Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home Alone

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions, mainly because being resolute isn't my forte.  But I do make life changing decisions from time to time.  And I have recently decided to give myself more "alone time".

I used to spend a lot of time alone.  I only did one play during the six years I was with Bad Steve.  I spent most of my time hanging out at the apartment, waiting for him to call and watching my bank account shrink.  Good times.  Then around the end of 2010,  I decided to become more of a Social Butterfly.  This goes against my nature.  I am naturally a reclusive person.  In fact, in my Younger Years, one of my goals was to become an Elderly Wealthy Recluse.  Thanks to Bad Steve, that middle part ain't gonna happen, but I still might make it to Elderly and I have no problem being reclusive.

I am not trying to be anti-social.  It's just that due to a Series of Unfortunate Events, I have never been comfortable in social situations.  I spent the first five years of my life fairly isolated from anyone other than my immediate family so when I finally encountered Real People, I was clueless what to do or say, because people seemed scary.    And when I did manage to do or say something, it was invariably the wrong thing.  Kindergarten was my first foray into hanging with my peers and at one point, I mentioned to my friends that I was still sleeping in a crib.  I have no idea why I felt I had to impart this information, but I guess that's the kind of shit five-year-olds talked about in the 1830's.  Anyroad, my classmates thought that was hysterical and endlessly poked fun at me because I was still crib-bound at the advanced age of five.  You would have thought that this massive dose of humilation would have taught me to think before I speak, but I'm a slow learner. A reaaalllyyy slow learner.  I still say crap that has no business jumping out of my mouth and immediately regretting it.  I then crawl back into my crib. 

I'm not ready to go Full-On Recluse just yet.  I will still be out and about from time to time; can't totally give up my Stella on tap, but my daughter gave me a Kindle for Christmas and my son got me a beautiful set of wind chimes, so I'll be bundled up and curled up in my Comfy Chair on my porch a lot more these days. 

Don't take it personally---I still love all of you, but, frankly, y'all scare the shit out of me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seasonless Greetings

Hey everybody!  Long time, no read, I know, but shit happens and I'm back.

Given the Season upon us, I should be writing holiday musings, but I hate this time of year with an irrational passion, so I'll spare you the suicide-inducing rant and talk about theatre.


Anyroad, I am currently rehearsing a role that practically defies description.  "Practically" in the sense that I can tell you I play a 72 year-old whore with a hare lip, one eye and a limp, but I really don't think that simplistic description does Princess justice.  I don't think anyone or anything has ever done poor Princess justice, but, again, shit happens.  It's a boatload of fun, in any case, and I'm having a ball.

Next month, I start rehearsing as Polonius in Hamlet.  I have been trying to think of a civilian comparison as to how these two roles differ.   It's kind of like if you have two dates in a row, and the first is with Howard Stern and the next is with Maya Angelou.  Nah, that doesn't sound right.  How about: you're going clothes shopping and first you buy a lacy bustier and then you buy a police uniform.   Still doesn't feel right.  Anyroad, it's one of the things I love about acting--that you get to portray such a wide variety of experiences, many of which you'd never actually like to do in real life (i.e. I would not enjoy having a hare lip and one eye [I'm guessing]).  It is an incredible challenge as an actor, and it keeps the whole process fresh, which is unusual in any profession.  I think that's why actors leave a long-running TV series, because they want to experience that challenge again.  Also, at that point they have more money than God and they can do whateverthehell they want to.  Us poor community-theatre-have-to-work-a-crap-job-to-survive types don't have that luxury, but we still salivate at the idea of playing a complex character nothing like ourselves.  And Princess and Polonius are definitely not two P's in a pod. 

So, Merry Chrismahanakakwanza to me.  The rest of you can have your Santa and reindeer the endless caterwauling of Christmas music, but I'll sit back and polish my eyepatch and take each man's censure but reserve my judgment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well, it's That Time of Year again. 

I don't actually know what that means.  It's ALWAYS that time of year again, whatever that time was last year and the year before that, etc., etc.  That's life (that's what all the people say). 

But what I think I mean (and today is one of those days where I'm not sure I know what I think I mean) is that the holidays make me schizophrenic.  (Okay, say it: More schizo than I normally am?  Thank you and fuck you.) 

On one hand, I love Christmas, because it's the only time of the year (barring emergency apartment moves) that both my kids are in town at the same time and we always have a blast.  On the other hand, I hate New Year's Eve, for a variety of reasons, even though the last few years I've always done a show on NYE and that made it easier to get through.  (Is there anything doing a show won't make it easier to get through?  Did that last sentence make any sense?  I told you it was one of those days.) 

Then there is the overall atmosphere of the season wherein everybody feels compelled to make everything more important because of the time of year.  Like using "wherein" in that last sentence--I'd never do that in mid-June.  But this time of year it seems like everything carries more weight (especially my tummy and my credit cards) and it makes me feel discombobulated.  (Again, I would never use the word  "discombobulated" in February, even if I were.)  It's the damn holidays. 

