Saturday, June 29, 2013

CBS Figures I'm Too Old To Watch Big Brother

Friday, June 28, 2013 9:19 AM
It's going to be another Hot One

On A Lighter Note

I don't watch many reality TV shows, but  I do like Survivor and The Amazing Race.
My guilty pleasure, though, is Big Brother.  I believe BB is one of the few real reality shows.  It is a summer show to watch when nothing but re-runs are being broadcast on the rest of the networks.
The premise of the show is to lock a group of people, this season the number of contestants is 16, into a "house" for 90 days. The "house guests" do not know each other before they enter the "Big Brother House." During these 90 days, these 16 people have no contact with the outside world at all.
There is no TV, Internet or phone.  There are no books, magazines or newspapers.  They only have each other to interact with.

However, the outside world can watch them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is a game in which the winner walks away with $500,000.  The winner is the person who is the last one to walk out the door of the BB House at the end of the 90 days.  Each week one person is voted out and has to leave the BB House.  Of course, that's where the drama comes into play.
How far would a person go for money?
I like the premise.  I find it interesting and fascinating and wonder what it would be like.  Frankly, I cannot imagine myself in such a situation.  I get antsy being in an elevator with 3 other strangers for as long as it takes to go from one floor to the next.
Contestants in Season One 
This is the 15th season of Big Brother.  I have watched every one.

During the past seasons, there was a nice cross representation of our society.  Some of the people playing the game were average, everyday, looking folks.  Of course some were gorgeous with great bodies, but not all were.  There were gay people and straight people.  There might be a sixty year old man competing against a twenty-one year woman.  People of different races, ethnicities, religions and even marital status were equally represented.
But with each new season, I began to notice the mix of the population of the house was starting to change.
There were fewer average looking people.  The age range became narrower, leaning towards the younger end.
This season, the demographic population that the show is trying to appeal to is obvious.
All of the women are under 35 and all but two are single.  All of the men are in much the same age group as the women and all of the men are single.
Season 15 BB Brother Contestants
All of the women are attractive and look great in their skimpy bikinis.
That is why this season has lost its appeal for me.  Instead of the original premise, which I looked at as sociological study of how strangers would interact with one another in a closed competitive environment, has it now become a study in how shallow the young and beautiful can be?  Wait, let me say that a different way.  There is no doubt that the participants in this season are good looking, but this particular group of young people seem to be extremely shallow and to tell you the truth, I am finding it hard to tell them apart.

So, CBS I imagine you needed a ratings boost and based on your research you feel that I wouldn't be watching your show anyway, and I guess this time you are right.

I guess I'll have to catch up with "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" instead :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Venturing Out Into the Wilderness

Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:35AM
Puffy Clouds To Start Off

 I write to express and explain how I feel.  When I write about sensitive or personal subjects I am experimenting, examining and exploring.

At the beginning of my journey, I have a definite opinion of where I am going and what my destination will be.
But, while meandering through my thoughts and ideas, I find that instead of taking the same old route,  the twists and turns of uncharted pathways are more enticing.  That usually means that even though I may get lost in the wilderness, much to my surprise, I end up in a much better place.

My past couple of posts have been on the heavy and serious side.  Writing about these issues helps to quiet the churning of constant mind chatter which can easily become all consuming.
I feel that if I tell my stories, there may be another who has experienced some of the same things as me.

I write to reach out, to connect.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Have We Become Her Ghost Writers?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 6:35 AM
It's going to be another HHH+T Day

It's interesting how we have all rallied and gathered around him.  I wonder what is different about this time?
Recently, at one point or another we've all blustered about the boundaries we will enforce and the lines we will not cross.
 "If he does this again..." "I'm giving him one more chance..."  "He's got to do this or else..."  "He can't..." "He has to..." "Forget it, he hasn't changed..." "It's still the same old behaviors and I'm not going to...".

For a good part of his life, my mother waited.  She waited for him to become whole and happy.  And while she waited, she became his enabler.  And even though it did not take her long to understand that whatever story he was telling her was not the truth, she still gave in and did his bidding.

