Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace and Prosperity?

Consider this my Christmas card to you. Overwhelmed by... frankly everything, I've skipped my annual card ritual. Three boxes of beautiful Christmas cards that I got for 75% off last January will go unused. I wonder if anyone will even miss my snail mail holiday greetings. After all, with so much yucky stuff going on in the world it would seem a bit frivolous and anti-green movement to send out dozens of cards.

My friend Rhonda ( cautions that just because a new year begins, it doesn't mean that the issues of the old year will simply melt away. So true. However, the new year does give us an opportunity to refocus. Buying a new calendar allows us to take a fresh look at the time ahead. Will there be challenges? Absolutely, but maybe we'll be better prepared to handle them thanks to the life experience we gained last year.

So, despite a war that seems unending and a really scary economy I shall still dare to wish you peace and prosperity. I'm thinking about sending about a hope letter for 2009. Perhaps we need good cheer more than ever before.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Princess, Report to the Main Stage

Every little girl is a princess, right? Disney tells us that. T-shirts tell us. Grandparents tell us. So why don't more stores carry cute dresses to bring out the princess in the little girls we love. What I've been finding are dresses that look like tiny versions of the ones that big girls wear to nightclubs.

My goddaughter turns 7 in February. She wants dresses for Christmas. I've seen some beautiful party dresses, but the dresses that would be suitable for school or a birthday party are ridiculous. The fabrics, styles and colors look way too mature, unless Jasmyne plans to hit a few bars with her girls after she finishes her homework. Do they really need to make a gold strapless dress in a size 10?

I know there are websites with modest clothes for girls, but they usually feature nothing but drab, ankle-length jumpers. I don't want her to look like a reject from the turn of the century. Auntie Moma wants to buy casual dresses that scream CUTE! I'm trying to dress a little girl who loves Disney princesses, puppies and ballet. The dresses I've spotted at various department stores would be more suitable for a girl who performs as Princess, showing her puppies as she prances around the main stage.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Bless the Caregivers

I've learned so much about pain management and spine health over the past few years. A few months ago my mom, Wheezy, went under the knife for her second spine surgery. The first was a walk in the park for various reasons. Her recovery was picture perfect, especially to me because she was living three states away and I only saw her on weekends. It was like watching time lapse photography. She lived with my nephew and his mom. Miss Baker, a family friend who works as a home health aide, gave her excellent care. The Senior Taxi service was booked for trips to the doctor and rehab. Looking back, I had a darn good care team in place. Sure, five months of weekend trips from North Carolina to the Buckeye State took a toll on my wallet, energy level and my marriage, but if the time away from my ex-husband accelerated the collapse of our union, it was just icing on the cake.

In September mom had her second spine surgery. It was a much longer procedure and the recovery has been fraught with extreme pain. Finding the right mix of meds (she's on 12 right now) has been difficult as each brings its own special side effects to the table. She seemed to hit a peak about a month after surgery. My cousin Peanut (not his real name) moved in to help with cooking, errands and visits to doctors who only seem to be available when I have to be on the air. Oh, and did I mention that she has reached her medicare limit? Despite the recession, there will be no layoffs at the Indian Land CVS thanks to the Holloway family.

Through it all, Wheezy has been one tough cougar. Perhaps she's been a little too tough at times. I'm not proud of the top-of-my-lungs scolding I laid on her Thanksgiving Day when she slipped up and let me know that she'd been bending to pick up the dog's poop. Bending from the waist is a BIG no-no! The worst part has been watching the suffering day in and day out, knowing that all I can do is fill up her med holder and offer a sympathetic ear. Seeing her struggle to rise from a chair or hearing her beg God for mercy as she talked in her sleep has been heartbreaking. Every good day was followed by a painfully worse bad day. Not fun at all. I wouldn't wish it on Osama Bin Laden. I'm just thankful that my job has blessed me with the financial resources pay for her medications, a lift chair (, and a few homeopathic remedies (NeuraGEL seems to help a little ,

After a visit to her doctor revealed a possibility that the surgery might need to be repeated, I thought we'd suffer a simultaneous nervous breakdown. Thankfully that isn't the case and it looks like she's finally turning a corner. Perhaps it was the switch from the drug Neurontin to Lyrica (, the addition of Cymbalta (, the physical therapy, the tens unit (, the acupuncture ( or cousin Peanut's cheesecake (you can find him on Facebook). We've tried everything, attacking recovery like we were OJ and a bunch of his thug friends. There's no way for us to know if the breakthrough is a combination of everything, just one thing or if time really does heal all wounds.

I'll be eternally grateful for the love, support and advice we've received from so many people during Wheezy's season of healing. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers, but there is still one more prayer request. There are so many caregivers who need support. They are working full time and providing assistance to loved ones full time. Chronic pain leaves our patients cranky and fighting the loss of their independence can make them downright uncooperative. Some caregivers can't get out of the house long enough to go to church or catch a movie. It is a non-stop physically and emotionally challenging labor of love. Many have lost hope for recovery and 2009 will be a year of making peace with the thought of saying goodbye. Pray for them too or go a step further and offer to sit with the sick loved one of a friend or coworker for a few hours. It would mean more than you'll ever know.

My prayers were answered this morning when Wheezy told me that she slept through the night last night. For the first time since her surgery she wasn't awakened by pain. Watch out drivers, she's looking forward to getting behind the wheel of her 300 again. And Wheezy fans, she plans to reclaim her Wednesday slot on the Matt and Ramona Show. Run for cover cougar meat, she'll be growlin' and prowlin' again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December TV Blues

What a letdown. TV gives us the best it has to offer during November sweeps. Sweeps is the word TV folks use to describe the three months of the year when the top reality and scripted shows try their hardest to entertain us and the local news goes all out to scare the daylights out of us. Then comes December and there's nothing! No more "Project Runway" ( and "America's Next Top Model." There will be few if any new episodes of "The Office," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "My Name is Earl." "Fringe" will probably be a rerun. Baby, I've got the TV blues and I'm starting to watch stuff that I know is not good for me. I'm on a slippery slope sliding into trash TV. HELLLLLLLLLP!

Oh, how I long to hear the cheesy announcer say, "THIS is DAHN-cing WITH the STAAAAARS!." My Monday night was shameful without it. What did I do instead? I am ashamed to say that I watched, "Real Chance of Love." Two VH-1 reality show brothers who are brothas call themselves the "Stallionaires." They are hoping to find TV love by making out with a rag-tag group of nutty women who've been given names like MILF, Bay-Bay-Bay, Cornfed and Risky. Please don't judge me. I know I shouldn't know this much about this trashtastic ( show. You've got to understand that the only show I have to look forward to between now and February sweeps is the muppet Christmas special.

Perhaps someone out there can help. Is there a really good show I missed this season that I can catch in reruns? Please save me from "Real Chance of Love." Without your help I might start watching "Rock of Love Charm School." If you care about me, you won't let that happen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Credit Cards and Comfy Shoes

If you are serious about Black Friday shopping then read on my sisters and brothers! The time has come for me to reveal the keys to a shop-a-licious day. Your goal? To cross everybody off your Christmas list while spending as little as possible. The bargains you'll find this year are the only upside of the down economy. The discounts will be DEEP and smart shoppers will be taking advantage of the deals.


