Monthly Archives: April 2011

nyssa, kip and a hedgehog meet for dinner. . .

f2fb friend #110 jeff barnes was conceived in a manner quite unusual:  his family’s next door neighbor had a laughing buddha statue on the front lawn.

“rub the buddha’s tummy and make a wish,”  the neighbor told jeff’s sister.

“i wish. . . for a younger brother,”  jeff’s sister said.

and that’s how jeff barnes came to be.

we met for the very first time in person at the chili’s in morgantown, west virginia.  he was a fan of my grandfather fritz leiber.  he showed me an autographed book by fritz as well as a brief note written to him by fritz in 1982.  i nearly cried when i saw fritz’s handwriting.  i was put up for adoption when i was three, although i was sent to live with fritz and my grandmother jonquil from when i was a year old until a year and a half.  but i didn’t meet fritz again until 1985.  i realized that jeff had more meetings with fritz than i did altogether before fritz’s death.

jeff brought with him his girlfriend gita.  and they brought me a present of a hedgehog who will travel with me as does my fiance mr. william clark (f2fb #60).

speaking of fiances, jeff was accompanied by his girlfriend gita who pulled from her bag a quilt she had made.  just about the size of an ipad screen.  look at the detail on this:

out of the quilt, she pulled two korean hujoo dolls–their names are nyssa and kip.  kip is a vampire.  nyssa is named for the female sidekick to dr. who.

nyssa used to have a facebook account.  i don’t think that a doll having a facebook account is all that unusual.  i have a cat who is a facebook friend (nipper — f2fb #95).  i have a couple of friends who have double accounts (for instance, mc kato and winston chang –f2fb #49 and #4 respectively).  and i have a fiance who has been dead for more than a hundred and fifty years (mr. clark, f2fb #60).  but facebook had it in for nyssa.

i think because of jeff’s unusual conception he is able to fathom having a stepdaughter named nyssa and a son named kip.  the fact that the two dolls travel in gita’s bag, spooning each other in a quilt, seems a bit incestuous.  but who am i to judge another’s lifestyle?  especially dolls?

and it is a measure of jeff’s charm that i started to think it wthe most normal thing in the world to eat dinner with hujoo dolls and a hedgehog.  i have extended an invitation to gita and jeff to join me in chicago when next they travel.  i know southwest airlines says your bags travel free, i sure hope the same thing is true with kip and nyssa!

tomorrow:  i end up meeting the future miss america and i have a facebook problem that threatens to derail the whole project!  i need help!

the playground for adults who want to just be themselves

i am a republican–at least i think so.  a catholic, although a little lapsed.  sheltered, of course.  but part of this project of meeting every facebook friend has been making me a little more aware of where my attitudes and values come from.  and i think i value respect for each other–the love one another commandment of jesus himself–most of all.

my friend gail marlow is the queen of a place on earth that is totally accepting, respectful and loving towards everyone as they want to be.  roxy’s might be called a bar, but i think it’s a little like a paradise.  roxy’s is a restaurant that was once called hamburger mary’s, one of the first openly gay owned franchises in america.  roxy’s is also where we saw a floor show with gail’s crew.  it opened with some crunk dancing by drag kings wearing oversized t-shirts, low hanging jeans, and baseball caps.  then there were very athletically inclined glam drag queens, including the renown diva hurricane summers.  was i asked to be in the show?

well, uh, no,but i did get to be the first person ever to have their picture taken with the wooden roxy cut out!  and i put a tip in malika’s briefs.  what else was i supposed to do since he was lying on the bar in front of me?  however, no touching!  that would be a violation of cincinnati ordinances related to the sale of liquor and of public decency.  it was perfectly acceptable for me to have a cherry flavored jello shot licked off my upper sternum.  i went to law school, i understand that legal distinctions are sometimes quite mysterious to laymen.

i first met gail when she was casting a movie in chicago.  eastman got the part but the movie lost its financing.  i ended up with a friend.  gail has had a rough time in the past few years and i feel sorry that i haven’t been there as a friend to help her.  facebook isn’t the place where people usually tell the truth about how tough things are.  still, the rough times have made her the best person to run roxy’s.

it was with deep regret–and a tiny bit of a champagne headache–that i left cincinnati.  i was minus one ring, a friendship ring that we share.

