Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

Today is Feb. 29, so it is officially leap day. I don't have much to say except that it has been a strange and exhausting week, but I'm in pretty good spirits. Kinda weird.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Give Heartfelt Thanks to Cats (from the Oregonian newspaper Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008)

Finally, the truth about cats and dogs.
Or if not the truth, a truth.
Well, according to one study, at least.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota, owning a cat (which 38.4 million U.S. households do) is good - very good- for your cardiovascular health.
A dog? Not so much.
People who did not own cats were found to be 30 percent to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners.
But dog owners had the same rate as non-owners.
Dr, Adnan Qureshi said the findings are not coincidence, but he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune "we don't understand completely."
Not a cat owner himself, he then added, "Maybe I should get one, though."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Out of town, Art and movies

I have been away and missing my blog. I didn't realize I would not have access to the internet the whole time I was gone, but I didn't. Funny how something just catches your fancy and then you miss it when you don't have it.

I have many things to write about which is nice. I don't have time to do it now, but I just wanted to start by reminding myself that I have a lot to say.

It's good to be home, too. Even though I enjoyed my visit with my friends, I'm glad to be home in my own space now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

This is the nicest Valentine's Day I have had in many years. Earlier this week, I remembered that my dad NEVER forgot to bring Valentine's gifts for Mom, my sister and I. I took it totally for granted and never appreciated it enough because I didn't know how rare that was...

Anyway, we had a nice cookie decorating spread at work, I have hearts that one of my co-workers sewed for me hung up around my computer and one of my friends in Cali sent me a cookie bouquet. And I made some cards for my peeps. :)

Here are some pictures:

Cards I made (individual photos follow):

My cookie bouquet:

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning to Disengage

Without going into any details, I want to just talk about learning to disengage.

Since I was a kid, I have always been very passionate and probably loud and vocal about my feelings, my opinions and ideas. I don't think I'm always right...I just express myself with confidence. My mother says that I have a power that intimidates people. I don't mean to do that. I can't see that I am doing that while it is happening. I don't know how to stop that part of me except to try to be sensitive to other people. I think I am sensitive to other people - not 100% of the time, but I try.

Today, some stuff was happening at work and we had a meeting. I just expressed my frustrations and my ideas and then when it was all done, the moderator of the meeting basically said, "Well, you can be frustrated, but you can't show it to your people...we need for you to hold it in check..." I felt like it was specifically directed at me. I didn't express all of this to my people. I expressed it to my peers where I should be safe. After that, I started to second-guess myself and I sent an apology to the others - just a "thanks for putting up with me".

Now, looking back on it, I have a couple of feelings about this. One is that I didn't need to apologize. If someone had a problem with what I was saying, they should have said something. I guess the other thing that is bothering me is that I try to be helpful and supportive. I asked people if they had other ideas or suggestions and tried to elicit their responses and got none. I hate that my automatic reaction is to apologize for maybe possibly offending someone who didn't even say that they were bothered.

Every meeting I go to, whether in the workplace or with associations I've belonged to, I go into it telling myself, "Just be quiet. Just be quiet. Don't say anything. Stay out of it." And then I don't and I ALWAYS regret it.

I hate that.

I just wish I could disengage. I don't know how to be effective but dispassionate. I wish I could learn.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jobs I wish I had right now


Bookstore owner

Barista at a locally owned coffee shop



Critic (TV or Movies or theatre)


artist colony resident


Anything but what I am doing right now.

Isn't that sad?


Still Crappy

I still feel like hell. Some kind of stomach flu. Everything I eat feels like a rock in my stomach and I feel nauseous all day. Yay. Fun. Not.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Last night I went to see Sweet Honey in the Rock. A whole group of my friends came to see them too.

Back in 1986, when I was first learning ASL, Roby and I used to drive to the beach on a weekly basis. One time, we drove to Cannon Beach (as usualy) and went shopping. This was back before Cannon Beach was as commercial as it is now - it was always popular with tourists, but it was a more artsy community.

