I'm actually glad the first weekend of the semester is a long one. I can get some more long-term planning done. I love my hermitude; I also love when I go out and do rad things and are around my rad people (which is my "tribe" as well as anyone who doesn't suck/is kind). I will have to remember to be, well, mindful of both. I couldn't do that as much last semester due to fellowship duties. I am not even remotely complaining, but I am especially grateful for actors and directors, who seem to actually want to sacrifice their time every night to some screed of mine. No, no - I am not denigrating my work. (Psh. My "work".) I just appreciate them because that's THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO every night. I want to go putter in my "museum" and read sacred texts on makeup history and the origins of surgical anesthesia.
I am seriously, as of now, pursuing writing a musical, and purposefully am avoiding how impossible a task it probably is. Maybe in a week I will no longer be serious. My friend told me that playwright Young Jean Lee only tackles projects that she would normally completely avoid, or something like that. That is this, for me. I'm not about to write about stuff that doesn't interest me, however. And I've learned my lesson, re: high concept. The-play-formerly-known-as-End-of-Pantyhose taught me WELL. Geez. But a little impossibility, THAT I can deal with. …I can never remember that bit - was it Plato? Aristotle? Neither? Both? Someone else? Zeus? - who said something about impossibility and improbability… ok am going to look it up… Google is telling me it's Sherlock Holmes but I don't think that's the case. (Although I like the mild synchronicity there - Deb, if you're reading :)
So I have a problem, and therefore I would like a solution. I've noticed, in the last month, maybe six weeks, a hell of a lot of super-disturbing, or just disturbing posts on Facebook. I know a lot of extremely disturbing things are going on. So people post articles. And on my laptop the "Trending Articles" appears and sometimes they are very disturbing. And the thing is - I'm disturbed by it. Personally. As in, I don't want to see it. Not because I'm a bad, over-privileged, isolationist person, but because it's my job to take care of my emotional well-being and being human, my heart does indeed bleed. A lot. I've thought about just getting off Facebook but I like a lot about it, for real. I like to keep up with people. I even like political/social/cultural postings, even if they make me mad. THOSE don't disturb me. Torture, murder, the like - do. I even un-liked The Humane Society because really sad stuff kept popping into my feed. So what do I do? I don't want to write one of those lame, self-righteous status feeds where I'm going to ask everyone else to stop doing something as if it's THEIR job (like people who don't like spoiler alerts - I don't either, but people are just going to post them, so there's an easy solution for a few hours during and around, say, of The Walking Dead).
And if you still might think I'm over-sensitive, well, you might be right, and I have no problem with it. NONE WHATSOEVER. I face plenty of disturbing things on a regular basis on my job and in my proximity to the medical field.
Well, on to less disturbing things. I was laying face-down on my office floor because the ol' slipped disc has slipped again, which is totally my fault for having posture like a ragdoll's and not exercising. But I thought about how I would like to have another one of my (very cheap) IKEA tables/desks to expand it so I can FINALLY, for REAL, get a serious move on my extended work of fiction. So I went on Craigslist and one was on there for $15 and I texted the person about it and about 90 minutes later, it was in my office. And I was no longer on the floor.
But now I have other problems, like how to make it all as workable and useful as possible.
Which is dumb because I am always reconfiguring my office. Like I do my syllabus for any given class I teach more than once.
I need a better website but I'm not paying for it. Not for DirtChic, because I'm happy with it. But my, uh, professional website. Time to do a number on it, ramp up… the professionalism.
I had some thoughts about Biff and love and loss, but I'll save them for later. They won't be going anywhere. (That sounds bad. It's not bad.)
Oh - and Carmen Miranda is so, so much more than a fruit basket hat. (Though I'm not knockin' it. Because, of course, I would rock it. Sorry for the rhyme. But not sorry at all.)
Or in this case, the lipstick bureau. ;)
Recall my enormous love of Lucite. Recall my enormous obsession with cosmetic history, which has led to owning many, many lipsticks.
I was at my favorite local antique store (Attenson's Antiques & Books) and I saw this Lucite jewlery box and knew that it was not destined for jewelry.
It's actually extremely useful. All storage should be Lucite.
Money well spent. (Lucite's also rare to find, so I'm extra-happy about that.)
Vintage Lucite jewelry box: $30.
A little marketing, a little PR here. Because I WROTE A PLAY! And it's being done at Cleveland Public Theatre and I love it and everyone involved. And why do I love it? Because it's a HOOT. And about women. And a HOOT.
Here I am. With The Plain Dealer. And in it. (At McDonald's. Ha!)
And here is the article. It is also a hoot.
