Thursday, April 30, 2015

A New Zenith

Zoom in on April 1st,
No fools showed up for the meeting.
Hosts were gathered all about,
Could not have staged a warmer greeting.

Zealous writers all in tow,
Nervous energy glistened.
Arlee Bird tossed out the first word
While everyone attentively listened. 

Zipping through the alphabet,
The letters quickly flowed.
Followers danced around the Web,
While melodious notes started to unfold.

Zero days, the end is here,
Alliances formed everlasting.
Zonked out from lack of sleep,
As the zany euphoria is passing.

Note: This is an edited repost from my first A to Z in 2011.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yearning For Yesteryear



Recently I watched an earlier episode of Mad Men which took place at a Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in the sixties. This brought back memories of childhood vacations. Our dad was vice president and comptroller for a large corporation that had a plant in Newark, Delaware. We spent many summers driving from Chicago to Newark at the Howard Johnson's where we enjoyed leisurely days at the pool, while our dad went to work.

Afterward, he would go swimming with us, have races, and take me for rides on his back. Our mom enjoyed sunbathing, and would occasionally walk in the water up to her knees.  We were warned not to get her hair wet under any circumstances. Children who accidentally splashed her were never seen again.

Our dad also delighted in taking us out for hot fudge sundaes, or the flavor of the month special at HoJo's.  Hot apple pie ala mode with chocolate ice cream was also a favorite he shared with my brother. We never made a visit without going to a barbecue hosted by his associate's family who became dear friends. 

The only downside were the long drives to and fro. I suffered from motion sickness, and never failed to have my dad pull over several times throughout the trip. In the meantime, my brother would be quietly turning blue with his legs crossed, and tears streaming down his face. All because he didn't want to ask our dad to make anymore unscheduled stops.

Our last vacation to Delaware was when I was fourteen years old. As an added bonus we drove on to a resort in the Catskill Mountains. It was a cleaner version of the one in Dirty Dancing. By day my brother and dad played a lot of tennis, in addition to swimming and playing volleyball with us. By night we went to see shows, or went dancing in a lounge with a live band. As always the vacation went by all too quickly.

Although our dad didn't feel well, he insisted on driving straight home like he always did. Mom suggested spending the night in a motel, or at the very least she would drive, but he wouldn't hear of it. Dad drove through the night, dropped me off at home, and headed to the hospital with my mom and brother. 

It wasn't until the next day that I found out Dad had a heart attack, along with latent malaria which he must have contracted in the Navy. Mom assured us he would be fine, so I didn't worry. My brother was smart enough to know better. This was Dad's second out of three heart attacks, and he was only forty six years old.  

One of our last family trips was when I was a high school sophomore, and my brother was a college freshman. My brother fixed me up with his friend who needed a date for a Naval ROTC formal. I could have taken the bus to Wisconsin, but Dad offered to have us stay at a hotel, and make a fun weekend out of it.

My dad probably wasn't feeling well at the time, but he never complained. He was so proud of my brother and delighted in visiting the beautiful campus, because he never went away to school. He also loved when my brother joined a frat, as he was president of his fraternity.

I had a great time at the Naval ROTC Ball, which my dad took pleasure in having been a Naval officer. More importantly, I enjoyed the family time that we shared. Sadly, I didn't realize how precious it was. Although he didn't say it often, these special family outings were our dad's way of showing how much he loved us. 

*A repost from the 2012 A to Z Challenge.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Sweet 16 at an X-Rated Movie Theater


In September 2011, IWSG founder and A to Z co-hostAlex J. Cavanaugh created the "Worst Movies Ever" Blogfest. This is a repost of my extraordinary extracurricular activities.

My first job was at a concession stand at a movie theater when I was 15. My best friend was working as a cashier, and called me to come in for an interview. I said that I was 16, and after the manager asked me a few quick math problems, I was hired on the spot. The theater was packed as the Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange version of King Kong had just come out for Christmas. 

These were the days before calculators when you had to add up all the prices in your head, but I still managed to shovel in plenty of popcorn in between customers. Once after working a double shift complete with enough popcorn for lunch and dinner, my favorite usher took me aside to tell me that he could see his reflection in my nose.

