Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rain, Rain....

How different rain storms can be, depending where you are.

They are never the same, though, rainstorms. New York rains never leave the air crisp…the rains pour down, hard and hitting the ground in a way that it bounces up… you don’t stand a chance staying dry in a rainstorm that puts out dismal water from lowering skies.... it never looks real, does it? Afterwards, there is a smell of wet sidewalk, damp bricks, too few parks, too many people and of, I don’t know… it simply isn’t clean. You do have the umbrella wars for amusement, that carry on during the storm, nylon monsters clicking and clacking as the owners move forward in an attempt to not be shoved into the gutter—a war I’ve written about before, a war usually won by that old lady in a purple sweatsuit that has been BeDazzled… carrying a big golf umbrella while pushing a cart, shoving everyone off the sidewalk to be swept away in the gutters along with the other rubbish. I always carried a small umbrella, and marveled at those who looked shocked when they came out of the train stations, with a sheet of rain coming down, and nothing between them and the wet. You could get one for $1… it was as necessary as an MTA card, I thought, yet, most people didn’t carry one nor wear any form of waterproof shoe, in a city that you really need rain shoes as part of your wardrobe. The storm would be over, umbrellas close, and no one paid any attention. Sure, there was water, and lots of lightening and thunder, still…

I’ve never seen where the lightening strikes, either, in New York. No fire engines, no scarred trees… it’s almost as if it’s all special effects, some stage manager calling cues. “Stand by Cue 47… sound and lights…sound and lights GO!” and FLASH!!!! RATTLE!!!! BAM!!!! but, no damage. No one really notices the rain in the end except the street musicians who came back out, busking to make enough to get through the winter. I still believe you know when it is spring in New York when the buskers and crazy people come out of the stations, see their shadows and move to the parks.

England has rain that makes you wish you always had them about…soft, your skin looks amazing… the land is green, green, green… except in Ireland were it is a green I’ve never seen, and never will again. God made that green, then, threw away the formula. “Fook it” he said, “Medamnit, I’m never going to let anyone use that green, so, by jingle, I’m throwing away the formula.”. The clouds lie low on the hillsides, so close, you can pull them down and weave them for blankets, you’d think. It rains to much in those beautiful Isles, the mildew has mold. Soft rain, medium rain, hard rain… the best thing about it? I never have to drive in it, ever. My job is to ‘play mother’ and to chatter and navigate our way to and from our destination. Now, the second best thing about the constant rain? When it stops, you are so happy, the rest of your troubles seem like nothing. The flowers are in shades of pastels, the birds are gleeful, the tea is divine, and the Queen shows what is in her purse, we are that happy when the sun shines. (oh, I can’t wait to see what response this brings!)

Back home, in that part of the south I grew up in… rainstorms carry the big clouds that look like potatoes piled up on a plate, waiting for gravy to be poured on them… turning from soft white on the bottom to a James Earl Jones scolding voice colour on the bottom… hard, angry.. You can smell the rain for miles away, I love that part more than anything else.. when the wind shifts, and there it is, the few degrees cooler bit of air, carrying a different kind of moisture in it when it goes past. A fresher breeze, I guess, not as filled with fields of cotton, the river--of an age old city... The clouds move in, and thunder would rumble and shake, and lightening would flash… as quick as you could say “rain” it was doing that… raining. We danced in the downpour, all of us, in our flip flops and shorts and cotton shirts that stuck to our skinny bodies. Like everything else in that part of the world, the rain is lush and warm-- it sluiced off of us as we ran and rode our bikes through the mud…unless that lightening was too close…we’d see the strike, pause, you’d hear counting under our breathes… “onemississippi. twomississippi” waiting for the clap of thunder to see how close it was….and a whistle from a parent called us in. We moved under the carports, playing jacks, sliding on our wet shoes on the cement, mothers in pedal pushers, smoking and playing canasta sitting in lawn chairs…drinking sweet tea, the BEE cards sticking to the tops of the folding tables. The dad’s on the back verandas, standing around, drinking Jax or Dixie beer, watching the grills, the rain beyond… seeing the separate drops that made up the solid wall of water. Those storms begin and end quickly, leaving moist air that is heavy with the scents of soil that came down from Minnesota on the river and dumped there for us to build on, the 8472 flowers in the neighborhood, the age of the City and the rain itself. The clouds moved on, white and innocent again, cicadas start their calling in the trees, birds fluff up their feathers and sing. If you lie down, to nap, the cotton is good against your skin. You can’t stand to be touched if you aren’t under a fan or in artificial cooling, your skin is already damp, your hair curls against every known product known to man… still…there is the lure to walk in it, warm and wet and isolating, slapping bare feet on the sidewalk, lost in thoughts, following the sailboat your daddy made down the gutter as it rushed ahead to the drains leading to the Lake, there to the Gulf… and on to the world.

