Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things I'd Like To Do: August 31, 2004

While organizing my lovely new office, I came across files and files of crap. Chicken scratch scribbled on tiny pieces of paper. Clearly the beginnings of books, screenplays, genius ideas for genius projects. Projects that were never meant to be, so never released from their files. Quele dommage.

However, I did come across a list entitled, "Things I'd Like To Do: August 31, 2004". It's a long friggin list. I was either very ambitious back in '04, or that was the year that I was seeing a life coach.

She instructed me to make lists and, "Put it out there into the universe." Nothing was ever too far fetched or silly. She wanted me to think big. Thinking big was never (is never) my problem. Putting those ginormous thoughts into action is a whole other story... and post.

I'm including the list here. I've highlighted those that I've actually accomplished in one form or another. I'm sure everyone has their lists. Perhaps it's in a file, tucked away in a drawer, or on your computer in that secret folder that we all have (you know the one, where we keep our naked pics) Oh, yeah right, like I'm the only one.

This type of list really forces one to take stock of their lives. But in a good way.

Enjoy and maybe you'll share your own list one day. Universe, baby, universe.

- Learn how to ride a motorcycle and get a license
- Go skying diving- I did do Sky Dive Dubai, which simulated sky diving. Count?
- Write another one-person show
- Get staffed on a sitcom
- Act in a sitcom
- Host a talk show
- Sell another screenplay
- Write another screenplay
- Write a musical
- Find a soul mate, partner- YEAH!
- Travel: Yoga retreat, hiking trip, South America, Australia, go back to Italy, South Africa, Ski trip
- Study with chimps or gorillas- Whoa, now that is thinking big... and a wee crazy
- Hire a personal trainer
- Thin out my arms- WHAT? But I did it. Pilates, kids. Pilates.
- Cut a record
- Learn Italian
- Perform in a Broadway musical
- Participate in a walk-a-thon
- Stop my hair from thinning
- Have a baby
- Go on a rock climbing trip
- Practice rock climbing at the gym
- Go hang gliding
- Go parasailing
- Work with down syndrome kids again
- Volunteer with the elderly
- Get more involved- That's just too general
- Find a job that will pay me to move back to NY- have places on both coasts. I was living in L.A. at the time. 
- Get a chef or be able to afford having food delivered- Eating issues. We'll talk later
- Take dance class
- Learn how to salsa
- Karaoke more
- Heal my ass- For a long time I had a coccyx issue and was in a lot of pain when I sat.
- Learn Final Cut Express
- Get an agent or manager
- Learn music recording program
- Step outside my comfort level more- I'm giving myself 1/2 credit here
- Meet more people, new people
- Go to Shabbat more
- Bartend
- Audition at Plan B- This was/is a strip club in L.A. (I think it was a phase I was going through)
- Take a pole class at Crunch or S Factor- Maybe not.
- Go on a ride-a-long with the police. I dated an officer for awhile. Count?
- Buy a lot of sneakers. What?
- Fly back to NY every month
- Be able to afford weekly massages
- Take a religion class: starting from the beginning. When your religious education comes from the musicals, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and GODSPELL, you NEED to take a class.
- Audit a one person show workshop
- Get more proficient at the computer/ipod. iPod. C'mon, that's adorable.
- Learn Photoshop
- Teach English as a foreign language
- Perform on a cruise
- Take a Krav Mag class
- Go through an army basics type of class
- Horseback riding- restaurant trail- Griffith Park/Mexican Food. Okay, that was too specific.
- Learn how to juggle. In process.
- More physical activity
- Guitar lessons
- Drum lessons

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why Did You Tell Dad That I Got My Period?

My Lover and I were talking the other day about his twelve year old son having his first girlfriend. I’m not sure that I can remember what girlfriend and boyfriend meant in seventh grade. I do know that I went to my first co-ed party, played spin the bottle, and prayed that it would get too late in the evening to play seven minutes in the closet. I was quite shy in the romance department back then.

In any case, I asked my Lover if he was going to have a father-son talk, including favorites like, “It’s perfectly normal to masturbate, but class it up a bit and don’t use a friggin’ sock.” My Lover said that it wasn't necessary. Huh? Not being a full time parent, I was confused.

