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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Since my brother’s death I haven’t really wanted to know anyone better. It’s not the right choice, but it’s the right choice right now. A lot has changed in my life since Bear died. So much good stuff has happened, and I do celebrate all of that. But there is sadness, there is grief.

So when my brother died too, again unexpectedly, it was just such a hard blow. Grief books talk about all kinds of grief, but not grief from a suicide. I suppose when I am ready I’ll remember that there’s a world wide web out there and find materials about that. But I’m back to denial and am content to sit there for a bit. It’s better than playing the “what if” game, which nobody wins.

My cousin gave me a lamp that belonged to our grandmother. A friend just finished repairing it. I am excited to hang it in my room and have a visual reminder of so much good in my life. 

I thought again the other day that I wish I didn’t think about stuff as much as I do. But clearly that isn’t changing. I need to carve out time each day to process it. Perhaps letting myself think about the “stuff” a little each day will help alleviate the days when it becomes all encompassing. I’d rather be living, doing things, than sitting and thinking. 

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But I’ve never been to me. Okay, not exactly. This is a time of life full of transitions for me. Trying to get rid of Wally once and for all, new job, I get home earlier (well, not while I’m teaching but that only has a couple more weeks), and sons who are the most independent they’ve yet been. I have some time on my hands.

Normally this time of year I’d be prepping for a big event for one of the boards I’m on. But that event had changed, much to my sadness. So I thought about it a LOT. I’ve been a big part of this event for about a decade. I wasn’t sure what to do about my sadness.

I’m going to spend the time reinvesting in me. Do extra workouts to get rid of Wally even quicker. Continue my Quixotic quest for an uncluttered house. We’re hoping to start work on the bloody bathroom soon (I hope, I hope, I hope). I’m going to take Rex on long leisurely walks (he lasts about 15 minutes, maybe I can build him up to 20?). Go on the trails with my sons. Color! Read! Write! Sew! Learn to crochet!

And maybe, just maybe, Hubby and I can have a date night!

I have not let myself slow down for so long that I truly suck at it. Am I afraid of something? Do I think the world is going to stop? Do I have such delusions of grandeur? Really, who cares if I choose to spend some quality time binging on Netflix? Who cares if I make toys from all the freakin’ cat hair I sweep up all the time?

To quote Queen, this is your life. So what have I been waiting for?

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I was planning on auditioning for a show in the next week or two, but I am having serious second thoughts.  First, while it would be a fun show, it’s not one that was on my “list” of shows I’d like to do before I die.  I guess one could call it an actor’s bucket list.  I really enjoyed working with the group, so that’s not the issue.  I’ve been looking at the time I would need to spend on the role (presuming I were cast) and as I added it up, I began to think…hmmmm, do I want to do that?  Now?

I would actually have more conflicts than I had thought before thinking to myself that I could easily do a show.  I had remembered the conflict with a wedding I’ll be attending but hadn’t thought of eight or nine or ten other commitments that are not moveable.  That’s almost a dozen conflicts which is about a quarter to a third of the rehearsals.  (Don’t ask me to be more specific, I’m not a math person and I’m really not a fraction person, unless I’m baking and then fractions make sense.)  The other commitments are too important to try to shift or move, but I also do not like being the type who gets a part and then lists a slew of rehearsals I’ll miss.  It happens, I get it, but I don’t like to do it.

Would the person directing the show work around it?  Possibly, probably, maybe.  I don’t really know and that’s not what’s important.  I wouldn’t feel right.  Knowing I had intentionally double-booked myself and forced one or the other to work around my inability to be there would lessen my enjoyment of whichever one I did attend.

Putting all of that aside however, I realize that the main deterrent is the time I wouldn’t get to spend with my family.  Yes I like to indulge my interests and keep myself fresh and excited by doing things I like to do.  But this is the first summer in a decade when we’re not on too many boards (I’m only on one and it doesn’t meet during the summer).  The classes I’m teaching will be over by the end of June, right around the time the boys finish school.

I could feasibly take advantage of the summer hours at work and spend some lazy summer evenings with my family.  I could work on my yard. I could do scrapbooking or beading or sewing or reading or nothing.  Imagine working on my sons’ scrapbooks.  Imagine sitting and having deep conversations about the exoskeleton of cicada with my sons.  Imagine reading a book in one sitting.  Imagine not feeling the pressure of extra, self-inflicted deadlines.  This is the first summer when I don’t have any externally imposed deadlines on my plate.

