Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby You Can Drive My Car...if you can get it started

Chris and the boys went to Lansdale's "Under the Lights" car show this past Saturday, and the three shutterbugs went nuts. Even Ben was snapping away with an old digital. Looking over all the great shots that the three of them took made me think about les pieces de merde that I've owned over the years, some of which you will NEVER see on the road again.

My first car was a used Reneault Le Car, complete with crankable vinyl "moon roof." If you did over 60 (which was hard to do), not only did the car shake, but the vinyl flap rattled like it was going to fly right off and hit the car behind you. And that's when it was closed! When it was opened, you felt like the entire car could become airborne. It was officially declared a lemon, having the transission replaced twice in the three months I owned it. I got most of my money back and then had a hard choice to make...a used Pontiac LeMans station wagon or, for the same price, a brand new fully loaded Yugo. I wanted the Yugo, but wiser minds talked me out of it and I loved the wagon when I got it. Everyone assumed it was a hand-me-down, since no 22 year old in her right mind would buy a station wagon for herself. But I've never been accused of being in my "right mind."

I've also owned or inherited a used Toyota Celica and a Mazda Protege. But the most memorable mechanical member of the family is of course "Betsy," our famous (infamous?) 1989 Olds Cutlas wagon. Betsy was a recently put out to pasture when we inherited a much-used but slightly younger Toyota Corolla. Betsy sits in the driveway, lovingly collecting rust spots and a funky smell, awaiting our decision as to her fate. Much as I imagine I will be doing one day while Ben and Evan and their wives fight over who gets stuck with me living in their basement.

Monday, June 29, 2009

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

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'm Starting to Wonder...

Bedroom Wall...Suzanne @ 17

The passing of Michael Jackson has made me a bit reflective the last few days. No matter what you thought of him --- which could run the gamut from tortured odd duck to pedophile --- you have to agree that he was a creative genius. But he was also serious wall art in my teens.

One wall in my bedroom was covered with posters and clipped photos from Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazines. (I had to Google it to see if they even publish those anymore. They publish those two, which sell quite well, but not Life. And they say we American's are unrefined!) There were so many photos and the like on that wall that when it was time to move and I had to tear them down, the chunks of wall plaster that came off with the adhesive made my room look like the scene of the Romanov execution. (Look it up people...the July 1918 edition of Tiger Beat had a great cover story.)

But I digress from the original theme of this blog entry. Look carefully at the photos above, which are copies of the actual posters from said wall. Now imagine a 15'x12' collage of the same faces. Notice anything? Anything at all? Greg Louganis? George Michael? Elton freaking John? What the hell was wrong with me? Was I completely clueless at 17? I mean, I moved here from San Francisco! So many months (OK, it was years, an admission that makes me even lamer) lusting after men who ended up being completely flammable. Only thing I was missing was a poster of Rock Hudson for Pete's sake!

But with age comes wisdom, and better gaydar. From moving day on, I only hung art on my walls. And now in my bedroom hangs only vintage posters and heirloom paintings, and a photo of my husband. Ummmm......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Death of a King and an Angel

In a town called "The Angels,"

Where gold stars line the street,

the ordinary and nameless

walk amid the rich and the elite.

Yet they all gasped together,

some with tears in their eyes,

at the news of two deaths --

one expected, one a surprise.

She was blonde, tall and toothy

(well known for
that poster).
He was gifted, yet tortured

by his life's roller coaster.

She'll be remembered for her smile,
for the angel she once played.

An icon of the 70s

who from our minds won't soon fade.

He'll be remembered for the troubles,

but also for the good.

For his limitless talent

and an anguished childhood.

by Suze
May they both Rest in Peace.

Michael Jackson...doomed since childhood


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words

Nothing I could write would be funnier.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Was She Thinking?

Seemed like a good idea at the time...

...AS A KID...

Ordering Sea Monkeys from the back of a comic book then forgetting to feed them.

Writing FU%@ on my grandmother's bathroom wall in quick dry paint (and being too dumb to figure out I could just paint over it).

Eating that peanut butter and jelly that come together in one jar.

Trying to walk on hot coals at a barbecue while wearing rubber soled tennis shoes.

...AS A TEEN...

Going one base too far the summer before 8th grade (don't worry, strictly minor league ball).

Tossing back a few with the band backstage at a Santana concert @15 (I looked 21). Maybe this was a good idea at the time...don't tell my kids.