As we were wandering, we went into Holland's Florist and there was a man there with a thick mustache and a twinkle in his eye. Roby bought some lobelia or something from him and stuck up a conversation (as he was wont to do). Eventually, Thomas (the flower shop guy) invited us to have dinner with him and his partner, John (whom we had not met). Of course, we went. As we were wrapping up dinner with Thomas and John, I noticed the beautiful music that was playing softly in the background. I asked Thomas who it was and he said, "Sweet Honey in the Rock, have you heard of them?" We said no and so Thomas played us a couple of songs. He told me that he had seen them in concert at Portland State University several times and that they usually came to Portland once a year. I was really enjoying them and the evening went on. Later, when one of them asked what I did, I told them that I was a student of American Sign Language and this brought us back to Sweet Honey. "Did you know they have an signer who travels with them? You should see them perform." This intrigued me because, at the time, I didn't really even know that interpreters DID that. I didn't know much about anything...

Years later, I had the opportunity to see Sweet Honey and after the show - I was with Judy Rose and she wanted to get her CD autographed- I met Shirley Childress Saxton. She asked me if there were any Deaf individuals at the show and I said no. She encouraged me to tell them to come. I knew she was right and at the same time, I didn't even know how to talk about a musical concert to my Deaf friends.

Again, a few years later...5 or 7 years later...I was talking to a friend of mine who is Deaf. I was trying to explain to him about Sweet Honey and telling him that he might really enjoy the interpreter with the show. He was somewhat resistant. I told him that I didn't know if there were any tickets left but that he should come to the Civic Auditorium and see. If there were tickets, I would buy him one. He showed up but the show was sold out. He was all prepared to leave when a woman came over to us, kind of out of nowhere and said, "Do you need an extra ticket? We had a friend who can't make it and I have an extra ticket if you want it." I couldn't believe it. I told the woman I would pay for it and she said, "No, my friend paid for it already but she can't come and told me to give it to someone who needs it." So, my friend came in, not knowing if he would be able to see the interpreter or not. As luck would have it, the free seat was on the side where the interpreter was and he fell in love. If I remember correctly, he said that Shirley wasn't interpreting music - she was telling him a story and he felt it to his core. He has seen every Sweet Honey concert since then, including last night.

Anyway, I loved the show. It is the perfect time to see them - an election coming, a war, recession on the way. Just listening to them made me weep. The music and the sense of peace and the thoughts they generated for me...It was really good.

I was sad that they didn't sing some of my favorites, but as I said last night, I'm kind of an old fart that way...I want to hear the old standbys. I guess I will just have to pull out my CDs and listen to it that way. They did sing, "When I Die", "Spiritual" and "We Who Believe in Freedom". All the other songs were newer. I enjoyed the show so much and their humor. It felt like a time long past in some ways.

And I saw Judy Rose there. She rocks.

"In the Land of Women"

While I have been miserable and staying at home, I have watched a lot of "Friends" episodes (Season 8 and 9) and then I finally decided to watch "In the Land of Women".

I saw an ad for it when it came out in theatres and I knew right away that it would be a movie that I liked, but for some reason, I never went to see it. When it finally came out on DVD, I bought it. I don't usually buy DVD before I've even seen it, but it has been known to happen. I was worried I would never remember it and then I wouldn't see it. I think I bought it 3-4 months ago, but it just sat in a pile and I never got around to it.

I REALLY liked everyone in it. First of all, Meg Ryan, who although she hasn't done a lot recently, is one of my favorites. I love her and she is a really good actress. Adam Brody was really good in this, as well. I have seen him before, but I don't know where. There was a little girl (about 8 or 9 years old) who was very funny and quirky and a teenage daughter that reminds me of Ali Larter from "Heroes" and other stuff.

I'm going to have to watch it again to be able to articulate what I liked so much about it. It was just a quiet, quirky movie about some people and what they learned from each other. It wasn't predictable, it didn't take the easy way out. Smartly written. No wonder it didn't make it big. People just don't like things that are normal and smart.


I have been sick for several days. Ick. Only eating crackers, broth and jello. For days. :( I'm feeling a little better now, but not great.