The reasons he needed the money were different but always the same.  So that he could buy food, because he was starving.  He needed to buy clothes because he was freezing.  He had to pay for a night in a hotel because it was cold or raining or snowing and he had no where else to go.
He had to go to the doctor because he was sick.  He had an appointment with the dentist because he had a toothache.  He had to get to the pharmacy before they closed.  He needed bus fare, train fare or cab fare.   And the old stand-by.  Someone stole his money.
Much of the time he manipulated his stories so they would have the ending he had cunningly crafted from the beginning. He made sure his foolish main character would predictably react to his pitiful plights just the way he planned.
And the chapter would end with her sending, giving, wiring or somehow getting money to him.
After each one of his phone calls or visits, one of us would get a phone call from her.  She would be upset and agitated.
When we would try to reason with her, we would get frustrated with her because we knew that her behaviors would not change.
She would always say the same thing, "I am his mother, I can't turn my back on him."
I learned a valuable lesson from my mother.
The morning that she died, I was standing by her bed, alone, just being with her.
As I looked down at her,  I began to reflect on her life. Her life had not been an easy one.
It was especially not easy coping with him.  She was usually angry at him, sometimes afraid of him, but mostly she worried about him and I'm sure she always loved him.
Standing by her bedside, that morning I was suddenly struck by a powerful thought.  She never got to see the end of his story.  And that's when I realized that not one of us ever really gets to know the end of the story.
After we die, the story continues.  The next one in line takes up the story where we left off and so the story continues on and on.
And so I wonder.  Have we taken up the story where she left off?   I like to think that our bluster has some real wind behind it, but I wonder.  Have we become her Ghost Writers
Today, as I think back to that morning, the morning my mother passed on, I remember thinking how beautiful she looked.  For the first time in a long time, her face had no pain.  She was at peace.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

He Only Wants to Go Home

Monday, June 24, 2013  6:11 AM                                             I was out of the house only once
The Three H’s and a T have arrived.                                         The air is unbearable.
Hazy, Hot, Humid and A Thunderstorm.
High should be around 90 degrees.

As my siblings and I face the daily challenges of managing the care of our brother, we are presented with a moral dilemma.

Although Adam, as a young man, was very bright, he had physical and psychological problems which hindered his chances of leading a healthy, happy and productive life.

When he was still at an age where he could have and should have been helped, the stigma attached to mental illness was prevalent.  It was something to be whispered about or worse, completely ignored.

My parents certainly could not accept that their son was mentally ill.  They preferred to believe that he would mature and eventually out grow his temper tantrums and unusual behaviors.

While in today’s world awareness regarding mental health has risen, I believe that wariness towards those who are mentally ill is still prevalent.

In addition to Adam’s physical and mental issues, he is also an addict.

What we struggle with is where to draw the line regarding which decisions he could make for himself and which ones should be made for him, for his safety and well being.
Since he is quite capable of communicating what he wants and what he doesn’t, it creates a dilemma for us.

Do we have the right to decide what is best for him?   We certainly have not led the life he has.  But, just as we had the right to make our own life choices, he also had to right to and did make his own choices.

Now we have told him that after 25 years of living on his own, he can no longer do that.
He pleads with us to let him go home.  We try to convince him that he would not be able to take care of himself.  He doesn’t understand and tells us that he always took care of himself before.  “Why is it different now?” He wants to know.

While we know that he probably will never be able to go “home” again, we don’t know how to tell him this.  Instead we tell him that he needs to follow his doctor’s instructions so that he will get stronger.
I am sure he interprets this to mean that if he does get stronger he will be able to leave the 24/7 care facility where he currently resides.

I’m afraid that he will leave one day.  I can only hope that when he does leave, he finds a“home” where his tortured soul will finally find peace.

