Friday, October 29, 2010

Science Fiction Double Feature...

Doctor X will build a creature
See Androids fighting, Brad and Janet
Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
oh oh oh oh
At the late night
double feature picture show.....

Jeffrey is his own foley artist. Providing his own sound effects for the ongoing back seat space battles, hallway  lightsaber skirmishes and dining table robot attacks.

I constantly feel as if I am in a Saturday afternoon double feature.

And when he isn't creating the action, he is out looking for ideas for his next blockbuster.

This morning we were waiting to make that famous final turn to drop Alex off at school and an Aston Martin DB9 pulled up along side of us. This is an awesomely expensive car. Alex immediately smashed his face into the window trying to get a closer look.  I asked him to please wipe the drool off the glass when he was finished.

And who was driving this $200,000 machine? A kid not much older than Alex. Granted the dad, all decked out in a 3 piece suit and tie was in the passenger seat, but I can guarantee you that if Jeff owned that car no one in the house would be allowed within 50 feet of it, let alone sit behind the wheel or (good lord!) drive it!

After the specs on the Aston were thoroughly discussed by the older boys in the car (Jeff & Alex),  the talk shifted to the Bugatti Veyron, discussing it's nuances much the same way some guys throw around sports statics. Jeff was saying that when you stepped on the gas of the Veyron you had better have a long straight road in front of you for at least a good mile.

Jeffrey immediately had to know why.

Jeff told him it was because its such a powerful car and it could get going so fast, so quickly, that it might not be able to stop if something suddenly got in its way.

"And then it would explode?"

"Explode? I don't know if it would explode. My point was that its a very fast car."

"Like a spaceship?"

"Sure like a spaceship..."

"A spaceship would explode if it ran into something."

"Well yes, it might."

"Anything would explode if it ran into something."

In Jeffrey's world, this is an undisputed truth.
Because without explosions his world would be a quiet boring place.
And my afternoons would be more like the Soap network instead of the Sy-Fy channel and I don't think I would enjoy that nearly as much.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Way Back Wednesday - 1968/69

Today I have 2 pictures that are both taken in the same place 1 year apart.


The first one is in 1968 and I am 3 years old and dressed in more that I usually wore at this age which was usually just some panties.
This is in the living room of my parents 1926 Spanish style house in the Hollywood Hills.
Isn't that the greatest piano you have ever seen?
It is a late 1800's Knabe & Co square grand piano. Very hard to find nowadays. 
So many things in this picture that my mom loved.
First was the antique marble cherub lamp which you can see better in the picture below.
I was quite sad to finally part with this some years back but I just didn't have a place for it.
You can't see it too well but on the right side of the piano is an antique music box. I used to adore having my mom wind it up for me so I could listen to all the different songs it played.
I still have the brass butterfly thats on top of it.
The picture on the wall is of a little song bird watching a bee on a flower. I think that picture is still in storage.
The old sheet music is really neat too. Nice examples can go for quite a bit of money.
Next to me on the piano bench is a rubber horse made by Edward Mobley that I still have in my baby trunk. 
I have 2 matching pieces by the same maker. A teddy bear with fuzzy ears and a dog. I collected a 4th similar piece a few years back off eBay.



This picture was taken in 1969 and I was 4 years old here.
Notice I have the same basic outfit as the previous picture except this time I am sporting a long black wig. The wig belonged to the lady sitting in the chair in the right hand corner. Her name escapes me at this moment but she lived in the back apartment (more like a bedroom with a small kitchenette) for a year or two. I used to beg to wear that wig and wanted to grow my hair that long. When I look back I think it might have been so I could continue not wearing any clothes as I grew older and my long hair would cover up the important parts.
My moms other child, oh wait.... I mean her dog is laying on the top of the chair. That was Lo-sten. (My mom loved Asian culture and names).
Not much different in the background of this picture except that the piano bench is gone and a velvet loveseat has taken its place.
You can see the wallpaper in the stairwell behind the piano. It was gold with flocked green leaves. My mom was forever telling me not to run my hands along the wall so I didn't rub the flocking off.

So thats that for this week. Just me and my exhibitionism.
Going to school finally cured me but not for lack of trying.
I remember the first week of school I begged my mom to let me go in just my undies. I even tried to strike a deal where I asked if they would allow me 2 days a week in my skivvies then I would wear clothes all the other times.

No such luck. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I said what?

