Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey calling...

I woke up 5:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. I'm not sure if it's my subconcious attempt to prepare for my Black Friday Shopping Mania (4:00 a.m. at Kohl's? Anyone else?) It could also be that, even though I'm not cooking this year, somewhere, in my sense memory of womanhood, there's a phantom turkey to be put in the oven this morning.

Instead, I'm on the couch, drinking coffee, eagerly awaiting the start of the Today show so I can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day preparations, and then the parade itself as I bake cheesecake, prepare my little family for the drive to Patrick's brother's house in New Hampshire, and map out tomorrow's shopping route.

Very thankful for the sale of my house to lovely people, for my smart, healthy, brilliant children, for the many wonderful plans for the upcoming holiday season, for my loving husband, my sweet Mom, my magnificent friends, and a truly Wonderful Life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Power of "No, Thank You."

I said no to something today that I really wanted to do. I was offered an excellent job that I wanted to do so much, but simply could not fit in. It was so incredibly hard to impose a limit on myself, but in one way, empowering to at least find it in me to say no, thank you, to something.

I have a lot that needs to be done in the coming months. It's all good, good stuff. Creative and full of new beginnings and connections and light and positivity, but it's a LOT. My teaching partner in sixth grade (who I totally love, thank goodness), will often say, "I don't know how you do it all!" She doesn't see how much time I waste during the course of the day, how I find my down times and little mental vacations right in the middle of a crowded room. I have my own little coping mechanisms. And in these next months... I will work it all out, and my life and my family and my future will be all the better for it.

Tomorrow we are celebrating the signing of our P and S on our sweet little yellow farmhouse. It has been bought by a local couple, about to be married, who positively feel in love with the house. It's what I prayed for. We're going to Jordan's Furniture to start to dream, and to see the old Jordan Marsh Enchanted Village that they have restored. I am so looking forward to having time with my little family.

As I write this, a roast is in the oven, the laundry is folded on the bed ready to be put away, and the girls are rattling around upstairs. Abby is listening to Taylor Swift and Amelia is reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Life is peaceful in our little corner of the world.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pajama Done Day

Ooooh...It's a good one!

Slept till 8:30, put on my 1986 full-of-holes Hull High Music Theatre Presents South Pacific sweatshirt and my favorite pair of socks that I have been saving just for the occasion. Lit my Welcome Christmas candle and put on Elf. Patrick made me my favorite breakfast - burnt bacon, Killed Eggs (over hard and over done - exactly how I like them, and exactly as only he can make them), and chocolate chip pancakes. And a Bloody Mary...'cause it's Pajama Done Day. Andrea came and brought me an eggnog latte from Starbucks, and we watched White Christmas. Now Abby and I are curled on the couch watching some flimed version of The Nutcracker ballet while Patrick rakes leaves and Amelia makes a powerpoint about Browne Family Christmas Traditions. (Clearly, she's not the techno-phobe her mother is.) Upon her announcement of this intention, Patrick remarked, "Well, that's more proof that she's mine AND yours...she makes a powerpoint, but it's about Christmas."

I have been on this couch for five hours already, and I don't feel the tiniest bit guilty about it.

The show went great, strike was amazing, the headmaster of the school came to all three performances. The powerpoint went off without a hitch, no one had any fights, and beside yesterday's emotional breakdown in the middle of Amelia's Irish Step competition, (due to lack of sleep and the chaos of the place and the day), things went great. I slept like a freaking rock last night.

I am in full-blown Christmas mode now, no apologies. I am going to love the crap out of the next five weeks, even though it means packing up to leave my house forever - we sign our Purchase and Sale on Tuesday with a young, local soon-to-be-married couple, which is exactly what I prayed for. We're homeless for January and February, but I am confident that something will come through on that. We'll figure it out. We'll solve it amidst sleighbells and Rudolph movies and card-making and hanging ornaments and eating way too much chocolate and listening to the Carpenters and John Denver and the Muppets.

Pajama Done Day is the start of many wonderful things, and the end to something wonderful as well. What more could you really ask for in a made-up holiday?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Opening Night

They totally nailed it.

And I think that this was the single biggest bad-dress-rehearsal-to-good-opening-night jump of any show I have directed. The show they gave tonight was not even close to last night's dress, which had its fair share of train wrecks. Well, to be fair...I should really say train fender-benders. But still. It came a long way in just one day.

