Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Happy Birthday Robin

Today my sister would have been 50 years old. I still can't believe it's been 7 months since she passed away...

Brie asked my friend Bonnie Miller, who is very crafty, to make a plaque for me for Christmas. When I opened the box I took one look and then quickly shut it. I saw the word "sisters" but knew I couldn't read it. I didn't think I'd ever be able to read it.

But since today is Robin's birthday, I took the plaque with me to work and left it in my car. Then after work I drove to the cemetery so I could open it with Robin and read it to her. That's exactly what I did...

The plaque was beautiful, and of course had a piano and music notes on it. It's purple: Robin's favorite color. And the poem Bonnie wrote was so beautiful...I cried and cried as I read it out loud. It said all the things I felt about my sister. Then I put it back in the box because it's painful for me, still. Maybe one day I'll be able to actually take it out and hang it up in the house I moved into that was right across the street from hers. Sadly, she never even got a chance to see the inside.

However, I don't want to end this on a sad note. Here's one of my favorite memories. Probably 28 years ago or so, when Freihofer's was still awesome, Robin and I used to go there whenever the mood struck us and buy a birthday sheet cake. Was it one of our birthdays? Nope! We'd just buy it and then eat it at her house! And when Marie told us we didn't need to eat all of that cake: then we'd just do it at my house so Marie didn't know. Ha ha Marie! And if they didn't have cake we'd get the 6-pack od cupcakes with the real icing and eat those. Sooo delicious!

I wish I could get a cake or cupcakes in her honor but I can't. So I'll save the calories and think of the Heavenly celebration she had today; at least in my mortal mind.

Happy Birthday Sissy. I love you.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It Could Only Happen To Me

When it comes to stuffed animals I like to pick out my own. I have to study their faces, gauge personality and think how it will get along with the others. But occasionally Schmoop-Dog likes to pick up one for me.  So knowing I like dinosaurs, he picked up a pillow-pet dinosaur in his favorite color: brown.

I didn't mind the pillow-pet. I didn't name it or anything, but I had it on my bed. After awhile I decided since it was a pillow-pet, perhaps I should use it as a pillow. That's when the trouble started...

Apparently this pillow-pet did not like being used as a pillow. I would Velcro it together and it would be too high and bumpy to be comfortable. I would lay it flat and it would be too flat so I'd put it on top of my regular pillow. Because of the material it was made out of: it was too hot...You get the idea.

Then I started waking up and it would be gone. I'd find it behind my bed on the floor. I lost count of how many times I'd pick that thing up, put my head on it, and have it escape during the night. What the heck was wrong with that thing?

Finally one morning I woke up and began my morning ritual. I went into my bathroom and washed my hands. I looked up into the mirror and saw this red line in the middle of my forehead. Curious, I touched it. It was blood. There was a slit in the middle of my forehead: oozing blood. Where did it come from?? Not my nails: they weren't that thin. Not the Fuzzywigs: they didn't get near my face. The only other logical conclusion: the dinosaur did it! While I was sleeping that thing attacked me!

Once Brie stopped giggling she said, "That is ridiculous! Why would the pillow-pet attack you?"

"Because it hates me for sleeping on it and knows I don't like it! That's the only explanation! It does have teeth and claws!"

"Um...okay mom. But the teeth and claws are made out of cloth." She walked away but I could still hear her giggling. And that was pretty much the reaction I got from Schmoop-Dog too. So much for love and support!

When I went to bed that night I looked at the thing lying innocently on the bed. "You've got one more chance to act right or else you're out of here!" Yeah I showed it who's boss!

The next morning I woke up rested and refreshed. I got up, played with the puppies, set Lilly on the floor and got Pumpkin to put her on the floor too. I opened my room door and they ran out. I heard Brie in the bathroom and called out good morning. Then, when I turned to close my bedroom door it happened: I was attacked from behind! I screamed and turned around swinging. Brie came running out of the bathroom yelling, "What's wrong? What happened?" The Fuzzywigs were barking. I turned around and looked at the floor. There, in a heap, was the pillow-pet! "Did you see that? It attacked me!"  That's right: that freaking thing attacked me from behind.

Brie laughed until she cried. "Mom, the Velcro attached itself to your sleep bonnet!" (Please disregard the fact that I may or may not, in fact, have a sleep bonnet.)

Then how did I do all that stuff in my room and never feel a thing? All the bending and lifting with the dogs? Nope: it was laying there innocently but I know what really happened. It jumped on my neck! It was banned from my room from that point on.

I wanted Schmoop to take it, but he said that we should give it another chance. Why: so it could finish the job?? He is relegated to the first floor landing with a pink tee shirt draped around it. Because Schmoop thought it might be lonely he bought it one of those big-eyed beanie babies to keep it company and domesticate it.

