Love And Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Image by Premshree Pillai via Flickr

When I was a little girl, I remember throwing pennies up in the air so that other little kids would find them and be happy. This was not something my mom or dad taught me; it was something I just did. My parents didn’t mind; I think they were mildly amused. Eventually, I worked up to throwing nickels and dimes and imagining excited, delighted children got even sweeter. The first time I threw a quarter my mother put her hands on her hips, stamped her foot and said “are you crazy, that’s a lot of money!”  and it really was way back then.  I went back to pennies, nickels, dimes and, of course, an occasional quarter, when she wasn’t looking. It was something that always felt right to me and defined me as a person.  I never lost that quality, I just didn’t have a name for it.

Years later, when “Random Acts of Kindness” became popular because of Oprah I had a name for what I have always done. I now paid tolls on bridges for the cars behind me, I paid for a cup of Starbucks coffee for the next person in line.  I sent a little boy a gift certificate to Toys R Us after his mom died signed by “a friendly neighbor.” When I heard that one of my on-line friends truly loved a certain book, I arranged for a brand new, shiny hardcover book to be autographed with her name, by the author, who happened to be a family friend. Imagining that book on its trip from the post office to her house kept me excited the entire week.

When my son was about four years old we visited my parents who lived out-of-town. I remember one bright and early morning my son, whom we dubbed ” the farmer,” woke up at 5:30am. Everyone else was fast asleep so I decided to take him out for breakfast, just me and my buddy on a date at a local diner. We ate blueberry pancakes with sweet, brown maple syrup and drank bright orange juice from small, plastic glasses.

In the booth in front of us there was an elderly woman looking cranky and mad and according to my son, “really mean.” We could hear her grousing and complaining often, first to herself and later on to the waitress. I told him that maybe the lady behind us, the “really mean lady” was not mean at all. Perhaps she was ill or lonely or very sad to be sitting by herself on an early Sunday morning. I asked my son if he wanted to play a new game; what four-year old would say no to a game?!   I told him about a happy, surprise game that involved doing nice things for others that we could do together.

After we finished our meal we went over to the waitress and we paid our bill. Winking at my son and looking at his big, warm brown, excited eyes, I asked the waitress to please add the lonely lady’s meal and a tip for herself to our bill.  I remember the waitress looked astonished and pointed to the woman and said “for HER?” We nodded yes, my little boy’s face beaming. My son and I giggled as we left the diner quickly. We couldn’t let the “lady” know who paid for her surprise meal.  Our stomachs were happy, our hearts full and our faces were warm and radiant in the early morning sun. We raced down the steps, sharing a delicious secret, our hands still sticky and sweet, clasped firmly and lovingly, together.

“Eat, Pray, Love” Or Don’t Love In My Case

I’m a book kind of girl. I read a lot of books, buy a lot of books, borrow and lend a lot of books. That’s why I always say to myself, once you’ve read the book, DO NOT see the movie. I say it, I mean it, I don’t listen to myself and I regret it. So, in my opinion the title of this movie should be “Eat, Pray, Don’t Love. That’s how I felt after seeing “Eat, Pray, Love” based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. WHY didn’t I listen to myself?  Because I think I know myself better than I really do; and I am usually wrong. So, once again, I am saying visualize on your own, don’t see the movie afterwards, it ruins the images you have.

The movie started with Julia Roberts’  luminous face, all toothy grin and natural beauty. She’s a great actress but a little too showy, too pretty and shiny for this movie.  Light softly silhouettes her face, there is beautiful scenery which of course showcases again the light of Julia’s pretty face. She’s beautiful even when she is supposed to be an emotional wreck. I wanted more authenticity instead of Julia Roberts playing Pretty Woman Now Middle-Aged. It was Julia Roberts on Julia Roberts, in just about every scene.

Another thing for us real women; if i had gone to Italy for a month of carbs and conversation I would have gained 30 lbs. and would have worn sweat pants instead of the teeny-tiny jeans she was wearing before and after in the film. If you are going to love your pizza, and your pasta, your wine, bread etc. keep it real. Most women don’t giggle lying down in a fitting room buying only the tiniest of jeans. Yes, we’ve all done the zipper trick  at home, on our beds, alone, but most of us would show we have gained weight, which is how real life is. Embrace your body? Not with those size 0 or 2 or 4 jeans, not even close.

The other incredibly annoying thing about the movie, which I found totally inappropriate, was the sound track. As soon as I heard the first song, my mouth was wide open, aghast. I’m sure the songs themselves will be hits but they just didn’t belong to the movie. Did Elizabeth Gilbert hear those songs in her mind? Somehow, I doubt it.

Pretty woman, you’re still pretty, and beautiful  but you’re amazingly privileged in the movie. I know a lot of people who go through marital troubles and they don’t get paid a nice salary for taking off time and traveling abroad. I understand the chaos you went through, I ‘m just not buying Julia Roberts feeling it.

Fake Oprah? FAUXPRAH?

Just tell me now. Tell me that Oprah is not a fake and that all these statements written in the book by Kitty Kelley (which I admit I am reading) are NOT true. But, if a die-hard fan like me is starting to doubt and question than I have a feeling a lot of people are. I consider myself the pulse of America and I am not bragging about it. I’m afraid to say that I am not only reading the book but devouring it. After 300 pages, I am beginning to be a tiny bit suspicious of my hero, MY legend, my spiritual leader, Oprah. Oprah, please say it ain’t so!

While I am reading the book, I find myself talking back out loud to the book, trying to ignore the book’s claims; but I can’t and I am not happy about it. If Oprah herself pulled a James Frey than the world, as I know it, will be over and that would be monumental; it would be huge. As my mom would say in her German dialect “it would be the “bottom of the pits.”

I’m starting to question everything: did Oprah decide to end her show because she knew the book was being published and didn’t want to deal with issues in the book? No, of course not. Maybe? When Oprah tells people to “think big” and “imagine yourself with your goal in hand” Oprah was MY goal. I saw myself shmoozing with her and becoming friends with her, cuddling her dogs, sitting in her lush sofas with my feet crossed under me. Granted I’m sure 30 million other viewers feel the very same way.  Don’t tell me she isn’t friendly, don’t tell me she made up “stories” or even “exaggerated truths.”  I refuse to believe that.  I think.

I haven’t give up on Oprah, I refuse to. It would be too devastating and I have not finished the book yet. I’m hoping for a happy ending where the author confesses she really does love Oprah and perhaps confesses her own exaggerations of the book but I am not feeling that.

Oprah, I’m still here, and I’m still rooting for you. But, I admit, I have a few nagging strands in my stomach and in my brain making me feel a little scared and apprehensive, maybe even a tiny bet annoyed. To me, you’ve always been “The Secret” the key to knowing what was right and what was wrong and I still look up to you tremendously. You have changed lives, you have housed the homeless, you build schools, you help millions by suggesting books (although some of the choices written by your friends are a little questionable)  you give away cars (ok, that one was a little over the top) and you give great gifts of the things that YOU love to others. Convince me that you are sincere and that all the literature written about you is total trash. Because, unfortunately, the book seems to make sense.  At times.

Oprah, give me a sign. Tell me to “live my best life” (copyrighted apparently by Oprah) and let me have my own “A-Ha” moment (also copyrighted by Oprah.)  Give me a “Harpo Hook-up” (ditto, see above) or an “Oprah Make Over” (same, copyrighted by Oprah). Invite me to come on your show and really talk to me. Please, make me a believer. Again.