Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in fencing, dancing and bear-baiting. O! had I but followed the arts!

My original life plan—at 15—was to go to NYC after high school and become the toast of Broadway. At 17, when I graduated from high school, it was to work for 2 years, save up as much money as I could and THEN go to NYC and become the toast of Broadway.

Yeah,…um,…well,..here I am. 58 and trudging through the work week to barely keep my head above water.

Yes, I have continued to make my form of art on various stages in the Philly area, but I often wonder what would have happened if I had gone to New York. Would I have made it to the point of actually being a working actor? Or would I have struggled mightily and wound up coming back home, my tail between my legs? Who knows. There’s a strong possibility it would have been the latter—I wasn’t strong enough back then; it’s taken life kicking me around a lot to toughen me up.

You see, a life in the arts in the United States is not easy. We are probably the only country on the planet that does not really support its artists (of all genres). And that’s sad—our art is what defines us as humans. Think how empty life would be without music, film, books, graphic design, theatre….

As the Philly theatre scene burgeoned over the past 30 years, I often wondered why I didn’t jump into the fray. Raising two kids and having to work part-time to keep things going was a factor—theatre work is very erratic at best. Most of the actors and directors I know have teaching jobs to supplement their income. Which is another thing—budgets for arts education are getting decimated. So these folks are finding it harder and harder. And kids are missing out on a vital piece of their development—it’s been proven that arts education helps students in other subjects. And a country that doesn’t foster creativity will suffer—where will the thinkers who can come up with new approaches to issues come from?

My brother and his husband work in the commercial/Broadway world; I have no idea how they keep it all going—they are on unemployment almost as much as they are working. I don’t think I could hack that. A lot of the time, one or both of them is out on the road because nothing was available in Manhattan. That’s a difficult life too.

Of course, when I became my only means of support, it really became crucial to have that steady income. My one foray into working in the arts (on the administrative side) didn’t go so well. I’m still trying to dig myself out of the financial hole that created.

Another thing I can’t help wondering about is whether success in the commercial Broadway world of theatre would have spoiled my love for the art form. Theatre is still an avocation for me. The root of the word “amateur” is “for the love of.”

And I do love it. I love making people laugh; I love making them think; I love touching their hearts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It adds a precious seeing to the eye. -Love's Labour 's Lost. Act iv. Sc. 3.

                ~reposting a little something from 4/28/10

Just an odd jumping off point here…..

Now that the weather is getting mild, I have the windows open in my apartment. I look down on the train station here in Media, Pa. And from very early in the morning til very late at night I can hear the announcements about arrivals and departures. I can’t make out what is being said mind you—it comes across as a monotone, garbled, disembodied voice. Well, this morning it hit me what it reminds me of: the lead singer’s voice in “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers. If you’re not familiar, the song is sort of a spoken word piece: “She was sharin’ Sharon’s outlook on the topic of disease.” The singer is telling a story about a group of young people leading lives of quiet desperation [I guess] somewhere in Texas. The line that sort of stuck in my head was this: “You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes.”

We don’t know how others see us, perceive us. I worry about that way more than I probably should. I mean, why is it important to me that everyone likes me? I don’t like everyone I cross paths with, so why should I waste time and energy worrying about whether folks like me. As long as the people that really matter in my life appreciate what I have to offer, what difference does the rest make? I know I have quite a large circle of acquaintances and friends. And I’m fairly certain that the ones I spend a lot of time with actually enjoy my company, so the rest is insignificant. Right?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As the time gets closer to my move out day, I find myself growing nostalgic about my apartment—it’s seen me through some very rough times. It has embraced me when there was no one else to do so…..

I was married for 26 years. I went right from my parent’s home to living with my boyfriend at 19—and marrying him shortly after turning 20. I separated from my husband in 2000; a story for another time—but I’ve covered some of it in previous posts], and found this place to move into. I had never lived alone in my life—and here I am at 46 signing a lease and applying for utilities in my name—not his. It was a little scary at first. I had never lived alone—would I be able to do it? How would it be not to have someone to talk to or laugh over a funny show with? It was a BIG adjustment, but I learned to like some aspects of living alone [I can watch what I want on TV when I want for one.]

At that time, I was moving from a 3-story, 4 bedroom house to this 1-bedroom apartment. I had to be ruthless as to what I kept and what I gave away to Goodwill—or tossed altogether. “Kids, I love you—but the macaroni portrait of Lincoln you did in 1st grade is gonna get tossed if you don’t come get it.” Of course, I kept EVERY little thing my grandson had done. I have an autobiography he wrote in 2nd grade—cause they’ve experienced so much by age 7. I have a couple of his drawings….. But the best [it has had a place of honor on my fridge since I moved in here] is the note he wrote me when he was 5: “ Dear Mimi—I hope you feel better. Your are the best Mimi ever. Love…”—and he signed his full name. Like I wouldn’t know who it was from otherwise. I think that is the cutest thing. Some things I simply CANNOT part with……

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A bit of a clarification…

My post of the other day [ the one with the image of Edvard Munch’s The Scream] had more to do with the stress of packing up/de-thinging, finding a new place that both my mom and I will be comfortable in AND coping with my company’s complete restructuring of the workflow and team structures. Stress and Fibromyalgia do not play well together…. And today was the start of the new model..... First I opened my door to find one of my bras sitting in the hallway [it escaped the basket last night apparently]; then I came out to a flat tire [but I could now join a NASCAR pit crew--I got to the gas station, got air in the tire and made it to work only 5 minutes late]; my first 30 calls were all from new hospitals migrated from other teams, so I had no idea who they were--and one of them yelled at me. But the best part was when I heard a male voice from the top of my cubicle wall asking me how things were going. Thank God I looked up before I answered--it was the president of the company!! Good thing I didn't answer without looking,cause it wouldn't have been pretty. But, I’m a tough old bitch—and I can come here and vent to my wonderful blog peeps.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.

I was born three days late—and I’ve been trying to catch up ever since.

I don’t really like to be late for things, but it happens. I try to budget my time, really I do. I don’t like getting up in the mornings—probably because I may have just gotten to sleep an hour before the damned alarm went off. But, I set my clock ahead by 15 minutes because of this. And I set the alarm for about 25 minutes before I actually need to get up, so I have time to ease into rising. I shower the night before to save time (don’t worry; I do a quick refresher wash in the AM). I even occasionally lay out my outfit ahead of time.

Since I’ve developed all of the fatigue and pain issues, I’ve really had to allow myself time. I just can’t sail out of bed like I used to…

See, I try….. And generally I’m pretty good— it’s other people that fowl me up.

Like jerks that see you waiting to pull out of a side street and they don’t put their turn signal on. Then they turn right next to you, and you’re stuck. Or a-holes who are so busy texting or whatever they don’t realize the light has turned green. Then they get through and I don’t. Or dillweeds who pull out in front of you and go 2 miles an hour. You have to hit the breaks—invariably, when you check the rearview mirror, there’s not a soul behind you.

Like, why would PennDOT start road work during the morning rush? The last thing we all need as we drag our sorry asses to work is to get stuck waiting to get around a lane closure on a portion of a road. I know they have to fix stuff, but can’t they wait until everyone’s at work?

The one that really drives me nuts is the wusses who brake at every curve or hill. Sheesh, learn how to drive for heaven’s sake. One time my friend showed up almost 30 minutes late to our shift at a local theatre company’s box office. He just looked at me and said “I hate when people look on the speed limit as a mandate instead of a suggestion.”

That whole getting to work thing has been my biggest challenge (I have rarely been late to the theatre). I remember slinking into the wallcovering store where I worked about 5 minutes late one day and sheepishly going “Boy that Schuylkill Expressway is a bitch.” I lived about 8 miles from the store via all residential side streets. Hey, if other people could use it, why couldn’t I?

My kids were in nursery school when I started that job—I worked 2 evenings a week and Saturdays. One evening I was getting dressed for work and my son got hurt. I blurted out “I didn’t plan comforting time.” as I took him in my arms. I called the store and said I’d be about 15 minutes late.

In my own defense, I must state that if I am late arriving (like I said, morning is not my strong suit), I will shorten my lunch break or stay past my allotted time to make up for it. I never short-change people.

I was born three days late. It’s been 58 years, but I think I’ve just about caught up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come (2.2) CAESAR

I reviewed a production of Sarah Ruhl’s EURYDICE on Friday night for STAGE Magazine. West Philadelphia’s Curio Theatre Company is producing it—if you’re in the area, by all means check it out. It’s a wonderful production.

It is the third version I have seen of Ms. Ruhl’s imaginative reinvention of the Orpheus myth. The play tells the tragic love story from Eurydice’s point of view, inventing a father that draws her to the Underworld. The viewer is led to believe that Eurydice chooses to stay in the Underworld, to remain a child in her father’s care rather than grow up and be a wife.

Hey—I get it. Many are the days I want to turn in my grown-up card. It’s too damned hard sometimes; it would be great to go back to those carefree times when someone else made all the big decisions and paid all the bills. We didn’t appreciate how good we had it. Someone did the laundry, bought the food, cooked the meals. There was television and lights and heat—and we had no idea it took money to have those things at our fingertips. We picked up the phone, called whomever we wanted, and talked for ages with no thought as to what it was going to cost. Someone got us to and from school, etc., but did we ever once worry about the cost of gas, wear and tear on the car? Or insurance rates? And when we achieved the freedom known as a driver’s license, most of us still had someone else taking care of all those pesky details.

Even the roofs over our heads—we didn’t have a clue what was involved in purchasing that roof, or the multitude of things involved in maintaining it and the walls holding it up. Yeah—some of us were given chores like lawn mowing and dish washing, but that’s a drop in the bucket of all that is involved in running the business known as “family/home.”

Add to that the psychological cost of sustaining a relationship and raising children! You have no effing clue until you’re deep in the throes of it yourself—and most of us still don’t even then. As a parent you have to be a nurturer, a guidance counselor, a behavioral therapist…. The list is endless. And if you want to be a good partner, a lot of those roles come into play there too.

We were also blissfully ignorant of what it means to have a job. To give your time and energy for someone else’s enrichment for 40 hours a week. In some cases, to feel like you’ve sold your soul in order to just barely keep your financial head above water. Let’s face it, very few of us spend our workdays doing something we truly love—those lucky bastards are few and far between. For the rest of us, it’s a mind-numbing and exhausting slog so we can turn around and shell it out for the above named necessities.

Why the hell were we in such a hurry to be adults?

