absolutelyaleta's blog

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california shook it last week

“At 10:15 a.m. on October 15, 2009, over 6.9 million Californians participated in the largest earthquake drill ever!” i guess if you live east of CA you don’t get to hear this exciting news because i don’t think it made CNN. as a kid, i remember my sister Angie telling me that California was going to fall into the ocean (course she also used to tell me that flies go to the bathroom every 2 seconds, right after one landed on me). i remember getting scared about ol’ California cause that’s where Disneyland was and then i would get scared for me and my family being so close and all. but thankfully i managed to convince myself that Arizona would be fine because i really believed that California would fall off exactly on the borderline. nice and neat like.

hey, i’m all for being proactive but seriously do you really have to practice this?


October 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Every little step

i just watched the documentary, “Every Little Step” on the audition process for the 2006 revival of  “A  Chorus Line”.  it really is a comprehensive retelling of how the show was conceived and choreographed in 1975 by Michael Bennett, who many have called a genius, and how it became to epitomize the Broadway show. for me watching these actors/singers/dancers, you have to excel at all three nowadays, was hard for me to watch. i mean haven’t to been to an audition that was even a quarter of that size but i felt 100% of their pain. well, maybe not their physical pain, since God knows, i can’t dance.

in the commentary the composer, Marvin Hamlisch talks about how difficult the audition process is: “there doesn’t seem to be a better way. this is always the way it is. people come in, they want it desparately and when it’s all over, it’s all about how good a day and if they are even right for the part. and it’s so painful to tell someone, who’s really good, that they just aren’t right. it’s just the wrong fit that day.”

ain’t that the truth. that’s why i never went to New York. i’m confident about whether or not i can act but being told over and over you aren’t right for the part would wear on anyone’s psyche. i applaud these NYC actors that go to these grueling auditions and go back and do it again, day after day. i couldn’t do it when i was younger. i cared too much about it. now i just enjoy the process of creating a character and not at all about whether i am consistently cast in shows.

two other things that struck me about this film. one is that i realized i have never seen a live production of “A Chorus Line.” growing up in the 70’s my sisters and i played this album incessantly. i knew every word to every song. i saw the movie made of it but i never have actually seen it on stage. very strange that i would love something so and never go to see it done. maybe it’s telling.

second is that michael bennett died of AIDS in my home town. he went to Tucson for treatment and he was so ill that he couldn’t fly back to NY so he bought a house where he could look at the mountains and four months later he was dead. i wonder on that day he died, if i was just a few miles away singing along to “At the Ballet” and thinking that someday, i hope i get it.

October 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the scarlet P

i don’t necessarily think that blogs are for airing your dirty laundry but if people confess to their sins and feel better about them then i’m all for it. hell, i’ll even show you how it’s done. pay close attention all you sinners out there.

when i was about 16 years old i was assigned to read and write an essay about Nathanial Hawthorne’s, “The Scarlet Letter.” a substitute teacher was filling in for our regular teacher who had taken a leave of absence. i didn’t want to read this book and i’ve always hated being forced to read things because there are 10,000 things that i want to read, why read stuff i have to read? so, i didn’t. i grabbed the Cliffs Notes and wrote my paper by rearranging literary commentary from the notes to prove whatever thesis i had dreamed  up.

hello, my name is aleta g. and i am one-time plagiarist.

fast forward one week later. caught. you’re not surprised? heck i wasn’t surprised. i didn’t try not to get caught. i didn’t even paraphrase what Mr. Yale Professor had wrote, for what he probably thought was going to be just a helpful aide for poor high school students to understand why Hester didn’t rat out the wimpy Dimmesdale.

that substitute teacher gave me the option to take an F or rewrite the paper. a very generous and nice woman and she didn’t even report it to the principle. thank you, ms. whatever your name was. i took the rewrite, procrastinated till the last minute and just before i was supposed to turn it in, suddenly she was gone, our regular teacher was back and my “Scarlet Letter” makeup essay was forgotten. i think i still got an A or B in the course.

over the years this mistake has haunted me, even though it taught me a valuable lesson and i never inasmuch as paraphrased out of a book again, i still felt tremendous guilt about it. so a couple of years ago i decided to take it upon myself to read the book and write an essay at age 37. 21  years late, but better late than, you know.

so i did. had a friend i trusted, grade it and wronged a right. ah…i can see those pearly gates opening now…btw, if you’re really needing a sleep aide, i’ve attached the essay here.

what did i get on the paper you say? now that was hardly the point but let’s just say it i now have something in common with ol’ Hester Prynne.

October 18, 2009 Posted by | Earlier Pieces I've Written | , , , , | Leave a comment

Last laugh

is it hard to think of something new everyday to write about? i hadn’t really thought about it but now that my friend Leah mentions it, i suppose that yes, i should be worried. i mean, i’m not exactly a Jonas Brother (thank God) or can Tweet about my heart condition, like Liz Taylor.

let’s face it, i’m your ordinary, run of the mill, homo sapien. excitment isn’t exactly my middle name. my weekends are filled with laundry, cleaning and walking the dog. i have no health problems or children to discuss like so many parents seem to want to do.

okay, okay. i’m a boring person.

but that leaves me with a lot of free time to consider things you busy people are too busy to consider. to listen to things that a person with a life couldn’t even take in one ear. to boldly go where no man…well, that may be pushing it.

yes, leah. i could run out of things to talk about. it could happen. it’s likely to happen but when it does, i’ll write something, like today, and fool all you fellow homo sapiens into thinking you’ve read something interesting, when you really haven’t. HA!

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

that which we would call Sugar…has more than 20 names.

Sugar is my dog of 14 years and if you didn’t know that, then you must not know me. on walk #1 of 4 this morning, i thought about the tireless number of names that i’ve assigned her over the years. i realize after watching “The Dog Whisperer” that Sugar doesn’t speak English so i doubt that she’s had an identity problem that she’s grappled with and considered therapy for, which is more than i can say for me. joking. i’m joking. i’ve never had an identity problem or considered…uh, just forget it.

my name is almost impossible to nickname or jazz up, so to speak. i’ve had some people try but the nicknames usually don’t stick so here’s my very short list:

  • “aliter” given to me by my 1st swim coach. in honor, he said, of the metric system
  • “leetie” coined by my wonderful mother. used more throughout my childhood then now and rightfully so
  • “leech” lovingly named by my sister, angie, who thoroughly enjoyed calling me that in front of her pack of snooty high school friends
  • “leets” also given to me by angie, primarily used in her Christmas cards to me
  • “aletes” sarcastically given to me by a friend who does not appreciate me adding an “s” to the end of his name

there you have it. see? try as you may, Aleta, affords very little nameplay. blame it on the Greeks.

sugar on the other hand has a substantial list. all interchangable and used frequently, depending on the circumstance and my mood. some of these were given to her by others and i won’t provide descriptions and anecdotes on where they came from but it’s a fun list and you might, just might, have a chuckle.  say some of them out loud and your chuckle odds improve greatly. so here’s to Sugar and her many identities:

  • Sug
  • Sugar Pie
  • Shuggie
  • