Friday, April 30, 2010

Jewelry, Movies and Baseball

Good morning. It's beautiful here in Chicago, and it looks like what promises to be another perfect day. My only complaint is that it is early Friday morning and no one needs to get up. Yet I can't sleep because I am so use to getting Ed up and driving Becki to the train station at this hour.

Speaking of Becki. We went to a fashion jewelry demonstration last night. We enjoyed ourselves. There were about 9 people there, and 3 of them decided to have parties. Becki spent time talking to the demonstrator afterwards, and decided that she wants to sell jewelry. It's a huge outlay at the beginning, which the demonstrator told her would come back almost instantly. The girl said she's brand new at this and has had 9 parties in less than a month. She's already turning a profit.

This looked like something Becki and I would go around about for hours. I told her, "You're an adult. You're old enough to make your own mistakes. I can't help you with the outlay. You have to do it yourself. If it works out for you, great. If not, you're stuck with the fallout." So, I guess we wait to see at this point. If she can come up with the cash, great. If she does well at this and really does make money. Absolutely fabulous. If she loses money, she learned a hard lesson.

The other excitement around here is that Ed is working on his final project for his film appreciation class. He's making a movie. The script is pretty funny. It is about one brother who is arrested for public urination, and the second brother who tries to bail the first out of jail. This has been fun to watch. He's given all of his friends parts, and they have been loyal about showing up here for filming. That is all but Bubby. He's had to work, so bowed out early.

I'm enjoying watching this happen, and Ed has been a different creature since beginning this process. He and his best friend, Tommy, wrote the script. Luis is directing. Adam is playing the lead and Arthur the incarcerated brother. Amanda is the brother's girlfriend. There's a few smaller characters as well. Dave is filming it and Hector is the sound man.

That surprised me because Dave hasn't been here in over a year. After Jon finished his schooling, he threw a kegger. Dave got so plastered he picked a fight with Jon, although he refused to leave. I got up at 6AM and I found him and Chris sitting in the kitchen. Chris was sober but afraid to leave Dave to his own devises. Dave had his arms wrapped around the keg, saying, "But there's still beer left, Man." (Ah hem, alcoholic.)

They started filming Tuesday, and they spent most of Wednesday editing. Ed came home complaining that all of his best friends were crappy actors. They filmed some yesterday and edited some last night. "Two things went wrong," he said. First off, he said that the words they wrote sounded so good on paper. Once he had real people speaking them, they sounded so contribed. After a while, the actors were instructed to put the script in their own words.

"Big difference," he said. "You know the scene in the car?" he asked me.

"What about it?"

"Everytime we hit a bump the camera jumped." So that's something he has to work out. He has a lot more planned today.

Jon is truly disappointed he isn't here for this. He and Luis had their very own cable access show when they were in high school. It was called 'History from the Hill.' Luis was the on air talent while Jon did the camera work, directed and produced it. But then again he's disappointed too, because he joined an adult baseball league with Eric, his cousin, D, and his roommate. He couldn't be here for the first practise.

Oh, and we're all kind of disappointed. Ivan is leaving again. This time he's traveling to California where he intends to go to culinary school. He was a cook in the Navy, so I guess this is a good a thing. We'll miss him, but we are pulling for him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Easter - And Then Some

Ah, it's been a weird week.

First to my heartbreak. My baby, my Jon, has decided to move in with his girlfriend. They are renting a house way out south of here. I'm not disappointed in his choice of girlfriends, not by any means. Gloria is a sweetheart, and I think she's good for him. They've been together nearly two and a half years.

It's just that he's not suppose to grow up. He's 24 now, but I still see him as my little guy in his baseball uniform, picking fly balls out of the air at second. That kid couldn't hit for crap, but when it came to fly balls. We used to call his glove 'Hoover.' He used to suck them up just like a vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt. It just seems to me that my boys should never grow up.

At least I know I'll have the other two for two to three years. Okay, I'll have Becki home as long as she's going to school Downtown. Ed has one more semester at UCLA, then it's off to a four year college. He's hoping to follow some of his friends to that school where they had the shooting last year. That in itself should scare me, except that the likelihood of that happening again is nil. At least I hope so. I don't want to see that happen anywhere ever again. Okay, so I'm off topic.

So we had two Easter dinners and a few surprise guests. Bill's cousins moved home from Arizona. I should explain that because seriously, we are sick about this. About four years ago Bill's other cousins decided to move. They talked the others into moving with them. They were older and neither are very intelligent. When they moved, I planned a dinner for them so we could say goodbye. At that point, I don't know what we were expecting. Maybe that all these people would live happily ever after with each other. I guess that's kind of silly considering the one cousin is extremely hard to deal with. Or maybe because she is, we were happy to see her out of our hair. I'll leave this here just because it doesn't take any imagination how their move ended. Only that it took them three and a half years to make their way home. We planned several times how we would go 'rescue' them, but was never able to afford any type of action. So, they're back in our hair, but at least we know they're safe.

So anyway, we had two Easter dinners. The first happened Easter Sunday. We invited our cousins to join us at a local restaurant so we could welcome them home. They arrived on Holy Monday. (The day after Palm Sunday.) It was kind of a come uppance that I didn't enjoy much. Considering both are in their seventies, one can only imagine what four years has done to them. When they left they were capable of doing almost anything. When they returned, he was using a walker and she had a cast on her wrist. Both of their mental faculties had slipped a lot in those years. At once I'm relieved they're here, and I'm angry with myself for not doing something to stop their leaving to begin with. Not that either one would have listened to me to begin with.

So knowing that they would join us, my kids came to me with requests. "Can Chris come?" Becki and Chris have been dating nearly a full year. I don't expect to see her unless he's by her side. So, sure. I expected him. "What about Gloria?" Sure. Only Gloria was working and couldn't come. The next request came from Ed. "Ah, Amanda just called. She's not doing anything Easter. Would you mind?" After learning that she was by herself after losing her Mom earlier this year, I couldn't say no. (I learned later that her Mom died because she DIDN'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.) Next Jon gets a call. Ivan, his friend from the Navy, is finally home. "Ah, Mom," Jon said, "Ivan's parents are in Mexico. Can he and Daisy (his sister) come?" Needless to say we had a crowd. We also had a good time.

I was so happy to see Ivan. When he returned on his first leave he brought me a newspaper that was published aboard the first ship he served on. I couldn't believe how thoughtful that was. And so cool. This time he brought me two t-shirts and a hat. The hat came from his last ship, and there was one shirt from either ship. I'm happy to say he's done. No more Navy. When he left I was confident he'd be safe until he explained policy to me. He was a cook, and cooks are needed everywhere and in every theater of operation, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan. "Either you volunteer," he said, "Or you're volun-told." In other words if they decided that he should serve in either country, he would.

So who am I to pass up an opportunity to cook? I told everyone that since I didn't get to cook dinner, be here this past Sunday. I figured it would it be the seven of us: Bill and I, Ed, Jon and Gloria, and Becki and Chris. Then Becki called home that day, "Hey, Mom, can Jen and Superbaby come to dinner?" Well, you know the answer to that one. We finally sat down. We were eating. In walked Eric and Ivan. They didn't ask and I didn't say no. They picked up plates and served themselves.

I think this is God's way of telling me not to isolate myself, which is something I have a tendency to do. I'm better off for having those I care about the most around me, and a few others besides. The company last night was actually better than the food.