Okay, my kids are grown up and on their own now; it should be easier for me, right? Yeah—not so much.

I still have all of the expenses, and as a renter, I don’t get any tax breaks. It’s a bitch. In this economy, I should be grateful I have a job, I know. But salaries have been stagnant and opportunities for advancement few and far between. And I know I’m running into ageism—I can’t prove it, but I feel it. I want to be happy in my work—I HAVE NO RETIREMENT PLAN, SO I’M GONNA BE AT THIS FOR A LONG TIME. I want to be more financially stable… and I’ll tell you why:

The most recent wrinkle in all of this is having my mom living with me. Don’t get me wrong—I love her dearly and she is a hoot to live with. We are getting along quite well and the partnership has been mutually beneficial in a number of ways.

She will be 89 this coming New Year’s Eve and sometimes I think she’s in better shape than I am. Her mental faculties are sharp as a tack (okay—sometimes she can’t find a word, but who among us doesn’t have that problem occasionally…), and she’s pretty frickin’ spry. She actually busted a samba move the other night during “Dancing with The Stars.”

But I worry—I’m Irish, I can’t help it.

She is a night owl. So when I wake up during the night and see lights still on, I worry that something’s happened to her and that’s why they’re still on. Most nights I refrain from going out to the living room to check ‘cause I don’t want to scare her. I’ve done some secret reconnaissance missions on occasion though.

Every morning before I go to work, I check on her as she sleeps. She tends to lie exceedingly still as she slumbers, so sometimes I have to watch for several minutes to make sure all is well. I’ve come thisclose to putting a mirror under her nose. On workdays, she unlocks the apartment door for me so when I get home I don’t have to fumble with keys. Once in awhile, she gets caught up in her computer stuff and forgets. I try the door when I arrive home and panic if it’s locked—instantly worried something’s wrong inside.

I can’t let her know any of this—she’d be hurt I think. But it’s there now—the idea that the woman I have always thought of as invincible is in the twilight of her life. And I don’t like the thought.

So, yeah, I get Eurydice’s reluctance to growing up—who can blame her. Adulthood’s a bitch.

STAGE Magazine

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A horse, a Horse, My Kingdom for a Horse—Part Three. [Seriously, Part III!]

I'd probably have better luck than I've had with cars.

Today is a combination of re-posting two past missives on my never-ending saga with cars and the latest chapter in my ongoing power struggle with the vehicles in my life.

In August 2010, I was forced to take on a car payment I couldn’t really afford because my 1999 Saturn’s clutch/transmission situation had reached the point of no return. I shopped around and found a reasonably priced 2001 Honda Civic with about 73K miles on it. Since I’ve always loved Hondas and the mileage was practically in its infancy (Hondas can go to 200K), I signed on the dotted line. (And got an affordable loan from my credit union.)

Well, the inspection was up this past August… As usual, I was short on funds, so I didn’t get it into the shop til early September. I was expecting maybe tires and brake pads, you know under $400.00.

Yeah—I totally forgot, this was me I was dealing with…

$1,500.00 later the “Check Engine” light finally went out and I was able to pass the emissions test. Part of that was new wheel ball bearings and struts and a bunch of other wheel stuff.

Why God, why? I just drive the things from point a to point B—what am I doing to deserve these financially crushing car bills?

I keep begging my daughter to fall in love with a mechanic, but she just won’t cooperate.

** ** **

Part 1—posted 7/2/09

To say the least, my relationship to vehicles has been quite one-sided: they take and take and take. And I spend and spend and spend. It can get a little frustrating. When I got married in 1973, we had a 1968 Beetle--I learned to drive in that car. I didn't want to learn stick, but it was all we had. And I got pretty good at pop-starting it and double-clutching. When our daughter was born, we felt we needed a safer, bigger, family car... we bought a '73 Ford Pinto...yep, a Pinto.

Then we had his and hers VW sedans--purely by accident too. Eventually my ex went to trucks and I was a Honda girl. But I have never owned a new car, so with all of these vehicles came assorted "issues." There was the car with a different colored hood that embarrassed the crap out of my 80s era, fashion is everything offspring.... One time, I had invoices for a new windshield, a new muffler and a tire on my dashboard to explain why my inspection sticker was slightly expired.

Let's not even talk about the cars we helped our kids buy...one of which my daughter crashed into a tree. "Sweetheart, trees always win." The car was totaled, but thank god she was okay. Several bumps and cuts, but okay.

The first car I ever totally purchased on my own was a Toyota Paseo. I loved that car; it was sporty looking and had great pickup. I felt young again when I drove it. One day, I was driving home from work, all of the lights on the dash lit up and the car just died. It was beyond hope and I was devastated. It was as painful as my divorce—I was losing something special to me. I replaced it with a 1999 Saturn. It was in good shape and had low mileage. Well, the front bumper got caught on a spike sticking up in my apartment's lot and I had to drive around with the bumper bungee-corded onto the car for about 3 months til I could afford to fix it. And somehow, I have no idea how, I wound up with only one hubcap--my son said "Mom, what are you hanging on to?" Then the front panel on the passenger side got broken [cars are made of paper these days] when I gently slid on the ice one day. So, suddenly, I'm driving a hoop-dee--no way can you put a claim in to your insurance! Cause they'll either raise your rates or drop you completely.

So I just drive it, ignore my kids comments and pretend it's a Porsche.

