Muse vs Muse vs Muse vs…

Oooh! Makes me wonder….

I’m in a conundrum I can’t recall having ever been in before.

My table easel is with blank canvas is up raring to go. My color palette rests between my and acrylics and watercolors.

So does my sketchpad with its plethora of markers and scores of sharpened colored pencils that lay in wait.

All while cursors blink on three different incomplete stories, a half-begun glosa, and a line for what is free form verse for now, but may become a villanelle, a tritina, an octain or…or…

Not to mention an idea in pieces malingering in Photoshop limbo.

And in the midst of the creative storm is not-so-little, not-so-old, but very frustrated me as I find myself singularly unable to do any one of the above because Muse wants to do each and every single one of the above…

Right.

Freaking.

Now.

So instead, I slice and see which comes out on top.

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As It Concerts Me

Yesterday was all about Broadway, but I also miss concerts. I have a long history with them.

First concert: The Spinners with Dionne Warwick, NYC 1970s (don’t remember the venue, I was nine or ten years old with my mother).

Last concert: Tituss Burgess at Carnegie Hall, NYC February 2020 (Thank you D-Fab!)

Best concert: Queen, Madison Square Garden, NYC September 1980 (First rock concert, saying I was underage and had NO business being there doesn’t cover it, but by God IT WAS GLORIOUS!)

Worst concert: I’m happy to say I’ve never been a bad concert, not even a ho hum one.

Loudest concert: Oh that’s an easy one – Metallica 2009 at Prudential Center. My ears rang for nearly three days.

Seen the most: Metallica and Jay Z, three times each.

Most surprising: Isaac Hayes live at Prospect Park Bandshell – June 2008. Surprising solely because of the gut punch of his passing away two months later.

Wish I could have seen: – Hands down Prince #1 I don’t know how I let that sexy motherfucker slip through my concert wish list unseen, *deep spiritual soulful sigh of regret*. Also, Nirvana is another one I really wish I could have seen.

Grateful I had a chance to see: Linkin Park in concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden in July of 2008. LP had to cancel part their 2015 concert tour which included its stop in NYC. In July 2017 we lost Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington to suicide.

Linkin Park 2017 ticket stub

I still have the tickets for the “Welcome to Blinkin Park” concert at NYC’s Citifield Stadium that was scheduled the following week.

Next concert: Live in person? Who knows… Stay tuned…

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On Stage

A friend and I were speaking on missing how we were missing live theatre. Watching productions of lived filmed plays and musicals has soothed the ache, but nothing will heal it until we can enjoy live productions again. Naturally, that segued into hits, misses and surprises. I won’t go into hits [many] and [thankfully very few] misses here. However, there were three performances that have stood out for me.

A few years ago I had the pleasure to see Josh Groban on Broadway, as the titular Pierre, in “Pierre and Natasha: The Great Comet of 1912”. There was not exactly a stage, per se. The theatre was styled in such a way that elevated paths and performing pits were woven throughout the venue. While the audience on the main floor were the crux of where the performance was focused; all in the audience, even those in the bleachers had their turns to be as much participants as voyeurs. I still have a “love letter” handed directly to me by one of the actors during the performance, it was delightful. What made this performance stand out was a scene in the musical where the stars and the muses aligned as one for one magical space in time and laid their blessings upon Mr. Josh Groban. Something ineffably sublime was happening as he played and sang. Groban had complete command of the moment. He knew it. We in the audience knew it. He knew we knew he knew we knew, you know? It was visceral and awe in the true sense of the word before over use conflated its meaning. It was magnificence! I had never felt anything like before, I do pray I get to enjoy such again.

On the flip side of that was Broadway standout, Norm Lewis. Mr. Lewis was using his talents as the titular role in an off-Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd”. He was the draw and you understood why. He was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. All the way up until the near opposite of what happened to Josh Groban fell upon him. Lewis broke out in visible sweat and had completely lost his voice on the end note of “A Little Priest” just before the end of Act One. I suspected it had become really bad around “Epiphany”, the first really off notes I noticed from his usually melliferous voice. To his credit he barreled through to intermission, but all could see it was close. It was the first, and thus far only, time I have attended a performance where the lead performer had to be replaced betwixt acts. And this was on opening night to boot. It was reported he was out sick for another couple of days before he was able to return to the stage.   As elated as Josh Groban had to have felt on his magical night; I imagine was the despondency of Lewis on that night. 

