My 10 Favorite TV moments that occurred sometime in the last 10 years

In no particular order:

When: 2009
What: Community
Episode: Football, Feminism and You

Jeff (Joel McHale) is trying to talk Troy (Donald Glover) into joining the Greendale Community College football team, because the dean (Jim Rash) has threatened to send out mailers featuring Jeff, which could harm his future career, unless Jeff can convince Troy to join the Human Beings.

Jeff: Football is a part of you, Troy, I can see it in your eyes!
Troy: That's racist!
Jeff: Your soul!
Troy: That's racist.
Jeff: Your heart?
Troy: That's gay.
Jeff: That's homophobic.
Troy: That's black!
Jeff: That's racist!
Troy: Damn

When: 2006
What: How I Met Your Mother
Episode: Slap Bet

Somtimes, sitcoms A stories are good and the B stories fall flat. Sometimes the A story is so-so and the B story is hilarious. In this episode, both storylines build to a beautiful peak and come together to make one of the funniest episodes of TV, ever, with the icing on the cake being the reveal of Robin's secret...her past as a Canadian teen pop star.

When: 2002
What: Firefly
Episode: Out of Gas

It's one of my favorite episodes of one of my top 3 favorite shows. Three timelines are delineated with lighting changes, and they twist and turn together to tell the story of how exactly the crew of Serenity got together in the first place, along with why Captain Mal is bleeding and passed out with what looks to be a nothing piece of equipment in his hand.

When: 2001
What: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Episode: Once More, With Feeling

As established by my list of movie moments, I'm a sucker for a musical, and with Once More, With Feeling, I got a musical episode of my favorite TV show. Sure, not all the singing was stellar, but the episode itself was perfection: it advanced the story, developed the characters, and even gave a plausible (for the Buffyverse) explanation for why everyone was singing and dancing.

When: 2008
What: The Middleman
Episode: all of them

In the summer of 2008, I found myself watching and falling in love with this show. I was sad while I watched it, because I could sense that no one else was watching it, and sure enough, ABC Family canceled it after a run of 12 wonderfully entertaining episodes. Based on the graphic novels by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les MacClain, The Middleman told the story of Wendy Watson (aka DubDub, aka Dubby), a struggling artist who is recruited to be a superhero in training. In addition, the friendship between Lacey and Wendy was perfection - two young women on TV who talked about things other than men. The dialogue was rapidfire and occasionally filthy, and the situations were ludicrous but entertaining, and I'm sad that I don't get any more episodes. ART CRAWL!

When: 2006
What: Six Feet Under
Episode: Everyone's Waiting

The last few minutes of one of the greatest television series ever. It was perfection.

When: 2007
What: Pushing Daisies
Episode: All of them

Whimsical and more than a little absurb, unbelievable set and art direction, occasional singing, and sweet as pie for every minute. The world really should have Darling Mermaid Darlings and a restaurant called The Pie Hole.

When: 2004
What: Wonderfalls
Episode: Crime Dog

I never caught Wonderfalls when it was actually on TV, but I rented the series from Netflix after catching the first season of Pushing Daisies, since both were created by Bryan Fuller. It had the trademark quirkiness and whimsy of Pushing Daisies, but the main character, Jaye, was decidedly not sweet. She was an Ivy League educated young woman with a degree in philosophy who had no ambition, and worked in a gift shop at Niagara Falls. I liked all the episodes, but I guess I have a little thing for tales told out of order, so this episode, which starts with something that happens more than halfway through the episode, is the one I have to go with. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube. What you need to know: Jaye gets cryptic messages from inanimate animal objects.

When: 2006ish?
What: So You Think You Can Dance
Episode: First performance episode season 3

There are a lot of dances I love that I've seen on this show, but this was my first exposure to the genius of Wade Robson, and for that, it will always have a special place in my heart.

When: 2000
What: Angel
Episode: She

It's truly a terrible episode of Angel that is completely redeemed by this clip and the scenes that play over the closing credits.


Why oh why

Why am I so tired at 6pm, when I can't go to bed, and so not tired at 11:30, when I should be in bed?



The Siren says tis the season for re-viewing, and she recaps her 20 favorite moments in film to review. So I started thinking about mine, and since I've been immersed in Glee and So You Think You Can Dance and even a wee little bit of The Sing-Off, they are largely musical in nature.

In no particular order:

1. My Sister Eileen - the dance battle between Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall

2. This of course made me think of the first time I saw Bob Fosse, which was probably when I was 7 or 8. It was his short little bit of choreography in the number "From This Moment On" from Kiss Me, Kate! I was electrified.

3.Then I couldn't help but think of movies that Bob Fosse directed, and I immediately went to Cabaret. Aside from the numerous musical numbers that knocked my socks off, the moment in that movie that got me the first time I saw it: Michael York and Liza Minelli talking about Maximilian. Michael York as Brian says "Screw Maximilian". Liza as Sally says: "I do." and then Brian says "So do I." That blew my mind when I was 11 or so, and was probably the first time I ever had an awareness of homosexuality.

4. Thinking of Bob Fosse made me think of All That Jazz, and I couldn't possibly pull just one moment from that movie, but then I thought of Roy Scheider in Jaws: "We're going to need a bigger boat." Totally a cliche now, but it wouldn't be if he hadn't delivered that line so perfectly.

5. I then started thinking about other movies that I can watch over and over again, and I went to Singing In The Rain. I have to agree with The Siren that every word Lina Lamont says is comedy gold.

6. As much as I love Singing In The Rain, I have a slight preference for On The Town. I love every number in this show, but I have a soft spot for You Can Count On Me.

7.Fred Astaire going drum crazy in Easter Parade

8. Marian the Librarian from The Music Man - Shirley Jones was so beautiful, and she was 5 months pregnant when they filmed this scene.

9. Madeleine Kahn, feeling a little sleepy:

10. What's Up Doc? The whole movie is wonderful, but my favorite scene is the courtroom scene.

11. Raising Arizona - it's hard for me to pick just one scene, but I guess I would lean towards all the scenes that involve Glenn and Dot visiting H.I. and Ed, closely followed by every scene with John Goodman as Gayle Snoates. But then there's the wonderful opening scene, where the counselor asks "What do you mean when you say "trapped" in a woman's body?" and the prisoner answers "Well, sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard."

12. My kids know I'm a huge sap and I cry at almost everything, but I have to admit that I enjoy crying at certain movies, and one of them is The Family Stone. The scene that always kills me is when Elizabeth Reaser is watching Judy Garland sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". The context is that she knows her mother is dying, and of course the song itself couldn't be more melancholy. My second favorite scene is when Luke Wilson is describing his dream to Sarah Jessica Parker. "You were just a little girl in a flannel night gown. And you were shovelling snow from the walk in front of our house. And I was the snow, I was the snow. And everywhere it landed and everywhere it covered. You scoop me up with a big red shovel. You scoop me up."

13. Prick Up Your Ears - wonderful film about the playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman), who was brutally murdered by his long-time lover Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), who was a wee bit insane. There is much to love for me in this movie (I like watching men kiss other men), but one of my favorite scenes is when Halliwell tries to get something started with Orton, and Orton brushes his hand away and says "Have a wank." Halliwell replies: "Have a wank? Have a wank? I can't just have a wank. I need three days' notice to have a wank. You can just stand there and do it. Me, it's like organizing D-Day. Forces have to be assembled, magazines bought, the past dredged for some suitably unsavoury episode, the dog-eared thought of which can still produce a faint flicker of desire! Have a wank, it'd be easier to raise the Titanic."

