730 Days, and the Dropping of Shoes

Hello, my name is Nancy and it’s been 2 years since my last blog post. Oops.

Seven hundred and thirty days is a really long time to put people on hold. But I did it. What can I say? Life happens… unapologetically. And a whole lot of life happened to me, as I am certain it did to y’all too. So there.

I’m not quite sure why today is the day I’ve decided to dive back in. Nope, can’t say that, because it’s a lie. IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS, THAT’S WHY! Also, I’ve missed y’all, and my soul is longing to over-share. As usual, I am spinning multiple plates on several sticks with one hand, and juggling bubbles with the other. Don’t ask what my legs are doing. They have a mind of their own, and have been carrying me from coast to coast on a semi-regular basis for a bit.

About this life thing. If I’ve learned nothing else in the past 730 days, it’s that just when you think life is grand, and you prepare to kick off your shoes and relax. Don’t. Of course, one shoe may drop to the floor, landing spectacularly in a glorious spot.  It’s the other shoe dropping that you must be concerned about. Without going into much any detail, I’m currently barefoot–one shoe landed nicely, the other hit with a thud, bounced up and is hovering in a cloud of uncertainty above me and I’m–on my knees, praying for a miracle. Or to win the lottery. Actually, both if I’m being honest. All for truly selfless AND selfish reasons simultaneously.

Cancer sucks, is all I can say. And so does socialized medicine. 

No, I don’t have cancer, nor does The Man, The Beans or any of my blood-relatives, that I am aware of (hint: I’m always the last to know of any family business). However, two of my dearest friends, whom I consider more family than friends have the awful disease. One lives in Toronto and was diagnosed in early 2016, with Stage 4 tonsil cancer that had spread to his neck, shoulder and a couple of lymph nodes. Thankfully, not to his lungs, liver, or brain. He and his team of doctors immediately decided upon the most aggressive form of treatment: 7 weeks of radiation and 4 rounds of chemotherapy simultaneously. I went to visit assist in caring for him in April, during Week 4. What an eye-opener. I realized that week how very little I was told about what my parents endured while fighting their own cancers before they passed away. Feeling powerless is not something I enjoy, and I was rendered powerless, beyond simply being present and available to do anything necessary, making fun of him so he would laugh, and keeping his spirits up high on the most positive of clouds. But as of 6 weeks ago, I am happy to report that my Maple Leaf brother has KICKED CANCER’S UGLY STAGE FOUR ASS!! Just one more set of scans to go, in November, and he will likely be declared the Champion of Cancer Ass Kickers. You probably already know I like to fix things, and people. So I despise not being able to eliminate, or destroy utterly ridiculous shit that happens to good people whom I love with my whole heart. If I were a superhero, I would want my power to be the ability to cure those ‘incurable’ diseases that afflict so many…including my ‘sister from another mister’, Grace, who got both amazing and horrendous news within days of each other. She has breast cancer…and is expecting her second child, a baby girl, in January. WhatTheActualFuck?! A lumpectomy has been done, but the remainder of her treatment will have to wait until Baby Girl arrives. So at the moment I’m struggling with being mad at God. Yes, I said it. On January 10th of this year, the day after I turned 44, I was ordained as a ruling Elder at my church, and here I sit, madder than a wet hen at my Heavenly Father. What a conundrum. Praying for a miracle from above while wrestling with anger towards the very One who can heal. My apologies, God. I’m only human, and YOU designed me this way. Prayers please. Lots of them. Thanks in advance. I’ll be in church in 4 short hours, after I’ve napped and this is published, lest you think I wont be praying too.

Now let’s see, what else happened in the last 730 days? Hmm. A list might be the easiest to follow. Besides, I’ve heard people enjoy reading lists. Who knew?

