Monday, August 15, 2011

Five Solid Reasons to Love The GLEE Project

1.  Being uncool is cool 
Just like its parent show GLEE, The GLEE Project embraces being a little weird, a little different, a little off. It reminds all of us, cool-kids-lunch table or not, that EVERYONE has worth. (Except for my former brother in law, he is seriously and painfully worthless.)

2.  Awesome covers of songs you only belt out in the car
Feast your ears on all manner of song choices assigned to the cast. You can hear some awesome renditions of songs you used to sing into a hairbrush with your brother (ok, just me, I guess) like "Don't You Want Me" and Under Pressure/Ice Ice baby and Jessie's Girl.

3.  Identifying with your favorite character
Because you get to know the cast, see their talent as well as their vulnerability, it becomes easy to root for one of them, or ALL of them. Fans feel the crushing blow when a cast member is not called back and elation for those who will make it through one more round..or those who quit on principle, and to save their friend from being eliminated. After singing a beautiful haunting version of "Blackbird".

4.  No one gets called back based only on talent
After crooning out their best during the final three song showdown, you will think you know who is going to get the axe because their song was a little off, their moves a little stiff. Then, the sour faced director Ryan grills the terrified singers, digging into their soul to see what lies beneath a great voice and teen angst. He smiles like a Cheshire cat as he watches the kids sing for their supper. Damien's charm has carried him through many a rough final song performance. 

Many times, the person who sang the best is labeled "least writable" and isn't called back. Sometimes this isn't fair at all and you yell at the sour faced producer Ryan. Even though he can't hear you. 

5.  There is no voting 
Thank you baby Jesus, there is no secret voting by the members of the cast. There is very little back biting and since being awkward can be a bonus, there is little to be gained by Machiavellian tendencies. 

This show has heart. It makes me want to cheer for it, for the cast members who are weird, heavy, gay, conceited, small, moody, angst-ridden and wildly talented. I would love to see all of them on GLEE. The next pool of kids at William McKinley High School is going to be one to watch. 

The Kids are All Right...

Although i don't remember it well (Twin probably does, she is a savant for that stuff) I have seen the "first day" photos of our gang standing on the step many times, Twin and I in plaid dresses which makes us look like Cindy Brady, school bags on opposite arms. 

Although we are twins, my sister and I look like the photo negative of one another, one brown hair and brown eyes, one blond hair and blue eyes one right handed, one left-handed, one nice, one mean (you decide). Our brother stands over us in his Hobie surf shirt (Rock on, in Wyoming *snort*), hand on each of our shoulders, a knowing an experienced 5th grader with weird teeth and a bad part in his hair. 

My brother had always ridden the bus and I was wildly jealous. He seemed so cool, strutting over the hill, his comb in his back pocket in case he needed to re-feather, walking with the neighbor kids. I stood in the driveway most afternoon days and waited to see his feathered hair come over the hill. He was so cool. 

When it was our turn to go to school (we didn't need no stinkin' preschool, apparently), we were charged and ready to ride the bus. 

But Red wouldn't let us! 
She INSISTED on driving us to school the first day. 

You couldn't argue or whine audibly with Red, so we exchanged looks in the back seat of the maroon Monte Carlo. At least with our brother on the bus (No fair!), we both got a window seat. 

We arrived at Hillcrest Elementary and went into our classrooms. Red was worried about us. 

Perhaps we were nervous or needed to use the bathroom before she left. 
Maybe we felt a little scared of this big new school. 
Maybe we would feel shy around all of the new kids. 

Um...our group didn't really know the word 'nervous' or 'shy', as they didn't exist in our family. In fact, none of us has ever met a stranger, still. Red might have been projecting her feelings a smidge. Maybe red was suffering from PMS (Projecting Mother Syndrome)

Twin and I RAN to the big scary building (all of those tiny hooks, chairs and tables ARE ghastly) and put our things away. Red chatted with the teachers and other parents for a few minutes until she realized...we were gone. GONE. 

Where had we gone?

She had meticulously monitored our whereabouts for 5 years and had somehow lost track of us the first day of school! 

