Thursday, January 28, 2010

Note To My Followers & Those I Follow

I just want to apologize in advance -- I am leaving for Florida today and will be pretty much without access to the Internet (other than my BlackBerry) on a daily basis.  I will also be unable to comment on your posts. I programmed a few post but as much as I had wanted to schedule a lot more, I didn't get the chance. My freelance editor needed a story on the fly, so that kept me busy on the day I planned to blog ... Not complaining - I welcome work!

Anyway, I'll miss you guys and I'll totally miss blogging. I hope to get online a few times in the 10 days I'll be away to post a bit.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

'70s Shows With Grandma & Grandpa

When I was in first grade, we lived with my grandparents during that "in-between" houses stage. My parents were moving from Suffolk to Nassau because of Mom's teaching job. It's really odd because that one year honestly felt a lot longer to me as a little kid. I'm close to six years old in the photo above.

For some reason, I remember watching lots of TV with my grandparents. I have no idea where my folks were at the time. Maybe they were watching something else upstairs? Maybe they were taking classes for their Masters? Maybe they were sitting on the couch, yet for some reason I can't visualize them.

What I do remember is the smell of Sanka, a nightly handful of Hydrox cookies and my eyes glued to a small fuzzy color TV in my grandparents' basement. I remember back then the news included typing sounds simulating a newsroom. I was always an anxious kid and the sound of the typewriter and fast-paced music made my heart beat faster. I was a weird kid. I found Tom & Jerry stressful.

I remember names like Water Cronkite and Dan Rather. I remember laughing at Howard Cosell's nasally whiny voice. I'd make a funny face and whine in my Long Island accent,"This is Howid Coe-sell speaking of sports..." I don't think my grandpa found it very funny -- he just wanted to hear the lowdown on yesterday's game. Grandpa's famous line back then was, "You know, children should be seen and not heard?!" Grandma would scold him every time he said it. I looked it up, it's an old proverb. My mom would pull that line on me too. Guess she got it from him. In their defense, I was a chatterbox. What can I say?

For some reason, I have these visions in my head like old faded Polaroids. I see myself watching The Jeffersons and All In The Family with my grandma and grandpa. I wish I could ask Grandma if she remembers, but I'm certain she'll just smile and say, "What show? Oh I can't remember that." Her memory has faded pretty badly. It breaks my heart that this past Thanksgiving, she didn't know what turkey was.  Now if Grandpa were still alive, I bet he'd perk up in his favorite chair if I asked him about our TV watching. He'd probably say,"Yeah yeah, we always watched those shows. You have a good memory Allyson. A good memory."

Grandpa thought Three's Company was a filthy show, so we rarely watched that. I mean the premise of the show was that Jack was gay and living with two hot broads. Jack himself was hot by the way! Did anyone else think so? We did watch The Carol Burnett Show religiously. Oddly enough, I developed a strange crush on Tim Conway. Dude, I was five, he was like super old! Like really old, what was I thinking? I remember Grandma telling me that every time Carol tugged her ear, it was to relay a nonverbal "I love you" to a family member or something. I think today if I became a TV star, I'd tug my ear so my family would know that I love them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Never Wanted A Name Ring

I absolutely adore this photo of me. It's honestly one of my very favorites.

I loved that jumper with the cute stitching on the chest. I loved that I wore a little pink birthday crown. I love that my mom is clapping wildly behind me. I love everything about this photo.

I'm turning 7. It was a great year. I didn't hate school. I didn't hate my teacher. I didn't hate the kids in my class. I don't recall anyone calling me "corroded" that year.  In fact, I'm lookin' pretty cute at 7.

Another thing I loved about this photo is the "A" necklace I'm wearing. It was given to me by my Uncle Tony. He often gave me the coolest gifts from what I remember. I loved this enormous Colorforms doll house he sent me for my birthday. It was so awesome!

Hmm, now that I think of it, maybe it was his then girlfriend who was picking out all of this cool stuff. Duh! Anyway, he is my youngest uncle and my mom once told me he was secretly like her favorite little brother. Maybe that's why he's my God Father. Don't tell anyone I told you about the favorite brother thing. She'd get all mad at me for having a big mouth.

Anyway, back to the "A" necklace. I love how the "A" is sorta chunky like totally early '80s style. The reason I'm sharing this photo with you is because this necklace came to mind yesterday while I was getting my hair cut and colored at the salon.

While sitting in the chair, I noticed a girl sportin' one of those shiteous name rings. They were super popular in the late '80s growing up near the Nassau County/Queens boarder of Long Island. They usually were worn by girls with huge puffy hair, painted-on jeans and these ugly suede black boots that sometimes had fringe or other crap hanging from them.

