Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Am I Reading?

Do I really want to admit to you that I get a good amount of reading accomplished in the bathroom? I don't mind admitting that, actually. I guess the real question should be, do you really want to know that about me?

I just finished reading a children's novel on the loo, over the last few weeks, one titled The Trouble Begins. It was about a Vietnamese boy who immigrated to America with his grandmother, and the troubles he had while trying to assimilate in his new school. I was surprised to find out that the author was a white woman who had been an elementary school teacher in San Diego before she died. Do you think she exploited her students' real life experiences?

Or is that what most writing is all about?

With another book out of the way, I can now try turn my attention to the other books that I have been neglecting. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, has replaced the children's novel in the guest bathroom drawer. BFF Kathy loaned it to me, highly recommending it. I was eager to read it after having read an article about the book and its author in Oprah's 'O' magazine a few years ago. The accompanying photo of the handsome Italian man posing with the author didn't hurt, either.

Kathy also loaned me Cormac McCarthy's The Road recently. I have no idea what it's about, but Kathy always recommends good books. I try to do the same for her, now and then.

I am more than half way through Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men. So far, I love it, just as much as I have loved and enjoyed his other novels. But I try to read a little bit each night before I go to sleep, which means I don't read very much at one time since I get too sleepy too quickly.

There is never enough time to read, it seems. Or enough time to write. And yet we must! We simply must!

Once I finish the above mentioned novels, I will finally indulge my inner teenage girl and start on the Twilight series that I received for Christmas.

This post was inspired by a recent one featured in the Radiant Cheryl Klein's Bread and Bread blog.

Thanks, Cheryl!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't Touch Me, I'm Dirty

One of the more memorable performing experiences I've had was being in the ensemble for Jesus Christ Superstar. I was cast as one of the singing-dancing apostles in a civic light opera production of the musical, and I had a blast.

During the intermission, there was no break for the thirteen actors playing Jesus and the apostles. Instead, the director wanted us to do a quiet improv' at the foot of the stage, of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.

Gary M. played Jesus. Unexpectedly, during dress rehearsal for this improvisation, I began crying when Gary started washing my feet.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. "I should be washing your feet, not the other way around. I am not deserving."

At the time of doing this particular show, I had been involved with ex-gay ministry for almost three years. I saw the support group as a good thing for me. I didn't see the twelve-step program as a bad thing in any way, the way it can be vilified in pro-gay press.

But I freely admit that the ex-gay program only reinforced the shame I felt for being homosexual, shame that I had harbored since the age of twelve.

Don't touch me, I thought, when this real-life representation of Jesus tried to express such humble servitude to me. Don't touch me - I'm too dirty, too sinful. I fall more than short and I am beyond help.

Gary, bless his heart, stayed in character, and quietly explained that that was the reason he had come among us. Still feeling resistant, I continued to cry as I allowed Jesus to wash my feet.

The director told us how pleased he was at the outcome of our improv' rehearsal. Gary gave me a huge bear hug. I was feeling the kind of post-storm relief that I usually felt after throwing up.

I have carried that memory and specific moment with me for almost two decades, now. I will never forget it. Whatever conservative nay-sayers may think or say about the incongruity of homosexuality and Christianity, they can never take that moment away from my memory. They cannot undo the quiet, personal faith that was already in place from years before.

Whatever your beliefs, whatever your reasons for celebrating this season, I wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago, I was 22-years-old.

Twenty years ago, I got my heart broken by a guy for the first time.

Twenty years ago, in 1988, I paid $125.00 a month in rent for my own small bedroom in a four-bedroom house.

Twenty years ago, I switched scooters, from an old Vespa P200 to a brand new Honda Helix 250.

Twenty years ago, I thought it might be realistic to still date girls.

Twenty years ago, I was still working at Disneyland, in the Character department, until they fired me.

Twenty years ago, I started working in a dance clothing and supplies store, after being fired from Disneyland.

Twenty years ago, I was taking as many dance classes as I could afford to, dreaming of the day when I would be a real, working dancer.

Twenty years ago, fifty dollars allowed me to sign up for as many units as I wanted to take at the local junior college.

Twenty years ago, I used to withdraw five dollar bills from our credit union's ATM.

Twenty years ago, I could still wear Levi's 501 jeans in W30 L30.

Twenty years ago, I was not brushing and flossing regularly.

Twenty years ago, I was still using an electric Brother typewriter.

Twenty years ago, I still felt inferior for having dropped out of college.

