Sunday, May 31, 2015

Best Side

Muffy sees my best side. Even when I text her about my insecurities or rage, she sees only what I want to be. My glowing potential.

We were roommates in our second to last quarter of college. She called our room the tower because it was located at the corner of the top floor, with a peaked ceiling. It was a snowy winter, and we felt like ice princesses well before Frozen was a thing.

The school yearbook asked everyone to come by a booth at dinner for a few weeks to make sure everyone had a pic. And then they sent guerrilla photographer to nab photos of people who couldn't be bothered (me). It was nighttime. Maybe 8 PM when we heard a knock on our door. The girl said she was going to take a picture no matter what, so did I at least want to pose. I said I wanted a picture with Muffy. First we took a picture looking at each other and laughing. But I asked if we could switch sides of the bed because I was turning in and covering my good side. She said, "No, because this is my good side." She thought. "Let's both show our good sides," she concluded. We rearranged so I was facing the wall in profile and she was facing my back. She decided she would braid my hair, so it wasn't too weird. That ship had sailed for the yearbook girl, I'm sure. So, yeah, my senior picture yearbook photo is Muffy braiding my hair and both of us looking very smart about it.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

S'more Fever

My favorite food is a s'more. It's so simple, so delicious, and a pseudo-craft. In the past couple years, the world has caught on. America, at least, has s'more fever. Will s'more be the next pumpkin? A batty craze meant to infuse a fake sense of seasonal joy into our bloodstreams? Honestly, I hope so.

I've done a comprehensive look at all things s'more before. It was published here. In the past couple months, I have tried four new s'more novelties, so I am going to write about them, as one is want to do.

1. Starbucks S'more Frappuccino--I can't believe this didn't already exist. Here's the deal: pretty dang tasty, pretty dang s'morey too. The taste AND the texture of the marshmallow are preserved--v crucial. Graham cracker crumbs--choice. I had a decaf one once though, which was basically a bucket of chocolate drizzled ice and whipped cream, so, I guess, I don't recommend that. Necessarily. B+

2. Starbucks S'more Tart--SERVED WARM. Dang, this tart has it all. The marshmallow manages to be slightly crispy (a la campfire for reals!) and the chocolate is v rich 'n' gooey. The graham is a bit more thick and pie-crusty than a typical s'more would allow, but it was buttery, so who's complaining? A
Selfie text from Bisque that made me squeal!
3. S'more Oreos--Fun fact: several people alerted me to the news these were being made, and three people have already bought me some. I am a s'more celeb! Thoughts: the cookie does taste graham-y--but only slightly different than a typical Oreo cookie. The creme tastes like creme. I wasn't getting a 'mallow vibe TBH. Still, it's a good cookie. It's just not the most impressive take. B+

4. Maggiano's Dessert S'more Special--This was a special one-month-only dessert at the Lettuce Entertain You staple Maggianos. And that fact will make me sad for the rest of my life because this slab of s'more cake was literally the best thing I have ever eaten. I am not kidding. I've eaten sushi in Japan, fresh noodles in Italy, this weekend at the best restaurant in Chicago, and I would give it all up for a s'more cake. Thick crumbly s'more crust, fat slab of chocolate mousse, ample marshmallow topping that has been blow torched to smokey perfection, drizzles of caramel. Truly my favorite food of all time. If you think that's lame, then you clearly DIDN'T TRY ANY. A+++

That's the s'more round-up for now. Why more companies haven't gotten onboard is beyond me. I'm lookin at you Dunkin Donuts with your lack of S'more Munchkins.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gum It Up

I am trying viciously to write this play. No one is making me write this play. I get no money from this play. I have no standing offers for production of this play. I am blocked writing this play, yet I keep whacking away at this play. This is what they talk about when they talk about the hard times before the good times? In hindsight, will I be happy I spent the last 6-8 hours of my life researching court cases for the development of this play? I am under my own deadlines, and I don't want to fail myself. I need to do this, I think. Why do we do what we do do?

