Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy anniversaries

It occurs to me that, for the last few years, the latter part of May and the early part of June have been...eventful. Not so much in a good way. No winning the lottery. No fabulous early summer vacations. That's not how I roll. (Sadly. Sigh.)

Last year I trapped my first litter of feral kittens near the end of May. Whoo--fun! Well, actually they WERE fun. But so much work. I had to keep them outside until I knew they were healthy, and let me tell you, there is nothing like spending a couple of weeks kneeling on the ground several times a day with your upper half stuck inside a cage, leaning over the litter box to force your attentions on a cageful of little hissing ingrates, while the sweat pours down your face 'cause it's 90 frickin' degrees outside, all the while being swarmed by a mob of angry mosquitos. Of course it's totally worth it when you get that first purr, and see that first sweet little tabby tummy turned upward for you to rub. Totally. And I ended up with Timmy and Babs as rewards for my trouble, and most of the time they're worth it. (MOST of the time. Little devils.)

Just a few days later (on June 6....that would be 06/06/06...freaky) my neighbor's house (the house the kittens were living underneath when I trapped them, actually) was struck by lightning and caught on fire at 5:30 in the morning. Very exciting! I watched the flames shooting and the smoke swirling out of his I knelt on the ground in the rain to tend to the kittens, and prayed that the lightning wouldn't strike the tree I was under at the time! (It didn't. Thanks for that.)

Three years ago was probably the most exciting May/June. In mid-May I stole one of my neighbors' cats. (I would go on to steal the other one a few months later. I'm a cat burglar. Hee.) Why did I steal a cat, you ask? Was I that much in need of feline companionship? Not hardly. But my neighbors were horrible, inconsiderate, irresponsible assholes and, after deliberately acquiring two new kittens, promptly turned them outside to fend for themselves. They fed them occasionally, though apparently not enough. The kittens, of course, gravitated to my yard, and regularly tried to slip inside my house.

I was, at the time, trying to tame and find a home for yet another stray cat, and they were greatly impeding my progress--stealing her food and chasing her out of the box where she slept. I had a couple of increasingly animated conversations with the neighbors about the problem, but they couldn't be bothered to care for more than a few days, then they were back to their old ways. I found a home for the stray, and started paying a little more attention to the poor kittens.

I called a friend at the animal shelter and had him send animal control officers out to talk to them. That didn't help, for any length of time. Of course spaying and neutering was out of the question for these upright, responsible citizens and soon, as female kittens will do, the little girl went into heat. Where did she go, seeking sanctuary, as the neighborhood tomcats descended upon her in the middle of the night? My house, of course. At 3:00 one morning, after a couple of sleepless hours (courting tomcats are LOUD) I went and banged on their door, figuring they should be in on the fun. They refused to answer, though I could see and hear them behind the door, so I just stood and hammered on the door for about ten minutes, until I had their indoor dogs worked up into a total frenzy. Then I flipped them the bird with both hands and went back inside. I had my shelter friend send the animal control officers again the next day, and this time I thought it had worked. I didn't see the kittens again for a while, and assumed they were keeping them inside as they'd promised.

A few weeks later, of course, they were outside again, and the female was hugely pregnant. Surely they have SOME plan for kitten birthing, I kept reassuring myself. They won't just let her give birth in my flowerbed! I reached down to pet her one day and realized that, aside from the big bellyful of kittens, she was way, way too thin. Apparently they were of the "outdoor cats can feed themselves" school. So I started pouring on the groceries, and as she got bigger and bigger, and I realized that they were indeed just fine with her giving birth in my flowerbed, I decided that theft was in order. I held the front door open late one night, and she walked in like she owned the place. Surprisingly, all the resident cats seemed to agree with her--not one hiss. Amazing. (And NOT the norm.) Shortly thereafter I midwived her six, count 'em, SIX, babies in my bathroom, where they lived for the next several weeks. She was way too skinny and young to nurse that many babies without help, so I did supplemental feeding with goat's milk several times a day.

Eventually all the babies found homes, and Ruthie, as she had come to be known (named after my Grandmother, who also had six children--hee), stayed with me. I don't know if the neighbors ever knew what became of her--they never looked for her, and I never confessed. I moved a few months later, and before I did, I scooped up her brother, who I had been feeding regularly outside, and whisked him away to a rescue group. He was adopted only a week later, on his very first showing. (He was a seriously cool cat. Loads of personality.)

Was that the end of the fun that month? No, no it was not. Two weeks after the babies were born I tripped over a lawn mower, fell in my driveway and broke my arm. Big fun! The emergency room splinted me up with instructions to call the orthopedist the next day to make an appointment for a cast. The next morning I called to make the appointment, and they told me they didn't want to see me until the end of the week, to let the swelling go down. Okay. That afternoon a HUGE windstorm blew through, and I lost power...for the next three days.

