Monthly Archives: November 2012

I Dream of Launches

Robert-McCALL--Mercury-launch,-Cape-Canaveral

Robert-McCALL–Mercury-launch,-Cape-Canaveral (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)

 

English: Publicity photo of Larry Hagman and B...

English: Publicity photo of Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sad to hear about Larry Hagman‘s death.  So many people remember him as J.R. Ewing, of course, but I loved his earlier, cuter role as Major Tony Nelson In I Dream of Jeannie.  That show captured the joie de vivre of the space program.  The bright, sunshiny palette of Barbara Eden‘s pink harem pants,  Cocoa Beach sands, pink and turquoise motels, astronauts wearing their BanLon shirts charging around in their gleaming Corvettes . . . it all reflects the energy and optimism of America at this time, perhaps the last time we felt hopeful and proud of our country en masse.  There was a powerful naivete about the space program.  When you see the the dated, clunky launch room computers at  the Kennedy Space Center  exhibit(ashtrays all over the place, naturally), you just think,  “Holy shit, it truly was a miracle that we got to the moon!”

 

My mom and dad moved to Cocoa Beach when my dad completed law school.  They lived in a concrete block apartment with those fantastical concrete screens that we never see anymore.   Mom said she remembered working as a secretary in the space industry, and everyone would just abandon whatever they were doing when a rocket tested or launched, running out to the beach and celebrating with cocktails.

 

Today I live in Merritt Island (“The Place Where Dreams Are Launched”) and I’m constantly on the prowl for 1950s and 1960s houses that are relatively intact.  (Alas, there aren’t that many — they all got tackified with stucco and bay windows in the 1980s.) I was driving around Cape Canaveral the other day, and I found this old apartment complex called Palms East that was sick with midcentury detail — pastel colors, concrete screens, carports with angled roofs.  It’s easy to imagine this place being built for young, single men and women working in the space industry, moving up to a two-bedroom unit when they started families.   (If you read online about it now you’ll see discouraging things like “this place is a dump” . . . “police were here every night this week.”)

 

That’s okay, I know it was all bright and beautiful at one time.  I know because I’m old enough to remember the ground shaking at liftoff,  ice cubes rattling in the grownups’ glasses, kids playing on terrazzo floors, drinking Coke out of commemorative launch cups that your neighbor who worked at the Cape gave you.  Kids talked about how we wanted to be astronauts, or  we secretly hoped we could lose our buckteeth and look like  Barbara Eden so we could meet somebody as dreamy  Major Nelson.  When everyone cheered,  we were proud of ourselves for about ten seconds because those orange and white rocket trails meant we were ascendent,  going somewhere fast.

 

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Piriformis and Blue Hair

Is there anything more boring than hearing people’s pain management stories?  I have to say, my faux retirement has much to commend it, including sleeping late, napping, having cocktails whenever the hell I want, finally starting to run again on a regular basis, but my body says ‘oh no you didn’t, bitch’ and smacked me down with this stupid neuromuscular disorder that I will now describe in as few words as possible.  Buttock spasms.  Back pain.  90-year-old-crone hobbling.  Vanity knows no bounds, however, so I winced behind the wheel for a 90 minute drive to keep my hair appointment, where I chickened out of dying my hair completely blue and settled for a few blue streaks,  mixed by master chemical sister Stacie.  Also, their house masseuse pounded and kneaded me for half an hour which helped immensely.  Okay, so what was I saying?  A bearded man with long hair just appeared in the bedroom and handed me a mimosa.  I am so nearsighted that I thought it was Jesus, but put on my glasses and realized it was my husband.  Cheers, ya’ll!  Happy Sunday!

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Piriformis and Blue Hair

My stylist and friend Stacie Thomas mixed a custom blue.