I know I've been in the car too long when I hear myself say

"Jeffrey... stop breathing right now... I'm  not going to tell you again!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Delusions of Grandeur

When I was a teen I was pretty sure I was going to grow up to be a rock star.

My parents worked in the afternoon so I was usually home alone after school. I often spent the time in our library which was this weird long room off the living room that had lots of built in bookshelves and my moms roll top desk. It also had a stereo very much like this one:


I would put on one of my many LPs and pretend I was a famous singer on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans. I was pretty sure that this was in my future because, after all I had such an unbelievable voice that who wouldnt want to buy one of my albums?

Some of my favorite vinyl were:







I'm sure there were many more but my old brain is having a hard time recalling them.
I also had a few even guiltier pleasures that truly dates me. 
As embarrassing as it is, this was the first album I purchased with my own money.... Shaun Cassidy (Do Doo Ron Ron) for $4.99 at Music Plus on Vine St in Hollywood. And it was warped and I had to take it back twice until I got one that didn't skip through the first two songs.



Then of course I had to have his follow-up album Born Late


Also in my girlie pretty boy album collection was Leif Garret (Oh god shoot me now)
What in the world is he doing with his hands??


And Andy Gibb, Shadow Dancing..... I think he took singing lessons from Michael Jackson


OK enough airing what a prissy girl with bad taste I was. The point of this post was to say that I was pretty sure I was going to hit the Billboard Top 100 by the time I was 25. 

Instead I was married and had 3 kids.

This tends to put a bit of a crimp in the whole "traveling around the world in a private jet with body guards and groupies, packing the stadiums with screaming fans night after night" thing.

So I decided since I could not have fame and fortune, it would be up to my children to make it big.

Funny thing about kids... they most often have ideas of their own that don't usually line up with your own.

They dabbled in fame here and there.... Chris did a commercial for Isuzu Trucks that was on TV for a couple of months... Sarah won several art shows with her paintings and as a baby Emily appeared naked in a magazine ad for a local hospital. Hopefully she got that out of her system and I wont be seeing her in Playboy anytime soon.

So even though these were more than satisfying enough for each of them, they were lacking a bit in the screaming fan department for my taste. But what are you going to do?

Well in my case I waited around for the next lot to get old enough so I could find out if I could interest them in singing career.

Neither really aspire to rock legend status but they are cooperative enough to learn a song and dance and perform in the school talent show.

I bought the DVD that the school had made, and while it lacked the hundred dollar a seat packed stadium, it was filled with adoring fans who would have paid anything to see the their own personal rock stars. And that was more than satisfying enough for the ones on stage.





Have no fear though, I still sing at the top of my lungs while in the car (trying to pass it off as if I am talking very loudly to someone on the phone) or in the kitchen while I cook dinner when the kids are tucked away in their rooms. I don't think those kinds of dreams ever really die, they just change venues.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Teach your children well..... Please

Being a mom of a gay daughter, I am extremely aware of the issues surrounding the LGBT community.

I have seen teen girls kicked out of their homes by their own parents, called terrible names and told not to come back unless they would decide not to be gay anymore. They were sent out into the world with no place to live but their car or an understanding friends house and if they had neither of those, it was the streets. There was at least twice that we had one or two of these young ladies bunking with us on our couch because they had nowhere else to go.

I live in a wealthier area where you would hope that the education level would temper these bigotries but unfortunately the area runs towards the conservative side and tolerance is not practiced as much as it should be. Children seem to start early parroting what their parents say. Parents probably saying things when they think their kids aren't listening. But one thing I have learned is kids listen most when their parents don't want them to.

Not long ago on the schoolyard Katherine was playing with one of her best friends, Gabby. Another girl from Jeffrey's class came up to them and told her she thought she and Gabby were lesbians because they spent so much time together. And she went on to say how terrible she thought that was. Katherine who has both been taught in her karate class to walk away when kids are taunting or teasing and also does not see a lesbian as a bad thing simply ignored her and moved on. Gabby on the other hand was quite distraught and went to tell the yard duty.

I never did get a straight answer about what happened to the other girl (apparently she was talked to and told that was inappropriate) but in all honesty I wanted to find the girls mother and say a few choice words because obviously this child was getting her viewpoint from somewhere and thought it was OK to spew the stupidity out to anyone who would listen.

