Sunday, May 30, 2010

light my fire

When I was 13 years-old, I was a good little 60's teenybopper who knew her place .... most of the time. My concert experiences were innocent and few: I was in the audience when the The Monkees filmed their Phoenix, Arizona concert (I told you I moved a lot) for an episode of their TV series. During this time in my life, I also saw Sonny & Cher (whom I still adore) and another great band called The Association. Suffice to say that I was as innocent and naive as I could have possibly been.

Until The Lizard King came to town. If my Mom had harbored any clue as to just how un-innocent The Doors -- and their fans -- were, she never, ever would have dropped me and my girlfriend off at the Phoenix Coliseum that night. Of course, it was a night I will never forget.

It was the first time I encountered marijuana -- no, I didn't smoke it, silly -- I was a good girl, after all -- but the smoke hung thick in the air and it seemed like everyone around us was partaking.

Oddly enough, there didn't seem to be much security present -- no one was getting busted for drugs -- and I was able to walk right down to the stage and snap a couple of photos of Jim Morrison with my little Kodak Instamatic and no one said a word to me.

(In contrast, it was just a year or two later that Jim was arrested in Miami .... for exposing himself to the audience. I'm still wondering what effect that experience might have had on my only half-formed 13 year-old brain.)

While I was kneeling in front of the stage snapping the pictures, Jim actually looked down at me and our eyes met for just a moment. I don't think he actually saw me, though -- it was as if his eyes were looking somewhere deeper and far more exotic than my little mod-dressed baby-faced visage. At least I hope they were because, honey, I was anything but interesting.

The concert was wonderful and even though I (regrettably) didn't do a single thing that would have disappointed my parents, I still left feeling a teensy bit more grown-up than when I arrived.

Looking into the eyes of The Lizard King will do that to you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

leaving on a jet plane

Back when I first met her, my best friend Sharon said to me, "You know, you're the only person I've ever known who really reads the TV Guide from front to back." It was an interesting observation and probably the first time I recognized that TV looms bigger in my life than most folks. Heck, I even have a 4-year college degree in it.

Maybe it was because we moved every two or three years and because I had no siblings, I was forced to spend an awful lot of time alone while I was growing up, but TV became very, very important to me. Still is -- if I'm home, it's on -- even though it's usually just noise in the background of my life.

Six years ago, I picked up the Fall Preview issue of the TV Guide (yes, I still read them front to back) and read about a new upcoming show called "Lost." The description absolutely intrigued me but I reminded myself not to get too excited. After all, there have been many shows in the past that didn't live up to the hype and several that did but didn't survive, anyway (Nowhere Man, for example). I warned myself not to fall in love too quickly.

Of course, I fell hard and I fell fast .... as did many others, thank goodness. No matter how brilliant (or not) the the last episode of "Lost" is on Sunday, I'll no doubt be watching with tears streaming down my cheeks. I've seen many TV shows come and go but this one is somehow different -- I will truly miss these characters. They're very real to me.

To everyone involved in creating "Lost" : Thanks for an incredible ride.

(And thanks to The Injustice League for the terrific farewell video!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a horrible warning

I usually title my posts with a song title from the past but for this post, I thought I'd use part of the wonderful Catherine Aird quote, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

Today is my 29th month quit smoking anniversary ..... yay, me! But when the wonderful Quitnet website sends me monthly e-mails to remind me to celebrate my anniversaries, they always also include a statistical approximation of how much time I have added to my life span due to my quit.

I have been quit for almost two and a half years and so far -- according to their estimates -- I have added only 4 months, 14 days, and 18 hours to my life. Why so little? Because I was an idjit who smoked for 35 years ..... that's a helluva lot of damage to undo. Someone who has only smoked for 10 years is going to see their regained life span estimation explode compared to mine.

Now I know that the additional 4 months number is far from set in stone -- I could die tomorrow or I could live another 30 years -- but my hope is that there is some young smoker out there who reads this and decides to quit sooner rather than later so that they regain their expected life-span light-years faster than I do.

Let me serve as your horrible warning. Please.

Monday, May 17, 2010

sittin' on the dock of the bay (redux)

Looking at the picture below made me all nostalgic for Middletown and that home, so I looked through some old photos and came upon this one my Dad took around 1968, right after we moved into the house. It must have been very low tide because the ocean easily covered those large rocks most of the time -- but the photo gives you some idea of how right on the water we were. I envy the lucky folks who live there now (unless it's still haunted, of course).

That's my afore-mentioned bedroom window on the upper right -- as you can see, it was cracked open because I loved the ocean sounds and breezes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

sittin' on the dock of the bay

Another Esplanade shot, originally uploaded by G.E. Long.

