Yoo-hoo. Hey. It's me, your 49-year-old self. Been thinking a lot about you lately. Have some things I want to share. Wrote them down so you can have a hard copy. So hang up with you-know-who and listen...
You are not fat. Seriously. No matter what anyone in the family says. In fact, while we’re thinking of it, go ahead, put on the bathing suit with the zipper and take a big bunch of pictures. One day you’ll be 45 and driving a Honda Pilot and you’ll look back at those photos with a big old smirk on your face. You are gorgeous just the way you are. (Get it? You'll still listen -- and love -- Billy Joel, even when you're old like me.)
You are going to kiss a lot of frogs. Have fun. But be intelligent about it. I know you know what I mean.
It is okay to change your mind. You are not expected to know what you want yet. Honestly. It’s ridiculous to ask a person who cannot yet vote, fight for her country or legally drink alcoholic beverages to decide what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Experiment. Take chances. Fail. Try again. Follow your heart. Take that dance class. That acting class. Voice lessons. Creative writing. Follow your heart. It’s your life. Not anyone else’s.
Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Even if it’s not popular. And try not to spend too much time worrying about being popular. There’s more to you than that. Embrace it. Feel comfortable in your own skin. And make sure you take care of that skin – moisturizer is your pal.
Keep writing. And save your journals. Take notes. One day, you’re going to want to write a book. If you keep on journaling, you’ll have great material.
For the love of God, do not register for any class before 8 am in college. You will not go. Ever.
Work harder in Spanish class. It would be nice to remember something you learned in those 19 years of Spanish classes, plus two semesters in college. You’re going to want to go to Cuba, perhaps to celebrate a significant birthday, and it would be great if you could do more than order a cerveza and ask where el baño is while you’re there.
Pay better attention when Nana is making her boiled custard. No one on that side of the family is a good cook and the boiled custard is really the only family recipe that’s worth anything, except for Auntie Ruth’s rice, but that one is so easy that we all basically have it memorized. Some holiday season you are going to want to make some boiled custard to surprise Betty Jane and it would help if you remembered how Nana did it. You are also going to find yourself scouring something called eBay for a glass Gatorade bottle in which to store said boiled custard, so maybe use your hoarding tendencies for good in this regard.
Gather old stories from Grandma. And Gentry. Daddy (although his best stories will be told when you are older, so be patient.) Nana. Write those stories down.
You are more than a number on a scale or a number on a clothing tag. Do not let that become your obsession. Even if the world around you seems to think it should be. Be healthy. Love yourself, warts and all. And find ways to channel your emotions other than eating. You’re welcome.
Your hair is gorgeous. Just the way it is. People pay large sums of money to have hair like yours. So embrace it. Love it. And love the boys who love it. It’s a gift. Even when you find that first grey hair in a couple of years.
Find a way to study abroad. And travel. Go, see do. If you don’t, you will regret it.
That meteorology class you think you should take in case you are called upon to be a weather girl? Yeah. Don’t. Not the class to take in the semester you decide to embrace your inner party girl. Trust me.
Bill will become one of your best friends. Happens faster than you think it will. Not many brothers/sisters have the kind of relationship you have. Cherish it. And him, his smart-mouth and all.
Learn how to drive a stick shift. Make a point to do this. You never know when it will come in handy and you will avoid one set of recurring nightmares that will haunt you well into middle age.
The standard issue path to marriage and children. Won’t be one you take. Your trek will be, well, a little crazy. But you are strong enough to manage it. I didn’t say handle, for that has a negative connotation. I say manage, because it gives you control. And about that control… it’s ok to relinquish it sometimes. You don’t have to be superwoman. Let go. You’ll survive. You’ll thrive. And will amaze yourself.
Remember: you are enough. You do enough.
You are a spectacular woman. You. Yes you.