  1. The Man worked on a crap ton of projects. Both big budget features (Concussion, The Hateful Eight, Joy), small indie films (Burnt; Trumbo) and a couple of cool tv gigs (Hello…BLOODLINE!!). He is currently working on another big one, set to release in March 2017. Think magical, musical, Disney….Beauty.  There, you’ve got it.
  2. Sugar Bean started a YouTube channel, turned 15 and we had a surprise party that we somehow managed to keep a secret from her. Then she turned SIXTEEN and we had not one…but two celebrations to mark the milestone. She also got her driver’s license. Which is nearly impossible to do in California, and basically turned me into a basket case for a bit. Now I totally dig it, because she is an enormous help whenever I ask her to run an errand or pick up/drop off her sisters.
  3. Butter Bean learned to play the violin and performed in several talent shows both at church and at school. She also turned 11 on St.Patrick’s Day while we were visiting New York City in March 2015. She had our traditional birthday cake for breakfast from Carlos’s Bakery…you know, The Cake Boss place. It had to be done. End of story. Then we spent the day allowing her to dictate where she wanted to go and see, as it was our first time in New York as a family. So we did ALL the touristy things. I went with an itinerary in hand, wearing an imaginary name tag that said “Julie-Cruise Director”. Little did we know, it would definitely not be our last trip to the Big Apple. She also turned 12 five months ago, but she was away on a school trip for her birthday, so we had to celebrate when she returned. All I can say is that she seemingly morphed into a tweenager overnight. Attitude and all. We’ve had the necessary talks about body odor, periods, boys, makeup, inappropriate attire, social media…you name it. To quote Glennon Melton, “Sweet Fancy Moses”….more prayers, please.
  4. Sweet Pea is still a mama’s girl. She turned 9, then 10, without much pomp or circumstance. And she is still my baby. THANK GOODNESS. She is girly, and sassy and loves to play PokémonGo with me. Yes, me. She also returned to gymnastics, took classes at the intermediate/advanced level for about 3 months, then took 6 months off, and is now back at it and on one of the teams at the facility where she trains. Watch for her on the Olympics in 8 years. Or at least getting a college scholarship based on her ability to flip and stretch like a human rubber band defying gravity. The Man and I would be super happy with that.

Now that you’re caught up on the basics of what the Tribe has been up to, I guess it’s time for a report on me, huh?

  1. I turned 43 and 44. Enough about that. Especially if you’ve read this post.
  2. I had major surgery 13 months ago yesterday, to rid me of a pesky little genetic issue known as diverticulitis. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Wait, do I have enemies?
  3. Before I had the surgery, and while The Man was basically working around the clock, The Beans and I went home to Bama for a visit for the first time in 5 years. We had a blast seeing family and basking in the sun on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores. You can check out some of our vacay adventures in this video on Sugar Bean’s YouTube channel.
  4. I successfully created, crowd-funded, co-exec produced and co-starred in a web-series entitled THE BAR, that premiered on September 15, 2015 and can be viewed here on YouTube. So much of my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears went into this project. I would love y’all to pieces if you watched and shared it with everyone you know. Seriously. Oh, and there’s a blog about it here and a Facebook fan page here.
  5. I am currently co-authoring a book that is being considered for publication by a very well-known publishing company. Can’t say more than that without your signatures on an NDA at this point. When I can I will. In the meantime, here’s a picture of me and my co-author, Kit Wallace-Coblentz, owner of Blue Eyed Entertainment.  Big things are coming. Just wait.

    me and kit

    photo by FishyFoto

  6. I am also co-writing a feature script about my life as a teenager growing up in a small Alabama town. Based on true events. Don’t worry, you’ll recognize your characters once it’s made and on a screen somewhere 🙂
  7. I have been both a blonde and a brunette in the last 730 days. See for yourself.
Nancy_Minkler-88sm

photo by Tiffany Rose

               AC:DC headshot

WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

        8. We made a lateral move to a slightly larger house, as we had just outgrown the one we were in. The time it took from the moment we found the house, filled out the application, got the approval, and moved in, was exactly 2 weeks, and it was in the midst of all the end of school year activities, AND the deadline for the delivery of the first draft of the book I mentioned in #5 above. All of that nearly put me in the dirt. But God always has a plan, and I’m still here. Waking up breathing, day after day… blessed be.

        9. In the last 2 months, I have eliminated all dairy, red meat, poultry, white carbs, and alcohol from my diet completely. I do eat fish and shrimp on occasion, but mainly stick to a plant and fruit based diet. My body’s response to this? I’ve lost 20 lbs. No shit. 128 in March, 108 now. I’d post before and after photos, but I think I just did?

       10.  I shot swimsuit photos yesterday for the first time in 16 years, along with a ton of other head shots, including the one above, with Jamie Fisher from FishyFoto. No, I will not be posting them anywhere, as I have no desire to pursue a career as a swimsuit model at the age of 44, and the height of five foot one. They are for The Man’s eyes only. 

       11.  The Man, The Beans and I had our FIRST EVER family photo shoot also with Jamie, so I plan to send out Christmas cards this year. I know, I know. Several people will think they are being Punk’d when they get theirs. But here is a sneak peek 🙂

FishyFoto -MinklerFamily-15708 copy

12.  Since July 3, I have been to NYC and back to LA three separate times. Twice by myself and once with The Beans. Why? Because The Man is the chief of our tribe, and that’s where he’s working right now, on that big project I mentioned earlier. We miss him so much it hurts, and if The Beans weren’t in school right now, we would all be there together. Unfortunately, all we can do is visit. And FaceTime (Thanks, Mr.Jobs). So I am single-parenting…no, bi-coastal parenting I guess…until his return.