she also shared with me a recipe for a burger that is just right at four o’clock in the morning. . . .

the beef house, porkopolis, and unsympathetic magic

yesterday morning, i decided that i would just get in the car.  do that.  get that far in the process.  so i got in my car.  i felt extremely silly because the garage door was closed.  i thought, all right, i’m not making a commitment to leave.  i’ll just open the garage door.

then mr. radnor my neighbor was out there.  standing in the driveway.  what if he wanted to talk?  argh.  i decided to drive out to the street.  just that far.  suddenly, i found myself on the highway.  and then. . . in crawfordsville, indiana, there’s the beef house.  it’s quite famous in a family restaurant big portions wholesome atmosphere way. my waitress was jessica, a new facebook friend who is a mom i admire.  she works six days a week, consistently picking up an extra day shift because the economy is so bad.  she’s putting her son in a private school this coming year.  she’s determined to do right by her kids.  i admire that.  i know that in a few years they’ll be grown and she’ll be in the position i’m in–able to travel and meet with facebook friends.

today i met f2fb friend #108 laura resnick.  we were writing buddies, both of us working for harlequin and silhouette.  she’s a way better writer than i am and she’s moved into the fantasy field.  we haven’t seen each other in more than ten years. we met at the cincinnati art museum.  i didn’t know that cincinnati was once named porkopolis, way back in the early eighteenth century.  i think the name cincinnati suits the place better, although the residents have taken a flying pig as their unofficial mascot.  there are flying pig statues all over the place.  and there’s a flying pig marathon the first sunday in may.

as we entered the museum, she gave me one of her books–

the book is the third in her series about esther diamond, an actress who deals with the supernatural in the form of zombies, angry spirits, sorcerers.  like twilight but cooler.  she promised me that i get to be in her next book. . . . she calls it tuckerizing.  i’m not sure where the term comes from.

next up–i go to roxy’s for fish tacos and beer!

f2fb friend #107 has her own intentions about the year. . .

i am shaking as i write this because i’m about to start on a nine day barnstorming friend trip throughout the eastern united states and i can’t get myself to leave the house.  there’s a storm out there.  and i’m pretty sure i’m having a heart attack or a brain aneurysm or a nervous breakdown all at the same time.  but i have an intention, a new year’s eve resolution made in haste without regard to consequences.

at least somebody is packed and ready to go!

my friend laurie carver is someone i only see at parties or when she hosts her cabi line of dresses.  she has been a businesswoman for many years and i was surprised when she told me about her new bracelet.

i have been hearing again and again of people looking for love and i don’t think that urge leaves us until our last breath.

laurie and i grew up with the feminism of gloria steinem, ms. magazine, national organization for women, breaking that glass ceiling, power suits.  so i was really surprised at what she had to say about men and women.

laurie is someone i’m going to be checking back in with.  because if that bracelet brings her intention to fruition, i’m going to want one that will give me courage.  me and the lion, who sings

What makes the muskrat guard his musk?
Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder?
Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder?
Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot?
What have they got that I ain’t got?


there is just one thing i have to do now–get in the damn car!

elizabeth taylor: dead movie star, banker, graduate of birmingham southern college

elizabeth taylor is an oscar winning actress who is coincidentally dead and my facebook friend.  oh, wait.  that’s not my facebook friend.  my elizabeth taylor facebook friend is, as far as i know, a darn cute redheaded banker who fills out a st. john suit and a mortgage application with equal aplomb.  oh, wait.  that’s not my facebook friend.  my elizabeth taylor facebook friend is–i don’t know!!–a graduate or at least studied at birmingham-southern college and i am exactly fifty percent of her facebook friends.  her other friend is keith d. thompson who is a pastor at the first united methodist church (i’m presuming birmingham) and he’s married to linda.  you might very well ask.  well, i’ve asked.  who’s keith?  who’s linda? where is birmingham southern college?

uh, oh, alabama.  i’m going to huntsville to see sammie scruggs and jonathan boyd (facebook friends number __ and __) but that’s about an hour and a half away.  i’ll do it.  maybe.

the elizabeth taylor i know (the banker, not the dead movie star) never responded to my little videos, my “you might like this” posts, my invitations.  wow, was i surprised.

so i have to ask. .. .

when are you too old for it?

i have definitely past the age at which i can reasonably expect a career as a figure skater.  and probably super model is out.  i am unlikely to have to fend off the advances of people magazine’s sexiest man of the year.  and i am unlikely to be named as prime minister of any country, however small or however misguided.

but when am i too old for IT?  i’m not talking the lower case it.  i figure some form of it is possible right up until the day before i ask my sons to give me phenobarbital and put a ziplock bag over my head (make sure to use a twist tie to form a seal!)

no, on that day before i head for the great hereafter, i just might have to pay for it.  and that’s what i told jon when he said that he hadn’t given up.  he feels too young to give up.

