"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, June 28, 2009

As The Tan Lines Fade...

And the nail polish peels...and my face breaks out from stress...That's when it is officially official. Yup.

I've been back from my Cincy vacay for one week.

Happens every time. Like Cinderella at midnight. Poof! Turned back into a pumpkin. A pumpkin called "Reality."

That's just what happens after vacay, no matter where you go, or who you are...at some point - be it one week, two weeks, three weeks -- you have to get back to your real life, your regular routine.

The emotionally disturbed jackrat terrier...the cat that projectile erps her food everytime she eats...the 16-year-old son who somehow always forgets how to tell time while out on a date...the yard that needs mowed...the laundry that needs washed, and folded AND put away...bills to pay...blah, blah, blah...

It's not NEARLY as bad, though, as it was two years ago when I returned from Cincy, and for that I am thankful. Dear God, I re-read those blog posts and I think, "Geezle, Ann, we get it. You miss Cincy. You miss your Cincy friends. The Cincy 'life'. Get a grip, girl!"

Bottom line is, Cincy is not my life. THIS is my life. And despite my whining of late, it's a good life. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a good paying job with bennies, have yet to miss a meal, and most of all, I have wonderful friends and family HERE, just like in Cincy.

I am fortunate beyond belief.

My longtime friend Nancy H. once gave me a pillow she made that says, "If friends were money, you'd be the richest person in Coon Rapids."

Thanks, again, Nance, for that pillow. Sometimes, I lose sight of that message. I am very blessed with friends, indeed. Here. There. Everywhere I have lived. Friends have always been my extended-and-then-some family.

It is, as the saying goes, a wonderful life.

Truth is, everybody has to come back from vacay. You can only vacate your real life for so long...well, yes, OK...Thelma and Louise decided to NOT come back from what was supposed to be their weekend vacay at a fishing cabin. But the whole cliff thing? Ouch. Not a good idea...

Today is a family dinner out at the farm. John's brother, Tom, and his wife, Barb, and her mother will be here for a few days as they move Barb's mom from Rockford, IL to Prescott, AZ. Hence, a big Kult Family Dinner is the plan for today...

We've got fresh green beans and peas and potatoes from John's garden, homemade ice cream, ChiChi's Margaritas...pulled pork sandwiches, homemade carrot cake...the weather is GREAT!.

I think the late, great John Denver said it best:

"Hey, it's good to be back home again. Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend. And hey, it's good to be back home again..."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ed. Farrah. MJ. And Dave.


Was still trying to get my head around the horrible, senseless murder of Applington-Parkersburg (IA) Coach Ed thomas (gunned down by a former player in the high school weight room earlier this week) when I learned of Farrah Fawcett's passing from anal cancer. I was quietly contemplating Farrah's demise when Daniel hits me with, "Michael Jackson just died."

What? WHAT? Surely he was mistaken...

Turned to CNN, and there it was...

Only at that time, they were saying that he was hospitalized....cardiac arrest... in a coma...

Obviously, didn't look good for the King of Pop, but maybe, just maybe...

Despite my friend Ned's insistance that MJ was, indeed, dead, I refused to believe it...until CNN reported that the LA Times confirmed it.

Michael Jackson. Dead at 50.

Many an afternoon during my early adolescence I spent dancing in front of our huge living room mirror to The Jackson Five's "ABC". Michael was so cute...what a voice! What moves for a kid!
ABC, 1,2,3 baby, you and me...

Many a Saturday night during my post-college Disco Diva days I spent dancing to MJ's "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough". I never really knew the words, but man, could I dance to it...

"Billy Jean" was a fave as well. "Thriller" not so much. Yes, I am probably the only one in the world who wasn't thrilled with "Thriller".

And then poor MJ just plain went weird and I have spent the last many years just feeling sorry for the guy...

And now he's dead. The King of Pop, a music icon from my youth, gone. Just like that.

Athough, it wasn't really "just like that." MJ was not on a healthy road for a very long time. Mentally or physically. Damn those addictive prescription meds. There is some pain that pills just can't take away...

And let's not forget poor Farrah -- though once MJ's demise hit the airwaves, her death from anal cancer but hours before was truly treated like "oh, yeah...and in other news..."