Twenty years ago, I still believed that Christianity could help me stop being gay. At least, I wanted to believe that.

Twenty years ago, I used to wonder how my life would turn out when I became an older adult in my thirties and forties.

Here's to the end of the current year, and the beginning of the next.

Here's to the next twenty years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My First Prostitute

I have never actually had sex with a prostitute. No, really. But it wasn't until right before my thirtieth birthday that I was approached by my very first prostitute.

I was in Japan at the time, right at the end of my first contract for the Ocean Dome theme park. Some of the American performers decided to go out for a last night of karaoke and drinking in the small town of Miyazaki, before our time together came to an end.

The streets weren't crowded that night, but there were quite a few locals out, as well. A middle-aged Japanese woman called out to me.

"Oi-deh, oi-deh, wakai-ko!"

Loosely translated, it means, "Over here, over here, little youth."

Really? You thought I was young? Thank you! On the brink of thirty, I was quite flattered.

She looked like she was in her forties. Why did her advanced age make me think of my mom? I didn't want to encourage her, but neither did I want to come off as rude. I deliberately answered in English, in as polite a tone as possible.

"No. No thank you," I said, smiling and shaking my head.

A few years before that, I had gotten some of the best advice from Johnny. Johnny was from Nassau, Bahamas. He was the boys' line captain in the show we did on the island of Guam.

"If you're ever approached by a prostitute," he said, "and you're not interested, just tell her, 'Baby, I just got done.' She'll leave you alone."

I think it's some of the best damned advice ever given to me, although I have never had the opportunity to apply it, even in Miyazaki. I didn't really know the Japanese for that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chocolate, Corn, and the Quik Bunny

I love the combined tastes of chocolate and corn. Well, not actual corn, but processed corn products.

I am totally serious.

One of my favorite comfort foods from childhood is Kellogg's Corn Flakes with Quik cocoa powder sprinkled on liberally right before the milk is poured. Toasty brown flakes and light brown powder. When we were kids, my brother and I used to joke that we were eating dirt and dandruff.

I must have first developed a hankering for this dessert-like-breakfast in Japan, where they sell Choco Flake. Choco Flake, as the name implies, is basically chocolate-covered corn flakes, sold in the candy aisle. Yum!

This C&C fetish was further reinforced by chocolate ice cream cones. Not the pointy-end sugar or waffle cone, but the flat-bottomed wafer cone or "kiddie cup," which is surely a processed corn product, as well.

Using Hershey's chocolate syrup makes more sense, as it adheres to the flakes better than powdered cocoa. But the Quik brand just tastes better, somehow, even with the inherent risk of hacking if you happen to swallow a small pocket of dry cocoa powder that the milk has missed.

Sure, there are several chocolate cereals to choose from, now, most of them corn-based, even. Honey Bunches of Oats just came out with a new chocolate flavor, earlier this year, and it is pretty darned tasty! But if you're a true Chocolate Monster, like me, there is no such thing as too much when it comes to rich, chocolatey goodness. To gank another word from Golfwidow, I like my flavor intensity at the chocola-tillion level. At the chocola-katillion level, even.

What are your favorite comfort foods?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Time, Time, Time - See What's Become of Me

I wish I had more time.

I wish I had more time to blog, and to read every single detail of my friends' blogs.

I wish I had more time to play on facebook, reconnecting with old friends and checking in on new ones.

I wish I had more time to exercise and stay fit. I miss the two hour workouts that I used to have both time and energy for, when I was still waiting tables.

I wish I had time to do more writing, enjoy more reading, and work on more choreography.

I wish I had more time to still take dance class, and yoga, and cooking, and French, and maybe even ceramics.

I yearn to audition, still, and to have the time (and the energy - oy!) for rehearsals and performances.

I wish I had more time to go at my elderly dogs' pace and take them for leisurely walks when they're ready to, instead of waking them up while it's still dark outside and forcing them out of warm, snuggly blankets, just so I can feed them and still leave for work on time.

I wish I had more time to spend with friends and family, to enjoy doing whatever together, to just enjoy being together.

Right now, I know that I just need to make time when I can. I know I need to appreciate each spare moment that I get to do any of the above.

This working-full-time thing really gets in the way of all of that. Who knew? I do like that regular and reliable paycheck, though.

Maybe in retirement . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008



Sometimes, life is as simple as pulling into my neighborhood at night, and feeling grateful that I arrived home safe and in one piece, once again, from my scooter ride on the freeway.

Uncomplicated is good, and I try not to take it for granted.