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Archive for March, 2007

Blogthings

Sometimes I just need to blogthings. I heart blogthings. It lets me do something without doing anything. Thanks for your patience. We will now return to the regularly scheduled blog.

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Your Personality is Very Rare (INFP)

Your personality type is dreamy, romantic, elegant, and expressive.Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 6% of all women and 4% of all men
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.

How Rare Is Your Personality?

Dreamy? Definitely. Romantic? I blush to admit it, but yes.  Elegant? Well, in my dreams, I suppose. I’d like to be elegant, but I’m more than a bit of a slob. Expressive? Definitely.

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You Should Rule Saturn

Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don’t always follow the rules of nature.
And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone delve beyond your appearance.

You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you’ll be a friend for life.
You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.

What Planet Should You Rule?

Whenever I take these funny little quizzes, which are good on days like today when I’m too exhausted emotionally to try to talk to anyone, I always wonder if my friends agree with the assessments. Obviously not about whether I should rule Saturn–I mean, that’s obvious. But is it true that I’m not easy to befriend? I know that once I’m your friend, you’re stuck with me forever. Unless you make it obvious that you don’t want me around. But even then I think of you, and hope you’re doing well, and you could probably pop back into my life and I’d be just as nice and friendly as always. I totally disagree that I think slowly. My thoughts race. But I do think deeply. I think.

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FRIDAY FEAST

Appetizer
What are you proud of?

Well, I guess the thing I’m the proudest of is that no matter how many times life has knocked me on my ass, I’ve gotten back up again and kept going. Sometimes it took me longer to get back up, but I’ve always gotten back up.

Soup
What is the best thing you’ve ever won as a prize?

It’s a tie. I won an iMac computer back in 2000, and last September I won a year’s worth of Godiva. Well, not really a year’s worth of Godiva, because that would be a heckuva lot of chocolate. But I get to go to the Godiva store every month and get a free chocolate something with the coupon Godiva sent me. So I’ve enjoyed some of it myself, but shared a lot with friends and family.

Salad
Name something you do that is a waste of time.

Play solitaire on my cell phone. Complete utter waste of time. But it’s relaxing and mind-numbing. Sometimes one needs mind-numbing, know what I mean?

Main Course
In what year of your life did you change the most?

Until this year, it was the year I was 38. I did a lot of changing that year. But I think I’ve changed even more in my 43rd year than my 38th. That’s from my perspective, though. Perhaps my sister or a friend would disagree.

Dessert
Where is a place you consider to be very tranquil?

The celestial room at the temple. But I can’t go there right now. That’s something that I’m working on, because it is the most serene, tranquil, peaceful place on the earth. In the meantime, though, I find tranquility and serenity lots of places. Sometimes it’s my car, after a stressful day. Sometimes it’s my bedroom with a good book and all the lights off except the reading lamp over the futon. Sometimes it’s the bathtub with all the lights off and a dozen candles lit and lavender bath salts. Sometimes it’s my back yard when everything’s cool and green and Joe and Molly and I are running around chasing each other and playing keep-away with a slobbery stick or ball. Tranquility is a state of mind.

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The lumps

Didja notice that plural there? There are two lumps, not one. If the big one is the size of a pea, then the small one is about the size of a pin head. Not big. But there are two. And they are solid. They aren’t cysts.

The diagnostic mammogram this morning hurt like hell. The paddle was a lot smaller because the technician had to zone in on a specific area. And the lumps are back up against the wall of my chest, so it was hard to get to. And then after taking the first few films and showing them to the radiologist, she came back with the joyous news that he wanted her to take another shot with an even smaller paddle.

And then I got to go have a sonogram. Normally sonograms don’t hurt, of course, but my breast was already so tender from the mammogram that this one did. I lay on my back and watched the screen, saw the lumps there.

Then the radiologist came in to talk to me. He said that he is recommending biopsy. He doesn’t have a feel for whether it’s malignant or not, but can definitely see that there is something there that’s not a cyst.

I keep telling myself to stay calm, that everything will be okay. And I know it will be. I know that whatever happens will be okay. I know that if it is cancer, they’ve caught it while it’s small, and easily treatable. And I’ve got an incredible support system. I could not ask for better family and friends to see me through this.

But I’m still scared.

