Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Planning and The Road to Hell

I'm surrounded.

Not in some shoot-em-up random illegal way or anything, but by people. People who are planners.

And then there is me, stuck out like a sore thumb. (I never understood that saying, whenever I have hurt my thumb it A. never stuck out, and B. still looked, well, like a thumb)

But I keep reading about and hearing about all my friends, family and acquaintances who are counting down to things they had planned. Babies, weddings, new jobs, house buying, vacations. Basically all adult themed life decisions.

And I sit and read in silent awe.

I am so not a planner. I try, I do, but then it all sort of crumbles away like a dried up coffee cake and I am left surrounded by crumbs and a big old mess. Fat and happy sure, but messy nonetheless. (well not FAT per say, but you get the point)

I have good intentions usually, trying to plan things in advance; it just never seems to work out in my favor.

I'm not so much complaining about it as I am just making a general observation.

I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. Not exactly the most responsible way to live, especially as a mom, but it so far seems to be working in a "will I or won't I" kind of way.

Take for example our first "family" vacation. The Boy and I decided I think on a Monday or Tuesday night just randomly that we should take the kids to New York City that weekend. On a whim. No big planning involved, just load the kids in the car (my new car obviously) and trek off to the big city.

It started out as an idea, and then we looked into hotel rates. Not so bad. Then we started Googling random things to do. We had a few ideas of what we knew we needed to do when we were there, and the rest all just sort of fell into place.

We pre-purchased tickets to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty (2 days before so that was thinking ahead, right??). We knew those were things we were going to do. Everything else was a hope. A wishful thought that we could fit it all in within the brief 36 hour period we were there.

We got there, went to the hotel to check in. It was right in Times Square. How the hell THAT happened we have no idea, I thought we were going to be in some ghetto-like Guam area, but it was actually nice. Then off to the Carnegie Deli (because we HAD to bring the Adam Sandler song to life), then to the Empire State Building. From there back to the hotel to get skates, then walked to Rockefeller Center to ice skate.

A light snow was falling as we waited with the kids anxiously to get on the ice. We watched a marriage proposal right before our eyes. And then we skated. An entire hour and a half on that iconic landmark. Straight out of a movie. Tourists falling to the ground left and right. It was magical.

Then off to walk through Times Square, gawking at oversized TV screens on buildings and more lights and people late at night than I had ever seen. We briefly roamed in the cold and then walked back to the hotel for some room service and bed.

Up early, we headed to Battery Park to catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. And we RAN (thinking we were missing the boat). Went through what rivaled the airports as far as security and then off to the island. Toured the museum and up inside the famous green lady, all in amazement.

We took enough pictures to rival the paparazzi, re-boarded the ferry and headed back to land (after a quick pit stop at Ellis Island). Walked through Battery Park to Wall Street, passed the Trinity Church and then off to Ground Zero.

Ground Zero was heartbreaking. Hard to believe that was where so much happened that changed our country's history. Something we had watched a decade earlier unfold before our eyes on every TV screen. It was unbelievable.

From there we went to 1 World Financial Center, then off to get the car and head to Park Avenue. Dinner at Mickey Mantle's (yes Red Sox fan's in a Yankee restaurant, lucky we didn't spontaneously combust) and a carriage ride through Central Park. A perfect ending to a wonderful trip and then we were ready to make the 4 hour drive home.

All planned on a whim, and yet executed as though we had put months of thought into it.

I am lucky that my Partner in Crime is also not a planner. Neither one of us tend to look too far ahead. Well maybe we look, but then just sort of sit back and let things happen. Although, then again...maybe if one of us planned things it wouldn't be so bad.

I suppose if I planned things as a rule I may be more prepared for things. Like if I was good at saving money, or planning vacations. Thinking more than a week ahead may have its benefits.

I do have goals, I swear, but then I just sort of shrug my shoulders and change my mind set to "starting fresh on Monday". All forgotten. Monday seems to be my mystical go-to day.

