Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Getting Down On Me

I've felt queasy this week. It feels like the slightly toxic reaction I developed for MacDonald's over five years ago, only a more persistent. If it's not one thing... Is it my bed time snacks? Cabin fever? Or a result of the continual pushing of the leg, which I thought I was doing in moderation. Nah, the leg doesn't feel traumatized, or rather it continues to feel less so.

I had a follow-up visit with the orthopaedic surgeon this morning. Healing nicely, and I can start putting as much weight as I want on the leg. I've been doing that for a bit anyway, but in talking to the doctor I confirmed this means I can push into more painful areas. That is what I was hoping, sort of. I don't love pain by any means, but not being overly limited by it is a cheerful thing.

Couple interesting things, for me anyway. The swelling is still normal, the edema is a function of the bone healing, and the fact that it reduces so quickly when I elevate the leg indicates there are no circulation problems. Well, none with the mechanics. A great deal of the swelling is of course due to the fact my muscles are not yet working enough to pump the blood and such back out of the leg. (For those without biology degrees or trivia, the foot and leg muscles pump the blood back out of the legs, and the valves in the veins keep it from draining back. That is why people with sedentary jobs tend to have varicose vein more often, the blood doesn't get pumped enough.) I'll be working on getting those muscles back in shape, including getting my stationary bicycle moved to where I can use it easily.

The other thing was a probable cause of the terrific pop I felt in the leg three or so weeks back. It turns out it was actually a good thing. The set screw in the rod goes into a slot which allows a little play. The little bit of weight I had on the leg at the time was enough to encourage the bone to compress. The big startling and brief smarting occurred as the bone ends came closer together. That reduced the gap, allowing the bone to heal faster. I'll certainly take a close look at the first and follow up x-rays to see if there is a discernable closing in the fracture line. In six weeks when I have the next follow-up the fracture lines should be completely closed.

Monday I met with Greg, talking about my theatre idea. He brought up some questions and ideas which got me thinking and focused. I'm still cogitating, and will likely write more. Last night as I was going to sleep I found myself thinking, "What the Hell am I doing with this acting stuff? There's better talent out there, you've got the personal growth you needed for so long, life is short. Blah, blah blah." It really pissed me off. I know part of it is the fact I've been on the shelf for a while thanks to the leg. I also know theatre is a part of me I could not give up. More than anything I figure it is apprehension over trying to get an ensemble going. In talking to Greg I realized that is my primary near term goal, something I am hungry for, and want very badly for my enjoyment and growth as an artist. Like Kipley was saying on the 29th, internal doubts find their loudest voices when I am working on something.

So, what do I do with the apprehension? Chase it like it was my tail. I have been well served by pursuing things which scared me most. I found out there is a big gulf between actually being over my head, and feeling like I am getting in over my head. At some level I am a very cautious fellow, so I need to move well beyond my comfort level. I may never get this ensemble going, but if wait until I'm at ease with the idea the chances are zero, rather than a possibility or even a probability.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Comfy Daze

Last night was wonderful. Steve and Paula had a little trouble with their van, which dies in heavy rain. It of course rained quite hard last night. They made to the east side, so I was able to drive to them pretty easily, and let Steve take over the helm. We ended up getting to the show a little late, but they sat us. Steve and Paula felt bad about being late, I didn't mind a bit. Out on a Saturday night with your best friends? Everything else is icing. It was a good show, and we only missed five or ten minutes.

I of course did not suggest the best place to park, so had quite a hike. I discovered a couple things I don't like. The black coating put over old asphalt to preserve and extend it's life is one. It tends to hold a smidgen of oil, making a slick surface when it is wet, and crutch tips slide. Same with polished tile or terrazzo floors when you're coming out of the rain. My crutches slipped several times, startling, mildly painful, and encouraging. I was able to stabilize myself with the bum leg, the shin smarted like the dickens, but it was transitory, feeling fine within minutes.

After the show we went up to the Five Spot, a nice slightly funky Americana restaurant on Queen Ann Hill. Like I said, it was a wonderful evening. Great food, conversation, and most importantly, sharing with terrific friends.

