July 31, 2005

-image-could be scary

Okay. It’s the birthday today. I’m writing this quick note while My Beloved is taking a shower. I don’t know what he has planned for today. I only know a few birthdays ago, he tried to kill me with a glider ride. 😉

Pray for me.

July 30, 2005

-image-you’re never fully dressed without some bile

A few years ago, my then-co-director at draahhhma camp insisted we include the song, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from that perky piece of rot, “Annie.”

“Kids love that song!” she said.

I winced. It is true, but shouldn’t be. I sighed, knowing I couldn’t nix everything, even if for the good of everyone involved.

“Okay.” Groaning, head in hands, I muttered, “Just this once.”

So, one day at camp, Co-Director, who was also choreographer, was teaching the moves to the kids. I was working a scene in another room with our leads. When I returned, the room was simply gushing with lyrics of soppy positivity.

I rolled my eyes, but instantly rolled them back to center when I saw this: A stage crammed with kids, all waving their hands under their noses, as if shooing away some vile stench. While doing this bit of choreography, they boomed these words:

Your clothes may be Beau Brummell-y
They stand out a mile
But, brother, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!

What was I seeing? I called Co-Director over.

“Um, I’m not really clear on the hand-wave-under-the-nose move.”

“Oh,” she said, smiling, “that means something stinks.”

“Well …. uh, I know what it means. I don’t understand its relevance to these lyrics.”

(Tippy-Toe, Tracey. Stay calm, old girl. Don’t jump yet.)

“Oh,” she said, even brighter, “‘Beau Brummelly’ means ‘smelly.'”

Aaaaaahhhhh!

I was falling, shrieking, into the lowest level of hell. And turns out, they sing there. And do you know what they sing there? “ANNIE,” “ANNIE,” ALL THE TIME!!!!!

“Where did you hear that?” I was choking.

“Well,” she said, “when I did ‘Annie’ years ago at (a certain schlocky Christian theatre for which I have nothing but contempt), they told us that ‘Beau Brummelly’ means ‘smelly.'”

Ah, Christians. Doing their best in the arts again. Look. Being under grace is not a license for slack-assery. And truly, didn’t Paul say something similar? Shall we continue in artistic sin so that grace may abound? By no means!

I was having a private, Charlie Brown moment: I can’t stand it. I just can’t stand it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that gaggle of kids onstage perfecting the hand-wave-under-the-nose move.

That was it.
Something had to be said. “Art” and my own perpetual snobbery demanded it.

“Ah. No. No.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No.”

“So what does it mean?” she asked, not smiling now.

I took a breath and explained that Beau Brummell was a real person who lived in England around 1800-ish; that he was known for his fastidious appearance and sense of style; that he was considered a “dandy.”

“Oh. Hmm. Wow. Kinda the opposite of smelly, I guess.”

I nodded.

I can’t stand it. I just can’t stand it.

July 28, 2005

-image-I thought / I said

Yesterday at the end of drahma camp, came this conversation:

Mother: Trevor is very upset. He says he’s NOT in the play!

(I Thought: Trevor is being a little drama queen.)
I Said: Trevor is in the play.

Mother: He says he’s not. He doesn’t have any lines.

(I Thought: Yup. That’s right. This is theatre; you gotta earn it.)
I Said: Well, no, he doesn’t have any lines. The kids were told they needed to audition if they wanted a speaking part or solo. Trevor didn’t audition, but he’s definitely in the show.

Mother: Well, I can’t believe that. He loves this sort of thing.

(I Thought: Huh. Funny, I did NOT get that sense from his constant rolling on the floor.)
I Said: Well, that’s great. I’m sure he does. It would be great to see a little more of that.

Mother: Well, can’t you just give him a line anyway?

(I Thought: NO.)
I Said: I believe all the lines are taken by kids who auditioned for a speaking part.

Mother: So he can’t have a line?

(I Thought: NO! I’M NOT IN THE HABIT OF GIVING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING HERE, ESPECIALLY TO A KID WHO’S DONE NOTHING BUT ROLL AROUND ON HIS ARSE AND BEEN NOTHING BUT A PAIN IN MINE.)
I Said: Well, if one of the lines becomes available, I’d likely hold “mini auditions” for it, so there’s always that possibility.

Mother: Well, he’s just so upset.
(I Thought: !?#%@??!!!!!!)
I Said: Well, perhaps you can talk to him tonight about why he chose not to audition and encourage him to do so if another opportunity comes up.

I moved my mouth, hoping to find the shape of a smile. I don’t think I did. Mother stared at me, confused; walked away, confused. I could read her mind:

“What?! I don’t get what I want just because I want it, I really, REALLY want it?! Waaaahhhh!!!”

Whatever.

Drama queens.

July 27, 2005

-image-how could I forget this?

Well, sweet Moses! I can’t believe I forgot this one tiny thing:

I don’t have to have deliverance.

This, according to a certain person with whom we’re all acquainted now. During our summit, I told Joey that I’d been down that road before, that it had only brought harm and confusion, and that I’d be following the path of sanctification as laid out in the Word — and no other. To this, she responded:

“Well, I guess you don’t have to have deliverance prayer.”

(Golly, thanks for the permission. What a relief to have the green light to continue doing what I’m doing.)

Then she added:

“I mean, I guess we don’t have to agree on this.”

Hmmmm …… well …..

I tried to be delicate. I’m so good at delicate. Watch me try to tippy-toe:

“Well, Joey, I would exhort you to spend some time studying the whole of Scripture to see if it bears out this practice of deliverance of believers.”

Oh, yeah. Tippy Toe.

That this actually came out of my mouth was a meeeracle, considering that this is what first popped into my head: “Yes, we do! !?#$&!! This isn’t a debatable issue. This is extra-biblical c-r-a-p! Walk away before you can’t see or think straight anymore, you cotton-headed ninny muggins!!”

(And “cotton-headed ninny muggins” comes from? Anyone?)

Now that I think of it, I can’t believe I passed on yet another prime opportunity to call someone a cotton-headed ninny muggins. I’ve had a spate of ’em lately.

That’s it. The next one who comes my way is gonna hear it.

I’m Tippy-Toed out, America.

July 26, 2005

-image-happy email to mee-ee-e-e!

Hey, Wonder Woman — aka She Who Makes Everything Work ‘Round Here — has told me that the “Contact” link above is working! So shoot me an email whenever you like. And if you’d like to help me test it out “for reals,” send me one posthaste.

In it, you may, if you’d like, discuss my upcoming birthday — July 31st. And yes, it’s Harry Potter’s birthday too, and such. And yes, it’s funny because of the whole demon thing. And yes, some people have a distinct, Snape-like hate for me.

And yet, some people find me magical.

I don’t actually know any of these people, but … 😉

July 25, 2005

-image-“if you can’t act, behave!”

Can I say this? I rather dread the first day of drama camp.

And today was the first day of drama camp.

There’s always far too much drahhma.

There’s always The Poor, Fretful Chile who didn’t choose camp; it was chosen for her. Not sure which one she is? Oh, well, she’s the one coming unglued over in the corner. And is that her mother with her, consoling her? Nope, that’s me, trying to brainwash this child into believing that “drama camp will be fun, fun, fun and it’s just the ticket for a jittery kid like you!!”

Then there’s always The Bratty Boy; the boy that says, “Ewww. There aren’t any boys at this camp, only girls. Ewwww. I don’t wanna do this. Ewwww. This SUCKS.” So where is Bratty Boy now? Oh, he’s lying down over there in another corner. Guess he’s just plumb tuckered out from all that participatin’ he’s doin’. Or he’s drunk. Frankly, I’d rather he lie there with the DTs than bother the rest of camp.

Then there’s always The Little Girl in Floozy Makeup, the one whose naturally beautiful, shining face has been frosted and glossed and rouged past innocence into a macabre Pretty Baby rainbow. So where is our little rainbow now? Well, I wish I could say she was in the bathroom with a washcloth, making the world right again, but, alas, she’s loudly centerstage, frosty and glossy and rougey.

