Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Notes on the Bathroom Wastepaper Basket.

Dear Family,

In keeping with my policy of attempting to educate the uninformed, which began here, I shall now explain how the wastepaper basket works.

The one in the bathroom is small, for a couple of very good reasons.  First, it needs to fit into a very small's not as if our bathroom is a luxurious accommodation or anything, and second, the faster it becomes full, the faster it gets emptied.


Apparently, there are people who live here who assume that the bottom of the basket contains a direct conduit to the netherworld.  Although that would be nice (or at least a chute to the kitchen garbage can), I must inform one and all that, sadly, it is not the case.  Here comes the physics lesson:  you can cram only so much in there before it spills out onto the floor. So, there comes a point when anything you try to add to the full container just bounces off.  A point where not one more Q-tip will fit in there. As water splashes out of the tub, things on the floor become somewhat damp.  No one wants to handle anything damp that is down between the tub and the toilet.  This is a fact of life.

To some, this would be a signal that the basket needs to be emptied, but my family is made of sterner stuff.  At Camp Runamuck, it becomes a challenge:  how long will it take until someone can no longer stand it?

This morning, it was I.

As a side note, I never venture into The Teen's room.  Because, you know...ick.  But I suspect the wastepaper basket in his room is probably full, too.  Otherwise, why would there be paper plates, pop tart wrappers and water bottles in the bathroom one?  I'm pretty sure even he is not barbarian enough to be snacking in the bathroom...

And, good god often does he clean his ears?  Because his earwax harvest is off the charts!  Seriously...I should be trying to figure out a market for that stuff.

Anyway, having already grossed out all of you, I won't mention the other unmentionable crud I found.  Suffice it to say that there was almost a full second bag by the time I got it sorted.

Come on, you lot!  Take the bag downstairs; put a new one in.  It takes a lot less time and it's a lot less gross when you do it as the level in the basket approaches full, rather than waiting until it threatens to take over the bathroom.

Thank you for your attention,

(who ain't yer maid)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

In Which the Writer Combats the Winter Blues

Ten days into the New Year, and the euphoria and delight at having survived (possibly even thrived in) the past year is wearing off.  I keep seeing these lists on social media where one is supposed to check off the things one has done.  Some of them are things I'd not want to do.  Most of the things I consider personal accomplishments are not even on the I started thinking about things I have accomplished in my life (not just last year), for which (if I were still a christian) I'd be going to hell for the sin of pride.

Most basically, I have survived for sixty-six and a half years.  Considering some of the choices I made in my youth, this is not only an accomplishment, it's a source of wonder.

I have given birth to four decent human beings and raised three of them.  Many of you know that I had a child at 19 and put him up for adoption because I just couldn't see how I could do a reasonable job of raising him.  He got in touch with me after he was grown, I've met him, and we are friends on social media.  He is everything I hoped he would be, and that he would most likely not have been, had he been stuck with 19-year-old me for a mother, and no dad.  He was born via the usual hospital birth at that time, which was something of a nightmare.  My next two were born at home with midwives in attendance, but with no drugs or other assistance.  The last was an emergency c-section.  So I have experienced the miracle of birth in all three of the most common ways.  I became something of a birth junkie, and stood in as coach for several labouring women over the years.  There is nothing like being present at the birth of a brand new human being.  Nothing.

I have traveled a bit.  Not as much as I would like, but, given my circumstances, more than I ever thought I would.

I have married the love of my life, and, even though it only lasted seven years and ended with his suicide, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Loving someone as I loved him was a joy, and that he loved me too was beyond my dreams.

I have found work that I enjoy, connected to and derived from the hobby that I love.  Theatre is a wonderful thing.  I have acted three of my "bucket roles," Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace, Nanny in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and Maude in Harold and Maude.  I have also directed shows, including one (Waiting for Godot) in which I was able to get outside the box in a way that I have never heard of anyone else doing.  Thank you, Sam Bass Community Theatre!  I have a costuming "bucket list" as well, and have done one of its shows...The Rocky Horror Show, for which I thank Austin Theatre Project, as well as Austin Entertainment Weekly, whose voters named it the best costumed in Austin last season.

