kittenspeaks: (Torn Apart)
...or Ben and Jerry and the Emotional Breakdown....


I am on an email list for Ben And Jerry's Ice Cream. I am sure that will be of no surprise to anyone. Well, last year in the early spring they sent the email with the release of their new flavors for the season. One of the flavors was Mission to Marzipan. I was so excited. See, my mother's favorite candy was marzipan. So many years as a child there was the trip to the mall in Albany to Swiss Colony to get Mom the box of marzipan candies shaped and colored to look like little fruits. This wasn't the candy but it was a new form of Mom's favorite sweet treat.
I sent up the call for help- People in the Atlanta area- find somewhere that carries Mission to Marzipan, get it and deliver it to my Mom for her birthday.
Several people looked. People looked around Atlanta and suburbs near and far.
No Luck. Mission to Marzipan was no where to be found in the south.
A little more investigation (including an email to Ben and Jerry's) and I discover that this is a limited release. Mission to Marzipan is ALL over the Chicago area but there is not yet a release date in Georgia and there might not be one.

I was disappointed but I knew there were options. I started investigating the methods and cost with which I might send ice cream from Chicago to  Atlanta.

Then...Mom got sick. Really sick. She went into the hospital. My resolve was even stronger that she would have this delectable treat to celebrate her birthday and release from the hospital.

Then there was surgery.
There there was hope.
Then- less than 24 hours later there was the call...
How soon can you get down here?
It was only 4 days after her birthday.

There was a mad dash to get the house in order, make arrangements for my cats, get flights arranged and so much else.
In all of that madness there was a trip to the market.
I purchased a pint of Ben and Jerry's Mission to Marzipan for my Mother (and some Pistachio Pistachio for my Dad).
I knew she wouldn't really be able to eat it, but much like rubbing whiskey on the gums of a dying alcoholic, I wanted her to have that last sensation of something that she loved.

Early morning I was bundled off to the airport with the ice cream wrapped up in bags with frozen gel medi-packs. I made it to the airport and was on my way through security.  They wanted to search my bag.
"You can't take this." Says the surly, mumbling youth with the TSA uniform.
I explain, I reason, I plead.
"Let the girl take her ice KREME." This is from the short, portly woman in the TSA uniform as she has a strange way of putting the emphasis on "cream" as well as saying it with a very hard K sound (hence the spelling and odd capitalization).
There is some banter. I am pleading on the verge of tears, Portly TSA is repeating her mantra of ice KREME, Mumbling Youth TSA won't give.
The pints of Ben and Jerry's are left at the O'hare airport along with a few Irish gypsy curses...

My mother passed away on April 10th- without ever getting to try the Ben and Jerry's Mission to Marzipan.

On April 12th  I was at the Walmart not far from my parents house. I was picking up some cleaning supplies and perusing the food aisle to look for a comfort snack. An awkward, acne-ridden 60-some-odd- year old stock boy was stocking new product in the frozen treats section.
And there it was....
A case of Ben and Jerry's pints of assorted variety.
In the variety- Mission to Marzipan.
I asked how long they had carried it. He told me it had just come in the day before.
I picked up a pint of it.
I walked about 3 steps before I sat...slumped against the large display freezer doors...staring at the Mission in my hands and crying.

It was 2 days too late...
Just 2 days.

So much comes just a little too late...
The doctors finding the cancer...
The insurance company agreeing to send her to an oncologist who gave two shits about her care...
My mother and I reaching a point where we could respect each other despite the fact that we had always understood each other...
The Marzipan ice cream release in Georgia...

Happy Birthday Mom.
I love you.
I miss you.
You gotta get the hook up with the Mission to Marzipan Ice Cream. It is amazingly good. Hit up some Coffee Heath Bar Crunch while you are at it. That's right up your alley too.


