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Sunday, December 03, 2006
I just finished Howard's End and I would like to share a few quotes with the three of you.
"Like many others who have lived long in a great capital, she had strong feelings about the various railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return. In Paddington, all Cornwall is latent; down the inclines of Liverpool Street lie fenlands and the illimitable Broads*, Scotland is through the pylons of Euston, Weston beyond the poised chaos of Waterloo."
"Looking back on the last six months, Margaret realized the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowwhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of a man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind, our national morality is silent.
it assumes that preparation against danger is in itself a good, and that men, like nations, are the better for staggering through life fully armed. The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty.
Margaret hoped for the future she would be less cautious, not more cautious, than she had been in the past."
"The present flowed by them like a stream. The tree rustled. It had made music before they were born, and would continue after their deaths, but its song was of the moment. The moment had passed. The tree rustled again. Their senses were sharpened and they seemed to apprehend life. Life passed. The tree rustled again."
Seriously people, this is a good book. Barnes and Noble has it in "Classics" for $6.95. I will personally give you a money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
(* I am thinking the Illimitable Broads is a pretty good band name.)
posted by pinky 12:32 PM
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Part 4:The Upshot
I just realized I posted "Part 4: Los Angeles" when I had specifically stated that part 4 would be "the upshot". As it turns out, the upshot is proving elusive. After a summer of travelling pretty much everywhere and checking in with pretty much everyone - from my very oldest trusted friends to my newest friends, and even a psychic - I have come to a few conclusions which might better be described as non-conclusions.
1. I am not sure where I want to live. I sort of hate Chicago, but I have a beautiful apartment two blocks off a mellow little beach on one of my favorite bodies of water. I have a (very) few good friends who like hanging out with me, which is a few more than I had a year ago. I have a really very challenging and scintillating job at a school working for a very challenging and wonderfully fun mentor. And I love my gym. And I make a lot of money. For me, that basically just means more than $14,000 a year, but I am actually pretty financially sound and can travel around and buy whatever pants I want. I drive a purple 97 Ford Escort that used to be my Grandma's and I have to work for a living, but I do OK. I would maybe rather live somewhere else, but where? All I can think of is NYC in the 1990s or London in the 1960s. So, I would have to not just move but move against the dominant flow of the time-space continuum. That might be a bit of an issue.
2. I am not sure what I want to do for a living. Yes, the school thing is very good for now but I am not enjoying my practice as much as I thought I might. I really like my patients, but I am just not feeling that inspired. And sometimes the school job makes me homicidal. I miss being creative and playing characters and I think I also miss the fleetingness and uncertainty of acting and the mystery of the next project. I feel a little overly settled and middle aged. My boss/mentor thinks its because I got really successful really fast and don't feel like I have much more to aspire to in this field. He thinks I need to shift gears in terms of how much excitement I am looking for in life. But that makes me want to throw myself off a bridge, especially if he is (and he usually is) right.
3. I am not sure what life is for. Are we supposed to be getting something done here? Just surviving? Working out karma? Enjoying ourselves? Not enjoying ourselves because that would be wrong? I don't get it. What's the point?
So, as you can see, I was very, very, very premature in announcing Part 4 as the upshot. More than ever, I welcome your comments.
posted by pinky 2:05 PM
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
PART IV:Los Angeles
Just got back from Cerris and Caley's USA wedding weekend, and all I have to say right now is:
Amazing grace, I love your face.
I love you in your nightie.
When the moonlight flits
Across your tits
Oh Jesus Christ Almighty.
I miss you all tremendously.
posted by pinky 11:18 PM
Thursday, July 06, 2006
PART THREE: Cornwall
At some point in Cornwall, I looked over at Matt and said, “People are going to ask us about our trip, and we are going to say, ‘it was great!’” I was sad when I said this, because Cornwall was so many things, and I don’t think great covers it, and I don’t think I can approximate it, but I promised a part 3, so here it is.
