Shakespeare in the shower

Summer. I get to sleep in a wee bit later and it’s fantastic. I snoozed until 7:20 this morning and noticed when I was getting up that my hubby was stirring a bit as well. I took my time in the shower, lost in the lather of the moment, trying to wake up and face the day. (You know how you get into the shower and the white noise keeps you lost in your thoughts? Sometimes I can’t even remember if I shampooed already or not.) Today, though, I was busy lathering and planning my world domination when I was pulled out of my thoughts by my husband’s voice in the next room.

I paused. I listened. I heard . . . . Shakespeare?

*sigh*

Yes, Shakespeare. Oberon. Or possibly Theseus. From A Midsummer Night’s Dream (hereafter known simply as “Midsummer”). It is the soundtrack of my days. I hear “dost thee,” “hast thou,” “couldst” and “fare thee” every hour of my time with my husband. In the kitchen, in the car, while grilling, and doing laundry, doing the dishes, during commercial breaks on TV, and in the bloody bathroom. The boys are asked, “Hast thou gone pee?” and I’m told, “Fare thee well, nymph,” when I leave the room. It certainly makes things interesting.

Have I told you about my husband? He’s an actor, you see. Well, really he’s a writer for hire. (HIRE HIM, por favor). But about five years ago when he started acting in community theater it TOOK OVER HIS SOUL. I may be exaggerating just a teensy, weensy bit. Maybe not. When he’s in a role it is his life until the show is over. No lie. For reals.

For about three years he participated primarily in a somewhat traditional musical theater company where he played in well known shows like Miss Saigon, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and, his favorite, Jesus Christ Superstar. He was Jesus. He loved it.

He loves being on stage and performing in front of an audience. He loves the applause and kudos he receives when he does it. He LOVES singing and he does it quite well – and quite loudly. My husband and performing for people were MFEO. (If you don’t know that reference then go watch Sleepless in Seattle right now. I’ll wait here.)

Then he branched out. He started working for a company that provides entertainment on an old train that runs up the mountain and back. He does dinner theater murder mysteries and wild west type shows, primarily, and some seasonal trains around Christmas. He has participated for two years in a short film festival where, one year, the movie short he was in won first place and he won Best Actor. Awesome. (I’d post a link to the full movie if I could find it. Which I can’t. Fail.)

WAIT! It’s been found! Hallelujah! It’s 13 minutes long but really ridiculously funny: Beneath a Western Skyscraper

The train show thing – with a few other things that pop up once in a while – is so much better for us as a family. He’s not gone every day to rehearsal. We can plan things and do them together. Novel concept. I like it.

BUT . . . a few weeks ago he was presented with an opportunity to do Shakespeare for the first time. SHAKESPEARE. The Bard. The Man. The Legend. (Did I mention that my husband and I were both English Lit majors in school? Yeah, that).

The problem? It’s a traditional theater show again.This time, though, with a different company. He emailed me the schedule. He said, “Honey, it’s SHAKESPEARE.” He waited. He emailed again and said, “I told them I won’t do it if it’s not okay with you. But, honey, it’s SHAKESPEARE. And the rehearsal schedule isn’t that bad. We can still go on vacation.” Good, because I’ve got non-refundable tickets and my name is already on a pool lounger.

So what’s a wife to do? I said yes. Of course I said yes. What I have always told him was simply this, “Who am I to stand in the way of your dreams?” I may be his wife and life partner, but I’m not going to hurt, hamper or detract from his personal growth if I can help it. Provided that fulfilling his dreams don’t negatively impact the well-being of our family, of course. In this case, his dream is to play Oberon and Theseus in Midsummer. So be it.

Which brings us back to today. I was in the shower and I heard Shakespeare.

So, first it was this:

O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.

That’s Theseus – the king. I hear this line all the time now. That poor old moon is blamed for so much. Tragic.

Then it was Oberon, the Fairy King, speaking to Puck:

That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;

To which I said, “that’s some love-shaft!” *giggle, snort* My apologies. Poor taste. Still funny though.

Life could be boring. Thank goodness it’s not.