My parents had talks with me. Or were those my TV parents? Parents are supposed to talk to their kids about sex and, more often that not, how to avoid it, right? Don't they say things like, "I'm here for you, if you ever want or need to talk." Mine did.

Apparently, my Lover (I want to see how long it takes before you get nauseated by the word) didn't think so. He’s the youngest of five, from a working class family in Portugal. There weren’t a lot of sit-downs with his parents, unlike my hippy dippy- consciousness raising- pot smoking- macrame plant holder making- denim cap wearing- Three Dog Night listening- free to be you and me- parents. He never talked about sex, bodily functions or anything too personal, with his parents, unlike my parents. I wish I'd been from Portugal.

Most of the time I didn’t want to tell my parents anything, but in some perverse and distorted way, I felt compelled to talk because they said that I could, and I didn't want to hurt their feelings. I wanted it to be like the families on TV. I wanted to be on the receiving end of that glorious undivided parental attention. I soon learned that it was best to get that attention from an anonymous audience, while singing and dancing on stage.

Flashback to 1980.

I was in eighth grade and babysitting at a neighbor’s house. I hated babysitting for that family. There was never anything good to eat, the kids were dorks (and that’s coming from a dork) and the husband creeped the crap out of me. I remember him driving me home one night, and when he pulled into my driveway, he said, "Okay, pussy, thank you for your help." Ew on every f’in level. I convinced myself that he didn’t mean it in a vaginal way, and that it was a throw back to his generation when pussy actually meant pussycat.

Even at 13, it sounded gross and inappropriate. If it happened today, and I’m not sure why I’d be babysitting and getting rides home, since I have a car, I’d report him to the authorities and see if his name was on any public sex offender's lists.

I got my menses (gotta love the word) for the first time that night. My mother was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do first. Um, how about finding me something so I don’t soil my Carter’s. It would be a few more years until I discovered thongs!

And what she came up with- wait for it - wait for it - was a goddam belt, which was like suspenders for a sanitary napkin. What the f? What is this 1870? It’s 19 fargin 80! My mom told me that I was too young for tampons, and wanted to ask the doctor first just to make sure that it was okay to shove something up inside of me. That was thoughtful of her.

I begged and pleaded with my mom not to tell my dad. She promised and I went into my bedroom. Not ten minutes later, there was a knock on my door. It was my dad. He sat down on the edge of my bed, and I swear, I think he had tears in his eyes.

"Congratulations. I'm so proud of you. You’re a young woman." Okay, first of all, thanks mom, I hate you, and I’m never ever going to tell you anything ever again, ever, as long as I live! 

And secondly, really, dad, congratulations? For what? I had no control over this. It wasn’t like I studied hard for a test and got an A! I didn’t see this happening as an accomplishment or something to tick off of my To Do list. And I wished that he didn’t say woman, because at that age, certain words, like woman, sounded icky to me and made me uncomfortable. Don’t try to figure that one out. Suffice to say, the whole ordeal was embarrassing.

A few years later, even after all of the menses drama, I trotted my ass back to the mommy well, after losing my virginity, because, “You can tell me anything,” and I'm an idiot and I wanted to share. Again.

My mom wigged out. It wasn’t in a, ‘I'm so disappointed in you. How could you have done such a thing? I'm not taking care of it, if you get pregnant’ sort of way, but rather in a, 'I’m not ready for this’ sort of way.

CUT TO: The Present

This is a cautionary tale, kids. Think twice before you believe your parent's supposed openness. My belief is that parents really don't want you to tell them shit because it only re-enforces how ill equipped, ill-prepared, and utterly clueless they are. There's no need to shove their faces in it. Go tell your grandparents instead.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Not Take A Tour of Our Past

Girlfriend Mom Kid: "Were you in any movies, like you see in the movie theater?"
Girlfriend Mom: "Uh..."

Wow, where did that come from? One minute we're watching The Conspirator, and the next I'm reviewing my resume in my head. I didn't answer immediately because I actually couldn't remember. I couldn't remember my life! Great! I didn't want him to suffer through my forgetfulness, so I said no. Thank g-d he didn't ask me why, or I might've kicked him for bringing up an emotionally charged and sensitive subject.

