Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Lurkey Time!

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear readers! This year I am thankful for the following:

* my supportive, fun, bizarre family

* my creative, beautiful, amazing friends

* my lovely, crazy roommate and our awesome house

* the past year of life-changing theatrical work

* the past year of steady dayjob work

* the fact the my dayjob thinks it's a good thing that I do theatre crap all the time

* new friends made

* acquaintances who became dear friends

* old friendships that have deepened all the more

* reconnecting with people I thought I had lost forever

* reconnecting with my VHS tapes

* this:

* and this:

* aaaaaaand this (behold the wonder of my friend's sense of humor):

* all of you  - for reals!

Enjoy your turkey or tofurkey or traditional Thanksgiving grilled cheese. And remember that no matter what, you WILL run into someone you haven't seen in 10 years this weekend so please be sure to wear a necklace.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maybe this will make sense to you

Yesterday the Philadelphia theatre community lost one of our bright rising stars. He was very funny, very talented, very sweet, and touched the lives of very many people. Unfortunately for me, I didn't really know him - we would say hi to each other and, man, did I enjoy seeing him perform but we weren't friends.

Here's where grief gets sticky.

As the vaguebooking started yesterday morning, it was clear that our community had lost someone. It was hideously familiar to a morning two years when the vaguebooking ended with the news that our dear Mel was gone. Gchat and texting ensued, trying to put it together. How are the people who are the first to post their grief connected? Who worked with whom? Who are their close friends? And as the facts are still murky and it's unclear what has happened and to whom, the grief starts. Grief pulls a chair over next to yours and seems to have no plans for the day other than sitting there with you. You start to guess at who might be gone and start to mourn them. And then the pieces come together, the horrible news is disseminated, and sometimes it's the worst news in the world. Sometimes it is simply just terrible news. So Grief decides to hold your hand for a bit.

Here's where grief gets confusing.

The thing that has always sort of struck me about grief and mourning is how easy it is to get swirled around with other emotions - especially guilt. Guilt is the annoying little brother always tagging along saying "Me too! Take me too!" I've had experiences in mourning when I felt relieved...and then guilty. I've had experiences in mourning when I felt jealous...and then guilty. Right now I just sort of feel guilty for mourning at all - because I don't have stories to tell, insights to share, remembrances other than, "I loved him in that show." I tell my friends that everyone is entitled to their own grief, but I'm not sure I believe that for myself right now. It's confusing.

Here's where grief gets useful.

There is a short window of time around a grieving process when you realize how wonderful everyone you know is, you realize how good your life is, you realize how much you have. That is a tiny little moment, perhaps the most ephemeral moment of all. Soon it will be back to taking people for granted and nursing deep wounds that are in reality just papercuts. This is the Emily Webb moment and you've got to wrap your arms around this feeling of clarity and appreciation and hold on with all you have. It will be gone, no matter how hard you try not to let it go.

Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute? I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people.

The truly graceful people of the world are able to communicate their love and appreciation without hesitation at any moment they so experience that love and appreciation. May we all be filled with grace.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Egos Like Hairdos

I know this statement will not shock you, my dear readers, but sometimes I get a little full of myself. Sometimes I believe my own press. Sometimes I get a little cocky. And during those times I realize that I have to shut it down as quickly as possible lest I become permanently annoying. And so I present to you...

Proven Ways to Get Your Ego in Check

* Hang out with a baby. Seriously. Babies don't give a shit if you directed a play or wrote a novel or won a Nobel Prize. Babies care if you are paying attention to them, making sounds they like, feeding them, and keeping them dry. If you fail at any of these tasks, babies will scream in your face until you feel like the stupidest and most useless person alive. BOOM! Ego in check! Note: this is the cutest and most satisfactory way to get your ego in check.

* Manual labor. I was feeling pretty impressed with myself when I woke up yesterday. When I went to bed last night, I was feeling like a normal person with a lot still to learn in this world. How did that happen? A) I held a baby for a while who was definitely not impressed by me. B) I helped my dear sweet darling friend Mix pull up all of the adhesive linoleum tile in her back bedroom. It was difficult, we were both sweating and cursing and sore, and we ended the task absolutely covered in flooring glue. BOOM! Ego in check!

* Try to do something new. Hey, you're feeling like the queen of the world! You're awesome at everything you do! Well then the time is ripe, my friend, to attempt to crochet for the first time or to learn to play guitar - oh! but without giving up in the first half hour. If you're anything like me, you will immediately feel dumb. BOOM! Ego in check!

Do you have any other tips for deflating one's head? Let's hear them in the comments!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Better living through manicures

You guys read The Hairpin, right? It's only like the best website of all time and I wish I was writing for them. I am deeply glad for Jane Marie and her articles on clothes and makeup and hair and how to be a girl, but today's article on doing your own nails just sort of stabbed me in the heart... in a good way.

