Thursday, June 27, 2013

Confirmed: Craziness runs in our family

Is it Thursday already?  I haven't yet told you about my incredible weekend and now it's almost time for another one? Where does the time go?

Oh, last weekend was so much FUN!  My sister Lori flew into town last Thursday night and then Friday afternoon we hit the road for LA to meet up with our second cousin Laurie and her 26-year-old daughter, Melissa.  Our dad and Laurie's mother were first cousins. When we were kids, Lori and I used to see Laurie and her siblings a couple of times each summer at our grandmothers' family camp at Reichard's Lake, outside of Albany, NY.  We hadn't seen each other since we were teenagers in the early 1970s and reconnected a couple of years ago when Laurie found us on Facebook.

Laurie married a Kiwi and has been living in New Zealand for about 7 years now.  A couple of years ago, she became a flight attendant with Air New Zealand so she gets to fly for super cheap. After she booked this trip to the States to see her kids, we made it a point for us to all get together.  Lori booked her flight from Albany and I booked us a couple of rooms at The Cadillac Hotel on Venice Beach.

Charlie Chapman once spent the summer here.

View from the rooftop

 Now, when you're seeing someone for the first time in about 40 years, you can't really know what to expect.  Laurie was AWESOME!  Funny as hell and totally nuts. 

Melissa and Laurie

And as for Melissa, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. That kid is hilarious. She told us how she went to the bank to open an account wearing a costume (I think it was a superhero costume) just to see people's reactions and no one said a word.  She likes to sew and made the dress she wore to her brother's wedding out of a shower curtain from Target.  Plus she told us this joke:

Q. What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A.  The Holocaust.

Oh, she is a sick one, and in the greatest way possible.  I adore her.

Here's a pic of Lori and Laurie and me.


As you can no doubt tell, my cousin Laurie has the most incredible rack. That was the first thing I wanted to say when I first saw her, but I thought I'd better be polite so I waited like 10 minutes and then said, "You have the most incredible rack!" It's true--she does!

Laurie is truly a fascinating person.  She grew up in a 7-bedroom house and they had a maid. A maid! But don't hate her--her family was as dysfunctional as the next one and Laurie is the most unpretentious person on earth.

Laurie traveled and lived all over the world with her first husband and kids, and they even lived in Kuwait for a while.  A few years after they were divorced, she met her Kiwi husband online and a few months later flew off to New Zealand to meet him. "Fortunately, my dad had just died and left me some money," she deadpanned.  Soon after her return, she told Husband #1, "You'd better reconnect with the kids; I'm moving to New Zealand!" and she's been there ever since.

Oh, and on Saturday she told us that in college she spent some time in Eastern Europe on a music tour and one of her roommates was Sheryl Crow. They even recorded an album. My sister Lori was like, "Really? You were roommates with Sheryl Crow and you're just now telling us?  On Day 2?  I totally would have led with that."

It was so wonderful to laugh at our lives and our families and reminisce about all our mutual dead relatives.  And it was surprising how much we had in common. 
  • We both grew up with parents screaming their heads off at each other, and I think Laurie's parents got along even worse than ours. When Laurie's father died, there was a downpour when they all arrived at the cemetery.  Not wanting to go out into the elements, her mother barked, "Let's just go to Olive Garden!" and that was the end of that period of mourning.
  • We both married Kiwis.  (She's already had a much higher success rate than I did.)
  • Our whole families LOVE Pee Wee Herman and can recite practically the entire dialogue from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.  "It's like you're unraveling a cable knit sweater that someone keeps knitting, and knitting, and knitting..."
  • We're not animal people.  We're still lovely people; we just don't connect with the animal world and sure as hell don't want them sniffing or breathing on us.  I told Laurie I have a rule:  Any animal that wants to sniff my crotch has to buy me dinner first. 
  • We love Ross Dress-for-Less and spent God knows how much time in the one in LA across from The Grove.

Lori and I hit two more of these on the way back to Vegas

What a fantastic weekend. And to think we all came together through Facebook.  Say what you will about it, but this little segment of our family is pretty damn grateful.  I have lots more to share about our time in LA.  Next post!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Loud talkers at the movies -- I don't care WHO you are!

I'm practically famous for my intolerance of bad manners in movie theaters (see Pet peeve #437: LOUD talkers at the movies). Well, it seems I'm not the only one, and the practice of people acting in public like they're being entertained from their sofa is not limited to movie houses.  The New York Observer recently reported that "Broadway audiences are behaving badly, and someone is going to get hurt."

