Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bush Haiku

This is a poem made up entirely of actual quotations from George
W. Bush, arranged by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson.

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pant leg of opportunity.

I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!

Make the pie higher!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day

Thursday I got a little wistful. I took myself to WalMart -- the closest place to buy a set of headphones to connect to my computer at work. I'm a Target fan personally but Wally World is the closest spot to my office for these types of things so without getting into how hard it is to find a pair of comfortable earbuds for my little ears, including the ones I just bought, I'll get back to the wistful part.

Lots of the people there reminded me a bit of my mother, not because she shopped at WalMart but because she was handicapped over ten years ago by a debilitating stroke, and there were plenty of elderly and infirm-ish at WalMart in the middle of the day.

My mom died just this last July. It was the right thing for her -- her body just couldn't support her anymore. She was diagnosed with emphysema some time after the stroke, and was in the hospital due to complications regarding emphysema when a young cardiologist put ideas in her head that she needed some heart surgery. He was so informative but not in the least bit aware of how much he was scaring a woman who had already been given a certain kind of death sentence by her pulmonologist the year before. If this doctor had looked at the whole person, instead of her heart, and consulted with a pulmonologist and her internist, he might have realized she didn't necessarily NEED his expertise, as she was now in a stage in her life where quality overruled quantity. So, he maybe didn't have to scare her with the prospect of a risky surgery that she didn't need considering her other ailments. Looking back on it -- she really didn't need to be scared into what was the matter with her heart because the risks of the surgery in her state were just as bad as NOT having the surgery. I can appreciate this guy wanting us all to know what was going on, but come to find out -- my mom was in the hospital for complications due to emphysema, she had been for a week, and she had NOT even been assigned a pulmonologist. I wonder, looking back, if she needed to even know at all.

Now let's get something straight right now: I affirm that all situations and circumstances are divine and circumstances such as this were exactly what we all needed to learn from, including my mother. And sometimes I trip up and indulge in regret. Anyway, my mom died before the cardiologist could do his stuff, which we wouldn't have let him do anyway. Sometimes I think my mom had had enough and willed herself to die just to avoid that final physical insult .

As I said, I can't blame the doctor because I do affirm all situations and circumstances as divinely guided and necessary. Otherwise it's all just random chaos.

My mother paid me a "visit" early Thursday morning. I have friends who say this is not unusual at all -- She didn't appear like a ghost -- I mean like a voice in my consciousness and like a body to appease my imagination. It was not a ghost or hallucination -- it was a vision. A friend of mine whose mother has also died told me something like this would happen for me, as it had for her. She couldn't come to terms with how it is her mother would like to be remembered -- specifically -- what physical state and age. I didn't know how my mom wanted to be remembered either but early this morning I got that vision, just as my friend said I would. My mom came to me as a healthy 40-something... much healthier, I recall, than I had remembered her at that age in life. She told me she'd be here anytime I needed her, but had many, many things to do. In the first months after she died I felt her around me a lot -- and I don't feel her around me in the same way as those first few months, so of course, what she said makes sense.

This weekend, the Sexy Beast and I remember her, enjoy our own motherhood and step-motherhood, and embark on a new phase in our mothering -- as we our raising our first puppy together. Expect great blogs about schnauzers. Especially a miniature one named Zeta!

My mom would love the new puppy. She got me a schnauzer when I was a kid.

"She mused about her mother's death,
for now she knew she had a strong ally on the other side.
Then she realized that her parents were not only her link to her past,
but also, in a very special way,
to her future."
-- Native American Lakota Woman
NPR's program New Dimensions.


February 1933 -- July 2005

Happy Mother's Day... love and light.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Housetraining Your Dog

Here we have our very first puppy post.

We haven't gotten the fur baby yet, but still, I have a story.

Night before last the Sexy Beast and I ran some errands in preparation for the new baby's arrival. We went to Petco, where there were not enough puppy Kongs. Nothing is better for entertaining your pup for hours on end and keeping them from chewing the wrong things than tons of Kong toys stuffed to the hilt with kibble. Ok, so Petco didn't have enough, and the Lowes in the same strip mall didn't have sod (more on this later...) so we crossed the street under that abysmal excuse for a toll road they are perpetually building in the Austin Texas metro area and went to Home Depot. We were on a mission for one (that's right ONE) piece of sod. On the way I discovered we were also on a mission for a plant for the front porch. But I digress. Ok, so we locate the sod outside the garden gates, and the Sexy Beast drops me off to rummage through the pile while she parks closer to the door. NONE of the sod looks alive. It doesn't matter really. (More on this later.)

So here comes the Sexy Beast with one of those flatbed carts. For our one piece of sod priced at $1.25 per 16x24 inch piece. We rummage some more. We find an acceptable piece, though it does look dead-ish. We put it on the 3x5 foot flatbed cart and wheel it as if it were as delicate as a patient headed from surgery to recovery. Here we go, all the way from one end of the parking lot, into the store, and all the way to the other end to the only open register.

We find three Home Depot employees and one cute 30-40 something woman and her cabana boy. Her flatbed is loaded to the hilt with mulch -- piled four feet across and four feet high. Cabana Boy is helping her schlep. We know it is not a Home Depot employee as he is not wearing the requisite orange apron...

Woman with Cabana Boy turns to our flatbed and good naturedly says, "I wish I had a yard that size."

That was funny. It also led others to question our need for one little piece of sod -- carefully transported on our 3x4 foot flatbed cart.

