Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Moving On

So, I've had a lot of problem with Blogspot and have decided to move on. Chaucerian Girl loves Word Press and swears it's the niftiest thing ever. So please come and visit me:


Monday, July 9, 2007

Sleep Or the Lack Thereof

I woke up last night around 2:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. Ordinarily I'd read a book or watch television for a while, but I didn't feel like doing either last night. So I laid in bed staring up at the ceiling rehashing every single stupid thing I've ever done in my whole entire life. I've done lots of stupid things, too, so that's no mean feat. The worst of it was rehashing my marriage.

J was (and I assume still is) a really decent guy. We were just too young when we got married and we grew apart. I don't regret being with him at all. And as far as divorces go, mine was really easy. We fought a lot throughout the marriage, but we were extremely cordial while ending it. There were a few fights during the process, most of them having to do with me shrilly rejecting any and all well-intentioned advice on the grounds that since he left, he didn't get to have a say anymore. I think I was right, but I probably could have been a little nicer about things. Anyway, it took me a while to get over the dissappointment of my marriage ending, but I did. And while he's turned up in a weird dream or two every now and again, I haven't consciously thought much about him in a few years. So last night just kind of sucked.

And why is it that when you wake up in the middle of the night, you can't think of all the wonderful things you have going on instead of the stupid crappy mistakes of the past? It's just so annoying. As soon as the sun came up, I was all "enough of this--I have the best family and friends a girl could ask for and life is actually pretty damn good," but before all that I was just so depressed.

The end result is that this morning I have dark circles under my eyes and I look like hell. I'm actually not in a bad mood despite last night, but I've felt better. I lack focus, too. I'll be working on something (this blog, for instance) and suddenly I'm staring off into distant nothingness. And then I sort of realize I've zoned and I un-zone. It's all very strange.

I have a pick-up rehearsal tonight. We've missed so much because of this freakish rainy weather that we're sort of behind now. It suddenly occurred to me today that we're two weeks away from tech week. I was all calm this weekend--we have plenty of time--and now I'm panicky. I'm not too worried about the tourista scene. I'm not quite off-book on it yet, but I will be by tomorrow's rehearsal. But I'm crazy worried about the Juanis scene. It's about 50% Spanish and the blocking is almost balletic. Usually I memorize after I'm blocked, but my lack of grace and my lack linguistic skill in the Spanish language is a bit demoralizing. It'll be fine. V made a CD for me to help with the language and I plan on playing it while I'm at work. I'm confident. What? I am.

Okay, I'm done blogging now. Behave.

Friday, July 6, 2007


My latest for the S-Project. This month's assignment was Harry Potter mania. I'm not huge on fan-fiction in general (though I did recently enter a contest at The Leaky Cauldron) so I decided to use this story instead, which merely visits the world instead of fully inhabiting it. And if you liked this, check out Seduced by the Muse's story based on the same general idea, namely, what if the toy wand actually worked? Comments are welcome.

Garth Hoburn liked to walk to school even though he had a bus pass. It wasn’t out of any desire to be physically fit. It was more of a desire to live. If he got on the bus, Bill Andrew and his meat-headed buddies would be there waiting to beat the snot out of him again. Garth shook his head. Stupid Bill Andrew with his crappy two first names.

In elementary school Bill and Garth had been friends, united by their mutual love of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Harry Potter. By the time junior high had rolled around Bill had stretched lengthwise and widthwise, and developed a fascination for girls and football, not necessarily in that order. Garth was a late bloomer. He’d eventually decided girls were okay, but he never had come round to football. Bill had found a group of friends with like-minded interests, and Garth, when he wasn’t defending himself from Bill’s fists, found himself rather on the edge of things.

He didn’t mind this so much. Garth thought of himself as a loner—a deep thinker. He preferred reading to sports and he spent the remainder of his spare time writing stories.

He always enjoyed his walks to and from school and today was no exception. He would stand up a little straighter and imagine the most wonderful things. He’d won the Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel…“Really?” he imagined himself saying to the New York Times critic. “I’m the youngest Pulitzer Prize winner ever? Well, that’s nice, I suppose. Though I don’t focus on awards, you know. I’m just interested in telling stories. Everything else is gravy.” Or perhaps he was at a Hollywood premiere of a movie he’d written. “Oh, Angelina, thank you for complimenting my writing—but you were amazing in the film. Just the Cassandra I’d imagined…nobody better really. Oh, you’d like to have dinner? What about Brad?”

