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Location: Virginia, United States
Return to Act 4

ACT 1:
Entered convent at age 18 with twin sister, left after 2 years
ACT 2:
Married, had 3 fantastic daughters, divorced after 10 years
ACT 3:
Remarried for 20 years, divorcing
ACT 4:
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Special Pre-Birthday!

Because I can't be with her for her Birthday Party (and she seemed visibly hurt by the news) we planned a day at my pool with MommaK and a neighborhood friend. I knew exactly what she wanted as a gift ....

The LAVENDER ones, of course. I also found her a saber tooth tiger - which requires assembly - a Daddy adventure for next weekend. Although I think her big sister will figure it out as soon as she arrives back home from camp.

The last gift (I always hold my breath that I am not giving a duplicate toy!).........

Cranium Hullabaloo Game

This game is sort of like Twister meets Simon Says. Lay the Hullabaloo pads around on the floor about two 'kid's feet' away from each other. The pads are different shapes and colors and have pictures and words on them. Turn on the game console and the cheerful music begins, a happy voice welcomes you to the game and then gives the simple directions you'll need to play. "Jump on a square shape," "Slide over to a red shape," "Hop to a shape with an animal on it" and so on. Then it might tell you to freeze, or to put a body part on one pad, and then a different body part on another. Then, it'll tell you that if you are on a particular pad at the end of that round, you are the winner. We found it to be fun, and easy to understand--though we did wonder how long it might hold a child's interest.

Time will tell! Hope it not too young for her - thought it could be a fun game for her to play by herself OR with a friend. Maybe her Aunts will play with her ...after a few sips of wine!

We went out to dinner at Lone Star - the meat was overcooked. MommaK spoke my mind when she said "Now I know why we haven't been to Lone Star in so long". Only two salad choices on the menu and beef, BEEF, and MORE BEEF all sprawled all over the menu. Hey! Hoss, is that all they eat in the Wild West? But you know what I enjoyed? Watching my cute soon-to-be six year old conversing with her friend and, yes, EAVESDROPPING! Hoss, would you be kind enough to define this word and explain it's origin?

Getting that long awaited (but painfully ticklish) pedicure tomorrow because I'll be heading to the beach Friday through Tueday to be with the Nana, baby brother and twin sister.

Will have plenty of Blog material after this weekend - you know how families are!

--The Leading Lady-- | 8:29 PM | 10 comments

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Crazy Weekend!

In the soupy humidity of a DC summer I look back and am amazed at this past weekend -surprised at my energy level and warmed by the experiences!

Friday night I was preparing to leave the office sharply at 5 pm to allow enough time to drive to the airport (never knowing the condition of traffic on the area's arteries) to pick up my SIL - who honestly is simply my Sister (!) - for a couple of days together. Unfortunately we have been hit with a surge of tropical weather which has brought severe storms each afternoon to the region. I received the call that I better just go home and wait until she was sure the flight was ready to take off from Boston. So I headed home and put the last touches to my master chef Asian Chicken salad, made a few more 'tidy' checks of the condo and waited for the call. Tonight would be the unveiling of my new home to SIL and I was excited to see her reaction to my new 'digs'. At 9 pm another call (one of at least 6) came in saying that the flight would probably arrive around 10:30 - "go ahead and eat - don't wait for me". ARG! I had to eat my specialty concoction alone - but was famished enough that I did! We finally met up at 10 pm at Dulles - the beauty and efficiency of cell phones (how DID we do without them?)

What followed was our typical night of sipping wine and exchanging family stories. SHE LOVED MY PLACE - was so enthused by the unique design of the rooms, the crown molding, the private balcony (she insisted on sitting out there at midnight!) and loved my new furniture - especially how the rug seemed to draw in all the colors together. YIPPEE! She even instead on munching on the famous 'salad' not once but twice during the visit. We talk through the family list and update each other on our children, the 'mother', our 'ex's', and siblings. We ponder on how we will handle our daughters leaving us in such a short time. How can I complain? Tennessee vs the other end of the earth- Okinawa!

