31 December, 2003

Hoo-hah, I Whacked! Top of the Whack Stack, as of this moment...can't last, but it's still great, since I never got to put my initials on any of the vidcade games I won...Oh, guess I didn't win any, that must be why....

And the big question is, what the HELL am I doing still up?

Well, duh. Killing braincells surfing, and writing in spurts. Pfah, if the woman had any discipline, she might get somewhere someday. Tough to leave the keyboard, as the new space heater makes it more than tolerable out here in the glass room. Though the thermostat on the unit's remote reads a mere 66*F, it still beats the hell out of what the ambient temp would be otherwise.

This all black thing has something going for it...in the mall (that's right, bub, I said "in the mall". As in, I was there. I know, not my usual.) I saw this cute sweater (that's right, bub, the woman said "cute sweater") but it wasn't black, so I avoided buying it.

I did not, however, avoid buying (as Belle terms them) knickers.

On my list, but unimaginatively left on the shelf, until now.

News flash, boys and girls: An appliance is NOT a sexy gift. No matter how useful.

30 December, 2003

Sapphire Day

The clouds give a certain multi-hued flatness to the sky this morning. By the time Shiloh and I return home, the sun and wind have torn holes in the moisture-ladden blanket, and brilliant azure eyes peep through at me, gorgeous and smiling.

Today is the day that the Hans Brinker cast gathers for ice skating in upscale downtown Glen Burnie, at a very nice outdoor rink. I have resolved ahead of time that I will not skate, as yesterday saw me miserable, my every joint anticipating the early morning rain. When I wake, there is evidence on the ground of rainfall, and walking the dog is painful. I rent skates for the kids, and help them into them. They go out on the ice. My ankle says "no" but my heart yearns to participate, my body clamors to fly at high speed, though it's likely been fifteen years since I wore blades. I am not, by nature, a wallflower. The sky is now a mass of blue beauty, punctuated with handfulls of fluff. I watch a hawk hunt pigeons, who scatter unartfully.

And no one who knows me, not Carla, who said, Hawk will kill us, Jose who said, I'm not gonna talk you out of it, Mark (via Carla's cellphone, he's sick) who threatened to kick my ass, JB, on my cell phone about casting Watergate!, who said Guuuuurl!, or even Hawk himself (whenever he hears of it) will be the least bit surprised that I must put my complaining ankle on ice tonight.

Worth it, though, ohhhhhh, yeaaaahhhh.

29 December, 2003

My dear friend Wes
Sorry I see you less
Me and mine
Is doing fine
Bones heal
Tree's not real
Holidays low key
Okay by me
Walking good
Endurance should
Improve with time
Little work for mime
Kids are fighting
Keep busy writing
Watergate! begins
for shits and grins
Hawk's still driving
I'm surviving
Thanks for the thoughts
I really ought
to say Balloon guy blows
hope your business grows
Last bit for your ear:
have a Happy New Year!

Spur of the moment doggerel I made up in response to Wes Holly's one line inquiry as to how I'm doing, hope he appreciates the humor. Kind of a snappy summation of the month, though not even close to Mayfly brevity.

Twenty things I've never done, in no particular order:

Had a tattoo.
Been a bridesmaid.
Gone to Vegas (or anywhere) to gamble.
Had accupuncture.
Auditioned for a role.
Been arrested.
Answered a Personal.
Owned ferrets.
Ridden in a limosine.
Eaten sushi.
Gone bungee jumping.
Painted with oils.
Rolled a car.
Seen a Humphrey Bogart movie.
Shaved my head.
Ridden a motorcycle, solo.
Been in a bar fight.
Learned to juggle.
Danced naked in the rain.
Gotten plastered on New Year's Eve.

Who's surprised? And at what?

27 December, 2003


A book I finished recently had me yearning for my I-Ching paraphenalia, that for awhile I carried with me everywhere. I have yet to finish personalizing these tools.

I polish up the brass coins Barbara at Somewear Beyond minted for me a couple of years ago, and go through my pamphlets. Though I am midway through the rewriting process, replacing each oracle with a new one more geared for the Western ear, and I realize that I am half-and-half new and old, I did not know that I had no version at all, old or new, of Mountain.

No Mountain. No Mountain?

Metaphorically, that would explain a lot. Like the time I had to shop for Mimi supplies because I was out of Joy. Out of Joy. I have made it a point since then to always have at least a partially full bottle of Joy somewhere in my domain. I lacked in Mountain, stillness, contemplation. My Mountain went missing.

I rewrite the Mountain pamphlet, stunned that I should have lost track of it, since it contains some of my very favorite oracular readings. It takes most of the day.

Coins polished, I throw two related questions. How surprised am I that one comes up Brief Encounter and the other is Soul Mates? Not at all. The DaVincian principle of Sfumato at work once again. Neither being, incidentally, from the freshly crafted Mountain paper.

