Sunday, January 8, 2012
I am also not a resolution maker. I used to be but I was never very good about keeping them, and I just set myself up for failure and disappointment. I know I'm not the only one in that boat. Have you ever been in a gym the first week of the year? It's standing room only for the machines. Check back in February. No problem.
Last year I did commit (not resolve) to use the 15th of each month as Purge Day. While I didn't purge on exactly the 15th, I did get rid of something/clean out a drawer/closet during each month.
Very refreshing. At least until this past week when I wanted something I had tossed 10 days before. But I will keep purging on a regular basis.
What I have committed to for 2012 is to finish things I start. I don't mean the painting I began in 1991 or the quilt I started in 1986. Rather, when I have something in my hand with a destination, I will NOT put it down on the counter half way there when I get distracted by something else. Although as I look around my kitchen counters right now I see two things that need to be put away. Be right back.
Okay I'm back. I put away the couple things I noticed. I also put clean dishes from last night away, took my vitamins, washed a couple more things and got another cup of coffee. I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus considering I distracted myself from writing my blog about getting distracted.
I guess I'm a work in progress.
Any resolutions for you this year?
Saturday, January 7, 2012
When I was trying to think of a title, I thought Hello Again worked. A couple weeks ago we watched the most recent Kennedy Center annual awards and Neil Diamond was honored. He must be 100 years old. I remember him when I was a kid. He's still a great performer. He's written so many songs that went on to be big hits not only for himself but for other entertainers. I saw Shrek, The Musical last week, too. Know the song "I'm a Believer?" Neil wrote it.
But I digress. So what I have I been doing over the last 10 weeks? Mostly I have been watching Paul suffer through a back injury, subsequent surgery and post-op recovery. Weeks before the surgery, which took place the week of Thanksgiving, he was in agony. I've never seen someone hurt that much. There wasn't much I could do but I tried to be home as much as I could.
The surgery. There have been serious complications which he has been dealing with since. Next week we're getting a second opinion. We'll see what comes of that.
Then there's my work with Adopt-a-Family. That take a tremendous amount of my time and energy from September through December. Most of that work is done now but I'm still spending a few hours a week trying to wrap everything up for another year.
Then there's the usual stuff that we all deal with, especially during the holidays. I can't say I'm sorry it's over for another year. As for the whole year 2011, good riddance, I say. It wasn't a great year for us, and it was a difficult year for many of my family and friends. New Year's Eve I kicked its ass right out. Here's hoping 2012 will be happier, healthier and more prosperous (whatever that means to you) for all of us.
As for the blog, I've thought about it a lot. I've wondered if I would ever get back to it. I've got several posts half written and many more ideas. I guess I'm not ready to wrap it up. Here I am.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Don’t sperm banks pay for donations? So if you’re a redhead whose been making a living through sperm donation, you just became unemployed. Can you imagine filling out THAT application for unemployment benefits? What if you have those contacts that change your eye color? Could they tell?
Apparently there’s a glut of redheaded sperm in the market. Somehow that sounds disgusting. They say they have 140,000 doses of sperm from redheads in stock. Do they keep them on shelves in a walk-in freezer or what?
The demand for redheads is still high in Ireland but the rest of the world, not so much. Cryos International’s office is located in Denmark. If they are getting most of their donations locally, what do they expect? But they also said they aren’t taking any more Scandinavian donors either unless they have brown eyes.
Worldwide only 4% are redheaded, in the US only 2% of the population are natural redheads The country with the highest percentage is Scotland with 13%. Since the sperm bank is looking for more Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mediterranean and mixed-race donors, maybe they should branch out and open an office somewhere else in the world.
I know what the issue is. Redheaded girls are okay but redheaded boys are not. That’s not my opinion, just my observation. Whenever I see a little redhead, boy or girl, I always tell them “Redheads are special.” It’s not easy being a redhead.
I am a redhead. My mother is a brown-eyed brunette and Dad was a blue-eye blond. So where did my red hair come from? Apparently from my mother’s father although he died before color photos so we don’t know for sure.