Of course by Wednesday I have likely screwed up whatever my initial plan was, so again I will have to "start fresh on Monday".

But maybe not planning makes me feel better about the things I DO plan blowing up in my face?

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, no?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rossi-isms: Yellow Phones That Chirp

My dad lived on the phone.

I don't think he was able to function without his bright yellow Nextel attached to his hand. It was ginormous and weighed a ton, but was durable I suppose because he could have thrown that thing off a building and it would have taken the licking and kept on ticking.

When it wasn't in use, he wore it on his belt, naturally also WITH his suspenders (He was a very stylish man after all). Usually under a t-shirt from a flea market, with the embroidered name of its previously intended owner tattered off with the help of the jack-knife he kept in his pocket at all times.

The t-shirts often had traces of whatever he had for lunch in spots atop his belly, and a few drips of light brown from his morning coffee (Milk no sugar, thank you). He often smelled of sweat and sawdust, and as unappealing as that odor was to me at the time, if I could bottle it now as a sort of odiferous reminder of him to whip out and sniff from time to time in his memory I would in a heartbeat.

His phone etiquette, however, was a little "off".

Pretty much daily would call people out of the blue and ask "Is this you?" He was either double checking in jest or had actually completely forgotten who he was calling in the first place. We were never quite certain. (He also lacked a little thing called volume control and I am certain anyone within a 3-mile radius could have possibly picked up on his conversations.)

"Is this you?"

"No Dad, it's someone else."

His Nextel quirks where a little more random.

"What's my Dylan doing?"

"He's sleeping Dad."


"That's what babies do Dad."

Dylan at the time was maybe 2 months old.

Other times he would ask to talk to Dylan, via Nextel. Granted he didn't actually talk yet, but he asked nonetheless.

To this day every time I hear a Nextel go off, I automatically hear those words in my head.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Kool-Aid Man and Hair Hindsight

I am one of those people who admittedly don’t adapt well to change.

I mean sure, change is good, I get it. But I have always been nostalgic and comfortable, even when unhappy at times. Because you know that they say the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't and blah blah blah.

Bearing that in mind, I however have changed my hair more than anyone I know over the last decade and beyond. Color after color, style after style. For someone who has such a take on change, I really run the gamut on that one.

It started when I was in high school. I would color random colored streaks in the underside of my hair. I did this with Kool-aid.

You heard right, Kool-aid. The big, fat pitcher coming through the wall kid of Kool-aid. I would boil a packet of the non-sugared variety (healthier somehow?) and I would stand over the stove in my mother's kitchen with my hair lying in the pot of boiling water.

How the hell I heard of this method I now have no idea, but I would have random streaks of bright red, green, blue etc. that would last until I cut my hair. Some faded out with washes, but the red somehow stayed for many, many months, leaving me to wonder if it did that to my hair, what was it doing to my insides? (Yeah I haven't drank Kool-aid since the 90's because of it)

I soon went back to my blackish natural locks and then finished out high school. That summer I opted to have blonde highlights put in my hair, and a love affair was born.

Of course.

The later that summer my cousin who was in hairdressing school came to stay with us. I was lucky enough to play guinea pig to a lot of her learning process. I figured, hey why go with highlights when I can me all the way blonde right?

So off we went to Sally Beauty Supply. An adventure in and of itself as we cruised the ailes looking for the right bleach. Oh yes, the novices in an aisle filled with varying bottles of miscellaneous volumes of bleach and zero guidance.

We found what looked good and off we went to the register. Home and giddy, we holed up in the second floor bathroom of my parent’s house for hours as she coated my hair with bleach.

What I thought at the time was blonde, in hindsight (and thanks to photo's I somehow allowed to be taken at the time...) it was actually more an orange color, but to my normally deep colored hair it was blonde to me.

