Dear Glee, Just Tell The Truth About Finn. Please.

English: Logo of the TV series Glee

English: Logo of the TV series Glee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a newsflash, drugs really do KILL young people. Yup, and guess when kids do drugs and alcohol?l Apparently my two started in high school but from what I hear kids are starting younger and younger. I have two kids in college now and I think I’m a very good mom and have good instincts but apparently I trusted my kids too much and I had NO IDEA  that they were drinking in high school.  My son said once, when I asked him about high school:”high school is one big lie.”  Boy, was he ever right. Watch for it, prepare for it, it will happen and yes, it is true.

I bring this up because I happened to watch an episode of Glee on-line the other night and I felt shocked and disappointed. Of all shows, Glee was hiding something? It was hiding something HUGE and from what I read about it when it happened, there were no plans to tell the viewers how Finn/Cory died. Are you kidding me? Why not?  It is an opportunity to TEACH unlike any other. I know during the beginning of the episode Kurt’s character says something about “I don’t care how he died, I just want to remember how he lived. ” Very convenient but truly a big disappointment. Life is not one musical melody after another in the real world. Glee has covered some amazingly wonderful and difficult topics: bullying, homosexuality, transgender, obsessive compulsive behavior, Down’s Syndrome, etc. why are they coping out now?

Cory Monteith/Finn Hudson

Died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol.

English: Actor Cory Monteith at premiere party...

English: Actor Cory Monteith at premiere party of TV series Glee, Santa Monica, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a show that has taken on so many important issues and I would like to see Finn’s/Cory Monteith’s death handled HONESTLY, not for me but for the thousands, millions of teenagers or pre-teens that need to understand the harsh, sometimes deadly implications of drugs and alcohol. This is reality, folks. True, we don’t go around high school breaking into song when we want with perfectly pitched voices but there is bullying and discrimination, popular kids, mean teachers and yes, there is most certainly drugs and alcohol. This is a show that has taken on so many important issues and I would like to see Finn’s/Cory Monteith’s death handled HONESTLY, not for me but for the thousands, millions of teenagers or pre-teens that need to see this. This is reality, folks. True, we don’t go around high school breaking into song when we want with perfectly pitched voices but there is bullying and discrimination, popular kids, mean teachers and yes, there is most certainly drugs and alcohol.

I’m not sure how  the last episode of the longest good-bye in history will go. I’ve heard different things but please, please just listen and let this be a teaching moment for the kids and their parents. Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol, let Finn die the same way. Let others learn from his tragic mistake. Watch it together, talk about it. It’s a great opportunity to communicate. You owe it to Cory Monteith and those that loved him. Honestly, I think he would have wanted it this way.Giving his life some real meaning for others, saving lives not losing them.

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If You Could Commit A Minor Crime (With No Consequences) What Would You Do?

Released into the public domain by PETA.

Image via Wikipedia

I asked (and answered) this question to myself just yesterday as I was parked on a side street in another town. I sat sipping my cup of coffee and watched a parade of women walk down the street wearing different kinds of fur coats. I know, I know, it’s a controversial subject and I am not really for any type of violence but I was imagining taking large cans of red paint and tossing them on the coats a la like slushies on the television show Glee.

These women looked rich, really rich and they were wearing animals, dead animals and I hated it. Don’t give me the speeches about the animals are bred for fur coats and how warm they really keep you, deep inside I think that it is wrong. My own mother owns and wears fur coats and I hate it. My sister, however, will inherit them all since I have no interest in them. When I took my mother to the doctor the other day she was wearing a dead bunny jacket and it made me sick. She used to try to not wear these things when I was around, now she apparently doesn’t care or doesn’t remember. Given that my daughter is a strict vegetarian, maybe she would be more inclined not to wear it when she is around.

That’s my fantasy crime, I would NEVER do it, I don’t believe in doing it, I don’t believe in any act of violence. I don’t support PETA because they do those type of things but it certainly sends a message. It’s how the message gets across and the act of violence itself that I don’t support….except in my dreams.

What crime would you commit if you could get away with it?

