Thursday, August 17, 2017

Heritage Gone Tomorrow

DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.  If you don't agree me, that's cool.  I'm not trying to talk you into anything.  Well, I still think you should get out and see more local theatre, but that's not relevant now.  Please don't berate me if you disagree with me.  You are entitled to your own opinion. Just keep your Tiki Torches at home.
I never really thought about it till the current shitstorm rained down, but I don't really get the concept of being proud of your heritage.
I am a straight white female American.  My ancestry is half Irish, one quarter Welsh and one quarter unknown, because my grandmother refused to discuss her family's past. (Unfortunately, not because it was juicy, but because my grandmother just didn't believe in talking much.)   I didn't choose any of this, it was all just an accident of birth.  If my mother had married the guy she was engaged to at the time she met my father, I would have been 150% Irish.  And as scary as that thought is, it still would have been just a random chance.  I don't feel any personal pride in the Irish or the Welsh, just because people with a lot of my DNA came from those places.  I love Ireland and Wales, because they're beautiful countries, but I love Italy too, and I can't claim any "heritage" from there.
If I'm proud of anything, it's the decisions I've purposely made.  I'm proud to be a mom.  I'm proud to be involved in local theatre.  I'm proud to be a cat owner.    I'm proud that I don't judge people by the color of their skin, or their sexual preference, or their selection of music genre. I'm proud that in spite of being emotionally ruined by a string of unsuccessful relationships, I can still cry with joy when I see people I love in love.  I'm proud that I still believe in this country and its  system of government, though lately that's been a tough one.   I'm proud that I choose not to believe in a mythical, misogynistic, homophobic immortal, who purportedly wrote one book over 2000 years ago that's supposed to be what we live by. (Come on, even Harper Lee wrote 2 books!) 
And I'm proud of my friends who  battled demons and won, even though I know every day is a struggle for them to keep on keeping on.  And I'm proud of my kids, because they are the best people in the universe, the end.
But I'm not proud to be a Mick and a Leek, that's just the roll of the dice.  In the end, what counts is not what boat your ancestors stepped off of, but what path you choose to walk today.  I've certainly chosen to go down my fair share of deadends, but as my paths are growing shorter, I'm proud of where I'm walking now.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Musings on Being Old

I hate when people say, "You're not old."  Yes, I am.  65 is old.  I hope to be older, but 65 is still old.  I'm not pretending to be 25, so you don't have to pretend I am, either.
I have been asked why I don't hang out with people my own age.  The answer is because I'm not in preschool.  There may be a time when I get chucked into a home and they'll put me in the rising 85 year-olds (a small group, with a high drop-out rate), but for now I prefer to hang out with people with whom I have similar interests and who refrain from telling me I'm not old. 
I am still freaked out every time I look at my hands and they're the hands of an old person.  I'm used to the dark circles under my eyes and the impressive chin wattle, but I still wonder every time I look down, "Who stuck my mother's hands at the end of my arms??"
My quality of life diminished greatly after my divorce, and never recovered.  I no longer own a home, washer/dryer, and/or dishwasher.  I don't have or ever will have a significant other.  I have adjusted amazingly well to this; but I sometimes still miss having a washer/dryer. 
Many people get more religious as they get older, I've gotten less.  I never accepted the construct of heaven or hell, once I stopped believing in Santa Clause or Congress.  I like the idea of reincarnation, but I think it's entirely possible that once you're dead, you're dead.  I find that comforting.  At least I won't miss having a washer/dryer anymore.
I have accepted the fact that every day there will be at least one part of my body in pain.  It's kind of fun getting up in the morning (itself a plus!) and discovering which body part hurts today.  It took me awhile to get over the, "Oh my God, my elbow hurts, I have elbow cancer!" phase, but I thankfully have landed in the resignation phase, "Life's a bitch, and then you die."
It has also taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I will never be the person I want to be.  I will always have my demons.  At one point, I thought realizing why I have demons would make them go away, but it hasn't.  I just have to come up with coping mechanisms to learn to live with them, which I have.  In the words of the great Jack Nicholson, "This is as good as it gets."  This fact no longer reduces me to a sobbing, inconsolable pile of poo.  Most days.
Yes, I am rapidly spinning towards the end of my mortal coil, but I am beyond lucky/grateful to have  my amazing kids, their partners, and my grandbabies, theatre, and my loving theatre friends, and my cats.  Not bad for an old lady.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

You Gotta Have Faith

You just did the other two faiths in your head,  didn't you??  Ha!  I knew it!