Suddenly the ring and my necklace were all I could think about. As the stylist snipped and carefully combed, I kept my eyes focused on the mirrored reflection of the other stylist's ring. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Why was she wearing it? Did someone give it to her as a gift? Did she actually like it? When did these god-awful rings come back in style? Where have I been?

Trust me, I'm far from a "fashion plate" (that was my mom's famous term when I was a kid). I wear Doc Martens just like I did back in 1988. I haven't changed much. I refuse to wear Uggs or Crocs or anything popular. I just can't do it. I've never liked current fashion - though I did like some of the old Steve Madden shoes back in the '90s.

Googling the word "name ring", I was surprised to see Lauren Conrad from The Hills wearing one! I was also unaware that if the girl's name is long, the ring becomes a two-finger ring. How awful? I find it awkward just wearing my engagement and wedding ring. How does someone get anything accomplished wearing a TWO FINGER ring?

Well, thanks for letting me vent.

I'm sorry if you have a name ring on your finger right this moment. I apologize in advance for hatin' on the style. I guess it's just one of the many fads I simply don't "get."


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Was On Conan O'Brien

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my fifteen minutes of fame. It was more like two seconds, but exciting just the same. While working at the teen mags back in 1998, the editors appeared in a skit on Conan and I actually got to speak. I'm the chubby blond. Check out my face at the end of the round table discussion when Conan talks about a Backstreet Boy being with hookers.

I thank my former coworker and friend for posting this on facebook since I've been searching for it on YouTube forever to no avail.

I hope you can view it. You may need a Facebook account :(

Movies Make Me Feel Weird

When you see a film, does it leave you feeling kinda weird? I can't explain it really, but it's as if I  dwell on certain aspects of the movie and maybe compare it to my own life. Sometimes I wonder if it can really happen or what I would do if it really happened. I've been doing this for as long as I can remember. I think that's why the feeling freaks me out a bit and I'm searching to find out if other people ever feel this way too. 

Like it seems normal for a child to leave the theater after seeing ET wondering if he or she will meet up with ET late one night and maybe to always keep some Reese's Pieces handy just in case. I know I did. I even made sure I had a basket on my bike in the event that I needed to ride my yellow Huffy with the banana seat, up to the sky to escape the FBI.

When I saw Footloose, I swear I began spiking my hair like Wren McCormick's and dancing around our yard and the park on Averill Boulevard to "Let's Hear It For The Boy" blasting on my cheap portable tape player. I told you how I often reenacted the tongue on the pole scene in A Christmas Story in our grammar school yard which was actually the church parking lot. Gotta love Catholic school.

Don't worry, I've grown up a lot in that respect. I'm not going to pretend I'm 12 so some rich family can adopt me and then try to seduce the dad like in Orphan or paint my face blue and be all Avatar-esque. However, movies still touch me in this freakishly profound way.

Tonight we saw The Lovely Bones, no I've never read the book. I suck when it comes to reading lately, Remember this post where I confessed this before.  Anyway, the entire ride home from the theater, I thought of the movie. I thought about that awful neighbor. I thought about that sweet girl who never got to grow up. I thought about the family she left behind. I thought about the other victims. I thought about what heaven would look like if I believed there was such a glorious place.

I thought about murder victims and how life is so unfair and unkind. I thought so hard, my throat hurt from the lump I developed thinking about horrible men who snatch women and children and leave them dead in fields, woods and ditches. I think that's truly my biggest fear. Let me go any other way but helplessly at the hands of a psycho. Sorry to be such a downer.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Diary Entries

July 4, 1990 - age 17

My graduation party was so strange. I made $445. Joseph [high school boyfriend] came to my party. It was in a restaurant, then we had people over the house afterward. It rained so going in the pool was an impossibility. 

I failed my 2nd Road Test. I really think I'm never going to pass. I'm too nervous. I took it twice in Freeport. It's so easy there. All you do is make two lefts and park, but I just can't make the left turn. I'm sick of failing it. I wish I could have someone take it for me!! [Wow, what a great idea, I should have thought of this back then!]

Eric invited me to go to the beach with him today. I wish I had gone, but I have a feeling it was like a 4th of July party or something and I didn't want to swim anyway. I hate when my brothers friends come over and I'm home alone like a loser. Dad's friends are here too. 

I just called Joseph at work. I'm so hungry dieting. I'm so lonely. I must be the only person sitting in my room on the 4th of July.  I should have gone to the beach with Eric.

It's so weird. I can remember feeling that way back then. I sometimes still feel this way. My husband will tell me we have a party coming up. I do everything I can to get out of it. I don't want to go. I don't want to socialize. I get there and I usually have a good time. Right now I'm down in the dumps. Being unemployed gives me very little to chat about. Twenty years later though,and I still have that torn between hiding out in my room or going to do something fun.

It's funny to compare that entry with this one sixth and seventh grade where I'm lovin' parties and hanging out...

