You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2009.
Once again I am without internet and am typing on my phone. Oh well.
I would love to write some grandiose post with my extensive reflections over the last year that would lead into what I hope for in 2010 but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I have ideas, snippets, flashes, things that make my chest swell, moments that make my eyes water, bits of the last year that flash underneath my eyelids like a movie, but I haven’t had the time yet, lately, to be still and in my own head, by myself. I will though, soon.
This i know: 2009 was hard. It was a lot of things, but significant in the way that makes me very excited to hang a new calendar. 2009 was not a bad year, not at all, but the taste it has left on my tongue is of loss. It feels like there is a lot that won’t walk into 2010 with me.
My godmother, Ruth, always says these two things:
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)
I think of both of these simple quotes often and they bring me back down. I will carry them into 2010 along with a lot, an abundance of wonderful things really, namely love. With all of the loss I have felt, watching pieces of the world that make my little world make sense to me just disapear, I have been made very aware of the good, the love, the kindness that is everywhere if that is what you go looking for.
It might just be that I have cried more this year than any other in all of my life. I am getting quite good at it really, but I would bet safely that I have laughed just as much. I am lucky or blessed or something. But I am surrounded, covered, blanketed by love.
There is a song I will post when I have access to the internet again that I just found. It breaks me, open, and I love it. There is one line, “Follow your dreams, in through every out door, it seems that’s what we’re here for.” I am going to carry this very closely, in a safe warm place, into this coming year. And as I do this year, wake up, make plans, recount dreams and watch life happen I will keep you posted, like I do.
I am quite grateful for this space, this little blog. And I am grateful for everyone of you who stops by and takes the time to share in my life and my stories and random rants. The release it brings, the connections I’ve made, the friendships I’ve found are more than I could have ever thought to hope for. You all have a place in the creases of my smile. Thank you.
Happy New Year’s Eve to all of you, happy Friday-eve, and of course, happy Cherday everyone!
May 2010 be the most fabulous year so far!
Ok, ok, ok, I have waited for everyone around to finally go to bed and fall asleep so to sneak this post from my folks computer in Somewhere Oregon. I think I am officially having blog withdrawals – does anyone know about this? Is this normal?
So, ok, holy cow, to say the very least. What a vacation trip this little holiday break has been. I don’t have much to say yet (can you even believe that?!?) as I have been biting my tongue here and there for so many days now that maybe I’ve lost my touch a bit? Or maybe I am just so damn tired and worn down and out that the verbose in me has crashed into a deep sleep? This I know- I can’t wait to get back to Seattle with my little family, sit on my couch and stare at all of the laundry and everything else that needs attention that won’t get any for a few days, at least.
This holiday venture has been wonderful in parts and hard and stressful and emotional and hard and hard and hard, just like everyone, in all of our different ways, right? I know. But I so look forward to being home, to waking up with JUST Violet, and ONLY the Seal somewhere near by. I look forward to an extended general state of boringness.
My little family, Violet, the Seal and myself, intend on leaving tomorrow morning but, but, but, who-the-&*@#-ever-with-serious-weather-power-who-very-obviously-hates-me cried his vengeful tears and this city that I am in, all of a sudden, out of the blue, with NO warning or prediction what so ever, has been covered in 8 inches of snow and ice. So now, obviously, who knows where I’ll be tomorrow night now. Have I mentioned that I am exhausted?
This-totally-CRAZY-out-of-the-blue-that-no-one-in-the-whole-world-or-outer-universe-knew-was-coming snow storm, that had me stuck in the car, attempting to drive with the main goal of not dying for what should have been 30 minutes turned 5 hours, with all of the main family stressers in my life in tow, ALL DAMN DAY AND NIGHT, might hold us back one more day. Of course, right. Fine. Whatever.
Point is… eh, I don’t have one. Well, here’s a point: I have made it thus far which leads me to a strong belief that I will make it, in general. And, oh yes, hi little house of jljj, I’ve missed all of you.
So, I am out of town and trying my best to keep this little house of just like jesse james in some sort of fair order while I’m away, meaning I WILL NOT skip Cherday just because of the Holidays! Actually I would have, to be totally honest, if it wasn’t for a wonderful reader, Kim. She sent me an email with a FABULOUS picture of the dining room in which our dear Goddess of All Things Sparkley and Fabulous will be spending her holiday meals. It is tres Cher and tres fabulous, which is redundant really, but anyway. Thanks Kim.
I know this isn’t a video but come on folks, there is still plenty to ogle.
Violet, the Seal, Violet’s folks and I are on the road, crossing state lines, singing songs and eating holiday cookies. How gay and merry, no?
