Friday, December 28, 2012

Post-Holiday Reflections

Christmas has come and gone...and here I sit...still wearing my "lovely" black boot on my broken right foot...sigh.

The accident was on Wednesday, December 19th...NOT good timing when it comes to the holiday season. Fortunately, I had finished 100% of my gift-shopping; however, I still had some holiday baking/cooking to do, and trips to the grocery store were in order. Apparently, everyone else had the same about 9,252 other people were buying last minute groceries over the weekend. Fun, I'm tellin' ya. Not.

Our annual Reindeer Games Party was held on Saturday, December 22nd...I think it was a huge success, considering we had almost 50 people over for five hours. We had food, drink, games, and merriment - and my foot didn't protest too much until the evening was over. I tried to behave myself for most of the evening, but a challenge to play ping-pong with my brother was too good to pass up...although my foot was NOT happy about jumping around a ping-pong table. It was all worth it, though, when I managed to beat my brother not once, but TWICE.... Yes. I am competitive. How can you tell?

Games of Kerplunk (I won), Connect-Four (yup, I won again), Operation (lost that game - I DON'T have a steady hand), Battleship (never got a chance to play), among others...offered lots of opportunities for our friends and family to sit back, relax, and have some much-needed fun so close to the holiday. The evening was topped with a massive gift-exchange with our grandchildren, nephews, and nieces - and it was a true joy to see the delight after the ribbons, paper and bows were torn, tossed and discarded. All the past weeks, slaving over the internet in search of perfect gifts for everyone, came together in these moments - and I was truly tickled.

Sunday was spent in massive clean-up...our house looked pretty much like a war zone, and if there's one thing I can't stand, is a dirty house. Especially before Santa is due to arrive. Yikes. So...the day was spent watching the Chiefs lose yet another football game (sigh), while dusting and mopping and vacuuming. I'd have delegated a lot of this to Hubby, if I could...but he conveniently decided to make a trip to Columbia, Missouri to visit the one daughter who was unable to make it to the party the night before. What good timing on his part...amazing.

As Hubby was unavailable, I looked to my 13-year old daughter to help...but she conveniently was at her grandparents' house for the Annual Cookie Baking/Decorating Party...sigh. And the older sons were either at work or visiting friends....So that Actually, I rather enjoyed the peace and quiet that pervaded the it was a nice respite from the chaos and craziness from the night before.

Monday was Christmas Eve...and I woke up to find not one, but TWO sickies in the house. Hubby had come down with a bad case of the stomach flu, complete with fever...while Daughter was suffering from a bad head cold. That evening, Daughter and I headed down for our annual "A Christmas Carol" theater night at our local Repertory Theater...while Hubby stayed in bed. The show was usual...but it wasn't the same without Hubby. And speaking of Hubby...he's normally an angel, but when he's sick...ack. I got to be Mom, Nurse, AND Santa that night...I was running pretty ragged, while hobbling everywhere on my lovely black boot.

Christmas Day...what a true joy. This year, Santa brought lots of small things...but not necessarily any "big" Kindles, iPads, or Wii's - as we already have those from previous Christmases. The kids all seemed happy...Hubby seemed that made me happy. After a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls, we headed over to my parents' house for our annual get-together with my family...and another fun day ensued. My parents are both in their 70's...and I treasure the time I have with them.

For the past several months, I have been working on putting our family history together...doing a lot of research on the internet, as well as interviews, with various family members. I traced both my father's AND my mother's side back to pre-Revolutionary War...and I found funny stories and quirky trivia along the way. My project ended up being almost 70-pages long, and a quick trip to the printer was in order last Friday. On Christmas Day, I presented bound copies to my own kids, as well as copies to my brother, my sister, and my parents. Was it a fancy gift? No. Was it expensive? No. But I think...when it was all said and was the best present that I gave this year....

As for me? What was the best present I received? My best present was the presence...of my pets...of the love that we felt this holiday season. Even with a bum foot...hobbling in pain...I was never so happy...!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas...however you chose to celebrate it.



Monday, December 24, 2012

These Boots Weren't Made for Walking

In my 50 years of life on this earth, there are two things that have been pretty consistent:

1. I'm pretty good at being a total klutz...

2. I'm pretty good at blaming anyone and everyone else for my misfortunes.

Take last week, for instance...

...when I broke my foot.

I'm pretty sure that I can blame this one on my daughter.

It was SHE who decided to wait until the very last possible second to wait for the school bus - which drives me absolutely, crazily, INSANE, by the way...If the bus comes at 7:36, she decides that 7:35:30 is the time to amble over to the door. Gah.

And because she wasn't at the door, waiting for that bus, it was I who, because I thought I heard it coming, decided to run, barefoot, in a pitch-dark living room, to see if it was, indeed, the bus....

The results of my frantic barefoot flight across a darkened room were twofold:

1. I didn't see the, I'm not sure exactly what it was that I had heard....

2. I didn't see the chair with the wooden legs...which decided to JUMP out and trip me on my dash to the front door.

When a bare foot with teeny-tiny vulnerable toes meets up with a wooden chair leg...and the foot has momentum behind it, by the way...the results can only be described as...not good.


I could literally hear the sound of a crack as I made contact with the chair...upon which, I immediately dropped to the floor, clutching my affected toes, and saying a few words that can not be printed here.

I crawled to the refrigerator, grabbed a bag of frozen peas, and hobbled to the sofa, where I sat...for the next two hours...nursing my poor appendage with ice. Alternating between cursing my own klutziness and my daughter's tardiness, with pleas and prayers for my foot to make a miraculous recovery, it was soon evident that my ministrations were to no avail.

I am now sporting a lovely black and blue foot, which is behaving somewhat like a temperamental two-year old. For something that I never really paid much attention to over the years - other than to decorate it with either lovely pink nail polish or fabulous shoes - it's really taken on a personality that can only be described as...horrible.

My foot has decided that it somewhat doesn't like the simple, mundane task of walking...and God forbid if I attempt to go down a flight of stairs. That brings on a full-blown temper tantrum by said foot.

It's even more frustrating when you see the fabulous shoes I had purchased recently to wear for Christmas....

Aren't these divine??

But instead of wearing THAT shoe, I'm wearing this lovely contraption:

Attractive, yes? Bleh.

And with that, now I'M going to go off and behave like a temperamental two-year old... wah wah wah.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

She-Devil...Shoe-Devil...It's All the Same

It's all Danielle's fault.