Sunday, October 7, 1984  age 11

Today we went apple picking at Grandma's in New Jersey. Tomorrow we (the whole class) are all meeting each other at Hot Skates. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 16, 1985 - age 12
Today was great! Serena had her party and I made out with Eddie in the closet. We played this game and he said I kissed the best. Woo hoo! 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Postcards From Jason & Justine Bateman

If you've been following my blog for a bit, you'll know it's no secret that growing up I was head-over-heels in love with Jason Bateman. Jason, Corey Feldman, Sean Astin, Kirk Cameron and Ralph Macchio were my other top favorite teen stars - I had scrapbooks, posters, pin-ups, etc. I wrote them countless letters in hopes of some sort of acknowledgment.

Anyway, during the Silver Spoons/Family Ties era of 1983, my favorite actor and actress were Jason from Silver Spoons and his big sister Justine from Family Ties. I watched both shows religiously while sitting Indian style on the floor of our den, glued to the TV set.
I must have sent Jason at least five letters before turning to his sister to find out why I was getting the brushoff. I thought, WTF? I had to be the coolest 11-year-old fan he had. I wore preppy sweaters and liked cool music like Jason. I knew all of his favorite foods, colors and movies. I could see us hanging out at the arcade together sipping a Slurpee (well, Mom didn't allowed me to have Slurpees, too much sugar, but still).

I read so many articles in Tiger Beat and Bop about Jason. It was like I actually knew him. I loved how we were both from New York -- even though he was from Rye, a place I had never been to. The only thing I knew about Rye at age 11, was that it was home to Rye Playland, an awesome-looking amusement park often advertised on WPIX.

I knew Jason's mom was a flight attendant. I knew his middle name was Kent, after his dad. I knew his birthday was January 14. I knew his height and weight.  I knew every single TV show he had ever appeared on. Yes, I was his biggest fan. Let the loser girls have Ricky, "The Ricker" (super lame!) -- Jason was all mine!

So one fateful July summery day, I received a postcard from Justine. I had begged her to have her bro send me a note and an autographed photo. There it was, in green ink, the artsiest, coolest handwriting ever - a note written just to me! PERSONALLY! It said:


[click on images to view larger]

A few days later, I received a postcard in the exact same handwriting, confirming it wasn't really Jason or Justine who replied. My heart sank. Maybe it was their mom. Maybe it was their publicist. I was crushed, yet still excited to snag their autographs.


So that was the last I heard from the Bateman's. We weren't going to be friends. We weren't hittin' the mall any time soon. Jason and I wouldn't be playing an intense game of Pac-Man in the near future. He wasn't moving back to NY. He was probably living life in that magical place I had never been to called Woodland Hills. Home to Corey and all of the other cool kids, while I rotted in Nassau County, Long Island. Home to nobody cool at the time other than Billy Joel who was much too old for me.

I never really followed Jason into adulthood. I gave up on all of this teen idol nonsense by about 9th grade. I recently checked in on ole JB on Wiki. It turns out his parents were living off of his and Justine's paychecks. He married Paul Anka's daughter, which is pretty cool - my dad used to sing Paul Anka songs to me when I was little. Dad and I danced to his song "Time Of Your Life" at my wedding.

Jason today still working hard in movies and TV

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday: Ten Things I Love Day

I feel kinda silly listing my ten things I love for "Thursday: Ten Things I Love Day" today because I just did it the other day when I won that Happy 101 shiz. I'll try to post a real blog later... 

Anyway, here goes...

1.The way the rug looks after it has been vacuumed. I know it sounds OCD and sick -- but it looks brand new each time. I had a friend in grammar school who was never allowed to walk into her living room. The rug was always vacuumed a particular way so that her mom would see foot step indentations. I always thought of it like a museum.

2. This doesn't really count now that I'm not working, but when I wake up in the middle of the night and the clock says it's like 3 AM and I know I have several hours of sleep left.

3. Getting flowers. Who doesn't? I rarely get them, but when I do, it actually makes me cry real tears of joy. I'm weird like that. I get super emotional. Like at my bridal shower when I opened our Dyson, I cried. When I opened our KitchenAid stand mixer, I cried. When I found out my mom secretly ordered me a red velvet cake, I cried. That was a very tearful shower.

 At my bridal shower, crying like a fool over my Pistachio KitchenAid stand mixer

4. When I hear a weird noise and Hubs confirms it. OK, I know you're like, "Huh?" But I tend to be a bit paranoid and over sensitive to bumps and thumps. Many late nights, I'll be like, "What the hell was that?" and he'll say, "What? You're crazy. I didn't hear anything." But once in a blue moon he'll hear it too! Thus confirming that I'm not hearing things.