I will be adding several posts on different topics that have come up since last I posted so I can catch up a little bit.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Winds of Change

I have had my head down and my nose to the grindstone for so long now and suddenly, I feel like I don't want to just be about work anymore. Well, not like that's the choice I wanted to make. It was the hand I was dealt and I knew I could work it out if I paid attention.

Now, in the last couple of months, I feel like I'm walking out of this funk that I've been in for god knows how long. I feel like I'm more than just a manager or a worker or the person who will get the job done. Maybe this is what people mean when they talk about really coming into their own in their 40s. I just know who I am and what I can do and mostly, what I'm willing to do.

I want to do a lot of stuff right now that has nothing to do with work. In some ways, I almost feel guilty about it. I have spent so much time cultivating my career and my place in my work environment, and now, I have to live up to the standard that I set for myself. It ain't easy, that's for sure. I set the bar pretty high for myself. Not intentionally, but that's the result, anyway.

I guess that is what is bumping around in my head tonight as I get ready to head on home.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I actually accomplished something this weekend...

To see the work I did this weekend, go to I finally had the time and the energy to update the front page and to do something for some of the shows this season. I have to really try to revamp the whole thing, but it takes time. When I was freelancing, I had more time to dink around on the computer, but now, it is just more time-consuming for me to try to keep up. I do feel really happy about updating the thing though.

I hope to take a class on how to build a website someday so that I can take SignPlay to the next level. It would be nice to have it be more professional-looking and more regularly updated. Big dreams, I know. But since it is a one-woman show, I guess I just keep plugging along.

Anyway, I am putting together a SignPlay page here so that I can keep up on my resume. I'm behind, so I thought I could build the text here first and then figure out what I want to do with the page later. I don't think anyone looks at it but me, but I like to have everything documented SOMEWHERE.

So, that's what I did yesterday...and laundry and dishes and...the usualy weekend fare.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Reno Pics - Finally

This one is Shari and Barbara at the 2007 Christmas party in Reno.
Christmas tree at the Reno 2007 party.

Mel and Rob at the Reno party.

Bobby, Shari and Barbara at the Reno party. Barbara got her hair done at the salon with me.

Mel and Jeff at the Reno party.

Bobby, me, Gordon and Barbara at the Reno Christmas party.

Me, Barbara and Shari at the Reno Christmas party.

Barbara and Shari at the Reno Christmas party.

"Fried Green Tomatoes"

I loved "Fried Green Tomatoes" from the minute I heard it was coming out. I had seen the book in Powell's many, many times, but I had never purchased it.

I saw the movie first. I think that is always the best way...Buddy's death was the first shock of the film...I had no idea where it was going but it painted such a beautiful picture of friendship and love, chosen family, community. I still weep when I watch it.

The chemistry between Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker is palpable. And, of course, it was another in a long line of films that started to prepare me for the inevitable. The scene when Idgy realizes Ruth is dead is so real to me. I could so relate to that kind of devestation and love.

When I read the book, I fell in love with it all over again - as it's own entity. They are both such stand-alone pieces. Later, Roby went to Florida and when he was in the airport, a woman finished it. He asked her how it was and she said it was the kind of book everyone should read. And then she gave it to him. He always intended to read it and pass it on. I don't think he ever completed it...

"My Life"

I have always watched movies about death and dying and they always portray the hero as brave and stoic. It isn't always that simple. I liked this movie because Michael Keaton was so scared and then he finally realized how to make things ok for himself.
I loved the idea of his toys hidden at the house where he had grown up. When we moved from Aurora to Wiesbaden, I was 6 and I tried to hide my toys so that I could come back for them. I thought we would be gone like the driving vacations we took in the summer. Little did I know we would never go back.
This movie came out within days of finding out about Roby's toxo and I went to see it 3-4 times in a week, then at least once a week until it was out of the theatres. I saw it at the Westgate late at night - like the 10:00pm shows, so there were usually only a couple of people in the theatre with me.
I think the first time I saw it, I bawled and bawled and I'm not even sure I saw the whole movie. I just needed a place to cry and not have people ask me too many questions. After the movie was over, I was still sobbing and a woman came to me and patted my on my shoulder and gave me a kleenex. She said, "I'm so sorry. It will be ok" and then she left. I can see that moment in my mind's eye so clearly. What compassion that woman had.
I don't think this movie was popular - movies about death never are...but it holds a place in my heart because it helped me through one of the hardest times of my life when I couldn't tell anyone what I was going through.

