Friday, December 29, 2006

Donny Osmond- Puppy Love

A Gift That Keeps On Giving

When Jill called twelve years ago and asked me to go and see an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical I was taken aback.

I have known Jill for years and she is one, tough cookie. She has worked in construction for the past ten years and prior to that she was a bar maid at a very popular tough, blues bar. Famous blues artists knew her by name, greats like Buddy Guy, Mac Guitar Murphy or Stevie Ray Vaughn would dedicate songs in their set to Jill. She could balance a tray of beers, handle change, take a bow all in good grace with a cigarette dangling from her lips.

She was a no nonsense type of woman that was used to smokey caverns and to be asked to go to a musical with her was if anything out from the character I thought I knew.

'Ahh, come on Pendullum! You love musicals! It will be fun!' she begged....

'But, its Andrew Lloyd Webber and I am not a big fan,' and huffily add 'He still has a alot answer for with that 'musical' Cats!'

Ohhh,Come on Pend...Donny Osmond is in it!!

Donny Osmond? Are you kidding? No! No, I mean, even MORE of a reason NOT to go...

Come on, it will be great...she implored.

'I would not put Donny and Andrew Lloyd Weber together and come up with 'Great' Jill...Really!'

'Oh,Pend,My friend Ginger is part of the chorus and really wants to me to go... Please?'

'Oh, Jill...All right, but this is for your friend...'

So my dear, rocking, 'gal pal' drove into the mean city so that we could have lunch get caught up. I did not really see her excitement in the moment. I just though she was excited to see me as it had been a while. I thought the speed in which she talked was due to getting all the information out before we had to sit in the darkened theatre. I thought that when she paid our bill while I was using the loo was just her being generous and thanking me for going to the musical. I did not register the urgency or that she was rushing me out of the restaurant.

How little did I know.

We entered the theatre and were surprised as we were fourth row centre. I was not too taken up with our seats, as I was of the fully grown Donny Osmond fans behind us. These two women were decked out in their purple socks and old Donny Osmond hats and they brought their ten year old daughters to educate them on how great Donny was/is. They were living for this Donny moment all of their lives.

I barely had time to register all of what was around me when the orchestra started to play and the curtain opened and Donny made his appearance. The women behind me went crazy. They screamed as Donny floated above us.

'Fall on me!!!!! Donny!!!!! Fall on me, Do what you want with ME!!!! Donny!!!' they belted in hysteria.

I just simply could not believe this 'Donny experience'. I was in awe that such adoration. Apparently if you love Donny it could last what appears to be a lifetime of unrequitted puppy love.
As the women screamed 'He is the gift that just keeps on giving!!!' I had to smirk.

The fans realized that their screams of want and desire, were being muted by the orchestra and the entire cast belting out the showtunes.They decided to save their voices for the end of the show when Donny would come out for his bow and then their voices would maybe carry to their hearthrob for the last twenty years.

For all my skeptism I was impressed with the show. I dare say it was good. I was entertained and enjoyed the ride of the musical.

And at the end of the show my girlfriend Jill was gloating that I did enjoy the musical. It went unnoticed on my radar when she requested, with the demonic smile, that we go back stage to congratulate Ginger on the show's success. I did not notice that she grabbed me and tugged me along leaving no room for escape.

We had to exit the theatre and go in through the back stage doors. And to my surprise there were our neighbouring seatmates, the mothers from hell in their purple socks with their Donny Osmond records and their embarassed,daughters who had not felt the wonder on Donny. There were waiting at the stage door in hopes of having another Donny moment. I looked at them and looked at my girlfriend. I did not recognize/ register that they were wearing the same crazed expression. As Jill just kept on talking about the show and aparently did not notice these wacky fans. I wish I looked into Jill's eyes at that time. But hindsight is twenty twenty.

My girlfriend gave our name and we were lead into the inner corridors of the theatre. We were told to wait in the green room for Ginger. And while we waited I looked at the portraits on the wall and kept myself amused. I talked about the various publicity shots and my girlfriend responded to each of these comments cohearantly with the odd 'aha'.

