Close Encounters of the Gilda Kind

There are people in this world and then there are people in this world.

You know, the kind that you are drawn to and just being around them makes you happy and comfortable. The ones that the sun shines a little bit brighter on and some of that special something spills over onto you if you’re lucky enough to be around them.

I had the immense pleasure this week to bask in the light of one such person.

Mr. Bill Murray. Yeah, that Bill Murray, an original Saturday Night Live cast member and star of way too many movies to count.

While my little sisters were raised on Sesame
and Mister Rogers, I was being raised on Saturday Night Live and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which thankfully saved me from the likes of The Donny and Marie Show. Am I the only one who didn’t buy into Donny being a little bit rock and roll?

I am not a big, “OOOOooo, gotta have my picture taken or have an autograph from every famous person, kind of gal. In fact, I pretty much see them as regular folk, its just a lot more people know their names and faces. They are doing a job, same as you and me.

I won’t bore you with the long list of celebrities that I have met, or seen because that is just what I think it is – boring.

I’ll just run by the most recent. The Hubster and I were having a weekend of coupling in NYC at the beginning of April and as we are walking across 14th street heading east to First Ave. to Luzzos for dinner, when a woman coming towards me is looking frustrated as she closes her mobile phone and shoves it into her purse. I’m looking at her and my brain is saying, “Huh, she looks like Susan Sarandon.” She picked her head up and we locked eyes and it was indeed Ms. Sarandon. She got this panicked look on her face as she realized I recognized her. Probably because she was alone and there were a bizzilion people on the streets that day because it was a perfect spring day in the city. I just nodded and smiled and kept on walking and after we had past her I told The Hubster about it.

I mean, I enjoy the woman’s work and I think she’s got chutzpah to stand up and speak out about her beliefs in a country that prefers to keep its head up its arse, but I felt no need to make a scene and pose for pictures.

In fact The Hubster’s job puts him in a position to meet and work with famous folk all the time. His list of the famous he’s worked with over the past 15 years would make your jaw drop. If not for The Hubster, I would not have met Bill Murray.

If truth were told, I actually jumped at the chance to ask Mr. Murray about one of my biggest heroes, Gilda Radner. Not that I’m not a fan of his, I am, but Gilda, I loved everything about her. Her unconventional beauty, energy, vulnerability and passion for life, at least that’s how I perceived her. My lunch table in high school was very popular because I would do impressions of Gilda’s characters from SNL. Lisa Lupner, (especially while eating soup), Roseanne Rosanna-Danna and Emily Litella.

So when Hubster was home last weekend and mentioned that Mr. Murray was going to be at OCC, (Orange County Choppers), on Monday and Tuesday I dropped everything and made tracks to NY.

Life is a funny thing and sometimes when you have one goal you are pleasantly surprised by the gifts you receive along the journey. Such was the case with my quest about Ms. Radner and my encounter with Mr. Murray.

I arrived at OCC on Monday afternoon and planted myself in The Hubster’s audio cave and busied myself finishing the plans for our barn with second story living accommodations. (Can the whole relocation to NY thingy be over already?) Mr. Murray and the guys were hashing out plans for the Caddyshack charity bike and it was late in the day before I got my first glimpse of Mr. Murray.

What I saw surprised me. My first impression was that he looks exactly as he does on film. But after a while I realized that I was wrong, he looks better than he does on film. I was also taken by his manner. He is a laid back, easygoing guy who is more than comfortable in his own skin and I am now becoming very intrigued.

I expected, (my bad), a manic comedian who was on for the camera and people. No. Not. At. All. His wit is quick, natural and flows from him, it is who he is. His manner is steady, sure and warm. By Tuesday afternoon I wanted to know him. Not for who he is, but for what he’s like.

Two o’clock-ish, I was afforded a chance to meet him. The Hubster asked if I could have a picture with him and out I came. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to get nervous until I was standing next to him. He pulled me in and put his arm around me, turned to me and looking into my eyes said, “Hi, I’m Bill.” To which I replied, “Hi, I’m Dawn.” And you can tell by my face in this picture, I was officially smitten and quite by surprise.

What happened next was Mr. Murray’s suggestion and while I was in fear of being the woman who caused Mr. Murray the need for hernia surgery, I was hopeful that Sr. was bearing the brunt of my, erm, um, extra weight. I have not read any reports of Mr. Murray's hospitalization, so I think I can stop worrying.

Pictures taken, I seized my chance and asked Mr. Murray if I could ask him a question while nudging him away from everyone. “You just did,” he replied, “ask another.”

“It’s kind of a loaded question I think, like, ‘Does my butt look big in these jeans?’” And I saw a brief flicker of worry cross his face, “Was Ms. Radner as lovely, vulnerable and wonderful as she seemed?”

The worry faded as the question registered and his eyes lit up as he confirmed what I thought I knew about her.