Anyroad, much like flipping your mattress every six months, or standing by your man, I don't think you really have to do what my title says.

Well, maybe you do, and that's cool, I'm not judging.  (Unless your faith is in murder or rape or Trump, you know, something disastrous.  Then I'm  totally Judgey MacJudgerson.)

There have been several times in my life that I have had religious faith.  Hell, in fourth grade I wanted to be a nun.  Which probably would have destroyed the Catholic Church as we know it, so maybe I should have followed through with that.  But in any case, all my forays into Religious Faithdom ended up with me doubting more and more any religious teaching whatsoever so that now I don't believe in any dogma and have two cats.  

I don't even have faith that that terrible joke worked...(it didn't, I'm sure)...but maybe that's what happens when you reduce your concept of "God" to a mythical creature like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, just not as generous.

I won't bother going into losing faith in our democratic process, or the judicial system, or beauty products, cause we all swim in that same bullshit sea, amIright?

But the loss of faith that strangely brings me the most comfort is the lack of faith in people. People REALLY suck.  While Santy didn't bring me the bike I wanted for Christmas and God didn't make Drake Tressler like me in 7th grade, the disappointment and heartbreak actual human beings have given me is what has put me in an emotional wasteland.  And I like it here.

Oh, I still cry when I watch Field of Dreams, my heart swells with love whenever I see my kids, and my friends are the best.  But 90% of my life I float along, aware of the stupidity, the meanness, the lack of compassion, and  I view it all as though I'm on a distant planet (I wish!  One-way ticket to Risa, please!).  I no longer subscribe to your religion, people.  Namaste.

It's calm here.  Bullshit still happens (have you read my posts about my job??) but it doesn't phase me.  Just a humorous anecdote to share over adult beverages.  I may not have the joys I had when I was still invested in people, but I also don't have the gut-wrenching pain, and I don't miss that at all.  I  have no expectations of life, and  therefore I am never disappointed.  

I'm sure this state I refer to as Faith Understandably Completely Knockered, (you figure it out) is probably largely due to age.  You naturally care less as you get older.  It's the creepy amusement park ride operator's way of telling you the roller coaster is slowing down, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Please do not read this rambling as a cry for pity or a "poor me" post.  I am in the best place I have ever been in my life.  I am proud of my accomplishments; I have weathered my tribulations (some of which are good stories, and I will write about them later); and I am still here and thriving.  Being faithless is the best thing that ever happened to me.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How Did We Get to Here From There?

