"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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009


That has been my motto since, well, since Cindy Lauper first came out with her hit song back in the 80s.

It struck a deep chord within me,  summed up my attitude toward how I wanted to live my life. How else to explain my obsession with class reunions, my love of laughter, my need to connect with friends and, well, have fun?

I come from a long line of fun-loving women, as evidenced by the picture posted here -- a glimpse of a day long ago in the life of my dear, departed Grandma Danna (she's the one in the middle in the stylin' yellow hat). I believe she and her pals at the assisted living facility where she resided are enjoying Kentucky Derby Day in this photo. They donned their special Derby Day hats on their way to the recreation room, and had a few cocktails while watching the race on TV.

I have oodles of old black and white pictures of my mom at class reunions and dances and various and sundry get togethers with her smiling, laughing friends. My sister is a big fan of dressing up in ornate costumes for Halloween. 

As for me, fun is hanging out with my girlfriends who have known me forever and love me anyway, laughing so hard your cheeks hurt. I'm up for a slumber part any time, at any age.

Fun for me is deciding on the spur of the moment to take off for Barnes and Noble in Des Moines on a weeknight, grabbing my favorite cuppa Starbucks, and perusing the shelves for hours...not necessarily buying anything.

Fun is making plans for a mini-class reunion in between official reunion years because, well, just because it's a good excuse to chuckle over old times with classmates I don't get to see every day since I live 750 (freaking) miles from my hometown. 

"Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide them away from the rest of the world. I want to be the one who walks in the sun!  Oh, girls, they wanna have fun. Girls just wanna have fun."

(Sherri, if you are reading this, you KNOW what I'm talkin' about. Dave and John aren't exactly  HIDING us away from the rest of the world, but somedays...)

Fun for me is blasting my favorite tunes from the CD player in my sister's convertible on a warm fall day on our way to visit my niece, Liz,  in Uptown, MN. It's drinking margaritas atop Stella's in Uptown, or having a pretty blue raspberry martini with my work pals at the Old School Pub in Coon Rapids after a long week's work.

Fun is spontaneous.

But fun is also planning getaways down the road -- like my upcoming trip to Cincinnati...the anticipation alone as the day for my departure draws near can carry me high above the fluffy white clouds of happiness for weeks!

"I come home in the morning light, my mother says when you gonna live your life right..."

Of course, as one gets older, coming home in the morning light isn't always a wise option. So fun needs to be had earlier...perhaps a night of Bunco or Majong...or just hanging out on a friend's front porch and gabbing...

And what about Facebook? FUN!

"What in the world do you DO for hours at a time on Facebook," John asked me the other night.

"I talk to people, mostly, take stupid quizzes that tell me what TV mom I am, and post old pictures of friends," I said.

It don't get any better than that, boyfriend. 

John, of course, is not the only one one in my life who does not understand my fascination with FB. Unless you have lived in a small Iowa town for nearly 20 years, and survived a couple of soul-killing winters, spending hours ad nauseam on FB  may be hard to fathom.

It's all about connecting. On a daily basis. Laughing...Sharing...seizing the day as it presents itself. 

My Grandma Danna would be proud.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Normal Is Just A Setting On the Dryer

So Daniel says to me, he says, his voice dripping with aggravation, "Why can't you be a normal mom and not be on Facebook?" 

Normal? Moi?  

Daniel,  honey, I don't know how to break this to you at the tender age of 16, but...

Your Mumsy Dearest  has been called a lot of things over the long and winding course of her life -- colorful, obsessive, over-the-top, crazy, silly, intense, overly sensitive, obsessive, stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated, obsessive, moody, talkative, spunky, bubbly, hormonally challenged, obsessive -- but I've rarely, if ever, been described as normal.  

Especially when it comes to being a mom.

"You're no June Cleaver!" your father proclaimed many moons ago in a bit of a sarcastic huff.

(Oooh. Snap.)

I say,  thank God I'm not. 

That 50s TV mom icon had to be a closet drinker otherwise she would not have been dusting the tops of her doorways and polishing the chrome on her stove while wearing a dress, heels and pearls. That wasn't and isn't the norm. At least not for the moms I chillax with.

