Saturday, September 26, 2009


This is a post for my friend, G, who wrote me yesterday, after I said I'm running out of time.

In her note, G described the death of her father and mother, and comforted me with her thoughts about connecting with them, referring to her belief in life after death.

I need to tell her:

"Dear G, I am not afraid of death, or dying. I've been there. I died on the operating once. And another time, en-route to surgery, I was sure from how the doctors and nurses behaved, that it was the end of my life and welcomed it -- I was in great pain.

"I don't believe in life after death. I don't have that background, or a religion, or a belief that gives me that comforting thought. I deal with facts about me, my body. I turn off the "running out of time" thoughts, because the thoughts serve no purpose.

Everyone, with just the tick of a clock or a peek at the calendar, feels time passing. I turn off "fear" about specifics ("this valve is wearing out, it can't be repaired"). And I watch what I eat, and note if something reverberates (gives me pain, or discomfort). in any way.

"The message to me, from me, about running out of time is -- "Hey, you're running out of time no matter what you think or do. Em, you don't stop driving the car when the tank is down to the last quarter. You drive more carefully, in a way that will use the remaining gas economically. You use the right gas, keep the tank clean, don't overfill."

Stuff like that gives me something to do (like standing straight, like exercising, keeping fit), like keeping pressure in the tires equalized, checking the oil, water, and transmission fluid, keeping the engine clean. I know I'll stall on the highway when I run out of gas. I figure I can walk to a nearby gas station.

Maybe I can, and maybe I can't.

Once, on a deserted country road at 1;30 a.m. we were stuck at "Stuckey's" in Georgia. (What an adventure -- I'll write a blog about it, one of these days!)

Anyhow, thinking about life after death -- well, it doesn't help me, G. You're my best friend but different strokes for different folks.

I guess I'm a car person, like a traveling salesman -- my thousand one-night stands taught me life lessons that keep me on the highway -- keep me zooming along.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Wait a second, hold on -- nobody makes that screw? No plastic substitute?

Oh dear! Nothing 33 inches wide? Only 36 or 32? Golly -- I don't need six sockets? Can't I get two?

Sure, sure -- new stuff is better, faster, more efficient, less energy-consuming. Naturally it costs more, along with higher taxes, higher delivery costs, and sky-high prices for professional installation!

Ahh yes! It's the very latest, newest, electronic, wireless technology!

And it's not just hardware, software, home, office, life-improvement appliances, and fix-it stuff. Just about everything has been wonderfully re-conceived, remodeled, modernized, and standardized.

(STANDARD, just like your neighbor, is what everyone desires, right? And needs, with a warranty policy for a not exorbitantly large additional fee.)

Did you buy the latest phone? One of the new lighter, smaller, super-durable laptops? If you didn't... well ... the model you bought last year can be updated, but ... well ... updating costs about the same as investing in the new version with its Wi-Fi-APC, DTV-DVR-TVO, VR capabilities.


You don't want all that stuff? . You have no use for it? You think it's dumb? You think people look crazy when they're walking on the street talking out loud to unseen companions?

(I'll bet a hundred years ago, your mother's mother your father's father felt the same way and muttered what's that for? And wondered why in the world would anyone want something like that? )

Well, quietly, secretly I find myself thinking -- if I don't get it or do it and stay in tune with the times ... gee, one of these days I'm going to feel like I don't belong here, and then what?

Desuetude? (Ah, I love the mellifluous, echoing, sort of boxed-in sound of d-e-s-u-e-t-u-d- e --the sense it gives, of being FINISHED, in a formal state of DISUSE.)

"Dammit, not I!" says Em.

Complaining, warring with obsolescence is better. Stick to your guns! If you don't have a cell phone, don't get one! If you can't use a computer, you can't go online -- thank your lucky stars!

I'm beginning to think "Dot com" belongs in one of those black holes out there somewhere, in the space beyond space.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Some ads I can tolerate, others get me turning off the volume, and sort of watching. This one is maximum intolerable.

Click it on-- click this commercial off fast.

Aside from the fact that it's repeated often on all the major channels, it has appeared in variations that are similarly offensive. In my mind, I keep composing a letter to OPTIMUM ON LINE, and stating "I will never buy your product; I will talk down your product, until you stop advertising with actresses flaunting themselves, singing, dancing, selling themselves in this way."

Their bump-and grinding is repulsive. Not sexy. The designer of this ad, the composer of the song, the creator of the concept is grotesquely childlike -- it's an adolescent male's vision that belongs to the forties or fifties.

