Saturday, June 30, 2007

Potporroui ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Tomorrow I promise to tell several of the "complex stories," including the almost indestructible lock story. But for tonight ~ a couple of items:

First of all ~ One of the bright lights of the performing world is (at last report) gravely ill with cancer. Beverly Sills (AKA Bubbles - her childhood nickname), conquered the opera world opera house by opera house. It's ironic that she didn't perform at the Metropolitan Opera House until shortly before her retirement. She was an amazing performer, but more important she was a wonderful person as well. When she retired from singing she became a force for all the performing arts. She was heavily involved with the New York City Opera and the Met, but she also championed all the arts.

One story concerns her debut performance at one of the most legendary opera houses in the world ~ La Scala. The performance venue was known for "diva" behavior by its stars and those who performed. As a matter of fact it was expected. There is probably no person less like a diva than Ms. Sills.

As the story goes - there was a problem with one of her costumes ~ as in ugly, didn't fit, etc. She made several attempts to work with the costumer to no avail. At this point, evidently, a hush fell over the rehearsal as people watched to see what she would do - and establish herself as a true diva.

In typical Beverly Sills fashion, she took the costumer's scissors and proceeded ~ without a word ~ to cut the dress into shreds. She then handed the scissors back to the costumer and hung up the costume on the rack. Still without a word, she restarted rehearsal. Legend has it that there was applause from cast and crew - and she cemented her place as a La Scala Diva.

My thoughts and prayers are with her ... and here is a performance from 1976 - singing Una Voce Poco Fa!!

Oh, and there was nothing "stuffy" about her either ~ here she performs with Danny Kaye and managed to completely "break him up" at one point:

She also performed with Carol Burnett as well as the Muppets. I couldn't find a clip of her duet with Carol Burnett, but I did find this Muppet show clip (it's not in English ~ so the speaking (not singing)is dubbed.


I really should save this for an afternoon -- but it's just too funny to pass up. This really is a Late Evening Time Waster and I'm not responsible for lost sleep as you continue to --->press the button<---- ~over and over and over .... (thanks to the thinking blog)

And with that - the almost last doses of medicine have "wiped me out" ...

---More tomorrow

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And For Your Viewing Pleasure ~ Evening Thoughts

It was a day full of frantic activity, a doctor appointment, back to work and more frantic activity around me. And to make the evening complete, I had to leave work much later than normal and missed the best connection to the bus I needed. As I'm trekking my way to the train ~ I get a phone call from my new (as in brand new) maintenance man who is having trouble drilling a lock.

Back to the complex ... and yes, there definitely was a problem. Forty minutes later, back to the train to catch the bus home. (I was NOT singing three buses and a train!) There was yet another phone call from maintenance newbie - and while I'm getting someone to help him out...the cell phone battery runs out and the phone shuts completely down. The wonders of electronica - all my phone numbers and contacts were in the phone. So, I was without a way to call ... even if I'd borrowed a phone.

It was a good time to just put things into perspective.

As to the Doctor visit - she is working this from an interesting perspective ~ rather than trying to start with what it could be, she is starting with what the problem isn't. So, several serious issues were eliminated today - being honest: TB and such are not the problem. The illness is not behaving as bronchitis should, however, she is strongly leaning toward that and/or a viral outbreak...and it treating it as such. I may not have any internal bugs left when she's done! And hopefully, there will be no major side effects from the medications. I didn't care for the two shots I got - and certainly have no desire for any more!!

The visit today was a relief to me. It's amazing how the mind can add worry on top of worry, without any grounds. Of course, there's always those around who want to add their two cents into the mix ~ mostly with dire stories of someone who died from just what I've had going on - or ended up in a terrible state and have I been tested for (insert name of Disease de Jour here)? I know they were only trying to offer comfort and care.

The comments and emails I received were more in line with the community I enjoy. My dear friend EB sent me a delightful card today that made my heart sing this morning.

I could have played "hide and seek" and said nothing, but "sardines" is much more fun and allows people to share in all facets of life.

There is more to share - but I'm very tired, and the medicine is "kicking my butt."

--more later

Is It Still Safe To Go Back In The Water ~ Morning thoughts

Yesterday I arrived at the doctor's office in time for my appointment, to be met with the news that she had an emergency and would need to reschedule. However, they did know some of what she wanted done for testing, and would I have a seat and hold out my arm.

