Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Know You are an Adult When...

After many months and many messages on my Facebook, I decided today that I am NOT attending the 25th High School Reunion party next weekend.  Here's what my decision entailed:

In 1995, I went to the 10 Year reunion. There was a bomb scare and we had to wait outside on the street for like an hour. This poor couple who had just gotten married was still in their wedding finery waiting outside their hotel with us while the bomb scare against the Aloha High School class of 1985 reunion was checked out. Roby, who hadn't wanted to go in the first place was what I would call "the belle of the ball" - everyone wanted to talk to him, he was surrounded by people the whole time. People we had hung out with, people we hadn't, people who had been mean to him because he was gay but had come out since, people who had been nice to ran the gamut. Eventually, I was just sitting in a chair waiting to leave. And one woman wore a rabbit fur coat to the thing in the middle of August. Everyone was so pretentious drinking as much alcohol as possible and bragging about what they did for a living. We went to the BBQ the next day where, again, Roby had much more fun than I did. He died about 6 months later.

In 2005, as the reunion planning started, there were messages on looking for Roby and some other folks who had died in the intervening 10 years. When I posted that he had died, I got a lot of emails - people wanting the story, people angry that THEY hadn't been informed, people wanting to know why I hadn't invited them to the memorial service, blah blah blah. I decided I would go to the reunion because it would just be easier to tell everyone the story and the night would just be about that. So, I did. There were a few people there that I normally would have hung out with - drama people, but mostly, I was accosted by people I barely knew, people I knew OF but had never really talked to. I spent much of the time comforting people who felt like they were his "BEST FRIEND" except that they hadn't ever been there for him when he was sick or scared or needing comfort. How could you be someone's BEST FRIEND and not know they had died until 10 years after? One would assume that if you didn't know until after it happened, you would find out the next time you went to their job or called their phone or...something. People actually wept and I had to comfort them. It was WEIRD. I was (am) grateful that he is remembered and that he is remembered fondly - I know that he constantly worried that people would forget about him.

When I joined Facebook, some of the first people to find me were people from high school - even though most of the people from high school that I want to be in contact with, I am - some more than others, but there are a number of people I see at least annually and who I am glad to have in my life. Suddenly, they started talking about the reunion and there wasn't one bone in my body that wants to go. Maybe I would go to the 30 year reunion - once every 10 years is enough for me...but 25 years...I just don't want to. I kept putting off sending my answer, but finally, today, I pressed the NOT PLANNING TO ATTEND button and I don't feel bad about it at all.

I may regret not going when I hear how great it was, but only for a minute. Really, my best times were spent with people who won't be there anyway, so I just don't think I will be too sad to miss it all.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Theatre Memories

I was browsing some of my favorite blogs today when I got home from work to wind down after the week. I saw the title of Jamie Ridler's post "Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned from Theatre" and I was immediately jetted back to my high school theatre days. Her list is fantastic and I thought I should come up with my own list. I must say that I agree - everything I needed to know, I learned from theatre, too.

I was a pretty theatrical child (ask my family) and I did some stuff when I was younger - in grammar school. The summer before junior high, my family left the place I felt most at home and like myself and moved to Portland, Oregon. I was an outsider in a place where outsiders did not belong. Every place I had ever lived before was a town or base where other air force kids lived. Kids moved to town and left regularly and everyone knew how to open the door to newcomers and wish people well when the left. Here, some of the people I met had never even been out of the state. They were suspicious of people who moved here from somewhere else.

In high school, I thought I found my niche in journalism. That was the world where I felt most comfortable. When I was a junior in high school, I was sent to the drama department to do a feature story about a play that was written by one of the students. We had to go to school on a SATURDAY! to get our interviews - I didn't even know that EXISTED IN THE UNIVERSE. Honestly, that day changed my life. I met friends I am still in touch with today, I met Roby, I found theatre, I found myself. BRILLIANT.

I'm not sure I can bullet point the things I learned in the theatre...they are so ingrained in me.

  • We can do anything when given the right support
  • The curtain opens whether we are ready or not
  • The back row folks paid for their seats, too. Make sure they can hear it
  • The only one who doubts you can do it is you
  • Smoke and mirrors looks pretty damn good with bangles sewn on
  • There is nothing like building something from the ground up with people you care about
  • Laughter gets you through all the hard stuff
  • Sometimes make-believe is necessary
  • Don't lose the keys!
  • Everyone has talent, they just have to find it
  • Show tunes cure what ails you 
I'm sure there are a million more things...I thought I could come up with a nice list of meaningful items, but the visions and memories are blocking the writing. Maybe I will be able to find them, but for now, I am just going to enjoy the nostalgia.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every Day Should Have Been Friday

I suspect that the reason this week has gone by so s l o w l y is because I made reservations for my vacation at the beach (Yay!) and this is the form of torture life takes when you are so close to vacation and yet so far.

I will be going back to my favorite beach place for several days the second week of August and I CAN'T WAIT! I'm going to bring some art journal stuff and some books and I'm going to sleep in and have some quiet days.