Katherine told me it didn't bother her because she knows there is nothing wrong with being gay even if some people tell her otherwise. But other kids aren't so lucky. They might not have an opinion one way or another but if they hear other kids talking about being gay in a negative way they may develop attitudes about it simply by listening to what other kids think. This is why it is SO important for parents talk to their kids and tell them that there is nothing wrong with being gay, that it is not a choice and it is how some people are born. That gay people are no different than straight people and deserve every right and opportunity that the rest of society is granted.

Please parents.. teach your children that words hurt. That old adage about sticks and stones just isn't true when you are young, vulnerable, alone and trying to find out who you are. Kids and teens want their peers to accept them for who they are. And when they aren't accepted and are labeled different (especially if it's a BAD different) they often do not know what to do. Even if they have parents, teachers or anyone for that matter who would be there for them, it may be very hard for them to talk about their feelings because they are embarrassed about what they are going through.

Thats why its so important to talk to your child, be they 7 or 17 or anything in between. YOU start the conversation. YOU ask questions in a way that makes it safe to answer. Thats how I found out about the incident at school. Neither kid would have even thought to have told me. I started asking some general questions about the kids in their class. Were there nice kids? Were there mean kids? And thats when Jeffrey said there was a girl calling names. I had to ask a few more questions to find out exactly what happened but the point is, in general if you don't ask they wont tell. And thats just another example of how that policy is just bad business for everyone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1955


November 22 1955
My Parents Wedding

I don't remember whose house this was at, but I think it was in the valley somewhere.... probably North Hollywood.

My dad looks great in his suit with the padded shoulders and I love my moms green taffeta dress and elbow length lace gloves. I am not sure if I still have that dress in storage. I know she would have kept it but I dont recall seeing it.

Can you totally dig that wallpaper? How great is that with all those leaves?

And that armchair on the left that matches it in a completely clashing sort of way!

I would really love to have that chair with the original fabric!

Their wedding gifts are on the right including that wonderful clock.  I really love old clocks and have several.

I like the floorlamp, another piece that would be fun to have. And also the knick-knack shelf behind them I am sure holds some items that would go great in my cabinet of vintage trinkets I have in the den.

My parents were married 36 years when my dad died. I wish it could have been longer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You're how old again?

I honestly forget sometimes how old my kids are.

Having 3 older ones who now call themselves adult, the whole age things gets lost in translation.

I always seem to think the younger ones are older than they are.

Well most of the time.

This morning I was doing the morning commute alone because Jeff is in Coronado for a Karate Gasshuku. Which pretty much means he trains for hours and hours on end and they may give him a an hour or two to sleep here and there. This also means leaving me as acting (?) adult to hold down the fort for 3 days. He is a mighty trusting fellow because I dont think I'd trust me for days alone with these kids. Someone might not make it through the weekend unscathed, and I'm betting it would be me.

So an-eeeey-waaay..... I'm on the last turn before I drop Alex off at high school... He has his hand on the door so the minute the car slows down enough to where he thinks he can make the jump and roll with a minimum amount of injury, he will open the door and escape the circus that is often the morning car ride.

Jeffrey and Katherine are trying to think of things the other can't spell.

Jeffrey stumped Katherine with antidisestablishmentarianism. (This is what happens when your older brother is in honors classes and you ask him what the longest word he knows is.)

After Katherine calls foul because that wasn't one of their spelling words. Jeffrey concedes and tries again.

"Spell I-cup Katherine."

"Eye-cup?"

"Yeah I-cup"

"Like a cup you can put your eye in?"
(Now see thats just being creative because I was thinking a cup you put OVER your eye).

"NO silly.... like I or me.. then cup..spell it"

I am glancing in the rear-view mirror and Katherine is giving him quite a look..wondering what the trick is since it is quite obvious to her that she can spell that...

"Just spell it... go ahead...."

***BIG SIGH***

"OK.... I-C-U-P"

Lots of stifled giggling from the left side of the car.

Lots of confused glaring from the right side of the car.

"Get it?"

***giggle giggle giggle***

"No... whats so funny about I-C-U-P?"

Stifled giggling has turned into an out right belly laugh.

I glance at Alex who is still poised for his escape but he is shaking his head and has a smile on his face.

"JEFFREY!! WHAT IS SO FUNNY???"

"Say it REEAAALLLLLY slow...."

At this point I think she would rather have just clobbered him but not wanting to be left out of the joke she says it loudly and deliberately.

"I SEE YOU PEE"

Silence followed by

"JEFFREY!!! THAT IS NOT FUNNY!"

But she was giggling while trying to look mad.

