Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sad Day in the Entertainment World

It's a sad day in the entertainment world...

Tony Curtis is dead at the age of 85...

Tony Curtis Pictures, Images and Photos

Comedian Greg Giraldo is dead at the age of 44...

Greg Giraldo Pictures, Images and Photos

And 22 year old Snooki of Jersey Shore fame, is not only still alive but has been awarded a publishing contract from Simon & Schuster to write not a memoir, but a novel.

Snooki Pictures, Images and Photos

Obviously the book publishing giant has raised its standards and was impressed by Snooki's intelligence as evidenced by these quotes from her:

•I feel like a pilgrim from the friggin’ 20’s washing sh*t right now.

•I don’t go tanning tanning anymore because Obama put a 10% tax on tanning. I feel like he did that intentionally for us, like McCain would never put a 10% tax on tanning.. because he is pale and he would probably wanna be tanned.

•The glasses are pretty much all crystalled out, all bling-bling, but when you put them on you can’t really see.. so I don’t think you can't drive with them.. because you’ll get a ticket.

The sad thing is Snooki, who will clearly have a ghostwriter, will become a best-selling author. The last episode of Jersey Shore had 6.4 million viewers. If Snooki pens a pop-up book she'll sell millions.

No, the clip below isn't one of the thousands of talented authors who have been working on their books for years struggling to find an agent and/or publisher after hearing about Snooki's deal...but it could be...

Snookie Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So the guy who was going to charge me the "special price" of $125 per window ("special" since according to him, "the average is $200 per window") for lead removal, and also around $200 more for each window than the other company I was leaning to, calls me up yesterday afternoon and says, "Bad news." I figured his price was going to be out of the ballpark, and had already decided I wouldn't be using him since I didn't get a "good vibe." Frankly, I didn't trust him and believed he was being less than truthful to me when he said I would have all the windows in place by Thanksgiving, but I wanted to hear the price anyway.

Well, he didn't quote a price. Instead he said, "We can't do your job." Rejected! Wow. That was a shocker. I was shattered I tell ya, shattered!

glass Pictures, Images and Photos

Not really, but I would have thought in this economy any company would have jumped to replace 19 windows on a ranch house. The funny thing is I had told my husband, "This guy doesn't want the job" after he left. When my husband asked why, I told him a) I got a weird vibe, b) he had odd body language, c) he told us he had 11 clients waiting for the EPA rule to be repealed so they were waiting until next year, d) he said it would take 2 - 3 weeks to install, and e) he threw out such high numbers without even checking off the top of his head, that they sounded like they came out of his ass.

Anyhow I asked the salesman why he couldn't do the job and he proceeded with this in-depth cock and bull story about how his boss decided they would no longer work on any house built prior to 1978 until this lead rule was repealed. Ummm, houses built prior to 1978 are the ones that probably need the windows the most. If it's true what he said I would imagine their business is going to really suffer. "My boss said 'Goddam EPA and stomped his foot.'" I believe someone is lying when their story is so "detailed." He then went on to say the EPA just came out with a "new" rule -- the homeowner had to stay in a hotel for two days when the windows were being replaced. Oh really? I hadn't heard that. "Oh, sure, check it out. And if we don't comply to the tee with their regulations we will get fined $37,000 per instance." Now that number I did read, but didn't read anything about having to stay in a hotel for two days...and why would I have to stay in a hotel for only two days when he had said it would take 2 - 3 weeks to install all the windows??? It was getting embarrassing, not for me, but for him, so I let him off easy by saying thank you anyway even after he suggested I wait until next year and then give him a call. Ummm, yeah, no.

So I have a couple of theories on why my money was no good -- They couldn't finish the job by the deadline I set and didn't want to admit it. (When we walked into the showroom the day before yesterday and I spoke to someone else and mentioned my Thanksgiving date, he laughed and asked "next year's?")

After entering my daughter's messy bedroom he thought he might get swallowed up in there and no one would know he was missing.

He saw the stained basement ceiling, which we can't fix until we fix the windows and find the leak from wherever, didn't think we could afford them, and/or we would be deadbeats.

We were too Yankee for him. Don't laugh. It's happened before, a couple of times in fact, especially when we're dealing with Salemites.

My husband was pissed when I told him since he had to close up the shop to come home and meet with the guy and watch him take measurements. "He knew our house was built before 1978 so he's full of shit and just wasted our time." It is getting to be a pain in the neck everytime someone comes over. It's all cool though. I wouldn't want to have someone do a job this size that I didn't have a good vibe about. We work hard for the money he might think is no good. Better I know beforehand. I don't want to wait out the EPA so I've decided to go with the first people I met with. They're not the cheapest, but I got a good feeling and their lead removal price is fair -- way under the "special $125 price" -- $40 a window. C'mon, you just know this house is going to have lead. I'll let you know how we make out. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and the worst part of the entire thing was the salesman who rejected us came to my house hacking away, coughed into his hand and then shook our hands. I asked him if he would like a drink of water because I thought he had a tickle and he says, "No it's just bronchitis." Ack! With my weakened immune system that's the last thing I need. The moment he left I scrubbed my hands, told my husband to do the same, Lysoled everything down and then called the EPA to come over with a Hazmat team to sterilize my house.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Window Shopping

Had I known that the EPA was going to make lead removal mandatory when replacing windows I would have replaced them before June of this year. Before July 6th, households were able to "opt out" if they didn't have any small children or pregnant women living there. Any home built before 1978 is now subject to these new rules. Naturally, my house was built way before 1978, in the 1957, to be exact. I don't have small children who chew on paint chips (never did)and I won't be getting pregnant any time soon, so would have preferred to opt out. Unfortunately our government has decided that is not an option so now I have to pay through the nose if I want to make my home more energy efficient. With our government inefficiency at work, it's no wonder small businesses are struggling, and people are saving money instead of spending it.

Depending on the company I go with, the $1,500 rebate wouldn't even cover the lead removal costs in my home -- I have 19 windows that I wanted to replace. Now, my windows are not falling apart, and only the front one is "leaking internally" which is why I began the window replacement process. For the lead removal, I have been quoted an additional $36.00 per window from one company to $125.00 per window from another. The $125.00 company said the minimum it would take to replace my windows would be two to three weeks of work because of the lead removal requirements. The other one said one week.

One of my requirements is that the windows must be installed by Thanksgiving. They both said they could do that, but I didn't believe one of them because in the next breath he said if I ordered them by Friday it would take 7 weeks for them to be delivered. That gives three days for them to be installed if we got on the schedule immediately. I don't think that's going to happen, especially when I was told it would take two to three weeks minimum to install!

I asked about the possibility that this new regulation would be repealed and was told that in fact the National Assn of Home Builders had indeed filed a suit against the EPA for dismissing the "opt out" clause. No decision has been made yet. I wondered if it would be wise for me to wait it out to see the outcome. The one window guy that came this morning told me he has 11 customers who have chosen to wait. Since he quoted the $125 more per window I can understand why!

We haven't even bothered calling any of the companies who send ads claiming a new window installed is $189. We figure it's bull or a really crappy window. Now mind you I don't need hurricane strength but I would like a decent window. Naturally all the features I prefer cost more, like tilt in windows, night locks, half-screens, and inserts. The inserts are actually placed between the glass panes so they won't be like my wooden ones are, always in need of paint. Look how easy they look to clean...

