Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Because I Feel Like It

I have been sooooo not blogging. You might have noticed... you hordes of readers, you! I have not been feeling well. (Poor Joy!) I'm still not feeling great, but better than I was; and all the baking for the holidays is over and done with. Whew. I seriously baked like a banshee. You can imagine the wails and shrieks. It's not pretty. Worth it. Just not pretty.

So Christmas. The Yuletide. Feliz Navidad, and so on. I bought myself two presents. One was a bra fitting and two ridiculously over-priced but oh so fantastic bras. You will not be seeing them here. Sorry kids, I know you were waiting. Yeah. Uh-huh.

The other was a new printer/scanner/copier. My old one was just dead as dead can be, don'tcha know. So I finally broke down and got a new one - two weeks ago - and called it a Christmas present. Well... this little gem required a cd-rom drive. Guess whose drive has been dead as dead can be for months? Bingo. That's correct! So I finally broke down there as well and ordered a new one. shiny new drive that does so many things with cds/dvds/cd-roms... from playing them to writing them. OO-La-La!

Problem is the the damned thing didn't fit my computer. I have one of these compact Dells which is terrific in a NYC apartment space-wise, but not so terrific if you FORGET that you need to order slim-line components for it. OY VEY. Listen, I did mention I've been ill? Not my usual self? Quitting smoking? Yeah. I've got a million of 'em.

So I ordered a slim drive. It is not quite so fancy-pants as the other, but at this point I just didn't care so long as I could copy my cds into iTunes and use my pretty printer/scanner/copier.

It arrived so quickly I was delighted. It fit like Cinderella's shoe. And it wouldn't EFFING WORK!

Seems there was a registry error in my computer. I fear my old drive may actually work and that the registry keys were the problem all along and that the purchase of not one, but TWO new drives plus one return and exchange were all for nuthin'. Nuthin' I tell ya.

Except that today. The day after Christmas. I finally figured out the solution and not only uploaded a new cd to my iTunes but I also used the scanner. It's my first. I'm very excited.

To show you how excited, I'm posting this photo.



That there is me and my BFF, Gary somewhere back when the dinosaurs roamed. I don't know for sure but I'm guessing this is somewhere in the area of the early 1990s... oh God I remember those days... meeting lots and lots of new people and sleeping with them. Oh sex... I remember YOU. *sigh*

Sorry. Memories and all.

Back to the present. I was supposed to quit smoking on December 21st. Didn't happen quite that easily. I ended up buying a pack late that afternoon and although I was a bit miffed at myself I am delighted to say that that one pack lasted me through last night! That's five days - one pack. Quite a switch from my usual pack-a-day. I smoked the last two yesterday and today, so far, not a single one. Which is pretty damned miraculous if you ask me, especially since I spent something like 8 hours working on the computer that was making me KAH-RAY-ZEE enough to want to throw it out the window.

I typically smoke like a steam pipe when I'm blogging as well (pretty much anything on the computer results in me lighting up) so right now I'm going through some mighty fierce feelings of "something's missing here..." and truthfully I'm a little scared that just the act of typing this post will be enough to send me out into the icy rain to run down to the Hello Deli and plunk down my $7.50 for a pack.

But I'm hoping it won't happen.

Oh hell. The cat is puking-gotta run. He was eating the Christmas tree earlier.

... and I'm NOT smoking?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Into the confessional!

I've been very lazy about writing here. I just haven't had any *oompf* to do it. I've been a wild-woman in the kitchen, but not so much with the writing. I did not finish the NaNoWriMo. I felt a little sad about it, but not heartbroken. I have the start of something I like a lot, and for getting me started on that NaNoWriMo was a great push, but as a friend of mine pointed out to me, I am a bit contrary. I really am. You tell me I have to do something . . . well. Yeah. That'll happen. Not.

I suppose sometimes even when it's something I CHOOSE to do, I still bristle a bit.

There's something I have chosen to do that may come as a surprise to those who read this who don't know me in real life, and even some of you who do know me in real life.

I'm quitting smoking.

Yes, yes, I smoke. There. I said it. I have smoked since. . . oh dear, do I want to date myself this way? Oh what the hell. Since 1983. Yeah. Long time. Of course I've quit a few times since then. In 1995 I quit for a full 9 months! Every time I told people that they asked if I had been pregnant. If you know me even a little bit, you know THAT is not the case. It just happened that I managed to do it for nine months.

I also quit for just over 2 years not so long ago (2002-2004 I think it was). But a certain amount of depression, suicidal thoughts, general misery and anxiety put an end to that with my 'just having one' that turned into a pack a day ever since. Not only is that a health hazard, but it costs a FORTUNE. I think that heroin must be cheaper than this and apparently it's less addictive. Still, I'm not so much in the market for switching my addictions - just quitting the one would be a nice start.

So I want to quit. Have wanted to quit since October 2004 actually. Since I decided not to kill myself. I have gone through weeks and weeks of TODAY I'm quitting! Each of those 'todays' lasted until sometime in the evening when I would run to the store and buy myself a pack of coffin nails.

So I mentioned this to my fabulous doctor when I had my physical in October. She said she knew of something she thought would work for me but she wanted me to try the Lunestra and be fully rested and not fighting with my insomnia when I tried to quit. Since I'm sleeping no less than 6 hours a night now (usually more) - without the sleeping pills! YES!! It seems that now is the time to attempt the great 'quit'. My doctor has not steered me wrong once, so I'm putting my faith into this stuff and hoping that it will work. I take the pills for a week and get to keep smoking until the 8th day; then I take a different dosage for the next 3 months (I think) and hopefully will not smoke. December 21st is my 8th day. I think it's a good choice - it's the solstice and all. Happy Yule to all my fellow pagans out there! Represent!

Okay, technically the 22nd is the solstice but I'm terrible with math and counted the days back wrong. Typical. Anyway, I'm supposed to stop on the 21st and if all goes well I won't pick it up again.

I have not mentioned my smoking here until now because, frankly, I ain't proud of it. And I also felt that because this blog is about appreciating life and overcoming the things that hold me back, that admitting to having a really DUMB habit that could potentially cost me this very precious life would read as counterintuitive. Which it is, of course. But that's addiction for you.

I'm very, VERY lucky that it hasn't caused me any health problems - so far. I hope that quitting will make sure nothing crops up in the future. Plus I'll save an awful lot of money.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Play Time

I've been a little under the weather the past couple of weeks and have really been coming up blank on anything to write here. Happily I live with two insane critters and about an hour ago they gave me a little sumpin' to post. Thanks boys!




For anyone who might be concerned about Nick's safety having his head in the mouth of a pitbull mix, please know that this is how these boys have played for more than a decade. It's all good. Well... except that Nick ends up with a wet head a lot of the time. Eck.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PSA

The following is almost entirely off-topic for this blog, except for the fact that Dennis Kucinich is a Vegan - YES! And I think it's important. I didn't write the following, it is an email from Kucinich for President. I am posting it here simply to do what I can to get the word out about a DIFFERENT kind of presidential candidate; someone who seems to actually have some integrity. Might be nice for a change, don't you think?

Back to the usual blather tomorrow!

Thanks for taking the time to look into this under-publicized candidate.

xo
Joy

************************************************************************************

IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY

We all know that something is very wrong in our country. The Rule of Law, the Balance of Powers, and our Constitutionally guaranteed Civil Liberties have been under sustained assault by an Administration that is brazen and unrepentant in its abuses of our rights and our founding principles. And, to make matters worse, the Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate have failed to exercise the Constitutional authority granted to Congress to stop those abuses and hold violators accountable.