5. Cutting the grocery line. I love when I only have one or two items and someone cordially allows me to go on ahead of them. I always do this for people unless I'm in some mad rush.

6. When my mom calls. My mother-in-law calls us way too much, but I wish my mom would call me every day the way she does.

7. Bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. I just started Medifast on Tuesday and I'm dying. I mean, I'm doing well with it, shockingly. I just miss my crappy food. I could live on bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. Honestly, if I had to chose one food item to live on, that would be it. It's going to be a very long time before I see another one if I continue Medifast.

8. The way I feel after I donate money. Even though I'm basically broke, I still try to donate where I can. I did the text for Haiti thing then I donated $25 for this Love Harder cause. It's a blogger that just found out her boyfriend has something called Multiple Myeloma. I donated here: and so can you!

9. Cool hotels. Last winter, Hubs attended this Beer Advocate beer festival. It was held in Boston and I sorta tagged along. Unlike him, I'm totally NOT into beer. He's a home-brewer and connoisseur of micobrews. He even won an award last summer and his beer is going to be on tap at a New Jersey brewpub soon. More on that another day. Anyway, I figured I could go up to Boston and do some shopping and site seeing. I hadn't been there in nearly 20 years! We stayed at this hotel, The Colonnade. It was amazing. Every little detail was perfect. I didn't want to leave. I wished I could just live in that room. It was decorated exactly in my favorite colors and was totally my taste in design. I loved how our room even had a Keuirg machine with K-cups for coffee and they escorted Hubs in a little Smart Car to his festival so he didn't have to walk in the cold!

10.  Comments and followers! I'm not gonna lie. I love when you guys leave me feedback and when I see I have a new follower. I only have 95 today, but the day I break 100, I'll feel amazing. I really will.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hilarious Diary Entries: 1986 Part II

Checking out some other diary entries. I found a few more gems from 1986, I was 13. It's funny, the more diaries I read, the more I realize it snowed a lot back in the '80s. Damn! I remember really enjoying 1986 even though many of my diary entries may not reflect that.

Thursday, April 24, 1986
It snowed yesterday but all melted. 
I got an 85 on my science project. The fair was yesterday.

Friday April 25, 1986
Today was Sean's surprise party. 

Saturday, April 26, 1986
Today was Danny's suprise party at Tricia's house. Her mom said the word "bullshit" while yelling about the mess in the basement. It was funny. [I totally remember this! Wow!] Jose's cousin Poucho was there, He's from Spain! I got my book from from St. Agnes. [That's where I attended 9th grade the next year]

The famous Danny from nearly all of my entries.

Sunday, April 27, 1986
Today was so fun. Kathy came over for my confirmation party. [Ha ha, I just blogged about this the other day - how I wished I had a Bat Mitzvah!] She is so  nice. I miss her. I mean we used to be best pals. Serena didn't come. To tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting her. It was good. I made a total of $240 and a dove necklace. 

Kathy and I hung out together and put up balloons and stuff. I bit five of my nails - I'm so mad. [I was never able to grow my nails until the age of 19. I always bit them!] I fooled all of my relatives. I wore tight black leggins and an over-sized shirt so I look 15 lbs lighter. All I heard was, "Are you dieting?" and "keep up the good work!" It was sorta sad because all I've lost is 8 lbs and I probably gained it all back today. [I've been dieting, working out and back and forth to Weight Watchers for as long as I can remember, my diary entries are proof!]

Monday, April 28, 1986 
I hate school so much. It was about 78 degrees today. I wore shorts after school! 
The new song by Madonna is on. "Live To Tell." 
I called Danny. 
My hair looks nice today.
Mr. C was a sub today. Both nuns were out today. It was great! I don't want to go tomorrow. I have gym with Ms. P
I can't wait for our class trip 
I hate Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays. 

Diary Entries, Winter of 1986

Depressed and stumped on what to write today, I'm just gonna cheat and revisit past diaries from 1986 - starting with today's date 24 years ago. I was in 8th grade.

Eighth grade graduation, June 1986

Monday, January 20, 1986

You know if we won the lottery how happy everyone would be? I wish we could. [We obviously never did. I may have written this because a family from our church with two kids in our school won twice! What's more --  the father was a physician, as if they really needed to win twice?!]

We didn't have any school today. I hate school so much. I hate my whole life. I lost my best friend, Dan. [Apparently every entry says this, yet Danny and I were close until 1994 so this probably was just a spat]  

I can't stand my Mom, Dad and brother. I wish I could do something to make everyone love me. I wish me and Danny could patch things up.

I bought fake nails yesterday they cost $3.49! I also got nail polish in a stick. [That shit didn't work, it was nail polish in a pen like applicator, they still make them and they still suck!]