Windows tilt in for easy cleaning. Pictures, Images and Photos

All the windows we've looked at are vinyl and pretty much look the same. Frankly, I'm sick of researching them. I am waiting to hear the last bid before I make any decision, but I can tell you it won't just be by the price. I'm going to go with my spidey sense. I have full control on the decision because my husband finally admits that his choices usually turn out poor. I'll take the heat on this one. Sheesh, and I thought shopping for a pocketbook was exhausting!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Whole College "Experience"

My wallet wasn't the only thing jumping up and down for joy when my son said he preferred to stay in Roanoke, go to a local college full time and work part time. I was thrilled he made that decision, which I know in large part was due to what the dorms looked like on campus, particularly at Virginia Tech. The two person cinder-blocked cell had no private bathroom and no sink either, and might have been the same size, or even smaller than, the boy's bedroom. At home he did have a semi-private bathroom and sink only feet away, along with a desk top computer, flat screen television and most importantly, an X-Box.

Staying in Roanoke he also wouldn't have to eat at the school cafeteria -- mom's home-cooking is just down the hall. Even though he spends a good number of days and nights eating out with his friends, now that he has cash to burn from working, it's still a plus to be able to come home to leftovers after a long night's work. Cooking Ramen on a hot plate daily while at school would get old real quick.

He tried to justify his decision, as if he even had to, by saying the first two years of classes would mostly entail taking pre-requisite courses before he even got into the nitty-gritty stuff. "Why should we (I think he meant to say you) have to spend around $20,000 a year when I could transfer to Tech with an AS degree at a fraction of the price?" I couldn't agree more.

Last week out of the blue he reiterated how happy he was with his choice. Looking for a parking spot to get to class on time seems to be his biggest complaint. This proclamation came after he said he was speaking with a friend, who is going for the same degree as he is, who went directly to JMU. His friend is miserable -- not with the classes or people or the school itself -- but with the housing. He lives on campus in a dorm. It's not that the room is too small, or he doesn't like his roommate. His problem is with the inability to enjoy his down time as he did before he arrived at college - playing on-line games and/or X-Box Live.

The school does not allow enough bandwidth for the students to play World of Warcraft or X-Box Live. I'd bet that wasn't even one of the amenities he, and especially his parents, considered when looking at colleges. When you hear the rooms have internet access you would assume this meant full access. Anyway, his friend is a gamer, as are most of the recent graduates my son knows. His friend is distressed. His friend finishes with his classes and homework early enough so that he has many, many hours to kill. Normally he would be killing his hours the same as my son does when he's not in school or working, on-line and on X-Box Live, saving the fake world and chatting with friends across the real world. His friend has been unable to join in and begs his parents to let him come home for the weekends. They won't allow it. He wants to get an apartment, but that's out of the question too. So now his friend is bored out of his mind and we all know that boredom is a recipe for disaster. My son's friend has a good head on his shoulders so I'm hopeful he'll be smart enough to stay away from any temptations. In fact, he told my son he's been out looking for a part-time job. But not all 18 & 19 year olds think like that.

What's a kid to do with so much time on their hands if they're caught up on their school work and not working? Probably get into trouble. Maybe not intentionally, but it will only be a matter of time before a bored kid will start experimenting with drugs and drinking. Eventually he or she will go to one of the many off campus parties college students have. We can all assume what goes on there. I doubt it's changed much from thirty years ago when I attended fraternity parties. Heck, just walk past any of the rental houses along College Avenue on a Monday morning and see the Roanoke College student remnants from the weekend, and you'll get an idea.

college Pictures, Images and Photos

With a heavy heart I read yesterday that a 19-year-old Virginia Tech student fell from a balcony to his death on Saturday night. The police are investigating the incident but I will bet you there was a party going on. I'm not saying the boy was drinking or drugging but it's certainly a possibility. One foolish decision and in a blink of an eye a life is over.

19 years old. He was only a couple of months older than my son, and the same age as my son's friend. My heart aches for his family who probably only wanted their son to go to a good university and be part of the whole college "experience." That could have been my son falling to his death, maybe after drinking only a couple of beers. My son thinks he's "worldly" but I assure you he's not. He's book smart, logical, pretty responsible when he's not lazy, but I believe he's also naive when it comes to "the streets." I'm the first to admit I probably sheltered him a little too much. I never gave him a beer. I never said "I prefer you drink at home with me." I have no idea how he would handle alcohol. Would he get drunk after one beer? Would he succumb to peer pressure and suck on that joint? Would he stumble and fall over a balcony? I don't know. All I do know is that he wasn't ready to live away from home on campus and his Saturday nights are usually spent at a restaurant, in a movie theatre, or at work. I thank God he nixed the whole college "experience."

Peace and comfort to the family of the Virgia Tech student who fell to his death...I can't imagine the pain they must be feeling.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whittling Twitter

The day I realized social media might very well be the end of me was the day I began following Sn00kie on Twitter. It's not what she was posting -- it wasn't like the Courtney Love chaotic mind-numbing posts which resulted in a quick unfollow -- I don't even read what Sn00kie writes. It's not her, it's me. Just the mere act of clicking on the follow icon for Sn00kie calls into question the capacity of every brain cell I have when they interact with social media. I don't even give a damn what she does, where she's gone, who she did, whatever. So why would I follow her? In fact, why do I follow the majority of people I follow? And why are the majority entertainment personalities?

Frankly, if you happen to post something within ten seconds before I sign in chances are I'll at least see your tweet, I may read, but far more likely just glance over, see your name, and ignore it. Nothing personal. I'm an equal opportunity ignorer. I also don't click on anyone to see what pearls of wisdom, what re-tweet, or what mayor of wherever they have become. When I first signed onto Twitter my primary goal was to read what the professionals in literature were up to. Except for a handful, after reading their tweets, they're up to the same shit as you and I are. I just happen not to post about the amazing tuna fish sandwich at wherever or the new seasonal Starbuck flavored brew.

As I became more and more disillusioned I began un-following. Those twits were just clogging up my scrolling screen. I didn't need their tweets getting between foursquare locations (whatever the hell that is) and giveaway contests tweets. Since I never win anything, even when I know my entry is the best, those tweets serve no purpose either.

Perhaps Twitter is best used as a device for business or publicity.

Twiiter Pictures, Images and Photos

I don't believe them. Based on the number of people who click into this blog when I tweet an update I'm not wasting my time on creating a business account.

The most useful feature of Twitter is the quick moving national news feed and a slower moving local news one. Reading local folks and national news is what I'm going to use Twitter for. Maybe now and then, just for yuk-yuks I'll post a link to my updated blog, but I couldn't possibly use it as a social interaction site. I'm too wordy. There's no way I could be as witty as I should be using only 142 characters. Impossible. I give high-fives to those who have mastered it. I respect you but I'm not bantering with you.

All I know is when I get some time I'm whittling down the Twitter list. The first to go is Sn00kie...

social networking jokes Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogging Can Be Rewarding

One of the most rewarding aspects about blogging is not only making friends with fellow bloggers such as Anita but interacting with readers who I've never met.

In a recent post I lamented the saddest part of summer ending -- the end of my homegrown fruits. In it I included a picture of my pear tree which had hundreds of pears that to us were inedible since they never seem to ripen. A blog reader, Sandra, whom I've never met in person said she would be happy to take some of those pears off my hands. I was happy to send a bagful over to the shop so she could stop by and pick them up. I was even happier to learn that Sandra was kind enough to leave three jars of homemade preserves -- peach, plum and hot pepper -- in our mailbox.

