Saturday, January 24, 2004

Crumbs

Looking at my unpacked boxes I realized that once you get married, you no longer have any stuff that just belongs to you. Inside the boxes were things that belonged to me, my ex-husband,  Ray, his ex-wife, and now stuff that Ray and I purchased together.  Each partner wants ALL of it.  SHE picked it out, found a place to display it, dusted it, polished it, and glued it back together every time one of the kids broke it.  HE never liked it in the first place, had a fit over the price, complained when he had to carry it home, and if it were left up to him, would have just thrown it out whenever one of the kids broke it.  But still, HE thinks it should go to him because... SHE wants it.  Conversely... HE was the one who found it at Home Depot, had to talk HER into letting him buy it, made room for it in the garage, memorized the instruction manual, and HE was the one who planned on using it someday.  All she did was complain about the price, the time he spent reading the manual, and told everyone that he ever showed it off to that he had never even used it yet.  But still, SHE thinks it should go to her because... HE wants it.  Let me tell you what I got...

Friday, January 23, 2004

Even Dead Neighbors Gossip

So after the Obituary is in the paper, the Viewing is over and your eulogy recited, where are you going to spend the rest of eternity?  I'm still undecided.  It's forever you know.  It's not like you can change your mind after you're there.  I think I'm definitely against burial.  It's cold, dark and wet.  There are bugs.  Plus the family will feel compelled to traipse out to the cemetery to visit me, and I don't want any of their holidays to include a trip to the grave yard.  So I guess I'll pick cremation, but where do I want my ashes?  I always loved the movie, 'The Bridges of Madison County'.  I thought it was so romantic when Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep had their ashes mingled together and scattered off a local bridge so they could be together forever.  But if I die before Ray, he will have to hold on to my ashes until HE dies.  Should I risk being misplaced at the bottom of some box, unceremoniously mixed with an assortment of paper clips, key rings and batteries?  Will they even be able to FIND me when Ray passes on?  The idea of being scattered in an exotic place is intriguing, but there's no guarantee where you're going to land.  I'd hate to spend eternity on the windshield of an old truck that just happened to be driving by.  Maybe I should just wait for Ray in the 'wall' (our columbarium).  You know, get the place ready, make friends with the neighbors, get our new social after-life going.  Plus... I could pick out a really beautiful urn for myself.  The kids would probably still feel obligated to visit, but at least the columbarium is heated and air-conditioned.  I just hope they remember my new neighbors may be watching when they do.  I'd hate to over hear, "Oh my GOD!  Did you see what her daughter was wearing?  To visit her mother's GRAVE!?  Good thing she was DEAD already!"

GREAT NEWS! Upon further investigation I've discovered that you CAN have a viewing AND be cremated!  It just doesn't get any better than that!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The Editor's Number One Pick at AOL!

       Today has been a magical day for me.  I was going to say "so far", but even if nothing else happens, it was a great day.  The Editors at AOL chose my Journal as their Number One Pick.  I am both thrilled, honored and humbled... all at the same time.  I'm so glad I didn't die before seeing this!  It can be part of my eulogy now.  I can almost see it ...  A refined gentleman with an English accent, wearing an expensive suit stands behind the podium.  He glances down at my casket from time to time as he speaks eloquently of my life's accomplishments.  (I have no idea who he is, but he looks important).  Mourners dab their eyes with hankies.  Ray is sobbing uncontrollably.  Poor man.  He doesn't look as though he will ever get over this devastating loss.  The Englishman has to speak louder now as he continues my eulogy.  "... and she was named the Editor's Number One Pick at AOL for her Journal during the week of January 22, 2004 ..."  The mourners stand, clapping excitedly.  And not everybody gets to have THAT fantasy!  Thanks AOL.  (Does this entitle me to a free month now?  Just wondering...)

RSVP...

