Category Archives: work

French Kiss First, Introductions Later.


Welcome to California.

golden_gate_bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

If all your contact with the outside world is mass media, or, say, you’re an alien from space, seeking information about earth, and your research dart on the globe hit the USA, and you began, sensibly enough, with mass media –you would surely presume the only places IN America were…

New York, and California.

Because EVERYTHING on television, in movies, etc., is located in: you guessed it. NY or CA.

Naturally, when the opportunity flung itself like a blob of goo to head west with my two daughters to the flipside of mainland America, I figured: hmm? Why not see life as the extraterrestrials – I mean, Californians – do?

I kid, I KID.

Actually, this time I DO kid, because if you happen to be reading this…

WAIT.

Don’t you just HATE when writers write: “If you happen to be reading this?

Talk about “author intrusion,”* which, of course, I’m doing now in a MAJOR way, but for some reason, I am egomaniacal enough – or feel strongly enough about this point – to have the nerve to think I can get away with it.

Duh. Of COURSE you happen to be reading this; if you WEREN’T reading this, you wouldn’t be READING this: the author’s SENTENCE that says, so very stupidly, “if you happen to be reading this.”

Why THANK you, Captain OBVIOUS.

(How do you spell “AAUGHHH?”)

I can’t STAND it when people don’t give other people the credit for the most BASIC intelligence. Or when they refuse to exhibit the most basic intelligence of their own, and simply swallow and regurgitate clichés.

Sorry. That’s just not thinking “out of the box.”

(That’s a joke. I am SO hoping you all got that….)

::-::-::

Anyway, tirade over, now that I’ve “intruded,” my job as a writer now is to suck you so hard back into the work that you forget about me again. So: forget me, move on without me, save yourselves….

To get back to Californians: if you’ve been wondering where all the nice people in the world have gone; if you’ve lost your faith in humanity, you’ve been betrayed, you can’t seem to find a kind soul in a cold-hearted world, no matter where you look…

<can you hear the swelling orchestral strings…?>

Get your ass to northern California.

InvaderZimWthoutStripesSomeone, I don’t know who – Invader Zim?

…has scooped them all up in a giant net and deposited them HERE.

Of course, the New Yorker in me wants to warn you: I’ve only been here a few weeks, so they COULD be putting on an devastatingly good show (California, Hollywood, Oscar…), and I SHOULD keep checking my back for knives…

But honestly, if these folks aren’t genuinely nice, then I’ve landed where Ira Levin got his idea for The Stepford Wives, because everybody – and I do mean everybody – walks around with a light step, a friendly smile, and an open outlook.

This is either the Cosmic Galactic Nexus of Benevolence, or these folks are gobsmackingly realistic test robots for Disneyland’s newest animatronic attraction.

They’re cheerful and concerned for others in a state with a bigger unemployment problem and more housing foreclosures than New York.

And, unlike New York – and particularly unlike, say…oooh, I dunno, GEORGIA, they are warm and inviting to strangers. Even strangers who come from scary and disreputable places like New York. No one here has prejudged us at all.

oscar-wilde-ph

Oscar Wilde

(At least not to our faces, where it counts. As far as I’m concerned, I’m with Oscar Wilde. Let people say whatever they want behind my back; I’ll worry when they STOP talking.)

These folks are even charming and positive in an area located less than – well, my guess would be, less then twelve inches from the Sun.

I can’t seem to figure it out. We aren’t any closer to the equator (although maybe we’re WAYYYY higher. As in, we’re astronauts. Californunauts.)

When they say “sunny California,” they aren’t just whistling Dixie.

(Side note: having made a side trip on the way to visit family in Rocky Plains, Georgia, I know what I’m talking about when I say “Dixie,” too.)

The sun is so strong here I carry a bottle of water around with me nearly everywhere I go, wishing I could haul a tank around, like someone on oxygen. I never realized what a deliciously humid state New York actually was.

oldwomanSomeone PLEASE let me know what moisturizing cream I need. I’m going to look about 45 years old in about 45 minutes. In another 45, I’ll look 90. As it is, the jar that used to last me six months is half gone.

In fact, Californians are SO friendly, that in a recent trip to a music store (I was rescuing a guitar I’d discovered that had been criminally abused) I got to joking with the owner, who began to tease me – and then somehow, things got a little weird.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably caught on: I’m not someone you want to DARE.

Play chicken with me? You’re pretty much guaranteed two totaled cars.