** ** **

Part 2—posted 7/22/09

okay, so tonight was the first read-thru of Fuddy Meers, a play by David Lindsay Abaire [ more on that later]. I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing a stroke victim--with major aphasia....

The read-thru went well; I'm feeling good as I'm driving home around 10ish. First acting role in about a year [the knee injury has had me side-lined since March] and I think I can meet the challenges of the role.

I'm stopped at a red-light, listening to WMMR, wondering what The Daily Show will do tonight... The light changes to green; I go to put my car in gear—nothing. The gearshift just wobbles loosely all over the place. Oh joy.

Had to have the car towed.

Pray to the automobile gods that this isn't going to cost an arm and a leg--I only have one fully functioning one right now anyway.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players

some shots from my production of OUR TOWN:

"Am I pretty, Mama?"
"potato weather for sure..."

"This is the way we were in our living, in our marrying..."

Monday, September 19, 2011

I have seen a medicine That's able to breathe life into a stone...

Just a chuckle to start the week:


(Actual notes from hospital charts)

1. The patient refused autopsy. [It would be notable if they had said yes!]

2. The patient has no previous history of suicides. [You really only get one of those...]

3. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital. [Talk about forgetful!]

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very
hot in bed last night. [Lucky guy!]

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year. [She’d probably have atrophy too]

6. On the second day, the knee was better, and on the third day it
disappeared. [Wow--that could make walking really tricky]

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be
depressed. [Gee--ya think?]

8 The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993. [Not even gonna go there...]

9. Discharge status: Alive but without permission. [OMG! do these people turn their brains on before they start dictating this stuff?!?]

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but
forgetful. [HUH?]

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch. [which did she put syrup on?]

12. She is numb from her toes down. [Um,... okay...]

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home. [And just what did she do in the ER to get that X rating?]

14. The skin was moist and dry. [Seriously?]

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches. [I give up...]

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive. [Now there's a real tricky maneuver]

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid. [Damn! Not going there either--literally.]

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she
got a divorce. [Yeah--I know how that feels...]

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical
therapy. [Now that’s an innovative form of therapy; dirty, but innovative..]

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation. [Oh crap—mine aren’t.]

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized. [Bet he’s popular with the ladies.]

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function. [And just what is normal lover function? Don’t judge, people.]

23. Skin: somewhat pale but present. [Good, thing...they'd have to hold everything together with duct tape otherwise.]

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor. [Now, there’s an OB/GYN I’m not going to...]

25. Patient has two normal teenage children, but no other abnormalities. [Yeah--I know how that feels too...]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Heaven doth with us as we with torches do; not light them for themselves.

I have become all too familiar with torches this summer… We have been without power since Sunday—courtesy of Hurricane Irene. And the stock answer for when it’s coming back is “By Wednesday.”

I know a lot of other folks up and down the East Coast have it way worse than us—trust me. My folks got wiped out in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo when it stalled over St. Croix Island for 12 hours. And that was a Category 5. Don’t mess with Mother Nature. I have a healthy respect for what she is capable of, believe me. I mean, the East Coast had an earthquake last Wednesday and a hurricane on Saturday and Sunday (that included floods and tornadoes.) Dang.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we hadn’t gone through 2 days of no power back in June. And what makes this more frustrating is that once again, everyone around us has power. The exterior lights from the apartments on the hill above shine down and mock us at night. It’s not fair. We’re nice people, we deserve light.

Unfortunately, we will have to toss everything in the fridge—something we can ill afford. And, of course, insurance doesn’t cover stuff like that. Just like no one wanted to cover the TV we had to replace after the electrical explosion. Okay, I get it; this was an “act of god.” And the local power company had to restore power to about 1 million customers. But they brought in 4,000 workers—including people from other parts of the country. Shouldn’t they be able to bang all those restarts out by now?

I’m being a spoiled brat? Okay.

But I miss my electronica. Hell, I miss being able to see my way to the john! My bathroom is in the middle of the apartment, so it is the black hole without electricity. I got those little “tap” lights for us, so we’re walking around the apartment with those.

I’m so bored, I was in bed by 10pm for the last two nights.

And let me tell you, cold showers suck!

And I may run out of clean undies if they don’t get us electricity back soon.

I know I’m directing a show set in the early 1900s, but I really don’t need to live it to do that properly.

Well, let me go see if we can borrow a cup of kilowatts from the neighbors up the hill.


Made a couple of attempts to contact the power company for at least a guesstimate as to when my power would come back. Had to tap dance thru 5 (count ‘me 5) “press this” options only to be left on hold for 6—7 minutes. I had to hang up and get back to work. Can we PLEASE go back to the days when a human being answered your call!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Fools These Mortals Be....

Ye Olde Blog Goeth Green Again--re-posting an oldie but a goodie....

 [ this comes to mind because my employer has relaxed the dress code for the summer and I am still surprised at what some folks think is good work attire.]

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
Some people seem to have just given up altogether. Now, I am what is politely referred to as Ruebenesque 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.   [8-11= then there are the people who just seem to have given up all together and spend their lives in ratty misshapen sweatpants.]

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.”


