Sunday, April 20, 2008

Those were the days....

I can't believe that I still see children bouncing around in moving vehicles without being buckled in. Now I admit to having a hard time at first adjusting to the law, but when my son was small, there was never any question about it and I was vigilant. However, I do have to laugh when I remember how it was back in the day. A typical Saturday in the summer would most always involve going to Hubbard Lake. My Mom always had some boring, household chores to do that would prevent us from getting to the lake say, at around 9:00 a.m. when we were all set to go. Comes Aunt Shirley to the rescue. My Dad's only sister would almost always save the day. Auntie would come burlin' ' into our driveway with a convertible that seemed a block long. As I remember there was white leather upholstery in that thing. What ever happened to white leather upholstery, and back seats that held 5 people? Seemed the heights of glamour to me. My brother, sister and I and our two cousins would pile into the back seat and sit on TOP of the back seat, completely and unsafely untethered by any kind of seat belt. Auntie would have just had her hair done in a Marge Simpsonish beehive. She had large sunglasses and glossy coral nails, with matte coral lipstick. More glamour! So with the radio blasting and all of us singing "Stand by your Man", or "Boy named Sue" we would proceed to our day at the lake. It was a 10 mile trip through the country to get to our watery Eden. With her hands at 10 and 2 on the giant steering wheel, and the pedal to the metal, Auntie obliged our impatience by making the trip in about 6 minutes. Yes, the speed limit was 75 and we generally were flyin' along about 85 miles per hour. We tried to wave and yell to everyone we saw so they could bear witness to and envy our total cool. At those moments, there was no one we would rather be and no where else, either. Livin' large, country style! Sometimes it would necessitate Auntie maneuvering around a tractor and hay wagon driven by some poor unsuspecting farmer. We would wave and hoot like some deranged one car parade. Upon arrival, in a total cloud of dust, all five of us would pile out (with troll hair) and run (did I mention that we were already in our swimsuit, so as not to waste a moment) whoopin' and hollerin' straight to the waters edge, down the dock, and one by one, go cannonballing into the water. My brother would perform his famous belly smacker. More whoopin' and hollerin' of course! We then, sufficiently cooled off and dusted off too, went back to help stake out our spot. Blankets, coolers and the a.m. radio were positioned. Aunt Shirley, unlike our own Mom, would further indulge us by letting us drink all the pop we wanted and eat chips all hot and greasy and salty. Such decadence! Back in the water, just barely avoiding getting mulched by a boat propeller, we played till we could see the rest of the parents joining us for the barbecue. Aunt Shirley taught us to play canasta and various forms of solitaire and sitting at the picnic table, those games would begin. She always looked so cool smoking her long cigarette, and of course, we couldn't wait to be old enough, say 15 or so, to be able to blow smoke rings too. Generally then, we would all be shooed away so the grown ups could have time to catch up on their week. "Little pitchers have big ears" being the agreed upon sentiment. After hot dogs and whatnot began the most tortuous 30 minutes of our week. Yup. No swimming for 30 minutes on our full stomachs. Horror stories about such tragedies were repeated again--even though we knew 'em all by heart. Groan! After about 212 inquiries to my Dad, the official timekeeper, everyone got sick of us asking--and let us go back in the water. Just go ahead and drown yourself, then. I have recently read that said "rule" is an urban legend and all that caution about the danger was a total waste of time. Given the insane way we arrived at the water, I guess you could never be too careful! After swimming till pruned, we would pack the show up and make our way home. You can bet that with Dad driving, it was a considerably longer drive home. About 11 minutes. We had to slow down now and watch for deer that inexplicably dart onto the road at dusk. Again, no seat belts in case we picked off some hapless creature doing around 70 miles per hour. After our day of living dangerously, us kids fell into bed and slept soundlessly on the fresh, line dried sheets that kept my Mom from joining us originally. Ahh.hh.h Exhausted and happy, I would smile and know that in only 7 days, barring rain, we would get to do it all over again.....And Aunt Shirley--thanks for the memories! xo

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The weather is here; wish you were beautiful