I have already spent a few days with my family and love them, I do, but this time with Violet’s family feels quite nice and relaxing.
This is a two day adventure to our destination meaning Violet and I will suck up as much bad cable television as possible tonight in whatever hotel will let the Seal in. Hopefully this will include the Real Housewives of Anywhere and, of course, the Golden Girls. I feel good about the prospects. I feel good about this trip in general.
Violet’s present is wrapped and after it is unwrapped I will let folks know where the inspiration came from. And by ‘inspiration’ I mean my gift is fine but not nearly as creative as the ideas y’all came up with. Thanks again for all of your help with that.
Just like I promised, I’ve got a bit more Haviland Stillwell for y’all. She was gracious enough to let me interview her recently. I asked her everything y’all asked me to ask and she answered them all (except for giving out her phone number, sorry buddy)! And when she immediately, without a second of a delay, answered which Cher song was her favorite I was thoroughly convinced. This woman is fabulous.
…And we’re rolling:
Your name is very unique. Is there a story behind it (that you have already told 42, 000 times)?
When I was a baby girl, I would tell people, “I’m Haviland; like the China, not like the Motor Oil.” I was named for my very beautiful, very southern grandmother – a real character!
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be an actor/ singer?
I exited the womb with aplomb…belting, if you will. Evidently, I was very excited to be alive. So you could say it was from birth? But the moment I consciously thought, “I want to do this” happened while watching Bette Midler’s outstanding performance(s) in BIG BUSINESS when I was eight.
What is your favorite Cher song?
My friend Diane Warren’s song, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
How did you go about starting what has turned into a successful career?
I was highly aware, always, of the difficulties of working in the entertainment industry and how hard a person had to work to make things happen. My mom was a casting director when I was growing up, so I was always on sets and in theatres. I listened. I studied and trained and absorbed answers to everything I knew to ask both about the business, and about myself as an artist. I was terrifically fortunate to grow up in a family that valued education. I also made mistakes that ended up teaching me even more than expected. I am one of those people who attempts to plan everything out to the second, but of course, most of life doesn’t happen according to plans. I’m still learning to be flexible. And it’s all working out. It’s all a process.
Were you frightened at all when you realized you could do a flawless, spot on impression of Sarah Palin?
HA! I don’t know about that…but she is a helluva performer.
Tell us one of your favorite moments as an actor/singer.
My Broadway debut, opening night. It was FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and Alfred Molina was speaking the first words of the “Tradition” monologue. I looked around the stage at the other actors and then fixed on my friend Joy, and tears just streamed. I felt so grateful.
When you perform, like in Fiddler or when singing for a large crowd, you seem so confident and present. Do you have stage fright? If so, how do you deal with that?
I’m sometimes more comfortable on stage than anywhere else, because I feel fully in control. And if the audience is with me, then we’re good to go.
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Dogs! I have a little rescued terrier who is pretty much perfect.
What is your sign?
If you could be the leading lady (or leading man) for any movie ever made, what movie, who and why?
Scarlett O’Hara, obviously. But updated and with musical numbers!
Right or left handed?
Do you consider yourself a political person? If so, why and how?
Oh, yes. I am obsessed with the news – watching, analyzing, conversing with others who know more than me, and with people who are open to hearing different sides. It’s such a bizarre and transitory time right now in the world, so I am really paying attention.
What would the ideal acting/singing gig look like for you?
I think of acting/singing more in the grand scheme than in specific gigs, but some specifics? I want to be a series regular on a show where I’m encouraged to create and collaborate – ideally something like “Ally McBeal,” “Glee,” “Modern Family, “Murphy Brown”. And of course, still do movies, plays, musicals, voiceovers, albums and concerts. I want to make you laugh and sing some great music. I have a lot of energy and I love working!
If someone was to buy you a drink and have it sent over to your table, what would be the perfect order?
Cold Diet Green Tea, lots of ice.
If there was going to be a made for TV movie all about Haviland Stillwell who would be your first pick to play you?
Lady GaGa. Or um, myself. Or I’ll play her and she could play me?
You were the president of your GSA in high school, right? Tell us about this.
I was one of the leaders in my high school’s GSA. I wasn’t technically out in high school, but I wasn’t in either. I felt highly uncomfortable slapping a label on myself, because I didn’t feel like I had enough experience and knowledge of who I was and what I wanted and needed to be at that point, and I didn’t want one word to stigmatize me. (Side note: I am still not comfortable with labels, it’s just that now I am comfortable with myself. That’s the difference.)
