Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Last Day of The Year

It's about 5 minutes to 10. My intestinal tract and I are having a disagreement over something I ate, which is making tonight's party look like a no-go (damn touchy intestines!) as there is no point going to a party when you suspect you will need a toilet, like, instantly any second now. And I wanted that rolly bollen! ARGH!

No big revelations or reflections on the year past. I don't feel like going through all my posts for the year and being all relevant or something, which I never am anyway. No, I still have a NOVEL to finish. There's every chance it will end sometime AFTER midnight. Of course I'm fighting word for word. Bah and double bah. Even my goverment allotted extra second isn't going to help much. Damn it all, I'm finishing this thing TONIGHT, some time before dawn.

So, I'm watching my Jonny Quest videos, with King Kong vs. Godzilla waiting in the wings (is there a better way to spend New Year's Eve than watching so-crappy-they're-funny rubber monster movies? I can't think of anything.) Husband is deep in CoH land, I've got a cat's butt snuggled firmly against my hip, I can hear fire crackers and the occasional emergency vehicle outside, and all is right with the world.




Home Stretch

I am in the last chapter. I've got the outline. I am writing and writing and writing. One more day.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Magic 7

Erk! I've been tagged!

This is actually kind of difficult, as I don't think in these terms. Having already determined my chances of not dying aren't that good, I don't like to think about it much in favor of thinking about what I'm doing today. Luckily, I can crib off Xolo.

Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:
1. Visit Ireland
2. Get a tattoo (a little one, under very specific conditions)
3. Publish a story and be PAID for it
4. Finish reading the books I've collected
5. See a glacier
6. Learn to play guitar
7.Finish writing a novel

Seven things I can do:
1. Sing
2. Write
3. Listen
4. Look
5. Imagine
6. Empathize
7. Love

Seven things I can't do:
1. Run a mile
2. Climb a mountain
3. Live without cats
4. Suntan
5. Have a baby
6. Be happy without my husband
7. Not eat chocolate

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. Articulateness
2. Sense of humor that doesn't involve fart jokes or banana peels
3. Willingness to look foolish
4. Eyes
5. Smile
6. Intelligence (of some kind!)
7. Ability to both control and act on impulse

Seven things I say most often:
1. Indeed?
2. KITTY!!!
3. Ja ja ja (long story)
4. Where are my (keys, glasses, shoes, cellphone)?
5. Love you, Boo.
6.
7.
(I can't think of seven)

Seven people to do this little blogger game:
1. Sabrina
2. Jay
3. Michael
4. LazyGal
5. Rien
6. Solonor
7. Heather





Pity Party, Table 4

Last night was spent visiting with The Husband's Giant Cousins. He has two cousins who are both well over 6 feet tall. He hadn't seen the oldest one since he was in highschool. The younger remarried this year and is moving to Germany. He and Husband were close as kids, despite age difference (Cousin 2 is 10 years older), and we've seen him a few times over the years, enough for he and I do have a joking enjoyment of each other.

I have scads of cousins myself whom I never see. I haven't really seen anyone on my mother's side of the family since she died, and that's been more than half my lifetime. I don't think it was on purpose. Just happened. Maybe. On my father's side, there are very few cousins I WANT to see. Our lives, interests, expectations and opinions are too different.

I'm not close to any of my family. Not even my two brothers, which isn't that surprising considering I never see them and didn't grow up with them. It is a rather strange feeling to think of myself as that alone. I don't know that, beyond my husband and some friends, there are too many people on this earth who know me (as opposed to knowing of me) and would have more than a momentary reaction to events in my life. I have what I think of as a Christmas family -- we contact only at Christmas, through a card or a gift, and that's all. And that feels about normal.

It does remind me how much I miss my dad, and in an older, more exhausted way, my mom (she's been gone so very long that sometimes I think I've made up the person she was, that the memories I have of her, honed and picked over after so long, are not really representative of her.) There's no one to blame, no one to accuse of anything. I am, in essential ways, very different from the members of my family I know. I don't share much with them. There's not much to talk about except my mother or my father, who are gone. It's hard to build a relationship when all it has is the past.



Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Looking at a New Year

My life is confined at the moment to playing with my new DVD recorder (finally!) and getting to the end of this novel. I also have a mysteriously sore foot, and I suspect that, once again, the arrival of minimal winter weather (well, really, it's just early autumn weather to most of you) has deeply insulted the glands on the left side of my neck. They are swollen and my jaw is sore.

Feh. Throat feels fine, it's just a big sore spot in my neck. Big sore spots never bode well. January and February are traditionally my months for catching upper respiratory infections of various kinds. (I save summer for serious injuries and illnessed requiring surgery/major drugs. Everything on schedule, you know.)

Now, where did I get a germ? It must have been Saturday. Christmas eve, Husband and I received two Target Gift Cards from his aunt and uncle. We could not resist trundling right down to Target to blow them. For Christmas eve, the place was reasonably peaceful. There were no fights in the aisles, no screaming, no desperate shoppers pulling either end of iPod boxes -- rather dissapointing, really. We went, we shopped, we got a new comforter/bedsheet set, and came home. But if there was a place I could get a germ, that would be it.