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Manga, Spam, and BBQ Chips

MANGA: When I meandered to Half-Price Books during my lunch break today  (actually I didn’t meander. I made a beeline. I drove as fast as I could without getting myself killed. Or killing anyone else. Whatever I did, I didn’t meander), I bought, among other things, a manga book that caught my eye. See, I’d only picked up 4 books. I had to have 5 books. I don’t know why it had to be 5. It just did, damnit! Sorcerers & Secretaries by Amy Kim Canter.  I’ve read the first chapter. It’s cute. And anything that mocks out being a secretary gets my vote, because on account of how I’ve been a secretary for too many years.

SPAM: I don’t read spam. Honest. I do, however, chuckle at the subjects of said spam. Like when the subject is “FRAUDULENT SPAM.” I don’t know if that’s something Gmail puts in there to alert me, or if the senders of said fraudulent spam think it will get me to open it up out of curiosity, but I still find it amusing.  But when I was deleting some spam a few minutes ago, the subject of one e-mail read, “View from the ocean is better than your cubical.”  Now, aside from the fact that they spelled cubicLE wrong, which drove me nuts, I couldn’t really argue with that.  The view from my OFFICE (because I don’t have a cubicle) is normally pretty boring.  My view consists of a doorway that opens into a hall area in front of the coffee maker, ice maker, and sink. Pretty boring. But whenever people go by they always wave and say hello to me, and that’s nice.  As nice as the ocean? Hardly. However, and this is the salient point, the view from my office is better than the view of my ass in a bathing suit. Perhaps by the time I finally migrate to Galveston in July or August I’ll feel better about how I look in a bathing suit. But for today, I’ll stick with the view from my office.

BBQ CHIPS: I heart Lays Light BBQ chips. They’re guilt-free and the taste is undistinguishable from the regular Lays BBQ chips. They’re crunchy and BBQrific.

That is all.

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Okay, first of all, OW! Owlie-ow-ow-ow!  The pulled muscle in the groin is not getting better. It hurts like billy blue blazes! Walking is not fun. Sitting is not fun. And tomorrow night is performance number 3, followed by performance number 4 on Saturday night, in which I will have to do all kinds of interesting movements using said muscle.  Sorry. I had to get that out of the way. I’ve been hobbling around all week, and kept hoping it would get better with slow stretches but it hasn’t. And it’s hurting quite badly today.

I stayed up wayyyy too late last night reading. I went to Half-Price Books yesterday during my lunch break and bought an armful of books. Why is it that it’s virtually impossible for me to go to sleep with an unread book in the house? I think I read 5 books last night! Obviously nothing too long or complicated, but they were reasonably entertaining.  And I didn’t sleep too well last night, I think because all the different books were jostling around in my imagination trying to gain the uppermost hand in my dreams. I was having a very interesting dream when I woke up, but I don’t remember a durn thing about it.

Hey, if you’re interested in participating in this month’s Scheherazade Project theme, you’ve only got a couple of days left to do it. Remember the prize is a $10 Amazon gift certificate, which always comes in handy. So far the only other participant besides me is Jess–she inserted herself into two poems, and did a dandy job of it, I might add.  You don’t have to write brilliantly or even well. That’s not what it’s about. You just have to write. That’s what it’s about. So go forth. Write. Post your story or poem or what-have-you on your blog, then return to the S-Project, post a comment for the current theme, and leave the link to the post with your entry. You get an entry for each item you post, up to a maximum of two entries per theme. 

I took the Wicked CD out of my car stereo yesterday and inserted disk 1 of my Russian language CDs. I’ve been listening to lesson 1 over and over and over. So far I can say good-bye without any prompting. And I know how to say night, I, you, yes, and no. That’s about it so far. Russian is hard. Damn hard. There are sounds that I am trying to make that I have never before made in my life. Lesson 1 has the following words: I, you (familiar), you (polite), he, she, it, this/that/this one/that one, we, you (plural), they, good morning, good day, good evening, night, good night, good-bye, please/you’re welcome, thank you, yes, no, sir/Mr., and madam/Mrs./miss.  In my short commute to and from work, I can go through lesson 1 at least 3 times. I’m very frustrated that I’ve only learned 4 new words. Because I already knew yes and no. But I don’t see any point in moving on to lesson 2 until I’ve gotten the words from lesson 1 memorized.  And then I look at the little booklet that came with the CDs, and I see the Cyrillic alphabet and how those words are spelled, and it looks like nothing I’ll ever be able to associate with the sounds. At least with French and Spanish the letters were the same I use for English, so I was able to easily learn how to spell the words. Russian is something altogether different. 

