Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Old Aunts

Me and the aunts.
I grew up in a household packed to the rafters with old aunts.

You could find one in nearly every room wearing sensible shoes and smelling like the back of a closet.

They colored their hair so the boss at "the shop” on the Lower East Side wouldn’t install a newer model of themselves at one of the old Singer sewing machines and wore opaque support hose so their legs didn’t get too tired riding home on the subway after a long day.

Old aunts like that are a vanishing breed.

When I was a little girl, despite encroaching infirmity, the pre-occupation of dreams unfulfilled and the bone-deep fatigue  of working well past middle age, these good women took true delight in entertaining me, the only child on premises.

I lived upstairs.

There were no doors sealing off the three apartments in the drafty old house that was my sanctuary.  I had free reign in this paradise and walked in and out of everyone’s space like an imperious princess.  Despite its faded lime and brownstone fa├žade, clanging radiators and the dreaded  “shaft” that connected all three bathrooms so you could hear another elderly relative snoring in the tub, there will never be a house that held me more securely. Nor will there be anyone on this earth who will spoon out the maraschino cherries from their canned fruit cocktail just for me, play endless games of cards and act shocked when they find me during hide and seek.

These old aunts of mine lived downstairs. Spinsters, there were murmurs about the elder having had a doomed love affair with a married doctor. She was tough and snappy while her sister was gentle and meek. 

There was family lore about parties and even dancing to a player piano. Watching these women in their older and older still years made tales of this gaiety almost impossible to imagine but I created flickering images of the old days in my child’s imagination. I still do. There exist sepia photos of them dressed as flappers with fringes and long strings of beads that contradicted their endgame pastime of quietly chatting by the bay window, heads together, seated in matching arm chairs.

There was another old aunt, cared for by the others, who was the softest of them all. Sweet and losing her mind in a most polite way, she -- despite her sisters vigilance -- was occasionally spotted pleasantly chatting with the UPS man wearing her girdle over her dress or making pancakes for the queen.
Sisters. My grandma is second from the right.
There was one more who’d died too young of something that was discussed only in whispers. I never met her but, as the family winnowed down into one remaining female, I found myself wearing her thin platinum wedding band with my own and being encouraged by its presence to think of her almost every day.

The aunts missed that little girl when I stopped being her.

As soon as the arrival of hormones intruded on this nirvana, things changed, including my interest in playing dolls with the aunts. I became little more than a careless wave, ending my tenure as a playmate and partner for Cat’s Cradle--once endlessly enthralled by the string’s magical transformations, I had bigger fish to fry.

The youngest female in the lineage often ends up with the tangible reminder of these women by inheriting, among other artifacts, the wedding rings. I now have them all. A few are too small for my chubby fingers and I have plans to have them sized to fit. When I’m older, I’ll be that old lady in the supermarket with a stack of rings twisting on gnarled fingers as she pays the impatient but polite cashier in coins.

So that’s it, I guess, Few but me now remember the old aunts but they are with all the excellent women who now stand in a line behind me with a hand on my shoulder. Thanks, girls. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Women are Better Off than Men

After a stressful news day (you know, the usual….ebola, ISIS, random violence, etc.), I felt myself about to snap. 

My various coping techniques were wearing thin so I reached out in the hope of avoiding a freak-out. Seth was busy at work, Tom didn’t pick up the phone (surprise!) and Charlie answered but was in no mood for my meltdown.

Okay, next: A devout and spiritual friend suggested I send a prayer into the ether when things on the news scare me. One advised cute cat videos but I’ve seen them all…twice. Another told me she no longer watches the news or reads the paper. I’ve tried that. I’m good for a few days without Scott Pelly’s piercing baby blues but then I crumble and return to footage of people shouting “Death to America!!” 

Finally, my sister-in-law suggested ice cream---the richer the better. This was the most feasible solution but I had none and, therefore, it involved leaving the house… so I just broke down and sobbed.

My tears came fast and were big like summer raindrops. They ran down my face and dripped off my chin but, soon after the flood began, it was over. Guess what! I felt much better. “A good cry” is truly that. When I was done, my eyes were two red swollen slits and my bib was damp but dammit, if my heart didn’t feel lighter.