Ah, but, the storms of the mountains…. sharp, defined clouds, purple and deep gray and black, you know they mean business. Lightening lives inside the clouds, showing through the seams at first. When it seeps out, the thunder bounces off the sheer walls, the echoes adding to the strength of the sound. I’ve been camping (yes, me!) up near Mount of the Holy Cross long, long ago. Not only did I hike in five miles…2.5 up, 2.5 down into the Valley. I carried in a 45 lb pack, and I smoked. Yes, I was that stupid and in lurve. Thankfully, he left me a year later for someone stupider. We were hit by a sudden storm… all of us, lying flat, to avoid being any kind of high point, throwing tent poles and canteens and almost everything else to one side away from us. The lightening hit rocks and trees and skipped around; the air oozed ozone… the thunder almost to the deafening level…I couldn’t hear myself praying, and trust me, I was doing some major lapsed Catholic praying. Alpine sleeping bag over my head, hugging the ground with my face pressed to the mud, I shook more in fear than from the freezing July rain. I swore, if God kept me alive, and let me make it out, I’d never hike or camp again. Both God and I kept our deal. I love mountain storms to this day, and I will sit outside, and watch the storms come in as long as I can, while the lightening strikes, my iron fence hums and the thunder slams about. No more camping, though. These storms, they are sharper than what I grew up with…harsher. When the rain hits, there is no soft bathing of water that will envelop you and let you enjoy your time.. this slaps you in the face, lets you know it is cold, it is not there to play with you, that you’d best seek shelter. People die from exposure in July in these storms. When the storm is done, the job is complete… the air is so clear you can see 100 miles up the valley, so fresh you can taste it on your tongue when you breathe. The indigenous plants have enough water to survive.. Mother Nature's attitude is fuck the stuff we’ve put in the ground, it's not meant to be here.

There was a little cloud just over my neighborhood, that wandered from the main crew.. so light, so thin, it would have been silk had it been material… the kind of silk so sheer, it’s perfection was demonstrated to Maharinis by pulling a length of it though a ring. No noise issued forth, really no rain--more of an example of rain…farcical rain as it were... I could see the sliver of the moon and the stars through it...they made that glimmer of water that fell onto my apple and cheery trees, onto the lilac bushes and the cedar, to the canopy of my swing I sat on-- look as if it were made of silver gilt.. For a moment, I wanted to walk about in it, let the gilt edged sputtering ashamed-to-be-called-rain drift on my skin. Reason kicked in, and I remembered this was a mountain rain, and the beauty hid a sharp, cold bite. I’d freeze my ass off, and although my mind had me speaking Lord of the Rings Elventongue, and wandering in Peter Jackson Middle Earth of soft mists and whispered words on a bridge and....well, you get the picture. I went inside, and read instead.

New York has show stopping rains... New Orleans, the rain will lull you to sleep...UK has rain that lets you adore the colour blue but, those in these Western mountains… they are Götterdämmerung storms.

There is a possibility of planes, trains and passports coming into play by November. Where I'll be living for a few months across the Pond in my other bedroom at home with Loo, the Fiancé, H and M, Cat, Nova, poor, neurotic Frank…

….and Our Neville and Margaret.

