Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Freak-Out

I spent Saturday night at Mom and Dad's, as usual. Mom and I were watching Today yesterday morning while I waited to use the shower, and she asked me if I thought Campbell Brown was pretty. Then she contracted into a ball and launched into a wild seizure.

She'd had seizures before, and the protocol is to just let them run their course. If an episode lasts longer than five minutes, we're to call 911. But Dad had seen her previous seizures. To him, this one looked like a stroke. Her mouth had caved in, her limbs were twisted. She was making noises that would haunt me in my sleep.

I called 911, and the EMTs arrived at the door in, like, four minutes. No kidding. They were both so nice I felt sorry for them having to talk to me and my unbrushed teeth. Since I'd witnessed the seizure, I had to take the ambulance with them to the hospital. I jumped into the clothes I had on the day before and headed off, teeth still unbrushed. Thank goodness for Altoids.

Several hours at the hospital, along with blood work and a CT-Scan, revealed that my mother had indeed had a seizure (the EMTs had also suspected a stroke), and we were able to go back to my parents' for Easter dinner, where my siblings, husband, offspring, niece and nephews gathered.

We managed to have a good time, and the meal we threw together at the last minute worked out well, too (thank God for spiral-cut ham). Had to forgo the potatoes, though.

It was my sister's 40th birthday. She was completely freaked out about the seizure. I lay awake last night staring at my bedroom ceiling for hours. Didn't have the strength to pick up a paperback and read the way I usually do when I'm anxious.

I did make it to Mass yesterday, though. I thought for sure I wouldn't, but while we were hanging around the hospital, an announcement came over the PA system that a Catholic Mass would be held at 11:15 in the chapel. It worked out well because the nurse came to take my mother for her CT-Scan at about the same time.

My favorite part of the day? When Mom came out of the seizure, and the EMT worker said, "Hello, Ellen. How are you?"

My mother smiled at her and replied, "I'm fine, thank you. And how are you?"

Friday, March 25, 2005

Confessions of a Bad Catholic

The offspring were off today for Good Friday. I took them for piano lessons, and then we went to Blockbuster to rent the SpongeBob movie. Came home, made popcorn, and was subjected to the SpongeBob movie three times. The kiddies just couldn't get enough of the scene with David Hasselhoff.

Went out for dinner to El Torero in Milford, our favorite Mexican restaurant. I don't think we've been there since Mother's Day. Afterwards, we went to Costco, which I found depressing. All those people milling around for good deals on stuff they don't even want.

All I wanted was a can of coffee and dinner rolls, but all the dinner rolls were riddled with partially hydrogenated oils, as were the cookies and dessert. Dragged disappointed offspring over to the optical department, where I found a flattering pair of frames. Will have to go back and buy them when the doctor is in to give me an exam.

Peter found a solar-powered lamppost and wants to give it to me for Easter. I have been pleading for a lamppost for my birthday for two years now but kept getting gift certificates for full-body massages and facials. This year, he seems to have gotten the picture, except my birthday is not on Easter.

After Costco, we went to Trader Joe's, the Talbot's outlet, and the liquor store. I never want to go shopping again.

Tomorrow I'm off to Manhattan. I called Dad today, and he was at church, so I'm not sure what time to show up. I called my sister, and she was at church. We, however, were watching SpongeBob.

I just realized that I had beef in my burrito tonight. I don't ordinarily even eat beef, but I had a craving for it.

I am a miserable Catholic.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Stop Calling Me

This is for the annoying individual (you know who you are) who persists in phoning me to bitch for lengthy periods about:

-Women at your kid's preschool who throw birthday parties at times you find inconvenient

-your sister-in-law and how she talks behind other people's backs

-how you are not as rich as everyone thinks

-how you do more work, spend more money, and throw more parties than everybody you know, and that nobody appreciates it

-the people next door and their new granite countertops

-that the woman across the street does not take her children out to play enough

-that your husband's sole purpose in life is to smoke pot and watch TV.

My usual method for dealing with you is to check my caller ID and screen your call. Of course, then I'm subjected to the guilt-inducing message you invariably leave on my machine.

Today, however, the offspring were home from school. They picked up the phone, and I got stuck listening to you. This necessitated the use of Plan B: I launched into a filabuster about how evil food manufacturers are killing us by slipping deadly trans fats into so-called "healthy snacks" like Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars.

Got you off the phone in no time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Some Days You Want to Scream

Had a reasonably frustrating time revising the novel today, but did manage to write a query I plan to send to a national magazine. Wish me luck on that, will you?

I was just about to watch a rerun of last night's The Daily Show at 10 this morning, but Sibling One called. We were on the phone for over an hour, which pretty much torpedoed my day. Will have to watch the 7PM rerun of TDS, then. Can't miss it because Lewis Black will be on, and the only reason I subscribe to cable is to watch Lewis Black on The Daily Show.

