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Richard Marx, I will be your woman

October 20, 2010

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am a huge Richard Marx fan. And honestly, I’m not convinced the word “fan” truly describes the depth of my personal obsession with him. I “found” Richard when I was in my early twenties, when I picked up this cassette a record store at the mall.(remember those stores?) and fell in love with his music.

Okay, as talented as Richard Marx is, and trust me, if you haven’t listened to every one of his songs, you’re missing out, you know I picked that one cassette out of all the “M” artists because he was one hot dude. And, truth be told, I had an unhealthy attraction to men with mullets back in the 80s.

Richard Marx

I missed my one opportunity to see him perform live, in the 90s, as I was about 9 months pregnant with Nick and knew that in all likelihood all of the screaming and thrashing about (aka crazy-ass fan behavior) I was sure to do at the concert would not be good for the baby. That…and the fact that I looked like Orca.

While scanning Richard’s website a few months back I realized he was going to be performing in Charlotte, NC — an easy 3 or so hours from my house! I turned to my son, Nick, now 18, and said “Oh my god! Richard Marx is going to be just 3 hours away. I should go.” And I guess I said it in a way that seemed like a question, and the child who was the sole reason I missed Richard the first time around, turned and said to me, “You better go this time. He’ll be dead soon.” Nice. First, Richard is 47…

I didn’t spend too much time (10, 20 seconds) deciding whether or not I should go. I went.

The performance was held at the Mclohon Theatre, which held just 730 people. An intimate setting. Yes! When I walked into the building, my heart was racing. I even said something like, “I’m in the same building as Richard Marx.” Lame, I know, but it didn’t stop there. Just outside the entrance to the theatre, there was a table set up with t-shirts and CDs. I shrieked like a school girl. My poor husband looked at me and said “I know you’re excited, but can we keep take the freakiness down a little?” I was giggling and shaking. It was quite the sight…

I was dressed in my new hotter-than-hot tall black suede boots, tights and a long shirt (sort of 80’s style, now that I think of it…), and I was ready for Richard. By some strike of (amazing) luck, we found out that we could upgrade our seating and ended up just 3 rows back from stage. I was eye-to-eye with Richard, who winked at me, I’m certain of it, when he was playing “Now and Forever…I will be your man.” Yeah, baby. I saw it. We connected. Ahhh…..I was in heaven. He strummed his guitar and sang ballads to me all evening long.

The performance was outstanding. After more than 20 years, he sounded even better than I could have imagined. He is an amazing artist, singer, and songwriter.

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Richard, I “Should’ve Known Better than to Fall in Love with You,” and you know that even though I see you next to never, I will be “Right Here Waiting for You,” because Now and Forever..I will be your woman.”

Photo credit: Dave Photography (not including the headshot)

Camouflage me!

October 11, 2010
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I have always had dry skin. Never had a single pimple when I was in high school. I was freckled and fair. I never wore sunscreen (who did back in the 70s?), and I never used an ounce of face cream. While the other girls spent what seemed like hours coating their faces with layers Cover Girl foundation and powder, I applied my favorite flavor of Maybelline Kissing Potion, added my blue eyshadow and I was good to go.

Funny how little we appreciate those small things in life: Like youth, for example. If only I had known then…blah, blah.

So, fast forward a few years (okay, quite a few), and I still have dry skin, but the freckles that my mother swore were “beauty marks,” have all but gone, replaced by several (earned) wrinkles and other imperfections that I’d rather not even get into here…on my face.

I remember the first time I bought any kind of foundation for my face. Having had zero experience shopping for face make up, I was overwhelmed by not only the array of products to choose from, but wondered how in the hell I was supposed to pick one that “matched” my skin. Purchase after purchase…I got it wrong. Too light. Too dark. Flaky. Greasy. Too thick. Doesn’t cover. Doesn’t come off! It’s crazy, the whole thing is crazy. I was never one to wear a lot of makeup and so I had no idea what to buy or how to put it on. All I did know was that I wasn’t going to be one of those ladies with the line. You know the one…the line at the jaw…where the face color is not the same as the neck color. Terrifies me even now to think I could have walked out of the house like that in the early days of experimenting with all that thick makeup.

I have tried so many kinds, now, that I’ve lost track. And it didn’t matter how much they cost, I never got it quite right–until just a few months ago when I found this:

Perfect touch camouflage creamPERFECT TOUCH CAMOUFLAGE CREAM. Even the name of it sounded like something I could work with. The product promised to give me “spot-specific, complete coverage of noticeable skin imperfections, especially on the face.” I was willing to try just one more time…And I was glad that I did. It is truly miracle makeup. Trust me on this. It is amazing. I don’t even have to use much. Just a little dab here and there and those telltale signs signs of aging disappear. I’m addicted to the stuff, now.