Today is a day of rest, and perfect for it. Gray and drizzly outside, a couple fun movies to watch. I let Steve and Paula keep the truck last night, as it was still raining hard when we got back. They're going to visit Steve's family today, and I do feel better knowing they have a more dependable vehicle. Their van is nicer, and once the wet weather problem is solved they'll be set up nicely. Well, that means I'll get to see them briefly this evening when they get back and pick up the van.

I do have a hopeful vent regarding the holiday...

It's Sunday, and I'm tempted to say, "For the followers of myth, today is known as Easter." There, I have said it, and of course the hate mongers who are trivializing and mocking the spirituality I grew up with will condemn me to misery in Hell, while those whose hearts are not so dark and hateful may condescend to pray for me.

Though I now find Easter to be an ironic time, it remains spiritually significant. I started with my darkest feelings regarding what I think of as neo-christians. I see mainstream churches embracing hate and fear, resulting in symptoms like homo-phobia, supporting patently unjust and deliberately unseen wars, restoring racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. Seemingly anything which pigeonholes or degrades other human beings feeds their religious ecstasy. On the other hand, anything which questions their prejudice, avarice, or cowardice is summarily dismissed. I don't understand how they can read the scriptures and still be more dedicated to 'correcting' others than challenging themselves. I guess that nasty little speck in my eye is more important than the plank in theirs.

Yet I remain hopeful. Try looking at our modern fundamentalists as players in a passion play. They are the pharisees who would torture and slowly, brutally, execute those who would challenge their comfy power structure. I've heard my nephews and nieces, one of my best friend's children, and other children say when talking about neighbor kids or playmates, "They are really nice, even though they're christians." It is ironic indeed the very same neo-christians who are as quick to judge others as anyone in the history of the world, who live by stereotyping everyone around them dismiss any stereotypes they have earned as quickly as they judge others.

They are torturing God. Crucifying him/her. Using the godhead to promote a narrow agenda of hate, control, and fear. I choose to believe that despite their vigilance, love will sneak it's way back into religion. I'm sure it won't attract as many followers, because destruction comes easier to most than building. Still, like a phoenix I think something beautiful will arise from the ashes of the neo-christians orgy of destruction. Will it still be christianity? Who can say? I don't think the symbolism and parables used to teach are especially important to God, rather I believe the struggle to be the best we can is how we honor God. Whether we identify the essence of God as a terrible and compassionate fellow with a beard and a son named Jesus, Gaea, the space needle, some dude named Harold, or simply an archaic description of what we don't understand, it does not matter. The essence, striving to make ourselves better and honoring what he/she stands for rather than condemning those around us, is what matters.

I'd like to see the resurrection of godliness in religion in my lifetime. Whether I do or not, Easter gives me hope evil will not always be able to assume a righteous mask unchallenged, posing as good. That is my hope, and I suppose, faith. Another irony, a belief that 'faith' will not always be whored by those afraid to really challenge themselves by listening to what God has to tell them. Here's to divine irony, and a brighter future.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lazy Daze

Thursday afternoon I called Beth to see if she wanted to go to a PWYW (Pay What You Will) for TPS members. When I'm working I still give them the ticket price or more, I just like getting the discounted tickets figuring it encourages support for TPS. It was Exchange Theatre's production of Hobson's Choice at the Bathhouse Theater. I understand their weekend shows have been getting packed houses, but the Thursday crowd was modest, only about twenty in the audience. The energy was still good, and a surprising amount of laughter. Small audiences tend to be shy about hearty laughter. Knowing how that feels when you are on the boards I let loose with some good guffaws towards the beginning, which seemed to break the ice. Before long others were initiating unmuffled laughter. Made the show more fun for me.

Tonight Steve and Paula are going to pick me up for Rebecca. I know at least one person in this show, and wondering if I'll know any of the other actors. It is working out nice. I'm treating people to shows, as a thank you for all the wonderful help I've gotten, and getting to some shows myself. Win-win-win situation as far as I'm concerned. Good friends, good shows, heartfelt thank you's.

