Tag Archives: memories

The Elephant

3 Jul


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.


Absence Makes The Heart Grow Hungry

29 Apr


Am eating classic BFF Fajitas…a major staple of our bestest kind of days…where we’d run to the market for fresh veg, a bottle of cheap red wine, and come home, setting on Swing or Samba or somethin’ equally sassy, and drink and cook until the light left the sky and we were well buzzed and comfy.

…I miss those days all the time.  But it’s even worse on “Big Days.” 

Yesterday was the first Birthday since I’ve known her that she wasn’t here to resume her place of festivity-planner.  Foods from here to kingdom come, delights in outtings, special specifically NOT “cheap red wine”…the works.

…That girl does it up!

But dammit if she didn’t manage a co-feat-wonder with The Fella, being all the way on the totally wrong-opposite coast of America at the time, or not.

This was my BD gift of wonder, delivered with epic joy and hugs by The Fella, and slobbered over by me after he had left:


…”So, what’s the big deal?” you might shrug to yourself, if you’re new to the blog, and it’s earlier epic drunken posts of foodage joy…in days when The BFF lived just there: at the end of the street, and would ramble over many times per week for our cooking sessions, punctuated with theatre debates and history talks and men worries and all the things that BFF’s always fill the space of time with.

Each food and drink and goodie, represents a very specific memory…a grin…and by the end of her little note tucked in the back, a mess of tears.

* A tiny watermelon. (In memory of the Gray Goose spiked one, that sat in my fridge all prepped for our naughty-secret of a picnic lunch, while we three watched Shakespeare in the Park, one summer.)

* Peppers & zuchinnis (Our oft-repeated BFF Fajita days, spread out over the entire coffee table, piled high with zillions of add-on sides n’ fixins.)

* An articoke. (The epic 100th BD of Julia Child, when we decided totally on a whim to tackle a full-course spread straight from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” while drunkenly blogging our exploits.)

* Garlic. (A BFF staple in every. single. dish. Probl’y even the dessert ones. “Stink and think of me,” the note said…)

* Cabbage. (My refrigerator staple, for Polish kielbasa and potato stew — where both foods of “our people” gather in happy harmony, like we do.

* Spinach. (The major base for every epic salad we ever invented.)

* Dubliner Cheese. (Only the best sharpness of delish, also nodding to her time in ye old Irish Capital, together with Medium Tillamook, to be included somehow in some way, in nearly every meal we ever made.)

* A bottle of red. (Pin-up style, WWII ex-airfield-grown, an obvious toss up to our forever scout of delightful new reds, My obsession with WWII, and The Fella’s delight of period warcraft…bringing us all together in one bottle of joy.)

* Gourmet chocolate-covered cherries. (As with all the fresh veg, reminders of endless trips to Tacoma Boys, and their expensive little treats sections, upon occasion, finally splurged on with combining of fundages ‘tween we two.)

* A duel mix-tape CD. (Our greatest hits, our sing-alongs, our late-night cooking sambas…songs that each — like the foods in the basket — represent something you can’t always put in words…though the lyrics certainly help.)

…The last: a package that guided me with giggles and weepies all the way to my final “Anne Frank” show, and back home again.

Good thoughts.

Good memories.

…Proving that you don’t need to be “present” to be present on a day, in a thought, to make a moment special.

The BFF is just that good.


…Off to go and tackle the dishes now.

KP was always my job…along with the sous chef-prepping.

Dear The BFF,

I don’t cook the big stuff, good as you do. But I’ll try my best! And think of you with every chop, and fry, and bake, and swig, and garlic-stink.

I promise!

Love you lots and lots,

The (now) Double-Three



One For The Tall, Belting, Redhead

15 Feb


Know what’s awesome about FB…aside from the prime place to go and waste your time while you should be doing other things?  The fact that you can find people from your past who you delighted in, years and years later, and reconnect on a whole new level.  Even from several states away.

I love to stalk them.

I love to watch their projects grow, follow them through casting and rehearsals and performances and tours.  I love to see the many new sides of their personalities come out in different roles…I love the new headshots, and reviews, and interviews, and go-and-get-em-team speeching on Opening Nights that they send out to all their casts and crews. 

…I love how we can still (even from far away) share these experiences together…like we once did before. 

…And I love how it makes me miss ’em, and wonder over the wide world of possibilities of ever finding some way to work together again.

Almost anything can happen. This is, after all, the “Theatre.”

…And this all comes from a tagging today, where she poked me to show a sneaked pic of her, standing off-set in the wings, catching up on some of m’blogs while on break. She’s obviously not reading one of the funnier ones, but is totally consumed in whatever it is…so much so that she didn’t even notice the Paparazzi at work.

…And I thought, “Wow. That means other people do it too…that ‘stalking’ thing. Maybe I don’t have to be so freak-fetish-feeling secretive about it. Other people will (on some random days), stop for a hot second, to catch up on an old friend they worked with a million years ago and thought of just now, today. Just because.”

It makes me feel good.

…And warm-fuzzy.

…And memory-filled of our days spent on the Titanic and in ridiculously giant ball gowns in the dead of summer, going to post-show picnics at the Village, drinking fuzzy navels while watching old movies, reading “Lolita,” lovin’ all up on Rosemary Clooneyness, singing at the top of our lungs toward seas of patron’s faces…and the time I spent whoring her as a prostitute for two months, under my professional care. (The condom runs were epic, purchased in bulk weekly and turned in as a “business expense” which 18 year-old-me delighted in, to no end. Even if it was for the mic pack equipment.)

…I think you will find, not many people share those kind of memories. Or if they do, prob’ly not with the consistent fondness that we do.

…Which is the magic of our industry. (Long may it reign!)

…This is all (P.S.) really only a big, fat, giant preface to the fact that I promised her something funny today, after reading whatever it was that caught her all up in emo-ville. Which is a tall order. As nothing even remotely funny has happened yet.

…But I say, “yet” as it is a Friday, and Marty is coming up for a girls-night, and we have about 11 too many already pre-planned things ahead of us. Something hysterical is bound to happen. And usually in some form of embarrassment. Which helps her not at all right now, at this second. But it will (no doubt) at a later date.

…So, keep readin’, friend.

Even still…betcha she smiled to herself, already. At least once.


Which makes today’s blog: a success!


P.S. …’Member the time someone subbed in real beer for the whole show? That was a doozy 😉

A Christmas Memory

8 Dec


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,


…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.”




Friends Of Great Feet & The Little Redheaded Girl

17 Oct


When you’ve done enough shows, and at the same theatres for years and years, after a spit of time you will notice the wardrobe re-uses, no matter how crafty they get with new pairings and re-workings. 

…You’ll see something you’ve worn in say an Agatha Christie, pop up again on someone else in a Noel Coward.  You’ll see a pair of pants you wore in a cross-dressing scene on a pre-teen boy a year later.  “That” was the vest my “lover” wore when he tried to kill me in that one show, “those” are the pair of heels I strapped on every night for the “dinner” scene in that OTHER one.  In one act there could be ten or eleven pieces screaming out at me from their live mannequins on stage saying, ” Remember me?!  Remember me?!”  It becomes like a totally unintended version of “Where’s Waldo” every time I go see something period at all, because it is only a matter of time before half my previous costumes (and/or parts and pieces of them), come back to haunt me in some way.

…Good God, the stories those things could tell.

…And now I will be bringing back a very special pair of friends with me into “Twelfth Night.”  Two rather lived-in, scuffed up, re-soled beauties in which I sang, jumped, climbed, kicked, danced and died throughout the entire last Holiday season.  Just digging them out of the closet made me grin.  And with a split-second segue into cockney, I greeted them as old friends should:

“…’Ello me beau’ies.  It’s been a might now, ain’t it.  Up for a’nover ‘go’?”

It’s been a whole year since “Oliver!,” and I can’t even believe it.

…Yes. I am terribly and ridiculously sentimental. But these shoes have earned it.  We went to War together, and in some instances they quite literally felt like they were all I had.  Hours and hours working choreography, and blocking, and hoisting and jumping, and climbing…on and off the stage.  And they never once let me down.  So why should it be any different for these leather lace-up Victorian boots, than for a Pitcher’s favorite mitt, or a Golfer’s club, a Cyclist’s bike or a Painter’s brush? 

You have favorite pieces of music that remind you of people, some trinkets you refuse to get rid of because of memories they contain.  This is no different.  For some, they consider it “good luck,” for others a “tradition.”  For me, these memories don’t require a prop like this to always be present, but when they are…it seems all the more “activated.”

…These shoes are like that.

But, this isn’t where the story ends

These beauties are actually only “borrowed” friends, on their third journey with me, not the second.  The first was around a decade ago, where they were given me for the first time, on loan. The show then was is the same theatre…only took place on a small Canadian Island, called Prince Edward…and a beautifully gifted, naturally red-headed, fourteen-year-old little girl was leading the pack as “Anne of Green Gables.”

…And that same young woman, (now home from University and studies abroad), is back again, for the first time, since. The same house…the same unspoiled, fierce talent…the same shock of red hair…now playing our “Olivia,” with beautiful abandon.

…Sure.  It kinda makes me feel old.  But then, it has such a feeling of “belonging” in it, don’t you think?  And I’ve relocated from her Mrs. Barry, to her lady-in-waiting, Maria. 

A decade since last we played together.

…And I’ll be reminded of it, every night, when I get into costume, (and all the rehearsals now in between)…lacing up me boots…(double knots, as “Nancy” once taught me to.)  Two very special shows to bring with me, into a new third, as a kind of blessing over the whole.

Meanings within meanings. 

Actors use all of that shit, you guys. 

…And nothing will help me to be the mothering, doting, fiercely protecting lady-in-waiting more, than to remember the time I spent with that Anne girl all those years ago, seeing her now grown and in full bloom, kicking ass all over that stage, ever nightly.

I love the theatre, so…


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