We had a lazy morning - our high intentions of going to jazzersize morphed into a walk around the neighborhood. Then we drove to the Metro and rode into DC to meet a mutual friend who is a docent at the Hillwood museum.

This is the former home of Marjorie Meriwether Post, one of Washington's society's most wealthy women of recent times. If you want a first hand look at how the unbelievably filthy rich lived, you should take the time to make this tour. Our docent friend was a bit 'caught up' in the history of the place - I think she eats, sleeps and breathes the place, but was thoroughly familiar with all the various art collections and the family gossip. We felt like we were transported to a European castle of the 1700s - with the ornate furniture, grandiose portraits and sculptured gardens. 27 acres of mansion and gardens! Unfortunately the weather was not being cooperative so we had to rush the outside - it was too beautiful to describe!

Because I had other previously-made plans, I had to leave their company and race back to the Metro in order to make a surprise 60th Birthday party for a Singer friend! I wish I could have spent more time with them over a slow, lazy dinner. Maybe next time! The party turned out to be a blast - complete with a hoola hoop contest! I'm afraid I didn't fare too well at that!

Today was saved to visit another Singer friend who is recovering from knee surgery. This woman, probably close to my age, is a remarkably strong single woman who has surrounded herself over the years with other very independent women. I'd like to worm into this group - maybe if I keep bringing her Asian Chicken salad (she didn't need to know it was leftovers!)

--The Leading Lady-- | 8:32 PM | 11 comments

Friday, July 15, 2005

Exhausted but Enjoying Life!

Alexandria Singers !!

Whew! Sorry I've been off line this past week but being part of a show completely takes over your life and zaps what little energy is left! We put on two performances of our Alexandria Singers summer show last weekend. Besides the two rehearsals weekly since January, we had what is affectionately known as "hell week" the week prior to the show - 4 hours of rehearsal each night (1) act one (2) act two (3) Tech night (lighting and sound) (4) and dress rehearsal.

As one of the dancers I was on the floor most of the time - limping home each night with aching feet. It dawned on me to buy some of those gel inserts by Friday and that made a big difference!

We always sing one medley of songs from a musical and this year it was The Phantom. The men wore tuxes and the ladies wore long dresses. We did some staging during the song but no serious dancing. It went over very well with the audience.

The group has it's share of 'divas' and 'wannabe divas' to contend with. It was a long and contentious year for some reason and many were about through with the group but amazingly we managed to come together during hell week, work extremely hard, and put on a great show.
What a fantastic experience to perform and feed on the excitement from the audience. Great Fun!

MommaK and CowboyUp (or is it CowgirlUp?) were there with MommaK's entire family. My fan club!
Well off to pick up my very good friend and sister-in-law for a short visit. Her flight from Boston was delayed 3 hours because of our stormy weather in DC. We will talk and laugh all night about our great daughters, and head out to visit another friend tomorrow. Sunday I play nurse to a fellow singer who just had knee replacement (waited until after the show!)

--The Leading Lady-- | 9:43 PM | 6 comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

TO THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 40s, 50s & 60s

How our 'raising of families' has changed !! My youth was spent in the 50s and 60s and I have made some comments to the article below:

Gene G. Gage, President Papa Geno's Herb Farm & Prairie Home Perennials

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
(I'm fairly certain my mother smoked and probably socially drank - there were no warnings - no one realized the danger. There were many an evening at the dinner table when my parents enjoyed a smoke with their tea following dinner.)

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.
(Being in the military, our family was used to regular physicals so this was probably not the case for my parents. Yes , they ate lots of meat, grilled and fried, but always three good balanced meals per day - no such thing as 'carry-out' until the mid 60s.)

After that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with brightly colored lead-based paints.
(And they were used over and over again by other family members and neighbors. Probably much better made!)

