Monday, April 10, 2017

I Don't Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.





I Don’t Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.

by Marianne Curan

Today is officially the 8th day of my Christmas “staycation” and I’m just now beginning to see my way to the other side of exhaustion. That’s what happens when you get up at 3 a.m. every day to do a morning radio show.

I know I’m “cry-if-you-poke-me” tired when I’ve been in bed for 10 hours each of those 8 days and I still wake up too fried to scramble an egg.  So instead of the back breaking work of whisking eggs into a frying pan, I’ve been eating leftover stuffing out of a Tupperware container. It’s much less tasking and, thankfully, I make damned good stuffing. 

Growing up it was a very rare occasion when my Mom, Saint Marge, would let on that she was so exhausted she’d groan, “I feel like I dug ditches all day.”  Well, if you spend 27 years raising four humans you’re bound to be pretty wiped. (Oh, I say 27 because that’s how old I was when I finally moved out.)

I cannot imagine how Saint Marge didn’t feel that exhausted every day after herding around four wetting, whining wee ones. I can’t believe she never actually dug a ditch and threw herself in it. That’s why Mom was a goddamned SAINT.

Look, I’m lucky I don’t dig ditches for a living. So why does hosting a radio show feel similar? I don’t literally use a jackhammer to pry open the earth but there are days when I’m so blotto tired I feel like someone’s used a jackhammer to pry open my head. 

I know my job isn’t rocket science or hard labor. And this deep exhaustion would make more sense if I was hosting an issue related talk show. You know the ones where bloviating hosts spend hours spewing about news and politics and then argue at full throat-ripping volume with incensed listeners who scream back even though they all actually agree on the same shit. Now that would be exhausting.

My show is a few hours of shoot-the-shit-chat and laughing with our listeners followed by a couple of hours figuring out what shoot-the-shit-chat we’re gonna talk about the next day—and the next day. That’s the gig and when the red light’s on and we’re live it’s a blast.

Unlike issue shows there is no screaming or arguing. (TO CLARIFY: that would be no screaming or arguing on air. There is occasional screaming and arguing off air because a) we’ve all been up since 3 am and b) my co-host is my husband.)

Another thing that sets us apart from issue shows is there’s usually nothing intellectually challenging. For instance, we recently talked about why I hate toaster ovens. “I have a toaster and I have an oven. Why do I need a toaster-oven?” You’d be shocked how many callers chimed in on that earth shattering conversation.

My show is the radio equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff…just a giant ooey, gooey jar of nutrition-free confection much like “Live with Kelly and Michael”— ooops,  I mean “Live with Kelly and “The Celeb Suck-Up O’ the Day.”  (Doesn’t Anderson Cooper have all the jobs he needs?) For the love of God, ABC, pick someone and move on.

However, there is a big difference between that fluffy TV show and my fluffy radio show.  According to “Good Housekeeping”—and they would know— Kelly Ripa gets up at 6 am, not 3. People love asking me, “How early do you get up?” My answer, “Well, I used to think I was a morning person. But now, I don’t get up early. I get up yesterday." 

This is how early 3 am is. Three a.m. is so early it can’t even be called the “ass crack of dawn.”  I don’t know what time is the official ass crack of dawn. I just know that at 3 am it is pitch black outside so there is no “dawn” and if there were an ass crack of something you wouldn’t see it anyway. 

On the flip side of career fate Ms. Ripa rolls out of her designer sheets at 6 am, then leisurely sips a cup of herbal tea and peels herself a grape (although she might have someone who peels it for her). She is then whisked to the TV studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe. She prances onto the stage at 9 for an hour of Marshmallow Fluff and is back in a limo on her way to a Pilates class by 10:01. 

Am I jealous of Kelly Ripa?  Of course I am.  She works one hour a day (or 44 actual minutes if you subtract the commercials.)  She’s a size “minus”— not a minus two, or even a zero, she’s just a minus. She’s too small to have a number. She makes about $20 million dollars a year, lives in a $27 million townhouse in Manhattan and has a getaway home in the Hamptons. 

