Saturday, February 25, 2012

Golden Gate Girl (250 word exercise)

I had been following her for days. I once thought that a lady like her could never cheat - but I wasn’t that foolhardy anymore. And I needed the money. She came every day - after her morning in town - to stand by the bank under the Golden Gate Bridge. “To let her nails dry” my partner, Joe, said. “No bourgioux woman would just sit and think.” This afternoon the water was unusually rocky. I settled behind a few rocks and was finishing my crossword when I heard it. I looked up and she was gone. I was about 600 meters away, but In a flash I was running, my hat flying, stripping my suit jacket. How long had she been under? One, two minutes? I jumped in and grabbed her wrist, then hefted her under the arms. Her body was light and terrifyingly limp. I laid her down on the cement walkway. 1-2-3 - blow. 4 times, 5 times. Her eyes flew open and water poured out.
After a long while she looked at me. Her eyes were blue San Francisco water, “I thought you’d been watching.” “What?” I asked, realizing my blown cover. “This was one way to confirm my suspicions.” “And if I wouldn’t have come?” I asked, perplexed. She paused, and looked down again. “I would either jump and meet you, or I would finally get to what I’ve been putting off.”
I took her hand, “Let me take you home,” and led her away.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Workshop Exercise 1: 2012

I was talking to a friend the other day and he mentioned an interest in reading my blog. The thing about this stupid blog is that it was created through a gmail account that I haven't used in 3 years. So I consider it a real inconvenience and a downfall of gmail to allow a blog to be changed from any email address except another gmail email account.

Ok. I really sorta needed to get that out of my system.

I decided to join the Writer's Workshop again this year. I'm not sure if my gumption will last a whole 12 months, but I decided to commit. And tonight was the first meeting with the first exercise. So I decided to post it here. There's a couple of reasons why posting these exercises on my blog is a challenge to me:
1) I usually write very dark. I work at a job where I read about abuse, and people who cut themselves, or wish themselves dead, or families that have caused each other lots of pain, and the resulting depression and eating disorder, and anxiety and substance use and other disorders that people have to cope with things that one shouldn't have to cope with. So with the new year comes new beginnings, so I am trying to keep things a little more light and airy. Though this presents itself with challenge number 2.
2) I usually use writing as therapy. Actually I use most arts that I take part in as therapy. Which means that if there is some unusually depressing story at work that I need to process and get out of my system (which never really gets out, I don't think), I use art to get it out. Our walls are thin and I can get home late, so flute isn't always an option, so I will write to get it down and out and flushed through the lens of art. So this means that my challenge number 1 is already feeling pressure, because I either have to write twice as much to submit the pleasant stuff to writer's workshop, or I search a little harder for the happy bits of life.
3) I usually find it difficult to finish writing pieces I have started. So in posting it to my blog, it's a challenge for me to finish what I start.

Today's writer's workshop exercise was to take an article that you found interesting, and take a character (or a spectator or indirectly related) from the article and make a short story from it. Or you could write a journal entry as one of the characters (or a spectator or indirectly related) in the article.

The article I chose I can no longer find, but it was about a two-headed baby born in Brazil. The baby is doing fine and is healthy. But what struck me is that there was a two-headed female baby born in the states almost 20 years ago, and they are doing fine. So this was what I wrote regarding those two brave ladies.

Baxter first saw Aubrey and Brit at the circus. They wore a cottony, summer dress that was tailor made with two neck holes, two sleeves, and one skirt. One laughed when the other dropped her bag of hot circus peanuts, but not when some boys offered their tickets to see the girls do a dance. They walked one way, and Baxter walked towards the lions, and that was the last Baxter thought of them for the rest of the summer.

He spent the rest of his break dreading his next orthodontics visit, each of which included another metal contraption to connect his teeth, his jaw, and his head in a crude exo-skeleton. The removable headgear was originally only needed 10 hours a day. Though his sleep was cut to a few restless hours a night, he was fine staying indoors after summer baseball practice and reading books by Card, Tolkien, Adams, Orwell, Asimov, Wells and  Verne in order to refrain from being seen in public with the apparatus attached. But after a month and a half, the commitment was raised to 14 hours a day. This meant that Baxter was supposed to wear the headgear at least two hours in  school,  which was rapidly approaching, since sports practice was ‘mandatory’ according to his dad, and the headgear was ‘already paid for,’ according to his mom. He politely wore his headgear past the first block, turned the corner, and shoved it in his backpack. In the evenings he would put it on right as he turned the corner home, and wore it through the night.

But his orthodontics visit during Thanksgiving Break found him out - as progress wasn’t being made as the dentist expected. Baxter’s mom gave him the ‘i know it seems hard to be appreciative now’ speech, and walked him to school, to make sure it stayed firmly on his head. He only responded by saying that he was transferring as soon as the gear came off, and by third hour he was thinking of schools in the area that weren’t sports competitors with the Engelwood Badgers.