My roommate Aaron loaded most of my cd's to my desktop. Using our local wan, I'm connected to it with a play list of 72 tracks going. Nice variety, no commercials. If I ever get an mp3 player it'll sure be easy to load it. I've never been much of a boom box or walkman sort of guy -- I kind of like experiencing the world around me. Maybe when I upgrade a car stereo, I'll have a good use for one, but that won't be in the immediate future.

It is a lazy Saturday to be sure, and I've had enough lazy Saturdays, but I suspect my leg wants more. Still, I ordered a script in anticipation of an audition for a show the Port Orchard community theatre is putting up. I've mixed feelings, but the introductory bit of the script I read seemed pretty fun. I'll have to read the whole thing to see if the character and humor both stay rich. I'm looking for auditions with fringe theatres starting in about two weeks. I feel like I'm lying fallow. It's only been a month since I was abruptly taken out of the loop. I was feeling the same way in January, even though I was working on a show and had been startled by how many things I'd done over the last year when I was putting together a resume for the auditions I was planning to go to in the days after I broke my leg.

I continue to move the leg around more every day, but can't put significant stress on it yet. Oh, to simply put all my weight on the right leg. Seems like a distant fantasy -- especially to the left leg. So, a little more every day, initiating new pains as the old ones fade away. Oh to sleep solidly without a vicodin or a drink, to have a beer with dinner without figuring out whether I have enough time to get it out of my system before bedtime. The last couple weeks I have been able to sleep one night without medication. More often I have started without anything, only to woke up in pain. What a bother. However the abstinent nights are great, needing a couple hours less sleep. Frustratingly the pain isn't anything I can't deal with during the day, but pretty hard to sleep with. So it seems like of the same. Logically I know I am healing at a good rate, it just doesn't register emotionally.

Well here's to the Easter weekend. Whether you believe our state religion or not, here's to wishing all your ills are healed.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Deceiving Appearances

Three stereotypical items this morning which somehow describe the picture people in the Puget Sound region have of east King County.

I saw a Boxster this morning with a vanity license plate reading "riteoff". What a shitty thing. I couldn't help but think of people living at the subsistence level seeing that plate, thinking their annual family budget wouldn't even cover the write off this turd was bragging about. Maybe he meant something entirely different, but this is the east side, and that fits the stereotype.

As I was driving to work, from the Original Pancake House after Kiwanis, I saw another example of the east side mindset. On one of the intersections there were big signs on all four corners warning pedestrians, to watch for turning cars, indicating they better not be too close to the curb or be in the crosswalk when cars are nearby. Um, pedestrians have the right of way. If there is a problem, maybe there should be big signs reminding cars they are supposed to avoid running down people. Admittedly that would offend the Lexus/Hummer crowd over here, but screw 'em.

I met one of the very same people in the office this morning. On crutches you can simply back through doors with push bars. There was a fellow in such a hurry he couldn't wait the extra quarter of a second (I move pretty quickly on the crutches), and shoved on through as I was exiting nearly toppling me. I'm a rather large fellow, and even on crutches it takes an effort to throw my balance. Guess what? It turns out in our office reshuffle he is across the hall and one office down. Whatever reorgs we have, I will not consent to report to this guy. Maybe he was having a bad morning, but for now I learned what I need to know about him when it comes to other people.

You know what stands out for me at work? Just like at home most everybody is extremely accommodating and helpful. It is a pleasure and honor to work around people like this at my day and theatre jobs. I'm not so much surprised by one jerk, as that he is so alone. Given the slightest chance most people are really great. Realizing it is a boon.

So, most people on the east side are not so shallow as Mr. Boxster appears to be, not so arrogant as the traffic signs would indicate, or as w-like as my new neighbor at work. But that is the stereotype people have, even those who live on the east side. Neither the people who fit the mold, nor those that buy the stereotype will be easy sales for the type of theatre I hope to get started. Attracting actors, as I've mentioned before, will be a challenge because of the very same bias. Makes it a challenge, especially since I plan to work with professional level actors and directors, which means fringe people, when you are outside the equity system, which I most certainly am. There the prejudice is strong. Should be interesting.

