Friday, October 14, 2011

New Jersey: A Primer

Where to begin?  So many misconceptions, so little time.  People from New Jersey are not terribly entertained when upon meeting someone with the misfortune of having been born elsewhere asks, "What exit? Ha-ha."  5 coming from the north, 4 coming from the south.  Satisfied?  We do go "Down the Shore," not to the beach or whatever it is you other people do.  See?  You care what exit we're from, we don't give a damn where you summer.  We INVENTED IT...Cape May.  Look it up.  You watch loads of "Reality" and fiction shows about think you know all about us....but again, notice we're not watching nearly as much "Reality TV" about you...because again, we don't give a damn.  Though there are those that would protest America's obvious fascination with New Jersey...I'm just the messenger here, folks...I would point out me thinks you doth protest too much!  Check the ratings on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, the Sopranos, the Jersey Shore, etc.  Go ahead, make the train wreck argument.  But try this on for size, New Jersey continues to be the most densely populated state in the nation, 11th in actual population while being the 47th smallest state.  Add to that the fact that New Jersey has nearly 1,000,000 acres of protected wetlands, not to mention the glorious home Mrs. Leeds, the Pine Barrens, 22% of New Jersey's land mass, only partially overlapping the wetlands and only marginally inhabitable...due in no small part to Mrs. Leeds' aforementioned 13th son. 
North Jersey and South Jersey are not the same thing.  We take that very seriously.  People from North Jersey favor New York teams.  People from South Jersey know it's all about the Flyers, the Phils, and the Iggles.  That's right, the Iggles.  Snowballs at Santa Claus and Vet Stadium (as my friend Jim would say, 40 on the curb for the Vet), home to the first on-site court and jail in sports, my friends!!!  People from South Jersey do not say "Joisey," nor do we think it's cute when when you do.  People from South Jersey drink "wooder."  People from North Jersey call it "Taylor Ham."  People from South Jersey know that is wrong...and's "pork roll." 
Being from New Jersey, there is still much South and North (in no particular order) share.  For starters, we're from New Jersey...thank you, Jesus...and you're not! (I'm doing the thanking on behalf of my Jewish friends as well, you're welcome.) Bruce Willis, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Grover Cleveland, Jack Nicholson, Buzz Aldrin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Judge Scalia...ME and FRANK SINATRA!  We actually DO know where Jimmy Hoffa's body is buried...and we're not telling.  Wetlands are better than deserts...just sayin'.  Most Diners in the world...yummmm....pork roll and cheese on a bagel.  7 malls within 25 miles...BEAT THAT!  Hospital waste on the beach?  Damn skippy...we like a challenge!  Monopoly?  You're welcome.  First baseball game?  Played in NJ.  First college football game?  Rutgers vs Princeton.  Rutgers won.  Walt Whitman...a poet, my friends, not just a bridge!  That "guido" thing?  Not new.  It didn't used to require an arrest record (the closest we got was a detention from Sister if our skirt didn't reach the floor when we knelt or our hair was too high) and an STD test...just a perm, a lot of gold, and Sebastian Spritz Forte.
All these things and more unite those of us from New Jersey.  Mother Leeds' 13th son...maybe he unites us most of all.  You may believe in the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, or North Carolina's Knobby (don't be sceered DT, he has purty harr), but those...well...maybe, maybe not...  Mrs.Leeds' boy, doesn't care if you choose to believe him....he IS.  Mother Leeds was known to dabble in witchcraft...and swore that on a dark and stormy night, her 13th child would be born of the devilWhen Lucas was born, he looked to all, a normal, baby boy.  As the local women put Lucas in his mother's arms, before their very eyes, his feet became cloven hooves, he sprouted wings and a forked tail...his head described in so many terrifying ways I dare not describe them here!  He flew from her arms, up the chimney, and has terrorized the Pine Barrens ever since.
This was in the 1700s, mind, and some have said that Lucas grew restless, finding the Pine Barrens too small and has since terrorized further north and west into New Jersey.