Many a male college student in my co-ed dorm during my junior year at Ohio University had that famous Farrah poster slapped up on their wall...good ol' Kent Whatshisname was one of them...I can still see that poster. I had my picture taken in front of it -- my hair a mess, my face slathered in zit cream, clowning some kind of flashy "Farrah Wannabe" smile...

A few years later, after I was married, my hubby secretly dug out that picture from the Ann Heise Photo Album Collection and ran that picture in the Carroll Daily Times Herald for my 25th birthday...

What young woman back in the day didn't wish she had Farrah's face, hair and smile? Farrah was the beginning of Big Hair. And she was romantically involved for 17 years with one of my earliest Hollywood crushes...Ryan O'Neal. Love Story.

Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry.

OK, so THAT'S a crock of crap...but I digress...

As sad as the deaths of Farrah and MJ are, the worst news this past week was that of the senseless murder of longtime Applington-Parkersburg (IA) High School Football Coach Ed Thomas...beloved coach and family man who was gunned down by a former player in the high school weight room.

A couple thousand of Thomas' grieving family, friends and former football players gathered for a candlelight vigil the night of his murder...

This is small town Iowa, folks. This isn't supposed to happen here. Even though we all know it can and it does. And it never makes sense. Anywhere.

I am also saddened this week by the news of the death of my grocery store pal, Dave M., 50, who had a heart attack after mowing the lawn. He used to scare me, frankly. Worked construction. Kind of a gruff, tough guy. Until I started joking around with him as I checked and bagged his groceries back when I worked at The Fro (our local grocery store). He had a great sense of humor. Dave led a tough life, but was looking forward to a better, brighter future. Alas, that future was cut short.

Last time I saw Dave was before I left for Cincy...was getting a few things at The Fro...had not seen Dave for a long time...

"Well, looked who the cat dragged in," I joked. He smiled and asked how I'd been doing...

And just like that, he's gone.

Ed. Farrah, MJ. And Dave.

May each rest in peace.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

The thing is, growing up, I didn't have much of a home in the traditional sense.

I don't have a lot of warm and fuzzy memories of living at 7822 Buckeye Crescent. My fondest memories are of times spent with friends, of living vicariously through observing/participating in memory-making activities at their homes.

I have no physical house to go home to in Cincy anymore...hence, just the term "going home" takes on a whole different meaning for me.

It's all about the people. My historical friends. The folks who knew me when. The girls I grew up with. Their moms. Their dads. Their brothers and sisters.

They are my home. Their faces, their smiles, their laughs, their embraces, are the relaxing front porch and the cozy kitchen that I miss, that I long for, that I "come home" to.

As my other Cincy friends who now live elsewhere will tell you, there is also a longing for the traditional Cincy "delicacies", if you will...Skyline Chili, Graeter's Ice Cream, White Castle sliders, Frisch's tartar sauce...treats that you just can't anywhere else...foods that, like the songs of my youth, evoke profound and emotionally palatable memories...

I have no memories of my mother preparing my fave foods, or sending me college survival kits consisting of dozens of her best homemade cookies since she died when I was in junior high. So for me, that first taste of a Skyline cheese coney or of Frisch's tartar sauce on a french fry is like sitting down once more to a plate of a mother's homemade meatloaf.

There is nothing else like it in the world. Not for me, anyway. I savor every bite. I close my eyes. I moan. It's weird. But I can't help myself.

This trip home, I have had the honor of being part of a very special wedding...

I have known Michelle Ludy -- now Michelle Schneider -- since she was a baby, really...I have -- albeit via mostly long distance -- watched Michelle, her older brother Chris, and their younger sister (my nakesake) Natalie Ann, grow up seemingly overnight. Thanks to the unending generosity of Linda and her husband, Michael, I have been able to fly home to Cincy here and there over the past many years and observe/participate in some of their family's Kodak moments.

I gotta tell ya, Michelle was the most stunning, beautiful bride I have ever seen.

"You're not as talkative as usual," Linda's dad, Marvin, said to me during the post-wedding brunch this morning.

