I Met A Boy

I had decided not to kiss a random just because of tradition (or my inclination when I’m drunk and dancing). I want the first person I kiss in 2018 to be someone meaningful, someone I enjoy, someone I love or want to love. (Then I thought, what are you? A Puritan? If someone cute and anonymous wants to kiss you, kiss! Kissing’s fun!)

In other words, I was playing it by ear. So much so that the friend I was meeting to go with to an all-nighter ended up throwing a spontaneous party that was in full swing by the time I arrived – in full costume – and we stayed in. It was awesome.

And I met a boy! He’s cute, tall, bearded, with blue eyes and brown hair (my fave). And… full-spectrum color blindness. I’m writing about him now because for 2 days I’ve been imagining life without color, and I can’t bear it!

I don’t feel sorry for him. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. He can decipher color. It just doesn’t have any value to him. It’s not an identifier. It isn’t anything.

Color is everything to me! I’m sitting here at work, coloring!

Years ago – a decade or more – my bestie Kim said, “You describe the world in color. You should start painting.” I thought she meant canvas and images that have to conform to some sort of something-beyond-remedial, and my mind said, “I can’t.” That “no” closed the door to trying, which has, so far, been the theme to much of my life. Little did I know that I would paint one day!

My goodness, my life is a freebie in so many ways. It really is incredible. I’m so blessed. I wouldn’t have thought to try… anything… if Marko hadn’t been there for 10 years, waiting patiently for me to find my way in his studio, and ready to supply me with cost-free, risk-free inventory! With fun and a friend attached, no less. I’m really lucky.

My drums! This man will never understand the high I get making my drums. Since I started painting last year, I’ve developed an emotional relationship with color.

My hair! He can never love my beautiful hair! Not even kidding, my heart is breaking a little inside. It’s silly. In 5 years max, I won’t even be a redhead anymore. It’s getting to be such a hassle to henna as much as I have to now, I was considering letting it go for my birthday this year – a nice, solid 45 – but I can’t do it. I love my hair!

And he can’t. He can’t see it! He can tell I’m a redhead, but it means nothing to him. That’s a tough one for me. The easiest way to make me feel adored is to go weak in the knees over my pretty, pretty red hair (and to tell me about it over and over again).

I remember in the 90s, my first friend with color blindness tried to explain how he can tell I’m a redhead, so I didn’t really press this fellow much. I already know I can’t be made to understand. It’s not the freckles. It’s a spectrum on the gray scale of black and white, and I don’t get it. (There is color, too, but without the impact.)

(I’ve looked at old black-and-white headshots, specifically to see if one can can tell that I have red hair, and one can. It isn’t the freckles. It is, truly, something about the depth of the shade. But I know I’m a redhead, so… ???)

My suitor’s response to “What’s it like to be color blind?” was “What’s it like not to be?”

AMAZING! That’s what!

My favorite color is Deciduous Leaves In The Late Afternoon Sun, not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill grass green, which I usually have to settle for (and also love, of course), for… my wallet, planner, dishware, decorative pillows, you name it. I mean, you’ve seen my bed. COLOR! So thrive my soul!

the girls
The Girls

It’s certainly no deal breaker, but it challenges me. That’s the hit to my vanity (which, if I didn’t drive the point home, is honestly stretching me. Is that something I need?). Beyond that, though, it really is curious to consider how such a trivial-seeming thing might precipitate various, small inabilities to relate. I talk about color a lot.

Remember this vision board I made for the New Year a couple of years ago? (Quiet, in terms of color.) There’s the beardy I was dreaming of then. (I’m a pogonophile.) vision board 2014 I’m excited about this guy. I don’t feel that as often or as easily as I used to. I didn’t have it with Jax. He was just a convenience I’m ashamed of now. (Men and women can’t be roommates without having sex? How common.)

Here’s my vision board from the year before: COLOR!
manifest!

I think I’ll do those again. They’re fun. It’s a throw-back to scrapbooking days and it’s cool to see how much of it I accomplish over the course of the following year/years.

Happy New Year!

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2018 Resolutions

I’ve got ’em! And I have to do them this year, because it’s my last in Salt Lake.

