Wednesday, January 30, 2008
So here is another meme that I got from "Lost (and Found) Memes" from The Daily Meme :
A, B, C, D, E, F...
Sing play along now:
Band listening to right now - none
Career Future - uh, dunno. Manager for life? Or back to interpreting? Bookstore owner?
Dad's name - David Frederick
Easiest Person to talk to - Shari
Favorite Song - "Defying Gravity"
Gummy Bears or Worms? Gummy Cola!!
Hometown - Portland
Instruments - I used to be able to play the organ a little...by numbers...a looooong time ago
Job - Sign Language Interpreter, Manager in a VRS Center
Kids - they are cute
Longest car ride ever - Pennsylvania to Houston, TX with all the Christmas gifts on top of the car. I was 9.
Mom's name - Carol Jean
Number of people you've slept with - NYB
Phobia(s) - needles, pickles, relay calls, crowds (sometimes)
Quote - "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." Jonathan Larson
Reason to smile - friends, books, pink things
Song you sang last - "American Tune" with the Indigo Girls
Time you wake up - without an alarm? 7:30am with an alarm? 6:00am
Unknown fact about me - I still blow a kiss when I drive by the cemetary where Roby's ashes are buried. Daily.
Vegetable you hate - peas
Worst habit - Interrupting people when they talk
xrays you've had - teeth?
Yummy food- Indian or Thai
Zodiac Sign - Cancer. All the way. Cancer.
10 things you'd buy if you had a million dollars
There’s no getting by easy on this one like saying “giving it to charity” or “saving it for my kids’ college”. You’ve got a million dollars, and you’ve got to spend it on yourself. Your list can add up to a million dollars, or each of the items on your list could be huge million dollar splurges. Your choice! Be greedy, spoil yourself!
Here is my list:
1. A house with a library like "Meet Joe Black" and a room for videos and a walk in shower and a pool
2. I would hire a driver
3. I would buy new computer equipment so that I could work with music, photos and all the other stuff I do
4. I would buy a beach house at Cannon Beach
5. I would plan regular trips to NYC to see Broadway shows
6. I would buy a really nice espresso machine like the one I used to use when I worked at The Kobo's Company (a really, really long time ago)
7. Hardback editions of the British Harry Potter books
8. Tickets to see the final performance of "RENT" on Broadway
9. I would pay to put all my old tapes of Broadway clips onto DVD - someone else to do the work but I enjoy the fruits
10. I would buy my mother a nice house. For me, this would make me very happy.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Since Broadway/West End musicals are really my passion, I wanted to include a list of them here because they are one of the strongest representations of me... (and I'm making up for the 10 days of posts I missed in the month of January)
So, here it is:
Musical Theatre Madness - my list of can't-miss musical theatre CDs. The top 5 are the musicals that have had the most impact, but I couldn't limit the list to just 5.
1. Les Miserables - Original London Cast:
There are many versions of "Les Miserables" and they are all good for their own reasons, but the BEST version is the Original London Cast recording from 1985. I started listening to this album (yes, when it was on black vinyl...in fact, Les Miserables London Cast Recording was the first CD I ever bought - when I didn't have a CD player...I waited 2.5 years to play it...I just HAD it) at the behest of one of our friends, Jamie Cowan. At first, Roby and I didn't like it...the first time we listened. We were still heavily into "Chess" and not quite ready to transition. I remember the first time I heard, "Lovely Ladies" and I couldn't believe that kind of subject matter was in a musical. I was inexperienced with musical theatre at the time - I have since learned better.
My favorite character started as Fantine and then Jean Valjean (Colm Wilkinson is still the best Valjean). I think that Patti LuPone is still the best Fantine, even though I have a terrific clip of Randy Graff from "The Donahue Show". Roby was always partial to Eponine and the Thenardiers and Javert. He loved villians and waifs. It worked perfectly. Sometimes at night, we would just drive around (it was the 80s and gas was still cheap) and listen to "Les Miserables" on a boom box and SING!!! I loved those times.