Evan, the boy who was going to be the Beast before he got in trouble and Matt took over, came to see the show tonight. Came in on a train from New York a half hour before the performance, and brought me two dozen red roses. Classy boy. I didn't write much about him in regards to the whole Beauty and the Beast experience out of respect for his privacy, but I will sometime. His story is well worth telling also. Matt's mom was there, and we gave her a birthday card for Matt that everyone signed. The roses that the kids all held in the finale of Beauty and the Beast were bouqueted on "his" chair, close to the stage where the kids could all see it.

Brooks (our tech director) had to tweak my power point fairly significantly (fixing in 15 minutes what it took me three hours to do last night) totally worked. I missed one slide, and the screen didn't come down in time for the Muzzy bit, but that was superfluous anyhow.

So, thank you, Universe, and thank you smart people with technical know-how, and thank you Angel Matt for inspiring us, and thank you cast for doing us proud.

None of them read this, incidentally. But I'm feeling super grateful and wanted to give that shout-out.

It's midnight. I did the requisite director-is-the-last-one-out thing, had a 40 minute drive home in total silence, ran laundry and got Amelia all packed for her regional Irish Step competition, which she's going to in Rhode Island tomorrow with some else's mother. I appreciate that mom, but I wish I could be there with her. I made little gift bags for the girls to take with snacks and games and things, and I remembered both of her bathing suits for the hotel pool. Her socks and practice clothes are still in the dryer, and I'm killing that waiting time with a Fauxmopolitan, fried green beans left over from our last party, and this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother. Flannel pajamas, burning tired eyes, and a profound feeling of satisfaction.

Pajama Done Day...t-minus two and counting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Humble Request of the Universe

Are you there, Universe? It's me, Kelly.

Let's have a little chat, shall we?

First of all, thanks for the offer on my house yesterday. And thanks for my healthy children and my nice husband and my sweet mother and the many blessings you have granted me.

But, Universe, let's cut to the chase.

As you know, I am a total techno-phobe. I am on a need-to-know basis with all things technology, from video cameras to the internet and everything in between.

I don't do slide shows, Universe. And because the best laid plans of mice and men did not pan out in the Chinese Translation system for Thoroughly Modern Millie, which opens tomorrow and which is NOT READY, I have just created my first powerpoint. First EVER, might I add, and because tonight was our final dress, and I didn't know I needed it, I missed my one and only chance to practice using this along with the dialogue and music cues.

So,'s the thing. These kids have worked very freaking hard. And everyone's tired and I'm three days away from an EPIC pajama done day, and I'm asking for some support, here. Please make this power point work the way it's supposed to. Every day, millions of office workers and teachers and...I don't know...lots of people...use slide shows and they come off without a hitch. Please let this one come off without a hitch.

Please don't accidentally flash up some forgotten porn from my hard-drive, or a journal entry, or photographs of my new house or an I.M. from someone on Facebook. Please synch up with the computer, and just do what you're designed to do. Translate Chinese. I will be sitting on a stool, eating way too many Starburst and praying and pressing that freaking space bar with authority. Just go with me, here, okay?

One very tired, very nervous high school theatre director will be eternally grateful.

Peace out, Universe. Let's be BFF, 'kay? Work with me on this one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday of Production Week

On the Tuesday of production week of a high school musical, everyone cries. It's just a standard rule of the business. Things that were perfect suddenly fall apart, the lead gets sick, the stage right wall falls over, everything runs incredibly slow and you don't have time for notes at the end...and you REALLY need to give some notes. That's pretty much how it goes. You try not to panic, but you know in your heart that it's really to late to fix everything, and que sera sera. But you're...disappointed.

Tonight wasn't like that. Tonight went really well.

And, sidebar...I have come to realize that if I were to tag topics in this blog, the whole "high school theater director" thing would come up a lot. I didn't know it would go that way when I started this, but I am realizing that that's exactly what has happened. I have a lot of other passions in my life, but a lot of them are too personal to write about. I don't say much about my marriage on this blog, though it could be a blog in itself. Really. But it's more than I want to tell you. And I was actually chastised for not writing more about my children, which made me feel both selfish and oddly assured. Selfish, because out of everything I am doing right now for "work" in my life, that is the most important. I am raising Little Women. It should get more "air time," so to speak. But assured because when I set out on this whole mothering road, I was determined not to let it be my only way of defining myself. I saw how easy it would be for me to shut myself off to all of the other parts of myself, and how unhealthy that would be for me. I don't think everyone does that, but I think that I would have been in danger of that had I not made a very deliberate choice not to do so. I'm kind of proud to know that regardless of how selfish it might seem, I am still a whole entire person, all my very own. That person writes about whatever is stirring her soul in that particular moment.

