Monthly Archives: September 2008

Congratulations, Ann!!

Speaking of weddings….

My sister-in-law, Ann, just got engaged!  John told me last night that she told him and sent a photo of her ring last week (hey, he’s your brother, Ann!).  They’re looking at next March 31 as a wedding date. Is that right, Ann?  All right, party time!

Look!  You can have your cake topper look just like you!

That’s REVEREND Erin, if you don’t mind!

It’s been a big week for announcements.  I haven’t gotten my breath back yet from all the earth shattering news.

Clay Aitkens is gay?! CLAY?!  …. gay?!

Okay, the only surprise I felt was finding out he had a kid.  I didn’t know that.  Cute baby.

And THEN, Obama and McCain announced that they were going to stop campaigning so they could *gasp* do their job!  I know, right?!  You want to yell, SHUT UP! That can’t be true!  Instead of only doing one third of their job, they’re going to do 100% of it?!  Can you imagine if I went to my boss and said, Hey!  Instead of me running around the country, interviewing for a new job, paying those expenses with other people’s money, doing 1/3 of the work you hired me to do but getting my full paycheck, I am going to do all the work you hired me to do….  well, I’m sure he’d jump out, give me a big bear hug, and say “I’m not worthy!”

Thank goodness it only ended up that the two of them went to one meeting, because if they actually did their whole job, I don’t know if my heart could have handled it.  I’m out of shape, you know.

Will all of this going on, I figured this is a good time to drop my own bombshell.  I’m becoming a minister.

Genuflect, baby.

Ok, seriously, I don’t want to sound disrespectful to true ministers.  What I’m actually doing is becoming able to perform ceremonies such as weddings.  I can do them now, but this way, they’ll be legal, and that’s always a good thing.

I’ve been thinking about this for months, ever since a friend of mine talked about how hard it is for some loving couples to have someone perform the ceremony.  If “society” doesn’t approve for its long list of reasons, they put pressure on the ministers, judges, and other authorized people to not marry these couples.

That’s wrong.  If a couple is committed to each other and wants the legal protection for their rights as a couple, society should keep their hypocritical noses out of it.  I would not want someone getting in the way of me getting married.

So I figured I shouldn’t just talk about it, but do something about it.  With me licensed to perform marriages, society can’t put pressure on me like civil servants, because I am not elected.  They can’t threaten to withold votes.  And as I don’t have a church, they can’t threaten to cut off my funding through the congregation.  It’s just me, signing your marriage license so you too can have a true partnership with all its rights.  I even have the beginnings of a great “sermon” and a variety of wonderful vows if you want to do a ceremony.

It’s been wonderful researching this and discovering the other people who are doing it.  For some couples, it’s a way to have a close friend or someone in their family as an integral part of their wedding.  I really am enjoying reading all these different people taking this path.

I started with the first steps last night.  I plan to investigate everything I need to do to be legal for my state at least, and then talk to my friend who first sparked this for me.  If they think it’s a good idea, I’ll do the rest of the steps.

Seriously.

Tongue in cheek, if you want one of the more unique ceremonies, hey, I got married in an old Vaudeville theater! I totally understand your need to have a ceremony and vows that reflect you.  So if you want to be like the couple who went down the water slide, I am so with you.  If you want to dress up like the Renaissance period or Klingons or Jedi Knights or the cast of Friends, I’m there.  Something like skydiving… we’ll talk.

Happy Birthday, Mom

You would have been 80.  Instead… you’re gone and life is nothing but one miserable day after another.

Happy Birthday to my husband!

I think I’m enjoying his birthday almost as much as he is, since he not only got my birthday wishes, but our friends are sending wonderful messages too.  Some of their creativity is great!

