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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Should old acquaintence be forgot? Oh, hell yes!

There's really way too much going on and I have no idea what to say about anything right now.

I went to my class reunion last Saturday. I didn't WANT to go, I kept telling them NO but they kept calling and I decided to go to get them the hell off my phone. It also gave me an opportunity to buy a new suit. Calvin Klein. $320. Well, that was the tag, I got it for $69.99. When it was delivered (yep, I got it on line) I had buyer's remorse and decided I would wear my old stuff, I'd rather have the 70 bucks, as I would probably need it to pay the bar bill I fully intended to incur at this shindig. I was also nervous about the skirt, which I had doubts about to begin with. I don't wear skirts. The jacket was yummy, cobalt blue, lined, fit really nice. But the skirt, like all women's skirts, ended up being an inch and a half shorter in the back because it hiked up where it went over my butt. I don't know WHY designers can't seem to figure out that, unless you're a runway model, women have butts and it's just a geometrical fact that a skirt will have to lay on said butt. They need to be a bit longer in the back BEFORE one puts them on. But NOooooooo. They're perfectly even on the hangar. Not on you.

Anyway, I hemmed and hawed and my son talked me into going to Macy's and getting a pair of black slacks to replace the skirt and I wore it and it was okay. I was working the name tag table. With someone from my class who was always, well, let's say a character. I, on the other hand, was a fat nerd, which was ever so much better.

I think she was stoned. Perhaps in tribute to the early 70s, which is when we graduated, I'm not sure. I spent over an hour at the check in table with her. Sort of. I spent over an hour, she probably spent about 25 minutes. She needed a break, she needed the bathroom, she needed a smoke.

It was the same old stuff, every damn reunion is the same. A bunch of aging people, some of whom I remembered, some of whom I recognized and some of whom I gushed "Oh, my GOD, you look WONDERFUL!" when, in truth, I wouldn't have recognized them if they had walked into my living room and introduced themselves. I told 27 people I didn't recognize that I'd know them anywhere.

Then we looked for name tags. I had the front of the alphabet, my companion the back. I would look through my tags, not find the name and say to her "Do you have Susie Smith?" She would continue to talk to other people. I would repeat the question. On the third time she would turn and say "what?" "Do you have Susie's name tag?" She would turn back to whoever she had been talking to. I would then start plowing through her tags. She would ask:
"What are you looking for?"
"Susie SMITH"
"Oh, I haven't seen her come in"
"Do you have her name tag?"
"Susie SMITH"
"Is she here?"
"I didn't see her come in"
"She right in FRONT OF ME"

I spent a lot of time handwriting name tags.

I sat at a table with the same people I sat with for the last four reunions. I ate ordinary tri tip and drank too much Bombay. There was chocolate cake, coffee, an "open mike" half hour which consisted of no one telling anything even remotely funny, a D.J. who was playing stuff from "Off The Wall" which was released about 8 years AFTER we graduated. The hubster wasn't with me. I had no one to dance with, which was actually okay, because when he's with me I have no one to dance with.

I gushed and hugged people who claimed to be glad to see me and I responded in kind. When I thought about it I realized...we didn't like each other in grammar school, we didn't like each other in high school, we never kept in touch and yet, every reunion we now pretend to like each other. I have a feeling we don't, but no one goes to a reunion in order to avoid people.

I said my three good-bys and walked to the supermarket, which is around the corner from the banquet room behind the bowling alley where the reunion was held. It was cold. I mean bitter cold. And raining. I got detergent, dish washing soap and something else...oh yeah, a pound of coffee. Which isn't a pound anymore. I checked out, got an extra 20 bucks and called a cab.

I called the cab at 10:45. It showed up a little after midnight. The store was closed, the coffee shop was closed, everything was closed. I was outside in the cold and the gin had worn off. I gave the driver my address and told him how to get there. He dumped me out about 5 blocks from where I live. What the hell, I could at least walk it from there. So me, my heels, and the bags of Tide and coffee hoofed it the rest of the way.

