Best Laugh


An old opponent resurfaced last week in a serendipitous way. This person misbehaved in typical fashion. I had to laugh. There’s comedy in someone intentionally acting spiteful to no avail.

In the moments that I experienced with this person, I felt great fear. (Lessons from The Exorcist) It was the deep intense fear of the devil I felt as a six year old watching The Exorcist. (Boy, bye)But I can now discuss my experiences and even find them humorous.  It could be the beginning of feeling at peace with what happened. Someday I may forgive the actions taken.  Life shaped this person into who they are; I often wonder if the behavior can be helped. This is someone in great need of prayer so, despite my history, I offer prayers.

ede47e0b262582d8c554c67c61c55b56I have to be able to laugh at my past trials. I have withstood physical, mental, and emotional health challenges. Now I’m pushing myself to be physically stronger. When I’m sweating and panting during my workouts, I am empowered by that struggle. I laugh because I’m joyful. I have often prayed to God to soften my heart and the hearts of others. We have to be inspired to open ourselves to light, love, and laughter. We have to be willing and brave. I was a very different person internally ten, twenty, thirty years ago. We all age and mature. I made the effort to change. I opened myself to becoming a better person. I pray that this person find the strength. It’s transformative.

I laugh because I came back from the dead. I laugh because I continue to look evil in the face and stand, possibly not as tall or as strong as I would like, but I stand. I feel indebted to God for being my shield in those awful moments when I wanted to run or hide. I laugh, despite my enemy. I laugh because I survived.

The case of the missing memento

The mystery began with a disappearance.  The grizzled old woman in the black headscarf went missing one morning. Those familiar with her knew her to be harmless; still negative perceptions persisted.  She was suspected of being a witch.  Even in 2016, there are those (okay so it’s one person) who would believe a hunchbacked old woman is partaking in the black arts.  I had a suspect. I had a motive. It was time to get Nancy Drew. 
My girl.  I used to want to be Nancy Drew. How about Nancy De La Cruz?
I began by questioning witnesses.  Had the one person, the one fearful of witchery, been seen with the missing person?  It didn’t take long before an eyewitness confirmed that the old woman was forcibly removed to an area inhabited by several international residents.  The eyewitness had defended the old woman from the witchcraft allegations; the old woman now had a new home.  I resolved to protect the old woman from continued harassment. At one point, I had to physically escort her home because the old woman was once again forcibly evicted.  For now, she is safe.
Antes que llamen a la policia, know that the tale I have told is fiction loosely based on a true event.  When sharing your home with folks, be they family or friends or tenants, things will sometimes get misplaced.  While I may give the side-eye, I don’t make a fuss. I play detective and right the wrong as best I can.  The high road is best in these situations. 
For the record, la befana is a witch but she’s not a sign of my participation or endorsement of black magic.  In Italy, the befana delivers the Christmas gifts on Epiphany eve, rather than Santa.  So while Italians do have Christmas trees, the tradition continues.  
Does this look like a sorceress to you? 
I got a Befana doll in Piazza Navona as a keepsake from my trip with my parents to Italy where we spent an amazing Christmas complete with Midnight Mass with St. Pope John Paul II.  To me, the befana reminds me of those happy memories and, ironically, as a reminder of the faith my family shares.  She used to be in my kitchen but now hangs over the fireplace in the company of Russian nest dolls and Thai elephants on the mantel. 
Family dynamics can be complicated. (Previously on our family sitcom)  One minor change or disagreement can trigger uneasiness, tension, and confrontation.  With patience and a sense of humor about these situations, those negative feelings pass.  

The hottest mess yet

The SF Chronicle calls it “possibly the best reality show…ever.” VH1 has done it again, bringing together some of the most memorable contestants from previous hits, The Flavor of Love, I Love New York and Rock of Love. 17 past participants gathered in beautiful beachfront Mexico to compete for a quarter of a million dollars–and lots of VH1 dating show drama/high jinks.

So who’s in the house this time? There are bimbos of both genders: 12 Pack and Heat, New York’s party boys, catty Playboy Playmate Megan from RoL 2, and Brandi C from ROL 1. There are annoying attitudes from Chance, ILNY 1 also-ran, Pumkin, New York’s spitting foe from FoL 1, and Midget Mac, once a likable underdog on ILNY and now just a little guy with too much anger. You do have some likable folks like Real, Hoopz, and Rodeo. And every reality house needs a weirdo; Mr. Boston is sure to keep us laughing with his overblown come-hither advances on the girls and self-deluded cockiness(“I brought 5 condoms and I intend to use them with a different chick”). The cast will compete in Survivor-like team challenges and live with one another with what promises to be disastrous results.

