Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I need a hero....

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. Thomas Jefferson
As I watch the government unfurl, stagnate and stumble the song that keeps going through my mind is "I need a hero".  Yes in a time of immense crisis I am hearing a pop song that at last was used in an animated movie called Shrek.  Yet it fits perfectly.  

I am not in favor of big government and excessive taxation (after all it is exactly that excessive taxation that started the "shot heard round the world" aka American Revolution).  I also am not in favor though of cutting things that the good folks in DC seem to keep calling entitlements (by definition something you get for nothing) since as I look at my paycheck I know I pay for Social Security and Medicare.  How can we cut from those in need in this country while writing a check to any other place on the globe when they need it?  Yet watching the debacle I see now going on in Washington DC more than anything I am frightened for the first time since I started to watch the series of crisis that have hit both in the States and abroad.  

I think there is waste, inefficiencies, and overall a sense of total mismanagement in DC but I also think government is necessary and unlike private industry is solely funded by taxes - there I said the obvious! I know I am pained by the amount of taxes we pay every year but I also feel that we should pay our fair share, I should not pay a bigger percentage than the guy who makes millions but more than the woman who makes less than me.  However, there does not appear to be any one person in DC who cares about the country they are serving, they are so focused in a pre-election year on themselves that they forgot they are there to do the things that are not popular but right, the things that are hard to accomplish but move the nation forward, the things that are logical while not exclusionary.  The forefathers and past elected officials used to understand that on both sides of the fence.  Today they are just focused on making that fence into the brick wall that they can climb on top of to tell me how they will fix the problem next year, next year, next year.  There is no next year - there will need to be increases in taxes particularly on corporations (with some incentives thrown in to oh hire some people..looky looky a compromise already) and there will need to be some cuts of areas of redundancy in government.....looky, looky another compromise.  The people who are elderly and in need should not be blamed for the debt, nor should those who get the tax breaks, neither of these are numbers on a page but people and they both need to be treated with respect...the solutions are not that hard, come off the wall on both sides, look around and say this is the nation that was envisioned not the nation that was dreaded....there is no next year!

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream
of what I need........"I need a Hero"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Middle Age Crazy

Truth be told I am officially middle aged.....by any standard it is true, life expectancy being in the 80s (90s if you are lucky) turning 44 puts me smack dab in the middle of my life.  I am trying very hard to feel that this actually means something to me.  I look back on my years and the magazines I read reflect my aging process in my teens it was Teen Beat and 16!, twenties Cosmo and Glamour, thirties Marie Claire and Elle, now food magazines and More. My medicine cabinet went from baby oil for tanning to hair products to moisturizers to things with names like "the youth as we know it" and the word miracle liberally applied on the bottles.

In my teens I was friendly, funny and totally insecure about everything from the way I looked to the boys I liked and of course to any sort of ability I could possibly have.  I knew one thing, I was funny....got that from Dad along with some of the above insecurities.  Since I was funny I usually was pretty good at laughing at myself and making others laugh too. At that age I could not imagine the year 2000 nor could I imagine the ripe old age I would be when that year came around...I mean by 30 you basically should pack it in.  I thought of my own parents as in their forties, prior to them actually being that age and for some time after. I chased being a little bit older to be able to go to certain places and get in them, to be able to do it without curfews (though my Father had one for me until I was 20!!! At 19 he made my curfew 5:05 AM, my boyfriend's mother said that was not a curfew but an inconvenience...the :05 was the leeway to be a little late, past that I lost 2 hours of the curfew for the following day) and because until about 18 it seems that time goes so slowly....however, that 18-20 mark and you start to go speeding Indy 500 style.