Let's keep all this straight, okay? I am now: a) broken-armed and on pain meds, b) without power in the SUMMER and c) in addition to caring for my own [embarrassingly large number redacted] cats and dogs, caring for a bathroom full of needy 2-week-old kittens. Even bigger fun! (You may feel free to picture me scooping the litter boxes with one hand, with a flashlight tucked into the sling on the other arm, which is pointed in the general direction of the action. You may feel free to laugh at that picture.) Just to keep things extra-lively, I am also about to commence rehearsals for a play. A musical, no less. Singing and DANCING. The fun, it's almost too much to bear! But wait--it gets better!

Friday morning I go to the orthopedist and discover that my arm is not merely broken, it's broken into pieces. Surgery will be required, posthaste, to insert a plate, and I must immediately go to the hospital for pre-op tests. Whoo hoo!!!!! More fun than should be legal! (And let me tell you, more pain than the doctor will EVER prepare you for. If you ever hear the words "drill," "screws," and "plate" mentioned in relation to your bones--ask for Demerol. Fuck that, ask for morphine. You've been advised.)

Oh yeah, good times. For the next few weeks I worked full time, rehearsed at night, went to physical therapy 3 times a week, cared for my own pets plus the growing horde in the bathroom, did my own cleaning and grocery shopping and tried not to lose my mind. (A co-worker mowed my lawn for the rest of the summer, God bless him.) You may now picture my face when my boss's wife said to me, apparently expecting commiseration, "It's just so much work cleaning the litter boxes when you have more than one cat." You have TWO cats, NO job and A CLEANING LADY!!!! Really, how DO you cope?

Rich people are funny.

So, anyway...the arm healed well (as it should have, for $16,000), my performance was a hit, and Ruthie is one of the weirdest, silliest little cats ever. I guess it all worked out.

Still, I can't help's that time of year again. I wonder if there are any early June surprises in store around the corner? If so...if it's not much to ask...PLEASE don't let it involve fire, feral kittens, or the words "drill" and "screw" unless they're used in ENTIRELY different ways than the last time. (Dirrty.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WTF Wednesday

Things that make you go WTF?!

This is ridiculous. The father of a major league baseball player who was killed last month in a car accident is suing. His son was intoxicated, talking on his cell phone, not wearing his seatbelt, had marijuana in the car (a rental, as he had recently had an accident in his own car), and was going close to 70mph when he plowed into a tow truck which was assisting a stalled car at the time. Who is he suing? Everyone he can, apparently. The restaurant, which continued to serve his son. Okay, maybe there's a bit of culpability there; I don't know. But he's also suing both the tow truck driver AND the driver of the stalled car. WTF? Does he think the driver CHOSE to disable his car on the Interstate? And how exactly does a tow truck assist a car that's stalled in the road without being IN THE ROAD? That's why tow trucks are large vehicles with lots of flashing lights. So oncoming cars can SEE them. Geez. I'm really sorry this guy lost his son, but dude...your son fucked up. He's dead because he FUCKED UP. And yes, we've undoubtedly all fucked up in some way, at some point in our lives, and I don't know what kind of luck/fate/karma/divine will is involved in determining why some fuckups have more serious consequences than others, but going lawsuit-happy isn't going to bring him back. My sympathies for your loss--now get back to mourning your son in a more appropriate fashion.

On NPR this morning there was a story about a consulting firm that does nothing but help employers learn to supervise their Generation Y employees, whose fragile psyches apparently are having trouble dealing with the rough-and-tumble workplace. WTF? Apparently, after a lifetime of being told by their parents/teachers/counselors, etc. that they are ALL so special and wonderful and incapable of doing wrong, these poor kids are freaking out that their employers aren't continuing to massage their delicate egos. Give me a freakin' break. Now, I'm all for positive reinforcement--the bosses I remember most fondly were masters of that technique--but if your ordinary "Hey, that report looks great!" isn't enough for you, YOU'RE the one that needs to learn how to deal, in my opinion. Sometimes we need to be respectfully (no need to yell) shown what we're doing WRONG, too.

I feel all old and crotchety and "what the heck's the matter with kids today," but...damn. I mean, parental support is the greatest thing in the world--my own parents were masters of THAT technique--but there's a difference between being supportive versus deluding your child into thinking that the entire world exists only to fulfill his needs, and that his every utterance is brilliant, his every action perfection, etc. Come on, nobody's every utterance is brilliant, and you're not doing your child any favors by not gently helping him to realize that everyone has different talents and gifts, and that maybe he's not as good at soccer as Jimmy, but that's okay--is he having fun, anyway? Maybe math isn't his best subject, so we'll work harder at that, but what a great essay he wrote for English class.

Okay, okay, I don't have kids, so maybe I shouldn't get to have an opinion, but I WAS a kid, and if my parents had told me I was a great athlete I believe I would have known they were bullshitting me. They never told me I shouldn't try out for a team, but they never chewed out the coach when I didn't make it, either.

