Put A Ring On It

 

My husband and I have been together for over 30 years.  This  June we will celebrate 10 years of marriage. We are now legally married in all 50 states and some countries.  It has been a long road.

Somewhere around year two, we think, we bought Claddagh Rings for each other.  On our tenth year together we bought a thin gold band to wear alongside the claddagh.  We had a huge party with friends and family around year five and that was always thought of as our defacto wedding, no commitment ceremony just a huge celebration with those we loved.

Now in all those years we attended many “traditional” weddings.  It became our tradition that while the couple was saying their vows we would press our rings together, kinda like the Wonder Twins, and when they were pronounced husband and wife we would release our rings.  Sort os a prolonged fist bump if you will.  No one ever questioned us so what the heck we kept doing it. 

So we figured that there was a lot of Marriage mojo or  juju  or luck or positive energy in those rings right?  When we decided to get married in 2007 we did not want to wear the claddagh and band on the right hand.  We thought of framing them but then we decided why not melt them down and make new wedding bands out of them!  When we asked one jeweler to do this she refused or strongly suggested against melting down perfectly good claddagh rings and the bands.  She thought the idea of a metal retaining the positive energy of  25 or so wedding ceremonies was ridiculous. So no job for her. 

Finally we met a jeweler through a friend that thought the story was nice and better yet since the rings we picked would have to be cast anyway, the gold from four rings would save us some money.   No comment on the reality of magically captured wedding energy, which I thought was classy of her really. 

Jumping forward, I recently had a part in the play and I was asked if I minded not wearing my wedding ring.  Oddly enough this was the first time in decades I was asked this as most of the characters I played either were or could be married or it just didn’t matter.  I removed the ring and tucked it safely in a my bedside table.  I can not tell you how many times in the weeks that followed I felt an ice cold panic as I realized the ring was gone and began to retrace my steps before I remembered were it was.  

Although I do sometimes miss the other rings I do love that we are in essence still wearing them.  We could have easily worn these rings as our actual wedding we wanted to transform them as our relationship was being transformed. Having never thought this would actually be an option for us we did not take marriage lightly.  It meant something very profound and special.  It came with a weight and responsibility. Sure you could argue that all those things were already there,  but it felt as if all that energy we put ito our relationship was indeed being transformed into something else just like those rings were.  

So since I was ringless  for a couple of weeks the rings now need a proper recharging.  We are headed to Alberta Canada to witness the wedding of my cousin’s daughter. We will as always press our rings together Wonder Twins like and capture a bit of the positive energy of that ceremony to get us through the years ahead.  

Can a hunk of precious metal capture positive energy?  It is just a tangible symbol of an ancient ceremony between two people or a magical talisman.  Do I believe our rings are a tad bit magical?  Does it really even matter all said and done?  Does it really matter what I think? Well if you made it to the end of this blog you must already know the answer to that is Yes, Yes I DO. 

Who’s Afraid Of William Shakespeare?

  

Macbeth Danehy Park 2016


   So I have avoided doing Shakespeare now for about 35 years.  This is not because of any dislike I have for the Bard but rather because of fear.   Pure Unadulerated Fear.  I will admit that I am not a fan of poetry.  I can appreciate listening to poetry but found it difficult to read.  A college acting teacher once asked if I was ever tested for dyslexia.  I never did find out but his question did sort of mirror ones that I had of my own but that is for another story.  

If there was an audition for a Shakespeare play I just would not go.  Fear and a side career in drinking always  kept me from challenging myself in this particular area. Any area remotely difficult for that matter. If I was asked to do a classical piece I got by with a Mephistopheles monologue from Goerthe’s Faust. Go figure that rationalization. Mostly I would keep to roles that were in my wheelhouse as it were.  Finally memorizing lines took too much time away from drinking  period so I joined an Improv Group! That totally made sense to me at the time.  No regrets.   Yet another story for another time! 

I am now auditioning for whatever comes up that I am right for and I have to say I am enjoying it much better than I did back in the drinking days.  This past summer I was given the oportunity to play Duncan/Old Man/Old Seyward in an outdoor production of Macbeth.  The director seemed to have much more conficence in me than I did in myself and I will be forever grateful for that. Grateful and TERRIFIED. I accepted.  You hear a lot about the gifts of sobriety.  Playing Shakespeare in a park 20 years sober is one of them!!  Knowing what the hell I was saying and doing (for the most part) is another.  

Duncan , Macbeth Longfellow Park Cambridge 2016

 This brings me to my current project Love’s Labour’s Lost..In Space!!  Yup in Space you read that right.  Same director with the same confidence in me but this time around I would have to audition. Fair enough but as I mentioned above I had never auditioned with a Shakespeare monologue before.  Even after doing Duncan I was terrified.  What I also was was prepared.  I did a tiny bit of Costard that I had down cold.  Auditioning with a Shakespeare monologue is officially off the bucket list! This time around I let fear push me through something rather than actually let it keep me from doing something.  The stuff you wish you could go back and tell your 25 year old self.  My 25 year old me would probably be too drunk to listen anyway!!

