Monday, November 22, 2010

Back by popular demand...the story of my first Thanksgiving...

Back in the dark ages of my youth...I was about 20 and had my first "real" job. Well, they gave us a gift certificate at Thanksgiving time "for a turkey." It was really a $25 gift certificate to Safeway - but I thought I had to buy a turkey with I did. It was 1980 and I bought a $25 turkey. 

I was single at the time. 

Didn't dawn on me to give it to a I was going to cook my first turkey for me and my friend! Yeppers! 

So there we are in this tiny apartment kitchen opening this turkey...okay, I remembered my mom sticking her hands in the turkey and taking stuff I did.

GROSS! I thought everything would be in a bag or something - I have no idea why. Then I didn't know what to do with the stuff I took out, so we put it in a dish then stuck it in the fridge. 

Step two. Stuff the turkey. 

Okay. This should be simple enough. We opened the box of Stovetop stuffing and poured it into the turkey cavity. Do you know how much Stovetop stuffing fits in the cavity of a $25 turkey? Lots!!! So we kept filling the cavity until it was full. YEA! Now let's cook the turkey!

It took forever. We thought we were suppose to baste the turkey with it's own juices...but there really wasn't any juice coming out, so we didn't. Somewhere...I probably should have called my mom...but no. I was 20 and living on my own. Why call mom????

Sometime around Christmas I think the turkey finally popped it's little red timer thingy...and so it was done.

Yum! We couldn't wait! 

Did you know you're suppose to let the turkey sit before you slice into it? I didn't. So we fired up the electric knife and butchered the hell out of that turkey. Oops! Forgot to remove the stuffing...I guess we'll just serve it from the turkey...YEA!!! Turkey and Stuffing!!!! WOOHOO!!! Let's eat!!!

Have you ever had cottonmouth? 

Have you ever shoved like an entire pack of crackers into your mouth and tried to chew them and swallow? Have you ever had all your bodies' moisture sucked right out of you?

Yeah. we did. Remember when I said we poured the Stovetop stuffing into the turkey's cavity? Did you know you're supposed to first mix the stuffing with water? 

We didn't. 

Wonder where all that turkey juice went that we were supposed to baste the turkey with? Yep. into the cavity. The wads of dried breading was sucking the literal life juice out of the turkey.

So there we were...CRAVING turkey and dressing with a frickin' huge turkey as dry as the sahara desert surrounded by piles of semi-moist turkey-fied breadcrumbs.

I didn't prepare another Thanksgiving meal until I was in my 40's...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They say it's your birthday...


I have a birthday and oddly enough, it's today. Just like it was last year and the year before that...and so it goes back, back, into the dark ages of time. Back to a world that exists only in black and white pictures and broken Super 8 film, sticking and burning in an ancient Kodak projector.

Where I am today is never a place I thought about back in the world I use to live in...that world of Ed Sullivan and Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, of "Sing Along with Mitch Miller" and Elvis Presley albums, of climbing the old apricot tree in the back yard and digging to China in my mother's garden and playing in the old paneled wagon with Jeff and Bryan pretending we were soldiers trying to avoid capture by the Nazi's during the days of the Vietnam War.

What have I seen in my lifetime?  What has happened in the past 50 that I'm 51 and what has shaped the person I've become?

And am I any different that that girl with the long blonde pigtails? Is there a difference between that tomboy of 1968 and the single mom of 2010?

In my lifetime I've lived through the toddler years of Rock & Roll, survived Disco, Punk and Grunge and have questioned the reasoning behind Rap. All in all - it's been a wondrous life of music, though my son swears I was lucky enough to live through the best decades EVER when it comes to Rock.  My stories of concerts during the '70's can easily elicit a glazed over expression of envy the likes I never even considered.

I've lived through 4 or 5 wars (assuming one counts Grenada?) with Vietnam still etched into my memory as a horrible vision shown nightly on TV. My prayers always included a line asking God to end the war in Vietnam.  Even after it had finally ended, I repeated the line nightly for years because my prayers had simply become a habit. My feelings toward war have not changed in the last 50 years. I have studied all the wars, the history behind them, the strategies, the outcomes, the battles, the bullshit - and I still have the same opinion that I've always had.  War is simply two men (always a man) who have issues with each other - usually involving one having something the other wants. They then gather all the people under them and force these people to "go get it" from the other guy. Sometimes, the people have to be told it is in their best interest, that the other guys are evil and will kill us all if we don't stop them.  War is stupid. People die for reasons that are usually ridiculous. Families are destroyed because of the will of someone who doesn't care. Even today - (and yes, I understand what has happened in the US in the last 20 years) - we have simply traded the fear/threat of Communism for the fear/treat of Al Qaeda. It's always steeped in truth, but it has grown to ridiculous proportions by being fed through ignorance and fear.

Nope. War has not changed in my lifetime. It has only, like music, evolved.

What else has happened in the last 50 years? Politics? Nope - different people - same Bull Shit.

