Tag Archive | family

Inside Joke

This, this is my mother’s refrigerator in a nutshell. You just never know what to expect. Don’t even get me started on the Cool Whip container that I thought was Cool Whip (who wouldn’t, right!?) but turned out to be lard. Which, believe it or not, look surprisingly similar when they’re both chilled…but trust me, do not taste the same at all.

And I would like to say it’s contained to her refrigerator, but it’s not. There are Danish Butter Cookie tins and the like tempting you tantalizingly from the kitchen counter-top, but do they have those amazing little cookies and other sweet treats in them? No. Of course not. Really. Why would you even think that? They might have buttons nestled inside or they might be filled with cast-off grease. It’s a crap-shoot. 

It’s taken years — yes, I’m a slow learner — but now each foray into the unknown is prefaced with “Is this really…”  As in, “Is this really Cool Whip?” Or “Are there really cookies in here?”

Mom thinks it’s funny, though I’m sure slightly annoying too, when I put her through these pop quizzes on the inventory of her home-made tupperware system each time I’m craving a snack or maybe want a PBJ, but she brought it upon herself.

I do not, and here I must I reiterate most emphatically, I do not want a repeat of the Cool Whip vs Lard incident.

mom's house

Oh, to be Auntie Mame

I love my cable provider.  I know not too many people say that…and while I hate paying for it (who doesn’t, right?), I like the channel line-up I’ve got going.  I can always count on Turner Classic Movies to replay my favorites.  My absolute favorite of all time is Auntie Mame. The one with Rosalind Russell from 1958.  It’s the only one as far as I’m concerned.  Rosalind Russell nailed it.  (As a side-note, Rosalind Russell also starred in the original Broadway play.)

auntie mame title

Auntie Mame is definitely a classic, at least in my eyes, and it’s always going to rank as #1 on my personal list. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.  It’s done in the style of a play….with gorgeous costumes and in your face characters and each scene fading out to black on a dramatic note.  There’s an excellent cast of actors with each one perfectly portraying their character.  Please tell me if you hate Babcock as much as I do or if you cringe each time you hear Gloria speak!  Trust me, if you want some good clean fun and laughs, it’s definitely worth your while to watch this movie.

One primary reason I love this movie so much is because the titular character is the type of woman who I’d love to see more of (or hell, even be), yet when I watch today’s movies these strong, yet eccentric, female characters simply don’t exist. Auntie Mame is a shining example of how to be outspoken, caring, loyal to friends, accepting of different lifestyles (and how!), independent, and strong; all qualities I think that are imperative for today’s young girls to know.

auntie mame 3

If you’re not familiar with the movie here’s a brief synopsis that will hopefully show why Auntie Mame is a laudable silver screen icon. Right from the start she’s friends with a rogue’s gallery of characters. Elitists of the time would have called them “beatniks” or “bohemians.” Nowadays perhaps they’d be called “hipsters” or referred to as some sort other alternative and eclectic subset of the caste system. Auntie Mame just calls them friends. And they take care of each other. While she does eventually fall in love with Beauregard Burnside (deliciously played by Forrest Tucker), she never loses her vibrant sense of self in the process. That tends to happen a lot in movies. The girl needs “saving” and suddenly a knight in shining armor appears, swoops in to do the saving, and the girl dutifully surrenders her life to better serve his. Bullshit.

Auntie Mame retains her uniqueness and shows that it is possible to let someone else into your life without transforming into something else entirely. At first, she does try really hard to fit in with Beauregard’s family, even trying to learn how to ride in a hunt although she’s never been on a horse in her life.  However, she fails miserably and then she realizes that it’s just not worth it….it’s not who she is.  As it turns out, Beauregard is a one of a kind guy who loves her independence and quirkiness. I think her failing like that can even be viewed as a “moral to the story” kind of statement – in other words, this is what happens when you try to be something you’re not.  You fail.

mame and beau

What’s interesting too is that, as unlikely as it may seem, Mame, in all of her madcap glory, is the freaky glue that binds her friends into a solid familial hodgepodge.  She’s magnificently sophisticated and glamorous, yet she insists on being kind and taking in the odd stray friend here and there, and she does her absolute best to spread good wherever and whenever she can.  As crazy as it sounds, she’s definitely a character worth emulating.

