Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bitter End of Summer

Eighteen posts in August isn't too bad. Except when you say you're going to do 31. Then it's kinda bad. I feel twinges of guilt about it, but I'm trying to let it go. I think I need to find a theme I'm more inspired by if I do NaBloPoMo again.

I think Jarrah is exhausted by the idea of starting kindergarten. Or something. She's been yawning copiously in the afternoons, even though she's off camp and all she's expected to do is play with friends, watch TV and accompany me on errands. Apparently, that is too taxing. I took her to the mall today for lunch ("just us girls, right, Mommy?") and to see Nanny McPhee, which I totally loved. How much do I love anything British? A lot, that's how much. And stuff that is circa WWI is a plus. Luckily, Jarrah seemed riveted, too. Maybe it was the lollies and Nerds I'd stashed in my purse. ("I'M READY FOR MY LOLLIPOP!" she said, all subtlety, "I HOPE IT'S THE KIND WITH THE BUBBLEGUM!")

Afterward, she pointed to a stand selling "Pillow Pals" (stuffed animals you can sleep on, apparently) and instructed me to get her one, and when I said no way, she cried and stamped her foot.

"Excuse me? I just took you to lunch and a movie, got you candy and offered to buy you new shoes for school. But I'm some sort of villain because I don't say sure! to your impulse buys?" She hates when I do that, and usually yells "STOP TALKING! STOP INTERRUPTING ME!" I tried to explain that I'd actually be a bad mom if I just bought her everything she saw. That wasn't flying with her, either.

On the way to the car, I relented a bit and said "If there's something special you want, maybe we can go get it after your first week of school, to celebrate starting kindergarten." Gotta love this response:

"By then I will forget what I wanted. You'll have to remind me."

"See how you must not really want it if I'm going to have to remind you?"

That was also totally unconvincing. I don't know why I bother, really. When we got home, she said she was going to lie down for a spell. Five minutes later, I peeked into her room and she's fast asleep, naked, with her mouth wide open.

Maybe it's just exhausting to spend the day with me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What A Caterwauling!

One weekend of shows down! And one to go. (Come see us on September 4th and 5th at 6:00 at Liberty Station!)

A really nice weekend and a good experience with the audience. Saturday we showed up three hours early for rehearsal and run-throughs (which, to quote Caleb in The Hot Seat, "we totally needed") and that really sharpened us up. By 5:00, an adorable contingent of camp-chair-bearing folks descended on our little courtyard behind Trader Joes with copious picnic foods. By 6:00, I had around 20 people to see me in the audience (none last night, alas) which added to the excitement. Having been running around and singing (read: sweating) all afternoon, my stage makeup was besmirched and I had to go fix it in the Trader Joes bathroom.

One exciting bit is how much the kids seem to be liking the show. I mean, there are shenanigans, and fools, and singing, but even the straight-up Shakespeare bits seem to appeal. It probably helps that the show is only 30 minutes long--less if we hit all our cues. Really, I can't think of a nicer way to spend a summer evening than showing up with some chairs and a greasy bag of Five Guys and watching some kooks in white costumes emote as the sun goes down (hint!)

Sunday's show was similar, but maybe even a bit more high-energy. We are getting quite adept at freezing when an airplane goes by and Hannah clicks her castanets two times (though it also tempts me to whisper "There's no place like home...") I almost wish there were more airplanes because some of the freeze moments are quite amusing. The niece of one of my castmates told me I was the funniest, which made my day, and a man I didn't know grinned knowingly and said "Interesting take on Maria." Not sure what that meant, but I guess I'll choose to be complimented that he thought I had a "take" at all.

Last night we had a cast dinner at Tender Greens after the show, which was yummy though a little scattered since everyone had to wait in a long line for food and that sort of spoiled the mood a bit (or mine, at least.) But I loved that our whole cast (and groupies) pretty much fit around the big wooden "family table" on their patio--something Shakespearean about that. If only we'd had goblets of mead.

Now to regroup for next weekend, though we have a rehearsal on Thursday. To quote Sir Toby, "Tis too late to go to bed--let's go burn some sack!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Milestones And Other Rocks

Oh, it's a big day around here.

It's the last day of summer camp, for one thing. This week it was Radical Reptiles. Jarrah seemed to learn a lot--she started describing everything as "endangered" or "predators." Also, there was a turtle in a bucket when I dropped her off this morning, and I said "Look! A turtle!" and she rolled her eyes and said "It's a TORTOISE." Oops, how embarrassing.

She actually missed most of the animal encounter today because first I took her to her "kindergarten assessment." I didn't really like the sound of that--"assessment." It sounded so academic. Which of course it is. And Jarrah doesn't know anything about that stuff. I've tried to keep her shielded for as long as possible, but now, the time is nigh for The Institution to shape her and turn her into a useful citizen. Just like it did me. And look how I turned out.

We met in the teacher's lounge and were greeted by one of the teachers--the one I've been told we want. She handed Jarrah a packet of papers and a separate card with a drawing of an apple. She said "Please color the apple, then cut it out and glue it here [pointing to the front of the packet] and then write your name above it in this box." There were various stations set up with crayons, glue sticks and safety scissors. I felt instantly nervous. Jarrah went right to work coloring, and was done speedily. Then she wanted my help with the cutting. But I gently said "No, I think you're supposed to do it by yourself, sweetie." I later noticed lots of moms not only offering suggestions but getting right in there and cutting for their kids. But I'm proud to say that Jarrah's apple was all her own doing, and it looked rad. She started getting distracted by all the commotion in the room and I had to ask "Now what were you supposed to do next?" Then she remembered to glue. But she got a wandering eye while she was writing her name, and the result didn't look much like letters. And her "J" was backward. I bit my tongue and didn't mention it.

Now we were instructed to get in line, and because I peeked I could see there were four tables--each with a teacher behind it--in the big room next door. I guess the assessment was being done in stations. I ended up waiting outside for about 10 minutes while Jarrah was in there. At one point, I peeked again and saw her laughing uproariously at something one of the teachers had said. That seemed like a good sign.

When she came out, a lady opened a big fridge and offered her a popsicle. We already knew this was going to happen since we'd seen other kids (and their siblings) getting them. But I had to conceal my amusement that Jarrah became totally overwhelmed when asked what flavor she wanted. All the other kids had been like yeah, whatever, hand it over, but Jarrah was really, really concentrating on making the right choice. I guarantee you that she thought much harder about her flavor than she did about any of the assessment questions.

On the way to the car, I asked--as lightly as possible--"So what did you do in there?"

"Oh, they asked me about the alphabet, and to sound out things."

"And did you?"

"Not really. Kind of. It was hard. I didn't know a lot."

My heart sank. Oh, she's going to be in THAT room. Then I realized I had no idea what sort of room THAT would be.

"How about numbers? Did you do those?"


"And did you know them all?"

"No, not really. I didn't remember a lot."