Time to hobble down the hall to the restroom. Like I said, pulled groin muscle–ow!!!!

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Book Review: BRIAR ROSE, by Jane Yolen

Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen

Okay, this one will just wrench you right apart and twist your insides out. But it’s worth it.

Becca’s grandmother, Gemma, has told her the story of Sleeping Beauty all her life, insisting that she was the original Briar Rose of the story. 

Gemma, years later and in a nursing home, is having a conversation with Becca:

“I was the princess in the castle in the sleeping woods. And there came a great dark mist and we all fell asleep. But the prince kissed me awake. Only me.”

“Yes, Gemma,” Becca replied, soothingly.

The old woman struggled against the restraints, trying to sit up. At last she stopped struggling and fell back helplessly. “I was the princess!” she cried again. “In the castle. The prince kissed me.”

“Yes, Gemma.”

“That castle is yours. It is all I have to leave you. You must find it. The castle in the sleeping woods. Promise me.” She tried again to sit up, despite the posie, her face now spotty with agitation.

“I promise, Gemma.”

 “Promise me you will find the castle. Promise me you will find the prince. Promise me you will find the maker of the spells.”

“I said I promise, Gemma.” Becca couldn’t believe the strength in her grandmother’s hand.

“Swear it.”

“I swear, Gemma.”

“On my grave, swear it.”

Becca does swear it, and keeps her vow. As she explores her grandmother’s past, she realizes how little her family knows about their background. Despite the attempts her sisters make to dissuade her from her quest, she persists.  With the help and encouragement of the editor of the alternative newspaper where she works, she finds some valuable clues that lead her to Poland.

Once in Poland, she finds the Prince, Josef Potocki. He tells Becca a long story about how her sleeping grandmother was indeed wakened with a kiss and what happened shortly afterwards.   The sleeping castle was not the deep sleep of courtiers and kings and queens in stately chambers, but the ritualistic slaughter of Jews, gypsies, and other undesirables by the Nazis at an extermination camp in Chelmno, Poland.  Potocki and a group of freedom fighters notice the body of a young woman stirring in the mass graves, and he pulls her out and they work to resuscitate her.

Becca returns home with more questions than answers, but is greeted by a prince and a kiss of her own. Her prince suggests they start with a once upon a time, and says they can get to the happily ever after part when it is time.

Jane Yolen states that while her book posits the rescue of a young woman from Chelmno, she knows of no woman who escaped alive. She says that 320,000 people died there, gassed in the vans. Two men, who were part of the forced grave-digging detail, managed to escape during the early years, and two men were miraculously found alive in the camp when the war ended.  Ms. Yolen carefully points out that her work is fictional and the characters are all made up. “Happy-ever-after is a fairy tale notion, not history. I know of no woman who escaped from Chelmno alive.”

This book left me breathless. I recommend it most highly.

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Jehara and her Life List  got me to thinking about my own life list. I’m no different from any other person in that I have hopes and aspirations, things I want to do or see in my time here on earth. I’ve hesitated to make a list of those things because some of them may be beyond my control. But it occurs to me that it’s foolish not to at least list them, and keep them in mind. I mean, who knows what things may change and bring something that was once beyond my control within my reach?

There’s another reason, a compelling one, for taking the time to write down the list and review it. In the writing and reviewing, you remind yourself of what’s important. Some things that were once important no longer are so, and can be removed. Other things will be added. And you also remind yourself of actions to be taken. Why, just in the thinking about this list I did something today to get one of the things started!

So, without further ado, here’s version 1.0 of Faith’s Life List. Note that the items are listed completely at random.