Now to try to find a core of serious east side actors with similar training. Not that I want to rule anyone out, but I want to start on common ground...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Nowhere In Particular

Monday is quickly becoming my most looked forward to day of the week. It is fun and natural to say, "I read to 'my' 4th grade class today." It is indeed tickling the kids look forward to it too. Sadly the first half of my time was preempted this week. One of the staff members, Mrs. Buck, had passed away from a rapid and aggressive liver cancer Thursday night. Friday was the day the rest of the staff dealt with the news, and Monday was the day for notifying the kids.

The other fourth grade class was brought in at 10:00 AM, with a slew of counselors from other elementary schools in the district, while the principal broke the news, and they answered the children's questions. A few of the kids didn't know Mrs. Buck, but all were quiet, respectful and/or hurting. I didn't know Mrs. Buck, but I teared up along with the kids.

As I read there were a number of red eyes. Kids were a little distracted, but still surprisingly attentive. I guess the story was a nice respite between hearing the news and then going for recess and talking about it with each other or a counselor. There was more than the usual disappointment when I wrapped up. So far they are enjoying the 'chapter' book.

I drove to work today for the first time. I can hold the brake with the right foot, but for driving the right foot will stick to the gas pedal. The left will operate the clutch and brake. For the next week or so while I regain strength and range of motion I'll only use the right foot to hold me on hills, which I'll avoid when I can.

In a bit I'll be heading over to my naturopathic chiropractor. First time since I broke the leg and I am looking forward to it. My back has been getting progressively better since I started seeing them, and it has been working hard lately, accommodating the bum leg. Besides they're nice folks. Limited driving and chiropractor. Life edging back towards normalcy.

My friend Kipley and a number of others have commented over the last year how liberal groups at protests or demonstrations look kind of funny, somehow detracting from the legitimacy of their viewpoint. Without thinking about it I nodded, "Yup. Uh huh." Then I thought about it some more, and I decided that is buying into right wing constant name calling as established fact.

Ever looked at an anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-Arab, ... type of demonstration? Instead of a colorful crowd, you have a drab, mean looking bunch, which reminds one more of brown shirts than anything else. Maybe it is because they have nothing to offer but condemnation of those who won't goose step along with them.

At some point I guess it depends what kind of crowd makes you feel more comfortable. In some ways I compare it to the people who quietly favored Kerry over Bush, unwilling to show support because they didn't like Kerry enough. As I've said before, they were the very folks responsible for electing Bush. If they'd the nads to actively support Kerry the fraud from Diebold and brother Jeb would not have been enough to reinstall king w. So, what I'm saying is worry more about why you support something, than whether co-supporters clash with your wardrobe. Something I need to consider pretty seriously myself.

Speaking of Kipley, if you're interested at all in starting a theatre, check out both his acting, and life blogs. He is working on an ambitious project in Hoboken. Once I start traveling for vacations, about 6 months from now, I hope to see some shows in New York and Hoboken. London is on my list too. Expedia is great, starting people off with 3 weeks of vacation, and right now I'm saving up four weeks for a class I hope to take this Summer. After that it's off to see shows in some other places.

Anyway, his theatre project is coming together very nicely, getting some dedicated people on board with a venue already available. I'm starting smaller, and I'm hoping to get the dedicated people first, artists then audience, and then working towards a semi-permanent venue. The theatre I hope to get started has to work against a history of dramatic theater failures in East King County. (That is a bit of a pun, I'm talking of dramatic theatre and dramatic failures.) It makes it hard to draw both audience and artists and has sunk numerous companies that tried to start by committing to expensive venues, then trying to draw artists and audience. Didn't work that way. I'm hoping an effort to satisfy the appetites of some east side artists will be the initial driving force which will carry the rest forward. Now that I'm almost mobile I'm working to get the ball rolling again, the ball which was dropped 12 hours after I started thanks to a nasty broken leg over a month ago.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Man About Town

Well, village anyway.

