Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Happened to Oklahoma?

Okay, so it's springtime - which means every high school in the country is producing their Spring Musical. Now in my day (yes, I am old - but not THAT old) I remember participating in every spring musical during my 3 year stint and good old Dulaney Sr. High. NOTE: Back in the ancient days high school was 10 - 12 grade. Somewhere along the way 9th grade got absorbed by the high school set. Anyway,the three blockbuster musicals we performed: Once Upon a Mattress, Oklahoma and West Side Story. Ah, the toe-tapping tunes. The romance. The laughs. The drama. A pleasant time was had by all.

Last weekend I attended the show produced by my niece Jessica's High School in Orange Co. Ca. Was it Annie? I think not. Sound of Music? Not even close. Urinetown. Yep, that 's the title. Urinetown. I spent two hours watching a musical about people who live in a town experiencing a 20 year drought so severe that there are no longer private bathrooms. In order to, ahem, ah, pee people must pay to use public amenities controlled by a private company.

Oh sure there is plenty of political satire. Suprisingly, some language. And yes, even some catchy musical numbers. I must applaud the cast and even more the stage band which was comprised completely of high school students. They did a fabulous job and the show was entertaining. But really, Urinetown?

I've been through this before. I remember how I felt when Disney decided to produce an animated, musical version of Hunchback of Notre Dame. I still can not convince myself to watch it. My ever-lovin' and I joked at the time, "What's next - War and Peace: The Musical?" Now, I shudder - it just may happen!

Alas, maybe I am an old fogey. But I will always support the kids. And so I bravely prepare myself for next weekend. That's when I will attend the premiere production at Carlsbad High School of their Spring Musical.....Sweeney Todd: The High School Edition! Now who wouldn't grab their young ones and run right down to watch high schoolers perform a musical about a murderous barber and his girlfriend who makes meatpies out of his clients. Good times. Good times. I am a huge Sondheim fan. I know how hard the kids have worked on this. I know they'll be great. But don't be suprised if you see me quietly humming to myself, "The sun will come out, tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar they'll be sun." as the fake theatre blood flows across the stage.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life in Riverdale

My husband grew up in the city always wishing for the life depicted in the Archie comic books. Now, I'm a suburban girl. I went to the high school nicknamed "the Country Club". I can tell you we did have our share of Reggies and Veronicas - maybe even an Archie or Betty. BUT, I certainly wouldn't call it Riverdale. Yet, alas, that is the image eternally burned in the mind of my everlovin'. I am happy to report he finally gets to live that life...well, by osmosis anyway. You see his one desire when we started a family was to provide a life for our children he could have only imagined. One where the helicopters don't fly overhead with the spotlights shining in your window looking for the escaped convict. Where you DON'T get mugged getting supplies from the book room on the third floor when the teacher insists you go by yourself. One where you start your high school experice with friends who don't become violent, burned out potheads by Senior year. Not too much to ask, huh?

When our kids were little and we began looking for a home he had very specific goals in mind. Yes, he has to drive more than 60 miles roundtrip everyday. Yes, our credit cards cry for mercy due to the higher cost of living. But....he's living his dream and our children are the lucky recipients of more love than they could hope for. We are proud parents of well adjusted, productive, football game attending, text obsessed, suburban teenagers! And the capper. Our freshman daughter is head-over heels in love with a Jr. Olympic swimmer who treats her like she's a gem.

Remember the Peanuts comic strip when Sally would see Linus? Her mouth would curl into that huge grin and little hearts would float above her head. THAT'S IT!! I've seen my daughter look exactly like that - dancing around the house singing, "I've got the best boyfriend ever." Ah, young love! No matter that she'll probably have lots of boyfriends in her life. No doubt there will be heartbreak and tears at some point. Right now she is heavenbound and we'll have to tie a rope around her ankles to keep her from floating away.