I think I'm going to suggest daily champagne toasts to my accomplishments (an actual technique one employer in the story was using) to MY boss and see what he says. If he can stop laughing long enough to say ANYthing, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The weekend that was

My holiday weekend was okay, thanks. And yours?

Saturday I did all my usual Saturday chores, did my workout, and then went to a party in the evening. It was a perfectly pleasant party--lovely people in the lovely backyard of the lovely home of some lovely friends--but it kind of made me feel old. The party was meant, in part, to be something of a throwback to the yearly Memorial weekend party held by one of the co-hosts "back in the day." Now THOSE were some parties. People pitched tents in the backyard, and partied most of the weekend. A whole lot of raucous drinking was done, and very little sleeping. Of course, that was 15-20 years ago, and we were all a bit younger. (Ahem.) Contrast that with this weekend's party--all of us sitting sedately in lawn chairs, watching children catch fireflies, sipping beverages and snacking, music playing lightly in the background. Lovely. But middle-aged. As we are now, I suppose. Sigh. The bonus, of course, is that there's no hangover to contend with the next day. Glass half full! (Of course, it's probably half full because I'm too old and tired to finish it, but whatever.)

Sunday I went to church, where I actually managed to exchange more than the usual four words ("Peace be with you") with Cute Church Guy, though they were hardly the display of sparkling wit I would have liked. We joked about lawn mowing. Kill me now.

Sunday evening I launched into some way overdue tree limb and shrub trimming. Don't tell me I don't know how to have a festive holiday weekend! That wild fun continued Monday morning, as I actually managed to get out at 7:30 a.m. (yes, that's IN THE MORNING) to finish pruning back the really, really overgrown privet. I had to use one of those extended lopper thingies with the rope you pull to close the blade (yes, I'm good with the gardening implement jargon, aren't I?) and by the time I was done my neck and shoulder muscles were screaming at me. Those things aren't easy to use, are they? Holding a long, heavy pole (oh we're getting somewhere...oh wait, no we're not) over your head with one hand while simultaneously jerking (oh baby...oh wait, still not) the rope handle with your other hand, hard enough to cut the dang branch...yeah, that's my idea of a good time. NOT. I was almost ready to take my neighbor up on his offer to trim it for me with his chainsaw. Okay, not really. There are few things I dislike more than the look of shrubbery that's been trimmed with a chainsaw! In my opinion, if God had meant for shrubs to be square with sharp edges, they'd grow that way. (Not that I wouldn't prefer at least one Bush to be a little sharper, but this post isn't about our President.)

Monday afternoon a friend and I partook of the lunch buffet at my favorite Indian restaurant, after which I took a nap. I had every intention of mowing the lawn (using that time to craft new witticisms on the subject to wow Cute Church Guy with next week, no doubt), but a late afternoon thunderstorm changed that plan, so I was forced to substitute the nap. (Aw, shoot!)

And that was my Memorial Day weekend. I could have used another day or two or twelve, but it was alternately productive and restful, so I guess I can't complain.

Maybe next Sunday I can solicit Cute Church Guy for some tips on how best to safely handle an overly long pole. What?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What it's like working in a think tank

I just listened to two co-workers have a lengthy conversation about the merits and career of a famed British actress. They both spoke quite authoritatively (and admiringly) about said actress, going into details about a few particular films. They went on and on. At no time did either of them realize that one of them was talking about the career of Judi Dench and one of them was talking about the career of Helen Mirren. I did not enlighten them.

You know, those older British actresses--they all look alike.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Disney movie in my backyard

I know you're all dying to know what's been going on with the wild and semi-wildlife in my backyard. Aren't you? **crickets chirping** Yeah, that's what I thought.

Well, it appears that McBeady's trust in me has been forever scarred. He just can't seem to get past whatever little bug is up his butt. Sometimes he'll let me pet him very briefly, but mostly he just acts like he thinks at any moment that I'm going to turn into some sort of cat-killing monster. I'm not, McBeady, I'm not! I haven't even discussed removing your balls lately! I just want you to love me again. (God, I'm pathetic.) Dolly is still sweet, but whatever it is that she does during the daylight hours, she's been extra-busy doing it. She's often gone before I get outside in the morning, and doesn't return until well after dark. I hope they're paying her overtime.

McBeady disappeared completely for several days this week--I assume he was dancing attendance on some fine young pussy (what?) somewhere. (We are well into kitten season , you know. Thank god Dolly is immune from all that now.) Yesterday he spent quite a bit of time in his "cave"--I thought he was probably just exhausted from his adventures, but then I realized that he was actually cowering in fear--and not from me. An aggressive pair of bluejays moved into the area late last summer (what IS this neighborhood coming to?) and they were giving poor McBeady holy hell every time he tried to move. The poor thing spent several hours curled up behind my neighbor's A/C unit, trying to will himself invisible to the dive-bombing jays. I figured they must have a nest somewhere close by--like bluejays need any reason to be mean, playground bullies of the avian world that they are.