The results? The powers of the Executive Branch have gone unchecked and its policies unchallenged. The Congress and the American people were deceived into an illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and those same deceptions and manipulations are being used to justify a new war in Iran. The government is spying on its own citizens, ignoring judicial protections and due process, denying the right of habeas corpus, and refusing to abide by international laws, treaties, and principles.

Our nation faces a crisis, yet its leaders, and the candidates campaigning for the Presidency, refuse to acknowledge or address it in any substantive way.
That's why it's time for: A DIALOGUE FOR DEMOCRACY.

This Thursday, November 29, Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich will host an unprecedented "Dialogue for Democracy" forum that will be streamed LIVE on the Internet at KucinichTV.com. Along with invited guests, Dennis will bring this crisis to the attention of the nation and the world so we can better understand what's wrong, and, more importantly, what we can do about it. The first segment of the LIVE broadcast begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. The LIVE forum will resume at 5 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

AN INVITATION TO SPEAK OUT! The Kucinich campaign is also extending this open invitation to representatives of interested organizations and concerned citizens to participate in this "Dialogue" by sending an email to dialogue@kucinich.us. Tell us who you are, the issues you want discussed, and whether you or your organization would like to participate directly during any of the LIVE broadcasts.

OUR DEMOCRACY - YOUR DEMOCRACY - is at stake in this election. And there's something you can do about it. You can stand with the candidate who stands with you. The one candidate who isn't afraid to speak the truth, to give honest answers, and to lay out real solutions that don't protect the status quo. If that's the kind of leader you want, someone who will protect and defend YOUR interests and rights under the Constitution, consider making a contribution to the Kucinich for President Campaign today. It's your way of ensuring that your voice will continue to be heard throughout the debates, the primaries, and the caucuses.

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT! Any contribution you make now through November 29th is eligible for federal matching funds. That means your $50 contribution becomes a $100 contribution. A $100 contribution becomes $200. BUT THE DEADLINE IS THURSDAY NIGHT, so please don't wait.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Adopt ME!

Last night I did a volunteer dog walking and socialization gig at New York Animal Care and Control through New York Cares.

I have wanted to do this for a long time but put it off for fear of coming home with six new dogs. I mean really, I have a cat because my dog wanted one - I'm not strong when it comes to the critters. But I finally bit the bullet and signed up for this one because I think it's important (and I went armed with the knowledge that Basil wouldn't like another dog getting too much of my attention so I really can't bring home another one - visitors are one thing, a new addition to the household - uh. yeah. not so much.)

I was happy to see that the place was jumping! Not with dogs, but with people who were there to adopt dogs and cats (and even rabbits!) The kennels where they keep the dogs are immaculate and comfy - this too made me happy. I've seen pet stores that aren't so well tended - and fyi never buy from a pet store.

This is one of the little charmers I walked last night. She was just a bundle of happy energy and we met a guy on the walk who (hopefully) is stopping by the shelter today to see if he can adopt her. She is just one of many wonderful, sweet dogs that is looking for a good home. If you live in New York and are thinking about getting a dog (which I HIGHLY recommend you DO!) this is the place to find your furry BFF. Even if you aren't able to adopt right now they have fostering programs for cats and dogs and of course, you can always volunteer to walk these happy pups and get them out in the open for a while.

The staff at NYCACC is so good, the dogs all loved them, which is recommendation enough for me.
She was not loving the 'adopt me' sign; which is why it kept slipping off her back, but I think it's because she knows orange is not her color. Hopefully she won't be wearing it for much longer!

There's really nothing like having a dog. They lower your blood pressure, snuggle you when you're sad, make you laugh and are a constant source of happiness. Why not adopt one today?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from NYC!

I have a little treat for you this lovely Thanksgiving Day morning. No, not smallpox infested blankets, and no, I'm not here to steal your land. (A-hem. Not that I'm commenting on the holiday or anything like that.) In the spirit of the day as it ought to be, I am not able to bring you yummy roasted squashes and pecan pies, but I am able to bring you some photos that are uniquely New York City.

Last night I went to the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation. You probably know that this takes place every year (this is the 81st year) the night before the big parade. It is an amazing spectacle. Two full city blocks are full of inflating cartoon characters - and people! Okay the balloons are inflating - the people do that the next day.

This is the 3rd or 4th time I've gone to see it and it is the first time I've encountered such huge crowds. Understandable as the weather was INSANELY nice yesterday which brought out the hordes. Hard-core folks like myself go even in crappy weather. (I must give Gary props on that score as well as he and his nephew joined me one year when it was not quite so pleasant a night.) I'm not a fan of parades in general, but I do love the giant balloons.

But before we go to the Balloon Inflation, here are some scenes of my wonderful city:


And here are (Drumroll please) the balloons! Or for you F-Troop fans: It Is BAL-looooon!!!



Now go have your feasts, remember to be thankful that you are here, because being alive and able to celebrate it are gifts not just for today but for every day!

p.s.
Don't you just love that Ronald McDonald is eyeing the earth like a tasty morsel? Scary, no? I'd like to think that someone on the parade line-up committee has a strong sense of the ironic.

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Meme - a cheaty little post

I've never responded to a meme - not that I've had all that many, but still. But the lovely Salty Miss Jill popped this tag over on my other blog so I'm going to do it. For Miss Jill. 'Cause she's salty. (I'm also posting it on my other blog just because I'm super-duper lazy about blogging lately because I'm working on a novel and so many thanks to Miss Jill for giving me an excuse to procrastinate as well as something to post!)

Here are the rules for the meme:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

I'm not comfortable forwarding memes (this being my first) so I'm just going to ignore those last two 'rules'. Watch as I defy authority!

FIRST FACT:
Fear makes me sleepy. I have chronic insomnia but am able to fall asleep quickly and easily and sleep for really long periods when I'm afraid of (or anxious about) doing something or going somewhere.

SECOND FACT:
I find spitting the most repulsive thing. Spit near me and I might just throw up. I actually did vomit on the playground in the 4th grade when a friend spit and it landed on my sneaker. Talk about a chain of events.

THIRD FACT:
I love to play video games. Puzzle games especially because it gets me into a Zen head - while my mouse is clicking away my brain is somewhere else entirely. I also like stuffing envelopes for the same reason.

FOURTH FACT:
I have been coloring my hair since I was 18 (17 really, but I was only 'allowed' to when I was 18). I am no longer sure what my natural color is - and don't think I want to know! When I'm cranky, tense, or feeling really ugly I grab a bottle of peroxide and tint and switch it up. I highly recommend it as therapy.

FIFTH FACT:
I wanted to be a dentist when I was a kid. I love going to the dentist and my dentist is really great about showing me her new equipment and explaining what it's for - does that make me a dentist groupie?

SIXTH FACT:
I don't have a driver's license any more. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver (at 10 a.m. on a weekday morning) I let my license expire.

SEVENTH FACT:
I have no luck with reptiles as pets. I've had lizards and snakes and such and cannot seem to help them thrive. I'd love to have another iguana, but would rather not cut its life short by having it live with me. My favorite part of the movie Terminator was the pet iguana (Pugsley) running loose in the house. So cute!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lazy Blogging

I have been neglecting this blog. It's a combination of trying to avoid procrastination - working on the NaNoWrimo project - and just not having anything much to say (that I can articulate).

In order to get something up here, for the countless millions of readers who have been pining for a new post (oh, okay the three of you) I decided to 'cheat'.

