Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing."


This was on Yahoo today:
Cancer Outlook for 2010

It’s not about the disease, it’s an astrological forecast. [And how happy am I that my zodiac sign is named after a dreaded disease.]

“One thing that all Crabs (astrological Cancers or the seafood type of crab) know deep in their hearts is that someone, somewhere out there knows how great it would be to bust them wide open and eat them with melted butter. [sounds kinky!! But, hey, I’m game….] The big news for you this year, Cancer, is that Pluto has moved into your Seventh House [not my 1 thru 6th house, but my 7th. Is that like Plan 9 from Outer space?], which rules marriage, partnerships and close relationships. This means that someone may very well be cracking your heart open in the next year. [if he’s rich, I’m in. Otherwise, eh.]


Cancer has a bit of a reputation for enjoying doom and gloom. You don't. You just seem to get more than your fair share of it. [can I get a “what, what” up in the house] It must be that thick shell of yours. [Oh!!! It’s NOT fat, it’s a thick shell] Everyone assumes you can just take it.


The good news is that you earned that reputation because you can take it, and more. [can’t somebody else take it for awhile?] And often, your greatest moments come when you have overcome the greatest obstacles. Thankfully, the roadblocks you face in 2010 won't be that devastating [oh, thank god.], but they'll certainly give you an opportunity to shine. [Shining is good—mostly. Hair yes, face not so much]


New support and new energy will be entering your life from unexpected and overlooked people and things, and you'll be able to soar above it all! [if I can drop about 50 pounds and get this knee thing worked out…..]

I’ll keep you all posted….

HAPPY 87TH BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

“The setting sun, and music at the close, As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last…….” —Richard II


I hate New Year’s Eve….


Not a fan, never really was. All the whoo-hoo hoopla. Party, party.
I know, I get the whole “start of a great new future” crap. “Clean slate” and all of that….. Yada, yada, yada. [“You ‘yada-yada’d’ over the best part.” “ I mentioned the bisque.” But I digress….]

Many times I’ve slept thru the countdown thing.
Usually this was at the end of a particularly rough year and I had no great hopes of it getting any better in the coming one. Hmmmmm, the list of particularly sucky years gets longer and longer: 2000—loss of marriage in June, 2001—loss of grandson’s innocence on Sept. 11th, 2006—loss of ex-husband in March, 2007—loss of job in February, 2009—loss of mobility [of sorts] in March. But the all-time winner is 1980—lost my eldest brother and a cousin AND had a major car accident—all between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So I guess you can see why I haven’t always had a bright sunny outlook at the stroke of midnight on December 31st.

But—this approaching new decade may be okay. I finally have a job that pays fairly well—and is secure. I am digging myself out of massive credit card debt slowly but surely. My kids seem to be in good, happy places. And my grandson is doing well in college…. So……. We’ll see.

Ever the optimist am I.


# # #


2009 has been a really strange one in the national zeitgeist.
We started off with an historic inauguration of an African-American to the presidency—after a campaign that featured a woman as a truly strong viable candidate. Two major milestones in our country’s growth. And there were several openly gay people elected to office as well. Some states/towns passed laws supporting gay marriage and others passed laws against it. For every 2 or 3 steps forward, we take a couple backwards…..

Of course the scandals continued: reality TV acrimonious divorces, governor’s confusing Argentina with the Appalachian trail [hey they both start with “a”], companies collapsing left and right [under the weight of their execs bonuses] and, of course, Tiger, John Edwards and Bernie Madoff.
And there were the usual political wrongdoings too. [Don’t you just love the way Jon Stewart said Blagojevich?!?] California went broke—and practically burned up. But the Governator STILL can’t pronounce the name of his state!

But, as usual, it was the celebrities who took the cake for crazy. [Kanye—I’m looking at you] Media whores “Speidi” go on yet another reality show—and quit because their hair products were messed with. Who would ever have put David Letterman and sex scandal in the same sentence? And Adam Lambert being way too gay to win the clusterf*#k that is American Idol. And them dumping crazy-ass Paula! [I'll admit I watched some of her reality show--it was like watching a train wreck] And Rosie splitting up with Kelly—see gay couples have the same issues straight ones do, people.

As you know, this year was particularly fraught with the deaths of famous folks: Ed Mc Mahon, pitchman Billy Mays, Farah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Brittany Murphy, DJ Am, Natasha Richardson, Edward Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, David Carradine and, of course, Michael Jackson.
Phew—I’m too exhausted to Facebook now…..

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“... a little more than kin and less than kind” - Hamlet **



Well, Christmas has come and gone and we’re girding our loins for New Year’s…..


I hope everyone had the kind of holiday they REALLY wanted. Ours was quiet—just my daughter, my son, my grandson and me. [Photo is of my small pile of gifts for them—lots of gift cards….]

I often wonder if my kids miss having a more extended family to celebrate with. When I was a kid, we had at least one huge holiday gathering of my dad’s family. He was one of ten children—the last remaining sibling, my aunt Ruth, passed away on Christmas Day. Seven of those 10 children made it to adulthood and had children of their own, so it was quite a large group that would gather either at our house or my one uncle’s place. I liked it because I had girl cousins my age I could hang out with—a respite from all those brothers.

My mother’s family was much smaller—she had 1 sister and 1 brother, each of whom had 2 children. Gatherings of the Higgins clan were very subdued, but it was a decent size crowd nonetheless. And I adored my grandparents, so I always enjoyed my holidays with them.

If there were tensions, I wasn’t aware of it. Everybody seemed happy to me. [I wonder what age you do start to pick up on any vibes of family disharmony?]

When my kids were little, we had their dad’s family—about 18 altogether. And this group was usually good for some sort of dramatic dysfunction…. [My husband's grandfather once told his grandmother she had 2 choices: either keep quiet or shut-up.] It was a somewhat motley crew. [And me the lone Catholic, liberal Democrat amongst all of these Protestant Republicans….. ]

Now, everyone is scattered and family ties are shattered. It’s kind of hard to stay close to cousins who accuse you of being the cause of your father’s suicide. [As my husband’s nephew did. And my husband helped raise him as his own father was absent. ] It’s pretty difficult to maintain any sort of connection when relatives move far away and don’t bother to respond to cards or e-mails. [Like many on both sides of the fam did…. Escaping?]

And so, we have dwindled down to just our little band of four. We’re a funny little group; we have our moments of dysfunction, but we try to put the “FUN” in that word. I know soon there will be spouses—and the inevitable demands for my kid’s presence with those new families. I’m preparing myself for that. It’s cool—those first years after my divorce, I gave my ex and his mother the preference on holidays so the kids wouldn’t have to be pulled between two houses on those days. I’m willing to bend a little when they have in-laws to appease. Just so long as I get some face time…. [And first dibs on any future grandkids or great grandkids] And perhaps we can somehow successfully meld the families together.

Although, based on some of the posts I’ve read this morning, maybe our little band of four isn’t so bad after all…….

** now I bet his family's holiday gatherings sucked.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, [Titania, Midsummer]


May all of your twinkle lights twinkle forever.


May your tinsel always be tinselly.


May your garlands festoon your home forever.


May your bows puff out perfectly.


May your balls always be bally.


May you all find what you've wished for under the tree.


May you have loved ones to share the joys of the season.


May you have plenty on your table to eat--and great company to eat it with.


May you have hugs and belly laughs galore.


May you not get the fruitcake that's been circulating for years now. [I'm convinced there's only one fruitcake and it just keeps getting bounced around]


May your family celebration be free of drama.


Merry Christmas to all! And to all a Good Night.


I'm off to get nogged out of my gourd....





Wednesday, December 23, 2009

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve


And be proud of it—sort of…..