Oh, and most importantly, she’s RESTED.  Hell yes, I am jealous of that.

As I finish up this little rant I realize I have one more day off before setting my alarm for work.—okay, not for work, not for digging ditches…for my show. 

So I’m gonna go get some laundry done, take the dogs for a walk and count my blessings.

Oh, and I better go grocery shopping. I’m almost out of stuffing.



###

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Don’t Join Me, Won’t You?
…or Life on the Planet of “Me, Myself and “Why Just I?”
by Marianne Curan



In high school, humans are defined by their generation’s version of groups which, since the dawn of teenagers, has come down to The Jocks, The Geeks, and The Stoners… or more simply put, “The Cool People and everyone else.” 

On the whole, humans, unlike most other species, are undefined by a dedicated group. For instance, groups of whales are a pod. Groups of birds are a flock, sheep are a herd, etc.. Humans are…well, “humans.”

Animal groupings get more fun with the weirdly named “nuisance” of cats and an “implausibility” of gnus—well done, Science. I must say my new favorite animal groups are the ones ironically appropriate for our nation’s current state, like… a “congress of salamanders”… a species known to change its colors to reflect a current threat—or a CNN poll.  Then there is the aptly named “congress of baboons”   which seems should be interchangeable with a similar group, a “drove of asses.”  Here’s hoping they all end up on the endangered species list.

I have tried and failed all my life to be a joiner. I was a Camp Fire Girl who hated camping. Done. I was on a Swim Team but hated the choking chlorine vapors of indoor pools. Done.  I don’t know if my neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch and if it does, I say, “Go right ahead. I’ll take my chances.”

I loathe corporate “team building” b.s. and would call in sick to avoid things like “The Amoeba Race” (my top pick for “you can’t make this shit up” REAL team building idea) in which your “group” forms the three parts of an Amoeba: protoplasm, cell wall and nucleus.  Then the group travels, splits into two amoebas, and the amoeba have a race.  I would be the amoeba who “splits” and never comes back to work. 

One of the all time joiner opportunities is having kids. I always wanted kids (okay, “a” kid) but was certain that if I did have said kid there would have been no “Mommy & Me” classes. Oh, God. No. My goal was to sign up little Huckleberry or Katniss for “Nanny and You” classes. 

Is this beginning to make you wonder in which “species” I belong? Perhaps a “suicide of lemmings?”  After all lemmings amass in huge groups and, according to lore, unwittingly follow the pack before pitching themselves off cliffs to their death.

Politics (deep breath) is all about joining which is why I don’t belong to any particular party in the good ‘ol US of A. However, my X chromosomes did compel me to buy a Pink Pussy Hat in honor of the Women’s Marches the day after the Trump Inauguration —which I joined—sort of—from the comfort of my living room. Yes, instead of going to a march a mere 15 minutes away, I put on my hat and I watched it all unfold on TV. And you’re wondering, “Why did she even buy the hat?”  I get that and I wonder why as well. This goes into “Marianne Seriously Regrets Not Joining” file. 

It makes sense that humans join different groups throughout their lives. It’s how you fit in, enjoy life, explore, learn, make friends. I have had those experiences in small doses in so-called groups…but I don’t seem to find comfort in that joint effort for long.  

For many women joining a group starts with tiny tot soccer teams and tee-ball. Then it’s on to Girl Scouts and cheerleading; then it’s about becoming a leader of Student Government or The Spanish Club. Then in college, it’s on to sorority days at Kappa-Kappa-Kouldn’t-Kare-a-Lessa. Then when you’re a real grown-up you join the “Sushi and Chardonnay Singles” —which you attend while checking your phone for a Tinder Date so you can swipe your way out of that group.  Or you might find yourself more comfortable with a grown-up nerd group gathering for a workshop on “iWatch Updates” at the Apple Store. 

Once women get hitched they move on to Zumba classes, sewing circles, and book clubs. Middle aged women join The Red Hat Society and jaunt off in a big bus to see “Menopause the Musical.” Before they know it, these life-long joiners are mall walking with the “Silver Sneakers.”