This is a story I wrote, oh dear, easily 6 years ago. I was in a lot of pain at the time. Um. Yeah, 'cause I'm sure that doesn't show in the story. Good thing I pointed that out. But in the spirit of this blog, it should be noted that this was written while I was in the midst of a GODAWFUL, poisonous relationship and dealing with my own illness. I'm much better now. So, if anyone has any concerns, please, don't. This was a long time ago. And far, far away.

* * *

The Old Woman in the Woods


Once upon a time there was a woman who was alone. She had always been alone, as long as most hereabouts knew, any way. She lived in a small stone cottage, in a clearing in the middle of a dense wood. Only occasionally would she come out of the woods, to be seen by the people of the town. She would nod, sometimes, in greeting to some of the old ones she remembered and who remembered her, but never stopped to speak or pass the time of day. She moved through the town, not rushing, but never stopping. She would buy what she needed then return to the cottage in the clearing.

There was a story told that once she had been beautiful, that once she had been young – though the children found it doubtful, she had been old as long as they had been alive. And the stories told of the old woman in the cottage in the clearing said that once, only once, she had been in love.

They say she used to sing. There were some, the very old ones, who remembered a lilting voice rising from the cottage, songs full of flowers and blue skies, of sweethearts and lovers. There were some among the old ones who said she used to dance. They remembered a swirl of red skirts, and flowing blonde hair and the woman twirling and laughing in the tavern. The woman would sing in the tavern sometimes, when someone would play, and if someone would ask. She could sing any tune they would name; she had them all by heart. They say she had an easy laugh then, and would tease and flirt with the men of the town in a playful, innocent way. They say her smile would light the room and her eyes watched everything. She was interested in many things back then, or so the old ones say. She loved books, and would borrow them from any who had them to lend. And she cared for them like baby birds, gently reading them and carefully returning them to their nests.

Only a few of the old ones remained who remembered when the man came. The stranger with the dark hair who seemed so serious and so sad. But they told the story so the rest would know, that once the woman who lived alone in the cottage had been in love.

He came to town with books. He sold them, and bought them, and would trade them if someone had a particularly fine one. He would sit in the tavern and watch. He watched everything. He would write in a book of blank pages, filling them night after night.

One night, they say, the woman came into the tavern while the sad man with the dark hair was there. It was a summer night of driving rain, and while the people ran for shelter and cursed the downpour, they say the woman stood in the middle of town her arms spread wide spinning and laughing as the rain poured down. That night they say, she came into the tavern laughing like a child at herself, soaking wet. She was offered a towel to dry off with and the people were so taken by her child-like glee they begged to hear her sing, while her voice was so full of happiness. She sat atop a table and asked what would they like to hear? Voices called out their favorites, some that everyone knew and would sing along with, and some that were new; but she knew them all. As she listened to their requests and tried to decide which best fit her mood a voice no one recognized called out a song they’d never heard of. The room became quiet and the woman looked into the crowd to find the source of the voice. The sad man closed his book, put down his pen and looked up at the woman. They say that when their eyes met you could feel them touch from across the room, that something magical happened that night. Though the young ones doubt it, how could someone feel a touch from across a room like that?

The sad man stared, and the woman stared back. She nodded towards him, she knew the song, of course she did. And in the hush of the room she began to sing. It was the saddest song they’d ever heard. A song of loss and love, a song of regret and longing, a song so full of passion that it hurt to hear it. And they say that when the woman sang even the coldest heart in the room melted, and grown men cried like children. Though the young ones doubt it, no one could make them cry just by singing a song.

She sang and sang and, the old ones say, when she was done a single tear ran down her cheek. The sad man watched her, and they say, he too had shed a single tear.

After that, the story goes, they were inseparable, the sad dark man and the singing woman. They say he smiled then, when he was with her, and that her laugh was heard from far away, and the echo of her song could be heard in a room for days after she had been there. They say they spoke for hours, he would give her books and she would read them. They would walk together, reading passages to each other and talking long into the nights. The tavern would close around them, then they would walk to the cottage and the old ones say birds would start singing in the dead of night when they passed by the trees where they nested. The old ones say they had never seen two people more in love, that there had never been any in their little town who had shined so in each other’s presence. And it seemed they had always been together, that two halves had made a whole. No one who saw them ever doubted that here was a rare love indeed.

But then, the story goes, on a day not long after he had come to the town, the dark man packed up his cart and rode away. Everyone thought he would return, for he had only gone to the next town to sell and buy his books, or trade them for a particularly fine one. But the night fell and he did not return. Nor the following day, which stretched to weeks and still he did not return. No one spoke of it. No one knew how to ask. The blonde woman no longer came to the tavern in the evenings. The people would see her come into town, they would see her walking but her step had changed. She no longer walked as if she might dance, and no one heard her laugh. There was no echo of her song, and any room she had been in remained cold for days.

Those that got close enough said her eyes were empty, it looked they say, as if she stared inside herself but saw nothing there. She moved through the town, when she came into town at all, as if she were made of straw. When the rain fell now, they said, she would cover her head with a shawl and hug herself as she stumbled back to her cottage, as if the pressure of the rain drops hurt her. They say she trembled sometimes as if she had seen something too awful to speak of, that she would stop in the road with a gasp, staring at nothing, and then, her hand clasped to her mouth she would struggle to move along her way. She would return to the cottage in the clearing, and they say, those who approached, that there was never a light in her window and no sound was heard from the cottage that had once rung with song. But the young ones thought that too strange, who wouldn’t light a candle in the dark of the night?

One day the shopkeeper sent his son to see if the old woman was alright. It had been some time since she had come to the town and the shopkeeper worried. His grandfather had known the blonde woman when she used to sing, he had told the story to him and the shopkeeper was always especially careful that the old woman had all she needed. The boy went to the cottage in the woods and he said later, that he heard a beautiful voice in the woods as he approached the cottage. Someone singing the saddest song he’d ever heard. A song that made him weep. He knocked at the door but no one answered. He pushed the door open and saw the old woman sitting in a chair at a table strewn with books. She had been dead, it seemed, for quite some time.

When the people went to empty her house, for there was no one to claim her things and so they divided them up amongst themselves even though everything they touched felt cold. They found the books on the table had been books filled with scribbled writings. Pages and pages filled with handwritten words. The people put the books into the fire and watched as they burned away to ash. And some say they heard a wail as the pages burned, as if someone were keening. Understand, though, the old ones say, that they burned the books only because the contents were so sad. For page after page after page contained only the single word: “Why?”

The young ones laugh, why would anyone fill a book with just one word over and over like that? But the old ones know. They know. It takes a long time to die of a broken heart.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Books... or How to Procrastinate Writing Your Own

This year for the third time, I'm attempting NaNoWriMo. The first year, 2004, I did it and ended up with a memoir that is, in part, posted now on my other blog. That was a good one. Not good as in, what an excellent memoir, my God woman you should be a best-seller. But good as in, I completed the 50,000 word mark (and then some) and came away with something I was not ashamed of, in fact I was sorta kinda pleased with the whole thing.

The second year I started out great - until somewhere around the 1000 word mark. Yeah. Not so great after all. I lost steam and let the whole endeavor go. Just wasn't gonna happen that year. The following year I bailed altogether writing something like 275 words which let's face it, if you've ever gotten one of my kooky emails you'll know is barely a quick hello, let alone a novel.

This year I'm at it again and I'm very close to the 10,000 word point which is really good in that it means I have slightly more than 22 pages, which is a nice chunk and encourages me to keep it up, and I'm writing fiction this time and it seems to be working.