However, my darling son, when it comes to Facebook, more and more folks my age and even older are hopping on the FB train as a fun, quick, easy way to stay in touch with family, and reconnect with long lost friends and other interesting acquaintances. (No, Daniel, I did not stalk 70s rock icon Peter Frampton...I merely caused him an outpouring of FB friend requests. There's a difference.)

My point -- and I do have one -- is that although I may seem to you to be a bit too long in the tooth to be taking FB quizzes , updating my status, adding songs to my Lyrics Domain, and chatting on line with my peeps, vying with their teenage kids for FB time on the computer is actually becoming more and more the norm for seemingly old-fart rents like me.

I know...it was a lot easier - and certainly less painful --  when I was merely scolding you for spending too much time on Facebook and not pushing you out of your computer chair in my nightly frenzied rush to sign in.  And I realize it seems just a tad hypocritical that I did all that scolding only to turn around and practically live on FB myself.

Well, Daniel, I am going to share with you the same insightful 1960s advice my parents once  shared with me when I caught them talking out both sides of their mouths:

Do as I say, not as I do.

(That also comes in as a handy parental axiom for a mom such as myself who came of age in the 70s...but I digress, and please don't ask me to explain...)

Anyway, honey, I know it hasn't been easy living with a colorful, obsessive, over-the-top, crazy, silly, intense, overly sensitive, obsessive, stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated, obsessive, moody, talkative, spunky, bubbly, hormonally challenged, obsessive mom. 

I remember how you cringed when I played zany Madam Zelda the Fortune Teller at your first PTO spring carnival back in grade school. And then, of course, there was the weekend I out-of-the-blue hopped that bus to Washington, DC, to protest the war in Iraq, and then later dragged you to that anti-war war prayer vigil at the Carroll County courthouse.  You really took to that. And let's not forget how you bemoaned (while I swooned over) my giant Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow poster I once plastered across the wall of our then computer room.  And now, heavens to Betsy, I'm on freaking Facebook?  That's your teenage turf. Or so you thought. 

It's gotta be tough. 

But the good news is, you are not alone. Daniel, there are lots of moms and dads out there in FB land these days. Maybe they're not all taking "What's Your Barbie Doll Name" or "What Is My Easter Bunny Name" quizzes and posting the results on their FB wall, or sending Worthless Gifts For Newsprint Veterans" to their old newsroom pals. But they are out there on FB every day.

 Trust me. It's OK.

What's "normal" anyway, but just a setting on the dryer?

Hey, it could be worse. 

I could chaperone your prom someday...

You know how this aging disco diva still loves to bust a move...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The New Phone Books Are Here!


The new Raccoon Valley Regional Phone Book has arrived!

I am somebody! (The Jerk, Steve Martin, 1980)

Sadly, with the onset of Google, and Whitepages.com and Facebook -- my beloved FB -- the arrival of the new phonebook just isn't the rush that it used to be.


It's like everything else that has gone the way of McInformation -- we gotta know it NOW. And we CAN know it now.

We leave nothing to chance, nothing to surprise.

Thanks to ultra sound, we know the sex of our unborn child months before he or she arrives.

Thanks to caller ID, we always know EXACTLY who is calling us at any given time.

We pick and choose who we talk to...we know what color to pain the baby's room before he or she is fully developed in the womb.

So much for the serendipitous nature of life...we have pretty much killed that off.

Does anyone even use a phonebook anymore? Landlines are going by the wayside daily...

Well, just out of a sense of tradition,I looked up my name and celebrated the fact that I, indeed, am in the new phonebook.

That's what we do in Podunk.

We celebrate the simple things...right Sherri?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

He Be Drivin' Now...

Dear God.

Daniel just left for work.  Driving our car. Driving alone.

Yes, after waiting a month from the day he turned 16, Daniel John has his driver's license.

Amazingly, I am not crumbling into pieces, or gnashing my teeth.  I've been doing THAT, actually, since the day he was born and I imagined how SOME DAY he would be getting his driver's license...

It's all over but the increased worrying.

