Lies, Lies, Lies

Recently one of my Proverbs for the Day was: “Don’t lie to me, but more importantly, don’t lie to yourself.” But, in actuality, we all lie. Everyday.

Studies have shown that men lie an average of six times per day – twice as much as women lie (. In a study done in Sydney, Australia (http://www.thehits.co.nz/random-stuff/these-are-the-top-10-lies-men-and-women-tell/), top ten lies for men and women are thought the be:

The top 10 lies women tell:

  1. ‘Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine’
  2. ‘Oh, this isn’t new, I’ve had it for ages’
  3. ‘It wasn’t that expensive’
  4. ‘It was on sale’
  5. ‘I’m on my way’
  6. ‘I don’t know where it is, I haven’t touched it’
  7. ‘I didn’t have that much to drink’
  8. ‘I’ve got a headache’
  9. ‘No, I didn’t throw it away’
  10. ‘Sorry, I missed your call’

The top 10 lies men tell:

  1. ‘Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine’
  2. ‘This will be my last drink’
  3. ‘No, your butt doesn’t look big in that’
  4. ‘I had no signal’
  5. ‘My battery died’
  6. ‘Sorry, I missed your call’
  7. ‘I didn’t have that much to drink’
  8. ‘I’m on my way’
  9. ‘It wasn’t that expensive’
  10. ‘I’m stuck in traffic’

I myself am guilty on some of the lies on both of those lists.

We all possess some talent for deceit, researchers estimate that lying behaviors arose soon after the emergence of language; however, lying has even been exhibited in animals, who most frequently lie through acts of omission. An article on steemit.com (https://steemit.com/lie/@francofromottawa/do-animals-lie) posits that “Deception is not only a natural instinct of all living creatures, but that it is absolutely essential to survival for some. After all, those who lie, whether they are human or otherwise, often do so for their own gain or to avoid punishment, embarrassment, or harm. Take for example Koko the Gorilla. When her handlers confronted her after she tore a steel sink out of its mooring, she signed “cat did it” and pointed at her innocent pet kitten.”

Some studies show that we lie easier over time as guilt responses from our amygdala become more subdued due to excessive lying or just getting used to lying. Which may also be one reason that people tend to become better liars as we age.

Lying becomes even easier when we can write about lies. Physical and vocal “tells” that indicate that someone is lying are not evident in writing and you can lie to a much broader group of people in writing than in one-on-one conversations. Does mastering the art of lying mean mastering the world? When one looks at our current President, the answer could mean an unfortunate “yes.”

But what about the people who believe in our lies?   We wouldn’t really continue to lie if it didn’t benefit people to tell lies. Some people are very skilled liars. Other people need the lies that they are told because they fill a need in their lives. George Carlin said, “Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.” People don’t need to know the paint is wet, and it is not difficult to check themselves.

But why do we lie to ourselves? According to an article in Phsychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201708/the-many-ways-we-lie-ourselves), all of us are in denial about something. Lying to oneself can often satisfy important psychological needs that we have. (For example, many managers I talk to say that employees all tend to rate themselves in the top 10%.)

Lies to ourselves tend to be in the following categories:

  • Feigning ignorance. Sometimes in order to make it through something we have a tendency to ignore negative feedback or information. For example, someone opening a new business and opening for success may not want to know about new business failure rates.
  • Denying reality. This is where people tend to deny what they think is unbearable. I often wish there were realities I could deny, but I tend to do the “this is not the start of a migraine,” even though I would likely be better off if I would admit it was the start of a migraine and just take my damned medication.
  • Overconfidence. Some people are overconfident and think that they are or always will be on top. (See my manager comment about workers thinking they are all in the top 10%.) I often say that performers are sometimes in a bi-polar mode where they are overconfident or have lost all confidence. Being overconfident can be a blessing when you are getting ready to bare it all on stage! (Take that however you want to.)
  • Self-sabotage. The opposite side to the above. Sometimes people refrain from preparation so that they can blame other factors and not have to face that they are just not good enough.
  • Cherry-picking. Where we pick out the statements that support what we think.
  • Self-image. Portraying yourself as you want to be seen. Facebook, for example, is a great way to do this. Many people put on the happy smiling face for Facebook, but do not show negative things because that is not the self-image they want.
  • Sour grapes. I didn’t get the thing I wanted, so I never really wanted it anyway.
  • Attribution. Why did we fail? What caused it to happen? Was it us or events outside our control. The attributions we give to explain events in our lives protects us and allows us to have an excuse.