My mother was raised by a very stoic stubborn Irish man—you don’t show emotion, it isn’t proper. You have to be strong—the whole “John Wayne Syndrome” before John Wayne. It was that era I guess. She’s changed some as she’s gotten older, but she still has a hard time showing sad emotions.

[Funny story about Granddad’s STUBBORNNESS: When he was around 76 or so, he was getting dressed to go out to his garden when he got chest pains. So he’s standing there holding onto the bedpost thinking “this is it, I’m gonna die.” Well, he decides it’s dumb to die standing up, so he lay down on his bed. He waited 10 minutes and didn’t die, so he got up and went out to do his gardening. Things had to happen on his schedule, or else. Even God wasn’t exempt from that apparently.]

My father, on the other hand, was a real anomaly for a man of his generation: he cried at the drop of a hat. The man survived malaria and a brain hemorrhage during WWII, but Hallmark commercials, or the guy carrying the torch in at the Olympics, reduced his to a blubbering fool… It was a cause for much amusement to my brothers and me. We teased him constantly [—and yes we feel bad about it now.]

My older brother would clip the filler articles from back issues of the New York Times so he’d have stuff to say when he called my parents. If Dad answered it was a good 5 minutes of crying because he was so thrilled one of his kids called. OB would just read off the goofy little filler articles to fill in the void. [Did you know that on this day in 1947, John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor?]

On my wedding day, I whispered the punch lines to some dirty jokes I’d heard my dad tell as we went down the aisle so that he wouldn’t be a heaping, sobbing mess. But just in case that didn’t work, I made sure the dress was drip-dry….

Okay—flash forward 30 years: my brother and I have admitted that we are now Dad. He is up there in heaven having the last laugh—and he is laughing at us, trust me. My family’s warped that way.

Anyway, I now find myself tearing up at everything. I read an article this morning about a couple whose wedding had to be completely re-planned on Saturday because of the storm here. Two local hotels pulled it all together, helped get their guests to the venue and gave them a wonderful day to remember. And there I am at my desk all blurry eyed! I don’t even know these people.

The few times I’ve happened to catch parts of Extreme Home Makeover—waterworks. The end of It’s a Wonderful Life—get the Kleenex! That stupid bell gets me every time. And talking—or even blogging about my kids and grandkid—forget about it. I love them so much that I get weepy all he time. I’ve given up on wearing mascara—who wants to look like Tammy Faye Bakker.

It can get a little embarrassing—I’ve tried to pretend I’ve got something in my eye, but I don’t think anyone’s buying it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

“Blow, blow thou winter wind…”—another perspective


Okay, so I guess my “No snow” dance needs some tweaking—we got 2 feet of snow in 24 hours! We’re beating Chicago for snowfall for heaven’s sake. This is the most snow the Philadelphia area has gotten in one day since about 1996.

OY—I still had Christmas shopping to do. And this weather really makes my knee throb. [Ibuprophen here I come]

Fortunately, friends dug me out [I love my friends!!!!!] and I was able to get the last of my gifts purchased yesterday [good thing I took the day off, huh.] I just went to two stores and came home. I’m sure I was a funny sight gingerly gimping my way across the parking lot, but who cares. My shopping is done and half the stuff is wrapped. [fun with curling ribbon will happen on Christmas Eve—I’ll go all Martha up in it.] Then it’s just a matter of crossing my withered fingers that the fam likes what I got.

The pictures are pretty and all that, but not a fan of having to drive—and nowadays, walk!—in it. To get over my anxiety about navigating to and from my car with my still f’d up knee, I tried to remember snowstorms from my past.

Actually, one of my earliest memories is watching from an upstairs window as my parents trudged down our street in about 2 feet of the white stuff. They had taken my grandparents up to NYC to take a voyage on the Queen Mary. It was after Easter and my Mom had worn her finery so she and Dad could have a nice lunch in the city and then head home. Well, it started to snow as they were nearing New York, so they hurried their drop off and meal. It was a very quick falling storm and in no time we had quite an accumulation. They made it all the way to the top of our street and got stuck. So down the road they came hand in hand. Mom was in heels and her organza hat was a wilted mess around her face. But she smiled up at us as she clumped her frozen high-heeled shoe down in the snow.

Of course, I remember the snowball fights with my friends and showing my kids the snow when they were babies. We have pictures of them bundled up like the Michelin Man—and invariably they’d have to pee as soon as you got the last layer on them. And their little voices are muffled from the 5 foot scarf Nanny insisted on winding around their faces….. Actually, last night I was watching video of my grandson out in his first snow storm when he was about 6 months old. His expression was somewhat akin to mine these days as I venture out.

Now, off to re-choreograph that dance…..

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"…in form and moving how express and admirable…."


[they say you can never be too thin...]
Okay, so I’m taking a short mental health break yesterday morning at my desk—after a really rough start to the day at 8am—and I’m reading some of my favorite blogs. Lo and behold, Lora over at fever is giving me mad props as she’s thanking me for the “Honest Scrap” award. Awww, shucks girl—your welcome. I love your blog.

Lora mentioned that she started reading my blog because I’m a fellow fibromyalgic: “I love her because she lives her life despite all these things” [fibromyalgia pain, etc.] Again thanks sister…. But I started feeling guilty cause I don’t think I have much pain, like so many sufferers I know. Then the rest of yesterday happened….

Not that it was particularly bad, but it turned out to be one of those days where I “hit the wall,” as I like to put it.

I spend my day answering phones and performing other administrative tasks for a team of doctors—I don’t get to move around as much as I should. So, as I was making my way to my car at about 10 after 5, the aches started. I got home and up to my apartment and plopped in my chair. Okay—where’s the Ibuprophen? I popped 800mg [perfectly safe per my docs] and made a bowl of pasta with parmesan for dinner. It hurt to eat it.

That’s when I know it’s bad. Real bad—ya know: WallMe

All I could do was crawl into bed. I hate when I get like this—there are things I want to do, NEED to do, but I’ve run out of reserves for now and need to replenish my supply somehow.
Of course this time of year is hectic and that stresses out those of us that deal with the vagaries of fibro. Add to that the play I’m directing—it’s getting down to the wire and I just keep seeing all the things that need to get done. Thank God I have my awesome friend Alan as my A.D.
So, anyway, I understand why I hit my latest wall—and I’m trying real hard to learn how to avoid the walls, but….

I was diagnosed with this thing 15 years ago and they don’t know that much more about it now than they did then. I don’t know if I have less pain and more fatigue than others or I’ve just gotten so used to pain that it seems “normal” to me.
Oh—and: Those Lyrica commercials piss me off—they seem so condescending. And who the f wants to deal with the side-effects they spit out at 90 miles an hour at the end of the commercial.

Can’t wait to see what my “normal” will be in another 15 years…..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion-- To pray for them that have done scathe to us.

Okay—this may piss some folk off, but….

File this under “You Can Dish It Out, But You Can’t Take It.”

Saw an article on the interwebs the other day about Bill O’Reilly going ballistic on Dick Wolf, the executive producer of the Law & Order shows. Of course, I hunted down the video clips…. Based on one line uttered by a fictional character in the context of an hour long TV drama, Mr. O’ Reilly accused Mr. Wolf of defamation of character. [But hasn’t followed up with a lawsuit yet]

The show was about a nut job that was killing immigrant children so they couldn’t take jobs, etc. away from “real” Americans. Here’s the scene in question so you can have a frame of reference:

ICE-T, "LAW & ORDER" STAR: I don't get why you are defending this wacko.
JOHN LARROQUETTE, "LAW & ORDER" GUEST STAR:
It's a symptom, not the disease.
ICE-T:
That symptom killed three kids.
LARROQUETTE:
Garrison, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of them. They're like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate. I mean, they have convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system.
ICE-T:
Save the soap box, Randy. The cameras aren't even running.


