Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Think I Need To Break Up With My TV Boyfriend

I have four stories and/or columns due to the paper this week. I filed one this morning, and now I have to start on the next one, so you know what that means? Yes! Procrastination!

Hey, it's not my fault that iVillage is constantly e-mailing me totally awesome quizzes to take. Today it was: "Who's Your TV Boyfriend?"

I answered the questions, things like: "Does your ideal guy drink: beer, fine wine, whisky or hypnotiq." Hmmm, I couldn't help but notice the lack of non-alcoholic choices, so I'm thinking maybe my dreamy dude might have a little, you know, problem? So we may be looking at some rehab or at the very least some Al-Anon meetings for me in the future.

Further down the list "It's most important that your TV dream dude: "Gets You, Lusts after you, makes you feel safe, cracks you up." Duh! My dream guy would do all of the above. I think he will also have to come with his own cape. This may explain why it's so hard to find dates.

So after spending ten minutes or so taking the quiz I ended up being paired with someone I never would have considered - McDreamy himself, Dr. Derek Sheperd. I don't know, I so don't see that happening. Hey, I'm sure he doesn't either. It just seems so cliche, every woman seems to think he's dreamy. Me? Not so much.

Thinking I really didn't want to write about preparing kids for college just yet, I decided to take the quiz one more time - changing my answers to see who I'd get. This time it was a lot more in the right direction with Jim Halpert, (John Krasinski) from "The Office." He'd be a great pick if I could ever get past the reality that he's a year younger than my oldest son. Yeah, I'm so not Demi Moore in that area. Or any other one I can think of. That said, I have still, what could be considered an inappropriate crush on Lloyd Dobler. ("Say Anything"). In many ways, Lloyd has spoiled me for any other guy. Overly verbal, intense, funny and painfully emotional, if he wasn't forever 19-years-old he'd be perfect.
So apparently it's back to work for me. Unless of course a new quiz finds its way into my inbox. I always meet my deadlines, but it's sometimes a curvy road to that destination.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hey Hey Hey - It's Cosby. Another not-so-close brush with greatness

One of the perks of my job is that once in a while I get to go to things for free. Yesterday was one of those rare moments where I got to do something that was fun, and I didn't have to pay for it.

On the Cape one of the most popular venues for entertainment in the summer is the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis. Every year they attract a wide assortment of entertainment. For instance: Tony Bennett, Ani DiFranco, Gretchen Wilson, and yesterday, Bill Cosby.

There are good things and not so good things about this place - the worst being on a hot day, like it was yesterday, you feel like a baked potato wrapped in foil in an oven. A really hot oven.

Before the show my friend Betty and I grabbed some ice cold bottled water (I promise the bottle will end up in my recycle bin) and chilled out (well, as chill as it could be at 83 degrees) in a tent set up for the media folks who had generously been offered tickets. I think there were seven of us, not exactly a huge crowd. There were a few platters of fruit, sushi and cheese that I stealthily avoided thinking raw fish and cheese don't exactly thrive in heat while listeria does.
The best part of the pre-show show was spending time with my friend Bill's dad, a charming guy who had one fun story after another to share with us. I seriously found what he was telling us more interesting than a lot of what Cosby later went on to share. I realized as I listened to him talk about what Providence, RI was like in 1939, how easy it is to not think the stories your own parents tell you are as interesting as someone fresh to the scene does. My mom grew up in that same era and she's told me about college years in Boston during the blackouts and rationing of World War II, and think I need to pay more attention.
After spending time with Bill and Ed we found our way to our sticky seats and fanned ourselves furiously.
When Bill Cosby took to the stage it was a little surreal and kind of helped me to forget that I was frying. I've watched this man my whole life, listened to his records and raised my kids watching "The Cosby Show." He is truly an icon. His ease on stage, in sweatpants and a T-shirt (and Crocs as Bill pointed out in this review today - he obviously had a better seat than me, I couldn't see the shoes) was remarkable, something that can only be honed after years and years of performing.
What really touched my heart was placed on the back of the folding chair he sat in, moved about and straddled at times, was a sweatshirt that said in rainbow colored letters, "Hello Friend." I knew the phrase from when Cosby's only son, Ennis was killed in 1997 at 28-years-old. It was something Ennis said upon greeting people, and his family started the Hello Friend foundation to continue the work Ennis hoped to do as a special education teacher. As a mom it really got me. And when he mentioned Ennis in a bit about kids leaving their stuff at your house, I thought I cannot imagine what that loss feels like and I hope I never do.
I can't say I was blown away by the comedy. I found some of the stories long and a little tedious, but I am so glad I went and got to spend time with two great men of a certain age. They have a lot to teach us. And the good news is you don't have to be a TV star to make an impact, all you have to do is be who you are. Sometimes the person sharing is a celebrity, but more often than not it's just a really nice guy with bright blue eyes who makes you laugh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top Five Things Celebrities Shouldn't Do When They Date Each Other

