Saturday, April 21, 2012

Off My Rocker

Foot in mouth syndrome isn’t one I have too much difficulty avoiding; but when it comes to trying to pick things to pass along to people I think they might find interesting, that’s another story.  Case in point my recent television show recommendation to my in-laws.

My husband and I enjoy a good comedy show and when we watched the first couple of episodes of 90-year-old Betty’s White’s show, Off Their Rockers, I thought I’d found some common ground with my husband’s parents; it's a show about senior citizens “punking” young people.  It’s hilarious!  Just as a new episode was starting, I quickly got on the phone and when my mother-in-law answered I said, “Quick, turn on NBC and watch.  You’ll love it!” 

I forgot, however, just how raunchy Betty White has gotten in older years; I should have recalled her Saturday Night LiveMuffin” skit (hysterically funny, but full of innuendo).

Scene one of her television episode made me a bit uncomfortable as an older woman sitting next to two young guys pretended to be on the phone with a friend and describing the “hot night she just had getting it on with a paramour," but the next scenes were innocent enough.  Then, Betty is on camera working a crossword puzzle.  “What’s a four-letter word for something that goes on a pole?”  Instead of “flag” she writes “slut.” 

Oops.  I could just see my elderly, conservative, very religious mother and father in-law and frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t in their presence.

That would have been as bad as the time when they came to visit us and I got a couple of movies for us to watch.  Al Pacino’s Scent of a Woman had just come out on video. 

The scene where he describes his passion for a woman’s scent and he was NOT referring to her perfume got me out of my chair and hitting the STOP button faster than I’d ever moved in my life. 

Yep, I think I’m on the bad daughter-in-law list again.  I hope they “forgetaboutit” until I see them again.

Thanks, Betty.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Can Be Pretty If I Want To Be

Okay, when I was younger I never gave much thought to what I looked like when I just got out of bed in the morning.  Truthfully, with bed-head and no makeup, I think I still looked pretty good upon waking up.  I’m not so confident anymore.

Outside of teaching a few days a week, I work from home and my day starts with letting the dogs out, putting coffee on, reading the paper, feeding the chickens, watering the garden and vacuuming the floors.   It’s not until then that I wash my face, comb my hair and dress for the day.  Sometimes I don’t put on makeup because once my husband leaves for work it’s just me and the dogs; why bother? 

I’ll tell you why.   Lately I’ve caught sight of myself in the mirror mid-afternoon and realize that I’m not so naturally pretty anymore!  In fact, what I see frightens me: my hair is either flat or frizzy, my eyes have circles under the droops, and the lines in my face are quite prevalent.  Often I’ll just shudder and leave the room; but sometimes I just don’t even recognize the face as my own and if it’s close to the time the husband is to arrive, I make myself put on a pretty face.

Yes! I can be pretty if I want to. When I am going someplace I usually put some makeup on and brush my hair, but I admit, I could be one of those WalMart People pictures that go viral on the Internet.  (I have the perfect picture to illustrate this but my vanity won’t allow it, not even for the sake of my writing!)
Maybe I better reassess my morning routine.

I have friends who get out of bed in the morning, spend a looonnnggg time in the bathroom and emerge Cover Girl perfect, hair in place and makeup applied.  I used to think, “What a waste of time.”  Now, I think I better follow suit.  I once had a boss who, upon hearing me say that I don’t do over-the-top personal maintenance reply, “You better, Lisa.  Your husband is a very handsome man.”  Is she right?  Will my guy tire of “Morning Me” and trade me in for a model that puts more into looking good right out of the gate?

You know what, though?  I have the best husband.  He made me listen to a song by Rascal Flatts because he said it reminded him of me:

Starin' at you takin' off your makeup
Wondering why you even put it on
I know you think you do but, baby, you don't need it
Wish that you could see what I see it when it's gone

Fast Cars and Freedom, 2005

It is me that has to be satisfied with the face that looks back at me.  I think I’ll start my days with ME first, then take care of all the other “gotta-do’s.”  Then it will be me saying, “You know what, Lisa?  You are a beautiful woman.  Take care of yourself and the rest will happen naturally….. and gracefully.”

Yes.  I can be pretty if I want to.  And I am.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A.K.A. Spigot

A while back my uncle sent me an email and in it he called me by the nickname he’d given me when I was a little girl, “Spigot.”  Weird name, isn’t it?  But his calling me that flooded me with such sweet memories, none that are distinct, just those that mesh together reminding me that once I was just a sprout of a child and that I was held dear in the hearts of family.  We often forget that as adults, don’t we? 

What does “Spigot” mean?  No, he didn't nickname me after a water faucet. 

My uncle has a great sense of humor; he jokes all the time!  If my memory is correct, Elizabeth, my grandmother’s name (and mine, too) is pronounced something like “Shpee-yet” in Polish.  I remember hearing that word repeated in our home.  My funny uncle took to calling me “Spigot”, aka “Little Elizabeth.” 

Grandma and her best friend, Rose. 
They spoke Polish to each other all the time.

My grandmother and me, 1975

That uncle moved on with his life, but whenever he saw me he would refer to me by his pet name.  Then, I grew up and away and it was many years before we reconnected and discovered our mutual fondness for one another even in adulthood.  He was the youngest of my grandmother’s ten children and even though he is lots older than me (maybe only a decade), he is more like a brother than an uncle.

Unless he happens to read this post, he may never know how he much touched me with his off-handed use of my childhood nickname.   Maybe it’s a good lesson for all of us to remember that no matter how old we or our children get, endearments are enduring.  Every now and then we all want to be reminded of a time when we were cherished.  So, the next time you talk or write to someone you loved as a child, refer to them by that nickname that reminds them just how special they were, are still are to you.

What was your Nickname?