Song Highlights: At the End of the Day, I Dreamed a Dream, Bring Him Home, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Little People, Little Fall of Rain, and many many more.
2. Chess - The Origianl Concept Album:
"Chess" is a brilliant concept that somehow didn't seem to capture the audiences in live theatre in the United States in the same way that the album (yes, vinyl) did. We listened to that for a LONG time. Without stop...my mother even has a copy in her car. It was written by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus (of ABBA fame) and Tim Rice (from "Evita" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" fame).
Jamie Cowan is also responsible for Roby and I getting introduced to "Chess". She gave Roby the cassettes and he gave me the first act and he took the second act. He never liked the beginning build up in the show...I always loved the first choral number that sets up the setting and the premise of the show. We memorized our cassettes and then swapped them. Eventually, we would sing the "Embassy Lament" together in the car...and "The Mountain Duet" - really everything, but we had highlight songs that we loved to sing because we always chose the opposite parts to sing. He was a tenor and I sang all the men's parts. He never made me feel ashamed or yukky about being able to sing the men's parts better.
I think I have to send Jamie Cowan a thank you card for the gift of musical theatre that she gave me. It has enriched my life in unbelieveable ways.
3. Rent - Original Broadway Cast:
"RENT" came out in 1996, in July. It had barely been six months since I had lost Roby to AIDS and this show spoke to my heart so much. Kevin and I bought it on the first day. I didn't really know if I was ready for it or not, but I started listening. I don't think it ever struck Kevin in the same way that it did me, but it pierced right into my heart.
I know that "RENT" isn't for everyone, in some ways, but there is so much that appeals to such a wide audience if people will just open their hearts and minds to it.
I have seen "RENT" on stage more than 27 times...If I lived in or near NYC, I think I would have been one of those people who has seen it hundreds of times. It is never tired to me and sometimes it taps into the residual grief that I hold close because people just don't understand the experience of AIDS unless they have gone through it.
I relate most to the character Mark, the documetor of all the goings on in their lives, "How did we get here? How the hell?...How did I get here? How the hell?...how can a night so frozen be so scalding hot? How morning this mild be so raw? Why are entire years strewn on the cutting room floor of memory...?.. Why am I the witness and when I capture it on film, will it mean that its the end and I'm alone?"
I love Roger and one of my favorite songs is "One Song Glory", but I ache for Angel and love "I'll Cover You" (remind me to talk about this scene in the movie). I love Collins, too.
The song that I most cherish from the show is "Will I" because it captures all the fears that I heard over the years of dealing with AIDS. The song can be applied to more general experiences, but it came from the AIDS crisis and everyone involved knows it.
You can't have a most influential musical theatre list without something from Steven Sondheim. I would put "West Side Story" because I actually think that was one of my first musicals ever, but I prefer the movie soundtrack to the actual Broadway recording, so I think that might be a whole other thing..
So, "Into the Woods"... In 1987-88 (we left on Dec. 26, 1987 and returned on January 1, 1988), Roby and I went to NYC for the first time with Carol Coburn and a group of Aloha High School students. He and I were "chaperones" - we actually did an admirable job, even though we didn't think we would.
The whole reason we were going was to see "Les Miserables" and all the rest was gravy. We arrived on Saturday evening, I believe, and just got a lay of the land. On Sunday, we saw our first Broadway show, "Starlight Express", a matinee. On Tuesday, we saw "Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular" and in the evening we saw "Into the Woods" (we had never heard it or heard of it, really. We saw "Les Miserables" on Wednesday (I will tell you about that some other time).
"Into the Woods" was a fascinating experience. We saw it with all the original cast, Chip Zien, Joanna Gleason, and Bernadette Peters. She was STUNNINGLY good. It was in her heyday (as if she doesn't still blow everyone out of the water...). The story combines fairy tales and the first Act is all the stories blending and combining, but telling them in a fairly traditional way (Grimm's tradition, anyway). Act II is "what happens after happily ever after". At intermission, I remember looking at Roby and saying, "Is it over?" Everyone had already gotten their wish - Cinderella had her prince, Jack had the riches from the beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood vanquished the wolf, the baker and his wife had a child. What else could there possibly be? We were so wrong about that.