After King Kong left the building, we were inundated with one bad movie after another. I can't remember all of the titles, but they were loosely based on classic children's stories with a twist. The first movie that comes to mind is Pinocchio,  but this version was rated X. Yes, the respectable family movie theater decided to try out some X-rated films. Of course my parents didn't mind that I was working there. After all, a paycheck was a paycheck. 


Some of the other pornographic fairy tales included Alice In Wonderland where Alice plays an innocent librarian  who meets up with a rabbit, and Goldilocks and The Three Bares.

Unfortunately, I had to remove the Alice and Goldilocks posters.  I wish that I could provide more information about these movies. I just remember the ushers making a special effort to sweep up the theater several times throughout these showings. They were exuberant in their quest to pick up every extra kernel of popcorn. Fortunately, no one was caught exasperating in the balcony.

I never actually sat through any of these films, as I was too busy minding the Junior Mints. But I did catch a glimpse of Pinocchio telling a lie, and quickly walked out when I realized his nose wasn't growing. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wally The Worrywart

Wally the worrywart,
Would waste the day away.
Warding off suspicious germs,
With Lysol he would spray.

Wanda the wild woman,
Worked at the strip club.
Waitressing in flimsy attire,
While serving up watered-down grub.

Warbling was her true passion,
Wishing for a clean slate.
Winking strangers made advances,
Wanda never took the bait.

Wally was stuck at a stoplight,
Wiping off a spot on his console.
Wanda didn't see the light change,
When her car began to roll.

Wrestling to pull them free,
Wary that they'd survive.
Weakened by the crash,
Willful to stay alive.

Whilst visiting in the hospital,
Waiting for their bandages to unravel.
Wally and Wanda shared common interests,
Whistling birds: love of travel.

Whiplash brought them together,
Wacky as it may sound,
Worrywart and wild woman prove,
Wanderlust has no bounds.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Vanity Game


A heavyset man walks out of the shower at the gym. After he finishes drying off, he throws the towel on the floor, and starts walking toward his locker. Then he bumps into an acquaintance, and proceeds to have a lengthy conversation with him, and two other clothed men.

Forty five minutes later, a young man barges in with a TV crew. He approaches the naked man and says, "You're it!" The man looks for a towel, and tries to cover up with a dirty sweat sock from the floor. "Oh, don't worry about that. We'll just shoot you from above the waist. Will somebody bring him a towel? Doesn't mean I need to look at it though." The camera starts rolling, as the conversation continues.

Naked Guy: What's going on?

Host: This is a pilot for a new game show that's a combination of  Candid Camera, Punk'd, and America's Funniest Home Videos.

Naked Guy: (tightening his towel)  I don't feel comfortable being seen without my clothes on.

Host: That's funny 'cause we know you've been talking to your buddies over here wearing nothing but deodorant. And this isn't the first time. We have footage of you for months on end. Some days you just head right to the showers, and don't even pretend to workout.

Naked Guy: How do you know all this? Who sent you here?

(Camera pans to the door as his wife walks in. She's all decked out in designer yoga attire, shiny bling, and a spray tan.)

Vanessa: Hello Victor.

Naked Guy: I knew this was a setup. What do you want from me?

Vanessa: Just keep embarrassing yourself, and when you win the prize I'll give you a divorce.

Host: What are you planning on doing with the prize money Vanessa?

Vanessa: Oh a nip here, a tuck there. Victor says I don't need these things, but what does he know? He's all washed up. (the crew laughs)

Naked Guy: Look at her. She's already beautiful. Her vanity has gotten the best of her.

Vanessa: I'm not vain, I'm practical. And what about you?

Naked Guy: I'm standing here naked in front of millions of viewers. There's not a vain bone in my body.

Host: Well, let's not forget this is cable...

Vanessa: What about all of your manscaping? You could spend hours plucking and trimming your chest, but you let your ear hair run wild.

Naked Guy: After my lousy haircut grows out, you won't even see my ear hair.

Vanessa: But I'll know it's there. And what about all of your facials, as well as your weekly pedicures?