Of course, there’s always The Parent Who Never Leaves, the one who can’t separate or won’t separate or won’t let the child separate or some other combination of raging parent/child emeshment. Interesting. It’s usually the little rainbow’s mom.

Then there’s always The Parent Who Treats You Like A Babysitter: “See this stuff here? Well, that’s Baby’s overnight bag. She’s spending the night with Lulu, so can you see that Lulu’s mom gets this stuff, hmmm? And (eyeing our Goldfish and pretzels suspiciously) these are Baby’s special snack-ums. I want her to have some healthy snacks, so can you please give her these Salmon-Crusted Wheat Germy Soy Sticks, hmmm?” Interesting. It’s usually the mom of the sickliest looking kid at camp.

Then there’s always, always The Parent Who Cross-Examines You About Why Little Blandranelle Didn’t Get The Part She Desperately Wanted — And Do You Know She Cried All Day and All Night, Too?!

But then, ah, then, there’s always The Boy Who’s My Hero, the one who is sure enough about his emerging masculinity that he can go to football camp or baseball camp or basketball camp and STILL come to drama camp. And where is this boy, you ask? Well, he’s the one onstage right now, fearlessly leading the charge before all the other boys and getting up to audition, opinions be damned.

Finally, perhaps best of all, there’s always The Kid With Grace, the truly talented one who didn’t get the part she’d hoped for, because, much as you’d like, you can’t give every kid the lead, can’t make every theatre dream come true. So where can one find this Kid With Grace? Well, she’s the one on the phone with me now, listening as I offer her the choice of two other parts, neither the part, but still oh-so-important. And she’s the one hiding her disappointment with a poise belying her tender years. And she’s the one who breaks your heart when, again, you ask which part she prefers and she says, “Well, which choice would make it easier for YOU to do the best possible show? That’s the part I want.”

Come to think of it, dread is not the right word. Not the right word at all.

July 22, 2005

-image-the post-mortem

(If you’re at this post, you might want to scroll down and read the one below it first. In a nearly unprecedented move, I’ve posted twice in one day and they are part of the same story. So scroll … or not.)

All right. I’ll hit the salient points of my meeting with Joey, as I understand them. I write this for myself. I’m not “writing a post,” per se. I’m just copying from my post-meeting, scribbled-out notes here, really. Your basic, raw notes. Nothing embellished. These notes will likely be the basis for some future (hopefully better-thought-out ;-)) posts on certain spiritual issues this whole thing has raised.

You may come along for the read, if you’d like, but I don’t expect you to. Writing it here automatically constrains some of the, ah, “freedom” I’d likely take in a private journal and forces me to analyze more carefully what really happened. There was a certain elated relief when it was over, that is, until I sat down and replayed the conversation in my head.

Again, I don’t expect anyone else to be that interested. And I do apologize for any raw edges — of my writing, of my personality — sticking out here. I know they’re there.

1) She was unapologetic for several instances over the last year where she involved third parties in this situation, without my permission or foreknowledge. Specifically, in the instance where she involved My Beloved — which set this whole thing in motion — our conversation went like this:

“I’m sorry that I ruined Beloved’s trip to Thailand.”

“Wait. I need to recharacterize something for you. You’ve said this twice, at our previous meeting and again now. He himself has told you that you did not ruin his trip. Rather, by telling him what you should have told me, you placed an unnecessary burden on him and created a “triangle” of communication, rather than a straight line. You did not ruin his trip. Speaking to him in the first place was the problem. So are you apologizing for ruining his trip — which I’m telling you you did not do — or are you apologizing for involving him in the first place?”

She was mad.

“No. No. I’m not apologizing for that.”

“Well, hmm, it was rather inappropriate.”

Her exact words:

“I don’t care. I’d do it again. I was willing to be inappropriate.”

Really, that told me so much. I should have allowed myself to leave at that very moment. I should have said: Thank you. That tells me everything I need to know.
But somehow, in these situations, something in me always makes me stay til the bitter end. I think it’s rank stupidity.