So even though it looks all cozy with its new best friend, I keep a wide berth. I'm not going to give it a chance to do anything else! So Schmoop, when it comes to stuffed animals for me: thanks but no thanks!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Power of a Smile

I was on my way to work this morning when I realized I needed to stop for gas. As I was pulling into my favorite Sunoco station the song "Hello" by Adele came on the radio. Adele 25 was the last CD my sister bought, so whenever I hear that song it makes me think she's saying hello to me. But since it was a dreary, gray and rainy morning, it made me sad. I got out of the car and began pumping gas: gazing up at the gray sky and wishing I could feel...different.

As I was nearing the amount of gas I wanted to purchase, I happened to glance towards the window of the convenience store. One of the employees was by the window and looked out. When she saw me, she smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back...and it was transforming. That simple gesture from that woman made me feel brighter and almost like my old self.

It's amazing what a smile can do. I'm so thankful for that woman because she changed my entire outlook on the day without even knowing it!

The next time I'm at that Sunoco station I'm going to go in and tell her what she did for me. And I will try to do the same for others. You never know what might be going on in someone else's life. But one thing I'm sure of: a smile can certainly help. It helped me...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

By Request for Kitty

Her Majesty Ms. Kitty loves the Broadway show “Cats!”  She has the video, DVD, scrapbooks, pictures and has written 5 books featuring the characters.  She made her own costume one year, by hand, for the Halloween season and was Victoria, her favorite character.  She also quizzes me periodically to see if I can identify any of them (I’ve gotten better over the years!).  I figured since she was so enamored of the show, why didn’t I just take her to see a live production of it?


It just happened to be playing at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady; but I’m not going to bore you with the details of the nightmare that was actually getting to Proctor’s.  Why do you not have an exit off of the Northway?


Just because we have the DVD and video of Cats doesn’t mean I had actually seen it.  Whenever Kitty would put it on I would immediately tune out or get distracted by a shiny object.  So I was kind of looking forward to seeing it live.


What a spectacle it was!  The characters were coming down the aisles, climbing in the rafters and otherwise behaving just like felines. Then all of those people were on stage dressed as cats, singing and dancing: what’s not to love?  And I actually recognized one of the characters (finally): Grizabella.  I could kind of empathize with her: she used to be a Glamour cat, I used to be glamorous; she was a little shaggy and worn around the edges, I’m a little…less stellar than I used to be.  Plus, the other cats shunned her at the Jellicle Ball because she was grizzled.   Who hasn’t been on the outside looking in on occasion?


And then, miracle of miracles, at the end as Grizabella was singing “Memory”: what’s that?  Is that Victoria, befriending her?  Holding her paw and giving her a hug?  It is!  Now all of the others are accepting her too!  Hooray!  And look: Old Deuteronomy is escorting her through a receiving line made up of the other cats!  I think they’re going to get married!  And if an old Glamour Cat can get married, there’s hope for me!  I am Grizabella!


Look how happy Grizabella is as she and Old Deuteronomy, arm in arm, step up onto the old tire that is now lifting them up.  They’re waving!  Weddings are wonderful, aren’t they?  From the sky comes a lighted platform.  Old Deuteronomy helps Grizabella onto this platform, and now it lifts her up and away as OD and the others wave at her.  She didn’t get married: she dies!


No!  Say it ain’t so!  Why didn’t anyone warn me?  I feel tears fill my eyes and Kitty says, “What’s the matter with you?”  “Grizabella died!”  “Of course she died. You saw that at home.” “No I never watched it!” “Mom!” So of course I kind of embarrassed Her Majesty by actually crying.  Poor Grizabella: did she know she was going to the big litter box in the sky?


So of course I immediately changed my mind: I ain’t Grizabella!  I’ve got too much left to do before anyone puts me on a lighted platform to the sky!  This Glamour cat has plans to make the most of the lives she has left. So stay tuned!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Behind The Music

I’m not a big fan of the Beatles. I prefer them individually as opposed to the entire group. Ringo was always my favorite and I’m sure that opinion is unpopular too! But I digress…

I do enjoy some of their songs.  However, the one I like the most is “Eleanor Rigby”, another one of their simpler songs. It is such a sad song, made sadder by my own interpretation of it. So here's my "Behind the Music" moment for my favorite Beatles' song.

 Eleanor Rigby was the cleaning lady for the church. Never married, no children and no family: she was very lonely. Father McKenzie, being the priest, was always very kind to her and didn’t look down on her like the other townsfolk did because she was just a cleaning lady.

Father McKenzie was also rather lonely, because people revered him so much that they put him on a pedestal as their spiritual leader. They only visited for confession and the services; or if he did a home visit with the infirm.