The train ride was magnificent. We met up with Tim, Jenni, and Florence on the party train to St. Austell (pronounced snozzle). There seemed to be people sitting in our seats, but our seats were also weirdly numbered. We all seemed to have 48 or 49 F or B, but why no A, C, D, or E? After several acutely embarrassing and utterly stereotypical brain-dead American moments (at the wedding, an Englishman was to compare Americans to Barney: You’re all a bit big and dumb and lovely and friendly, aren’t you? he said, Britishly. And purple, I said, nodding in vigorous, Scotch-fueled agreement.), a young and exceedingly cute and polite Brit college boy explained that F and B referred to forward and backward FACING, as in the direction of travel. Oh. He was to prove very helpful throughout the journey, if ever so slightly incredulous at just how dumb we are. OK, fine, I’m an idiot, boo-hoo.
At Snozzle, we were met by the adorable Lance Windish, and spent a few moments searching for Steve, a tiny bit of a ding-a-ling, who was in the bathroom. Then onto the Chapel. The Chapel. Cerris is not from a small town. She is not from a tiny seaside village. She doesn’t live near the sea. These are all myths. She is from the hamlet of East Portholland. East Portholland has 8 buildings, a streetlamp, and a phone booth that looks like it fell out of an airplane and landed in someone’s yard. There is a post office, and a lady who’ll make coffee for you in her kitchen. If you think General Foods Internatinal House of Coffees fucking powder in hot water is coffee, which I most assuredly do not. The Chapel sits on a jetty. When the tide is out, there is a huge beautiful beach with little pools and rocky outcroppings, when the tide is in, the ocean is at the door. Every morning there, I found something like coffee and went right out to look at the sea. In England, people think it is weird when you call it the ocean. They say it with a weird accent, the way we would say “the sea”. They’re all pretty fucked up over there, to be perfectly honest.
As we drove down the last bit of road to the Chapel, I was struck by how familiar it looked, and remembered I had dreamt of just this road a few weeks before. It was a sensation that would repeat many times in the trip. I have some weird connection to Cornwall. It was like de ja vu all over again. Many times throughout my life I have woken from a dream about a beach I have never seen in waking life and wondered where it was. Now I know. We met up with Connie and Groomsman Tom, picking ivy and wildflowers for the reception hall. Several hundred feet on, we got to the Chapel and were greeted by the divine Groom Caley and his multi-talented Groomsman Hal, who both got a demonstration of how acrobatic my happiness can be when I get somewhere I have always wanted to go, like the Chapel. If you don’t know Caley, you should try to figure out a way to meet him. He is a good fairy. Lance made us all a stir-fry, and by all I mean everyone in the world. There were probably 12 of us staying at the Chapel, and it seemed like hundreds of other people stopped by. The evening is sort of a blur, I know Hal was playing guitar, Matt was humming, and I was conducting some sort of arts and crafts project on the vintage cake topper that involved the top to an olive oil bottle, felt, and a sharpee, among other things. I hate arts and crafts.
The next day, we decorated the hall. The Veryan Social Club is in a glorious spot, but it is a little bleak. Were it not for Connie Tarbox’s way with a bow and a big team of swathers, there would have been a problem. But we made it a glorious place for a party, and then it was off to the rehearsal. In the car, English Lisa’s husband was very nice to me, making sure I didn’t need to stop home, making sure I had everything I needed. It took him 15 minutes to realize I wasn’t Cerris. After that, he was still extremely polite, if a little less attentive.
