Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Random Thoughts Before the Holidays

I woke up this morning having to figure out where I was. I believe when you cross time zones or oceans, a sense of disorientation sets in. You start out with the questions of who am I, where am I. When you go home, or in my case, the place I grew up, there is a sense of nostalgia, a sense of knowing. But, not.

I think I was dreaming about being in a heist before I woke up. A combination of watching Dark Knight and needing money I believe.

The finally waking and realizing and then reality setting in. The feeling of my father's absence is a little overwhelming. I miss my father. It's a missing that I can't describe and have never felt before. A missing limb? No. I can't explain. I just know there is a pain, a dull ache that I will never get over, but I am learning to live with. The only parts I can explain are the regret for not seeing him as much the last few years, the desire to see him, just for 5 seconds, for one last time and the laserlight of 'why' radiating to the heavens. I have had to put on a protective shield while in this house.

The holidays are also not the same. My mom and I were discussing that it is harder this year than last because we were still in shock. But, that is not the only thing.

Everyone always said, as I get older that the holidays would feel less and less like they did in the past. That having children would be where the feeling of the holidays would come back. But, that's not 100% true. I had been feeling the holidays these past few years. The excitement, the warmth of family. The fun of being with others in the sense of fellowship. I have not felt that for 2 years now. Except for the holiday songs and cold weather, you couldn't tell me it was the holidays. I loved spending the holidays with my ex-husband's family. It brought me back to feeling like I did as a child during this time of year. The anticipation, the excitement. And, when both of our families were able to meet, now, no doubt it was stressful, but it was what I had always wanted and what I had missed about the holidays when I was in college, etc. Now, it's just me and my mom.

This year, we are going to spend the holidays with our next door neighbors and long time friends. People that know me like family. In writing that, I have to ask - does family even really know me? But, I digress. It will definitely be something completely new and unfamiliar, but something I had been wanting to do. Be with friends that are my family for special occasions. This is something I will also need to get used to and learn to live with, because this is all I have left. My mom, the bits of distant relatives and friends.

Luckily, I have a lot of friends. And, I am begining to trust and believe now that I have the kind of friends that are going to go the distance. The kind that we will all do stupid stuff, work through it and move onto the next section of life. I have really wonderful people in my life. And, they walk me through the this forest of the life I didn't think I would be living.

God Bless Us...Everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ER Visits Have Always Been for Unfortunate Events

I have had 3 to 4 ER visits in my life. I say 3 to 4 because at least 1 of those was at a clinic type ER, but again - emergency care.

Was I bleeding from the eyes? Did I have a fever of 105? Was it a life or death situation? Was I continually evacuating without sign of relief?

No.

Although - except for the bleeding from the eyes - I feel like all the above has been true at some point and I have weathered through one way or the other to finally get over it and make it to my primary care physician or doctor in the area realizing that the last place in the world I would want to be is an ER when I am in that kind of trauma.

But, for what happens to me, where there is a question of emergency, it is for an unfortunate reason.

My first ER trip I barely remember. I was 9 or 10? I had been playing hide and go seek with my cousins within a camper van - it had a pop up bed on the top. So, I crawled out the pop up bed section window, onto the roof of the van and decided to pop back through the passenger side window. On doing this, my hands slipped off the roof and I woke up on my back in the gravel below, bleeding from around my head and my left shoulder hurt badly. So, being disoriented and scared, I began screaming - the whole family ran out and I was taken to my bedroom to figure out what the heck happened. They cleaned up my head, which was just minor scratches and my dad loaded me into the car and we began the long drive to the hospital (being that we were out in the country at my grandparents' farm). The doctor looked me over, said I may have a concussion and to watch me. And, probably a green line fracture in my collar bone, but as long as I was careful, put my arm in a sling for awhile, I should be fine.

Eventually, this trip had a part two - I was roller skating with my friends and fell, landed on my left arm - shoulder went up past my ear (my friends told me with a "wow that was really cool" following) and off again I went - this time I had to wear a brace like football padding around my shoulders for 6 weeks. Hairline fracture on my collarbone and no recess during my school hours.

My next trip was a very short lived one. Was running a relay race in P.E. (7th grade?), slipped, fell, hit my left arm, got up, kept running, finished the race (1st place kiddos) and then noticed my elbow was swollen to the size of a baseball. My mom came to school, picked me up and off to the ER we went. It was a sprang and I got a sling that had an attached ice pack to it. The next day at school the sling kept leaking so I faked some extreme pain and went home to use this ridiculous contraption correctly. And, watched a lot of TV.

The next trip was in college. I had gotten home late from a theatre project and went to sleep in my contacts. The next morning, I got up and tried to remove my contacts so my eyes could get a couple hours rest before I had to take a facilitator test at a ropes course. My left contact, would not come out. After about 20 minutes of pulling, and extreme pain, I drove myself, 1/2 blind to the emergency clinic. I found out that my contact was not in my eye at all. Must have fallen out while I was asleep and I was trying to pull my Corina out. In doing that, I scratched my Corina and ended up with a bandage over my eye for the day and some drops for later. And, I took my test, one-eyed, having to climb ropes, jump off of logs to grab rings in mid-air and change airline cable out, on a telephone pole, at 20 feet. I passed.

Grad school. I was working for the tech crew and we were doing our down time cleaning. There was a closet that needed to be cleaned out. I was reaching up and taking down paint cans and passing them to someone behind me when the whole shelf gave way and WHAM, paint can to the head. I got a little dizzy, but kept on plugging. My supervisor made me go to the NYU ER to make sure I did not have a concussion. I did not and was later awarded the "Heads!" Award at the year end celebration.

Now, let's skip forward to just a mere few days ago. I was putting a cork back on a wine bottle (sober I might add - I had only had one glass of wine). The cork slipped off the rim of the bottle and WHAM, my wrist went into my wine glass sitting next to it. The glass was shattered into small pieces. So, I go to start picking up the pieces of glass. My roommate (Christopher) comes in and says - wait, how much of that is wine and how much of that is you. I looked down at my hands and there is blood all over them and all over the counter. Whoops. So, we patch me up with some new skin and I go to bed. I wake up about 5am to some extreme pain. Tried to go back to sleep and realized - I needed to drag myself to the ER. Christopher had to work, so I just let him know what I was doing and that I would be OK. And, off I went to my first real NY ER experience.

I went to Interfaith Hospital in Brooklyn, about 20 or so blocks from where I live. Sat in one waiting room for a couple of hours, at one point a nurse cleaned my wound and re-bandaged me. There only seemed to be a few people, so I was breathing a sigh of relief. Then, I was called to the other room, which I came to find out - was the ER.

People were all in beds and a couple of us with minor issues were in some chairs. All my care and looking at was done in the mini-waiting room. My analysis to urine tests, the looking at the cut on my arm, the Tetanus shot. There is no doubt in my mind why people get sick from something completely different than what they went in with. I went and had x-rays to make sure there was no glass and my arm wasn't broken. Then, back to the little waiting room. I tried to read and memorize lines, but it was so hard with so many conversations going on around me. Or screaming and moaning. It was a cacophony of pain and confusion. People with family demanding answers. People so out of it they can barely make coherent sentences. I felt really lucky that I was able to handle my situation by myself.

At one point I excused myself saying that if I didn't get something to eat, I would pass out and then they would have another problem on their hands and grabbed a cereal bar. The main ER doctor came and saw me at about hour 5. He said that I was lucky - barely missed the main artery and that I should get one or two stitches. The other ER doctor that had been helping me took me to the "Fast Track" area and got the kit to administer the stitches.

He came back in and asked if I was allergic to Lanocain. No, I replied. Then he asked if I just wanted the stitches or if I wanted to be numbed first. I said, numbed, of course. I believe I am a tough enough person without being a show off. He then told me that since the area I sliced was so sensitive, the Lanocain shots were going to hurt as bad if not worse. Wait, wait, wait. Can you just knock me out? No. Now another note here. I was just sitting on a bed. There was no place for me to put my arm. I was going to have to hold my arm and hold still while he put a needle and thread through the area. OK doc, numb me. I knew that at least that would take away the pain in my wrist for a bit and be worth it.

He had to do about 5 injections to really get it numb. I had wished now, I had just gotten the stitches. Shown off like a tough girl. Sigh.

He then threaded his needle and I watched as he stitched up my wrist. And, of course, there were still places where I could feel the needle. And, I have to admit, either from lack of food or disgust, I did feel a little faint. But being the person who likes to create special effects for gore, I wanted to watch what this looked like.

I ended up only getting one stitch. I think the doctor was afraid of hurting me more. So, all else fails, I should have a pretty cool scar looking like a tattoo for some secret organization on my arm.

I am now on some really powerful antibiotics, which sucks. And, wrist is still bandaged and the place where they gave me the Tetanus shot is in as much pain as the cut itself. But, all in all, I am fine. And, now have another adventure to tell.