In the meantime, every day feels like it should be Friday. This week has been long and challenging. I'm glad it is almost over. Then one more week and vacation!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poetry Past

I read Patti Digh's Poetry Wednesday blog post this week with a poem by Maya Stein (whose poetry I love). It made me want to write poetry again. I didn't write anything yesterday, but I am considering it. Doesn't mean any of it will show up here (smile) but it definitely made me remember that sense of urgency when I used to write every day, rain or shine. I used to write every night when I went to bed. Sometimes, I would fall asleep while I was doing it and wake up with a pen in my sock. Computers even changed that - funny, huh? Anyway, that is what I was thinking about today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Good Laugh on a Long Day

One of my co-worker told me about this blog post today and then when we had a chance, she read part of it to me and showed me the drawings. It was hysterical and the perfect medicine for a long day. I laughed and laughed and I thought I would share it.

If you read on, there is a great post about never being able to be an adult. Take a look! It is really, really funny.

Here is one about hospital pain scales.

Aside from the hysterically funny commentary and the funny Paint program drawings, it takes me back to high school and the notes my best friend and I would write to each other all day long every day. Many of our notes included these absurd and horrible illustrations of whatever we were talking about. We had one teacher that we particularly disliked and we did a cartoon called "Alls Well that Ends Wells" (her last name was Wells. I later realized that we were just horrible teenagers and she was a nice older lady who had been teaching horrible teenagers for too long.) We had a couple of cartoon series and then lots of random stuff that we wrote and drew and this blog just reminds me of how funny a simple illustration can be.

Anyway, enjoy. The humor may not be for everyone, so read at your own risk.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doubts, Again

Today, as I read a blog post of someone who inspires me, I realized that I had sort of lost my thread again here in Rumpus-land.

Part of what draws me here is a commitment to myself to just record things - and I'm incredibly happy that I am doing it. It feels good to be faithful and accountable for something for myself. Part of what drew me here in the first place was just a contemplation of life and my thoughts and the days as they go by. In the beginning, I never thought anyone would read here and that it was just for me. I know that sounds silly - the Internet (hey- did you know that Blogger considers "Internet" spelled incorrectly if you don't capitalize it?) is a public forum. I have to be cautious about what I post and what I talk about - for my own good and for my own piece of mind.

I think caution is a good thing, but I also think that sometimes I play it too safe. Not that there is anything secret and exciting going on - I just think that sometimes I take the easier way out instead of digging a little deeper. I think I am more guilty of that during the good weather. Anyway, I am trying to find some equilibrium - a balance of the day-to-day that I record here and more interesting fodder - questions, thoughts, ideas, philosophies, rants...

This is another phase I go through pretty regularly - like wanting to change the look of the blog. I know it will be fine - I will figure out what I want to do and will probably change my mind 14 times over.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Someone brought in some plums at work the other day. I tried one (it was a little too ripe for me - mushy) but it put me in the mood for plums. On Friday, I went to Safeway on my lunch (yikes - that was a whole story unto itself) and bought a few "experimental" plums - I wasn't sure if they would be good or not.

After bringing the plums back to my office, I finally ate one later in the day and it was DELICIOUS! So delicious that I ate the other one the same day. I didn't go out at all yesterday, but I was sorely tempted because all I could think about were those dumb plums!

Today, I went to the movies ("Knight and Day" which was quite fun and unexpectedly good. Shannon was right - go to a movie with LOW expectations and you are usually surprised in a good way) and then I stopped by Safeway. Usually, if I wait a few days to buy something like this, by the time I get there, it is too ripe or not there or no good. But tonight, all the stars were aligned and not only did I score with a bunch of Black Diamond plums that are the perfect side of ripe, but I got a bunch of other fruitilicious stuff, too.

I brought it up to the check stand and as the girl was ringing me up, I was thinking that I wasn't sure I had enough cash...then she asked about my Safeway card. I usually don't care one way or another, but I entered my phone number today and saved $8! On fruit! Good lord! I ONLY BOUGHT FRUIT!! and I SAVED $8... Weird. I guess I don't normally shop for fruit only, so it just took me by surprise.

Anyway, the plums are awesome. My stomach is happy and I have more for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Yummy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dabbling Dismay

I have kept a website to advertise sign interpreted performances in Oregon and SW Washington for years - maybe 11 years now, maybe more.  I used to have the time to play around regularly during the year and make changes, adaptations. Now, I try to do a major update with all the seasons at least once a year and then any changes/updates throughout.  I used to try to make an individual page per show (but I never had any site stats to know if that worked or not...).

Now, I have site meter but I still have the same old program and yet the websites I use to help me build mine (advertising THEIR shows) are getting harder and harder to deal with and/or navigate.

During "The Lion King" performances this year, we were asked to add a third performance and didn't get confirmation until the same week of that performance. A person who uses the website (which is GREAT) was upset that the third date hadn't been added onto SignPlay. Since I was one of the interpreters, I was more focused on being ready for the show. I had posted the additional performance AND how to get tickets on Facebook (which seems like a much more immediate place), but they were still irked with me that SignPlay was wrong.

So, today, I have been working on the website to update the season for 2010-2011. The theatres have not posted all their interpreted performance dates and SOME of them don't even have an easy way for me to find their season at all. I work through Homestead which has been good to me and is an easy drag-and-drop program. I thought I wanted to change the logo and the fonts and style and worked for some time, but then, I couldn't get it right, so I just went back to the same old style. When I did, I realized that I am probably the only one who cares what the font is. I wanted to try to make it look more professional, but I just don't have enough expertise to do it. I don't know HTML, so I have to depend on the tools available to me.