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitch-hiking.
(OK this is a mouthful. Medicine and toxic detergents were placed out of reach for babies and children learned at an early age what cabinets or drawers were off limits. I swear my mother counted all the pills in each bottle anyway! We didn't dare touch!
Let's just make the clear statement that helmets are a very good safety feature! We heard many stories of serious injuries from bike crashes.
Hitchhiking was a fairly acceptable form of transportation but not for girls. My brothers and their friends did it frequently to/from school. There was never any concern for pedophiles - what we didn't know was they were out there.... but well hidden.)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
(And the traffic, road rage, and speed was 50 decimals lower!!! I remember traveling from MD to KS one summer - taking turns in the back of our Chevy station wagon in what we dubbed our 'play area'. We could stretch out, play games, and sleep comfortably. Made the trip much more fun! Those days are gone!)

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
(We did this a couple of times as teenagers - absolutely the coolest ride. Still see it occasionally with day laborers - very unsafe in today's traffic!)

Even being pulled behind a car on a sled....
(Yup, and just standing on the snow and letting the car pull you - but as I parent I see the danger now!)

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
(Never saw water sold in bottles - would have thought it crazy to pay money for water! Besides, water was not hyped up to be that good for you. We were the Coke and Pepsi generation.)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
(Sorry, I didn't! Not a good idea then or now. This is a guy writing this.)

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
(There was never great concern for 'healthy' or 'low-fat' foods. We enjoyed the scheduled
5 pm dinners each day which always included some type of dessert! But I can certainly relate to the fact that we were ALWAYS outside playing. Weekends and during vacations, we were sprung from the house by 9 am, expected back sharply at noon for lunch, then expected to vacate again until 4:30 - when it was time to wash up for dinner at 5 pm. With DayLight Saving Time we were allowed an additional hour or two after dinner which was a special treat. My mother would often LOCK THE DOORS on hot summer days to force us to stay outside. This was, believe it or not, acceptable behavior in the neighborhood. Her rationale was that it gave her peace and quiet as well as time to clean the house uninterrupted! We played in playgrounds, rode our bikes, skated, climbed trees, explored the woods - you name it! We had 50 kids on our street all in the same age range of 5 years older or younger - rarely hurt for a playmate.)

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
(Inside playing was limited to rainy days. And watching TV was sacred! We were die-hard Mickey Mouse Club fans which evolved into the American Bandstand! But TV equated to 4-5 stations at the most - if you were lucky to receive good reception! Ah!! Remember the rabbit ears! Our TV viewing was very limited as well)

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. (People accepted responsibility for their own actions. We've learned of late that we don't have to anymore.)

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and dirt and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.
(Again, this is a guy writing this. Trust me, I never ate worms or dirt! But I will say that many of our games included makeshift equipment! And cowboys & Indians as well as Military warfare was great neighborhood fun. We were all equipped with guns, ammunition and appropriate dress and spent many hours, in groups of 4 to 5, planning attacks and ambushes around the neighborhood. Occasionally the boys let us join their groups - but usually we were ostracized! There were plenty of broken bones due to tree accidents - my brother being one of them.)

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
(No such thing as 'playdates' - our play was spontaneous and expected. Each house had rules as to which door to use and what times were off limits. Each week I walked by myself a mile to my piano lesson {I would have been 10-13 then.} Our neighborhood swimming pool was a good 1 1/2 miles from home and we had to walk there and back if we wanted to enjoy a swim. Families didn't have two cars in those days so if we wanted to go somewhere during the day we had to hoof it. Occasionally we had to walk to/from highschool which was over 2 miles - I remember getting a kick out of the wolf calls from truck drivers! What did I know? )

Little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. (I don't know about this one. I think youth sports is so much better now because unhealthy competition is discouraged and everyone is given a chance to play.)

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. (Yeah! Yeah! Every generation likes to take the credit! Why can't we admit that there are good and bad things about every era - that knowledge is powerful and should not be ridiculed. We can't bring back the simple Happy Days life of the 50s. We need to look forward - having learned from the past - and make today the best day possible! I think the life my granddaughters have is fantastic - it's different than my childhood but still incorporates creativety and companionship! And I feel there is a tightness in families with much better communication between the generations than in our youth. This is a GOOD thing! )

--The Leading Lady-- | 10:30 PM | 24 comments