I tried to watch The Shield last night, but I can't stay up past ten o'clock, especially when school is in session. I'm up at 6:30 with the offspring, which is completely contrary to my nature. If I had my way, I wouldn't get up until 10, which is what I do when the children are on vacation. I have no trouble at all staying up until 3 AM then.

The offspring are driving me crazy today. Child Two takes two baths a day, yet always looks like she just rolled out of a trash can. Her piano books are all over the living room floor. I refuse to move them. Child One is forever pushing the smaller one around, resulting in the latter's sudden skull-shattering shrieks.

There are days when I want to send them to bed as soon as they come home from school. This would be one of them.

I'm on Blogarama

Blogarama

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Box Tops for Cancer

Yeah, I'm happy today. U2 is spinning in the background. I just love U2, even if they did run on too long at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thingie. After ten minutes of listening to Bono pontificate, I thought I was at Mass.

I don't understand why Chrissie Hynde was the only woman inducted this year. It took Joni Mitchell a million years to get inducted, but she finally did after years of watching poseurs like Rod Stewart get waved right through the gate.

Got lots of writing done today. Continued revision of novel, sent out newsletter, helped offspring pen essay about the importance of eating healthily and exercising regularly. The kid is freaked out about the prevalence of partially hydrogenated oils in so-called healthy foods (Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Bars) and spelled out their dangers (they contribute to heart disease, cancer, and multiple sclerosis).

But she didn't take down General Mills' Box Tops for Education program, in which schools are offered monetary rewards in exchange for pressing their students' parents to buy tons of junk (like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Betty Crocker cake mixes), which are loaded with not only partially hydrogenated oils but also high fructose corn syrup, which has been blamed for the burgeoning obesity problem in this country.

Fie on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Fie on Box Tops for Education!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Lifestyles of the Drunk and Stupid

I visited Mom twice since Thursday, which was St. Patrick's Day. On my way to Grand Central Station to get the train home, I dodged weaving drunks all over Second Avenue. And no, they weren't Irish. They were middle-aged idiots of various ethnicities who called in sick from work to drink and paint themselves green.

On the train, a group of well-dressed businessmen hung out by the doors, drinking Coors Light. I really hate to see anyone drink Coors Light, especially a man. Put it this way, I wouldn't date a guy with such weeny taste in beer. Anyway, by the time we hit Greenwich, these lightweights were drunk on the stuff, if that's possible, getting loud and daring each other to do sit-ups. One fool went for it, while the rest of them stood around swinging their Silver Bullets and counting: "28, 29, 30...I can't believe it! Even his bald spot is turning red!"

The hooples got off at Fairfield, I think. When I got off the train at Bridgeport, I discovered they'd left every single beer can on the floor, along with bags of half-eaten bagels from Zaro's.

Trust me, Girls: If a guy litters, he's not for you. You'll be cleaning up after him for the rest of your life. And if he drinks Coors Light, he's a poseur and a lightweight.

Hey, I just got a tip idea for my newsletter! Want it? Go to http:///www.marrysmart.com

Monday, March 14, 2005

Brushes with Not-Quite Greatness: Matt Lauer and Raoul Felder

I'm not the kind of person who spots celebrities. My sister routinely runs into people like Billy Joel on the streets of Manhattan. She's seen Uma Thurman, and she used to spot John Kennedy Jr. on almost weekly basis when he was alive.

Until Sunday, the only famous people I ever saw in the flesh were Heather Matarazzo (of The Princess Diaries fame) and Conrad Baines from that show with Gary Coleman, Dana Plato and Todd Bridges (that's his name, right?).

But, walking down Third Avenue after my nephew's baptism at St. Vincent Ferrer on Sunday, my brother spotted Matt Lauer and his wife, Annette Roche, pushing a stroller alongside us. I would have walked right past the guy. He looked pleasant enough--but remarkably average.

Later, after the christening party, my cousins and I waited for the elevator of my parents' building to visit my mother. Who stepped out of said elevator as we hopped in but divorce attorney-to the-stars, Raoul Felder, seen recently on Extra or Access Hollywood weighing in on the Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen split. Not quite as pleasant-looking as Matt, the dude resembled a bald bear in what appeared to be (I hate to stare) a giant fur coat. I guess Raoul doesn't like the cold.

Revising this novel is taking longer than I thought it would because I just can't stop tinkering with it. I'm supposed to be just typing changes, but I keep finding things to improve.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Nudity and the PTA

Last night, Peter and I went to see Hair at the Bridgeport Cabaret Theater. Seeing the silhouettes of those singing naked people made me feel better about my own body.