Yes. It's all Danielle's fault if Hubby decides to drag my butt into Divorce Court.

Who is Danielle, you ask?

She's the manager at our local DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) store...and it's all her fault, the little homewrecker. Mark my words - you heard it here, first.

Oh, it began innocently enough, I'm sure.

It began with Hubby wandering into DSW the other night, on his way home for work, looking for some new loafers.

As he was checking out, Danielle, the store manager, asked, "Do you have a rewards card with us?"

Hubby wouldn't know a DSW Rewards Card if it bit him in the butt, but he willingly offered up our telephone number to Danielle, little realizing she was laying her trap. Because, that's when the trouble started.

Hubby came home and began what can only be called "The Inquisition" with yours truly.

He: "I had an interesting conversation today with the girl up at DSW."

Me: Innocently...."Oh?"

He: "Yes...she wanted our phone number to pull up our Rewards Card, and when I gave it to her, she said, 'Congratulations.'"

Me: Knowing where this is probably headed, but refusing to say anything on the grounds that it may incriminate me...I decided that silence was my best option at this point.

He: "Yes, she said, "Congratulations! You're one of our Top 25 Best Customers!" He then looks at me at this point for an explanation.

Me: Cringing a little...but still staying very silent. Hubby could have tortured me with a waterboard at this point, and I wasn't going to say a word.

He: "Now...why do you suppose she said that??? And considering that we live in a community of several hundred thousand people, why should she consider US in the top 25???!!"

Me: Blinking a bit, but thinking really fast..."Um....I'm sure she says that to EVERY customer. You're putting too much into it....geesh, Honey. It's a sales technique, and I'm surprised you fell for it. It's DESIGNED to make you feel special. Duh."

Did I tell him that I get handwritten letters from Danielle on a monthly basis, thanking me for the shoe business I bring her? No. I did not tell him that. And I'm pretty sure Danielle doesn't send handwritten thank-you notes to the hundreds of thousands of customers that visit her store. Probably just the Top 25. Which Yikes.

Hubby somewhat skeptically bought my little story, but I marched into DSW the next day....Grabbing Danielle by the shoulders, I gave her a shake, and said, "WHAT were you THINKING???!!!"

She looks at me, innocently...."What are you talking about?" she asked.

"Don't ever...ever...EVER...tell the Hubby that I'm in your Top 25!!! Are you trying to break up my marriage??!!" I asked, somewhat hysterically.

She blinks, and then realizes what disaster she had almost brought down on my head.

With profuse apologies, she promised it would never happen again...and after showing me the new shipment of boots that had just come in, Danielle and I were, once again, BFF's forever in The Wonderful World of Shoes.

Divorce Court averted.




Monday, December 3, 2012

My Two-Ton Kindle


Last night, Hubby and I were having an enjoyable dinner conversation with our 13-year old daughter...discussing literature and theater, of all things.

The topics arose because Hubby & I have theater tickets this weekend to see a performance of the classic, "Les Miserables" - which I've only seen, like, a mere 132 million times in my lifetime, give or take a few, but regrettably, daughter has NEVER seen. Yes. We've been neglectful parents on educating our daughter in all things culture-like, it seems.

This negligence on our part became even more glaringly evident when Daughter expressed ignorance of what the story of "Les Miserables" is all about...and so I was trying, in layman's terms, to explain to a 13-year old the themes that are flowing through Victor Hugo's masterpiece.

"Have you ever read the book?" Daughter asked me, curious.

"'s on my Kindle," I answered...a bit evasive...because, I'll be the first to admit it, SEEING "Les Miserables" is much easier than trying to READ it. The book's over 1,400 pages, for heaven's sake, and is considered one of the longest novels of all time. I said...I've only seen the play a gazillion times, so who needs to read it, anyway?...and not to mention, there's a MOVIE coming out any day now, with Hugh Jackman, no less, and yes, I'll be the first to admit, that I am SO totally a shallow person to be counting the days to see this particular rendering...with Mr. Jackman. Bite me.

Anyway...enough of Hugh Jackman (which, really, is an oxymoron, because, can you ever REALLY have enough of Hugh Jackman? I don't think so.)

Ahem. Back to the conversation last night...

"So...did you READ it? On your Kindle?" Daughter persisted.

"Not exactly....The book's a bit...heavy...if you know what I mean." I looked over at Hubby for confirmation on this, as I don't believe he's ever waded through Hugo's book, either.

The themes of politics, revolution, famine, love - set against the backdrop of the French Revolution - don't exactly make for "light" reading, so to speak.

Daughter pondered this for a minute...and then said, in all seriousness, "Oh. It must be a really thick book - to make your Kindle heavy."






It's a wonder I can barely lift my Kindle at all...who knew that all of these "heavy" books were weighing it down??!!


*Image from here


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dance of Disaster

Last night was one of those moments in time, when I was forced to accept the saddening realization that my little girl is growing up.

The Winter Dance was held last night at her middle school, and my little 7th-grader got all gussied up, dressed up, and fancied up - and then took herself up to school with a gaggle of girlfriends....


As I watched her head out the door to meet up with her friends, I couldn't help but reminisce of when I attended my first middle-school dance...when I was all of 12 years old, and feeling oh-so-grown-up and decidedly adult.

Daughter and friends...

I remember donning my new dress, my new shoes, and my new pantyhose...while working on my hair and make-up for hours, wanting everything to be decidedly perfect. After all - I had an impression to make. I had developed a major crush on a fellow 7th-grade boy...Jimmy...and I was determined to capture his attention at the dance, to the point where he'd drop to his knees, staggering at my beauty and charisma, and declare his undying love in front of me and my fellow classmates.

That was the plan, anyway.

In reality, I hung out on one side of the gym, with 99% of the girls, including my best girlfriend, Angie...while the boys hung out on the other side of the gym...and nary did the two sides meet. For hours, we stared at them, while trying to nonchalantly NOT appear that we were staring...and vice versa for the guys. Fun times, really. Not.

At one point, out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly see that Jimmy was making his way over to our side of the gym...and my heart started beating so fast, I thought I would have a heart attack and die on the spot. Was he FINALLY coming to his senses, and noticing me? Was he going to ask me to dance? Was he going to drop to his knees and declare his undying love? The tension was palpable, as I wondered at his motives....

And then...right when he was practically beside me...disaster struck.