No one expected me to be a redhead. The story is when Mom was pregnant there was a family joke that if the baby had red hair, they would drown it. Yeah, I don’t think it’s very funny either. So out I come with a head covered with orange peach fuzz. Whoops!
I never really cared for my hair. I hated my freckles, too. I was six feet tall at 13 years old; which made me a 6’ 13-year-old redhead, which was really not easy. Do you know tall boys are at 13? About 5’3.
I was about 28 years old when I realized that being a 6’ redhead wasn’t such a bad thing. Apparently lots of women, and maybe their men, wish they were redheads. Supposedly 30% of women who dye their hair go red as opposed to 26% blonde and 27% brunette.
But don’t me get going about the names they call redheads. I HATED being called Red. Carrot Top was the worst. The only nickname I didn’t mind was Rusty. Sounds like a stripper. One time my granddaughter Madeleine looked at me and said “Your hair’s not red, Grama, it’s ORANGE.” Out of the mouths of babes.
Redheads are known for having tempers. Redheads don't turn grey, they turn white. We also tend to lose our color later in life than people with other colors. I can attest to that. The white in my hair makes it look blonde, but I refuse to put any permanent color in it. Paul hates it when someone refers to his wife as a blonde. “She’s a redhead!” He likes saying his wife is a 6’ redhead.
"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
Thursday, September 22, 2011
As I mentioned, Joan Baez opened the show with Good morning children of the 80's. This is your Woodstock and it's long overdue. For the record, I am NOT a child of the 80's. I'm a child of the 60's. Or maybe late 60's early 70's.
I was too young to have been at Woodstock in 1969. And I didn't watch it on television because it wasn't ON television. I did, however, have the double album. And I could recite every announcement, every introduction and sing every word to every song. And I had to hide said album from my father who didn't approve of some of the lyrics.
Twenty-nine years old at Live Aid, I think I may have been older than the majority of the crowd. There were performers and bands there I didn't really know or care about but there were plenty I did.
I had a Cream poster in 1967. I am a huge Eric Clapton fan. EC was at Live Aid, one of the highlights of the day for me. I never saw Cream in concert but I've seen EC many times. Believe it or not I remember he did She's Waiting, Layla and White Room that day. Phil Collins played drums.
Then there was Ozzy. Another early favorite of mine when he was with Black Sabbath. I had their first album entitled Black Sabbath. I have a newspaper article with the schedule for Live Aid. Ozzy had the unfortunate timing of the 9:50 a.m. slot. Can you imagine? The Prince of Darkness at 10 a.m. Just doesn't seem right.
Then there was Madonna. Right after the big story broke that she had posed for Playboy and Penthouse. Her name was everywhere in the news, and her career took off after that. When she took the stage that day there was a lot of whistling and cheering from the crowd. Her first comment was "I ain't takin' shit off today."
A few months before their album Live at the Apollo was released Daryl Hall & John Oates (Hall & Oates)and David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick of The Temptations-fame played at Live Aid. I'm a huge fan of Motown, and they put on an awesome show. They played late in the evening but they got the tired, sunburned crowd on our feet singing and dancing. Unfortunately David and Eddie died a few years later.
Then there was Mick Jagger and Tina Turner. During their duet of "It's Only Rock and Roll" Mick took off his shirt. In the video you can see he continues the chorus, and goes to the side of the stage. When he comes back to the stage he's in a new shirt and a different pair of pants. As they continue the song you can see Mick reach over, grab something and rip Tina's leather skirt off. She finishes the song in a leotard. Clearly an early wardrobe malfunction.
I looked over some of the yellowed newspaper articles I collected before and after Live Aid including some critics' reviews. Critical is right. They were tough. Nobody there cared. I was too far back from the stage to really see and watched on giant display screens, early Diamond Vision. The quality was terrible but nobody cared. We were there.
On the way in there were signs everywhere saying cameras were prohibited. I think the ticket said that, too. Bags were searched at the gates. In my backpack I had water, snacks, sunscreen, shorts, t-shirt and my Olympus OM10 35mm. They never said a thing.