Our one friend on Tagrel loves hearing John sing, especially Mack the Knife.  So she made this birthday greeting for him:

(A little birthday song to the tune of Mack the Knife)

Oh this kid has pretty knees, dear
And he shows em pearly white
On his birthday he’s McChic, dear
And he’s such a hit of the site

When McChic strikes up a pose with
Scarlet boas that knock you dead
Fancy hats too has McChic, dear
So you never ever see his bald head

Out in Hershey, one summer Sunday
Sits these bodies, oozin’ style
Somewhere Tim Gunn’s screaming murder
You beat his Runway by a mile

Now your birthday, time to celebrate it, dear
With a spoof that is all kinds of wrong
You know it’s sent with my good intentions
Please forgive cutting up your favorite song

So kookie moley, and roguepony, Cathy Big Red, and your good friend John

Hey the line forms, on the right dear
To wish Happy Birthday Johnnyblack!

Blackie’s back in town!

That still blows me away!!

And then our friend in Trenton, also named John, and Photoshopper extraordinaire:

Happy Birthday, JB!

I feel bad that I only got him a couple cards.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

http://www.millan.net/minimations/smileys/freakbday.gif

Yay! At last, someone said it!

In an election that, as Lewis Black put it, has been going on since Eisenhower left the White House, someone said it:

I will gladly pay the $5.99 for the duct tape if it’ll shut these guys up.  Our pain is not their gain. They have no idea what my life and people like me are going through.  Enough lies about how they do.

Let’s see, who represents me best:

The bloated millionaire who gets free healthcare paid by the government through taxes, but says people shouldn’t get government paid healthcare?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who gets free healthcare paid by the government through taxes, but says people shouldn’t get government paid healthcare?

Hmmm…

The bloated millionaire who takes money from oil company people?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who takes money from oil company people?

Hmmm…

The bloated millionaire who is part of over a billion dollars spent in campaigning and says they understand how I have to scrape to make ends meet?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who is part of over a billion dollars spent in campaigning and says they understand how I have to scrape to make ends meet?

Hmmm…

The bloated millionaire who lies about opponent’s plans and actions?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who lies about opponent’s plans and actions?

Hmmm…

The bloated millionaire who lies about his own plans and actions?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who lies about his own plans and actions?

The bloated millionaire who repeatedly voted for Iraq out of control spending? -Or- The bloated millionaire who repeatedly voted for Iraq out of control spending?

The bloated millionaire who voted for the President’s bad energy plan?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who voted for the President’s bad energy plan?

The bloated millionaire who voted for the transportation bill that included the Bridge to Nowhere?  -Or- The bloated millionaire who voted for the transportation bill that included the Bridge to Nowhere?

The bloated millionaire who opposes the rights granted by marriage for any loving, committed couple because the Bible forbids it — but hypocritically does not support the Bible when it is against something they want, like having millions, wanting divorce, wanting birth control, wanting to judge people, and wanting the right to slay anyone they claim is an enemy?   -Or- The bloated millionaire who opposes the rights granted by marriage for any loving, committed couple because the Bible forbids it — but hypocritically does not support the Bible when it is against something they want, like having millions, wanting divorce, wanting birth control, wanting to judge people, and wanting the right to slay anyone they claim is an enemy?

The bloated millionaire who lied about their Oath of office because proudly standing in the Senate and swearing by the Constitution isn’t good enough? -Or- The bloated millionaire who lied about their Oath of office  because proudly standing in the Senate and swearing by the Constitution isn’t good enough?

The true swearing in of a Senator

The true swearing in of a Senator

Fake Swearing in Ceremony -- paid for by my taxes each time

Fake Swearing in Ceremony -- paid for by my taxes each time

What a shame.  We could use the money spent on those fake swearing in ceremonies for something the majority of Americans would rally around.  Like a free American Idol hotline.

But back to choosing who to vote for between the big candidates….

The bloated millionaire who voted for the big bloated federal budget while serving in the Senate.  –Or– The bloated millionaire who voted for the big bloated federal budget while serving in the Senate.

The bloated millionaire who says it’s okay to fulfill my Constitutional duty to point out what’s wrong with the government as long as it’s not his party?  –Or–  The bloated millionaire who says it’s okay to fulfill my Constitutional duty to point out what’s wrong with the government as long as it’s not his party.

