Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Cause You Can Handle the Truth....the New LIKE SISTERS column from C Magazine

Excerpted from my...Winter C Magazine advice column, Like Sisters
(click at the end to read the whole article)

How to be real with your buddy
Sometimes the truth is a big semi truck that’s crossing the center line. Sure, you want to avoid it, but when that means driving off a cliff, you find yourself thinking, “This is a tough spot.” This month, we look at a few instances of how facing the truth can make a friendship grow without putting you in the hospital.

(By Matt Pamer)
The other night, my friend got a little too flirty with my significant other—and it’s not the first time. I’m not threatened, but it makes me and my guy super uncomfortable. How can I tell her to back off?
He doesn’t need you to defend his honor or personal space. I want to ask about
the lush factor here, but I’ll do what I normally do, and assume I’m right—alcohol was involved. This friendship needs to move to the light of day. If it doesn’t hold up sober and one-on-one, then she is just an acquaintance.

Flirty McGee: Do you guys want to ride together to Jenny’s party? I’ll drive.
You: No, thanks. We might skip it.
FM: Well, that stinks. I want to hang out with you soon.
You: I could do lunch on Friday. Just the two of us?
FM: I’ll check and e-mail you.
You: Sounds good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Miss High Birth:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Purpose and My Deeds

Friday, December 9, 2011

Label Me Grateful

through Dec. 11 at Live Arts, Charlottesville, VA

Do you remember the old label makers?
i used to waste tons of ribbon on these things

On the outside of the box of the Barbies that I borrowed for my show, there is a black label that says "BARBIE BURDEN".  White letters on black tape.  I don't know why I'm the girl who got to borrow Barbie Burden's Barbies, but I am, and I use them every night.  Then I forgot to thank her in the program.  Then I remembered who else I forgot to thankThen I thought of new people to thank because people keep helping me.  It's always been that way with me.  I don't know why I'm the girl that gets helped, but I am. 
photo by Holly Czuba
What's amazing is that I'm not good at asking for help.  I'd rather whine and be a martyr.  I'm good at accepting it, not asking for it, so I'm glad people are so damn perceptive and thoughtful, and that maybe passive-aggressiveness is never out of style. 

If there's one thing I'm figuring out it's that there's no true "oneness" in a one-person show.  It seems false to call it that these days, but I know some people don't like one-person shows, so I better leave it in the description as fair warning.  
So here's an updated list...for now...and it's not everybody.

