Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All I Want for Christmas*

I've been trying to get my act together for Christmas, get everything ready early so when I completely lose my steam I won't have shafted anyone and feel even worse. But, doing all this shopping makes me think about what I want for Christmas. Since I've been so adamant about this being my little corner of the internet I figured I'd post my Christmas list right here.

1. World Peace, natch
2. End to world hunger, of course
3. Brand new US governmental regime (extra points if it's wrapped with a new Governor and a confirmable Supreme Court nominee that I don't want to kick in the junk)
4. Cure for cancer
5. Cure for AIDS
6. Joaquin Phoenix (if this brand is not available I would be perfectly happy with James Marsters, Joshua Jackson, George Clooney, Tim Roth, Dean Winters, Scott Patterson, John Cusack...)
7. CDs of every musical known to man (specifically Les Mis, Fiddler, Kiss Me Kate, Barnum, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago, Guys & Dolls...)
8. DVDs (All seasons of the Gilmores, At least seasons 3&4 of Dawson's Creek, Connie & Carla, Thelma & Louise, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead...)
9. Theatre tickets
10. New electrical work so I can actually see in my closets and turn on a light in my bedroom without breaking a toe
11. Life insurance
12. Long term care insurance
13. A lifetime supply of all-you-can-ride metro cards
14. Trip to Europe (see also: UK, Canada, Central America, Asia)
15. One full day of handyperson work in my house hanging pictures, making and hanging shelves, replacing light bulbs in very high places etc.
16. Oh, yeah, National Health Care
17. A brand new wardrobe
18. A subscription to Weight Watchers on line
19. A full production of my play, Like the Moon, at the Ohio Theatre
20. To be kissed by a boy that I like (I don't have a specific boy in mind it's just a requirement that I like him that way)
21. A vacation in a pretty house on a beach that is warm
22. Funds, and support to record a CD of me singing
23. TiVo
24. A new couch
25. A month in the country (no, really, I'm not kidding and not this kind)
26. Eh, while we're dreaming I want one of those plasma TVs that hangs on my wall
27. A humidifier that makes my home into a tropical rainforest without any maintenance or filling at all...ever
28. New dress boots
29. New rain boots
30. Good speakers for my iPod
31. A huge part where all my friends come and we eat cool food and listen to cool music, some of it live and we drink champagne and we talk and laugh and make speeches and feel better

*This is in no way a request for these items, it's just for fun..except the World Peace thing, if you know how to do that then I'm asking, nay demanding, that you get right on it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How lucky am I?

I was seeing Queen Bee off at Penn Station so I got to brunch a little late. According to Pony Express Alita did her obligatory couple of minutes of shyness then began to chit chat all over the place. Apparently about the third thing she said was, "Kizzy is my Aunt!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

9 November 2000

5 years ago today I was working for a limited distribution magazine. I was in the marketing department, utilizing my project management skills and ignoring entirely my lack of marketing skills. I'm not sure how the phone call came in but I got a very unexpected call from Irish Uncle. He'd tried to contact Papa Kizz but couldn't track him down, did I know how to? Robbie, my grandfather, was ill, being rushed to the hospital. No, I didn't know, but I could try. So I got all the info I could and tried to track down my dad. No dice.

What seems like a very short time later, short enough that I wonder if all that rushing to the hospital stuff was true, Irish Uncle called back. He had bad news. At that point I was ready for dying, I was ready for coma, heart attack, stroke. It was, however, unfathomable to me that my grandfather could have died before I even got a chance to talk to my dad. It defies the natural order of things, does it not?

If there's one thing you can say about the natural order of things it's that it's not predictable.

I got out of work somehow, experiencing only the minimum number of the unbelievably inappropriate things that people do when you have a death in the family. (When I come to you and say, "My grandfather just died, I have to go now and I need you to do the following things for me." the proper response is "OK." not, "Actually, wait right here, I'm not the one that handles those things, let me get the other girl.")

I don't remember when I talked to Papa Kizz. But I remember it because it had that weird magic death thing that our family has. When Robbie's mother died Robbie found her dead in her sleep in her winged chair at the nursing home. Pre-cell phones Papa Kizz was on a day trip to Boston and couldn't be reached until late that night. Papa Kizz has a strong sense of direction, even when he's pretty damn lost he knows which direction ought to be working. After lunch or dinner in Boston he stepped outside to lead the group he was with to the theatre and all of a sudden was completely disoriented, couldn't figure out which way he was facing or which way to go. Then he tried a couple of things and it cleared and they went to the theatre. Later we compared the times and found that he was leaving the restaurant about the same time Robbie was trying to call him.