After feeling similar to a pin cushion, my NEW appointment is for tomorrow - although if there is a cancellation, they will try and get me in today. They also had some pills to take that would help me sleep and not spend all my time coughing. Did they work? Yes, they did.

I will know more tonight, and even more after tomorrow. And, trust me, I am going to be playing "sardines" (see last post) and you will know what's going on.

This morning I was going through some news sites -- and I ran across this wonderful news item. My only question? What else could they use the batter for? ...

(June 26, 2007)SCOTT CITY, Missouri - Police said inmates used pancake batter and toothpaste to cover a hole they made to allow a female inmate to slide into the next cell and join a male inmate. Now steel plates are being added to the Missouri jail's interior walls.

The hole at the Scott City Jail was discovered this weekend, said police Chief Don Cobb. He said inmates removed a block from the wall, after making a digging tool with a nail, a wire from a light fixture and a toothbrush.

The mixture of pancake batter and toothpaste looked like mortar, he said.

Prisoners will stay in a county jail until a security check is completed at the city building.

The city jail's exterior walls already are reinforced with steel to prevent inmates from escaping, Cobb said.

"Unless they can smuggle in an arc welder, they aren't getting through that," he said.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water ~ Early Evening Thoughts

When I last posted ~ I really thought my illness was fading away. That, unfortunately, turned out to be quite wrong. There are some serious concerns about what it is ~ and as a result ~ I have a doctors appointment in the morning. She wants to run a couple of tests and see if she can pin down what exactly is wrong.

To say I have mixed feelings about what is going on would be an understatement. On the one had I want to know what's going on ~ on the other hand I'm not sure I do.

When I performed in the delightful adaptation of Robert Fulghum's series of writings titled "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" we did a section called "Hide and Seek." He had written brilliantly about the wonderful game - ending, of course, with "Olley Olley Oxen - All In Free! He follows that with a description of "Sardines."
"Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is IT goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found." (emphasis mine)
--Robert Fulghum:
All I Really Need to Know, I Learned In Kindergarten.

As he usually does, he brought the story home with the story about a man who had developed cancer, and told no one. It was discovered by everyone he knew ~ including family ~ upon his death. His idea was to protect them from worry, etc. The end result was far from what he would have wanted. His family and friends felt cheated, hurt and confused that he couldn't or wouldn't trust them enough to be supportive and caring during that time.

And that leads to personal community...and the need for it.

I'm going to close this with a story about Jimmy Durante. He was asked to be part of a show for World War II veterans. In his response to the organizers, he explained that he could participate, but he would be able to do only a short monologue, and would then have to leave for another event. The organizers were happy to have im at all, and agreed.

When he was on stage, however, something happened. He finished his monologue and stayed. Ten minutes became twenty which became thirty. The applause and laughter grew louder and louder. Finally, he thanked his audience and took his final bow. Backstage, someone mentioned that they thought he had to leave early. Durante said, "I did have to go, but take a look, here's the reason I stayed in the front row."

There were two men one who had lost his right arm, and the other his left. They were sitting in such a way they were able to clap and cheer ... clapping loudly and proudly.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Horses Sweat, Men Perspire And Ladies Glow ~ Late Night Thoughts

The last of my illness seems to be passing away. Unfortunately, it seems to passing through my body...all I will say is there has been more dripping and such (I'm being discrete here folks!) and I've been literally sweating more out. Thanks for the comments and emails I've received...they mean a lot. I think this is the last of it.

I didn't want to simply not post tonight - and as I was bedded down this afternoon reading I ran across a delightful passage in a book that I just HAD to share with you.

I am an enormous fan of Lilian Jackson Braun who has written over 20 of "The Cat Who..." books. Without taking away any of the surprises in the books, she has managed to create a set of characters that are amazing in their reality ~ and a pair of Siamese cats that, if people will only pay attention, can solve murder and other mysteries.

