Alexandria Small Town USA Festival

Don’t have weekend plans yet? Then, come out to the Alexandria Small Town USA Festival! It runs today and tomorrow. There is fun for the whole family. There will be live entertainment, a parade, a car show, elephant ears and more! Click on the link for more information https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexandria-Small-Town-USA-Festival/422518581178832

I will be selling and signing books in Building #1 both days.

Friday, September 12, 2014
3:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Saturday, September 13, 2014
9:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Beulah Park, State Road 9
Alexandria, IN 46001

Hope to see you there!

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My Review of The Book of Mormon

     I was thrilled to have a ticket for opening night of The Book of Mormon in Indianapolis. I had been looking forward to seeing this show for ages.
     When I told some friends I was seeing The Book of Mormon, they said they love going to the pageant every year.
      “Um, I’m not going to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I’m going to The Book of Mormon. There’s an enormous difference.”
     The pageant is a wholesome family-friendly event, rated “G.” The Broadway show, which won nine (9) Tony Awards, gets a big, bold flashing neon “R” rating.
     For those unfamiliar with the Hill Cumorah Pageant, every year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints puts on a grand show about their origin, near Palmyra, New York. I am including the link to the pageant, in case you are curious. Although I have never been, I have heard it is quite the spectacle and fun for the whole family. http://www.hillcumorah.org/Pageant/
     The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, is a religious satire musical about two Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda. Here is a link to the opening number that was performed on network television at the 2012 Tony Awards. I love the interaction with other stars, you will too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy5K8ApSzhI
     The Book of Mormon was written by the South Park guys, not the South Pacific guys. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are not Rodgers and Hammerstein. Although the latter might be impressed with the former’s orchestral score, they might have been appalled with the profanity peppered throughout the lyrics.
     I was not appalled. I was amused and entertained. I know…I hear gasping from all directions. I can feel prayers being offered up to save my soul. Sorry gentle readers, but I go to the theater to be entertained. I knew what the show was about before I bought my ticket. So, I was prepared.
     As I flipped through the Playbill, I noticed that the Mormons had bought three pages of advertising space. I thought that was awesome. They were not protesting or picketing, they bought advertising, which in turn supported the show. Obviously, they can take a joke. So, we should be able to as well.
     The Murat Theatre was jam-packed. I am guessing that the show was sold out. Unfortunately, the air conditioning was not working. So we were dying of heat. But the show went on!
     The performances by the cast members were stellar. Very high energy. You could tell they loved what they were doing. You saw it in their facial expressions. You heard it in the notes they sang. You felt it in the steps they danced. This troupe was having a blast. From what I observed, most of the audience members enjoyed it as much as I did.
     The satire and social commentary were sharp and in your face. Did some of it go too far? Yes. Could they have cut out all of the swearing? Most definitely. But then it would not have had the same impact.
     Parker and Stone are smart and witty creative geniuses. They are not about decency and decorum. They are about shock and awe. All of their works are over-the-top by design. They get people talking about controversial social issues. And that is the point. They are forcing a dialogue. In that, they have succeeded. Not to mention, they have made millions of dollars in the process. Good for them.
     If I still went to confession every week, this week’s session would start like this, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I loved The Book of Mormon and would definitely see it again.”
     The priest might give me five Our Fathers, ten Hail Marys and a Glory Be as my penance. But it would be worth it!
     Yes, I highly recommend this show, but only to people who are not easily offended. This show is not for ultra-conservative, deeply devout and/or religious people. The material is blasphemous and sacrilegious. If you will be making the sign of the cross or searching for your rosary beads when the “F” word and “God” are uttered in the same sentence, then do not go. I repeat, do not go.
     There might have been more “F” bombs dropped during this show than on any Sopranos episode, and I believe it rivaled the total in most Quentin Tarantino films.
     A dismayed friend could not understand how I enjoyed this performance. It was a clever artistic piece of work. Just because I appreciate a performance does not mean that I am going to stop believing in God or that I am going to run around swearing up a storm.
     I am Catholic, and I pray at least one rosary every day. But I can still laugh when something is smart and funny. And I never say the “F” word, let alone the “F” word and “God” in the same sentence. So, I think I’m good. But just in case, I’ll do my self-imposed penance anyway!