Why couldn't I remember? You'd think something like being in an movie would've left an impression, especially since I worked in the entertainment business, in one form or another, for 20 years. That world seems like a lifetime ago, and it was. Was this a sign that I had subconsciously (or unconsciously) tucked that world away somewhere? Had there been so much living since those days, that it forced me to spring clean my brain, to make room for the new crap?

I started thinking about what my boyfriend knows about my 'old life'. Of course over the years, he's heard stories, met friends from those chapters, and read or watched some of my work, (but with so much brilliance how could we possible get to it all?) I couldn't fill him in on all of it, I don't have that kind of time. And I'm not so sure he's all that interested. Then again, I can't say that I'm on pins and needles either, waiting for him to regale me with his twenty-one year old self's escapades.

Back in the day, I'd give a boyfriend the whole, "This is where I..." tour. It was cute and romantic and I judged him by how interested he was. The tour began at my elementary school, continuing on to middle school, and ending up at my high school. For the price of admission, you got to see such landmarks as the highway underpass where I was arrested for tagging, and the police station (which was also the deli and community center) where I was fingerprinted and where my first mug shots were taken.

If there was time, and that dopey puppy dog smile was still plastered on his face, I'd show him the auditorium where I starred in and directed several productions, as well as the softball field where a crush on my softball coach first bloomed.

What we're interested in, with regards to the other person's life before us, is not as abundant in our 30's and 40's, as when you meet someone in your teens and twenties. These tours (as fascinating as they are) aren't as important to my relationships as they once were, nor do I find many requests for them. "Gee sweet pea, I'd love to see where you shoplifted that baseball hat you told me about on our first date."

Face it, no one really cares. And that's okay. In my last couple of relationships, tours were skipped and the parade of old photo albums were omitted. Your welcome fellas.

But then my mother opened her trap at Thanksgiving on Thursday. She wouldn't stop singing my praises (and my mom can sing) to my lover about a couple of videos that I made for her and for my dad, for their 50th birthdays, that he HAD to see. No, he didn't mother. We've been doing just fine without them. It's probably me, but it feels strange to show my boyfriend, at 45 years old, something I made when I was 25. Yeah, it's definitely me.

I wanted her to stop singing, so I borrowed the movies and last night we had a big Hollywood screening in our living room. I was so proud of them at the time, and I suppose I still am. They were raw, and technically crude, but creatively advanced. I don't even know what that means. My boyfriend watched respectively with an occasional, "That's adorable." And random, "Who's that?" and "Your thighs were thicker back then."

I sensed a disconnect. Bored? I don't know and it honestly didn't matter. Where I would've taken it personally if he didn't gush and goo over every frame, like when I was younger, (because it would've been a direct reflection on how he felt about me) it was no longer personal.

My past, as riveting, scintillating and illustrious as it is (was?) need not play a significant part in my present. All my lover needs to know about me, is what's standing right in front of him, today, not back in 1992, when my thighs were thick, and I wore really big glasses. We're both too busy living in the present, and there's not enough mental bandwidth to care about every detail of our past lives.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Was A Grandparent For A Day

Last week was Grandparent's Day at my nephew's school. Unfortunately my parents were out of town, so my sister-in-law asked me if I would step in. My nephew is also my godson, and I see him so rarely, I couldn't possibly say no. 

The day started with coffee and a bakery item in the cafeteria. Me and a roomful of sixty, seventy and eighty year olds. Psych. No problem. I can shmooze with anyone, even if they are attached to an oxygen tank.

After a speech from one of the heads of the school, welcoming us to a very special day, the school's jazz band came out and took their seats on a stage. The music teacher introduced the band, who then launched into a 'high school' rendition of a Dizzy Gillespie song, whose name escapes me at the moment.

As I sat their watching these eleven, twelve and thirteen year old's blow their horns, beat their drums and pound the keyboards, I thought about how proud these grandparents must be, watching their grandkids.

Because I don't have children of my own, I won't truly know what that feels like. I felt my eyes well with tears. I won't see my child perform, or play a sport, or be there to cheer them on in whatever activity that they're involved with. I wondered what a child of mine would be like. Would they play in a jazz band?

Every so often I play the 'what if' game. It doesn't last long but it's profound nonetheless. When I awake from my reverie, I remind myself of the reasons for my choice not to have a child. Still, I am not hardened to the idea nor am I immune to the 'what ifs'.