Society?  You would think with all the opportunities to educate ourselves, more people would take advantage of knowledge. But no. That really hasn't changed either.  The people who will grow and be valuable to our world will take the initiative and learn.  The ones who are lazy and expect the world to cater to them, will sit on their asses and wait for a hand out. It's no different today than it was 50 years ago...though sometimes, in my darker times, I think there are more lazy ass people looking for their piece of assumed heaven.  But really?  No, I think it's the same just dressed a little differently.

So what has changed?


We are still people. We are still human. We love. We hate. We are afraid of things we don't understand. We find pleasure in the simple things around us. We are hungry. We are rich. We want only what is basic to survive. We want it all. We are no different than we were at the start of 1960.  Our society on a whole has changed and evolved with the ebbs of the tide.

I want to be better than that. I want to have grown. But, even as an individual - I know how difficult change can be. I want things to be different, but I didn't do whatever was necessary in my past to make things different. I still wish I was sitting in Bob's car cruising State College, or hanging out at Bill's cool apartment on Lemon Street, or trading shots from a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the Fort at Pioneer Park.

I want to do more dancing in LA with Mark. I want to go see "Animal House" one more time at the Orange Drive-in.  I want to see another concert at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.

I want to be happy and loved in 2011, but I still want to relive 1979 over and over again.

How can I expect the world to change around me for the better - how can I expect people to grow and evolve in this society - when I'm not willing to let go of my past?

What do I want as I move into my 52nd year on this earth?

What I've always wanted. I want Peace. I want Love. I want Happiness.

But most importantly - I want to make this world a better place for my son so that when he is 50, he can look back and see the change I never saw.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do you want from life?

So far, I've given up on the autographed picture of Randy Mantooth, the herd of Winnebago's and the baby's arm holding an apple - but what I haven't given up on is that idea of having it all in whatever reasonable fashion I can manage having it.

You never really do know what is out there until you step into the pile of shit while rounding that blind corner.  Sometimes, while you're leaning against the wall scrapping off your shoe, the most surprising things tap you on the shoulder.

Mine was simply a phone call asking me what I wanted for dinner.  When I said surprise me, he said okay and intends to do just that.  I don't get the company, but I do get the food.  More importantly - I was thought about. And for a moment - someone unexpectedly cared about me and felt compelled to surprise me with a little gesture.

These are truly the gestures that get me through my days - they are also the gestures that remind me that I still have desires and dreams. I'm not ready to give up and become the cat lady.

The Tubes reminded me that no one really knows what they want - and when they have it, they're not really sure they want to keep it.  We are always searching - always wondering - and always, always wanting more.
"What do you want from life
Someone to love 
and somebody that you can trust
What do you want from life
To try and be happy 
while you do the nasty things you must"
Is this truly it?

Is this what we're all striving to reach - to find - to cling to in our dreams, in our beds, on our daily commutes to our sheep like existence? 

I think it's pretty damned close.

My 2 minute surprise phone call showed me it's not that far from the truth.  

I want to be loved, I want to love back, I want to be happy and I want someone to stand by me as I creep through the muck, claw my way through the jungles, and deadman float through the garbage-strewn moat surrounding my King's castle.  

And while I never expect him to tell me he loves me - I know that he the way most of us love another after climbing out of the hole of love affairs gone bad. We're scared, we're weary, we're covered in crud...but we still want someone to love and trust. We want to try and be happy.  

And we desperately want someone - just as battle savvy - to stand beside us in love and in life.

In a weird way I have that as a woman too afraid to cross a line to reach a man who is too afraid to need another person. So together we'll be there for one another - never sharing the identical secret we continue to keep from the other.  

In the meantime - I'll enjoy dinner and know that someone who truly does love me is watching out for me from afar...the only way he knows how.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

slow down...the corner is coming too fast...

So what's wrong with me?

My son says I've changed.  That's new.  I've never had my son tell me that.

My ex did. I've had friends tell me that.  Even family.  But my son?

nope. That's a new one.

So what's different?

My life is changing around me and I have no control over it.  That's nothing new - but the circumstances are changing.

My son is growing up.  Hell, he's already grown up through no fault of his.  Life threw him a curve ball early on and he hit it out of the park.

But is that a good thing?

I will never know, because it is what it is and I can't change the past.

So I'm trying to control the future - and it's not mine to control.

I love him. I'm proud of him. I trust him to make the right decisions and choices and twists and turns that come with life.  I'm just not prepared to let him go.  Actually, I'm not prepared to let go period.


Because I have nothing to grab onto.

In my past, I've had three things...
1.  What will I be when I grow up?
2.  My husband
3.  My son

I'm grown up, divorced and the mother of a high school junior.  I'm done.  I spent 25 years holding onto and guiding my husband and I will have spent 18+ years doing the same for my son.

I understand that now it's my time.  Terri time.

But I don't know what that means.  I can't see the paths.  I don't know what's around the corner.

And unlike that girl of 19 - this time I'm scared.