Monday, December 31, 2012

Music of 2012

This year, when suddenly, the radio station I listen to became a sports station, I started listening to pop music again in a way that I haven't for a long time. Usually, I would either listen to my radio station (progressive talk radio) or I would listen to CDs for the shows I'm rehearsing. After the change of my radio station, I rediscovered music. What a pleasure. So here is a mix of the songs that were popular as I returned to the world of popular music. I feel like it was the right time - some other years, I might have just been left hanging.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Missing Dad

Six years since my Dad died. It goes by in a heartbeat and yet it feels like yesterday. Time is strange that way. I miss you, Dad.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Today is the Day

OMG.  Today is the day.  Going to a morning show to avert any interference.  My heart is full of excitement and anticipation.

Review to come.

Monday, December 24, 2012

One Day More...

One Day more, another day, another destiny.
Fantine has always been one of the characters that moves me the most. I can't wait to see Anne Hathaway's portrayal. She said she saw her mother perform as Fantine on Broadway when she was 7 years old. What an amazing connection to the show! Here are some more "Les Miserables" memories: Les Miserables Memory #3: Dec. 1988, Broadway Theatre, NYC. Sitting center orchestra, Roby gripping my hand next to me. Wild anticipation waiting for the curtain to open on the Original Broadway Cast of "Les Miserables" except for Colm Wilkinson. Garry Morris was Jean Valjean. I wept from the moment the curtain opened until about 15 minutes after the show ended. The most perfect kind of overwhelmed a person can experience. Les Miserables Memory #4: Sheer terror at the thought that I would be interpreting the tourning "Les Miserables" when I had never interpreted any music other than "The Star Spangled Banner" and Christmas assembly music in K12. Then, the music started and I knew every breath. I have never interpreted anything so well as I did that night - it was not skill, it was all heart.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Memories of "Les Miserables"

Here are some of the memories I have of "Les Miserables" (short clips from my Facebook status postings): "Les Miserables" memory #1: Driving in my brown Ford Grenada on the way to the beach with Roby singing "The Confrontation". I sang Jean Valjean, he sang Javert. "Les Miserables" memory #2 (should have been #1): Jamie Cowan Paul giving me the Act One cassette and Roby the Act Two cassette in June 1986 during Rose Festival at Roby's first apartment. Popsicles, the Starlight Parade and the beginning of a life-long passion. Thanks, Jamie!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Do I Have to Wait?

I wonder if there is a midnight showing? If there is, I'm so there!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

5 Days Left

Have said how excited I am to see "Les Miserables" when it comes out? I'm going on Christmas Day - come what may. I haven't looked forward to something so much in a long, long time...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Counting Down to the Movie

So, Facebook has been the place I have been getting all my informaiton about the upcoming movie version of the musical "Les Miserables"...their Facebook Fan page has been posting a countdown...I think I might irritate people by posting every day...but I really really want to...  I CAN'T WAIT!!!

F16148.png " />


Wouldn't it be nice if all the hype around 12.21.12 really meant that some sanity and hope was restored for us?  I would like that.  Things feel out of control, people on the edge, hurting.

This was a beautiful tribute on "The Voice" last night:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Helplessness in the Face of Pain

I feel shut down right now. There is so much pain for everyone and I can feel the psychic wall coming down in protection.  I have been crying at any provocation - at work, at home, in the car.

I am taking this time, these feelings, this sense of helplessness as a sign that I am supposed to look up and out, see those I have surrounding me and count on us all to be strong when we can, be kind when we can, extend our arms out when we are able...

To love another person is to see the face of God.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I was invited to work with a group of Amy's closest friends and her family today to prep greens and make wreaths for Amy's Celebration of life ceremony tomorrow .  I will have a photo of it later (I hope).

In my life so far, I have been incredibly lucky to meet incredibly generous people with equally generous families.  I am grateful for these people and their open-armed welcome.  Sometimes, I stand at the periphery like a kid outside of the pet store, not knowing if I should enter - fearful of getting too attached.  They have none of it - I am pulled in and always happy for it.