I e-mailed my editor and friend, Bill O'Neill, this video because I sort of couldn't believe it and needed someone else to share it. He wrote me back and and said that celebrities should never star in a boyfriend or girlfriend's music video because it will last forever while the relationship probably won't. It got me thinking that there are a few things celebrities shouldn't do since their relationships seem to last about as long as a pesky virus.

So here are my all time top five don'ts for celebrities who insist on dating each other:

1. Don't do an interview together with Barbara Walters. Years later when you're married to other people you have to see tape of you cooking together, taking walks and talking about your future, which was over about as soon as the film crew was on it's way back to L. A. Case in point: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.

2. Don't make movies together. Your judgement is clouded when you're crazy in love. Again, look to Beniffer 1 - "Gigli" and "Jersey Girl" two for two on the sucking, almost career ending scale of bad movies.

3. As mentioned earlier, don't star in a music video. Especially one where you're rubbing lotion on the performer's butt. Ooops, you're three for three Ben and Jen! It should be interesting explaining you undoing Jennifer Lopez's bikini to little Violet, Ben, your daughter with Jennifer Garner.

4. Tattoos. Just think "Winona Forever" becoming "Wino Forever," Johnny Depp's clever switcheroo on his arm. Especially don't get wedding rings tattooed. You can't ever take them off, nor can you dramatically throw them away, not that I would know anything about this.

5. Don't agree to star in a reality show to show how great your relationship is. If you do, have it put it in your contract that the network or cable outlet pays for the divorce because it's almost guaranteed you won't survive.

I think the best thing is for there to be just one celeb in a relationship to keep it balanced and sane. The math you'd need to do to factor in the space needed for two huge celebrity egos is beyond my capabilities (which, granted isn't saying much). Just as China has their one child law, I think there should be a one star law.

All right, there's one exception:Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. But I'm betting there's not one tattoo on either one of them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mingling With the Tourists

All right, so you all know from the name of this blog that I live on Cape Cod.

No, I do not live in a lighthouse, nor do I comb my hair with cod fish bones or whatever that song says. In many ways life on Cape Cod is quite suburban.

My son Ben says that he thinks the Cape is bipolar: busy and full of life all summer, long, dark and depressed in the winter. I don't think I'd go that far, well, maybe by February into March I would. It can get pretty dicey here right about then. There have been times that spring still hasn't arrived at the end of April and I think there is no way I can handle one more gray day. Then, June comes, the sun comes back, and so do the summer people.

It's not always easy to live someplace that swells with people and humidity for several weeks of the year. Going to mail a letter or pick up some burger for dinner becomes a crowd and car dodging experience that makes one want to just hibernate. Yesterday on my way to church a man was behind me who had honked his horn at the driver in front of him at my town's one four corner stop, and once behind me he honked when I didn't dart out in front of oncoming cars quite quickly enough for him. Apparently I was supposed to risk life and limb so he could go get his coffee ASAP. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the license plate on the car in back of me. New York. I wondered what this guy was like when he wasn't on vacation, he seemed so relaxed now.

Today my friend Judy wanted to go have coffee "in town" and it became clear to me why it's so much easier to spend my days (especially the cloudy ones when THEY aren't at the beach) safely ensconced in front of my computer working at home.

We went to the most popular coffee place, a place I am ambivalent about in some ways because of their dedication to shooing teens away, but it's one of the very few places to go in town where you can hang out and talk over a cup of coffee.

At 11 on a cloudy morning in July, the place was jammed with summer people. When you live in a vacation destination you get to know (mostly) on sight who's a local and who's not. The guy in the pink shorts with embroidered fish bones on them? Um, thinking he's not local. There are some obvious clues of course: fanny packs, maps, Cape Cod anything - t-shirt, sweatshirt, visor (visors are a big giveaway), and a passel of kids clamoring for frozen hot chocolate and ice cream.

Judy and I finally got a table after standing for about five minutes, and managed, through raised voices to catch up above the clamour. About thirty minutes in however this very assertive woman came over and asked us if she and her "very nice" friend could share our table. This is New England, we're not used to sharing our space. Not graciously anyway. But share we did. I told Judy, after we'd departed that it would have been a lot more fun if it had been a very handsome man who wanted to join us.

It really wasn't so bad out there in the land of tourists on this overcast day. We did some shopping and most folks were pretty cordial. Traffic was heavy, and people tended to turn or stop without warning, but all in all it wasn't too terrible. You just have to learn to navigate around them and time your missions. For instance - never, ever under any circumstances try to go to a movie on a rainy day. You'll stand in line forever, the theater will be so crowded that you'll be jammed into a seat next to someone with a predilection for rustling candy wrappers and munching loudly on stale popcorn. We locals only take in matinees when it's gloriously sunny outdoors.
For all my whining about living here, it is home. The people who live here are creative and quite interesting. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes...not so much. But I love living in a place where it's fine to be gay, it's fine to be an artist, it's fine to just be yourself. You just have to make sure that you know the rules of the road, and realize that from mid-June until Labor Day, most of the other people don't.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Day (Well, night) In My Big Fat Life: Part 2

After writing a story about Anthony Michael Hall's family, I was invited to see his mother, jazz singer, Mercedes Hall perform last night at the Wequassett Inn in Harwich, MA.

I looked forward to going because Michael Hall (who've I've interviewed on the phone twice but never met) was going to be there. Peter, my date, was really excited about meeting him, being a big "Breakfast Club" fan and all. All right, I lie - I was the really excited one. He kept insisting that Hall had been in "Rambo" (just to drive me crazy) and that he was going to ask him all about it.

I'd been told there would a table being held for us, so I confidently approached the maitre d', told him my name, and that I was with the Cape Cod Times. He looked down at a book which I am convinced didn't have my name in it, and said, "We have no table, but we do have a couch." Peter and I looked at each other and tried not to laugh. I didn't think this sounded good, but thought, maybe it was a totally awesome couch right by the stage! Hope was not initially all lost, there was still a chance it would be an incredible spot to watch the show from.

Well, my hopes were dashed as we were led far from the stage to the back of the venue. Before us was a wicker couch, in front of which were tall bar tables with equally tall stools. We sat down on the couch and burst out laughing. Truly, we had the worst, albeit pretty comfy seats in the house.

When the lights went down and Mercedes took to the stage we basically saw the top of her lovely red hair. Once in a while Peter would, in a mock yell, while pointing at me say, "Mercedes! It's Candy! She's here, on the couch!" And then sometimes, after a song he would whistle and clap, saying he was, "Representing the couch!"

The evening got better with a waiter we could barely understand, but whose name Peter insisted was Hussein, but I'm not so sure. He was certain we were a big disappointment to Hussein since we weren't throwing back the cocktails and eating up a storm. He always looked so sad when we would give him a thumbs up - the universal sign for, "Everything is A-Okay!"