So, really, we all lie. We all need to lie, and lying is a natural response to so many things that impact our lives. We have all seen movies about someone who couldn’t lie. Life would be ridiculous. And painful. Not to mention that a lot of us tell ourselves negative lies anyway… I didn’t get this gig because I suck, or I didn’t get this gig because my act is not what they need for their show? What do you want to tell yourself? Neither one may be 100% the truth – do we even know the truth? What is the difference between a lie and a story we tell ourselves to get through life? Is there one? (Religion? … oh, wait that was supposed to be a rhetorical question…)

Maybe the people who lie a lot lack the confidence not to lie. Maybe people who lie to themselves a lot are not smart enough or strong enough to live without the lies. Maybe we all lie a lot to ourselves and the others around us and we just don’t know the lies we are telling. People aren’t bad just because they lie, people are bad because of the kinds of lies that they tell. We all lie.

 

 

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Proverb for the Day Archives – April 2018

Without courage you risk losing everything else.

 

Your train of thought has already left the station.

 

No one is 100% right 100% of the time.

 

A pedestal, like a prison, is a small space in which to navigate.

 

You are never too important to be nice to people.

 

There is no such thing as a pain free life.

 

Good friends don’t judge you, they judge other people with you.

 

Change requires courage and courage often requires change.

 

Nope, I do not have penis envy. And if I did, I would not be envying yours.

 

Obey gravity. It’s the law.

 

You have to start before you can finish.

 

Some people can’t handle fabulous.
 

I wasn’t amazing today.  I was too busy being human.

 

Without challenges, efforts lose meaning.

 

I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying that I am right.

 

Being an expert in one thing does not make you an expert in everything.

 

Just because it came out of someone’s mouth does not make it true.

 

I don’t give a shit about what you want.  You should be pleasing me.

 

It’s easy to be an asshole.

 

Some days make you want to stay in bed before you even get up.

 

There is power in being silly and not caring.

 

If you want to be great, stop asking for permission.

 

I have to constantly remind myself that not everyone is proficient in their ability to communicate.

 

Good friends are not there to use each other but to lean on and support each other, in turn.

 

Unfortunately, it is my circus and those are my monkeys.

 

I could be a nicer person if other people weren’t as stupid.

 

If I wanted you to talk I wouldn’t have taped your mouth shut.

 

If you keep telling yourself you are not ready, you never will be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the Rainbow…

“Toto, I don’t think we are in California anymore,” I whispered to no one in particular knowing full well that the plane had landed and I was disembarking the plane in Kansas. Well, technically Missouri, since the Kansas City airport is in Missouri and NOT Kansas.  But close enough.  I was heading into Kansas territory, sure enough.  I had left my technicolor dream home of California for a week in the black-and-white world of farms, fields, and tornadoes.   I missed the state of poppies already.

This was not my first trip to Kansas, and, unfortunately, it will not be my last.  And, like the black-and-white Kansas in the Wizard of Oz, many, but not all Kansas moments are painful.  Some of my first childhood memories are of me in Kansas: I clearly remember falling down the basement steps in my grandparents Kansas City home because I was a recalcitrant child and pulled and pulled away from my brother’s hand who was trying to reign me in and, you guessed it, prevent me from falling down the stairs.   If he had just let me be and let me walk down the steps on my own I probably would never have fallen down the steps at all.  But Kansas tries to protect you from the things that never should have been a danger.  And you know an independent 4-year old growing up in a 1-story California-style bungalow could not possibly navigate stairs without her older brother’s assistance.  And so, that which Kansas fears becomes the inevitable outcome.

Now, I consider myself to have been granted special dispensation to make fun of Kansas at will given that my parents were born and raised in Kansas.  While I was most definitely born and raised a California girl, I was the product of solid, stolid midwestern parents.  And, while they were somewhat tolerant of my trips down yellow brick roads, my fights with winged monkeys, and my obsessions with ruby slippers, they would never experience these things first hand and never really understand the appeal.

