Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Life comes at you fast

Talley and The Bee

I don't know if he knew if he was allergic. But I do know that he gave 200% of his time and energy to the place we both love. Sometimes he was backstage, shouting at us about laundry. The last time I saw him, he was onstage, honoring the theater's founders. This summer he cleaned and organized 2 of the 5 costume rooms. And every time I have seen him since sometime in January, one, if not both of us, quoted La La L'Amazing Grace......"You know you gon' get fired, right?".

In the blink of an eye he was gone.

Princess Grace Goes Home

Before there was a Piscean Princess, there was Princess Grace. Nanny, my maternal grandmother, is the cutest, foxiest, classiest woman I've ever known. Years of exercise and swimming laps gave her legs that rivaled Tina Turner's. She married her high school sweetheart, he became one of the 1st Black gas station owners in the city, and she was the First Lady of Standard Oil. Make no mistake, they were "The Joneses" and keeping up was hard work. If there was a group for young people, black people, female people, democratic people, Christian people, Nanny was probably a member. She and her younger sister were like Frick and Frack. You rarely saw one without the other. If Auntie was going, Nanny was going too. Auntie went first.

And Nanny met her there.

There are other names and stories that I could mention here. But I won't. I do not have a personal story to tell about the Mad Scientist in Cali's Sweet Grandfather in Cleveland, so I won't. And the Billy Dee Williams of Pasadena better not get his name added to this list any time soon. [For real, Dad. If you're not gonna live forever, at least wait till I have some kids or something, geez!]

Remember when you were a kid and you didn't have to think about obituaries and funerals and last minute plane tickets? There were no bills to pay or credit scores to maintain. You didn't have to go through any changes to nurture friendships.

And you thought everybody was going to live forever....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Things That I Have Done

Two of my favorite gals did this already, so I'm getting on the bandwagon too.

Life's TO DO List
*BOLD means yes, I have done this

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (can 2 people really comfortably fit in a bathtub?)
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (depends on the definition of "huge")
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen an eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (For most of the day, though, back when I was playing LaLa L'Amazing Grace in "The Colored Museum")
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (almost every day)
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 10 provinces or all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (substitute couch for bed, and I do this almost every weekend)
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days (um, have we met??? that'll never happen)
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake Dead River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in aisles at Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking (The singing was always accompanied by some very energetic dancing, too. I got no shame.)
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart (I am genuinely sorry.)
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes (As often as possible)
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

when baggage is a good thing

bag lady, you gone hurt your back dragging all them bags like that
i guess nobody ever told you, all you must hold on to is you
one day all them bags gone get in your way, so pack light

bag lady, you gone miss your bus / you can’t hurry up ‘cause you got too much stuff
when they see you comin’ niggas take off runnin’ from you
one day he gone say you crowdin’ my space, so pack light

Erykah, Dr. Phil and potential suitors have all cautioned me (and others) against holding on to relationship baggage. The warnings are strong.

“If the last guy cheated on you, don’t assume that the next one will. Give him a chance.”

On the surface, this is good advice. Each person is different and it’s true, the new dude shouldn’t be penalized for the last guy’s infidelity.

But is it wise to forget the last relationship entirely? Of course not. People who are older & less dumb revisit past relationships. We examine them. And in turn we examine ourselves.

So, if the last guy cheated, he was probably a jerk. If the last three guys cheated, this situation may deserve further analysis. (Note: At no time should that analysis include any “all men are dogs” nonsense.) The hard kind of analysis that involves getting real with one’s self, fully examining the places within where we’d just as soon not go.

Baggage often causes us to operate in extremes. I had a long term relationship with a man who wanted nothing more than to sit around getting high, drinking & playing video games with his friends. Seriously, he didn’t want for anything else. Nothing. Except maybe, like a sandwich or something. But otherwise he was just content to pretend he was 14 instead of 34. When that relationship ended, I immediately got involved with someone who had no interest in games or sitting still for any extended period of time. At first it was a nice change of pace. After a year or so, it became a recurring argument.

Turns out, honoring the baggage of the 1st relationship didn’t mean that the opposite circumstance would be inherently better. No, sir, it meant that I had some self examination to do. Why did I get involved with “Sit-Around-Guy”? Why did that suddenly become unacceptable? Why wasn’t “Let’s-Kick-It-Guy” just what the doctor ordered? Trust me, I have had four years to answer these questions and deal with myself. And the baggage of these past relationships has the potential to be the crippling type that Erykah sings of – making me unable to see myself and the people I choose to partner with. This baggage also has the potential to be a perfect springboard for self-awareness. So much so, that it almost seems unfair to call it “baggage”.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Year of the Reunion continues...

Seven months ago, I took the liberty of renaming 2006 "The Year of the Reunion". At the time, most of the reunions were happening online or on the phone. Well, as the months have progressed, that has taken quite a turn.

Without even meaning to, I have reunited with Jesus. Not in a "born again/saved" kind of way, but in the people keep asking me to come to church with them kind of way. For the most part, this has not been an entirely unpleasant reunion. Each time I had someone there to shield me from that typical "Oh, are you visiting? Do you have a church home? We have 8 zillion ministries here that you would be perfect for - I'll look for you next week..." spiel. Except for the funeral I went to last week that turned into a "If you're not saved you're going to hell" sermon. Like many of the other reunions I've had this year, this one has been at the same time familiar and awkward. I have fond memories of my Charlie-Church days, and I am very happy with my current non-religious status.

The reunion continues at the theater. It's the strangest thing, but I am constantly running into someone from a past life at the theater. In the spring it was a guy I went to high school with - who I absolutely, positively would never have expected to see anywhere near anything arts-related. And I ran into the aunty of one of oldest & dearest friends...at the theater. And I was on a theater related committee with a guy that grew up down the street from me, who has made weird little cameo appearances in my life every few years since the late 80's.

I won't go into tons of detail, but I have recently started dating a pretty groovy guy. If my life were loosely based on a movie, I would be Sanaa Lathan and my date would be that extra-cute white guy that she fell in love with in "Something New". So on our 2nd "official" date last Friday, we're sitting at the bar in a local young & hip establishment, enjoying wine, people-watching and giggling.....and in walks my most recent ex-boyfriend. And he's with a young lady. And she's "Something New" too! I am not the person who remains "friends" with ex's. I see no purpose in that and have never had a breakup that I thought should be the exception. However, I'm also not the person who holds on to negative feelings after a breakup, either. I have often thought of this guy and hoped that he has found what he was searching for in life. Sincerely. 'Cause there was no way we were gonna find it together. So there wasn't any awkward feeling or anything - I mostly wanted both of our dates to disappear for a minute so I could run over to him and laugh at the irony of it all.

Lastly, I have reunited with my blog. Obviously I took the month of September off. There wasn't any particular drama or any good reason - I just couldn't ever figure out what to say. It all started when I watched "When The Levees Broke". I was simply unable to get it together to put my feelings down on "paper". And all the other amusing annoyances in life just didn't seem worthy of the blog when I had not addressed how I was feeling about the largely abandoned Black citizenry of New Orleans. And I kept going to blogs and folks were talking about it. And I was still stuck. So I stopped going to other blogs. Mostly I just kind of disappeared. (Perhaps my super-cute date and my ex's not-all-that-cute date made us disappear so they could talk about how funny it is that they're dating Black people!) But now I'm back, with plenty to say. I think.