Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Calendar Time

Choosing a calendar is the highlight of my year. As an artist, I appreciate beautiful designs and a wall calendar is one way to enjoy art all year long. I spend a lot of time finding the perfect calendar that will inspire me for the next 12 months. I usually buy three wall calendars and an engagement calendar. In past years I've enjoyed a variety of designs and themes: TV shows, comics, abstract art, travel, films, nature, etc.

For my kitchen, I bought the Lang Coffee calendar. The decorative illustrations of retro coffee motifs are beautiful. Perfect choice for an avid coffee drinker and coffeehouse patron like me.

My home office calendar features snap shots of "I Love Lucy." Best comedy series EVER! She makes me laugh and I know I'll need to laugh a lot in 2011.

At work I have a small wall calendar called "Flower Spirits" featuring radiographs of nature. I spotted it at Barnes & Noble and fell in love with it on the spot. Steven Meyers captures delicate images of botanicals and flowers in invisible light. Truly stunning artwork!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains:

"GLORIA, IN EXCELSIS DEO!" (Glory to God in the highest!)

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two Days Until Christmas

Countdown time. When I was a kid, this was the longest week ever. Now I enjoy the preparations as much as the Day itself. I love sending out cards, decorating the house, baking treats, buying/making gifts, singing carols, going to Christmas events and watching Christmas movies. My faves are "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

I especially enjoy church this time of year. The sanctuary is decorated and everyone is singing Christmas songs. Our hearts are in one accord as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. On Christmas Eve we will gather for a candlelight service.

This Christmas I see God at work in my family, bringing healing and hope.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Five Days Until Christmas

Hark! The herald angels sing: "Glory to the newborn King!"

Peace on Earth, and mercy mild; God and sinners -- RECONCILED!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise! Join the triumph of the skies! With the angelic hosts, proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! The herald angels sing: "Glory to the newborn King!"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Run, Forrest, Run!

I love to exercise. There. I said it. I'm not obsessive about it, but there's nothing like releasing those endorphins!

As a child, my exercise was hopscotch, jump rope, tag, monkey bars and dodge ball. We had no idea we were getting a workout; we were just having fun.

In my teen years I hated all forms of exercise. My least favorite class was P.E. I was never a fan of team sports and I hated getting all sweaty and taking showers at school. But it wasn't all bad; I met my best friend playing field hockey.

When I was in my 20s I took up jogging. It all started with an undergraduate psychology class called "Running and Being." It explained how running was a psychological and spiritual activity that could improve your life. And it did. I was hooked. I ran in local 5-k races, read books on running and kept a runner's journal. I learned which shoes were best for runners and how to stretch to prevent injury. I even subscribed to Runner's World.

I still run today, but not as much. I injured my left knee a few years ago and it set me back several months. It got better and I started running again. But then I developed plantar fasciitis in my right heel. Running was out so we bought an elliptical machine, the next best thing to running, with the added bonus of watching TV while I work out.

Back in the day I would run in the dark before dawn, in snow, ice and wind. I was like the mail man...nothing could stop me. Now, if it's a little bit cold or windy, I work out on the elliptical. I've become a weather wimp.

My goal is to get my groove back.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In Progress...

For the last year, I've been thinking about the play I'm going to write, trying to get a solid grasp of the story I truly want to tell. I believe in destiny and that whatever is meant to be will happen. I also believe that there is a time for everything. And the time to write my first full-length play is now.

I can't discuss the details of the play on this blog, but I can tell you it's a comedy and many of the characters and situations are inspired by my own life. I've learned that, as a writer, who you are gets into your stories one way or another. It can't be helped. Look at the plays of famous playwrights; they are about the world of the author.

As I write, I'm discovering that the characters are starting to tell me what they want to say. It's rather disconcerting. My main character has to be careful that she's not overpowered by the minor characters...she must carry the play on her own. It's interesting that her mother is the one who wants to take over the play, which is what my own mother tended to do in real life...take over.

Maybe I'm a character in my own life. Like Harold Crick in "Stranger Than Fiction.":

"Little did he know..."

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I'm Not Rappaport

They don't write plays like Herb Gardner's anymore. In my book, he's one of the best playwrights of the 20th century: "A Thousand Clowns," "The Goodbye People," "Thieves" and "Conversations with My Father," just to name a few.

My favorite is his Tony Award-winning play, "I'm Not Rappaport."  The original 1985 Broadway production starred Judd Hirsch as Nat and Cleavon Little as Midge. There was a Broadway revival of the play in 2003 and Hirsch reprised his role as Nat while Ben Vereen played Midge. The 1996 film version featured Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis.

Set in New York City, two elderly men pass the time on a bench in Central Park. Nat is Jewish and can't help stretching the truth to make his life seem more interesting. Midge is a black, displaced worker about to lose his job. The men confront issues of crime, family, society and aging. Beautiful ending...when to lie and when to tell the truth. It's not always black and white (pun).

One of the most intriguing things about this story is the title which comes from an old Vaudeville joke:

NAT: Hey, Rappaport! I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?

MIDGE: I'm not Rappaport.

NAT: Rappaport, what happened to you? You used to be a short fat guy, and now you're a tall skinny guy.

MIDGE: I'm not Rappaport.

NAT: Rappaport, you used to be a young guy with a beard, and now you're an old guy with a mustache.

MIDGE: I'm not Rappaport.

NAT: Rappaport, how has this happened? You used to be a cowardly little white guy, and now you're a big imposing black guy.

MIDGE: I'm not Rappaport.

NAT: And you changed your name, too!