Somehow, I also remember that 4-year old child riding on an elephant with her brother at the Kansas City zoo. This certainly seems too magical for a Kansas story, but the house has to lift off from somewhere to get to the magical lands and all the dream worlds are somehow rooted down into the bowels of our beginnings anyway.  What I should remember: the view, the majesty.  What I do remember: the feeling of the elephant’s skin and the course hairs poking out.  I was fascinated by the roughness and the feel of it against my young unblemished tender skin.  Kansas is refined but rough.  Not the old west, but totally respectable farmers with rough hands and gnarled faces.   Hard living wrapped in a veneer of wallpaper and sit-down dinners with the family.

And judgment.  We can’t forget the judgment.  There was the love and admiration my grandparents showered on the little girl next door to them in Kansas.  But not on me.  She got good grades.  Mine were better.  She gave them cards on holidays.  I wrote missives.  But she was always praised and adored.  Held up as an angel.  Apparently she did what she was told.  She never fell down the stairs trying to be independent and she never spilled a vase full of flowers and water (it didn’t even break) while pretending the carpets were lava and carefully walking around on the furniture skillfully and gracefully (as only a trained dancer can do) to avoid burning her feet in the burbling red hot lava beds of her imagination.  The vase only got knocked over when grandmother burst open the door, saw me walking onto the small end table and made an “oh” of a screeching variety that sounded kind of like an owl swooping down for its prey.  Disapproval hung heavier in the house the rest of the day than the oppressive heat and humidity that hung outside and as a result I banished myself to the front porch to stare at the asphalt and imagine I was back home in California.

Now, I was a good child by California standards.   I got good grades, cleaned my room, danced well.  But I was sassy and independent and outspoken.  Not the traits a good midwestern Kansas girl would have. I never had to rescue my little dog Toto from a crazy judgmental white lady, but I would have.   I talked back to my father (he was in my eyes too often the man behind the curtain pulling levers and not the Great and Powerful Oz).   I talked back to adults (I could follow the yellow brick road just fine on my own, but you were welcome to accompany me if you were smart or nice and didn’t try to scare the cowardly lion.)  I never took naps (even surrounded by California poppies or when struck down with typhoid fever).  And worst of all, I cried when I wasn’t perfect, when people were mean, when they tried to make me take naps.  Crying.   That was the breaking point for my mother.  All her Kansas judgment would leap out at me when the tears started rolling down my cheeks.  All I wanted was love and acceptance, but the tears got me bad looks, lectures, and the cold shoulder from my mother.  Apparently, Kansas girls don’t cry.  Go away little girl, you are not hard enough to be my child and your crying annoys me.  I am supposed to be the good witch who protects you, but I will never show up on time.  You have your shoes – what else do you want from me anyway?  Here is a bucket for your tears.  It might come in handy someday.  Go fight the witch alone.

The last time I was in Kansas was for my grandmother’s memorial service and the burial of her ashes in a Kansas cemetery plot next to my grandfather.   It was just the immediate family – no spouses- who made the trip.  We visited lots of relatives I didn’t remember or didn’t want to know and a very few which I wished I had known better.  I tried to be good and I tried to fit in. It didn’t work very well.  My tattoos all showed in my light dresses in the warm May weather and my auburn-red hair was not a standard Kansas color.  I danced at my grandmother’s grave side to say goodbye in the best way I knew how.  But Kansas ladies don’t do that type of thing.

The relatives were rough. Jeans and overalls and clothes that were too-frequently and too harshly washed.  The land of riding mowers if you lived “in town” and tractors if you didn’t.  Farmers, ranchers, and the “retired” farmers who leased out their land to other farmers and sat on their front porch with a shotgun or rifle looking to shoot rabbits or armadillos or other varmints.  Sure, not their crops anymore, but those critters are best dispatched anyway.  Beware the too small dog that wanders into view of an aging mind and aging eyes that only looks for the blur of movement.  Shoots first and whistles for the dog second.  Only the dog never comes.  Damned dog!!!