So I am playing Holofernes in Love’s Labour’s Lost..In Space.  I am also realizing Shakespeare is where the old dude parts are!  So maybe a class is in my future as well.  Being sober all these years has not made things any less terrifying.  It has however given me the ability to tackle a challenge and yes maybe even fail at it.  Just now for the time being I get to do it in Iambic Pentameter.

Make Up Your Mind

 

True Story.  For two weeks now I have wanted to write about indecision but couldn’t decide how to write it.  At times I can be paralysed by indecision. Ok most of the time.  Decide: to make a choice from a numer of options.  Ya I Googled it.  There in lies the problem.  Options. The blue shirt or the green shirt?  The backpack that has all the features I want except one or the one that has none of the features i want but is the right size and on sale?  By the way 75% off sales are great for us indecisive people because then we can buy both options.  Then of course I will have two backpacks and have to convince myself one is for work and one is for play.  That never goes well and is ultimately wastful and a bit greedy. This is not to be confused with the I Need It Now So Will Take The Lesser Version Rather Than Wait On Backorder Till The One I Really Want Comes In Syndrome.    That road is paved in regret.  

My biggest problem is once I make up my mind I inevidably hear “Why did you choose that one?” Usually that comes right after “Hurry up and make up your mind.”  I probably should be writing about why I care so much about what other people think.  Next time and yes money has been spent on Therapy.  

There are of course a billion people willing to give their advice to help you make a decision. One or two of them are sure to tell you what you want to hear.  This is usually not a close friend or loved one by the way.  They will always tell you some form of the truth and that will just mess you up. Better to ask the new guy at work, or the stranger in the coffee line at Dunkins.  These people really get you. 

Of course research helps one decide.  Which brings me to the COMMENT SECTION or 1,897,096 people have rated this product!!  I’ll find a product on Amazon.  It is exactly what I want, or think I want, and I browse through the four and five star reviews till I get to that one star.  What does Hurumph74 know that the rest of them don’t?  Is he the only one willing to tell the truth that the other 156 reviewers were too blind to see? 

Case in point, I am typing on a wireless keyboard I just bought.  It was cheap.  I thought it was a good option at $13. Am I right? One reviewer gave it a 1/2 star, “Beware this product just does not work.” One reviewer came back with “It is so easy to set up my five year old did it in two minutes.”  BURN!!  Another wrote “Did you puy the batteries in?”  I  mean it is wireless not magic.  If I were to review it I would say the space bar sticks a bit.  I would also say it was $13 so you know….

Maybe this post is really about standing by your convictions.  I guess my point is that you may not make the best decision or even the right decision but in the end the decision is yours.  That really is all that matters if you ask me.  I think.

You know I am hovering over the Publish Button trying to decide if I should even post this.   

Oh Look Balloons!

  Officially  55!  

So I got this in the mail. I have received many of these over the years.  I suppose now that I have reached the recommended expiration date for membership I might possibly join. I did work the info booth one year when their convention was in Boston.  I remember hundreds of thousands of people and Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker.  If anything it has a powerful voice and a huge voting block.  But I bet there are as many varied voices and opinions as there are choices for orthopedic shoes. I do remember we ran out of Scooter rentals pretty fast during that convention.  Don’t know if that’s relevant. Anyway they are a HUGE organization.

I know, I know, there are probably many useful benefits to membership, besides the free donut at Dunkins. It’s like signing up for reward points on a credit card.  It seems practical but I can’t help thinking I’m being conned into something I don’t need. We live in a very distrusting world. I had a friend who worked at a donation call center. Calling people all day to get them donate to …..fill in the charity. We all get them, tell the truth you are more apt to say “How did you get this number, it is MY CELL?” and hang up. Sure Kevin here’s my credit card number. I don’t think my ego could handle that all day.  It wasn’t till later a coworker told me she payed for a family vacation with Marriott Rewards Points!  She would buy groceries and gas with her card the pay it off when she got home.  I am NOT that organized.  Point is some offers are legit. There are some things worth joining, being a part of. 

Distrust comes with age I guess. Which is why AARP starts sending these out in our 40’s.  Right around the time we start thinking of buying all wheel drive and orthotics.  Or possibly consider voting Republican, nothing major maybe the local state level!  No never ever that, Never, that is how they get you!!!!