The wedding rehearsal was conducted in a 15th century church by, I believe, the original vicar. He spoke to us at length about the importance of relaxing, of feeling relaxed, and of cultivating relaxation. Fortunately, I brought cookies, which kept a few of us awake for 15 minutes or so, but he may want to rethink being quite so relaxing to some pretty severely lagged Americans in the future. After a lovely nap in the church, it was back to The Chapel for a face wash and a change of clothes, and then off to the rehearsal dinner. The Nare Hotel is gorgeous, elegant, and stately, and it sits on a cliff overlooking the sea. We had drinks by the pool in the garden, and dinner in front of the open french doors looking out to the water. There was a lot of wine and incredible food, and I got caught up with droll Groomsman Tony Cross and his adorable gal Danica (both Sarah Lawrentians). BestMan Harry had yet to arrive, earning him the nickname “Harry.” “Harry” was periodically calling from the road, “Harry” was stopping for scotch and carrots and cigars, “Harry” was on his way. When Harry arrived, I admit, I was thunderstruck. He exists, and is a charmer, but in the quiet, mysterious way that can get lost in a sea of screaming maniacs, such as the wedding party was shaping up to be. English bridesmaid Lisa W proves to be more outspoken, wild, fun, and awesome than me and Connie combined, though Connie was somewhat on the injured list and not at full throttle. American bridesmaid Lisa H is no shrinking violet, and Tom, Hal, and Tony are mischievous in the extreme. Cerris and Caley sat at the head of the table looking so gorgeous it was just stupid, smiling at all of us with the sun setting over a deepening dark sea behind them. By the end of dinner, we were all best friends, a village called CaleyandCerristown. And Pahu hadn’t even arrived yet.
The next morning there were last minute decorations for the hall, which we successfully transformed from a pretty damn bleak cricket club to a place for dancing and dining and whiling away a long Cornish night. It doesn’t get dark there in midsummer until 11, so the evenings have a fairytale quality of never ending. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, I sang all the hymns in a high English warble which I for one found extremely entertaining, and then it was off to the reception which I will admit was a bit of a blur. That may have something to do with the post-wedding photo call for the wedding party where flasks of Scotch were passed (see also: Hal, Tony). I warned them that I don’t do well with any sort of whiskey, which they perceived as a sort of promise more than a threat I think. Danica emailed me recently to say I am so funny in the movie that Lisa W. and I made that night. The what?
The reception was incredible, so many friends and people feeling really happy and great. The toasts were wonderful, Caley’s Dad made me cry, Cerris’ Mom brought down the house, Harry showed himself to be possibly the funniest man alive, and my husband did the freak with Brenda Blethyn. What more could anyone want? I smoked cigarettes with some disaffected English youth, danced a lot, and went for little strolls around the Cricket green. Finally, finally, it got dark. The shuttle arrived to take us home. On the bus, Matt was trying to find the thing on my seat that would let it recline a bit, and said “I can’t find your little lever…there’s something I don’t say everyday.” Brenda and Camilla cracked up, and in her bawdiest barroom drawl Brenda yelled, “Let us know when you find it!” Goodtimes.
The next day was our last day in Cornwall, and it stretched on for something like 84 hours, in a great way. Connie had yelled her heart out at her own wedding and lost her voice, so she was carrying a pad and paper and wearing a sign pinned to her sweater that said “My husband won’t let me speak. Please don’t tempt me.” That is just not a sight I ever thought I’d see. There were hours of brunch, and then we went on a little walk. For hours, we walked along the cliffs, and we stopped at a crumbling old tiny lookout for a concert by Pahu, Hal, and Matt, on kazoo. Matt has a mournful way with a kazoo. I think the three of them have a future as a band, more so if Tony could be persuaded to join in on fiddle. I would totally be a roadie for that band. Given my proficiency at and passion for the cowbell, I might even join that band. I bet cowbell skills come in handy in Cornwall. When we got back, many people pitched a tent, and a Cornish folk sing along band played for about 16 hours, with periodic accompaniment and even occasional downright replacement by Tony, Hal, Pahu, and Matt. I sat in once on tambourine. Bit of a percussionist, really. Cerris requested that Pahu sing the Carrie Murphy song, but there was no Carrie Murphy song. Now there is one, because I commissioned it, and I really like it. I can’t wait to hear “Carrie Murphy: The Hottest Bridesmaid”; the lyrics are extremely promising and of course, right on the money.