  • Practice piano at least 2x/week. New scale each week, and all my fave music.
    (I don’t think I’m moving it again! I can’t believe how much I’ve spent to move it for the last 10 years, when I NEVER USE IT.) (I also can’t imagine being without it.)
  • Master circular breathing already!!!
  • Practice guitar regularly.
  • Start hooping again!
  • Ooh! Start juggling again.
  • Finish learning Tarot and start reading.

That’s it. I’ve been doing yoga and belly dance since we closed the show, so I’ll keep that up in January. I may not continue into February, because I think I’ll be rehearsing another show: Damn Yankees! I’ve always wondered why that show isn’t done more often. During Guys & Dolls, I wondered that very thing aloud when someone told me it was part of the 2018 season at Hopebox.

Yay! A new theatre and another great part. (Another sex kitten. Hm, maybe I need to look at something. Nah… She’s just fun to play!)

I have some other intentions. Like everyone else, I want to lose weight. I gained 10 lbs after we closed! One month, TEN solid pounds. Oh well, I can blame the holidays, too, just like everyone. I was so close! Only 10 lbs and I would’ve been back at my high school weight! Instead, I want to lose twenty now, which is a little more overwhelming to consider. I haven’t looked that good in years. I’ll get there again. It was exciting to see the old me. I was fat and miserable with Jax. Why didn’t I see it?

I have Jax and Carrie to thank for the pack ‘n’ panic diet. Whenever they were there, I hid in my room with nuts and oranges. It’s pretty much all I ate. It kept me nutty and orange – hahahaha! I never put that together – and I lost 15 lbs before I moved! (Another 5 by the time we closed.) I looked great in my almost-nothings as Adelaide. Got half of it back, but… you know.

I’m traveling! My bestie Jordan’s husband is finally being stationed somewhere stateside, so I have to fork up the $$$ now or I won’t get to see Bavaria with a tour guide, a free place to stay, and the best laughing companion I’ve ever had. I’m in some debt, which I don’t like, but you know what? I don’t have kids. I can juggle a little damned debt and live my life! Germany in springtime? Happy birthday to me!

I would also like to go to Indidjinus in Oregon in July. But only if I stick to my resolutions and master circular breathing, for the love of all that is holy!

I don’t really consider Texas traveling. It’s more like going home. I’m so excited. Baby!

Happy New Year!

****

Oh yeah! I wanted to get back to the band, and I have. I’m basically opening for Kate MacLeod on Thursday! It’s not really the band, just Bill and me, acoustic… before Kate MacLeod!

Okay, okay, it’s just one song, but Cry Me A River (ha!). I’m excited to see Kate MacLeod again. And I’m singing for her!

Bill’s going to interview me, too, before we sing, for his online show. He’s doing a new thing, a variety hour of sorts, so we’re all chatting for a spell. He tentatively suggested Burning Man as a topic of discussion, but I’d much rather discuss Guys & Dolls.

Oh! How I miss it.

Dreaming of Wherever…

It has to be a city, or even just a big town. A college town. Not for youth, but for Community Ed, and… feel.

Just the other day, Boise occurred to me. It would be really easy, not far at all. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the drive alone, with those old lady cats of mine. I never considered Boise, because of the trauma I experienced there.

I swear to God! What is that?!

I look at patterns. If it keeps happening to ME, then I’m the common denominator. It’s on me to figure out what I’m doing to attract, create, permit, or aggravate… whatever. But I had nothing to do with a random Boise State housing assignment to a coed apartment inhabited by, among others, a madman who tried to kill me!

The fuck? How does this keep happening to me?

I’ve accepted that the chaos of my childhood has kept me glued to chaos as a kind of touchstone. I simply don’t understand it if it doesn’t hurt. It’s my job to divorce myself from that connection. If I don’t, I won’t stop repeating it. But I had nothing to do with meeting Roger T. Black, or with putting him in prison. He did that.

I’m also not responsible for a sexist institution that dismissed me and ignored reasonable complaints of alarming, disturbing behavior. “Histrionics of a woman” is an unbearable insult. (The word itself! Hyster  – Greek – “Of the womb.” I’m on fire, I’m so mad right now.) “Oh, go on now, you silly, dramatic girl,” Boise State “said” to me, practically patting my pretty little head. That mentality pisses OFF! Fuck you.

