Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's the love...

I keep being reminded of all the reasons I frickin' love Knoxville Tennessee.
December's a good month to show some love so here it is. Here is the love.

1. National Performance Network is hosting their annual meeting here. It's at the historic Bijou Theatre. It's being hosted by the Carpetbag Theatre December 10 - 14.

2. Glowing Body's Free Day of Yoga on December 6. Free yoga all day long and discounts on all merchandise. There's also an incredible box of food you can purchase weekly to help your tastebuds, your health and your waistline. My best friend owns this and she's not paying me to include this. That's love.

3. Carpe Librum - Independent Bookseller extraordinaire. If they had wireless and hot drinks, I'd move in.

4. Alex Lavidge and Knoxville Overground. Alex came home for a spell to wrestle a bunch of entrepreneurs into a focused effort. Now he's off writing a book in NC but he's a hometown boy and is up for leading the way.

5. First Night Knoxville. Downtown will be inhabited with over 200 artists in 10 venues on New Year's Eve. It's produced by the Market Square District Association (who presently employees me). This isn't nepotism. It's love.

6. Speaking of love, MSDA also got the bandwagon moving for First Friday's in Knoxville. December 4 will mark this month's First Friday. This means a Santa Parade, Downtown Gallery Walk but most importantly the monthly cupcake tasting at Magpies Cakes. Don't be a fool.

7. Film maker Paul Harrill now lives outside of Roanoake VA but he makes the majority of his movies in happy go lucky Knoxville. He and his film maker wife have goats and chickens to keep them honest.

8. Jill Andrews lives here.

9. Rachel Travis is a friend, a new mom and a innovative artist. She does children's illustrations and pet portraits. They are beautiful and you couldn't find a sweeter gal. or

10. Last but not least, the Actors Co-op ~ founded by yours truly, but this is about what I love and it's my blog so it's here and I love it. Call it nepotism if you want but believe me, I'm not paying myself to say it. We are performing in the Holiday Show with Christabel and the Jons on December 19 at the Square Room.

This is the first of many Top Ten's before 2010. Check it out. Show it some love.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

stream of...


Lucy Maye and Emma Jean; our house; our animals: Virginia, Izzie, Deuce, Peerless, Bella, Harry, Isabelle, Gage and Humpback; our back yard; our fire pit and our fire place; Hollis, Peggy, Biz, Nicole, Howie, Jessie, Sarah P., Leah, Mitch and every other friend who walked this year with us; Hot Springs, NC; the Actors Co-op especially Katie, Greg, Andrew, Dale and Jim; the Glowing Body especially Mollie, Jen, Philip, Kim, Molly, Caitlin; my family and my ex-husband's family, Lucy Maye taking riding lessons and Emma Jean picking flowers and me sitting on the side of the hill watching; going to sleep at 9pm and waking up to write this after having slept solid through the night which means my daughters did also; being invited into four homes with people I love and who love me back for Thanksgiving dinner; being alive to be thankful; being thankful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

...break up #447

So I'm back to filling up my queue and I've had a few thoughts.

I end relationships when I'm in plays. During three out of the last four shows, I've ended relationships. This last break up leaves me feeling like I have a river rock on my chest. There's no sense trying to make a wheel roll when it's a square. I've tried to roll those squares before and it really goes nowhere. Better to let it go. I did not hope for this.
Hollis thinks it's no coincidence that I initiate these splits when I'm in a show. Her theory is that when I'm in a show, my focus goes to the show. I can't manage or accommodate the relationship. What I need comes straight to the surface because there's no time for those needs to do otherwise. I can't suppress or manipulate other ways for them to be met. The cracks start to show. I don't work well with cracks. I don't like to watch things falling through. Hollis is very zen and it makes me feel better just to get her take on things. I wonder if I just freak completely out when I'm doing a play but she says no. I think she's probably right, at least I hope so.

A woman I know recently posted an article on facebook about the increase of divorce when the wife becomes significantly ill. This doesn't happen when the husband has health problems. Statistically, it looks like a large number of men bail when the going gets rough. She stated this study was just another reason not to marry. I find this disturbing to the point that I can't stop thinking about it.

My former father-in-law is sick. The kind of sick where it's unlikely to get much better. The kind of sick where things like hospice and amputation are being discussed. My former mother-in-law also has health concerns but her diligence in his care is like a flag constantly at full mast. She's exhausted and I'm sure her heart is being pushed to unreasonable limits, physically and emotionally. She doesn't sit down. It's obvious she's putting scotch tape on all the cracks as soon as she's out of sight. They married when they were pretty young and haven't spent any time apart. They are constant companions. I'm sure their relationship isn't perfect. It's not the kind of relationship I would want because it seems really co-dependent. It's hard to think of one without the other. I do think he would stand by her and sit by her bedside if the roles were reversed. It's terrifying to think this wouldn't be the case and that you would leave someone sick because they are sick. You would divorce due to illness.