What if we were scared? 
What if we were crying? 
What if someone in a big white van, a la  the "CBS After-school Special" was trying to ask us if we wanted to help him find his lost dog? 

I can see Red quietly freaking out in her pantsuit and sort-of beehive hair, politely inquiring to the teachers, a little embarrassed..."ahem, excuse me...but...where are the girls?"

To which the teachers said "Oh, they went to the playground already". 

Unbeknownst to Red, after situating our personal Kleenex box and pencil case with the strawberry smelling eraser, we then skipped down the walkway to the playground.  Recess first! Yay! 

Hell no, we didn't cry!
We wouldn't hear of lurking around on our mother's pantsuit leg!
So what if we didn't even say goodbye to our poor fragile mother whose chicks were leaving the nest?
It's RECESS, yo. We were getting our swings on. 

I am totally the one on the right
Photo credit
And tomorrow, we were riding the bus.

This post brought to you by a prompt from your friends at Studiothirty, which I see has been PLUS sized?  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weight of Fear

The concrete rushed up at me, blurred in the speed I traveled to it. I felt the grit and heft against my arms and chin, which took the brunt of the force. The slow spread of warmth and tingling pulsed at each area that struck and I was reminded of a long ago bicycle accident. Except this was not an accident. My jaw had jammed shut at the moment of impact and I felt a faraway ringing my ears. I was stupefied.

And terrified.

I blinked, trying to understand what had just happened to put me face-down on the pavement. I felt my purse being pulled away from my body. The strap jerked down my arm clumsily and I let it, without resistance. I thought foggily about the strategy of playing dead during a bear attack. I heard muted and dreamlike voices lilting up and down in tone, talking not to me, but to each other as if they weren't standing over a complete stranger.

Their banter reminded me of men talking at a poker game.

I tried to process what that meant to me, but my thoughts wouldn't calculate. I whimpered without intending to as rough hands felt down my body, in my pants pockets, my jacket, as they took the cheap bracelet I'd had since school, and wiggled the wedding ring from my finger. The banter continued and I listened to it without hearing, heavy as a stone.

I could feel my heart beating like a metronome in every part of me.

When my hair was pushed to the side of my head, my breathing stopped. The hands searched my neck and I tucked in my lips to keep noise from escaping as bits of my hair caught and pulled. The hands were warm.

I shivered anyway.

The hands finally felt the chain of my necklace and I felt it tighten. I tried not to react as my head was lifted by the chain. The twist became uncomfortable and then released me when the chain was broken from around my neck. I closed my eyes and waited. They stood over me, suddenly silent.

I tried not to tremble.

I listened to them turn and walk away, their light conversation peppering their steps.

Me, laying face-down on cold pavement. Unharmed and ruined.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
I have lost the infamous purselet this week and I am being dramatic about how I feel about it. 

You heard me. I had every other important piece of paper, card, receipt and a lipstick I will never find again...and a Starbucks gift card.

Thank God I wasn't mugged, but I still feel like it. Where are you, purselet?

Monday, August 8, 2011


Hello, excuse me for interrupt...

(Louder)I SAID HI - EXCUSE ME...

Oh hi. Say, I was wondering if you have seen my motivation?


(slower) MOW-T-VAY-SHUN .....?

Yes. I can't seem to find it. I have looked everywhere.

Where have I been where I may have left it? Hmmm, gooood question. I have been quite a few places, but I haven't been carrying it with me much lately.

Nope, mostly just sunscreen and beer.

An ad is a great idea!


LOST: My Motivation. Comes and goes in varying levels.
Wearing argyle sweater and flip-flops. If found,
please return to
Owner will be home, you can count on it.
This little ditty was a prompt from StudioThirty, which said: Write a missing ad for something that you have lost in your life. It can be any of the aforementioned items (animate or inanimate), or something else you seem to have misplaced along the way.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Road trip, Runza, Raccoon and Remembering this thing on?

I can't explain it folks, but I have lost momentum in my blogging since my return from way down South. 
And East. 
(and North, but it wouldn't fit)

It has been a vacation-a-palooza this first summer of non-salaried employment. Weird, right? Letting Special Agent carry the load has freed me up to do a lot of touring around, sometimes even with him. I seriously need to stop laying around by bodies of water (both nature and man made) and get to work on something.