I don’t think about it often. Almost never. When I do, I’m mad all over again that my parents didn’t direct me to sue that fucking school. Boise State endangered me, for REAL. I cannot believe I took out student loans for the privilege! Then I flunked out! I’m an A student, if you hadn’t guessed. If I’m doing it, I’m doing it well.

Fuck Boise State! I should have been compensated for the crime BSU committed against me, not just that of Roger T. Black, a gangrenous diabetic who probably died in prison. (Actually, he probably got better care in the hoosegow than what he was providing for himself. And he only got 3 years!)

How did he even get near campus? It was clear he was a sexual predator, using his GI Bill – still – to “go to school,” where there’s a constant display of victims. Hell, housing will serve them to you, right across the hall. Boise State didn’t skip due diligence; they didn’t do ANY! Then they humored me when I brought abuse and peril to their attention, until Roger T. Black nearly killed me! No. Actually almost killed me.

I could have sued BSU for millions, and I should have. I will never not be pissed about that. Fuck not being litigious as a sort of religious moral stance. I’m your daughter!

That said, Boise’s lovely. 🙂

The weather is similar to Salt Lake without the inversion. There’s a huge Burner community, so I can find like-minded artistic weirdos, and I’m still close enough to attend Utah events. Huge belly dance community. Several troupes commute here twice a year to perform in Salt Lake’s biannual festivals. Huge African Drum & Dance Corp. They come to our annual camp every year and invite us to their events. And Boise is probably Idaho’s only southern town not completely right-wing zombified. At least no more than I’m used to.

Boise is an hour plus from mom (and my darling toddler nephews). There are some former-Mormon high school friends in Boise to hang out with. I can visit Marko for blank drums and didgeridoo fests and general laughs. Hell, I’ll see all my Salt Lake friends more often if a visit is an occasion. It always works out that way.

Boise??? Wow! Why not!?

Spokane? Pueblo, Colorado, popped up. (?) New Mexico? (Close to Texas.)

Speaking of Texas, flights were too expensive to visit my bestie during Christmas, so I’m headed down there for a week on Jan. 10. I’m so excited to see that baby!!! She’ll be 4-and-a-half months then. She belly laughs and chatters, and holds such enchanting attention. Her 4-yr-old sister is in love with her, and interprets her coos.

I was laughing yesterday, because I sent all of my childhood Strawberry Shortcake dolls to my best friend’s daughter for Christmas. It was a little hard to do. I’ve saved them for almost 40 years! They were intended for my kids, but even when it became clear that I wasn’t having any of those… oh, my dolls! I’ve had them my whole life! The care that went into that collection! They’re pristine. They are loved, still.

Yesterday, I Googled “vintage Strawberry Shortcake coloring books,” because the 4-yr-old doesn’t even know their names. (Shame on my best friend!) This was another reason I struggled with what had already been a difficult decision to part with those ever-loving dolls. I knew my bestie, who played with them just as I did in the 80s, wouldn’t remember anything about them (much less everything). I know her little daughter has far too many toys for one child (or 10) and my dolls have already been lost in the mix. They are not being valued properly! I loved them! But I had them in a box, in a box. Packed away in my cedar chest for decades, bringing no one even a moment’s joy. They are more valuable being played with by a 4-yr-old I love, even when they’re forgotten by her tomorrow.

So, I thought she and I could have all sorts of fun with a naming ceremony, and meet all the other friends that aren’t in my collection, by coloring together. What I found instead were sales of nearly $40 on dolls in worse shape than the ones I passed down. I had to laugh. A play date with a little girl in Texas has more value than a dollar sign. (Taurus)

I’ll keep telling myself that until it’s true, haha!

Merry Xmas! Love, Xie

I’m looking forward to 2018. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to suck harder than 2016, after his election (God, that hurt!), but a whole year of that man is too terrible to imagine. I mean it when I describe his presidency as an exercise in imagination. Doesn’t it feel that way to you? Like a bleak dystopian novel that can’t be real? We’ve all had to go numb just to get up in the morning! It does scare me a little to inure myself so completely. I mean, that’s how the apocryphal “it” happens. But, worst case scenario, Dump is out in 3 years. (I still describe that election cycle as identical to an abusive relationship. And it’s the new normal!)