My nephew found me moments later and the first thing out of his mouth was, "It smells like old people in here." Why yes it does godson, let's motor.

Our first stop was science class. They did an experiment with helium, hydrogen and strings. The teacher was very engaging and I tried to think back on my eighth grade science teacher and I couldn't. Not because I didn't want to but because I couldn't friggin' remember. Note to self, text Emily and ask her who our teacher was.

I have never felt so incompetent and idiotic as I did in the social studies class, and I've had my share of incompetence and idiocy. My nephew and I sat a table with another student and her grandparents. The teacher, who was incredibly dynamic, handed out a worksheet about the civil rights movement. The class was studying the civil war, and the teacher was linking historical events, so that the students could see how such events are related. Shit, where was this guy when I was in school?

In the left column of the worksheet were the names of people and in the right column were events from the civil rights. He asked each table to identify and discuss the people on the left and what their relationship was to the events on the right. Fuck me. I could only identify one! One! And my nephew knew less than that. Needless to say my side of the table was rather quiet. In all fairness, the class hadn't gone over the civil rights movement yet but what the hell was my excuse?

The grandparents at our table knew a lot more. Of course they did, they friggin' lived through it. I was barely born! And to be perfectly honest, I don't remember studying it in class at The Robert E. Bell school. I blame the school and the teachers. The truth is, I was probably rehearsing my lines for "Bye Bye Birdie", under my desk, instead of paying attention.

The fact that I've gone all these years without knowing this part of history is shameful. My parents should ask for their money back, and I should repeat eighth grade. It's true. I thought about this while I sat at the table, with an embarrassingly blank look on my punim. I'm ready for eighth grade!

I can see now that some of my struggles in school were due to a lack of certain fundamentals, such as proper studying skills and not doing homework in front of "I Dream of Jeannie." It wasn't until I became a Pilates instructor, that I understood the different ways that people learn and retain information. For me, if facts and figures can be transposed into a musical number, I'm good.

I listened intently to the teacher making the connections between the civil war and the cival rights movement, and it all started to make sense. How cruel that, as soon as I'm ready and willing to learn, my memory is fading. So even if I do understand, I now run the risk of forgetting it.

I felt as if I let my godson down by being so dumb. Wait! My ego didn't need this. I already went through the hell of eighth grade. I did not want to relive this time in my life.

As I sat in art class (the last of the day) I wondered if the kids that my nephew were talking to were his true friends? Were they just being nice because their grandparents were in the room? Was he popular? Did he get invited places? Did the girls like him? Did he like girls? Each thought brought a twinge of anxiety and heart tugging.

I admit that I was riding the projection train. Seventh and eighth grades were horrific, the likes of which are still traumatizing me, if only subconsciously. I was not only physically awkward but the years were fraught with popularity contests, (hoping for the attention of the likes of Bobby Avonda), and trying to hide my pronounced proboscis.

I didn't want my nephew to go through what I did. I didn't want him to be sad or to feel different. The whole ordeal was f'in heart wrenching. I THINK I was feeling what it must be like for a parent. All I know is that I'd be in tears every day because clearly I'm unable to detach myself.

Still, I'm going to talk to my brother and sister-in-law about home schooling my godson.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Orgasms. Which One Are You?

*** LATEST ARTICLE FOR Evolved World

Not since the Silicone vs. Saline Breast Implant controversy, have we been so preoccupied with our sexual responses and pleasures. I now give you the great clitoral vs. vaginal orgasm debate. 

Is one better than the other? What does it mean if you can’t have a vaginal orgasm and everyone else on your block can? Does one type of orgasm affect your partner’s pleasure? I’ll try to answer the above but as far as your partner is concerned, you’ll have to ask him. I’ve got my own partner to deal with.

Sigmund Freud suggested that the clitoral orgasm was the predecessor to what he considered the deeper and more satisfying vaginal orgasm. What a crock of crap! He went on to say that the clitoral kind was immature. Immature? I know you are but what am I? There is nothing immature about my clit!