It was a winter’s eve, sometime between the Watergate hearings and the Three Mile Island brouhaha. We were settled into our evening routine, which included watching something on the five channels we got on the telly; reading; enjoying the cool humidless breeze blowing through the screens on windows and doors.
A press of the doorbell startled all of us. Not that it was particularly late – in fact, the front lights were still on, signaling that we were still up and available for callers. The bell was simply unexpected. Daddy, being the chivalrous man of the house, went to answer the door where he was greeted by an older gentleman standing on the threshold.
By the way -- this photo isn't a picture of our visitor. It's classic actor Monty Woolley. Whenever I think of our gentleman caller, I picture him in my mind's eye looking like Monty Woolley. And speaking of Monty Woolley (I love his name -- can you tell? I've mentioned it three times in three sentences.) if you've not ever seen the screen adaptation of The Man Who Came To Dinner, you must. Seriously. Go look for it now on Netflix or something. It's fantastic. A riot. Bette Davis has never been lovelier. And Monty Woolley gives a tour de force performance.
While our gentleman caller waited for AAA to arrive, Mama, ever the hostess, invited him in, offering him something to drink. He accepted and he and my parents sat in the living room, a place reserved for special occasions and grownup conversation, making small talk
My brother and I weren’t privy to what was discussed and only after he had left did we learn that he was a snowbird (our affectionate phrase for winter residents here in Florida) from Philadelphia. And that he drove a very big car.
After I had to look it up, natch. News flash: I really wasn't quite as smart as I thought I was back then -- shhhhh...
The Wanamaker’s box contained another box – this one covered in green velvet and adorned with a big silk flower. Very sophisticated. Inside the box were two layers of Godiva chocolate. Mama’s favorite. A handwritten note was enclosed, graciously thanking our family – my mother in particular -- for our kindness and assistance. It was signed by our traveling visitor.
I don’t remember eating any of the chocolate – I’m thinking my mother bogarted it all for herself. (Being an only child, she has a self-proclaimed difficulty with sharing.) But when the box was empty, she called me into the living room, the place for special occasions and grownup conversation (as well as "you're in trouble, Jane Elizabeth" talks.) She handed me the candy box, saying that every girl needed a place to keep letters and notes and mementos. And that the empty box, a remnant of a gift cloaked in grace and chivalry, would be the perfect place.
She was right.
(By the way (again) -- that's not the real candy box. But it's pretty darn close. Google was not a great mind reader as I was looking for an image. )
It’s emblematic, that box -- of things past, of things remembered. Of a time when manners were the norm, not the exception. When random acts of kindness were things that one just did without forethought or hesitation. When my tender heart measured things tangibly and repeatedly.
I miss my candy box. And that time. I keep my memories internally now. But you never know – one day, I might spy a prettily packaged box of sweets that would be perfect to hold treasures…
Yes, that is so too a word. Ranty. It means “one who has sudden outbursts of rage directed towards anything irritating. Or rude. Or irritating and rude.” By the way, that definition is in the Dictionary of Janey.
While we’re on the subject of new words… ranty is a kissing cousin of stabbity. This little gem is defined as “inclined to stab or appearing inclined to stab, at persons or things through aggravation or other stabworthy moods.” Stabbity often festers up in the morning, before you caffeine addicts get your bean juice fix.
Note that I say you caffeine addicts because I’m one of those rare delightful creatures who doesn’t require coffee or tea or whatever in the morning to get going. I’m just naturally bright and sunny when I wake up.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Even I can’t pretend to buy that bit of crapola. I just happen to prefer my caffeine cold and am one who can wake up and function sans the magic stuff (just don't look at my hair right away...) Gimme an iced tea, lemon on the side… and don’t be stingy, baby.
I’m ranty today. In an “I need a Snickers” kind of way. Mmmmm. Snickers.
But I digress. Again.
