COLLEGE FOOTBALL, HEAR ME SNORE

I missed a golden opportunity over the holidays to write about something very important to me. Something that is a special part of my life.  And by “special” I mean “sucky.”  I used to think women were exaggerating about being “football widows.” Now I think, “AMATEUR.” 

cat5

(This was my expression through much of the holiday.)

I’ve been married for ten years. Every year is the same, yet I seem to block out the pain in blissful forgetfulness until it happens again. Each year I look forward to the 2 weeks of vacation I’ve hoarded so I can spend time at home, relaxing and enjoying some well deserved time off. 

And then reality strikes.

This vacation time is not about me.

It’s not about this celebratory time of year, the birth of Christ, the First Noel, Away in a Manager, family, togetherness, or even food.   

It’s about College Bowl Games.

It’s about a living room that is rearranged to accommodate two televisions and three men. Instead of Christmas carols, the house echos with the hum of the DVR, chanting crowds and achingly repetitive marching band horn sections.

Do you know how many Bowl Games there are?

I do.

35.

Thirty-five games between December 21st and January 6.

Thirty-five games that my college football addicted husband HAS to watch.

He’s in nirvana.

Seriously. Who needs to watch the Valero Bowl? Russell Athletic Bowl? Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl?  WHO? 

It’s times like this I decide I am either the most boring, unattractive woman on the planet, unworthy of time or attention… or I am married to a crazy person. (I lean toward crazy because he says things like, “We’d spend plenty of time together if you’d sit and watch the games with me.”)

Right. That’s happening.

He DID participate in the actual Christmas morning and Christmas eve traditions. But other than that I didn’t really get to enjoy the pleasure of his company until January 5th, when there was just ONE conveniently timed game.

Between you and me, by then, I wasn’t sure that I even wanted his company any more.

Lucky me! We actually made it to breakfast and American Hustle before the GoDaddy Bowl.

So this is my official notice. I am NOT taking 2 weeks off during the holidays next year. As Pete Townshend says, “I won’t be fooled again.”

No. Next year, after the last whistle of the LAST bowl game of the season, I will return to my home where I will re-introduce myself to my husband and pry the remote control from his death-grip.

And I will enjoy two weeks at home without football.

Just in time for the Super Bowl pre-pre-pre-game shows.

* Disclaimer: I DID watch the BCS National Championship and it WAS exciting. Maybe that’s because it was the last one of the season and I was drinking champagne.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wine

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THE OLYMPICS AND OTHER DIVERSIONS

I am writing this for the moment instead of doing the work I should be doing over the weekend so my work week doesn’t kill me. But what I really want to do is watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I caught a glimpse every now and then last night while visiting with the Duchess and Max, and was giggly each time I was able to identify a place I had been while in London. “Look!” I’d squeal and jump up and down (carefully, so as to not spill my chardonnay) waving toward the TV, “I was THERE!” I would turn toward where the Duchess and Max were hunched over a computer screen at the kitchen bar and stare at the backs of their heads while they ignored me completely, or looked up long enough to say “What?” Then went back to what they were doing. I was not feeling the Olympic love.

The Olympics – you either love them, hate them, or feel “meh” about them. Kind of like Angelina Jolie. At my house we have a sort of Olympic war. Robert despises the Olympics. I think he actually used the word “hate.” He hates the sob stories. He hates the announcers. He hates the sports. He clicked past the ping-pong competition today and looked at me disdainfully, “Oh look! We can watch some ping-pong.” I have to admit, I felt embarrassed.

Due to his deep-seated animosity for the event, and my “meh” attitude about many of the areas of competition, I have become accustomed to skipping them. But this year is different. I am really interested in the games because… well, after visiting Wales and London last year, I now feel a sense of ownership. Or companionship. Something like that.

I recorded the ceremony that re-ran at 1:30 AM and am looking forward to popping open a bottle of champagne this evening and saying witty things to amuse myself in my empty room. This morning I went on Facebook and couldn’t believe what I’d missed. Sandy was in her usual rare form, as was her friend (and my Facebook pal because his sense of humor is unmatched), Doug.