Next was the a revival of “Godspell”. It’s a personal favorite, much like “Pippin” where I will watch each any revival that I can catch so I have seen several performances. Thus, I can say it was not the best, nor the worst production of the play I’ve seen.  Still, I knew I was in for something a little different when the actor who portrayed Jesus walked on water [in a wonderfully executed special effect] only for the actor in the dual role as John the Baptist/Judas who followed immediately behind him and fell into the pool. Notice how I state ‘the actor’ for each? That is because I do not remember their names. Lovely actors, sure, but not one that stood out to me. However, there was one member of the ensemble who did. A dynamic actor I still remember wore leopard print leggings, a black tank top and her hair in Bantu knots. She garnered my attention from the moment she stepped onto the stage, but it was her rendition of “By My Side”, what until that performance had always been one of my least favorite songs in the musical, that seared into my soul with her rich voice. During final bows we locked eyes, I blew her a kiss and touched my heart for the gift of that song which was my introduction to the talent that is Uzo Aduba. If you’ve watched the TV series “Orange is the New Black” or the limited mini-series, “Mrs. America”, you understand why the woman now has three Primetime Emmy Awards under her belt. 

Finally, and the first live theatre that taught me to never underestimate the understudy. Powerhouse Debbie Allen was in the lead role in a revival of  “Sweet Charity” on Broadway.  I have followed Allen’s career off and on since her appearance on the television show “Good Times” in the 70s. It was the now a decade later. She had received good reviews for her performance. My late-husband purchased tickets as a birthday present for me. I was very much looking forward to seeing her live. Regrettably, I never got to see Debbie Allen in that role. She was unable to perform the night we had tickets. The role was being performed by her understudy, an eventual Tony award winning turn as co-star in the show, but that night I knew nothing of her, so I was very disappointed to say the least. The understudy was excellent and I enjoyed the show, but I was there to see Debbie Allen, not whoever she was, I didn’t bother to keep the playbill I was that upset. Still, I went from not wanting to know her, from not being able to forget her. 

Years later the same actress appeared on what eventually became a signature television role for her. This was years before one could easily check IMDB for an actor’s resume. Her character on television was very different from the Broadway role in which I was introduced to the actress. In fact, it took her second appearance on the show for me to make the connection and I was both impressed and flabbergasted because Dr. Lilith Sternin (eventually and formerly Crane), was no Charity Hope Valentine that’s for sure. Fans of the TV show Cheers are likely smiling already knowing I’m speaking of the phenomenal, singer-actor-dancer triple-threat that is Bebe Neuwirth. No longer anyone’s an understudy, I’ve since seen her as the marquee star on Broadway as Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago. As much as I adored the movie, I cannot hear “All That Jazz” and not think of Bebe Neuwirth first. 

There’s just something about live theatre that movies and television cannot touch. I have seen Pippin, in various incarnations on and very off Broadway at least a fifteen times live since I first was implored to “come and waste on hour or two” by the Lead Player in a what I now know is a sanitized high school production, but my preteen self was enchanted and have loved live theatre, and especially musicals, ever since. 

I (im)patiently wait for Broadway to open again.

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Not Banking On It

Most males, especially over 50 are familiar with the semi-joking “I could’ve been rich, but my mother threw away all my (fill in the blank)”. I say men because in the 80’s-90’s the majority of baseball cards/comic collectors were males. It certainly was surprise, to my late-husband when he learned I had become a reader of them in the mid to late-80s. I knew I was a rarity among my friends, a girl who was into comics, my favorite being Marvel’s X-Men series. Yes, I wanted to be Storm – what female into comics didn’t?