In the form of my BFF, Angie. Who KNEW of my Jimmy-crush, and who decided to take things into her own hands and speed things up, as it were.

When Jimmy was less than a foot away from me, Angie suddenly gave me a huge push - a shove, actually - which knocked me into Jimmy, and then knocked me onto my butt. Yup. I'm on my butt, as the guy of my dreams, startled for a second, looks at me, and then keeps on walking and never looks back.

Mortification set in.

Hissing at Angie, I said, "I CAN'T believe you just did that!!! WHY would you shove me like that??!!"

Looking a bit chagrined, she meekly said, "I just wanted to make sure you got his attention....I was only trying to help."

Oh, I'm sure I got his attention, all right. I was the girl that plowed into him at the dance and then hit the floor, which, unfortunately, did NOT swallow me up and hide me forever.

I never did get Jimmy's attention...not that day, nor any day after. Eventually, my interests went elsewhere, and life went on...the horrifying events of my 7th-grade dance to be forgotten, only to be remembered when I see my own little princess heading off for her special night.

I sent up a special prayer for her last night, and I guess it worked, as she came home last night with a huge smile on her face, saying she'd had a wonderful time, and all was well with her world.


My princess is growing up.



Friday, November 30, 2012

Trapped in New Jersey

Today is the official end of hurricane season, and I'm very thankful to have been home from Hurricane Sandy for the last 16 days....

...However, according to official reports out of the American Red Cross, apparently I'm NOT home...and haven't been...since November 3rd. Yes, according to computer records, I'm still on the job in New Jersey....


This story actually begins before this...I had been working diligently in New Jersey for about 10 days, when I heard from Staffing at HQ that I wasn't really officially "on the job." Yup - they didn't have any record of me being in New Jersey...their records showed that I was still in Baltimore.

Tell that to the 7" stack of paper sitting in my in-box that I had been methodically whittling away at for the past 10 days.

I was scheduled to go home in two more days, so I mentioned to my manager that she might want to see about fixing things - because if I wasn't actually IN New Jersey, would I be able to actually go HOME from New Jersey....???

Apparently, she got things fixed, as I was able to out-process on November 13th, and I flew home the next day...back to good old, dependable Kansas City....

End of story, right?


Two days ago, I got an email from someone within the Red Cross, who says, "You're home, right?"

Looking around at my own bed, in my own home, while my fur babies romped happily at my feet, I replied, "Yup. Pretty sure I am. Been home since the 14th. Why?"

"Because according to HQ, you're still in New Jersey. They don't show you as ever going home."

Well. I guess my manager fixed the problem of me not being in New Jersey...apparently, I've now taken up full-time residence there.

I was by now beating my head against the wall.

Really? Really? First, you don't even have me there to begin with, and now you don't have me going home??!

So...I am now trying to get this little error resolved, via long-distance, and hasn't it been fun?


I had been trying - without any success - to redeploy for a second stint to New Jersey, and wondered why it wasn't happening. Well - this explains it. I can't re-deploy to some place that I apparently never left to begin with....

I guess I'll enjoy my time in New Jersey...I gotta' admit, the traffic is certainly better this time around; the sleeping accommodations are awesome; and I've never been able to be surrounded by friends and family before while on a deployment.

I could get spoiled.



Sunday, November 25, 2012


Random musings on a Sunday evening....

*Thanksgiving was, as usual, quite wonderful...we spent the day at my parents' house, where we enjoyed a delicious and satisfying dinner. My aunt & uncle from Virginia were in town, and as I hadn't seen them in three years, it was very special catching up. I had made a delicious cranberry salad, using a recipe I got off of Pinterest, and it was quite tasty. Hubby said later that it was his favorite part of the meal - and either he's telling the truth, or he's brown-nosing because Christmas is coming!

Yummy! And easy...MY kind of recipe!

*That evening, we had friends and family over for our annual Thanksgiving Dessert Party, where everyone is asked to bring their favorite dessert. My counter top looked like a Pumpkin Fiesta, as we were overloaded with every thing imaginable made with pumpkin - bread, muffins, pies, cheesecakes - and my specialty, Pumpkin Lust. Yum.

*We enjoyed watching Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl" on PBS last week...very enlightening, and very I told my parents, the Dust Bowl period was somewhat glossed over in history class, as it seemed the Depression got all of the attention during that time period. The perseverance of the people affected by this ecological disaster was amazing.

*We took the kids to "Batman Live" on Friday night...a lights, sound and visual extravaganza. Somewhat corny, but still entertaining....All the classic villains were represented: The Penguin, the Riddler, as well as the Joker...and the Joker was fantastic.

Dick Grayson and the Joker....

I wore black jeans, my black boots, and my favorite black leather jacket...with a batman mask on, I was instantly transformed into Catwoman, and got quite a few smiles and giggles from kids walking around the arena. As well as a few laughs from parents, as well.


*Last evening, Hubby and I headed to the movies, and saw "Lincoln". We sat in a sold-out, crowded theater - and was instantly spellbound, along with everyone else, by Daniel Day Lewis's riveting performance. He'll be nominated for an Oscar, for sure, and if he doesn't win, I'll be shocked. Tommy Lee Jones is also amazing, and should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, IMO.

*I'm about 30% done with my Christmas shopping, and 100% of it has been done in my own home, while wearing my comfy PJ's, while sipping Chai Tea. I love, love, love online shopping - and I wonder how I ever survived Christmas shopping before...??

*The kitten that befriended us last June has now gone off to college with my oldest son...Son has his own apartment, and the kitten needed a home where there WEREN'T two other cats around...He's only been gone 24 hours, and I miss him already. The cat, that is. Not my son. Hee hee.



Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend in Review: Goats, Grinders & The Boss

Thank God it's Monday.


And thank God I'm home.

I flew home Wednesday evening from New Jersey, and hit the ground running, so I haven't had much time to decompress a bit from working Hurricane Sandy...but that's okay...all I know is, I worked my butt off, and I met some amazing people (again), and reconnected with some other amazing people.

Thursday was spent dealing with piles...piles of laundry, piles of mail, piles of chores and errands - all that stuff that lets me know I'm needed just as much at home as I'm needed with the American Red Cross. I wouldn't have it any other way.

That evening, 13-year old daughter gave a resounding performance at her school's fall music concert...we managed to snag front-row seats, where we enjoyed the school orchestra, band and choir.

Bravo, kids!

