Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marquee of Tivoli

Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting in a time warp! *sci-fi* And it usually happens while I’m inside an old familiar building… where memory engrams from my first life (AKA childhood/adolescence) are hanging around like so many framed lithographs in a gallery display…. invisible to everyone else, yet poised for my private viewing. *wistful*

And wouldn’t you know it, the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, IL (where hubby and I attended a choral concert Sunday afternoon) is just one of those places. Here is a magnificent venue that was built in 1928 – to show “talkies” – and it was one of the first theatres in the country to do it! Yeah, it’s been rehabbed and restored several times… still maintains the charming French Renaissance style… and operates with state-of-the-art technical operations for sound acoustics, stage lighting, digital 3D for top-rate movie shows… and even high-tech hand dryers in the restrooms! *fancy-shmancy*

My first boyfriend and I (teens without wheels) used to walk the two miles from my family’s house… following alongside the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks… to the Tivoli (quite the matinee movie buffs of yore!) Can’t tell you how many movies we ended up seeing over the course of our year or so of “going steady” – until his dad got transferred (to Honolulu, thank you very much!) Anyway, I had a lot of fun and by the way, “Hawaii BFF” and I are still friends! *awww* But what I didn’t realize… until going back there recently… was just how crystal clear those very old memories would reappear… regaling my cognizance with an exclusive show (Laurie’s World!) And what totally cues the virtual reruns with the most clarity is the distinctive smell combination of freshly popped movie popcorn and “eau de historic building” – a direct hit to my brain’s limbic system (that’s the part concerned with instinct and mood) – the sense of smell is powerful indeed! *reminisce*

So here we sit, in the theatre, being thoroughly entertained by fantastic musicians who are (unbeknownst to them) creating new bona fide memories for hubby and me. Life is kind of like a stage, I guess, and we’re all performing our hearts out… well, when we’re not entertaining little sideshows in our heads!

Have a fabulous week! I’ll be back here Monday (or Tuesday)


Monday, April 19, 2010

My Earth Birthday

So here I am about to complete 53 revolutions around the sun (four days ‘til my birthday!) And I must say it feels like I’ve already lived two lives since 1957! *dynamic* Let’s count age 0 to 20 (when I first got married) as my first life, and then the 24 years of marriage (to the wrong man, hence the divorce) and raising two sons as my second life… which brings us to my third life – a fabulous one, thank you very much – presently manifesting as we speak… or… type... or… virtualize… as the case me be! *cosmic*

My childhood was filled with tons of innocent, old-fashioned fun – my sibs and I played outside a lot (no electronic gizmos beyond corded phones, radios, simple stereo turntables, 8-tracks, and UHF/VHF TVs had been invented yet!) Are corded phones even considered electronic devices? Anyway, the reason it feels like a separate life is because of my physical circumstance at birth, and the subsequent situations I encountered along the way. You know how it is with us humans – we don’t really start to become conscious of the details of our personal appearance until a few years into having established Earthling status on the planet. *evolving* But we certainly can get an idea of how others are perceiving us way before we place importance on “rockin’ a look” in the mirror now and then. And so it was with me… as a little girl… going into the city with my grandmother—who was always primped and polished (like classy women in the black & white movies from the ‘50s)… we’d be holding hands, walking along a crowded sidewalk (me making eye contact at the level of women’s dress hems and knee-level of men’s trousers!) and then we would enter – fill-in-the-blank – store, or office building. Now, the thing is, whenever I was with my grandmother (we called her Nonni) I felt good about myself—Nonni and I always looked our best whenever we went downtown Chicago together! So I didn’t understand (nor did I like it) when a grown-up would peer down at me and bellow something like, “Hey kid, where’d ya get that fat lip? Someone punch you in the face?” *ouch* No. No one ever punched me in the face. At such a tender age, I had no idea why someone would hurt my feelings for no apparent reason. Nonni was on it every time (yeah, it happened more than once – ignorant people are everywhere)… she would instantly and effectively put the rude jerk in his place. *champion*

Now you’re probably wondering what congenital defect I was born with, so I’ll tell you (no mysteries here)… but not yet. First, let me present my Italian-American ancestry… in a nutshell! *apt* I promise you this will be very brief, so don’t blink: My family tree is huge – I’ve got umpteen aunts and uncles, and dozens of cousins – lineage from two separate regions of Italy: Tuscany and Calabria (no inbreeding)… and out of the whole kinship group I’m the only one to have been born with a cleft lip! *special* Specifically, left unilateral cleft lip, to be anatomically correct. Oh, and to clarify, neither of my sons… or grandson were born with it. Oral-facial clefts are one of the most common major birth defects… and are totally treatable! *thankfully* But most of the time the cause is not known. In my case, I’m going with: harmful side-effect of prescription meds during the first two months of my “womb & bored” (no EPTs back then!) Although my mom stopped the meds as soon as she found out she was pregnant, apparently it was too late. *oh, well*

It’s next to impossible for a newborn with cleft lip to suckle well enough to thrive, so extra care and attention is necessary (and extra money, too) to nurture said infant until he/or she weighs enough to safely undergo corrective surgery. Fortunately for me, my dad’s medical insurance covered the corrective surgeries (five in total) that were required to repair the initial cleft when I was a baby, and then continue to reconstruct at intervals as I grew (scar tissue would form – causing a fat lip!) Each surgery was done as in-patient under general anesthesia (serious stuff) and the hospitals had strict visitation rules… my parents weren’t even allowed to stay with me! *scary* I soldiered on beyond my fears (snuck in a transistor radio and hid it under my pillow!) And by the time of my last surgery (Spring break during sophomore year of H.S.) I had my first boyfriend… and he would visit me in the hospital. *sweet* You see, the only people who were ever rude to me were adults of yesteryear. *bullies* Not one family member, or any of my peers made any derogatory remarks – they totally see and accept me as a whole person – we relate as inner beings too. *happily*