I Have AlwaysImagined Myself As A SINGER

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at concert, Augus...

Image via Wikipedia

In my own fantasy, I am already a great singer. I love to sing, out loud, off-key and happily. It doesn’t matter to me that I can’t carry a tune or that I am practically tone deaf. Singing can lure me out of a bad mood to a good one (ok, not always, I admit.) I am singing the music from the last Gray’s Anatomy musical show, I sing the songs from Glee, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Carly Simon and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I have been living in the seventies for a long time “Helplessly Hoping” that I will always enjoy these songs and that I will always be able to sing with a smile on my face and a nod to the past.

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Hey Ba, I Think It’s Now

a bird nest

Image via Wikipedia

I’m beginning to think that”these days may just BE the good old days” and I want to stop and appreciate them as much as I can. I want to  savor my children’s laughter, energy, and yes, even fighting. I want to enjoy family dinners served with a sauté of sarcasm and lumpy cheese sauce with laughter. I’m not saying that things are great but they are definitely good enough and  that’s just fine. My husband is still unemployed and our kids are just about to skip from home to college and I will be living in my own new reality, as an “empty-nester” which is both incredibly sad and exciting.

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend Barbara and I would alternate saying “Laur, when is it gonna get better?”or “Hey Ba, when is it going to get better?” I don’t even remember now what was so bad back then. We asked each other this as we were selecting French pastries from a small patisserie: the fruit tart or the chocolate mousse? Two Libra girls in an enchanting bakery meant only one thing: both. Now, thirty years later, back then seemed like it WAS better but it was just different. “Youth” is wasted on the young” my mother used to mutter. We laughed and knew she didn’t know what she was talking about. We have all said the exact, same thing to our children as they look back at us and roll their eyes. How can we expect them to understand what no other generation ever did before?

Rereading the book Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg is helping to keep me in the present. It’s a book about a woman dying of cancer and her loving friends. It makes you stop and think about your life. For me, these are the good old times. Are we silly enough to think that things will get easier as we get older? They don’t. I prescribe reading Ms. Berg’s book surrounded by tissues and as Oprah would say “a-ha” moments.

Now, while we still have our two children home, at least for a few more months I am relishing my time with them. I want to freeze these days like photographs on our mantel. My son, my first born, a Senior, is always running out the door, his black and orange sneakers barely trailing him. He has about four and a half months before he leaves home  for the summer to be a Counselor at the camp he attended for many years. Camp is my son’s other home; it is a magical place that helped shape him as a person. My first-born,  has the same temperament as I do; we understand each other with a casual glance. He’s waiting to hear from colleges in the near future. As much as I try to spend time in the present, I miss him already.

My daughter, a Junior in High School came home from “College Night”  and sounded like a newly opened bottle of soda; her enthusiasm and excitement was contagious.  “I want to go to college tomorrow, Mom” she chirped.  I will have a whole year with just her where she doesn’t have to share the limelight with her older brother. I am not even ready to think about what life will be like when she goes off to college. This beautiful young woman will always be my baby.

I would like the world to stand still so I can try and burn memories in my heart. My nine year old dog is sleeping at the foot of my bed. The children laugh, fight, shout and antagonize each other yet their love for each other is incredibly obvious. I know my husband will find a job eventually and I just want to hold on to this feeling of our family; for as long as I possibly can. Here is my life lesson: cherish each moment; it’s as simple as that.

The Brownie Smuggler (A Foodie Blog)

I knew that I would snack at 10:45pm. I wish I could say I tried to stop myself but that would be really lame. Sometimes, you just have to eat. This was one of those times. I started off my “snack”, okay, second meal with the leftover piece of barbecued chicken I didn’t finish for dinner. I can totally justify that, I had half the portion at dinner. What I can’t rationalize are the brown rice, sea salt crackers to go along with it.  Or the watermelon that followed. I am ashamed and I am not. Now I am nibbling on a brownie in my bedroom and no-one is supposed to know. No one DOES know except for my dog, Callie and now you. She sits up in perfect form, her warm brown eyes staring at me, begging to be fed. “I can’t” I say to her out loud, you are not allowed to have chocolate.” She lies down on the carpet as if she understood what I was saying; maybe she did. It isn’t even a really good brownie, it’s the type that you pack in your kids’ lunches, pre-made and wrapped individually. But still, I had to have it and I am not sure that I am done eating and I am okay with that.

