Reflection on History

I have given myself last few days since the election time to let the enormity of this historic event sink in. I was talking to my F about the excitement surrounding the election of Barack Obama as our 44th President and I told her how I felt the night We The People made history.

I was flipping from CNN to ABC to BBC and settled on WGN to watch Obama make his victory speech and I thought back and reflected on how far this country has come in the terms of racism and prejudice.

In the late sixties, my first real experience with racism came was when my Family was traveling to Florida. Florida still had its stronghold on discrimination practices in 1968 and could not seem to let go of Jim Crow. As our parent’s practice my brother Jim and I would check out menus at restaurants to see if the prices were good and the food was fair and report back to Mom and Dad.

I remember on one occasion that I will always remember is going into a restaurant and seeing a “Whites Only” section. Being around 8 years old I had no idea that this was the very tip of the cold and calculating iceberg of discrimination. I just thought it was wrong and I was angry.

The Wheaton College kids that called me a papist for wearing my Saint Michael's school uniform and laughed at me as if their form of religion was superior. I hope that these ignorant kids grew up and learned tolerance.

I recalled filling out Social Security cards for my sons and pausing for a long time at the section “Caucasian” or “Asian” descent. I actually feared that what happened in the Forties could happen again and that I may be dooming my sons to any forms of discrimination due to their Japanese heritage. I marked “Asian” descent and vowed that no one would profile my child. I stood strong for my sons.

The babysitter’s husband that stated “My wife ain’t babysitting a “gook” baby.” I disdained this man.

The teachers that asked when I had “adopted” my son not believing a blond 6 foot woman could give birth to a beautiful son with Asian features. I stared with shock and disgust.

The Family Services of Wheaton that dissuaded my attempts at fostering a black child because I was white and could not “understand” the culture I wept for that child.

The boss that told me because I was a single mom of three, the job I had was the best I could ever do. I proved them wrong.

It is just not the African American population that suffers from racism, prejudice and bias. Although, they have suffered much of the brunt of this awful practice there are many colors and creeds that suffer silently as well.

I hope that this election of Barack Obama starts to change the way we treat one another. I will not give up hope for that.



The Ugly New McCain By Richard Cohen
Wednesday, September 17, 2008;

Following his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary, John McCain did something extraordinary: He confessed to lying about how he felt about the Confederate battle flag, which he actually abhorred. "I broke my promise to always tell the truth," McCain said. Now he has broken that promise so completely that the John McCain of old is unrecognizable. He has become the sort of politician he once despised.

The precise moment of McCain's abasement came, would you believe, not at some news conference or on one of the Sunday shows but on "The View," the daytime TV show created by Barbara Walters. Last week, one of the co-hosts, Joy Behar, took McCain to task for some of the ads his campaign has been running. One deliberately mischaracterized what Barack Obama had said about putting lipstick on a pig -- an Americanism that McCain himself has used. The other asserted that Obama supported teaching sex education to kindergarteners.

"We know that those two ads are untrue," Behar said. "They are lies."

Freeze. Close in on McCain. This was the moment. He has largely been avoiding the press. The Straight Talk Express is now just a brand, an ad slogan like "Home Cooking" or "We Will Not Be Undersold." Until then, it was possible for McCain to say that he had not really known about the ads, that the formulation "I approve this message" was just boilerplate. But he didn't.

"Actually, they are not lies," he said.

Actually, they are.

McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.

At a forum last week at Columbia University, McCain said, "But right now we have to restore trust and confidence in government." This was always the promise of John McCain, the single best reason to vote for him. America has been cheated on too many times -- the lies of Vietnam and Watergate and Iraq. So many lies. Who believes that in Afghanistan last month, only five civilians were killed by the American military in an airstrike, instead of the approximately 90 claimed by the Afghan government? Not me. I first gave up on the military during Vietnam and then again when it covered up the death of Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger and former NFL player who was killed in 2004 by friendly fire.

McCain was going to fix all that. He was going to look the American people in the eyes and say, not me. I will not lie to you. I am John McCain, son and grandson of admirals. I tell the truth.

But Joy Behar knew better. And so McCain lied about his lying and maybe thinks that if he wins the election, he can -- as he did in South Carolina -- renounce who he was and what he did and resume his old persona. It won't work. Karl Marx got one thing right -- what he said about history repeating itself. Once is tragedy, a second time is farce. John McCain is both.

The Ugly New McCain By Richard Cohen
Wednesday, September 17, 2008;


The Ballad of Sarah Palin

A Jaunty Little Tune! I will be humming it all day!


Maybelline, Revlon or Loreal... the choices are endless!

I have heard that the "Lower 48" does not understand Alaska and its culture at all. Well, with all due respect I think that some of the issues below do deserve at the very least a few raised eyebrows.

For those of the other Lower 48 frenzied, starry eyed "we got ourselves a really hottie" supporters that feel we don't know about Sarah Palin because we don't live there and we are just being "mean", take a gander at Anchorage Daily New's comments to the editor regarding our "heartbeat away" VP candidate.

Now get out of the liptick jungle and on to some thoughts:

  1. She offered a bounty of $150 for each right front leg of freshly killed wolves

  2. She is presently under investigation in Alaska for abuse of power

  3. She strongly supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  4. She promotes aerial hunting of wolves and bears even though Alaskans voted twice to ban the practice (VIDEO)

  5. She supports the Alaskan Independence Party which seeks independence from the United States (VIDEO)

  6. She is a champion for big oil and her campaign slogan has become "Drill, baby, drill!"

  7. She believes creationism should be taught in public schools

  8. She believes man-made global warming is a farce

  9. She is opposed to listing the polar bear as an endangered species because it might limit oil exploitation

  10. While mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the city librarian because the librarian refused to censor books

  11. She used $400,000 of state money to fund a propaganda campaign in support of aerial hunting

  12. As mayor of Wasilla, she made rape victims pay for their own forensic evidence kits

  13. She obtained her first passport just last year (2007)

  14. She touts her "experience" as Mayor of a city no larger than some of the minor Chicago suburbs as qualifying for VP even though Wasilla is known as the Meth Capital of Alaska . Seems her own backyard needs a bit of cleaning up!

And on to another interesting tidbit, with friends like these how can Sarah go wrong! Can we say Billy Carter anyone?