Here’s the thing: when did people become so damn selfish and self-involved when out in public? I know this is not a new phenomenon, but it’s really sticking in my craw lately. OK -- more than usual. I'm from the South. We do like our manners down here -- even partial facsimiles of manners are better than nothing. And a big part of manners involves being aware of and sensitive to others around you.
Can you tell that this car line thing has been the big issue of this school year so far? Most of us polite, civilized parent/guardian-type people arrive at the school and line up in the appropriate lane, on the right hand side of the thoroughfare, waiting our turn to get our kiddos. But then there are those people who come racing through on the left hand side, pull up to where the traffic cones are and then proceded to try to CUT IN LINE and merge in. Same cars every day. Trust me. I notice these things.
Makes me stabbity. STABBITY!
I realize that I could be making a mountain out of a molehill -- in the overall scheme of things, this is a very little issue that's not really that important (no matter how irritating it may be.) But I do think it's indicative of something I see more and more -- a desensitizing of folks to things and others around them. A decline in manners and politeness. It's your world. And your world. Oh yeah -- your world too. The rest of us just live in it.
Now before you start flooding the comments section with "Janey you ignorant slut" cracks defending yourself and calling me down, I'm just making some general observations. We're not all self-absorbed. It's not always about us. I know that. Sometimes it just is. Happens to everyone. But when it becomes a way of life as opposed to a situational, periodic thing, well...
Yeah. I know.
Back to the matter at hand.
So now that I've gotten this issue off my, well, boobies (Shut it. I couldn't resist.), I realize that for every jackass that turned left from the right hand lane right in front of me, narrowly missing me T-boning his nasty panel van, there are gentle souls like the lovely ladies working at the Savannah Cracker Barrel who calmed my nerves and brought me to tears one stressful morn with their kindness, assuring me that Will was being just a normal kid on what was starting out to be a rough tough day.
I feel like I've eaten a virtual Snickers. All of the benefits, none of the calories.
Should have stopped while I was ahead.
One last thing... thank you, gentle reader, for stopping by. It's been my pleasure to host and hopefully entertain you for this brief period. Have a wonderful rest of your day.
It's a good thing I'm charming. And reasonably witty.
Because sometimes, I am a complete idiot. Especially when it comes to matters involving the left side of my brain.
Once upon a time (OK, it was about five years ago) I received an eBay purchase in the mail that wasn't what I expected. Given my love of eBay, you'd think this would happen more often than it does. But it's an infrequent occurrence. And it usually has to do with me... well, you'll see. Read onward, y'all...
This purchase was advertised as a GIANT Promo Poster for the Who Rocks America Tour, circa 1982. I saw that tour when it hit Orlando and the late, great Tangerine Bowl -- fantastic show, weird bill. The Who, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the B-52s. The latter of which got literally booed off the stage, accompanied by a hailstorm of crumpled up Schlitz beer cups. The groovy nuances of Fred Schnieder and Co. were lost on that Who-lovin' crowd. That was also the show after which my boyfriend and I experienced a bit of interruptus courtesy of the Tampa Police Department after we were asked to move along from parking in a city lot on our way home from the show. But again, I digress...
For some reason that escapes me now, I ended up with a tour poster, which I hung in my dorm room -- Roger Daltry and his tight pants were the main attraction. And when I saw this being advertised by a seller from whom I was buying some CDs (Julian Cope! The Replacements!) I thought that having a replica would be kinda cool. A bit of nostalgia and all that jazz.
I should have looked at the dimensions more closely.
This thing is friggin' huge. A virtual planetoid. Might have its own weather system.
The damn poster is 48 X 72. Four feet by six feet. GIANT indeed.
What the hell was I thinking?
I obviously have a problem understanding size.
Not the first time this has happened with an eBay purchase. Probably not the last.
That never happened. It could have seriously been wallpaper for the entire inside of a closet. With some leftovers.
So Roger and Pete and Co. languished in the mailing tube for years. Homeless. But still wanted.
