Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Senses of Loss

There is not a day he is not in my thoughts. Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa on my music player, someone whistling to a friend on the street, a change in the air stirring up a man's cologne as he brushes by me. He's there, reminding me. I'm fine. And then I'm not.

It is the muscle memory of that last week. My arms remember the weight of his body as I steadied him on his side while my mother and brother changed the sheets on the hospital bed we set up in the back bedroom. I smell the peppermint lotion I rubbed into his legs and feet every day to soothe him and myself, the coolness of his skin under my hands. I hear what they call the death rattle shaking his insides on the last morning of his life. I knew what it meant. We were losing. We lost.

And today, almost eight years later, I am reminded again. My mood shifts and there's a change in me I cannot shake. A sadness I pretend not to understand, that I try to ignore until I realize there's no fighting it. It's not work or school or other obligations getting me down. I know what it is. I remember. And I grieve. Still.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

D Essentials: Family Matters

I've got family on the brain. Makes sense since my school work is focused on learning and writing about my family. Between thinking about (and doing) the writing, reading, my full time job and other obligations (Mason's Road, two different community boards and two City committees), it's no wonder I've been a bit sleepless. You know what helps? Lists.

Instead of counting sheep, I make alphabetical lists (authors, actors, books) to quiet my mind. The last time I did this, I started with actors. Astaire, Bridges, Cooper, get the idea. That got me thinking about acting families (or dynasties, depending on how you look at it). Then I started thinking about signature films for each family member. I know, how can this possibly help me sleep? It does. So here's a list of great film families and my favorite movie(s) from each member.

Note: There is nothing even remotely scientific or sanctioned by any Academy or Institute here. These are based on my personal (and occasionally cheesy) taste. Feel free to disagree with me.

Henry Fonda
Yours, Mine and Ours.
He's got ten kids, Lucille Ball is his love interest and she has eight kids. Comedy ensues!

On Golden Pond. "You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it." Tears. Every time.
Jane Fonda:
Nine to Five. "Judy Bernly, please hold. Judy Bernly, please hold. This is Judy Bernly."

Peter Fonda:
Easy Rider. Badass. And he wrote it.

Bridget Fonda:
Singles. "Somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature." Oh, the 90s.

Lloyd Bridges:  
Cousins. "You've got only one life to live. You can either make it chickenshit or chicken salad."

Airplane. "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines"

Beau Bridges:  
The Fabulous Baker Boys. Down on his luck, playing piano and sparring with his brother.

Jeff Bridges:
The Contender. The Dude plays the President.

The Last Unicorn. Watched it every time it was on TV. Come on, she's the LAST one!

Tony Curtis:
Some Like it Hot. Still can't decide if I like him better in lady drag or Cary Grant drag.

Janet Leigh:  
Bye, Bye Birdie. Because watching her dance with Dick Van Dyke is infinitely less scary than watching her get stabbed to death by Tony Perkins.

Jamie Lee Curtis:  
Amazing Grace & Chuck. I know you've never heard of it. It's an 80s movie about a kid who gives up baseball in order to stop the threat of nuclear was. Yes, really.
Judy Garland:  
The Wizard of Oz. Was there ever any doubt on this one?

Vincente Minnelli:  
An American in Paris. Kelly, Caron, Gershwin, Paris. Perfect.

Liza Minnelli:  
Arthur. When she steals the tie from Bergdorf's and goes off on Chester the store detective? Brilliant.

I know I've got more of these in me. Favorite ensemble pieces, dynamic duos, bad movies I can't stop watching...suggestions are welcome. Making lists plus thinking about movies equals enough brain unscrambling to allow me to get back to the big project feeling somewhat relaxed.

Now...back to work! I've got a packet to finish!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wedding Belles

Kate & Nicole Gorton
My Fairfield MFA roomie got married last Saturday. Kate is hilarious, super-smart, gorgeous, up for anything and so generous. She is, as AJ once said, the American Hermione Granger.

Her wife, Nicole, is equally fantastic.

Kate's siblings and Nicole's brother joked in their toasts about the brides' constant public displays of affection, the pet names and the giggling they do, but they also agreed these two people are meant to be together.

Kate and I werqing the dancefloor.
photo by Kate Taylor

Watching Kate and Nicole take this step, surrounded by people who love and support them, gave me hope and renewed my faith in a lot of things.  I cried through the ceremony, the toasts, the first dance. I'm a soft touch anyway, but this was one of those times where my main line was busted. Good thing I brought my hankie. Once I dried my eyes, raised my glass and ate a wedding cupcake, I joined the bridal party, family members and friends on the dance floor and rocked out all night long.

One of the catering staff said it was the happiest wedding she had ever seen. No doubt.

Love is love. And seeing it in action is so awesome.