She certainly didn't have to do that and I am very thankful she did. I've never had plum or hot pepper preserves before and can't wait to try them. Since I'm on this diet I figure I'll make it my Sunday morning treat. Thank you Sandra!

Another benefit of blogging to me is the opportunity to get things off of my chest. I would hope readers realize that I'm not really angry when I air my complaints. That's just the way I talk. I imagine that some of my sarcasm might get lost in print and people who don't personally know me might not "get me." Sometimes I get discouraged and feel like I'm just writing in a journal that sits in the bottom of my drawer and wonder why I'm wasting my time blogging. I see other blogs that have "hundreds" and even "thousands" of followers while I have a pitiful 19 listed, although I do have more than that from Facebook and other places that just haven't signed up to be a "follower." Still, they're nowhere in the hundreds. I might get there if I gave away gifts, or just focused on writing tips, or ended each post with a question for my readers to answer, but that's not me.

I've been discouraged lately after reading literary agents' blogs, expecially one that cautioned that an agent might not want to represent an author, not based on their talent or book idea, but just based on the agent's perception of the person -- either through their political leanings if different than theirs, what they "discover" about them on the internet, or their blog -- especially if it's "rants." Hmmmm, as you can see from the title of my blog, that might be a problem. I would hope any perspective agent, or anyone, would not make such sweeping judgements before delving a little deeper into someone, by giving them the opportunity to "clarify" if there is a "concern," but who knows. I've been thinking about giving up blogging, and then this morning I opened my mailbox and found this message that was sent to me on Facebook:

"I forgot to mention that I am very happy that you are setting goals and meeting them. Congrats on weight loss, progress with your novel, ect. ect... I dont think you realize that you influence alot of people by being a voice. Your blogs have many qualities. One quality is that they inspire others. It's a gift. Hearing how you tackle daily life with a sense of humor / honesty inspires others to do the same. Keep up the good work. JEFF"

Thank you Jeff for the kind words. I appreciate them more than you know. I realize I can't appeal to everyone, but it's certainly encouraging to know that some people can find "inspiration" here...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad News Can Be Good News

Good News, Bad News Pictures, Images and Photos

It was my turn today to visit the doctor. Unlike the girl's visit yesterday, for good or bad, I at least walked away with an official diagnosis. Yup, no doubts now, it's Rheumatoid Arthritis. That's the bad news, the good news is:

Although the blood level was high, my x-rays showed no damage.
I won't be crippled or hobbled in any way.
No one will even know I have it (except you, my blog readers) because it will not deform me in any way.
I can still exercise, walk, lift weights, etc. with no harm to my bones or joints.
The doctor feels we caught it early enough to not only treat but maybe even put it into remission as long as I follow his treatment.
The treatment includes 4 pills once a week and one daily dose of Folic Acid.
The pills aren't expensive.
Follow up visits and blood work will be required every eight weeks to check my liver.
I can still have a glass of wine with dinner. However, after I did some research on this drug I have discovered I should not have any alcohol at all due to the possibility of cirrhosis of the liver, although some doctors say one or two glasses of wine drunk four days after taking the medication shouldn't be harmful. Well, that sucks. Guess what I'll be doing tonight. Maybe I shouldn't start until Monday.

And the best news...I lost 7 pounds in two weeks! I'm following the Sugar Busters Diet, although not to the tee, but using the guidelines to meet my lifestyle. So far, so good. My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds by Christmas and if I keep this rate up I can achieve that.

One of the best parts of this diagnosis has been it's given me a new outlook on life. I'm not procrastinating as much as I have in the past and am pushing myself to complete physical endeavours while my hands aren't hurting. One of those is my rewrite. In the last ten days I've rewritten/reworked/slashed over 15,000 words. I have two other book ideas that keep pushing into my brain, but I cannot begin something new until I have this one query worthy. After one person recently read the first couple of rewritten chapters he said he was so moved that he felt it was my "duty" to finish it and put it out to the world. Too bad he's not a literary agent!

The bad news is that when I find myself reading some writers/agents/publishers blogs lately it dampers my enthusiasm. It's almost like something is trying to stop the locomotive from barrelling through just as it gets up to speed. So, what I've decided is that I am going to avoid many of them. Not only are they depressing me but they are taking up too much of my time. At times I feel the same way about this blog -- well not the depressing part ;)

Time, time, time just slipping away. I've also decided to try and spend less of the precious commodity tooling around the internet. Facebook will probably not suffer much as it's a quick hit and then I'm outta there. Twitter is useless so that's definitely gone. Arguing with idiots on the local media blogs is also gone. We'll see what happens to my blog.

I plan to enjoy these last days of summer, I mean first days of fall, even if I am complaining about the heat because I know in a couple of month's I'll be bitching about the cold, and who knows what my hands will feel like then...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Got Latex? Everything Does!

After a visit to the allergist today I was surprised to learn there wasn't any reliable test to confirm if the girl is allergic to latex or not. I had imagined she was going to be put through the ringer like her brother was a couple of years ago when his back got scratched with different possible allergens and then swelled up if they were positive. Nope, you can't do that for latex. The closest thing they offer to confirm the allergy is a blood test. If it comes back positive, yes, you're allergic. If it comes back negative, you very well still might be allergic. That's how inaccurate it is. We opted for the test anyway and will know in a couple of days what the inaccurate result is.

The other option the doctor informed us of was to prick a latex glove with a pin and then prick my daughter. She didn't recommend we try it though as she seemed to think with the description of symptoms she most likely is. The latest outbreak occurred about two weeks ago when the girl dyed her hair. As she unfolded the paper inside the box she pulled the gloves off. She quickly realized they might be latex so didn't put them on. However she didn't think to wash her hands and at some point must have touched her lip. In the evening she began to feel them swell and we quickly dosed her with Benadryl. Luckily the next day she had her well visit so the doctor saw them and prescribed an ointment which seemed to offer quick relief. We wondered why she didn't get a reaction on her hands and the feeling was that the skin on the hands is thicker than the tender lips. It was then she referred us to the allergist.

I asked the allergist how often she would have to get shots for the latex allergy. My son used to go twice a week for shots for five years to get rid of his cat/dust mite/assorted grasses allergy, which by the way never fully left him, so I was preparing myself. The allergist said they don't give shots for latex allergies. I asked what the treatment was. Only one -- avoidance. Yikes!!!!

I left disappointed but my daughter was relieved she wouldn't need the scratch test and shots. With all the medical procedures this kid has undergone I could understand. I also left with a list of things latex is in. It's obvious anytime she has to get treatment from a doctor, dentist or hospital its imperative they know of this allergy because most of the products they use for routine procedures contain latex.