So when I jokingly said: “Well, then, I’ll just have to get one big, fat, sloppy kiss,” never in a million years thinking he would take me up on it – for no one in their right mind in New York would take that phrase as ANYTHING but, er, symbolic, when the music store owner said something along the lines of me not having the nerve…

… Well, what could I do? Apparently, he was calling my bluff – or thought I was bluffing. I had my entire state’s reputation to defend.

It was only later, perusing my copy of The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual, that I remembered that those of us with a little too much tomboy in them have to be wary of dares and the like, and that boys will steal kisses when they can, particularly from impulsive redheads.

So I called his bluff back, and dashed over boldly right behind his workspace, again, never dreaming his own oncoming car would not swerve.

Yet swerve he did NOT, and put his arms around me, and kissed me like Bogart kissed Bergman in Casablanca.

Yipes.

Careful to keep my New York cool, I then shook his hand and said:

“How do you do? I’m Elizabeth. And your name is?”

“Larry,” he said. “Welcome to California.”

::-::-::-::-::-::

Author Intrusion (also sometimes called, literarily, “authorial intrusion” – I don’t know why they like the extra two syllables, but professors sometimes do…) is explained nicely here, at about.com:

Have you ever read a book where the author suddenly jolted you out of the storyline with a comment that just doesn’t flow with the rest of the work? That’s an authorial intrusion. Sometimes it works, but only when it’s done by a master storyteller/writer.

Authorial intrusions are of substantial length (not just a brief aside in a novel) and they are addressed to you (the reader).

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Celebrities are NOT your friends. Stop caring.


(Full disclosure: I don’t know how to turn on or off my own TV.)

A very popular guy, I guess.

A very popular guy, I guess.

Is it just me? Or am I the only one who wasn’t friends with Ed McMahon, isn’t friends with Jon and Kate plus eight, the Olsen twins, and that Perez guy who, for the longest time, I thought was the Paris girl* and everyone was just misspelling his – I mean her – name?

I remember a couple of years ago, when that really blonde, sort of beefy-but-attractive-to-geriatric-gazillionaires, apparently, had a baby, and at every cash register, headlines loomed: “Who’s the father?” Even my oldest, wondered aloud to me: “Who do YOU think is the father?” My daughter even knew the woman’s name, which escapes me now, for the same reason I gave my daughter then:

“She’s not my friend,” I said to my daughter, “therefore, I don’t care, honey.”

“Mean!” my daughter said.

celebs“NOT mean,” I tried to explain. “PR machine. I don’t know this person. YOU don’t know this person. Probably only a handful of people really know this person. Why DO you care who the father of her baby is, anyway? Because you’ve heard of her? Just because she’s famous? Is that REALLY a good reason? Do you care who the father of THAT woman’s baby is?” I pointed to another pregnant woman in Eckerd.

My daughter, as usual, rolled her eyes, as she predicted another rant coming on, so I stopped.

Give me one reason to care about Ed McMahon. He’s dead. I’m sure his family is very sad, as they count their inheritance from all the cheesy-ass commercials he shilled for: Publisher’s Clearing House, that stupid rip-off “Cash For Gold” scheme, and other “your premium will never go up no matter how old you get” life insurance scams.

I’m not sad. I probably would be, if I’d known him. Maybe he was nice; maybe he did all that crappy shit and gave all the money to the poor.

I don’t KNOW, because HE WAS NOT MY FRIEND.

Another set I don’t care about? Jon and Kate. Or their eight. I mean, as humans, and regarding their basic humanity, I care. As soon-to-be children of divorce, my heart goes out to them.

That’s it, though; I’m done caring now.

The Olsen twins? I don’t even like them on reruns of Full House when my kids have it on; they’re annoying as tots, and they’re even more annoying now. Have a sandwich, and then please go away; I haven’t seen you in a decent movie … let me think… ever.

If your work becomes good, I might go see it, but otherwise, I don’t give a rat’s ass about your personal life. Call me up for advice, or to vent your issues; my public number is on my Twitter profile page. Intrude on me and MAKE me know you. Then, in pity, I might care. Otherwise? Fail.

I’m STILL not sure what the difference is between Paris Hilton and Perez Hilton; as far as I can tell, they both irritate and bother to distraction everyone I know equally, so I’m pleased to remain as ignorant as possible.

Neither Hilton produces any work of any kind as far as I can tell. They write no good books, they make no good movies or television, they don’t even perform synchronized swim routines. They seem relatively worthless, as far as I’m concerned, although presumably, their friends value them – if, indeed, they have any who care about them as people, and not for their popularity.