On a side note, I have been a very bad blogger these past few months. I still have about 5 drafts that I do want to share. So, look to 2009 as a few postings of things I should have written in 2008.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Memed Again!!

Well crap - Memed again! Actually, there was a point in time where I was getting memes left and right - some repeated. I ignored them. I'm a bad person sometimes.

But, this will help get the writing juices flowing so here goes:
"Seven Strange Things," in which I'm required to list, well, seven strange things about myself. This is from Mr. James Comtois.

1. I have been growing a section of hair and braiding it for over 15 years now. Those of you who know me, know this isn't that strange. But, to hairdressers and people I work with, it is incredibly strange. And when I say I started growing it in _______ school, people are even more astonished. And, I re-braided it about once a week.

2. I am pre-mature gray and got my first silver-gray hairs when I was 15. Yes, I am a silver fox. Down boys, down.

3. I was born in this country and adopted. Again, not that strange except for 2 things. One - who adopts children in America anymore - most of them are from Russia and China. And, I look a lot like my mom, especially the pictures where I have glasses. It is pretty uncanny.

4. I have never had to purchase a personal music device (i.e. walkman/Ipod) That's right kids. I just now realized this. My first "walkman", my dad, who was Assistant Principal of the High School, had taken one away from a kid and told him he could come and pick it up at the end of the year - the kid never did - he gave it to me. Since then I have either got them as gifts, prizes, found in grocery stores and never claimed, and most recently, got my pops's Ipod.

5. I once tried to teach kittens how to swim. When I was very young: 3 or 4 years old, I decided that my cousin's kittens wanted to be in the backyard pool that was about 2-3 ft deep and I would teach them how to swim. So, I put about 5 kittens in the pool and believe it or not, cats can swim! Seeing that they were strong swimmers, I, upon seeing something shiny, left the swimming, crying kittens in the pool. Fortunately, they were meowing loud enough that the whole household came out and got the kittens out of the pool. I was then told that cats and kittens don't like water. I don't know if that is something strange about me or just a strange situation.

6. I wore an eyepatch on and off for a few years. I had Amblyopia or lazy eye when I was born. They were trying a new method on me and covered the strong eye with an eye-patch which consisted of masking tape over the glass part of my glasses. Low and behold, the "lazy" eye got to work and the treatment succeeded. I was even told by an eye doctor that I shouldn't even tell doctor's that I had Amblyopia- there is no trace of it. And, that was a pretty amazing feat.

7. I used to think the I was the Greatest American Hero Sorry, I was running out of things and just thought of this. My friend and I used to play like we were of course the beloved character played by Mr. William Katt in the aforementioned TV show - the female versions. For many years I waited for my super hero suit from above. Alas, it never arrived.

OK - I am sure there are way more juicier strange things that are ME, but you are just going to have to buy me a beer and try to get them out of me.

And, do you want to try this - it's fun. If you do, post your link to your blog or put them in my comments.

"Believe it of not..I'm walking on air..."

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's been awhile......

And, it's going to be a bit longer. I would like to post, but the vote is on so... Go out and vote. And, read a blog about the voter experience - check out Scratching Words in the Dirt or Open Veins. New York voting experience. I'm going to take one from the "Four Evey Day" Blog for my voting experience. Let's see if I can do this in four sentences.

Got up at 6:30, put on my coat with PJ's still on and went across the street to my polling place, but found the line to be longer than most lines I would wait in for peak concert tickets. Went back home, got ready for work and then ventured out again to find it just as long, but excited as I was, said screw it and got in line and listened to music, read my book and played some Tetris and was given a free Monster drink from some promotional people passing them out. Over an hour later, I was met by beaming tired faces showing me the way to where I would place my vote. After a few moments and getting re-acquainted with the voting machine itself (seeing that during the primaries, I found myself on paper ballot due to the fact that they had lost my registration along with 100s that day) I voted and walked back out into the sunshine, head held high and feeling mighty good about being an American.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quilting!!!!

I have so much more to write about, but no freakin' time people. So, with that, I give you Quilts!!!

(My mom's quilt is on the Tuesday blog - 5 pics down.)



Two blogs plotted out, one in notes on paper and one stewing in the juices of my head.

I shall be back!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Will Blog Again

Things have been crazy and I do want to write more (I have 2 drafts I am working on, but isn't that always the case), but time has been so limited.

I will be back soon! Promise!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Task and Art of Repaving a Path

I have been noticing a lot of road construction recently. Tearing up roads, pouring down tar, the big rollers smoothing over the tar, all in the blazing sun. You wonder if this is what hell could be like. I mean, heat, on heat, then add some more heat.

That got me to thinking about life. And, how hard it is to start over. And looking at the path you are on. Trying to figure out if this is the right one or not. Or which one should I take? How should I narrow this down?

And, I realized, sometimes you don't have to completely take another road in life. It might be better to improve the road you are on first. Heck, you leave behind the road you were just on and, that road, well, could use some work.

I think re-paving a road is a lot harder than just abandoning the road and going off in another direction. It takes evaluation - how much damage needs to be repaired. It takes hard work - from the little patch up jobs to the complete destruction and re-building. It can be difficult - sweating it out, situations that are already very heated, pushing even further.

But, when you are done, when the road cools, you have something you can travel on again, smoothly. The small holes, the extra bits are gone. The road is lighter and you feel like you are flying. There is a quiet excitement, a newness, a self-confidence. You are now ready to take the next step in life.

So, please pardon the appearance, I am trying to repave my road. I'll let you know how it goes.


Got this IChing reading a bit ago - found it relevant to my feelings above:
60: Limits and Connections
Thursday, July 10th, 2008


General Meaning: Limits are necessary to give purpose and direction to life. Swimming in a sea of boundless opportunity would soon lead to exhaustion. Winging it alone in a sky of boundless opportunity would lead to being lost. In human affairs, the making of choices, and alliances, implies limitation, for in choosing one path another must be abandoned.

One key to a successful life is to select your limits consciously and carefully - to be discriminating in the setting of personal boundaries and knowing when to join in formation. Thrift, for example, often precedes prosperity; just as the letting go of selfish interests often leads to greater personal reward. Only by consciously accepting useful limits can one's energy be channeled to good purpose, and lead to lasting accomplishment.

Point yourself toward a middle way, the mean between discipline and freedom of spirit. Limits will come of their own accord; but to be able to consciously select your own affiliations in life - that's knowing how to fly! At the same time, do not go overboard on discipline. Even limitation must be limited, so that in attempting to bring order and direction into your life you do not choke off vital sources of enthusiasm and spontaneity.

Similarly, in groups and organizations, the rules and regulations should strike a balance between being too strict and too soft. If too strict, they build frustration among people, and ultimately become destructive. If too lenient, sloppiness becomes acceptable, and energy is soon dissipated. The best path is one which allows for the fulfillment of individual potential, while encouraging self-discipline and focus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Improving Health Through Shakes and Other Sordid Tales

Shakes? What?

I have so much to write about, but am very excited that I have made a step to improve my health!

OK - let me back track.

From 2005 to the end of 2006 I was using shakes as supplemental meals from Medifast. They were great tasting and gave you everything you needed - nutrition wise. These, along with exercise, got me down past my goal weight and down 3 sizes. I was happier than a pig in fat-free, low cal slop.

Uh, OK.

I still had a pretty fun and groovy lifestyle during this time. I would drink my shakes during the day and have one real small meal at some point during the day. I would still go out and have fun with my various friends (and lo and behold, be the incredibly cheap drunk). Eventually, I learned how to eat small meals over the course of a day, instead of one, two or five big meals.

Then, the holidays came in 2007 and the shows and the craziness. I was sporadically eating, sporadically partying and sporadically exercising.

Now 2008 is almost 1/2 way through and I am up XXlbs over my goal weight (no one needs to know that number). After hitting that mark, I realized I needed to embark back on my shakes to re-train myself how to eat again. I have also been doing more yoga and going to the gym more consistently.

Now, some of you might said - hey, have you heard about the Lemon aid cleanse, diet, insert whatever name here. I have and I hope to do it at some point. (Believe it or not, it is more expensive than the shake thing I am doing.)

It is very similar to stuff I have done in the past. And I did like the taste quite a bit (I tried a few sips when friends of mine that had been on the program.) Now, I haven't read a lot on it. I have learned about it from what my friends have told me. What I have noticed is:

You have a few days of feeling accomplishment, followed by mood swings and cravings, then you move into fatigue, then back to accomplishment and your body feeling more healthy, then you repeat one or two of the other steps, but feel stronger this time about it.


My shakes do the same thing in a way. I have found myself moody and craving weird things. But, I know that this will pass. It's like re-booting your system. And usually everything works a little better when you do re-boot.

A friend of mine said recently, that maybe America is ripe for a cut down on food intake. Not only have food prices risen, but with obesity related illnesses topping out health problems - almost over smoking related illnesses - it gives one thought for pause. Wait, I'm over weight and I am smoking. That made me say a yikes. And heck, maybe we do eat too much.

