Tag Archives: family

We Were Dating,  Now We’re Not

2 Dec

Doing a show is like having a whirlwind romance, where you meet and get married in like a week, and said relationship lasts with total devotion, until you unceremoniously strike your home and get a Mexican divorce–however long your run is-days later.

…Because working on a character across a full rehearsal and production schedule, is absolutely consuming and requires not only devotion of time and physical and mental presence, but also through sickness and through health, as long as you both shall live (together .) 

…And it doesn’t matter if you “have a headache tonight, ” or “really need some alone time, ” or “start to feel suffocated” by their insistent presence. Doesn’t matter that it seems you –at times– have absolutely put yourself and your needs on the back burner and have from time to time gotten completely lost inside the relationship, which starts to blur (as time goes on)  in fully realizing just where you end and they pick up (or vice versa.) 

…You see each other through your finest moments,  and miserable worst, and yet you are able to commit fully to this marriage because –I guess,  really– of two things:

1. You have made this commitment with full knowledge of what is required of you, in front of all of those witnesses, who will hold your ass to it, by supportive teamwork. 

2. This passionate affaire, has a sell-by date, which you are also fully aware of on the outset, so: there’s really just no damn excuse not to give it your all,  while you can. 

At this point,  I’ve been married –MANY times. 59, in fact. I make Liz Taylor and Mickey Rooney look Catholic by comparison. And luckily for me,  I’ve enjoyed the HELL out of the bulk of them, and have bins and books full of our Honeymoon days together, which already make me misty-eyed with memory,  and I’m not even middle-aged as yet. 

…The thing is: as great as the bulk of those marriages are in my memory, there is even something singularly satisfying in the terrible ones, in that: I made the absolute best effort I could to make it work out, and even if it ended shitty,  I know that to be true. 

…Because I actually really really love to “commit.” 

…(In a show, that is.) 

…But along with these “marriages,” I’ve also had me some “flings.” 27, of note. And these,  while intriguing, only seem to mostly “hot and bother” me, and while enjoyable in the moment, leave me as unfulfilled at their ending, as a one-night-stand. 

–Which, in fact, most of them ARE.

The Staged Read, is an enigmatic animal. They are considerably lower maintenance than a real relationship in that you don’t live with the character. At most, you might workshop (or, “date”) it for a few days, but by and large, it’s just a tease. 

…Even if you really like the character. Even if the cast is a dream. Even if your Director is creative as fuck. You still are hampered from full investment to grow it into a real relatonship, because Staged Reads are the flings we have in foreign countries, while on Holiday. They aren’t allowed to become more than that, because of your surrounding circumstances, even if you really, really, really like them, and you get on with total ease, and know you could make the most magnificent children together…

…And even knowing this, a lot of the time, you still can’t help getting sucked into the “what if,” daydream which sometimes comes with the really, really special flings.

…These will be the ones you always pine over, the ones you wish you could learn all the  secret intimacies about…everything from the corny, “how they take their tea, ” to the deeply sheltered truths they hide… the ones that even though you held them for a moment,  you can’t help but think that they are one of those ones who,”got away. ”

Yesterday’s “Joe Egg, ” read is one of those for me. 

We dated heavily for several weeks, and it was disturbing but so enlightening, and…She’s gone now… 

…Out of my life… 

…The supremely gifted family: broken up. And though I am so very satisfied to have met the role at all,  never mind with this amazing group of people — I know in my gut-parts, she and I would have had one of THE best marriages that I have ever had…

…If only…

If only.

~D

If It Doesn’t Scare The Crap Outta You…

3 Jun

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I don’t like new things. 

You know this about me. 

…However, my post-BD, Super-Awesome-Life-Reboot requires new goals and new challenges in order to move forward and thrive, so I am actually surrounded by “new,” researching “new,” and actively hoping to bust my ass so hard, that my entire life will change within like one year.

…None of that is normal for me.

…In fact, frankly, it is downright terrifying. 

…If all goes well, the best-case scenario has me leaving my job, my apartment, my friends, my family…in fact the entire state, and relocating to a place where I know no one at all, but with freedom to apply 1000% of my being to art.

…And the worst case scenario is: I do all the same amount of work-prep, don’t get the gig, but still continue to slam my head against the “opportunity” wall, until I do.

…Which could be… I dunno…years?

I’m in a section of my life where basically, I’m just gonna be scared shitless no matter what I do, because it all comes with gigantic odds and gigantic repercussions.  And if I DON’T take the chances …right now…well, that comes with gigantic repercussions too.

…Mostly involving life-long depression, blatant alcoholism, and prob’ly a weight gain of like 500 lbs.  I’m sorta not too stoked about that life-version…which means I gotta do the other thing, and I gotta do it now, and I’m basically twitching with “oh-shit-ness” at the thought of whatever outcome pops up, either way.

Do you know what I mean?

Presently, we are in “prep,” the early Phase 1 of the plan…which is the only thing I excel in. Research. I am BANGIN’ at research.  Currently reading the world-over of scripted works…anything people will throw at me, pulling massive chunks of monologues, compiling, categorizing, and editing like a machine.  Phase 2 begins next week with piece-prep for Phase 3, which are initial Season Generals for Theatre #1.  Which is only really a grand-gesture-prep for Season Generals at Theatre #2: my actual ending goal, several months from now.

…All of which could be side-swiped at any time based on slot availability, willingness to see me based on resume and head shot alone, and…well…being up against a whole HELL of a lot of people for not a whole hell of a lot of casting slots.

…And in my head, I am all the while trying to balance the cheerleader, the reasoning practical entity, and the fall-out voice in my head…so as to be prepared for whatever occurs at whatever time…which for me, feels like saying goodbye forever to loved ones, before undergoing the knife in a basic surgery…just in case I die.

…Because that is how my brain works, friends.  It’s always all or nothing.  Which makes this new current Reboot downright fucking terrifying.

…Meanwhile, (in the real world)…today is  just a Wednesday in June.

It’s a lot of work, being me.

~D

The One Where She Actually Goes Somewhere

6 Nov

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Listen.

This is kind of a big deal.

I just booked a flight.

…With money I don’t necessarily “have.”

…In that it “exists” but only in the literal sense.  It is actually like spoken for on behalf of bills and Christmas gifts and things.  But  talking to The BFF last night…after way too long of not, on account of schedules and general “life-getting-in-the-way” crap… I decided that I no longer cared.

…So this morning, I booked a nonstop flight to NOLA for a week in December.

…Because, as an adult, judging the need for wrapping paper, other-people gifts, and happy creditors…I choose “me” instead.

I am a selfish bastard. This is not new.   

What IS new is that I just sunk a lot of bucks (to me) to travel to the other part of the US, to be with my sister.  And ABOUT FUCKING TIME! 

…To ride a bicycle in 70 degree weather through the French Quarter, instead of wade through the rain, here. To sneak in all the secret night spot eateries and meet some four-star chef friends…to drink openly in the streets…tour all the theaters, see The BFF’s show.  To uphold our Christmas traditions of cookie-baking, five-course-meal-at-midnight-making, and drunken “White Christmas” sing-alongs.  

It isn’t really real yet…’cept only sorta.  It’s still that “hope” and “wish” and “intent” feel I’ve had for like two years now to actually DO the thing, instead of just TALK about it.  Only now, it’s actually happening.  I’ve got a mo-fo flight itinerary in my mailbox, yo!

I’M GOING TO NEW ORLEANS ON VACATION TO VISIT MY BESTIE! 

HOLY CRAP!  

…AND HURRAH!!

Peace, y’all.

~D
 
 

Great Actingness

13 Mar

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I dunno if this happens with every profession, but “acting” I think gets a shittier rap than it should.

…Almost all you see about it are the glories and pitfalls…not the grunt work. Celebrity is great and all…awards are fantastic…excess, alcoholism, bitch-fights, and drug abuse are our biggest downfall…but the media has pushed these things so heavy to the forefront, as to soil the reputation of what we actually do out there in the world with our work, by and large.

This is an honored profession. It is an esteemed collective. It is a group of individuals, striving to show and share the human experience, broaden the brotherhood, celebrate our uniqueness, crossing age, race, sex, politics, religion…it provides another point of view, educates, enlightens, and broadens our horizons. It is a window looking into the best and worst of us, to study in hopes of understanding and relating to one another better tomorrow than we did yesterday, and last year, and 500 before that.

What we do (if we are intent to do it with serious ethic and art, not just for the bucks and golden statues), is an honor of trust. We are the mirror of the world and all it’s dark, bright, horrible, beautiful, terrifying, delightful places. And that, I think, is why we are so hungry to watch and seek and find new mentors from other people’s work. It is why we hold viciously intense emotional relationships with people we’ve known for two months time and might not even see again for fifteen years.

…It is why you can have an enormous amount of pride in another person’s drop-dead-gorgeous performance, whether you’ve met them or not…like it is a personal achievement of your own.

…Because it sort of is.

Great acting makes the world of “other” fall away. When you get sucked into a performance, it becomes a personal experience between you and the actors involved. They are peeling back and showing something naked and vulnerable to you…no half way…no safety net…without knowing how you will react to it, if you will honor it, spit on it, roll your eyes at it, get angry about it, hate them, or want to ravish them for it. It’s a hell of a trust exercise, I gotta tell yuh…and the success rate, even on an Award-winning-everything performance, will never be 100%.

…Because art is in the eye of the beholder, and what speaks to some might not to others.

…But when a performer sees another performer being brave…being honest, and naked and real. When it makes you feel embarrassed for watching, as if you’ve crossed a line that courtesy tells you is too far…when you are shown something that heaves your guts in empathy, or pity, or disgust…when it isn’t pretty, but somehow beautiful with the perfection of reflection on our imperfections, as “people”…it becomes almost a personal triumph of your own as WELL as whoever the hell just did that scene in front of you.

Because you KNOW what that kind of thing takes.

You’ve had to go there too.

…It isn’t about comparing your talents, it’s about embracing the fact that this is “family”…that person is your acting-brother-or-sister. This is OUR TEAM. And holy shit, did you just see what they did??!?!?!

I think this “pride”…or whatever you wanna call it…is in some part based on that familial sense of “we” and “us” that the acting community shares. It’s ties go deeper and get stronger if it is in regards to someone you have literally sweat and toiled with before, or have mentored personally, or have considered a mentor to yourself. But, these people do not need to even be aware of their personal link with you…they may have never met you…it doesn’t matter. If you have become invested in their art personally, then you take their hits and misses like a silent partner in crime…and you are one, because as everyone knows, the audience is the final cast member to everything we do. Whether they become invested and come along on the journey or not, has a huge baring in what our work will achieve.

When I see a performance that really, really arrests me…it becomes more than just an “entertainment.” If it has totally side-swiped my emotions, it becomes a literal part of me. A study piece. I will hold onto it. I will own it. I will make use of it, in some way, at some point, in my own work…it will live with me…in my tool kit of experience I’m constantly adding to.

…Someday, I will be faced with a moment, a line, a scene and in my brain I will think, “This is too much, I don’t know how to achieve all this. How can anybody go this far into the black hole of this character, and still retain a sense of self at the end of the day?”

…And I will open my toolkit, and take out a performance I have seen and say, “That’s how. Right there. You just become brave as fuck…like them…and do it.”

Last night I was up till 2:30 am watching a performance just like that.

Twice in fact.

…And it’s mine now. I own it: the lessons that come with it, and the pride in a sister-performer-teacher, who was balls-out beautifully brave enough to create it.

…Makes me feel “our team” just won a hell of a prize-fight.

…Makes me just itch to put it to use in my own right.

…Makes me proud to be a part of the family.

All good things 🙂

~D

Dear Cuz…

4 Mar

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Okay, lets try this, “have a better week than it started out to be” thing again.

Today, is for my cousin…who just went into boot camp, for the Navy.  They said the first three weeks are the hardest…so I thought I’d write him something so stupid, it would make him super thankful to be around intelligent humans…even if they are all crammed together like sardines in a tin can.

…There is a  reason I don’t write letters to people, come to find out.  Because it just ends up like this:

***

Cuz~

I’m told you’re in want of something to look at other than the guy’s head in front of you during drills.  So here is a note.  I guess you could say, “letter,” but that sounds like it should contain some actual main-idea theme or something…of which I have none.  I’m pretty plotless.  Also, I don’t really write letters.  I write blogs.  These are also mostly about nothing. And food.

…Which is prob’ly not too great to hear about, from boot camp.

…Although, maybe that’s just the Army kind.

Grandpa was a cook in the Navy, and his grub was aces.  Sure, Grandma actually did all the cooking back when WE ate it, but the recipes were still his…made in giant pots…to feed all of us, plus the 500 other ghost people also invited to dinner.  I guess he never figured out how to cut the servings down to the normal “family size” portions.

…Which is weird.  As Grandpa was ALWAYS puttering with math equations at the kitchen table.  Remember that? You’d think at some point he’d have put it to use with fractioning out the food stuffs…but I guess he was too busy doing all the really important math things…like calculating what day of the week your birthday would be on, in 2085.

…You know, so you could plan ahead for vacations and things.

(My answer: Tuesday.  So, that sucks.)

…Anyway…this is all to say, that you come from a long line of traditions…in family, math, Navy and it’s food.  I guess that means you’re where you are supposed to be.

…Plus, becoming a Doctor and things.

…Which is super useful, not only in the real-world situation of you know…”helping people”…but also as it’s the first actual profession anyone has had at all in our family for like…well…ever, really.  People have had “careers,” sure…but it’s not the same.  For instance, I have PLAYED a Doctor, but I didn’t understand any of the lines I was saying, or how to use the instruments in my hands.

…This bothered me, cuz I am an Actor and my job is to study and learn these things.  So I tried to.  By watching ER and a bunch of 911 horror movies. 

…Only, I don’t deal with blood very well, so I wasn’t so much “learning,” as trying not to puke during the surgery scenes.  Till finally, I figured it would be better just not to look at all.  It’s surprising how much you DON’T learn about being a Doctor when you aren’t actually watching and things.

…In the end, I chose to just stand very authoritatively over my “patient,” with feet planted shoulder width apart, never taking my eye off the fake wound, demanding the instruments with extended hand, and speaking all the medical jargon very quickly, while waving my scalpel around a clump of cold spaghetti.

I saved no lives.  Not even fake ones.  I recommend NOT studying the same way I did.

…But then, you’re already halfway there on the whole medic-smarts thing.  Being an excellent tester is good too, and convenient.  I mean who gets cert’ed on first try out the gate?! Almost  NO ONE.  That’s like acing The Bar, bro.  Which you did!  Keep this up and you’ll have 12 letters after your name before age 30.  Which will make you sound not only SUPER official and smart, but also like a member of the British Aristocracy!

(YOUR NAME ), MD, PhD, OBE, CBE, GBE, LMNOP.

…That’s like a serious title, my friend.  And while you MAY have to print it at like 5 pitch to get it on a business card, and hand it out with a magnifying glass, that’s still an impressive amount of game to have been brought.  And you’d be board certified Internationally, everywhere! And prob’ly get full diplomatic immunities!

…Which means you could legally get away with just about anything.  Definitely parking tickets, anyway.  And those bastards are a pain in the ass, let me tell you, so it’s TOTALLY worth all this study NOW to set up a good future in that capacity, later.

Trust me.

Meanwhile, you begin at the beginning…like everyone has to…with 4 am wake-up calls, and endless turkey trot runs, and packs, crawling through mud, marching until your feet bleed, and drill sergeants screaming in your face…and your ears…and you everywhere else.  But , while this is all happening, remember: it’s for a good cause, a good future, and the ability to one day park almost anywhere. 

…TOTALLY worth it, Cuz!

Love yuh,

~D

Angry & A Wake

3 Mar

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I sound like a damn schizophrenic in in these blog entries.  A shitty and depressing entry, followed by frivolity, followed by stupid, followed by numb, then angry, and depressing again.

…Look, I’m TRYING.

…It just feels like the second I get a foothold here, I slip and plummet to the bottom of the goddamn pit again.  I’m exhausted from the effort of basically getting nowhere.

…And tonight is no different.

Currently, I am sitting on the couch with two fingers of 12-year-old Jameson in a glass, neat.  This is my part of a “wake” in Grandpa’s memory, having missed the gathering and mourning with everyone else.

…I am alone, and frankly would rather be at this point.

I’ve done Month-End, eight hours of work, was emotionally side-swiped and launched into a total pissed off rage with nowhere to put it before three and a half hours of rehearsal, and now I’m finally home and having to deal with it all.

Mostly, I am very angry.

…And let me tell you why.

After having spent two sleepless and anxious nights trying my best to figure out how to give condolences to a man I don’t know and haven’t for quite some time now…because it was my blood duty to…because according to birth records, I call him, “Dad”…after beating myself up with guilts I promised years ago not to feel responsible for, because it is the parent’s job to be the parent and not the child’s.  Because after 14 years, it suddenly seemed important to understand what is REALLY important and what is not-so-much in times like these…because tonight I feel betrayed by him.  Again.  And because for reasons I will never know…I was surprised by it.

I am angry.

Because he has hurt someone I love.

…Me, I can take. Him, I can’t.

My father’s practices of hypocritical proselytism under the tent of a faith born of acceptance and love, turned long ago sick with man’s influence of judgement and hate, has always been a major contention with me. Most of all when I got out from under it, having been raised with the blinders it encouraged, and saw the preachings and prejudices for what they were.

…It took me a long time…most of my young adulthood, in fact, to realize the difference between actual love and acceptance, and “the other thing.”

It seems really simple to those not born drinking the Kool-Aide. But for the rest of us imagine it like this: You are born being told that “this” is “blue.” You were taught this from your roots, before you even had words. And you grew up with this knowledge for most of your life. Then one day you meet a person who swears “blue” isn’t “blue” at all. It’s actually “red.” And this concerns you because first of all, how DON’T they know “blue” when they see it, and why do they keep insisting it’s another color entirely with so much fervor?

…And then you meet another person who sees it like that. And another.

…And suddenly you begin to wonder, to actually doubt for a moment, the solidarity of your education in these matters. I mean, they seem to feel so very deeply about this matter. And they have reasons, they have issues, they have people they know who it has actually affected…lives that have been changed because of it.

…And all you have as your excuse is, ” Well…but I was taught this.”

Sometimes there comes a moment when this is just not a good enough excuse. It usually happens when you PERSONALLY find yourself in a situation being affected by it. And there you really have to stand there a second…over the course of however long the ultimate struggle is…and reeducated yourself to the fact that not EVERYTHING you were taught was correct…that sure, there are ground-core beliefs you will always hold true, but that this one…this one has to change.

…Because you suddenly realize that it is the right thing to do.

…So you begin to embrace “red.”

…And it changes you for the better. Because it was a choice YOU made, for the reasons YOU had, and if it makes being a human and living with them a better experience: so much the better.

…Now since my 6-day-a-week childhood church-going habit, I have changed a great deal. Rather “heathen” now. Obviously. But I do still have faith in the things that are my core of importance. And I pay them heed. There IS a level of “sacred” even in those fallen from grace.

…But that was a “red” I chose long ago, as well. And I’m still perfecting it. Which is, I think, the point. Keeping growing as a human in a liquid state, not cast in dead stone, unwilling to budge an inch, even for comfort of a friend.

This is where my anger came through tonight. An outrageously inappropriate cornering of a person I love, on a day of his loss, by a man who so bitter with the years of stone religion in his heart, that he could find nothing better to do than preach at and judge, damn to hell, and speak ill of a person, his lifestyle, his choices, his very core and sense of self…who has never done him an ounce of ill, nor wished to. A man who decided that speaking shame in the stead of love, and grotesqueness instead of acceptance was a more godly thing to do, than a hug of support in the sharing of their loss together.

…This is the man who might have raised me.

…And I thank God, tonight, that he did not.

…It took me long enough to pull out of those years of hatred-and judgemental foundation as it was. Imagine had it been allowed to seed further? Imagine if I were standing beside him today seeing “blue” because it was the only color ever taught me, with no encouragement, no support, no friends and other family to help me grow and learn and question these prejudices?

…Imagine if I were the one yelling at my brother, whom I love, with all my heart and guts and pieces…as if I had any right in the least to tell another who to love or not, what to feel or not, how to live or not?

…Imagine if I never learned the color “red?”

All I can say is, “Thank God that I did.”

…And shame on the man too closed-minded, who hasn’t.

…And slainte in a toast of remembrance to Grandpa. To my family in their remembrances of him, and to my Puff, whom I love and support in all his joyful perfections.

Just the way he his.

~D

Wordless

26 Feb

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I have to write a letter tonight, to a man I haven’t spoken to in nearly 14 years. 

…It’s about another man, whom I haven’t seen in almost as long. 

I feel side-swiped, and ill prepared, though there were signs that were telling me to get ready.  Signs that this was coming.  But I was so consumed with trying to dig out of the last family loss, that I didn’t give this next one the attention I should have, nor the people on the other side of family tree, sharing limbs with me.

Tonight, they are gathered, there.  I know what they feel. I know the loss of appetite and swell of pain ripping upward from the throat which comes from trying to hold back tears.  I know they are huddled together, speaking comforts to one another. Uncles are picking up Aunts from the airport. Everyone seems to be whispering, with grim-faced stares.  Children are fussing and crying because they don’t understand what it all means, only it is the most terrifying thing in the world to see your father cry.

…I imagine.

They are at a loss, with a loss, which seems somehow removed from me. I don’t like to admit it, but I want to comfort them, without being hypocritical. Having a loss that rips you in two deserves its proper mourning, and sympathy. They knew and grew up with this man their entire lives, and the simple fact is: I did not.

This afternoon, I found out that my Grandfather had passed away.

The man has given me my name, by once marrying my Grandmother, and adopting my Father and his sister, before carrying on to grow the family further. From them grew cousins I adore, and their sweet babies I wish I could snuggle. He may not have been of my blood directly, but it was a proud name, and he was a proud man, and his life, though almost exclusively separate from mine, helped to make me who I am today.

Our ancestors are our roots, seeding us, growing us, anchoring us into our places on this earth in a true marriage of “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” For this, I am truly thankful to him, but I know it is not the same as the pain the others are feeling tonight.

…And I feel really badly about that.

Frankly, I feel like a total asshole.

For over an hour today, I haunted the sympathy card aisle, trying to choose something to send to my family. Something that recognized the epic loss, without making it sound as if it had nothing to do with me…yet nothing which might hurtfully presume more of a relationship which I hadn’t earned, and would have no right to presume upon them now in their grief.

…Just so you know: They don’t make those kind of cards.

I’m literally faced now with two “blanks.” Something calming on the outside of water and blooming life: on the inside: nothing.

One for my Grandmother and family.

One, for my Father.

I have a pen sitting right there, on the table, but I’ve no idea whatsoever where to begin.

…Even just starting the first one is odd.

“Dad,” it says.

Simple enough I guess, only not so much when you haven’t spoken the word in one and a half decades. Two years before that. Four before that.

I don’t know my Father, any more than I knew his.

So now I must write of one to the other, and have suddenly a minefield stretching out before me of all the things NOT to say, yet no idea how to get to the things I should.

What, for instance, can I write, which won’t dig up past ghosts, and hurl them at him blind-sidedly…triggering whatever regrets and/or guilts he might have held onto all these years, as people from broken relationships do? Now is not the time to appear to be throwing loaded emotional bombs at people in their grief…even less, at your own Father. Because you actually harbor him no ill will, that was all over…long ago.

…You just don’t know him, is the end result.

…So what in the hell do you say in a card on the loss of your “Dad’s” Dad, when you can’t seem to even think of the title yourself without quotations marking it’s specific significance?

I don’t have the proper practice it takes to say it without sounding foreign.

Love of family can be an odd happenstance, a Frankenstein-and-the-Monster kind of thing. Sometimes it is a comfort from stability and encouragement. Sometimes it is a flamethrower away from all-out war. Sometimes it resides in the symbolism. Mostly, I’d say, in the “shared experience”…good, bad, or otherwise. Because of this, you can hold that fierce connection and devotion, no matter how far apart you roam from one another. You belong to the name. You belong to the history. You belong to the gene pool, and its every harbored secret and horror and wonder and joy and regret.

…Because of this, I can say, “I love my family,” and mean it…whether I particularly know them well…whether I’ve met their spouses, or children…whether I attend the potlucks and football games, show up at Easter…or not…because we are linked by these viciously intense, and invisible tethers. They are my people, and I am there’s.

…I want to tell them: “I’m sorry for our loss” without sounding condescending or belittling the depth of their grief in any way. After all: they’ve been there through thick and through thin…and I have not.

…I want to say things of comfort, give hugs that will help, and be an ear to talk to…should any of them want or need that essential sounding board when lost in the anger, confusion and sadness of what has happened and what is yet to come, from it’s repercussions.

…And if I knew how, I’d want to tell my Dad…

…I guess I’d tell him…

…What?

…In all seriousness? Waiting for Godot would not be as long as waiting with this pen sitting in front of me tonight…

I really just need to not fuck this up.

~D

Little B Gets Official

20 Feb

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The Gnome just returned from her first prenatal appointment, getting poked and pried for two hours. Little B (as we will call the baby) is now official.

After eating some chicken I forced upon her to help combat the blood work woozies, she decided it was time to bite the bullet and finally tell her mom she’s pregnant.

…I guess this is a not-great thing to have to do.

…Which she decided to counteract by texting it.

…Just now.

…You know…along the daily line of, “don’t forget the milk, and also: I’m pregnant,” kind of deal.

They have that on auto-text right? (And if they don’t they obviously should. Option #2.)

We don’t know much about the familial life of The Gnome, just pieces she’s shared here and there. Mom isn’t much in the picture, though (until recently) she did live in Grandpa’s attic, who likes to watch old John Ford movies on amp 3,000 at 2 am, cuz he’s mostly deaf and can’t sleep well. We chalk the deafness up to natural causes of aging, but the lack of sleep we assume goes back to his younger days in work habits. He used to be a Pimp, apparently, and was kind of a big deal.

This is not “code” for another actual profession.

…We have our reservations on this in believability, only cuz we’ve seen his “Pimp mobile” which is what The Gnome currently drives to work in each day: a blue Astro van with tinted windows, only one working door, and no hubcaps.

…Not that “hubcaps” make the car…but I think you might be sorely lacking in trades dealing if you can’t even hold onto a couple sets of shitty fake-chrome discs on your tires.

…Or your tires, for that matter.

One day last month she was late, cuz someone in the neighborhood he used to work and still lives in, had put the whole thing on blocks and stripped even those off.

…Now, I don’t know much about Pimping, but I would assume the street cred must run similar to the Entertainment route in the, “I don’t give a shit how big a deal you USED to be, what have you done LATELY,” kind of deal. So, obviously, he’s been outta the game for a while now. But I still think that’s pretty ballsy to just go stripping another Pimps shit on his own turf…even if he IS 103 years old and packs only a Winchester rifle by the Lazy Boy. That shit will still fuck you up. Even with iffy marksmanship.

…I assume there are bodies hidden somewhere which attest to this. Naturally, I want to know more, but I’m going for the slow and subtle pump for info on this one. This is not a work history that just comes blurting out…like a pregnancy announcement, for God’s sake. This takes care and finess.

In Other News:

Thanks to the “Burn Notice” work-out, I’ve already dropped five pounds this week and gained excruciating stomach muscle spasms in my abs. I blame the Yoga Ball sit ups.

…You know that hard contraction of your guts when you’re throwing up…how it just clenches and holds like its the only thing gripping you to the side of a mountain for which if it relaxes even a little bit, you will slip and plummet to your death at the bottom of a giant ravine?

…My tummy feels like that right now.

Pretty much all the time.

It’s making even eating, uncomfortable. I’m full in five bites and feel like I have to swallow twice as hard to clear it down to my actual guts before the abs trampoline it back up again.

Fitness is stupid.

~D

The Biggest Guy

25 Jan

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There’s a story from when I was just a little thing of a human…

…In the small town Gram, Gramps and my Aunts and Uncles lived in, was this old grocery store…always smelled of freshly butchered meat from the back stalls where the bright red beef layered in lines just off from the pork and chicken, amongst the garnish greenery…where every conceivable household tool, lightbulb, baking good, camping supply and candy type was somehow crammed into this tiny space on the main street, serving as that old timey type of country general store.

…Precious little has changed in it even now, decades upon decades after…probly even still owned by the same people, where Gram could somehow cash a check, get stamps, buy the brisket and catch up in all the town news, while they opened the brown paper bag for filling.

…And it was there that, as on many occasions, mom stopped one day on the way to visit Gram and Gramps, to pick up something-or-other needed for dinner. Walking through the backdoor access by all the meat, with the smell I knew so well, wafting after me, I pealed through the aisle almost instantly…(a thing Mom never let me do, but apparently I had far beat her into the store,) yelling out as I went, “Uuuuuncle Biiiig Guuuuy!!!” For my uncle at that time worked there, and I’d just seen him from the back of the store.

…And I’d ran to him and he’d pick me up, tall as a giant Swede (the only one of the six brothers and sisters who’d inherited the gene, left mostly served with the small Irish stock), and red-faced or not, he made a big to-do over me, cuz I was the first niece, and totally spoiled, and knew it.

“Hi Boo!” He’d said…his nickname for me hailing from Boobear…

…Little did he know at the time of course, but he took one for the team that day…as all his buddies forever and ever afterward…all through high school and the years and decades to follow after, would call him “Big Guy,” with not hidden smirks on their faces. A family nickname, but not generally known to the outside world. And I had outted it.

…It fit, cuz it was true.

The Biggest Guy, in all the good ways. Everybody always agrees. Sure brawn, and sturdy…but big in laughter with the biggest sense of humor and the biggest giving heart…biggest creative juices, and always always always the biggest champion and protector of the little guy…whoever he may be.

…Age doesn’t change things like that. And it’s nice to know that sometimes…sometimes it happens in this life that a hero never slips from his place of height in your heart. Sometimes they manage through all the hell and high water that life throws at them, to still retain that bigness of character and humor and well- earned devotion, which first gained them their hero title to you…all those years ago.

…And you know what…he’s never once lost it. Not for any of us. Even last time we visited, crowing the end with the giant bear hugs he gives the best. At 33, I still squeezed him with all my guts and said, “Love you, Uncle Big Guy!”

…”Love you, Boo, ” he squeezed back.

…And that, today, is my last memory of him. Because I chose it to be, instead of in a hospital bed in an ICU ward, somewhere in Portland…where family has been sitting vigil and praying…and he has been fighting and winning small battles for his life, and his son, for nearly two weeks.

The Biggest Man I ever met…in morals, and life value, and being a good human…and father…and brother and uncle…the Biggest Man I will ever know, decided it was enough today, and passed away.

The sink in my gut and tear at my heart is completely irreparable. And because of how he lived his life, I am certainly not the only griever at a total loss of capacity to understand the how and why of it.

Uncle Big Guy, in the sky:

Thank you for your youness, the ten hundred thousand laughs, the nips of Jack Daniels, the peace of the farm life, and every twisted, hilarious way of looking at the ordinary and finding the extraordinary. You’ve taught me endless everythings in how to be a good human and appreciate every ounce of life we are given…to the fullest. I’ll try to do better. And laugh more. Always.

Love so full, it hurts,

~Boo

The Elephant

3 Jul

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It’s the thing that everyone pretends not to see:

The elephant, in the room.

…The giant neon sign with a number counting down, regarding people you love, and how many days until they leave you.

When you know it is coming, all you want is to ignore the fucking sign.  But you almost never can.  And when people are so constantly reminding you of it, with voiced affections, and party-throwing, and the turning in of keys, selling of cars, liquidating of assets, it is even more present.

…Suddenly, it becomes like trying to ignore an entire herd of elephants.

…I’m pretty sure that’s where The Fella is living right now.  He’s taking it like a champ, but he is an affectionate human who has had a giant impact on a lot of other humans, and that gets messy when people say, “goodbye.”

Lucky for me, I am more than secure enough in my relationship with him and The BFF to know that “goodbye” will never be in our shared vocabulary.  Neither one of us will ever really manage to shake off the other two.  The bond is too indelible. 

…But even if all the hundreds of other silk web strings linking him to every relationship he’s built here over the years, stretch to New Orleans and back again, those relationships will never quite be the same again.  And he likes change roughly about the same amount that I do…which is not at all…so, “life” is about to get a whole lot “woa” for him.

He’s totally “good” for it, but that doesn’t mean he wants to focus on that fucking elephant any more than anyone else does.

…Which I can totally understand.

…But on the same hand: it is rather nice to see a turn out of people, friends you haven’t seen in ages, coming from all over the surrounding cities, counties, years and seasons…some even dropping in from Mars, to wish a person, all the best in the world.

…And to see the happiness of The BFF, at last getting to claim her Fella, for new ‘ventures and life explorations.

The elephant sucks.  But it comes with good memories.  Including the ones we build through this weekend…before two people get on a plane, to start a new life together.

…Which, when they are The BFF and her Fella, is a pretty rad thing.

And now: post-baseball game at the stadium, we’ve split for the night, to rejoin tomorrow in cookings and fireworkings and general family joyness.  Another day to add to the mental scrapbook of the us’s, and all the goodest of good things.

~D

Fam Time

18 May

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It’s been a week of Cuz-time, from CA, today’s new arrival from Portland, and half of the Washington ones, all meeting up in one way or another. 

A lot of coffee, a little antiquing, hit up Pt. Defiance, toured Stadium, drove Ruston, a quick run through Olympia, crashed a dance fundraiser, visited over BBQ, walked the farm trails,  killed time at three different houses, watched movies, ate two roasts, a pizza, french toast, and heaping salads, and still managed to go to work, process payroll, run reports, learn lines and hit rehearsals in between.

…And yet, I kept wondering all day long, why I was so tired.

No amount of coffee seemed to quite counteract it.

…Idiot.

Am now in bed, post-introducing the CA fam to “Galaxy Quest”…while the Portland one fought off a migraine with massive drugs and a red, satin, sleepy-eye mask.

Am writing my blog now, as quickly as I can…without a super-ton-alot of guilt, as the Portland Cuz is now sleeping under a mound of blankets, on the futon in my living room, and will be wanting to hit the road early with Bro (and his girl) in hand, a few hours from now.

So, this is it, friends.

Must catch the winks while I can.

Night-all.

~D

Snippets

15 May

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Writing from the Farty Chair

…The “Importance of Being Earnest” soundtrack is in the background…cuz it’s fun, and strangely eclectic…purchased off Amazon MP3 app for the purpose of inspiring hair creations yesterday. 

The costumer requested I arrive with something quasi-styled so as to play with the hat placements during my fitting.

…The California Cousin and his lady have just vanished with Ma, back to her house, and I’ve time for a quick write-up before bed.

Random associations of the day, coming back to me.

…What to write about?

California Cousins grow up from kiddom, and become super interesting, intelligent human beings. Even in our family. 

…Had that one customer who talks to you like they were the dictator of a small third-world nation, whom you have just been annexed in with via “you work for me now” association.  I let them have their five minutes of glory…and by “let them have” I mean, “continuously reiterated the requirements for product prep with zero lee-way as to how much extra free work we were planning on doing for her.”  The call itself (I’ve been told) lasted another 48 minutes.  I wasn’t there at the time, as I had evilly put her on hold and passed her onto the WHS Pimp for “materials and hardware spec” info. 

It was mean. 

I know. 

…And he had even just bought me coffee and everything. 

…Which just shows you the kind of people we are, I suppose. I am the one who would buy or bribe their way onto the lifeboat, and He is the one who would probl’y go down with the ship, in honor of the “women and children” rule.

You know what, we’ve already discussed how he’s a better person than me, and I don’t think it’s kosher for you to just always bring it up, every time I do the tiniest slightly dickish thing!

…I prob’ly owe him some beer or something…

Cleaned house after work.

…Gave Daphne and Niles a much-needed bath, and cleaned up the kitchen.  New smelly thing plugged into the wall, accidentally set on ballistic level and left there to try and counteract the mass-chemical-cleaning smell. 

It worked. 

Sort of.

…Even though my nose hairs are still kinda tingling from the residual warring battle.

Windows all closed up since the last storm. 

Heater back on again.

A bit of a bummer, actually.

…Also, Harriet had just finally gotten all the bird poop washed off of her before it all began.  In keeping with every car-owner fate, ever.

Off book for the second tea scene. 

…Three more to go.

Rehearsal tomorrow and Friday, then off for the weekend.

…Must remember to buy more TP.

…And milk.

I may have had one 20 oz black coffee too many, today.  While it helped with the sheer exhaustion and general anxiety pit-of-despair I had worked myself into the evening before, I don’t think it’ll be so great at this particular point. 

…Or maybe I’ll be passed out within 50 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. 

…It is almost impossible to know.

I am, however, willing to undertake the experiment, and give it a shot.

Night, all.

~D

Traffic Hell

28 Mar

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Am bumper-to-bumper, in southbound 5pm traffic. Enroute to the family farm, where some of the California us’s are staying the night…a surprise visit from outta nowhere.

…It is without a doubt the worst possible time to be on the freeway. Wiith the possible exception of this time tomorrow. But it is a total freak coincidence that I don’t have rehearsal tonight. I can’t pass up on free fam BBQs the one time of ever that I’m actually open to go to one.

…So here I sit.

…Killing time.

…Sandwiched tween a guy in an Audi who keeps picking his nose, a Subaru sedan with 11 people packed into it like a clown car, and a semi.

Along we crawl.

At this rate, I’ll get there in about 8 hours.

…At which point, there better be potato salad left. Or there will be words!

There will be words.

~D

Harriet, Marty & Roz “Do” Canada

7 Feb

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So this is my “Friday.”

…Tomorrow, in the early morning times, I’m driving Harriet south to pick up Marty (and her Sailor Moon pillow and her Snooki slippers), and then we are OFF! Northbound for the border to the end of our lands…where Canadia lives.

…Oh, Canadia.

Canadia and your cheap booze, and UK book stock, and tiny port towns where you film all our American TV shows…we love you so.

…We love how you’re just there, at the top, like that.

…We love your funny money, and how you stamp maple leaves on everything…even McDonalds salt packets.

…We love how you have a Queen and are related to those people on the other side of the water, which is the best place in the world.

…We love how you talk funny and are charming about it, not “white-trashy.”

…We love how this is your idea of crime:

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Together, we girls are gonna explore your world for two days, in celebration of Marty’s Birthday! (As 99% funded by her brilliantly generous parents and siblings.) I dunno why I getta tag along for free, but dammit if I ain’t gonna grab that opportunity and jump on board while it whooshes by!!! To celebrate a Marty SHOULD take an out-of-country experience! And it’ll give a neat little ending to Karen and Martha’s finally getting to take their vacation together…after all.

…It’ll also be the last time we’ll get to see each other in a good chunk of time for a while after that. On account of being in two shows in two different counties, with another one in between, and both starting rehearsals the same week. Course we’ll still find a way to annoy our neighbors with loud wino nights of glory whenever we can manage it…lets not be ridiculous…this is anything but “the end.”

…But it is “the end” for our four-show, back-to-back, run of joy together. It was a helluva ride…we even eventually got to speak lines to one another and everything!

And what lines.

…Can’t wait for our ‘venture.

Hey Marty…is it tomorrow yet????

~D

Just So You Know, We’re Here

24 Dec

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Ma n’ I escaped for a bit across the bridge to Silverdale yesterday…Harriet swimming along the roads while the wet spit down all along the way.

…The goal was a favorite antique store there, which is like almost none other you have seen, in that it is meticulously curated like a museum, with painstaking detail, in theme coordinated rooms that seem to stretch on into infinity. A perfect place to brows hours at a time, on a rainy day. 

Stepping through the double doors yesterday, a host of smiling faces turned to us, as apparently the shop was holding an Open House Holiday event, full of sing-along sheet music carols, a large round table of spiced cakes and breads and cookies, several silver samovars of hot teas and coffees, and in the front, by the cash register, a woman of anywhere between her mid-to-late sixties, playing on a baby grand piano.

…The atmos was perfect. Ma n’ I grinned, and wandered and sang along with the playing carols, listening to the little kid voices and the older ones joining in at large, over by the food tables.

So it went for upwards of an hour, the pianist taking a mini break somewhere near to then, as Ma n’ I reached the book room. Finding some especially enjoyable toys to rummage through there, we were still at it as the music began to play again. But this time it sounded different. The soft carols and retro Santa songs had been spiced up a bit with some pomp and circumstance, akin to throwing the notes at you with speed and furious purpose. And both Ma n’ I stopped for a second with — I swear to you — the same look on our faces, as I rounded the corner to look at her.

“Is it just me or doesn’t this sound all the world like Gram?” I asked with this shit-eatin’ grin on my face, to which Ma grinning equally hard started to giggle.

…Let it be known, that EVERY Christmas season, our family would gather ’round Gram and sing along as she would play on the big upright in the living room. And what must be noted about this is that Gram was never what one would call a “classically trained interpreter of music.” I think because she “felt” it too hard. Gram tended to play the piano like a person kneading a good yeast dough. She would basically beat the living shit out of it. Sure, she could have occasional moments of subtlety, but they were few and far in between…and they were also mostly only used for set-up. Like her favorite hymn of all time, “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

…It used to crack us all up when she would play or rehearse that for Church services, because it would begin so wond’rous and and polite, with hope of better days to come, with less angst and hate in the world. But then all of a sudden, at about mid verse two, something would start to happen with the music. Every so many chords and the next would hit heavier than the others did…and then, there it would be again. Gram’s posture would alter, she’d lean into the keys a bit, until eventually her back and shoulders taunt with all the power she could muster, she would launch into the final chorus with the intensity of a Calvary charge…the whole freakin’ piano would sway with the effort, the knickknacks and pictures on it, quivering with fear for their lives, as this 130 pound woman would commence to beat the living shit out of the innocent instrument. Her intent was never a mystery, here…and the fury of it, if put into words, would be something along the lines of: “GodDAMN it! ALL you people need to just SHUT THE HELL UP, stop being assholes, and learn to LIVE TOGETHER, or I’m gonna kick ALL your asses!”

Subtlety wasn’t really Gram’s Hallmark.

…What was amazing, standing in that little room yesterday though, was the very specific noted alteration in the styles of the music’s playing. The soft, jolly version we had walked in on, and the post-break ferocity to follow. A very specific kind of ferocity too…one not easily replicated…with the absolutely perfect timing of just exactly where she would have placed it, with exactly the same amount of audacity and spank of the keys.

…Which only follows on the heels of a season this year where Ma n’ I have had an amazingly large number of such “coincidences” occur to us while we have been wandering streets and shops together this season. Everywhere we have turned this Holiday, we have been shown little reminders, at perfectly placed moments…mostly quiet and inauspicious things that could only mean something to us…which would occur or materialize suddenly in sight, just around a corner, on the next shelf, with the following radio song, waiting for our coffee order, milling down a street, going on a road trip, or wandering through an antique store.

…In fact this is the SECOND time within a week that an antique store has slapped us across the face with such an obvious homage in plain sight. A “coincidence” not to be lost in the fact that Gram and Gramp once used to own and run one for themselves…so has become a natural place we tend to pick up sticks of specific memories by the bunches. But these have not just been the average, “Oh look, they used to have this lantern in the kitchen, by the window seat…’member?” It’s been more like, “Um, was it just me, or did you just get this weird sort of feeling of –?” “–Yep.”

…Which coincides with my own personal theory that there are no “coincidences”…that everything happens for a reason (no doubt to raise a sizable debate in another blog), but even more specifically meaning that: It’s the Holiday season…a very huge deal in my family. Always has been always will be. And even when we are apart, we always figure out some way to get together in little pockets and groupings and phone calls to get as close to “being there” with one another as we can. And apparently, its really important for an uber gregarious pianist we are all related to, to let us know…as we move into the usual family tradition of Christmas Eve Smorgesbord today…that the “We’s” up there, are still very much here with us all…celebrating right along, just like they’ve always done.

And it makes me feel damn good to know it.

That’s all.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone 🙂

~D

A Christmas Memory

8 Dec

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Mom is the oldest of six kids.  An Irish Catholic family: three girls, three boys. 

…It was a crazy dynamic from the beginning because though they had music in common, Gram was a free-spirited, brash and often outlandish Artist, and Gramps was a detail-oriented mathematician and engineer.  It was almost like watching two species of animal exist together, and yet somehow, it (obviously) worked.

…And of those six offspring (which would later have thirteen kids of their own), each epitomized a little freak-peculiarity of their own…because of the melding of the two worlds in Sciences and the Arts, forever  surrounding them. Not all of them inherited the high-infused academia, but they all were gifted in things “Artistic.” 

From cartooning, to interior design, to crafting, to writings, to wonder-inventions made out of old rusty stuff you would normally find in garage sales or at the local dump.  And, they all have criminally hilarious senses of humor…ranging from the uber dry wit of a Cliff Claven, to the twisted-viewed observations of someone under the influence of heavy hallucinogens.  Fuck your classroom “Chemistry” class…THIS is what really happens, when you join two dynamically different elements into one beaker and produce a family with it.

I am reminded on a continual basis of why I love them.

…Because they do things like (for instance) accidentally adopt twelve too many animals, plank-board ‘tween bridge railings…just because…make lighting fixtures out of car parts, build a Japanese landscape in their backyard, or sit down and type out random memories on FB for us all to read and laugh about.

So, today’s blog will be guest-served by one of them, because it was too good for me to pass up: the voice too dead-on in which it was written, the memory too crisp to merely smile at and go along my merry little way.

This one is from “Uncle Big Guy.”

…So titled, by me, when an infant…as (at over six feet), he is well of at least six inches taller than any of the other leprechaun-sized people in the Crane family gene pool.  We are told he (the youngest of the six kids) was the one who got all the “Swede,” back from Gram’s side of the family.  But all I knew was: he was (and is) a giant…who used to let me walk on his back to pop it, or land-surf…who always had a collection of musty-smelling empty Jack Daniels bottles lining his windowsill (his libation and collection-obsession since probably birth), and who could turn anything…absolutely the most normal everyday observations…into breathless hysteria, making you piss your pants just by the way he retold them.

…He still does. 

…And this is one of our many shared family Christmas memories, as he retold it to the FB world, today:

“My Mom loved the Holiday’s, she decorated the whole house for every one of them, including the change of the seasons. Having the house totally decked out every Christmas was awesome as a kid and has stuck with me my whole life, it is the main reason I now decorate my own home, it brings back a lot of memories of past Christmas’s of mine and I hope is building similar happy memories for my Son.

Every year we got a live tree, not overly big because the nice big ones were ‘too Goddamn expensive,’ this tree would then be stuffed into our Volkswagen bus for the trip home, leaving any of us other passengers to try to squeeze in around it if we also wanted to make the trip back. There was no fighting over seats in our van because all the seats had been removed so we could haul firewood in it. Dad was fiercely proud of the fact that he could haul ¾ of a cord of firewood in our van and not bothered in the least that when not hauling wood, his Children sat in folding lawn chairs in the back desperately holding on to anything within reach to keep from being thrown to the floor in the corners or at red lights. More than once I saw someone proudly showing my Dad their fancy new car only to have him say ‘Yeah, but how much wood can you haul in it?’

Moms answer to our less than grand Christmas trees was to put the whole thing on top of a rickety old metal trunk, making it appear a full foot taller than it actually was and had the added benefit of making it completely unstable. First the tree had to be placed into the ancient tree stand, I affectionately referred to as ‘that finger eating Sonofabitch.’ This pathetic stand had the multiple threaded rods that you would twist equally from all sides in an attempt to secure the tree to the stand until enough tension built up within the ring surrounding the tree that the whole thing would violently rotate ¼ turn around the trunk with incredible speed, generally taking a finger or two with it. At this point the stand becomes useless, basically just another decoration as the only thing holding the tree in it is the force of gravity, then this whole affair is carefully lifted and placed onto the slowly collapsing metal trunk.

This impending disaster always sat in the corner of the living room, directly in front of the two corner windows, which not coincidentally, had permanently installed cup hooks in their case work solely for attaching the long strands of bailing wire required to hold this Christmas miracle in the upright position. The entire operation described above took place not 10 feet from the wood stove which Dad liked to keep at a cozy 215 degrees, so emerging from under the tree soaked in sweat and tree sap an hour or so after climbing in, left you looking like a large, pissed off, glazed doughnut with pine needle sprinkles and broke fingers.

With the tree up it was time for decorations. Putting up the decorations with Mom was a running history lesson, after dragging all the boxes down from the attic, each one was carefully opened and unwrapped and almost every single piece had a story to go with it. There was the whole box of handmade ornaments from Grandma that usually hung in a row across the top of the bay window in the kitchen, it just wasn’t Christmas until Grandmas balls came out. Opening each new box was like seeing old friends and Mom would very often say things like ‘ OH.. those were from so and so when we lived back in the little yellow house, remember Dad?’ and Dad would say ‘is there a door open in the back of the house? I feel a draft.’ The next one would come out and Mom would gush ‘Oh.. we got these when C was born, or was it P, Do you remember Dad?’ and Dad would say ‘T, check the back of the house and put some more wood on the fire, cold in here.’ The next treasure unwrapped would bring , ‘OH these are very old.. be careful, Mama made these’ from Mom, and Dad would ask if we were going to eat at some point tonight.

Regardless of lyrical content the tree was always beautiful.

I don’t mean to put My Dad in a bad light here, he was just a very ‘practical’ Man , he wasn’t against tradition, it’s just that sometimes they differed from mom’s, sometimes to a frightening degree.

One Christmas, Mom’s Mom, Gramma, was with us for Christmas when my Mom’s tradition of lighting a candle in the window ‘so loved ones can find their way home,’ collided head on with my Dads tradition of ‘closing the Goddamn curtains at night’ to stop the draft. This led to the development of the new Christmas tradition of sprinting through the house with a flaming curtain rod. This pyrotechnic celebration took place right in front of my very old and unsuspecting Gramma, who, relaxing on the couch with a book at the time, was almost gifted a severe cardiac event.

Anyway, the whole point of this story is that one of the things my mom did for us was to do these large drawings on tag board with colored pencil. These drawings were very detailed depictions of a ‘cut away’ house where you could see inside into all the rooms. In these rooms she would draw all us kids and Grand kids celebrating Christmas or outside playing in the snow covered landscape. These poster sized drawings showed staircases and fireplaces and Christmas trees being decorated. You could find toys and books and rugs you recognized from real life, they were “cartoony” but very cool and you could look at them for a long time and discover new things.

Every Christmas these would come out and be put up on the wall, they were part of Christmas and I have never forgotten them. Fast forward to a few years ago and I am flipping through a magazine that sells puzzles among other things and there on the page is a picture of a puzzle that I swear my mother could have drawn. Long story short, I bought it with the intent of putting it together, making it a permanent piece and putting it up at Christmas, that was two years ago. Two days ago I took this puzzle down and started working on it, now, I am not a puzzle guy, but over the last two days of working on this I have remembered years of Christmas memories and thoughts of my crazy Mom and Dad and all the good times we had.

I don’t remember what I paid for this puzzle, but it sure as hell was worth it, and it is the reason I had to come in here and jot down this story. Wishing you all the happiest Christmas,

God bless people,

T.”
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…I remember that van…pitching over out of the chairs on turns, and doing drawings in the back with colored pens Gram always kept in her purse, as we waited for Gramps to get off work, in the Forest Service parking lot.

…I remember hearing about the drapery fire story, and Nana’s impending heart-palpitation “episode,” which followed it.

…I remember all the gillions of times Gramps voice would bark out from the kitchen, or his chair in the living room, “Somewhere there’s a door open. I can feel a draft!” And all our immediate whisking though the house to find and fix it.

…And I remember all of those posters Gram drew, so well. Especially the last one. Always hanging in the hallway. A kind of Christmas “Where’s Waldo” of hidden family story elements, and jokes, and events, and happy, happy memories.

Like this one.

Thanks, Uncle Big Guy, for the ‘”member when.”

Love,

Boo.

~D

…And The Footie Pajamas

25 Nov

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We are in pajamas, post show (and first read), decorating cookies (part 2), eating cheese plates and doing a “White Christmas” sing-along.

…It’s our thing.

The BFF and I are in sweats, but The Fella is wearing full-out long underwear footie pjs.  With the escape hatch.  He looks phenomenal.  I honestly didn’t know they made them for full grown people.

…Also, by time of blog writing, The Fella is drunk.  He’s now in the prone position, with said butt flap open, airing his pirate underwear and threatening to fart us into oblivion.  He’s now to the point of drunk where you lay in dead weight and grin at things…like the air…and have whole conversations with your eyes closed, your voice in falsetto.

I’m totally writing this whole night off on “character study” at tax time.   

***

The Fella is now splayed out in the farty chair, and “White Christmas” at it’s end, has led onto “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” 

…They are worried about me having to work tomorrow…which with only two days left of BFF-dome, before she escapes back to Tinsel Town, is just erroneous.  Tomorrow will come as it always does, and I will crawl from the bed like a Darwinian evolutionary sludge, as I always do…be it on six hours or three. It is far more important to be building these memories.

…Unless someone pukes. 

I call the kibosh at that point.

***

So here we all sit…a small pile of humanity across all of the general couch area.  The Christmas tree lights on, the heater humming busily…our decorated cookies that look like a five-year-old baked and decorated them (though that is totally unintentional), on the table in front of us with little bottles of sprinkles and candy pieces, and wine bottles growing around us. 

…We begin deep philosophical discussions, like people do when they are buzzed after a long day…such as the political significance of the Lesba-whos, that are The Grinch’s parents…and if being green is a commentary on race relations…

…In between, we giggle, till it starts to get quiet and we get sucked into the movie.

The wine starts to mix in our tummies, the sugar cookies, soaking it up…our eyelids start to get heavy.

…Just like kids, we fight the sleep fairy and insist we are wide awake and ready to party.

…But we ain’t.

It’s late. Our tummies are full. The bottles are empty. And even Jim Carey in ten pounds of green fur and prosthetic can only seduce us so far. Not gonna lie, m’pillow sounds pretty amazing. But we are captivated with brilliance…in both what’s happening on the screen, and in the room right now. We are our own ultimate family…the kind that people can build if all the best of circumstances align…and at least one of the people are really bossy.

…As The BFF just stated, “Lookit this! If we were all siblings growing up, we woulda been awesome!”

…To which I replied, “Well yeah, but then you can’t have sex with your brother, so, maybe it’s gooder this way.”

“Also, she’d have been the bully,” The Fella pipes up through his wine-haze, before going back to grinning at the atmosphere.

“I would not!,” she insists, ironically punctuating it with a punch.

Touche. And stuff.

(Yawn)

“He’s out, ” The BFF sighs, leaning over The Fella, some minutes later. “Hey babe, wanna stay here on the futon or go home?”

“Mmfubbbub,” The Fella replies.

We take that for “home.”

…They stuff themselves into boots and scarves and coats and start on their journey…all of two city blocks away.

I watch them, lit by street lights on their early morning quest, before finishing with my typing.

…Night, friends. May you pass out well into noon. For me: I’m lookin’ at six hours. So I guess I’d better get at it…

~D

Loud & Joyeous

22 Nov

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I come from a large family.

…Holidays in our house meant no less than 27 people…with just the one side of Mom’s gene pool, and their immediate families. 

…Kids had their own tables and counter seating arrangements, because there just wasn’t room at the main one for all.  Even with the extender put in, and the extra leg props pushing the main table out, well into the living room…with chairs brought in from the patio and stacks in the garage, we would still sometimes have to squeeze in standing-room-only spaces.

…The kitchen would be stifling before ten A.M. with turkey-cooking and general capacity…with Mom and the aunts stirring things on the stove and fresh baked pies and side dishes arriving more and more by the moment. Two refrigerators full of fixings yet to be cooked and baked…cousins running around, playing games outside, wrapped in layers of coats and scarves, so our red, flushed faces glowed as our breath panted out in clouds of white in the crisp fall air.

In time, all the men, arguing over football plays in the living room, with beers-in-hand, could be heard in bear-like booms of laughter and anxious defeat.  Babies suckling from the newest Moms as they conduct instructions to their sisters, buzzing about in recipe over-drive.  Gram, being everywhere at once, completely in her element…someone losing the stuffing ingredients again, and scouts sent through the house to look in overnight suitcases, and diaper bags to find them. 

…An infusion of noise as the kids break in to thaw out a bit, shoo’d from the kitchen by their mothers.  Infants laid down to nap. New shifts in the kitchen as seating places are being set, and food comes to final bake and boil and plate. Gramps seated at the table’s end, watching all the work, with wry commentaries he gets a kick out of, and to act as official taste-tester on certain sauces and the rutabagas.

…And everywhere, in every room of the house, for all of the day long…loud, loud conversations taking place…only magnified as the day grows longer, by heat and wine and food…excitement, and general people-excess.

…So loud at times, with the men screaming at the TV screen, play-by-play, of the women laughing and telling jokes while cooking, of babies chattering,  the cousins “Haloo-ing” to one another, in hide-and-seek places up and down the hallways…that a moment of solitary in the bathroom during pee breaks, would make your ears ring with it’s silence. 

It felt so removed, those moments. 

…Like a wormhole where you were on one side and everyone else, at the other end…faintly heard in the distance, in gregarious employments, you were only annoyed that mere natural bodily function, was making you miss out on. 

Holidays with our family always made me feel badly for all those three and four-people families. Small, quiet, respectful, classy people…in their formal go-to-chapel best…Holidays like the kind they have in romantic comedy movies.  None of which we are an example of.  We were more of the family Griswold, “National Lampoon” stream, without a doubt…with all the curiosities, eccentricities, dramas and ridiculiousnesses that go with it.  Ask me then, or now: I never in a million years would have changed that, for anything.

As time has passed, spreading our family’s large number, like seeds on the wind, to new corners of the world…some to new corners now, in Heaven…Holidays seem to be more a time of reflection and thankfulness than they ever were before.  Because I can spend a quiet Holiday feast with four people today with the memories and history of those other’s behind it.

…Sometimes, a little sadly, yes.  Because I miss that loud, brazen, bellowing, laughing, arguing, baby-crawling, cousin-playing, surrounding of the truly peculiar breed of humanity that I hail from.  All those frustrating, brilliant, weird bastards, who I love more than anything, and miss like nothing else of bestness, on earth.

On quiet Holidays like today…which I am still so thankful for…I can’t help but remember those we once had in the past.  For all the world, I could swear eight or nine times today…faintly in the distance of my childhood, I could hear it all again.  A wormhole to our family past.  And I wish, more than anything, I could rejoin it, even just one more time…even just for a moment…in all it’s loud, joyous, wonderfulness…with all the people who are of my people, and who I belong to.

…Then, I remember: I can. In memory.  Any time I want to.

…And I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for that, and them, and even (reluctantly), the fact that time has passed and things have been forced to change.

The BFF is home again…even for just a little bit, back in her place at my stove, and me at my place at table: chopping and prepping as we gossip and sing and play on. Last night, after hours of loud joking, and shopping, and laughing, and winking insults, and spur-of-the-moment hugs…(just because we can), because we are here together now…was a many-moment deja vu.

…Later plating and feasting, The Fella and Marty adding to the family, by-turn, as the clock struck further into the night…squealing loud peals of delights over newly uncorked wine, and homemade eats…with everyone telling stories at once, and nobody listening, and bad jokes being played on one another, a tattling of the most embarrassing of stories we have to share…with the TV blaring in the background, and spontaneous bursts of laughter….with new infusions of energy and more friend arrivals as the night went on…well into the early hours of this morning.

…This loudness of epic proportions!

…So persistent and present! So joyous, and irreverent! And so…”my family.”

I realized, the coming of full circle, not once but many, many times across the night.

…Which, to me, is sorta like a wink from above, by those who’ve gone on before, and know me best.

A long story to say: I hope you and yours…be they family of your blood and bones, or of your soul and spirit…had a happy Holiday today.

…Cuz I know me and mine did 🙂

~D

BFF Chefing & More

21 Nov

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The BFF is home from L.A. for a short week’s holiday with the us’s, who have missed her so.

…After a two hour journey that turned into six somehow, because apparently Virgin Airlines likes to relocate people by way of camel.

Due to overt, gross amounts of sexing tween her and The Fella, I was not allowed to see her upon arrival.  But today, I get to give her a monster hug…live, IN PERSON…and do that talking seventy miles a minute thing…even though we basically kept one another updated on everything already anyway.  Cuz it’s what girls do.  Even dude-ones.

…Anyway…the office is closing at one, (on command of Boss), and directly after, I will be swooping down upon her, at last! Together we will sweep our favorite shops for the best cooking goods and alcohol, and bring it all back to my house for our second favorite activity: togetherness cooking.  (Followed directly by our FIRST favorite activity: eating.)

Blending of the family, as is the case with EVERY Holiday, will bring Marty motoring up (thankfully, to provide another eating mouth and save us from our gluttonous selves)…and then, a meet with the next show’s Director, to drunkely talk character n’ script stuffs before our first read on Sunday.

…Cuz, yep, it’s team Marty and Roz, in this next one. 

Our fourth show together (third in a row), and the FIRST time we will actually get to work with one another for more than one line, on stage.

And I am so incredibly grateful to be intrusting all this personal history shit, with an already-sister, whom I would trust to Thelma-and-Louise lengths, on any journey that life would ever see fit to throw at us. 

You n’ Me, kid.  Let’s jump in that Cadillac and never look back.

…But before we peal out, stirring up all that dust with our tires…we DO have two weeks remaining on “Twelfth Night,” and its family…to continue to play and grow with.  We have time to enjoy the here-and-now with these people…and much as we are both eager beavers at digging in and getting right to work…we have earned this moment of happy play time with our current cast.

It’s been a good season of theatre this year.

…Have worked with four companies, met gallons of new friends, spent quality time with old ones, and have learned a lot. 

“Children’s Hour” will be the first of the new Season, opening in January…a kick-start to (one hopes) a helluva 2013. 

…I wish for a comedy as it’s predecessor. 

…I wish to keep branching out in new directions with new companies.

…And I wish to look back at its season’s end with at least as much fondness as I do this one.

Am thankful for a lot, today. And now, I’m gonna go home and enjoy it!

~D

How Things Are From Here

6 Oct

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I am counter-acting last night’s chick-fest with a shit ton of James Bond hotness. It’s all about finding totally realistic balance in life, between men who will ride up on a white horse and pine for you, and men who beat the shit out of people while wearing Armani.  This is all I want.  And frankly, I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for the guy upstairs to get it right.

…And speaking of Bond.  How about a hand for my girl, Adele’s, epic leap into all-time cult status for her newest track to hit the “Oops, it leaked” viral rage.  Love it, babe.  Keep ’em coming.

Since last night actually ended mid this morning, spent the better part of the day working myself up to the point where I would be inspired enough to take a shower and get dressed. This happened eventually, around four…after making “breakfast” and finishing my book. Then a walk n’ talk with a bud, and now home to Bond.

…Oh Bond. There is something about men of extremes. Really does it for this dame, I gotta say. Cuz there’s a time and place for the roguish pretty-boy Willoughby, the right moment for the deeply devoted Brandon, and plenty of space for the sexy “I will fuck you up and look hot while doing it” Bond. Manly men. It’s all we want. Am I right?

…This would be the opposite to “M’s” current obsession of grilled-out rappers, who spend all their time pointing at the camera and tossing their dreadlocks like really disturbing shampoo ads. I only know this, as rounding the corner from 3:00 to 3:30, this is what she was playing on her ipad while zumbaing, to a tag-mix with JLo’s latest album. I giggled a lot in between eating chips. (And anything else that wasn’t glued to the coffee table.) Fun was had. It’s how we roll.

…It makes me miss The BFF…who is alive and well and currently residing on the books of Central Casting. And though I have rehearsals to keep me busy, and buddies to keep me company, you can’t replace a person who is “your person.” The Fella and I both know this to be true. It’s hard when other-halfs move two fucking states away…and you can’t just roll back and forth to one another’s houses anymore, for a talk, or do the weekly dinner makings, or go on ‘ventures. You realize how much a PART of your daily life they had become, and how important that family bond is…even though it’s stretching from casting agent offices right now, to me in sweats, tapping away at my blog per usual.

…It’s weird not to smell garlic cooking on the stove simultaneously…or corks popping. It’s weird to have a Saturday and not text almost first thing in the morning: “Dude, whatchu doin’ today?” And weird to not have our usual play-by-play conversations, over a walk, end-of-the-day.

I’m really proud of her to have made such a huge jump to such a different place. And I know she will make of it the best that can be made, cuz the woman doesn’t waste ANYTHING…least of all time, talent, or resources. She’s gonna be okay. And so am I, (in the current new position of private matters I’ve found myself in, since her leaving. ) It’s just…I wish there was a bridge that could be built to fill the gap, a time blip that could be established…so that no matter where on earth your people happen to live, at the end of the day, all it would take is a button pressing to zap you both into the same kitchen (whoever’s that is) and get back to the way things are supposed to be, when catching up takes place.

~D

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