There are rumors though...terrible rumors...that Lucas has changed his name...and returned east...

...and had a bedazzeled lollipop named after him.  Mother Leeds was right!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesdays With Morrie?

Tuesdays with Morrie?  Really?  I am a voracious reader and waste far too many hours of my life on movies.  From these books and movies I have but a few expectations...a "Princess Dos and Don'ts List," if you will.  I have been known to read text books for fun...teach me something.  Murder mysteries...attempt to keep me guessing.  Biographies...inform.  Comedies and Slasher Flicks?  Entertain me.  Documentaries?  Cultivate or broaden my interests.  BUT...on MY terms.  I choose to watch a documentary or biography or read text book.  What I do NOT choose to read a book or watch a movie in which someone else has decided I am expected to cry and feel and learn some uber important life lesson.  Seriously?  For those not paying attention thus far, I am MILDLY resistant to change, I am SLIGHTLY less than open-minded, and YOU are NOT going to teach ME a lesson!  I am too old and too right for that kind of time-suck.  Young guy didn't pay attention to old college professor with loads of wisdom to impart, like he promised, until old guy was on TV comparing statistics against, Yankee great, the Iron Horse! (For the chronically confused, it's Lou Gehrig, Morrie had his disease, ALS, Wiki it.) In theory, the author would have us read it and be moved and learn some cheesy lesson about not neglecting our elders or cherishing the time with them that we do have.  Nice theory.  Try my theory on for size instead.  Don't be an asshole.  Oddly, this works not only when it comes to following through with keeping in touch with someone like you said you would...and, let me hit the pause button here for a second...Morrie wasn't calling him, either...maybe Morrie didn't like him all that much in the first place and was only willing to spend Tuesdays with him because, at that point, he was too sick to turn him away...ok, play who you say you'll call.  Be kind to people.  Spend as much time as you can with those you love, be it your Grandmom or your Grandson.  Don't be an asshole.  See?  My way works!

Tuesdays with Morrie?  Hell no!  Email with Daddy!  
Rog:  My favorite is "Colossal Stupidity."
Voices in My Head:  It was actually an "An Ode to the Colossally Stupid," but I'll let it slide.
Rog:  Be careful in writing this.  You have a tendency to "speak" over the heads of the "audience."
VMH:  Like you would know, I got my height from mommy...unless my audience is tweedlebugs, I'm nowhere near going over anyone's head...also, it sounds like he thinks you guys are stupid...Diane, don't tell Murphy...this may call for an "Occupy Daddy's House."  Right...because I would camp. 
Rog:  Consolidate and simplify - except where you are using the language so beautifully - don't cut any of that, its great.
VMH:  I promised myself, and you, that I wouldn't self-edit...and...ummmm..."except where you are using the language so beautifully"...hello?  That's ALL of it!!!
Rog:  You might take topics like "Colossal Stupidity" and make them a reoccurring theme. 
VMH:  Again, not the title, and I could sit here and go on and on about how he never pays attention to anything I my whole life...and now that's right in front of writing...he still isn't paying attention...but he would say, "What," and then laugh at me.  I have tried, time and again, to be consistent or have theme days...but I am so ADD I can barely keep it together for one post at a time, forget about weekly! 
How I Actually Responded:  I've tried to do recurring themes...but...the thing is, you just never know when you're going to lucky and T.O. is going to try to kill himself again! 
Rog Nobody can do that better than you.
VMH:  Sooooo, you're saying I talk too much?  That I go on and on and on and on...  Moi?
Rog:  You should be writing more than a blog - you write beautifully.
VMH:  Are you kidding?  I should be writing a series of "Princess' Guide to..." shelved right next to the "Idiot's Guide to..." and the "...for Dummies"!!!
Rog:  The paradox is that you can comunicate so well that no one can understand you.
VMH:  Yup...that's the problem.  

