Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Going to the movies with my mom

I don't often go to movies any more. I find I much prefer to watch them in my pajamas and slippers, and theaters frown on that. I also like the option of pausing for sufficient bathroom breaks. The fact that I like my movies accompanied by a glass of wine may also play a part. But last weekend my mom (who also does not go to movies) texted me and said "I haven't been to the movies in eons. Why don't we go to a matinee". Of course, being my mom, she then had to text "You probably go all the time and don't want to go with me and that's ok". Yes, that's an exact quote. After assuring her that no, I don't go all the time and yes, I'd love to go with her, I had to search for something she might like to see. No scifi, no horror, no movies based on comic books, no animated features, nothing with nudity or a lot of 'bad' language, no movies that are part of a series, and absolutely nothing with a lot of blood.  So what did that leave?  The Meddler with Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne.

First, the venue. We went to a multiplex near her that had been recently remodeled, adding reclining seats. Wow, what a nice feature! The key is to not recline them all the way, otherwise it is way too easy to nod off...which my mom did midway thru the movie. She had thought she wanted popcorn until she saw the ridiculous price of $6.59 for a small! Really? Popcorn has got to be one of the cheapest foods there is and they charge more than a 6 piece Chick-fil-A meal. More than a bottle of Rex Goliath cabernet wine. More than 5 hot dogs at Der Weinerschnitzel. Yes, I know they dropped the 'der' years ago, but at our house it always includes the 'der'. In fact, that's what we call it on those very rare occasions when a cheap hot dog is necessary...Der. So, no to the popcorn. Also no to the overpriced water, the silly expensive candy and a definite no to the pawn-your-jewelry nachos. Fortunately for my mom, who absolutely cannot watch any movie without food, she had a bag Hershey's kisses and Tootsie Rolls in her purse. I was a little surprised that she didn't pull out a bottle of water, but she had only taken her small purse and what with her Bible, address book and ginormous container of pills/Tylenol/vitamin E capsules, there was just no room. I made her leave her iPhone in the car and you would have thought I had asked her to cough up her liver.

Now, the movie. I. Loved. It. It was funny and sweet and true and incredibly well acted. Even the smaller parts had name actors, like Michael McKean (who I have loved since LaVerne and Shirley days) and Jason Ritter (who has his daddy's smile and a ton of talent) and Cecily Strong (my favorite gal on SNL). There was even a cameo by Harry Hamlin...and can I just say Yowza? But the hunk of the movie was JK Simmons of the deep and sexy voice and the dimples you just want to dive into. I am reading a book right now with a character named Pendergast whose voice in the book is described as 'bourbon and buttermilk'. Oh, yes, that is JK Simmons all day. My mom was similarly smitten and remarked out loud more than once...ok, a lot more than once..."he's so cute!" Yes, he was, and paired with Susan Sarandon, he moved right into adorable. I won't spoil the movie for you, because I hope you'll see it and it needs to unfold for you the way it unfolded for me. You won't be sorry.

Finally, the previews.  Good heavens, were there ever previews!  Just when you thought they were over, they rolled out yet another one. Normally I like previews, the more the better.  But when you watch them with my mom, they become painful. She comments on all of them. All. Of. Them. "Who is that? That's a weird one. Who is in that movie? What else is she in? Why on earth would they make a movie about that? I'm not going to see that one...or that one...or that one...and definitely not that one!" The only way to respond is by saying 'not sure'. I've tried ignoring her comments, responding to her comments, and shushing her. But a 'not sure' stops her questions...until the next preview.

And finally finally, the fun. Because it was. More fun than I expected. Despite the sticker shock snacks, the plethora of coming attractions, and falling asleep in the middle, my mom had so much fun watching the movie and, I hope, being with me, and I had a delightful time watching her have fun. We enjoyed the evening and each other so much we went out to dinner and had even more fun. So much more fun, I think I'll save that for another blog. Because eating out with my mom is ridiculous and annoying and...to be continued.