I think I expect too much of myself this time of year.  Although, to be honest, I expect too much of myself on a daily basis.  I always expect me to be Everything to Everyone and when I'm not, I feel like I'm a failure.  There is a reason why I'm in therapy.    But this time of year it seems exaggerated.  I feel like I'm expected to be Jolly and Full of Christmas Cheer from Nov. 1 to Jan. 2 and I haven't been full of cheer since my last pregnancy.  I blame The Media (why not?).  Every sad thing on the news seems sadder because it's Christmastime.  Every happy thing on the news is a goddamned Miracle, because it's Christmastime.  The only true Christmas Miracle is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special--if Linus' speech doesn't make you tear up you are not human. 

I'll get through The Holidays, I always do.  There will be the best of times, there will be the worst of times and throughout the whole endless barrage of Christmas music (I HATE Christmas music, except for "Christmastime is Here" from the aforementioned CBCS) I will smile and wave and be Everything to Everyone. 

And wake up Jan. 2 Full of Failure.  It will be That Time of Year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time Isn't on Anybody's Side

What's up with Tuesdays?  Why are they so insufferably long?  Even if I'm doing something I like to do (which I'm not) or even if I have a lot of work to do (which I don't) they always seem to be about 12 times longer than Mondays.  And on a day like today when I have no work to do and there's red velvet cake staring me in the face.  . . . .well, it's not pretty. (but delicious)

If Einstein was right (and I have trouble believing that anybody with hair like that knows what they're talking about) and time isn't really real, just some concept we came up with, then I think we should have more say in how it works.  Of course, we also came up the concept of our government and we're supposed to have a say in how that works too, so never mind.  But I still find time frustrating.

Why does it go so fast when you're having a good time and so slowly when you're not?  That seems a very Catholic way of controlling time to me. Maybe that's where they came up with Catholicism in the first place.  "Hey the passage of good times speed by and bad times last forever, so let's make up a religion like that!"  Doesn't make any sense, but nothing about being a Catholic ever made much sense to me.   Or maybe the Catholics invented time.  I wouldn't put it past them.  Any religion that makes their leader wear a hat like that can't be coming from a sane place.

And then there's that thing where it appears to stop or go in slow motion when something awful happens.  I have a good friend who falls a lot. (Actually, so do I, maybe that's why we've bonded.)  The last time she fell (Saturday) she said she felt it was happening in slow motion.  Well, that's not right!  If an iron gate is going to fall on top of you, let's get it over with as quickly as possible!  And don't get me started on childbirth. (Seriously, wear a condom, for Christ's sake.)   Shit, if you have to push a watermelon out of your hooey it should be over and done within a matter of minutes, not stretched out for endless hours!  It really hurts.  A lot.  And eating an ice cream sundae, one the few pleasures in life I still partake in, cannot be lingered over or the damn ice cream will melt--this is not right!  I have had enough!!!!


 As soon as I figure out how.  Where's Einstein when you need him?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

That's Why They Call it Work

Come January, I will have been at Dicks 'N Balls for ten years.  That's a long-ass time for me to have the same job.  I started working temp and was made full-time in a month.  I never meant this to be a long-term thing.  I never meant for my marriage to end either, but it did and the two things happened to coincide, so here I am.

I know I bitch a lot about my job, but it really isn't that horrible, I've had much worse.  It's just not a good fit for me.  I doubt if any clerical position would really suit me.  Organization and attention to detail aren't my thing.  I'm an impulsive, emotional-driven kind of gal.  I don't know what kind of work those qualities make me suited for.  Soap opera writer, maybe?  Tester for bipolar meds?  Professional five-year-old?

The truth is, of course, that the only thing I can do well is act.  I'm not complaining, I'm uber-grateful for the gift.  And if I had to choose between being able to act and being able to create an Excel spreadsheet. . . .well, you know how this sentence is going to end. 

If I could turn back time (pause while you curse me for getting that song stuck in your head), when I quit college after my junior year  I should have taken six months off, gone out to the desert, done a lot of peyote and thought about my life.  But, instead, I enrolled in Duff's Business Institute (no relation to the beer) and learned Gregg Shorthand, which is now obsolete, whereas I still use all the acting techniques I learned in college.  I'm sure there's some deeply ironic, philosophical point here, but I'll let you Choose Your Own Adventure on this one.

I am very lucky to have a job.  I have way too many friends who don't and can't find one, so I have no right to bitch about mine, imperfect as it is.  However, in Debbieland. . . . . .

You do what you want to do and get paid in whatever you feel you need at the time.   Cure cancer for cocktails?  Sure!  Take out trash for a trip to Tahiti?  Why not?  Guide the government for gumdrops?  Well, hell, Reagan did it for jelly beans, so have at it!  Anything for anything.  It doesn't even have to be alliterative!

In the meantime, thank you Dicks 'N Balls for employing my very non-clerical-like self.  Unless I find a job as a professional five-year-old, then I'm outa here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Home Meh Home

Have you ever been to someone's house that looks like it came out of an issue of Better Homes and Gardens?  My apartment does not.  I wouldn't say I'm a slob, but that's only because I'm not being truthful.   It is just not something I feel is important.  I live alone and rarely have people over, because it freaks me out to entertain. (I've probably mentioned this before, but people scare the shit of me. That's a whole other post.) I spend as little time as possible at home and if I am home I'd much rather waste time by learning lines,  reading or Huluing than scooping up dust bunnies. 

I've been in my apartment for a year a half now.  When I first moved in, I discovered that the number of books I had in my old place somehow grew when I moved into my new place.  I threw a bunch of them in a box and they had a couple of weeks living in close quarters, so who knows what went on in that box during that time.  I don't like to think about it.  But the upshot is, I now have too many books.  So I just left them in the box and planned to buy a small, two- or three-shelf bookcase to put them in.  That was my plan.  Actually, it still is my plan, evidently, because those books are still living in that box.  (Don't worry, I threw in a box of condoms, so that should keep the population steady.)  I just haven't found the time/motivation/money to buy the damn bookcase.  Martha Stewart would not approve, and I don't really care.  But, thanks to my Irish Catholic upbringing, I do feel guilty about not caring.  It's a lose-lose. (Which is the Irish Catholic equivalent of a win-win.)

Please don't get the impression that my apartment could audition for an episode of Hoarders--it's not that bad, just not that good.  Not Better Homes and Gardens good.  And I guess I'm kind of fascinated by the people that have BH&G décor.  I wouldn't know how to justify spending $50 on a thing that sits on a table and doesn't serve a purpose other than sitting on a table.  I can do that for free.  (Although if anyone wants to pay me for that, I'm down.  I have very little pride left.)  I once went to a home that had an entire wall covered with Gone With The Wind Commerative Plates.  There must have been fifty of them----fifty poorly drawn pictures of Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable and Hattie McDaniels.   My kids were with me, but too young at the time to appreciate the incredible kitchyness/tackyness/laugh-out-loudity of the situation.  I think I actually gasped and, luckily, the hostess took that as a sign of delight/jealousy.  "Yes, aren't they beautiful?  I have the whole set."  I was able to honestly answer, "I've never seen anything like that."  I hope I never have to again.

Oh, well, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum, etc., etc., and my guess is that the type of person who shells out beaucoup du bucks for Commerative Gone With The Wind plates wouldn't enjoy hanging out on a porch, drinking beer and talking theatre.  Her loss.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"I may not be no doctor, but I knows when I'm losing my patience."

That's a quote from one of our more underrated philosophers, Popeye.  I mean, who can argue with "I yam what I yam."?

Anyroad, patience has never been my forte.  When I was a kid, I had absolutely none.  Once, when I was five, I was trying to watch television and everyone kept talking, so I grabbed the TV to move it closer to me and ended up pulling it on top of me.  It did get everyone to shut up but after I was extricated I was sent to my room, so it ended up defeating my purpose. As I sadly padded up the stairs, I was told, "Patience is a virtue."  Yeah, whatever.  Virtue's not my forte, either.

I got better as I aged.  In the area of patience, anyway.  Having kids does that to you.  You want to have them live long enough to start school, so you learn to be patient. But there comes a point when I run out of patience and I just don't care anymore.  (DISCLAIMER:  This doesn't apply to my kids; I still care about them a whole lot.  Cause they rock. The Casbah. Hard.)

But that's kinda where I am with the government.  I have totally run out of patience with the Feds and I just don't care anymore.  Usually when someone else can't get their shit together it doesn't affect me that much, but the government lost their shit a long time ago and, consequently, the entire country is fucked.  I appreciate what all those Occupiers are trying to do, but honestly, they're just pulling TVs on top of themselves and I can tell you that doesn't get the results you think it will.  The government simply doesn't care about us Little People.  They have theirs, fuck us.  Guess they're not into virtues, either.

So y'all (once again) are invited to come live in Debbieland.  Much like in the 24th century, there is no currency here (hey, if it can work for Jean-Luc Picard, it can work for us).  There will be lots of chocolate and beer and theatre, both the straight and musical variety, and really good books and Thai food, and somehow we will all be provided for.  The only rules are that everyone has to be nice to each other and be quiet or leave the room if someone is trying to watch television.  And I'll probably abolish virtues, cause I don't see the point.  Someone come up with a National Anthem (one that people with a normal vocal range can sing, please) and we'll be ready to move in.  First beer's on me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Debbieland

Bad Steve used to tell me I was naïve (Duh, I dated him for six years!).  He was right, of course. And although it was a bad thing in terms of being with him, overall I'm okay with being naïve.  Along with being overly empathic, uber-emotional, and loving people unconditionally, it's who I am and I'm kinda proud of it.  That's just how I roll.

Which is why I don't get blanket hatred.  I understand hating people individually.  Even with being a Professional Softie, I still have a few people on my Shit List.  Not a fan of Hitler, Bin Laden or Vlad the Impaler.  There are a couple of people in my past who make the list.  And for some irrational reason, Ed McMahon; I don't want to talk about it.  But hating a group of people because they're a particular group of people is so damn mean.  Why waste your energy?  What purpose could it serve?  Does it make you feel better to hate another ethnic/religious/political/sexually oriented group?  Does it make your penis larger?  Cause then I could understand it.  But I'm pretty sure there's no scientific proof of that, though the research could be fun.  But I digress lasciviously.

Here's an out-of-the-box concept: People Are People.  They may look different, believe different things, have a different smell than you, but they are still people.  And until each individual on the planet earns their assholedity, why hate 'em?  There for the Grace of Chaos go you.