     For more information on The Book of Mormon, here’s the official link: http://bookofmormonbroadway.com/

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

Searching For Mrs. Robinson

the graduate    Welcome to the third installment of “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched.” If you missed the first two installments, this series is about my adventures on the Match.com dating website. The subjects for this post were younger than most. I debated whether I should entitle this article, “Searching for Mrs. Robinson” or “Hot for Teacher.” Initially, I wanted to call this “Hot for Teacher.” But the more I wrote, the more I liked “Searching for Mrs. Robinson.”

     You could tell Bachelor #11 was trouble by his profile picture—an all-American boy with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. You know the kind—trouble with a capital “T.”  I refer to him as a “boy” because he was a 24-year-old college student, and technically, I am old enough to be his mother.
     “Came across your photo. Couldn’t resist. Please give me your number.”
     “Sorry, but I think you should look for someone more age appropriate.”
     “I don’t mind. Give me your number.”
     “Well, I do mind. You should find someone your own age.”
     “No, you’re what I’m looking for. You’d make a good teacher, I bet.”
     “I’m not interested in teaching you anything, except for, possibly, manners.”
     “That sounds kinky. Give me your number.”
     Sheesh. “I wasn’t trying to be coy. I’m not interested. Good luck finding a match.”
     “What’s coy?”
     “Find a dictionary and look it up.”
     “Are you a librarian? Do you wear those tight skirts and your hair up? I’d like that.”
     I’m sure you would. “I’m not interested. Good luck finding a match.”

     Next up was Bachelor #12, a 35-year-old consultant.
     “How are you? I am hesitant to reach out to you. Mainly because I am putting myself in a position to be ridiculed and/or rejected. But, my hope is that you will respect my candor and honesty, as opposed to being offended.”
     “Well, you haven’t offended me yet. And I appreciate candor and honesty. So, go ahead.”
     “I really haven’t been very active in the dating scene and/or on this site. So, I found myself wondering ‘why am I on this site?’ the other day. I truly couldn’t answer that question, lol. However, I think I’ve realized that I want something new, exciting, and…not boring. I want to meet a woman at least 5 years outside of my age bracket, who is interested in a professional, vibrant, intellectual, witty, younger man.”
     “You have piqued my interest. I don’t mind dating a younger man. So, that’s not an issue. And I definitely agree that a relationship should be exciting, not boring.”
     “Now, here’s the catch. I’m not wanting a serious relationship. Not dead-set against it, but just not prioritizing it. I am very focused on my career and have goals to accomplish (just as you do, I’m sure). In all honesty, I’d love to meet a woman who craves and desires a younger man…even if she’s never been with one. I have a feeling that ‘older’ women appreciate a younger man’s intimacy, so long as he is energetic, passionate, and unselfish….oh, and privy to what will make her feel ‘euphoric’. Actually, that last one should probably be a pre-req for both sides, lol.”
     Euphoric? Well, who wouldn’t want to feel euphoric? And when was the last time any man wanted to make me happy, let alone euphoric?
     I reread his reply again, just to make sure I understood him clearly. But, then I got distracted by the whole “energetic, passionate, unselfish” bit. If any woman deserved a man who was energetic, passionate and unselfish, it was me. Visions of satin sheets, rose petals and candles flooded my mind. Then, I read it again for good measure.
     I have to admit that was the best soliloquy I’ve read that boils down to, “I just want to have sex. And I promise you’ll enjoy it.”
     And while I attempted to entertain the idea of this euphoric opportunity for a split second, my mother’s voice was screaming in my head, loud and clear. “Are you crazy? Have you completely lost your mind?!?”
     Fear not, Mom. I want to be in a serious relationship, not be some young stud’s booty call. And in all honesty my friends, I did not want to endure the inevitable, extremely awkward lecture from my mother. So, you’re asking, “Why on earth would you tell your mother?”
     I wouldn’t have to tell anybody. If Mr. Booty Call lived up to expectations, I am guessing everyone who saw me or spoke to me would notice my new, improved blissful state of being. You know that state—you are floating on air, the sun is always shining and everything is happiness, butterflies and rainbows. Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be exactly like that. Although it might be worth it to test my theory! (Just kidding, Mom.)
     Anyway…I wrote back to Mr. Booty Call. “I am flattered. But I am not interested in that type of relationship. However, I must compliment you on how eloquently you expressed the bottom line. I’m sure there is a woman out there who will be happy to oblige.”
     “I sincerely apologize if I’ve offended you.”
     “You didn’t offend me. Dating sites aren’t for the faint of heart. I wish you luck finding a match.”
     “Thank you. I wish you all the best on this site and in your other dating endeavors.”