And here are the two questions that got axed 'cuz space (if you enjoyed the ones that weren't):
Dear Ms. Bingo: Last night I watched a gala at the Kennedy Center. I was appalled when Mrs. President Obama clapped with both hands for all of the people being touted, lauded, etc. I was reared to believe that A LADY uses her left hand in stasis while gently striking it with her own right hand. Am I incorrect? (This one is taken verbatim from a Miss Manners style website called elegantwoman.org)
Dear Internet Gnome (because I can’t imagine you living elsewhere except under a pixelated garden rock),
I was raised to believe that clapping with one hand in stasis is the sign of communism. This was in the dark ages, of course. Nonetheless, if you do the math, so to speak, it would not be appropriate for Mrs. MICHELLE Obama to secretly support backward thinking. Not communism. But instead I think she was clapping with ALL of her hands (as far as I know? Who knows how many hands every person must have?) in mirth and gratitude that she CAN clap with both hands as well as choose note to demurely cross her ankles and fold her (ahem) hands complacently in official photos, for instance. Are there other archaic FLOTUS customs we can use to bop you over the head with? Please, send them my way. Immediately. c/o progress, please. (I have no feelings about communism one way or the other. I’m more of the school of hotelism or luxurycruiseshipism.)
Dear Penny: My co-worker Laverne is always asking me how she looks and frankly, her hair resembles day-old road kill and she has the sartorial style of a nearsighted marmoset. Should I keep lying to her or tell her the truth?
Dear Co-Worker of Laverne,
Oh, it is so difficult, walking that fine line, between insult and what “they” say is “constructive criticism”. (“They” are my bete noire, as the French say. I cannot get away from “them”. “They”, I suspect, are a cabal of ancient etiquette-trians of yore, perhaps the ones behind Stonehenge. When I retire I will quest to find the truth. Feel free to meet me, then, at Stonehenge, but bring dancing shoes.) Such situations require utmost diplomatic skill, and truthfully, this takes more training than all U.N. diplomats, goodwill ambassadors, drum corps, librettists, amateur entomologists, bookworms, mealworms, papal advisors, the papacy, etc., combined. But that isn’t what’s really at heart, here. It is clear to me that since your friend both aims for a coiffure of “dear smear” (or the like) as well as simian fashion, that her choices are purposeful and deliberate, following an “animalian” theme. Therefore, your criterion for what constitutes good taste must be adjusted accordingly. Don’t answer her as yourself; answer as an opossum, or perhaps a pygmy goat. That should help.
And here is the actual play synopsis because it got weirdly truncated, and doesn't sound very interesting:
Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Penny Bingo, our game, advice-giving host, considers this and many other reader questions as she takes us through a variety-hour of decades and decades of female experience – including, but not limited to: time- and labor-saving appliances, mommy culture and “fellowship” when a special speaker requires luncheon attendees to share their true feelings, cigarettes, a clothing saleswoman who demands that every woman is the same “color” – pink, girdles, the female part of an online talk-show duo going it alone, sensual perfume, the “Lift and Stretch for Lovers” exercise program, household disinfectant/birth control methods, a visit from a door-to-door makeup maven that produces miraculous and impossible results, pantyhose, and a dressing-room game show where the winner walks away with a new wardrobe and self-worth dubiously intact.
And that is all. (Except Andrea Simakis, who wrote the article, also wrote those questions plus 5 more, and she is hilarious and awesome.)
Southwest print n' flowers! Candy stripes!
Worth the $5 each at Goodwill. Surely the excellent company of my dear friend Emily helped. Also, discussing playwriting and learning that she's taking it with the author of my favorite playwriting book helped, too. And by helped I mean MADE THE WORLD MAGICAL.
I just put all my photos on my hard drive, so no photos - boo hiss.
And why did I do this? Because ol' MacBook is REALLY trying to give up the ghost. I'm making it work for me for another week (this involves not moving it. It doesn't like to be moved. And good thing hubs has a MacBook, too, as my power cord no longer cooperates). This is not a good week to not have a computer. (Classes start the 12th.) But, nothing like something FALLING APART to motivate me to get another. And, honestly, that's the way I prefer it, w/gadgets and cars: I need to get a lot of use out of them.
Which makes me think of our disposable society. No, no, not gonna preach (not now, at least). Ahem. I am VERY MUCH A PART of this society, but, well, my computer failing slowly has made me second-guess every purchase I make.
And you know what else made me do this? BLACK BOOTS.
I don't know what got me going, but a few weeks ago I decided to purge the closet, yet again. I don't mind some collections but clothes that I'm not going to wear, that aren't works of art, are stupid to keep around. No, really. I've used most of my strategies, a key one being "would someone else love this more?" And another: "do YOU love it?" I also used Carra's excellent guilt strategy. The result? Ok, ok - I'll go take a picture.