So here's to you dad - and all of the other fathers who sweat and toil and sacrifice so they can better the lives of their children. Here's to driving teenagers to the movies in your super cool ancient little red Honda hatchback. Here's to buying dance shoes over designer shoes. Here's to looking at colleges during your summer vacation. Here's to spending hours resetting e-mails so they don't miss that important message from their friend.

Maybe they don't appreciate you now. Maybe they won't ever appreciate or understand the passion you feel for doing the right thing for them. But I know. I appreciate. I love you even more for it.

And a special, "Here, here" to my own father. Who I was just beginning to appreciate when he was called to heaven too soon at age 55. You've been gone 22 years now. Sadly you did not live long enough to reap the benefits of your adult children and the eight fabulous grandchildren you never got to know. They know you though - they hear the stories from my siblings and me. They see the photos and by the power of genetics, my son has so many of your attributes. A kind, generous, funny guy who loves Star Wars and Indianna Jones, Disneyland and archeology. Engineering and God. So many likenesses. And so, although we can't hug you and tell you good job. Somehow I feel you already know. You smile down on us, protect us and guide us still. Happy 77th Birthday dad!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dark Days for Superheros

As a special birthday present to my ever supportive and loving husband, I gave him the choice of picking the dinner and movie we attended in his honor. He chose The Dark Knight, the latest incarnation of Batman. I wasn't surprised at the choice as he is a comic book devote and enjoys the superhero genre of movie. I am a huge fan of Heath Ledger so I figured - heck something for everyone. I will say Heath Ledger plays one phenomenal Joker. Now, I'm a child of the 60's and remember the Cesar Romero version of the Joker - baby, this was nothin' like that! This was Heath as I had never seen him before - convincingly demented and warped. A truly brilliant performance and so sad that it had to be his last.

Now, I know that the original vision of Batman in the 30's played rather dark. That changed around WWII when the need for patriotic and bigger than life superheros played against the evils of the time. The campy Batman of the 1960's was fun but hardly true to the essence of the earlier versions. I was told by my comic book lovin' honey that the "Dark Knight" version of the character arose around 10 years ago in response to a cry for less goofy and more esoteric superheros - also, lets face it, that kind of graphic novel appeals to the soul of many teens. So I see the commercial appeal. (Phew - that was a lot - even for me) Anyway. Well. Um.


Maybe I have become an old lady. But I did go into this with an open mind. My thought after: I don't like this broody, dark batman. I also don't like (SPOILER ALERT) Commissioner Gordon defending Two-Face and sending Batman up the river as a scapegoat. WHAT?!! The defense being if Two Face (AKA - the DA Harvey Dent) can be turned to corruptible evil then the Joker has won and all hope for Gotham City lost. What?! Hey, evil is evil. People choose to be evil. You do have a choice. I mean, true, Harvey went through a lot. But to say the Joker convinced him to be evil. No. He COULD have chosen a different path. And to protect that weakness, poor choice and downright evil. Sorry, the message is lost on me.

I mean come-on - we're talking a PG13 rated film (frankly, that shocked me. I don't want my 13 year old daughter to see this.) This film is violent, bloody, shows cruelty to animals, kidnapping, lying, etc. Yes, a lot of the acting was great. Got to love the underused Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. The action sequences and special effects top notch. But is that all there is to a movie now days? Even a movie directed at teenage boys and men who wish they were still teenage boys? Why must it be dark and brooding? Why must the hero be someone unsure and the line between good and evil so fuzzy? Why did I see people bringing 6 and 7 years olds to see this? (OK, that last one is definitely the mom in me talking.)

So I say - ENOUGH OF THIS TREND. Bring back superheros we can emulate. Sure you can make a thought-provoking superhero movie - but can't it also be fun? I'm all for a good, positive message. Can't my children have their heroes without a side of angst? Let me know when you make one of those, Hollywood, and I might come back. Until then it's back to the Archie comics for me!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time Flies - so HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

Ah, yes. It has been many moons since I last wrote. What happened? Life, baby!