Start with a budget and a list. Now is the time to ask your sister to text you with clothing sizes and gift ideas for your nieces and nephews. Save the text messages so that you'll have the info when you need it. Ask friends, coworkers and family members for gift ideas for your other loved ones. If the list is looking too long for your wallet suggest dollar limits for gifts or secret santa gift exchanges for work and extended family.

Collect circulars and coupons. Find out which stores have the stuff you need. Many stores have timed discounts so take note of door buster sales and special hours. Some retailers are offering online coupons and maps. Visit mall sites, stores sites and manufacturer websites. Compare prices. Just because a store is calling it a "sale" doesn't mean they are offering the best deal.

Plan your route. Your first stop should be the store offering the best price on the item you want the most. Make time sensitive sales your top priority.

Line up your shopping posse. Your mother, your sister, your friend.... decide who'll accompany you on your Black Friday shopping mission. Call a sitter and tell your man he's on his own. Kids and men who hate to shop can slow you down and take the fun out of your day.

Gather your gear. Comfortable shoes, snacks for the car and a hands free backpack or pouch large enough to hold your keys, credit cards, shopping list, cell phone, circulars (you'll need these for proof if you run into a price-matching situation) and receipts.


Set your alarm. Early bird deals start as early as midnight. I'm kicking off Rockin' Shoppin' Eve at Carolina Place Mall at 1:00 am ( Get to the stores early for the best prices, best selection and groovy giveaways.


Snag the first available parking spot. Circling wastes time and seldom results in getting closer to the store. Look for spots around the back of the mall. Inexperienced shoppers make a mad dash for the spots closest to the entrances. Enter your car location into your cell phone. Stash your shopping bags in the trunk between purchases. It'll keep back strain to a minimum plus shoppers who are overloaded with bags are walking targets for muggers.

Use your credit card. Many cards offer extended warranties on electronics so you don't feel tempted to buy the store's pricey protection for that new TV, computer or video gaming system. Credit cards can also make returning a little easier.

Be patient. Long lines are to be expected. Use the time in line to check items off of your list, organize receipts and to exchange bargain info with other shoppers. If a line is really holding you up call ahead to the next store to see if they still have the item you want in their inventory.

Speak up. Sometimes scanners malfunction and don't give you the sale price. Items get missed at markdown time. Don't be afraid to ask questions about advertised items you can't find on the sales floor because there may be a few in the stockroom. Don't feel shy about asking for a rain check on an item that sold out before you could get it. Don't be afraid to ask for gifts going to different homes to be rung up separately. And don't forget to ask for your gift receipts.

Be a good shopper. Use kind speech with fellow shoppers and salespeople. Do your part to keep dressing rooms and racks neat. And STICK TO YOUR LIST to avoid overspending.

How Does the DWTS Voting Really Work?

Brooke ends the night with a score of 58. She is five points ahead of Lance and Warren. Could it be any more clear that the judges want her to win? Why do the judges hate Lance so much? Why don't the judges ever mention Brooke's lack of showmanship? The scoring has never been more questionable. Could it be that ABC is just trying to give the nudie model a fighting chance against Lance's large N-Sync fan base?

I've read the rules, but I'm still not completely sure how many audience votes it takes to overcome bad scores from the judges. But if all is fair in love and dancing, around this time tomorrow night Lancey (it's their couple name) will own the mirror ball.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Throwaway Guilt

Grandma had lots of jelly jars. I suspect she purchased Smuckers jelly just to get the jars. The evil jelly marketers must've known her weakness. Sometimes they would advertise special collectible jars! My grandmother made and canned her own jelly so she didn't need Smuckers for anything but the jars. Between the jelly jars and the margarine containers it was tough for the Tupperware lady to make a sale at Grandma Reacie's house. My mother has followed in her footsteps. She loves to re-use Ziplock bags and we have over a dozen plastic take-out containers from our local Chinese food restaurant. In an act of tough love I discarded my mother's Steak n Shake and Bojangles cups. It was for her own good.

As I clean out my refrigerator to get ready for Thanksgiving I realize that I too have the gene. I feel such guilt when I throw away Butterball lunch meat plastic containers. They are perfect for leftovers and great to use when I take snacks to work. I have Tupperware and Gladware so why do I find it so hard to part with these addictive containers? To make it even harder they don't even have a recycling number that my trash hauler accepts.

Recognizing the problem is the first step. "My name is Ramona Holloway and I like to keep plastic containers." I know I can't handle the temptation so the second step is simple. I've got to fight it. I must stop buying the lunch meat in those handy plastic containers with the colorful tops. It's the only way to break the family cycle!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yawning with the Stars

With the help of the big ham we all know as Warren Sapp, I was able to stay awake during "Dancing with the Stars." Warren and his partner Kym had the most exciting routines, but the judges are fighting hard to keep the only female star on the dance floor. That's why they're still giving her higher scores than she deserves. Brooke is good, but let's face it, her tango was lackluster. Her solo was sexy, but she falls short when it comes to looking like a true professional.

Poor Cody is suffering in the competition thanks to his substitute partner, Edyta. Any 19-year old dude would lose his cool with her sliding her half naked body all over his crotch. I've never seen anyone work so hard at hip thrusting as Cody, but sadly his routine sucked.

Lance, who has a happy glow worm quality on the dance floor, lacked the wow factor this week. He doesn't have to worry about going home. I think we'll be saying good-bye to sweaty, cape twirling Maurice. Yes, his solo dance consisted of 15 seconds of furious cape twirling. That dude got screwed in the choreography department.

Warren needs to thank his partner Kym, for coming up with some choreography that worked for him. And we all need to thank Warren for keeping last night's show from being a total yawnfest. Am I the only one yearning for the return of the ballroom kids?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tell Santa to Bring me a Man Mixer

The stores are all decked out for the holiday shopping season. The Christmas carols are playing. We're a little over two weeks away from Santa's arrival at a mall near you. Soon commercials featuring cars with giant bows, the latest Elmo and chia pets will fill the television airways. I get sucked in every year and I LOVE it!

It brings me joy to find the perfect gift for people I love, but sadly the only thing on my list just isn't for sale. I want a man mixer! I'm hoping that someone will invent it before its too late for Santa to have the elves build it. You just take DNA samples of guys you've dated, toss them into the man mixer and VOILA! Out comes Mr. Right! This thing will sell itself!

The infomercial will be hilarious. You won't be able to turn away from it. Can't you picture a girl on a romantic date with a hot guy? The check comes and he turns his pockets inside out because McDreamy can only afford McDonalds. In the next scene, a woman is gazing lovingly at a picture of her Fortune 500 boyfriend. Then we see her looking out the window and spotting him driving down the street with another chick in the passenger seat of his BMW convertible. How about an even funnier scene of a couple at a wedding reception? The woman's date dives under a table when he sees the groom tossing the garter in his direction.

We've all been there. You find a guy with some great qualities who has an even greater, giant-red-flag, unlovable flaw. He's a total genius who thinks God is dumb. He's really dedicated to his career, but his workaholic ways make you feel like you're single. He's the life of the party until he uses a floral arrangement as a urinal.

