The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Oz is somewhere over the rainbow
Dan surprised me with a day out today. There was another craft show in Sydney, and we went to take a look. I am still coveting the same French doll that I was coveting after the last doll show we went to and I am debating on whether or not I will cave in and eventually buy it.

We had lunch at Subway. Subway is becoming a bit of a weekend tradition with us. I have to confess that I always order my favorite - but that's what I do at all of the restaurants that I visit. I find one or two dishes that I really like, and stick with them. Occasionally, I feel guilty for being so set in my ways that I try something new out of principle - but then I feel as if I've cheated myself out of the pleasure of what I know I absolutely like. Some people would call this being stuck in a rut. I call it being committed. Sometimes, you really don't need to shop around.

The day started out to be fairly warm for winter, but afternoon hit, and so did the storms. The skies were dramatic and moody and full of variety. Fortunately, I had my camera with me and got to take a few photos of the rainbows that followed. I truly felt as if I'd been swept into another world. After all, I really am living somewhere over the rainbow.

posted by Melanie O. at 4:25 PM - 2 comments
Friday, June 26, 2009
Three more stars in the sky
It started with the death of Ed McMahon*, the booming-voiced co-host of the Tonight Show for 30 years. Ed lived to a good old age and had a life that was never stagnant. He co-hosted several successful television shows as well as the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Ed was the quintessential television Emcee. I never saw Ed on television without a smile, and Ed had a great smile. He knew how to play to an audience and knew how to take advantage of the camera. He had six children, one of whom died from cancer at the age of 44.

With the passing of Ed, so passes the golden age of television, in my opinion. There aren't too many more of his generation still left active in "the business." Ed McMahon was a staple of my night time television-viewing life in one form or another for as long as I can remember.

And then, today, two more losses: Farrah Fawcett* and Michael Jackson*.

When I was growing up in the 1970's, Charlie's Angels was all the rage. I used to love to watch it. I can't describe any of the episodes now, but I do remember Jill Munroe. Every girl at school wanted the Farrah Fawcett hairdo. Farrah was all about the hair. Unfortunately, the hairdressers in town did not know how to do "good" Farrah hairdos. Some of my friends wound up with what can only be described as "wings," sticking out the side of their heads, versus the tousled layers that was Farrah's hairstyle.

Farrah really didn't get taken seriously as an actress until years after Charlie's Angels, when she filmed The Burning Bed and starred in the Broadway play, Extremities. I read the book The Burning Bed and it saddened me so much that I couldn't bring myself to watch the movie. I might go and see if I can watch it online tonight, though - in honor of Ms Fawcett.

Her longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, never got to realize his dream of marrying Farrah, but they had a son together, and there's no doubt in my mind that they loved each other. It's sad that she died before she could say "I do," but there's no rhyme nor reason to life sometimes, is there?

And then Michael Jackson, who was only a year and a half older than I. I think that's what bothers me the most about his death - how relatively young he was when he died, although I am already seven years older than my father was when he died.

I enjoyed Michael's music growing up. He was a great foil to Donny Osmond - both teen heartthrobs in the 70's. When I first heard One Bad Apple, I thought it was by the Jackson Five. The music produced by those two guys, Michael and Donny, colored my entire adolescence. One of the most romantic songs I ever danced to, was I'll Be There.

When my kids were little, Michael became known as "The King of Pop." He dominated MTV. We went out and bought Thriller, and sang Billie Jean on hikes through our local state park. Michael was riding high all through the 80's and into the 90's, and then something happened. I think that Michael just lost his grip on reality. I found out from people who worked with him, that he was surrounded by enablers - people who were willing to give him godlike status. What I think he really needed was someone to keep him grounded, but if it ever happened, I never read or heard about it. I prefer to remember the Michael Jackson of the 70's and 80's.

So, rest in peace, Michael. You died too young.

Tonight, there are three more stars in the sky.

* All photos are the property of Associated Press. They are used for commentary purposes only.


posted by Melanie O. at 4:17 PM - 0 comments
Friday, June 19, 2009
See you in the funny papers!
When I was growing up, there was a popular comic strip called Mutt and Jeff. It had been around a long time even when I was a kid. It was a comic about two best friends, Jeff, who was a shorty, and Mutt, his lanky pal, and focused on their get rich quick schemes, to comic effect.

The comic strip became so popular over the decades, that the term "Mutt and Jeff" became part of the common vernacular when describing a mismatched pair. That term could be used to describe Dan and me. I am just over 5 feet tall, and Dan's a few inches over 6 feet. The top of my head barely reaches his shoulders.

This doesn't usually pose any problems. We divvy up the chores according to height. I clean the floors and he can reach things in the high cabinets. We make a good team. The only time our height difference really comes into play, is when we try to take a picture of the two of us, standing side by side.

Witness the following photos taken by Dan at what he perceived to be eye level:

Oooops - cut my head off at the chin and Dan's forehead is mysteriously missing.

Ooops - cut his head off.

By this time, we both have a fit of the giggles. We finally came up with this:

except that Dan, although he is the one with his finger on the shutter, looks like a deer caught in the headlights.

