Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fitbit on My Shoulder

When you start out in life looking like this...

(I'm the baby that looks like she was fattened up for a sacrificial dinner...and from the look on my face I look a bit worried, like I see myself turning on a spit.

What the hell?  What was my mother feeding me?  I look like I was created in a sausage factory!  That can't be from breast-feeding!)

...you embark upon a never-ending quest to avoid looking like that ever again.

I didn't look too bad in my youth (though I didn't realize it then), but the weight has crept on over the years.  I am on a mission to get back to how I looked then, and when I say "youth," I am talking my 40's!  I will settle for that.

So I am always looking for something to help me either lose weight or maintain the weight that I have.

And exercise is supposed to help with that, right?

One of the things that I did to facilitate weight loss was to purchase a Fitbit

For those of you not aware of this little device, it's a pedometer that not only keeps track of how many steps you take each day, it calculates calories, tells the time and even gives you a little smile.  Mine is a basic model.  There are some that have all kinds of bells and whistles, such as telling you what you weigh at any given minute, calculating your body fat and telling you to call your mother.  If you wear it to bed, you get extra points for Restless Leg Syndrome. 

Once sinc'ed in with your computer, it also communicates with you and gives you a report at the end of the week on how well you did.  More on that later.

It has become fairly common knowledge in the fitness world, that walking 10,000 steps is the most desirable number of steps for keeping fit, so I thought this little device, unobtrusively hooked onto my bra strap, would tell me how I was doing.

What I didn't realize was...once you invite the quick fix, a certain kind of evil enters your life.

Oh, I know it looks benign, friendly, even.  Look at that smile.  But there is evil lurking there.

That little Fitbit sitting on my shoulder has become like a monkey on my back.  I know the expression "Monkey on my back" implies an addiction of some kind - and it is.

If I forget to put it on and find myself somewhere without it, I break into a cold sweat. There I am at the mall walking around and suddenly realize I forgot my Fitbit!  Oh, no, what's it going to say?  I'm going to get a bad report!

But it's worse than that.

I'm like "The Thing With Two Heads."  

The Fitbit is like having another little head, an evil one, attached to my shoulder.

Yes, folks, it talks to me.  Not audibly, but it KNOWS when I don't have it on. 

I will get a message on my phone reminding me. 

Or even when I do have it on, it lets me know how I'm doing. 

"Only 5000 more steps.  You can do it!" 

And that's when I'm done for the day and sitting in a chair with a glass of wine watching an episode of "Naked and Afraid."  So then I think I should get up and start running in place, so I can get the Fitbit to give me kudos when the goal of 10,000 steps is reached- "You Nailed It!  Good Job!"

That little device sitting on my shoulder also inspires guilt.  I reach for a bowl of ice cream and I can feel it cringing, disapproving, that little smile turning into a grimace of disgust. 

"You're not really going to eat that, are you?"

Hubby and I were out walking the other day and stopped at a Top Pot Doughnuts, your "I-cannot-walk-by-this-shop-and-not-buy-a-doughnut" kind of doughnut shop.  But later when we were resting at a wine bar, your basic "I-cannot-walk-by-this-wine-bar-and-not-get-some-wine" kind of wine bar, I checked my steps and calories and felt guilty.  As I was drinking glass of wine number two and saw that little Fitty (that's what it demands I call it) said I had expended 1470 calories, I knew I didn't deserve that calorie count.  And that little device knew it!

But the Fitbit is also unfair!

If I go to the gym and use the elliptical or the rowing machine or the stationary bike, Fitbit doesn't approve of that and doesn't calculate anything as steps.  So I spend 90 minutes at the gym and only get credit for about 2000 steps, a far cry from the 10,000 it demands of me.

It's also upsetting when I get the weekly report of how many steps I did each day.  It might look something like this.

Monday                 10,070 steps.    "Way to go, Rosy!  You nailed it!"

Tuesday                  5,423 steps.    "Better lay off the TV!"

Wednesday                    0              "Rosy, what the hell happened?"
                             (I forgot to put it on that day!)

Thursday                10,147             "That's better, Rosy, you had me worried!"

Friday                       7,856             "I saw you eat that ice cream. 
                                                     You don't really deserve this calorie count!"

It's like being in a horror movie!

And here's the thing. Do you realize how long I have to walk to get those 10,000 steps?  An hour and a half! 

Who has that kind of time?

