My Champagne Life

My Champagne Life
My Champagne Life

I’m sure that title has some of you wondering . . . did Jane win the lottery? Has she given up Cokes for champagne? Is she now surrounded with luxury during the sunset years of her life?

Of course not.  No lottery winnings (you have to play to win). No champagne or Cokes (too many calories in both). No luxury items now that my beautiful T-Bird with the removable hard top bit the dust on a guardrail (or two) on Interstate 4 (see blogpost “A Thing of Beauty”). But I did have one of those AHA moments this morning. AND, as appropriate as it may sound, this is not referring to the American Heart Association.

This morning after watching the news, I was navigating getting up out of my couch. “You know you’re old when” buying a couch takes on significance when the only suitable ones are double recliners. Some mornings it just takes all the strength I can muster to kick that footrest back in to place. This morning’s callisthenic resulted in me tossing my coffee cup up into the air as I sat up. As is so often the case, my cup was only half-full . . . and lukewarm at that. The awkward part of this entire fiasco was the moment when I poured most of the coffee down my leg and into my shoe. This occurred just prior to my release of the cup for its airborne arabesque. I delicately stepped out of my shoes and sloshed to the kitchen for paper towels and sponge to provide damage control. When I returned to the scene of the accident, my dog (known for his keen ability to chew holes in the middle of my washcloths) was happily sipping coffee out of my shoe.

Jack playing dead after being caught with evidence stolen right off the bars in the shower stall.
Sipping coffee from a shoe. No wonder they are called Easy Spirit. Real spirits would be drunk from a stiletto.

That was the moment of the aha. AHA! While some people drink champagne out of their best stilettos, my champagne life consists of lukewarm coffee being consumed out of an old stinky sneaker. The aha was the realization that this could be a metaphor for my entire life . . . no champagne and dancing shoes, just lukewarm coffee and sensible shoes.

My dear friend, Ken McLaughlin likes to mention my penchant for stiletto shoes (especially those in metallic or animal print finish). I’m afraid he would be stunned to see my sad collection of acceptable shoes. The stilettos have marched out the door to thrift shops to make room for flats and shoes with respectable arch support. I admit that I have kept a pair or two of my dancing shoes to just look at, hold, caress and dream about. Some things are just so hard to part with . . . and on the rare occasion that I dress up enough that I have squeezed myself back into pantyhose, I do take down these shoes and verify (once again) that they probably aren’t such a great idea. In these moments I find myself thinking, “Seriously? I wore these once? AND walked?” I feel like I’m on a pair of circus stilts, wobbling from my closet to my boudoir. And it only takes a step or two to remind me that my brain thinks I’m 18 and sexy while my body knows I’m 68 and  . . . . well, still sexy. But that’s another blog. (In the retirement world, Fifty Shades of Grey is referring to the hair on our heads.)

But I digress. So what about a champagne life? After spending 24,868 days on this planet, I think I may have formed some opinions about celebrity, wealth and the champagne life. OK. Granted a great deal of those nearly 25,000 days was spent in diapers, elementary school, and trying to “find myself” in The Sixties . . . still. I must have at least 15,000 viable days of wisdom. I find it impertinent to belabor the problems of being rich, famous, legendary, and imbibing from a slipper since I have no experience in that particular arena. I do, however, have the powers of observation. Christina Onassis, the richest woman in the world (at the time . . . Oprah was still young), was reported to have taken her own life which was worth $250,000,000 at the time. That’s lot of zeroes. Like Christina, responders found Whitney Houston in a bathtub, dead from reported drug overdose. She probably wasn’t worth $250MM, but she had much admired talent and fame.  And then there was Princess Diana.

Christina O.
Princess Di

I’ll bet all three of these ladies drank champagne from slippers as well as Barccarat and Waterford crystal glasses. A pair of these glasses sells for more than I would be able (or willing) to pay for an entire set of dishes. Were these women happy? Not so much. Ages at death were 36 (Diana), 38 (Christina) and 48 (Whitney). So sad and tragic! And this is not just an American tragedy, but a global tragedy [Whitney was American, Christina was Greek and Diana, British (and royalty, yet)].

So here I am at 68 years, having outlived some of the rich and famous. So if their lives were a tragedy and I’m in the opposite pendulum swing from them, does that make my life a comedy? Please cast your vote in the comments section of this blog. I will hint that I often feel like an aging Lucy Ricardo, but that is usually right after I’ve colored my hair. And I am consort to a comedian named Bob and all my children are hilariously funny, including my grand. So, perhaps by association I, too, am comedic.