Anyhoo... directing. This blog has turned out to be the blog of a high school director. I sometimes think that this world...this little microcosm of the cast of Glee and the freshmen who know every lyric to Sweeney Todd, and the kids who put on tap shoes for the first and only time when they are 15...this world would make a cool reality show. Their little romances and their funny vernacular and their family conflicts and the way they leave it all behind when they show up the in the auditorium, the smell of which will always be the real smell of home. People would watch that show, and the Misfit Toys would have a whole bunch of people just rooting for them, and it would be a big burst of positive energy in the world. Kind of like that episode with the wheelchair kid from Glee. Couldn't have been cornier, but didn't you kind of feel better about the world after you saw that?

Anyway, these kids, my students who I only get for such a short time, are so brave, and so open to the world to get up on the stage and wear an awkward dress and try to tap dance in front of kids from the lacrosse team and kiss a boy, if they're lucky, at the cast party. I just love that they have this. I love that I get to be a part of helping to create it for them.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know about Matt. This Thursday, our opening night, would have been Matt's nineteenth birthday. And his mother, whose child has now left this world, is coming to see the show. That's how brave she is, and how much this thing that we do matters. The way she wants to mark his birthday is to come to see our little high school musical. We have a bouquet of roses that we are setting on a chair for Matt, and a card we'll sign tomorrow, and a variety of small, private tributes to him in the show. I hope that it will bring her some measure of comfort.

And so, on this Tuesday night of production week where everyone cries...some set changes were slow. The leading lady's dresses were ugly. The props weren't quite ready. But the kids showed up, and they strapped on their tap shoes and they had their little dramas and blew off their homework and had little surges of adrenaline and pride. I don't know what will happen in these next few days. I will do all that I can to help them feel as supported as possible, but then, when the lights go down, it's all them, and no matter what the theatrical trainwreck, it will be joyous. It will be exactly what it's supposed to be for each of them.

I write about this job so much in this blog because I feel so blessed by it. I have so many blessings in my life, some too big to express here...though I'm trying to chip away at some of it as I go along. I feel deeply stirred by my work, but it's that tiny degree of separation away from the big stuff that allows me to express something real and meaningful without giving too much away.

That's how I have found something of a balance between blogging and journaling. It took me a while to find, but I think I'm nearly there. Funny, though, because just that confession felt like walking the line between the two. To say that there's so much more than I can't tell you - good, bad, and ugly. I don't mean it to be a tease, but an acknowledgement that I'm still finding my way.

Stepping stones, though.

Thanks for reading about my students. And I kind of know that if you've read this, you're kind of rooting for them. It's just another way to send a little positive energy into a cause that's well deserving of whatever positive energy it can get.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Super Sunday

Large Coffee? Check.

Twizzlers and Pixie Sticks? Check.

A car full of props and fabric and other random crap? Check.

Migraine pills and Cherry Coke? Check.

Gnome pajamas pants and Christmas socks? Check.

A knot in my stomach and a list of to-fix moments fourteen miles long? Priceless. I mean, check.

Bring on Super Sunday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Lengths to Which I Will Go for Corny Christmas Movies

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with the cable company tonight in order to fix my stuck On Demand service...aaaaaaand to order the Hallmark Channel. Don't judge me. It's Christmastime.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glee...Told You I'd Like It.