Sandy has decided to start her own country so she can march in the parade. Watch for Sandonia in the next opening ceremony. Perhaps Sandy will let me be on the curling team, as that is the only sport I believe I could do while holding a glass of wine.

I have to say the gold medal for FB commentary goes to Doug. I can’t wait to watch and see if I agree with some of these classics: “Ukraine wins the silly hat award,” “Nicaragua is dressed as Sigma Chi fraternity, circa 1987,” and “Estonia looked like they were all dressed as Absolut Vodka.” My favorite: “Liechtenstein looks like they picked up their uniforms at Penney’s on the way to the stadium.”

Ouch. And I thought the best part of the ceremony was supposed to be all the hubbub at the beginning, with the skydiving Queen and such. Silly me. I’ve just never watched the parade portion with the right crowd before.

The right crowd being people I’ve never met in person before, but who crack me up.

I better start practicing my curling now so I’ll be ready for the Winter games.

THINGS I MISS

The other evening I was visiting with my lovely and talented blog topic muse, Max, and we started talking about things we miss from our childhoods. As a child of the 70s and 80s -heavily influenced by reruns of the 50s and 60s, it turns out TV and the people who were on it topped the list, along with a few odd items. (For instance, has anyone seen my sense of optimism lately? I think I misplaced that in the early 90s.)

I miss Johnny Carson. And the Carol Burnett Show. And Saturday Night Live. (The one that had Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner in it.)  Oops. Sad face. I miss Gilda too.

I miss after school TV like Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. (Re-runs all, but new to me.)  While we’re at it, I miss getting home before 4:00 in the afternoon.

I miss phones that were actually connected to the wall.  With a little effort I could get half way down the hallway, as long as I kept a tight grip on the receiver.  If I didn’t, the cord, which was stretched almost to the point of ripping out of the phone itself, would fly straight out in the air – smashing against both walls of the hallway before  landing with a crash on the kitchen floor.

I miss Miami Vice, (or more specifically, Don Johnson,) the Solid Gold Dancers, and the SANE Mel Gibson from Mad Max. I miss Bosom Buddies (Tom Hanks in drag), and sometimes, in a tiny corner of my heart, I miss Star Trek and my first crush – 1960s William Shatner.

I miss the Hustle (and disco in general), Boston (the band), Asteroids, mood rings, records, and summers off.

I miss getting exercise by simply existing – riding bikes to the lake, walking to a friend’s house, playing frisbee in the park – that sort of thing. The only way I exercise now is if I pay a gym to guilt me into it.

I miss my love of Hollywood and all things celebrity. REAL stars, like Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. The advancement of Kate and Jon Gosselin, Snooki, and Paris Hilton to celebrities signaled the end of my Hollywood-itis. Plus, they all started sharing their THOUGHTS about politics and the universe. Who told them they could speak without a script?

I miss my first car. My green ’78 Mustang.  White top, white leather interior. I never should have sold it. A 20-something-year old boy ended up with my pristine Pony-car and did unmentionable things to her. The last time I saw her, one side was totally smashed. Pony deserved better.

I miss feeling that everything was easier. Friends, relationships, “work,” decisions, EVERYTHING. Of course, back then, someone else was in charge of me and I just had to do what they said. (More or less.) I wonder if my mother would like her old job back?

There was just something more comforting about those days. Maybe it WAS because we were kids. Maybe it was a simpler time. Maybe we had fewer choices, thus more satisfaction.

Or maybe, just maybe… Johnny really DID make everything better.

Here is the clip I always think of first when I remember the Tonight Show. My parents and I laughed so hard we cried. Enjoy!

DESTINATION: GUILTY PLEASURE

I’ve seen some unexplainable things, and done some things I can’t quite explain.

For those who don’t know, that is the line uttered by Josh Gates at the beginning of each episode of Destination Truth. Strangely appropriate considering the confessional nature of this LetsBlogOff assignment: Guilty Pleasures: What’s You Favorite Show on Television?