OF course the fact that I'm writing here indicates that I'm being lazy right about now and falling far behind on the suggested word count of 1,667 per day. That's the average you need to do to achieve 50,000 in the month. It's not bad if you keep up with it, but get behind by even a day and WHAMMO you are seriously behind.

Hello. Meet my serious behind.

What a wonderful tool for writerly procrastination is a blog! You are writing. So nobody can tell you you aren't - ta-da! - here's the proof! But you are still managing to while away the time NOT writing the novel you are so in love with.

Other fun ways to procrastinate include:

1. Bake massive amounts of vegan cupcakes. Yup. Check.

2. Experiment making new bean soups at 8 a.m. Yup. Check.

3. Laundry! An old standby and a great way to avoid things you really want to get done. Yup. Check.

Another great way to procrastinate working on your own novel is to read someone else's book. If you have borrowed it from the library and cannot renew it because it is in such demand, this gives you even greater leverage in terms of procrastination. I MUST finish this book - it's due Tuesday and I do not want to have to pay a fine.

Listen, don't scoff - you all know that when putting off doing something ALL logic works even wacky library logic.

I finished the book I was using to avoid my novel, Eat, Pray, Love. I make an effort to read at least one best-seller a year just so I can say I'm on top of what's going on in the world. A lot of times the book of choice is not something you'd care to discuss. More like eating Cap'n'Crunch for dinner than fine dining at Rosa Mexicano. But this Eat, Pray, Love book was fabulous! Recommended by Bella, the bold and beautiful. It's all spiritual journey this, finding yourself that and it coincides nicely with my own take on spirituality and the journey towards finding peace and happiness. I love that. Nice to know you're not the only one. Plus, it's funny. You know there really isn't enough laughter when it comes to religion and spirituality and that is a shame. If your religion doesn't allow for joy (sorry) and laughter then you might want to think about shaking things up. Same for sex. Sorry, but if you can't get the giggles with someone you're having sex with, then you might not be having all the fun you could be.

Oh look, two more ways to procrastinate. Pray. Have sex.

Or maybe what I really ought to do is pray I can write some sex into my novel and have myself a giggle.

OH!

I just talked myself out of the procrastination. Awesome!



BTW the word count on this post is 702... I wish this counted towards my novel.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Denial or Coping

Here I am in this incredibly great place in my life. I feel happy, I stop in my apartment look around and think I made this. This comfy, happy, SAFE place - a home. And I feel like I'm lucky beyond words in so many ways. I am not the person I was growing up - I'm not the person I was three years ago. Never in my life did I think I would come to a place where I was happy like this. It just didn't seem to be in the cards for me.

This is the kind of thing I enjoy being wrong about.

Yet despite all this happy happy joy joy (good god did I just write that?) the other night I experienced something so bizarre that I wonder if I'm in denial about things. I wonder if there are some issues that rather than addressing and clearing up, the way I've cleared up the clutter that was my living space, that I've merely shoved into boxes and stored away in my brain to be conveniently forgotten about.

I might have mentioned 'round these parts that my parents and I did not have what anyone would call an ideal relationship. They were both alcoholics with many MANY issues of their own, this made life difficult at best. Stability and emotional intimacy and affection were not high priorities in the household I grew up in. Even long after moving away from them the difficulties in our relationships to each other resonated. And when my mother moved in with me four years before she died it simply accented old resentments and my foolish, and unfulfilled, desire to have her love.

So while I know I often sound like a stone cold bitch when I talk about my parents, ending any of my whining and moaning about the past with a dark yet cheery coda of "dead now", there is solid back up for my lack of respect for the dead.

My life improved beyond words after their deaths. I do not miss them.

Except. . . maybe I do.

I'm not in the least happy to concede that notion. Not at all.

Not only does it mean that I have been in denial - something I just abhor because I like to congratulate myself too much for facing the hard stuff about myself (whether I discuss it or not). But there is a possibility that I may have been tricked into denial by my own brain as a defense mechanism. Deal with this later, when you're stronger - you've got enough to get through, this can wait.

The other night I was listening to some music. Songs I'd heard before, no surprises. Except something was different. Something that actually felt like I was cracking open in that space right below the sternum. I actually began crying. It was, to say the least, disturbing. There was something in the lyrics, something in the tone, something that maybe I had let my guard down about that let that music get in and twist me up. I've always been deeply affected by music. At more than one point in my life I have had to give up listening to it entirely because of the emotional impact - happy songs made me sad, sad songs made me think of razor blades. Music is definitely a huge trigger for me.

For the past three years I have been fine listening to any kind of music - happy, sad, anything at all (you know anything that didn't just outright suck - I have standards!) I've listened to it, been affected by it, but only for the moment, only as it should be. Only in positive life-affirming GOOD ways. Then the other night I find my insides splitting opened by songs I've heard before and ended up walking around the streets in the cold with my nose running and trying not to start doing some sort of primal wailing.

May I just say: WTF?!

The songs mentioned childhood sorrows - I'm not going to go into detail, because it's not relevant here. But it was clear to me that I was caught off guard, not even realizing that I've been ON guard about any of this, and that I was crying over my parents.

It has made me think I am afraid to admit that I miss them. Afraid of what that 'missing' will feel like if I let myself feel it. I've had so much sorrow in my life, I do not want to feel anything even close to it again. I never believed I could turn my emotions off, I've always been pretty much a slave to them. Yeah, yeah, get me a collar and leash, very funny. But truly, while I have been adept at hiding my emotions all my life from other people (lesson number one from my parents) I have never been able to hide them from myself.

Along with the fear of what this sort of post-mourning mourning might feel like - should it actually be what's going on, is the disturbing notion of having to figure out the whole love/hate aspect of it all. How do you love someone who has caused you so much pain, has caused such inconceivably strong self-loathing and zero self-esteem? How do you reconcile all that anger and pain with loving them? I just don't know. I'm afraid to find out.

So I ask myself, have I been in denial? Or have I simply put it behind me so I can live.

Music. It's the damnedest thing, huh?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Art: the filling in the middle is called bliss

I was talking to my dear friend Kori a couple of weeks ago. She has to take some required courses to fulfill her Horticulture studies. One of them is an English class. I'm so psyched. She had to read Hamlet - then she called me.

Was I in Shakespeare geek heaven? Oh yeah, just a bit.

Hamlet makes me a little weak at the knees, but not all of my friends are so enamored of it as I am. That's cool, we don't all love the same stuff - even the Shakespeare lovers (closeted or not) aren't weeping and wailing and rhapsodizing about Hamlet like I am; and that is perfectly fine. But I do so love it when I can yak it up with someone about my favorite play.

Thing about Shakespeare is how different it is to read it than it is to see it performed. I told her how I thought she ought to see Kenneth Branagh's version, then read the play because I truly believe that reading Shakespeare first is not something that will enamor most people. It's not that I think it's too 'high brow', not by any means. Shakespeare is for EVERYONE. It's just that it's not written in our current spoken language, so people get a little hung up on the words on the page because it is like reading a foreign language. Geez. Just look at the handwritten Constitution of the United States of America and you'll see how tough it is to read (because of differences in writing styles - is that an "s" or an "f"?) and that was only 200 years ago. Go back to Shakespeare and well... you know. Language, it's a living thing: it changes. Just ask my friend Gary who knows from the reading, writing and acquiring of language skills!

So last week she'd read the play and seen a bit of video of Laurence 'O God I've Got 'Em ALL Fooled' Olivier doing Hamlet. She wasn't lovin' it. I never have... in case you couldn't guess.