08-10-11 postscript: I think this post came to mind because the costumers were at my rehearsal tonight and we had an ongoing of assorted 1900s ensembles.     Some good, some not so good.    [the 3 different muted plaids on Editor Webb comes to mind.].    But--we have about half the cast costumed.    OUR TOWN is written to be simply staged, so, other than the wedding dress Emily changes into, everyone will have one costume throughout.    I kinda see the whole thing as one elaborate rehearsal that the audience is peeking in on...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Necessity’s sharp pinch! (King Lear 2.4.231)

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in February (on Valentine’s Day no less!! God has a wicked sense of humor sometimes)

So, for the past 5 months or so, I have had to completely readjust my diet and lifestyle. A huge “pinch,” if you will—but necessary if I want to avoid having to take insulin.

And a host of health problems as well:

                     Retinopathy—which can lead to Blindness

                     Bone and joint issues

                     Kidney failure

                     Heart failure

                     Infections—leading to amputations

                     Oh—and, uh,… DEATH

To name a few….

It’s been a challenge, but I’m trying. Initially I was a very good girl about checking my blood sugars three times a day; but sticking myself with those lancets hurts! Lately I haven’t been as diligent—and I scold myself appropriately. [I do try to remind myself that giving myself insulin shots would be worse….] As a result, I’ve learned that I would suck as an IV drug user…. So there’s a positive, right?

Exercise is recommended, so I’ve been trying to take walks when I can. My sleep issues make me tired most of the time, so this is not always easy for me to accomplish. I’ve tried to at least do a couple of laps around my floor at work—especially since the heat indexes around here have been through the roof this summer. Said heat is also causing the pollen/allergy situation to be a real bitch too. Lots of days with watery eyes and clogged ears. Add to that my bum knee and other aches and pains. And every time I think I might have the money for a gym membership something happens.

[I’m a mess—just take me out back and shoot me.]

On the dietary front, I have been pretty good at watching my carbs. I diligently go for whole grains when I do have a sandwich. And my pasta consumption has been cut by about 80%!! Oh—and this chocoholic must give a couple of shout outs to some folks who are saving my life: Voortman’s for their Fudge Chocolate Chip Sugar-Free cookies, Crystal Light for their zero carb/zero sodium/zero sugar lemonade flavored packets that make my water taste so yummy on a hot day and Trader Joe’s for their low-carb, sugar-free dark chocolate bars…

And their tofu “Cuties” ice cream sandwiches [you really feel like you’re getting ice cream]

I’m learning it is possible to have my treats while still watching my sugar and carb consumption. Cutting out salt/sodium was no biggie because I’d done that years ago. [I find I can’t eat anything that’s too salty now—it tastes weird to me.] And I have done well dining out too. I recently went to dinner with a friend to celebrate our birthdays. I ordered the flounder (stuffed with crabmeat); I had a choice of either fries or rice pilaf with it—and I chose the rice.

I may just beat this sucker gang.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven's lieutenants.

Okay, so Mom and I have been roomies for about 13 months now…..

And things have been very smooth for the most part, I have to say. We both respect each other and try to give each other space—which is no mean feat in a 2 bedroom apartment. [But those 2 bathrooms are a godsend let me tell you.]

I think it helps that our schedules are very different. Because I have to be at my desk, ready to go by 8am (a real challenge for someone with sleep issues), I try to be in bed between 10:30 and 11. Of course, I may not fall asleep until 1 or later…. Mom, on the other hand is a night owl. She sits up and reads, or writes until 2 or 3 in the morning. Quiet activities that don’t keep me awake—my brain and my aches and pains do that job quite well all by themselves.

We have developed a division of labor for now that’s fair. After all those years of being an independent working gal, Mom is kind of back to “50s Housewife” mode. She does the cooking, shopping and meal planning—which is why I am able to stick to a diabetic diet and have lost about 30 pounds. I do the dishes, help with the laundry and run the vacuum. I also do what heavy lifting I can—we borrow boys for what I can’t do.

Even after all this time, I am still adjusting to having to clue someone else in on my schedule/whereabouts. Ten years by myself, I got used to just coming and going as I pleased. Especially when I’m involved with a show. It is not uncommon for me to go directly from work to the theatre—I do this quite frequently when I am the director. I like the quiet of the empty theatre to collect my thoughts on where I want to take a scene. But now that Mom is planning such lovely dinners, I hate to disappoint her. As opening for OUR TOWN approached though, I will have to skip the luxury of a meal prepared for me. I hope she understands.

The best part of having a roomie though is the fact that my mother cracks me up—she is one funny lady. You never know what’s going to come out of her mouth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Get thee glass eyes; And like a scurvy politician, seem To see the things thou dost not. ~Shakespeare

Okay, so I watched the President last night—and it was clear to me that he was trying very hard to maintain his cool. And it was also abundantly clear that he’s right. Enough is enough. Eliminating the tax cuts for the wealthy (which should never have been enacted in the first place) is the only fair and equitable thing to do. Congress: eliminating these cuts is NOT a tax increase!!! Hello! It is having the wealthy pull their fare share.

The thought of my mother trying to survive on less than the measly 12K she gets a year is unconscionable—especially when someone who makes 250K or more is allowed to keep most of that due to some convoluted tax laws. It is also unconscionable that congress will continue to be paid, get their free healthcare and their pensions while the rest of us have to decide between paying the rent or getting our medicine for the month.

Well, I did what the President said: I called my lawmakers. I left a voice mail for Rep. Patrick Meehan and I sent an e-mail to the Speaker of the House. Yes, tough choices have to be made, but not at the expense of the poor, the elderly and education!