13.  Oh, and last but not least, I’m having a NYC love affair…. with The Man. Just check out my Instagram and search for the hashtag #kissingallovernyc. It’s among the best highlights of the past 730 days for me!

I guess that’s all for now. I’m not promising I will post regularly, but I promise I won’t wait 730 days before the next one. How’s that? 

Lots of irons in the fire, folks!

You know how I’m always saying I wear eleventy jillion hats? Figuratively speaking, that is. I think it’s reached a fever pitch now, y’all. So I’m about to list ’em for you, and then ask a favor. You knew that was coming right? Of course you did. Because y’all are fancy schmancy mind reading followers.

1. Full-time, mom

Lots of people would just stop here. After all, it’s a 24/7 PLUS job. Especially with The Beans. Which is why it’s listed FIRST.

2. Creator, Co-Producer and actress for THE BAR, a new comedy web-series coming soon from Bless Her Heart Productions.  

Trust me. You wanna know more. And you’ll want to get in on the action. Now, watch this.

3. Stella & Dot  jewelry stylist 

Oh, and I just promoted to Lead Stylist, which means I have people under me now. Wanna have a Trunk Show?

4. Kitten mom.

Let it be known, I didn’t intend to have a cat. But it was destiny. His mama abandoned him, and I took over when he was a day old. Round the clock bottle feedings…keeping him clean and safe…basically like having a newborn. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about THAT. We named him Hiccup and he is almost 7 weeks old now. Eating food on his own, potty-trained, getting into mischief. I guess he’s a toddler now? Regardless, he’s the cutest. cat. ever.

IMG_3772

5. Mixologist/Bartender at one of our favorite local spots. 

This was an accident. I swear. But I’m gonna roll with it, okay? You should too.

6. Volunteer at our church. 

God called, and I need to make sure my ticket to Heaven is punched. Enough said.

7. Blogger 

This is no surprise. I mean, you wouldn’t be reading right now if I stopped wearing this hat. But, recently I’ve been doing more posts like this onethis one, and this one.  Oh, and this!!  So I think it’s kind of a big deal.

Since seven IS a lucky number, I’m cool with it. That is, until somebody hands me NUMBER EIGHT. Because I simply don’t see the line most people believe exists somewhere between ‘overextending yourself’ and ‘why-can’t-I-say-no-insanity’. Yeah, that.

Anyway, remember when I said I needed a favor? Well… here it is. I want y’all to help me with #2. Oh, stop snickering like Beavis and Butthead.  I’m serious. Please consider donating to the Indiegogo campaign for THE BAR. We have the best ensemble cast ever, and it’s hilarious. Not to mention there are some serious, tangible perks to donating! Every penny counts y’all and we’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there (See what I just did? Do you recognize that line from the title song of another iconic Southern film? Hint: Smokey).  It’s my baby, and I really wanna see it blossom. But if you can’t donate, I totally understand. You can still SHARE THE LINK TO THE CAMPAIGN WITH EVERYONE YOU’VE EVER MET. Or share this post you are reading. Or even better… BOTH!

 Love y’all. Have a great weekend 🙂

The Legend of the Dogwood

One of the beautiful things I miss about the South. Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

One of the gorgeous things I miss about the South.            Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. No…not because of the bunny!  Although I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy making baskets for The Beans and witnessing their delight when they see the ‘bunny tracks and jelly bean poop’ on Sunday morning. Oh… and let’s not forget the egg hunts! When I was little the Golden Egg was always a Leggs pantyhose egg, spray-painted gold and stuffed with money. Finding that thing was like winning the dang lottery, and the search for it was reminiscent of a scene from The Goonies, boobie traps and all. I am the youngest in my family by 12 years, so my earliest recollection of the annual Romine Family Easter Egg Hunt had me running around with my nieces and nephews, who were toddlers (being assisted by their parents, aka my siblings) and finally ending up in tears because I was too old to hunt with the littles and too little to hunt with the adults. What’s a girl to do?

The festivities were great and all, but my fondest memory of Easter was a story Mama used to tell me. I don’t know the origin of it, or if it’s even true, although I’d really like to go on blind faith and believe it so. And I refuse to Google it. Something tells me it may be a Southern thing, since I’ve actually never seen a dogwood tree growing anywhere except down South. Truth is, I’d all but forgotten it, when I was reminded of it via a post shared by a family friend on Facebook. Of course when I saw the post, I smiled from ear to ear, knowing I would be able to retell it to y’all.

Here it is, as told by my mama, and I suspect many other Southern mamas as well: 

There is a legend that says, at the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus, for such a cruel purpose, greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.  In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:

” Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross– with two long and two short petals. In the middle of the outer edge of each petal, there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red. In the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.”

dogwood

Beautiful in its appearance and message.                               Photo credit: llerrah.com

To this very day, I can’t see a dogwood tree or blossom without thinking of Jesus and His sacrifice for my sins.

