Sunday, November 29, 2009

Song of the Week - 4

Wow, the Thanksgiving holiday week has come and gone, and I broke my unspoken rule - to post at least two to three times a week. I guess that life gets in the way on occasion. Picking up mom. Cramming five days of work into three. Taking off early and taking mom shopping. Finishing up last minute holiday dinner grocery shopping. Cooking. Visiting with friends, blah, blah, blah. And now it's Sunday night. Ugh.

I did manage to catch the news this weekend and heard that this new movie, "New Moon" was the biggest money maker at the box office. This movie is based on a book from the "Twilight" series - tween books about vampires, forbidden love and the supernatural, written by apparently, a Mormon housewife. I haven't read the books yet, but am anxious to. Wow, Mormon housewife writing about supernatural stuff makes me wonder if she's still accepted in her church! No "meow" intended.

When I was a kid, I became obsessed with a popular soap opera at the time. I can't tell you how I discovered this show, but can tell you that I had to run home from school every single day to watch it. My friend, Lisa, and I, would trade off watching our FAV show between her house and mine. She lived two blocks away. We were obsessed. At the time, our moms were at home and not working out of the house.

In case you're wondering, the show was Dark Shadows! OMG, a daily soap opera about the goings on at this huge house called Collinwood. The house was owned by an "old money" family called Collins. They didn't know that their long deceased relative, one Barnabas Collins, was now a vampire. Yes! A creature of the night. Among the undead. A bloodsucker. There was just all kinds of chaos happening at Collinwood, and as a kid, I couldn't get enough. My obsession was so bad that I even had the "Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows" board game. I really wish I still had that game, BTW.

I cannot recall the actual events, but I do remember my mom threatening to cut me off of my habit! Turns out one night I was screaming in my sleep. This woke my mom up. She ran into my room and once I was awake, she discovered I was screaming because of a nightmare I had about Dark Shadows. She told me I couldn't watch it any longer. NO! I freaked out. I couldn't be without my show. I begged, cried, carried on, promised to have no more nightmares, until she couldn't stand me any longer. She gave me an ultimatum - I could continue to watch, but the next time I had a nightmare - goodbye Dark Shadows. I never had another DS related nightmare - thank God.

I looked for the actual opening song to the original show. I did not find that clip with the waves crashing on the shore with the scary house in the background, but I did find a still of the house with the theme.

This week's song is the theme from that oh so FAB and scary soap opera, Dark Shadows. Sleep tight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Song of the Week - 3

I was a kid in the 60s and in my opinion, that was the best time to grow up. That may seem strange considering it was such a turbulent time. The very unpopular Vietnam war was raging on, students were protesting, the civil rights movement was in full swing, horrible assassinations happened, the Manson family went on a murderous spree, California was being terrorized by Zodiac Killer.

On the bright side, cartoons were awesome and TV shows were too. I think it was mandatory for every TV show to have a great theme. That was probably because they were penned and performed by incredible bandleaders like Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Quincy Jones, to name a few. Clothes were fun and colorful, printed with things like flowers and peace signs. We could even put washable tattoos on our skin or clothes - Lancelot Links, Secret Chimp was available in Jiffy Pop popcorn. The other great thing about growing up in the 60s was all the fab music.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm pretty much obsessed with my hair. It is curly. Throughout my life, my curl pattern has varied, and sadly, I have had my share of bad hair cuts. I don't deal well with that. This week's song is a favorite (really, I have so many favorites). This was one of the many songs that we used to "go-go" dance in the living room to, surely to my parents' dismay.

I must say, before introducing this week's song, that I've always loved long hair on guys. True, not all guys wear it well, but why not grow it while you can? There will come a time when guys will either have to buzz their hair because of sports, or military service, or they join the corporate world, or they just start balding. When I see young guys with suede heads I am so tempted to say, "dude grow it while you can!"

The song, Hair, was from the theatrical production of the same name. There was also a very popular soundtrack. The version that was played on the radio, was recorded by (the real life inspiration for the Partridge Family) The Cowsills. I searched for vintage footage of this one but the only vintage footage was not very clear. This one was recorded live in this decade by the now adult Cowsills. I like that their live version has the verse that never made it to the popular recorded version:

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don't my mother love me?

Enjoy and possibly go-go dance in your living room.

Semper Fi, Pop

I was up and on the road early yesterday. I made the 99 mile trek up to my mom's house. My mission was to pick her up and bring her back to the cat house for the Thanksgiving holiday. When I got there, she was packed and ready to go. I did have one other mission, to hit the safety deposit box.

I was hoping to find my dad's draft registration, birth certificate, marriage or divorce records, or anything that might mention Lola. I didn't find any of these (hmm, obviously they were removed and are elsewhere) but I did find my dad's U.S.M.C. Honorable Discharge document.