So what DOES one wear when hosting your own viewing?  I guess it doesn't matter if you've worn it before, or even if someone else is wearing the same exact outfit.  You can't really die of embarrassment since you're already dead.  However ... whatever you're wearing, you going to be wearing it FOREVER.  So you better like it.  A LOT.  The one decision I haven't been able to make is do I want to be buried or cremated?  Mausoleums are a nice idea, but you have to worry that yours might become the hangout for the local teenagers on the weekends.  I've seen many caskets exhumed on television and it appears that water frequently seeps into them.  A leaky basement is bad enough.  I couldn't stand being cold and  wet.  If I do go for the cremation several other concerns arise.  You can't be embalmed if you want to be cremated.  If you're not embalmed you can't have a viewing.  So it's either cremation with no viewing, or viewing and burial but no cremation.  And then what?  If I'm cremated I'd like my ashes placed into a columbarium.  That's a building in the cemetery where the walls have slots to house urns.  I don't want my kids to be burdened with my ashes, or if I'm married at the time of my death, have to worry that his new wife will suck me up with the vacuum.  The columbariums look like condos for dead people.  It's easy to imagine all kinds of activities going on in there for the dearly departed residents to engage in.  That could be fun.  Still ... I've always wanted a nice viewing.  A really fun one.  With music, food, chocolate, all kinds of sweets, Christmas decorations, drinking, singing and dancing.  I envision a band escorting me to the cemetery like they do in New Orleans with saxophones and trombones playing old gospel hymns. I want everyone to have such a good time that they look forward to going to the next funeral like mine, even if they have to host their own.  (continued ...) 

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

No... I'm not dying BUT...

I'm starting to accept the fact that not only am I over the hill, I'm sliding down the other side of it pretty quickly.  I am not really a morbid person by nature, but I do think we should all have some sort of a plan for what lies ahead.  Since I got married when I was 16 years old, I not only missed out on a wedding, I never got to go to the prom either.  So I guess the one day in my life, where I will shine, where I will be the center of attention, where all eyes will be on me, will be at my ... funeral.  It is rather irritating to think that on my glory day I'll be DEAD, and I probably won't look so good, but I'll do the best I can.  Could somebody find me a make-up artist who doesn't use a spatula to smear it on for heaven's sake?  And give the hair dresser a picture of me on a good  hair day.  There MUST be one somewhere.  I always hated my profile so I'm sure I won't like it any better after I'm dead, so tilt my face to the side.  Put false eyelashes on me.  If you lay me out without a manicure I will haunt you till YOUR dying day.  Don't forget my bra.  I do NOT want to look saggy in my casket.  I'd like high heels for the viewing but don't forget to take them back off and put on my fuzzy slippers before you ... put me under.  If I'm married when I die I'd like to buried with my wedding ring on.  I don't think the girls need to make a necklace out of it to remember me.  I'm a Team Player so I'll do my part, too.  If I have any say in it whatsoever, I will try my very best not to die when it's bitterly cold outside.  Or swelteringly hot.  Actually, I'll try not to die at all, but if I have to go, I'll try to be weather conscious.  I'll also try not to die on anyone's birthday, anniversary, graduation or wedding day, or any other annual holiday.  If I do go on someone's important day, please try your best to make light of it.  You know a good sense of humor has always been one of my best qualities and it would be nice to always be remembered that way, too.  (continued...)

Monday, January 19, 2004

Till Death Do Us Part...

Without your stuff... you are nothing.  Your stuff is the only tangible proof you ever existed.  As you grow older, you collect more and more stuff.  Once in a while you will come across some poor, brave soul, actually having a garage sale in an attempt to get rid of some of their stuff.  People flock to them.  They want to see what kind of stuff some other person now finds themselves willing to part with.  Although most people fear death, most of us make sure we leave a Last Will and Testament to make sure that someone will take responsibility for our stuff once we're gone.  One way to tell how much a person was loved is to see how their family disposes of their stuff after the funeral.  How can the family bring themselves to sell it at a garage sale or just throw it all away?  The only thing that gives them the courage to make such a decision is the thought, "If we don't sell it, donate it to charity, or throw it out, then it will become part of OUR stuff!"   Thank God for comforting thoughts.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

It's not clean till it's CSI clean!