I love this kid on Glee working to reach his F. I remember doing that for Into the Woods, and I earned it. I got the note I needed and I got the part. I got it thanks to Pete Fernandez, who mad me a warm up tape that I sang religiously from 8:15-9:00 every single morning for one entire January intersession while drinking my Weinberg’s coffee all the way to Plymouth Color. I have always appreciated that. I got to play Little Red Ridinghood in Into the Woods, and my life has never been the same. I learned that I could set a goal and achieve it. I learned that it was possible to experience the sense of belonging that you saw on 80’s sitcoms and in Judy Blume Books. I met Patrick. I let go of Chris. I wore a spectacular red dress to a banquet and saw friends in a goofy summer theater musical every single weekend for a summer. It was magnificent.

reminds me of that. I love this show...I know these people. Singing selections from “Wicked.” Amazing. They are so freaking good, and I LOVE IT. Wait… He cracked on the high F. I hurt for him. No, wait…he’s good, he’s okay. He did it for his dad. The wheelchair number made me weep - that choreography looks so freaking hard. Sorry…this is what happens when I watch TV alone. I have an entire conversation with myself. It’s only just recently occurred to me to post that publicly, and for now, it’s still very fun to do, and I am enjoying it. I have had several friends tell me recently to stop apologizing for blogging. I’m not apologizing right now...I'm just saying.

I’m feeling really tired but needing to write things out today. I am working on a list of things I know. I will not finish that tonight. ‘Cause one thing I know is… I’m tired. And I’m tired in advance for this week that’s coming. This is an absolute truth.

Ball Change.

Being Attentive

One thing about getting older that I have really liked is growing braver. I was always very afraid of everything growing up. Everything. I had no trust and my only sense of stability was tied to my mom, and to theater. Nothing else could truly really be counted on.

I feel less and less like that the older I get. I have come to realize that there’s a lot more to trust and believe in than I expected. I feel that there are any number of absolute truths in my life, things I can speak and know with complete confidence and authority. There are relationships and connections that I am so completely sure of. Loves that I’ve had that I know and appreciate completely. Love that I know now with my family and my friends that I am utterly present in, focused on, and appreciative of. (See how I ended all of those with prepositions? Totally meant to do that.)

I actually think that most attentive people feel the way that I do. I think, though, that sometimes people forget to be attentive.

Another thing I like about getting older? I pay much more attention where it matters.

I am making some lists tonight, and checking them twice. You should make some, too. Make a list of what you're thankful for, and be as specific as you possibly can. Balance them between the big things, like your health, and the little things, like chocolate covered cherries and chardonnay. go ahead. It'll be fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Production Week

This Sunday launches production week. Another openin’, another show. This one has been kind of funky from the start – the death of my student in September, all sorts of interpersonal adult drama, Swine Flu – it’s been pretty wack, actually. But Sunday is what we call Super Sunday, and we’ll all show up in our pajamas and rehearse for eight hours. Parents put out an amazing spread of food – bagels, fruit, tons of water, candy, perfect Buffalo Chicken subs about halfway through the day, and by the time I get home I’ll need seven aspirin and a Fauxmopolitan in a bucket. With a straw.

I want to slap myself for my childhood beliefs that Production Week is sooooo much harder on the actors than everyone else. Yes, it’s tough on them, especially with their homework and everything. But I swear, I will eat, sleep and breathe every single moment of this play from now until I finally get to Pajama Done Day. I will wake up in the middle of the night, repeatedly, and sit upright in my bed to declare to the cat and my startled husband that Colin really needs to be wearing a hat in the opening scene and I still haven’t hung the curtains on the apartment window and I forgot the light board op’s name in the program and do I have enough ushers for Friday night? I will burst into tears most days in my car as I haul ass up route 3 after my day in 6th grade, and I will call my mom at 7:30 every morning to tell her what a disaster it is so she can say, “You always say that, and it always turns out great.” (She’s usually right. Usually.) I will drink way too much coffee and will most likely find myself in the 24-hour Walmart at least once in the middle of the night to buy bobby pins and safety pins and last minute props – usually some sort of ribbon or faux flowers.

My friends will be supportive and amazing, and Andrea will give me some kind of rah-rah-you-can-do-it card, and Patrick will listen as I bitch and remind me about Christmas and put the girls to bed alone every night and come down and get me when I fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV, which will be the only way I’ll be able to calm my brain enough to fall asleep.

I wish I could find a way to do this differently. I wish there were some magical Non-Stress formula that would make me not care as much, or not worry as much, or be able to get more done in advance so it doesn’t all pile up at the end…but I haven’t found it yet. If I think too much before this week about the amount of energy I will need each day to cheer on my leads and tighten up the set changes and keep track of everyone’s schedules and not let the musical director make me cry…well, it makes me not want to get up in the morning. I just have to take it one day at a time, one moment at a time, and be grateful to my wonderful hard-working staff and the kids who are being as brave as kids can ever be and my friends and family for being so helpful and so gentle with me.