Later, another third-party incident came up. Her response was:

“Yeah? Well, I’m not sorry about that.”

(sigh …)

All right.

2) A word that’s become very big for her — and others who believe in deliverance ministries — is “freedom.” However, I believe they have a different definition of freedom than the Bible does. As believers, we are positionally free in Christ — “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” But deliverance proponents believe that freedom only comes in an ultimate, all-encompassing, superior way when one is freed from all those nasty demons. So we touched on this “freedom” issue. At one point, I said:

“Joey, you keep asking whether I’m ‘more free’. More free than what? One thing I know I’m free of — because I’ve really studied the Word on this in the months since you brought it up — is the notion that I have demons.”

She just stared at me. She’s quite an animated person, but her face was utterly blank.

I started giving her Scripture to back up my point. No reaction. Not anger, not surprise, not happiness, not relief. Just nothing.

3) She’s sold on the notion of generational curses and that I have these, too, along with the demons. Apparently, the two go hand in hand, you see. And if you’re a generational curser, this is your life verse:

” ….. for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me ….”

Never mind that the whole verse and the surrounding context actually says this:

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

That’s Exodus 20: 4, 5, and 6, peeps, not just a part of verse 5, which is the entire basis for the GC philosophy. The passage is, obviously, the Ten Commandments. It’s talking about idols.

So we got to talkin’ about this. I pointed out the entire passage was about idols. Nothing. I pointed out that the people punished were those who hate God. Nothing. I pointed out that love was shown to those who love God. Nothing. I pointed out that I love God. Nothing. Finally, I pointed out something basic that GCers never seem to notice about this verse: GOD does the punishing.

NOTHING.

There was no reaction. Finally, I just started talking as if the only person listening was the little old lady who had plopped herself down at the table two feet away from my chair — because she obviously WAS the only person listening! I felt like I was teaching Middle School again. Lord.

I mentioned the story of Balaam, how he could not curse what God had blessed. Then I mentioned Ephesians 1:3, how as a believer I am blessed:

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

NUH-

THING.

I truly hope Little Ol’ Lady was listening. Joey wasn’t. Or rather, she didn’t seem to be. Maybe she was stunned. Quietly enraged. I just don’t know.

More points to follow.

No blogging this weekend as our lives are about to be invaded by sunshine and giggles and toddling in the form of our 18-month-old niece, Kylie.

Her older cousin Piper (she who used to call me “Fece”) has already instructed the child to give up the ghost and call me “Tee Tee,” so she does. Adorable.

-image-of tea and oom-pah-pahs

(Again, I feel the need to offer this disclaimer: The person mentioned in these posts does not know of this blog. No one who knows her knows of this blog. No one who reads this blog knows her. Make sense?)

So Joey and I sat there, straight in the path of the oom-pah-pahs. On this day, they weren’t so loud. Considering the circumstances, though, they were just ludicrous, laughable.

Still, we sat without speaking. For far too long. Someone had to say something, if only to make the trip worth the price of gas. I hoped it would be Joey, since (I admit) she, not I, had wanted this particular meeting, But I knew I’d crack first, not out of great civility, mind you, but because I’m just impatient. Inside me was a rising, nagging irritation that time was passing us by, despite appearing to have stopped; that my tea was neither delicate nor aromatic nor flavorful; and that my head was now beginning to pound in rhythm to the satanic serenade of circus music bellowing from that monstrous pipe organ.

I spoke.

“So … Joey. Since you asked for this meeting, I assume you have something you want to say or discuss.” Her eyes were hidden behind the large, sepia-toned lenses of her sunglasses. I looked in their general direction.

“No,” she said, clipped, staccato.

I thought she was kidding; she wasn’t.

“Okaay.”

“Yeah.” She simply sat there. It seemed like some bizarre strategy, actually. She seemed comfortable with it, so I sat there, too, wishing the organist would play louder. I knew he could. I’d heard him. Come on. Play, man, play!

