sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) Nuit Blanche. I fucking love that all of Toronto stays out all night looking at contemporary art. Some of which is fantastic, even if some of it is boring or pointless. And some of the big sponsored exhibits just feel meh while some of the indiest ones are brilliant.

1a) In fact, two of my all-time favorites were indies, chief among them Something For Muffin, in which a card table covered in beautifully frosted cupcakes was laid out in the middle of the street. You couldn't buy them with cash, but in exchange for some brief performance you could have your choice. I believe I sang a sea shanty (with Zev), and then as we were walking away with our tasty prizes someone busted out part of The Magic Flute, I think, and stilled us all.

1b) Also, the next morning after Nuit Blanche there's always some people whining of the interwebs that there are too many high teenagers and some things require queueing and this is clearly a sign of the apocalypse, and I just can't help but think "then stay home, whinypants."

 2) Dear World, Our teenagers get stoned and spend the entire night walking around the city in groups looking at contemporary art installations. Neener neener neener. Love, Toronto

3) Today the Weesauce and I were in a playground near his school in the evening, frolicking about. We were the only ones there, as it was getting on toward dusk. Two guys with a bottle in a bag came weaving toward the park, having a drunken conversation about someone's ex-girlfriend that featured some less-than-savory language. As they neared the park gate, one of them said "Oh, dude, there's a little one there still." And without further discussion, they stumbled on past our park to somewhere else.

4) Whenever I do some basic decent thing like give up a seat on transit or help someone with their parcels/stroller/door/whatever people just kind of smile and nod. Maybe I get a little pat on the arm. No one goes on like I'm the One True Savior of Civility and Courtesy because a ton of people do that sort of thing here. It's just easy and unremarkable.

5) Also we have a Fringe Festival, and two Restaurant Weeks, and a city-funded LGBTQ Community Centre and a truly drool-worthy library system. And two Chinatowns. And some other very cool shit.

5b) Okay, and the world's worst mayor. Admittedly. Still, I really like it here.

sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) Without Mr. Weesauce riding on my shoulders, no one in the airport smiles at me like I am the awesomest thing in the history of awesomeness. 

1.5) There's a horse-choking amount of sexism mixed up in why I get such enormous approbation when I'm out or travelling with the little dude, along with an giant faceful of cultural messages about masculinity and fatherhood, I fully recognize.  

2) On the other hand, I am sitting here typing and eating a sandwich at the moment, rather than riding the escalator or answering a lot of questions about the functions of assorted runway vehicles and people or attempting to keep my small person from dashing through restricted doors before they close. 

3) I would be happy to offer some of these other travelling parents some support, a helping hand, whatever  - especially this mother of three girls to the left of me whose youngest is Not Having this 5am airport situation. But I've learned that a lot of people find it creepy for dudes to offer to help them with kid related things. About all they'll let me do usually is handle the luggage while they wrangle the children. Which is not as nice as getting to hold the babies. 

4) The Weesauce was up in the middle of the night with a fever, not terrible but high enough that Tylenol and a cool bath were applied because he was so unhappy. Once he was cooler, he promptly conked out in bed between us while I lay awake worrying and testing his temperature every, oh, seven seconds. Ish. I have therefore had something life half an hour of sleep. There's going to need to be a nap.

4.5) Also, I'm now worried about my Secret Agent Lover Man - who has a busy week as it is - with a sick kid on top of it all. With luck, the little dude will be back in shape by Monday morning.

5) The airport departure lounge is playing the B-52s at the moment. If I were with a small boy, I'd be having a dance party right now. Trust.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) I have been riding my bicycle. I rode my bicycle more last week than I have ridden a bicycle all the rest of my entire life put together, I think. All in all, I'm enjoying it, though rest days are helpful because ow. I have also learned some important lessons about hydration. But mostly, I have to confess: I enjoy it. Especially on my old-man bike, to the rear which I intend to mount a wooden box for carrying of things, just as soon as I find the wooden box of my dreams.

1.5) Actually, the wooden box of my dreams is one of the old wooden apple crates from Moose Hill Orchards in Londonderry, NH, for all sorts of reasons but mostly because it's a beloved friend's family farm, or was, and I have such clear and lovely memories of being up there, away from adult supervision, a freedom I used to... stay up all night talking with my friend Jonathan. I fear that no more such boxes exist, or - if they do - they are beyond my reach now. But I will find a substitute, I feel sure. 

2) Maybe the wooden box of my dreams is somewhere in central illinois? I'm there a week at the beginning of September, and I agreed to fly into Chicago and drive myself the rest of the way in exchange for having a rental car. I am kind of ridiculously enthusiastic about leisurely pokes through lots of Goodwill/DAV/Salvation Army/junk shop/&c stores in search of the kind of odd junk I so prize: a wooden box, old Pyrex, old quilts, and so on. 

