Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crossing the Crossroads

I know with every fiber of my being that I am at a crossroads in my life at this moment.  It's almost bizarre how things seem to be lining up for some big change to happen to me.  Maybe some of the things are unrelated, maybe I'm just weirdly lucky and unlucky at the same time.  Maybe I'm talking out my ass with no basis for anything.  I don't know.  I can't always articulate what I mean completely so bear with me.

Over the course of the last 10 months a lot has changed and a lot of things have been pushing me in directions I'm at times unclear about, but pushing me nonetheless.  How much is coincidence, how much is destiny?  How much do I believe is fate?  I find myself questioning things I never thought I'd question, things about my own life.  Is this what it's supposed to be?  Am I where I should be, with who I should be with?  Am I just having a midlife crisis?  Why do I suddenly want so much more and believe that I can have it?  Is this path leading me to a new career, one in food or one in writing or both? Or neither?

I've thought, at different times over the course of the past few years that I have incredible karma.  I started to write about that several times and then thought I might be jinxing it.  But I'm throwing caution to the wind here and I am going to talk about it.  Back in, hmm, I'd say September, I found out about a contest where, if you referred the most people to a particular website you would win a trip to Los Angeles.  I immediately believed I would win this contest.  It was a total no brainer.  The site in question had to do with soaps, I have my own soap site with a rather large following and all I needed to do was send a mass message to my readers with instructions on how the contest worked and I'm done.  So that's what I did.  And I did win, by a landslide I'm told.  No one else even came close.  So there it is, I'm going to Los Angeles in July.

And then, disaster strikes.  The man lost his job.  All the plans we had for tax return money went up in smoke so it could supplement his unemployment.  My business makes money here and there, but it's sporadic at best and not something we could live off of.  Now my winning trip is in jeopardy.  How could we afford it.  The contest won me airfare and two nights in a hotel.  But I planned on staying longer.  How could I now?   This is money we no longer have.  I am almost resigned to the fact that I will not be taking the trip but keep a modicum of hope alive.  I have until July after all. 

Strangely, last month I found out that after doing surveys online and in the mail for years, literally more than 10 years, I had finally won one of their contests.  First prize no less.  Another contest.  What is going on here?  This time I win a prize valued at $500.  Nice.  The choices are really sweet too, but in the end I chose a digital camera package.  My hope for the trip moves forward.  How could I not go when I'm getting this bitchin new camera so I can take great pics of everything I see and everyone I meet?

The camera doesn't come.  A month goes by and it never arrives.  It was supposed to take about two and a half weeks.  Nothing.  I watch the mail like a woman possessed every day.  I wait and wait, but nothing happens.  So I find a phone number and I call the survey company.  At first I'm given the run around a bit.  But then they finally call me back and tell me that since the camera is a Sony product and distributed from Japan, it might be some time before I get it because since the tsunami it's been very difficult to get things shipped from Japan.  Hmm.... what to do?   My choices were to wait (until who knows when), chose another gift or take the cash equivalent, which is $500.  So there it is, I am now going to be receiving a check for $500 and my trip dilemma is solved.  A fated trip, that forces somewhere really want me to go on.  No I'm not saying some unseen unknown force caused a tsunami so I could go on this trip.  But I am saying that I chose that camera that suddenly became unavailable and now I have the money I needed for this trip. 

And then, All My Children gets canceled and I'm suddenly free to pursue whatever might be headed my way.  Will I find out on this trip?   Will I find a new path even if it has nothing to do with Los Angeles?  It's all leading me somewhere and I'm so anxious to find out where.  I get tense and anxious.  I get irritable at things that I feel are keeping me in place, in a holding pattern that I want to break free of.  I hope it all becomes more clear as the months go by.  And I hope when I finally do see what it all is, I have the courage to pursue it. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mixed Emotions

This week All My Children was canceled.  It's still kind of hard to believe.  41 years on the air and come September, it will be gone.  It's been a part of my life since I started watching it in 1979.  And became an even bigger part of it in 1995 when I started reporting and writing about the show on the internet.  And then it became a huge part of my life in 1998 when I started my own website for it.

How I feel about it is a little hard to say.  I'm sad, absolutely.  I'm going to miss it a lot.  AMC has been very very good to me.  I love the show, I love the characters, I love the actors and actresses who have been part of it over the years.  Most of them anyway.  I have beautiful memories of storylines I've loved and bad memories of some real clunkers.  I have lots of memorabilia that I've collected or that fans have sent to me.  I have countless autographs, photos and letters from stars.  Hell I could make my own AMC museum!  It's taken up so much of my time through the years, I've had to rearrange schedules around it or around events.  And I never would have given it up.  Never.