I am NOT a friend to either of them, so… I don’t care.

Do I sound jealous? I’m not. I have well-known friends, whom, out of respect, I will not mention here. Being famous is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I myself am relatively famous, actually, but only if you’re about five or six. (See InklessTales.com) I’m a former newspaper columnist, and now a performer – I give concerts all over – but I seriously enjoy my privacy. As, I’m sure, do most famous people.

Ever notice I’ve NEVER mentioned my kids by name here?

I get the feeling it must SUCK OUT LOUD to be a celebrity on the vast scale. Who, going through a divorce, or having just had a baby, or hell – just having made a movie – done their job, after all – wants the indignity of no longer being able to enter a drugstore, a mall, a regular street, without being hassled, subjected to stupid, inaccurate headlines, freakish curiosity on a circus sideshow scale, and otherwise normal human beings completely losing their minds at the mere sight of them?

You think YOU’RE embarrassed on a bad hair day? Imagine if there were twenty photographers outside your door, eagerly salivating to get pictures of your bad hair? What about the day after you polished off that Ben and Jerry’s, and you’re using the ponytail holder to keep your jeans shut? You REALLY want the whole world watching?

How would YOU like to be professionally THIN? AND have the whole world thinking they have the “right to know” your weight?

Remember, people: if a celebrity is not your friend – THEY’RE NOT YOUR FRIEND.

Just because someone appears on your TELEVISION in your living room every week, it doesn’t mean they are ACTUALLY IN YOUR LIVING ROOM every week.

Having personally experienced the odd, off-putting feeling of having people recognize and greet you whom YOU DON’T KNOW, let me tell you: the first couple of times, it IS kinda cool.

After that: it gets a little weird.

I can only imagine what it does to you when it starts locking you in your house, and forcing you to interact only with other celebrities, also locked in that world of weirdness.

Maybe we should just leave them the hell alone – and start paying attention to our real, live friends.

::-::-::-::

* Speaking of weirdness on a vast scale, the first Google result for Paris Hilton that came up was the EARTH-SHATTERING news that the woman had switched her Blackberry for an Ericsson phone. If you Google me, you get almost 10 pages, but in none of them will you find news of when I myself switched my Blackberry for my indestructible G’Zone phone. You know why?

Because from the looks of it, this is the biggest accomplishment this poor wretch of a girl has managed recently. Sad, really. So very sad.

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Follow me on Twitter: Look: No, Really: Look.


twitter_32Follow me on Twitter: I’m @inklesstales.

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The Top Five Lies an Honest Person Should Tell



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Lies, Lies....

Lies, Lies....

 

Consider yourself an honest person? Well, bully for you. That’s a very fine quality in a person – especially in a person who meets me, since I can typically spot a liar at twenty paces – moreover, I myself never lie as a general rule, since I have a memory like a broken sieve. To lie would be to deliberately place myself in harm’s way, since I would trip myself up too easily.

Did I say Greece? I meant Ireland. Yeah, that’s right. I was in IRELAND last Thursday. THAT’S why I couldn’t make your party. Yeah, big bagpipe convention. What… oh, yeah, I mean SCOTLAND.

See? I SUCK at lying. No, wait, that’s a lie right there. I’m actually a stellar liar; I could make you believe you were an alien from space, if I really wanted to, but I’m a sucky rememberer. You’d come to me, later, all wrapped in tinfoil, and when I laughed at you, you’d go all crestfallen on me: “But… but… you said…

Then I’d remember and go: “Oh, yeah, Andromeda Galaxy, that’s right. Whoops. Eh-heh…”

HOWEVER (I’m also a terrific digresser) to get to the main point here: SOMETIMES, it’s important to LIE. Because the worst kind of mean-hearted bully is the kind who tries to use “honesty” to hurt other people, to wit:

“I’m just being honest here. You DO look fat.”

Now come on. Is that EVER necessary? No. Lie, people, lie your asses off. If some friend of yours is stuffed into something that makes them look like Jones Pork Sausage, what the hey? They’re already out and dressed. It can’t be helped now. What they need NOW is CONFIDENCE to pull off the look.

Lies, delivered in the spirit of loving dishonesty, do just that.

#1 Your Haircut Looks Great.

Even if you can barely look without flinching, even if your eyeballs start to tear, you MUST manage this, because hair only grows so fast, and your friend/acquaintance/boss/mother now must live with this horror for at least a few long and terrible weeks.

“Is it bad?”