     Unlucky Bachelor #13 was a self-proclaimed virgin at the age of 30. He was a computer specialist. I know, cliché. But it gets even worse, so keep reading.
     “I would be honored if you would be my Padmé Amidala to my Anakin Skywalker.”
     Heavy sigh. “Sorry, but Anakin becomes Darth Vader. And I don’t feel like fighting any wars against the dark side. I wish you the best and may The Force be with you.”
     “You could be Princess Leia. I could be Han Solo.”
     He did not have a picture posted. So, unfortunately, at this point, I’m imagining he’s probably more like Jabba the Hutt. And I have a strong aversion to chains. And I would not be caught dead with a pair of Cinnabons covering my ears. “I’m sorry, no. I wish you luck in finding a match.”
     “I’ll be anyone you want me to be. Just name it. I have an awesome costume collection.”
     Oh yikes. I’m sure you do. I pity this kid. “I am not interested. However, in the future, when contacting other women, I suggest that you be yourself. Save the characters for later.”
     “OK. Thanks.”
     Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should know the guy’s name and perhaps meet him in person before delving into role playing fantasies and discovering whatever else he is hiding in his closet. This poor guy is going to need the full power of The Force behind him to find a woman.

     Oh ladies! I wish I could post Bachelor #14’s picture. He was a very handsome man. In his profile picture, he was impeccably dressed in a classic black tuxedo. That 28 year-old could have had a spread in GQ, or any other magazine his heart desired. He was absolutely, positively gorgeous and quite the catch for someone. An MBA wasn’t enough for him. He’s currently pursuing a law degree.
     “I would love the opportunity to speak with you.”
     Why couldn’t you be ten years older? “Thank you. But I think I’m too old for you.”
     “Please don’t dismiss me yet. I am looking for a mature woman. I’m not interested in needy, clingy girls. I’m looking for a woman who I can have stimulating…”
     Oh geez. Here we go.
     
“Conversations. I’m looking for a woman who I can have stimulating conversations with. Sorry. My finger slipped and it sent before I was finished.”
     Good recovery.
     
“I like intelligent conversations on a variety of subjects. I’m looking for a sophisticated woman who can hold her own and would make a good impression at black tie events, law firm events, symposiums, etc. You seem to have a wide range of interests, you’re educated and you’re very attractive. I need someone like you by my side.”
     Searching for smart arm candy, are you? Now that’s something that would be great on a resumé — Intelligent Arm Candy, well-versed in a variety of topics.
     
“Thank you. But this sounds more like a job than a romantic relationship. I am not the right woman for you.”
     “I’d like to object. I believe you are.”
     Seriously? You objected? “Sorry, you’re overruled. We are at different stages in our lives. Trust me; I know what I’m talking about. This is not open to debate. I wish you well.”
     “Thank you for your time. Best of luck to you.”

     At this point, I’ll take luck or The Force. Whichever works more quickly…

     Stay tuned for the next chapter in my ongoing saga, “Bait and Switch.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

 

 

Creativity is Becoming a Lost Art

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   Here is a phrase you hear daily: “Think outside the box.” Interesting how we, as a society, must be reminded to do just that. Creativity is dying on the vine. And we need to do something about it.
  