14. Room With A View - aside from watching men kiss each other, I am also fond of movies with full frontal made nudity (aside from porn, which...ech, not for me). Room With A View has the most playful, innocent full frontal male nudity scene that's probably ever been filmed, when Reverend Beebe (Simon Callow), George Emerson (Julian Sands) and Freddy Honeychurch (Rupert Graves) decide to have a bathe.

15. The Right Stuff - my favorite scene, quoted in full:
Scott Carpenter: John's right! Now, whether we like it or not, we're public figures. Whether we deserve it or not, people are going to look up to us. We have got a tremendous responsibility here. Alan Shepard: You cannot tell a pilot what he's doing when he's not flying! [Argument continues]
Gus Grissom: Wait a minute, wait a minute!
[turns Glenn toward him]
Gus Grissom: You've got it all wrong, the issue here ain't pussy. The issue here is monkey. John Glenn: What?
Gus Grissom: Us. We are the monkey.
Deke Slayton: What Gus is saying is that we're missing the point. What Gus is saying is that we all heard the rumors that they want to send a monkey up first. Well, none of us wants to think that they're gonna send a monkey up to do a man's work. But what Gus is saying is that what they're trying to do to us is send a man up to do a monkey's work. Us, a bunch of college-trained chimpanzees!
Gus Grissom: Fuckin' A, bubba.
Deke Slayton: Alright, so what Gus is saying is that we've got to change things around here. He's saying that we are pilots. And we know more about what we need to fly this thing than anybody else. So what we have to do is to alter the experiment. And what that comes down to is who is gonna control this thing from here on out.
Gordon Cooper: What Gus is saying here is that we've got to stick together on this deal

16. Serenity - Okay, I can't pick a moment, I just love the hell out of this movie.

17. Miller's Crossing - Albert Finney listening to Danny Boy and then shooting the crap out of the mobsters who are out to get him.

18. Shallow Grave - the final scene - Ewan McGregor is nailed to the floor, but he's got a smile on his face, because he knows where the money is.

19. Rear Window - When Jimmy Stewart introduces his neighbors to Grace Kelly by the nicknames he's given them.

20. The Dead - that final scene, with the voiceover of the last few paragraphs of Joyce's story.
One by one, we're all becoming shades. Better to pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. How long you locked away in your heart the image of your lover's eyes when he told you that he did not wish to live. I've never felt that way myself towards any woman, but I know that such a feeling must be love. Think of all those who ever were, back to the start of time. And me, transient as they, flickering out as well into their grey world. Like everything around me, this solid world itself which they reared and lived in, is dwindling and dissolving. Snow is falling. Falling in that lonely churchyard where Michael Furey lies buried. Falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living, and the dead.


Project Runway Puzzler

How can a woman with the same hairstyle as Cameron Diaz in "There's Something About Mary" be taken seriously as a critic of fashion?



Toast has a point: I don't want to share this with the world.


Where the Wild Things Are

Maeve and I went to see this movie today.

Intellectually, I know that all the Wild Things are parts of Max's personlity and psyche, but as someone who experienced abuse as a child, the character of Carol was extremely upsetting to me.

The other thing that upset me was Douglas after Carol attacked him. The only thing I could think of was the very upsetting scene in the movie Titus (if you've seen that movie, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about).

I was a ltitle sad that I couldn't embrace the movie without bringing those things to it, but I couldn't.

OTOH: The Fantastic Mr. Fox looks like it will be a lot of fun.


Dear Internet

You have been very unsatisfying for me this evening. Please improve your performance or I will be forced to return to books.


Once a month update

I feel very self-conscious when I go to the therapist. I start to think about my body language and whether it's communicating something different than my words, and then I start going all wacky with arm crossing, fingers clasping, hair touching, and probably making a boatload of weird facial expressions. I like my therapist, though - I've been to a few over the years and this is the first one that I feel really good about.

I'm coping. I was doing very well with cleaning, decluttering and packing, but I've hit a wall. I need to get my motivation back.

I've been reading trashy novels to pass the time. I'm almost done with the Sookie Stackhouse series. I also watched Season 1 of True Blood, which I borrowed from my sister-in-law. Way, way better than the books. My prurient interest in Alexander Skarsgaard makes me feel old and pervy, but his appeal is undeniable.

Earlier today, I was feeling on the verge of being sick...I thought I might be feverish and I felt slightly nauseated. But now I feel completely normal. Still, I'm going to take some Nyquil before I go to bed tonight.


What's happening

I haven't posted in a while, and I finally feel like writing about why: I'm getting divorced. I almost can't believe it, but it's happening, and I think it's the right decision. This December will be our 21st and last anniversary.

I always thought we'd be one of those couples that was married forever...I think a lot of people who know us thought the same thing. But there were communication problems, and then infidelity, and so...it's over.

It's very weird right now. We are living together. We are still sharing the one car. We are still living very much the same way, but with these new, invisible boundaries.


I know, I know

I haven't written much. That will probably continue for a while. There is a lot going on in my personal life right now that requires attention.



I can hardly stand to watch the news or read the paper, because the media both sucks and blows. It's simple: the Republicans have ZERO interest in solving (or participating in solutions to) any of the problems facing this country while there is a Democratic president in the White House and a Democratic majority in the House & Senate. They have one job, which is to stop Democrats from succeeding. They don't give a shit about 47 million uninsured Americans, they don't give a shit about job creation, they don't give a shit about the economy, the only thing they care about is stopping the Democrats from implementing their policies. That's it.

I have plenty of criticims for the Democrats, which mainly can be boiled down to: if you keep giving in to the temper tantrums of the toddlers on the right, you can keep expecting to fail.



1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
Full Metal Jacket, although I must add the proviso that I have not seen all his films.

2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.
For good: increased accessibility to a plethora of movies from various non-studio sources via various technologies and the existence of businesses like Netflix.
For evil: the continued success of romantic comedies that are neither romantic nor funny, as well as the casting rules that give us young women partnered with old men.

3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
I can't answer, I haven't seen either of these films

4) Best Film of 1949.
The Third Man

5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?
Oscar Jaffe

6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
I think that would depend on the context in which it is used.

7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
Le ballon rouge

8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?
Mr. Moto

9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).
Catch-22...okay, I cheated, it's not exactly a drama.

10) Favorite animal movie star.

11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
Another ongoing complaint from me about romantic comedies - stalking as a romantic act.

12) Best Film of 1969.
Best...I don't know, Midnight Cowboy, maybe. I have a soft spot for Sweet Charity, personally. You could see Fosse the director honing his directorial eye in this one.

13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the movie theater
The War Zone on DVD

14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
The Player

15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?
I don't have one, but I'm partial to Self-Styled Siren's blog

16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji? (Thanks, Peter!)
No clue

17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
Mona Lisa Vito

18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
The Elephant Man

19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
No clue

20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.
In The Mouth of Madness

21) Best Film of 1979.
All That Jazz is my favorite, if not the best

22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.
I like Siren's answer - for some reason, I can only think of horror movies

23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
Maybe this is why? I'm going to go with the Alien from Alien

24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
The Conversation

25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.

26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
I can remember a sequence that showed a man following a woman, but I don't remember which movie it was - I jsut remember feeling a sense of dread as it went on. Otherwise, the only movie of his that I remember explicitly is Carrie, and I guess the dream sequence at the end would be my favorite part.