Losing is Such A Tragedy!

Okay so I did not win. Me! A voracious read-ette who devours books with the speed of sound!

With great confidence I had signed up for the Summer Book Read-A-Thon – grownups version at my local library. You were to record how many books you read in a two month period and you could win fabulous giveaways such as a Library Logo pencil case or gasp! A deck of cards with the Saint Charles fox logo printed right on the pack! Sigh…. What I would not have given to have that!!

Well, I was beaten by 2 books! Two lousy books!!! The woman that won probably only read 96 page odes to Scrapbooking while "I" finished and can brain retain all of the JD Robb Eve Dallas Novels plus a few Linda Lael Millers, Stephen Kings and Linda Hamiltons thrown in for good measure. 37 to 35!

Well I am planning my strategy for next year now. I am going to hunt down "Ms. fancy pants 37 books in 2 months" and steal her library card. That outta do it!


Disney Characters In Jail

Sweet Jesus! Cinderella is in the slammer!! Snow White on the Lam!! It seems that Tink and her friends were protesteth too much at The Happiest Place on Earth!

Read More HERE


A Short Trip on Route 66

This past weekend the Plumber convinced me that a short jaunt down to Springfield to see his buddy Rich would be just the ticket. Since I absolutely abhor riding the motorcycle on any type of speedway, multi-lane or super-highway he promised that it would be a leisurely trip down the famed Route 66. You know “get your kicks on Route 66”.

Not knowing what to expect, and knowing that the Plumber took this route many times in his solo adventures, I packed my extra pair of socks and jeans, grabbed my latest JD Robb novel and off we went - yes I have been known to read entire novels and fall asleep on the back of the Plumber's motorcycle.

After a quick breakfast we were off to whiz through the town of Dwight. Affectionately called “Not Just A Bump in the Road” by its residents, Dwight is a quaint little town that boasts a Big Al’s Hot Dogs, which is one of the first things you see as you enter Dwight.

Still swimming gastrically in Biscuits and Gravy, I was unable to sample a Route 66 dog.

Soon you will pass Ambler’s Texaco Station.
Built in 1933, it later became The Marathon Oil Station and serviced travelers until 1998. The building is currently being restored by the community and will serve as visitor’s center.
Next up, my favorite Odell. Odell made the most of the Mother Road distinction and you can tell that it was quite the rambling town in its hey day! My favorite is the Standard Oil Station that now serves as the town’s historical center.

When you pull up, a man rambles out of his on-site trailer and shuffles up to open the museum. He waits patiently and quietly while you survey the museums goodies, which has an impressive display of refrigerator magnets, which I have been known to purchase.

Restaurant Tip? Try Old Log Cabin in Pontiac or my now ultimate favorite “Filling Station” in Lexington. What a surprise that was! We were starving and really could eat so we pulled into Filling Station and sat down. There was more Route 66 memorabilia that I had seen in the previous towns.

It seemed the owner who has owned the place for 26 years, bought everything up that had anything to do with Route 66. Anyway, I ordered the Chicken Fajita sandwich. Not expecting much I was floored when the server brought out a huge slice of Italian bread loaded with Fajita filling and sizzling from the broiled pounds of cheese on top. OMG! It was heaven on a plate!!! Of course, the Plumber ate half. Order it if you stop.

In Towanda or nearby in the never-ending fields of corn, there is a halfway decent looking biker bar- we got lost there. Try it and let me know how it works out for ya!

Bloomington/Normal. If there was ever a town that did not give a rats ass about history then this is it! The signs for Route 66 abruptly stop and you are sent on one helluva goose chase through subdivisions, ratty areas and fraternity houses. Skip this area! Bypass by going around and use I-55. You can pick up Route 66 right outside of town.

Funk’s Grove was set deep in forestland. And they have some kick butt maple syrup – I bought some in a really cool maple leaf bottle. But spell it SIRUP not syrup. Stop there and ask why – I’m not telling.
Atlanta is not and I repeat NOT to be confused with the Peachtree city. Talk about a "children of the corn" moment. We drove in to a deserted town where the only sound was a squeeking swing and past more bars then I think they are people. A dingy scary town with taverns and boarded up shops with no windows and rusty metal siding. Even the police station is falling apart. Stopped at an intersection in that very eerie town, all of a sudden, a bell tolled loudly right above out heads – we skedaddled as quickly as we could out of that place all the while I babbled about white blond, blue eyed children zombies coming out of the corn to sacrifice us.

Elkhart is pretty cute.
The town boasts the Talk of the Town cafĂ© where we spent an hour sipping a pop and observing the townspeople. That poor little waitress was running the whole show and in flip-flops no less – ouch!

Well this is my slice of traveling the Mother Road. Hope you enjoyed it but I have get back to my book.


Honor Thy Mother and Father.... Then What?

Floating through Mother’s Day with 3 out of 4 (kids that is) being dutiful as far as Ma Bell would make available and Father’s Day where the funnier the card is the more appreciated, I started to ponder on the Honor your Mother and Father commandment. That would be, Moses’s Number 4 in the Judeo/Christian world and Number 5 for the R.C’s, for all you heathens out there. But I digress. Now to take this literally, I would have all the boys plus daughter fawning at my feet and washing them with their contrite salty tears but that is another Cecil B DeMille moment I try not to let my psychologist know about. But, to really look at that commandment is to dig deeper.

The word Honor according to Princeton’s Wordnet is as follows:

A tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction; "an award for honor and bravery" . That works for me. All Mother’s at some point or another should be awarded for bravery especially for those late night “Come pick me up from jail calls”. A woman's virtue or chastity. May not work considering the whole honor the parent thing means this is pretty much null and void. The quality of being honorable and having a good name. Hmmm since I change my name a little bit more than most, this might have a hard time catching up with me. Respect: show respect towards; "honor your parents!" Ah BINGO! That is what it is; respect.

Respect thy Mother and Father. Pretty straightforward right? Well there are mitigating circumstances that respecting your Mother and Father may be a little hard to do such as in the case of Mom or Pop is a serial killer, crack addict that abandoned you at two, or you were beat every day of your life. But, to offer simple, decent, respect is fairly easy to a parent that loves you and would like to be a part of your grown-up life. That meaning that you have actually grown-up.