I was absolutely thrilled to come across this photo in G.E. Long's flickr photostream.

See that little gray house on the far left? The very first house in the row of houses? The one closest to the camera?

It's in Middletown, Rhode Island and I lived in that house while I was a junior at Middletown High School many, many moons ago. Obviously, it was right on the shore and at night I would fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks right beneath my bedroom window. Although I appreciated how special that was at the time, I realize now that I didn't appreciate it half as much as I should have.

The photo was taken from Easton's Beach in nearby Newport .... it's better known as First Beach to the locals .... on an evening with an incredible sunset. What a breathtaking photograph!

I grew up in an Air Force family and it's an understatement to say that we moved a lot -- but of all of the places we lived, Middletown -- and the New England area -- remains my favorite. If my husband didn't hate cold weather so much, I would try to convince him to retire in that area.

One more interesting thing about that house: I'm convinced it was haunted. I'll have to tell you about that sometime.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

to sir with love

I unabashedly admit to spending literally hours and hours and hours poring over teen fashion magazines during the 60's and early 70's ... and it's probably not surprising that now that I collect them, I can vividly recall quite a few specific articles, fashion layouts and advertisements.

However, extremely few ads smack my recall button the way this two-page spread from the June 1968 issue of Glamour does. Of course, it's been well-established what a sucker I was for anything from Yardley, so it naturally follows that when I saw how flawless and exquisitely romantic Yardley nail polish made the model's hand appear, I ran out and bought the very same shade that she wore. I painted my nails and then placed my freshly-polished fingers right next to the model's in the ad and wondered why my pudgy little digits didn't look as flawless and exquisitely romantic as hers did.

Obviously, I had no knowledge of hand models. Or photo-retouching. Or air-brushing. I truly believed that virtually everything in the advertisement would look the same way in real-life. I mean, they wouldn't trick us, would they?

I'm ashamed to say I still struggle with that idea today.

I know I must have focused most of my attention on the hand-half of this ad because if I had spent anytime at all studying the young couple, I would have been enlightened about one bit of advertising chicanery: that is the worst fake mustache ever.

(I'm still in love with that red-stoned ring she's wearing)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

wild thing

You are looking at my eldest niece, Emma, and part of what she calls her "museum." Emma is the daughter of my baby sister (yes, I still think of her that way) Heather and her terrific husband, Steve. Emma has an achingly sweet little sister named Ellie.

I sometimes think that there is a very eccentric little old lady possessing Emma's adorable little person because she's so incredibly wise for her years. Mostly, though, I think she inherited boatloads of her rather eccentric grandfather's personality. Of course, it's a lot cuter on her than it was on him!

Heather often relates Emma's latest Emma-isms on her Facebook page here but I don't think she'll mind if I quote my favorite (so far) of her Emma stories here:

Emma is "selling" stuff to us for $1 everyday e.g. makers, lip gloss. She takes it back (but keeps the money). She says she's practicing to sell at the Farmer's Market. Her booth will be called "Emma & Ellie's Booth" and sell - mac n cheese, lemons, hot dogs & princess pencils. She said, "would you write that down for me so I don't forget? Thanks."

Mac 'n cheese and princess pencils? C'mon, that's marketing genius!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


This is me at the age of three with my Mom and my Dad's mother -- it is absolutely one of my favorite pictures.

It was about this time that my grandmother learned that she had leukemia and had only a few years to live. I was her only grandchild at the time and I've been told that one of the things that upset her the most about her prognosis was that she would pass away before I was old enough to have strong memories of her. To that end, she set out to spend a lot of time with me -- and spoiled me in every imaginable way -- and although she died when I was only five years old, I almost feel as though I had her for my entire childhood -- she made me feel that loved and cherished. Mission accomplished, Grandma!

One of my biggest regrets is that my younger sister, Heather, never had the opportunity to know our grandmother and be on the receiving end of her love and generosity of spirit.

My own Mom passed away in 1990 and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her and miss her. If I started talking about all of the incredible and amazing things about her, I would be here for hours so let me sum it up this simply:

I'm eternally grateful that she was mine and I was hers.

Happy Mother's Day, ladies. I love you and miss you both.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

bad bad leroy brown

This is Elijah. He is what is commonly known as "teacup Persian," meaning that he was specially bred to be tiny ..... which he is. He weighs about 3 pounds soaking weight ... and he's soaking wet a lot more often than you'd think.

Given his genetics (and the frou-frou name we gave him), you might reasonably expect that Elijah lounges on satin pillows and prefers his fresh salmon served on a crystal platter -- that's certainly what we expected when we got him.