O’Reilly went on to call Wolf a “coward” for putting that out there. And continued his rant for more than 5 minutes—contradicting himself left and right, by the way. [read the Huffington Post article breaking it down—linked via O’Reilly’s name above.] Really, Bill? After all the things you’ve said about a number of people?

That’s all I’m gonna say for now—have at me folks.

# # #

File this under “It’s a Shame They’re All Gonna Burn In Hell”

My older gay brother works as a kid wrangler for Broadway shows—currently he’s the head wrangler for Billy Elliott. He has opened 20 shows on Broadway and about half that many on the road. Oddly enough his career started as a whim. His partner [of 35 years! Straight people aren’t making it that long!!] was performing in the first national tour of Les Miz and the person who was watching the kids quit. The two of them missed each other terribly so my brother-in-law asked my brother if he’d be interested in doing the guardian job. And a new life’s calling was born….
[He still keeps in touch with a number of his past charges, many of whom have gone on to successful adult show biz careers.]

On occasion some of the young actors in his charge have come from fundamentalist Christian families. Suffice it to say the parents aren’t happy when they learn that their children are in the care of a gay man. Then their kid works with my brother and loves him—they all do, he is awesome at his job. My brother says they wind up with the attitude above and are quite surprised that they actually like a gay person.


Okay, that should keep you all busy for awhile.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age--the sequel



--"ow, ow, ow...."


I knew tats would elicit much commentary... [and I have to admit I was briefly tempted a few years back--but then the meds kicked in and I thought better of it.] I'm so on the fence about this issue...... At least you can take piercings out as you age/mature, tattoos are pretty much FOREVER. Unless you can afford expensive laser surgery, that is....

I was actually too chicken to get my ears pierced til AFTER I'd given birth. I figured if I could survive that, I could survive piercing. I got a second earring in my right ear one day in between performances as Gertrude in Hamlet..... [I figured if I could conquer Shakespeare--well, you know where this is going.]





3 piercing stories:





When I was working at the theatre company, a production assistant from another theatre came in to pick up some scenic stuff as a rental. He steps up to the Box Office to asked for the head of Production. Well, he had at least 8 earrings in each ear, 2 in each eyebrow, a nose ring, a tongue piercing and something on his bottom lip. It was all I could do to not ask him to drop trou to see what else was pierced.


When my father passed away, my 2 brothers and I each flew down to Florida to be with our Mom. Well, just prior to leaving I'd had to basically get a buzz cut due to over-perming my hair. My older bro is there to meet me as I get off the plane [remember when you could do that--actually meet loved ones as they got off the plane?] He starts to gives me a big hug--and my hat falls off (it was January). "What the f did you do to your head?!?" [I really felt the love....] Later that day, we all go out to the pool to commiserate and he takes off his t-shirt. Lo and behold, pierced nips!!!! Take 10 guesses what I said.


And finally-
When my son was in 5th Grade, he asked to get his ear pierced. After much discussion about which was the "straight" ear, he got it done. The next day he goes to school [this was in 1986 mind you] and his teacher, who was probably the age I am now, freaked. I get a phone call:

Teach: "Mrs. D. do you realize that J has a pierced earring?!?"

Me: [rather timidly] " Um, yeah."

Teach: [incredulous] "You KNEW ABOUT THIS?!??!!"

Me: [even more sheepishly ( I was only 32 people)] Well, ....uh, .....yeah--I kinda drove him to the mall to get it done. [very quickly adding:] But I was recovering from the flu at the time, so I may not be entirely responsible."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.


Well, I guess it was bound to happen: the kid got ink.

My daughter sent me an e-mail yesterday upset because my grandson got a tattoo on his torso—a very large tattoo I might add [a photo was included]. Boy, did I have to do some tongue-biting on this. She and her brother were around the age my grandson is now when they got their first bits of ink…

It was that winter in the mid-90s when we had about 3,000 days of something frozen coming from the sky—and the kids were bored out of their minds [I have videos to prove it. They did some weird stuff]. Well, a friend had just finished tattoo school—yeah, there are schools for that! Who knew? The guy needed the practice, so he told M and J that if they paid for the needles, he would do whatever they wanted. Oh, goodie, mommy’s so pleased.

Like I said, Mamma was not happy, but they were both over 18, what could I do…. So, M got a small [about an inch and a half high] dolphin just above her left ankle. And J got a surfboard company’s logo on his right calf. His was about 2” x 2.5.” Okay—not thrilled, but at least they are small and not real noticeable I thought. [You know, I’m looking ahead to college and job interviews—and wedding photos.]

About a month goes by and I come home from work one day to be greeted by my then 2 and a half year old grandson with “Mimi, look at my tat.” Now, you have to know that my grandson worshipped all things Uncle J—so my son had used non-toxic magic markers to reproduce his tattoo on the baby’s leg. “Niiicccee, J. He’ll go to daycare tomorrow, they’ll take him to the potty and they’ll think, ‘what is wrong with these people?!’”

M went on to get 2 more small tattoos at her bikini line: a rising sun at the front left and a sunflower at the rear right. J now has a whole “sleeve” to memorialize his father. [Uh, yeah—M raises almost 2 grand for suicide prevention in her father’s memory and J gets inked.....I know, we all grieve in our own way….]

Turns out my grandson’s tattoo is to honor his best friend, who was killed in a car accident leaving school one day. What can I say to that? This kid has suffered so much loss at such a young age, how can we deny him a way of expressing that loss.

I’ll give ya this one young man. Xoxo, “Meem”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Thought is free...."


this is so cool!!!!!
On 11/30, I got a huge compliment: the “Honest Scrap Award” from SueAnn’s Journey!!

Thanks tons, chica!!!! [I haven’t responded til now ‘cause it felt funny tooting my own horn]

There’s a caveat to it though, I have to list 10 things I haven’t written about before….
Now THAT’S gonna be hard. I think I’ve been a fairly open book in the short time I’ve been blogging… but, I’ll give it a whirl:

1) I used to march in parades and twirl a baton—I can still do a couple of twirls actually.

2) I am related to John Quincy Adams through my father’s side of the family.

3) My maternal grandfather used to outfit me every Easter from “soup to nuts,” so to speak. One year I asked for a pink dress and “a blue one to match my eyes.”

4) My “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:” David Strathairn once did a production at the theatre where I used to work—and he was in THE RIVER WILD with [ta-da] Kevin Bacon

5) I have relatives I’ve never even met…. [but then again, who doesn't....seriously--who doesnt?]

6) When my daughter was pregnant we used to spend hours doing word games to take her mind off of being 16 and very uncomfortable.

7) My co-workers are hilariously warped—and I love them.

8) I don’t go to the dentist unless I absolutely have to. When I was about 8, the dentist drilled my tongue and I’ve been phobic ever since.

9) One talent I have been blessed with is an ability to pick up accents at the drop of a hat. It is great fun to occasionally fool people. Once a guy wanted me to work for his phone sex line cause I could be all sorts of foreign “femme fatales.” [Now, I'm rethinking my refusal....]

10) I’m an excellent seamstress and paperhanger. Haven't had much practice lately, but I'm sure I could get back up to speed relatively quickly. Anyone need any draperies made?

