RECAFFEINATED MONDAYS: I’m Snow Over It

Locked down for eleven months and now snowed/iced in for the weekend.

That means you’re getting some random thoughts today.

Your pictures of snow from across the country have been lovely. Your stories about power outages in the ice storm have been horrifying.

Spring can’t get here soon enough.

Last week I was reminded of a winter storm some 21 years ago. We lost power during the Super Bowl and it was out for over 24 hours. We took the offspring, 10 at the time, to see Galaxy Quest, because the theater had heat.

I know it was twenty-one years ago because less than two weeks later, our youngest was born.

The rest, as they say, is history. Expensive history.

Very expensive history.

The other thing that can’t get here soon enough is the unity we were all promised.

They keep using that word. I do not think they know what it means.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the second season of Impeachment lived up to the first.

The outcome was predetermined. It was an exercise in political theater, and not a really good one at that.

Joe Biden has been President for almost a month. Donald Trump can’t even tweet but he’s still leading the headlines.

At some point people have to admit that the Bad Orange Man is not the problem here.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

It’s President’s Day. Officially.

No, not those Presidents.

George Washington’s Birthday is actually February 22. Abraham Lincoln’s is February 12.

We’re supposed to believe now that the federal holiday celebrates all Presidents.

Growing up, we had Washington’s Birthday as a holiday and we acknowledged that Lincoln was also born in this month.

Don’t @ me Karen, I’m from Southwest Virginia and went to school in the 1960s.

We did, however, have pictures of both Washington and Lincoln in the classroom over the blackboard, along with the American flag (yes, Karen, it had 50 stars when I was in school) and the cursive alphabet.

Personally, i think we might have avoided some of the recent unpleasantness if our students actually learned a little more history in schools, real history, and yes in context.

That’s another post.

For someone else to write.

Or maybe it’s this one.

Y’all grow up.

There, that feels better.

It’s Monday but, as noted, I’m wrapping up a three-day weekend. I could have been a four-day weekend, but thanks to endless teleworking, my home office doesn’t close when the downtown offices do.

I used much of the weekend to clear out files in my home office.

What I found over Christmas was that my virtual Santa set up made me a little claustrophobic. As in, no I can’t store all of this stuff that I don’t really need.

You’ll need it soon enough. Click the pic.

So, the ongoing winter project is to decrapify.

And this time, I mean it.

I actually threw caution to the wind and got rid of the user’s manual to the stereo I bought in 1985.

True story: My family and I could remember it ever being in this house. I think it made it to the garage when we moved in in 1996 but went to a church yard sale not long after.

I digress.

We’re mid-way through February, and we’re coming up on eleven months of 15 days to slow the spread.

I hate that this routine feels normal now. There’s nothing normal about it.

I miss people.

I miss church.

I miss theater.

I miss…okay…I can say it….deep breath…I miss my office downtown.

Talk about the winter of our discontent.

Yes, Andrea Mitchell, I happen to know that’s from Shakespeare’s Richard III, and not just the title of a John Steinbeck novel. And, I was only an English major for one semester.

That said, I need to read both.

I’ll put them in the stack of stuff I’m going to get to while we’re under house arrest, along with the losing twenty pounds, writing the great American novel, and learning to play the ukulele.

I really do regret not making that purchase last March.

In the meantime, I’m writing, just not so much here. I’m working on the Santa business, because the Christmas season is here in nine months. I’m telling myself that when it’s warm and dry I’ll get back to working in the yard.

At the moment this is being written, I’m looking at the clock and realizing that thanks to the pandemic, 24-hour pajamas, and prostate issues, I may never get back to normal sleep patterns.

That may mean that you’ll have to search harder for your daily nuggets of brilliance from this blog.

If you find them, let me know.

Photo by Jody Confer on Unsplash



 

RECAFFEINATED MONDAYS: Somewhere in my Youth, or Childhood

I’ve been very fortunate — it’s just been an amazing piece of luck. I haven’t had to suffer for my art but I’ve suffered enough inside to hopefully be called an artist.

Christopher Plummer, 1929-2021

I’ve talked about this before, but I think we can set aside any illusions that 2021 is somehow going to magically be a better year.

Politics and viruses aside, just look at the losses in the entertainment industry.

Since the first of January we’ve lost Cloris Leachman, Cicely Tyson, Hal Holbrook, and just at the end of last week, Christopher Plummer.

Sure, they were all in their 90s, so we really shouldn’t have been shocked at their passing, but I can’t help seeing the news come through on social media and thinking “Oh, No! We’ve lost another one.”

There’s a certain generation of actors that we will never replace.

I re-watched The Sound of Music over the holidays. In my down time, I worked my way through the best of the classic and Christmas movies on the streaming services.

Let’s be clear, The Sound of Music is not a Christmas movie. Nor is My Favorite Things a Christmas song, even if Ms. Streisand put it in her Christmas album.

The Sound of Music was one of the first movies I saw in the theater. Neighbors were going on a weekday and since the older daughter was responsible for my care at the time, they took me along.

The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was Shenandoah, starring Jimmy Stewart, another of that generation of actors. But if family legend and/or my faulty memory is correct, I was actually in the audience for How the West Was Won as a small(er) child.

I digress.

Plummer loved working with Julie Andrews and he admired the movie. But he wasn’t fond of his role as Captain Von Trapp.

I’ve seen several stage versions of The Sound of Music, but my favorite version will always be the film version. No matter how good a set designer you are, you just can’t build the Austrian Alps.

I was once contacted by a director and offered a bit part in a production of The Sound of Music. I had to turn it down due to another contract, so I’m likely to never perform in this show. After all, I’ve aged out of any appropriate roles, and I’m not going to shave so that I can play Mother Superior.

Speaking of roles, a year ago tonight I opened in Bloomsday at Chamberlayne Actors Theatre. It was a challenging, yet rewarding role. Not to mention that we actually had Guinness in the final scene.

Bloomsday was one of the last shows produced in Richmond before the pandemic sent us all into the witness protection program…I mean fifteen days to slow the spread. As it turns out, it was also the last show for Chamberlayne Actors Theatre to produce in that space after some 56 years. A new space is coming in the post-pandemic world. Stay tuned.

I got my first role in community theater when I was sixteen going on seventeen. For reasons that may or may not be in the book, I opted not to pursue acting as a full-time career. I am grateful that it has come back to me in later life.

As I’m transitioning more to being a year-round Santa Claus (have you checked out my website or followed me on Facebook?), I have realized that the role of Robert in Bloomsday is likely to be my last on the traditional stage. I’ll continue to produce and direct. But when it comes to performing, I’ll be sticking with the red suit.

Unless you’re recasting the Ten Commandments because…well, I could be your old Moses.

Plummer was 91. I don’t know if I’ll make it that long. If I do it gives me another 30 or so years to play the jolly old elf. So, I’m figuring out how to make that work for as long as I can.

There’s a plan. No, I’m not sharing it here.

Each of the actors I mentioned above worked well into their 80s and early 90s. You have to admire that. They never quit.

I don’t plan to either.