In my twenties I was so not going down the path of my parents...not for me this whole responsibility, marriage or children business.  I was going to have fun...travel...have fun...find out what I wanted to do with my life...have fun...go dancing...have fun.!!! Suddenly I was amazed how young 30 would be ...I mean hey it was not like I was going to need more than my best friends, dates and a little apartment for many years so 30 was just going to be my 20s but with more money right?  I moved across the country and moved back during this time.  I was still funny and this was good....my friends are all crazy ass gorgeous so being the funny one was a bit of a stand out for me.  I lost my Dad in my twenties and for that I was way too young....so was he.

In my thirties I annoyed some of my friends who were 29 for many years, defying all mathematical theorems out there, by celebrating the milestone and never lying about it.  I was having a great time, I was starting a new career and most of all I was actually not feeling that weird ass biological clock that everyone kept telling me about.  I was a New York Bridget Jones (love weighing myself in stones by the way) journal and all! I hit the snooze button on the biological clock and it only surfaced around my mid-thirties at which point whether I felt  that I was going to have to make a decision about having children before my body made it for me.  In my twenties I lost a parent in my thirties I became one.

So here I am...the forties, mid-life crisis, pre-menopause, contemplation about Botox ....oh yeah am sure that maybe some people out there but not me.  I cannot control aging but I can control what I do with every year I have.  I look back and see how the past four decades have added some amazing friends to my life, they have added a lot of heartbreak but even more happiness, and some remarkable experiences.  I do not mind getting older, though menopause has pretty much as much appeal as water boarding, and the only things I fear about it are getting Alzheimer's or being incapacitated ....I aim to be a Golden Girl if I can.  If I cannot I hope for kindness from my children and friends...and a nice looking male nurse to help me of course.   I remember all those years and am happy that I did not spend them worried about how fleeting they were or if I was still defined by the number on my cake, oh you bet there is always at least 1 but usually more than 1 cake.  I celebrate my birthdays for a month to catch up with all different friends and still am waiting for the day when I will feel like I have finished with half of my life instead of looking forward to the upcoming years.   As cliche as it is age really is a number, you at that age is defined by how you want to write the story and I am writing one hot, racy, funny, interesting novel every day.

forever young, i want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever, forever and ever
some are like water, some are like the heat
some are a melody and some are the beat
sooner or later they all will be gone
why don't they stay young
it's so hard to get old without a cause ........Forever Young Alphaville

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Video killed the radio star..

Thanks to television, for the first time the young are seeing history made before it is censored by their elders. Margaret Mead

First song ever played on MTV...don't think it actually killed the radio star but it did make us a generation that had yet another thing to watch on TV.  I admit it...I like TV.  I know the "in" thing these days is to get rid of it, to pass judgement on those who watch  it or what is on it but to me like anything else TV is there to be entertaining and nothing more. 

I remember watching TV, black and white, 2 channels, went off at 9 pm in Romania.  I liked it as a child mostly because of the few American shows that were on...they connected me to my parents who were in the same land.  I wanted to meet Rockford, Kojak and had quite the crush on Sydney Poitier. As I arrived in the States I was astounded by the number of channels, the color, and learned quite a lot about the English language from Electric Company and Zoom (tele ...vision - television).  I learned about conjunctions, getting a Bill passed, adjectives and a host of other subjects while humming along with Schoolhouse Rock.  I understood about teenage alcoholism, date rape, anorexia and teen pregnancy from after school specials.  My mother and I watched Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley together and often talked about my day while watching it.  We  then faithfully allowed ourselves to drift to Denver with the Carringtons (OK admitting slight crush on John Forsythe...come on that voice, that head of hair).  I wanted to be one of Charlie's Angels, find Love exciting and new on the Love Boat and of course be on the plane, the plane in Fantasy Island.  I knew Luke and Laura as if they were cousins working at Astoria General Hospital. I watched men be rebuilt, then a woman, then a boy....am pretty sure with inflation he would be the $16 Million Dollar Man now and most insurances would not have covered all that reconstructive surgery.  