Recently the mother-in-law was talking to me about going to a funeral (the mother of one of their friends) and how she felt lost without her husband sitting beside her. She was sitting among her friends who were all couples. She asked me, as delicately as is possible for her, if I ever felt that way since I divorced her son. Lost? I was honest. I said no.

Husbandless Wives vs. Husband-free Wives.
I think I'm a Husband-free Wife. I mostly like domestic duties but I don't think I like husbands. I only know a couple of husbands that I like. There are a flock of women I know who seem to be Husband-free Wives. It's not an anti-man club. I know, from brief experience, that it would be just lovely to find that perfect man and for him to take out the trash on Tuesday mornings. We'd go for romantic getaways and he would somehow manage to be there for me but not in my space. It's a nice thought and I don't think I'm alone in it. I'll probably always be a Husband-free Wife even if I find a Wife-free Husband. This is easier said than done.
If bad gets worse, former mother-in-law will be a Husbandless Wife. She's based her entire life on her position in her marriage. It could be an interesting transformation but it will likely be a sad one. I'm not sure what she'll do with herself. I remember when my old neighbor died, his wife didn't even know where the vacuum cleaner was. If she had died first, he wouldn't have known where the checkbook was. She was a Husbandless Wife for a while but then she began to travel. I suspect she now sits somewhere in the middle. I also know Husbandless Wives that just had bad apple husbands. These ladies could do with a good man who can fit right into the role of husband with some kindness and dependability. Husbandless or Husband-free - either way it's still a hard go of it alone and it seems that whatever any of us want, it's hard to find.

Today the girls and I got up and walked to the store to help us get out of our pajamas. We spent the day cutting out paper dolls and pitching a tent in the living room. We made bracelets and went to a play. All good.
The tent is now on Emma Jean's bed and she's sleeping in it. This threw Lucy Maye into a self deprecating rage and she actually called herself a black ant that everyone is stepping on. She did not want the tent in Emma Jean's room. She even sat outside for about 15 minutes and came in accusing me of ignoring her. She was right. I was.
Here's where we are in the girl house.
Our rule for school days is that once everything is done – getting dressed, eating breakfast, backpacks by the door, teeth and hair brushed – the television can come on. They may get 5 minutes out of it but usually it's less. It does allow me a minute of breathing room to take the trash out or feed the animals or something. They always watch some DVD or another in Lucy Maye's room. Emma Jean recently realized that she was spending all her time in Lucy Maye's room and wanted Lucy Maye to come to her room once in a while. On Thursday, Emma Jean really wanted her sister to come in her room. Lucy Maye refused with a simple “Sorry, I don't want to.” . I say to Emma Jean that it would just be easier for all of us if she could just watch a little TV with her sister. Emma Jean says “I'm not going in her stinky damn room.”. Ummmm. “What did you say?” Long pause. “I said, I'm not going in her room.” “What did you just say, Emma?” “I JUST said, I'm not going in her room.” It's now time to go to school.
That's where we are. And for the record, whereas I might be a Husband-free Wife, I will never be a Child-free Mother. I am a Child-Full-Up-To-My-Eyeballs Mother and that's how it goes at the girl house.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I don't know if the rain will ever end. I find myself waking up at night to make sure that the pump in my basement is working. If I don't hear it, I obsess until I drag myself out of bed to see about it.

I moved the Actors Co-op office on Monday. Its funny to go back into all the files, all the things tucked carefully into binders, all the photos and show posters. Mostly it made me smile. Sometimes it made me sad and sometimes it would remind me of folks that I'm glad moved away. Everything is in my house now. All the costumes, props, sets, lights and all of the office. It's somewhat comforting to have these things so close. I threw away the records of the phone bills dating from 1998. I threw them away like a burden, like an unnecessary past. I threw away other stuff too. I threw away four 33 gallon trash bags of things I thought I needed or wanted just last year.

I am so tired of moving. I moved out of a house I loved in 2007. I moved out of the Black Box Theatre, our old office and out of the rental house into a house I bought in 2008. I moved all Actors Co-op storage and the office in 2009. I don't think there's much left I can move. I can't actually think of anything but as soon as I say there's nothing left for me to move, something will creep out from under the bed and demand to be moved somewhere unexplainable.