If I were honest with myself I'd have to admit that I watch too much TV.  Most of the shows that I watch DO have some educational value, but you could say that about any TV show today.  I've even learned a few things from watching the Simpsons.  By far, my favorite TV shows are true crime stories.  Forensic Files.  Body Of Evidence.  Cold Case Files.  The System.  Although it's fascinating to watch how the detectives gather scientific evidence with state of the art equipment, how can I justify my interest in such shows?  Will this knowledge help me in my profession?  I'm a nurse, more specifically a nursing supervisor, so unless knowing how to conduct a ballistics test on various fire arms will help me find a nurse to work in the ICU tonight, that's not information I can use.  How about at home?  No matter how much I fantasize, when I dust my living room... it's not for fingerprints.  Socially, I can see where a little forensic knowledge might possibly alienate you.  It's just not polite to 'interrogate' the neighbors, and they DO notice when you're making mental notes on what brand of cigarettes they smoke, what size shoes they wear, and the existence and location of any tattoos they might have.  Looking back on my life experience I realize that I have never been called upon to pick someone out of a line up, describe a suspect to a sketch artist, or even look through any mug shots.  It would be much more rewarding for me to watch a TV program on health issues or home remodeling.  So why do I get such satisfaction knowing that when I'm finished cleaning, if a team of forensic scientists were to come to my house, the only dirt and fibers obtained at MY crime scene would have to be left by the perpetrator himself?  Do I worry that watching all these crime stories might make me paranoid?  Not at all.  I don't think it's asking too much for immediate family members and close friends to provide a small DNA sample for possible future forensic comparison.  Do you?

Friday, January 16, 2004

Who ARE... THEY?

They say it's going to be bitterly cold here in Jersey tonight.  Who are they anyway?  I don't think I've ever actually met one of them before.  If we were to analyze this, we would have to assume that there is more than one, since we always refer to them in the pleural form.  It's never 'he' or 'she' ... always 'they'.  I would also guess that they are young.  Most likely all under the age of thirty, since they seem to have an opinion on just about everything.  If they were employed, married or had children, they wouldn't have time to just go around saying things.  Maybe there aren't as many of them as we think there are.  They just want us to think so.  I know that I'm  not one of them.  No one has ever listened to anything I said before.  Especially my kids.  And yet I have heard all three of them refer to them  many times in the past.  OMG!  Did you read what I just wrote?  'All three of ...THEM!'  Is it possible that MY kids are actually ... THEM?  It does kind of make sense.  Each one of my kids has ALWAYS thought that they knew it ALL since the day they were born.  And I DO have more than one child ...  hence 'THEM.'  Is it possible that my kids really do know everything?   That every word they utter is carefully recorded so it can be repeated whenever necessary?  Is this theory even POSSIBLE?  Am I actually the mother of the chosen few?  Of ... THEM?  The Grand Poobahs behind every fact, speculation, prediction and rumor between Hollywood and Washington, D.C.?  ME?  MY KIDS?

THEM??

Nah.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

For all my sisters....

Every time I pass that new Bowflex machine in the living room I feel guilty.  In my mind I can hear my mother's voice saying, "Do you know there are millions of flabby people in other countries that would just LOVE to have an exercise machine like that?"  So today I decided to give it a try.  One wall in front of the Bowflex is mirrored so it's impossible NOT to watch myself.  Hmmm.  I wasn't nearly as coordinated or graceful as I thought I was, but everything always evens out.  I wasn't nearly as thin and firm as I thought I was either.  Which is pretty discouraging since I really didn't imagine myself as the picture of physical fitness in the first place.  Just like all of my past projects, I have more work ahead of me than I thought.  Of course, if I gave up eating Entenmann's Pastries, Tastykakes, and Dunkin' Donuts I would probably get into shape a lot faster.  But... I'm almost 50 years old.  How good should I look anyway?  Do I really want all of my girlfriends to end up hating me?  Do I want to make other women my age feel bad about themselves in comparison?  It will be hard enough on them when they see what great endurance, stamina and flexibility I'll soon have.  How egotistical would it be for me to also become thin, firm and have zero percent body fat as well?  NO!  I am NOT that kind of woman!  I will not cause my Sisters In Menopausal Madness any more misery than they already have!  Today... I am going to stop at Dunkin' Donuts before AND after work!  It's the right thing to do.

Monday, January 12, 2004

A life less extrodinary...