Today is Mother's Day 2008. I spent my day - well - being Mom. It was the final day of the competitive season for my daughter's dance team. High anxiety, as she has a ten second off stage costume change to complete during this number. I am happy to report - all went well. She hit the stage fully clothed. Although her team got whipped by a much higher caliber (and I might add - scantily clad) studio - the girls danced their hearts out! They did end up placing third in their category. Yippee! Alas, my perfect Mother's Day plan of breakfast in bed followed by being waited on hand and foot by my adoring family went out the door. But, truly, nothing can compare to the joy on my daughter's face as she hip-hopped and jazzed her way across that stage. What mother doesn't want their child to follow their passion?

So for all of you supermom's out there I submit the following....

Here's to you - for the dishes, the laundry, the neverending carpools, the diaper changes, the run to Wal-mart @ 9:55pm for the poster board they must have to finish the project they've know about for 3 months but is due TOMORROW; for soccer games, dance competitions and Boy Scout campouts that fall on Mother's Day; for fevers at 3:00am, for boyfriends and girlfriends, hair dye and driver's training; for all the gray hair, saggy boobs, Target clothes for us when they must have that new shirt from Abercrombie; for trips to Chuck E. Cheese (you earn double points for this if you go on a Saturday!), class field trips, PTA meetings and school fundraisers; for everything they do or put you through - would you change a thing? NO! Because in the end watching the sweet head lay upon the pillow at night or the day they wrap their arms around you and plaster your cheek with a milky kiss, the pure joy of childish giggles or even a simple "Thanks, mom" makes is all worthwhile. So - here's to you - SUPERMOM'S. Even if they don't say it now, I will - You are Awesome!

Have a very happy, blessed and special Mother's Day!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red Sun, Orange Moon

So much has happened since my last post. I have Girl Scout stories and stories of my ever-maturing children, great recipes and Halloween fun. But all of that seems a bit irrelevant right now with the current tragedy occurring in Southern California.

Those of you who live in other parts of the county know only what you see in a 5 minute news brief on CNN - here is the real story. First of all let me say that my family is lucky. We are not currently in the path of the fires here in San Diego - we are safe! Yet the fear, the smoke, the flying ash remain part of our everyday life. Even though we are (thankfully) not on the front lines we are still part of the unfolding story. I don't think anyone living in this area stays untouched:

The fire is still out of control and burning but has moved away from our area. At one point there were eight different fires burning in areas surrounding us. It was very eerie. When I picked my daughter up from school Monday we needed to come over a large hill that faces east. From the top of that hill you could see smoke blowing from the inland areas to the ocean North of us and South of us. But above me were sunshine and blue skies-very odd and frankly that made me really nervous. Technically we were surrounded. The Santa Ana winds made matters worse. Sometimes we got gusts of up to 50 miles an hour. The humidity was 3%! DRY!

We did get an indicator from local officials that we should be prepared to evacuate in case of changing conditions. It's very hard to look through your entire house and figure out what you can pack in the trunk of your car. For the record -beyond the necessities such as the cat, the fish, clothing and bedding- important papers, photos and home videos made the cut. It was a long day!

Overnight the winds shifted and died down - a huge blessing because now they're using effective helicopter and plane water drops to try to get the fire contained. We are now out of immediate fire danger. Because of the wind shift the smoke yesterday and today was terrible! The air quality - horrid- like standing too close to a campfire. It "snowed" ash. Everything outside is covered with a fine coating of black and white. The ash in the air also diffuses the sunlight which gives a weird orange glow to everything- almost like sunset or sunrise all day. Typically I can't look directly at the sunset outside my window until the sun is almost down. Today I watched a pinkish-red sun crest over the house and slowly make it's way to the horizon. It was beautiful but strange. At the same time the moon rose ORANGE! like some child's Halloween drawing. I fully expected to see a witch fly by.

