Friday, December 27, 2013

Wherefore Art Thou....Brangelina?

I have been trying to limit reading comments to articles and blogs because they, inevitably, become disturbing, crude, ignorant politician-bashing, religion-bashing, 'spam-alot', or completely off-topic.

This caught my eye yesterday and I just HAD to read on.

Floating around the web-inverse is a blog posting that has me laughing, saddened, puzzled, insulted, curious, and full of desire to dissect it.  Note: I'm saying dissect, not judge. I just have to share this!

The blog I'm referring to has been circulating with lovely pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with a couple of their children with joy on their faces and playfulness in their hearts.  They all look healthy and loving...and the pictures.  My first instinct is to say, "This joy is real". The World tries to manipulate me into saying, "These are ACTORS.  They can portray any emotion.  It's their JOB."

I try not to overthink these things but the blog has me wanting to know about the people who read it and are responding by the thousands in their comments. 

Because I believe the blog post was written solely to get a reaction and millions of views for profit, I refuse to actually name it.  You all know that mine is not a "money-making" site.  It's purely experimental and a vessel to hold the thoughts that come to me, sometimes in the middle of the night.  Forgive me.

Therefore, I, personally, refuse to endorse the site or lead any more readers to it directly.  If you are interested, it can be 'googled', I'm sure. This is also the reason I never wear clothing with slogans or names of sport teams or designers blazed across them.  Let them pay for their own advertising. Alright, I'm back.

In a nutshell, this is a published letter signed by "Brad Pitt" that spills out the details of weight loss, 'head-poking' (I still don't understand that!), depression, and physical pain and agony Angelina Jolie was in, that he was going to 'divorce' her, but had a revelation that included buying her things, speaking well of her to her and to their "mutual friends"(note: not to his friends), and loving her to the point of 'madness' that she would "become a reflection of him". Uh...OK.

Point number 1...are they married, now? Never mind, I don't care for this post now.

This poorly written letter was such a hoot that I didn't know where I'd start with it. Then the comments started rolling in to my email.  I'd enabled that function out of curiosity in how people viewed celebrity relationships, IF they actually believed Brad Pitt had written it (it's been denied by his agent and him), how much people would reveal of themselves in relation to the people involved and of their own personal struggles in relationships, and, finally, of the "believers" how strongly would they fight for the message, for Brangelina, or against the fact that it is fake!

I was rewarded with an inbox full of material!

Last night I watched Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits for the first time.  It is a story of a middle-aged woman whose husband's sin is infidelity with a young model. She struggles with her upbringing in her faith, being overshadowed by glamorous family members, is pulled in many directions by odd friends and a neighbor who tries to, pardon me, get her laid. Spoiler Alert:  Two wrongs don't make a right. She runs away before it happens, confronts the mistress, lets the husband go on his "business trip" with the girl, breaks off the need for acceptance from others, and walks away into the woods.  Whether she is happy or sad is left to the viewer.  Whether she was processing how to leave the marriage is left open. Whether she feels alone or stronger is, also. I like to think she walked out to think and listen to the voice of God telling her everything would be alright, whatever her decision was. The idea that Masina was portraying almost exactly what her life was with Fellini makes her performance stunning!

I'm not just drifting here. 

The comments to the blog are rife with women and men whose spouse or whoever, were unfaithful.  They express it so vehemently online that you see they are still suffering from the betrayal and it hurts to read them. They call Brad a hypocrite because of Jennifer Aniston (Oh, he'll never live that down!).  Others say, and I was amused, that good men are like parking spots.  They are hard to find and when you do, they're handicapped. The loneliness and pain are palpable.

Others defended the post as if it really said something deep and intellectual and true.  The comments are full of "Wow's" and even a "Wow+1"! They speak of how wonderful Brad is to do what he did for Angie.  It's so romantic that he bought her stuff and was nice to her and brought her back to life. They defend it as, whoever wrote it, (sniff) beautiful.

Ding-dong! Answer the door. I think it's Reality calling for you.

My own comment was:

"I had to leave a comment on this blog....That point is good but I believe, actually. Don't jump. A Brad Pitt may have, indeed, written this, just not THE Brad Pitt. Might even be that it's just the imagined thoughts of some writer about the couple by someone with too much time on their hands. They've demonstrated over years they are a pretty private couple so I don't think he would expose such intimate details of their lives to the public in this format...or at all. They aren't living a 'reality' show like Real Housewives or something. Lastly, if she were as bad as all that, the first thing he'd do is get her to a DOCTOR. I'm pretty sure they can afford one. Nice thoughts, but that's all it seems to be and a bit deceptive and insulting."