I spoke again, still thinking there must be something she wanted to say, good or bad.

“Uh, well, again, you called for this meeting, so I thought I’d give you the opportunity to share whatever it was you wanted. I assume there’s something?”

“No,” she said, the same way as before.

I sighed and didn’t hide it. We sat there. I took a very deep breath. Was she waiting for me to braid her hair? Do her nails? Start a pillow fight? Suddenly, my tea was tasting much better. And that cup — that cup was now endlessly fascinating:

Look at the glorious design of this sippy cup lid! Consider these textured sides, offering protection from the hot liquid without a cumbersome sleeve! Ingenious! God-breathed! A modern wonder!

Yep. Fighting off frustration, I could have been riveted by anything right then:

Observe this … this … stick that so magically wakes the flavor in my tea! Listen, enchanted, to the wondrous, dulcet tones of circus music on the Devil’s Pipe Organ!

Oom-pah-pah-oom-pah-pah ….

When she spoke, she sounded unsure.

“I feel I’ve offended you somehow.”

I stared at her, surprised to be surprised again at what I thought was a slight understatement.

“Well …. you have.”

Finally, we were talking …. sort of ….

About what? Well, that comes next …. sort of ….

July 20, 2005

-image-finished … in so many ways

I finished my kinderwerk last night. I managed to incorporate the word “gassy” into this epic theatrical piece, but other than that, I’d prefer not to talk about it.

Suffice to say that I’ll be wearing my “No Refunds” T-shirt on August 5th, performance day. It says everything I might need to say:

Parent: Yeah, Tracey …. um, we didn’t like the part where —

The T-shirt: (interrupting) No Refunds.

Parent: Uh, Tracey, yeah …. my little Dorabella really wanted a solo and —

The T-shirt: (annoyed, now) No Refunds.

Parent: Yes. Um, can you explain why my kid said the word ‘gassy,’ because —

The T-shirt: (fed up wich’you) NOREFUNDS!

July 18, 2005

-image-a pre-post post

So …. about that meeting. I’ll post more later, when I’m done penning my Tony-Award-caliber kiddie play.

But I dash this off now, mentioning a few items:

1) I was early.

2) Joey, who has never, ever been on time in the 15 years I’ve known her, was even earlier. So God bless ‘er. That seemed promising.

3) We met outside, at the place I suggested — The Japanese Tea Garden. It’s near the pond, but not too near, you see. With tea comes civility, no?

4) It was 10:30 a.m. I arrived with sunglasses on, but there was no need for them under the table’s large, sheltering umbrella. Momentarily though, I considered leaving them on, hiding behind their dimness. But I pulled them off as I sat down. I didn’t want to create a barrier between us.

5) Joey also had her sunglasses on. Joey kept her sunglasses on.

6) Next to our meeting spot, there is a famous organ in a place cleverly named the “Organ Pavilion.” The Saturday before the meeting, I was at this particular park — at this very tea garden, even — when the organist began playing. It was a pounding and macabre collision of opposites, Phantom of the Opera vs. aromatic tea and delicate cookies. It was no contest. So, I thought it wise to inquire of the ladies employed at this Japanese Tea Garden about the organist’s weekday schedule:

“Does he play on Fridays?”

“Oh, no. He no play on Fridays.”

“Really? Oh, good. So he wouldn’t be playing, say, at 10:30 on a Friday morning?”

“Oh, no. He no play then.”

7) So, no, he wasn’t playing at 10:30 on that Friday morning. But at 10:31, he was. His theme was circus music and who doesn’t love circus music? Well, demons first of all. For one unhinged second, I believed Joey’s assertions about my condition. “Ooom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah.” I swear I could hear some sinister ringmaster in my head, “Ladies and gentlemen, kindly turn your attention to the center ring where Tracey, that Demon Clown, will now thrilll and amazzze you by twisting her head off and throwing it into the audience, scarring children for life because that is a clown’s lonely calling!”

And so there we sat, without speaking, sipping tea, waiting for the awful oom-pah-pahs to die …..

An auspicious beginning, indeed.

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