Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From Patio to Picnic Blankets

As I browse my blogroll I notice that, with only one or two exceptions, nearly every blogger I follow appears to be taking the summer off from writing.  Summer is indeed a busy time for many with barbecues, beach days, patio lunches and colorful cocktails with impaled tropical fruit writing may find itself stuck in the back seat. With a heavy performing schedule, my day job, learning a new instrument and booking the troupe I work with for the fall and winter I've had little time to write and I've yet to have a beach day or a barbecue.  However, I have had my share of patio lunches and cocktails.  Actually, after balancing my checkbook this afternoon I've come to realize that I've perhaps been partaking in patio life a bit too much this summer.

It all too easy after a full day of work to take one look at my kitchen, say "I've been indoors far too long," and head out for nearest shady patio for gazpacho and a cocktail; or after an evening of rehearsal who would refuse the invitation of a shared pitcher of sangria and a pizza with my fellow performers who happen to be some of my favorite people in the world to spend time with; or there is always the old summer standby - it's just too damn hot to cook!   Some weeks have shown me eating away from home three or four nights a week and while my belly and soul have been quite happy with this state of affairs, my wallet is feeling the pressure.

So here before all of you I am making a solemn vow to be better about this.  I am an excellent cook and since I have been gifted with an air conditioner this summer I've no excuse about it being too hot to spend time in the kitchen.  Picnics with friends can be just as pleasant as a patio lunch.  I also happen to have a killer sangria recipe.

I can be restore my wallet! I have the the technology to make myself into a more frugal spinster...better than before.  Resourceful, inventive, armed with a corkscrew, ice and a punch bowl!

Monday, July 16, 2012


A few months ago I left one of my two jobs so I could focus on the upcoming shows with the vaudeville troupe that I perform with. During the show I caught a horrid cold and while I made it through the run, the week following I battled serious levels of exhaustion. It was nearly two weeks before any sense of normal began to return.

Since then I feel I’ve been knocked off my tracks. I’ve been derailed with my caboose pointing to the north and my engine is tipped on its side blocking the southbound rails. Nothing is moving.

Maybe it’s because I’m still playing catch up from falling behind on nearly everything: rescheduled appointments, chores, rehearsing, and writing but maybe it’s because now that this busy season is done I find myself with a huge amount of spare time and I don’t know what to do with it.

When I was out of my mind busy, working two jobs, going to school and prepping for a show what little free time I had was very valuable. I was able to prioritize the things I wanted to do because I had to and so I made every second count. Now I have the freedom to move and my self-discipline has gone on vacation. “Oh, I’ll have time to do it tomorrow,” has become the phrase of the summer.

Maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Maybe I should be grateful for this time to sit and not do anything, but I can’t help reminding myself that I’m 40. That statistically I have passed the half way point and being a late comer to pursuing my creative dreams I often feel like I have such a limited amount of time to accomplish great things (and great things are a part of the plan).

I want to do them intentionally, with great care and forethought, without rushing. I should be making lists! I should be crossing things off! I should be in bed by 10:00 and up with the sun ready to create!

…or maybe I should be sitting on restaurant patio, chatting with a good friend, swapping creative ideas and sharing my big, big, dreams.

…or maybe I should be stretched out naked on my bed in front of the air conditioner, my headphones filling my ears with music, with imaginary figures dancing spontaneous choreographies in my brain.

…or maybe I should be sitting here on the couch writing about how I’ve come to confuse stillness with being unproductive.

…or maybe I’ll just think about all of this tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What About Children?

When I discuss with people my decision to remain unmarried one of the first questions I’m often asked is, “But what about having children?”  

I’ve known for nearly my entire life that I didn’t want to be a parent.  Yes I’ve had biologically/cute baby induced moments where I think it might be nice but then my thoughts travel past the moment to the next 18 years (and beyond…since parenthood seems to go on forever these days) and in a matter of seconds I go from ‘awww…this could be fun’ to ‘no, this isn’t for me.’It isn’t that I think I’d be a bad mother, that I don’t like children or that I couldn’t handle the responsibility.In fact, I’m not going to explain or elaborate much on my reasons for making this decision – at least not in this blog post.

Those of us who choose to not become parents are often expected to explain or justify that decision.  In Think Before You Breed written by Christine Overall, who I’ll point out is a mother herself, and published in the New York Times points out that one’s reasons for choosing to have children are typically not questioned because we just assume it is something everyone wants to do.  She puts forth the idea that why one desires to become a parent is a question that should be asked and that we may even be ethically bound to do so.

“The question whether to have children is of course prudential in part; it’s concerned about what is or is not in one’s own interests. But it is also an ethical question, for it is about whether to bring a person (in some cases more than one person) into existence — and that person cannot, by the very nature of the situation, give consent to being brought into existence. Such a question also profoundly affects the well-being of existing people (the potential parents, siblings if any, and grandparents). And it has effects beyond the family on the broader society, which is inevitably changed by the cumulative impact — on things like education, health care, employment, agriculture, community growth and design, and the availability and distribution of resources — of individual decisions about whether to procreate.”

Choosing to be a parent is a forever choice.  Once that baby is born nearly every action taken by you for the next 20 plus years is going to have some sort of impact on this new person that you bring into the world.   It is more than just making sure that they are fed, clothed and properly sheltered.  It is also doing your best to ensure that the person they grow up to be is a decent, responsible and contributing member of society.  

The decision to not have a child impacts pretty much no one else, whereas having one has the potential to impact the world far beyond the person who is making the decision or even the person being born.