There's the bathroom on the right...

Monday

I love to sing. I sing around the house, in the car and - on occasion - I have been known to sing at work. My dad used to say that he loved to hear his kids sing because it meant they were happy. He had a valid point. It's pretty hard to be miserable when you are singing unless you're singing 'the blues' - but even then, I have been known to get a little joy out of 'the blues' on occasion. Case in point:  "The Babysitting Blues" from the movie "Adventures in Babysitting"



Anyway, one afternoon recently while belting out a mean version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising, I was delicately informed by my musically-oriented husband that the lyrics were..."There's a bad moon on the rise" and not "There's the bathroom on the right"...

OK, so I don't remember lyrics. I happen to know that I am not alone.

Back in the day, I saved an article written for The Dallas Morning News by staff writer Cynthia Sanz. It begins...
"The year  was 1980 and Shirley Rhodes and her boyfriend, Mark were cruising in his Camaro Z 28. The windows were rolled down and the stereo was turned up. "I'm so-o-o-o mad, da da da, da da da da" Shirley sang happily along with the radio. Mark just smiled. They were young. They were in love. And Mark wasn't about to tell her that the words were actually, "I'm a soul man".

The 'Garbled Lyric Hall of Shame' ...

Rock the Catbox                       vs.              Rock the Casbah
Bring me an Iron Lung              vs.              Bring me a higher love
I want a new truck                    vs.              I want a new drug
Felix                                         vs.              Feelings
The girl with colitis goes by...    vs.              ...with kaleidoscope eyes
I am 'The Worrier'                    vs.              I am The Warrior 
Ham-free                                 vs.              Half-breed
Scratch Your Knees                vs.              Tragedy
Every time you go away,            vs.              ...a piece of me with you
you take a piece of meat 
with you...
Don't it make your eyebrows     vs.             ...brown eyes blue?
blue?
JoJo was a man who thought      vs.             ...who thought he was a 
he was a woman                                              loner

Admit it. We've all been there. Yes, I might screw up a song more than the average person but that's just because I break out in song a little more often. I know that every time I get the music in me, I risk ridicule but I'm OK with that. I just keep on singing.

AudioBook Review: The Swan Thieves

I tried, I really did - but despite wonderful narration by Treat Williams and Anne Heche, this book was beyond painful to me.

It's about a Robert Oliver, a bipolar artist who attempts to slash a painting at The National Gallery of Art. Robert is now institutionalized in a psychiatric facility and obsessed with the woman in the painting that he tried to attack. Andrew Marlowe, a psychiatrist who conveniently happens to be an artist, steps in and takes it upon himself to seek out Mr.Oliver's estranged wife and delve into what makes Robert Oliver tick - oh, but the 'love bug' bites Dr. Marlowe and he finds himself smitten by the lovely Mrs. Oliver...

You can just imagine what happens next if only you could continue on in the book but the excrutiatingly slow dialogue prevents further interest..."The morning was gray with mist, clearing in uneven patches overhead to show pellucid sky, the evergreens full of crows and cobwebs, the birches already turning over a few yellow leaves." Give me a break. The Swan Thieves was full of this stuff. The detailed descriptions  were so agonizing that my simple mind just couldn't take any more.

Does anybody out there know how it ended?

Getting Our Irish On

Tuesday

There's something about The St. Paddy's Day - Greenville Avenue Parade that draws Doug & I to leave our comfy, white bread and mayonnaise suburb of Plano at 10:30 am, hop a train and head to downtown Dallas where we get to join the crowd of hyped-up, beer-swizzling, bead-catching, green-loving party goers that sits well with us. I guess it's kind of like slowing down to watch a car wreck.

Yes, in my youth, I had been known to drink a green beer or two while wearing a shamrock on my forehead but now I must admit that I'm more than content to be a bystander...
A recent fire involving historic Dallas architecture on Lower Greenville Ave. prompted community support for Dallas Fire-Rescue

Altlanta has their
"Sweet Potato Queens"
we have our
"Texas Tortilla Queens"

Beads? Hell No.
We toss green tortillas!

Whatever it takes to make a float...
that's what I love about The Greenville Avenue St. Paddy's Day Parade.

What Was I Thinking?

Saturday

Letting myself go gray? I don't think so.

What was I thinking?

Allowing myself to retreat from My War On Aging is sort of like 'giving up' and I just can't do that yet. My heart sees me as youthful, playful and (somewhat) energetic and that's exactly who I want to portray to the world.
So, I just happened to come upon the March issue of "Oprah" and last week and there it was....on page 78...a review of Charla Krupp's new book How To Never Look Fat Again. It begins..."The author of How Not To Look Old is back with the equally straight-talking..."
How not to look old? Somebody wrote a book about that? Who knew? I ran right out and bought a copy. 

My new BFF, Charla says..."Forget aging gracefully. I'm just going to come out and say it. Aging sucks". "We're not going to celebrate our wrinkles. We're not going to join the Women Who Have Had Too Much Work Done club. We're not going to look old."

Now that's my kind of woman. The book is fun to read and full of tips to make yourself look more youthful. It even has you define yourself as a high, medium or low maintenance type and offers suggestions on what you can do to meet your own beauty needs.

Did you know that dark lipstick, red fingernail polish and too dark hair makes one look older? Me neither - but the book has pictures that show the OL (Old Lady) look vs. the Y&H (Young and Hip) look and she makes her point.