Well, so long Mr. Not-Quite-Right! Hello MAN MIXER! In just three easy steps you can creat a guy you can live with for the rest of your life...
1. collect saliva samples from men you've dated
2. type each sample man's good qualities into the man mixer
3. set it and forget it
Faster than you can say "sea monkey" a great guy grows in your man mixer. But wait there's more. They'll throw in a knife set if you order it for me right now!

Sorry girls, this is just a fantasy. There are no operators standing by. There will be no man mixer under your tree or mine. I guess I'll just have to settle for ch-ch-ch-Chia dude.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Real Beauty

Tonight I spent the evening in awe of about three dozen women. They were this year's honorees at the Link Leading Lady banquet.

Thanks to generous sponsors like Cambria Estate Winery (
we were able to celebrate an inspirational group of women and girls who have found ways to make our corner of the world a little bit more beautiful.

Beauty isn’t just about Angelina’s lips , J-Lo’s hips or the girl who was picked for the cover of this month’s Maxim Magazine. It’s not just a label for the newest Jimmy Choo shoes or the big hair trend…. though I do like the big hair trend.

To me beauty is a trio a little girls who spent their free time painting fans to sell, using the money they earned to help orphans in other countries. There’s something beautiful about a woman who writes a grant and uses the funding to reach out to kids who've been in trouble to help them learn about making better choices. When a woman finds it in her heart to rescue abused and neglected animals, that’s beautiful. When faced with illness or the death of a loved one, a woman who finds the strength to turn her heartache into hope, is just stunningly beautiful. Using your time, talents and resources to help our troops, to help the jobless find employment, to educate, to empower, to guide, to nourish, to nurture, to uplift, to break the glass ceiling. That is true beauty!

The Leading Ladies are living proof that you don’t necessarily have to win an election to bring about positive change. I proudly toasted all of them last night... with a glass of Cambria wine of course.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fred is Not Surprised

My grandfather, was a Mississippi sharecropper. He and my grandmother migrated north to Ohio when he found work at a foundry in Ohio. When he wasn't working in his garden or working at the foundry, he read. He read mostly about politics, history and religion. I remember sitting on the porch with him in Oberlin and listening to him talk about the future of our family and our country.

As he watched his "tribe" grow from African and Native American roots into a multi-cultural tree he predicted that our nation would someday look more like our family. He believed that through love, tolerance and education, we'd become more united as a nation. I guess Fred Holloway was right. Obama's extended family is Black, White, Asian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Will that make him a better leader for these United States? I hope so. At this point in our nation's history, we could all use some hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Dance Killer

If you hear the words "team dance" you'd better hope Susan Lucci isn't around. Susan is the "Dancing with the Stars" equivalent of me on the playground. I know why I was last picked last for basketball, softball and flag football. I would have done the same thing to our gym class volleyball team that Susan did to the cha-cha team. Make us lose... big time.

It finally hit me last night why Susan is so stiff. Our expectations are too high! Thanks to the miracles of plastic surgery, make-up and hair dye it is easy to forget that she's just six years younger than my 68 year old mother. When you see her big brown hair, bounce-less boobs and wrinkle-less forehead you assume that this firey young babe is gonna bring it! Sadly, she just can't. Despite playing one of TV's most unforgettable bee-otches, she appears lost, timid and frail on the dance floor. At least Cloris could act her way through the choreography. Susan gets so flustered she just falls apart.

Cody needed the group dance to offset the low scores he earned with his temporary partner, Edyta. I hope Julianne recovers quickly. Edyta is just way too sexy for the awkward Disney boy. He's been dealt a pretty tough hand. First his cutie-pie partner needs surgery. Then he gets stuck with Susan on his team for the group dance. I hope all those Hannah Montana fans voted A LOT!

Maurice had a good night. I don't know what his partner, Cheryl, would have done to him if he hadn't brought his "A" game. Cheryl appears to be breaking him down! This guy won Olympic gold, but emotionally and physically, it looks like this dancing stuff is gonna tear him apart.

Warren was lackluster. Lance's partner is new to the show and the risks she's taking aren't impressing all of the judges. He deserved a much higher score than 25. For some reason they don't want the retired boy band star to soar in this competition.

Brooke's partner plays to her strength... her grace. The fluidity of her hands when she dances helped to give her the first triple 10 of the season. With her perfect score and great team dance (Susan wasn't a part of her squad) she's sure to be at the top. The team dance is likely to save Brooke's other teammates, Warren and Maurice.

Let's hope that this was Susan's last dance. There's something quite annoying about her whining... but what's even more annoying is the way she murders good choreography.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spray Tan Attack

Some of you might be confused like I was last night. It appeared that Toni Braxton had returned to Dancing with the Stars, but it wasn't her. The dancer who appeared to be a Black woman was probably either soap star Susan Lucci or Cheryl Burke. Don't bother trying to adjust the color on your television. It wasn't a technology problem. It was a spray tan problem. Somebody got gangster with the airbrushing. I haven't seen people painted like this since the circus was in town.

The scoring was even more ridiculous last night. Michael Flatley, from Lord of the Dance, was a guest judge. Brooke Burke's beauty and flexibility must have aroused the Lord of the Pants because he gave her a 10 when she clearly deserved a 7 or 8. I give Brooke credit for dancing on an injured foot, but you've still got to bring it and not just rely on wearing a skimpy costume and pretending to make out with your partner.

Lance Bass had his best performance of the season, but the judges refused to give him a 10. He was the top scorer, but his 27 was just one point ahead of Brooke. Susan had her best performance of the season as well, but still couldn't outscore Warren Sapp. The judges gave Susan a 23 and Cody Linley got a 23 as well. Warren, who let his partner do all the work, got a 25!?! The big man's hands and posture were all wrong, but I think the judges are too scared to tell him about it. When Tom Bergeron, the host, noted judge Carrie Ann Inaba's obvious flirting with Warren, the quarterback killer got physical and tagged him in the head. Tom jokingly apologized for the player hating, but I'll bet he had security walk him past Warren's dressing room just to be safe.

The comments about the lack of chemistry between Maurice Green and Cheryl were on the money. Cheryl acts like she knows she got stuck with a loser this season and its killing her to work with him.

From Misty May-Treanor, the olympian who left a few weeks ago with a serious injury, to the bandaged feet of Brooke and Susan, the stars are keeping their doctors busy this season. Now we find out that Julianne Hough will sit out thanks to surgery. Despite getting tossed around like a frisbee, it seems the healthiest woman on the show is 82-year old Cloris Leachman. I think she keeps in shape by running from her overly affectionate partner, Corky Ballas. The most shocking move of the night didn't come from the group hip hop routine, it was when Cloris lifted her leg and flashed America the crotch of her granny panties. Okay, the first time she tried the leg lift, it was wasn't quite the right time. The second time Corky grabbed one ankle and one wrist and spun around like he was playing airplane with a toddler. The crotch shot, the bumpy landing... it was more than I could take. The judges made it clear that they wanted her gone a long time ago by giving her a score of just 15.