One woman was different.  An aunt.  She helped her parents on the small ranch, living next door to them.  But, she had a career doing some type of work in Kansas City.  When she retired she came back.  She never married, never had children.  Apparently she had a long-term affair with her boss – a married man.  But that was rumor.  None of it was discussed. What she did, who she loved, who she was.  Irrelevant in relation to discussions of the cows or the crops or the weather.  Kansas ladies don’t cry, don’t feel, don’t emote.  At least not in public.  Family counts as public.

My brother and I titled the trip the Kansas Cemetery Tour as we seemed to spend a lot of time visiting cemeteries and family graves and driving in between.   I did find the perfect place for a house should I ever have to live in Kansas.  A graveyard on a hill ringed with a variety of trees and a small creek winding around the bottom.  I would move a grand old Victorian and set it up at the very top of the hill with views of the trees and the creek and the gravestones.  I would be more at home living among the dead who I felt must be warmer than most of the living I had encountered.

The days were long, but my brother and I found some respite in long evening walks together – including walks to the liquor store where we stocked up on tiny bottles of hard liquor that we would slip into my purse before family get-togethers.  The tiny bottles were easy to surreptitiously pour into tall cold glasses of unsweetened iced tea.  The family members were not all non-drinkers but many were and the strongest drink served at these farmhouse events was usually a Mountain Dew or coffee.  I was happy when I had work conference calls and had to walk up to the highway and sit under a tree in the warmth of the day because I couldn’t get cell phone reception near the house.   Work made me feel like a responsible adult again instead of a misguided and wayward child who had just finished drawing on the new wallpaper with a felt tip pen.  Except the wallpaper was my skin and the pen was tattoo ink and what kind of money had I paid to let people draw on me?  Why did I want that there anyway?

Was it any wonder I didn’t want to go back?  Even though this was a work trip and not a family trip, I knew there would be no elephant rides.  I was leaving behind my warm sunlit yellow brick roads for a cold and grey country with cold judging people.  I wasn’t happy to be there, but I wasn’t afraid of the wicked witch anymore.  Because I could become the wicked witch.  To me, it was my superpower. My protection. I could be colder than the cold when needed.  But maybe to them I had always been the wicked witch.

But you and I know that the wicked witch isn’t really wicked.  Just misunderstood.  Just judged or abandoned or turned away.  She had to become colder, harder, and meaner just so she wouldn’t cry every day.  And she had to stop crying into her bucket of tears so she wouldn’t inadvertently melt her face with the salty concoction of her tears or spill her bucket of tears on the floor as she tried to navigate her dancing body away from the lava and back to the direction, guidance, and comfort of that yellow brick road.  She needed more poppies, more flying monkeys, and the love of the smart, the kind, and even the cowardly.  Until then, watch out Kansas.  My broom is portable.

Proverb for the Day Archives – March 2018

Give yourself the love you yearn from others.

It isn’t always about you.

Should I be surprised when other people put me last when I always put myself last?

Learn to sail your ship in good weather and stormy.

We are more than our Facebook posts.

I am too responsible to be a parent.

Elegance never fades, crepe paper does.

We should all be excited about the pursuit of knowledge.

I love you just the way I am.

The richest person is the one who is happy with what he has.

Two-way communication does not mean you talk and I listen.

Do not fucking underestimate me.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Some days you can’t do it all.

You can’t diffuse hate with walls – you must do it with understanding.

I fuck up, too.

Some fights are not worth your time.  Choose what you fight for wisely.

It is time to resort to the truth when you are absolutely sure that lying won’t work.

We all need an occasional reality check.

Real friendship is when people know all about you and like you anyway.

My dentist told me I needed a crown and I was like “I know, right?”

I could think like you, but I don’t want to be wrong.

If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?

There are seven days in a week and someday isn’t one of them.

If criminals can do it the easy way they won’t do it the hard way.

Treat yourself the same way you want other people to treat you.

 

Proverb for the Day Archives – February 2018

I adore sparkly things and witty words.

Instant gratification takes too long.

I am not an idealist.  I am a pragmatist with ideals.

If you never take risks there is no challenge.

Stories can be doors.

Go be a passive aggressive bitch somewhere else.

Some days life is just harder than others.

