I believe with all of my being that there is no person alive who adores my grandmother more than I. Here are just a few of my favourite photographs of her. She looks at her most beautiful when standing beside my grandfather. Below is their wedding photo; she wears a smart, navy blue velvet dress, he, a dapper suit. When I was a child, I thought this picture was when they were movie stars leaving a premiere. They absolutely look the part.
October 25, 1941
Vacationing in England
October 1981 40th Anniversary
Looking fresh, fabulous, and as fashionable as ever!
Hey! That's me! With my beloved grandparents in 1978.
Looking stunning at my parents' wedding in 1973.
And Nana Irm today - elegant and subtly glamorous.
Alright, so, I'm real good at like, stupid pop culture trivia both past and present, but aside from that, I don't really have any knowledge on any one subject enough to wax philosophic and sound smart in the least. However, not too long ago I was out to dinner with some gals from the office and they so thought I was the funkin' smartest broad in town. Kathryn was talking about her father and all of his health problems. She was saying that his health has been declining for a while now and she worries about him because he's a hemophiliac. Melanie asks what a hemophiliac is and I tell her that it's someone with a blood disorder wherein the blood does not coagulate, so that whenever the skin is broken in any way, the blood simply cannot clot and therefore it can become life threatening. So, I felt kinda like a little smarty pants getting to say big words like 'coagulate' and 'life threatening.' Melanie asks how to cure it and Kat tells her that there's no cure but that her dad has Factor at the house. Mel and Lauryn look puzzled, so then I turn to them and explain that Factor VIII is basically the good parts of blood that aid in clotting. That Factor comes from a number of donors and hemophiliacs keep it on hand in case of bleeding. At this point, they are getting a little impressed. Then Kat continued to say that her father also has Hepatitis C and I say, 'Oh, from the transfusions.' Now Kat was looking slightly confused and amazed and says, 'Yeah, they think he got it between like 1984 and 1989....' My reply? 'Yeah, he's lucky that he only contracted Hep C from the transfusions, because the CDC couldn't get the blood banks to test the samples for hepatitis and especially AIDS until it was way late in the game.' Now everyone's thinking that they have no idea who this chick is at their table, cuz she sure isn't the weirdo goofball they used to work with. Then I bowled 'em over with this last one. Kat goes on to say that on top of all of that, his shoulder is deteriorating and he has scar tissue from the catheter below his clavicle. Mel and Lauryn once again are like 'Huh?' because a catheter is primarily used to drain urine. Here's where I shine: 'Oh, you mean his port-a-cath?' Kat: 'Um....yeah....I think that's actually what it's called....' I then explain to them that aport-a-cath is surgically implanted beneath the skin and can be worn for extremely long periods of time and allows the person to receive injections without constantly being stuck with needles, which as I had stated earlier, for a hemophiliac, can lead to death. This was the point where Melanie blurted out, 'What the fuck. Are you like a med student now or what??' Me: 'Nah, I'm just wicked smart.' I kinda am.
The first time I laid eyes on this beauty was a few years back when I saw Tommy Lee Jones' The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. The film was brilliant and the casting was spectacular, but it was Ms. Leo's performance that left me wanting to see much, much more of her. I then noticed her in The L Word, The Cake Eaters, Frozen River, Lullaby, Everybody's Fine, and in a season 1 ep of Veronica Mars. I always look forward to seeing her gorgeous puss grace the big screen and in The Fighter she was every bit of perfection that one could expect from such a phenomenal actress. Welcome to the Rileys is due for release on February 1st and I await with bated breath for when I open my mailbox and see that lovely red envelope.
This morning at work I was stoked to begin listening to my recently uploaded audio book of Max Allan Collins' The Hindenburg Murders. Twenty minutes in I was annoyed as hell and totally baffled. It was complete crap - disjointed and all over the place, no character development and no plot to follow. It seemed to just jump immediately into the middle of the story. I literally said, "Maxie, baby, what the hell happened?" Then I looked at my iPod and said, "oh." Yeah, I had forgotten to take it off shuffle mode. As if that's not moronic enough, the exact same thing happened last week when I listened to Donald Sutherland (mega hottie) reading The Old Man and The Sea. How sad that it took me a full twenty minutes to realise this. Once I took it off shuffle and started over, I loved it. How could I doubt my new BFF, Max?? Shame on me...
In My Dinner with André André Gregory said something that I share with you now:
One day in the early fall I was out in the country, walking in a field, and I suddenly heard a voice say "Little Prince ." Now The Little Prince, of course, was a book that I had always thought of as disgusting, childish treacle, but still, I thought, Well, if a voice comes to me in a field-this was the first voice I had ever heard-maybe I should go and read the book. Now that same morning I had gotten a letter from one of the women who had been in my group in Poland. And in her letter she had said "You have dominated me." She spoke, you know, very awkward English. And so she'd gone to the dictionary, and she'd crossed out the word "dominated" and written, "No, the correct word is 'tamed.'" And then when I went into town and bought the book and started to read it, I saw that "taming" was the most important word in the whole book. And by the end of the book I was in tears, I was so moved by the story. And I went to try to write an answer to the letter because she'd sent me a very long letter, but I just couldn't find the right words. So I finally took my hand, put it on a piece of paper and outlined it with a pen and put in the center something like "Your heart is in my hand"-something like that. And then I went over to my brother's house to swim, because he lives nearby in the country and he has a pool, and he wasn't there. And I went into his library, and he had bought at an auction the collected issues of Minotaur-you know, the surrealist magazine-it was a great, great surrealist magazine of the twenties and thirties that had all kinds of people like Dali and so on-and I had never-because I consider myself a bit of a surrealist-I had never ever seen a copy of Minotaur. And here they were, bound, year after year. So, at random, I picked one out, and I opened it, and there was a full-page reproduction of the letter "A" from Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland. And I thought, That's-Well, you know, it's been a day of coincidence, but that's not unusual, that the surrealists would have been interested in Alice and I did a play of Alice. So I opened to another page, and there were four hand prints. One was André Breton, another was André Derain, the third was André-I've got it written down somewhere, it's not Malraux, it's like-someone-another of the surrealists-all A's-and the fourth was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who wrote The Little Prince. And they'd given these handprints to some kind of an expert without saying whose hands they belonged to, and under Saint-Exupéry it said he was an artist with very powerful eyes who was a tamer of wild animals. So I thought, This is incredible, you know. And I looked back to see when this issue came out, and it came out on the newsstands May 12, 1934, and I was born during the day of May 11, 1934.
