Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When I am old, I hope I am cool as hell....

When I'm old, I hope I am cool as hell. 5 ways to be sure.

Waiting to board a flight last week, I stood next to an older couple. The gentleman complimented my handbag. It is Hermes and candidly, I am rather fond of it too. I smiled and said, "I like your taste." His wife laughed and said, "Oh, he knows what's what."

I looked at  both of them and laughed. They were beautiful and it seemed to stem from their perceived happiness. They were also elegant, stylish. She told me they were in their 80s. Our dialogue extended another 20 minutes or so which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Later, I recalled her comment and again it made me laugh. Oh, he knows what's what. Also known as "he is cool as hell." I hope when I am in my 80's, I also know what's what which I really want to mean I hope I am old and cool as hell. What will I have to do?

1. I will think carefully about what I discuss. I will remember there are certain topics I shall not rattle on about on the daily. Top of the list: Ailments. When I want to talk about ailments such as an achy back, plantar fasciitis, or my ankle surgeries, I will pause and refrain. Unless I have some serious situation trying to take me down, I am not talking about corneas and cataracts.  The pills, the ointments all to be kept on the low down. Strike me with lightening, if I mention "irritable" or "bowel" or "syndrome' in the same sentence.

Instead, I am going to talk about wine tastings in Napa, good books and how to make croquembouche. I will talk about awesome things I have done. This will not include walking barefoot in the snow. I never did that. My parents drove me to school or I rode a giant tank like yellow bus. If others try to talk to me about ouchy parts and icky stuff, well, I am going to politely listen for a minute. After that I might say, "For the LOVE of BABY JESUS Diane, there is a reason the Doctor closes the door during appointments! No one outside of that room is deeply curious about your GI issues."

1a. I will remember not to prattle on about kids and grand kids. I will give highlights. I will not talk about how many cheerios my grandchild ate that day. I will not talk about what my grandchildren do from the minute they wake up until they go to sleep. I will love my family. I will be excited about their lives and successes. I will not trap people at the Starbucks with a long highly detailed story of my son's first homerun in the Majors (his dream) or my 6 year old grand baby's first trip to Disney. God forbid I talk about potty training. Ever. I will remember NO lengthy discourses on that topic happened when I was living it. Double jeopardy for me if I update my Facebook status with any such topics. Extra cool points if I am old and still on Social Media. Help me if I am still linked to people who use Facebook as a diary instead of its intent: public bulletin board.

2. When I drive, I am going to maintain all my skills. If I shrink and can't see over the wheel, I will buy a booster seat just like little kids use. I will go for a compact car versus a boat. I will pledge not to make a right hand turn from the left hand lane. If someone cuts me off, I shall not respond with inappropriate hand gestures.  If someone else is driving me, I will not 'give them suggestions' the entire time. I will not reach over and honk the horn for them. If I am unable to drive, I will say "Hallelujah Uber!"
3. If I need to move into a retirement community, it is going to be one like the bad ass Melrose Place of Retirement communities in Florida called The Villages. When I live there, I am going to seek out fun things to do and fun people to do them with as well. I'm going to avoid Betty who talks about her bunions. I am going to avoid Lydia who talks about her daughter my exclaiming "Now, my Leslie....." because Lydia didn't read 1a above. If I am doubling-down at the Blackjack table and Lydia saunters over to tell me a "My Leslie" story I will suggest she saunter off and call "My Leslie" instead of saying "Your Leslie sounds like someone with a lot of cats." If I am unable find fun things to do, if I have not developed interest in activities that involving making things with yarn,  I will create fun things to do. First order of business: Dance Party. I won't play Jazz or even Sinatra. Lets' turn that Mother out and bring back the old school. Never too old to appreciate some Salt & Pepa. And I will be asking that nice handy man to bring in some fans for that show too.

4. Since dance party is one of my favorite things of all time, I will not miss opportunities to enjoy one. If I am at a wedding and all the old timers are having a respectful seat while the young whipper snappers take on the dance floor, I will hop to it. If its loud, I will adjust my hearing aide. If I have to listen to Nicki Minaj, so be it. If they are bucking their hips like dogs in heat, I will snicker inside and remember I grew up with "Dirty Dancing" and the "Lambada"!  Perhaps I will make friends with the DJ and request Vanilla Ice for old times sake. If he laughs and scoffs, I will politely ask him to step the _____ back and I will bring out the Running Man. Have you ever seen an old dame do the Running Man? You will.

5. I heard a teenage girl being monstrously rude to her Mom at Nordstrom last week. I was a touch surprised the Mom took it like she did because it was eye-popping awful. I was a smarty arse hair-flipping oh maaa gaawwwwd hissing teenage girl at one point too and even I was not bold enough to pull off the snark on this child. When I am old and hopefully cool as hell, if I hear young people being sassy and disrespectful, I will shake my head and silently think to myself, "Young people today!" But because I am old, I can do whatever I like and I will be able to say, "Listen Missy, why don't you spend the summer in prison camp and then come back and tell me all your woes. Seriously. I will sit right here with my smoothie and my iPhone waiting for your full report on how prison camp changed your shitty attitude."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tomorrow is not National Barbeque Day

Happy Memorial Day. Originally called "Decoration Day" this holiday is a day to remember those who have fallen while serving the US Armed Forces. It is not National Barbeque Day.