Last night my neighbor's dogs were going crazy in the backyard, so Pudge and I decided we'd better go investigate. Oops! Baby bluejays everywhere! I found three little fledglings of slightly different sizes, stumbling around the yard, while Mom and Pop flew overhead screeching. I don't know if they were quite ready to fledge, or if the wind blew them down, but down they were. I figured they'd have a better chance in the yard behind me--no dogs there, and plenty of high weeds to hide in--so I gently passed them through the fence, and hoped for the best.

Well, of course, when I went out this morning, both McBeady and Dolly were waiting for breakfast (the first time in several days), and on the ground near them was a dead baby bluejay, the smallest of the three. Awwww....I know cute baby bluejays grow up to be nasty adult bluejays, but nonetheless, who wants to see a dead baby ANYthing first thing in the morning? I hope the other two are okay; the parents seemed quite distressed, screeching away in the trees.

I's the circle of life, and let's all hold hands and sing a Disney tune about it, but in the movies, you never see the poor sap who has to pick up the dead baby bird, do you? Hopefully all the baby birds will be fledged soon, and off to bird college, or bird vo-tech, or maybe working as a cashier in a bird convenience store (no judgment), and then I can get back to cringing when the robins fly by with particularly juicy worms writhing in their beaks. Ew....

Yeah, maybe I should just stay inside.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh, Screech...why couldn't you be more like Marcia, Marcia, Marcia?

Is anyone (besides me) watching the latest incarnation of Celebrity Fit Club? It's notable primarily for disclosing to the world that Dustin Diamond is a THOROUGHLY reprehensible person. An absolute waste of space. Blecchhh! I'm so glad I never bought one of his silly "save my house" t-shirts. Last night, in a cliffhanger ending, he picked a fight with Harvey Walden IV, and I wish I thought the producers would let old Harvey beat the everlovin' crap out of him.

On the other hand, Maureen "Mo" McCormick seems like she'd be great fun to do vodka shots with! We could do vodka shots, then she could give me a makeover, and help me write an essay to win a date with an astronaut, and I could become a totally bitchy ingrate (briefly), and we could drool over Davy Jones and Desi Arnaz, Jr., and build a house of cards, and fight over the attic room with Greg, and torment Jan endlessly (fun!) and have a great time! That would rock.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brain function

The cheerful woman on my workout tape is fond of reminding us (every damn day the same thing, why doesn't she mix it up a little--hee) that aerobic activity floods the brain with oxygen and is great for improving brain function and memory. If that's the case, why do I feel like MY brain has turned to mush? Shouldn't this blog be awash in wonderful, witty recollections by now? It's been 28 DAYS IN A ROW now with the exercise, and yet, when I try to come up with blog ideas it's all "duh duh duh." Granted, my life at the moment is less than exciting, but I know there are some funny stories in my past. Hopefully that brain stimulation will kick in soon, and I will regale you with stories of the time I...did that one thing, and that other time...yeah, that other time, when...that thing happened TO me. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.

In the meantime, I will just pose a question: if your name was "Dick Slankard," would you emblazon it proudly on your work van (which, thank god, did not have its own set of balls)? Isn't that a terrible name? Poor guy. It just has such an unsavory feel. Yeah, I want my clogged pipes cleaned out by "Dick Slankard." Which reminds me of a funny moment--hey, maybe my brain HAS been stimulated. Years ago I was attending either the opera or ballet with a friend, and we were perusing the section of the program where they list all the financial contributors. One name popped out at me. (I wish to cast no aspersions on this man--I'm sure he's a swell guy, just like Dick Slankard.) I leaned over to my friend, pointed at the name--"Dick Risk"--and whispered, "yeah, I took one of those once." We giggled for quite a while, since, despite the fact that it wasn't THAT many years ago, we were apparently 12. Hee.

I can't wait to see what all this brain stimulation brings up next. Maybe I'll be back tomorrow with a charming story of how I once toilet papered someone's house. Oh, wait...that reminds me of the time my house GOT toilet papered. And shoe polished. (It was a little metal trailor. I was trailor trash for a while in college.) And you know what? That's just not that funny a story. I'll work out extra-hard tonight and see if I can come up with something better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I went to a party this weekend, a year-end/25th anniversary party for one of the theatres I work with. At one point a toast was made to those of our theatre friends who made their exit bows too early, so to speak. Included among them was my friend Robin. I intended to talk about her some time back, but hesitated. It felt a little presumptuous. Is it my place to tell her story (or what I know of it)? We weren't "best" friends, by any means. We didn't talk every day, or even every month. We saw each other mostly when we worked on shows together. We were the kind of friends, though, who, when we saw each other, no matter how long it had been, fell right back into conversation as though we had just left off a moment before. At any rate, she was one of the coolest people I've ever known, so I'm just going to plunge in, presumptuous or not, and tell you a little bit about her.