I wasn’t the easiest person to get along with in my terrible teens then my tumultuous twenties, where it could have been textbook to blame my parents for the fact that I couldn’t make a solid decision to save my life. But I don’t blame them; I maintained my rights to screw up. So if you had a difficult life then sort it out and forgive. Easy, right? No, but the benefits outweigh the pain of forgiving.

Simple, decent respect means to call your parents on a regular basis, to stop dwelling on the negative, increase the positives in your life by having a relationship with your parents that at the very least is cordial. And a real important point is if you ask for advice; don’t be pissed off when they give it. Advice from a parent is usually well tried and there is experienced knowledge behind it. And you are never too old to be pulled back out of your whirling dervish self. That is just the parental love shining through.

So to tie this up there is a great verse from Ephesians 6:1-3 that states 1 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother 2 this is the first commandment with a promise. 3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.

Hey check that out! You can have a long wonderful life if you respect your parents! The alternative of course is your choosing.


R. Kelly: The True Definition of Ewww...

He married Aaliyah Haughton when she was 15 years old.

He settled two lawsuits by two women who said he had sex with them when they were minors.

A third lawsuit by another woman accusing R. Kelly of forcing her to have an abortion after impregnating her when she was a teen-ager is still pending.

Can we all say P-R-E-D-A-T-O-R? Can we spell R K-E-L-L-Y?

I hope that intelligent people will realize that an “acquittal” does not mean innocent. It means there was reasonable doubt. And really good bottom feeders on your side.

According to the Chicago Tribune who interviewed the jurors after the R. Kelly Child Porn case, “At first it was 5 in favor of acquittal, 5 undecided and 2 guilty. It got as close as 7-5 in favor of acquittal before the majority was able to convince those leaning toward convicting the singer there was not enough evidence.”

After hearing from reporters the details of Kelly’s other lawsuits and obvious interest in the bobby sox set, one juror replied “All of us felt the grayness of the case," a juror explained. That grayness is another word for "reasonable doubt."

Oh give it a break! The case of the matter is that yet again another celebrity gets away with murder! Oops wrong celebrity. It is a common occurrence that Jurors across the country are sitting star struck while the most vile of criminals get acquittals.

But the jurors are not the only ones at fault here. Outside the courtroom gaggles of middle aged mommas were clamoring to touch the hand of the man that they could sell their daughter to. Yuck! Ignorance and Star Gazing go hand in hand.

I only hope that his penance will come in the form of plummeting record sales. I know many that can’t listen to a Michael Jackson song without getting the willies knowing that he and his little star gazing followers are yucking it up and thumbing their finger at the law. Kelly’s lawyers said that the true Robert was in the courtroom, thanking Jesus and spewing blubbery protestations.

Hey Kelly! Jesus had nothing to do with it pal. You will fall one day and the same Star Gazers that adore you now, with their innocent sacrificial daughters hands in tow, will be the only offal that will support you.


I'll Tell Them

And you can tell everybody this is your song

I went to see the Sex and the City movie the other night with my dearest friend and after the movie we strolled a bit in the electrically charged night air of Chicago. This was our city F and me; it was our version of New York. And just like Miranda, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte, we had many great nights as well as many lonely nights there as well.

At dinner that night, F and I were talking about life, loves and of course children and she said something to me that struck me as the true meaning of friendship. She asked if anything happened to her, who would tell her children who she really was. Not the typical “she was a wonderful person” but the real true meaning of who she was. The effusive giggler, the voracious reader, the rambunctious whirling dervish, the brave daredevil, the creative and poetic night owl; the sides that most people don’t have a chance to see.

I said I would tell. I would tell her son and soon to be second baby F all about the strength that flowed from her that had the power of a raging river. That she had the ability to look pain in the eye and tell it “not now” and soldier on. I would tell them how her childhood may have formed her but never, ever defined her. How she could dance the night away but also spend nights just enjoying the quietness of her surroundings That their Mother practiced the art of forgiveness and never gave up hope. That she knew the true meaning of friendship.

So many of us hide certain aspects of our personality and those secrets are only spilled out in the presence of that one true friend. The friend that you can tell your story to and she will keep it locked away. A friend that never turns their back on you. A friend that knows when to pull you out of your own spinning life circus and also knows when to leave you in it; knowing that she will be there to dry the tears. And a friend that will fight for you to the bitter end because that is what she is; a true friend.

To be a true friend, you must be able to hold her secrets safely for her until the time that you need to let those that loved her know the real woman. I have a wealth of knowledge tucked away about F. My memory runs long and it runs very deep. I have stories that will show her children the real woman their Mother was. The one that I love so very much and will always be there for. I have her memorized in my mind. Even down to the shape of her hands and the serenity of her hugs. So your answer F? I will keep my promise, I’ll tell them

I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world


Loss: His Constant Companion

The family of Senator Edward M. Kennedy announced that he has a malignant brain tumor the other day and my heart bled for his family. All politics aside, this man first and foremost loves his family. In 1968, at the age of 36 he took over the role of surrogate father to his slain brothers 13 children. He never missed a communion, a graduation, or a wedding. And he sadly presided over the funerals of not only his brothers but of his nephews. David A Kennedy, Michael Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. He held the hands of his sisters and sister in laws as they faced their tragedies.

To hear Caroline Kennedy speak of her Uncle Ted, you get a glimpse into the heart of the man not the politician. She said that no matter where they all were in their respective lives, their Uncle was there for all of them every step of the way. He guided them and loved them unconditionally.

The Senator once responded to a reporter's question on how he lives with so many heartbreaking tragedies in his life that are almost as if “Loss were his constant companion" and he stated “You try to live with the upsides of life and muffle down the sadness”

Now it is his extended family’s turn to be there for him every step of the way.


A Gaffe is Just a Gaffe

So Barack called a reporter "Sweetie" as he swam upstream through the crowds. The WXYZ reporter, Peggy Agar pushed in with a microphone and shouted her question which replied to using the word "Sweetie".

How vile, how sexist, what a little misogynist we have here! NOT!!! It would be more of a gaffe than an attack on the feminine sensibilities of the reporter.

I have a lot of respect for Obama that he even thought it was necessary to give a call to Ms. Agar immediately to apologize for not giving her an answer and apologizing for his use of the evil word "sweetie".