The bloated millionaire who counts on America’s love for soundbites without checking facts. –Or– The bloated millionaire who counts on America’s love for soundbites without checking facts.

The bloated millionaire who choose a VP candidate that is exactly who he claims is unfit in Washington. –Or– The bloated millionaire who choose a VP candidate that is exactly who he claims is unfit in Washington.

Gee, I’m giddy from the choice.

Oh, by the way… I did the unAmerican thing.  I researched and got the facts for each one of the statements before l made them.

Castles in the Sand

My mom gave me a gift last year.  This art print by Steve Hanks:

I had found it and printed it out to show her because, believe it or not, the girl in it looks just like me at that age.  I even had a similar bathingsuit.  And at the age, I kept asking Mom to show me how to make castles like that where you drizzle the sand with some water through your fingertips.  I couldn’t do it; clumps would drop down like bombs onto the castle and she tried to show me again, until I’d basically do the body and she’d do the towers.  I felt so triumphant the day I finally could do it myself.

The print summarized so many feelings; it put into one image everything about that point in our lives.  Now, of course, I’m even more glad I have it and that it came from her.  Just like the gift of all those glorious days.

The Palin and Clinton skit on SNL

People were right; this is really funny.  “I can see Russia from my house.” LOL!

LBI and remembering my mom

This week is the one where my mom rented my cousin’s home in Barnegat on Long Beach Island.  My family has been going to LBI since before I was born; my Nana, my mom’s mom, had a house in Shipbottom and we went there for a week or two every summer.  The little place where we rented our rafts is now a big store, and the old Hand Store, that great landmark, is gone.  When we asked my mom what she wanted to do to celebrate her 80th birthday (on September 28th), she decided she wanted to spend the week with us at LBI.  Little did we know, she’d never see this week.

When we lost her, we decided to keep the week and do all the old favorite things, her favorite things, to honor her and remember her.  I remembered that almost too late and let the problems with a few of my sisters keep me away.  Then I remembered that this weekend had to do with Mom, not us.  Overall, it was a great weekend; I just wish I could have been there for the week because I’m missing a lot of the things I wanted to do.

But here’s the things I did do.

I brought Elphie and Morgan with me; the dogs LOVE the beach!  Casey stayed home to keep John company.  As I left the house, I sent this picture to my sister Terry with the subject line: We’re on our way!

Morgans cruising!

Morgan's cruising!

My cousin’s place is just a few houses from the beach:

Sunday morning, I got up early with everyone else — I know!  I got up EARLY! On a weekend! — and we took a walk on the beach.  Mom loved the beach, and before her health slowed her down, she’d spend the whole day there and could walk forever.

Elphie and Morgan led the way:

It was a beautiful morning:

We decided to walk to Barnegat Light, just laughing and talking, the dogs running alongside:

We had once wondered, if reincarnation is true, what would Mom come back as?  We decided a seagull; Nana and Mom loved seagulls.  When I saw this flock of gulls, I called out, “Are any of you our Nana?  Or our Mom?”

The dogs suddenly stopped, lifted their heads, and then loped towards one seagull.  We decided that one was Mom.  Or at least, Mom’s gull.  We joked that she was waiting for me to go get her a breakfast plate and take her camera to get pictures, as she had done as she slowed down.

Barnegat Light!  Old Barney!  Growing up, I knew this lighthouse as well as I knew my neighborhood!  Mom loved lighthouses, and this was her favorite.  As we walked around it, we talked about the times we’ve walked up to the top, the time my Nana slipped by the fountain and broke her hip, how happy we were when the renovated the lighthouse, the time we walked all the way out to the end of the jetty, and how great it would be to camp at the state park there.

We stopped at a little deli near the lighthouse and finished our walk.  Cathi went to the supermarket and the rest of us started prepping other things for the dinner later on, like Terry’s fresh salsa with cilantro, lime, and nectarines.  During all of it, we did what a shore trip and family dinner always included: playing games. We didn’t even fight!  Especially since I was losing and so instead just set out to tease Cathi through the whole thing, including stealing some of her cards; she never did figure that out.  Terry did and I bribed her with a dragon to keep silent.

