being a grown up sucks!

When I was a kid, all I could think about some times was how cool it was going to be when I was a grown up. I could finally stay up as late as I wanted. Nobody could force me to eat fried liver in order to go on a camping trip (yes, they actually did that once). I could have as many pets as I wanted. I could wear whatever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, watch whatever I wanted on TV. It was going to be SWEET!

Then it came. The adulthood of my 20s. And for a while it was indeed dandy! I’d stay up til 3, drink like a fish, dress like I was in Miami Vice, and watch whatever I wanted on TV. And to hell with fried liver. Of course, my 20s meant some serious expenses coming my way. A car, an apartment, student loans. But I had cable, Letterman and didn’t have to panic when I got carded. So I was right! 20s adulthood was as sweet as milk chocolate.

Then came the adulthood of my 30s. Marriage and a few years later, motherhood. Adulthood was still sort of sweet. There were now two car payments, a bigger apartment and eventually a mortgage. And the lingering student loans. But I could still stay up as late as I wanted! Sure, I didn’t want to stay up past midnight anymore, but if I wanted to I could have! And still no liver! 30s adulthood was…semi-sweet chocolate.

Now I have a firm foothold into the adulthood of my 40s. Two kids. Both involved in lots of activities that cost mucho dinero. Medical bills for to sets of over-40 eyes, ears and joints. Mortgage, cars, insurance premiums, office equipment…and why the hell am I still paying student loans?! I do still stay up as long as I want, but unfortunately it’s now because of insomnia. I can eat what I want, as long as it’s preceded by Bean-O and immediately followed by Imodium or Tums. Of course now I’m slightly anemic so the doctor recommends I try eating some fried liver. Yes, the adulthood of the 40s…baker’s chocolate. Trick or Treat.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Frillies" Huh?

Sometimes, you just don't need to write much to tell a good story.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just a "Little" Unwell

Welcome to Cold and Flu Season. If you should see me about town, avoid me like the plague. Oh, I’m perfectly healthy. But I work in a pre-K Petri dish. Sixteen kids in my class, and five called out sick today. Out of the remaining eleven, seven kept coughing and several were warm and/or sleepy. Which brings me to ask:


If your kid’s warm ~ keep them home. If they blow bubbles out of their nose every time they sneeze ~ keep them home. If they bark like a seal when they cough ~ keep them home. If their eyes are so red they look like college freshmen after a two-day frat party ~ keep them home. If they’re as green and nauseated as you were in your first trimester carrying them ~ keep them home! There isn’t enough Purell in Pennsylvania to kill off what you folks are knowingly sending into school.

Sure, it’s nice to have three hours to yourself in the morning. I live for Fridays when I get the same. But come on! Surely you noticed the green mucus oozing from junior’s nose before you dropped him off and ran for the mall! It’s nice that some of you are teaching your tubercled tots to hack up into their elbows on occasion. But then stuffing snotty Kleenex into the play kitchen’s oven kind of undoes the deed.

Enough said. Hopefully people will get the hint. But I doubt it. So tomorrow, I invest sixteen of the world’s largest hamster balls. Gazundheit!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Matter of Trust


It’s a fine line that’s very hard to walk, and constantly shifting. If you do it too quickly you can be burned. Sometimes badly. If you hold it back too long, you could ruin a potentially wonderful relationship.

I often give it too quickly. Sometimes it tak
es weeks, even months to realize I’ve made a mistake. I was too eager to please someone and ignored signs or signals. Or I was just blind-sided, bamboozled, hornswoggled. (I bet NONE of you typed those last two this week!). But sometimes the regret comes literally within minutes. A V-8 moment where you hit yourself upside the head and say “why the hell did I just share that about myself?”