I love my new DVD/VCR recorder. It's quite fancy schmancy. I own so many video tapes from long ago, and I record stuff on the PVR I want to keep. HOWEVER, I should point out that it checks videos for that FBI warning and will not record copyrighted video tapes. For that, I have to use the DVD drive and software on the desktop. (I just can't see REbuying a movie I already bought once just to change the viewing format. At best, I can sell these videos for maybe a buck a piece, and DVDs still run between $7 and $24 each. I'm not going into the pirating business -- I've got enough to carry to shows.) Anyway, I'm busily getting all the stuff from the PVR to disc. The quality is MUCH better directly to DVD than it was when I transfered it to my computer hard drive and then to the DVD burner. It also takes less time -- only one analog viewing, and I can cut commercials.

I'm also thinking about those End of the Year things so many of us think about when it's the End of the Year. Mostly I think how arbitrary this whole End of the Year thing is. Humanity has based the measurement of time on the movements of moon, sun, stars, and changes in the seasons, but like any measurement, it's a matter of picking something and making everyone agree to it (before the reailroads, time was completely local, did you know that?) Different cultures place the end of the year at different locations on the Gregorian Calendar Year. If you're the sort who feels more comfortable when other people agree with you, you can look around and find some segment of world population who will celebrate the end and beginning of a year on the arbitrary day of your chosing.

Anyway, I'm thinking of goals I'd like to set myself, perhaps an update to the ol' "100 things about me" list, possibly even a new banner for the weblog (although the table and chairs drawing has got to be my favorite.) Who knows? First goal -- like I've repeated so many times -- get to the end of the novel. It's close, I swear. A few folks offered to "first read" for me, and I'll be sending an email to double check on those offers.

Back to the grindstone.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day in the Morning

Family members will be arriving shortly, so I must shower and dress myself for public viewing. Nothing of significance to say today, just a few notes.

The novel, she is not finished. Goal missed. Well, heck. Spent yesterday with the husband and it was nice, so it's a fair trade off. Novel finished by New Years Day. New goal. Sounds reasonable.



Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Continuing Story...

Latest labors recorded here.

ARGH! UGH! It took me the ENTIRE DAY to manage perhaps 1000-2000 words. They aren't even good words. I'm not wowed by them. BUT -- I accomplished what I wanted, I have a few ideas to employ as I go, and I'm getting near the damned end of the story.

Already I sense the plot will need MUCH tightening, and there are a number of scenes I'm already thinking "do I need that, and would it be better if I wrote THIS scene instead?" but that's for later -- much later. All I want is to finish. That's my goal. Finish. Be done. Get to something else. Throw this at readers and prepare myself for the hairy eyeballs (yes, they are just as scary on the internet as in a writing class).


Friday, December 23, 2005

Ice Whine

Actually, it's fairly warm out there, now (knew it would be) but dear friends in Canada sent the Husband and me two (teeny) bottles of ice wine for Christmas (among other nifty things) and I just had to come up with a mention.

I'm trying to finish the damn novel. It is not cooperating. Once again I'm back to fighting for every word on the page. Everything is a distraction. I've tried quiet, I've tried music, I've tried walking around the house. I come back, type a couple of words, hate them, refuse to delete them, and have to distract myself so I don't hurt anyone. What better distraction is there than whining in my weblog?

I sometimes wish I hadn't studied writing and literature so much. I wish I didn't know enough to question a passive voice phrase, or ponder how many adverbs I've used, or to torment myself over the relative precision of "really" over "actually" (more adverbs). Sometimes all I know gets in the way of saying a word. Sometimes I think all I really learned was self-doubt.

I feel awkward and weird even trying to explain the story. I can't even think about it without also thinking how 'others' will misinterpret it, or want it to be what it isn't, or think I'm not writing a story I "want" to write -- circles and spirals of thinking, all getting me no where.

In happier news, I got this fantastic box from Amazon that I didn't even order! Ah, the joy of a wishlist! Is there anything as special as someone you aren't related to, and who can't and doesn't expect anything from you, just giving you a gift because they want to? Because they want to think someone is happy for what they did? It's one of the more special feelings in the world, knowing someone else is thinking nicely of you.

Winter?

Right on schedule, Florida gets its first intimations of winter. It's 42 degrees this morning (that's 6 degrees C for your heathens on the highly logical system) which has me thinking maybe I should shut a few windows and wear more than a t-shirt and light sweat pants. Maybe actually run a space heater so the cats will let me walk.

Cats. All they want is body heat. And food.

For my beloved friends up to your asses in freezing white stuff, being bowled over by howling arctic winds, wondering if you still have a nose -- I AM NOT WHINING.

I am GLOATING. See? Gloat, gloat. This is Florida, and it's sunny out there. It'll be warm (in a comparative sense) really soon. Like this afternoon. My hands are too cold to whine. So There.