This is not new. Women have been aware of this phenomenon since time began. Plus, it’s even been scientifically confirmed that the release of tears is very helpful in that enzymes are flushed out in the mad cavalcade of salt water and emotion and, in just a little bit (still sniffing), you are feeling better.

As for me, a good cry is sometimes the highlight of a weekend. It’s known as venting. And, these days, with the popularity of social media, the proliferation of public television screens and the prevalence of cable news, I am forced to keep up not only with the current state of Bruce Jenner’s disappearing adam's apple but also any new trend in fear and panic.

 I have been venting more often these days.

Seth appears fine with it. He seems to accept my emotional outbursts or is a good enough actor to handle them with, at best,  a shoulder pat or hug or, at worst, will suddenly “need” a part for the snow blower or new tool at Home Depot where he will wander the aisles until he thinks it’s safe to return.

Imagine, however, if I walked in on Seth sitting at the kitchen table, head in hands, sobbing into a dish towel. I might possibly die. I would assume the absolute worst of the worst and immediately seize up like white chocolate in the microwave. That is---I would be ruined.

My husband and, doubtless, many other men are well aware of this.

We women insist we appreciate an emotional man. We make a big deal about how a true man should not be hesitant to cry, how we want our men to be in touch with their emotions, to let it all hang out. On an intellectual level, we totally mean this. But, if this actually were the case, no matter what we think and say – life would be chaos. If Seth vented and sobbed on a regular basis, I would not handle it well at all.

And this is why women are better off than men. We can be as emotional as we want, mostly, with impunity. Sometimes it even becomes something that the men in our lives speak of fondly as we sob openly during the ending of Field of Dreams ”Oh, look at Mom….crying again!” This will be followed by someone’s husband or son lumbering over to offer a good-humored hug.

But, for all you men who are just as stressed out by the world, worried about the future and tender-hearted enough to inwardly break to bits when Ray Kinsella’s father wanders out of the cornfield and onto the field with Shoeless Joe, thanks for keeping it together so we can purge our own evil stress-enzymes via a good cry as we cope with the uncharted terrors of today.

I, for one, appreciate your self control.

Okay. Better now.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marriage, Then and Now.

Time elapsed: 30 years plus…

He: Your nose is like a rosebud made of spun sugar
She: (Blushing) No, yours is,my love.
He: I think there’s something terrible growing in my nose.
She: Make it stop.

He: Even when you’re not wearing perfume, you smell like an angel.
She: What a sweet thing to say (giggle, giggle)!!
She: Ugh, I feel too lazy to take a shower today.
He: You damn well better. Believe me.

She: Oh, no…I think I may have scraped the side of the car as I entered our garage, my dearest.
He: Don’t give it a second thought, my pet. All that matters is your safety,
She(Calling from a safehouse somewhere in Thailand): I hit the side of the garage last night.
He: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

She: Teehee…teehee! Look at my hair from all this wind!
He: You are as lovely as you were on our wedding day!
He: What the heck is happening on your head??
She: At least I have hair.

He: Good morning, my little persimmon. Did you sleep well?
She: Of course, my avocado. I dreamt of you!
He: Blurt, shmiggle, flooooft, smirch.
She: Goomph, splerk, flggggghh,flerm.

He: You are becoming an excellent cook, you cunning vixen.
She: (hysterical laughter): Thank you—providing you with delicious meals brings meaning to my life!
He: I don’t know what this is but if you make it again, you better run.
She: You run….all the way to McDonalds.

He:  Thank you for doing my laundry, my cherished bride.
She:  Providing you with clean underwear is an eternal joy!
He: My sock drawer has been empty for three days.
She: Alert the media.

He: I love you.
She: I love you, too.
He: I love you.
She: I love you, too.

Another example of then and now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Snot Me, It's You

The ever-so-slight tickle in my throat crept in about three weeks ago.

Later, I acknowledged it with a sense of dread on a beautiful fall day and, recognizing its potential, immediately began my routine to control it.
You're getting sick????

