27 February, 2004

Quote of the day:

School prepares you for the real world, which also sucks.

According to a source of Redwhore's (no, you don't get a link), Belle de Jour (ditto) has landed herself a fat book deal. Not that she doesn't deserve it, she's a helluva writer, understands hook, understatement, build, and reveal- and claims that this is her diary, and it's for real. Not that I care, mind, but it is once again a case of sensationalism selling, especially since it's sex.

Me? Bitter? Pass the glass and call me shaken, not stirred.

Tonight, Fools. Tomorrow night, Into The Woods. Sunday? We'll see. I promised two friends that I'd see Uncle Vanya, except that one of these fellas just pissed me off, and anyway I hate Checkov.

Not as much as I hate Neil Simon, but there's a little kid involved, so I gotta.

Double Take

Once again, the world changes....

This link is courtesy of Martin, bless his black heart.

I howled, just howled.

26 February, 2004

Midlife Crisis?

Once again, the world changes....

Something sleek and low-slung slid by me this evening. Ordinarily, I would have chased it down to see what it was.

But the light was red.

25 February, 2004

Cinderella Day: Wednesday, 18 February

Once again, the world changes....

"You'll be ten up for next time," the babysitter says when I hand her a fifty. She doesn't have change. "I have two dollars and seven cents to my name." Garrett, helpful, does math and corrects her: "Now you have FIFTY two dollars and seven cents to your name." Smartass.

I have jury duty today. I love jury duty. It's a great excuse to work on a project all day, or read a book, leaving my children in Kristi's care, knowing I'm operating at a loss and not caring, particularly, because, after all, I have to do my civic duty. But the early morning bit of it? Kind of a drag.

I race into the city, never touching the speed limit, applying cosmetics at traffic signals. Yes, when they're red. I feel I'm being watched. Look to my right, in a car, a black man with a big white grin winks at me. I finish with the mascara, preening a bit extra for his benefit, and continue with a smile when the light changes.

Almost by accident, I find a garage that valet parks my car at an early bird rate of seven dollars. I forget to ask if that's seven for the day, or seven per hour. At any rate, it's only two blocks from the courthouse, and I clatter along the sidewalk at a quick pace, thrilled that I can. I go to room 240, and am sent to the overflow area, the quiet room. The other jurors are watching the video that tells them what to expect, the one I have practically memorized, and so I am glad, glad to be late, sad that those who are prompt are punished. I feel badly. I hate jury duty.

The courthouse is a masterpiece of roccoco architecture, beautiful arches, striated marble walls, frescoes, paintings, granite staircases- we are warned that these are treacherous, two jurors taken away in ambulances last week- but with beauty, the power to kill, haven't I read that in a poem somewhere? I soak in gorgeous, revelling. I love jury duty.

Since there were people packed like cattle on a car in both of the "noisy" rooms at 240, I find myself in 219, which is library-like in its hushed nature, and has a rather comfy leather chair for me to sit in. I look around at the people, noticing that this one seems calm, that one jittery, this one neat, that one sloppy. After the termination of the inevitable droning, everyone settles in. A round bald man rattles items in his plastic grocery bag, the noise shocking against the quiet. A stylish blonde who used to have hair my color snaps gum and pulls magazines from a briefcase. The man beside me has no hair on his lovely brown head, and wears a sage colored jacket with wheat colored trousers and shoes that cost $300.00. He is Buddah-placid in his waiting, and has brought no form of entertainment. On a low-slung couch, a man wearing large-framed glasses snores intermittently. The room is quietly amused. He wakes when the announcment of cash payment is made.

I hate jury duty, the inconvinience of arranging child care, and in this case, for someone to pick the kids up and take them to their afternoon dance class, leaving them there for me to retrieve before the witching hour of 5:30 when Alaina's class lets out and Garrett's begins, G. being trustworthy enough to sit quietly in the hall waiting. I hate coming out in the red, after parking and sitting. I hate looking for parking, paying for a lunch I won't like, finding and bringing all the elements for a project I can do sans phone, sans computer. Last year, I was still researching Watergate! and brought books and index cards. Today I have a couple of paperback novels and a task or two that needs attention, but, as yesterday, the virus attacks my motivation.