This morning:
Coworker:  They want to impeach our Governor.
Me: Sure, why not?
Coworker:  They should impeach our President.
I just walked away, cause I believe murder is wrong, and I didn't have my non-existent gun on me, but it really angered me.  I mean REALLY angered me.
I know I am surrounded by a bunch of knee-jerk conservatives, but I come from a long line of knee-jerk conservatives. 
In high school, I was an anti-war supporter during Vietnam.  I wore a black armband and refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in homeroom.  My parents disapproved of my behavior, and thought the war was justified (even though it was being perpetuated by a Democrat and they were die-hard Republicans).  Their attitude irritated me and we had some heated arguments about it, but I never got really angry about it, nor did they.
Back when the Watergate Hearings were happening, my father and I had many discussions about Nixon.  In my father's eyes, RMN could do no wrong, despite the fact that before both our sets of eyes, we were watching the truth unfold.  But I never was angry at  daddy for his beliefs, even though I felt them to be wrong. 
When the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, I don't remember a lot of  backlash.  There was no such thing, as I remember, as Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.  There were people who were totally against abortion and would never have one, but they didn't see anything wrong with women obtaining one legally under safe medical conditions, instead of in a back room with a rusty coat hanger.   
(You will notice I use the phrase "as I remember" a lot.  That's because in the early 70's  my diet consisted mainly of gin and tonics and random drugs, so I may have missed a lot of what was actually happening.  Good times.)
But my point is, in spite of the political/moral divisions I had with those closest to me,  we were all rational about our differences. 
Now every time someone disagrees with me, I feel a Hulk attack coming on. 
I am sure there are people more politically savvy then myself (which would include almost everyone except my cats) who have a logical, though long-winded, explanation for the reason there is a cloud of anger/bitterness/righteousness that hangs over our country and makes us all feel like going postal.  I probably wouldn't understand it, though, if I heard it.  Those years of gin/tonic/drugs have taken their toll.
But I do believe that all this almost palpable negativism is the cause for the rise of cute animal videos.  You have to do something to calm down so you won't kill your fellow employees.  I guess. 
The result of all this National Crankiness is that it makes me feel old.  I worked hard in my youth to stand up for what I believe is right, and we had a couple of victories.  For a while the country chugged forward with people still disagreeing, but generally just staying out of each other's way.  And now it's all gone haywire, and I find myself caught up in it.  If my coworker doesn't like Obama, that's her business and her right.  I mean, 'Murica, right?  Her random comment (inappropriate as it seems to me) about impeaching him shouldn't make me shoot red laser beams out of my eyes and reach for my phaser.  This is not me.  Has someone been spiking my PBR? 
But, hey, have you seen that YouTube of that cat in that box??  It's adorable!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Even If I Don't Fits, I Sits

With two notable exceptions, I have never fit in with where I am.  I was a ten-month baby, and in my mind, it was because along around 9 1/2 months I realized who I would be living with and was, like, "Whoa, these are not the droids I want."  (I was one of the early Indigo Children).  Anyroad, I ended up with them and always seemed like a stranger in a strange land.  I was definitely a part of the family unit, but I always felt like I was wearing a pair of undies that were too small and kept riding up my butt.
School was the same way.  Then I had a brief fling with theatre, but we broke up, because theatre wasn't into long-term commitments.  My first job in The Real World was with the FBI and I don't think I have to tell you my comfort level there.  (Though the NYC Office was cooler than the Pittsburgh Office.  I got to be in NYC for the birth of Disco, it was glorious.)  
My first notable exception was during my motherhood/wife-life phase.  Until the wife-life tanked, which led to the second notable exception when I got back together with my high school boyfriend, theatre; with the understanding that either of us could pull out whenever we wanted. (TWSS, but it should be noted that theatre broke up with me last year, and we got back together in August.)
ANYROAD, all of the above is just exposition to my point today, which is I don't feel comfortable in the current social environment.  I know I am not alone in this, thank Dionysus, but it hit home this morning when I  heard a woman in my office say, "I don't understand gun control."  Now, I don't know if she meant she doesn't understand how it works (or, actually, doesn't work), or if she doesn't understand why we need it.  But either way, I can't wrap my head around it.  Surely, she doesn't think it's okay for a mentally unstable human being to walk into a school and shoot people.  Doesn't she realize that stricter gun regulations may have prevented that man from obtaining a gun?  Why am I asking you?  You guys are on my side (I'm guessing) know this. 
But it's shit like this, and shit like people believing that Trump is an actual human being capable of national leadership, and not Zombie Hitler, that just make me want to crawl into a hole (although a comfy hole, with my cats and beer and Netflix) and never emerge. 
I thought we fixed this in 1970, people!  You mean I wore a black armband, refused to salute the flag and worshipped John Lennon for NOTHING??  
Well, it just proves, once again, that Star Trek was right...resistance is futile. And, if I have to accept the inevitability of assimilation, I supposed I can be comforted by the fact that I"ll get Jeri Ryan-like tits. 
But I'd rather people would quit shooting each other.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In Memoriam