I was absolutely amazed at all the things I learned about some of my fellow Journalers over the weekend.  Many of them posted suprising facts about themselves in their Entries, and then asked their Readers to guess which ones were true.  I was... fascinated.  I thought about joining in the fun, but after a few minutes I realized that there weren't really many things I could write about, that would shock and/or delight MY Readers.  I never worked in a Night Club owned by The Mob like Lanny, from the 'Inside My Head' Journal.  I never kissed a member of any famous rock band, like Monica from 'Whoopie! My Life Is Gonna Be Perfect' did.  My father was never stationed with Elvis Presley in Germany like Sherry's dad from 'The Secret Life Of A Stay At Home Mom'.  I did see a picture he had taken with Roy Rogers at a pigeon race, but somehow, that's not as exciting as Elvis.  And... I've never been given a memento from Mickey Mantle himself, been helped to the Ladies'Room through a crowd by Howard Stern, gotten a Thank You Card from Barbara Walters, ever discussed politics with Bobby Kennedy, or ever, EVER missed an opportunity to have dinner with Mel Gibson like my friend Angela, author of 'My Thoughts' did.  Angela did ALL of those things!  I am not a direct descendant of any royalty, world leader, or celebrity.  I don't hold any records of any kind in any event.  And I've never survived any catastrophe or natural disaster except those that have happened in my own home.  No television commercials or Hollywood movies, either.  I only hope I have a few stories to bore my grandchildren with when they get older.  But I have almost as much fun hearing about other people's adventures as I would if I had them myself.  In the Grand Theater of Life I guess we need both performers and audience members.  So... I'm not only clapping here... I'm standing up.  And to my fellow Journalers and others like them I say... "BRAVO!"

Friday, January 9, 2004

Alien Droppings

I now know there are aliens out there.  I always thought that someday someone would offer proof, but I never thought that someone would be me.  Or that I'd find that proof in my driveway.  Ever since I moved in with Ray I noticed that there were hundreds of little spiked balls laying all over his front lawn.  Ugly, brown, dried up crispy things that are dangerous and annoying.  If you step on one accidentally they roll and cause you to lose your footing, and even frenzied stomping will not crush them.  The spikes will cling to any material they come in contact with.  They especially like socks, slippers, sneakers and bottoms of jeans.  Once attached, they are extremely difficult and painful to remove.  They have no natural enemies, and they don't seem to decay.  Animals won't eat them, even the squirrels won't touch them.  No matter how many times you sweep them up there are always hundreds more in the morning.  I originally thought that they fell from some kind of tree but there are no leaves on the trees in New Jersey now, and there are still hundreds of these spiky balls strewn around.  And... the balls look the same no matter what season it is.  I've never seen such peculiar balls in my entire life and I've walked in woods before and been in my share of Nurseries.  I am even renowned in one of my old neighborhoods for my gardening techniques, but that's another story.  I think that maybe that 'weather station' across the street from my house really ISN'T a weather station afterall.  It could be an Alien Sighting Monitor.  That's why the authorities were out within minutes investigating who planted those shrubs in front of the equipment this past summer.  We were on camera!  The government needed a clear view of the alien crapping ground, which just happened to be my front lawn and driveway.  Things are beginning to make a little more sense now.  Don't you think?

Thursday, January 8, 2004

And on the eighth day God went to the gym...

When Ray told me that he was going to use the money that his mother gave him for Christmas to buy something "special" that "both of use could use," and that he was going to "put it in the living room," I figured it could only be one thing.  A set of new living room furniture!  I was both thrilled and excited when he announced that he had "found a brand new one on E-Bay" and that it was "way cheaper than the original price."  All I had to do was to clear out the living room to make room for it while he and a friend drove up to North Jersey to pick it up.  I was so happy that we would finaly have furniture beside the fireplace, even though I was a bit disappointed that he didn't ask me to help him pick it out.  I could just see myself curled up on the couch by a fire, watching the snow fall in the park across the street through our beautiful new window.  When Ray and his friend Tom returned from their trip and opened up the back of the van I realized that it was not a couch or coffee table they were about to unload.  It was a Bowflex Home Gym.  The Ultimate Model.  I was speechless.  Ray was beaming.  It looked so seriously professional that my muscles began to ache just looking at it.  In a word ... it's ... huge.  It takes up half the room.  I have no idea where normal people would put one.  Did I say that it was ... huge?  Ray showed me how it could "fold up for easy storage."  Looked a little like an elephant in a fetal position to me.  He says that he is going to get up early every morning to exercise.  I want to believe him.  But if Ray was any more laid back than he is right now, he'd be dead.  And me?  I think now that we have a Boxflex we can eat a lot more pizza and ice cream.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

