26 December, 2004

Night Falls

For a moment, the sky is a gasp of gorgeous, striated magenta, plum and lavender, a goodnight kiss before tenacious dark.



22 December, 2004

Perceived Warmth

Cold wind curls around unclad ankles, slithers up skirt to lick the backs of naked knees. Bravado and vanity notwithstanding, tiny scraps of white satin may have been an unwise choice.

The red would have been better.

20 December, 2004

The File

...kind of hush all over the world tonight/ All over the world...
.

My prowly ways are mitigated yet again by houseguests, and I retire earlier than the dinnertime coffee recommends as wise. Silence wakes me, loud, strong, keeps me awake, listening for something to cut through its depth.

I can hear numbers changing on my digital clock. The red glowing 5:45 is a lie. I haven't changed it back an hour, indeed have forgotten when it was I should have done so.

Audible is a rhythmic thrum of generator, distant, near, or perhaps the surge of power through lines just outside my icy window. Rise, peek out, touching chill glass. No snow.

Often a fresh blanket of deep damp muffles what few sounds occur on a snowy night. No. The sky is clear, the ground brittle.

The city holds its breath.


**********

I search for a cache of cards I remember owning, know I kept in THIS DRAWER, so I hunt, hopeful, fruitless, and find The File instead.

I it find buried... but carefully, tenderly, even, among things I no longer use. I had set up the desk, the drawer, thinking to use it for correspondence. My computer took over, then died. Of course, until I call upon My Hero to help retrieve things stored on the dead computer's hard drive, I can't get rid of it. The whole area becomes a wasteland, an abandoned washing machine on an empty lot in a dirty city.

I think of the book I am reading, how Kath appears where she wasn't supposed to appear, as he searches for something else.

I pull out The File, thumb through it. Stories I remember loving, in obsolete blue of the now-defunct mimeograph machine, one of them dedicated to me. Two old snapshots, greenish grey, the subject blurry and all but unrecognizable,(though inept with an F-stop, I attempted to prove a certain level of competance as a photographer- stil do, actually), dated 1982. A tiny typewritten note, signed.

I searched for The File early this summer, remember coming across it as I moved papers from one arena of my life- 'arena' here meaning 'room'- to another. I have far too many 'arenas,' and have yet to settle on a system of paper-keeping that satisfies me. I remember thinking as I touched The File, ach, I'll probably never need this, I ought to get rid of it. And so when I failed to find The File this summer, I thought I had perhaps disposed of it. Evidently, I did not, tucking it away instead, treasure to unearth when I searched for something else.

A quick scramble garners a few additions. I tuck them into The File, and replace it. I may one day decide to toss the whole thing, but honestly, I doubt it.

It will be left for the living to ponder.


(There's A Kind Of Hush; Herman's Hermits)

17 December, 2004

Supermodel? No.

...cat moves/ That so upset them/ Zippers and buttons/ Fun to frustrate them....


In my quest for the perfect 'fabulously interesting page,' I hesitate to post something substandard, unworthy to bump ~this post~ into the archives. I resign myself to not finding it, resolve to break through my uninspired perfectionism.

Warm honey sifts through my hair, cups my cheek. Nestling into sweetness, I am tempted to remove my top. This September-golden sun teases me today, as it crippled me last night.

Fairness would require that I be incapacitated only by impending ominous weather, but there is little in the universe that understands 'fair' as humans have defined it.

**************

I watch Victoria's Secret commercials that give the cachet of diamonds to women's lingere. Somewhat easier on the wallet. Possibly.

"Look at that, they're targeting the male buyer!'

"What? They've been doing that for two or three years now. Ever since the VS show during SuperBowl, they've had supermodels making legs and cleavage at us poor unsuspecting Mr. Sofaholics, with their wet lips and doe eyes, promising us that our women will look like them in that overpriced underwear, which they don't. Where've YOU been?"

Bristle, bristle. I KNOW I don't have supermodel legs. My ass, however, is world-class.

"Not paying attention to male-targeted advertising, I guess. Anyway, I've changed my mind. Now I DO want diamonds."

Nyyyyyaaaahhhh.

(I Know What Boys Like; The Waitresses)

13 December, 2004

Unseasonable Weather

March breeze blows through this December day, warm and wet and wild, like much-missed lover's kiss, taking with it vestiges of sun, leaving bonechill damp behind.

I protest and leave my ankles bare against the wind.

We venture out, grateful for gloves and BeachBaby's working heater.

The herrings pack the stores without benefit of sour cream to ease friction between unfriendly shoppers.

'Tis the season.

12 December, 2004

Altitude Factory

...I don't normally break into spontaneous dancing. - Martin Ewen



He tells me he's leaving his large duster.

"I only ever use it at Ren-nay-sance, anyway."

It sounds like a promise.

The children watch the video, then ask to watch it again immediately. I, mezmerized, agree, happy for the opportunity to stare, without risk of embarrassment.

---rewind---

They insist on leaving tonight, immediately after workshop. I'd rather they start fresh in the morning, but Izzy's got a point about traffic. They consent to tea and biscuits before they leave, and I give directions that (I hope) will cut twenty-five minutes from their trip, though they both seem easily as expert as Hilby at getting lost.

---rewind---

He shows us his trademark moves. I watch, unable to copy. My body is stiff from weather and more effort than I've expended since MotionFest. Though the stilts are light, I am less able than I'd hoped. Martin instructs me to smooth out my walk before I try any fancy stuff. I am surprised by how much control this takes. She watches, copies, modifies. I wonder if I'll be able to catch up.

---rewind---

Sun slinks across the porch; she blossoms from her sweater, revealing a top that clearly doesn't support the wearing of any bra.

---rewind---

Glittery branches embrace a streetlight, break murky velvet of rapacious fog. Once more into the mists, into the studio, to wrap ourselves with towels and tape, hoping for grace and agility. Wyatt Jaster is excited. The three children learn a fun little fancy thing that should reap a few laughs, if they can pull it off. It involves the two boys gently lowering Fuzzy to her knees and leaving her, in order to pick her up later. This presupposes that the well-meaning patronage will let the little girl sit on the ground without attempting to 'help.'

---rewind---

To combat the day's drear, I serve hot soup, bread, cheese. I make apologies for the peasanty meal, but the crowd of avid eaters seems well satisfied.

"You're a C cup!"

Yes, and?

"We're supposed to be the same size!"

Really. Are we?

"I went rooting through your underwear drawer, to steal a bra, and you're a C cup!"

Her indignation is palpable.

"I say I'm a B, which is a lie, because I'm really more like an A and a half."

Sorry for the inconvenience. (And a little surprised that she doesn't describe herself as an A-plus.)

---rewind---

Through unshuttered windows of the dance studio, grey mist streams in to wrap around us as we work, watching our reflections in silvergrey mirrors. The fitting process is awkward, hampered by lack of a stable stand. The windowsill works, but crowds our shoulders and we contort into disfiguring positions to remain balanced, which throws off the balance of the stilt. This is fine precision tuning, the likes of which I've never experienced on a pair of stilts. Or anything, for that matter.

---rewind---

"Honey, why does it make me crazy that Izzy calls me 'Sybil,' but it doesn’t bother me at all when Martin does it?"

"Because you think it sounds cute in the Kiwi’s accent."

"Yeah. I do."

---rewind---

December does not preclude top-down days. Izzy and I ride, searching for a particular sort of screw, with the top down all day long. In the long run, do self-routing screws make a difference in stilt quality? Only Izzy knows for sure. His standards of construction are incredibly high.

---rewind---

The gig, while not quite a clusterfuck, is annoying enough all around to be only very slightly fun. Still, I am grateful to it, for providing impetus for the Altitude Factory, which currently resides in my basement in form of lengthy chunks of hickory and assorted mysterious noises.

---rewind---

We wait for, and receive, a call. It is earlier than I expected. The boys are lost. Quelle suprise. They think they're in a bad neighborhood, but they can see St. Agnes, so I know they're safe. They'll be safer yet, in a bit.

I like being thought of as 'home.'


11 December, 2004

More Vivid

In a dream, I watch him work, until he looks up and notices me. He stops. The spell is broken, and we look away from one another, uncomfortable, until my dream shifts focus.

09 December, 2004

What? Um....

...It's a mystery !



"Mama, who delivers the mailman's mail?"


(Shakespeare In Love; Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard)

05 December, 2004

Oh. Yes?

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

And there are days when things happen that make you say FUCK! Very loudly, over and over again. And this may cause you to suspect that things happen so that you have something interesting to write about. To which I say, with all due volume, fuck!

And resist.

Now returning to the regularly scheduled format of "overly arty."

I find myself among the hot, the hip, the happening, the urban and the urbane, and (perhaps) the german and the germaine. I am at AVAM for the ---something that's called something far, far more hip than 'craft show'---- and the scent of freshly prepared vegan food wafts into my nostrils as I fondle a elegantly priced scarf.

***

The moon grins back at me, without the cat that left it.

***

Soft, he lays a hand on my shoulder. I am startled by the contact, and oddly pleased.


03 December, 2004

Roadkill Mink

...Faces look ugly when you’re alone/ Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted/ Streets are uneven when you’re down....


The world is weird. Everywhere I drive, I notice evidence of small creatures who have hurled themselves beneath the wheels of oncoming vehicles. Could this be Vehiculicide Rodentialis? Is there more roadkill, or am I just noticing more? Weird, either way.

More weird: No one in the world likes my favorite soup, yet I find it on Estelle's blog, which makes me say, qu est que c'est?

The Animal, who was the main topic of Letters last week, gets nary a mention this week. Perhaps he's been somewhat less inflammatory than usual? Probably not.

Baltimore native Mink Stole is in John Waters' new flick, A Dirty Shame, and Tim Kreider sports a drawing of himself and his friend Boyd as trouserless (okay, tightless) superheroes. Which is disturbing, because now I'm getting a disturbing image of Christopher Reeve as a half-naked Superman. Before he died. Imagining him as a pantless superhero postmortem goes way beyond disturbing into....well, I'm not sure what the word is, but it's really, really bad.

Other weirdness: It just so happens that I know one of the lawyers defending the Wisconsin shotgun treestand squatter. I don't know him well, mind you; he's CandyBoy's brother. And for another angle on this nauseating story,GunMuse ruminates.

