Monday, October 31, 2011

Alabama has color

I was in Alabama over the weekend, saying hi to Great Stoic Wonder, who I’m officially renaming as the Great Cancer Fighting Cowboy (Stoic Is Implied) and Phone Harpy Mommy.


I can’t remember the last time I was in Alabama when it wasn’t Christmas, and therefore I was stunned to see all the trees turning color.











Brilliant color.












These aren’t the best pictures, since they’re from a moving car, and also on my iPhone, but you get the general idea.










And just when I think I’m ready to claim being an Alabamian again, I see something idiotic like this in the airport gift shop.











Sigh. Two steps forward, three poop steps back.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Once Is Enough

You know what I find myself doing a lot of these days? Repeating prayers. Repeating prayers for my dad, repeating prayers for my friends, repeating prayers for myself.


I can try and blame it on my short term memory, which is definitely going (I’d rather my memory than, say, my eyesight.)


A lot of my time has been consumed lately with Striped Tiger. Last Monday found me in the conference room of a mid-sized talent agency, guzzling free Diet Coke, and pitching an hour long TV version of Striped Tiger.


Striped Tiger started as my first full length play, then I turned it into a feature length script. Last Monday I and two producers went into the conference room with an hour long version. Walking into an agency conference room is something I haven’t done before in my career, and so I asked for lots and lots of prayer ahead of time.


And driving down there, I kept repeating over and over again, please be with me, God. Please be with me, God. Please give me wisdom and discernment. Please let me personable and knowledgeable. And no matter what the outcome is, give me the grace to accept it. Even if it’s not what I hoped for.


Over and over and over again. Please be with me, God. Please be with me, God.


Until at one point, I had to stop and ask myself. “Why am I repeating myself? What, do I think that God didn’t hear me the first time?”


Why do we endlessly punch the elevator button? The crosswalk button? Why do we endlessly repeat the same prayer? Why do priests give out penance in the form of multiple Hail Marys? Is there comfort in the repetition? Like maybe God wouldn’t have granted the prayer UNLESS I said it ten times? I only said it nine, so nope, no go?


Of course it doesn’t work that way. But for a split second, it felt like it.


I pray repeatedly when I don’t know what else to say, so I just say the same thing over and over again, like a verbal security blanket. God heard me the first time. But I didn’t believe it the first time.


The problem isn’t me worrying God didn’t hear me. The problem is that I don’t believe that praying once is enough. I’ve got to believe in the power of my own prayer. And that once is enough.


We came out of the conference room with the order to make Striped Tiger a half hour show. My joke is that the only format left from here on out are five minute webisodes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next order.


And as I drove back through the city to work, jacked up on free Diet Coke, all I could think of was an endless string of prayer:


Thank you God, thank you. Thank you God, thank you. Thank you God, thank you.


Once is enough. More makes me feel better, but once is enough.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Am A Christian.

I Am A Christian.

This Is What I Believe.

I believe Jesus Christ Is My Personal Lord And Savior.

I will talk to you if you want to ask me what I believe.

If you ask me if I believe, I will be honest and say yes, I do.

But I’m not gonna shove my religion down your throat.

I’m not about changing your mind.

I’m about living my life in a way that makes you want to ask me how I do it.

And I’ll say it’s a combination of caffeine, tequila, sheer force of will and discipline…

…but mostly God.

I wouldn’t be here without Him.

Everything I have is because of Him.

My imagination, my writing skills, my personal point of view.

My family, my friends, every open door, every closed door.

Everything I have is because of God.

Because I Am A Christian.

This is what I believe:

I believe in God.

I believe in gay rights.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose.

I believe a woman can teach, lead, and pastor a church.

I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion.

It’s not headline making.

It’s not flashy.

But there’s a lot of us out here.

And we’re so reasonable, we don’t make front page news.

I Am A Christian

I’ve never seen Passion Of The Christ

And I don’t intend to.

I know the story, I know what happens.

I Am A Christian

My favorite movie is Blade Runner.

My next favorite movies are Fight Club, Seven, and Heathers.

I lean towards the dark side, but I write on the humorous side.

(And I like Muppets too.)

I Am A Christian.

I swear like a sailor and I drink like a fish.

I believe in heaven.

I also believe in the devil.

(you can’t really have one without the other.)

I Am A Christian.

I only say “I’ll pray for you” if I know hearing that makes you feel better.

(the rest of the time, I’m still praying for you, I’m just not saying it to your face.)

I don’t raise my hands when we’re singing songs in church.

Half the time I’m not singing.

But I’m still standing up.

Because I Am A Christian.

And I go to church even when I don’t feel like it.

Even when I’m pissed off at God.

(which is a lot lately)

I show up.

Woody Allen says 80 percent of success is showing up.

So I show up.

I stand in the aisles and I don’t raise my hands during the songs, and I don’t sing, but I’m there.

(I also tithe 10 percent)

Because I Am A Christian

I get pissed with God.

I shout and scream and metaphorically throw things.

Sometimes I drop the F bomb in His general direction.

And He still loves me.

So I don’t turn my back on Him.