Before intermission - when I planned to make a bee-line for the Hall family table to say hello, I excused myself to go to the restroom - where I promptly locked myself in the bathroom stall. I couldn't stop laughing. It just seemed like such a perfect thing to happen on this extremely A-List night I was having. I did eventually jiggle the handle in a very aggressive fashion and opened it, thereby avoiding the germ-covered crawl under the stall in my skirt and heels.

When the lights came up I knew we needed to get to Michael before the throngs (lots of young girls!) descended on Michael. I told Peter, "Thundercats are go!" and jumped to my feet. Well, again I lie. In retrospect I thought how much cooler it would have been if I'd said that rather than, "Okay, we better get over there fast!"

We got to the table after transversing a maze of tables and people, and I finally got to meet Michael and his beautiful girlfriend who, even though I'm almost 5'10", made me feel like a Munchin (little person, not donut hole).

Mission accomplished, we headed back to our couch in the Siberian section of tent, but Peter suggested, since I'd met Mercedes a few times we try to find her and say hi. We did find her and her husband Tom insisted we go meet Michael - again. So, we got to re-meet Anthony Michael Hall, and I hoped he didn't think I was stalking him. Actually I had a lovely conversation with him about his upcoming directorial debut while Peter talked to Tom about I do not know. Couches perhaps?

By the second set we were back on our couch. We stayed for a little bit, but decided we should go since we were getting too silly after night on the couch. We didn't to disturb anyone else.

So I gathered my things and we worked our way out of exile toward the exit. We passed Hussein on the way and Peter gave him a tip. I think we'd bonded with him, we'd been through lot together.

I know there's no way they would have put Maureen Dowd or Anna Quindlen on the couch, but that's okay. We C-List people are happy to sit together. Even if it is on a wicker couch.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life's Curve Balls Hurt!

This week has been a tough one, hence the lack of blog posts.

I went to the doctor with my 83-year-old mom on Monday, couldn't stand her doctor (words like condescending and patronizing along with some other not-so-nice ones jumped to my mind).

We left with a new prescription and lots of bad feelings.

On Wednesday, she took the first pill of this new prescription, and hours later her blood pressure plummeted. She called me, barely able to breathe and dizzy. I called 911 and thankfully, my dear pal Mary Lou supported me through some worrisome hours in the ER. Thank you Mary Lou :)

Being a humor writer I kept trying to find things to laugh about within all this scariness just to save my sanity. I am the first to admit that within my skill set (supportive friend, nurturer, cookie baker, writer and a few more decent skills) handling medical emergencies is not my strong suit. It's more like my weak suit. That said, having raised three kids I've seen my share of blood and puke, and all of them made it to adulthood.

Trying to make my mom laugh a little and calm her down, I told her that if she was going to have me accompany her to a place that had a plethora of very cute men, she could have chosen a day I wasn't on deadline and doing my weekly radio appearance without ever taking the time to hop in the shower and pull myself together. So there I sat - in my tank top and workout pants, flip flops (complete with a bloodied toe I'd ripped open jumping over a rose bush in the front of my mom's house when I met the ambulance), dirty hair and no make-up. Seriously, I had no idea how many cute men were in and out of emergency rooms - ER doctors, male nurses, EMTs and paramedics...they were everywhere. And there I sat looking like something rolled across the floor and plopped in a chair.

My mom was released and came home to stay with me. I was up and down all night checking on her, and she was much improved as this medication got out of her system and her vitals came back to a more normal level.

There's a saying, "Old age isn't for sissies," and watching what my mom has gone through over the last few months I can vouch for it's validity.

We have a way to go in getting her back on her feet, but thankfully my wonderful big brother arrived within a day of the ER visit and we've made a good team getting everything in place. I don't know how only children do it. I'm the one who lives nearby so the day to day falls more to me, but I know I've got spectacular back up and he's been great. We've gotten a new (wonderful) doctor and are all feeling much more positive.

My mom is a survivor. If anyone can snap back, she can. Up until a few weeks ago she was going to yoga, playing what she calls, "conversational" tennis, and was very independent. She raised my brother and I alone and she's always done an amazing job of taking care of everything herself. She's always been a great role model.