When Ginger walked in I gushed and 'oo'ed over her performance. She was pretty happy we came and marvelled at how well received the show was. She then said that she really wanted us to meet Donny. She said that he was a pure joy to work with. He was wholesome and kind. He was considerate to all in the cast and there really was not a bad word you could say about him. In fact, he was going to drop in before he head home.

And almost on cue, Donny entered stage left. He had showered and was wearing grey dress pants and a black shirt as he was due to go to church. He looked good. He still had that boyish, country, wholesome, smile with those great Osmond teeth. He came into the room congratulated Ginger by name, on an excellent performance and then turned his attention to us. Ginger introduced me first.

Hi, Don Osmond.

Hi, I am Pendullum. Boy, that was a really great performance you guys gave. I really liked it a lot. REALLY.Surprised as I did not think I would.

Geez thanks. No,I really do have a great cast. It has been a lot of fun. I really like it here.

And we talked as if we were at a cocktail party. And then Ginger introduced Jill.She was beaming from ear to ear and then I recognized the expression. I recognized the expression as it was the same as the derranged mothers.I was not with my friend Jill. I was with a crazed Donny Osmond fan.

She stood up to greet Donny. She reached out with both her hands and grabbed Donny's hand. She grabbed him with both hands and just stared. A vacant stare with this smile that encompassed her entire face.

Her eyes were fixated on Donny's and she was not blinking.

She opened her mouth to speak.

She was trying to say something.

"annanmmana' came out of her lips.

I looked over at my friend. She was shaking Don's hand with such urgency that Donny's body looked as though it were vibrating.

'Amamannnabanna, ahhhhh, ohhhhh, anananman Jill, amanana loooooooove, amaman Jill, loooooove, ahhh,yyyyyyoouuuu, ahhhhh DDDDDDonny' came out of my drooling friend's mouth.

Donny is looking to me for help as Ginger is thinking this is indeed an out of body experience.

I reach over and try to pry Jill's hands off Mr. Osmond while she still spoke in the forked tongue of love.

I tried as best I could to translate for my friend.

'Ahh, what she is meaning to say Donny, I mean Don, is that her name is Jill and she is a big fan. Is this right Jill?'

'AAAHkkkk ahhkkkke yyyyeaahhh'

And as I pried her hands off of him and he being the pro, with these 'types' of Donny moments kept eye contact with her and nodded and thanked her.

'And I think she is also trying to say that she liked the show? Am I right here, Jill?'

'Ahhhhhhaaaa. wwwove aiiit wwwove Iiiiii wwwwoooovee'

'Well thanks again...' Don says with humble pride.

And when I finally pry his hand free he thanks her for coming and backs out of the green room nice and slow.

And with the essence o Donny still in the room, my girlfriend returns to the land of the living as quickly as she exited.

I look at her in disbelief.

Pendullum, Pendullum! I just shook hands with DONNY OSMOND! DONNY OSMOND!!!!
Ohhh, My Gawd, he is beautiful.I handled that okay. Don't you think? I mean I didn't try and kiss him or anything...

Yeah, you're right! You did not exactly speak English!You kinda spoke Donny Osmondese...

'Ohh, Pendullum,' she sobbed, 'He is just a gift that keeps giving!'

And twelve years later, Jill is so right. Whenever we chat or reminice, we speak 'Donny Osmondese' and laugh and laugh at a 'moment' that just keeps on giving!

And from the bottom of my blogger heart, I wish all of you endless 'Donny Osmondese' moments... as it truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

Love to all of you in 2007!

Much Love,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Seasons of Love - Rent (Music Video)

Today is the Anniversary of My Best Friend's Passing

My Best Friend died this day 2001 at 4:45pm.

My Best Friend Died Alone in a hospital bed while I frantically tried to figure out how to get back to New York to climb into his hospital bed and whisper from the inner depths of my heart and soul that 'I love you madly!!! 'I truly Love you!!!'

And while my husband said it was so fitting that he died before the darkest day of the year so that I may mourn him...It gave me no solace...