Monday, June 24, 2013

When You Have All of The Time In The World

Saturday, June 22, 2013  7:15 AM
I think I can safely say we are on a Perfect Weather Streak

Ross and I  have each been retired for over ten years.  So, that means we can do what we want and go where we please,  whenever we choose.
There is no more getting over hump day Wednesday or Thanking God It’s Friday.
But even after 10 plus years of not having to adhere to the regiment of a Monday through Friday schedule,  for some reason, we still think that we must do something on Saturday and Sunday.  Especially if the weather is nice.
We have the same conversation each Saturday and Sunday.
 I am always up before Ross, always, whether it’s the weekend or not, which isn’t really relevant to this discussion, but just saying, you know for the record and posterity.
Anyway, by the time Ross gets up, I have had my tea, and I am at my computer writing.
Ross will come into the den/office, sit down at his Mac and do whatever he does.  He probably reads the NY times, (even though he gets the paper delivered), reads his mail, (he has friends, so he gets a lot of e-mails) checks Facebook, (he has friends, so his newsfeed is filled with latest breaking news) and then browses around the net (where he winds up is his business.)
After he has exhausted all of his world wide web possibilities, he turns to me and asks this question:
 "So what would you like to do today?"
 I am usually still writing and not ready to give him my undivided attention, so my mumbled distracted response is:  “Uh, huh" "Oh, I don't know, umm, whatever, uh, huh."
By the time I am ready to have a conversation with him, it is after 9:00.
He will then sit in the chair opposite my desk, and proceed to enumerate activity possibilities.
His suggestions almost always include doing things that all of the people who still work for a living are doing because it’s the weekend and that’s the only free time they have to do those leisurely things.
As the discussion continues, it goes something like this:
Him: “How about…?
Me: “Nahh I don’t feel like it.

It reminds me of a quote from an old film made in 1955 called “Marty”.*


Angie: What do you wanna do tonight? 
Marty Pilletti: I dunno, Angie. What do you wanna do? 

So this Saturday, we finally made up our minds and decided to have lunch at a water front restaurant in Somers Point called the Crab Trap, where they advertise “Fine Food, Wine And Spirits.”
The food was fine, I didn’t whine terribly much and it did pick up our spirits.

Afterwards, we headed for Atlantic City.  Not to gamble but to shop at the Tanger Outlets.
Outlet shopping has become such a scam. But it is pretty comical and can be quite entertaining.
For instance, every store we went into, (and by the way this occurs regardless of what day it is) there was a person to greet us at the door to tell us that, “Today, everything in the store is 50, or 70 or even 80 percent off.”

For us it was a chance to be outside on a nice day, take a stroll, people watch and the best part was we were not even tempted to enter any of the casinos. .

Okay I did buy a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes.  Hey, they were 40% off.

Yeah, so perhaps, much like this gal, I fell for it hook line and sinker.

This caught our attention on the way to AC.  I had to go back and snap this photo

Sunday, June 23, 2013, 5:54 AM
Keep those Sunny Days Coming

My sister invited us to their weekend beach retreat over in Belmar.  Yes, my sister and her husband are still working.  Since they will be retiring soon, though, they always ask us what its like.  They want to know what we do with our time.
One of the things we tell them is that a condition of retirement (or perhaps it is merely senior-itis) is procrastination.
The fact is when you have a lot of free time you tend to put things off until later.
But, for us that usually means we are not as organized as we used to be and therefore it takes us longer to do everything.
For instance, today,  even though my day started at 5:30 and Ross actually got up earlier than normal, and our plan was to leave the house by 8:00, we didn't actually get on the road until after 9:00.
That is not a good thing when one is going to a resort area where there are a limited number of parking spaces and beach-chair/umbrella/blanket  real-estate is at a premium.   And by the way, going back to a point made earlier, the competition for said parking spaces and beach real estate are those Monday-Friday, 9-5 folks.

I am reminded of those times when I was a busy working mom.   I would have to do my food shopping on a weekend day.   As I attempted to speed up and down the aisles, I remember how annoyed I would get at the older couple, with their shopping cart in the middle of the lane blocking traffic.  I would always wonder why, why they couldn't do their shopping during the week, when they had all the time in the world.

