All About You (and may you live in interesting times) Krissie

The plays are over. Yesterday was insane – I zipped to the library where Rosann, my mentor, was volunteering and she did my hair at the checkout desk (we have a small, friendly town), then zipped back home to grab some books (I give books out on the last day) and then back up to change and put on makeup, down to the theater (we dress in the town hall and the theater is on the town green), gave my final performance, died, sang spirituals off-stage, broke down when we sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot, finished and hugged everyone, ran home and took the world’s fastest show (my hair was disgusting with hair spray etc) then went up to the new theater to meet everyone for the tour, crippled myself trying to walk through the ginormous place (it is so amazing!), raced home, changed my clothes, had a salad and a little chicken, jumped in the car and drove to pick up my cousin’s husband, went to the final performance of Nicole’s play, a harrowing play about a woman about to be stoned to death), raced back home (with John), picked up more books, sat for five minutes, then went to Sabra (the magnificent artistic director) for the end of season party, where even then I couldn’t sit because I had to zip around giving people their books. Came home about 12:30 (fortunately Sabra lives a mile a away), fell into bed and slept the sleep of the dead. And I’m someone with huge pain issues and energy issues. Except in the summer I don’t have energy issues. I think the more I do the more my stamina increases, plus I get energy from the work and other people.
The day before, Richie woke me because we were getting collect calls from the Lake Tahoe county jail. From Tim. The day before, in cleaning, we found syringes in his room. When he was little I used to push him on the swing and sing “swing low, sweet Timmy Ohlrogge.” So singing it in the play was problematic.
I’m up and I’m shell-shocked. Richie’s making me a cup of coffee and we’ll figure out what to do next (they let Tim out of jail – he’d been arrested for refusing to leave the local hospital emergency room).

So how’s your week been? What’s on your agenda? (I’ll talk more about the theater season later).


Catching up (Krissie)

2015-08-16 21.22.14 I’ve been ACTING! Jill Purinton can attest to it, though in Hamlet (pictured here with my grandchildren’s maternal grandfather) I was sort of like a cuckoo clock, popping in and out of a small door with the priest, reacting, and then popping back in.
I had more to do in Kiss Me Kate — lots of singing (even solos) and even a little dancing until I screwed up my knee on the last weekend. We ended up doing 16 performances — 8 of each play — and what with rehearsals and brush-ups it was pretty exhausting but so much fun. What I love about theater … well, there’s not much I don’t love. But mainly it’s the sense of family. It’s all the hugs and touches and people working toward the same thing and all generations and the laughter. In our group there’s no pecking order – possibly because we bring in professionals for most of the major roles, and almost all of them are fabulous. There are a couple of stick-in-the-muds but I just ignore ’em when I can and am nice when I have to talk to them.
But mostly it’s working hard and throwing together last minute parties and just having the most wonderful time.

It’s quite a change from winter, where I don’t see anyone and work in solitude and deal with the wretched weather. The theater is one of many things I really don’t want to leave!

But now it’s time to hunker down to my real responsibilities, and I just found out I’ll see my grandchildren in a couple of weeks, so I’m a happy camper! And you’ll see me around here a bit more often. Except that I haven’t cleaned the house since June, so I suppose I ought to do something about that.

And I do have to deal with a funky rotator cuff (had an MRI but am waiting for results) and finally having knee surgery, plus the Never-Ending-Root-Canal (I’m going in for my 5th attempt!). Good thing I decided to stopped getting older a few years ago, or this would be really exhausting.

The Show Must Go On (Krissie)

Sometimes I take on too much. Well, I usually take on too much For the last three weeks I have done absolutely nothing but rehearse and appear in Kiss me Kate and Hamlet (with 12 more performances to go) and I’m just an extra. I’ve been so exhausted I could cry, have done absolutely nothing about writing, but I still love it. But I gotta learn better sense.

Now that the performances are starting I can get back to a more reasonable schedule. Sure, Thursday through Sunday nights are out, but the days are mine, so that I can deal with the cluster**k that is my home life. I won’t go into details – just be assured that my husband and are I always good and that some children remain teenagers well into their late 20s. God help me.

So this week I’ll make a stab at cleaning some of the stuff I’ve ignored (I just did my own laundry for the first time in 3 weeks — I’ve been keeping up with everyone else’s) and get to work on some summer book promos and writing. But just for today and I’m going to float in the pool and listen to audiobooks about sexy vampires.

What’s on your agenda this week?