I wish someone would bring me tea and hot buttered toast.

I watch people for great swatches of time, as they read, fidgit, snooze, write....their expressions at rest, in repose, relaxing so the deep furrows run away and their true faces are revealed. There is little about this process that encourages animation. I love jury duty.

I spot a news headline: From Fun Day To One Of Mourning. Who writes this crap, anyway? A simple restructuring would rescue that sentence from plebian clunkyness while retaining clarity of meaning: From Day Of Fun To One Of Mourning, creating parallels and internal rhyming. Don't these people learn Composition in journalism school? I hate jury duty. It makes me petty.

The sherrif who helps us line up is cheery and jovial. I remarked to the spiffy gentleman next to me that I thought it appalling to imagine we needed a sherrif to help us line up, as though we are a mass of dangerous kindergarteners. While I am in line, his number, 125, is called to a court room. The seat next to me will be vacant when I return.

The snoring man, revived by fifteen dollars, is talking much more loudly than is justified, considering the "quiet room" designation. More numbers are called, but not mine. Not yet. I hate jury duty. I take a recently vacant space at the table, and begin to write.

Near eleven, my number is called. I run up the marble stairs (because I can) to a beautiful court room, sprawling on one of the pew-like benches to study the ceilings, which are awash with plaster medallions and fancy frames creating segments. The recessed lighting does its level best to not be overly intrusive. The court clerk takes a call, then sends two attorneys and one defendant to "chambers." We are asked to wait. I pull out Bonfire of the Vanitie and force myself to focus. I love jury duty. I've had this book for over a year and not touched it. Now I have an opportunity to begin, to engage, to be captured by Tom Wolfe. It doesn't happen right away.

The court clerk returns, tells us that the case has been settled out of court, but that they are going to bring in another case. Please wait. I hate jury duty.

A city police officer sits on the front bench. He is neither the quiet nor the self contained sort, having engaged in conversation with a man I thought he knew already, but I slowly realize that this is the sort of person who makes "best friends" with someone for fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. I spot an opportunity, and approach. I love jury duty. I ask him what the cutoff age is for the Academy. Hawk thinks he's too old. I'm certain he's not. For once, I'm right. As long as he could pass the fitness test and is up for six months of training, he's in. Officer CityCop regales me with stories of his military duty, which he finished before joining the Force. State Troopers, he intimates, are the Marines of the Force, kind of snooty and above-it-all. I regret strongly having taken a stand against Hawk joining the Force eighteen years ago. He'd have made a wonderful police officer. Perhaps he still will.

The court clerk returns again, with news that the case coming in next will require a larger pool of jurors to select from, so we are to return to the holding pen. I am aghast. Larger pool than these fifty or so? Twelve is twelve, right? Right?

Apparently not.

I get some more work finished before heading off for a lunch which I retain a cockeyed optomism about. I want an avacado sandwich on whole grain bread with a smear of hummus and a handful of sprouts, with maybe some spinach salad on the side. I forget that I am in HonTown, and will not find such a sandwich outside of Fells Point or Federal Hill. I find instead a cafe that is uncrowded and atmospheric, and I call Steve back, taking notes for my next assignment as I slurp soup.

Returning from lunch, I claim a spot at the table, and settle to work. More numbers are called, not mine, so I participate in the game of Musical Chairs that alleviates stiffness among the jurors. Alternately reading and writing, I resist the urge to check my phone for the time. I gave up wearing a watch in October and am stunned by how little I miss it.

People shift in anticipation. I sneak a peek at the watch of the fellow next to me. It is five after four. We are to be dismissed in twenty five minutes. The loudspeaker comes on and blares numbers at us. Mine. God, I hate jury duty.