You can’t bring this many chiseled abs, impressive implants, and personality quirks into a house and expect these folks, already semi-famous for trying to hook up on national TV, to strategize without so much as a wink at someone cute. No, the sexual tension is already running high. White Boy, captain of the Green team, is already nervous about the “venom” offered by hotties Megan and Brandi C. The Entertainer is hoping things don’t work out for Heat and Destiney so he can move in. Heather plans to remove her Bret tattoo and is already gunning for 12 Pack. And poor Mr. Boston is hoping to abandon his blowup doll for good. This season promises to be about sex, drama, and oh yes, that money.

A better title may have been “I Love Being on TV.” No matter to those of us who like to watch the mess to be made.

Reality show frenzy

Pregnancy changes everything. My skin and hair. My waistline. My energy level. Now that my morning sickness has subsided to once-a-week misery, I’m getting out for meals and movies again. But the thought of putting on club gear and crossing the Bay Bridge seems more challenging than a half-marathon. So chances are, I’ll spend Saturday night flipping through the channels for a movie since my weeknights are reserved for George Lopez reruns with Blues and my ongoing infatuation with reality shows.

It’s understandable, given popular media’s ongoing interest in reality TV. There’s even a reality channel now. I’m not so far gone that I watch only reality shows. I break down my shows into two categories: shows featuring hot messes(aka VH1 dating shows Rock of Love and Flavor of Love)and mainstream pop culture phenoms(namely Top Chef and American Idol.)

Like millions across the nation, I have become hooked on American Idol. Years ago, during Season 1, my mentor, with whom I shared a conference hotel room, made me sit through an episode and its subsequent results show. I watched the season until Kelly Clarkson took home the inaugural honor. This time, a chiropractor friend of mine was working on Blues’s back while I was left in the living room to take in AI’s current contestants taking on 70s hits. Now Blues and I are rooting for little David Archuleta and arguing over that little blonde country girl(he likes her; I don’t.)

Similarly, I was introduced to Top Chef by my former housemate. I haven’t watched it in a few seasons but I’m now hooked on Top Chef Chicago as I root for the three remaining San Franciscans. And I want to slap Mark and Spike and his ridiculous Panama hat.

My hot mess addiction is my own. It all started with Flavor Flav falling for Brigitte Nielsen on The Surreal Life. Then he moved on to choosing Hoops over the borderline diva New York in Season 1. And on and on. I’m sorry to say I have no connection to any of the girls in Season 3. The twins, Thing 1 and Thing 2, look a decade older than their reported 26, yet they act worse than my high schoolers with their backstabbing intrigue and constant gossipping. Meanwhile, on the rock side of the world, Bret Michaels, who’s ten times more likable than the goofy and not-so-hot Flav but not that much younger at 45(!), hasn’t learned too much from his last bad decision(he got dumped by Jess on the Season 1 reunion show.) I was relieved when borderline serial wife Kristi Jo voluntarily left two episodes ago and am rooting for Amber.

Four reality shows to watch isn’t bad. In time, this current phase will pass, either because my shows will end and/or I’ll have more important things to do with my time. For now, I’ll just enjoy these guilty pleasures.

Near-perfect movie

Now playing

They’re calling it the Little Miss Sunshine of the year and the comparison works. Quirky family, snarky dialogue, and a perfect portrayal of precocious teen mom Juno(the brilliant Ellen Page, yes she was Kitty Pryde in the X-Men trilogy) and great co-starring turns from Allison Janney as coolest stepmom ever Bren, Jennifer Garner as perfect aspiring mother Vanessa, and Jason Bateman as her poster boy for midlife crisis husband. Cool cameo from Degrassi’sDaniel Clark as a rude jock. Hilarious and real!

Shoot me now, the blogging at Kinko’s edition

I thought I would motivate myself to write by paying my $15 an hour. Everything was fine for the first half hour. Now I’m sitting next to a man in a bad relationship whose woman talks loud enough for me to make out every word she is saying.
I can’t concentrate.
and I better not laugh out loud!

Dinner conversation with the family

Hair bear dos. Blue AquaNet. Cruising Castro Valley Blvd. Muggg’s before people got shot. Will To Power’s “Say it’s gonna rain.” Drinking Cisco and Bartle and Jaymes.
Playing Barbies. Being afraid of clowns after seeing Poltergeist at Eastmont Mall. Sleeping with the closet light on. Watching el Chavo del 8 y El Chapulin Colorado.

I had fun as a kid.
Gotta love my cousin.