I also realized I had started a blog about turning 50.  When I deleted my old page for this one there was one post.  So I’m Turning 50 more to come!   Then nothing.  I can tell you that the last 5 years have been incredible.  I celebrated 20 years Sober. I took my first  9-5 job in almost that long.  I Realized stability actually allowed me to venture back into theater. I did Shakespeare for the first time and may do it again damn it. I have been nominated for a supporting actor role and been in award winning plays. I finally got Digital Headshots (check em out on this site) and have actually gotten roles because of my age demographic.  I was always told I would grow into my look. I was insulted at the time but now I get it I get it.  I also threw myself into fitness wanting to look the best ever in my 50’s.  A ripped calf muscle took care of that!  

Side Note:  The fitness concept of  If it hurts Stop is lost on most addicts.  Be warned fitness instructors and addicts alike!  I still work out tho, but that was a darn good excuse not to ever again. 

I do feel wiser. If I could go back and give my younger me advice it would probably be a punch in the face while yelling “Do you have any idea what you are about to put me through?”   I am touched when the younger actors I have had the pleasure of working with tell me they love when I talk about history. I am telling them  stories about the 80’s!!!  THE 80’s!!!!!  Gather around, back when we entered the town by horse and cart we would immediately look for the Church, for we would only be allowed to perform on the steps of the Church you see……THE 19….80’s…. Sure last century but still. 

I guess you don’t know you are wiser about anything until you are asked. Then you can say ” Well let me tell you how that worked out for me, it might be different for you.” Or  “Something’s will never go up in value but Beannie Babies were cute gifts I guess.” It all comes down to sharing your Experience, Strength and Hope. If you are lucky enough you get a lot more of each as you get older.

A Flash of Color 

  

Everyday on my walk to the subway I take a snapshot of a flower. It could be from my garden or that of a neighbor or a flowering weed by the wall of the Auto Body Shop on the corner. Sometimes there are other photo inspirations, trees, clouds, street lamps, but mostly I stick with flowers.  I then fiddle with different filters and whatnot during my ride into work. They end up as a Good Morning Facebook post.  This has become sort of a hobby of mine and can be addictive.  I have missed the train a few times as an image stops me in my tracks and I try to capture the best shot. I have also started posting to Instagram and #floweroftheday was all it took to see I am not alone in this addiction. 

Recently I was on vacation in Provincetown MA.  I was biking down Commercial Street in the East End when a reddish orange flash of color almost made me brake hard enough that I would have been sent flying over the handlebars. I quick glance to my right and I see a little dinghy or skiff bobbing in the water just off shore. Radiant in the setting sun.  Now I’m on vacation and probably unconsciously trying to fight my photo addiction who knows.  Plus, and more importantly, we had tix to a Drag Talent Show and you really want to sit up front for these things. Trust me.  So I make a mental note of the place and bike on. 

Now there are tons of galleries in Ptown. It is always fun to look and sometimes you come across a find within your budget. I began to see this little red dinghy in different variations all over town.  I was taken by the fact that so many artists were inspired to create their version of this little reddish orange boat. Were they, like me, momentarily struck by a flash of inspiration out of the corner of their eye? Did they see it from a restaurant window, a walk on the beach at sunset or possibly maybe a friends apartment?  A Lucky friend who actually lives on the beach in Ptown.

  

Possibly the little red boat as seen from the top of The Pilgrim Monument

  

I did not take any shots of the paintings and pics I saw in galleries but a Google search came up with this.

 

Grey Water by Gilles Thibault


This is one I bought. It is a transfer to a tile. I collect tile art for some reason. 

TJ Walton

  

The above came a few different versions. One of course in reddish orange. My bathroom is black, white and purple. Tiles are great art work for bathrooms and this is perfect!  I appear to watch Way too much HGTV. Cause that fun fact came tumbling out like an expert opinion. Don’t be afraid to go for bold throw pillows for that pop of color. Yes dark colors can make a room actually feel bigger, till about a year from now when I will tell you the exact opposite. (Cut to Benjamin Moore commercial.)

It all got me thinking that from a walk to work to sightseeing on a vacation there are many instances when inspiration urges us to create. Or at least capture the moment. Certainly there are subjects that inspire masses of people. They majestically stand there and seem to say go ahead snap or paint your picture just like the millions before you. The Grand Canyon, The Eiffle Tower, any sunrise and any sunset. Some are masterpieces others end up in photo albums or more likely Facebook or Instagram or Pintrest……All are reflections of a moments inspiration. 

Other times inspiration can come in a flash of color from the corner of your eye and stop you in your tracks. I suppose like the little reddish orange dinghy.  This somehow makes it seem more intimate more personal. It drives you to create quite possibly because it is asking you a very simple question. 

What did YOU see?
 

Including cover shot here are a few of my own versions of the Little Red Dinghy. this one is Blurry Color.I was inspired by my tile.