I am surprisingly OK with it. Today. After all, he is only driving 6 blocks to work. 

The first night we allowed him to ride with a friend to a basketball game an hour and half away, I cried for three hours, certain I would never see him alive again.

Of course, I cried for three hours after we dropped him and his date off at his Homecoming dance his freshman year, too.  Drank wine and called my sister and bawled.  Oh, I knew I'd see him alive and well at the end of the evening because every moment of his evening was planned and there was plenty of adult supervision. I cried because he looked so grown up and well, you know...he's my BABY....

"Mom, you don't have to tell everybody we see now that I just got my license," he whined at me, after I regaled some friends with the story at the local hardware store this a.m..

"Mom, you don't have to take pictures before Homecoming," he whined at me prior to this year's gala event. (And no, I did not cry this year, thank you very much....I'm growing up, too, apparently.) I am sure he was just worried that dear ol' mumsy might break down and wail again -- only this time it would be in front of his date...

LOL.  Poor kid. It can't be easy being my one and only child.

Good Lord.  Daniel John  got his driver's license today.

Maybe if I say it enough it will eventually sink in...

Oops.  It just did....

Chocolate martini, anyone?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Maybe He Didn't Love Our Way

If you've been counting the days till we have Peter Frampton Drink Night down at the new Old School Pub here in Coon, you might want to find something else to set your dreams upon.

Yeah, sorry to say, Peter Frampton -- it appears -- has deactivated his Facebook account. 

He is no longer one of my 50-plus friends. Nor am I one of his 2,000 FB pals.


I think I may have ruined the whole FB experience for PF. And my apologies to not only Peter, but also to those who were so excited to join The Unofficial Unauthorized Iowa Chapter of the Peter Frampton Fan Club. All four of us, or whatever.

We had high hopes of scoring some backstage passes during PF's Iowa State Fair performance slated for this August...

Alas, it looks like we are stuck in the cheap seats.

And I accept the blame.  I blogged about how Peter accepted everyone as a friend on FB, and well,, not to brag, but....

Some folks from all over the globe who apparently were Googling "Peter Frampton" for whatever reason stumbled upon my blog a few weeks ago, and well...I suspect that PF was deluged with FB friend requests...(I have this nifty way of logging where blog visitors are from...it is amazing!)


Maybe PF actually read my blog himself and decided, "That's it, Annie...bad enough you fell asleep at the OU concert back in the 70s, and now THIS? I just wanted to be a regular FB guy...but NOOOOOOOOO."

Sorry PF.

My friend, Sherri, is not to happy with me right now, either. She was groovin' on the whole "PF is my friend" thing (she is from Wisconsin, but we were letting her join the club anyway...). And Melissa -- she was crestfallen today at work when I told her of the disappointing turn of events.

"Aw, we can still have PF drink night at The Pub, can't we?" she cried.

"Of course....there, there," I consoled her. 

But I dunno...it may be too soon. The shock has not yet worn off.

(Come to find out, Melissa is a Moody Blues fan like me...so I'm thinkin', what's wrong with Justin Hayward Drink Night at The Pub? OK, so Mr. "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" is starting to look a tad long in the tooth, HOWEVER....he still has such a haunting voice...but back to PF....)

We all just have to move on, one day without PF as a friend at a time.

My nephew, Aaron, in Des Moines, however, is fine with the whole PF deactivation news.

"If I can be honest," he recently told me, "'Baby I Love Your Way' gets on my nerves. And he abuses his talk box."

I  agreed (just to keep peace in the family), but I had no freaking clue what a talk box was...slang for telephone?  PF talks too much on the telephone? What?

Come to find out its some kind of guitar device or something (hey, I know nothing of guitars...I play the comb, an occasional set of spoons, maybe, and only if I am in the mood).

So, to all Iowa and Wisconsin (and beyond) fans of PF who were sort of thinking it was pretty darn cool to see PF on their FB friend list...my sincere apologies. Diane, I hope this doesn't cause a stir in your neighborhood (they really ARE neighbors).

Yup. I  -- apparently -- nuked Peter Frampton.

There oughtta be a law...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009