Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Great Escape of Escapism

I have to ask this first:

Who in the world thought it would be a good idea to invite actress Rose McGowan to co-host TCM’s THE ESSENTIALS? I’ve been watching it every week. I ADORE Robert Osborne. I love to hear what he has to say about film, the little back stories that have been dug up for the feature presentation. I tune in early when watching films on TCM just so I can hear these little tidbits of who didn’t like to work with whom and which co-stars were secretly in love and strange filming locations and how much they went over budget, etc... I do not want to hear Miss McGowan refer to Steve McQueen as an "It" person, admit that she’s not sexist, and say that films like "The Great Escape" are really escapism.


In any event.
Now that that’s over, I’m going to escapism right back into my Netflix and watch 4 more episodes of "The Duchess of Duke Street".

Restication News: I’m getting around pretty well. My balance is getting better every single day. Jim takes me on a drive most days, to get me out of the house, so I can get a little bit of sunshine. He took me to Barnes and Noble today so I could pick out some stationary. I picked out a few notecard sets that I liked, but got a little lightheaded before long, so we had to go home. I’m going to be working on wedding stuff all this week from my lovely floral couch and I wanted to have some pretty cards to use in correspondence. I’ll have to see if a Parental Unit can stop back by tomorrow to pick them up. I’ll be gathering guest lists for Wedding Partiness. Email me yours if you believe I may not have it, if you’ve moved in the last two years, changed your name, gotten married, or joined the peace corps and just want me to write to you while overseas. That’s all I want. Lots of addresses from the people I love best.

We’ve another whole week until I see the great Opthamologist (who will tell me "Good! At least it’s not worse!") and the Neurologist (who will make me touch my fingers to my nose and ask me to walk in a straight line and then he will hit me in the knee with a rather small rubber triangle and my leg will kick and he will smile because it means that I have good reflexes) and until then I plan to keep my self busy. Not terribly busy. I’ve still got to rest. But I will be eating well (send me some good vegetarian soup recipies!) and getting enough sleep and will be doing my balance exercises. I’ll be walking down the street with Emilybird a bit in the mornings. Then it will be time to get busy, wedding planning, consolidation of my things, boxing things up for my future, getting rid of all of those things from the past (Don’t worry, the Planet of the Apes dolls go with me) (So does the Baby Smurf doll that Dutch brought me back from France 25 years ago). CD organization, poster framing...

OH! And I haven’t told you of my latest project. I’ve boxes of old show T-shirts, from years around crappy midwest bar bands to Greenville College, and the hardcore scene in St. Louis to the festival circuit, to the south, working for the X and the record stores, seeing bands play in garages, late night parties, later nights at the Nick... The t-shirts I’ve held on to were the ones that meant something, particular show, particular band, particular moment etched in my memory and it didn’t matter how battered or tattered they became, I held on. I held on for old time’s sake. So now I want to take all of these beautiful rags and make a quilt. It would be a quilt of my music soundtrack, my music life. Monica is going to help me with the planning. As far as I can see it helps in so many ways. I’ll be doing something that will help rehabilitate this silly slow and weak right hand of mine. I’ll be emptying out several boxes that I could be using for other purposes. My mother will be so happy that she’ll never have to see me in my off-the-shoulder "Vessels of Sin" t-shirt again. And I’ll have a freaking amazing quilt to use in the start of my new household, my new life as Mrs. Jim.

Now I can’t stop smiling when thinking about it. Yes. It’s been a terrible few weeks. SO much uncertainty, fear of what was to come next. Well, toss all of that fear right out of the window. I’m getting better every day. I’ll do my best. And when you see me next, my dear and lovely friends, I’d better be smiling, because I have so much to look forward to, so much to be happy about!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday Night Netflix

