Monday, September 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
My son Alex bought a little Flip camera to film short videos to chronicle our big trip. He wanted to spice it up by calling it "The Durfey's Vacation to South Dakota." Durfey being a name we made up years ago as a name for all the dazed families that wander around the Wal-Marts and the K-Marts of the world looking for a mile-long list of school supplies.
In South Dakota, the Durfey's would represent any less-than-intelligent folk often seen on shows like Hee Haw, the Beverly Hillbillies or King of the Hill. Our cast would go like this:
Mike - Bubba Durfey - patriarch of the Durfey family
Lisa - Little Lisa Loo Li Loo Li Loo Durfey Jones- Bubba's wife
Kevin - Bubba Junior
Alex - Bubba Junior
Nick - Bubba Junior
And me - Becky Sue Bell Jessie Jo Mae Bob Jones Durfey - undetermined relationship
(The cat and the dogs would play themselves)
Camping in Rapid City started off rocky as some poor child got run over by a golf cart on the campgrounds. It wasn't fatal but it put all of us parents on high alert. We eventually make our way over to the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast where a cook as old as the hills themselves makes what I can only call pancake art. If you are a young camper he would make you a perfect Spongebob, or butterfly, or whatever you wished out of pancake batter. I was jealous.
Later that day Lisa and I decide it is high time we got our butts in the pool so we join our boys in the swim area and spot a tempting hot tub. We make a bee-line to it and that turns out to be the best decision we make all vacation. We are soaking only about 15 minutes when we notice the pool the looking kind of empty. What we witness next was a scene eerily similar to the candy bar in the pool scene from Caddyshack. (It seems this whole vacation will be a reliving of every film moment Chevy Chase has ever had.) The difference for us is that it is not a candy bar we are looking at. Someone informs us the pool is closed.
It is now the evening of the 4th of July and we want to see some fireworks. Boy do we get our wish! Stay tuned for part 4: Fireworks or just fire? : RV tip continued
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
What is going on with David Yates? My 13 year old son and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on the second evening of its opening. Our hopes were high from the exciting previews we saw, and then… eh!
The only word I can use to describe my feelings for the new Harry Potter film is ambivalence. For what was one of the most emotional and revealing books of the series I was left wanting much more from the film. Yes it was fun to see the old gang at Hogwarts yucking it up again. Most of the scenic elements we have grown to admire were there, but some were altered for no reason like the pensive that now looks like a modern day bathroom sink and the Quiddich pitch witch looks like a strong wind hit it and knocked off all the siding.
These minor alterations don’t really affect the story, however, what was David Yates thinking when he left out the biography of Tom Riddle? Almost every piece of exposition from the book that explained his ascent into evil and the birth of the Horcruxes was left out of the film. Instead we got to see an overabundance of Hermione pining for Ron, Lavender pining for Ron, Ron infatuated with Slughorn, Harry and Ginny infatuated with each other and most of the girls in Hogwarts along with Professor Slughorn desperate for Harry. Funny yes, essential to the plotline, not so much.
The movie did get one scene spot on and that was Dumbledore and Harry in the immensely creepy cave with the underground lake searching for one of the horcruxes. That type of imagery and attention to the plotline of the book should have been in more of the film. Mr. Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves didn’t even let us see the Tom Riddle’s family home or the bloody betrayals of the Gaunt family.
I was also sad to see no hint of Dumbledore’s funeral which was a poignant ending to the book and left anyone with a heart a bit misty-eyed. I kept waiting for the merpeople, Hagrid's brother and the centaurs. I can only assume production costs removed them from the storyboard only to be replaced by lit wands held in the air reminiscent of the ending to any kick-ass rock concert.
The last scene in the movie shows a bird flying off and unless you read the book it is very hard to tell that this is Fawkes, Dumbledore’s faithful, mystical phoenix. I needed binoculars to get the full effect. I can only hope there is some back-tracking in the next two films to get the plotline back on track. Those of you who follow the wands will know what I’m talking about.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
It has been one year and 5 months since I sat in PICU, looking at my beautiful son, lying in a bed, unconscious, with most his hair shaved off, tubes down his throat, coming from his hands, his heart, his arms, monitors on every side and a shunt sticking out of a hole cut in his skull to drain fluid from his brain. I still tear up as I write this.
When the vein burst in Alex’s head and we rushed him to the nearest hospital, they put us in an examining room. No doctor came in. Alex had no sight in one eye and was in and out of consciousness. His pain was unfathomable and they could not even get a temperature because he was panting, shaking and sweating so badly. Besides a couple of nurses, the only one who made it into the room was a guy with a computer and a credit card machine to collect my $100 emergency room co-pay. After an hour I was beside myself and told them we were leaving. A nurse took pity and found a doctor. Then, and this is the only cliché that fits, all hell broke loose.
Al was whisked off to a CAT scan followed by a trip to the Red Room a staging area used for severe cases to be prepped for transfer to the nearest trauma center. At one point I counted seventeen people working on my son. I couldn’t even see him on the table through all the bodies. The look on everyone’s faces was between desperation and pity.
After the ambulance ride to hospital #2, the gurney Alex was on was ripped away from me and the next thing I knew he was given an operation to relieve the pressure on his brain. He remained unconscious when I saw him again. The next day Dr. Nagib came over from his hospital to consult on the case.
What can I say about you doctor Nagib.
Maybe I should just repeat the words I heard over and over from surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and many others, “If it was my child, he is the only surgeon I would let touch them.” You were understanding and very clear on the severity of the situation. We decided to move Alex to hospitals #3 and 4. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
I am grateful to everyone who prayed for, and worked so hard to save Alex, but I have a special place in my heart for you Dr. Nagib. Through each surgery that different teams performed you were so clear and calm as you informed us of each hurdle Alex had to face. A few people had told me you did not have the best bedside manner. I beg to differ. The day you performed the surgery to remove the dead vein tissue it was an excruciating wait. After hours of surgery passed I could see from the information screen that Alex was in post-op and my heart was in my throat. You came into the waiting room with the biggest and brightest smile on your face. That was all the bedside manner I needed. You saved my son.