27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
Dorothy opens the door to Oz

28) Favorite Alan Smithee film. (Thanks, Peter!)
don't know

29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
Morris Buttermaker - I have problems with Kevin Costner

30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
Bullets Over Broadway

31) Best Film of 1999.
Best is maybe The War Zone...Three Kings was also very good

32) Favorite movie tag line.
Don't Go In The Water

33) Favorite B-movie western.
don't know

34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of her or his work.
don't know

35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?
Irene Bullock

36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
Meryl Streep singing Amazing Grace at the end of Silkwood

37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?
I have't seen the movie, but I suspect a little from column A, a little from column B

38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet. (Thanks, Rick!)
Preston Sturges, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, George Sanders (if only because of everything I've read about him on Siren's blog), Orson Wells


Cheap Used Car Needed

I have a budget of $2000, and I need a car. I've been looking, and I will be doing some test-driving this weekend, but I thought I would harness the awesome power of my blog to bring the cars to me.

If you or anyone you know is selling a used car, preferably a 4 door automatic*, that will reliably get me through the next 10 months or so, and will easily pass an inspection if it is more than 10 years old, without requiring extensive repairs, please let me know.

*Can and will drive manual transmission, but my orthopedist will get mad at me if he catches wind of it.


Feeling particularly lonely tonight

because I didn't have rehearsal. I usually do the bulk of my real life socializing on Monday nights, and we skipped tonight. And my stories are much funnier with my facial expressions.

When did I become so boring?

I've written so many posts about the weather, it's a little embarrassing. I used to have a life filled with rehearsals and interesting conversations, and lately, it's all whining about the rain, hanging clothes on my clothesline and shopping for tents.

What happened to me?


Oh, weather, I can't stay mad at you

Not when you bring me days like yesterday and today. I am looking forward to some real summer weather, where it's hot enough that a swim is refreshing instead of something I have to brace myself to do, but clear blue skies, sunshine and breeze are the best.


Weather, you and I are not friends

A couple of months ago, our dryer died. No problem, I thought, I have a clothesline. I love clothes dried on the clothesline. Clothes and sheets and towels, slightly crisp and warmed by the sun, smelling of wildflowers and cut grass - what could be better?

Since I lost my dryer, it's as if New England has morphed into the Pacific Northwest. We've had rain every day this week. I can say the same for almost every other week since the end of April. I can walk by a window at work and see a glorious sunny day, but by the time I get out of work, the storm clouds have gathered.

This morning, I woke up and saw blue sky. I leapt out of bed, threw together a load of laundry, and washed it. I took the clean clothes out the clothesline, wearing my sunglasses and sweating a little under the already hot sun. And as I was hanging up the last item, I looked up and saw dark clouds moving in around the sun. By the time I was done, there was no sun, just flat, gray clouds, and that sensation of moistness that comes before a rain. I left the clothes on the line anyway, in the hopes that the rain staves off long enough to at least get my clothes partially dry.


TV Tonight

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July, Loki and I watched Jaws tonight. What a great flick, and it's even better when Loki shared with me a myth from the Sumerians about filling a monster with poisoned air which made him dissolve in fire....much like Brody shooting the oxygen tank in the shark's mouth. Mythology rocks. (Except when people decide that their mythology is actually real and try to force others to abide by the rules of their mythology, but that's a whole other can of worms).

I had forgotten that the tag at the end of House episodes contained a line from Jaws: That's a bad hat, Harry.

I have to talk about Roy Scheider. He was like a ball of kinetic energy, built for action, and yet, a thoughtful and intellectual actor. And that face, full of angles and edges...you could look at that face again and again and see something different every time.

I've seen this movie several times, but this time, I got all choked up when Quint is talking about the U.S.S. Indianapolis. It really got to me tonight.

Vacation on the brain

I am in the midst of planning two separate vacations, one for this summer and one for next summer.

After a lot of back and forth and figuring out dates and places, my sister-in-law and I have planned a little mini-vacation to Martha's Vineyard. We can't afford a hotel during the summer on MV, so we are staying at the one and only campground on the Vineyard. It got so-so reviews, apparently, one of the owners is a cranky sort, but we asked for a site in the hinterlands of the campgrounds, so hopefully we'll escape his cranky eyes.

I've only been camping once in my life, and it was not pleasant. My sister and I decided to have a little family vacation, so we picked out a campground in Gloucester, MA, and off we went, with husbands and children in tow. My family was in a tent, hers was in a camper.

Unfortunately, the campground apparently used some old pictures of itself when advertising on the internet. It was broken-down, the pool was closed, the pond was covered in green scum...and they wouldn't let us have a fire, which is almost the whole point of going camping. And then it rained for almost the entire 3 days we were there. Not pleasant at all.

So I'm taking a chance going again. Theoretically, I love the idea of sleeping in a tent, being in the outdoors, cooking over a fire, etc. Realistically, my body suffers even when sleeping on a fancy pillowtop mattress. I will be saving the rest of my Vicodin supply for the trip.

Our vacation next year will be a get together with some women I met on the internet in 1996, when I joined a list of people who were due to have babies in the same month. We're going to Phoenix. In July. Yes, I know. But the plus side is that we will be getting off-season pricing. We're going to hang out at a resort with a waterpark for a few days, then on to Sedona and then a few days at the Grand Canyon. I flew over the GC on my way to Las Vegas once (back at my old job, where I made so much more money and got to travel several times a year....oh, I miss it sometimes). I remember the pilot telling us to look out the right side windows, and I saw a bunch of canyons, thinking "that's it?", but those were just the precursors, because when we got to the Grand Canyon...I got choked up, truly. Tears in my eyes. (If my kids read this, they will roll their eyes, because I get choked up at everything).

I wish I could travel all the time. I don't mind the hassle of it, I'm always too excited about going someplace new.


So You Think You Can Dance

While my dance training is limited to a half year of Irish step dancing, an evening of tap dance training, and learning specific choreography for specific musicals, I am a dance aficianado. I love anything with dancing in it, which explains why I've seen Center Stage at least 12 times.

I've been watching SYTYCD since I caught a marathon of season 2 on MTV a couple of years back. I've been to see the top 10 SYTYCD dancers on tour for the past 2 years, and I'll be there again this year.

Since there's nothing much going on in life right now, I thought I would blog this season, season 5.

I'm not going back to talk about the auditions or Vegas week, or the first two weeks of the actual competition (although I may refer back to those episodes when talking about some of the dancers).

Last week, we lost Maks and Ashley, which was, I think, a mistake. Particularly Ashley, who I think had a different quality than the other contemporary dancers.

On to this week's performances!

Jonathan & Karla: they got a Dave Scott hip-hop, which they described as sort of smooth criminal, Bonnie & Clyde. This was not a good performance. Karla was on the beat and danced well, but I think she couldn't dance to her full potential because of her partner, Jonathan, who was just embarrassing tonight. He is in way over his head. I expect they'll end up in the bottom 3, I hope they can keep Karla, but I think it's time for Jonathan to go.

Vitolio & Asuka: Mandy Moore choreographed a jazz routine for the pair. I was not a fan of the choreography, which I think lacked substance and just meandered around senselessly. But I also think Asuka is too reserved of a dancer, too internal. They were dancing to Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar (because Mandy Moore pulls out her K-Tel "Greatest Hits of the 80's" when seeking music), and they should have been more explosive, but that performance quality is just lacking from this couple. Bottom 3.