Hopping off a moving cable car while buzzed on Jack. Wanna see my scar?

Going platinum blond, by way of bright green, and living with it for a year.

...AS A "GROWN UP"...

Wearing brand new pumps on my wedding day (and spending half my honeymoon nursing blisters).

Buying a house 3 blocks from my parents...and not locking our door.

A certain ladybug on a certain body part.

Falling for a cute puppy... with obvious issues.

Telling my 12 year old I once smoked...thrown back in face many times.

Starting a blog?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Anti-Social Networking ?

Hello, my name is Suzanne...and I'm on my way to becoming an addict. I have admittedly become more and more hooked on "social networking" via Facebook, and just this week started tweeting on Twitter (yes, the verb is to tweet, not to twit). It all started as a way to write more and flex the creative cranial muscles, but it quickly took on a life of its own and I'm now hooked. Granted, I'm not an addict of junior high school proportions. My Facebook friends are actually friends, and number less than 50. But something odd is starting to happen...

On Twitter, you microblog thoughts of 140 characters or less. It's a good exercise in self-editing and creativity. But I discovered there are lurkers floating out and about who just search for specific words in entries and then become your "followers." Case in point--I made the following entry:
"Any good recipes for cooking a 40-pound evil dog? I'm thinking about grilling or crockpotting!" Within an hour I had two new followers who were recipe enthusiasts! They just saw the word "recipe" in my entry and became a disciple. Now I guess I have to figure out how many minutes per pound are required for a terrier/spaniel mix!

Example #2--I made a risque entry about an anagram of my name that included the word "Zen" in it. I immediately had a new follower who's a yoga instructor. If you read the entry...it ain't about yoga! (Although some clever twisting wouldn't hurt.)

I'm apparently taking relatives down with me now too. After months of poking fun at Facebook, my husband finally saw some actual work possiblities from the networking and he joined this afternoon. So there the entire family was all in the office late on a sunny Sunday afternoon. You may be thinking, "Oh isn't that nice, they were all together!! And on Father's Day too!" Well let me paint a clearer picture. Chris on one laptop setting up his Facebook profile. Me on the other laptop Tweeting. Evan on his iPod Touch IMing his friend. I even texted my husband from 4 feet away to tell him it was time to light the grill. And there in the middle of all this "social" networking was 6-yr-old Ben, playing with his barn animals set.

So off went the PCs, off went the iPod, on went the sneakers and out went the Stanleys for a walk around the 'hood. We saw real people and actually spoke with them! And no one said "BRB" or "LOL" even once! It was so nice, as soon as we got home I ran upstairs to blog, tweet and FB about it! Baby steps, people...baby steps.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A rose by any other name...is a sore

Back when I was den mother to 12 flatulent prepubescent boys (half of whom had ADHD), I thought it would be fun one week to make anagrams of all their names and have them figure out just who was who. Teensy Naval for example was what I had for Evan Stanley. I nixed the idea however when the worst scout’s name came out as The Chosen. I won't name the boy, but it's easy to solve. I knew both he and his parents thought that that was actually the case--that he was The Chosen one---and I certainly didn’t want to provide anagrammatic proof! Of course I knew it meant he was Satan’s chosen one, LOL.

I revisited the online generator today on a whim, and I wanted to see if there might be other prophetic anagrams out there. I may have actually stumbled onto something. George W. Bush is Where Bugs Go and Dick Cheney is a Needy Chick. Sarah Palin however has several options worth mentioning. For our Spanish speaking friends, she is La Piranhas. Small but vicious. She is also an Anal Parish. Don’t know what that means exactly, but it’s to funny not to mention. I saved the best for last, as Mrs. Palin is also A Rash In Lap. That could SO explain her quick temper and irritability. Nothing a little Monistat couldn’t fix!

Lest my Republican friends accuse me of bias (wait...do I have any Republican friends?) I decided it would only be fair to try some Democrats out. Hillary Clinton is I Call Lint Horny. Perhaps Lint's her pet name for Bill. "Lint! Dinner's ready!" Barack Hussein Obama is A Hunkier Mob's Casaba and A Honkie Bub's Mascara. Not to mention Marihuana Ebbs A Sock and Uh, Bros! Mike's A Cabana!

It also works for non politicos, so I tried it on myself before exiting the site. Suzanne Stanley? How about Lazy Unseen Ants. They're the ones off watching Springer while the other ones tunnel. I saved the worst for last of course. I'm apparently also Neat Sleazy Nuns who have Ten Zen Anus Lays. I guess you really would have to be Zen to do 10! But that's a whole other blog entry for another time.