I think the only major problem with my life is that one minute I'm having the best time and then the next I hate everyone. My dad hates me. I'm the worst thing that ever happened to my parents. [This obviously is not true, typical teen angst.] I wish I could disappear into thin air that way everyone's life would be perfect not like mine.

I wish life was like a TV show. I wish life was like Family Ties or Growing Pains or something. 


Monday, January 27, 1986

Today Sister told us what parts we had in the play [12 Angry Men]. I'm Juror 12 which sucks, I wanted 7 but Danny got it. [It always pained me that I got the smallest role or a bystander role in our school performances and class plays. I was the only kid in school who wanted to be an actress. I was the only kid who spent summers at acting camp and the teachers knew this. It was just the typical Catholic school slap in the face of who you knew and who your family was. If you were one of 10 kids and every one of them had gone through the school, you were treated much differently. Think about it, it comes down to money. 10 kids=10 tuitions.]

I've been lifting Dad's weights about every day for 15 minutes. I'd like to build some muscles in my arms. [Totally do not remember this, and did I honestly think 15 minutes was going to cut it?]

It's snowing hard. Oh I hope we don't have school tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 28, 1986 

The space shuttle exploded today killing 7 crew members. One was a school teacher. It was so sad. [ I blogged about this event.]

I told Danny about him not being fun anymore.

We had school today. There's about 1/2 a foot of snow, maybe 3 inches [geez, big diff!]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Loved Pippi Longstocking

A little background on who exactly Pippi is for my younger "followers" ...  

According to Wiki, Pippi Longstocking is a fictional character from a series of children's books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Published between 1945-2000, the series has been translated into 50 different languages. Pippi was awesome. She lived with her monkey and a horse in this funky looking house in a small Swedish village.  The coolest part was she didn't have any parents or adults looking after her. I found this incredibly impressive as a little kid.

I know I must have been pretty small when I was lovin' Pippi because I remember watching it while sitting on the groovy orange rug in our living room of my family's first house in Oakdale, New York. We only lived there until about 1977. 

I absolutely loved Pippi with her shocking red pigtails and mismatched tights.She had the cutest, smartest pet monkey (Mr. Nilsson) who would sit right on her shoulder. I don't remember much about her aside from the fact that she got into lots of wild adventures with her little friends -- a brother and sister team from next door. I vaguely remember her having superior strength. I think I recall her in a boat or flying in a hot air balloon or something. She was very spunky and fun -- someone you'd want as your best friend if you were like 8 or 9. 

I've spent over an hour trying to find various episodes or snippets on YouTube, but many are in foreign languages or are dubbed with silly songs -- I hate that about YouTube. You think you've found something and it's just some idiot playing his music to a photo or a video with crappy music dubbed over exactly what you were searching for.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Wish I Had A Bat Mizvah

Growing up on Long Island, Jewish girls turning thirteen would have these amazing mini wedding type celebrations for making their Bat Mitzvah. When I made my confirmation, we ordered a cake from Everbest Bakery and a six foot Italian sub from Eastern Meats Deli. There wasn't a pretty pink party dress purchased for me to wear. I didn't wear a special floral corsage. We didn't have fancy favors. Maybe there were some balloons which we blew up ourselves. There wasn't a cartoonist perched on a chair drawing my family and friends with humongo heads and tiny bodies. Nobody gave me checks in the amount of special numerals to bring me good luck.

Attending Catholic school until the 9th grade, the only Jewish girls I encountered were through summer camp or at Miss Diane's School of Dance.  I wasn't invited to many Bat Mitzvahs when I was thirteen. In fact I don't recall attending even one. Later on in high school I had a couple of Jewish friends with little sisters and was floored at how festive and exciting these events were. I snagged a few invites. These parties were like Sweet Sixteens on crack.

At my Sweet Sixteen, we sat around my parent's living room playing Pictionary, eating pizza and listening to Depeche Mode. I'll be honest, I didn't even know enough people to invite to a lavish, expensive party with a DJ and centerpieces.  We didn't even have enough guests to waste money on a fancy cake. Instead I busted out a Duncan Hines chocolate cake with white icing and wrote the names of my favorite bands in red decorative gel alongside the "Happy Sweet Sixteen, Ally" ... Not sure why. Guess I thought I was cool.

Senior year, a close Jewish male friend I had a crush on (just like every other guy I knew) brought me to hang out with his prep school friends in Westchester. So nobody would suspect we were boyfriend-girlfriend, we told them we were cousins. To help me fit in even better, he told me to pretend my name was Ally Azar. It was similar to my real name, but he said it "sounded Jewish" and it would be better for me to be Jewish today. I didn't mind. I know it seems weird for a Catholic kid to pretend they're Jewish for the day, but I didn't care. Really. As long as my grandpa didn't find out. He was like an Italian version of Archie Bunker, let's just leave it at that.