This week she saw Derek Jacobi doing the same role and he had her in tears.

'Nuff said.

Of course interpretations of Hamlet will vary in different eras, with different actors. It's such a rich and complex play that it is natural that it will be done differently as long as there are actors and audiences. Interpretations being influenced by the time, by the political structure, by humans as we change. And that goes not only for Hamlet, not only for Shakespeare, but for anything that touches the core of our humanity. We change, even as we remain the same.

There is always something new, and God how I love something new ('cause I hate stagnation) to be found in Hamlet and in any work that affects us deeply. If it's real it will endure, and can be viewed in many differing lights as we grow and endure and, hopefully, evolve.

The interpretations, the outer trappings of anything, are always up for review - it's the deeper sense of truth and the beauty of something real, emotional and exquisite that we can tap into and see differently as we age and grow and change that is important. It is that core that holds the bliss we all seek. It is not the one performance of a play, not the one great moment an actor has, it is the deeper foundation that everything is built upon that we can latch onto and move forward, and backward and up and down on.

It's not just art. It's anything. My party Saturday for example. Now here's an age-old custom - you have people in your home, you feed them - hopefully they are happy. Now a party can take a million forms, there can be 3 people or 100, but the core is the same. You've come where I've invited you, and decorated,
I give you something to eat, something to drink, make the environment comfortable and all this is done to offer a sense of community, and connection. It could be a 18th Century cotillion, a '70s key party, or a group of cavemen dancing around a campfire - the intent is pretty much the same.

In my case I wanted very much to prepare everything myself, it was important to me to create things that I could give to people to show my gratitude at being alive, to say look we're here, we're alive. Eat this,
I made this for you, drink this, get silly, be comfortable and know you are important to me and how happy I am to have you here. Now that is the core. The 100% Vegan tamales and salsas and cupcakes and cupcakes, mariachi music and what-have-you, that's the outer trappings. It's just the wrapper, the 'art', I chose to put on my filling, covering the core.

I had a great time, much of it derived from the preparation and seeing people enjoy what I'd made. I think people were happy... I will always have doubts of course, because I'm insecure that way, but I think it went okay. But for me, the main thing is that I was able to make it the best I could, and give a gift of 'happy' to people I care about, some I see regularly and some I haven't seen in ages. For me, it was great. And they brought me flowers and wine and they came and I was thrilled.


The outside is the cookie.

The creamy center inside is the bliss.



Note: Special thanks to Ms. X's Mom who helped me hang the lights and banners so they looked great and whose pictures came out so well I could use them here, whereas mine look like someone drank too many margaritas... a-hem.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wrong Way Up? Damn Straight.

I wanted to post this to coincide with the approximate time 3 years ago, that my world began to change for the better. But I won't be available, so I'm gonna just do it now.

I'm not positive of the time, but I'm making a rough guess that it was about 10 minutes or so into the performance of Wrong Way Up that I started thinking: huh... wha... and after 90 minutes I thought HUH... WHA.... and what the fuck just happened to me?

Three years later I sometimes still think Whaaaaat? But only in the best possible way. I think how insanely lucky I am, and how utterly blessed I feel every single day because of that wha-huh moment that turned my thoughts towards healing instead of self-destruction.

I am celebrating the third year of my miracle today and I am thrilled beyond words to say I've made it 3 years -- three years without a major depression. Three years without a major mania. Three years with only a very tiny period of deep blues ( and that was due to a little too much of a medication I now know to be wary of so I don't really count that so much.) Three years - unprecedented for me.

For me, reaching three years is a huge achievement. I set three years 'clean' as a goal for myself because that's longer than I've ever gone without hitting a deep depression. My feeling being that if I could make it three years, staying in the same good space in my mind and life that I could feel safe in believing that I was well. That for the first time since my first major Depression at 17 that I could feel there would be no more hell inflicted on me by my own brain. That I could relax and trust that I was indeed healthy - for real.

Today is three years. Today is a very, very good day.

The past three years have been, without doubt, the best, happiest, most exciting three years of my entire life. Not so much because of any achievements, accomplishments or life changing events but because for the past three years I have been happy simply to be. Well... for me, I guess that is a huge achievement, accomplishment and life changing event.

To be Happy in my LIFE not happy because of anything outside or anyone outside myself. Just happy to be alive - and grateful for the chance to finally know how good that feels. Every day, good days and bad, I have been grateful for my life. And grateful for the miracle that opened my eyes to a different way of being.

In the last three years I have done things I never believed I could. Certainly never believed I would. Doing those new and impossible things has made me crave more. Trying more things - going new places that have always scared me -- and no, I don't mean travel. I mean places in my own head, places in my heart that have terrified me. Have I done EVERYTHING I want in the past three years? Of course not! I doubt I will even be able to say I've done everything I want to do before I die (hopefully when I'm very old, during great sex, possibly in Mexico) but I am just fine with that.

A lot of my life, 25 years or so, worth of my life, has been filled with pain; not an insignificant amount of that pain came from my illness. I mourn that time because of what it could have been if I'd known then what I know now. But I try not to dwell because the past is past and now is all we ever really have. Besides, going through hell may have hurt at the time but it made me what I am; it gave me a lot of insight that I can only hope may help someone else. So I can't regret those 25 years... I can be a little cranky about it, but not regret it. Oh come on... I'm only human!

Sometimes I still worry about dealing with loss. I fear the loss of loved ones. But I believe I'm even stronger than I realize now and I know that I can survive anything. In the past three years I have extricated myself from poisonous relationships I saw no way out of, except suicide. I have found that I can fall in love - and I am strong enough to admit it, even while letting it go. I have found that love does not have to be forever to be real, and the end result of having loved does not have to be devastation. I have found that I can take care of myself while taking care of others without losing myself. I have learned to tell the difference between genuine caring and self-serving bullshit and I have learned to accept the former and steer clear of the later. And I have found that it's okay to accept affection, and give it. It doesn't have to be painful - or terrifying. And on a lighter note: I've found that a Brazilian bikini wax is not nearly so painful as I was led to believe.

So many little things have changed in my world over the past three years

In the past three years I have found that nothing is scarier than not trying. Over these three years my biggest, most all encompassing fear has been that I would become suicidal again. That something so unforeseen would happen that I could not handle it, that my medication would no longer work, that I would slip back into that darkness that could only end with a razor blade to my wrist.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't still somewhat nervous about that. Though I am letting go of it a little bit - I don't worry about it every single day any more. Sometimes several days will go by without even thinking about it. Though when I'm less than cheery, it's a little tickle in the back of my mind - a wariness, a watchfulness, a little caution tape I keep an eye on "just in case". I think that wariness is a good thing. A reminder of how things were - and how they are now. At my two year mark I was thrilled. But having three years of healing and strengthening has made me feel that I can breathe easier.

I wanted so much to mark this day, which for me is so huge, that I decided to do something else that scares me. It didn't used to scare me, I used to do it with some regularity, but I learned to be afraid and so I didn't do it any more. Tonight I'm doing it. I'm throwing a party.

It's not the kind of big, everybody come, everybody sleep over to sleep it off kind of party I used to throw, but it's the first one I've had in. . . let's just say decades are involved and leave it at that.