I love "Into The Woods" for its brilliant use of words and humor and pacing. I love songs that challenge you to sing quickly, precisely and act as tongue twisters. I love "Giants in the Sky" and "Children Will Listen" and even the "Into the Woods" choral numbers. When PBS came out with the video of the actual show, as we saw it on stage with all the original cast, I was so excited I couldn't stand it. I still try to introduce that show to people whenever we talk about Broadway because it is such a fine example of the more traditional art of musical theatre.
And might I say that Joanna Gleason is almost as brilliant as Bernadette Peters? In a different way, but true nonetheless.
I'm not done yet, but my hands are tired and I have to break for a while....back soon.
5. Wicked - Original Broadway Cast
I tried reading the book, I really did. Maybe I will be able to read it for my Reading Renaissance this year. Either way, I think the brilliance of this show is that it pulls the audience in by peaking our interest in the twist on a cultural icon - "The Wizard of Oz", and it holds us by the sheer talent, the social commentary and the universal ideas contained within the show.
I just watched a video called "Show Business" about the 2003 Tony Season and "Wicked" was one of the shows that was spotlighted. The critics really gave the show a hard time - they said it had problems. I wish I knew what they thought were the problems. From where I'm standing, the show is brilliant.
Obviously, there is the show-stopping song, "Defying Gravity", but there are other songs that I have grown to love more as I understand the story and the themes more. "For Good" is beautiful and sad, "Popular", "What is this Feeling?". I never understood Kristin Chenowith's appeal until I heard this musical and Idina Menzel has been brilliant in everything she's ever done.
I think everyone can relate to being misunderstood and that moment when you have to decide if you will give in to what other people think/label you as, or if you will continue to take your own path. I think both are difficult. The appeal this show has for young girls and women is so important because we are our own worst enemy in so many ways. If girls and young women can just get a glimmer of understanding about what "popular" can mean, what "nice" can mean and that we are all a little bit "different", the world would be a better place.
And it is just a good listen. Period.
I went to the DailyMeme page at http://thedailymeme.com and found a bunch of Lost Memes (the Daily Meme person didn't know/remember where they had originated...). Now I know where some of these ideas started and where they move.
I remember one of these coming around our group of friends via email and we had a BLAST. In some ways, it might be easier to answer some questions without worrying that people will judge me because they don't know me on this blog. Not that I have any deep dark secrets, really. Just things I am more comfortable saying and less comfortable saying.
One meme I will be linking to is a Word Association game. The link is http://subliminal.lunanina.com. I haven't gotten the list of words yet for this week, so I am starting with a different one.
This is on the Lost (and Found) Memes page of The Daily Meme (http://thedailymeme.com) and it is called "Countdown Meme" from May 23, 2004. (Wow...people have been blogging for that long...amazing)
Ten Movies you'd watch over and over:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. Jumping Jack Flash
3. True Lies
4. Fried Green Tomatoes
5. Boys on the Side
6. Kindergarten Cop (ok, ok any Arnold movie, really)
8. Deep Impact
9. Meet Joe Black
(About Last Night, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Titanic, Dances with Wolves, Sommersby, Steel Magnolias, My Life, Dreamgirls,...)
Nine people you enjoy the company of:
1. My mother
2. Roby's Mom
3. Shari and Barbara
5. My Assistant
(many more here, too)
Eight things you're wearing:
1. Black scrunchie for my hair
2. teal lounge shirt with pockets
3. white socks
4. blue boyshorts
5. cotton pants
6. white bra
Seven things on your mind:
1. Figuring out how to get pictures in the middle of the blog!!
2. Figuring out how to post the Badges from the Meme sites I found...I don't really get it somehow...I keep trying but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