You never know what someone is going to do until you back them into a corner.

Growth is painful, but not as painful as staying stuck.

Get out of my way because I may hurt someone and it could very well be me.

They say it takes all kinds.  I just wish it took less idiots.

You can always buy more underwear when you arrive.

If I don’t remind you to love me, will you forget?

When in doubt, dance.

I know I am not in a dream because my dream would be better than this.

You don’t get to choose my life.

You know it is time to go home for the day when you start pounding your head against the desk for apparently no reason.

Sometimes it is my job to be a nagging bitch.

Some days I am amazing.   I do my best to remember that on days I feel like I am nothing.

It is easy to find things to hate.  Sometimes, try finding things to love.

I usually give others more of an effort than I give myself.

 

 

Relaxation???

To Relax or Not to Relax – that is the question….

Hafa Adai!  Greetings from Guam!

I am not very good at relaxing.  I have a full time management job, a house, a spouse, pets. I teach burlesque classes, teach dance classes, perform, costume, sing, write, choreograph and generally don’t sit down a whole hell of a lot other than to fall asleep on my husband’s shoulder (or play with my guinea pigs!)  I have been accused of being one of the busiest women in burlesque.  Maybe it is true, maybe not.  There are a lot of busy burlesquers out there.  So, when it comes time to relax, I am usually have a bit of trepidation.  So, when I was scheduled to go to Guam for three weeks for work, I didn’t know whether to be relieved or to be worried.  I think it is the latter.

So, I have traveled to Hawaii for work before at three to four weeks at a time.  That is hard enough – but I usually manage to keep myself occupied.  Honolulu, despite being in the tropics, is a city.  Things move, they are fast-paced.  I can be relaxed AND run around.

My typical after-office hours in Honolulu consist of dinner, a long walk with plenty of shopping because the stores are usually open til 10 or 11pm and then exercising in my room when I get back (or choreographing or whatever else I need to do.)  Also, the time change is not crazy, so I have two or three hours time difference – depending on the time of year.  It makes it so that I have reasonable times to call home, conduct business with people back home and I don’t have to spend an excessive period of time calculating what time it is on the mainland.  Plus, while the hotels get a strong mix of American and Japanese tourists, the beds are still typically soft and I love me a soft sink-into bed.  Yum!

Guam is a different story.  After work I call my spouse in hopes that he is not yet in bed, because it is 18 hours earlier at home, meaning I get off work at 11pm and back to the hotel sometime between 11:30 and midnight when he may (or may not be) be in bed, depending on the level of his sleepiness.

At seven it is dark and the pools at the hotel are closed.  I can eat dinner and I can walk, but the shopping is much more limited and I do not have the range of safe, well-lit, and comfortable walking areas that are available in Honolulu.  I can drive, but I have already discovered that google maps in Guam is marginal, the roads are narrow and badly lit with potholes, and, as such, after dark there is really no place that I want to go badly enough to have to drive myself to it.   Plus, it is hotter here than Hawaii, so the tired, lazy heat factor is even that much more intense.  So far, my favorite pastimes are swimming in the pool-like beach, the pool-like pool, or doing bar-work on my lanai (do they have a different name in Guam, I do not know!! Lanai is the Hawaii terminology.)

Plus, I am tired.  I think I am tired because there is an 18 hour time difference in Guam.  To talk to my husband during his lunch break from teaching, I have to wake up at 5:30AM.  Then, several mornings we have spent 20 minutes just trying to connect via Skype because the hotels wifi is wonky.  Also, the beds are low and hard – the rooms are catered more to the Japanese tourist trade, and the whole trip I have been sleeping about 2 hours at a time before waking back up.  Not super conducive for a good sleep.

So, the whole trip has been super relaxing and super discouraging and super depressing! Since I am tired and hot and discombobulated, I don’t feel like a powerhouse and things like rehearsing in my room and choreographing are not as compelling as they should be.  Therefore, I feel like I am lazy and a loser, which makes me more depressed, which makes me more tired, which makes me not want to move and do less which makes me more depressed, and so on and so on and so on.  It is like an endless loop to try to keep my mind in a non-depressed and positive mind-set. Damn it is hard!