Military regulations with a twist-- 213 Things Skippy Can't Do, courtesy of Mistress Matisse.

Martin returns to the scene of the mime, and will exit some number of hickory stilts lighter, as I retire our lumpish two-by-four models and become an airy, graceful eight foot fairy sprite. This I would not ordinarily include as a 'weird' offering, as it seems like a perfectly normal statement to me, but I begin to realize that 'normal' is really much more boring and pedestrian than I had previously believed.

(People Are Strange; The Doors)

02 December, 2004

...from the folks who brought us Bat Boy....

This is damn funny.

The photograph especially. Though I imagine the unwashed hordes will not recognize it.

Audience? Show?

...Punk ass trippin in the dead of night/ homies score and key is gonna fly, punk ass fly ....

Enter.

Me:
So I said to her, I don't know all the terminology, like what the hell is a rule change, and what if she doesn't decide to go back to work, maybe she thinks, 'hey, this homeschooling thing is fun' and then you don't need me after all, unless it's scripted, because I don't know how much reality is in these shows, and I don't really believe in reality anyway.

(General uproar.)

Coco:
That's probably the truest thing you ever said. You can stop right there. That's fucking hilarious.

Prince:
Shh-yyyaaahaah.

Later:

Coco:
See that room with the one small table?"

Prince:
That's where we're playing.

Barmaid:
It's a small crowd.

BuddahPat:
We can challenge them to wrestling.

Me:
And win.

Play.

Coco comes round as I make up with blue eyeliner, frowning. I lean back; she reaches forward to pat my breasts, lifting and squeezing each one.

"That's all you."
"I said I wasn't going to augment."
"I know, but... damn, that's a good bra."

I shimmy, coo, flirt, flip my hair, pose, lean, pout... and realize I've been playing versions of this role for fifteen years.

Two days ago, to the Prince: "See you. I'm off to find something trashy. Not that I don't have that already."
"Shhh-yaahaah."
"Okay, something trashy and NOT BLACK."

Head to one side, Fluffy surveys me. "It's awfully short and tight, Mama."
"Perfect."

I am the Vampy Other Woman. The woman in the Wife role is ten years my junior, but she frumps up nicely and I am convincing, despite the harsh fluorescent bathroom lighting's declaration that there are fine lines around my eyes, and I should make up a new lie about my age.

Exit.

The moon hangs heavy on the horizon, juicy, like a slice of slightly overripe peach.

Perhaps we're all just hungry.

BuddahPat:
The reason the moon looks so big is because we're seeing it through all the moisture in the atmosphere.

Prince:
And the water acts as a magnifier, does it? What are those stars over there?

Me:
That's the Little Dipper. I thought the moon looked big because it IS big.

BuddahPat:
You never saw stars in Jersey? It is big, but it's also very far away.

Prince:
Not through the haze of smog, no. What are those red stars over there?

Barmaid:
Shut up about the stars already! I'm so hungry...

BuddahPat:
Those are the Polar Lights.

Me:
Right, they're on that stick because that's the East Pole.

BuddahPat:
And those are the Polar Lights.

Coco:
Should I go around this traffic circle one more time?

Why there's a traffic circle around a bunch of pine trees in the middle of an agricultural area occupies our fancies for the next ten minutes or so.

Giggling ensues. Chortles, hoots, guffaws, chuckles, snarfs, whoops, snickers, and all other words for cohorts who love one another's company making joyful noises occupy us for the fourty minute drive home.

All too short a ride, considering.

(Dynamite Hack covers NWA's Boyz-N-the-Hood)

30 November, 2004

Research Blockage

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

Satin sheets remind my feet how long it's been since their last pedicure.

*****

Current issue: to find a science fiction writer who writes seriously (not Douglas Adams, thanks) about aliens interacting with humans...and who is deceased. Otherwise, Arthur C. Clarke would be perfect.

Any ideas?

Please.

27 November, 2004

Overstuffed Weekend

...and we went back to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat,and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.....


The current meme is holiday weekend themed haiku. I succumb. Blame el sid; she started it.

Thanksgiving Redux
reheats bless us every one
ad infinitum.

It's overload and overload and overload, on food, on family, on shopping, on weather changes. This is not a complaint. But this is:

It has annoyed me for years (and years) that as many times as I've tried this soup, and as many different versions I've attempted, I in fact am THE ONLY ONE who likes it. So here is the recipe.

Harvest Soup (totally vegan, uhf-dah!)

1 teaspoon curry
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
2 baking apples, chopped but not peeled
5 large carrots, chopped
4 pounds butternut squash, cooked and peeled
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Saute the chopped stuff in the olive oil in a very large saucepot- the one you use to cook lots of pasta should be good. Add the squash and the broth; stir and simmer together for a bit. Puree it in batches in the blender to desired smoothness: I like mine slightly chunky. If you prefer more spice than sweet, try it with 2 teaspoons of curry, or add some Old Bay.


Maybe someone out there in the blogosphere will like it. With many thanks to Sachiko, who often shares her recipes. She also shares the following:

My life seems to have grown profoundly dull. Ought I continue with these mundane posts, or wait until something good happens?

Oh, what is it that Rilke says.. "If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place." (Letters to a Young Poet)


Mmmm. Is that what I've been doing?

(Alice's Restaurant; Arlo Guthrie)

26 November, 2004

Scrapbook Mind

...people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago....


Stripped trees cling to stray leaves in a futile effort to cover their stark nakedness.

****

I have no memory of her face, no recollection of our interaction, simply an image of her fingers, delicate and pale, tipped with squared off nails freshly manicured pink and white, just the image of her hands, a Poloriod snapshot with no name or date.

****

Rain drums heavy on the roof, snaredrum pounding heavy as summer storms. Thinking (not thinking) of someone I used to know, I roll over, trying to hide from my thoughts, relentless as the rain.

****

I reach out one armed, awkward, to embrace her as she weeps. "Two weeks ago. She was my best friend." Fragile shoulders shake with sobs. Gentle, helpless, I stroke the small bones of her back and shoulders, wish to take her home to comfort her recent loss. I think of losing Pogo, that wound so fresh yet six months (already) old.

I cannot take this woman home. She's leaving. "Try to have a happy holiday anyway," the grocery checkout girl says sofly as she goes.

****

Sun breaks through sudden, shining strong and golden, a smile from Heaven amidst the scowling clouds.

****

"Hold still," he says, touching a hand-held device to the air surrounding my throat. "Oh, yeah, she's hot," he declares to no one in particular. "I have digital confirmation."

****

In shimmering greycloud damp, I spread arms outward and turn face up to catch the mist upon it, open wide to the world in all its wonderful permutations.


(Picture Book; The Kinks)

23 November, 2004

Goddamn Humans

"...go ahead and go. It'll be quieter without you." -Ray Romano in Ice Age

It gets more and more bizarre. One gun among them, they hurl racial slurs at a man with an assault rifle. Stupid, stupid, stupid hunters in Wisconsin.

And while we're at it, Tom Ridge is an asshole.

I think I'm onto a theme.

This will be Things That Piss Me Off week.


Pervasive Grey

...I met a girl who sang the blues/ And I asked her for some happy news/ But she just smiled and turned away.....


It's an introspective day. The world is a quiet shade of grey. Sound is muffled by airborne moisture. Today, I forage at the grocery, for I do not wish to be among the humans tomorrow. I will see my in-laws on Thursday, and be with my mother and sister on Friday. I will think of my father, and perhaps speak to him.

My ex-partner will be elsewhere. He wouldn't say.

I think only Hawk understands how I feel about Jay.

It's an introspective day, a day for projects, and I have no shortage of those. A script for my class, the MWA newsletter, Posthumous Cafe, and the latest thing to nudge my brain, the Francis Scott Key script.

It's an introspective day, when news that hits my ears makes me shake my head. Humans are so stupid. Here's the Wisconsin Tree Stand Story.

(American Pie; Don McLean)

21 November, 2004

"Women in convertibles are like low hanging fruit."-Marg Helgenberger on CSI


So what was the deal with George Eades and Jorja Fox? Just this. Somebody snail mailed, somebody overslept, somebody overreacted. I’ve watched all three CSIs, but obviously the best writers are on the original one. Not only are the characters on 'Miami' and 'New York' flat, but so is the dialogue.

I’m getting paid for a little Santa Arrival script I wrote for the PG County Mall, which is no longer being called the PG County Mall but will be anyway, so I’m on a bit of a kick; go figure.

This morning, Hawk and I discuss Shakespeare. In the shower. ‘S’okay, we’ve been married a long time. Hawk maintains that The Bard was a hack, which I do not argue, but in the English language, there’s no one credited with a more influential body of work. Or with being more influence on our daily speech. He had a knack with words. Hawk, however, has a knack with a loofah. Mmmmm.

What I’m reading now is a fascinating blend of two of my favorite things: scent and language. It’s called Perfume, and the author, Patrick Suskind, (whose name includes an umlaut , so please imagine it, because I haven’t figured out how to do an umlaut ), writes in lush language about a man who lives by his nose. It was published in 1985, in German, and is set in France during the seventeensomethings. This book is at least twelve different kinds of lush. Amazing, really. Good story, rich narrative and a main character who is compelling but in no way loveable. Terrific stuff- I’m reining myself in so as not to race through it, because then I’ll be done with it and that always makes me so very sad, to be done with a book I’ve been enjoying.

However, that would (maybe) force me to work on Posthumous CafĂ©. I’m well and truly stuck. I think I have to write around and around the stuck part until it works itself loose, like the snarls in my hair. What I really want is to go hang out at Ellen’s place and chainsmoke with a beer close by while I write longhand. I’ve been promising myself…..the next time someone offers to take the weasels off my hands, that’s precisely what I shall do. I’d hoped that NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month would push me into completing this pup by month’s end, but no such luck. Ah, well. Maybe for New Year’s I’ll have it finished.

So I resolve, so it shall be done.

Sure.


19 November, 2004

Ephemera Revisited

.
..I can make you mine, taste your lips of wine/ Anytime night or day ....


I dreamed of you last night.

Did you dream of me?