Naked Guy: Well look at me. You know I can barely reach my toes. I just try to look nice for you.

Vanessa: Then why did we join a health club if you won't even use the equipment?

Naked Guy: I knew YOU wanted to join. I tried a few times, but I started huffing and puffing so loudly that I thought I was going to explode. Not to mention how much I was sweating. Even old ladies laughed at me when I had trouble keeping up with them on the treadmill.  I didn't want to drag my vivacious wife down with me. (Vanessa moves closer, and takes his hand.)

Host: Okay, we are done here people. (motions to crew) Stop rolling.

Vanessa: So did I win the prize?

Host: You won big time, and it's all wrapped up in that nice, fluffy towel.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ursula Undressed

Ursula undressed in front of her man,
Unaware of his weakened heart.
Ugly expression came over his face,
Uncontrollably he started to fart.

Utterly inconsolable, he begged her to stay,
Upping her usual expensive fee.
Ursula agreed to turn the other cheek,
Ultimately this would set her free.

Upon continuing where they left off,
Unexpected knocking at their door.
Uri demanded to see his cheating wife,
Utterly enraged, as his head hit the floor.

Uri  and Ursula cleared out his room,
United in carrying out their plan.
Urgently piling up all of his cash,
Unbeknownst to this comatose man.

Unabashedly Uri expressed his love,
Ushering Ursula to run off with him.
Unwilling to take no for an answer,
Ursula grabbed the lamp on a whim.

Undertaker cleaned up her dirty mess,
Untidiness was never her intention.
Utilizing her wealth to go it alone,
Uncoupling was a divine intervention

For Stephen: Ursula Undressed (With thanks to Penny and Gary)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ode To "T"

Trample on my heart,
Trespass on my soul.
Twisting our love apart.
Tragedy takes its toll.

Trips we'd never take,
Trails we'd never follow.
Treaties cool, half-baked,
Tender tones, are only borrowed.

Tales of days long past,
Trigger tears of sorrow.
Truth is, it would never last,
Trapped inside, the treachery of tomorrow.


   BANNER [2015]                              

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sorry To Hear That


"Sorry to hear that,"
She always would say.
While others confided,
Their pains of the day.

"Sorry to hear that,"
Spouting their latest woes.
From their aching backs,
To their hammertoes.

"Sorry to hear that,
Sophia, please do not wail.
Surely things will get brighter,
It's just a hangnail."

"Sorry to hear that,"
Soothed everyone's ears.
Sadly, no one listened
To her troubles and fears.

"Sorry to hear that,"
Sighed sweet, dear old Meg,
As she sat on her bed,
And unhinged her leg.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ridiculous Rules of Religion


Recently our sons took us to see The Book Of  Mormon for our anniversary. It's from the creators of the delightfully raunchy South Park; the cartoon that never tires of belittling all beliefs. Though some of the song titles were too filthy to mention, it was all done in the spirit of fun. The audience even gave a standing ovation.

Although the play was a devilish parody on the Mormon religion, I was shocked that the Mormon Organization actually placed three ads in the Playbill. My favorite caption was, "YOU'VE SEEN THE PLAY..NOW READ THE BOOK." It was great that they were able to laugh at themselves.

This made me think about how many religions follow ridiculous rules. For example, my friend just told me some traditions within the more observant sector of our religion that I wasn't familiar with. According to a Jewish Orthodox community on the East Coast, when a young bride and groom marry, the groom's family is responsible for a list of items called FLOPS. This stands for Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, Photographer, and Sheytl (wig(s) for the bride).

 All Jewish Orthodox married women are required to cover their heads with scarves, hats or wigs. As explained in The New Joys of Yiddish, "The rabbis decreed that once married, a woman's hair, her well-known crowning beauty, should not be visible lest it distract men from prayer or study." 

Wigs can be very costly, and it doesn't make sense why the groom's parents should have to pay for them. These rules are so impractical, because in most cases the marriages are arranged at a young age. Thus, these kids could use the FLOPS funds for food, and a place to raise their six to twelve children.