I know I am retired, but, folks, I'm busy.  I have to get dressed every day, brushing my teeth takes time, I don't even know the last time I washed my hair, there are movies I have to watch, I need to keep up with my TIVO, books are calling to me, I need to write this blog, go to the gym, go to the library, fulfill my volunteer obligations, Happy Hour with Hubby... and I need a day off once in awhile...

You get the idea.  How did I get myself into a situation where I am craving the approval of a little blue plastic device attached to my bra strap?  I have now managed to add one more stress element to my life.  Keeping my Fitbit happy.

But I will say that walking has its perks. 

It is, in fact, my favorite way to get exercise.  I love walking around Seattle, enjoying the neighborhoods and taking in the views.  It also affords some alone time with Hubby.  We walk, we talk, we hold hands, no distractions except the lovely scenery and each other.


And when we do that, I kill two birds with one stone. 

I make Hubby happy...and my little Fitbit very happy. 

Gotta keep little Fitty happy!

And maybe I will lose those pounds I've packed on since I was in my 40's.

That would make ME very happy!

But until then, I will continue my quest to try anything I can that will help me lose weight.

Got any cool gadgets I should know about?

Thanks for reading!

See you Friday
"Naked TV"

(I'm not kidding!)

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Friday, September 26, 2014

My Colonoscopy and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Maze Runner," as well as the DVDs "The Stories We Tell" and "The Signal," recommend a biography for you Jon Stewart fans and bring you up-to-date on my quest to see all of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"]

But First

Let's talk about my colonoscopy...

Just like death and taxes, a colonoscopy is inevitable.

And just like childbirth, if you have already had one, you have forgotten just how awful it was.

I just had my second one last week.  Because my first one didn't show any early signs of cancer, I was given a reprieve for ten years.  That ten years was just long enough for me to think I remembered that I didn't remember anything.

I thought I would share my experience with you, because as I learned when I was trolling around the Internet trying to find out why I couldn't have wine during the prep period, I found that people like to talk about their colonoscopy experiences.

And so do I.

First of all, have you ever noticed how difficult it is to make appointments for things like this?  You could be on hold for hours.  As I am on hold, I am thinking, "Why am I working this hard to make an appointment for something I don't want to do?"

"They" call it preventive medicine because colon cancer grows slowly and in most cases, can be treated during the procedure if found early.

But let me tell you, this is one preventive measure where the prevention is almost as bad as the cure.

Since this blog tries to be helpful, I thought I would share a few things I learned this time around.

1. It doesn't get any easier.

It's been ten years since I had my first one. You would think it would be easier this time around.  Think again.  What with all of the technological advances that have taken place in the world - we can talk to each other on tiny phones we carry around, we can access the Internet almost anywhere and get instant answers to our questions and we have been to the moon for god's sake - can't we have a colonoscopy prep that doesn't include drinking vile liquid and sitting on the toilet for hours?  No, I guess not.  We aren't that far advanced yet.  Moon? Yes. A colonoscopy prep that doesn't make you feel like you are drinking antifreeze?  No. 
(Please, lord, don't let me see another bottle of Gatorade ever again).

2.  Make an early morning appointment for your procedure.

I had this mistaken idea that if I made an appointment for late in the day that I wouldn't have to start the, should I say, "purging," until later the day before, thus being able to celebrate Hubby's birthday which was that day before (I know, my bad).  Anyway, I was wrong.  No matter what time your procedure is the next day, you have to stop eating the whole day before, like as soon as you get up.  So Hubby had to go spend his birthday at McDonald's by himself (wasn't he considerate to not eat in front of me)?

3. Everyone says the day before the procedure when you have to clean everything out is the worst.

Not sure about that. It is difficult for me to think that sitting on the toilet with your insides falling out is worse than having a camera looking around inside of me.  However, everything I read said don't worry about the procedure itself.  By the time you get there, you will welcome it, like a little mini-vacation.  I wanted to think that.

4. The whole process doesn't just start the day before. 

Several days before you are told to lay off nuts and corn.  So what do I crave the most?  Nuts and corn.  The day before the procedure, nothing red, purple or blue so naturally I was fixated on red jello with blueberries and a bowl of beets.