Can you suggest a reasonably priced nail dryer? Like the ones in the salon with the infrared lights that assuredly are giving me cancer? Not the fan-only ones, I've no patience to sit that long.
No. First, UV rays scare me. They're probably safe, but I'm not going to look it up. And second, just sit still for 10 minutes!!! I think it will help you in so many ways, not just in your nails. Just relax and take a valuable break. This whole deal, the manicure, will take less than an hour, start-to-finish, once a week. You should actually be chilling out a ton more than that. Prioritize time to zone out on something like this, m'lady, or you will get sick and DIE. You think I'm joking!
I'm not trying to be super cheesy  but sometimes life jabs you with little reminders from the least expected places. I expected to read this article for tips on how to make my at-home manicures take less time (because I sooooooooo hate waiting for my nails to dry). I didn't expect to be reminded of one of the big lessons my dear, amazing life coach Dawn tried to drill into my head: Take at least two minutes every day for quiet and stillness.

I'm just going to keep using this image as much as possible.

Straight up, I forgot all about the quiet and stillness until I read this article on doing your nails. Which ... well, we'll just leave that statement as is without comment. And then when I started thinking about the quiet and stillness lesson, I was reminded of something my dear, amazing therapist Stephanie tried to teach me (failed, but tried anyway) about processing grief: Take some time to just lie on your bed and just let sounds come out, whether they be angry screams or just the sound of your breath reminding you that you are alive.

The truth is it's easier to hide, to escape. When the Busy sets in and the Stress parks on my heart and the Worry attaches itself to my brow, I prefer to just push through and ignore. I don't know, I guess I figure the Stress and the Worry will get bored if I don't play with them and move on to something else. But... REAL TALK... but when the Busy has set in and the Stress is parked in my chest and the Worry digging deeper lines into my forehead it's hard to fight back when Hurt decides it's time to latch onto my shoulders. Walking around with all of these things clinging to me really tends to dim my shine and I hate not being fabulous.

Instead of just letting those things hang out and plowing through the day ignoring them, maybe it's time for some quiet stillness. Maybe it's time to listen to myself breathe. Maybe it's time to paint my nails.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review of the movies I own on VHS

My roommate and I recently got a new DVD player that can also play VHS tapes. I am THRILLED because I have a ton of movies on tape and I haven't seen them in years. We've been making our way through the collection so I'd like to offer you these reviews of movies I loved in my early 20s from my now early 30s perspective.

As Good As It Gets- still excellent. I understand much more clearly now why Helen Hunt's character would ever go for Jack Nicholson's character. Greg Kinnear continues to be a vastly underrated actor.

Sex and the City, Season 3 - still frustrating to watch [SPOILER ALERT] Carrie screw up her relationship with Aidan. Team Aidan Forever. Many, many good one liners I had forgotten about. I was dismayed, however, to see just how homophobic a couple of the episodes were. I had to wonder, was the show always this gay-unfriendly?

Can't Hardly Wait - does not hold up well AT ALL. Really, just skip it.

10 Things I Hate About You - continues to be charming and addictive. Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon Levitt are both just so charming it's impossible not to fall in love with them. Also, I forgot this movie features the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy.

Now I wish I owned Center Stage.

Dazed and Confused - seems waaaaaaaaayyyyyy creepier than it used to, especially with the May-December romance of an incoming freshman and a rising senior. Ewwww. But it's still totally fun and the kid that plays Mitch Kramer still pinches his nose too much when he is acting. Good thing he went on to pitch for the San Francisco Giants.

Season 3 of Friends - Some of the best writing the show ever had. The One Where No One's Ready is the perfect episode of sitcom television.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I - wait, what!?

Who needs Sexy ___ costumes when you get home on Halloween to a package on the table and the following exchange:

ME: Oh yay! My checks are here! I don't need to give you the rent money in cash anymore!

MY ROOMMATE: Oh, that's checks? I thought maybe it was a sex toy.


Oh hey, get this! I went to a Halloween party last night that featured exactly ONE Sexy ____ costume and I'm pretty sure his Sexy Mormon was meant as a subversion. I showed up sans costume but was immediately outfitted in a riding hat, blazer, and horse competition buttons. It actually looked kind of perfect.

Other than my five minute fix thanks to the hostess and our Sexy Mormon, I saw:

Barry Gibb
a jellyfish
an Instagram (genius - it was a picture frame with pantyhose over it that she held up to her face)
rain and snow
girlfriends dressed as each other, complete with fake tattoos
TWO cosmonauts
an oldschool princess
a squirrel
an evil scientist
Facebook (complete with paper to post on the timeline and little Likes so you could paste those on too)


Now if you'll excuse me, I have some online shopping to do. I wouldn't want to ruin my cred...