So, tomorrow I will try to be better, making healthier food choices but I will not beat myself up about tonight. Tonight, after a stressful day, this made me feel better, comforted me. I know it’s not a healthy living style but either is denying yourself everything. If anyone at Weight Watchers reads this, please don’t write me, I’m not interested.

I watched the show “Huge” for the first time today on Hulu. I think it’s a great show and will do for overweight people what Glee did to EVERY kind of person. It’s called validation. Finally. People come in different shapes and as my daughter showed me on an episode of “One Tree Hill” a woman (not a model) walked the runway with a tee-shirt that said “zero is not a size.” Hallelujah.

Sometimes I get ravenous and all my common sense, my willpower goes swirling down the drain like a tornado. I am the eye of the storm, and I can’t be stopped; no, I will not allow myself to stop until it’s over. Hopefully it will be months before this little extravaganza comes around again. If it does, I will deal with it, eat it and then the next day go back to being…better.

This is why I cannot watch the Food Network at night. I see the food, I want the food and then I hurl myself down the stairs for something to eat. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk always does the trick (with baked potato chips on the side).  Tonight while I was watching “Huge”, I saw a plate of fries and a double chocolate milkshake and it made me hungry. Perhaps I should switch and watch game shows or old movies. It would keep me grounded. Literally.

I am dreaming now of a cheeseburger and sharing a plate of fries with my husband at a local little pub. They have killer (sorry vegetarians and vegans) burgers, inexpensive and made of incredible quality, moist, pink and thick. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Lesson to learn? Do what you have to do, don’t beat yourself up afterwards and start fresh the next day. It isn’t an easy process, for those of us with food or weight issues but it works.

Arnold Palmer, Skinny Cows, Books, Music and Me

I never thought I had an addictive personality but now I am not so sure.  I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, in fact I don’t drink or do drugs at all. I hate the taste of alcohol (with the exception of a really good Mojito but I can only drink half of one). However, I realized I am addicted to certain things and all new products. I am a public relations’ pleasure, I am the ultimate consumer and if I find something new that I like, like turns to love and love to obsession immediately.

I am now in love with Arnold Palmer’s lite Iced Tea and Lemonade drink.  My son, 17, turned me on to it and I drink it constantly. Usually I go for months adoring the product then I get so sick of it that I stop completely. I refuse to believe it will happen to my new love beverage but I tend to say that about everything I have been in love with. What happens is that I cycle through an addiction, find a new one and circle back. It’s a harmless beverage addiction and it makes me happy, besides we’re supposed to drink more water!  Do I go through withdrawal symptoms when I don’t have some? No, as long as there is some in the house. If not, I get anxious, seriously anxious. Perhaps I should consider rehab or an intervention?

I also am addicted to books and unfortunately not the books in the library although I go there quite often. I once bought a Kindle (gee, thanks Oprah) because of the number of books I read but that didn’t last long. I missed holding the book in my hand, I missed the texture and the feel of the paper, the fact that I could not write my name in bold, script letters on the first page to claim it as my own. I devour every word, sometimes highlighting, turning the pages deliciously and slowly, one by one.

I am the same way with music, my computer practically plays “Recently Played” songs almost automatically. I will listen to these 25 songs over and over again for a really long time. It’s something about the comfort of the repetition and the familiarity of those favorites that make me happy. Sometimes I will get sick of them, (although it’s been a long haul for the latest batch and I’m still listening to them) and I will move on to the next….eventually.   For now “I Dreamed A Dream” sung by the Glee cast has been played at least fifty times, okay everything from the Glee cast has been played at least 50 times, followed by the Plain White T’s song “1,2,3,4.” and Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze’s duet “Falling Slowly” from American Idol. When all else fails I still turn to John Denver for comfort and nostalgic memories of my youth. His song  “This Old Guitar” actually  soothes me, and so much more natural than a Valium.