Even if I don’t hear Him.

Even if He doesn’t talk to me.

It doesn’t mean He’s not there, or that He doesn’t care.

It means I’ll understand later.

I’m not getting out of the ring.

God’s gonna have to do something with me, because I’m not getting out of the ring.

I am all of this and so much much more.

I Am A Christian.

And This Is What I Believe.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Hops

The last time I hung out with Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy in July and August, there was a full moon on one of the nights during my stay. It shone through the window in the master bedroom, and bathed a patch of floor with nifty moonlight. Ginger Puppy liked it so much she decided to sleep there (she also could catch the breeze coming through.) And it was so lovely I decided to join her on the floor with a pillow for a little while. Amy and Ginger Puppy, sleeping in a patch of moonlight. Which is where we stayed until Basil Diva Dog woke us both up with a start with his very loud knocking around trying to get out of his crate.

I visited Ginger Puppy on Sunday at the animal hospital. I had noticed that she wasn’t eating much during the last few days of my stay with her in August, and alerted her daddies Albert and Abbot that they may want to take her to get a check up. This was how we found out that she had what was eventually diagnosed as IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia.)

How does this happen? How does my father go from a routine colonoscopy to Stage IV colon cancer in the space of a month? How does my favorite dogsitting client go from her loveable self to a softly trembling lump on a pink blanket in an exam room with a feeding tube up her nose and shaved patchy fur in the space of two months? She’s only seven and a half. Her aloof anti-snuggling brother is 14, poops every five minutes, has no idea where he is and he’s still here.

And alas, Ginger Puppy is not. I got the call today. I was the first person they called about it.

When her daddies invited me to come visit her on Sunday, I knew what was up. Though they said I was under no pressure, I knew that it would likely be the last time I would see her. All three of us took turns lying on her pink blanket with her in the exam room, angling our faces so she could see us without having to raise her head. We kissed her dry nose, we stroked her paws, we rubbed her ears. We got so excited when she drank a bowl of water. We cheered when we got a wag of a tail. We told her she was beautiful. We told her she was loved. We told her over and over again that she was loved, loved, loved so much.

I loved Ginger Puppy like she was my own. She was my favorite, not because she wasn’t any trouble (she didn’t eat my shoes, she didn’t snore to rattle the windows, she didn’t think she was a bird, she didn’t smell like pee) But because she was the very definition of love. She loved people. Other dogs, not so much. But people. PEOPLE! People were AWESOME!

She was a snugglemonster. How many nights were spent in the media room, with her resting again my leg while we watched movie after movie after movie? I always eschewed the leather chair with motorized footrest and cup holder so I could sit on the floor so she could be next to me, because she wasn’t allowed on the furniture.















How many mornings did I wake up and see her asleep on a towel next to the bed, so she could be right there when I woke up?















How many late nights did I jump in the hottub and drink and talk/screamed/wailed to God while she sat on the second step and patiently waited for me to come out?















How many times did I write in the office while she sat on my toes?



The Ginger Puppy post over in the Hall of Fame section has gone around the world and then some. It’s by far the most popular post on this blog. This entry continued her saga, so if I’m a writer, if I’m a proper bookender, I know what comes next.

I don’t want to write it, tears are streaming down my face as I type this out. But I have to complete the story. The story that’s true, the story that will continue to be true. The story where I play the role of God and Ginger Puppy plays the role of all of you.

But I’m not going to set it against the animal hospital backdrop. I’m not going to set it against the last time I saw her, labored breathing, brown eyes, and one wag of a tail.

I’m going to set it in that patch of moonlight, where me and her were stretched out on the floor, where she was healthy and happy and snuggly. And the moonlight was dreamy and silvery and nobody was in any pain at all.

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Will it hurt?

I don’t think so, little one. I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t.

And you won’t leave me?

Absolutely not. Not for a single second.

I don’t understand why it had to go this way. Why couldn’t my leg have healed? Why did this immune mediated whatever show up? Why am I going so soon? I’m seven and a half. My brother is practically twice as old. Why can’t I stay as long as he can?

I wish I could tell you. I really really wish I could.

I like it here. I like my daddies and my friends. I like you.

I like you too, Ginger Puppy. But where I’m taking you, you’ll be happy. You won’t have any trouble with your leg anymore. You’ll be able to run around and eat what you want and jump on all sorts of furniture.

WHAT!?!? I get to jump on a couch!?!?

A thousand couches, and chairs and beds and all sorts of stuff.

I’m not supposed to jump on the furniture!

But you can where we’re going. You can even sleep on a real live BED.

That sounds AMAZING!

Yep. It will be.

Will I still be able to snuggle next to somebody?

Absolutely. There’s going to be all sorts of new people to meet, and they’re going to love you just as much as you were loved here.

It sounds fun. But I gotta admit, I’m a little nervous.

Jus trust me, little one. Just trust me. I am not leaving you for a single second. I’ll be with you the entire time.

Well… okay. But can we sit in the moonlight just a little while longer?

Sure we can, Ginger Puppy. Absolutely we can.

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Ginger Puppy was my favorite. Her real name was Hops.