And, that brings me to another tale-the smoking. I have had people come up to me while I was smoking and say - I thought you were quitting, I read your blog. I am cutting down, not quitting, not yet. I'm not ready to quit yet. I really like having a cigarette and if I can keep the smoking down to a pack or 1/2 a pack a week, I don't see the total harm in it. 1/2 a pack a week is equal to breathing NYC air right?

With that said, I have changed my cutting down program a little. I am now concentrating on smoking only one pack a week. The once a week idea didn't really work. The last time I was doing that, I was at AMDA, much more broke than I am now (although, almost debt free) and between singing, dancing, acting classes, working 6 hours a day (after all the school), I didn't have a lot of time or money to enjoy the smokey treat.

And, smoking was a lot like enjoying a piece of candy back in those days. I don't run out and get a candy bar everyday, but ever so often. And, I hope I can find that enjoyment in the smoking again. Ever so often, wanting a nice puff off of a fine tobacco product. And, enjoying a chocolaty treat.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We Interupt This Regular Scheduled Blog To Say....

Isabeau Cope McClain has arrived! She was born July 3rd, 2008 at 10:20pm. She weighed 6 lb 13 oz, & was 20 inches long.

This is my friend AJ and her husband's Bobby new little child.

And, why is this so important - cause about 2 months ago we weren't sure she was going to make it. She being mother and child. Little Isabeau and Ms. AJ are both doing well.

She wrote a lovely and slightly horrifying story about the birth - I am asking her permission to re-publish here.

YAY!

Sorry no pictures yet.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Quilt


My mom is making me a quilt.

I couldn't wait - I had to show it. It is the green and purple with masks on the brown bed spread.

My mom had been going to "quilters", what she calls the group, for about a year now or so. She never made anything. Just learned different stitches and how to make a quilt. But, didn't think she could afford to actually make one. Little known fact - quilting is a very expensive hobby.

Last year, my dad told her to just go out and buy the stuff and make a quilt. And, she did. She has been working on this one for almost a year. I think she was originally going to be making a baby quilt, but with no real prospect of grand children, she changed it to a quilt for me.

And, I am just tickled.

And proud.

Way to go mom! (I'll be getting it this Christmas. It is probably going into a quilting show first.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Helpful Hint From a DIY Mac Tech

OK, sort of.

First off, let me just say - I love my Mac. I really, really do. Most of the time it is the easiest thing in the world to work on and change things to work better and fix. And, almost always, I find the way to make it work. It's like owning a puzzle that you always figure out and this gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Or, I if all else failed, I would ask Scott.

Since Scott is no longer in the other room, I have to call and see if he can help. Or lean on someone else.

As most of you know, I don't like asking for favors. I really do try to do it myself. And, this one, folks, has taken me a year.

So, I had backed up my computer once I got my external hard drive by copying all the files from one location to my external hard drive. Once I did this, I noticed I had 2 copies of Windows Media Player on my computer, so I trashed one.

I went to empty my trash and darn it if the Windows Media Player was saying that it was locked. So, I went through all the folders and still, there were some hidden files that were locked.

Well, no worries, I'll just take it out of my trash and put it on my Desktop, empty my trash and put it back in.

Oh no.

It copied it to my Desktop and left a copy in the trash. Windows Media Player had become a bunny and started to reproduce as one would. By the end of my little experiment, I had 4 copies of WMP in my trash.

So, to empty my trash, I had to continually click the "OK" when prompted that I could not delete a file because it was locked. And, there were A LOT of these files - I found out later, about 80 per folder. I did however, end up practicing my drumming technique. On my interior mouse. On my laptop. This just simply would not do.

I went to a lot of reference sites and tried to figure this out. All of them said to do all this weird stuff, reboot in another mode, wipe the hard drive, chant the Dummy for Mac handbook over the computer. The responses were negative to people who had tried these suggestions. And some people found that they destroyed their lap top, lost all of their information and the damn thing still was in the trash.

I was not alone in my plight. It was not comforting however.

Eventually, I gave up and decided I would take it in to an Apple store or TechServ at some point.

Then, recently, I got fed up and decided to try again. The key was in unlocking all the files, which I thought I had done. So, I unlocked all the files again that were in the trash. Then, tried to unlock the program itself. It would not let me unlock it.

Light bulb.

My solution when the lockable is unlockable - rename the file and extension.

Which I did. I just put something like "asjidkfp" with no "." or extension after - the common pop up - are you sure - I clicked yes - and what it changed it into was beautiful. It changed the program into a folder. And, low and behold, in that folder was all the language files...that were...locked.

I began the task of plowing through all the folders then all the programs within those folders, unlocking everything. Click, Click, Apple A, Apple I, unlock, moving on. There were about 6 languages per program with 75 files that needed to be unlocked per. I worked for about 1/2 an hour and was finished. Was this actually going to work?

I slid my finger on the keypad to move my mouse up to empty the trash. Viola. The crinkle of paper after you have thrown out the trash on a MAC happened. I hadn't heard that sound in a year.

Ah. Success.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Grass Is Also Greener Here

Continuation of last post.

Day Six: Sleeping and Scanning
Got up just a tad too late to go running and just went with my mom to the Blue House. The people there are great! Great stories, good food, good coffee. And, it is the hangout in the morning of Carlsbad. In other words, all the cool kids go there. I wish I could repeat some of the conversations, but I believe in what's said at the Blue House, stays at the Blue House. :)





Day 7: Scanning and Swimming
So, yes, there was a lot of pics to scan - and they are all on my Picasa page now. I got up, went to the natitorium at the High School. Olympic sized swimming pool. Not messing around. I did about 8 laps with a little rest in between each one. Olympic sized - a lot longer than you think. I use the one at my gym and I can do 4 laps before needing a rest. Of course, then the Blue House.

Then, we went to Brantley Lake a little while later. There were bunnies! Well, hares or jack rabbits to be exact. But, cute bunnies! And road runners! I stuck my toe in, but really didn't do any swimming. After seeing a sign that the fish weren't edible from the lake - I pondered what was in that water.






From there we went to the gem show at the Living Desert State Park. Then, home. Where I ate my last green chili cheese burger for awhile and packed to go home.

I got up the next day, enjoyed breakfast at the Blue House - said goodbye to all the regulars and went to Roswell to take off (again, in a plane, not a spaceship). I had a 6 hour layover in Dallas, TX that I spent with my friend's fiancee, drinking margaritas and discussing their upcoming nuptials.

Then, back to this side of the fence.

I miss that pace of life sometimes. Still getting everything done, but just a little bit slower. Enjoying time with family. Enjoying leisure time. I decided a couple of days ago, that I needed some time off from theatre projects. So, the one I am currently working on will be the last until Blood Brother's Present.... starts up in August. I want to try to re-create, at least a piece of that relaxed sigh that I found myself doing from time to time.

And, look at some more of these - clouds.

The Southwest is Also Greener from the Other Side

I wanted to blog while I was on vacation, but, as is my life, things were continually busy. I did slow down to a steady hum (think of a humming bird slowing down to the pace of a sparrow). And, it was a nice excursion. So, instead of day journals - I will give you highlights.

Day one: Landing
After being up pretty much all night, I was received by my mom and her 2 friends - Irene and Kelly. We went to IHOP - mmmmm. Then, took off from Roswell to home. (Roswell, NM is where I landed - hahaha - gosh that town has gone from nice to big ole alien tourist trap.)

It was really weird walking into the house that day. The last time I was there, I was helping my mom get ready for my father's funeral. Here I was, for the first time, coming for a visit and it being one day before Father's Day. My father, gone. Pictures of him now replaced a lot of the other pictures that were hanging on the wall from the last time I was there. I went to take a shower later that day in my mother's room. His side of the room was just the same. A slight haze of dust laid over bits of it. His jeans were still hanging over the suit rack. His shoes lined up on the floor. His bedside table - everything still there, untouched. So, after my shower, I took some toilet paper and dusted things off. Looked at some of his books.

Day Two: Coping
Father's Day. Mom and I went to a Father's day brunch at one of the local bistros. It was buffet style. The food was really good, however, the presentation was that of a family reunion. Different dishes in different serving trays and bowls spread out on paper lace table cloths.

After that, got some flowers and went here.