“so pay for it,”  i said.

“you always pay for it.”

and then he sighed.

“it’s not it that i’m looking for.  it’s IT.”

“oh, i got you.  that stuff.”

and then we both sighed.  IT.  the breathtaking moment when another person is the most important, fascinating, charming, gracious person and they think the same about you.  oh, man, are we ever too old for that?

jon grand, f2fb #105, isn’t and neither am i.

but i don’t just want IT.  i also want to be chic like a proper french gal.  and i WOULD like to try my hand at the international figure skating championships.  or at least wear a costume for it.

so jon ordered me ines de la fressange’s new book “parisian chic.”

it should arrive at the book stall right around the time i’m in cincinnati or morgantown or philly or washington.  i post a schedule tomorrow.  if you’re a “new” facebook friend i want to see you even while i’m making sure to see all of my cherished new years eve facebook friends!

so . . . being parisian chic is something i will do after i get back on mother’s day weekend.

this is how my facebook friends should treat me!

the black GT roared into the driveway.  it was fully loaded.  which is to say that tommy chang (f2fb #102) and his fiancee rachel li (who wasn’t my facebook friend until this morning) had stocked the trunk with basil, fish, pork, oils, spices, woks, knives, spoons, and vegetables.  they were quite aware that my refrigerator contains just perfume, diet coke, beer, and smart water.

tommy and rachel agreed that tommy is the better cook–they claim asian girls are not as likely to know how to cook these days because they are more independent.  tommy is originally from taiwan, rachel from mainland china where she grew up both in the northeast and in the southwest.  when they marry, they will have one ceremony here in the states, one in mainland china, and a small reception in taiwan. they met at motorola where they both work.

they chose a menu that reflected the diversity of the two countries.

i met tommy through my friend dirk (f2fb #103), who showed up unexpectedly at the house.  he has a good sense of when somebody’s making dinner.  dirk and tommy met through their membership in a networking association for asian professionals.  i have to admit i had not known that dirk is asian.

chicken hearts are really good.  sort of like tiny sausages.

also at the dinner was bob bergman, a longtime friend both on facebook and in real life.  bob was seventeen and working as a house painter when the scaffolding he was on collapsed.  he was in a coma for three weeks, not expected to live.  and he has a brain injury that has messed with his short term memory.  i remember being quite proud when, after months of knowing me, he started to remember my name.

bob’s system for remembering things was developed when he was in his early twenties–he carries a tiny notebook in his back pocket at all times and writes down EVERYTHING.  i believe now that he has a better short term memory system than most people our age.

ty ty ty ty to tommy, rachel, bob and, yes, dirk–i have just one question:  what time is dinner tonight?

kristen and i spend time with a celebrity!

kristan poggensee (f2fb #101) has one really good reason to hate me:  when we first met, i broke her ankle.  and yet, she still agreed to go with me to a katie gavin concert last night.

the concert was at space, a consciously of this moment club in evanston.  we arrived during a terrific thunderstorm and were told that the concert was sold out.  this was a bit of a relief to me because i was of two minds about the concert.  i wanted to see it because i adore katie.  and yet, i was thinking maybe i shouldn’t be going to the concert because katie is eastman’s ex-girlfriend.  it’s a little tough for a mom to know what to do when her son breaks up with a gal.  am i supposed to break up with her too?

katie and eastman used to perform together.  now eastman is studying at oberlin and katie is a bit of an internet sensation with her acoustic rendition of willow smith’s “i whip my hair”

so here we were, shut out of a katie gavin concert with two pouting teenagers who looked like they might start crying.  then, out of nowhere, lynn sido (who is not my facebook friend)  arrived.  she had four extra tickets.  one for me, one for kristen and .  . . i snatched two tickets from her to give to the two pouting katie gavin fans.