  1. Learn Russian. (I listed this one first because I bought a boxed set of “Learn Russin In Your Car” CDs today at lunch, and listened to my first lesson on the way back to the office.)
  2. Brush up my French to the point where I can read and converse easily.
  3. Brush up my Spanish to the point where I can read and converse easily.
  4. Learn Italian. (Yes, there is a theme here. I love to learn languages. It opens up new worlds for me.)
  5. Touch the Great Pyramid. See the Sphinx. See Tutankhamen’s mask. Ride a camel. Take a cruise on the Nile.
  6. See a play at the Globe Theatre.
  7. Write every version of The Canterbury Tales that is floating around in my twisted mind and sell each version and see them in print and know that people read them and like them. Actually, it’d even be okay if they didn’t like them, as long as they read them and talked about them.
  8. Study yoga.
  9. Write a play. Several plays, actually, and see them performed, and feel the exhilaration of people bringing my imaginary world to life.
  10. Go to Paris and spend as much time as it takes to see the works of art in the Louvre slowly without rushing. Savor the experience.
  11. Stand in the Colosseum in Rome. Breathe.
  12. Swim in the Mediterranean.
  13. Design my American Literature tour, and then take my sister and friends on it. It will be REALLY cool.
  14. Never let a day go by that I haven’t learned something. Something big, something small, it doesn’t matter, as long as I have learned.

Well, this is a start. Some of the things that would have previously been on the list, had I had a list then, have happened. I got my B.A. (with honors, even), I just acted in my first play. So it’s time to think of more things to dream of accomplishing.

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Some observations

This has been such a fantastic experience for me, to be able to be onstage, to participate in such a bizarre show, to get to know some amazing people, some of whom I’ve had a passing acquaintance with for years and others who I’ve just gotten to meet for the first time.  So I thought it would be fun to post some observations over the whole experience (remembering that there are still two performances to go, next Friday and Saturday–so if you’re in the Dallas area, come see the show!!).

  • I noticed late yesterday evening that sometime during the Saturday show I had bent my right thumbnail back about 1/8″ into the quick, and never even noticed. I know it was during the Saturday show because it wasn’t like that on Saturday. And I know I never even noticed because I’ve done things like that before, and swore and howled like a drunken sailor. I’m not looking forward to when it grows out enough to want to start peeling off. But how interesting that I could do something that is normally so painful and yet never even notice.  It’s kind of like how I can do so many movements during rehearsals and the shows, that I’m now aware are causing me pain in my joints and muscles. Owly-wow-wow! Joe commented after Friday’s show that he didn’t know I could do any of those things.
  • I feel quite sure that it’s because of the nature of the show, but I’m aware of the audience only in a very limited fashion. For instance, I didn’t know my husband was there on Saturday night until I saw his shoes when I was prowling around like a panther and was about two inches from his feet. He thought it was hilarious later on when I told him that, because he’d gotten puked on by V. during the show. (Not real puke, obviously.) 
  • However, when I am aware of the audience, it is totally awesome! One of the things I do is try to make one of the severed rubber hands play with a yo-yo. Usually I can get the yo-yo to go up and down twice before it falls off of the hand. But on Saturday night I successfully got the yo-yo to go the whole time I was saying my line, and the audience was totally grooving with me. They applauded, and I bowed. It was very thrilling.
  • Furthermore, the audience makes a huge impact on the show. Friday’s audience was incredibly playful, and there was a real sense of fun that permeated everything we did. Saturday’s audience was fun, but not quite as playful, and it made things a little different. I know as an audience member I’ve always preferred live theatre to movies because of that very factor; now that I’ve been on the other side of things and can feel it from the perspective of an actor, I still prefer live theatre for that factor.
  • I came to totally love everyone I worked with–cast and crew. It wasn’t until the final two nights of rehearsals that I felt things really come together, and it was what they said and did that made it happen. They are such amazing people, and I feel so honored to have been able to work with them. They made it a fun and fabulous experience, and never once made me feel like a rank amateur, even though that’s exactly what I am!
  • Feeling like you’re going to chunder (my new favorite word–thanks, Justine!) before the performance starts is perfectly normal, and gives your energy something to feed on.
  • On Friday night, after the cast party (dinner at Fridays), I had enough energy to go home and finish reading Magic’s Child (thanks again, Justine!!). I assume that’s because I knew that I’d still need some energy for Saturday, so there was still some adrenaline keeping me going. But on Saturday night, I hit the wall about 11:50 while we were still at Fridays. I managed to get home safely before I fell asleep. I slept all day Sunday, staying up only long enough to go grocery shopping and make a quick salad for dinner. And that wasn’t enough sleep, either, because I’ve had a nasty headache and have been dragging all day today as well. So the adrenaline is gone.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and I’m very glad S. gave me the opportunity to be in the play. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more work with MoMentuM!!

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