I think I should be making these people gingersnaps:
Bree Luck (who says that giving notes is a way of saying the show is in good shape...I love choppy talk like that...girlfriend, keep giving me notes)
All the people who have come out for this show (you're killing me)
Barbara Carswell (the former Barbie Burden)
Robert Jones and the Lee Street Theater (for giving me deadlines and the first opening night and the best front porch coffee ever)
Cindi Graham (who likes me best when I make Ken talk dirty)
Jim and Lucinda Epperson (who make it easy and important for me to stay in theatre)
Kate Bennis (who said, "I need more PYT."  It was so true and so key)
Lance Stewart (for many things, but little things, too, like listening to podcasts and fixing the lights on my Volvo)
Kris Breton (who gave me the thumbs up and who calls me in the mornings)
Jen Downey (who reminded me of a line that I had cut near the end that she told me to put back in and turns out it is a VERY important line)
Jenny and David Robinson and Birch Studio (my first corporate sponsor...much better experience than my first kiss...for making my show the center of a good party) 
David Post (for being the first stranger to feel so strongly about the future of the show)
Hannah Breton (for insisting on seeing your aunt's play...and for playing with tarot cards with me)
Amy Houser (for calling for show updates in the middle of her scrapbooking class)
Doug Grissom (who wouldn't let me change the title when I was having a big, big stupid moment)
Slumber Party Girls (the ones in October but to the ones everywhere who get it)
Joy Tanksley (for long distance Nia love, support and Saturday essays)
Sara Holdren (for making a great poster for me and for coming to the show when she was sick)
Rick Anderson McCombs (for passionate quoting..."nutter butter, nutter butter...")
Darryl Smith (who answers all my emails with "Right on!") 
Phoebe Flaikos (for a new piece of old jewelry and a Benjamin)
Ronald Stewart (for reporting what he hears in the lobby and for making tech magic happen)
Christina Downey (for telling me that I look really cute when I'm melting down) 
Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell (for mystery books in my mailbox and the big CLAW hookup)
Boomie Pedersen (who gave me the 2nd show and the sheets)
Carol Pedersen (for the long great chats on the way to the Hamner)
Patti Wray (who gave me the 3rd see how this goes?)
Jenny Hubbard (who told me she was sure it was going to be a "wild ride" and who sparked a flurry of energy and change in the last two weeks of rehearsal)
The first lady (in Salisbury, NC) who asked about Jeff after the show (you prepared me)
Julie Hamberg (impressive hosting, and who talked me into a duct-taped stool that I now dearly love)
Matt Joslyn (who asked me to bring the show to Live Arts...I'm having SUCH a good time -- I owe you more than lunch)
Brad Savage (for letting me read a piece of the show on the radio)
Mary Burruss (for a shows need these do all shows)
Becky Donnelly (for crying throughout and putting a collagen mask in the mail to me)
Ashley and Sarah (for never forgetting to remind me about the time I rolled off the stage and broke my arm)
Katie Scarvey (for a long lunch and giving me a real chance to practice describing my show)
Christine Louise Hohlbaum and Psychology Today (for finding me interesting)
Corey Jo Lloyd (for feeling cheesy) 
Gretchen Brantley, MD (who texted me that she was prescribing a nap)
Grady, Scott and Jeremiah (for making me feel important in the middle of a big show build) 
Heather Higgins and others (who are sending my name to other theaters -- I can't track all your good deeds, but we are going to party people...somehow...your karma is rockin')
Martin Horn, Inc. (for looking the other way when I had to make out with Ken in your basement)
Mendy St. Ours (for wearing Barbie pants and asking more questions the next morning)
Catherine Dee (for knowing an improved striptease when she sees one)
Will Kerner (for Edinburgh dreams....I feel radically optimistic)
All those people who don't like one-person shows but who seem to be making a gracious exception in this case...your big-heartedness has not been missed
All the Facebook love and the repeat audience members (hello!!! it's trippy and special and cool) 
All the emails (hmm...)
To the man who called the artistic director (and said, "That show is not about girls, it's about family!") Hell yeah.
The FBBC book club (you girls can rally, I'll tell you that!)
Margarite (my elderly neighbor who has no idea what I'm up to but who is excellent company at the dollar store)

So, get out your label maker and label me grateful. 

Click here to learn more about Dirty Barbie and other girlhood tales.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Potentially Terrible Advice

1.  Don't go to bed angry.  Take an Ambien, write a long email, eat a bowl of cereal, stuff down your feelings, watch some reality tv and feel sorry for other people and their pathetic public lives.
2.  Try to buy my love.

3.  Keep saying, "Seriously?"  "Seriously?"  until you realize that NO ONE says it anymore.  Be the last one.  The very last one. 

4.  Next time someone asks if you've got a match say, "Yeah, my butt and your face."  But don't say it backwards like I do ("your butt and my face") because with your luck he'll be an NBA player and he'll think it's (good hair and no edge) cute, and he'll fall in love with you and want to marry you on television, and it won't work out, and I just don't have the energy to pick up your pieces again.

5. Ask your new doctor why he doesn't offer champagne and small talk before your annual like your old doctor did. 

6.  Go to important conferences and lean back really quickly in swively chairs.  

7.  Tell important people that you don't admire them, but then catch yourself and say, "I meant to say, ENVY you.  I don't ENVY you. you want some more wine?" 

8.  Try to walk the line, toe the line, sign on the dotted line, break in line, be safe online, or firm-up your bottom line.

9.   Wear something mid-calf or shake your fist at the gods (same thing).  

10.  Sit cross-legged for a LONG time and then try to run for the phone.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Day Jenny Hubbard Came to Class

Jenny Hubbard

Alexandra said, "I know, I'm just awkwardly walking around with a science project."  

Alexandra's science project

This is her coffee cup.  Her science project regarding capillary action

I'm sitting in a room full of 13 year-old girls who aren't afraid to be smart, and I can't stop smiling.  

I'm at the Village School, a middle school for girls, in downtown Charlottesville and the guest speaker is Jenny Hubbard, author of Paper Covers Rock, her first young adult novel, which was published by Random House this summer.  Her book, which has been named to the top 10 list of "New Voices Among Young Adult Authors", and which just earned a gold medal from The National Parenting Publications Awards, is a creative, poetic and brilliant book that takes the reader into the boarding school world in a way you haven't been there before.  
I am tagging along.