I have overcome many fears...well, to be honest, some of them just went away by themselves and some were subsumed in greater terrors...but some I worked successfully at vanquishing.  Driving, for one.  Give me a full tank of gas and enough money to keep it so, and I'll drive anywhere there are roads; however, I still remember when I was too terrified to get on the freeway.

I learned how to make and keep friends.  This is no small skill.

I have survived grief and pain and become a person whose face in the mirror doesn't disgust me the way it did when I was young.  I really don't know if this is anything I actually did, or if it's just a side effect of getting old, but I'll take it, either way.  I keep it that way be being honest and standing up for what I believe, and by trying to avoid hurting people and animals.

So.  Now that I've cheered myself up considerably, I'll let you get back to what you were doing.

Oh--and many thanks to all of you who read this; those who found me in a search for something on a whim, and those who have stuck with this blog for the ten years (TEN YEARS!) I've been writing it.

Slainte mhath, y'all!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Brand New Year

Well, Dearly Beloved, we have all survived another year.  Let's give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back!

Usually, I stay home on New Years' Eve.  There's that whole nobody-to-kiss-at-midnight thing, and driving on the roads with all the crazies and all that.  However, this year, it felt like I had a bit of disposable cash left so I bought tickets to a New Years' Eve gathering put on by one of the theaters I play with, (turns out I was wrong about the disposable cash, but whatever), and dragged a friend along for the ride.  So I went, had fun, spent more cash I didn't really have on a silent auction (I need a keeper), and made it home just fine.

I checked Facebook as soon as I got home (like you do), and the first thing I saw was somebody congratulating me on an unspecified subject.  So, of course, I was curious, and eventually found this:

The Rocky Horror Show, the dressing of which was one of the highlights of my year, netted me a Best Costumes award!


No, that's not quite enough....


That's better!

This was a very nice way to start off the year!

So Happy New Year to all of you, and may this year be one of the best EVER!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rocky Horrorific Shenanigans

...or, Shenanigans doesn't begin to cover it!

Yes, dearly beloved, Austin Theatre Project's The Rocky Horror Show has been struck.  It is now "one for the books," as they say.  Many thanks to Doc List for the photos, except for the last one, the credit for which goes to Laura Lund, one of the Phantoms.

I had to have a cast shot with me in it, because a time will come that I will have trouble believing that I got to do this.  The guys in black are the most excellent band and the rest are the whacked out, crazy, talented, persistent, indomitable, awesome cast.

We had our ups and downs.  The director, at one point, asked the producer if I was always this difficult to work with....can you imagine?  ME!  Difficult!  Jamais de la vie!  Probably because I tended to forget production meetings while sewing frantically.

Magenta and Columbia.  No, I didn't sew all this stuff.  These ladies have been doing theater for a while, and have a lot of their own things.  Opening on Halloween weekend helped, too...Halloween stores are a good source of cheap fishnets and interesting accessories.

We were supposed to open the day before Halloween, but this happened.  A veritable deluge.  This is the theater parking lot.  We wound up opening on Halloween night, at which point the water level had gone down sufficiently to permit access to the building.  So, we did two shows opening night.

Here's Eddie.  His alter-ego, Dr Scott (or is that Dr von Scott?), accidentally rolled his wheelchair right off the stage during a performance.  Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt and the show went on.

Brad (Asshole!) and Janet (Slut!)  Could they be any cuter?  Brad's lovely ballad that was cut from the movie was one of the best songs in the show...and none was less than superb.  Janet's Touch Me gave me goosebumps.

 The director went in an interesting direction with The Narrator, making her a Miss Marple sort of criminologist.  He said he wanted peacock feathers on her hat...I messaged him from The Veterans Connection thrift shop and told him I had the whole damn bird.

(A side note about The Veterans''s an awesome thrift shop in Round Rock that exists to assist veterans any way they can.  If you have some time, stop by there...they have great stuff and they are coin and military memorabilia experts.  They gave us a lot of things we used in the show, in exchange for an ad in the program.)

Rocky, himself. No one could have better rocked the gold shorts and winged tennies!

Riff Raff, in all his creepy glory.  Another whose voice raised goosebumps on my neck...