The concert sold out. We paid $65 for tickets which said $35 on them. Which is a bargain now and not bad then for so much music. Back in the day I used to go to 2-3 concerts a month, and the price of a ticket was about $5. I went to so many concerts in my teens and 20's it's a wonder I can hear.
There were other Live Aid events in several countries in addition to London and Philadelphia and they were all linked by satellite. It was called a Global Jukebox and one article talked about the "technical wizardry." We saw cables between poles all over the stadium. You'd see remote-controlled cameras run back and forth across the cables filming the crowd. How far we've come.
That was the first time I saw the human wave. There were beach balls bouncing all over the stadium. The temperature got up into the 90's and they used fire hoses to try to cool the crowd down. I don't now how well it worked. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion were the medical issues of the day. There were very few reports of drug overdoses.
After the show news reports quoted security as saying "it was so calm it was scary" and "fewer problems than any sporting event." I remember back then, even at large concerts like Live Aid, people were well behaved. I never saw anyone arrested at shows in the 70's and 80's. Probably because they were all mellow from the pot. I did see lots of flasks, wine skins and bottles confiscated or poured out at the door but that was part of the fun, to see if you could get something in.
That day there were reports of up to 85 women waiting in line for the restroom. The one time I went I waited in line for 30 minutes and then went into the men's rooms. I don't know about now but back then it was pretty common to see women going into the men's room.
But, of course, the show was supposed to raise money to help end hunger in Africa. Supposedly a lot of money was raised. How much of it actually got where it was supposed to go, who knows. But I'm pretty sure most of the people there that day, myself included, were not thinking about anything other than the music and the experience.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The practice was a specialty that my regular doc referred me to. The guy I saw was actually an associate in the practice of the doctor she suggested. But I couldn't get an appointment as soon as I wanted and since it was the same practice I thought it didn't matter. No need to get into the particulars but I'll tell you I'll only go back for a review of the tests.
If further tests or treatments are suggested, I'll be looking for another referral.
As I often tell others, you are your own best advocate. Educate yourself to the best of your ability, ask questions (that's never a problem for me) but most importantly Follow your gut. If something makes you uncomfortable, don't put yourself in that situation again.
Monday, September 12, 2011
We drove through the night and arrived at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium just before 7 a.m. The gates opened soon after when we filed in to show our $35 tickets that we paid $65 for. It's general admission but the crowd is amazingly orderly. No pushing, no shoving just a lot of very excited music lovers.
At nine o'clock Joan Baez came onto the stage and said Good morning children of the 80's. This is your Woodstock and it's long overdue. The place went nuts.
That's how The Live Aid concert for African famine relief began in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. There was another concert going on at the same time in Wembley Stadium in London, England and both venues were telecast worldwide.
I remember hearing that there was only one arrest at JFK in a crowd of more than 100,000. Now parents brawl at their kids' little league games.
Once inside we had to decide what side of the stadium would be best. Forget the field. There's no seating and will be shoulder to shoulder all day. There would also never be any shade.
I'm a redhead which means the sun and I are not friends. It can burn me like toast. I needed shade for at least part of the day. I was prepared with water in a plastic Tupperware jug (no little bottles of water back then), sunscreen, light clothes, food and my white fedora. I was very cool in my fedora which I still have.
There was a point about mid-afternoon when the sun began to get to me, and I was getting dizzy. I remember he said We can leave. To which I replied No way, I'll go inside, throw up and come back before we'll leave. It didn't quite come to that.
The one time I did go to the bathroom it took me 30 minutes, and I missed a whole act. I vowed not to need to do that again. Stopped drinking water, stopped bathroom breaks.
Can you see me there in the section on the right about half-way up? Maybe not.
The 16-hour, all-day and much-of-the-night concert featured some of the biggest names in rock music, including Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Madonna, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney some in Philly, some in London. Phil Collins actually played both sides of the Atlantic. He played in London then got on the Concorde and came to play for us.
Between the two stadiums there were nearly 175,000 people and another 1.5 billion viewed it on TV. The event, organized by Bob Geldorf of The Boomtown Rats raised over $100 million. The phone lines worldwide were repeatedly jammed by people calling to donate during the concert.