It was at lunch time that he noticed that Aubrey and Brit were there. He had forgotten about them. They were shy and timid and seemed to gauge the sincerity of everything that was said to them. They kept to themselves, walked straight to class and drove home with their dad in the passenger seat to meet their drivers ed hours.

A couple of weeks later Baxter ducked as Duane, the school bully sent a fist aimed at “scrambling your antannae.” Baxter turned on a dime and ran straight into Aubrey and Brit and their extra high pile of books. He split down the hall with Duane’s flat feet pounding after him. He cut through the Women’s bathroom and circled out the other end to help pick up the girl’s books, but as he came within hearing distance, he heard Aubrey say, “Phil Lancaster, don’t you ever talk like we’re handicapped again. And we can pick up our own books thank you very much.” Baxter changed his mind, did an about face and found himself braces to chest with Duane’s mass.

The next day Baxter saw the girls again in the hall. “Sorry for making a mess yesterday” he mumbled, a little intimidated of a ‘handicapped’ scolding. “Sorry about the black eye” Brit said.

From that day on, the girls said hi, and he made small talk. He won the science fair, since he had quit baseball and found himself with an extra amount of free time in the evenings. He started shaving his chin stubble, and during the middle of the next summer finally found himself free of his headgear. Surprisingly, his parents did let him transfer, and he became a Southwater stormchaser. At least that’s what he claimed, since the purple and gold Tornados mascot wasn’t his type of storm, he took evening classes and became a certified storm chaser after he got his drivers license.

One summer, years later, he ran into Aubrey and Brit.
“Good to see you.” Aubrey said, “It was always good to see you in the halls at Englewood.” Brit added.
“Why?” he asked.
They shrugged, “Because you treated us like a person, not like a novelty, or science experiment.”
“Oh. I just, you know, talked and stuff. There wasn’t anything special I did.” Baxter mumbled.
“That’s why we loved it.” They said, smiling and walked off. Their cotton dress swaying, heads turned in conversation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Makes Happiness?

The exercise for this week's writer's workshop was "What makes you happy?" It's worth looking into. I started off making a list, just the first things that came to mind. I was intending to format it into some poem or something. But it just wanted to stay a list. So here it is. 
NOT being around frat humor
SNL when it first started
my mom's cooking
rachel and lucas regier
alfred hitchcock movies
cowboy bebop, and other such marvelous anime
quiet neighborhoods
cuddly and happy animals
live professional classical music
live professional theater
conversations in the kitchen
modern female jazz singers
a good view from a window
a meal with lots of variety
nice fabrics
a stockpile of rich lotions and fancy chapsticks
being hydrated
getting stuff
nail polish that lasts a week
voluminous hair
a day at a zoo or in a garden
colorado springs, co
thai iced tea

All of these things involve memories with my husband. 

What makes you happy?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Alternate Chicago - Writer's Workshop Exercise

I realized that even though I've been involved in a writer's workshop, I haven't posted any more frequently on this ol' blog'o'mine. So the most recent post is creating an alternate world, so here's my exercise. I wanted to create a subtle, slightly Clockwork Orange situation. 

The same day that Dispensational Premillenialists were supposed to be caught up with Christ in the clouds a tornado destroyed a little town called Redding and Chicago shut down Sheridan avenue. Naturally, 10 years later and it was obvious that prohibiting traffic through a 10 mile street in the northern neighborhoods was by far the most expensive of all the events that day. With the heavy debt the windy city carried, city officials mandated that shutting down damaged roads and El stops was aggrandized to paying construction workers and purchasing a new fleet of police cars with top of the line Monroe OESpectrum shocks with Twin technology control functions. Other such unfortunate thoroughfares included the better north portion of Western, 5 miles of Touhy and 10 or 12 other miles of street that were deemed unworthy of repair throughout the city. After a few months of heavy stray traffic on the emasculated avenue the city put serious proscriptions into effect by tearing up the street from Foster to Touhy and starting construction on cheap condos that didn't sell for the first two years after completion. By this time an ordinance passed that any stray vehicular devices found on the sidewalks surrounding the Sheridan Ave Condos would be impounded. When this decree passed, 85% of the 135 businesses that once existed on the strip had shut down, vandalism had increased 162%, and 40% of the residents previously living two blocks from Sheridan had moved. 10 years and over $14 million later, the city of Chicago tore down the Sheridan Ave Condos, rebuilt Sheridan, laid brick sidewalks and landscaped the medians. The day Sheridan Ave opened again, the mayor came up to cut the ribbon and give away free lemonaid, and 15 citizens arrived to nurse on 25 gallons of heavily diluted Country Time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random - An Update on Me

With the changing of the new year came new parity laws with insurance. Earlier in the year I mentioned, with humor to my supervisor, with chagrin to my coworkers and with dread to my husband - this affects only me. Only my job and my stress levels. 