For me, a tickle will ultimately become a sore throat or a head cold which, if not the recipient of preventive ju-ju developed over decades (if not generations....my grandmother kept a moldy piece of bread at the ready in case anyone needed penicillin)), can land me in the hospital with two lungs full of pneumonia.

Some of you may remember my last trip there.

My inconvenienced and, somewhat, worried family (as in “...Who will make my sandwich???), friends who brought casseroles to feed my starving children because everyone knows Seth considers popcorn and Snickers bars a nutritious meal but mostly the young nutritionist  -- dispatched to my room via hospital protocol -- at whom I swore like a drunken sailor and after which they put a large label on my permanent medical records stating that I was never, ever to be given prednisone again.

Me on prednisone...only I'm worse.

So, in the hope of avoiding another such episode, I hauled out the box of tinctures, the packets of Vitamin C, my line-up of assorted teas, Mucinex, lip balms in flavors of citrus, emollient-infused tissues and a bottle of Jameson's whiskey.

I had already stocked up on fresh garlic, rye bread, diet ginger ale, Tootsie Pops and the current issues of the National Enquirer, People and Star Magazine. Schlocked and loaded, I was ready for anything.
A sip or two when not
feeling well....

Despite my attempt to stave off the full frontal planned by this particular set of germs, this virus packed a punch. I was soon in the thick of it, complete with a voice so deep and gravelly that telemarketers hung up on me

I had not a shred of energy, craved sleep, had a severe sore throat, concrete in my sinuses and was totally convinced that I would never feel well again--thus adding a psychological component to the festivities.

During these periods, I love to ask for favors/issue orders from a reclining position and Seth, the true-nurturer at this address, is usually compassionate and solicitous. Therefore, I was expecting to be pampered as usual.

The red ones are most effective
when  one is ailing.
What I did not take into account is that life at Seth’s job has been very challenging. Just about every piece of machinery there broke down during the summer and is scheduled to be restored this month.

Seth's physical presence is required for these mechanical extravaganzas and, as he told me in the loving way I so craved in my hours of pain and discomfort, “DAMMIT-TYPHOID-MARY-I-CANNOT-GET-SICK-THIS-MONTH-GET-AWAY-FROM-ME-DON’T-EVEN-BREATHE-IN-MY-DIRECTION-GO-SLEEP-DOWNSTAIRS-IN-THE-RECLINER-YOU-DRIPPY-WITCH!!!!!!”

Soon after this outburst, he brought in professional surveyors wearing orange vests and dragging their tripods to precisely calculate where he should position himself in relation to me to best avoid infection. 

He kept the attic fan on throughout the night so that a “cleansing” wind would blow away any spores that might try to “attach themselves to his face” and he carefully sealed my pillow from our bed in a plastic bag. Setting aside one fork, spoon, cup and bowl for my exclusive use, he attempted to make me sign some sort of waiver peppered with phrases like “relinquish all rights” and “may require total ostracism.”  I refused but finally agreed to sleep in a chair downstairs like Lucca Brasi, the semi-catatonic hit man in The Godfather, sat as he waited to pay respects to Don Corleone on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Luca was later garroted to death.


I poured my own ginger ale, warmed up my own broth, unwrapped my own Tootsie Pops and spoke with no one as he had hidden all the portable phones lest I irreversibly contaminate them. I was not allowed to touch the computer or the TV clicker until I threatened to smear him with snot as he slept.

He also lured the cats away with promises of unlimited ‘nip and treats, afraid they might harbor germs in their fur. Et tu, Buzzy?

Despite this demoralization, I am nearly fully recovered. Seth, however, is at my mercy since, regardless of the final addition of the Hazmat suit and the holy water, he got sick anyway.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Prison Break

The unthinkable happened.

On the softest of late summer Saturdays, on a day so sweet and fragrant that you cannot imagine something bad in the forecast, I heard Seth calling from the front yard. He sounded scared: “THE CATS ARE OUT!!!!” 

I leapt to my feet and running toward him, found myself moving faster than when, at a recent wedding, there had been last call for cake at the buffet. I was but a streak of light.