But years later, I still mourn him on this day... For what I lost. For what the world lost.

But most importantly I celebrate him.

I celebrate the friendship.

I celebrate the moments he gave me...and they will be cherished my entire life.

He gave me wonders...

And he wished wonders for me and my family...

And to all of you from the bottom of my heart...

I wish you all wonders on this holiday season...

Lift up your hearts, behold the lights, embrace the stars and give lots of love, for in the end, isn't that how the season and life should be measured?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

Loralei is a wonderful human being.

Her parents named her well. She fits the name perfectly. Or did she grow into it?
Loralei is a slight woman, she has twinkly eyes that envelop you in love and humour. She always looks like she is up to mischief or is at the gate to give a melodious laugh to accentuate the end of your witty story. She has a good nature. She is always doing good for the less fortunate and never talks about it. She would never think to boost her self importance up when she helped someone who was down. She really is the Florence Nightingale of our time. She has wiped many a brow, she has brought forth so much to our world that I am blessed to call her my friend.

So, when Loralei's husband called to say he wanted to throw a party to mark her 50 years on earth, there was an overwelming response as a hundred and fifty people drove from far and wide to celebrate her marvellous life with youthful abandon. People came from as far as Dubai, people came from her hometown and we rented a car, and travelled four hours by car as we could not miss such an opportunity to celebrate Loralei's life.

It was a grand fabulous party .There was a band in her dining room that was playing some great old tunes that Loralei loved. There was dancing, there was laughter, there was endless food and long, lost, friends gathered together. We all had a few more laugh lines and a few tear stains for those who were not with us but it truly felt like an intimate family function with 150 of your most closest of friends .

Our Pied Piper was Laralei and the lilt of her laughter have us all transfixed and unified in our love of her.

With the party winding down, Loralei looked at me and said that she was so genuinely, glad that I came to her party as she had something for me.

This is so typical of Loralei, her birthday and yet she has something for me.

She took my hand and brought me into the dining room where the band had just cleared up their geer, people were still milling about and I could not figure out what she had for me. Then she pointed to a picture on the wall. It was a 40 by 46 painting.

Now, please bare with me, as I have not told you dear reader about Loralei's 'hobby'.
I LOVE Loralei, I adore Loralei, she is one of the finest people I know on this earth, I would never want to hurt Loralei, but I have a deep, dark, secret, dear reader...

A secret about Loralei.

Loralei paints pictures.

Her technique is amazing. She has the strokes right down patt.She has mastered shadows, mastered colour, she is a fine technical painter. She paints so close to the object,in such fine strokes you can not see the beginning or end of her brush.

All that being said, she never stands back to look at what she has painted.

So, all her paintings of humans are ... off... there is something not right, the faces tend to be slightly escue, the eyes off balance or ever so slightly cross eyed, or maybe the lips do not line up with the nose, or it may be something that you can not put your finger on what is wrong with the painting per say...Some how most of her subjects look a bit? A bit? Derranged.

So,when she lead me to this 40 by 46 painting. I was in shock.

'This is for you... 'she says.

I was flabbergasted... I could not tear my eyes away from it. What is it???

'Why Loralei that is just too nice, Thank you... It's it's beautiful...'

'Pendullum, I've worked on this for years, It's Scooter when she was a baby. Remember that picture you took? and I told you how much I loved it..and then you gave me a copy... Remember???' she says as she alooks at me, she has those beautiful sparkly eyes imploring me to take another look at the painting further.

It was hard to focus on the magnitude of this painting.

This portrait of a sleeping alien, with the huge bublous head and the long eyebrow was supposed to be my baby?

This 40 by 46 picture is, Scooter???

Quick Pendullum, recover, recover!!!! Loralei is still looking at me and not the painting. Waiting for me to recognize my off spring in her work.

My mind is quickly scanning through every photograph I have ever taken of my daughter trying to find something familiar something to bring me to the recognition of my daughter being the sleeping alien in front of me... And then I remember... Thank goodness! I remember!