It was a slip of the tongue, a fall back under stress into familiar language we use with family. Not an attack on her "sweetie-hood". Although listening to the You Tube broadcast and her downright spitting the word sweetie, she does not sound too sweet.

So, I have one thing to say to Ms. Agar the reporter in the Station WXYZ report:
Lighten Up Honey!


Diagnosis Number 5 : Sick Girl

I was sitting in my Rheumatologist’s waiting yet again for a diagnosis to the latest weird pain and I happened upon a book from Amy Silverstein called Sick Girl and it spoke volumes to me for I too am a Sick Girl. Now beleaguered with diagnosis number 5, I am struggling with how this is affecting my life.

My life for the past 12 years has been a painful journey into discovering strength in myself as well as garnering the ability to steel myself against the inevitable withdrawal of support from a friend.

In Sick Girl, the author spoke of friends drifting away and the excuses were text book standards such as “I can’t stand seeing you this way” to just drifting out of a Sick Girls’s life. First come the non-answered phone messages to lack of emails to finally no contact at all.

So why do friends that at one time were chatting us up at the latest hotspot to being non-existent in your life? I can only assume that the reason is fear of their own mortality. I see that in some friends faces, I am a mirror to what could happen to them.

Because of this I find myself becoming cold to some people. I have stopped letting people into my life because I do not want to eventually see them go. I hate discussing my illnesses. I cringe at the pity in their sympathetic head nods and sometimes I feel like a fool because I just can’t do all the fun stuff anymore.

It is a fact in my life that because of my illnesses I tend to isolate myself because I do not want the pity. I do not want to see the fear in people’s eyes. And I certainly do not want the question “But how can you be sick? You look so normal” I also do not want to hear statements such as “Your medication is making you wacky.”

But am I a equally guilty participant in this mass exodus of friends? Of course I am. I struggle so hard to not appear sick. I want my circle of friends to think I can accomplish anything. But most of all, I want to not let my illnesses to overtake my life. But it does at times overwhelm me then I hide away and at times push people away.

Even tonight as I write, I wonder who is next to leave my life. I can only add some words of wisdom from a Sick Girl. Friend,I am really trying to hold myself together so please don’t leave this Sick Girl in your life. The struggle to appear normal is a daily achievement for me, I just do not want my illness to be center stage.

Do I sound defeated? Maybe but I am not. Do I dismiss those that care too easily? I know that you care but I do not want illness to define me. I want to let you know that just because I am a sick girl and I take 15 meds daily and I get tired easily, I want to hear about your life. Your friendship allows me to take a break from myself.

Please Stay.


Setting Myself Up

I live in this little fantasy world that upon awakening on the Holy Grail of Hallmark holidays, the doorbell rings and when I open the door my three sons stand on my stoop beaming with their surprise and their arms laden with flowers, boxes of candy and cards that would make a UFC fighter weep. As I usher them into my spotless living room, I remove my apron which is covered in flour because I have been baking cookies and I am swept away to a fabulous twenty five course brunch all along wearing a orchid corsage that my loving boys have presented to me.

Reality check! First I do not own an apron, I burn cookies and most Mother’s Day I have a running bet with myself of which child will forget that this is supposed to be “My” day! I constantly set myself up for disappointment every year. I think that maybe this year will be different instead of realizing that I take the blame for raising three very independent workaholics that usually by 5pm their time zone they realize that oops! Forgot to call. Sigh………

This year was somewhat of a surprise to me. Tim sent a card that arrived “before” Mother’s Day, he also called me at 10am this morning beating out my special son Robert, who I can count on calling at 6am to one up the other boys on timeliness. Steven called late in the afternoon, saying the only reason he remembered is that he said Happy Mother’s Day to 150 souls that ventured in his restaurant with their own orchid laden Moms in tow. Ashley got me a cuter then peaches card with a gift certificate to Borders Josh is MIA. Three out of Four ain’t bad.

So reviewing my Mothers Day it was actually pretty good this year. Although the skies decided that raining torrentially on my newly planted hostas was a good idea and my Doc thought this would be a good day to try out a new medication on his own personal guinea pig (Me!) which made me almost want to snooze into my Chicken Fajitas and I left my cell phone in the rain which rendered it only good to get messages, I would say that I had a decent Mom’s Day.

So do I really want the fantasy? Well kinda yeah. The fantasy ala Donna Reed is not a bad one. But I suppose I should be content with what I do receive on this day. Despite being pharmceutically comatose and a little sad, I do dream that one day ALL the boys will be home, that I can gather them in my arms and tell them I love them.

Today of all days and holidays in the year, I miss them more than ever.


Ad Me!

Why do advertising people seem to think they know all about me? Well I have a few replies for them.

Will the Victoria’s Secret Memory Bra remember where my boobs used to be?

Does having that not so fresh feeling mean I have an expiration date?

When you wish you were an Oscar Meyer weiner, does this mean you have identity issues?

When I get Gladd why does this stop me from getting mad?

Drinking coffee that is good to the last drop does not sound too appealing. Isn’t the last drop in your cup cold and full of grounds?

If you come alive with Pepsi, does this mean that Coke drinkers are dead?

When I hear Snap, Crackle, Pop it usually means that my knees are getting bad.

Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!" "Wimpy! Wimpy! Wimpy! Sounds like a bunch of bullies are in a pissing contest in my garbage can.

How do I spell relief? Sleep.

1800 COLLECT: Save a buck or two. Oh Great another cost that my sons inflict on me..

When someone says this Bud's For You, is it rude to say you don’t really like Bud and why do I have to take him?

Don't Leave Home Without It. Oh God, what did I forget now?

Just Do It. Oh shut-up! I will do it when I feel like doing it!

"I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper, we're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too Ummm??? Sounds very FLDS to me.

Beef - it's what's for dinner. Finally someone else is doing the cooking!


Life Got In The Way

A undelivered Pampered Chef order languishes in my living room. A much anticipated theater project that has to be withdrawn from. Seeing cousins for the first time in thirty years. When did life get in the way?

I prided myself in the past of being able to multi-task with the best of the best but now I find myself more and more not being able to work that extra two hours or schedule multiple appointments. I find this new life distressing.