Melissa & Ade: They had a rhumba choregraphed by Tony Meredith. I have to get my bias out of the way up front - I adore Ade, I love everything about this kid, and the way he moves gives me chills. He is powerful yet gentle, strong but soft...I love him. He did not fail me in this sensuous routine. And Melissa was gorgeous, sinuous and sexy. As much as I love Ade, I couldn't take my eyes off Melissa. They could still end up in the bottom 3, because rhumba is probably not going to get the tween vote, but I think they'll be safe.

Kayla & Kupono: They had a Viennese Waltz, choreographed by the possibly insane Jean-Marc Genereaux. I thought it was lovely. I don't know any waltz technique (although I did have to learn how to waltz for a production of A Little Night Music, which is mostly in 3/4 time), but they looked smooth and flowy and nothing jumped out as awkward. The audience at the taping had a very strong positive response, but I know that online fans seem to not like Kayla much because they feel like Nigel Lythgoe is pimping her, so they could end up bottom 3.

Brandon & Janette: Dave Scott choreographed a hip-hop routine for them. This was definitely more successful than the first routine, and I love Janette, she's saucy and has loads of energy, but Brandon just doesn't grab me. I read a critique of his dancing saying he looked like a college cheerleader, and I think I agree with it. He is clearly talented, and I think he could be great, but I think he's got a way to go. In the routine, she was rock, he was a hip-hop, it was a whole love story sort of thing. They danced it well, I think they'll be safe.

Caitlin & Jason: They had a Jean-Marc Genereaux paso doble. Okay, I've had a problem with this pairing from the first episode. The quality of movement of each of these dancers is so far from the other, that they always look wrong to me. Jason has a smooth, airy way of moving, he almost seems to move as if he was suspended from the ceiling by wires. Caitlin is tough and, IMO, cheerleadery, at least when she dances with Jason - she seems to do fine by herself. I'm not a huge fan of the paso doble, and I didn't think this one was too great, although I enjoyed Jason a lot more than Caitlin. I'm thinking bottom 3 for them.

Randi & Evan: Mia Michaels put together a routine for them, the concept being that Evan is hypnotized by Randi's butt. I kind of wonder if Mia knew that the idea of her butt being the center of the dance would kind of mortify Randi, who seems very Mormonish to me. I loathe Mia Michaels as a human being, she's misogynistic and mean, but I do enjoy her choreography. It was simple, but different and meaningful, and I think Evan and Randi danced the heck out of it. Although I wonder why they dressed Evan in clothes that were 5 sizes too big for him. I'm a fan of Evan, he is an old style dancer, in the mold of Gene Kelly. I think he did well with the movements Mia gave him, which are very bumpy and bouncy compared to his smooth jazz style. Randi has been a revelation to me in the competition, I had low expectations for her, but I really enjoy watching her perform.

Philip & Jeanine: Tyce DiOrio choregraphed a Broadway routine to Moses Supposes from Singing In The Rain. Philip is an extraordinary machine, he is incredible at popping and waving, everything else is out of his wheelhouse. But I have to say, I enjoyed him in this piece. Jeanine is a natural performer - she's not the greatest dancer, really, but she knows how to sell the heck out of it. I thought the routine was adorable, and I will be shocked if they are in the bottom 3.


The remote is broken

so I ended up catching a good chunk of the ABCFamily show "The Secret Life of An American Teenager".

What a craptacular program it is!

The creator of this show also created 7th Heaven, and she clearly has a particular agenda that she wants to put forward - the evangelical Christian perspective. The main character is a teenage girl who has sex - once, of course - and gets pregnant.

I have never watched an hour of any other show that is this obsessed with sex, and I've watched episodes of Real Sex on HBO. In the previouslies, one girl is shamed for being on the pill (because that means she's a slut); another girl who has sex is warning her friend away from having sex because "you can only have your first time once", and at the end of the show, there is a PSA about teen pregnancy, that ends with one of the male characters saying "teenage pregnancy is 100% preventable" (which it is, until teenagers start having sex, which they've been doing since the beginning of time, if not before then).

Aside from all the agenda stuff, the acting was horrifically bad. I felt bad for thinking this, but during a scene where an actor with Down's Syndrome was "acting", I kept thinking "He's no Corky". (Obviously, I didn't feel bad enough to keep it to myself).

I better go to the cable company and get a new remote.


Tony Awards

I just watched the last third of the Tony Awards. I'm not a big award show fan, but I always make room for the Tonys. The presenters and winners are almost universally articulate and charming and funny, I get to see too short snippets of plays, and there are musical numbers, and I am a sucker for a musical number.

I used to be very into theater. Siobhan started coming to rehearsals with me when she was about 6 months old - I was cast in the chorus of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Yale Dramat. I found out I was pregnant with Maeve when I was playing Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense. I played Princess Puffer in the Mystery of Edwin Drood when I was 5 months pregnant. The year before I got pregnant, I did 6 shows in one year. It was a huge part of my life.

It makes me unbearably sad sometimes, when I think about the "used to" part of that. This is something else that osteoarthritis has stolen away from me.

Anyway...back to the Tonys. I was deeply moved by the emotion of the dance they showed from Billy Elliot. I enjoyed the tribe of the show Hair singing the eponymous song (I did Hair...and yes, I did the nude scene).

But when are the damn Tony awards going to stop pimping Jersey Boys? I swear to Judy Garland, they've been showing young dudes imitating the nasal sound stylings of Frankie Valli for at least 3 years now. No more, Tonys!


On the mend

My outpatient surgery went well, I stayed home from work today and relaxed, although I did get a little lightheaded this afternoon, probably because my hemoglobin is still pretty low. Back to work tomorrow, I have a lot to do and only a little time to do it.


This Wednesday

I will be going to the hospital for outpatient surgery, to hopefully end a problem that has been plaguing me for most of 2009, and also to make sure I don't have any cancerous lesions, because who wants cancerous lesions?

Wish me luck!


But I'm NOT Disabled!

I was born with hip dysplasia. It wasn't detected by doctors until I was already walking. My mother kept telling people that I was walking funny, and she was reassured that it was only because I learned how to walk in a playpen.

But it was real - my left hip was completely dislocated, and I had surgery when I was a little over a year old to correct the problem. I'm not sure what kind of surgery, but the surgeons cut a bunch of bone out of my pelvic bone and built a new joint. My parents speak glowingly about how I never let it slow me down. While I was recovering from surgery, I wore a series of braces that kept my left leg sticking out to the side at a right angle to the ground. I couldn't walk like that, so my father made me a wheeled cart, and I would get around by "walking" on my arms, dragging the rest of me behind.

I remember the first time I really noticed that I couldn't do what other people did, and that was in kindergarten. We were all directed to sit Indian style on the rug while the teacher read to us, and I dutifully tried to do so. And I couldn't. If I put my arms around my knees, and pulled them up to my chest, I could almost sorta cross my ankles over each other. But everyone else seemed to do it with ease! I ended up lying down on my belly with my chin resting on my hands and my feet up in the air, or sitting froggy style, with my knees rotating out and my feet on either side of my butt.

When my grandmother would come visit, she would have me walk up and down the length of the living room for her. "Ach! She's a cripple!" she would say. But I never took that to heart, I just thought it was one of her weird Irish things, and I was clearly her favorite grandchild.

I just accepted that I couldn't kick my left leg as high, and that I couldn't run as far, or sit Indian style or cross my legs the way girls do. It was just the way I was. I still loved gym, was usually the first girl picked for teams, played softball, and was very active. I could do cartwheels and backflips and walkovers, I could do a backbend from a standing position, and I even won a sprinting race at my dad's Irish club's field day. Heck, I was even a cheerleader for a couple of years!