Dark days are made easier when there is a little laughter blended in with the tears. We have definitely had that.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Resetting. Fail.

I knew when I took up my new project - the Resetting one- that I would fall behind immediately. I am trying to be okay with it.  I am giving myself this weekend to not get things done that I need to. Once the weekend is over, I will move on to the next phase.  That's how it is going to be.

I'm okay with it. Really.

Although, in 2013, I'm going to think twice before I commit to anything that requires action every. single. day.  I'm not good at that. Commitment issues.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Something to Look Forward To

Can I just say how EXCITED I am to have "Les Miserables" coming out in a film version?  I have been waiting for this since 1986!!  I know they were waiting for all the planets to align to have the right people, technology, support and audience.

I started listening to the show again a couple of days ago, when really, I should be listening to "Book of Mormon" (I have started listening to it on my commute though, so I'm on my way with BOM).

I am preparing myself for the fact that it won't be Colm Wilkinson and it won't be exactly the same as the stage show, but I can also tell that it will be fantastic in its own right.  The fact that the actors are singing live rather than being dubbed makes all the difference in the world.  My big fear is that they will turn too much of it into dialogue or cut out some of my favorite little moments. That almost always happens for me.  I get attached to these little moments that don't really appeal to the masses so they are the first things to get cut out when the time comes.

It feels good to be excited and looking forward to something. My plan is to go see it on Christmas night (opening night).  I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Club No One Wants to Belong To

Some of my dearest friends in the world entered a club no one wants to belong to - the one where you lose your best friend/non-romantic soulmate/other half.  The realm of friendship is murky when a person dies - there is an expectation that we grieve more for our parents, our siblings, other family members, spouses or partners, but that friends will recover quickly.

First of all, grief is grief.  You can't quantify it. You can't qualify it. You can't measure yours against mine or vice versa.  It is grief. It is painful. And overwhelming.

Friends are chosen and often we have more contact with our friends in daily life than we do with many other very important people in our world.  This has a direct impact on the level of loss we feel, how we move through grief and how we move forward.

To me, it is less about who it was in your life that you have lost and more about how deeply your every day life is impacted. How deeply your personality is tied to the person, to your relationship, to your experience with them. Each thread of us that is tied to the other person deepens our feelings for them both in life and in death. When those threads are broken, we are cast adrift and sometimes, people forget to try to help anchor us, too.

I long for us, as a society, to pick up the mantle of learning how to treat people in grief, learning how to be kinder to each other in our pain - no matter what kind.  We are a long way off, but I know there are pockets and people doing just that. Helping the new members of the club adjust to the new "normal".

Forgive my rambly thoughts...

Monday, December 3, 2012


I don't know why the idea of resetting resonates with me so deeply this year.  Oh, if it were only that easy - a big red RESET button to just stop the march of things the way they are and start anew.

I know it doesn't work that way, but I still think that resetting our true north, our intentions, is incredibly empowering. For me, the idea that if I try to set my mind on specific things they will come closer is important. It isn't so much about resolutions as it is putting my mind on a path, a way of thinking and doing and being.

So much of life passes us by. So many things happen on the way to somewhere else, something else, someone else. It just seems like I have to take some time to really think about it, to really know that even if it goes by quickly, it has meaning. Heft. Importance.

One of my intentions this year is to get back to art journaling. I miss it. I have not created in a long, long time and I know that it is one of the things I need to do to feel like I am whole in the world.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How I Remember

I think we all have a mechanism in our brain that sometimes freezes people in time for when we are remembering them, thinking about them. It is often the way we most want to remember them - when they were funny, young, beautiful, enjoying life. Even when people continue to be funny, young, beautiful and enjoy their lives, they sometimes are stuck in one time in my mind.

When I remember Amy, I remember her from the Mockingbird house and the outrageous laughter that we all shared back then. When I received this photo of Amy, it just re-cemented my memory of her into that time.