As I scoot down the stairs, out the door, to Courthouse East, which is less grand, having been in a former life a Post Office, I rumble through plans in my head, calculate distance and time, wonder if I can tell the judge I need to pick up my kids. We arrive in a small dingy court room, greeted by the soles of the judge's shoes. He's got his feet up on the bench, arms aloft, palms tucked behind his head. "We've seen ninety eight cases in this courtroom today," he tells us. A man with a poet's face sits beside me. He's probably a computer programmer. A professional student, a political activist, misanthrope, rapist, serial killer...no. He has a poet's face, and I'm sticking to that. I know I am tense, and try to relax.

I hate jury duty. I vent in a tiny way by speaking to Percy on my left, whatever his name is. We exchange idle banter for a few moments, until an attorney, wearing an Arrogant Attorney face, rushes in. "You're the reason these people are here," the judge chides. "They were ready to go home." We are still waiting on the other attorney and a defendant, evidently. Or perhaps a plaintif. The judge launches into a discourse of how we are doing our civic duty by being present for this process, how the cases he's seen today are minor matters, "misdemeanors, which can and sometimes will, request a trial by jury, which is their right under the law." How he and the other judges are on a rotation so that no one gets too awfully bored...except me, listening. "What is he DOING?" I whisper to Percy-the-Poet beside me. "Killing time," he whispers back. Finally, all the players are in place. It is twenty five past four. The judge calls everyone to the bench and turns on the machine that I have heard used before in voix dire that makes a whooshing noise througout the courtroom. He switches it off and dismisses us. They've settled the case. I love jury duty.

Out into the street, after having comforted a claustrophobic man on the elevator -my arm around his shoulder, his eyes squeezed tight shut- the Poet wishes me a good evening. "Have fun with your kids at dance class," he says. "You have a nice evening," I mean, have a nice life. I think he understood. The parking garage is even closer to Courthouse East, and the valet has my car in a jiffy. Seven for the day, plus two for tip. Is that enough?

Traffic is remarkably easy to navigate, and I arrive at the Center before Alaina has changed from ballet shoes to tap shoes. The world is good. I love jury duty.
Once again, the world changes....

Today's morsel of wisdom:

We're currently in an astrological phase when we have maximum power to transcend limitations. - Rob Breszny, FreeWill Astrology

My non-believer friend poked at me yesterday with, "today my horoscope told me to bust Cybbie's chops," not that anyone has ever needed astrological permission to do that.

But.....I did hop around the house a bit last night. On one foot. My left.

Progress! I am transcending limitations.

I ran (yes, in my foolish boots RAN) up and down the courthouse stairs BECAUSE I COULD when I was there last week (last week, long past time for me to write about that, maybe today, interspersed with script revisions, damn how did things get so complicated and difficult and unrewarding, it's like a constant slog through the mud with this show, what happened to the joy, I want it back..)

Sorry. Stream of conciousness overflows.

Yesterday, we drive in on 66 to the Watergate for lunch. Letters leap out from a building facing me: CACI. For once, I don't have the mental energy to concoct nonsensical words for that mysterious shouting acronym. Anyway, my subconcious nags at me that I know their actual meaning, though I can't retrieve the information right now. We cross the bridge; I point left. My children recognize the rectangular regularity of the Kennedy Center juxtaposed against the curvy, organic, shark-toothed expanse of the Watergate complex.

We explore after an expensive but delightful lunch, seeing all the spots that made it into the lyrics, dodging raindrops, entering the office building, getting permission to skulk around the parking garage underground, meeting a long-time resident who was charmed by my daughter (so glad I had her, what a scam) and showed us around a bit. If the kids hadn't gotten squirrely, I might have wangled and invitation into Watergate West for a peek at an apartment, or at least the corridors (this fellow occupied a penthouse, though he didn't live there thirty two years ago when the break-in happened, he was in a different one. Come for vacation or stay all of your life, indeed.) He's tickled with the idea of Watergate! the Musical, and takes one of the flyers, hanging it on a resident's notice board with a thumbtack.


I finished Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, which contained mulitlayered sentences such as this: The poor filthy river sparkled. Ah, the style! the imagry! the bombastic pomposity! the exclamation points!