Back at the cat house, we started reading the document. I discovered a few things about my dad that I was never aware of. I knew his service was in the Pacific, and now I have the time frame - from 15 Sept 1945 to 14 Aug 1946. He was inducted on the 22nd day of May 1945. His complexion was noted as "ruddy". His "Special military qualifications - Air Hydraulic, Mechanic" and Weapons qualification - Marksman - Rifle. He received a Good Conduct Medal and had no offenses.

My sister and I were intrigued by the mechanic qualification. Now, I am not sure if this qualification was aircraft or vehicle, but a mechanic none the less. During our teen years, when the cars would make weird noises or something didn't seem right, we'd always go to dad for help. His answer never changed, "Don't ask me. I'm not the damn mechanic." Well, pop, apparently you were.

His monthly rate of pay when discharged was $90.00. On the 26th day of August, 1946, he was "furnished" travel allowance at the rate of five cents per mile from San Diego, California to Maywood, California and was "paid $223.73 in full to date of discharge."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Imperial Margarine and the effects of advertising on kids

I was raised by a mother that at the time would have been considered either a "food faddist" or a "health food nut". We didn't have white bread or white rice, and white sugar was scarce. We also didn't have dessert on any regular basis. My mom brought us up to believe that yogurt or cottage cheese with canned peaches was dessert. On occasion, she would bake peanut butter cookies and then my little sister and I would get one cookie each, one night a week, before going to bed. That was a treat!

My dad basically went along with my mom's "rules", as long as he had the stuff he liked. He was a major meat and potatoes guy that was raised in the depression and considered things like hot dogs and sliced potatoes to be comfort food.

My parents would usually do the weekly grocery shopping on Saturdays. Sometimes, though, things ran out during the week, or were just missed on the Saturday shopping trip. One time in particular sticks with me.

My little sis and I were both determined to try this Imperial Margarine. Why not, really? After all, you could eat a piece of bread that was "buttered" with this margarine, and music would play and a crown would suddenly be on your head! Well, who wouldn't want that? We begged my mom for this margarine, but to no avail. She was a Mazola gal all the way. That was the only margarine allowed in our house.

It just so happened that the Mazola was out and an "emergency", out of the weekly norm shopping trip was required. My dad was pegged with that job. My dad was nowhere near as strict with products as my mom. My sister and I went to the store with our dad. Our begging worked with my dad, and luckily we convinced him to get Imperial Margarine instead of Mazola. We were quite excited. The crown was finally in sight!

Well, we got home and unpacked the grocery bag. Much to my mom's horror, we did not bring home Mazola. She hit the roof and demanded this "crap" be returned and replaced with Mazola. We lost the battle. My dad gave in and off to the store he went to return the Imperial. Needless to say, little sis and I were not happy. The crown that was so close, was now completely out of reach.

So, for just a moment here, as you watch the video below, reconnect with your inner child and tell me if you did, or would have bought the "concept". On the other hand, how would you have felt once you did bite into that bread "buttered" with Imperial Margarine and there was NO music and NO crown on your head? To me, although I never got to try it, that would have been a HUGE disappointment. And, how exactly did the advertisers plan to defend their lies? Obviously the adults knew better, but let's face it, ads are not really geared towards knowing adults. Ads are geared towards kids that believe and then torture their parents into buying something. Sadly, maybe, my mom didn't buy into the kid torture. Maybe I should contact Mad Men for an interview and explanation of this. Oh wait, they're not real either.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The cats of the house - Louie

Louie is my elder cat. The alpha cat, actually, of the house. He came into my life as a little kitten back in 1997. His mother lived on the grounds where I worked at the time.

One morning, my desk phone rang. It was our receptionist. I answered the phone and could tell I was on the speaker. The receptionist was telling me that there was someone that wanted to see me, while I could hear humans mimicking cats (meowing) in the background. I had no choice but to head out quickly to the reception area.

When I got there, I found a tiny little kitten in a box. He was so tiny that he fit in the palm of my hand. A few of the ladies in the office saw him outside the reception doors and caught him. They got him some milk from the cafeteria (well meaning I know, even though milk is not good for cats or kittens). I picked him up and held him. He was so small, and shaking. He smelled horrible and his eyes didn't look right.

I immediately said I'd take him and got my purse and took him to my vet. I asked the vet to run the normal tests and to begin the vaccination process and said I'd be back to get him at the end of the day. When I went to pick him up, I was told the norm - keep him segregated from the other cats until the test results are back and there is no danger of any contagious illnesses. The vet sent us home with oral antibiotics and eye drops that I was to give to him twice a day, as he seemed to have an infection of some sort in his eyes.