Although my comment may be a little on the snarky side, I was raised to be nice and polite, to be gracious, to say thank you when receiving a gift or if someone did something nice for me, and to say excuse me.  Is that not how we should all be, anyway, especially to the one we've selected to be with for the rest of our lives?

Point number 2. I do not think he wrote it. I think as one commenter said, it is "donkey balls". (Yeah, I LOL'ed at that!)  I do not have a tremendous interest in others' personal lives.  I do believe if someone is going through a tough time they may need professional help, not gifts. 

Point number 3. I don't believe making your partner a "reflection" of yourself is healthy. I do believe if everyone, including this couple, had a strong faith, it would help in huge ways to sustain their relationships. I know that is my personal belief and don't expect all to understand or accept it.  Know that I pray for all who are going through tough times in all ways. I pray for the lonely who are seeking a fantasy love that is made up by movies and books while real love may be right under their noses.

True romantic love that exists for eternity is not about the bells ringing, fireworks going off, the 'I want a Brangelina romance or nothing' mindset that many women and men are fooled into believing.  That's another reason why I was insulted by the blog post.

Love is everlasting, seen through each other's eyes, caring for one another through their worst as well as best, seeing the other at his or her worst, hand-holding that doesn't lead to bedroom action, knowing that isn't the only 'proof' of your love, saying I love you and only you and meaning it, complimenting one another to each other and to others, doing nice things for each other, being each other's hero, being polite to each other, saying 'thank you' and 'please', praying together, being together in your fight against the world and all it's lies, and being on the same page for what you want for both of you.

The other stuff is.....acting.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, MooMoo!

I frequently change her name from MooMoo to Mom to Mama to Mamacita to Mumsy to Crazy Lady.

My mother will answer to any of the above.  That's the kind of cool lady she is!

In the beginning, God created this woman who loved Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice, Pepsi, Tom Jones, James Brown, the Allman Brothers, Rock and R&B, Classical and even some Country music, to give birth to me.  Dad was the Jazz fan. And people wonder why I'm a little, well, off-center. We spent many non-school nights watching Midnight Special and Ingmar Bergman films, in theatres, museums, at concerts, or watching plays. I may have mentioned some of this in a previous post, forgive my repetition.

I was raised, primarily, by a sophisticated, spontaneous and outgoing mother who would take my brother and me to unknown surprise places often, taught us how to use a knife and fork at a dinner table, and how to do the 'mashed potato' (a dance).  She had front row seats for The Stones at Soldiers Field in the 70's! She was the most fun to hang out with at any age I can remember and has hilarious stories of us all in the family.  She's been known to have people hurting and practically wetting themselves laughing at her recollections. She, at 71, can remember better than I am able. What does that tell ya?

She is utterly devoted to my daughter and as 'grandma' will drop everything and everyone if Jan calls her.  I think it's  As usual, my daughter, while growing up, could get away with anything with Mom but not with me.

"Oh, let her have the gun...she won't hurt anyone!"

"", says the Bad Guy aka Me.

So, for a long while it was the 3 Musketeers, that is, the 3 generations of females in one house.  That was fun, if you can imagine it.  I say that being facetious and yet it really was fun.  Mom introduced my daughter to films (NOT movies!) of foreign nature, classics, and stirred the desire in her to learn and do and see more of the world. Grandmothers serve a special purpose in children's lives that should never be taken for granted, I learned. They are the eternal cheerleaders in our childrens' lives because in their eyes those kids can do NO wrong and can conquer the world if they want. Everyone needs someone in their lives to be that for them, right?

Mom is the type of person that will give you not only the shirt off of her back but the pants and shoes, as well. When she gets to the undies, that is where I have to step in and be the bad guy.  I have to remind her of her own responsibility to herself now.  She no longer has anyone to take care of. It's her turn.  It goes against her nature as a nurturer, though.  Thus, the reminders.

If anyone ever asks, I'm very grateful to have been born into the family I ended up in.  She has the typical 'motherly' guilt of "Did I do this or that wrong?".  I have it, too. There is no book, not even Dr. Spock, that can reassure you that you did a good job. But as Jan tells me, "I had a good childhood."

Then again, Steve Allen (loved him!) told his children the same statement every night before bed.  Remember, you had a good childhood. 

My husband calls me "Mama" because he says I mother everyone I meet. But my mother is the Mama of all Mamas.  If you are not eating, drinking, relaxing in her home she believes something is wrong and will try to fix it!

