Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We Are Family

So today, as I do every Wednesday - I haul Emily and Rachel off to Hip Hop dance class. I usually so enjoy this hour. No really, I do. Not only to see Emily really excel at this genre of dance, but Rachel bops about and is a crack up. (see video clip a few posts ago for proof of that) Rachel is all tongue, lip syncing and really has a rhythm all her own. I am so proud of my girls - and...and I know you might find it hard to believe - but I am ashamadly, a stage mom to the Nth power. "Smile, Emily. Turn on the sauce, girls. Stay in formation!" And, all of this is done on a group exercise dance 'studio' at our gym...The show is not glitzy, no costumes or makeup. Just a bunch of kids who love to dance. I, on the other hand, will wear makeup and maybe a costume as at last session's show - there was a special guest. Kurt Russel (of Kurt and Goldie) , Forest's uncle came to his niece's ensemble.

Well, today - as part of preparation for the show in a few weeks, as part of the finale - Forest , the instructor (yes, as in Gump) turns on We Are Family by Sister Sledge. Within seconds of hearing the first few notes...I start bawling. Like a baby. Eyes and nose full of fluid. And, I cry hiding it.

This was one of my wonderful dad's favorite songs. This one, and Kool and The Gang's Celebrate . I had quick flashes of my dad - -his white man's overbite, two fists up, arms swaying, feet sashaying , hip swiveling dance style and - freakin' lost it!!

In fact, the last time I think he heard the song was at my niece's Bat Mitzvah - and he wasn't up to dancing on the dance floor. So we sat in our chairs -facing each other - doing the arm thing and mouthing the words to the song. Holding hands and pretending to twirl and dip. Whee! A gentle tear rolling down his face.

I think I bawled that night, too. And, I cry ugly.
We Are Family so now I know where Rachel gets her 'pirate face' cry .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Remember, Reflect and Respond

As this was Memorial Day Weekend...the official start of summer, eat lots of BBQ, hit the beach, watch war movies (thank god for DVR, hubby) wouldn't be fitting the holiday unless we actually reflect upon things worth remembering.

-We called our favorite veterans on this weekend. Hubby's Uncle Don is a not only the creator of GI Joe action figure (for real!) but also a real live Korean war hero. Ironically, as we watched The Longest Day last night, and commented that just about everyone who starred in the film has moved on to the 'other side' - we think of Uncle Don and how he is still kicking ass and what a great representative of what is good about our heros. How being a war hero used to an heroic thing. Not just a post traumatic stress disorder waiting to happen.

- We think of all the men and women who have given their lives in recent years to the latest 'war' for us. War used to be seemingly for a good reason. This one, without going on and on about my own personal belief, just isn't. But, for whatever reason our soldiers have entered into it, what they are doing, risking, and giving is something to be appreciated and applauded. Some joined up to actually fight for a cause they believe in (not for other not so noble reasons as I am usually ready to recite)- so I owe it to them to respect their decisions and support their efforts however I can. I also think about their families - and how hard it must be for them to adjust to the separation and unfortuneately, sometimes the loss.

- We think of our own personal battles. We all have them. And no matter how big they may seem to some, or how trivial they may seem to others, they are real. And the truth of the matter is that the lessons we learn from these battles are there to be learned so that we may somehow alleviate the suffering for someone else. To pass that learning on - in some way, shape or form - in hopes that others may be spared , even just a tiny bit of pain and suffering.

So, while you were tossin' back a cold one, or sleeping in, or slathering on the sun tan lotion, or diggin' in to that rack of ribs this past weekend - I hope you took a moment to do what the holiday asks you to do - and remember something. Remember, reflect and respond.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My real Mother's Day presents

It was so cold and clammy on May 11th this year, that our ideal plans were somewhat curtailed. We had wanted to hit the beach with a delicious picnic.
Well, we did anyway. Sort of.

Parked by the side of the beach, sat in the back of SUV and dined on turkey sandwiches, fritos, and a few cold ones.

Mother Nature must not have a hubby as thoughtful as mine. Or deliciousness and kisses from her kids like I do.

Click on the arrow on the picture below for a short video of Hip Hop Ray Ray.

My girls are my real gift. And don't I know it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...yada, yada, yada

I just got back from my semi-annual chicks weekend - in Vegas. What happens there stays there (read: what I play there usually stays there - except this time!) Met my mom who flew in from Florida and I flew there with my friend Jami. Hubby says next time he wants me to go to a spa for a Zen relaxation experience. Zen my ass - I'd rather go to Vegas. I get a charge from it. For some, and I being one, casinos are fun. I like to talk to other grown ups. I love to gamble. I like the bright shiny objects and the sounds and the buzz of a casino. I like to shop in the designer stores and pretend I am actually going to buy something. If I win, I just might.

For me - even though I get practically no sleep, I relax and have fun. I get the genetic predisposition for the sport from my mom and dad - who have been doing Vegas since Vegas was hip and people dressed in the evening, and went to shows, and schmoozed. They'd seen all the big names in their day. Sinatra, Sammy Davis and the rest of the Rat Pack. We used to joke that my parents (mostly my mom) went to Vegas for 3 nights and and one day. Saw daylight upon arrival and departure only.