I have always been into equal rights and I loved the political and educational aspects of the club. All students and faculty were invited, and we met once a week. It was really not cool to be a bigot at my high school, so if people were negative, they kept it quiet. When I heard about something being said, I handled it. The GSA was important to me personally, because I was struggling with my identity at the time, and it was good to know others were, too. And it was important in a larger sense because its mere presence encouraged honesty and community.
If you could have either the super power to fly or the super power to be invisible, which one would you pick?
Ooh, nice metaphor! A few years ago I would have chosen invisibility, but now I choose to fly.
Who/ what inspires you and why?
Kindness and productivity. Great work – like someone just killing it in a performance of any kind where there is truth. Passion, joy, intelligence and conviction…and seeing the people I love kick ass. Oh! And laughter! Lots of it.
What are you most proud of?
My family – which includes my best friends, who keep making it happen.
Don’t you think I should go on the Ellen Degeneres show and talk about how important GSA’s are? When I do get the invitation, want to come with me and sing something?
I do think you should, and obviously I’m there. But only if we get the whole studio audience to dance.
Oh. They’ll dance.
Well, Miss Haviland, I really appreciate your taking the time for this interview. Thank you for playing along and for being so willing to answer my many questions. I look forward to following the continued success of your career in all of its many talented forms.
…Hey you, readers, want even more Haviland?!? Here you go:
So, ok, first… YOU ALL ROCK MY SOCKS!
Thank you SO much, all of you, commentors, tweeters, emailers, for being so willing to share your ideas with me and for being so unbelievably creative and filling me up with some serious inspiration. You have saved Violet from another $12 chocolate bar from the local co-op and an earth friendly card- and I promise you, she will appreciate you later, when I tell her the truth: I love you, but it was actually my blog who got you this gift.
Seriously! The ideas are just so creative!
The contest post was a late night last minute freak out (could you tell?) and I feel so lucky, SO LUCKY, once again, like I often do, to have this space, where folks like you show up. You all make my heart pitter patter.
I will keep you posted on what I end up doing… eventually (should probably show Violet first, right? Be patient, this is about her after all.) And someone, or a few of you, should really start thinking about your favorite Cher song OR your Cherday idea (doesn’t have to be Cher so long as Cher is involved in some round about way) OR what my fabulous dog, the Seal, might balance on her head… just for you.
So, Violet is out of town (and has made it safely to the bottom of the grand canyon ::sigh of relief::)… AND is out of cellular and internet reach, meaning, I can beg you, my fine, fine readers, to help me and not get caught. The deal is, we have agreed to only spend $20 on each other for the holidays (actually it was $10 but that is ridiculous) as we are going on a little vacation this coming January together.
So the (obvious) question is: WHAT THE HELL DO I GET MY GIRLFRIEND THAT DOESN’T SUCK FOR UNDER 20 BUCKS?
Here is what she doesn’t want or need: scarf, gloves, hat, socks.
Feel free to HELP ME PLEASE by commenting, tweeting or emailing your suggestions… or you can just sit at home, point and laugh at the screen while you keep the perfect gift idea a secret, cause you are mean like that. COME ON FOLKS! I GOT NOTHIN’!
I will have to temporarily take down this post or hide comments or something by tomorrow around 8 or 9 on the off chance that her first priority in her return to civilization is checking my blog… likely right? Hmm. Anyway… Oh, and I have to be able to pick it up by Friday – no pressure.
Oh yes, and what’s in it for you, you ask? Serious gratitude and one of the following: The person who’s gift idea I go with will either get a Cherday dedication (you can even choose the song) OR the Seal will balance the (reasonable) object of your choosing on her head – up to you…
(Inspired by and for Freedomgirl, at the serious risk of big ol’ kinds of trouble from Violet.)
What you see here is a classic: A boy and her dog enjoying a bit of cheese without all the messy use of utensils… or anyone around to get totally pissed off that I am taking huge bites of cheese right off the block and sharing them with the dog. See? Classic.
The Seal and I dropped Violet and her dad at the airport oh so very early this morning. I didn’t intend on bringing the Seal but she has learned now that when Violet and I begin to stir before the sun is up this means that one or both of us will go missing for a few days. She is a pretty mellow dog for the most part but this morning she looked frantic, rushing around, trying to follow us both around the house wherever we went. And when she couldn’t stop hiccuping I realized she had found a new level of anxiety. So to help ease her constantly-flowing-waterfall-of-emotions-dog-brain I took her outside and made room for her in the car with her blanket. She caught on and immediately the tail was flying and she calmed down.
