Tuesday, August 27, 2013

OK, OK, Let's Talk About Miley

Well.  Miley's performance the other night certainly has tongues wagging, doesn't it?

 I mean, could you bear it?  

Talk about a kick in the pants, or lack thereof!  

Sorry.  Best I could do, under the circs.

As the whole world must know by now, Miley Cyrus performed at the VMAs the other night.  (Don't ask me what VMA stands for.  I don't know.  It's a music awards thing of some kind.)  Her production number featured giant teddy bears and what looked like simulated anal sex.  Also a lot of crotch-clutching, butt-wiggling and sticking out her tongue.

(Which, by the way, was a startling white.  Miley are you getting dehydrated again dear?  Maybe you should knock back a little Gatorade.  That should take care of it.)

The act has already been analyzed six ways from Sunday.  My favorite interpretation is the on that goes something like, "Miley is showing the world that she is no longer a child star but a grown-up artist to be taken seriously."

Right.  Because nothing says "take me seriously" like rubber pants and crotch-clutching.  Hey, when a toddler does that?  I get the message.  And I take him seriously, don't you?

Here's what I keep thinking.  Miley's act did not spring into life on Sunday night.  It took weeks, maybe months of preparation.

So , it's not like they didn't have time to think about it.

And in all those weeks and months of rehearsals and fittings and sound checks, did it not occur to anyone, even once, that maybe this wasn't such a good idea?   "I don't know, Miley, maybe you should just ...sing, or something."

Yesterday I was driving two thirteen-year-old girls around.  They were watching Miley's act on my iPhone.

You know what they talked about for the rest of the ride?

How much they admired Adele.

Damn, I must be good at this Catholic parenting thing!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lucky 13

My daughter turned 13 the other day.  A big day for her:  she's a teenager!  And a big day for me:  I am now officially the mother of a teenager!

That last exclamation point was placed reluctantly.

I wonder, if I were a younger mom, if this would be a time of reflection/whining about how old I'm getting.  But hey, Sophia is adopted.  I was old when I got her.  Old is not an issue for us- it's always been the status quo.  "Mom, wanna play basketball?"  "Bug off, kid, I'm old."  And it's worked out well for us.  So far I have had no sports-related injuries.  Sophia's had a few. of course, but hey, she's the one who wants to play basketball, not me.

Another very nice thing about being an older mom:  most of my friends are ten to fifteen years younger than me.  This has also worked out well.  In questions of things like marriage, I'm something of a grande dame among my buddies.  "You're afraid his company is going under?  Been there, done that.  Come on, kid, let me buy you a cappuccino."

While in questions of mom- hood, I'm the clueless one, and my far more experienced albeit annoyingly younger friends are there to guide me.  "OMG I THINK SHE HAS BUGS UNDER HER SKIN!!!!...What?  'Chiggers?'  From the lake?..... Clear nail polish and they'll suffocate.  Gotcha.  Okay, I'm all right now."

If God had told me on my wedding day that:

I wouldn't have a child for another 20 years, and that I would end up  raising her in the frozen Upper Midwest--

well, let's just say you would not have heard "What a great plan!  God , You're a genius!"

But of all the ridiculous, outlandish, bizarro plans in the world, this is the one that works for me.

I hat to admit it, God, but You're a genius.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Pays to Volunteer

We wrapped up our annual Parish Festival last weekend with a big dinner at a local country club.  You know the drill:  cocktails and silent auction, preview of stuff for the live auction, chicken dinner,, etc.

This year I volunteered- actually I was volunteered (thanks, Stacy-- I'll remember) -- for a special job at the auction preview. One of the items up for auction was a collection of rare coins.  I was asked to help "guard" it during the cocktail hour. (You  know those Catholics once they get a few Mai Tais into them.)

My job was to dress all in black, don a pair of mirror shades and stick a fake earpiece in my ear, and then stand on one side of the display for an hour.  The other side was guarded by a very muscular young man, also all in black.  But I like to think I looked scarier.

Well.  Let me tell you I never felt more comfortable at a cocktail party in my life.  All I had to do was stand there!  No small talk, no chitchat, no wandering around pretending to be bidding on stuff!  It was great!  Really I think I've found my calling.

Anybody know their Flannery O'Connor?  Remember when she wrote to a friend, "Whoever invented the cocktail party should be drawn and quartered"?  When I first read that line I knew I'd found a kindred spirit.

Don't get me wrong, I like a Sea Breeze as much as the next writer.  It's the standing around making idle chitchat with people you barely know-- or might not know at all- that wears me out.  Really, it's exhausting.  I read somewhere that's part of being an introvert.  People make you tired.  Or maybe that was "misanthrope." I get the two mixed up sometimes.

My friends, of course, all know this.  They let me stand around them at cocktail parties, pretending I'm part of the group, while they graciously ignore me.