These are the moments that remind me of how young they really are..

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!


Me and my dad ~~ 1973 in our backyard.
I have so few pictures of he and I together.
This one is great because we both look so happy!
Today would have been his 85th Birthday.
I really miss him.
He was taken away far too young.
I was only 26 when he died and I didn't get to experience almost any time as an adult with him.
He loved my kids more than anything and I mourn them not being able to have spent more time with him.
And also for him not being able to see them grow up and get to know what great people they have become.
He never even met my 2 youngest sons.
They will only know him through pictures and stories I tell.
But even my older kids who were only 2, 4 and 5 when he died can only barely remember the man who thought they were the light of his world.
I have a few precious home movies of him but sadly he was already sick when I got the camera so they do not show who he really was.
I have one moment I video taped of he and my mom together about 2 months before he died. My mom asked me to film them so she could always have that memory.
It's heartbreaking for me to watch because you can see in her face that she knows he doesn't have long.
He looks thin and has lost the sparkle that he always had.
Cancer is a horrible horrible enemy and has taken far too many people.

In an effort to lighten this post up, I offer some headshots he had taken in the 1950's when he was actively pursuing an acting career.







But this is how I knew him.... Older, bearded and playing his guitar.


And also like this, with my mom doing make-up at CBS for Connie Chung and Dan Rather.



Happy Birthday Dad.
Wherever you are please know that you are missed more than you know
and I was very honored to have you in my life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1966


Here I am all of one year old and stuffed into that great old stroller with Smudge who was a peek-a-poo. (Pekingese poodle mix)
I seem to remember my parents also calling him Smidgie..

I still have that baby toy hanging down from the front wrapped up in tissue in my baby trunk.

I'm in the kitchen and those classic 60's cabinets were still there when we sold the house 5 years ago.
That floor which was thick white linoleum with black "gouges" in it lasted until the late 70's when some totally retro stick-down squares were used as a cover up. I don't know who invented that white flooring but even as a kid I remember wondering why anyone would make a floor with holes in it that caught every crumb and piece of dirt that hit the floor.

On the counter is a pack of my dads ever present Marlboro cigarettes. He smoked til I was around 10 and then my mom told him he couldn't smoke in the house anymore and eventually he quit since he didn't like going outside.

Along the back wall on the counter is a set of jelly jars that my mom kept in that exact spot for as long as she lived there. I eventually found a good home for them.

The dining room is behind me. I can just barely make out the thick green drapes hanging on the windows. They match the ones that are in the way-back pic of my mom and cousin in the living room. Matching drapes! My mom loved them.

Not a lot else to say except I really loved that dog... he was already pretty old in this pic so I dont have too many pictures with him so these are very special to me!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Mornings from Long Ago

When I was a kid, all the way back in early 1970s, most of the cartoon watching was relegated to Saturday morning. It was a pretty big deal to make sure you got up on time so you wouldn't miss whatever show you looked forward to all week. And they had seasons back then for cartoons just like they do now for adult shows. September with it's premieres and new episodes of old favorites was looked forward to as much as Christmas.

My Saturday mornings always consisted of being up at the crack of dawn (who could sleep on a non school day when there was so much to do?) and getting myself a bowl of some sugary cereal (maybe Super Sugar Crisp or Sugar Frosted Flakes). Back then they were honest about the main ingredient in what your kid was consuming.  Today they try to make it seem like you are doing your kid a service by pouring them Trix or Cinnamon Toast Crunch because after all, they are made with WHOLE GRAINS!

But I digress....

Anyway, once I was set up with my sugar fix, I would plop down in front of the TV and settle in for the next 3 hours knowing I would not be disappointed.

I had my personal favorites. The first was the original Scooby Doo.  But it had to be the original show...NOT the one with Scrappy -Doo.. he completely wrecked the entire experience. I stopped watching the show when they added him





And then there were The Groovy Ghoulies (oh this show was FUN)


Josie and the Pussycats (I think this show must have fueled my love for Charlie's Angels later in the 70's, with the 3 "leading ladies" who were always solving mysteries)


And who could forget Land of the Lost ? I watched each week with fevered anticipation, hoping beyond hope that they would actually find a way home.... To this day I can't remember how the show actually ended.. did Will and Holly ever get home? Did the sleestaks get them? Did the realistic looking dinosaurs get them? What happened to Cha-ka? So many unanswered questions!