It appeared he’d come inside from a nap on the deck and left the screen open. Who, in a household regulated by the needs of five furry dependant beings, does such a thing? Especially since my mantra, repeated in an ominous hum to him and all who enter this house every ten minutes for the past two decades, is simple—“Whatever you do, do not let the cats out.” 

Maybe this is easier than I thought it would be....
None of my cats has ever faced a car, a coyote or, worst of all, someone grabbing cats for torture and captivity at a testing lab. “WHO’S OUT???” I shouted, bracing myself for the answer.

We have three old and infirm cats…Fritzi will be soon be 20. An eccentric  geriatric, she is stone deaf and leaves her little fleece “donut” only to use the box, have a bite or, for some reason known only to the feline gods, stand up and bellow so loudly that she can be heard as far as the mailbox outside….or, possibly, Jupiter.  She does this roughly every half hour around the clock, waking us through the night with her volume.

The other seniors, at 17, are siblings. Total wrecks, one is so arthritic you can hear her legs snap and pop as she unfolds them to creak down the hall to illegally poop in my shower. These two -- slow movers like me -- would be easily caught even if we all broke out at once.  In truth, I have tried, several times, to run for the hills...mostly when it’s time to perform certain domestic duties including stultifying dishwasher emptying rituals  or, even worse, putting away the groceries . Seth has easily out run me, dragging me inside to resume my work.

But I also have two young cats. Quick and curious, my fears were focused on Buzzy and Tito. Seth’s face said it all--it was them.  I have a hit man divorce lawyer on speed dial for this specific reason. I thought murderous thoughts as I saw my husband searching among the pachysandra.

Tito was left behind by Charlie who heart-brokenly dropped him off when relocating for a job. It’s like when you babysit for someone else’s kids---if a serious emergency occurs, God forbid, who will you save? 

You want to grab yours first but are responsible for someone else’s most precious possessions.  This is why my fearful mother – who, long ago, passed me the mantle of Supreme Worrier of the Universe  -- never allowed me to attend a sleep over. She feared that if one of my friend’s apartment buildings became engulfed in flames, I would be left to die. I still remember her firmly saying as I pleaded, “You play together all day, sleep at home.”  In other words, I had to save Tito first. But that left Buzzy, my hairball-hocking pride and joy. Anything bad happening to him is unthinkable.

Luckily, there exists a product to which my cats are hopelessly addicted. Friskies Party Mix sounds light hearted enough but it’s as addictive as crack and I am my cats’ pusher.  Once, in the past, when Buzzy got out, we lured him back with the shake-crinkle-shake of the treats bag.  

Would it work again??

Stumbling to retrieve the pouch from the cabinet, I ran back outside and tossed it to Seth who began the crinkle-shake routine. 

The cats, who now could be seen sniffing blades of grass and, for the record, appearing very happy, looked up and bounded over to Seth who grabbed them and ran into the house where, upon release, collapsed.  I, in an uncharacteristic moment of mercy, decided to spare his life….this time.

There was much celebratory hugging and under-the-chin scratching but then the lectures began as I questioned why, in a dangerous world of speeding teens, predatory beasts and Cover Girl Cosmetics would they throw caution to the wind?

As for the treats, I've secretly wanted to pop a small handful myself to see if this phenomenon works on humans but am afraid to
lest I, too, become an addict.

Seth, whose punishment has yet to be determined, would surely use this technique next time I flee the dishwasher. I’m just grateful it worked today.

Buzzy and Friends

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Review of the 2014 Primetime Emmys

Lena Dunham, under that skirt.

I have never hidden or denied that I love TV way too much for my own good.

Plus, this blog, from its inception, has faithfully reviewed award shows as though I were getting paid for it (if only) so why then did I not present a review for Monday night’s Emmys on Tuesday morning???

I’ll tell  you why---nothing all that much happened on the Emmys this year.

In addition, I was still in recovery from the previous evening's MTV Video Awards and, to be honest, I assumed no one would notice.

But I am both happy and somewhat annoyed to report that several of you have inquired as to where my Emmy review might be.