Robin had spinal muscular atrophy, a particularly devastating form of muscular dystrophy. People with this disease rarely live beyond their teens. One of her brothers had it, as well, and died in his late teens. (But Robin lived to be 37! Amazing.) As the muscles progressively weaken, the spine curves, compromising the lungs. The neck muscles weaken to the point they can barely hold up the head, making suffocation a real danger. When you did a show with her, you'd be told, "if her head falls forward, please prop it back up!" Robin herself compensated for the weakness by keeping her hair long enough to give a little tug in the other direction if she felt it going.

I met Robin doing theatre at a local center for people with physical limitations, where they did "mainstreaming"--mixing able-bodied actors with actors in wheelchairs, deaf actors, etc. She was a terrific actress. It didn't take long before you stopped even seeing the wheelchair and twisted body, and saw only the character she was ably portraying. We did a few shows together through the years.

The first show I did at the Center was a musical, and we took the show on the road, doing several performances around Oklahoma, and then flying to Seattle to perform at the National Conference for Theatre and Disability. I was the only "able" person in the cast, though we often joked that my disabilities were only buried a little deeper. Hee. Let me tell you, if you want a lesson in just how important the passage of the ADA was, try going cross-country with people in wheelchairs. Eye opening, to say the least. No wheelchair-bound person could be blamed for getting frustrated, or angry, or wallowing in self-pity, but as far as I could see, Robin never did. She had the best outlook on life of anyone I've ever known. She was fond of saying, "Hey, I was supposed to die 10 (15, 20) years ago--it's all good." Everyone should have a friend like Robin. It was absolutely impossible to feel sorry for yourself in her presence. Well, you could do it, but you'd feel like an ass in the process! While in Seattle, she was determined to drink in as much of the place as she could. Each morning she'd set out by herself, in her little motorized wheelchair, and go find adventure. No fear--what was there to fear? She was supposed to be dead 10 (15, 20) years ago! Occasionally she'd light up a cigarette, and if you looked at her disapprovingly (Come on, you can barely breathe already!) she'd say, "Hey, I've already outlived my life expectancy by years!"

She went to school. She worked, whenever she could find a job she could physically do, and an employer willing to take a chance. She traveled. She dated. Some good guys, some not so good (like all of us), but she ended up with a great one, a friend of mine, too, who made her last few years wonderful. She told me once her years with him had been so fabulous, there was nothing left on her to-do list; she'd done everything she always wanted to do. How many of us are so lucky?

I was fortunate enough to work with her in what would turn out to be her last show, "The Heiress." Actually, the show wouldn't have happened without me (she modestly says). We had an actor drop out of a major role just before rehearsals were to start, and we couldn't find a replacement. Gary, the director (also a good friend of ours) and I searched high and low. We called every suitably-aged actor in town. They all said no. Everyone was ready to give up. The producers, the director, even Robin and Jason (her real-life husband, who was playing her romantic interest in the play). But I was obsessed--for some reason, I just couldn't give up. And it wasn't selfish--I wanted to play my part, of course, but even more, I wanted Robin to play HER role. It just seemed absolutely essential that the show go on. I begged for more time. The producers said okay, but they would cancel the show on Friday if we hadn't found someone. On Thursday, an actor who had previously said no called to say his schedule had freed up, and he wanted to do the show. He happens to be a minister--do you think I doubted for a second that a higher power had something to do with that rescheduling?

So, the show went on, and it was a huge success. Robin was amazing--she received standing ovations 5 of the 6 performances. My friend the director was standing backstage with a look of amazement on his face--"We're slaying them with the fuckin' Heiress!?" he kept saying. I am SO glad she got to experience that, since as it turned out, it would be her final show (in this world, at least).

During the run of the show, my friend and ex-boyfriend George had a stroke. (I've told you that part before.) When Robin called me a couple of weeks later to tell me that George had died, I noticed she sounded sick. "Oh, it's just a cold," she said. For someone with her lung problems, a cold was NEVER just a cold. Sure enough, it turned to pneumonia, as it had so many times before, but this time she just couldn't turn that corner, as she had so many times before. The doctors offered to do a tracheostomy, which might have bought her a little time, but at the expense of her mobility, and the ability to speak. She declined. They made her as comfortable as possible, and she died soon after. After I got the news, I remembered a conversation she and I had when George was lingering, post-stroke...about how he would hate to linger like that, how WE would hate to linger like that in a similar situation, and I was sure she never hesitated to make that choice. What was there to fear, after all...she'd outlived her life expectancy by 20 years, found her true love, and done everything she'd ever wanted to do. On to the next adventure!