I am NOT going to the next one. NOT, NOT. NOT!

I came in, changed in my jammies and made a cup of tea. The hubster never looked up, he was laid out on the couch watching "Legends of the Hidden World Class I Play Poker on TV For A Living" tournament, coming to you from downtown Commerce, CA. I went to bed with an SNL re-run and the cat, who was cold and smelled just like his litter box. I came to the conclusion he was breaking wind. And that was my Saturday. A boring party in a storm, a cab driver who couldn't find his own hand in front of his face, a long cold walk and a flatulent cat.

The cat, btw, turned out to have some sort of bacterial infection. The vet has given him a shot, and we now have two weeks worth of pills to give him.

I was thinking I would like to go to Wisconsin and hang around in Madison, protesting the union busting and the Koch brothers and eating free pizza. I know about the pizza, we bought them a couple on Saturday. Mac and cheese pizza. Which makes sense, I mean, Wisconsin? Cheese?

But then I thought, how would I GET to Wisconsin, we still don't have the car registered, gas is on it's way up to 47 dollars a gallon and if I thought I was cold here in the urban village last Saturday night, God only knows what it's gonna be like in WISCONSIN!

Although, faced with the prospect of freezing to death in Madison while eating the heart attack on a plate known as the mac and cheese pizza (it looks wonderful, but, I'm afraid, may probably be the inspiration for the phrase "to die for") or giving the cat a pill, well...Wisconsin's looking better and better.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

I'm grinning like the Cheshire Cat today. I admit, I'm a news junkie and I've been GLUED to Tunesia first and now Egypt for the last month or so. Know how you wake up in the middle of the night? You roll over, go to the bathroom, maybe the kitchen for a drink? I've been turning on CNN for the latest pictures from Tahrir Square.

Yesterday I was listening to Mubarack and I, like a lot of people, said "WTF man?" Part of that may have been because I don't speak the language but it WAS being translated. But something was in the wind and we all knew it. After Friday prayers in Cairo, something was going to happen. Maybe good, maybe bad, but even I, sitting here in the urban village, could sense it. And this morning, it did.

I love watching the power of the people. I don't know what will happen in a free Egypt. I don't know how this will affect the Middle East. But I'm sitting here, watching the raw feed on and thinking of another day in another century. Eight months pregnant and a toddler underfoot and some television show I was half watching was stopped with a breaking news slide and the familiar face of Tom Brokaw telling me that the Berlin Wall was coming down.

I burst into tears. Granted, I was probably hormonal, but the thought of my kids growing up in a world that no longer boasted a divided Europe was overwhelming.

I feel that way today. Not teary so much, but just as light. People CAN and DO make a difference. Brave people who continue to stand up for their rights and their needs, the students and the mothers and the old men and everyone else who have stood in town squares for centuries, defying their governments and rallying for their own rights. Sometimes, it's unsuccessful. Sometimes it leads to war. And sometimes, like today, it leads to thousands of people so joyful, so free that one can't help but share in the party. If I had an Egyptian Flag I'd be flying it.

Egypt may be better off. They may be worse and it may, in the long run, make little difference. But today, now, at this very moment, they're free.

Today, we're all a little bit Egyptian. And tonight, courtesy of the recipe section of, I'm making Chickpea and Cauliflower Couscous. And maybe I'll dig out my copy of Jo Stafford's "You Belong to Me." You know it. It's the one that starts:

"See the pyramids along the Nile..."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding Bells

In a rather disturbing chain of events I found myself last night googling the date of the upcoming "Royal Wedding" and then drifted into several websites all featuring what they thought the next Queen of England's (assuming it lasts) wedding gown.

I find the thought of bride to be Kate waltzing up the aisle of Westminster Abbey in a satin, bias cut slip dress to be highly amusing. Not that she couldn't pull it off, from what I've seen she could. No, it's the looks on the faces of all those stodgy Lords and Ladies that tickles me. Not that it's gonna happen, I'm pretty sure that, in spite of all the changes that have occurred in Britain regarding the choice of a royal mate (something tells me the virginity test is no longer being given, or if it is, I've got a quid says one no longer has to pass) the Queen has the final say on the wedding gown and, looking at her, something tells me Kate isn't going to glide up that aisle wearing something that resembles a bias cut satin slip. I could be wrong and, frankly, what an awesome event it would be if I am, but I doubt it.