  

Retro

  

PinPoint

Sand Ripples

  
The last time I was in Provincetown for a summer vacation was 20 years ago. I was 1 month sober.  My next two trips were Ireland and Russia.  I figured why not get all the drinking capitals out of the way right up front.  In a few days I will be going back to P-Town again 20 years and one week sober later. I do not see a return trip to Ireland or Russia anytime soon!

I have had some glorious vacations in the past 20 years, one being my honeymoon. What strikes me now pondering a return to The Cape, is how many vacations I probably, no DID, ruin for others. My husband in particular. Romantic walks on the beach? Nope, too far from the booze. Romantic stargazing from an incredible roof deck? Nope too drunk to focus.  Romantic romp, well you get the picture.  

So 20 years ago there I was in P-Town in the height of the season.  A place that can make a person feel “less than” even on their best days, feeling like I had a finger stuck in an electrical outlet, my mind going 90 different directions all at once. To be honest  I don’t actually remember much of that vacation. It is blur, not a hold one hand over your right eye to focus blurry, thank goodness. More like an emotional and informational overload of sorts.   

What I do remember clear and vivid as day is sand ripples. We were walking at low tide out towards the lighthouse that stands on the very tip of P-Town.  I remember looking down and be taken in by the sand ripples. You know the kind made by the tide going in and out rather than by the wind. There I was standing in a sea of sand ripples. All I had to do was walk left or right, forward or back. I was not there to kill time till the next drink. How many experiences had I already missed because they were just place holders till the next drink?  I don’t think I had ever fully been in a moment UNTIL that exact moment. I looked down at my feet and the little whirls of incoming tide filling in among the sand ripples.  We walked to the lighthouse and sat on the beach looking out on life from the very tip of Cape Cod. I don’t remember how we got back. I do remember it was the first and best  vacation day of my life. 

Processing Loss at the Richard Rodger’s Theater

imageI just heard the cast of If/Then live on WERS.  The National Tour is in town for another week. I saw the original cast on Broadway a few years back. I was in NYC on business and had never gone to a Broadway show alone before and by God I was gonna see Idina Menzel on Broadway. It was just after the whole Adele Nazeem mishap and she was screaming Frozen all over the place so she was hot. Anyway I had loved her since Rent and was gonna see her on Broadway. I went straight to the Richard Rodger’s box office and was told there were only obstructed view left. This meant for the first 15 minutes I would only see a ceiling sconce and Idina’s well heeled feet.  I don’t  care I’m seeing Idina Menzel on Broadway…by myself….I am going to enjoy this.

The story is about Elizabeth who has to make a simple choice at the beginning of the show. Once she makes it we then follow Liz on one journey distinguished by a blue lighting effect and Beth distinguished by red. You know when the worlds collide because the lighting effect is purple.  Follow?  Those that watch Doctor Who, like Sci-Fi and have swallowed the slingshot around the sun plot line way too many times will. I do and have so I was thrilled.

Now you know Idina is going to have a big number, perhaps two. One of them comes in the middle of the second act as she pleads with her soldier/ doctor husband not to go on a third tour of duty (This is in Blue I think). He goes. It does not end well. BALLAD TIME! At this time a woman sitting about three seats to my left begins to sob and whisper “Oh No” over and over.  Idina begins to sing and we all hear a big “Oh NO” and the woman next to me on the left says excuse me we have to leave. “Now, are you kidding” I say, gesturing towards the stage.  The has to be the daughter or close work mate, probably daughter says “She just lost her husband.”

Now Idina is mid show stopper I look at the stage, the sobbing woman, her daughter/possibly work friend and God help me I did NOT say what was on the tip of my tongue. Which was “Well you should have stayed at Home!”  I’d like to say what happened next was a total recall memory of when my own Mother passed from cancer almost 30 years ago.

It was a horribly agonizing time in my life. I cried EVERYWHERE. TV shows, oh God the Waltons, everytime during the Waltons. Plays friends where in. Movies. Other people’s relatives funerals or wakes, some people I did not even know. I had close work friends too. I was a mess, a complete embarrassment to those with me MESS.  It took a long long time to get over that loss. To this day I am convinced I have locked some of that hurt deep down in the basement of my psyche, behind a big wooden door with iron clasp hinge thingies.  I was a big over emotional public display of grief and I did not care one bit who knew or witnessed it. Well maybe in hindsight…..but still.  It was the process that got me through and through I got.

I’d like to say all that went though my head during Idina Menzel’s big eleven o’clock number but No. What I said as I stood up was ” I’m sorry for your loss” as I pushed her to the right so I could watch Idina Menzel of Broadway damn it!  Not proud.

Go see If/Then on tour. I highly recommend it. It did not do very well but ran a year and is on tour so.. I however will always remember that time I went alone to see Idina Menzel in a Broadway show and more importantly as it turns out, to also see the woman who was reduced to tears and grief because Live Theater and Her Own Life intersected at the Richard Rodger’s Theater.