There’s more. He also believed, as did others (which accounts for a lot of messed up thinking out there on the subject), that a married woman was supposed to naturally "transfer" the awesomeness that she felt from her clitoris, (it is awesome) to her penile penetrated vagina, courtesy of her husband. There wasn’t any scientific proof, at work was the power of supposing and suggesting.

The male perspective continued with Alfred Kinsey, who supposedly found that women could not and were not having vaginal orgasms. But Freud just said that... Later, the Masters and Johnson research team of Williams H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, studied sexual behavior through observing and measuring masturbation (huh?) and sexual intercourse in the laboratory (I want that job). Their results showed no difference between Freud’s vag orgasm and the immature clit orgasm.

Masters and Johnson found that the majority of their subjects could only achieve clitoral orgasm, while a small minority achieved vaginal orgasm. Women everywhere stood up and took back their clitoral orgasms. While I’m not about to march on Washington for orgasmic respect, I am thankful for those that leveled the orgasm playing field. 

Pop-culture and the media haven’t helped by putting in their orgasmic two cents. They’ve f’d women up, leading some to feel sexually dysfunctional if they don’t perform like the women in the movies, who are often portrayed as orgasmic beings, needing only cock penetration to reach orgasm. No need for foreplay, stimulation, or to even take your clothes off. I’d like to meet those women.

It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, that there are women and men who believe that if a woman doesn’t experience an orgasm through intercourse alone, that they are sexually dysfunctional. The physiologic response between clitoral and vaginal are identical. Orgasms are orgasms are orgasms, so who cares how you’re stimulated, as long as you’re stimulated. Amen.

The many forms of stimulation could take up a whole page but when I read about the use of an electric toothbrush, I had to share. Let’s take a moment to digest and then regroup.

A brief anatomy lesson.
A total separation between the vagina and clitoris is mostly false.

The clitoris consists of more than the clitoral glands and hood (external parts). Because the internal parts surround the vaginal opening, and canal (which has few sensory nerve endings) the internal parts of the clitoris are muy importante in the feeling department.

Orgasms mostly involve our brains and central nervous systems, therefore our sexual response is more than genitals or about having a given part of our genitals touched. If this weren’t true, then when my gynecologist sticks, what feels like his entire hand, up in my cooter, or shoves in that wand for a pelvic ultrasound, I’d be orgasming left, right and center.

By the same token, I can kiss my lover and feel a special sensation in my private place but I’m not going to orgasm. No offense, lover.

Orgasms come from the inside of our brains and central nervous systems, and flare out, impacting certain parts of our bodies. So when I ask my lover to dim the lights, or close the door, or some other perceived neuroses (perceived by him that is) so that I may focus on my orgasm as a whole, it’s because those things are affecting my brain and thus, my genitals.
Can we agree that orgasms are a Pu Pu platter? Let’s stop caring so much about how we attain them, and where we think they’re coming from. Isn’t it enough that we have them to begin with? Some women don’t, or can’t, but that’s a whole other topic.
Do we really need to deconstruct our own orgasms, analyzing why one way doesn’t do it for us, while other ways do? Find out what stimulates you, stick with it and just do it for crying out loud! And if the electric toothbrush is your thing, then I suggest brushing your teeth before you get off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Toilet Talking

 I have agita about not having written in awhile. I was on vacation but it conjures up some old baggage. It's like the time I went away to summer camp after 7th grade, only to return home to find that Betsy Carlson had a new best friend, leaving me out in the cold. I hope history won't repeat itself here in the blogosphere. Needy much?!

I'm finally getting around to decorating my office. For those of you following along, my boyfriend and I recently built a house, and for the past three months, all we've been doing is buying... and returning. Let's just say that we're very familiar now with the term, buyer's remorse.

Focusing and settling in has been hard in my echo chamber of an office, so I decided that the time was now. I got online this morning and went trolling for desks, filing cabinets, rugs and loveseats. Oh, yeah, I had high hopes of doing it all in one fell swoop. I got as far as a desk and two filing cabinets, which I think is a brilliant start.

My office is going to look like a Pottery Barn catalogue and I don't care. I decided that my time was actually worth something, so instead of shopping around, investigating, comparing and trying to be unique with my decor (for weeks on end like I used to do) I said, f' it. I found a picture of an office that I liked, and I was going to have the items gloriously appear at my door. And the best part? I won't need an Allen wrench or a power drill. I'm bidding the days of assembling my furniture adieu. Adieu!