Do I want to put one on my plate?  Or would that be like putting a big helping of beets on the plate?  I would imagine it could begin to leave a bitter taste in my mouth and I don’t want to do that.  I also feel like hubby should do the next show.  He probably won’t do a show because he always comes up with a reason not to do a show.  But I don’t think I want to do a show.  I think I want to not do stuff that doesn’t have a direct positive impact on my whole family and not just me.  This summer I think I want to be selfish and spend all my spare time with my family.

The boys and I started making the presents for their teachers tonight.  We came up with the idea of giving their teachers a small, hand-painted wooden box personalized with either an initial or a picture of something each teacher likes.  We had a blast working on the boxes tonight.  I want more of that.  I looked at my sons this evening, painting and smiling, and they looked so much older than I expected them to look.  Oldest son doesn’t like me to hug or kiss him in front of people.  Youngest son can’t be too far behind.  At this moment, they still like spending time with me and I’m still relatively cool.  That won’t last and I know it.  It’ll come back another day, but it’s going to change soon and last for quite some time.  While I pray daily for the blessing of a long life, spending time with my sons is always on my bucket list.  Spending time with hubby is always on my bucket list.  I don’t want to take that for granted.  Ever.

At the beginning of this post I had not yet decided the fate of the audition nor did I think I would figure it out today or tomorrow.  And yet I’ve clearly made my decision.  I didn’t go through my normal long and drawn-out process.  Well, there’s one to take off the bucket list.

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I’ve had two discussions this week about plots, or more specifically remakes that use the same exact plot and why do we need them in the world?  It’s a fun topic and in the end, every show has been a rerun since the theater of the ancient Greeks.  The roots of every story, play, movie, or television show can be found in Greek theater.

But I still love a good debate so…

For me, plays are meant to be a unique event each time because they are performed live and each performance will have slight variations due to a different audience and another day of life experience for the actors adding new dimensions to the performance, subtle though they may be.  I look at film versions of plays in a similar manner.  Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet is unique from Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and from Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet.  (I don’t even consider Mel Gibson’s in the conversation as I did not care for it at all).  Each is approached from the roots of theater yet captured on film.  Each film includes distinct performances by the actors and a distinct interpretation by the director, as well as very intentional scenic and musical choices.  I glean something different from each one.

I think that You’ve Got Mail is a unique film from The Shop Around the Corner, the film that inspired the adaptation.  It also acknowledges the original, gives a tip of the hat if you will, within the film.  The sign on the Fox Bookstore building says “just around the corner” and they make references to mail…letters.  If you know the film The Shop Around the Corner, you’ll pick up on these wink wink, nudge nudge references.  If you don’t, they don’t stick out as out of place.

I don’t understand the need for remakes (I don’t care what you call them) if they only are a remaking of an original film without bringing anything new to the table.  The shot by shot remake of Psycho…why did we need that?  Hitchcock’s is perfect, no need to redo it.  I remembered how perfect on Mother’s Day when Encore Suspense treated us to a 24 hour marathon of it.

Arthur, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, why do we need to remake them when the originals were fabulous?  Give me a new twist at least.  And changing the gender of a character doesn’t count…just changes pronouns.  Scream could have been just another slasher flick in the tradition of the classics that changed the genre in the late 70s and early 80s, but it did something new in acknowledging the pedigree that bore it.  That made it original.

Another recent revamp was made by two of my favorites, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  But Willy Wonka will always be visualized in my mind as Gene Wilder in a fabulous purple velvet coat.  I have a brown velvet coat that I call my Willy Wonka coat.  🙂  I will watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and embrace it as an individual movie because of my love of Tim and Johnny, but Gene Wilder will always be  Willy Wonka.  Their latest, Dark Shadows, has yet to be seen, so I cannot comment yet.

Are these amazingly fine lines to be drawing in the sand?  Yep.  I wonder though as I reflect if I haven’t noticed a wee bit of a trend.  When a film is adapted from a book or play, I’m far more open to seeing a new version of it.  Perhaps because for me I always approach a film version of a book or play with some skepticism since I’ve already got my own version of it in my mind’s eye.  It don’t expect it to live up to my expectations and so I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.  A remake of a story that was originally intended for film I am less flexible about because if it was written for film, it was intended to be a finite and finished product.  A play is meant to be produced over and over just as a book can be read over and over.

