The Summer of George

Those of you who know me know that I love Seinfeld.

Like, really, really love Seinfeld.

I’m talking more than pizza, and weddings, and Roald Dahl books, and sauvignon blancs, and friends, and receiving mail, and cave-aged cheeses, and really anything else that I profess to love.

It really goes beyond love and is best described as a “frenzied passion”.

I digress.

As you may know, Seinfeld was full… brimming, packed, saturated… with cultural and comedy references that shaped my world view, and are still very much relevant to this day.

Case in point: the 156th episode of Seinfeld titled, “The Summer of George.” George is laid off from the New York Yankees, and receives a severance package equal to three month’s salary. He decides that he’s going to take some time off to become physically active and take full advantage of the summer.

Like George, I was also laid off at the beginning of summer. I was working on a short contract as a project coordinator and it turned out they weren’t going to need me as long as they thought they would, so I received a severance package. I decided I was going to take some time off to become physically active and take full advantage of the summer…

On Seinfeld, George does not become physically active, nor does he take full advantage of the summer. Instead, he becomes very, very lazy. He wears pajamas all day and doesn’t leave his apartment.

I almost became like George.

The first few days I was lethargic and listless (without a list!), but then I bought the June 2017 issue of The Oprah Magazine. There, on the cover, was Oprah* – living her best life – with the heading, “Your One Wild and Precious Summer!”

When is she not living her best life?

I realized that I needed to start enjoying my one wild and precious summer*!

My summer has been full of BBQs, beach days, ice cream (a lot of ice cream) traveling, cocktails, friends, family, flip-flops, sunshine, etc. I have been living my best life!

(Admittedly, my best life is probably meh compared to other people’s best life (like Oprah), but still… I’m enjoying the heck out of my one wild and precious summer!)

And guess what?

IT’S NOT OVER!

There are 37 more days of summer left!

Get out there and enjoy your summer*****!

 

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* Oprah’s always on the cover.

** Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly sure what Oprah meant by “wild” because I’m not sure that her “wild” and my “wild” are similar. I mean, Oprah’s “wild” could be combining fish with cheese in a casserole, and my “wild” could be going to a foam party at a club in Berlin***.

*** I would never do this****, but I do consider it to be the very definition of wild.

**** I know people that have done this.

***** Why the heck are you reading this blog when you should be out enjoying your one wild and precious summer?

I wish I liked anything as much as Oprah likes the beach.

The Tom Selleck Coincidence

Who doesn’t have a crush on Tom Selleck*?

I mean…

He was Magnum, P.I.** for goodness sake.

Now I’m a married woman, but I can still appreciate beauty in all of its forms… A crimson sunset, a blossoming flower, and a handsome man with a significant mustache.

If you’ve ever wanted to sleep with Tom Selleck, now you can***!

At Seattle’s Kimpton Palladian Hotel, each room features a pop-art pillow with a different celebrity portrait. When my husband and I recently visited the Palladian we were pleasantly surprised to find this beauty in our room:

Of all of the handsome male celebrities that could be featured on a pillow… Tom Selleck is definitely one of them****.

I must pause for a moment, to ask a very serious question: Do you believe in fate? Chance? Circumstance? Destiny? A predetermined course*****?

Well, I do now.

We didn’t think much of the pillow in the room, until we switched on the television later that evening and what should be on, but Friends. You know… the TV show about six 20-30-something friends living in Manhattan featuring an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.

I know what you’re thinking, “When is Friends not on?” and that is a valid question (answer: never).

But the fortuity****** of this incident is that it was an episode featuring Tom Selleck!

The universe is obviously trying to tell me something!

But what?

Please send all theories******* about what it could possibly mean, and what the universe is trying to tell me to: tomselleckcoincidencetheory@gmail.com

 

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* I’m obviously referring to 1980s Tom Selleck.

** And Quigley!

*** Something to keep in mind… He’s now 72.

**** Because he is a handsome male celebrity.

***** All synonyms for fate.

****** Another word for coincidence.

******* Or, hypotheses.

(Yes, I went a little crazy on the end notes.)

