CafeWriting: Helpful

Sometimes, there can be much joy in helping someone else…and since my own prompt at CafeWriting for May and June called on me to list seven ways I’ve helped another person, I thought I’d get this down for those times when I’m feeling useless and stupid.

  1. My Mother: She went back to school in her thirties, and I used to help her by editing her essays, and suggesting stronger word choices. Later, when she had to learn a 100-page flip-chart presentation, I helped her with that as well. I think I can still recite it in my sleep. And she helped me, and continues to help me, all through my life.
  2. Various friends, and Fuzzy: I’ve helped them re-write or tweak their resumes. They’ve helped in return by critiquing my work.
  3. My grandmother: While I never learned to knit, I helped straighten her knitting bag, untangling yarn, and matching pairs of needles, more than once. She helped me by teaching me that a gift of the hand is a gift of the heart.
  4. My friend J. in Colorado: I held her hand when she came out, answered her three AM calls when she first began dating women, and stood by when one of her relationships became abusive. She returned the favor, letting me agonize about Fuzzy, answering MY three AM calls, and always offering a safe haven when I needed to escape.
  5. My friend G who sometimes drops in here. We helped each other survive high school, which sounds petty but really isn’t.
  6. Zorro Dog: He isn’t a person, in the literal sense, but he means the world to me, and we gave him a home and love, and in his name, we’ve driven partial journeys to help other small dogs find their “forever homes” as well.
  7. My grandfather: I baked bread, went fishing, and gardened with him. He helped me with everything from the concept of leverage to understanding negative numbers.

Of course, I’ve also taken friends to lunch, helped them move, sent letters to soldiers overseas, and any number of other supportive things, all of which have been returned many times over.

It’s just…nice to remember, sometimes.


We originally set out this morning to refill Zorro’s blood pressure medication, and maybe find lunch. We ended up first driving to downtown Grand Prairie, which is all of a block long, trying to find a Filipino grocery store that’s supposed to be there, but isn’t.

We gave up on finding macapuno ice cream today, after all, and went to Piranha for sushi. I was craving their wasabi crusted tuna roll, which is to die for. Our waitress said that roll alone accounts for between three and five percent of their business, and I believe it. (I also had a dragon roll, because I was desperate for unagi). Fuzzy, had teriyaki salmon.

On the way to lunch we also stopped at the library, which was depressing, and will get it’s own entry.

After lunch, we went to this part of Arlington we’d passed once that had a gate labelled Village Lake Historic Area, or some such. At the time we found it, it was closed due to flooding, but we’re in a mini-drought, so we thought it might be open, it was, but it’s just a park. Now, I like parks, but I was not dressed for walking on trails, it was 101 degrees, and we had no water with us. Fuzzy failed to see why this was a problem, and why I got angry with him when he said, “I’m just going to go look at the marker,” and then was out of sight five minutes later, leaving me in the car. I called him, and he said, “Well I wanted to see what was here.” It took him twenty minutes to return.

Next, we drove to Irving, in our ongoing quest to determine if any part of the metroplex has a cute, functional downtown (so far, the answer is NO). We got jamba juices and sipped them as we looked at funky houses, and mocked the different businesses on the old main streets, emblazoned with signs for modern furniture and the like, but clearly long-since out of business.

Today was one of the days when I sorely missed our old condo in California, and the surrounding neighborhood, and being able to walk to Starbucks and a bookstore.

I still have to go to a bookstore and do my Algonkian prep work, and I still have to write this weekend, and I feel like we wasted a day when we could have done something productive or meaningful.

I Miss The Beach

I’ve been in a blue funk for most of the week, though I came out of it for a bit last night during an unexpected thunderstorm. There was brilliant lightning and intense rain, and though the storm itself was here and gone within about 45 minutes, it was a refreshing change from sun and sun and more sun.

Fuzzy mentioned today that he has to pop down to Boca Raton sometime in July, which has me thinking about Orlando vacations. I’m not really a Disney fan, but I’ve never been to Epcot and the last time I was on a Universal Studio tour was in California when I was twelve.

What I really want, however, is the beach. The wind chimes sounded much like the clanging of ship’s bells during the beginning of the storm last night, and I sat on the deck and listened to the water sloshing in the pool and pretended I was somewhere coastal.