Which is why I was so enjoying the parade of gown suggestions for Waity Katie. Yes, I do keep up. Actually she makes me feel better about myself, it was SIX freaking years before the hubster finally broke down and proposed to me, from what I read it's taken Kate EIGHT years to land William so I don't feel quite so bad about the length of time I had under my belt about that one, but I digress...

I just wondered why some designer would sketch such a thing as a suggestion for a Royal Wedding. Not gonna happen.

I'm looking forward to this though. Some sort of tradition or something. I looked up the date of the nuptials. They're on a Friday. This, as I understand it, is for several reasons. It's the first day there was nothing scheduled on the royal calendar and, I guess, they're in a hurry. From what I hear the hurry is just a formality, they've been living together for a bazillion years or so. Which is fine by me, I'm just pointing this out as it being a lame excuse for getting married on a week-day. Okay, week-days are fine for getting married if one is having an intimate affair at the office of the county clerk or perhaps a small, family gathering at sunset with a wedding dinner at the local Norm's but when one is inviting anywhere over six people week-day ceremonies are somewhat inconvenient. I've noticed of late that people are delaying FUNERALS until the week-end. This is kind of a drag, as having to go to a funeral is an excellent and non-questionable way to get the day off work. Of course, then there was my cousin, who decided to schedule her father's funeral at 5pm on a Friday in another county. Have you ever driven in Los Angeles? Ever driven in Los Angeles on a FRIDAY? We left at 2:30 to make a drip that should have taken about 40 minutes. We barely made it.

So I'm guessing that the Friday wedding (which, I understand, has been declared a 'bank holiday' in England) is a great excuse for a bonus three day week-end. This makes perfect sense to me.

Now, I have been getting up in the middle of the night to watch royal weddings ever since Princess Margaret married that photographer instead of Peter Townsend and yes, even us Americans in the backwater knew about THAT. That's Townsend, not TownsHend, btw, although the thought of Princess Margaret marrying into the WHO not strikes me as absolutely delicious.

The hubster swears that I did NOT watch Princess Margaret's wedding on television. I'm not sure how he knows this because he was 7 at the time and I have a feeling that watching Princess Margaret get married wasn't high on his list but he insists. I was 5. My mother thought I would like to see a Princess get married, thus looking like a Princess instead of a regular person with a funny hat. Now, being 5 and watching this back in 1960 on a black and white Phillips I suppose an argument can be made that it wasn't actually Princess Margaret. You couldn't prove it by me. But I do remember sitting with my mother at some strange hour I wasn't normally awake and watching some woman in a white dress and a very BIG sparkly crown parade up the aisle of a church I'd never been in.

This, however, started something with me. First off, I never wanted to BE a princess and, unlike all those odd little girls who try to ride Space Mountain dressed up like Cinderella I never thought I WAS a princess. No kid in their right mind does Disneyland in a ballgown, you know that's their parents doing.

I watched Princess Anne get married in 1973. I seem to remember watching it in the morning, on the "Today" show but I could be wrong. It may not have been televised live back then. She wore a dress that looked suspiciously as if it was a turtleneck. We didn't get so see the actual wedding, the Queen, if I recall correctly, said no cameras during the actual ceremony.

Anyway, the hubster and I (who were not married yet) set the alarm for something like 3am in 1981 so I could watch Charles marry Diana. Live, dammit. I KNOW this one was live. color! I went to work bleary eyed the next morning but, fortunately, I was working for the British government at the time and, in celebration of the wedding, we closed at noon. Probably because none of us were awake.