Content in that knowledge, I swallowed back my emotion and thanked him for that, extended my hand and told him, “It was nice to meet you.” He again looked me in the eyes and said, “It was a pleasure meeting you too Dawn.”

He had me at, “Hi, I’m Bill.” but he earned my total respect after calling me by name as we parted.

As I drove home I replayed what he said about Gilda again in my head and the tears that ran down my cheeks were bitter but also sweet, thanks to Bill.

I was always a fan of his work and after my encounter this week I became a fan of man as well.

You would too if you looked into those eyes.

Dedicated to all of us who are ballerinas in our heads. RIP Gilda you are loved and missed.

Dawn Marie Kelly 2006 ~ all rights reserved
posted by Angel @ 12:58 AM | 16 comments


My Season of Discontent

I’ve been having nightmares for about a week now. The first night was the worst, involving a series of dreams that involved much maiming and dismemberment to all that I love. The Hubster, Boy Wonder, my car, myself and, (still trying to figure this one out), Mick Jagger who was also my father.

Let’s not get all sidetracked analyzing why Mick was playing the role of my father and focus on the whys and wherefores of the nightmares, shall we?

I can count on this season of nightmares right alongside spring and allergies because it’s tax time.

There, I’ve said it. Out. Loud.

Tax time.

Every year it’s the same routine. I procrastinate my way from January first, dilly-dallying my way through February, March and into April and then the nightmares begin.

I’ve had my tax software since Christmas. There it is, sitting on my desk. I can’t even bring myself to load the bloody disk onto my laptop.

That’s right, I do our taxes. It’s like the only computer game/gambling I indulge in. I think I should state that I have always received a refund. I read up on the current new tax laws every year to make sure I am taking all the breaks we are entitled to.


Back in the early 90’s I bought a book by some financial wizard and found out that there’s a little known tax form known as “X”. Form X allows you to file for tax breaks up to three years previous that you didn’t file for. I did and ended up getting a check for just over $800. I’d say the $25 investment in that book was well worth it.

The year I found myself, not quite yet divorced, I had Boy Wonder’s father being ever so thoughtful about doing “our” taxes, I knew something was up, as he never took on any financial work willingly, so I hopped on the Internet to investigate. There I found that, even though we were still married, I could file single as Head of Household if he had not lived with us for at least six months. He hadn’t and I did.

Let’s just say that there is justice if you are willing to look for it yourself. That refund assured that I could pay the mortgage for another six months and filled the oil tank twice.

So then, you are asking, “Why the nightmares if you always come out on top?”

Good question. Really, really, good question.

Because I always wait to the absolute last minute to do our taxes and that leaves me no room for error in case the unthinkable were to happen. Of course, the fact that all my receipts are in assorted little bins and boxes spread throughout the house tends to add to the anxiety levels as well.

I don’t start out that unorganized. Indeed, at the beginning of every New Year I make a trip to Staples and acquire a truckload of supplies resulting in shiny new files and folders all neatly labeled with the help of my P-Touch. There is talk of master excel spreadsheets and monthly totals.

Which makes perfect sense because it’s the first step in the tax preparation avoidance process.

I am completely anal about the filing system until somewhere between June and July. By then the tax refund has come and been spent and the cycle of madness can begin anew.

I should be ashamed of this unbroken cycle of madness and I would be if not for one thing. The yearly licensing of the dog. Oddly enough, I can’t manage to do that on time either.

It’s not even difficult. You go into the town hall offices, hand over a check for $15 with proof of rabies shot and they hand you a little metal tag to put on their collar. They even send you a post card reminder 2 weeks before the deadline.

It would be easy except that the deadline for dog license renewal is April 15.

How am I supposed to remember to renew the dog license when I am in full tax prep avoidance mode? Exactly, I don’t remember to renew the dog license.

Until the police department sends out their threatening letters in June because my dog is now apparently a fugitive and has a warrant out for his arrest.

So I ashamedly march myself into the town hall offices and hand over my check which now includes a ten dollar late filing charge and apoligise for my transgressions and have them remove Zack’s name from their list of fugitives.

That shame leads to a period of self pity and apathy where my paperwork begins piling up on the corner of my desk until I shove it into a box when it gets too high and that box gets shoved under my desk when it gets full. Another pile of paperwork begins forming on the corner of my desk … you see where this is going?

I am determined to break this cycle of madness. Yesterday I went to the vet and obtained a copy of Zack’s rabies certificate. (Because the original is in one of the 4 boxes of un-filed paperwork.) I am headed out to the town hall offices this morning to hand over my $15 check and get the new tag for his collar.

That would indeed seem promising if not for one thing:

I am doing it to avoid pulling out the four assorted boxes of un-filed paperwork and begin sorting through them!

But hey, I have to start somewhere don’t I?

