Category Archives: Humor

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

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I had to get to Trenton yesterday and was clipping along the back roads nicely when traffic suddenly came to a screeching halt. I rubbernecked out the window to see what the problem was and spied a tuft of gray hair peeking over the steering wheel two cars ahead. Argh! Luckily my time frame wasn’t hurried.  This gray-haired lady was driving only 30 miles an hour in a 50 mile an hour zone. To say the guy in back of her was not very happy about this is an understatement since he demonstrated his impatience by crazily serpentining back and forth behind her.  He tried unsuccessfully to pass her car in a no passing zone. He hugged her bumper.  He beeped his horn.  Nothing worked to move her even one kilometer faster.  This was an accident waiting to happen, so I slowed way down to get a good distance away from this maniac.

Just then we came upon a red light where the road broke out into two lanes.  The man pulled beside the lady, rolled down his window shaking his fist and shouting obscenities.  She looked at him, broke out into a huge smile and waved her hand excitedly as if she were greeting a long-lost friend. This infuriated the man.  He made a sharp right, skidding into the WAWA parking lot at the speed of light, zipped around to the other exit and made an immediate turn out into traffic, cutting right in front of her, just barely missing her car by inches. Just then she slowly maneuvered her car into the left lane passing him and made a left hand turn onto the crossroad, chugging merrily along on her journey. He watched dumbfounded as he mumbled deliriously.

When the checkered flag was waved in the photo finish race between sweet little gray-haired lady and impatient, foul-mouthed lunatic, guess who was ushered into the winner’s circle?!  Bravo!

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

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Did anyone watch the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration?  I didn’t. Well, OK, I admit I tried to watch some of it, but I couldn’t get into it. The older generation of English hierarchy just doesn’t turn me on. I don’t get the pomp and circumstance sort of like I don’t get why the Pope has to wear that big pointy hat. Forgive my irreverence.

There’s something that turns me off about the stiffness of the queen with her forced smile that looks more like constipation than happiness. The hand wave ~ what’s that all about?  Wave your hand up and down with some enthusiasm ~ the side to side thing just looks like you have carpal tunnel syndrome.  And the way she holds her purse reminds me of Ruth Buzzy in Laugh In.  Why is she carrying a purse anyway? What’s inside?  A crocheted hanky and some hair spray to keep the bouffant hair thing going? These are the things I wonder about.

And don’t even get me started on Prince Charles and Camilla (Devilla). I never got their love story.  Has everyone forgotten the scandal of how they fooled around behind their spouses backs?! Does anyone remember what they put dear sweet Diana through?  It was just tragic and awful, but now all seems forgiven and forgotten as they sit in the royal carriage with Mummy looking so prim and proper, wearing their ridiculous hats (maybe I have a thing against hats), when in reality they were going at it like rabbits. Well, life goes on I guess.

Now the younger generation on the other hand, is something to shout about! Prince William is going to make one hec of a king, and who doesn’t love Kate? They are perfectly adorable. They’re young…they’re fun…and when they smile it’s for real. His mother is certainly shining through his eyes. I think the English people are in for quite a ride when he comes into reign!  And devilish Harry with the flushed cheeks and glint in his eyes will certainly keep us amused for decades to come.

Don’t get me wrong, it must not have been easy for a young girl of 26 to suddenly have to take over the awesome responsibility of leadership of such a great country. Heaven only knows what she went through during those sixty years of service, and she did it with style and grace.  There’s something to be said about that, and putting the smile, purse and hand wave aside, I do have the utmost respect and admiration for her.

So, Hip Hip Horray…Hip Hip Horray…Hip Hip Horray!

Jolly good…carry on…

THE GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN!

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Man, I love my daughters! One lives North and the other South, so on those rare occasions when we meet in the middle, it’s like Christmas morning and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.  There’s nothing that makes me prouder than watching my two beautiful firecrackers exploding into the world and enriching the universe with their magnificent colorful gifts. 

So let me humor you with some cheesy but heartfelt karaoke in their honor to the tune of  Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town.”

Guess who just got back today?!