I gotta say, I never dreamed I’d be the old lady who said, “The world was too terrible a place to bring a child into,” but I feel it. Not just environmental catastrophe, disregard for human rights, indifference to rape, and near-daily mass shootings. How do we explain the dissonance between the way we ask our children to behave and the cruelty and deceit of our own nation’s leaders? Not even those horrifying things. Parenting in the cyber age is beyond my emotional endurance. That alone. You cannot undo what gets online. The bullying there transcends my ability to understand. I wouldn’t want to face sexting with my pre-teen. And every modern parent will. I’m out! Gratefully so.

That’s not to say to fighting against the final slamming shut of that window didn’t hurt like hell. It was hell to finally learn the plot to that story. I’m nobody’s mother. Ouch.

2017 had Jax and Carrie, too, and that nearly killed me. I mean, dead. Oh. my. gawd. I haven’t been that close to suicide since my 20s. I wouldn’t have survived them then.

Thank god for Guys & Dolls! Thank god for my courage and tenacity. And talent. And beauty. I really like about me that I can find worth and beauty in damn near everything. So I keep finding it.

Damn, I’m tough. 2018 is a true new beginning. Everything I look at and touch will be new. I’m terrified, and so excited. 2018 is the year I trust my strength, stop testing it [in unhealthy ways], and enjoy my fucking awesome life. Goddammit. 🙂

Happy New Year. It’s a good one this year. I hope yours is, too.

****

Oh! I forgot a photo of my most recent drum, and a whole new direction that I love!
drum
12″ on wood frame with mallet
details

Inversion Blues

I feel more strongly than ever that I need to get out of Salt Lake. My time here is done, especially now that I got everything I wanted from local community theatre.

Washington state has been calling my name all my life. As a child, it was Seattle. I soon learned that green requires rain, and I’m a desert baby. I get depressed without my sun. Light lamps, blah blah blah…. The inexpensive ones are ineffective, and that’s not the point. I want to play in hot summer. I don’t want to live in gray, cool drizzle. Plus, who can afford Seattle? (And who wants a huge mechanical eye-sore in the corner? I surround myself with beauty, thank you. I’m a Taurus.)

For years, I’ve dreamed of Spokane. I went there for a choral competition in high school and have never forgotten that beautiful small city. Now I just want some town in northern Idaho or eastern Washington. North Idaho scares me, because even though the Aryan Nation went bankrupt, they’re still there, and the reputation of the area attracts loners, rightwing hatemongers, and since the 90s, retired racist LA cops. Yuck.

(My sister’s husband picked Idaho out of a hat, to escape Mississippi. He didn’t understand that she’s 2 states: Northern beauty and Nazis, southern potatoes and Mormons [with their own history of racism that’s almost more insidious because it’s sublimated and denied. “We made that right. We gave blacks the priesthood.” Boom, done, no more work to be done, end of conversation]. Dan only knew that Idaho was white and he didn’t want to raise future children around black. Grosser still, he found empowerment, position, and status in Mormon priesthood – and a pretty blond girl who thought he was worldly because she’d never left her hometown.) (Never would.)

So… eastern Washington. Someday the market will crash again. Maybe 10 years. By then, I will have been without my cats for some time, traveled freely for a couple of years, and I can buy a home, sans property tax, and get a dog and cat duo!

I can’t breathe. I hate hating Salt Lake. It’s not right. It’s so beautiful here. The soul revolts in air that stinks, and stings the eyes, and pains the throat and lungs. I HAVE AN UNREMITTING HEADACHE LIKE CHINESE WATER TORTURE. Inversion sickens everything in me. I hate hating my beautiful 20-year home.

My goodness, what Salt Lake has been and done for me! It will hurt to leave! I’m a Taurus. I don’t like change. And I do dearly love this city, this beautiful valley. I feel so connected to the earth here, my ancestors, my history, my people. I love the strange cultural dichotomy of the pious and progressives.

The pendulum swings as far raucous as it does righteous in Salt Lake City. For years, I partied with the wildest. Now, I love the insistent voice that will not be silenced by money or Mormons, and says NO to the bigotry and crime of the Republican regime.