It's the feeling I wait for all winter brought about by the season called spring. Ahhhh.. Warmer, longer, sunnier days--way more suited to my personality. Kind of my own personal Easter. It's as if I've risen from the dead and am filled with hope and promise. Truly resolved to renew all areas of my life. Predictable, I know, but overwhelmingly true, for me. Time to throw open (or crank out) my windows and allow the fresh air to flush clean the old and dead winter air. The wonderful signs of spring are everywhere. 16 mile is full of people and pets walking as well as joggers, bikers and rollerbladers. If they are anything like me, they too have decided to make a fresh effort towards their fitness. Mr. and Mrs. Duck have returned their spring ditch with plans to expand their little duck family. I've seen a few fat robins, and that one true sign--the hottie UPS driver is once again wearing his cute little brown shorts! (you know who you are!) And I can't wait to get to my friend Ivan's farm to see all the new, baby farm animals. My neighbor is tilling his yard and will provide me luscious tomatoes and cucumbers soon. After months with my faux cashmere blanket in front of the fireplace, undoubtedly eating Hershey dark chocolate kisses, its time to get my big rear in gear! Cheesy TV and sudoku can only sustain me for so long. I need to hit a lawn chair with a juicy read or two. No one said that all of my goals are ambitious! I am actually looking forward to yard work--a feeling that usually wears off by Memorial Day. My crocus, tulip, spirea, and lilac and magnolia trees never fail to fill me with optimism. A box in my bedroom is filling with sweaters and such unworn this winter, things that don't quite fit anymore, (cleaners musta shrunk those pants!) , and stuff I just don't think I need to own. Usually all drawers and closets are subject to my crazy spring purging. Black Betty will be enlisted for a SalVal run. I also like to make an effort to blow the cobwebs out of my brain. Yoga with a special attention to meditation goes a long way to my personal organization and helps me think out the old and stale to make way for new and fresh thoughts. I bought some new canvases and brushes with an urge to create something beautiful. (We'll see). The Pistons will be in the playoffs and the Tigers--although off to a slow start--will hopefully provide exciting spring entertainment. I usually freeze my butt off the first few Comerica Park visits, but I wouldn't miss it for the world. Gives me the chance to make that questionable fashion statement of a baseball cap AND mittens! I often wonder if and when I take up a more permanent residence in south Florida, if I will have the same attitude about spring. After all, what is there to look forward to when the weather varies by only a couple of degrees all year long? Do you get to experience the hopefulness that the lilac scent brings when the bougainvillea is blooming always? Not for me, I fear. In Michigan it seems as though we are all on the same team, just trying to fight the good fight and muddle through till we can stand to be outside without seizing up. The poor Floridians just do not know what they are missing! It's a goal we know we can achieve with a little fortitude and patience. So, as I pack up my fur and down and turn off the fireplace, I welcome the spring and summer that make me feel alive. I love it and I love knowing that the cozy, lazy, winter will come again. xoxo