So as I find more material on aging in the best way possible, I'll keep you informed.

The Senior Discount

Wednesday

Most of us have seen this picture of two women before. Is it a picture of an old woman or a young one? I initially see the young woman and really have to squinch to see the old one.

At what point does one throw in the proverbial towel? Is there a moment when one says “Ah, what the hell – I’m not dying my hair anymore, I’ll eat whatever I want and ‘pass the Cheeto’s please”? When does bending over to shave your legs become more hazardous to your health than smoking? Does one continue “The War on Aging” forever?

I’ve been ‘covering my grays’ for about twenty years now and I’ve got to tell you, it’s not the only thing that’s getting a little old. So, I’ve been toying with the thought of ‘going au naturale’ and embracing my inner grays but here’s the deal - twice in the past year, I have been asked if I qualify for “the senior discount”. Well hell. I’m fifty-three years old and each time, the senior discount (I just had to ask) applied to those who were over sixty. It’s like being asked if you’re pregnant when you’re carrying a little extra weight.

A word of advice to clerks and cashiers everywhere…JUST LET YOUR CUSTOMER ASK FOR THEIR SENIOR DISCOUNT – Believe me, if they qualify, they will ask.

The Boat People: Part 3

Thursday

A refugee camp worker in Thailand attempted to convince my hairdresser's family that splitting up the family of ten would better their odds at finding a sponsor. But they were bound to their promise of staying together so… they waited. The worker began a letter-writing campaign to find a home for Thu and her family.

It worked.

A couple in Pennsylvania who lived on a farm and had been sponsors for many refugees in the past, chose to sponsor them. “They did not want us to work for them. They only required that we would go to school”, Thu said with incredulity as she understood many Vietnemese refugees were sponsored for cheap labour.

I was stunned on so many levels. I couldn’t help but think of where I was at thirteen and the challenges that I faced…the orange miniskirt with the white go-go boots or the lime green bell-bottoms? Hmmm. When I told her what I was thinking, she said, “Sometimes, when my kids need a guilt trip, I tell them these stories.”

Thu’s mother eventually moved to the USA. Her father stayed in Vietnam. In our forty-five-minute hair cutting session I learned that Thu’s brother is a pharmacist, three sisters own a successful souvenir shop in New York City and Thu, a hairstylist is married and has three children.
Despite the fact that Thu maintained no desire to ever revisit Vietnam, she felt compelled to go when her father was dying. She and her siblings returned to their village. Things had changed for the better and she was glad that she went back “They have chocolate now” she said.
Thu and her family visit their Pennsylvanian sponsors annually at Thanksgiving. Thu's story made me count my blessings once again and I look forward to my next haircut.

The Boat People: Part 2


Thirteen year-old Thu’s journey aboard an overcrowded fishing boat at sea continued for weeks. When I asked her why it took so long to find land, she said, “The captain didn’t know where he was going.” Thu explained that after three days of hiding in an oil well, it was determined that it would be safe for everyone to come out of hiding “and then the pirates came.”

“We were attacked two times by pirates. First time, they took all the money and jewelry that people brought with them. Second time, they took the pretty women. My eldest sister knew they would do this, so she made us look ugly by covering our hair and faces in oil.”

Eventually, the boat ran out of food and fuel but reached land. “It was an island. Nobody lived there before. We would go into the jungle and find anything we could to eat, some of the men caught fish but it wasn’t very long before the Americans came. The Red Cross and The Salvation Army. They took us to Thailand.”

In Thailand, Thu and her nine other siblings stayed in a refugee camp waiting for someone to ‘sponsor’ them. Sponsoring a family of ten would require the sponsor to show proof of ability to house and provide for them in their new host country. That was unlikely.

Thu’s family was advised to separate in order to increase their chances of being sponsored. They refused. So, as others were leaving the refugee camp to start new lives, Thu’s family stayed and waited.
...To be continued

The Boat People: Part 1

Tuesday

Sometimes people come into my life when I least expect it and force me to reflect on the lifetime of abundance, comfort and love that I have always enjoyed. Last week, I met such a person.

It was time for a haircut and I wasn't in the mood to drive twenty miles away to see my ‘regular' hairdresser so I stopped by a nearby salon. My assigned stylist was a petite Asian woman named ‘Thu’. Her English was perfect yet she maintained a strong Asian accent so I asked her where she came from ...“Vietnam. Do you know of ‘The Boat People’?” she answered. “Oh yeah” I lied. The truth was that I was only familiar with the term “The Boat People” and it having something to do with refugees.

Thu picked up her scissors and began her story…

It was 1980 and she was a thirteen year old North Vietnamese girl when her parents depleted their savings to pay a man who would take Thu and her nine other siblings (ages 5 through 23) through the Vietnamese jungle to an awaiting boat. Before leaving home, their mother made them promise to stay together. The children were stowed away inside oil wells of the boat where they stayed for three days. “No food, no water for three days ” she said, then abruptly interrupted her story by demonstrating the crouched position she and her siblings were forced to endure. Three-hundred people were stuffed into the boat designed for a fishing crew of twenty. Several people died during the voyage but it wasn't the first time that Thu had witnessed death. “They couldn’t breathe” she said.

Then pausing for a moment while looking out the window of the salon, she said "My husband was lucky, he left Vietnam when he was five years old, he doesn't remember things that I remember."

...To be continued

Paranoid in South America

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