Hmmm. Readers, I must say, I had to really focus on breathing and not blurting out something like "For Pete's sake, you couldn't focus on 10 minutes of questions about letters and numbers? How are you going to get into college?" Because that didn't seem like it was going to be helpful. Even though I really, really had to stop myself from doing it anyway.

Then Jarrah said:

"A lot of the stuff I didn't know, but you know what? It's all fine, because everyone who tried got a popsicle."

I laughed. Because, really, what else mattered? You know stuff, you don't know stuff, but at the end of the day, the popsicle is the pie in the sky.

When I mentioned this to David, he said (so wise! always!) "Well, of course she said that. Because why would she think any different? No one has ever told her it's important to know letters and numbers. [Jarrah went to a developmental or "play-based" preschool.] Popsicles, though, she knows those are important."

All day I've been thinking about how weird it is that's she's going to school, and that people will actually try to TEACH her things now, and that--if all goes well--she will READ soon, and WRITE, and have all kinds of weird new skills that I don't associate with her. And the whole train of thought puts me a bit off-kilter.

So imagine how I felt when David called out from the bathroom tonight:

"Bottom teeth are loose!!!"

I came running. One--or both?--of the bottom two are wiggly. All of the sudden. I mean, I was rattling those babies just a week ago and nada. Also, our dentist told us it would probably be another six months or more before any movement, based on her x-rays.

Jarrah was thrilled. David said he'll take some photos of her baby smile tomorrow. And I just walked away, shaking my head, feeling like I might cry. Kindergarten and loose teeth in one week? What's next--she'll get a job as a cocktail waitress?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Blowing Through The Jasmine In My Mind

Saturday morning we had song-and-dance rehearsal at the park, and everyone was in good spirits. The grand finale of the show is starting to look--dare I say it?--kind of polished, and people aren't forgetting the lyrics as much. Also, there was a funny moment when a dude with a beard walked up, dropped his backpack with our stuff, and silently joined the circle. When we all looked at him expectantly, he said "Sorry I'm late." After some more expectant looks, he said "This is tai chi, right?" Um, not so much, but I guess if you're going to stand in a circle at the park, you better be prepared for people to join it.

I made one ginormous (as Jarrah would say) mistake that morning, and that was asking my castmate Yolanda for a ticket to her OTHER show, playing that night. David decided to save us babysitting money and stayed home--man, that guy is smart. When I arrived (late, because there was no parking, and I mean NONE, I had to drive up the street and park at a dark, dark Baptist church) I was surprised to see a mini-crowd of peeps from my theater group, including my two most recent directors. I had been warned that there were actually TWO plays with no intermission in-between, making a subtle get-away impossible, but there should have been other warnings. The first short play didn't make any sense to me (a gang of women from the late 19th century standing around in period costume yelling about things) but at least Yolanda herself was something to write home about. The second play featured two teenage boys making some sort of deal to become related by growing up and going into business together, living next-door, and forcing their eventual offspring to marry. That was the first scene, and I found it VERY promising because it seemed utterly, totally demented. I can get with demented, so I looked forward to further absurdity unfolding forthwith. Little did I know (until I scrabbled around for my program) that this play is actually FOURTEEN scenes, many of which feature two actors on cell phones on an empty stage, and the rest pivoting on in-depth discussions of what sorts of furniture to buy. I noted that somehow--heaven help us--all this was going to culminate in a discussion of the Holocaust at the end, but I didn't make it that far. When intermission finally arrived (we'd been captive nearly TWO HOURS at this point) our entire group beat a hasty retreat, and I mean RUNNING for the door.

The whole way home, I shook my head and marveled that an entire theater--actors, producers, directors, ticket-takers--got behind this show, thought it was worth the time of the cast and then the attention of dozens of unwitting audience members. I started thinking that I really need to start writing some plays, rent myself a theater, hire a bunch of bright-eyed young things and put on a show or ten. Because, why not? Clearly, you don't need much more than a dream.

Yesterday, we had a barbecue at Jarrah's new school, sponsored by the dads' group (it's actually called DADS, but I can't remember what that stands for) and despite the punishing heat, it was really fun. There were lots of sign-ups for David to commit to building rockets with kids, and I can tell he's THRILLED about the upcoming "Dad and Daughter" camp-out at the school, wherein he will be expected to sleep in a tent on the lawn with the young one while I'm being fanned by eunuchs at home.

From there, we had only a small window before heading to Hillcrest for dinner at the home of my friend Eric's parents, in a fabulous pied-a-terre with a huge terrace on which we supped. I haven't seen Eric in a long time, but he wanted to meet Jarrah, so he smartly invited a gang of their neighbors from the building, including a couple with a six- and three-year-old. Jarrah and the girls got along famously (natch) and even put on a show for us. Eric doesn't do anything half-way, and had cooked a massive feast including lamb curry, dahl, cucumber and carrot salads, potatoes, peanut noodles, saffron rice and the biggest fruit-and cheese display I've seen since the Bridal Bazaar. I contributed blueberry cupcakes, and everyone was kind enough to eat them. The guests were either very polite or actually interested in the 48 Hour Film Project, so I had lots of stories to tell. It was the perfect summer evening to feast outside and make new friends.

Today I went to see Eat Pray Love, since I know that David has no interest and I did so love the book. It was entertaining and beautiful, though I've read several reviews describing Julia Roberts as "gaunt" considering she just sits around and eats for four months. And I know I'm supposed to find Javier Bardem irresistible and all that, but I think No Country For Old Men ruined him for me. I kept waiting for him to pull one of those bovine air guns from behind his back.

I should also mention that I just finished a lovely book, The Pull of the Moon, by Elizabeth Berg. This was one of those rare novels that I craved instantly, where I couldn't wait to get into bed at night to get back to it. For one thing, it alternates between an epistolary and journal structure (letters to the narrator's husband, and a diary chronicling her road trip) and I loved the back-and-forth between mediated information and total confession. Plus, she's a woman just past menopause (no, I can't relate to that part, but I can imagine it), bored and restless, married with a just-grown only daughter. She hops in her car one day and just starts driving aimlessly, staying in random little motels and writing in the evenings. Some of her realizations were so familiar that I felt a little afraid, like How is she inside my head? Particularly when she talked about aging and what that feels like. Anyway, if you like quiet little books about marriage, parenting, writing, travel and spontaneity, you will probably like it, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Naughty and Nice

Just got the final ruling that our 48 Hour Film Project film for the Inland Empire, Eye of the Beholder, is officially disqualified from consideration for jury prizes. I've kept quiet on the matter until the Powers That Be at headquarters on the East Coast (the drama!) made up their minds about what to do with us. And now they have. And it sucks. Our infraction is including a 48 Hour Film Project San Diego city producer as an actor on our team. Notice I said ACTOR and not spy or Deep Throat or evil mastermind. But that was enough to get us branded with the scarlet "D."