Check out wordsmith.org/anagram if you're bored. I highly recommend it to my friends Urgent Rascal...Casual Nurses...Thy Rehab Trek ...Keg Me Nicely and of course Beneath Ken. (Ken, get the hell off my sister!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I love my kids. I love my kids. There. I said it twice, so you know that it's true and that I'm a good person and loving mother despite what I'm about to write. I'm starting to seriously pine for some of the things that existed in the world during the B.C. era. Not Before Christ. Before Children. Things I enjoyed somewhat regularly that are now either just a memory or merely an occasional treat. Let me elaborate.

Non-animated, R-rated movies. Movies that don't involve super heroes, robots, or chimps in outer space. We're talking movies with dirty words, healthy doses of nudity, or the occasional axe-wielding lunatic with mother issues. I hear they still make these. I recently snuck off to a movie all by myself and saw I Love You, Man. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I not sure if I enjoyed it so much because it was a great movie, or because I didn't have to leave in the middle to take someone to the potty. I love my kids.

Happy Hour.
That golden time between 4-6 p.m. when wings come 10 for a dollar and drinks come for a song. Now days, Happy Hour is from 10-11 p.m. when I do the ironing while drinking a beer and watching the early news. I love my kids.

A clean house.
There was once a time when I could clean the house, leave, and come back to a house that was still clean. Now I usually do have a clean house--about once a month. For an hour. Then it starts creeping back in...socks between the sofa cushions...broken crayons...wrappers...goddamn Legos everywhere. A pox upon you, Ole Kirk Christiansen of Denmark, for inventing those foot bruising vacuum destroyers! I love my kids.

Naps. Laying down, alone or with the one you love, on a lazy Sunday afternoon and catching an hour or two's kip. If it's lightly raining outside, all the better. Only having a migraine will excuse a nap now. I think I feel one coming on. I love my kids.

Long car rides to nowhere.
Just getting in the car on a Saturday with the other half, and driving for hours with no particular destination. Getting out when the mood strikes for a stroll or a pint. Talking about everything or just holding hands and listening to the radio. Not hearing "Are we there yet?" even once. I love my kids.

Enough said.
I love my kids.

All that being said, I really really DO love my kids. I love going to T-Ball games, band concerts, 4-H and scouts. I love bedtime stories, burp contests and even homework time. I love having them smile when they see me in the school halls and watching their faces as they come down the stairs on Christmas morning. I love it all. I really do. But I could really go for nap. Followed by a long car ride before an early movie, then Happy Hour at a bar, and maybe later when we get home....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Holy Crap

I haven't done anything with this blog since November? Where the hell did the last seven months go? In fact, where have the last 43 years gone? Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm 43. This is officially the last time I'm going to acknowledge that fact though. From now on I'm shaving off a year every time the subject comes up. I'll see how far down I can go before someone has the nerve to say "Really?"

I've never felt older than I have this year. It's because of Ben starting kindergarten. When Evan started school he was our firstborn and I, like most of the other moms in his class, had a baby at home. Now that Ben's the one in K, most of the other kids in his class are firstborns and most of the moms have little ones at home. I'm the slightly-graying mare in a sea of early-to-mid-30-somethings. Granted they're a great group of women and Ben and I have made some really good friends this year. But once in a while when I hear one of them mention their graduation year, or hear one say "Oh man, I can't believe I'm almost 35!" I get a pain in my chest. Of course that could just be my blood pressure acting up...at my age who knows! To make matters worse, my 30-year-old sister aimed a hearty laugh my way at lunch today when she saw that I had to hold the menu halfway across the table to read it! My only solace is
that it's genetic baby! These eyes will be your eyes in a decade Sister! Of course, I'll be blind by then.

So after realizing that I'm older than most of my friends (note to self: find some over-50s to hang around so I look/feel younger), I decided I needed to shake things up a bit. I've dropped 40+ pounds since January, which sadly is but a drop in the bucket but is at least a running start. I "retired" as president of the PTA (we call it the Home and School Assoc. in these here parts) so I could work more hours, etc. And I decided to go back to my first love (writing---not Gene from the 7th grade) and take a class in scriptwriting. Maybe it's not too late to do something really great and interesting with what's left of my life. After all, I'm only 42.