I then told him about a post I really wanted to write, but hadn't.  I'm a bit concerned that some of you might not see the humor in the time I stumbled across the ideal situation if I ever wanted to be a serial killer.  It was awesome...just sayin'...  Hmmmm...maybe I really do devote a bit too much time to books and movies.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deja Bye Week...

As you know, I am, as are we all, a person of many flaws.  Self awareness, however, is not one of them.  I am in touch with my flaws...I accept them...if you want to get all 21st century, talk show-y about it, I own them.  Among them...though I don't necessarily consider all of these flaws, I have been told others do...we find my strong, often vocal, and frequently as unchangeable as the solar system (?  NO.), the tides, weather, tectonic plates (?  NO.), the rising moon, the setting sun, Stonehenge, the East Coast being infinitely superior to the West Coast, opinions, my failing memory for all things relevant that remains freakishly on point when the people on Law & Order, for example, cast a new police captain and expect me not to notice that years before she was a crackhead defendant's mother, my MILD sports obsession, my love for, if from time to time perceived inappropriate use of, dark humor, my honesty which some people prefer to characterize as unfiltered bluntness...and on my occasional lack of a filter, which I have heard described as which I am the tiniest bit tempted to say, "F*ck 'em if they can't take a joke," but that is WAY too obvious a joke so let's just move on.

I felt a quick reminder of these "short-comings" was in order as we dive into the headline this morning that, frankly, gave me such giggles my puppies might have had a taste of my coffee!
"T.O. Rushed to ER for Overdose!"

I have never liked Terrell Owens.  I accepted T.O. to the best of my ability when he played for my beloved Eagles, much as I do now with Michael Vick, but I have never liked the man.  He is a self-centered fame whore who would likely be better served as, I don't know, a boxer, perhaps, because being a team player is well beyond his reach.  When the Eagles were rid of him, I popped prosecco!!!  And when it turned out that Dallas was to be his new home?  Ohhhhh...It was like Christmas, my birthday, and my anniversary all wrapped up into one!!!  Which, happy non-sequitur, they are...Dec 25, 26, 27...which means I always get shafted on get shopping, people!!!  Princess says PUH-LEASE!!!  Giggles.  But, as usual, I digress... It just so happened that I was back, living in Texas for the second time, that I could get to all the divisional games.

On the matter of divisional rivalries and my MILD sports Iggles are in the NFC East.  This division also includes the Giants...who we hate, not only as divisional rivals, but in the same way as we do the Jets...with the exception, of course, of Joe Namath, whom we LOVE...hello, straight man in hose and fur playing football, there is just nothing not to love...but they call themselves the NY Giants, though they play, and in many, if not most, cases, live in NJ...the Cowgirls, who we hate as divisional rivals and because they call themselves "America's Team"...and the Redskins.  The Redskins present a unique problem as Husband is, yet again, wrong, clearly, because he is a 'Skins fan!  With my obsession and propensity to speak my mind, you can imagine it gets a little heated at the Preppy Pink Palace during those games.  Sleeping on the couch because a 'Skins fan doesn't deserve my guest room is one of the gentler, recurrent themes.  Husband is also a Penguins fan.  Did you know that you can learn how to tie a noose on Google?  I have a stuffed penguin that does!

I proudly sported my McNabb Eagles jersey to Texas Stadium to watch the Cowboys lose their first game against the Eagles with T.O. as a Cowgirl.  To this day, I'm pretty sure he saw me mocking him from the stands.  As an Eagle, he spent far more time making drama and headlines than making plays and touchdowns.  The same was the case when he became a Cowboy.  He had spent nearly every week in the 2005 season, as an Eagle, in the headlines, and again in 2006 as a Cowboy...

Until the Bye Week...