Trek accomplished. I was able to drive to my neighborhood store, pick up my prescription and do some grocery shopping. Two bonuses. I made it to Seattle's Best Coffee on the other side of the pharmacy and picked up a pound of ground half-caff espresso beans. It will be a few more weeks before I can drive into Seattle and get it from Caffe Vita, and I'm not inclined to any more. I like the small business and the quality, but I'm tired of the new staff which is unfriendly and can't seem to figure out the right grind, and I have to regrind it at home. I've got a vacuum jar, so grinding ahead of time doesn't hurt, and I prefer a grind to the little high speed choppers. Someday I'll find an adjustable hand grinder that will do everything from percolator to espresso grinds.

I also lucked out with the Girl Scout Cookies. Today was the last day and they were in front of the store. They increased the price this year, I guess they couldn't figure out how to package more air. They are a rip-off, and I'm sure the kids only get a small fraction of the profits. Even if you used real butter and such for ingredients, you could make the same thing in your kitchen for less than 25% of the price -- now use cheaper materials on an assembly line and figure out the cost. I bet the kids see less than 25% per box for themselves. I'm guessing your family values folks (republicans) who own the bakeries are pocketing at least $2.25 profit for each box. I like helping the kids out there selling cookies or mints, and even the darkness of the vultures profiteering off their fund-raiser won't get me down or make me stop helping the kids.

The pharmacy, coffee shop, and Camp Fire Girls were all easy to deal with. The grocery store was different. No way in Hell was I going to use one of those powered carts. How do you shop with crutches? I thought about pushing a shopping cart around, but couldn't picture a way unless I could put some significant weight on my leg. So I brought a gym bag. I've developed a taste for apples or pears, and nuts for breakfast. They are heavy, and so are frozen dinners. Even Amy's organic meals. It was a bit of a workout, and I built up a nice sweat. Happily the bagger carried them out to the truck for me. I packed the coffee and such in the bag when I got home, and I used the handles as shoulder straps. The actual shoulder strap is gone, and I wasn't going to tackle the stairs with the bag sharing a handhold with the crutch.

So I managed to get the truck, groceries, and myself back to the house safely. Two things learned. One is that I can probably start driving to work on Tuesday or Wednesday. Two is that I can't go on the freeway or Seattle until I can operate the brake easily with the right foot. Too many fools on the freeway, and concurrent use of the brake and clutch is a must. Same thing in Seattle, but different reason. The hills need normal footwork. In a pinch I could do either, I just don't want to. An emergency situation is more likely, and I could brake with the right leg, but don't need the discomfort.

It is interesting how a bum leg makes little chores big events, needing forethought. How will I get the groceries to the counter and into the house? What order should I shop in? What if my leg and foot start hurting so bad I can't get back? Never thought getting back to the house and putting away groceries would be a signal event in my weekend. I can hardly wait until it is once again something I do at 10:30pm on my home from a late class or rehearsal. I like being the 'get it done' guy and look forward to getting back.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Ready, Set, Wait...

Wow. I've been putting a little weight on my leg, just a few pounds, and moving it about the way the way the physical therapist recommended. Also, I sometimes move it around when I'm at home and going slow as though I was walking. No weight, just reminding the muscles so I maintain good muscle memory when the time comes.

I was in the kitchen Tuesday night, doing something with a frozen gourmet pizza I was preparing and put a few pounds on the leg. There was an amazing feeling of a knuckle, or large joint popping, only it came the front middle portion of my shin. It was above the break, and with the steel bar there isn't a worry but it startled me just the same. Very quickly common sense prevailed, reminding me that it would take more than 2-5 pounds pressure to do anything to either bone, especially the steel reinforced tibia. Just some muscle or tendon snapping back where it belonged. Still the adrenalin surge took a minute to soothe. It's the same when I watch action movies. When they bang people up it feels real personal now. I figure I should watch an old Steven Segal movie. He liked breaking arms and legs in those movies, and the cringe factor would be so high right now, it'd be bound to be a little humorous.