I still feel like I’m a make up nerd — I don’t want to spend hours looking at myself in the mirror. And my greatest fear is leaving the house with a face full of makeup that flakes and falls off during the day. That pancake look just isn’t me. No matter how old I get.

If I were Oprah, I’d put this on that page in the magazine..the “Look What We Found!” page.

Grandma’s Room

August 18, 2010

My daughter has moved back home and is now living in what we have always called “Grandma’s Room.” When we looked at the house, we knew that room would be perfect for Dave’s mother who stayed with us here in Atlanta during the winter months.

I haven’t spent much time in that room since Marrion passed away, nearly a year ago. When I walk into the room now to see my daughter I feel an overwhelming sense of astonishment because her absence is still so incomprehensible. It hits me like a brick wall. Tissue boxes and Merle Norman face cream are still tucked away under the sink, just like they always were. And I tell Robyn to leave them there. It’s where they belong.

And I feel the way I’ve felt for almost a year now: I have one foot in the present and one foot in the past.

It seems impossible that she’s not here.

Loss is big and vast and incomprehensible. Loss is also tiny and close and very real. It’s knowing you’ll never hear her voice again.  Never see them lounging on the couch in new pajamas. Someday you have to enter the room and empty their closet, look under their bed, give away their eyeglasses and paperbacks. Loss is not knowing what to do with the prescription bottles that line the dresser, the face cream and their driver’s licence, and the new blouse with the price tag still on it.

And loss is not knowing what you’ll do when the next person dies.

Loss is death, but it’s also life. It makes you want to grab on and not let go. It’s a reminder that it can change. And that it changes everything.

A blast from the past: my favorite toys

July 31, 2010

All the buzz around the newest Pixar release, Toy Story 3, got me thinking about the toys we had when we were kids. When I told my son Dylan about some of the toys we had “back in the day,” he looked at me like I was the lamest person on earth (again).

Here’s a sampling of some of the toys that lined the shelves in our basement. A real blast from the past!

feely Meely

feely Meely

With this game, which I will admit my sister Michelle and I spent hours playing, is pretty low-tech. You literally stick your hands inside one of the ends of the box (see the black felt lined opening?) and feel around, guessing what you are feeling in the box. As you can imagine, my smart-ass, teen son came up with all kinds of comments around this that in my innocent youth, I would never dream of thinking…you know, things like: “…guess what’s in the box, little girl.” Gotta admit, this one is pretty lame, but we worked with what we had. What’s a kid to do?

Barbie Dream Boat

Barbie Dream Boat

Now, this was my all-time favorite toy! I thought it was amazing (although when I look at it now, it looks so much less spectacular than I thought it was back then). Barbie and Ken spent hours “on the dream boat,” cooking in the kitchen, sailing away to grand adventures. And at night, they each slept on their own bunks — until they got married, of course, and then they got the Barbie Country Camper.

Barbie Country Camper

Barbie Country Camper

My sister and I played a lot of board games when we were kids.  And they were simple, yet they entertained us for hours. Here’s just a few of my favorites

Mouse Trap

Simon

Simon

Kerplunk

Kerplunk

Don't Spill the Beans

Ants in the Pants

Mrs. Beasley

I saved the best for last–My favorite doll: Mrs. Beasley. Mrs. Beasley came with removable glasses and if you pulled the string on her back she said 11 different phrases. That’s about as high-tech as we got in the 70’s!

My child, the grown up

July 17, 2010

My third child turned 18 today. All grown up. In four more years, I will have completed all of my motherly obligations. I’ve changed at least 5000 diapers, baked 77 birthday cakes (not that I’m counting), and kissed away more tears than I could ever count. I’ve sat in the stands of countless sporting events, plays, and school concerts.

I’ve learned the proper way to tie a necktie and I’ve protected each of them from harm. (Just try to get to them…I dare you.) I’ve helped them write English papers and taught them to do their own laundry. I’ve even taught a few of them to drive —

But today, as my son turns 18, I feel like time is going far too fast. I know it’s so cliche, but when you wake up and your baby is 18, it does make you wonder where the time has gone. I still remember, as though it were yesterday, how tiny he looked in the bassinet. He looked so new.

It seems like just yesterday that he learned to walk and talk.  How is it possible that he’s driving a car, growing a beard, and going off to college?