And it did. Four weeks in dreary gray of January I sped and bled like a speed demon on the devil track, attempting to get insurance to bend to my will. To make their bed with our company, with our sickest clients. Most refused. A few of the nicer ones - and within the first minute I could usually tell which ones still cared - admitted that 30 years of depression isn't taken care of in 12 three hour groups. 

And I cared for the clients when I let myself think about it - because of all the things to inhibit their improvement, insurance shouldn't be the biggest. But often enough, it is. Men with sex addictions and past trauma and a failing job and rising debt should not have to deal with disenchanted wives and impervious insurance companies. And lord knows I wouldn't dare try to approach the wife, but the insurance company has no right, dammit, to get involved! To even presume they knew what is best is ridiculous. 

One week I got so incensed that my supervisor had to come in and calm both me and the insurance dog down over speaker. And many weeks I cried. 

I didn't realize that the stress of my job bled into the halls until, four months in, I calculated that about 10 of my therapists and coworkers had asked what I did for stress management. Of course, that was a very therapist-y thing to say. I got a cat, listened to audio books, went to plays, watched movies, read crappy romance novels, and ate lots of sugar. I joined two book clubs, a writer's workshop and a yoga class. The downtown public library is surprisingly clean and organized for taking up a whole block, and this helps me soak in the calm that a library always seems to emanate. And the yoga class made me feel as calm as I feel when I visit my childhood home back in southwest Kansas, where the closest neighbor is a mile or so away and even the trees try not to disrupt the flat landscape. I didn't think that calm was something that could be found in the midst of big city skyscraper mess. But it seems I've found a place in it's lap. Or I'm getting more familiar with it, as time goes by. And slowly I am getting into a rhythm with insurance and the new laws. 

Part of me hates my job, or maybe all of me hates my job part of the time. Then other days I love fighting for justice. Giving people the green light that they can change their situation, if they are brave enough to face their demons. Sometimes outside forces, like insurance, are the only thing that's keeping a person from doing that. That's where I come in, to fight for them. And after reading progress notes week after week on some client's situation, I would rather face the insurance demons anyday than the personal demons that others face. I've had a bit of a wonderful life; it seems okay that I take on a little stress so those who haven't had it so lucky can find a bit of happiness. 

And if it means that I am then justified in indulging myself in extra sugar and as many crappy romances as I want, then so be it. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Inspiration, Part 2

Does it seem that the film awards are predictable to anyone else? I do enjoy the awards every year, and I love seeing the movies that truly are worthy of awards receive what's due to them. Despite my skepticism, here's my thoughts on some of the films that are bound to make it to the Oscars:

The King's Speech - This is first because I loved it the most. Of course I would pick the historical, beating the odds, inspirational, endearing piece as the one I loved the most. Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter are so wonderful. And who likes public speaking anyways?

The Black Swan  - Even though I loved the King's Speech the most, this might be a close race for my favorite. Anyone who has done any sort of artform has probably tasted the psychological consequences of really delving into a piece that challenges beyond comfort. Not a comfortable piece, but it will take your breath away.

Inception - Come on awards people. This, to me, is an example of a movie that should receive more awards but probably won't. Why? Merely because it was in the theaters in the wrong season. But that's just my opinion.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One - So I don't really think that this will get awards, but I love this story like I love Christmas. It's just meant to be loved.

The Fighter - The respectability of this family and the standards they live up to make me uncomfortable, but it is a story worth telling.

True Grit  - I like the Coen brothers' penchant for telling a story about those 'salt of the earth' kind. They bring out the matter of fact in people. I don't know if this 'needs' any awards, but it received a bit of buzz.

Have a good evening. Until next time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's always hardest to write that first blog post after a hiatus. I have been busy, for sure. Christmas was a wonderful little break from an extra stressful December that foreshadowed an even more stressful January (so far at least) at work. Michael and I came back from Christmas with one less car, two weakened immune systems, and a year's worth of books. Here's a sample of what I've read since the middle of December:

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamante (The story of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter) 3.5 out of 5 stars. It could of easily been more, except so much of the book was based off of Anita's imagination. But enticing and interesting nonetheless.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson 3.5 out of 5 stars. (Swedish suspense trilogy that everyone knows about by now) Suspenseful writing that you can revel in, but some parts are a bit painful to get through.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan Both 3 out of 5 stars A fun little read after a long, draining day of work that gives your brain a rest and lets your imagination go a little crazy.

The Great Hunt, Wheel of Time Series, Book 2 by Robert Jordan 4 out of 5 stars. A great follow-up adventure fantasy to the start of a wonderfully creative series.

