Sunday, June 30, 2013

Parents' Stuff

"If your house were on fire, what five things would you save?" I asked my dad.

"Well, the cat," he said. "Whatever computer had most of my files on it..." He paused, "I mean it would depend on what I could take. I wouldn't have time--"
"No, time is a non-issue. You just get five things."
"Well, I would just take whatever I could--"
"No, that's doesn't matter. A fireman will get any five things you want."
He clinked his spoon around. My aunt shuffled in the kitchen, closing the bag of pretzels.
"I would save [her boyfriend], the dogs--How many is that?"
"Let's say it counts as one."
" computer. Non-digital photos..."
My dad re-piped in, "Old photos, yes."
"And?" I asked him. He shrugged.
My aunt narrowed her eyes around the living room. "Okay, maybe a lamp?" Then, definitively, "I guess I would save three things if my house were on fire."

And yet. We sit in a house of things.
Back in the day.
My dad and aunt have been spending the weekend sorting through their parents' things. Every night, Char takes to his bed like its magnetized to his back. So many boxes. Tables fill of things, empty, shift.

Tonight the garage was officially closed. The siblings had conquered the junk/treasures. I have a new can opener and sheets. Tax Ant exhaled big and prodded at Char: "You promise Lucy right now you're never going to put her through this." My dad said, "I promise," but he looked at his hands and smirked.

He knows. He knows the box he heaved today is one I will heave someday.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wisconsin in June

Typing in the guest bedroom with the concrete floors, fluffy blankets.
Basement, corner of the house. Middle of the woods.
It's been cool here, windy. Wildflowers--hot orange, little purple kisses.
Out running in sunshine, but it feels crowded. Trees brilliant--
but they hang over me, casting shadows, hiding the lake.
A toothless man in a van pulls up next to me.
I usually do not stop for this type of thing, but in America's
Dairyland...He tells me there's a bear ahead, so I 180.
I look up to find a dragonfly halo.

In town I remember sitting on the bench at the marketplace.
The old time candy shop. I wish I could bottle the smell.
It hasn't changed since I was four. The barrels of Bullseyes,
taffy baskets, cashew brittle on wax paper. Jars of gummy sharks.

Late sun on the porch. Two big ol' dogs.
My dad eats a sandwich quietly across from me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

InDIPendence Day

Everything is adorably RW&B lately. Streamers and pie and the thick heat of summer. Yet, the "Independence Day" I've been enjoying (a fave Ani tune) is the antithesis. Keeps getting stuck in my head. A downer, but a beautiful one:

We drove the car to the top of the parking ramp
on the 4th of July.
We sat out on the hood with a couple of warm beers

and watched the fireworks explode in the sky.
And there was an exodus of birds from the trees,
but they didnt know we were only pretending,
and the people all looked up, and were pleased,
and the birds flew around like the whole world was ending.
And I don't think war is noble,
and I don't like to think that love is like war,
and I gotta big hot cherry bomb,

and I want to slip it through the mail slot of your front door.

Don't leave me here.
I've got your back, now 
you'd better have mine 
'cause you say the coast is clear,
but you say that all the time.

So many sheep I quit counting,
sleepless and embarrassed about the way that I feel.
Trying to make mole hills out of mountains,
building base camp at the bottom of a really big deal.
And did I tell you how I stopped eating
when you stopped calling me?
And I was cramped up shitting rivers for weeks
and pretending that I was finally free.

Don't leave me here.
I've got your back, now 
you'd better have mine 
'cause you say the coast is clear,
but you say that all the time.

We drove the car to the top of the parking ramp
on the 4th of July,
and I planted my dusty boots on the bumper and sat out on the hood, 
and looked up at the sky.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hi. Bye.

Part I: Hi.

April 2013.
Today is Muffy's birthday. Hi, Muffy. Happy Birthday. I love you. You are my best friend.

Everyone who meets Muffy either loves her or at least recognizes there is some weird hippy dippy force radiating from her. She is that good. This is legit.

In honor of her day of days, three things I love about her:

1. If you are getting gas, she hops out and stands with you.
2. I have literally never seen her be judgmental about someone's appearance. More than that. She's not someone who refuses to show judgement, she is someone who doesn't seem to feel it. Big diff.
3. She wrote this to me in an email a week or so ago after seeing Red:

"Seeing the play also reminds me that expressing through art is not the end and all. And if it’s the ego that wants it, well, the ego’s never going to be satisfied. Rothko finally produced the perfect masterpiece in Houston, but he still killed himself. So, we should be basing our actions on something other than the ego—of course on Love."

Part II: Bye.

People die every day. But others live every day. And overall, I have to believe the good is winning.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hold Nothing Back

The morning I leave I think about the day I left. I came home from looking at houses and rinse cups of quinoa. I put the masala on simmer. I chop the vegan sausage. It looks like pig and smells like apples and savory spice. Bisque comes in the back way, summer sun falling across his face, footsteps muffled by the AC kicking into high gear. The season finale of Mad Men is good and exciting and Bisque tells me Matthew Weiner is out of ideas. Like, apparently, what happens this season is as far as he conceptualized for all his little darlings. And yet, there's another season. What will he do?

I am reminded of something I learned in my improv intensive last summer. In a Harold form, you know you will come back to the same scenario or idea three times. A beginning improviser often takes step one and imagines a step three and fills time in two. Ex: in scene 1A an owner has a dog that is so manipulative, the owner has to cancel dates etc. to walk the dog when it seems to choose. The beginner gets cut from the scene and knows by beat three the dog should be walking the owner. So, when 2A rolls around she fills space with a similar scene about the situation worsening. I did this once and my teacher told me my first scenes were too similar. I explained, "But I didn't want to go too big," and he asked me why. I didn't know. I learned to hold onto nothing for later. If 1A is about a manipulative dog, don't drag on to a slightly funnier joke twenty minutes later, just go for it, start 2A with the premise that the dog has finagled his way into presidency. What could be bigger than that? I have no clue, but the real improviser would find it, and I guarantee it will be more magical that, "Oh gee, Spot, now you're walking me!" Blackout.

I love Phoenix, and I, as usual, will be sad to see it get smaller from my Southwest seat. As I finished packing I told Bisque that sometimes I can't believe I just went for it. I've wanted to live here in this place since I was 17, but since it was what I wanted more than anything I figured I wouldn't get it until I was, I dunno, 60. Like the best things are too good to be had right away. But just just just do it. I am so happy it hurts.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

David Copperfield at The MGM Grand

When I was 8, I saw a special on A&E about David Copperfield. I was appropriately mesmerized. HOW HOW HOW DID HE DO THAT WITH THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!? This was pre-Internet, so my only resources were adults. I asked everyone if they remembered what happened in 1983. Imagine my insane delight when I found a biography on my grandfather's shelf labeled with my new obsession's name. Written by an author I recognized! Charles Dickens! Cut to me, quite disappointed.

Friday night I saw the posters, and I just sort of knew I couldn't leave Vegas without seeing the man, the myth. Tickets were expensive, so I kind of waffled. Ultimately, I sprung for discounted decent seats at around 4 PM, and I was genuinely excited for the next five hours. DREAMS COMIN' TRUE!

Some Thoughts:

-He's charming, but in a way I didn't anticipate I would find distasteful. I recognize he does the same show three times a day for globs of potentially drunken often non-English speaking slack-jaws, but, come on, SOME of us have been waiting 16 years for you, David. Be cool. #Smug
-Every illusion was so intricate that it actually didn't impress me? It's hard to describe, but...everything was so huge and big that you just KNEW like 60 people were all over making the magic happen. Yeah, there was a trick that involved getting strangers to give numbers to David, and then he opened a locked box that had been on stage to reveal license plates of those numbers...but, all that shows to ME is he has enough production money to have people sweating like mad backstage imprinting metal and shooting it through trap doors. And my bleeding heart liberal side gets concerned with how much gas having a motorcycle appear onstage wastes.
-It's really hard to be impressed these days. This is not David's fault. I literally saw him snap a car into existence, and it took me half a minute to clap. Movies make everything look easy. It's not, but I have to remind myself that.
-Each trick took so much longer than it should have because of the great lengths every set-up involving an audience volunteer takes. David has to spend 50% of his time proving he's interacting with a stranger. Annoyin', but I get it.
-The big man himself was sick. Sneezed, had to blow his nose, rushed through an emotional monologue about his grandfather. It sucks to perform sick, and that might be why he was more glib than I had hoped (I'll tell myself that), but when you perform every single time, you must remember there is someone out there who needs the performance more than how crappy you feel.
-Some racist jokes. Eek.
-Despite all this, I genuinely enjoyed the show. I am extremely happy I got to realize an elementary school fantasy. Life, you know! Life.
Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart?
How the music can free her, whenever it starts?
And it's magic, if the music is groovy.
It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I hate Vegas. I didn't think I'd like it, but I disliked it much more than I had anticipated. The first time I walked to the bus from our hotel room through the casino I almost turned in for the weekend right then. No sense of time or light, putrid carpet, hoards (all carrying slurpees of booze and smoking inside), ching cha ching bling bling sirens sirens sirens. And it was hot. So hot. I sat next to a woman at David Copperfield* who was staying for free at the MGM Grand because she takes so many trips out to the city of sin. HOW people enjoy this vacation is beyond me. I actually loved my trip--but despite the location instead of because.