I'm hunting down my one pair of warm socks any minute now.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Walking on Broken Glass

Literally. It seems I have a gift for finding bits of broken glass with my bare feet, in places where we can't imagine how broken glass came to be. Twice today I managed to do a little foot piercing. I've yet to wipe up the blood from the bathroom floor tiles. I consider them a monument.

Tomorrow, as soon as I stop limping, I'm vacuuming.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sentimental Journey

Today, twelve years ago, my father wore a tux (the only time in his life he did) and stood at my wedding ceremony/handfasting to my husband. I met and married the man I love in about 14 months time -- from being friends via AOL to our first meeting where (for me) it was Love At First Sight. Being the cynic I was, and with my history, at the same time I decided I was in love, I also decided that anyone that good looking and polished had to be gay, because that would be my luck. (Long history of relationships that Just Wouldn't Work, shall we say?)

Two weeks later, we disproved the Gay theory, and within 4 weeks he was talking marriage to me. There was never an actual proposal, you see. We just started discussing my moving in to his house and deciding marriage would be good because he had insurance and I didn't. Actually, my dog moved in with him before I did by about 2 months.

Twelve years. It hasn't been roses, not by a stretch. It's been hard a lot of the time. It's been painful and confusing and there have been times I thought "Why am I making us both unhappy?" But we stuck, mostly because I can't imagine my life without him, and he seems to like me, too.

The best parts? We laugh a lot -- a whole lot. We can sing together (as long as he puts a finger in the ear closest to me and sticks to melody). We can discuss the strangest stuff for hours. We can fight and make up pretty quickly. After 12 years, I still look forward to seeing him at the end of the day, and I can't wait to kiss him. We can work on things together, cooperatively, (although we are both the bossy controlling type who is ALWAYS right).

We've spent so much time learning the "how" of our relationship -- how to talk to each other, how to approach things, how to tell moods, how to do and not do things. Still much to learn, and a lot of personal stuff to work through. So many things we've lived through, where he's proven to me how valuable a person he is, how truly good he is, how smart and talented he is, and how loving.

So, one more year down. Here's to all the others yet to come, because I'm looking forward to them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cheer

I spent a lot of time and care decorating this tree and my living room for the party on Sunday because I knew at least 4 highly opinionated, decor savvy gay men would be IN said living room.

I have no idea what they said to each other on their long drives home, but NONE of them pulled me to the side to say "Hon, hon, you SO don't....."

I think I'm in the clear.











































Will the fun never end?

As if my peeling skin/attacking eyebrow stories aren't enough, I got ambitious and recorded a little snippet of song for you.

Play at your own risk Song Sample

This was recorded using MS recorder and a headphone mic. The volume is down so it might require adjusting on your end. Took about 5 minutes. I make no guarantee as to the quality of the sound file or my voice.

Prejudiced Winter

I can tell the Florida Approximation of Winter is approaching because my forehead is peeling.

Why is this? I have no idea. It just does. The humidity drops and suddenly skin is falling from the space between my eyebrows like snowflakes. This is not a happy situation. Yes, I moisturize. It's a curse, part of the being over 35 thing I suspect, another step along the gradual disintegration that will end in a flower print mumu, fuzzy slippers and a walker.

This has led me to another unhappy realization. I have my father's eyebrows. No, I'm not talking about shape or color. I'm talking volume here. My dad -- love him so, miss him lots -- had those long shaggy old man eyebrows. Now, so do I. Of all the things I could have inherited, why do I get the NON-complimentary aspects of both parents? Talk about losing the genetic lottery. My eyebrows are heading for my hairline and are trying to bridge the gap over my nose. I had no idea they loved each other so much. I have resorted to self-torture, also known as tweezing.

Tweezing, tworture, there is no difference. I bet the Geneva Convention bans the use of tweezing as cruel and unusual. If the Red Cross had access to Gitmo, they'd find tweezers and perfectly shaped Arabic eyebrows, under which eyes filled with pain and tears dart. It's just bad.

I've been searching for reasons I do this to myself, and I guess it comes down to my highly westernized idea of "woman". Women have two eyebrows, neither of which approximate a live creature. They can have airy armpits -- big whoop. They can have braidable leg hair -- yee haw. They can shave their heads, never touch cosmetics or perfume, wear nothing but flannel, denim and argyle socks for all I care. But they should not have flaking skin on their face, nor should they have unibrows, mustaches or beards.

That's just me, I know. I'm full of prejudices like that. I'm just living in dread of the ear-hair.

Still writing

Remember that novel I was working on? I still am. Still documenting my progress over in my writing journal. I have a couple of victims, um, kind volunteers who are willing to read it as First Readers.

I've got a deadline of only 5 more days to finish this thing. I think I can do it.

First Readers, if you don't know, are very special people. They are the ones that a writer hands a first draft to. It's like handing over a baby. First readers don't edit -- they read, react, and mark typos, trouble spots, and anything that looks weird. Sometimes you just can't do a second draft until someone else's eyes have been over the thing. First readers are gentle but honest. They do not use red pencils. They help a writer get a little distance and perspective.