So, you might wonder why she is holding One Whole (Canned) Chicken (tasty hot or cold, the label says). We brought her this chicken as a gag gift. We didn't tell her who gave it to her for a couple of years, but she knew. Upon opening it, she immediately looked around the room before pointing in my direction and yelling out "Jean Miller!!" I played dumb, but I know she saw through me. And we laughed and laughed at this outrageous gift.

I'm so glad there was a photo of her with it. This is how I remember her.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reset. Revive. Restart.

Even though I have experienced DISMAL FAILURES in the personal growth activity arena this year... :(  I have joined one for the last days of the year.

Last year, I decided to do a RESTART at the beginning of the year at work and as I look back, I accomplished a number of goals I set forth. There were several things I didn't do well and will continue to work on as time moves forward.

I bring this up because I think that my initial attraction to this program was because it was another kind of reset. An opportunity to look at the year and make plans for next year.  I have been feeling lost and missing the blog but feeling like I don't have anything useful to contribute right now, so this feels like the right place to be.

I look forward to being back and sharing some of my journey here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. Starns

Today is Roby's birthday. He would have been 46 years old. It's impossible for me to even imagine...

So, this year, I imagine Roby having a party for Amy much like the last scene in "Long Time Companion" where all friends who have gone before are gathered together, young and healthy and beautiful forever, celebrating each other.  Hank would be there, Dean, Chris Roper, Lady Elaine Peacock, my Dad...they would all be there to show her the ropes.  And then, they would gather around and drink to Roby for his birthday.

I wish I had a picture I could post...but...there aren't any new pictures.

Happy Birthday, Roby.  I haven't forgotten.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I hate Thanksgiving.

No. Really. I hate it. I always have.

Now before you get up in arms or fire off a flaming comment, please know that I don't hate being grateful or thankful. I'm very grateful for many things and I try to express my gratitude when I am feeling it. Here's what I hate about Thanksgiving.

 Everyone pretends that it is the great family time when everyone is on their best behavior and everyone is happy to see all their family and all their family's various and sundry orphans and all the orphans' orphans. And that it will be fun. And that those of us who are relagated to "not a cook" status enjoy hanging out with all the other "not a cook" people. There is an assumption that everyone has a history of traditional, warm, loving fun Thanksgivings to reminisce about. There is an expectation that even if you would rather stick bamboo shoots under your nails, you WILL PRETEND TO BE GRACIOUS and accept every turn of events as they come on. There are all the cultural assumptions that food is the only way we can show love and that you'd better like all the "delightful" Thanksgiving food that you would NEVER eat any other time of year. I like turkey. Mashed potatoes and gravy are fine. Some corn. Maybe a roll. I didn't even eat pumpkin pie until I was in my mid-twenties...Food is not a reward for me. It is a painful punishment and brings about painful memories of other painful times.

Roby's birthday was usually celebrated on Thanksgiving when he was alive - the only good part of Thanksgiving, in my experience. Now, it is just another reminder that he is gone. It doesn't matter that it has been 16 years.

I hate being a bitch about it, too. Next year, I'm taking Thanksgiving off. Not just from work. I'm not playing. Opting out. I have already made my plans known to those who need to know. This relieves me of decisions and trying to figure out how to make things less painful. As soon as I decided that I wasn't going to participate next year, I felt a weight come off of me.

After today, I'm living Thanksgiving-free.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Be Brave

"The hardest thing in the world is to live in it. Be brave. Live." - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 5 "The Gift" True words.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Missing Amy