Gee, now that I'm saying it ... "action speaks louder than words" ... could I, should I get in touch with the company? Why don't I dial the advertised 800 number, and talk to someone?

(Oh sure, yeah -- it's easy -- just pick up the phone. The friendly operators who answer are trained to handle complaints and find solutions to customers' requests, and politely, with well-rehearsed circumlocution, AVOID anything that might harm the company.)

But IF I collect signatures from others who hate this commercial, it might affect someone -- IF my letter containing the signatures gets shown to a supervisor.

Supervisors scare me. Their words erect an impenetrable wall, as they chant like robots what the vice-presidents order them to chant, if they're hoping to be vice-presidents some day.

Perhaps soon, with the change of season, there will be another version. (There was a pre-spring OPTIMUM commercial with girls dressed like mermaids, flipping their tails, in an iggy sexy way, brainlessly, repulsively applauding what the macho dancer guys were promoting.)

Hey, girls could be dressed as Thanksgiving turkeys, legs and wings tied, greased and shiny with spices ... or in Mrs. Santa outfits, offering themselves as presents, red and green wrapped
comfort and joy,"
or ...
New Year's, the ball dropping, 2010 satin ribbons around Optimumly endowed adorable babes. Gee, wowy, these are great ideas ... maybe the corporate heads will read this, love it, and offer me a job. And click --I can click myself off!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Periodically, I ask myself, What am I doing eight hours a day? Where am I heading?

I don't do a lot of house-cleaning (I let the dust accumulate, and do the moping, waxing, tidying only when I'm on the mood, or it's absolutely necessary). But my home is a home, and a thousand things catch my eye every day. and become a "mmm" thought, and part of a plan.

Being self-employed and therefore the boss (having been the boss most of my life) I've evolved Em's way of doing things.

I make every day a work day, and it's more or less planned -- details pre-arranged, the "deck" cleared, with my mood, my inner self geared and ready to do what I've planned to do.

I make my own schedule. But I'm free to indulge in whatever hits me -- more sleep, a second breakfast, or some spur of the moment meandering in the outside world. Mostly I stick to "Turn on the computer" -- look at my list (got a list on my desk), and proceed with what's next.

For six months I've been doing a blog. (Google says: "Blog is a web log, chronicle or diary where you share your thoughts with others.")

I write one every day. Sometimes worriedly, sometimes mischievously, sometimes very quickly, usually five or six hours are involved, sometimes more.

Yes, it's self-expression. but crafted --revised, re-written. re-conceived sometimes as if the daily post is part of a book. (Every word in a book has to studied, verified, and shaped to relate to what's already written.)

At first, when Fran, my Website designer, suggested that I write a blog, I read a few blogs and thought, "No way --bloggers are would-be writers, just putting down stuff off the top of their heads."

But now that I'm getting the hang of it, even though sometimes I feel like I'm in a river of amateur swimmers, splashing around -- I'm having fun. Blogging has become my job. Though I wonder if I can keep this up (a blog a day) for another six months or a year? Two years? Won't I run out of ideas ?

Fran, who's become my blog coach, sends me links to interesting, current doings -- fascinating, sometimes funny, often scary tidbits in the news, big deal (and little deal) events I might want to write about ... "Like a columnist --Em, you are a columnist!" Fran said.

Mmm. Columnist sounds better, feels better than" blogger." (It's like putting on a new sneaker, new ballet slipper.)

So what to write about, with Fran's help, along with my own daily doings is like an candy jar, chock full of gum balls, pretty colored jaw breakers. It's a magic jar that keeps refilling itself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I went to a beauty salon a few times, in my "actress" career phase, and hated the amount of time it took -- couldn't stop my mind from questioning why bother?

I observed and absorbed what the professionals did -- most of their routines were mumbo jumbo (like disappearing into a private area to prepare hair coloring -- it's just measuring and mixing the recipe, isn't it?)

And tipping -- was it 10% of the price, 15 % -- or more if the main guy and his assistants chatted with you? Nobody was willing to tell me straight-out -- how much?

I didn't want my toes "done," no undercoat, triple-coat of nail polish, no color except "natural," no skin treatments, or my hair feather-cut, or a different color.

Nevertheless, after each salon session, I came away with why don't I? should I? beautification thoughts flying around in my head, with no place to land.

A dancer friend of mine (not someone I'd paid to make me prettier), thought I'd look better, younger ("more in tune with the times" she said) with short hair.

I went to a wig store and tried on a few ... no, no No N O -- they made me look like someone else, not me! Am I stubborn, set in my ways? (Probably!)

