Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrity Tourette Syndrome

“Hi Michael Jackson” is what I would have said if I’d seen him on the street. That’s one celebrity I sadly won’t be able to glam. Glam is the positive way of describing how one uses a special ability to charm a famous person. Celebrity Tourette Syndrome is the other way to describe it, especially by those people who are embarrassed by my actions. It is an uncontrollable urge to connect and blurt, “Hi, (celebrity first name) + (celebrity last name)”.

Sorry to name drop but I have made some involuntary "Hi's" to really big names. It first started with George Clooney at a bar in LA called Jones. “Hi George Clooney.” The next thing I knew I was having a cocktail with him and his posse. (Those were the early ER days, before he was a superstar.) “Hi Robert Redford,” I said as he was getting out of his town car outside the Sundance building in NY. He looked at me stunned. Was he thinking, “Does she know me?” or “Should I call security?”

In most instances, the tics are a positive social grace. In my favorite restaurant, Il Buco, a man was blocking the entrance. I gently touched his back to try to get a little movement so that we could get to the hostess area. He turned around and looked a bit miffed, which is when I realized who I had pushed. “Oh, Hi, Dustin Hoffman.” He wasn’t mad anymore. (By the by, my tic kicked in at that restaurant on various occasions when I brushed up beside Matt Damon, Harrison Ford and Liev Schreiber.) I had a “Hi Diana Ross” outburst in the gift store at Canyon Ranch. We actually had a conversation but she was trapped because she was paying for her merchandise. Jon Bon Jovi was my latest “Hi” last December - I was at a very crowded club and the only way to the restroom was to walk by me. I gave him enough room, patted his shoulder and said, “Hi Jon Bon Jovi.” He smiled. Ooh la la!

My favorite celebrity tic was to Esther Williams because many moons ago, I produced the show packaging and promos for an all day movie marathon, The Esther Williams Splash Bash on TNT. She is amazing in her films - she dives, does tricks, and glides through the water wearing a smile with perfect lipstick. If you know me for five minutes, you know that I don’t go anywhere without my lippy. When I lived in London, my friends knew that if I got ran over by a double-decker bus, before calling an ambulance they were to apply a fresh coat. The same love for lipstick has been passed on to my daughter. See picture at right.

Is Celebrity Tourette Syndrome inherited? My children may have it. For two and half years, they seemed pretty excited to see the mailman EVERY day. The mailman is a big deal in a child's life. The scene : Mailman Willie slides the mail through the slot on the front door. The kids open the door when he is barely off of the front porch. They blurt, “Hi Willie.” My son tells Mailman Willie he is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Willie asks, “Again?!” There is a picture of Mailman Willie with the kids at right. The same impulse happens when we see the Mayor of Kensington. “Hi Mayor Pete.”

I’ve decided while writing this entry that the outbursts are not a disorder but should be considered the gift of glam. The sexy vampires in True Blood glam people all the time. I don’t want to suck anyone’s blood but merely want the person of influence to feel the adoration. Tonight we are having a King-of-Pop-family-dance and I’ll say to the sky, “Hi Michael Jackson,” wherever you are.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get Your Head Examined

The shopping cart ricocheted and bounced off the sides of the escalator at Target. I thought I was putting the buggy on the chain ramp that glides beside as you descend down the stairs. It was too late. As the cart tumbled down, yogurt spattered the stairs and milk sprayed the handrails. Luckily, no one was on the escalator down below or I would have been on the nightly news! Target security was on me lickedy split at the bottom, “asking what is wrong,” and “are you ok?” In a state of what must have been shock, I actually started picking up the yogurt and put the dripping milk carton back in my runaway cart, like I was going to purchase this stuff! I was pretty shaken, called my hubby who took me to get a CAT Scan, MRI, the works – it all showed that I am the epitome of health. Great, what now? The dizziness continued and put me on my back for a month. I couldn’t drive and needed to lie flat so that I didn’t throw up.

It seems there are more people spinning out of control than I realized. Oprah has an article about vertigo in this month’s issue. There are millions of people dealing with being dizzy. One gal had vertigo for 18 months and, like me, got it in check by reducing her sodium intake. Who knew a little salt could make you throw a shopping cart down an escalator? The doctors have found that Valium also helps. I was reluctant to take it because I didn't want to end up in the Valley of the Dolls but when you've fallen and you can't get up, you'll try anything (even the clapper). Who knows, I thought, maybe I'll reinvent myself like Mary-Louis Parker on "Weeds" and push dolls. Naaah, I have two little kids and they take up a lot of time.