The Perfect Gift

Finding a great Christmas present for Ray wasn't easy.  I had to resort to slipping in a few items that could technically be construed as gifts that I might use more than he would.  But I knew he would really enjoy them too.  What middle-aged man wouldn't want a blow dryer with ionic heat that makes your hair shinny, smooth and less frizzy?  And he will really be much happier now that all of his remote control devices are neatly organized in a big, beautiful, mahogany box with various sized compartments conveniently located beside the bed.  But I wanted to get him something really special for Christmas.  One he would treasure forever.  Less than a week before the big day, I found the perfect gift!  I knew that he really hated my 'Gone With The Wind' poster hanging above our bed.  I was going to suprise him with a framed picture of a skier, but then I found something even better.  One night, about a year ago, while Ray and I were enjoying a little too much wine, we were playfully arguing over which one of us loved the other one more.  He never ceases to amaze me with his colorful imagination and prolific flow of words.  He's going to kill me when he finds out that I wrote this, but he won the argument by saying that he loved me "more than all the penguins you can see with a pair of binoculars from really far away ... and that's a LOT!"  We laughed at our silliness, but he has repeated that phrase to me many times since that night.  When I found a huge picture of 19 penguins, playfully taking turns jumping into Arctic water off of an iceberg, I knew I found the perfect gift.  Those penguins are now hanging above our bed and they can remind Ray of how much he loves me each and every time he enters the room!  I only wish you could have seen the look of utter joy and delight on Ray's face when he opened that gift on Christmas morning!  I think that was utter joy on his face...  

Hmmm.... Now that I've read the comments below maybe Ray DID think it was a plasma TV!  That would account for that look of utter joy when he opened it...

Sunday, January 4, 2004

The Looking Glass

A few weeks before Christmas I told anybody who would listen to me that what I wanted most of all was a mirror.  A stand-up, 9 inch, electric illuminating, distortion free mirror, with a magnification of eight and a handy travel case, to be specific.  I told them all where to buy it and what isle it was on.  A few days before Christmas I began to worry that I wouldn't get one so I went out and bought it myself.  I told Ray that it would be to me from him.  Of course he had already purchased one for me, just like my son, each one of my two daughters, my best friend, and my mother.  I guess I should have trusted them, but I've been disappointed in the past, and I really, really wanted that mirror.  I thought that it would be a lot easier to pluck my eyebrows if I had a mirror with an 8X magnification.  And a light.  Even though it seemed that I didn't have to pluck them as much in the past few years as I did when I was younger.  As I looked into that distortion free mirror yesterday, I realized that I was wrong.  My eyebrow hairs hadn't stopped growing.  They hadn't even slowed down.  I just couldn't SEE them anymore!  Why had no one told me?  Thank God Ray can't see any better than me!  I knew I was beginning to get wrinkles, creases and maybe a little less... facially firm.  After gazing into my virtual reality looking glass practically all afternoon I now realize the full extent of the damage.  I am being... ravaged!  I have wrinkles in places that I have never even seen before!  Facial firmness?  Apparently I've been on simmer for so long that I am now melting.  I have tiny spider veins.  Everywhere!  I think my gums may be receding!  Don't tell me I see a few ... OH NO!  Mustache hairs!  Damn those hormone replacement pills!  Maybe I shouldn't have jumped right in with an 8X.  I should have asked for a 5X first, and slowly eased my way into shock and terror.  Can I ever go back now to my semi-blindness?  Can I ever see myself through rose colored glasses?  Will my mirror ever again tell me that yes, I am the fairest maid of all?  I... somehow doubt it.