On November 9, 2000 I had to leave a message on Papa Kizz's machine. But you can't leave that message on anyone's machine. I mean, really, I've seen it done but it's such a Glamour Don't. So I left an urgent message that he should call me. I finally tried him again, I can't remember if I was home or at the office but he sounded awfully chipper and surprised to hear from me and I was verging on the hysterically angry that he could just walk into his house and not check the fucking messages because you never goddamned know when something could be fucking important! (My grandfather would have no patience with this sort of language but in the interest of historical accuracy I must include it.) Papa Kizz had, he says, checked the messages and seen no light on the machine. Later, he said it was blinking and my message was on there but he could have sworn that it wasn't previously. So, I got to tell him with little preamble that his father was dead.

I remember crying all the way to Brooklyn on the subway. No one even looked at me funny. That was ok with me. It's part of why I love to live in New York.

I got home and started flinging clothes and accessories onto the bed in a whirlwind of packing. Pony Express was on the way, lending me her car to use for as long as I'd have to be in New England. She's a master packer, of anything. Food, clothes, furniture, lights and yet the things I choose to take on a trip often confound and exasperate her. She sat patiently in my chair and watched me rip items from every shelf, hem and haw and spin in circles, while calling Mama Kizz and Queen Bee and anyone else who would need to know where I was going. Finally I looked at the pile of whatever and felt guilty.

Me: I'm sorry. I don't know what to do. Should I take these shoes or these? I can get by with just those, right?

Pony Express: When someone dies, you get to take as many shoes as you like.

You just don't find friends like that every day.

And she packed it all and she got me and the dog and my pieces parts brain into the car and she drove us to her house in Manhattan. At that point she extricated herself from the passenger's seat and set me up with the perfect solo driving com, snacks, tissues, fluids, music all at my fingertips and waved me off in the persistent drizzle.

I drove home.

And started the week, or really 2 weeks of preparations. I'll tell you about those later. In some sort of funeral themed entry. I have a lot of funeral themed opinions, trust me. Unbeknownst to me at the time I was also starting the 6 months of funerary goodness. That, too, is for another time - look for a related entry on December 10. And then another on May 8.

I think it often comes across as melodramatic that I still miss my grandfather so much. We weren't as close as so many other people are, no daily or weekly phone calls or regular letters or anything. But I'm an only child of an only child (there are step siblings, it's complicated, I'll get into it later) so that direct line seems to make the bond stronger. In our very reserved New England way there was (is?) a connection that tethered me, in a good way, more strongly than I realized until 5 years ago.

Despite being a pretty grounded, practical person I live a sort of off-leash life. No one left in my family is terribly good with money or at long term concrete planning and none of us have managed (yet) to plant firm roots. That takes time and I think that as much as I crave and seek stability I was riding Robbie's root tails without copping to the knowledge that they had to snap at some point.

I still feel untethered. I think when you set out your own roots they may always feel less firmly planted since you were there when they started, when you didn't know if they'd take. It is, however, safe to say that I work a little bit every day on cultivating my own root system, on trying to get back that sense of foundation that I lost before I fully appreciated its significance.

Better to know what I'm working toward, though, and for that I have Robbie to thank.

Apparently I'm addicted to these.

Your Element is Earth

Your power color: yellow

Your energy: balancing

Your season: changing of seasons

Dedicated and responsible, you are a rock to your friends.
You are skilled at working out even the most difficult problems.
Low key and calm, you are happiest when you are around loved ones.
Ambitious and goal oriented, you have long term plans to be successful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I knew it!

You Belong in New York City

You're an energetic, ambitious woman.
And only NYC is fast enough for you.
Maybe you'll set yourself up with a killer career
Or simply take in all the city has to offer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Goodbye My Coney Island Baby

I had a whole long entry planned for these pictures. There are a ton more pics in the set. But I've put it off and put it off and now it just seems like more fun to see some of the photos.

On the last weekend of the season Alita, Carmencita and I went to Coney Island. There is reason to believe that many of the attractions won't be back next year so we hit the beach, the rides and the side show. Next year I'm bringing everyone I know! I've never done all that stuff before and I do not know why.

I am so in love with both of these women. One of them eats fire.