Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beautiful Boy...

In 1980, David Sheff, on behalf of Playboy Magazine, conducted the very last significant interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. This blog has nothing to do with that. Except that it somehow does.

I'm sure at that time he never imagined that 25 years later he'd be writting a memoir entitled "Beautiful Boy... A Father's Journey Thru His Son's Meth Addiction."

I know. This was totally not a book I would have ever expected to pick up off the shelf on my own. It was just one of those things where Amazon gives you one of those sci-fi heads up that if you enjoyed "that" book you might enjoy "this" one? And so I just went with it.

First of all, I'm not a book critic. I wish I had that talent. All I know is that I know what touches me. And this one touched me big time. Have you ever read one of those books that when you finish just keeps you longing for more? I so much needed to know the "end" of this story and yet, as I assessed while reading it, there IS no end to this story. And since I am so behind the times I discovered that it took me only a tiny bit of researching to find that his son, Nic had written an account of his own.

And so I read Tweak... Growing Up On Methamphetamines In fact I read it twice and I'm not sure why I have been so drawn in by this family's struggles or even more by their eventual coming to terms. I can't explain it. All I know is that these two books coupled together empowered me somehow and left me with so much more capacity for the understanding of self awareness and forgiveness.

I read the dad's book first and I would suggest doing it in that order, but who knows? Seeing both sides of this unbelievably heartbreaking story was most powerful... though I probably wouldn't recommend it to the squeamish. But then again...

There is no lack of information out there regarding these books. Just google David Sheff, Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy or Tweak.

And if after reading the books, you feel a need to learn more, here are two more in-depth interviews with David and Nic. They will both move you and startle you and yet leave you with so much more understanding. Or at least they did me.

Memoirs of Meth Addiction From A Father and Son

A Son's Addiction, A Father's Agony

Nic at nine...

A few years later...

Clay content?:.. Well, I guess all I can say about that is that with all this time off I've somehow gotten back to reading. But also rumor has it that he's soon to have a beautiful boy of his own...

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


Every year Fifth Third Bank of West Michigan (my employer) sponsors a food drive. But it's so much more than that! We get together on different teams and 'canstruct' things out of non-perishable food and household items that we afterwards donate. And we have a lot of fun in the process! Even more than you can imagine!

This year we provided ACCESS of West Michigan over 8,000 lbs. of food benefiting seven different food pantries. The judges for this year's competition included Catherine Behrendt from WZZM-13 Marsha DeHollander of ACCESS of West Michigan among other's from Fifth Third's management team. We were on WZZM's nightly news but I think the link was only good for a week...

This years trophy winners are as follows:


Withdraw Hunger was constructed with a whole lot of boxes of mac & cheese and vegetable cans and a dozen jars of peanut butter. The display surprised some who thought it was a "real" ATM! A PowerPoint presentation depicting the dire situation in our inner city ran on a loop.

That was MY team. *g*


Just Another Day In Paradise complete with coconut flavored marshmellows hanging from the palm trees and jumping starkist tuna...


Carting Away Hunger - Love the baby made out of packages of pinto beans...

Other Mentions:

Strike Out Against Hunger

Every Second Counts

Buying A Home: $300,000
Building A Home: $250,000
Feeding A Home: Priceless
(The Mortgage Department)

Torch Hunger

Food Pantry

You Can Be A Lifesaver

Pot of Hope

And from 2007:


Imagine Life Without Hunger


Shine A Light On Hunger


Solving The Hunger Puzzle (My Team)

Why Should Anyone Go Hungry?

Self Explanatory

Clay content?... Well, Clay, me and the ATM have somewhat of a history...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's Father's Day... again.

I guess I'd have to say that I really never knew my father much, nor did he know me.

Although when I was about ten I distinctly remember submitting an entry for the "Father of the Year" contest at school and I also distinctly remember him being there for the awards... or maybe he was just picking me up. But then that would have been mom...

My dad passed away in 1994 and we were luckily able to spend some time together near the end but at that point, though I know he wanted to, I think he was just too weak to be able to come up with the right words by then. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a "bad" father and in fact he was a very good man, he just wasn't there very much... except for maybe holidays. But he always had a good joke to tell... Unfortunately I don't remember any of them. He loved to take us out to dinner... and always to the very best restaurants. And later when I was on my own he'd call on occassion and want to make up for time lost, but unfortunately I was usually right in the middle of putting a baby to bed.

I KNOW he loved me, and I loved him too. In fact, until I was about 10 I believed he ruled the planets. (See first paragraph) I just don't think he realized how quickly the planets turn. Hopefully the place he's at now has internet because I would love to be able to tell him "I love you dad" again. And I wouldn't even necessarily need for him to answer me back because I know that he does. In truth, he said the words to me plenty.