Yup. This is how I spent my Father's Day. It looks really nice though. I couldn't have picked a better spot for him. I also looked at my mom's side of the marker. I told her that as creepy as it was to have that there, I was glad I would never have to worry about taking care of it. When she dies at the ripe old age of 110, I'll have nothing to worry about. She said, oh please don't let me live that long. :)

Day Three - Five: On the Road Again
After dealing with some business and a trip to my mom's favorite place to go to 6 times a week, The Blue House, we headed out for Lubbock, TX, where I was to see my father's sister, my aunt, and a whole slew of cousins (cousins of mine with children), most of which I hadn't seen in close to 15 years. One of them just graduated high school, in which case, I told him that I would be back around before he graduated college and apologized for not seeing him since he was in diapers, or something like that. His mother replied with - yeah, right, we'll see you again when he gets married. I do love family. They always tell you like they see and know you. :)

Then off to Santa Fe. Now, this whole trip was major driving. Three hours to Lubbock, TX, Five hours to Santa Fe, then Four and a 1/2 hours back to Carlsbad. In Santa Fe we stayed at a nice hotel, had a good meal, good drinks, went shopping, said hello to Marsha's uncle and I got to catch up with my good friend Kim. Then the driving. But all was made better by a Dairy Queen Chocolate Dipped Waffle Cone (they are not as good looking as they are on TV, but still very tasty). A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few thousand that I don't have to write:










Part 2... Coming Soon

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It Has Been One Week As Of

Midnight tonight.

I will have gone one week without smoking. I was even around a BBQ with all sorts of smokers and things smoking, and smoking, smoking, smoking. And yet, AND YET!

Not a toke. Not a pull. Not a puff.

It helps to have been extremely sick, have feverish hallucinations and not be able to swallow without intense pain for 48 hours. Then, get a hacking cough (that is still with me) 2 days later. It's not that bad - just sounds like I am dying ever 3 hours or so.

But, I digress - a week folks!

Another part of that reason is the price of cigarettes. I went to buy a pack on Tuesday, pulled out my regular $8 for the $7.25 to $7.75 pack and was told I needed another dollar - It's $9 now. That was it, I'm done. I knew they would get me in the pocketbook eventually.

They win! I'm going to try and cut it WAY down.

Here's the new plan folks:
I can smoke once a week. One day. That's it.
During productions: I can smoke one week before Tech, Tech week and Show nights.

Have I found any benefits you might ask? Well, the only one so far is I am not as tired as I was in the morning and well, all day and for all the sickness, my singing voice is hitting some notes I couldn't hit when I was well.

And, until I am fully well, probably still will sound like I am coughing up a lung from time to time. But, this to will pass.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Since May? I am so sorry!

I have not posted since May? Since May? Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. Sorry to myself and to my readers. I haven't been feeling really "posty" lately. Still recouping from the big run of Colorful World. But, I am going on vaca very soon and hopefully might do some interesting writing from the Southwest. We'll see.

But, for today, saw this and wanted to post. My Hexagram for the day. I am pretty sure everyone gets the same - although, I could be wrong. This could be my own personal one. Regardless, something is singing in this for me. Not sure what I need to take from it or exactly how to apply, but once I was reading, I got a little twinkle in my belly. Ah, intuition. Here you go:

59: Dispersing
Monday, June 9th, 2008

General Meaning: Nothing survives forever, not even rocks, not even the most rigid of structures. The erosion of that which has been solid is not necessarily bad: it can mean that something new is being created. The image is of ice floes, hardened in winter, dispersing in the warmth of spring; when the ice melts, a mighty river emerges.

Rigidity in the hearts of men tends to breed a separateness which can only be thawed by a greater force: typically, some strong spiritual stirring. The thawing of cold hearts brings good fortune.

The first thing to dissolve is any internal rigidity which separates you from others. Try to work more closely with others, concentrating on common activities which evidence your integrity and native goodwill. Sudden, strong action in support of a greater good can lift the spirit, and lead toward new possibilities in many areas. Spiritual impulses - including righteous indignation and a strong sense of justice - should be honored, and acted upon. They can provide the initial impulse to important and constructive change.

And if you should have any lingering business or other partnerships which are inactive or not working, you might consider dissolving these as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I started this post on Tuesday after finally catching up with my blog reading (which pretty much entails the links to the right, while following a lot of the links in those blogs. Yes, I need to sign up with blog lines.) And, if you are reading this and your link is not there, let me know. I would love to add you.

What I found out, was a lot of people blogging about blogging. What to blog, who do I blog about, should I blog. Basically, to blog or not to blog.

This got me to thinking about my blog and the people who surround me in my life that either have blogs or do not. And, really, why would I even write one - I know a lot more prolific people than me. I know better writers than me. And, 1/2 of those people, do not have blogs.

About February/March, I noticed that my little blog went from 2 to 3 readers to 50 or so. Which was kind of crazy, but nice. I haven't checked recently. It's kind of like looking at your weight. When you feel good about yourself and how you look, you don't mind jumping on the scale. But, when you don't, you find reasons to avoid it. I have a feeling that since I have been so busy and my once a week goal of writing was broken, my readers have dropped off.

Then, I was talking with one of my readers who asked - 'when are you going to post again? I mean apparently when you are less busy.' The thought of writing, just seemed like such a luxury and the thought of how long I had been away from the blog, equally depressing. I asked why, I mean, my blog isn't that great. And, someone else said - 'I really like it. It doesn't really talk about anything specific, just about things you are thinking about.'

Hrmmm. I guess that's a good thing.

So, I'm hoping to come back around again with some more posting about what just happens to be on my mind -since you seem to like that.

But, I am not out of the woods yet - on the absence of free time that is - Colorful World is still 2 weeks from being done. And, I have to admit, I still don't know what it looks like, but I know we have a great show. I guess being a slight puppeteer to this whole shibang has really left me on the outside looking in. Please come on up (or down) to 78th St. Theatre Lab, check it out and let me know what you think.

In the mean time you can go here:
http://www.eljallartsannex.com/Colorful%20World.htm
or here:
http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/showpage.php?t=colo6687
or here:
http://www.broadwayworld.com/viewcolumn.cfm?colid=27785
or here (there be spoilers ahead if you go here):
http://confoundedblog.blogspot.com/ (Piddy did a great job talking about getting into shape, character and the show itself.)
And, this one has nothing to do with the show - just about the posting above:
http://scotleewilliams.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 12, 2008

Status Report

Show is open. Tech week is over. I have gotten some amount of sleep. People keep saying I look tired.

I weighed myself and doesn't seem to be that I gained any weight. However, I am much more flabby than before. Must keep up with the working out and getting in better shape. Went to the gym today.

I smoked A LOT during Tech week. However, today, just one so far. Back to the cut down.

With that said, please come to our show. It's really quite spectacular.



Colorful World

A new play by James Comtois

featuring
Zack Calhoon* — Abe Goldfarb* — Jessi Gotta
Marc Landers — Mac Rogers — Patrick Shearer
Ben VandenBoom — Christopher Yustin

*Denotes member of the Actors Equity Association

Directed by Pete Boisvert
The 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 West 78th St., 2nd Floor
May 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31
Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m.
Tickets available at TheatreMania.


In 1988, the world discovered a man who was indestructible, impervious to pain, and able to destroy a tank with his mind.

In the early- to mid-nineties, a craze where vigilantes dressed up in flashy costumes and fought crime took the nation by storm.

Now it's 2005. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are still standing. Hurricane Katrina has decimated New Orleans. The Iraq War is coming to a close. And several former costumed crimefighters realize their marks on the world are more akin to those of has-been rock stars.

This is Colorful World, Nosedive Productions' latest full-length production that takes on the superhero genre. Far from a pulpy comic book-style romp, James Comtois and Pete Boisvert (The Adventures of Nervous-Boy) envision a world radically changed by the arrival of an invincible man, and not necessarily for the better.

Colorful World will be performed at the 78th Street Theatre Lab (236 West 78th St. at Broadway) May 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 (Thursday through Saturday). All shows are at 8 p.m. and tickets are $18. Subway: 1 to 79th Street; A to 81st Street; or 1 2 or 3 to 72nd Street. Tickets available at TheatreMania.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Show Good, Fire Bad

The fear of all that is holy and non-holy came rushing through me Monday night as I was trying to drift off to sleep. And, for the first time in a long time, I couldn't sleep. One thing after another came through my head regarding the upcoming Nosedive show. All the things that needed to get done, all the things that I was responsible for, all the things I wasn't responsible for, but needed to keep an eye on. And, for the first time in a long time, I couldn't sleep.

I don't know when I got to bed that night, but when I did wake, didn't feel like I slept at all.

And the fear was, one of the things I realized, in essence, for Colorful World, I am Stage Manager, Tech Director, Assistant Set Designer and all things props. (I had some people lined up to help out, as per usual. However, this time around, everyone got busy or was moving, etc., etc.) I am no stranger to responsibility. But, this much, overwhelmed me for a few.

Then, I took sometime and got my crap together.

I really thought, being out of grad school, only working a 9 to 5 job, I could do this, I have plenty of time. I can take on another show with another company in between all my shows and still get things done. Yeah, I may have over estimated how much time I had time.

I now feel like I could use one more week.

But, don't we all feel that way? Even when doing any large project? Just one more week? Come on. Really? That's all I'm asking here.

And, the funny thing is, we always get things done and the finished product is much better than we could ever dream. That's what I'm hoping for here.