And nearly equal in silliness factor, for my horoscope at Free Will Astrology, Rob Breszny gives me this quote from Abraham Maslow: "The great lesson from the true mystics is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's back yard." True. A year late to be strictly informative, but true.

Life. You have to laugh. No one gets out alive; meanwhile, go for maximum amusement.

26 December, 2003

"Why do you like that guy so much?" he asks me.

"Dunno," I respond. "I guess I think he needs it."

Does this end up being about me, then? Is it all ego? Perhaps. But I would hate to think that I had it to give, and didn't, and somebody needed it, and didn't get it.

Because witholding is not my way. Omission will not be counted among my sins.

Though excess perhaps will be.

Checking out someone's blog at random again. What's a googlewhack?

24 December, 2003

One Foggy Christmas Eve

A beautiful fog wraps the world in cotton. Traffic is an endless shimmering chain of white lights and red, smearing color across the mist, and little else.

While I am in the chiropractic office, fog transforms to diamond rain. Lisa has scolded me for allowing my pride and competitiveness to interfere with my Inner Voice which knew better and told me to stop.

And what is it but pride and competetiveness when Luke sneers, "Do whatever you want; you'll never get it right," which makes me determined to rehearse a move that wasn't properly choreographed to begin with. In the end, of course, he was correct. I never did get it right.

Bruises prove only stubborness that I kept trying.

This week's lesson: when it's wrong, say No.

From Tuesday, 23 December

And Then He Kissed Me

"I'm only doing this because you're here," he said, looking at my husband, "and because I've been drinking." Then he grabbed the back of my head and Laid One On Me.

Right there in the bar.


22 December, 2003

Magic of Christmas

Santa Claus kneels on the carpeted floor, listens attentively to the little girl addressing him with serious eyes. All in green, my daughter answers carefully his questions as to her behavior. His voice is soft, gentle, reassuring, and sweetly familiar. I capture this moment with my eyes, she leaning against his red fur suit, he tenderly cupping her shoulder. A camera in my hands cannot frame this earnest exchange, as both of them have photograph radar, and turn to pose with nary even an interruption. It's past nine and Santa has arrived for the most brief of visits, many of the children having already gone home from this party where he is a welcome surprise guest. Santa exits quietly and without ceremony, having said farewell to each child. My daughter runs out the door and calls after him, "I love you, Santa!" Turning back, the deep voice answers, "I love you, too."

And tears spring to my eyes as the pieces of the Universe fall into place. I am created to love people, created to create people who love people.

He soon re-enters as himself. I do not tell this fight choeographer that I have hurt my shoulder, elbow, arm, toes and neck doing stage combat that I've neither the training nor the coordination to carry off properly. He'd shake his head at me and call me a stupid girl. Which I am.

We walk out of Tom and Mary Ann's lovely party together. He hugs me one-armed, and I tell him, "I love you." He pats me and says, "You take care."

Yes. Thanks.

21 December, 2003

Once again, I marvel at my good fortune. I sleep, embraced by the tender caretaking of people who have no reason to look after me but do anyway. I wake, and light hits my face. I open my eyes, and the sky greets me, unique, transient, perfect.

20 December, 2003

This morning, the rising sun turns the horizon into hot pink fire and the clouds above into lavander and periwinkle smoke. My eyes dazzle in the glaze of brilliant orange reflecting against windowpanes. I try to capture in words what I can't manage to look at long enough.

Queen chants, "Find....Me...Somebody...to Loooove, Find....Me....Somebody....to Loooove....can anybody find meeeeee.....(wails Freddie Mercury, bless you, wherever you are).... Somebody to Looooove?" Only everywhere, Freddie. Only everywhere.

The morning is filled with magic and crackle of frost upon the grass.
Can I at once be horrified at the excess and delighted by the display?

I can.

I love driving through the neighborhood at night at this time of year. I even love the ambivalence I feel about the whole thing.

Curious, that. Sfumatzo.

I think I've got my edge back, and it feels good.

19 December, 2003

Love being a verb, I have tried to make it a point to show-and-tell, because if I do not behave as though I love the people around me, and tell them about it, then the end result is as if I never loved them at all.

That's right, isn't it?

Most people seem okay with this. The exceptions are a puzzlement.

The opportunity presented to be loving with Lisa. I took it and relished it, worked on her shoulder, and showed her how to blog.
I think that Pat must be the Buddah. Arriving late to rehearsal, flustered, apologetic, in need of a shave and smelling of onions, he still manages to be serene and soothing. He touches my bare toes, surprised that they are warm. On my other side, Luke jangles, but claims nothing is bothering him. I curl up next to an already napping Hawk for a few brief hours after rehearsal. I know he is relieved to be leaving, which hurts. Now I seek distraction and comfort, and will find it wherever I look.