This may have been the first time we had been to movies together in eons, as she put it, but it won't be the last. Time laughing with my mother is precious...and I need more precious in my life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

For all the quirky, fussy, hilarious moms out there, bless their hearts

My mom is funny.  At 86 years she is the only person I know who prefers a store bought cookie to a homemade one, packaged white bread to a fresh loaf, and a drive thru hamburger to one right off my grill. She likes veggies that come in a can but won't eat a tomato that isn't homegrown. She is highly suspicious of any lettuce that is not iceberg and only eats dressing that comes in a bottle with a photo of a happy farm on it. She is not a very good everyday cook, but makes the most amazing stuffing at Thanksgiving and the drop dead best meatloaf in the world.

She wears exclusively one brand of separates and is currently having a feud with Macy's as they are phasing it out of their stores. She seems to think the clerks have some control over this (and that they care) and corners them any chance she gets so she can quiz them about where they have hidden the clothes, because she knows they are in a back room somewhere. She has every suit she ever wore to work (even though she retired in 1988), along with the matching heels she will never wear again.

She is a voracious reader and downloads books from Amazon by the dozen. She owns 2 Kindles and when they run out of juice, she reads books on her iPad. She says that she is going to cut down on her reading but knows she won't. She fully embraces technology, loves email and texting, gets impatient with people her age who claim they are just too old to learn how to do that, but yells NO THANK YOU and STOP ASKING ME THAT at Siri when she offers to help her.

She is a stacker and any flat surface is likely to hold 3 or more weeks worth of mail, countless notepads, pens, lists and whatever else she is worried that if she puts away will be lost forever. She keeps every receipt and every tag off of every product she buys along with the original packaging.  She is a slapdash gardener who is always surprised when the plants she waters religiously the first week, then ignores, die. She leaves their sad, dried remains in their hanging baskets and asks me regularly if I think they are coming back to life.

She loves Days of Our Lives, The Walking Dead and reruns of The Golden Girls.  She doesn't trust restaurants whose menus don't have photos of the food and is shocked when what she orders isn't as pictured.  She once sent my daughter's pancakes back 3 times until they exactly matched the cat with ears shown on the children's menu.

I adore my mom even though...or maybe because...she regularly drives me bonkers.  She is this quirky, cranky, often hilarious woman who is shrinking before my eyes and who I sometimes cannot bear to be around for more than 10 minutes, bless her heart.

But she is my mom...and I wouldn't trade her for any other Mom around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Go out and be a blessing

When I first started working in Real Estate, my broker used to end every staff meeting with the same phrase..."Go out and be a blessing". When I asked him one day over coffee why he always sent us off with those words, he told me that it was his goal to try as hard as he could to leave the people he interacted with during the day happy to have seen him. Not only was it good business practice, but it's just the right thing to do. He said you don't have to be gushy, and for heaven's sake don't tell everyone you meet to have a nice day. Just be kind to everyone you meet and find a way to help someone else every single day. Such a simple concept...be a blessing...but one I remember to this day and have always tried to follow.  Some days it's easy.  Open a door for someone, thank the someone who opens one for you, tell the kid bagging your groceries that he did a good job. Some days it devolves into waving cheerily at whoever that is in the car behind me gesturing and honking her horn. And yes, some days you have to really, really dig down deep to be anything approaching a blessing.


There was a series of commercials that recently aired where people were amazed by others who did little things during the day, like picking up a child's toy that fell from a stroller or running after someone who had left their briefcase at the diner. They went on to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. I refuse to believe that people are shocked by little courtesies. In my world, Polyanna and I believe in the goodness of people and that, given the chance, they want to be nice or at least courteous. I truly believe that people respond in kind to how they are treated. And when you think about it, what is the alternative?  To go thru your day scowling at people, assuming they are all out to get you?


With that in mind, go out and be a blessing. And if that involves being in the Starbucks drive thru and paying for the coffee of the person behind you, good on you. If that person is a redhead driving a Subaru Forester, I prefer grande bold, no cream.