Saturday, June 27, 2015

Days of Our Lives: Or How I Became a Soap Opera Addict

      I am a hopeless romantic. I have known this by the movies I watch, books I read, times I've fallen in love and married. When it comes to 'meet the guy, lose the guy, get guy back' I am such a sap. I've loved weddings, bridal gowns, and everything nuptial since I was a little girl and colored every page of my 'Here Comes the Bride' coloring book.

      So it comes as no surprise that I loved watching soap operas. I used to keep it a secret, then 'Luke and Laura' made the cover of Time magazine with their soap 'I do's' and then I was free. close friends and family knew that I was addicted to 'Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, the Doctors, Edge of Night, Secret Storm, Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow, the Guiding Light,Young and Restless, (or as my son called it: The Young and the Rest of Us), and One Life to Live. Boy....this kind of commitment made for busy summer days. It's a wonder I had time to spend every waking hour at Pam's house and get into trouble with boys on her porch. Oh wait!! We didn't do anything when 'Days' was on! Her mom and grandma watched it too...kind of a family ritual. When those sands passed through the hour glass, we were spellbound. I mean...what could be better than Bo and Hope, Doug and Julie, and Dr. Marlena Evans and Roman. I know. Some of you have already clicked over to FB or googled how to cook pork loin in the crock pot. But if you were a 'soap fiend' then I have news for you.

      Did you know that you can google your old soap and or actors and actresses who starred in them and actually WATCH old episodes??? Yep...there's a thing called 'Retro TV' and I watched a couple of episodes from 'Love of Life', the 'Doctors' (you know...Althea and Dr. Nick Belini), and some wonderful black and white passion from 'General Hospital'. I must say, watching those shows now I realized how goofy some of them really were. The sets were what you would see in a middle school play, the medical scenes had little more than an oxygen mask and a plant on the nightstand. But no matter, there was plenty going on behind the hospital room curtain! The fights were guys hitting the palms of their hands instead of the bad guy's face. Now...I know once there was a scene where the actress opened the closet and it was snowing in the closet same as outside...but Retro TV must have missed that one. I have seen outtakes and to be honest, it looks a lot like the episode that aired...complete with the microphone sneaking into view.

      Only in soaps, can a lady have a baby by her long lost ex-husband who was really her cousin and that baby will come down the steps next season as a seventeen year old in love with his neighbor's daughter, who is also his unknown sister. Yep. It gets messy sometimes. But oh....the romance and tender moments is still the fodder for good daytime serials.

       I will leave you with the cheesiest ending I can to this blog. Hold onto your hat. You may gasp or gag, but I bet you will giggle...especially if you stopped in a Sears store and watched your favorite soap on their display tv's. have done that, right? Okay. Here goes.

                                                    My Ode to Soaps

I was just a young girl, on my Search for Tomorrow, looking for the Love of Life that I knew was waiting for me at the Edge of Night. It was my own Secret Storm, waiting for the prince who would carry me to Santa Barbara with the help of a Guiding Light. After all, I only had One Life to Live and the sands of the hourglass would fall through just like the Days of Our Lives. I had to find my Luke, my Bo, my Ben, my Mark, Dr. Hardy, because I knew that Love was a Many Splendored Thing and I was not going to miss out! Yes, I was Young and Restless, but if it took the Doctors of General Hospital to help me find love while The World Turns, then fine! I had a passionate side to my innocent 'girl next door' and the whole world was my stage! No matter what....I was on a mission. I was looking for love! And darn it, I would find in no matter how many channels I had to change or classes I had to miss just to watch every episode. And yes I would devour every 'Soap Digest' magazine to see a close-up picture of every bride, groom, victor and villain. This was the basis for forming life long relationships: I mean...this was real life, wasn't it? Tune in tomorrow....

Sigh. Maybe it was just daytime programming designed to sell soap products and jello. Could it be that this is not how everyone finds their traveling to Port Charles to Genoa City to Kingdom Come to find their soulmate? And to do so on motorcycle in a wedding gown or nestled down in a dark field with that tall, dark, handsome bad boy---with no hint of mosquitoes, wood tics, or possums? Well, we all need a respite from the real world of laundry, children puking, and a husband who thinks romance is turning the channel from the NFL to the 'Thorn Birds', then snoring through the steamy love scenes.

Okay. I'm done. No more sloppin' through the soaps. But if you want to see what Tony Geary looked like when he came on--40 some years ago on 'General Hospital' google it!

Little did I know, if I wanted to live life like the soaps, all I had to do was leave Pam's front porch. 'Days of Our Lives'--- so much more fun to live than simply watch.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

"What is Your Emergency?" or How Pam and Debbie Spent Their Sunday Afternoon

Okay! So my best friend and I are having Sunday dinner with her mom. And since we have been best friends since we were fifteen years old, my mom was her mom and her mom is my mom. Get it? We still can recall one another's phone numbers by heart: mine was 359-4451, and her family's number was: 356-2138. Sometimes I don't know where I leave off and my friend begins. Our Social Security numbers are the same except for the very last digit. This occurred when we both went together to the SS office to get cards prior to driver's education.