Then, this morning I did my usual quick cruise of CNN and saw the following poll:

Will you contact your lawmakers about the debt crisis?

No 58% [4330]
Yes 27% [2032]
Already have 15% [1163]
Total votes: 7525

Really people?!? 58% can’t be bothered to let your representatives know how you feel about our debt crisis? Really?

You can find the time to vote on American Idol? You spend hours playing Angry Birds? For heaven’s sake, you even took the time to answer the freakin’ poll!!!! But you can’t find the time to contact your Congressman!?!?!?!?!

That is just sad. No wonder our country is falling apart.

P.S. Just checked it again:
No 57% [52245]
Yes 26% [24045]
Already have 17% [15498]
Total votes: 91788

Still pathetic…….

[Drag your mouse over the title of this post for a link to a breakdown of the various plans. AND THEN CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!! Where would we be if Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and their cohorts were as complacent as we are?]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You taught me language, and my profit on’t Is I know how to curse.

I've decided to go green today....

                                                  and recycle an old post:  
[I have several younger actors in the cast of the show I'm currently directing, so I am editing the heck out of myself at rehearsals.   That's what brought this to mind.]

Yeah, that’s what I say when I hurt myself or something doesn’t go right.    


In many circumstances, the only thing that will do is to let a good expletive fly.      I don’t really have a problem with that; I mean, the words roll off your tongue so nicely.      Not that the adults in my life were setting a bad example, mind you.     No, during my formative years, my dad was very careful around us; and one of my mom’s rules was “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.    [Boy that was a toughey sometimes…]
But, I must admit that since about my sixteenth birthday, I have been a big fan of shall we say “colorful language.”       I learned them all very quickly and very easily.....    Not that I’m necessarily proud of that—or of the fact that I’ve apparently passed that trait on to my kids and grandson.       When they were little, I tried very hard to set a good example; occasionally though my Irish temper would get the better of me and  certain "bad words" would fill the air of our house.      I was always duly apologetic afterward, but unfortunately the kids did choose to imitate that part of mommy's personality instead of my good grammar.     And their dad wasn't always a saint either--he had his moments too.     But I’d rather the occasional F-bomb than words of hate or derision.     Some other adults in their lives often said some very prejudicial things about certain groups of people (ethnic, religious and otherwise).    

In spite of the fact that they have developed a talent for salty talk like me, I think I taught them to accept others for who they are and not the surface stuff.     Yes, we have our snarky moments of commenting on stupid or odd moments in our days, but on a whole my kids and my grandson are decent people who try to be kind and help others when they can.     They have good hearts.

So, yeah, I’m okay with the curse words.

Of course, I think we should all educate ourselves to some of Shakespeare’s curses—dude could really put down.    When one of the Bard’s characters curses someone it’s inventive—and scary too.

Here are some examples:
Thou viperous hell-hated misbegotten-divel!
I scorn you, scurvy companion. What, you poor, base, rascally, cheating, lack-linen mate! Away, you moldy rogue, away!
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge thy glutton bosom.
Would the fountain of your mind were clear again, that I might water an ass at it.

So much more original than wishing someone a sexual experience……For more fun, click on the title of this post to link to a “Shakespearean Curse Generator” website.     Have Fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who is it that can tell me who I am? (King Lear, 1.4.230)

You can’t really grow as a human being unless you do some serious soul searching every once in awhile. You know, really putting your life and character under the microscope. There are some who never do this—and they go thru life blissfully unaware of whether they are decent folk or complete douches. Then there are others, and sometimes I count myself among this group, who comb over every minute detail. You can drive yourself crazy this way.

Of course, the tough part is being brutally honest with yourself—especially about your flaws and shortcomings. That can be a bitch. I mean who wants to admit to the not so pretty parts about their personality. Nobody that I can think of…

But then there are the times when we are way too hard on ourselves. When we beat ourselves up for things. We all do it, admit it. I know I do. I think some of that affects my ability to be effective at work—my leftover childhood insecurities. A friend (who knows me very well) pointed out that I go into “your brothers picking on you” defensive mode in the face of criticism. Ouch. But he’s right. All that angst from my formative years comes roaring back at those times. And I mentally kick myself—and curl up into a fetal ball.

If you are lucky though, you get these rare moments when you find out how others perceive you. Which can come as a huge surprise—both in a good way and a bad way.

I had such a moment this past Saturday.

I was telling a (happily married) theatre friend that another theatre friend (single male) was greatly admiring her. And she is a very attractive and warm woman of a certain age. I commented that this man loves the ladies, and joked that I was hurt because he’d never hit on me. Her response was “Maybe you scare him—you do have this power to you.”

Me? Power? Seriously?

Wow—I would never have thought that about myself. It made me feel good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile... ~ Love's Labor's Lost, Act I

Bit of excitement at the old homestead on June 2nd. There was a power outage in my area (sadly, kinda common cause the grid is old and strains to handle 21st century electronica).

Well, something went seriously wrong when the power company flipped the switch to restore power at about 5pm, wires crossed or something. Basically, we had a power explosion in my apartment building.

My mom said there was a bang in the wall and the box fan she had on near her chair jumped about 3 inches off the floor. A lady on the 2nd floor said a bulb in her dining area chandelier popped. The guy at the end of our hall had sparks coming out of his air conditioner—his couch almost caught on fire. A girl downstairs had the surge blow a hole in her living room wall.

