Sunday, February 28, 2010

Theatre is community.

Community theatre brings up mental images of "has beens" thinking they are "are's" Those (in my case) that snatched leading roles in that grand thing we call high school theatre and were bound for the stage college-ward and inevitably Broadway. And instead, somehow end up on a creaky, wooden floor in a a make-shift stage, an undercroft of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Tracing the pattern of what took me from such aspirations to the same hole were sort of similar to my route trying to get tho the place. Sure, I've been there 68 times before but surprise, surprise, I got a little turned around trying to find I-5 Northbound. After a saving grace call to Eli I made it to the show with ten minutes to spare. I'm meeting Clinton at The Bert Mann Theatre for the NorthEnd Players rendition of "Heaven Can Wait." On facebook last night's opening performance was all abuzz as the granddaughter of the original playwright was in attendance with the Oscar in hand. I get to make a "cameo" as a former NorthEnd player walking across the stage. Oh the glory. A feeling of homeostasis fills me as I am ushered backstage. Tape outlines on the prop table, a little white dog, Mitzi, greets me, friends faces illuminate to see me. I delight seeing them in suspenders, low-cut house wife dresses, netted hats. Many I don't know share positive energy with me, smiling and weaving in a rushed, soft shoe manner so as not to break the illusion of folks back stage. "How are the babies?" "Are they here tonight?" "When are you due?"
I smile thinking of the t-shirts Shannon Tappana and I swore we'd get around to making-"Drama is life, the rest is just details" we were so much more intelligent and classier because we snatched this ever so unoriginal quote from bonehead sports motif shirts with full knowledge of the irony. Or so we thought. That cave of a theatre at Sohi with its secret staircases, inner ceiling passages only trespassible by those Mission Impossible minded preferably wearing camouflage, carrying Snapple lids for Morse code communication once in the asbestos abyss. There's a magic having blinding lights shine upon you opening night and being unable to see the faces beneath but feeling their heavy presence. Maybe its what it feels like to be blind. A text in a softbound script. Your very own script. The more warped and notated it becomes the more legitimate its life. Warmth surrounds me when I think of the actors who opened their hearts with me. Together we learned who we were and how we fit together in this little old world. When I flubbed the line announcing the murderer the dazzling Delores Biggs announces her instead, you learn how to compensate, to keep dignity to the underlying message. An energy is shared, a family you become. Helping each other with make-up, using Cassie's hair powder for a definite age increaser was a good bet, suggesting costume options-vetoing the vinyl coat choice, laughing, backstage pranks. Attacked with the smell of rotting tuna from the heater chambers we retaliate as Women (hear us roar) snatching the boys clothing and replacing with women's undergarments. Developing camaraderie with folks you probably wouldn't have become friends with without the stage. Feeling an inkling of what it means to love vicariously through characters you nurture. Truth, whatever that is, is unveiled. It is some kind of visceral resonance that makes you feel a little more whole. Spinning in a blue velvet stage curtain you feel mischievous, royal and a seeker of life. The actor with a Jewish last name probably in his nineties whose credits mention New York City community theatre (where I imagine the competition was a little more fierce) is vibrant and delightful. Ms. Thompson is radiant in her bad girl role. The ingenue whose credits mentioned she was 18 (I would have sworn she was 40) was not your typical pretty face and evoked anything but innocence and youth nor did her immature acting but I was touched to read in the program of her other bit parts in plays and her delight in playing this role. "Her favorite thus far." That's what's so great about it. In community theatre, everybody gets a chance to be something they likely never get a chance to be in life or in stage. The journey she made probably meant the world to her. And the lead male-should have been cut and muscular since he was a boxer and in nothing but skin and shorts much of the show-instead had no tone, much excess and rocked back and forth on his feet incessantly. Enough to convince me he was battling The Rain Man's disease but just had a case of nerves. The messenger with his great, carrying theatrical voice and presence and the maid who was hauntingly similar to the last role I had seen her in are all up there together, mixing it all up to create something a little broken, sort of disjointed, sometimes stirring, timing ok and timing slow, energy vibrant but heart 100%.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Multnomah Park Cemetary

