Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moms and Weddings, Part Two

She's married.

I'm a mother-in-law.

I have a son-in-law.

I also have a house full of leftover food, reception decorations, wedding gifts and a hard drive full of photos waiting to be edited and shared.

It happens so fast. And like Liza Minelli's song, when it all comes true just the way you planned, it's a quiet thing.* Her smile as an infant, a toddler and every age along the way flashed through my mind along with every wish I'd ever had for her. And they all came true in that moment.

I did not take pictures during the ceremony itself, did not even have my camera with me then since I'd promised my daughter I would simply be the Mother Of The Bride. At times I have to choose whether to be a participant or an observer when do I have my camera with me and I confess I slipped into observer mode for a while during the reception.

But as I looked around the room at my brother and sister, Aunt Becky, nieces, nephews, cousins and all my extended family gathered there, I had to save the moment.

The last time so many of us had been together was for my mother's memorial service and I wondered then how well we would stay in touch with each other since Mom had been our communications hub, relaying the news from one corner of the family to another. While weeks and months have passed between emails and phone calls and an occasional birthday gets missed, we do love and enjoy each other and have stayed in touch pretty well. My sister, aunt and sister-in-law hosted a delightful bridesmaid's luncheon for my daughter the day before the wedding, filled with laughter and hugs. Then they showed up the next day ready to pitch in and help make this DIY wedding everything Becky and Andy hoped it would be.

I love my family.

I told my sister that it was just as well that my mother wasn't around for this one, though.  Mom liked to have all the details arranged well in advance whether she was planning a Sunday School lesson or a wedding. My daughter, Becky, is much more spontaneous. While some things had been prepared well in advance, other elements came together nicely the day before with assignments handed out to relatives and friends who were eager to help, as she knew they would be. That would have driven my mother batty!

But it gave us the opportunity to be participants

instead of just observers

To give something of ourselves to bring joy to Becky and Andy

who have given so much joy to us

To get to know each other

on all sides of this growing family

as we worked together to make memories that would last a lifetime.

*If you aren't familiar with the song, here's one of my favorite versions of it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

For Liz and Llanview

I confess that I didn't start watching Guiding Light until early in 2009, so I missed some of the best moments of Liz Keifer's portrayal or Blake Marler. But let me tell you what I did see and why I am a fan of her work now.

In every scene in which Liz Keifer appeared, I learned a little bit more about the character of Blake Marler. Even in scenes where she was just in the background there was always some little thing Liz did to show us something about Blake's personality. And what I saw made me want to know Blake better.

I had started watching GL because friends had told me about Otalia – the story of Olivia and Natalia. They said their relationship was building slowly the way the great soap romances always have. As I watched their love story unfold and saw Blake get more involved with the two of them, I was more and more impressed with Liz Keifer and what she could do with the slightest gesture or look. She delivered a line as though a great truth had only that moment dawned on Blake, opening up a whole new world to her, illuminating her face with a child-like sense of wonder.

When we first see Liz on Venice, Crystal Chappell's webseries, she doesn't say a word and she's only on screen for a few seconds. We don't know who she is or why she is hurting or even whether she is real or not. But you cannot look away. And you must find out who this woman is and what caused her pain and what will bring healing to her. Is she real or a ghost or a figment of Guya's imagination?

I've become a fan of Jerry verDorn, too, since he joined the cast of one of my favorite shows, One Life to Live. I knew that he and Liz sponsored an event called Daytime Stars and Strikes but I haven't been able to attend one of these yet. Last year I donated some auction items, though. This year I couldn't afford to donate anything so I rallied some of my Twitter friends to donate things instead. I contacted Wendy Madore, the organizer of the event and wrote a blogabout where to send donated items and Tweeted about it. Some of myCafePress items and things from the Venice Shop were donated to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. (You can see photos of this event here.)

As I followed the news that was Tweeted by friends of mine who attended the event I saw @Guiding_Light mention that she'd spoken with Jerry verDorn and he wants to encourage fans to write in and request that Liz be added to the cast of One Life to Live. I immediately thought of several possibilities of characters and stories she could play! She would be a great fit for Llanview and I know I'll be writing to let my voice be heard.

But I don't want them to hear from only me. I want them to hear from you, too. Just as I did for the donations to the Stars and Strikes auction, I'm spreading the word so others can get involved. Below you will find all the contact information you'll need to send your letters and postcards to ABC and to Prospect Park, the company taking OLTL online in January. Please share this information on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else you like. Feel free to link to this blog , too, and I'll be sure to share any new information as it becomes available! (This information can also be found at .

Frank Valentini, Exec Producer, OLTL
ABC Daytime
320 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023

Ron Carlivati HeadWriter, One Life to Live
ABC Daytime
77 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023

Prospect Park Branch Office
2049 Century Park East #2550
Century City, California 90067
Attn: Mr. Paul Frank - Executive Head of TV

Call in to One Life To Live:
OLTL Direct Comment Lines: (NY) 212-456-3338 (NY) 212-456-7777 OR (LA) 818-460-7477

Tweet @prospectpk tell them you want to see Liz Kiefer (@eakcik) on One Life to Live.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thank You, Steve

In 1984 my husband and I bought the original Macintosh computer. It was a huge investment for us at the time, about $2400, since my husband was in seminary and I was working full-time to help put him through school. But we felt like having the Macintosh would mean he'd spend less time typing and re-typing his papers (or learning word processing on an IBM PC and I could use it for graphics work, too.

We were right. Years later our daughter, Becky, would wrap her tiny fingers around the mouse of that Macintosh and make pictures with its graphics program. (She eventually graduated from college with a degree in Graphic Design and is now head of the Photo Department at

I'd say our investment paid off.

We did eventually grow frustrated with that Mac, though, and it's lack of a built in hard drive or second floppy drive. Its 128k of ram was twice what the IBM PC offered at the time but technology grew by leaps and bounds and passed us and our small budget by. We couldn't keep up with the upgrades and new models that came each year so we kept ours just as it came from the factory.

Decades later, when we finally admitted we would never again actually use the old Macintosh and we needed the space in our tiny basement, we sold it on eBay. The one thing potential buyers wanted to know about it was whether or not we had the original Styrofoam boxes everything came in with the original cardboard sleeves on them, emblazoned with the Apple logo. We did. Everything had been packed away in the original boxes, with the original software and manuals, never upgraded. The Macintosh & Imagewriter printer were in good working order, just the way we got them. The buyer drove to Maryland from New Jersey and paid us several hundred dollars in cash for his treasured vintage Macinstosh.

We dropped out of the world of Apple for decades, unable to keep up with the high cost of the products, no matter how wonderful they were. Not everybody can afford first class. Then my daughter received an ipod mini as a gift and we gave an ipod touch to my husband for his birthday. I bought myself an ipod classic for my 50th birthday with money from my family. And when Becky started her university art classes she got a Mac with her student loan money. Now, she has an iphone.

But Steve Jobs gave us much more than good products.

He gave us ideas.

The idea that you can make your dreams come true even if you start with nothing.

The idea that you can pick yourself up and start over when you fail and have been rejected.

The idea that there is always a new dream to pursue.

The idea that every day counts.

The idea that you can change the world.

Thank you, Steve. We will miss you.