Krissie: All About You (and Me)

Photo on 7-21-14 at 8.32 AM I’m up and at ’em fairly early this morning, even though I didn’t sleep terribly well last night, so I have some time to talk.
I wanted to start this blog to reclaim my fabulosity (yes, I know that’s not a word). But I had become bogged down with grief, totally isolated, depressed, fat, wearing dumpy clothes, my house was in chaos, my children were in chaos. I was resenting the hell out of my mother,and I wasn’t enjoying much of anything, including my writing.

Well, time for an update. Getting bogged down with grief — my sister had died two years previously (after brother, close cousin, adopted away niece, brother, nephew, and father) and I was stuck with my mother, who was a narcissist with a history of raging mental illness). Well, my mother died that first year, meaning I didn’t have to resent her any more, but it didn’t do a whole lot for the grieving. It’s taken a little longer to get that under control. When the people you love (and yes, that was an astonishing thing I discovered — my mother actually did love me. And I actually did love her). Anyway, when people you love die, the grief never leaves you entirely. You live with this little empty spot in your heart, but you do your best to fill the rest of you with joy. Some people can, some people can’t. Fortunately I’m one of those people who can.

Totally isolated — well, you’ve watched me change that. The first year I saw they were doing Sound of Music and you know me and nuns. I wanted to be a nun! I thought I’d just sing in the chorus, but I ended up with a bunch of lines and some solo singing and had a great time. The next year they had a role picked out for me, though they wanted me to try out, and then this year I didn’t even have to try out. It takes a huge amount of time, a huge amount of energy, but there are all these wonderful people and I love them all, particularly Charlie our directory (he’s about 23 and already been nominated for a Tony). Theater people hug you. I love being hugged. My only problem is my cousin Helen, but I’ll talk about her tomorrow.

Depressed — well, that comes and goes. We fiddle with the meds and hope my kids don’t explode (one is close) and I do my best. It’s all I can do.

Fat. Ah, well. I’ve done what I usually do. I lost about 30 pounds and then gained twenty of them back, bringing me to a lower set point. That’s not how it usually works — most people lose an amount, regain it all and add ten pounds. But it’s frustrating. I’m in really bad pain (my knees are so swollen and I can barely walk, so I save all my walking for the play). If I could take forty pounds off them it would make such a big difference. For the first time I’m playing with surgery. Amanda, one of the people who’s usually in the play, had it last year and she says it’s been wonderful. So I may go for a conversation, just to discuss it. I’m so tired of feeling wretched. But that’s for later.

However — I’m off diet sodas and artificial sweeteners for good! That’s an amazing accomplishment for me, given my life-long addiction to sodas, and I should be very proud. Right now I’m getting more exercise than I can handle with the play but when it’s done it’s back to the pool I go.

I’ve given away a third of my clothes and have another third to go (Mean Cousin Helen on Saturday: “How many skirts do you own?” in a slightly contemptuous voice). My house is in far worse chaos than it’s ever been but that’s because we’re trying to get rid of things and pack things up and we’ve taken out furniture that used to hold things etc.) It’s a work in progress.

As for my children — what can I do? They’re a mess, I do what I can, but I watch them do these stupid, self-destructive things. I guess that’s what being a parent of grown children have to do. Tim’s messed up his relationship with Erin and he’s sleeping on our couch, Kaim is in love and uprooting her entire life (though she’ll finally graduate). We still support them too much. But we’re making out plans to escape. (More on that later).

And damn, I love writing. Which is sort of what fuels everything, literally (financially) and spiritually. And when the writing is a joy (or even if it’s not a gift book like this one but one I love, and I love most of them) then as long as I write I can handle anything. I need to write for my own mental health. Maybe I need that release – to force my own emotions through the Magic bullet into a giant smoothies of a dark romance (how’s that for imagery? I was going for “crucible” and then I wanted to vomit at my own pretentiousness so I went to the absurd).

I’m closer with Jenny and Lani than I’ve ever been, too, in the last two and a half years, and that’s been a gift.

So, for this week. I’ll just keep on trucking’. I’ll rehearse like crazy, we open on Thursday, I’ll try too write, try not to hurt too much, watch the food intake (I turn now chips and things like that when offered at rehearsals). It’s the final week of madness, and then we’ll settle down (three performances a week through 8/14).

But I’ve learned a lot. I’ve regained a huge amount of joy and fabulousness through the plays, and whether it matters or not a lot of people are realizing how fabulous I am.

So how are you going to be fabulous this week? What do you have to slog through, and can you make that fabulous, or can you find a bit of fabulosity (I guess that really is a word, since word check doesn’t turn it red) in your weekly grind?