Meanwhile, Happy Father's Day to all of the Fathers in my life!

My Own... who loved me and my sisters with everything he knew how.

David... who has always loved us unconditionally even though we weren't his own.

Brad... who, in spite of it all, is still hands down the best dad ever.

Aaron... who rivals the above and who's love of being a father moves me to tears sometimes.

Rohn... who raised son above.

Ackkk... this has gotten to be WAY all too schmoopy and sentimental!

Please enjoy this "Father's Day" entry on my other blog Schnoogles

Clay content?... If it be true, I believe he'll make an awesome one.

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Monday, June 02, 2008


I just needed to post this... because if I don't do it now I probably never will. It's been 25 years already.

A Chorus Line... Broadway's longest running show!... (oh wait, that was the first one) will close it's doors on August 17th.

Please don't get me wrong, this is NOT a case of sour grapes. NOT a case of wishing I could still be back there looking as fit, skinny and gorgeous as all of those youngin's up there and doing it all over again. And not wishing at ALL that it had never been revisited. Because seriously... if it hadn't been, just think of the generation that would never have had the opportunity to see Michael Bennett's incredible masterpiece. Because, trust me, the movie didn't count.

I never made it to see it this time around. I wanted to, and tried when I was in New York this past April, but they wouldn't sell me a standing room ticket unless the entire show was sold out, which it wasn't.

I feel really bad saying this...

But, from those I've heard from and whose opinions I trust, they've all pretty much said the same thing... which was that there was something... lacking. Even though I can't imagine it lacking anything... in remembering back to the night I first saw it in May of 1976, before it had even moved to Broadway. At the time I was moved beyond anything I had ever previously experienced. And I wasn't alone.

It must take alot to win every Tony award imaginable and then continue on to be the longest running show ever. Whew... I was just so relieved not to have been all alone in all my fangirliness. Never dreamed, but hoped, that I would someday be a part of it.

Someday... maybe?... later?... we'll see.

So what's the deal? Dunno. Perhaps it speaks volumes about allowing some things to rest in peace. As if some things should just not attempt re-creation. There are other shows which have fared quite well as revivals but perhaps this particular one just surfaced at the right time and in the right place back then. Even though the show was dedicated to "anyone who has ever danced in a chorus or marched in step... anywhere", so it seems it should have remained relevant. But remember, this was back in the day when those stuck in those roles were pretty much destined to remain there forever.

I don't think it's any coincidence that since that time, chorus dancers have become more ambiguous... and that pretty much anyone with a decent amount of talent and wherewithall can now become a star. Those anomolies no longer strike us with the same consternation they used to. And I think Michael, unknowingly, somehow and singlehandedly paved the way for that...

And that's why I don't think this show should have reimmursed. It was all about timing. A one time deal. As if it should be a moot point.

But to continue...

I still don't think that my life would have ever been quite as complete if I'd have had to remain forever on the outside looking in on this one... never having had this incredible experience. I remember singing and dancing all those songs to myself in the mirror for ages. And still, never really... believing I'd ever really be a part of it. And so this next part is mostly for me. Just in order to keep things organized in my mind and all... and of course simply to remember.

I wrote this once. A Simple Twist of Fate....back in the day when all I pretty much knew was how to dance... and didn't know a THING about resizing pictures.

And then after that there was pretty much nothing else to show for it, except for a couple of black and white glossies like this one...

And this one...

Remember, that this was 1979-1983... and right on the threshold of the video age. So unfortunately, I just missed it. But there was ONE professional video taken that I somehow lucked into...

I guess my personal sadness is that the age of technology just came too late. And though I'm not whining for myself neccessarily, this blurry capture of the orignial cast in the Opening Number just does NOT do it justice! It was just so incredible to see it first hand back in the day, especially with my 23 year old eyesight! Still, I'm so grateful to have it now! It was special. Very.

That's not me in front, in the lavender leotard, even though I look alot like Trish which is what everybody always said... which is also pretty much the reason I probably got the part... Oh well.

Anyway, thanks Whit for finally capturing this next one, even though I didn't know you were doing it at the time... You weren't even born when I danced it originally...

Keep in mind that my knees are now completely shot and my flexibility hammered. Not to mention I am now 53 years old and I was attempting to do it in a kitchen between a fridge and a table...and a high chair. So please be kind. But I still surprised myself. It was fun. And my kids are so cute!

Though I can't EVEN remember the tap combination...

Clay content?: Well, I'm pretty sure he could never have learned that tap combination to begin with...

The Longest Line...


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