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beach baby

Upon arriving home from my keys vacation, the inevitable has begun. I must be constantly prepared to defend, my horrible crime against nature and self, the heinous act of, gasp! being tan. Walking the beach and enjoying the pool have that effect on me. Anyone who has known me for at least 5 minutes, is well aware of my affinity for the sun. I know. I have read every horror story and the threats are very real. I do see a dermatologist for an allover body check and a stern lecture yearly. However, a part of me contends that our skin was designed to accept some natural sun rays. Hell, if we hadn't "evolved", we'd still be naked! And tan! Some of my earliest memories are of the beach. My Mom had us three by the time she was 24 and being a beach bunny herself, initiated us all at a very young age. She was one of the original sun goddesses. Back in the day before sunscreen, we practically grew up on the white sand and clear blue waters of Ossineke Beach. I would hold my brothers hand while carrying a pail of sand toys in the other. Mom would have baby Lisa on her hip and a cooler in her other hand. The four of us would trudge through the warm sand and set up camp on the shoreline. There were plenty of other young moms and kids to welcome us to the party. We would play Marco Polo in the shallow, warm water and build sandcastles along the beach, making all the beach walkers go around, until the inevitable bully would stamp on our creation. There would be chips and koolaid . Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, we kids would start to turn just the most delicate pink in color. At this point my Mom, who was always a nice chocolate brown shade, would pull our fathers white t-shirts over our heads. This offered some protection of the torso, but basically left our arms and faces exposed to fry to a nasty red burn. So, by five o'clock we were packed up, all sandy, burnt and irritable to get home in time to have dinner ready by 5:30. We would be hosed off by the freezing cold garden hose to try to remove the sand that had already turned into cement. Felt like sandpaper on the tender burned areas. Then it was into the house for a liberal coating of Noxzema, that gave us relief for all of about 2 minutes. Sometimes lying on a towel in front of the box fan was necessary. Not long after dinner, being to sore and stiff to do anything else, we would hit the hay early. The next morning Mom would push her finger into the skin on our arms and if the spot didn't appear too white for too long, we would pack up and do it all over again. Eventually we either got tan, or like Lisa, just peeled and started the process over. As we browned up, people were always quick to comment on how "healthy" we all looked. Melanomas and basal cells were not even a faraway thought. As a teen, on that same beach, a new generation of sun goddesses did the whole baby oil and iodine thing and roasted ourselves to the perfect color with the same "healthy" comments comin' our ways--usually by boys on the next blanket over. Our tans were our summer competitions and goals. So now as an adult I know better, but just can't quite completely let it go. It doesn't help that we vacation at tropical climes. Even where the locals give a stunningly accurate picture of how we will look if we keep up the sun worship,(ghastly!) it's hard to resist the pull. At least now I have the sense to use the sunscreen that wasn't even invented when I was a child. Sigh. All good things have to come to an end. Like disco, big hair and trans fat, a "healthy" tan is a thing of the past. Drat. oxox

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Take a bow...

My girl has done it, and I am finally posting her props. A keys vacation with a wireless snafu has set me back a little. But I digress. What girl? Madonna! Did what? Made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Finally. For me, it's about time. And not just for a music Hall of Fame, THE Hall of Fame. Period. I know, many will argue that she is not "rock and roll" enough, but the term is very loosely defined. I understand that as long as you've been an influence on the music world, then you are eligible for induction. Not since my white Nancy Sinatra go go boots did I ever completely identify with someone so much. The "Nancy" phase was ill timed because my mom (no vision!) would not allow me, at 8 years old, to frost and tease my hair, wear white lipstick and just forget about heavy eyeliner!!! But in 1985 I had the hair, bod and rubber bracelets to totally embrace the Madonna scene. I saw her first concert in Detroit, and yes, I wore the garb, and joined in like so many lemmings to see her live performance. We were totally knocked out-and cemented in as fans for life. Not really by her vocal talent, but her intense stage presence. She sang (I know), and danced her ass off. Her dad was an onstage guest, and we all joined in to sing happy birthday to him. As she morphed and re-invented herself, I avidly followed her every move. Never again in style did I mock her though. The cone bra and dominatrix outfits just would not bode well in northern Michigan, except for at Halloween. Living vicariously however, did provide for hours of daydreaming. It was a total balm that helped soften the edges on the borders of a small town. Being a single parent pretty much kept me grounded. Good thing, probably. Years ago, as a joke I sent this list off to a friend, after seeing Madonna in her Drowned World concert where I was taken back to 1985 and just how much I have identified with her. Watch for the list on Letterman's Top 10! Definite proof that Madonna and Jodi are twins separated at birth! Here is the "proof" positive....

  1. We are almost EXACTLY the same age...

  2. Small town Michigan girls are we ....

  3. Both of us are eldest daughters and have taken ballet (i sucked!)

  4. Popcorn is our favorite food and I've just discovered a mutual fondness for Cadbury Creme Eggs!

  5. We are both good Catholic girls--dispite Her foray into Kabbalism

  6. Both of us a blonde--just not at the roots!

  7. We both have gay fans!

  8. We both are dedicated yogis

  9. Our "daughters" both are named Lola...

  10. She married Guy Ritchie and I married a Ritchie Guy! teehee (both on second rounds, too!)

    There you have it. All neat and tidy, just like Letterman does it. Sorta. Don't you concur? She gave a voice to so many things I would have like to have said and things I would have liked to do. Anyhoo, that's my shout out. I knew you could do it and I knew it all along. Through all of her foibles, I still love the chance to champion her. So, take a bow girl, we have earned it. xoxo