These are the Phantoms, as they are designated in the script.  In the movie, they were the oddly tailcoated party guests in Time Warp and the audience for the Floor Show near the end.  In the stage show, they are almost ubiquitous.  The director wanted them to represent different fetishes, so that's what I did.

The Sweet Transvestite, himself.  I have seen this actor play everything from Snoopy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown to the Donkey in Shrek to the choreographer in Love, Valour, Compassion, but I had never seen this side of him before, and I love it.  He was very tall in those patent platform boots!

His Act I costume included an interesting pair of shorts, made of black satin, with black mesh inserts back and front.  Due to the nature of the show, we had to have him wear a black thong so we couldn't see everything he has.  The night before closing, he came flying into the greenroom, saying, "Emergency!  Emergency!  My thong has fallen apart!  I need something black to put down the front of my shorts!"  I had a black iron-on patch in my sewing kit (like you do), so he used that for a scene, but it wouldn't stay put without ironing it onto something; he eventually borrowed a pair of drawers from one of the women.

Then, last night...the last night, this happened:

The lace jumpsuit was vintage (thanks, Olin, for the cape, the jumpsuit and the wig), and not really up for the stresses of this particular show.  It had to be mended before we started and more every week. Last night, a huge rent opened up right where his butt cheek meets his thigh, and there was no way he could go on like that and no time to change it out for a pair of fishnet tights or something.  So, there I was, praying he hadn't had beans for dinner...

All in all, this was a bucket show experience.  Mille Mercis to Austin Theatre Project for letting me play!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Bakery

There was a bakery in Chemainus, Dearly Beloved.  It was down a long hill, near the ferry dock.  At least a mile from the school.

Back in those halcyon days, we had a whole hour for lunch at school (can you imagine?), and freedom to leave the school, no questions asked, as long as we were back by the time the bell rang.  Again, can you imagine?

There was just time to walk to the bakery.  The Scotch Oat Cakes were three for a dollar, and made a totally adequate lunch.  They were crispy and salty and had big bubbles of baked cheese in them.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them, almost fifty years later!

After graduation, those Scotch Oat Cakes became just one more of the things I walked away from, never realizing that I'd not be able to get them anywhere else.

About twelve years after I left Chemainus, I was back for my dad's wedding and decided to visit the bakery.  I had a very stern talk with myself at the time, reminding myself that nothing ever stays the same, and who knew if they'd still be there, let alone still make those wonderful cakes...

As I awkwardly negotiated the bakery door with my umbroller stroller full of baby, I was surprised and delighted to find that the person behind the counter was someone from my class at school.  As well as that, there were Scotch Oat Cakes!  And they were even better than the ones they had when I was in high school!  The woman behind the counter owned the bakery.  She had obviously paid attention in Home Ec class, unlike myself.

If I'm ever back there again, I shall have that same talk as I make that same trek and try not to be disappointed if the Chemainus Bakery is no longer in existence.

Saturday, August 22, 2015



                  unable to speak, especially as the temporary result of shock or some strong emotion.
  1. "he was speechless with rage"
    synonyms:lost for words, at a loss (for words), dumbstruck, dumbfounded, bereft of speech, tongue-tiedinarticulatemutedumbvoicelesssilent;
    "her talk of divorce left him speechless"
    unable to be expressed in words.
    "surges of speechless passion"
    I have to wonder why it is a condition that is so short-lived.  Here's a typical speech from the speechless:
  2. I am speechless.  I mean, I am really, really speechless.  Do you hear me?  I am literally speechless.  You have no idea how speechless I am.  I cannot possibly think of a single thing to say, because I am dumbstruck.  How can you go on and on about this?  I am speechless.  Speechless, I tell you!  Speechless!  This is too stupid for words.  There are no words.  None.  I am totally speechless.  You've thought I was speechless before?  That was nothing.  NOTHING!  You have never seen me as speechless as I am at this moment.  I'd explain it too you, but it's moot because I'm mute.  Speechless.  Voiceless.  I have nothing to say.  Listen to me when I tell you I'm speechless.
    Oh.  My.  God.  If this is your idea of speechless, you need a new definition of the word!