So, I am still in the process of getting the new index/front page ready, then I will be slowly working on all the other pages, as well. I will probably redo all the "Meet the Interpreters" pages, too. So if you are an interpreter reading here, please send me your performance resume and I will include you on that page. I would really love to get to the point that I can add video clips (Portland Center Stage started using them last year) and photos of each interpreter so that our audiences can see who is interpreting. I think that is a very good thing.

Anyway, that is what I spend my day doing until I couldn't take it anymore. I will work some more tomorrow and hope that I make enough progress to publish. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Unexpected Movie Surprise

I watched "Bandslam" tonight - just on a whim. I had heard that it got pretty good reviews and I liked Vanessa Hudgens from "High School Musical" (I know, I know...that was also unexpected), so I thought I would see this. It was the perfect movie for a Friday evening after a challenging week.

Basically, a nerdy, music-loving HS boy living in Cincinnati moves to New Jersey where he can start over again. A girl (played by Aly of Aly and AJ and a bunch of Disney shows I've never seen or heard of) befriends him and he helps create a band of misfits (except for the girl).  Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe of "Friends" fame) plays the mom.

The movie manages to avoid most of the teen movie cliches and has some pretty witty dialogue. There were actually a couple of lines that I wanted to write down because they were so funny.  The awkwardness and isolation of teen years is captured beautifully in this film.  AND they sing a song from BREAD - one of my favorite songs, "Everything I Own".

Two thumbs surprisingly, but happily up.

Here is the trailer, although it doesn't represent the dialogue and wit of the movie very well...

Here is "Everything I Own" from Bread (David Gates is the lead singer, I believe). Strong memories for me from the 1970s.  This is definitely the better version, but I love that a movie for young people dug that deep to find an old classic song.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Contemplating Becoming a Morning Person

For some reason, this summer it has been incredibly hard to get up on time. I realized that one reason for this is that I took my second/spare alarm clock with me on my trip to Vegas and I never brought it back to its normal function (acting as a second alarm). The other reason is that 6:00am is the BEST TIME TO is the perfect temperature at that time of morning and I think I must be in REM sleep at that time. I suppose I just need to start going to be earlier...?

So, as I was dragging my way to work a little earlier today than normal, I was thinking that it would be good to be more of a morning person. I have NEVER been a morning person - not even when I was a little kid. Within days of school getting out for the summer, I was wide awake WAY later than a kid should be. I used to clean my room at night, read, whatever. There is something about being awake when the world is quiet and there are no expectations and no pressures. No one will call or come over or need anything.

At the same time, I love the idea of being done for the day by 4 pm. Working until 6 or 7 or 8 pm kind of takes a hunk out of the day. It is the same amount of day, but I like the idea of cramming work into a corner - early in the day or late in the day but that way you have a whole other part of your life that you are doing stuff and can predict how things are going to shake out. This middling stuff (9:30-6pm or 10-7:00 or whatever) really just cuts through the middle of the day. Both ends are too short to really do anything useful.

I didn't come to any conclusions today - just know that something has to change soon. I need to get back to a more normal schedule and see how that works for me. We'll see how long it takes. Maybe the best thing is to start after I take my vacation...I will be refreshed, so getting up early shouldn't be a problem. Right?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

Do you like the name you were given? Is there a name that you think would suit you better?(prompt from Nablopomo)

I never really thought about my name until I was in high school. My best friend and I would write notes back and forth and she really identified with Scarlett O'Hara in gone with the wind and thought I was like Melanie, so we signed our letters with those nicknames. Ironically, I never read "Gone with the Wind" - I should read it now...see what she was talking about. She always said that everyone liked Melanie and Scarlett was always looking on, wishing that people liked her but unable to do what it took to make that happen.

I thought about writing under a pseudonym but then I realized that if I ever did become a famous author (haha), I would want people to know it was me.

Roby and I talked about names of characters we wanted to write about and he wished he could change his name, but I never really thought about it. My name is my name. Sometimes I wished for a more exotic spelling for either my first name or middle name, but ultimately, my name is who I am and I don't know that I could actually pull anything else off.

I think I was pretty lucky in the grand scheme of things - my family is from the south and we have names like Leafy Mae and Bernice Fae (sounds like Burnisfae) and Barbara Mae (Barbmae) and Bonnie Dale. They are old-fashioned, southern names that I'm not sure I could have lived with when I was 12 years old and living in a new place, not knowing anyone and trying to find a way to blend in. Now, I would probably be more okay with an unusual name, but I never had to worry.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can Clocks Move Backwards?

Today was the longest day... Nothing was happening, no emails, no calls, not too busy at work but not quiet. From about 3:00pm to 6:00pm, it felt like the clocks had stopped or had started moving backwards. Honestly, I couldn't run out of there fast enough.