5. Have a sense of humor.

As I was trolling the Internet trying to find out why I couldn't make this process better via a few glasses of wine (you aren't supposed to drink alcohol - naturally, let's make this REALLY NO FUN!), I came across a cheeky article giving advice on the procedure. I think it was written by someone in the U.K. which would explain some of the humor, but her advice was to write something on your posterior for the amusement of the doctor doing the procedure, something like "Easy Does It" or "Hey Sailor."  Well, maybe not that last one.  I thought that one up myself, but thought better of it.  I ran the idea of writing a message to my doctor on my backside by the nurse who was getting me ready, and though she thought it was funny, told me my doctor was a serious type.  So good thing I didn't go through with that.  You don't want to piss off a doctor standing behind you with a colonoscope!

6.  Be prepared for a bad night. 

Yes, I knew I would be getting up in the night, but didn't think I would be dry heaving into the sink.  Geez, can this thing get any worse?

7.  It's best to wear comfortable clothes that you can get in and out of easily since you will be terrified when you are getting out of them and woozy and violated when getting into them.

When I finally made it to the clinic and was getting undressed for the procedure, the nurse helping me complimented me on my choice of clothing.  She was remarking on the easy on/easy off aspect, not the fact that I was dressed entirely in black.  I didn't want to say I was wearing black, because I was in mourning for what my colon had been through the night before.

8.  Forget flirting with your cute doctor.

When my doctor came to see me briefly, I thought, "He's cute.  Too bad the only side of me he is going to get to know is my backside."

9.  No matter how much you tell them you don't want to watch, realize you have little control.

I made it clear I did not want to be awake.  As I got onto my side on the gurney in the operating room, I was facing a TV screen.  The nurse came over to administer the "happy juice" as she called it and said "Let me know if you need anything" and THEN THE DOCTOR STARTED THE PROCEDURE.  I thought, "Hey, wait a minute.  Let the happy juice kick in!"  There I was watching my colon, feeling crampy, thinking I was stuck there for the long haul with no "happy juice."  I do remember thinking, "Gee, that's a nice clean colon."  That must have been when the drugs kicked in.

10.  In the end (pardon the pun), you won't care much about what happens.

I swear I was awake, but as I was told, even if you drift awake, you won't really care and that's kind of how it was.  "Oh, here I am lying on my side with my backside exposed to a total stranger and I am admiring my colon on a TV screen.  This must be what it's like to not care about much."

11.  No alcohol before, no alcohol after.

Don't listen to them.

12.  When it's all over, don't feel guilty for lying around feeling sorry for yourself, especially if you don't have a sympathetic significant other. 

You deserve a little pity party.  It was awful.

13.  Hopefully, good news will arrive that all is well and you won't have to go through this again for another 10 years.

In the meantime, you can gaze lovingly at the picture of your lovely colon they gave you upon exiting.  A nice little souvenir of a mini-vacation from hell.

Want to commiserate?

Now on to something more pleasant...

The Week in Reviews

***In Theatres Now***

Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in community of boys surrounded by a seemingly impenetrable maze with no memory of where he came from. How will they get out?

The movie begins with Thomas being transported by an elevator like device up, up, up.  Suddenly, it is opened and he is confronted by a gang of boys.  He can't remember anything, not even his name, but one of the leaders, Alby, (played by Aml Ameen, an engaging young actor we will no doubt see more of in the future), gains his trust and helps him understand what has happened to him. Every month a "Greenie," a newcomer arrives out of that elevator with supplies.  All of the boys are in the same boat, all arrived the same way.  All found themselves here in "The Glade," and no one knows why.  All they know is that they are surrounded by a maze, and they need to find out how to get out. 

Every day the huge stone door of The Maze opens and some of the boys appointed "Maze Runners" go into the Maze to try to map it and find out its secrets, but they must get back before the door closes again because no one has survived a night in The Maze.  The Maze is home to some very inhospitable and ugly mechanical tarantulas called The Grievers.  This has been going on for three years with no luck, but now that Thomas is there, things start to happen. He is asking questions and really wants out.  But there is always the one averse to change, forever playing devil's advocate, who appears to be content to just stay put and that's Gally (Will Poulter). He provides the conflict - well, the human conflict, anyway. There is nothing that Thomas says or does that Gally approves of, to the point that it actually gets annoying.  Eventually a girl shows up, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), and though I give this film props for not creating the usual sexual tension that occurs when a woman shows up in a community of men, I will also say she didn't seem to have much to do or need to be there.

Along with O'Brien, Maze Runner, Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and fellow Glader, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) are stand-outs in the cast.