But the fact is, we’re a city in a bowl that experiences a weather phenomenon that traps and compresses smog. And… The wheels of change are too slow to ever make a difference in air quality here. Inversion is never leaving Salt Lake City. So I must.

My cats are so old. Do I drive them through Idaho to rent an apartment in a small city I pick on a map? Do I leave a good unskilled job that will never be matched for freedom and pay (I paint my drums here!), with people I actually like (who can stand me!)? You just don’t find that in the non-committal world of marking time for a check.

I have rare gifts here. The art and dance scene are so accessible and inexpensive here.

But I have few friends. My besties are all gone, have been for years. My chosen family has changed quite a bit with the obsession of one man, which prevents me from enjoying the company of my group. It devastated me to finally give up on the personal friendship I once treasured, because year after year he lies about accepting my boundaries. Eventually, again and again, he returns to sexual harassment and bullying until another screaming match befalls us, followed by months of not speaking.

Finally, I told him the truth: I give up. There’s nothing to fight for here. I have to accept your terms, too, and they are that you will not respect mine. It breaks my heart, I told him, that I can’t give you any of my love, because ultimately, always, you demand SEX LOVE. (He said that!) If you’d accept my love as I have it to offer, I went on, I would pour it out onto you! I love you, and being loved by me is really something! But I don’t have sex to offer you, so I can’t give you anything. I have to accept, so I do now.

I took a break from the crew during rehearsal. I was excited for the next gathering, to show him that we can be in shared space and even enjoy one another’s company socially, like we used to before his predatory obsession, but he throws tantrums like a child and ruined the whole party, pissed everyone off.

(He’s a Taurus, too! Day before me. We’ve shared our party for years. He’s a frightening reflection of the weak expression of Taurus, that I recognize. Check yourself.)

He fought everyone, and everyone left. It was a Halloween pre-party and no one went to the main event, because he was such a jerk! He went alone, and bitches about it to this day (from what I hear. I haven’t seen him). If he can’t force a woman into bed, he’s gonna make everyone miserable.

Or so he thinks. We went back to his house, with his wife, who’s always there when he’s chasing me like a rutting bull, and drank in the hot tub. We had a great time.

So sad.

So it’s time. I can get the cats sleeping pills, and drive. I think I’m moving next October!

****

Oh my gosh, I just realized something. I moved here 21 years ago this month. That means if I move next year near this time, I will have lived in Salt Lake for 22 years! And you know how I love my 2-by-222s! Now I have to do it! It’s now. It’s time! I’m going!

Okay. Mind, open. Washington state is a dream, but I’m listening to whatever is right.

Repaired!

I’ve hated my second drum since the moment I put the last color down. Marko put it in the store – Dancing Cranes (where pieces are selling!) (Crazy) – but every time I saw it there, I absolutely cringed. I finally took it back and repaired it.

I knew I knew how to fix it! Marko kept trying to reassure me that someone would love it, and I kept trying to convince myself that the very thing I hated would be the thing that might draw someone else to it. But it was a screw-up, and one I knew I could fix.

This drum taught me about color. Each row has to relate to the one before, in saturation, light or depth, or in hue. Otherwise, the mandala is jarring to the eyes and energy. This drum was ugly.

And now it’s not! Hooray!
Drum #2

Drum 2 Before

Before

It’s so nice to paint again! I quit after Wind In Her Hair took the wind out of my sails. Then my Depression hit in earnest and I lost the ability to enjoy anything. Then Jax and Carrie joined in the tag-team assault that began their marriage (and nearly killed me). Then I got into the show, specifically to thwart suicide. Next, I moved out and recovered.

At last, I can enjoy my life again! And now that the show has closed, I can paint.

Role of a Lifetime

I feel really lucky. It’s so satisfying a thing to get what you wanted. How much lovelier and rich my life and memories are to get to cherish Adelaide and my Guys & Dolls, rather than to regret the dream never realized.

The dream not realized isn’t the end of the world, but I feel so lucky to have this one.

I’m happy with my performance. “Perfect is the enemy of good,” my wise mother repeated often to her dissatisfied daughter, and I’m able at last (this time) to manage my wish for more from myself than I delivered. I’m proud of my Adelaide, really proud.

I made good choices for her, far deeper than just the fun stuff, which I played to damn-near-perfection. I’m not ashamed to be the best thing to hit the community stage every now and then. Our show was good.