Everyone else,
Take a moment
Breathe.
Get yourself a little treat.
Look to the people you love and tell them so.
Take the time for these things while you can.
These chances pass.
Take them before it is too late.
Even if it is only 2 days too late.
kittenspeaks: (Reject Reality)
I had thought about writing about how much 2000-2009 really really sucked. I mean death of family and loved ones, illness and surgery, betrayal and heartbreak, violations and lack of trust, struggle and strife....yeah. There were many people and things that may have had good moments but all told they brought more bad and pain than good and happiness.
I don't really want to drudge all that up again. Much like the nightly news there is to much bad reported. I want to think about the good. So, the things I have had which brought more good and happy:

The highlights of The 20'Aughts-

1) Meeting Katinsky, Aileen, Carter, Evita and the rest of the Sensurround crew. These are the people I now consider my family and closest friends. So much of the other good for these years has been with/ for/ and because of them.
1a) Barker Project
1b) Geek Love (in ATL and Fringe Fest) 
    Sure, these things had their ups and downs but all in all they were experiences where I stretched and grew as an actress and worked with people who ( I trust and would share the boards with again and again. (And yes, this is even if I don't want to share anything other than The Boards with them.)
1c) Karaoke- Singing in public was my last great performance anxiety. If it weren't for the support, encouragement and friendly jabs I never could have done this. Now, I even feel ok with auditioning for shows with musical aspects.

2) Spring 4th. Thanks to Elvis, Rik, Chris and The Psytrance kids for this. I found a home there. I miss it a great deal. I really enjoyed my time at the door and in my "fishbowl" slinging the booze. It was a wonderful way to come out from under my rock, get my groove on a bit and also it gave a bit to my caretaker side in playing physical and emotional nursemaid to friends and strangers. 

3) Livejournal. Yep, I actually started this in 2000. And yes, there has been various drama and stress. But it has also lead me to many wonderful people. And it is cheaper than therapy.

4) Nomenclature- Ok, this really started with my time on the doors at 688 and on the Stage at Club Fetish and The Chamber. But, working with Kook and Foster at Nomenclature let me take a more active role in the over all process and I loved it. It also let me meet people like Jolie, Calico, Emily and others who have been (and continue to be) important and cherished parts of my life.

5) Trips to NOLA with Foster. I can't even begin to talk about all the fun I had there. NOLA had previously been a tainted city thanks to ventures in poor relationships. But, going there with a friend to see other friends and work various events- that was more than wonderful.

6) Voltaire- The man, The market. I truly enjoy working for Voltaire. He is a wonderful person, a talented artist and I have met some wonderful people because of it. Again for this I have to put Jayme, Joanne, Beverly, Travis, Randy and Audrey into my list of favorite people. I never would have met any of them if it weren't for Voltaire and my life would be less without them.

7) Meeting The Oracle, Bones and Melissa. (It's almost funny that The Oracle is really my only friend in Chicago now.) I owe much to them (and Melissa) for taking care of my fur-kids when I sojourn back to the south.  Extra special love for The Oracle and Melissa for stepping in on short notice to take care of them when Mom died.  The Oracle has been there for me in many nights/ early morning of talking over breakfast or tea. And of course I couldn't have a better crowd here for silly dancing at 80's nights.

8) ARTC and MRAP. What fun!! And what wonderful people to work with. It brought me a new skill set as well as a diverse group of people who are all warm, talented, fun, creative and delightful. Almost from the moment I walked in to Chez WilbanksRich I felt wanted and accepted. I did several delightful shows with them. All in all, it represents work and people that I am proud to have in my life.

9) Romeo and Juliet. Yeah, it was a short run and I have done better shows. But playing Benvolio was great fun. I met "The Crush". I had a really fun time. And it was the kicker that got me out of the "sacrifice" of my marriage (where I gave up everything I wanted so I could help others with their goals) and back to doing stuff that was for me. And breaking my foot just made for a funny story of all of it.

10) Matt, Lynette, Karen, Monique and Mykie. United Airlines hasn't brought me much in the way of happiness or "good". But, it did bring these people into my life. I know for a fact I could not have made it through the last year without them. They have listened to me rant and rave. They have hugged me while I cried. They have indulged my work madness an even laughed at it from time to time.

So, there you have it. All the good from 00-09. It isn't much when I think of the list of bad. But, it is enough. It has kept me going. People, places and shows which have nourished my heart and spirit. And that is the most important part of life.

Moving forward? Well, I don't really have any resolutions for 2010. I decided the over all "better my person and life" are something I need to work harder on all of the time and there is no end result. It isn't a pass/fail. It is an ongoing effort.  Well, I suppose there is a "fail" which comes if I stop trying.
I do, however, have some measured goals I would like to complete in 2010.
1) Read (at least) 25 new books.  I know I should aim for more but I am hoping to be busy with other things.

2) Go on (at least) 12 auditions. Again, I know I should do more. But I am hoping to get cast in several shows so it will impair my ability to audition.
3) Perform in (at least) 4 shows and/or 6 film/ commercial shoots.