Here's hoping that things remain calm and boring and I can continue to run out of the building after 8 hours and not feel like I forgot to do EVERYTHING. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Most played Songs on my iPod

Some of these are whole CDs and some are just songs...but it is a good list...Then you have to add in anything from "Les Miserables", "Rent" and "Wicked". :)

1. American Tune - Indigo Girls from the Newport Folk Festival
2. Trouble Me - 10,000 Maniacs
3. All the Songs from "Carnival Ride" from Carrie Underwood
4. Left Behind - Spring Awakening
5. Don't Suppose - Erasure
6. Goodbye to You - Michelle Branch
7. Tanya Tucker's Greatest Hits album from 1972(?)
8. Stay - Lisa Loeb
9. Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
10. Breakaway album - Kelly Clarkson

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Half a Mea Culpa (Long)

So, for part of my last post, I was right. For part I was wrong.

Let's recap with more information: Friend wanted to have a BBQ for July 4, but since it rained that morning, postponed. Decided to have THAT BBQ today but call it Jean's Birthday BBQ even though it had little to do with me. I am not a fan of BBQ or strangers or strangers with strange food that is left out for hours at a time and touched by various hands.

The people were nice. There was not enough room for everyone in the place we were in, so everyone was trying to find a place to BE but everyone was also trying to make sure that everyone was OKAY so everything became a ginormous explanation every time anything happened.

Scenario 1: Who should go into the postage-stamp sized kitchen to get food first? They voted Birthday Girl. (I would have gone last as I would know where to sit at that point...) I try to go get my food and follow the directions I am given only to find that someone else (on the other side of the kitchen wall) was directing people in exactly the opposite way. Rather than scuttle in the kitchen for a place in line, I remove myself from the scene to wait. I am patient. I am not bothered by waiting- it is actually easier to wait. But then comes the "Hey- We told you that the birthday girl was going first! What are you doing?" to the eleven-year-old. I say, "It's fine. There's not enough room. It's fine." "Oh. Okay." Then the next adult says, "Hey! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Didn't we tell you that the birthday girl was supposed to be first?" Now the eleven-year-old is confused. "I thought she said it was fine...I didn't know." Again, I say, "It's fine. She is fine. Let her get some food." This happened no less than 3 more times before someone removes the kid from the kitchen.

I run in, get my food and try to get out of the way. Good God! Just let the kid eat. So, I try to find a place to be because there are more kids who are seated at the table. If I sit down, I will have to get up and down for each kid each time they come and go. My back is hurting from yesterday, so I choose to wait. "Sit down and start eating." I reply, "I'm just waiting for the kids to get their stuff, then I can sit down." "They are fine. Just sit down and eat." "I'd rather not have to get up and down a bunch of times, so I'm just waiting until they get their food." Again, two or three more exchanges. Finally, I sit down and say, "I'm going to sit down now because clearly this is making everyone uncomfortable. It might make more sense to have the kids go first so that everyone can settle in more easily."

Within three minutes, eleven-year-old girl #2 sitting next to me starts to slide out of her chair UNDER THE TABLE. I get up so that she can actually walk like a human being instead of crawling around on the floor. Immediately, Grandma, Mother and several others are screaming at the kid, "Why are you getting up? You don't need to get up!" I say, "Kids move around. It's what they do. It's fine." They continue to yell at the kid. I remove myself until everyone has food and then I come back.

Many of the extra people (not all) left after dinner under the excuse that Dad was "in training" and didn't eat sugar during training. I suspect there were other reasons, but I couldn't really worry myself about it at that point. Through it all, of course, I come out the bitch. I don't understand why people don't figure out how to meet their kids' needs first and then we go from there. Kids need to be able to move. Don't make them sit in the seats where they will have to move a whole row of people every time they get bored. I just don't understand the lack of forethought sometimes.

Then, later, Grandma says, "I think I may have a second piece of cake." The eleven-year-old girl #2 says, "I'd like a second piece, too." She has had a sliver slice of cake, so for her, a second piece would be like completing a first piece. Mom tells her no, then Grandma and Mom proceed to eat seconds of cake. I leaned over to the kid and said, "I'm not having a second piece either. Do you want to take some home so you can have some tomorrow?" Kid says, "No, it will just go to waste anyway."

Huh? What happened here?

Where I was wrong - the people I didn't know were very nice, although somewhat over-concerned about me going first. The food was better than I expected. We played some games and that was pretty fun, but the teams were uneven and it made some people unhappy when they are used to winning. I certainly appreciate people cooking for me and having a nice time. What I would prefer is that we call it what it is - a belated July 4th BBQ. It just changes the expectations.

Anyway, nuff said.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Looking a "Gift Horse" in the Mouth

So, a friend of mine offered to have a little BBQ get-together at their house tonight for my birthday... I was a little reluctant because this kind of thing often ends up with the person inviting friends and family (of theirs) who I don't know. Then, while they are cooking and BBQing and preparing, I am left to entertain all the unknown people. I am not good at this, nor do I enjoy it. Particularly when I am surprised by the whole thing (i.e., not told that strangers were going to be in attendance).

This time, I said, "Who are you inviting?  I don't want to be stuck entertaining a bunch of people I don't know/like while you are cooking.  I would rather just be prepared. I don't like surprises."  No, no. It will just be us (small group of friends) and we can play some games and just eat. No big deal.

Did I mention that this is supposedly for my birthday?  In my world, the birthday person's preferences are taken into account for a birthday celebration.  Things like inviting people they know, having food they like, having it in a place that the person can appreciate are all parts of how I would celebrate someone's birthday.