I enjoyed the art and the stories, but I was not a collector. I did not purchase with the intent to collect. Still, there were some that I kept for whatever reason. The ones I chose to keep were properly cased in plastic sleeves with backing board. Regrettably, doing so with comics was not a thing when my late-husband was a boy buying them. It was not until he saw me preserving mine that I learned he had comics of his own stacked in box at the back of a closet. He saw how I protect mine, he chose not to go through his and they stayed in their box. A box I did not look in until our third move. Let’s just say when I finally opened that box for the first time I was glad I wore gloves, a good two-thirds of what was in that box was trashed. We did not try to salvage it. As for what was left? Aged, yellow pages, dog-eared pages, cockling, etc. This was the 90s, AOL was still mailing mini-CDs; the Internet had taken off, but it was not the monster we have now. There was no no way to determine the value, if any, of what we had without dragging the entire collection to comics retailer. That never happened. The box was repacked with his hodge-podge of Captain America, Daredevil, Ku Fu Masters et al, and my Spawn and X-Men where they remain untouched through three more moves until yesterday.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I spent the evening going through my comic collection. I say ‘comic collection’ with a massive grain a of salt considering the condition of most of what’s in it and I was not the most conscientious of collectors. Essentially, I finally grouped them by proper title and number. Where 30 years ago I would have had to drag them to a store, last night I used my phone to check the value of a few. There are many I know I bought back in the day, but I was the mom that dumped. However, an unexpected gem, or few, have survived…

Photo of X-Men #266 comic

X-Men #266

One day back in August 1990 I became the owner of Marvel comic’s The Uncanny X-Men #266. I spent one whole whopping dollar for the privilege. I know it’s not in pristine condition 9.8 on their grade scale, but it is a decent 7.0 one. At minimum I would get $100 for it according to a random website I checked even if booted down to a quality of 6.0. I have learned that if I had purchased this issue at a newsstand or retailer rather than the comic subscription service I had at the time would be worth. I’d love to know the logic behind that, but whatever.

The banker box of comics that has existed for nearly twenty years in my possession is now gone. All comics are properly categorized in a filing cabinet. I haven’t gone through each comic and researched their values. Of the random few I checked I know I could pay rent for a couple of months, so that was cool. That’s a project for another, knowing me sunny, day.

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WHEEEEE – Oh – Whomp-whomp

WHEEEEEEEE!

It’s the first day of Spring! The sun is actually shining. The temps here are gazing the line at 60 degrees. The plan is to run errands this mornings, then do something I promised myself I would do for ages. I am finally, FINALLY going to through the collection of comic books that have been in the same bankers box untouched through five different change of addresses. Always sunny days I choose to be in the mood for such, it never fails. 🤣

I’m getting this post out of the way so I don’t have to think about it.

We’re three-quarters through to the finish line! Can you believe it?

The Raivenne Saturday, March 20, 2021 9:30am

Whomp! Whomp! All of the above was written by 9:30am. You know what was done after that? I had breakfast. And after that I ran errands. And three hours after that I came home and sorted laundry. And after that I hit the comics. And after that…. And after that…

Do you know what was NOT done after that? Apparently, clicking Publish. By on my phone and not on my laptop, added with this not being the most exciting of posts, so I knew nothing was amiss until I now.

Whomp Whomp Whomp Whomp <— The Price is Right game show sad trombone sound.

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I Down – 1 to Go

I was scheduled to get my 1st Covid shot next week. Late yesterday I was called by the clinic and asked if it were possible for me to come in today. Luckily, I did not have training and accepted the change of schedule with a definitive “Is Amos famous?”. My best friend and I scheduled together so she had received the call as well. We both were free.

This morning we arrived at a little before the appointed time because I know there’s paperwork. Best laid plans, my best friend was fine, but no one could find my name. Long story made short about twenty minutes later one of the assistants had started his shift amidst the kerfuffle. It turned out he was the one who made the call and remembered speaking with me because of the silly Famous Amos comment and I was finally given the paperwork and received my shot.

Since I had now taken the day off work to have the shot – because I did not know how I would feel, I now had a free day. Before the schedule change, my bestie and I were going to go to Michael’s, a craft store, after my work shift. All I wanted one thing: a couple of cans of Mod Podge. Go there get it and come home. We were both feeling fine, so we decided to go ahead with the shopping plan.

