30 June 2006

Imperiling our geezer cred

David and I watched what I called the epilogue to "The Office" last night and while he was getting the DVD loaded, a video was finishing up on whatever channel he'd left the cable. After a few seconds, I asked "Is that Nick Lachey?" David thought it was and a few seconds after that the end credit for the video confirmed it.

While I am certainly disturbed that I could recognize the former Mr. Simpson, the really scary part is that I did it in under 5 seconds. It takes me longer than that to recognize some of my relatives.

I'm thinking that I'll have to put in some time getting back into my geezer zone - I'll work on saying things like "these kids today!" and "back when I was a girl..." (as though I had been rendered gender-neutral during the great march of time).

Nick Lachey. Good grief.

29 June 2006

Parent Clean

There are many kinds of clean, as we all know. My most consistent is the sort of clean that's attained by tidying up on weekends if I'm home. (A big "if," I'll grant you.) I guess that's my Baseline Clean. If the basket is full, the laundry gets done; the trash gets collected and taken out; the carpet gets vacuumed; clean clothes get put away; stray papers (I seem to be a magnet for stray papers) get collected and put .... oh, somewhere; maybe the sheets get changed; Pekoe gets brushed; plants get watered; the patio gets weeded; the compost gets emptied; the recyclables get taken to the bin; the bathrooms get cleaned; etc. If I'm feeling extra energetic, the kitchen, bathroom, and entryway floors gets washed. I can do a pretty good Baseline Clean in a couple of hours, which is one of the things I like about living in a smaller place.

The other two extremes that I am likely to encounter are Tech Week Dirty and Parent Clean. Tech Week Dirty means that things (clothes, shoes, junk) got dumped onto the nearest flat surface when I came in; mail has piled up but dishes haven't because if I'm living at a theater, I'm certainly not cooking at home; Pekoe feels neglected; and - a given - somewhere in my condo is a half cup of tea that has gone moldy. (Tea is possibly an even better growing medium for mold than PDA.)

Parent Clean, on the other hand, is that blessed state where even the dusting is done. Clutter has been dealt with. Surfaces sparkle or gleam as appropriate. The condo is largier, arier, smells good, and somehow has its own Mozart-y Haydn-y maybe even Bach-y sound design*. Absolutely nothing in the home makes one's parents suspect that they've raised a slattern.

On the morning of a Sunday matinee for The Winslow Boy, I had to try to take the condo from Tech Week Dirty to Parent Clean. I didn't completely succeed, but at least we got to Baseline Clean and when you consider that I was already rehearsing another show and had recently taken a third show out of town, that's no small feat. No dusting happened and precious little vacuuming, but the flat surfaces were clear and my folks could be taken on the tour. You see, this was Dad and Audrey's first visit chez moi. They live about 80 miles from me and have a dog that is pretty old, so what with one thing and another, they'd never been here.

I gave them the big tour (wear comfy shoes!) which can take as long as 3 minutes if there's a big crowd, showing off my favorite bits of the condo, like the pantry (where my washer-dryer lives) that is actually pantry sized, so that my canned goods have more elbow room that I have, and the nice view of the soccer field across the road, and my patio.

Audrey and I discussed how my putting the dining table and chairs in the alcove instead of the "dining room" made sense (there is enough room for either the table & chairs or the china cabinet & buffet). We also discussed the bent wood rocker that I keep in the dining room so that someone visiting me can sit comfortably while I do food prep. The caned seat had separated from the frame and Audrey suggested that I show it to Dad to see if he could fix it. I did and, after a pause, he told me that it was beyond repair and said, "You know, if you really like this chair, I'd throw it out and buy one that looks like it."

Then we had a lovely - if hastily prepared - dinner and the folks headed back to West By-God Virginia to let the dog out. (Who lets the dog out? My parents, that's who.)

Audrey mentioned during dinner that in my efforts to manage their expectations, I had led them to believe that I lived in a scary hovel. So they probably would have loved my place even if I had not gotten it as pretty as Baseline Clean merely because they didn't have to run in to the building through a rain of bullets or dodge collapsing walls during dessert.

And now that I'm not working on a show, perhaps I can maintain something between Baseline Clean and Parent Clean for a while. Wouldn't that be nice.

* But no Chopin, lest the folks worry about my serotonin levels.


Michael, one of the reviewers on Show Biz Radio, had his first audition.

It’s one thing to be a Monday morning quarterback and tell the world what the team did wrong. It’s quite another thing to offer to suit up and take your hits with the team. Well, I offered to suit up, now it’s up to the coach to decide if he wants to use me or not.