I've moved on to a Ray Bradbury novel, Graveyard for Lunatics, which is infinitely more satisfying in both style and content. He is one of my Writing Gods, and I work daily to create prose that approaches his exquisite craftmanship.

23 February, 2004

Color My World

Once again, the world changes....

Driving across the bridge, I look down, always looking down, into the sparkling waters of the bay. Swirling patterns appear, marbleized blue and white, indicating current or depth or something more mysterious than those.

I think of my childhood desire to be a marine biologist, and wonder why I let go of that dream. Little encouragement, perhaps, or not enough motivation. For years, I drifted on the "you can do anything you want to, dear" cloud, which is at once liberating and paralyzing. I floated aimless, purpose-free, until I was tapped and Awoken to the powerful Love all around and within me. It is now my turn to tap. In the meantime, a career of Artist is psychically satisfying, though it doesn't pay well. So far.

I spot Mustangs, partly because 'Vettes have gotten so scarce these days. I wish on Volkswagon Beetles, which have been rechristened in our non-violent household from Punch- to Wish-Buggies. I blow by one, two, three, State Troopers, each time easing off the gas, checking the spedometer, wondering who they're after, if they're not stopping me at sixty-five and seventy miles per hour.

Herds of geese are everywhere. I spy ducks, a hawk, a pair of swans, curly-necked and graceful. From the bridge, I can see the beach of Sandy Point State Park, where one day not long ago (oh, long, long, this past summer, long ago) an egret?- crane?- heron?- (I didn't ask; it didn't tell) and I stared at one another, beady-eyed, for a few precious, breathless, motionless moments.

The clouds grow thick, obscuring the rising moon. A slice of sky dusky rosepink ignites the horizon.

Delighting in the Senses

Once again, the world changes....

Feel of firm feet beneath my hands, stretch of flexing fingers, scent of savory powder (better for feet than massage oil), sight of large lupine head on the pillows, wearing a tiny Mona Lisa smile, sound of his purr-like grumbles of appreciation.

Cushy plush down comforter and heated waterbed beneath, warm fur atop my naked skin, contented purrs vibrate against me, through me, huge depths of green eyes gaze at me, unreadable.

Warm sun rains down on face and neck and hands, seeps into heart, heartening, singing of sundrenched days to come.

Taste of dreams and hope in my mouth.

19 February, 2004

If You're Disappointed....

....I apologize. I've been ill, as in flat out, fast asleep, haven't-brushed-my-hair-in-days, felled like a tree, sick as a dog, succumbed to a virus type unwell.

Okay, I've been vertical for fifteen minutes, and that's quite enough.

18 February, 2004

Irregularity: Watergate! the Musical

Once again, the world changes....

Cast upsets are getting to be a regular thing. However, this irregularity serves to punch up the fact that the whole show, the entire concept, and everything about this production is anything but regular.

I need a new Frank Wills. It looks as though Gino may have to be replaced. I just doubled Haldeman as Woodward. Our Ziegler is unwilling to dance. Our bellhop is still in rehearsal for another show that's already opened. Maureen brought a friend, which was sweet, and might be helpful, but what we really need is MEN.

And while we're on the subject of men, I wonder if it would be fun to have a shaving party. So many of our guys have facial hair of which they'll need to divest themselves. It would be a hoot to have everybody do it all together, like a facial or manicure party, though I can't actually testify to the relative enjoyability of those, never having attended one.

Or perhaps shaving's a private thing, best done at home with no one watching.

Better not to ask, maybe.

17 February, 2004

Conversational Snippet


"Are you tied up?"


"No. And I'm not naked, or in bed, either."


"Oh. I'll call back later, then."
Once again, the world changes....

Last week, when I was in a dreadful place, emotionally speaking, I let my friends nurse me through in their various inimitable ways:

"Therapy," urged one

"Counselling, " wheedled another

"Medication!" shrieked a third.