But enough on that history. You gotta hear what mess we got into today. best friend, let's just call her 'Pam', and her mom we will name her, ummm, 'Carolyn'. Yep, that will work. other mother, Carolyn, recently fell, so they have her wired with this fall alert button thingy. I guess I should read up on it, as I am getting pretty clumsy myself. But that's a matter for another time.

I am sitting in Carolyn's kitchen when all of a sudden a voice starts blasting into the room. It was all 'urgent-like' and serious. I knew that voice meant business. Must be the weather alert radio. I look out the window and say to 'Pam': "Well, I sure don't see any storms. Do you think it's a tornado warning?"

Instantly, Pam starts yelling at Carolyn! "Are you alright, mom?"

Is she alright? The storm isn't even here yet. I go out to the back porch and check on Carolyn.

There she is. Pouring detergent and peering into the washing machine. Miss Carolyn is oblivious to the emergency-blasting voice, my reaction to the oncoming storm, and Pam's panicky question.

"She's doing laundry," I respond, "I don't think she hears you. What are you yelling about?"

"Life Alert! Life Alert is calling. They think mom has fallen. She must have hit the button on the washer." Pam continues yelling at the Life Alert box. This is awkward.

"NO. No....everyone is okay. We don't need an ambulance. Mom....what is your password?"

Carolyn comes out from the back porch and shrugs her shoulder. "I don't know. Hal (her son) didn't tell me." Pam starts digging through some papers trying to locate the information. Pam is shouting at the Life Alert lady that she is indeed her daughter, and Carolyn is upright and fine and that the button got caught in the waistband of her pants and banged against the washing machine, setting it off.

Yeah. This could probably happen to anyone.

In the meantime, Carolyn is relatively unconcerned that in a matter of moments a parade of emergency vehicles are about to descend on her property. Soon, the Life Alert Lady asks for Carolyn's date of birth. Bingo! That is the password! The Life Alert Lady has called off the Emergency Vehicles Parade. And we all settle down to process the last four minutes of our lives. And then we do what we always do: laugh.

But wait!!  I need some clarification! You mean that wasn't the Weather Radio? There is no impending tornado? Pam just stares at me. I've seen that stare a bazillion times. She is looking at me in disbelief that I am so slow catching on to the events that have transpired. I know better than to restate my question. Yeah. I'll just sit back down here and look out the window. Uh huh.

And think about why Pam and I are the Worst. Care-givers. Ever.

But I'll tell ya right now....if that Life Alert Lady calls back and says there's a storm coming, Carolyn and I are heading for the basement!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Selfies, Silliness and Stories

         I have this wooden block above my sink. It has each season on the four sides. I truly smiled and clapped my hands when I turned the block over from spring to summer. I am that kid who lived for school to be over. I am also that teacher who shares the same sentiment. I don't know. It's like standing on the edge of Christmas Eve, waiting for all of the surprise and adventure of Christmas morning to unfold.

         That's how it is when the bus pulls away from the curb on that last day of school: total joy and anticipation. A chapter waiting to be written of fun, freedom, and an endless string of Fridays that happen on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Summer vacation is the work of gods who understand kids. No more worksheets, tests, homework, and projects that fizzle. Time to imagine, get dirty, stay up late, sleep in. The summer assignment is to: pretend, build, pitch, hit, kick, slam, dribble, and that is just getting to the breakfast table.

         My summer has started with the grandkids. Play dates in which five grandsons make slingshots, play in the hose, take turns on the swing, and play with action figures with wild abandon. This is the bonus timeI have to take my granddaughters to dinner. The best course isn't on the menu; it's their endless stories and funny takes on life. The purchases at the mall were great buys; but you can't put a price on the silly selfies they took on my digital camera. Birthday parties, ball games, and pleas of "Can we spend the night?" make summer a magical time. For them and me. And foregoing the cleaning agenda while I rock the youngest grand baby, resets my inner peace. I made up a phrase that says, "Plant stillness---harvest calm." A sleeping child in my lap does just this.

        I value education, structure, and the hunger for life-long learning. But watching a robin return to the nest to lay on blue eggs is a science lesson built on wonder. Watching little lips sound out the words of a book they bought at a garage sale is reading for the fun of it. Which in turn, will prepare them for reading that is required. Planting seeds, picking strawberries,  trying to make neon 'glow in the dark' bubbles is agriculture and chemistry at their fingertips. I think that we make learning so hard. Junk can become art; broken tree limbs a fort, and taking a walk downtown can reveal history lessons on every corner.

        And may I add that a skinned knee may be the result of climbing a tree. Let 'em climb. The run through the meadow might be a little itchy. Scratch, but keep running. Collecting crawdads out of the creek may result in muddy kids. Guess what....they will wash. Play involves risk. Bike races and kickball games probably will end in a disagreement; let them solve it. And if they can't work it out, call them in for  a Kool-Aid break (black cherry is my favorite). And don't stress over the sugar in's only a matter of weeks before they are being served school lunches.

        I hope your summer is full of lightning bugs, chalk drawings, and ice cream cones. And when the kids come to play, join them.

        The giggles you hear may be your own.