However, the last show I remember being this worked up about was The Adventures of Nervous Boy. And, that turned out amazing. Better than amazing. Phenomenal.

The real reason I opened up my blog today was because of my Iching reading I got for the day. From what I was just feeling, this really seemed to hit home.

So, to all my readers, there may not be that much posting over the next few. Except for promotional.

(You should come see my show. I am working really hard on it. http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/142889)

My Iching Reading for Today
51 Shock
General Meaning: One hears thunder unexpectedly! First comes fear, then a sharpened, clearer vision. Recall a close brush with danger - a falling branch, an automobile accident barely avoided, an escape from a potentially violent confrontation. Such incidents first arouse every nerve fiber in your body in a brief wave of terror, but soon, once the danger has passed, give way to a heightened awareness of the world. The same process also occurs with other types of shock - the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, business failure and so on.

The lasting impact of a major shock can either be stimulating or debilitating, depending upon one's inner strength of character. The critical factor is the ability to become immune to fear, thereby transforming anxiety into a laser-sharp perception of the world around you.

When overtaken by crisis, the wise search their hearts for inner strengths, in order to face the world with courage. Courage often means daring to take the unexpected path - to bounce back quickly and self-confidently after failure, to have faith in the eternal when confronted with death.

We tend to think of shock only in the context of unpleasant events. We can also be jarred, however, by the sudden release of tension which comes with unexpected success. To keep your bearings in the aftershock of either trauma or victory, it is essential that your inner compass be aligned with "true north", that magnetic force which guides you toward fulfillment of both your deepest desire, and your highest destiny.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

I got a little swamped and side tracked these past couple of weeks - hence no posting. Busy.

How many times have some of you heard that come out of my mouth? I am beginning to think it as more of a mantra I repeat than an actual state of being. I mean, I am out of grad school. I work a 9 to 5 job. I socialize from time to time. What the heck I am so busy at?

Making theatre.

OK, well, come on. You also probably knew that. But, I got to talking to some folks a couple of weeks ago and again, the "busy" word came up. And, one person asked me - have you had a break? To this, I pondered and began to say- well of course I...wait a minute.

I have been involved in shows since January of 2007.

Yes, I can say - well, I didn't do anything in May, but I was moving and my goodness, that was a production in itself. But, I realized, that out of all my goals - most of which have been going by the side of the road - I did accomplish that one. I have been doing theatre for over a straight year now. And, for a lot of it, I have been getting a stipend. So, paid work at that.

This is definitely where I say - be careful what you wish for.

I also feel that I have learned a lot in this year in the theatre world as well. And, on occasion, I have been called upon by peers in my different fields for suggestions, recommendations and knowledge that for some odd reason, I possess. I am starting to feel like the little engine that could. I am starting to see the top of the hill.

The only thing I wonder now is - what is over the top and will I enjoy the ride. Or am I just about to go out of control?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ordinary World

Last night, I took a moment to myself to smoke a cigarette and got to look out over a portion of our fair city. Listen to the traffic below, see the lights on all the buildings, look at the people across the street in their apartments, hear the people talking to other people as they went on their way.

This reminded me of one of my first nights in New York City.

When I first moved here, I was only smoking one cigarette a week. I chose to take that one cigarette on the roof of my apartment building - my apartment being a 10X12 room. I lived off of 57th street and Lexington Ave. I was relieved when I first heard that I had roof access. From the cramped living quarters to the cramped everyday life of New York, it was nice to know I had a place where I could feel space.

I would go up to the roof and scan the whole city. It was gorgeous. All the lights and sounds. The first time I went up there it was a little overwhelming, the big city. But as I took it all in, the stars I missed were replaced with the lights and buildings I would grow to love.

I also began to remember all the times I would be walking home from seeing a show or going through Times Square or walking through Central Park on my way to school. I would ever so often stop for a second out of glee and think - my gosh, I live in New York City.

Last night, after remembering this, I tried to re-kindle that moment for this great city. But, it wasn't there. That awe of where I am. It has been replaced by a feeling of this is where I live. This is my home. This is normalcy.

Well, I have been here for over a decade.

But, I still wanted that feeling. It should still be there. I get excited walking home when I realize where I live and how much I love the neighborhood and all the things that encompass it. I decided that there had to be another reason for not feeling that "awe" than just the fact that I've been here for awhile. Then, it dawned on me. New York was my goal. I have attained it.

My dream was to live in New York - I am. To work in theatre - I am. To be able to make a living - I am (well sort of). I am doing everything I have set out to do.

I still didn't feel satisfied with my thoughts on all this. So, what did I do - I turned to my music.

Ordinary World by Duran Duran came on. At first listen I thought - exactly, right, I'm living in an ordinary world. What was once a place of excitement and newness was now just ordinary. Great. Well, what should I do now?

Then, I listened to the song again, and again, and again. Really paying close attention to the lyrics.

I love it when a song speaks to you. Or, you can insert your own feelings or life into it. Some would say speak - others insert - I like thinking it speaks to me. The lyrics reflected feelings, ideas, situations (in a very broad term) that had happened up to a year ago to things that had happened just recently. And, after my day - meditating, releasing here, reflecting there, the above moment, etc., I felt satisfied with my answer. And, felt that the day had come, full circle.

What I took from it? Time to dry my eyes from my past heartaches and start moving to solid ground. There are also things in the world around me that are much bigger than what is going on in my own head. I need to stop trying to regain some semblance of my past and start trying to find out who I am and what my life is now. I can't re-kindle that moment of the excitement of the city no more than I can bring back the life I once loved.

This has definitely been a true Spring Equinox/Easter for me. I can feel the warm in the air. Time to shake off the leaves.

Ordinary World Duran Duran
Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue
Thought I heard you talking softly
I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still I can't escape the ghost of you
What is happening to it all? Crazy some would say
Where is the life that I recognize? Gone away

But I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world I will learn to survive

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say:
'Pride will tear us both apart'
Well now pride's gone out the window, 'cross the rooftops, run away
Left me in the vacuum of my heart
What is happening to me? Crazy some will say
Where is my friend when I need you most? Gone away

But I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world I will learn to survive

Papers in the roadside tell of suffering and grief
Fear today forgot tomorrow
Here beside the news of holy war and holy need
Ours is just a little sorrowed talk
Just blown away

And I won't cry for yesterday
There's an ordinary world somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world I will learn to survive
Every world is my world
(I will learn to survive)
Any world is my world
(I will learn to survive)
Any world is my world,
Every world is our world,
Every world

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hey, I Put My New Shoes On...

I am a year older and hopefully I have been able to take last year's lessons and information to be able to say the proverbial - one year older and wiser.

I have been feeling like I have been a drift a vast ocean for so long. Or, like I've told some of my friends, being re-created from the burnt ashes of experience. My own Icarus Phoenix if you will(I should write about that sometime). But only now am I being able to stand fully upright and brushing off the soot.

I am one year older.

And, when being born, one is stripped from their mother's womb, the one warm, comforting place you knew for so many months and slapped on the back and then, at least in my day, placed on a cold metal scale. This is your welcome to the world - your birth. Of course, this would leave anyone a little cranky.

I was really cranky last week.

However, this morning I woke up, from underneath my warm blankets, feeling somewhat satisfied. Like everything would be OK. That everything was OK.

Was this from talking to my mom last night? Was this from starting auditions for Colorful World? Was this from having a populus of people saying Happy Birthday to me for three days straight (which by the way - thank you!)? Was it the Tarot card reading I got and the results of that? I don't know. And, it could be, that nothing above actually changed my perception. I just was...that, of feeling alright, for the first time in I don't know how long.

That's not to say that over this past year there weren't mornings I woke up giddy over this or that. Or found myself happily walking down the street. Or loving ever minute of being with my friends. I have found myself happy and feeling alright multiple times over this year.

This morning I woke up feeling satisfied. Like I can do anything.

The world is in front of me. I am a year older and hopefully wiser. I have learned from all of my teachers, the world, around me. I believe I am ready to re-start out on my path. This is both scary and exciting. Part of me wants to crawl back under the covers and just relish that feeling of satisfaction. But, I know the feeling will pass. So, I just have to keep on going, like I have been, and see what this new year will bring.

This feeling of satsifaction? I hope it lasts.

Never Stop Rocking....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to .......

My dad.



Today would have been his 66Th birthday.

I had been contemplating when to take down the memorial on my web page - has it been up there long enough or has my page become more about death and my father? This will be the last day that it stays at the top of my page. Tomorrow, it will move. I was going to take the whole thing off, but my dad was such a part of my life and made me who I am, that he deserves a spot on my blog.

And, I am not saying that in a few days, weeks or months, you won't be getting another "dad" story or memory. I feel that this is one process I can blog about without hurting feelings or others. And, it's a part of every one's life - everyone will go through this, the act of loosing a parent.