Based on the best-selling young adult novel of the same name by James Dashner, this film starts out well with lots of excitement as the boys try to discover the secrets of The Maze but the last part of the film falls into melodrama and doesn't make much sense, partly because it's obvious a sequel is in the offing.
I really get disturbed when I realize I have just spent two hours watching a movie that needs a sequel to be satisfying.  That's what happened here.  It's so blatantly part of a new Teen franchise that I felt ripped off. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...a cross between "Lord of the Flies," "The Hunger Games" and a 50's B horror film starring gigantic tarantulas, but not as good.

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Stories We Tell (2012)

Actress Sarah Polley discovers her parentage in this imaginative and dramatic documentary.

Polley remembers people saying she didn't look like her Dad at all.  Turns out there was a reason for that. 

This film is mostly about Sarah's mother, Diane Polley, a Canadian actress, who died in 1990 from cancer when Sarah was 11, who was married to actor Michael Polley, and who gave up her career to raise her family, but was able to dabble in acting from time to time.  Diane was the life of the party, living life to the fullest.  Michael a more quiet, withdrawn sort.  She becomes discontented with her marriage and embarks on an affair while in Quebec doing a play.

But this is also a story about a family and the secrets that exist there.

Polley is joined in telling this story by her two older brothers and her two older sisters and others who knew her mother and her father provides the narration, reading from a memoir he wrote.  Each tells their story from varying points of view, trying to recollect memories full of cobwebs, while Polley weaves home movies in with film that looks like home movies, but you realize that some of it is being done by look alike actors. But it's so seamless, you don't notice it until the end when you go "Wait a minute, how could someone have filmed that back in the day?"

Polley came to stardom in "The Sweet Hereafter" but avoided the lure the Hollywood, instead preferring to work in Canada in smaller films and to direct.  Her first directorial effort, "Away from Her," was a wonderfully heartbreaking story of Alzheimer's starring Julie Christie which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and Polley a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a wonderful, intimate, poignant portrait of a family, reminiscent of another wonderful personal documentary about family secrets, "51 Birch Street."

The Signal (2014)

Three friends on a road trip are taunted by a hacker who previously hacked into their college's computers (MIT) and find themselves in a waking nightmare. 
Three computer geek MIT students - Jonah (Beau Knapp), Nic (Brenton Thwaites, you saw him in "The Giver" and he's the hot new thing in town) and Haley (Olivia Cooke) - are on a road trip to take Haley to California where she plans to live for a year.  Nic has muscular dystrophy and doesn't want to hold Haley back so he has bottled up his feelings for her.  Haley is worried about their relationship. While en route, Nic and Jonah discover that a hacker NOMAD (who nearly got Jonah and Nic expelled for breaking into MIT servers), is taunting them with strange and ominous emails. They track NOMAD to an abandoned house in the middle of the Nevada desert and decide to go after him. After finding nothing in the house, Nic and Jonah black out as Haley is pulled upinto the air.  They all wake up in a HASMAT like controlled environment.
It was all going so well up until the unseen forces got into this thing.  When Nic and Jonah were in the abandoned house, it felt a bit like "The Blair Witch Project" and it was eerie and scary.  But then once Laurence Fishburne (Damon) got a hold of them, it started to unravel. This has bits of the aforementioned "Maze Runner," young people in a controlled environment who must find a way out. But there the comparison ends.
This is a low-budget sci fi film with engaging young stars and gorgeous cinematography.  That's the good news.  The bad news is it is ultimately unsatisfying.

There is some underlying gobbledygook about logic versus emotion and the "signal" being that clear, small voice inside that tells us what's true, but unfortunately, the character development here doesn't bring that out sufficiently.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like Science Fiction, you will probably enjoy this.  There are definitely worse sci fi films out there (think "Transcendence.")

***My 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die  Project***
I am starting to work through the 300+ films I need to see to get to the 1001 I must see before I die.  I think I started with 316 - now it's 314 to go.  At this rate, it will take me three years to see all of these!
The daily struggles of a poor Brahman family in Bengali in the early part of the 20th century.

The first film directed by acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray and the first film in what would comprise "The Apu Trilogy," it is known for its mise-en-scene, it's lyrical and expressive story-telling.