It was the Cowboys' first bye week of 2006 and something horrible happened....well, horrible if you're T.O...a bye week meant no headlines.  And, as it happens, T.O. would rather (picture a sort of Scarlett O'Hara back of hand to forehead pose here) die than not have the attention his inner fame whore feeds on as if it were air...or a nonfat PSL! I really want a PSL!!!  DAMN!  Focus...focus...ok...moving on... 35 vicodin and a trip to the ER later...guess who was all over the headlines!?!  Suicide attempt?  "Bad Reaction"?  Cry for help?  Cry for publicity?

Fast Forward to 2011...T.O., currently a free agent, announces  that he is a joke...and no one cared.  He also announced that his knee is healed and he is ready and fit to play.  Step right up people...the oft injured, 37yr old, prima donna is ready and waiting for your call...and the bidding war he was certain would ensue.  The phone, however, failed to ring.  When faced with no headlines, no calls, no interest, no...well...nothing...T.O. went with what had worked in the past.  Time to OD!  Again, 911 was called actual cause for concern...he wouldn't do anything to hurt himself...not for real.  And again...he has, among other things, claimed that this was a "Bad Reaction."  All I could do was laugh and remember back to the 2006 "OD."
Perhaps we ought to add to my list of flaws what might be what, by some, be considered callousness and skepticism...but I'm good with that.  It's not that I'm being cruel, I'm simply looking at it all through realistic colored glasses...and enjoying the hell out of it!  Karma, T.O., karma.  There's a reason that phone isn't ringing...


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I WANT to be Aware...

As most of you know, most of my adult life has been dedicated to non-profits and charity work.  As you likely also know, I rather enjoy, rare though it is, a bit of shopping...and on those occasions, alright, on ALL occasions...I prefer to buy things that are wholly mine.  Custom, if you will...or won't, it's of no consequence to me.  I simply abhor the thought of wearing the same shirt that is on an Old Navy commercial every 5 minutes and is sold in bulk so that you are nearly assured that if for some strange reason you were to get lost and find yourself in a Walmart, it's quite likely you would see 5 other people in the same shirt.  That said, on these really, sort of pathetically, infrequent boosts to the economy, when at all possible, I opt for "Awareness" items and/or things that can in any way be customized.  If it can be embroidered, monogrammed, engraved...Husband will try to hide it...but I will find it and customized it shall be!!! 

*Princess Tip:  For those who find their sweet, wonderful, otherwise lovely, DHs a bit resistant to the amount of monogramming you would choose to have in your home...Williams-Sonoma custom makes monogrammed branding irons for the grill!  Take my word for it, he will become a LOT more agreeable about monograms around the house when they match his "ManMakeFireCookMeatMarkTerritory" treat!

Moving on... I was doing a bit of shopping at my dear friend's, The Preppy Poppy, to pick up a few things...I won't go into too many details...the holiday's are coming, after all...but on a few of the things I asked her to make, I asked her for...gasp...monograms AND awareness ribbons.  As these items are for different people, I decided to double check on the colors of the awareness ribbons for a few things.

Oh my...

In a million years, I couldn't have imagined the amount of causes to which awareness ribbons would be assigned...nor could I have imagined that distinctions would be made between "graphite," "silver," and "gray" or "indigo" and "blue" or that even with that distinction, there are at LEAST 50 causes/illnesses/etc. of which one should be aware upon seeing a blue ribbon!!!  Blue, people...not indigo...or light blue, periwinkle, teal or turquoise...and I'm not even going to mention the ribbons that are 2 colors.  We've got green, light green, lime green, mint green, and olive green.  There's a full circle starting at violet, lavender, orchid (I'm all for Testicular Cancer having an Awareness Ribbon, but come on, who's idea was ORCHID?!), pink, hot pink, red, cranberry, then burgundy on back to purple!  This is by no means all of, can't make this up!!!  Even I can't make this stuff up!!  Many of them, not just blue, have 50+ causes associated with them.  I care.  I volunteer.  I donate.  I TRY to be aware...but I feel like at this point, I can say with absolute, unwavering, surety, that I will NEVER be THAT aware!

