Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can You Babysit Your Dad? I'm Going to Happy Hour

Pleasure is the bait of sin.

Let's face it. I can only be good for so long.

After four days in the hospital tending my husband after hip replacement surgery, followed by six days at home with only a grocery store and a BandAid run added to my 'oh, there is so a reason I wasn't a nurse' role, I decided to see a movie. Like in a movie theater movie. Called a couple of friends who had the day off.

True to my usual twisted menu of movie/TV watching, Bridesmaids (click to see the trailer) didn't disappoint. I can't tell you too much about it other than I'm glad none of my sons sat with me while I busted my gut laughing. The story was an old one, but the delivery and writing, very funny. Just what I needed.

After the movie, my friends and I sat in the lobby and talked of the day's errands ahead: Linda - grocery store, bank and Lisa had a return and a $5 coupon for something free at Kohl's burning a hole in her pocket. I, of course, had to return to the painkiller infused, over-achieving hip replacement recoverer, lovingly guarded by my 19-year-old son during my two hour escape.

I finally said, "Lets just go get a drink."

"It's 2:00," Lisa said.

"Close enough."

I called youngest son. "Can you babysit your dad a little longer? I have to go to Happy Hour."

Funny how life evolves.

Encouraged by the comic opera in the movie, I decided to forgo my usual glass of wine and ordered a Pomegranate Cosmopolitan. I'd never had one. I was thinking martini = a buzz. Should have ordered a shot of tequila. All I got was a martini glass filled with Kool-Aid and a too sweet toothache. But, gotta try everything once.

An hour later, resuscitated by a change of scenery and conversation with girlfriends, I paid off youngest son and went back to the old boy and his walker. Now, eight days later, if I could only educate him on carpal tunnel syndrome surgery required from thumbing the channel changer on the remote control EVERY 30 F------- SECONDS and the cost of replacing the window said remote will fly through when I get my hands on it, I promise I'll be really good.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's On Your Summer Reading List?

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
P.J. O'Rourke

What's on your book list for summer? I'm compiling my pile and hope you'll share yours also. I'm also adding a few titles written by some friends of mine.

My Summer Stack:

The Moonflower Vine - Jetta Carleton
A Visit From the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
The Lake Shore Limited - Sue Miller
The Widows of Eastwick - John Updike
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Why New Orleans Matters - Tom Piazza
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
Divisadero - Micahel Ondaatje
The Whole World Over - Julia Glass
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing

(Not to mention that there are 30 more books on my To Be Read shelf and that I'll probably hit the library when nothing pops out at me on any given day.)

Here are a few I recommend written by some of my author friends.

If You Can't Stand the Heat - Robin Allen
A Cozy Mystery Culinary Romp

I, too, have suffered in the garden - Jennifer Hritz
Character driven delight

Circular Breathing - Meditations from a Musical Life - Ann McCutcheon
Essays from an incredible writing teacher
Tender Graces - Kathryn Magendie
Women's literary fiction

Click on the books to find their Amazon page. As you can see, I haven't quite mastered the proper download of the covers. Why is it that some days you can't remember what you've done in the past? Perhaps sometimes a good thing.

So, what's on your list for the summer?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hip Hop

After two days in the hospital, I took a turn for the nurse.
W.C. Fields

I intended a post of summer reading choices. Slight delay. Spending my days at the local hospital - my husband had his hip replaced.

Thought I might get my house cleaned while he's in the hospital's care. Read a few books. Write a novel. Not happening. Seems these days patients need someone other than hospital staff to make certain they have what they need. (Nurses - forgive me. Obvious you are short staffed. Administrators?)

Meanwhile, remember the guy who doesn't sit well on vacation?

Any ideas on what to do with him for the next three weeks?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eyes Opened Wide

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was 18, it never occurred to me I'd be old. That some day my skin might become mottled with tiny moles or that I'd have white hairs on my chin.

I drove in snow storms without fear, did worm turns with loose abandon as I skied down a steep mountain, and never gave much thought to the fragility of life.

Cut to present day. Remember the movie Apollo 13, when everyone waited over three minutes for that small space capsule to make it through the fiery re-entry into the earth's atmosphere? I liken it to a few weeks ago and the twenty minutes I sat with anxious abandon while a tornado engulfed Tuscaloosa, Alabama - my youngest son in its path.

My son had called a few moments before, to tell me a tornado was five minutes away from his university. Hide. That was all that went through my mind while I told him to get to a stairwell. I don't believe he thought like me as the excitement in his voice didn't reflect fear. The line went dead, the ugly bleat of an endless busy signal replacing his voice as I tried to get him back.

A quick turn to the Weather Channel provided a radar view of the hook of the storm, the announcers saying in quiet voices that the immense, powerful storm was at that moment overtaking the city of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama. They added, we can only pray for these people. Silence.

I prayed.

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. Youngest son saying it took him a while to get through. That he saw the tornado out his window. "You saw it?" I cried. "You weren't hiding?"

"You have a chance to see that? Wouldn't you?" he said.

No, I thought. Not at my age. I would have my head between my legs, kissing my ass goodbye.

There lies the power of youth verses the knowledge (or cynicism) of age. Settled by the sound of his voice, I used my mother voice to instruct him not to go outside, that first reports indicated total disaster. Danger.

"Okay, mom."

Mothers of three sons know what that means. And in my youth, I would have done the same. To take that walk and see the downed trees, the broken windows. That's what my son saw before he walked over the next hill and saw this.

Just like that, the excitement of the storm replaced with the aimless wandering of those lost and still alive amid the devastation. With eyes wide open, the endless scenes now slammed into his mind like the tornado that invaded in his very own backyard.

Students able to get home were told to do so. Two nights later when my son came through the garage door after a twelve hour drive, I saw a youthful spirit dulled by the reality of the previous 48 hours. The invincibility of youth now tinged with vulnerability. The buzz of the rightafter muddied by the lack of power, food, water and lost faces.

He stared at the TV and computer screens that repeated the videos of the storm and its aftermath he'd not been privy to before. This bothered him even more. That even though he had been present, just two blocks from the fringe of the massive destruction, the "seeing" on the screen wrought an even wider opening of his eyes.

"Tell me what you're thinking," I asked a few days later.

"It won't be fixed by the time I graduate," he said.

No, some of it will never be fixed. And I think it might take some time for his thoughts to collect and settle.

There are many in Tuscaloosa, Joplin, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and throughout the US that are not as fortunate to have their son home safely. As the rebuilding, resettling, and the search for a new norm begins, please remember those that will never be fixed completely.



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