The map in the mall is a great metaphor for me. “YOU ARE HERE” During my horizontal month, oodles of people called to check on me, brought meals, babysat my kiddies, ran errands, drove me to the doctor and had Ginko tea parties with me. And that month, my hubby won “the better or worse” award. I am so grateful. The vertigo event grounded me and helped me realize that I should do all the fun things burbanites do. Now, I’m taking tennis lessons and golf lessons and we’re in a dinner party club. When I run under cherry blossom trees, I appreciate the petals that drop on the path. I teach my daughter how to enjoy a honeysuckle on our walk to preschool. I treasure the “crystal” (rock) my son gave me at the bus stop. I kiss my husband like he’s my boyfriend. I AM HERE, in the burbs, and it’s a good thing I got my head examined.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wigged Out

There was a man with the biggest dreads piled on his head a mile-high as we were swimming in the pool last week in the Bahamas. I was praying that my three year old would be able to hold back her comments but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. She yelled without abandon, “Mom, look at that man’s hairdude.” Great. Later that day we were watching SpongeBob and he was sportin’ a powdered wig, full of dust and mites. He thought everyone loved his locks and that it made them happy he was wearing a wig, even though they teased him. By the end of the episode, he had created a trend and all the characters had a Marie Antoinette coiffure.

I like a wig, probably better than the next person. We have an assortment left over from Halloweens and the wigs I used to have in my office in NYC. It was located in the heart of the fake-hair district and they were really cheap. Sometimes things got stressful at work and the only release was to pull people in my office, pass around the hairdos, play some music and turn on the disco ball for a four o’clock dance break.

It is good to encourage wig wear, especially with the little ones. My son recently went to a birthday party at Medieval Times. That’s the place where men ride on horseback and joust and guests eat turkey legs. He came home saying that he really liked the knight who had long hair in the back with short hair in the front. He wants to grow his hair like that because he thinks that knight was cool. Hmmmmm. Dan and I proceeded to tell him that the mullet is out of style but we have a mullet wig if he wants to make-believe. My daughter wears a long, blond wig sometimes and she seems like a JonBenet wanna-be. That look freaks me out a bit.

The wig begs for a celebration. A friend of mine in Atlanta has friends who throw a wig bash every year and it sounds like a blast. It is a grown up, dress up, drink up kinda party without a theme, other than you have to wear a hairdude. Living in DC, you have to have a political affiliation. I declare mine The Wig Party and am inspired to host a shindig, because like SpongeBob, I think wearing a wig makes people happy. Wanna come?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yeah, Mon

We’re on island time. The sun shines, the rain falls. And when it is storming in the Bahamas, you have to find things to entertain the kiddies. Bahama Mama is at the helm of this ship and is sailing solo today while Bahama Papa is off shooting footage to incite fear for shark week. Swimming in the ocean was the obvious activity.

We dive into the Caribbean blue water but after my six year old told my three year old that the seaweed had monsters, her ear-piercing screams caused everyone to make a mad dash. Really, my daughter has a future in horror films if she wants. We did a little sand castle creation but the children wanted the pool. The water was very cold and we ended up in the hot tub for hours. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. My little princess’ lifejacket rope burn was starting to annoy her. Then the rain came with thunder and lightning. Those pesky lifeguards made us exit and I decided an outing was in order. We grabbed the local 10 bus and headed to City Market – mommy needs a cocktail and thought, “why pay $15 for a drink when I can buy a whole bottle?” The kids liked that outing because there are not any seat belts on the bus.

We also took the 10 last night to a local restaurant, The Fish Fry. Well, they should just call it the Fish FLY because we had to shoo away oodles of the nasty pests to get a bite in edgewise. I’m not kidding! Tonight’s fare was much better – we picked up some of the kids’ favorite food at the market and they are back in heaven, with a rainbow on the horizon.

Sooooooo, if you are feelin’ like you wish you were on a luxury vacation (ahem), all you really need to do is eat mac & cheese, fill the tub with warm water, and throw around a beach ball. You can be on island time too. Yeah, mon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Men At Work

Almost half of the human population leaves the burbs every morning. While at a neighbor’s coffee klatch last week, this topic came up with the gals talking about the men who are left behind in our town - the surfer-dude swimming coach, the Australian landscaper, the hunky waste management guy. We are not desperate housewives; it’s just that a little testosterone goes a long way to even out the air. It makes me grateful for the rare glimpses of a sweaty mower man or a saw-welding contractor.

Not long ago, the doorbell rang and there were two handsome gentlemen at my door. Lo and behold, I thought I had won Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I practiced my “surprise-win face,” just in case the white van with camera crew was there to capture the moment. However, the men were from a tree service company that we commissioned to cut some dead branches from our 100-year-old oaks. The trees are close to the swing-set, near where the fox lives. Goodness, that swing-set is requiring so much attention that we may need a “(play)grounds keeper.”