May we all be reminded of His Grace and Glory this Easter as well as the rest of our days.

 

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Fifteen.

According to the traditional list of customary anniversary presents, The Man and I should have exchanged gifts of CRYSTAL yesterday. Alternately, the contemporary list suggests WATCHES.  Ironically, both can be purchased at Tiffany. However, I am still awaiting the arrival of my Little Blue Box, convinced the delivery person got lost. After all, Los Angeles is an awfully big city and according to the map below…. I live up in the area of the REDNECKS and JCREW LOOKING MOFOS…which I suppose could be a little confusing. Maybe even scary.

IMG_3075

Anyway, we had a lovely dinner last night with The Beans at a favorite local spot of ours. The fact that I neither tried to find a babysitter nor entertained the thought for a moment that we would celebrate without them in tow goes to show you that after 15 years, it really IS all about the children.  Not to sound cliché, but we do only have them all under one roof for a little bit longer. Sugar Bean is going away to college in 4.5  years so we have to pack in as much family time as possible now. Perhaps we’ll take an anniversary trip on our 20th. Who knows? Regardless, I was reminiscing about our wedding yesterday and it occurred to me that I’ve never shared a single detail about it with anyone outside of family and close friends, despite it being an incredibly joyous, unique and memorable affair. WTF is wrong with me? Btw, that’s a rhetorical question. So… without further adieu, I give you…

The Top 10 Reasons Why My Wedding Night

Was Uniquely Kickass

1. It was planned and executed it in exactly 3 weeks, complete with paper invitations (pre-Evite, people), a caterer, flowers and a wedding cake. Notice I didn’t say I PLANNED IT. Every drop of credit goes to my MIL, as I was stricken with horrific morning sickness…ALL. DAY. LONG. Wait…I did pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses. Off the rack, during a 20 minute trip to  Robinson’s-May, which was about all I could manage in between jaunts to puke in the nearest bathroom.

2. Using a recipe handed down for years, and in keeping with a long-standing tradition in my Southern rooted family, we served a drink called “24-Hour Punch”. It’s been a staple at every special occasion for as long as I can remember. The main ingredient is Jack Daniels. The caterer asked for the recipe. Need I say more?

3. Although I could not drink a drop myself, I jumped behind the bar and started tending it like a pro at the reception. People were thirsty, and the bartender went missing…I suspect, after too much punch.

4. We are not Jewish, but many of our guests were, including the Best Man. So it made perfect sense to do the Horah, right?

chris:horah

me:horah

 5. My maid of honor was a VIP bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in Hollywood, and got called in to work during the reception. Despite telling her boss she’d been drinking all day night at HER BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, had flowers matted in her hair and would be arriving in her dress, if she could find a ride to avoid a DUI…he made her show up. True story.

6. The day of the wedding, we realized our plan for playing music at the reception wasn’t going to work, so our dear friend John wrangled some equipment and became our DJ, so I would stop freaking out. You can read about him here. He’s truly a gem, and if he ever gets married, I will walk on water if he needs me to!

7. Right before the procession was about to begin, I suddenly had to pee. There was a bathroom at the top of the steps, but my dress wouldn’t fit. Obviously, I didn’t have time to undress/redress. So, two of my bridesmaids held my skirt up inside the bathroom, making sure I didn’t pee on myself, while the other two stood guard outside and held the rest of my dress, because we had to leave the door open. Now THAT’S a good group of bridesmaids, y’all.

8. There was a break-dancing extravaganza. Yep. That’s my husband folks, throwing it back to the 80’s by doing a coffee-grinder…I think.

chris:wedding:breakdance

9. Oh, but wait…the girls were not about to be upstaged! If memory serves me correctly, the photo below depicts the ‘big finish’ to a dance routine of some sort.  Doing the splits in my wedding gown. Yeah, that really happened.

me:wedding:splits

10. With the reception winding down, The Man and I hopped into a limo bound for the honeymoon suite at a hotel in the city. Once we inspected our accommodations, we decided to continue celebrating, and took off on foot down Sunset Boulevard, still in our wedding clothes… headed for the Skybar. Cars were bumper to bumper, horns were honking, and folks were shouting ‘Congrats’ the whole way. Crazy fun. Typically, it’s a tough place to get into if you aren’t ‘on the list’, but I  bartended there for a couple years and showing up in a wedding gown with my groom in tow did the trick!  Afterwards, exhausted and giddy, we returned to our hotel and passed out. That whole doing the deed on your wedding night thing? Ain’t nobody got energy for that!

And so, following a magical evening that started like this:

wedding dance

 We woke up the next morning as newlyweds and realized our cars were in the Valley, and we didn’t have a ride home.

THE END

 

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