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Thursday, March 11, 2010

65 years later, and the hair is the same!

I am obsessed with a lot of things that people my age are generally not obsessed with. You are probably starting to get that. I love game shows, retro television, classic rock music. I love Betty White.

When I say I love her, I don't mean that I started loving her when she was thrown to the ground in a commercial for this year's Super Bowl. Don't get me wrong, I laughed my tookus off when I saw that commercial, and it is definitely my bet for the best commercial of this Super Bowl. And best commercial of any Super Bowl. Ever.

I loved her when I was little watching reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (again, thank you, Ted Turner, for reruns weekday afternoons!). I remember laughing, even though I didn't know then that Sue Ellen was a nympho supremo. In my child-mind, I thought she was much more entertaining than Mary, and couldn't understand why it wasn't the Sue Ellen Nivens Show.
Then came Mama's Family, my first run-in with Betty-Rue. Although I knew Rue McClanahan from Maude (Oh, Bea-Rue, how I love that combo! But more on that later!), I was intrigued by the constant banter and love between the characters of Ellen and Fran. They seemed like they could be sisters. I might add that I was completely horrified when I found out one day that Vicki Lawrence was the same age as my mother but looked like my grandmother! Could this be the same Vicki Lawrence from The Carol Burnett Show? Oh my god, yes it was!
Oh, Rose Nylund. Golden Girls (and a year, two?, of Golden Palace) brought you into my home once again. I could write for pages and pages about Rose Nylund. I loved that show. The combination of Bea-Betty-Rue-Estelle made me laugh every week. Once again, my young mind was all confused when I learned that the youngest cast member of all was Estelle! The deception of Hollywood...
I love The Golden Girls to this day. I watch reruns now, as an adult, and get the jokes I didn't get when it was originally on the air, in my lifetime, ages 9-16. I think I stopped watching it around age 13 or 14, and am now happy to say I have caught up on all the good stuff I gave up on.

Each of these women have impacted my life in some way or another. I would like to say that I am a little more fearless because of Blanche. Her honesty about who she was and her love of men and dating made me less shy around people. I believe Dorothy's brains made me want to be smart. And she taught English, which has always been my favorite subject. She was not afraid to speak her mind and it made me want to be strong like that, too. Sophia was funny and sarcastic, much like myself (and short - me too!), as well as kind. Those two traits are rarely found in a single character.
Then there is Rose. Simple, funny, innocent, small-town Rose. I am from a small town, and Rose's memories of St. Olaf made me reminiscent of my own small town. Her humor was impeccable. But most of all, she had the kindest heart of anyone on television. Rose wanted peace in a world where there was so little of it. Her simpleton nature made it seem like anything was possible. And to her, it was.

Then there is the real Betty White. The one from game shows. I was obsessed with game shows as a kid. (I still am - I love to watch the game show network!) As a result, I have a lot of trivial knowledge in this head of mine. My favorites were Match Game (still my favorite! Oh, how I love Richard Dawson!), Password, and Press Your Luck. Ms. Betty White was a frequent guest on two of these. Match Game is my favorite game show of all time. I get a little giddy when it is on, even to this day.

So, why all this talk of Betty White? Well, today it was announced that the Facebook campaigning to get her to host Saturday Night Live worked. Who knew? Although I think it will be amazing to watch Betty White on SNL, I did not join that group because I thought it was like every other Facebook group, frivolous. So when I opened up my computer today and read that it actually worked, that Lorne Michaels himself said he could not possibly ignore the response! In addition to responding as millions want, he is putting Betty White on the show on Mother's Day, and bringing back several former female cast members, including another woman I love and admire, Tina Fey!

I love dogs. Betty loves dogs. Need I say more?

It is also interesting to note that Betty White has had basically the same hair style since, I think, birth.
Oh Betty, I can't wait to see you on Saturday Night Live! And congrats on your Lifetime Achievement Award. You deserve it!  You've got spunk, girl!  I love that!

I guess dreams really do come true.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shit rolls down the mountain at NASCAR

My first NASCAR experience at a race was so action-packed.  I'm going to attempt to find the humor in this.  I'm sure there will be references to this in future blogs.  The day had so much, it seems like it should have been three or four days.

No, I am not a NASCAR fan. No, I am not from the South. But I am from a very small town in the Midwest, which I guess qualifies me to be a redneck on the inside. I guess my inner-self has a mullet? I don’t really know. I have one Southern syllable – ong always comes out “oung”, so words like wrong, song, etc make me sound like I’m from here. Whatever that means.

I’ve only watched three races, plus the half-race I saw live. And they have all been this season. My friend, Kelly (also not from the South) loves NASCAR. She asked me to give it a try, because I like sports in general, and we will be roommates soon. Being the open-minded person I am, I agreed (after three years of her telling me to give it a try). The Kobalt Tools 500 was in Atlanta this weekend, so we went.

The day started like any other road trip we take together. EARLY and at Starbucks. We talked and laughed all the way to the track, which is not in Atlanta, as I soon learned. It is south of Atlanta, in a town called Hampton. I was actually pretty excited, because as any sports fan knows, you can watch all you want on TV, but until you see a sport live, it isn’t a sport.