And the book that got me to drag out my computer after sitting at a computer all day at work and update my blog is Ella Price's Journal, by Dorothy Bryant.
What brought me to share my thoughts about my recent mind travels is the first page of the book, describing the perfect journaling project in a college class. I love journaling projects. I journaled way too much as a kid, and I now consider my poetry and my blog the honing of journaling that's actually worth reading.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random - The Holidays Do This To Me

1) On my way back from the holidays I'm just as ready to head for the holidays as I was at the beginning of the holidays.

2) I love thinking up wonderfully individualistic gifts for everyone, but I end up pondering one thing too long for one person (usually, but not always, my husband) and end up rushing through everyone else's.

3) Mike and I can't wait to start our long list of Christmas Movie Musts. Granted, about the time that we have time for them will be the 25th.

4) Today was the last day in November in Chicago and it was the first day I actually saw flurries. Our first year here we were already a month up to our eyeballs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

- Untitled for so many reasons -

I cannot take the laurels of my sanctimony until I am only a ladel passing time

Through the mouth, taste the salt, through the tongue, taste my heart

Though my ability, taste my tears, through my stability, take my lemon

Far away far away this happiness is drifting to a storm that is looming

To a time I will be able to enjoy this rainy weather and finally focus on me

Finally create a living thing that breathes and sinks and croaks to be free

Finally able to hullaballoo about whatevah the hell I be

Toppling toppling telling time by the rise of the moon

The wave of my flag and understand finally an okay me.

It takes time, dear, to give a novel breath.

(It is late and I am waking up early tomorrow and I am behind on work, my husband is sick, I am tip-toeing along with NaNoWriMo and I miss my family. Okay, so I put that last part in about missing my family because I needed to put the 'and' in that horribly constructed sentence. Of course I miss my family, I always miss my family, but now I'm just getting pitiful. Sweet dreams all).

Lorca - Sonnet about the Letter

My innermost of loves, my waking death,

in vain I still await your written word,

watching this flower wilt. I swear,

I'd give you up before I lose my sense.

It's air that is immortal; stone is dumb,

incapable of knowing shadow or

avoiding it. My deeply buried

heart rejects the frozen honey shed by the moon.

And yet I suffered over you. I gashed

my veins, at once a tiger and a bird,

white lilies dueling jaws about your waist.

So saturate my lunacy with words

or leave me finally to live in peace,

my soul's long night eternally devoid of stars.

Of all the poems I have set to memory, this one has stuck with me with a fervor. I think I understand Lorca's absolute crazy passion and even though I have someone in my life who is my "Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly", it doesn't ease the dread of rehearsals starting up again that will keep him from me from 7:30 Am to 11:30 pm. Until March.

So I have that for which Lorca longs, in a sense, but in another, I know in two weeks I will duly wish for my love to saturate my lunacy with time.

Pasted from

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Random - Wilde's Last Stand

Today is the last day for Mike's Oscar Wilde show. It's pretty sad, actually, for me whenever Mike closes a show. I love getting to know a new cast and showering them with mother-hen love and cookies. Which means today is my last hurrah to bake some bad-a$$ cookies for these guys. And then after today I might not see some of these people for the rest of my life. That's sad to me after going through such an emotional rollercoaster (for all plays are, aren't they?) for the past two months or so.

Not that I know them too well. But I am excited for the day when Mike's show is extended and we have a great excuse to get to know a cast better.

But that's all sentimental. I think it's time to go make some pumpkin cheesecake bars and pecan pie bars. Maybe this was all just an excuse for me to eat goodies. Or maybe it's an excuse to put off writing a novel. I still plan on getting my 1000 words in today (which means I will be many tens of thousands of words short by the end of November if I continue this, but we chip away at these things, don't we?)

And perhaps I am new blood to the cooking world, but what in the hell is a jellyroll pan?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Random - Friends and Art

So we had some wonderful friends over this week, which meant that I started the week at the beginning of November with a decent start on the book I am writing for National Novel Writing Month, and I ended the week in the middle of November with a stalled start on my book.

You know when you are working on a piece of art and you mention your idea to someone and then all of a sudden a magical twist in your brain unlocks all the drollness for the work and you find it extremely difficult to finish the work? I was really afraid that this would be the case if I mentioned to our guests exactly what I was working on. And then last night we discussed my idea and the themes of my books for nearly three hours, it seemed. And I found that it isn't droll at all, but the concepts I wish to present connect with others. Flabbergasted indeed.

So without further ado, I believe I should get my little heinie in gear.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random - Friends

Hanging with wonderful friends with full bellies and heavy eyelids. A good evening to a busy day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Random - Chicago Theater

So I went to a play that a good friend was performing in last night. I hadn't seen her perform in over two years. She is tall and regal and beautiful in her subtleties on stage.

But I couldn't get over the theater they performed in. It was a renovated funeral home. Except it wasn't that renovated. They still had the long stand that they put the caskets on for viewings. They just put some cushions on it for a bench in the lobby before the doors opened. You could totally tell it was a funeral home. One big long room pretty much made up the whole of the building.