3) Also, small restaurants with pie. Homemade pie. Thick slabs of homemade pie. Mmm.

4) I have been trying a new thing for me, where I keep myself away from the internet for chunks of the day. Reading, listening to music while I eat instead of poking at Facebook, making dates for meals and leaving my phone at home, and so on. It's a somewhat intentional process of trying to leave more space in my thought process - I think I've been hitting 'refresh' too many times; always hungry for more news or narrative. Which is sort of hilarious, because I used to be infamous at one job for staring off into space while fiddling with my Tinkertoy windmill, just thinking and not caring about looking busy. 

4.5) Come to think of it, where are my old Tinkertoys? I think I amalgamated them with the giant can of old-school ones I got for Mr. Weesauce when I found out they were making them out of plastic now? Anti-microbial plastic? Tinkertoys should definitely be made of wood. The round connector bits get so velvety soft after a while, and you can just zone out and stroke one of them against your face while you think about...things.

5) An email subject line in my spam-catcher email reads "20% off Traditional Dildoes and Classic Butt Plugs!" This vintage craze has now officially jumped the shark, kids.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) I am bicycling. My good [personal profile] zevinboots and my beloved husband [ profile] ishai_wallace conspired to get me a new-old bike, a bike that in Toronto is known as a vintage Gazelle and in Barcelona is still somebody's old bike. It's a classic Dutch cruiser, ridden upright, with a chain cover to keep your suitpants safe from the inner workings and three speeds (flat, very minor incline, and minor incline) that Zev bought in Spain and flew over at the beginning of the summer. His heroics, as I believe he calculated, have prompted me to really give the damn thing a good try (I'm afraid of city cycling and generally disinclined to exert myself anyhow). I sort of like it. Traffic scares the bejeesus out of me, but I am learning to cope and finding it relatively pleasant to be able to have a quick cycle to places that would otherwise be an annoyingly expensive transit trip or a really long walk.

1.5) Central to my growing bicycle pleasure: learning to loosen my grip (on the handlebars; evidently I clutch them like a drowning man and stress out my entire upper body) and riding slow and steady, as the bike was designed to do. It occurs to me that there might be a metaphor at work here. Or a life lesson, or something.

2) I have, as of today, a new intern. She is very smart and I am overjoyed. Things are going to start getting done with a quickness now, oh boy. 

3) It's so odd how some parts of my complex and variegated work are so easy for me to do, or fun, and some parts I just cannot seem to bring myself to do - and I have no idea why. I could walk out the door in five minutes and address a crowd of 500 people, no problem, on any topic that I usually speak about. Shirt, shoes, off I go. If I need to print a contract and put it in an envelope and put it in the mail? It can take weeks. Weeks. What's up with that, I ask you?

3.5) Actually, scratch that. No, I don't. 

4) It feels very back-to-school-sy around here, since my SALM has started his fancy new job and I have a week-long residency quite early in September. Not entirely, but rather a lot. I feel like I should be sharpening my pencils and writing my name on a new Trapper Keeper.

5) There's a bit in Hanne Blank's little limited edition (75 copy) book, Inappropriate Crush, where the narrator of one story orders a Trapper Keeper off eBay for the express purpose of doodling her crush's name on it. It kind of made my heart go zing!. Romanticism is well-combined with stationery supplies, don't you think?

5.5) That link above might actually be the last unbought copy of Inappropriate Crush which, let me tell you, you'd be wise to snap up. It's such a satisfying little book of good things.

5.6) I have #44. 
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) I'm reading Cheryl Strayed's book, Wild, this morning as I travel; this is the book for which Oprah famously revitalized her book club. It's good, certainly, but I am not overwhelmed with delight about it. I am sometimes about her Dear Sugar columns in The Rumpus, though. She was anonymous for most of the time she wrote that column, and now that she's been revealed she's hardly written any of them. I have an insistent comprehension of how the two things are related, and how much easier it is to write like that when you're not Known. I'm sorry she doesn;t seem to be writing them anymore, I loved them.

2) I have to fly to Seattle today, and for reasons passing understanding I have to change planes in Houston. Admittedly, my geography has never been so swell as all that. But: Houston? Dear United Airlines, can you explain this?

2.5) People who continue to insist that there's no such thing as white privilege should be sentenced to observational duty in the queue at the Homeland Security hall in Toronto Airport until they learn their *^%$#! lesson.