Someone ought to have a talk with my sleeping medication. Tell it to work...or something. This is the third-billionth night since on these steroids that my eyes just haven't been able to close. So here I am with you, full of Sara Leah Late Night 'roid Rage" and wondering why I just spent two hours watching Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It With You" on Netflix. Lionel Barrymore and his crutches were superb (they both deserved an academy award) (or I guess all three of them). The live kitten paperweight was hilarious and astounding. The "Madcap" antics of this freewilled family - chosen well, and could have had the kind of mix-chaos moments that would have made Uncle Teddy (Arsenic and Old Lace) seem as docile as my Uncle Michael (seminary professor and composer). All of the right elements were there, live birds, portrait painting, candy-tasting, darts and target, ballet dancing while executing household chores, xylophone and harmonica duets, firecracker production in the basement with frequent explosions...
Why couldn't they pull this beautiful mess into something more? The script by Riskin ("It Happened One Night" and Mr Deeds Goes to Town") taken from the Kaufman and Hart pulizter Prize winning play" You Can't Take it with you" was to have been worthwhile. These young men were writing the snappiest, most forward and fun thinking comedy around. Was it Capra? Don't know. The film itself has so many signature Capra moments, speechs, monologues of isms and America. The delivery of lines, the set up of shots seems to falter, awkward silences and rambling conversations.
I wish I could understand why through all of this snail-like dialoque and sober plot twists, in the end....I wish I knew why I was still crying. Maybe because I'm always happy for Jean Arthur to find love. Maybe because I was glad Barrymorre once more played his harmonica and with that signal...everything would be alright. Maybe I was just crying with happiness that it was finally over and I could start downloading the Peter O'Toole flick "My Favorite Year"(1982) which I've heard so much about. And since becoming completely captivated with him in the cheery Christ/Murder/Musical "The Ruling Class" (1972), I thought, might as well.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Hello Dear Ones!

I am home. Doing much better. My balance is improving everyday. I've been trying to rest. That's a difficult task, especially today, since I realized I've exactly two months to get ready for the wedding. Craziness. My vision loss seems to have plateaued. The opthamologist stated on Friday that the steroid infusion may have slowed it down or stopped it from getting worse. We'll know more in the next few days.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. And thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement and support. It's been tough. But I know that I am surrounded by love and that's made all the difference.


Monday, March 17, 2008

"All I Do is Dream of You" by Arthur Freed

I wish that I could express to you the strange and wonderful contentment that I get from from listening to Gene Kelly’s quiet croon send this sweet song into a cloud. Nothing at all like the flash and jump version from the party scene in SINGING IN THE RAIN. It was one of the many surprises that I found in the EMI Music Resource : THE STANDARDS. Amber gave this collection back to me before she left for New York. I can truthfully say that I am glad she held onto it for a while. During it’s furlough, I learned to truly appreciate it. For the last 9 months, I’ve been stumbling happily through a rather large catalogue of Hollywood musicals (thank you Netflix), and pulling Jim kicking and screaming all the way...well maybe not kicking and screaming. He loves Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, enjoys a good Stanley Donen or George Stevens musical, and the Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, and Arthur Freed songs keep bringing smile after smile to his handsomely bearded face. In the midst of this whirlwind of song and dance, I picked up a colleciton of Astaire recordings. I listened to it so much that the words of the silliest tap-dancingest songs stuck in my head for days and days. I listened to it at home, at work in the Cancer Center, in my car. I couldn’t stop. I found my feet tapping along under the covers when I listened to it in bed. I’ve always thought my life a musical filled with these sorts of songs. No one bursts into them in front of me, but Jim can tell you that I definitely burst into them enough for everyone else. The constant flow of Musicals in the mail and the Astaire collection prepared me for the gem that I was returned to me a couple of weeks ago. The Standards... Frank Sinatra? Of course. Dean Martin. Yep. Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway, Mario Lanza, Mel Torma, Ella, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett...yes. But oh...Sarah Vaughn...Bea Wain with Larry Clinton and his Orchestra....Kitty Kallen...a little bit of Fats Waller...

Awesome. Total Awesomeness.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I report to Brookwood Hospital for a short stay. A few days really. For any of you who’ve been missing me at the old St. Vincent’s ER, I’’ve missed you too. I’m in the midst of a relapse. They found some dark spots on my spinal cord. Travmo has suggested that I just get it whitened. Just line up some of those Crest Whitening strips down my back and I’m set. Unfortunately, MS doesn’t work that way. I’ve just got to work through the flare up. The steroid infusion that I’m going to get will help me do it. As is usual with Multiple Sclerosis, there’s no telling what caused the exacerbation, whether it was stress or a seasonal illness set it off. I think that it was the egg sandwich that I got from Whataburger on my way home from the Vulture Whale show a week or so ago. Jim doesn’t quite buy that one.

So. Email me. Call me. Come by. Whatever. Let me know how you’re doing. I’ve spent a good week staring at the TV (mostly TCM, but a little bit of Bravo) (What is up with those Housewives of NYC? Could we not just give them Southern Accents, some Vicoden, and send them to Seaside and say that they are the Housewives of Mountain Brook?) (Dude, Bravo would save like a THIRD in production costs doing that show here.)
As you can see, I’ll be ready for a few friendly faces and some good conversation and you can check out my new Whale patterned PJs. They’re awesome.

Love you!