Jordan the Ham
Gigi, Ham the Elder

While I await your votes on my champagne life, I will make a toast to my mutt who has the savior faire to drink from my sneakers and still look well-bred. Perhaps that’s because his breed (Lakeland Terrier) goes for about $1,000 these days. So, I may not drive a Bentley, live in Beverly Hills, or wear Manolo Blahniks . . . but I do have a high-class dog with that certain je ne sais quoi that allows someone to ask one grand for His Furriness.  Just ask him, if you can drag him away from his own champagne life of drinking from my shoe and chewing holes in linens.

Oh well. If I can’t walk in them, perhaps I can drink out of them.

Jumping the Shark

One Big Happy . . .
One Big Happy . . .

As one considers the many sources of information which are called prophetic or prescient or even psychic, I have to admit that the old 70’s TV show Happy Days may have hit the nail on the head with predictive titles. Indeed, as I look back on my life in the 1950’s and 1960’s I find that it literally reeks with happy! (Take that, Pharrell Williams . . . that’s 20 years of happy!) Although it sounds too good to be real, my memories are filled with lemonade stands, troll dolls and playing-cards affixed to my bike with clothes pins. On a good day, my bike had playing cards AND plastic pop beads on the spokes.

Peace, love and troll dolls

Yes, I was very cool. That was the word for me . . . at least in the 1950’s. OK. I was less than cool; especially with the Miss Toni permanent. In fact, here is total uncool: me with the hair perm AND in a squaw dress. Made by my mother. However, they were cool then. Really. I mean, does it get better than rick-rack?

Cool or uncool

I’m finding that many of the things that would have been easily acceptable in the “Happy Days” are not so acceptable to my seven year old grandson. He sees right through the child psychology that my mother wielded so well. For example, let’s evaluate Pixie’s Delight. I do hope my brother, Steve, reads this blog as he will be the only other person on the earth who would have been hoodwinked by this sham, wrought upon us innocents by our mother.


Whenever my mother wasn’t sure whether or not we would be “down” with consuming a new food, she simply called it Pixie’s Delight. Below are some pictures of Pixie’s Delight.


The name Pixie’s Delight still sounds just, well . . . just delightful! While thinking, “Will I ever learn?” I must admit that the old pull to consume something with that name is just as strong as it was in 1954 when I was seven years old. So, I thought it would be a good ploy to wrest upon Jordan, while getting him to consume what he considered questionable foods. After cooking up a scrumptious-but-possibly-dubious-dinner of butternut squash ravioli with maple cream sauce, I served it to His Royal Highness by introducing it as “Pixie’s Delight.” He frowned at the food and then shot me a most skeptical look. It was, actually, a withering look.

Jordan: “Hmmm. It looks like ravioli to me.”

Gigi:       “Well, yes. But it is Pixie ravioli.” (Truth meter plummets.)

Jordan: “But it is orange. What is WRONG with it?”

Gigi:       “Well, Pixies like their ravioli with butternut sq*@^*&#sh in it.” (Gigi mumbles, knowing the word squash is a possible Pixie downer.)

Jordan: “Butternut what?? What did you say?”

Gigi, coming clean: “Butternut squash. But it has maple cream sauce on it! So yummy!”

Jordan: “Seriously? Maple belongs on waffles. No way.”

Gigi, pleading:   “Won’t you just try one bite? I am sure you will like it.”

Jordan, looking more skeptical than ever: “Why? Because some dumb Pixie likes it? Seriously, Gigi. Pixies are not real. Neither are fairies. Your mother should have told you that.”

Pixies . . .
Fairies . . .
And Trolls, oh my!

Do I dare tell him that if my mother had been so transparent with the Pixie information it would have totally blown the Delight ruse down the drain . . . along with the Brussels sprouts?


In that moment I realized that Pixie’s Delight had aged, just like I. We were part of the over-the-hill gang. Perhaps if I had called them Zombie Pustules they would have been more tempting. Let’s face it. The times have changed.

And that, friends, brings us to the title of this blog: Jumping the Shark. Thanks to my daughter, Stacy, for pointing out the uncanny relationship between Happy Days and Pixie’s Delight. Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest, and which is taken as a sign of desperation. The phrase is based on a scene from a fifth-season episode of Happy Days when Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. The usage of “jump the shark” has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, franchise or creative effort’s evolution declines.

Does he shower in that leather jacket? If he can water ski, why is he selling reverse mortgages?

So, with that, I must bid a sad adieu to Pixie’s Delight. For all her comely beauty and poetic name, I fear she has jumped the shark as an entrée. Dear Pixie: I shall remember you fondly . . . especially when I eat my asparagus, grapefruit, and Brussels sprouts. However, I must warn you . . . the liver jumped the shark way before you did! Take care, my winged friend.