 

The Wisdom

I love John Hughes.

There is no other writer slash director that captured youth, or jejuneness,* the way John Hughes captured youth (or, jejuneness*).

It’s like he never forgot.

He grew up into an adult, but still remembered exactly how being a teenager felt… His characters reflected the angst, the awkwardness, and the inexperience of being in that graceless phase, AKA, the springtime of life.

John Hughes’ movies were full of philosophical gems, worthy of contemplation.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is my favorite movie of all time, and it is chock-full of them… pearls of wisdom that should be reflected on, meditated on, studied, and chewed:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I’m no expert in Philosophy** but I think what John Hughes is trying to say is that life moves very fast, and if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it. It seems fairly obvious – but then again, how often do you really just stop and look around?***

Another great quote from Ferris Bueller:

A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus, I’d still have to bum rides off people.

You should definitely believe in yourself (at all times), even if you are a member of The Beatles and consider yourself a walrus. And, carpooling is a virtue.

Another:

“First of all you can never go too far. Second of all, if I’m going to be caught, it’s not gonna be by a guy like that!”

Self-explanatory.

And, another:

“The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do’, the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?'”

Life is what you make of it. You’re either in the game, or standing on the sidelines. Think big. And then think even bigger. Skip school (or work), “borrow” a Ferrari, go to a museum, take in a ball game, sing karaoke in a parade, and then swim in a stranger’s pool. Dance, hide, run, smile, kiss, and do whatever else takes your breath away.

Most importantly… You have this one life. Don’t forget to live it to the fullest.

 

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* I was looking for a way to use the word, jejuneness.

** I dabble.

*** You might want to try it right now?

The Other Story of Regret

I don’t like to fly.

It is a necessary evil – to go to the places that I want to go, to do the things that I want to do, and to see the people that I want to see*.

A few weeks ago, we were headed home from Los Angeles and hanging out at LAX – AKA, hell on earth, AKA, purgatory, AKA, the place of the condemned**.

LAX is the worst airport I’ve ever been to… It’s busy, it’s cramped, there’s only one place to get a decent sandwich, and there’s a smell that my nostrils will never understand.

All this to say… I hate LAX.

The only way to survive, nay, endure LAX is with an alcoholic beverage. Once I get through security and put my belt back on, I head straight for the bar.

A few weeks ago, I was two glasses of Merlot in, when nature called. I told my husband I’d be back in a jiff, and I went to use the washroom.

On my way back to the bar, I realized that the wine was starting to have the desired effect… I felt warm, and buzzy, and overly confident.

Then I saw him.

Cameron Crowe.

This guy!

Almost Famous. Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and of course… Singles.

(Side note: What can I say about Singles? It was the most formative movie for me – shaping my viewing, musical, comedic, and romantic tastes at a very impressionable time of my life.)

I recognized him immediately, as we both headed toward the escalator. As we got on the moving staircase, I turned to him and said, “You’re Cameron Crowe.”

(I know, I know… It was an obvious, obtuse thing to say.)

His reply: “Sadly, yes.”

“I love all your movies,” I gushed.

We got off the escalator and stopped to talk. He shook my hand, asked me my name, asked me where I was from, and we exchanged a few more pleasantries that I don’t really remember because inside I was like, “Omg.”

You know when you want to say something really memorable, and meaningful, and unforgettable to someone – but then you get all nervous and you end up saying something stupid and/or running away?

That.

The regret was immediate.

I said, “hello” – I should have said, “Let’s co-write Singles 2, with a bigger part for Eddie.”

 

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* You know who you are.

** And that’s putting it mildly.

The Puppet Show

A few weeks ago I went to Los Angeles for a puppet show.

You might be thinking, that’s a long way to go for a puppet show… And you’d be right (2057 kilometers is a long way to go for your average puppet show).

But this was not your average puppet show! This was a puppet show put on by legendary puppeteer, director, and producer, Brian Henson, who happens to be the son of legendary puppeteer, screenwriter, director and inventor, Jim Henson.

