Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ozark Kountry Ramblings

Just got back from the Lake of the Ozarks.

We've visited there every few years since moving to Missouri in the 70s. I'm sad to say it's the end of an era. The town of Osage Beach was, until recently, a midwestern incarnation of an East Coast boardwalk. (Imagine a salt water taffy store, Skeeball lanes, an old-time photo studio, throw in some corn cob pipes, a hillbilly variety show, and some outhouse salt-and-pepper shakers. That's how "The Lake" used to be in the good old days.)

The Ozark Opry's dilapidated marquee now reads, "Goodbye. Thanks for 53 great years." It seems inevitable the building will be razed to make room for more "premium" outlet mall stores. (An aside: Who thinks anyone gets a good deal at an outlet store? I shopped for sandals and bath towels and saw no bargains anywhere.)

Here's another sign of the Ozarkian times:

Our late April visit qualified as off-season, so we didn't deal with jet skis or the obscenely loud and huge race boats in which people now terrorize the waves.

One evening, after consuming our weight in boardwalk fudge and then getting photographed in whore-with-a-heart-of-gold/outlaw get-ups, we decided to hit the other side of town. We discovered a truly amazing bit or paradise: a rookery where the great blue heron dwell.

These incredible birds (wingspans can reach 40 inches or more) like to hang out at the north end of Bagnell Dam, a structure built by the Army Corps of Engineers during WPA to create the Lake of the Ozarks.

Where does a 4-foot heron roost?

Anywhere she wants.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bang, bang, we're all dead.

To everyone who thinks the solution to violence and crime is to make sure we're all packing heat:

Come on, people.

Followed to its logical conclusion, this unfathomable scenario suggests that the future belongs to the lucky people who have the biggest guns and are the best shots.

When I first toured Graceland and marveled at the kitschy excess of it all, it dawned on me: This is the aesthetic we'd be living with if little boys were in charge of home decor.

Hearing the "let's all get guns" argument leads me to another aha:

This is what America looks like when little boys are running the show.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jammy Time

My husband Steve & I are about to head out on a week-long road trip. I'm looking forward to the uninterrupted time, the adventure of setting out together, still having fun 25 years later, all that stuff. But the thing I'm most excited about?

Not having to suit up for work.

Let me be clear about this. "Suit up" at my workplace means nice jeans and a clean shirt. I haven't suffered with pantyhose or pointy shoes since returning to corporate life seven years ago. And for that perk I am grateful.

But having freelanced for the preceding 18 years, I've been spoiled by the anarchic luxury of working in my pajamas. (As a point of fact, after a year or two of working at home, my street clothing and jammies had magically morphed into one comfy couture.)

Back in those days, I was who I was, and my clients and colleagues didn't gave a damn what I was wearing, or if I had good make-up, or if I colored my hair. People knew me by my telephone voice, my emails, and the quality of my creative work. For all anybody knew, I was decked out in J. Jill separates sporting a perfect manicure, when actually, I may or may not have combed my hair when I got out of bed.

I guess I'm missing some critical dress-up DNA. And in its place on one of my X chromosomes is an affinity for flannel, sport fleece, and elastic waistbands.

For the record, I really do enjoy being a girl.

It's just that I enjoy my jammies more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's! Play! Lamedroppers!

The object of the game is to post your own,
personal remote connections to B-list celebrities.

The further down the B-list and the sillier
the connection to your own life, the better.

C'mon! It'll be fun!

* * *

For example:

The Lone Ranger's sister-in-law played in my mom's bridge club.

My brother-in-law once almost flew the plane on which Gorbachev
was a passenger.

James Taylor once cut in front of me in line at Zabar's to buy rock candy
for his much-younger girlfriend.

* * *

Strive for obscure celebrities, remote connections, and inconsequential situations. Also, please post only factual lamedroppers.

(Honor system! If you cheat, you're only cheating yourself!)

One more from me:

In 1980, I told a joke to Joe Piscopo at a theme park.

Top that!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What moment are you in?

I was on an elevator at work yesterday with someone who was talking full volume on her Razor phone. She exited on the floor a couple below mine, and I rolled my eyes and confessed to the other passenger, "I just can't get used to that. I guess I'm just old."

The young woman looked blankly back at me, then removed her ear buds and said, "Have a nice day," as she scooted out. Of the three women in that elevator, I was the only one actually in that elevator.

Beyond the breach of manners, which is considerable (what makes you think I want to hear one side of your conversation with your husband who, apparently has just dropped you off five minutes ago?) elevator cellphones offend me.

Suddenly our real lives aren't enough for us. We need to check in with three voicemails, three email accounts, our news groups, and our bookmarked web news pages to equip ourselves for the day. These overloading distractions, by definition, remove us from the real time lives we're trying to live.

People usually define greed as a monetary lust. But there's a new greed these days...a greed for existing in an excess of "present moments." It's an impossible irony. We all want so much to be "in the moment," but we can't decide which moment is the real one.

Okay, I'm a hypocrite. I'm starting this blog hoping people will take time out from their own real time moments to give a damn what I'm thinking.

So do me a favor and get your eyes away from a screen and your ears away from a speaker for a moment. Find yourself some old-school, flesh-on-flesh, eye-contact-generating, outdoor, fresh air reality.

Like the amazing tree at the top of this blog, for instance.

See you next time!