2.7) I love a toasted bagel with cream cheese and slices of tomato. I can't be the only one, yet when I order it in restaurants or kiosks people behave as though this is an exceptionally strange request.

3) It has come to my attention that [ profile] ishai_wallace and I parent in almost exactly the same way we cook/grocery shop: we cherry pick from among all the things of which we are aware, choosing Hell's Kitchen peanut butter from Minneapolis and Cheerwine cherry soda from South Carolina and Stone House olive oil from California and and making our own whole-milk yogurt and cheesemongers in every time zone and so on, according to our tastes and preferences and what makes sense to us. Same with parenting. I won't enumerate our various choices about all sorts of kid-related things, but I am aware just recently of both how many choices there are to make as a parent and what a mixed bag ours have been. In a very nice, satisfying way, mind you, much like with the foods. 

4) Ow, my head.

5) And now, time to get on the plane. I am looking forward to Seattle, but I kind of already miss my guys. 

5.5) However, speaking of #3, Kauai Family Restaurant is in Seattle. Mmmm.

sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
1. Tomorrow morning we head out for a week of vacation in Maine, with my folks, brother and awesome SIL, and their two boys. Well, actually, first we stop in Ottawa to teach a little for the nice people at Project Acorn, and then on Saturday morning onto Maine. We've all got a house right on the water, and we will be celebrating my Dad's 65th (a little early) and giving the cousins their first real opportunity to spend a good long time together doing whatever two-year-olds do. Making messes and fighting over the one utterly desirable shovel out of eleventy shovels available, one imagines.

2. On this tip, we have secured the assistance of a sitter/parenthelper for the weekdays, in order that the larger people might also experience some level of restfulness and not just a week of chasing our toddlers around someone else's house instead of our own. My mother feels certain that this will be a great situation and everyone will have lots of downtime. We'll see, I guess. I am trying to remain positive about it all.

2.5. I am therefore engaged in packing our household into the trunk of the trusty Toyota, a situation made easier by my mother's daily lists of things she has bought and will bring, and more difficult by Mr. Weesauce's new intense interest in his clothes and recent meltdown-y phase. Which I understand is a totally developmentally appropriate thing, but it makes me start thinking very seriously about a) what will happen on the day he does not have the shirt he urgently requires and b) how much it costs to mail a toddler to the international space station.

2.75. If you were thinking about making a helpful "suggestion" and you're not the parent of a two-year-old, I don't really recommend it. 

3. Yesterday we picked up a three-gallon pail of sour cherries at the farmer's market, and now there are seven jars of cherry-pie filling on the counter. This magic is brought to you by an industrial cherry pitter and my amazing husband. The pie filling is so good I might have eaten the leftover (the partial jar) with a spoon, for breakfast. Mmmmm.

4. Come to think of it, last was the last thing I ate today. Maybe lunch?

5. Mmm, yes. Lunch. Then back to organizing and packing things. 
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 1) Am thinking quite a bit about future marketing for the Virginity Lost & Found. I find it helps for me to think of it as my "outward-facing" show - it really is, I find, a very queer (and LGBT positive, a pleasure-positive, and poly-positive) piece geared toward a straight audience. It's full of sex ed information, but I assume most 'mos already know about, say, the values of lube. So if I tour it, I may need to do some sort of 2-for-1 Being Your Straight Friends promo.

1.5) Have also had great feedback from a few mother-daughter pairs. I wonder whether I could market it as the anti-Purity Ball? A way for parents and older teens to open a conversation about sexuality and sexual debut in a fun, non-shaming, sex-positive way?

2) After two weeks of houseguest, we're decompressing by having... four houseguests (we have a [personal profile] tircha  !)Two of whom are children. On the other hand, Mr. Weesauce is currently enjoying his first-ever sleepover, and eavesdropping on him and Young Master Y negotiate about which stuffed animals would sleep where melted me into a puddle of Papa. So cute.

3) Today's mall visit (had to be done) yielded a big score at Gymboree: two of these peacock tutus for $6 each. We'll keep one, and one can be for my adorable twin nephews to share.

4) My husband, hero of the revolution, has been turning out incredible meals and treats recently. I am really, really spoiled. But I share well.

5) I officially declare this weather Too Fucking Hot, and I demand a recount. Please send some of these too-many degrees to people who need them. This is getting ridiculous.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
 Sometime in August: Someone makes a pun (in my case, about a Virginity Lost...and Found!) and I say "That would be a perfect title for a Fringe show." General laughter and agreement.

Sometime in late October: Toronto Fringe Festival releases its applications for the Fringe. Husband brings it to my attention, and says "Well? Here's your chance!"

More or less immediately before the deadline: "Oh, why not?"