How did I let thirty years go by and not keep up with the close contact with my cousins that I dreamed I would do. At seventeen, leaning on my cousin Brian who helped me through a devastating event, I made the promises I was so sure to keep that I would never forget and always keep in touch. That we would remain best of friends. How empty that promise seems to me now. Gazing across the dinner table at Brian, I felt such deep sadness that I did not keep that promise. I regretted that I did not remain the “best of friends” with this amazing man. How shallow I must have appeared.

How do we as adults try to keep everything afloat in our lives when so many events, problems, and issues seem to keep us from the very things we enjoy the most. How could I have moved from crisis to crisis and find that the simple moments were brushed aside? Oh sure I can justify that I needed to spend the time as a mother to my boys who took up such amazing chunks of my life or that I needed time to find the real Chooch while stumbling across my own personal roadblocks.

But it all boils down to one statement. My life got in the way. Simple. Straightforward and somewhat self-absorbed as it is, the glaring truth is that we cast away our youthful promises on loftier pursuits. We need to make our money, establish our careers, raise our children to only toss them out on the world so that they too can experience the same wrapped up moments.

I didn’t expect when I had all my cousins around me that I would travel back to my seventeen year old days. I didn’t expect that it would seem just yesterday that I was sneaking that illicit Kools while pouring my heart and soul out. But now I know that I can’t afford to let my life get in the way. I must maintain contact of a more personal nature then just the occasional Christmas greeting or uninvolved email. I need my cousins. I need them in my life more than I ever would have imagined.

So even though I didn’t share my crazy youth, subdued thirties or my early discovering forties, I can go forth knowing that I have discovered a new set of friends in my cousins and that will enrich my life, which won’t get in the way.


Snitch or Not to Snitch: That is the Question

I am riled! My bristles are up on my neck and I am ranting a BIG rant! My girl Nanetta who is not only my confidant but is my navigator through all things in the chasm that is the social divide, we were discussing the latest shootings and boy did it get my dander up!

Can someone out there please educate me as to why the Chicago School system sanctioned students to be allowed to attend a gun control rally instead of attending school? Now this is a system that has a 52% of all students NOT graduating high school and they think it is a great idea for the students to skip school. Their parents should be coming together cohesively and start to strategize how to weed out the bad element in their neighborhoods not sit passively on their backsides and not get involved.

I am really sorry that 20 students have lost their lives to shootings. I do agree that this wave of violence has to be stopped. It is vile and should not be allowed in our society ever. But it is. And why? Because the people that should be raising the biggest stink ever, don’t. And by that I mean the parents and any witnesses to a shooting claim they “didn’t see nothing”.

I am sick of seeing people on TV lamenting the latest vile shooting but when asked who did it they don’t know. They don’t know because they choose to not get involved. And that my friends, is the despicable action that needs to be addressed first before any protests, shouts to the Mayor or the inevitable "woe is me" attitude that sweeps our neighborhoods. They know who the bangers are! And you can’t tell me that no one knows who committed the Lane Bryant murders. It is their uneducated assumption that if they call the authorities they will be labeled a snitch. So what! Take that label and be proud of it! At least you are doing something!

And you cannot tell me that parents do not know who the gang members are. You also cannot inform me that I do not know what I am talking about because I do and I have been in situations where I had to open my mouth regardless of the preconceived risks I might be taking. You see I did not always live in whitebread suburbia, I spent a lot of time in downright awful areas.

I will never tell you that my sons were saints. In fact they were downright miserable teenagers that tortured me at every intersection. But I will tell you that when the big bad Chicago drug dealer set up shop in my complex, I called the cops and stood by his car so that they would have a proper identification of it. I did make a visit to his connection JoBo and warned him that I would not tolerate his BS and reported him to the authorities as well. Granted my sons were angry, embarrassed, whatever. But I let them know I was not placed on earth to be their friend.

So parents in violent neighborhoods open your mouth! Tell the authorities what you know. Tell them that so and so is causing trouble. Snoop on your kids, go through drawers and be aware always that your children know more than they claim to. Parent your children so that society does not have to in your irresponsible wake.


Opening the Door: My understanding of the 12 Steps

In my March 7th blog post Celebrity Rehab: Wrong or Healing? I opened the door to my own understanding of what I perceived to be the secret world of addicts. I have been asked since that posting to explore my feelings, gut emotions and raw observations of my world of the non-addicted. So instead of hanging out in the doorjamb of this volatile experience, I need to enter the room of walking the walk of the addicted so that I may understand their truly unique experiences by baring the soul of my own.

I started this exploration by reading parts of the Big Book; The touchstone of the addicted. I was shocked to realize in all my dealings, I never sat down and tried to understand Friends of Bill W. I thought that I had all the answers, had completed my tour through hell and considered myself the wise sage of survivors. How wrong I am. I have not completed my journey. I have only touched the tip of the white hot iceberg of understanding.

A person dear to me questioned whether I should talk about the subject of addiction and wasn’t I opening myself to condemnation by people in my life. Hell Yeah I need to talk about this. It needs to be said and I do not need to bow my head in shame. If I can gain some wisdom or open that secretive door to honest communication, then yes I will listen and learn. I need to explore my take on the 12 Steps to Recovery. I need to address my wisdom as well as my shortcomings.

By reading the 12 Steps that are a time honored help tool for the addicted, I realized that these steps could be applied to own journey as well.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. Yes I am powerless. I am unable to heal you or fix you. I have to realize that this is so much bigger than myself.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. I have to come to the realization that because I can not fix you, I have not failed you. I need to truly let go and let God. This is the hardest thing to do because I think my love is enough.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. I need to let the addict make this journey by themselves and to be there when they want me to. But only when they ask. Instead of worrying what you are going to do, I need to work on my own reactions.

4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. What have I done to promote, enable or dissuade the addict. Change what I can with myself only. Change my behavior, not control my surroundings.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. When you do complete this step, I need to forgive you. I need to search my soul and make amends for blaming you for not doing what I think you should be doing. Blame, refusal or inability to forgive along with resentment go hand in hand. Oh boy did I have a shopping list of real and perceived wrongs. Instead of talking about them, I buried it. I spent many years resenting the hell out of Daniel when I was equally to blame because I locked my feelings away.