I truly enjoyed pretending I was Jewish that day. I thought it was cool being someone different--even if just for a few hours. It was as if I was an actress playing the part of a cool LI Jewess for the day. I even wore a little Jewish star pendant over my Gap tennis sweater. That day I met super interesting rich kids with names like Harley and Ben. Up until that day, I had never met anyone named Harley before. I thought there was only one Harley in the entire world and it was a brand of motorcycles.

We ate Kosher pizza and played "smart kid" games I had never heard of before like Rummikub. It wasn't as easy as the games I had at home. I listened as the prep-schoolers spoke about intellectual topics and discussed books by authors I had never read. I soaked it all in and felt older than I was. I acted as sophisticated as I could and used words I had learned while studying for the verbal portion of the SATs. 

When we drove home I thought about every detail of that day.  I went up to my room and realized the performance was over. I was back to being my childish, non-intellectual, non-Jewish self. I'm surprised that day's diary entry was very short and sweet and simply said Harley was a babe, otherwise I would have shared it with you. In a way I guess that's typical. I didn't even realize the weirdness of that day until adulthood. I think about it every once in a while. My husband loves that story.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Remember When...

Sundays are often pretty laid back, lazy days for us. Aside from running a few errands, hitting a handful of open houses (as in viewing houses for sale) and visiting my in-laws, the highlight of our day is low-fat breakfast sandwiches and coffee at Starbucks. Up until recently, my husband never cared much for coffee. He's always been a beer and wings guy.

For the first six years of our relationship, I'd beg him to stop at Starbucks and sit with me for a few minutes. I know "cool" people hate Starbucks for being the big, ugly demon serving up overpriced, bitter coffee and putting the little guy out of biz. I won't deny you your opinions, but there's something about Starbucks I truly love despite the negs. The warm feel of cupping a toasty latte sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar in the raw on a chilly morning is heavenly to me. Sipping an ice brewed Starbucks passion tea on a hot summer's day - nothing beats it!

OK, back to the topic. I think every Sunday I'm going to make a list of several things that complete the sentence, "Remember when" ... Today's theme will be franchise eateries. As always, feel free to comment and include a bunch of things you remember! I love reading what you all have to say :-)

Remember When...

1. Taco Bell only had like three items on their menu? According to Wikipedia, the first Taco Bell franchise was opened in New Jersey in 1964??? Seems wrong. I remember in the early '80s in Lynbrook, New York, as little kids, we'd feast on hard beef tacos and those toasty sweet cinnamon crisps. This was way before the chicken soft taco or Nachos BellGrande.

2. Speaking of Taco Bell, we didn't have Qdoba or Chipotle. If we wanted Mexican, it was either a nice sit down independent Mexican restaurant or the hard tacos at Taco Bell. 

3. Dunkin Donuts only had coffee and donuts. They didn't serve tuna on a bagel or flatbread sandwiches. As a kid, my favorite item from Dunkin Donuts was the fruit punch. It was stored in this big plastic, see-through dispenser and probably filled with bacteria, but it was deliciously icy old and sweet.

4. Most of McDonald's sandwiches were served in Styrofoam cartons. As we became more environmentally conscience, so did the fast food industry. In high school, I actually stared a petition and gathered over 200 students' signatures asking McDonald's to please package their burgers in paper similar to the burgers at Wendy's.

5. In the late '70s and '80s, there wasn't Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday's on Long Island. Though many of these chains existed in other parts of the country, the only big "sit-down" chain restaurants we were familiar with were Pizzeria Uno's, Houlihan's and Bennigan's.

6. In the '80s, movie theaters only had popcorn, candy and soda -- maybe hot dogs depending on where you went. Today's kid can chose from chicken fingers or nachos while taking in a movie at a Sony Theater or Clearview Cinema.  

7. If you wanted ice cream back in my day, you had standard offerings at local creameries, Carvel, Baskin-Robbins and Friendly's. Now there's crafty confections from Cold Stone Creamery, Maggie Moo's and much more. We didn't have Cake Batter flavor back then!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Justin Bieber -- Dani's Long Lost Son?

Several years ago,  MTV aired a dating show called A Shot At Love where Hollywood chick Tila Tequila was searching for her soul mate. Sound familiar? Tila mania died down for a while, then she resurfaced in the news because her "fiance", Johnson & Johnson heiress, Casey Johnson, was found dead. Tila got busy Tweeting about it ...

So anyway, back to A Shot At Love. Check this out. Is it just me, or does the finalist from the show, Dani Campbell of Fort Lauderdale, look like teen singing sensation Justin Bieber or what?

The resemblance is killing me! 

High School -- Unlike You, I Don't Miss Those Days...

Trying to think of something clever, I turned to today's date in my 11th grade journal. Man, I hated high school so much. I hated every single day from 9th-12th. So many people reflect on those as the  best days of their lives. Ef that. Each day was pure torture.