When we got home, my alpha cat at that time, Max, wanted to know what I had. Max was a beautiful cat, but not known for his manners or friendly behavior. I had to keep the little guy in my room with the door closed. Max was not used to the door being closed and spent the entire night outside of the door, scratching at it and just carrying on. I couldn't allow Max to see the little guy though.

The little guy was scared and exhausted. I put him on my bed and he finally just collapsed, his little limbs didn't even bend as he fell sideways close to me and went to sleep. As I looked at him, I began to get teary-eyed, hoping for his clean bill of health, as I was already becoming attached.

The next morning, the vet gave him a clean bill of health! Thank God. I was still nervous, though, to let Max too close to the baby, as I didn't quite know what Max would do. I sat in the chair with the little guy on my lap while Max demanded to see this thing. The little guy was equally interested in Max, so I carefully and slowly let them see each other. Max was so good and gentle and really loved the little guy. Suddenly, the little one wanted to get off of my lap and hang out with Max on the floor. While they were on the floor together, Max's big fluffy tail was shaking and the baby couldn't help but attack it. They bonded immediately and were thick as thieves until we lost Max two years later.

For the next two weeks, I gave the baby his antibiotics and eye drops twice daily. His eyes were looking better, yet still not right. When we went for our two week check up, the vet, upon investigating, told me the baby had a birth defect (and gave me the Latin term that I'll never remember) where his eyelids never completely developed. This generally happens in the womb. He said that if I was going to allow the babe to go outdoors, I'd need to get him plastic surgery as that was his only means of protecting his eyes from the outdoor elements. If animals eyes get infected it can be fatal. I was keeping my cats indoors, so that was not an issue.

The baby was also a loud talker from the second day with me. I thought about an appropriate name for him and decided on Louie. He is named after Louie Prima, the great singer and bandleader. My dad was a huge fan and we grew up listening to Prima. FYI - Louie Prima was the voice of King Louie from the cartoon, The Jungle Book, and King Louie's moves and those of the his band of apes, were inspired by Louie Prima and the Witnesses.

My Louie is such a joy and a very lovable guy. Everyone that meets him is not only taken with his personality, but intrigued by his eyes. He certainly makes my life more enjoyable and he is a creative inspiration for me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Song of the Week - 2

This week's song seems appropriate. My blog is called Cathouseprints (as is my not yet populated Etsy shop). I've always been around cats. I have always loved cats. For most of my life, I've always had cats.

I grew up during a time when one television in the house was the norm (gasp, I know). Some of the popular TV shows were Bonanza, Lawrence Welk, Hawaii 5-0, Perry Mason, Tom Jones, etc. Growing up when I did, with one TV, the shows were most likely dictated by your parents (suprise, kids, not you). I'm really not sure why or when that changed. Could it be that my generation and the one after mine, has taken to completely spoiling children?

Back in the 60s, when I was very young, my parents got me a Donald Duck record player. What good is a record player, without a record? My parents got me a 45 (record), my very first as far as I can recall. I loved that record and that song! I would play it and sing along. Why not, I not only love the song, I love the singer, the songwriter, the movie and cats.

Here ya go - song of the week - week 2 - What's New Pussycat. Sung by Tom Jones. Written by Burt Bacharach! Movie written by the newly introduced,Woody Allen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Facebook in Heaven

I love a good mystery, especially if it is of a “supernatural” nature. Why wouldn’t I? I was the kid that grew up having tarot cards, Ouija board and watching scary movies (back in the day before “slasher” movies). Imagine my excitement one day when a friend came in looking like she’d just seen a ghost, her hand clutching at her chest feeling like she was going to pass out.

My friend Marilyn (not her real name) lost her husband in November of 2008. She joined Facebook (FB) in December of 2008. Flash forward about 10 months. To say the least, she was freaking out! She had just returned from a business trip and decided to check her personal email which she hadn’t been able to do for a few days. She had an email from FB that her deceased husband, Jack (not his real name) had accepted her friend request. What? How could this be? She did confess that when she did join, she searched for Jack, but his name is common and there were many. Besides, why would she send him a friend request?

Since her deceased husband had accepted her apparent friend request, Marilyn was able to view his FB wall. Things there were logical. She was his only friend and the only other thing on his wall was that he’d joined a FB kidney dialysis support group. The avatar used as his profile picture was one she said suited his personality and that he would have picked. The email address in his profile information was one of his actual email addresses. This particular email address was a freebie he got with a newspaper subscription. She did mention that she thought the email address shouldn’t be good any longer as she never renewed the subscription. The other thing - his birthday was correct.