If we dreamed a dream together, was it really dreaming?

And if it wasn’t dreaming, what shall we call it?

****************************

At the last minute, I swap beige lace hipsters for white satin boyleg panties and a matching pushup bra.

No sense getting stuck in a rut.

(All I Have To Do Is Dream; The Everly Brothers)

18 November, 2004

Tasting Honey

Soft lips heat vein behind ear as bristly stubble tickles spot where neck meets shoulder. Shivers tingle through spine; squeals and giggles ensue.

The children stare in amazement. Mother never makes noises like that.

At least not without a beer in her hand.

17 November, 2004

Challenge: Kiosk

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....


"I'm going kiosking," she announced.

He looked startled. But he often did, ever since she'd shaved his eyebrows on one drunken latenightearlymorning just before passoutpoint occasion.

She explained. "At the mall, they have these kiosks, you know? Don't get them confused with the carts, because that's a totally, totally different thing. The rule is to not go into any of the shops but only shop at the kiosks."

"Mmm. Kiosking. Sounds like something Eskimos do."

"Maybe they do. Are you coming?"

He fumbled for some shoes that matched- each other, not his outfit, if it could be called an outfit. He was certainly a zero on the sexuality graph. He had no homo in him, or he wouldn't have been wearing THAT shirt with THOSE courderoys. He was SO zero that he wasn't even certain if anything on his body was clean. Including his body. Maybe he would find clean socks at a kiosk. He KNEW his socks weren't clean.

As she drove to the mall, he spotted a kiosk-like structure. "Hey, is that one?"

"One what?" She'd been concentrating on driving.

"Kiosk."

"No. That's a pavillion. It's different."

"How can you tell?"

"Size, mostly."

"It always comes down to size, doesn't it?"

"Well, YOU don't have anything to worry about," she replied. And, after a moment, "Though I agree that it's kioskian in structure. But to be a kiosk, it has to be on a smaller scale."

They entered the mall. What a sight! Kiosk after kiosk after kiosk, stretching as far as the eye could see, kiosks lining the interior horizon of the mall. Eyes aglow, she stepped forth resolutely in her foolish, overpriced shoes. The first kiosk sold Hatorade,in Evil, Badass, Malicious and Spite. The next kiosk was stocked with Ugg boots in various colors not found in Nature,and the third carried furry lounge pants, mostly in hues of green. He began to become bored.

"So is a kiosk different from a pagoda?"

She tilted her head to the side, considering.

"I'll have to look that up," she said. He laughed.

"See, there's the difference between you and me. Or guys and girls in general, I guess. I'd never have admitted that I didn't know. I'd've said, A kiosk and a pagoda are the same thing, one's just Chinese and the other Laplandish. Or whatever."

She gave him the "you're so very strange" look. "By telling me that you wouldn't have admitted that you didn't know, haven't you just weakened your position for any time in the future when you claim to know something but I know you don't?"

"I never figured I was fooling you, anyway."

"Wow," she said. "Look at the beautiful, translucent skin on that redheaded kiosk girl."

She was not a zero.

Much to his delight.

************************

And for those of you who'd like some content, my Reading List.

16 November, 2004

MotionFest Finale

"Get out of your head and come to your senses." -Bob Fitch


"Karl, why is Frisco on the roof?"

Frisco is sprawled across the sharply raked roof of a tiny shedlike structure inside the theatre where the sound person will be stationed during the show.

Karl glances over my shoulder and flicks his eyes skyward. I lean close to hear him. I can only hear Karl when I am right next to him. With a deep inhale, in his smokey toned voice he answers, "Well, dis guy wahs showing Frisco somesing he does, so Frisco has to show him zat he can do somesing, too."

This makes perfect sense to me. Because I was warned.

"You'll like Frisco. But he's weird."

"I like weird."

"No, he's realllllly weird."

"Even for me?"

"Even for you."

And so he is. Frisco is seven different flavors of weird, all of them more or less delicious. He hugs me at the airport, by way of a how-d'ya-do. First impression? Not weird. Adorable. Last impression? Adorable. Weird. Not mutually exclusive.

****************

Our first guest arrives at the airport at noon on Tuesday. "MotionFest has officially begun," says Michael. I bring him to Reisterstown to pass him off to Michael. Rich has gotten the idea that I am Mike's wife, and wonders why my children refer to their father as Mike, but not aloud, so I can't correct him. I get this later from Heddy, who IS Michael's wife.

I take down airlines, arrival times and cellphone numbers, and become so familiar with the construction patterns at BWI airport that I cease to see crains, earthmovers or dumptrucks. My first pickup Wednesday morning is an overly muscled young breakdancer from Seattle with grand dreams. I wonder how he'll blend.

Bob next, then Todd, separate trips. I remember to start collecting receipts at the toll tunnel. I return home; Hawk arrives! We drop Garrett off at dance class, then do errands together. It's fun to be a family for a bit. We all watch the end of Garrett's class, which is rehearsal for next week's show.

Final pickup Wednesday evening is Karl Baumann and Frisco Canyon, both formerly of Mystere. Karl amazed me in Quidam, and at Motion Fest 1 as a last-minute substitute. Frisco is an unknown. Their flight is not late, but because they've plenty of oversized luggage, it takes a while for them to arrive curbside. It takes so long that the coffee I drank earlier is finished energizing my body and demands to be released. The battery on my cell phone is dying. I park, convinced I'll have better success finding missing Cirquesters with eyeballs white rather than yellow.

I stride through the airport, waistband a bit more comfortable, and the phone rings. I find my quarry, distribute hugs, retrieve them and return to the hotel. Popping by the Creative Alliance, I catch just a bit of the video shoot. Chris the Renaissance Man is in fine form. I stay briefly, spotting my favorite Animal and one of his redheaded Desdemonas, giving directions to my house to Keith the Leaf, who will arrive later with Evan Young for an overnight.

Thursday is similar. Drew Richardson spots me, says "I never thanked you for the nice things you wrote about me on Performers.net." What was that? "Something about my hair... could I quote you?" Oh, yes please. And here it is, me on Drew Richardson: "He deserves an international reputation, and I hope he gets it. His hair alone deserves recognition." Robert Nelson meets me on the Mezanine to pick up Jim. "I'll ride with you," he says. "We can take my rental car. It's big. Martin asked for a big pony, so that's what I got," he says. "You can drive." He hands me the keys.

I take Bob Fitch's non-intensive workshop, because Bob Fitch delights me, then leave to teach Storybook Make Believe. The kids stay home with Hawk, and I have just enough time to dig up props for Saturday's murder mystery. I won't be in it, but my stuff will be.

Back to the airport for Joanie Spina. I circle around and circle around and circle around, starting to worry. I call Michael and ask for a description. "Really tall, black hair, think Vegas showgirl." M'kay.

I finally get Joanie on the phone. My battery is still working, and my bladder is empty, so I'm good. Joanie sounds frazzled. "What are you wearing?"

"Oh, a work jacket and a sloppy tee shirt. I don't look very nice. Shoulder length brown hair, look for the middle-aged fat woman." M'kay.

I find her. Neither description was accurate. She steps forward when she spots my car, which I've described perfectly, thank you. I chide her. "You're no middle aged fat woman."

"I am my mother," she laments. She's skittish. I'm reassuring. I help her check in. I'm home in time for the second half of CSI.

Friday is rainy. I journey to Baltimore Stage Lighting for some gels that Phil needs, then go to pick up Harborplace coupon books and lunch from Port City Java. I return to the hotel with beach on the brain, and run into Frisco, who opines that I should take his session because "we've formed a bond." Have we indeed. He suggests makeup, to accent my expressions. He's wearing whiteface. I haven't brought any. I charge a hundred bucks just to open the box. I don't mention that. "Well, regular cosmetics, then," says Frisco. "I'll dig some out of my car." (I keep a kit in the glovebox, because vanity insists. Gloves I also keep in the glovebox, because logic dictates.) "I should let you do my makeup," I quip, "though perhaps that's more bonding than we want." Frisco considers. "Well, we won't know unless we try," says he. Lunch arrives, forestalling the threatened beautification process.

Vegan food is delivered by the Yabba Pot ladies, and I tuck into my lunch with high enthusiasm. Stuffed grape leaves, peas and rice, seaweed salad, mashed yams and a cucumber punch that knocks me out. I make a big deal of this. "It's like a party in my mouth, good food, good people, good music. And a foot masage." "Can I quote you?" the Yabba Pot lady asks. By all means. Please.

Okay, have I mentioned that Frisco is weird? Can we exist in a world where Frisco is weird AND I flat out love his workshop? He's chosen music that I'm nuts about, and pushes us, drives us, insists that we perform his vision. Pre-expressivity being his goal, he coaxes and coaches us into movement without intent. Does he call me beautiful? More than once. Do the other students suspect he's trying to make time with me? I see it in their eyes, and know they're wrong.

I venture home for family supper, leaving after bedtime to attend Critique Sessions. These are marvellous. People have talents that I've never even imagined, and bravery to put up things that are just horrible. I admire both ends of this spectrum, as well as all the middling efforts. Hawk calls. Evan's stuck in Philly and it's midnight. He thinks we'll lock him out. Hawk thinks Evan will beat me home, even with his two hour delay. He doesn't. I wait up for him.

Saturday, errands again, dry ice, flowers, mini DV tapes. Heavy preparation for the public show. Rehearsal begins; I mention dinner. Wil and Michael request that I get fruit and a couple of veggie trays. In this, I am foiled, for there are no pre-made veggie trays. Choking on powdered molar, I select vegetables and a large bowl, dip and hummus. More work for me, but the talent seems pleased. Despite being stuck with the boring job of T-shirt sales as opposed to a more desirable position as a tech (Wil didn't feel like teaching someone else the job; I've done it two or three years running), I enjoy myself. The audience begins to arrive, and a familiar man appears, talking to Spencer, (who mostly makes me miss That Girl). I watch him sporadically. I think he has no idea how beautiful he is to me.

I join the audience as lights go down. Positioned on the floor in the front, I am a target for Frisco as he poses audience in dramatic tableau: I recognize this exercise from class yesterday. He's already posed my mother. It turns out I am not the only one amused by this. He is weirdly charming, or charmingly weird, I can't decide. The audience is startled when he puts his foot through the wall trying to mount the roof of the shed, but not nearly as much as Frisco is. And nobody is as spooked as Bromley the sound guy, inside the shack, who didn't see it coming.

