Saturday, May 9, 2009


Since it's Mother's Day in just a few hours, I thought I would introduce you to my mother. Her name is Myra and she is the last of the fifties brides that went straight from their fathers house to their husbands. Her generation did not have apartments and careers. They got married.

She grew up in South Beach, Florida, where she lived with her parents and her sister, just off of Collins Avenue. When she was in high school, she loved a boy named Allen. Towards the end of their senior year, my grandfather AJ began asking what Allen's "intentions" where. Allen crumbled under the pressure, and ran away from my mother as fast as he could. Grandpa AJ had that same effect on all of us. We still wonder about Allen to this day and what could have been.

To escape her father, she moved to Chicago to live with her cousin. My mother's best friend, Binnie, had a brother named Larry. One day, my mother wandered into the brothers bedroom and he was on the top bunk listening to a record. My mother, who thought it was strange sounding music, asked my father "what's that music?", to which he replied "that's jazz", thus beggining a conversation that continued for the next twenty odd years. And that's how my mother met my father.

Once, when they were still dating, my father told my mother that he felt sad. It was a very rainy afternoon, and he thought they should go walk in the rain and just embrace the sadness. My mother, who is a beauty queen, melts in the rain, but agreed to go anyway, because that's love.

She was wearing a wig, which she had just washed the night before using just a dab of dish soup. As they walked in the rain, holding hands and being poetic, her wig began to bubble up. Soon, she had soap streaming everywhere and my father is looking at her like a science project. They start to laugh, but then the soap starts to run in her eyes and blind her, so my father pulls the wig off her head and they stand laughing hysterically in the rain.

In the next four years, my mother gave birth to three girls. Back in those days, before the epidural, women in labor were given sodium penathol for pain. Sodium penathol is a very strong narcotic known as "truth" serum. She had been in labor for many hours, and for the last few hours had been listening to the rhythm of the screaming of another woman giving birth down the hall.

At first the screaming was a bit of a curiosity to her, thinking "better her than me", while still feeling empathy. After about three hours, though, my mother couldn't stand listening to the woman screaming down the hall any longer and was beginning to resent her.

So, my mother finally says to the nurse "NURSE, CAN YOU PUH-LEASSSSE SHUT THAT WOMAN UP?!!"

To which the nurse replied "But Mrs. Rosenberg, that's you".

At the height of her career outside of the home, she was working in the basket room at a local gym. People would come in to work out, change in the locker room, put their belongings in a basket, and check the basket at the counter. My mother was the "basket lady".

My sisters and I spent a lot of time after school at the gym, waiting for our mother to get off work. It was a great job for her because it came with facilities that served as after school care for us. When I was around 8, I would hang around the basket room with my mother and listen to all the conversations she had with people checking in and out. It was how I first became a conversational voyeur, I loved listening to people confide in my mother, asking her advice about their lives.

It was the first time that it ever occurred to me that she had a name other than "mom" or "honey", and I liked that. She seemed like a Myra. When I asked her if I could call her Myra, she thought it was funny. Nothing made me happier than making my mother laugh. From that day on, I've called her Myra and it stills cracks her up.

My mother was a widow at 36, living in a strange city with no family, with three little girls to raise. She didn't do everything as well as I wish she had, but I never doubted her love. When I was a kid, she told me if I ever ran away, I had to take her with me. We said we would go to Switzerland, and eat choclate covered almonds for dinner, and never come back. Hey, it's never too late.

Monday, May 4, 2009

When Trisha Turned Thirty

Trisha and I were born almost exactly one year apart, we're both Libra's. When she turned 30, she and the Boss where already living in Southern California in what I liked to refer to as "Club Trisha".

The first time I visited, the Boss opened the blinds on the back of the house with a flourish. There, along with special mood lighting, was their swimming pool, along with a custom built water fall, and built-in jacuzzi. The house was built for entertaining, and I like being entertained. It was perfect for me.

But I digress, this is about when Trisha turned 30 and we took the most amazing birthday trip, just she and me. We had agreed as teenagers that we would be together on our 30th birthdays no matter where we were in life. We kept that promise. Actually, it was more of an odyssey than a vacation.

When I first got there, we hung out at Club Trisha for a few days and chilled. Then, it was time to hit the road to Vegas. The Boss stayed home with the kids for the first time in his or their life, and we headed west on the 115 in a brand new Lexus sports car.

