I'm a wreck.
Hair's on end, clothes on backwards, holes in pants (not the cool kind)….that's when I'm going out.
I don't know what's happened to me. Old age? Bad hips? Don't give a shit? All of the above?
Back in the day, you'd never catch me out unless I was fully loaded. Hair done, face on, heels. A trip to the grocery store presented a fashion opportunity, not a dreaded chore. Okay, I didn't always look great at the grocery store.
Or, maybe I did...
Often, I put on a baseball cap and flats for a quick skip to Ralph's or Whole Foods. Of course, my hair was freshly washed, but maybe not blown out. My face wasn't photo ready, but still. A dab of concealer, a hint of blush, a berry lip stain. My baseball cap was cool, maybe something pricey, hard to find, from the early 20th Century, African American Baseball League perhaps - just cause I'm a white girl didn't mean I couldn't get all hip-hop on your ass. And, my flats came from Kate Spade or Tory Burch.
Oh, those were giddy days.
Last week, I made a mad dash to the grocery store. I'd been cooking for days, getting ready for surgery, putting stuff in the freezer for hubby. I waited till the last possible minute to go. I needed the ingredients in, like, three seconds. So, I grabbed my army green drab jacket (Hubby calls me Castro when I wear it) tennis shoes with no laces, and took off.
I didn't look in a mirror before I left. Let's face it. Who cares?
I remembered I needed to pick up a prescription. So, I stood in the pharmacy line, waiting. My head itched. I scratched the top. Ack. When did I last wash it? I groped further back. The hair there felt flattened and matted.
From which night? I looked around, kinda embarrassed. I noted the quarter-ton woman in animal print leggings, tank top, her braless boobs doing a gelatinous dance around her waistband, and shrugged.
Feeling a little better, I patted my hair into place, a reflex I suppose. During the pat down, I hit something crusty.
The hair over my ear stuck stiff to my skin. Without calling attention to myself (I kept the gagging sounds pretty well under wraps) I did some more exploration. Whatever crusted to my hair, clung to my ear. I scraped at it and held my finger out.
WAS I BLEEDING? Did I have blood RUNNING down my head? OMG. I looked around again, thinking I'd see horrified faces, pointing, or someone motioning the paramedics in my direction.
Nope. Just Tina the Tiger in her leggings and long, swaying, boobs, picking the three teeth she still had in the front with a 50% off coupon, not glancing at me at all.
Then I did what primates have been doing since we've evolved from the dirt.
I smelled it. Hmmmm….it didn't smell like blood. Upon closer inspection it looked a little too orange too. I had no choice. I had to taste it.
Marinara sauce... from the pizza I ate at lunch. Huh.
I finished my finger snack, got my prescription, and went on with my shopping.
In for a pound...
If you're ever in the congo and you need the lice picked out of your hair…I'm your girl.
"Can you believe it?" I told my daughter on the phone when I got home. She laughed, loud, for like, five minutes. "I'm a hot mess," I said.
"No, you're not, Mom," she said. "You're savory….a feast for the eyes."
I'm a college basketball fan by marriage.
Ok. That's a stretch.
I've watched a lot of college basketball since I've been married.
Ok. That's a stretch too.
I've been in the room a bunch of times when college basketball is on TV.
Now, college basketball is all over our TV.
It's March, baby! That means it's March Madness time. AKA the NCAA Division One Basketball Tournament. Despite what the name indicates it doesn't start and end in March. It starts in March and lasts a couple of years.
So, now its time to throw your hat in the ring (or on the court) and fill out your brackets! AKA Bracketology. It's the last day to participate. I'm sure that'll put the fear of the basketball Gods into you.
For those of you in the know, Bracketology is a familiar term, and a real word.
For those of you in the dark, it's like those office football pools. You pick who you think is gonna win but you gotta pick winners for every game.
All 64 of them. Whoever picks the most wins…wins.
I win a lot.
And no, I don't pick by favorite uniform color. How dumb would that be?
I use a complicated, detailed, well researched, and delicately balanced system. Never before revealed. Until today. For you.
A peek at my Bracket:
The first thing you need to do is look at the numbers.
The teams are rated by numbers, one is the highest. I have no idea what the lowest number is. Who cares? They call these numbers seeds. Asinine, I know. As far as I know nothing is growing, except my impatience for the whole damn thing to get over with. Anyhoo, if you're a number one seed that means you're the most likely to win.
So, I pick a lot of those top numbers, say one through three, first. Duh.
Occasionally a number ten will beat a number two.
This is called an upset.
Mostly because when it happens no one's picked that number ten to win and they get REALLY upset. Hubby yells at the TV and drinks more.
Now my system gets a little more complicated. Feel free to print.
I always pick Gonzaga because I like to say it.
I always pick Xavier because it's, like, the coolest name ever. Just rolls off the tongue like a fine French wine.
I always pick Kansas because my daughter was born there.
I never pick UNC because their coach, Roy Williams, gets on my last nerve. The few times I've seen him on TV (when I wasn't in a self induced coma) there's just something about him I don't like. To add insult to injury, their team is called the Tar Heels. WTF?
I never pick Georgetown because when I visited there I was disappointed in their restaurant scene. You see my point.
I always pick Wisconsin because my mom was born there.
I always pick UCLA because who doesn't love Westwood? Hip, cool, on the fringes of Hollywood. What's not to love?
I pick Oklahoma because the Pioneer Woman lives there.