The third and final fave for this month are Skinny Cows Vanilla with Caramel swirl ice cream cones. Oh, the sticky sweetness of the caramel swirl and the soothing vanilla ice cream (ice milk?) too. You get the crunch of a “real” ice cream cone with fewer calories. The best to come is that silky smoothness of chocolate that comes at the very end of the cone and it’s unbelievably dreamy. Simple pleasures for hard times.

When things are going badly, like for the past eleven months or so (unemployment, health) I have to force myself, like now, to focus on the good, the tried and true, the familiar instead of being overwhelmed with self-pity, (I admit I held a pity party today). Today there was a lot of “Everybody Hurts” sung by The Corrs’. I will be over myself by tomorrow, I promise.   I need to take deep breaths and walk in the sun, with my dog at my side, instead of sitting inside with my trustworthy laptop, playing music I’ve heard a hundred times already.

*I am not a spokesperson for the aforementioned products, I wish.

GLEE- ful

It’s Tuesday and I am happy, you could say i was gleeful. Groan, I know.  Tonight I get to watch Glee, unfortunately it’s the finale. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what Glee is? It’s a phenomenon. It’s a very creative show for kids, teenagers and adults; for anyone who cares about music, song and dance.  I started watching this amazing television show with my daughter; I admit I wasn’t an instant fan.  After a quick break I came running back on Tuesday nights apologetically to watch it again and I haven’t stopped since. I admit it; my daughter was right and I was wrong. In our family that sentence is like gold.

Is it embarrassing for a mom to admit that she loves the show? Maybe. Those talented kids, the wonderful cast. Did you see the duet with Lea and her biological mom? Breathtaking. Yes, I bought the song from iTunes and have played it a mere 49 times so far. Unfortunately, the famous Susan Boyle who first sang the song has faded into history for me now. With all due respect, Ms. Boyle, your time for me is over, blame it all on Glee.

I am grateful and impressed that this show showcases all types of people, different races and religions, the handicapped, different sexual orientations; the characters are all fully developed; that’s rare. When I saw Coach Sue interact so sweetly with her sister I wanted to cry, it was so tender and perfect.  Glee develops each character fully, they are multi-faceted human beings not caricatures. These actors play real people, imperfect, flawed, delightful and charming people, most of all they are incredibly talented.

That’s what life is all about, we all have many pieces to ourselves. Thanks to Glee’s creators for bringing this charming show into our lives for allowing us to enter a world where it is okay to be flawed, where it is expected and accepted. Thank you for teaching us all how to grow and look at people differently, more openly. There’s beautiful music from Madonna to Les Miserables, exposing all of us to a whole new world of music,and a new way of looking at life.

Give it up for Glee.

Cheeseburger On The Lam (aka Dear Teenagers)

Dear Teenagers,

Today was such a stressful day from 6:30 am until 6pm that Dad and I wrote a note to you while you were still gone this afternoon and snuck out for a burger. Together. On our own.  An unexpected date night which we haven’t done for months. Nothing fancy either and with a 20% coupon in hand the stresses of our day seemed to melt like the cheese in the barely warm potato-leek soup that we shared.

We were all in foul moods: it’s that time,  you know that school is ALMOST over but there’s still a lot of stress, tests and finals etc. to get through first. We really do understand, truly, but both of you have been amping up your obnoxious quotient with your pre-camp attitudes and it’s being to wear really, really thin. Mostly, because it’s constant and in stereo, both of you, on, all the time. Supporting one another is great but we really are not the enemy.  We KNOW you can’t wait to get out of here to go to camp…..ever wonder what we think or how we feel or how that MAKES us feel?

Couple that with Dad and I being alone during the day 24/7 because of unemployment and you can hear the rumblings of claustrophobia, desperation, depression and anxiety. Not fun. With the economy the way it is, Dad has been home trying to find a job now for more than 8 months. Kids, we want you to have a good life, a happy life and you are both in High School, one a Junior, the other a Sophomore. College is hurtling itself towards us like a tsunami. We have given you both the parameters of what we can afford to pay, the rest is up to you. I wish we could do more but we can’t, that’s called reality. Times are hard, times have changed, times are actually really bad. We’re doing the very best we can.