So I'm still getting better every day, and going slightly battier too. I fix that by going to shows. I saw The Secret In The Wings last night at the Seattle Rep. I loved the set, which in their typical fashion was overly elaborate. What I liked was the feel and novelty, which could have been done much cheaper. It was a nice show, though the story was disappointing at times. The acting was way below par for professional theatre. For the most part the actors were not especially connected to their characters or each other. Very slick blocking, movement, and training was employed, but deep work was overlooked. A couple actors, the fellow playing the ogre and the women who played the princess who wouldn't smile were connected, and raised the level of those with them. Given the size of the cast and the complexity of the show it wasn't enough to rescue the show from mediocrity. If they had half the heart of the actors in Communicating Doors it would have been a spectacular show, and no one would have cared about the holes in the story line. Why is it the Seattle Rep assiduously avoids local actors? They get folks from places like New York and Chicago, and over half the time they suck. The rep in particular seems to produce better shows when local talent is used. They are of course blind to it. Maybe I'm weird, but I could care less if someone had been in a tv show I've never seen. I want a truthful performance, not a shrink-wrapped caricature.

I hope to see a show or two this weekend, Rebecca by Book-It Theatre, and Hobson's Choice by Exchange Theatre. The trick is finding other people who are available and want to see the shows. My target to start driving is next Tuesday, with a short attempt on Sunday. I think I've enough mobility and strength in the right foot to operate the gas, but it is not ready for the brake pedal. So, I'll be trying to drive using the left foot for the brakes and clutch. And if the foot can't handle the gas no problem getting the truck back, thanks to the extremely low range setting for four wheel drive.

I've got to get to some shows, and do some writing to tide me over until I can start working on and in some shows, and maybe some studying too. Keep myself happy. The first week after I broke the leg, was the first time in five years I've been in the dumps for so long. Before that I had the blues most of my life. I've probably mentioned it before, but I detest the 'D' word. It's worn out by moody folks trying to find acclaim in their affliction instead of getting off their ass and doing something. There are people who suffer 'D', but only a fraction of those who buy into the drug companies promotions.

So keeping busy with things I love was the trick for me, and it took a fairly significant injury to give me the blues I lived with for so long. Damnit, what's the word for someone who is interested in nearly everything? That's what I always thought I was. I still am to a point, but not like I was. I was in search mode. Discovered lots on my way to finding my passion. Is it the same for everyone? Is that a common process, searching is a passion until one finds what touches their soul in an indelible way? Oh yeah, eclectic was the word I was looking for. My interests were eclectic, which really paid off for all the different things you need to do for a theatre.

My guidance for myself and others, is if you haven't got a fire inside you'd better be looking. If not, get off your freaking ass.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Monday Colors

Ahhh. A mostly restful weekend. I saw the matinee as I'd hoped on Saturday. A very good job. They are a group of promising actors. They weren't connected at first, but they connected and built energy fairly quickly and did very nice work with a complex show, especially the second act. It was Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors. Like all of his plays which I have seen it is fast paced and very complex, including complex characters. I know they had an abbreviated rehearsal schedule, and didn't expect them to do nearly as good as they did, despite my confidence in their talent and the director. It's a shame it was such a short run, because it felt like they were really starting to get their teeth into the work.

My friend Kate went to the show with me, after having visited and picked up dinner for me on Friday. This whole business with the broken leg has been a mixed blessing. The down part is obvious, but having so many friends go out of their way to visit and help me out has been a blessing I can't quite grasp. It has always been much, much easier for me to help out others than to accept help. Well, it is still hard but I have had to learn. My officemate Sindhura, my roommate Aaron, Beth, Bob, Paula, Steve, Gregory, Kate, Satish, and others have been generous in offering and giving their time. It really is overwhelming. My brother and my folks too. It is simply amazing. I get all misty when I think about how blessed I am.

This morning I read to my 4th grade class. They had a substitute today, Chris their regular teacher was out for minor surgery today. The classroom door is covered with papers, artwork by the students, so I have to knock on the door. I heard loud excited exclamations, "It's Scott!" "It's Scott!" What a wonderful welcome, especially considering today was only my fourth time reading. I hope we can find classes much sooner next year.