But all good things must eventually end spectacularly badly, or fizzle out, or implode, so instead of any of that, I said a few quick goodbyes and went to bed. Cerris’ mom yelled at me for leaving, she was actually angry I would leave. I feel that. In the early morning, Connie and Lance drove us to the train and took lots of pictures of us with all our bags looking sad on the platform. It took a long time to get home, but our cat and most of our plants were alive and well and happy to see us, thanks to a few good friends. We had a pizza, and went to sleep.
Coming up next: the upshot.
posted by pinky 12:03 PM
Sunday, June 25, 2006
PART II: LONDON
Matt and I arrived in London after a very fun flight with Eleanor, the party stewardess, who asked us if we wanted wine with our beer. Eleanor understands midnight ocean crossings. I watched a good movie about a bride falling in love with a woman at her wedding. That’s kind of how I felt about Eleanor.
On the ground, the tube was snafu. We ended up taking something like 3 buses and two trains and another bus. It took us two hours to get through the first line of directions to Battersea. But people were really nice to us, and Matt navigated beautifully. When we got to what I now refer to as my house in London, we were pretty wiped. Alicia met us at the door. Alicia is a Chicagoan who has fallen in love with a dashing Brit and his city. They live in an adorable pink house with a garden in the fabulous Battersea neighborhood of London, where I would live if I were to move to London. Or where I would have my city place when I wasn’t in Cornwall. More about that later. Alicia is wonderful fun, and was fully aghast when I suggested I might take a short nap. Instead she plied me with cappuccino and took Matt and me on a forced death march of Battersea Park. An operetta was being performed in the park, and there is a fountain that is a huge wall of water the wind blows onto you when you stand in the right place, and there is a big crazy Buddha temple and a gorgeous power station on the river. It was 100 degrees and I was wilting, so Alicia headed home to do work, and Matt and I stopped off for a $10 Sprite. London is expensive. That night we had tickets to an outdoor Midsummer Night’s Dream in Regent’s Park with Alicia and Phil. It was a semi-environmental production. The set was three mounds – exactly like Washington Square Park! And the fairies and lovers were all in white! And the first fairy wore EXACTLY what I wanted to wear when I played first fairy – a corset, a tutu, and combat boots. But Oberon made no sense and they missed a lot of the opportunities the park was providing them. It was fun, but it could have been better. I thought the lovers did exceptional text work, particularly Lysander. Helena was a bit of a drip, which I can’t stand. She has one of the best minds in Shakespeare, and the most lines in that play. I hardly think Shakespeare found her a loser. Sore spot.
The next day, we went to Covent Garden and bought Matt a little cap. We went to the Tower of London and took a tour narrated by the most English man in the world. A beefeater. At one point he was telling us the superstition about the ravens and the monarchy, and said, “You don’t really think we believe in this? How silly do you think we are?” And Matt muttered, “Have you looked in a mirror recently?” After the tower we made our way to the Royal Court where Tom Stoppard’s new play was closing its preview run. That shit blew us right out of the water. Everyone needs to see Rock’n’Roll when it comes here, or go there and see it. Unless you don’t like gorgeously acted plays about ideas and passion and the importance of Pink Floyd played really loud and the meadow Lord Pan. After the show, we went with Tim and Jenny who also caught the show next door for a Pimms. Tom Stoppard walked past us. That is a GOOD celebrity sighting, right up there with Lou Reed, and this time I didn’t humiliate myself. But then he didn’t have his dog with him.
Day three and I am feeling as tired as year three of grad school. At home, I have maybe two ounces of coffee in my decaf. In London, I probably had 6 espressos a day. I had extra shots. My head would literally blow off my neck if I did that under normal circumstances. In Cornwall, I would be reduced to drinking Nescafe, black. We’ll get to that. Anyway, that morning, we walked along the Thames and took pictures of each other to try and photoshop so it looks like we were standing together in front of Big Ben because no one was around to take our picture. We walked past the National, where I stopped to pee (see: all the espresso, above) and Matt had a look around the place. We were headed for the mothership. Upon arrival at the Globe, we had a fun tour, and I got pollen on my face that made me look like a crazy person because I leaned too far into a bucket of lilies. We went out for fish and chips and back to the Globe to stand in the pit for a 3-hour Coriolanus. It is probably not my favorite play, I don’t care much for the will to power or political machinations, but the relationship with the mother is pretty astounding. It feels like it was written tomorrow. I loved how all the politics was completely relevant to right this minute but they didn’t shove it down our throats setting the show at the White House or something. And the actress who played the Mom was so good that in one of her scenes, I was leaning so far over toward her that I LOST MY BALANCE a few times. If anybody wants to produce Coriolanus in 25 years, give me a call so I can audition for that part, OK? I’ll send you a headshot. After the show we rode the eye of London, unfortunately intruding on a date between a young London guy and this gorgeous girl. I think it probably worked out for him anyway.