Thanks for asking. I think. But where are my notes?

There is a roll of toilet paper under
her skirt.
Think what you will but I take notes during awards shows lest a detail slips my mind and I forfeit an opportunity to be snarky when I am later seated and --  having flexed my fingers like Liberace at his baby grand -- ready to type my heart out here at my little desk in the corner.
My notes...right before I send them
to the Smithsonian.

But, yesterday I'd spent hours tidying up my desk which included corralling no less than 11 assorted lip balms into a zip-loc as well as chucking my Emmy notes right into the garbage.

Christina Hendricks.
Weird, beautiful
or both?
I had to fish them out but they were both soaked with, and partially disintegrated by coffee from this morning's unrepentant caffeine binge.

Luckily they were scrawled in Sharpie and I can still make them out. I am going to transcribe them almost exactly as written since the hour is very late and, according to some of you, so is my review. Ready?
Zoey and Allison.

  • I am very proud of Seth Meyers.....liked him as anchor of SNL's Weekend Update...happy to see his career going well.
  • Clear, horn-rimmed glasses are definitely trending right now. Good call, Fred Armisen, you weirdo.
  • Hmmmm. Not so sure how well Seth Meyers actually is doing but I am still proud...kind of.
  • Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Veep) is totally under-appreciated. Why?
  • I hate Lena Dunham. 
  • Am I the last to know that Hayden Panetierre is pregnant?? And who is responsible?
  • When did Matt LeBlanc go gray?
  • Uzo Aduba aka Crazy Eyes from "Orange is the New Black" looks great as herself.....not crazy at all.
  • Jimmy Kimmel was so much better than Seth Meyers. Uh-oh.
  • The camera just caught Lena Dunham saying “wow” (like an idiot) for the second time. Get over it, Dunham.
  • Matthew McConaughey is just so darn pretty....a little off but definitely pretty. Is it the marijuana?
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus simply does not age....gorgeous.
  • Allison Williams (in a quirky dress) and Zooey Deschanel  (in simple and elegant) appear to be wearing each other’s clothes.
  • Lena Dunham looks hideous as a blonde. Plus, I really hate her.
  • Steven Colbert has two distinctly different ears*
  • I love Laverne Cox.
  • Who does that bitch Lena Dunham think she is?
  • Oh, no. Even Jay Leno was funnier than Seth Meyers.
  • The Amazing race wins again for best reality show??? How did the nominating committee forget about the single greatest reality show in the history of the medium---“Hardcore Pawn?”
  • Who, in the name of Helena Rubinstein, did Lena Dunham’s make-up? I hate her.
  • How good can Jim Parson really be to win the Emmy so many times?**
  • Why is Lena Dunham dressed exactly like a toilet paper cover that someone's grandma crocheted in 1962?
  • Damn, Louis CK looks great in a tux....who knew?
  • Who exactly is Cary Joji Fukunaga and why am I strangely attracted to him?***
  • Why does Brian Cranston have a porn-stache......I hope it’s for a role.
  • Gwen Stefani is almost unrecognizable (More plastic surgery, Miss Hollaback, really?) and is a bit dumb, no?
  • Why doesn't Jon Hamm marry his girlfriend of 15 years? Because he's Jon Hamm, that's why.
  • Christina Hendricks is starting to weird me out......
  • If I ever run into Lena Dunham on the street, I’m going to punch her smug little face right off.
  • Why is Matthew McConaughey wearing so much self-tanner....is his wife too busy designing over-priced handbags for QVC to tell him to knock it off?
  • Amy Poehler wasn’t all that funny tonight without her accomplice, Tina Fey, now was she? Ha.
  • Could it be that I am jealous of  Lena Dunham?****
  • Damn. Seth Meyers was awful.


See. I told you....there were no wardrobe malfunctions, pretentious political statements or awful gaffes. Kathy Bates wore pants with a caftan. Ricky Gervais was under control. The status was very quo at the 2014 Emmys.

I hope something crazy happens at the Golden Globes next spring.

....something like this.