As I started to get older, people would ask me sometimes if I was okay, or ask what happened to my leg. I would always get puzzled for a second, and then remember that they didn't live inside my body, so they didn't know this was just how I was, so I told them that I was born with a dislocated hip. When I lay in bed at night, I would trace the soft train track scar on my left hip.

It wasn't until I was fully grown that I started to have more serious problems. As the pain increased, I cut back on my activities, and I gained weight. I started to be able to predict the weather with astonishing accuracy. Now I had a new problem, osteoarthritis, which was a direct result of my congenital disorder.

About 14 years ago, I was in a car accident, and my left knee was slammed into the dashboard of the car. It took me a week to be able to straighten that leg out again. I went to an orthopedist for follow-up, and he said "you have the hip of an 80 year old." I didn't like him, so I found another orthopedist who was kind enough to take my pain seriously and gave me a prescription for Vicodin, which allowed me to sleep at night and function during the day. I was not Gregory House, dry-popping Vicodin like they were Chicklets - if anything, I was stingey about using them, preferring to save them for when the pain was really bad. I give Vicodin a lot of credit in my losing 36 pounds.

That orthopedist retired, sadly, and I couldn't find another orthopedist who was as forward thinking about treating pain. When I first visited my current orthopedist, he asked me to sign a release so my X-rays could be used to Board test Orthopedic candidates - the combination of my youth and the extremely poor condition of my hip would make an interesting question, he thought. He asked me to start using a cane.

I got a cane and I started noticing a huge difference in the way people reacted to me. People always wanted to open doors for me, or carry heavy things for me, or do things for me. It made me angry, quite honestly. Did they think there was something wrong with me? Did they think I was incapable or incompetent?

And people would always ask me if I needed help, or if there was anything they could do to help me. Well, I would think, I need help clipping my left toenails or shaving my left leg, but no, I can get the door for myself. No one really wanted to give the kind of help that I needed.

My husband would occasionally suggest I should get a handicapped parking pass, and I even went to get a form to do that...but the form asked me to declare that I was permanently disabled, and I couldn't do that.

Because there is a cure for my current problem, and that cure is a prosthetic hip. I'm told that once my hip is replaced, that the pain will be gone, that they might even be able to make my legs the same length, and that I will have my life back.

I can't help but think it will be a completely new life, but I try not to raise my expectations too much.

I went to the orthopedist yesterday for a checkup. They are having me in every 2 months as they chart the decline of my hip. The ortho would like me to lose more weight, telling me that statistically speaking, most people do not lose weight after hip replacement surgery, and that heavier people generally gain weight afterwards. But I am also supposed to cut back on walking and not participate in any aggressive exercise, because that will put my hip on track for a faster decline, and at my age, it's likely the prosthetic will wear out before I'm ready to be done walking. And he said he was reluctant to schedule a surgery because he thinks the pain that I'm living with is not in the driver's seat yet. And it's not, at least, it's not in the driver's seat all the time, although it is my now constant companion.

So I'm kind of in this frustrating place, where I appear disabled, and by most reasonable measures, I am disabled. I know there are things I cannot do. I can't run, for example. My husband and kids have dreams about flying, I have dreams where I'm running - I've woken up in tears because I'm running in my dreams, and I remember how free it felt, and I can't do it in my waking life.

But I don't feel disabled, and I only use that word - or, more accurately, the "c" word, "crippled" - in a self-deprecating manner. I feel competent and capable, and I hate it when people think that they are being kind by offering to hold the door for me. I don't say anything, because maybe that's exactly the kind of help that someone else needs. If I could just find someone to shave my left leg for me, I'd be all set.


Sort of Reviews of Movies You've Probably Already Seen

1. The Visitor
Richard Jenkins stars as Walter Vale (which Loki tells me is a significant name, although he hasn't explained that yet), a disconnected, insular Economics professor who teaches one class and pretends to work on his book. When he goes to present a paper he "co-authored" (i.e., read) in NYC, he finds that a young couple, Tarek and Zainab, has moved into his apartment - a con man rented it to them.

Maybe it's his extreme loneliness, maybe he just thinks that Tarek (played by Haaz Sleiman) is incredibly hot, which is what I kept thinking every time he was on screen, but Walter insists that the couple stay.

Tarek is a big bowl of life, teaching Walter how to play the dhimmi, taking him out to jazz clubs, practicing his drums in his underwear, whereas Zainab, played by Danai Gurira, seems uptight and reserved; we soon find out that she is justified in her cautious ways, because she and Tarek are in the United States illegally.

Then we enter the Orwellian world of INS, where subcontractors house illegal aliens in a warehouse, where posters declare that immigrants are the backbone of America, etc. Walter, in his detached way, hires an immigration attorney and politely navigates his way through the bureaucracy. Tarek tries to keep his spirits up, but INS keeps moving people and he's scared; poor Zainab can't even take the risk of going to see him. Then Tarek's mother shows up, and she and Walter connect, but ultimately, Tarek gets deported and Mouna, Tarek's mother, goes back to Syria to be with him, knowing that she will not come back.

Great performances all around. Jenkins has been a Hey It's That Guy for years; I didn't know his name until Six Feet Under. Danai Gurira blew me away; Haaz Sleiman is charming as hell. I cried a couple of times during the movie, because I'm a big movie crier, but it also will always astonish me how much our fates rest on where we happen to be born. It's not fair, as Walter yells; it seems like such a childish thing to say, but it's the absolute truth. It's not fair, and it will probably never be fair.

2. Dan In Real Life
I should preface this by saying that I forgot that Starz was having a free preview this weekend, so I found myself tuning in just because it was on Sunday afternoon.

Poor, sad Dan. His wife died and left behind 3 perfectly adorable daughters, who are all adorable in their own perfectly flawed ways. His big fun family gets together in their big beach house, and do adorable things like compete for who gets to the dishes, boys against girls, winner is the gender that finishes the crossword puzzle first. They have talent shows and play touch football, and somehow manage to tolerate Dane Cook. I hate everything about this family, purely out of bitterness and resentment that my own family would look at me like I sprouted 2 additional heads if I suggested we put on a talent show at a family reunion. If I suggested we have a family reunion, they would look at me like it was only 1 additional head. I'm a total dork, so I would love to have a family that did these activities, hence the bitterness.

Dan meets Juliette Binoche when his mother sends him out to get the papers, and he's charmed by her (of course, who wouldn't be?) and tells her his whole life story, and somehow, she is charmed by him even though he strikes me as your perfect NiceGuy(tm), and is clearly feeling very sorry for himself. Which is fine, but it's not something you dump on a gorgeous, lively woman you just met. Lucky for Dan, Marie (Juliette Binoche) is insane and is actually dating his brother Dane Cook. Of course Dane and Marie aren't right for each other, they aren't even the same species. Marie ends up with Dan, inexplicably over her love for the sad sack. Clearly, she's still insane.


If you see me coming, better step aside

Today is the day in my monthly cycle when I feel fighty and anxious, which is not a good combination. I've got a hair trigger, and one fist of iron and the other of steel, if the right one don't get you then the left one will.


I'm just posting because I haven't and I feel guilty for neglecting any readers who may come by here hoping for something interesting, not just because nothing interesting has happened in a while that doesn't involve the Chinese Curse kind of interesting, and I don't have this blog solely to bitch and moan and say "woe is me". Just so anyone doesn't worry, nothing is seriously wrong, there has just been some unpleasantness that is personally upsetting but not at all dangerous. Anyway - just so I don't leave my imaginary friends empty-handed, here's a video:

I am the deep voiced woman in the sparkly shirt.