I think the film is good, and look forward to posting a link when we're allowed. And we're still eligible for the Audience Award. But it seems unlikely to me that we'll get it, since they are also going to make an announcement at the premiere (!) about why we were disqualified. Oh, the humanity. I'm trying to imagine everyone looking at us, pointing and yelling "CHEATERS!" Which probably won't happen, but still. It's enough to dampen my enthusiasm for the red carpet. I haven't even looked for a fabu outfit this time. I can't muster the energy, in our infamy. And anyway, we're considering t-shirts that thumb our noses (chests?) at the ruling that say something like "DISQUALIFIED: No, that's not right." (The part after the colon was the required line for this competition--clever, huh?)

In happier news, I had my surgery follow-up on Monday morning and all was well. I'm healing like I should and the pathology report said that most beautiful of words: BENIGN. ("Oh, like Benign Girl!" responded my smart, smart daughter.)

And rehearsals for Twelfth Night are heating up (literally: it was quite warm in the park last night) and we're having a lark singing and dancing and attracting the attention of innocent bystanders and their dogs. I'm looking forward to the supreme fun of performing in the great, wide open. If you're local and like FREE theater, put August 28-29 and September 4-5 on the calendar. All shows at 6 p.m. and locations to be announced. Family-friendly, too!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deep Green

This past Sunday we had a visit in the OC with my brother Karl and my nieces Stella and Ruby. Because I'm so generous, I let my little bro pick the lunch spot, and because he's a crunchy Berkeley boy we ended up at The Veggie Grill in Irvine. Now, I've grown far more tolerant of the green stuff over the years, but I hadn't realized this place is VEGAN. I got skeeved out by my veggie cheeseburger half-way through and had to focus on my sweet potato fries to regain my composure. Jarrah had brown rice mac with soy cheese, and after a while she said "Mommy, this mac n' cheese doesn't have any flavor." I began "Honey, that's because NO healthy food has any..." and thought better of it, but not fast enough for my sharp little miss, who was all like "What, Mommy? Did you say NO healthy food has any flavor?" Oops. So much for my plans for wholesome indoctrination.

Stella had her heart set on a boat ride, so after a short one on the Balboa Ferry (after which only Jarrah could manage to lose her flip-flop in the teeny-tiny gap between the ferry and the landing, occasioning a full-out search party but resulting in a trip to the pharmacy around the corner for some new ones "the color of the Burmese Python at the zoo") we checked out some rentals. After a bit of sticker-shock, we settled on a lovely 8-person electric craft with a canopy and an iPod dock, perfect for a bit of Queen-themed Pandora.

Since Jarrah can't quite swim yet, I imprisoned her in the lifejacket, but this didn't last long, I'm afraid. She even took a turn at driving the boat!

As we chugged around the harbor at a brisk seven miles per hour, I couldn't conceal my amazement at the beautiful place where I grew up, showcased oh-so-well from the million dollar perspective of the many yachts and mansions lining the shore (no, we didn't have any of that.) The sun was out, the breeze was brisk, and the fat-bottomed girls were frisky. Also I got to be with people I hardly ever see, even though they're family. Really, a perfect afternoon.

When we alighted at the dock (none too gracefully, I should confess) my dad was waiting with a hatted gentleman on a bench. The latter was much interested in our boating party, and asked who all these people were. "Well, my brother is visiting from Berkeley, and these are his daughters, and over there is my husband and our daughter, and this is my dad." After I said all this, it struck me Why, we're sort of having a family reunion today. How nice is that! So I said that, too. "It's kind of like a family reunion." "So I see," said the gentleman. "How lovely."

And it surely was. Then there was Skee ball, and air hockey, and the Ferris wheel ("If this goes around one more time, I'm definitely going to be bored," reported Jarrah) and a taco feast back at home.

"Whatcha think of the boat?" my brother asked me. "Um, I think we have to rent it every time you visit," I said. And I'm not kidding.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getting All Green-Eyed

A few Readers have suggested I write about Envy, and while I know this is a common state for me, I couldn't think of a good example until yesterday. But now I have, so here goes.

When I was a junior in high school, I took a P.E. weight lifting class with one Lance Martin, Dreamy Star Tailback for the Corona del Mar football team. I can't tell you much about Lance, since we never spoke. He had a raspy voice, crystalline green eyes (ha!) and was featured in the local sports section every Saturday after super-scoring at every Friday night game. What I remember about Lance is really just about me: I stalked him until I knew all his habits--which classes he took, when I could sit in the bleachers during his track practice, who his friends were (Vince B...almost as hot) and most importantly the location of his locker, so I could fold up notes into teeny-tiny pieces and squeeze them through the slats when no one was looking. That's right--I put anonymous love letters in his locker. "Dear Lance. You looked like a god running hurdles today. I love you like I love air and sleep and ice cream. I'll love you forever. Samantha." Yeah, I signed them. You thought maybe I was LESS dramatic at 16? They were only anonymous by virtue of the fact that he had no freakin' clue who I was. Because I was nobody. In his world, I didn't exist.

He was often with cheerleaders and other popular girls, but the girl I hated with the whitest, hottest passion was one Kelly S., who was only a FRESHMAN (Lance was a senior) and the most California-est girl I'd ever seen: tall, leggy, tan, tiny snub nose, waist-length bleach-blond hair--the kind of blond that comes from daily beach visits, not from science.

She wasn't a cheerleader, and didn't even seem to be part of a popular crowd--she was just, simply, beautiful. And clearly, Lance had noticed. Since he could have any girl in school, maybe he'd just seen her in the hall and started talking to her. She seemed comfortable around him (as I watched from a distance) but not snowed--she didn't giggle or look away when he talked. She just seemed like a person, talking to another person.

HUH? It would be like standing there nonchalantly chatting up Shaun Cassidy. I mean, Lance was not a regular PERSON. He was an ANGEL walking among us. A raspy-voiced, green-eyed, football-playing angel. And here was Miss Kelly S, acting like a conversation with Lance Martin was no more thrilling than purchasing a quart of milk. I stared and stared at her, trying to figure out how someone gets to be like that, what it must be like to wake up each day with that kind of confidence, that kind of presence in the world.

At the time, I worked in a donut/ice cream shop on Balboa Island; it was my first paying job. I stayed there for a couple of years and one day, about a year later, I spotted a note tacked to the bulletin board under the phone. It said "Please call if shifts become available." and was signed "Kelly S.," with her address and phone number. I was stunned. Kelly S. might work here! She might become my best friend, and teach me how to be like her! I thought about it all afternoon. Because I'm a talker, I had to mention it to my shift partner, Heidi, who was also one of the managers. I told her about Lance and Kelly and my whole sordid non-history with them. We were standing by the bulletin board. Heidi looked at me serenely and said "So...you hate this girl, right?" I was a little shocked by the question. I mean, "hate" was a strong word for someone I'd never met. But for some reason I said "Yeah. I mean, totally. I can't stand her." With a slow smile crossing her freckled face, Heidi reached for the note and pulled it off the board. Decisively, she ripped it top to bottom and tossed it in the trashcan next to us. "Buh-bye, Kelly. Guess you won't be working here." She smiled at me again and headed back to the counter.