Her funeral was heart-wrenching, nonetheless. I sang, our friend Gary did the eulogy (so beautifully that I told him to go ahead and start working on mine!), and off her spirit flew, I'm convinced, to a place where twisted bodies and compromised lungs have no power. I like to picture her and George, co-starring nightly in whatever play's on the bill. I hope we all do another show together, someday, somewhere.

Whenever I'm feeling overly whiny and sorry for myself, I try to think of Robin, kick myself in the ass, and tell myself to get on with it. Everyone should be so lucky--to have had a friend like that.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I have GOT to get a camera phone!

Okay, we all know that certain types of shiny red sports cars and monstrously oversized pickup trucks can be an indication that the male owner is lacking a little in the "size" department, right? (Come on, they've got to be compensating for something.) I just don't usually expect there to be a literal interpretation of that compensation.

Yesterday I pulled up behind a truck with balls. Yes, you heard me right--BALLS. It was one of those monstrously oversized pickups, and dangling from the rear axle was what can only be described as a large set of testicles. (About the size a bull might have, to put them in perspective.) I racked my brain to come up with some other purpose for what I saw, but I could not. THEY WERE BALLS. A flesh-colored sac, with two orb-like protuberances hanging inside, swaying merrily as the truck moved.

Is this a thing now? Am I behind the times? Do I need to get a big set of boobs to attach to the front of my car?

BALLS. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Call me Noah.

I'm looking to buy a few cubits of gopher wood and some ark-building plans. What do you think, Home Depot or Lowe's? Who has the best price on gopher wood, currently? I forgot to check my weekend sales circulars.

Seriously, we're floating away here. Glub, glub. I know we need the rain, being several years into a nasty drought cycle, but hot damn--do we have to have it all at once? I'm feeling quite damp. Moist, even. (Eww.) I don't want to give anyone nightmares (Stefanie), but my backyard has apparently turned into a mushroom farm. My delicate 86-pound Doberman doesn't like to get his dainty paws wet, so every time I have to literally drag him out into the yard to do his business. I'm standing out there like a fool, soaking wet, saying "Look, Pudge...I'm out here and it's not hurting me!" (Yes, I always enjoy giving my neighbors even more reason to doubt my sanity.)

"Rain, rain, go away, come again another day." Like in AUGUST.

Monday, May 07, 2007

It's official.

Yesterday, when leaving church, I had made it almost to my car when two people came out of the front door at the same time. One was Cute Church Guy, the other was the partner of the singing lesbian, let's call her Non-Singing Lesbian. I hardly know her, having exchanged fewer words with her than I have with CCG, though not for the same reason (i.e. being paralyzed by my immense attraction); our paths just haven't crossed much. Guess which one gave me a big wave across the parking lot, and, with a smile, heartily exhorted me to "have a great day"? Yep. Apparently the verdict is in, and I'm a lesbian. Sigh. Oh well, I guess I'll have to track down one of those secret meetings wherein the "gay agenda" is voted on, and get in on plotting the destruction of the institution of marriage and the American family. (Although I personally think Britney Spears is doing a pretty good job of that on her own.) Maybe that's what they do at the Tuesday night lesbian choir rehearsals, between rousing renditions of "I want a girl just like the girl who married dear old Dad." Hee.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"It's the endolphins."

Okay, it's just the usual Friday Flotsam, but let's make this a little fun. The first person to identify the source of the quote in the title of this post (and who is willing to give out their address) will win a prize! Probably just a mix CD of my favorite songs or something, but a prize!

On to the flotsam.

There's not much flotsam even, really. There is very little going on in my life right now. Which is good, in a way--I'm still at the point on the Be Healthier Train where it would take very little to derail me. So it's good, I think, that nothing much is happening to distract me. Hopefully it will soon be such a part of my life that I won't have to force myself to do it. I don't think there's any danger of my obsessive-compulsive nature taking over to quite the extent it did when I was younger. I have realistic goals--I know I'm not going to be as thin again as I was in my 20s. I'm good with that. I just want to be healthier, and yes, smaller. But I remember what was required, with my metabolism, for me to be truly thin. I had to work out a LOT, every day. I would regularly walk 5-6 miles, come home and do an aerobics tape, then do a little work with light weights. That's a lot of time, added on to an 8-hour day at work. It pretty much precludes doing anything else in the early evening on a regular basis. Back then I was still young enough to consider going out at 10:00 on a weeknight, but now? Good lord, no. It certainly precludes doing theatre--can't be at a 7:00 rehearsal if you're not finished with your workout 'til after 8:00. So I was thin, and I looked great, but I had no life, and that's what doomed me in the end. I don't want that now. I want to look better, sure, but I still want the option of a life, at least. So I'm trying to be more moderate with my exercise. I have to get in the habit, but not TOO much so. I have to convince my OCD that the world won't end if I cut the workout short some nights. And yes, I am aware that some people (freaks!) work out in the morning, to which I say "Are you nuts?" I am NOT a morning person. If I worked out in the morning I'd have to have a job which would allow me to take a mid-morning nap.