Our last day in London we planned to spend in Notting Hill because I was at the end of being cultural. Sometimes I just like to screw around. OK, I always just like to screw around. So I put my foot down and picked a place that seemed like funky people might hang out there, actual English people. Like Hugh Grant. But when I woke up, and a soft breeze was blowing through the roses into our bedroom, I suggested not doing anything but lying around in the garden eating scones all morning. Matt pulled me out of bed ad forced me out into the world. Notting Hill was really great and we found an extraordinary wedding present for Cerris and Caley, and I bought a union jack t-shirt for myself, and we got to have a nice, laid back morning. We were schlepping all our luggage. At one point Matt had his backpack, his drag-along suitcase and my huge camera around his neck and someone stopped and asked him for directions. He was the most obvious tourist in like a 6-mileradius, so we figured the guy was fairly hard up. Next, we were slogging to Paddington, and I went through low blood sugar I hate food and you and everything moment. We solved this with the procurement from a grocery store of my favorite kind of biscuits (McVities Plain Chocolate), a good deal of prosciutto, a baguette, and a few other such provisions of picnicy goodness. Then we got to Paddington where a handsome fellow made me the best cappuccino of my life. The secret is the extra shot. I tend to not like hot milk very much, but I drink cafe au lait and cappuccino in Europe because they can’t make drip for shit there. Extra shot of Espresso makes everything wonderful. If I am talking about coffee a lot it is because I love it like a friend, sue me.
We met up with Tim and Jenny, got on our train which was thankfully not on fire, as we had originally thought, and reluctantly left London. I had been looking forward to the train ride with Tim and Jenny and Matt, and to the scenery, and I had been literally dreaming about Cornwall, but I still hated to leave London. According to Ben Brantley, the mood there is disenchanted and perversely nostalgic, and I feel that. A few days later, someone said to me, “The day’s not over yet, and you don’t even know all the wonderful things that are going to happen.” That is probably the best piece of advice I have ever gotten, even though it wasn’t said as advice. A big part of being disenchanted and perversely nostalgic is that you don’t believe the best is yet to come. But, indeed, good things were yet to come. Stay tuned for Part III: Cornwall.
posted by pinky 11:57 AM
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Part 1: Connie and Lance
Part II: London
Part III: Cornwall
Part IV: The Upshot
Part I: Connie and Lance
Well I haven’t been blogging in a long time because I haven’t had anything to say. That statement should send a chill through the heart of anyone who knows me even peripherally. The thing is, I have been mostly working and doing little else and I can’t really talk about my work in a public forum. Patients have their rights, and students and patients like to project onto their teachers/physicians a brilliance and sureness that I hate to tamper with too much by admissions of feelings of inadequacy, or boredom, or frustration. While those are not the prevailing feelings at all, I have just been generally clammed up. And anyway who writes about feeling fine?