Ugh. Now to get to that point.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Post Party

Was a smashing goodtime (no one and nothing got literally smashed, please.) Most everyone brought wine -- it's the new Hot Dish. I've got several bottles, both opened and unopened.

Best part -- Miss S showed up in Man Drag Glory. One day trip for final divorce proceedings, some glaring, and then back north. Complete surprise and happy it was.

Having parties on Sunday nights means everyone starts wandering away by about 9:30 because 1) we live on the bare edge of civilization 2) work starts uncomfortably early for most folk.

Aside from wine, there are relatively few leftovers. All the hot food was eaten. There are some cookies and things left, which is fine. Husband's incredible Chocolate Fudge Rum-Mousse cake was devoured in all its richness. The weather was chilly enough that the hot Mulled Cider vanshed quickly. The house was beautiful although I could NOT find the camera to take a picture of it looking all perfect and glowy with Christmas Wonder.

Still have to clean leftovers and find that camera, after I recover from the night's dreaming. Won't tell you, it was gross, but I must have a subconsious fear of a really major cold right now.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Winter Dark

Someone made a rule -- if I want to host a Yule/Solstice/Christmas party, it will be rainy and dark and about as wintery as Florida manages. I think it's a mood thing. I don't think it's actually BAD -- the rain is never a hard rain, and cold outside is kinda normal this time of year. And the cloud covered skies make all the lights we hang look that much better. So I like this rule.

Having made this public, next year will be the Florida Christmas I remember as a kid -- 80 degrees and running around on my new tricycle in shorts and no shoes. Not that I want a new tricycle or anything. I can wait. I want LEGOS. I never get them. Feh.

There are lights to hang, foods to bake, and two rooms to clean yet on the agenda. At some point I'll post pictures of my lovely tree and living room.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Important Floor Stuff

I was going to rant about this incredibly stupid "War on/against Christmas" thing and about how Christianity swiped Christmas from the Romans and Celts anyway and then spent a few hundred years killing anyone who didn't agree with them, which is, of course, just SO VERY in line with what Jesus Christ taught (and the Jews rejected him because he wasn't a war leader? Talk about bad timing) and how, really, Happy Holidays not only included Kwanza and Hannukah, but Yule and Solstice, too, although mainstream American News organizations seem to have missed that little one, and I'm not going around bitching when people wish me a Merry Christmas OR a Happy Holiday, since they have no idea which one I'm celebrating (I don't have it tattooed on my forehead) so SOME PEOPLE should just get a grip on themselves. Give some food and clothes to a homeless person or visit someone dying of a terrible disease and find something larger to worry about than that random strangers telepathically determine which holiday (if any) you prefer and then use the appropriate saying ...Happy Solstice, by the way.

Which is what I am really going to talk about, at least as it concerns my new floor.

We finally got all the stuff for Good Will moved out of the front room, including the old TV stand we couldn't give to anyone else (people wanted it, but they wanted it delivered, and, just no.) and some ex-kitchen stuff. So there is this huge expanse of beautiful wood in the foyer/dining area. And it was messy.

Now, I've been sweeping and running Max because 1) it looks like hell if I don't and 2) we are having a HOLIDAY PARTY (yeah, I said it!) on Sunday and the floor should not crunch. However, I hadn't mopped yet and the floor was looking sort of sad and unmopped. So I got some Murphy's Oil Soap (special for hardwood floors!) and a mop and bucket, and did the whole mopping thing. I even followed the directions on the back of the bottle (no rinsing!).

Looked shitty. Smeary, yucky, completey unmopped, worse than BEFORE I mopped. I was, shall we say, dissapointed in the result. Put in a new mop head. Changed the mop water. Got the extra muscular Husband to do some mopping in case it was just a Lack of Muscle.

Nope. Actually had a white film on the floor. We broke out the rags, got down on our knees and started HAND RUBBING the floor. I sensed a little ridiculousness creeping into my obsession.

Sudden inspiration -- I also had some Murphy's Oil Soap squirt-n-mop stuff. What could it hurt, we we already doing it the old fashioned way. Amazingly, it worked. I don't get what the difference is, but obviously there IS one.

While down there on the hands and knees I noticed the first (tiny) gouge and the first (light) scratch. I had a mild panic attack, and then we went out and bought a rug.

My floor needs protection. Besides, the dog has gotten scary the way she goes into spastic dog-on-ice mode when she turns a corner on the floor a little too fast. She's a dog with long legs. She's gonna break one, so I got the rug for traction. Yeah. For the dog. Uhhuh

She looks pretty good for a 230 year old Dame

Today is the birthday of Jane Austen. She is by far one of my favorite authors, mostly, I imagine, because I was spared having to study her work in school. After I actually read it for pleasure, I got curious and have been studying bits and pieces on my own. One day I'll find a formal class on her work, but I'll be proof from having the books spoiled for me by excessively picky explanations by having read them several times by then (except Mansfield Park. I am overcome with the desire to smack Fanny Brice when I read that one.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

And in other random news

ROPEY THE UNLUCKY STICKFIGURE MAN

There's no explaining it. It's one of those experiences you have to have for yourself.