The PTA bought up all the tickets for a fundraiser (the president wished to avoid another gift wrap sale), and, at $35 per, it was almost sold out. On the way home, there was speculation that the nudity offended the senior citizens in the crowd. The scene was dimly lit so I couldn't see much, but the old lady seated below the lead character's penis saw considerably more.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

No Snow Day!

The girls' school opened 90 minutes late due to last night's snowstorm, but happily, it opened. I wrote and revised the day away. I don't get as much time as I'd like to revise the novel since I'm in New York three days a week visiting Mom.

Tonight, V, and I are going to some sort of holistic/natural living meeting at somebody's house. I'm interested in natural living, so it should be interesting. Getting out of this house and away from these jumpy offspring should be interesting, as well.

I tried on the outfit I plan to wear to Michael's christening on Saturday. It looks pretty good. I'll have to eat lightly between now and then to ensure that it still does. I hope the woman hosting the meeting tonight doesn't put out any tempting morsels of food. I understand that her husband is Indian, and that she cooks Indian food, so passing up the hors d'ouevres could be tricky. Let's hope she's cheap and doesn't offer us so much as a glass of water.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Owe Bono Twenty Bucks

I won't be able to visit Mom tomorrow because it's snowing satellite dishes out there, and school will almost definitely be closed. So I will be beset by offspring. Already the little buggers are giving me a hard time about going to bed in anticipation of the day off.

A friend burned a copy of U2's new CD for me (unsolicited, I must add), and my conscience is killing me. Of course I want to listen to it. It's U2! But I didn't pay for it. I am taking food out of little Hewson mouths!

I decided that the best course of action if I want to sleep again is to go out and buy the CD. So, Bono, thank my friend for putting my feet to the fire. You'll have your 20 bucks.

Monday, March 07, 2005

How to Keep a Man Faithful

I was watching The View last week, and "the ladies" offered a quote from the captivating Halle Berry on how to keep a man faithful. According to Halle, a woman must be shy, ladylike, blah, blah, blah, blah, and most importantly, a freak in bed.

Right.

Halle has my vote for one of the most gorgeous women walking the planet, but she's no expert on successful relationships. She's been divorced twice (from a couple of winners) and suffered physical abuse at the hands of a boyfriend. For all her money, talent, and world-renowned beauty, her slutty second husband couldn't stop cheating on her.

Many years ago, Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger's then girlfriend (and eventual wife) offered her prescription on how a woman could keep a man faithful:

"Be a cook in the kitchen, a maid in the parlor, and a whore in the bedroom."

Well, her advice, similar to Berry's, didn't do her any good, either. Jagger cheated mercilessly (and fathered a child with some model) and claimed that his marriage to Hall was never valid.

Some women work too damn hard for relationships. And what does it get them? Abuse, infedelity, and being mistaken for wallpaper. Halle Berry needs to relax, and I hope Jerry Hall has developed a better sense of self-worth and moved onto better men.

I can' t believe I'm quoting one of "the ladies" from The View, but Elisabeth Hasselbeck had it right when she said of her husband, "It's not my responsibility to keep Tim faithful. It's his. It's not his responsibility to keep me faithful. It's mine."

Hear, hear.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

And if You Want that Newsletter...

You can sign up at http://www.marrysmart.com

Forget Social Security Reform...

The pathetic state of healthcare in this country freaks me out. My parents have all sorts of "excellent" medical insurance, as well as long-term healthcare coverage, and what it gets you when you need it is startlingly little. My father pays $1000 out-of-pocket per week just to pay for the aides who take care of my mother nights and weekends.

Just got a call from my own very expensive insurance carrier to say there's a snag in paying for my daughters' routine office visit.

On a more positive note, I will probably be writing a book for guys who want to meet the women of their dreams in the next few months. May have to alter the weekly newsletter to address both sexes. We'll see.

Offspring will be upon us in 21 minutes. Time to read my book before pleas for help with homework peal throughout the house.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

But He Promised to Call!

Spent the day looking through old photos of Mommy, which we'll frame and display at her wake. There's nothing better than a good book to take your mind off a bad time, and The Queen's Fool continues to be an excellent distraction. Next up: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, and then The Group by Mary McCarthy. I've heard great things about McCarthy over the years but never read anything by her.

Tomorrow I'll go into Manhattan again to spend time with Mom and give Dad a chance to take a walk. The man needs to walk. It's how he copes. He rarely ever drives and didn't get his license until he turned 45. Mom started driving at 16.

Even though the offspring were home due to another snow day, I sent out my newsletter. They were jumping around in the background, of course, but I managed it. This week's topic? What to do when a guy says he'll call you--and doesn't.

Boo!

It's happened to all of us, unfortunately. If you want my take on it, email me at terry@marrysmart.com

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