But finally, I have a place to display the Who. In a spot big enough to handle their, well, size. There's now a wall in my house where a piece of my youth and a symbol of my middle-aged incompetency can reside.
Now, who wants a Schlitz....
Penny, you don't want to get into it with Sheldon. The guy is one lab accident away from being a super villain.
~ Leonard Hofstadter
My blogging motto: when in doubt or in need of something about which to write, find that meme! TMI Tuesday is an oldie-but-naughty meme that often crosses the TMI line but also provides some good fodder for chatter. Here’s my take on a series of questions from a recent TMI Tuesday prompt… feel free to play along in the comments section!
1. When you were a child/teenager who was your favorite superhero and why?
2. Which super villain is most like you and why?
I’m going to have to go with one of the myriad super villains from TV’s Batman, I do believe.
Because, well, it’s Ethel Merman.
I feel compelled to burst into song upon seeing La Merman here in action, but I'll spare you.
Because he had the best cape ever, super villain or otherwise. Fabulous.
Liberace as a bad guy, in the '60s. More awesome than even I can fathom. Ta. Da.
3. If you had a super power what would it be and would you use it for good or evil.
Oh yeah. I have a couple that I’d like to have. Telepathy would be interesting, if only to use it on the opposite sex. Just for a little bit. Since I’m a’feared I’d get a little too ranty with this power. It would be better on a temporary basis.
“Stop thinking about that girl’s boobs. No. Seriously. STOP IT. I HAVE BOOBS TOO, YOU KNOW.”
“Yes I’ll hush now but we WILL pick this conversation up after the game.”
“Aw. I love you too. Aren’t you adorable.
Really though. Enough about that girl's boobs. You're ruining your sweet thoughts moment.”
I’d also like a little time transport action. If only to repair some of my more unfortunate decisions involving hair, clothing (yikes), hair (oh my), boys (both bad decisions and regrets) and well, hair.
<<<<< That place looks like a little slice of heaven. Ahhhhhh.
4. Do you own a superhero costume? When and where was the last time and place that you wore it?
No. No. And no. Have we just met?
I am not one for cosplay or comic cons or the like. I'd be the fish-out-of-water at Comic Con looking for the Archie comics display. Yeah. I know.
5. Have you ever had a sexual fantasy about a super hero/villain. Tell us about it.
Don’t think that I have, now that I ponder this. The whole damsel-in-distress thing isn’t really my bag. I tend to go a little more cerebral with such things. But that's another story or two for another time.
Wait -- although I've never seen an Iron Man movie, I do find Robert Downey Jr. verrrrry attractive. Does that count? Probably not.
Hmmm. OK. This is as close as I'm going to get... I was quite fond of Val Kilmer’s Bat suit. Purrrrrrr. So there’s that.
You know, Saturday mornings just aren’t the same when you’re a grownup. Too many responsibilities. Too many chores. Boring stuff on the telly (save for the marathons of shows or an overabundance of programs on your DVR... but that’s something else entirely.)
I’m missing the pace and entertainment of the Saturdays of my childhood. Pajamas and cereal and cartoons. No homework. No endless youth sporting events. No pressure, save maybe to help Daddy in the yard. (Man, I HATED that. Even as a kid, I knew outdoor manual labor was not for me. Damn weeds in the sidewalk cracks. Ugh. But it was fun to get those teeny little snails and whip them at my brother. And when the ornamental cherry bushes were sporting fruit... look out! Incoming!)
I'm in the mood to take a ride in the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman to the time...
...when all cereal that was worth anything had sugar in its five top ingredients list...
...when your pajamas had feet in them...
...when you had to actually get up off your bean bag chair to change the channel, unless you had a younger sibling to do it for you...
...when cartoons and kid shows ruled the morning airwaves. Good cartoons. Cartoons with no educational or social value save for entertainment, Schoolhouse Rock, Fat Albert and earnest Bill Cosby notwithstanding.