Dedicated to all my fellow procrastinators doing their taxes instead of playing this weekend.
©2006 Dawn Marie Kelly, all rights reserved.
posted by Angel @ 1:50 PM | 10 comments


Eeps, Peeps and Fuzzy Sheeps

I am currently reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It's making me think. A lot. The piece I'm writing at the moment is requiring more time than my weekly post allows so the following piece I'm posting here is actually my 31 March article for The Daily Irish News. Enjoy!

With the onset of spring and the approaching Easter Holiday I am assaulted by the disturbing image of sheep at every turn.

What’s so disturbing about sheep you ask?

Oh I know, they have this warm, cuddly, innocent and count me you’ll fall asleep image that we’ve been fed, but they have a darker side and I have seen it.

February 2005 I spent the entire month in one of my favorite places on this earth, Ireland. I spent the first three weeks there on my own for a kind of kick-start sabbatical of writing. On the flight over I was excited, I’d never been away on my own for longer than a couple days since college. I can never manage to sleep on the overnight flight so by the time I land at Shannon airport at 6:30 GMT I have been awake for about 24 hours.

Let’s do the math: I woke at 5 AM EST 31 January to get The Boy Wonder up and off to school, I then pack my bags (one giant and one medium case, my laptop bag, camera case and on flight tote bag), shower and drive the three and a half hours to The Hubster in NY and then he drove me on the 2-hour trip into JFK to catch the flight. Plane departed at 7PM EST.

When I landed at Shannon Airport it was still dark there. I picked up my rental car (after a helpful stranger I approached in the deserted lot—what was I thinking he could been a serial rapist/murderer—helped me find the dang car) and with map in hand started my four-hour drive down to Ring in County Waterford.

This would be my first time driving on the wrong side of the road on the right hand side of the car and I choose to take The Vee through the Knockmealdown Mountains because I had been that way before 2 years earlier, Hubster driving, and it would be familiar.

The Vee is named such because that’s exactly what it looks like on the map, a series of “v’s”. And it is by far the most narrow of all the narrow roads I’ve ever encountered in Ireland---I’m sure there are narrower still, I just haven’t met them.

However, before I would get to the Vee, I would miss my turning on each of the 2,468 roundabouts on the N24 between Limerick and Cahir.

I felt better after the sun came up and I could see more than just what the headlamps were illuminating. That was until it got to be time for the school age kids to start making their way to school and I swear they could smell my nervousness and were silently mocking me.

Sleep deprived is not too strong a description for what I was beginning to be.

I was so pleased when the familiar sight of Cahir Castle came into view and I excitedly waved and yelled, “I’ve missed you!”, as I made the turn onto the R669 and headed south towards the Vee.

The R669 is familiar and mostly deserted and I start to feel all proud of myself, driving on the left side of the road and from the right hand side of the car, and that should have been my clue that something lie ahead. I come around one particularly tight inside-out curve and have to jam on my brakes to avoid hitting a sheep.

Oh yeah, there are herds of them all through the mountains and they just wander around eating and occasionally they conspire to send sleep deprived tourists, driving on the wrong side of the road on the right hand side of the car for the first time, careening off the sides of mountains.

When I say wander around, I mean just that, there are no fencings to contain them. They have various day-glow paints; pink, blue or green, sprayed on their bottoms and on my previous trip thought that’s how the farmers told their herds apart. Now I have a new theory.

I think this is where the proverbial black sheep all end up and they have formed their own gangs. That’s right, those painted bottoms are sporting their gang colours!

He had me good too. There was no way around him. To my right I looked down the side of a shear drop and to the left was a vertical incline up the mountainside. So there I sat, the sheep and I, face to face.

The Hubster had spent two weeks coaching and quizzing me in preparation of my driving in Ireland but this was a situation that was overlooked in my training.

If I could put words to the look that sheep gave me it would be something akin to, “For F-sake! Get the bloody hell off my mountain you wanker or I’ll cut you.”

After a couple minutes, that seemed more like hours, I decided I needed to take control. The Hubster and Boy Wonder would be most disappointed that I got killed right off my very first day and all. So I made my move.

I rolled down the window and put on my very best dagger eyes as the Boy Wonder calls them and said loud and clear, “Look here you, I’m Whitey Bulger’s niece and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll be moving out of my way. See?” (Who did I think I was, Jimmy Cagney?)

Luckily the sheep must have also heard the rumored sightings of Boston’s most notorious mob fugitive living a secluded life in Ireland because he slowly started walking up the mountain. But he never took his eyes off me.

Uh-huh, sheep may look all warm and cuddly but they can also be pure evil. I saw it that day and since there were no other witness’ it’s my word against the sheep and who are you going to believe?

Right, the poor, innocent, fuzzy, little sheep that I almost turned into Shepard’s Pie on an inside out curve on a mountainside.

Fine, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Of course, I'm not sure if it's more dangerous to write about the Catholic Church, The Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, Whitey Bulger or The Secret Society of Rouge Sheep ... I'm just saying.

©2006 Dawn Marie Kelly, all rights reserved.
posted by Angel @ 3:12 PM | 14 comments