When I saw an advertisement for the puppet show, I knew – with every fibre of my being – that I needed to see that puppet show with my own two eye balls, and if I didn’t… I would regret it every minute of every hour of every day, for the rest of my life.

 

I’d be lying on my death bed (hopefully a Sealy Posturpedic), and I’d be gritting my teeth, clenching my fists, gnashing my teeth, all the while lamenting that singular decision… To buy, or not to buy.

According to a study in Psychology Today, “regret can have damaging effects on mind and body when it turns into fruitless rumination and self-blame that keeps people from re-engaging with life. […] Other research […] shows regret can result in chronic stress, negatively affecting hormonal and immune system functioning. Regret impedes the ability to recover from stressful life events by extending their emotional reach for months, years, or lifetimes.”

So, obviously, I had to buy tickets for the puppet show.

(I mean, who has time for all that fruitless rumination?)

A week later, I travelled the 2057 kilometers by plane, rented a car, and drove to The Henson Studios.

And it was the second best day of my life**.

If I can impart any wisdom to you, let it be this:

Sometimes you just need to be crazy.

Sometimes you’ll think of some crazy thing that you kinda want to do, and then you’ll be like nahhhhh, but you should just say, yahhhhh.

Sometimes you just need to take a giant leap (for mankind, or womankind, or yourself) into the unknown.

Sometimes you just need to live your best life. @Oprah

Sometimes you need to have a “Summer of George”.

Sometimes you just need to get off your high horse (or low horse, or whatever it is that you’re sitting on) and stop what you are doing, and do the thing that you’re thinking about doing.

Sometimes you just need to do the thing (whatever the thing is), and ask questions later.

#NoFruitlessRumination

#JustDoTheThing

#NoRegrets

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* A close second to the time when I sat in the front row at a Martin Short show and he gyrated in my face while wearing a nude bodystocking with drawn-on genitals. 

 

Me, Brian Henson and some other guy.

 

A lot of people have asked if this is my Emmy.

 

Great, now I have an unhealthy obsession with puppets. I probably would have been better off with having regret.

 

I love you Kermit.

 

 

 

 

 

That Time I Went to a Passover Celebration

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m part Jewish.

For a while there I thought I was just possibly Jewish, but an Ancestry DNA test confirmed my Jewish-ness*, and now I’m officially kvelling.

I have a friend (a real mensch) that has always been Jewish (100% heimish), and this friend recently invited me along to her family’s Pesach (Passover) celebration.

For those  who are unfamiliar with Passover, let me give you a brief synopsis:

Long story short… The Jews, AKA Children of Israel, AKA Hebrews, AKA God’s chosen people…. had been kept as slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. God spoke to this guy called Moses through a burning bush (as the supreme being, creator, and ruler of the universe does). God told Moses to go talk to the Pharaoh and see what was up with all of the slavery. Moses was like, “Let my people go!” but Pharaoh was like, “Whatever!” So God got pretty upset, and sent plagues over the land of Egypt. Plagues like lice, frogs, boils, locusts, and hail. Nasty stuff… Terrible! Eventually Moses was just like, “Why don’t we just try leaving Egypt when it’s dark?” So they all snuck out of Egypt when it was dark. (I’m sure after hundreds of years of slavery they were kicking themselves wondering why they hadn’t thought of the whole “escape in the darkness thing” sooner. I digress.) After a brief interlude at the Red Sea, Moses led the Jews to the promised land.

Passover is a holiday where we (the “Jews”) celebrate our liberation from Egypt. Jews typically observe Passover for eight days, and they have a Passover seder (or two) where family and friends gather together for a special dinner, where the story of the exodus is told using a Haggadah. A Haggadah outlines the order of the seder with offerings, blessings, songs of praise, etc.

For me, the best part about the Passover wasn’t really the Passover per se, it was the festivity around the celebration. My friend (the mensch) and her family (also, very menschy) like their celebrations to have a little flair.