I am giddy

and feeling flushed with success.

After getting some wildly different advice from a number of people about my leek seeds, I was convinced I had killed them. I kept watching for any sign of life from the little cups of earth, but nothing showed up.

Tonight, though....tonight I checked on my cups of dirt and saw a tiny shoot of green. And another and another.

I did not kill my leeks! They are actually growing! Now all my fussing over them, and putting them outside in the sun, and bringing them back in at night, and covering them with saran wrap is finally paying off!


How does your garden grow?

Monkey and I are going to have a vegetable garden this year. I've been all talk on this subject in the past, but today, I mailed my soil sample to the UCONN Home & Garden Center, so they can let me know exactly how to improve my soil for veggie production, and yesterday evening, Monkey and I started our leeks.

We have a tiny yard, so we're going to have a small garden. I did a little research, and we're going to have raised beds - I'm still undecided about whether to have 4 of them or 5 of them. Our selected crops for this first time around are:

asparagus (which is why we might have 5 beds, since they stay in the same place for 20 years)
green beans
and probably a small herb garden

I am known to have a black thumb, so I'm going to rely on Monkey's youth and enthusiasm and experience helping our neighbors with their vegetable garden to get me through this. We're not bothering with zucchini because everyone and their brother grows that and we always seem to end up with a brown paper bag full of them when they are ripe. I hope to update with pictures, but my camera doesn't seem to want to let go of any of the pictures I take anymore, so that might not happen.


I remember boredom

and it was good.

This year is now approaching the speed of light, having surpassed the speed of sound roughly Wednesday evening, when I was singing - again - for the adorably pretentious students at the Hartt School of Music, who listen with their eyes closed as if the chorus had actually rehearsed and prepared extensively, with their Chairman Mao t-shirts and Che Guevara hats and their parents' old Volvos and BMWs waiting for them in the parking lot, while I have to climb into a crappy, beat-up Chevy Cavalier.

Sucks to be poor.

Not only has this year been fast, it has also been expensive, with car accidents and brakes and the insurance company continually denying coverage to my oldest, even though I've called them about it numerous times.

I haven't been home in a week, except to sleep, and I have an extra child coming to my house tonight, even though there is no food there. And I have to sing tomorrow, and then finally, finally a little break, a social event that I won't describe in detail since it is a surprise, but it will be so welcome to sit back and just gab.

Next weekend: already booked. The weekend after that: already booked.

Next question: why do I still feel lonely even though I'm always busy?



My a cappella group, Harmonious Soul, had a concert on Friday night, and it went really well. We had a good crowd, and I felt relaxed and energetic. I was so pleased to see so many of my friends and family in the audience, and I appreciated the kind comments of everyone after the concert. We had a recording mic set up, but we're not sure if our (volunteer) music board guy turned it on, so maybe we'll have a recording, maybe we won't.

My next event is next Sunday, when I'll be singing in the Women Composer's Festival Chorus at the Sisters of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, which is the start of the Women Composers Festival. I'll be singing in other events for the festival on the 11th, 13th and 15th. If you are interested in seeing Harmonious Soul perform, we will be singing at the A Cappella Concert on Friday, March 13th. We have a good set put together, of music composed by and/or arranged by women, including a couple of pieces arranged by one of our members.


Amused or annoyed? Amunnoyed? Annused?

Two things are both amusing me and annoying me tonight.

The first is that KFC commercial that's been running lately. There's a cute, non-threatening woman, talking about the fresh ingredients and 11 herbs & spices, and how does she know this much about KFC? Well, it's because she's the cook, and every KFC has one.

No shit? Every KFC - which, technically, qualifies as a restaurant, has A cook? A single cook? I'm just trying to imagine the writers sitting around the table of the advertising agency, tossing around ideas to make KFC more attractive. "I know, let's say that KFC food is cooked by....you're going to love this....a COOK! No one will expect it!"

The second thing is that I've read about 15 headlines tonight about why the "intensely private" or "fiercely private" Jennifer Aniston brought her boyfriend
John Mayer to the Oscars. My problem here is with suddenly having Jennifer Aniston, who I've seen smiling at me from literally hundreds of magazine covers, is suddenly fiercely private. I wonder if her publicist thought this would be a good way to position her?

Feel free to leave similar amusing/annoying things in comments!


Grumble, grumble

Aside from a great three hour breakfast with excellent company, and some laughs at an extra long final rehearsal for my upcoming concert (Friday, February 27, 2009, 7:00 p.m., Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 60 Church Street, Manchester, CT) my whole weekend was one to bitch about.

First, there were brake problems. They went from "hmm, do I hear something?" to full on scratching metal. So that had to be done. I can't even go into the whole red ant-hill of irritation that led to getting them fixed today, but suffice it to say, it was a good day to stay away from me.

Then, today I had two doctor's appointments, one with my orthopedist and one with my regular doctor. I was hoping the first one would lead to some final decisions, like WHEN I would get my hip replaced. Instead, they put me off for 2 more months. I did get to see my even funkier hip joint - the top of my femur is expanding around the outside of my pelvic bone as well as the inside of the ball. If you look at the front view, there is NO SPACE between the ball and joint. None. There is a tiny, tiny pocket of space if you look at it from the side. The doctor wants me to consider fusing, which would eliminate pain in my hip but would place an even heavier burden on my back and the rest of my joints (which is why I don't want to do that). Alternatively, I could get a cortisone shot into the tiny pocket of space, to relieve the inflammation. It could bring relief, or it could do nothing. I'm still undecided on that.

My second appointment was about my other ongoing problem, which is that I've had my period for 21 days now. Almost the entire month of February. So I got to have a sonographer look at my insides today, which was painless, but also frustrating, because she can't discuss the results. The radiologist has to look at them, and I'll be hearing from my doctor on Wednesday about that. So I feel like I'm dangling, looking for answers, but everyone is putting me off.

I'm starting to get a headache from not letting all this anger out.


I've been contemplating...

There are a lot of things I would like to write about, but I hold myself back because I think they are subjects that I *shouldn't* share. I may have a glitchy sense of what is appropriate or inappropriate to talk about, because I grew up in a House of Secrets. I have these duelling inclinations to to talk about things that I maybe shouldn't talk about, or not talk about things that I probably should talk about.

As Philip Larkin wrote, "they fuck you up, your mum and dad"

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.


Long Weekends

I know I am getting old now, because on Friday nights, I can barely keep my eyes open past 9pm. But I started my long weekend by staying up until 10pm to watch Dollhouse, Joss Whedon's new show.

I didn't have high expectations for the show, so I can only say that, while it wasn't the greatest thing ever, it did exceed my expectations. Eliza Dushku may not have the chops to play a different character every week, but I think she might do better at that than at the other part of her character, as Echo, the "doll". She's lacking a certain depth at those kind of quieter parts.

The script was decidedly not Whedonesque, lacking his characteristic wit and humor, but that may be due to the procedural aspect of the show. I think it has potential, it wasn't great, but better than I expected. I was pretty much squeeing on the couch when I saw the Grrr-Argh monster again.

And I hope the IT guy on Dollhouse is the first main cast character to meet a horrible death.