3. Did Liz get everything taken care of at work?
4. Will it snow tomorrow?
5. Will I feel like going to see "Sweeney Todd" tomorrow?
6. Should I see something else instead?
7. Should I go to bed now because it is REALLY LATE/EARLY.
Six objects you touch every day:
1. My happy Yellow car (picture to follow)
2. My computer
3. my toothbrush
4. my purple chenille blanket
5. my round pink neck pillow
6. my backpack/purse
Five things you do every day:
1. check my email
3. brush teeth
4. watch some TV
5. eat breakfast
Four bands or musical artists you couldn't live without:
1. Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked)
2. Clay Aiken
3. Kelly Clarkson (second CD)
(many many more)
Three of your favorite songs of the moment:
1. Defying Gravity (from "Wicked")
2. American Tune (Paul Simon or The Indigo Girls)
3. Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
Two people who have influenced your life the most:
1. My mother
2. Roby Starns
(Kevin Vandehey and Jeffa Doeleman, Nancy Zettergren, Carol Coburn, Julie Gebron)
One person who has been nice to you today:
1. My mother
NOTE: I FINALLY figured out how to insert a picture mid-post!! Yay! And how to make a link within the text. I will get there...it just takes me a while. This is exciting. Is that stupid?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I don't really know why. It's not like I'm going to become a famous poet or anything. But they are important to me. I guess that's enough.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
No one is reading my blog (that I can tell) but I'm ok with that for now. I haven't even told anyone I'm doing it. I don't know why. I guess I'm not ready for people I know to know. That sounds stupid, but it is true.
So here are a few things I know:
1. Teal and Pink do NOT match. I have a teal coat and a pink scarf that one of my co-workers knitted for me last year for Christmas. I know the colors don't match but it is COLD!!! outside right now...I think the wind chill this morning was like 13 degrees or something. So to hell with fashion (forgive me, Roby). I'm wearing my teal coat with my pink scarf.
2. Life can be better. I know it can. I have felt it before. It just takes time and perserverance. I'm not UN-happy. Just not as happy as I would like to be.
3. I miss Diet Coke and I know I can't have it. Sometimes it is fine. Sometimes it makes me sad.
4. I need to read more and listen to more music. I have not really been doing much of either until recently. I picked up a schlocky book while in the airport on the way home from Reno (company Christmas party). I started reading it and have only gotten a little ways - maybe 1/4 of the way into it. It is good, not particularly LITERATURE, but I am enjoying the escape. Actually, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this summer was the Reading Renaissance for me. I DEVOURED it in one day. I couldn't even see when I was done with it, but I loved it. And it made me want to read more. I have all the books I could ever want, but I don't take the time to read any more... until recently. I want to keep it up.
5. I need to buy a new bed. Something REALLY comfy with a big pillow top on it. And it will have bright pink sheets on it, too.
I thought I knew some more interesting or at least deep, meaningful things today, but I don't. I guess that's ok, too.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This is like crafts...I like how it looks and I imagine that I can make something that looks the way I see it in my head, but it never does work out quite that way. Sigh.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I took classes in American Sign Language (ASL) starting in 1986...I took two terms of ASL and a Deaf Culture class. I couldn't reconcile the idea of never being a part of the community I was working so hard to support and so I decided to stop taking classes over the summer of 1986. On Dec. 31, 1986, Roby and I went to see "Children of a Lesser God".
While I watched Marlee Matlin sign, I felt a yearning to sign and to be around people who did...I was still such a baby signer then and I couldn't even understand everything that was signed in the movie...but still, I yearned for that part of me that I hadn't even realized I missed until seeing the movie.
At the time, I didn't understand the controversial aspects of the film in the Deaf community, so that is how I still think of this film. I thought the cinemetography was gorgeous, I loved the setting - so beautiful and so lonely in some ways. The film captured the close atmosphere of the Deaf school and the alienation hearing people sometimes feel (turnabout is fair play).
The most important thing about this film for me is that I decided to return to my studies in ASL the following term. I signed up for ASL 1 again, as I felt I had forgotten too much. By fall of 1987, I was accepted and enrolled into the Portland Community College Interpeter Training Program (nee Sign Language Interpreting Program)...the rest is kind of history...I'm still an interpreter lo these years later...it will be 19 years this fall... Who'd have thunk?