Busy Signal

I'm awfully busy, it seems. Haven't written more than a few words this week, which is a little dissapointing. I don't want to miss my goal of finishing the novel by Christmas. Next week promises more time, though.

What am I doing? Housecleaning mostly, which is more difficult than might seem because my lower back and I are not agreeing about the standing up thing. After 1/2 hour on my feet, I have to sit. This means things get done in fits and starts. There is decorating also, which goes about the same, plus I'm parting with a number of Christmas decorations from days past. I know some of my favorite old ornaments are in those boxes, which is a little painful, but it's just time. I both want and don't want them. I want them for what I think when I see them, but as for actually putting them on a tree -- no, not likely. And that makes me sad, that the Christmas tree has become just something that decorates my house instead of a center for memories and love, but that's how it is.

These are the times when I find myself wishing we'd had children. Just to have someone else with whom to make memories that will live after I no longer do. Children are, in some ways, a path into immortality. I feel sad when I think about it, as if I've let down the generations before me, my own parents, and myself, because I waited too long and then wasn't brave enough to go through the surgery, because I can't see how we could adopt, because, because because...

Christmas makes me maudlin.

We went to the chorus Christmas party last night, the highlight of which was the "White Elephant Gift Exchange". That's where most of the gifts are gag gifts and people go by numbers, with the option to take a gift already opened or get a new one. There was surprisingly little rapid trading of gifts, in part because many were, frankly, HIDEOUS and hit the garbage as soon as they left the room. However, there was one...well, I've seen it before at wholesale shows and in catalogs. It's made somewhere in Indonesia or Southeast Asia. Carved wood depicting a human figure crouched over HUGE PHALLUS with wings. It was a hotly contested item. It was awful and therefore glorious.

I got two stuffed toy crabs. They were cute.

Husband and I are spatting, spitting and throwing sparks at each other. I think we are both tired from all the running and cleaning and trying to do things. Neither of us are what you would call highly social people. We prefer to be home most of the time. Holidays, even now that I no longer go into tizzies, are stressful simply because they are holidays, full of emotion and expectation and all kinds of stuff.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Critics and Tenors

Last night's gig was chorus related. One of our members works at a Disney Hotel as a sort of event organizer, and there was some sort of event (the details elude me) where they wanted a group of carolers to sing for about 20 minutes, and the chorus would be paid (not the singers -- we each got a free drink and a couple of canapes). So, six of us threw together some songs, spent about an hour rehearsing (mostly right before going on) and drove out to Disney.

We were singing at the Dolphin, easily one of the gaudiest of the huge, gaudy hotels planted all over the Disney property. Now, I am standing in the lobby with 4 gay men (and one lesbian) critiqing the interior design of a hotel with hand painted wallpaper and noticing where the 12 foot Christmas trees placed every few yards had missing lights. We didn't like it, at least not all together. Elements were nice, but the giant circus tent dome ceiling -- not so much. Just so you know.

We were stationed in the pre-party area (a hallway lined with tables for silent auction, toys for tots donations, photo opportunities, and drinks) by the doors into the "ball room". We sang our numbers to the backs and sides of people as they were herded from one area to another. Before and after the singing, we critiqued the gowns various women wore (what else is there to do?) Apparently there was a black-white theme going on, or the majority of people in this particular Christmas party group had no imagination or color sense.

One woman -- let's call her Amazing Grace -- had on a particularly, shall we say, affecting ensemble. Basic black with diamond shaped cutout front and back. A little daring, but not unusual...except that the dress was not designed for the body it covered. If one is wearing an open back, back cleavage is a no-no and nothing, but NOTHING, should flop out of the BACK of the dress. Grace apparently had a great denial mechanism going for her.

As for the front cleavage...SUPPORT GARMENT NEEDED HERE! Or a crane lift. Something. The overall effect was Flesh Balloon -- Someone call Stacy and Clinton, we have a problem. I had a momentary impulse to grab a tablecloth and throw it over her, cloak fashion.

Add to this sartorial oops large, poofy, black dyed hair and a makeup job that was...shall we say, Drag Queen-esque? Now, I know 3 drag queens, two of whom do it professionally and one who is working her way up. There are certain rules to their make up, and one of them is It Is Meant To Be Seen on Stage. In normal light at close range, all you see are the contours, highlights and low lights. There is no face, just a grouping of color blocks.

I have high hopes that Amazing Grace has a WONDERFUL personality. At least she gave us something besides the wall coverings to talk about.

As for the singing -- that went well. We made up our arrangements fairly quickly, as at least four of us were strong improvisers and the other two adept followers. We performed jazzy, syncopated versions of Deck the Halls and Come, All Ye Faithful (no, we had no lightening strike, but the lights in the ballroom we rehearsed in did start flashing at one point). Everything else was pretty straightforward, simple harmonies. What was most fun is that this little caroling group was made up of members from the two ensembles and one from the chorus (mostly because his partner was in the group and made him come along). We are thinking of forming a new ensemble and combining the other group names.

