Category Archives: Regular-type talk

I Have a Blog No One Reads, Too — And I Know How to Use It

So. . . it’s been awhile. Turns out when you give birth to twins, your ability to sit still for lengthy periods of time seriously dwindles. I did pull off the all-female production of 1776, which was nominated for five local BroadwayWorld Awards and won for Best Costumes (YESSSS!). I was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical and as Person to Watch, which was very flattering and exciting, even if I didn’t win. I also performed in two other productions (Into the Woods and a world premiere play called My Dear Miss Chancellor, which was about a secret society of sword fighting lesbians set in Jane Austen era London and yes it was as bad ass as that sounds).

I’ve been busy. Happy. Exhausted. Busy. And not very full of writing, I am sorry to say!

So what, dear reader, has brought me out of hibernation?

Why, self-righteous rage, of course!

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All-Female 1776

If you just read the title of this blog post and went, “OH MY FREAKING GOD NO FREAKING WAY THIS IS AMAZING” then I’ll just put this here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/founding-mothers-all-female-1776/x/9600526

 

For the rest of you, I’ll catch you poor souls up. 1776 is a Tony Award-winning musical about the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence.  It is famously known for having a fiercely intelligent and witty book and for being a great musical with very few songs in it — there are only 10, I believe.  I saw the movie in the 6th grade when we were learning about the Revolutionary War and I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I was right.  The movie, while long, is pretty fantastic and, for those who care, it stars Mr. Feeney as John Adams.

As a young character actress, roles in musical theatre are few and far between and 1776 is chock-full of amazing characters — the founding fathers of 1776 are portrayed as wildly passionate about Independence, pro or anti, but also as lewd, drunken, bawdy, short-tempered, and all around bad ass.

There are two women in the show. Abigail Adams and Martha Jefferson. Martha has a scene and a half.  Abigail appears in beautiful duets between her and her husband through their letters (with most of the lyrics/dialogue taken from actual letters they wrote back and forth <3). While I appreciate the tip of the hat to Abigail, who was an amazing woman and for whom one of my daughters is named, 1776 isn’t really a show with a lot of good female parts in it.

UNTIL NOW!

I am co-producing an all-female version of this remarkable show and at the tail-end of our fundraising effort.  To read more about my project, check out our Indiegogo campaign and maybe consider throwin’ in a little somethin’somethin’:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/founding-mothers-all-female-1776/x/9600526

 

 

COMMITMENT!

My Favorite

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Squeak

When my husband, then boyfriend, and I first moved in together, we wanted to get a pet because that’s what couples did to show they were committed. M Fox suggested that we foster, not adopt (how romantic). I thought, “Great! Let’s get a pregnant kitty and have five kittens to play with!” Well, apparently everyone else also had that idea so when we signed up with a local animal shelter, we were on a waiting list. For adult cats. Meh, I thought. Fine, whatever.

Weeks of visiting animal open houses at PetCos and feed stores went by and finally a shelter volunteer with big eyes turned to one of the older jaded workers and said, “What about Hershey?” They both smiled.

A week later I met the big-eyed girl in a PetCo parking lot and she handed me a bag with a cat in it. It was kind of how I imagined an artless drug deal to go down. I took the bag, said, “Thank you,” and then got in my car and drove home with our new charge.

I don’t remember when I found out about Hershey’s origin story. They told me he was a year old (which is pretty much what all shelters say about any non-kitten) and that he had a brother who was all white. They were bonded. Some old woman had wanted to replace her dead white cat, but didn’t want both Hershey and his brother. The shelter forced her to take both. A month later, she called the shelter and said that Hershey was attacking “her cat,” his bonded brother, and that she didn’t want him anymore. Get him out of her house. They found him, terrorized, under her bed. I don’t know who that old broad is, but I both hate her and am grateful she was such a raging bitch so that we could have him.

When I got Hershey home, I put him in our bedroom with his litter and his food and opened the bag. It was all black inside except for two large emerald eyes. I went into the living room to tell M Fox that I’d put the new cat in the bedroom. M Fox said, “That cat is just going to go under the bed.”

For two weeks, Hershey lived under our crappy, four-inches-off-the-floor IKEA bed. He would sneak out in the middle of the night to eat and use the bathroom, but if we ever stirred, he fled back underneath.  Friends didn’t believe us when we said we were fostering a cat — there was barely any evidence.

Here’s the thing, though. If you stuck your hand between the wall and the side of the bed, he would squiggle toward you, rub against you, and purr.  He wanted to love you.