Instead, we have a fearless nighttime hunter who recently killed a squirrel that weighed more than he does. Elijah disappears about 7PM every night and doesn't reappear until early morning, damp with dew and covered in a huge variety of vegetable matter that has embedded itself in his thick, luxurious white coat. We consider ourselves quite lucky if he hasn't brought home a freshly-killed animal.

Eli (which is what we call him now that we realize how horribly inappropriate the name Elijah is) isn't real concerned about personal hygiene -- and don't even think about approaching him with a brush -- so once or twice a year we have him professionally shaved just to get him good and clean. You can see the contrast in the above before-and-after pictures.

I tell you, though, Eli has taught me a lot about self-image and the way we perceive ourselves. When we look at him, we see an ultra-prissy-looking white Persian with a snooty expression who looks like he wouldn't lower himself to chase a mouse.

But when Eli thinks of himself, he sees a lion -- and the truth is, he's more right than we are.

Friday, May 7, 2010

love child

Of course, the 60's and 70's were the height of the hippie movement and as anti-conventional, anti-establishment, anti-commercial and anti-anything-phony as the hippies were, the trappings of their culture still seeped into the advertising of the time as this ad from the March 1971 issue of Mademoiselle illustrates. Part of the ad copy says, "Be a blonde Pocahontas or a gypsy moonchild." Really, all you need is "Age of Aquarius" playing in the background.

It is doubtful that many true commune-living hippie-type women would lower themselves to do something as superficial as bleach their hair, so this ad is clearly directed at women who loved the cool and unconventional attributes of the hippie "look" while still being able to be a faux blonde, paint their lips with Yardley Slickers and shave their armpits.

Lest anyone think I'm being cynical or unkind let me make this perfectly clear: I was one of those women (which is probably why I love this ad so much)!

bad blood

Although they certainly aren't babies anymore, I'd like to introduce you to my other two grandsons: that's Justin on the left and Jeremy on the right -- they're the offspring of my oldest daughter, Caitlin, and her husband, Dave. The squirrelburger sitting between Justin and Jeremy is my son, Morgan, who -- believe it or not -- is their Uncle even though he is younger than both of them.

Because they are normal teenage boys, it's very hard to get a photo of them in which they aren't exuding "attitude" but don't let them fool you -- you won't find three more pleasant or well-mannered young men anywhere. I'm so proud to have all three of them in my family.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

you light up my life

Further updating, perhaps the most significant news of the past two years is related to this post from January, 2008.

Meet Mr. Benjamin Tate Campbell, my third grandson, born August 31, 2008 to my daughter, Erin, and her husband, Lee. Grandchildren are amazing -- it's as if they open up a whole new compartment in the heart and fill it with a different kind of love than you've ever experienced before.

Ben is the spitting image of his Dad and has the considerable brain power of both of his parents -- in fact, he may even be a little too smart for his own good. And I absolutely adore him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

you keep me hangin' on

I should be embarrassed to admit that I've spent a considerable amount of time pondering this 7up advertisement from the September 1962 issue of Seventeen magazine.

Clearly, the girls are all in a dorm and they're waiting in line to use the communal telephone (thank goodness that by the time I hit college, each room had it's own phone!) Now three of them are apparently sipping on bottles of 7up and the tag line implies that if they just polish off those bottles that they'll not only suddenly be as "brightened" and "fresh" -- and well-groomed and well-dressed! -- as the girl who is currently hogging the phone.

My question is when does this transformation happen ........because the girl in the yellow sweater is next in line and it doesn't seem to be close to working for her yet. And where did the girl in the blue dress stash her empty 7up bottle? I don't even want to go there ......

Monday, May 3, 2010

stayin' alive

I know that at one time I had a number of people following my quit-smoking journey and I know that many of them were traveling the same road. I hope that we all ended up in the same happy place.

I'm immensely proud to be able to say that I still have not had a single cigarette since December 19th, 2007 -- 29 months! For a 35-year smoker, that's an accomplishment. I only wish I had done it much, much sooner.

I'm a bit of a rare animal in that I successfully quit on my very first try -- I had to, you see -- I know me and I know that a quit attempt that resulted in failure might mean that I'd never even try again. Having said that, I'm far from cocky. I know that in order to maintain my smobriety I must never, ever have that first puff. As long as I don't do that, I'm home free.

too much heaven

So .... where were we before I so rudely disappeared?

I had just announced that, Megan, my 3rd oldest daughter had just become engaged .... and then I promptly evaporated into thin air. Life has gone on in the interim and I plan on (eventually) bringing everyone back up to speed. But let's start where we left off .....

Megan and Hunter were married on February 21, 2009 and it was a breathtakingly beautiful event for all -- it was held at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando and rich, jewel-like colors dominated the color scheme. We are so happy to have Hunter in the family!