She could just read them pages from her book.  It's so good, and it's polished and they would hear it and they would want to buy it and read it (and they should), but Jenny is a former teacher of college and high school English, and she's got more to offer them than a reading.  She wants them to help her with her new book.  She wants to know what they think.   

If Jenny Hubbard had come to my classroom when I was 13 and given me the first 10 pages of her second novel and asked me to critique it, to give her my opinion, to point out what I didn't understand, I would've left that room and wanted to be a writer.  I would've thought it was the coolest thing EVER.  Maybe they will.  Some of Proal Heartwell's English students already know they want to be writers.  There are tips and quotes all around the room from Eudora Welty and other famous authors.  

Jenny talks to them about what publishers want to do with covers, what happens from agent to publication, and how long it took her to write this book (6 years total, she says, "I know that's going to scare you, but some of those years I was teaching full time and could only work on it during the summer.")  She reads the first few pages.  She tells them she really wants their input.  She's got to send the first 10 pages away to her editor who is "going to go crazy with red pen", so she might as well make it as good as she can before she sends it.  Mauve raises her hand and asks about a plot point.  Jenny says, "That's an excellent question." 

Her generosity doesn't surprise me.  I've known Jenny for over 15 years.  As a poet, teacher, actress and friend, I've never known a more disciplined multi-discipline person.  She's also incredibly encouraging to other artists and students -- she gets it and she also has the capacity to really enjoy your work, which is a selfless gesture that can't be underrated.  I've always wanted something Disney to happen between us, like maybe we could switch bodies for a day and then we could both write about it.  I would love to have a chance to pick from her closet AND sit down to write exactly when I said I would.  

With five minutes left, she asks the girls to write a poem in the voice of a character we haven't heard from yet.  They grab some paper and jump right in.  After one brave student reads hers aloud, Jenny asks them to put their names on them; she's going to collect them.  For a moment, it could be any last moment of any English class across the country right before lunch.  But it's not.  It's the day Jenny Hubbard came to class, and I don't think it will soon be forgotten.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jeff is a Long Story

Ladies from the Mooresville High School Class of 1991

Heading south down I-77 Ashley said, "What are you going to say when someone asks about Jeff."
"I don't think they will.  Everyone knows."
Ashley said, "I had a dream that a man without a face would ask about your brother.  You need to know what to say.  Do you want to say, 'He passed away?"
I kept pulling at my wrap dress and looking at my glossy lips in the rear view mirror and I said, "I don't use that phrase.  I'll just say he died.  I won't go into a whole long story.  It'll be okay."
We were quiet for a moment and I turned up the Adele cd.  I told them that they needed to get Adele's cd.  It was a beautiful afternoon turning into a beautiful evening.

It was the night of my 20 year high-school reunion and I was sure that everyone knew my brother was dead. 

My brother, Jeff, earned the nickname, "Pluck" on a week-long chemistry field trip during the summer of 1989.  I never knew how he earned it, but "Pluck" stuck.  Jeff was two years older than me and had a little tiny space between his front teeth.  Jeff was the kind-of person who, if he found you asleep on the couch, would wake you up by putting his finger in his belly button and then putting that finger under your nose.  Jeff self-taught himself to play jazz guitar.  Jeff is a long story.  

At the reunion it was too cold to dance under the tent.  The best pictures were taken before the sun went down, but hardly anyone was there then.  I walked around the front of the house and sat on the rocking chairs on the porch.  My biggest duty was to set up the powerpoint slideshow I'd made of pictures of our classmates.  I'd gone way back into my middle school yearbooks and old prom shots.  My memory is full of moments and teachers and smells, but all these old pictures really took me back.  I think the reunion for me was much longer than one night.  For days I had been thinking of those people, those streets, those t-shirts.  

Jeff got sent to the office one time because he asked Mrs. Henderson if she'd woken up on the wrong side of the coffin.  My mother said, "And what was so funny was that I was sitting there across from her and she DID look like a vampire, so how could I be mad at the kid?"  Jeff went joyriding 5 days before he turned 16 and crashed his two-toned Camaro into a power transformer and knocked out the power for two miles.  We got out of school early because of it.  Everyone in my town knew Jeff. I depended on the grapevine to let everyone know that he died.  

