Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Finally Discovered A Purpose For Lady Gaga

As a style icon for middle-aged women who work for lobster fishing companies. Granted it's a niche market, but Lady Gaga is an artiste who does not care about things like fame and money. Clearly.

I know I planned to wear this outfit to the next company Christmas party, but Lady Gaga's is so much simpler because I don't have to search for a dress to coordinate with the spangly lobster ornament. We've got plastic tarps and duct tape right in the shop.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Awful Truth

When the Army Dude read my post about The Old Folks At Home (and he finished laughing, because the conversation was accurate in every boring detail), he made the following observation:

I think a psychologist would read that and say "Oh look. An Army Dude who is comfortable in his own misery and a codependent enabler."

Me? Codependent enabler? I have no idea what he's talking about. Next time I'll just make him try the shiatsu massager and maybe fix him some nice hot chocolate.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Ride of the Valkyries

People always seem surprised when I mention that I enjoy the opera. I'm not sure why this is. My love of movie musicals is well documented, and at the risk of making true opera buffs clutch their pearls as they sink into a dead faint, opera is like a musical writ large.

Technically, movie musicals developed from musical theater, which dates back to the ancient Greeks. The same Renaissance that brought us the development of opera as we know it also brought us the evolution of musical theater, both of which were based in a revival of Greek drama. So true opera buffs should drop their pearls and lighten up.

I ask you: what's not to like about a theater genre where someone is stabbed, poisoned, dies of consumption - or pops off the the Great Beyond in some way that is dramatic and yet not too messy - and before doing so, spends five or ten minutes singing about how sad it all is? In fact, when Don Giovanni is carried off by demons at the end of Act II, it's surprising that he doesn't sing a bit about how he regrets his evil deeds. Maybe that's the point. Perhaps Don Giovanni (a.k.a. Don Juan) is so morally bankrupt that even as he is being dragged to hell he is not lamenting his behavior. But still, I found myself thinking where did he go, and why isn't he singing about it?

Of course, there is a lot more to the opera than death scenes. There is a lot of humor and emotion. There are gorgeous sets and costumes. Depending on the opera, there can be twisted and convoluted plots with amusing or satisfying resolutions, or a touching and romantic love story - with or without a death at the end. The music and voices are just breathtaking. It really is a lot of fun.

Opera is much more accessible than people think. I was surprised to discover that I was familiar with a lot of the music - if not the plots - of the major operas. All those childhood Saturday morning spent watching Bugs Bunny paid off after all.

The Ride of the Valkyries? It's a piece of music from Act III of Die Walkure, which is the second of four operas in Richard Wagner's Der Ring Des Niebelungen, all of which unite to tell one story with a total running time of something like nine hours - a challenge for performers and audiences alike.

But let's face it. To most of us, The Ride of The Valkyries will always be "Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Waaaabit."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom: M.F.K. Fisher

It is all a question of weeding out what you yourself like best to do, so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Old Folks At Home: A Play In One Act

Scene: My apartment, 7 p.m. I am on a yoga mat in the middle of the floor, stretching. The Army Dude is on the couch, holding the remote.

Army Dude: My neck is killing me.
Me: Do you want some Advil?
Army Dude: No, I'll be fine.
Me: It's not just a painkiller; it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Army Dude: No, thanks.
Me: Do you want to use the heating pad? (Points to opposite end of couch.) I'm done with it.
Army Dude: No, I don't think so.
Me: I have one that wraps around your neck. Do you want me to get it?
Army Dude: No, I don't want a heating pad.
Me: How about trying my new shiatsu neck massager?
Army Dude: No, really. I'm fine. I'll just relax here and watch this episode of Food Network Challenge.
Me: 'K.

Cat enters, stage left. Blinks. Yawns.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Yogarina 3: Revenge of the Ego

Taking ballet lessons again has been interesting. I expected sore muscles. What I did not expect was having to face down my own ego every time I walk into the studio.

The committee in my head starts up immediately:
"You look like you've put on weight since last week."
"Check it out - your sixty-eight-year-old mother just showed up AND SHE'S WEARING YOUR WORKOUT OUTFIT! When did you start looking so old?"
"That wasn't a grande jete. That was more like a grande latte. A caramel-drenched grande latte oozing calories."
"You suck."
"You will never not suck because you are old and decrepit and your best years are long behind you."
"You need liposuction. Everywhere."
"Of course you're tired. YOU'RE TOO OLD FOR THIS!"

It goes on and on. It's no wonder I can't remember any of the combinations from one week to the next. There is not a lot of mental space left over for processing things like which direction the pirouette is supposed to turn if my left foot is forward. It's exhausting. And yes, I volunteer for it weekly.

This weekend, my back is very stiff and sore. I have no idea why and I can't get it to loosen up. You should hear what the committe has to say about THAT.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Today's Words of Wisdom: My Sister Rachel

Don't think about it too much. I think that's like trying to understand how Xerox copies work.