Today, he was something even better. He was a wizard. Last night when he’d gone home, he’d found his mother sitting on the sofa holding a long skinny box wrapped up with a bow of vivid green.

“What’s that?” he’d asked his mother.

“A surprise for you,” she said, her smile creasing the lines of her face.

“But, we don’t have any money for surprises,” he reminded her. They didn’t either. That was one of the many things Bill Andrew made fun of him for, along with his unfashionable clothes and bottle-lens glasses.

A shadow crossed her face momentarily, but as she looked down at the package she brightened up again. “We do for this,” she said firmly, handing him the box.

He hesitated a moment and then tore the bow off, opened the lid, and pulled out a wand, richly carved, and polished to such a perfect sheen that Garth thought he could see his face in the wood. He’d wanted a wand ever since he’d read the first Harry Potter book, but he’d never expected to actually get one.

“Mom, this is amazing, but we can’t afford this!”

“We can,” she insisted. “I got a bonus at work and you know you’ve always wanted one.”

“I’m too old for toys,” he said haltingly, suddenly imagining Bill’s derisive expression at seeing him holding a wand.

“It’s not a toy,” his mother replied. “It’s a collector’s item. I bet it will be worth something some day. And anyway,” she continued, “you’ll always be my baby no matter how old you are.”

Garth rolled his eyes at this, but she was so clearly pleased with her gift that he put all thoughts of Bill away and hugged his mother. “Thanks, Mom,” he said.

She placed the wand on his desk in its stand, and the next morning, some irresistible urge made him throw it in his backpack along with his homework.

Now, walking to school, he had the same irresistible urge to pull the wand out. It would make the game of imagining he was a wizard a bit more life-like, he thought. He sat down on the curb, opened his backpack and pulled out the wand. It was made of oak and the certificate that accompanied the wand indicated a core of dragon heartstring. Gripping the wand, he had a curious sensation that some of the dragon’s strength was coursing into him. He stood up and quite easily slung his heavy backpack over his shoulder.

Holding the wand at his side, he walked to school, losing himself in his daydreams. He was Garth still, but this Garth was a wizard—not a British wizard, an American one. Bill Andrew, he reflected in satisfaction, was nothing but a dirty squib, and all of Bill Andrew’s meathead jock buddies were even stupider versions of Crabbe and Goyle. He had just pulled off a stunning bit of defensive magic, when reality veered its head. Garth hadn’t paid attention to what he was doing and the end result was that he found himself standing of the front lawn of his school holding a wand and wearing a slightly glazed expression that made him look mentally deficient. And to cap it off, Bill Andrew and his cadre were holding court at the front steps.

“Dude!” yelled Bill loudly, so that everyone in the immediate vicinity could overhear. “Is that a wand? Are you Harry Potter today?” Bill’s friends laughed appreciatively as Bill leaned casually against the railing. “Gonna do a spell, freak? Gonna turn me into a toad?”

Garth reddened and tried to sneak the wand into his pocket.

“Don’t hide your wand, dude,” said Bill nastily. “Bet the girls’ll be real impressed with that little bitty wand.” Bill laughed at his own joke and then leaned menacingly toward Garth as the pack closed in around him. “You know what I’m about to do?” He stared down at Garth, who did not reply. “I’m about to stuff your skinny ass into a locker, and then I think I’m gonna leave you there. But if your magic wand can help you, go ahead,” said Bill, smirking, “show us a spell.”

Garth barely had time for thought before Bill and his buddies picked him up and carried him, struggling and still clutching the wand, toward the nearest open locker.

“Move,” snarled Bill to a kid even scrawnier than Garth. The boy, apparently grateful that Bill wasn’t stuffing him into a locker, moved aside and took off quickly down the hallway, leaving his locker door wide open.

Bill shoved Garth into the locker, forcibly tucked his head down, and slammed the door shut. Garth heard Bill spin the dial of the lock twice and then bang on the door.

“I’ll let you out after school,” whispered Bill through the slats. “If you’re still alive. Better hope you’re dead, boy.” He pounded the door again and took off for his first period class, laughing the whole way. The bell rang and Garth could hear students rushing to get to their classes and then silence. He was alone.

A surge of hatred filled his being. He wished he was a wizard. Harry Potter might be too noble, but he wouldn’t mind using an unforgivable on Bill Andrew.