Yesterday I had a V-8 moment. Someone I “kinda” “sorta” knew asked me for information on myself that I just too quickly shared. It seemed innocuous at the time. I mildly regretted it instantly, but held out hope that I was right in my knee jerk decision to share. Less than 24 hours later...bitten in the ass. Nothing major. I'm not the proud owner of a time share or a Nigerian bank account co-signatory. I just hate it when I have to tell MYSELF “I told you so.” I’ve given out my email too quickly. My social-networking site names. My age. I’ve never been dumb enough to give out my phone number. But it floats out there, like everyone else’s does. Someone found it. The same wonderful Internet that helps us spell hornswoggle and find free "classy" porn (not me...a friend) also reveals a lot of information about ourselves we may not want teenage nutcases to know. Fortunately my quick thrust trust mistakes only ever extend to myself. I don’t trust anyone with information I have about anyone else. And if anyone asks for it, the crimson flags immediately go up. Take note: INSTANTLY UP.

Of course, there are many times when my initial decision to quickly trust someone has been right on target. I’ve made many good friends through the years who I’ve been able to confide in completely on very personal issues. And I think I’ve earned their trust back. Like most folks, I have names, numbers and juicy tidbits in my head that lots of other people would love to have. And I can be trusted with them. Hopefully the people who've made the decision to trust me have never had a V-8 moment; or if they did, that they quickly got over it. I’m the full daily requirement of veggies, baby. Don’t doubt it.

I’ve also been on the other side of the fence. Where you’ve completely proven yourself trustworthy, but you still are met with a wall. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Great Wall of Distrust or just a picket fence of doubt; if you know it shouldn’t be there, it hurts. I guess that’s why I sometimes give away my trust just a little too freely. I know how it feels to give it, deserve it in return, and not get it completely back. So while I may get bitten in the ass on occasion, I’ve got a big enough ass that I can stand a few chomps if it means not having to build my own Great Wall. So to show you all how sincere I am, my Social Security number is 453-52-V8V8.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blogging Broads and Baseball

Blogging has taken a back seat to scriptwriting these days. But I got a complaint, so here ya go! A little something on…baseball.

What does MLB have against Phillies fans? First they schedule post-season Round One against the Rockies at crappy hours that most die-hard Phils fans (and all school aged kids) can’t manage. TWO 2 p.m. weekday games. And then 10 p.m. on a Sunday. Of course, the Sunday game was supposed to be on Saturday. But the Rockies' domeless Coors Field was full of snow Saturday. So the game had to be postponed. Gee…early snow in Colorado. What are the chances? Genius planning, Colorado.
And your beer sucks too.

And why does the American League get all their coverage on free Fox, when us NLers have to pony up for TBS for all our post-season? In the long run, however, these television slights will matter not for the Phils as a team. They kicked CO tail to make it to Round Two. They gave is a nail-biter of a 9th in Game 1 against the Dodgers. I don’t want to talk about Game 2. Too painful and too soon. Although I do thank the pizzeria owner who gave everyone free condolence zeppole after the third out on Friday. I do suspect the strength of his faith in the team based on the fact that he came out of the kitchen door with them 10 seconds after the out. But they were so good that he's forgiven. For now.

The off-Broad Boys of Summer (did I mention it's 42 here?!) now have to go from playing in 90+ degree heat to playing in 40-degree sop. But I have no doubt they’ll do it. Sure, Lidge will give us all an ulcer or two in the process. Sure, we’ll all feel incredibly bad for Old Man Moyer. But they’ll do it. And pretty boy Hamels’ orange wife will soon be kissing a 2009 World Series ring. You’ll see. I bet you a box of Pancake Krimpets we make it to the series. And a Schmitter that we win. Google it. It’s worth the bet!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Answer (and Hair) is Blowing in the Wind

Tonight I actually ran up the stairs in a rush to get something, and by the time I reach the top step, I forgot what it was. Since this isn't the first time that's happened it got me thinking. So I put on my now-requisite CVS reading glasses and sat down to blog. Blog about the effects of being...

40 - Something

What the hell is happening with my locks? Used to be a time when my hair was so thick my mother would have the hairdresser thin it out with these freaky scissors. Dumb, dumb move. I’m now starting to leave hairs everywhere I go. If I’m caught in a good wind, I sometimes feel like a giant dandelion who just had her fluff blown off. I thought I’d dread going gray when I hit 40. Now I’d will my hair to go gray as long as it stayed! I used to think this was just happening to me, until I started looking at all the other women about my age. Ladies in the gym, you may think I’m looking at you intently while we talk, but I’m just reassuring myself by checking out your also widening parts! There are quite a few thinners among us! First one of us to need a comb-over wins $20. And a hat.