I met several neighbors—which was nice. Oh, and apparently our door locks are electrical. One hapless neighbor was blaming the black out for the fact he couldn’t unlock his apartment door. (He was 3 sheets to the wind, but none of us wanted to point that fact out to him).

We were without power until midnight—and then only some stuff came back. I had no a/c in my bedroom for a couple of days—torture for me. And our living room TV is fried. Guess we’ll be filing a claim with the power company.

I took my mother to the local mall that night so we could get dinner—and we wound up spending almost $200.00 at a department store. We’re gonna send the bill to the power company.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“We know what we are, but know now what we may be.”

Very strange… very strange indeed….

Now, I try very hard to respect other people’s beliefs. Really I do. And I genuinely find a lot to admire in most religions. But sometimes I just gotta wonder…..

The thing that’s bothering me today has to do with sexism. I’m having a hard time with the fact that in 2011 some groups still view women—half the world’s population, and the beings from which all men are born—as second-class citizens. Or worse, as possessions.

What got me going on this was the news that a Brooklyn-based Hassidic newspaper airbrushed Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Counter-Terrorism Director Audrey Tomason from the iconic “Situation Room” photo of the President, Vice-President and administration officials watching the raid on bin Laden’s compound. The publication, Di Tzeitung, based this decision on centuries-old tenets of their faith; they do not publish photos of women in their paper ever because of issues of “Female modesty.” Apparently they feel any images of women may be sexually suggestive/stimulating. As a female who went thru the Catholic school system in the 60s, I can relate. The Sisters (hello—all women) often referred to girls as occasions of sin. Yeah—it’s always our fault if a guy gets a chubby. (And people wonder why I’M SO WARPED….how would you feel being told that?)

First the paper trotted out the ol’ “Freedom of the press” thing to justify their editing of history. Then they brought in the religious reasons. Um, if you are hanging on to such antiquated ideas, why not just write about the event and not publish any picture at all rather than play fast and free with the facts?

It’s the equivalent of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust.

Sorry, guys—Hilary Clinton was there—as was Ms. Tomason. Women are in positions of power—we keep cracking that glass ceiling bit by bit.

I guess it’s bugging me because there are still so many inequities in the world. If you stick that closely to the Bible, consider the fact that it says God made Eve from Adam’s rib—his SIDE. To me that says we’re equals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War ~ Julius Caesar

I’ve had very mixed feelings these past couple of days….

And expressing them may make some folks angry.

Oh well, better to get it out.

I am glad Osama Bin Laden was finally taken out, but all of the gloating going on is very distasteful to me.

Terrorism against any nation is a horrible thing.    It is not to be tolerated and all those who engage in it need to be punished.     An act of war was carried out.     A necessary act—I get that.

But the celebrations bothered me.    It looks like there were kids in that compound. Fortunately, they weren’t harmed, but I’m sure they were traumatized.    Who is caring for them now?     What will become of them?     How will they view the world as the grow up?     That kind of stuff was gnawing at me…..

Thank God the administration is being very circumspect:     We did what we wanted to do, moving on.     (As usual, the media is going overboard—enough already).      I hope they don’t release any of the photos—we really don’t need to see the gore.

All of the public’s high-fiving seems too much like thumbing our noses at the rest of the world as far as I’m concerned.     We need to take some responsibility for why we are not well liked in many parts of the world.     It’s that arrogant attitude that seems to permeate everything for the past decade.     We really need to take a humility pill. Yeah—our country has a lot going for it, but we aren’t the only game in town.     It can’t be our way or the highway.     Other ideologies have valid points too, people.

It’ll be time enough for small celebrations when we achieve some kind peace on this planet that is getting ever smaller....    And when all soldiers are returned safely to their families.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who woo'd in haste and means to wed at leisure.

Of course, all the buzz is about the big nuptials next week. Every move of the royal couple is being scrutinized—and compared to William’s parents. Which is utterly ridiculous. The two couples are completely different. They’ve been friends for about 8 years—starting as friends is a really good foundation. They’ve seen each other’s warts. Kate isn’t a wide-eyed 19 year-old—and they’ve been living together for quite some time. They had their breakups and make-ups, so they know that it isn’t always hearts and flowers. Too many of us go into the whole thing all starry eyed—and then want to call the divorce lawyer after the first fight. The big adjustment for Kate (excuse me, Catherine) will be the whole “Royal” thing. Good luck with that….

Anyway, all of this naturally got me thinking about my own marriage in 1973….. a lifetime ago. I was barely out of my teens, and thought I knew what it was all about. Looking back, I think I had a pretty decent image of the whole thing—having grown up with a wonderful example.

I knew it wasn’t about the day—the flowers and the photos and the dress. A wedding is just 6 hours out of a lifetime.

It’s the partnership that follows that really matters. Even at 20, I understood that—as best as someone so young could. I wanted to be my husband’s equal, his associate, in the business that was our new family. In retrospect, I don’t think he really saw me as such. Not on purpose. It just wasn’t in his brain. But then his parent’s marriage sucked big time.