Give a toddler a box and watch the child do the following, in no particular order. Hold it up. Fling it around. Flip it over. Look in it. Fall into it. Sit in it. Hide in it or under it. Scoot around in it. Throw it. Kick it. Crush it. And a really persistent child will end up destroying it. This is rudimentary creativity at work. An unspoiled, untrained mind goes in a multitude of directions. The box is not just a box to that child. The possibilities are endless.
  
Give a teenager or an adult that same box. The first question asked: “What do you want me to do with this?” If the question remains unanswered, the person will most likely decide to use it to hold miscellaneous junk or dispose of the box in the nearest recycle bin.
  
Music and art programs are being cut nationwide. And the latest trend of removing handwriting from grammar schools’ curricula is becoming more widespread. That is a travesty—plain and simple. There is nothing more personal or creative than your handwriting. Whether you have neat penmanship or an illegible scrawl, your written words, and more importantly—your signature, represent your true essence. Ask any handwriting expert.
  
But how can we insist that people think outside the box when we no longer provide the tools to accomplish that task? Children and adults alike are glued to computers, televisions and cell phones. We claim we are “connected” and have never been closer. But nothing could be further from the truth. We need to unplug from the electronic world and get back to basics.
  
Creativity springs from the imagination. There is no better way to accomplish this than by using your senses.
   Consider, for instance, the street you walk down every day. You might look or glance at the familiar surroundings. But do you really see what is there?
   Throughout the day, you hear noise all around, but do you
listen to the individual, unique sounds?
   You take a break and lean against a brick wall, but do you
feel its varied texture?
   Rushed for time, you eat a meal in your car, but do you
taste each delectable flavor?
   And as corny as it might sound, when was the last time you stopped to
smell the roses?
  
Great works have been, and will continue to be, produced as a result of what an artist, writer or musician felt, saw, heard, smelled or tasted.
   Think about your senses as you go through the rest of today. Close your eyes. Take a deep cleansing breath. Exhale and expel the tension and negativity. Push aside the age of the Internet and instant gratification. Our minds are becoming numb and dull. Before we know it, so will our souls. And then creativity will be all but lost.
   So, the next time someone hands you a box, what are you going to do with it?
Copyright © 2013 Suzanne Purewal