P.S. A few years ago, Mom checked into this now closed non defunct hospital (lower floor, corner room) to have me via C-Section at 8.15 AM. I know the time because she calls me every year at 8.15AM and I hear the entire story, how she lived with her parents while Dad traveled with his job with The Man, etc. How at birth, I weighed 6'6...but, she had added 100 lbs to her 97 lb frame living out in the country with her parents, and her once 18" waist was as lost as the Cause. It's a double feature tale... I get this, and how the doctors thought I looked like Myrna Loy when I was 4, and had my tonsils out. She always skims over the fact I remember the operation, and how the doctor shouted to "PUT HER OUT!" when I carried on asking one question after another to my second cousin, who was my doctor. The last one? "May I have them in a jar?". Yes, I woke up, and they were floating in a jar next to my bed.

She gave up her waist, her sanity, she did it for me. Thanks, Mom.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Men~What Are You Like?

I was confined to bed last week for a few days.

Nothing huge, just told to stay in bed. Now, bed is boring when you don't have anything to do. I would make a fast dash to the theater, check on props, adjust a set dressing or two.... our shows opened to standing ovations, and they are going well... then, back home. Nothing exciting, not a single person to gaze upon to write about, the cat spends her time watching me sleep and practicing her "Wait until she dies so I can eat her eyes first" skills by licking my eyelids.

This scares me some.

I finally broke down, and sent an email to the Oddship, whining as only I can whine, "I'm siiiick. I'm stuck in beeeeeddddd. I have nothing to dooooooo." I went on to say I'd read all my books, watched my DVD's, no TV yet, no internet, nothing... and, I mentioned I'd watched a pirated film and that no one would bring me lemonade with grenadine and chipped ice (this is from a scene in "Diary of a Mad Housewife". If Miss Sof reads this blog entry, she will laugh).

Now, I opened this letter with, "I'm on forced bedrest for a few days."

This, to a woman, would send flags of concern, the letter would then go, blah blah blah blah.

The response I had from him, a minute later, was, "pirating a film is stealing". He read the mail and saw: blah blah blah PIRATED FILM blah blah blah.

What is it with men?? I understand he works in films and stuff, but, still... I was pathetic.. so much so, I bored myself.

So, men, explain.... why latch onto the PIRATED FILM and ignore the "I'm ill" when a woman would latch onto the important thing, "You are ill, poor sweetie, let me cook chicken soup and mail it to you."

I await your responses.

A man had read my letter

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



  • There is a woman who sits outside the local coffee shop every morning. She keeps a mound of cigarette butts, carefully picking them apart, shredding the tobacco, taking out the burned edges, then mixing the remains on a paper plate. Then, she carefully places equal parts into already torn out pieces of the local paper, rolling it up, and twisting the edges, forming her own home made cigarette. She lights one, smoking it and staring out over the mountain range to the east. I have to wonder if the section she's used colours the taste.... does she smile more when she's used the funny papers? Will she be more opinionated if she's used the editorial section? Is she morose when she's reached the obituaries?
  • The wind blowing through the elm and apple trees is cool when we've had a storm the night before. I like to sit on my porch steps in the backyard, watching out to the western range, 75 miles out. There is nothing to block my view, and when the sun sets, it balances on the edge of the sharp peaks that are a deep violet against the pale blue sky. Deep fire red, with white, white clouds actually edged in gold around it... there, and gone, missed if you blink. Behind are the clouds going salmon, the palest ivory, to yellow, and on to twilight. One single light sits far out on the valley, one house. No idea who lives there, nor will I find out, but, I hope his cell service is better than mine.
  • I have to change my cell carrier to Verizon, three months after AT&T. Bye, bye iPhone hopes. Bastards.
  • Tearing a rotator cuff sucks.
  • Learning to live in one room is a good thing.
  • I have an addiction to limeade and Sprite Zero. And something called Cabbage stuffed with wasabi and shrimp and chicken. Go figure.
  • Meowing in the Wal-Mart parking lot always leads to a good thing. Years ago, it gave our family Vincent. He was a good cat, and I don't like cats. Now, I have a new kitten, who is either black with silver stripes or silver with black stripes. Her name was, "Cat, where in the hell are you?", then, Cat, now, it's Sophie. She went from a pound to over two, and is teething. This means she eats the edges of books, my fingers, my ears and she's tried to nurse. This wasn't fun, especially since I was asleep at the time. She has proved my theory about animals eating you, though... when I'm going to sleep, she licks my eyelids. See? I TOLD you they eat your eyes first.
  • Breasts are never comfortable for the person lying on them. When out with Mrs Neebes, her daughter, Ada, was leaning on mine as she lay against me. Finding them not to her liking (she's 3), she moved away, took both hands, fluffed them up to make a good high cleavage, then lay on them again, sighed and closed her eyes.
  • Aaron Eckhart can't act. Not without LaBute at the helm. Sorry, Aaron.
  • I am going to have to give in and get the internet.
  • Peter and I are going to do our Amazing Race video in September. Booya!
  • Go here, and help, please.