The tree guys went to the back garden, strapped on harnesses, attached ropes, and hammered clamps. It was a hot, humid day that signifies DC was originally built on swampland. One of the guys was climbing the tree and I noticed he had taken his off his shirt. Influenced by my "proper" upbringing in the South, I thought it would be mannerly to take those boys a beverage. Then I immediately called a friend in the neighborhood, and invited her to join me for a viewing of the strapping lumberjacks at work. When life is giving ya lemons, make lemonade.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Family Jewels

“I did not think you were that kind of girl,” he said. My response with a big smile, “I think I am now." I used to have a platinum band, which was great, but desired something with a bit more sparkle, a rock. On our next anniversary, my hubby gave me a beautiful antique, Tiffany-setting ring. Ahhhhhh, it's thrilling to have the ONLY piece in our collection of family jewels. That is, of course, not counting the metaphoric ones….

At a recent annual "treasure" checkup, the doctor asked if I had any questions. We discussed my list and then all of a sudden, out popped, “A friend of mine is complaining about 'pee leaks'? Jumping jacks wreck her.” The doctor told me that she should do more squeezes, ya know, Kegels.

The pee problem is more common than I realized. I read it’s estimated that half the female population will at some point experience some form of incontinence (according to the Mayo Clinic). My fitness-instructor friend says that several ladies in her weekly mommy exercise class complain about the same issue, and that's just right here in the little 'ol town of Kensington. We need to whip those pelvic muscles into shape. Teri Hatcher uses The Amazing Kegelmaster 2000 and raved about it on The Tonight Show, saying now she has, "a really strong kitty cat." See the clip by clicking on the link at the bottom of this story. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants but wondered if the Kegelmaster keeps ya from having to wear the dreaded Depends when you're older and, if not, do they come in the shape of a thong?

I'd like the option to wear thong panties until my 80's. No grannie panties for me. Some of my buddies don’t understand the appeal of a thong. A group of my girlfriends recently took a momshell-power-lounging beach vacation. A few days into the trip, my lace French-blue thong went missing and I asked each friend if it had gotten mixed up in her laundry. Oh, the comments: "Why are you wearing a thong? I don’t have your butt floss. Doesn’t that hurt!" It became a running joke through the week. Back in Atlanta, one friend facebooked that her daughter was wearing it as a hat.

A thong IS a strange looking garment. Even my son made a funny comment the other day on this subject. He’s six. He saw me in my bedroom, getting dressed, and charged in with hands akimbo, “Mommy, WHERE ON EARTH is the rest of your underwear?”

Some comments you have to ignore, but not the one about how to take care of the family jewels.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hair-brained honking

Does short hair mean you are bitchy? That was the topic last week on a DC radio station in relation to “Kate Plus 8”. The DJ said that women with short hair are bitchy, like Kate. People called in, said she is nasty. They said her haircut is white trash. Hairdressers added their commentary: A woman with short hair has to have ‘tude to pull off a short cut. In order to wear a cropped do, a gal has to have the personality to make it work. Usually there is an edge to women with short hair.

Weeeell, I’ve considered myself a short-haircut gal for the last 13 years but I don’t think I’m bitchy. Sassy at times, yes. When we moved to DC almost three years ago, my hair was short and I noticed that few women in my burb had a cropped cut. I also noticed that people drive very aggressively here. Drivers kept flipping me off, honking, and yelling out of their car windows at me. It is the damn roundabouts. How are you supposed to know where to get off? Sometimes there is a sign but the only way to see it is if you go merry-go-round style in the roundabout. On one outing with my kiddies, a truck almost hit us. He laid on his horn, gave me the finger, and called me a bitch. I got riled up and screamed, “Fu@&’in A!” My son earnestly asked me, “Mommy, did you say, ‘That truck got in our way’?” Yes.

The last time I had longish hair was almost 15 years ago and when a terrible thing happened, I put Kate Plus 8 to shame. I was living in London, launching a cable network and was happily separated from my Atlanta-based-practice-husband. He came to the UK, all caveman-like, to drag me back to the USA by my LONGish hair. After a bad serving of shepherd’s pie, we ended up in the ER. The Doogie Houser ER doc proceed to take some of my practice husband’s blood but it started spurting out all over his chest. I can’t stand the sight of blood and had a pass-out-and-fall-into-a-hospital-wall accident. Things continued to go downhill – practice husband wasn’t being treated, I was changing his bedpan, I needed drugs for my broken nose. That’s when I got fiesty and screamed with swollen tongue, “THIS wouldn’t be happening in America!” Nurse Ratched had us transported to the Infectious and Tropical Disease Center out in the English countryside. Longish hair was NOT washed during the three days while in quarantine.

Today my hair is medium length and people are still honking at my driving. But now when they flip me off, I wave, smile and look happy. I have embraced the fact that I’m not the best driver on the road. It's liberating to feel good about not being great at something, which, by the by, has nothing to do with the length of my hair! Just sayin'...