I was amazed. What power! Just like that, Kelly's hope of being a Dad's Donut girl was dashed forever. Maybe she had Lance, but I had the job she wanted. How cool was I? Don't answer that, but for the rest of that day, at least, I felt pretty cool. I had something that Kelly S. wanted, and people in my corner to make sure she never got it. Wow.

Ten years later, I'm watching Melrose Place (one of my all-time faves) when a beautiful blond girl in a bathing suit jogs by evil Michael Mancini on the beach. There was something about her. I mean, yeah, she was gorgeous, but that wasn't it: she had a spark of something, charismatic and focus-pulling. She quickly became my favorite character. A while later, my friend Bryan told me he couldn't believe Kelly S. from our high school was on Melrose Place. It was like someone hit me with a brick. OMG! She was no longer Kelly S--now she was Kelly R.

And now she's Serena's mom on Gossip Girl. As gorgeous as ever. And I kind of love her. True story. I mean, she has her problems, in real life, just like the rest of us. I know that she and her husband split up as soon as she got pregnant with their second child. It can't be fun going through pregnancy and divorce at the same time, with a toddler, no less.

But I have to laugh every time I remember how I thought I really zinged her when Heidi tore up her note. Yeah, she missed a key opportunity there. Could have really led to something. Too bad an evil mastermind like me took her down.

Wonder what Lance Martin is up to, though. Haven't seen him on any shows.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Green Room

Just returned from seeing the week-capping show for Jarrah's "Our Little Stars" theater camp.

The show was presented on the basketball court, and introduced by a woman named Miss Stephanie, who then pointed to the woman next to her and said "And this is also Miss Stephanie." This struck me as hilarious for some reason and I laughed a little too loudly.

The two cute, young counselors, Mr. Kyle and Miss Julia, were on hand to walk the stars through their paces. The parents were seated two rows deep at one end of the court, and I snagged a front-row seat.

First, there was a dance number to Justin Bieber's "Baby." I only know that because Mr. Kyle told us so--I wouldn't otherwise recognize Justin Bieber and might in fact have sworn the singer was Hilary Duff or somesuch if pressed. The song is quite long, but the kids danced a full-on hip-hop number to the whole thing, with lots of complicated kicks and shoulder thrusts. It was awkward and slick all at the same time, and completely mesmerizing. I was proud of Jarrah for putting herself in the front row, and she really kept up well. The counselors had passed out hand puppets right before, and Jarrah was the only kid who chose to dance with her puppet on her arm, so it was sort of multi-media.

Then they split into four groups for a series of skits. The first one was performed so far away and so quietly that I couldn't hear a thing. The second one involved a puppet theater in which the puppets did knock-knock jokes: ("Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Britney Spears." "Britney Spears who?" "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Britney Spears." "Britney Spears who?" "Oops, I said it again.") The last one brought in Mr. Bieber again and included Mr. Kyle and two older girls who were trying to get backstage passes through a series of machinations which included fake mustaches (they got no love.)

The third skit was Jarrah's group, and it was the funniest. It was all about how the puppets were possessed and made their owners act mean. One large boy got a little too method-y on my daughter and whacked her in the head during the fight scene (the rest of the kids were just getting the puppets to fight, but this kid aimed directly for Jarrah's noggin with a resounding THWACK) ["He said sorry," she shrugged afterward. "It's part of the story."] Jarrah had two lines, which she delivered with aplomb and impressive volume. The first one was something like "Uh-oh, our puppets have been taken over by evil aliens!" after which everyone laughed and the people behind me went "Oh, she's soooo cute!" I wanted to to turn around and say "Yeah she is." She also had the final line, something like "Let's be friends and not fight anymore." Way to sell the message, Jarrah!

The final segment was a song they sang all together, for which the counselors had changed the lyrics to the Mickey Mouse Club House theme (they explained.) This was the best because it involved some real acting on Jarrah's part, so much so that she obviously had the entire group fooled. I could tell that she was the youngest (or maybe second youngest--there was a tiny boy who stood shyly in the back whom Jarrah described as "my main man") but she is tall and talks a lot so clearly everyone assumed she could read and she didn't disabuse them of this notion. They passed out lavender sheets with the lyrics and she took one, stood in the front row, and sang from the sheet in a practiced way that exactly mimicked how the older kids were doing it. I tell you, for a second there I was convinced she really COULD read.

I loved how Jarrah was putting on her own show that no one even knew about. Except me. Color me impressed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today's post is about different shades of green. As Caroline pointed out on Day One, I have green eyes, so I've always had a special affinity with green clothing and accessories. I remember reading somewhere (probably a magazine) that people with green eyes should actually wear plum or wine to bring out their color, and that wearing green doesn't work. Not true for me--I don't know why.

Forest Green

This was my junior high go-to green. I had lots of corduroy jumpers and pants in this color. I think it was popular at the time. It always said "back to school" to me.

Kelly Green

Ah, a real '80s moment. I had a ton of Kelly green stuff--earrings, socks, t-shirts--but two items really stand out in my memory: a ribbed Benetton sweater that I wore with black leggings and lace-up boots, in which I could be seen from space, which was useful when my friends misplaced me in a country where we didn't speak the language and couldn't decipher the maps. Also, a Kelly green chiffon scarf I bought for a dollar at a Northampton thrift store, which I used to tie on top of my head in a huge bow. I know that might sound crazy, but it was very chic at the time.

Army Green

I was big into Army surplus for a while. I had an Army jacket, and once I bought some Army pants that were so big I had to tie them on with a bandana. The reason they were big is I had a period of about a year when I was 18 in which I decided that all dressing rooms were a form of patriarchal oppression designed to keep women in submission to the consumer complex, so by resisting, I was a kind of hero. And I did--resist. For about a year, I wore nothing that I couldn't just squint at and decide "I could get that over my head/hips."

Hunter Green

I get this one confused with Forest, but it's darker. I know I had Hunter green things, but my main memory of it is my sister dated a boy actually named Hunter Green, which provided endless mirth for my family. The fact that he hailed from Lompoc, which sounded like a joke place, didn't hurt, either. (I also remember he had impeccable manners, and was super-sweet to my sister.)

Emerald Green

Ah, emeralds. I am not a jewel girl, but I've often thought I'd make an exception for emeralds. They dazzle me. When an actress wears emerald/diamond earrings to the Oscars, I am wowed. Of course they are the most expensive and rarest of the colored jewels, so I'm not likely to be procuring any.


I like the sound of that. It's almost the shade of our bedroom walls, but not quite.