Friday, Hubby and I headed into the big city, where we first enjoyed a delicious tapas dinner at Extra Virgin, a hip restaurant that is quite the happenin' place on a Friday night. There, we nibbled on delicious plates of cheese, prosciutto, and goat.

Yes. Goat.

After dinner, we headed over to the Kauffman Center of Performing Arts, where we watched a resounding performance of "Tap Dogs." Six guys...twelve feet...throw in water, basketballs, flashlights, grinders, and percussion - and you get the Blue Man Group, mixed with a bit of Cirque de Soleil, with tap dancing. Surreal...but very entertaining.

Saturday evening was spent with The Boss, as in Bruce Springsteen. First, though, we headed down to Kansas City Power and Light, where we met up with friends of Hubby's for a quick drink and dinner. The P&L was CRAZY insane, but it was fun to meet some of Hubby's friends from his past....great times, for sure.

We then walked over to the Sprint Center, where we joined thousands of other enthusiastic concert-goers for a 3-hour rockfest with Bruce.

Self-portrait while waiting for the show to begin...

Bruce was high-energy and passion...never a dull moment, and we had a rollicking good time, dancing and singing and enjoying a GREAT evening. This picture pretty much sums it all up:

Sunday afternoon was spent celebrating our granddaughter's 12th birthday...

...although there's only eight candles on the cake. Maybe she won't notice....

In between our celebrations and concerts and shows, we managed to put up the Christmas tree, go to church, do a bit of Christmas shopping, and spend time with 23-year old son, who came home from graduate school for the Thanksgiving holiday.


So no WONDER I'm grateful for Mondays...where I can perhaps slow down a tad....

...or perhaps not.

Me? Slow down?




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Tree Catnip


Bad juju will follow anyone if they dare mess with the Thanksgiving gods....

Trust me.

I know from experience.

For the first time, like, EVER, I attempted to get a "jump" on the holidays by sneakily putting up my Christmas tree this weekend.

I's not even Thanksgiving yet, but hey - I'm crazy busy, and I may not even BE here next weekend to put up the tree - so I justified it in my head and drug out the tree and the decorations and had Hubby set to work.

Don't judge me.

The first hint of bad juju began after Hubby assembled the tree...I was standing next to it, puzzling over the fact that it looked...short. REALLY short.

"Something's wrong," I began....and Hubby, always a bit defensive with his Christmas-tree assembling skills, immediately tried to cut me off in whatever criticism I was about to lay on him.

"WHAT??!" he said...."There's NOTHING wrong! It's perfect!"

"It just seems...short," I continued. "Normally, I need a stepladder to reach the top - and yet...this year, the tree is rather...stumpy."

That's when Hubby realized he had totally forgotten the bottom section of the tree. Chagrined, he went off in search of the missing piece, and didn't we have fun trying to get all the pieces reconnected afterwards. Not.

After all the pieces were assembled, the second bit of bad juju hit...when Hubby plugged in the various cords, and we were greeted by the grand and glorious sight of...darkness.

Apparently, our pre-lit tree decided to be temperamental, and about half the lights stubbornly refused to turn on. We were faced with a blackout covering the square footage of approximately New York City, and now had the daunting task of trying to figure out how to turn the freakin' lights on.


While we were both engrossed in the task of checking Every. Single. Light. Bulb. on the tree, our 8-month old kitten/cat came sauntering up from the basement to see what trouble he could get into we were doing....

Anyone wanting a cat? This one's looking for a good home...

He took one look at the assembled Christmas tree, and with a yelp of delight that sounded suspiciously like, "COWABUNGA, DUDE!!!", he launched himself into the mass of pine needles and light cords.

He was in a Disney World of Cat Heaven, slithering and jumping from branch to branch, while Hubby and I were screaming and yelling, "GET OUT OF THERE, YOU LITTLE SH*T!!!", all the while trying to grab him whenever a glimpse of grey fur came near.

Strangely enough, at some point, all his wiggling and wriggling and slithering jiggled just enough light cords that miraculously, caused half of the darkened lights to suddenly begin blazing in their full glory...which, although somewhat tempered Hubby and I from chasing him, by no means lessened the danger that this cat was creating in his frenzied joy of exploring the tree. He still needed to get out before he toppled the tree, or electrocuted himself, whichever disaster decided to come first. I was voting for electrocution at this point, as that would save me the trouble of killing him myself.

About the time we finally managed to get the mangy furball out of the tree, the cat decided that my carefully arranged piles of decorations on the floor were the indoor equivalent of piles of leaves, and he then launched himself from pile to pile, delighting in the mess he was leaving behind.


Hubby eventually caught the cat, and carrying him by the scruff of his neck, he was banished to the basement, with a decidedly dejected look of, "What? Me? What did I do now???"


Two hours and two trips to the store later to buy supplemental lights, the tree was finally ready for decorating...which didn't happen until today. entire weekend wasted dedicated to decorating the tree, just so I could get a "jump" on Christmas.

Take it from NOT put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving gods don't like it.

Bad juju, I'm tellin' you.



Image from HERE

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last Night in Jersey

I'm going home!

After nineteen long, grueling, stressful days of working disaster relief as a result of Hurricane Sandy, I FINALLY am able to head home. Tomorrow. I am counting the hours.

The last few days have been especially crazy busy - in between the 10-hour days spent at Headquarters in North Brunswick, New Jersey - I've changed hotels, gotten lost numerous times on the complicated road system that is unique to New Jersey, and managed to work through the mountain of piles of paperwork on my desk enough to feel that I'm leaving my desk in good shape.


Our motel move came suddenly - as we got word that we were soon to lose our room in Princeton - so after a hurrid packing one morning, and a long drive about forty miles north to Branchburg - my roommate and I managed to snag the second-to-last room at the new motel, and I am happily ensconsed on the sofa bed as we speak.

With regards to getting lost on the highways, I have to say that I have NEVER dealt with traffic as congested as I've seen it here...and I swear until I die, that I will NEVER complain about Kansas City traffic again. Every single morning and evening, my commute is a bumper-to-bumper slow crawl through a nightmare of rude drivers, traffic accidents, and maneuvering the complicated "left turn - but it's really NOT a left turn" - that makes up Jersey.


I made my flight arrangements this afternoon, and after a brief stop in Atlanta, I'll be winging it back to the the the mountains of paperwork and laundry and housework that is sure to be waiting for me...

...and yet...I don't mind.