Them wild-eyed girls that had been away

Haven’t changed, but had a lot to say

I love those chicks so much its crazy

 

One comes from the North and one from the South

So it was awesome to meet them Downtown

That’s Downtown in Red Bank where they could be found

Driving all the young men crazy

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

I said

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

 

You know that Meg used to dance a lot

Recital time she’d be on the floor shaking what she’d got

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot

I mean she was steaming

 

And that Katie, wow, the way she kicked a ball

That other team would rise and then they’d fall

Man, she’d be scoring all over the place

If that chick didn’t win she’d get crazy

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

I said

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

 

Spread the word around

Guess who’s back in town

You spread the word around

 

From babes to women they have grown

Man, those childhood days have flown

I miss them so much my heart stops

I kiss and squeeze them til their heads pop

 

One’s a teacher, one’s into art

Man, those girls are so pretty and so smart

How much I love them I’m not lying

They’ll be off again and I’ll be crying

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

Spread the word around

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

The girls are back, the girls are back

The girls are back in town again

 

Been hangin’ down at Mama’s den

The girls are back in town again

THE BEAT GOES ON

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A newscaster closed a commentary on television this morning with the line, “the beat goes on.” Suddenly I’m thrown back to the 1960’s, sitting in front of our RCA black and white television watching Sonny and Cher sing, “The beat goes on…the beat goes on…drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.  La de da de de; la de da de da.”  

Sonny and Cher were a husband/wife singing duo. Cher was cooler than cool with her long, silky black Cherokee hair.  Grab the iron and the ironing board, girls, because everyone wanted hair like that.  Yes, I did say iron and ironing board – it was light years before the flat iron would be invented.  So you would lay your hair on the board with a light towel over it and iron it like, say, a pair of pants until it was straight. Odd concept, I agree.  But that’s what we did in the “olden” days.  Either that or you would set your hair with 3 inch beer-can-sized rollers.

And those clothes…tied-dyed hippie garb with Indian patterns, faux fur, leather and so much fringe. Cher wore it well – she was tall and confident and casual and not bothered by the fanfare that surrounded her. She was funny in a sarcastic kind of way, and everyone wanted to be like her. Sonny was her short, older husband with a smile too broad and a “look at me, not her” aura.  He was dominant and controlling, but Cher had an “I don’t give a crap” attitude and  flung insulting one-liners at him like meteorites. Sonny was always trying too hard and had a terrible, croaky, frog-like voice. Sorry, Sonny, but it was true, although you were likeable in a cuddly bear kind of way. May he rest in peace.  Sonny and Cher were the rage of the time, and “The Beat Goes On” was one of their biggest hits.  And such stirring lyrics – let’s take a “then and now” look.

Charleston was once the rage (uh-huh – you’re in charge of singing the “uh-huh” part after each stanza like they did.):  Has everyone heard of the Charleston? It was the hot dance during the 1920’s flapper era? (And, no, I didn’t live in the 20’s.  I’m not that old. No offense to those who did.)  I guess the dance rage today would be running man, although when I try to perform it at weddings or social gatherings, my children run away from me and pretend they don’t know me, so I guess I’m not that good at it.

History has turned the page (what do you say?…uh-huh): Sonny and Cher didn’t last on the next page of history. They went their separate ways, eventually divorcing but were successful doing their own thing. Cher became a mega star with movies and awesome Las Vegas acts (oh, yes, now you know who she is…). Sonny entered politics as a mayor for Palm Springs and then went on to become a member of the US House of Representatives. Go figure.  He died from injuries in a tragic skiing accident in 1998. God rest him.

Who will last from this era?  I’m pretty sure it won’t be Nicki Minaj but maybe Adele?  I’m hoping Gavin DeGraw because he’s the type of guy I would have went for had he lived in the 60’s, and he wears a hat well. Check back with me in 20 years and we’ll see.

Mini skirts the current thing (uh-huh… No, I don’t know why they sung uh-huh after each phrase.  I guess it’s sort of a mystery, like why the Beatles sang “yeah, yeah, yeah” after every phrase in “She Loves You.”):  Mini skirts are out, and maxies seem to be trending at the current moment. 