Pear Green

Happy memories of painting ceramics at a shop in Solana Beach before it closed. It was owned by two older ladies who didn't mind if you sat there for eight hours (I'm not exaggerating--I did that often) and attached to a good coffee shop that also had pie. I would choose a plate or bowl, spend the better part of an hour researching designs in magazines, and then create an image in pencil, which took another hour. When I painted, I used several brush sizes, as well as toothpicks for tiny detail, and then I layered over some of the colors after that. I would get completely lost in the connection between the brush, the image and the feeling of dusty clay beneath my fingers. The music filled my head, and even if I had company (I usually did) we often didn't speak for hours. Sheer bliss. My favorite piece was a large holiday platter requested by my mother which has cluster of fruit in the middle--a pear, grapes, cherries. In my mind's eye, I can see the precise shade of pear green I chose, with a light sponging of rose across one side for depth.

Jade green

In high school, I was obsessed with jade accessories--necklaces, bracelets, earrings. I had so many. So it was weird when I went to China and saw all that stuff there--apparently it's one of the things you're "supposed" to buy in China. I no longer wanted it.

Viridian, British Racing, Lime, Sea, Mint, Chartreuse

I wish I had something to say about these. Just writing them makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sam of Green Gables

This story is not precisely related to green, but it makes me think of green, because I was so fresh and young and naive when it happened.

The summer I was 17, my mom flew with me from CA to MA to take me to college. I was her first to fly the nest, and looking back, I think she might have felt a little weird about it, too. She had planned to stay a week at a nearby hotel so we could hang out when I wasn't in orientation.

Smith College is a National Arboretum, and the lushness of the campus in early September can barely be described. As a life-long desert-and-ocean girl, I was shocked at the verdant grass, the clambering ivy, the thick maples. When I saw my dorm--Lamont House--for the first time, I got choked up, because its brick and columns looked like something out of a movie.

My new roommate, Burnette Crombie of Knoxville, TN, was the sweetest girl in the world. She was a teeny blond early-rising biologist with a penchant for ballet. In other words, she was not me. I stuck close to her, though, since I knew she belonged to me, and I didn't know who or what else did yet.

My "Head of Freshmen" Young Ran Ra (she told us to call her "Y," and we did, unvaryingly) took a few of us to Davis Student Center for a "frappe," which sounded like it was going to be an omelet and turned out to be a chocolate shake. I would have many, many more just like it before I graduated. She was hyper-enthusiastic, but I still wasn't convinced.

My mother had taken me to a department store I didn't recognize for a motley collection of dorm fixings, including a red gingham comforter, a white lamp on whose shade I left the plastic for four years, and a set of plain, white sheets. From the room, I could hear the deafening bass of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" emanating from down the hall, the room of one Rachel Harrington, aka "The Fire Captain." For at least a week I thought that was just her nickname, but I later learned it to be an elected house office. Being somewhat bold for 17, I asked if she could turn it down a little. "Of course not," she said cheerfully. "FRESHMAN." Rachel was a senior.

After dinner that first night, all 32 incoming freshman were gathered in the living room for a discussion of house rules. Most of them looked like regular people, but some stood out. We all had to go around and introduce ourselves by our nicknames. I chose Sammy Jo (some of you will be too young to remember Dynasty) which did not stick. A gorgeous blond to my left, Meg, said she was sometimes known as "Meg McMuffin." We're calling her that to this day. A very tall, Goth-looking girl with a scowl said "Call me...Sunshine." We're still joking about that, too. I don't remember all the nicknames, but I remember this one brash curly-haired girl kept raising her hand and saying things like "Can we smoke in here? Because I am not going to make it through this meeting without a cigarette." and "How strictly do you enforce the drinking age at the house parties?" I leaned over to Burnette and whispered "Check out this one. She obviously comes from a bad home."

Funny thing. She came from a home exactly like mine--large, Jewish, New York-based, lots of yelling. And while we hated each other with relish for about four months, the tide shifted in the second half of the year. Let me put it more clearly: that was 26 years ago, and she now also lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters, and we've never been out of touch.

I hated her because she was everything I wasn't--a cool, big-city girl, with confidence and chutzpah. While I pretended I had a little of that, inside I was quaking with terror. I hadn't been away from home since summer camp when I was 15. I was 3,000 miles from home. I missed my sisters. The food scared me. As the hours ticked by, I desperately checked my watch, wondering if it was going to be too late to call my mother when it was finally over. Eventually, I realized it didn't matter: I would call her anyway.

The line for the pay phone was very long, since we were responsible for contacting the phone companies for room hook-ups and that would take three weeks. In front of me, Sandy from Canada was whispering to her mother, "I would TELL you, but everyone is STARING at me and I can't get any PRIVACY" as I tried to look the other way. Behind me, Michelle from Boston (the first time I'd heard that amazing accent) was explaining that she had a lot of pot and would share. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe normally, willing myself somewhere quiet in my mind without a gang of crazy strangers. It wasn't working.

Then it was my turn. I fairly dove into the phone booth (it had no door) and dialed my mother's hotel. When she answered, I could tell I'd woken her.


"Mom! It's me! I just got out of the house meeting! I wanted to call you! How are you!"

"I'm sleeping. It's 11:30. Let's talk in the morning."

"But Mom! I have lots to tell you!"

"Okay, let's have breakfast; you can tell me then."

"But Mom!"

"What is it?"

"Mom! It's just that I..." With horror, I realized I was choking back sobs, even though everyone in the phone line could see me. I turned my back to them and hunched down into the cubicle.

"Is there something you need right now? Just tell me."

"Mom! I..." But there was the rub. I didn't NEED anything right then. My needs were being provided for. But I wanted something, oh boy, did I want something. I wanted my mommy.

"I don't have a fitted sheet!" I burst out. "Both the sheets are flat sheets!"

There was a short silence. "And...you need a fitted sheet?"

"YES! Everyone else has them. We made a mistake when we bought mine. WE MADE A MISTAKE! We need to go back to the store!" I realized I was shouting and I didn't care anymore.

"Okay, calm down. We'll go get some tomorrow. Get some sleep."

In the morning, I called her. I didn't have time for breakfast, because I had a meeting for my major. Could she meet for lunch? She could--after all, she didn't have any other business in town besides me. I called her at lunchtime. Some new friends had invited me to lunch at their dorm. Could we meet for coffee in the afternoon? Okay. I called her then, too. The new friends had invited me down to Paradise Pond to write letters. Then there was a BBQ. Could I meet her for breakfast the next day? No problem.

The next day, I was walking back from the bookstore with a couple new friends when we ran into my mom. I waved the friends on, especially when I saw that my mom's arms were piled high with sheets. I felt a wave of shame and regret.

"Thanks, Mom. Sorry I've been so busy."

"That's okay--that's why you're here."

"I'm sure I'll have some more time later in the week. We'll get together then."

"Actually, I changed my ticket. I'm heading back in the morning."

"WHAT? You can't go. You said you'd stay all week."

"I know, but you're busy, and you don't need me. And I have three other children back home who do."