23 June 2006

The Virtual Foundation

I got an e-mail from my theater friend Erika this morning that said:

This is a very interesting website, which shows hundreds of projects from around the world which need financial support. The projects all solve local problems of environment, human health, poverty alleviation or economic development and many projects need as little funding as a couple of thousand dollars. You are able to search by country or type of project and you can also see how much funding they need and how much they have already received. It's a great place to look if you or a group you belong to are looking for a way to make a difference somewhere.
With a link to The Virtual Foundation.

So I did some mousing around on their website and found out that many of the donors give in the amounts that I do - $10 here, $18 there. Then I wandered around the web and to see what I could find about their bona fides.

The Open Society Institute (George Soros’ organization) says:

History: The Virtual Foundation was created to develop and encourage online international philanthropy, to provide a new source of support for NGOs and civil society building activities, and to develop new NGO funding resources. Founded in 1996, the Virtual Foundation has demonstrated its feasibility, especially in the areas of environmental and health grant-giving. With an international network of Consortium Members and efficient and responsive administrative grant review structure, the Virtual Foundation presents an optimal opportunity to develop Internet philanthropy. There has been considerable enthusiasm and support for the Virtual Foundation in the NGO and private foundation communities.

The Internet Program is supporting the Virtual Foundation in its efforts to attract active donors to the Virtual Foundation website through a media campaign, employing both traditional and electronic media outreach efforts. The Internet Program grant will also be used to encourage first time Virtual Foundation donors through the use of matching funds.

Population Targeted: Private foundations, individual donors, NGOs, the Internet community in general.
Philanthropy News Digest says:
An online program that supports grassroots initiatives around the world. The foundation screens and posts small-scale proposals on its Web site, where they can be read by potential donors. It was founded in 1996 by ECOLOGIA, an international nonprofit organization that has supported environmental movements and groups across Eurasia since 1989.
Philanthropy News Digest also has links to other on-lines charities, if you'd like to direct your money closer to home or just check out a charity to make sure that your money is going for programs not perks.

14 June 2006

And the answer is

Liza asked five friends five questions. Below are the ones that she asked me. (Eep - back in May.) and tonight I am home for the first time in quite a while. I've missed my home. I had dinner with David in Bethesda before he went to see a show; opened the windows to let in the it-just-rained air; took a nice, long, hot shower, made a nice, hot cup of tea, and settled down to actually answer the questions. You know, before the end of the year, or anything. So here we go....

In a parallel universe where Silver Spring & MoCo do not exist, where do you live?

Boston or Candada. It's funny, but even though I was born in California and feel happiest outdoors in 75 degree weather soaking up the sunshine, I never dream of relocating somewhere sunny like Florida or Spain. My thoughts always turn lightly to cold climate places like New England or Scandanavia or the Maritimes. Probably because I have a far too romantic view of those places. What makes this even sillier is the fact that I am too lazy to wear a coat, let alone scarves, gloves, mufflers, caps, or anything else that would keep me alive in any of those areas after about mid-September. So if I did move to Boston, I'd be dead from hypothermia before Thanksgiving. If I were to live somewhere warm, it would be the south of France. I love New Zealand but couldn't live there because it's too far from everywhere else and I love to travel too much.

If you could direct anyone, in anything, who? what? where? why?

Hmmmmm..... I'm not sure. I've done enough directing lately that staying out of the driver's seat for a while (well, after the one acts) is the biggest temptation. I like to direct but I love to act.

If you could be cast in anything, what? where? with whom? why?

As Emma in Pinter's Betrayal. As Julie Cavendish in Edna Ferber & George S. Kaufman's The Royal Family. As Eleanor in The Lion in Winter. As practially any woman in practically any play by Craig Wright. As Karen in Dinner with Friends. As Ruth in Collected Stories. As Anna in Burn This. As Sally in Talley's Folly. As Abby in The Mercy Seat. As Abigail in 1776. (Some of those roles are never gonna happen because, oh, I'm too old and never looked like a dancer at any point in my life. Some of them are still possibles for the future.) Because they are good chewy roles about interesting women who have brilliant dialogue written for them.

With whom? Oh geez, that list could go on for a while. I know some truly amazingly good folks to work with. Talented, generous, and fun. Laura and Sally and I keep hoping to find a project to do together. I love playing in small spaces where a change of posture or expression carries to the back of the house. My only regret about community theater is the sheer number of compromises that we have to make because there's no money and we're doing the best we can as willing amateurs. So I'd love to work in a pro house just for the resources.

What are you most proud of yourself for doing?