At any rate, the exercise is going well, but I sure wish I could somehow draw out the endorphin rush a little longer. I feel GREAT for an hour or two after I finish, then I lapse into a coma. I guess it does forestall the lapsing into a coma for a while, so that's an improvement, but I want to FEEL GREAT ALL THE TIME. I'm exercising, damn it! Work with me here. Hee.

What's up with Dolly and McBeady? Has McBeady gotten past his little snit? Well, yes and no. Yesterday afternoon he actually came up and head-butted me and demanded to be petted for a good long while. He rolled around and let me rub his belly, and scratch his chin. I noticed he had a couple of sizeable new bald spots on his head--obviously there's been a little tussle with another tomcat, and that may have been part of his reluctance to let me touch him. I usually go right for the head to start the patting, and that probably hurt! So I thought we were back to normal, then this morning he got all hissy and weird again. Gah. I wouldn't care so much whether he enjoys the petting or not, but it's keeping me from being able to finesse him into a carrier and take him off to be neutered, so I'm a little frustrated. Dolly continues to be sweet, bless her.

Seems like every time I'm between shows, I get the urge to DO SOMETHING. Take a class, get a hobby...sign up for or something equally crazy. Usually another show comes along before I get around to actually doing any of these things, but here I am, thinking about it again. So, it was slow at work yesterday, and I thought I'd tool around on match and yahoo personals and see what there was to see. Maybe I am too picky. I put in some pretty generous search terms--from 10 years younger to 10 years older, and only ruled out political conservatives. (What? I left in "middle of the road" and "not political"!) I got something like 567 possible matches. I scanned through a good many of them, checked out profiles on what seemed like THOUSANDS of them, and ended up with only 2 that I could even consider considering. Gah! They can't ALL be that bad, can they? What's wrong with me? That stained glass class is looking pretty good right now.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why I Yam What I Yam. (Thanks Popeye.)

I've sort of had church on the brain lately. (Completely aside from Cute Church Guy, I swear.)

Instead of "giving up" anything for Lent this year, I "took on" something--I decided to read a daily Lenten devotion from a little book of them sent out by one of the churches I'm currently associated with. (There are two--my little, diverse "everyday" church, and the big, rich downtown church I used to go to, and still do occasionally when I'm in the mood for "high" church.) Having gotten into the habit of the daily devotional reading, I've continued it, with a little publication put out quarterly by the Episcopal church. It's kind of a nice start to the day. Each day's entry is based on one of the scripture readings designated for the Daily Offices for that day, and they're generally not too preachy--just designed to get you thinking. This morning I actually pulled out my (admittedly somewhat dusty) Bible, to read the entire passage that was excerpted in the booklet. This particular Bible was given to me by the Episcopal church in my hometown, when I moved away 20 years ago, and looking at the flyleaf, inscribed in Father William's gorgeous calligraphy, brought back all kinds of memories.

Do you want to hear the story of how I became an Episcopalian? I think it's kind of cool.

I was actually raised a Methodist. (My mother was raised a Democrat and a Baptist, but when she married into a Republican Methodist family, she happily switched over. She also stopped drinking sugar in her tea--way to assimilate, Mom. Hee.) I had (and have) nothing against the Methodist church...but it's not very...exciting. That's the point, really, I guess. They're methodical. I occasionally went to other churches with friends--Baptist, Assembly of God--that I KNEW weren't for me. The Presbyterian and Disciples of Christ churches were pretty similar to the Methodist--no great motivation to convert there.

At any rate, I coasted along in the Methodist church until college. Somewhere along the line, I stopped going. It wasn't a crisis of faith so much as an expansion of social life--hard to get up in time for church on Sunday morning when you never went to bed Saturday night, you know? A couple of my music professors were Episcopalians, and they used to get us gigs occasionally in the area Episcopal churches. Paying gigs, too--not much, but $25 would buy a lot of beer in those days! I also had a good friend in the music department, Dennis, raised rigidly Southern Baptist, who had a burning desire to become an Episcopalian, but was afraid to tell his parents, so every time we went out of town for any sort of convention, we had to find an Episcopal church to go to. (That wasn't the only thing he was afraid to tell his parents--he was also gay. We used to joke that if he ever got up the courage to say "Mom, Dad...I'm gay, and I want to become an Episcopalian," his mother would drop to the floor in a faint, raise her head and say weakly, "Did you say EPISCOPALIAN?" Hee. He did finally tell them both things. The gay admission got him disowned for about a year, actually, though eventually they came to some sort of uneasy peace. But I digress.) So I was exposed to the Episcopal service, and I really liked it. Not enough to haul my ass out of bed on a Sunday morning, but I liked it.