Rosy the Reviewer says...it is a simple poetic story punctuated by Ravi Shankar's music. (b & w with subtitles)

Detour (1945)
A hapless loser tries to hitchhike across country to meet up with his lady love only to end up a victim of a series of chance events.
"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" says, " One of the greatest of all B movies...[it] makes no attempt to rise above its budget...instead reveling in its cheapness, presenting a world somewhere between pulp fiction and existentialism..."  I don't know about that but, boy, is it a classic 1940's B movie.  It is the precursor for such films as "A Simple Plan," where wrong decision after wrong decision is made to excruciating effect.
Rosy the Reviewer says...It's about as noir as you can get in film noir, but it's also very campy by today's standards.  It feels like an episode from "The Twilight Zone." This would make a great midnight movie feature along with "Rocky Horror."

***Book of the Week***
Jon Stewart's unlikely rise to stardom.

Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, Stewart is one of today's major comedy players and admitted liberal voice.  Growing up in New Jersey, Stewart was a smart-ass and grew up in a typical middle class Jewish household. He was small in stature so learned from an early age that his humor could ward off the bullies.  He was class clown and a troublemaker, but he also excelled at soccer. He went to college on a soccer scholarship and there experienced prejudice for the first time.  His soccer dreams did not pan out so after graduation he worked a series of uninspiring jobs until he decided to move to New York City to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comic. He always knew he was a witty smart-ass so why not do it for a living?  He paid his dues  on comedy stages for seven years until MTV came knocking. "The Jon Stewart Show" debuted in 1993 but when the show was canceled, he moved to LA where he acted in films until he landed "The Daily Show" in 1999. Author Rogak sheds light on Stewart's personal life, what goes on behind the scenes at "The Daily Show," and how Stewart has become a major liberal player in the U.S.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a Jon Stewart fan, you will love this.

Thanks for Reading!

See you Tuesday


            "Fitbit on My Shoulder"

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Phyllis Diller had "Fang" and I have "Hubby."

It was his birthday last week and since I make fun of him, I mean, talk about him so much on this blog, I thought you might want to get to know him a little better.  Also, I think I owe him that much since I scheduled a colonoscopy for the day after his birthday.  His birthday wasn't pretty.

Have you ever wondered about the paths, the circuitous routes, that led you to your friends, lovers and husbands (I say husbands with an "s" because I've had more than one)?  Well, OK, maybe you haven't, but that's the kind of crap I think about. One different turn, one different decision and your life might have turned out much differently.

I think about that writing this post, because Hubby and I couldn't have had more different lives growing up.  We didn't grow up in the same town, we didn't even grow up in the same country.  We didn't go to college together, we didn't meet at work. 

We met on one serendipitous morning in Big Sur, California.

But let me back up a bit and talk about me for a minute, because after all this is MY blog.

I grew up in Western Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan.  I lived in the same town from birth to 18, and we only moved once, when I was seven, and we only moved about five blocks closer to downtown.  My parents also grew up there and lived there all of their lives and my paternal grandparents lived across the street.

Hubby, on the other hand, was born in Oakland, California and lived in Suriname, El Salvador, Turkey and Jamaica before attending college at the University of Virginia when he was only 16.

Who knew that little homegrown Michigan girl would eventually meet the world traveling little boy and that Seattle would take us full circle?

Hubby's Dad's family immigrated to the United States from England in the early part of the 20th century.  Hubby's Grandfather came first and his wife and three children followed in 1921.  They settled in Chicago where Hubby's Dad, Bob, at the age of seven, was riding on the back of a bike when he was hit by a truck.  It was one of those old trucks with hard wheels, and it ran over his right leg, which had to be amputated above the knee.  Because of the accident, there was a monetary settlement which enabled Hubby's Dad to go to college, the only member of his family to do so. A horrible accident with a happy ending of sorts. He became a chemical engineer specializing in sanitary engineering and water resources.

Because the accident happened to him early in life, Bob was able to adjust to a prosthesis and life went on for him.  Hubby always said he thought his Dad having an artificial leg was cool and he would proudly show it off to his friends by giving it a kick.

Around the same time, Hubby's mother, Ada Frances ("Fran") was growing up in Springfield, Missouri, a doted-on only child of young parents.

Fran and her parents and Bob all moved to Seattle during WW II for better opportunities and that is where Bob and Fran met and were married.  Hubby's sister, Pam was born in Seattle, and when Bob secured a job with the State of California, the family moved to Berkeley.  Hubby was born in Oakland.

Bob was later transferred to Southern California and this is where things get fuzzy. 