Right now? Getting on airplanes even though I am a nervous flier. Reading Dick Francis all these years has taught me that being afraid is not a good enough reason not to do something. Be afraid and do it anyway. Do it with knees that feel like Slinkies and guts that have turned to gravy. Do it wishing that you were somewhere else. It doesn't have to be done gracefully, it just has to be done. But don't let fear stop you.

What do you wish more people knew about Celiac Disease?

That most people who have it exhibit none of the "Big Symptoms." That more people have it than you realize and that if 1 in every 133 people has it, more folks should get tested for it. That I am better informed about this disease that a lot of the medical community, many of whom believe that it's a children's disease or that it is very rare.


A few years ago I turned 30 and had a party to celebrate. My friend Andrew had prepared a speech. Near the top of the second paragraph of this speech is probably the truest words anyone ever spoke about me:

"...just try to avoid becoming friends with Leta if she puts her mind to it."

11 June 2006

My kingdom for a slip

Oh Tempora, Oh Mores.... (Or, as David believes that I think the phrase goes, "Oh Tempura, Oh Mores")

Well, I can only say that I am glad that neither of my grandmothers lived to see this day.

Yesterday I was wearing a light blue skirt that Mom gave me. Pretty skirt. And in my bedroom completely opaque. But around ten o'clock I went to the ladies' room and in the full-length mirror, I saw that apparently my bedroom light is not the most discriminating light there be. Because I could very clearly see my underpinnings through the skirt.

Ack! This was clearly (oh, tooo clearly) a job for a slip.

So I told my boss that I needed to run out for an hour and I went to the local mall. I searched throughout Ladies' Lingerie at Target and found no slips. I did find a sales lady who told me that they no longer carry them and referred me to Macy's. No luck at Macy's. So I headed up the mall to Penny's, where the sales lady told me that they also no longer carry them because they weren't selling. She said that about a year ago they put all of their remaining slips on clearance and that was then end of them.

I resigned myself to looking more liberated than I intended and I avoided windows and backlighting for the rest of the day. And I checked with my pal the internet. Sears - no slips. LandsEnd - no slips. Victoria's Secret - duh - no slips.

Admittedly, I didn't know this until just now because I have always been resistant to wearing slips because if one is going to celebrate a lovely summer day by wearing something light and airy, it seems counterproductive to wear a plastic bag beneath the lovely, airy dress, rendering its airiness pretty much a concept. I also, by the way, pretty much eschew dressing gowns and, until recently, slippers, not because I did not believe in them but because I am lazy.

And if you were wondering why this would only be of interest to my grandmothers and not my mother, I refer to the time when I told her that I could see her bra through her blouse (I was a teenager and very conservative about how my parents should dress) and her reply was that at least she was wearing a bra. That's why.

Amazon.com carries slips and I found some links for places like American Intimates which also carry slips. But who knows for how long? They had very few varieties. So I'm going to check my slip inventory and order one or two because clearly the retail day of the slip has passed.

At long last, I am going to get right with my grandmothers, always models of clothing opacity. Of course, this is just another sign of my continuing slide into geezerhood. Or maybe my slipping into cronedom, but frankly, if I wanted people to see my underpinnings, I would spend more money on them and make them worth the view.

02 June 2006

A Drink with Something In It

A Drink with Something in It -- Ogden Nash

There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish that I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth —
I think that perhaps it's the Gin.

There is something about an old-fashioned
That kindles a cardiac glow;
It is soothing and soft and impassioned
As a lyric by Swinburne or Poe.
There is something about an old-fashioned
When the dusk has enveloped the sky,
And it may be the ice,
Or the pineapple slice,
But I strongly suspect it's the Rye.

There is something about a mint julep.
It is nectar imbibed in a dream,
As fresh as the bud of the tulip,
As cool as the bed of the stream.
There is something about a mint julep,
A fragrance beloved by the lucky.
And perhaps it's the tint
Of the frost and the mint,
But I think it was born in Kentucky.

There is something they put in a highball
That awakens the torpidest brain,
That kindles a spark in the eyeball,
Gliding singing through vein after vein.
There is something they put in a highball
Which you'll notice one day if you watch;
And it may be the soda,
But judged by the odor,
I rather believe it's the Scotch.

Then here's to the heartening wassail,
Wherever good fellows are found;
Be its master instead of its vassal,
And order the glasses around.
Oh, it's Beer if you're bent on expansion,
And Wine if you wish to grow thin,
But quaffers who think
Of a drink as a drink,
When they quaff, quaff of Whisky and Gin.