I woke up at 6:45 and read a Stephen King essay on writing on the back patio. The newly damp wood smell promised a hearty Sunday. I ran 2.5 miles and read an article on creativity. I wrote. I wrote. I tried to write. My sister and I had a tiny cafe birthday brunch before I blitzed off to a two-hour music improv workshop. And then it was back to my typing paper full of squiggles and doodles and lines I want in this stupid thing. I ate popcorn and watched my Redbox-rented Wild. Then I had some candy. Then I ate only cookies and candies for the rest of the day. Tomorrow the dump truck of work crushes me. I'm trying to reserve my weekends for errands, movies, dates, and writing. I need this time. I need it. Tomorrow is coming.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Wish I May

May days of standing
outside on grass-clipping sidewalk.
I watched my shadow.
"This is what May is for,"
I felt it in my bones,
the bright evenings at a box office,
some high school, to see a girl from my church
as Wendy in Peter Pan.
Getting the bike out,
creek down the street.
Hot dog stands, what time is it when I awake?
And now--
no rush leaving the revolving door,
brain burning with revision notes,
step out of the bus stop shadow,
Type at the new bistro set.
Listen to Into the Woods like
it's the first time in a long time
and you're walking to the middle school picnic trying to recreate your favorite parts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This Was No Path to Glory/You Always Walk Before Me

Birthday lunch.
20 important songs of the past year:

Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band
Final Arizona days slipping by in shaved ice and hotel pools
Hall of Fame - The Script
Neila Rey work outs on hot summer sidewalks
Classic - MKTO
Taking the downtown bus to improv classes
Cecilia and the Satellite - Andrew McMahon
Double the Andrew concerts, double the fun
Play It Again - Luke Bryan
When life has you down, listen to country
Shower - Becky G
The first day of teaching community college
Keep Together - Hunter Hunted
Filling up the new apartment
All Our Lives - Andrew McMahon
Evening grading in my office
Steal My Girl - One Direction
Chilly walks to the train en route to Englewood
Hey Dirty - ODB
For some reason the go to song Bisque absentmindedly sings
Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
Take stage music for my music improv team
Summer Nights - Grease
Karaoke with the comedy cohort in winter bars
Believer - Smashmouth
Takin' the stage during a five-week, sold-out sketch show
Maddness - Vitamin String Quartet
The power of playing music during 6 hours of English 101
Let It Go - James Bay
Writing new plays, all day, every day
You and Me (But Mostly Me) - The Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon re-igniting my love of musical theatre
Jesus Walks - Kanye
Navigating yeses and noes
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
Dancing at home, on stage, planned, unplanned
Blank Space - Taylor Swift
Played in every step class ever
Get Lucky - Daft Punk
Warm-up circles in Music Conservatory

Last Year's List

Monday, May 18, 2015

Think About Moves Only

Saturday in aerobic step, I fell off my platform. I guess it's a right of passage, and allegedly every one has done it, but it's still a total shock. One minute I was doing a kick ball-change, and then I hesitated, and then I was on the ground.

I was so shaken that I was determined to get the rest of the hour right. I went full-out on each leg lift, arms high on knee steps, big spins. At one point the instructor forgot to call the next routine, and I alone was so focused that I chugged right through the class confusion. When everyone was back on track I thought, "I did great just then." And then I jumbled up the beginning of the next combo. As long as I was focused on the moves, I was killin' it. As soon as I thought about how I was doing the moves, I biffed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Important Conversations

Last week there was a photo posted on the Humans of NY Instagram of a uniformed woman (EMT?) and he quote was about how hard it is to be a single working mom. The examples she cited: the school play was at 10 AM on a Tuesday. How am I supposed to be at that? Also, the Mother's Day Tea was a Friday afternoon. (Noted: The Father's Day lunch was a Saturday.)

The comments, as usual, were overflowing with "Keep up the good work!"s and tags and emojis and, of course, some haters too. I don't usually write, but I felt compelled to. Sometimes the photo subject finds the account and reads the comments. I wanted her to know! I wrote that I also had a mom who worked (of course, I also had a dad, which was pretty important). Nevertheless, I had a mom who worked, and she couldn't always be there for every little "mom" type thing. She did make it to a lot, which is very impressive. What she couldn't make it for...whatever. So, I wrote my mom has had a long, fruitful career in an interesting field. She has a lot of advice to share with me about education and the workplace in general. She is a valuable resource in my adulthood--not just as my mom, but as my peer. These conversations about her expertise mean much more to me than a conversation we could have about that time she helped make a craft for my Girl Scout troupe. I'm sure there is something very lasting, a foundation, set up from having a parent's presence--some psychological "someone is here for me"--but I think there's something just as lastingly important in growing up knowing my mom was out at work. She had important things to do, and I would do important things too one day.