I picked out the items that I wanted and was at the checkout page, only to see that I didn't get the free shipping that was advertised (in a bright red I might add) You couldn't miss it. I called customer service and spoke with David at extension 2033. SIDEBAR: I just looked at my scrap piece of paper where I had jotted down David's extension, so that I would be accurate here in my post. "OCD Anal Retentive, your table is ready!"

I told David that the discount was not applied to my order. He was on it. I heard his fingers pounding the keyboard, as he asked me for the item numbers. And then, in the middle of item number two, I had to go to the bathroom and coincidentally, it was number two. No problem, I thought, I took David to the bathroom with me.

Herein lies the dilemma. Is it rude to talk on the phone while on the toilet? Of course I could've hit mute, but then I would have had to keep switching it on and off, because we were having a dialogue. He wasn't reciting a monologue. While I balanced the phone in the crook of my neck, I dropped trou and did my business. I don't have to go into the details here (thank you Girlfriend Mom) but I did start worrying about what David was actually hearing.

I managed to complete the job at hand, only to be faced with the flush. He was sure to hear that. I couldn't leave it until I got off the phone because the cleaning woman was here and I didn't know where her next stop was. I hit mute, flushed, and ran (literally) out of the bathroom and hit mute again, continuing my conversation with David.

I'm not sure why I made a federal case out of hitting the mute button. It was as if David's questions, and not wanting the cleaning woman to think that I was uncouth, completely overwhelmed me and I panicked. It incapacitated me in a way that prompted me to question myself and ask, "What is your problem?"

However, upon further reflection, I pose the question, "Who among us has never taken a cell phone into restrooms (private or public) and chit chatted with reckless abandon?" I rest my case. And I got my discount. Thank you Pottery Barn David at extension 2033.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This House Isn't Big Enough For The Both Of Us

I think one of the reasons that I got divorced (it's okay, it was 10 years ago, I'm fine), was the fact that we both worked from home. It didn't matter that his recording studio, a.k.a garage, was in the backyard and my office was in the house. It was too close for comfort. Of course the fact that I wasn't truly in love with him, might've had something to do with the divorce, but that's a whole other post.

I just got off the phone with a good friend, who was about to stab her husband, because he also works from their home and he was irritating the crap out of her. Cut to 60 Minutes interviewing me after reading this blog (cool, another reader!) after they find my friend's husband stuffed in the dishwasher) God forbid. "Did she ever exhibit any hostile feelings towards him?" To which I'd say, "You live alone, don't you Morley?"

When I asked my friend, "Why the rage?" she told me that he's constantly on his blackberry, earpiece in, pacing around the house, conducting business as if the entire house were his office. She couldn't hear herself think or find any personal space, because wherever she went, there he was.

I listened, nodding my head because I knew exactly how she felt. Although my boyfriend and I also work out of the house, I don't want to stab him. I wouldn't want the girlfriend mom kids to be without a daddy. It is annoying and irritating at times to share space with anybody! I bathe in peace and quiet.

The hardest part about living with another person, especially the opposite sex, is figuring out how to meld your different work styles and in the way you want to live. Oh, the conflicting habits, the compromising, negotiating, sacrificing, tolerating, and the intolerable... It's truly a wonder that people live together at all.

It's a dance, getting to know what the other person needs, and letting them know what you need. I've been dancing as fast as I can figuring our shit out. I really shouldn't complain because we do have our separate offices with two floors separating us, but sometimes it's just knowing that there's somebody lurking around that bugs me.

I spent many years living alone, and there are things that I got used to. Yes, I know the flip side of this and yes, the grass is not always greener, and yes, I feel blessed and grateful and love my boyfriend. However, I wouldn't be human, honest and authentic, if I didn't also feel the above.

As I get older, noise in general seems to irritate me more and more. Could this be related to hormonal changes?

That wasn't a joke. Can it? Tell me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Really Intimate Portrait_shortver

Are you an actor? Are you a recovering actor? Do you love (or like) Lifetime Television? But more importantly, do you feel that you deserve your own Lifetime Intimate Portrait? So did I. But I couldn't wait around for Lifetime to get their shit together, so I made my own!