*From Fandango: "Marty is a bittersweet, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always realistic comedy-drama about Marty Pilletti (Ernest Borgnine), a 34-year-old Bronx butcher. "
From WikipediaMarty is a 1955 American film directed by Delbert Mann. The screenplay was written by Paddy Chayefsky, expanding upon his 1953 teleplay of the same name. The film stars Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. In addition to gaining an Academy Award for Best Picture, the film enjoyed international success, becoming the second American film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film FestivalMarty and The Lost Weekend (1945) are the only two films to win both organizations’ grand prizes.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

And This Is The Way Life Should Always Be

Friday, June 21, 2013
A proper start to The First Day of Summer

Sleep-Over at Grandmas

Ryan was up at 6:30. He told me that Bella said it was okay if he came out into the living room.
I think she really meant,
"Ryan leave me alone!"
I am usually up by 6:00.  I must have been tired.
It took us a long time to get out of the house this morning.  I suppose that was due to the fact that Ross and I are not as young as two people have to and should be in order to get a nine year old and a five year old ready to go for breakfast and then to the beach.
There was the prodding to move them along to get them dressed, hair braided, and greased up. Then it was the gathering up of beach toys, extra towels, chairs, hats and sun tan lotion.  In addition there were  arguments to be settled, such as who got to do what first, who would sit in what chair, and in general just making sure that there was equal treatment all around.
Whew, and that was all before breakfast.

A tidal pool and sand bar, perfect!

Ross said the water was freezing, 

 the kids said, "No, it's not."  

 I wouldn't know, that's as close as I got to the water. 

Oh, to have that energy!

And this is the way life should always be, above it all!

Friday, June 21, 2013

It May Not Be Meditation, But It Certainly Is A Calgon Take Me Away Moment

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Getting spoiled by two sunny days in a row.

I am tired.  Not just a tad bit, but I am quite exhausted.    The difficult turmoil we have been experiencing this past month continues.  It is going to be a lengthy ongoing, and emotional journey.
I have never learned how to turn off my head chatter.  Meditation seems like it would work, but I never seem to find a perfectly quiet time or perfectly private spot to practice.
But, one thing is for certain, sweet voices of the young certainly can do a lot to tone it down.
Today, Bella and Ryan are coming for an overnight visit.  They like to call it "A Sleep-over at Grandmas."
Ross and I live an hour or more away from all of our grandchildren.
To make things a little easier and less of a drive for us, as well as Jen and Derek,  we meet half way for a drop off and pick up.
When they pulled up at the designated location and I saw their excited faces peering out through the van windows, the stress melted away and I was infused with renewed energy.
It was a "Calgon Take Me Away" moment.
Oh, I know it may not be long lasting energy, but I suspect their visit will certainly be a distraction.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Identical Scars

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
And The Sun

In the past three weeks my siblings and I have faced and have had to make many serious, difficult decisions regarding our brother.
Even though the six of us were raised by the same parents, in the same environment, we each developed our own unique personalities.  However, the more I think about this, the more I realize that what each one of us did was learn how to cope with the effects of our childhood in different ways.  The result being that outwardly, that is what we present to others, it may seem as though we are not alike in any way.  But, actually, on the inside, we each carry identical scars.
Because we are five individual individuals, our opinions and concerns have differed lately.  But ultimately, in some dysfunctional caring functional way, deep down inside, our symbiotic relationship prevails.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

N20 No Laughing Matter

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The sun is not going to win today.
Storms are predicted along with flash flood warnings.