Fare thee well, my dear friends. Time is apace and my thoughts are much in the bosom of my home. I leave you with dear Puck’s parting words:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

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Glasses & why I can’t win

This is a complaint. Quick, with pictures and a request for YOUR opinion. You tell me if I should be annoyed or not. Because, I gotta be honest, I’m feeling a little annoyed. 
Today I went to the eye doctor. I picked out new glasses and I sent a pic of them to, uh, let’s just say “someone close to me who has opinions. Lots of them.”
These are the new glasses I picked out:
Awesome, right? I wanted a heavier frame and something a little funky on the sides. My last heavier frame was a little boring. I wanted something dramatic. I’m excited for them. 
BUT – I’m getting ahead of myself. First, some history. 
I had some heavier frames a couple years ago. I liked the heavier (by that I mean thicker, more pronounced. Not heavier in actual lbs) look but I didn’t love the glasses. However, that someone close to me loved them. Thought they looked great. Here they are:
That cutie pie is my grand-niece.
When it was time to get new glasses I opted for a lighter pair. Only a half frame so that the glasses “disappeared a little” in my face and weren’t so pronounced. Someone close to me thought I should stick with the heavier frame but I opted not to. 
These are the glasses I went with:
New glasses. Gigantic forehead.
I regretted it pretty quickly. I wished I had kept a heavier frame. These weren’t funky enough. 
So that brings us back to today. I picked out that pair at the top, sent a picture off to someone close to me, and then proceeded to order the frames. I was just getting ready to pay for them when I received this text message:

I don’t think your glasses should steal attention from your face. Everyday glasses should be somewhat neutral.

Um, for reals? I’m buying these right now and I get an objection? Via text?
So I went ahead and bought them. Tell me. What do you think? Would you have gone with the heavier glasses? And should I be annoyed at the last minute veto?

I think glasses are fun and funky and you can change them every stinkin’ year so what’s wrong with something outside the norm? Plus the new ones I picked out go well with my new, shorter ‘do.

A Love Story

Get a cookie & a coffee and settle in because this got long. 
I warned you here and here that there would be more to come from the phenomenal inspiration I have received from reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up to Eat. Pray, Love called Committed.
There’s a part near the beginning of the book when Liz (again, I call her Liz because we’re that tight now) is first beginning her journey to understand the institution of marriage. She was in a village in Vietnam and she began speaking to a family of Hmong women about their marriages. She realized quickly there was a disconnect between her Western concept of marriage (for want of love & companionship) versus a more Eastern concept of practical/arranged marriages. As she further ponders this she says:

[the Hmong woman was not] placing her marriage at the center of her emotional biography . . . 

In the modern industrialized Western world . . . the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality. 

 And this gem:

Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which your emotional individualism is reflected back to the world.

Read that last one two or three times to let it sink in. That is so true. So crazy, unbelievably true.  
As Liz next states, and I fully concur with, Western women cannot wait to share the stories of how they met their husbands. In detail. With pictures, if possible. It’s true. Because we (we, because *I* am one of those women) consider choosing our husbands as one of the singularly most important things we will do in our lives. Until we have kids, or a divorce, it may be the SINGLE most important thing we do. We value choosing our partner much more than choosing a profession, a place to live, or a dog. Why? Because those things are fairly changeable and usually lacking in broken hearts and shattered crockery. Husbands & marriages, and divorces, especially, tend to be high in the broken hearts and broken crockery category. 
(I know this from personal experience. My husband still reminds me of his favorite cup that I threw at him and broke about 5 years ago when we were going through the hardest time we’ve had in our marriage. Yes, I throw things. These days I try to limit it to things that don’t break or hurt if they hit their mark. Like pillows. It’s who I am. My biological father was a redhead. Fiery. I have bad aim though.)
For these Hmong women their husbands play a role, or position, in their lives but have no bearing on their lives as a WHOLE. Not in the way that we Western women wrap ourselves up in our menfolk and then, later, when things get real or turn sour we have to unwrap ourselves and remember who we are again. For them, it appears that they remain who they are inherently as individuals without needing or even wanting validation as a woman, wife or mother from their husbands. (And vice versa for the husbands as well, it seems. (Bear in mind these are my observations from Liz’s observations so there is a fair amount of interpretation happening here)). 
Liz is quick to point out that just because husband/wife roles appear to be be a little less all-encompassing than we expect in the West that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a notion of romantic love. Romantic love is everywhere and crosses all cultures. In their culture, however, it may not be tied to the actual mechanics and necessities of marriage. Interesting, no? I believe these kinds of “pragmatic marriages” can breed a type of love – especially those long-lasting marriages of many of our grandparents. It’s just a different love than love born from passion first.
Love is love. Marriage is marriage. 
But we, the greedy Westerners, we want it all. Wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top. We don’t really want to work for it. We just want it to appear – perfect and complete the moment we say “I will.” 
I think there’s a point in marriages – maybe it’s the infamous 7 year itch – when they will either break or bond. Some of them may string out past the 7 years due to some efforts from one or both parties to keep things together – but generally the writing is on the wall at some point. 
But in other marriages this may be the point when the partners actually start effectively partnering. They start actually learning to listen, really listen, to each other and learn that marriage and love must be nurtured. A wife must water and fertilize her husband’s love and he must absolutely do the same to hers. That can’t be done without respect.