We don't ever know what's going to come at us in a given week, do we? I just pray that I always have faith, can be strong, keep my sense of humor, and make sure I've showered!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Being Single Isn't Always A Bad Thing

As the designated single woman in my circle of friends, I am often subjected to ideas of where I should meet men, and am told about people they could perhaps set me up with. The fact that I am still single should tell you that none of them have exactly hit the mark.
It's always fun for me when people who have been married for 20 years or so give me advice about my single status. Like me before my divorce, their last dates were many presidential administrations ago, and well, things have changed a little bit since the 80s - believe it or not!
I decided to write this particular post because I was e-mailing with a friend who is also a writer ( and well, there's nothing like the fun exchange from writers looking to write anything but their books). Years ago she had asked her husband if he knew of anyone single who they might fix me up with (truly, at times like that I could not feel more pathetic) and he mentioned one guy. But there was a proviso: he had been arrested on rape charges, but they didn't know if the charges were going to stick. Score! Yes, alleged rapists are what my friends are choosing for me. Thank you VERY much folks.
When I mentioned to this same friend today that I'd recently stopped seeing someone she mentioned she had someone new in mind - her sexually ambiguous next door neighbor who seems to be having some financial problems since his house has gone unfinished for two years. Truly, how can I resist the draw of the might-be-gay broke guy? Of course she was saying all of this with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, but I had to just laugh out loud that this is what life has come to: a guy awaiting trial, and a guy, well, maybe awaiting a guy.
The late mother of a friend of mine told me once, "Better to be alone than wish you were alone," and I've never forgotten that. We all know just because someone is lying next to you in that queen sized bed doesn't mean you're happy or content. I'd rather have the courage to be single and stand on my own two feet than just be with someone so I'm not alone. I want that zsa zsa zsu, and I'm willing to hold out for it. Sorry potentially gay guy.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ann Leary - No Need to "Rescue" This Author

As part of my summer of getting the chance to interview very fun and interesting people for the paper I write for, I have had the wonderful opportunity to interview a writer whose book I loved, Ann Leary.

Being the spouse of a big-time TV star isn’t always easy, but both in real life and in fiction, author Ann Leary knows that role well.

See, Ann Leary is the wife of “Rescue Me” star, Denis Leary. She's walked red carpets and has been right by her husband’s side as he’s risen from struggling Boston comic to bona fide star of movies and television. It’s not surprising that she would choose to explore this topic in her first novel, “Outtakes From A Marriage.”
Ann was an absolute delight to talk to, and since I interviewed her I've gotten hooked on her blog at her Web site.
The Leary's lead an interesting life. Denis is busy starring in his FX series, Ann is already hard at work on her next novel, they've got two teens, and live on a small farm in Connecticut.
"Outtakes From A Marriage" is a very funny, touching story where while the protagonists are indeed in an exceptional situation -stardom of one spouse - the nuts and bolts of being in a long-term marriage ring true whether you're married to a landscaper, writer or yes, a big-time TV and movie star. Due to her vantage point, Ann Leary is in the position to show those of us on the outside of the world of celebrity a world few of us will ever know. And it's a very fun look indeed!
I wrote about my friend, author Claire Cook the other day, and made it clear as an aspiring novelist that I love the chance to pick the brains of those already living that dream of mine. I find talking to writers like Ann Leary inspiring. She is the first to admit that yes, being married to Denis allowed her to get on national talk shows to talk about her book and get a lot of press, but what she didn't say to me, but I will, is that it doesn't matter who you're married to if your book isn't good, and hers is. Also, being married to a celebrity doesn't matter one little bit when it comes to sitting yourself down every single day in front of that computer and slogging away to write that book, something I know first hand that takes a hell of a lot of discipline. It reminds me of Oprah saying, yes, she can hire a trainer and a cook, but it's her ass on that treadmill every morning at 6. No one can do it for you, you have to do it yourself.
I look forward to Ann's next book, one that she says is a complete departure from this one. She has a great career ahead of her, and I can't wait to cozy up with the next book for a very fun ride.