18 December, 2003

Scent of spicy soap, shampoo...lather foams in my fists, sliding over slick skin. Steam billows curtains of haze through the room. Ah, Heaven, a haven of hot water and fluffy fragranced bubbles. Step out dripping: no towel.


Ah, life and the weather must be dull; I am reduced to writing about my shower.

17 December, 2003

Mixed Bag

A day of challenges, and wonder, and fun, and irritation....in nearly equal proportions.The weather conspires to make me miserable, seeping again into my joints...and yet I persist in heading out to the Walters Art Museum for a field trip with the homeschooling group I've taken up with. Eternal Egypt is touring, and I am excited. We find rockstar parking, and though we are two hours longer than the two hours we pay for, have no parking ticket when we leave. As I walk in, a woman asks if I have a ticket for the exhibit, and finding that I don't, hands me one. Amazing. The Universe looks out for me again. A side trip with Lisa and company to Beadazzled, and I find pearls for my navel ring, and a tigerseye cube.

Home, in accident-provoking weather, to pick up a scruffy surprise package, whom the kids were overjoyed to see. Me, too, though he seems stressed and unfocused. To Mother's house to snuggle puppies, enduring a phonecall on the way chewing me out for not calling to say I'd be late, something could have happened, she was worried, etcetera. I'm getting damned tired of people chewing me out, and I'm ready to spit at the next one who does it.

Now the bank, then to Alaina's final dance class. She is incredibly flexible, and actually seems a little bit bored, perhaps the pace is too slow for her. Jose and CJ are delighted to see Hawk, though Jose is exhausted and CJ whinges, "I broke my ass!" for the umpteenth time. He, having not heard the story but second hand from me, is appropriately sympathetic.

Back home and Hawk feeds the quadrupeds as I phone for Chinese carryout; in short order we have dinner, intending to do some shopping all together as a family afterwards. I finish two of my four assignments from Steve while waiting for food. It becomes clear very shortly after dinner that taking the kids out is a losing proposition. Hawk goes, leaving me with the children, whom I banish to the basement out of sheer frustration. I hate the holidays. I'd rather have his company than gifts, but he needs to shop for the kids. I choke on powdered molars from grinding my teeth.

Check on my e-mail, mostly nonsense...three more offers to download the Paris Hilton sex video for free, one offer of penis enlargement, and a dating service. A note from my stepmom, an e-vite to my sister's birthday party/open house...and a letter from M, who has NEWS! Why he assumes I'd already know....well.

Nothing from Lit.org. I didn't expect, but I always hope. I know it's taking Crowe awhile to validate the slush pile, but sometimes when I leave comments for people, I get some back, even if it's on older stuff. John Libertus has been really regular in his posts. I should try to keep up, because it's not as though I'm not producing...on the other hand, it feels a bit like vanity, and I wonder at my motivation. Well.

But....M's news: He has just been made Chairman of the BPF! Amazing. I didn't even know he was interested.

From his letter:

I am very excited (and scared to death) and will do my best -- and I am
so glad I know you are there --

You are so very kind to me -- sometimes it makes my chest get all tight
(in a good way) when I read your kind and generous words. I will revel
in my sappiness...

Thanks again, Divine Cat -- for everything.

Wow. Nice stuff, that. And, funny, just when I needed it.

The accident-provoking weather provoked also the following:

From a stony smokestack, milky Chinese dragon emerges sinuous, writhes against the chalk-grey slate. Spit of snow, strike of sleet, spatter of cold rain, sputters, sporadic, stops. Afternoon sky kneads itself into cotton wadding over molten gold of sunset.
Pass the Whine and pour the Schmaltz
From my letter to Mark, who did (yaaaay!) get a job, at last.

Wasting time, wasting time....not to seem Scroogey, but do you think all the muss and fuss over the holidays is kind of, well, empty effort? My kids are all peevish because we don't have lights up in the yard. I'm peevish because I spent two hours putting lights on the tree. Actually, the lights are quite pretty, and to be fair, I didn't have to put the tree together. Hawk, on a rare afternoon home, did that. He's been gone so much this month, I think we've maybe had a total of 48 hours together. And I haven't done any (I mean ANY) shopping for the kids, how could I? Maybe tomorrow night. My mom planned to keep them overnight while I had a gig, but the gig tanked, and now I have the night off, sans pay, of course.

I had a disasterous time at WalMart. No, I am being overly dramatic, but I'm good at that. In the scheme of fiascos, it was rather minor, but here's the long story:

I took two disposable cameras in for one hour, double print, CD developing. I shopped, waiting for the prints, etc., choosing from WalMart assorted items such as milk and eggs and bath tissue and a tree-top angel. I opt to pay for these items and feed the children McDonalds food, then pick up the prints. It is six-fifteen when I go to pick up my photos. Plenty of time to pick up and pay, drop the milk and eggs at home, and get to FPCT, right? Sure.