Cloris redeemed her funny self in the hip hop routine. Her critique of Lance "dancing like a fool" and Maurice "sweating like a bandit" made me laugh out loud. While Susan spent most of the hip hop routine looking like someone who opened the refrigerator door but couldn't remember why, Cloris' krumping stole the show. This may be asking for too much, but I sure could use just one more week of the Cloris and Corky show. But whenever you want to boot Samantha Harris or the singer with the upside down tiara on her head, I'm fine with it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phone Hostage

Help me please! I'm sitting at the computer with a phone to my ear. I want to hang up. I REALLY want to hang up, but I'm being held hostage. I've tried, "I know its late. I'd better let you go," and "I need to stop procrastinating and do these dishes," but you simply can't drop hints in hostage situations.

There are lots of people who need to feel like hanging up is their idea. It doesn't matter if I say that I have to go because I'm being carjacked or my hair just caught fire. I think it is a control issue. Just to be fair, maybe I'm the one with the control issues because I want to hang up first.

I propose some phone rules. If the person you are talking to says he or she, "should probably get off the phone" then the best response is, "okay, bye." Do not launch into a another round of questions about TV, politics, or anything else for that matter. If the person you are talking to offers to let you get back to what you were doing before the phone call then don't take that as your que to tell the story you haven't bothered to tell for the past half hour. Is there something so wrong with just vowing to talk again soon and hanging up?

My cell phone feels like I'm holding a hot poker against my head. My ear is sweating and I'm getting a neck cramp from trying to cradle the phone between my chin and shoulder so that I can continue to type. But I think I've developed that syndrome where you start to identify with your hostage taker. I don't want any hurt feelings. I just want to watch "Ugly Betty" and go to bed. Maybe I should ring my own doorbell and pretend to have company. Nah! Its too late for that. I have to figure out a way to make my hostage taker believe that hanging up wasn't my idea. If I don't I might die here... right here at my computer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grinding On Grandma

From the hilariously limber moves of Warren, the big man, to comic relief provided by a seemingly confused Cloris, I laughed out loud last night during "Dancing with the Stars."
Susan, Toni, Maurice and the singer with the upside down tiara on her forehead can all go home tomorrow for all I care. I just hope the two celebs who turn the dance floor into their own personal stand-up routines will get to hang around for a few more weeks.

While Brooke may be earning awesome scores, if she had been picked for any other season of DWTS, she would've been considered slightly better than mediocre. None of the good dancers this time around are as exciting to watch as Kristi Yamaguchi, Mario Lopez, Drew Lachey or Mel B. But for pure entertainment I'd pit Warren Sapp against previous winner Emmit Smith and I'm positive we'd all get belly laughs from watching the charismatic football giants bust a move! I never thought there would be a pudgy dancer who could take the place of the late Fred "Rerun" Berry from "What's Happening" but Warren changed my mind.

Watching Corky, the professional partner of Cloris, fling her around, whisper in her ear and grind on grandma every week does make me a little uncomfortable at times. Forgive me for being so kinky, but I am thoroughly amused when I watch. Sometimes it looks like Cloris has forgotten where she is or that she's even supposed to be dancing. Is it an act? Maybe it just looks like that because Corky appears to be forcing the moves on her. When its time for judging, I suspect he's just trying to hold her up, but I feel like I'm watching a gigolo get frisky with my Nana on a cruise ship. It just makes me criggle (cringe and giggle at the same time).

Please, dear voters of America, put Cloris and Warren in the DWTS finals. With my shrinking 401-K and the negative presidential campaign, I could really use the cheesy entertainment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dancing with my Very Last Nerve

Is it possible to have a favorite TV show that works your last nerve like a 9-to-5 job? For me, that show is "Dancing With the Stars." For a lifelong fan of theater this cheese-laden show has it all. I love the wild costumes even though sometimes the dancers are shockingly damn near naked. The live orchestra is great even though there is one singer who wears a silly-looking headband every week. Tom, the host, is witty and keeps the showing moving even though Samantha, the co-host, makes me want to put my foot through the TV screen. Do you see a pattern here? For everything I love about the show there is an equally annoying "even though" situation.

I often agree with the comments of the judges, even though their scores don't make sense... see what I man about the "even though." Susan Lucci, who is now going by her soap opera character name, Erica Cane, comes across as stiff and phony yet she gets scored undeservedly high. Brooke has earned the only 10 of the season, but while she is beautiful and graceful, her dancing isn't more difficult or well-executed than Lance's routines.

It is sooo obvious that the judges want Cloris to hang around. I must admit, with her 82-year old flexibility and the way she fearlessly puts her floppies on display, she is very entertaining to watch. But there is no way she should outscore anybody. The same goes for Warren. Fun to watch, but he isn't in the same league with Cody or Toni. As for Maurice... his professional partner's facial expressions make it clear that he is really is as doofy as I suspect. Send him home please!!

If the judges don't start interjecting some reality-based scores into this reality show I may stop watching. I already record Dancing's Tuesday show so that I can watch "Fringe" and fast forward through Samantha. Can we send her home too?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just Not Good Enough

If on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 equals "lousy" and 10 equals "fan-freakin-tastic" then I'd put "good" somewhere around 7. I'm not one to brag, but I can think of 10 things I'm "good" at. Most of those things aren't wow-inducing, but I work with what I've got.

I'm pretty good at:

1. bargain hunting
2. cleaning the kitchen
3. guessing who'll be the next person kicked off of my favorite reality shows
4. humming
5. gift giving
6. wreath making
7. hugging
8. making conversation

and I think I'd be a good scrapbooker if I tried. There was a time when I would've given myself at least a "7" for knowing the right things to do and say AFTER a friend or relative had faced a really tough challenge. I'm not so good in the moment because lots of tears and terrified looks are my first reaction, but give me an hour or maybe a few days and I can come through for you. My friend, Karen, made fun of the pep talk I gave her when she told me about losing her job, but I know she took my words to heart. My blues-busting words of encouragement weren't just good, they were great (if I must say so)!

Lately I feel like I'm losing my comforting mojo. So many people I love are dealing with life changing loss and illness and heartbreak... and I am at a loss for words. The death of a mother, the death of a child, foreclosure, sickness, divorce. "Good," just isn't good enough when you pray for the right words to offer guidance, support or comfort but know in your heart that nothing you do or say will make it better.

I tend to sum up whole years based on a single negative situation. Just last week, I caught myself hoping that 2009 would be a heck of a lot better than 2008. Then I remembered a speech I heard at a charity auction a few years ao. The speaker talked about his "summer of suck." He'd lost a brother to Cystic Fibrosis. If I were him, I would've trashed the entire year! But what I heard from Sean, the speaker, was a message about "suck" only lasting for a season. With that message in mind, I'm going back to the drawing board. This is just a season of healing, from illness, financial losses and grief. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to deliver that message in a "good" way when the time is right.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

An Ask-Kicker is Born

I grew up in a family where you had to ask for permission to do just about everything. Want a snack? You'd better ask for it. Want to go outside, want to leave the dinner table, want to use the phone, want to get a perm, want to have a friend come over? Ask, ask, ask!