James asked, "What are you up to these days?" Leslie asked, "How old was your son when you adopted him?" Melissa asked, "Where are you living now?"  Then Jeremy asked, "How's your brother?"

There were four of us standing there.  I touched Jeremy on the shoulder and I kind-of winced-smiled.  I said, "He died."  It wasn't enough of a thing to say.  It wasn't enough, but it was all I could say.  I couldn't feign trauma because the intense grief and pain of Jeff's death has left me.  I've grieved my brother's suicide, and it didn't seem like the right time for details.  I couldn't even spit out, "It was five years ago."  I don't know how, but our foursome broke up and I walked into some other thought like, "There are alot of people smoking."

Jeff laughed like a crazy man.  He took great pleasure from funny movies, comic books, and car dancing.  When I got my first apartment, he took me to the dollar store and bought me plates. He told me that the bread I bought was too expensive.  He took me by the shoulders and shook me and said what he always said, "You need to call me more."  When Jeff got deep into alcoholism and depression, he started every day with bourbon in his coffee, and he didn't work.  He cut me off.  When the eviction notice came on his apartment door and his checking account was overdrawn, he left a weird note and shot himself.  

Near the end of the reunion, I took it upon myself to gather my classmates in one room.  The catering people were starting to clear tables and to give us that nudge.  I felt the need to say something.  I felt like you couldn't come together after 20 years and stand beside each other and drink wine and not say something.  So I herded them into one room.  Some people hadn't taken off their coats all night.  It was an indoor/outdoor kind-of event.  I said thanks and I said cheers and I said something about the next time, but I wanted to say, "I am saying thank you for coming tonight, but I'm really saying thank you for all THOSE times, the old times.  You don't know that going to school was the best thing that I ever had, that going home scared me to death, that you helped me survive.  You don't know that people in my house rushed into death like a kid runs into the ocean...or maybe like a kid that's getting chased into the ocean." 
People know more than they let on.  You have more in common than you know, more in common now than you ever have before.  I thought of all I didn't know about what had happened to them over the past twenty years, and all the questions I never thought to ask at the reunion.  At least some of us danced.  Then we hugged and said goodnight.  My cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing.  I would go into more details, but it's a long story...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reunion Games

Duke Power State Park, Summer 1990

"Time makes you bolder, children get older, and I'm getting bolder, too."  
                                                    --from "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac 

On the way back from taking the SAT, Lisa Sawyer shut my head up in the back window.  That's only one of the dangers of big cars with electric buttons.  Why was my head hanging out the window?  Oh, you don't know me very well if you're asking that question.  It was a Saturday afternoon in the Fall, and it was Highway 150 between Salisbury and Mooresville, NC.  I didn't recognize it then as the big step towards the end of high school, towards obtaining my ticket out of town.  Filling in circle after circle, gesture after gesture to say in a quiet, number 2 pencil way, "Gotta go, see ya, this was always going to happen.  You, you go that direction, I'll go this one.  I don't know where you're going, but you're not going with me.  I'm 18 and I'm going thatta way."

Bam.  Fizzle.  Click.  Buzz.  Ouch.  20 years pass, and it's time to head back to town.  To the Reunion at Beaver Dam (yes, I'm already planning the Flannery O'Conner short story/screenplay that's been going gothic southern since the pre-planning days a year ago).  I'm in charge of the Powerpoint presentation of old pictures...and games.  All those with Buster Pointdexter bangs will be highlighted and grouped.  I might go looking for trivia questions...and games.  People hate games.  Why wouldn't that stop me?  Oh, you don't know me very well if you're asking that question.  Here are some ideas I'm toying with:   

1.  Last Chance Cheerleading Pyramid
Be Aggressive.  Be Passive-Aggressive...Putting your knee in someone else's back never gets old, so if you were super-beautiful in high school and won any sort of crown, we're going to need you on the bottom row.  It seems like there's never an in-depth discussion of someone's high school days without a self-description of where you fit in the beauty order.  We hang on to old stories about what you were or what you weren't.  With each layer of our pyramid, we'll say, "Now if you think you were dissed or overlooked or a little turtle afraid to talk or sickened by good looking people...if you ever wanted a chance to be on top, climb on up there little monkey."  It will be brief, that moment on top because backs are tender now and human pyramids are always fragile -- and someone from down below is going to fuss.  They might even holler up to the top, "Dumbass!  You got it all wrong.  They said I was beautiful, but I thought I was ugly.  Big difference.  Huge."   