Which brings me to the other thing I'm feeling now that it's been canceled.  FREE.  It's like a noose that has been around my neck for years suddenly got taken off.  I can see doors opening and new opportunities arising when I suddenly have more time to devote to other things.  I'm not going to be tied to my computer every Sunday anymore.  I'm not going to have to fight with crazy people who don't realize that I'm a real person but Erica Kane is not.  I won't have to justify myself to people who look down on soaps. 

It feels right.  It feels like it's time for me to move on.  I'm not leaving in a huff or in anger because I finally got sick of the crazies.  I'm not leaving because the storylines have gotten so bad that I just can't take it anymore and have nothing positive to say.  I'm not leaving at all.  It's being taken from me and I'm OK with it.  It's pretty amazing to feel this way.  I don't think I ever thought I would.  I thought I would be devastated that something that has been such a big part of my life for so many years was leaving.  I'm sure come September I will shed some tears.  I have no doubt about that actually.  But I can't help but be excited to find out what the future holds for me.  I hope whatever it is it brings me as much joy as I have gotten out of the PVB and AMC. 

When I look back on the almost 13 years I've had the website, I see that I am one lucky woman.  I have met so many wonderful people I would not have met otherwise.   I wouldn't have had my many trips to NYC and Orlando for soap events.  I would never have gone to LA for the Daytime Emmy's and had the experience of a lifetime.  I would never have gotten the amazing phone calls and letters from different stars through the years, just to say thank you for caring about the show.  I would never have had the opportunity I'm getting in July to go back to LA and meet more soap stars.   And who knows, I may never have really honed my writing the way I have over the years writing about AMC.  I may never have discovered how much that part of it is something I enjoy.  And now, come September when it's all over, maybe it will be time to write that book that so many of my friends have been telling me I should be writing.

Thank you AMC for all you've done for me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Horror of Prom Night

It's prom season and I can't help but think back to my own prom when I see all those dresses in the stores.  I almost didn't go.  I wasn't the most popular girl in school.  In fact, being one of the few punk rockers in my high school was kind of alienating at times.  I had a circle of friends sure, but other than that, most of the time I think people just didn't get it.  So no one asked me.  Part of me was sad, part of me was glad, part of me was annoyed because my mom had been planning my going to the prom for the past several years.   Seriously.   I'll never forget when I got a boyfriend when I was in 10th grade my mom said, "You'll have a date for the prom!"  Um, mom, it's two years away.  And of course, that relationship ended when he went to college and I was still in high school. 

I did most of my male mingling very early in my high school career and by the time I was in 10th grade I was too weird for most of the guys.  I was in love with Adam Ant and wore my homemade I heart ADAM (with a backwards D of course) button on my school uniform every day.  I was going to Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Billy Idol concerts while most everyone else was going to see The Michael Stanley Band and Bruce Springsteen.  All my punk friends were chicks.  So no dates.  I don't really remember caring either.  We were having too much fun.

But I did end up going to prom.  My BFF  had a guy in school, J, who was so in love with her.  He pursued and pursued her to no avail.  She just wasn't interested in him as anything more than a friend.  He was brotherly and she couldn't get past it.  But he asked her to the prom and she accepted on the condition that he get his friend B to take me.  I knew both J and B quite well.  Along with their friend G, they were probably the funniest guys in school.  B already had a contingency plan in place with another girl.  You know, that promise you make that goes "if you don't have a girlfriend and I don't have a boyfriend when we're seniors, we'll go to prom together."  B, always wanting to please J, blew off the other girl and agreed to take me.  Wow, it really sounds pretty pathetic now that I'm putting it in print!  The poor guy practically had to be blackmailed into going to the prom with me.

In probably one of the most ill advised moves ever, I bought a pale lavender full length dress with white trim.  Ugh!  I have always hated pastels.  The dress was so precious and totally not me at all.  I got my hair and make up done that day.  Not me again.  I suspect the mom influence in all these things.  Yes, that makes sense.  Give mom this one last time of seeing me look how she liked me to look because the day I graduated it all changed.  Everything.  Going to a Catholic high school in the 80's, we weren't allowed to dye our hair.  I'm not sure why I waited until graduation to cut it, or to get contacts, but I did.   So mom had prom and graduation and that was the end of long hair and big honkin ugly glasses.  I had to do it.  My sister totally screwed mom over when she went to prom.  Sis graduated in 1975 and bought a black wrap around dress with full black lace back (meaning she couldn't wear a bra with it).  Mom absolutely refused to let her wear it and went out and bought her another dress, this hideous floral number.  Well when sis's date arrived (in his blue crushed velvet suit jacket no less) and they left sis grabbed the sleeve of the horrible dress and tore it right off.  She came back in the house and told mom there was no way she was going to prom in a torn dress, so she had to wear the black one.   Sneaky!