Of course, I also then chopped my hair off and went to college. Yet another change from the long tendrils I held all through high school. (Of course in the years prior, I had been a victim to the hair trend of the 80's and early 90's which obviously included bad spiral perms and poufy bangs)

But naturally, a trend was born to me and I felt the need, or more the desire, to constantly change my hair.

Varying shades of blonde over the years, different reds and browns. I seemed to be more experimental with color when it was shorter. And from time to time it was. And I mean short.

Just a couple of years ago I lopped off my hair, which at the time was just about waist length in favor of a choppy, to the nape of my neck Beckham bob (which apparently everyone hated). It was blonde in the front, and darker in the back (due to not having had the underside of my hair colored in quite some time). I later went for a dark red, then a lighter red, and eventually back to blonde as it grew out.

Of course, I am lucky that my hair grows as though some sort of bizarre growth agent had been applied to my scalp. With all the miscellaneous dyes and products my hair has seen over the years, it any wonder I have hair at all.

So it took no time at all for that short cut to get back to a manageable length, and of course in the midst I cut bangs. You know those thick bangs that were "in" a couple years back? I HAD to do something different, even in the process of going back to the same old thing.

I've had side bangs, I've had layers, and I’ve done all one length. I've had short hair, long hair, red hair, blonde hair, and black hair. (Hidden beneath it all is grey hair, but shh we don't talk about that.)

But now that I am older, even though I still change things up, I know more now what I prefer.

I like my hair long, and I like being blonde.

Is it a crime against nature that I bleach the bejeesus out of my naturally dark tresses? Maybe.

Am I being punished by it breaking and falling out in spots from trying to get it blonde again after a brief tryst this fall with a dark brown color? Most likely.

But damnit I WILL be blonde again.

(For now...)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Emotional Ninja

Ever have one of those moments, wrought with emotion, seemingly out of the blue? Like some sort of nonsensical revelation brought on by the most mundane of things?

It's likely nothing, but in that moment, you are entirely consumed. Your life as you know it flashes before you. All that is, was and shall be. And as if in some sort of insurmountable mental catastrophe you let go. Wave after wave you let go; tears, thoughts and even bouts of laughter. All of it.

And out of nowhere. Like some sort of stealth ninja wreaking havoc on your emotions. Triggered inside you like the flashbacks of a victim of post traumatic stress disorder.

Out of the nothing, a great something. And just as quickly as it hit you, it's over. Like a tsunami, result of some small quake, likely nowhere close, or even hard-hitting, out in the middle of nowhere, yet the wave so powerful and consuming.

And this is not like a wave of depression or sadness. It's not even necessarily that of elation or joy. It's just raw and daunting. Exhausting and cleansing.

Thoughts you may not have even realized you harbored, memories and possibilities. Like those scenes out of movies when your life flashes before you in a montage of everything. The then, the now, the what's next.

You haven't had any sort of near death experience. You haven't been ill or sad. It hits you like a freight train. Brought on by anything. A song, a road sign. A quote from a movie, or the words of a stranger. Something minute and nondescript.

You think of things, things that likely will never be and things that are inevitable. A contradiction inside yourself, yet not tormented. It's almost cathartic. A release.

And just as quickly as it started, it's over. You fall into bed, drained and refreshed at the same time. And when you wake, the normal puffiness of the eyes that usually accompanies such a onslaught of emotion are not there. Like all had been a dream. As though it only happened in your mind leaving no physical evidence behind.

Back you slide into your everyday thoughts and feelings. Things possibly anew, but more likely the same. Changed and unchanged in your own mental paradox.

And in true Ninja style, it sneaks off into the night as though nothing ever happened.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You Go to Hell Winter, You Go to Hell and You Die

I hate snow.

I know I know, I live in Massachusetts, nestled in the heart of New England and in my 31 years in the state (with my 1 year college stint in Vermont...even MORE) I should be used to this white nastiness.

There are people that actually LIKE this stuff. Yeah I get it, you can ski and look at all the white pretty powder adorning the trees and the landscapes around you. I admit it, it's pretty at times.