But I definately think that Saturday mornings would not have been the same if not for the classic Bugs Bunny Cartoons that always played on CBS about 9AM. The GOOD ones..... those made mostly in the 1950's. Not the earlier ones where Bugs was kind of crazy and all over the place.

I loved all of the different characters that would appear in the different episodes and I could watch them over and over again.



Once the weekly ritual was done  (around 11 AM or so) it was time to really start my day. But I could do it with a certain satisfaction that my morning had been well spent and enjoyed.

What more could a kid of that time ask for.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1926


We're going way way back this week.

I thought perhaps this was 1916 but looking up these cars I think it's probably 1926.

This is my grandfather, Percy Knaggs and someone who I don't recognize sitting with him.

It is in all likelihood in Enid Oklahoma.

The car appears to be a mid 1920's model T Ford truck. 

I love the windshield titled up and those great spoke wheels.

You can't see it in this picture but there is a spare tire carried under the flat bed in the back.

My grandpa has on the greatest hat and looks very schnazzy!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Backseat Bottom Blaster

Riding in the car with my crew can be a bit, um, difficult from time to time.

If I don't separate the partners in crime, some mornings I spend most of the car ride repeating one of the following:

"Knock it off"

"Cool it"

 "Jeffrey" "What?" "HUSH".

"What are you doing?" often followed by "Why are you doing THAT?"

"Katherine, what did I just tell you?" "To stop talking" "then what should you do?"
"Stop talking?" Her deduction skills are remarkable for her age.

Honestly children, it's early, and in most case I haven't had my coffee which means I'm not fully awake and therefore cannot tolerate a space battle (complete with blow by blow coverage and sound effects) being waged at 7:20 AM in my back seat.

Also, just in case you've forgotten.... we drive the same way every day, so it really is unnecessary for you  to ask "Are we there yet?" when we've only been in the car 2 minutes.

 You might think they had that one figured out.

If only I could install the handy dandy device I thought up years and years ago when my older ones were this age.

It's quite simple really... in the cushion of the seat I would install something that sends out an electric charge (kind of like a cattle prod) and it would be attached to a handy dandy button within reach on the dashboard. Each backseat would have it's own button.

Feel like being noisy after you're told to stop?  ZZZZZZZZZTTTTTT!!!!

Feel like fighting with your seat mate after it's been pointed out no one wants to hear it?  ZAAAPPPPP!!!!

Feel like complaining (for the 4th or 5th time) that you are starving and we aren't getting home fast enough?  ZOOOWIEEEEEE!!!!

I have a feeling that no one will feel like doing any of those much longer.

Yeah Yeah I know... it's already been pointed out to me that some parent group (or maybe even the Dept  of Health and Human Services) might take objection to this and try to ban me from having them installed on all family model cars....

But I can dream can't I?

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm hiring a Press Secretary

In my latest campaign bid for Mother-of-the-Year it has come to light that there has been some bad press recently due to my actions and policies.  It was suggested that perhaps I could benefit from someone who is gifted in the art of diplomacy to explain exactly why I do what I do; the motives behind my actions.

In other words, get the people to ignore my policies and focus instead on the caring motivations behind them. You know, to make me look as good as possible.

Therefore I've decided to hire a Press Secretary.

Here are a few of the press announcements I envision:

"In an effort to promote a safe living and working environment, today MOM has passed a law disallowing all toys and clothes to be left on the ground. This comes after several close calls by citizens who became entangled with items left on the floor of a bedroom and lost their footing. MOM feels this is a necessary action to keep all citizens safe and accident free."

"In another ground breaking announcement, MOM has loosened the restrictions on child labor laws due the recent allegations that children have become lazy and are losing direction in their after school life. MOM does not want this dangerous trend to continue so she has allowed the assignment of extra chores to be carried out after homework is finished. MOM feels this will help the children once again regain a sense of purpose and well being."

"Effective immediately: MOM has changed the curfew from 9PM to 8:30 PM. This is after several studies have shown that too much noise and excitement late into the evening can cause the citizens anxiety and therefore find it difficult to create an environment conducive to sleep. MOM is very concerned that the citizens of the household get a full and adequate nights sleep so that they can function well in their daily activities."

I'm also working on some campaign slogans

MOM.... no matter how loud she yells, she still loves you

Remember...when MOM is happy, everyone is allowed to be happy.

MOM MOM, She's our man...if she can't do it, no one can!

(HMMMmmmm not too sure about that last one)