But, believe me, he was a way better man than his father was. He loved his kids and enjoyed doing things with them (he just didn’t get the whole consistency with discipline thing unfortunately). He did a lot around the house—his mother felt I should kiss his feet for that. I told her “We both work and we both live here, he’s only doing his fair share.” Maybe if we had gotten away from her things would have been better…. Who knows…

Now I look at my own kids—both are in their mid 30s and neither one seems to be in any hurry to make the big commitment. In fact, they aren’t too good at keeping relationships going for any length of time. I worry that that’s my fault—the issues that developed over the last 8 years of the 26 their father and I were together have damaged them in some way. I don’t know.

I’ve tried to be a sounding board for them when they’ve decided to let me into things. (I don’t push—my MIL was such a total yenta, it’s made me go completely in the opposite direction.) When we are having a frank discussion, I have pointed out that relationships ebb and flow. Sometimes you will look at the person you are living with and just want to strangle them, But that passes. And it makes the times when you want to hug them to death so much better. People need to be taught that they aren’t always going to agree with each other—just never stop respecting each other. That’s the key as far as I’m concerned. It’s about equality.

One of the few couples I know in my age range that have managed to hold it together for almost 4 decades are my older brother and his “husband.” I wish I knew what their secret is….

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The worst is not, So long as we can say, 'This is the worst.' (4.1.27~ King Lear)

Well—lots going on since last we met. Both personally and globally.

On the personal front:

Still figuring out how to handle this whole diabetes thing. Most days I’m on top of it—had to make major dietary changes though. MAJOR. I went completely cold turkey on chocolate—now that was a sacrifice. But I know it’s my major weakness, so, like a junkie, I’m just better off not going near any of it.

I’m reading labels like a madwoman: how many sugars, how many carbs, how much sodium and fats… it can be daunting. But—I have to say it’s agreeing with me. I feel “lighter” mentally, if that makes sense—and I’ve lost about 10 pounds. Can’t argue with that right?

The one big drawback is that all of this seems to have triggered a return of my menopausal hot flashes. It’s ridiculous. I’m burning up all the time. Any recommendations anyone?

Oh—and I am starting on a new directorial project. I am doing OUR TOWN for Sept. 2011. It has always been a favorite, and I feel it is especially timely now.

We have had auditions and I’ve gotten 20 real great actors—it will be the largest cast I’ve ever worked with. I’m especially excited about the fact that for the first time the theatre will be presenting 2 school performances in the morning. I love presenting classic theatre to students. I have had the privilege of participating in two student performances myself and they were a total rush.

We don’t start rehearsals until mid-June, but I have lots to do…. I am designing the set and will write the study guide for the students. My awesome friends Rose and Keara are serving as A.D. and Producer, so they will be a huge help with the student performances. And the 10 million other little details. It’s exciting—here’s hoping this fibromyalgic diabetic can hang in there.

Now, for the global front….

Boy, the “you-know-what” has certainly been hitting the fan!! More political backstabbing undermining actually doing the jobs they were elected to do, more scandals in the Catholic church, more celebrity implosion (with the public lapping it up like milk) more wars in countries most of us have forgotten existed, floods throughout the Midwest, snow in places down South that have never had snow….. AND… massive destruction in Japan (with a possible nuclear holocaust thrown in).

Of course all of this prompts the Evangelists to say we’re in “The End Times.” But that’s been the case for eons—everyone feels they have proof that their time is when everything is going to fall apart and cease to be. Some of these people are even elected officials who prefer to govern by fear (kinda like how the nuns kept us in line back at Catholic school). We have no idea when or if existence as we know it will end. Although, the rate we’re destroying things on this planet gives one pause. And causes one to wonder are we bringing all of this on ourselves or is it part of some grander design?

Damn! Definitely not “Winning.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive...... just a bit overwhelmed of late.  More soon, I promise.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

“I am ill at these numbers”

7 days… 168 hours… 10,080 seconds….
That how long I’ve been trying to adapt to a whole new lifestyle.

No, I’m not gay now [not that there’s anything wrong with that].   I found out last Monday that I have Type 2 Diabetes.    Yep, lucky me, I get to take medicine 3x a day and poke my finger 4x.      Aren’t you jealous?

I blame my knee injury two years ago.    I was heavy before my accident, but I had started going to Curves 2 or 3 times a week in the hopes of losing weight.     I had only been going for about 6 weeks [I used my work bonus to pay for 6 months worth] when my knee got destroyed.      I was on crutches for 3 months and could barely walk for about 5 months after that.      The pound piled on—and the comfort eating too.      I tried, but…… well, the spirit was as weak as the flesh, to paraphrase something.

And it’s my weight that has pushed me into this newest ailment/challenge.      I must eat properly, take my meds and exercise—I have no choice.       I don’t.

The past week has been spent processing all of this—and going thru chocolate withdrawal.      I’ve had to struggle my way through the initial nausea and other side effects.   It seems to be getting better, so I’ll just grit my teeth and keep on keeping on.

I’ve had to overcome my heebee jeebies at sticking a pin in my finger to test my blood’s glucose levels 3—4 times a day.    [Those lancets hurt like a mo-fo.]

I’ll have to attend classes on nutrition and the like so I know what choices to make when it comes to meals.
Yeah—it’s fun times ahead for me.

On the one hand I keep thinking “How much more crap am I expected to deal with?”  


—on the other I do know it could be so much worse.

So, I will keep trying to see the good in everything—and find the funny.    But I may have my off days.