More or less immediately after I beat the odds and get a spot: "Oh, crap!"

November through March: Er...other things. None of which are work of any kind on the show, now officially titled The Virginity Lost & Found. I repeat the title often, and it is met with merriment, which seems like a good sign. 

mid-March: A preliminary technical questionnaire for my still-nonexistent Fringe show is due. Panic sets in. Luckily, the questionnaire only concerns itself with things like "Will you be setting anything on fire?" and "How many people are in your show?", to which I make up some answers (which are now legally binding).

Early April: It becomes clear that in three months, people will be entering a theatre to see a show entitled The Virginity Lost & Found, and that I am the one who is supposed to be writing it. Also performing it. And, at this moment, directing it. Also, the publicity photos and program content are due. I take a somewhat risque photo of me in a powdered wig brandishing a giant dildo, write a hand-wavy description, and say a fervent prayer.

mid-April: my next-door neighbour asks if I've found a director or a stage manager yet. I murmur something vaguely affirmative.

three days later in April: I find a director by asking my husband's old friend's new boyfriend, Spencer Charles Smith, if he has any interest in the job. Somewhat miraculously, he does. I then call a hilariously overqualified old friend, Calvin Anderson, from New York and ask him if he'll take the job. Even more miraculously, he does. I now have a crew, which creates a false sense of security. I still have no idea what this show is about, except that a) it takes place in a mythical government office, and b) there are forms to fill out.

First week of May: It's now two months to the day until the show opens, and "rehearsals" begin. "Rehearsals" is in quotes because the show is still unwritten, and I am therefore much less rehearsing and much more improvising, in character, through a series of questions and scenarios designed to reveal to Spencer and me what this show might possibly be about. We carry on like this for a month, until I have a stronge sense of Mary Pat as a character, and discover that she's not really what I had expected. I thought she was rigid and somewhat disapproving with a slightly catty streak, but instead I discover she's a lovely, sex-positive, pleasure-positive grandmother with a reassuring tone and a great deal of concern for her "young people."

What I thought was a racy, drag-tastic piece about how ridiculous straight people are about sex has turned into a still-fairly-hilarious show full of double-entendre, but now much gentler in tone and with a surprising (even to me) amount of Sex Ed in the mix. And, because the Q&A part of rehearsals has been so great, we decide that she'll take audience questions about sex during the show. 

First week of June: More forms from the Fringe, asking me to decide things I still don't really know the answers to. What will the set look like? I guess at that one (most of the things on the list don't make it into the final show, except the desk).

Second week of June: I have a draft of a script. I start reading it aloud to people, trying to get the feel of it. In the same period of time, I also launch two new children's books, finalize my schedule of appearances for Pride, and continue parenting a very smart, very active toddler. I feel pretty good about my draft script, and start learning my lines. I am a little self-congratulatory that there are weeks left until opening, and the script is done. 

24 June: I realize that I need to rewrite about a quarter of the show, because all the jokes pretty much depend on the audience understanding that the VL&F works like an actual Lost & Found, and that the Lost part refers to actually losing your virginity, like, "I swear it was just here!" and not in the sense that we typically talk about "losing" our virginities. I have written a script in which this is not made explicit until the end f page four. The script is eleven pages long. This is kind of a big problem.

25 June: Kind of a blur. So is much of the rest of the time until Fringe, a period of time which also includes Toronto Pride. I have seven appearances in two days over Pride, so not a lot is getting done show-wise. Conversations with my stage manager and director feature sentences such as "Do we have the forms yet?" and "Which was should these testicles face?"

3 July: First completely off-book runthrough. I now really like Mary Pat and her frank-but-not-vulgar way of discussing anal sex, mutual masturbation, consent, pornography, and sexual communication. Several people say that she reminds them of their favorite teacher, which seems like a good sign (as long as people don't show up expecting something totally different because of the photo and poster).

4 July: Show opens. People like it.

8 July: I have a truly disastrous show, but I learn a lot. ::sigh:: Learning is good and useful. Disasters nevertheless suck.

10 July: The learning shows up in the performances. Nice reviews ensue. Audience sizes begin to grow, and people I know (aka my spies) start to hear good buzz about Mary Pat and the VL&F around Fringe lines. One audience member says to someone she doesn't know is my friend "I thought the question period was pure brilliance. I might go back just to hear more answers!"

11 July: I have a 2:15 show that goes really well, even with a smallish house. Lots of laughter and sustained applause. After I eat, get my kid at school, feed him and bathe him and read him eleventy stories, it occurs to me that I should write about the experience of making a Fringe show: part behind-the-scenes peek, part cautionary tale, and part bald-faced publicity stunt for my last three performances of The Virginity Lost & Found (Thursday the 12th @ 10:30pm, Saturday the 14th at 3:30pm, and Sunday the 15th @ noon).

sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
1. The pace of life right now does not lend itself to thoughtful updatery. But I am going to try for better.