If you know me, you know that sitting outside at dusk (mosquitos, temperature, allergies) eating food without a table that has been cooked with smoke pouring out of the cooking apparatus, potentially cold (as BBQ food tends to be) with lots of condiments and BBQ-type foods does not add up to the perfect Jean Birthday celebration.

Now, add to that 9 strangers. Total strangers that I don't know. Never met. And then don't even bother to tell me EVEN AFTER I ASKED.  I finally wheedled it out of them and I can tell you honestly that I don't really even want to go.  I know I should just be happy that anyone cares that I have a birthday...but at this point, I kinda feel like the birthday thing is done now.  This wasn't about me. This is an excuse to have a BBQ and force me into an uncomfortable social situation. I wouldn't want to go if we just called it that, but at least I wouldn't feel so used and then guilty because I'm not feeling grateful.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Birthday Note from the Universe

I subscribed to a funny little website that sends out a "Thought from the Universe" each day.  On Wednesday (my birthday), I received the perfect note.  I meant to post it on Wednesday, but I forgot until today.

"You are the right person, this is the right time, you've paid your dues, you're thinking the right thoughts, you're doing the right things, and this very moment, you are exactly where you're supposed to be... poised for the happiest time of your life.  

Dang, Jean!
The Universe"

Isn't that cool?  I really liked it. It was the perfect thought for that day.

Today was strange, on the other hand, and I couldn't wait to leave work. Usually, I don't feel that way, but today, the hours just stretched on and on. All was pretty quiet and time just seemed to stop. 

I'm glad it is Friday. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Favorite Place in the World - Nablopomo Prompt

Right now, the question "Where is your favorite place in the world?" brings to mind two places.  One is NYC (I coudn't find the photo that I wanted...) and the other is the Oregon Coast.  In anticipation of a vacation there soon, here are some photos from last year and images I hope to see again in real life VERY VERY soon.

 Ahhh. Looks nice, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Year 43 Project: Day One

Well, today's activity is deciding what I want to do as my project. Some of my "projects" are very successful (i.e., I actually do them) and some of them are less so (because I try to do them and then miss a day and then give up totally) and some are dismal failures (never even try). This is going to be somewhere in between.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do until I went to Jamie Ridler Studios and read this post. I had already signed up for Creative Everyday 2010, but I haven't done well with that one AT ALL.

So, friends, this project is going to be a combination of a bunch of the things I have been talking about here for a long time. This year, I am focusing on "Finding Time for Creativity" that can take the shape of writing something, reading something, doing some art or photography, taking an art class, going shopping for some new, inspirational art supplies. I want to open this wide so that I have the highest chance of success. The other IMPORTANT aspect of this is that I am going to follow the advice of my teacher and blogger-extraordinaire, Patti Digh of 37 Days. "Every Day is Day One". If I miss a day, I will not just throw up my hands in defeat. I will try again tomorrow. And I don't have to write about it if I don't want to. I will probably update here and there, but I may not do it too regularly. I haven't figured out the documentation part. Maybe I will take pictures...hmmm. Something else to decide.

So, for my Year 43 Project (Y43P), I am making space for myself to create, think creatively and to be kind to myself when I create ways to block myself. And I will report back with periodic updates.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Year 43 Project

It occurred to me that I don't have a goal or a project or anything that I am working on right now. In the past couple of years, I have learned how to use my digital camera (not National Geographic quality, but it will do...), I have worked on my Art Journals (which I miss a lot) and have worked on several other projects.

For my 43rd year, I think I am going to take on a project. I'm not sure what it is yet and I may or may not share it here, but I am thinking I want to do SOMETHING. I like having a focus. Obviously, I have been writing in the blog regularly, which I am proud of. I want to do more art and photography, but I also want something to work towards. I am also thinking about taking another "Soul Collage" class this summer. I have to check into it - there was something about that process that was really intriguing.

I guess I don't have to know until the end of the day tomorrow. Anyway, 18 minutes until I'm 43!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Fest List

*I typed it up, but I was so tired, I only drafted it last night. Sorry.*

Here are the titles for BookFest 2010 (Year 16):

Four Corners of the Sky
The Imperfectionists
The Writing Circle
The Perfect Reader
The Rehearsal
Things that Keep Us Here
A Thousand Cuts
The Cookbook Collector
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Story of Anne Sullivan Macy
The Last Time I Saw You
The Secret Daughter
Mathilda Savitch
Waiting for Rescue
The Survival in Auschwitz
The Blue Notebook
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
The Mysterious Benedict Society

I pick books for a lot of different reasons. This year, I ended up with a lot of "Debut" fiction which can be a good thing (Think "To Kill a Mockingbird") and a bad thing (Think "To Kill a Mockingbird"). I'm excited to get started as I bought some books that challenge my usual choices and some that will be comfortable like an old shoe. Either way, I have books! Yay!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Okay. The last week has kicked my ass. Today, I did nothing but recuperate. I watched slept through a movie, worked on the computer a little, read the paper, dinked around in my pajamas until 5:00 PM. It was good.

One would think that having a three-day weekend last weekend would have helped but it did not. With the shows on Thursday and Friday, a late(ish) meeting on Wednesday, BookFest on Saturday and 90+ degree weather for most of the week, I just feel like someone beat me with a stick again. Sigh.