To add to the absurdity, another popular tradition in this community is to buy your future daughter-in-law a diamond tennis bracelet, and a fine watch for your son-in-law. You may not see the bling under her long sleeved blouse, but at least the groom will know when it's time to put his book down and procreate. Sounds like all the makings of the next Broadway hit.

*A repost from 2013.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ode To "Q"

Questionable intentions were brought by he,
Quartet gently playing in the corner.
Qualifying his earnest pedigree,
Quick to satisfy his plea for her honor.   

Qualms from other gentlemen,
Quarreling over the prize.
Quiet as their majesty walked in,
Quaint appearances were much to surmise.

Quibbling over the princess's hand,
Queries from great distances away.
Quotient of suitable purveyors of the land,
Quintuplets soon lined up for their say.

Quarantine began after draining their cups, 
Quagmire like no kingdom had seen.
Quilts were gathered to cover up,
Quirky King was really a Queen.

*A repost from 2012.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Percolating Patsy

Percolating Patsy,
Peeled into town.
Parked her Purple Pontiac,
Proceeded to frown.

Proprietor greeted her,
Plopped in her favorite chair.
Prune danish in one hand,
Pretzels near to her beer.

Percy knew she was coming,
Played it cool to the bone.
Placated her with compliments,
Perhaps, now she'd go home.

Patsy, in no hurry to leave,
Packed a pistol in her purse.
Plus a shiv up her sleeve.

People knew why Percy left her,
Pretty girl caught his eye.
Patsy's punch just missed his kisser,
Pirate patch adorned him, "Captain Bligh."

Pleading for forgiveness,
Patsy made no mind.
Pulled her trigger happy finger,
Police arrived just in time.

Prison life far from pleasant,
Petty criminals fought nail and tooth.
Poor guards didn't know what hit them,
Percolating Patsy done blown off the roof!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Organ Donation: The Greatest Gift

 April is Organ Donation Awareness Month, so I've decided to repeat this post from my first A to Z Challenge in 2011. I've updated my brother's age, and  number of years since his kidney transplant.

 The Chicago Tribune cover story, Just a Liver Transplant Among Friendly Neighbors, by Michelle Manchir, told how two residents in a suburban subdivision banned together to save their friend who needed a liver transplant. A 41 year old man who was suffering from the same rare liver disease that took Walter Payton's life, was fortunate enough to have one neighbor offer to "remove a portion of the donor's liver and place it in the ill person's body. The liver is the only interior organ that regenerates--typically in about three months."

When the surgeon found scarring on the first woman's liver, another neighbor offered to take her place. Now all three neighbors "share surgery scars above their belly buttons." They are doing well , and the recipient is thankful to both women for risking their lives to save his. According to the recipient, "They really don't act like it's anything special. They're just crazy, wonderful, amazing people."

Both my husband and my brother received organ donations. My husband underwent two cornea transplants, and my brother received a healthy kidney almost 10 years ago.     

Due to a complicated medical history, my brother was told that he could be on a waiting list for 5-10 years or longer. Fortunately, he received a call a year and a half later on his 47th birthday from the transplant team. He owes his life to a cadaver donor.

Today, my brother is a healthy, energetic 56 year old who often wears his nephews out whether they're lifting weights or playing basketball. He strongly believes that "everyone should be a donor regardless of religious beliefs, because you can save several lives by donating your organs. It's morally wrong to be a recipient and not a donor." 

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month, and it's easy to become a donor by checking off the box when you renew your driver's license. or by registering at  organdonor.govOur family is extremely grateful for the gifts we've been given, and we're proud to pay it forward.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Negotiator

"Nonsense, I'm fine,"
(Nodding his head.)
"Nature's way of telling you,
Need to lie in bed."

"Nobody's staying home,
No sir, not me.
Nuts, I'll just take the bus,"
"Nope, let's discuss over tea."

"Now my throat feels better,
Normal temp; Nose is clear,"
"News says a virus is spreading,
Never mind going out, my dear."

"Nickel for every health scare,
Neat classes are underway."
"Not taking any chances,
Nursery School will wait another day."