2. Sunday was a terrible day here in many ways. I had a truly terrible show, in which I simply could not connect with the audience. It has been such a long time since I had that feeling, that all-alone-onstage experience, and it has hit me hard. I know I need to get back on the horse, &c., but I don't really want to.

3. Then, upon returning home, I was told that a neighbour and colleague, Kyle Scanlon, took his own life. I'm so saddened and exhausted by this news, and by the understanding that this lovely gentle guy found himself in that brutal moment without the harbor he needed. I know we can never understand another person's internal landscape - I don't know what brought him to that pace, or what if anything could have helped. But I do know that we forget to worry about people who always seem to be all right, and whether or not anything external could have helped Kyle I won;t be forgetting that important fact anytime soon.

3.5. That evening, I had wonderful close people visiting, and they did everything they could to help me feel better about all the things. Also, my fabulous husband [ profile] ishai_wallace insisted over my protests that we pack up the kid and the dog and head to the water. He is wise in many ways.

4. With the invaluable, intrepid Calvin, many things were hung on walls today, including a magnificently nerdy vinyl decal of a dictionary definition of love in the master bedroom. It looks like the words that galleries apply to their walls during an exhibition, and it pleases me enormously. Also hung: family calendar, artwork gifts from [ profile] meter_clicks and [ profile] coiled_blue (at last) and travel-themed artwork from our travels. I am happy to see them on the walls, and also there's some way in which the disappearing blank space pleases me. Perhaps some day of my life will be minimalist and peaceful, but at the moment I enjoy the friendly, productive, lovely chaos.

5. I could, however, do without the dog hair. Good grief, Levi.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
This morning did not start out in the most promising fashion. My Secret Agent Lover Man is away for work, I didn't sleep well and neither did Mr. Weesauce, and to compound the situation Mr. Weesauce has abruptly stopped sucking his thumb. Which is fine, except that it was one of his primary self-soothing techniques and without it he's crying a lot more that usual. Not my favorite flavor, especially during single-parenting time.

(Please note: we did not require or request or even suggest that he stop, despite other people's dire predictions. We just figured he'd stop on his own, though I hadn't really imagined it would be cold-turkey on a Monday afternoon. I'm not sure why he chose this. Toddler logic is often impenetrable.)

Anyhow, after pre-school dropoff this morning I took the good dog for a walk, and was in need of some serious cheering up. I set my phone to shuffle, and asked it for something cheering. Here's what I got (it worked).

Stay Tonight, Eagle Eye Cherry
Cello Song, Ashley MacIsaac
Figured You Out, Nickelback
Honey Jar, Doria Roberts
Feeling Good, Nina Simone
The Little Things, Danny Elfman (from the Wanted soundtrack)
I Am Not A Fucking Drag Queen, Peter Outerbridge
As Long As You're Mine, Wicked Broadway Cast Album
Listen To Your Heart, DHT
Baby Fat, Wet Willie

Possibly a little eclectic, true. But by the time the little dog and I were in the home stretch, bopping along with Wet Willie, I was feeling much better about the whole many-angled thing.


May. 27th, 2012 10:41 pm
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
I have a favorite spoon.

Our daily-use flatwear is a set of silverplate that's not a set at all, but a carefully curated gay-ass collection of individual pieces, none of which are from the same set (except that one trio of iced tea spoons that are the perfect size for so many things). I have a set of silver, my grandmother's silver, which I am working up to using every day but so far, not ready. Many of them are former hotel, institution or private dining room pieces; quite a few of the others are monogrammed. I'm always on the lookout for good ones.

Of them all, there's one spoon that's my favorite: a snubnosed teaspoon in a relatively ornate pattern monogrammed with an S. It has clearly been injured somehow, and then the bowl of the spoon re-ground and polished so it could still be used. They're not expensive spoons, they're designed to be relatively accessible as an alternative to sterling silver, so the original owner could presumably have just purchased a new one. But they chose to mend it instead and put it back to work.

Somehow, I'm delighted by it: by the repair done, by the blunted quality of the resulting spoon, the whole deal. I'm always happy to draw it out of the spoon spot in the drawer and sometimes, when I think of it, I pick my favorite spoon on purpose.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
I walked our little dog today early, because we started the day early - or at least, early for values of here, all human members wearing pants before 7am. I get it that in other households this constitutes sloth, or nearly, but we are not those people. Despite the dire things people predicted when Mr. Weesauce arrived.