When we had planned this dinner, we decided to make Mom’s favorite family dishes or dishes she hadn’t made in a long time, since we were kids.  If she was alive for this trip, we had planned to take her out, but this was part of the memorial.  We made her lasagna recipe, garlic bread, salad, appetizers, and homemade rice pudding for dessert.  We played around until we got the rice pudding to taste like hers, and we also made a “cocktail” that Walker, my step-grandfather, had made. That also took some playing around until we got the right taste.  It was basically a wine spritzer with a certain wine, soda, a twist of lime, and cherries.

They were making a mushroom lasagna for me, and kept teasing about how I had my own “little lasagna”, in its own small dish.  This is the joking “little lasagna”:

It really is little!

It really is little!

And this is the real one:

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!  Moms lasagna!

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! Mom's lasagna!

My niece Dawn, her husband John, and their two girls arrived.  We decided to do another beach trip before dinner.  Abby and Katie wanted to walk the dogs; it meant A LOT to them:

They were also thrilled that Elphie helped dig a hole for their sandcastle:

Gerry, Abby, and Elphie

Gerry, Abby, and Elphie

Castle making is fun work!

It was a heck of a castle:

Abby and castle

Abby and castle

Morgan just hanging with the homies with a Fighting Christmas Trees hat:

Katie and Abby weren’t allowed near the water or to get “dirty”.  I was very glad Gerry, their grandmother, was there, so Terry and I didn’t take flak over the sand they did get.  (We brushed them off before we got back to the house.)  My niece is very much a girly-girl and wants her daughters to be the same, so outfits aren’t allowed to be dirty.  As opposed to her tomboy aunt who went playing in the ocean with Elphie and Morgan:

Running like a bunch of sandpipers!

Katie and Abby loved the convertible; they told me they were going to get one just like it when they grew up. 

I took them for a ride, because if I hadn’t, Katie would have gone by herself. And that’s not really an exaggeration; she had the keys and was trying to start the Mustang.  I’m certain Katie (along with my other great-niece Sadiye) will grow up to run this country, and we will flourish under their administration, or be dictator of an island nation, and we will fall under their might.

So off we went!

Abby and Kate in the back, me, Elphie, and Morgan up front

Abby and Kate in the back, me, Elphie, and Morgan up front

I wore a T-shirt that Mom had made for me.  It was based on a family story of me at 1 and a half, flinging breadsticks and mashed potatoes around a restaurant.  Mary found an editorial cartoon and article, added “Pass the Breadsticks’ above the little demon, and Mom had it made into the shirt with the caption: Dining with Kerry.   She had it down at the Pier shops, pass the Lucy Evelyn shops in Beach Haven.  It’s actually Trivoli Pier, but any “veteran” of LBI will tell you, it’s the Lucy Evelyn shops! The shirt’s about 22 years old; I’ve taken care of it because it meant a lot to my mom and me.  My sisters were thrilled that I had it, that it still looked so good, and that I remembered to wear it:

I’m not going the couple of negative things that came up.  We’re staying positive for Mom.

We looked at photos, and then, as we got tired and I packed to go home, we watched old movies and the first episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club.  The day flew by and it was time to leave.  I missed John, I wished he could have been there, and I wished we could have time to spend there together.

So let’s end this the way we started: with Morgan, ready for travel in the car.  This time, she decided to drive:

All Ears.net scoop: Disney DVC announces Bay Tower

Everybody knew about The Contemporary DVC section – Bay Tower long before this announcement, but now it’s finally official.  They’ve also announced the Treehouse Villas.

All Ears.net has the scoop on the DVC Bay Tower interior photos, so check it out.

Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.

I’m surprised how many women I meet who read this book, but it seems any woman from mid-30s to 50 who sits around and jokes about things we did as kids sooner or later brings it up.

Are you there, God?  Its me, Margaret.

This is the book we passed around, either by checking it out of the library or because one bold girl actually owned it and lent it to the others. We hid it from our parents, including our moms, the way the guys hid their Playboys.  You felt like you had to hide it and whisper about it because it talked about….