For instance, we used a Baseball Haggadah, and sang an exodus song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

There was a matzo basket made of fabric that looked like matzos!

There was a lasagna that was made with matzos!

There was a Moses action figure!

We got to ask four questions!

There was a tambourine – that anyone could play!

We got to hit the table!

There was kosher wine (which tastes pretty much exactly like regular wine)!

We got to make sandwiches! With matzos!

We got to hit each other with green onions!

And as if all of that wasn’t amazing enough, the crowd that was gathered around the table was diverse and fascinating. My friend’s family (all mensches) had assembled a whizz-bang, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-talented group of people. A real hodge-podge of humanity**, if you will…. I mean, there was even a Republican from Florida!

On what other occasion would I meet such people***?

And THAT my friend, was the best part about the Passover celebration. The coming together of many, to celebrate, to remember, and to reflect…

I take that back… It was definitely the matzo lasagna.

I need this.

Let my people go already!

 

 

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* > 5%.

** “Hodge-podge of humanity” is now trademarked by yours truly.

*** Possibly a Kimpton Hotel wine hour?

 

 

The Move

I have moved at least 35 times (!!!) in my short, youthful life – and it has never been fun.

Moving is never fun.

The idea that you pack up all of your things into boxes or bags, put them in a truck (or other large covered vehicle), and drive them somewhere else, and take them out of the truck (or other large covered vehicle) and then unpack all of the boxes and bags is unnatural and unpleasant.

I just moved house, and I hated it. I literally wanted to cry at least once a day. It is so painfully tedious not to mention exhausting (which now that I think of it, is actually worth mentioning).

I hate wrapping breakables in newspaper! I despise putting books in boxes! I loathe vacuuming the air from Space Bags! I also don’t like forwarding my mail.

It also takes me away from the things I want to be doing (petting dogs, baking bread, making out, whitening my teeth, googling).

I never want to move again! EVER!

NEVER. EVER. AGAIN.

But here’s the thing: I need everyone else in the world to agree to this.

I need every man, woman and child in the world to say, “I’m good” and just stay exactly where they are for eternity.

You live in a tiny (but extremely smelly) one-bed flat? Stay put!

You have a lovely grand house (that you’re having a hard time paying for)? Cling like ivy!

You live in an igloo (that is really quite melty at the moment)? Stick around. Winter is coming.

It only takes one person to say, “I wouldn’t mind a view,” or “my neighbor really creeps me out” and then suddenly it is like a game of dominoes… [insert suitable metaphor here].

Please, please (now I’m begging) stay exactly where you are… DO NOT disturb the balance, makes waves, or upset the apple cart*!

No more moving!

(Let’s all make it “a thing”.)

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Kim “No more moving” Manky

 

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* Apples should also get to stay exactly where they are (in the cart.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prank

This blog should probably be titled, The Extremely Hilarious Survivor Prank That I Pull on My Husband Every Week Without Fail, but it felt a tiny bit long.

I should probably preface this by saying that my husband and I really, really, really love Survivor.

(And, if you don’t know what Survivor is, climb out from under that rock you’ve been living under, and read my endnotes.*)

Our love for Survivor is a deep, pure, abiding kind of love… The kind of love normally reserved for pets and elderly grandparents.

Wednesday nights are our Fridays (and our Fridays are our Mondays… Long story), and we vibrate with anticipation as we get home, rush to the TV, cue up the PVR, and wait for Jeff Probst to say, “Previously on Survivor!” 

It’s so much more than a reality competition television franchise… It’s a cultural anthropological study of humankind, and the universal human capacity to classify and encode human experiences symbolically, and to communicate symbolically encoded experiences socially.

So, yeah.

Anyway, each week we watch the show and someone’s voted out and we’re always like “whhhhhaaaa?” and then it cuts to commercial break.

And that’s when I do it.

I press the stop button, and I scroll down to DELETE.

And my husband is always like, “STTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPP!” Because we haven’t watched the “Next time on Survivor…” bit where Jeff Probst gives us a hint of what’s to come next week.