It's funny because reading this entry sorta reminds me of how I now feel about work sometimes.

Monday, January 16, 1989
"I detest these nights before school after a relaxing three-day weekend. I just hate having to get back into the swing of things!

My homework was hardly good enough to be called "done." I didn't even call Scott.

I don't want to go to school. I wish so badly that I could skip college. I just don't want to go! [I ended up loving college.] If it were up to me I wouldn't go!

It's so late. I hate the thought of 7:00 AM. I dread opening my eyes. Just having to open my closet, turn on the radio and get ready for a long day of school complete with facing gym (more about that here) and facing assholes like that bitch Amy [no idea who this is] ... the other day we had to work "in twos" in American History and she refused to work with me. I wish she were dead. I hate her. I don't want to go tomorrow. Plus I hope it snows on Wednesday or Thursday night. If it does, then I hope it snows enough to close school - otherwise who needs it?!

If it snows, then I'll probably have to spend the day babysitting at Lenore's which sucks. I won't get anything done and can't sleep late.

Things I live for: sleep, phone, writing, TV, music, vacation, movies, reading, clothes 

I hate school, I can't take the pressure."

Ugh, reading that journal entry really bummed me out. Just a reminder I guess. It sucks how youth is wasted on feeling bad. I wish I could have been a different person back then. Why didn't I say something? I should have punched that Amy bitch out or said, "Guess what dumb ass, I don't want to work with your dumb ass either!" Instead I kept quiet and just wrote it down hours later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Very First Published Article

Going through my famous beat-up, blue Trapper Keeper you've heard so much about, I discovered a real treat for you all today. My very first article. Published in the weekday "Kidsday" column of Newsday, Long Island's favorite paper. Back in the '80s Newsday was also available in New York City so my little article was read by city folk too.

I blogged about my love of the Monkees in so many different blog entries, but the gist can be found here. I had no idea that all 14 of my Kidsday articles were mixed in with my celebrity autographed cards, letters and photos. I was such a nerd. While other girls were meeting boys at the mall, I was writing to celebrities and penning articles about a group old enough to be my dads. Duh!

You'll notice in this particular article, the byline includes my town and age. Because of a super gross experience I encountered, Newsday omitted that info after 1987. Sickos would often call the house as my parents were listed in the phone book. Boy do I wish call ID existed in the '80s! Typically these freaks would yell that this band or that show I wrote about, sucked, then they'd hang up.

One caller, however, was intensely scary. Posing as a writer for NYC's Village Voice, he said if I answered a few questions for an article he was doing, he would send me a $50 Gap or Record World gift card. His questions were sick and perverted. For example, "Do you wear tight jeans? How does that make you feel?" I told him I was fat and wore whatever fit me. Hey, I spoke the truth. Anyway, thanks to viewing plenty of cautionary after school specials I knew enough to quickly inform my folks. They contacted my editor at Newsday and from that day on, kids' personal details were no longer included. So it's weird to see half of my articles with just my name in the byline.

I continued writing throughout high school. I was on the lit mag and school paper staff. Did I study journalism in college? No. I feared and loathed competition. One of my biggest regrets, was not vying for a college scholarship. Our school paper adviser insisted I apply for a journalism scholarship senior year. I told her my grades weren't strong enough. She reminded me that I was the only one in my grade who was on the paper that year and the only student who qualified. She added that I truly deserved it. I was just too embarrassed to try.

Afraid to compete with the smarter kids, I studied basic communications and just assumed I'd get a job in some sort of mass media or ad agency environment. I had a blast interning at CBS, though it didn't lead to much or help get my foot in the door at Late Show With David Letterman or anything. Our internship coordinator warned me that because I had trouble patching incoming phone calls from the office to Geraldo Rivera's cell phone, that I would probably not be hired. She was correct. Reception is key. No matter that I had excellent talk show story ideas. If I had just mastered the art of transferring calls, I'd be a big time TV producer by now. Oh well. Here I sit unemployed and blogging instead.

So there you have it. One of the many articles written by a thirteen-year-old hopeful. I had always wanted to be a kid on TV like Punky Brewster or Jennifer Keaton.  When I gave up that impossible dream, I took to writing. If you're a parent and you're not already doing this, foster your kid's dreams. Whatever they may be. I have to say, my parents always encouraged me and it was my dad who told me to submit my Monkees article to the newspaper. It was the first article I ever sent them. Funny how as an adult, it seems nearly impossible to pitch and sell an article or book. Maybe I should disguise myself as a seventh grader instead.

Thanks for reading.