Soon he would come out at night and sleep between us.  Then he would stay out as long as no one opened the door. Then the apartment belonged to him. M Fox found a cat post on the side of the road (like you do) and we began teaching him tricks.  He could nimbly jump to the top of the post and wait for treats.

Every time I came home from work, he would run out to greet me with his little meow. He was a regal cat, sleek and handsome. He had a little squeaky meow. That he used. A lot. My squeaky wheel. Squeak. He deserved a much more dignified name, but at least it was better than his shelter name. (Hershey? That doesn’t even make sense, he was black, not brown. Also, a brand name? Please.)

He became what was called a “failed foster.” We adopted him. He would sit at the window and wait for us to come home, in every apartment we lived. He knew the beep of our car locking in the parking lot. At one point, we had deck and if I went downstairs to hang out at the neighbors, he would sit on the deck and cry for me if he heard my voice. He went through three different companions: Stripe (who we ended up not adopting because HE KEPT PEEING ON ME. PEEING. ON. ME.), the baby, and the witch.

We’re shitty at naming animals, okay?

Well. . . the witch is pretty aptly named.

Well. . . the witch is pretty aptly named.

He loved them all, he took care of them, even Stripe, a territorial tom who didn’t like him very much.  When one of them was hungry, he came to me on their behalf, squeaking.  If the baby had knocked something over or locked himself in a drawer (sweet, but not bright, that one), Squeak would come and get me. If the litter was neglected, he squeaked, politely. Sometimes he just wanted me to sit down for ten minutes so he could sit next to me and purr. He never destroyed anything, he never hurt anyone, he was a gentleman.

He only peed and pooped outside the box once, and he felt really bad about it, even though it was entirely our fault.

We went away for the weekend and left the bedroom window open, which blew our door shut, trapping him in. But even then, he didn’t go on the carpet. He made a little poop nest in M Fox’s sleeping bag in the closet. It was kinda cute, actually. Very organized.

My special child. My perfect child. My favorite. My favoritism toward Squeak was a running joke, but it wasn’t a joke. I always said my children would never have to worry about vying for my favor because Squeak was my favorite and always would be.  My daughters would say to their teachers, “My mom says her favorite is the cat!”

He used to sleep in between my legs at night. I swear he could hear me putting a blanket on my legs from across the house and he’d trot over and want in on it. He loved blanket tents. He loved sitting on M Fox’s lap while he tried to tie his shoes or take them off. He loved watching birds outside. He loved hunting flies in the house. He killed spiders and bees for me. He was a midnight face-walker. He loved hair ties, he would shoot them from a fang and a claw and chase after them. He liked to sit on my laptop and on my shoes, especially my flip flops. He licked plastic. He was a big fan of the If It Fits Philosophy.

He didn’t like people food, so he never begged — he politely declined tuna from the can, chicken from the bone, and even some nigiri. He loved to knead certain blankets in slow motion with his eyes half-slit in ecstasy, so you felt sort of inappropriate watching. He sneezed a lot. My windows still have Squeak snot on them. He ran when a stranger walked in the door, but would eventually come out and want a lap. He had a special affinity for people who were allergic to him. Of the ten guests in the living room, he wanted the one whose esophagus would close upon contact.

He was perfect.

We grew up with him. M Fox and I became engaged. We married. We moved to Seattle. We lost Alvin Bean. We miscarried. We got pregnant again. We found out we were having twins. My pregnancy was awful, I was in bed or hovering over the toilet. Squeak followed me around and sat with me, kept me company in my misery. He didn’t even seem hurt that I wouldn’t let him sleep on my stomach. Every night he’d try to sleep on my swollen aching carcass, as if me pushing him off the previous three hundred times was just an honest misunderstanding. After I brought the girls home, I thought about how they’d grow up with Squeak. How I would have to comfort them when he died of old age.

I could tell he was losing weight.  I had heard of cats being stressed out when new babies were brought home and even though he loved hanging out in the nursery with everyone, he was still a sensitive cat.  So I took him into the vet.

There was a mass in his abdomen.  The options were expensive surgery that would maybe extend his life by anywhere between not at all to a year or. . .

Squeak, who feared the carrier and the outside, who ran at the sound of tin foil, who fled when I sneezed. Who I suspected never fully got over his origin story. Operating tables and doctor’s offices didn’t sound right. Not for something unfixable. M Fox and I were once again faced with the terrible privilege of choosing dignity.