Saturday passed by in blur. I knew it was Valentine's Day, but was not expecting anything. So I was pleasantly surprised when Loki presented me with a gift and a poem...which, technically, qualifies as another gift. The first gift was a CD of Van Morrison's Greatest Hits (which mystifyingly did not include Into the Mystic or Tupelo Honey, so I ask you, can you really call that a Greatest Hits CD?). The second gift is below:

Music hints at a God beyond the blue,
and, though Art on earthly pain is fed,
unbridled, our passions offer this clue:
Roses have often said -
even Violets know this to be true -
evenings are best with fresh-baked bread,
novels written in a month, wine, and you.

Sunday, we had birthdays to celebrate - my niece Molly and my father-in-law (FIL). Molly is sweet and guileless and enthusiastic, and she made me laugh by picking up the first present and saying "I have a feeling this is going to be the greatest gift of ALL TIME!"; and later, when holding a gift I wrapped (which means it was shaped like a lump and looked like either a young child or someone missing some fingers had wrapped it), said "It feels like.....like something." Yes, Molls, it was something, good guess.

Then I lost a wee fortune in pennies at Rummy Royal. I did not go out once. Three times I had a paying card in my hand that I never got to play; once, I had the king and queen of hearts in my hand, and didn't get to play them. It was a tragedy.

Monday was a day to savor because it was a day I did not have to go to work, and those days are always wonderful (even though I like my job, and I like working...really, if I didn't work, these work-free days would feel much less meaningful). Loki and I hung out at the bookstore. I learned how to format a screenplay, and I started reading Watchmen, which I didn't finish until today. It was a little right-wing for my taste, but it was also incredibly rich storytelling, so on that level, I loved it.


New to Blogroll

and new to blogging: my very dear friend Spastic Sally has a blog called Finding Athena. You should read her first post, because you will learn something that you never knew you wanted to learn, but will be thrilled to know.


New to blogroll

a cappella blog

It's more directed towards college aged a cappella groups than the one I sing in, but useful information, regardless.


1. Coraline - Loki, Monkey and I saw this Saturday morning. Possibly the best use of 3D I've seen - they didn't use it just to hurl things into your faces, but to flesh out this stop-motion animated world. It was excellent, and everytime I see a promo for the movie, I want to go see it again.

2. Joe Strummer - The Future Is Unwritten - I watched this yesterday while I was cleaning my living room. They did not shy away from showing Joe Strummer, warts and all. I feel inspired right now, just thinking about this movie - that DIY punk ethos is sitting with me.

3. Positive pressure nasal irrigation - okay, this is not something anyone really wants to talk or hear about, but if you suffer from chronic sinus problems or allergies, you might be interested anyway. I just couldn't make myself get a neti pot, but this is a squeeze bottle version of the same thing, and honest to pete, my head felt lighter and I could breathe with ease immediately after using.


Full Circle

Saturday night, Loki and I got together with my friend, my psychotic sister G., and her friend S.

So how do you begin a conversation with someone you love dearly, but haven't seen in years? Naturally we started with quantum physics, what we called the eight minute conversation, about what would happen if the sun went out, and we had eight minutes left before the earth would be bereft of light and energy. Would we even be here for those eight minutes? And what would happen to the planet we live on? Does the universe jiggle like jello?

We moved from there onto the nature of reality itself. Are we here? Are we all experiencing the same reality? Do we only exist when others experience and realize us?

Then we moved onto food, and things we tried to remember about our past lives together, and what was the name of that coffeehouse in Middletown? And we talked about our families, and drew my family tree out so no one could get confused by all the Maureens and Kathleens and Bernadettes.

We talked about the movie we had seen earlier that evening, and about music (BTW: G, if you're reading this, remember when I was miming "playing the piano" and you interpreted that as "typing on the keyboard"? The phrase I was trying to think of was "tin-pan alley" - it came to me just before my exploding head syndrom kicked in as I fell asleep last night...nothing yet on the coffeehouse, but the information is in my brain somewhere and I will retrieve it.)

And we talked about white supremacists and how some towns have more flavor than others and how weird it is that Wallingford doesn't have the internet in their town hall, but how excellent Napoli's Pizza is. (S., if I had the presence of mind last night, I would have shown you that I have their number programmed into my cell phone, even though I live 35 miles away from it).

And then we talked about how we remain connected, even when apart, and Loki started talking about how it's the same for particles, and possibly even objects, and then we were back to the beginning of the circle.


48 Questions

via konagod

my Aunt Maureen

earlier today, when I was reading this blog post.

I have beautiful penmanship when I make the effort.


Yes, 2 of them.

I think so, but I guess it would depend on which other person I was.

What do you think?


Only if I were on The Amazing Race

I don't think I have one. I like cereal in general, but only eat it occasionally.


I'm not picky about ice cream, but I think you know an ice cream brand/maker is great when the vanilla is great.



my damn deformed hip

I have been lucky to not have lost many people in my life up to this point, but I miss my friend Al sometimes. And also, Phil Hartman.

It doesn't matter to me.

gray pants and white/gray sneakers

The sounds of the office.

forest green

coffee, garlic, freshly baked bread, lilac blooms, new baby

My husband

No one sent it to me

hurling and hockey, but only in person

Used to be V-8 orange, now it's more like a penny that has been around for a while


No, my body has betrayed me in many ways, but I am lucky enough to have 20/20 vision for now


Not a big scary movie fan, and sometimes I like happy endings, but I am also comfortable with ambiguity

Hamlet 2



Kisses & hugs.. All good.

??Leslie maybe?

my husband

I'm not in a reading phase right now

don't have one


interesting music, certain babies laughing....at the church where I used to sing, when they had Communion, everyone got a little tiny plastic cup of grape juice, and when we were done drinking, everyone would pass their cups down, and the sound of the little cups being stacked was very pleasing.



I sing, I can juggle, I can act, I can levitate (or at least make other people think I can levitate), and I have a great capacity for remembering useless pieces of information, like what someone was wearing when I first met them.

Hartford, CT

Anyone who bothers.

At college


Did I ever tell you about my friend Leslie?

14 or so years ago, I auditioned for the female version of the Odd Couple at a community theater in Middletown. I had a good audition, and I was one of 4 people called back for the role of Olive Madison (obviously, the female version of Oscar Madison). I ended up getting the part that night, and I had a great time doing the show.

A year or so later, I auditioned for the play I Hate Hamlet, put on by the same community theater group, and I got the part of Gary Peter Lefkowitz*, the protagonists agent. Also cast in the play was Leslie, who played Real Estate agent Felicia Dantine.

So we were a week or two into rehearsal, and after one rehearsal we went out for coffee. I was sitting with Karen (who directed the Odd Couple) and Leslie, and we were having fun, talking and making each other laugh, and then Leslie told me, very seriously, that she had a confession to make.

She told me that for the past year, she had wanted me dead.** You see, she was one of the other people who got called back for the part of Olive Madison, and since Karen, the director, was her best friend, she assumed she was a shue-in for the part. But I got it instead.

Karen told me that then she began receiving a series of phone calls from Leslie:

"Karen, when Maureen breaks her leg, make sure to give me plenty of notice so I have all my lines memorized."

"Karen, does the rehearsal space have a sprinkler system, in case there's a fire?"

Karen explained to Leslie that I got the part because I had a certain vulnerability.

Leslie sniffed, "vunnerability" she said. "I can do vunnerability!"

I said "you can't even pronounce vulnerabilty!"

And thus a friendship was born. And I'm writing this tonight because Leslie and Karen and I got together today for lunch, then a little shopping and then hanging out at the bookstore. And she reads my blog, so I have to write about her, because she likes reading about herself. And because, okay, I love Leslie, and I'm glad she's my friend.