I don’t know if you realize that you both are pushing the limits, testing boundaries and talking with utter disrespect (and yes, I do mean all the unnecessary curse words) that you both use with wild abandonment. Enough already.  We are “parents “and we are tired, really tired and we try to hide the stress from you as much as humanly possible but let’s face it at 16 and almost 18 you know that stress exists. Please try to deal with it the best way you know how.  Apparently, “parents”  are not allowed to experience stress or be tense and upset, this disturbs the teenage sensibility of “all me, all the time.” We’re sorry. Life does not work that way.

Call us lousy parents but we just needed, desperately needed a burger break. It lasted less than an hour and we didn’t even finish the crisp, salty, thin french fries between us. We did call you and ask if you wanted us to pick up ice cream for you from your favorite ice-cream store. We got one order for a cake batter milk shake for you, son, nothing for our daughter. Just being in the ice cream store and looking at new flavors and new chocolate with a twenty dollar bill made us happy. Don’t tell me food doesn’t help sometimes. Dad got coffee ice cream and I, the child-like one in the family also got cake batter ice cream with vanilla cake and chocolate Kit Kat candy added. How can you not be happy for us? An evening of American Idol and  possibly Glee, good times…

Soon you both will be away at camp for the entire summer and there is no doubt in mind that you will be considerably missed. Not a day will go by without me thinking of you and missing you. The great paradox of life, it will be too quiet when you are gone, but at least after the summer, we will be so bored with the silence and the silent hush that we will leap with great JOY and excitement for when you get back. We love you both very, very much. Don’t forget to write (yeah, right) and we can’t wait to see you on Visiting Day. Have a great time!!  Much love, Mom and Dad xoxo

(Not-So) Guilty Pleasures

I am watching “The Celebrity Apprentice” on my computer and I am enjoying every minute of it.  Last night my husband Dan and I watched “Survivor” a show we haven’t watched in years and loved it. I slipped a chocolate covered cherry into my mouth and let the super-sweetness saturate my mouth and I audibly sighed with pleasure.  I tasted the icing of the lemon cake that we received as a gift and had to stop myself from eating more than a taste. It wasn’t easy. I also ate a few spoonfuls of chocolate cake that wasn’t even particularly good, but it’s chocolate and mood elevating and even mediocre chocolate is better than none. Sometimes.

In these hard times these small pleasures help me stay afloat.   It’s not that I have any interest in alcohol, drugs or smoking cigarettes, I prefer television shows, music of the moment and food.  I am not ashamed to say that I watch “American Idol” when I can and that I tape “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Private Practice.”  These are the escapes I need while bed-ridden with bruised ribs and my auto-immune disease and while my husband is unemployed and at his computer mostly all the time and when our two teenagers are way too busy for us.

I am not a shopping addict or any kind of addict that would be construed as harmful to other people in any way. I share one beloved television show with my daughter, Glee.  After I watched the Glee episode, Madonna theme, I have been playing Madonna’s songs for the past three days. Over and over again. It’s like if I have something I love I will love it obsessively for a period of time and only when I am truly sick of it do I move on to something else. I’m still with Glee and I’m still singing Madonna songs; and most important of all, I’m still watching Glee with my daughter. I love sharing something that my daughter loves. I admit, I was unimpressed with Glee for awhile and I was totally wrong, and yes, she was totally right.

My daughter and I are obsessive about food too. If  we love something we will eat it ad nauseum until we are so tired of it that we will banish it for a very long time and replace it with something else. After awhile whatever we love becomes “been there, done that,” let’s move on to something new. Our latest food of choice are avocados, stuffed shells and baked ziti. For me, my new (newly chipped) juicer is my latest craze.  I am so into juicing and I have made carrot-apple juice, and carrot-apple-pineapple-brocolli juice. My daughter Jillian made a delightful blend of strawberry-mango juice that was delicious.   I am obsessed with juicing and if I wasn’t so lazy about cleaning it all the time, I would have different types of juice at least three times a day; but sometimes laziness wins, I have to admit.