I want to be bored. I want to have everything so organized and clean that I am bored. I would like to actually look for something to do.

I don't know if the rain will ever end. I am so tired of moving.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009



When I was a kid, my dad lived away. Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, to name a few places I can remember. I visited all those places except South Dakota. My dad made a big deal about the indians living in that region. When I was 23, and driving across the country, he kept warning me not to go through South Dakota because the of the indians. I think he likes to be dramatic. He sometimes talks about a militia. I wasn't going anywhere near South Dakota but that didn't seem to have any effect on his continuous monologue, his increasing warning. Anyhow, when I was a kid, probably around third or fourth grade, I went to stay with him for a couple of weeks in West Virginia. He was living in a trailer in the country. I listened to this Jerry Jeff Walker record the whole time I was there. I learned, by heart, the song Night Rider's Lament. Other than Rhinestone Cowboy, this was the first song I ever learned. I really like music and for better or worse, it started with Rhinestone Cowboy and Night Rider's Lament. Night Rider's Lament had something that stuck with me, unlike the Glen Campbell tune. It talked about adventure and unconventional life. I can still sing the whole song.

I just turned 40. This is an age that can make a gal ponder her choices. I've been looking at where I am and questioning if I'm here on purpose or by circumstance. At 40, I'm divorced with two small daughters and an ever changing employment situation. I have a house payment, a car payment and all kinds of insurance. I've got two dogs, four cats, two fish and a frog. These dependents sit with my daughters and consider me thoughtfully as I age...actually they don't. That's a lie. They all just run amok. The two fish and the frog are contained but everyone else is just all over the place. It's like herding squirrels at my house. Every now and then, someone sits still and does an amazing thing. Lucy Maye will write me a letter apologizing for something small and harmless. She's considerate. Emma Jean will sing a song. She's bold. The cats will purr and the dogs will sleep lazy on the floor. They are well fed. It's November and I'm thankful. I came home tonight to an empty house. The girls are at their dads. All the animals are here but it's their sleeping time. I came home tonight to a quiet and still house thinking of my life.

I started two new part time jobs two weeks ago. I started rehearsal for a play three weeks ago. Last week, along with my youngest daughter, I contracted the Swine Flu. I am told at the clinic we have tested positive for the Flu Virus Type A and the Nurse Practitioner leans over and tells me the secret. That it is actually the H1N1 virus but they have to call it Type A. I have the Swine Flu with two new jobs and a rehearsal process and my little girl sick and not enough time as it is to get everything done. So I rearrange and restructure my week and send the white flag up. I do as much as I can on my computer while sleeping, coughing and wrangling Emma Jean. Tamiflu for young people is kind of like crack. At least that's been my experience. It made Emma Jean as hyper as I've ever seen her. At one point, she was acting out scenes in a movie as I sat on the couch clutching a box of tissues. When first learning that we both had the virus, I had images of she and I laying cozy in the bed reading books and sleeping fitfully with our communal fever. It’s good to have dreams even if they don’t come true. Now we are better and resume life. It could have been worse and I’m glad we were up and at it enough to Trick or Treat on Saturday the rain. There we were and we were glad to be there. Emma Jean as Dorothy and Lucy Maye as a Disco Rock Star and me as the frazzled coughing mother.

The girls have gone to their dads and tonight I went to rehearsal. It was rough but not horrible. We need to have last week back but we can't figure out how to get it so we move forward. I'm in rehearsal with Andrew, Jim, Greg, Katie and Jessica on this night. I have known these people for years and years. When we hit a section that falls apart, we laugh. It's the kind of laugh where we all sit inside it together. It's a knowing, trusting sort of laugh that pulls you through to the other side. It's during one of these laughs that I recognize I am so grateful for these people. These people who trust me enough to have the flu, miss rehearsal, and walk back in the door to pick it up and put it back on the plate. It's going to be a great play. Not because any one of us are brilliant but because we trust and love each other. Because we pick it up and put it back on the plate. This is the kind of rehearsal that makes me love theatre. I love it like a partner, like a child, like a parent, and like a best friend. I love it because it makes me laugh and cry. It makes me angry. Sometimes I resent it. I love it. It never leaves me cold. It always lets me in the door. It kind of makes me feel like the cowboy in Night Rider’s Lament. I am so glad that I get it. I am so glad.

I’m really grateful that I can look around at this life that I’ve chosen for myself, whether on purpose or circumstance, and be so thankful. It’s like a gift that I can remind myself about and I’m never disappointed when I unwrap it and it’s just what I thought it was.