And did I mention that she has developed a game to help kids learn how to clean and organize their space? Because she has, and you can buy it here.

*I maintain that I must have a certain quality that reads as male, because this was not the first time I got cast in a male part, and it wasn't the last time, either.

**Leslie said that when she found out I had a child, she decided it would be okay with her if I were merely maimed.


Maybe President Obama *is* magic

Since President Obama was inaugurated:

I've lost 4 lbs.
I can open a newspaper without feeling ill
I can read the news online without my blood pressure rising
I can read blogs and feel happy instead of angry
I no longer clench my fists when I'm listening to NPR on the way home from work

Now if he could only clear up the lingering pain in my lower back...


My kingdom for a Vicodin!

Pain sucks.

My hip is always hurting, but I am experiencing some exquisite pain in my lower back. In that little dimple on the left-hand side, it is hot to the touch and hurts however I move.

On top of that, yesterday, my own husband told me I walked like Quasimodo. I feel like I'm just declining, physically, with each passing day.

I just don't know how much more of this I can take. I'm at my desk, on the verge of crying from the pain. And occasionally over the verge.


I feel that I should post something on this historic day...

So I'll share that I got a text from Sio as she was on her way to D.C. in the wee hours of the morning. We have not heard from her since, I hope she was able to feel part of the historic events today.

I can't tell if I'm more happy that a responsible adult with a brain is in charge, or that the old incompetent moron is gone.


Harmonious Soul (and Friends) in Concert

We have finally rescheduled our concert!

Come see a fabulous six member women's a cappella group perform a wide variety of music. We sing traditional as well as contemporary music including songs by James Taylor, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Etta James, Guns N Roses, and many more!

A few other performers will lend their talents to the night as well!

Tickets are $8/$5 for seniors and 12 and under

Friday, February 27, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
60 Church Street
Manchester, CT 06040

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If you would like more information, please e-mail me at maurinsky@yahoo.com.


Celebrity cameos in my dreams

Lately, I've been having dreams with celebrity cameos in them. First, Jason Segal showed up in a couple of them - I assume this was due to seeing Jason and Little Jason in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Though these dreams were not sexual in nature, they did have a romantic sort of quality to them.

Last night, Daniel Letterle, who played Vlad in the movie Camp, showed up. Pretty obscure celebrity cameo, I grant you, but it gets better. In my dream, the kids from the movie Camp were having a press conference, and Daniel Letterle was in costume for his next project - he had a fake moustache and his hair was grayed at the temples, and he was wearing a 3 piece suit and a bowler hat. He and I wandered away from the press conference, and he confessed that he was terrified because a man named Culpepper was after him.

I pulled a book out of my jacket, and said "Do you mean this Culpepper?", and on the cover of the book was a man wearing the same 3 piece suit and bowler hat, who looked like he was crossing Abbey Road. Letterle was clearly terrified. We decided to find a place to hide. We were in a building that might have been a convention center or a hotel - there were a lot of big meeting rooms, and escalators, plus some balconies and wide open halls.

Letterle and I started climbing the stairs, and we got to a conference hall that was still messy from whatever event had just been held there. While we were there, a phone rang, and Letterle answered it and went pale. "Culpepper is here!" he said, and he ran off.

I went out onto the balcony and looked down into the big open hallway, and saw a man in a 3 piece suit and bowler hat. He paused and looked up in my direction (although he didn't see me). It was Culpepper, but Culpepper was played by Malcolm McDowell in my dream. And he was scary! So I ran away, and then I segued into another dream that did not feature any celebrities.

My subconscious, ladies and gentlemen! Let me know if you can make any sense of it!


A Day At The Beach

Yesterday morning, my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. Those of you who notice the hours when I am online might take note that when I'm up at 4:30 a.m., that's at the end of a long day, not the beginning. But yesterday, it was the beginning of the day. Because my sister and husband made plans to go to the beach.

Yes, the beach. Yes, in January. It's not the place I would think of going, either. But I got up at 4:30 a.m., and we were headed out the door by 5:30 a.m. We were hoping to experience sunrise at the beach, but we had to make do with watching the sunrise from the car on our way to the beach. Once the sun was up, I realized I left my sunglasses in our car, at home.

The beach was a very different experience in winter. The sand was frozen, and it was a delightful experience to walk on it - I imagined I was standing on a distant planet where the frozen ground had a little give, a little spring in it. It was a lot less crowded, although we were never the only people there - at the Narragansett Public Beach, there was a clearly insane man who was surfing. It was also, of course, cold. I have been unable to find my awesome winter earflap hat, so I had to make do with wrapping a scarf over my head, babushka style, to keep my delicate ears warm.

My sister was on a quest for seaglass, and she found plenty of it, as did Sio. We also found: frozen starfish, huge clamshells, a plastic turtle, an earring painted to look like a pineapple (Loki: "I found Spongebob's house!"), a moldy English muffin, a peanut (me: started singing the Found A Peanut song), peach pits, cigarette butts aplenty, and some pretty shells.

After we finished at the beach, it was about 11am. We decided we were ready for lunch, and we drove to downtown Wakefield, RI, where we stopped in at this excellent breakfast place called Phil's. It was a perfect little greasy spoon, I don't think any of us had a meal that cost more than $5.00, and I didn't feel hungry for the rest of the day. Loki asked for detailed instructions on how to make the homefries, because he deemed them the best homefries he ever had. My sister had a strawberry pancake that was bigger than my head (and my head is huge), and there were whole slices of strawberry in it - it was gorgeous.

Then we walked down to a bookstore that sold both used and new books. I almost bought a music book that was published in the 1860s - it was only $7.50, and it had some pro-Union songs in it, but it also made me sneeze with each turned page, so I left it there. I did flip through a book called Songs of Man that featured folk songs, showing how regardless of culture, certain types of songs developed from nearly every part of the globe. Including a whole chapter on folk songs about Cuckoos. What a world.

On the way home, we stopped to see our younger sister and her new(ish) baby, Clara, who is darling - all smiles and giggles. Clara and I played peekaboo for a while, she jumped every time I said "boo!", and then would giggle and smile. Babies are cute, and they are even better when you don't have to change their diapers.

All in all, it was a great day, although the last two thirds of it were kind of fuzzy for me, since I was all punchy and silly because of the early wake-up.


Longer term goals

1. Perform a stand-up routine.
There have been moments in my life where I've made a large group of people laugh, not by speaking lines written by a playwright, but by coming up with something on my own. Those moments are some of the greatest moments of my life. The idea of doing stand-up is something that terrifies me, which makes me think it might be worth doing.

2. Publish a novel or short-story.
I've been wanting to do this my whole life. I have loads of material that could be brushed off and polished. I will do this.

3. Write a song.
Okay, I've filked plenty, but I've never come up with my own tune. The problem with having a good ear is that everytime I start humming a tune, it may start off as something new, but eventually it veers off into something I've heard before. Also, lyrically, I tend to be more along the lines of Weird Al than, say, the Indigo Girls. I would like to do something meaningful on this front sometime before I die.


Goals for 2009

1.Get my hip replaced - this one is more involved than just getting surgery, I also have to lose weight to make this happen.

2. Clean my house - I'm tired of my house being so messy and chaotic. I have to make order out of the chaos. I would like my home to be a sanctuary, and right now, it is someplace that I have to get out of to keep my sanity.

3. Figure out whether I should continue taking 1 class per semester towards getting a music degree, or whether I should cut my losses, stick with my current public sector job and take online classes towards getting a degree in Public Policy or something similar. I'm leaning towards the first option, still.