The Sexy Beast explained. See I read in What To Do Before And After You Have A Puppy by the now famous veterinarian Dr. Ian Dunbar, that you should provide a surface in your pup's den that is identical to the one they will be eliminating on outside. Get it? You could do sod, you could do asphalt if you lived in the city, your ex-wife's carpet, anything! In this way, your pup is precisely accustomed to the surface on which she may eliminate both inside and outside and will not only become trained to it, but, if cashing in her pee and poo for treats, will come to actually prefer it!

Now this is either a brilliant idea, or Dr Dunbar is sitting up in his office, laughing his ass off because there are thousands of people out here with pieces of sod alongside their puppy's crate...

We paid our $1.35 and rolled our flatbed out to the car. As we left, the cashier reminded us if our piece of sod didn't revive, we could bring it back. The ingenious Sexy Beast said that was a great idea. We could let our pup use one piece of sod a week and bring it back and get another one free until she was house-trained.

No way we're doing that -- but it's the thought that counts.

Look who gets to use the Home Depot sod:

This is Zeta. We get her tonight. Yippee!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

You Can't Take It With You -- Hire Them!

So I directed this show see -- and it consumed practically all of my time from January of this year through March and into April. I dearly loved this cast, and I do think the show has a magical quality about it in general. The audiences loved it, the cast loved that the audience loved it. You can tell. See the standing audience members for the curtain call? Frankly, I think they were just spoiling the actors. That looks like a large cast to some people but I kept being told, from the people who direct musicals, that this cast was small. Compared to what? Le Mis? Evita? Well, yeah. But it's a larger cast than The Fantasticks or You're A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Stage Managing for a crowd this size or larger can be like herding cats. My stage manager -- whose name shall go unmentioned here for reasons of confidentiality, was great. If you get the chance to work with her HIRE her. And FURTHERMORE if you are a theatre geek like me, you know her kind are in short supply. Leave a comment with me if you need her.

I engaged several nice pairs for this one. A handsome fellow to play Tony and a talented ingenue who also so happens to be and opera singer and music teacher, to play Alice. Of course, Alice the character doesn't sing, so we partook in a cast party or two at the piano. Hire her, absolutely HIRE her if you get the chance. You can see them here in their formal wear, along with the other wonderfully talented and skilled, "rarely have to give a note to, low maintenance, highly talented" people I cast as Ed and Essie. Hire them, absolutely HIRE them if you get the chance.

Furthermore, I cast these next two MUCH later in the rehearsal process than the rest of my cast. If you do theatre you know how much of a strain and hassle this can be -- but both proved to be highly equipped to pick up and catch up with no struggle at all! You know what I'm gonna say don't you? Hire them... yeah yeah yeah. But really. I mean it.

Here's the cast at the end of Act II -- as the action really unfolds here -- well, for a play that was written in 1936 -- of course, no gunfire or exploding cars, but there are fireworks involved.

For you body building fans, my Penny (at far left -- HIRE HER) tells a great story about her late husband casting a body building film called No Pain No Gain. That's for all you body builders who read my blog. RiiiIIIight.) It's the story of a bodybuilder who longs to be respected for his mind. What actors will do for work... Jocks and actors? That never worked in high school. Nevertheless, the website has a great memorial for Don. http://www.no-pain-no-gain.com/deke/

Shave Everywhere

I can't talk about it.

See for yourself.


Someone at Norelco is brilliant -- and if I were the boss, that person would have gotten a huge raise!

Joni's A2Z

Saw this on a friend's blog. It's a variation on those lists that circulate from friend to friend via email. Here's mine:

Accent: I embarrassingly admit to sounding like I'm from Texas, though I desperately, as an actor, try to hide it.

Booze: None. Not since 1987.

Chore I hate: Doing the dishes of those who live in my house. Specifically, those who are perfectly capable of placing a dish two inches to the right of the sink, in the dishwasher. I'm not naming names.

Dogs or Cats: Dogs

Essential electronics: Computer, cell phone, Palm.

Favourite cologne: Carolina Herrera, CK1, and the no longer manufactured :-( Ralph Lauren Tuxedo.

Gold or Silver: Silver, silver, silver, or... platinum.

Hometown: Austin. An oasis in the Republic(an) of Texas.

Insomnia: Nah.

Job title: Director. Chaplain. Senior Buyer during the day. Momma J at home. I have several.

Kids: Two stepsons.

Living arrangements: Sexy Beast, two teenaged boys, one labrador retriever, and the new baby black Miniature Schnauzer!

Most admirable traits: I'd have to ask someone else.

Not going to cop to: lying.

Overnight hospital stays: two sleep studies.

Phobias: Haven't yet met a height, insect, person, or reptile I couldn't stand, though scorpions in the house give me the creeps.

Quote: "Your divine purpose is to grow spiritually, to uplift humanity in your world, and on your path, fully express whatever God-given talents you have within."

Religion: Raised Episcopalian, now I'm a Unity Chaplain. But I'm not a Unitic.

Siblings: Three -- two brothers and one sister. I love them LOTS.

Time I wake up: Almost always too early.

Unusual talent or skill: I can't mention that here.

Vegetable I love: Squash, green beans.

Worst habit: analyzing.

X-rays: Pelvis, teeth.

Yummy foods I make: Macoroni and Cheese (NOT from a box. Gheez)

Zodiac sign: Virgo.

There. That didn't take long at all.