Okay, that took a little digging in my psyche... hope I didn't bore you all.
The best part is that I get to pass the award along to 10 bloggers I follow that I look forward to reading. So, in no particular order:

1) SueAnn’s Journey—right back attcha chica. You are a joy to read.
2) Lemonade & Kidneys—my friend Ruth who is dealing with Polycystic Kidney Disease with such grace and humor.
3) fever—Lora is AMAZING. Her humor, her truth…
4) Window to My Sol—Nancy really does share her soul.
5) Gloria’s Spanish View—G’s an ex-pat Brit living in Spain. And she’s a hoot!
6) Confession’s of Me— Brndoutw8ress is Pittsburgh’s sassiest server. Clearly, she’s got issues [LOL]
7) stuff from ellen’s head—what’s not to love about someone named Ellen
8) Casa Hice—the wonderfully warped Alix
9) Knucklehead—definitely certifiable…..
10) Stephanie Snowe—the Blog. Always intriguing, always honest—and usually hilarious.
Well that's it for now. Keep on blogging gang.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance. — Troilus and Cressida, Act II, sc. Iii



Let the annual debates begin...

“Horrors a nativity scene at Town Hall.” God forbid. [get it? “God forbid” tee-hee]

I don’t get what the big deal is. Why can’t we have nativities and menorahs and whatever other holiday symbols there are? Put ‘em all up! I mean, wasn’t America supposed to be “The Great Experiment?” “The Great Melting Pot?”

As far back as my freshman year of high school—back in the dark ages—I have felt that the best way to have true liberty and equality in this country was to teach kids about all of the religions and cultures of the world. And let’s face it people—as time progresses, the world is getting smaller and smaller. The chances of having dealings with people of other cultures, etc. have increased considerably, even in my lifetime. What we fear is the “unknown”. If we erase that lack of knowledge, we’ll erase the fear—and hopefully the hate.

I’m not religious now—I’m more spiritual, I guess. I believe in a higher power, but I got kind of turned off by the negative spin man has put on all of it. I want to check out various services as I get a chance. I spent 12 years in Catholic school, but I was always very curious about other faiths. My neighborhood was a mixed bag, so I had exposure to other possibilities at a young age. Heck—like I said, I was raised Catholic, my husband was raised Methodist and we got married in a Baptist church. I used to joke that when we had our first son, we should have a bris at the local synagogue.

Over the years I have tried to learn as much as I can about other people and their history. It fascinates me—I guess that’s why I love doing dramaturgy. The thing that has intrigued me the most is not so much the differences between religions, races, cultures, etc, BUT THE SIMILARITIES. We just all have slightly different rituals. Let’s meet on that common ground AND celebrate those differences.

Happy Chrismakwanzakah to all!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

“Blow, blow thou winter wind…” –As You Like It


We are experiencing our first bout of winter weather here in the Northeast. And it freaked me out.

The final snowstorm of last winter caused my downfall—literally. I slipped on the ice outside of my apartment building and haven’t been right since. [I know, those that know me are saying “E, you ain’t never been right.”] I tore my meniscus and my ACL, severely bruised the ligaments on both sides of my left knee and had cartilage floating around in there. Other than that, it was all good. [Wish I could have figured out how to load one of the images from my MRI on here—that would have been a hoot to share.] I would have preferred to break a bone—that heals eventually.

My knee is still a bit of a mess. Guess this is what living with a torn ACL will be like. They repaired all of the other damage, but the ACL is a way more complicated procedure with a more intense recovery period. You’re like totally incapacitated. Since I live alone, it wasn’t really feasible. And as the surgeon so nicely pointed out to me, I’m not a dancer or an athlete. Well, there goes my dream of being a Rockette….

So at about 2PM the rain turned into snow and I anxiously watched from my window….. I had to go out tonight—I made a commitment to usher at Players Club, the theatre I am involved with. The current production is a blast, so if you live anywhere near Swarthmore, Pa go check out IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE—A RADIO PLAY.

Let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck walking to my car. I could feel my heart pounding and my breathing getting faster….. I was on my way to the theatre that night too. I came home after the intermission ‘cause I was worried about things freezing. I hate not being able to give my full commitment to something; I hate still limping some days. I hate that my knee forecasts changes in the weather for days before they happen; that watching snowfall now fills me with panic. I hate living this way.

I also hate that I have to bring my mother back to winter weather after 36 years of living in temperate climes. I feel awful that she’ll probably be housebound from January to March. But, I have no choice. In this economy, I can’t give up a good job to move someplace where the job market sucks big time. All I can do is try to make whatever apartment we wind up in as cozy as possible. And act like going out in the snow doesn’t freak me out.

Wonder if snow shoes go with “office casual?”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Men are mad things.

Oh Tiger, Tiger, Tiger….. My poor mother will be devastated by her boy.

You’ve gotten yourself in a real sh#t storm haven’t you. I get the whole privacy thing--really, I do. But the more you stonewall, the more people speculate.

And the truth is NEVER as bad a what people imagine.

You caught us all by surprise too. We’ve come to expect machine-like perfection from you. Not Kobe Bryant stuff.

What is it with people these days? Guess money/power do corrupt absolutely. I’ll never know….

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

[I weep] at mine unworthiness, that dare not offer What I desire to give, and much less take What I shall die to want.


Oh God—time to start the whole Christmas shopping thing….. All I can say is OY!

Now don’t go getting all pissy with me—I do like the holiday season. Really, I do. I love the light displays and the houses look so festive [but, seriously, some people go way overboard. If you have a small yard, for heaven's sake don't fill every square inch with crap you got on sale at Walmart] It’s great to have people being nice to each other and giving.
[ Oh—by the way: if you live in the Philly area PLEASE give non-perishable food items to Preston & Steve’s Campout For Hunger this week!!!!!]
When you have fibromyalgia, you're tired enough to begin with without adding the stress of dealing with the mall--and the people who go there. And all that schlepping only adds to the pain. Not fun folks, not fun.
Then there's the pressure of finding gifts for my family that they’ll like.
(I do have the whole wrapping thing down though. My gifts are works of art when I'm done. I am a demon with the curling ribbon. I out "Martha" Martha Stewart!! )
And it’s the pressure of not having enough money to buy the things I’d just LOVE to present them with on Christmas morning. Like paid off student loans or new cars or a house. You know little things like that.

I have scored some major points in the past though:

The first year I was married, I was shopping with my mother-in-law and this high-end store was displaying the latest men’s fashion: bikini undies. She was appalled by this, so of course I bought a pair for my husband—as a joke. Well he LOVED them—thought they were really comfortable. [and annoying my mother-in-law was an added bonus] So every year he got new ones as a special gift from me. Until……. Flash forward about 20 years to our grandson being about 2 and a half and we’re all trying to potty train him. He walked into our room one morning as my husband was getting dressed.….

"Pop, what you doing?”
“Putting on my big boy pants bud. You want to wear big boy pants too don’t you?”
“Them’s not big boy pants, them’s girl pants.”

Me running out of the room with my hand over my mouth.

# # #

A couple of years back I bought ( among other things) my kids Starbucks gift cards—a HUGE hit. HUGE!!! I was so pleased with myself I nearly broke my arm patting myself on the back. Well one particularly cold somewhat snowy Sunday, my daughter and son decide to walk to the nearby book store that happens to have a Starbucks in it. They manage to trudge over there and go up to the counter to order their steamy hot confections. And the embryo behind the counter makes a huge mess fumbling to fill their order but finally does. They hand him their gift cards….

“ Oh, we’re not Starbucks.” My 6’2’’ son calmly leans over the counter…
“Dude, have you read your hat today?”
“Yeah… but, um…. Like, we’re not Starbucks.”

Apparently, even though the Starbucks logo was emblazoned EVERY-freaking-WHERE, the counters in the bookstores are not part of the regular franchise and do not honor the gift cards. Who knew?

# # #
Last year I bought webcams so we could all keep intouch when the grandson went away to college. He hasn't hooked he's up yet--guess he doesn't want mom to see what's REALLY going on in his dorm.....

Hey—wait. Maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought. AH, SCREW IT, THEY'RE GETTING CASH. Happy shopping all......