The show lasted in Philly until 11:30 p.m. when more than 100,000 people walked, stumbled and dragged themselves, once again in very orderly fashion, out to the parking lot and into a two-hour traffic jam. We drove north a couple hours and found a hotel off the highway where after more than 40 hours without sleep we collapsed and slept for 12 hours. Those were the days.
Here's part of the line up in Philadelphia:
Duran Duran, The Hooters, Bob Dylan, Four Tops, Patti Labelle, Hall & Oates, Billy Ocean, Ozzy Osbourne, Run DMC, Rick Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Judas Priest, Bryan Adams, The Beach Boys, George Thoroughgood & The Destroyers, Bo Didley, Simple Minds, The Pretenders, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Madonna, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Cars, Kenny Loggins, and too many others to name. Some are gone (some really gone) and some are still rocking.
In anticipation of the event I started collecting magazines and then newspaper clipping afterwards. Everything I could find I put into an album along with photos I took that day.
Here's some my memorabilia including my ticket, concert program, fan, and the magazines and newspaper articles.
And now I've decided it needs to go. I'm putting it up for auction on eBay. Let's hope someone else is as notalgic for those days as I am.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
There was a little boutique back then where I liked to window shop. One day there was a purple suede jacket that I just had to have. It was definitely not in the budget but I bought it anyway. Before taking off the tags I showed it to Paul.
The next time we went out he asked where my purple suede jacket was. I told him I had decided to return it. He asked why and I said I had changed my mind. When he pushed for a better reason I sheepishly said I found out I needed two new tires for my car, and I couldn't afford both. His immediate response was Let me buy it for you. So I kept the purple suede jacket and over the years nearly wore it out.
Eventually it went out of style, or at least out of MY style, but I never gave it away. It's still in a garment bag at the back of a closet. I checked this morning. At first I couldn't find it and I got a funny feeling in my stomach and thought I couldn't have. A little more searching and there it was.
This morning while talking about purging some clothes, Paul said we have entirely too many jackets and coats and need to give some to charity. I agreed but thought But not my purple suede jacket.
One day, hopefully far into the future, when the grandkids are cleaning out our house they will come upon a purple suede jacket and I'm sure they will wonder Did Grandma really wear this? Yup, I sure did.
Friday, September 9, 2011
I was part of the screaming, clapping throng of family and friends in the hangar at Quonset Point Naval Air Station when my cousin Nelson came home four years ago from his second tour in Iraq. A National Guardsman since he was 18, Nel was 54 years old at the end of that tour. I still get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I think of that day.
I know about the Thank a Soldier Gratitude Campaign. So why did I hesitate to show my sign of gratitude to the man in uniform I saw getting his groceries in the market yesterday? I thought about it. I was uncomfortable. I thought he might not be aware of the gesture. Pretty lame excuses.
Please take a moment and watch this video.
Next time I'll get it right. I promise.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
We were without power for three days. The 25# of ice in blocks I froze in preparation wasn't enough to keep our refrigerator cold long enough to avoid losing most of what was in it. It was no great loss.
The deck looked like a whole tree had been shredded. We had two trees come down in the yard and a fence was blown down. We were lucky. The picture above is a tree in one neighbor's yard that fell and landed on another neighbor's house.
There is no public water in our area so we have a private well. The water is pumped from the well into the house. No power, no pump, no water. And no flushing toilets. You can flush by pouring a bucket of water into the tank but you have to have that water available, too.
We were fairly well prepared. Paul had filled a container with a few gallons of drinkable water, and I had bought three gallons of bottled water. We filled up two other containers which probably held a total of ten gallons to flush toilets with and wash with.
It is amazing how little water we used. We did the usual washing and brushing of teeth. Paul heated water to take a half cold bath/shower a couple times. I went to my mother's once for a hot shower. She had running, hot water.
We managed to cook a few meals. First on the camp stove in the garage while the storm was going and then on the gas grill later. I used regular dishes and heated water to wash them.