M is for Meshuge


My shy and soft spoken blogging buddy, Stephen T. McCarthy, impressed me by sending a happy Passover greeting in Hebrew. This led to a discussion about Hebrew and Yiddish. Since Yiddish is a fading language that began as a way for Jewish people to communicate throughout Europe, I thought I'd share one word that will not likely be forgotten.

Meshuge means crazy, and every family knows someone who fits this description. My nintey-two-year-old mother-in-law lives in Israel. Though she speaks Russian, Hebrew, and English fluently, she frequently converses with my husband in Yiddish. Every once in a while, the word meshugener will pop up in the conversation, and I'll try to figure out who they're talking about. It's usually a neighbor, a tradesman or a former caregiver. On one of our visits, I came face to face with a meshugener in her apartment.

A psychiatrist made a house call to check her mental status. He came highly recommended, and had met her once on a previous visit. He put her through a series of tests that lasted over two hours. He asked her a multitude of questions, and had her identify several objects. I couldn't believe how long the test lasted, and gave my mother-in-law an exercise ball to help with her leg and back pain.

At the end of the evaluation, the doctor told us that he was concerned. For example, she called her nephew her grandson. I explained that her nephew is a huge help to her, and she thinks of him as a grandson, as her own grandchildren live in another country. The doctor rudely ignored me, and went on to cite his equally inconsequential concerns. At the end of the conversation, my mother-in-law said jokingly, "Did I pass?"

The psychiatrist tried to comfort her by encouraging her to retake the test in six months. Afterward, she said, "So, you think I'm going to be better in six months? I'm ninety."

We couldn't believe what this so-called psychiatrist put her through. Then I said, "If I had to sit in a stiff chair with no back support for over two hours answering questions, and identifying objects, I wouldn't be able to pass either. I don't understand why you thought it was necessary to put an elderly woman through this. The fact that she's joking about it now, means that she's completely aware of what's going on around her."

Needless to say, my husband and cousin were speechless, and I had two strikes against me arguing with a doctor and a religious man. My mother-in-law never saw that meshugener again, and she's even more lucid, and lively at ninety-two.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lost In Lust

Lost in lust,
Locked in a trance.
Lingering effects,
Long distance romance.

Last one to call,
Lights out and then.
Lying miles apart,
Listening to faint whispers again.

Letter arrives the next day,
Listing the others he's misled.
Laughing, "They must be mistaken,
Lackeys are nuts in the head."

Loneliness looms in,
Longing to see her beau.
Life was so cruel,
Love interest was a gigolo.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kissing Cousins

Thinking about running off to elope with your first cousin in Utah?  Well, that's perfectly fine if you're both sixty-five, or you could qualify if you're both fifty-five, as long as one of you can't have children. If the woman is sterile, and the husband still wants to procreate, he can become a polygamist, as long as one of his wives isn't his underage first cousin. Marrying his sister might be frowned upon in some circles, while his aunt would certainly be long past her birthing years.

According to the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislature), "Twenty five states prohibit marriages between first cousins. Six states allow first cousin marriage under certain circumstances, North Carolina allows first cousin marriage, but prohibits double cousin marriage."

The other five states have comparable laws to Utah. They include:
  • Arizona
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Wisconsin
Surprisingly, Illinois is more lenient by allowing both partners to be fifty or older. Some women are still able to reproduce in their early fifties. Maine's only stipulation is that each couple "obtains a physician's certificate of genetic counseling."

This brings us back to 'double cousin marriage.' As explained in Urban Dictionary, "When two sisters marry two brothers, their children have the same two sets of grandparents. Unlike most people, who have a cousin that has grandparents that you've never met; these cousins share both sets of grandparents."

If you're still interested in marrying your first cousin, and you're not quite ready to join AARP, then North Carolina is the place for you. Enjoy your legally wedded bliss with your mirrored image loved one, but if you sing off key at the reception, you just might be hauled off to jail. Although inbreeding is perfectly fine, singing off key is against the law in North Carolina.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jury Duty


My friend's neighbor Jay was summoned for jury duty. He desperately wanted to get out of it, so he called his lawyer for help. When his lawyer said there was nothing he could do, he called his brother. After Jay told him that things were hectic at work, and he couldn't possibly take time off, they decided to come up with a plan.