Friday, November 27, 2009

Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance. — The Winter's Tale, Act IV, sc. iii


That doesn’t seem to be the case with certain Headline Hogging Hos of late. Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” quote is, sadly, coming all too true. It’s why people subject themselves to all kinds of abuse and humiliation on tons of reality shows, I guess.

We’ve had Falcon Heene, the Balloon Boy, who was victimized by his own parents in their quest for time in the spotlight; the governor of South Carolina disappearing to go “Hiking”—apparently all over his Argentinean mistress. There was Jennifer Wilbanks, the Runaway Bride, and Jayson Blair, the plagiarizing New York Times writer. Then we come to James Frey—perhaps with the biggest cahones of all—he lied to OPRAH!

And now it’s the couple who crashed the White House State Dinner—posing for photos with Rahm Emmanuel and Veep Joe Biden. All while being filmed for the latest “Real Housewives of….” franchise!

Why? What do people hope to gain by this? And how have we warped them via our “Cult of Personality” approach to life. Each year we have more and more people getting wealthy and famous just for being “famous.” Speidy, I’m looking at you….

We seem to be sinking further and further into the depths. Of what I’m not so sure. I know, you’re thinking “E you get up onstage in front of a couple hundred people—isn’t that looking for fame?” I don’t think so… The longer I do this, the more it becomes about the process, not the applause. All I really want to do is take someone out of their everyday life for a couple of hours. Preferably make them laugh, but also make them think. That’s what fulfills me.

Maybe I’m deluding myself, but that’s for another day….

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A kind Of excellent dumb discourse. -The Tempest. Act iii. Sc. 3.


It’s Thanksgiving….. And we’re supposed to say what we’re thankful for….

I guess I want to say thanks for all of the events in my life that have given me funny stories to tell: [How about this= I’ll tell you the events, you tell me which stories you want to hear.]


My mother letting my then 13 year old brother stay home from school because he said he’d had a heart attack. “ I gotta give it to him on originality.”

Passing by a community theatre in Ireland and seeing they were doing a production of “Oklahoma.” I sang the score with an Irish brogue for the rest of the day.

My teenage son implying I was the family maid when I dropped him off at a party in my beat up car.

The hall where I was supposed to have my wedding reception burning down 5 days before the wedding. [Yeah, I actually got a funny story out of that.]

My grandson calling it the “stupid market” when he was 3.

The Pakistani guy who was selling velvet paintings outside the Pompidou Center –and who tried to pick me up.

My son hiding a very healthy marijuana plant in his closet. [Of course, I never told him about the one his father and I had in our first apartment.]

My mother-in-law wondering, regarding the Jewish portion of our niece’s wedding, if the men will have to wear “those little manures” on their heads.

My exterminator coming to see me in a play—in full clown costume!

Scoring my son’s friend on the total B.S. story he’d told his mother over the phone as to why he wasn’t home from school yet.


There are many more, but these came to mind the quickest. Yep—it’s been an interesting ride so far. What are your stories?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.

That’s true—it always feels so good to unconditionally share love or goodwill with someone when they least expect it. Be the one who gives a friend a hug or a pick-me-up when they need it. It’s what all the holiday Lifetime specials are about….. [Oh—and even the Peanuts cartoons too] As much as those shows irk me, giving does leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Not always so with unsought information…..

You know—when people “overshare” things with you. And you want to invoke the “TMI” clause instantly to put an end to the images forming in your head. Seriously, I could have gone through life quite happily without knowing a lot of stuff people have casually included in conversation.

Then there are the things you need to tell others, but find it very difficult to do…..

Like, you know, um, the [sex] talk. I tended to wait until my kids asked me a question, then I would ask what they thought it was/meant. [Very helpful in gauging how much or how little information to impart.] Fortunately, the kids felt comfortable asking me pretty much anything. Their Dad was hurt they weren’t consulting him—until he found out what they were asking! “Oh…well….okay then… uh, you can handle it then.”

Sometimes it was uncomfortable to answer and sometimes it was hard to keep a straight face. But I always had the conversations—anything was better, I felt, than how I found out about the “birds and bees.”

I was about 9 years old and my brothers and I were home alone on a Friday night—our parents used to have a date night on Fridays. Well, Older Brother [OB], then almost 12, says that he and 8 year old Younger Brother [YB] were going to have a boxing match and I was going to be the ref. Fine by me—as long as they weren’t hitting me I was down with it. He said they were going to go put on their swim trunks and robes so they’d look like real boxers. Okay, whatever. Again, as long as they weren’t torturing me, I was happy.

So, about 20 minutes go by and they come downstairs in their bathrobes. I go through the whole “In this corner, weighing in at…” routine and ding our doorbell for them to take off their robes and come out fighting.

Well, they took off their robes—and they were both naked. I screamed and covered up my 9 year old eyes. YB immediately puts his robe back on, but OB sits down nude and starts telling me the facts of life. I didn’t believe him—it all just sounded too weird.
Many years later, I got even less help from our health class in high school—as taught by a nun: “If god is so willing, a man and a woman will conceive a child.” Thanks Sister that helps a lot. [No wonder so many girls got pregnant] My mother finally cleared it all up for me …


and, of course, I have eagerly pursued a higher education ever since.

Friday, November 20, 2009

O God! that one might read the book of fate.


Not so sure I’d want to know what was going to happen to me or those I care about. I would drive them all crazy warning them about potential dangers and the like. I’m sure THAT would endear me to all concerned. [can you say “Debbie Downer?” (waa-waa) ]

If I had known 20 years ago about even half of the things that have happened in my life, I’d probably still be cowering under the covers. Up until 30, it wasn’t too bad. No wait, I take that back. Basically all of my adulthood has been challenging [yeah—that’s a nice way of putting it. Way to go E.] Wonder if I can turn in my adult card now? I’m kinda over it all, ya know……
I would like to be able to go back and redo a few things in my life; any sane person would. And not just stuff like crazy 80s hairdos. [Believe it or not, I still see the occasional mullet. Why people, why?]

I would want to do over some of my parenting choices. My daughter and son have become wonderfully funny and bright adults, but I think that may have been in spite of their father and me. I was way too young when I became a mom and I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, so it would be nice to go back and try to get it right this time.

I definitely don’t want to know when I’m going to die—just too freaky. I think it would totally screw with your head to know that. However, according to a quiz on Facebook, I’m dying in a car accident in 2 years. [Couldn’t have been something more glamorous?!]
But then again, another quiz says I would be able to survive for 4 months in the Maine wilderness so what the hell does Facebook know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The course of true love never did run smooth.




Okay, so I’m directing this play called ALMOST, MAINE. It’s a quirky comedy about couples—and coupling. Now I have been directing for 20 years and it occurred to me today that I have only directed a couple of love scenes.

It’s a very odd situation for all concerned. “Hi, nice to meet you, let’s make out.” AWWKWARD!

You try to be sensitive to people’s boundaries and ease into it as rehearsals progress, but still…. It has to be handled delicately. I’ve tried to do the first couple of rehearsals of these scenes with only the people involved there so they can get comfortable. Of course, there’s lots of nervous laughter—and lines forgotten after the kissing ends. Then you have the mechanics of making it look natural but stage-worthy. Sight-lines can be a bitch for these things.

And worrying about whose nose goes where and having no space between the actors—but not looking “porny”—takes all of the romance out of it. Trust me. Back when I was young and hot, I got a lot of these parts. My husband took it in stride, god bless him. There was only one time it freaked him out a bit. It was a scene about a young couple heavily making out at a restaurant table as the waiter gives this page long monologue, with lines like “Well you two definitely don’t need the oysters.” The topper was that we'd come out of this long clinch like we'd just pecked across the table--and ask for the check. Got big laughs every night. I had warned hubby what to expect, but it was too much for him in person.