I have had some lovely experiences in Guam – the island is beautiful, the reefs feel totally safe to swim in (even though I do still spazz out excessively when I get water in my snorkel mask and I did get a contact stuck in my eye while snorkeling), the fish are interesting, I saw a Carabao (water buffalo), went to the totally weird and tiny zoo, and ate some amazing poke.

But, I desperately need more physical and mental stimulation. The television pretty much sucks, I have read all but one of the books I brought with me for the trip (5 out of 6 and I need to keep one for the flight home), and being on Facebook too much will cause my brain to just devolve excessively.  Like an animal in a too tiny cage, I can only do so much in my room, even though it looks out onto a beautiful sandy beach and a coral reef, without feeling like I want to scale the walls.  Like the caged tiger, I will pace for awhile back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, until I finally give up and curl up into a shallow and restless sleep, waking up periodically to growl at the caw of a bird or the scream of an ambulance or just the torment from a memory of freedom outside the walls of my room.

So, I will concur that some relaxing at some points in time is a good thing.  But too much relaxing and too little to do makes Velvet a very sad girl!  Looking forward to seeing you soon in San Francisco!  I have ALL the things going on in February when I get back – gogo at Hubba, DIVA or Die Burlesque, Circus of Sin in San Jose, the four night Burlesque Extravaganza at The EXIT Theatre, and Bad Influences Burlesque in San Jose!

Proverb for the Day Archives – January 2018

Change doesn’t come from a new year. Change comes from yourself.

There are the people that really love and cherish you, the people that pretend to, and then all the others.

It is not my fault, but it still feels like it is.

I will always lose the popularity contest.

Do what you can with what you have.

I will rest when I am dead.

You can’t stop consenting adults from being stupid.

A beaver in your pocket is worth two in the bush.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

My priorities are not necessarily your priorities.

We have the ability to fight this system.  We do not have to be complicit.

Either you choose your story or one is chosen for you.

Life has no yellow brick road to follow.

When negotiation fails, I resort to polite belittling.

I may care about you, but that doesn’t mean I am passionate about all of your passions.  Hell, some days I am not even passionate about all of my own passions.

People believe what they want to believe.

Life continues, even if you are not ready for it.

Make today your bitch.

You can be very sane about your insanity.

Relaxing is hard.

When you step in it, don’t just walk around with shit on your shoe all day.

Why, yes, you did choose wrong.

Play on your strengths.  Rely on other people to help shore up your weaknesses.

Proverb for the Day Archive – December 2017

You only live once.  Unless you are a zombie.

Random thoughts can grow into great works.

Vegetables are never really like noodles.

You survive or you surrender.

You can’t stand up for yourself without a backbone.

I did not unfriend you because you had a different opinion than I did.  I unfriended you because you were demeaning to me, and you cannot write in complete sentences.
The lack of doing something can be more of a failure than the inability to succeed at something.

Children are like dogs.  If you can’t control them, you shouldn’t have them.

Before you speak, ask your self if what you are going to say is actually worth saying.

We all make mistakes.  It is what you do with them that makes a difference.

Sorry I misunderstood you, but in my defense, I wasn’t listening.

You never know how your words can impact someone else.

I am not a big fan of moral suasion when I can use immoral suasion instead.

Be successful by becoming the best person you can.

Leave them wanting more.

Life is short: Be happy.

I am calm and you can go fuck yourself.

Saying you’re happy is not the same thing as being happy.

Pain is totally manageable until it reaches the threshold where it is absolutely not.

Solve local issues to get local support.

When I am tired of shopping I sit down and try on shoes.

Live a fulfilling life, not a perfect one.

Sometimes it is best just not to engage in the conversation.

When you build a bench sometimes you have to pull out a few nails before you get it right.

Sometimes when you want everything it is because what you really want seems unattainable.

Some people are way more concerned with exerting their arrogance than living in a peaceful, effective, and cooperative environment.

You might as well stop thinking. It isn’t working out for you.

The biggest ingredient to success is cooperation.