Shoot me in the head. 

Okay. That sounds pretty harsh. So, instead, dress me in a lemming costume and let me pitch myself over a cliff. But, if I chicken out from jumping, then, please shoot me in the head!

There are days when I am truly perplexed why I don’t like being part of these things.  Forced into group situations I often blossom and have the whole room laughing and having a good time. Yet, it often feels forced…not organic. And, when the event is over and I should feel buoyed by the experience, I’m wondering if I ever want to go back. What’s that all about?

Of course, along this solo path my inherent “goodie two shoes” nature has made me worry about being labeled a “quitter”—which by nature I’m not.  I’ve always been that, “If you want the job done give it to Marianne” person. Where did she go?  Why does joining always feels uncomfortable for me? And more importantly why does NOT joining make me feel cowardly, stubborn…and apathetic?

As I get farther into middle age (gulp) I worry about getting farther into old age (bigger gulp)  and becoming a very lonely old lady—I really do. Will I be moved to become a “joiner” because I’ve got no other choice? Or will I do it because I want to embrace my life, find new challenges and adventures— and in some way make a mark in the world whether anyone knows it or not? 

Here goes. I’m going to don my freshly knitted Pink Pussy Hat and accept that I’m okay with my choices—for now.  I still embrace my mantra, “If I don’t join a group in the first place then I don’t have to quit.”  Small solace, I know, but that’s how my species, whatever that is, survives this joiner world. 

There is a group I’ve considered joining, Non-Joiners-Anonymous.”  But,  I hear they meet in groups.  Cue the lemmings.


###

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I Don’t Get Up Early. I Get Up Yesterday.

by Marianne Curan

Today is officially the 8th day of my Christmas “staycation” and I’m just now beginning to see my way to the other side of exhaustion. That’s what happens when you get up at 3 a.m. every day to do a morning radio show.

I know I’m “cry-if-you-poke-me” tired when I’ve been in bed for 10 hours each of those 8 days and I still wake up too fried to scramble an egg.  So instead of the back breaking work of whisking eggs into a frying pan I’ve been eating leftover stuffing out of a Tupperware container. It’s much less tasking and, thankfully, I make damned good stuffing. 

Growing up it was a very rare occasion when my Mom, Saint Marge, would let on that she was so exhausted she’d groan, “I feel like I dug ditches all day.”  Well, if you spend 27 years raising four humans you’re bound to be pretty wiped. (Oh, I say 27 because that’s how old I was when I finally moved out.)

I cannot imagine how Saint Marge didn’t feel that exhausted every day after herding around four wetting, whining wee ones. I can’t believe she never actually dug a ditch and threw herself in it. That’s why Mom was a goddamned SAINT.

Look, I’m lucky I don’t dig ditches for a living. So why does hosting a radio show feel similar? I don’t literally use a jackhammer to pry open the earth but there are days when I’m so blotto tired I feel like someone’s used a jackhammer to pry open my head. 

I know my job isn’t rocket science or hard labor. And this deep exhaustion would make more sense if I was hosting an issue related talk show. You know the ones where bloviating hosts spend hours spewing about news and politics and then argue at full throat-ripping volume with incensed listeners who scream back even though they all actually agree on the same shit. Now that would be exhausting.

My show is a few hours of shoot-the-shit-chat and laughing with our listeners followed by a couple of hours figuring out what shoot-the-shit-chat we’re gonna talk about the next day—and the next day. That’s the gig and when the red light’s on and we’re live it’s a blast.

Unlike issue shows there is no screaming or arguing. (TO CLARIFY: that would be no screaming or arguing on air. There is occasional screaming and arguing off air because a) we’ve all been up since 3 am and b) my co-host is my husband.)

Another thing that sets us apart from issue shows is there’s usually nothing intellectually challenging. For instance, we recently talked about why I hate toaster ovens. “I have a toaster and I have an oven. Why do I need a toaster-oven?” You’d be shocked how many callers chimed in on that earth shattering conversation.