I am used to a certain level of defensiveness regarding my viewing choices, but frankly, I say with false bravado, I am a little annoyed by having to defend my absolute adoration of a show that offers so many unique characteristics. It has everything a girl could want. Humor, a real life explorer with degrees in archaeology and drama (huh’?), adventure, exotic locations, cryptozoology, a guerilla-type shooting style, and some snappy editing. Hello? I lost you at cryptozoology, didn’t I? That’s when you started laughing at me and rolling your eyes.

I can’t help it. I found the show a couple of years ago and sat spellbound one Saturday as a Destination Truth marathon unfolded. I fell “in crush” with Josh, the tall, sarcastic adventurer who leads each expedition. I admired Ryder, the spunky yet clumsy female investigator who banters with Josh in village squares, mountain passes and bat-filled caverns. The rest of the crew is equally friendly, fit and enthusiastic about trekking into snake infested jungles or radioactive buildings in Chernobyl. It’s like watching a gamboling pack of Labradors explore the world in search of one-eyed, horn sprouting, man-eating mutants. Plus, they seem like the kind of people you’d hang out with in a bar all night – not believing a single crazy story they told you.

Each show begins with news stories of some wild animal/mystery creature terrorizing a small village. Think Loch Ness or Chupacabra. The team creates a strangely cute, yet menacing animated version of the monster based on eye-witness sightings, grabs their equipment and boards a plane for Destination “My travel agent is fired.”

It’s not really the thought of some monster or undiscovered mutated creature that captivates me. It’s the fact they are out – for instance – on the Serengeti, in the dark, seemingly without weapons, trying to find something like the Mngwa (“ming-wah”) – a saber-toothed feline reportedly larger than a lion. To me, the danger of them finding an actual lion is pretty realistic and worth watching. The potential for the Mngwa mystery to be resolved as a large lion with dental issues is just an added bonus.

While on these adventures, the crew stumbles across poisonous snakes, spiders, bats, bears, and quite a few rock slides. They scuba, raft, rock climb, rappel, go-cart and climb aboard airplanes that tear open like sardine cans in mid-flight. They visit with locals and sample cuisine consisting of just what you’d expect: Grubs, spiders, and other creepy crawly things. Plus, they do it all with chipper attitudes. I’m snarky and insufferable for days after a 1.5 hour flight with slow drink service.

The new season doesn’t start until early 2012, but according to the Syfy press release Destination Truth will be hunting for vampires in a remote Transylvanian village, exploring the reportedly haunted Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, and descending into one of the world’s biggest caves in the jungles of Vietnam to search for phantoms. They’ll also journey to Kazakhstan (a Destination Truth first), and return to the haunted forest in Romania.

I confess: I can’t wait.

Click here to watch an episode.

To see other LetsBlogOff guilty pleasures, click here.

TEN MUST SEE MOVIES (IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT)

 

I tend to use cultural references that go right over the heads of my younger friends, so I was asked to make a list of viewing recommendations to get us all on the same page. Next time I say “It’s going to be a bumpy night,” maybe I won’t get such strange looks. I have purposefully avoided anything I thought TOO obvious, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby…

Set those DVRs and let’s hope for some rainy days.

Topper (1937): Cary Grant and Constance Bennett.  A wealthy, fun-loving and heavy drinking couple become ghosts after dying in a car accident. They decide to attempt a good deed by way of their friend, Topper. An original idea at the time. The dialogue/witty banter is inspiring. Drinking and driving. Who’d have thought that was a good way to start a movie?

The Thin Man (1934): William Powell and Myrna Loy. If you haven’t experience Nick and Nora Charles or their dog Asta, you haven’t lived.  Nick is a former detective who finds himself working on a murder case with the help of his new wife. Again, the dialogue is as rapid fire as any David E. Kelley has ever written. The murderer is revealed at a dinner party with all the suspects present. Absolutely classic. They made five additional Thin Man movies, but this is my favorite. More booze.