P.S. The soundtrack to this film is BEAUTIFUL...but I wish they had put the "Boomerang" song in a different place...you have this lovely musical score and then suddenly, "BA-BA-BA BOOMERANG BABY!!!!" Yikes.
Let me tell you that I will not be driving on the freeway to the airport again. I know a back way that I have driven for 3 years...I have only done the freeway route a couple of times. Last night, I was so far from the back way, it seemed silly to backtrack. So I set off on the way with directions and the hopes of AIRPORT SIGNS, which, of course, ended right when I was needing another one...so I ended up turned exactly in the opposite direction than I wanted to be and had to go all the way back to where I started, back to the hotel area and then on to the back way...I nearly hyperventilated in the car...I was panicking...the last flight out, turned in the rental car, no hotel for 20 miles...
Anyway, I have been thinking about this stupid blog every day. For some weird reason, I feel like I'm doing something secret and bad...It isn't. I know it isn't. But it is very stealth for some reason. Is that because I haven't told anyone I'm doing it? Weird. So sometimes, when I want to post something, I think, "But you shouldn't..." but I WANT TO... I feel like this is a commitment to myself in some way...I don't fully understand it, but I keep doing it. I just want to stop feeling uncomfortable with it.
I have been reading blogs recently, too. I have NEVER done that before...I guess I just didn't even know where to find blog information...now I'm slowly venturing into that world. It is kind of scary because there are so many brilliant people and like-minded people and NOT-like-minded people..
I have seen blogs about books, movies, top lists of things...I like them all... I want to do everything..I guess this is the start.
I decided I wanted to talk about important movies and also top 10 Broadway musicals. I think the musicals list is a work in progress...I did one on Amazon.com...I will have to look it up and see how much has changed.
(I realized after I decided to make this list that I don't know how to make that happen here...I tried to insert an image but it will only go at the beginning of a posting...I guess I will have to do one image per posting at the beginning until I learn more about how to manage this... sigh.)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
1. mocha frappuccinos
2. hotel feather bed
3. hanging out with my friends
5. networking with the other managers
6. making a date to do collage with with S and B
7. clean rental car
8. knowing my way around
9. feeling pretty comfortable in my skin
weird list, I know, but there it is.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sad that I have to take a trip to have a social life...but that's the truth of it and has been for a long time. I don't quite understand it but I accept it.
What is so interesting is that these people see ME - not who I wish I was, or who I try to show or what I am afraid people see. They GET me. It's almost frightening sometimes to talk with them when they know the concerns that I have and the way that I think. I feel badly that I'm not as good at reading them or remembering things as they are...I have to work on that.
I often feel like the real me when I am with them. Sometimes at home, I don't really know what people want from me and I feel bogged down by expectations. If I lived here, would I start to feel the same way? Or does the fact that I have an adult relationship with these women - started as an adult- have something to do with it.
I got an invitation from my best friend from high school today- she has this amazing annual Chinese New Year party that I always look forward to in the winter. Last year, my friends from Cali came with me and it was this very cool blend of my past and my present/future in a room together. I liked it. When I got the invitation, I wanted to see if my friends could come up and go with me again this year.
Anyway, I am going to go lounge in my hotel room. Ha. Even after a dozen trips this year, staying in a hotel still seems really decadent and fabulous to me. I guess it's the kid in me.
Anyhoo - ttfn. Good night.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
At least I get to see some friends where I'm going. It's business, but good folks down there.
Many things on my mind but nothing interesting to write.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Ah, maybe it isn't really *hell*... just so different and not special. I always thought I would live this spectacular life and drown myself in the joy of my passions and the people I love. Not so much.
When did everything become drudgery and sameness? I used to be a freelance interpreter and it seemed so glamorous - doing something different every day, meeting new people, going to a different place 10 times a day - being my own boss. It wasn't all that in real life, but it wasn't so mundane. People always have one of two reactions when you tell them you are a Sign Language Interpreter - "Really?! That's fascinating... how did you learn? why did you choose that? my second cousin's brother's dog was deaf and we taught him to fingerspell..." or "Oh. Huh. So, anyway...." then silence. It was a game to see if I could guess which response people would give. Now I could say, "I'm a manager." Whoo hoo! THAT'S SPECIAL..NOT.