My high school director – my relationship with whom is blog-worthy at least and therapy-inducing at most – used to put things in the program like, “I love you, daughters! Don’t worry. Daddy will be FINALLY be home soon!” It used to make me so freaking guilty and angry at the same time. He CHOSE to be there. It was his JOB to be there. And I keep that perspective strong when I hit these crazy times. I choose this. I create this life for myself because I feel that it’s work worth doing, and I focus hard on never making the kids feel like I am doing them a favor by busting my ass. Yes, I do it for them, but I do it for me, too. I do it for the work. And I try to remind all of us as often as possible about how lucky we are to be engaged in something creative and fulfilling, and that the stress and the intensity is what bonds us, what makes the climb joyous and exhilarating and exhausting and utterly, totally worth taking.

And this time, especially, I’ll remember Matt, and how anyone in this cast might be a Matt, or might take a journey like his within this project, and that I never know when it might matter that much. I’ll work this week with his inspiration close to my heart.

Curtain up.

Crafting Plans

Roundabout this time of year, I figure out my plan for our family Christmas card. I have been making them myself since the girls were small, and it's the one thing I dependably create myself each Christmas. I always have great plans to craft like mad, but generally, I end up making one quick cross-stitch thing (usually made in my classroom after I've taught my 6th graders to must show solidarity, after all.) I usually make one thing for the grandparents...last year it was "Compliment Boxes" which the girls decorated themselves with paint and stickers for each grandparent, and we all filled with compliments and words of appreciation. (I maintain that Oprah TOTALLY stole that idea from me on her holiday show last year.) The year before, we made board games of the girls and the grandparents with pictures and trivia questions and things. This year will be....well, you'll have to wait on that. Oprah might be listening.

Anyhow, back to the Christmas Card. Some years they've been fairly complicated. I once did a flip book card that made me want to shoot myself - they didn't get finished and mailed till Christmas Eve. This year, I had to choose something fairly simple because of the potential/ impending/ hypothetical move. Still, it will be made by me, it will involve some sort of corny poem and pictures of the girls, and I will put it together while watching the movies on ABC Family, and Lifetime Television, and the Hallmark Channel. Now I have to wait for the supplies I've picked out to go on sale at Michael's and I'll be in business.

Speaking of Christmas movies, last night we watched Snow and Snow 2: Brain Freeze. Couldn't be cheesier, but I am so ready. Tom Cavanaugh is the goofiest, cutest Santa ever. My very favorite is called The Season for Miracles with Carla Gugino and the husband from Boob Whisperer. I mean...Ghost Whisperer. (Which we are now boycotting because Patrick insists it has jumped the shark. Gotta say...I miss the nightgowns.) I am looking forward to the new Jim Carrey version of A Christmas Carol, but I might have to wait till Christmas Eve on that one. We have made it a tradition to see a movie on Christmas Eve makes the waiting for Santa a little bit easier to take. Of course, for the past two years the movie we chose might as well have been called Mommy and Daddy's Naptime because Patrick and I both slept through pretty much the entire thing.

I swear I won't post constantly about Christmas from now till December 25. But sometimes, you'll just have to indulge me. I tend to get very swept away.

On another note, Happy Veteran's Day. My husband marched in a parade this morning, and fired salutes at the graves of some Civil War soldiers. I'm thinking of my friend Doug, and my two favorite uncles, my father-in-law, and Ben Sherman, a 2006 graduate from Plymouth who just died this week in Afganistan. I appreciate this day off greatly, but I don't take for granted the reason why I have time to fold laundry and make barbeque pork today. Thanks and blessings to those who have served.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The End of an Era

We live in this very tiny house. I love my tiny house, but we’re trying very hard to sell it so we can move into a much bigger house, one that will meet the needs of this next phase of our life…one where two soon-to-be adolescent girls can have a room of their own, one where two authors - on aspiring, one already twice published - can have space in body and mind to create. And most importantly, one with two bathrooms.