So, there we are, going 90 miles an hour in the middle of the desert, windows down, hair blowing, radio blaring some Cement Blond song that I can't remember. We must have been such a sight. Unfortunately, red sport cars are pulled over more than any other car on the road.

Our bliss scratched to a stop like a needle on a vinyl record, when Trisha glanced up into the rear view mirror, and saw with horror, the flashing of police lights. We both said "shit" simultaneously, and Trisha pulled off the highway. We sat in the car and waited for the Nevada State Trooper to walk, more like swagger, to the Lexus.

I must tell you, this guy was super hot. We watch him stroll up to the car in our side-view mirrors, black leather gloves, tight outfit. When he finally gets there, he leans into the driver side window, one arm up on the window frame, and the entire car fills with the smell of testosterone. Not some bad cologne, no cologne, just testosterone. He's smiles at Trisha, with beautiful teeth, and says "I've been chasing you two for ninety miles now." I can't remember if he wrote her a speeding ticket, or not, but I do remember him hitting on her so I'd prefer to believe he didn't write the ticket.

After telling the officer that "yes, she was married" and "no, she wasn't interested" we were off on our way. Trisha had booked a room for us at the Flamingo Hilton, and since that's where we always stayed, I just assumed that's where everybody stayed. That place, until the second part of our trip, was the fanciest hotel (and I love hotels) I ever stayed at.

I don't remember too much more about that leg of the birthday tour. If you've been to Vegas a lot, it all starts to run together. But, I do remember Trisha letting me drive the Lexus through the desert on the way home. I can't even come up with a metaphor for what that felt like.

We went back to Club Trisha, and hung around for a few days. Swam with the kids, cooked in the gourmet kitchen, oh my God, I'm so shallow! Is it bad that I loved her good fortune? It was just so different from anything either one of us had ever experienced.

Next on the "When Trisha Turned 30" west coast tour, was Northern California. Our friend Jimmy had been living there for several years and we decided we would go visit him. Once again, we stayed at The Hilton, (have I mentioned I love hotels?). This one was located right in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

When you first walked into the lobby, which can only be described as just big and fat, there were live flowers in ginormous arrangements like never I had seen before. I went to smell the flowers, they where some kind of Lilly, and the yellow Lilly dust stained my nose yellow. Trisha and Jimmy thought this was hilarious. Pooh Bear goes to the City.

Our room was on the 20,000 floor (I'm guesstimating), and had a balcony. When we opened the drapes, it was night time, and there was a full moon. You could see the silhouette of that famous insurance company building, with the full moon behind it. It was one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen.

Trisha decided we needed to test our mortality, and suggested we go sky diving. She's so existential sometimes. I, on the other hand, not so much. We agreed on a compromise, we would go hot air ballooning instead. At first I gave her a hard time about it, we had to get up at 4:30 in the morning and I hate that shit. Then I got back with the program, and Trisha made the arrangements.

What comes before the crack of dawn? The dark before the dawn, I suppose, and I know this because that's when we got up. We had to get from San Francisco to the Sonoma Valley by 5:30 and it was about an hours drive. Off into the darkness we drove, me whining the entire way.

In my usual way, I didn't ask many details beforehand. It turned out to be a 2 hour balloon ride over the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Then, when you landed on the other side, there was a champagne brunch! Our basket consisted of Trisha and me, a couple of couple's, and what I remember as a lot of guys. One of these guys said to me "Hey, look down there, it's black deer!" It was really a cow, and I sounded like Jessica Simpson because I believed him and commented on how cute black deer were. Who the hell gets to do that? It was one of the best days of my life.

The next day, we walked from our hotel to Fishermans Wharf. We walked, and walked for blocks and blocks. Along the way, we stopped to have coffee at a sidewalk cafe and I saw a tattoo shop. I was just starting to date Ken, and knew that things were getting ready to change forever. So I got this tattoo, and, no, it wasn't for Ken.

It's on my right shoulder blade and is the pegasus from "Fantasia" and he looks like he is about to fly over my shoulder. It was a tribute to an old, most-favored boyfriend that I had loved in my twenties, who's ghost I was ready to put behind me. He always loved "Fantasia" and I'm a lover of tributes. I'm a sentimental fool.

When we finally got to Fishermans Wharf, Trisha and I bought matching bracelets. The next day, we flew back to LA, and from there, I flew back east. It was one hell of a time. Thanks Trish. xxxooo