“NOOOOOOhhhhh,” is your answer, as enthusiastically as possible. Add a little primping touch of the hand, as if you can’t resist the touch of the prickly mess, if you can bear it. “It’s terrific. Only YOU could pull it off. It suits you so well!”

#2 No, it SO wasn’t you, it was them!

Your friend is devastated by the loss of a significant other. Perhaps, you, who have followed the drama and the saga, know for a fact that his or her giant chasm of need DID in fact, drive the poor bastard away screaming and babbling incoherently.

NOW is not the time for a personality review.

BAD: “Yeah, sweetie, it WAS you. Poor schmuck couldn’t take you following him to work, calling his cell every ten minutes, texting him every five, I mean, think about it, hon.”

GOOD: “Sweetie, he didn’t deserve you. You’re better off without him. Here: have another pint of Chunky Monkey.”

Later, perhaps, you can suggest counseling, or a good lawyer to deal with the Order of Protection.

#3 How old do I look?

Hang on, here, I have to stop laughing so I can type. Do I really need to spell this out for you folks? Is there anyone out there who really thinks they get some kind of cosmic points for guessing RIGHT?

I’ve seen this – mostly guys – smiling, as if someone’s going to hand them a fluffy carnival toy when they see a woman’s mouth drop open. “I got it, didn’t I? I’m right, aren’t I? You’re 40.”

I have actually said to guys that have done this: “Asshole.”

They’re completely oblivious to the idea that the woman with the mouth agape is struggling NOT to knock the block off the self-satisfied jackass.

Two very good rules to follow here.

Number one: refuse to guess. Claim it’s a policy of yours. This is, in fact, the safest way to go, and if you have the balls to ride it out, you’re good to go. 

Number two:
Part A: If, say, an obviously 50-ish person asks (and stupid, by the way, to ask in the first place), don’t be stupider and say “21.” Why is this stupid? Because it’s so clearly not true, it makes them think YOU think they’re SO old that you have to guess WAY too young to flatter them. It ends up insulting.

Hey – I didn’t say it made sense. I’m just giving you the skinny on how people think.

Part B: Instead, if you think you’re ANY good at guessing – and you best be DAMN good at guessing – take THAT age, and subtract 10-15.

THAT will make it seem real that you guessed wrong – and way under.

The very BEST way to flatter people about their age? If and when they mention the ages of their children, look SHOCKED and say: “I can’t believe you have kids that age. You don’t look old enough to have kids that age.”

That’s believable – and flattering. And it comes up naturally in conversation, and can make somebody’s DAY.

# 4. You’re right.

My grandfather used to say: “A man convinced against his will remains of the same opinion still.”

It’s up to you, here, folks, but personally? I don’t give a rat’s ass about whether most people KNOW I’m right, as long as I do.

For instance: you come across some hardcore goofball on the sidewalk – maybe wearing a sandwich board, proclaiming that he’s a taco.

You know, of course, that he is NOT a taco. Tacos, for those who do not know, don’t have faces, for one thing. Neither do they argue on streetcorners.

Believe it or not, there are some people who will waste valuable moments of their lives they will never get back, trying to convince the buffoon that he is, in fact, NOT a taco, but actually a living human being, and inedible for the most part, outside of a few cannibalistic rainforest dwellers. (Who probably will not wrap him in Mexican breadlike outer coatings and hot sauce.)

Why bother? You KNOW you’re right, he’s wrong, go on your merry way.

It’s so totally okay to be right and have no one know it but you. Even if said Taco Dude has a band of merry Taco Followers mocking you, calling you Dufus. Shrug, and move on to the next street corner, where perhaps you’ll find someone who thinks they’re a hamburger.

#5 This is delicious.

Even if what you’re served tastes like Dog Turd Pudding (see earlier post), if you’ve been the lucky recipient of free food and the free hospitality at someone’s home, however humble, you are unfortunately obliged to eat it.

Tip: your olfactory sense – that is, your nose – is connected to your taste buds. So if you can’t smell, you can’t taste. So breathe through your mouth and choke the Cream of Whatever down. Somehow.

BONUS LIE:

“Everything is going to be all right.”

Actually, this one isn’t a lie. My grandmother – the wife of previously mentioned grandfather – had a good saying, too: “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” So: no matter what ever happens to you, no matter how shitty, everything DOES end up all right in the end. The wheel turns, and daylight breaks again. So this one, once the cosmic shit storm passes, is the truth.

Keep it in mind. 

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose. Duh.