As an adult I'm still an asker, but I'm surrounded by "tellers." I ask for permission to give a friend tough love. I ask for refunds when overcharged. I ask for vacation days when most of my coworkers simply tell the boss when they'll be out.

I've learned my lesson, though. While asking usually leads to frustration, telling leads to results. Tellers take action. Askers wait for action. Even though I know this, I keep asking! What is wrong with me?! It is about time I learned this life lesson and applied my education. No more asking! From now on I intend to do more telling! When its time to do the right thing you won't hear me "asking." I'll be giving orders. From here on out Ramona will be kicking "ask" and taking names!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't Make Me Buy a Diaper

I was one of the first people to laugh at the diaper-wearing astronaut. Do you remember Lisa Nowak? She made headlines last year after allegedly donning a diaper for a non-stop drive across country to kidnap the new chick of her former lover. Oh, how I laughed. A diaper!?! This was a woman so fired up, so intent to carry out her angry mission that she would rather marinate in her bodily fluids than run in a McDonalds near the interstate! How do you get so furious, that you can't take a 5 minute bathroom brake?

I'm sorry, Lisa. Now I understand. My so-freakin'-angry-I-could-buy-a-diaper-and-come-after-you moment happened last week. It followed an angry exchange of e-mails and phone calls with a guy called Jay at Wheelchairs Plus. I found the company on Ebay and they had lightweight chairs for nearly half of what the medical supply company near my home is charging. Plus, this company promised next day shipping! I'd have the chair in time to bring my mother home from the rehab facility. Hooray!

A few days AFTER mom came home, a wheelchair did arrive at my home. Huge and clunky, it was NOT the 19 pound chair I ordered. The answer to my first complaint e-mail instructed me to "look around the house" for the chair. The second insisted that I had received the chair I ordered. When I took my complaining from the computer to the telephone, Jay told me it was impossible that I had the wrong chair. My threats to give him negative feedback on Ebay was met with a nasty attitude and a comment that my feedback would be, "just a drop in the bucket." Not only was Jay's poor customer service making it impossible to take mom to her favorite places, but he had taken my money and robbed me of my good mood. Game on! It's diaper time! I searched the internet for his address and priced Depends at CVS. No time to waste! I needed to drive to Jay's location A.S.A.P. and run over him repeatedly with the weighty wheelchair!

Mom has been home for over a week and the 40 pound metal monstrosity is still sitting by my front door. I get diaper-buying-mad every single time I look at it. So, Lisa Nowak, I owe you an apology. Perhaps there are times when you need to take care of business so bad, that you can't spare a minute to do your business.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scared Green

I don't need Al Gore's global warming threats. Last year's drought followed by this year's gas shortages have me scared green. Water isn't as scarce as it was in September of `07, but now my fears about my faucets drying up have been replaced with fears that I won't find gas before my tank runs dry.

So, now I'm putting as much thought into conserving water and gas as I am into conserving money at my favorite shoe warehouse. Not long ago I was the woman who took 10 minute showers. I'd hit every department store to find a particular shirt I want in my size. Now I watch the clock when the water is running and I only hit a store's other locations if I happen to be in the area. Combining errands, patronizing the restaurants closest to home, one-stop shopping... I've got a new green attitude!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Pimpfant

We spotted him on a cruise ship that had just left San Juan, Puerto Rico. No older than 3, he was wearing a red speedo, gold chain with a large crucifix, a gold bracelet and a shiny gold ring. Despite the innocent brown eyes set in the big toddler head and the protruding toddler belly, he looked like a tiny playa! My friends and I dubbed him the "pimpfant." Too young to be a ladies man, too fly to be just a baby.

Since my first pimpfant sighting nearly ten years ago I have seen others. The Hip Hop pimpfant with the diamond-like studs in each ear... the preppy pimpfant with the tiny collar of his polo shirt popped and pointing toward the sky... and one of my personal favorites is the Walmart pimpfant with his spikey mullet. These little fellas may be small in stature, but they are big on style!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Football Tolerance Abuse

I like football. I actually enjoy watching when I have a connection to the team. I cheer for the Panthers and the Colts because of my time spent living in the Carolinas and Indianapolis. I come from an Ohio State family and went to Penn State so I get excited when the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions take the field. I think football should be about those connections. Rah-rah-rah goooo home team! A player from your home town or alma mater gets the "Jimmy, Jimmy he's our man, let's give him a great big hand!" But those connections are no longer necessary because of the introduction of the evil fantasy football leagues. There are thousands of them and they multiply like roaches every season (insert screaming sound effect)!

Fantasy football has turned a perfectly tolerable sport into a dangerously addictive, year round haze of statistics, injuries, points, trades and trash talk. Magazines, websites and TV shows featuring cocky football know-it-alls are supposed to help each "owner" put together a dream team of players who will embarrass the dream team of players put together by friends, family members, coworkers and total strangers.

The hours devoted to researching this time consuming obsession could certainly be spent more productively. Fantasy football is to blame for spousal neglect and for dumbing down water cooler conversations at businesses large and small all over our nation. There was a time when just once a week a woman could don the jersey of her man's favorite team and share his passion for a few hours. Don't get me wrong, I know a few chicks who are into fantasy football, but most of us don't have the time or inclination to keep track of the stats and trades. We've got better things to do like... pick up the slack for the fantasy football slackers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Hope I'm Not Committing too Soon

Moving too fast can ruin a relationship, but this time I'm throwing caution to the wind. After just two episodes I have declared my devotion to Fox's new show, "Fringe." I hope it doesn't let me down. Like most new relationships, ours is filled with anticipation. I look forward to seeing "Fringe" again. I'm interested in every word and when we're forced to part I love it when "Fringe" lets me know he'll be back in 90 seconds. How considerate!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Flirt-aholic

One of my mother's favorite nephews is staying with us for a few months. While he's in town he'll be helping me to take care of mom while she is healing from back surgery and "making women feel good about themselves." Yes, that's a quote from him. He's a flirt-aholic with a mission. It only bothers me when we're out together and I know women are assuming we're a couple. "Hey pretty eyes!" "Lord, bring me back as that sundress." "I'd like to work here if you could be my supervisor." "Pardon my stare, I was just hoping you weren't wearing a wedding ring." It never stops because he is incapable of turning it off. From the grocery store to mom's rehab center... from the drive-thru to the gas station. No woman goes unappreciated!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just Add Water

When it comes to recipes the simpler the better. When it comes to cooking in general the only words I want to see "heat and serve." The only thing that tops that is eating right out of the bag. Everyone in my family loves the words "made from scratch." I didn't inherit the gene that tells you to go to the grocery store and buy all of your special ingredients to make your special dish. I am the mutant who doesn't understand why you should make it yourself when somebody else took the time to put it in a can.

Don't get me wrong. I have discriminating taste buds and they appreciate good home-cooked food. My taste buds, however, understand my kitchen A.D.D. and forgive me when i purchase frozen waffles instead of pulling out the waffle iron. In fact there are many things that I believe are just as good as homemade and for me, Eggo Waffles tops the list. So here is my list of foods that I will NEVER make at home...