 Now, my guess is that most of you reading this (Hi you 3!) already knew this. And I doubt that if, for some reason, you're reading this and you disagree with me, I will change your mind, anymore than you will ever convince me that Alabama college football is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  So don't waste your red/white/orange/blue breath.   My point is, I am naïve enough to agree with Rodney King: Why can't we all just get along?  Life Sucks.  Even if you have a "charmed" (hah!) life, there will be times that life gives you a good, swift kick in the solar plexus and it takes you a while to get your breath back.  There are some of us who seem to receive those kicks on a far-too regular basis and you would think we would get used to them, but we don't.  The latest one hurts just as much as the first one did.  I reiterate, Life Sucks.   So why make it harder by adding unreasonable hatred to your psyche?  It won't make the kicks any gentler and you're really just asking for extra kicks, so WTF?????????

Yes, Life Sucks.  But I still believe it doesn't have to.  You can make an effort to care about people, even if they don't dance to the same music you do.  People respond to being loved-everyone wants to be.  Try it.  It can't hurt.  It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, which is nice.  But hating never does that.  And it never helps.  And sometimes it ends up shutting down a restaurant that served delicious, cheap tacos.  And who wants that?

So let's  invite everyone to come live in Debbieland.  Where everyone loves everyone else and there are unicorns and rainbows and fat-free hot fudge sundaes and free beer and lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, with no negative consequences.  Everyone is welcome! 

Except Ed McMahon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

After the Fall

That's an Arthur Miller play about Marilyn Monroe.  Not one of his best, but it is Arthur Miller.  And irrelevant to the rest of this post.

I am ambivalent towards autumn.  Summer I like, winter I hate,  spring I love, but I can't make up my mind about fall (hence the ambivalency).  On the one hand, since summer in Alabama is 14 months long, by the time autumn finally gets here I'm really sick of my summer clothes and ready for a change.  But long sleeves annoy me because I have uber-short arms and long sleeves are always too long.  Plus, I have to start wearing coats/jackets and I hate coats/jackets, not to mention the fact that I invariably leave them wherever I go, necessitating the purchase of more coats/jackets, which I hate.  (It's the Circle of Life.)  But sartorial crises aside, while I love the dramatic skies and changing leaves, I always experience a feeling of unease in fall--like something really bad is about to happen.  Part of this feeling I base on the fact that during both my pregnancies I had morning sickness all autumn.   Back then the feeling that something bad was about to happen usually ended in me throwing up.  (On a side note, I was pregnant in the falls of 82 and 84, when John Cougar Mellancamp's songs "Hurts So Good" and "Jack and Diane" came out.  I get nauseous whenever I hear them; not because I don't like them, I do, but because when I heard them originally I was always queasy.  Pavlov's Deb.) So there's that.  And I associate autumn with going back to school, which so terrified me every year that I couldn't eat during the whole month of August, worrying about it.  So there's that. And my brother-in-law was killed in October, so there's that.  And there's that S.A.D. thing, so there's that.  I guess the wonder is that I like it at all.  But part of me does.  It appeals to my dramatic nature and there are two names for it, which makes it "special".  It usually smells pretty good.   And I love sitting around a roaring fireplace, just talking with my significant other.  I never do this, you understand, not having a fireplace and/or S.O., but if I had either/both of those things I would love that. Adults need to spend more time being cozy.  It's good for your soul.  And fall is the best season for cozy.  In a queasy, uneasy, I-just-know-something-terrible-is-going-to-happen-any-minute kind of way.

Also, I would like to apologize for putting "Jack and Diane" in everybody's head.  Anyone have any Pepto?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oy Vey

Being in theatre is like being in a relationship.

You're going along just fine without doing a play/dating, then there is an audition/you meet someone you really like. (That last sentence didn't work out so well grammatically, but let me have a little artistic license, here, please?) The more you read/get to know about it/the person, the more you want the role/person.  You go to the audition/first date and you nail it; sorry, that's a poor choice of words: let's just say it goes very well.  Then you get cast/decide to be an item. 

You are absolutely over the moon.

You have the read through/use your imagination for this part.  Everything is great.  You look forward to going to rehearsals/seeing him and/or her every day and you've never been happier.  Then one night, things are a little wonky.  But, no worries, it's early; you're just learning about each other (that one works for both, right?).  There are good days and not-so-good days, but overall you really love this role/person and it's where you want to be.  Enter tech week/insert random length of time here. Everyone/the two of you start(s) to get cranky and tempers are short.  It's supposed to be running smoothly by now, why isn't it?  It needs to be perfect and it isn't.  Why did I ever agree to do this?????

Then it's time for opening night/make-up sex.  And you remember why you love theatre/him/her. And you know that this is definitely where you want to be.

You enjoy the run; some nights aren't as good as others, but, hey, it's theatre/love!  The show closes/you break up, you strike/give him/her back his/her toothbrush and you promise each other you'll still be good friends.  Sometimes you are.  But you still hurt for a while and miss that play/person so much some days your heart won't stop aching.   You eventually get over it.  Because you know, there's always another play/person.  And maybe the next one will be the one to make you a star/actually last.  

Remind me why I do this/this again? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

College-ruled or Legal-ruled?