The best bit….and I guess I should’ve started with this – because this is how the movie started – Mame’s nephew Patrick (who eventually wrote the book this movie was based on) lost his parents when he was a small child at which time he was summarily dropped kit and caboodle at Mame’s Manhattan party shack….umm….I mean brownstone.  Well.  It was love at first sight.  And a completely non-maternal, cocktail swigging bohemian suddenly became a mother….a good one.  Albeit still bohemian.  But more than being just a financial support or providing the basics, she imparts on Patrick the heart-felt lessons of how to remain open-minded, to be kind, to truly love life, enjoy experiences, and be tolerant of all types of people.  She instills in him a sense of wonder and a sense of joy, encouraging him to make the most of life, and to embrace everything life may throw at you.

Auntie Mame_2

I could really get used to seeing more women like this lifted up as an example to our impressionable teens and tweens out there. I’m looking at you Hollywood. Where did all the Auntie Mames go?

Auntie Mame

Overheard Conversations

I’ve never claimed to be normal. Anyone who says I have is just a liar. And I’ve never claimed to have a normal household.

My daughter and I have quite a few interesting conversations…even fascinating ones…often at quite a loud decibel level since we’re a loud house regardless of what we’re doing.

Sometimes, I wonder just what the neighbors must think when my windows are wide open and our voices carry over to their houses on the clear, still air.

For example, we have a dog, and we have quite a few adventures with this dog, Petra. If our one neighbor’s windows were open, they surely heard this conversation one evening because it was really sort of loud and fraught with hilarious exasperation on Sarah’s part—and I’m sure it threw them for a loop:

“Stop putting the dog on my face, I’m trying to sleep!  You’re supposed to be the adult here, you know!”

You see, in reality, it’s not always just children who try to be annoying. There. I admit it. But it did eventually make Sarah laugh, and that was the main point of it all.

“What have I told you about letting the dog sleep in my pillow? “
“But she likes to sleep in pillowcases, you know that.”
“Then let her sleep in yours.”
“Ewww, no, I don’t want her in my pillow.”

That’s what daughters are for, don’t you think, to let a burrowing dog sleep in her pillowcase so said dog won’t sleep in yours? But apparently not my daughter. Oh no, not mine. She cares enough about the dog to want her to have a pillowcase to burrow in, just not her pillowcase. Go figure.

My daughter is very analytical, yet strangely compassionate, even when it comes to finding ways to fall asleep.

“I can’t count sheep to go sleep – cause then I wonder where the sheep are.  Are they just living with some farmer, in which case he’s going to need money eventually and then he’s going to have to sell those sheep to slaughter, which is messed up.

Or do those sheep live in some existential plane and just in emptiness in which case that’s just depressing. Too depressing to go to sleep.  I mean really, where are the poor sheep!?  They’re jumping over a fence, is the fence the bridge between life and death? Are the sheep dying!?  If I count them, do they die?? That’s a lot of power for one person to have.

Or is counting sheep just symbolic of the wasted years of our lives, the years we waste going to sleep? Are they really just counting the seconds passing to our inevitable death, our inevitable demise. Talk about depressing, that’s even more depressing than thinking about sheep being slaughtered. Although maybe not. Sheep getting slaughtered is pretty darn depressing.”

My well thought out and heartfelt response to these types of existential questions:

 “Sarah, just shut the hell up and go to sleep.”

We had this following conversation a couple of days before school ended last week. Admittedly I was frustrated with the topic, so I was a bit loud when this nonsensical sentence came flying out my mouth.  Even at the time a part of me was wondering what the neighbors would think if they heard this:

“If you don’t want to throw eggs, then don’t throw eggs.  I don’t care what the teacher says.”

I’ll explain further – Sarah’s Honors Chemistry teacher, at a time when eggs are at their most expensive in our area, decided that the students should each bring in a dozen eggs to simply fling at each other during class.

Sometimes my daughter brings up things that I simply don’t understand. These encounters always leave me shaking my head and questioning my sanity.

“I know you don’t like onions. No, there are no onions in the tuna fish salad. You just watched me make it. Did you see me put onions in the tuna fish salad? I rest my case then.”

Or:

No, I don’t usually go around spitting into random bottles of water that I find lying about the house (in response to: “is there anything wrong with this water?”)

And then there’s the case of….the socks. Some people have sock monsters who make off with their socks, or dryers that eat them  I, on the other hand, have Sarah:

“In the name of everything that is holy, why is there just one sock strewn about in every single room of the house?”
“My feet get hot so I take my socks off.”
“But…but…where are the other socks?”
“I don’t know.”

It’s a myth that only guys argue about the powers of superheroes and what they can and cannot do.