(Ok, this is a complete inside joke, so be prepared to shake your head and roll your eyes. The folk ensemble is Homophonic , the SATB ensemble is Menage. The new group? Homage. Shut up, we think it's hysterical.)

Miss P and I are in the two (possibly three) ensembles together -- she was kind enough to volunteer when our alto bowed out midway through the rehearsal period. We are becoming a musical unit, she and I. Our voices and harmonic talents just dovetail so nicely. And I'm really starting to appreciate one of the basses from Homophonic as well -- he doesn't get to stand out as much in that group, and he's really a talent. I'll call him Z-Man for future reference, since I will probably be talking about him again.

He's the one who knew about the hand painted wallpaper, by the way.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Post concert yeehaw

Very Long Weekend. Not in a bad way, but any weekend where I have to put on a tux shirt, bow tie and cumberbund three times is a bit straining.

All in all, respectable performances. We sold far more seats than we were really expecting from last reported ticket sales. Honest injun, most of us thought the Sunday Matinee would have maybe 80 people and the two evening performances might crest the 150 mark. Instead, Saturday was a total sell out (they had people standing) and both Sunday performances were to about 200 or more a piece.

I sort of had pangs (again) when the chorus performed the songs I could sing, but I don't miss that much the standing on stage for hours (although, in response to past begging, when the curtain could come down and let everyone sit on the risers, it did). My two ensemble performances went well -- ok, the second ensemble had a few, shall we say, challenging moments. First performance was sorta "eh" in our opinion, but we completed it standing up. The second, I had a total panic moment at the end, could not find my note, and ran for that high note I'd been begging not to sing. It was fear, pure and simple. The final performance went off with only one hitch, easily recovered and only those "in the know" caught on.

During the matinee performance with the first ensemble there was a little "incident". Shortly after the song began, we heard a loud crackling sound coming from the house. It sounded like someone was popping bubble wrap or worse, and it went on and on and on. We figured one of the gels on the lights had melted, but couldn't figure out why it went on for minutes. Later we learned that one of the (new) techies had seen a gel slip and decided to adjust ALL the gels in the catwalk while we were performing. They couldn't hear it on the headphones in the booth or backstage, but as soon as the head sound tech found out, there was scolding done. Just someone new to the scene, I suppose. Not Making Noise is a huge thing during any performance.

So, I feel pretty good (and tired) and am looking forward to the next concert now. I also got to mediate/moderate/gossip about someone ELSE'S drama, which was a refreshing change. And I REALLY like my director (Dr. James Bass, in case you are curious). He's just very cool and damn talented -- I'd rather listen to HIM sing, honestly.

Now, on to Christmas Decorating, and a quick carolling gig tonight -- ugh, I don't know that I can actually sing anymore...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Fa La La La...oh, whatever

Tech rehearsal last night. It felt a little odd to be sitting in the house rather than being on stage. I had a couple of pangs, especially during the 2 or 3 songs in the program I especially liked and had sung fairly well. However, it's a long program and all the songs I SUCKED at didn't give me a pang of any kind.

I talked a bit with the director after it was over. I'm all anti-drama, so I didn't want him to think this WAS a drama situation, just me and my gremlins trying to kill each other. He was ok with it, I think. He's working his ass off, driving from another town 2 hours away to be here, and going through his own personal stuff. I really admire him.

The first ensemble I work with did pretty well. The second ensemble, not so good. The director's choice of music was a bit ambitious, and the piece is really intended for a much larger group. Four people and a piano don't make quite the same impression as 4 full sections and an orchestra. And I KEEP FORGETTING WORDS. Don't know why, it's an arrangement of a song I know (Do You Hear What I Hear) but sooner or later I'll drop a word. Of course, our tenor is fighting the same problem, our alto has one tricky entrance that's catching her, and our bass (who is director) is, I think, regretting his choice and trying to encourage us. It's not like we haven't worked on this shit. Even our brilliant accompaniest is fighting with it. Ah well, we will muddle through -- nothing else to do.

In other news, the novel has crossed 70,000 words. I'm still struggling to assemble some jewlery and displays to ship to a photo shoot. I'm trying to get the house decorated AND clean at the same time.

And, I went to the orthodontis yesterday. Next time I go could be the BIG DAY. I could have them off in January! My 8 months of treatment (hahhhahhahhaHAH! that's so funny) would come to an end after 20 months! I'll be able to really brush my actual TEETH. I miss my teeth.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Neurotic Re awakening

OK, so it took about 20 minutes of rehearsal to refresh and revive all my mental anguish. Somewhere in the middle of the third song, I found myself thinking "If I killed myself tonight, I wouldn't have to sing this weekend." Repeatedly.

Which is a big ol' red warning light, don'tcha think?

So I won't be singing with the chorus this concert, only with the ensembles. I'm making myself nuts for no good reason and it's no body's fault but my own, so it's time to cut it the hell out. And I did. I still feel a little wishy washy about it, because, damn, what fun is a complete angst filled moment if you can't linger in the afterglow, but I feel better. It was a hard decision and there are some parts I wish I could fix, but I put myself in a nice lose-lose situation for which there was no right or wrong desision, only degrees of which hurts least.

