Browsing Archives for November 2008

On Tuesday evening, I had the wonderful opportunity to go and hear author Jeannette Walls, speak in Lawrence at the University of Kansas.




Jeannette wrote the best selling, heart-wrenching memoir, The Glass Castle.

The Glass Castle tells the story of Jeannette’s childhood. She was raised along with three siblings, by an alcoholic father with a huge capacity for firing his children’s imaginations with tales of the CIA being on their tail… and a mother… who when faced with the choice of painting a picture or feeding her kids… invariably chose to paint.The family roamed the country from Arizona to West Virginia, often homeless, usually on the run from bill collectors and gambling debts. The children were occasionally left with derelict relatives. If the family did have a home, they rarely had indoor plumbing, heat or electricity. All the while the children reveled in the fantasies of their father, who insisted it was all a big adventure.  The miraculous part of Jeannette’s book is that she manages to tell the story of her appalling childhood without an ounce of guile. 

Fast forward twenty odd years… Jeannette is a successful journalist and celebrity gossip columnist living on Park Avenue in New York City. Even though she had attained every symbol of success a young career woman could ever hope to achieve, she still lives with a cloud of fear and shame hovering over her, thinking that one day her past will be discovered and she will once again become an object of ridicule. But this time, instead of high school classmates taunting her dirty clothes and ramshackle home, it would be co- workers and friends shunning her because her parents still lived on the streets and Jeanette was powerless to change them.

A series of strange and chance circumstances eventually force Jeannette to face her past and she decides the only way she can “face down her demons” is to write her story.

Jeannette attempted several versions of the book before deciding to tell the story from the perspective of herself as a little girl. Through the eyes of a young Jeanette, the reader experiences the chaos, the hunger, the embarrassment, the filth, but ALSO the way her parents created magic out of nothing, gave their kids the gift of optimism, survival, resilience, strength and did I say optimism? Because Jeannette Walls has a truly unique and unsurpassed ability to put a positive spin on the most dire of circumstances.

As hard as it is to think of a child growing up the way Jeannette did, it is truly amazing to listen to her not only conquer her dismal past, but also walk away from it with glowing trophies gathered from the smoking ruins.


And her mother lives with her now… out back… behind her estate… in a “vinyl cottage”. She takes care of Jeannette’s horses… horses Jeanette bought because she knew they might be the only thing that would tempt her mother at 74 years of age away from living on the streets in New York City. Jeannette’s father is deceased.

Jeannette said, “my mother is a very fun, charming, up beat, optimistic person… as long as you are not depending on her to take care of you…”.

Look! Here is Jeannette autographing a copy of her book, The Glass Castle!





This is what her autograph looks like. See how optimistic it is?!?!






It was a courageous act for Jeanette to comb through her past and deliver this jewel of a book.  






I am so glad she did.

I have to thank Sue Ellen Ewing (pictured above with ex-husband J.R.) for giving this party a special spark, for it is Sue Ellen who convinced me that we needed a bartender.

I am not exactly a “plans party with a bartender” kind of girl. Not that I have anything against parties with bartenders.  In fact, after this experience, I approve heartily of parties with bartenders.  However, prior to this particular 80′s shindig, I would never have thought of myself as the kind of person who hires a bartender for a party.

I will tell you that were the funds available, I would most certainly hire a butler, a parlor maid, an upstairs maid, a downstairs maid, a chef, a chauffeur, a masseuse, a gardener, and of course a personal assistant named Margot.  But I would not have thought of  hiring a bartender.  When in fact, if you think about it, hiring your own personal bartender makes all those other employees completely unnecessary! 

Here is the very cute bartender’s arm serving a drink.

Here is the very cute bartender pouring a drink.

It also helps if your personal bartender is very cute.

I don’t know how it helps exactly, but it does. You will just have to trust me on that point.

The very cute bartender that we “hired” and when I say “hired” I really mean that he was a personal friend of Sue Ellen Ewing and felt indebted to the entire Ewing clan because one time when his own mama was sick and dying and his daddy was just about to lose the family farm, Miss Ellie and Jock stepped in and made sure that the farm stayed in tact until our bartender could pay the back taxes on it.  Of course, what the bartender does not know is that J.R. has discovered that the farm Jock and Ellie worked so hard to save for the bartender, is right smack dab in the middle of a multi-million dollar development deal that includes the new high rise executive building of Ewing Oil.  Even now, J.R. schemes to take the farm away from the poor unsuspecting bartender.  It will be a great blow and the bartender will probably try to kill J.R. and then will rot in prison for it for years, unless he escapes with the aid of  Pamela, who is secretly in love with the bartender and wants to leave Bobby for him, because one time, he worked at party she hosted and when the party was over HE CLEANED UP HER KITCHEN FOR HER!

How will I ever be able to host another party without a bartender? 

You will also need to get yourself  a D.J. with a blonde mullet. If you can’t find a D.J. with a blonde mullet, you probably oughtta just give up before you even get started, because the blonde mullet D.J.s have the most extensive collection of 80′s music on the planet and they will “Rock the Casbah” all night long.

Here are some folks “Rocking the Casbah”.
Here is the cute bartender’s perspective on the folks “Rocking the Casbah”.

Finally, to host the quintessential 80′s Blow Out, you must force your guests to wear the appropriate attire.

Tweed jackets and brooches at the collar are very appropriate.

The Don Johnson look for guys and the silky purply blazer over pink spandex for girls is also a great choice.

If they are the appropriate age, they may sport the clothing they have stored away in mothballs from their misspent high school years.

Leg warmers and heels are a must have for the season.

Big hair and even bigger glasses


Torn sweatshirts, preppy collars, sideways ponytails, wide hair ribbons, and a wide selection of mullet style wigs should round out the event.  

April has posted some raw and uncut video from the 80′s extravaganza.
You can find it here.
It is rated “R” for RIDICULOUS!!!

I bet if I told you…

That I am normally a quiet, somewhat reserved, even aloof  person…

You might have a little trouble believing me.

Heck… after looking at these photos…

I am having trouble believing me too.
More party pics coming soon.