Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Indian Blanket (and other slings and arrows of no particular interest)

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I must confess that I've been battling some feelings of depression for the last several days.  (I know the difference from "feeling down" and this.  When I'm upset about something, I'm anxious to get it off my chest...with depression, I pull it around my shoulders like an Indian blanket & for the most part, withdraw from the rest of the world.)  

It always starts the same way; never any "big" thing, but a series of bothersome events that seem to spiral together & overwhelm me.  (I think it'd be a mistake to go into annoying details here.  No one really cares, and why should they?  Plus I'm sure that a year from now, it will all read as silly and inconsequential.)  It will pass when it does. Hoever, there are two things that worry me.  And since I'm writing about crummy stuff anyway...  

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The economy continues to get worse; as does my 401K, which lost 41000 dollars this year.  (Almost half of what I had accumulated.)  Hearing "You're not alone" is no help, either 

 

One final thought about this:  earlier in the week when I began feeling out of sorts, I went online to a 'message board forum' I frequent and (half-joking) wrote "Today is my 100th day of being smoke-free; and nobody cares!"  This was a response I received from my UK pal Andrew, who always manages to make me smile.    

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"Enough of this talk about humdrum tedium and nobody caring. You live the life you have chosen and we amongst many others are particularly partial to your abracadbra - across the East Riding of Yorkshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Irish Sea, Ireland, across the mighty Atlantic Ocean and Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and finally down your street and up into your flat, undiminished by distance, I send warm regards and kind thoughts.   You big f-cking girly. Put the kettle on and fill the biscuit tin, we're all coming round."  

Thanks Andrew—appreciated! 

617D5C2B848A9C67_4366_3Meanwhile, when it comes to issues... Marcia Brady tells all  

It's not exactly a secret that I was a fan of the Brady Bunch growing up (and in fact, still am to an extent; I should be embarrassed about the amount of 'Brady Trivia' I can spout off at a moment's notice). 

So when I heard Maureen McCormick's autobiography was being released this week, I whimpered a little in gratitude first, before rushing out to get my copy.    

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I've only read the first couple chapters so far, but this book is turning out to be a real treasure.  She begins the book with "Imagine going thru your life always being shadowed by a prettier, more popular, younger you."  It really sets the tone of things--in fact, I'm only 40 pages into it & finding one surprise after another. 

(She's a clone of her father, she jokingly considered Florence a "closeted sexpot", she was obsessed with Eve Plumb's breast size, she fantasized about marrying Robert Reed, on & on...)  

I know what's coming--she's been all over the news this week, doing talk-show confessions of sex for drugs in the 80s and some other tragic mistakes.  But I can't help feeling a lot of affection for her.  When Barry Williams (Greg) wrote his book ("I was a Teenage Brady"), his stories were told from a witness' viewpoint.  When Maureen is recounting her experiences, she does it with real love & genuine humility.  She grew up in a poor household & was always surprised & intimidated by the better lifestyles of everyone else on the show.   

And finally, on a lighter note--ApacheDug's Pizza now delivers...  

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My personal website on a custom baseball cap; I'm surprised at the number of people who asked for one  

 

Last week at my niece Sophie's 4th birthday party, my sister Donda & other niece Drew gave me an early birthday present; a customized baseball cap with the logo, 'ApacheDug's Teepee' stitched on the front.   (I love it, but discovered it was a bit pricey; I don't think I'll be having a case of these made.)

So anyway, yesterday afternoon I decided to try out the new pizza place that just opened a couple blocks from my apartment.  It's run by an Italian family, and you really get what you pay for; I ordered a medium deluxe pizza that must've weighed 10 pounds.  (I even took a photo for an upcoming blog about dining out.)

617D5C2B848A9C67_4366_6 I walked up the street to pick it up, but it was cold outside so I slipped on my Apachedug cap.  When I got back to my apartment building, there was a guy in the lobby getting his mail, saw me & said "Smells good."   I just smiled at him and headed upstairs.

This afternoon I'm going out (to go grocery shopping) and there's that same guy, coming in with a woman, they're talking about some football game and he's saying "Why don't we get a pizza?  Some guy from Apache's Teepee delivered one here yesterday and that thing smelled good."   What the—!! 

I wanted to say something, but the door shut before I had a chance;   I guess he didn't recognize me without my pizza delivery cap.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

There is life outside the Teepee (and someday I’ll take part in it)

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Sometimes it just doesn't feel right, writing about personal feelings or the mundane assortment of details that comprise my humdrum existence, when there's so much..."news" in the world.  