I will say that BookFest was a raging success. Kevin and I had a GREAT time! The actual book buying was impacted by the heat and the press of a LOT of people at Powell's. We were both happy that there are so many people buying books, but it really cramped our shopping style. Some years, we have 5-6 different parts. We set times and meet in the Anne Hughes Coffee Room (although I think they changed the name of that it is just the Coffee Room), check in and then set off for more shopping. This year, we met in the coffee room twice.

Honestly, after the second meeting, I could feel in my legs that I had done two shows in the last two days. I had lucked out and found a little shopping cart (they only have like 3 in the whole place), so I didn't have to tote a big basket full of books around, thank goodness. At the same time, it just took a lot of energy to navigate through the press of people in the heat. I spent a lot of time in the Debut Fiction corner because it seemed to have a limited appeal for most folks, so it was usually a clear area.

After our second meeting, I only had $15 left to spend and I was really hitting the wall. Finally, I paged Kevin, told him where I was sitting and he met me when he was done. We paid and then went off to dinner at Hunan's. Delicious Hot and Sour Soup. The General Tso's was good but not as good as the soup. Then we were off to Kevin's for our "Show and Tell". We thought we might be done early, but we had a really good time showing off our books and telling stories about how we found them and why we chose what we chose.

I will post my list of books later. I'm thinking that I will make it a tab on this page so I can keep track, but I'm not going to do it tonight. Suffice to say that BookFest is the best holiday of the year. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sixteen Year Tradition Observed Today

Today is BookFest! I know I write about this annually, but it is one of the BEST days of the year!

In 1994, my friend, Kevin, and I were in Powell's. It was in early September and we were both lamenting the fact that we couldn't buy enough books to keep us happy. We had decided that we could live in Powell's if necessary and then we started talking about what it would be like to spend as much money on books as we wanted - guilt-free. A plan was hatched - we would save $10/month for a year and come back to Powell's together and spend it ALL!

In September 1995, I was starting back to school, but we had saved our money and went to Powell's for the first great BookFest. It took us HOURS to select our special books. We actually closed the place - the Powell's workers had to usher us out. Many traditions were born on that day. After we are done, we usually have dinner together - eagerly anticipating the book-sharing, but also dragging it out a little. Then we go to Kevin's place and show our selections. We figure out who is closest to the $$ total without going over, who has the most eclectic grouping of books, who broke out of the mold, who has the most beautiful book cover, which book of the other person's is our favorite. We check to see if either of us bought the same book (that has happened a few times) or if one of the other person's books had been on the list but didn't make the cut or if we KNEW the other person would buy a particular item.

The next year, we changed the months so that we could have the summer to read. After that first year, we have done either June or July buying which, I think, was a good decision. The dollar amount also changes from year to year. The highest amount was either our 5 year or 10 year anniversary when we saved $50/month ($600!! which is a LOT of money to spend on books - let me tell you!). The restaurants we choose have changed periodically (the first one is the most frequented so far - Hunan Restaurant downtown). I love that Kevin is still willing to share this special and fun tradition with me after 16 years. We have toyed with stopping, but I think we will probably go until the 20 year mark now...then after that, who knows?

People often ask if they can join us. The answer is NO. This is our day. But you can do your own BookFest if you want. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Still Got My Show Legs

Well, after the June 24 performance of "The Lion King" (where I was amazed that I lived), I was a little nervous about doing the show again. Whatever virus I had after my trip to Las Vegas really kicked the crap out of me. I have never done a show where after each song I was wondering how long I would be able to stand up there. My legs never stopped shaking. It is hard to sign big and bold and clear when your legs feel like toothpicks that are about to snap.

So, Thursday night, the show went VERY WELL. I felt like I was on my game. I had enough energy, had enough water for intermission, had taken the day off to rest and relax and focus. Had enough protein. Enjoyed the performance, felt the emotional impact of the critical points of the show. BUT I knew that I had a Friday night performance, as well. It was a RARE last minute add-on night. I was worried about energy and strength.

Tonight, I was more tired. I had to go to work for a few things, ended up staying 30 minutes longer than I had intended which allowed an accident to happen on the freeway so that I could sit in my car in the 96 degree weather and move 2 miles in an hour. Kind threw off my mojo. BUT I was able to listen to the show and I just tried to Zen out and turned the AC on to stay cool. The day was a little too frantic for my taste on a show day, but I lived. Lots of hydration, protein spaced throughout the day. I wore more comfortable shoes for the show. I could tell I was more tired than yesterday, but not horrible until the end of the show. I was feeling a little punch-drunk by the end. We made it through - the audience seemed to enjoy it and I made it home alive.

All-in-all, a very good experience and I know that the show in June was because I wasn't feeling well. I just got really freaked out that maybe I just had lost my show muscles since I don't interpret all day every day. You really do lose a lot of muscle tone if you don't do this every day. I have to start doing some focused work on rebuilding my interpreting musculature. If you have it ready, it doesn't take so much energy.

Anyway, for all of you who have been sending me good thoughts for the shows, I thank you. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why Do Cars Have Turn Signals?