I think marriage years can be compared with individual growth in terms of maturity. So: 
  • The first 7ish years of marriage is like being a teenager. Instant gratification, I want what I want and I don’t want to compromise. Classic teenager behavior. 
  • The next 7ish years is that really, really important time between being a teenager and fully-fleshed adult with responsibilities and decisions. So much growth and change in a small, compact time frame. If we aren’t careful we grow too quickly. Other times we don’t grow enough. It’s a balancing act to make sure one does not outgrow the other.
  • The next 7ish, or more, may be the cementing of that mutual respect and maturity. At least that’s what I’m hoping because we’re heading there next. I’ll keep you posted. 
What does it all mean? It means I’m a Western woman. I want LOVE with my marriage. I want to be the deliverer of his happiness and the nurturer of his soul – but I’m mature enough in my marriage to know that it CAN’T all come from me. It has to come from within him. Just like some of my inspiration, self-awareness, confidence, and individuality MUST come from inside me. Because I’m still me and he’s still him and we just share each other.
And, since I’m a Western woman – here’s our story:
It was ’98 and I was 22. I worked at the student newspaper at my university. We had a cartoonist that I knew of – from reading the paper we issued – but I had never met. We called him the midnight cartoonist because he ALWAYS turned his cartoon strip in at midnight the day it was due. So I never met him until one day he came in during the daylight hours and our editor introduced us. 
He had long blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. Earrings. His face was red because he had just ridden his bike to the office and it was wet outside. There was a line of water that had kicked up from his back tire onto the back of his anorak type jacket. he was wearing holey khaki pants and had on leg pegged (due to the bike riding). He had a huge warm smile. 
I didn’t see him again until January ’99 when we had a class together. I smiled at him but he didn’t remember me at first and I had to remind him that we both worked for the paper.
Then he started walking me back to the newspaper offices every day after class. One day I told him my BFF was coming to visit and asked him where should I take her? And did he want to go out with us? So, you see, *I* asked *him* out. I did it. 
So she came up and we all went out. At the end of the night he leaned over and told me how cute my freckles were. Then he kissed me.

The next day I left for Spring Break and thought of him most of the time I was gone. I came back A DAY EARLY from Spring Break because I wanted to see HIM. We spent every day together from then on. But I had already planned to move back to California in 2 months and I did. I moved away. Honestly, I kept telling myself it was just a fling. His hair was longer than mine for goodness sake! 

I was wrong. I moved back Cali in May of ’99. He came to visit me in July. I went to visit him in September and he proposed. Scarcely 6 months had passed since we had started dating and we were engaged. WE JUST KNEW. It was another 4 months, and 2 visits, before he moved to California to be with me. We got married 6 months after that in July 2000.  See, proof:
And we lived happily ever after. 
*barf*  PUHLEEEZE. 
Remember, I throw crockery. AT HIS HEAD. (Once, about 5 years ago. And I missed.)

We live, more or less happily, and we try hard and we WANT to be married to each other. Should we ask for more than that? I don’t think so. It works for us.

My guys

In honor of Valentine’s Day I’m sharing my guys with you. There’s only one who is really my honey, but the others all have their own places in my heart.
This is our good friend Britt, and the hubby. getting ready to enjoy a postprandial cigar. I made them a special Valentine’s dinner tonight – steak sandwiches, broccoli with cheese sauce, roasted garlic on bread with butter and beer. (I also gave them both an awesome Valentine’s gift so they should look extremely happy).
Feb 13, 2011
They are handsome, witty, smart-assed troublemakers who like to get together and smoke cigars and I love them dearly. (No, they don’t smoke in the house. They smoke those nasty things outside even when it’s 20 degrees). I’m married to the one on the right (and he’ll have his own post one of these days) but the one on the left has a special place in my heart too. He’s been part of our family for nearly 5 years now and I don’t know what we would do without him. 
November 2006
 He brings us gifts every time he comes over. He takes out the garbage, if it’s needed, splits wood, helps with dinner and, on occasion, he babysits. He lets my kids jump on him like he’s a trampoline for goodness sake. See?
Oh, by the way, ladies – he’s single.
Of course, my other two Valentine’s are my little guys. I heart them with every fiber of my being. I mean, how could I not? Just look at them! The two cutest cutie-pies in the world. 
Happy Valentine’s Day!