"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Remember that old TV show, "This Is Your Life"?

Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity was lured by some ruse to a location near the TV studio. The celebrity was then surprised with the news that he was to be the featured guest, and he was escorted into the studio where, one by one, people significant in the guest's life were brought out to offer anecdotes. At the end of the show family members and friends would gather 'round the guest who was then given a variety of gifts.


I've come up with my own reality-TV show rendition of This Is Your Life...I call it, "My Life In Totes", and it goes something like this:

Each weekend, an unsuspecting middle-aged woman in the throes of a menopausal, pre-empty nest "where-the-hell-did-my-life-go" crisis, is lured by some ruse down into her unfinished -- and very dusty -- basement. She is then surprised -- aghast, really -- to discover that every person who ever wrote her a letter, sent her a birthday or Christmas card, thank-you note, a picture, throughout her life, or is mentioned in one of a gazillion of her old diaries and half-finished journals, has been invited as a special guest to help her clean said unfinished and dusty basement.

Next, the woman is escorted by the throng of special guests into the mildew-scented catch-all room of the basement, a room lined wall-to-wall with plastic totes containing at least 41 years' worth of the aforementioned birthday and Christmas cards, thank-you notes, diaries and journals that the woman --much to her husband's chagrin -- just could not part with o'er these many decades.

As the woman sorts through the mementos of her life, and re-reads each card or gazes at each old photo, the significant person who either sent the card or is shown in the photo, steps forward and offers an amusing/heart-warming -- or possibly, depending on the diary or journal entry, embarrassing/heart-breaking-- anecdote regarding his or her relationship with the woman.

That's where "My Life In Totes" gets a little tricky, where the suspense and intrigue builds...it's all about the anecdote...since the woman never marked her totes, she has absolutely no idea if she's opening up a warm and fuzzy jaunt down memory lane or a heart-wrenchingly painful Pandora's Box. There's so many people packed in her basement, she has no clue who might step forward next or what kind of tale might be told...

After each anecdote shared, the woman -- tho' it is mighty difficult for her to part with the past -- sticks the accompanying card/picture, or pages of the diary/journal, in a nearby paper shredder, and moves on to the next card/picture, diary/journal...
By the end of the show -- providing the woman and her guests have not succumbed to moldy lung disease or whatever it is one catches from pawing through moldy papers and pictures for hours at a time -- there is either:

A) a big group hug, lots of happy tears, and the woman realizes that, truly, hers was -- and continues to be -- a wonderful life, the totes are FINALLY empty, her basement is "clean", and she is showered with gifts.


B) a terrifying scream as the middle-aged woman is overcome by a hot flash of anxiety at having to relive some parts of her life best left to the mold and mildew, and she shoos everyone out of the house, takes a cold shower, and downs a pitcher of margaritas.

One week "My Life In Totes" might be set to the tune of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends"; the next week, Joe Nichols' "Tequilla Makes Her Clothes Fall Off". Hard to say.


Let's face it...life -- in totes or out -- is pretty much a crapshoot.


"The cynics who believed

that what began in the snows of Iowa

was just an illusion were told a different story"
~Barack Obama, on his SC Victory


Thank You South Carolina!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I May Not Be Smokin' Hot, But...

I won the Smoking Gun Award at my office Christmas party tonight!

Yes, I know, Christmas was weeks ago.

But due to busy schedules and such, we just now had our office Christmas party TONIGHT. Well, last night...seeing as I am blogging at 2:43 a.m.

Anyway! My point - and I do have one -- is that I won! Not only a certificate, but like $40 in Coon Bucks, and a couple of gift certificates to Rancho Grande -- THE most popular Mexican Restaurant in Carroll, Iowa...and all because I happened to guess correctly that Hustling Hailey strangled Ace High at the Paramount Casino...

See, we had a murder mystery dinner deal as our Christmas party theme...what a blast! Of course, I was too shy to portray a character, but thanks to my still-keen reporter's sixth sense, I just KNEW Hustling Hailey (alias B. Dudley) had to have killed Ace High (alias Jason L) because poor Ace was strangled...and Hailey and my good pal Lucy Legs (nice feather) were the only gals wearing feather boas...obvious -- and convenient -- strangling "tools" -- and Hailey was also wearing pearls....

Actually, truth be told, I originally thought it was Elvis (alias Tommy M) but he really didn't have a reason to kill Ace High..

Anyway....Lucy Legs really had no reason to kill Ace, either...Lucy (alias Kristin) had no real reason to want Ace dead...but ol' Hailey....well, she'd do anything for money...

