Today

It’s Thanksgiving Day.  I don’t really love this holiday, but I love my friends, so I will be sharing a meal with them.  Right now I’m home, watching the parade, counting (some of) my blessings.

  • I have family who made sure I know they are missing me and love me very much.
  • I have friends who will put up with my whining and STILL want to eat with me.  Or at the very least, text or talk with me!
  • I was lucky enough to spend this morning with myself and my cat, thinking and writing.
  • I got to spend part of my quiet morning making a side dish for today…something I used to make with my mother…something my aunts made (with gentle family sparring over whose was best).  While doing so, I got to revel in all.the.memories.

Yemisee. My mother’s version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I had yemisee* for breakfast!
  • Later, there also will be wine.
  • While it’s been a tough year, I’ve learned a lot about myself.
  • I’m still standing.

The list could go on, but the cat wants a cuddle.  For what are you most thankful this Thanksgiving?

 

*Yemisee:  A Greek dish based on rice, onions, mushrooms, raisins and pecans.  You can make it with meat or without.
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You Have Something That IT Has Not

I love Bikram Yoga.  I love the feeling of being part of a group, moving and breathing and resting and moving again, as a group.  I also find that somewhat disturbing.

See, the other day, in my class, there was one person who just couldn’t find the rhythm in the final breathing.  Everyone else was together, but just as we breathed out, this person breathed in.  And so on.  And since there’s a sound to this breathing, we all knew.

But then I flashed to my favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time, and the first time Meg meets IT.

At Indiana University Bloomington: the world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of a human brain.

For everywhere she looked, everywhere she turned, was the rhythm, and as it continued to control the systole and diastole of her heart, the intake and outlet of her breath, the red miasma began to creep before her eyes again, and she was afraid that she was going to lose consciousness, and if she did that she would be completely in the power of IT.

And I started to wonder, what’s better?  To move with and be part of the group or to fight the rhythm?  It’s obvious to say “it depends”, but on what?  In today’s class, again, there was one person fighting the movement of the class, working at their own pace, not moving with the rest of us.  And of course this person had set up right next to me.

And I flashed back to a later part of my favorite book, when Meg defeats IT and rescues Charles Wallace, and is returned to her family.  And how she does that is, to me, how you know when it’s time be part of the team and time to strike out on your own.

Mrs. Which leaves Meg on Camazotz to confront IT with a final gift:

Yyou hhave ssomethinngg thatt ITT hhass nnott.  Thiss ssomethinngg iss yyour onlly wweapponn.  Bbutt yyou mmusstt ffinndd itt fforr yyourrssellff.

The first time I read this book, I could not imagine what this meant.  I read on, as fast as I could (and that’s pretty fast) to find out.  What kind of weapon could this tween girl with whom I identified so closely have to fight the force of evil that had stolen her brother?

Love.  Simply love.  And the ability to remember love and still love the one who was, at that moment, not himself and standing against her.

And choosing love allows us to know when we should be part of the group, and when it is time to move ahead alone, and fight.

That’s all.

Our Circus; Our Monkeys

Remember that saying that was everywhere a while back:  “Not my circus; not my monkeys”?  I was reminded of it by a t-shirt I saw today.  Well, guess what?  Since the 2016 election, that’s a privilege we don’t have.  It is OUR circus, and sadly, they are OUR monkeys. 

I’m not going to list all the reasons you should be paying attention; that list exists thanks to Amy Siskind.  I’m not going to try to appeal to your better nature; if we’re honest, we can all admit that in the end, most of what do is driven by self-interest.

And your self-interest is at risk, or may already have been damaged.  If you believed the lies that 45 spouted during the campaign, I’m sorry for you.  But if you still believe in him, open your eyes and look at what is actually happening and listen to the lies he is telling.  Perhaps you don’t care about people of color or LGBTQ people or asylum seekers, so look at how what is happening is affecting you.  If you are genuinely better off, congratulations on being part of the one percent.

I’m not talking about issues outside your day-to-day life.  Maybe you are (wrongly) pleased that he scotched the Iran deal.  Maybe you (wrongly) think the way in which he moved our Embassy in Israel was beautifully handled, and even if it wasn’t, it was “time”.  Maybe you (wrongly) believe that asylum seekers should be jailed for a misdemeanor. But I’m talking about YOUR LIFE.  Are there feuds in your family?  Have you lost friends?  How’s that tax “cut” doing for you?  Is anyone you love at risk due to the changes in the ACA?

None of us can deny that no matter what you believe on the issues, this country is divided and becoming more so everyday.  If you think it’s not deliberate on the part of this administration, you’re not paying attention.  And the impact of that will, in fact, be your circus.  Look out for your monkeys.  I am.  I will be.

 

Thirty Years Later (Yikes!)

I just spent a weekend at Amherst College, celebrating thirty years since my graduation.  For much of my time at Amherst, I felt like an outsider, and at the first few reunions I attended, I still felt that way.  But I went, and mostly I had fun.  Often I missed references to events, to shared memories I did not have, to people I did not know, but there were always some good times.

I spent much of my four years at Amherst in this building, the Kirby Memorial Theater.

I thought twice about going to Reunion this year.  After all, I am currently unemployed, and I don’t know what will happen next.  My life is not where I thought it would be at this time, and certainly not where I thought it would be last fall when I volunteered to be on the Reunion Committee.

Some of my classmates have already written about what Reunion meant to them, whether in long or short form, or in beautiful blog posts.  I’ve spent today reading those, laughing, crying, and writing this post.

In past conversations with classmates and others, I’ve noted what, for me, made my Amherst education so special, and what has kept those friends in my life.  Amherst, even for those of us who felt less included, gave us a common language, even a style, in which to discuss the hard things, both personal and not.  Though for me, as I chose Amherst without knowing much about it (though my blog post on why seems to have disappeared from the College’s website), I still have moments when I wonder if I made the right choice.

And my takeaway after thirty years?  I did the right thing.  I will continue to jump in with both feet.  I will take the risk.  And I will keep going back.

 

(P.S.  In case you’re interested, here’s a post about Amherst I wrote just before my 25th Reunion.  I’m linking here as the sit-in mentioned came up during this past weekend.)

#SundayMotivation

They made their AFL debut the year I was born. Just sayin’.

Well, here I am.  On my couch on Super Bowl Sunday, uninterested in the game (well, hell, no Dolphins), having just been diagnosed with shingles, and unemployed.

So what’s next, you ask?  This week, I’ve managed to ensure I’m as busy as I’ve ever been, and it’s all for me.  There’s that.  And there’s time to think.

When you leave work you loved, that helped shape the person you are, that (you hope) made a difference for a lot of people and your employer, there is a lot of thinking to do.

 

The obvious, easy question is “what job next?”.  But I think the more important questions are “why that job?  what kind of work (not just a job) will challenge me, fulfill me, and oh, yes, pay me properly?  where are my “gifts” most useful and appreciated?  where will I find my future?”

Of course, these are also the hard questions.  But I’ve never been lazy, so I am mulling all this.  And it’s actually quite exciting.  Even if you are happy with your work, I highly recommend it.

After all, you never know.

 

Evening update:  Everyone who reads this seems to be focusing on the shingles.  Well, yes, they suck, but life happens.  It’s the rest of the post I hoped you would like!

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

It’s almost February.  And then, I will be unemployed.  Why doesn’t actually matter… as I said on social media when sharing my news there:

I am sad about leaving my work of the last 23.5 years, of course, but I am excited to move forward.

I made this choice, and I own it, gladly, even knowing I will soon be unemployed for the first time since 1990 or so, but “forward” and “choice” and “gladly” are the key words here.

Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses.  There is worry and, yes, fear, involved in this step.   And there are so many details!  I’ve seen all my doctors and filled my prescriptions; I’ve found and purchased an appropriate health plan going forward (NYS makes it really easy, thank goodness); I’m taking full advantage of various services of The Actors’ Fund (my favorite helping hand for entertainment professionals);  and I have made plans.  Lots and lots and lots of plans – some involving my job search, and some personal goals for which I will finally have the time.  Yay for de-cluttering!

It’s surprising to me that many of my friends are (kindly and generously) calling me “brave”, because really what I feel is reckless.  Really, really, really reckless.  But I’ve written before about my decision-making process (well, more than once, but that’s a good one), so maybe you understand.   And already there have been both ups and downs – help from the most unexpected sources, and a surprising lack of anything from some “expected” sources.   It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure.

All that said, it’s time.  Time for me to take this step.  Time for me to be about me.

And then we’ll see.

 

 

Today We Marched

Yes, again.  This year, I marched in New York, but I didn’t actually march.  I joined others in forming a wall.  What, you say?

Well… we believe:

  • In standing in solidarity against any actions that threaten civil and human rights.
  • That xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and bigotry have no place in the White House or in society.
  • That Black Lives Matter.
  • That people with disabilities’ rights are human rights.
  • That LGBTQ+ peoples’ rights are human rights.
  • That indigenous peoples’ rights are human rights.
  • That immigrants’ rights are human rights.
  • That environmental rights are human rights.

And we know:  We are indivisible. One nation, one for all.  Every life and every voice are equal.

We wore jumpsuits marked with bricks that repeated the vile things 45 has said about women.  We stood, silently and hand in hand, for over two hours, as the marchers passed by.

They cheered.  They took pictures and video.  But mostly, they felt the power of taking the idea of the wall and making it our own.

I cried.  Most of us did.  The sense of solidarity, of commitment, of togetherness, reinforced my belief that if we continue to persist and resist, we can save America from this administration.

Let’s do this thing.

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