See?  I told you that's what this episode would be about! I don't lie, people, Honest Deb, that's me.

Although both my father and grandfather ran a stationery store, I am embarrassed to say I don't know the difference between the two.  However, I am proud to say I don't give a fuck.  What possible difference can it make?  Although I do imagine that the legal-ruled pads have perfectly-straight, light blue lines spaced in exact proportions, while the college-ruled lines are all different colors, totally crooked and smell a little like weed.  Now you know why I didn't go into the family business.

But I actually think that pompous names for sheets of paper are pretty indicative of the state of the business world today.  Most of it is pure BS that doesn't matter.  Take my firm's dress code.  We are not allowed to wear any sort of denim or sleeveless garment.  Evidently the sight of a sleeveless denim dress is considered the Height of Erotica in the Wacky World of Accounting.  While a sleeveless denim dress might make me nauseous, I sincerely doubt it would affect my productivity level (which is pretty damn low already, as you can tell from my typing this at work). What would affect my productivity level (maybe, I'm not promising anything) is if I could wear jammies to work.  And drink beer.   And have my friends come hang out with me.  Okay, that sounds a little too much like all my evenings, so maybe it wouldn't increase my productivity.  But I'd appreciate it.

Because evidently my boss thinks that "appreciation" is legal tender.  "We can't give you a raise this year, but we really appreciate you, okay?"  Sure, no problem.  The first of next month I'll pay my rent with "appreciation" and see how that goes.

Another example:  I was asked to FedEx something to a client.  I had to look up the client's address.  It wasn't in any of the first three places I tried to find it and when I went to the fourth I couldn't open the program because Outlook was running 3 other programs at the same time.  Except that it wasn't.  I have now lost interest in the whole project.  If the client wants his financial statements he can bloody well send someone from wherever he is and pick them up.  My time is valuable.  I have blogs to write and Words with Friends to play, I can't be wasting my valuable time looking up your damn address just so I can send you some pieces of paper that tell you you're fucking rich, while I have to pay my rent with "appreciation".  Sorry.  I'll calm down now.

But my point is, unless you're one of the 39 people in the world who actually enjoys their job (and, if you are one of those people, please don't tell me about it, I'll probably hit you), work sucks.  So why not make it as easy as possible.  Wear what you want.  More money, less appreciation.  And make day-to-day information you need to do your job readily accessible.  And rainbows and unicorns in every cubicle.  And beer flowing like spreadsheets.  And college-ruled legal pads.  Oh, yeah. . . . .

You've Gotta Have Friends

Always loved that song and Bette Midler.  I did a show one time with a guy who had lived with her during "Fiddler on the Roof".  He said she was awesome, no surprise.   Those things have nothing to do with this blog, but I'm in a chatty mood today and have no one to chat with, so lucky you.

Anyroad, I should put a disclaimer out there that this blog entry will be Sappy.  So if you're not in the mood, carry on.  Je comprends et j'taime. (Hey!  I do remember some of those 10 years of French!)

For the majority of my life, I had no friends.  That statement seems overdramatic and is perhaps a slight exaggeration (I am prone to such), but not that far off.  In each of the friend-free chapters of my life, there was always a different reason, but I still remained essentially friendless.  At the time, I didn't miss having friends.   I was too busy, or thought I was anyway, to need them.  I was fine on my own.  That's what I told myself.

The truth is, I was scared. I was scared I wouldn't be a good enough friend.  Scared people would find me so annoying and overbearing and obnoxious that they couldn't stand to be around me.  Scared that one time I would say the wrong thing and they'd never forgive me and I'd be all alone again.  So it seemed easier just to avoid people in the first place and skip all the painful shit.  The dull ache of being alone was comforting. 

Then, two years ago, when I finally ended the Bad Steve Debacle, I started attending social functions.  It was incredibly scary, you have no idea, but after a while I began to realize that nothing horrible was happening at these events.  I even started enjoying myself now and then, which was uber terrifying.  Could it be that I actually had some Companionship Value as a human being??  My mind boggled.  It has taken two years, and I am still in therapy, but I am almost to the point where I am ready to admit that I'm an okay friend and people like hanging with me. 

But the main thing I've discovered is that having friends rocks.  The support, comfort, companionship, love and solace I never got from family or relationships are there in all my friends.  I suppose this is something Everyone Else always knew, but I am just discovering it now--I feel like fucking Christopher Columbus, without the smallpox. (Clarification:  "fucking" in that last sentence is meant as adjective, not a verb, dead guys aren't my thing.)  I am truly amazed by this.  It's like discovering that a cold beer tastes good on a hot day or that sex makes you feel good.  Go Know.

I am an extremely emotional person (no, really?).  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I speak my heart and I Thank the Theatre Gods that my friends can roll with that. 

Now, I'm not writing this so that people will validate me--I know my friends love me; I don't need constant reassurance. And this probably seems like a small thing to most people. But to me this as big as whatever that thing was that made Archimedes run down the street naked yelling "Eureka!", and I'm sure that was really, really important.   But his blog about it was probably less sappy.