4) Watch 52 new movies (1 a week) . With Netflix, the ability to download stuff and theaters this one should be a cinch. Since this is part of what I want as a career I need to put in the hours to study the form more.

5) Watch 12 live shows. (1 a month) See above reasons. And it is better than wasting time in front of the T.V.

6) Travel more. As long as I am stuck working for United I need to take advantage of my flight benefits. I have a passport. I need to use it. I also have so many place in the US I need to see.  There is definitely a trip needed to Buffalo to see Moo. Where else can I go? Anyone out there have a couch which would suit a traveling Kitten for a night or two? (Sadly, as long as I a working for United there is no way I can afford hotels or even hostels.) But I want to get out more and see more people.

7) Go to museums at least 12 times. Different museums. Different adventures. There are enough free/ discounted things here in Chicago that I just need to get out and to it. I also really want to go to the Tim Burton Exhibit at the MoMA and spend more time there. (The trip there with Joanne was shorter than I wanted since I was feeling so poorly.)

8) Go to at least 12 new restaurants.  Ok, going out to eat once a month is a huge splurge. I'll have to work hard on the budget for this. But, I need to be more adventurous. I need to get out and explore more. And, I need to eat.

9) Take at least one class. More than likely this will be in some kind of theater training. But, it can be anything. If I can find a free class for something all the better. All the more need to expand and grow. If I can do more I will. I suspect it depends largely on money.

10) ???  I need a 10th goal. Something that is easily quantified. Preferably something that will be free.  Suggestions?
kittenspeaks: (lady in white)
Ok, Thanksgiving is over. It is now acceptable to talk about the winter holidays...Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, which ever you prefer. I will be making a few posts about this.

First, the greedy one. My Top 10 Wish List!!! We all have one. This is by no means an expectation of gifts. But, it also never hurts to ask. :-) It may also help you think of gifts for others.

1) Money. Crass? Maybe. But, I still have thousands of dollars in medical bills to pay...and that is after insurance. Money (and visa/ master card gift cards) are useful for a ton of things from bills to food to entertainment. Giving someone a gift like this doesn't mean you aren't thinking about them. It means you are empowering them to make their own choices.

2) Gift cards to Target, Petsmart: Ok, it is like cash. But it is more specific. It still allows for purchasing of thing that can be practical or whimsical.

3) Gift cards to Fandango/ Kerasotes, Netflix: Maybe the purely practical thing isn't your bag. Maybe you think that gift giving it so that people can have things they might not typically get for themselves. Maybe you think a gift is something that should be for fun and and not for practicality. Entertainment gift cards do just that while still letting the person get something they know they want.

4) An appointment for massage or acupuncture. :Let's face it, life is stressful. The holidays even more so. I won't even start on all I have had to face this year or the reasons why the holidays are even more depressing than normal. (My regular readers are already aware of most of it anyway.) Giving someone the gift of health and relaxation is truly a beautiful thing.

5) Tiny Ornaments. Ok this one is probably just me. See, a couple of years ago my mother got me a tiny pre-lit Christmas tree. (I think it is an 18" tree. ) I wasn't that excited about it at the time because I have never been that in to decorating for Christmas. Now, I want to. This is something that is important to my mother- keeping some feel of holiday joy no matter what the circumstances- I see it a little differently now. I want to set up my tiny tree and decorate it with some tiny ornaments. And they don't have to be Christmas themed. I used to have a couple of packs of tiny resin Halloween Ornaments. Sadly, they were all lost over the years. :-(

6) the InStyler Rotating Hot Iron. Yeah, I know, too much time with late night infomercials. But this product has gotten great reviews. And I think it would be a wonderful way to encourage me to embrace the much needed mantra of "Get up. Dress up. Show up." Yeah, it's expensive. But hey, they are doing a buy one get one free! Maybe you want one. Or you know someone else who wants one. Two gifts knocked out with one purchase.

7) Digital Camera. This really is the kind of gift that keeps on giving. And who doesn't want memories from the holiday seasons (as well as the rest of life). As for me, I have had to pass up 3 different promo gigs in the past few months because I no longer have a digital camera. I don't need anything fancy. Just compact and functional.

8) Headshot Prints. You all want to see my acting career become functional again, right? Headshots are essential. The Oracle has offered to take some new pictures for me so I can have something current and in color. But I gotta get things printed. Ok, so this is only a good gift for the actors and model-types that you know. But if you know any this is the PERFECT gift.