1. Waffles (don't make the people at Kelloggs waste their time, just put their waffles in the toaster and get on with your life)
2. Bread (why bake it when you can buy it)
3. Baked Beans (taste pretty darned good right out of the can)
4. Crackers (my friend Rachel makes crackers, I admit they taste heavenly, but Triscuit and Cheez Its can't eat themselves)
5. Fried Chicken (my Uncle James has a top secret fried chicken mixture and it is truly addictive, but the thought of deep frying anything just brings the words "oily mess" to mind)
6. Soup (Progresso, you had me at minestrone)
7. Snack Cakes (I want Little Debbie to grow up and be able to go to college one day)
8. Ice Cream (the jingle says Blue Bell tastes just like the good ole days and I believe it)
9. Pasta (if you buy me a pasta maker, please include the gift receipt)
10. Potato salad (too damn many ingredients to make it taste right)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Technology Hates Me

I had plans, BIG plans for the time I'd be spending with my mom while she was healing from her spine surgery. All of my plans revolved around my fancy new cell phone.

My old phone was an embarrassment. It was scuffed up, had a screen that cut off words and a keyboard that made it impossible to text two words in under an hour. It was time to retire my 3 year old bottom-of-the-line phone. I thought upgrading to a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, wifi, GPS, daily planner, camera, video and document storing capabilities would simplify my life.

While mom was healing, I'd planned to update family and friends on her condition with texts and e-mails. I'd begin writing a book, organizing my schedule and documenting mom's recovery and vitals because I had the newest, flyest phone. It all turned out to be a bunch of BULLLLLLLL because technology hates me.

I never had a minute of trouble out of my clunky old phone. This new one is about to drive me to drink. Less than one week after inputting my schedule through June of next year, my new phone died. It wouldn't let me make calls. No warning. I didn't drop it. It didn't get wet. It just decided to try to ruin my life. It died while I was out of town! I couldn't call for directions to a friend's new home. I couldn't make a call at all. I went to the local tech store, practically in tears. I spent 3 hours there. The final hour was spent copying down all of my phone numbers and important dates because the store needed to give me a new phone and couldn't transfer my data!

Later that night, my brand new phone (the second one) died in my hotel room. When I got back home I went straight from the airport to the tech store. I received phone number three. Phone three died the second day mom was in the hospital. Back at the tech store for the fifth time in three weeks, I demanded a different model phone. While fiddling with the "different model" a customer came in with the same model I was considering. His phone had frozen up and the touch screen went blank. Can these hi-tech, do-it-all phones really be trusted?

Every other day I have to take the battery out of my fancy phone, say nasty words to it and then put it back. I found out that my phone has a glitch that requires this face-to-battery verbal assault to get it to work again. Maybe all I need to do is take the battery out and put it back in, but the verbal abuse part makes me feel better. My relationship with this phone is very unhealthy. If I can't count on my phone to work properly, the only thing that's holding us together is our two year contract. I see a divorce in our future.

The store has promised to exchange my phone with an even newer model coming out in a few weeks. I'm sure that phone will hate me too... or maybe I've just got phone baggage now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Feels Like College

I'm surviving on pop tarts and Mt. Dew, my roommate gets all the attention from the hot guys here and she keeps passing out because of all the drugs. It feels a little like college, but this time around my roommate is my mom and we're hanging out in a hospital so there's no need to put a towel under the door when my roomie uses drugs.

My mother, Wheezy, had spine surgery yesterday. After eight hours of waiting she emerged groggy and loopy. After she woke up her first words were, "Obama, Obama." I stayed the night and woke up every few hours to watch her get turned over and tested for various vital signs. I had planned to do some reading, but like college there are too many distractions here at the hospital. Friends have dropped by the visit (a few have offered to smuggle in some wine). Aunts and uncles have called to make sure we're okay while we're away from home. I was mooned earlier today by a guy in the hall. If I spot somebody with a keg, I'll know this really is college after all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sharing Talent

Like most jobs, mine offers an unhealthy dose of stress, but there are also amazing perks. One of those perks arrived in the mail today. His name is "Sam." Sam, a portrait of a farmer, was a gift from artist Tammy Lindey. She isn't the first artist to share her talent with me. Painters, sculptors, poets, singers, songwriters, beautiful jewelry from Beverly Grant. Wow! One particular artist named John has simply dropped off amazing oil paintings and sculptures at the radio station!

I'm so grateful for those gifts and the gifts that know no price tag as well. A listener named, Brenda shared a gift too. It was her heart delivered in the form of an e-mail. Upon hearing that my mom will be having surgery she offered prayer and encouragement.

I'm so grateful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michelle for VP

Move over Joe Biden. Michelle Obama might be a better choice for a running mate. She's a great speaker, has a lot less political baggage and I'm pretty certain she can take Hillary in a fight.

If ever you wondered how marriage can play a positive role in fulfilling your dreams look no further than Mrs. Obama. Polished, educated and dedicated, she is the perfect example of why it is important to choose your spouse wisely. The speech she delivered at the democratic national convention was the best of the night. The Double O for Double O8.

Can Tyra Be More Annoying?

Even though I figured out the formula for choosing America's Next Top Model sometime during cycle three, I still enjoy the show. There is just one person who blocks my enjoyment of this reality show mind candy, its creator, Tyra Banks.

Just when you think you've seen every possible picture of Tyra in every different wig and pose, SHE'S BACK with more wigs and more poses. Survivor isn't about Jeff Probst. American Idol isn't about Ryan Seacrest. So why must certain reality producers, like Sean "Diddy" Combs and Tyra Banks, force themselves onto the audience. Have they convinced themselves that the audience isn't tuning in for the contestants? Are they using these shows as a trick to get more face time on TV? Is this a last ditch attempt to remain relevant in an industry that celebrates youth? I suspect the answer is all of the above.

Last night I previewed the latest season of ANTM. The mean girl, the awkward girl, the conceited girl, the sheltered girl, the lesbian and the home girl are all back. They've even added a girl who was born a boy. Miss J, Mr. J and Paulina are back. Unfortunately Tyra is also back, in all her posing, camera-hogging, skimpy-dressing glory. It looks like it'll be an okay season... IF Tyra gives us the opportunity to see more of the aspiring supermodels and less one retired supermodel.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Understanding the Ex-Wife a Little Too Well

Call me an experienced dater. I've been single again since 2004. I was with my ex-husband for 6 years. I was his second wife. If his first wife and I were to write a brief paragraph about why we tossed that fish back into the sea I'll bet our reasons would be identical. If fact, after just one date I can tell you why each man I've dated over the last four years got divorced.

Forever the journalist, I always ask a man why his marriage broke up. It is interesting to hear what they have to say. I doubt the reasons they give me match those that their ex has given to her friends and family. It doesn't matter, because generally it only takes a date or two to figure out why a man over 35 is single.

This just might be the rant of a chick in a dating rut, but it sure looks like the men in my age range are single for a reason, a really BIG reason. His ex didn't kick him to the curb because he drank a little too much. He wasn't a little too controlling. He wasn't a little too self-centered, a little too bi-sexual, a little too lazy, a little too angry, a little too irresponsible with money or a little too flirty with other women. We're not talking about the guy who was a little too into porn. Oops! Am I getting a little too graphic? Most marriages can overcome little character flaws. No one is perfect. Its the big singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs issues that motivate a woman to take off her wedding ring.