As I was driving to the show tonight, I was forced to ponder the reason car manufacturers put turn signals on cars - particularly turn signals that are the size of a pea and are the same color as the brakes.  It makes no sense. Then I realized that it doesn't really matter how big they are or what color they are because NO ONE FREAKING USES THEM!!!  I was on a part of the freeway where lanes have to merge.  I was watching for turn signals, watching for people trying to merge, leaving a space in front of me that a truck or a bus or a circus motorcade could pull into.  Is that enough?  NO!  We want to go and try to pull into the lane in front of the car that is in front of me. Not that they would be able to move more quickly. Not that they will get there faster.  It must be because they prefer to practice parallel parking while on the freeway. I mean, really. I had literally 2.5 car lengths in front of me, but no one would pull into it.


As I was driving around the block to get to the parking structure that I like, I turned the corner near a daycare center. They have a bunch of 15 minute parking spots on the street there. As I turned, a car pulled out of the NO PARKING zone on the very back end of the spots and pulled 3/4 of the way into a parking slot 2 spaces away. At nearly the same moment as the car pulling into the slot, a Volvo slammed their car into reverse from about 3 car lengths in front of that space, jammed backwards and started angling into the space the other car was almost completely in. The Volvo gave no indication that they actually saw the car that was in the spot. They continued backing in. Finally, the poor guy in the spot backed out, almost into another car. Volvo pulled in. Little car then got the very front parking place by the daycare door because during all the drama, the front car drove off. The whole scene just baffled me.

If I won the lottery, I would hire a driver.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Writing Prompt #1 Nablopomo Style

What is one skill you wish you had? What is preventing you from learning it now?

I noticed last month that the Nablopomo site now offers daily prompts to aid those of us out here who are creatively challenged. I have so much to say, but then, after a long day at work and much mental editing, I often find myself at a bit of a loss. Now I'm not saying I will use their prompts every day, but I think it can be handy, every once in a while, to have some help with a topic. I can stream-of-consciousness with the best of them, but I do need a topic to get me started.

So, skills I wish I had...there are the outlandish skills that you can't really learn - how to fly, invisibility, see the future... Skills I really would love to have - photography skills (working on it slowly, although I will never be a National Geographic photographer). Artistic patience - I think I am too hung up on getting it "just like what I see in my head" (which is a very complex place, in case you were wondering). I wish I knew how to play an instrument (violin or piano, I think) and I think it is too bad I never learned how to really dive. I want to learn how to make glass mosaics. There are so many things to learn and so much to do... To tell you the truth, I am slowly working my way through some of the realistic things I want to do. Who knows, maybe someday I will get to some of the less realistic things, too. I don't spend much time wishing for this stuff, I just add it to the list and then work on crossing one off the list as I can.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day Two - Headache Persists

Well, I sent my complaint into Regal Cinemas regarding the ear-splitting volume of "Eclipse" yesterday.  I still have a splitting headache that is mostly located on the left side of my head. I'm pretty sure some permanent damage was done. I am hoping this headache is gone by Thursday as I have a show and I need both my ears AND my head to do a good job.

I am also counting the minutes until someone starts complaining about the heat. Everyone has been complaining about the cooler-than-normal weather but now that we have jumped a good 20 degrees in a day, I know that it won't be long before the griping begins. I actually don't mind the cooler-than-normal weather as long as it isn't raining every day. I am dreading the HEAT if it happens like last year. 107 degrees is too much for me. This week, I think I can take it.

In an effort to be headache free tomorrow, I am going to bed. Cheers, everyone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ear Plugs, Harry, Taylor/Jacob and Wireless

I went to the movies today and when the first preview came on, I'm pretty sure that my ear drum ruptured. It was so loud I literally felt a stabbing pain in my left ear. I covered my ears for the entire trailer and then started frantically digging around for something to rip up and stick in my ears for fear that something equally loud would happen and I would be deafened by the whole experience. I understand that the volume is often set for a filled-to-capacity theater, but I'm pretty sure there is a volume control that should be visited if there are only 15 people in the theater instead of 350. I ripped up a mini-pack of tissues and plugged my ears with the bits (like my parents did when I was little and we went to the stock car races - except they used unused cigarette filters, not tissues). I kept the kleenex in my ears THE WHOLE MOVIE and it was still too loud a few times and I had to cover my ears to block out the screaming or louder-than-humanly-necessary music. My head still hurts from it.

On the Harry Potter front, I saw the first trailer for the last book, presented in two parts. It looks brilliant. I decided today that I will go back and reread all 7 of the books before the first movie is out in November. Yay!

As I watched "Eclipse" today, I was reminded that it was my favorite book of the series. I was also reminded that I am so glad that Taylor Lautner was not released from the film series. He is absolutely the best thing about the franchise, IMHO.  Not only does he have enough charisma to carry off such a big role, but he is good to look at and he is actually a good actor.  And did I mention that he isn't hard on the eyes?  I will say that I found the constantly changing wigs (particularly on Bella) a bit distracting. For about 1/4 of the film, Bella's hair looked real, but the rest of the time, it moved from bad to worse. For the record, Team Jacob! All the way!

