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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Us Two

I grew up kinda lonely. Yes, I had my brother Skip, and my sister Wanda. But, they were pretty much already on their own by the time I was 6 or 7, so for much of my life, I considered myself an only child. Because my father was in the Navy, we moved around quite a lot. Making friends was difficult for me. I had them, but I knew they wouldn't be a part of my life for long. Therefore, I guarded my heart so as not to have it break every two or three years. As a result, I became a bit of a loner and it was easy for me to find my friends in books. In this way, I had many friends, and when we moved, they moved with me. Two of my best friends, thanks to A. A. Milne, were Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh.

"Us Two" was basically a valentine from Christopher to Pooh. When I was in 5th grade, I memorized it. It touched me in a way I couldn't even begin to impart. Even more alone than usual after a devastating accident that left me physically and emotionally scarred, I spent 8 weeks at home recovering. I clung to my books, ney; my friends. In the deepest, darkest places though I might have found myself some days, these few words between a child and his favorite stuffed, but more alive than anyone could know, bear, brought me to a place of light. I'm not so much alone anymore, and I've been blessed abundantly in so many ways. Still, sometimes it can get lonely in my head. But the words of a "friend" written so long ago, still brings me that childlike light and makes me smile.

Sometimes, I still run these words, from the last stanza of "Us Two" through my head. It reminds me how lucky I am that I'm never alone. My "Pooh" these days, might not be a chubby little cubby, all stuffed with fluff (Resist urge to put something snarky here). But then again, I've had the very same valentine for 31.5 years and I think Pooh would agree that that's a very good thing.

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh.
There's always Pooh and Me.
'What would I do?' I said to Pooh.
'If it wasn't for you,' And Pooh said:
It isn't much fun for One, but Two
Can stick together,' says Pooh, says he.
'That's how it is,' says Pooh.

~from "Us Two" by A.A. Milne

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adventures in The Sublimely Ridiculous

Charlie's car is acting up again after spending 4 days in the shop a week ago. I wake up to; "Honey, do you need your car today?" I know when that's the first thing I hear in the morning, we're off to a craptastic start. I roll reluctantly out of bed to get dressed since I have to follow him over to the repair garage, and as I do, I notice a nasty twinge in my left wrist and my right leg. Ohhh, that's right. The beginning of this craptastic day was preceded by my craptastic evening yesterday.

I had, as usual on the weekends, waited for the heat of the day to die down before taking Ellie on her walk. She does, after all, wear a black fur coat, and though taken down for a summer cut, it's still a black fur coat. I wouldn't go for a walk in the summer heat with a jacket on. So I'm certainly not going to make my dog do it either. I digress. It's now a pleasant evening, so Ellie and I head through the neighborhood toward the park. It's a gorgeous Sunday and the park is absolutely full of people. Family barbeques here, a birthday celebration there, soccer game going on the great lawn, the basketball and handball courts are full, picnic blanket laid out with a couple snuggling around the sleeping infant between them. I love it when it's like this. Ellie prances, pulling the leash further out on its retractable reel. She's happy. Life is perfect. Then...."SPLAT!" I step on a broken tree branch, my foot landing on it just so that it twists my ankle underneath me and I fall hard; face first, right into the sidewalk. Ellie thinks it's a game, turns around, runs back to me wagging her tail, and as I'm lying prostrate, begins to lick my face. My first act is to look around to see who saw, which I notice causes a mass chain reaction of necks and heads turning quickly away. Everyone in that crowded park saw me. Everyone.

I get up as fast as I can, brush my leg off, look at my torn capris, and my road-rashed knee which is now beginning to bleed, and I do that thing that George Carlin always said people do when they trip while they're walking...I turn back to look at what tripped me. Like that's gonna change anything. I look up again to see who's watching and again, I get the look-away headsnap from park spectators. My wrist, ankle, and knee hurt like hell. But not nearly as much as my ego. At least I know that one will not hurt so much tomorrow because I'll never see any of those people again. However, for right now, I can't get out of the park fast enough. When I get home, Charlie gets the first aid kit and helps to patch me up. I feel so much better after the cocktail too. I call it a night. Tomorrow will be better. Right?

Well, guess not. My husband's car isn't willing to cooperate this morning, much like my leg and wrist. I limp to the bathroom, run the appropriate brush through teeth and hair, then begin the process of plugging in my plastic "sight discs". After struggling with a process that usually takes me a nanosecond and applying both contacts, I look up in the mirror and notice that I cannot see. At all. How is it that I just put my contacts in, but I am still blind? Then I realize that I've put BOTH contacts into one eye. Shit. This is going well. I remedy the situation (I think), then swiftly turn, knocking my regular glasses off the bathroom counter. They crash to the floor, the frames going one way, and one of the lenses flying into the corner BEHIND the toilet. SHIT! I bend over to pick them up, and on the way down, I hit my head on the bathroom doorknob. DAMMIT! I sit down on the bathroom floor and start laughing. I mean, a giggle turns into a laugh, the laugh turns into tears. What the hell is going on in my world?

I put a new bandaid on my boo-boo'd knee, rummage through my sock drawer to find an ACE bandage for my aching wrist, and go out to the kitchen where Charlie is waiting to take his car to the repair garage. "Everything okay?"

"Peachy. Just peachy. Let's go."

After Charlie drops me at home and leaves for work with my car, I think to myself that now would be a great time to crawl back into bed and ignore this day. But then I think if I did that, I might miss even more sublimely ridiculous adventures today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Turkey. No Gravy.