As the audience filters away and everyone resets their brain for Critique Sessions, I stow tee shirts, folding them tenderly, touching designs created by That Girl.

Large heavy items still being on the outside edge of my capabilities, I wheedle someone into carrying the boxes to the office for me and head into the theatre. A friend sits beside Marianne and Steve. "Hey," he gets my attention, beckons with his head, patting the seat beside him. I've had more eloquent invites, but few more welcome. I go.

Sunday morning, my body tells me that twenty two hours from now, the weather will change. I wake Evan, feed him eggs and hustle him out of the house. We both want to take Karen Hurll Montanaro's morning Intensive. Phil says when I arrive, "There's nothing left to do. Go to a workshop." Yes. Three hours with Karen doesn't kill me, but my aching body protests, limits my participation. Still, it's good, and I leave with rugburns and the knowlege that I can still do a barrel roll, quickly. ("Such a fireball!" Tony said at MotionFest 1) Karen is luminous. I hug her, with thanks for bringing Tony inside her.

Afternoon. What to do? Since this final MotionFest has knocked home for me that I am more interested in writing than performing, rather than trying to learn something, I think I'll take something fun. What's fun? Frisco's workshop again. Yes, that. And then, back to airport runs. I'd planned on taking Robert, but Martin beat me to it. Dave Walbridge and Jim, then Karl and Frisco.

"Look," says Karl as we load his large wheelie box into my truck. "Big strong guys dere yapping, leaving the work for us little ones." The heavily muscled breakdancer has cornered Frisco. "Good thing we're feisty," I agree, silently snickering at Karl's description.

Frisco, who has been singing "I blew my calves out in a show..." (Day In The Life; Beatles, bastardized) is unnaturally quiet in the car. "Was it good?" I ask. "It was great," says Karl. "I don't want to leave yet!" says Frisco. "I was just getting started!"

Yep. That's MotionFest. So good nobody wants to go home. And now, we're all going home for good.

Goodbye is so much harder than Hello.

15 November, 2004

Daily Constitutional

...all the leaves are brown/and the sky is grey....


My neighborhood is alive with sound and color. Kids play football in the street. Old men pass with grocery sacks, parents rake while tots tumble in piles of leaves. A crew works on the roof of a house, one of the men shirtless. Neither the temperature nor his physique support such a display. Falling chunks of space rock decorate the sky.

I hope it's chunks of space rock.

Fancy demands it.


(California Dreamin', The Mamas and The Papas)

13 November, 2004

Back Later

"There will be no stripping during the Critique Session." -Dave Walbridge


The light changes. My hand drops to familiar knob. Left foot reaches, gropes, seeks empty space for a clutch pedal missing from this vehicle, by design.

Half a day in the truck and my kinesthetic memory resets itself to a standard transmission.

******************

"Slacker," says he.

"Wiseass," says I.

Since he’s produced several columns to my few meager paragraphs, go read his stuff. He’s the Political Animal.

After you read The Pain, When Will It End? send Tim a soothing message. He’s pretty upset about the outcome of the election. Even so, he takes words from my mind and prints them on a page, calling them his own, which they paradoxically are.

...governments have always been corrupt, duplicitous, and brutal. Patriotism is just a scam used by villains to get morons and suckers to pay taxes and kill strangers. The only loyalties in life that are worth shit are those between people who actually care for each other.


Yeah. What he said.

Me? I’m busy being Michael's gadabout lackey for MotionFest, The Finale. Come see the public show, at the Boston Street Theater inside Best Western of the Baltimore Travel Plaza. Tonight, 8 PM. Wear a beret and a red carnation so I’ll know you.

09 November, 2004

Symbiotic, patriotic

...a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions/ Offer me alternatives and I decline....


Water stands in small smutty patches, trying to decide whether or not to freeze. The woman in the white sedan who nearly runs me down in the parking lot is forgiven because of what's playing on her stereo.

It's time I had some time alone...and I feel fine.

(It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine); REM)

07 November, 2004

Itsy Bitsy

...summer days drifting away ....


Don’t go to Spike and Charlie’s. It’s been closed, sold, renovated, or some combination thereof. We ended up at Abecrombie’s where cocktails were smooth and staff disdainful. I recommend the chocolate martini, and was entertained by crunchable wasabi-encrusted peas.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a reading list, much like my movie list, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Right now, despite the calendar designation of ‘November’, it seems to be bikini weather.

(Summer Nights; Grease)

06 November, 2004

The Question

...you don't have to wear that dress tonight....



We gather tonight to drink fifteen-dollar cocktails at Spike and Charlie’s, (who I’d link to but their account has been disabled), watch one of the Gorgeous Girls in the tackily cultish Rocky Horror Show, and dine at The Brass Elephant (whose logo is exceptionally phallic, especially if you squint) afterwards. This is good. Entertaining oneself is the Prime Directive. The dress code is Urban Chic, whatever that means, and I wear flats now, anticipating heels later. I think this is the perfect opportunity to trot out my coolly vintage but politically incorrect mink. However.

The decision-making area of my brain being somewhat underdeveloped, some time after the birth of my first child, I switched to a monochrome wardrobe. Shoe buying instantly was simplified, as was matching tops to bottoms.

I have always been inclined to take both, when faced with a choice. It creates a certain broad-mindedness that is actively immobilizing in certain situations.

As in, what shall I wear?




(Roxanne; The Police)

04 November, 2004

Sweet Nothing

...candy on the beach, there's nothing better/ but I like candy when it's wrapped in a sweater....


His eyes are warmer than I am used to. He’s on the phone. He reaches with one arm, fingers urging me forward. Naturally, I drop what I’m holding and walk into it. He holds me longer than I am used to, affording me extra moments to nuzzle his neck, to inhale him, to take advantage of our well matched size. I feel his smile against my hair.


(I Want Candy; Bow Wow Wow)

03 November, 2004

The System

...Drifting with the tide/ Never quite knowing why/ Sometimes it makes no sense at all....


I walk to the polls with a sense of doom. This voting thing, how much difference does it make? They're all liars. Who remembers "no new taxes"? Or, "I did not have sex with That Woman"? Or, "the United States does not deal with terrorists"? I have no faith in anybody. I idolize former President Jimmy Carter…since he stopped 'leading' the country. The Democratic Party has been criticized for having more anti-Bush rhetoric than pro-Kerry rhetoric, with good reason. None of the Democratic candidates gave me the impression that they really truly have my best interests at heart. John Kerry is the most electable of a long-shot lot, and seems only somewhat less offensive than GWB. Is his agenda different? He says it is, but who knows?

With the appearance of no-backup Diebold machines, I become increasingly nervous. I know that computerized voting can, and will, be determined by he who has the most money for payoffs. Meanwhile, the ethics of the Bush Administration makes the Nixon Administration look like the Kennedy Administration. We have a Texan for President, and a Texan for Vice President (despite the fact that he owns a house in Wyoming or wherever) and it’s because of Texan Florida Governor Jeb Bush that these people are in office. And Diebold is Texas-based. Not to be bashing Texas, but these slippery men stick together more like Velcro than oil.

Really, though: how much difference does it make? My life under GWB is not significantly different than it was under Clinton, Regan, or even Carter. And the next four years of a lying republican versus the next four years of a lying democrat will not even be a smudge on the geologic record. Human history is short, and we spend the bulk of it lying to one another and ourselves.

It’s enough to darken even the most dedicated of Pollyanna Merry Sunshine hearts.

Then something happened. There, on my paper Provisional ballot, which I filled out with a reassuringly familiar Number Two pencil, appeared a name to give me hope. There on the ballot was a candidate who has dedicated his life to my safety, and the safety of my family. There was the name of a man who has never lied to me, even when it made him unpopular. There was a name of a man I could feel good about voting for.

A small voice rings in the wilderness, but my conscience is happy.

(Man In The Wilderness; Styx)

02 November, 2004

Tiny Hope

...if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice....

I refuse to be tyrannized by magazine fashionistas. The weather is such that my g-string sandals are appropriate, so Miss Thang wears a summer skirt while Indian-stepping her way to the Local Palace of Voting Happiness, where she expects to be a voice in the wilderness, if her vote is even acknowleged by the Texas-based, no-paper-backup Diebold machines.

I console myself with beautiful weather and champagne lace underthings.

Bitter? Me?

Bittersweet, perhaps.

(Freewill; Rush)

01 November, 2004

Hail & Farewell

...you don't have to go home but you can't stay here....


The world bursts into color; turn, turn, everywhere brilliant glory dazzles.

I've been outside, enjoying the weather, topless, instead of inside writing about it.

Final Weekend was heartbreaking in its ordinaryness. I cross the site and hear bagpipes. A figure dances onstage with The Rogues. Black wings bounce as white socks describe intricate patterns: it is Patron Girl, who's grown all up, and her cleavage bounces a counterpoint to her wings.

I do not pick up Martin from the train station, as he's arrived by car with his friend Izzy and Izzy's helium-voiced son, Kit. Jen-less, John-less and Kynan-less, I put the newcomers into the spare bedroom, leaving the basement to Martin and Hilby. We caravan together to the site on Saturday. It's grey and heavy.

"Are you sad that it's ending?" I can't count how many people pose this question. Yes and no. Nine weekends is a long time for the kids. No, nine weekends isn't long enough for me, but since I can't choose the weather, in all honesty, I'd rather not perform outdoors past the end of October. It's been a good run, and I have no regrets.

Saturday night sees me limping around the house, unable to put weight on my ankle. Weather is moving again, and I wish it didn't bother me so, but as I've said before, I'm grateful to be able to complain.

Sunday is rainy at the outset. We decide to go on stilts rather than in white to begin our day, but as it's chilly and our makeup is stiff, by the time we troop out, the drizzle has stopped. I see a person- closer to age 50 than age 5- wearing a Tigger suit and two Klingons before I realize that it is the annual Day of Wrong. Dorothy appears in a hoop skirt. A girl raises an ordinary skirt to reveal platform, spikeheeled lace-up thigh-high boots in shiny patent leather. Several men wear wigs and bodices. Five people are dressed as Emrys Fleet, the ratcatcher, who ended his time with us last weekend. A woman is the Queen of Hearts in a period style costume. Martin goes crazy and allows himself to be photographed in the same frame as us when we accidentally cross paths.