Now, I have a zillion blogs to read. I've missed so much.... and you remain far more interesting than I. I'd LOVE to read Therapeutic Ramblings... but.... *discreet cough*

Later, taters.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Opening Night

One. Show. At. A. Time. This. Until. Saturday.

Of course, it helps if I hand out the props list to crews and Stage Managers with the real Stage Directions on them, and not Left for Right and Right for Left and shit.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

One More Time

Tech week.

I have sat through all three shows so much, they blur together into one long stream of costumes (magnificent), sets (almost complete) and, of course, props (never ending).

I live in second hand shops, digging through old piles of linens, searching eBay, ordering cap guns of all things, trying to find a rams horn that will work when you blow through it, and that was the easy stuff. I send letters asking people where my stuff is, and sweat out the postal service and UPS delivery. I panic when I discover a major prop I thought I had was given away in the great clean out done by the Zenmaster in December.

We cross over on actors, never on anything else... prop tables are set and marked and scrupulously monitored before and after each run; some things are pre-set on the actual set, some are left on the table in their marked position so the actor can grab them as they move toward the stage on their cue. They must go back to that marked place in order to be tallied, so the crew can notify the stage manager who in turn lets the prop designer (that would be me) if some item is broken or needs to be replenished (some of the props are food this season). There is china and crystal and linen and all sorts of fun things.

You have to keep track of coins, mashed potatoes, slices of roast beef, pickles, confetti, vintage clothes pins, eyeglasses for three different periods of time, four different 'babies', a rams horn and the infamous cow. After the show, plates and glasses are washed, dried and put back in place. Beds are remade, sets moved (one of them is a two story number) across the stage and we re-set for the next play.

Openings are next week... as much as I'd love to avoid them, I'll be there with the directors and the other designers, notepad in hand, taking notes of what works, what doesn't, what has to be changed. Does that green afghan really work against the set, will a different gel make it not glare or do I have to tea dye the pillowcases again? Can you see the mustard pot? Do we have to go for a higher chair pad on Eugene's chair? Should I shave off another quarter inch on Blanche's? It's all a matter of working together as a team to pull the audience into that magic when the house lights go out, you forget you are anywhere but a house in Brooklyn, or a silly village in Russia, or following a couple's marriage for 50 years.

We are the dreammakers. If you believe the dream, we have succeeded. Then, every tear, every 14 hour day, every feeling of will it work? is worth it.

This is live theater, and why, in the end, I love every single minute of being here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

So, What's New With You?

Let me apologise.

I am behind in my reading on everyone's blogs... and I hate that. It's my one opening into the world of everyone I know via the internet, via the real world... I love seeing how people are doing, what is going on for them, how their lives are moving forward, if they are happy, sad, functioning or not.... the basics.

I am so bogged down I can't even be a semi reader. There is no internet at my house yet, and when I am at the theater, as I have been since 9 AM this morning, I am not using the web to do anything but, oh, translate English to Russian, then cut and paste it onto i-Word, then print, then put it to look like a book page so I have a "Book of Curses".

Three plays, taking place in 1900 Russia, 1936 Brooklyn and New York from 1901 -1952. Great fun. No, really, it is.... I simply wish I had more money, more hands and more time.

Mostly to read everyone else's lives.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Week Two

Utterly overwhelmed right now.

Health problems, house problems, play problems. I have to build a paper-mâché cow among other things.

These things will pass soon, I know it...

I only hope it is very, very soon.