My friend, Pete, believes that I'll fall for a guy who feels the same way I do. As I type, this fictional love interest is sympathizing with the ex-husbands of the women he's been dating. Nice fairytale, Pete. We'll see. Until that guy comes along I'll remain a fan of the first wives club.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Open Letter to Elizabeth Edwards

Cancer, a cheating husband and nasty tabloids putting your business in the streets... just one of those problems would emotionally cripple lots of women. I'm praying for you, girl. Just in case you don't have the kind of family and friends that I have, I want to offer my support. You wanna pray? I'm there for you. You wanna have a tabloid burning party? I'll bring the matches. Wanna make fun of that Reille's light-socket hair-don't? I'll make up a game called, pin the hair on the hoochie and we'll have a good ole time.

I have to admit, part of me wants you to leave him. Maybe I never took the "til death do you part" vow seriously enough. I just think that if more high profile women took a stand and in the process, took half of the cheater's fortune and his reputation, maybe it would serve as a lesson to other weak and greedy men. When you stray, YOU PAY! The realist in me, knows there will always be cheaters among us. It must have been a problem back in Biblical days too. After all, the commandment banning adultery was chisled into Moses' tablet for a reason.

Can you blame John for ALLEGEDLY trying to cover it up? Most men do. Guys without the obvious financial means and influential friends that your hubby has, rely on much more primitive excuses and schemes. Luckily for the cheaters I know they aren't famous enough to attract the attention of Larry King or "The National Enquirer." It is much easier to cover your tracks and ask for forgiveness when the entire nation isn't reading about your affair and alleged love child. It appears that you plan to overlook John's indiscretions. Well, women stay with unfaithful men for various reasons. To each her own, but I'm sure the conversations you are having with the kids can't be easy.

And about the kids... as each unfaithful politician, actor, musician and athlete is exposed and we watch the dutiful wives blame the homewreckers and the media, what are we teaching the next generation about relationships? Perhaps this is a lesson in forgiving. Maybe forgiveness is the silver lining that Kobe Bryant's wife and Hillary Clinton discovered. Maybe we're teaching them that preserving your place in society as the wife of a powerful man is more important than holding your man to a lofty standard. I wish I had the answer.

All I know is that our nation and your family is not better off because this story is making headlines around the globe. If the media had finally given you the evidence you needed to walk away, I'd have a reason to applaud. If this story had made such a disgusting example out of John Edwards that other politicians would be scared faithful, I'd have a reason to applaud. There was nothing to gain by exposing the affair of John and Reille.

Right now all I have are tears for a woman who is fighting a deadly illness while raising small children and facing the betrayal of her husband and his closest aides. For the record, I ignored the story the first few times it turned up as I looked for interesting topics for the show. I didn't turn a blind eye because I'd been a John Edwards supporter. I ignored it because as a woman who has been cheated on, I had hoped to spare you and the kids the double whammy of dealing with a private issue in such a hurtful, public way.

God Bless, Elizabeth. This too shall pass.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lover, Friend and Supervisor

I used to think that enlightened men were the ones who knew how to put together a great outfit. They were the guys who wrote love letters. Scratch that. The enlightened guys are the ones who realize the importance of his wife's role in keeping him from living like a caveman. They are the guys who pitch in around the house. Yes, it still counts even if he has to be nagged to pitch in around the house. Why? Because the enlightened man appreciates the role of the woman in his life. At times she may be the nuturer, other times the lover and a lot of the time she is the house manager. Sometimes the manager motivates with bonuses (i.e. booty) other times she motivates with fear (i.e. PMS)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Magical Ages

Some call them page-turners... they are the magical ages that are supposed to add up to major life changes. Sleepy parents can't wait for the first birthday. Many anxious preschoolers can't wait to turn five so that they can go to kindergarten. Tweens look forward to becoming cool teens. Then comes Sweet 16, official adulthood at 18 and hitting the bars at 21.

My nephew is in town. He comes to visit every summer around my birthday. This one isn't a page turner for me. No Big 3-Oh, 4-Oh or 5-Oh this year. I've decided to tell people that I'm turning 71 so they think I look amazing for my age. The big deal around here is that is the first birthday I'm spending with an adult nephew. He drove down with a friend in his own car. He's got his own money from his summer job. He's 6'3". By all accounts he's a man now.

Knowing that he is an adult doesn't make it any easier to treat him like one. After all he and his buddy are the kings of horse play and video games. They take all things X-Box very seriously. I'm resisting the urge to tell them how long they should play. When they bought a refurbished game from a local Play and Trade store, my mom didn't want them to open up the game in the car. How many times were you warned to wait until you got home to open a new toy so you wouldn't lose the pieces? When you are 18 and just purchased the toy with your own money I guess those warnings just sound really annoying.

How do you stop treating new adults like children, when you've only known them as children? Sure, there are signs of maturity, but there are also times when I see the little boy who drew the elephant picture that's been hanging on my refrigerator for 14 years. Eighteen, the magical age that has turned my nephew into an adult doesn't seem to be a big deal to him, but his aunt is sure having a tough time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Not Just Another Blog, My Friend

Homie, old chum, pal, buddy... what can we use to replace "my friend?" The overuse of "my friend" is widespread. Senator John McCain uses it to address Americans. Doctors, servers, security guards, supervisors... let me tell you, my friend, "my friend" is coming at me everywhere I go. Some people toss it into every other sentence, my friend. Have the people using it simply forgotten my name? Is it something people toss in while they try to come up with something profound or important. Is it the kinder equivalent of "hey you?"

Please make it stop, my friends!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Not-so-skinny Pictures

If you put a dozen super-models on a scale their total weight wouldn't come close to the number of pounds I've gained and lost since my first diet at age 11.

Weight loss inspiration has come from various sources. My first diet was inspired by some serious teasing from Kent Falana in 5th grade. My second diet was inspired by comparisons to my skinny cousin Michelle. There have been other motivators along the way... designer jeans, dance and step competions, a fraternity guy named Sugarbear, a couple good weight loss info-mercials, Janet Jackson's weight loss, a close relative with diabetes....

Even though my grandmother, mother and three out of four of my aunts have diabetes, I must shamefully admit that health has not been on top of my list of weight loss motivators. I have mostly just yearned to buy cute clothes in smaller sizes and to turn heads in those cute little outfits.