I plan to visit Shannon in the hairbraiding booth that would be competition for Gracie, were it not for the fact that there is plenty of business for everyone. She asked last week, "When are you going to let me do your hair?" "Oh, yes," agrees Ginny. "Those hairbraiding girls, they see a woman with hair like yours and clutch each other in excitement, saying 'Look, look! Oh, what I could do with that!'" Hmmm.

I convince That Girl, who is in Whiny Mode, that it would be wonderful to not only end our day, but our entire season, in the white outfits. She is reluctant, and doesn't want to get on her stilts again. "I'll do stilts, you herd the children." She finds this a fair trade. The grounds are slick and will cover us with dark brown earthy goodness, but since the costumes need washing anyway...

At four, That Girl and F&F are done in by the damp and the chill and are ready for leaving. I have half an hour left on my contract, so I go out alone in the white cloak to bid the patrons farewell. They seem to have no idea that I'm doing this. I pass Ken's Brother, who does know. He says, "See you in fourty-two weeks."

Yeah.


(Closing Time; Semisonic, from the Feeling Strangely Fine CD)

24 October, 2004

Good Son

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

Hawk's not making it back from his Texas run, so I ask my mother to get rid of our Varechi tickets for me, which she does. I pick up the sitter anyway.

I thought to drop them all at the library, but it is mysteriously closed for a staff meeting, so they all come home, and I trip over them as I do housework. The kids think I should get out of the house for awhile, which really means "leave us alone with the sitter."

"Where should I go?"

I drive into a wall of indigo, glowing golden at the top. Geese fly overhead, honking, as I step into the parking lot of the Arundel Mills Mall, headed for Off Broadway.

"You've had a stressful day, Mama, what with Papa not making it home for your Date Night. I think you should go shoe shopping."

I'm raising that boy right, I am.

22 October, 2004

Catch Up

...who could hang a name on you/ when you change with every new day/ still I'm gonna miss you....


Wednesday and Thursday I did the murderously miserable outdoor farm animal kindergarten teacher gig, plus all the regular stuff PLUS furniture loaning and rehearsals for the Hack and Slash Christmas Special, as the children were in it.

Friday turned out to be agony. The weather moved, and I ached. Up until about ten o'clock, I was reasonably well. Then, a bit after ten, I failed to get Hawk on the phone, and started to cry. This was bad, as I was on the way to the petting farm gig. I got hold of myself, but then dissolved again when a sad song came on the radio. I got a call from Michael, who said he was on his way with his family, and they'd take my kids round so they'd have a bit more fun. Michael either doesn't know me well enough to notice that I sounded funny, or he did notice but didn't know what to say. Then Steven called and asked if I had a cold, so I told him the truth about being near tears at this horrible petting farm. He teased me dreadfully until I laughed. Michael and Company showed up then, and wandered around, sometimes close enough to hear that I was having problems with the sound equipment. Hawk called just past one, when I had finished, and I was in tears again, but by now I'd figured out what was going on.

It was the anniversary of my fall.

Cyclically speaking, the Friday before MRF's second to last weekend was when it happened. Right around ten o'clock. By eleven, I was at the hospital, awaiting x-rays of my elbow, wrist and ankle. I joked with the attendant at the front desk as she fastened on my bracelet: "Cool! Free drinks all night!" She appeared startled at my humor. Four-thirty saw me riding back to the PA Fest site, to retrieve my car and props, and wait for my mother and sister to rescue me. I couldn't drive home. I had hoped I might, and so had refused morphine, which turned out okay after all, as I suspect morphine would have cost much more than the six-dollar-apiece Tylenol with Codeine that I did take. The worst bit of the ordeal was waiting, alone, in the car, clumsily answering the dying cell phone left-handed, and needing to pee very badly. There was nowhere to go, though I considered a bit of grass beside a bush, but didn't dare, as I was wearing a unitard and wasn't sure I could a.)get out of it; b.) manage to squat on one leg; c.) get out of a squat; or d.) get it all back together again and return to the car without passing out.

So I waited.

The first thing we did (after gentle hugging and kissing) was get me to a gas station, where Cory practically carried me to the bathroom, saying, "She's not heavy, she's my sister."

Flash forward to now.

I sniveled to Coco around two thirty and told her what was going on. She was sympathetic, which was kind, because I felt pretty stupid, having a delayed reaction to an event a year old. Especially since I had shed no tears on THAT day, and had congratulated myself that the tenth had come and gone with nary a ripple.

However, by four I was much better, and dropped the kids off to rehearse yet again, and took That Girl with me to grocery shop.

The Christmas Special went off beautifully, and I was not the only one of the opinion that my children were adorable. Hawk even made it back for the show.

For the first time in three years, I have a Gigi-less weekend. Saturday, Fuzzy sleeps in, so we let her stay home with Papa. It is just Fluffy and me once again. We do not do the white parade, though with Mike and Wyatt, the stilt walkabout still has lots of impact. Mark's feeling poorly, so Wyatt scrams with no mimesnack, but Mike joins us. We're enjoying hot cider, steak sandwich, onion rings, and brownie sundae (from the food area known on the inside as 'Monster') when a fabulous storm blows up. We race back to camp. I, grinning, try to eat the wind. The Participants' Party is not well attended. I help Nancy set up cheese and crackers and other snacks, and pull beer for a few brave souls.

Sunday, I go to zone. This is the first time I have both children without Ginny's help. It's a bit trying, but we manage. We even do the white parade; another first: I wear stilts and the gorgeous white cloak.

Martin's in a bit of a rush, as his lady has been ill, so we scramble to pack up camp and get out. I change into street clothes, removing hat but not makeup. As I slide glasses onto my nose, I tell the folk hanging about- Hilby, Wyatt, Mark, Martin, Fluffy, Fuzzy, Mike and Chris- to please NOT tell me precisely how stupid I look. Snickering ensues.

Martin makes his train, and by six, we are home, and in quick order washed and comforted by supper and snuggles. All is well in our world.

Heavy weather gives us a weird schedule this week. One day I sleep in past ten, and past nine on two others. I cook brunch twice. The children and I clean house in fits and starts. I spend lots of time hobbling and aching. I switch to using my left arm, as the right is bothering me. The sunlamp fails to cheer me, but does keep me from turning suicidal.

Final Weekend looms large. Another season comes to an end.

(Ruby Tuesday; The Rolling Stones)

21 October, 2004

Toolishly Impaired

...if I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening....


I am fairly certain that I do not own a complete set of screwdrivers. I have, however, no fewer than four razors in my shower, and only one of them is for the man. The rest are, er, specialized.

I have pumice in three grades, but no notion of whether I own sandpaper in any grade at all.

When I'm down, I buy soap, cosmetics, or hair products. When I'm up, I use them. I have no interest whatever in power tools.

It becomes increasingly evident that my plan to have home improvement as a relaxing hobby is an abject failure.

(If I Had A Hammer; Pete Seeger)

18 October, 2004

No, really.

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....


I'm back, watching the Olympics. Had a great time in Minnesota. I'll have a better post soon, but I just wanted to say hello and thanks for checking in.



12 October, 2004

Outdoors Again

...a simple kinda life never did me no harm/ A raisin’ me a family and workin’ on a farm....


Strong and bright, the sun coaxes us to take down the top. Our new pixie, Trixie, flutters energetically from the rear view mirror.

For the rest of this month, I have a weekday gig at a petting farm, which sounds very senusal, though not in an adult way. This gig, courtesy of the ever persuasive Michael Rosman, is proving an interesting experience. Jason, who hosts an animal show that finishes with a piglet race, takes care of the sound equipment and introduces me to a wireless mike. He engages me in conversation with an intent gaze and a smudgy, horse-wrestling attractiveness. Gino, who looks Native American, speaks to me in broken English that sounds Mexican, reminding me just how indistinct that particular line really is.

A child unabashedly strokes my hair, hanging loose beneath a Stetson, and another embraces me in order to tangle tiny fingers in its length. Have I perhaps become an exhibit in the petting farm? It's nice to be approachable, though I should be, perhaps, having made a 20 year career of being approachable.

Professionally approachable, that's me.

(John Denver; Thank God I'm A Country Boy)

11 October, 2004

Two Left

...I might have lived my life in a dream, but I swear, this is real...


Topless, I drive in and out of cool and warm pockets, cool created by the Jones Falls and trees along the avenue, warm from the sun and cars on the expressway.

"You've no vanity mirror."

You shouldn't be so vain.

"I want to know if I'm spinning."

Not at present, no. And...now you are, since we've picked up speed.

"That's a relief. I was afraid I'd got aerodynamically unbalanced."

Unbalanced, perhaps. But spinning? Oh, always.

We’ve finished Week Seven. Though schlepping stuff and children wears a bit, I will miss doing the show. Fortunately, after Close, Martin teaches a stilt workshop at the Chesapeake Arts Center, so that distracts me a bit, then Halloween Murder Mysteries and bang on top of that, MotionFest. I’ll cry only a little, for the site and for my beloved patrons.

Another glorious weekend, weatherwise, patronwise, and every otherwise. Plus it was payday. I am reaching exhaustion point, however. Hawk tells me I look terrible. I remember that it is a year ago this week that I took a fall: Friday, in fact, though the dates don’t match. The one-year anniversary was Sunday and not only am I amazed at how very good I felt all day, but it was today, and very nearly tomorrow, that I even took note of the date.

Speaking of dates, on the 13th of this month, I will participate in a poetry reading for the Maryland Writers Association, so if that’s your sort of thing and you can get to the coffee shop inside Maryland Hall in Annapolis, please do come. Seven thirty-ish. I ask my mother if she’d be interested and she says, "I’ll watch the kids." Bless her heart. Wear a carnation and a black beret, so I'll know you.