                                          * I actually googled Steven Colbert's asymmetrical ears. He is deaf in one as a result of a punctured ear drum. That, according to further research, however, should not have caused their lack of symmetry.
                                             ** I remain the only person alive who has never seen an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" and I plan to keep it that way. I have also never seen any of the Star Wars movies. There is no real intent behind either of these choices but now I want to keep my streak going.
                                             *** I realize my attraction to Cary Joji Fukunaga is purely narcissistic---his braids reminds me of myself when I was in second grade.
                                             ***** Yes. Extremely.
Cary Joji Fukunaga wearing his hair like I did when I was eight.
He is also the creator of "True Detective" on HBO.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The MTV Video Awards: The Night of the Ass

I just deleted several opening paragraphs for today’s post because, despite my efforts, I cannot sugarcoat my review of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards with a flowery opening or even some age-deprecating excuses as to why I didn’t enjoy what I saw.

The only thing that kept me from using the vomit bag I keep handy was my hope that I was either imagining the whole thing or that the entire world will agree with me. Neither scenario, I suspect, will redeem us. I fear it all actually happened.

Contrary to the belief of many some, I am not an idiot. I understand that young people are sexual beings. I have long believed that abstinence is less likely to become a successful method of handling horny teens than a solid attempt to educate them about protection from unwanted pregnancy and damaging STDs but what I and millions of adolescents saw last night was an un-doer of all the good we try to impart to teenagers everywhere as well as shockingly vulgar for someone like me…no prude but a product of a decidedly different age.


On last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, at best, female sexuality was represented by glaring, sneering, snarling women who appeared to interpret “sexy” as looking as mean as possible. But, as a woman, what do I know? Maybe men are turned on by really scary, angry looking women. I hope not. What I do know was that last night’s show was a celebration of the profane and obscene, interrupted by commercials for pimple creams, fast food and promos for madcap sitcoms about teen pregnancy.

So, obviously, MTV knew who their audience was. It was kids.

Jokes were even made about certain artists who look like jail bait. They repeatedly emphasized that specific, very youthful looking performers were genuinely of legal age. Maybe the diminutive, talentless and bland Ariana Grande actually is 21 but another, who goes by the moniker of Becky G, is 17.

Nicki in one of the more tasteful moments
of last night's ass fest.
Kicked off  by senior citizens Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani, the evening was a total mess.

One of the first numbers was some kind of insanity with the detestable Nicki Minaj whose appeal I will never comprehend.  

Her giant and terrifying derriere was the star of the performance and, I (again, I am a woman) was more grossed out than impressed. Hers used to be the kind of rear end that women would strive to camouflage with the right clothes but Nicki worked both it and the audience into a frenzy with her ass-robatics as the camera cut to the dead-eyed but also generously tushied Kim Kardashian. I wondered if there might be an “ass-off” later on.

The entire evening was a showcase for countless asses, crotches, humping and bumping around, simulated sex and the aforementioned sneering and glaring. If my mother were still alive and watching this show with me, it would have  – without question – killed her.
Lorde, looking gleeful, at
last year's Grammys.

The only ass-free portion of the evening was Taylor Swift who, taking a semester off from country pap to put a skinny toe into the waters of bouncy pop, attempted to shake her invisible booty to a new hit which, shock of shocks, I did not hate. 

That doesn’t mean I’m softening toward Miss Swift. She was as incredibly annoying as ever, acting coy and earnest from the front row, applauding enthusiastically as her “friend” Lorde (whose fashion and make-up choices make Morticia Addams look bright as a new penny) accepted an award. My advice to Lorde: watch your back.

Nothing could save this show for me. Not Adam Levine. Not some recently landed extraterrestrial named Iggy Azalea who appeared to be channeling an angry rapping robot...not even Usher who I usually love and was the only one all night who smiled while performing. By the way, he also interacted heavily with yet another appearance of Nicki Minaj’s ubiquitous ass.

This was, indeed, the night of the ass.

This leads to a different problem with last night’s MTV Video awards. They were boring as hell. Yes, yes, America’s youth, to me…not you. Or, maybe you were a little bored.  