One evening, his loneliness got the best of him. As Eleanor was leaving, he invited her to have a cup of tea with him before she made her way home alone. This became a habit, and they would sit by the fire and gently chat.

As you can imagine: they fell in love.  They fought their feelings for each other, but the flesh is weak and they ended up…assuaging each other’s loneliness in a way unbefitting of a priest. They swore it would only happen the one time, but once the seal is broken…you know the rest. 

When the townsfolk began to wonder at the change in demeanor of Eleanor, the secret smiles and pep in her step, they became suspicious. What did she have to be happy about? So they followed her one day, and discovered her with Father McKenzie! And they were not kind at all…

Eleanor Rigby died of a broken heart. Father McKenzie atoned for his sin, but lost his congregation. He was unable to save the soul of anyone else because no one would come to the church: much like no one attended Eleanor's funeral.

Man, what a heartbreaking story! Maybe I should become a writer…J This is just my musing of what the song is about. I bet if you were to ask Paul McCartney, I wouldn’t be too far off the mark!
Now go and listen to your favorite Beatles' song, and think about what it might mean...


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bittersweet Symphony

A few weeks ago I was driving to work and heard the saddest news on the radio.  Apparently, the group the Verve had been sued by the Rolling Stones for plagiarizing their song “The Last Time” and turning it into “Bittersweet Symphony”. And the Stones took all of the royalties, past and future, from the Verve.

Granted, I’m not a big fan of the Verve although I do like the song. But I felt so bad for them. They had this one song and the greedy group the Stones had to take everything from them. How is that even right?  They are a behemoth group, while the Verve was just a little band. And if you listen to the songs, you would never equate the two as the same. But I guess if you put the 2 songs together and slow down the Stones’ and speed up the Verve (insert eye roll) it sounds similar to the people who made the decision, but not to me. Besides, there are only so many keys on a piano and so many chords, so eventually something might sound reminiscent, but isn’t necessarily a copy of another song.

IF, by some chance, it was a subconscious “borrowing” of a few notes: was it necessary to take everything away? A similar situation happened with Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” but he was a gentleman and only took 25% of the other band’s royalties. Hats off to you Tom!

What about the many songs that are blatant rip-offs but the original artist doesn’t get squat? Like Joe Satriani who was ripped off by Coldplay? Viva La Vida deliberately took a piece of Joe’s “If I Could Fly” but didn’t give him a dime.  However, Robin Thicke and Pharrell sure had to pay the estate of Marvin Gaye for the similarity between “Blurred Lines” and “Got To Give It Up”. Personally, I think it was more of a similar attitude as opposed to a direct musical rip-off, but again no one asked my opinion.

 I guess situations like this will continue to happen, since again there are only so many notes and so many ways you can manipulate these notes. But at the end of the day: I really hope the Verve is able to make another big hit. I just hate to think of them with nothing. Maybe the Stones will let them tour with them, do a duet , be roadies or something musical to help them out. Come on Mick: throw them a little something! Lord knows they need it.

It’s going to take me a while to get over the injustice of it all. Even though I have no investment in any of this: I do have a heart. I just wish the Stones did too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My First Time

I was facing a real dilemma. I had booked a work bus trip for the Jets/Broncos game, and had sold almost 100 tickets which would require two buses. But the closer it got to game date, the more people dropped out of taking the bus and opted to drive themselves. The more people that dropped out: the higher the price went for the remaining riders.

Eventually, out of 95 people, I was left with thirteen. Thirteen! The bus company had a smaller bus, but that still would have put the cost of transportation at over $100 per person and that was unacceptable to me. So I had to come up with a Plan B.

I started contacting livery services to see if I could find someone to accommodate my group. I wasn’t finding a service that was economical enough to transport them. It looked like I was going to have to take them myself, and enlist my daughter to drive a vehicle too!

However, before I had to break the news to my daughter, I tried one more car company. It just so happened to be Platinum Limousines of Saratoga. I sent an email and the owner himself called me back.  After speaking over the course of a couple of days, he emailed me the contract that I wanted. He had a conveyance that fit exactly thirteen people which was perfect! My people had affordable transportation to MetLife Stadium!

The morning of the game our Platinum Limousine shuttle was right on time with everything sparkling clean, including the driver. He was very personable, professional and obviously well-trained in the business of taking care of his passengers. I knew my people were in good hands!

Afterwards I asked them to critique the service they had received. It was unanimous: they thought it was a great value for the price, the driver was delightful and they said I should definitely use them again. And I have.

This may not have been the “first time” you were expecting: but if you are in the market for wonderful limo service and haven’t tried this one, choose Platinum Limousines of Saratoga and have a marvelous “first time” of your own!