Sarah and I recently had this debate in a game of “would you rather:”

 ‘If you had to pick, would you rather freeze people or blow them up a la Piper Halliwell?’
“If you can freeze people, you can walk into banks undetected.  But if you can blow people up, it wouldn’t matter, you could do what you wanted.”
“She could do both, why can’t I do both, why do I have to choose!? Why do you always have to make everything so difficult!? I don’t see why I can’t just do both. Jeez.”

I’ll leave it up to ya’ll as to which one was the adult and which one was the child in that conversation.

And then there’s my daughter’s refreshing attitude toward the afterlife.  I think we’re going to be haunting people…because I mean hey, haunting people would be fun, right?

“I can’t wait until we’re dead and we’re haunting places together and I have all of eternity to tell you ‘I told you so,’ because we’re not just dirt in the ground somewhere and I’m gonna be like ‘Hey look, we’re scaring the bejeebies out of these people because I was right and you were wrong, we’re not just dirt’ and ‘Oooo look, we’re floating through walls cause I was right and you were wrong…told you so, nah nah …’ You’ll have to hang out with me for like eons. See what you have to look forward to?”

 “Nope. Cause I’m gonna be dirt.”

When you have cats in the house, you can’t help but think of the important questions. I can only imagine what someone, someone sane that is, would think of this issue recently discussed round our dinner table:

“Do you think cats know what Capitalism is?”
“I bet they’re Socialists.”

There you have it. A brief look into our mindset and the little snippets of accompanying dialogue. Now don’t you wish you were a fly on our wall to catch some of the really good stuff? Although you’re likely to buzz off shaking your little fly head.

 

not normal

 

 

Dear Dad

I want to say Happy Father’s Day to my Dad. I love my Dad and he loves me. We don’t always say it. In fact we hardly say it at all. But it’s there nonetheless. It’s one of the few things in life I’m sure of without need of validation. He has always given me a safe place to land in times of need, not to mention money for gas and the bridge, for which I’m grateful. Thanks Dad.

 

fathers-day-zombies

Wedded Bliss Redux

This is a repost (a revisit more like) from last year around this time and I was late then as I’m late now. I will once again apologize to my parents because it seems like every year I equate their anniversary with Father’s Day. So this year, I was expecting it to be this coming weekend and it’s not.  It was yesterday.  So I missed it. Again. I don’t know why I can’t keep the two days straight and separate. Every year since the dawn of time I’m reminded (after the fact) that I’m indeed wrong — it may fall on Father’s Day once in a blue moon, but not always.  And I don’t think being the favorite child is going to get me out of continually forgetting this fact (considering just how long it has been now).  But I will beg for mercy and just remind my folks once again that out of all their children (all 2 of us), I am their most beautiful, favorite, loving, smartest, (and above all) modest, and least high maintenance, least annoying child…and that should count for something, right?  Right!?

And oh yeah, I love you guys — more than anything.

 

Here’s to Wedded Bliss:

It’s unfortunate that this is a not-very-odd conversation these days:

Friend 1: Did you hear? Sue and Jeff are getting divorced?

Friend 2: Wow, how long have they been married?

Friend 1: Five years!

Friend 2: Well, at least they gave it all they had.

Yes, friends, sadly people these days hold on to cars and computers longer than they do marriage licenses. In the days when so-called role models treat “commitment” with less respect than a pinky swear (Britney Spears’ marriage, 55 hours. Kim Kardashian’s second marriage, 72 days) what couple can be expected to last long enough to see if the seven-year itch actually exists?

My parents, that’s who. Yesterday (which was not Father’s Day) was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary.  That’s right.  55 years.  If you’ve never read the “The Lockhorns” comic strip before, do yourself a huge favor and Google it (or click on the picture below). You’ll quickly get the premise:  an old married couple that does nothing but complain about each other, but in their insults is a special kind of love (you have to look deep, but it’s there, I swear). My parents, they’re my live action version of The Lockhorns; the sort of couple that practices the Old School style of marriage. The kind where they may bicker and nag and nit-pick and groan through each and every day, but when one of them holds out their hand, the other is still there to grab it. They’re like those cute salt and pepper shaker sets that fit together. My Dad makes my Mom’s daily coffee.  My Mom makes my Dad’s fishing trip lunches. They just go together. Not to mention they’ve developed a sort of non-verbal, thought-reading kind of communication that is amazing to witness.

Over half a century with one person is definitely something to admire but it’s made even more so given the throwaway society we seem to live in. Whatever their secret, be it love or simply tolerance or a smooth balance of both, my parents are an inspiration. Happy 55th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

 

Happy 55th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Happy 55th Anniversary Mom and Dad!