Friday, July 11, 2008

Confessions of a lousy housekeeper
Yeah, I confess. I'm bad. I am so far removed from Donna Reed that I don't even bother to put on pearls and a housedress when I dust. Sad, isn't it?

Now in my own defense I will remind readers that I have a bad back. This makes chores like scrubbing the bathtub or mopping the floor painful, difficult and, well, stupid. I can do it, but I'll need at least 8 hours of recovery and several vicodins to recover. Is it worth it to have a pristine white bathroom? I'm am dubious. But the end result is that our house is most often a mess.

Poor Husband tries. I know he gets fed up with the clutter, especially since he's hard at work at the Bad Place all day while I'm at home with Cipher, the World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree (tm). You'd think that I'd feel so guilty at being "kept" that I'd be a veritable demon with broom and mop. But, alas for poor Husband, while I do feel guilty I don't exactly do anything about it.

However tomorrow we have friends coming over for dinner (The Lurker and Mr. Lurker), which means, if nothing else, I have to at least clear a layer off the dining room table.

But the problem is, and this is really what keeps me from tidying up on a regular basis, there's just no place to put anything. You'd think 2 people living in a 3 bedroom house would have plenty of space for stuff. But you'd be wrong in our case. Our two main clutter items, books and CDs, take over every available flat space we have. And we're fresh out of official storage for both. Every bookcase is crammed, ever CD rack is full. And yet we acquire more. From where I sit I can see 13 books on the dining table, that's 13 brand-new books, none of which we have room for. So where the heck am I gonna put them?

The "spare room" is full of pile upon piles of books already. Not to mention boxes of CDs. We have this grand plan of turning the room into a music room for Husband, complete with comfy chair, nice stereo, and a place to write. But in order to do that we'll have to find a place for the piles to go. Which means more bookshelves. And a new CD rack. And (as confessed before) since I'm not working we really should be watching our finances -- so buying new furniture is really not the best idea for our 1-income family.

So I pick things up and move them around. This pile goes here (at least for now), that shelf can hold two or three more books if I lay them horizontally on top of the other books. We can probably put all these CDs in a new pile since they haven't been listened to in about a year and oh look, I wondered where that was.

Honestly it's enough to make me want to say "Hey Lurker, mind if we do this at your beautiful, always have enough room, larger than ours by quite a lot house?"


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nope, not scared
This morning I watched Rosemary's Baby, which I haven't seen in ages. I recall it being very creepy. Today, not even a shiver. Of course it was broad daylight, 80 degrees in the house, and not at all an atmosphere conducive to the creeps. But the fact is that when you're an adult and you watch a movie that scared you as a kid you very rarely (if ever) feel that thrill of fear again. Oh it's still a good film (although it gave me the giggles at the end when Ruth Gordon what shouting "hail Satan!") but I was completely unmoved.

What I find fascinating is how different the experience is when it's about a book. If I ever happen to pick up a book that I loved as a child, I find that the same book still enchants and delights me. And quite often when I pick up a book that I was forced to read in high school, and hated, I find that as an adult it's a completely different animal entirely.

I wonder why that is? Why is a childhood memory of a book still true and a childhood memory of a film so false? While wandering through a bookstore recently I came across a children's book that held fond memories for me. Turning the pages I was still charmed and it was all I could do to resist buying it. And yet a few months back I watched a movie that I recall as being hilarious as a child and was stunned at how entirely un-funny it was.

Very strange thing, the mind, ain't it?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Postcards from abroad
Perhaps it's the child in me, but I love, love, love to get postcards from friends who are traveling. In today's world where the personal letter is a thing of the past, it's really the only type of personal mail that still exists. It's especially wonderful when you didn't know that the person who sent the card was out of the country.

Yesterday's mail brought a postcard from Ireland, where the Belle of Belfast City is on vacation in the land of her ancestors. The Belle is a wonderful woman; beautiful, smart, funny, loyal, the type of friend that anyone would love to have. I am, however, luckier than most in that there's a whole host of women like the Belle who add color and warmth to my life. The Lurker. The Foreigner. Mama D. The Haiku Queen. SdeM. I'm not sure what wonderful things I may have done in my past life to deserve such great friends, but I'm very grateful that I did them.

Anyway, back to the postcard. It's such a minor thing. I mean I know how it is. You stop at some little shop and by a dozen cards. Then you spend an evening writing them all to friends and family, struggling to find a way to fill up three inches of white space. But it's so wonderful to receive one. Like small gifts. Amid the bills, catalogs, and junk mail there's this small cardboard scrap of humanity.

I know, I'm all soppy. But I do so love to be reminded how lucky I am. Thanks, Belle.
Shakespeare dreams
Lately, for some reason, Shakespeare has been on my mind.

A long time (another lifetime ago?) I was an acting major with dreams of performing all the grand female roles. Although I never saw myself as Juliet. She was too soppy. I am too plain. But ah, the others. Portia. Rosalind. And my absolute favorite, Beatrice.

But reality got in the way. In spite of being a damned fine actress I came nose-up against the glass wall that decrees that talented men who are less that gorgeous can still be cast in a role. But talented women without beauty cannot. Relegated to best friend, servant, and comic relief parts, I gave up my dream; realizing that my fragile ego was no match for the cruelty of casting.

Yet lately Shakespeare has regained his place in my brain. Perhaps it's having just watched season 2 of the Showtime series The Tudors. All that pre-Elizabethan history no doubt shook some dust off of old memories and vanished dreams. Snatches of long-ago monologues sneak into my brain as I fold laundry or drive down the highway.

I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake lest thou a fervent life should entertain and six or seven winters more respect than a perpetual honor. (That's Isabella from Measure for Measure in case you're wondering.

And now, like an odd TV omen, I channel surf ahead of insomnia and find a repeat of the fascinating documentary In Search of Shakespeare. At the moment, Michael Wood and his dulcet British tones is in a timbered school that Shakespeare attended as a boy. I remember the first time I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon and attended a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company. I thought I was in heaven. My acting days were not long behind me and I had marvelously harmless daydreams of being up on that stage. I walked by the river, under trees drooping with green leaves, and wandered into the church where the Bard is buried. It was like a pilgrimage.

But the 17th row is about as close as I'll ever get to performing Shakespeare again. And yet, at odd times....while waiting for a light to change or standing in line at the grocery store...I'll smile to myself at the memory of those days, long ago, when I was a Shakespearean heroine.