I didn't know what to say or do. Why couldn't she just stay living down at the hotel for the rest of the year, in case I needed her? But as soon as I thought that, I knew it didn't make sense. I had to let her go.

And I did. And I was fine. By the time I saw my family again, four months later for Winter Break, I couldn't understand why I'd been homesick. The very idea sounded absurd.

But I never forgot it. And to this day, when I go to Northampton in September, I feel 17 again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Watercolor Impressions of Green Celebrities

Al Green

He has some good songs. Ally McBeal was obsessed with him. And when Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons got married, "Let's Stay Together" was their first dance. I read that in In Style. I've always remembered it because it seemed like an odd choice for a wedding. (They didn't follow that advice.)

Lorne Greene

His face is so familiar to me. But I think I mostly remember him from The Love Boat. Believe it or not, I am too young to remember Bonanza.

Eva Green

A Bond girl. Very pale and rickety-looking. I think I just know her from Quantum of Solace.

Ashley Greene

Came out of nowhere to play Alice Cullen in the Twilight series. The hideous wig they put her in makes her look like a very sexy ferret. But in real life, with her real hair, she's quite attractive. I think she is good casting. Better than the other Cullens (except for Edward.)

Seth Green

I still love that guy from when he was Willow's boyfriend Oz on Buffy, before she found her true calling as a lesbian. He put a hilarious spin on every line. I mourned his passing from the show.

Tom Green

The guy's moment has obviously passed. For a while, he was everywhere, and I couldn't understand why--he was unbearable, even in tiny doses. Round about the time he starred in a movie called Freddy Got Fingered and married Drew Barrymore (was she heavily sedated at the time?) he reached his peak. Then the movie became a national joke, his house burned down in the middle of the night, and Drew divorced him. The End.

Graham Greene

The go-to guy for stoic Native American portrayals. His IMDB filmography shows little variation in that specialty. I wonder if he's ever played anything totally against type. And if he cares. Also, he shares a name with the famous British novelist. Weird.

Norman Greenbaum

The best for last. What is the deal with a guy named "Norman Greenbaum" singing "Spirit in the Sky?" Never been a sinner/Never sinned/I got a friend in Jesus. That is not what a Norman Greenbaum sings. A Norman Greenbaum sings "Dayenu" at the seder. Or "Hava Negila" at a wedding. A Norman Greenbaum lives on the Lower East Side, went to City College, and hangs out at Barney Greengrass, where he feels very strongly about the herring. And, in fact, I finally satisfied a lifelong question with a quick Wikipedia search: yes, he's a practicing Jew. Okay.

Readers? Who did I miss?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Blood and Guts

I really can't believe I skipped two days of NaBloPoMo. Well, I mean, I can, because (as David would say) I was "flat out" working and certainly didn't have a free moment. But it's not like me to renege on this commitment--I never have before.

So, if I were Jarrah right now, I'd be a bit green, because I would have just seen the inside of my body, with blood and guts and whatnot. Let me explain.

For a long time, I've been wanting to get a little something removed. A lump, if you must know. And since everyone's brain shoots straight to "breast" when they hear "lump," I will tell you quite candidly that this lump had nothing to do with breasts.

The lump had gotten larger of late, and I finally decided to have it looked at. The scenario was a bit like the three bears. The first doctor said "Too hot!" The second doctor said "Too cold!" The third doctor said "Just right!" Only not really. But I did see two doctors before getting one who was actually willing to whip out his knife.

And that was today. Sort of unfortunate timing, since I'd been up all weekend (more on that later) but it took a month to get the appointment so I didn't want to change it. David has had many lumps removed (he's the Mole King) so he briefed me on what would likely go down. He was completely accurate.

I lay on the table while the doctor quizzed me (you might think I'm just referring to questions about my situation, but I am in earnest: he quizzed me, the whole time, with various math problems. Many of you know that's not really my area, but I got 100 percent!) and then he said:

"Okay, this part you're definitely not going to like." And he was correct about that. I received about six shots, and they were increasingly owie. I didn't cry, though, and for that I am proud.

Next, the nurse came in and told me I wouldn't feel anything except tugging and thread. She was also correct. I felt tugging and tried not to think about how this would be the knife (the doc drew a diagram of how he would cut; the picture looked like an almond-shaped eye) and then I felt thread for a long time, but by then I was working hard on my math problems and had to focus. Within 10 minutes, he was done.

The nurse told me about the things she was putting on the wound--"Steri-strips," and a word I didn't catch that means water-proof bandage, and gauze, and then tape.

The rest of the day, I didn't feel a lick of pain. That was pleasing. I was extremely tired, so I snacked, read, grocery-shopped and then napped. You know, just like plowing fields or running marathons--really taxing stuff.

Which is why it was a bit disconcerting when I noticed the gauze was coming off and the thing underneath was soaked in blood. I drove to pick Jarrah up from camp and called the doctor from the parking lot. He said to come in right away. I must admit I panicked a bit. I didn't want to go back, and certainly not with Jarrah. To make things more exciting, it was one of those "man, I took things for granted before I was a parent" days when she had wet her pants and not told anyone and was being very resistant to changing her clothes in the camp bathroom, even though the clock was ticking away to the time when the doctor and the nurses would have to go home (we made it with seven minutes to spare.)

I was sweating when we reached the office, and I told Jarrah she could come in with me or stay in the waiting room, but if she came in, she might see something gross. She said she'd come in. Frankly, I think she was counting on seeing something gross.

She wasn't disappointed. The wound had reopened, the stitches had come undone, and not only had the waterproof bandage come off, all the Steri-Strips had, too. I don't know what the doctor was doing but at one point he said "This will burn a little." and right after that Jarrah yelled "Wow! Is that what the inside of the body looks like?" He said "Yes, it does."

I was more than a little glad I couldn't see what they could see. Jarrah seems completely untraumatized by her experience, and on the way home gleefully explained that my open wound was like "looking into the brain, only a lot redder and bloodier than the brain." Lovely.

I'm not supposed to get the stitches out for a week--here's hoping they hold.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Mommy, They're Heeeeeere

T minus two hours until kick-off. (I've never actually understood that. What does the T stand for?) I'm not a nervous wreck this time, because I feel like I had the ultimate warm-up: doing the whole thing three weeks ago.

So what will this have to do with GREEN? Well, I'm a bit green at the idea of eating dinner at Denny's, where we're having our kick-off brainstorming meeting. I don't care for Denny's. Well, I like their pie. But it better not be green.

And I'm also hoping that wherever the winds blow us to shoot this weekend, those places don't involve too much grass. I am allergic to grass.

I also hope I don't have to be covered in head-to-toe green body paint, if I end up acting. Whoops, that would be Wicked. Already been done.

My posts will be short the next couple of days. (A few of you are saying to yourselves: Yeah, right.)