The main character (other than the cats) is a delightful bushy mustached gentleman by the delightfully odd name of Qwilleran who writes a "Qwill's Pen" column for the local paper. In the book "The Cat Who Saw Stars..." he also starts a column about grammar - titled Gramma's Grammar. And as much as I love words, puns and use of language ~ I just couldn't resist this passage:
Dear sweet readers -- Your charming, sincere, intelligent letters warm Ms. Gramma's pluperfect heart! Sorry to hear you're having trouble with the L-words. The safest way to cope with lie, lay, lied, laid and lain is to avoid them entirely. Simply say, "The hen deposited and egg...He fibbed to his boss ... She stretched out on the couch." Get the idea? But if you really want to wrestle these pesky verbs to the mat, use Ms. Gramma's quick-and-easy guide.

1- Today the hen lays an egg. Yesterday she laid an egg. She has laid eggs all summer. (Ms. Gramma likes them poached, with Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce.)
2- Today you lie to your boss. Yesterday you lied to him. You have lied to the old buzzard frequently. (Tomorrow you may be fired.)
3- Today you lie down for a nap. Yesterday you lay down for a nap. In the past you have lain down frequently. (See your doctor, honey. It could be an iron deficiency.)
Here's my challenge: what fun combinations in the style of the above can you come up with for ~

who - whom
that - which
as and like
less - fewer

Complex Tales ~ Early Morning Thoughts

To paraphrase the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz ~ "What a week! What a week! I"m melting!" Well ~ not really melting, but certainly glad that the week is over.

Two weeks ago, I landed a job after being out of work for "some" time. (that post here)

Anyone of a "certain" age, knows the difficulty of finding work. As I've said before, it's not something that is even mentioned ~ but being "older" certainly figures in the minds of people doing the interviewing. I was sure the job was out there ~ I just hadn't found it yet. Of course, the fact that my knees don't work as they should was part of the problem as well. (As a side-note: anyone who has or is contemplating Wal-Mart, should definitely read --->Behind The Counter<--- blog! Along with being ~ it's a great eye opener!)

On June 11th I in essence, walked in and took over an apartment complex ~ as their new manager. One of a string of new managers, I was to find out. Those of you that live or have lived in apartments know the drill. Once a month, on the first (usually) of the month your rent is due. Failure to pay on the due date results in late fees and play THAT game too long and you'll be evicted. On the property I'm managing, the tenants pay by the week. So, the work that I usually did over the month is compressed into a 7 day period instead of 30. At the end of the seven day period, I get to start it all over again. Of course, there are certain legal steps that apartments have to take when tenants decide not to pay - for whatever reason. These steps are also compressed into a one week period.

Fortunately, most of the tenants have gotten the picture and the idea. The day of the week they moved into the apartment is the day of the week their rent is due. (Not a really hard concept, but ... there are a few who just seem to have trouble with that idea.) So, notices that we are going to file, cut off electricity (we pay the electric and they pay a small portion of what would be a LARGE bill to us) and lock them out...occurs quite quickly.

Under the previous ownership, the apartments suffered from all sort of problems, which we are currently trying to sort out. Some of the problems were/are physical and some were/are residential. Fortunately, with a little strong arm help from the corporate office (You have to love it when someone loves to play Rambo!) and some very friendly and helpful police officers ~ I have reason to believe that the last of the two-legged cockroaches have been somewhat forcibly removed decided to move elsewhere.

The complex itself has such a delightful variety of people that there's never really a dull moment. I've got all kinds of ages, orientations, beliefs, outlooks and ideas. I have one fellow who two months ago was literally living on the street and through the efforts of someone ~ now has a job and is holding his own on rent, utilities and survival. I've got a 48 year old skateboarder who really should have been a hippie artist with a flower painted VW van. I have one gentleman in his late 30's who is heavy into the whole "goth" culture. These are just some of the characters I will be introducing to you over the next several days. Oh and trust me, "corporate" will also be coming under the microscope. There are a LOT of interesting stories there.

And, of course, this was the week that my health decided to become less than perfect. The first week I was in/on the job, I had to spend 5 days (in hot and muggy Houston weather) in a very small office (I think they gutted a broom closet to make it ~ it seems smaller than a small cubicle) with no air conditioning. That was what did me in and tried to bring me down. I've held it together, and this afternoon I relaxed and dozed. Tomorrow is definitely a day of "do not disturb - or else!"

Right now, it takes me just over an hour (if the buses and such run as they should) to get to work, and a bit longer to get home at night. I will be moving onto/into the complex the end of the month ... so there certainly will be tales of that as well.

--much more to follow

--wicked witch from Mego Museum