Monday, August 28, 2017

DRIP's 500th Show

On Saturday, August 26th 2017 DRIP celebrated its 500th show. Long time cast member Jessie Sander was honored that night for moving from a dancer role into a director position within the company. Jessie, who had originally started as an understudy, quickly became an all-star performing all the roles in the show. She was most known for playing Yellow. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Lessons of Men and Dogs

I love to write but it can be painful for me. I write about my experiences and many of them through out 2016 and 2017 have been heartbreaking. I try to focus on the good but sometimes the bad begs to be addressed. I find it's better to bleed the heart out than let the clots choke my veins. 

Good things come in threes. Bad things come in threes. Sometimes things just come in sets of three. 

Kevin and Ramon both gave me their numbers within a week of each other. I think it's a problem most girls would like to have, but I honestly wasn't sure how to act. I wasn’t looking for anything and I didn't want the attention. I wasn’t flirting. Hell, I was barely being nice. My break up had been months ago. All I was doing was just trying to get through each day and start over again until I felt normal. They both caught me off guard. 

I never go out to bars, I hate online dating, and my friends who know me best wouldn't even dream of trying to set me up. My strong personality, sharp tongue, and unique views make me unappealing to most. I love myself, but I am well aware that I'm not suited to be an easy match. 

I never get numbers. Now I had two. I thought it was the universe telling me that I had hope. 

I called Ramon first. I waited a week, mostly out of confusion. Ramon was a mechanic who would make the deposits for his shop. He had been making the deposits for over a year. The vast majority of the time he would throw the deposit bag on the counter and barely talk. He was gruff but somehow likable. It took forever to get to know him. At first he began talking with my coworker who spoke Spanish then he began talking to me.

One day he had to come back in because his manager thought I shorted them change. Ramon knew I hadn't but had to wait for my manager to double check me anyway. While we waited I struggled to make small talk with him. I knew he moved to Florida from Massachusetts. I asked what brought him here and he said the weather. He claimed to get arthritis “like an old man”. I laughed and said he wasn't that old. He was confident I didn't know how old he was but he forgot that I had to use his ID to make the deposits every day. I was able to tell him the month, day and year of his birth. Next thing I knew he handed me his number, mentioned that he had three kids with three different women, and walked out. I was completely floored. I can only assume he thought I was flirting with him. 

I waited a week before calling him. Like I said, I wasn't looking for love and I didn't really see myself with him. Ramon and I went out for lunch and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anything about him and he wasn't much of a talker. I was pleasantly surprised. He was defiantly gruff but had a sweet side. Our mothers had the same name, he had a tattoo of Michael the Archangel (my Dad’s personal favorite), and most surprising of all: he was intuitive like me. That was one of the reasons he was so quiet, he was listening.

We talked for several hours and I kissed his cheek. I didn't know what to expect but he turned out to be fill of endearing surprises. I tried to hang out with him after that but he always seemed to be busy. I couldn't tell if he always had plans or if I was just getting brushed off. He ended up getting in car accident which gave him a lot of back pain. He was out of work for a while and by the time he came back I was switching jobs. I sent him a text and let him know that even though I was leaving I was glad I got to know him better. He ended up being a great guy. I honestly thought I would never hear from him again. 

Just when I thought it was over he’d text me out of the blue. We would talk here and there but never really hit it off. He would initiate conversations but only text one word answers. He always complain about being bored but refused to leave his house. Ramon was nice but getting to know him felt like an uphill battle and I was never sure if he liked me. To be fair I was never really enthusiastic about him either. When I asked him why he gave me his number in the first place he said he didn't remember. Our awkward date mellowed into an awkward friendship. He is man with a good heart, although he loves to keep it hidden. If you had told me that the mechanic who barely speaks would have become my friend I wouldn't have believed you.