"Boys On the Side"

This movie came out within weeks of finding out that Roby had toxoplasmosis and was on medication. He had lost a lot of weight and I knew that this was the beginning of the end. When it came out, the ads didn't say that it was about AIDS - it just looked like a chick-flick road movie. I love Whoopi and Mary Louise Parker and I was happy to go see it to take my mind off of things.
Two of my co-workers invited me to see it one night after work and so we did.
Almost immediately, I realized something was not comedic about the movie and I started to cry about 10 minutes into the movie and didn't stop until about 15-20 minutes after it was over...I was crying so hard I was shaking. Wouldn't you know that I was seated between the two of them. I think I was trying not to make any noise when I wanted to SOB, so the intensity of my emotions went straight into my body and I just shook. I could tell that the two of them were very concerned when I couldn't stop crying after it was over. Finally, we went to our cars (one of them was with me) and went for a drink. I don't really even remember what lie I told to explain why I was so upset, but they took me at my word and didn't really question me much about it.
The scene that I could so relate to was when Whoopi revealed she had a crush on Mary Louise Parker's character and that it had been mutual. And the end...when the camera pans around the room that was so full of life in the last scene. Also, the scene in the garden the morning after Whoopi sets her up with a guy...the intensity of her feelings and her saying that pleasure and being with that guy just served to remind her that she had AIDS... That scene helped me understand Roby more...the times when he would just stop talking to me for a few weeks. I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. Later, when Roby was in the hospital, one night in the quiet of the late night, he told me that sometimes it was all he could do to be around me just because he knew that I knew. He said sometimes he just had to take a break and pretend that he didn't have HIV and that was when he would pick a fight with me or stop talking to me.
I wish they had Whoopi singing on the CD. But the soundtrack is great. I love "I'll Take You with Me" by Melissa Etheridge.

"Long Time Companion"

This movie is still one of the most heart-breaking movies I've ever seen. It was the first real AIDS movie since "An Early Frost". Roby and I went to see it at KOIN Center and I knew that it was almost all he could do to go and see it.

I have seen it many times since, but there are two scenes that are almost unwatchable to me now. One is the scene when Bruce Davidson's character is taking care of his lover and letting him go. The whole idea of this brilliant man being struck down in the prime of his life and strapped to a bed because of dimentia...and having to release someone, despite your own pain. Incredibly real. Devestating. The other scene that breaks my heart STILL is the last scene when they imagine a world where AIDS never was and all their friends are there and they embrace and everyone is young and full of life and beautiful instead of sick and tired and emotionally-drained and scared.

If this movie had been made now, maybe it would have gotten the recognition it deserved. I don't know. But Bruce Davidson was nominated for an Acadamy Award. That was a really big deal. And Kudos to Campbell Scott who was just starting to carve out a career for himself. What a brave thing to do. As for Dylan McDermott - this is always how I see him. Best part he ever took.

My own Meme - TV on DVD

The best thing about DVD is the plethora of old TV shows that have been released. Athough there are some notable absences (China Beach), there are some pretty amazing shows that I would never have seen without TV on DVD. Here are my favorites so far:

1. Friends/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. ER
3. Little House on the Prarie
4. Roots
5. My So-Called Life
6. Joan of Arcadia
7. NYPD Blue
8. Wonder Woman
9. Pretender
10. Roseanne
11. The Cosby Show
12. Alias
13. Emergency!

Looking forward to:
1. China Beach
2. Life Goes On (Seasons with Chad Lowe and the AIDS story line)
3. Quantum Leap
4. Angel
5. Judging Amy
6. that show with Kyle ___________ who finds the newspaper on his doorstep and moves
through time
7. Fame
8. Queer As Folk
10. The Office

I know there are more, but I can't think of them right now...


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