Think good, happy filmic thoughts on our behalf, will you? Green or otherwise.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Without A Song In My Heart

I am very sleepy today, having stayed out quite late celebrating at the 48 Hour Film Project "wrap party," (our film won Best Actress! hooray!) and this condition is not likely to improve, because we are completely off our heads and have decided to do the whole thing AGAIN THIS WEEKEND, this time for the Inland Empire. I've been saying that this time, we are trying to conquer an entire empire--instead of just a city--but I did like Calvin's response when I listed some of the townships in the kingdom--Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Twentynine Palms--"And these are real places?"

So, today I'm discussing songs with the word GREEN in the title. Or, at least, that was the plan. Turns out there are about 30,000, and I don't know any of them. That was a bit surprising. I know a LOT of songs. To get a bit more specific, I found 23 songs just about green eyes (thanks for the idea, Caroline--I will discuss that further in a later post) from artists as varied as Barry Manilow and Husker Du, and I did know two of these.

One was "Green-Eyed Lady," which I hear on the radio all the time, but never knew a few key facts about:

1. It was released in 1970.
2. By a band called Sugarloaf.
3. Which was formerly called Chocolate Hair (best band name ever?)

The other one I recognized is "Green Eyes" by Coldplay, but I don't really KNOW that song; I just have a story about it. My sister is on her second marriage, and the first time she got married to a guy almost as theatrical as our family. So theatrical that he surprised her by assembling a band for their rehearsal dinner and singing "Green Eyes" to her in front of the whole assemblage. Not only had I never heard the song, I'd never heard OF it until that moment. It seemed like a really romantic gesture, though my sister seemed really embarrassed.

So imagine my surprise when years later, when she was getting married for the second time, she tells me that her fiance wants to dedicate "Green Eyes" to her at their wedding. Ever tactful (that's my sister) she said "Um, do you want to dedicate the same song that my ex-husband sang to me at my last wedding?" Which, you won't be surprised to hear, he did not. I had been thinking a simple "Oh, I find the chorus too pedestrian..." might have sufficed.

But I was more than just surprised. I was indignant. After all, I also have green eyes, and clearly no one was clamoring to sing that song to me, since I'd never even heard of it. I'm still a little bitter about that.

Can you think of any popular songs about green, Readers? I'm deliberately omitting "Greensleaves." That title never made much sense to me.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Green Room

Tonight is the Best of San Diego screening for the 48 Hour Film Project 2010. And our team--Cane Toad Productions--is in it! Woohoo! For this screening, a jury of six sequestered themselves with screeners to determine who was included, and also who will receive creative prizes. So tonight we find out if we do!

I mention this in the context of green because, let's face it, after seven years--Cane Toad Productions has got it going on. It's not like we can control certain outcomes--whether our editor flakes on us, the software gets corrupted, or people just don't find our story compelling (once you decide, you have to commit--no time for second guessing.) However, we know what's involved now, how to plan, how long things will take, which hours will get really, really tough. But when I look back on our first year of sticking a foot in this bathwater...man, we were adorable.

The first cute thing is that David posted a Craigslist ad for actors, and a few actually responded. He asked them to come to his office, to audition I think, but what really happened is that he chatted them up, decided they were nice, and hired them. Which is how we ended up with Matt, a fun person who--bless his heart--is not an actor. A character, yes. A natural stuntman, sure. But not so much with the acting.

Having assembled an illustrious cast, rounded out by Walter (a white-haired, twinkle-eyed sweetie pie who bizarrely turned out to be my student's dad) and Deborah, who the guys all liked because she was a blond hottie (and, I must admit, a lovely person) we found we got lucky, because Walter holds the keys to all of UCSD, and I mean all. Not only did we get to film in a very official-looking research lab filled with important-looking machines, but we nabbed some "one size fits all" white coats while we were at it.

The Friday night "brainstorming" meeting degenerated fast. It was basically me and a whole bunch of computer nerds, none of whom seemed to find my increasingly far-fetched scenarios very workable. They were also strangely resistant to me starring in the thing, some excuse like "You're too old, and also not blond." As the hours ticked away, I was seized by a fascination with baked goods, and kept screeching about how funny it would be to have lots of donuts in the movie, and people talking about donuts. (You know what? The biggest laughs in the whole thing are about donuts. I rest my case.)

The wee hours found me on the internet, researching donut trivia. Which David thought was crazy. Crazy like a fox, I say. But I didn't actually write a script that night. That would have been sooo conventional, and I need creative freedom.

In the morning, we met for a team breakfast at a French cafe in La Jolla. Did you hear that part? The meeting for breakfast? In a FRENCH cafe? Sitting down? With tablecloths and plates? Oh, we were sweet. After some leisure time with crepes, we were ready to decamp to the lab, and then we spent until noon hanging out while I wrote script notes on a pile of napkins. Most of which I wrote as the actors were speaking. You know what? Works for me. (No one lets me do that anymore.)

Then we spent until about 4:00 filming a scene that involved four lines of dialogue and the gripping action of Deborah and me walking across a hall and into an elevator. Why did this take so long? Because my husband and his cronies were like fanboys at Fry's with the lenses and angles and depth of field and whatnot. Sooooo boring. And sloooooow.

David's co-worker Brian, who was producer, brought in lunch, but never dinner, and we were there until midnight. There were two huge boxes of donuts, but when I would reach for one, Brian would slap my hand away, saying "No eating the props!" He also spent a lot of time yelling "We've got the shot, and we're MOVING ON!" after which I would say "Uhhh, no. I'm thinking about 27 more takes." [He would later tell David that he couldn't work with us again "unless you get rid of that wife." David made the right choice, I believe.] I think maybe I didn't drink any water for about twelve hours because when I got home that night, I had to curl shivering in a ball with a strange malaise gripping my limbs.

Which I had plenty of time to get over, since we slept for eight hours. Yes, EIGHT. During 48 Hours. And the next day, David's co-worker Thad knocked politely at our door around 10:00 and he and David noodled on the computer for the rest of the afternoon. I went to the gym, and got them sandwiches. This is not what I wanted to do, but every time I leaned over and offered a suggestion, they basically said "You are an ignorant slut. Silence!" which wasn't super-encouraging. What they essentially did is each one edited half the movie and then they slapped them together at the end. When I would anxiously point out weird cuts and sound glitches, they would say "Deal with it. No time."

As the deadline neared, they rendered a version and we watched it on our TV. All the dialogue was out of sync. David said "That's it, we're out. No time for another one." I burst into tears. They tried for another one anyway, and miraculously, it popped out with 10 minutes to get to the finish line. Thad stepped aside and David and I RAN FULL OUT to our car, with no shoes on. That first year, "headquarters" was someone's house in Golden Hill, and as we sprinted up the street (ow ow ow) we saw various novice filmmakers sitting around on the sidewalk, trying to coax discs out of their Macs. We made it to the desk with about 10 seconds to spare, and I'm not joking about the full sprint.