Girls’ Night Out

    While I was home for the holidays in Rochester, New York, I went out one evening with a few girls from high school. In our dresses and high heels, we decided to try a new, fancy little restaurant. To protect the identities of my friends, I will call them Mary, Callie and Sam.
    That night was an escape for all of us. Mary had been tending to her sick children the entire week. Callie had spent the day with a broken toilet and a less-than-pleasant plumber. Sam had just finished her twelve-hour shift at the hospital. And honestly, I was dying to get out and have some fun. Don’t get me wrong. I love spending quality holiday time with my parents. But sometimes, a girl just has to have some non-family fun!
    The perky blonde hostess, in her size zero black dress, escorted us to a dimly-lit table near the window. As we sat, Perky handed us our menus and rattled off the day’s specials.
    As she walked away, Mary muttered, “I hate her.”
    In stereo, Callie, Sam and I agreed, “We all hate her.”
    Mary sighed. “I used to be that size.”
    Sam piped in, “Mary, you’ve lost over forty pounds. You look fantastic!”
    We all agreed. Mary smiled.
    And that was the end of the negative talk. We drank, ate and laughed as the trees beyond the window sparkled with white Christmas lights.
    When the waitress asked if we wanted dessert, we held out our hands for the dessert menus. Sam and Callie decided to split a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, smothered in hot fudge and whipped cream. Mary and I devilishly opted to share a crêpe filled with Nutella® and topped with chocolate sauce, Grand Marnier® and raspberries. Hold the whipped cream.
    As we waited for our desserts, I decided to visit the ladies’ room. Mary joined me, because we always go in pairs. To our surprise, it was a one-person bathroom. Although it was a new restaurant, it was retrofitted into an old building.
    Anyway…I offered to wait for Mary. She said not to bother, so I returned to the table. After a few minutes, my cell phone buzzed. It was Mary’s number. The text message read, “911!”
    I laughed, and texted, “LOL.”
    It was answered with, “NO! I really need help! NOW!!!”
    My mind raced with all of the possible female emergency scenarios, including a wet foot. Maybe she tried to flush the toilet with her shoe, and she slipped. Not knowing what type of help she needed, I grabbed my purse. If you have not seen my purse, it’s more like an overnight bag. It is stocked with all sorts of essentials. I bought the gigantic thing to carry copies of my books with me everywhere I go. But I digress…
    A line had formed. I walked to the front of the line and knocked gently on the door.
    “Mary? It’s me.”
    The door cracked open. Mary yelled, “Get in here!”
    I squeezed through the small opening and shut the door behind me. She appeared slightly disheveled. Her hair was okay, but she was perspiring. And her dress didn’t fall properly.
    “What’s wrong?”
    Mary hiked up her dress and turned away from me. She pleaded, “Help me!”
    I saw what looked like black sleek sea creature strangulating her thighs and rear end. One cheek was partially encased. The other cheek was slightly suspended by the black material bunched under it. I desperately tried not to laugh.
    She sighed. “Spanx®. I can’t move it.”
    “Do you want it up or down?”
    “Up!”
    “Okay!”
    This miracle product was bunched mid-tush. Honestly, the view wasn’t pretty. And I could not budge it.
    “I think I’m going to have to roll it down and try to yank it up with one big tug.”
    “I don’t give a damn how you do it, just do it!”
    I swear that thing was made out of indestructible, flexible steel. It was even hard to roll. I pulled down. Her underwear came along for the ride.
    “Sorry.”
    Frustrated, she pulled her underwear up.
    “Okay, Mary. I’m going to pull up on the count of three. So, suck in.”
    On three, I pulled. The top stretched and elongated, but it hardly budged. “You have got to be kidding me! How did you get this on at home?”
    Mary admitted, “John did it for me.”
    I studied the problem, hands on my hips. “I think you might need a bigger size.”
    “No! This is the perfect size!”
    “But you can’t get into it without help! This is nuts.”
    “Just help me already!”
    I zipped my mouth and unzipped my purse. I reached in and located a pair of blue nitrile gloves.
    Mary watched as I put them on. “What are you planning on doing with those?” she asked, a bit wary.
    “This thing is similar to compression stockings. They tell you to use gloves to get a better grip. I’m hoping it will work. Turn around.”
    “It’s worth a shot.”
    I shimmied the Spanx® up to just below her derriere and gathered all of the material into my gloved hands. I positioned myself with a wider stance than normal and hoisted with all of my might. I pulled so hard that Mary hopped and lost her balance. She grabbed for the sink vanity.
    I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh. At first, Mary was upset. Then, she started to laugh too. And we couldn’t stop. Here we were two grown women in a ladies’ room trying to pull up a freaking pair of Spanx® and failing miserably. We laughed heartily to the point of tears.
    The Spanx® rested mid-buttocks at this point, creating a Continental Divide of sorts. Still laughing, I told her to hold on to the vanity and to brace herself. I was determined to get those Spanx® up, if it was the last thing I ever did.
    I yanked as hard as I could. Mary’s feet left the floor again, but this time, the Spanx® cleared its hurdle.
    “Oh my God! Thank you!”
    “You’re welcome! Can you breathe?”
    As she smoothed out the front, she replied, “A little.”
    “No one is going to believe this.”
    “You can’t tell anyone.”
    “I am a writer. This is too good not to tell.”
    “Oh God!”
    “Don’t worry. I won’t use your name. But this is hysterical!”
    “Glad I could provide you with writing material.”
    Mary and I checked our makeup. All of those laughing tears caused our eye makeup to smudge. After we touched ourselves up, I opened the door. We were greeted with questioning and annoyed looks by the women standing in line.
    We smiled as we walked past them and returned to our table.
    “We thought you both fell in,” Callie commented.
    Mary answered, “Nope. Just a little wardrobe malfunction.”

Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Purewal