I did the same thing for Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. I refuse to call the woman "Fergie". She has a name and she does NOT front the "Black-Eyed Peas." I liked her dress the best, btw, except for that unfortunate, large "A" on the back. Yes, I KNOW it was for "Andrew" but who in their right mind has the letter "A" embroidered on their backside? Or their front, for that matter, let's face it, an embroidered "A" has unfortunate connotations no matter WHERE one places it.

Anyway, I needed the date of this wedding because I will need to put in for a vacation day. I'm no longer young and I doubt I'll be able to make it into work after getting up in the middle of the night to watch someone I don't know, have never met and likely never WILL meet get married. But I'm hoping for something spectacular, because, frankly, wedding dresses have become the more boring fashion statements on the planet lately. Strapless, embellished bodice, pick ups or tons of tulle on the ball gown skirt, ruching on the mermaid. I want to see FASHION, DAMMIT!

Actually, I thought I saw fashion in 1981. However, looking back at my own wedding pictures and seeing those voluminous sleeves, knowing I have Diana Spencer to thank for them, I'm not so sure.

Although looking back on this history of watching the British Royal family wed, and now realizing how every one of those marriages ended up I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I shouldn't get up for this one. Perhaps I'm a jinx. I mean, think about it. Before Princess Margaret there hadn't been a divorce among British Royalty since Henry VIII dumped Anne of Cleves I think. Okay, I take that back. A daughter of Queen Victoria get divorced in 1901. Of course, she had married her cousin which may have had something to do with it. And people say you can't divorce your family...

But I'm starting to think that maybe there's some sort of causal connection. Kind of like the assignment my son is working on right now for philosophy, based on the "if A = B and B = C then A = C". As in "all cats eat fish, I eat fish, therefore I am a cat."

Maybe if I DVR the wedding the marriage will be a success. I'll see at ad nauseum anyway and, as for the dress, knock-offs will be in the windows of every bridal store from here to Kathmandu within a week by May 1st. The wedding, btw, is April 29th, I figure 36 hours will be enough. In fact, I've got five bucks says someone will be saying "yes" to THAT dress on Sunday's show. (Yes, I watch "Say Yes To The Dress" I have no idea why, it's kinda boring.)

I've got a little over two months to work it out though. At any rate, I think the day off is a dandy idea, and I intend to take it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Manly, yes. But I like it too!

Okay, so last night was theater night. Again. Here's the thing. Yeah, I (read: we) go to a LOT of theater. This is because 1) We LIKE theater. Also movies and television and music. 2) We're in every discount club in town. We spend an inordinate amount of time cruising websites like "Facebook" for discount offers and freebies and are quite willing to dump previous plans because cheap or free tickets have come our way.

Over the course of the last five years or so, I have found myself in predicaments one normally finds one's 19 year old in and, quite honestly, although we manage to survive I still have the feeling that there's a great, big "FAIL" tattooed on my forehead. This, btw, is continuing this week, although after THIS one is done I tell myself "WTF, there CAN'T be anything more." Ha. And may I add Ha.

I assume this is the reason we spend so much of our time trekking to various palaces of theatrical arts. Because, well, watching people perform in the many and varied ways they come up with is nothing to sneeze at. It's good for a few hours of relief from the crap that I'm dealing with. To this end, I suppose, it's all about keeping me entertained. However, I have no qualms about leaving my hovel and finding traditional forms of other words, I go TO the entertainment, I do not expect the entertainment to come to me. I also expect the entertainment to have SAG or AFTRA cards in their pockets - insulting my neighbors, friends and in-laws, easy as it may be, doesn't exactly qualify.

This has been a real boom year for free and/or inexpensive entertainment, btw. "Hair" on rush, cost a QUARTER of what we would (or would NOT have) paid for the ticket. A really fun show called "Traces" which was a sort of grunge band Cirque (and thoroughly enjoyable) for the cost of the service charge on the ticket. Last night was "33 Variations" on comp.

Here's how it works. One spends most of one's time cruising Facebook and Twitter and, eventually, some sort of "oh crap, we've only sold a hundred tickets for tonight and the theater seats 1900, let's just GIVE 'em away" deal will pop up. You see, you call, you win!