Teenybopper is our newborn king (uh huh…just do it!):  Not even sure what this line means.  Neither does Google.  But today’s youngest leader would be Kim Jong-un (29 years old) of  North Korea.

The grocery store’s the super mart (uh huh):  Yes, we have the super marts galore still today: Walmart, Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s. 

Little girls still break their hearts (uh huh):  Nothing changed there.

Men keep marching off to war (OK, now they stop saying “uh huh” for some reason, but I don’t know why.):  Then it was Vietnam…now it’s the Middle East.  How to be peaceful hasn’t been figured out yet.

Electrically they keep a baseball score:  Well, to say the very least, it was the beginning of a technology that has surpassed any dream we could have imagined with the creation of computers and phones and gadgets that would have “blown our minds” back then.

Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce:  Isn’t that what I’m doing now?  And don’t call me granny…yet!

Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss:  That’s a thread weaved through the entire history of the world, although taken to the next level these days requires ultimate protection.

Cars keep going faster all the time:  The fastest car today is the SSC Ultimate Aero, an American-made automobile that is produced by Washington-based Shelby SuperCars. It can do 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds, and was clocked going a record 257 mph by officials at Guinness World Records. (Thank you, Google) In the 60’s it was probably a souped-up Volkswagen Bug – mine was yellow.

Bums still cry, “heh, buddy, do you have a dime?”: Bums?  Back then you assumed those who panhandled were just too lazy to work – they were called bums. They were guys who laid around campfires in the woods near railroad tracks so they could hop a train on a whim to go somewhere else at any given time. They were considered carefree rovers, eating beans out of cans and carrying their few belongings rolled up in a hankerchief tied to a stick.

My father used the term for athletes who weren’t doing well in the game.  “Those bums,” he’d yell at the TV.  My Mom used to like to call the Phillies bums.  I’m getting off point.  In this toilet-based economy, there is an overwhelming number of people who just cannot find work because there are no jobs. They are not bums. They are people who are struggling in this economy – unemployed, homeless, down on their luck people who are trying to get back on their feet.

The cost of a cup of coffee in the 60’s was a dime. Today it’s at least $1 -2, unless you go to Starbucks and then it would be $5.  I would imagine the inflation rate would have ballooned this line to “heh, buddy, do you have a buck or five?

Things are a lot different now, and like Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a-changing,” but that’s another song for another day.

La…de…da…de…de;  la…de…da…de…da

MOTHERHOOD

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From the moment the once enticing fragrances of coffee brewing or burgers grilling sends you running to the toilet to hurl your cookies, motherhood challenges you. Suddenly eating saltines before you rise is a prerequisite and laying in a sea of cracker crumbs becomes a way of life.  Your boobies start hurting, the scale takes an unprecedented leap and veins pop up like roadmaps in your legs.  But nine months later after nine agonizing hours of labor and an emergency C-section, there she is.  All pink and wide-eyed and fragile as a baby bird looking up at you as if to say, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Fact is, you don’t.  And it’s a little scary at first. Should I lay her on her back or her side or stomach – do I have too many covers on her – is she hungry or thirsty – did I eat today – is she hot or is she cold – why is she screaming – is she wet or dry – did she poop AGAIN – how does this diaper work – when do I get to take my shower? Ah, where is Dr. Spock when you need him?  But somehow you manage when intuition kicks in.  Suddenly you know what to do, and the baby flashes that toothless grin at your melting heart as if to say, “Way to go, Mom.  Good job!”

Infancy flashes by in a wink of an eye.  Before you know it, they are two years old and running away from you with their ponytails flapping in the breeze. A petulant “NO” becomes the only word in their vocabulary. You’re thinner than you’ve ever been in your life for all the chasing you do. But then they go off to kindergarten and you get to sit down once in awhile…until the second one comes along…then it’s no holds barred.

Now they’re in school and you’re working and driving them to dancing lessons, soccer and lacrosse games, cheerleading and birthday parties and life is screaming by at the speed of light. The house is a mess and laundry never gets done because by the time you return home you fall into bed and crash to sleep. Grade school, middle school and high school are all whizzing by and you’re tired and wish you had a life of your own.