As we went, I could hear the schoolchildren in the playfield behind our house, the one that separates us from their school. Recently, we have had some incursions of their grade 7 and 8 students into our courtyard at lunchtime. The courtyard is gated and private, deadbolted so that you must key in or out, and one of the star selling points of this townhouse for us: a green, sheltered space for the kid and dog we were bringing with us and any others we might someday acquire. It's well-decorated with sidewalk-chalked drawings, full of balls and hula hoops, cozy and peaceful.

So when a pack of twelve-year-olds, whooping and cursing, climb the one gate and bomb through the middle, kicking all the balls as they go, it's no one's favorite thing. Evidently it happened last week on Monday, while my SALM was home and I was out, and he went out and told them a thing or two and then called their school besides. The next day, however, proving that pre-teen boys are not the brightest lights most days, they were back - and this time I was home. I made quite a big bellow-y performance of it, since Mister Wallace's reasonable warning didn't hold, and fussed them at volume and warned them that I'd let the dog out the next time, too.

Never mind that The Dog with whom they were being threatened is a twelve-year-old former Seeing Eye dog, and would no more harm a human than sprout wings and fly. We do not have to tell them everything, do we?

In any event. Somewhat concurrent to this business, a youngster of whom we are quite fond, who attends the same school, has been having some difficulty with bullies. He's smart and kind and long-haired and bookish, and they are giving him a bad time, from what I can tell thirdhand through his older sister. And so I got the big idea to just have a stroll through the playfield, with our dog, and that perhaps we would see our young friend and greet him warmly and stand next to him looking big and interested for a while. Maybe the interlopers would be there, too, and they would see that I did indeed have a full-sized dog who, while not slavering and straining at her choke collar or anything, was definitely a whole dog made of dog. Or something.

This did not work out as I had hoped. All I managed to do was quite accidentally terrify a little knot of hijabi girls sharing secrets when I stepped out of a break in the fence, with the dog, and almost crashed into them gathered up there. ::sigh::

Oh, well. Maybe another day. We got a good walk, at least.

so exciting

May. 2nd, 2012 01:10 am
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
My two new children's books went to the printer today. I'm ridiculously excited. I don't remember the last time I was this excited about anything, except when my son was born, and honestly - this feels a little like that. Not the same scale of thing, but the same quality of awe, the same overwhelmed sense of having made something amazing out of basically nothing - out of desire and hope and optimism and snackfoods.

The illustrations are extraordinary; my two illustrators made two really gorgeous, very different books. Amazing how much I learned about the characters I wrote into being and the worlds into which I set them by watching what two such talented people did with the 1500-ish bare words of each story. One created a whole planet and all its inhabitants, and one created an entire parallel world in which Wish Fairies live and work. I'm just so grateful.

In a month, they'll be books. I put as much love into them as I could; thought and care and time and secret love notes and all other manner of tendernesses. Then they go out into the hands of all kinds of people: families with a trans or gender-independent kid or parent or other family member or friend, libraries and schools and community centers, all sorts of places. I am enjoying the anticipation of who I can send copies to, and hoping to hear back from people about their experiences. I'm thinking about what this will mean to the kids who read or hear them, and their families. I am imagining what it will be like to be a little trans or gender-independent kid who has these stories at the age of five or six, and who might indeed always feel different but knows that they're not bad, or wrong, or the only one - for sure. A kid just like them is in a book.

I know it's a little much. But I feel just this minute like I did a big thing, and I am full of bright and fresh hope that in the fullness of time it will turn out to have been a big, good thing.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
I have So Many Things I need to work on that I'm feeling a little stuck.

• Flamingo Rampant,
• The Virginity Lost & Found (my show for Toronto Fringe),
• my reboot of Clearly Marked for high schools (edited and re-cut for content, style, and the reality of this year's gender presentation),
• book proposal for new anthology (still classified Sooper Sekrit until I sell it)
• ongoing work on new book (tentative title All Right Then, I'll Tell You Both, tentative pub date fall 2013)
• write the new stories that are busting to get written since tour (chief among them, a piece called G-d Loves Storytellers).

Plus, you know. Assorted activism & volunteer work, business-y things and booking, travel for work, parenting a toddler, being a partner, and doing something about the laundry, and then the startling discovery fresh this morning that my son appears to have sprouted up two inches overnight and now half his pants are too short. And so on, and so on, and so on.