I confess this past weekend we went to New York City. Myself, the Boy and all 3 kids. It was nothing short of amazing. Sure a part of that magic was a light snowfall, straight out of Serendipity as we skated around Rockefeller Center, but had I not been caught up in the moment, I would have likely been cursing the snow.

It was kind of like a movie really, gliding around on the ice, that famous statue illuminated behind the rink casting a pinkish glow from the red lights. Tiny flakes falling and settling on the black wool jackets we both wore. At times the entire rest of the people who were swirling around us seemed to disappear and we were able to share a couple moments of romance. A little hand holding, a quick kiss.

But back in reality this shit is for the birds. Well not really, since they appear to be smarter and migrate south into the warmer climes for the winter.

Massachusetts got pummeled by a blizzard the day after Christmas. We got slammed again with over a foot of snow on Wednesday. People all over are without power still, it's freezing cold so nothing is melting.

The sides of roads are hidden by mountainous mounds of plowed snow. Not pristine and post-card like, but dingy from road salt and sand. Filthy and brown, like a coffee stain on a crisp white shirt.

Tomorrow's forecast calls for possibly 2 more inches. Another storm set to hit sometime next week.

I know I know, I hear what you're saying. I've lived here my entire life, I should be used to this blah blah blah.

When I was a kid, I loved the snow. Out sledding and building snowmen. Snow ball fights with the other kids in my neighborhood. Waiting in angst to see if in fact school was cancelled (which back then it hardly ever was) to allow for more time to play. I get to witness that with my son.

I get to watch his cheeks take on the ruddy color from the freezing cold. Watch his hat and mittens caked in frozen snow. His nose perpetually running. And him enjoying every freaking minute of it. Not caring if he can't feel his face, impervious to the possible hypothermia he's likely getting from wanting to stay out as long as possible. Forced inside by adults or tempted with the promise of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Ah to have the child's point of view on it now.

Instead I worry about slipping on ice and hurting myself somehow. Cars sliding off the road or seasoned New Englanders forgetting how to drive in the conditions they have known their entire lives. I dread shoveling and plows blocking in my driveway. Scraping ice off of windshields and high heating bills.

Not to mention, the day I took my pretty new car home, it snowed. That's right as soon as I left the lot, I was driving in snow. My perfect and pretty shiny new car was covered in salt and ick from day one.

The only blizzard I wish to contend with as an adult is the kind I can get from DQ.

You go to hell Winter, you go to hell and you die. (Which you obviously would, since I hear it's hot there...)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rossi-isms: From Finland

I have noticed a trend in Blogland.

People who have blogs seem to at least once a week have a sort of "feature". Perhaps a recipe of the week, or a review of their favorite TV shows. Some share random themed stories etc. I think I have decided to partake.

I mean, who doesn't like to jump on a random bandwagon every now and again? (Except for Jeggings, I don't think I will ever get on that grateful.)

I think I will call mine Rossi-isms. Though I cannot coin the phrase, it was once used by my late grandmother-type neighbor who often used it to refer to the random words and quips that made little to no sense that often spewed out of my father's mouth.

The man was like a dyslexic Dr. Seuss. My brother and my son seem to have adapted the knack for the ridiculous. Making up words and being over-all hilarious to the point of laughing so hard it hurts sometimes.

My Rossi-isms will feature just that. Random anecdotes of my family, who put the fun in dysfunctional.


We'll start with just an average everyday conversation between my mom and my brother, Todd.

Mom: Where'd it come from? (talking about a small ornament-looking thing she found in her house)
Todd: I don't know, Dylan must have colored it.
Mom: No he didn't, it has a finish, so where'd it come from?
Todd: Finland?
Mom: What?
Todd: Well if it's Finnish it's from Finland.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not Feeling Like P. Diddy

I woke up this morning not feeling like P. Diddy. I am not a multimillionaire. Shocking I know.