I swear, next time I'll talk about legal-rule vs. college-rule notepads.  And I won't get introspective.  Well, I'll try not to. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life is Funny

When I was in college a very dear friend of mine used to say to me almost every day, "Gump, make me laugh."  (My nickname in college was Gump, long boring story, don't ask; but let me add that this was eons before Forrest of the Same Surname appeared.) Anyroad, I would always try.  And if I couldn't make Lee Ann laugh, I felt bad. 

The point of this quasi-maudlin and boring bit of ancient history is that making people laugh is really, really important to me.  Like chefs crave you savoring their food, musicians sing their heart for you,   and politicians do everything in their power to get you to despise them, I feel driven to make people laugh and if they don't think I'm funny, I feel like I've let the Universe down.   But the thing about being funny is that is has to be organic.  Don't ask me to tell a joke.  I can't remember jokes any more than I can remember any of the ten years of French I took.  Plus there is a cheesy kind of theatricality with joke telling that embarrasses me.  I feel like I should be on a small, poorly lit stage, entertaining the local Hadassah Chapter and ending every set with, "Thank you, I'll be here all week-try the veal."  (or "try the pork chops", which would actually be funny.)  No, I like the type of humor where a situation spontaneously spawns a punchline.  That sentence seems wrong somehow, but I hope you get my drift.  These "jokes" are rarely funny out of context and often seem sad or pathetic if I try to repeat them.  Which I do anyway, wherein people smile politely and nod and slowly back away from me. 

I would like to point out that "Being Funny" (copyright pending) has nothing to do with acting in a comedy or doing improv.  In the former the lines are already written for me and in the latter I have the incredible luck/fortune/blessing of working with the most amazingly funny people I have ever known, who support me and make me look funny even when I'm not.  In both plays and improv, all I have to do is pick out the gems from the treasure chest of comedy I'm offered.  Fun and (usually) rewarding but not compulsive.

Like Being Funny is.  It has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember.  At one point in my life (a low one), I was in Sales.  A bad idea.  I had to do a lot of cold calls (an even worse idea) and I was shaking the hand of a prospective client when he apologized for his hands being cold.  Without thinking (obviously) I said, "Oh, well, cold hands, warm heart!" which was inappropriate and glib and killed the sale.  Yay.  I'm sure there are other examples, but thankfully my conscious has blocked them out.  If there is a joke out there, I will make it and suffer the consequences.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Lee Ann, if you're still out there, thanks for the vote of confidence that I could always make you laugh.  I tried.  And the veal is delicious.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Parenthood 2 or 3, whatever it is

Math is not my forte.

 Anyroad, my daughter is getting married in a couple of days.  This is one of those Memorable Moments in a parent's life, along with first step, first word, successful potty training and the day when they're old enough you can say "fuck" in front of them and not apologize and tell them never to say that word.  It feels weird and wonderful at the same time, just like it did when the above things happened.  (Except the "fuck" thing, that was just a relief.) 

Like a lot of people (I'm guessing) I was not prepared for how life-changing having kids is.  I knew it would be a lot work, and a lot of happiness and a lot of worry and a lot of joy, but I felt like I became a different person when I became a mom.  I viewed life from a whole new angle all of a sudden.  Things I used to care about (world politics, economic sanctions, blowout sales at Macy's) didn't matter to me anymore and I found myself wondering who the guest would be on Sesame Street that day and if Huggies were really better than Pampers. (Before I got pregnant a Huggie was a foamish thing you put around your beer to keep it cold.)  It wasn't even a conscious decision--it just happened and I never gave it a second thought. 

Okay, I know none of this is funny or earth shattering,  And it sort of repeats my earlier blog on parenting, just not written as well. But it's still true.  And that adorable Shirley Temple look-a-like that used to sing "The Farmer in the Den" and make me catch fireflies for her and put them in a jar before she went to sleep and watched "Sleeping Beauty" for hours on end is getting married on Sunday.  That's a BFD.  I love being a mom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Bugs Me

In an attempt to back-pedal on the introspective-here-is-my bare-naked-soul blogs I have been writing, I will attempt to pen a series of "humorous"  (I hate people who put words in "quotes" for "no apparent reason") pieces on the more mundane aspects of life.  If they suck, I'll go back to the FML genre. 

First up:  bugs.  Not a fan.  (I wasn't kidding about the mundane part, was I?)  I know, I know-who is?  But I find people's reactions to different insect species fascinating.  (Really?  This may be one reason why my life sucks.  Note to self:  mention this in next therapy session.)  No, wait, hear me out.  Some people absolutely freak out at the mention of the word "spider".  Others can sort of tolerate them.  I'm okay with them, as long as I don't see them move.  If they start doing their creepy Spider Walk, then I'm out of there.  This is why I don't kill them, because if I go after them, they'll start to move and I'll have a stroke.  There is a spider who lives in the corner of a window in my kitchen.  He lived there before I moved in, over a year ago.  I sat down and had a talk with him the first week and said I had no problem with him living there, as long as he tidied up after himself and would only come out after dark.  We shook hands and he has abided lawfully to our contract.  I say good morning to him every day while I'm fixing coffee.  And this is in no way pathetic or introspective, so shutthefuckup. 