And that’s why it’s funny.

My husband thinks I’m going to delete the show and then he’ll never know what’s going to happen next week (until next week), but I just do it to psych him out…

And I find it hilarious.

And I do it every week.

And it always works.

And I always laugh.

And then I scroll back up to RESUME PLAY, and then we find out what’s going to happen next week.

Pretty funny stuff.

 

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* Are you kidding me? You don’t know Survivor?

I feel sorry for you.

Here’s a blurb from Wikipedia:

Survivor is the American version of the international Survivor reality competition television franchise, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson created by Charlie Parsons which premiered in 1997. The American series premiered on May 31, 2000, on CBS. It is hosted by television personality Jeff Probst, who is also an executive producer, and also executive produced by Mark Burnett and original creator, Parsons.

The show maroons a group of strangers in an isolated location, where they must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively eliminated from the game as they are voted out by their fellow contestants, until only one remains and is given the title of “Sole Survivor” and is awarded the grand prize of $1,000,000.

 

 

 

The Fart

As many of you know, I am the epitome of class and sophistication.

(For those of you who don’t know me… You’ll just have to take my word on it.)

I watch foreign films, I am calm and collected, I look great in hats, and I have a British accent (sometimes).

My sense of humor is also extremely high-brow, highly developed, and refined… New Yorker cartoons, calembour, equivoque, witticism, double entendre, and elaborate limericks.

So when a realtor came into our home and let a huge one rip, I was surprised by how funny I found it.

The home – in which we are currently residing – was recently put up for sale, so we had a realtor come by to take a look around. We let him move from room to room, without bothering him, or enquiring about his cologne (which he obviously really wanted us to notice).

It was dinner time, so my husband and I began preparing dinner. The realtor entered the kitchen, moved to the counter, laid his notebook right on my cutting board, and started to write. I cleared my throat, obviously annoyed . The realtor looked at me blankly and pushed his glasses up his nose.

And then it happened…

A stranger farted in our midst.

And it was loud… A real ripper. 

I stood there in shock.

At first I thought, “There’s no way he would just cut the cheese, right here in our kitchen, with us standing just 18-24 inches away… Only a crazy person with no social graces would do such a thing!”

I looked over at my husband, who was obviously avoiding eye contact.

We both knew.

This man’s body had released a flatus… A puff of gas and vapor from his rear end.

And here’s the really weird thing – none of us acknowledged it. No one said anything. His bum had trumpeted

We stood there, inhaling this man’s internal aroma, for at least 30 seconds before any of us dared to speak.

“If you know of anyone looking to buy, here’s my card.” He pulled a business card from his blazer pocket, handed it to my husband, and moved to the door.

I looked at my husband, and my eyes were wide. He stifled a laugh as the realtor slipped on his shoes and let himself out the front door.

As soon as the front door closed, we laughed... I’m talking belly-hurting, tears-streaming, pee-your-pants kind of laughter*.

And then we opened a window.

 

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* Usually reserved for unsophisticated types.

 

The Cupboard of Fun

I remember reading The Lion, TheWitch and The Wardrobe as a child, and being intrigued at the idea of a magic portal which delivered you to a land of talking beavers and high-quality Turkish Delight.

More than once* I have pushed past assorted clothing and miscellany in wardrobes, closets, cupboards, and the occasional gun cabinet – and emerged disappointed (and extremely disheveled).

Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes you just want to escape reality, put on a big fur coat**, enter a magic portal, and chill out with a faun.

The closest thing I have to a magic portal in my adult life is my cupboard of fun.

For those of you who don’t know what a cupboard of fun is – please allow me to explain: a cupboard is a cabinet or closet, usually with a door and shelves, used for storage, and fun is enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure…  So it’s basically a closet with a door and shelves used for enjoyment and amusement.

And it’s a lot like a magic portal – to a land of booze and board games – and I never emerge disappointed (though I am often disheveled).

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* This week

** Faux, obvs