Finally, since this is a RANT post:  Verizon now has a new (coincidence? - the commercial just came on so I can see the damn slogan...) ad campaign - "Rule the Air" which shows unsuspecting pedestrians walking along using their "apps" and not paying attention to all the transformer-like buildings, cars and other items changing into cell-towers and satellite dishes.  First of all, just because we CAN doesn't mean we SHOULD. I believe I have said this before. I still believe it. I want an iPad but I DON'T NEED IT.  So, upon watching this commercial, like, 12 times today (not really, but I'm ranting), my first question is: Have we started to tally the number of pedestrians killed or maimed because they were focused on their device and (choose one) 1. fell into a hole  2. crashed into a pole 3. got hit by a car 4. insert other possible obstacles here?  My second question is What the hell does "Rule the Air" mean, anyway and why would I want to do that?  You just can't convince me that all this wireless energy flying around is harmless. We ARE energy. At a time when Oprah is trying to get us off the phone while we drive, we are inventing more and more ways to distract ourselves in our cars, when we walk, when we are at home, when we are at work. It all seems so crazy and lacking in sense.  I know I'm just being an old fuddy-duddy. I can't help it.  The loudness of the movie is still ringing in my ears and that commercial has been on ALL DAY LONG. Ugh. I like real, live, actual people better than all my devices and internet. And books come in second.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bicentennial Celebration - Flashback

This morning, I was reading an article in the Opinion section of the Oregonian newspaper about how July 4th is really a man's holiday. The writer made some valid points.

As I was reading though, I remembered a July 4th Celebration that I hadn't thought of for a long time. Days away from celebrating my 9th birthday, my family helped celebrate the Bicentennial in Wiesbaden, Germany at the Lindsay Air Force Base. I think the celebration was in conjunction with either the Girl Scouts or the Boy Scouts or both (my parents were involved in Boy Scouts, but my sister and I were in Girl Scouts). I remember it pretty clearly - we were set up in the field where they normally had softball. Everyone wore colonial garb - my dress was blue and long. I LOVED IT! And I loved the elastic cap (I will have to look up what they called it).  I hadn't really had many costumes in my life (Bambi's mother and some Halloween costumes, I think) and I wore them until they fell apart. I'm pretty sure that this was no exception.

The one thing I remember most, aside from the costume and some of the visuals that flash in my head is that we made butter in baby food jars.  As a kid who was born in the city and who moved around according to the orders of the Air Force, I don't think it had ever occurred to me that butter was something that was MADE. I'm pretty sure I just thought it came that a stick.  So when we had to shake those teeny baby food jars for what seemed like hours, I was pretty skeptical. When it started to turn to butter, that was pretty excited. Then, when we finally tasted it on some homemade, fresh-baked bread - HEAVEN. I'm pretty sure that I haven't tasted butter that good to this day.

Anyway, Happy Fourth of July!  I hope everyone has a safe, fun and FREE holiday.

[image from]

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Memory of July 4th

My birthday is July 14th. When I was little, I always thought it was on July 4th. In my 5 year old mind, I thought all the parades and all the fireworks and picnics were in my honor. It seemed perfectly normal to me that we should celebrate so much for what seemed to be an important day. I didn't think MY birthday was more important that other people's - I just hadn't made the connection that all the hoopla wasn't for me.

I have strong memories of celebrating July 4th in Denver - we moved away when I was 6 years old, so it is strange to me that these are my most vivid memories. We often had relatives in town and the dads would let off fireworks in the backyard. We played with sparklers and had big buckets of water around the yard so that we could put them in there when we were done. Safety was paramount, but they didn't make it scary for us - we just had to follow instructions under threat of a spanking or worse - not being able to participate.

One year, we went to a local amusement park (I don't remember the name) and they had a really memorable fireworks display. They had these fireworks that were actually on frames and made the shape of the American Flag and Snoopy of all things. I remember sitting at a parade and watching the fireworks and their reflection on the water. I'm pretty sure we were wearing cowboy hats.

Independence Day was a pretty big deal for military families. Especially when we lived in Germany. I do remember one year we watched the guys play softball, had a big picnic and then watched fireworks. The Germans loved Independence Day, too - particularly the people who lived right across the street from our housing area. They went all out in purchasing fireworks and came to help us celebrate.

I know there are a lot of political disagreements and a lot of history that people can delve into about America and what we have done as a country. All that aside, I am still proud to be an American, proud that my father fought for our freedom and proud that we have really done so many good things in the world. We aren't always right. We aren't always justified. But we are good people, on the whole and I am lucky to live in this country.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What I Meant to Say...

I realized today that what I meant to say on Wednesday was really this:  He's just a little boy! How could anyone do him harm?

It's funny how our head says things in ways we understand and then when we try to explain, it just doesn't go well.  It was bothering me and then I realized that my head was really just crying out because it is so sad and this situation is so tragic and unnecessary.

I hope they find him soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Living with Silence

Why, oh WHY can't I just sit and be quiet? I get myself into all kinds of trouble because those silent ticking moments are so unbearable. I can usually wait about 30 seconds before all my questions rear their ugly heads. I think it comes from a lifetime of being quiet. When I was a student - even through most of my college career - I didn't ask questions. I was afraid to ask questions. I was afraid that I was supposed to already know everything.

Today, I didn't so much ask questions as spoke up when it might have been more prudent to be quiet. I need to learn how to live within the silences. It's okay. When I interpret, I am comfortable with silence, but as a human being, I find it very difficult. I need a keeper. I had more than one meeting today where I went in thinking, "I'm just going to be quiet" and it didn't happen. I think I just need someone to go to meetings with me and when I open my mouth, they can poke me with a stick or something.

I don't think I did any harm today. I just should be quieter. I'm working on it.


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