I'm a little scared it will flop. That it will be a bore, that the food will suck. But you know, those are just fears and how can I possibly be afraid when I've made it three wonderful years and every day becomes better and better? So I've hung some twinkle lights and some papel picados (thanks again Kori for getting those to me!) and I've made (what I hope is) some good (attempted) Mexican food, good margaritas and good cupcakes for my friends for without them I would be nowhere. Literally. So we'll celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, The Day of the Dead, a few days early. We'll celebrate life. Vive Fiesta! No one is more excited to celebrate life than me right now. I wish I could make everyone feel as joyful (sorry, that name...!) as I do.

I am so grateful to be alive. Three whole years. Who'dve thunk it?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream... or maybe just SLEEP

My envy for those who can sleep was formerly only matched by my envy of those who have prescriptions for sleep-aid medications. Oh the dreams I've had of getting a doctor to prescribe something that I could take at night and pass into the land of morpheus for 8 full hours, waking only when my alarm went off, rested and ready to face a new day. Some happy little 'doll' that would make me saw wood, induce cheerful cartoon "zzzzz" to appear above my sleeping head, something that would make counting sheep something only shepards do.

Monday I had my annual physical. I love my doctor, she's just so smart, no-nonsense but still has a great sense of humor. After many, many years of so-so to downright dangerous doctors she is the best. Love HER! She's the one who gently suggested that Xanax might help my anxiety when I had no desire to take pills, and it did. She's also the one who gave me the Zoloft prescription three years ago that, in her words "gave me my life back". She is also the one who will not dispense antibiotics without serious evaluation and I trust her when she suggests I try a medication because she doesn't do so lightly.

When I mentioned my endless battles with insomnia she asked if I'd ever tried anything and I told her about recently trying a friend's Ambien, even though I know you aren't supposed to share prescribed meds, I did research it and found there were no interactions with my current daily pharmacy and I gave it a shot. The result? Ambien is apparently my caffeine. I was up all night and more perky than I had been BEFORE taking it.

This meant Ambien off the table and she suggested another one she thought would work for me, my issues being trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep. She gave me a Lunesta prescription. This shit is stupid expensive and my incredibly caring insurance carrier does not cover it. Thanks guys. Not like sleep is essential to health or anything, you stupid, corporate, bas.... Sorry. I'm not going to rant about the state of health care and insurance in this country. This rant is about my insomnia and my envy.

I filled my first sleeping pill prescription on Tuesday afternoon, paid the insane $159 for a thirty day supply and skipped home thrilled with the prospect of a full night's sleep. A real, honest to goodness SLEEP. I followed the directions and took the pill and a glass of water to bed with me. Got into bed, took the pill and laid down 'c'mon baby it's sleepin' time - wooohooooo!'

I thought about friends of mine who have taken sleep aids with great results: passing out cold, becoming so dozed that they tripped on the way to the bed. Oh my was I ready for nap time!

Ten minutes went by. I felt... nothing. Twenty minutes.... a little relaxed. Thirty minutes and I was asleep. Two hours later I was wide awake. WIDE awake people. Same as always. The only minor change, and at least it was something to be grateful for, was that while I was totally awake, I was also fairly relaxed and when I tried to go back to sleep I was able to. Falling back to sleep is really tough for me (unless it's 6 a.m. and I have to be at work at 9 - but that's a different issue). So okay, the Lunesta at least allowed me the opportunity to fall back asleep - that was good.

Except that I was awake again every two hours all night long.

For this I paid $159? Not much of a bargain.

I tried it again tonight. I mean I have the pills, I may as well try again. Needless to say the results were much the same. It's almost 3 a.m. and I'm writing here. I've been up for hours. I may well be up the rest of the night. *sigh*

My envy now has moved from those who HAVE prescriptions to those for whom they actually work. I'm going back to the doctor in a month, she said to give it a month and if things don't improve we'll try upping the dosage.

I don't have much in the way of hope that it will do the trick, but I'm willing to try.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You're Not the Boss of Me!

Words have such power, don't they? It can be as outright as "nigger" (a word I hate but use here because of the strength of its illustrative value) or "cunt" (a word I use because I enjoy shock value and, as a woman, I enjoy taking the power of it back), or as subtle as "boss". The extreme examples are easy to recognize, they often trigger a primal reaction in the listener. What troubles me is the subtle words and how they impact us subconsciously.

Boss is a word I never use. I hate it. Granted I have some authority issues, but it goes deeper than that. I have never used the word "boss" when referring to an employer because I feel it not only empowers the person referred to in a way that connotes submission and hopelessness ("what can I do? It's what the boss wants!"), but because I think it wears away at any sense of personal responsibility or choice in the individual who uses it ("I was just following orders."). Having a boss implies far more than simply working for someone, it implies total subjugation. If you listen to children using this phrase "You're not the boss of me!" you see how powerful it really is on a deep psychological level. Kids are basic, they are right here, right now and they are great at divining the truth of things. Only as we get older do we start analyzing issues and over thinking and making allowances. For deep down truth: go to a kid. You'll never hear one child say to another "you're not the employer of me!" because it does not hold the same weight.

It's interesting to me to listen to my friend Gary talk about the people he works with. He's a teacher and not once have I ever heard him refer to anyone as his "boss". He refers to his school's Principal, Vice Principal, Co-teachers, etc., but no one is "boss". They may indeed have more power in terms of policy but they are most certainly not 'the boss of him'. This indicates a level of equality, a feeling of community, mutual respect and shared objectives, that you don't hear from many professions or jobs in general. Usually people view a hierarchy of power and fall into place, and if you're not "on top" you're crushed. Metaphorically, of course, I don't want you to visualize an office full of stockbrokers jumping into a dog pile with some poor secretary on the bottom trying to make make a xerox copy.

Too many of us have bosses in our lives. Not only in the work place. People who bully us or who nick away at our self-esteem with such tiny subtleties that we don't even realize it until we wake up one day wondering why we hate ourselves so much and why we feel so useless. You don't have to be in a physically abusive relationship to be hit. Words have the power to maim and destroy. Words have the power to inflame and to begin wars.

Oddly enough a common phrase you hear from parents trying to settle down an unruly child is "use your words". Yes. Use your words. But use them wisely. You can certainly hurt others with them, we all know that. The thing you may not realize is how you can hurt yourself with your words.

Be careful with yourself - and others.

Use your words. Just remember: you're not the boss of me!

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's the little things

I have gone through three computers in the past 8 years (and 5 hard drives... oh the pain of that!) But in all that time I have not made my computer usin' area as user friendly and creativity inducing as I have now.

I have updated the desk, and cleared the space, but until today, no amount of tidying-up or reorganizing helped. It was still a seriously unattractive space because of the horror of the giant desk chair. This was a chair my father had given me for Christmas at least 8 years ago and though I never loved it, it was better than using the colonial style hard backed kitchen chair I had inherited from my parents and had been using since.. oh, 1985. Yeah, okay so I'm slow on furniture choices.

The big gray monstrosity would have been wonderful in a larger apartment. Or an actual office. Still, kinda unattractive, but certainly serviceable. And it was comfortable, until I got a new computer desk that kept getting rammed by the arms of the gray monster and drove me NUTS.

Picking out a new chair is something I've been toying with for years - but it's that decision making that is so tough. I'd prefer to wait for the perfect chair. So I endured the monster. Hmmm. Sounds like there's some subtext there, eh? But really, the chair.
The Apartment Before Apartment Therapy
*note Nick in the gray monster


Yes. That's a pleasant place to be, huh?
I tried to keep a towel on the chair to avoid Nick clawing at it.
Like it helped. Not so much.