I'll be in my own bed, in my own town, and it will feel so, so good.


Yes, please.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting My Glow Back

Today was my day off - the first, and perhaps only day off for this disaster operation - and my plan was to sleep in, live in my pajamas, and curl up with a book.


So much for the best-laid plans.

Having a roommate who does NOT have the day off, somewhat negates the plans of sleeping in...I awoke early and drowsily watched, as Lee rushed around a darkened room trying to get ready.

"You can turn a light on," I said..."I'm already awake."

She was determined to be polite, though, bless her heart, and soon she was out the door, leaving me in a quiet, dark room. This should have been blissful, but then a sense of guilt kicked in...thoughts of, "You shouldn't be lying around - how sloth-like!" as well as, "Maybe you should just go on into work...who needs a day off, anyway?" began invading my head...gah.

Not one to lay around, I decided I had to do something...ANYTHING - to keep busy, when suddenly, a brilliant inspiration hit me -


Perusing the internet on my iPad, I located a spa not more than 15 minutes from here that seemed to have positive reviews, and I quickly called and made a noon appointment for a facial, followed by a manicure. I figured my face and hands show the most damage from these long, feverish days, and they needed the most attention. It would be a small miracle if the beauticians could wipe out the dark circles invading my eyes, but it was a risk I was willing to take. And my hands....? Gah. Typing non-stop on a keyboard all day at work, as well as digging through a suitcase each day for clothes & personal items, have left my fingers & nails in a state of disaster themselves. Things were getting dire, and today was the perfect day to somewhat attempt re-beautification.

Right before I left, though, another attack of the "guilts" hit..."What you are DOING???", the voice said..."Even THINKING of going to a spa while working a disaster relief operation????"

However, a posting from a friend on Facebook alleviated most of my guilt, when she said, "Look at it this way...Red Cross 'lights' the way for victims of disaster. You are that light. Like any good flashlight, you only work as well as the batteries that power it. So, charge away, little light! Tomorrow you will glow."

Wow. Mary had nailed it. And so - off I went.

Arriving at Amber Spa, a quaint little place in the small town of Pennington, New Jersey, I was quickly ushered in and before I knew it, I was lying on a warmed bed while soft, soothing hands began massaging my tension and stress away. I closed my eyes, listened to the relaxing music, and forced my mind to just "float" and focus on the moment....

My 75-minute facial stretched into 90 minutes, with a bonus head, neck, and shoulder massage - followed by a hand & foot massage.


Afterwards, I was ushered in and seated for a manicure...and while my nails were getting their much-needed attention, a hairdresser took one look at my wild & crazy hair - which now resembled something that only a Muppet would be caught wearing - and offered me a complimentary shampoo and blow-dry.

Oh. My. God.

Is there a Heaven beyond Heaven??!!

Because....I was so there.

The ladies told me of their Hurricane Sandy lady is STILL without power, but as she put it, "At least I still have a house. Albeit a COLD house...but I can't imagine losing everything, like some people did."

Thousands of questions about the Red Cross - what we do, how we do it, etc - were thrown at me, and before I left for the afternoon, they were thanking me profusely and wishing me well. I thanked THEM for making me feel human again. Their service was IMPECCABLE. As I told them when I left the shop, "I hope I'm never back in this area again with the Red Cross...for YOUR sake...but if I AM...I will SO come back to the Amber Spa!!"

So...Amber were AWESOME. I walked out of there a new woman - positively glowing, and feeling 25 years younger.

The icing on the cake? As I stopped briefly at the hotel registration desk later this afternoon to check for messages, the lady behind the counter said, "Your hair looks AWESOME!"

Why, yes. Yes it does.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From Terrible to Terrific

"You look terrible."

In a normal situation, I'd be insulted after hearing that said to me.

However, after working the last twelve days non-stop for Hurricane Sandy, I've realized that times are definitely NOT normal - and my friend was right.

I look terrible.

Each morning, as I drag myself out of bed to get ready for another long day at work, I'm greeted by a raccoon in the mirror...the dark circles under my eyes are turning blacker and blacker as the days grind on, and no amount of concealer is covering the shadows.

I look terrible.

We've known for several days now that a winter storm - or, a "nor'easter", if I use proper New England terminology, was heading our way and expected to arrive this afternoon. I repeat...we've known for days.

And yet, today I was SLAMMED with an onslaught of requests from just about all 41 shelters in the state of New Jersey, begging for emergency supplies to ride out the storm...extra cots...extra blankets...extra flashlights...extra food and water....

We're talking over 600,000 people still without power, so the amounts requested were rather large...and so I was frantically trying to get the orders sent out as fast as they were coming in...with one eye watching the window so I could see when the storm arrived.

It arrived in full earnest about 3:00 pm, and the leadership told everyone to start wrapping it up and heading out, so we'd be home and sheltering in place before it got too dark and too dangerous.

What followed was a quite thorough appreciation of the New Jersey highway system, as it took a frustrating 90 minutes to travel a measly 16 miles...GAH. Crawling...a few inches at a time...I listened to music, watched the snow whipping through the clouds, and stared at the red tailights in front of me...for sixteen long miles and 90 long minutes.

Riding out a blizzard in a motel is quite fun, as you can hang out in the restaurant with dozens of other volunteers/friends, and tell war stories...there's not much else to do, as we've lost the cable television in our room, so we're deciding whether an American Red Cross snowball fight is in order, or if we should just make snow angels. For some of these volunteers, who've traveled from all over the country, it's their first time at seeing it's been rather fun seeing their reactions.

As for me, after hearing how terrible I looked, the only thing I wanted to do was to crawl up to my room, put on my jammies, blog...and then head to bed.

I plan on sleeping in, and enjoying my day off tomorrow. Snowed in can be quite fun, and I plan on making the most of resting up.

I'll feel terrific.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Typical Day....

So, I've been offline for a few days...there's a good reason for that...

I'm exhausted.

My typical day begins with leaving the hotel at 7:00 am, and fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic on US 1 Highway....and sorry, New Jersey, but your "no left turns from the left lane" policy sucks.

After a 16-mile commute, I hit the ground running - checking for emailed requests for supplies, entering orders into the computer, and running around like crazy at HQ, finding or seeking the information that I need to do my job. It's frustrating, sometimes, because I feel that for every step forward I take, I take two steps back... there's constant interruptions, and everything is a priority.