“Stupid useless wand,” said Garth bitterly. “I wish you worked.”

On a whim, he shifted as much as possible in the cramped locker, touched the lock with the tip of the wand, and said, “Alohamora.”

To his astonishment the lock clicked and the door opened of its own accord. Garth came tumbling out of the locker along with a pile of books and papers and a pair of dirty sweat socks. A glass paperweight that had been perched on the top shelf fell down and shattered on the tile floor. He sat for a moment, a bemused expression on his face. Then he pointed the wand at the shards of glass, and said, “Reparo.” The glass shards flew back into place and mended themselves together.

Garth laughed out loud in delight. It worked. His wand really worked.

“Bill Andrew,” said Garth as he rose to his feet, “I wonder where you are right now. Gotta say, I feel a little unforgiving.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

In Which Izzybella Does the Babble-Ramble Tango

I was really tired on Saturday afternoon and when I'm tired I get the giggles really easily. Usually I will collapse into giggles over something not at all funny. Or maybe just a little bit funny--the kind that makes me smirk a little, but not laugh out loud. But on Saturday, I had a full-blown giggling fit. It started with my stepmother spotting what she calls a woody-one of those old-fashioned station wagons with faux woodgrain side panels. Because I'm Dirty! that always cracks me up. She honestly doesn't get why that's funny, which is sort of cute and endearing. But the second the first giggle escaped my lips, my dad (also apparently Dirty!) snickered too. Then right afterwards we passed a telephone repairman balancing a long pole and the monster said, "My, that telephone man has a long pole!" And I lost it. I pretty much giggled hysterically for about a half-hour while my parents looked on, bemused.

We had a MoMentuM meeting yesterday. S managed to keep us on track, a task which is kind of difficult lately. For some reason I have no focus these days. Last Tuesday when we were supposed to rehearse two of my scenes, we chose to talk about other stuff instead (e.g. the wasting of time). In fairness to me, my scene partner for the second scene was sick and couldn't make it. But that doesn't excuse my complete lack of motivation to rehearse the scene I do by myself. It's really ridiculous. So yay for S being all focused and on-task. She rules.

I was talking with my co-worker E this morning and she was lamenting that she couldn't act. Now I happen to believe everyone has a little bit of actor in them. Just look at how easily and naturally children slip into another world--no advanced actor training needed at all. Betty Buckley schmuckly. (that was such a good workshop...I love her.) Now this particular person has a lovely singing voice and is part of a gospel band with her family. I was trying to express how my very favorite musicians and singers move me because I believe that they believe what they're singing. For example E is a gospel singer and she feels passionate about the music because she has a strong belief in God. But what if an athiest sang gospel? Would she find the same song moving? I don't think so because the athiest wouldn't believe what they were singing. I know that's a simplistic take on acting and it goes a bit deeper, but if I were to boil it down to one single aspect it would be that. Skilled actors believe what they're saying and doing is true, which enables an audience to believe it too. Thus ends my brief (thankfully) foray into performance philosophy.

My stepmonster bought me the new Kelly Clarkson CD. Just out of the blue. I like Kelly Clarkson,actually-I bought the Breakaway CD and have enjoyed it. I just thought it was cute that she did that. And then when I tried to thank her, she was all "whatever" like it wasn't a big deal even though this is a type of thing she rarely does. She's so odd. Probably why we get along so well. I haven't listened yet but I read the inside jacket. It's like Kelly went back to 1993 and visited Alanis Morrissette. Very angry. I'll play it later today.

Okay, must get back to this work thing. I now return you to your regularly scheduled day. Tired? Have an impossibly large amount of caffiene and sugar. It's what I would do.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Theatre Patron Loses Ring of Gold at Show About...A Ring of Gold

Seriously, and I feel really bad for her because she clearly loves the ring. I looked all over the place for her and I even emptied out the garbage cans in the ladies restroom in the hope that maybe it slipped off while she was drying her hands. No luck. It was only as I was emailing the Box Office Manager with a description of the ring and the patron's phone number that I was suddenly hit with the irony. The show we're doing is a spoof of Wagner's ring cycle, and our tabloid style ad campaign has the tag "Maniacal Dwarf Steals Magic Texas Ring of Gold."

Heavens. I only hope it wasn't the maniacal dwarf who stole her ring. 'Cause that little bastard's fast.