They had mixed up some sweet old thing's prints with mine, showing some ceremony or other, and lots of ancient girlfriends. The second set was fine, but by the time the girl gave up searching, having determined that someone had picked up film and hadn't checked to see if it was right or not, it was ten of seven. Demoralized and near tears, I headed home, determined to use the time I'd have spent at the BPF meeting on writing.

I wanted those pictures so badly because I make calendars for gifts. And this year, I'm late, because with these injuries (although uncasted, I am far from healed) I am incredibly slow, plus I tire very easily (another reason I didn't look forward to a long walk from whatever distant desert I managed to park in to the theater). So I was counting on getting to Staples tomorrow afternoon, making good use of the time I would have been gigging. I probably overreacted, but it's like this: where ever I go, there I am. And overreacting is pretty standard behavior for me, especially this time of month. Wah for me, right? Get over it, woman. I hate being snarky.

Still, the story has a happy ending. I was helping the kids with schoolwork, and got a call: the woman who took my prints came back! So I packed the kids up for a return trip to WalMart, and got my photos. And the really nice bit was that because of the mixup, they gave to me free all the prints and etcetera, thirty or so dollars' worth, which I turned around and used to buy those damned lights for the fake tree.

Okay. I'm all whined out now.

I am curious to know what went on tonight. I would welcome Bob of Spots as BPF Chairman for a year, and I think he'd like to do it, too. But we shall see what was decided...if anything. If there wasn't a quorum, there wasn't an official meeting. I really DID want to go, if for nothing other than to pick up some scripts to read. Got to choose a show for the summer, and I haven't read ANY scripts. By this time last year, I'd plowed through about twenty. I didn't find Mike's wonderful script until late January, and laughed out loud at it, and brought it straight to Wayne (Shipley, executive director of the Arts Center, whose stamp of approval must be given to ANY theatrical venture), worrying about technical problems. I was so happy to have For The Return of Albion in our theater, though I think that Noel and company were unhappy to be there. The Center is not at all like Spots or FPCT or any of the other spaces the BPF encompasses. Whole other kettle of fish.

Congratulations on finishing Act I!!! So what do you do, open HALF a bottle of champagne? Don't worry about the title until the play's done, silly. You can't fully describe a half-finished work.

I DO think you're sappy, but not due to commercialized love-thy-neighbor crap. I think you are a sweet natured human who has maturity and insight enough to realize that even troubles are often blessings wrapped in brown paper. And I am honored to be thought of as a gift. The feeling is, of course, mutual.

16 December, 2003

I submit today to the screaming of the dryer, remembering the ear infections of years past. I sometimes think about cutting the stuff, donating it for cancer patients as I did a few years ago, but I've never let it grow until it stopped. "Hell, grow it to the floor, Cat," M. teased me. I have trouble resisting a challange. I wonder if his new job has started yet; must needle him for neglecting me. Well, what goes around comes around, I guess; there are people I've neglected. Oddly, the headache that walked in my door last night and made me miserable, wrapping my head in harsh tentacles, an unwelcome lover that held me through the restless night, releases and disappears as the scream machine is silenced.

I take it in my head to phone Hawk, and he doesn't get past "Hello" before I'm weepy. Stupid. Blame hormones or whatever. The kids hear me crying and come to comfort, but they're getting used to this. Jesus, it sucks needing what I can't have. He teases me and tells me silly stories and makes me laugh. "Feel better? A little?" he inquires. I think I shouldn't have called, but I do feel better for having heard his voice.

A phone call tells me that half of last night's rehersal is now moot; tomorrow's gig has cancelled. So much for Mrs. Santa.

15 December, 2003


Monday Monday, and I can't publish this until I edit and publish the other one (which will look weird because of all the quotation marks and apostrophes unless I edit it in this format).
I found that out the hard way. Anyway, today the therapist and writing CJ's script, if she'll send me the order of the scenes. Pulling up the character descriptions to look at, anyway. Finish cleaning the house, etcetera. Well, far too busy to bitch.

I drive to Lisa's house for a homeschool artgroup, watching the sky. It is lavender and grey, looking like the mountains in the distance. My phone rings. Joy! Hawk is calling to say he might be home this weekend, but don't tell the children yet. The sun shines in a sudden way, warming me outside, as I am warmed within.

Artgroup is good, and I meet Anita and Susan. Alaina takes to Susan instantly. I am not sure I like Anita, though she seems very nice. No reason not to, yet I reserve. Lisa enters, after working Vaughan's early shift, as he is out of town. We talk about a field trip, knitting, cooking. Lisa asks how I manage to feed the children. She hates to cook as much as I do. I tell her, canned soup, mac and cheese, that sort of thing. "I do that, but I feel guilty," she says. "I don’t have enough energy to feel guilty AND cook dinner," I quip. She laughs and keeps saying, "I can’t believe you’re here!" We've been planning for our children to spend time together since they were born, and here it is eight years later, and we're doing it…just as we always planned. The children took to one another immediately when they met on Thursday, and I can easily see them becoming fast friends. Yet another blessing garnered from my fall.

After artgroup, therapy. Chris is as wonderful as Pete, in a quiet gentle way. He is concerned about my swelling, and tries to disguise dismay that Pete set such an ambitious regimen of exercises for me. He asks if I ice. I truthfully tell him that I can’t be still long enough for ice. He asks about heat, and I ask if the shower counts. Yes. Let's do some today. Can you sit for ten minutes? The real answer is no, since within the first fourty five seconds I am leaning to drag my purse near, digging for my therapy putty, to work on my hand and wrist strength. If at all possible, I should try to heat ten minutes and have someone massage my ankle, towards the knee, to reduce the swelling, then do the stretches. There’s no one but me, I say. Chris turns to Garrett, sitting with his book, and asks, "Could you do this for your mom? It’s important to her recovery," as he works my ankle and calf. Garrett guesses so, without any visible sign of commitment. Sent home with a wimpier Theraband and a modified exercise schedule, we head out.

The children want to go shopping. We did for me most of Thursday, so my sense of fairness wrings a reluctant yes. We find parking just as the phone rings. Hawk's voice does not sound encouraging. My voice breaks on "Where are they sending you?" and the tears begin when I try to put a good spin on the answer of Municing, Michigan, saying, "At least it’s good money." I apologize for going to pieces. I tell him I will be too busy to see him this weekend anyway. I blame my emotional state on being premenstrual. Bless his heart, he buys none of it. Twenty years has taught him a thing or two, I guess.

I regain enough control to go inside the store. It has not started well, the store is crowded, and my mood is heavy, not at all prepared to smile at strangers, though I hate to be the stereotypic grouchy holiday shopper. I find an item or two of interest, and help the children with their choices. Alaina is nearly in meltdown mode by the time we exit the checkout. Entering the car, they recall my tears and I am forced to answer their questions while struggling against a fresh bout. Look out the window, kids, and see how beautiful: creature clouds swim about the sky, their bellies lit luminous neon pink and their backs brushed lavender blue. We, or perhaps only I, marvel at them all the way home.

Time for a nap before Garrett's dance class and Hans Brinker. It is dark now. We arrive late for class, having had a hasty meal of spaghetti in the car. Even twenty five minutes, though, did them good. They feel much better, as do I, when I head into the bosom of my new village and all the wonderful folk there. I get the kids settled in their separate spots, and ride with Tim for a coffee run. Jose reminds us when we return that we need to break down the set before going to the Double T with the cast, an Opening Night tradition that was postponed last week in deference to weather-related safety.

The show is being taped, and the kids, especially mine, ape to the camera, becoming even more porcine than usual. I shadow Kelly, the stage manager, as I will do her job tomorrow so she may see the show. I do what I can for strike afterwards, and head to the diner, bringing Tim in my car, along with Garrett, as Tim's wife Lisa has gone ahead with their boys, and Alaina insists on riding with the Peacos. She does not leave Angelica's side the rest of the evening, until the Peacos go home, and she is forced to return to me. Rhonda generously scoots down the bench seat, leaving room enough for me to sit on Jose's other side while we order food but no beer.

We pull up to our house, and it is nearly midnight. A familiar truck sits in front of the drive. Hawk is home. He carries his sleeping daughter to bed, and cuddles his son, telling them a story while tucking them in. He was in Georgia this morning. He has driven eighteen hours in order to be home overnight, "because you sounded so sad," he tells me. More tears, this time joy. He should have stopped for an eight hour break from ten hours driving at about the time he called this afternoon.

He is exhausted. We head upstairs to burrow into the waterbed, cozy and companionable. I massage his back with my good hand. "You’re poking at it with your tongue, aren’t you?" he accuses, referencing my missing tooth.
"How did you know?"
"I could tell by the sound of your silence."
Twenty years has taught him many things, apparently.


I wake reluctant to leave the cozy nest created by a sleeping husband, a waterbed, and a down comforter, though his tigerpurr snoring prohibits further sleep, as does a ten AM call time for a video shoot with the kids. We are a lot late leaving, though only a little late arriving. Having left Hawk with requests to put together the tree and make the guest bed, I am confident that I am prepared with the proper clothes, makeup, and snacks and activities for the children. Sam brings me coffee and arranges my hair as we swap men gripes. She thinks the story of the eighteen hour drive is the most romantic thing she's ever heard. I suppose it makes up for the day-to-day loneliness, these sporadic fairy-tale magnitude gestures. Or they ought to.

The shoot goes well, clean, and David Jones, the director (and our Murder Mystery co-actor) seems satisfied, takes us all out to lunch. We toast one another’s company, and Jose complains, "Aw, no, man, I was just gonna say, 'to beer!'"

I had promised Jason Brown to stop by the Center, where he has rehearsal, to work on music for Autobiography, though he'd sent a message saying that he'd got it, but if I still wanted to stop, he'd play it for me. I stop, and he plays. Brilliant, as usual.

Home for pre-show napping. A familiar truck is parked. He has gone to fetch the load and come back, four hours round trip. I get to spend fifteen minutes with him before heading out to get tonight's sitter…but instead of waking the children and taking them, I leave them sleeping awhile longer. He gives them dinner, and then the four of us, I, the two kids and the sitter, bid him goodbye, and go to the theater. I do better than I expected as stage manager, with just one fairly stupid looking bit that was only partly my fault.

Afterwards, I take the kids home and go back to the Center. I ride in Dan's car, along with Pat, to Spotlighter's, to see Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, a very twisted but fun version of a classic holiday tale. A woman's face baffles me towards the end of the show. I know her face well. Her name in the program is unfamiliar. How do I know this woman? Finally, I decide to ask her about the Renaissance Festival. I do, and she seems confused. Realization begins to dawn on her, and as her face lights up and she squeals, "Chris is not going to believe this," I figure out who she is. She and her now-fiancee are two of my Most Favored Patrons. Her name is Michelle. His name is Chris. They have each participated in the Mimi Flambe show. Wow. I’ve had a relationship with this woman for probably ten years, and never spoken to her. We embrace enthusiastically, then she hurries off to find her parents, who are in the audience.

Dan is hungry, and Jose suggests a diner as opposed to the bar, citing interesting entrees so varied that "even Cybbie will find something to eat." Off we go, to the Paper Moon Diner, which is better than promised. Leaving, Jose sends Dan home to Towson, volunteering to drive Pat and me back to our cars at CAC to save Dan some drive time. Then it's a tour of Jose's old neighborhood, which is well lit for two-thirty AM. After some weirdness with a semi tanker empty, save of a stressed driver, we have traversed the salt-covered city streets back "home" again to the Center. I park my car at the top of my hill, instead of in front of the house, in case of weather.


Here I sit at four thirty in the morning, knowing I've a full day, bringing Tierra The Babysitter home again, cleaning house, show, strike, cast party, and rehearsal for a murder ahead of me, because I hold my breath along with the still quiet of the winter night, waiting for snow to begin to fall. And now that it has, how can I possibly sleep?

I did sleep, though, from six am until eight-thirty, at which point I change tenses and grab my shovel to scoop a path from doorstep to cardoor, all the way up the hill, where I've parked. The snow has switched to rain by this time, and not only is the snow heavy, but I am soggy and stiff-jointed most of the day. On the way, I shovel off the steps, walk and drive of my neighbors Ms. Leona, Mr. Howard and Mr. Howard’s Brother. I don't know which of them Ms. Leona is married to, but all three of them top eighty by a good bit.

Tierra is appreciative, as she's wearing white sneakers and has plans to shop with her friends at the mall. We drop her, drive to Muzzy’s (quick phone call, Mom, can we come over?) where we snuggle puppies who yip and lick and take tiny steps and are in every way just as adorable as two week old baby animals can be. Alaina is coaxed from the puppy box where she's taken up residence for a bite of lunch, and it's off to the theater for Garrett.

On the way home for housecleaning, I get a call from CJ, who is canceling rehearsal, ostensibly due to a possible freeze and the treachery of my hill, but I imagine her fractured tailbone is a factor as well. I still spend an hour rearranging furniture to accommodate a six foot white tree (if I'm going to have a fake tree, it may as well look like a fake tree), sweeping and dusting, then back to the theater for the show, which is surprise, surprise, well attended, given the weather. My seat is way in the back, unfortunately, as I've been popping around trying to be useful and failing miserably.

Post- show strike, and Jose finds things for me to do that do not require much walking. After the cast party, his voice stops me. "Cyb."
"Yes, Jose?”"
He stands with his arm around Alicia, who literally saved the show with her enthusiastic and creative musical direction after the desertion of Paul, who hadn't done much anyway. She's more attractive and mature than a seventeen year old has any right to be.
"Rest, okay?"
And in those words, I hear what I hear every time my former partner tells me "Be careful," or "You have a good day, now." In three years, I have learned to speak Jose.

I don't plan on telling him, though.

12 December, 2003


Avoidance not being my usual modus operendi, I am struggling. But I owe it to myself, I think, to keep the promise I made to me, to work out what I think and how I feel before wrapping the wrong words around something.


11 December, 2003

Today the sky was the surface of the sea, as viewed from beneath.

It's hard to drive when the sky is so fascinating.

By the way, Lit.org is back, in case anyone cares. AND I got two new messages, one of them validating a gorgeous piece of work that the subject never appreciated.

This weekend looks overstuffed. I hope I survive.

10 December, 2003

Unreasonable Panic

Which implies that there may be such a thing as Reasonable Panic, which I will neither argue nor refute at this time.

I am here to whine, and yes, I WOULD like cheese with that.

I got a comment on something I posted to Lit.org (go ahead, try, maybe it will work now), and was gutshot suckerpunched when I got an error message of "this account has expired, please see accounts payable." WHAT????

No, no, don't take from me my newly found community (albeit virtual, remote, nearly fictional, and even at that, tiny) and my forum for new material, and a favored reading spot as well, no, not that! And I can't see my comment, only that Penelope posted it. Penelope, who is wise and literate and prolific and Canadian, if none of that contradicts.

Well, I will be patient (I can be, given the right frame of mind) and hope that it sorts itself out. In part, I hope so because I have an unfinished poem on my Lit.org blog, and I'd like the chance to recover it and make it into something, rather than have it lost in the netherworld of cyberspace.

In the meantime, I stumbled across a blog entitled this is not my beautiful house, which appeals to me on so many levels. Next, the requisite visit to Belle du Jour. And here I am.

Enter whining.

09 December, 2003

Belle du Jour

The sun is bright, my mood is chipper, I have more housework than I care to contemplate, and yet here I go, nosing around a very literate prostitute's blogspot. And from that site, this:

mardi, novembre 18
There are work knickers, and there are Boyfriend knickers, and never the twain shall meet.

Work knickers, I've learnt from experience, should be big. Not big white undies as such, but for some reason punters prefer metres of lace to bare flesh. Remember this picture of Liz Hurley that fuelled a thousand fantasies? Other pics from the same set show my favourite star-who-isn't-a-working-girl-but-should-be in far less clothing, but the black knickered, hold-up'ped Liz is the one that sticks. Call it the power of the tease. Call it the logic of the hourly rate: the more there is to take off, the better value they think they've had. Whatever. So work gets big lacy pants like these.

Boyfriend knickers on the other hand tend to be small. Thongs. Take it off with your teeth-type stuff. Sporty, functional, but cheek and lots of it. Covering less area than a swimsuit, not more. Gap is a favourite here.

Work knickers and boyfriend knickers don't even share geography - they occupy different drawers altogether.

There is, of course, the third, unspoken category, and that is Laundry Day knickers. These are usually of the solid cotton, 'sold in packs of three at M&S' variety. But shh, I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone.

// posted by belle @ 10:00 AM

Having neither work nor boyfriend, I wonder how to explain my lack of Laundry Day panties. Still, Hawk gets a kick out of bragging to his brothers-in-law about my undergarments. Apparantly, his sisters are way off the deep end into Granny Panties. Sheesh. Some women know NOTHING about men.

08 December, 2003

Gone Again

Arriving after we'd left for the theater Saturday evening, wrapping me in warmth and safety Saturday night and all day Sunday, he slept beside me, strangely quiet. Often I cannot drift off for his snoring, and must nudge him around until he stops, but not last night. But could I sleep, comforted as I was by those big arms and the rumble of his breath in my ear? After the initial restful three hours from eleven to one, I found I could not. Restless, I spent my time stroking his skin, tangling my fingers in his silky hair, curling up against his body in various curving lines. Perhaps he was relieved that Pogo barked and kept me out of bed and away from him for an hour or more, which I filled with a load of laundry, a list, a trip outside to the garbage can and a fresh poem. When he left me at five this morning, I huddled down mournful into the bed again, not venturing out until well past nine. It used to be four and a half hours was my total night's sleep, not the second half.

07 December, 2003

White Glory

The shooting for today is cancelled.

Instead, I grab a shovel, set to exercise my body, lungs and senses. Tiny flakes adorn my face until brusque wind pushes clouds away. Sun beams bold against the white, leaving sky a color there is no word to describe, so beautiful it hurt my eyes to see.

06 December, 2003

Saturday, Video Shoot

Still on target to shoot a video today, though it is snowing, snowing, snowing, and the world has once again become indescribably, unbearably, deliciously gorgeous.

I have survived eight months without this kind of glory. And stiff blue fingers as I type in the sunroom, the skylights blocked by pillows of white fluff, seems a small, yes, trivial price for such beauty.

This spring, I thought I'd written the best poetry I would ever write, driven by the winter's fabulous weather and my intense emotional reaction to it. I was wrong. This summer, I was changed in ways I never expected to be changed, and began writing more, better, deeper (perhaps). I experienced emotional upheaval as never before, and if it doesn't reflect back at me from the page, I will be dumbfounded. Though I may not be able to judge accurately until I have the distance of a year or more. Considering that the upheaval is ongoing, I wonder if I will get it.