When I did The Owl & The Pussycat several years back, there was a scene where Felix, the male lead, was nibbling on Doris’ [me] neck as he tried to convince himself it was her mind he was attracted to. He was supposed to get a couple of nibbles on each side and then the lights would go out. Well during tech week—which is right before you open and you’re practically living at the theatre—the guy running the light board fell asleep…. I finally had to break character and call out to him—my co-star was way too “in the moment.”

Nowadays, I get “matronly” roles. Why don’t playwrights write love scenes for people over the age of 50—do they think we don’t know how anymore?

Friday, November 13, 2009

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.


Yeah—the whole “mind over matter” thing: Friday the 13th is only unlucky if you buy into the superstition. Well, apparently a lot of folks buy into it—including me. Hell, there’s a whole franchise of movies based on this phenomenon. [they made 12 of those things!? Sheesh]

I seriously had to force myself to leave my apartment today… [the craptacular weather didn’t help matters]. But, as I slogged along to work, I started wondering where this whole thing started [once a dramaturg, always a dramaturg]. I found some really cool stuff:

One theory suggests 12 is the most complete number. It occurs in common cultural references - 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 12 labors of Hercules, the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gods of Olympus and the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. Therefore, 13 is considered irregular, and thus unlucky. [Odd factoid: in the 13th century, the Knights Templar were arrested by King Philip in France on Friday the 13th.]

Another belief comes from Norse mythology, in which Frigga, the goddess of love, was banished to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. Every Friday, Frigga would call 11 other witches to the top of the mountain to plot evils for those below. The 12 witches would gather with a 13th guest—the devil. Similarly, in Roman times, witches are said to have gathered in groups of 12, with the 13th member being the devil.

Another part of Norse mythology states 12 gods were gathered at dinner in heaven—Valhalla—when an uninvited 13th guest, the god of darkness, shot Balder, the god of joy and gladness. When Balder died, the world went dark, and from that moment 13 was considered ominous. Likewise, in Christian scripture, there were 13 diners at the Last Supper, following which Jesus was killed. Many myths claim when 13 people dine together, ill fate awaits one of the diners.

Okay, interesting….. But do terrible events really occur on this day? I don’t know, you tell me: There have been numerous natural disasters and tragic events on past Friday the 13ths, including the unexpected major snow storm in Buffalo in 2006, the Andes flight disaster of 1972, Hurricane Charley in 2004 and a large-scale ship disappearance in 1773. The arrest of Al Capone occurred on Friday the 13th, as did the death of Tupac Shakur. Apollo 13 took off at exactly 1:13 p.m. (1313 military time) on 4/11/70 (digits that add up to 13, naturally). Friday the 13th has also been associated with stock market crashes and an increase in car accidents [approximately 60 percent every Friday the 13th].

Some very intelligent and savvy people believed in—or at least gave homage to—this superstition. Henry Ford would never do business on Friday the 13th. Franklin Roosevelt wouldn’t travel on this day. And even now, the Otis Elevator Company does not include a “13” button in its elevators.

Seriously resisting the urge to run home and bury my head in the covers……

Thursday, November 12, 2009

....we band of brothers--an addendum

a follow up to yesterday's post:

I wrote about my brother on Veteran's Day. My brother the conscientious objector. I was very nervous as I hit the "post" button. What reaction would I get--especially on Veteran's Day.

Honestly, I had some reservations about posting it, but it's how I am feeling. And what I was thinking about. Many of my generation were very confused about that war. And many served and came home damaged. Physically and emotionally. The latter wounds have yet to heal.

My brother also got a very raw deal. He was 21 years old when he was sentenced--a kid [like most of the soldiers in Nam. Did you know that the average age of soldiers during that war was 18!! Way, way too young] The hospital he worked at was combat duty in and of itself. He was very slight of build and they would bring in guys a good foot taller than him--and several pounds heavier-- who were strung out on PCP. The powers-that-be would say "Bill, put a straight jacket on this guy" and leave my brother alone to figure out how to do that. On one occasion, he was thrown down the trash shoot. He got several black eyes, his ribs broken and continual cigarette burns on his arms. By 23 he was drinking heavily to cope.

You also need to know that this was an extremely bright young man. He had won a full scholarship to a private Main Line high school and followed that up with a full ride to Penn State Main Campus. He had so much potential. Most likely, he could have spent his time in the service at a desk job, given his intelligence and skills, but he chose to fight for what he believed in. And it cost him his future. He wasn't able to handle his disillusionment with the world unfortunately.

Now, he wasn't a saint--no one is. But he didn't deserve what happened. He left behind a son and daughter who never had the chance to really get to know their dad. Both are now in their late 30s and are wonderful people. My sister-in-law did a great job. He would be proud of them and his 3 grandchildren.

Brndoutw8ress-thanks for reading all the way through. And thanks for having an open mind, so many people don't. Here's to your dad and all of the other dads, sons, brothers--and daughters. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. -King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 3.


Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day here in the US.

I have very mixed feelings about that. My father was a veteran of WWII, serving in the Pacific. In the thick of it. He contracted malaria and suffered a brain hemorrhage, but his time in the military was one of his best memories. My eldest brother was a conscientious objector to the war in Viet Nam, he felt war was wrong. He got a very low draft lottery number and refused induction in 1970. In the thick of it. You can imagine the tension at our house….

And, hopefully, you can understand my mixed emotions. I was proud of what my father did, but understood and empathized with my brother’s point of view. WWII was a necessary action—Hitler and Japan had to be stopped. A fact that became even more apparent when the horrors of the concentration camps were discovered. And it was a formal, declared war. Viet Nam was the complete opposite of that. There was no clear reason why we were there, no exit strategy and lives were being brutally and uselessly lost or destroyed. Only to have it end pretty much the way it started…. [just like Korea before it]

Now, my brother wasn’t a coward. He proved that by NOT running off to Canada. No, he stayed here and was put on trial in Federal court. He was convicted of a felony for not wanting to kill people and was sentenced to 3.5 years of alternate service at Haverford State Mental Hospital . This was followed by 7 years of probation. During this period, he was unable to get any kind of meaningful employment because he was a convicted felon. And when interviewers heard what he was convicted for, they treated him like scum. Sadly, he started drinking and was dead of cirrhosis at the age of 33. Not all of the names of those lost in the Viet Nam war are on the wall in Washington.

While I greatly appreciate the many young men and women who voluntarily enlist, I still don’t understand why countries choose war as a means to settle differences. As a mother and a grandmother, I don't want to send my loved ones that I invested so much time and love into off to be slaughtered or maimed. I hate that other mothers have had to bury their offspring. I know many people will accuse me of being unpatriotic, but I have questions, doubts. I’m in the thick of them……

Peace.


Friday, November 6, 2009

to take arms against a sea of troubles


I always seem to have a sea of troubles…. If not my own, my loved ones. I’ve come through a lot; the good, the bad, the ugly. All with my sense of humor intact—if not my bod. [Sorry this is such a recurring theme—and if I seem to be “beating a dead horse.” ] But, I’m in for some big challenges over the next few months. Cause…..this latest one is a real beaut. Because it’s hurting someone who doesn’t deserve it.

15 years ago, after my father passed away, my youngest brother invited our mother to come be with him in California. Which she did. She sold the house in Florida and went cross country, subsequently using the profits from that sale to buy a home where she lived in one half and he lived in the other. The property also included a large 2-car garage that my brother, a contractor, could use for his workshop. My brother could never have afforded a house on his own—in California—let alone one with all of this one’s advantages. The deal was he would get the house upon my mother’s death in exchange for being there to care for her if she needed it. My older brother and I were fine with that. Having Mom cared for and happy was way more important than an inheritance.