Now some might ask me what I think about The Three Stooges movie.  I’m fine with it-I haven’t seen it yet but my hubby and sons did and they gave it their own Three Stooges approval.  First, it incorporated the concept of short films, another wink wink, nudge nudge example.  Second, even with the original Three Stooges, there were four different groupings of them (Moe and Larry with Curly, Shemp, Joe, or Curly Joe and the original trio was Larry, Moe and Shemp to begin with but without the name Three Stooges).  They were always the same characters but in different short films, a different situation.

In the end, we keep repeating and remaking these stories on stage or screen because we will never finish exploring the human condition and the human existence.  We are egotistical by nature.  We also are a social creature and we feel better after sitting in a dark room together with a bunch of strangers watching ourselves and examining how we handle this thing called life, reruns and all.

 

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In tonight’s episode of Grimm, Nick came closer to some closure about his parents and aunt.  Only a bit closer to closure since we can’t cover everything in one season.  What would they do in season two if they covered it all this year?  I myself have been thinking a lot about life events.  I crave closure to certain events in my life.  I don’t like things left with loose ends.  Forgive the morbidity of the next statement, but I need to see a dead body to believe they are really gone.  It gives me closure that I need as part of my grieving process.  When that doesn’t happen, it takes longer for me to work through the whole situation.  That’s just what I need to do.

So I’ve been digging my Grimm and have been reading the Grimm stories to my boys.  They didn’t want to hear the “girly” stories.  I explained to them that the stories were originally more grim.  I went to the library at work today and got a wonderful edition of the Grimm stories.  I have to admit I did not know how many stories the Brothers Grimm had penned.  In this edition (claiming to be the complete works, but I’m too early in my research to be able to verify that claim), there are 210 stories.  Little Red Riding Hood is called Little Red Cap.  Cinderella’s step-sisters get their eyes pecked out by the birds…vicious pigeons that had not helped clean and make dresses.  Snow White is Little Snow White and the story ends with the queen wearing burning iron “shoes” and dancing till she dies.  Good times.  Good times.

As Nick has quests for closure on Grimm, I have my own quests.  One quest is to develop my sons love of fiction, hence our focus on Grimm.  I also let them read Creepshow by Uncle Stevie.  It’s a comic book, yes a creepy comic book, and they loved it. My quest for a less cluttered home, my quest for grace and simplicity.  My quest for closure on past troublesome events.  I’m a regular Don Quixote.

My sons are still so carefree.  We were discussing something one day-can’t remember what and the details don’t matter-and the next morning on the way to school, I told them that it wasn’t a topic to discuss at school.  I asked my youngest if he heard what I had said and his reply was pure and honest.  “Mom, I don’t remember what we talked about last night so I know I won’t talk about it at school.”  They don’t hold onto things, grudges, hurt feelings, and all the gobbily-gook we learn to hang onto.  I am fascinated watching them as they grow up to learn when it happens.  When do we start to hold on to emotional responses and events?  My sons already hold on to physical stuff…sadly, they are pack-rats in training.  I do try to teach them that is okay to let go of stuff sooner rather than later because you don’t really need it.

I now gauge whether or not to keep things by wondering if my sons would look at it and ask why I saved it for so many years before tossing it in a trash bag without much fanfare when cleaning out my stuff. Again, forgive the morbidity.  Lord willing, I’ve got many more years to clean out my stuff, but I want to make each day as full as possible and you can’t do that when you’re worried about saving crap.  I had a period of time when I so was obsessed with capturing the memory that I missed making memories.  I’ve gotten better at being in the moment.  But I still have years of old crap to purge.

Some of the crap is mental crap.  And you, dear gentle reader, get to read as I purge some stuff from my brains.  Let things go out into the void of the internet to finally be released from my heart, soul, or brain, whichever it’s been stored in for too many years.  This has been a week of purging things from long ago.  I didn’t plan it that way, but it worked out that way.  And I am thankful to move forward in several of my quests.  It makes the load lighter and the lighter the load, the quicker I can move.  Though it’s not really about how quickly I get through this stuff.  The stuff is the little bits and pieces that make up life.  To quote the lullaby I sing to my sons, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.  Take some time for life in between your plans.

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Okay, this is actually a letter I sent this evening to the Gov, but I don’t have that category so we’re putting it under My Lunch with…

Dear Governor Christie,
Good morning (or whatever time of day this is read).  To whoever reads this on behalf of the Governor, good morning to you as well.