And two days later, we went to the Kensington theater and watched that little movie on the giant screen, with a packed house (and about 500 denied out on the sidewalk, pressing against the velvet ropes.) And my mouth dropped open in wonder. We made a MOVIE. And saw it in the THEATER. We were like SUPERHEROES.

And that, Dear Readers, is how it began.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Eat Your Greens

The title is a reference to a movie bit that David and I quote all the time, from the documentary series Seven Up. (BTW, if you've never seen these, you MUST: they're world-changing. Director Michael Apted has been following the lives of 14 British children since 1964, when they were seven years old, releasing a new film every seven years. 56 Up will be next. But start at the beginning. For Pete's sake, do it. You'll thank me.)

So, in Seven Up, the children were interviewed on a playground, and one shy boy speaks to an unseen interviewer about his future. To paraphrase:

"I never want to get married. No, because a wife would probably make me eat my greens. And I don't like eating my greens."

David could really relate to that concept before he met me. We still struggle with the greens issue around here.

Today's post is about green foods. Why? Well, I got the idea from you wonderful Readers. Thank you!

The Salad Days

Salad is good. Until I was 15, I always ate my salads completely dry, since I hated dressing. Then I started to love dressing after that. Why couldn't that timeline have been switched?

Vegetables Will Put Hair On Your Chest

I love broccoli, green beans, cabbage, spinach...probably some other greens, too. But not zucchini. Evil, evil zucchini. The taste, the texture. In England, they call it "courgettes." Which sounds lovely but still tastes bad. Rubbery. I also hate asparagus. People yell at me for this. Or they say "Oh, you just haven't had my asparagus. I'll make you some beautiful, just-born, farm-fresh, gorgeously seasoned asparagus, and you will fall in love." Hasn't happened. Tastes bitter to me. And is hard to chew.

Green Eggs and Ham

I can't really deal with food coloring. Unless it is applied to cupcake icing, then I can totally deal with it. But in things like eggs? Ick. I am a very suggestible eater. Eggs are not green. Ergo, green eggs are no longer food. I'm sure I would hate green beer, too, but I don't drink beer. And green bagels? That is just not right. If the fox in socks had worked his persistent and annoying skills on me, the book would have turned out very different. Yes, yes, my name notwithstanding. If there's any question I've been asked more than "So you're a witch? Can you turn me into a frog?" in my lifetime, it's "Where do you stand on the green eggs and ham issue?" I stand over in the other line, ordering eggs that are the right color.

The Moon Is Made Of Green Cheese

And that's where all the green cheese should stay. In outer space. Because it freaks me out when I order a cheese plate and they put some green cheese next to the other lovely stuff. Oh, I've tried it. It tastes spoiled. I don't get that.

Someone Left The Cake Out In the Rain, All The Sweet Green Icing Flowing Down

Mmmm, cake. Mmmm, icing. 'Nuff said.

Yankee Doodle Mint

I seem to be drawing a blank on other green foods. Oh, mint jelly! Which you're supposed to eat with lamb! I've never done that. Miss J mentioned Shamrock Shakes. I've never had one. 'Cuz they're green. But I recently learned it's because they're mint. I like mint. Just not in jelly. OH! MINT! My absolute favorite ice cream in the whole world: Baskin-Robbins Mint Chip. Now THAT is green. It's super-green. But scrumptious. Writing "super-green" reminds me of this noxious-looking thick green "super-juice" I drank when I was trying to get pregnant. Guess what? It didn't work. I also did wheat grass shots. Those are VERY green. I hate to quote myself (no, I don't) but my review of drinking a wheat grass shot: "For the rest of the day, I was belching what tasted like a new-mowed lawn." But to bring this back to happier topics (and sad at the same time) my favorite ice cream in 1976 was "Yankee Doodle Mint" at Baskin-Robbins. It was green ice cream with clear green chunks of candy in it. It was retired after that year, never to be heard of again. I still mourn it.

The Green Ones

In every box of candy. The green Mike n' Ikes. The green Skittles. The green Dots. Poor greenies, what did you ever do to me? I don't remember, but I don't like your kind. I instinctively mistrust you. I give you away the minute I spot you. Greenies, I've known candy. Candy is a friend of mine. And you are not candy...to me.

What's In A Name?

When I lived in England, I used to go to Pizza Hut, which for some reason was a fancy restaurant. I always ate the same thing: spinach fettuccine with mushroom cream sauce. It was green, and soooooo good. When I came back to the States, I rushed to a Pizza Hut for my fix, and guess what? Pizza Hut in the United States doesn't serve pasta. It's not even a fancy restaurant. Who knew?

Now That's Italian

When I lived in Boston, my "T" stop for work was right near the North End, which is filled with Italian restaurants and food purveyors. One time my friend Amy said we should buy the ingredients to make fresh pesto and serve it to some friends for dinner. I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn't know what pesto was, and felt certain I would hate it, just from the name. I watched with interest as the grocer wrapped up the fresh pasta, helped us choose an olive oil, and sliced an unruly wedge from a giant hunk of parmagian. I continued to be intrigued as we scooped pine nuts from a barrel into a paper bag, and picked out chocolate chip cannolis for our dessert. Then we were suddenly buying what looked and smelled like an entire row of someone's herb garden and I was horrified. That was going to be BAD, all that green, leafy stuff. Back at my apartment, there was a lot of crushing and blending, and then we were eating pasta with green flecks all over it, accompanied by a loaf of crusty bread, a sweet bottle of wine, good friends, and the sounds of Friday afternoon traffic wafting through the summer windows.

And that was when I realized: green is good.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Green Thumb? Maybe On The Hand Of A Giant

So, right after saying I manage to kill everything in our yard, we discovered this ginormous flower, bursting from the inhospitably spiny heart of a cactus growing near our shed. Jarrah is in the photo to provide spatial reference. As my father-in-law would (adorably) say: "It's a monster."

How's that for green? All right, I'll do better tomorrow. It's late.

Speaking of green, you Readers are awesome. Thanks for the ideas. I'll be making verdant use of them (get it?) in the days to come.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

It Ain't Easy

NaBloPoMo's theme for August is GREEN. In the description I was e-mailed, they said they hoped gardeners and horticulturists (so many of them are bloggers--it's a natural fit) as well as environmentalists would step up.

I'm not really any of those things. I kill everything in our garden rather handily, and years after learning the word still get off on pointing out "impatiens" because the name sounds cool. And I recycle. I don't run the water while I brush my teeth, either. Oh, and I don't drive a Hummer. Other than that, I'm not sure how much of an environmentalist I am.

The point is, I might want to blog this theme, this month, starting with this day. So here is my introduction. Of course I'm going to need all your ideas about what else GREEN might mean. All that keeps coming up for me is being completely at sea doing something new for the first time. And I plan to milk that one for all it's worth.

But I won't do it inhumanely. It will be a gentle milking.

Readers? Your thoughts on GREEN?