Man with hands in pockets. Plaid shirt tucked in.
Wife, neat brunette circles gravestone.
Solemn cemetery next to chaotic 82nd Avenue.
For whom do they nod their heads? A recent loss.
Dressed respectfully, just exited a chapel.
Outside the steel Woman simply walks,
gregariously, with jutting, angular hip bones like beckoning sirens.
Eighties style hair flagging attention by passerbys.
A dead-ringer for Alec Baldwin's girlfriend in Miami Blues.
Shirt with cut-off sleeves, the loose part tied in a slipknot revealing her thin curves.
Straight ahead she looks, confident.
Prostitute discerning nothing of middle class aunts deceased from breast cancer.
Business professional weighing nothing of the fear of force and disease.
My young family driving 35 miles per hour with Bruce Springsteen prophesying, "Don't know when this chance might come again. If we could get skin to skin"
They pass in moments, trailers of my thoughts. I stare, paralyzed by music and reality.
The weight causes visceral angst. I inhale, blink to clear the buzz and ask the kids,
"Should we get juice boxes for our picnic?"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A moment to smile about.

Our family went to Baja Fresh for dinner this evening. Walking to the entrance I was 5 steps ahead of the crew. I looked at them with Dad keeping them close. Wow. It just hit me. We have a big family. A big, cute family. Little blond bobkins smiling, giggling and being silly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The zoo with my girls.

Dropped Eli off at the studio, called a couple friends to see if anyone could play and no one route home I scanned the zoo exit. We haven't gone in months and that annual pass is wasting like a melting ice cream cone. I switched lanes and we went for it. No stroller, no shoes for Rainbow (good thing I am a strapping young lassie)thin jackets, chance of showers, no snacks-life shouldn't revolve around these things now should it?! The girls were pleased at this change of plans. Rainbow was enjoying the thrill of graduating to a big girl carseat-view of the fast cars and forward facing-wow, what a life- and would have been content driving into the sunset eternally but whatever, she trusted ole ma. Anna proudly presented the tickets like she was presenting a diploma. The mountain goat was in full view. We took the Northwest bridge trail, Anna had a great lickety-split pace in mind...once she's seen it, she'd seen it and would let me know (kindly of course). The fish were babies to Rainbow, frogs infants, miners cats...babies, chickens, sheep, pigs-you guessed it...babies all around. In the farm area the pigs were preoccupied gobbling hay. Rainbow lobbed her arms around the wooden fence and wouldn't let go watching those creatures the same way Fern adored Wilbur. Gentle Anna trying to keep her pace up tried to cajole Rainbow into hope for the future animals we would see. The present was good enough for her. Feeling somewhat like a kidnapper I peeled her little paws off the fence and we moved on. The results are in-unanimously, the warthogs are ugly (although still babies), Rainbow will make a wonderful goddess some day seeing the beauty in all creatures great and small. The highlight of the warm small African creature are was Adrianna taking the role of my mom, her name was Jasmine. And I, was the teenager despite the fact that she was the one on the phone (a.k.a. informative tour listening device)the most. An hour holding sweet little Color Streak in my arms and I was about finished. Intuitively, Adrianna said she was hungry for lunch and wanted to go home. On the trail towards the exit a zookeeper was feeding apples to the hippopotamus's! I've never seen more than their eyeballs poking out of the water but they came up front and center for those sweet treats. We saw their teeth (what an odd mouthful I must say, none of them seemed to match up like most animal teeth do) and one lugged its huge body out of the water after a wandering apple. Walking, walking all the way to the car. I asked Adrianna what she liked. She reported many wondrous things but was equally anticipating the lunch of mac and cheese at home (which she assured me she would help with).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love Eli.