I'm just gonna go ahead and put this here. On my blog. Where I know for a fact only three people visit. The one person that this is about probably won't see it, because she doesn't visit here that often. So here it is; Averie is going to Turkey in a couple of weeks, and I'm worried. And a tad bit scared. There. I said it.

I can't help it. I'm her mother, so I'm entitled to some worry. Geez, the girl moved out and has been living in Los Angeles for the last three years, and I worry. So what do you think the magnitude of worry in this situation might be? Bigger? You bet your sweet passport it is.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for her. She deserves this very exotic trip, to a faraway place. She's worked her ass off these last few years, without a break. It's high time she has a vacation. I just wish it were someplace that wasn't just in the news regarding some terrorist activity. Yeah, yeah, I know. Anything can happen at any place, at any time. Life is uncertain.

I certainly don't tell her my fears, although I know she can tell by my LACK of inquiries or comments, that I don't really want to talk about her trip. Until she comes back and she's safely in my living room. Showing me her pictures and such. THEN, I will be ecstatic, and I'll want to hear EVERYTHING from A to ever-lovin' Z. Sure, that may be a bit selfish on my part. Okay, maybe a lot selfish. I'm trying, believe me, I'm trying. I smile, I nod, I smile again. But all the comment I can muster is; "Maybe you shouldn't bring THAT particular dress with you on this trip." Or, "Remember, it's a Muslim country, so please dress modestly."

I know. I'm being, as Averie would say, "ridiculous". I'm being MY mother. Actually, no I'm not, because my mother wouldn't let me go. Even if I was 25 years old and a grown, adult woman. She would tell me I couldn't go and if I did go, she would disown me. But me, I'm better than that. I'm just gonna close my eyes and ears and not watch the news until she's safely back in California.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

You Pick Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps...

...and you get back on your horse.

It seems that Caris and I are sharing another transitional phase in life. But then, who isn't. I'm pretty sure that's what life is. One transitional phase after another.

Here I am, back on the job hunt, yet again. And Caris? Well, though her search is different than mine, she still hopes to come up with an unexpected surprise. She has recently decided, after much soul-searching, that she needs a bit of balance in her life. School, work, school, work, school, work, makes apparantly, an unbalanced Caris.

She approached me recently and asked the pointed question; "Are you and Daddy disappointed that I didn't stay with my agency and keep up my acting?" Wow. That came out of nowhere.

"Honey, Daddy and I have always told the three of you the very same thing; 'Find your passion, and follow your dream.' Right? So, if you felt back then that you didn't have that passion anymore and your dreams were leading you in another direction, what could we do but support you? I wouldn't be completely honest if I said I wasn't a bit sad. Mostly because we felt you had talent, still do, and we believed in your ability to make your talent work for you. We've always been your biggest fans. But ultimately, it's YOUR life. Not ours. You're the one that has to live it. So, we adjusted our goal to your goal. It's what you do when you're a parent. Right?"

We talked for hours. She shared her heart and her new goals and asked me if I thought she was crazy for wanting to go back and try again. I told her I thought she was crazy if she didn't. But that I hoped she was going to stay in school while she pursued these dreams. She assured me that she was ADDING to her life, not SUBTRACTING from it. For now. She smiled and thanked me. That was last week. In one short week, after relisting her headshot and resume, she's gotten more audition calls than she did the entire 2 years she was listed as a minor artist doing background work during high school. Who would have thought? Well, her Daddy for one. The one that she was most worried to tell.

Charlie had been noticing that her phone was ringing more and that she was home less between school and work. I told her that she should at least tell him what she was doing and that perhaps, she should assure him that she wasn't quitting school. She said, "Give me a few days, and let's just see if I get any calls at all. We'll go from there. I mean, it's been YEARS since I did any industry work. I might not get anything. Maybe I let too much time pass and now I'm not marketable." Okay, I thought, that's fair. But I also knew she was selling herself short. Sure enough, she's gotten one call after another. Within a couple of days, she had already shot a commercial spec. It was hard for Charlie not to notice.

One night last week, he said to me, "What's going on with Caris?" I didn't want to steal her thunder, but I was also kind of excited for her. So I told him that she'd decided to relist with casting and see what might come of it. First question he asked was if she was quitting school. I smiled. "That's the first thing I asked her too. And I will tell you what she told me. She's ADDING to her life, not SUBTRACTING from it. She just wanted to see if anything would come of it before she mentioned anything because she wasn't sure she was still 'marketable'."

He laughed. "Marketable? Duh. We've ALWAYS told her she could do it."

"I know Honey. But she had to come to this place on her own. Back then, I took her to her auditions, her jobs, to set, to wardrobe, to studio school. Now, she's on her own. And it seems, she's doing just fine."

Charlie smiled a knowing smile. "I knew she'd get back on the horse."

Cut to yesterday. Caris called from work and said she had another audition for a part in a short, indy film. They were basically done with auditions, but they would see her if she could come later in the evening, after work. She didn't want to drive to LA alone and asked if I would go with her. I jokingly told her that my social calendar was so full that I had to check it and let her know. She laughed. "Thanks Mommy, I really appreciate it."

Last night, as she prepared, gathering her folder of headshots, getting herself together, I watched in wonder. Things were different now. She was handling everything on her own. I didn't need to ask her if she had everything she needed. She had it all together. I was merely her companion for the evening. When we arrived at our destination, she took a deep breath, smiled and said; "Here we go!" I wished her well and watched as she walked away from me. As I waited outside while she went in to read for the producer, I reflected and couldn't help but smile. It's been 7 years since I went to an audition with her. Back then, she was a nervous little girl with a big dream and her mom in tow. Now, she was a young woman with a new confidence who brought her friend. At least, that's what it felt like to me.