Sunday, October 30, 2005

Somehow This Got Posted Without A Title

Currently I am supposed to be cleaning the house. I got off to a valiant start by putting away the detrius from last night's mad dash of costuming. I also put away the last of the clean laundry (that was washed on Tuesday.) And I've even vacuumed most of the bedroom. It's a big bedroom. In an effort to put off the rest of the cleaning, yet still be doing something productive, here I am at the computer.
Maybe if I continue to set up projects for myself to accomplish I'll get more writing done. I'm an excellent procrastinator, after all. Maybe if I come home every night intending to clean the house I will find myself trying to write in order to avoid it.
God knows when I am supposed to be writing I find all sorts of stupid ways to avoid sitting down and writing. My favorite excuse is research. "Oh, I have to read up more on that subject before I can actually write about it."
I've been "researching" one, specific project since 1997. Eight years to the month exactly. I have books and artwork, piles and piles of them, all related to this project I have not yet written. I have stacks of starts and even more stops. Random pages of dialogue and bits from journals dating back to college all on this one topic. Yet it remains trapped in my brain, buried as if beneath an avalanche. There has not yet been a shovel big enough to dig it out.
I think sometimes if I got a new computer, or if I set up a new schedule for myself. This blog began as a way to get myself writing daily again. You all see how well that worked out. Once I thought that if I only had a few months when I didn't have to work that I would have the energy and the desire to spend more time writing. Then I got fired and had all the time in the world. I spent most of that time worrying about being unemployed.
I look at my friends - taking acting classes, improv classes, illustration classes, writing music, putting together bands and starting theater companies and I don't know what to do with myself.
Writing is such a solitary pursuit, I actually heard Michael J. Fox express it best on Inside The Actors' Studio. "With other arts, you wake up every day and you are stepping into a flowing river. With writing, you wake up and step into a stagnant pond. It's up to you to work to get across it."
It's the work I guess. When I was younger - full of piss and vinegar for the most part - I could stay up late writing. I could sit down in the morning with a cup of coffee and a smoke and pound out some poetry or part of a short story. I could spend hours sitting infront of my refridgerator playing with poetry magnets.
Now, after eight hours at work sitting infront of a computer listening to music, when I get home all I want to do is watch TV and eat and then go to bed. Days like today, a quiet Sunday, partially overcast. The weather has been dropping and I can hear the wind whipping around the eves of the building. There's nothing but sub-par horror on TV, (can I get an oh-yay for Halloween programming?) And, I am supposed to be cleaning. The perfect components for an afternoon writing session.
I have a few ideas in my head. They are all very old ideas but are constantly being tweaked and upgraded in my brain. I am always playing them out in different ways even if I am not writing them down.

One of them is about the Garden of Eden. It's about Adam and Eve and the first wife, Lilith. It is all symbolism and feminist theory and lush greenery. It is mostly still just images and not so many words. It is alternately in a forests garden clearing or somewhere in the dust of Texas. It is poetry and it is dance and there are masks and primitive music - drums and large wind instruments. Sometimes it is rock and roll and purple haired waitresses. It is always vast, clear blue skies and crisp. But sometimes even then it is dripping wet, with dew, or thunderous rain fall. A large number of the random objects I own are related to this project. Goddess necklaces, pieces of art work I have hidden in folders or up on the wall. My glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary statuette. Most of this stuff winds back around steeply into this project that hangs around my desk.

The other idea floating through my head is contemporary, at best, and nothing substantial at all. Just a story. The type of story that people have been writing forever and ever amen. An outsider looking for a home. Not a house and not a family, but a home. You know, where the heart is? A story about outsiders looking in and insiders running out and in the end there's a happily ever after that brings all the pieces together nicely. Ages old and nothing I think would be exciting but far more personal and far less impressionistic. Grounded more in reality and less in poetic license. Although I do believe that every life lived is poetry, you don't always want to portray it that way.
Every time I look at pictures from ten years ago, or think about friends I've had and lost or found again, this story comes to mind. Every time I think about where I am going to be in ten years or ten weeks and who will be there with me and who will be lost, this story comes to mind. Reading books like February House and The Fervent Years brings to mind this story. I have no protagonist. At least, not one I am comfortable presenting publicly. I have no real plot points, nor do I know exactly when, where or in what "now" this story occurs. It's stuck in there really well right now and it's not going anyway for a while.

But I have to finish vacuuming. Really, I do. And then I have to clean the bathroom because it's gross. So, I spent some time writing about writing. That's one step closer to the actual writing. It must be a good sign.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Wasn't This About a Sandwich?

So, does it count as salad if it's on two pieces of toast, with bacon and mayo?

'Cause I think it's should.

Though really, I hate mayonnaise. I put it on the sandwich anyway.

The problem was I really had my heart set on baking cookies. Then I realized I didn't have any eggs. I couldn't figure out what to do with myself. I had spoken to KristaBeth earlier in the day and SHE was baking cookies. So I had been thinking about cookies for about four hours by the time I realized I only had one egg.

At this point, I could have gone to the store.