Anyway... a good time was had by all. A delicious meal prepared and served by my hair stylist, Kristi, and her mom and pop...lots of laughs and a bit of karaoke...I really feel like one of the gang now at my new job.

It has been a great day....

My son and his two speech teams earned 1s at todays groups speech contests in Denison, Iowa -- I could not be prouder....they worked so hard...

OK, so my man Obama did not win Nevada... there is still hope...

Life, I love you. All is groovy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

God and Rascal Flatts

So how was your week?

As for my week...well, color me frazzled.


"Like a candle in a hurricane"...


And then God spoke to me. Through Rascal Flatts. OK, through a song on the radio by Rascal Flatts.

Yes, I believe God speaks to each of us wherever we are. This afternoon, he spoke to me while I was sitting in the car, moping, staring out at the dismal day, waiting for John after work. And then on came this great song by Rascal Flatts...and it strengthened me...

I can't believe I've only just heard of it...

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright
You'll be alright

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause it's all you can take

On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough

You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand
Then you stand

Life's like a novel with the end ripped out
The edge of a canyon with only one way down
Take what you're given before its gone
Start holding on, keep holding on

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause it's all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough

You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
Then you stand (then you stand)
Yea, then you stand (then you stand)

Everytime you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place, yea

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause it's all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough

You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand (then you stand)

Then you stand (then you stand)

Yea, then you stand (then you stand)
Yea (then you stand)

Friday, January 04, 2008


Hope soars!

I am still pinching myself...

Barack Obama declared Thursday night's Iowa's Democratic caucus winner! And by a handy little amount, I might add.

38, 30, 29...

No, those aren't my measurements...those are the three most glorious numbers in the world , music to many an American's ear this a.m....caucus percentages for Obama, Edwards and Clinton, respectively.

So much for Miss Inevitability in the Tall Corn State...can you believe it? Obama AND Edwards beat the Clinton Machine last night...

Well, like the song from The Music Man goes:

"Oh, there's nothing halfwayAbout the Iowa way to treat you, when we treat you,which we may not do at all. There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude we've never been without that we recall."

In other words, don't tell US who's gonna win our caucuses. We'll make that decision ourselves, thank you very much."

I am so proud to have been one of the first-time Iowa caucus-goers who helped push Obama over the top...

And I must admit, it was rather exciting down at ye ol' municipal building as folks poured in to gather in precinct preference groups for their candidate-of-choice. One of the biggest -- if not THE biggest -- turnouts here in ages, I understand. About 121 -- and folks of all ages, I might note! Just think...350,000 Democrats across the state in all...yowsa!

I gotta tell ya that my heart sank just a bit when John and I first walked in and the Edwards and Clinton camps' chairs were filling up rather quickly, and the Obama camp looked a little bare.

Hillary's gang had red and blue tablecloths, matching balloons and a spread of yummy-looking food...we had an empty ice cream bucket full of store-bought chocolate chip cookies, and later, a plate of homemade treats (thank you, Diane, darling) and a plastic pitcher of water...

"They probably paid with those balloons with PAC money," I quipped.

Ba-da bump.

But as 6:30 p.m. rolled into 7 and the caucus doors closed, the Obama camp was having to make room for more chairs. We had senior citizens, mid-lifers, 30-Somethings, high school seniors -- and even a few babies...we had teachers, school administrators, and we even convinced one undecided local pastor to join our group, to support our candidate. All in all, we had 29 folks.

Well, at first count we had 30, but one young high school gentleman -- and he knows who he is -- defected to the Edwards camp...ahem.

Final count -- Edwards 60, Clinton 32, and Obama 29.

So we didn't "win" our precinct exactly...but that wasn't really a surprise. I kinda figured, demographics here what they are, that Edwards would be the more favored candidate.

And I guess that's what is so miraculous, so invigorating, about Obama's big win here in Iowa. To borrow a quote from one of the Des Moines Register blogs this a.m.:

"Barack Obama's stirring victory in Iowa -- down home, folksy, farm-fed, Midwestern and 92 percent white Iowa -- says a lot about America, and also about the current mindset of the American voter. Because tonight voters decided that they didn't want to look back. They wanted to look into the future, as if a country exhausted by the last seven years wanted to recapture its youth." ~ Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post"

Amen, Arianna!

Another interesting -- and surprise -- outcome of last night's caucus...guess who's going to the county democratic convention in March? Uh-huh. Me and my hubby. My hubby, I might add, that is a once-but-no-longer Republican. Yup. Whodathunk? We've been cancelling each other out at the polls for 27 years...

See, there really is Hope. Hope not only floats, it soars!


Thursday, January 03, 2008



Time for the Iowa Cacuses!

Today is THE day!