Lunch is usually provided for us, so we can avoid taking time off to go get it ourselves. A styrofoam clamshell will sit beside my laptop, as I work and eat at the same time...which does wonders for my digestion.

Meetings, phone calls, requests, conferences - it never ends. My fingers fly across the computer keyboard as the day speeds along, and I stop every so often to stand up, stretch my back out a bit, and then start all over again.

A typical staff meeting....

Soon, darkness creeps in through the window by my workspace, and after twelve hours, it's time to call it a day and head home....

There...I collapse.

I'll call home, check on the family, put on my pajamas, and head to bed. Drained. Exhausted. And sometimes unable to sleep, as my brain rushes through images of everything I still have to accomplish the next day.

Here's the good news, though...after working non-stop for 12 straight days, I get to have a day off on Thursday. That will be my 13th day on the operation...and I plan on staying in my pajamas all day and get reacquainted with my Kindle.

Before then, though, a new storm is heading our way, so time was spent the last two days insuring that I'm prepared to ride it out. Extra bottled water, snacks, heater meals and blankets are safely stashed now in the motel room, as well as flashlights and warm clothing. Before I head off to work tomorrow, I have my boots, ice scraper and gloves ready to go - as temperatures are plunging and the winds are expected to pick up. Snow, icy rain, and 50+ mph wind gusts are forecast, and knowing that I'm here because of a HURRICANE - and I'm now in long underwear - is rather ironic.

The other good news is that the insanely-long gas lines are non-existant, now. I was able to pull right in last night and top off my tank, in preparation for the storm. However - New Jersey doesn't allow you to pump your own gas, which was a whole new experience for me. That was certainly weird.

Over 5,000 American Red Cross volunteers are deployed for Hurricane Sandy, making it one of the biggest disasters, in terms of logistics, for us. I'm just one small cog in the wheel, doing my part, and when I think of all of the other volunteers who left their family and homes to be here, it makes my heart proud to be part of not only this organization, but also this country.

So...I'm heading off to dreamland now...hopefully, we won't lose power in the next few days, as I'm really, really getting tired of this...and I can't help but be worried about everyone else who might lose power in this sub-freezing temperatures.

Prayers are needed, my friends.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Night Ramblings from Somewhere in New Jersey

I'm eight days in now on this Disaster Response, and I'm to the point where I don't know what day it is - or for that matter, what state I'm in....

I left Maryland this morning with the intent to drive to New York...however, about midway there, I got orders to head to New Brunswick, New Jersey, instead. Flexibility and patience and a good sense of humor are extremely necessary when volunteering with the American Red Cross. So - to New Jersey, I went.

Being the smart person that I am, I topped off my gas tank at the very last exit in Delaware, and it's a good thing, as I was shocked when I came across my first "gas line." Wow. It's one thing to see it on CNN, but to see it in person? Miles of cars, parked along the side of the road, waiting forever to pull into the gas station... sometimes with a cop or two for traffic and temper control. Unbelievable.

I managed to make it to NJ with 3/4 of a tank still left, so I think I'm good for a few days...although HQ put me in a hotel about 17 miles from HQ, which makes for a long drive. And when gas is short - long drives are scary. Speaking of hotels, I'm in the EXACT same hotel I was in a year ago for Hurricane Irene - when I worked in Princeton, NJ...deja vu, huh? The hotel JUST got power as of 5:30 pm this afternoon, so I had incredible I didn't fancy taking another cold shower or dressing by flashlight.

Arriving at HQ, I was quickly put to work in Logistics again...although our internet here is hit or miss, so it was difficult getting my work done. I think people don't understand that we are affected by adverse conditions, as well...they don't realize that we can't always meet their needs with food or shelter, when we're working with no power, or no gas, or no water, as well. We don't have magic wands that we wave that makes everything all patience, again, is a virtue. We're doing the best we can with the limited resources we have....

The other day, while watching a piece on CNN, I heard the Staten Island mayor mention the "big salaries" that American Red Cross people get. After picking myself up from the floor after laughing so hard, I was then a little ticked. Over 90% of the responders on a disaster are volunteers - I have yet to make one DIME in the seven years I've been doing this. Not that I deserve a golden halo - or a super hero badge - but I leave my comfortable bed, home and family - travel to adverse conditions - sometimes sleeping on a cold cot or the floor - working twelve hour days - dealing with HUGE issues and problems - for up to three weeks - and I do this for NOTHING. Because I want to make a difference in the lives of people affected by a disaster. Big salary, indeed.

Here in NJ, I'm dealing with downed power lines...intermittent gas...few restaurants or amenities...sharing a room with a stranger...and I'm okay with that. I do what I have to do.

It's been a long day...and the next two weeks are going to be tough...for everyone involved.



Friday, November 2, 2012

New York, New York

Start spreading the news...

Thought I was being re-deployed to New Jersey today for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Found out I'm heading to New York tomorrow instead.


I get to New York City.

I am so thrilled.


I am so a little bit apprehensive.


This "small-town" girl - who doesn't necessarily like to drive in the "big city" of Kansas City - is so NOT looking forward to driving to New York tomorrow.

Not knowing the roads...not knowing the road closures due to the storm...not knowing if I'll even have enough gasoline for my little car...

This is going to be fun, fun, fun.


I keep telling myself that I recently drove from Kansas City to Florida - by myself - so this 5-hour drive should be a piece of cake...right?

I guess we'll see...cuz if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere...or so the song says, anyway....


P.S. If you haven't figured it out, I didn't bring my laptop on this deployment...I'm typing my blog posts on an iPad...and I am not tech savvy enough to post/upload blog will be a little picture-shy until I get back home, which will be in about two weeks....


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Visit With the Senator

"It doesn't matter where you come from. This is the United States of America and it has to be neighbor helping neighbor. Your government is on your side and is grateful."

--U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

While working at HQ today, it became very evident that a "big shot" had just walked in. An entourage of people, along with a television camera, made a dramatic entrance....I looked up to see what the hubbub was about, and noticed a little tiny, petite woman, surrounded by all sorts of aides in suits.

It was U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest serving female in Congressional history - and she was visiting Headquarters in Baltimore today.

I figured she would breeze in, do a cursory glance around, and then breeze out...but boy - was I ever wrong.

Senator Mikulski shook EVERY SINGLE PERSON'S hand in HQ today...and not only asked where we were from, but then thanked us for our volunteerism and service. She asked questions - "What are you doing?", or "How can we help you?" - and she actually REALLY listened.