We had two sets of two tickets last night. Catch as catch can, we had no clue where they would be until we picked them up at "will call". The morning of the show, the hubster knew he wouldn't make it, his cold was, well, a cold but he's a guy and you know how THAT goes. Well, I asked my large network of friends (which numbers 2, 3 on a good day which yesterday was NOT) and no one could make it on such short notice. I threw the extra ticket to my son. He went to HIS large network of friends which, is indeed large as he's extremely friendly and likable, and HE couldn't find anyone who could come on short notice, as schools everywhere are back in session.

Since not showing up to use comps is a serious faux pas the three of us found ourselves downtown, wondering about the vacant 4th seat. We entered the line for "Will Call" and were greeted by a very nice young man who asked me "Are you here to pick up tickets for (insert star of play's name here)?" My brain said "Actually, I'm sure Miss Star of Play has her seats accounted for already, I'm here to pick up tickets for myself" however, ever my mother's daughter. I simply smiled and said "yes." He directed us to an open window where we picked up two envelopes with tickets and my younger son said "I'm sorry, my date just flaked on me. Can I give one of these back to you so someone can use it?"

We were nervous, not using tickets you ordered CAN get you bumped from the cheap ticket club. The young man at the window, though, was sympathetic and said "let me check. One minute." He came back with the okay, looked at me and my older son and my younger, dateless son and said "Let me check if I can get you three together. I'm not sure I have them but it never hurts to look." We waited. He looked and then said "okay, let me have your other tickets so I can re-issue them." And that's how we traded one seat in Row B of the mezzanine and two seats in Row D of the mezzanine for THREE seats in the 12th row of the orchestra, right of center. This was, I realized, where the people who pay face for their tickets normally sit.

I immediately bolted for the ladies, I'd needed one since I arrived at the subway station. The FIRST subway station. There IS no ladies room at the subway station which is probably a logical move as no one in their right minds and most people no longer in their right minds would actually USE a public restroom in a subway station. I mean, if they're anything like the actual subway...

There was no line snaking out the restroom door waiting to get in. There was no line snaking through the restroom itself. It was immaculate. There were plenty of available roomettes. I decided the basic difference between rich people and the rest of the world is that rich people make sure they haven't left the seat cover stuck to the rim of the bowl when they leave the stall. I took care of business, washed up and stopped to check my hair and lipstick. There were little chairs at little ledges that resembled old fashioned dressing tables. There were floor to ceiling mirrors. I stepped out the door into a large, lobby like area. There were upholstered chairs and, against the wall, was a bar. Not a metal pergola type cart with airline bottles, plastic cups, cans of 7-Up and a "Cash Only" sign either. It was a really long bar, made of wood, with a rail. There were real bottles of real booze and breakable glassware to go with it. And a bartender in a red vest. I was stunned.

As I stood to let a party in past us I complemented the woman on her perfume. She didn't share what it was, to be honest, in the "it's almost curtain, get your butts IN" she probably didn't hear me. It was floral, not a LOT of different flowers. It was light and fresh. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I mean, you smell roses, you think "Joy" and you smell heavy spice you think "Opium" but this wasn't QUITE like that. After awhile though I began to feel as if she'd really overdone it, the scent lingered and seemed to be everywhere. I was both annoyed and smug, as I certainly know how NOT to fall into a vat of perfume, expensive or not.

A few minutes later, I realized my glasses had slipped down and I pushed them back up. I always do this by the bridge and not the earpieces. The scent became overwhelming. I was aware that it was on ME! WTH? Finally, as if I'd been smacked upside the head with a 2 x 4, it hit me. The clean, light floral fragrance that was everywhere WAS actually everywhere. It was the hand soap from the Ladies Lounge.

I spent way too much time this morning examining the various bottles on my dresser. Up until last night I thought my collection wasn't too shabby. "My Sin," "Shalimar," "Eau du Guerlain," "Tweed," "J'adore." However, as I looked at the bottles, I realized that nothing on that dresser smells quite as good as the hand soap in the downstairs can at the Music Center.