Proderma Latex Gloves ( 5mil 9" cuff ) Pictures, Images and Photos

Here are some things to avoid at home, some are fairly obvious, others not so much:

Balls - Koosh, tennis, rubber, basketball
Bath mat
Bathroom throw rugs
Bungee cords
Camera eye piece, binoculars eye piece
Carpet backing, gym floors
Chewing gum
Cleaning/kitchen gloves
Condoms, diaphragms
Contraceptive sponge
Cosmetic applicators sponges
Dental braces with rubber bands
Disposable diapers, rubber pants
Elastic on underwear, leg and waist of clothing
Feeding nipples
Feminine sanitary pads
Fish tanks & decorations in tank (the seals for the tank are latex)
Helmets, bike
Insulation material
Lottery tickets (instant winner scratch off is latex)
Plants, tarps, hose, tires, electric cords
Racquet handles: ping-pong, golf clubs, bars, tools, ski poles
Rain coats, rubber boots
Rubber bands
Sailing Equipment
Silk flowers
Swimming goggles, caps, bathing suits
Toys, rubber ducky, teething toys
Toys, old Barbies pre-1993, bowling balls
Water toys, swim scuba, snorkels, wet suits
Wheel chair cushions, tires
Zippered storage bags
Driveway sealant
Glue on envelopes
Mouse pad for computers
Rubber button pads - phone, calculator, computer board covers, TV remote controls

It's also thought that people allergic to kiwi, bananas, chestnuts or avocados, papaya, fig, passion fruit, nectarine, plum, cherry, melons, tomato and celery are more apt to have latex allergy, son conversely people allergic to latex should avoid these foods.

Food handled by latex gloves can also be a problem. Check with restaurants before eating.

Some list, huh?

She's had many of the fruits listed above and no reaction as far as we know. Same thing with many of the items. I don't know if it's possible she can develop a reaction in the future but I know we'll be keeping our eyes open. Watching the discomfort she's been in, I imagine once you've experienced a reaction it's something you'll make every effort to avoid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Every time I get back from attending the cluster%&^% known as Back to School Night I feel nauseous. It's supposed to be the opportunity to meet each of your child's teachers and hear what's going on. It's ridiculous because each session lasts a grand four minutes, two minutes of which are wasted trying to get to the class amongst the throngs of high-heeled mothers hugging each other in the hallways. I'm never one of those mothers because even after 14 years of being in the same school system, having volunteered with many of their children in various activities, these mothers still look through me as if I don't exist. I gave up even smiling at them or waving because I feel hurt every time I'm ignored. The one or two that do say hello look like they're saying it under protest. Even my husband noticed it..."They're all so phony, even with each other." I will be thrilled when I will never have to be in the same environment with them ever again. Two...more...years.

The only reason I even bother going is to meet the teacher to see if my daughter's complaints are valid or not. They usually are. Each "meeting" is pretty much the same. My name is X. This is my e-mail address. Check Blackboard. The end. I was especially looking forward to checking out her Pre-calculus teacher. It's never a good sign when everyone says "I'm sorry" when they hear the teacher's name. It's also never a good sign when the students learn more in one day from a substitute teacher than they have in three weeks from the regular teacher. Most parents don't ask questions at these "meetings" but I do. Like, why do you keep telling the students they should already know this when they are having a problem rather than going over it again. The answer: Because they should already know this from Algebra I. My follow-up: Since some of the students had Algebra one in 8th grade isn't it possible that they have forgotten some things from three years ago? His: Well I'm here at 7:30 in the morning if they have a question. Me: Some students go to Burton and have classes at 7:30. His: I am also here on Wednesday afternoons for a half hour after school. Me: Thank you I will relay that to my daughter and see if that helps before I high a tutor.

Next up was Spanish. This was the first time I ever spoke with a teacher that barely spoke English. I couldn't understand a word he said, other than the students find this class "intimidating" and that to help them we should have them watch Galavision Spanish television and buy Spanish only magazines. This should be fun.

One of the mothers in Advanced Chemistry did speak up and ask why the students weren't allowed to use calculators in class. If I understood the answer correctly it's because the school got a grant from some company with the caveat that the students can't use calculators in class because they wanted to see what would happen if they started doing math in their head instead of depending upon a calculator. So, I guess this group are guinea pigs. This should be interesting as well.

The teacher I was most impressed with was the Advanced History one. He seemed very enthusiastic about his job, had personality, seemed to relate well to the students and showed us how to find links on Blackboard. My son had him and said he was one of his favorite teachers. The only problem is that my son had such a good time in the class that the AP test he took for it was the lowest score he ever got, a 2, which is useless.

Frankly I can't wait for my daughter to be done with this high school. To say I've been less than impressed with the staff and administration would be an understatement. The front office is never helpful and have attitudes. Everything is a fight. The school itself was built too small. There aren't enough seats in the cafeteria nor lockers. The halls are barely passable between classes. I think the only thing this school cares about are the sports teams. Two...more...years.

The School That Hates You Back Banner Pictures, Images and Photos

When I got home and bitched about the evening ending with the twenty minutes it took to just get out of the parking lot because these parents don't know how to be a considerate driver by letting one car from each line go, my daughter dropped another bomb. "Mom, there's a mandatory cast meeting for the play on Thursday night." "Okay, hve fun." "Ummmmmm, the parents have to come too." What???? I didn't sign up for Drama club, you did. Why the hell do I have to go? Do you they think I'm sewing costumes or something? Fughedaboutit!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Advanced Procrastinators

I'd like to take a moment to snap out of my self-induced September sadness state to do some brief bragging, about my kids, naturally.

Congrats to my son who received in the mail this weekend a College Board letter and certificate announcing he is an AP Scholar With Honors recipient. When I showed his sister and told her he just raised the bar again her response was, "Good for him, but when he gets an award for taking first place in the state for something, anything, then we'll talk." Boy, she's really riding that State Champion Prepared Speech thing to death isn't she?

Both kids agreed on one thing...what AP means. To them it's not Advanced Placement but Advanced Procrastinator, a skill they both seem to have perfected. For instance, just the other day as my son was walking out of the house to attend one of his college honor classes he asked me what my definition of political correctness was. After I responded I asked him why he wanted to know and he responded, "I need to get three responses for class this morning. I just need two more." During the spare 15:00 before class he scribbled some notes, and if you saw his handwriting you would know what I mean by scribble. Once he got into class he "discovered" or more likely "remembered" he had to give an oral presentation on his findings. He was the first one called. He proudly reported to me he got an A and the teacher even remarked how much effort he must have put into his "research" (Ha!) and what a good public speaker he is. Guess talking into his headphone as team leader while playing Halo on X-Box has really made a difference in his shyness factor.

Halo Funny Pictures, Images and Photos

My daughter told him she could top that, I just read "The Great Gatsby" (yawn) in one night, made notations as required, and also gave a presentation in front of the class." Grade unknown. She did say she hadn't intentionally waited until day three to do the assignment; she was just overwhelmed with other school homework and activities. One of those activities was joining the Drama Club and auditioning by singing and memorizing a 1:00 comedic monologue she found on the Internet the night before. She tried out for a part in "Peter Pan, the Musical." Congrats to her for snagging Lost Boy # 1. Apparently there's only two boys in the Drama Club and both are tall.

lost boy peter pan Pictures, Images and Photos

She's very excited but made me promise that I will sit in the back of the auditorium where she won't be able to see me. You see I have this quirk where I can't keep a straight face in the most solemn/important situations. I can't stop myself from bursting out laughing at the most inappropriate times -- at funerals, weddings, concerts, etc. The last time the girl was on stage was when she was a freshman in choir. She had a solo. I was sitting in the third row. As she started to sing she looked directly at me. I tried to stop myself from laughing, and I didn't out loud, but she could see my shoulders going up and down and my hand covering my mouth. One look at me and she burst out laughing. She did recover but I ruined her solo. She will never let me live that down.