Krissie: Oooops

I can’t believe I forgot All About You. I guess I’m just so stuck on All About Me that it went straight out of my mind. I was focussing so hard on memorizing lines and dealing with pain (oh, my, it’s baaad) that it went straight out of my head.
But … I am writing every chance I get. For some reason I went straight to my computer yesterday morning and jumped right in and wrote 2400 words and didn’t even think of Refab. I was just too busy being fabulous.

When I come home for a break I’ll see what your plans are. How are you guys doing? It’s hard to be depressed during the summer. I moved past the anniversary of my mother’s death without problems, but a couple of days before I walked into the town clerk’s office and Valdine said “Hi, Taffy” and then was immediately horrified with herself and I laughed but it got the tears going. It’s the unexpected stuff.
Fortunately I deliberately don’t know the date my brother died, so we’re good there.

It’s easy to get depressed in the spring, which is odd, since everything is coming alive (that’s when I typically get down and when suicide rates are high). You’d think Fall would get people, and yet it’s my favorite time of year and there aren’t a lot of suicides and old people dying like you get in spring. Odd.

Not that I mean to be talking about suicide and depression when I’m enjoying life so much. I’ve started drinking coffee in the morning to replace the DC, and flavored seltzer is always a treat, plus I’ve got a number of water holders – the insulated Kleen Kanteen being my favorite. I’m still waiting for my BFF to return from Ann Arbor but I’m not holding my breath.

Okay, gotta find camera stuff. Talk to you tomorrow when I have more time.

Krissie: Summertime and the Living is Crazy

So. Oh, shit, you know, I was going to start complaining about all the things I have to do, but that’s so bogus. Yes, I’m doing a million more things than I do in the winter, but I’m loving them. There are three reasons I love the theater. I think the major one is that after a winter of isolation (truly — at this point there are no friend here I can ask to go out for lunch or to the movies or shopping – they’ve all moved or developed a deep dislike or me or we’ve drifted so far apart it would be strange) I get to be around thirty or so people, all of whom I like a lot. Then again, I’m someone who generally likes people. I’m interested in them, like talking to them about themselves, about stuff. The second reason is I love singing. For some reason my singing voice for musicals has gotten loud and strong and on-key. And higher than it used to be — I can hit an F without much problem when my voice always used to crack on Es. Plus it’s lower than it used to be too. I don’t seem to have my country or folk voice any more, which was passably good (not professional, but good enough), and I hadn’t been singing in years, so that part’s glorious.
And I kind of like to act. Er … overact. I don’t try to be the center of attention in any circumstance — if someone else wants it I can be very cheery and quiet. Which can be a problem if I’m with someone who always craves attention. It can get … annoying. But I like to act, to fling myself around on stage. In this one I get to fondle a handsome young man and get kicked in the bustle by him. And I’ll probably cry when he dies. (Jesus, just started crying now — it’s so sad). So we’ll see how much I like sad acting.

It’s exhausting, a tremendous time sink, and my favorite thing to do. At least here, where everyone is fabulous and there’s no star-drama etc.

Plus, I love my book so much I take any time I can to write. Some of my other stuff is getting behind, but basically it’s glorious.

So, no complaints. I’m in a lot of pain but I’m seeing the chiropractor today (a holistic one) and I think they’ll help a lot.

The main worry is Tim. Erin kicked him out and said he had to get therapy, which is all good. But I’ve listened to their one way phone calls and she yells at him when he’s trying to be calm and nice. Tim’s ready to try, but he has to go through certain things (the therapist for one) before she’ll let him back. And there’s the on-going problem of where they live (in a trailer right next to her very toxic parents who have always hated Tim and most of the in-laws). And she needs to learn to share the baby — Tim’s fantasy was they’d both wake up in the middle of the night and change the baby and rock her etc. but Erin doesn’t want to let go. She had her first baby on her own and I think part of her wants her second baby on her own.

And I’ve got to figure out just how much I can interfere, which is pretty much not at all. I go down to see the kids and Erin dumps on me and I need to respond, but I try to be noncommittal. In the past when they’ve broken up (they’ve broken up a lot in the last six years) I’ve been very careful because I wanted what was best for Alex, and I couldn’t say whether having Tim in the picture WAS the best. Alison’s arrival changes everything, and they need to exhaust all possibilities before they give up.

But I gotta keep my mouth shut.

I know most of you with grown children have some who are divorced. Any advice on how to deal with this. I know it’s not my business, and I can’t fix it. But I’m not sure how much I can say when they talk to me. I say counseling and the kids and give a little. The thing is Erin’s pretty low on compassion and affection. When Tim’s feeling anxious or blue and asks for a hug she says “Grow up.” Which he needs to, but if someone asks for a hug it should always be given (unless it’s a pervert).

Any advice on how to deal with this mess?