It's very difficult to be objective about my work. I can say, "It's good," or "It's not as good as some of the other stuff," or I can say "It's garbage," and never know whether any of those statements are truth, opinion, or stem from my feelings about the subject.

Opening Night went well. A crowd of eighty or so turned out for Hans Brinker, despite, or perhaps because of, poor weather conditions. For a show set in frozen Holland, perhaps sleet turning to snow was appropriate. Garrett was his sunny sonny self, and the show, while imperfect from a perfectionistic directorial point of view, went off hitch-free.

My first physical therapy appointment also went well. I met Pete, who will confer with Chris, and they will conspire to care for me once a week, but it's up to me to do my own therapy at home with exercises designed to increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance of my injured areas. Once again, I am on my own, with minimal supervision.

When what I desparately crave is someone to watch over me, to take care of me, to love me and be there for me...of course, I'm transferring, and that's unreasonable. The Universe conspires to teach me independance, and I resist learning it.

No fault but mine, then.

04 December, 2003

The path of the journey of life is riddled with potholes and scenic nooks into which one may fall and be lost for moments, weeks, decades. It's not about the journey. It's not even about the detours. It's about the unexpected, the surprise.

At least, today it is. On my way here to post something else, I discover, through my semi-random, title-generated wanderings, the blog of a person with a zenmind. Very cool stuff, that. Was it a pothole or a scenic nook? Depends, I guess, on one's perspective. It's all about perspective, isn't it? No, it couldn't be. I just said it was all about surprises. Well, I'm of two minds about that, then. At least.

What I came here for was to post my most recent horoscope, from Rob Breszny's site as I found it strangely encouraging. Here it is.

I'm worried you'll suffer an attack of shyness or modesty this week. Instead of pushing to get exactly what you want, you might dream up lame excuses to explain to yourself why it's OK if you don't get exactly what you want. Or you may be satisfied too easily and retreat to your hiding place before fate has a chance to bestow the fullness of its unexpected blessings on you. Please fight off this trend, Cancerian. Give your inner wimp a dozen roses and send your inner warrior out to collect your just deserts.

I have lately been accused of pushiness and impatience, by someone I care for very deeply. I have been told that I "should" be satisfied with less, that I "shouldn't" be loud and flirtatious, that I need to learn this or that lesson, mostly having to do with restraint and self-denial. I spent many years in that hiding place, and it was dark and cold and lonely. I won't go back, but it hurts me to think that someone thinks I "should."

It's a relief, a comfort, to have an astrological refute.

02 December, 2003

Dental Work

On my drive to the office, the clouds are puffy and bright. In the center of my sightline is a massive formation, heavy, grey, riddled with holes through which the sun bleeds through in brilliant beams. It's the sort of sky Renaissance painters would use to indicate the presence of God. I go the wrong way by accident, likely divine, engineered so that I could view from just the right angle for just the right number of moments.

The oral surgeon is a sweetheart. He shoots first and talks long enough for me to get good and numb. Some of the members of the dental practice leave me alone so long that the Novacaine starts to wear off; evidently I process it quickly. He gets directly to work, talking me through the whole process, warning me of pressure. I can hear the tooth begin to splinter and fragment. His assistant holds a spanner, a tool designed to yank my lip out of the way of his work. On my other side, a rubber bite grip separates my teeth. Now the drill comes out. I imagine the sky. I try to distract myself with pranic breathing: six counts in, six counts out. The drill bleats inside my head, a screaming chainsaw of an instrument, singing the most miserable tune I know, changing pitch when blade meets bone again and again. Dr. Garden's fingers bore into my jawline, holding me tightly as he begins the pull. In my mind, I see round green and yellow bruises lined up like birds on a wire. I reach for the sky with my mind.

When they pause, asking if I hurt, feel pain, I spit the bite grip into my hand and mumble an explaination about my noise sensitivity. "Don't do vacuums. Don't do hairdryers." Dr. Garden chuckles, "You're in the wrong place, then." He is unhurried, but speedy. His touch is gentle but strong and secure. Kim, the assistant, is sympathetic, efficient and just dead on right there. "Terrible pressure, terrible noise," warns the doctor. A crack like breaking branch of sycamore resounds in my head and I feel a particle of something land in my lap. I am certain it is a shard of bloody tooth. This process repeats for the second half of the tooth...and then it's time to get the roots out. I retreat to the sky. In, two three four five six; out, two three four five six. I think of the sky, the sunset I shared Sunday with Adam as I drove him back to his apartment. I conjure in my mind gold and pink and purple, with glimmer shining through, golden rays of God.

Evenutually, it is over, and I leave the office with scrips for pain meds and antibiotics. By the time I reach my car, checking my twisted face in the rear view mirror, my jaw has already begun to ache.

Dr. Garden and Kim said I did well. I wonder what that means, doing well. I don't think I'm doing well right now.