My husband used to say to the kids, whenever they grew an inch or had a birthday, “I thought I told you to stop growing up so fast!” Well, you know kids…they never listen, so Nick, like the rest of them, went on and grew up fast.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with grown up Nick. I think he’ll be pretty awesome. Good genes.

Nick and I on summer vacation in Alaska 2010

Happy birthday, Nick!

Creating a new normal

July 15, 2010

I’ve been pretty busy lately, writing the new book and keeping track of all that progress for my 5 followers on the “365 Days of Writing” blog. And, working full time on the day job, of course. Doing all the “normal” things I signed up for many years ago when I created the framework of my life: A house. Two cars. One dog. Manicured front lawn and a gym membership. My life is good.

But, even as great as my life is (and I have nothing to complain about), lately I’ve been in one of those moods where I just want to flee the country. Sell all my belongings, quit the day job, and leave “normal” behind me for good.

My problem is this: I think too much. I dream big. I always want more. Not more money or more love — got plenty of that in my life (insert big gratitude here). It’s an “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of thing. I want to see more. Do more. Contribute more to the world, somehow.

I’m turning 45 this year, and I have accomplished so much in my life, already! Raising four beautiful children will always be my biggest accomplishment, but as I move into this next phase of my life (kids grown…), I want to make sure I know what I want next. And, that’s where the thinking part comes in.

I enjoy the thinking part; throwing ideas around with my husband about what I might do next. What we might do next. Where I am the big dreamer, he is the “now” person. Focused on the day-to-day, he doesn’t think much past what he HAS to do now — He’ll “see when he gets there,” he says. And he tells me that one of us needs to be that person…Too many dreamers in one house? Not so good.

So, I will plot and plan, between trips to the orthodontist and bowling night with the kids. I know that there’s so much more waiting for me (and for us), when my current “normal” changes. And it will, all on its own. It’s inevitable. Once the kids are grown and the house is empty, our “normal” won’t exist any longer. And when that time comes, I want to be prepared to fill it with something way cool!

So, Italy…I may see you in a few years. I can see myself getting a lot of writing done under the Tuscan sun.

Beach house in South Carolina? Keep the light on…you never know.

I’ve always wanted to be a gypsy, so that, too, is on my list. You just never know what’s next.

I think I can

July 5, 2010
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Earlier this year I decided it was high time I started doing some serious exercise, so I did what I told myself I would never do: I joined a gym. And since signing on the dotted line–agreeing to come to this new gym on Tues, Thurs and Sunday — I’ve gained about 10 pounds. And contrary to what all my gym-loving friends tell me, it is NOT muscle.

In order for the new poundage to be muscle, I would have had to physically  go to the gym on all the days I promised the nice man who runs the gym AND work out with the weights they provide for the purpose of building that muscle. No. I did not. I have not. So it IS not (muscle).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have actually gone to the gym, but it’s so sporadic that there is no possible way I could be doing myself any good. Every month I see the membership fee come out of my bank account and I think, “Geez, I should go more often.”

Well, that was before last week when I had an impromptu recommitment ceremony while trying to find something to wear to work. I WILL work out three days a week. I will work out three days a week. I think I can. I know I can. I will work out three days a week.

I can’t afford to have fat clothes and skinny clothes, so it’s more than a fitness thing. There are already skinny(er) clothes in my closet from 2006 that I refuse to give away because I know they are just 10 pounds away from fitting me again.

In order to maintain this new determination that I will physically go to the gym, get on the bike (and stay on the bike for 30 minutes), I need a distraction. Music is playing and there are three TVs within my view, but as I’m not a fan of angling or Cash Cab, I watch the clock on the bike.

“Five minutes,” I say to myself. “If I do another 5 minutes, 4 times, I’ll be ready to cool down for 5 minutes.” Then I look up to see a burly man in a rubber jacket hurl a huge fish out of the water and slosh it into his boat. “Six minutes and 40 seconds….just another 23 more minutes and I’m free…”

Well, you can see where the problem lies. At one point during my 30 minute workout yesterday I looked down at the timer and it read “17:04” — In that moment I felt like I was suffocating and wondered how much of a scene I would make if I hopped off the recumbent bike and ran full speed out the door and into the parking lot. My husband was happily jogging on the treadmill, at the far end of the gym, and no one saw us come in together, so…maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?

Dave says I need an iPod playing in my ear. “But there’s already music blaring through the place,” I argue.

Books on tape, perhaps? I see women with magazines and books propped up on the treadmill displays, reading while exercising, and I wonder how they do it? And then there’s the fact that, now, I need glasses to read, and I think the display is too far away. Damn it.

I think I’m destined to learn the ins and outs of bass fishing after all.