But take a look at these famous women:
Mariska Hargitay, her memorable beautiful face -- the hair stylists made her look ordinary.
And Holly Hunter-- blond makes her "hot?" (To my eye, it makes her look older, and scrawnier.)

And the brilliantly versatile, amazing, Sandra Bullock-- I didn't recognize her! I kept thinking is that blond really her?

The know-it-all. image-making hair stylists re-invented Penelope Cruz -- turned her into a fluffy powder puff.
And nowadays, the talented, chameleon Hillary Swank, LOOKS mannish, awful.

And Julia Roberts?
In recent years "Pretty Woman" hasn't really looked like herself, so when she changed her hair, I barely glance at her -- she looks like everyone else.

Don't these stars trust themselves and the images THEY created? My goodness, they worked-worked-worked to get to the point where they're names and are instantly recognizable!


Monday, September 21, 2009


How many refrigerators have I bought in my life? And stoves?

Should I hold up one hand and start counting on my fingers -- remembering my first rented apartment -- cold water flat, 5th floor walk up, smell of cabbage and roach spray in the hallways?

NO refrigerator. The stove -- cleaner with a skull and cross bones label, scrubbing, chiseling with a knife at the embedded grease -- giving up and buying a second-hand, two-burner hot- plate. And a tiny, half-height ice-box, so we didn't have to keep milk, butter, and meat outside, on the window sill.

I've been down the "new-appliances" road. Right now we're speeding down a super highway -- inundated, a bit bewildered with online pictures, prices, and specs.

And now, as of yesterday, I've started back down the "exercise" road -- new aches are telling me to change the route that gets me where I'm heading, and avoid turnout stretches.

Ahh, that's a pathway -- one I travel every day to keep myself capable of full-out dancing -- the dancing to music that I do after my warm-ups, when I perform for no one but me, and the pleasure it gives me to feel free, light, committed, concentrated ... how to describe it -- the transcendental feeling of becoming the music.

Of course, like most women, I've got the "what-to-wear" road -- what is my cold weather uniform going to be this year? (Uniform? Yep, that's what I call the outfit I tend to wear every day.)

I evolve a uniform every year -- some color, a right fabric, a combination of top and bottom -- pants or skirt, blouse, shirt, sweater, or jacket. It's usually something I happen to wear on a day that turns into an exciting, productive day. And whatever it is, it's my destination when I approach my closet.

Then, there's the "road to the holidays"-- the road I get on that intersects with people who are near, dear, and connected to me -- sort of a jogging trail through my own private "Central Park" where I observe nature, the seasons changing, the faces of those special people changing, with mine.

My map? It's my gift list -- employees, postman, parking lot guys, and loved ones -- I circle the important names, with specifics in parentheses.

Your roads are yours.

JC's roads are his. I wouldn't be able to find my way down his roads even if he showed me, unless he held my hand and led me. My roads are mine. I made them -- almost every hill, every valley, every nook and cranny is familiar. Ambling, hurrying, skipping or marching down my roads, I may get temporarily lost, but I always end up finding my way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I want to write about JOE BUSBY. Here's the logo for his Website.

I bought two pairs of laces for $1.26 + $3.00 for shipping. I e-mailed my thanks to the company, asking, "Who's the owner? How do you guys break even?" This is what they e-mailed me:

"Joe Busby was a manager for Honeywell. for ten years in Dayton and moved to Cincinnati. He started the shoe lace business for various reasons -- two being he wanted to be able to raise a family and work at the same time and also his wife had a full time job and was traveling a lot as well. He selected shoe laces because it allowed him to buy and sell. Thus when he quit his corporate job he switched from buying and selling to making and selling at the same time and created a niche market for himself."

Here's my Website logo.
Em, director/mgr. of a dance company moved to L.A. to finish a book, returned to NYC for various reasons -- two being my book wasn't sold and I thought maybe my play could be done in NYC, and my husband, a full-time actor was traveling to NYC to do leading roles. I created a virtual library Website because it got me readers. Thus, I switched from writing and not being read, to writing with a niche where my writing could be read for free.

There comes a time in your life ... yours, mine, or Joe Busby's ... where you need to be spending your days, hours, and thoughts on your life, enjoying it if you can, making your job and your work -- the work you do every day -- more significant, important, meaningful -- to you.

Joe Busby IS the Shoelaces Place.

I salute him. Attention must be paid to people who have the power, the guts and vision to change the direction of their lives so that they're NOT working for money, but working to make themselves more useful.

I guess -- because I 'm trying to do the same thing -- I'm saluting myself along with him.