... when counterculture for our generation was defined as the World of Sid and Marty Krofft...
Y’all. This shit was wild. Seriously. Skippy. Trippy. Hippy.
Live action shows with crazy premises and over-the-top characters (C’mon. Martha Raye and Charles Nelson Reilly both had parts on Krofft Saturday morning programs. Those two totally define over-the-top...WHAAAAAAAAAA! *throws confetti*)
Combine these shows with their WTF? messages and psychedelic special effects with a cadre of kids hyped up on sugar cereals and... well, it's a miracle we all survived and/or didn't end up in some cult with Patty Hearst. Bless the innocence and cynicism-free essence of 1970s youth. There's a rant in there someplace, but that's for another time.
I’m simply going to let the show opening to a few Krofft classics speak for themselves... the storytelling theme songs; the costumes; the hysterical special effects -- it’s all there, just like you remember it.
Enjoy. And pass the Super Sugar Crisp. I’ve still got milk in my bowl. (But I call dibs on the Archies record on the back of the box. That’s all mine, baby.)
Fun fact: my elementary school nickname was Janey-poo, after the illustrious Witchy-poo. And yes, that was a term of endearment -- I was a charming young lass. So there.
And seriously -- did any of y'all cavort around with a magic flute wearing an Australian bush hat or jump on board a talking boat like Jimmy did? All I could hear in my head when he got on board was "STRANGER DANGER!" That boat = the white panel van of the high seas.
OK, I lied. I'm going to speak a little for these clips as well. After watching them, how can I not? That would involved waaaaay too much self-control for this hour. Especially for these next couple of clips...
Martha Raye as Benita Bizarre. More awesome than I have words to describe. Benita Bizarre is SO my new drag name, replacing Clams Casino.
Land of the Lost
I never watched this one myself -- what's up with the dinosaur thing? -- but I had friends who LOVED it. Still do. And who can do a pretty fair sleestack imitation.
There is so much goodness in this, it overwhelms me. The Tidy-Bowl-Man-esque special effects! One-named WESLEY, who was all over my Tiger Beat magazines at the time.
Apparently, Wesley's secret SECRET passion was the gents. Needless to say, that tidbit didn't get past the Tiger Beat editorial board. Wait -- do you think there really was a Tiger Beat editorial board? Can you imagine those discussions: "We've really featured David Cassidy a lot. Let's throw that Danny Boneduce a bone and give him a two-page spread." "Donny in tight pants: yay or nay?" "Leif Garrett has no talent, so let's milk that cow as long as his looks hold up! "
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
Johnny Whitaker (Jody from Family Affair!) Mary Wickes (classic character actress!) Burp and Slurp and Sweet Mama Ooze (best character names ever!)
There were apparently two themes for this show. Here's the other, peppier one:
They "let" Johnny Whitaker sing both of these. His agent really worked miracles with that contract. My ears. My ears.
I always loved Sigmund's family. His mom, Sweet Mama, and George Costanza's mom Estelle. Separated at birth.
Three words. Charles. Nelson. Reilly. Fabulous. Even in this hot weird mess.
The pitch meeting for this show must have been classic. "We need something worthy of CNR's talents. Anyone have any suggestions?"
And PS: If your show needs a nearly two-minute-long theme song to set up the premise of the plot, it might be just a little convoluted. Or you should put down the blunt.
And now I'm craving a bowl of Alpha-Bits, my favorite cereal of the time. This bowl of Kashi I'm eating while writing this and watching The Golden Girls. Not quite doing it for me. Stupid grownup stuff.
PS: Couldn’t resist including this quote from Marty Krofft, from an interview in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was asked, point blank, about the relationship between drug use and his shows:
We've heard that for 35 years. We did not intentionally do anything related to drugs in the story. People thought we were on drugs. You can't do good television while on drugs. People never believe you when you say that, but you can't. The shows were very bright and spacey looking. They may have lent themselves to that culture at the time, but we didn't ascribe that meaning to them, and I can't speak to what adults were doing when they were watching the shows. We just set out to make a quality children's program.