Then you take them to college and squeeze them so tightly they can’t breathe and tears are pouring from your eyes, and you can’t stop them.  They graduate, they get careers and they’re off on their own, and you sit with that life of your own you wanted so badly where you can do anything you want, and now you can’t remember why or what that actually is.

You want to go back and hold that little baby one more time and read her “I Was So Mad” or “Goodnight Moon” as you sit together in the rocking chair.  You want to watch Sesame Street with them and color and play Barbies and have a tea party or a lemonade stand where they sell cheese doodles and fruit punch.  But that time is gone – in a wink of an eye.

Motherhood – it’s exhausting and amazing and the best thing you’ll ever do with your life…that is until Grandmotherhood comes along.

My beautiful girls – Katie and Megan.

A WALK IN THE RAIN

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I’m a walk-a-holic, so if I don’t get in my 2-3 miles a day (which isn’t really much), by nightfall my muscles start atrophying. And, although I like to blame my rambunctious lab Bella as the reason I’m so obsessed, it’s really my choice. There’s no stress reducer in the world like a brisk walk on a sunny day with a cool wind at your back. Pounding that pavement is so much better than, say, downing a triple layer fudge cake imbedded with chocolate chips.  I’m sure Dr. Oz would agree.

So off I went on this dark, gloomy day with Bella in tow.  Although there was only a light drizzle as I pulled out of the driveway to go to the park, by the time we made it there it was pouring rain.  Bella was itching to do her duty, so there was no other choice then to zip up, pull on the hood and get out of the car.  I opened the hatch and Bella reluctantly stuck her snoot up and sniffed the air.

“Let’s go,” I coaxed…

“Come on, girl,” I pleaded…

“Get out of the damn car!” I yelled as I yanked on the leash. Bella leapt out of the car into a huge puddle and drenched what was left of the dry part of my pants. Off we went to the tune of my saturated sneakers squeaking and squishing.

What’s nice about a walk in the hammering rain is that you walk faster, work up more of a sweat quicker and cut the time of the walk in half.  Add to that the fact that since you are the only whack job crazy enough to stroll along in the sopping wet, you can retreat into the solitude of a private park and do some soul-searching without anyone trying to disrupt your train of thought by saying hello. “What is the meaning of life?” “What is the purpose of my existence?” I ponder. I start getting lost in my thoughts until Bella gives a monstrous shake and douses me with a heavy spray of muddy water startling me back to reality. The soul-searching question becomes, “Why am I not getting in from the rain?”

I rush Bella along now and can tell she is really disappointed that she hasn’t had the opportunity to yank me towards another dog because there is no other creature existing in this place at this time.  Then she spots a squirrel scaling a tree and makes a mad dash toward it through the saturated grass dragging me along like a rag doll.  She boisterously jumps up and down on all fours at her newfound prey, and I am now dotted with mud from head to toe.

I give up.  I’ve had enough. Mile or not, atrophied muscles or not, I’m done. I pull her along the trail towards the car, rain now coming down in sheets and barely make it to my vehicle as I hear thunder clapping in the distance.  Bella happily jumps into the car, I follow, and she immediately shakes again and sprays the whole car with wet and mud. “Excellent…” I mutter.  I drive home with the stink of wet dog permeating the air as Bella sticks her big square head between the seats to help navigate the road with me. The stench is so bad, I can hardly breathe. She turns toward me and gives the side of my face a big, wet kiss.  “AARRGGHH! Thanks, Bella,” I say as I pat her soaking wet head, “Glad you had fun.”

Here’s hoping the sun will come out tomorrow…

GO OUT DANCING THIS WEEKEND…IT’S IMPORTANT!

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I got to thinking about what type of person I would have pictured meeting and greeting visitors at the luxurious main reception desk of a huge, new, metropolis hospital I stopped at last week.

A:  a poker-faced security guard

B:  a straight-laced, no-nonsense elderly woman with her hair up in a bun and glasses way down on her nose

C:  a hip, pretty young chic with perfect hair, makeup and manicured nails smiling seductively

D: or how about a cheerful, late 50-something gentlemen with a sunny disposition, a chipper Morgan Freeman-type voice and a twinkle in his eye?