Now, if we could only come up with some get rich quick schemes, our friends could say "See you in the funny papers!"
posted by Melanie O. at 11:37 AM - 2 comments
Friday, June 12, 2009
Kid stuff
Sometimes, the oddest things can trigger childhood memories. Today, it's peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

My sister and I lived off peanut butter and jam sandwiches when we were kids. Like most kids, my sister and I preferred the taste of peanut butter and jam to just about anything else, except perhaps fried bologna or bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, which were expensive in comparison.

In the summer, we would beg my mother to pack us a picnic lunch so that we could eat outside. Being the energetic kids that we were, we managed to get half way through our sandwich and apple before we were itching to run around again. But what to do with the sandwich? Easy solution - toss the half eaten sandwich and apple into the next door neighbor's bushes. I don't know if we ever thought about what would happen to the sandwiches, once disposed of in this way. It just seemed like the best place to hide them.

One day, my mother got a call from the neighbor, who reported on her peanut butter and jam bushes. Fortunately, she was a good natured woman whom we all adored, and she and my mother had a laugh over it. Of course, my sister and I were scolded and admonished never to throw half eaten food away like that again. I don't think we ever got any more summer picnics, either.

So, the next summer, I decided that I would become a hobo, like Bucky the little beaver in Tales from Schroon Lake, which is a real place in the Adirondak mountains, near where I grew up. I looked around for a stout stick and a large kerchief that I could tie my few belongings in, and packed, what else but a couple of peanut butter and jam sandwiches in my pack. I was certain that these sandwiches would sustain me for a couple of days, and I was off on one of my adventures.

The adventure consisted of wandering down to the creek and wandering along to a point that the creek became wide and shallow. The neighborhood kids all loved to play there. It was an idyllic spot where one could dig for crayfish or swing on the low hanging willow tree branches. Those were the days that kids didn't have to worry about predators looking for unattended young 'uns.

I seriously wanted to build a camp fire (by rubbing two sticks together, like I'd seen in the TV Westerns I loved to watch; I could never figure out why it never worked for me,) and stay long after dark, but I didn't want to get in trouble with my mother who had a rule: you have to come in when the street lights come on. So, at dusk, I headed back with dirt on my face, hands and clothes, and muddy sneakers. I still had a sandwich left over. There's no time to eat when you're having an adventure in the woods.

So, I tossed it into the bushes. For all I know, it still lies there, a petrified artefact of a bygone day.


posted by Melanie O. at 10:52 AM - 3 comments
Monday, June 08, 2009
One of "those days"
Ever have one of those days where you just feel totally useless, unappreciated, and in general, completely unmotivated?

Today is one of those days for me, which is really a shame, because it's a public holiday here in Australia. However, we've not done much over the long weekend, save for a day trip to the coast where it was cold and windy (we did get a nice seafood lunch, though.)

I blame the overcast weather. I hate winter. I don't hate the cold - I just hate the overcast skies and the constant rain. I grew up in Syracuse, NY. I read that Syracuse only gets 63 sunny days per year. That's over 300 days per year of cloud cover greater than 50%. No wonder I was depressed as a kid and moved away as soon as I could.

I suppose all of this overcast weather and rain is beneficial to plant life. Our plants can sleep for a season and renew themselves, only to burst forth in the spring with fresh life and vigor. But it's unfair to humans, who are expected to continue to toil and produce, all while mother nature is screaming at us to give it a rest.

As for my mood, like they say in the song, I Blame it on the Weatherman. Still, hibernating for a couple of months doesn't seem like a bad idea. Someone wake me in the spring?
posted by Melanie O. at 4:26 PM - 6 comments
Monday, June 01, 2009
The field mouse
A couple of nights ago, I was in bed when I thought I heard a rustling noise coming from my wardrobe. Having dealt with rats in our house at one point, I was filled with a kind of panic and dread. Fortunately, the logical part of my mind took over and I remembered that we had closed off all rat-sized access to our home. It couldn't be a rat.

Last night, I was relaxing in the tub, when Dan came in and announced: "Promise you won't scream if I show you this."

I was thinking, if it's a big, hairy spider, all bets are off! "What is it?" I asked.

Dan leaned over and showed me his cupped hand. Caught between two fingers was a little tail, and attached to the tail was a little field mouse. It was no bigger than a ping pong ball and was soft and grey. If a mouse could have a confused look on its face, this mouse did. It sat in Dan's hand, staring off into space, seemingly unphased by being unceremoniously scooped up off the kitchen floor.

Dan explained that he had walked into the kitchen in time to see the mouse walking across the floor. He tried to grab it by the tail, but was unsuccessful. The mouse wasn't moving very fast, and Dan took a chance and just scooped it up in his hands. It made no attempt to escape. It didn't bite. It just sat there, wondering what was going to happen next.

I had a feeling that the mouse had probably found remnants of rat bait that may have been left over from the Great Rat War the year before, and I felt sorry for it. I didn't think it was well, as a wild mouse would have quickly run from view and not allowed itself to get picked up like that. It was either ill, or very old and slow.

"Poor little thing," I said. "Can you put it in the garden?" And that's just what Dan did.

So now we have a garden mouse.
posted by Melanie O. at 1:37 PM - 3 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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