I'm taking him to CT tomorrow to spend a couple days with my folks. In theory, I could bug out Thursday night and go someplace, or do something. I had a little fantasy about going into NYC, eating something nice, and queuing for rush tickets to Anything Goes (I feel as though I could use a little Cole Porter right about now) but it seems like more running around than I prefer, even though I know I'll be happy to have gone. And also, I should hole up and work on some of my umpteen-squillion projects.

I should go right now and collect my husband's bike. The problem being, I'd have to either ride it home (Nooooo....) or tie it into the trunk, which I feel supremely unqualified to do since that's (we think) how the brake assembly got fucked up last time.

Many things are lovely. Don't take this as complaint, please. It's just that there are so *many things* I want to work on that it feels like my focus is broken. Hrm. Is there a writerly equivalent of blinders?

Oh, well. Better busy than bored. Maybe I can make some phone calls and fold laundry at the same time to get things going a leetle faster here.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
So my Grandma - my dad's mom - appears now to have rounded the last bend into dementia. It's unclear what, if anything, caused this but her ability to hang on to a present narrative or to recognize people seems to have mostly disappeared. Evidently she eventually recognized my dad yesterday, but that was pretty much the high point before she descended back into upset about living outdoors (?) and where were the students (?) and why no one had told her that she left the oven on (?). I can, if I squint, kind of make some sketchy relationships between what she's saying and her circumstances - she is outside her apartment, in the health center, so maybe she thinks of it as outdoors? That sort of thing.

It feels like she's died. She's always been smart, funny, and tender with me, and our relationship has been characterized by long talks - about books, politics, family members, ideas, and professional basketball (for years, I followed her beloved Miami Heat just well enough to be able to talk with her about them). Her physical decline in her 90s, while of course troubling, was a lot less upsetting when she was still reading and talking and complaining about what an idiot George W Bush was (we got a lot of mileage out of him. Just the sight of his face and she'd scathingly say "Look at him! He's so stupid. Does he even know what's going on?")

I'm tempted to write more, to memorialize her now, but that seems wrong - or at least, impolite. But it feels like the big mourning has started for me, and that her eventual physical death will feel more like a relief than a sorrow. I am having the sorrow now, as the Grandma I've loved and sparred with for all my thirty-seven years has slipped past the last screen, where I can't follow.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
1) Yesterday I had one of those moments, where you think "The only thing I can change about this situation is my attitude." It was true, too - I did have a snotful cold and an earache to boot, it was pissing down rain, I was having various interpersonal upsets. I was whiny and emotional and I had wet feet and mucus in my beard. So I changed my attitude, and I did kind of feel better.

2) This morning I woke up thinking the word "irredeemable." Nope, no idea why.

3) Our good and faithful dog has one of those cones on her head to protect her from herself, and it's clear that she blames me for this turn of events. I am getting dramatic sighs, puppy-dog eyes, and everything else she has in her arsenal by turns; the rest of the time she resolutely ignores me. Except when I have cheese in my hand. Because, you know, cheese.

4) I keep thinking I want to do more little bits of public art. Stencils, posters, stickers. The thing I feel most drawn to is attaching a loop of wire or monofilament to those little pewter charms - there's a traditional set of images called milagros; I don't think I would use those images but that's the sort of item I mean - and leaving them around. Maybe with notes? I like the idea.

5) I have all manner of things to write. For work. And I had really thought to get the ingredients for and make Tom Yum Goong today, too, because it's so good when one has a cold (and at the moment, everyone has a cold). I kind of just want to stay in, sip NeoCitran (a Canadian miracle of cold remedy) and write letters, though. Well, it's early. Let's see if we can do some of both.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
1) One of the reasons I knew I would marry my husband: he owned three fat wooden spoons, well-used to the point of being velvety.

1a) That's not true, really. I married him because he's smart, kind, and sexy, with great politics and an equally good sense of humor. Even if he's been a lousy cook who owned nothing but a can opener and service for three in melamine, I would have married him. The wooden spoons were a nice bonus, though.

2) Then for him, let's be honest, I learned to cook vegetarian. This was not a swift process, and... mistakes were made. There was a rainbow chard incident. Nachos with black beans were employed far too often. I under-marinated the tofu for the first, oh, two years. Mister Vegetarian Since Age Twelve Kitchen Virtuoso shook his head sadly at my canned mushroom gravy, but he ate it. All of it, bless him.

3) Sometimes our Household Teenager comes over and they bake together. These are very nice days, indeed. The kitchen is gigglesome all evening and smells of sweets for two days.

4) We acquired a cake bell, plain and handsome. It currently contains the last smears of brown butter glaze from a green tomato cake. When he first said "green tomato cake" I thought "Really?' but I kept it to myself because I have learned that his food suggestions are usually sound and frequently inspired. Green tomato cake was no exception.