6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
I need to trust your version of higher power so that I can trust you. I need to be willing to accept every day as a new day and that you too are ready to change because you too are learning to trust.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Every morning I need to greet it with hope not despair. I need to remain positive that today is a good day. I need to stop being angry.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. I need to stop thinking that because I can say I am sorry you should too. I need to realize that this step is small part of a bigger journey that I need to let you keep private.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. I need to accept your apology. I need to stop making you pay for all the wrongs in my life. From what I understand, this is an extremely difficult step. My experience with Daniel was that I waited for my apology and gave up when I did not get it. This bred resentment in me for so many years. The days before his death, Daniel said he was sorry. I felt many years of locked away pain were released.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Can you imagine having to do this step? The daily self examination must be grueling to say the least. What may come easy to the non-addict can be intimidating to the addict.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. If we could do this every day, think of how centered you would become. This step to my is a daily lifeline that can applied to the addict as well as the non-addict.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Coming from the old school ways of “Don’t Talk – Don’t Tell” I see the most destructive point is to not share your experiences with others. Let the addict talk about their experiences. How are you going to understand if you make it impossible to listen.

We must be open to how addiction affects you as well as sharing tips to survive a relationship with an addict without turning bitter. It is because we stay silent that prevents the healing. And to me, I would rather get this out in the open instead of wallowing in my murky sea of shame.


Middle Aged Woman

Middle Aged Woman

Bad Girl, Bad Girl,Whatcha Gonna Do?

Colleen Long, reporter for Associated Press stated in the March 15th paper that “The lawyer for the call girl linked to the downfall of Gov. Eliot Spitzer lashed out at the media on Friday for thrusting the 22-year-old woman into the "public glare" without her consent and publishing revealing photos.”

Okayeee… Since I am a mother of twenty-somethings, I feel the need to let little Kristen know that once you got the pictures out there honey you better be real prepared to live your life in the public microscope or just not have photos like that taken. And also sweetie, when you sign up to be a $1,000/hr call girl, figure in the factor that you just might be at the middle of an ugly sex scandal because the rich and powerful have equally as rich and powerful enemies.

My predictions for this girl? If she plays her hand of cards right, she could get a record deal (think Britney Spears with less clothes on) or a quick scandal tell-all but in her chosen line of business she better be equally prepared for the IRS man to come knocking on her door.


Political Tap Dance

Oh For God’s Sake! Here we go again! What is it with campaigns that near the end of the draw, we have nightmares coming out of the closet? Gary Hart, running for President in 1988, was considered the Democratic Party’s golden child until he was exposed in a bit of Monkey Busines with a bouncy little cutie named Donna Rice. Jack Ryan the 2004 godsend to the Republican Party who just liked sex clubs a bit too much. And who could forget Howard Dean’s hyenna primal scream heard around the world. And now Barack Obama’s own nightmare just popped out of the closet. His personal minister, the fiery bigoted and racist Reverend Jeremiah Wright has delivered to Obama’s campaign a nasty blow.

Rev Wright seems to not know when to apply the filter to his mouth and in one sermon proved that scandal isn’t necesarily nefarious but can come from the pulpit. Reports that Wright said ranged from “Hillary Clinton has an advantage over Barack because she is white” to “US is to blame for the AIDS virus” or "some argue that blacks should vote for Clinton because her husband was good to us. That’s not true! He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky" and instead of “God Bless America black people should be saying God Damm America”. Remind me how much I hate Politics heavily laded with religious opinion

Now of course, Obama denounced the minister’s sermons as inflammatory and appalling and the Obama campaign has reported that Wright has stepped down from serving on the African American Religious Leadership Committee but is this enough to stop the political tongues from wagging.

I think that the campaign has been smacked on the behind quite nastily. I am sure that the greasy palms of the other camps are just rubbing together with glee that this could quite possibly end Obama’s bid for the White House.

So who made the decision to drop this bombshell? And why is it that knowledge of scandal is timed for its bombing raid to occur at just that perfect 11th hour? I would love to get into the minds of campaign planners and see what kind of cerebral library they have stored in their brains. Its like a gray matter file cabinet of nasties that is opened at certain dates to pull out manila folders labeled Sex, Drugs, and Dubious Characters

To have a scandal raise its serpent-like head does push a candidate into a tap dance for his life. And it is not going to stop anytime soon. Makes me sick watching the one upmanship of Campaign Headquarters. I long for the day when the most damaging evidence was that you had a crazy drunk brother – remember Billy Carter anyone?

The final verdict is in. No matter how hard a candidate tries it is impossible to run a scandal, vicious attack and bullshit free campaign. Shows that playground bullies never quite go away, they just become meaner.


Celebrity Rehab - Wrong or Healing?

There has been much pooh-poohing surrounding VH1’s Celebrity Rehab. Many criticize Dr. David Drew Pinsky’s motives for doing a show such as this. Bloggers, recovering addicts and addiction specialists, feel that it sensationalizes the serious disease of addiction. William Moyers, the Executive Director of Hazeldon Recovery Center, states that Celebrity Rehab is “yet another example of the dumbing down and trivialization of a very serious and chronic illness that robs people of their dignity and respect”.

I consider myself a very compassionate and somewhat understanding person when it relates to addictions. I have many friends that suffer from this disease as well as a few close to me losing their lives, such as my ex-husband Daniel and best friend Bonnie, to this daily never-ending fight. And still, knowing some of the perils and gut-wrenching decisions addicts have to make daily in their lives, I did not understand completely and unequivocally this disease.

At first I admit watching that first show I was disgusted with the concept. People that have this disease that robs them of their lives should not be paraded like circus monkeys for our viewing entertainment. Then it hit me. I wanted to see what went on in a treatment facility. I wanted to hear what addicts had to say. I wanted to finally understand Daniel and Bonnie’s death. You see. Even though I was a first hand observer of what this disease does, I had run away from my own feelings of helplessness. I have spent so many years not fully understanding how this ugly memory of my past works. I am the typical bystander.

Several years ago, after my friend went into rehab, I was told that “I was really great at getting people into treatment but I was lousy at maintaining them”. Ouch! That really did hurt. But you see, I had no idea how treatment worked. Oh sure I had the ground floor understanding but I didn’t see past my own feelings of “Good you are in, now get better and don’t do it again.” I always felt that if the person really wanted to stop they would. Now this is very common feeling amongst the non-addicts but this feeling can also bring great pain to everyone involved.