Poor hubby has been driving up and down the freeway to get to work at the TV station. He's been working from 2pm-4am and will continue to do so. Luckily he is assigned to a position at the station and has not been sent to work with reporters on the fire lines. However, he does have to drive through fire impacted areas to get to work-no flames, but bad smoke. He said coming home last night he could see the flames crawling up one of the distant mountains. I've sent him to work each day prepared to have him just stay at the station but he always wants to come home and be with us (the sweetie!)

They canceled school for the rest of the week and are actually using the local high school as an evacuation area. We planned to take supplies to help those who are displaced- some who have lost their homes. In the true generous nature of San Diego they have been overwhelmed with donations and currently need nothing but money. We know as of now that at least 1,000 homes have been destroyed throughout San Diego and there will probably be many more. Over 170,000 acres have burned.

Because of the very strict and far-reaching evacuations only one life has been lost although there have been 18 injured including 4 firefighters. They are using the reverse 911 system where they actually call you and tell you to leave. Luckily people are listening and leaving. These fires move very quickly and are random. The embers will blow over an entire sub-division and hit a house in the middle. In some areas 6 houses on a block will burn and one will be left completely unscathed. Most of the areas hardest hit are surrounded by scrub brush and open land. This has been the driest year in San Diego in 130 years. All of that brush is tinder-dry. (We live in a fairly developed area so the danger is less for us.)

Right now please keep your thoughts and prayers with those who are fighting so hard for our safety - the fire and police department. Also for those who have lost their homes. Some of hubby's co-workers live in the burn area and have been evacuated. They are working 12 to 14 hour days and do not know if they have a home to go to once all is said and done.

God bless, we are safe. My story comes from a position of grace. However, many of our friends and co-workers will not be so lucky. When you get the call to evacuate you MUST leave in 5 minutes. That's not much time to gather a lifetime of memories. Sadly, many of those people will loose everything. But as one survivor put it, "They're only things. I have my memories safely stored in my heart and in my head. My family is together and alive. Everything else is replaceable."

Feel helpless? So do I. But we don't have too. These families are taken care of at the moment but the real work begins after the last flame is extinguished. Re-building. Want to help? Please make a cash donation to the American Red Cross and make sure you tell them it is for the San Diego Fire Victims.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Welcome to My Brave New World

This is it. My entry into a brave new world. I've been challenged and will take the gauntlet that has been thrown down....

I've been writing on bits of notebook paper and memo pads for years. I am a writer- with exceptionally low self-esteem. So, all of those books and papers and articles sit in dusty folders. Most shoved into ancient metal file cabinets or lost on large-unviewable floppy discs. Why? Because somewhere deep inside I don't believe anyone gives a hoot about what I have to say!

This argument crops up again and again with my beloved husband of 21 years. He, unlike myself, believes lots of people would be interested in what I have to say. He listens to me whine about how I want to be a published writer. He's been encouraging me for years to "just do it."

(Note: OK, so I have had some Letters to the Editor published and every boss I've ever worked for has had me edit their reports, articles, etc many of which DID get published -with their byline! Not to mention the years spent writing press releases for every non-profit group known to man. And true, I do have a degree in Mass Communication. And even more, I got an "A" from the hardest journalism professor in college. But I digress- a fatal habit!)

Then came the advent of the blog. Now the plot thickens. Hubby is a huge fan of political blogs. He mentions to me that I should blog. That would give me an outlet to express myself and SEE if anyone is interested. Now, I'm fairly techno-friendly. I can e-mail. I can buy stuff on-line. I even have a passionate love-hate relationship with Microsoft Word. But write my inner-most thoughts for all of the flippin' world to see - what, is he nuts?! I haven't even READ any blogs. How can I possibly write one?! I wouldn't even know how to start.

"Fine," I say during our latest tussle about this, "You've got 15 minutes before you leave for work. Show me how to do it and where and I'll start a blog."

Dang it.
He did.
So here I am.
Writing a blog.
And it was easy.
Darn - he's right.

(Do you have any idea how many oatmeal cookies I'm going to have to bake to thank him for this!!)

Now I am an official blogger. I leapt into the abyss- and it didn't even hurt.