My show is the radio equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff…just a giant ooey, gooey jar of nutrition-free confection much like “Live with Kelly and Michael”— ooops,  I mean “Live with Kelly and “The Celeb Suck-Up O’ the Day.”  (Doesn’t Anderson Cooper have all the jobs he needs?) For the love of God, ABC, pick someone and move on.

However, there is a big difference between that fluffy TV show and my fluffy radio show.  According to “Good Housekeeping”—and they would know— Kelly Ripa gets up at 6 am, not 3. People love asking me, “How early do you get up?” My answer, “Well, I used to think I was a morning person. But now, I don’t get up early. I get up yesterday." 

This is how early 3 am is. Three a.m. is so early it can’t even be called the “ass crack of dawn.”  I don’t know what time is the official ass crack of dawn. I just know that at 3 am it is pitch black outside so there is no “dawn” and if there were an ass crack of something you wouldn’t see it anyway. 

On the flip side of career fate Ms. Ripa rolls out of her designer sheets at 6 am, then leisurely sips a cup of herbal tea and peels herself a grape (although she might have someone who peels it for her). She is then whisked to the TV studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe. She prances onto the stage at 9 for an hour of Marshmallow Fluff and is back in a limo on her way to a Pilates class by 10:01. 

Am I jealous of Kelly Ripa?  Of course I am.  She works one hour a day (or 44 actual minutes if you subtract the commercials.)  She’s a size “minus”— not a minus two, or even a zero, she’s just a minus. She’s too small to have a number. She makes about $20 million dollars a year, lives in a $27 million townhouse in Manhattan and has a getaway home in the Hamptons. 

Oh, and most importantly, she’s RESTED.  Hell yes, I am jealous of that.

As I finish up this little rant I realize I have one more day off before setting my alarm for work.—okay, not for work, not for digging ditches…for my show. 

So I’m gonna go get some laundry done, take the dogs for a walk and count my blessings.

Oh, and I better go grocery shopping. I’m almost out of stuffing.


###

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Very Puppy Christmas

A Very Puppy Christmas...with Norton

Twas the night before Christmas and, as you can see,
the ornaments hang at the top of the tree.
The ones at the bottom ‘ol Norton destroyed
so we hung the rest high--a vet bill to avoid.

The gifts are piled safely locked up in his crate
away from his jaws and so as not to be “ate.”
“Guilty as charged” he was put in his place
but we just can’t get mad at that heavenly face.

Puppies are cute (which is why he’s still here)
to join in a holiday filled with good cheer!
We’ll keep him and love and when he grows up

maybe we’ll remind him what he did as a pup!

Merry Christmas!!
Marianne, Bob, Stanley and Norton

Have Yourself A Very Puppy Christmas!!



A Very Norton Christmas


Twas the night before Christmas and as you can see
the ornaments hang at the top of the tree.
The ones at the bottom ‘ol Norton destroyed--
so we hung them up high-- a vet bill to avoid.
The gifts are piled safely locked up in his crate
away from his jaws and so as not to be “ate.”
“Guilty as charged” he was put in his place
but we just can’t get mad at that heavenly face!

Puppies are cute (which is why he’s still here)
to join in a holiday filled with good cheer!
We’ll keep him and love and when he grows up

maybe we’ll remind him what he did as a pup!

Monday, March 14, 2016

“Stop Calling Me Ma’am!!”
by Marianne Curan



When I tell people how old I am, the most common response is, “Really?"  accompanied by a slight gasp and an eyebrow raised in suspicion. Embarrassed, they quickly add, ”You look great..." (their voices trailing off with a tell-tale dot, dot, dot at the end of the sentence, leaving off what I know they're really thinking) “…for your age."

They seem incredulous that someone "my age" isn't lying on a cruise ship deck chair recalling the revolutionary impact of control top pantyhose while eating a 7 course meal -- through a straw. So perhaps hearing "You look great..." (dot, dot, dot) should be considered a compliment. I'd raise an eyebrow in suspicion of that theory but I've had so much Botox I can't move anything above my knees.