The brothers wrote a fictitious letter to the Jury Commissioner detailing every reason they could think of to make it physically impossible for Jay to serve as a juror. This letter described symptoms that would make the entire courtroom gasp, including everything from chronic diarrhea, to uncontrollable nose bleeds. Their doctor was a close family friend, and after several shots of Jack Daniels, he agreed to sign the letter.

A few days before jury selection, Jay was instructed to report to the judge for a personal interview. He was a nervous wreck thinking he was about to be arrested for perjury. He couldn't stop shaking as he was getting dressed, and quickly drove off to the courthouse. While he was driving, his stomach started gurgling, as he heard a police siren. He began slowing down, as the squad car went after someone else.

When he arrived in the judge's chambers, he was sweating profusely and out of breath. Then the judge took one look at him, and told him he was free to go.

Suddenly, the cloud was lifted, and he happily drove home to tell his wife. She was shaving her legs in the bathtub when he told her the good news. When she looked up at him, she screamed. He ran over to see what was wrong, and noticed his shirt collar was covered in blood. He didn't even realize that he had nicked his nose while shaving. Smiling, Jay took off his shirt and explained what had happened. Then his wife advised him to also change his pants. Apparently his stomach wasn't just gurgling.

*A repost from 2011.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Indestructible Ocotogenarian


A few months ago, I took my mom  for a pedicure. Though she suffers from hammer toe, bunions, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses, this was nothing compared to what we went through that afternoon.

When we arrived at the beauty shop, I noticed the spa tub was already filled with water. This meant that my mom had to take off her shoes and socks on another chair before we could catapult her into the the spa pedicure chair. After I helped Mom remove her socks, and roll up her pant legs it was time to hoist her up into the next chair. Suddenly, she froze.

I had one hand on my mom's arm, while she was holding on to the walker. She couldn't seem to get her feet to cooperate, and she became wedged in between the walker and the pedicure chair. The manicurist tried to help me scoot her over to the seat, but she became a dead weight. My grandma who weighed one hundred pounds soaking wet, also had the ability to turn her body into lead whenever anyone even thought about lifting her.

Finally, the manicurist called the owner's son over. His job was to lift the walker over our heads, so my mom wouldn't be pinned in. As we both held on to Mom with all of our strength, he managed to get the walker out of the way. Unfortunately, my mom's purse went sliding off into the next tub submerged in water.

He quickly fished out her purse, and the first thing I pulled out was her cell phone. Miraculously, it was still working, but it went dead shortly after I finished drying everything off. In the meantime, my mom remained very calm, and waited patiently for her lunch. When I went to tell him that the phone wasn't working, he was nowhere to be found.

Next, I asked someone to put her empty purse in the dryer for a few minutes. While my mom was having her hair coiffed, her purse mysteriously disappeared from the dryer. I ran frantically all around the beauty shop, until someone finally found it.

After I dropped my mom off at home, I stopped off at a neighborhood cell phone store, to see if there was any possibility of reviving her phone. The only option was to buy a new phone, and even the most basic one would've cost over two hundred dollars, as our plan wouldn't entitle her to an upgrade until the fall.

My hubby even ordered a used phone, but when he called to activate it they told him that the phone would only work with a pre-paid plan. None of this made any sense, as my mom was already covered under our plan. She just needed a basic phone for emergency and long distance calls.

After going back and forth with other cell phone companies, it finally hit me. I remembered that my brother-in-law was the one who recommended our phone carrier, as he thought it had the best out of state reception when our older son was in law school. My husband immediately called his sister-in-law, and she saved the day with an old flip phone that was in perfect condition.

My mom was happy to receive her replacement phone a week later.  She didn't even complain at the beauty shop for the mishap, but was happy when I did. The staff was very apologetic, and quite generous with one of their most loyal, and cherished weekly customers. They even threw in some scented body lotion for her driver.

My mom still goes in every week, even when her arms are writhing in pain from pushing her walker. Heads turn, as women young and old say, "I don't know how she does it. That woman has such a wonderful attitude. She never complains. Despite everything, she's still a breathtaking woman with a beautiful head of hair. Her poor daughter must take after her father."