Neither of us knew the Michael’s in that mall had closed. Well, what are two gals at a mall going to do? Some nearly $200 a piece at Target later, none of which contained Mod or Podge, answers that question. All was fine until I got home, put everything away and laid down because I felt sleepy.

Guess who just woke up about twenty minutes ago? Guess who put it down to side effect of the shot? Guess who still needs Mod Podge? And guess who just remembered to slice?

1 down was not supposed to be me!

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It’s Been One Year Since You’ve Looked At Me…

At 4pm one year ago today, I walked out of my place of employment without a clue as to when I would return. My boss literally said the words “Don’t come back here tomorrow.” The pandemic had hit, we went into emergency mode and my unit was one that would be working from home. My agency is twenty-four hours. There were/are units that continue to come in. There was no way around it, some services must be handled in person, even in the midst of a pandemic.

That translated to even though the City quarantined, and masks, hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing became de rigueur, on occasion my work wife and I would have to come to the office. It was part necessity and part breaking up what had quickly become the monotony of being cooped home. However, as the weather got cold, every couple of weeks became, once a month and once a month became we have not stepped foot in my office since the very first week of January.

We knew we were entering a ghost town with the barest amount of personnel, so dressing for ‘work’ had fallen by the wayside for my work-wife. I would not wear a full out suit, but I wore slacks and blouses, in my mind it’s the office. Still, we may have visited the office a maximum of fifteen times in this past year. It has dawned to me, now that people are being vaccinated, I suspect my office may reopen by the end of spring. Whether it will return to a full week or some split schedule is undetermined as of yet, as the City as a whole is excruciatingly, but definitely emerging into a new semblance of normal.

I’ve lived in mostly jeans and t-shirts. My wardrobe, work or otherwise, has barely been used in the past year; that is going to change. I know there are clothes in my closet that have not seen the light since Winter 2019. I am not going to lie, I have gained the Covid 20+ and I am not looking forward to going through some of my clothes. And while I admit to the retail therapy I’ve done in the interim, it’s not going to be pretty for some of my wardrobe. Not to mention, 0I have not worn proper shoes in over a year. Can I even walk in my low work heels anymore?

After a year of various levels of quarantine, I am looking forward to regularly seeing friends and (certain), colleagues again, dining in restaurants, going to concerts and movies and Broadway! Above all, I am looking forward to travelling again. Other than a weekend jaunt to Philadelphia last November, I have not left my fair City since I returned from Cuba in spring of 2019. In the words of Lenny Kravitz: I want to get away – I want to fly away – yeah – yeah- yeah

Still, I find myself conflicted. Am I ready for real clothes, five days a week again? After a year of pretty much living in Hermitsville, am I ready for the noise… the people(!)? As much as I am looking forward to being out and about once more am I ready for the world again?

More important is it ready for me?

PS: !! Happy St. Patrick’s Day !!

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Sudoku Who?

I am the first person to admit, while I do well enough at English – I am a writer, poet and blogger after all – my skill in mathematics leaves MUCH to be desired. I never cared about my X and don’t you dare ask me about Y I’m that way. Surprisingly, geometry and I got along. Acute, obtuse, isosceles, squares, and pretty much any dang thing that suffixed in “-agon” were good buddies of mine because it was shapes – my artist brain understood those type of figures. Other than that? Fuhgettaboutit! I get confused looking at math problems in TV and movies. “Good Will Hunting” became a foreign language every time Matt Damon’s character, the eponymous Will, stepped to the black board. Hell, a depiction of high school Trigonometry would have been/still remains out of my depth of comprehension.

Suffice it to say when Sudoku became a ‘thing’, I saw numbers, heard you have to do math and promptly said “Uh… noPe.” To be fair, over the years I have looked at a game or two, tried to fathom it out, but the (il)logic behind them seemed as variable and numerous as, well, numbers. I am not a fan.

Thus, I am not quite sure how on earth THIS happened last night…

Sudoku game finished
A messy win, is a win nonetheless.