Here Fran is imitating Jackie Gleason, "Why I oughta...to the moon!" much to Hubby-to-be's delight.

It was never clear why Bob signed up for overseas posts with the U.S. State Department, but some conversations I had with both of them led me to believe Fran wanted to get Bob away from something or someone, not to mention the lure of the good life that was available to people working for the U.S. Government and living in Third World Countries during the 1950's and 60's.

Hubby always got a kick out of this official State Department picture of his Dad.  So serious and so unlike him as a man.

Bob's specialty was setting up water systems in Third World countries.

The first posting was to Suriname (Dutch Guiana) for four years. 

Hubby was three when they arrived. 

And he was seven when they left.  They stayed with his maternal grandmother in Springfield, Missouri (home of Brad Pitt and Kathleen Turner).  This would be the pattern over the years between postings, and Hubby would get a taste of life in the United States, going to school briefly there waiting for the next posting.

When Hubby was eight, they were in El Salvador for two years

and at ten, the family was posted to Ankara, Turkey for two more years,

followed by less than two years in Kingston, Jamaica.

By this time, Hubby was 14 and begged his parents to let him go to high school in the United States.  The next post was going to be Brazil, but they relented, and Bob was able to get a transfer to Washington, D.C. and the family moved to Springfield, Virginia, a suburb.

Because of his education abroad, Hubby skipped several grades and graduated from high school when he was only 16. 

I also have to add that Hubby growing up overseas in less advanced countries from the age of three to 14 meant TV was not very prevalent.  So he amused himself by reading the World Book Encyclopedia and memorizing capitals and square miles of countries and states, among other things.  He also liked to count the number of panels in his comic books and rank them - which ones had the most panels.  Hence his dominance in Trivial Pursuit (except TV shows of the 1950's and 60's of which I excel) and a decided nerdie trait he passed on to his children.

So now Hubby-to-be is back in the States, graduated from high school and it's the late 60's. 

Hubby discovers rock concerts (he was at Woodstock) and the ladies.

He was accepted at the University of Virginia and entered the engineering program there when he was still 16.

Alas, what's likely to happen to a young sheltered boy off to college for the first time?  P-A-R-T-Y!

He made it through the first semester of his second year, but due to low grades - and maybe because there were no women at the University of Virginia then?  - Hubby and the school decided it was best if he moved on.

So what do you do when you have flunked out of college and you are only 18?

Why you open a "head shop" with your parents, sister and her husband, of course! 

Hey, it was the 70's!

For those of you too young to know what a "head shop" is, let's just say a "head shop" sells things for your "head," along with water beds, hippie clothes and the like.

They started "Joy Wind," the first "head shop" in Charlottesville, which became the center of the counter culture scene there, until Hubby's sister and her husband decided Colorado was where it was at. They eventually drifted to the Monterey Bay Area in California, and Hubby, after a failed marriage, followed suit.

And this is where I enter the scene.

Like I said, I was born and raised in one place.  I graduated from high school while Hubby was still overseas (I like younger men),

 and dutifully went to college, getting married young along the way.

Can you tell I was a theatre major in college?

I, too, heard the lure of California and went out there right after college. 

Other than a brief stint back in Michigan where I attended Library School, I lived in California for the next 30 years.

So here's the "meet cute" story, which I related briefly in a blog post where I reviewed the remake of "Endless Love."

For those of you who missed that, I will tell it again...with a bit more detail.

I was 34, happily married (I thought), had a great job as a library manager and had just had my first child, a little boy.  I was working and putting my husband through college, only to discover that he had been having an affair with a young co-ed the whole time.  There I was, 34 years old with a two year old son.  I couldn't help but think, "I didn't wait until I was 32 to have a child only to raise him alone."  My world fell apart.  It was bad.  I made some very bad decisions trying to stay married.

But after the stops and starts, I pulled myself together.  A friend of mine let me live with her while I healed and eventually I started to feel better. My friend was also going through a break-up so we helped each other, going out and having fun.

What can I say?  It was the 80's!

We planned a weekend at Big Sur.  My son was with his Dad for the weekend, so my friend and I were going to go down there together and be "free, independent, strong women."  To hell with men!  Who needs men!?

So that's what we did.

We stayed at the Big Sur River Inn, laid out in the sun on the grass by the river while my friend tried to teach me to play bridge.