When the lights came on after three days we had only used part of the utility water and were no where near using all the potable water. We were stunned by how little water we had used.
Even though we think we are fairly conservative and try not to waste water, it was amazing how little we managed to exist on. I guess we should try a little harder.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
It was a fun post and I was glad to be included. Take a read.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Sophie was alone a lot. And so was I. I was 19 when we first moved there. If I was having a bad day or just needed an ear, I would knock on her door with some made-up question, and she always seemed to know that I needed someone to talk to. She would invite me in for a cup of tea, and we would sit and talk for hours. She was so wise, and I loved spending time with her.
Their apartment was full of odds and ends of furniture. Sophie refinished many of the chairs and tables herself. But what I remember most was her needlepoint. She had pillows everywhere and had recovered chairs and sofas with her needlepoint.
Her apartment was so cool. It was the main living area when the house had been lived in by a single family. It had huge rooms, 11' foot ceilings, massive windows and a marble fireplace. It was what I envisioned apartments in New York City must look like. Sophie had such style.
Fast forward 30 years. Last week someone who also knew Harry and Sophie back then mentioned her name. He had seen it on his cousin Judy's schedule. Judy is a hairdresser and colors Sophie's hair. What are the odds?
I've thought about Sophie over the years and took this as a sign I needed to call her. I found her telephone number and called. "Sophie?" "Yes" "This is Sandy from Prospect Street." "Who?" "Sandy from the third floor on Prospect Street." "Sandy?! I can't believe it!"
Sophie is 95 years old.
Yesterday we had our first visit in nearly 30 years. We spent the afternoon sitting on her sofa surrounded by so many of the pillows I remember. Although there are many, many more now. The sofa is a different one but there were chairs, pictures, paintings, drawings and a piano that I remember. And Sophie still has the style, wit and sense of humor I remember 36 years ago when we first met.
She wears hearing aids and can't do her needlework any longer because of arthritic hands. She's a little frail in body but her spirit and mind are just as strong as ever. We had a wonderful visit. She couldn't believe the things I remembered about our days as neighbors, and I couldn't believe how little she had changed. We laughed and reminisced about Prospect Street. And we shared sad stories and a few tears.
The afternoon flew by, and I didn't want to leave. When I finally had to go, we promised each other that we would visit again soon. As we stood at the door and hugged she looked into my face and was still saying "I can't believe it, I can't believe you called." And I said "Sophie, once you're in my heart, you're always in my heart." I'm so glad I called her and can't wait to see her again. Maybe I'll just knock on her door with some made-up question.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
She said that she meets nice people everywhere she goes and said part of that is because she talks to everyone.
That sounds like me. Although no one ever believes me, I was very shy until my late 20’s. It’s amazing what reservoirs within yourself a divorce forces you to tap into. Today I'll start a conversation with just about anyone anywhere.
In my business (real estate) I meet new people all the time. I used to do a lot of relocation work. Not so much lately since people seem to be leaving Rhode Island rather than arriving. Often the realtor is the first person someone new to the area meets. I’ve had relo clients in my car for 4-5 hours at a time. I’ve always said I can make the smallest talk you’ve ever heard.
And because I’m often the first person they meet, I’m also the first impression of what folks here are like. We New Englanders seem to have a reputation for being cold, stand-offish and not welcoming to newcomers. I’ve never quite understood that because I just think we are the warmest and fuzziest people on earth. But I’ve heard it often enough to know that's the word on the street.
At some point in the day I usually mention that I was born and raised here. Often I hear “Gee, you don’t sound like you’re from Rhode Island.” My answer to that is “Thank you, thank you.” I have worked for years on neutralizing my RI accent for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it can sound downright dumb.
My favorite comment heard from a relo client was a woman who said “You’re not at all what I expected. You’re really nice.” She said it like she had just tasted Japanese puffer fish and found she liked it. I really didn’t know what to say after thank you. I just smiled.
What I wanted to say was “glad I could dispel that myth for you, lady. Now get out of my car and go home.” But I would have said it with a smile.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Bentley says "No, your wife!" Gonna have to buy that man a drink the next time we see them at Joe's.