Basil's cat, Nick, loves the gray chair. It's an obsession of his. This too drives me nuts. The second my butt is out of that chair, Nick is in it. He can be sound asleep in another room and he senses I have moved off the chair - even if it's only a centimeter, and BLAMMO his furry cat butt is in the chair. I don't want to think about how many times I have accidentally sat on this cat.

Last week I found what appeared to be the perfect chair. I ordered it online and it arrived today. It matches an ottoman I already have and it's SMALL and fits under the desk and it is making me stupid happy. Clearly, as I am writing what amounts to a paean to a desk chair here. Short of topics much?

Before I even assembled it, Nick was scoping out the new chair.

And I was on to him. And he knew it.
Tthe chair has been unpacked, assembled and in place for two hours. Nick has managed to be on it only once. I don't imagine it will be possible to keep him off it. But maybe if I drape it with a blanket? So much for an improved work space.
That's how it looks right now. Well, not right now because I'm actually sitting on the chair and typing this... oh you know what I mean. Better, isn't it? And all it took was a little chair.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What I deserved.

There's a lot of of awful television out there. A lot of awful movies, plays and music too. But television is the one that really gets the brunt of the 'what crap' sentiment. Sifting through the available nonsense shows that pollute the airways it's easy to see why. Understandably television also gets the bum rep from so many because it is so egalitarian in that it's free (mostly) and the number of homes without a television vs. the ones with... well, it doesn't take a genius.

Of course amongst the drek there is some gold - get out your sifter and find it. It's not easy. But tonight I was watching something (taped) and there was something that really hit me. Something that struck an emotional, real-life, chord for me and I have to decry all the television naysayers because of it. If something as seemingly inane as television can be so well-written (and acted) that it causes an emotional reaction, causes a desire to create and make something of your own, then how 'crap' can it really be?

Any form of expression that elicts that sort of click in the brain, that sort of "me too" response deserves some kudos and the label "art". That's what art is supposed to do, isn't it? Make us feel, make us share, make us understand that we are not alone. This 30 minute show, entertaining as it was, was not art -- until the moment it triggered my own 'me too' moment; and memories of some very sad times.

The moment was when someone was forced to admit to herself that she deserved more than she was getting from a relationship. Someone else had to say the words: "you deserve more" for her to face it and that, my dears, is real. So many of us accept so much less than we* deserve and we keep accepting it and taking it, because deep down - even if we won't admit it to anyone else or even to ourselves - it's all we believe we are worth. We'll put up with the most insane behavior from people we want so desperately to love us back that we will rationalize ANYTHING - even down to them having a baby with someone else! Really.

We'll keep doing that, rationalizing, making excuses, until we don't know which way is up any more and instead of facing the fact that we DO deserve better we turn on ourselves rather than on the person who is mistreating us. That is, of course, until we realize that the real abuser in the scenario is ourselves.

We will allow others to do to us what we would NEVER tolerate being done to our friends, our family, our loved ones. But treat us like worthless garbage? Oh sure, bring me another heaping plate of self-loathing, thanks. And how about a side order of treat me like shit, just don't leave me.

Sometimes we only see the truth when someone outside the situation, not a friend who has said it a million times before, but someone completely outside, spells it out for us and makes us admit to ourselves that we are the only ones allowing ourselves to be treated badly. Yes the person who is hurting you is responsible - but unless you're looking for martyrdom and a possible sainthood after death - you are responsible for allowing them to stay in your life and continuing to treat you badly.

I was the absolute queen of letting people treat me like hell: family, lovers, friends - anyone! I do not allow that any more. I do not fight with people to try to change them, I do not beg for 'things to get better' - people are as they are, if someone treats you like dirt the only way to make it stop is to cut them out of your life. YOUR life. You are not here to make them a better person. You are here to make yourself a better person - and to live your life as happily as you possibly can and spread that love around. If someone in your life makes you feel bad about yourself, or sad, or hurts you in any way but accidentally (and I mean like stepping on your toe!), take a look at what why you keep that person in your life. And then look in the mirror and repeat with me:

I deserve better.

Because you do. We all do. And we can have it - if we learn to love ourselves first.

Geez... all that from one line of a television show. Now THAT'S Art!!


*by we I mean me

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Next!!

Saturday I auditioned for the Opera.

Not just any opera - THE Metropolitan Opera.

Oh no, not in any singing way - please do I seem that sadistic? Or masochistic? No, I auditioned for a background part, an extra, a super (Supernumerary) in Opera lingo.

The opera? War & Peace.

Alright, honestly I didn't so much audition as I attempted to audition. They were looking for an army - War & Peace, kinda screams out for a big ol' army, doesn't it? Of course for this particular army they were looking for men. Me? Not much in the 'men' department.

The way this all started was this: Last week I got an email from a friend of mine who had gotten an email from a woman she used to work with who is now working at the Met. She was forwarding along a casting notice and my friend sent it to me.

Now this email said "everyone is welcome" but I had a sneaking suspicion that in this case they were not being equal opportunity in terms of gender. Still, there was no mention that it was male specific, I figured what the hell I'll go, see if they see me and if nothing else it will be a story. Also, my friend was as yet unaware of my newfound love of Opera - it just seemed so serendipitous that I HAD to give it a try. Oh and if I got it, I'd get paid. I'd get to see the opera and make some cash doing it. How could I pass on that? So I went.

Oh my oh my it was quite a little event.

There was a line out the door when I arrived. A line full of men.

All men.

No really.

Oh wait, there was some guy who had his girlfriend with him. Who brings their significant other with them to a job interview? Strange... but I digress. She wasn't auditioning. So in fact there was an enormous line of men and little ol' me.

Did I feel silly? A little.
Did I feel like I ought to step off that line? A little.
Did I feel like a kid in a candy store? A little more than a little.

While we waited, the boys and me, a very sweet young woman came down the line handing out information sheets explaining exactly what to do when you got to the sign-in table and how the audition would run from there. Very nicely organized The Met, I love that.

She handed me a sheet and didn't bat an eye. I figured that meant that while I was in the minority, aside from helpful girlfriend chick, that I was not completely out of the running in terms of being cast. Hey, stranger things have happened. Stranger things have happened to me any way. So I chilled out, and sent Gary a txt message telling him I was essentially surrounded by fellas, i.e. in HEAVEN.

The gentleman behind me was stopped by another man who asked if he could interview him. He was a reporter from the New York Times doing a story on the audition. Slow news week, much? As they talked, all I could think was: here I am, the lone female on this line and this reporter is talking to the guy directly behind me. Now, I'm no journalist, but I have to wonder: don't you think that if there's a giant crowd of men and just one woman that maybe, just maybe now, the real story would be to interview that one woman? Just a thought.

After about 10 minutes, the line growing ever longer behind me, the young woman who had handed out the information sheets stopped me - only moments before I would enter the building where I could actually sign-in and follow all the detailed instructions on that sheet - and said, "we're not really seeing women today."

I actually cracked up. I told her I figured as much, but it seemed like such a hoot that I thought I'd give it a shot. She was very, very sweet about the whole thing and God knows I must have seemed like either a nutjob or a dope when I asked, "can I go through the process anyway?" (seems I grew a set just by being surrounded by all that testosterone). She just looked at me and said, "ummmm, not really." But she said it very nicely. Honestly she was very diplomatic and you don't always run into that in a cattle call situation so if I knew her name I'd post it here and give her some recognition for being a doll. But I don't. Ah well.

I only pushed to get in to do the audition because I thought it would make a really, really amusing anecdote; but I also understood that it would be unfair to take the time away from someone who might actually be cast. But damn I really wanted to go in and do some marching. I know damned well I'd have ended up tripping my entire audition regiment group and oh what hilarity that would have been.