And now it is mid-afternoon and the Seal and I have done nothing to note. I gave the Seal a bit more breakfast than usual, comfort kibble if you will, and then I gave her a bone to chew out the nervousness with. I had beef stew and ice cream for breakfast and may or may not have that again for lunch. Pizza and beer for dinner, for sure. There are dishes in the sink that will stay there a bit longer than usual and I am still in pajamas. I am trying to make the most of things, right off the bat, to cover the anxiety I can’t shake about Violet’s trip. I know, I know, I know, it will all go splendidly and she will have a ton of great stories, and I am very excited for her. I just look forward to the part where she is back, safe and sound, and complaining about how messy the kitchen is.
On a different note, thank you kind readers, for all of the very sweet emails and comments regarding my sweet little fish friend. If there was an award for Most Fabulous Blog Readers, this blog would win for sure.
Friday, December 11th 2009, 1 p.m.:
When I saw him, through the kitchen window, too close to the surface for this freezing weather I ran to the door, flung on a pair of Violet’s shoes and ran to the pond. It was like time froze. It looked like Fraidy was trapped in ice. He was on his side and he was not moving at all. I panicked. I ran to the shed and grabbed the axe. I ran back to the pond and I started to hit the ice with everything in me. As specks of ice were flying everywhere, I did realize, somewhere, that my efforts were most likely in vain. But I rarely, if ever, accept the things I cannot change until I have proof, a lot of proof.
I threw the axe at the ice as hard as I could, with more of me than I knew I had actually, about six inches to the left of him. I hacked and hacked at the ice block until several inches down I finally hit water. I did this in a circle around him. It took quite a few minutes and all of my might. I felt panicked and out of breath.
As I was hitting the ice block over and over I saw that nothing at all was happening to Fraidy but I still didn’t believe the worst could be true. Or maybe I didn’t believe that there wasn’t still something I could do.
Finally, I had carved a full circle around my friend and as I lifted up several inches of ice, Fraidy slowly floated to the top, on his side, like he was dead.
I ran inside and grabbed a bowl, filled it with room temperature water and ran back outside. I picked Fraidy up with my hands, touching and holding my friend for the first time ever, and put him in the warmer water. Maybe he just needed a break from the cold, who doesn’t? Maybe he had slowed down his breathing so much that he looked dead, like he’s done year after year now, that the human eye just can’t recognize at first. Maybe he just needed a minute. Maybe he would thaw a bit, gasp for air and look at me like, “What the hell am I doing in a salad bowl, you crazy son of a bitch?” Anything. I was looking for anything. I was panicked and shivering and whispering to him over and over, “Come on buddy, all you have to do is breathe, ok? I’m sorry.”
He didn’t. I sat on the frozen ground, beginning to freeze myself, for more than 15 minutes, just staring at him with a sort of attention I have never found before. I would have seen it, if anything happened I would have noticed. I started to feel heavy and dizzy and awful. I started to sink but the ground underneath me was so hard and frozen I had nowhere to sink into so I just sat there and loathed myself for being so devastated.
I realized, then and now, that being this hurt, this broken apart, over a little fish does not fair well in the scheme of things, in my ability to cope with the world. But really, I don’t want to, not like that. And I hate when the world makes me feel like I need to buck up. I tried, I try, but I couldn’t feel less. One of my favorite ways to spend my time was with a fucking goldfish and now he was gone and so now I felt broken and I get, maybe more than is good for me, how stupid this sounds and that only made me more upset. So I sat there, shivering and crying, just staring at him, angry that I felt this sad, angry that he was gone, angry that there was nothing I could do and even more angry wondering if maybe there had been something I could have done. My brain kept yelling at me, “IT’S JUST A FUCKING GOLDFISH!” and my heart argued back, “He was a friend.”
A few hours later I had plans to meet up with a buddy of mine. I decided, in my loathing, that I had no excuse to cancel. He is a good guy and when I eventually told him about Fraidy, whom he knew, I could tell that he got it, and that made me feel a bit less crazy and it made me love him more, for getting me like that, for getting Fraidy like that.
I came home around 4 p.m., later than I meant to, and grabbed a shovel. I tried to dig a hole but the ground was too frozen. I didn’t know what to do so I left him in a fish net, in the pond, his home, that quickly refroze. Fraidy looked like a picture of himself.
- - - -
On Saturday the ground was still very frozen so I took the axe and all of my angst to the ground this time. I started to carve out space for my friend right next to the pond. It was exhausting and it felt good. The ground was frozen solid for almost a foot. I wrapped sweet little Fraidy in a cloth and before I put him in the ground I said, “I’d kiss you goodbye but I don’t kiss boys. I love you though. A lot. And I know your little fish brain is the size of a fish food flake, but I know you knew that. Goodbye.”
Rest in peace Fraidy Phat, my sweet little fish friend.
You will be very missed, especially in quieter moments.
And thanks little guy, you know, for everything…