Archive for April, 2008

Cheap Stuff To Do When You’re Blue

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

by Liz von Achen

Everybody gets the blues now and then. Here are some simple blues-busting techniques I’d like to share. If anyone can add to this list, please send an e-mail. The only criteria is that it has to be a cheap solution – no ‘hop on a jet and grab a shrimp salad sandwich in Tahiti’ techniques allowed (unless it’s your jet, and the rest of us are all invited).

• Reach into the refrigerator with your eyes closed and grab four items at random. Invite a few close friends over and prepare a meal using only these four items. (Then call Papa John’s and order a large pie with extra cheese).

• Sing-a-long to Helen Reddy’s “That Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady,” and really FEEL it.

• Place your index finger on a spinning globe, where it lands is where you’ll spend your next vacation. Good Luck. (My next vacation’s supposed to be in Chad. Fortunately, I’m a poor slob who never gets to take vacations.)

• Go to the grocery store and buy a box of Fruit Loops cereal. Go home, pour yourself a bowl and eat with lots of milk. Believe me, regardless of your age, it’s almost impossible to stay blue when you’re eatting Fruit Loops, especially if you find a ‘Free Inside’ toy in the box.

• Get in your car, close up all the windows, drive down a busy highway and SCREAM like a banshee. (If you don’t have a car, try while riding your bike. If you don’t have a bike, you could try it on a bus, but, they might send you away to someplace unpleasant, I don’t know.)

• Look up the literal meaning of the word ‘Banshee’ and realize that most people have no friggin’ idea of what a banshee really sounds like.

• Dance with your dog to Van Morrison’s “Bright Side Of The Road.” If you don’t have a dog, borrow one from the neighbors. (This really does work!)

• Put your card in the ATM machine and choose the Spanish language option. (If you happen to be bilingual, try completing your entire transaction with your eyes closed.)

• Leave your checkbook, your credit cards, and all your cash at home and go shopping for clothes at the mall. Try on the most hideous outfit you can find. When you decide that you look great in it, and you must have it, place it on a 24-hr hold. Go home, wait 25 hours, and then give yourself a big pat on the back.

© 2009 Liz von achen All rights reserved.

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Her Royal Highness, Betty Anne

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

by Liz von Achen

When I was a child, I had an ongoing fantasy that I was actually an elf with magical powers. Now that I’m older and wiser, of course I realize it was quite silly of me to indulge in that fantasy. I should have been fully believing it as fact! Because, after all, I DO have magical powers. Don’t we all? And, of course, I also have freaky little elfin ears. Which means I must be an elf. A magical elf.

Because my mother insisted on calling me Betty Anne, I literally had no idea my name was actually Elizabeth until my first day of kindergarten. My teacher, Miss Simisek read down a list of names, and told us to raise our hands and say “Here!” when we heard our names called. I never heard her call Betty Anne, so I didn’t raise my hand. When she reached the end of the list, she looked around the room puzzled. “Is there anyone here who’s name I didn’t call?” she asked. I raised my hand.

“And what’s your name?”

“Betty Anne.”

I noticed she smiled a little, and then made a check-mark on her list. She then gently asked,
“Doesn’t your mother ever call you Elizabeth?”

“Only when she’s mad at me,” I answered. (I honestly thought “Elizabeth” was a generic term that all mothers used when their little girls misbehaved.)

Miss Simisek laughed, and told me what I said was very funny. I couldn’t understand why it was so funny, because it was just the truth. But, I felt happy about making her laugh. She then explained that my real name was actually Elizabeth, and the Queen of England was also named Elizabeth, and Betty Anne was just a nickname. I just couldn’t wait to run home and tell my mother!

Shortly thereafter, I developed this notion that since I had a “royal” name like Elizabeth Anne, I was probably, actually, indeed the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and the younger sister of Princess Anne. Her Royal Highness the Queen had sent me over to America, to experience life as a commoner in a very large, dysfunctional family. Ultimately, HRH, my “real” Mom would send the giant glass “pumpkin” carriage to my house in New York, and rescue me from a life of middle-class mediocrity. The experience of having grown up in a world of baseball, hot-dogs, Barbie dolls and Donny Osmond would somehow make me a wiser, kinder, more beloved ruler upon claiming my status as the rightful heir to the throne.

I do admit, while the elf-thing was totally feasible, believing the long-lost princess spiel was a bit far-fetched. And, it wasn’t as if I didn’t love my own parents, or siblings. I did. Nor was my life so oppressed that I really needed to live in my imagination. I just thought it would be nice to move my entire family out of boring Long Island, New York, and into Buckingham Palace. I was sure we would never have to worry or fight about finding a clean bath towel there! I was also CERTAIN I would NEVER have to wear my older brother’s hand-me downs, and have to withstand some mean little girl in art-class making nasty comments about it.

The Queen would hook-me-up with lots of frilly dresses, and all the Hostess Twinkies I could ever want. And, if my annoying American brothers woke up before me, the Queen would make DAMN sure they didn’t gobble up all the good, sweet cereal like Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms, and leave me with the crappy tasting cereal like Shredded Wheat! No, my “real” mother, Queen Elizabeth would NEVER allow that to happen!

© 2009 Liz von achen All rights reserved.

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