So, today is kind of a rough day. It really hit me last night. I don't know if this has happened to you, but I have had a tendency in my life, that after someone has died, forgetting they are gone. You go through the motions, the funeral, the grieving all of that, then you go on with your life. Then one day, you are talking with someone and blurt out, I should get that for or I should tell "insert dead loved one here". Last night was one of those moments. Where I got excited for a second that tomorrow was my dad's birthday. Then, almost instantly, my mood swung to the other side.

I then began to remember those years when I was super busy (even more than I am now) and would suddenly realize that my father's birthday was a day or two away. And, running out to get a birthday gift or card, knowing it would be getting to him late. But, also knowing that a call to him would be his ideal gift. He would say, "You don't (or didn't) have to get me anything, kiddo. Just talking to you is a gift enough." There may have been one or two days over my ... years, where I suddenly realized at midnight or the next day that I had missed my dad's birthday. I would run to the phone or, now, yank it out of my pocket and call him immediately. In those situations he would just say don't worry about it. "I'm too old for birthday's anyway."

Here's to you pops. Happy Birthday.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

In other news, some of you have been asking about the smoking cut down. I smoked my one during the day and only had 2 at home last night. That's right - only 3 in one day. And, by the by, it is weird that I am proud of such a fact, seeing that a few years ago, I could go 3 or 4 days without having none. Oh well! Oh and the rule for March is: only 1 during working hours. I can have up to 2 if I am just at home. 5 if I am going out. And, for theatre work - as many as I like, which has been about 3 or 4, depending on the night. Weekends is still smoke if you got em'.

(And by the way - Thank you dear readers - checked out my readership the other day and it has almost tripled - thanks for passing my link, adding it or what have you. It's so nice to know there are more than 5 people reading this. :) )

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ghost in the Machine?

I got my father's Ipod after he passed away. My mother already had one and didn't need another one. This is the second time I have gotten an Ipod I did not want, nor ask for, just given to me. I'm not real jazzed about the circumstances on this gift, but it is a gift none the less.

I've listened to what he had on his Ipod. Some music I believe came with the Ipod, but mostly he had audio books. He had gotten his Ipod for his last birthday in March, so he didn't have a lot of time to use it. However, I really believe he got it so that he could listen to the audio books on trips. He used to listen to books on tape while driving. I have no clue how he stayed awake. I tired to listen to the "Two Towers", which is a great audio book - John Dale narrating - but after about 5 minutes I was fast asleep as if I were a child being read a bed time story.

I recently figured out how to get all my dad's music and audio books off his Ipod, onto my ITunes and all my stuff on to his Ipod. It was a simple confusion of "import" meaning importing to my computer, not importing new stuff onto the Ipod (thank you to the person who gave me the heads up on that). It is so nice to have all my stuff on one Ipod. And, quite exciting.

So, after doing all that, I took it out for a test spin. And, decided to write down what the first three songs were. As, I am one of those people that believe things happen in threes/meaning in threes, etc. Now, anyone can put meaning into anything. And, maybe I did this here, but the first 3 songs that came from my once father's Ipods spoke to me, some a little more than others. I listed them below in order and put the lyrics as well.

1. "39" By Queen. Which has come to be one of my favorite songs now. After I listened to the 3 songs and some others, I went back and listened to the this song over and over again - and you could say, found religion or my spirit was moved, take your pick. (When I am a little down, I listen to this song now.) The song has a definite "dad" feeling for me. It speaks to his toughness. It speaks to his sense of duty and perseverance. It has that bit of a dirge/country feel. (On my level, it spoke to the lil' pirate in me.) And, this verse, do I need to explain: "Don't you hear my call, Though you're many years away, Don't you hear me calling you, Write your letters in the sand, For the day I'll take your hand, In the land that our grand-children knew". And, then the last line: "For my life, still ahead, pity me." Maybe I'm stretching here.

In the year of thirty-nine
Assembled here the volunteers
In the days when lands were few
Here the ship sailed out into the blue and sunny morn
The sweetest sight ever seen
And the night followed day
And the story tellers say
That the score brave souls inside
For many a lonely day
Sailed across the milky seas
Ne'er looked back never feared never cried

Don't you hear my call
Though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
Write your letters in the sand
For the day I'll take your hand
In the land that our grand-children knew

In the year of thirty-nine
Came a ship in from the blue
The volunteers came home that day
And they bring good news
Of a world so newly born
Though their hearts so heavily weigh
For the earth is old and grey
little darlin' we'll away
But my love this cannot be
Oh so many years have gone
Though i'm older but a year
Your mother's eyes from your eyes cry to me

Don't you hear my call
Though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
Write your letters in the sand
For the day I'll take your hand
In the land that our grand-children knew

Don't you hear my call
Though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
All your letters in the sand
Cannot heal me like your hand
For my life, still ahead, pity me.

2. "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. The first sentence I ever said was "It's a sunny day." My parents told me I would get up in the morning, run to window, pull open the curtains and say "It's a sunny day." Even if it was raining outside or cloudy and not a bit of sun in the sky, I would say it. They don't know where I picked this up. When this song came on next, I almost cried.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say, it's all right.

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter.
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say, it's all right.

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces.
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say, it's all right.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say, it's all right.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.
It's all right.
It's all right.

3. "Lucky" - Second Hand Jive. This was a song from my dad's Ipod. It has a country feel, so even if it didn't come with the Ipod, I am sure that he liked it, being a good ole country boy and all. My father, every time he did something for me, he said he was "making an investment". And, that he knew that investment was a good one and a chance he would take anytime. That's what I got out of this. There are a couple of lines that of course were not a part of this thinking - the wine and the stoned ones. OK - those were a little weird.

Well I gotta call you lucky
Cause all I can think about
Is what to do with all of your charms.
Well I know you think it's not enough
But I could never give it up
Since I had the lovin' you show

Well I place my bet no matter the line
Well I pick a winner every time
Well lucky always gets me home
Yeah with lucky near I can't go wrong

Well I gotta call you lucky
Cause all I can think about
Is all the love you've given so far
Well I know you think it's not enough
But I could never give it up
Since I've had a taste of your wine.

Yeah Well I place my bet no matter the line
And I pick a winner every time
Well lucky always gets me stoned
With lucky near I can't go wrong

No I can't

Come on lucky

Listen
I'll place my bet no matter the line
And I pick a winner every time
Well lucky always gets me stoned
With lucky near I can't go wrong

So, you tell me. How much am I reading into this and how much could be my father speaking from the beyond?

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Eyes Are Dry....

I have other things I am about to post, but as I am writing, I am squinting. Then blinking. Rubbing my eyes. Drinking water. A little better. Then squinting. And, repeat.

Winter and working in an office is drying out my eyes. Could also be the fact that I haven't been drinking as much water as I should.

That could be because I have been having to buy water to get water bottles to put my water in. And, after a week or so of uses, you can tell that the plastic is starting to carrying around some bacteria perhaps. Or just general ickyness.

I've been having to buy water to get the water bottles because I lost my Nalgene. I realized today that I have bought a total of 3 Nalgenes in the past 8 years or so. They're great bottles. I have even dropped one down a path of a mountain, came back for it later and found that it was just scratched. All my Nalgenes I have had to replace, I have lost.

Oh wait, what's this? A package.

I got my 2 new Nalgenes. Yay!

I wonder if this will help my eyes?

Non-sequitor lady signing off.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Shamless Plug #???? - Nosedive's Boxcar Social

In an effort to raise funds for our Spring production of James Comtois' Colorful World, Nosedive is throwing a fundraiser at the Battle Ranch in Williamsburg this weekend.

Featuring The Amazing Amazini, the poetry stylings of Brian Silliman, some new video sketches by our own tribe of sick little monkeys, a raffle featuring: Some of Nosedive's DVD Collection and tickets to Vampire Cowboy's Fight Girl, Battle World - and every one's favorite BEER!

So come on down to the Battle Ranch on Saturday, win some stuff, enjoy some eclectic entertainment, drink yourself silly and help us put on a show!

Nosedive's Boxcar Social
at The Vampire Cowboy's Battle Ranch
111 Conselyea Street, 2L (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) Saturday, February 16th, 7pm-11pm.
$5 Cover, $2 beers, and $1 Jello Shots

Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery



If you can't make it Saturday night, you can always give a little back by going here. We would really appreciate it!
https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/188

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Part Deux - The Act of Slowing Down.....

My Smoking.

Part 2 - Developing my smoking and how the hell is Stephanie going to cut down.

So, over the course of that year, I cut down and when I got to NY, I swore I would only have a cigarette once a week - if even that. And, I did very well on that. Not even really smoking for months on end. Ever so often there were a few weeks where I would smoke more. A lot of the AMDA kids did smoke and since you could still smoke in bars back then, I did smoke more some nights than others.

Then, AMDA was over; I quit smoking for almost 2 years when...