I suspect this seems like a long time to wait to say how eternally grateful I am, but the feelings have been so deep that no words seemed enough. All I can say is…Alex turns 13 in May. Thank you.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I am always curious about nicknames. Those identities you've gained through the years that only people who know you well can truly understand.
For example: one of the kid's at my son Nick's childcare is called "Stink". I assume the worse.
Over the years, I have had the luxury of having more personalities than Sybil. Quite a few of theses characters were paired with friends who also assumed false names just for the fun of it. Here are a few of the aliases I have gone by:
- TIGER (given to me by my father and my first and favorite name)
- TOOTS PICKLE (from my cousins - when we were kids we all gave each other fruit and vegetable names. This is ironic because my son Nick is currently known as Nicky Pickle)
- SUE-EEEE! (from my brother who thought it was fun to torture me with a pig call name. I've tried to block this name from my memory but my psyche has permanent damage)
- SUSABELLE (from my dear friend Patti's mom during our college days. I am still called by this name by the entire Richard family)
- BECKY SUE BELLE JESSIE JO MAE BOB (again college, again with my friend Patti who was known as Patti-Poo-Pie-Poo-Poo-Pie-Poo)
- Part of a fictitious girl band called SLEEZE AND THE WRYTHETTES (also college, also with Patti and with Barb. I was one of the Wrythettes)
- MAMA ONI (with my now departed sweet friend Chris who was Papa Oni. This family was based on the Farkels of Laugh In fame. Papa and I had many, many children)
- BETTY (counterpart to Bill who is my friend Steve. We met doing summer stock theater)
- BEA (counterpart to Howard who is my charming friend Tommy. We met at college and were reunited touring in children's theater)
- KATE (for Katherine Hepburn - during my serious acting days)
- DAGO CHICK (part of a four person national acting tour that included Spence, Jewfish and Macho Chick - a.k.a Jeff, Bob and Maria)
- LA-QUICHE-A (part of a current duo with my crazy bud Lisa who is Om-Letta)
- And of course - SB (given to me by dear Joanne, the original SB)
If I have forgotten anyone of my names, please feel free to send them to me or to one of my personalities listed above. :)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
There was some sort of harmonic convergence tonight as I discovered that more than one of my dear friends of the female persuasion was able to have a reduced testosterone environment for a few hours and release a few antsy hormones by watching a chick flick.
Chick flicks (CFs) are one of the few places women can let their eggs hang out. Crying is almost mandatory as is laughing like a banshee. Food of the non-dieting variety is a must and no one leaves without having shared one extremely personal story with their fellow chick flick viewer.
Tonight we indulged in the classic CF - "Steel Magnolia's". I have personally watched this movie at least 20 times and never fail sobbing like 2 year old each time I see it. My dear friend Lisa, who had somehow made it this far in life having never see it, was almost comatose by the end. Mission Accomplished.
Another CF that is in the same emotional league as Magnolias is "The Joy Luck Club". Kleenex brand tissues owes much of their success as a product to multiple screenings of this tear-jerker.
For the uninitiated I will share some of my other CF favorites. Not all are meant to make you cry uncontrollably. Some are just so romantic you get utterly depressed for not finding anything like that in real life. Again, Mission Accomplished.
- Pride and Prejudice - Keira Knightly version
- Return to Me
- Hope Floats
- Shall We Dance
- While You Were Sleeping
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Dirty Dancing
- Murphy's Romance
- Under the Tuscan Sun
- Something to Talk About]
- Beauty Shop
- Where the Heart Is
- French Kiss
- Like Water from Chocolate]
- Quigley Down Under
- Crossing Delancy
Sunday, March 22, 2009
My cousin Paul is giving my butt a kick to start writing again so I am on a borrowed computer until I can get my laptop working properly. I think I'd better recap since my absence has been due to technical difficulties. Here's what happened:
- Nov. 2008 - My old computer dies from sheer exhaustion on election night and Barack Obama becomes President. It was worth the sacrifice.
- Dec. 2009 - who cares. It's the holiday season and I would rather visit face-to face instead of face to Facebook. I am broke anyway so computer issue will have to wait till next year.
- Jan. 2009 - Good friend at work has her husband put together a hard drive for me powered by something called Ubutu. I didn't speak the language.
- Feb. 2009 - get a used Gateway laptop from work that has been wiped so clean I have yet to soil it. I buy Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. Load that and call Qwest to get a modem. Yes folks I decide to spring for the wireless and loose my dial up. (Moment of silence).
- Mar. 2009 - After much downloading and hours talking to people in India with names like Jennifer and Mitch my modem still will not work properly. I whine - it does no good.
- Yesterday - My second visit from a Qwest service technician and we discover that none of the drivers for sound, video or the Ethernet are anywhere to be found on the laptop. Solution: download them. Problem: can't access internet to download. Solution: go out and buy a 4 gig jump drive to download drivers from another computer. Problem: When I try to unzip them on my laptop it cannot "create C:Cabs" and aborts the unzip process.
(Go to your happy place SB.)
Now I never said I was a computer guru but I have Googled C:Cabs and found that nothing of much use turns up. I also added a new WinZip in hopes I could fool it into unzipping the files but no such luck.
My bedroom is strewn with so much non-working hardware and software I am thinking of dating a guy from the Geek Squad just to give us both some satisfaction.
Anyway, Now you know why I haven't written for a while.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I'll write something substantial next time but for now it is just good to be back.