Although Kevin was the first to give me his number I waited much longer to call him. Kevin worked for a deli down the street and he would come in every Friday to cash his check. He  was friendly and I always enjoyed talking to him but I had recently split with my ex and wasn't looking for anything. I never flirted with Kevin - our conversations were always pretty normal - so I was taken off guard when he gave me his card with his phone number and a request for a coffee date. That very same day, maybe an hour before Kevin came in, I got a job offer from my current bank. I was panicking and blindsided by change. I waited until he came back in the following week to tell him that I wasn't interested. I liked him but I was so overwhelmed. I blamed it on my recent break up. I wasn't ready to jump back into dating just yet. Kevin was nothing less than compassionate and understanding. I could tell he was a little disappointed but he hardly showed it. He still said he wanted me to visit the restaurant were he worked. 

Over the next few weeks Kevin continued to come to me to cash his check. I always enjoyed seeing him. He never pressured me or made me uncomfortable. He always spoke lovingly about his children, grieved the recent passing of his grandmother, and remained genuinely sweet. One day he came in with a pastry for me. He had packaged it with great care and was so adorably shy when he passed it to me. He had been killing me with kindness over the past few weeks and this gesture melted my heart. I had it for breakfast the next morning. I went through my purse and found the card with his number. I always had it with me. I sent him a text to thank him and we spent the whole day texting back and forth. He was so happy to hear from me. I think he thought I had thrown his number away. 

We tried to go out but he cancelled on me twice. The first time he had to work late, the second time he had to take his son to get an x-ray. I never felt like he was dodging but he would never follow up. I was always left hanging. After a few weeks I was ready to give up. I wrote him a little note in a Christmas card and gave it to him while he was at work. I explained that he was one of the few good things that happened to me in 2016 and how I greatly appreciated the kindness he had shown me. He text me after work and begged to meet up that night. Initially I refused because I was starting my new job the next day but I finally relented. We meet up at Austins Coffee and talked for a while. We got home and exchanged loving messages until we both passed out. We tried to see each other the next day but he had to stay late at work again. Then the holiday season hit. He got even busier at his job and I got pulled in for more projects at the theater company. It wasn't until the end of March that I came in to see him at work. I was happy, thinking we could reconnect but it did not go well. He was in a bad mood. He asked how my new job was going and when I told him it had been ruff he replied with a snarky “well, the grass isn't always greener on the other side”. I got angry - where was the sweet Kevin who worked so hard to win me over? He handed me my food and I looked him right in the eye. “If you don't want me to come back in here - I wont”. He felt the anger in my voice and tried to backpedal. The phone rang and he had to answer it. I turned on my heel and left. 

I felt like we were both having a difficult time and took it out on each other. I had remained patient with him for so long because of the extraordinary kindness he showed me. Kindness I haven't gotten from any other man in my life. In my getting to know Kevin I realized that it was kindness that I needed most. When he became rude it hurt more than it should have. I realized that I had experienced kindness so rarely in the past several months. I wanted him to reach out and apologize but I never heard from him again. I didn't have it in me to pursue him anymore. As strong and bold as I am I have little patience for a man without initiative. I get bored if I have to do the chasing, and frankly I was till tending to all the old wounds of the pervious year anyway. If I was so easy to forget then I’d be better off alone. 