My son hates cicadas. Something to do about how we forced him to go to Boy Scout Camp every year.  I don't want to talk about it.   But I kind of like them.  I mean, I like the sound of them; the sight of them creeps me out, but I like the rhythmic cadence that gently lulls. . OMG!!! It's a cicada!!! Get that thing away from me!!!  Ahhhh. . . . .okay, I'm okay now.  And on to. . . .

Yup, the Grand Muthafucka of them all, Roaches.  Nobody likes roaches.  If you ever do meet someone who likes them, you should get very, very far away from that person as soon as possible.  They are the Reality TV of the Insect World (random thought:  I hate people who use quotation marks indiscriminately but, obviously, have no problem with irrational capitalization of words.  Gonna be a busy therapy session on Monday. . . .) and, much like RTV, they always come on when you don't want them to.  I once had an apartment that had a cockroach nest above my bed (unbeknownst to me) and I woke up one day with roaches falling on my face.  (See therapy note, above.)  I have a friend who told me his uncle got one in his ear.  These Abominations of Nature go places you wouldn't want your lover to go, let alone a cockroach.  Why are they still here?  Let's face it, our country has hit its peak, we're on the downhill slide, forget the economy and healthcare and new designs on quarters--if a politician ran on a I'm Going to Kill Every Motherfucking Cockroach in America platform, he'd win in a landslide.  As long as by "motherfucking cockroach" he meant "motherfucking cockroach" and not gay guys.  I wouldn't vote for him then.  (Two-part note:  A:  those quotations marks were justified; B:  Notice I use the pronoun "he", not "she".  That's because if either Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman become president I'll kill myself and will no longer care about cockroaches.  Oh wait, C:  I'm not going to mention the quotation marks around "he" and "she" because it's now driving me crazy.)

Well, you get the point.  And I realize I'll get tens of thousands of letters (read: 0) from readers who feel slighted because I ignored their least favorite bug, but I can't do everything people.  And, technically, I am at "work".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Advice Call 'Em

I am big on giving advice:

Don't feel bad if you don't get the part;
Don't try to control the universe (Thanks, Michael);
Listen more than you speak;
There are worse things than being alone;
Don't get so stressed out;

None of which I actually follow.  They often all happen at once. Because when I'm stressed out that I didn't get the part, which is not how I had planned it and I realize I said too much and then have to go home alone and think about it, *gasp* I stop breathing.  I'm working on this, (the breathing part, I mean) because I think I read somewhere that breathing is important (Highlights Magazine?  The Economist?  one of those).  So if any of you notice me getting blue in the face and I'm not currently attending an audition for Blue Man Group or the Smurfs Movie, please remind me of my respiratory duties. 

I'm working on the other things too, and some days do better than others at one or more of them.  I'm great at the first one when I'm not auditioning for anything, but I think that's cheating (that one definitely came from Highlights Magazine, Goofus and Gallant #249).

 I am a talker.  But I am making a more concentrated effort at actually thinking before I open my mouth (this idea must be from some avant garde, New Age rag like Mother Jones, or something), again, with varying rates of success.  Sometimes words that come out of my mouth are kind of funny, which saves my ass, but not all the time.  And we won't even talk about my Maudlin Moments--they're not pretty.

I'm actually okay with the being alone.  The only time it's at all dicey is on holidays and to assuage this, I have developed the Rocky Balboa Philosophy- "Hey, to you it's Tanksgivin, to me it's Tursday."

The stress?  I'm Irish Catholic--stress is The Very Life Essence to us.  That and beer.

No, the one I have the most trouble with is Controlling the Universe.  I am ALWAYS so SURE that I know EXACTLY what is going to happen because that's what I say is going to happen and then nothing even remotely like that happens at all. This is because I was trying tell the Universe what should unfold, but The Universe (Wise Woman that She is) just sighed, gazed at me over the top of her reading glasses and said, patiently, "You go read your Highlights Magazine, we have this covered."   This has only happened to me approximately 2,436,935 times.  In the last month.  So I'm hopeful I'll eventually get the point.  I'm also hopeful I'll win the Publishers Clearing House lottery and wake up tomorrow with straight hair.

Perhaps I should add, "Don't get your hopes up" to my list of advice. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Don't Wanna

As an adult, you have to do a lot of stuff you don't want to do.  Actually, as a kid, you have to do even more stuff you don't want to do, but grown-ups come hard-wired with the ability  to brainwash kids into thinking crappy stuff is fun.  ("Ooooo. . . tetanus shot--that's so cool, I wish I could get one!")  This explains why there are so many adults in therapy.

Anyroad, I'm talking about grown-ups here (I almost typed "us grown-ups" and then realized 80% of the time I don't fall into that category) and we have to do a helluva lot of shit we don't want to.  This explains why there are so many adults in bars.  We drink to get through the stuff we don't want to do and then we drink as a reward for having actually done it. (DISCLAIMER:  Any resemblance here to my co-dependency on alcohol is strictly fictional and/or  for entertainment purposes only, like a horoscope or your STD test results.)

Well, as Empress of Debland (population: 1/2, the other part of me lives with the rest of you), I would like to abolish the idea of Doing Shit I Don't Want To Do.  And being a Red-Blooded American (as opposed to the other colored blood kind of American?) I realize the best way to do this is to create a Reality Show, where I convince idiots (i.e. 98% of the American population) to Do The Shit I Don't Want To Do by vaguely promising them some kind of monetary compensation.  This compensation, of course, will be taxed at the standard Debland rate of 120%, and said taxes will go to the Debbie Wants Better Beer Fund, something I think we can all agree is a worthy cause. 