According to this article,
The fight broke out during the first act of Glengarry Glen Ross.

As Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale circled each other on the boards, a well-dressed woman in the audience was noisily working her way through a cellophane package of Twizzlers. When a man in the next seat shushed her, the woman’s thuggish husband loudly intervened.

The exchange became more heated until the husband—who could have passed for a second-tier personal injury attorney from Planet of the Apes—challenged his adversary to “take it outside.” The pace may have been a little slow on stage, but those of us in the mezzanine were riveted by the imminent possibility of actual violence.
Take it outside over a noisy package of Twizzlers?  Hmmm... fair enough. I go bonkers if my film experience is interrupted during a $7.50 matinee; imagine if I paid $150 for a theater ticket?

Evidently these confrontations are on the rise. (And I have to ask, who in their right mind would want to piss off a New York audience?) The article goes on to say that theater goers' "sense of entitlement, and the pushback it provokes from touchy fellow audience members, has resulted in an increasing number of aggressive confrontations, which have now joined more commonplace theater annoyances like texting or a ringing cell phone."

Grrrr....  Reminds me a scene from Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America, where the protagonist goes ballistic on the rude audience members. If you haven't yet seen it, I don't know what you're waiting for. 

A few weeks ago I was at an AARP conference (if I had a dime for every time I started a sentence with that...) and saw a pre-release screening of The Internship, the new comedy with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. I thought it was really cute. 

Anyway, I got there early (as I always do) to get a seat as close to the screen as I can stand, so as to minimize the likelihood of being infuriated by the light of some idiot's cell phone screen. So before the show starts, I'm sitting there thinking how great it is to be among all these mature, vibrant folks with such a zest for enjoying life and I decide to do a Facebook post.  As I'm finishing it up, the lights go down, and in a nanosecond the woman next to me snaps, "Cell phones off!"

Channeling Robert DeNiro:  Are you tawkin' to ME?

Oh. my. God. Forget the, "Aren't old people wonderful?" crap. I sat there positively seething, thinking, "You cranky old bitch. I am so gonna trip you on the way out."

Later that afternoon I had the best film experience of my life at the screening of Jerry Lewis' new movie Max Rose, which at that point had been shown only at Cannes a couple of weeks before. It's not a comedy, though there are some funny moments. Jerry Lewis plays a one-hit wonder jazz musician who makes an unsettling discovery following the death of his beloved wife.  It's a serious role, and he's fabulous in it.  And this is coming from someone who, although I certainly respected him, was never really a big fan.
 Right before showtime, they announced that Jerry Lewis would be watching the film along with us. Wow! The 87-year-old icon walked out from the left side of the screen and down the aisle and sat literally four rows directly behind me.

The film is fantastic. I'm always struck by how well comedians do in serious roles and it was almost surreal to watch Jerry Lewis' giant face on screen knowing the guy in real life is sitting right behind me.  Jerry Freakin' Lewis!  A comedy legend!  Then I was like, "I don't care who he is. He'd better not make a peep."

After the screening, he and writer/director Daniel Noah sat up front and treated the audience to a Q&A.  Most people gushed over him, saying how they've been a big fan since 1952... blah, blah... whatever happened between you and Dean Martin... blah, blah... and he was not only very gracious in handling their inanity, but hysterically funny and sharp. So cool.

Max Rose is expected to be released in the fall, so be on the lookout.  It's a beautiful movie.

About a half hour after the theater cleared out I ran into Daniel Noah and did my own share of gushing.  A lady nearby heard me and rushed over to say, "This is my son!" which I thought was totally adorable.  I know exactly how she feels--I could burst when my kids perform. Daniel was just so nice; it was a real thrill to meet him.  His sweet mother took this picture of us.

 Oy. That is not a flattering one of me.  My boobs are so not that saggy in real life.  But I was at an AARP conference...

So tomorrow I'm traveling again.  Two weekends ago I was frolicking on the Atlantic in Maine; tomorrow my sister Lori and I will be partying on the Pacific in Venice Beach.  We're meeting our long-lost cousin Laurie from New Zealand, who we haven't seen in 40 years, and her daughter, Melissa.  Oh, this will be an adventure...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some Father's Day words of wisdom

"Why do I need clean underwear? If I get in an accident, I'll shit my pants anyway." -- Dad

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Better to hide a key under a rock

Remember last summer when Mike locked me out of the house not once, not twice, but three times while I was relaxing out at the pool? Well, according to yesterday's Las Vegas Review Journal, a man locked out of his house climbed onto the roof and into the chimney of his one-story home in an effort to gain entry.  Problem was, he got stuck about 5 feet down and had to be rescued by a fire crew.