2.  Roads Not Taken  
Circle up people.  Yes, you can hold on to your pumpkin martini.  Fun.  This is going to be super-fun.  Super-super fun.  It's an improv game that you might've been informally rehearsing over the past 20 years, but that's okay.  Don't beat yourself about over-achieving on your regret list.  We'll go around the circle and you can say, "I should've..."  "I never..."  "The worst decision I've made so far was..."  Then we'll improv dance to "True Colors" with these ribbons that I'm getting at Micheal's, and we'll release all that crap and you'll go away thinking that you never knew reunions could be so therapeutic. 

3.  The No-Games Game
This game will happen all night, kind-of like a murder mystery dinner, but with less snappy dialogue.  You'll know when you're playing it because you'll feel all warm and the hug will feel real, and you'll get that feeling that you rarely get these days, that feeling that you're standing with someone whose known you since you were 5.  They do look different but exactly the same, their little baby face still in-tact.  Remember accidentally turned and popped that girl's sister in the eye with your softball bat?  You fell off a horse with her at a birthday party.  You and her and her and her went and serenaded him "Top Gun" style under his window when he was supposed to be studying.  You sat beside her on the bus to New York City in the 10th grade and no one said anything when you bawled through Steel Magnolias off-Broadway.  You played tennis with her for years and years and she helped you find your retainer in the Wendy's trash.  You thought her and her and him should've gotten more attention and more of a push to go to college and more scholarship money like you did, but you know that only happened to you because you were white.   They should've been in the car to take the SAT.  

So we'll gather under trees and on a big porch and we'll say in quiet and loud ways, "Hey!  We're here.  We're back.  You...after all this time.  This was always going to happen.  We were always going to come back together.  You look great...I'm really happy to see you.  Really happy..." 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Screenwriting in the Country (with kids)

Laptops and banana bread and new scenes and a frittata.
And coffee.
And kids.
Porches and hula hoops and deciphering handwriting for data entry 
And pajama pants and a black dog.
And coffee.
And kids.

You do what you have to do to GET 'ER DONE!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lean On Me: How and When to Give a Sister Some Help

Excerpted from my advice column, Like Sisters, for Cville Weekly.  Please click here to read the whole column.

You want to save her, don’t you? You’re a good super-friend. You probably inherited it like I did. I’ve got a good bit of my grandmother in me. Not the part that ate like a bird, but the part where she squinted her eyes and helped you plan your escape. Hardship made her crafty. Until she died at 91, she held onto a thank you note from a friend who she helped elope circa 1935. In this issue, I answer three tough friendship questions using the skills passed down to me from Kitty Kane, my awesome grandma.

What do you say to a friend who seems to be dissatisfied with her job?
Get her a card—a funny one about friendship or cats. On the inside, include a handwritten message: “You deserve the best. Can I help you find a new job?”
Her: I complain too much about my job, don’t I?
You: Nope. You complain just enough for me to know that it sucks. I’ll help you find a new one. Do you daydream about walking away from it all, like you might quit at any moment?
Her: Yes. I feel like I don’t even know who I am.
You: I want to shake you by the shoulders, but I don’t want to make a scene. Start picturing your last day, and when that starts to sound good, I’ll help you.

Read on...