Indeed, unlike most trips to Cincy where I am akin to a non-stop Chatty Cathy on constant caffeine, I am, I admit, noticeably -- and uncharacteristically -- more quiet than usual. Contemplative, perhaps. Sedate, one might even say.

Sure, I danced like a wild woman at the reception when the DJ played Love Shack. But for the most part, I just sat and watched and breathed it all in...beautiful Michelle and the handsome love of her life, Eric, as they celebrated their perfect wedding day...

Youth. Love. Life. Death. Friendship.

I thought about how 33 years ago I sat and watched Linda and Mike celebrate their perfect wedding day, and how I kept telling Linda's mom, Ruby, what a beautiful, stunning bride Linda was...

I thought about what a bittersweet occasion Michelle's wedding day was for the family after Ruby's passing last fall, and after Linda's brother, Randy's passing several years ago.

Yes, the whole Circle of Life thing was swirling about my brain...the tears began to well for the 50th time that day...

Of course, I had to chuckle a bit as well as I remembered my antics after Linda's reception back in the day...how, after having one too many cocktails at their reception, I threw up in my friend's Cindy's mother's car on the way home, and how my friends not only took the car but ME to the local carwash...yep...they sprayed me down with the power washer, good dress, high heels and all...

I also remembered how, after my friends dropped me off after the car wash episode, I had to sheeplishly slink past my friend Holly's dad (I was living with Holly and her family that summer) trying to act nonchalant...as if walking in soaking wet after a wedding reception was the norm...

I then thought about how absolutely awesome it is that Holly and Linda and I are still friends after all these many years and across the many miles that separate us...how absolutely miraculous it is that, even after all the trials and tribulations of our individual lives, we were still laughing and singing and dancing the night away at Linda's daughter's wedding...

And now, the rest of my week at home looms ahead...

So many people I want and need to see, so little time.

So many memories. So many emotions.

It's great to be home. Again.

Dorothy was right.

There is no place like home.

And you CAN go home again.

It just gets harder and harder to leave each time...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

If You Knew Sushi...

Like I know sushi...


California Roll.


Vegas Roll.

Not just pretty words, my friends.

I went to a sushi bar in Uptown Minneapolis for the first time ever in my life. Tonight.

Me. Liz. Sis.

Stylin. Oh, yeah.

Sushi! Yum!

Who knew that raw fish and soy bean pods could be so freaking tasty!

Certainly not me!

My idea of heaven: The massage chair from Oceans Spa and Nail salon planted smack dab in the middle of Sushi Tango... a Li'l Flirtin Prairie martini ( Prairie Vodka, Prosecco, and Pineapple Juice) in one hand, a ticket to the Brave New Workshop's "How To Make Love To A Minnesotan" in the other.

OMG! Love those soy bean pods! Ate rolls of sushi! Hailed a cab! A glass or two of pinot grigio. Front row side seats at BNW. Coffee pots! "Doesn't amount to a hill of beans!"

(Sherri, my cheeks hurt -- where are you? You should be HERE!)

"If they can do it in Iowa, why, oh, why, can't we do it HERE?"

Punking Kulty.

From a sushi bar?

Peru A Ruby. Perfect color. No more mauve.

Caterpillar. No caterpillars were harmed in the making of this sushi roll. Promise. Yum!

Big hair is out. Who knew?

"This IS oomph, 2009, Auntie Ann."

Bangs? Me?

"At a time when the world financial markets are in turmoil, North Korea is launching missiles, and Britney Spears is once again on tour, people look for comfort in the familiar. And what is familiar to everyone? The answer" being driven completey insane by relationships."

So the 40-something gal in the massage chair next to me was giddy over her old college boyfriend "friending" her on Facebook.

"Beware old acquaintences bearing Facebook greetings," I offered, with a wink.

OMG. BNW is the BEST!

"In the midst of the chaos that has gripped the world, people have distracted themselves by laughing at the more contained, personal chaos of trying to co-exist with another human being. It seems that everyone can relate to the utter despair, frustration, rage and occasional nausea that are inflicted upon us by the people we love."

Dr. Fireman. Oh, yeah! Pots and Pans cycle.


God, I love my sis and my niece. I love Minneapolis.

Goodbye Uptown. Hello Mill District!

It's all good! It's all good!