Have you ever had one of those days though, when you vow to yourself as you wake up that you are not, under any circumstances, leaving the house that day? In fact, if you can manage it, you will not even get out of your pajamas? I was having one of those days. And lack of eggs for cookies was just not enough to make me walk the three blocks to 7-11.

Lazy, it's true. I know.

So there I was, faced with a kitchen full of ingredients and not a single recipe in my brain. Well no. I have tons of recipes in my brain. And even more recipes on the shelves of the little cabinet next to the fridge. I just didn't have any I felt like making.

Actually, I've had something with corn and black beans in it, on my mind as of late. I even bought a bunch of cilantro yesterday. I just don't have black beans. Or corn for that matter. But I bet, whatever it is, will be good. Whenever I figure out what it's going to be. I had some black bean soup at a diner the other day. Disappointed by it's thinness, I feel like I can do better. Or perhaps some sort of casserole.

It's casserole weather. Crisp and clear. Wind whipping up the leaves and carrying the scents from a million hipster-restaurants up to my third floor windows. It makes me want to saute and stir and mix and bake and eat.

Mostly eating.

Eating soft, squishy, spiced dishes with complicated, yet comforting flavors. Something to dunk bread into. Or something to spread on top of bread. Things cooked in crusts, or until the edges crisp around the corningware. Eating things that leave a lingering aroma. That's what I feel like eating.

I could make all of these things. I have the capacity to create these luxurious dishes. There are just a few obstacles complicating my desires.

First of all, there's the cost of tasty good ingredients for all of these things. Food is expensive. And the better the food, the more expensive it is. Cuts of meat, fresh vegetables - not cheap. Potato chips and bags of semi-prepared, sodium laden pastas - those are.

Secondly, there's the time and energy it takes to make all of these things are so few hours in a day and so many projects to accomplish. By the time I am hungry enough to start thinking about cooking something all I want is for food to appear before me. What I really need to do is dedicate an entire day to making some big dishes that can be eaten off of for a few days. Only curling up on the couch in front of the cable is so much easier. And sleeping, sleeping is also easier. It takes much less energy.

The other part of the problem is that if I really started cooking all of this good food, all of the time and have it around whenever I just wanted it, I would be a big, fat, balloon of a whale-girl before my birthday.

My 30th birthday.

And that, my friends, is a topic for another time.

Monday, October 10, 2005

And Lobster Thermadore

OK, can anyone tell me how and why I end up with some other yahoo's ADVERTISING in my comments? Who are these "people?" Where do they come from? And isn't there some sort of LAW or something?
Spam. Boooooo.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

One More Thing About New York

Admission To Flushing Meadow Park Zoo: $5
Mr Softee vanilla ice cream cone w/ rainbow sprinkles: $3.50
Llama feed: $.50

Getting that llama feed spit back in your face: Priceless.

Special thank yous to Deeva, Hack n' Jess, Amy, and Krista Beth for hospitality. And an extra special shout out to Heather, Herb and Sarno whom I didn't get to see.

Coast To Coast Weddingpalooza

OK, it's Sunday. The Boyfriend is off to work. I've had my french toast and coffee. I am ready to rock the blog.

Backtrack: Last month I attended two weddings. One on the 18th in San Francisco and one on the 24th in NYC. In case you weren't there.
The beauty of two weddings so close together is...Well OK it's really more a pain in the ass than anything but there was no way I was going to miss either of these nuptials. So, jet-lag be damned, it was a coast to coast tour.

The left coast wedding was not only a chance to share a celebration with two dear friends, it also afforded me the opportunity to catch up with some of the most important people in my adopted family. Four years, it's a long time to live with people. You begin to share the same skin. These are the people with whom I have shared some of the most intimate moments of our lives. Going away to college, being away from actual family, you create a new family. Not a family better than your actual. Just different, based on mutual interests, distaste for the same professors and the necessity to trade points at the dining hall for hard cash. Safety in numbers, and all that jazz. You put together your safety net a little more carefully in college than you might have in high school, if you ever had one.

And then "poof." It's graduation day and time to go your separate ways. And never again will it be quite the same as it was when you were all under one roof - or at least one zip code. So yay weddings for bringing us all back together again.

These really are the weddings that make me weep. This is the second of my "brothers" to get married and it's THE STRANGEST THING EVER. I don't mean any disrespect in my disbelief but everyone has to understand that I remember when these guys were...Boys really. I remember when all of the girls in the Theater Department had crushes on my enigmatic, english major roommates. I remember lessons learned, like "don't cook bacon naked." And arguments over whether to brown the garlic first or add it last when making our world renowned Super Deluxe Mac N' Cheese.

Now my Fave Dish is married with daughter and Seth is a trained chef (studied in Paris and everything.) Things change but they will always be the same. Seth is still a bit of a weeper - endearing him even more to me. And Dave pays more attention to his daughter than I ever saw him pay to...Well any girl ever. It's cute and it's strange. It's lovely and disturbing all at the same time. They have both married well and with love to wonderful women.

Sunday, the 18th of September found us all gathered on a parapet (thanks for the new word Brahmani) overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The wind whipped through the gathering, carrying away the vows but I have never seen either bride or groom say something so earnestly before. They looked into each others eyes and spoke from their hearts the secret words of love. And then we all drank champagne and hugged each other. It was simple and elegant.