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Ten

"Danish Abandonment" by Andrew Shearer

Don't Abandon Your Blog for More Than 20 Days

Whoops.  I've been gone since August 20. What happened? Here are some of the things that MIGHT have been happening to me while I was away...I MIGHT:
  • have had a "crisis of meaning" and thought that the JCPenney catalog was more interesting than anything I could possibly write.  If you spend $75 there this weekend you can get $10 off.  
  • have been blogging in my head and forgot to type it out and push "publish".
  • have had my niece here from Seattle for a good long visit and used that as an excuse to get busy baking chocolate cake, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and taking her to the houses of dead presidents.
  • have been planning on how to come back stronger than Elizabeth Hurley on Gossip Girls.
  • have taken up yoga and gotten stuck inside a nasty, possessive Bird of Paradise.
  • have been scribbling, scribbling, scribbling away on this idea and having meetings with my friends and saying things like, "What do you think?" and "I scare myself."  And thinking, thinking and then more I think I've got it.
  • done this thing where when I get really focused on the future, then I get really intent to undo the past, and then I can't do jackshit about the present.  Creative babies do this to you.  Luckily, you can still drink coffee and wine when you are pregnant with them.
  • gotten called-back for a lottery commercial which I didn't get which is fine because I would've hated to have signed over my chance to win the lottery.  WHAT A RELIEF.  
  • just eaten half of a sesame bagel with cinnamon-raisin spread and half of a caramel apple and gotten PUMPED UP enough to crank out a Friday afternoon list.   
  • have gone through an internal, violent debate between attachment and commitment and come out on the other end of the wood chipper.  But I'm better now. 
Maybe you've been there, too.  Maybe you've abandoned your blog or some other worthy project.  I went to the little cabin in the woods (really just in my bed early in the morning and late at night) for a few weeks, and I wrote in my journal and I worked on this idea.  Please excuse the absence.  I don't have a note.  But...I'm back.  I'm back.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Nine


Are you teachable?  Coach-able?  Sentences that start with "You oughta..." are dead from the get-go.  Your advice is probably pretty decent, so you just have to learn to ask it in a question (it makes you tricky and thus very smart-looking/sounding)  It's so easy to give advice, but you risk pathetic know-it-all-ness, which I risk frequently and it looks worse on me than yellow (and that is SAYING SOMETHING).  I really should be asking you questions.  Well, I asked you one in this series:  Why do you want to build online influence?  That's a good one to answer.  Another one for you:  What are you willing to give up to get the thing you want?  There WILL be an exchange of energy.  I've found that asking questions is pretty important to helping people -- and helping yourself.  My horoscope asked me a few weeks ago if I was asking the universe the big, important questions that need to be asked.  So far that's just got me searching for questions, but not exactly popping them yet. Girls can pop questions, too.  I'm close...are you close to asking (or getting an answer to) a big question?  If not, ask someone to try and coach you.  Even if it's just while you're on the bus.  It'll be fun.      

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Eight


You might find that your influence grows when you connect with other bloggers.  You might find that your blog gets more interesting when you connect with interesting people.  Schedule an interview with someone.  Write a real comment on someone else's blog.  Send me a list of the top five blogs that you think I should know about and I'll go check them out -- and I'll say you sent me.  

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Seven

Follow up.  Follow up.  Follow up.
I'm not saying I'm perfect about this, but I'm saying that it makes a difference.  
The universe likes speed, that's all I'm saying. 

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Six


Have a life on the ground.  Stay connected to friends, colleagues and clients around you. Don't live in your yoga pants. Be a person who sees other people.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Five


Do the work. 
Make a very short list today.
Complete it.   

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Four


Ask yourself, "Why?"
"Why do I want to blog?"  "What would I do with an online community if I got 'em?  Make a pizza together?"

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Three

Content is king. 
Consistency can be queen, but it is the quality of the WHAT, not the HOW OFTEN that makes a difference to me. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Two

copyright 2011denisestewart
Have you loved on someone else's blog today?

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step One

copyright 2011 denisestewart

The Newspaper in August: Oh to be yong again...

This is a "found" poem.  I took words and phrases and names from articles, ads, the crossword puzzle, and the TV guide from yesterday's Sunday paper (August 14, 2011...The Daily Progress), mixed them all up and made sense of it my way.

Two typos I found in the same quote, and I'm not even "The Matrix" star.  
Who is?
Who wants to say no to 300 million?
Who wants a Minute to Win It with John of Ohio or Nancy of California?
Not regarding the FREE document shredding event and NOT regarding the 2011 World Series of Poker, I read, 

"Your chances of survivng are better if you're yong."

Dear Abby is Abigail Van Buren and also Jeanne Phillips, and I bet she was yong once. 
I'm forming a super-committee to create new frat letters and to spread the swift treatment and amazing normalcy of face transplants.  

On the route between DaNang and Hue, South Vietnam you will not find
the 17-Day Diet or the Housewives of New Jersey.
You may get bad groundhog advice.
You may take pleasure in your bungled debt.   

Now, at 55, Lizzy is looking back on an empty and meaningless life, but I say:
Cancer:  don't scoff at change; it is probably exactly what you need.  Go to the Charlottesville Laughter Yoga Club -- they meet from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays at the Gordon Avenue Library.

