West End Girl?

Last night, even though I was exhausted and frustrated by work, and really wanted a hot bath and a good night’s sleep, I ventured into Dallas’s West End to attend the audtions at the local branch of ComedySportz.

I blame (or credit?) my friend Clay for the suggestion that I go. In truth, I had contacted them, at his friendly urging, to inquire about their public workshops, searching for something interactive to jump-start my muse, shatter my shyness, and allow me to hang out with creative non-mortgage-industry people. Instead of giving me class info, they said, “Consider coming to the auditions.”

And so I did.

Consider it, I mean. I also bugged my closest friends about it, knowing they wouldn’t let me chicken out, that by telling them, I was giving myself external accountability. Again, Clay offered the best advice telling me to go with the expectation of having fun for a couple of hours. “Worst case scenario,” he said, “You get to play for a while and laugh a lot.” (I have the wisest friends).

Anyway, I was near to skipping it from sheer tiredness. Thursday is “month end” at work, and our volume is such that, this month, it’s crazy. We’re all working long hours and everything is time sensitive. But I knew I’d have to explain myself if I didn’t go, and I really wanted to play in that sandbox. So I went.

As auditions go, it was about as non-threatening as possible. We filled out minimal paperwork, and then we played games.

Specifically, we opened with Zip Zap Zop, and then played the Name Game and Pass Clap. We were blessed to have, among the auditioners, a bald guy named Curly, who became the focus of the name game, an exercise that helped us learn each other’s names. As folks wandered in late, people would wave them over and say, “That’s Curly. Start there.” It seemed to work.

We moved on to more interesting exercises, doing brief (two-five lines) justification scenes, in which we essentially just had to establish who and where we were (this was in pairs), and then we did some small-group exercises – HitchHiker, What Are You Doing, and Four-Headed Expert.

After having some of the current cast demonstrate, we warbled our way through “Do Ron Ron” (my favorite) and then wrapped up with 185, which is quite possibly the most exquisite torture available in a family-friendly format.

At the end of the evening, we collapsed into chairs, and were told that email would be the primary form of communication, and that if we couldn’t commit to the required time, to leave now (essentially). I walked down the block to meet Fuzzy for a late dinner at Fridays, and then went home to bed, pausing only to babble all of this to Clay, via IM.

(He was so patient about listening)

This morning at work, I checked my personal email via the web, and found that the invitation to join the troupe (attend workshops, and work door/concession while learning) had been extended about ten minutes after I turned out the light – I’d been expecting not to be asked – and emailed the select circle of friends and family who’d been told about this in the first place.

So…the first players workshop is on Sunday. I can’t wait to go play!

Learning Curve

I spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mother, though her arrival on this specific weekend was coincidental. She’s working for a company that does loans in Mexico, and their primary market are gringos who want vacation property, or ex-pats who want to put down deeper roots. She’s been travelling all over Mexico corralling the brokers and whipping them into shape, and last week she had to pay a visit to the home office in Houston.

We flew her up here on Southwest, expecting her to arrive at 7 AM Friday. Instead, she arrived at 9 PM Thursday, and we were late picking her up because we both were delayed at work, we’d never been to Love Field (we’ve passed it, but not gone in), and we were stuck waiting for the world’s slowest moving freight train (which, okay, was going down the streets of Dallas, so had a reason to be slow, I guess) to pass. Still, we found her, fed her, and put her to bed.

So why is this entry called “Learning Curve” and not “Weekend with Mama?” Because bits of it were very educational. Here’s what I learned:

1) Do not attempt to drive from Irving/Las Colinas to Love Field in under an hour, even at 8:30 PM. The traffic isn’t so bad, but the trains will completely mess up your schedule.

2) Always bring a sweater for your mother, who will complain she is cold in 75-degree evening weather because, “I live in Baja, where it’s warm” and then turn around 24 hours later and complain that “Mexico never gets this hot” (90 degrees in summer).

3) Sit next to your mother, not across from her, so that when she puts her feet on the seat opposite her, you do not get kicked.

4) There is such a thing as too much shopping. Spending an entire weekend re-building a wardrobe for someone is less than fun, though there were moments, and Dress Barn does not have chairs for bored shopping companions.