9) A telescopic shower head. I had one of these before and it was amazing. It is so much better than a normal fixed shower head. I just...yeah. It is a good thing.

10) Bath bombs. Lush is the maker of many fine bath bombs. I am sure there are others out there but for the money these are the best. Personally, I don't know anyone who couldn't use a little bit of pampering. Maybe there isn't alot of time and money for such things. But a long, hot, wonderfully aromatic bath can be a wonderful band-aid for so much of the stress.

And one to grow on: 11) These boots. Or one that look pretty much just like them. (black, lace up, low/ no heel, rounded toe...) Size 7. :-)

Everyone should make an Amazon Wish list. They cover lots of places and items. You don't have to feel compelled to shop there though. Don't forget you can find many of these items cheaper on ebay and other sites. The amazon list will at least let you know what people are looking for.

Later, posts about creative people and places, holiday fun times, travel plans and family stuff. **Edit** David was kind enough to point out that I had not let people know how they could get stuff to me if they so desired... But, if one wanted to send me things- packages, holiday cards, random postcards, what ever- they can ask for my address and I will send it to them in a private message.

Or, if they prefer to deliver in person (but won't be visiting Chicago) they can see me when I come to Atlanta Dec. 11, 12 and maybe 13th. I'll be posting more later about my whereabouts and plans for that time frame.
kittenspeaks: (Punk Rock Girl)
Ok, a couple of days ago I made this comment:
I guess my final note of the morning will be to remind you all that Sunday is Mother's Day.
Do something nice for you moms. Even if they are horrid people they did bring you into this world and that should count for something.
I wish I could do something great for my mom. We don't always get along. But the truth of the matter is that she loves me and more often than not she comes through for me when I really need it. And to be fair, most of my good traits (my ambition, my fierceness, my devotion, my creativity) come from her. She did the things that let me be raised as an actress, theater junkie, scream queen, band roadie, emotional care giver and all around creative flake. I should do more for her-and for myself- to thank her for that.
There are allot of you out there who she has done some pretty great things for as well. If you could take the time to thank her- send her a short email or e-card ( you can send stuff to xxxxxxxxxxxxx) or something- it would mean the world. To her and to me.
(Took out her email address since this is public.)

This is the time when I make a very uncharacteristic public post to say some very important things to my mom. And I am making them public because I am proud to say them.

Mom,
I love you.
I know I wasn't the easiest kid to raise. Ok, correction- I was a pretty easy kid. It was the mid-late teens and 20's that were our darkest days.
But we made it through.
I also know that I have make a lousy adult. Somehow I haven't gotten the hang of this whole responsibility/ life management thing. I don't really know why that is. You and Dad did a wonderful job at instilling in me a sense of responsibility, honesty, fairness and compassion. I am not sure where I dropped the ball on the matters of finances and commitment but it is just that- something in me. I'll get it. I promise.

What I think is more important is that I am a good person at heart. I am loyal, strong and brave. I am a survivor. All of those things I learned from you. My friends often comment on my devotion to them. That is also something I learned from you. I am surrounded by so many of the most talented and beautiful souls. I like to think that like attracts like. There is beauty and talent in me and that too comes from you.

You have bailed me out of more situations than I care to count. Whether it was money, a roof over my head, food in my mouth or a car under my ass- all things any adult should be able to provide for themselves- you have provided for me when I have failed myself. On top of that you have reminded me that I am durable. You have helped to renew my faith in myself when I have lost sight of it.

And you do all of these things for so many other people as well. Family, co workers, strangers- you give so much all of the time and I admire that so much.

Now, you are facing so much with health issues. (I am often worried that the stress of worrying about me makes it worse.) You are facing it with strength and dignity. When my own health issues start to get the best of me I think of how much more you are dealing with. It reminds me that I come from a line of strong women. You have heavier burdens and you still manage better than I do. It motivates me to be stronger and to do better.

This hasn't been the prettiest letter I have ever written. I think it is hard because there is so much in my heart that I just don't have the language for. The words fail.
But it had to be written. I had to tell you that I love you and admire you. All of the good in me has come from you.
I am getting better at this whole "life" thing. But I never would have made it this far if it weren't for you.
You are beautiful and stronger than anyone I know.
Thank you for helping me through everything. I promise soon that I will be someone who you can be as proud of as I am of you.
I love you Mom.

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