Grieving the loss of a good friend today. Amy McFarland was the heart of the group of friends I am in - the quiet, hilarious one who held the space for us to be crazy, loud, annoying, funny and loved. She was not interested in the spotlight - just in loving her people. My circle of chosen ones came into being at her house in Salem on Mockingbird Lane one her birthday in around 1997 or 1998. I owe her many debts of gratitude for that. Appropos on this day: I know all your life you wondered about that step we all take alone. How far does the spirit travel on the journey? You must surely be near Heaven and it chills me to the bone to know Amy knows the great unknown. *original lyrics by Rick Springfield. I added Amy's name. This is the reminder I guess I was needing to put things in perspective. The people and relationships are what's important. All the rest is just decoration.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So, how sick is it that there is a group of people I want to send gifts to but I'm afraid that they will not understand it, reject it, judge me for it? I have been struggling with this for a long time and what I know is that it is a result of receiving gifts from people who mean well and sometimes miss the mark. People who I think should know me, know who I am and who DO NOT. At all. Then I am mad at myself for not being gracious - it really is the thought that counts. I know this to be true and I allow that to guide me when I might have a less appropriate thought. How to overcome this judgement of myself that I am flinging onto other people and having it bounce back on me, leaving me frozen and unable to act? Just do it, I tell myself. And the little fear monster on my shoulder - not a devil - whispers to me, "Don't embarrass yourself!" The little bastard knows that playing the embarrassment card is the one that will work.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Personal Perspective

As I was driving home last night from work, longing for the election to be over just so that I don't have to listen to it anymore, I was struck by a memory. The car in front of me, in fact, most cars that I see, had no indicator showing their presidential or political leanings. I do not have any political indicators on my vehicle, either. I don't know why it struck me particularly, but I realized that part of the reason I don't talk about politics and don't show my leanings publicly is fear. This line of thinking was surprising in some ways, but it was an opportunity to look back and see how much things have changed and/or how little. In 1992, there was a ballot measure (Measure 9), which was basically an fear-based attack on the LGBTQ community. At the time, I was much more active in the gay community - working with AIDS/HIV organizations, hanging out in the bars, interpreting drag shows, etc. So, when Measure 9 came down the pike, I immediately put a bumper sticker on my car - "No on 9". Simple, effective. And I was followed by cars for miles, people screamed obscenities at me, flipped me off, agressively tailgated me and finally, someone dented my car. While I can't be sure that all of this behavior was directly related, much of it was. It was a fearful time. One of Roby's neighbors was followed home from the bar and beaten almost to death. After that, my political leanings have been fairly silent. I may agree with someone or say something insignificant to a friend or someone I'm close to, but for the most part, I am not comfortable sharing that part of my life. As I was reflecting on this past of mine, these strange and seemingly unrelated things (the measure then and the election now), I realized that I still feel a sense of fear and reluctance to showcase my political beliefs. As a society, it seems that we are far less equipped to have civil discourse when we disagree. Everything becomes so extreme and it flies in the face of my desire to avoid conflict when possible. No brilliant revelation - just thought I would share some perspective as it came to me during my lengthy commute last night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Survived!

The dreaded month of October is over in about 40 minutes!! I made it through relatively unscathed. There were some moments where it seemed like it was going to go south, but it did its usual thing and just kept a river of misery running through the month. What did make it easier was knowing that I could just blame it on October and move on. Sometimes, having a scapegoat really does make things easier. At least I chose an inanimate one. I enter the last two months of the year with high hopes. This year has been full of surprises and experiences and change with some time left to ponder. I hope I'm up for the challenge.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Joss Whedon's Brilliance

I've just been spending time with music and some video and some shows that are really grounding for me. I love Joss Whedon, and I found this.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Message to the Whedonverse

In the now eternal language of facebook: LOVE.

Sick Rambling

I think I have the flu. I thought it was a migraine on Friday and I left work early. I got home at 4:15pm and woke up around 9:00 pm for a few minutes and went back to sleep until about noon on Saturday.  I've had a temperature, headache, chills, and other unpleasant flu-like symptoms.  After a marathon of sleep, I am awake at o-dark-thirty and watching music videos on YouTube.

Here's a sampling:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stepping into the Light

So, I have spent much of my life feeling like everyone else was in on the secret - that there were fundamental things that I was supposed to know, but didn't and that somehow that was my fault or something that I should be ashamed of or embarrassed about.  I know, logically, as an adult, that this is just not true.  Deep down, I still feel it sometimes, and it often prevents me from participating fully.