How sweet to have people around me who take my moods more seriously than I do. Okay, so I'm miserable when I'm busy being miserable, but even then, I know it will be over soon. In the words on one of my heros, actress-writer-mom Jamie Lee Curtis,

"moods are just something that happen each day: Whatever I'm feeling inside is OKAY."
(from Today I Feel Silly)

The aching barometer of my body testifies to the increasingly cold weather that follows a brief warming. Yesterday morning, however, when I was out with the dog, though I could see my breath, the sun's angle and the tone of birdsong promised, whispered, hinted at Spring.


16 February, 2004

None of your business

Once again, the world changes....

In response to a reader query, no, it wasn't porn I was buying. I have an underwear habit. Having given up cigarettes and drunken binges, cut way down on caffine, never been prone to idleness or self-indulgence, I think of overspending on glorified bits of nether-region string and lace as my current "vice."

Any other items I may have picked up, queried the clerk about, and ultimately purchased...well, see this entry's title.

14 February, 2004

Dirty Little Secret

Once again, the world changes....

In an adult shop, buying tiny bits of delicious, wandering and looking at things that I didn't know existed, things I couldn't imagine what to do with....am I sheltered?

As I checked out, I peeked over the edge of the desk to see what a clerk in a sex shop might be reading. Dirty magazine? Bodice ripper novel? Catalogue of new merchandise? (this is what I expected.)

It was a catalogue, actually. The unexpected bit was that it was a catalogue of cute little Madame Alexandar dolls dressed as brides and fairies.

Talk about kinky.

13 February, 2004

Challenge Issued and Accepted

Once again, the world changes....

Rob Breszny, from FreeWill Astrology:

I've decided you need a stiff challenge. That's why I'm inviting you to have an epic showdown with your fears about love. What keeps you from stripping away your outmoded inhibitions and brazenly exploring the mysteries of attraction? What doubts prevent you from enjoying regular soul-to-soul gazes with your ancient future? Wouldn't you love to shed your psychic armor and summon the chutzpah to whisper in someone's ear, "I'm not afraid to ask for everything."

Is there anyone who doubts that I will act on this advice?

Certainly not me.

12 February, 2004

Comfort from all corners

Once again, the world changes....

I am blessed to have people who take an interest in me when my life isn't going well.

Not that I take life too seriously- it doesn't pay to; no one gets out alive.

And I still think a catchy title would help.

Working on that.

11 February, 2004

Random browsing brings me once again breathtaking random beauty, at this spot, called Memento. The title caught my eye, bringing home to me once again how critical a catchy title is.

Maybe I should give my life a catchy title.

In the meantime, a shower is preferable to a bath, as it hides a multitude of tears.

10 February, 2004

simple, stupid

Once again, the world changes....

I watch people who wrap themselves in cynicism. It's like a signpost. I've been able to see this invisible blaze most of my life. I am oddly drawn to it.

The cynical disbelieving aspect of a person rarely fails to disguise a tender heart, a marshmallow interior. I couldn't say for certain whether the inverse is equally true, but I will admit to a certain distrust of seeming sincerity. I wonder what it hides.

Sucker for a creampuff seems overly simplistic. On the other hand, who am I to argue with Occam's Razor?

09 February, 2004

gigglebounce factor

I roll over to the sound of the phone, mumbling to the tangle of strawberry hair on the pillow next to me, " I hope that's someone I WANT to talk to."

(Giggling in a waterbed can be topped only by girlfriend giggling in a waterbed. So, again not much sleep, at least not before four am. Until the phone rang.)

"Did I wake you?"


"What is it with you? Every time I talk to you, you're either naked or in bed!"

"mmmmm." (and a giggle.)

"Woman, it's ten in the morning! Don't you have children to feed?"

"Shit, is it TEN? I don't believe this!"

"Psssst....Cybbie, tell him it's MY fault."

Oh, that will be a great help, Ginny. She is SUCH a bad influence.

Stupid over that girl, too.

08 February, 2004

I Dub Thee Pitiful

Once again, the world changes....

"I spent yesterday reading your blog."

He probably has no idea how that very simple statement hits me like a fist to the solar plexus, nothing but net right to my core. Ah, swift, strong like fine red wine. Smells like love to me.

Okay, so you know what I'm talking about....do you agree with Ginny's assesment of me as pitiful? She says it's sweet, but I'm still pitiful heading toward pathetic.

"Yeah, at eighty miles an hour with your foot on the gas."

It's a knack, I think.

On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Cybele Pomeroy wrote:

> You're performing TONIGHT???? And it's OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?????
> And THIS is the FIRST I HEAR OF IT??????
> Arrrggghhhhh!!! I would SO be there. Wait, is there still time? It's
four now, can I make it to Maine in four hours?
> Going to MapQuest now.....
> Break a stilt/squeeze those balls/balance a thing/idle a while;
> c
> (missing you, stupid pitiful pathetic, so glad to hear from you,
fourty messages in my inbox, yours the only one I was interested in)

I guess I'm just a complete flake. On the other hand......

"For what it's worth, I think you're one of the least flaky people I've ever met. You're an artist, damn it." -McGraw (who not only sees my level of intensity but ups the ante. Makes me look downright apathetic.)

For anyone interested, no, you can't drive to Maine in four hours. It's four hundred miles.

06 February, 2004

Still, he's not a prince.

Once again, the world changes....

Who showed up at my door, one shoe in hand?

"Is this yours?"

It certainly was.

05 February, 2004

a little late...

Once again, the world changes....

I predict that in 2004 you will become far more discriminating about what images and information you allow to enter into the holy temple of your mind. You may even put up protective barriers that keep out the media's toxic psychic wastes and your friends' bad moods. I also predict that if you don't become more discriminating, you will lose touch with your own deepest desires and end up trying to be something you're not. In conclusion, fellow Cancerian, you sure as hell better remember how naturally telepathic you are, and how easily you take on other people's feelings as if they were your own. - Rob Breszny, Free Will Astrology

Once again, Rob, about a year late for this to be particularly useful. Insightful, yes, I will give you. Dead on target you also score. But timely or relevant? You're only half there. Such a shame; a friend of mine says you score direct hits nine out of ten. You're only about five hundred with me. Is this because you share my sign, and thus are just a teensy bit skewed?

However, this is simply amazing.

03 February, 2004

Saturday Night at the Ball

Once again, the world changes....

Dear Ginny Godmother,

Thank you for bringing several fancy dresses for me to wear. Thank you for wearing a dress that was cut nearly to your navel, sleeveless, with a ruffley thing going on down the front, and tall black boots. It made me feel brave. Thank you for talking me into the one with the high neck, below the knee hem, in black doubleknit. Thank you for insisting that I could, too, go without a bra. I didn't mind SO much that it was sleeveless, but, Godmother, IT HAD NO BACK.

It was cut so low that I was in danger of showing butt clevage. You know, don't you, Godmother, that I would not have been allowed to leave the house showing butt clevage. I probably wouldn't have left the bedroom, and you'd have attended the event on your own.

Together, we had almost enough material for one whole dress. Unless we sewed it together wrong, and then we'd have had no dress at all.

I loved the tiny little band of sequins across the center back, and the tiny little band of sequins around each shoulder so the front would stay up. I loved the tall black Rocket Dog boots, and I loved how you put my hair up. I wear my hair up a lot, but it looked fancy when you did it.

It was fun to be dubbed "smokin', baby," even if it was you who did the dubbing.

The man who insists he is not a prince looked at me, and with quiet intensity said, "You look beautiful, Cyb."

That probably meant more to me than all the rest of the compliments combined.

Wasn't the wine wonderful, Godmother? All the glasses of wine were wonderful. As was the (yes, it was, the cast so committed and focused, the final number so touching you had tears in your eyes to match the ones in mine) entertainment. I thanked my non-prince afterwards, and he said, "Stop crying, Cyb."

I always cry, especially at beautiful things. Is that wrong? It can't be wrong. I don't mind being touched deeply enough to cry. Really, I don't.

After a glass of port, I embraced the man who will always be a prince to me. He permitted it, and did not let go right away, though his princess was in the room. We moved gently together. I said, "Look, we're dancing," and he said, "Yes. We're dancing." We'd never danced before. There was no music. It was beautiful. Good thing my mascara was waterproof.