J and B picked up BFF and then came and picked me up.  BFF was also in a lavender dress and both guys wore white tuxes with lavender accents.  I could almost puke thinking back on it.  If we didn't already know of J's love for BFF, he presented her with, what was called back then, a huge nosegay.  Basically a large hand held bouquet of flowers, like a bride would carry.  It must have set him back a bundle.  The thing was enormous.  B got me a lovely wrist corsage.  My mom fell instantly in love with him.  She probably started planning our wedding after we left for prom.  In her defense, what mother wouldn't love B?   He was sweet and cute and he was planning, at the time, on being a priest so she probably figured I was safe from the threat of sex.  Everyone knows priests aren't interested in sex!  

I don't really remember too much about the night other than it seemed like it took us forever to get there.   It was being held at a party center that was not exactly near where me and BFF lived and the drive was long.  No hotels for Catholic school proms!  That sends a bad message you know.  Newsflash, just about everyone was having sex back then.  Everyone but me, everyone but BFF, probably a few others.  So having the prom at a hotel wouldn't have mattered.  Hell we all got rooms at a hotel for after anyway!  And we did go, but it was a party not an orgy.  The girl B ditched was there, having not found another date.  Awkward!

I remember getting home around 3 or 4 am, and B just saying goodnight to me.  No kiss, nothing.  So I grabbed him and gave him a hug.  Sheesh dude, I know we went as friends and you were a few weeks from the seminary but live a little!   I was pretty cute back then.   

I guess if I didn't go I'd probably feel like I missed out on something.  But having gone, I don't think it was a big deal at all.  In fact, it was kind of lame.  The people you would expect to win king and queen were.  The music was absolute crap.  The theme was embarrassing ("Almost Paradise" you know, that horrid Ann Wilson and that dude from Loverboy duet).  But how many people do you know can say they went to prom with a priest?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My First Blog Award...

How cool is that?  My crazy ass stories actually received an award!  It is a unique award, shared from one blogger to another for no other reason than that you like the blog. I'm honored and touched that Cathy chose me.  I have been blogging for a long time (I have 2 other blogs), but this one is the most personal, the most revealing and truthfully my favorite one.  So the catch with the award is that I have to share this with 7 bloggers and tell seven things about myself. It won't be easy, this blog already is a whole lot of TMI, so coming up with seven more things I haven't yet admitted about myself seems kind of daunting.  But I'll give it ago!

1)  I have a fear of success that holds me back.  Could I make something out of this writing thing?  Maybe.  Could my catering business be more successful than it is?  Probably.  I hold myself back from strong pursuit of both because of fear.  This isn't new.  Back in the mid 80's when a different type of career I was pursuing started to take off in a big way, I had a nervous breakdown of sorts and threw it all away because of the blinding fear.

2)  I have a fear of failure.  Quite the juxtaposition isn't it?

3)  I have not told most of the people closest to me about this blog. 

4)  On any given day I could wake up and hate my life, hate my reflection in the mirror, hate my family, hate where I am and then something small and insignificant will change every one of those emotions.

5) For most people who know me know this isn't a big revelation but it's less intense revelation... I love vampires.  I have loved them since I read 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King in like 1979?  After that my love grew and evolved.  I can't think of anything more erotic than a bite on the neck.  Vampires are just fucking sexy.

6) I don't forgive someone who betrays me easily, or at all depending on the level of betrayal.   I could move past things or go on with my life but it will take a lot for me to forgive it.

7) I could not live without music.  Next to food and water to live, I need music.  I need to hear it every day.

Well... that wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  And now for the blogs.

Blood, Sweat and Sunday Gravy - The stories, the poems, the person behind them... they all move me.

Exploring Food My Way - Mostly restaurant reviews from the Akron and Cleveland areas, great information and photos.  And I'm happy to say Tom has become a good friend.

Pratt Falls - The best thing to come out of the wretched Charles Pratt's time as head writer on All My Children.  I love these gals!

Memorie di Angelina - Beautifully prepared and photographed food inspired by the writers Italian Grandma, Angelina (the same name as my beloved Italian Grandma)

Adventures of the Hope Warriors - A journey through the trials and tribulations of having cancer and just happens to be about one of my best friends.

Chexydecimal - Gossip on crack!  Pithy, witty and wise at the able hands of my darling Chexy!

Cake Wrecks - When cakes go bad is really fucking funny.