Jim was the spark. He came and went but defiantly left a mark. I walked to Pom Poms for take out one day. As I sat across the register waiting he walked in like a cowboy. Something about him caught my attention and I couldn't take my eyes of him. He was good looking but it was more than that - it was about his soul. He walked up to the counter to order and his movements were broad and a little sloppy. He stumbled through the order and kept adding cupcakes. I laughed and thought he must be trying to sober up. He turn around and caught me staring at him. I smiled back. I still couldn't take my eyes off him. As soon as he was done ordering he turned around to grab a seat. All the seats were empty but he chose the one directly across from me and plopped down. He boldly introduced himself and announced he just got off work. I was a bit startled by his boldness but asked where he worked. I assumed he did some kind of construction work based on the messy clothes he had on. To my pleasant surprise he said he was an artist. He gave me his website to check out. I went home and looked it up. He was phenomenal. A photorealistic painter born and raised in Florida and I’d never even heard his name before our chance meeting at Pom Poms. I knew I had to see him again. I was going out of town that weekend but bookmarked his site so I could find him again. Two days later I was getting ready for my trip and realized I needed to get gas. I pulled up at the gas station down the street from my house and as soon as I parked the person across from me was holding my attention. I couldn't see their face because they were bent over tying a bandanna around their head but I couldn't look away. As soon as he stood up I realized it was the artist from Pom Poms. I jumped out of the car and introduced myself again. We exchanged numbers and I told him I'd call when I got back in town. 

When I got back I called him and we met up at his place. What stood out to me the most was his honesty. We had both gone through terrible years, had similar relationship experiences, and bonded right away over art and music. He was captivating and I felt comfortable with him. We made out and it was fantastic. He had a gentle touch that felt so loving and massage-like. He loved how affectionate I was and practically purred when I kissed him. When I asked him what he wanted from a relationship he said “to be nurtured”. That was one of the most endearing requests I’d ever heard. I adored him. I haven't bonded with anyone like that in years. He held my hand when he walked me to my car and asked me to text him when I got home. 

Over the next week things crashed and burned in epic fashion. I wanted to get to know him inside and out, pick is brain, laugh with him and enjoy his company. Apparently, all he wanted was someone to “service” him. We texted each other everyday. We were refreshingly honest with each other but it was painfully obvious we didn't want the same things. We unpacked the emotional trauma of a long term relationship in the course of a week. I had a deep desire to know him as a person because I could see the beauty in his soul. But he was blind to the beauty in mine. All he wanted was a toy. This would not be mutual and I protested. He didn't care. He doubled down. 

This is the dark side of being an intuitive person. You can feel the pain of another so vividly and yet still be at a loss to convey it. He had been though so much and I could feel the torment in his voice. The ache of his desire not being fulfilled. I read his texts as they poured in. Each broke my heart a little more than the last. This was a man begging for help, yet only wanting the easy way out. At one point he even offered me money. I refused.

I had watched some interviews he had done. He always spoke of peace, love and the greater good. I wondered how much of that he meant as he kept trying to make demands of me. My last text to him urged him to open up so someone heart and soul. It was the most striking part about him and I’d wish I could have know him better. He never responded.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on all this nonsense. I thought of how my ex would react to my dating. How upset it would have made him. Honestly, even though we’d been broken up for months my moving forward still had a feel of betrayal to it. Because I still had love for him and our break up left huge cracks in my heart. I hadn't been looking to date. All three men approached me. I felt it was better to go with the flow then remain closed off. My risk taking may have felt like betrayal but I had to remind myself of all the the times I tried to reach out to him before our break up. How many times I waited for him to talk to me. How many times I begged him to be present in my life. He spent a lot of time and effort proving how little I mattered to him. 

I’ve often been warned against my “lofty expectations” when it came to relationships. What the hell was so lofty about wanting communication? Answering messages? Not being treated like a prostitute? I know I can be difficult but these aren't things anyone should consider compromising. 

When I was in high school I fell pretty hard for a boy named Andrew. I had crushes on boys before but Andrew took my breath away. We were on the diving team together. Even though I was young I was tenacious. I was never content with pining away for someone from a far. I wanted to get to know him, I wanted to see if he was worth my time. I’d try to strike up conversations and see if we had things in common. Andrew must have caught on that I liked him and he became rude and distant. I was disheartened that my interest in him was so easy to brush aside. 