Once- I won big - $8000 big. I felt like a whale (which is Vegas speak for high roller). I had the cage (which is Vegas speak for the cashier) issue me a check, so I'd be sure to go home with it. That was exciting! I asked for my hookers and cocaine, which I thought were the things afforded to whales in Vegas. Instead, I got a massage and a lobster dinner. Maybe if I'd not gotten the check, they would have given me the former in hopes that I would give back the 8K. I was a double winner that trip - I went home with the cash and drawn butter stains on my blouse.

This time, I did pretty good. I had some big wins on penny slots (believe it or not) and played my 3 card poker for hours. Went shopping and got a great pair of shoes and a handbag (Donald J Pliner for those who want to know), ate well, got a tan at the pool, saw Dennis Miller (who was hysterical, by the way) and actually went home with money in my pocket. I'd have to say one of the highlights was that my girlfriend Jami bought a Gucci purse. A real live, really expensive one at that. I was so happy for her. That's zen by osmosis, baby.

The last night there - as we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to catch our flight, and of course the wake up call automated system was down...I lie awake, too afraid to fall asleep in fear that the alarm would not go off, I had a few thoughts:

-how Vegas is good for the ego. Second only to say, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (where there are more toes than teeth) in that a 44 year old slightly overweight (I'm not fat, I'm just fluffy) soccer mom can be one of the hottest babes in the joint. I look at some of the people and think to myself - do they actually think they look good in that wife beater tank and stretchy pants? And that's the guys!

-what would I have done if that toothless, yarn hat wearing whacky women sitting next to me muttering that she was stranded and had to wait for the bus at 6:00am (hoping for a handout, I am sure) would have swiped my purse, or jewelry, or god forbid - my $150.00 penny slot winning ticket? Fight or flight? I am basically a wus, so I think I would have just cowered in disbelief...glad I didn't have to find out.

-and speaking of that, how come there is not enough visible security at casino hotels? Whackos come out at night...hovering around and praying on unsuspecting wusses like me. I wanna see more men and women in blue in the wee hours.

-how if we actually didn't make the plane due to the wake up call issue, would the really nice guy who was a big wig corporate pilot have , as he said he would, flown us back to Burbank? Sure,
I'd have bought him lunch , like that would've covered the fuel charges.

-how my girls ask me why I am going away. They don't like when I go away. Hubby can go for two or three days, and even though they don't like it, it is different than mommy going away. I tell them I will be a better mommy if I can go away once in a while and be a woman now and then.

-how I gotta start planning now for the next trip...with all due respect to hubby and his desire to send me to a spa, that would probably cost more money than Vegas (as I get free rooms) if I play my cards right (pun intended) - I'll get the spa treatments anyway.

-how if my dream of hitting the Royal Flush had actually come true - would I have stayed there a bit longer and finally gotten my hookers and cocaine?

Aah, the random delusions of the sleep deprived. That's zen, baby!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Precious Moments

I gotta say as much as I hate getting up in the morning and doing the 'getting kids to school' thing (which luckily for me, Hubby does not seem so loathe to do) - I do love my little conversations I have with them in the car on the way.

As Mother's Day is approaching, there is a distinction between real mother's day and fake mother's day that Rachel is trying to understand.

Real Conversation went like this:

Rachel : "When is real Mother's Day?"
Me: (for about the 20th time in past hour) "Real Mother's Day is this Sunday"
Rachel: "When is Fake Mother's Day?"
Me: (explaining that Fake Mother's Day is when they will celebrate it at preschool) "Next week."
Rachel: "I don't know what to get you for Real Mother's Day." Maybe I can give you a jewelry
that I don't want anymore, or a picture, or a something."
Me: "How 'bout just your love?"
Rachel: " Moooooom, you get that everyday with my deliciousness and kisses!"

Precious moments.....and I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Clown College Placement Exam

Words can not express the pride I feel for my children and the essential life skills that Hubby and I have passed down to them.
Who needs a 529 plan when you can suck the air out of plastic cup and stick it to your face?
Honestly, I hadn't laughed THAT hard in months. It was great. And, who do you think they learned it from???

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Finding My Inner Nemo

On Saturday, we went to the beach. Not the sun tanning and swimming kind of beach. But a great state park with tide pools and caves and wildlife. It was a nice day, but not blazing hot. No bathing suits either. We just explored the wild life. We saw 1 dead sea lion, 2 dead birds, 2 very alive and loving life starfish, 1 very alive and hiding from life rattlesnake, many anemone and barnacles and muscles (oh my!).

I love the beach. The smells, the sounds.
And this year - I have decided that for Mother's Day -
instead of spending oodles of money on some bad brunch with bad service - I am going to invest in a sturdy umbrella, and a few sand chairs and we're hitting the beach! Everywhere I looked there were people eating things from my favorite food group: the 'toe's group. You
know, Chee(tos), Fri (tos) and Dori(tos) and Pota(tos)! So, some excellent turkey sandwiches and some salty chip type substances are in order! Can't wait to find my inner Nemo!

By the way, I think I have found the perfect spot for Poppy. I'll let you know next weekend.
"The beach is the place, where a man can feel, he's the only soul in the world that's real. And, I see a face coming through the haze, I remember him from those crazy days."
Pete Townsend
from The Who's Quadrophenia.