We had a small gathering on Saturday night, one of many festive events we have held in this yellow farmhouse. There were many moments during the night where I looked at my friends, laughing, chatting, eating jello shots in the kitchen, and I felt the power of that energy so strongly attached to this home. A variety of toasts were offered through the night, to one’s new job, to another’s foray into law school, to a baby due in February and another coming in June. We have celebrated many events together, raised many glasses here. They assure me that we will bring that energy with us, that we will create more memories in the new house, and I know that’s true. But still…here we were Thirtysomething. Here we proved to ourselves, and each other, that we can still be sexy and sassy at every age, post-babies, or during, post-advanced degree, after twenty extra pounds and a bunch of disappointments and changing epochs in our lives. Our Forties, and everything that will come with them, will be celebrated elsewhere.

We had a decade of Fourth of July parties here. We put our tiny babies together in a kiddie pool under the big tree. Now, those "babies" run around the yard together of their own volition, collecting fairies or battling woodland creatures, quite oblivious to the adults relaxing on the back porch. We have had a decade of Faux Christmases, with Ben making it all the way through A Christmas Carol. (Ending two years ago with the memorable line, “And now I never have to come to this stupid party again.”) There have been awkward moments in events with friends fighting, or couples breaking up, or other under-the-surface drama rippling the energy, but that’s all part of what makes it so real.

We’ve celebrated lots of events in lots of places, and this is not to exclude any of the other gatherings we have. My friends are so welcoming, and we have so many traditions and events that we all look forward to. These are just my thoughts about having gatherings here. When I was a kid, I was never the one who had friends over. My dad liked things pretty quiet, and I used to long to have the house where people gathered. And now, four times a year, at least, my house is that house. Even though it’s tiny. Even though not everyone can make every gathering. Even though there is only one bathroom that any number of people have thrown up in (not everyone could be as skilled as to throw up off the back porch, as one notable girlfriend did during one Faux Christmas…and I laughed till I very nearly peed myself. It will be high on my list of Top Ten Favorite Westwood Road Party Moments.) Even though we have only one bedroom in which to fit sleeping babies and everyone has to get a sitter when they come to my house…they still come. They still dress up, or dress way, way down, they bring food they’ve made with love (and/or duct tape), they leave their Tupperware and sweaters and trays behind. But they come, gladly.

How I love my friends. How blessed I feel every single day knowing that if I ever needed something, at least a dozen people would drop everything to be by my side in a moment. And how I cherish the chances to have a whole bunch of them in my house, together, to ply them with liquor and to wax tipsy-poetical on how much they mean to me.

It was pretty amazing to realize that everyone who was at that party on Saturday was there because Dan Miller brought me to lunch at the dining common one afternoon in the spring of 1990. He’d sat next to me most of the semester in Prof. Knauf’s Reading Drama class, and on the last day of class, I had written on the bottom of a notebook page, “Will I ever see you again after this?” He wrote back, “I expect so.” (I still have that page, of course, taped in my journal.) He introduced me to his friends that day who were part of the theatre community at UMass, and to the rest is history. He left the next year for his year abroad with instructions to Christianna to keep an eye on me. That was nineteen years ago. I like to think that it was inevitable, that I would have found my way in somehow, that this tribe was waiting for me no matter what…but still…that was the way it happened. That’s how I met Nicole, which is how I met Patrick, and he brought us Sean. It’s how I met Bill Larkin, my ill-conceived crush on whom brought me to Janna, and Elise and Pete and Ben. Everyone else grew from there, and from other connections through theater over the years. Even Andrea, Single Hot Babysitter Friend that everyone tries to steal came to our group as a result of theatre. I could write a book on each and every one of these relationships, and little by little, through this blog, I have a feeling that I will. (So be patient, my friends. Your turn is coming, I promise.)

My oldest friend is, of course, Lisa, but my oldest friend of the people gathered last night is Dan Fishman, my buddy from my junior year AP History class. He’s now married to the girl who I first met when she taught me to put a condom on a banana in a public health program in my dorm common room. (That’s right. You’re welcome, Danny.)

We might get to have our annual Faux Christmas in this house, but I have no way of knowing that yet. I am sticking to my resolution of relaxing and letting the Universe unfold the plan. (Which is utterly unlike your very impatient blogger, who needs to know the ending of movies before she sees them.) So, it may well be that this trailer park themed Tramptoberfest will have been the last of our gatherings here. If that’s the case…well, what a way to go. Thanks, friends.