I walked home almost every day and it was terribly long with the hellish Florida sun beating down on me and a 40 lb backpack. Everyday when I got home and my dog Kiley, a lab pit bull mix, would jump on me desperately trying to lick my face and shower me with affection. One day I got home after Andrew had said something snarky to me. I opened the door to Kiley’s boundless enthusiasm. I thought to myself: this dog sees me every single day and is always excited to see me. Andrew treats me like crap. My dog has better manners than Andrew.

It was that beautifully simple. 

I return to school a new person. I refused to give Andrew any more of my attention. The funny thing was it drove him nuts. Now he wanted to talk to me. I think this would have been the point most other girls realize the power of their femininity and their ability to wrap men around their finger. I just became indignant. I way always nice to him, why did he like me now? Why did it take me not caring for him to notice me? I’d never even so much as gone on a single date with anyone but I knew this was some unhealthy bullshit. I had no interest in games or his mindless behavior. His stupidity was making him unattractive and I paid him no attention. 

At one point the school put on a dinner to celebrate the end of the season for the dive team. Families were invited and it was pretty formal. My parents and I were seated to have dinner and my mother excitedly whispered to me “Missy, that boy over there has been staring at you all night”. I turned my head to see who she was talking about. It was Andrew, and when our eyes meet he quickly looked away to avoid getting caught. I turned back to my mother and said “Oh please, that asshole had his chance”. 

My mother was completely shocked. She grew up in a generation that made it seem as though any attention you got from a man was positive. She had raised me to be respectful and for me to show no interest in an attractive man was almost ludicrous. It had nothing to do with his looks. He’d already proven himself to be a waste of my time. 

Kiley died when I was 26. I loved her to pieces and I miss her everyday. In addition to the endless love and affection she taught me the most valuable lesson of my dating life. 
You have to have better manners than a dog.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21st from 1:19pm to 4:14pm Florida got to experience a partial solar eclipse. I was at work when it started and I could see the difference in the sky before I even saw the sun. Outside looked hazy but there were no clouds to block the light. We were still in the blazing afternoon sun at the edge of the moon's shadow. Beautifully surreal. 

I took this photo of the sun as I left work. You can see the tiny blue crescent of the eclipse in the lens flare. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Birthday Wishlist

I want my ex to apologize for ignoring me when I needed him most.
I want my sister to break the patterns of her destructive behavior.
I want my best friend to talk to me again.
I want that damn door to fix itself.
I want my hard work to pay off.
I want the means to travel more.
I want to know what it's like to be successful.
I want to know what it's like to ask for help and recieve it.
I want the Artist to find the peace he refused to give me.
I want the Mechanic to know that I see his flaws but I have always repected him.
I want to thank the Cook for giving me a taste of true kindness.
I want to know what it's like to throw my phone into a river and not have to worry about the cost of replacing it.
I what to know what it feels like to have a sleep schedule.
I want to stop getting teary eyed at the vet's office because my cat is getting old.
I want to stop getting teary eyed at the vet's office because my cat has been the most consistent and enduring part of my adult life.
I want to know what it's like to be reckless and irresponsible.
I want to talk to my grandfather one more time.
I want to know what its like to be someone's first choice.
I want to be treated the way I know I'm worth.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Buoyant Soul

I should have been doing laundry. There was a pile of dishes in the sink. I had mail piling up on the counter I had gone through in days. I needed to eat dinner but I didn't have time to cook. I ate a few spoonfuls of ice cream and headed out the door. I had to see her.

She was the only good thing that emerged from 2016. A blessing for her parents as well as myself.

She makes me feel as though I have a buoyant soul.

The weight of the world disappears. My list of chores is forgotten. I stop struggling to keep my head above water and just float.

She cries, she gets fussy, she has just the right amount of mischief in her eyes. She has filled my heart with so much joy and appreciation.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Primary Sky

A lovely sunset with an extraordinary mix of red, yellow, and blue.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hiding From The Rain

I went to grab something out of my car after a storm and noticed this wasp still clinging to a leaf for shelter. I couldn't believe how cute it was! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend Cruise

It all started when I walked into my old job to say hello to my former coworkers. Monique hugged me and said that her family was going to be going on a weekend cruise and I should come if I was free. Almost without missing a beat I said "Sure! I mean, if you're serious I'll third wheel the shit outta that trip!" 