Besides being an Advanced Procrastinator, unlike my son who is "forced" to do community service to remain in the Honors Society (that's a post for another day), my daughter happens to be very community minded. She doesn't like to be "forced" to volunteer either; she prefers to take on projects on her own. Her most recent endeavor -- she's signed up to tutor kindergarten students conversational Spanish once a week for 45:00 at 7:30 in the morning. She's hoping her Web Design teacher will let her come in late so she could do this. The Web Design class is almost an hour and half long, (way too long according to her and also ridiculous since her Mass Communications course, the one she's primarily going to school for, is only 45:00, but that's a post for another day.) This class she "had" to take as well only because she's going to Burton. She feels she's very proficient in it already since the teacher keeps asking her "how did you do that?" whenever she turns in a project. Anyway, although she's in her 4th year of Spanish I didn't know she could speak it well enough to "tutor", although she does order for me in Spanish at the Mexican restaurant, but she said she thinks she does. Apparently Roanoke County wants the kids introduced to Spanish at the elementary level. Many teachers don't know it, and why should they if they're not teaching it, and have asked the high schools to help. (That's a post for another day too!) Anyway the girl will be happy to help if she gets the green-light.

So there you go, just a couple of AP student tales -- students using their advanced procrastination skills. Now excuse me while I slither back to my regularly scheduled September sadness.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Saddest Part

The end of summer's right around the corner and it makes me a little sad. I'll see no more sunrises on the ocean...

Nor ocean sunsets...

The days are getting shorter...

The frail flowers will stop pushing through the heavy concrete...

Fruit will fall and wither off the tree...

But the saddest part of the end of summer is the end of my favorite side dish -- my homegrown tomatoes and basil...


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rascal Returns

This weather has been perfect for strolling along the Roanoke River in Salem. I wish I had a camera that was capable of zooming in optically more than 3x. Since I don't, these are the best I can do for now, but Christmas isn't that far away, hint hint.

With the cooler weather approaching I have a feeling I won't be seeing this turtle...

or this blue heron for too much longer.

Alas, I fear I'm going to be seeing a lot more of this rascal who seems to have returned from his extended vacation. Wonder where he spent it? Bet the food wasn't as fresh as it is in this sushi bar...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Liza Minnelli Sparkles in Roanoke

It's funny how sometimes I can put something forth to the universe and have my "wish" granted. That's what happened to me last week with Liza Minnelli tickets. I had mentioned to my husband how cool it was that Liza was coming to little ole Roanoke at the Civic Center and that I would like to go see her. The look on his face was priceless. He then asked me if I would like to go see Styx with him at the Salem Civic Center. The look on my face was priceless. Neither one of us would budge. That didn't stop me from entering a contest on-line to get free tickets. I thought if I won I could talk my daughter into coming with me since she's familiar with Liza, not with her singing but from her appearances on one of our favorite since cancelled shows, "Arrested Development."

My daughter informed me that she was shooting video for the Hidden Valley homecoming game for school Friday night so she couldn't come. My son, just looked at me with a "don't even ask" look and ended with "Sorry, mom you know I'd loooooove to go with you, but I'm working." I figured I probably wouldn't win anyway and since I hadn't heard anything by Thursday I assumed I hadn't.

I had lunch with a friend who I suspected would like Liza so I casually mentioned to him that she was playing in town and I was trying to win tickets and if I did by some miracle would he like to join me. He practically burst out in show tunes and said YES! Friday I still hadn't heard anything so went by his job to let him know it didn't look good. Oh well, guess it wasn't meant to be.

Friday afternoon I signed onto Facebook and saw a post by the Salem Times and Register...they had free tickets to see Liza that just came through and the first person to call would get them. I doubted they would still be available since the post was 15 minutes old, but figured I'd give it a shot. Lo and behold they were still available! All I had to do was get to their office by five to pick them up and they were mine. It was after 4 and I know how crazy Main Street in Salem could be but I was determined to make it. On my way I called my friend but couldn't get in touch with him since he still lives in the 19th century and doesn't have a cellphone. I called his partner's cellphone and asked him if he thought he would like to come. He said he thought he would and would try and get a message to him. After I hung up I wondered if I could score another ticket if his partner would like to come too. So I called him back and asked and he said he'd love to. Yay!

I zipped down Main Street and arrived in time. No one else had called about the tickets so I was able to receive three. Thank you Salem Times! Apparently the person who was supposed to go said her husband was sick so they cancelled and the paper didn't want them to go to waste. I wondered if her husband was "sick" the way mine would suddenly catch ill to avoid going but figured probably not, so doused the envelope and tickets with Lysol as soon as I got home. I may have put too much spray as the lettering started to fade on one of the tickets. I hoped that wouldn't be a problem.

I called the boys and told them of the good news. We figured we better leave early to get a parking spot since my husband mentioned how crazy that lot was when he used to take my daughter to see country acts, when she was still liked country music and hadn't become "tainted" (thank God) by goth and alternative music. We got there by seven and the lot was so empty we parked practically in front of the door. I had to look at the tickets again to make sure Friday was the correct night. It was. Since we had an hour to kill we looked to go somewhere to eat. There is absolutely nothing in walking distance from the Roanoke Civic Center other than McDonald's. Crazy. The only thing on the menu I could eat was the snack sized apples, yogurt and walnut. I couldn't even eat the walnuts because they were covered in sugar. Since I'm allowed one glass of red wine a night on this diet, I thought I may want to cheat and have two, so didn't even bother with the yogurt since it tasted sweet. When we saw Seinfeld they were serving wine so I figure they would for Liza as well, and I was right.

We got to our seats, certainly not the best seats in the house, but for free they were just fine. As we looked around the center we were astonished at how empty it was. It had to be less than half-filled! What's wrong with Roanokers??? The gun show attracts more people! Didn't they realize this was Liza with a Z Minnelli? How often does a star like her come to Roanoke? Not enough, and now I know why. They don't get enough support. People bitch and moan Roanoke never gets enough big names, yet when they do, people don't show up, preferring to spend their Friday night at a local high school football game or something. If Paula Dean sells out for the price she's getting for tickets, which I think are more than Liza's, there is something seriously wrong with these people.

David Wiley opened up with a short set with the RSO. I thought the selection of tunes he chose was odd and better suited for a 4th of July or circus event than for Liza Minnelli. They closed with a smattering of bits of tunes from "The Sound of Music" which made no sense either since that's Julie Andrews baby not even Liza's mother Judy Garland's. And for the record, I must be the only person in Roanoke who has never seen "The Sound of Music" nor do I want to. Also for the record, by this part of the show I think I laughed more with my buddy than I did when Seinfeld performed. Don't even ask.

After a brief intermission Liza glimmered all spangly as she emerged from behind the curtain and got right into it. She had her own conductor and a couple of personal musicians with the RSO taking second fiddle. Unlike Seinfeld, who goofed on Roanoke, Liza was the ultimate lady saying how wonderful it was to be here, even if she couldn't pronounce Roanoke correctly. She marveled at the beauty of the drive down, so I wonder if she limoed it, or took a tour bus instead of flying. I hoped she hadn't taken a Greyhound or some cheap rental car and came to Roanoke because she wanted to not because she had to. She said she felt very comfortable because we all seemed so comfortable. There were tables set up on the floor for those who had dinner before the show. It would have been much smarter to book Liza in a smaller venue especially since she is so intimate with the audience. If they're going to have acts like her in the Roanoke Civic Center they really need to invest in a Jumbotron. I would have loved to see her face.