Saturday is the Faire's annual Participant’s Party, where people eat and drink and perform for one another, which is nice, but I could never find in the dark the folk I wanted to hang with, so years ago, I resorted to serving food and beer, allowing all my lovelies to come to me. Michael thinks it would be poetic justice for me to perform in the variety show as him, since he performed as me last year and he won’t be there this time. I think it’s a bad idea, but Michael has a way of talking me into things, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I found myself onstage in his kilt. Which, come to think of it, might in itself be sufficient motivation.

Fluffy and I prepare for our show, and walk past where kegs are stacked, five or six wide, two high and ten or more deep. He looks at all that large, barrel shaped aluminum and asks, "Are those the empty kegs from all the beer the Faire has sold?" I answer, yes, they are.

“Niiiiiice," he replies.

Obviously, I am raising that boy RIGHT.

(Leaving New York; REM )

09 October, 2004

Sad Day

You may now officially be disappointed in me.

Ms. Primarily Decorative has just watched The Debates.

I offer no opinion or commentary, but will simply mention that while engaged in this frustratingly pointless viewing activity, I wore black tanga panties and a lace half-bra.

Thank you, and good night.


08 October, 2004

Seasonal Itchiness

...what I got you got to get it, put it in you....


I blow my hair dry for perhaps the third time this year. Brown and gold strands float around, fall past my waist. I've dreamed of a picture of myself, one that has my hair hanging in a curtain to my ankles. Outside MissSue-Across-The-Street, bald from chemotherapy, greets me with a gap-filled smile. I feel incredibly guilty and entertain the notion of slicing my hair off at the shoulders and gifting her with it.

I pull into Park, sign in and am stuck with a pin. Blood pearls at my fingertip, and then, dropping into blue testing fluid, sinks like a pebble. O Wonder and O Glory! I am good, so good the phlebotomist did not need her centrifuge to determine how good I am! My iron levels are sufficient. I drain quickly and exit with less blood but more joy.

I am sunbathing, yes, in October. I will continue to do it all winter, when weather permits. "Are you wearing clothes?"

Did you want me to be wearing clothes?

Though I adore autumn, I hate giving up my strappy, stringy summer tie on bits of nothing in favor of cozy fuzzy turtlenecks. With my tank top under a suede jacket, I wear slacks, and my toes, always the last to go into hiding, peep out cheerful and pink from my g-string sandals.

Large warm husband slumbers beside me, and I toy with the idea of staying with him. Roll over, face the beautiful sunbeams streaming through the window. Stay in bed? No, today is a good day to fly. I go, leaving the children behind, and fly. My timing is so off that Scout and I never even touch fingertips, but my landings have been tidy enough that whoever is working the lines allows me to fall full speed most of the time, which in itself is wonderful.

Falling at full speed. I am so all about that.

(Give It Away; The Red Hot Chili Peppers)

06 October, 2004

Tickled Pink

...tripping down the streets of the city/ Smiling at everybody she sees/ Who's reaching out to capture a moment....


Have you ever been in such a good mood that you wanted to share it with everyone? Today's blue-sky feelgood makes me just a teensy bit sad, because there are a lot of people who refuse to participate in this kind of joy. I don’t understand that.

Someone who does understand the desire to share love and joy whenever possible because people, especially the surly ones, need it, is my new friend, Julia. She uses the uber-scientific term "woo-woo stuff" and refers me to James Twyman’s website, where I don’t find the information I seek, but after Googling a few keywords I find Doreen Virtue has what I’m after. No surprise there.

What IS surprising is that John Kerry evidently "won" the first debate, not that I watched. I don’t like lying politicians, which they all are, so That Girl and I watched Pleasantville and gave each other pedicures instead. Kerry’s superiority of performance was apparent even to such partisan voters as Texas Jack, though I imagine he’ll still vote for GWB.

Two of my favorite people who will NOT be voting for GWB expound on the debates in their respective inimitable styles. My beloved Political Animal, whose column opens with- yaay!- a Nixon reference, is more than terse, less than verbose, while Tim Kreider gives John Kerry his own handwriting in the cartoon. Tim, by the way, has released a new book, and has a T-shirt we all should own. Buy them in support of Democracy As We Would Like It To Be. While you're at it, check out Votergasm.org, brought to you courtesy of Fleece.

This weekend showed me a number of kindnesses: a friend, playing his handmade grinder organ as we stilted by; a well worn silver medallion given to me by a craftsperson who remembers watching me learn to eat fire; John acquiring a leather jacket with the intent to create a fabulous doublet for Fluffy, who he's turning into Junior Swordfight Boy (in new secondhand boots, Fluff has been swashing and buckling all week) and Martin, downloading (or uploading? Steve told me the difference once, but having Insufficient Memory At This Time, I’ve forgotten) the Mozilla browser on my computer. "See if it’s faster for you." It is. I recommend it highly.

Martin I also recommend highly. When speaking of Lurk, it’s inconceivable to do otherwise.



(Windy; The Association)

05 October, 2004

Fractured Sunlight

...shoots colors all around/ Like a sunset going down....



I spend more time than necessary with the hose. Washing a chair being the ostensible purpose of water use, I fall into a mesmeric state watching tiny rainbows, feeling breeze carry fine mist to my face, looking at tiny prismatic diamond droplets clinging to the surface of my black slacks and sweater, touching naked toes to wet blades of grass.

Electronic shrill of telephone shatters my trance.

(She's A Rainbow; The Rolling Stones)


04 October, 2004

Nearly Prompt

...all the world is biscuit-shaped/ It’s just for me to feed my face/ And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste/ And I’ve got one, two, three, four, five....


Weekend Six: Gone, baby. Six days remaining. Come have some fun before it packs in for the season.

Saturday: weather is heavy. I turn on the God Light, a Sunbox full-spectrum lamp that staves off the blues. I had it in the living room, but found occasion to sit so rarely that it made more sense to put it in the bathroom. I hurry Martin through his coffee and shaving. We scurry out to drizzle and a forecast of near-empty site, but inflow is respectable. The grounds, mucky from morning downpour, suggest we don stilts first thing, saving the white for later. We end with 11,000 and change, good for a rain day. As we leave, the sun pushes through heady striated clouds.

Hawk is cooking. There’s a lot of food, most of it vegan. In deference to the healthful hordes that have descended upon him, he mitigates his carnivorous habits. Warm freshly laundered towels are a nice treat after hot shower, after a damp and weird-energy day. The house is cozy with comfort and full bellies. Eight slumbering people create a mass of somnolence that is difficult to shake when morning comes.

Sunday the weather is more gorgeous than gorgeous, and I work to work up a sweat. I count cameras each time we stop to be photographed in our white outfits. Today’s high is sixteen.

Five colorful stiltwalkers form a phalanx, set to stride large across the site, but we are stymied by the massive crush of humanity. Connected, we muddle through, sometimes on tiptoe through thickly clustered bodies.

Mike breaks for camp, the children with him, and Gin and I are set to have some serious fun with the punters. Stealing hats and babies, preening, dancing and shimmying, we finish at the pub, swiping beer and oyster shooters from delighted victims, er, patrons. We use our "drunk mime" shtick, in which we stumble, snicker, and shush each other loudly.

In a hurry, the children and I head out for treats. We're rushing Martin to the rail station before six. With sun touching my face, neck, wrist, I eat a plum the size of my fist, juice dripping down my arm with each bite.

(XTC; Senses Working Overtime)


03 October, 2004

Night, September

...and if I ever lose my eyes/ I won't have to cry no more....


Moon rises golden over this dark corner of city quiet.

A shape glimmers from deep shadow, then closes lamplight eyes and disappears.


(Moonshadow; Cat Stevens)






30 September, 2004

Week, Reviewed.

"...have a languid day...."- Martin Ewen


Unprompted, he leans into the open convertible to kiss me goodbye.

Based on Martin's description of mornings at my house, That Girl has taken up calling me The Breakfast Nazi. She sits on the floor of my guestroom painting a huge wooden dragon with flippy feet from a dun grey to what she terms "our" colors. "They're emblazoned on my brain." She's slept naked and let the dogs out wrapped in a soft pink blanket that I bought for two dollars. She told her friend Sue, meeting us this morning, that if she wanted breakfast, she should be here closer to eight than eight thirty.

"Breakfast at her house is a machine," Martin tells Hilby. "If you stand about her kitchen looking vague, she will tell you what you want and where to get it. 'Cups: drainboard! Coffee- There! Milk and sugar? On the table! Here's a spoon, go sit down.' It's frightening, I tell you."

My response? "What do you expect from a woman you decided has the soul of a three hundred pound black woman? My inner Beulah is showing." She has no cause to complain; my inner Beulah has fed her hungry self more times than either of us care to count.

Thursday I bustled in preparation for the houseful ahead, taught the semester's first drama class. Among the Kaitlins and Kaylees and Sarahs, a lovely girl named Fatima looks just as you'd imagine a Fatima should look. Friday, more bustling, and frenetic checking of Amtrak timetables, for Martin hasn't warned me, nor indeed even decided, which train to take, or when he'll arrive. When I show him my car, he says, "No." Yes. "Well, you know what this means."

Sunglasses?

"Even better." He dons a fleece beanie topped by a white propeller, instructs the children to inform him if it goes so fast they can't see it.

We phone Hilby, but he won't join us until next night. After a gratifyingly large crowd (20,050)on Saturday, three weary street performers order carryout Chinese, delivered, and swordfighters John and Eric wander in close to midnight. Four men sleep in my house, none of them with me.

Sunday is more lovely than Saturday, if that's possible. I get a little uppity when one of the poseurs from Medieval Times informs our Angelic Procession "The Green Knight wishes you to attend him." Oh, as if. Patrons: "Wait, wait, let me get my daughter's picture with you..." Sorry, lady. We are not a backdrop.

Random female patron: "Them's some tall bitches!" Random male patron, to his four-year-old, dressed in a white princess outfit: "Come on, honey, let's go find you a husband."

I finally see Wolgemut, and am reminded of Alexander Woolcott's famous quote about Harpo Marx, for though all three musicians are wonderful performers, it is Bruno who shines for me.

As I leave the show, obviously volgemut, in a good mood, I see someone whose T-shirt identifies him as a pirate, so, as the shirt instructs, I kiss him. He is gratifyingly embarrassed, and embarrassedly gratified.