She gave me the details and I booked the trip. I went on a cruise piggy backing someone else's family vacation only knowing one person. Sometimes crazy adventures are just that simple. 

I'm glad I went. I had a fantastic time and I made friends with everyone in the group. They made me feel like family and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. 

Riviera Beach Port.

People enjoying the hot tub as we left the port.

Colorful kiddie pool juxtaposed in front of the industrial port.

Kiki, Kelly, Antoine, and Monique.

Antoine and Kelly.

Monique and I.

Elevator selfie.

One of my favorite places to be on a cruise is the bow of the ship. On this particular ship the bow was extremely difficult to find. Tucked away on an almost private floor through a hallway of the most exclusive rooms. At the end of the hallway there was a small wooden door without a label. Through the door was a small balcony just above the bow area and the most breathtaking view of the full moon over the open ocean. 

Pulling into the Bahamas in the early hours of the morning.

Lobby selfie.

On the bus to the beach.

The whole group: (Standing left to right) Toni, Kurt, Mike, Antoine, Dennis. (Sitting left to right) Monique, Kelly, Rosezitta, Kiki, and J.T.

Our beach trip in the Bahamas included a floating trampoline and inflated obstacle course. 

Rosezitta, Toni and I ready to head back to the ship.

Kelly leading the charge and turning the bus ride into an all out party.

Antoine with Bahamanian drummer.

Leaving the Bahamas.

Leaning over the side of the boat watching the patterns in the churning wake.

Mike, Kelly, Antoine, and Toni relaxing on the deck.

On the bow again watching the moon over a cloudier sky on the way back home.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grassleaf Roseling

Lovely wildflower blooming just outside my apartment door. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Florida Leaf-Footed Bug

Spotted this guy just in time before I shut the door. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Walk Through a Park Without a Name

During a visit home my parents wanted to take me to a new park they discovered. It was in the middle of a neighborhood, with no markings or clear name. We had the place to ourselves. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art

Museums tend to be some of my favorite places on Earth. I'll walk through absorbing as much as I can take in. Here are some of the highlights from a trip to my favorite museum from my hometown.

Seated Buddha Sakyamuni from the Gandhara region in India.

Shiva as the Lord of Dance.

Egyptian finger amulet.

White-ground lekythos with mourners at a tomb. I loved the simple beauty of her elegant, out-stretched arm.

Roman coins with depictions of Julius Caesar (7) and Caligula (9). I love objects like these: simple, everyday items that were not intended as works of art. Both from famous Roman Emperors. One loved, one hated. 

A close up of a vase by Tokuda Yasokichi III.

Mayan death mask depicting the sun god.

Michtlantecuhtli, god of death.

 Above Us.

The Undefeated by Fletcher Martin. I'm not a sports fan nor am I a huge fan of this particular style of painting. But I loved the perspective, dynamic angles, and striking composition.

A close up of Village Girl -  Lily Cow by Robert Henri. I loved the vibrant colors and bold brush strokes. 

A close up of a detail in the painting Adoration of the Christ Child by Mary and Joseph by The Master of The Greenville Tondo. 

A close up of Portrait of a Lady by Michiel Van Mierevelt. I was blown away by the smoothness of the paint and the seamless blending. The painstaking detail in the lace and the lack of color that draws the focus back to the sitters lovely complexion.

A detail of Jupiter and Callisto attributed to Angelica Kauffman. I loved the expressive hands and flowing rivers of fabric.

A close up of Still Life with Lemons, Grapes, and Plums by William Duffield. I adored the attention to detail and texture. 

A detail of a Steuben vase.

La Source by Albert Carrier-Belleuse.