Anyway, this gives me a few weeks until next season to forget all about it and see how much I can worry next time.

More of what I'm talking about

Erotic moments from Bible...

I find some interesting contradictions in this.

1) nudity is automatically erotic (at least, female nudity)
2) eroticism is used to gain religious interest (whereas religion/Christianity is usually highly repressive of eroticism)
3) Quote "...it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude." No, apparently in Genesis we came up with body shame all on our own -- but it's certainly been a HUGE central point in Christianity (and other religions), down to admonishments to women to cover or cut off their hair so as not to incite men.

Now, the violence and eroticism of the Bible has been used as a counter-censorship argument (that if you ban such-and-such book for sex and violence, you have to ban the Bible on the same grounds) so this...just makes me laugh.

Happy Pagan over here :>

(Photo brought to you via Xoloitzquintle so blame him)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Volunteer Baggage Carriers

I had one of those long, strange conversations with a friend last night that I am prone to have, all about how my own hyper-awareness of sexuality in our culture has become like imprisoning walls and in particular how it affects my writing.

(How was that for a thesis sentence?)

It's a labrynthine mess of ideas, really. It starts here -- Anything and everything in American culture seems to have sex lurking at the bottom of it, or can have sex dragged into it. Everything. Jello, catfur, lumber, cars, lawn care...start talking about it and somehow, some way, a sexual inuendo, a joke, a reference can or will be brought in.

I get really tired of it. Sex is well and fine and when I want to talk or write about it, I'm perfectly capable and in general interested. However, there are huge realms of things that aren't about sex and I like to get to those, as well, without all the interference. Everything, absolultely everything, seems to be in some sexual catagory -- it's gay, it's straight, it's macho, its girly, it's sexy, it's limp, blah blah blah. I hear it from gay friends, I hear it from straight friends, to the point where, in my head now along with the editor who tells me what crap my writing is, I have a Hayes Code censor checking everything for its potential sexual content. Remember the uproad about the Lion King and the letters in the dust? That kind of nitpicking, pointless, annoying self checking.

And it's really making me crazy.

You see, I'm reasonably sure that two given human beings in any gender combination can have a loving, affectionate relationship, complete with hugs and kisses, tears and laughter, and never once feel an impulse to combine body parts or create mutual orgasms. Hell, chances are good that they can be naked in the same room and not have anyone get gooey. I've had these kinds of relationships myself, with both make and female friends. I don't think I'm that unusual.

But the strait-jacketing THING in my head, this censorous rule, keeps whispering that if two people touch, it's gotta be about sex. Somebody wants to schtup somebody. Doesn't matter who the two are -- two men are gay, two women are lesbians, man and woman are lovers/adulterers, adult and child are pedophile and Lolita/victim.

I wonder when, exactly, our ideas about how people act with each other changed. Why is it when we read letters between friends written 100 years ago, their terms of endearment and signs of affection which then, apparently, indicated acceptable expressions of feeling, in modern interpretation indicate intense desires to fuck? I have no particular course of study to reference, but my uneducated perception is that roughly from the 1920's through the 1960's, we developed the modern concept of the unfeeling male and the emotionally messy female -- real men give bonecrushing handshakes and all women air-kiss unless there's a mink coat involved. And from the mid-1960's to today, we've been struggling to break out of that cement prison -- sensitive men and strong women, metrosexuals and bra burning. I'm sure there's some college course somewhere that analyzes this.

I wish I could just dump it wholesale out of my own thinking, so I could just write people as I'm sure they are, without constantly second guessing myself with "But will the reader think this? Will the reader think that?" I'm tired of it, but I can't seem to unload it.

My conversation with my friend went much further along than this, into gay revisionist history and the whole "historical greats were on our team" thinking, with the insistence of so many straight and terrified people that being gay is evil (but apparently it's ok to kill other humans, either as punishments for crimes or in war or just because you don't like their politics...but that's a whole 'nuther labyrinth).

Most of all, I'm tired of all the "It's wrong! It's Bad!" attached baggage. I'm tired of having it in my head. I'm hoping by writing out my aggrivation with it here, I can unload some of it and get it out of my life. Writing as therapy and all that.

OH you lucky folks, standing in as my therapists. No, don't even bother sending me a bill for hauling my shit around for me. You volunteered.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pitchas



Max the Roomba, and the NEW FLOOR




















The replacement shelf for the one that came crashing down. It was amazing that they actually had one -- we haven't seen them for over a year, and then we had to comb the area for the ones we put up, as no store had more than one, apparantly. Just Lucky!











Benny, being cute as only Benny can be.


















New Shelf Unit. We made this (and you can tell if you get close up) pretty fast, but it works and I'm happy and everything!
















New floor and the fireplace that got crashed on by the glass shelf. Doesn't the floor look FANTASTIC? I love my floor!