And get this: we went backstage after the show and the dressing room is a small, narrow room in the back of the building with tile floors and a long table with a lip around the edge. And a drain that goes to the floor, where there is another drain. It's the room where they embalmed the bodies. The table they used was still there. No freaking kidding. I couldn't get over this.

For some reason, I found it more interesting and amusing than morbid or creepy. Perhaps you will find this weird, but Michael and I love to go walk through cemeteries. We do it during the day, and we love picking the cemeteries that are really beautiful (like the one across from the Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie). One of the things I love about cemeteries here in Chicago is that little ways that people chose to commemorate the dead often portray the culture or demographic that they were. Asian or Spanish or Italian. We are always surrounded by life and death, and all of us together, in a mixing pot. I think it's beautiful.

I'm not your Emily Dickenson or anything, but I think acknowledging the dead and the lives they lived, even if it's summed up in one epitaph on their tombstone is important. It helps put things in perspective, and it helps me feel better about dieing myself one day.

Lastly, this past week was Day of the Dead. I really think it's a beautiful holiday. So I wanted to share some Etsy DoD works of art.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Random Angle - Inspiration

Finally, a night off.

And I get a chance to catch up on a little sleep. And a little Sherlock Holmes (wowzas - I love this version). And a little writing.

Question: When one is writing, does one go with the concept or the inspiration? I have little inspirations here and there that have come from the last few days, and I'm not yet sure if they will be able to fit in one cover. Torn between what is most relevant for me that day and the plot I was originally inspired to do. So many ideas flitting through my head that it's hard to even jot them down before they're lost to space.

Carl Sandberg - Passers-by

(As I am just now finishing work for the day, only to go back tomorrow probably before the sun goes up, only someone like Carl Sandberg helps me realize that even though Atlas would like to, he doesn't always shrug. This is why.)

Out of your many faces
Flash memories to me
Now at the day end
Away from the sidewalks
Where your shoe soles traveled
And your voices rose and blend
To form the city's afternoon roar
Hindering an old silence.
I remember lean ones among you,
Throats in the clutch of a hope,
Lips written over with strivings,
Mouths that kiss only for love.
Records of great wishes slept with,

     Held long
And prayed and toiled for. .

Written on
Your mouths
And your throats
I read them
When you passed by.

Pasted from

Monday, November 1, 2010

Random Angle - Work

Ever since work started being pretty demanding, I've been fine with it. But I've decided to partake in NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), and on the first day of the month, I'm so overloaded with work this evening, that I'm still working, and exhausted.

All of it will not get the best of me, dammit!

Don't get me wrong, I'm still going at it. But I sure wish that life would offer it's events and responsibilities in moderation...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Random Angle - Halloween

I have a mean getup for Professor Trelawney (from Harry Potter). The glasses, hair, dowdy hippie clothing, even the tea leaves. I first created her when me and my coworker were invited to another coworker's house for a Dress-Up-As-A-Literary-Character Party. It was a cinch -everyone was great about guessing it spot on.

But I went out to do some Halloween partying last night with friends, and I don't think anyone guessed it all night! And the 'dowdiness' seem to stand out among all those scantily clad zombie women.

I'm fine with this standing out. I don't really need someone to gape in order to know that I'm getting attention. And Mike just couldn't get enough of how cute I looked.

We went to a bar that had a sort of marching band playing. They were all dressed in zombie wear, and it was quite a spectacle: hoolah hoops, jugglers, crazy synchronized instrument dancing, megaphones and flags. My mind was kinda blown. Not sure if I loved them, really, but I would never have seen that in Kansas. Don't think I would have in Virginia Beach either..

All that to say, Happy Halloween. If you stop by I have tootsie rolls and Dots for ya.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Angle - Challenge

I have been taking my friends up on challenges lately, which is kind of unusual for me, I think. Probably because I'm not challenged much by my friends. That's not to say my friends aren't challenging. That's to say that they don't go 'Angie, I challenge you to a race to the kitchen'.

I just finished posting a facebook status on my wall every day for a week. This seems silly, but it was actually hard one or two of those days. I just kept thinking, 'this is too much to ask of any friend of mine to read a new post every day! It's like angie overload.' And then I remembered that I was kinda writing a new blog post everday too. talk about overload in the angie genre. This will do it.

But apparently that's not enough for me. I was just challenged another massive challenge. Probably the biggest challenge I've done since preparing for my senior recital in two months, and planning a 12 hour road trip for 30 college women in three weeks, and planning that not-so-simple wedding of mine after the senior recital and two college plays. All of those were challenges to me, not 'oh this would be so fun for you to do, you should think about doing it.' More like, 'get your ass in gear and get those women to chicago! Get in that practice room and memorize that Mozart concerto!' And I salute and say 'yessir!'