But now things are interesting, and worthy of note. I went to two great and glorious weddings the last two weekends, and something is shifting in me back into the red zone. Connie and Lance got married in Gettysburg, PA on the 9-year anniversary of the first morning Matt and I woke up together, which, as fate would have it, was in Gettysburg, PA. (We were on a paratheatric getting Alice in Wonderland ready to open. He was the King of hearts, I the Duchess. A little girl friend of mine who saw it said “When Matt comes over to your house to play, he should wear his King of Hearts costume.” Matt woke me up out of a funk like I was Sleeping Beauty or some bewitched frog. Sometimes that is just what I need.) Matt and I flew into Newark and stayed with friends on the upper west side in their beautiful garden apartment. We ate steaks at midnight off a pig-shaped hibachi in a flower bed under the Manhattan sky. The next day I had a visit with my old friend Beth and her beautiful girl Audrey, who can climb a jungle gym like nobody’s business. Then Matt and I met up with Layna and Corey on 24th street, and the homobile was under way. I am not sure how it happened, but we suddenly became OK with calling everyone a homo, and did. We had a very disturbing mascot, and we made excellent time on 4 cylinders of pure power. We certainly whooped the asses of the layabout Superstars Car, although they were later to claim it “wasn’t a race.” In the end, it was we who were homo’ed, as Emily got naked out the sunroof of the Superstars car, and we just didn’t.
The first night barbecue around the campfire was fun and lots of hilarity and then some not-too-scary Gettysburg Civil War ghost stories. Saturday we got the place ready, played field games, practiced group readings of Rumi poetry, and had a meeting. Without describing too much what was a very intimate and beautiful moment, the women (including Stella and Rosemarie) had a group meditation and meeting in the yard behind the house. It was very beautiful, and an example of how a large group of friends and strangers can come together with pure love and communication. We simply celebrated Connie, a very easy thing to do. And suddenly it was a picnic, and then Cousin Hubie was playing and then we were getting dressed up pretty and sneaking around in bushes and just as suddenly we were walking down the aisle. But of course no bridesmaids of Connie’s would simply walk, so after the first few bars of decorous processional, the trumpeter busted into “There’s a place in France where the naked ladies dance” and we belly danced in the rest of the way to peals of laughter. Then Connie floated in looking just as gorgeous as is imaginable for any beautiful elated girl to look, and took her place next to delightful, delighted Lance. We shouted poetry, Lance shouted to the stars, the Moms sang a song that caused me to sob audibly and Matt had to throw me a handkerchief. A whispered message came along from the bride that the fairy lights weren’t on over our heads, and so I went over to the keyboardist and asked him to fix it. He was all ”I don’t know how to do that, I’m the keyboardist” and I was all “FIX IT. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES” insane bridesmaid girl. He felt some fear, and fixed the lights. There were fireworks and kissing and then a wild strawberry barn dance. Zorick and his dominatrix sparred on the dance floor. She whooped him and straddled him and he enjoyed himself mightily. Some were aghast, some bemused. It’s Zorick. We ate cakes and bowed to our partners and swung through the night. When it was over, we were sweaty and happy and hungry and good.
The next morning we met back up at the house and had warm fresh scones and fruit salad. We smiled at old friends and watched their babies play. As always, a few of us ended up trying to figure out Gorilla Rep. Whenever a few of us Gorillas get together, it always comes back to that. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Except it was the best of times. As alienated as we are from it, I know for me it was my happiest time acting because of who I was acting with, and the material, and the locations. I was often frustrated by the process, and by some things and people not living up to their full potential, but it was nevertheless a most compelling and important part of my life.
And then it was back to the homobile and off to Newark, and London, for part II of weddingpalooza 2006. Stay tuned.
posted by pinky 9:21 AM
Monday, December 19, 2005
So my stapes bones had an inferiority complex, being the smallest little bones around, and decided to grow enormous stalagtites of calcium on themselves. They thusly grew large and mighty, but at the expense of function. Therefore, my right ear is now bionic, and on Wednesday, I am going in to have my left ear bionicized as well. It is not fun, there is general anaesthesia and a night at the hospital and lots of head spins, but then I will be able to tear a phone book in half with my hearing. At least that's what they told me.
So hold me safe in your thoughts at the crack of ass on Wednesday, and wish me well enough to eat cookies by Christmas, my one major healing goal.
A very merry christmas to all, except Bill O'Reilly, whom I wish a joyous pagan feast of the equinox.
posted by pinky 12:57 PM