Whenever I feel a sense of déjà vu or when coincidences pile up, I am reminded of this particular scene and of a quote by Deepak Chopra, "Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny."
My niece left for college in the fall and this was the first time since the summer that I got to have her for an entire weekend. A couple months ago we decided that our next weekend together would be dedicated to Mark Wahlberg - a personal favourite of the both of us. It started three years ago when she brought Shooter over and while visiting my parents' house, Nicole informed my mother and I, "Yeah, we're watchin' Shooter like all weekend. Mark Wahlberg has his shirt off for like a half hour. He's dead sexy." It was then that it dawned on me that Nicole was the same age I was when I first fell for Mr. Wahlberg. Since then, she and I have had a standing order to see every new Mark Wahlberg movie together and Friday night, we kicked off our weekend with The Fighter. We followed that up with Date Night, The Italian Job, Four Brothers, and of course, Shooter. Oh, and believe the hype, The Fighter is as good as they say. Melissa Leo (who I adore!!!), Jack McGee (such a phenomenal actor), Christian Bale (he's so convincing as Dicky that it's borderline scary), Amy Adams (whose performance will blow you away), and of course, with Mark Wahlberg it made for one remarkable cast. As one of her college gifts, I framed an 11x17 copy of the picture below. Needless to say, she freakin' loved it.
For several years, I worked at a local café that was attached to a bookstore. Today it closes its doors forever. All those who I still remain close with from those days are feeling a twinge of sadness and a pall has been cast over this final week. Epiphany sent an email describing her feelings and they seem to mirror the emotions that we are all feeling. I share it with you now.
So I'd been meaning to go to the store for weeks but with school and work I'd been so busy that I hadn't had time. Finally, today after a week or so of recovering from final exam exhaustion I went. For some reason I wasn't prepared. On the way I thought I might get some books on discount but I wasn't really thinking that the store, our store, the place we all stood outside of for hours laughing and talking was closing. The place where I gleefully swept in the cafe with Star at the end of the night. The place where I shelved history and literature and political science. The store that used to be packed with people on weekends and holidays. The place where we all worked and in earlier incarnations, Bishop, Rama, Jen, Steve, Slick and Blaine worked (as well as countless others). How many fantastic and not so fantastic memories of that place? How many times did we laugh hysterically at the antics of the grey haired skank, skullet, the store puker, etc, etc? Too many to count. When I went in, it hit me. The shelves were almost completely empty. It was only the little bookshelves in the center of the store that were still stocked. There was no music playing and people wandered around the store scooping up the last bargains.
I felt shell-shocked and I had to hold back tears. I started to think hateful thoughts about the internet and the way it has changed everything. I felt guilty about using amazon and itunes instead of actually going into a brick and mortar store. How many hours I've spent online reading, watching movies while real life happened outside? People used to come to our store, not just to shop, but to socialize. This used to annoy us when we worked there, but it was a vital and good thing.
I love technology. I love my computer but I also love wandering around in bookstores. I used to go to bookstores (both used books, our store and Barnes and Noble) constantly. Now I browse online. In part because many of my favorite bookstores and thrift stores have closed. Everything can be purchased on ebay and amazon. There's nothing to be done about this but it still is incredibly sad.
It's sad to think that the once thriving shop will soon be no more. It's even sadder to think that the friendships formed in that place seem to be fading as well. I don't want that to happen...
Following this somewhat heartbreaking email, Epiphany spoke of getting some of the gang together more often. I feel that now, with the loss of this touchstone, that many of us will make a valiant effort to stay in touch, and not just through the internet and Facebook.
Our years spent working there, seeing friends come and go, were most certainly some of the happiest I've ever known. Tonight I go there to meet up with friends and have one final smoke break in the parking lot after closing.
(photo kidnapped from kebekmac) No matter one's taste in music, it is nearly impossible for one to recognize anyone but Nat King Cole as the best male vocalist of all time. My favourite singer is Tom Waits, but be that as it may, no one's voice is as undeniably beautiful as Nat King Cole's. It is, as my father says, like caramel.
My first crush on a girl was Martha Plimpton. I first noticed her as Stef in The Goonies. She was so incredibly cool with her sassy hair, red glasses, and gum chewin' attitude. But it wasn't until 1989 when I saw her as Julie in Parenthood that I really fell for her. She was gorgeous and I so admired and wanted her fashion sense and bad-ass hairstyle. Over the years I watched her in Running on Empty, The Mosquito Coast, Beautiful Girls, 200 Cigarettes, Pecker, Music from Another Room, Law & Order: SVU, Remember Me, and Grey's Anatomy. I am beyond thrilled to find her finally get her due with Raising Hope and I'm crossing my fingers that it continues for many more years. Martha, you rock!