At least I was able to see her movements, which weren't as energetic as she once was, but for a 64 year old with two knee replacements they were splendid. I was worried she was going to hurt herself. I kept thinking of Lucille and her vertigo on "Arrested Development".

The Civic Center did not do justice to her voice -- the levels were way off as was the quality of sound as a whole. The instruments sounded tinny at times and sounded about what a public address system used at a sports event does. She performed non-stop for about an hour and a half, which surprised me. At times she sounded a little out of breath, but that didn't seem to stop her. She'd just sit on a stool and sing a slow number. She was such an amazing performer that even in our lousy seats so far away we were able to feel her energy and see her hands (private joke). I hadn't realized just how lousy our seats were (well besides the no-leg room and small cushions) until my friend showed me at the end of the concert that springs were coming through his!

I loved the way Liza related personal stories to the audience before she sang some of the songs, like when Uncle Frank (Sinatra, that is) asked if could sing "New York, New York." As I suspected, when she burst into the first bars I felt chills run down my arms. But I think Liza really hit home when she burst into "Cabaret." Watching her strut across the stage, loving every minute of it, I realized she is is too short to spend worrying about things I can't control. Yeah, so I'm overweight and sometimes my body hurts, and I'm never going to be what I envision as the "perfect" specimen, so it's time I became more comfortable with who I am and enjoy what time I have left -- time to treat life as a cabaret. Thank you Liza for putting the spark back! I'm sort of embarrassed and sad that more people hadn't been there to capture it...

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow your horn,
Start celebrating;
Right this way,
Your table's waiting

No use permitting
some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away.
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Olde Salem Days

On Saturday the girl and I strolled through Olde Salem Days, a yearly ritual for us. Usually it's held on the hottest day of the year. Luckily yesterday was nice and cool and rainy so it was much more pleasant to walk amongst the crowded streets, and I mean crowded! Oddly enough we did run into my friend who insisted on taking us to lunch as a thank you for the Liza Minnelli show we went to the night before. (A post on that will be coming soon!)

People are still as stupid as ever by choosing to walk their dogs through this sea of people. One guy even had a pit bull with him strolling the streets. Why? Why? Why? I don't get it. I was surprised to see the lack of anything reminding people it was 9/11. I expected to see at least flags or something, but the only thing I saw with 9/ll on it was this inspection sticker on an old convertible.

They had a slew of really nice antique cars and the girl and I decided we wouldn't mind a Rolls Royce...

The rest of the goods being sold was the same olde crap that's there every year. It's booth after booth of cheap trinkets, wood stuffs, football paraphernalia, crappy crafts, tacky decor, fattening foods, etc. Yet, I did buy three things, a couple of books from the library sale, some "lucky" bamboo...

and this treasure that I found in an antique shop, not in one of the booths...

It's an antique needlepoint put in a modern frame. The golden roses frame itself was worth the $12 I paid. I've always been drawn to these type of 18th century drawing room scenes. I could hear the harpsichord playing in the background when I pick up paintings or tapestries from that time period. This needlepoint reminded me of a similar print I already have which everyone seems to think is tacky except me...

Here's my latest treasure's new home. And it's now official...I do not have a square to spare, of wall that is, in my office.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On 9/11 We're all New Yorkers

I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
I may no longer live in the five boroughs or on the Island or Upstate
I may now live hundreds or thousands of miles away
Or I may live just over the GW Bridge
But I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
Whatever took me out of New York:
Business, family or hating the cold did not take New York out of me.
My accent may have faded and my pace may have slowed
But I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
I was raised on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rockefeller Plaza,
The Yankees or the Mets
Jones Beach or Rye Beach or one of the beaches on the sound
I know that THE END; means Montauk.
Because I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
When I go on vacation, I never look up
Skyscrapers are something I take for granted
The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are part of me
Taxis and noise and subways and get outa heah; don't rattle me
Because I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
I was raised on cultural diversity before it was politically correct
I eat Greek food and Italian food, Jewish and Middle Eastern food and
Chinese food
Because they are all American food to me.

I don't get mad when people speak other languages in my presence
Because my relatives got to this country via Ellis Island and chose to
They were New Yorkers

I am a New Yorker
People who have never been to New York have misunderstood me
My friends and family work in the industries, professions and businesses
that benefit all Americansl
My firefighters died trying to save New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers
They died trying to save Americans and non-Americans
Because they were New Yorkers.

I am a New Yorker
I feel the pain of my fellow New Yorkers
I mourn the loss of my beautiful city
I feel and dread that New York will never be the same
But then I remember:
I am a New Yorker

And New Yorkers have:
Tenacity, strength and courage way above the norm
Compassion and caring for our fellow citizens
Love and pride in our city, in our state, in our country
Intelligence, experience and education par excellence
Ability, dedication and energy above and beyond
Faith--no matter what religion we practice

Terrorists hit America in its heart
But America's heart still beats strong
Demolish the steel in our buildings, but it doesn't touch the steel in
our souls
Hit us in the pocketbook; but we'll parlay what we have left into a fortune
End innocent lives leaving widows and orphans, but we'll take care of
Because they are New Yorkers

Wherever we live, whatever we do, whoever we are
There are New Yorkers in every state and every city of this nation
We will not abandon our city
We will not abandon our brothers and sisters
We will not abandon the beauty, creativity and diversity that New York represents
Because we are New Yorkers
And we are proud to be New Yorkers

- Author Unknown

I'll always be a New Yorker and I will never forget 9/11.

9-11 Firefighters Pictures, Images and Photos

God Bless America!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Think I Love Him

"Don't panic. It's not a death sentence. This is 2010. We have ways to treat this now. The people you know who have RA were probably diagnosed twenty years ago. And that's if you have it. I think you do, but we won't know for sure until I run some more tests. I don't like just having a Positive result without an actual number so I'm going to rerun your blood. And I want to get some x-rays of your hands and feet. I'm prescribing Prednisone for two weeks and then I want you back here. No, no, no, it's not going to be a strong dose, just 5 mg. You're not going to get Moon Face or put on weight. I just want to calm your body down and then if everything does come back positive I'll take you off it and put you on a different medicine. No, you're not going to be deformed. The quicker you catch it the better and if you do have RA I believe you're catching it very fast. It was good you listened to your body. I wish more people would. Stop that, you're not that overweight. Let's take care of this and then we'll work on that. You're going to be fine. What part of New York are you from? Ah, Brooklyn. If you don't mind me asking what nationality are you? Ah, Italian, I thought so. **Big Smile** Don't you worry. I'm going to take care of you."

I think I may love this new doctor.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Need My Fingers To Work

Doctor Duck Pictures, Images and Photos

So you would think with a triglyceride level hovering around 600 my doctor would finally take my health seriously. I figured the moment I entered his office he would whip out that prescription pad and scribble a couple of medications admonishing me on neglecting my health. Nope, instead I got a "Your numbers are high, but that could be for a variety of reasons. Do you think you could bring them down with your diet and exercise?" After I lifted my chin off the floor I replied, "Look at last December's numbers. I quadrupled them by watching my diet and exercise, so what do you think?"