We had dinner at Nepenthe where the chef chatted us up and said he wanted to meet us at a club down the road.  We were feeling cute, very free and happy.

We went down to the club and a band was playing.  (Clubs actually had live bands in those days and people actually danced.  Can you believe it)?

One of the guys in the band also chatted us up and we had a good old time, but I discovered I had a horrible sun burn from lying out on the grass all afternoon, so we went back to the room without waiting for that chef to meet us. 

That night my friend was sick (food poisoning?), and I was suffering from my sunburn so we had a bad night.

The next morning we crossed the road to get some breakfast, and as we walked in my friend said under her breath, "There's the band." 

We sat nearby at which point this cheeky, balding guy (Hubby-to-be) struck up a conversation with us, eventually asking us if we were "models or actresses."  After much giggling on our parts, he asked our names and I said, "I'm Rosy" and my friend said, "I'm Janie," to which soon-to-be Hubby said "Well, I'm Chucky, this is Sally, this is Stevie and this is Joey."  Again, much giggling ensued and we found ourselves outside in the sun once again whiling away the afternoon with the band, me hoisting up the back of my shirt to show them my sunburn.

Later, they invited us to go down the river (I wonder why - wink, wink).  To do that, we would have to take their cars. 

Now right here, the story might have changed not to mention what could have happened to us getting into cars with strange men.  Don't try this at home!

I saw Hubby-to-be take a minute to decide who he wanted to ride with him, but he nodded my way and in I hopped.  Strong, free women, right?  I could have been a statistic...and I almost was. 

Not for the reason you might think, but to my credit, I did say as we were trekking down the river, "This isn't like 'Deliverance' or something, is it?"  Half joking, half wondering if this was such a good idea.

We set up camp down the river.  There was a six-pack in the river cooling and when Hubby-to-be asked me if I wanted a beer, I said "Sure," and he tossed it to me.  As I looked up to catch it, the sun was in my eyes and the full can of beer landed on my head!  Blood ensued.  All I could think at that moment was "Medic!" and my worst fear would be realized.  My son would grow up without a mother.  Hubby-to-be came over, dabbed the blood and was not particularly sympathetic. I could feel the hole in my head, but we were out in the middle of nowhere with total strangers, so what was I to do?  Well, continue partying.

Hubby-to-be and I talked and talked, discovering that we shared the same values.  We kissed with our glasses getting stuck together, we joked, but when I found out what his SAT scores were, I knew he was for me.

That night he came over to my apartment and we continued talking through the night, even singing a boozy rendition of "Endless Love" together (hence, the "Endless Love" connection mentioned above - it's "our song.").

I was working as a medical librarian in a hospital at the time so when I went back to work and had them check my head wound, the doctor said, "Must have been some party."  I could see him envisioning a brawl with beer cans flying all around so I was going to try to explain that it wasn't like that, but then, I always did want to break that mousy librarian stereotype.  I didn't reply, trying to maintain a bit of mystery and an aura as a party girl.

Hubby-to-be had been planning on moving back East to live with his parents and go back to college, but he pursued me, he loved my son, and a year later we were married

 and a year after that our daughter was born.

Hubby went back to college, but this time, folks, I did not put him through.  He worked and went to college at night earning a degree in Computer Science and becoming a part of the Silicon Valley tech world.

We have been married for over 30 years and have gone through the usual ups and downs that all people experience. We lost his sister, Pam, to cancer at only 40 years old and both of his parents died soon after moving  to California to be near us.  We wish we could have enjoyed them longer.

Hubby still plays music and my career as a librarian lasted for 40 years.

So in a nutshell, that's Hubby's story and how despite growing up thousands of miles apart our paths crossed.

I am not a proponent of marrying your opposite.  I think happy marriages are based on some crucial sameness.  Despite the miles and exotic locations, Hubby and I were raised very similarly, so there were no religious issues, no values issues, no personality issues. The core understanding was there.

I met Hubby at a very low point in my life - the lowest in fact - and he lifted me up.

And he lifted up my son, too, by treating him as his own. He coached his baseball teams, followed all of his sports, helped him with his homework and was there for him every step of the way.

And I believe he was a huge influence on what a wonderful father my son now is who in turn will lift up his own sons.

Thank you, Hubby.
I am glad we found each other.
Happy Birthday...And cheers!

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday for
"My Colonoscopy"
(Yes, you heard me...)
The Week in Reviews

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