Of course, there was then much partying like rock stars in our fancy dress up clothes. The boys and I seem to have only one tradition (unless I'm not the only one still cooking up our mac n' cheese.) The day of our graduation party, back in 1998, there was a picture taken of the three of us. Me in the middle, Seth on my left and Dave on my right. Since then we have only seen each other at weddings really. So we are much better dressed in the proceeding pictures - one at Dave's wedding and now one at Seth's. And no matter how often I look at the picture of us from Dave's wedding, taken now some four years ago, my mind still superimposes upon it the original. Taken on a spring day in New Paltz, New York after we had been celebrating all ready for hours in the warm sun. A little sweaty. A little drunk, a little high on the feeling that the world was open at our feet.

Last month there wasn't nearly enough time to sit around with each other. I went away from that wedding understanding a little better how far we have all come as people in this world but with no greater understanding of any of our places in it. It's always good though, to go home again. And seeing this little family of mine made me anxious and nervous about the next wedding, in New York, where my flesh and blood family would be gathered all in one fancy mansion/castle in the heart of Manhattan.

Wedding New York Style...This is the one my aunt has been waiting for...hee hee.

It, by the way, amuses me to no end that my family reads this blog regularly. I've been writing since I could hold a pen and I've finally found a public enough medium for everyone to tune in. Huzzah!

Ahem, anyway...The Wedding. Right. So, not only do I not see my extended family all that often, this wedding marked the first occasion of my The Boyfriend interacting with my family on a grand scale. I was probably more nervous than he was really. What does he have to worry about? He doesn't even know these people. I know them but don't really remember some of them all that well. Not for nuthin but it's been a looooong time since the old days of waking up on Christmas morning in my aunt and uncle's house with all the kids and all the toys and all the food. Good times, good times. So, some of these people I really haven't seen since either the last family wedding or when I left NY about seven years ago.

And it's not so much that any of them look different or act different. I would recognize the members of my family anywhere. Their names and actual relations to me are a completely separate matter though. Two minutes after walking into the wedding I started thinking long and hard about making everyone who attends my wedding (if and when, no one get too excited just yet OK?) wear nametags. Perhaps a little flowchart on a wall somewhere showing how everyone knows everyone else. Something, I don't know.

So, yeah this wedding...oooh this wedding. This was maybe the fanciest wedding I have ever been to. Seriously it was in a mansion. Not that the mansion belonged to anyone in the family, but still - a mansion, directly across the street from Central Park and just down the street from "Museum Row." So, you know...faaaaancy. Which is weird for my family I feel. Not that we don't clean up really well as a group but in my brain the strongest memories of these people are from when I was very young, and so were they. In my memories we are at various barbecues, outdoor concerts, the beach, little league games, choir recitals - we are eating sandy sandwiches or sundaes from Friendly's or fishing for dinner. When I think about my family I do not think about them in tuxedos or sparkly dresses. I don't think about them at banquet tables or making toasts, I think about us all squished in around a dining room table. I think about us arguing with my grandmother about how we should use a new plate for our salads so we don't end up with spaghetti sauce mixed into the salad dressing. It's an interesting new perspective, all of these family weddings. First of all, the plate argument is solved by the armies of "cater waiters" serving at these functions. There's a new plate for every course, I think Grandma would be happy about that.

That's the other thing about these fantastical family weddings. It brings to focus, even for fleeting moments, the people we are missing. The people, however long it has been since they were lost to us, who are still fresh in our hearts and minds and present at every occasion as long as we keep them so. It's not hard to miss them. It's so easy, in fact, that you spend most of the night expecting to see them on the dance floor...Ahhhh, this is too maudlin and I can no longer continue with this train of thought without delving off the tracks and getting lost in a million memories.

So, let's talk about the hors d'oevres. They were fantastic! Nothing like mingling with the family over glasses of wine and champagne and tasty treats on crackers. Only those of us married and with families have graduated from "the kids' table." But "the kids" are a lot older now and far more interesting than when we were actual children. We're a lot less messy now as well and eat most of our vegetables voluntarily. We grow, we change, we stay the same forever and always. It's the nature of people. It's the nature of families. There will always be a "children's table," even when the children are entering their thirties.

It probably works out best for all involved. As we get older it gets harder to distinguish the "adults" from the "kids." Lines blur, and as long as we can stick close to the folks we remember best from youth we can all be as young as we want for the evening. We can all dance and have a good time, drink a little too much, stay up a little too late and say the things we need to say to each other. Things that every family, blood or otherwise, must say, especially when you don't see each other nearly often enough:

I love you.
I miss you.
I am so proud of you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Issues Inherent In The System

See, the trouble with having a job that puts you in front of a computer all day, and then wanting to actually have FUN on a computer when you are done with work is that...well you just can't do it.
Or, at least I just can't do it.
8 hours infront of a computer is way more than enough for me. So, at the end of the day I have a real hard time sitting down at the home station to blog.

Bare with me Aunt Flo, I promise to get to the weddings this weekend.