Right now, as I blog, Katie Couric is somewhere in Des Moines....and maybe my old college pal (whom I never met, but recall seeing around the OU campus from time to time) Matt Lauer is lurking about our capitol city as well. And Harry Smith. And the list goes on.

Funny, but you can hardly PAY people to come to Iowa most days -- I believe only two of my die-hard cronies have made the trek in the 20-plus years I've survived, er, lived here. But come an important presidential caucus and VOILA!

The state is crawling with media types and, of course, the ever-stumping presidential hopefuls themselves.

I hate to admit this, but for all the years I've lived in Iowa, this will be my very first caucus. From what I understand, we Democrats stand with others who support our preferred candidate, and those whose candidate doesn't get 15% of the total crowd in their corner, as it were, are not considered to be viable candidates. So then those of us whose candidates are viable try to lure, er, convince the others to support our candidates. Then what happens after that I don't know...it has something to do with percentages and delegates and yada, yada, yada.

I'm really just going to make my voice heard as best it can be...

And just who am I caucusing for, you ask.

Obama, baby.

He knew better than to support the war in the first place.

More later.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

There's Only One Thing More Depressing Than Cleaning The Basement on New Year's Eve...

And that is watching poor, old Dick Clark on his New Year's Rockin' Eve show.


Did you happen to see him?

I mean I admire the guy for coming back to co-host the celebratory glittery-ball-dropping-on-Times-Square show after his stroke a few years' back...after all, he was a New Year's Eve staple for so many, many years.

But, frankly -- and with all due respect to the elderly and ailing TV icon -- at this point, the words "Dick Clark" and "rockin' New Year's Eve" (emphasis on rockin') really don't jive. It's sort of like when John and I put my old KC and The Sunshine Band album on my stereo and attempt to do the bump to "Get Down Tonight" in the middle of the living room, and Daniel just shudders and hides in his room.

Know what I mean? It's like when you were a kid and you saw your parents kiss. Remember how they just seemed to be too darn old to still be trying to act so young?

In all honesty, I found it absolutely heartbreaking and downright depressing to watch...and listening to Mr. Clark slur his words and, at one point, cough and hack as he tried to wish everyone a Happy New Year...well, it was just too much for this ol' gal.

I had to turn it off.

Geeze, I remember all those years watching Dick Clark with awesome wonder...how did he manage to stay looking so young? And each New Year's Eve, his loving wife would come out and give him a kiss, and my friends and I would literally cackle over how utterly old she looked next to her seemingly ageless husband.

The poor guy...

Now don't get me wrong...I can take a lot of depressing entertainment with the best of them. I mean, I'm the gal who would never dream of missing the annual "Hail and Farewell" segment of CBS Sunday Morning...you know, the tribute (always set to hauntingly sorrowful music and commentary) -- to all the famous people who died during the old year and will no longer be with us in the new.

(And as such, I must note here that I was more than a little disappointed that they did not include the recently late Dan Fogelberg in this year's tribute....ahem...however, they ended the tribute with a clip of the late Robert Goulett singing "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot, and that was more than enough to open the floodgate of tears, thank you very much.)

Or give me a good old fashioned always-without-a-doubt-guaranteed-to-yank-the-tears-right-outta-ya Hallmark Movie any time, day or night. I'm there, I'm cryin'...and the more tears the better.

But there was just something so absolutely and heart-wrenchingly pathetic about seeing Dick Clark on TV last night that even I -- Miss Eternal Empath and quintessential poster child for the morosely and incurably sensitive (yet wouldn't have it any other way) types -- could not take.

I imagine my husband might have felt that very same thing when I went through my Madonna Wanna-Be stage in my late 20s...it took him years but he finally confessed -- it made him squeamish. Uncomfortable.

In other words, it just wasn't right. But John and all my friends, bless their hearts, humored me my Madonna stage-- fingerless lace gloves, bright red lipstick, giant hair bows, stretch pants, dangly earrings and all.

And maybe that's what bothered me the most...what if the new, younger and truly rockin' New Year's Rockin Eve hosts and hostesses that have replaced Dick Clark are just humoring him? Like, what if they are thinkin', "Would somebody PLEASE give this ol' guy the hook? Let's cut to a commerical, quick!" And that made me sad. Too sad.

I guess I just prefer to think of Dick Clark as the young, handsome and truly groovin' Dick Clark from his American Bandstand days from back in the day.

And maybe, just maybe, that's how I prefer to remember myself -- young and groovin' , dressin' like Madonna and still doin' the bump...not old and tired, and pawing through moldy totes on New Year's Eve.


Sometimes the truth, if you can stand to face it, really does hurt.