I was impressed.

Our operations in Maryland and Delaware are winding down...the flood waters are receding, and the decision was made to send some volunteers, including myself, up north. Some are heading to New York, and some are heading to New Jersey.

I not only have family in NJ, but I also served there last year during Hurricane Irene - so I was hoping and praying I'd get marching orders for the Garden State, as I know the geography more than I know New York. My wishes came true, and in the morning, I'll be making the 3-hour drive north to Somerset, NJ to report to Headquarters there.

Conditions will be a bit more brutal...I'll be surprised if I end up in a motel, so I have a sleeping bag and air mattress on the ready, along with a pillow and blanket. Staff shelters - with sometimes hundreds of volunteers sleeping on cots 18" apart - are a necessary evil of a large-scale disaster. In Hattiesburg last month, for Hurricane Isaac, we had 250 people in a shelter with TWO showers. Fun times, fun times.

I'll be working at HQ again in Logistics, helping with Supply, Procurement or Transportation. Trying to supply thousands of volunteers will be a huge responsibility, and I've heard they're desperate for help. Twelve-hour days will be the norm, I'm sure.

In an "ideal" disaster deployment, an ARC volunteer can expect to have a day off after seven days on the job. Tomorrow is my 7th day, and I doubt I'll be seeing a day off for quite awhile - but that's the nature of the beast. I'm just trying to eat somewhat healthy, and rest when I can - and I know that my discomfort and exhaustion is temporary...and I keep that in mind when I feel like complaining. The residents affected by Hurricane Sandy aren't looking at "temporary" discomfort - some are looking at years of I keep my mouth shut and carry on.

Tonight, it's with a bit of uncertainty that I sign off...will I have power tomorrow, so I can post? Who knows.... Will I have gas, so I can get to where I need to be in my rental car? I guess only time will tell....

Until then -


Some facts:

*More than 7,000 people spent Wednesday night in 115 Red Cross shelters in 9 states.

*The Red Cross has served nearly 164,000 meals since the storm hit on Monday night.

*3,300 disaster workers have been deployed from all over the country.

*More than two-thirds of the ENTIRE Red Cross fleet are in the field for Hurricane Sandy...beginning to distribute meals, water and snacks in hard hit areas.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Post-Hurricane Thoughts

It's difficult, sometimes, to be "snarky" or humorous when blogging, when there is so much pain and devastation in the country right now, due to the after effects of Hurricane Sandy.

I was fortunate.

Other than losing power at 8:00 pm Monday night, and enduring a chilly night of sleep and a cold shower yesterday morning in the dark, I really haven't suffered like so many others. And my heart breaks.

Since there was no power in the room, there was no TV updates for me, during the storm or yesterday morning. Once I got to HQ yesterday, there was no time to stop and watch any of the I was really "in the dark" about the extent of the damage.

When I finally got back to the motel late last night, I was at first thrilled - because we had power. Yay.

However, after turning on the TV and tuning in to CNN, I was horrified...unbelievable what is going on in New Jersey and New York.

I know, though, that there are hundreds - if not thousands - of fellow American Red Cross volunteers on the ground in those areas, working hard to insure that the residents have shelter, food, and basic supplies to survive.

Here in Maryland and Delaware, we still have people displaced due to flooding - as we were spared most of the extreme wind damage. Shelters are still open, and so our work continues....I've been busy organizing the Logistics area, and 12-hour days will be the norm for the next few days, at least.

If things wind down here in Maryland, I may be re-deployed upstate - or I may go home. It just depends on the needs, and what the powers-that-be with the ARC decide to do with us.

Today is Halloween...I can't help but think of the thousands of children that are normally so excited about this holiday - the best one after Christmas - and how their plans of dressing up in costumes and knocking on doors for candy may be cancelled....

Santa came through HQ today, collecting candy for the children affected by the storm...

I can't help but think of the people whose homes have burnt to the ground, or been flooded out, or buried in sand...wondering how they're going to begin rebuilding their lives....

I can't help but think this is pretty much the same geographical area that was hard hit during the September 11, 2001 attacks - and how much heartache the residents have already endured....

My thoughts and prayers today are for all the people affected by this storm...the residents...the emergency responders...the government officials...the electric cres...the volunteers...the children...

I can't make it better...but I can pray for better days ahead.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Begging for Buildings

Chocolate, magazines and books....

Yup. I'm ready for the hurricane. Bring it on.

Okay...besides the necessary stuff, I also have food, water, candles and flashlights at the ready here in the motel room...and I've filled up the bathtub and sink with water. Don't laugh. It's necessary.

Anyway, today began with us waking up to the rain...the outerbands of Hurricane Sandy have hit our area, and it was dark and gloomy and dreary...a good morning to lie around in bed, but drat - no rest for the weary.

After arriving in Headquarters, I took care of some paperwork, and then took a road trip...I was sent on a mission to find a 25,000 square-foot warehouse that the American Red Cross can temporarily borrow...for free. The current warehouse in Baltimore is very small, and won't be able to logistically handle the amount of food, water and other supplies that are on their way.

Have you ever gone begging for a warehouse?

I haven't. This was relatively new...but off we went, Louie and me.

The state of Maryland had offered a warehouse, but it had been abandoned for five years...and after visiting it, we could see that it would not be suitable. It looked like something that Herman and Lily Munster entertained in, and although appropriate for upcoming Halloween, it wouldn't be appropriate for disaster relief work.

So, off Louie and I went, in the driving rain and wind, to see what else we could find. If I saw a sign "For Lease" - I was grabbing my cell phone and doing my best begging spiel...

...and it worked.

I think I've managed to snag a 25,000-square foot warehouse that will meet ALL of our needs - for FREE. (Well, the owner will get a GREAT tax deduction!)

After successfully completing our mission, it was about 12:30 pm...and the conditions outside had worsened considerably. Wind gusts, driving rain, and flooding roads...NOT fun. Pretty much all of Baltimore had shut down for the day - and we were fortunate to find a Chinese buffet that was open for lunch. Yes. Louie and I dined at a Chinese buffet in the middle of a hurricane. By ourselves. Yup. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, as no other IDIOTS were out having Chinese food in a hurricane. Fun times, fun times.

Getting back to Headquarters, we found out that leadership had just directed everyone to either shelter at HQ - or get to the motels to shelter. I grabbed my roomie, Kari, and we headed back to our motel.

Kari and roommate EVER!