Our mutual friend, Joan (not her real name) decided to send a friend request to Jack. She also sent him a message via FB. These messages are sent to an email address. Within a few minutes, the email came back as undeliverable. That made sense because Marilyn had not renewed the newspaper subscription. It was either later that day or early the next, that Joan got a message from FB that Jack had accepted her friend request. She then wrote on his FB wall, but never got a comment back.

We discussed the possibilities of what the heck was going on. It seemed interesting to me that Marilyn got the original notice from FB after returning from her trip. She said she was finally beginning to feel at peace over her loss and could finally be at certain places that reminded her of their time together, without crying. Could it then be that with her new found sense of peace, Jack really tried to make contact with her, however brief? Was it possible that someone had not only hacked Jack’s FB account, but Marilyn’s as well, to play a cruel joke? I guess it’s possible, yet I somehow find that hard to imagine. Joan did write a little about this on her own FB wall and had a few friends send her messages that they have heard of this happening. One friend even said he’s heard of a medium that has been very busy with clients having similar experiences.

A few weeks ago, Marilyn was at home on a Sunday evening checking FB. She got a chat message from “Jack”. The message said, “How you doing?” When he was alive, he would call her at night when she was on business trips and when she’d answer her phone he would always say, “How you doing?” She did reply, but the exchange stopped there.

I just love the idea of deceased loved ones trying to contact us through vehicles such as FB (remember, me with tarot cards and Ouija boards) and really don’t want to consider the possibility of this being criminal behavior. I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Has anyone out there heard of or experienced anything like this?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Song of the Week

Back when I decided to start a blog, one thing I wanted to include was a "feature" called Song of the Week. This will feature songs that for whatever reason, have meant something to me throughout my life. I hope to share some details as to what each song meant.

The very first Song of the Week (back when this was in my head, I had already picked the premier song) is just so cool. Love this song. It makes me happy and holds happy memories (yet I couldn't begin to tell you what they are).

The Flirtations - Nothing But a Heartache.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Latina Style

Some people accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, while others accomplish little. What is it that drives some to achieve their goals while others can’t seem to get it together? I tend to fall into the latter category, I’m afraid. Not a great place for someone with dreams. I recently checked the alumni page of my high school senior class and was shocked to see how many classmates are now deceased. One in particular caught me by such surprise that I was immediately motivated to Google her.

Anna Arias (aka Anna Maria Arias) was in my class. We didn’t run in the same circle, but I knew who she was - a cheerleader, a class officer, and a loyal friend (from what I’ve read). She passed away October 1, 2001, succumbing to the illness aplastic anemia.

She was someone that had the drive to see her dreams become reality. She went to Hawaii once and fell in love with it. She told her mom that she was going to move there. She got a summer job and saved her money. She moved there! While in Hawaii, she worked and went to college. She graduated college and then moved to the DC area and found herself in politics. Seeing a need, she became a driving force for the economic empowerment of Latinas. She started a magazine called Latina Style. In 1998 she created the Latina Style Business Series as a way to give back to her readers. What she contributed in her 41 years is impressive. Her drive to help others succeed was, and is, commendable.

I did go to my local Borders Books to pick up the latest issue of Latina Style. Although they had the current issue of Serial Killer Magazine, sadly, they did not have Latina Style Magazine. I wonder if that is a sign to move to a new city.

Teachers come to us in many forms. Anna’s time on earth (in my opinion) helped, promoted and improved the lives of so many - and not just Latinas, but women and people in general. What she and her magazine offers can help anyone. She is proof that a dream and drive can produce desired and positive results.

This is my small tribute to an amazing woman. Please read more about her here where her life is better documented.

If you knew Anna, are familiar with the magazine, or are just inspired, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

US Census

My previous post about Lola features a photo. It occurred to me that there could be an assumption that she is the woman in the photo. Not so. That is a picture of my mom and dad before they were married. Just thought I should clarify.

Here is a picture of my dad when he was a young teenager with two women. I have no idea who these women are. Could one of them be Lola? I have studied the photo, looking for any resemblance between my dad and either woman, but cannot see any. I know there is a photo of Lola somewhere. Apparently my dad carried a picture of her. I have all the photos and am slowly going through them.

I have to say I am so thankful for something called The US Census. Not sure where my search would be without it. I have been able to piece some things together with the help of these documents, along with the stories I've heard. So far, the last thing I have been able to find is Lola in the 1930 Census. It seems that she vanished after that. The 1940 Census will not be released until some time in 2010.

How sad that she could just vanish. How does that happen? I wonder if she "knows" she has granddaughters looking for her. I believe that somewhere there are the children and grandchildren of her siblings. Someone must know something. So, the search continues.