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The evolution of... us.   

 

 

 

The evolution of... us.

Naturally, when I can hear Panic! At the Disco as clearly out of my daughter’s headphones as I can as if it were coming out of the CD player speakers, I turn around and nudge her –

All right, rewind (hey, rewind – that suits our topic – back to that later) since this IS a blog about reality, I’ll tell you “the reality.

First, I will hopelessly raise my voice, even though the “any reasonable person” test would fail. Duh. Why would I even think she could hear me?

Then, despite oncoming traffic, and my meager driving skills, (having spent WAY too much time in NYC, where a car is actually a burden, unless you’re my grandmother, and you have a summer place AND a suburban house – oh, wait, she had drivers, too, scratch that – back to the fact that I SUCK at driving)  I will turn around and raise my voice again, in the incredibly stupid hope that the louder I am, the better she will be able to read my lips.

This is fruitless, because she is not only rocking out, but also poring over the densely-packed Panic! At the Disco lyrics I printed out for her from the Internet before we left, so she’s bobbing her downturned head.

Is her little sister helping me out, with a nudge, or a shove? No. She is observing, amused, because SHE is intelligent enough to see the futility of my behavior, but not the danger — until I turn back to face the windshield and turn the wheel back so that we’re back on OUR side of the highway, thank you very much.

“Mom!” they join in chorus as the van whips them both suddenly sideways.

“Ah,” I say smugly. NOW I have their attention. And: enough with the volume. Turn it down or go deaf.

Personally? I feel completely hypocritical.

I myself blasted music in my own ears as a kid.

No headphones in MY house, though. Headphones were inherently rude. Want to sequester yourself from the family? You’ve got a room for that, dear.

So I’d go. I’d face the speakers toward each other, with room just enough for my head, lie down between them, play my music as loudly as possible without disturbing everyone else in the house, and achieve maximum eardrum damage at the same time.

When CDs first came out, I remember hearing someone tell someone else in our house: “I’M not going to replace my record collection. These compact discs are just going to be fad, like 8-Tracks or Betamaxes.” (Always a lurking observer; like “Harriet the Spy,” I was always listening, and if I was not heard, I was seldom seen, even in plain sight.)

A comment all but forgotten until I stumbled upon a very old cassette (it was Junk Week in our neighborhood) of Jesus Christ Superstar. Thinking my daughter, who is obsessed with Andrew Lloyd Webber (why, heaven only knows; I really have to turn her on to Puccini, from whom the man steals everything), would be interested, I scrounged up a cassette player somewhere and pressed PLAY.

What a tremendous drag, having to rewind and fast-forward to the spot you want to hear!

My youngest was baffled at the clunkiness of the technology, repeatedly asking me: “What… what are you DOING, Mom? Can’t you just FIND it?”

As if she didn’t remember me having to rewind all her “Big Comfy Couch” VCR tapes.

Change is frightening when it comes barging rudely into our lives. We, in this age of technology, are constantly being thrown new ideas, and having to catch them or feel bypassed.

Even TV commercials mock us: “26 million people just Twittered this. Another 26 million don’t know what that means.”

My daughter begged me for an EnV phone, with a keyboard for texting. At the time, I thought it was a ridiculous splurge. Now she texts me so often I want one myself, just to keep up. People text me more than they talk to me.

“Google” is now a verb. MS Word has destroyed my spelling skills, because my brain works like this: if I don’t HAVE to store it, it gets dumped, to make room. Now I know I can Google something, or have Word spell it for me, or my little calculator do math for me.

When my Internet goes out, I’m lost.

But when I first got online, I couldn’t imagine what I’d ever do with it.

Now I can’t live without it. Well, okay, I could. But I sure would miss it.

Still, as different as all this seems: what’s really different?

I use Google the same way I used to call the reference desk at my local library.

I use MS Word the same way I used to use my College dictionary.

I use Twitter the same way I use the world: I’m gregarious to the point of ridiculous; I can hardly leave the house without making a friend, and my house is usually full of people to the point where I wonder sometimes if I’m a magnet and they’re all iron filings.

In a good way.

The French have a saying. (Actually, practically the entire language is sayings; it’s mostly the reason they’d just rather speak your damn English.)

Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Hmmm….

But things DO change. And if you’re looking for a very good, commonsense approach to dealing with change, here’s an excellent article on The Huffington Post from a correspondent/acquaintance of mine: Tom V. Morris – from Twitter, of course.

But remember: they stay the same, too. So relax. 

