>This morning I am heading back to Chicago again for a small 60th birthday celebration for my mom. Since this is the second time in less than a month that I will be at the homestead, I thought people might like a glimpse into my family’s glamorous Jewish white trash lifestyle. Today’s tour is of the living room. Some faces have been blocked out because otherwise they might be really mad at me.*
Normal families hang framed art on their walls. Mine decorates more eclectically. Let’s start with the fine portrait on the far left. This has been hanging since my sister and I posed for it 25 years ago. I didn’t bother to censor it since, hey, we don’t look like that any more.

Moving to the right and slightly down is the Shrine to Her Family that my mother maintains assiduously. I can guarantee that my family will never have a flat panel TV because where would my mom put the Shrine? Note that it contains an ungodly amount of wedding photos. Sister looks so elegant, even with a giant black bar over part of her face. I look like doofy old me, even if a fancy dress and veil. If you’ve ever wondered what the Dueling Grandmothers look like, in the picture in the center that is reflecting the flash, you can almost see Bubbe (in the bluish purple dress next to me) and Granny (in the yellow dress at the left end of that picture). They look sweet and innocent, don’t they? Don’t be fooled! Our family specializes in this sort of deception.

Just above the large framed wedding picture of Sister and Sister’s Husband, you will find an unusual object d’art. Not many families display the heart shaped unicorn plaques made by their eldest daughter when she was in junior high, but my family’s pride in their children’s art is forever. I made it at the Snoop Shop, which was a place where kids could paint and glaze various sculptures. I actually have a number of fine objects from there over the years, but in my bedroom where they belong. Why on earth this was hung in the living room in the first place is beyond me.

Above the stunning art is my dad’s CPA certification, hung in a cheap frame. Again, why this is in the living room as opposed to say, his desk, is a mystery to me. But I do think it adds to the charm of the overall scene, don’t you? It reminds people that despite all appearances to the contrary, a professional resides there.

Finally, and most important, to the right of the CPA certificate and my art is our treasured photograph with Dennis Franz, former star of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. And of, course, the classic Hill St. spin off, Beverly Hill Buntz. What!?!?! You’ve never heard of this fine series?!?! What an outrage.

In the summer of 1987 (I think), my family journeyed to California for vacation. This was HUGE for us and we had a lot of fun. While we were walking down the street in Beverly Hills one day, we noticed a television shoot was being set up. Suddenly, a van pulled up to the curb right next to where we were standing and who should jump out but Dennis Franz himself! My mom and I were big Hills St. fans, so we were beside ourselves with excitement. We started chatting him up, and he was very, very nice. He was also from Chicago, so we discussed the superiority of Chicago hot dogs over other wieners. He agreed to pose for a picture with us. My dad whipped out the disc (remember those?) camera we purchased for the trip, and this is the result.

Here's the close up. I don’t think it is necessary to point out that the people in the picture are not in the center, or that my mom’s head is partly chopped off. I will compliment my exciting clip-on sunglasses. Those things were seriously bitchin’! This picture has been taped to that spot on our wall since it was developed in 1987 except when my mom recently brought it to work to show her co-workers. I think I put it there. No need for a frame or anything, right? I just slapped it up with some masking tape loops that I carefully put on the back. When my mom took it down a few months ago, she decided to replace it exactly as it had been. She even if she didn’t want to (banish the thought!), she had no choice: the wall had faded around it, so there was a bright blue rectangle on the wall when she temporarily removed it for show-and-tell.

This brings my brief tour of the living room to a close. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I promise more touring excitement in the future, including the other side of the room, which has a lovely rust colored couch and blue chenille rocker.

*Not that certain parental figures won’t be anyway after they see this. It’s not that we never have guests or anything, so I see nothing to be ashamed of. I think it is hilarious though, and I am proud of my background.