Later that night I went with some friends to see Naked Boys Singing. It was just a big ol' boy day for me, huh? At the theater there was a cardboard stand-up from another show, Altar Boyz. It was the kind you stick your head through and take pictures with. How could I resist? Dig the biceps on that chick!

I wonder if they would let me audition now?

Never give up. Never surrender.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wax on, wax off: a Brazilian tale

About a month ago I mentioned that I'd had my first professional bikini wax. I alluded to a story which I simply didn't get to. Now I feel like sharing the love.

And I do mean sharing the love.

In September I decided to go for a day of beauty. You know, mani, pedi, waxing. Since I had no previous experience with professional waxing I only had the vaguest idea of what to expect. I've tried waxing at home with really messy and spotty results, it's just not worth the effort. But because of that I knew what the actual 'waxing' would be like - though I certainly knew it would be less messy than a do-it-yourself job, probably more effective and hopefully less painful.

I went to a nail salon around the corner from my apartment because I've been there before for pedicures. (I know, sooo girly, right?) But manicures and pedicures are done in the open, in the main salon. I didn't know what might be lurking in the back rooms. Would it be an opium den of melting wax pots on hot plates, or a serene candle-scented oasis? No clue.

I walked in without an appointment and a very nice Asian woman, let's call her Madam, asked what I needed. I told her, mani-pedi, leg wax and a bikini wax; then, with some trepidation, threw in 'a Brazilian'. She smiled, put her arm on my shoulder and led me to the secret back rooms where the 'beauty' happens. Wheeee!

All in all things were going really smoothly (no waxing pun intended). I got through my fear of asking for what I wanted, and I felt very proud of myself and at ease. The room was about the size of a walk-in closet. There was a padded table pushed against one wall, with a fresh roll of paper spread over it, very sanitary, and pretty silk pillows for your delicate head to rest on while having hot wax poured over you and ripped off. All the equipment was very clean and neat and while not a super-deluxe luxury spa, it was comfortable.

Madam started with my legs, to ease me into this brave new world of waxing, and it was a breeze. I was very happy to find that the waxing procedure itself was not any where near as painful as I had expected, nor was it any where near the sort of pain I had inflicted on myself during my DIY experiments. This made me far less apprehensive about the dreaded Brazilian. I was fast becoming a wax-pro. Ta-da!! This was the way to go! No more daily razors! Faster showers! Ever-smooth and sassy legs!

Then it was time to travel south to Brazil. I half expected to hear Johnny Mathis.



mmm-mmm. Sorry. I went to Johnny Mathis land for a moment. I love Johnny Mathis. *sigh* Now back to the wax.

Understandably most women would be a bit nervous about this sort of waxing not just because of the pain associated with it but even more so because of the fact that you have to be completely undressed. No panties. No g-string. No nothing. Not even a paper drape like at the gynecologist. This was bare it all in a back room with a total stranger. Thing about me is, that doesn't bother me. Not even a little. Which may seem weird. I'm actually more shy when my clothes are ON. Yeah well, I never said I was typical.

Madam started and I was prepared to scream blue murder at the top of my lungs. But truthfully I have a ridiculously high pain threshold, if I say something hurts, it REALLY hurts. I was completely fine. I was even laughing and joking (shocking, I know as I am usually pretty damned dour). I was stoic when it was uncomfortable and there was one spot that actually caused me to screech "OUCH!" but even that wasn't so bad and it was actually funny because nothing had hurt until that one "ouch" so it shocked us both. Oh we laughed and laughed, Madam and I. Funny funny stuff.

When she was done she stopped and clasped her hands in front of her and gazed with what can only be described as pride at my newly waxed bikini area. It was like she was watching a favorite child at her first piano recital. After a few seconds I said, "you look so proud". She laughed then patted her art work and said "so smooth, like a baby! It's beautiful!"

Well thank you Madam, I'm sort of fond of the whole thing myself.

After everything was done Madam got a small bottle of oil and poured some into her hand and then massaged it into that beautiful area that had just been waxed. This was a Brazilian wax. You with me people? She didn't simply apply the oil. She massaged it in. No, I mean she really MASSAGED it in. Get it? Precisely.

Now I'm not shy about being undressed, waxed, admired (thanks again, Madam, I love a compliment) and oiled... but I was a little... shall we say, surprised. But what the hell did I know? Like I said, this was a first for me and it seemed to make sense that you'd want to soothe all that delicate skin that had just endured so much tugging and pulling. Right? RIGHT?

The next day I asked a friend of mine, who has had some non-Brazilian waxing, about the oil bit. She seemed surprised, "um... no, no oil, just powder. And no massaging it in either." Hmmm. She then asked her sister who has had Brazilian experience. Same deal "No oil, just powder."

Now the interesting thing is that before this whole thing went down (Stop it. No. Just stop it.) I had tried to research a little on the 'net to see if I could get a step-by-step account of what to expect. Oddly enough there was no mention of any sort of massage. Strange.

Now I wonder... maybe I should have given her a bigger tip?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If you're antsy - dye your hair


40 minutes, a bottle of peroxide and color and ta-da! now my hair is 'mahogany'. Hopefully this will not mean I must burst into song a la Diana Ross.

DO you know where you're going to... do you like the things that life is. show.ing. you... where are you going to... do you know?

Aw hell.

sorry 'bout that.

Sometimes I wonder if all the peroxide IS going to my head....

I'm going to the movies now.

Sometimes I just hate to think

My head is a whirlwind lately. The past few days I just can't seem to stop thinking, thinking, thinking. Not about anything bad, just thinking. It's annoying. Usually I think a lot. I'm in my head pretty much 20/7 (yes, I do need to sleep a little bit), but sometimes it's more acute. Like lately.

It feels too much. There's just too much to think about and I need to cull some of the 'to think about' list before my head explodes.

I don't much feel like talking to people - yet I'm chatting with people on the street every single time I'm out. Neighbors out with their dogs, folks in stores, the clerks I know at the post office (yeah, I spend waaaay too much time at the post office), even total strangers. I had a 15-20 minute conversation with a really lovely woman and her little girl about tattoos.

I was stopping to buy this cute little pepper plant.


She saw the tattoo on my wrist when I reached for the pot.

I think I helped convince her that getting a seagull on her shoulder was a good idea because it seemed like she just needed a little nudge of reassurance that it wouldn't hurt. And there I was. My tats didn't hurt, so I'm a great spokesperson for the ease of getting them.

But why are people talking TO me... and why am I talking BACK, when I feel a violent urge to escape? Do I hide it that well? No. Actually I guess talking to them is a form of escape.

I don't mean escaping them, the current little chit-chat and general pleasantries of a sales transaction or what-not. Although 20 minutes on the street with a stranger may seem more than chit-chat. My urge to escape is more from my own ceaseless thinking.

I am antsy as all get out. I'm a little cranky when I don't feel cranky. I think it stems from the fact that I need ....

to think.

I feel censored and inhibited and I want to stop that feeling.

I have lived for years now without censor, with little censure, and I LIKE IT. Right now I'm feeling a bit pushed and trapped and responsible for things I'm not responsible for. I really, really don't like it.

I want to create, to be, to do and this damned thinking and pressure is really inhibiting that. It ain't fun my friends, it ain't fun.

Not that I'm not happy, because I am. I'm just thinking too much.

I'm going to go dye my hair now. That always makes me happy.

Of course I have to think about what color first.

Crap. There's always something.