You see, I have never been a gambler. I mean sure the day I turned 18 I bought several items; a pack of cigarettes, a dirty magazine and a scratch ticket all because I now legally could. It wasn't about what they were; it was that I was now able to get them.

I don't buy scratch tickets or partake in lottery games. I don't get sucked into Keno or even play cards. (This is ironic since I moonlight in a poker room.) Sure I joined in my company football pool, but that is about as rebellious as I have ever gotten.

I've gone to casinos and not even touched a slot machine. I mean sure other times I tried them out, but felt it was pretty much a waste of my time. Like a glorified video game that takes your money. I just wanted to hang out in the cool hot spots they had in there and dance my butt off.

I've played roulette, although it was not my idea. I was sort of middle-man and doing someone else's bidding to keep them farther from the table, since once they were AT the table we were lost there for hours. Funny how there are no clocks or windows in a casino. Time doesn't seem to exist.

None of it ever seemed appealing to me. If I wanted to throw $2 down the drain, I would grab a cup of coffee. Scratch tickets in greeting cards always seemed a ridiculous gift to me and I would rather people have something more tangible.

Maybe it's just me.


Last night was the Mega Millions drawing, which I am SURE most of the country is aware of. All hyped up and on every newscast for a week taunting the Biggest Jackpot Ever!!

And sure I got sucked in, sort of. I had no intentions of buying a ticket. My mother and brother at dinner were going on and on about their numbers and strategies. The Boy had mentioned his ticket(s) being purchased, so I figured what the hell? I mean I had no inkling I would win but figured I would do it anyway.

I walked into the convenience store and I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what I was doing. I stared blankly at the front of the store, looking for I still had no idea what. I finally cast my gaze upon a small rack filled with logo’d slips of paper until I spied the Mega Millions emblazoned on the top of one.

Ok, I was on my way.

So I grabbed them and then stared, lost. It was full of little circles and numbers, like I was readying myself for the SAT all over again. And again, I stared, lost.

I finally mustered up the gumption to mention to the attendant that I had no idea what the hell I was doing and how does this work exactly?

He sort of chuckled at me and then gave me a brief tutorial, his semi-toothless grin making appearances as he mocked my lack of lottery knowledge.

I finally made my decisions. I picked out 3 of my own number combinations, and I would let the magical computer pick the other 3. 6 slips because my son was 6, made sense right? Isn't a large portion of how this stuff works based on weird superstitions and coincidences? Like picking a greyhound because he pooped on the track, or a horse because it’s name was the song you danced to at your wedding? (again these are all theories to me since I am clueless and the only Gambler I am familiar with is that song.)

So I sat and chose my numbers. My birthday, my son's. My parents wedding anniversary, the Boy's and my anniversary. Dates important and connected to all those I love. I figured hey why not, right? I colored those little circles with my not-so-sharp #2 pencil borrowed from the Keno tray and I took a deep breath and handed them over to the clerk.

I had my tickets in hand now, I was on my way!!

I can imagine that much of the country sat laying in wait for the 11 o'clock news. Hearts beating rapidly as those numbers were about to be flashed across TV screens all over.

As I sat watching a movie with the Roomie (yes I have one now!) I got a text message from My Love.

"If you win will you buy me a Harley?"

"A Harley? Yes."

And that set off my mind to thinking. Wow, that actually IS a lot of money. $355 Million. I had never fathomably imagined what it would be like to have that much disposable income.

To be able to buy a house that would fit inside it the biggest house I knew 3 times over. To be able to pay off all my debt, and the debt of those I loved. To be able to have the kids never want for anything. To travel guiltlessly.

And of course, just mentally (and obviously verbally) spouting off all these things, I got chided a little for spending it all as soon as I get it, but in the words of the immortal John Lennon, "They can say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

So I woke this morning, not giddy with anticipation, not anxious to find the answers, but curious. I naturally checked the numbers when I got to work.

I was the proud winner of losing the $6 I paid for the tickets. Cest La Vie.
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