Oh well, blog it is. Except - I got nothin'. 

Except a lot of crackberry photos and a deep tan and this lonnnng post. I decided that I would let my beloved crackberry tell the tale of the directions I have been going during my hiatus from blog-land. Its a little long winded - please to forgive.

A photo montage, yo. In two parts.

I swear, NO more pictures from the Dominican Republic. The Southern portion of this tour is over.

Let's get started, shall we?

A few weeks after my return from the South, I drove my Mother across several states to say goodbye to my Uncle Hugh, a really special man. 

Dear Uncle Hugh, I'll miss you. 
My mother had just bought a new car and she and I and the baboos hopped in for a thrilling 20 hour drive across scenic Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. My Mom's new rig was well equipped with a movie player, so traveling with the kids was like traveling with deaf-mutes. Nary a word came from the backseat until I turned the car off and stopped the CD player. I occasionally channeled Clark Griswold, pointing out not very interesting landmarks. 

But no one was listening. (Big Ben, kids...parliament...)

I pointed things out to my Mom, who played along nicely. Even though she has been traveling to this area for at least 40 years.


Ahh....the open road. Yes Oprah, I was driving.
Look how straight and empty the road is! 
We are a LOT of bad food on the trip. Traveling the open road is not conducive to healthy eating. By the time it was over I was craving salad. And that never happens. Except taco salad. Yum, taco salad...
Someone INSISTED we eat a "Runza burger" when in
Kansas. So we did. We gave it a thumbs DOWN.

This would APPEAR be the same shot as before, but look! 
Construction cones!
Lots and lots of 'em. 

And lots of 'em.....
And...well, you get it.

This was lunch in the Midwest. Not kidding. I stopped at
a roadside clinic for a coronary bypass and liposuction. 
Once in Illinois, we went to my Granny's (My Dad's Mother) house to dump the baboos and I off, so my Mom could help with the arrangements and see her sisters who had also traveled in. The Baboos and Granny and I had a nice time catching up and showing the baboos all of the things I enjoyed when I spent time in the area each summer. Most importantly:

1.  Lightening bugs 
We don't have these in Wyoming,
what a shame

2. Blue eagle-flavored* sno cones
*Not really flavored with eagles.
The next day we attended a few informal events in honor of my Uncle, including a moving, if not pulverizing-ly hot service with military honors. I did not know most of those in attendance, or had not seen them in many years, but I was very proud to say I was Hugh's 25 people who, after I left said "who the hell was that and why is she so dressed up?"  I did a lot of nodding to strangers who knew me when as my heels sunk into the wet ground and I fanned myself like a crazy person in the stifling heat. The baboos looked like they might pass out. Wyoming kids are not built for humidity. 

In short, we did not "blend".

While at a post-service luncheon at my Mother's childhood church (church ladies put out good grub, yo), a 50 year old group photo from the church surfaced. I enjoyed seeing the faces of my grandparents (who have been gone since the early 1990's), my Mother, Aunts and Uncles. Strangely, none of the family of 8 was standing together in the photo. I believe they must have all rolled out of the service, crammed together on the lawn and had the photo taken. And then I dream that they ate a huge lunch. I  might be having flashbacks from my meal in the Midwest...

Grandpa Arlo, center.
He looks serious, but look closer. There is a smile in there. 

My Mother, on the left. Sassy as always.

Grandma Mary, looking a bit like she was in charge. :-)

The evening service was hosted by some of Uncle Hugh's friends from AA.

Along with his memorable laugh, Uncle Hugh was an accomplished member of AA and spent the better portion of his week driving to several of the little towns near his, picking up recovering alcoholics in his big black Caddy and taking them to meetings. He traveled and spoke at national AA conferences. He worked the program, and truly believed in its success. 

He was proof it could work. 