Here, we have candles...flashlights...extra food to last a day or two...water...blankets...books...magazines...and a good attitude to get us through this storm.

There's already over 30,000 power outages in the Baltimore area alone, and that number is expected to rise up to 1,000,000 before tomorrow morning. Yes. A million. However, the good news is, Baltimore brought in tons of electric crews ahead of time, so they're staged and ready. we go. We're hunkered down for the night, prepared to wait it out and get back to work as soon as we can - whether that's tomorrow or Wednesday....

Be safe!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Ain't No Sunshine

For a self-professed sun goddess, I seem to find myself in some really adverse conditions...honestly, I'm not sure what bizarre personality attribute I have that drives me to chase hurricanes across the country, but whatever it is - it's annoying, and I need to stop it.

For anyone who's been living under a rock lately, I'll let you in on a bit of a not-so-secret: Hurricane Sandy is barreling her way up the coast, preparing to slam into the mid-Atlantic states, potentially leaving havoc and destruction in her wake.

And here I am.

Right in the middle of it.

It began innocently enough on Friday, when I began to have nudges that perhaps, just perhaps, I might end up deployed with the American Red, I spent Friday evening packing. Just in case, you know.

Saturday morning at 8:00 am, the phone rings - and a voice says, "You're going."

At 8:30 am, the phone rings again, and the same voice says, "Oops - made a mistake. Never mind. You're not going."

At 10:00 am, the phone rings yet a 3rd time, and the voice says, 'Oops - 3rd time's a charm - you're going. And you have to go TODAY."

What followed next was a madcap few hours spent finalizing the packing, making travel arrangements, and getting my affairs in order, as I could be gone for up to 17 days.

A mad dash to the airport, where I was met by a local reporter for a television interview, leaving me the last person to board the plane. I just made it. Whew.

A bumpy ride to Atlanta, a madcap race through the airport to make my connecting flight, and another bumpy ride to Baltimore - gathering my luggage, a rental car, and a late night drive to a motel. I collapsed, exhausted, around 11:00 pm last night.

Arriving at Headquarters this morning, I attended a brief Orientation meeting, and then hit the ground running...working in what is called "Logistics', I'm helping to insure that all the counties in both Maryland and Delaware have their needed supplies for shelters, kitchens, and headquarters.

Another meeting at 1:00 pm where the various "leads" got together to discuss how the operation is progressing - we're still "pre-storm", so we want to get as much on the ground in place as possible, before road closures and dangerous conditions ground us. It was a crazy, busy place today at HQ, for sure.

What we're doing in Maryland/Delaware is being repeated in ALL the mid-Atlantic states by other American Red Cross volunteers...New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine -
to name just a few. Insane, stressful, harried - but oh, so gratifying.

A couple of telephone media interviews, and a mad dash to a grocery store tonight to pick up some supplies that I, myself, may need in the next few days...a long day, indeed. Tomorrow, it starts right back up, and we work until the storm forces us to hunker down and take cover...and then later, we'll pop back out, assess the damage, and get back to work.

The weather turned for the worse today...cloudy, cold, windy - and the rain began this evening. I'll miss my beautiful sunshine - who knows when it will decide to make its presence felt again?

In the meantime, I guess I'll have to provide my own internal sunshine...right? :)


Pray for safety for everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Smothered Cheesy Chicken

So, in my ongoing challenge to live like I only have 30 days left, I've been making several changes in my life... of which involves cooking.

In my 50 years of living, it was very obvious that I was in what could only be referred to, as a "rut". I had a rather small collection of "go-to" recipes for dinner, and I'd recycle them, over and over, with little variety for the family. Bleh.

That's changed.

In the last week or so, I've challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone in the kitchen, and find some healthy recipes that the family will find delicious. For the most part, I've been pretty successful in this endeavor, and when I see clean plates and hear sighs of appreciation after dinner, I know that my efforts haven't been in vain.

I'll try to share some of these recipes when I can, for those who are interested. And stay tuned for future blog posts, when I discuss other ways that I've broken out of my rut...with some surprising results.

Today was a blustery, chilly day, so I opted for a comforting recipe that was surprisingly easy to make....

Smothered Cheesy Chicken...fresh out of the oven tonight!

Yum...delicious. When I make this again, I'm going to cut back a bit on the fresh parsley, and perhaps add a hint of lemon, to bring out the flavors even more....

Smothered Cheesy Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt & pepper to taste
3-4 oz sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or 4 slices)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a lightly sprayed or oiled 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Brush with oil and sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper. Divide mushrooms and parsley evenly among tops of breasts. Cover each with the shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, until chicken is no longer pink in the center and cheese is melted, 35 to 40 minutes.



Irma Who???

I always liked to think of myself as somewhat of a theater "snob"...having attended hundreds, if not thousands, of live theater performances over the years....Whether it was a Neil Simon comedy, or a Shakespearean drama, I liked to think I'd seen them all.

And then...last night happened.

And last night, I realized just what a novice I really am when it comes to theater...and just how much I have to learn.

Hubby and I have season tickets to several venues here in the Kansas City area, and last night, we headed down to one of them, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, to watch a performance of "The Mystery of Irma Vep."


"Irma, who?" is what I had been saying beforehand, as I had honestly NEVER heard of this production...would it be a comedy? A mystery? A drama? A tragedy?

Hubby and I quickly settled into our seats for a two-hour ride, little knowing that we should have worn seat belts - as this was one WILD play:

Irma Vep is a WILD, madcap farce that features two men, playing eight different characters, with over 35 costume changes...Hubby and I were in stitches the entire night, at times laughing so hard that our cheeks hurt.

There were literally jaw-dropping scenes when a character would walk off the stage in one costume, and reappear a SECOND later, dressed in a completely DIFFERENT costume!!??! The audience was left gasping in wonder, "How'd they DO that??!!"

Vampires, werewolves, mummies, Egyptian curses, Victorian society - the play ran the gamut with references to Shakespeare, Ibsen and Poe...quite appropriate for a pre-Halloween production.

As far as what it was...? It was indeed a comedy, a mystery, a drama and a tragedy - with nary a second to spare for us to catch our breath. The two fine actors on stage were excellent in ALL of their various roles, with fantastic dialogue and plot lines to work with.

You KNOW a play is good when Hubby says afterwards, "You know...I'd pay full price to see that again."

Now, THAT'S an endorsement, trust me!



*Image from HERE