Later, I fed grapes to his princess. He wanted to take her home in his pumpkin carriage, and shooed me away, sending me to feed grapes to you, which I did. Do you remember? Though they weren't fermented, they were luscious in their round juiciness.

Thank you, Godmother, for a wonderful evening. Thank you for riding with me to the place where I danced with our chauffer to a tune I don't remember. It's marvelous to be able to dance again. I know you understand this, more than most. Thank you for coming home with me, for having tea and toast with me in the morning. Oddly, I was not hungover, though my hair said otherwise. Hungover hair.

I brushed it.

And I knew where both of my shoes were.

On the ground. Along with my feet.

Love you, you beautiful, wonderful creator of dreamy evenings.



02 February, 2004

Familiar, and yet....

Once again, the world changes....

I wander into my alternate universe, wondering if I still belong.

For the first time since I was destroyed (uplifted, cherished and rebuilt), I transformed into Mimi. The makeup was easy, the costume second nature, the persona barely a breath away from myself.

Yet the whole thing was akin to putting on a set of clothes that don't fit.

Or belong to someone else? Is that it? Is Mimi part of my past, rather than my future?

Perhaps it was more like wearing jeans again after months in maternity clothes. What are these strange seams, these buttons pressing against soft underbelly flesh?

It begins well. The first person I see is one of my favorites, pulling into the parking space next to mine. I am made up and costumed, and so greet him, hug him, without speech, which he does not expect. We enter together, and I follow our contact's instructions as to where to stash unused props and coats, since he asks and I do not.

Mary Ann has hired for this party many of my dearest, nearest and oldest cohorts. Ginny will arrive later. This is a party, perhaps a birthday celebration for a six year old. I am often shocked at the excesses of the exceedingly wealthy, though reluctant to deny the proceeds thereof. There are nearly as many of us (performers) as there are of them (guests). I have been in situations like this before, and carefully tread the line between entertainment and annoyance. Overexposure is a constant concern.

I take a break and voice this aloud to Mary Ann's handsome husband Tom, who sympathizes with my boredom: "Yeah, try being Shakespeare! They want me to quote sonnets at them!" Tom, who is dyslexic and would rather read sci-fi than Shakespeare anyway, who will memorize when he must, but can improv circles around any topic likely to arise in polite conversation. "I can't wait til Steph gets here and I can do some sword fighting." Not your normal water-cooler conversation, unless your water cooler is a hose behind the joust arena. Normalcy is evidently relative.

Lauren creates fanciful face painting. Her training in graphic arts shows, shines beautifully. She works with exquisite, top quality supplies: little girls are aglitter and bejeweled atop their temporary artwork.

The second shift filters in. Opening shift consisted of Queen Elizabeth, an armored jouster giving historical demonstrations of the craft and wearing of protective gear, a harpsichordist, a mulletted magician doing close-up magic, the aforementioned Shakespeare, and Mimi. We are already too many for this small crowd, this enclosed room. But more arrive. Greg "Yo-Yo" Beatty, Bob with more close-up magic, Ginny/Gigi, Jonathan Strum the Troubador, aka John DuRant, and Stephon, not doing really big magic in a very blue shirt, nor geekstunts as Swami Yomahmi, but here to engage in swashbuckling swordplay with Tom. Steph looks different. Has he cut his hair? I think I see his ears.

RenFest has skewed my perception of manliness.

After half an hour with double coverage, my shift ends. Though some folk are sticking around til the event ends an hour from now, I take my leave, curiously weary, moreso than I expected on a two hour shift.

The first person I saw is the last person I bid farewell, standing on tiptoe to embrace him. "You take care," he murmers as my fingers dig into his shoulder.

It was a good beginning. Mimi lives.

01 February, 2004


Once again, the world changes....

They took my blood.

On Thursday, after months of being turned down because of low iron, they finally FINALLY took my blood.

All the people in the world walking around afraid of needles or whatever silly-assed excuse they've got for not sharing that free, rich gift; I who desperately WANT to share am deemed substandard...

I feel so validated now.