Pre-race (yep, getting the lingo down) didn’t start until noon, but we got to the track about 8:30 in the morning. There is a lot going on in the morning. I learned that people camp out for the whole weekend, cooking out, drinking, and watching the qualifying races. There are every kind of booth and selling point you can imagine. Every driver has a trailer dedicated to his merchandise. There is all the heart attack-inducing food you can eat yourself to death with. There was even a Camel Smokehouse. I was so intrigued, but couldn’t bring myself to go in, even though I am a smoker. On that note, apparently NASCAR is the only smoker-friendly sport left. I started to walk away from the crowds to smoke when it was pointed out that everyone is smoking. (You can even smoke in the stands!) It is an awkward freedom. Georgia is a no-smoking state and to be able to smoke indoors means 1. the establishment does not allow children, or 2. you own the house you are smoking in. As a smoker, one would think I was in paradise, but I was uncomfortable with this.

I bought a hat to support my driver, Kasey Kahne. I picked him, because Kelly told me four weeks ago as I was about to watch my first race, that I had to pick a driver. I originally wanted to pick Mike Bliss, but was told I couldn’t. She is right. In spite of his wonderful name, he is always in the back. And I’m too competitive to have a losing driver. So, if I can’t have my namesake, I will have my favorite number, 9. So I root for Kasey Kahne. And I have the hat to prove it.

A friend was working one of the booths for oral health checks. What a great place to have this! All the smokers within a 200-mile radius are at this event! The booth is set up to check for oral cancer and other things that smoking causes in the mouth. So, of course I had to go. Obsessed with my teeth, supporting a friend, these are the best reasons to participate! So, after walking around, laughing and not eating until after someone looks our mouths, we trotted over to get the good news that our mouths are beautiful.

Time to head to our seats. 36 rows up. Straight up. No need to go to the gym today (or tomorrow for that matter)!
We got to our seats about 15 minutes before pre-race. We got some good pictures of the track and each other. Especially me in that headset! I was learning quickly that normal-looking people like this sport, too. (In fact, we only saw one person with a mullet.) We were talking about the experience so far.

On the way in, we had seen a cup of coffee and donuts on the back of a truck, and wondered it would still be there when we were leaving. People were nice. People were interesting. People were fun to watch.

The anticipation was building.

Headsets, check. Scanner, check. Drinks, camera, ear plugs, check.

NASCAR is exciting. The headsets drown out a lot of the noise and enable me to listen to Mr. Kasey Kahne talk to his pit crew. That’s cool. The first 60 laps were super! Kasey was battling between first and second place the whole time!

Then, the downfall. Literally. The scanner fell. Down. Down 36 rows of aluminum, bounce, bounce, bounce. Kelly went down to retrieve it. Yep, broken. We sat there for about 15 minutes, not knowing what was going on or what to do. We finally made our walk of shame down the bleachers to return it and see what could be done. $180 dollars is what could be done. And they only took credit cards, so they have Kelly’s information. The lady said that if it can be repaired, they could possibly only charge for the repair cost.

Stunned, and with tears streaming down Kelly’s cheeks, we made our way to the nearest bench. I didn’t know what to say.

Once again, we were sitting in silence.

She finally said, “Let’s go.” So we went.

We walked to the car, slowly. We reveled in the fact that what had once looked like a booming area was suddenly like a ghost town. Just the trailers and concession stands remained. No lines. No loudness. Just the vendors cleaning up. We began to laugh again, if nothing else, to simply get through the feeling.

Then we saw it. The spot where the donuts and coffee had been on the truck. The donuts remained. The coffee cup remained. But there was no truck. And there was a beer can. Oddness. But it made us laugh harder. We decided it had been a good day, in spite of everything.

Flash forward an hour and a half later. Exhausted, both mentally and physically, we stopped to get some dinner. I went to get my wallet out of my backpack, and it is not there.


We pulled everything out of my car, and the trunk. Everything. Piece by piece we ripped my car apart. We crawled down to look under the seats. No wallet.

My turn to have a breakdown. My debit card, my driver’s license, and all the cash I had (50 bucks) was gone. And I had no idea how or where or what had happened. I suddenly felt like Kelly and I were standing in the middle of a mountain that shit was sliding down. In the middle. So we were nowhere near the top or the bottom, where we could be safe from the shit.

I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I am not a crier, but I do tend to hyperventilate a little. I also stop thinking and not know what to do. It would be so much easier to just cry.

But then comes the right thoughts. And the action plan.

Call the bank. Cancel the card.

Look up the DMV hours.

Call mom and get a copy of my birth certificate.

I got up an hour early today to go to the DMV and get my license, so I can go to the bank with a picture ID so I can get a card. Good action plan. I’m going to get off this mountain.

So I get to the DMV and the parking lot is empty. SWEET! No lines! I walk up to the door and see that they are closed. Closed. They are not open on Mondays.

Back on the mountain.

I went to the bank without a picture ID, hopeful but not. Luckily, I was able to get an temporary ATM card. So maybe I’m a little farther up the mountain.

The rest of today, I spent with friends helping them set up a good part of their life. And I even got to read a little. Relax and read. I’m hopeful that by tomorrow after I wake up an hour early again, I’ll be on the top of the mountain, away from the sliding shit.

I still like NASCAR. Maybe I’ll even attempt another race again. We’ll see.