No one can do you like you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017…   And the zombie apocalypse begins…

So, it has been about 4 days since the horror of it all started. Four days since the zombie pandemic started and panic began sweeping the city – and apparently beyond – although, obviously, I cannot attest to that first hand. Four days since we started this now never-ending dress rehearsal for our big Holiday Burlesque Show. At least we were the only ones in the theater that night. I say that because we thought that three pounds of pretzels, huge chunks of cheese, boxes of crackers, and cartons of saki and champagne bottles would last quite a while. But when that is all of the food you have for a group of 11 hungry dancers and a tech, it really doesn’t last very long. Of course, not all 12 of us need to eat food anymore. Five dancers have succumbed so far to the zombie affliction and two more are now coughing and hacking. It could be just a cold – goodness knows conditions are poor. But I am watching them closely and making sure I am sleeping in a shut room well away from the two of them. We have the five that have transformed tied up with tree tinsel and ensconced in the men’s bathroom. I am sure they could easily break the bonds, but they don’t appear to really be smart enough to do so. I removed the toilet paper before we put the zombies in there – can’t waste valuable resources or risk getting bitten any more than absolutely necessary. 

Periodically, one of us peers out the glass door in front of the theater. I shut the iron gate in front of the door and locked it when we realized this zombie outbreak was really happening. Every once in a while we see a small pack of zombies traveling by. Even more infrequently we get a still-human runner. No one has stopped at the door, which is good, because I don’t want to make the decision of whether we let anyone else inside. Amazingly, we are still getting fresh water through the tap and electricity. The phone works occasionally, but text messages seem to be the best communication with loved ones outside. Unfortunately, not all of our performers have achieved contact with their families. No internet, but we have radio. Spotty, but periodic. We listen occasionally for emergency messages. One station is playing continuous music. The ladies wanted to keep it on, but I said no, we have to conserve batteries. There may be more in the store room, but I don’t have keys to that and I am not sure we have the strength to break down the door.  

 

Part of me hopes that we will still be rescued. As I said, the zombies are not smart and can be easily picked off with weapons. However, it depends on the progression of the disease and who is left to rescue the populace. We may have to leave soon as we will have no choice when food supplies get desperate. But where to go and the best way to get there and not get attacked is uncertain.  

 

Mr. Velvet and I text at least a few times a day. He has volunteered to come rescue me. However, I think it is a better decision for him to remain at the house in a place of safety than for both of us to be running around the streets at risk. He has not had any problems with zombies trying to get into the house. I guess they are not fond of or don’t understand stairs. Even the backyard seems safe with the fences surrounding it. He can see and hear Mission street from the roof. While it was crazy the first couple of days, it has apparently calmed down. He is taking care of the dogs and the guinea pigs. Luckily, I have a tendency to stockpile, so he has plenty of food – canned, boxed, frozen. He will run out of perishables, but he won’t starve. The piggies are not happy without their fresh greens, but he has plenty of hay for them. And cheerios.  

 

So, I have decided to reflect on the last year as we either await rescue or make other decisions that impact whether we live or die. It has been a very rough year and is somehow fitting that we should be dealing with a zombie apocalypse at the end of it. Not that I have not had some really wonderful personal accomplishments, but the country has been hit hard by storm, fire, and now this. While I am not religious, I wonder if we are re-living the modern version of the seven plagues.  

 

In addition to producing my own show, teaching dance and burlesque classes, and performing in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including Sacramento on occasion, I did perform in several festivals this year. I got to go back to Boston for the Great Burlesque Exposition, as well as the London Burlesque Festival (my first trip to London), The Mile High Burlesque Festival in Denver, the Hollywood Burlesque Festival (one of my favorites), the Ohio Burlesque Festival, and The Wiggle Room in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were all a lot of fun. And while I thought that I would never visit London, UK and Winston-Salem, NC in the same quarter, they were both unique and delightful trips. My favorite tourist sites in London were the Tower of London – super interesting historically – and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is the Victorian era and so just fabulous architecturally since I love that period. The stuff inside was pretty cool, too, but I was just happy to explore the building itself. Winston-Salem, NC was an interesting little town with a vibrant arts community and lots of fascinating little shops. I think I did more shopping there than I did in London. (The prices were MUCH cheaper in NC.) Work took me to Hawaii for about 5 weeks of the year and Mr. Velvet and I actually went to Hawaii on vacation for a week. We went to Oahu and the Big Island (neither one of us had ever been there.) It was nice having some time together. He usually doesn’t like to or is not able to travel with me on work trips. And festival trips are often so quick it is not worth the wear and tear on him to go…  