Admitting that I am lazy these days is okay too. I don’t have the energy for very much due to both my bruised ribs and my auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I used to be very hard on myself for what I deemed “my weakness” but I’ve grown up and realized it’s just not my fault. That leap into acceptance has been long overdue. So, I will eat my favorite foods and listen to my songs of the week(s), will watch television happily with my family or by myself and learn to accept my limitations.  I will try to live without feeling sorry for myself and feeling bad about myself. Instead, I will heal, slowly, consciously and grateful for all the blessings that I do have in my life.

Mothers, Teenage Daughters And Forever 21

The almost 16-year-old young lady lies beside me as we watch her favorite show, Glee. I watch that with her to bond, to share something with her, to enjoy something together.  I try to make a casual reference to a theme in the show that I feel is important and she totally shuts me off. “I don’t want to hear about it” she says harshly, hand raised in the “stop” position. Sometimes I don’t know who she is or how she works.  Granted, she is the opposite of me in terms of personality, she is more like my husband.  She keeps things deep inside her where I wear my heart on a sleeve. If there is something upsetting me it shows on my face, 5 miles away but she wouldn’t notice that or can’t pick up the social cues. I don’t know if it’s her style or her personality or just how her brain works.  My son, on the other hand, just has to look at me from afar and ask “what’s wrong?” But he and I are much more similar in nature so that really is no surprise. We have the ability to think the same thing at the same second, to understand each other with a simple glance, to read each others mind. I love and like my children equally, believe me, but some things are easier when you can identify more with a person’s style.

I find my daughter to be embarrassed by me, by the way I say” Hi “to her friends,( I know, better to stay silent and move away) to the way I dress, eat, and even dance alone in my room.  I feel I can do nothing right with her most of the times, (and I am sure, she feels the exact same thing about me) with the exception of driving her to the mall when she wants to go, or paying for a short skirt or a bikini. Then, she is all smiles, warmth, happiness with free-flowing, easy gratitude.  It’s when I say “no” that brings out the tone of voice I find less than respectful and the teenage girl “attitude.”  Mothers, I’m sure you know what I mean: tone, eye roll, silence, shoulder shrug, etc.

I feel like I’m being used; I know I am being used. I know it’s supposed to be natural for mothers and daughters to have these ongoing battles but how long are they going to last?  I want my daughter back, please return her to me, I promise to be patient.  I’ve had differences with my own mother from time to time but they were emotional in nature and usually when I felt hurt. With my daughter, she acts like a part of the family, but sometimes in it for herself. She will smile sweetly and talk softly when she wants me to take her to the nail salon or to buy her a frozen vanilla latte from Starbucks. But, when the “boys” were out-of-town and I offered to take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant, it was a distinct “No Thanks!” because she would be embarrassed to be seen with me on a Friday night, alone. Sigh, there is a part of me that totally understands this, I probably went through similar things myself, maybe I hid it more.  But, as a parent, it still stings, no doubt about it.

Maybe it’s the entitlement issue, the me, me, me, all me generation as my husband and I call it. We don’t differ our parental styles to our son and our daughter but their attitudes are totally different. I DO NOT favor one child over another but yes, I do understand my son better than my daughter. She will not let me in, I try not to take it personally, but it’s hard to do. My daughter, at this age, basically lets her best friends in, they are her life and it’s perfectly age appropriate; family is just making cheese sauce for her pasta or driving her to the mall so she can be with her aforementioned best friends.

I feel hurt and angry and very, very tired. If only once in a while I would get a genuine sign of affection or gratitude or heaven please help me, both, it would make me feel happy, no ecstatic.  My goal is this: tomorrow I will go to the library and get the book I reserved aptly called ” Get Out of My Life but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?”  Maybe I will get some answers, at the very least, I think I will be getting support and explanations.  That alone, is a very good, first, small step.