5) There are four dozen jars of his homemade tomato sauce in our house, canned and ready for winter (an unexpected benefit of marrying a farmboy). January is hard enough without having to eat tasteless grocery store tomatoes through it all.

6) Part of my morning routine is to give whatever's infusing a good shake. At the moment, it's double vanilla extract and etrogcello. I shake with a sense of gratitude, I can assure you.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
It smells great in my house. I am roasting cauliflower and garlic, to be mixed with pureed white beans (simmering on the stove) for a spread/dip/pate substance. This new level in vegetarian cookery was unlocked last week, when leftovers threatened to overwhelm the fridge. I was in the bath, ignoring them by reading Hanne Blank's limited-edition Inappropriate Crush, which includes a recipe for a different kind of vegetarian pate, and inspiration struck. Cauliflower and chickpea curry, a household favorite of which we simply had more than we could reasonably eat gven the meals for which we needed food, became curried cauliflower and chickpea spread with the addition of a little oil and a few slices of red onion. Delicious. And so now I am, with intention, making a roasted garlic, cauliflower, and white bean spread.

I am also baking bread, because the weather today is cold and wet and who needs that, I ask you? I use my pal Aria's bread recipe, which yields a great crusty loaf of dense, delicious bread. Perfect for being spread with nice and proteinaceous things and handed to one's hurrying husband and he bails out the door work early to go and do the third day in a row of major, board-wide principal training. You don't want to get into that on an empty stomach, I can assure you. And bread-baking is such a satisfying crappy day activity, I find.

Also, also, I am making cream of broccoli soup. I am amused to note that I have reserved the water in which I blanched the broccoli so I can add it back later for extra flavor and nutritional value. What's not clear to me is whether this step comes from my farmboy husband, my foodie tendencies, or this household's admittedly somewhat hippy-dippy food imperatives.

Lest you think, however, that we are all groovy-organic-morally-superior all the time around here, I will note that last night we scrapped the plan of black bean tacos with backyard garden salsa fresca in favor of poutine takeaway, and that we - as we always do - fed Someone Short exactly what we ate, meaning that our toddler pretty much had french fries and cheese for dinner last night. Possible that a few peas got in, but let us not hold our breath on that, shall we?

Let us fervently hope that this is what they mean by a balanced diet.
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
Customs and Immigration Officer: Where do you live?

Me: Toronto

Officer: Where were you?

Me: Just a bit outside Baltimore.

Officer (frowning at my documents): What's your name?

Me: Sason Bear Bergman

Officer: And what did it used to be?

Me: Sharon Jill. That's my name change order right there.

Officer: You used to be a female?

Me: Yes.

Officer: Like that guy in the news right now. What's his name? Chaz Bono.

Me: Pretty much, except my mother isn't Cher.

Officer: And you're not on Dancing With The Stars

Me: Two things for which I am grateful.

Officer (chuckling, hands me back my documents): Okay, have a good day, buddy.

yeah, so:

Sep. 13th, 2011 09:28 am
sbearbergman: a photo of my head and shoulders, dressed in a navy suit and bright blue shirt, face turned partly away (Default)
1. I love Vietnamese-style iced coffee. Big mason jar, stovetop espresso, sweetened condensed milk, lots of ice. So cold and sweet and rattly and caffeinating. Mmmm.

1a. There's really nothing about my mornings that can't be solved with a good iced coffee. Which is both a little bit hyperbole and privilege like whoa. I'm pretty fucking lucky.

2. Getting ready to start teaching and performing and touring again after a pretty nice August off, doing family things and having visitors. I am making itineraries and printing things out and working on the new website (launching tomorrow! eep!) and booking shows.

3. Hey, did you want me to come perform or teach at your school/conference/group/&c? Now would be the time to ask.

4. There are a lot of reasons I love the work I do. Some are big ones, like the email I got yesterday from someone's parents, sharing a story and asking some questions after reading Nearest Exit. And some are small ones, like the twenty minutes I got to spend with Someone Short this morning, watching a crane move steel beams, because they were right up the road from his nursery school and there was actually no reason at all I had to rush off.

4a. Honest to g-d, construction workers seem to love it when little kids are fascinated with their work and equipment. We got waves, hard-hat tips, air horn honks, the whole deal. The little dude was enthralled (we got smiled at, lots).

5. I get this weekend off from everything to just go hang out before the Fall Madness begins. I'm really looking forward to it. Kid at grandparents, dog with friends, off in the countryside with some pals and without a care. Watch me sleep in until 9 and shower every morning like the bad boy I am. I don't want to alarm anyone, but I might even have a drink at lunch.

5a. Jump back.
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