Now, this is the part I don't get: Fire officials said the chimney's opening was only about 12 inches wide. How the HELL does anyone look into a 12-inch opening and think, "Yeah, I could totally fit into that"?

This is alarming because for years my mother has been warning me to check the back seat of my car before getting into it.  "My little Scion is the size of a coffee table," I tell her. "The only people who can fit back there would be a dwarf or a lost 2-year-old, and I'm pretty sure I can take either of them."

But now... maybe I should worry about chimney man.

 Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 10, 2013

GREAT time back East!

Did you think I dropped off the face of the planet?  You know me, I've been traveling.  I just got back into Vegas tonight after almost a week in Albany, with a little side trip to Maine last weekend.

Leading up to the trip I was going positively bonkers trying to tie everything up at work--or at least leave things in decent order--so my boss wouldn't have to walk into a mess when he came to town to cover me. I was stressed as hell, but I got things to the point where I could leave in good conscience. I got into Albany at about 1a.m. Wednesday morning after one of my best flights ever--the plane was pretty empty and I had the whole row to myself. I love it when that happens.

Everybody in Albany is doing well. Believe it or not, my son Christopher and daughter-in-law Ketti just celebrated their 1-year anniversary.  Man, time flies. And you know I could just eat this little one up. This was the only halfway decent photo I could get of her.

I was glad I was able to spend a good amount of time with my friend Carmela. Her husband, Chuck, died in January; he was one of my dearest pals since we were kids. Every time I go back to Albany, I'd make sure I stopped in to see Chuck and Carmela, and I'd try to free myself for Sunday nights so we could watch the Fox cartoons together. It was weird being at their house with no Chuck. We're all going to be heartbroken for a long, long time. I don't think we'll ever get over that loss, but thank God we have each other and our memories of Chuckie. He was a wonderful man and a great friend.

On Saturday morning Lori, her son, Cameron, and my grandson, Connor, and I headed off to Maine to surprise our Quirky Lesbian Aunt Joyce for her  75th birthday weekend. (Remember, I had two aunts named Joyce; Beautiful Aunt Joyce died of breast cancer in 2009.)  We surprised the shit out of her! (Not literally. I don't think.) Joycie is awesome.  Aunts are awesome!  

"Aunts are like mothers, but without all the yelling."  Sounds like something that should be embroidered on a pillow.

We stayed at The Anchorage Resort in Ogunquit, which I can't actually recommend. It was way overpriced ($191 for one night, including tax) for a room the size of a postage stamp. Yes, it was on the water, but there was no beach access. Yes, they had three lovely outdoor hot tubs, but they closed them at 10:00 on the dot. On. the. dot. Yes, we could see the ocean from our room, but it was quite a ways away; our immediate view was of a parking lot.  Our room was super clean, but still I give the place a thumbs down.

Lori wanted to get up to see the sunrise, so she set the alarm for 4:45 a.m., which was sad because I remember when we'd be rolling in at that hour. "You know it's been a fun night when you get home and the newspaper's already at your door," we used to say. Sigh... What's happened to us?

It really was a beautiful sunrise, though.

The next day we headed down to see our cousin Kelly who lives on Plum Island in northern Massachusetts, right outside of Newburyport.

Now, THAT place is incredible! The island is almost exclusively residential, and the beach is fantastic--not at all commercial. As you can see, we had beautiful weather.

Can you believe how HUGE Connor is these days?  Whatever happened to my little grandson?  He's 6 feet tall now and won't be 15 until the day after Christmas.  At this pace, he'll catch up to Christopher, who's 6'4", in no time.  Yikes!

Here's Connor with my nephew Cameron, who's 19.  Those are a couple of good looking boys, no?

And they're good boys, too.  When we took Joycie out for her birthday dinner, the boys went to buy something in the gift shop and the lady who worked there made a special point to come out and tell us that they're "fine young men."  They really are.

After some time on the beach, we were treated to dinner in Newburyport--thank you, Kelly! OMG, the food in New England... every meal is better than the last one. Incredible. I'd weigh a thousand pounds if I lived there. And then I'd have to dig up my stupid granny bathing suit with the skirt again.  But until then, it's the black one-piece.

(My thighs are not that big in real life.)

So it was a great trip back East, but I could have used a couple more days. Tomorrow it's back to work for me. Good thing I love my job or I'd be bumming. I still have a lot more to tell you, so stay tuned. Now that things should be settling down, I should be able to get back on my regular posting schedule. Fingers crossed!