Weekend Five, gone. Faire's half over. Come out, come out, come on.

Monday is spent returning Martin to the train station (does he live there? No, why? He's always there when we go to get him, and when he leaves, that's where we bring him back. Ah, toddler logic) and limping around a used appliance store, feeding my moneypit house, which seems to have bad mechanical karma. Select replacements for the stove, the washing machine, the dishwasher. Plumbing chores in the kitchen and the bathroom. Meanwhile, the still-distant hurricane attacks my ankle, and I spend time fussing over a creaky body part.

Tuesday is a blur of housework and dance lesson, and Wednesday we go to see a show that is so poorly written it's actively painful. Then, waiting around for the men with the machines. Finally, they arrive, just as I'm taking Fluffy for his dance class. A phone call: Hawk, infuriated. "Did you know these people don't hook the things up, or unhook the old ones?" Of course not. I have my second fit of the day, the first having manifested after the delivery time screwup. It was a good thing he was there instead of me, because those guys would have put three large appliances back on the truck, along with at least one new asshole apiece. Hawk is much more tolerant with morons and liars than I am. He earns special favors installing machinery that will make him more comfortable.

I wake to That Girl, anticipating a morning in flight, and make coffee.

We approach the harbor, through fog thick enough to chew.


29 September, 2004

Too Much

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

Who are these people who claim that they "don't have a life"? Where are they? Would they like some of mine?

Not that I'm complaining.

No, I guess I am complaining. But only a little.

24 September, 2004

Quotations, Chronologically.

...then there she was/ In platform double suede/ Yeah there she was/ Like disco lemonade....


You smell good, fresh, like clothes that have been hanging on the line. – Eve.

They’re lesbian wanna-bees. –Lisa.

It’s way too early in the morning for me to even parse that sentence. –Peter Gross.

I know it’s raining. Deal with it. –Carolyn Spedden.

I never knew rain would pop your bubbles like that! –Bill Wood.

You guys be careful. It’s awfully muddy for stilts. – assorted craftspeople.

I’m not superstitious. You can say ‘Good luck, Macbeth,’ and whistle. –Brian Morton.

We’re just entertaining each other, today. –Jim Greene.

I’m so glad you came! -Mich

You always were kind of ‘out there’. –Ruth Richardson.

My wife and I are involved in a group, and we put up little shows with a minimum of rehearsal, so we’re sort of keeping our feet on the boards without too much commitment. –Scott Neilson.

You’ve had enough reunion, haven’t you? –Kim Junkerman.

Pretty bad. Only twenty seven hundred people showed up. Well, it was a hurricane. –Tim Shaw.

You’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend- friends, friends, one, two, three, all my friends are here with me! –The Kinderman.

I don’t think the patrons would mind even if you DID still have mustard on your nose. –Randy Dalmas.

I know! It IS like being blonde with big boobs, which is so funny, because neither of us are either of those! –Ginny Hess.

Not too bad, today. We had to park people outside the fence, so I’m guessing sixteen hundred. That’s pretty respectable. –Jules Smith.

So Spence is practicing these fart noises, and suddenly Peter stomps backstage in his straightjacket, and yells, ‘Cut it out, guys!’ Because, of course, Spencer’s mike was on. –John Davis.

G’bye, mimes. –Wyatt Jaster

Sit down. I’ll brush your hair for you. –Hawk.

Let’s go whichever way will take the longest. –Fluffy.

It couldn’t be a more perfect day for it. Best thing I ever bought. –random bald stranger in a Mustang convertible.

I’m not sure we’re going the right way. And now I’m sure we’re not going the right way. – me.

Yaaaah! Get away, Baygull! –Fuzzy.

Are you at the beach? You are! You’re at the beach! – Steven.

Yes, skydiving was fun. But this is a lot of fun, too. –Maura, twenty-three years old today.

The hard work is paying off, CJ caught her split, Garrett his kneehang, Cybelle her split, Tracy's swing is nearing perfection, while Minu's layout full was close enough for her to easily touch my face, so we'll just work on that arm position a bit. – Brian McVicker.

Thanks, Cyb. -The Prince.

(Sex and Candy; Marcy Playground.)

17 September, 2004

Two Images

..."dammit to hell, woman! don't do that shit to me"....- Jay


A flock of birds took flight from a tree with a sound like wind caught in a flag.

16 September, 2004

Hijinks Links

Or, What Is Everyone Up To?

The usual, mostly. Tim Kreider, cartoonist, is bleakly desolate about the election. Brian Morton, Political Animal, is bitingly critical of the firm grip held by this country's current administration. Sloth of Slothville is off to the Outer Banks for a two-week vacation. Brian McVicker, of Trapeze School, currently tops on my list of Cool People, is genuinely encouraging, and pushed Garrett just hard enough that today he finally "caught" his knee-hang, though it was Scout doing the catching. As we drove in past the Baltimore Museum of Industry, we saw townhomes with two balconies and a rooftop deck, and NO YARD to mow. Mama Iguana likes the idea. But the Townhomes at Harborview are likely way too chi-chi for the likes of us.

What else is on my mind? Well, Easter Island is. It's weird. And this genetically engineered cat. It's weirder.

Many thanks to Sachiko for finding the non-allergenic housepet. She’s a funny lady, Sachi, and has just moved to a different living space, where she has no furniture. But the space in her head is most densely furnished. She wrote a little rant about people who blog, get a published gig, and then stop blogging. I sympathize, Sachi-san.

Diablo Cody, of PussyRanch, has officially hung up her spangled thong, and her blogging keyboard. After less than a year of blogging, so has Belle de Jour, and since her blog has fulfilled its function, why not? Nothing official, but TJ’s Place seems to be a dead site now, but it also fulfilled its function, creating a vast blogring, which includes the aforementioned Sloth and (sorry; I apologize in advance for leaving some of you out) investment banker Jay, narcotics officer Jack, Innana, the sheeply Fleece, Canadian Lovisa, librarian Vader, Trashman, new daddy Gooch, chiropractic student Jethro, former birthday boy the Dastard, Ang, uber-mother Angi, the Dave, Jethro's wife Zelda, and too many others to list all in one post.

Don't send the bad fairy after me- I don't want a prick to make me sleep. Well, maybe I do, but not that kind.

15 September, 2004

Four Letters

...if it rains, I don't care/ Don't make no difference to me/ Just take that street car that's goin’ up town....


A selection, divided philosophically.

LOVE/ HATE

LIFE / FILE
FATE / FEAR
RISK / RATE
JUST / BITE
NUDE / DUMP
FALL / DROP
LEAP / BIND
FILL / DRIP
BEST / TEST
SEND / SIDE
GIVE / TAKE
LEND / KEEP
CHAT / CHEW
WAKE / WAIT
WALK / RACE
FACE / FELT
FEEL / PACE
HEAL / HEEL
HEAR / REAR
SOAR / ROAR
SAIL / SAVE
DIVE / DEEM
DEER / DEAR
GRIN / SMUG
MAZE / MOAT


Non-philosophically, particular favorites are book, shoe and sale. Especially in combination.

(Black Water; The Doobie Brothers)

14 September, 2004

Inner Life

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm, bacon....


Hurricane Ivan spreads a silty blanket across the turgid sky, but we take the top down anyway. The air is heady in its dangerous warm wetness.

I fret at the long interval I've had between poems, but feel no guilt, since I take no responsibility for them. They strike me, then ask me to hone them. They seem to come from some place outside myself, and all I can do is wait until one comes calling.

Usually, at this time of year, I am awash in poetic image and rhythmic turn of phrase. Especially being sleep-deprived, as I have been lately. Three AM is not a normal bedtime, except for me, and I consider myself wandering into dangerous territory only when I settle in past four. There is something ironic about being up at three-fifteen reading Stephen King's Insomnia. Or maybe it's just sad.

My girlfriend of long-ago has nudged me into planning to attend our high-school reunion. I'm not saying which one, but it's big. The Animal says he likes to go to all of his reunions, in order to gloat at the fat, boring, unhappy people his ex-classmates have become. I don't care much either way. I've long outgrown being embarrassed about the freaky highschooler I was, since all my current friends were also freaks (too bad there's no magnet school for freaks, so we could all be together as youngsters rather than waiting to search one another out as adults) and still are, for that matter. We revel in it.

Tonight, sushi with BuddahPat, who less freaky than most of us (someone I know described a friend as being "worth ten of the rest of us." That's Pat, though he'd deny it) and I've been feeling deprived of his reassuring company.

That, and edamame. Mmmmmmm.

13 September, 2004

Countdown Begins

I appreciate your laughing at the stupid stuff.-Chris Davis, Renaissance Man


Weekend 3 is over. We now have twelve days in which to change a life, brighten a day, create a moment, offer a diversion, enhance a snapshot, lift a spirit. Twelve more days. Do you hear, everyone? You all think the run has just begun. I am here to tell you that it is already ONE THIRD OVER, and if you have wasted time or missed opportunities, you still have time to correct your ways and make amends. Go. Do. Be.

Saturday

Two patrons wait outside the gate. He wears a Michigan cap and a tie; she a Roseanne-red satin corset that clashes oddly with her Annie Lennox-red hair, though both shades compliment her white, white skin.

I pass a seated patron who holds a steaming pretzel. I’ve never known Victor to sell pretzels that hot, I muse, before laughing at myself. The man is holding a burning cigarette in the same hand.

Lili joins us again for Silent Lunch and Patron Feeding. A man aims at her with an AK-47 of a camera lens. She pulls a shocked face. He shoots, thanks us, and walks off, smiling.

For the first time, I am brave enough to approach Ken’s Museum of Unnatural History. I embrace Ken’s associate, who stands in the spot he always stood when he was on duty in Ken’s place, which at this point, is always. “There’s Ken’s brother,” he nods.

Ken’s brother. His surviving brother. I’m sure he has a name, but for now, he’s Ken’s Brother. I embrace Ken’s Brother, knowing he doesn’t know what Ken meant to me, knowing I do not know for certain what Ken meant to me. I release him and turn, walking more quickly than is my habit.

I fix my smile firmly in place, worried that it will fool no one, and clamp down hard on it with my teeth. For fear of smearing my makeup, I do not dash away the tears that stand suddenly on my cheeks.