I have a dentist appointment today.  Ross always comes with me to my dentist appointments because I get all nervous and well I'm just going to say it.."I HATE GOING TO THE DENTIST!"
This visit is for a cleaning.  I actually find having my teeth cleaned more uncomfortable or just as uncomfortable as any other dental procedure.  So, I pay a little extra to (as the hygienist said today) "get gassed up."  That would be Nitrous oxide.
As described in an article from Dental Fear Central:

"Nitrous oxide (N2O) is simply a gas which you can breathe in. It has no color, smell, and doesn’t irritate. It was discovered in 1772. Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), one of the pioneers of N2O experimentation, described the effects of N2O on himself following self-administration for a toothache and gum infection as follows:"
Off The Mark
“On the day when the inflammation was the most troublesome, I breathed three large doses of nitrous oxide. The pain always diminished after the first four or five inspirations; the thrilling came on as usual, and uneasiness was for a few minutes swallowed up in pleasure.”
I'm not sure if the hygienist was a little stingy with the nitrous today, or if the mask didn't fit quite as snugly as it should have, but by the time the cleaning was completed, I had deep finger nail indentations in the palm of my hands.   During the entire time, (I think it must have been at least 100 hours) I planned escape "jumping out of the chair", "screaming" and "running out of the door" scenarios. 
After I rinsed, spit and dribbled (another thing I hate) she handed me my little toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste "present" and said, "You are such a good patient.  You probably don't even need the nitrous."  
Uh huh.

They were right about the storms.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You Bet Giraffes I Do!

Monday, June 17, 2013
Even though it looks like the clouds are being bossy right now, Godfather Sole is going to eventually take over.

Today is Ryan's graduation.  Unfortunately,  I waited until the last minute to buy him a gift.  In fact we stopped at a CVS pharmacy on the way to see if I could find something there.  There was a display of stuffed animals dressed in caps and gowns.  They had pockets that a gift card would fit into, But I thought, "What would he do with that?" And besides it seemed kind of silly.  I thought about a watch. But the watches CVS carries look like they came from CVS.  After going up and down the aisles, twice, I realized I wasn't going to find anything.

I decided I would get him a card and put $$$ in the envelope. Of course, because I didn't plan ahead, there weren't a lot of choices left in the Hallmark Graduation card section either.
Ross was waiting out in the car for me and by now we were running very late.
I quickly picked out a card that seemed unique. It was a Hallmark Signature Card with a price tag of $5.99.  I hurriedly read the inside sentiment. I didn't really understand it, but I thought Ryan probably wouldn't even read it, especially since there was money in the card.

As we continued on our way, I signed the card and re-read the message.  And then I got it!
That's when I realized that even though there are cute exotic animals on the front of the card, that doesn't necessarily  mean that what's written on the inside is always appropriate for every occasion.

 Allow me to indulge in a lot of cuteness.

She's NOT My Girlfriend!

Okay, okay, I'll Sign Your Puppy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cool and Drippy, Spit and Fire, Peace and Serenity

Friday, June 14, 2013
Looks like it's going to be another cool and drippy day.

And that's how we spent the day, drooping and hanging around.

Saturday, June 15, 2013
An extraordinarily beautiful start to the day.

The sameness of our routines and activities seem to make the days blend blandly one into the other.
Shouldn't our sunset years be filled with as much spit and fire as this...

Sunday, June 16, 2013
 It's Father's Day Today

I read a meaningful post today written by Abigail Carter, a widow and mother of young children.   In the article, titled "Every Day is Father's Day,"  Ms. Carter talks about what it is like to be among other's who are celebrating this day.
She ends the piece with this:

"Instead of pancakes and bike rides and beach trips one day every June, I realized that all it takes to celebrate Father’s Day is for me to recognize one of my husband’s goofy expressions in our daughter, or his familiar glint of mischief in the eye of our son and laugh saying, “you look just like your father when you do that!”
That way every day is Father’s Day."

I understand the pain and sadness of days like today.

Ross and I spent some quiet time in the sun, sitting on a bench, in a lovely garden park.

Where we found a moment of peace and serenity.

  Then we treated ourselves to an 'only every-once-in-awhile' expensive lunch at Villa Amalfi.
And even though he was in shorts and I in my flip flops, we were treated royally.