…. lean closer, I have to whisper, remember?

your menstrual cycle.

Or as one person said to me, “Just call it your period. That’s what everyone else does.”

Or, as another girl said, “I got my friend today.”, and naive me asked, “Who?”  I still, to this day, can’t figure out how this whole thing got classified as my friend.

My girlfriend passed Margaret to me in the fifth grade, after another wonderful experience for girls: The Film.  And because they sent home a slip for my mom to sign saying I could see The Film, I had to go through another experience, one with all the comfort and ease of your boss yelling at you for personal Internet on company time: THE TALK.

I did have one advantage that my older sisters didn’t; my mom gave me THE TALK, but my dad gave it to them.  I didn’t know that at the time, and in fact, when my mom was done, I thought it was the most disgusting thing I ever heard.  I declared out loud that if my husband loved me, he wouldn’t make me do that gross thing. (Don’t feel bad for my husband; my attitude towards it has drastically changed.)  Notice the big S word was only used in reference to me being married. Of course.

The Film not only made you sit with your girlfriends and their moms as they talked about your body and showed you an image you would see 1,00,000 times more by the time you were 14,  fallopian tubes and a uterus, but it also meant the boys teasing us mercilessly with that razor sharp sense of satire that we have at 11.

Boy: Your pants are red.

Girl: No, they’re not.  They’re blue.

Boy: No, they’re red!  Get it?!

Girl: You stink, Jimmy!

I wish I could say I made that up, but it was one boy’s biting commentary on our puberty.  He probably writes for political ads today.

Piece of trivia: The Film that we had was animated.  I only remember it saying not to take showers that were cold, and ice cubes fell out of the showerhead, or too hot, and steam turned the girl into a lobster.  We also got warned not to overstrain ourselves, and the cartoon girl picked up a sofa.  I just found out a month ago that this film was already a few decades old by the time we saw it, and that it was made by The Disney Company.   It’s pretty hard to imagine a Disney animator drawing innocent little Chip & Dale, and then turning to tawdry subjects like The Film.  For some reason, Uncle Walt never discussed the release of The Film.

But back to Margaret. I don’t remember much about the book, except that all the girls in it couldn’t wait for “it” — their periods — to start.  They looked forward to it!  They had a club all about how much they couldn’t wait and where they ranked themselves by who got “it” first.

This was so NOT my attitude towards the whole thing.  I wanted “it” to show up about as much as I wanted to drink rancid milk and then ride the Tilt-O-Whirl in an amusement park.  In fact, if the book had been about me, this is would have been the conversation with God:

Are you there, God?  It’s me, — I guess you know my name already, huh?  Well, here’s the thing.  Grammy never had a period so I would like to be like her and never get “it” either.  And if I ever want a baby, then I can go to the doctor like she did and get my period for a month so I can have a baby, and then never get “it” again.  Please let me be like Grammy!  Please! Please!

But when I ended up not like Grammy, I knew God had heard me in the cafeteria the day a couple of the girls were laughing at another one because, “Can you believe it?  She doesn’t know what virgin means!”  and I laughed too even though I didn’t know what it meant either.  But I wasn’t going to tell them that!

Margaret and I were different in another way. When I…. didn’t end up like Grammy, I did not rush to my mom to tell her so we could have this victorious ritual of her showing me how to use “feminine products”, follwed by me knowingly telling her that I understood it already.  (Which, of course, I did because I read Margeret.)  My ritual was more like “Oh my god, I’m not telling anyone!”, but my mom figured it out, and when she tried to talk to me about it, I stared like a deer about to be run over by a truck, and then hastily changed the subject.

I wonder if girls read Margeret now.  If they do, do they whisper about it to each other, hiding it in the middle of school books and stuff at home?  Do they handle the whole thing with the sophistication that I did?  Or are they younger than we were, tossing it to one another in the hall, even if a nun was walking by, and laughing at it?  “Can you believe the people in this book?  I bet they don’t even know what virgin means!”