Did you enjoy Beyonce’s marathon of grinding and thrusting (once you’ve seen one thrust, you’ve seen ‘em all) or did you fall into a mercifully dreamless coma like I did? 

Luckily, I'd recorded the whole thing in case I missed something wonderful so I rewound Beyonce and watched again later. Nope. It was more of the same:  mad faces, flared nostrils, sidelong glares and moves that will land Miss Bey, as well as her dancers, in traction one day. Yawn.
Mean Face #74
More yawning for Blue Ivy and her Daddy who presented “the greatest living entertainer” with a Moon man for something or other.

So, despite all the people with initials instead of last names, all the videos  “featuring” people with initials instead of last names and one Mr. Riff Raff who won the “Susan Says…”  for the "Most Ridiculous Looking Human Ever,” I was bored and antsy or bored and fully asleep or bored and grossed-out which is why I am never going to watch the MTV Video Music Awards ever again.

Riff Raff.
Aptly named, no?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Box...

I had one job to do that day.  

If it were your job, you might not have worried at all. In fact, you might be good at this sort of thing, even consider it a challenge…but I was worried.  

This job, literally looming before me on the indoor-outdoor carpeting, was to wrap one enormous, unwieldy, huge monolith of a box in order for it to join other gaily dressed  boxes at a baby shower. I did not want my box to be embarrassed among the other pretty boxes. This was serious.

I am a terrible gift- wrapper. 

Years ago, I lasted but one pre-Christmas day in the wrapping department of Macy’s. Truth be told, I was a fill-in while the others were either gift wrap prodigies or, apparently, had devoted their entire lives to the science of neat corners and hand-tied bows but I soon had tape tape in my hair and was warned to never return.
I learned to wrap gifts at the famous "Three Stooges Gift Wrapping
Based on this memory, I should not have been so cavalier about my chore, allowing the hours to tick by until the event was the following day. But, no worries, mate---I had Seth and his freakishly long arms and good nature to help me through it. Read that as do it for me while I sat back with a glass of iced and a cat on my lap.

But, what are the odd--Charlie unexpectedly called to lure Seth up to Massachusetts  for a male-bonding weekend and --  poof! -- Seth was gone, leaving nothing but a cereal bowl in the sink and the faint scent of banana in the air.
...notoriously tricky to gift wrap.

Now, all alone with the box, I got nervous. I anticipated, quite correctly, that my task would involve bending and lifting which are the two things I hate most in this world…so, I decided to tackle it the evening before in case I hurt myself and needed time to recover.  I was glad I’d bought enough paper to wrap the Taj Mahal since I knew there’d be mistakes.

Sometime after midnight and multiple inner pep talks that would have made Dale Carnegie look non-commital, I grabbed my scissors. 

The cats gathered and perched on the back of the love seat upon which I’d recently been sprawled when, suddenly, we heard an ominous thump upstairs on the deck.  Frozen, the cats and I exchanged fearful looks and shared the thought that on the one stinkin’ night Seth is gone, something scary is happening. And, here we are, with nothing for defense but three rolls of bunny-themed wrapping paper.

The cats scattered as the thumping morphed into the sound of deck furniture being shoved about and even though I soon deduced that my visitor was probably an animal and not the ghost of John Wayne Gacy in his clown suit, I was still shaken up. 

Oh, hey....can I come in?

I didn’t want to waste my one true emergency call to a neighbor on a raccoon (or even a sasquatch) so, instead, turned off the lights and cowered beneath a crocheted afghan under which I ultimately slept until morning. I woke with the cats around me again – a signal that the danger was over -- and emerged. The threat was gone but the box, still unwrapped, looked even bigger.

Relief , however, propelled me forward. After all, I’d  survived  with a possible sasquatch rearranging the deck so what’s a box, albeit a gigantic one? Plus, I had to leave for the baby shower very soon.  

After coffee and a phone call to Seth recounting my travails, I stood to circle my prey, roll of paper in hand and fire in my bell. Before you knew it, I’d figured it out. My shame as a poor holiday wrapper behind me, I was all about snipping, folding and taping and – boom! – the box was done. 