So, yesterday, after attending a meeting of an organization that has been in and out of disarray and that I have been a member of since 1989 and have not given my full attention to in all that time, I signed up to participate in a way that scares the crap out of me. Not so much because I don't know how to participate, but because I am so scared of letting myself and the organization down. I think I'm a little bit of a commitment-phobe. And this is the first step in trying to fix that.

And coming back to the blog. I have to do it every day. I think that is the only way for me.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weighing the Pros and Cons

I went to Costco today and I realized that I have 2 options:

1.  Go more often so that I eventually become immune to the pure insanity of the place and can move through the store without it making me crazy.

2. Accept that no "deal" is worth the frenzied parking lot, the swarming people with giant carts, the cement floor, the purely painful check out and need to keep your receipt out all the way to the door even when you have already returned your debit card to your wallet.

I don't know why this place makes me so crazy but I really, really, really don't want to go back.  Who really needs the lifetime supply of toilet paper all in one purchase anyway?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I have long known that I am particularly sensitive to adrenaline and have learned to manage it in certain situations - for interpreting shows, presentations, etc.  Sometimes, though, you can't control the shot of adrenaline you are given.

This week I had an important meeting that I really wanted to go well (I think it did) and that creates a level of heightened adrenaline. I got through it, felt pretty good but also knew that I was somewhat exhausted from moving through that...

On Friday, we had a fire alarm with a true fire in the parking garage. A variety of features in our building (forced air in the elevator shaft, etc.) meant that the halls filled with smoke and the acrid smell of a car fire.  The alarms went off and BAM! More adrenaline for Jean.

Perhaps I am too serious, but I take my responsibilities seriously - ensuring that everyone is out of the building, staying safe, within communication range. I need to stay in touch with our other sites and keep everyone pretty calm, try to problem solve and make decisions and assume responsibility for those decisions.  I'm not afraid of any of that, but it is serious business for me.

Suffice to say that Friday night was a wash. I was in the office late to finish up my reports on the day's events and wrap up any loose ends.  I crashed while watching "Mirror, Mirror" on DVD.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Leave for a Few Days...

I leave for a few days and Blogger goes and changes the world on me... I guess I knew it was coming...I'm hoping things will be easier to use on the new layout and new version. Change really is the only constant. This is the theme of my life and I need to learn it. I think, once I do, that I will just be able to roll with it...resisting it takes so much energy. Anyway, Rumpusers (for those of you still around), I am working my way back to the blog and to myself. This time away has been important and good and at the same time, I want to come back to my commitment to myself. I may never be the writer/creator that I want to be, but I have this little space in the world to write and be. That is a very good thing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Love This

There is something really amazing about this song. I love the style of singing, the rhythm of the drums...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Soothing and Searching

Suddenly this summer, I rediscovered music. I'm not sure when or how or why my interest was sparked again. I am always into music, but generally, I listen to musical theatre and old stuff that I have had for a zillion years.  I'm pretty sure that "Glee" had something to do with it, but it is strange that it didn't really affect me until a few weeks ago instead of last year during the season.

I am discovering all kinds of music and people I'm surprised to be listening to - often, I don't know the name of the artist, but I'm enjoying the exploration.  On any given morning, rather than listening to politics, I am listening to my new-found radio station and rockin' on down the road.

Good clean fun!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vacation 2012

Developing a habit is hard - I'm working on getting back here. I always knew that if I broke my streak of regular posting, it was gonna be hard to get back. I need some art and some other things to really get me back on track.

Here is what really got me off-target - VACATION. I really needed it this year.  In the photos below, if there is a black image protruding from the water, it is a whale. I saw probably 20-25 spouts a day and had a couple of opportunities to watch whales flirting with the boats and playing pretty close to the deck where I was staying.

Most days, it was sunny and beautiful, at least for the afternoon.  The mornings had some fog and low clouds, but it was beautiful then, too.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin