Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All will be well, and all will be well....

The Steel Magnolias opening was spectacular. We had a great audience, helped, no doubt, by the wonderful food that Riverfront volunteers had prepared for them, and free champagne. They laughed at everything. They cried. One person said she'd been coming to openings for 30 years, and ours was the BEST (of course she could say that to every cast and we wouldn't know).

Nonetheless, we were pleased. Tonight starts the round of buy-out performances. We'll be doing the play five times a week -- three for the public, two for groups who have paid for private performances. Until June 20. I expect we'll all be sick of the characters by that time. I can't imagine doing a play for years on end.

But I do like Miss Clairee. I rather think there is more of her in me than I'd once thought.


My brother and sister-in-law celebrate their third anniversary today. I wrote about it here, although not nearly as indepth as it might have been, but I was still reeling from both my mother's and my uncle's deaths and hadn't written much of anything since the previous October.

But it was a lovely day, a blessing in the midst of all that pain. And they've gone through some hard times since, with health issues and concerns over work that are the result of the recession -- just like so many people.

It's not the good times that make us strong, it's the tough ones and how we handle stress, pressure, uncertainty, fear. The good times may give us the knowledge that this, too, shall pass, however, and that there are still good things to come. But it's in the fire that we are shaped and tempered and glazed.

Today's Daily Om has a wonderful meditation on marriage. Among other bits of wisdom and observation are these:

If your relationship is not secure, marriage will not make it so. Likewise, if your partner is not as attentive, loving, or kind as you would like, your becoming spouses will not change that. Marriage has no power to permanently fill any emotional or spiritual gaps in your life. Before you choose to marry, ask yourself whether you and your partner are adept at resolving conflict, can speak openly to one another, and fully respect one another."

In this day and age, it is common to live together before marriage -- indeed, my mother surprised the heck outta me in her later years when she proclaimed that she thought living together was a good idea! Even a committed relationship is not marriage -- although people stay in them for years and years. It changes things somehow, in addition to the legal matters -- or at least it did for us. It brought the sacred into our commitment, I think, and expanded our relationship.

(Maybe I haven't had enough coffee to wax eloquently this morning! I seem to be struggling for adequate words....)

At any rate, I wish them a happy anniversary and hope that "
All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well. " -- Julian of Norwich

Summer is here, no matter the calendar. Triple digits forecast for today; swamp cooler is in full blast mode; north wind is keeping the humidity well below 20 percent. The garden grows measurably each day (as do the grasses in it, blast and damn). Memorial Day always marks summer's grand entrance, and the groceries were full of hot dogs and hamburgers and watermelon. Next is Independence Day. Time goes so quickly.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Playing catch-up

Damage to the garden was not disastrous as I'd first thought. Most of the plants are coming back, and the deer nicely thinned the seedlings. I should have lettuce by the end of the week, although with the hot weather we're having now it may bolt before I ever get it to the table.

So we planted tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and are experimenting with cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkins. I've replaced soaker hoses and hung prayer flags which flutter nicely in the breezes. We'll hope for a generous bounty.

Mother's Day came and went without a post from me, although I'd started a draft. I'd put a photo of mother, my brother and me on my Facebook page that was taken just three weeks before she died in 2005. It is hard to believe she's been gone for going on four years now, and that this winter, my dad will have been dead for 10 years.

But I see them in my own reflection: in my fine, greying hair, in my hands that show a delicate network of aging skin and a few arthritic lumps, in my smile. I hear them in my head -- how mother always said she liked listening to the silence rather than music or television (as do I these days), how they preferred ice water to sodas or lemonade, for instance.

I think of them at my age: mother retired at 60 from teaching because daddy had retired at 65, and they spent the next 10 or so years traveling and playing. More than that, too, but those were probably the prime years, although even those saw some health issues for both of them.

That's not quite in the cards for us yet. Tony is in full hammer-down mode as he goes in early and stays late working on a new product release. I've finished up a few stories, but so much of what I was doing has dried up, at least for now, for various reasons -- the main publication I was working on has ended, and I'm just not sure what I want to do next. This last week or so the play has begun to take most of my energy, although that will ease some with opening on Saturday night.

But I'm trying to stay open to opportunity and possibility. I need to make some money doing something, whether it's selling on eBay or pursuing more writing. Doesn't have to be a lot of money -- although I certainly have no objection to money, mind you!

I've asked the universe yet again to provide and to help me be open. We shall see where this next step takes us.
Summer is upon us, early this year. We've already had triple digit temps, much to my disgust. I just didn't get enough rain this year, and the early heat had me scrambling in my closet for something that wasn't long-sleeved and cozy. I'm still organizing everything, but at least the linen and cotton things are readily available now.

The last few nights have been wonderful, though, with cool breezes making for sound sleeping conditions. I do love our location, but the early heat is a little frightening: it will be with us well into October in all likelihood. We're all fearful of another summer of fires and unhealthy air because it is so dry.

We celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary yesterday by going out to breakfast, since I had rehearsal last night and he worked late again. We'll go to the ocean for a little R&R later this summer.

But we always remember that day in the Bay Area -- which was unseasonably warm for San Francisco, but gorgeous. We laughed, we cried through parts of the ceremony (which we wrote) and at which my Uncle Tom officiated, aboard a yacht on the Bay. We ate. We played and talked and enjoyed the boat ride all around our favorite landmarks, and there were Oracle and Kensington colleagues as well as family with us to mark the day.

We both feel incredibly blessed to have found each other, and to continue to be so much in love at this age. It's not that we don't have trials and some hard stuff to deal with -- but it's never with each other -- it's issues with the girls or with work or health or property or something like that. How rare that is to have such a relationship! I am so grateful.

In the midst of all the busy-ness it is sometimes hard to remember that THIS is our life, each day. Time doesn't stop because we are too busy to notice what is happening every day, every moment. When the product is released and the play is over, our lives will change again -- not really back to what they were a few months ago, but to where they are going every day with every moment and every experience.

It is essential to find even a few moments to appreciate what we have THIS DAY, to ask for what we need, to reflect on and remember how precious time really is. One thing that becomes increasingly evident as we age is that everything can change in a moment, with a heartbeat. it is up to us to choose how we spend our time, who we touch, what we do and say, how we express our gratitude. We have that choice every day.

Steel Magnolias is in preview tonight and we open Saturday. The play is about the fragility of life, I believe, and the relationships with others that can help us deal with the uncertainty and the choices we all have. I'm grateful to be in it once again, for the third time, to be forging a bond with the five other actresses who are in the cast. I hope our audiences take home with them the blessing of friendship and the appreciation for each day we are given.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Garden gone

The bad news: either the wind of the last few days blew open the garden gate (which has a sometimes tenuous latch) or I didn't close it properly -- or a combination of the two. The deer enjoyed a lovely salad luncheon, including the almost-ready-to-be-harvested leaf lettuce and swiss chard, radish sprouts, cucumber plants, a sweet pepper plant, delicately tendriled sugar snap pea plants, and even the new mesclun and onion sprouts.

Most of the yet-unpotted flowers -- although they're not fond of marigolds nor lantana, I discovered. And a good helping of rhubarb leaves, although they left the stalks, mostly.

I hope they got sick. Not fatally, just uncomfortably. They've been spending their days under the carport, in little beds they scrape out from the gravel there. Watching the garden grow, probably, and waiting for their chance.

So Monday I will be back out there, replanting lettuce and chard and cukes and peppers. Planting the rhubarb and hoping that it will survive. Salvaging the flowers. And making sure the damned gate latches tightly.

I also have new prayer flags to top the fence. Let's hope the rising prayers will protect the new plants from the deer, but also from moles, bugs, and other things that like new veggies.