Holiday (1938): Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. A young man falls in love with a young lady from a wealthy family. Katharine Hepburn plays the eccentric sister. I don’t know how I missed this movie until last year, but I did. It’s now one of my favorites.  Kooky, well written and plenty of one liners.

It Happened One Night (1934): Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Socialite runs away from home and falls for a rakish reporter. This was the first film to win all 5 major Academy Awards. Don’t miss the “racy” hitchhiking scene. 

Harvey (1950): Jimmy Stewart. Just in time for Easter! Jimmy Stewart has a new friend. A 6 foot-3 inch rabbit named Harvey. A comedy of errors, and a reminder that we take ourselves too seriously too much of the time. Everyone needs their own Pooka. I blame all sorts of nonsense on mine regularly.

Desk Set (1957): Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The head of the research department at a television network falls for the man sent to computerize her office. This movie may not be as well-known as Adam’s Rib, but I fall for it every time.

All About Eve (1950): Bette Davis and George Sanders. I am guessing most people have at least heard of this movie, but maybe I’m wrong. Bette Davis is an aging actress coming to grips with her life decisions and fending off the younger woman who wants everything she has. Classic lines, and a story that is as relevant today as then. Marilyn Monroe has a small role, but a funny one.

The Apartment (1960): Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Jack Lemmon is a young clerk who tries to move up in the company by loaning out his apartment to the executives at his firm. Here’s a hint: Their wives would not be pleased. Shirley MacLaine is adorable. 

The Lion in Winter (1968): Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn. (Okay, I’ll make this the last Hepburn entry.) I love watching this movie at Christmastime. Something about watching the family squabbles between King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine  just says “festive” to me. As two of Henry’s sons and potential successors you’ll see the young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. Surprisingly humorous lines from the embittered Eleanor are stashed throughout.  (Peter O’Toole, by the way, is on my list of people to party with.)

Harold and Maude (1971): Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. This is a dark comedy about a young man obsessed with death and his relationship with a quirky, eccentric 79-year old woman. Sound like fun? Well, it is, if you like that sort of thing.  I’ve told my husband about this movie and he is convinced I am making the whole thing up.  

There’s my list. I think I hurt my head. Thanks to IMDb for refreshing my memory on dates and “stars.”

MY WEEKEND IS BROKEN

I have broken my weekend. It just doesn’t work the way it used to. Back when my weekend was working correctly, five o’clock Friday would come, and it kicked in like clockwork. I would spend Friday evening with friends, get up Saturday and work out, maybe do some shopping, pick up groceries, take the dog for a walk, wash the car, see a movie, go to dinner, have some drinks, listen to music, and it would STILL be Saturday. I had all day Sunday to do even more! By the time I do any combination of those things now, three months have passed.  

I tried getting up early. Saturday morning I was up at 7:30. (Daisy decided she was bored and needed company.)  I was dressed by 8:30, drove Austin, my stepson, to the first day of his new job, and bought some breakfast. Seemed like I was well on my way to actually having a productive weekend. 

Something went wrong. By 4:15 p.m. I had watched Bizarre Foods, Modern Family, a few minutes of Stagecoach (by accident), two episodes of Ingenious Minds, and fallen asleep twice. Oh yeah, and I ate lunch.  I know you won’t be able to imagine how I worked lunch into that harrowing schedule, but I did.  So much for selecting new glasses, going to the grocery store, walking the dog, and getting a little “hello, springtime” color over at Palm Beach Tan. That writing assignment?  Are you kidding?  There’s even a sale at Borders, and I have a gift card. No dice. Not happening.

Maybe it’s the winter doldrums. Maybe I’m depressed. Overworked. Overwrought.
Maybe I’m just lazy.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body supine on the couch tends to become a doggy pillow.

If you know a good fix-it person, let me know. Or maybe I just need the proper motivation. One errand, one cocktail?

Now, how do I get the dog to stop staring at me?