In the last couple weeks the country's been plunged into an economic tailspin, an American legend (Paul Newman) dies, in a month we'll have either our first black president or first female vice president... (I'll be voting for Obama, but I truly wonder if it will make a difference who gets in that office.)

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I keep this wonderful book within arm's reach; it's really just 'common sense' items, but don't underestimate those simple reminders that we worry too much about things out of our control

So my life continues on it's quiet little way...and I'm going to do my best to just go on doing what I've been doing all along--going to work & enjoying my time spent with family & friends, good books and movies & television, and writing about inconsequential things.  (Okay, & praying my 401K regains some of that 20K loss!) 

Speaking of Family (and getting out once in awhile)...

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My sisters Shawn (center) and Donda, from this past Wednesday

A couple days ago I took a day off in the middle of the week to head south, for no special reason other than to visit with my sisters & nieces. 

We all went to IHOP for dinner & I got to spend some extra time with my older niece, Drew.  (It's hard to believe she'll be 15 soon!)  I've always loved the kid dearly, but the older we all become, the more I genuinely LIKE her.   She's just your average American girl who's been blessed with above average looks & a loving family--and she doesn't take any of it for granted.

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My niece Drew is growing up

(My only regret was that the day couldn't have lasted longer; by the time Shawn joined us, I only had 90 minutes or so until it was time for me to leave.)  Still a nice time, though.  And I'll be seeing everyone next weekend, for my OTHER niece Sophia's 4th birthday party. 

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Speaking of Travel (and good people...)

I'm not sure what I'm waiting for.  For as long as I can recall, I've always had this fascination with England.  As a kid, I'd look at photos of those quaint English villages with their cobblestone streets & odd wooden signs above various pubs & shops, & felt an odd sense of comfort...nostalgia, almost.

The older I get, the more I know I need to plan a visit there.

Of course the fascination isn't an uncommon thing; with it's assortment of castles & royalty, Piccadilly Circus & the West End, famous attractions like London Bridge & Stonehenge...I know, I sound like the inside of a cheap travel brochure! 

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Who wouldn't want to see some great castles? Or Saint Paul's Cathedral?

And basically, that's all I want; to sign up for some ordinary run-of-the-mill plan & visit all the touristy stuff.  (It's just something I don't want to do alone.) 

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Interview with an Englishman (my online friend Andrew)

Andrew is a 41 year old man who lives in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England; he's been with his lovely wife Kerry (who he refers to as "The Kezzer")  for 16 years.  Together they have 2 beautiful daughters, Phoebe who's 11 and Charlotte who's 3.

When he isn't nursing the populace back to health, he devotes his spare time to family, gardening, motorcycles, guitars and cooking.   A gentleman in every sense of the word, Andrew also has a wit sharper than a Ginsu knife.  Here's a small Q&A session we had:

Q: Andrew, how far do you live from Buckingham Palace?                           

A: Not far enough.

Q: I know you've often expressed disdain for the Royal Family.  How come you don't love 'em like us Americans do?

617D5C2B848A9C67_4281_8[1] A: They’re just the hangover of a feudal mafia. They represent to me the very worst aspects of class division. The more we learn of how much they have strong-armed, robbed, and sponged from the working class, how much land and property they ‘own’, and the more we learn of their tawdry secrets and lack of any moral compass, the more we realise what a ghastly outfit they truly are. I’d nationalise them and return all they have to the people.

617D5C2B848A9C67_4281_9[1] Q:  Finish this quote:  "My favourite Beatle is..."

A:  George Harrison. I must confess that I’m not a huge Beatles fan, my man. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a pretty tidy popular beat combo but they do not figure massively in my record collection. My best mate is a Beatlemaniac, and I like to argue that ABBA put out better stuff – it makes him apoplectic…

Q:  It seems to me that the British are ahead of the US when it comes to racial equality & gay rights.  Why do you suppose that is?

A: Well, it seems to me like stating the bleedin’ obvious, but we are just generally more concerned with the welfare of our fellow citizens, more inclusive, less disenfranchising. America still operates on a frontier mentality, it seems to me.

617D5C2B848A9C67_4281_10[1]Q: I know you're a vegetarian, what's your favorite dish?   Do you miss fish n' chips?

A:  I don’t really have a favourite dish. I grew up in a very racially diverse place, so I love Indian and Pakistani food, Italian and West Indian food, too, as well as all the regional British classics. I don’t miss fish. I’ve been a vegetarian 25 years now and never missed flesh of any kind. Meat is murder – Morrissey said so!

Trust me, the man was on his best behavior here--he even said as much later, knowing this is a 'family friendly' site.  (But to know him is to love him...the more wicked the better!)

Thanks again, Andrew

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