I wonder if there are a lot of women like me. I still can't resist reading a story about a chunky celebrity who went from drab to fab (chick magazines love rhymes like that). I know how Mariah Carey lost those last ten stubborn pounds. I've read about how J-Lo dropped her baby weight. I followed the weight loss sagas of Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli and got really excited when Jenny Craig helped them slim down. I came this close to buying a bottle of Trim Spa when I saw Anna Nicole get back into Playboy shape. But sometimes you gotta call BULL!
Queen Latifah looks exactly the same? She (and her management) were smart to say that she was just doing the Jenny program to eat healthier. But I think for many of us the energy boost that comes from shedding pounds has always been just a positive side effect of moving from plus sizes to misses sizes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Skinny Pictures

As I was leafing through a box of old pictures I cam across some photos from my days at Penn State. The next box had several pictures taken right after a Jenny Craig endorsement in the mid 90's. In the college pix I was a size 13. Post Jenny I was a size 8 (for about three months). I can't remember ever thinking I was thin, but it sure would be nice to be either of those sizes again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hot Young Perspective

Me? Hot and young? It all depends on where I hang out. When my friend, who is a huge Jay-Z fan, dragged me to the rapper's 40/40 club in New York a few years ago, I felt far from young and hot. I have never felt colder or older. Why didn't someone tell me that the 40/40 uniform for women included stilletos, a halter, booty shorts and a cool hat? Not that I would have worn the uniform. It just would've been nice to know.

The line to get in the club looked like a hip hop video audition. We got in, because my friend looks hot and young. Walking through the packed bar I felt so overdressed and underappreciated. After awhile my friend got really annoyed. Jay-Z wasn't there that night and as we made our way from one room of pounding music to another, men tugged her and bugged her to get her attention. What was I doing? Well, one guy asked me to tap my friend on the shoulder to help him get her attention. Finally, I felt useful.

I have found a place where I feel really hot and young. The men there are always trying to get my attention. They want to engage me in conversation. They'd keep me talking all day if I let them. I get compliments on my hair, my smile and once a man went out of his way to let me know how good I looked in my sweats. I've been asked out for coffee, offered a ride home and one guy gave me a fistful of useful coupons.

Where is this magical place where an 80's girl can turn so many heads? I'll give you a hint. It's a place where 80's guys go to pick up their prescriptions! These aren't guys who partied in the 80's. They are IN their 80's. My hot spot is my local CVS! I live just a mile or two away from a large retirement community.

As a freshman or sophomore in high school it was so cool to be hit on by a senior. At the local CVS? Well, if the problem with men your age is immaturity. The pharmacy line has all the maturity you'll ever need.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The R-Word, The B-Word and the F-Word

For what seems like the millionth time, CNN is running the clip from "The View" where Elizabeth breaks down over not using the N-word. I haven't seen her this upset since Rosie left.
Between the clips CNN has interviews with people we should consider important. Sure they're opinion should count. After all they've earned enough notoriety to be asked to talk about the N-word on CNN. One guy gave his opinion, but added that he probably shouldn't be commenting because he's not Black. His statement of the obvious left the anchor in stitches! Had the Rev. Jesse Jackson not touched off the latest round of heated N-word discussion, we all know he would have been the first guy to get the call from the news networks.

I probably shouldn't be commenting on the N-word either. Like Jesse and all the so-called experts, no one can speak for all African-Americans. Not all of us even like to be called African American (I use Black, African-American and people of color). In this blog posting I only speak for me.

I can remember every single time I've been in a confrontation caused by the N-word. Mary Feltham called me the N-Word on a school bus. Sadly it happened just a few months after I stood up for Mary when Nicky said she was a whale that all the kids should "harpoon" with their pens. I spent several months believing that's what all white kids at school really thought of me.

There was a group of stoners from my high school who called mom and me the N-word after she told them they shouldn't be sitting on other people's cars in the parking lot of the Somerset, NJ K-mart.

One day at work my friend, Heather, used the word to describe some jobless teens who lived a few streets away. I told her that it was NEVER okay to use the word. She thought it was okay because she wasn't talking about me. I told her again that it was NEVER okay to use the word. She apologized and promised to never use the word again. Heather also vowed to correct other people when they used it. We're still friends.

A woman lashed out at me with the N-word during a spat over a parking space at a Michael's craft store. She could have whipped me with her dirty panties and it wouldn't have felt more degrading and hurtful. I did my best to shout back something hateful. I told her that my family members who weren't in gangs worked for the D.M.V. and that we'd work together to make her life miserable. I thought the D.M.V. threat alone should've been enough scare her away from using that hate word again.

Sadly during that nasty encounter, coming up with what I considered a menacing yet creative threat didn't make the N-Word sting any less. I vowed to change my attitude about the word. Those who used it weren't calling me worthless, they were showing their feelings of worthlessness. I've been working on that attitude change for seven years. I still find the N-word hurtful.

A co-worker has a son with Down's Syndrome. He overheard his kid calling another child the R-word. No matter how much I preach about the R-word, I still hear teens and 20-somethings using it. Can we substitute the word, "wack?"

I've heard girlfriends use the B-word with each other, but when it comes from a skank in the restroom who spilled beer on you, there's about to be a girl fight.

I've heard gay guys toss around the F-word. I'm pretty sure those same gay guys wouldn't think it was amusing if the F-word was yelled at them from a pick-up truck on a lonely country road.

I simply can't understand why some people believe it is so unfair for Blacks to use the N-word when Whites are forbidden. I think of it like this. I might refer to myself as a big girl and tell people that I suffer from "chubitis," but my friends don't make fun of my weight. I hope they aren't upset that they don't get to call me a fat chick in front of my face.

The firey N-word argument isn't about usage for me. The argument is about why you'd want to use it if you knew it would evoke feelings of pain and anger.

I figure they'll be two reactions to this entry. My friends will vow to never use the word. People who'd like to hurt me or rile me up will post about how I'm too sensitive and tell me that Black people are hypocrits. I won't know the color of the people who post. It won't matter anyway. We'll never get all Black folks and all white folks to agree on this issue. Hopefully we'll find common ground with another R-word.... RESPECT (cue Aretha Franklin)

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Remember the show "Touched by an Angel?" I'd watch it every Sunday and without fail would be in tears about ten minutes before the show ended. My water works would begin around the time Monica lit up and revealed that she was an angel sent by God.

I'm one of those nutsy people who believes I have encountered angels. No, they didn't light up and tell me they were angels. They were people God used to comfort me, encourage me or rescue me when I needed lotsa help. I can't remember all of their names. A few were in my life for just a few hours. Some remain friends and a couple are family members. I'm sure most don't know how much they affected my life and one would "punch me in the throat" (his catch phrase, not mine) if I told him that he served as my angel one day.

Is it a coincidence that these angels were there when I needed them most? An accident that some of these folks acted completely out of character? Random acts of kindness? Nope, my angels...

There was the guy with the incredibly skinny arms (no bigger than a broomstick) who unlocked my car and fixed my tires on a deserted back road near Newark, Ohio. A Columbus police officer who prayed with me in a production studio after I told him I was too upset to interview him. An antique store owner who dropped by my doomed consignment store with a card and a bottle of wine offering words of encouragement during my nasty divorce. A coworker who brought flowers the day after I told him I'd finally accepted the fact that I'd never get pregnant. Friends who sat with my mother in the hospital when I had to go to work.

I may never be able to return the "angel-ness" to them. I don't think that's the point of angel-hood. I think its about slowing down enough to listen. Its about offering help even when you haven't been asked. It's also about knowing when your angel task is done and moving along to the next assignment. In basketball its called an "assist" and you get credit for it. But in angel world you don't keep score. I'm still learning the angel game. I just hope I'll know what to do when the Coach calls me off the bench.