Maybe I would have found my goal in life if someone would have said to me 'I challenge you to do what you want,' instead of 'do whatever you want to do with your life. it's up to you.'

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Angle - Pennies and Sense

Tonight I found myself with no way home.

I take the red line on the El trains. A 45 minute ride that would take about a day and a half to walk, it seems. After work I decided to take my time coming home; it was too late to make it home and see michael before he went off to his show, and I thought it would be good to spend a bit of time roaming flashy downtown before spending my evening at home finishing up Shopgirl (the Steve Martin book).

So after I had finished my Macy's window shopping and and people watching I decided to head home. But once I got down to the train, I realized that I needed to refill my card.

Now that I am at this point, I must say that usually I think ahead a tiny bit more than this. I realize when I need to refill my card and what that entails (namely, money). But today I, for some reason, didn't think to bring anything to refill my card with. I am very particular about not putting money on my credit cards, so I don't bring them. And I didn't happen to have any other card or check with me.

I think what is also interesting is I happened to realize this at 7, exactly the time that Michael leaves for his show.

So I thought a bit, walked around thinking a bit more and made a mental list of people who would be willing to spend their evening coming downtown to give me two bucks. Finally I found a little coin purse in my bag, so I counted out my coins and went down to the train card machine again to see how much was left on my card.

I'll just say it's a good thing that 1) my card wasn't completely empty and 2) the card machine takes pennies.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random Angle - Those darn flute urges

Why is it that I always get the hankering to play my flute proud at 11:00 at night?
These paper thin walls are getting in the way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random Angle

I hate transitioning out the seasonal clothes. Packing away the summer clothes and bringing out the winter clothes. You have to wash all those winter clothes so you're not a mothball smeller and say goodbye to all those breezy, cotton dresses and spring colors made for the correct season.

So I'm putting it off. Which means I have a no access pass to the abyss of my closet cause all the winter items are piled by the dirty laundry and all the summer items are left forgotten on their hangers.

It causes a saturnine mood. Maybe I'll go make brownies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Random Angle

So, I know it's just the end of October, but I have to admit that I have been working on my Christmas list. This beast that I have created is meticulously pruned every year with the first freeze to prepare it for it's mating dance. A ritual where loved ones sympathetic to my need of presents peruse my odd assortment of impulse online window shopping and pick something that glitters just right to them, fits in with their wallet, and is easy to wrap. A ritual that I now and forever will be grateful for.

One website that I have found so fitting with my christmas list this year is Etsy. Oh sure, everyone's seen it, but up to this point I've found it a tiny bit overwhelming. Where do I even start looking for that perfect little bit of handiwork that I can dangle from my ears or wrap around my chilly neck? Well, just yesterday I happened to stumble across a few ways to sift through the oddities and bizarre accessories, and suddenly the vast world of Etsy opened up to me in cute, organized rows.

1) This stuff is too cute: Add to wish list.
2) Let the gift mating ritual begin...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wasting Form

On stage, on screen, in lyric, stroke, step,
You were the pulse of my veins, the catch of my breath.
I wasted Meisner for you and the stage
But only the stage remembers.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Angle

Maybe everyone else gets tired of a play after seeing it once, but I could go every night to Mike's show, if 1) I could get a comp every night and 2) the people at the box office (and perhaps a few of the cast) wouldn't think me a tiny bit overzealous for doing this. I've gone twice since the doors opened three weeks ago and already the box office fella gave me the 'haven't you been here before, and why in the world are you here again?' look.

Live theatre changes every night, depending on the crowd, the mood or energy of the cast, the backstage crew, even the weather can affect how a show turns out. I thrive off of the different conversations brought up each time, the twists and turns a play will take, being molded differently by all involved (including the audience) and how those undulations create a reaction. It's Newton's third law, the action-reaction law. And I love it.

Since I work at a psychological center, we have different ways around the offices to help clients think positive or work with their troubles. This includes a simple Table Topics game on the kitchen tables. There's no winner, just ways to get conversation going with questions like 'What is the best and worst part about being a man or a woman.' The question we answered the other day on our lunch break was 'how would your life be different if you had no concern for what others thought?'

I would go to every single showing of Michael's and I would love it, dammit.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Angle

So I follow about 15 blogs. Almost all of them are people I know personally or by second degree. But there are two blogs that I happened across once and was charmed enough to favorite them. As I was perusing through my blogs today I noticed that one of the two that I don't know was writing his last post. Rather, his wife was writing the post for him. He had died of cancer, rather unexpectedly from what I understand, just a few days before. I was shocked at how unexpected and terrible this was, and was deeply saddened by it. Even though I didn't know him at all, I just knew a few of his writings, it still affected me.

