Monday, November 23, 2009

Leaves and more leaves

Back in the days of yore, when I was a married woman, I never worried about leaves. Somehow, some way, they just disappeared year after year. The beautiful oak trees in my yard bloomed in the spring and shaded my home in the summer and the leaves magically disappeared in the fall. I guess I knew they fell. I knew that logically they fell. I just never really, really thought about it.

Those days are over. Now my aching back and the dozens of bags of leaves that line my driveway every single week are proof that the leaves don't rake or bag themselves. I've recruited my brother and even paid him, but it doesn't stop the leaves. My son has helped. Even my daughter has bagged leaves. Still they come.

Last week, my brother brought his super duper leaf blower to my house (mine died this year of course) and blew the leaves into amazingly neat piles. There is actually a method and a science to leaf blowing. Now the piles await. No one wants to bag leaves.

The point here is that this is probably the absolutely the one and only thing I miss about being married. Not having to worry about those stupid leaves. I do miss that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Stepdad Has Cancer?

My stepdad, hands down, is the toughest person I know. He's 74 years old, but he's not really. He seems so so much younger. If you need something fixed, a reason to laugh or someone to take care of you (or someone else) ... he's the guy to call. He's also one of the most entertaining people you could ever meet ... seriously mesmerizing. He could tell a story about taking his shoe off and you might laugh 'til you cry. He's got stories from his childhood about his brothers, his dad, his mom, his classmates and his Army buddies. His dad was a tough old bird who just made him tougher so some of his stories make you want to cry because there are children in this world that do, and did, have a rough go of it. My son wants to write a book about my stepdad and somebody should because his story needs to be told. Actually, his stories need to be told. Maybe occasionally I will tell some of them here.

But today, I just want to say that he has lung cancer. About eight weeks after he had open heart surgery, he had lung surgery to remove a cancerous portion of his lung. It looks good like they may have gotten it all, but now he is suffering in severe pain because of a collapsed lung, an air bubble and other complications. He also is going through chemo and radiation. I haven't seen him in several months, and I remember the last time I saw him before his surgery. He was out walking around his neighborhood ... shirtless and tanned with a wide-brimmed hat on ... looking healthy and happy, and he said he was ready. He just wanted that cancer "out." I know he is now pale, sickly and has lost 45 pounds. I know he is in pain and suffering and it will be hard at Thanksgiving to see him and not worry. However, he is strong. I am anxious for one year from now when this is behind him and he is healthy and telling this story to people and we're rolling on the floor because he's actually making it hilarious.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Daughter Doesn't Listen To Me

I was a journalism major in college. I wanted to move to NYC after college, work for Cosmopolitan magazine, run with the beautiful people (I wouldn't fit in mind you, but maybe I would just kinda know them) and just live on the edge. But life gets in the way, and I didn't have any money so I took a job as a secretary at an advertising agency in Little Rock, Arkansas, got married, had a baby and there you have it. The only thing I did do that was even remotely a part of my dream was visit New York City (and that was only recently).

Now, I've never, not once, advised my daughter to be a journalism major, but that is exactly what she wants to do. She's on the school newspaper staff this year during her junior year. She kind of has a plan for her life. She has a deep love, and an unbelieveable knowledge of music far and wide from Dylan to Adam Lambert ... she knows about them all. It's really amazing and I am not just saying that, she really has a gift. She also is a talented writer, really creative. Her dream is to combine both of her loves and work, some day, for Rolling Stone magazine .... or something like that. She has a plan. She's looking for the right college with the right program and the right internship. No, I'm not helping her. She's on her own because it's really not my dream for her, it's her dream for her.

When she first joined the newspaper staff, I thought she should join the yearbook staff. No. When she joined the newspaper staff (first year), she told me she wanted to ask her teacher if she could have a music column (not many, if any, students get a column of their own) and I gave her my really brilliant motherly advice, "Don't rock the boat. Do as your told. Work hard and good things will come your way. Blah blah blah." Well, guess what. She didn't listen to me. She went straight to her teacher and told her what she wanted to do, pitched her column idea ... and now she has a column all her own called "For the Record" about classic rock musicians. And it's good.

I should know that you never get anywhere in this world by playing it safe. The most successful people take chances. They put themselves out there. They usually are risk takers. I think she's going to do just fine.

Read her column "For the Record" at

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where is the best Margarita?

I don't know, but I'm on a mission to find out. For many years, I didn't drink a drop. I don't want to go into the whys of that, but it's not because I am an alcoholic or anything like that. Let's just say I made a choice. Now, I've made a different choice, and I choose to drink occasionally. And, the one drink I really like is the Margarita (we'll talk about wine in a different blog). I've decided to try to find the best Margarita no matter where I go. So, I'ved tried Margaritas on the West Coast including San Diego and Seattle, and I've tried them on the East Coast including Boston. I've even tried a Margarita in Topeka, Kansas. So far, the best Margarita is at Senior Tequila in Little Rock. Having said that, I'm open to suggestions on where to find the best Margarita in the United States. I'm going to keep looking.