I'd told them I was going to read a story about Shakespeare, but it turns out it is a chapter book, not a picture book. So I read Enemy Pie, more of a boy's story to make up for Cinder-Edna which I read the first time. Afterwards I asked if they wanted to start the chapter book next week, and the response was an overwhelming "Yes!" Starting out the week with all the enthusiasm from this class is certainly a treat.

It was a great weekend. Good healing time, and a show. Today was a great day. Can't ask for a better Monday than that.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Working Outside Your Comfort Zone

Most things I have done in theatre have been outside my comfort zone. The funny thing is that once you've done it, your comfort zone expands to encompass what used to intimidate you. Happily, usually, it translates to the mundane, things like my day job. It also got me up on roller-skates, and strangely I don't regret it a bit. Making me think it really is better to experience life's ups and downs doing what you want and working for what is meaningful.

I didn't mind missing nine days of work, working short days this week, and likely next week. I did mind missing an audition with Theater Schmeater for their late night show. The night I broke the leg, I gave Paula my password so she could log into my E-mail account and let Rob know I was stuck in the hospital, and wouldn't make the audition. I appreciate that as nearly as much as the grocery shopping she and Steve did for me. Now I'm waiting at least four more weeks before I can start auditioning. Major suckage. As my endurance continues to increase, maybe I'll get in some writing in the mean time.

My tickets for the opera were this Wednesday, and my Dad's tickets for the Seattle Rep were Thursday. I use his tickets when my folks are out of town. I rescheduled the tickets for the rep, didn't think I was up to two nights in a row. Damn good thing I did. There was no way I was going to reschedule or turn in my tickets for the opera.

My eleven year old niece Ericka has been taking violin lessons for several years and really enjoys it. I mentioned a couple months ago, she had gone to the Seattle Symphony with her father and grandparents to see the Handel's Messiah two days after I saw it. We were talking about it Christmas and I asked if she'd be interested in the opera. "YES!" I called subscriber services and asked which of the remaining shows a youngster would enjoy. So, we picked Florencia in the Amazons.

My brother took us to and from the show -- it was fine limo service. Ericka had a very professional looking outfit, a nice dress with a vest. One of the fun things was it appeared she was the youngest person there. I didn't even see anyone who looked like a teenager. We chatted before the show, and she talked about how she liked playing violin for performances. She gets nervous, and likes the feeling. Isn't that great? I'm so happy she didn't wait as long as I did to make that discovery.

I was quite surprised at how closely Ericka followed the show. It was a great relief, because I really wanted her to enjoy herself. I was in a lot of pain, but her enjoyment was of more immediate concern.

The ushers were wonderful, and more concerned about my comfort than I. Thank God. A couple days before the show I'd changed the seats, so I'd have an aisle for my right leg. It was okay, but the ushers moved us to a couple chairs that weren't bolted down. They're reserved for wheelchairs, but instead of removing the chair for a wheelchair, we simply moved it back so I could put the leg straight out in front of me. That made a big difference, and I don't want to think about how much more it would have hurt had I stayed in the other seat. During the intermission the ushers brought me a stack of booster cushions to elevate my leg, and I broke down and took a couple Vicodin. Despite my worries the medication didn't make things fuzzy. Thanks to the medication and pile of cushions I was almost comfortable.

During the intermission Ericka went down to the orchestra pit to look at how the musicians were situated. She got back about the time the ushers got me all set up with the cushions, to tell me one of the cello players was playing the Messiah. They had seats in the front row for that show, but I was still impressed she would remember one musician so well.

It was a wonderful show, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I was thinking of giving my ticket to one of Ericka's parents. I was surely out of my comfort zone, and in this case the zone won't expand. I was tired yesterday, but surprisingly the swelling and such had healed a little more, though by the end of the day I was pretty well used up. No way I could have gone to the Seattle Rep. I suppose I'm pushing myself a little more than the doctor would recommend. I believe my balancing of caution and cabin fever is working. I'm positive keeping my spirits up is a curative of its very own.