I don't have the nerve to do what soldiers do. I have heard so many stories but a photo like this brings so many emotions to bear. 

For all those who suit up, swallow fear when necessary, travel to locations as far away as physically and emotionally possible, who sleep in dirt bunkers, walk into the unknown, kiss their families and their babies goodbye for maybe a year at a time, who don't have the luxury of complaining about how long the line is for the morning latte, or the traffic, or the fact an emergency news brief interrupted the season finale of Scandal, we salute you.

I don't want miss my son's baseball games, or friends birthdays, my morning workouts or trips to Anguilla.  I want the freedom and the critical steps that need to be executed to protect it but I am not brave enough to do it. I would be if I had to be but that is one additional amazing component of our country: I don't have to go to war if I don't want to sign up for it. My freedom is protected by hundreds of thousands of other people. The blanket of freedom that not only allows but encourages women to become educated, make choices, vote, buy a home, live where you choose.

This is the same freedom which allows people to openly criticize our government and our leaders. Criticism that in other countries would earn you beatings or life in an underground prison or death. Those people should thank the next person they see in uniform for protecting your right to free speech. PS: Do you know who really cares if you like or don't like Barack? Or George W. ? Or Mitt?  Or Hillary?  I don't know the exact metrics but my guess is: NOT Barack, George W., Mitt, Hillary and 95% of people you are friends with on Facebook.

While we are all enjoying our Memorial weekend, it is a weekend of gratitude. Gratitude for freedoms. These are freedoms paid for by other people. Love my country? Yes. Willing to suit up and die for it? Wait a minute. I think we all want to think we would do it. It is an easy supposition to make from the comfort of my living room. Bravo to the hundreds of thousands of men and women have committed to serving; many of them so young they have likely never left home, lived on their own, had sex, or had a legal cocktail before. But the majority of them willing to go even knowing  what kind of environment they could be deployed to in the very near-term. 

Thank you to not only everyone who signed the dotted line but to their families as well who surely endured trials during the absence. God Bless the USA.

Friday, April 4, 2014 a squealy, breathy, giggly rush.

I am thinking about my hometown quite a bit today. While my Mom knows this story full well, she is waiting on news about a friend and probably really needs a laugh right now. I am happy to share this again. And what better way to spend time on a Friday than laughing at my plight.

When I was a youngster, I was a bit of a late bloomer. And by "bit" I certainly mean I was the last one in the door to puberty. In 7th grade, I finally became a woman, or in reality, an already hormonal girl suddenly with a reason to buy feminine products.

My older brother had a friend for whom I had a mad, mad crush. I would always ask my brother about him. And this friend was at our house frequently so I made myself very present during these visits as only annoying younger sisters can do. He wore the levi jacket with the big puffy faux sheep's wool lining that I thought was super cool. He also had the pencil thin mustache circa 1983. WOW, I set my bar VERY high, didn't I?

One afternoon that summer found me, my brother, and a mixed bag of our friends all lounging about the pool. The cacophony of 12 and 13 year old girls talking about C.Thomas Howell and Adam Ant songs only worsened by the rude commentary and fart jokes of teenage boys.

But my big crush was there. And at one point, he said to me, "I like your swimsuit."

This old thing? I can't believe he noticed me, after all, parading in front of him on the upside of 200 times. I showed my grace and poise by opting NOT to smile and politely say thank you in a cool and demure way but rather jumping up and down and exclaiming OHMYGOD-YOUDO?!?!?! in a squealy, breathy, giggly rush.

I sat down in a chair near him and started chatting with him about my brother's Van Halen album of which I had committed all lyrics to memory and thought this trivia would be impressive in an cool, older boy kind of way. He was very kind to me and his bemused look I mistook for a fraction of interest.

Until he leaned over and in a low voice said, "You have something hanging out of your suit."

Me, ever quick on her feet, rather than excusing myself like a lady, I
asked the single most foolish question available at that exact moment: Really? What?

He, being so much older and mature, merely answered: I think it might be your tampon string.

Wait, did he just say tampon string? Did he actually use the word tampon in front of me? Does he not know we do NOT discuss feminine products? That is why they are called "feminine products" so it makes it sound like you are talking about perfume, or rainbows, or sparkles.

Oh nevermind my scrawny body, a size zero at the time, so the tampon string likely looked like one of my pale skinny legs. I know he was trying to be helpful hence my brother find this out and I be mocked into ruination. I rose immediately giving off a crimson hue of hideous embarrassment. And then I sprinted away like a scalded dog.

My tampon string. The mere discussion of it serving as a verbal version of him spraying teenage girl repellent all over himself. Had he known that one simple sentence would be the catalyst to me avoiding him like the plague for a minimum of one year, he might have used it sooner.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How it feels to win

In honor of my home town and my home team, I am posting on a weekend. Even if you are not a sports fan, the story can still resonate with you.  In the Spring of 2012, Donald Wood wrote a piece for the Bleacher Report about Draft Day Fails. Here is an excerpt:

With the 2012 NFL draft over and done, it’s time to look back on the teams that failed on draft day and give them a grade.