My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom (not really-it was just a good title)

...but she is really interesting.

I was talking with a few co-workers today about our respective moms. The mother/daughter relationship is a complex thing fraught with insecurities and aggravation. For some, there's that constant feeling that we aren't measuring up--that somehow we've disappointed mom with our life choices and she loves us even as she wears that expression. You know the one--the I-really-do-love-you-even-though-you-sort-of-fall-short expression. As I was listening to their stories about their moms, I couldn't help thinking how lucky I am.

My mom isn't like a lot of moms. She never really fussed over what I wore or whether I matched. She was always a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. She'd see me about to really mess something up and, provided it wasn't a life-threatening something, she'd let me mess it up royally. Then she'd help me figure out how to fix it. She did worry a lot if she didn't know where I was-a side effect of a career as a CSU certified latent finger print examiner. My mom was CSI way before it was cool. She likes to cook, but she's not any damn good at it. She'd rather read a book than go shopping at the mall. Her idea of mother/daughter bonding almost always involves learning something new and never once involved nail polish or hair grooming. Her fashion sense blows, and by that I mean she has an entire closet full of double knit polyester. And she feels just fine about that, thank you very much. She can talk eloquently about everything from gardening to Shakespearean theatre to the X-Files. She lacks, what am I looking for? Tact. She has little to no social graces. She feels just fine about that too.

She didn't grow up rich, and still isn't. She grew up dirt poor in a small house in East Texas with way too many brothers and one sister. But her upbringing has always seemed almost incidental. It shaped her but it didn't define her.

She has--
* been a journalist in Atlanta, GA. She had city beat and was so enthralled by what she was writing about that she decided to become a police officer.

* been a police officer, or more precisely a certified latent fingerprint examiner. She was the first female to hold that job in the state of Georgia and one of the first female officers in that state.

* battled sexism as an officer, ultimately earning the respect of her male counterparts by sheer brains and guts.

* been a teacher. She taught high school English for a little while, till she decided she wanted more.

* put herself through graduate school, ultimately earning a PhD in Creative Writing.

* been a professor of English.

* been a published author of over 15 police procedural mystery novels.

* established her own e-publishing company.

In short my mom never let being a woman or coming from an impovershed background prevent her from doing anything she set her mind to. She tried as hard as she could to pass that message along to each of her kids. She knows that we always have potential to do more no matter how old we are, and while aware of limitations, she looks at them as obstacles that can be surmounted instead of reasons why not.

She is coming to visit in August because she wants to see Chaucerian Girl and me in our show. She's managed to finagle a trip to San Antonio out of the whole deal because she wants to do some research on a new book she's writing. But mostly she wants to see Chaucerian Girl on stage for the first time. She wants to see us both perform words we've written. She wants to fall into that world for a little while and talk to her daughters about the things that matter to them. That's just one of a gazillion things I love about my mother. There are no illusions here--she's not that beautiful and gracefully aging ideal of motherhood. She looks her age and then some. Her hair is white. She walks with a cane. She won't tweeze her damn eyebrows. But I still think she's the most beautiful and perfect mother I could ever ask for.

So, yeah. My mom rules.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Clearly Dweebiness Runs In Our Family

Harry Potter Meme I stole from Chaucerian Girl:

1. Butterbeer or pumpkin juice?
If it tastes anything like what we tried to make when we had the Half Blood Prince reading party, butterbeer is definitely out.

2. What House would you most likely (or want to) be in in Hogwarts?
I would either be in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.

3. If you were an animagus, what animal would you turn into?
A yellow lab.

4. What character do you empathize with, or resemble best?

Which HP Kid Are You?

5. What position do you play at Quidditch?
I play the person sitting in the crowd watching the game with a Gryffindor lion on my head.

6. Which teacher is your favorite?
Gonna have to go with Flitwick. Actually, in the quiz above, I was disappointed because "Charms" wasn't an option for favorite class.

7. Any Harry Potter 7 predictions?
To (sort of, we totally disagree on Snape) quote Chaucerian Girl. Only about a hundred, all of which are subject to change at a moment’s whim. Right now: Snape’s eeevil. Harry will live. Voldemort will die. Snape will probably die. If Neville dies (which he dang well better not), he will take Bellatrix with him. Harry & Ron will be in-laws, and there will be lots of fat babies in the future.