Saturday, November 29, 2008

fifty is the new forty

I turned fifty on Saturday and it felt just like being 49.
I had been sweating it for a solid year, imagining how I'd feel, trying to guess other people's ages and feeling secretly relieved when I'd find out that they were younger than me and looked like crap.
Maybe it's because a lot of things have happened this year to take my mind off that big, looming number. Not just a lot of things - A LOT OF THINGS. Things like unemployment, mysterious illnesses and no health insurance, cars falling apart . . . I could go on and on. How I've managed to not go all snipery has taken all of my strength, hope, confidence, cheerfulness and budgeting acumen. And a lot of liquor.
Big half-century day started out pretty much like any Saturday. David's kids Dylan and Chloe were here. That means that they're gonna be hungry and want to go places right now. It took most of the morning to get all of that organized. My car is still out of commission, so I just hung around doing laundry and looking for jobs on the internet. I didn't even take a shower until 4:00, and that was only because we were going out to dinner at 5:00. David came home from taking the kids back to their Mom's house with a dozen roses, a bottle of Courvoisier and a song he had written for me burned on a cd (with cool cover art designed by Sharon). After a lovely dinner at Yemanja Brasil, I walked into our kitchen to the sound of 15+ people yelling "surprise!" and to the sight of Sharon's camera a-flashin'.
It was a great party filled with great people. I felt just like the Prom Queen.
I ended the evening taking a little 'ol nap in the papasan chair, but hell, I'm old.
So here I am.
Dear reader, if you have not yet reached that magical age, please take a look at "50 Things You Need to Know by 50" - 50 bits of advice written by 50 different people (I especially like #25). The article originally appeared in AARP magazine (don't laugh) in their July and August 2007 edition and can be found at
Thank you one and all for your friendship and your patience with me. I am not sure I deserve it, but I am gonna take it.
I love you, David.
You are what you love, not what loves you, I decided that a long time ago.~ Donald Kaufman

Friday, November 21, 2008

cheer up, you

Charlie Brown once said, "the secret of happiness is having three things to look forward to and nothing to dread." This has been a dreadful week with not much to look forward to. At one point David and I both had our cars in the shop at the same time - it's been a week like that.
Since I don't consider this week blog-worthy, let's play a little game of true or false instead. All of the questions are about me.
It's my blog, dammit. Shut up.

True or False?

I came home from a bar without my shorts on.
Sometime in the 70's I went out drinking with a pack of girls. On the way home we stopped to pee in a cornfield. I was just too drunk to fasten my cute little sailor shorts - they had a row of buttons on each side - so I decided that underpants as attire would be just fine for the remainder of the evening.
Of course it was summer. I'm stupid, not crazy.

True or False?

I worked at a Pizza Hut for one week.
I only worked there for 4 nights. On the 4th night a kid tripped me while I was carrying a tray with 3 pitchers of soda. Panic and hilarity ensued. I marched right back to the manager and quit on the spot.

True or False?
I was a member of the Zoning Board in Centralia, IL.
Don't ask me how that happened. They must have been desperate.

True or False?
I flunked Driver's Ed.
I didn't actually flunk, but I was such a bad driver that the instructor made me stay a week longer than everyone else just to practice. I think knocking over a "No Parking" sign may have had a lot to do with it, but I'm not sure. I'm a slightly better driver now.

True or False?

I flipped off an Indiana state trooper.
He was crowding me on the interstate in an unmarked car. I switched lanes to let him roar past me and flipped him off. It was at this point I noticed the Smokey the Bear hat in the seat next to him. He waited by the side of the road over the next hill, motioned me to pull over and proceeded to lecture me about my bad manners. I lectured him right back about his driving etiquette. He let me go because I was wearing a Cardinals shirt.

True or False?
I lost the Central City Grade School Carnival poster contest because of politics.
My entry in 8th grade was a huge cartoon of Chairman Mao with the caption "You WILL enjoy the Central City Grade School Carnival" (it was 1972). I thought it was hilarious. It did not win. To the best of my recollection, it was beaten by a sappy and poorly drawn clown. Not only was I crushed, but I got really strange looks from all of the teachers for the remainder of the school year. I like to think that it was too controversial for a small town, but maybe it was just a really crappy poster.

Hopefully, next week will be better. Or at least different.

Friday, November 14, 2008

beatle bob

David mentioned yesterday that he'd heard a story on KWMU about a soon to be released documentary about Beatle Bob.
I got to know him through Brian, a Soulard musician I was dating. Beatle Bob always seemed to be around. He never could remember my name, but always seemed happy to see me, called me "Darlin'" and kissed me on the cheek whenever I ran into him. When I was riding the Metrolink to work I would see him at least twice a month on the eastbound morning train, sound asleep with his arms around a plastic grocery bag that seemed to be full of notebooks and papers. I would try to wake him for fear that he would end up at Scott Air Force Base. Bob would look confused and blinky at first, then he'd wake up and tell me about the concert he'd been to last night in a rapid, breathy voice. I always got the impression that his personal hygiene habits were not the best.
The funniest encounter I ever had with Beatle Bob was in the late '90s. My boyfriend Brian had given up on the Soulard music scene and formed a touring Dixie show band with 6 of his friends. The band recorded a live CD, I designed the cover, and we pre-sold the recording to pay for the mastering and duplication. A release party was planned at the Tap Room on a Sunday afternoon.
Dear audience, I can just hear you saying, "Sunday afternoon? For a CD release party?" Let me explain. The main audience for Dixie show bands tend to be in the 60-70 year old range. The band was semi-sponsored by the St. Louis Jazz Club, an organization full of folks who all liked to be home before dark. Hence, the Sunday afternoon throw-down.
I was stationed at the back of the room with a table full of autographed CDs ready to hand out to people who had purchased them earlier and to sell CDs to people who hadn't, when Beatle Bob walked into the room. I was slightly, not entirely surprised. Although it really wasn't Bob's scene at all, he had a great regard for Brian as a musician and was happy to support any of his new ventures. Bob greeted me warmly, kissed me on the cheek and stationed himself right in front of the stage. The old folks were all lined up in chairs waiting for the concert to start.
I cannot describe what it was like watching Beatle Bob trying to dance to St. James Infirmary and Wolverine Blues. I can only tell you, dear reader, that it was a vastly entertaining sight and I apparently was the only person in the place entertained by it.
People started to complain. The old folks had no idea who Beatle Bob was and why he was blocking their view of the band to have what appeared to be a seizure right in front of their eyes.
I tried to placate them with phrases like "He's a nice person and he has a perfect right to dance" but it was just not working. When an elderly man stormed up to my table and began yelling, "Who is that asshole and when is he going to sit down?" I finally gave up. I said, "Well, he's my retarded brother and he just loves to dance." The man's mouth snapped shut. With a horrified look on his face he wheeled around and went back to his seat.
For the rest of the concert I could see a lot of people twisting in their seats to look at me.
I didn't get another complaint all afternoon and sold quite a few sympathy CDs to boot.