The last week of Squeak’s life had me following him around the house with various plates of crappy cheap cat food to entice him. He was over the nice organic grain-free stuff that we’d been feeding him for years. I guess I can’t blame him. Eventually he stopped even wanting the “cookies” that he loved so much. Pie pans of water appeared around the house. My heart sank watching him sit near them, but not drink. I never begrudged him, even though I constantly stepped in it or kicked it over at 4am when I went to feed one of the girls. He was a gentleman until the end. He didn’t want to be a bother, he just wanted to be near. Until he was too tired to move. And then he just wanted a chair by the window to watch the birds in peace.

I didn’t believe that you could fall in love so thoroughly with an animal you didn’t raise from babyhood. My life is so enriched from having been proved wrong. I was his person. And he was my favorite.

Yes I Can, Yes I Can!

Let’s start with this brilliant musical theatre duet:

I admit that I am pretty easily manipulated if you frame something in terms of my ego, for example, our household’s longstanding Quilt Challenge.  My husband has very openly stated that he would love it if I would make a quilt, but he knows that I couldn’t do it.  Despite this pathetically obvious attempt to use reverse psychology (in reality, my husband believes that I can do anything), I have totally fallen for it and I know damn well that someday I will make a quilt!  My excuse now is that I don’t really have a sewing room or even a sewing spot and our cats would sleep on it and it’s actually really expensive to get started and I also don’t own a sewing machine.

But god damn it, I’m going to sew a quilt one day and make M Fox eat it.

The problem with pregnancy Dos and Don’ts is that it’s not just about your ego; your choices affect the life (or lives, in my case) of a blissfully ignorant little creature who is happily jabbing you in the cervix because it’s so excited that its limbs move.  Awww.

There are the undebatable Don’ts — like you can’t chug a Long Island Iced Tea, shoot up some heroin, and then hop on Space Mountain.

To be fair, you probably shouldn’t do that when you’re not pregnant, but ESPECIALLY when you’re pregnant, such behavior is frowned upon.

The dietary Dos and Don’ts are mostly a matter of common sense and personal preference.  Apparently you’re not supposed to eat cantaloupe, fro-yo, or turkey sandwiches.  I say (and, remember, I am a doctor*) use your best judgment.  If you want to live off of goldfish and the occasional grape (after drudging it in vinegar to get off the poison), then hey, go ahead.  If, like a certain Classy Dame, you want to drink diet soda and gorge yourself on sushi, then hey, go ahead.  Pregnancy safety is a matter of statistics and paying attention to statistics is, oddly enough, totally subjective.  *No I’m not

But that’s a conversation that a lot of people have already talked themselves hoarse over.

The thing that I find most oppressive about pregnancy is the conversation that goes beyond eating, drinking, and going to Disneyland or Space Camp — it falls into either the pitying with concern (“How are you going to be able to do that?”) or the pitying with certainty (“You realize that you won’t be able to do that ever again”) category.

 

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A few pregnancy vignettes

A series of thoughts during weeks 7-10. Warning: May contain TMI

 

Well it finally happened.

I ripped a hole in the ass of my pajama pants by doing LITERALLY NOTHING.  And don’t you dare come after me with that misuse of “literally” crap or I will literally kill you.  By which I mean I will end your life, which is the literal meaning of “kill you.”

~~

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Week 7

Hello, dear readers.  So it turns out that I’m knocked up.  Surprise!  I’m entering my second trimester now.  The following was written during the delirious 7th week of my pregnancy, which easily fit into the Top Five Worst Weeks of My Life.  I swear I’m not only going to write about being pregnant from here on out, but I had a bunch of venting bottled up over the past few months and managed to write a little when I wasn’t vomiting.

Oh, yeah, also, some of this might contain TMI and some nonsensical ranting ;)

 

All I want to do is sleep, poop, and complain.

Why yes, I am in my first trimester, however did you know?

There are a lot of unmagical things about getting pregnant, but one of the most unmagical things is that first trimester where you have ALL THE FEELS, but you can’t talk to any damn person except for the man who got you into this mess in the first place.

Okay, that’s not fair to M Fox. Half of this situation is my fault.  Something about being simultaneously nauseated and starving all the time sorta saps my magnanimity.

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One Woman Breastfeeding Band

This is a twins breastfeeding pillow.

One Man band

I think it needs a few adjustments.

 

Maybe tap shows, too.

Maybe tap shoes, too.

If I stood on a street corner with a tin can while feeding two babies at once and playing all these instruments, I could save up for the babies’ college funds in no time!

What’s sad is that I have been through so many indignities in this first trimester that the above scenario doesn’t even seem that embarrassing.