After I assured him I needed HELP! he gave me a prescription which is supposed to lower my bad cholesterol and raise the good, which had sunk a couple of points to 35. I asked him if my tingly and numb appendages could mean I was a candidate on the verge of a stroke. He didn't say so, said there were a variety of reasons why I could be experiencing that sensation, but didn't offer even one. He said I should try and lose weight. Well, duh. He recommended the "Sugar Busters" book and even wrote the title on one of his prescription papers. I asked him if I was diabetic yet, so he looked at my numbers and said no, but then added, "That was last year's number." He didn't test my sugar this time. Why would he, since my entire family is diabetic, my mother died of pancreatic cancer and I have the tell-tale diabetes middle roll?

I asked for a copy of the results and noticed that according to the numbers I was anemic. When questioned he said I was slightly anemic so that wasn't really a problem. I'm thinking maybe that's why I feel so weak and tired all the time. My white blood cells and thyroid functions were in the normal range, so that was promising. And then he hit me with, "You've tested positive for rheumatoid arthritis, but that doesn't mean you have it." Really? Could that be why my bones ache?

I've seen what happens to people with RA. My husband's aunt has it, she suffers with a lot of pain and it's not a pretty sight. I'm not wasting any time finding out if I do indeed have it or not so already set up an appointment with a specialist. I'm bringing all my blood numbers with me too so I can get a second opinion regarding the anemia and other low blood counts. Maybe I should be on an iron supplement or something. I think I can reverse my high cholesterol if I put more effort into it, but don't know what I can do about rheumatoid arthritis. I'm a writer, I'm a photographer, I'm a baker, I'm a cross-stitcher, I'm a ping-pong player, I'm a drummer in Rock Band, I'm an accountant, I'm a mother, I'm a (fill in the blank)...I need my fingers to work.

When I came home I called my husband and asked if he has a pact with the devil, I mean doctor. "Did you pay him to keep me off medications so I would die quicker than you and then you could remarry or something? Are you guys gonna split my life insurance?" He pretended to be, I mean was, offended by my questions, and denied it, but come to think of it he did laugh. Hmmmm...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Insanity Must Be Hereditary

When a normal person receives a telephone call from their doctor's nurse informing them their blood work came back, the news isn't good and the doctor needs to see them as soon as possible, a normal person might panic, especially if they heard the numbers I did regarding just one of the tests.

Rather than watch what I was ingesting last night, I decided I would go out with a bang. I racked my brain on what would be the worst/best place I could go for a last bad/good meal. Sadly I couldn't come up with anything. I longed for baked clams and panelles but knew they could not be found in Roanoke. I thought about lobster tails but remembered the last time I had one at Red Lobster it was the size of a medium shrimp. I already had pizza for lunch -- disappointing not only because of the underbaked dough, but because I thought I was getting fresh mozzarella as I had in the past, but found it was replaced with low grade crap. I dreamed of fresh pasta with homemade vodka sauce but after my last experience at a local restaurant I used to frequent, I knew there was no place for me to find it.

I became more and more depressed realizing there weren't any local restaurants that would fit my bill for my final fling. Staring at me was probably one of the main culprits contributing to my poor blood results, a bottle of wine. A normal person would have put that wine away. I had just received the lovely bottle of Cabernet from a friend earlier that very day. Surely it was a sign that it was meant to be drunk. When it slipped from the tissue paper it was wrapped in onto the hard gravel ground it didn't shatter. Surely it was a sign that it was meant to be drunk. I reached for the corkscrew. I drank it. It was delicious. With each swallow I realized this very well might be the last so I appreciated the warmth of wine as it slithered down my throat. But the problem of dinner remained.

A normal person would have just given up and had a salad or something "healthy." I figure there's going to be enough of that "healthy" crap to bore me the rest of my life so I left the decision to the girl and hubby. Neither could come up with a solution. Well the girl did, but I just didn't want Famous Anthony's as my last bad meal and then the phone rang. It was the pharmacy. My daughter is suffering from another latex reaction (we don't like to suffer alone in this house) and after visiting her doctor today a topical prescription was called in. Our usual pharmacy didn't have it in stock so they found it for us at the Kroger in Lakeside. Divine intervention. IHop is in the same shopping center. A worse cholesterol clogging cusine I couldn't create. So there we went. I had two iced mocha coffees and the chicken Florentine crepes smothered in Hollandaise sauce. It was the perfect last worst meal. When we came home I finished the rest of the wine.

Clearly I'm not a normal person, but I can't be faulted. After all, my ancestors lived/live on the side of an active volcano in Naples. Insanity must be hereditary. I certainly can't be faulted for living life as everyday may be my last. One day it will be -- I guess I'll find out how soon after my doctor's visit. What happens next remains to be seen...

MOunt Vesuvius Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Amazon Gets Me

Based on recent purchases, which I'm sure had nothing to do with the "Linear
Algebra" book and probably more to do with the "Abbott & Costello" collection, Amazon recommends the following for me: "The Honeymooners", "The Three Stooges" and "Tales from the Darkside." Makes you wonder what type of girl I am, huh? Not a girly girly that's fer sure. The funny thing is, unlike what Google thinks I like, Amazon happens to be right.

I worked on "Tales from the Darkside" when the series first came out in 1983. I produced all the on-air promotion spots, and at the end of each show there's an LBS Syndication logo which I animated. It sucks now, but for the time period, and lack of budget, it was cool then.

Who doesn't like the Three Stooges, besides possibly every woman alive? When my first husband went to St. Frances in Brooklyn there were movie nights which we used to attend after getting buzzed. The Three Stooges were popular amongst the fraternity crowd and very funny after drinking bash. When I channel surf and stop to watch their show fond memories return of a time when our biggest problem was how we were going to come up with a buck to get a couple of gallons of gas.

Now "The Honeymooners" is to Brooklynites what "The Andy Griffith Show" is to Roanokers. The show took place where I was born in Bensonhurst, so you could say I was born and bred on Ralph, Alice, Norton and Trixie, so naturally could quote lines from every show. In fact, I think I often insert Honeymooner lines into my everyday conversations and just now realized that maybe a lot of folks down here in the south don't know what the hell I mean and that's why I sometimes get a blank stare.

The two most famous, or most frequently used lines were said by Ralph -- "To the moon, Alice, to the moon!" and "One of these days Alice, one of these day, Pow! right in the kisser!" Even though Ralph "threatened" Alice, he never pulled through, he wasn't a wife beater and his bark was much worse than his bite. Alice didn't take Ralph seriously and neither did the audience. In fact, he was crazy about Alice, "Baby you're the greatest!" Alice usually shut him down with a look, one snide comment and the knowledge that she was always right. My favorite on the show was Ed Norton, the sewer worker. He was the perfect sidekick to Ralph, his delivery was impeccable, and man, could he move.

Remember the Hucklebuck episode when Norton tried to teach Ralph to dance? If you're from Brooklyn you do...

When I was a little kid in New York to me there were city comedies and country comedies. The one thing both had in common were opening theme songs that I couldn't get out of my head whether I watched the shows or not. I knew Andy Griffith began with a whistle but don't remember watching the show much. I watched "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best", two country comedies to me, but not enough that I could quote any lines. As I got older I watched "Green Acres", but didn't care for it as I couldn't stand any of the characters, even Zsa Zsa, who I liked even less than that dopey pig and the opening theme song. Then there was "Petticoat Junction", which I hated, but think I remember the name Bobby Jo or Bobby Sue or Bobby Sox. I couldn't get past the opening which made me wonder if all southerners took baths in water towers. I could barely tolerate "Gomer Pyle" (too annoyingly stupid) the only saving grace was his gruff Sargent. But for some odd reason I did like "The Beverly Hillbillies." I probably had a crush on Jethro, and it just cracked me up whenever they said "seement pond." It was a good premise for a television show. One of my favorite Southern personality's on television was introduced to me during an episode of "I Love Lucy" -- Tennessee Ernie Ford. I felt sooooo bad for him, really liked his singing and picking, and his looks reminded me of my father, but believe me that's where the similarity ended.