As you can imagine, part of the reason this awareness rainbow would drive entire colonies of Leprechauns to abandon their pots of gold and drink, is that, well...some of these "causes" seem just the tiniest bit questionable to me.  As my darling Poodle said to me today when I was outlining this post for her, "Peach, no.  Blue means only two things - First Place and Pabst Blue Ribbon."

Feral Cats.  I am assuming this is an orange ribbon so that I can take aim more easily when they are outside my bedroom window at night?

Self-Injury.  I can't even lie, I googled.  I thought it meant someone like me who bumps into/trips over everything.  Nope!  Cutters.  As to whether this is to identify them to others like a pledge pin, encourage them to keep up the good work (though I think it's of note that these are worn vertically...a subtle suggestion that people have had enough with the "cries for help" and just slash 'em vertically already), or inspire them to quit, I do not know.

Targeted Individuals?  Turns out these are essentially adult bullying victims.  Good plan.  Grow up, get bullied, whine about enough on message boards to have someone come up with a catchy name that sounds less victim-y than victim, so the catchy name can earn an awareness ribbon, that you can then proudly wear wherever you identify yourself to all who see for it...a whiny victim!!!  Why not wear a "Kick Me" sign, people?  You are not doing yourselves any favors!

Free Speech?  Like I always say, I didn't vote for it.  Sometimes, stupid shouldn't speak.

Responsible Use of Public Lands?  So much for that meth lab! 

Trauma?  Not in relation to anything specific...and believe me, every conceivable trauma has it's own trauma specific ribbon, to include PTSD.  Trauma is but one on the list of redundant and/or random.  Kindness, Harmony, Hope and Support, Innocence, Transitions, Freedom, and Growth and Rebuilding were a few of my other favorites...good luck trying to find specifics on these "Awareness" ribbons.  If Google doesn't know, how am I, a lifelong member of the Look-It-Up Club, ever to become aware?  This may keep me awake nights!!! 

For today, I'll just focus on 2.  Green and Lime Green...yes, seriously, Lime Green.  Surely you'll recall one of my favorite non-profits, The Queen of Hearts, dedicated to helping those with Leukemia (Green...alternate color Orange (Did I mention some have more than one color?)), Lymphoma (Lime Green), and those awaiting organ transplants (Green).  QoH is still in it's infancy online, though we were founded in 2003.  We hold an Aloha themed, Casino Night fundraiser every year over Labor Day Weekend, and I am thrilled to announce that our friends at Marley Lilly and The Pink Monogram were the first online to jump in and support the Queen of Hearts by donating to the Aloha's Chinese Auction!  They were a huge hit!  That was but the beginning of the generosity and support!!! For anyone that "Likes" Marley Lilly and Queen of Hearts on Facebook, Marley Lilly is offering free shipping on orders over $85 with offer code QoH...AND...there will be a Marley Lilly review and giveaway coming your way very soon!  The Pink Monogram not only donated a pair of the Original Monogrammed Clogs to the Aloha...we have a great review and giveaway in the Queen of Hearts honor soon!  In addition to these terrific ladies and their companies, two more fab women and their stores have come on board to join in helping with the online campaign to raise awareness and donating for next year's Aloha.  The Monogrammed Martini, whose delightful owner was thrilled get involved, has a great Queen of Hearts awareness review and giveaway coming up...I can't wait to see what it will be...and what she comes up with for the Aloha!  And last, but certainly not least, as she is to blame for this post, my sweet friend, The Preppy Poppy, has a review/giveaway in the works and I happen to know has something tres fun for the Aloha!

With all that can seem wrong with world on any given day...natural disasters, disease, neglect and abuse and murder of people's own family members...people parking in handicapped spots and being rude to can sometimes be hard to remember all the truly good in the world.  And then I am reminded of ladies like these...willing to help others...just because...

As I often say, when things seem bleak, take a deep breath and count your blessings. Someone has it much worse. Donate. Volunteer. Help them, it will help you both.