It was very moving to hear the others in his meeting group speak very frankly to each other about how my Uncle had stumbled and fell himself, and helped others when they stumbled, dedicated to continuing with the program. They joked he was a great roommate since his hearing loss made a good match for snorers, and they knew all about his sisters. His family was there, among his AA family. We held hands with them and said the AA creed. I shook hands warmly with several when I left.

On the way home I was feeling nostalgic so I wanted to take my children by my Granny's old house so they could see where my Dad grew up and where I spent my summers. The problem is, you can't really SEE-see it from the road. 

So I pulled in.
My Granny was a little mortified.
The Baboos were not surprised. They know me too well.

I met and explained my reason for visiting to a young pregnant woman in the yard, flanked by 2 little boys on bikes and a small girl in a dress and mud boots. All were adorable and had the dirt of the day on them. They were more welcoming than they should have been to two carloads of weirdos in funeral wear, barging into their evening. 

The boys showed up how they used the walk to jump their dirt bikes and I told them about the swing we used to have between the yards in the largest tree (don't use old ski rope - story for another day). 
The back yard where I used to collect lightening bugs and  mosquito bites.

My Dad had kept a raccoon for a pet when he was small and had told me stories of his days with Charlie squirrel and Davy Crockett the raccoon many, many times. So, imagine my surprise when....

Yes. They had a pet raccoon!!!. 
In 2011! 
In the City Limits!

Baboo and Davy Crockett II and his small owners

Amid rabies fears, the Baboos and I held the raccoon, since it was karma-riffic about my Dad and all. I held him against my black dress, my heels killing me and tried not to think about washing all of our hands ASAP. 
I had exactly the same look on my face.
And raccoon stink all over my black dress.

The family had saved him from drowning in a water barrel and he was completely tame. I just *KNEW* my Dad Mick was smiling down on my son holding a probably diseased raccoon. 

Ah, Mick. This raccoon's for you.  

We drove to Granny's smiling and quiet, nostalgic about the great stories shared by Uncle Hugh's friends, and the sweet visit to my Dad's childhood home and the one in my memories.

I felt lucky to get to spend a lot of downtime with my Granny Mae, my Dad's mother. She turned 92 in July, but is running at about 75, I think. She still lives alone and (gasp) even drives her younger neighbors to the doctor. 

She is wise and fun and bossy. We are cut from the same cloth, looks-wise and personality both. Being bossy is something I have inherited from her and when she bosses me around and I boss her around... it makes me laugh. 

Dear Mae. I love you. These will be my hands someday.
Even though my dogs were barking from my hooker heels, and we had decided we WOULD NOT go to church Sunday, Mae woke me at 6 am, telling me her conscience had woken her and she thought we needed to go to church. I tried to explain that we hadn't brought proper Sunday clothes, but she quickly reminded me that I had the clothes and shoes, ugh that I had worn to the funeral. Oh joy. 3 inch heels for a Sunday service. 

Again with the blending. 

My Granny has gone to Epworth Methodist Church all of my life, and I have sat in the pews on Sunday many times, through several of whom kissed my father. That pretty much ended the church service visits to Epworth for him. 

Yes, I took a photo during church. So sue me. 
While most of you know that church is not my scene, I definitely get the community aspect of congregations, and this hometown church maintains all of the goodness that one would expect. Many came to meet and greet us during a portion of the service and shook our hands with both of theirs while they told us how much my Granny brings to their group and how much my Dad meant to them and how sad they were that he is no longer with us. They also told us how great we looked, which made my feet hurt a lot little less.  

We think Granny brings a lot to our table too, so we kidnapped her and brought her home to Wyoming with us for a visit. The drive home was a little more grueling, since we had done it once and the novelty had worn off. 

Ok, not all of it. There were a few more sights I just couldn't help but capture... 

This is a FAMILY restaurant, ahem. 

I have never seen such a comprehensive "don't pee in the pool" sign. 

I had to see what "classy restrooms" looked like in a gas station
and I must admit, I felt like a debutante while I hovered.

More of this view...zzzzzz

More oversharing signs, this one for a bathroom in a miniscule town
somewhere on a detoured highway in Nebraska. 
Some pretty views...I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Some NOT as pretty. 

Road warrior, out.