Sunday, April 29, 2007

Playing Bunco, or Being Hip in the Hood

So, my friends invited me to be a substitute player in a Bunco game a couple of weekends ago. I'm still gleeful over the whole thing, having heard about these mysterious evenings for several months but having never been a part of one. Until now.

Believe me, it lived up to all the hype: Suburban women gathered around a table tossing dice. Gossip. Snacks. Lots of strongly mixed margaritas. More gossip. The occasional handful of M&Ms. Really, now that I know firsthand what goes on behind those quiet, white Colonial doors, I'd be hard pressed to come up with an entertainment idea for neighborhood moms that had this much potential for hipness.

The wonderful friend who issued the invitation has been part of this established, 12-member Bunco group for four years now. I hadn't thought about it before that night, but the changes that can take place in that amount of time are staggering. Of the original members (formed in my friend's subdivision, mostly on my friend's street), several have moved to other cities, a couple have divorced or separated from their spouses, a bunch of them have had a new baby or two, many have changed jobs and, interestingly, some of them don't seem all that crazy about each other anymore. Yet they still get together once a month to play.

When my friends first told me about The Bunco Experience, they insisted that I'd love it. That it'd give me lots to write about. That I shouldn't miss out on giving it a try. I was initially dubious. I mean, suburban women playing some kind of bizarre drinking game while talking about their husbands and kids for, like, four straight hours...could this really be fun?

Why, yes, it could and it was.

Wildly so, although I have no intention of going into the more embarrassing personal details here, and no one better post a picture of me wearing that hat... But already I can't wait to do it again. And soon, I hope. Very soon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

It's not as though I'm a huge fan of that '60s Mamas & Papas song, but I can't help but hear its bopping sounds in my brain nearly every Monday as I struggle to begin the week. Its relentlessness is crazy-making, and I can only deal with it by forcing myself to hum another Monday song... Which is why I find myself eventually turning to the Carpenters' classic "Rainy Days and Mondays" (plus, after an hour or more of "Monday, Monday," I desperately need a change of decade). Then, finally, when I can tolerate the '70s no longer, my mental soundtrack transitions to the Boomtown Rats '80-something anthem "I Don't Like Mondays."

After that, I stop cold.

Are there '90s songs--or currently popular ones--that have a Monday theme? I don't know of any, and today, at least, this musical ignorance bothers me. I find myself wondering, WHY aren't there more modern Monday songs? Did Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins or some other hot group of the time write one and I completely missed it because I was, oh, too busy being a new mom in the '90s? Or, worse, have musicians decided that there's no good reason for composing songs about simple things like a typically depressing day of the week when, instead, they could be writing about sex or drugs or "new shoes" (like that way-too-cheerful Italian singer I keep seeing on VH1)?

So, if anyone out there knows of a good, post-'80s Monday song, please shout out. I need to modernize my mental soundtrack before insanity sets in. Seriously, folks. Hurry.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Ides of April

Okay, so I'm a month off on the "Ides" thing (or just two days, if you're into technicalities of the Roman calendar). Regardless, I feel as though I've been running behind on everything lately. My workload is endless, and the Midwestern weather hasn't helped matters. The snow has finally (almost) melted from the blizzard that hit us last week (that's right, a snowstorm in April--thank you global warming) and the neighbors have begun emerging from their homes, dragging their rakes, garden shovels and a variety of noisy lawn tools with them in a frenzied attempt to catch up on missed days of yardwork. Ah, the delights of springtime.

I realize I could find things to complain about to suit each and every season (mosquito swarms in summer, frozen pipes in winter, those annoying-as-hell leaf blowers in fall and, yes, the return of hibernating neighbors to my consciousness in spring...), but I vowed I'd be "more positive" this year. Having some trouble with that today.

I mean, I'm inside, trying to concentrate, and it's just irritating: kids wacking tree trunks and bushes with sticks, their parents bellowing commands across the cul-de-sac, dogs barking furiously at wayward squirrels, trucks making those loud beeping noises as they back up, whatever is currently breaking the suburban silence when I open my window hoping only for fresh air. And, yet, it isn't as though I want to leave here. I like our subdivision (mostly) and even like (most of) the neighbors. I definitely like our Chicago suburb. And I have no choice but to like our Midwestern habitat because I grew up with it, I understand it, it's home and we're not moving.

But days like today remind me that I need a place to retreat to when the sounds of the outside world begin to color my attitude gray. And that place of retreat might be--ironically--outside. Away from the noisemaking neighbors, certainly, but on a serene bike path not too far away. I want to whiz by anyone chattering in place, clouding my thoughts with theirs. I want to feel the wind sweeping against me, offering limited resistance to my sense of movement. I want to keep the danger of discontent at bay because I know it won't take much to send my feebly positive attitude back into hiding.

So, I'm leaving the safe seclusion of my office and venturing out into springtime soon. Within the hour, for sure. Who knows what annoyances I'll encounter there--which suburban perils, risks or uncertainties lie in wait on that path--but I'm willing to take my chances. I've rolled my dice, and I'm crossing my river. And when I return (hopefully alive, well and refreshed), then I might have a prayer of getting some real work done.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


I've been waiting for the right day to launch this blog...and, regardless of whether (or not) the planets are in perfect alignment, whether (or not) I'm at my goal weight, and whether (or not) the near future holds a multi-book contract...today simply feels like the RIGHT day.

So, welcome. Thanks for being here with me, whether (or not) you begin following my journey today or at some later time. It's great to share the adventure with you.