Not that our mother is in any way feeble, mind you—see this post. She is an amazing, bright, self-sufficient woman—who was still working up until about a year ago. AND. She minds her own business. Let me repeat that: SHE MINDS HER OWN BUSINESS. She’s not all up in your grill—she only gives advice if asked. Something I’ve tried to do with my own adult children. Anyway, my point is that it’s not a typical “having a parent living with you” set-up.

Well, my younger brother has lost it and is evicting our mother from her home. And we can’t figure out why. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, he has flown into rages against her in the past and the you-know-what hit the fan 2 weeks ago. AFTER he’d returned from 4 months in Thailand mind you.

I don’t get it. Seriously, I just don’t get it.

So, my mom is coming to live with me. I hate to make her come back to cold winters, but I can’t move out there. And she’ll have a ton of family and old friends here. Brother has decided that she is not entitled to any payback on the house, so finances will be tight. But,….. what else is new. This has been my life for as long as I can remember. We will manage somehow.

So, as you can see, we’ll be facing some big challenges in the next few months: figuring out what Mom should bring and what she should part with, [resisting the urge to beat the crap out of brother], finding an apartment that we can afford—and that affords each of us some privacy, [resisting the urge to beat the crap out of brother], deciding how to get Mom here—with her car or without, [resisting the urge to beat the crap out of brother—maybe if I say it enough it will actually happen].

Send good vibes our way—and any suggestions for assistance available too.

Thanks, E

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Enough, with over-measure.

I had an interesting conversation with my daughter last night—most of my talks with her are interesting. She’s a very smart, savvy, funny lady—and I enjoy hearing her take on things. We have truly become friends over the past 7—8 years [a major thing, believe me.]

Well, among the many topics we covered, we started talking about finances—or our lack thereof. It was fascinating that neither one of use was greedy. Which is cool since both she and her brother grew up in the 80s—90s when it was all about acquiring as much as you could. They both bought into that at the time—we had lots of arguments and drama when they didn’t understand why mom and dad couldn’t buy them the expensive designer jeans and the like. It has been so gratifying to see them evolve into adults who could care less about status [although they can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to making fun of mom’s hoopdee of a car].
As our conversation progressed it was a nice validation to hear how simple both of our wishes/needs were. We didn’t want huge mansions surrounded by overly landscaped grounds, with a garage full of the most expensive cars. Both of us would be more than content to have enough to pay off our family’s debts, pay for educations and have a comfortable life. An added bonus would be to have that “over-measure” that would enable us to endow scholarships. For me it would be theatre scholarships for deserving, talented individuals. I would love to help young talent achieve their dreams. And help finance crucial arts education that is falling by the wayside in these recessionary times.

For my daughter, it would be helping young single mothers stay in school and go to college. It’s what she did and it has made all the difference in how her life has progressed. Unlike many teenaged moms, she was highly motivated to get an education so she could make a good life for herself and her son. She did not fall into the trap of having more children like some do; she didn’t rush into a marriage so she’d have someone to support her either. She’s struggled—and it’s killed me that I am unable to help her [or my son] in any way. But she’s a stronger person and a better mom for that struggle.

And I KNOW my son and grandson feel the same way. None of us are “gimme-gimme” kind of people—and we definitely don’t get those that are. What does one do with $1,000.00 sunglasses?
Seriously—what?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Like a dull actor now, I have forgot my part, and I am out, Even to a full disgrace.


An actor’s worst nightmare! The performance is in full swing, you’ve made your entrance and things are going along great. And then……”What’s my next line?” Out of nowhere, a complete brain-fart. It’s horrible. Trust me, I’ve been there.

I’m not sure which is worse: being the one who can’t remember the next speech, or being the scene partner and seeing your co-star’s “deer in the headlights” expression. And then your brain is going 1000 miles an hour trying to figure out how to help them; meanwhile theirs is moving at the speed of sound in an attempt to remember what the f they are supposed to be saying.

Time

Seems

To

Stretch

On

In- ter- min- a- bly.

But it’s really only a few seconds. Oh the humanity…. Actors have been known to dart offstage in search of their script—leaving their poor hapless partner to vamp until they return. It happened to me not that long ago. I looked up at my scene partner and suddenly for the life of me I had no clue what I was supposed to say. He said my mouth was moving—like a fish—for a few seconds and then I finally got the line out. I was thisclose to saying “Can I get back to you on that?”

There are many moments like that in my life too—where I am at a complete loss as to what to say, but for very different reasons. Either it’s the amazing compassion and spirit of my fellow human beings, the majesty of nature, the just plain off the wall silly
Or the absolute cruelty humans are capable of….

Uh-huh, there are times when I just have no idea what my response it.


[this post started in a whole other place than where it ended up.... I just never know where my soul is gonna take me. But thanks for coming along for the ride.]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The worst is not So long as we can say, "This is the worst."



In other words: Count your blessings.

And I try to do that, I really do. But sometimes it is hard—really hard. When you’re tossing and turning for the 5th or 6th night in a row—and 6am is fast approaching—it’s hard. [Counting. Really.] When you're going on like the 12th day of your knee throbbing with pain cause it’s been raining for almost that long, it’s hard. [Trying to count here, people.] When you just turn your head and the disks in your neck freeze up or something so you’re holding your head at a weird angle for 5 minutes or so, it’s hard.

God—I really don’t want to sound like a whiner. So many people have it so much worse than I. I’m just saying it’s tough when you’re in the thick of things to do that count. [Seriously, counting.] Ya get hung up somewhere around 2….

For the most part, I’ve been coping with my fibromyalgia, my knee injury and other stuff pretty well. I’m generally an upbeat gal, making jokes. Cause laughter really is the best medicine—it makes me feel good to make people laugh. But, then those moments hit. Everybody gets them. We all feel overwhelmed by life sometimes. That’s when I gotta remember to start that count. And find the funny. My whole family are experts in seeing the absurd in pretty much anything. And I do mean anything....

I can make it to 3 right now: the good looking group pictured above are my son, my daughter and my grandson.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Brevity is the soul of wit.....

... so I'll be brief.

Things I like:

my wonderfully funny, smart kids

my awesome, gifted, bright grandson

my amazing, supportive, cool friends

chocolate

music

art

and.............THEATRE.


That's it for now--I said I'd be brief.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let every eye negotiate for itself



Okay, I have a bone to pick with manufacturers. Do you EVER consult with people with disabilities before you create things like toaster ovens and the like?

I have been in my apartment for 9 years now, and the couple at the end of my hallway are both blind. They are lovely people and I adore them. They are extremely self-sufficient and even get around town with their service dogs or just a cane. Many times one or the other of them has tapped on my door needing help with some little thing: “Do these color yarns match?” [yes—the wife knits! I can’t even do that.] or “I can’t find the mechanism to move this clock back an hour.” One night it was a problem with their computer printer. I tried everything—including a call to my friend the geek—but I wasn’t able to help with that one.

I am more than glad to do this for them. That’s how life should be—we help each other out; we’re all in the same boat after all. [Granted some people have yachts while the rest of us are in dinghies, but I digress] And, it makes me put my troubles in perspective.

But twice, a request has set my blood boiling on how insensitive manufacturers are to the needs of folks like my neighbors. Here’s the latest: Mrs. B. tapped on my door last night [hubby is gone for almost 3 weeks to train with a new dog by the way] and she had the control for an electric frying pan in her hand. The knob to turn the pan on had nice evenly spaced indentations around the edge that she thought would be good to judge when it was set at the temperature she wanted. She was asking me to help her figure out how many indentations she should count to set it at say 350°….

Well, guess what!? The indentations didn’t match up to any of temperature settings! AND! It went from OFF thru to 400° and then to “Warm.” WTF??!!??