I think it's safe to say that our early childhood television viewing habits probably shape our personalities. I've only touched on a couple of early sitcoms but I'm sure if I looked back I could think of other shows that had an effect on me...Emma Peel and Catwoman are maybe two reasons why I've always loved wearing black. Hmmmmm, I wonder if I had watched Aunt Bea more instead of Alice Kramden, if I would better understand the genteel folks of Southwest Virginia? Who knows -- maybe if I had, I would even like Paula Deen.

Look closely at the bottle, it's for Butt Massage...what the heck is that???? I don't know about Paula but when I get a butt massage I prefer oils.

And I thought Chef of the Future was funny...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Roanoke Film

Roanoke, Virginia...Where I live and why I don't mind staying home this weekend. Funny how it took a New York filmmaker's eye to make such a nice flick. I think sometimes the locals don't appreciate what we have here and it takes an "outsider" to remind them. Enjoy and c'mon down y'all, or, better yet...youse guyz!

Friday, September 3, 2010


I dedicate this to the "anonymous" Roanoke Times staffer who commented on my recent "Hair We Go Again" post saying he mistook my picture for Joey Ramone. For those of you who aren't familiar with The Ramones, (is that anyone????) Joey is the lead singer who died from cancer at age 50. Love ya and miss ya Joey!

D-U-M-B - Everyone's accusing me -- Gabba Gabba Hey!

Have a great end of summer weekend...this'll get you going.


Welsh Corgi

You know what really freaks me out? When I post about something and then later in the day check on my Gmail account and see all these ads popping up that has something to do with the post I wrote earlier in the day. I feel like I'm being watched and stalked by Google.

So for today's post I'm putting a picture of my Max, along with the words Welsh Corgi, Welsh Corgi, Welshi Corgi, Welsh Corgi, Welsh Corgi, Welsh Corgi, just to see what ads Google places in my Gmail account box later.

What do you think will show up? Oh, and for the record, I mentioned L'Oreal yesterday not Clairol!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hair We Go Again


I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be able to go 6 weeks in between dye jobs as was recommended to me by the colorist. Actually, I didn't wait two days last month before I went back and had her change the color so I wasn't so Bozo the Clownish. If you remember, at that time I was also talked into buying the very expensive Rusk Healing Shampoo & Conditioner as they would nourish and heal my damaged hair, as well as extend the color life. Truthfully, after using them for almost three weeks I didn't see any difference in my hair texture than when I was using the much cheaper Tresemme products. As far as retaining the color, nope, didn't happen.

After each shampoo my hair became more and more "copper" for lack of a better color word, most noticeably along a one inch strip that circled my head like a monk's do. That didn't bother me as much as the half-inch white stripe that stood out throughout the red like last year's Christmas candy cane. The white line began by the first week and by day 14 was getting way too thick and skunk-like. I could no longer wear my hair straight. I could no longer wear my hair with its natural curl either, as when I had gotten my hair cut a week before the first color I think the stylist cut on the curl line, or did something, so that my hair doesn't fall naturally curly anymore. I was forced to buy rollers. Yes, rollers.

I don't think I've ever used rollers, ever, ever, ever, but now I had to because I needed to puff out my hair and hide the stripe. So I bought curlers that didn't need any bobby pins. They "magically" remain in your hair. Unfortunately the multi-sized set had too many large rollers and not enough small ones since I no longer had the luxurious locks to hold them. I tried putting them in my dry hair. When I took them out my hair flopped. My daughter said I didn't keep them in long enough. 3 hours wasn't long enough? Next I tried putting them in wet hair. When I took them out my hair flopped and was still wet. 6 hours wasn't long enough? The third time I tried I put them in wet and then blew dry my hair. This time there were curls. Oh boy were there curls. There were so many curls I had to take a brush and try to brush them out. I ended up looking like Kitty from "That 70's Show." Not a look I want to emulate, so I took the flat iron first and then the curling iron. I love the smell of singed hair in the morning. This was getting to be too much work so I called the salon and moved up my appointment by 10 days.

I had a 12:00 appointment yesterday. I didn't get out until 3:00. I didn't even have a hair cut. This was just to color my hair. The colorist couldn't believe how much my hair had grown. There were three ladies all putting their fingers through my hair looking at the new growth and the faded color. I decided I needed to go darker. I figure a white stripe in brown won't look as bad as one in red so maybe I could get another week out of it.

Now, when I used to dye my hair at home it took me 30 minutes from start to finish and I did this in the comfort of my pj's. I'd just mix two bottles, slather it all over, set the timer, get in a Wii game while waiting, and be done. This doesn't happen when a professional does it. No, first you have to get dressed, put on makeup, and style you hair. Then when you get there, you have to sign in and wait and wait and wait. Then you sit in the chair while the colorist feels your hair, then consults with other colorists, then pulls out the color books and matches up, then mixes the stuff and then finally begins painting with a brush every strand. First all the roots have to be done which takes awhile because "you have so much hair." After sitting under a dryer and heading back to the chair, the rest of the hair gets painted which takes awhile because "you have so much hair." By the way, my hair barely even reaches the top of my shoulders. The chair next to me saw a dye job, a hair cut & style and the beginning of a highlight job while I had one color applied. I began to feel bad I was taking so long just sitting there. I was also cursing the modern clock with the hands that blended into the artsy numbers as I could barely read it. My stomach kept me informed of what time it was by growling on the half hour.

I noticed one woman who had to be at least 15 years older than me, had a rich red hair color and eyebrows that matched perfectly so I asked the colorist about it. She told me that she gets them dyed. I was shocked because I thought it was illegal to do that, something about going blind, so I asked her if she could dye mine to get rid of the grey and match my hair. She said no problem so while we waited for my hair to take she applied the eyebrow dye with a q-tip. As she was washing my hair out the timer went off for the eyebrows so it worked perfectly, except it didn't work at all. My mutant eyebrows would not take the dye. Oh, the skin around them took it all right, but not the hair. The gray hair glistened even more than before! The stylist was perplexed and said she would try again. I figure I better not push my luck since I could still see, so waved her off. Besides I was starving and wasted too much of my day already. My husband kept calling, probably wondering where the hell I was since I was supposed to go to work, and bring lunch. I heard the silent buzz but I couldn't answer as I had dye on my ears. If he would learn how to open a text message on his phone (that's what the little envelope on the screen means!) he might have figured out why I wasn't there yet.

Anyway, I finally got out of there in time to go pick up the girl from school. I actually like the new color, for now.

It's darker, but there's still red highlights. I figure the next time I go I'll go even darker with no red highlights, and get a better cut. Then the time after that soft black. Then after that midnight black. Then after that back to platinum. I knew there was a reason I kept my hair so light. It's too much work, and too damn time consuming. Or....I might just go buy two boxes of L'Oreal and do it myself.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Don't have much time lately seeing as I'm holding myself to a deadline and all, so I'll leave you with these butterflies...flitting around just like me...