Let me tell you the history of the property of Keswick Hall, where we go unhurried
where we enjoy monopolies
where we live in the garden of the beasts.

Geraldo at Large is not known for his so-called diving reflex but 
what is the word for one who is not class conscious? It's 6 letters and will intersect with a vaudeville hook.
What will the torturous ordeal finally bear you? 
The center jewel in the much-expanded crowd will inspect his body carefully because there may be a successful guest -- an American Dog Tick.  This bodes ill.  
NEVER wean the country, never shift your perspective and never remove ticks using gasoline, petroleum jelly, nail polish, matches or your bare hands. 

No matter what you and your husband built in 1912 there is relentless danger, 
there is the shock of being plunged into cold water.  You will wish to be yong again. 
She who shies from the tough fight will find herself near death anyway on the
final day of the PGA championship.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mi land, my heart...lost in San Antonio

Walking into a restaurant in San Antonio, I thought, I hope this is what heaven looks like.  I didn't know that's what I wanted, but now that I've seen it, I hope heaven is an all-night Mexican eatery with sassy, beautiful waitresses, mariachi bands, a bakery, and all the tortilla chips you can eat.  If I had to give it a genre, a type, I would say Gothic Mexican.  Maybe Gothic Mexican plus Christmas lights.  You could be very happy in a place like this. 

Welcome to Mi Tierra.  It's located in the heart of El Mercado -- Market Square.  When you are done shopping for brightly colored pottery frogs and turquoise jewelry, you can go there like I did.  Maybe you will go there three times like I did, too.  I took these pictures. 

The first time we were just tourists.  My son was behind me and when we walked in he said, "Oh...nuns."  Nuns selling jewelry.

Look, I'm easily impressed.  I am.  I suffer fools and I watch bad tv.  I think everything and everyone has a story, but some stories are better than others and in a town of many, many Mexican restaurants, the one with the baby wreath will always get my vote for "Best of San Antonio".  You can't see him because I didn't take his picture, but there was a man there, a live mannequin, who scared my mother-in-law.  He was a cross between James Brown, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.  Now you're starting to see why this looks like heaven. 

The second time we went in at the END of our shopping and we settled in the dark, ornate bar with the heavy furniture and the vintage mariachi outfits in glass cases.  The mariachi waiter tried to upsell me into a blue margarita in honor of the Cowboys being in town, but I just got the traditional for $5.95.  

The third time we visited is because my family loves me and we had dinner.  My quesadilla was tasty, fluffier in texture than most quesadillas, but I have to say -- I was distracted.  Yes, there were TWO mariachi bands floating around.  Yes, that is a large portrait of Bill Clinton running with a Mi Tierra t-shirt on.  He must've eaten there before he went vegan.  Yes, that is a shark in the background.  The place is huge, and most of the women are dressed for a special occasion.  There are flowers behind ears, and everyone looks good in Christmas lights. 

Oh, Mi Tierra, save a table for me.  I'll be back for that blue margarita. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

25 Things I'll Never Do

1.  Be a whitewater rafting instructor
2.  Pull a begonia out of someone's yard because I'm drunk and it's there (again)
3.  Love science fiction
4.  Play with a Ouija board (again)
5.  Think the crazy thought "girls are hard, boys are easy"
6.  Threaten to spank or slap a child at a shoe store ("Imma slap you in a second")
7.  Drink a whole bottle of soy sauce
8.  Stick to every single one of my many, many resolutions
9.  Stop making resolutions
10.  Be cast in the remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith 
11.  Underestimate the power of authentic sweetness with a customer service agent
12.  Be a napper
13.  Give up on all my crafty projects
14.  Be able to trick someone else into painting my fence
15.  Fall asleep first at a slumber party (again)
16.  Accurately describe the events of Watergate (no matter how much I read about it AND love Dustin Hoffman)
17.  Let someone mention Dale Earnhardt, Jr. without saying "I went to high school with him."  I'll never let it slide. 
18.  Not think curly-headed people have it made
19.  Train for dentistry
20. Give up on the woo-woo stuff of life
21.  Consistently move the clothes from the washer to the dryer promptly (like I need to right now)
22.  Rank gummy bears over chocolate chips
23.  Get a chance to eat my way off of Golden Grahams Island (again)
24.  Buy yellow clothes
25.  Give up on the beach house