Needed a little light, frothy and ridiculous piece -- and this totally fits the bill. Play along, steal or comment. I'd love to know your answers to some of these questions!
When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Eye makeup remover is my friend and I need to renew our relationship.
How much cash do you have on you?
What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
Seriously? Earth, natch.
Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
The pharmacy. Do not get me started...
What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
I have two: “Blurred Lines” is the go-to tone of the moment. And Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.” Because it makes me laugh, given the number to which I have assigned it.
What shirt are you wearing?
HA! I’m in a sundress with bathing suit underneath.
Made you look, so to speak.
Do you label yourself?
I try like hell not to. But I do. And not always positively.
Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
Croc flip-flops. But that's only because I just got home from running around. Usually, I'm barefoot at home.
Bright or dark room?
Bright. Better for the disposition.
What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
I poached this from some blog – so thanks, dude!
What does your watch look like?
Don’t wear one.
What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping and having the most lovely dream… heh heh heh.
What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
“40 minute flight delay…”
Where is your nearest 7-11?
I honestly have no idea. Hmmmm.
What's a word that you say a lot?
DAMN! Florida Evans style.
Who told you he/she loved you last?
One of my besties…. awwwwwww. Made me smile.
Last furry thing you touched?
My leg, whilst shaving it.
Well, you asked…
How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
Advil and Cymbalta. Do Tums count? If so, then add them to the list.
How many rolls of film do you need developed?
What is this film stuff you speak of? Developed? Huh?
Favorite age you have been so far?
I think 48 has been pretty damn good.
Although I also really enjoyed being 18.
Twenty-three was also quite enjoyable. But that is another story for another time.
Your worst enemy?
And Krispy Kreme donuts.
What is your current desktop picture?
A night shot of a Manhattan street, taken from above, looking down onto an intersection.
What was the last thing you said to someone?
“Do NOT put that in the dryer.”
If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
Taking the money, honey. I'd rather fly first class than all on my own.
Do you like someone?
Why yes, I certainly do. It's probably you!
The last song you listened to?
“A Night in Tunisia” ~ Art Blakey
What time of day were you born?
7 am. Oy. So early.
What’s your favorite number?
Where did you live in 1987?
Are you jealous of anyone?
You know, I don’t think I am at the moment.
Is anyone jealous of you?
I hate to say it, but I think so. Why he/she is, I cannot even imagine.
Where were you when 9/11 happened?
At work, five months pregnant, editing a UF football program.
What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Swear. What else can you do?
Do you consider yourself kind?
I would like to think I am.
If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
Inside of my right wrist. An ampersand.
If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
Would you move for the person you loved?
Once upon a time, I would say "yes" unequivocally -- but now, there are other factors in life in addition to the yearnings of the heart.
Are you touchy-feely?
Yes. C'mon over here.
What’s your life motto?
Kiss slowly, play hard, forgive quickly, take chances, give everything and have no regrets.
Name three things that you have on you at all times?
Phone, glasses (sun and/or reading), lip gloss.
What’s your favorite town/city?
Please. New York City. Have we just met?
What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
My pre-workout smoothie.
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
I cannot remember. I might need to remedy this.
Can you change the oil on a car?
If, by "change" you mean drive it to the filling station and ask the nice people there to handle it, then yes.
Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
He just bought a new car.
How far back do you know about your ancestry?
Very basic information back to the middle ages.
The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
I wore an ecru/champagne colored dress. They called me "bride."
We be stylish, but not fancy these days.
Does anything hurt on your body right now?
I am looking straight down the barrel at 50. The better question would be what doesn’t hurt on your body right now. Although I did have a very concentrated workout today, so that is contributing to the ache-factor.
Have you been burned by love?
Absofuckinglutely. Anyone who has truly been in love probably has been…