TV is a part of my childhood, late nights watching Friday Night Videos and Thriller Chiller Theater with my Dad, as well as part of the time I spent with my family - not instead of my family.  The programming for children today is quite diverse and has a lot of educational value and yes there is also the stuff I cannot understand the attraction to but they like such as Pokemon (um large eyes, people whose mouths don't move when they speak, weird little creatures...maybe that was a Fantasy Island episode too).  I limit my kids time and monitor to make sure they are not scared or exposed to anything beyond what they should grasp at their ages.  My husband is a sports fanatic so my share of TV is fairly limited, I get maybe 2 or 3 shows a week which all seem to have a common Quincyesque theme.  There is nothing wrong with watching television, or with playing on the computer, reading, listening to music...like anything else it should not overtake your life but should be your moment to relax, smile, cry or do whatever makes you less productive in an otherwise productive life.  You can elect to watch drivel or masterpieces, you can elect to stay on or change the channel from another docudramareality show, you can choose to believe the news or at least feel you know what propaganda there is out there and of course you can elect when to turn it off.  The selection is entirely up to the individual and not the television's.  If you choose not to have a or watch TV at all I respect your decision, however, to all those who with a cynical sneer tell me how they no longer watch TV and in spoken or unspoken ways say they superior to those of us who do, I respond in my best Flo Southern accent "kiss my grits" !!!

[The television is] an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home. David Frost

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Boys of Summer

Guess it is hard not to want summer romances - after all movies, plays and music have a multitude of stories about hot, steamy days and nights spent enjoying vacations, sun, the beach and of course the boys of summer.  I think back with fond memories of the many vacations I took with and without my family and of course of the boys that made those summers.

My friend Mary and I went with her parents to Virgina Beach one year when I was about 12.  We drove there, sitting in the back of their station wagon singing (no walkmen yet), talking, most likely complaining about the drive and looking forward to being together.  As only children these trips with another child were really special.  When we arrived at the house we were renting, an attached dwelling, we found the family next door to us had 2 boys.  They were roughly our age, well one was, the older boy was I believe around 16.  I do not remember their names but I do remember how excited the 2 of us were, after all every preteen movie and book we had ever encountered prepped us for a summer of crushes.  I remember the older boy well for his soft, straight hair that fell over his eyes.  The younger brother played with us, badminton, and was really nice.  The older one had a "girlfriend" and was pissed off about being on vacation away from her we were told. I distinctly remember the day before they were leaving my butterfly going over the fence next door, the older brother (I just remembered Michael was his name) helped me go find it and kissed me on the lips.  No words, no nothing just a soft kiss and then he walked away.  Nope...nothing else happened but it was my first boy of summer.

There was of course my sweet neighbor whose parents had sent him back to Europe to school, who only came in summers, and who I snuck out after dark and talked to for about 3 years every summer from 8th grade through 10th...lots of talking with stolen kisses.  There was the boy I wanted to leave my family for when I was 19 and stay in Italy with, my father laughed at that one, but distance ended that love affair ....though must say his way of saying "Giuliana bella" still can make me smile when I think of it.  He looked like a tall Elvis!! There was the man I almost moved to Europe for as an adult.  There was Gilbert from my first trip to Spain, he was from Queens and looked a lot like the drummer from Depeche Mode...something I found sexy at the time though in retrospect sun-in blonde hair may not have been as cool as I thought at the time.  I met my husband, as a friend, one summer.  In writing this I realize the men that had my heart were all summer loves...guess this way I have someone to cozy up with in winter.  

I am sure we all have these summer flings, at the time loves of our lives, and they are great.  They remind us that when we fall for someone the sun shines just as if it was summer all the time.  The anticipation of that kiss...the hand holding...the whole flying over the ocean through your heart !  Sentimental, romantic and overall serves the purpose to make us feel good at the moment and in our memories....so to you the boys of my summers I say thanks...you all made my summers that much hotter and my older years full of memories of those days.

Summer loving had me a blast
Summer loving happened so fast....Grease