I always pick Florida (I've picked them to win it ALL) because Versace's house is there and hubby and I ate a zillion dollar dinner there on vacation once. They have the best drag queens too - which is big.
And, finally, I've taken Duke pretty much off the list because their coach dyes his hair and lies about it. He's almost 70 years old and his hair is pitch, shoe polish, black.
Who ya kiddin, Mike?
No good can come from that, my friend.
Kathleen O'Donnell is the author of The Last Day for Rob Rhino a Foreward Review finalist for the Independent Book of the year in Adult General Fiction.
Death is an unpleasant event. For all the obvious reasons.
When the time came, finally, for my mother's memorial, I dreaded it.
For one thing, she died four months ago. My hip surgery immediately afterward stalled the date. So, this final piece of business lingered and I had a lot of time to not look forward to it.
I wasn't prepared for the joy.
Or, for my life to change in one day.
My mother's friends and neighbors are old school. When someone dies, they pay their respects. It's how it's done. They don't even have to know you very well. They're there. It's a small town. There's lots of little feuds among them. Nothing too Hatfield and McCoy, but still.
No matter, it's all set aside.
My husband and I hosted a BBQ with all the trimmings. But, here they all came, no one empty handed. They brought their cakes, pies, macaroni salads. It's the first time I can recall that a tray of deviled eggs made me cry.
There's no better balm for the soul than an entire community of people who gather for one common purpose: to share their love with you and your family.
Most everyone had a story to tell about my mom. Some I knew, some I heard for the first time yesterday. Without exception, they saw my mother as her best self, giving, loving, willing to help anyone who needed it.
I hated to acknowledge this ending, and feared I'd have nothing left of my mother when we left. But, this was the most precious gift, their love for her, magnified.
After my husband's beautiful, loving and dignified eulogy, we trudged up the hill my mother'd chosen for her final resting place, my best friend from girlhood, who I hadn't really seen in 30 years, held my hand all the way up. Just like when we were twelve, conquering the world, together.
I felt awash with gratitude for all the people in my life who wish me well, who overlook my faults, who love me and think I have something of value to bring to the table.
Instead of sadness, I felt happier than I had in quite a while, up there on that desolate hill with my family and friends.
A weight lifted, a decision made.
I believe that for most of us, life isn't short. It's long. Misery, bitterness, and anger only make it longer, the load heavier. It's days like this and the people who think it's their job to offer sustenance when you need it, and who offer up a pure heart - those are the things I'll keep.
Everything else, like my mother's ashes, blowing in the wind - I let go.
The blogosphere will be a twitter (that's funny, I don't care who you are) with all things Oscar today. Since I only watch for the red carpet and the monologue, I'm woefully uninformed.
Rather than blather on ad nausea about how Ellen killed (she did) or that Lupita Nyong'o ruled every carpet she walked this season (she did) I thought I'd regale you instead with my view of movies past and present that got a whole lotta lovin' from everyone except from me.
Some, but not all, were Oscar contenders or winners. I think.
1. Citizen Kane:
My name is Kathleen and I hated this movie.
It's entirely possible I didn't get it. It's also likely, given Hollywood's overblown tendency to love itself since the invention of film, that despite the kudos this film gets fifty odd years after its making, it really does suck.
I dunno. I only know that I could barely stay awake. And don't think I wasn't pissed, after sitting on the edge of my seat (or almost falling off the couch after nodding off) to find out who Rosebud was, only to learn she was a sled.
Citizen Crock of Shit is more like it.
Disclaimer- The only thing I've ever seen Orson Welles in that I found remotely interesting was the episode of I Love Lucy where he does a Shakespeare soliloquy and his magic show at Club Babaloo and then Lucy…wait...does this make me seem like a wacko?
Given that revelation, you might want to stop reading here.
The last time I saw a movie with a man in a toga that I liked, John Belushi was wearing it.
I have the sensibilities of a 15 year old boy, perhaps, but this is yet another film that I suspect everyone says they love because they're afraid to say otherwise. It's Ghandi, for God's sake. Or, for Buddha's sake, or Shiva or Vishnu…whatever.
Hunger strikes are a downer, what can I say?
3. The Green Mile:
Remember this one?
It started out as a Stephen King experiment. He sold it in installments instead of as one gigantic novel, which is weird, since every tome King puts out weighs in at about 12 pounds.
Anyhoo, the movie was no different.
In case you need plot points, it told the story of some guys on death row, all apparently misunderstood because I think we were supposed to feel sad they were about to get fried. Especially that one giant guy who had magical powers but not magical enough to make the movie less excruciating.
It went on FOREVER.
By the end I volunteered to get in the chair myself and pull my own switch.
4. The English Patient:
Another film in which I prayed for death. His.
5. Most Woody Allen films:
Never mind his icky personal life. We're talking film here and most of his make me nuts in the first ten minutes.
First of all, he never shuts up. I think his neurotic narcissism is supposed to endear the audience to him. Instead, it makes me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.
Second, he always has a hot wife or girlfriend. Or, he has a choice of hot wives or girlfriends.
Clearly, its why he writes the scripts.
Third, there is no third.
6. 127 Hours:
That mountain climber guy who cuts his own arm off to get off the cliff. I think most of the audience would've done the same to get out of the theater.
One of those based on a true story films. I've read the guy still mountain climbs.
What a dumb ass.
I might hate this movie because James Cameron is a pretentious dick.
Yeah, that's it.
8. 12 Years a Slave- Two would've been plenty.