I had no idea what to tell her to do. [We won’t mention the fact that I had to go get my magnifying glass cause the type on the control was so FRICKIN’ SMALL!!!!!!!] After about 15 minutes of experimenting we hit on a method that might work. But I promised her that if I smelled anything burning, I’d be down in a flash with a pot of water.

It really brings it home to you how able-bodied centric our world is. Most of us forget what people with disabilities are faced with on a daily basis. As a left-hander I have a bit of a clue, but it doesn’t come close to what folks like my neighbors have to handle.

Manufacturers: THINK about how to make your products user-friendly to all types of consumers. Many people with disabilities do live on their own and want to be independent. Be the manufacturer that helps them do that. I’m sure it would win you other customers as well—like me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our sincerest laughter, with some pain is fraught:



I spent a couple of hours today picking apart two of the scenes in the play I am directing [ALMOST, MAINE]—the two that don’t have “Happily Ever After” endings. And secretly wondering why these are the two most interesting ones to me...

I guess cause life doesn’t wrap things up in nice little packages I guess. Hey where would the fun be in that? It's the "almostness" of things that make life such a challenge. I know that's been true for me, and I'm sure it's the case for many others as well.

The actors and I looked for the hidden meanings in speeches and ways to add layers to what was being said— and to make sure they knew what WASN'T being said. Sometimes that's more important. And everyone had some very interesting insights. About these two couples: one who almost got married but didn't and one who may almost be at the end of their time together. I love exploring things with my actors, helping them gain insight in order to make their characters 3-dimensional, believable people.

Then we go back and make it funny.....

Writ in remembrance more than things long past.

Friday would have been my ex-husband’s 62nd birthday. Sadly, we lost him to depression almost 4 years ago. He chose to end his own life and my children and I still wonder what triggered him that day to decide he couldn’t handle it anymore. He had faced many adversities in life, what was the one that pushed him to his limit?

I met him when I was 18 and he was 24—we married 2 years later. Our artistic natures added to the initial attraction [he was a photographer]. But it was his generosity of spirit and strength of character that sealed the deal for me. And my instincts were right; he was a great father and a good husband. In spite of having scoliosis and having undergone a double spinal fusion in his teens, he taught our son how to play ball—and later how to surf. Even though he was in pain many days, he rarely complained and was at all of the recitals and school functions—cheering his kids on and taking photos. This continued with our grandson as well.

But something went wrong. The last six years of our marriage were very difficult as I tried to help him cope with major job challenges, alcohol problems and increasing depression. When it became clear that all of this was having a severe adverse effect on my own health, I had to get out. And I hated admitting defeat, as it were. I kept telling myself “He’s sick, you wouldn’t leave if he had cancer.” But I realize now, that nothing I did could have helped him if he wasn’t willing to help himself. And that is so sad. I miss the man he was before the illness took over.

So we were estranged at the time of his death—and I had a lot of guilt about not having made an attempt to forge a new type of relationship. I would ask our children about him all the time and they would tell me what was going on. And my grandson talked about visiting his “Pop.” Now I think my daughter and son may have glossed over some things—not to protect me, to protect their dad.

One thing our family has decided to do is to be open about the struggle—in the hopes of helping others understand. And ourselves as well. It never gets any easier, it just gets a tad more tolerable each year. I can recommend a wonderful book to anyone dealing with the issue. It’s called THE SUICIDE INDEX and it was written by Joan Wickersham oer the course of 15 years following her father’s suicide.

Sorry if I’ve bummed anyone out, but I needed to get my feelings out somehow. We miss him, but we know his pain is over now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!


I’ve noticed the days are getting shorter and shorter—starting about a month ago. The past few nights it has been dark by 6:30 or so.
I hate the long months of days when I get up in the dark and come home from work in the dark—it’s so depressing. Especially the getting up in the dark—I hate getting up in the morning to begin with. Having to crawl out of bed when it’s still dark out just totally sucks. Sorry, but it does.

I mean, I’m a theater person—I’m used to spending lots of time in the dark. It’s what we do. [But we also spend a lot of time in the light—albeit artificial….]
I'm sorry, but I just hate that whole “Fall back, Spring forward” time switch thing. I don’t get it. What is the point? It’s just a pain in the ass to twice a year have to adjust the microwave, the VCR, the alarm clock, wall clocks—and the clock in my car. Sheesh. Thank god the computer and my cell phone do it on their own.

I really wondered why this whole mishegoss got started—sooooo, Google here I come....

First interesting fact: It was Philly’s own Ben Franklin who came up with the concept. Oh, Ben…. He got his inspiration while in Paris. [That is so not what I’d be thinking about if I was in Paris, but I digress.] Apparently, Franklin had befriended some people who had invented a new kind of oil lamp; they were so enamored of his concept that they continued corresponding with Franklin even after he returned to America. [Ah, the first oil lobbyists!!]

Second goodie: the official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, NOT Daylight SavingS Time. Oops, we all get that one wrong. Our bad.

Next little tidbit: In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. [And the bars love that extra hour of revenue in the Fall.]

And this one: at one time in the 60s, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul made the switch on different dates and things got really confusing…..

[Follow the link from the title of this post to learn more interesting factoids—like the guy who used DST to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.]

Now the rationale for this entire thing started in the springtime: the main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in several parts of the world) is to make better use of daylight. We flip the clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. [Okay, I'll play along...] Then, in the 70s, it became a whole energy saving thing. [Remember the energy crisis of the 70s-- $.89 a gallon seems like nirvana now, doesn't it?] Maybe it’s just me, but I'm pretty sure I use more electricity in the winter cause I have to turn lights on in the morning and at night. [Of course, with the whole menopause thing, the AC is on even in the middle of a blizzard, so I lose big time there.]…. I’m confused. But, like the rest of you, I will run around my apartment changing all the clocks on November 1st.....

Okay, looking at this and yesterday’s post, I’m coming across as really crabby. Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

“O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!”

things I am tired of:

1) never having enough money to
a-meet my needs and
b-help others.

2) working.

3) aches and pains.

4) being so far away from my mother.

5) Jon Gosselin.

6) bigoted people [does that show my prejudice?].

7) car maintainance.

8) uncomfortable shoes.

9) people who are called actors who have no idea what being an actor is really all about.

10) networks either cancelling the good shows or moving them to impossible time slots.

11) being tired.

12) stupidity.

13) hunting for parking spaces around my apartment.

14) so many of my friends having to deal with cancer.

15) myself--sometimes....


Just putting it out there. Thanks for listening. [I [promise to come up with a list of things I feel good about real soon.]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What fools these mortals be


Seriously, I’m beginning to think no one looks in the mirror any more before they leave the house. Or if they do, they’re completely delusional. The get ups people walk around in. And go to work in!! I remember the days when you wouldn’t dream of leaving the house in anything but your best
[GOD, I'M SOUNDING OLD AND CRANKY. I'm really not.]
Some people seem to have just given up altogether. Now, I am what is politely referred to as Rubenesque So I try to dress in order to camouflage as many flaws as possible. Sometimes I even succeed. Apparently, I needn’t try so hard; it has become de riguer to “let it all hang out.”

And not just the celebrities who’ve had their lady parts splashed all over the internet because they possibly forgot to do a load of underwear. [I cannot even fathom leaving my apartment-IN A SKIRT NO LESS-without putting undies on. Hello!] Average everyday people are loose among us in some of the most bizarre ensembles. And they think they’re looking fabulous; that’s the scary/sad part.

Now, I don’t want to bring back the days of the hat and gloves people; I just want a little common sense. Somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of your brain there must be a little voice saying “You might want to rethink this.”

LISTEN TO IT!