5) Never, ever, under any circumstances, enter a bath store on the night before Mother’s Day, as you will get trampled to (near) death by shoppers who are apparently just finding out they need to buy a gift for mom.

6) Do not expect actual service in stores like Kohls.

7) Take a day off after the visit, to recuperate. I didn’t,. and was dog-tired all day yesterday.

Disturbing Appearances

The first one arrived on Sunday.
I’d been reading on the patio while eating lunch (liverwurst and cream cheese on rye, if you must know), and I needed to take a restroom break. I’d already crossed that space of floor several times over the preceeding two hours, and there had been nothing strange or dangerous about it, then. No obstacles were there to block my path, save the two dogs who are my near-constant escorts when I am home (they like to dance canine circles around my feet as I walk).
I looked down, and froze.
“Fuzzy,” I yelled. “Miss Cleo did something bad.”

I don’t know why I assumed the culprit was Cleo. Perhaps because the thing on the floor was larger than Zorro’s head? Perhaps because he’s never shown interest in any animal that wasn’t a member of the family rodentia? In any case, her usual game of “chase the birds and try not to fall in the pool” made Cleo the obvious scapegoat.

“What is it?” he asked. “Did she pee on the floor?”
“No.” Could he not hear the tremulous note in my voice?
“Did she leave presents?” (Our euphamism for more solid doggie deposits)
“Not the way you mean,” I said. “Come here. Bring the dust pan.”

And so I told him, “Miss Cleo murdered a bird.”

Except we’re not so sure she did, because the corpse formerly inhabited by the soul of a robin had no marks that pointed to being a canine chewtoy. It was, simply, dead. As if it had dropped there for no apparent reason. Neither dog showed any interest in the ex-creature.

Then last night – or early this morning – another arrival. The dessicated husk of a gecko that had been lying on the edge of the patio was deposited in the same spot. This is odd, as it was not there when Fuzzy escorted the dogs to bed after their evening consitutional, and they were not let out again til morning, at which time the object was spied. (He carried it outside to the garden).

I told Fuzzy we must have a feline poltergeist, as I know Cleo isn’t fast enough to catch a gecko.

What the Oracle Says About Me.


Personality type: High Maintenance

You pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you’re bossy and arrogant. You’re constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people’s time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that’s why they’re plotting to kill you.

Also drinks: Water. Bottled, chilled, with four ice cubes, a twist of lemon, in a crystal glass.
Can also be found at: Trendy martini bars

Drink entered: Triple venti no vanilla extra caramel caramel macchiato.

Dallandra @ Open Diary made me do this. YOU can try it here.

(And the scary thing is, this is true…sometimes.)


I hated dusting that dresser. It was an intricate task of moving the trays onto the rolltop desk in the corner, dusting the back part of the dresser, moving the trays back, dusting the front, and then dusting the scrollwork of the mirror frame.

That mirror held many mysteries. So old that the corners had blackened, it seemed to reflect what people should look like, more than what they did. In that mirror, my grandmother’s olive skin was that of a girl, not an elderly woman, and her wrinkles softened to smile lines. Her eyes seemed to sparkle more, when we stood side by side in front of it, and she’d pick up various items, and tell me their stories.

About once a summer, we dove into the bottom drawer, where she kept the jewelry that was out of season (out of favor, we joked behind her back) or too fragile to wear – a cameo pin from Italy, worn by her grandmother, a necklace made of polished nuggets of lava and shells from Hawaii, a circle pin, leftover from when circle pins were trendy, a silver box full of old foreign coins, emptied from my grandfather’s pockets when he’d come home from his last tour of duty, and love letters he’d written over the years – including a series which included detailed instructions (never followed) on how to draw plants.

My favorite trinket from the bottom of the drawer, though, was a slighly pink crystal necklace and matching earrings. Allowed to try it on, I would prance around my grandmother’s bedroom acting the part of a princess, and practicing my regal wave (touch the crystals, lift my hand and gesture as if screwing in a lightbulb), and my best curtsey. My grandmother would watch me, smiling fondly, and commenting on how the stones sparkled in the light coming in the window.

“How it shines,” she said.

Sometimes I wonder if she meant something other than the crystal.