I was good. A well-known producer in our area was pretty taken with me. It was quite a compliment. I don’t know how secure my retirement is, but I know my foot hurts.

The second joint to require a cortisone injection bothers me still, daily, and I confess I anticipated with some anxiety the possibility that I wasn’t really able to dance a show like this. To be honest, I’m surprised it didn’t hit before closing weekend. I do not know how I got through that. It’s amazing how you don’t feel pain onstage.

Ha. I guess that’s why we do it. I certainly did this time.

I think the angels carried me through it, a la “Footsteps.” Angels and painkillers.

Well, I can’t walk today, but I don’t care! I’m so pleased and grateful, and sad that it’s over. I cried yesterday! I didn’t expect it to hit so fast.

What a gift. I’m so grateful. I’m so BLESSED!

Check out my wardrobe! I can’t even!
DSC_7319bushel

lament

mink

minky goodness

sue me

Recognize the Queen of Hearts?

fearsome foursome

I got to wear my RED patent leather stilettos for the last time, so I take full responsibility for not being able to walk this week. Wish you could see the red in the leather belt and other accessories. Such a charming touch to keep Adelaide true to her flaming red core. I love that my hair inspired a wardrobe! (and that the power shift after our wedding is represented in me being taller than my darling Nathan)

guys and dolls promo

Guys & Dolls saved my life. I felt guilty for using theatre for that, but I honored Adelaide and my wonderful castmates in the end. I’m just SO GRATEFUL I was blessed to be a part of this cast, this crew, this Guys & Dolls. It goes so much deeper than finally playing my dream role. Our show healed me in ways no one will ever really know, maybe not even me. That was, honestly, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Honest Review

A critical one, I’m afraid, but the writer walked away from the night enjoying himself, nonetheless, and praising the gusto and heart of our little community production. I chuckled at what could be a stretch to find something nice to say about us, but it really did warm my heart: “The company’s exuberance and commitment filled the space with energy,” he wrote, and he’s right. “I couldn’t find anyone doing it halfway.” In other words, Wellll, they tried really hard, and good on ’em. (Thank you.)

I appreciated the author, too, because he was very thorough and thoughtful, and because his findings are precisely how I feel about our show’s weaknesses. For whatever reason, they chose to do these cheesy-ass projections behind us on set. I finally watched them Saturday before the show, and they’re worse than I could have imagined. Awful! So distracting, awkward, and embarrassing.

(Oh, and the face I complained about weeks ago is up there larger than life. Not even one smiling shot of Adelaide to introduce her. Just that bitter, angry mug of aged disappointment, haha! That was so dumb on the part of production. “Angrier!” the photographer commanded. It’s so ugly and out of character. Duh.)

I also have been sincerely annoyed by our choreographer, bless him. While I do appreciate his demand that we Level Up, he also has to choreograph to the group’s ability. It’s so disjointed and glaring. Some are dancers, and some are not. You blend. That’s your job. But his ego required this frenetic, intricate stuff that some simply can’t do, and it looks out of balance and amateur. I can, but barely. I’m OoooooLD. And man! My feet are starting to scream.

(I get to wear my beloved patent-leather red stilettos for 5 minutes in the closing scene. I will pay for this.)

Finally, the performances. He liked us, though we don’t “overflow with triple threats.” (Ouch!) He said that my choices “told a million tales in subtext,” which I really appreciated! I always wanted to play Adelaide’s sincerity. She’s a caricature; that’s why she’s fun. But she’s a real girl with a broken heart. I love her.

I love our amateur production. I love my castmates. I’m glad I have time left to appreciate and enjoy our show and my new friends. Hell Week is hell. I try always to keep that in perspective, but ours, as I mentioned, was the worst I’ve ever experienced. I was pissed.

I was also moving, having a nervous breakdown, and being terrorized in a tag-team effort by my ex-boyfriend and his new, mean bride (whom he dated for 5 weeks) while still renting a room in the home I once shared with a man with whom I was trying to have a baby. Oh, and motherhood slipped me by. That answer is known at last, at 44. I’m no one’s mommy. Ever.

I forgive myself for losing perspective.

It’s back now. I’m looking forward with some hope and joy.