 

Mr.  Velvet and I were thinking about both going to London together in the next couple of years. But that may not happen unless we can get all the zombies eradicated. Hopefully the disease has at least eradicated some terrorists. I wonder if Trump has survived? Or was he already a zombie? Although maybe a little too smart… for a zombie…

 

Mr. Velvet succeeded in relinquishing his position as academic senate president. He had served two terms (four years). It was time. Now he is back to being a regular college professor. Grading more papers. At the beginning of this zombie thing Mr. Velvet joked about the respite from paper grading, but I think he would rather be mucking about grading papers than dealing with zombies. Of course, maybe there is not much difference…

 

What else? While all the natural disasters around the country and internationally were devastating, the North Bay fires definitely impacted lives in San Francisco. A lot of people I know personally and from work were impacted – losing homes, businesses, everything they owned. And, while minor in comparison, the smoke in San Francisco from the fires was stifling, reaching dangerous health levels. Building air conditioning and filtration systems (those that had them) could not keep up with the smoke and I had a migraine as a result for days. Of course, the awful precursor to that was the crazy heat we had in San Francisco. 106!! It was a record high. While other parts of the country lamented about the San Francisco “snowflakes” being so sensitive to heat, 80’s is high for the Bay Area and so many people have no air conditioning – at work or at home. Two of my guinea pigs died because of the heat – one had a heat stroke and the other’s tummy shut down and stopped processing her food. The sky looked like the apocalypse. It was a reddish-orange haze that only happens in post-apocalyptic-type movies. As a result, we bought two “portable” air conditioners. I figured we would get more hot days. And they helped keep the smoke out of the house during the fires. And, frankly, I don’t want any more pets to die from the heat… I mean, the pet I like least seems the most resilient. Hmmmmm…. I wonder if the zombies like to eat neurotic dogs? Probably not… Oh, well.

 

So, who knows what next year will bring or, hell, even tomorrow. I hope you have a great Holiday season and that you are safe with plenty of food and water and not at risk of zombie attack or whatever other major disaster – avalanche, typhoon, hurricane, flood, earthquake, president, tsunami, or any combination thereof – could possibly afflict you.  

 

I hear pounding at the front gate. I do hope it is someone providing help or telling us that the zombie outbreak is over! Of course, the way the year has been going it is probably the big toenail of Godzilla brushing against the building. I mean, what else could go wrong? This has GOT to be the worst dress rehearsal EVER!!!  

 

 

 

Proverb for the Day Archive – November 2017

Nothing ruins your Friday more than realizing it is Wednesday.

 

Prioritization:  when you stop doing the dishes to stop the fire that just broke out on the stove.

 

Don’t tie your happiness solely to other people.

 

I am not anti-social. I am selectively social.

 

If it doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t true.

 

Just because you THINK you are right does not mean you ARE right…..

 

I will help you push your stone up the hill, but I am not going to stand there and hold it for weeks while you go on vacation.

 

Don’t waste my time … or yours.

 

Success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success.

 

Take every opportunity you can to fail.

 

You only need sleep if you plan on being mentally and physically healthy.

 

Don’t stand still when you can take action to move yourself forward.

 

Kindness costs nothing.

 

The older I get the more everyone can kiss my ass.

 

I don’t always have the perfect comeback, but when I do, it is usually the next day In the shower.

 

Act as if what you does makes a difference because it does.

 

I am not sure whether to laugh or to be extremely insulted.

 

I can’t be normal. I have a reputation to uphold.

 

Without trust, there can be no relationship.

 

Don’t make it any harder for yourself than I am already making it for you.

 

When you cut an avocado in half you decrease the calories by 50 percent.

 

Let your courage rise with every attempt to intimidate you.

 

You didn’t have to eat all of it.

 

If it was always easy, you would never be challenging yourself.

 

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it.

 

You could create something great or you could just keep doing what you always do.

 

I am here for you.   I wish the reverse was true as well.