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Internet Hurts: Dumped By A Fellow Blogger

First off, I want to thank Copyboy at Not Worth Mentioning and Mass Hole Mommy for listening to me whine via email about my current state of emotions. There was a blogger I loved who I  somehow must have pissed off. One of the first bloggers I truly enjoyed and followed. We followed each other. Left each other comments. Linked our readers to each others blogs. Followed each other on Twitter. I thought we were gonna be long distance bloggin' buds forever.

Then suddenly today I realized Bloggin' Bud was no longer following me. I also noticed Bloggin' Bud dropped me from the blog roll list. This blogger was done with me. I must have said something wrong in one of my daily comments. I hurried over to Bloggin' Bud's profile to see if there was an email address available. I figured maybe I could apologize and find out what it was I said that was taken out of context. No email address provided. 

I see this happen on Facebook and Twitter. One day I'll have say 202 friends, the next I'm holding steady at 201 and I wonder, who was it that dumped me? Was it that chick from my very first job? Was it that guy from kindergarten who found me and shared awesome details about how he started his own biz from the ground up? Was it that chick who had the same last name as me, yet nobody in our family knew who she was? 

If you're sensitive like me, the internet can really kick your ass. I want a thick skin. I do. I know a thick skin is what I need to survive as a writer, a blogger, an employee, a person. I've blogged about this before, yet still am sensitive to this silly stuff.

For example, we took out a friend for her birthday. I picked out a gift, wrapped it and covered the cost while our other friend was in charge of bringing a few cupcakes to the restaurant. She forgot the cupcakes. I drove us there and felt like I had been the true organizer. You know, the real brains behind "Operation Birthday" for our friend. The next day, I noticed cupcake forgetter received a delightful, "Thank you for the wonderful gift and dinner. It was great" type comment. I however, received none. No props were passed along to me. Not later that day. Not the next day. Not ever.

I know what you're thinking. "Um, why do you care?" But there must be someone else out there that shares in the paranoia behind the 'puter. There's gotta be just one other weirdo out there who feels a bit bummed out when an email or message goes unanswered or a friend no longer wants to be connected.

Emails sent out into a dark abyss. Poured my heart out into a typed message and never received a reply. Did they think what I said was retarded? It's like they're left knowing my true feelings, yet I have no idea how they've interpreted whatever it was I said.

As always, thanks for listening. I love you guys.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Remember Jazzercise?

To celebrate the love I am feeling today with a whopping 85 followers, I figured I'd post another blog. Not only am I loving all of the new followers, but your feedback is equally as awesome! Keep on bringin' it!

Those who have survived the '80s may remember a little workout class called Jazzercise. Up until recently, I truly thought Jazzercise was extinct. An e-buddy mentioned loving her Jazzercise classes and tried to convince me to drop my boring gym membership and join a Jazzercise class. I must admit, it was tempting for a moment until I remembered my not-so-fond childhood experiences at Jazzercise.

Jazzercise was similar to Weight Watchers meetings back in the day. There wasn't an actual "center" for the flock to congregate. Instead we were welcomed by a cold concrete floor found in the basement of a school, church or temple. Whatever normally was in that room was pushed off to the side. The rooms always had that freaky echo and was filled with distracting bulletin boards overrun with kid's drawings.

Mom loved inspiring me to burn calories. She'd honestly do anything to get me to shed those extra pounds! She would drag me every week to her Jazzercise class where we'd bust a move to "Heart of Rock 'n Roll" by Huey Lewis and try to keep up with the crew while doin' the Neutron Dance.  At 12  I was always the youngest broad in the room. Clad in stupid pastel sweat pants and rainbow decal t-shirts, I stood out like a complete dork among a sea of toned twenty-somethings decked in pink and blue satiny stockings, leotards and leg warmers.

(Of course the founder of Jazzercise is a hottie!)

Man I hated Jazzercise. I hated those effin bitches tough I'm sure they were super nice. Most where probably college students, teachers and nurses.  However, they all resembled the perfect '80s gal. Thoughts of Kate from Silver Spoons and Blair from Facts of Life come to mind. I hated their damn water bottles and professional mats. I had a Tupperware cup with a cap and a colorful beach towel that said "Florida" in script bubble letters. I hated their little ankle weights. I hated their colorful matching wrist and head sweatbands. I hated every minute of that shiz.

Truth be told, the only thing good about Jazzercise, was that Mom would treat me to a salad at McDonald's afterward. Salads at McDonald's were new back then! If we didn't get a salad, we'd swing by TCBY for frozen yogurt. Spoken like a true chubber, this was the lone highlight of my Jazzercise days.

I should tell my mom Jazzercise is alive and well today in 2010. Maybe she'll get on it! Luckily yoga pants and t-shirts have become the more popular choice of workout attire. Thankfully it appears leotards are a thing of the past. Let's hope they remain an '80s relic.

Thanks for listening and if you're following me, know I love you with all my heart :-)


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