A friend online mentioned sudoku and yesterday became one of those weird times where I thought to myself, Meh, why not? I googled “easy” sudoku games, hit a random link and printed one out. I assumed by easy it meant I could complete it in about 30 minutes. HAH! Did I say HAH! ? What I meant was *snort-chortle-snigger-HAH!*. That nonsense took nearly 90 minutes, and as you see from the various scratch outs and overlays; I did not have an easy time at all. However, unlike every other game I attempted in the past, for once I saw the pattern. I had more than half the game done within the first hour. It’s the most I had ever done and it made me determined to complete this miracle. The remainder was correcting my mistakes in order to figure out the rest of the game.

I did not find this fun or relaxing. I still do not understand the appeal. It will likely be a few more years before I am thus intrigued to try again. Still, I was so stunned that I had finally, Finally, FINALLY completed my first sudoku game I took a picture for prosperity. A memory I get to share now, with no plans to try it again in the immediate future.

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+ Energy –

It’s a Monday and it feels as though my energy reserves are all over the place today.

WHAT FUELED ME:

  • COFFEE and drinking it out an oversized mug shaped like a skull
  • Silliness with my best friend this morning
  • Able to get a series of work related items that were on the back burner, completed by noon
  • Muse giving me inspiration for a story
  • Knowing the official start of spring is just mere days away

WHAT DRAINED ME:

  • Realizing the day was passing quickly and I had yet to post
  • A couple of work related calls that were just *aarrghh-ravating*
  • Received incorrect package that took over an hour with customer service to resolve
  • Ol’ Man Winter reminding who’s still in charge with another massive drop in temps today
  • Knowing the feel of spring itself is still a couple of weeks away

WHAT I LEARNED:

I need to slow down take a moment and at least stand at the window to notice the day, I’m clearly down with winter’s chill and I am looking very forward to spring.

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Vegetation Station

Remember yesterday when I turned into Domestic Goddess and lost my dang mind cleaning? Remember that I declared today would be a day of vegetation? Remember?

Yeah…about that…

To be fair I didn’t exactly lie. Some vegetation was done by me. Fine, let me start from the beginning. I woke up 7am and remembered we sprang forward into daylight savings. The only time telling devices that advance automatically are my computer, my TV and my phone. All other clocks and my watches are manual. Meh, I already lost an hour, what’s another one right? I lounged around in my bed reading until each time I glanced at the clock in my bedroom with its one-hour off time annoyed me enough to do something about it. So first job of the day around 10am was to go through the place and set everything that needs setting. That was fine until I reached the living room I saved for last because I was going to vegetate there for a bit. That’s where I once again encountered the three 16qt bags of soil I had purchased to repot my plants. The bags annoyed me yesterday as I had to pick up bags of dirt in order to clean under said bags and put the dirt back on the floor. The irony was not lost and now they blocked the way to the living room clock. Okay that’s it, this needs be handled, now.

See those five pots of plants below? There were only two this morning.

Five potted peace lily plants.

Because I knew this was going to be a mess I was prepared. I had enough sheets of plastic on the floor and nearby furnishings to make Dexter proud. If you don’t get the reference let’s just say I could dismember a body and not get a drop of blood on anything. Soil however is not as cooperative. It takes a surprising amount of time to take what was in two pots and split them into five. And in spite of my best efforts, some soil found the one chink in dirt blocking armor and took advantage of it that yes, I had to sweep and mop the floor again when done.

While cleaning I remembered I needed to go to the bank and after the bank was a few errands since I was already out there and when I came back I needed to make dinner and after dinner was made I played tech support over the phone to someone having a computer issue. [Let’s not talk about that – just no.] When I was done, the last thing I wanted to see was a computer, totally forgetting I need to slice. I ate my dinner, Italian sausage and peppers over linguini with a side salad for the curious, and then I remembered I wanted to start on an art project for my bestie. I swear I do know how to relax, I really do!

Incomplete art project: black silhouette of a seated woman against an abstract purple, gold and white background
incomplete art project

I stopped when my 11pm alarm went off reminding me to get ready for bed, I have work in the morning. I also got peckish, so I went to the fridge and took out an orange. Want to guess what that orange reminded me to do?

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