Then, one Saturday night, I suddenly had an urge to get up the next morning and go to church. Not "my" church, though...I wanted to go to the Episcopal church. It was very weird--I couldn't think of anything that had sparked this sudden desire, but there it was. So I set my alarm, and the next morning I got up and went to church.

I walked in, and sitting there on the aisle was my friend Dennis. By way of backstory, I must tell you that Dennis had left school and moved away, unable to continue to live so close to his family, and he hadn't been home, nor had we spoken, in a year or more, at that point. I slid into the pew beside him, and his eyes widened. "I was going to call you last night when I got in and tell you I'd be here, but I got sidetracked." "Well, I guess you DID call me," I responded. We both got goosebumps.

I decided that was a sign from God if ever I'd seen one, and you can bet I was back at that church again the next week, and the next, and the next. Seldom in life have I been pointed so specifically in the right direction.

And it was the right direction, for me. I love the Episcopal church. I love that we've had the courage to ordain women, and gays, despite the flack sent our way by certain segments of the worldwide Anglican communion. Go, us! I love how much work is done by the Episcopal church, globally and locally, to feed and clothe the poor. Go, us! I love the rites, and the rituals, the beautiful language of the liturgy. Go, us!

I love how cute certain junior wardens are. What, you didn't think I'd end this on a completely serious note, did you?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

But I already have a toaster oven...

I might have inadvertently outed myself last weekend. I say "inadvertently" primarily because I'm not actually gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (/Seinfeldian inflection) Maybe I should explain.

I have been invited twice now to join a women's chorus that meets weekly. A women's chorus made up almost exclusively of lesbians. But not completely exclusively--apparently there are a couple of straight members, who just like singing with other women. The first invite was made a few weeks ago by the group's leader. I worked with her in the "Fridiron" show I did a while back. We had a lot of fun working together, and hoped we could do it again some time. She invited me to come join the chorus on Tuesday nights, if I ever had some free time and a yen to do the choral thing. I thanked her for the invitation, but truthfully, I feel like I've done just about all the choral singing a person needs to do in one lifetime, and I'm primarily interested in pursuing more individual performance opportunities these days. But if I change my mind, it's nice to know I'm welcome, lesbian or no.

Then, this weekend, after a church choir rehearsal, one of the choir members, an openly gay young woman I don't really know very well, said "Hey, what do you do on Tuesday nights?" Why do you ask? "Well, I'm a member of this choir..." I interrupted--Oh, you mean Rebecca's group? "Yes." Yeah, she invited me to join a while back...blah blah blah. We chit-chatted a bit more, and as I left, I realized....she must TOTALLY think I'm a lesbian. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hee.) And I must have just TOTALLY confirmed her thinking--how else would I instantly know about the Tuesday night lesbian choir? And, of course, I am a single woman of a certain age--people start to wonder. (I'm just picky, okay?) So, I was sort of amused. (And not offended in the least, let me be sure to state.) I also felt a little presumptuous--I probably shouldn't have assumed she was talking about the lesbian choir, just because she's a lesbian. But, at any rate, I suppose I'll have to let her go on thinking I'm on her team, since I can't figure out a graceful way to say "Oh, hey--you didn't think I was gay, did you?" And not that it really matters, since I see her only at church on Sundays, anyway, and why do I care?

But, of course, I do care, a little, because I realized that this entire conversation had taken place in front of the one guy in my church on whom I have a sizable crush, and omigod, what if he thinks I'm a lesbian?! It's the kind of crush that renders me completely unable to form intelligent sentences in his presence. The kind of crush that makes me want to titter a little when he grabs my hand to exchange the peace. ("Omigod, he totally touched me.") You know, THAT guy. A guy who, for the record, has never given me the slightest indication that he has even the slightest interest in me as anything other than a fellow parishioner, and who would undoubtedly be astonished to learn that I had the slightest interest in him, since I seldom even speak to him, given my inability to form coherent words, and all. Gah. How silly! Do we ever outgrow feeling like gawky prepubescent girls inside? And yet, even knowing full well it almost certainly MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO HIM whether I'm a lesbian, or straight, or thinking of becoming a nun, or thinking of becoming a MAN, for that matter, I still had that moment of chagrin. So silly.

Oh, heck, given my recent track record with men, maybe I SHOULD be a lesbian. I'll bet there are all kinds of nice women in that choir. And, while I already have a toaster oven, maybe I could get a blender or something if I "join up." Do you think it will be a problem that I don't have any desire to actually have sex with other women? Yeah, you're right, it probably will be. Guess I'll just hang on to my crazy cat lady/spinster status for now. At least until that day when Cute Church Guy grabs my hand to exchange the peace and suddenly realizes that I am The One He's Been Waiting For His Whole Life. Hey...a spinster can dream, right?