When I was 15, I decided I wanted to be an actor.  My mother was aghast.  She was sure this would lead to me having sex all the time.  (She was always afraid I was going to be have sex all the time.  How wrong can you get.) Anyroad, my aunt thought me taking acting lessons was a wonderful idea and, wanting more than anything to please her new sister-in-law, my mother signed me up for Saturday morning acting lessons at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.
My teacher was Thom Thomas.  Thom was on the faculty of Point Park College (affiliated with the Playhouse).  He had graduated from Carnegie-Mellon and worked briefly in LA.  He was in the process of starting a summer theatre in Pittsburgh, The Odd Chair Playhouse.
It is no exaggeration to say that Thom Thomas changed my life.  He told me I had some ability.  He taught me the basics of theatre, including theatre etiquette, which is just as important as acting.  I worked at Odd Chair for seven years, attended Point Park because I wanted to continue studying with him, and grew from a lonely, insecure little girl into a woman who found her calling and her tribe.
A few years ago, we became FB friends.   I took that opportunity to express to Thom how much I loved and admired him and to thank him profusely for giving me a love for theatre, which truly made me into the Debbie I Was Meant to Be.
I'm so glad I did that.  Thom passed away  today, and I can't stop crying.  With the exception of my kids, no one has ever had such an enormous positive effect on my life.  In addition to being terrified of me becoming a sex machine, my mother was also convinced that I would commit suicide.  Perhaps I would have, if I hadn't met Thom... that's how important he was to me.
Rest in peace, my dear, dear, teacher, mentor,  and friend.  I'm sure I'm just one of many lives you rescued. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There's no earthly way of knowing....

Hi, guy(s)!  Long time no blog.  I think about writing about something every now and again, but then I get all paranoid that I've written about that before, and I'm lazier than I am paranoid, so I don't check to see if I've written about it and just play solitaire instead.  It's my circle of life.
But now I'm reading Jenny Lawson's second book, Furiously Happy, and she's so brave and honest (and hysterical) in writing about all her demons, I figured I can afford to let my Senility Slip show a little under my Supposedly Perfect Journalistic Dress.  So if I've written about this before, fuck all y'all, I'm doing it again.
When I was younger, I thought I would handle advancing age better then I am.  I pictured Fred and me retired in a smallish, but exquisite cottage by the sea, with the kids visiting regularly and frequent trips to the British Isles and Europe.  Fred would putter in the garden and I'd meet my equally chubby aging friends in town for a champagne cocktail or two and witty repartee.
So I end up working forty hours a week at The Most Conservative Law Firm Ever, living in a lovely, though dilapidated apartment with two cats, scraping together the cash to see my kids a couple times a year,  and drinking beers at Rojo with a bunch of young actors.  I AM NOT COMPLAINING!!!  I love my life as it is now, and shit happens and this is where I am and I can't imagine  ending up  any other way and feeling so right about it.
No one's life turns out the way they expect it to.....that's how the game is played, figuring out what to do when you pull a Bad Luck card out of the deck.  I think, all things considered, I've weathered the shitstorms in my life fairly well, at least I've survived them all. 
But I guess I thought by now I'd be content, have all the answers to life  at my fingertips and radiate a Peaceful Worldwise Glow.  The only glow I radiate now is after one of the aforementioned evenings at Rojo.  And I know nothing, NOTHING!!!
I am still continually shocked, dismayed, horrified, surprised and freaked-out by pretty much everything that goes on in the world, except by my kids and my cats, because my kids are the Two Most Amazing People on the Planet, and....cats.  I fought in the Hippie Wars (1968-1972) to eradicate useless wars, racism, homophobia, and misogyny, and look out the window, people....THAT SHIT'S STILL HAPPENING!!!  Plus, we had the extra bonus of Richard Nixon shooting himself in the foot so politicians would then change their selfish, greedy ways, and well...see above sentence. It's disheartening.
But overall, I don't think I would go back and change anything I've done in my life.  (Except dating Bad Steve.  That was definitely my Life's Ultra Stoopy Moment.)  Because all those things I've done helped create what is rapidly turning into the Finished Product, and I'm pretty pleased with the result.  It's kinda like I started out with the intention to make Miso Soup and I ended up cooking Tater Tot Casserole, with extra cheese and bacon. 
I might not be as good for you, but I'm a helluva lot more delicious.