Ro and Cager felt too nauseous on the Disk-O to ride it twice. But, it was my favorite part of the Adventuredome, so I did. They danced, both their wild hair-dos flying everywhere, at the base of the ride. I laughed when I was spun toward them. I want you to take over control, take over control, take take take take over control. Music is always blaring in Vegz. I closed my eyes as the giant machine whirred on, hitting the highest point, leaving me in freefall for less time than I could measure, but long enough to feel.

Other things:
-The best brunch I have ever had. At the Wynn. Holy lemon meringue.
-Being called a "trollop" by a homeless dude.
-Screaming about scabies in Eli Roth's Goretorium.
-Cirque de Soleil! Flipz! Acrobatz! Dude in a crab costume!
-The final night, as we were falling alseep to The Wedding Planner, a commercial for Vegas Vacations came on TV. The catch phrase was "Living the Dream." We looked at ourselves. I was wearing moose boxers that I had just dribbled water on, makeup all smeared, wreaking of smoke, watching a JLo movie at 2 AM in a circus themed hotel. Is this the dream now?
-Pancakes in Old Vegas at midnight.
-Cager's mystic store/place of employment.
-All the Cher jokes you can imagine.
-New York New York roller coaster and Stratosphere. Cager constantly telling us how all the rides are prone to break-downs. "We might get shot off the top."

Ro and I scurried into the airport at 8. An hour before our flight. "I hope we make it," she said. "Well, if we don't," I reassured her, "it will be because we felt the need to put on temporary tattoos before we left this morning." Mine is a golden unicorn. It's on my shoulder.

*More detailed update on this coming!

Do you believe in life after love?
I can feel something inside me saying,
I really don't think you're strong enough.

Friday, June 14, 2013

No Other Gods

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me," is a thing a lot of people get taught. I have the ten commandments written on an index card behind my bedroom door. They're a decent read.

Ditto American Gods, which I am currently involved with. Gods of past, gods of present, gods of this "culture."

When I was leaving Vancouver, I had a stress lump in my throat. "I'm on vacation, I shouldn't be this way," I thought. I texted my sister, and she responded, "Responsibilities are gods." True, sis.

I am going to worship gods. It's going to happen. I kneel at the shrine of Mindy Kaling and gym shorts. But I want to choose what to worship. I am not going to be tricked into it! No tripping into manholes of concern.

Ideas are more difficult to be killed than people, but they can be killed, in the end.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cruise Happenings in No Particular Order

The very first night of the cruise, we boarded, moved into our cabin, headed to dinner, went through a safety training, and then Safe Haven was playing on a giant outdoor screen above the upper deck pool. It was 40ish degrees out, but for some reason I really wanted to see this stupid movie.  I cuddled under some blankets with a mug of cocoa and watched the mountains float by.

Pookie watchin' sea lions.
-Zumba with (as far as I can tell) all the Koreans on the boat. Koreans love Zumba? One day I persuaded my mom and sister to come. It was the day there was a routine to "Gangnam Style," and what I wouldn't give for some video evidence of that five minutes of my life.
-Attending and regretting an event called "Pastry Extraveganza." It sounds as wonderful and horrible as you might imagine.
-Spending time at a window desk in a teeny "Writing Room"! Writin' plays 'n' stuff! My thesis--she's in full swing.
-Magic show! Saw lady get sawed in half and levitate.
-Laying on a hot rock in the spa while the boat hit some choppy waters. Being swayed on a relaxation stone--not bad.
-Goat cheese souffle. Fresh papaya. Oh, hi, mushroom gnocchi.
-Seeing lots of rad wildlife: caribou, moose, bear, whales, sea lions.
-Glaciers chunking off. They are bluer than you think.
-The wilderness of Liarsville, flannel dudes playin' guitar.
-Walking the top deck while the boat went full speed ahead toward Vancouver, my sister and I nearly flew off into the ocean, carried by blasting icy winds. I yelled, "I'M KING OF THE WORLD."

I was happy to come home--no more pants please--but I am also very happy I went. Coming home is nice:
Hill's doing.

Flowahs from my dude.
You're here. There's nothing I fear.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I can confidently say I have the best dad I know (it would be illogical to say "in the world," and I'm into honesty.) Happy day.
The Man.
DAD: Well, I have to start planning for my trip out there in October to see your play.
ME: I really appreciate the sentiment, but you don't have to come all the way out here to see my lame play.
DAD: Oh, no. I'll be there. With an airhorn.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

About to Set Sail

Why do people wave?
(And you can wave to all of your friends.)
The man in the orange vest
(And I'll never leave you again.)
in the mud of dead and down trees.
Our train chugged by, and he waved.
He couldn't see us.