Please reconsider the bill for gay marriage.  I lean more toward the conservative side, typically vote Republican, though the better person for the job will get my vote.  I am a Christian (American Baptist) and I practice my religion.  I work on my faith every day.  My faith tells me to embrace everyone and learn to love the person regardless of what my faith may identify as sin.  Through my life I can live the way Jesus taught one to live.  That is my choice.  That is my freedom as an American.  We are all created equal in America.  Yet, gay marriage still is struggling to gain a solid foothold in our country.

I actually liken this issue to the suffrage movement.  Women didn’t have the same rights with regards to property and the like, nor voting.  Now voting is not an issue in this situation, but the rest lines up moderately well.  I could not imagine my life if my voice didn’t matter, if I were not equal to my husband.

How can I say that two gay people don’t deserve the same as what my husband and I share?  Love, respect, shared goals and hopes.  I know so many gay people and I love them.  I don’t like to see their pain and frustration over this issue.

I cannot stop thinking that passing such legislation would have so many benefits to our society.  It would be a giant step forward in diminishing stigma.  Imagine the hope it would offer to young people struggling with their identities in a society that makes it so difficult to express themselves.  Could it help to lower the amount of bullying?  Possibly.  Isn’t that wonderful-it would help to support the anti-bullying law that all the children are being legislated to learn.  If we can legislate anti-bullying, then we can legislate a new road to help forge the end of bullying related to homosexuality.  Remove the stigma and help with acceptance.  Help with finding the similarities rather than widening the differences.

There’s so much legislation that sounds silly to the average person.  Yet this legislation could actually improve lives.  And relationships between people.  And even the economy.  Most importantly, my friends would be able to celebrate their love.

Please know that I know you are making several statements with the whole veto thing.  I know what you campaigned on but this matters more than a campaign promise.  Sadly, if you leave it to a vote, not enough people will show up because apathy runs rampant in this state.  I know also that another reason behind the veto may be related to the whole political drama thing-making a statement that the senate and house are focusing on the wrong things right now.  This is finally a piece of legislation that moves something in society forward, unlike so many other bills that seem silly.  I really wish I could recall some of the stupider ones from the past year, but darn, brain’s drawing a blank.

You have impressed me thus far because you remind me of Dave.  Watch the Kevin Kline movie Dave if you want to know what that means (if you’ve never seen it).  But right now you’re starting to act more like a politician and it’s not impressive.  Stop campaigning with this issue, stop referring back to your winning campaign for the positive psychological impact that it can have on voters, and do the job you were hired to do.  And as Dave said, it’s a temp job at that.  Go for it, be a trailblazer.  Be bold.  Sign the bill.

Be well.

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It seems for me that whenever I’m ready to plop myself down and dig into a deep and wide pity party, God lovingly smacks me across the face and says, “Snap out of it.”  I have had a blessed life.  Yes, I have had my own challenges to deal with and battle and overcome.  Some more intense than what others may have faced in their lives, but every challenge has had an outcome of me growing stronger or learning a new way to live my life.  I’ve been mighty whiny in some of my posts the past few months.  (Sorry, but then again, it is my blog.  I get to decide what I’m going to write about, though I truly appreciate you reading my whiny posts).  I also believe that the challenges I face in my life are totally valid and not any less of a challenge because of other events, but those events offer perspective and help me move forward.

A tragic accident occurred this morning in the town where my husband grew up.  My father-in-law lives there still.  We worship at church there every week.  I’m on one the boards of this church because that’s my church family and I believe I can be of some use in this capacity.  We got married there, we were both baptized there, I pray my sons will one day be baptized there.  So while I’ve never lived in this town, my heart weeps this evening.  A family has lost a child.  I can’t even write about that because I can’t fathom how that must rip one’s soul out.  My heart , my prayers, are with the family.  I have friends who lost a child and I am constantly in awe of their strength and love and patience to grow from it and to embrace their family close to their hearts with their child always in their hearts, with lots of love and hope.  I hope for the family who is living that tragedy today that they are able to find their love and strength as my friends did, do, and will.

This is the perspective.  This is what makes me write what I wrote above.  I can’t get the image of Cher out of my mind.  Remember in the movie Moonstruck, she slaps Nic Cage and says “Snap out of it.”  That’s what God does to me every once in a while when I get stupidly stuck in my own experience without looking out to the world to connect to the larger world.  To see Him weeping at some awful tragedy that has happened.  To challenge me to think of ways I could help the world rather than sit and whine at a pity party.

I hugged my sons nice and tight tonight.  I smiled as I heard them saying their prayers.  I thanked God for my blessings.  I asked for comfort and grace for the town of Chesterfield.

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