It looks more messy than bulky. But trust me, there's bulk. A lot of it is going on eBay/Etsy/Instagram, the rest is going to the epic Women's Empowerment Institute of Cleveland clothes swap.
But as I was saying, boots. I found a pair of biker boots at Goodwill last week. It reminded me of how much I love to clomp around in them, wearing my non-fantastic "uniform" (check last post of me in my black heans). Then I found another epic pair at ANOTHER Goodwill (see earlier posts from a couple-ish days ago). Then I went home, and purged even more. I got rid of things I didn't think I would've. But I really just only want stuff that I love AND will wear. This is making me want to do it again. I think I will. I already have a few things in mind.
But as I was saying, disposable society. That's it; I want things that are good and will last. I'm going to call the Italian Cobbler in Westlake tomorrow and see if they'll fix my and my mom's favorite boots. Because that's good investment. And I'll not be buying things, even used things, that I don't need. And I'll get good wear out of what I have. Ok, most of it. But - wearing a formal once in a year IS good wear, for that particular garment!
In utterly related news, I've actually learned a lot about quality shoe construction through thrifting. I don't know why people get rid of really expensive boots, but I've found a LOT of them. Born, La Canadienne, Minnetonka, Enzo Angiolini - and this lastest pair is something Italian but I can't remember what. I found the same pair on eBay (mine are a bit snug but I bought some stretch spray and it seems to be working - so I initially went to see if I could find a larger size) and those went for $250. Consistently. That is not bragging. That is a bargain. (Mine were $6.)
Moral of tale: love what you have AND pay attention to boots in thrift stores, yo.
I will accept snow; where is it? Applications will be rushed. SNOW ALREADY.
10-ish days to beginning-of-semester. Month off: needed. Well-used. And it's not even over.
Holidays: CHEER. Minimal stress. Normalcy without normalness is my norm, normally.
I DID wear my festive dress - twice. One, for a night of theatre and a good friend's wassail party; two, to another good friend's wedding. In Georgia. I got to see Atlanta and some surrounding areas. Drivers were way too aggressive, and I'm used to Chicago, for crying out loud! (Have I already mentioned this? Apparently I'm traumatized)
But anyways, this is the best pic I managed to get of it. Dork.
In other sartorial news, I BOUGHT JEANS. (At SalArmy in Indiana, $6.) But they are black jeans so it's not really that much of a difference. It's nice to have them now that it's finally getting colder, though. Who knew. (Everyone who wears jeans.)
(I actually have another pair of black jeans but they are not for daily wear. Strangely, both pairs are Ralph Lauren. Also, who knew?)
I went home for a New Year's Christmas with my fam.
First I went to Mary's Motown Dance party.
As you can see, Mary is VERY RAD.
And New Years Day was, ahem, Christmas.
Thing 1 (niece) on the left wanted fake poop. Yep. She got it. For her toy dog. Thing 2 (niece) on the right wanted stuffed animals, so I got her a Himalayan, which I think she referred to as a bear for a little while. Same difference. Right?
(Which reminds me: go look at this Twitter. It's awesome.)
And I finished the Pooh animal set with Tigger. Okay, okay, I have a bunch more to do, and I won't stop making them, but I will definitely take any leads on tiny stuffed craft things.
Here's Mary's pic of the set. You can tell my skills, such as they are, have improved since Pooh (the first animal, naturally).
And. Well. There's this.
It is not a present. It is/they are the ashes of my dog. If this disturbs you, you're not alone - it blows my mind, and not really in a good way. I had a good cry over them when I got back to CLE. Can't say I go in for this rainbow bridge idea... except when I think about it, actually meeting Biff, um, on a rainbow - I cry. I also had a dream the other night that he wasn't, in fact, dead! He just had a cough! Apparently the denial phase has to occur in my dreams.
But it was easier this time, at home. He is still very missed. Sweet boy.
Well, I haven't QUITE hit the ground running, but I do have lots and lots and lots to do - and when I thought about all of it this last week, I was grateful to realize everything that's happening, everything I have to do, I look forward to it all.
So I'm off. And I'll leave you with this.
Oh so many things ahead.
It is late, so I shouldn't write much.
All I will give you right now is this: violet perfume exists in the world.
I mention this because it - it - is exquisite.
I am not good at SCIENCE BOOK (a la Sam Cooke), but I know that gorgeousness still has a structure, a matrix, a pattern, a reason.
I think my last post was about all of the chaos which I am powerless, in many ways, to fix. To even look at squarely in the face. It is so good (the chaos) at taking anything worthwhile and warping it.
Apart from that - or who knows, even a part of that - there are patterns I don't know and don't see. Matrices and structures. Of violet perfumes.
And I catch a wiff of them sometimes.
And they are gorgeous.
Such has been this last year.
I wish that for you, and your year ahead.