As a side note, I liked that my dad picked my bowling team up from middle school. I liked that he took me to and from tap class and video taped our dress rehearsals. I liked that he gave me bowls of Rice Krispies and even let me play beauty parlor on him. I believe I am a stronger person and I hold others accountable for their actions based in gender identity because my gender equality education started quite young, quite naturally. Dads can make food, moms can wear suits, whoever is there is there, and today I have two helpful, smart people accessible anytime.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ex Post Facto

My 8th grade music class was particularly boisterous. The middle school was being renovated that year, so we were shoved in some kind of makeshift used-to-be superintendent's office? We had a first year teacher. I'll call her Miss L. One thing I liked about Miss L was that she started every day by playing a song, and we would journal about it--what instruments we heard, the mood, the tempo, etc. What I didn't like about Miss L was basically everything else.

That class was important to me because I don't remember having many friends in it. Most of the honors kids I was usually saddled with were in band. This was my time to experience what the rest of my peers were up to. Some key things I remember were getting up to do a presentation on my favorite musical artist--at the time a ska band--and a girl said I was probably going to talk about Dreamstreet, which is completely embarrassing because Dreamstreet was the dumb spin-off BSB made for teens two years too late. I had referenced the group and their "hit" once at a Girl Scout trip ironically. This chick did not get irony. I didn't know what irony truly was at the time, but I felt shamed for trying my hand at it. And now I go to satire school.

I also remember when I ran for class president a guy who ran opposite me asked his friend, "Are you going to vote for me?" He chuckled, "No dude, I'm voting for SNAP" (which was my team's ticket name). I thought that guy was pretty bold to make me the butt of a joke one foot from my seat, but I was weirdly not bothered. Despite the fact that that one dude got fewer votes than me, it was a daunting use of (ironically) irony. That jokester made a point to talk to me at our middle school reunion when we were seniors in high school. He asked if I was going to Harvard, and when I said no he was like, "Why not?! I thought for sure you'd go to Harvard." I googled him last year and the only hit was a police report from a DUI he got two summers ago.

So, Miss L. Kids were chattering and joking and goofing as usual in her class, and she said every time we misbehaved she was going to write a letter of "MUSIC" on the white board. So, we kept misbehaving, and by the end of class all five letters were up on the board. She then announced any day we made "MUSIC appear" we did NOT get a sticker on a chart. And if we filled the chart with stickers, we got candy.

"There are so many things wrong with this," I thought. 1. Kids should not be rewarded with candy. 2. Huge boxes of every kind of candy imaginable were available every single day in the cafeteria for 50 cents a bar. The prize for a month of perfect behavior was worth two quarters. 3. We had just learned about ex post facto in social studies class. It meant you're not allowed to make a law in retrospect. And that's exactly what Miss L. did. She explained the rules around her "good class" test after we had already failed. I raised my hand and said this. "We should get a sticker for today because what you just did violates ex post facto." She gave me the biggest, nastiest eye roll I had ever seen.

My reaction was, "I guess that's not how it works here. Or maybe I didn't understand the concept like I thought I did." But the classroom should be a just place, and I did understand. The eye roll, it haunts me. But in a good way. A way that reminds me it might be me who knows a thing or two.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weed Need

It doesn't matter that they are weeds, and a lot of people want to kill them. I arrived at my high school residency twenty minutes early Wednesday and basked in the yellow sea.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Phoenix Weekend, April 2015

Changed into shorts as soon as we landed. A caramel apple pasty. Gathering like high schoolers in the hotel lobby. Every day a new morning run--sand and buildings from the 80s and cacti. Buying birthday balloons for Mama Bisque. Earned iced coffee. At least six donuts. Screenplay revisions with Shells, the best breakfast burrito. Galloping through a rare rain. It followed us. Artisanal strawberry Pop-Tart on the patio with Ro. Diamondbacks game and a churro dog (churro in a long john covered with ice cream), all the messed up thoughts. My old house. Cager makes a pillow fort after Catfish. Night cap ice cream pretzel cone for free because they were already evening the register. Family brunch on the sunniest day. Dresses and a massage, poolside talk with Hill, burnt shoulders. The last double date, shaved ice, I stand in a parking lot waiting for my last friends to arrive. Ru screams out the window, and I get in the backseat. Good morning and goodbye.