I never saw what went on in treatment with Daniel. I went to the family meetings but swallowed too many bad tastes in my mouth to ever be really an effective supporter in Dan’s recovery. I didn’t see the disease Daniel had, just the horror it inflicted on me. The addiction counselors at the treatment center weren’t all that concerned at the time with the family, just the patient. Now I know that there have been huge steps in the way of treating the whole family not just the addict but in that era there was not much available with the exception of Al-anon for families. His own sponsor told me I was in the way of Daniel's recovery. So I was left to struggle with my anger and sadness on my own.

For years I thought Daniel had his private club. A place where I was not allowed and I felt so left out that I could not deal with my own feelings of despair. So I hid them. Hid my feelings away in a nice tidy and mangageable package. I did what was best for my kids and me and I left Dan. Why not! He had all his addict friends, I had the shame that he was an addict. For years I ate my anger for sustenance daily. What a confused mess that was.

Watching Celebrity Rehab, especially the episode where the family was present enlightened me. The wives were saying what I had always wanted to say. The addicts let me know what was in their brains and I really started to heal myself. I started to understand what people with this disease go through. It made sense. I got to see the process. To see how painful it was and to start to really care about these addicts. I felt the years of hurt dropping away and I started to finally understand for the first time in my life that addiction is a disease. It is a disease that robs everyone of their dignity; addict and non-addict alike.

So do I agree with the experts that shun this show as exploitative? For me? No. Because I am seeing what I should have seen years ago. I know now I can ask questions of the addict without feeling I am invading a secret territory. I can stop being angry and hurt and I can understand.



Damm Spam!

I get 100s of emails a day, from Bernadine Burnette, Preston Moss, Mercan Modry and Benny Cummings. I also hear from BFFs Lois, Burt and Mae. My favorites are from Chris Biggtent. These so called Best Friends, Doctors and Colleagues promise me everything from 100 count Vicodin at the low, low price of $19.95 to a better love life with my new and improved peennie… That one always gets me because why do I want a bigger one? I don’t have one to begin so why would I contact Chris Biggtent to get one?

Spam emails. Hate them or are amused by them, they are definitely a scourge on my wide world web experience. They clog up our emails, harass us daily and even go so far as to capture our email address and send me mail that has the name of a legitimate friend as the sender. Argh!! How obnoxious is that!

I thought I would dig to see if there are any statistics out there that dissect spam emails and found this bit of information on http://www.spam-filter-review.toptenreviews.com

Email considered Spam 40% of all email
Daily Spam emails sent 12.4 billion
Daily Spam received per person 6
Annual Spam received per person 2,200
Spam cost to all non-corp Internet users $255 million
Spam cost to all U.S. Corporations $8.9 billion
States with Anti-Spam Laws 26
Email address changes due to Spam 16%

And only 8% of the population that has access to email even buys from these spammers! Wow! Only 8% determines that companies should spam and that this is good business practice. I want to find that 8% and smack them!
What makes these spam companies think in their wildest dreams that I would ever buy from them? Do they think that “If I harass her enough she will purchase?” And some of them are respected companies like Edward Jones Investments, Procter & Gamble, Hearst Communications and even Dell!

So how do you fight back? Most of us feel that if we ignore them they will go away but they still attack your email inbox daily no matter how many Spam Fighter programs you have installed they arrive in the 100s maybe in the thousands to email inboxes all day long!

By ignoring them does not solve nor does it bring to justice those evil doers of emails. You can do something. I found several sites that I have listed below.

uce@ftc.gov - The Federal Trade Commission monitors spamming trends and catching the bigger infiltrators of spam
ing enforcement@sec.gov - Forward all stock-related scams to the Securities and Exchange Commission

Internal Revenue Service takes tax fraud and avoidance very seriously
The United States Postal Inspection Service is always interested in chain letters, pyramid schemes, or other illegal scams that involve US Postal addresses. Also, you can forward such spams to fraud@uspis.gov

419.fcd@usss.treas.gov If you receive one of the "Nigerian bank" fraudulent emails (someone claims to have millions of dollars in a bank and they need your help

Food and Drug Administration is interested in health-related spams, like "herbal viagra", "enlarge your penis", "lose weight", etc.

otcfraud@cder.fda.gov is a good site for over the counter drugs that claim big results.
So here you go. Try to do your part at least once a day if you can. I am sending Chris Biggtent to the Big house someday. At least I hope I can.

Happy Spam Battling!


Hey God???

Hey God? I have a question for you. Why is there an increase in shootings right now? How come our neighbors, our students, our children are becoming an ever increasing tally of bloody victims?

My niece Rose attends Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. I was able to get through to her tonight. The first words out of my mouth was “Thank God you are alright!”. I know tonight that friends and families all over this area and throughout the United States are uttering that same verbal prayer. How close our family came to being not just a spectator of this tragedy but a part of it.

Tonight 6 families are crying out, looking for answers. 5 families of students that were no more than 19 years of age and one anguished family with the knowledge that their son, their brother was the finger that pulled the trigger.

Is February 2008 to become the black eye of history with the NIU shootings to be the fourth school shooting in a month? Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a women shot and killed two fellow students then took her own life; Memphis, Tennessee a 17 year old shot and wounded a fellow student; Oxnard, California a 15 year old has now been declared brain dead; and now DeKalb, Illinois 22 shot, 6 dead.

I don’t have any answers here. No glib or profound reasoning here to share. I am glad my Rose is okay; I am at a loss at what to say.

So God, I know you are busy tonight but can you answer why?


To Serve

She is tired now picking her black kick pleat skirt off the floor of her bedroom while gazing at a bed she seems to use no more than 4 hours a night. Tucking her white men’s shirt into the waist of her panty hose that has seen too many days and too many soup spills while slipping the noose of her daffy duck embellished tie around her aching neck, she is ready.