One of the best organizations on the planet that help children born with cleft lip… and make this world of ours a better place, is Operation Smile. Here’s a link to their website that you can copy/paste into your search browser http://tinyurl.com/nfpkrk where my book, Baron Thinks Dogs Are People Too! is available for purchase as part of an ongoing online fundraiser to support this bona fide worthy cause. It is a place where your spending power can help to literally put a smile on the face of another human being... and probably your own, too!

Have a fabulous week! I’ll be back here Monday ☺


Monday, April 12, 2010

Dance Floor Shenanigans

Here’s a secret nobody told us when we first signed up for ballroom dance lessons: the elegant look of debonair dancers whispering romantic sweet nothings to their pretty partners is an illusion! *gasp* Who knew? In actuality, they’re giving verbal leads… talking shop, as it were. Nothing romantic about that! *oh man* But anyway, it’s still a lot of fun to be lead around the dance floor by my fav man on the planet – hubby, of course! We started lessons together three years ago (each of us had lessons separately in the past) and quickly progressed up to the advanced level… having a ball too! *pun* The various styles of ballroom dances like Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Swing, Cha Cha, and a bunch more, are enjoyable to learn when the focus is on having fun. And you know me – gotta have fun, or I’m not doing it! *zeal*

And wouldn’t you know, just when we got to feeling really good about ourselves on the dance floor… and had become used to the same instructors… they retired from teaching! *d’oh* But then something truly amazing happened (yes, this word amazing is ubiquitous now!) The former teachers recommended us to be their replacements… and voila! You are now reading the musings of Laurie Dean, Ballroom Dance Instructor… yes, in addition to published children’s author, and licensed massage therapist (remember – kids are all grown up and out of the house!) Hey, it’s my turn to balance various career endeavors like a superstar… and doing quite well, if I do say so myself! *attagirl*

Now don’t get me wrong here – we’re not into the competitive dance circuit training – our motto is: Practice makes better. *reasonable* And we feel kind of like recruiters for the genre of Ballroom Dance… teaching what we know to beginners who’ve just moseyed into our class from the cozy confines of their couch. *newbies* Our current class consists of 15 couples (up from 12 couples in our debut session three months ago!) To say that I’m having a blast would be an understatement – it’s bona fide enjoyment – the enthusiasm of our students is quite contagious (they are so thrilled to be learning a new skill!) And now hubby and I are having even more fun whenever we go out social dancing with all of our friends… sometimes eschewing traditional ballroom etiquette, in favor of “accidentally” blocking another couple if they’re cutting corners while traveling around the dance floor… or razzing each other if we mess up a step or two! *grins* It’s this kind of high-spirited behavior that makes us happy hoofers, indeed.

Have a fabulous week! I’ll be back here Monday ☺


Monday, April 5, 2010

Online Shopper Climax

Just so you know – in the world of Laurie Dean – wardrobe is a verb! *nods* Some people can go into a fitting room, try on their selections, and be out lickety-split… I am not one of those people. *grins* Don’t get me wrong here… I can be decisive for sure… it’s just that my mind likes to see the big picture of possibilities. You know, like how this new – fill in the blank item of fashion interest – will go with what I already have (which, in total, fills a good size closet, thank you very much!) This high level of precision mental imagery and deliberation takes time… but it’s so much fun! *passion* And ever since I’ve gotten used to internet shopping (secure online checkout systems rock!) it’s even more delightful.

There are tons of retail websites to browse among (a world-wide mall) and most of them will save my selections in a virtual shopping bag… while I shop around... at a myriad of my fav online stores. Often times this leisure activity is enjoyed over the course of several days (gotta get work done too!) Ya know what’s really cool? Some sites have a virtual Laurie Dean mannequin that can “try on” clothes as I choose. Yes! So, I take my sweet time looking at each item… on zoom… in rotation… front… back… and in different colors too. This gives me an instant idea of how my cyberspace duds may look in person… but of course, cannot exactly replace the thrill of actually “wardrobing” right here… where my entire house becomes a giant fitting room, with scads of accessories to mix and match, various sources of both indoor and natural light, and mirrors galore for seeing all the cute angles! Oh, the amusement of prancing and posing along my own personal catwalk (2nd floor hallway, overlooking foyer) – it’s bona fide recreation, plain and simple. *giggles* And my “playing schedule”, if you will, conveniently coincides with the changing seasons. Out with the old, well-worn, passé pieces (off to donate at a local charity) and in with some terrific new threads! *yippee*

Now my mind is made up… online order has been processed… and the anticipation of receiving my retail delivery is heightened with the ever-popular Package Tracking email notification message. It’s so exciting to know where my package is on a given day… cleared U.S. customs… getting closer… out for delivery (even hubby likes to track things he orders online!) This system is the best invention since mass produced chocolate bars, right? Right! Hmmm… usually UPS is on our street by now. *sigh* Speaking of chocolate, must self-medicate – a couple squares of Godiva dark to ease the pang of desire – until aha! The doorbell! At last!

Have a fabulous week! I’ll be back here Monday ☺