The answer, of course, turned out to be: D.

As I waited in the reception area to pick someone up, I had the pleasure of witnessing a real angel in action. His mission seemed to be sprinkling good cheer and laughter to anyone who crossed his path.

Everyone who worked there seemed to know him, and he knew most of them by name along with little details about them.  “Well, good morning to you, Doc,” he sing-songed to a tired-looking doctor in surgical gear.  “You go home and have a wonderful day.  Play ball with that little boy of yours. And don’t forget to get some rest.”

“Oh, now, let me take a look at that handsome little gentleman,” he said to the new mom and dad taking their newborn baby home. He walked out from behind the desk, and I noticed his pronounced limp. I wondered what he’d been through. Whatever it was, it hadn’t affected his demeanor.  “He’s going to bring you lots of joy,” he continued. “ I’m going to see my grandson this weekend, and I can’t wait.”

“And how can I help you get to where you need to go?” he asked a bewildered-looking older man coming to visit his sick wife.  He then gave the man explicit directions to her room and repeated them again so the man would get it right.

“The cafe is right over there,” he directed two younger girls looking for the cafeteria. “They make the most delicious desserts. Be sure to treat yourselves!”

His upbeat attitude was infectious – nothing but sweet and nice and positive and kind.  It was hard not to smile as I watched him interact with those around him.  One woman giving her visitor’s pass back said to him, “You have made this whole trip to the hospital so much more enjoyable.  I am so glad to have met you.”  He tipped his imaginary hat and said, “Thank you, kindly, madamYou just made my whole day!”

“Go out dancing this weekend…its important!” he called out to two stiff-looking salesmen in three-piece suits as they rushed past his desk.  They paused and looked over their shoulders at the neatly dressed receptionist who was grinning from ear to ear.  They actually cracked smiles and their faces didn’t even break!

I never even got his name, but I waved to him as I left.  He broke out into a huge grin and said, “Now promise me you’ll enjoy this perfect day!”  I promised him I would.

So, I’m thinking I might go out dancing this weekend…it’s important…how about you?

YES, GROWING UP SUCKS

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A young person I was talking with the other day told me she was having a quarter-life crisis (she is not quite 30).  I asked what she meant.  She said she was tired of all the responsibilities she had and wanted to move home and have her mom take care of her again – do her laundry, make her dinner, etc. I understood that this was just a passing whim of hers since her life basically is pretty sweet and I knew tomorrow would be a better day for her. But what I really felt like saying was, “Yes, dear, growing up sucks.”

Who doesn’t feel that way at times? I know I do, although mine is more of a post mid-life crisis, and moving back with my mom is no longer an option. Life does get boring and monotonous and laden with responsibilities, and I can understand how you would want to walk away and return to the coziness, warmth and responsibility-free home of your childhood. Understood.

My own life has taken some crazy twists and sharp turns and where I’m at is nowhere near where I dreamed I’d be way back in my quarter-life crisis years. I was supposed to be living in Topanga Canyon,California far away from the maddening crowd with my main squeeze Keith Carradine. He was supposed to be strumming his guitar and singing me sweet love songs as we sat sipping wine barefoot on our candlelit deck overlooking the lush landscape leading down to the Pacific Ocean.  (deep breath) My fantasies, by the way, are excruciatingly vivid.

But instead of sipping wine with Keith, I sit here in the kitchen/office trying to figure out how to pay bills, how to get another job at an age when I should be thinking retirement, how to keep life interesting when nothing interesting is happening and how to stop feeling like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. The only thing I can think of in answer to these quarter/mid/post-mid life crisis’s is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time and keep moving forward and doing those daily yet vital chores one at a time until they’re done. That’s life. Fact.

Maybe tomorrow a miracle will happen to make it all worthwhile and wonderful and bring you more happiness than your heart can possibly hold. Warm and fuzzy usually works for me. Or you can dye your hair red and hope you’ll have more fun that way.