As all life affects us, I believe. Whether we know a person or not, thier story or brief encounter with us can change us. I deal with this every day, working at a psychological center. I am the person that a new client first talks to when coming to our center. And before that client can make an appointment, I have to know why they are seeking therapy. After talking to hundreds of clients over the past year, I have been trying to figure out how I might be able to learn or grow from these stories. Hundreds of stories. Each one different, each one with sorrow and pain, and each one seeking help. I feel honored, in a sense, that they could talk to someone that they know absolutely nothing about, and tell that person their deepest secrets on the first conversation. That is certainly something I would have trouble doing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Angle

Woah Woah Woah

How did my last post happen 9 days ago? Where is my life going? Is this how years will fly by too? Wait... Am I still alive?

A humbling and slightly horrifying thought crossed my mind today in an utterly strange way: A quick prestidigitation of my life digits and I will be swept in with the eighth notes until I am more of a hemisemidemiquaver.

(whaaa? where did that come from?)

But despite all the tug of wars, there are a few things that are keeping me from being pulled right into the sad crowd of those living at breakneak speed.

1. The Fall. A macabre piece set in the early 1920's or so that seems life affirming by the end. A study on the relationship between a suicidal stunt man recently paralyzed and a sweet, trusting five year old romanian girl. I feel that perhaps The Social Network is a better made movie, (also viewed in the past 9 days), but I can't help but be much more affected by The Fall. Of course, The Fall is about life and death, The Social Network is about The Facebook.

Please note that The Fall, though colorful and creative and tidied up with a sweet ending, might be hard for some dealing with loss.

2. MORE Oscar Wilde. Might as well, right? Autumn 2010, I feel, will be remembered by the fall of Wilde. I saw Mike's play, finally, and was touched by it. I have also spent today reading and rereading De Profundis; the letter written to his vain lover near the end of his two year hard labor jail term. Profound, and, in the very least, arrantly interesting as a study on his view of his love almost two years after being put in jail, after three very difficult trials and becoming the public example of 'gross indecency'. What is most interesting to me is his unique contemplation on Christ, love, and sin.

3. Work is a pill. Not just any pill, one that dehydrates and leaves me not recognizing any comparisons between weekdays and weekends. The shortening days also leave me with a distinct scurrying feeling at all times. So as my third point on staying sane amidst a torrent of insanity, I wanted to share a few things that calm me. I saw this post one day and ever since have thought about the things that really do calm me.

  • fall-flavored candles on cute candlesticks
  • apple cider (warm or cold)
  • deli cheeses and meats that spruce up a lame sandwiches at lame days at work
  • seeing sheet music laying around
  • reading, seeing, partaking of art
  • feeling rested
  • being completely ready for bed
  • Jim Hensen
  • reading aloud and being read aloud to
  • seeing Michael on stage
  • glossy wood floors
  • pictures on the wall
  • campfire smell
  • and the smell of decomposing leaves
  • watching lame movies and laughing. and laughing at how much of life is spent watching lame movies
  • head on pillow
  • storms
  • and everything else on the curlsofred 20 calming things post that wasn't already mentioned.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Random Angle

A couple things I'm glad for:

1) Quiet Evenings. Today is the first day since sometime in August that Michael and I have had a Monday evening together. Without rehearsals or plans or anything. We almost don't know what to do with ourselves, we are so embalmed with gladness.

2) Frozen grapes. Landon Tucker taught me a few things, but one of them was that frozen grapes are a wonder of the fruit world.

3) It has a been a beautiful and thankfully mild fall.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Angle - Oscar Wilde

My husband is opening a show about Oscar Wilde this weekend. I'm pretty excited, and have actually been excited for over a month now, I would say. I had definitely known of Wilde and read some of his more famous works in the past, but when Michael started reading the script, which is primarily of Wilde's trials, my interest was piqued.

I love when Michael is in a new show, becuase that's a great excuse for me to read up on the playwright or subject for at least a month to gain some insight for when I see the show. Since his foray into a play about Jazz musicians at the fall of Jazz and the rise of Elvis, both Michael and I have become avid Jazz lovers. His graduate thesis on George Bernard Shaw also inclined me to his other works and an admiration for his mind. No matter the topic: drugs, certain types of comedy, period pieces, etc, it's a great chance to take in culture and knowledge.

So, reading up on Oscar Wilde has been a treat. I have reviewed poems, listened to audiobooks, took in his De Profundis (his first work after his stint in jail near the end of his life) and watched Wilde - the biopic, masterfully portrayed by Stephen Fry (though a little shocking at points).

One poem that has been particularly striking to me has been a poem reflecting on his time in jail, "A Ballad of Reading Gaol"

Considering that this man was prosecuted for 'gross indecency' (what they described his primarily homosexual acts), and considering the lifestyle I grew up with (primarily conservative christian), he brings some interesting takes on life and sin and god.

Here are some excerpts I thought particularly interesting, though I would say that reading excerpts (especially of a poem) is never as good as the whole thing:

I only knew what hunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

And I and all the souls in pain,
Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
The man who had to swing.