'Ohhh, now I rememberrrrr..... New York???? Scooter was a year,,, yes! yes! Loralei that was so long ago. She is nine now. You have floored me. Brought me back!!! Yes, I am sooooo not used to thinking of her as a baby anymore.'I can now announce with confidence.

I then add,'Oh Loralei is it is far too generous. Ohhh, my gawd, it was so long ago when she was that size... I 'm overwelmed. It is so beautiful. Thank you...'

BoyWonder happens to be walking by, on his way to the kitchen to replenish his beer supply and joins us. I can not give him the low down. I do not have the chance prepare him for this. I have no time to monitor what will come out of his tadd tipsy lips....

'BoyWonder, ahhh look!!!' As I point to the alien painting. 'Loralei has giving us this beautiful painting...' I say with a manic, ,high pitched shrill of a voice so that he knows this is no joke.

Ohhhh??? And then he follows me finger pointing to the larger than life painting. He looked as though he just came upon a train wreck... A horror in the eyes, a mouth slightly agape, he could not pull your eyes away from the painting.

'Why Loalei. it is beautiful but we can not take this' he flatly states.

But you must... I insist...It is my absolute favourite picture of a baby sleeping...' exclaims Loralei.

'Well, then you must keep it!' he eagerly retorts.'We can not take something that is so generous!'

'But, ' protests Loralei, 'It's Scooter, I painted it for you guys... It's the blue matt isn't it? Too much? I knew that blue matt seemed too extreme.'

'SCOOTER?' BoyWonder says a bit louder than needed and now he turns from the portrait and is looking at me for guidance.'No Loralei, the blue matt is great! Scooter?'

'Yes, Honey, It's Scooter... It was so long ago, she's nine now but think back...' I say manically nodding at him.
"Are you sure? Are you sure it's, Scooter?' he inquires.

'Honey, it is.' I say louder than normal with a great deal of frantic enthusiasm on my face. ' Loralei painted it from a picture I took years ago... Look at the hands, Scooter still holds her hands that way when she sleeps...'

BoyWonder looks at me again like I am crazy and realizes that he better save grace. He now begins to search the painting for some semblence of our daughter. 'Ohhhh yes,' he says while nodding 'It is Scooter?'

And then Loralei's husband walks in with his martini... He, too has been a bit overserved. He walks over to us and follows our horrified stares to the painting.
He looks at the painting and states 'Isn't that the UGLIEST baby you have ever laid your eyes on?'
Loralei just looks at him
'I mean, the parents of this alien may have taken to eating thier young. Geez, that is one UUUUUUHHHHGLLLLY kid!'
'Yes Loralei.'
'That's Scooter?'
'Scooooooter?' as she nods our way.
'Who the hell, is Scooter??? Besides the UUUGGGGLLLLIIIEST baby alive... Talking about SPAWN! Loralei WHAT?'
'Scooter is Pendullum and BoyWonder's baby.' Loralei now adopting the manic high pitched shrill of me.
He looks at me, he looks at BoyWonder, looks at the painting...

We, BoyWonder and I, have not been able to take our eyes off the painting.

'You guys, you guys, know I was joking, Right? I mean she doesn't look like this now... I mean she is a cute kid... Right? Or does she still look like Zoltar? I mean not that this painting looks like Zoltar or anything like that.'

And for the rest of the night Bill followed us around letting us know that he was tipsy and that upon looking closer to the picture she really was a cute baby.

We were saddened the following day when we returned to the home of Lorali and Bill to find no one had yet risen and we can not pick up the painting.

We know the picture will come back to our house, as we know that we will see Loralei over the holidays and there will definitely be the great unveiling of the portrait. Probably with a great deal of pomp and circumstance from Bill.

And the alien will reside in our home in a place of honour. How oftencan one feel so much love with a gift? And when I look at it, I know that I will think of that night of friendship. And when I look at the painting, I guarantee I will see my husband's look of horror and I will see Bill with a Martini in hand,and I will see Loralei's bright, shining face above all else.I will be sent on a journey. And sometimes with art, it can take you to different places with just one image. Sometimes art just does that. It all depends on how you look at it.