OK, so if it’s coming out on top, why’s it coming in everywhere else? This is proof that if there is a God, he’s got a wicked sense of humor. When I was a kid, I would quietly giggle to myself when I’d watch my grandmother go to town on her chin and upper lip with her pink, rhinestone-encrusted electric Lady Schick. Now I wonder where the hell I can buy one. Sometimes I feel like Richard Nixon during the televised Kennedy debate. Like the world is noticing I’m developing a 5-o’clock shadow on my chin. Of course, the world has no clue (until they read this concessional), because I take great pains to mow the lawn. Again, I thought this was just me. Until a good friend admitted over lunch that she too tends the field. And if the school’s hottest mom has to do it, then I feel just a weee bit better about plucking. Now I just have to make sure I have a coma buddy lined up and ready to go. You know, a gal pal who’ll creep into my ICU room if the need ever arises, and tweeze as needed.

My arms are clearly getting shorter. Why else would I now need to hold menus halfway across the table in order to read them? Sure the computer screen is blurry and I have to get the kids to read pill bottles and microwave instructions, but I’m convinced it’s an arm problem and not aging eyes. It if wree ralely a prolebm wtih my eyes my splelnig on the copmteur would be afefcetd.

People are starting to get a little too respectful. Case in point: On a recent Friday night trip to the liquor store, the diligent clerk asked the three people in front of me the same thing. “Could I please see some ID?”…”Could I please see some ID?”…”Could I please see some ID?” When I got up to the register, I however was asked, “How are you this evening, ma’am?” MA’AM. Just stab me in the gut while you bag my bourbon, buddy! Of course to make matters worse, the next day I read on Facebook how my close friend~~a bald mono-browed and clearly 40-year-old Hatfield-ian (Hatfield-ite? Hatfield-er?) who shall remain nameless ~~was himself carded last week. Again, God’s warped sense of humor.

I could go on. I could write about how my knees pop when I first get up, how I’m starting to use dreaded phrases from my youth like “Because I said so!” and “Don’t make me come up there!” more than I’d like. How I sometimes find myself becoming…my mother (Hi, Mom!) But I won’t. There are a few things that are actually good about being in my 40s. I no longer really give a rat’s ass if I accidentally do something embarrassing. I’m way more outgoing and make friends easier than I did in my youth. Probably because I no longer care about being embarrassed. My car insurance premium decreases at the same rate my blood pressure increases. And my vocabulary’s getting pretty damned good even if my splelnig is geinttg wosre. So you lose a little, you gain a little. I can deal with the 40s I guess. But so help me I may go postal when I hit 50.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Freaking Birthday to Me

I have not blogged in a fortnight. (Google it.) At first it was because I’d been scared out of “giving away my funny for free.” Then I just got too busy pulling crayons out of preschooler noses and making sure junior high school students (alright, ONE PARTICULAR junior high school student) was keeping up with homework and prepubescent skin care. Then I just got “blogger block.” Every writer gets blocked from time to time. Oh, I’ve got plenty of funny fodder for the social networks. But I feared I had hit a dry patch blog-wise. Until tonight. Tonight I decide to just catch you up on the fortnight that was for:

BEN: My “baby.” The blond-haired, blue-eyed surfer dude among a sea of hazel-eyed brunette landlubbers (no, Mailman Mark is not blond) turned 7 since my last blog, and now looks like an extra from the cast of Deliverance. Corn on the cob is no longer a viable option as a sidedish at KFC. After losing three teeth in one week, the Tooth Fairy learned the hard way that she must always have singles in her purse. Kid woke up to four quarters one morning. I told him the fairy didn’t like his brushing technique. Ben’s kickin’ it in 1st grade, beating the pre-pre-pre-pre-teen girlie set off with a stick and reading at the top level of books offered in his class. And it’s only Oct. 1st. I’m thinking he’s peaked already and it can only go downhill from here.