Why aren't you eating?
Because I ate before I got here.
 No, you didn't.(Why would I lie?)
Here, eat this.
I'm not hungry.
Eat it.  Why won't you eat?
(5 minutes later)
Do you want some ice cream?  I have some chips, too!
(She keeps looking at me and it's freakin' me out!)
OK.  A few chips. Thank you.
Put this pillow behind your back!
Thank you, Mom.
(She sighs contentedly until the next round begins.)
You can't win.  It's a personal affront if you don't eat her food.  The funny part is that she hardly ever cooks!  Cooking has never been her forte', so to speak.  She's always been the restaurant type of woman who likes to be served.  How I got to be so domestic, I guess I attribute to my Dad.
How I became an interested person (I won't say 'interesting'), I attribute always to my mother.
Happy Birthday Blessings to you, you lovely crazy lady!  We love you!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Common Scents?

I may have mentioned that my book collection is my 'thing'.  What I failed to mention is that I have realized I might be more girlie than I think.  Surprise!

I looked at my vanity table today and realized I have at least a dozen different perfumes and colognes of which I wear 3-4, consistently.  I'm not sure if this is reasonable.

One, I began to keep in my car to freshen it up because I don't like the smelly cardboard cut-outs that hang from the rearview mirror.  One, I keep in my purse, just in case I've run out of the house in a hurry and forgot to 'apply'.  The third varies depending on my destination.  There's an everyday scent and a formal scent.  As I'm writing this I'm realizing just how involved this process is and it's a little twisted.

More thought has been put into what I decide to smell like than into what I wear!

I'm such a casual dresser, unlike a lot of women.  If I can get away with a skirt or jeans, sneakers or my combat boots, I'm set to go.  Perhaps, that's where I should be putting more thought. Hmm.

Scents are something that can affect a person very deeply and on a subconscious level. It's the fault of the amygdala in the brain defined as:

"...a structure in the limbic system that is linked to emotions and aggression. The amygdala functions to control fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the formation of emotional memories".

It's there for a reason, as is everything in the human body. For instance, I have Tabu and one from the 40's (!) by Francis Denney called Interlude that remind me of my mother's purses and of her dressing up so prettily to go out.  It's a real memory that I can see so clearly and feel the emotional memory attached.  Of course, smelling nail polish or remover is what I also associate with Mom.  She always says, "Either wear it or don't." That meant no chipped polish on our nails...ever!

If I smell fresh laundry, I always think of my Dad! He was always a sharp dresser...always! He always smelled of clean clothing that came from him literally scrubbing his shirts at home until they were blindingly white.  I don't think he ever trusted his shirts to a laundry or cleaners because he knew they would not do the job of it that he could.  I never asked. Of course I didn't! I didn't want the job. The hot iron pressing clothes is what I like, still.  Regarding burning things, the smell of incense and candles places me in a church feeling peaceful and loving everyone.

Not that it's still around a lot but if I do smell Drakkar Noir (1980's-90's!), that reminds me of my older brother and his young days and ways.  He took great care in his appearance, also.  I wonder about young men now that don't appear to have the same pride in how they look...and smell.  Has that generation all died?

Baby lotion and talcum powder take me back to my little girl and how I used to love to bury my nose in her soft curly hair and deeply inhale.  It was sweetness and innocence and a preciousness that I can't completely describe but many of us know it well.

Now, Pine-Sol, if anyone remembers it, Mr. Clean, and Clorox Bleach remind me of waking up in the middle of the night to the smells of my working mom working more at home, mopping and cleaning. Rose-scented Glade Air Freshener, isopropyl alcohol, Ivory soap, and fried chicken remind me of my grandmother, and cigarettes, burning bacon, and coffee, of my grandfather.  Is it too cliche' that evergreen makes me yearn for Christmases gone by? Can anyone else smell heat and remember radiators and ovens keeping the cold out and feeling nice and cozy and warm indoors?

What a person's habits are or what they wear isn't the only way to have the memory, either. Everyone knows we have scents as individual as fingerprints.  I'm confident that I can recognize my husband's personal male scent blindfolded.  And, although he doesn't wear cologne, I can say I love how he smells after a shave!  Most women will say they love how men smell after a day of working. There has to be something very basic and biological about that. (Note to Self:  Save for another post.)

Back to my collection.  My friends and family know when I really like a perfume because I'll actually use it and use it until it's empty and then I hint that I'm out, Sneaky Me.  This is leading to yet another issue. I like the bottles. I find it VERY hard to dispose of the empties.  It's not like they can be refilled!  I see I'll have to come up with a craft project to utilize them in some way. (Note to Self: STOP HOARDING PERFUME BOTTLES!)

Today's thought is take time out, smell the smells, pay attention, store the memory, feel the emotions.  It's what makes us human, not robots. It is what makes us care.  It's what keeps us close, even when someone is gone.

I'm sure you saw it coming if you've been following this blog and how my brain works....Stop and smell the roses. Come had to see one that coming.