The floor again -- still love it -- and this great scrap metal sculpture cat we got a couple of years ago. I actually DON'T have a lot of huge "cat things" but we saw this when we were in Cedar Key a few years ago, and it was just so...so perfect!


and that FLOOR. What a floor!











Minutia

I guess I got tired of being so neuorotic about the whole chorus thing, because currently I can't work up a single good panic about it. However, the sore throats keep rotating through and I have an actual, honest to gross cold sore on my lip. I NEVER get cold sores. Is it possible to have a psychosomatic cold sore? I've only had maybe 4 my whole life. I don't know.

My only little lip herpe.

Anyway, the concerts are this weekend. Come on out and see the glamor.


I am STILL crawling with all deliberate speed toward the end of that novel - thingie. 64,000 and climbing and I haven't made it to chapter 10 yet. Is it just me or is Word particularly unsuited to writing novels? Or at least for ME to write novels. It's hard to make easy-to-find notes. I keep thinking "Index Cards" except I'm rotten at assembling them into order, too. I need to keep notes on the names of people, and of places; little maps with the layout of rooms, houses, cities; what I said about whatever important item there is; how things work. Stuff like that. I started with notes typed into an outline, only it wasn't intuitive to rush over and enter stuff when I made it up and then the outline got so long I couldn't find anything again. Notecards look better and better, if I could just figure out how to organize them.

I'll need them for the revision. I'm still playing with Word, though, trying to make it do all the work. I'll lose damn notecards.

I am in love with my house. I'll have pictures shortly to explain why. I didn't always love my house, and, like anyone you love, it still has things that make me crazy and things I just don't know what to do about and things I'm just living with. But on the whole, with the new floor and the beautiful new shelf unit hiding the unfortunate unused bedroom foor, I love it. Nothing like a little refurbishment to improve a relationship.



Friday, December 02, 2005

Un enigmaticalizing

OK, yesterday's post was a bit, shall we say, cryptic? Here's the short version.

Lots and lots of drama about chorus. I've gotten to this weird place where I want to support the chorus and where others would react rather badly to me NOT participating, but I don't actually wanna sing. Specifically, I don't want our new (and pretty damn wonderful) director to hear how crappy I sound right now. So, I'm doing the exact thing I thought I would do (I know me so well) and not exactly singing my best. THis means I sound crappy, so I'm also singing very quietly. ON those few occasions when I forget myself (which is when I'm really enjoying rehearsal) I take every single comment he makes as being directed at me, and instantly tone it all down.

Are you following so far? My head is a weird and twisted place.

Anyway, rehearsals are now pretty dismal. My throat starts to hurt almost as we start. Now, our rehearsal room was remodeled last year and nearby rooms are in remodeling, which means a lot of paint fumes and new carpet and all -- the smells/fumes are miserable for me, being sensitive to them, so my sinuses usually start up as soon as I enter the room. I'm not the only one, so I'm reasonably sure THAT isn't Just In My Head. But the throat thing -- I'm thinking the throat thing is me.

I mean, I KNOW I'm doing all this to myself. I'm all wound up in my eternal battle between what I imagine other people want/think of me, and what I feel I've committed to do, and how worthless I feel to do it, and blah blah blah -- I mean, seriously, I get sick of listening to myself moan about it.

However self aware I am, though, I just don't come up with paths OUT of it. And I while I might be able to think my throat INTO being sore, I'm not having so much luck thinking it OUT of being sore.

I know I'm capable of displaying psychological situations as physical maladies. As a kid -- about age 8 or so, and again at 11 -- I went through bouts of high stress where I would just not be able to walk. I'd fall all the time, just walk along and fall. When I was older, it would be stairs -- I still get nervous going down stairs because I've fallen down so many stairs and I swear it feels like I've got Bette Davis in white face standing behind me, ready to push me down.

Ya know, to look at me you wouldn't know I was crazy. And maybe that's a bit of an extreme statement. Maybe I'm just very suseptible to stress, like some folks are suseptible to peanuts, and the mechanisms I developed very young to deal with said stress aren't so very good in the adult world. I can psychobabble my way around pretty well.

I'm still not all that jazzed about this magic ability, ya know? I mean, the whole psychosomatic stigma -- It's All In Your Head -- like that makes it somehow not real. Invalid. Unworthy. Stupid. Lazy. I've got a whole long list to go with those words. AS if everything isn't just all in everyone's head -- who we are, where we are, what's going on, how we feel, etc -- all the perceptions and thoughts and experiences we have, just so much stuff in our heads.

Not much to do but go after the problem as best I can, poking and prying at it, making myself ok, using whatever handy placebo method I like to flip that switch in my brain. I've got a whole big, hute theory on myself (that I'm not going to detail here, because no matter how honest I like to be, it's still embarrassing on some level to me). I found it by looking at my fiction writing, by the way.

Writing is so theraputic.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The biggest problem

with feeling confident that one's malady is really psychosomatic in origin is that the knowledge doesn't do a damn thing about curing the malady.

Ain't the mind a wunnerful thing?