Certain teams had amazing afternoons, but others teams (I’m looking at you Seattle) completely missed on the concept of trying to improve.

All of the following squads screwed up, but it’s very clear that certain teams have major internal issues. I’m sorry to the fans of all the following teams for the poor drafting.

No. 1: Seattle Seahawks
After one of the worst picks in the first round I can ever remember, the Seattle Seahawks didn't draft any positions of need or draft for the future.

Pete Carroll is proving why he didn’t make it in the NFL the first time. Not only was Bruce Irvin a reach at No. 15, the Seahawks proved they were oblivious to their madness by celebrating their selection.

As if the day wasn’t bad enough, Seattle selecting Russell Wilson, a QB that doesn’t fit their offense at all, was by far the worst move of the draft. With the two worst moves of the draft, Seattle is the only team that received an F on draft day.

Grade: F

F? What do you mean? I finally decoded the mystery and narrowed it down to simple options:
1. F is for F___ Off Donald Wood
2. F is for Did you kiss my SB48 ring? Does it not taste F____ delicious?
3. F is for How you F____ like me now? 

I am betting on Option 2. 

My Father coached Little League football teams my entire youth.  He was a hard ass because he had a precise combination of athleticism, technical understanding of football, intensity, intellect and passion for the game. He could have easily coached at greater heights but did not choose to do so. He was adamant that as a female, I didn't stand on any side line yelling "Yeah...HOMERUN!" so we watched Seahawks games together and I learned about I Formation and the empty backfield. This was old-school Seahawks year #1 of the franchise with Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Sherman Smith. I have been a fan ever since.

You might not like football. You might not like sports. You might not even know Seattle has a football team. But what many of you can appreciate is anytime someone is told they can't achieve when in fact they can, and will and do. 

Young QB Russell Wilson's mantra of Dream Big, Work Hard, Stay Humble is a simplistic but on-point concept. Derrick Coleman, the first deaf Offensive player in the NFL, was also written off as someone who could never take his athleticism and skill to the professional level because he was deaf. Guess again?  My favorite by-product of his Super Bowl presence is the letter he received from 9- year old deaf twin girls who wrote, among other sentiments, "because of you, we believe that anything can be done even if you have a disability." That is real power. The trajectory of Derrick Coleman and his impact on these girls moved their needle from "Not me" to "Why NOT me." Maybe I am Smarmy Spice but I hope to never lose the ability to be moved by anecdotes like this one.

Let's include Malcolm Smith. He made an elite trifecta by winning the Super Bowl MVP award as only 1 of 3 NFL linebackers to ever do so.  After not a single interception in 43 previous games, he took his first interception during the Super Bowl and returned it 69 yards for a TD. Oh, and Minnesota laughed at Percy Harven? Some Vikings fans mocked: He wanted to get traded and now he has a boo boo! Is it funny now? And The Chancellor? Or what I like to think of as: Part Man, Part Machine. Do you know what the black face mask visor means? It means Grade F like Donald Wood wrote. But F as in "Do Not F with Me."

These levels of commitment and tenacity are inspirational. And we got to participate in sports history.

I am not biased because this is my home team. I am biased because I like champions. I applaud the fact Pete Carroll had a vision he then realized.  How many people actually do this? It is incredible whether you are 12, 32 or 62 (Coach Carroll's age.)

Oh, the backlash after the conference championship game regarding Richard Sherman? He is a thug? That word has now has a variety of connotation and is used on such a sliding scale, I am uncertain it means what people hope it means when they use it. Does it mean he's an arsehole? A dbag? A criminal? Or is he just someone who says, acts and thinks in a way people don't like? If so, he can get in the back of the line behind thugs like Rob Ford, Justin Beiber, Kanye West, Michael Grimm, Donald Trump and half of Congress.  Richard Sherman went to Stanford which I am confident Biebs and Kanye couldn't string those letters together to successfully win their way out of a 3rd grade spelling bee.

You know who doesn't care if people don't like Richard Sherman? Richard Sherman.

In regards to the team, it is stacked with hard-workers and a 'no-name' defensive players. One of my favorite quotes came from Nancy Gay,

Anyone who figured the No. 1 scoring offense powered by Manning, a five-time MVP, might get the upper hand on the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense was drastically underestimating the ferocity of Seattle’s Legion of Boom.

Legion of Boom? How awesome is that?!? You know what I say? I am in Tennis League or I am into running or I am in PTA. These men, with the ferocity and speed of panthers get to say, "I am in the LEGION of BOOM."

I loved watching them rise. I loved watching them win. I loved watching them do the thing Donald Wood and MANY others said was not unlikely but impossible. Because of social media, it was also spectacular to be completely connected to the action as well as the emotion and reverie of all my friends and family at home and around the US who were experiencing the same elation I was. I want to experience greatness as every one does but I am also thrilled to witness greatness and cheer it on, in whatever form and discipline it comes in. In this case, pigskin style delivered via Seattle. How does it feel to win? Proud of the team who found out during the Super Bowl and all the 12th Man friends along the way.