The first challenge will be an easy one:  My Job.  I hadn't been in the office five minutes this morning when my boss informed me that I had fucked up three times.  Already.  Before 8:00 a.m.  So, Lucky Contestants, go for it!  You be the DoFI* at Dicks 'N Balls; you obviously couldn't be any worse at it than I am. 

Next challenge:  Get me a date.  Ha!!  Good luck, suckas!

*Director of First Impressions

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Late Night Ramblings

I had an audition earlier this week and I am waiting to hear if I got cast.  This is difficult.   And it occurred to me that it belongs in a long list of things that are difficult for me. (Note:  I originally used the word “hard” rather than “difficult” but, if you know me, you’ll understand why that became problematical so I changed it to “difficult”.)   I decided to make a list of things that are har-I mean difficult.  I’m guessing some of you out there (you are out there, right??) will identify with one or two.
  1. Waiting to see if you have been cast in a show.  I mean, right?? Does time ever move slower??  I remember when I auditioned for my first show in Birmingham, after not doing theatre for 26 (!) years and wanting the role more than anything. It took THREE WEEKS before they finally called me to say I got the part.  Heart Attack City.
  1. Not saying something funny if you know it won’t be nice.  Yeah.  I’m not so good at this one, but I keep trying.  I have this genetic condition that if there’s a joke out there I have to make it or I’ll implode or something, but I’m working on it.
  1. Not having that last beer when you know you shouldn’t.  This is hit or miss with me.  It usually depends on the people I’m with and how much I can trust they’ll still like me the next day.  I'm lucky to have some incredibly understanding friends.
  1. Not buying something I REALLY like, even though I know I can’t afford it.  Okay.  There is this pair of AWESOME blue suede shoes at SteinMart that I absolutely adore, but they’re $40 and I really don’t need them.  I try them on every week, but so far, I haven’t bought them.  We’ll see how that goes.
5,   Actually working while I’m at work.   I don’t think I have to explain that one.

6.   Not getting a dog.    I can’t afford it.  I’m not home enough.  I live in an apartment, with no yard. But I’m lonely.  And I could use some affection, canine or otherwise.   
  1. Saying no.  I cannot tell you how many times this has gotten me in trouble.  Most notably with ex-boyfriend Bad Steve, who took all my money. Talk about learning your lesson the hard way. L
  1. Cleaning my apartment.  I am not a hoarder.  But I do have an impressive Dust Bunny Collection.  I’ll clean the place this weekend, I promise.
  1. Sleeping.  Which is what I should be doing right now. 
  1. Letting go of someone you love. Whether it’s the loss of a pet, divorce, sending your kid off to college or having someone you love pass, I think this is the most difficult thing of all.  And here’s a tip from an Oldster—it never gets any easier, no matter what the circumstances. There is a reason for that--it’s The Most Important Thing.  Because this is the one Difficult Thing that makes you realize how precious the good times are, so you shouldn't fuck them up.
That's why I'm off to Steinmart on Saturday to try on those beautiful blue suede shoes. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Must Not-See TV

For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with TV.  I would get giddy at the start of the new fall season and tediously map out my viewing plan; editing as the season progressed (and I discovered that most of the shows I watched sucked.)   That never deterred me from going through the same ritual every year; essentially renewing my vows.

But then a weird thing happened.

In January, I started doing a whol' mess (as the young folk say) of shows and found myself rehearsing/performing/partying almost every night, up until the end of August.  And I just wasn't home/sober/conscious enough to watch TV.   I fell out of love. TV is crap.  Go know.

In scripted shows, plotlines and characters seem hackneyed and nine times out of ten I can predict the next line.  Which makes a great Drinking Game (what doesn't?), but kills the drama I want in a story.  And reality TV just makes me embarrassed to be a part of the Human Race.  I'm thinking of not renewing my membership. 

Part of this could be my Advancing Age and the fact that I now have the attention span of a flea.  When the rest of the audience of  "Up" was boo-hooing over Carl's dead wife, I was sobbing uncontrollably as the dog said, "Squirrel!", because that is my life.  I would sit down to watch what used to be one of my favorite shows and after about 10 minutes I discover there's a beautiful sunset view from my porch and I'm there.   I can't even remember what I was watching.  Squirrel, indeed.

About a month ago, I cut back on my cable, so my U-verse bill would no longer be bigger than my car payment.  They never sent me a list of what was on my New Limited Viewing package, so I flipped through all 20-something channels to see what potpourri I had received.  I get the major networks, 17 home shopping channels, a couple Jesus Stations of the Cross and The Barbie Channel.  The Barbie Channel.  A fucking 40 year-old plastic bitch with no nipples gets her own TV channel, while I sweat auditions for community theatre.  There is a serious misalignment in the universe.

TV and I are through.  I guess if it calls and wants to get together for a drink now and then, I'd go, (as long as there's some Rescue Me involved) but I have moved on and am optimistic that---SUNSET!!!