A Tisket, a Tasket…

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I saw a commercial recently wherein they asked a few little kids what Easter meant to them. One little boy said:  “Well, my Grandmom likes Jesus, so she gives me a chocolate cross.”

I like Jesus, too, and so did my Mom, so as a kid I also got a chocolate cross in my Easter basket every year.  It was usually white chocolate, my favorite at the time. I would hold off eating it until everything else was devoured, for what reason I’m not sure.  Maybe in a way I was saving the best for last. I was a pushover for all those once-a-year goodies like coconut nests with jelly bean eggs, coconut cream eggs with a yellow “yolk” middle, chocolate bunnies and hens, malt balls shaped into colorful eggs and jelly beans galore, including my favorite – black licorice flavored.  I’m drooling as I write this.

Easter meant getting a new little outfit to wear along with a hat of some sort, white gloves and frilly white anklet socks. (Yes, I was such a priss.) One year when I was about seven, I wore a pale green derby that matched a little green pleated skirt and jacket. I was thrilled with it and wore it all day since it looked like a very proper English horse riding outfit and horses were my passion at the time.

Easter meant sunny warm weather, the sweet smell of hyacinths and bright yellow forsythia bushes in bloom. It was sneaking that first taste of a chocolate bunny before Mass after a Lenten season of “giving it up.”  It was a yummy dinner of ham and kielbasa with homemade babka with fresh butter and potato salad. It was sitting outside on the steps of my grandparents’ row home in the Polish section of Trenton afterwards with my cousins playing games we made up.

Easter meant family all together with good food, fun with my cousins, laughter, lots of love and a white chocolate cross to remind you that Jesus likes you, too.

BOLOGNA AND CHEESE, PLEASE!

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It’s 8 o’clock in the morning, and I’m craving a bologna and cheese sandwich on white bread…mmmmm… What is wrong with me?!?  Everyone knows it’s not really good for you…especially those with high cholesterol levels, who will remain nameless. Don’t even tell me what it’s actually made out of because I don’t want to know.

When I was a little girl, bologna (I’ve always been baffled as to why is it pronounced with an “e” at the end when it’s spelled with an “a.”) and cheese was my lunchtime mainstay. I’d open my little red lunch box, which resembled a miniature barn because I was crazy about horses, to find my perfectly wrapped bologna and cheese sandwich lovingly made by my Mom with a small bag of potato chips and a peanut butter Tastykake for dessert. Life doesn’t get any better than that! This went on for most of grade school, although my Mom would try to get me to eat other things.  Peanut butter and jelly got too soggy, and I was a picky kid so nothing else would do. If it wasn’t bologna and cheese, I just wouldn’t eat it. “You’re going to start looking like a bologna,” Mom would say. Then I’d spend a good amount of time trying to picture in my mind how that would change how I looked. I was a gullible kid. She also told me I had to eat the crusts of the bread because it would make my hair curly. I once had a fight with a classmate in second grade because she told me that wasn’t true. How dare her challenge what my Mom said. And why was curly hair so important anyway?  This, however, didn’t stop me from my addiction. On weekends when I wasn’t in school she would fry it up in a pan and melt the cheese, (I’m drooling right now), put it between two pieces of Wonder bread (don’t you wonder how I’m still alive) with a squeeze or two of Heinz ketchup, and I was in heaven.

Growing up, Loeffler’s bologna, made in Trenton, was the only kind my Mom would buy. There was nothing like it. The others were all “junk” in her words. (As opposed to the junk they put in the other bologna?!) Recently, however, I’ve discover Thumann’s bologna since Loeffler’s isn’t readily available where I live. It’s almost as good, sliced very thinly, and a plus is that it is skinless, whereas Loeffler’s has the thick skin you have to peel off. Didn’t know I was such a bologna connoisseur, did you?  I know this is more than you ever wanted or needed to know about bologna.

Well, its lunchtime somewhere in the world, so excuse me while I fry up some bologna with lots of American cheese in a large dollop of butter, put it on a slab of white bread and devour it as my blood thickens.  Hopefully, it won’t come to a screeching halt.  But if I do keel over, at least I’ll have a smile on my face…and a touch of ketchup on the corner of my mouth.