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Hold the Cheese:Burglar



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A cheese... burglar.

A cheese... burglar.

 

This is how very bizarre my life has become:

My house – as you might expect, since I run a web site for kids, have kids of my own, and perform music for kids – has become what I can only describe as an “Open House” for the neighborhood.

Open, as in all the  parents in the neighborhood must have had a secret meeting and decided: that girl is in her basement all day. What a perfect babysitter!

Two days ago, a kid that no one in our house even knows kept ringing the doorbell – which I ignored, since I was working, and thus, as my uppity grandmother would have said, was not “at home,” a phrase the ancient upper crust used to conveniently use to describe politely: “well, yes, I’m actually here, but get the hell off my property, because I want to be left alone.”

Getting no answer, he started to try to jimmy the lock.

Now I was, well, let’s see: I could say intrigued, or I could say pissed. Either way, I marched up the stairs, calling Tucker, my big black dog – scary, but a secret sissy. I’m not scary, but people don’t know that they ought to be. Kinda ironic, the pair of us.

I threw the door open wide, and put on my best scary Mom face, and apparently I don’t have a very good one, because the kid begged to use the bathroom. “Fine,” I relented. He was in there for an absurdly long time.

It’s no use. It’s Spring Break, and they keep coming and coming in droves. Tomorrow I think I may just throw an impromptu concert, just for the heck of it. Maybe they’ll all run away.

 

Our beloved.

Our beloved.

One little girl is straight from Pakistan – or Passkan, as she calls it. She melted my heart today, though – couldn’t turn her away. I’d given her Baba some fabric I’d had, and she’d turned it into the loveliest, rich red sari you could ever imagine.

 

Okay, so she stays.

Another kid who came today had a great story. “Guess what, Elizabeth? Somebody broke into our house and only stole cheese but he got caught because my dad beat him up.”

I raised an eyebrow.

But there it was, in black and white, in our local newspaper: M’Town homeowner subdues suspect in cheese theft.

Made it right onto page five, color photo of the eye-blackened cheeseburglar and everything. The man was arrested with five different kinds of cheese in his pockets.

I don’t think I have five different kinds of cheese in my house.

But I do think I have at least five different kinds of kids. And they all have the greatest stories.

Some of them are even true.

Want to read the newspaper story about the cheese thief? You can read it right here.

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I’m going to start randomly singing and dancing.


needle_threadI don’t even like musicals.

They make me laugh, to be quite honest: the idea of people walking around, minding their own affairs, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, bursting into song – complete with invisible orchestra – well, it sort of makes me want to do that in real life.

You know, get some speakers for my iPod. At the bank, when the teller asks me how much I want to deposit, burst into a little ditty instead of simply mumbling, like everyone else does:

(To the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)

I’m giving you the last of my cash,
To pay the MasterCard bill
They told me if I don’t pay them soon
I won’t be able to use it till….

I pay them…

(okay, that last part we can drag out emotionally.)

What I wonder then is if the rest of the bank’s customers would join me in a perfectly synchronized dance?

That’s life in a musical.

So why, you might wonder, am I now Costume Coordinator (they couldn’t even call me “costume director?”) for my 12-year-old’s middle school production of “Oliver?” (Please sir, can I have some.. more?)

Because my 12-year-old has the misfortune of being cast as “The Widow Corney,” and thus was terrified of being stuck with an “old lady fat costume.”

“PLEEEZ make my costume, Mom,” she begged.

Having made – oh, lemme count – sixteen zillion Halloween costumes from scratch, including one stupid summer the YMCA camp decided to have Halloween in July, whereupon both my kids fully expected brand-new, lightweight costumes (I make the Halloween costumes WARM, having experienced too many of my own wearing a coat covering my fairy wings) – I said, ignorantly, “OK,” only to learn that meant I had to make all the costumes for 45 kids.

Last night was opening night.

I still have my sewing machine set up in the “green room.”

One kid split his pants – I was sewing in between acts. I still haven’t even seen my own kid perform, although the other kids say she’s great.

I’m hoping all the kinks will be worked out by the last show.

On the other hand, it’s been great getting to know all the kids. It’s been tough to get all these well-mannered kids to call me “Elizabeth” instead of “Ms. Bushey,” so a lot of them have taken to simply calling me “the Dutchess.”

In the meantime, I feel sort of like an Irish immigrant who really needs some labor organizer to come around and sign me up.

But when I saw them take their bows last night on the monitor, I burst into tears.

It was worth every stitch.

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