By the way, I'm 50. There. I said it. And there you are with your facile forehead saying, "You look great..." (dot, dot, dot). Thanks. I think.

An embroidered pillow on my bed reads "Aging Gracefully Is Overrated" and I believe that's true. I also believe I need to get over it. And, by it, I mean my -- and perhaps society's -- expectations of where my life should be by now. (Let's not get started on where my butt and boobs should be. If they keep sinking, I'll need a Navy Seal to dredge them up.)

Let's see. Using my circa 1975, 14-year-old (and thus delusional) Helen Reddy inspired estimations, by "this age" I was supposed to be roaring and soaring -- managing my 401 k, winning 10k races and chasing twins who are pre- K... all while maintaining a size six with bowls of Special K.

None of this has happened.

So, I figure I have a choice. I can either find a way to feel good about my accomplishments -- despite my lack of a corner office, six pack abs and a calendar of play dates -- or not. I can accept my life "at this age" while shouting "I'm 50 and Fabulous!" as I wave my AARP card for 15 cents off a McDonald's fish filet -- or not. I can don stretch capri pants and let my hair go gray like Jamie Lee Curtis in a yogurt commercial -- or not.

For the last ten years or more, I've chosen "or not."

I've lied about my age since I was 40, shaving off five years knowing I could pull it off. This worked until I turned 45 and realized that subtracting 5 years still made me 40. And as an actress in Hollywood 2 + 2 = 4; Kate + 8 = television and actress + 40 = DEAD.

This reality hit me the hardest at the gym when I found myself lying to the elliptical machine as it prompted me for information. Input program: (1) Walk in the Park. Nope, too easy. (2) Run Up Big Hills. Nope, too hard. (3) Lie Through Your Teeth About Your Age. Bingo! I press three. Input weight. I cover the LED with my hand like I'm shielding my pin number at an ATM. 132. God I wish. Input age: Shit! With my index finger hovering over the display I break into a sweat -- and I haven't even started working out. My age?? What's that got to do with bobbing up and down on a machine? Why does the machine need to know? Isn't it bad enough it thinks I'm only 132 pounds? I press 45. The LED starts flashing. Input age: I try 46. It keeps flashing. I try 47, 48, 49. By the time I input 50 my time limit is up and another gym member is waiting. "Whew! Great workout! It's all yours!" I say to a petite Barbarella clone as I mop my brow and collect my dignity -- and my More magazine.

I finally stopped denying my age the day I found out I had a Wikipedia page put together by some well-meaning but overeager cyber geek who's apparently one of the six viewers of my TV career on Game Show Network. Right there on the World Wide Web is my birthdate glaringly displayed for the entire universe to see -- or those same six people (see above.)

It's not hard to edit a Wikipedia page- - believe me it's not if I can do it. But every time I went online and shaved five or six years off my birthdate, this unseen bothead went back and restored it.

How does Mr. WikiStalker know I've changed it, anyway? And why does he care that I'm so emotionally immature I can't bear to see the numbers 1-9-6-1 lined up in that order?

Besides, it's MY Wikipedia page. It's MY life. I can fake, forge or revise my own damned history, thank you very much. Who is this basement dwelling WikiWeirdo? This pleather-belt-wearing mouth breather who's cutting and pasting my life on some makeshift encyclopedia? Who has that kind of time? (Okay, I do, but I'd rather spend it sucking in my new middle aged gut. Oops, there goes 30 seconds.)

It's really crazy how crazy I can let my age make me. And it is just a number, right? Which I'm sure is how my silent editor feels. "Just the facts, Ma'am." Stop calling me Ma'am! Being called Ma'am is like hearing, "Hey, aging lady with a coupon for chocolate calcium chews who's buying Fresca and writing a check, how are you today, Ma'am?"

Okay, confession. I do Google myself -- occasionally. Maybe because it's much easier to look at old photos of my younger self than face the face I see in the mirror now --t he one that is slowly sinking -- the one with the jowls of life.

I blame modern technology for making us all so self-aware and too self-important. Why else are we constantly checking email, voicemail, texts, Tweets, Facebook -- and now an Encyclopedia of Us? Is it to reaffirm our existence and our worth... or to find a Groupon for half off some modern technology that can make us look half our age?