EVAN: Crossed the hump, and then literally the street, and is now in Middle School. Yay!! Yay?! Feh. Has to be at school an hour earlier than last year. This is not going well. Wakes up like an old man every morning, stumbling blindly down the hall in his boxers like a geezer looking for his soaking teeth. School seems to be going well so far. It could actually be going to hell in a hand basket since I haven’t seen any grades come home yet. But he hasn’t come home bloodied or hickey'd yet, so it’s all good for me! At back-2-school night we met all his teachers. I think I could have babysat or given birth to most of them. Except fo the science teacher. She could have babysat for George Bush...Senior. The biggest thing I’ve noticed as the new mother of a middle schooler is the difference between the girls and the boys now. Boys vary in height, that’s about it. Girls? Ay, Chihuahua! Evan was so nervous the first day of 7th grade that he got sick. Then we pulled up in the morning, and some 9th grade girls (God I hope they were 9th graders!) walked in front of our car. The raised eyebrow I saw on my son said a thousand words that morning. He’s never had a problem going to school since that day. I swear I think I share a bra size with some of these girls. And if you know me at ALL…

CHRIS: Is still Chris. Only change is a recent trip to Chicago. Where he was officially diagnosed with the “meat sweats” after finishing off ¾ of a Gino’s East deep-dish, sausage-patty-as-big-as-the-pie pizza. I felt no pity for him when I heard of his agony, and neither should you. He ordered extra tomatoes on the pie because, as everyone knows, vegetables are healthy.

ME: (Yeah, I’m going to get the biggest passage today. The rest of ‘em know how to write; they can make their own blogs!) I’m still leading my "secret" double life, only I’m now a year older while doing it. Turned 87 on Monday, according to my “dear friend” Mickey, who I hope to see staring down my headlights one night on an desolate road. It was actually a surprisingly lovely birthday. I was treated to a sushi buffet lunch at my favorite once-a-year restaurant. Ben’s photo is now taped to their register under the heading “Do NOT serve!” (that boy is to sushi what termites are to seasoned wood). My parents and siblings went in on a joint gift and got me the scriptwriting software I had longed for, and unsubtly hinted at, for weeks.
The day took a brief detour into hell when I went to Cub Scouts and was serenaded by a room full of scouts and parents against my will. (PAUSE! This is the point in the movie of my life where you notice the birthday girl putting her cell phone on “vibrate” because it would be rude to have it ring during a Cub Scout pack meeting. RESUME PLAY!) After scouts, my folks came over and I was treated to a lovely birthday cake with the number “87” in candles on it thanks to my husband finding “dear friend” Mickey’s message on Facebook. Both men have since been beaten. Chris surprised me with a gift of my very own teeny-tiny-oh-so-adorable netbook laptop, just for me to write my scripts. I named it “Tim.”
After the “party” was over and the kids were put to sleep (not euthanized, just tucked it); Chris set about installing my beloved scriptwriting software onto Tim, while I went to check my email on the now old-hat laptop upstairs. (PAUSE! Flashback to me putting my phone on “vibrate” at scouts. Never took it off that status, so it never rang all night and the voicemail filled up with birthday wishes. RESUME PLAY!) I won’t bore you with the details of emails/texts/obscentities, but my birthday was the night that bad phone etiquette and a secret double life collided and made for one unhappy camper of a secret-life-housewife. Lesson to learn folks: If you leave your phone on vibrate and your mailbox fills up, you may miss the “birthday wishes” phone call of your life. For a would-be comedy writer, this was a dream phone call. It would be like an aspiring physicist getting a phone call from Stephen Hawking’s voice synth. It’s still promised to come “sometime soon.”
So, I now go everywhere with my fully-charged cell phone always in my pocket, with the volume turned up so high it could wake the dead, or at least my father-in-law. I’m an 87-year-old woman waiting to get a phone call. From a talking dog. And I'm happy as a clam. A drunken clam.
(yeah, that's a phone call hint.)