She is tense wrapping the too big white expanse of heavy linen around her waist where the hem causes a contrast between the black skirt skimming her thighs and the rounded knobs of her creaking knees. She shoves a plastic leather ticket book into the deep pocket that she hopes will bear the fruit of her nightly torture. She scrounges in her fake leopard purse that has seen too many days and constantly smells of the grease of where it hides beneath an ancient and decrepit shove-it-all table that is tattooed with cigarette burns of many a weary soul. She finds the two pens that will be guarded over as if a pit bull has invaded her soul.

She winks at the small figure of maleness who stares from his perch of overturned milk crates at the scraping and slicing of the prep from hell. She knows that all too soon this little person will soon venture out to make his own hell but for the moment she indulges his hero worship of a monster in checks that can terrorize and beat down the strongest. She warns him of the evil one from the front of the house. The commandant of the kitchen promises he will teach.

She plates the never ending supply of ready to go grasses and ferns. Over and over she plunges her pained hands into the icy depths that contain the work of the prep-devil. Her freezing fingertips scream with two more trays to go. She gasps moving the cart that makes moving a leather couch a breeze to roll it into its place of honor awaiting the grabbing hands that will drown its occupant in creamy decadence.

She sighs as she scurries to bread the quadruple sats at the never-ending fourtops. She moves with the speed of a cougar and wrestles the stacked baskets of calm-em-down delectables with the hard and icy grease that the perps of her pain will spread on their crusty morsels.

She passes the smirking head of his kingdom knowing that he sat 16 at her charge to test her and to punish her for her audacity to ask for a night away. Ticket after ticket will spit towards the commandant in checks. Order up will taunt her for the next six hours. Artfully arranging the hot and scalding plates that continuously scar her hands, she hoists the circular burden and raises her leg to kick at the offensive swinging door leading her to perps of their own personal pleasure. A smile claws at her jaws while she nods and hustles.

She bears the brunt of all that is wrong this night of hard knocks. She smiles, she entertains, she fakes it, all the while the slurping mandibles clack around her. Her mind tabulates the insult of the 5% that is deigned to her from the perp that entertained himself while rolling his nicotined stained fingertip along her ass all while complaining that she was not fast enough, not happy enough, not good enough to be in his presence other than to serve.

Her head bows while the steam rolls across her cheeks and stings her teary eyes. She receives a smile, a nod, a moment of recognition as a fellow soldier in this nightly battle of routines. She knows that the screams and shouts, the commandant orders and broken crockery will result in the one joy of the night.

She drags on that joy. A long inhale of the first cigarette of the night, while sitting on the oil coated back stoop with the one in checks , who takes long tokes on his own form of relaxation, he who yelled the loudest but is teaching her son all he knows. She relishes in the fact that all is well. And that she forgot to eat.

She is tired now. She pats the full pocket that is to be transferred into the expense envelopes of her life. She picks up the sleeping sweaty figure that did not take his eyes off the commandant in checks and walks to her car. See you tomorrow – we’ll do it all over again.

She is weary because she knows its true.

* * * * * *

I worked as a waitress for many years while holding down other jobs. My son Steve was the little figure and he hid in the corner of the restaurant where I worked. He idolized the chef and Peter was very kind to him. Now he is a chef as well.

Being a waitress is one of the hardest and sometimes most emotionally demanding job. Be kind to your server.


Letter to Me at 17

There is a country song on the airwaves called Letter to Myself at 17 by Brad Paisley that is very sweet and lovely recalling himself at the age of 17 and that got me thinking. What if you could write yourself a letter and somehow through the cosmo waves the letter appeared mysteriously at that crossroads age? So I thought I would take a stab and try not to wax too poetic.

Dear Chooch:

What do I say to you that you don’t think you know already? I guess I have to prove that I really am you so I will let you know something I know that you obsess about. Stop reading Gone with the Wind already! You have read it 15 times and your copy is falling apart. Branch out to the classics and tell the librarian that you don’t give a rat's ass about the Boston Banned Books and you want to read Forever Amber!

High School is not the be all end all. These are people you probably will never see again and most likely won’t care about. Stop trying so hard to impress the "in" crowd, they are not very nice and there are 10 other people you should pay more attention to. You are not going to marry that cute football player and that wrestler that breaks up with you 2 weeks before prom? Don’t sweat it. You really did not like him that much but for God Sakes do not date that motorcycle dude from Carol Stream. He is way too creepy for you and you have nothing to prove to yourself.

You are making that decision about college so here is some advice. Go ahead to Clarke College but don’t be swayed by Victoria, she really does not have your best interests at heart and you don’t need her friendship kid. Also, when Sister Carol gets all nasty, instead of quitting the theater department, report her! It will difficult but worth it in the end. Plus the other two directors love you. Be confident and don’t back down.

Trust me when I say this corduroys are not flattering ever! Don’t let Mom talk you into these. In fact don’t buy any clothes until you get to Dubuque. You are going to lose about 15lbs and won’t fit into anything anyway and plus you will discover that there are pants that fit your 34 length leg. So no more floods kiddoo.

While we are at it. Branch out from the Danskin look. Sure you will be one hullava disco queen but there are much better looks there and when you do go Studio 54 you won’t look like such a dancin’ robot. Stand out from the crowd! When you are 24 you will definitely stand out in your black leather pants with the silver sparkle tube top and the boy hair cut. While everyone else is sporting the Madonna craze, you are one cute little cowgirl.

When that director in HS gives you the consolation prize of Assistant Director for Oliver don’t take it. You go ahead and take the lead at Albright Theater. Better crowd and much better experience. Also, when making the crucial decision to quit acting when the boys are little, don’t do that either. Waiting 20 years to get back in professional theater is a long time and you will have lost a lot of opportunities.

Stay away from that absolutely gorgeous guy from the steak place. Sure he is one hunky guy but trust me on this one, things get a little sticky there and it will start your quest to procreate for the Catholic Faith. But if you can’t resist, then stick to your guns and don’t go it alone child. Oh and when your sons try to terrorize you, get a shrink fast. It will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

And your nickname - Chooch. You are going to find that means little asshole in Italian. Really lets just pretend that Dad didn’t mean it that way. Your knickers don’t need to be all bunched up. Celebrate the fact that you are somewhat bitchy and move on.

Oh one last thing. Try to find a guy named Tom from West Chicago. It will save you a lot of heartache in future. Believe me on this one.

I could on and on but I can say that you need to believe in yourself. You grow to be one great gal and no one can put you under.

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