I don’t want to live in Florida, but we live too far from the beach right now – lakes do NOT cut it – and this must be fixed.


I slept badly last night – was having a pre-migraine aura, and then just couldn’t get comfortable, and ended up waking stiff and sore and with a raging headache. Never fun. Caffeine didn’t help, either. I slept a lot and vegged a lot, and finally forced myself to at least get the work-writing done today, but my prose had no sizzle or pop.

My mother suggested taking a bath, but I’m still squicked by the large spider I killed in my tub while Fuzzy was away, and I’m out of bubble bath, and honestly, when it’s nearly 100 degrees outside a bath is not really the thing, even for a Bathtub Mermaid like myself.

I confess that I sometimes have issues with the design of my bathtub. It’s luxuriously deep and wide, but you have to step up onto a tile step and then into the tub, and it’s just tall enough that I’m not quite comfortable with it, especially when my head’s all spinny. Once in a while I fantasize about getting a walk in tub, but replacing a tub surrounded by tile really isn’t on my list of Must-Do home improvements.

Building a wet bar in the closet, however…

RIP George Carlin

I could write about how every media outlet talking about George Carlin’s death from a heart attack last night is mentioning the Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV, but none, even those that aren’t governed by the FCC are actually listing those words.

But it seems more fitting, especially since it’s Media Monday, to let Mr. Carlin speak for himself. So, the below video from YouTube is NOT work safe, but it IS appropriate.

And for the record, while I personally believe overuse of words like “fuck” reduces their impact, I also think we need to get over being afraid of words.

Sunday Scribblings: Happy Endings

There’s a line in The Pirate Movie an appallingly bad movie version of The Pirates of Penzance, in which Kristy McNichol breaks character as Mabel and tells the camera, “I want a happy ending.” She then proceeds to re-arrange the cast into couples, and action resumes. It’s an exceptionally cheesy moment in a movie that was over the top when it came to corniness, but there’s a sincerity in her delivery that has made the line stick with me for a couple of decades.

There are days when I’m feeling so frustrated because my muse isn’t speaking to me, the dogs are being obnoxious, and my husband and I just can’t manage to communicate that I, too, want to demand that the universe provide me a happy ending.

The thing is, though, happy endings aren’t something anyone can give you. They’re something you have to make for yourself. While it’s true that there are events that you often cannot control, it’s equally true that what we can control our own actions and reactions.

In one of the early episodes of his show, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, everyone’s favorite fashion mentor tells the subject of the week to repeat these words: I cannot control how I am perceived; I can only control how I am presented.

It’s a phrase that made me rethink a lot, and helped me change my attitude about life in general. It wasn’t a moment of epiphany, or anything, just another concept clicking into place. The realization that I can give myself a happy ending whenever I want.

So now, when the dogs are driving me crazy, I still get frustrated with them, but I can step back and watch them and realize they’re pestering me because they adore me. Being adored is never a bad thing. Likewise, when Fuzzy has to work late and is being terse and uncommunicative over IM, I remind myself that his behavior isn’t intended to annoy or insult, he’s just wrapped up in whatever he’s working on, and his absence is a sort of a gift: two more hours of me-time before I have to focus on another person.

In improv, we are taught that there are no wrong answers, just high and low percentage choices, and that there are no mistakes, just gifts of a new direction. Most of the time, I have no real plan. I’m not a list-maker or a compulsive calendar-writer. I wing it. I do know, however, that even though I don’t know how it will happen, I will have my happy ending.

New Addictions: American Theatre Wing Podcasts

I was slow to jump on the podcast bandwagon, for reasons I can’t really explain. Nevertheless, I’ve since seen the proverbial light, and am now addicted to the medium.

Recently, I’ve become hooked on two free offerings from the American Theatre Wing, which organizations gives us the Tony Awards among other nifty programs, like sending theatre professionals into New York City schools, or making it possible for NYC students and their parents to attend special performances of various Broadway shows that also include a discussion with cast and crew members.

Downstage Center is a true podcast featuring in-depth interviews with performers, producers and playwrights. It’s available via RSS and XM Satellite radio as well as on iTunes.