The cats and I took numerous selfies with it until I accidentally tore the paper and had to make a minor repair. The box had nothing to be ashamed of at the party later and I discovered that I had left the tub of bird seed on the deck after filling the feeders and a raccoon (or sasquatch) had chewed through the plastic and done some serious partying during the night. The end.

The actual box which exists now only in my memory....and this picture.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Aging, Advertising and a Bad Latuda

Does anyone still get their news from television anymore?

There was a day when the country used to snap on the TV and watch Walter Cronkite or even two curmudgeons named Huntley and Brinkley deliver the goods every evening. Raise your hands, please.......

Hmmm, only a few. And I’m sure you’re mostly over 50.

Uncle Walter kept us all informed.
Although I, myself, belong in the afore-mentioned age group, I get some of my news at the computer, too.

Thanks to the internet’s proliferation of schlock, I am equally aware of when a family of six rents out Kim Kardashians’s cleavage or exactly which expletive Shia LeBeouf recently shouted at a police officer, as well as the developments in the White House, the middle east and under Hilary Clinton’s bangs.
Actually, maybe a family
of eight could live there.

For the most part, however, Seth and I watch nightly world news on TV and have been noticing a clear and unsettling trend that has usurped all advertising time during the half hour format: All the commercials are for hip and knee replacements, incontinence supplies for women and a variety of prescription medications.  

The most popular and bizarrely obnoxious commercials used to be for Viagra and its ilk, showing attractive middle-aged actors sitting in farted-up bath water in tubs out on their lawns or men with well-clipped beards ogling women as they cheerfully re-pot plants (apparently the writers of these ads find transplanting a geranium before lunch to be a huge turn-on) but now, most of the commercials seem to be about depression.

"Why are our bathtubs out here, dear?"
"I have no idea."

Everyone knows that depression is not exclusive to the older set but there must be a lot of it to justify the advertising blitz on the small screen. Perhaps we are kind of bummed that we need to replace our joints, take up gardening in order to have sex or buy handbags large enough to carry our spare Depends but that would mean that all that malarkey is true. Well, it ain't.

Still, the ads do come fast and furious throughout the 30 minutes it takes Dianne Sawyer to tell us that the world does indeed seem to be in quite a fix. Or, come to think of it, maybe we’re melancholy because we know what's going on from watching the news in the first place.

By the way, have you noticed the names of the medications?

Take for example, Latuda. That sounds like a bad attitude about latitude but, instead, it’s a medication  for bipolar depression. Prolia sounds like a rapid moving flesh eating bacteria but actually is a medication for osteoporosis while Spiriva is for bronchial issues. To me, spiriva sounds like a religious cult (or, possibly a Chasidic entertainer...either way, she's in trouble) as in, “My daughter's run off with Spiriva!! What shall we do?”

 There’s also Toviaz which is a prescription for overactive bladders but should be a futuristic and poorly reviewed  movie starring Will Smith. 

You go break a leg, you crazy bitch.
A very heavily advertised anti-psychotic called Abilify does actually sound like something sturdy and life-empowering but Cymbalta, for depression, sounds like a party: They’re having a big cymbalta on Saturday for their 25th anniversary, wanna go?”

Chantix, which  helps you stop smoking, sounds like fun, too while Lyrica -- for seizures -- sounds lilting and musical.

Then there’s the granddaddy of them all….Viagra. It’s chemical name is sildenafil citrate which does actually sound kind of droopy while viagra could be something to rub into your scalp to make your hair grow or, well, you know. Just seeing the word Viagra makes us all feel empowered and strong. I salute the drug namers for that one.
You might be next!

So, if someone under 25 were to turn on the evening news (as likely as Justin Bieber not hitting someone with his Ferrari) or, for that matter, even the decades-old news show, 60 Minutes on Sunday nights, he or she would be certain that the advertisers are very sure their audience is a bunch of pee soaked, creaking and depressed wrecks who need help in the bedroom.

Maybe some of us are but most of us would just like to be invited to a good cymbalta now and then and have a little fun.

"Toviaz!" starring Will Smith opens soon.