I'm going to take it easy this weekend. I'm going to see Rachel's show tomorrow, and I think that will be my only venture out of the house, though I will tackle the stairs a few times to do some laundry. Lots of people are willing to do that for me, and have, but it is something I want to do. I want to do my laundry... Don't tell my parents. I want to keep Dad and Joyce around for a long while, and I'm sure upon hearing this they'd fall over stone cold dead.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Backing In

I read to the kids today, and most of them really liked seeing the x-ray beforehand. This week's story wasn't as fun as others, I didn't get a chance to get into the library or bookstore, so I brought a 1967 reprint of Andy And The Lion, a 1938 adaptation of Androcles And The Lion. It did depict early 20th century rural life which did get some interest. I compared the thorn in the lion's foot to stepping on a nail, which got a lot of class participation. By age nine most of us have done that. I pitched next week's book, which will be about Shakespeare. My tie-in will be the Ides of March. I told them how in Shakespeare's day instead of special effects they went to the butcher shop and got buckets of guts and blood. They are really interested in Shakespeare now. They asked if I was going to bring bags of blood, and were relieved and disappointed when I said no.

Chris asked if any of the students wanted to help Scott carry stuff out of the class, and I got to pick. I picked one of the girls from the front of the group, who is always very attentive though just a little shy about speaking because Spanish is her first language. The other was a boy who sits in the back of the group, who is almost studiously disinterested. He warmed up quickly, and the three of us were chatting away on our way to the parking lot where I waited for my cab.

I came to work today, and the pain and fatigue have gone up, as expected. People are great about getting the door, though I don't have any trouble opening doors by swinging them wide and stopping them with the crutch, or the others which push backwards with my rump.

I was at the point where elevating the foot all day and night was making my back hurt, so I thought as long as I need to sit up I might as well stop burning sick leave. I can move my foot enough to ease the swelling with the leg under the desk most of the day. I'm going home in a little over an hour and looking forward to it. I won't be staying up very late tonight!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Little Thoughts

Back up on my foot. Wednesday I had my follow up with the bone doctor. The incisions are healing nicely, and the staples were taken out. I expected they would hurt a bit, but it was just a bunch of uncomfortable little pinches followed by metallic 'tings' as they were dropped in the tray. Everything appears to be healing well, with a bit of a skin irritation (epidermitis?) as a result of the swelling and settling. Got an antibiotic for that, but it is no problem as it's not close to the breaks or incisions.

I'm ready to get back to work and theatre. However, I still get tired quickly. Irritating, but the recovery is moving along nicely giving me more energy every day. Lost nearly twenty pounds, and the appetite is still pretty small. I would love to find a happy medium and speed the weight loss process just a bit. It's been slow, too slow the last couple years.

In exchanging E-mails with friends a thought occurred to me. The power of prayer. I've believed in it for a long time, but haven't believed the Baptists or fundamentalists have a corner on the market. Having gone through a bit of that sort or fanaticism in high school I learned I could not fit in because I was too compassionate.

Back to the power of prayer. Whether you believe in Americana style Christianity, some other sect, or are an atheist that power is evident. My leg had me in a bit of pain the last couple weeks, especially last week. Just knowing people I knew were wishing me well, was a healing force in itself. I don't think that can be denied. Call it what you want. If you don't like calling it the power of prayer, fine, it doesn't change the nature. Nor does calling it the power of prayer make it the sole purview of fundamentalists.

I'd like to thank everybody who sent nice thoughts my way. Most don't read this, but you'll hear from me anyway.

I received perhaps the nicest communication yet in the mail today. I've lots of wonderful calls, E-mails, and cards. I received a packet from Chris Hulteng's 4th grade class, to which I read as part of the BookPals program. A large manila envelope full of notes from the students. Sweet, touching, and hysterical. There were about twenty letters -- most of the class. The detail they remember is amazing. To think we all used to be like that. Little sponges. I'd mentioned to the teacher in one of the notes I was thinking of bringing the x-rays for the kids. I remember loving that kind of thing as a kid. In a couple of the notes the kids were looking forward to seeing the x-rays.