“really?”  they squealed when i gave them the tickets.

kristen knows katie as well–katie’s younger sister is best friends with kristen’s daughter.  we asked katie to give a shout out!  i felt just like i was a pap from!

while kristen went to get a drink, katie and i chatted.  katie said she’s been following my adventures with facebook and then confessed to being very nervous about the upcoming performance.  i said i was like that all the time but that both of us had to learn to enjoy the experience.  then she went onstage.  i was very proud of her!  she even remembered to give a shout out to her two young fans!

after the main act came onstage, kristen and i went to find a semi-quiet corner.  kristen is an enthusiastic gal who is working on her mba while being a single mom to three.  her daughter lizzie, btw, is my facebook friend.  she and i became close after i broke her mom’s ankle.  i was directing a show at the time and i asked the cast if anybody was willing to do a back flip onstage.  a downer like “who’s afraid of virginia woolf?” is always livened up with a random bit of acrobatics.  kristen volunteered.  and promptly broke her ankle.  i felt pretty damn responsible for the episode.  kristen’s daughter lizzie wanted to be my assistant director.  there’s probably something in there that a psychiatrist would understand but i gave her a clipboard and a walkie talkie.

kristen had this to say about this project:

i think kristen’s forgiven me.

mr. f2fb #100 tells me how to protect my assets!

today’s economic news is pretty disheartening.  all this year, i have been talking to people who have lost their jobs, who are having their hours cut back, who are worried that they’re drowning in debt.  bill seymour is seventy five years old and he’s weathered a few economic reversals.  he got an mba from harvard a few months before i was born, so he’s had some time to assess the market and he has some interesting advice–

first and foremost, if you’re going to buy a piece of real estate, do your best to pay it off in its entirety.

and second, consider this–

we went to grandpa’s for lunch.  the first time i met bill there, i was told by his son charlie (f2fb #20) that we were going to grandpa’s.  i arrived with a bromeliad.  i knew that bill’s grandfather was the famous harry horder who owned a stationer’s shop in chicago.  i was quite abashed when i discovered that grandpa’s was not a person but, rather, a restaurant on prairie street in glenview.  it is not a point of etiquette to bring a hostess gift in the circumstances.

bill seymour is married to paddy seymour and has two ex-wives, one of whom is deceased.  he has four children an outsider might regard as “his own”, two stepchildren from the second wife, two stepchildren who came with paddy, as well as a daughter of paddy’s first husband (or maybe second, i’m quite confused by this stuff).  bill takes the position that all these children:  deb, tom, charlie, prescott, cory, christie, jay, chris, and robin are all to be regarded as his children.  he is friends with his first ex-wife and with the first husband of his second wife.  he is somebody who doesn’t really need facebook because he creates he is friends and family to everyone!

i come home from tornadoes to snow!

i am having the most wonderful fun this year! and i’m having the most horrible time! i want to travel, i love the yearlong party, i want this facebook resolution, i’m going to hide in my house and call in a standing order to lakeside groceries so i never have to venture forth. i was completely into agoraphobiamode yesterday after i got back from north carolina and when i woke this morning there was snow–jeez, what a great day to continue the hiding!

but i had to get out there today because i was meeting up with the facebook friend i admire most, cristina persico.

i met cristina when she joined up with the cast for a benefit show i directed for the pta. she was the pick up the beat dancer, she was the fireball, she was the one who had a smile that made you think there could never be a bad day.

and yet she had ever reason to say “thank you very much world but i really don’t want to be part of things”. . . . her husband and her daughter francesca (frenchie) passed on within a short period of time of each other. i can’t imagine what courage it took to engage the world, to become a volunteer in the fight against cancer, and to show up to be in a silly musical comedy i wrote. she has the best game face.

i want that game face, i want to be like cristina. except. . . the dollface scheduled me in to be part of the classes she teaches. i had a good strategy–i pretended i had to film stuff.

can you imagine actually moving like this for an hour? and this was after she got in from the airport at one thirty in the morning.

i am grateful because cristina has embarked upon a romance. it is something she never expected. this year i see how much it means to people to connect with one person and to make this person their world. that desire doesn’t quit, doesn’t let up, is always with us. i wish her all happiness.

tomorrow f2fb friend #100–and i will ask him about silver, gold and other precious metals! or maybe i’ll just ask him about family. he’s got a rather large one. . .