They think a murderer's heart would taint
Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God's kindly earth
Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
Bloomed in the great Pope's sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
A common man's despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who tramp the yard
That God's Son died for all.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
Whom Christ came down to save.

This too I know—and wise it were
If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
How men their brothers maim

Monday, October 4, 2010

Random Angle

In an effort to slowly get back to writing and expressing through art in different forms, I have been thinking about the pieces of art that have made the most impact. So, a little delving into the pieces that formed me:

1. Chopin - The Pianist, directed by Roman Polaski, (some say) was slow in the first act, marvelous the second act. I think that I was just mesmorized by the soundtrack the whole way through. I attest that Looney Tunes made me love the magic of classical music. I never really laughed at it, I always just listened. Then, in highschool I read A Clockwork Orange, which piqued my distaste of classical music (interestingly enough. The government didn't really bother me til later). It was The Pianist (specifically, Chopin) that brought me back to the magic of classical music.

2. Dylan Thomas - Probably when I was too young to understand Thomas' poetry, I was handed a book of 23 of his poems. Nothing special, except that I have not read and re-read someone's poetry as much as his. A little excerpt (by Dylan Thomas, "The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower"):

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age;
That blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

3. Flute Greatest Hits. No kidding. I got this album in Jr High, and I have since been striving to learn each piece that was on that album. One piece, Dance of the Blessed Spirits, by Gluck, is the only piece that I have had memorized for over 10 years. You also can't imagine my disappointment when I found out that Maple Leaf Rag by Gershwin wasn't written for flute (remember this is Jr High, I wasn't exactly well-versed in classical music). I'm still a little baffled why 1) it's on this album, and 2) if it's one of Flute's Greatest Hits, I still haven't found a rendering for flute. Se la vi.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random Angle

We have one of these in our neighborhood.

Not Fred. Or George. Or whatever his name is. But the beast. Wowzas. And this monster of a dog that lives somewhere in our vicinity doesn't look jovial, like this picture somehow, miraculously eminates. He looks really, really angry. And extra mangy. I mention this becuase it's almost traumatic to see him walking towards me.


And on a completely different note, last night I ended my long remission on playing with words.

Dull, dudded eyes tell the traveler's silver studded full
Lips pitched in quirk or smirk of life ditched in drips.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Angle

So I'm determined to enjoy winter this year.

The winter of '09-'08 was dreadful. It was miserably cold and we had just moved and were looking for jobs and I was realizing my small town Kansas roots weren't gone at all because the big chi-town was eating me like a crumpet at afternoon tea.

Last winter ('09-'10) wasn't bad. It was my introduction to Harry Potter, and that season of my life will always be remembered fondly. But the winter as a whole wasn't a dreamboat experience, for sure.

And for this winter, I have list of books, a longer list of movies, a few flute songs to learn, some poems to finish, a growing list of Chicagoans that I, indeed, can call friends, and a lot of plays to watch. Not to mention those glorious holidays in November/December.

What have been my favorite things so far this fall? (I can hear you asking this)

1. PRI's Selected Shorts Short Stories. Oh the magic of a short story. I get all giddy just thinking about their selection of stories and the great list of actors, tony, oscar and emmy winners who read them. They're just short little snippets of imagination to make you think.

2. Our neighborhood has had a delicious smell of campfire smoke and fireplace almost every night it is chilly. This is not something that we had in our old neighborhood, Logan Square, and it's delicious. It makes a brisk walk marvelous.

3. Gearing up for Mike's next play, Gross Indecency, the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. We have both since taken an interest in Oscar Wilde, and this has made me wonderfully anxious for the show.

Random Angle

So my last post was February. Well that's not bad, I'm almost done copying the Merriam Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary and posting it in one huge post. Finally some glory for eight months of furious typing.

I've actually thought about posting random things many times. Poems I've worked on, little musings I've had, frustrations, etc. And then I remember that I created this blog from another gmail account that I never log into anymore and that really bugs me. Technology's boast on efficiency has yet failed me again. In that it's not efficient at all.

But my, have I digressed.

So I'm not good at setting goals for myself, cause I kinda think that it's not good for one's morale to set goals. Like someone going on a grapefruit diet and then really getting down on themselves cause they ate an orange. I would never, in a million years, go on a grapefruit diet. I would be dreadfully grumpy. And we have way too much ice cream in the freezer for me to spend all my tastebuds just tasting grapefruit sour. All that to say that I'm not setting a goal to post things on a regular basis. I'm not a regular basis type of woman. But it would please me to not surprise my vast base of readers once every year or so with musings out of the blue.

Listening to the new Sufjan Steven's album.

It's interesting. Still deciding if it's all cool or if just some of it is cool and then the rest of it seems redundant and just a little annoying. Just like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. cool? meh. Sufjan is cooler of the two though.

So that's my re-introduction to blogging. Prepare your reading palate for some dictionarilicious.