I joined a band as a back-up singer. My thinking was - well, the lead singer, she won't smoke. Oh, I was so wrong. She smoked. She smoked a lot. A couple of her band mates smoked. So, the more we rehearsed and the more we performed, the more I began to smoke again. However, when I had more than 4 or 5 cigarettes in one night, I got the cigarette hangover the next day. Some of you might know what this is. It is a headache and feels like your brain is drying up. You can almost hear it crinkle. I hated that, so that kept my smoking down some.

Then, one of band mates introduced me to American Spirits. That changed everything.

They weren't the best tasting at first, but I soon came around to them. And, what do you know - no cigarette hangover the next day. So, I kept up to about a pack a month, or every 2 weeks, depending on what was going on. Bands came and went and so did my smoking.

Then, I joined Nosedive Productions.

And, the smoking has not gone down since. I've quit for a week here or there, but once a production comes up - I am smoking right along side them. But, it is not just them. I have done other productions with other theatre groups and I still smoke. And, there was the whole Master's Degree. Yeah, good time to quit. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

So, after that ball of twine, my knitted sweater above of my life and cigarettes, here is the real point - I am trying to cut down, if not quit all together. And, this is all for health reasons and money. I know I will feel better when I wake up. I know my voice will be better for singing. I know I will have a little more money during the week. These are all things that I know.

But, I do love a good cigarette ever so often.

How am I doing it? First off, as I have learned, going cold turkey does not work. Not that I can't do it, because I have many times. I just get really sick. Bronchitis, pneumonia, you name it. If I quit tomorrow, I would be coughing and wheezing 72 hours. Which, I just always find ironic. When I quit, this is when I get the smoker's cough.

So, I have started by watching how much I smoke during the day. I was at 3 a day in January. Now I am at 2 a day come February. I am hoping to get back to not smoking during the day. Granted, I will still take my "non" smoke breaks, just not smoke. A friend of mine did this. I thought he was a smoker for a year cause he would always go down with the smokers on breaks, but found out he used to smoke, but quit. He went down with the smokers because why should he give up that "break" time.

I have given myself a few more options when the sun comes down. If I go straight home, I can have 2 total. I have to pick when my two will be. I started doing it on my way home from the train, but then had only one for the rest of the night. So, I now listen to my ipod or call someone on my way home from the train. Then March, it will only be one. Then April - no more at home.

Party or going out. I can have as many as I want until March. Then I will start pairing down much like above - probably starting with 5 in the night, then 4, and so on.

However, one part of my life will not change - the Theatre Production. Smoking is definitely part of my creative process/stress reducer, you name it. Like alcohol and cigarettes. Same with theatre. It is technically where I started and along with it being a gift from my grandma, it becomes a little more sacred. Or at least that is my reasoning. And, with theater, there will be a break in rehearsal, before performance, where I will go downstairs (cause rehearsal or performance spaces, there are always stairs), collect my thoughts and smoke a cigarette. It is my meditation in that world.

So, I don't plan on quitting completely. I just can't see myself doing that. This is kind of funny because when I was younger, I never saw myself smoking. So, smokes if you got em'. Cause there is nothing quite like taking a drag off of "the little death".

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Act of Slowing Down....

My Smoking.

Part One - the History of Stephanie and the Cigarette:

Smoking was a big No-No in my family. Although, all my grandparents (well, except my mom's mother) and most Uncles and Aunts, smoked. When I was 3 or 4, I remember my Uncle twirling a cigarette and then throwing it up in the air and catching it in his mouth. I wanted to do that too. So, I went over to his pack and picked one up. I don't really remember what exactly happened. I just remember commotion and being swooped up and a lot of "No's" being said and I think I got swatted on the butt.

I had no clue that a cigarette was bad. That just looked like a neat trick.

I also was not allowed to play in a room where people were smoking. I was a very sick child growing up with a lot of cases of pneumonia. As I got older and less sickly, that rule got little more lenient. However, most of the time, when I was around cigarette smoke, I would get woozy, nauseated, hard time breathing or all of the above.

I never thought I would ever smoke or even be able. I didn't like the way I felt when I was around it, so why even bother trying. And, since I mostly hung out with the geeks and band nerds, I was never really around it.

Only once do I remember actually thinking, I want a cigarette. High school. I was dating the lead singer of a band. (A band all my friends were in as well.) And, he ended up dumping me for a bleached blond hottie from Sweetwater, TX. (And, going to a tangent for a moment - I ended up, in college, getting dumped by the guitarist of another band for said Sweetwater chic. Irony? Or just dumb luck? Small world?) Any way, I was talking to my friends about the break up and said hottie and got really frustrated and angry and sad and just blurted out - "What I wouldn't do for a cigarette right now."

What, wait? I had never smoked in my life.

My friends I was with had been smoking ever so often. And, even though I did hang out with the above mentioned geeks, I did have friends who smoked. But, except for that one time when I was 3 or 4, I never really touched a cigarette.

Then, came college and I ended up doing a scene for my acting class where the character smoked. Seeing that I wanted to play the scene as close as possible, I set out to teach myself to smoke.

No dice. Didn't work.

I had friends that tried to help me. Tried to teach me. Nothing. I couldn't inhale. Every time I tried I would gag or cough. Or, I just couldn't. My friends told me to just keep trying and practice. By the time the performance of the scene happened, I was no where near being a convincing smoker. My director/professor really liked the scene, however, he told me that if he ever saw me on stage not inhaling when I smoked - basically, looking fake - he would come up on stage and slap the cigarette out of my mouth.

I didn't touch cigarettes again. Decided probably for the best.

Then, my 21st birthday. I was going to Lubbock to see my grandmother. She was an amazing lady and if I had to pick a favorite relative - it was her. She was a smoker since she was 16. She had stopped smoking about 5 years before her death. A week before my 21st birthday, while on a choir tour, I saw her. She gave me a ring of hers and told me to take it because I would never see her again. I told her that I would be coming down for Spring Break and she didn't need to give this to me now. She said she just knew I would never see her again and she wanted to make sure this one ring got to me. Anyway, Spring Break came and I did not get down to see her. Then, the day after my 21st birthday, she passed away in her sleep that morning.

Some friends took me out that night, after a rehearsal, for the birthday drink and to comfort me. I was really shaken up. I had other family members die, but this was the first one that really hit me hard. We were all drinking; I was talking about my grandmother when I asked one of my friends for a cigarette. He said sure, gave me one and then reminded me of the "not being able to smoke" thing. He lit it, and I inhaled and had no problem smoking.

Thanks Grandma. Thanks for the gift of smoking.

So, after that, I smoked VERY rarely. One or two every few months. I started with Lucky Strikes (non-filter), then went to Camel (no filter) before I finally became a Camel Lights girl. Again, smoking rarely, or better yet the social smoker - only at parties where large quantities of alcohol were served.

It wasn't until I was graduating college. I was directing a full length piece (that I had to design all myself, from lights to costumes to set - you get the picture) while working 2 jobs (Facilitator at a Ropes Course and Waitress at a Black-Eyed Pea). I worked the Ropes Course, then went to wait tables, then went to the theatre to work on my set. I walked out onto the docks of the theatre at about 5:30am that morning to watch the sun come up and have a cigarette. I reached into my pack and there was only one left. I bought this pack yesterday. I smoked a whole pack in 24 hours.

Woah, this is not good. I'm no longer a social smoker. I'm a smoker.

Friday, February 08, 2008

January Was Not the Month I Was Waiting For - But Awesome None The Less

So, my January was not as laid back as I had been waiting for. I know, "waiting", wouldn't that be hoping? No, waiting. Since about Septmeber, I have been waiting for January to come around and give me some nice nights off and weekends off. Go out, watch movies, maybe organize my life a little more. Not the case.