 I tell you there's nothing like true friendship.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Red-Headed League

I've been reading a lot about redheads lately.  Well, okay,, not a lot, just a few posts on Twitter.  But I'm learning stuff.

I learned that 46% of the Irish population carry the gene for red-headed-ness.  I think that means the Irish population in Ireland.  I don't know about the Irish  Americans.

I have also learned that only 10% of Irish people in Ireland are redheads. (Other thing I learned:  we're supposed to call then "gingers" now.  I don't know if "redhead has officially been declared incorrect.)

My Irish-born grandmother was a redhead.  My father is a redhead.  Of the six children in our family three are redheads.  So if they every check out the Irish Americans my family will probably be responsible for bringing the percentages up.

The grandchildren - there are ten- are a different story.  Only one is a possible redhead at this point.  We'll know more when she grows a little more hair.  But 4.6 of those ten would be carriers. 

(I know I shouldn't count my adopted Cambodian kid in that calculation, but ten is a nice round number and I can figure out percents with it. Nine, I have no idea.  I'd have to get my daughter to do the numbers, she's the only one in this house who's any good at math.)

But think about it.  If 46% of the Irish are carriers for the ginger gene, do you realize what that means for the sunblock industry?  Why aren't we all out there investing right now?

Seriously.  Call your broker.  Cash in  on this.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Head for Heights

I've been having a lot of trouble with my roof lately. 

At first I was very upset about this.  I mean, come on, it's a new roof.  Just had it done last year.  And all of a sudden I got leaks in my kitchen again?  Hey, roofer-- what gives?

Finally after a series of increasingly desperate phone calls the roofing company sent the foreman who did the roof last year and his two assistants out to my home.  The two young guys got out the ladders while I chatted on the ground with the boss.

The good news is, the new roof is fine.  The bad news is, there's a section of flat roof up there that has been causing the problems.  So now I get to talk to insurance companies and all that fun stuff.  I swear my next home will be a cave.

But the interesting news. to  me anyway, was that Jose, the foreman, had worked on this house before.  He knew the previous owner and his family.

"You know, I always say a flat roof is trouble,"  said Jose.  (I concur.  I had one in Queens.  Rained in the bedroom once.)  "Lucky for you the flat part is really small.  But it was big enough for the owners' kids- they used to lie  up there and smoke dope.  I always wondered how they got there."

My theory:  It was probably the kids who insisted on putting those skylights in the attic. Just a theory.

But the more I think about it, the nuttier this plan of indulging in illegal substances seems.  I mean, come on-- what kind of an idiot decides the best place to get stoned is a roof?  Two and a half stories above the ground?  The risk is obvious, right?

But maybe not.  Maybe they wanted to enjoy the view- the stars at night, the leaves in the fall, the squirrels racing among the trees.  Certainly they could not have dreamed of getting a tan. This is Minnesota, after all.

Unless that was reeeeeaaal good stuff.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fiesta Time

Our annual parish festival kicked off Saturday.  During the daylight hour the grounds of our parish grammar school-  I like to call it Our Lady of Peace Through Strength, or OLOPTS-- were a maze of inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and of course the video deer-hunting games courtesy of the DNR.  (OLOPTS kids excel at these.)

Luckily for Desperate there was also a fully functioning beer tent.  So she and like-minded adults could sit in the shade and enjoy adult beverages while little kids with cotton candy sticking to their teeth ran around screaming in the sun.  Ah, restfulness.

And shade.  Shade is important.  Last year the school began a long-planned expansion project that involved tearing down a couple of neighboring properties and leveling a new playing field.  This is great for the kids, but bad for the carpool moms as it eliminated any shade we had while waiting for our children.  This might not sound like much to any of you Mediterranean types out there, but to persons of the Irish persuasion this means trouble.  It means carrying sunblock in the car, just in case you get parked too far down the line.  It means skulking in the shadows, wherever you can find them.  You start to feel real sympathy for vampires.

One of the perks of attending the parish festival is that eventually four o'clock rolls around and you find yourself sitting across the street from the church.  Naturally you say to yourself, Hey, it's four o'clock,  I'm here, why not  hit the confessional?  I mean, it's not like I'm going to go down the inflatable slide again.  Why not take advantage of the situation?

These are the thoughts that crossed my mind as I lingered in the Beer Tent.

Now, there were two ways of looking at this situation.  One, I was there;  two, it was four o'clock;  and three, a Miller or two goes a long way towards breaking down the inhibitions of vanity and the pre-confession jitters one may be subject to.

So far that's a vote for "Go to confession."

The other way of looking at it, of course, is hearing oneself saying, "Bless me Father for I have sinned, I don't know how long it's been since my last confession but I just had a couple of beers and I'm feeling, oh I don't know, expansive..."

And that's a vote for "stay where you are."

I don't think I'll say which way I voted.   I'll just say I enjoyed the Festival and my buddies in the beer tent, and it was nice and cool inside the church, too.

And such lovely shade.