Working in the Theatre is a video cast available on the ATW website or via iTunes and is produced in partnership with CUNY (City University of New York). It’s a panel-discussion show that rotates epsiodes featuring performers, producers, and playwrights.

Both are fascinating if you’re a true theatre geek, and interesting enough for the casual audience as well.


Crossposted from my LiveJournal.

Popcorn eaten while at the movies for a late matinee showing of The Happening was consumed with a rare treat of Dr. Pepper (I’m not really a soda drinker), and as a result my tongue is thick, both physically and metaphorically. I feel mentally parched, and water isn’t quenching my thirst.

I used the money on an Aveda gift card I purchased for myself several months ago during a sale to pay for my salon services today. I went over by $20. That’s not so bad. My hair is not entirely unpinked, but we used a sort of cinnamon-y brown (they call it a golden brown, but it’s less yellow than that) and a color called “Boysenberry” (which I prefer more than any ordinary jam hair color) which is a warm light-chocolate brown with red-violet in it. The dye, before application, looked much like the color of chocolate milk – sort of half-way between purple, mauve, and brown, and yes I know that’s one too many halves – it made me happy.

I had purposely NOT ordered more ATOMIC PINK Special Effects dye from Amphigory, because ten days ago when Fuzzy was out of the country I was certain that I wanted to be completely “normal” hair-color-wise. Then, Thursday night, I panicked. “I told the Algonkian people I have pink hair. They’re going to be expecting it in August. What if I’m really unpinking because I think I need to be more ‘professional’ and not because I’m bored with the color?” I said to myself in a sort of hyper babbling sort of voice. We went to the mall (which I never go to, because I do not really like malls), where not only did I get stopped by many people who told me my hair was cool, but I ended up giving pink-dye advice to a gaggle of teen-aged girls who were encamped at the dye carousel at Hot Topic. (I went to Torrid first, actually, but they didn’t have the color I needed.)

Torrid/Hot Topic no longer carry Special Effects. Well they sort of do, but it’s a special mix/rebranded version made JUST FOR THEM, and the bottle said it was alcohol based, which scared me. I purchased RAW dye instead. It’s a softer pink, but it did the job.

The end result? We touched up the pink around my face and in select parts of the rest of my hair with the RAW, and used the other two colors to do low-lights over the bulk of the pink. So, I still have punches of pink showing through in different layers and my bangs are mostly pink, and the effect is like the pink sky during sunset, with warm cinnamon-y browns as a backdrop.

Think of fresh raspberries dusted with cocoa powder. It’s like that.

It’s only been about 12 hours, but I like this new color. It’s a bit more sophisticated – more artsy, less aging punk – and the plan is to gradually de-pink until the cinnamon and boysenberry are the only colors.

And then I think I shall add a few highlights of vivid blue or purple, for fall/winter.

Now, my brain is thick, but unlike my tongue, it’s thick with thoughts, ideas, so many things I must pin to paper before they float away.

Who Needs Sleep?

I was up all night with a brain burning with activity and a sick dog. The former is still abuzz, the latter is now stretched out along-side my right leg, in blissful sleep, and the warmth of his tiny body is comforting in a way only Animal People truly understand.


I tried to catch some sleep today, but a gorgeous thunderstorm kept me awake. I feel like I’ve been waiting months for rain, and I didn’t want to miss it. Storms are so magical to me.


I’m torn about my hair. I was ready to go in and have them strip all the pink out, last week, but now that I’ve had time to think, and had a mall full of people tell me they love my hair, I’m not sure I want to completely de-pink. In fact, I was at the mall because I’d been so certain that I was DONE with pink hair that I didn’t re-order my usual color. The pink I ended up with is a softer one…maybe it will be a good transitional shade.


I just started reading Eat Pray Love. I was initially put off because of the title, but I’m two chapters in and so far I’m good with it. The author’s approach to spirituality and religion is much akin to my own, except that I like the “smells and bells.”


Natalie Goldberg once took a classroom full of students on a walk between raindrops. Sometimes I try to do that on my back deck. To step between the drops isn’t to defy nature, but to perceive it from a different angle.


Clay is my muse once again. He taught me a secret to success that I hadn’t considered before. I am in all kinds of love with the universe today.


Bed now.