1. Rapid Vamps Fight Studio held by the Vampire Cowboys - Instructor Qui Nguyen. This started that very first weekend in January and came to a close this past Sunday. Awesome, awesome class. And, although I lost one day of couch time on my weekend, it was totally worth it. This is my 3rd time taking the class. Even though a lot of it is the same, it is definitely worth taking more than once. You see your own improvement and moves or techniques that didn't make sense before suddenly do. And, there is always something new or different that Qui throws in.
2. Dance/Movement piece with Catherine Gasta for the New Dance Group. One night Catherine and I were talking in my kitchen and she mentioned she needed dancers for a piece she was choreographing that would perform at the end of January. She would be using some dance technique and mime and some acting. She showed me some moves, I attempted to repeat, even though I had 3 beers at this point. And, she asked me to be involved. One of my goals last year was to get back into some sort of dance. Having a tight budget, didn't really get to that. So, it was nice to start off the New Year with a goal from last year accomplished. The performance went really well the other night. The rehearsals were challenging, but rewarding. And, Catherine also used me as a sounding board on rehearsing, choreographing and such. And, most importantly, I kept up with the young kids.
3. Pinkie Episode 5. Not that I have been doing that much with the whole series, I did help slightly with the organizing and the filming and the drinking of the beer that night. It has really been a delight to be a part of this series. Vampire Cowboys has found a fun and creative way for other Off-Off Broadway companies to meet and mingle. It doesn't feel like networking, yet I met some people that I hope I keep in contact with. It was like summer camp. It was so great to see everyone, see their shows and it was really sad to see it come to an end. I hope that we can take Pinkie and make it into a full length. It was such a joy to watch.
4. IT Awards Judges Video. Granted this just started, but I will be part of the Innovative Theatre Awards instructional video for the judges. Did a rehearsal, got to see the story boards and hear how everything was going to work. I am excited to see how this goes. They are definitely shooting this in a very creative way.
5. Vampire Cowboys - Fight Girl, Battle World. Got to sit in on the reading of this soon to be amazing show that I got the honor to be Assistant Stage Managing. Have you noticed I have been writing a lot about Vampire Cowboys? They are definitely hot. I mean, with a name like that? And, if you haven't heard of them, check them out. www.vampirecowboys.com
6. Colorful World. Nosedive's new show had it's initial reading. I'm really excited about where this show is going to go. So, I have been doing the normal things I do, except, since we have the script, I have been able to get the ball rolling early. Also, because space is getting harder and harder to find 2 months out, we pushed our production dates to May instead of April. I am also probably going to need to the most research on this show than I have with any other in the past. Although, it is total geek girl moment for me: comic book reading. Oh yeah - giggity!
7. A Night With Alan Cumming. Okay, not a whole night, but an hour where a (sadly incompetent) interviewer talked about Alan's career. It was a freebie I got for going to NYU. Alan came in, in a wrinkled pin stripe suit and the interviewer let us know that he just got off work at 5pm. With the wrinkled suit and just how approachable he seemed, I thought, oh, he works a day job too? Of course this was rehearsal. He is doing The Seagull with Diane Weist (I believe). He decided to sit on the chair arm so that the back row could see him and was so very kind to the interviewer even though the questions he was asking were not as pertinent to his career. The talk back was much more interesting. Another goal I have is to go to as many of my freebies from NYU that I can. So, goal #2, working on it.

That's about it. I mean, there were the few nights out and a few movie viewings, but January was much more different than I envisioned. Now, I am in February, the shortest month of the year, then the roller coaster starts to go on the downhill until June. But, looking back over the month, I am so blessed to have had so many creative outlets to be a part of. And, although it was not the most restful, I feel like I have taken a step up in my artist career.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Death, Dying, Living

So, I was wanting to post this after the "Part 3", but holidays, getting ready for another show, holidays, getting ready for another show (you get the picture), permitted me from doing so. I was going to write more about the week after my father's death and what happened, but instead, I wanted to hopefully give you some knowledge on what I learned about a parent's death. All of you that read my blog (all 2 of you :)).

So, I went back to my journal and found the 2 pages that were written between me and my friend Alissa. On a side note Alissa and my other friend Marjori, dropped work to drive 8 hours to be with me and my mom to help out. I would not have gotten through the week without them.

The Living/Dead list:

- Back to NYC - Tue. Night (this was written when I was flying to Houston - thinking that a miracle was going to happen - ironic how this was at the top of the list that later became - the list of sorting out the living and the dead)
- Hair Appt - Wed. AM (my mom hadn't had her hair cut in 2 months)
- Sew Up Drapes - Wed./Thur. (my mom had just put up new drapes b/4 my dad went in for the operation and hadn't had time to hymn them)
- Bills - Wed/Thur. - categorized/paid (having to figure out what was paid, what needed to be paid and just what was what)
- Pills - Wed./Thur. (my mom's medication. didn't want 2 funerals that week.)
- Obituary - Wed.
- Craig - Wed. (this is the Rev. at FUMC where my parents had attended church. And, also, where I attended growing up. got to see a lot of familar faces there.)
- Headstone - Wed. - Denton (this was the funeral home), Casket, Claudia's Hair (my dad's sister had a box of my dad's hair from his first hair cut. his mother had given it to his sister before she died and his sister had been forgetting to give it to him. so, we decided it would go with him in the casket)
- Fri - Food, Plates, s/u stuff, ice
- Dry Clean - Dad's suit - Wed.
- Limo - Wed.
- Photo - Dad (a picture for the paper)
- Grocery List
- Germany Trip - change name (my mom and dad had planned on going to Germany and had already put a down payment on the trip. i was originally going to go in his place.)
- call Late bills
- Get rid of trash
- call flower shop (for flowers for the casket)
- pick up/call for flowers that need to be delivered
- Call HS about inquiring years of coaching - what sports (this was for the obit.)
- Clear shoe boxes for bills (we were setting up a system for my mom - we ended up just buying some nice boxes and folders for her)

We had determined the funeral was going to be Friday, so we technically only had 48 hours to pull this off (did I mention that I had contracted bronchittis? Well, heck, if I had SMed and run a show with walking pneumonia, I was sure I could get through this.)

It really did become a time of getting ready for an event, not a death. Which in some ways helped. The saddnessan> came in more manageable sizes.

After many phone calls, conversations, and more lists, here is my hindsight information. Things that could have been done before hand and things I learned along the way.

1. Bills and Finances. Parents should keep a list of where everything is kept and how the filing is done. Now, it won't be perfect, but something that will help when needing to find things in a pinch. That list should be shared with the child(ren).

2. Funeral Homes. In my opinion, we went to about the best one ever. I didn't realize how much they did for you. Here's what I remember:
- transportation of body (if necessary). fyi, the hospital will not release the body until they know which funeral home you are using. but, yes, the funeral home takes care of that.
- death certificates and life insurance. they can get all the information necessary and make sure checks and death certificates get to the right place. all states are different on this (since my father died in Texas, but was living in New Mexico, there was a little more of a wait and the price is different). also, on death certificates, buy more than you need - cheaper if you buy in bulk. if you need to order more, you are going to pay a higher price for one at a time.
- obituary - we got a call from the paper when we got home, but if you don't have a funeral announcement or obit - they will help you write it up and get all the information over to the newspaper.
- plot or "land". the people in the biz like to call it "land". we also went ahead and got a bit of "land" for my mom too.
- casket - but of course. of course they are "containers" or some other word she used. this was a very emotional momment. it makes it especially real. she walked in and described some of them, then left us to look for a bit. my mom had to leave the room, so in the end, i picked it out.
- thank you cards and books for people to sign in. funny how funerals and weddings are very similar.
- graveside or church funeral. from there they give you options and make all the arrangements with all the people involved including pallbearers, ushers, etc.
- transportation of family on the day of the funeral
- alerting the police for a funeral procession
- where all the flowers are going - to the house or the funeral home. on a personal note - have some sent to the funeral home if you are having a gravesite service. it's nice to know there will be some flowers at the gravesite when all is said and done.
- tombstone. they however, do not take care of this or at least this funeral home did not - you have to order that seperately - they will give you connections. they'll help with where it needs to go, giving them the "land" information, but they don't order these. (we still haven't done that yet - and it's OK to wait)

3. Food. There will not be a problem with food. But, ice - if you are having some sort of gathering at your home after the funeral - don't forget ice. One mistake we did make was going to the grocery store and stocking up on cheese plates and bread and all sorts of snacks for the gathering after the funeral. We had so much food that people had brought in over the course of the week - from full meals to snacks, to bottled water, to sodas, you get the picture. People want to help you and one of the most popular ways is food. My mom didn't have to go grocery shopping until after Thanksgiving.

4. Do Things That Are Extremely Important - Time Sensitive, Sort Of. First off, giving a call to those bill payments that are past due, but can't be taken care of now. Saying, "Sorry I am late with my payment, my _______________ just passed away." works pretty darn well. And, honestly, one could probably even wait more time than we did. But, seeing that I was only there for the week, things had to get done. Even the ordering of the death certificates can wait for about 60 days. If you remember something that needs to be done, write it down. Put it someplace where you can remember it and do it when you are a little stronger.

5. Organize/Clean As Much As You Can - When one or both parents pass, there are always things that were left in the "get to that later pile". Sometimes that pile was noted, sometimes not. Also, at least in my mom's case, she had been away for 3 weeks. Mail had piled up, laundry had to be done, etc. I can't say for certain on this next point, but there is something to say about keeping busy when things go wrong. Lying in bed and not moving for days also sounds like a pretty good plan too, but I think keeping busy was probably the better option.

There were A LOT more lists that were written of course. Not to sound callous, but it reminded me a lot of preparing for a benefit (which of course, as the song goes that some of you know of - you never can). And, I was reminded of the scene in The Big Chill when Glenn Close says to her friends at a funeral reception which was in her home- "I do put on a good funeral". Cause, after all that happened that week, it was so nice to have a house full of people. My parent's house, my home for so many years, hadn't seen that since I was very young. Everyone talking and, under the cirumstances, having a good time. Living amongst the death.