Sunday

“Hello Mr. Smith. Hello, Mr. Smith.” Julius Smith III is standing with his father backstage as I am making my way somewhere. Jules Jr. offers his quiet hello with that wry half-smile that I find so appealing, and makes a remark about the white costumes. Ah! The boss notices! How lovely.

I don’t know which Smith to have a crush on these days. I nurture a pointless lust for Adam, think Marc is a sweetheart, have a soft (very) spot for Justin, but boy oh boy Jules Jr. (not III, thank you, that’s just icky) is looking very slim and hot lately.

This blogsite , currently posting a review of Comic-Con, in the 29 August archive references Mimi Flambe, with a special nod to my still-but-not-for-long-short partner. Some of Mimi's friends are mentioned and linked, as well. This page does not mention us, but has some wonderful photographs of the site.

Wyatt joins us, accepting the offer of a wooden bowl and spoon, when we head out on our ritualistic Quest For Tasty Yummies at day's end. I tell Mark so while the kids remove their makeup. Chris grins at us as he approaches the stage in preparation for the Witch Trial. It's a current meme, I suppose, creating new collective nouns. I have no objection to memes, per se; they just seem so...trendy.

"What do you call this? A herd of mimes?" Mark prefers my collective to his own- he said 'a moogle', which I love, but I went for double points with 'a mutation'. "A mutation of mimes," he repeats, smiling.

On the way home Sunday evening, top down, I look into the sketchy sky for that blazing ball of brilliant, searching...ah, there ya are.

Ken's voice? Perhaps.

Coincidence? Never.


10 September, 2004

Accidentally Expected

...my fire/The one desire/ Believe, when I say/ I want it that way....


Today is the first anniversary of CrushWorld. It's been here a year today.

I didn't get to the beach; bad weather: goddamn hurricanes. And not even enough blow left at this point to do anything other than spoil potential beach baking.

And so I reap an unexpected benefit, which is happening so frequently that I am learning to expect the unexpected benefit, and not sulk when things don't go the way I think I want them to.

Though I'm achey on Tuesday, and Wednesday also, by this morning, I feel up to a good swing on trapeze, if the weather cooperates. Website says morning session's on, with a weather warning. If it spits a bit, well, no problem: we're used to working in the rain. We head out, a bit of water sloshing in the roof well from the spot where the back windshield leaks.

Me: Will a couple of paper napkins do it?

Fluffy: Uh, no, I don't think so.

Me: We need a towel, do we?

Fluffy: Yep, that's what we need.

I spy something on the road, stop a yard or so short of the Stop sign, and reverse for a few feet. Open door, snag item lying on the asphalt, return to pilot position.

Me: And the Universe provides, once again.

I hand a small striped towel to Fluffy. Despite the rain, it's barely even damp.

Arrive at TSNY, greet the instructors. It's the three of us, and Dancer Dan. Or Scientist Dan. Or Kickboxer Dan. Take your pick; he's all of them. So the four of us have a really intensive lesson. The kids work A LOT on their "tricks," hoping to "get caught" sometime in this lifetime. I work on my swing, and on my set-split, trying to get "catchable timing"

In tiny silver and black G-string sandals, I walk in my neighborhood, dog sporting his "I Gave Blood" gimmie kerchief from the Veterinary Blood Bank, Fuzzy on her tricycle and Fluffy on his bike. We look ordinary. I pass a couple of elderly people, arguing in the street about presidential candidates.

I wonder again whether it makes any difference.

I wonder how many swing states have Diebold machines, or other similarly designed devices, working to assure voters that their votes will not be tampered with, bought, sold, spindled or mutilated, despite a notable lack of paper backup confirmation.

I wonder how many dollars it takes to buy off the Diebold votes, and how many dollars more the similarly designed devices make by others.

I wonder if I send one of these fabulous T-shirts to my dad in Minnesota, if he will wear it, and if he wears it, will it have the impact I seek.

I wonder if I can be any more cynical and still be described by people who know me as "a fucking Pollyanna."

On that note, please visit Tim Kreider's new cartoon, and buy the T-shirt, and send it to someone living in a swing state and cross your fingers and pray to whatever deity you believe in that G. W. Bush will not be leading our nation for another four years.

And visit The Political Animal, if you're the least bit curious about Truth In Journalism.

Of course, he could be lying. In fact, he often is.

********************************************

Saturday

Air lies moist and heavy on the entrance. Blue-grey cast of sky fails to dim the bright faces of arriving guests. This is perfect Bubble Weather, and even I am entranced by their spherical brilliance. A well know face snaps a shot, warns gently, "You be careful up there."

At day's end, we skim down to the elephants, performing an act of Kamikaze Kindness. Frank is unsure what to say to his gift. It's a beautiful vest, embroidered with elephants and tiny bits of shiny. I couldn't not get it for him. His wife Gail assures us that he's thrilled with it. We are pleased.

We have fallen into a schedule we love, though it's an "ish" schedule. I think you know what I mean by that.

10:30 to 11ish, Bubbles at the front gate: Mimi

11:00 to 12ish, Ephemeral Experience, throughout the Village: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

12ish to 1:00ish, Silent Lunch: Mimi and Gigi

1:00-1:30, Set up for stage show: Max and Mimi
1:30-2:00, Mimi Flambe show: Mimi and Max
Bubbles atop Middleton's/O'Shucks: Gigi and Lili

2:30-3:45ish, Family Stilt Parade: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

4:00 to 4:30ish, Bubbles at the Gate: Mimi

4:30 to 6pm, In Search Of Tasty Treats: Lili, Max, Mimi

So now you know the What and When parts of our day. Where? We don't know. Somewhere in the village. We're not hard to spot.

Sunday

For being Singles Weekend, there sure are a lot of families.

I leave the Wall, pass a family just my scale: It's Michael Rosman, his son Ethan, his daughter Sofia, his wife Heddy. Sofia has grown tall- I bend just a little to kiss the sweet spot on her forehead. Pass behind Michael, stretch on tiptoe just a little to kiss the sweet spot on the back of his neck.

On our opening promenade, a wizened patron gifts me with a bag of marshmallows. Mime treats. Many thanks.

The answer to the question, "do you remember me/us/that thing you did last year/two years ago/when my teenager was a baby?" is of course always Yes, but often more truthfully Not At All. A furry looking man says, "I read you sometimes" but fails to identify himself. That you, Quasi Bear? Three little girls, and a wife with a braid that reaches the back of her knee?

We see over 17 thousand patrons today. Before stilts, I walk to the Costume House to retrieve a prop I'd promised to Garrett. Taking long steps, I feel stretch and flex in the muscles of my thighs, underused as I indian-stepped through the summer in my Foolish Shoes. I've bid on boots to match my unitard, because the soles of my Sandlar Forest Boots have gone paper thin over the years.

Afternoon at the front gate: the entryway is hazy with dust, smearing the scene into an Impressionist painting. A slight breeze blows my bubbles backwards over the wall, so children shriek in delight at the crazy kaleidoscope orbs following them as they exit.

Simple. Dramatic. Happy accident.

I'll take it.

Monday

For being Seniors Free day, there certainly are a lot of families with young chlldren.

Atop my post, flinging bubbles for the populace, I am poised to witness the arrival of my Tribe: Coco, Sparkey, Mollie-Mollie, TechChik, BuddahPat, the Prince, his princess, Braless.

Shortly afterwards, I see the owner of TSNY-Baltimore walking in. He seems distracted, and does not notice me. It's funny how many people don't look up. I often wave and blow kisses to babies in strollers, their oblivious parents all unknowing.

Ginny stilts up on a rickety wooden ladder. She says she needs to mark it somehow, so that it doesn't get moved, removed, borrowed, or covered with other people's props. I said I'd make a sign for it, hang it on the cross piece.

"What, Stilt-Mime's ladder, Do Not Remove?"

Oh, no. Much simpler.

Heaven.

Because this is where the angels come from.

And yet another metaphor emerges.

"I love it. I LOVE it. Heaven is a rickety wooden ladder."

Sure. Requires effort, balance, and grace to mount. It's a humble ascent, not a grand gilded staircase. You can find it most anywhere, but in its weatherbeaten browngreyness, it's easy to overlook.

Vendors making a point of telling us how much they love the Ephemeral Experience, which is very nice of them; makes us feel loved, and that our creative efforts are appreciated. We float on a cloud of indrawn breath.

Amazingly, all the people I know find one another, by miracle of accident, or cellphone. This would never have happened were it not for the patron count being low, in the neighborhood of ten thousand. I experience a few Watergate Moments. There's Nixon...and Haldeman, who was also Woodward...and Franko, and Villo, and the Concierge. Oh, look, there's Heidi, and G. Gordon Liddy, and Tony. Here's the director, the set builder, the writer. I introduce the TSNY people to the Tribe, insofar as I can.

Suddenly, I am connecting dots: because of Fest, I know Michael Rosman . Because of Rosman, I know of Motion Fest , which I attended because of Tony Montenaro. At MotionFest, in Tony's class, I met Steven Ragatz, whom I saw years before in a Cirque du Soleil show, Quidam . Because of Steven, I work for Academic Edge .Because of work for Academic Edge, I went to Bloomington, IN , where I tried and loved Trapeze, leading me to Trapeze School.

Because of MotionFest, I visited Performers.net, where I learned to love Martin Ewen, the man behind the face of Lurk. Martin auditioned for the Maryland Festival after my notice on the forumD a couple years ago. Martin brings me Hilby, who brings me Keith the Leaf. Who teaches algebraic equations to my son on paper napkins, using juggling combinations as variables. Two more weeks before Martin brings his lovely self my way. He's promised to stay with me. He thinks it's me doing him a favor. Hah.

Because of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, I know Coco, and because of her, Sparkey, the Prince, BuddahPat, GracieGoddess, and many others I hold dear.

GracieGoddess would be ashamed of me. I washed, brushed, braided my hair on Wednesday, and haven't bothered it much since. After three days stuffed in my muffin hat, I don't wonder that it's a rat's nest. Someone hand me a pair of scissors.

Accidental dreadlocks. Now THAT was unexpected.


(I Want It That Way; Backstreet Boys )