It isn't so much that I'm down on my job.. that's not what I mean to say. My job is certainly anything but boring, and yet it is numbing in its monotony. Even the chaos is predictable in its own endearing way.
I'm really talking about the drive to live and laugh and love and discover and be passionate. I know that missing Roby always puts me in this place of evaluating my life. Would he be proud of me? would I even be where I am if he were still alive? Why haven't I pursued all the things I promised myself - and him - that I would?
He would probably laugh at me and tell me I was being a dumb-head. Which I am. He didn't care about any of that stuff, really. Or maybe he did deep down inside. I know when he got HIV, he gave up all of his own dreams. He didn't believe he would live long enough to make any of them happen. I gave up mine, too, in exchange for him. It was worth it while he was alive. Now, I just wish had one or the other. Instead I just wish. I don't have the dreams or the drive and I don't have Roby to push me into doing all the crazy things I would never do if left to my own devices. I took one of those adventure scale tests and I got a ZERO. I took it again and I got like a 2 or a 1...I was horrified that I was that NOT adventurous. But I'm not. It is true.
I decided that I want to write again. I want to tell his story and my own. I don't know if I can do it justice, but I want to try. That's why I'm here...I think this is a good thing - this blog. I look forward to it every day. I'm awed by the blog material out there...there are so many amazing people out there - talented, funny, thoughtful. I love that.
I guess I will end with another "Les Miserables" quote and go watch some "Buffy":
"To love another person is to see the face of God." I have seen it.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
We always drove together and sang together in the car. Sometimes we would just drive around and sing, no particular purpose - we just felt good singing and being together. Sometimes, he would sing the words wrong and it annoyed me, but I never said anything.
I remembered picking him up at the downtown Meier and Frank, in the turnout. He was usually waiting there with his bag, in his suit - so dark and handsome - always the best dressed. He would see me and his eyes lit up, he would throw his bag in the back and get in, give me a kiss and a hug. I always said, "You smell good. What cologne are you wearing?" He would laugh and say, "Kouros." I never remembered the smell. It was almost like it changed depending on his mood. Now I wear it. It makes me feel close to him.
I'm going to spend the afternoon with his mother. I know that she and I are the last to really recognize the day for what it is.
I went into Starbucks today to get a drink and I sat down as "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" was playing. A few songs later, "Fast Car". I remember how he always challenged me musically - introduced me to new stuff - Everything but the Girl, River City People, Rick Astley, Madonna, Culture Club, Jodi Watley, Dead or Alive, Sade...I was resistant to new music - I like the familiar. He always made me listen and I always fell in love with the new person, too. I decided to try new music regularly to honor that part of our relationship.
God, I miss him. Still.
I listened to "Fast Car" when I was driving away (I bought the CD that they were playing) and cried silent, lonely tears. "Maybe together we can get somewhere...anyplace is better...and we were driving, driving in your car, speed so fast I felt like I was drunk, city lights lay out before us and your arm felt nice wrapped around my shoulder and I, I, had a feeling I could be someone...be someone..."
Monday, January 7, 2008
I used to write every day- every night before I went to sleep...that was more than 20 years ago. Hard to believe that something I was so passionate about went by the wayside.
I guess in the beginning I will just be wandering down memory lane a bit...maybe this is the way to record the stories of my life before they slip away completely, like the sounds and smells and tastes of all those things have already done. Things that seemed so crucial and present and now there is just the drudgery of day-to-day living.
Well, welcome to the ride. Hopefully, this wild rumpus will be fun for all.
Just to clarify - I checked on the blog365 challenge and it turns out it was for photos...here I was feeling guilty that I hadn't posted everyday...Anyway, I'm still plugging away on my own blog365 - if I miss a day, I just start over again the next day.