Is anyone else tired right now? I am. But then, I just turned 50. I had much more energy last year.

I guess I should embrace my age, my aging and technology's grasp on my truth. Perhaps I should get rid of that pithy little pillow and learn to age gracefully -- however overrated that may be -- because it is, after all, "Just the facts, Ma'am. Just the facts."



All right. I give. On one condition. Stop calling me Ma'am.

###

Published in "Huffington Post" and "More Magazine" April, 2012

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

You Can't Always Get What You Want...and That Sucks: A Recession Rant





You Can't Always Get What You Want... and That Sucks: A Recession Rant
by Marianne Curan
Huffington Post April 2012

In hard times I've often found comfort from Mick Jagger crooning, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you just might find, you get what you need." Thanks, Mick! You are so right, man. Everything's gonna be just fine.

Those words soothed me when an audition I really wanted didn't come through. I'd trust I'd land the next one -- with an even bigger paycheck -- which I really needed. 

I'd hum that tune as I scoured Designer Shoe Warehouse only to find nothing I wanted in my size. My pulse would steady and I'd leave content with a pair of much-needed socks instead. 

These days, however, I'm finding The Stones' lyrics less helpful. "Get what I want? We're in a recession, for God's sake! I can't even get what I friggin' need!"

As I headed to the post office to mail my unemployment form I tuned to a Lite Hits station. You know "lite," like the beer, less fill, more fulfilling. "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. It'll be better than before. Yesterday's gone. Yesterday's gone." Well, no shit, Sherlock Mac. I know yesterday's gone, but much like The Beatles, "I believe in yesterday." Yesterday. When I had a job. Yesterday. When I could afford a drive-by shoeing at DSW. Yesterday. When I lived in a delirious whirl of instant gratification.

Music wasn't working, so I tried self-affirmation. "This too shall pass," I chanted, reassured whatever "this" was would pass, like it used to. But "that" was then and "this" is now, and "this" too may pass but does it have to feel like an 18-pound kidney stone?

And, yes, "that" which hasn't killed me has made me stronger -- which is good -- because now I have the strength to kill myself. 

Oh, calm down. I don't mean that last part. It's just a little black humor. Not ha-ha funny humor, just dark and pathetic -- but that's what long term unemployment does to people. It makes them dark and pathetic. Get over it.

Wow, that was harsh. I don't mean to be a black cloud over someone reading this who's in the same place seeking commiseration and camaraderie. Wait, who am I kidding? If you're looking for sunshine and lollipops go down a couple Five Hour Energy drinks and watch Rachael Ray. I'm just a little too bitter right now, okay?

Jeez, this isn't like me... that happy American Dream me... the conspicuous consumer me (I rarely was) but always knew I could be if I wanted to be me. 

I miss that me who could slap dinner and a bottle of wine at a great restaurant on a credit card and pay it in full every month. Now, unless I have a buy-one-get-one free coupon (free being "up to a $12.99 value"), those days are gone. Plus, those deals usually feature something "bottomless" like fried shrimp, breadsticks or the entire Olive Garden menu -- all food that guarantees when you eat it you'll be anything but bottomless.

I miss that me who casually bought $32 bottles of imported olive oil to drizzle on $7 a loaf focaccia from Whole Foods. Now I'm trying to convince myself even margarine tastes better when it sits on a Ritz.

Am I whining? I think I'm whining. I apologize for not being more sympathetic to your recession woes. I hope things turn around for you. I really do.

And, when they do, will you please invite me over for a fabulous dinner with expensive wine and drizzle everything with imported olive oil? Or, just drizzle me with the olive oil and let my husband sop it up with the focaccia. That'll be the most exciting date we've had since the economy tanked. 


I promise I'll be a good guest, use the right fork and pretend I like your cat. And, when you ask me what music I want to hear, I'll say, "Anything but rap, really. Maybe some Rolling Stones... I think I'm ready for a little 19th Nervous Breakdown."