I love this man. Right now he's mixing or recording his album at 12:08 a.m. and I am sure, still going strong. It's anything but easy for all of us to dream and to hope this music will be heard and will lift people near and far. The dreaming, ok it is easy but the day to day give required, not so much. We have to do things that we don't like, things that others raise their eyebrows at. Conventionality and revolution don't go hand in hand. For a moment today I wanted all the strife to dissipate and at that moment Eli looked into my eyes with hope and love, radiating optimism into my heart. His sheepish smile caught when he was laughing makes me extra happy. I love him. I love him. And he's mine, all mine.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Sheesh. Monday makes my insides scrambled eggs. My outsides aren't doing much better. Saturday I was "shopped" by an apartment hunter spy and as usual I failed miserably. The shopper noted "my ripped, stained sweatshirt" which I am still wearing today-pretty much out of spite. There is so space on the superiors side for apologies, excuses or retaliations but rest assured I have come up with a list for myself. Even if my excuses were valid which they are not they are pathetic because the bottom line is, I have never had a great shop, many horrendous shops and you know what? I won't change. They affect me. They make me cry and feel worthless but not enough to spark change. I am not the sort to be effectively charged by the coach who yells at his athletes to motivate them. No, I need to be coddled along, loved and sincerely cherished to get results. The apartment complex is full so naturally I feel no sense of urgency to make an insistent shopper who MUST have a tour despite the fact that I have nothing for her....lose points. She desperately wanted to use my bathroom but I told her one was not available-primarily because my personal bathroom was filthy, the trail from office to bathroom through my gross house-even worse. The kids had been sick that day. I threw up earlier in the day and would have called this woman to cancel yet I had not taken her phone number as I should have. So when I found she was shopping me I thanked my lucky twinkling stars I had that one bit of foresight. She asked me weird probes-she said she and her husband managed apartments and she hated it...trying to get me to open up about my contempt it seemed. Luckily, something inside me stopped me from agreeing. Most of my errors are ones I know I am no good at and ought correct but don't but a whopping 58% is nothing to brag about. Lady, Mr. Head Honchos, anyone who read my stupid shop...this is what I have to say. This woman does the best she can. She hates being paid dirt for babysitting, dealing with maintenance way beyond control and skinny budgets that don't allow remediation, she's anything but detail-oriented and that's a cryin' shame when it comes to this business, would rather be free to go to the park with my sweet angels who are growing faster than I can say, "green eggs and ham", she dreads that ringing phone, has nightmares about the mold creeping through the walls, panic attacks when somebody else's car is towed...But then again-I have these favelas all rented, have made progress with maintenance (Must say Eli has shocked and amazed me at his construction abilities when he has the time), some residents-the nice ones even call my supervisor saying we're awesome. No mention of that on a shop, huh. I know it's not the end of the world but it still stirs me up like a vitamina on a hot, Brazilian day.
So after that cheerful news I couldn't take another breath of my Apartment To Do List today. After the bank deposits, posting a note on a door, making vital emails the rest is waiting until tomorrow. After coming home from a dr appointment, where I even felt like the dr hated me (yes, I am aware the problems in my head run deep) and the bank Eli was setting Adrianna and Rainbow up with peanut butter and jelly. Anna wanted to be her own chef. I picked up, kissed Eli and he was on his way to the studio. Album release scheduled April 3rd, the pressure is on. The girls-so happy to see Momma. Rainbow donning brown shoes Moses and Anna both wore for the first time. After lunch she showed me what hot stuff she was tromping around in those things. Anna set up the doll house to play with me. I lasted for a little while. There was a ball, three clothing changes, a nighttime, a birthday party, a Prince Charming choosing his bride line-up style (he chose the prettiest, blond fluffy-haired one of course) And then imported the clean laundry basket folding clothes while still paying semi-attention to the game. Anna was on to me pretty quick but was quite understanding. Rainbow the little dreamer napped. We checked the mail, packed the junkmail in Adrianna's pack strapped to her back and played outside. I was Storm, she was Jean Gray. It was high pursuit interjected by a horrendous cough. I think she needs the doctor tomorrow. All the while playing outside Anna is luminous and imaginative, like the foam on the sea, bright and inviting. Carefree and full of life her ideas keep coming. Rainbow joins us and echos Adrianna's conversation, climbs up and down stairs, giggles at us when she climbs into a chair (how daring!). Outside is definitely Rainbow's new thing. When the kids get home we greet them off the bus. Rainbow calls, "Sunny!" (her universal call for all siblings) Sums them all up rather well, I admit. Moses doesn't get a breath in before telling me about the sort-of-moon-rock in his backpack, he played with Jaeden and Joshua today...Sunny's eyes are glued to a book. She sits on the grass reading. We'll talk later. The bright idea comes to go swimming. We find the suits, the fitness center card, towels, the stroller and we are off. Sunny day walk there but the pool is at capacity. No fear! We choose the playground instead. This proves to conventional for these wolves-Sunny leads the lion and mouse towards sawdust hills and wooded ivy in the back. Rainbow is enraptured by a dog. Five month old coyote-German shepherd mix named Lily who is friendly as a button (if buttons were friendly) She calls this dog "baby, baby, baby, baby...." Likely she yearned for "baby" 500+ times. Not even the kisses shocked her. She smiled, cooed and ogled as if it were her baby. We walked from the kids and their morphing game of Moses the prophet and his pals back and forth twenty times as this baby couldn't get enough of "baby." We saw geese in the sky, a small bird in the tree-all were "baby" . Runny noses, dirt, sawdust grit-they wore it well. Might as well have been diamond studdings and fine robes. These kids looked alive and loved by this good earth and its maker. We went home feeling a-ok about our places in the world. Thanks, kids for reminding your Momma things aren't so bad.