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Mimi Hearts Weezer 4-Ever

Weezer

Weezer (Photo credit: monkeyatlarge)

This weekend has already been a 9 out of 10 on the eventful scale.  Between quitting my job and spending my last tearful day at work, dancing the chicken dance at my friend Erica’s wedding, having one of my pugs fall in the pool and nearly drown,  hoping to convince my in-laws that the Sherwin-Williams “pulsating blue” (yes, that’s really the name)  color we’ve painted our house  is gloriously contemporary rather than heinous . . .. there’s probably a ton of crap I’m forgetting about . . . but we drove to Orlando last night to see Weezer play at the Hard Rock Cafe.   We had balcony seats because I’m too old to stand for three hours and get body slammed.   I always watch the intense stage set up with interest, roadies scurrying everywhere, sound checking,  and I’m thinking “This is more involved than a fucking library show!”  (more on that topic some day).  I saw this one guy kicking a soccer ball around, thinking “Why isn’t that one helping?” and then realized, duhrrr, it’s Rivers Cuomo warming up for the show.   I brought binoculars so I could gaze upon my pop rock heroes from my nosebleed aerie.  They played a “memory medley” of their material going back in time until they reached the Blue Album, which they played straight through.  They were glossy pros, fixing any jiggy sound issues after about one song, then it was pure,  bouncy blast Weezer, just like the CD‘s — almost too canned with no jamming improvisational breaks. The crowd was an interesting mix of 20-30-40-50 somethings, with a few 10 year olds thrown in for good measure.  (The mom in our row had to keep taking her daughter to the bathroom, causing my grumpy old ass to kick  over my  supersized  $10 gin and tonic into my purse where I had set it down to pick up my binoculars.)  During an intermission (no, I have never seen this before),  this long-haired  middle aged dude (oh, wait, I’m married to a long haired  middle aged dude)  saw us looking sleepy, fading, way past our bedtime, and said, ” You two are mature concert goers,” and produced some footage of a Springsteen concert on his phone that he no doubt thought would impress us and revive our spirits.   The Boss has never quite done it for me, and what the hell is this about Mature Concert Goers ?!  — look around, Sir, there are way more mature people and actual white heads — go bother them with your Dancing In the Dark footage.  So anyway, blah blah, by the time Weezer got to “Say It Ain’t So,”  my sleepiness was gone, I was half out of my chair punching the air, thanking the spirits of music that this quirky, loud, power nerd blend of feedback and bubblegum is still around, playing passionately, grabbing us by the throats the way they did 15 years ago.  Even though they’d done this a million times, they performed authentically. You rock, Weezer, yeaaaaaaaaah!   Makin’ the W-sign with my hand and holding my lighter and all  that!  When in doubt about what to do, just write, play, paint, sew, drive, build your passion, and you’ll be okay.  (Yeah, so I think Bruce already said this  eloquently in Dancing In the Dark.)   You’ll be living.

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Heron Haven

All my life I’ve had dreams where I’m exploring room after room in a large house.  I marvel at the immensity of the house and the feeling of discovery borders on euphoria.  Somewhere I’ve read that the house symbolizes the self.  Many of my dream houses are situated near a body of water — usually in a happy sense, although sometimes waves crash through rooms and pull them out to sea.  In “real” life, I grew up in houses by the river, and never thought I’d be lucky enough to live in one as an adult (ie, afford one).   Sooo . . . I was elated when my in-laws acquiesced to a shared living arrangement in this beautiful, pink heap of dilapidation called Heron Haven, a 1989 custom home that is known as a “cliffhanger” because it is structurally bolted into the side of the river bank.   Configured like a cruise ship, all rooms (except bathrooms) have water views.  When we first toured the house, I experienced the neverending passage of rooms that I knew from dreams.   Enough closets to hold my insane clothes collection, enough space for my art  — my heart stopped.  I am in love with this gorgeous behemoth.  It’s undergoing a sloooowww transformation.  We’re re-siding it in Hardieplank to give it a more contemporary look, and this is just the beginning.  A year from now, I’ll be listening to the water lap the dock as I type.  I know Heron Haven will force me to confront and discover rooms within myself that I never knew existed.

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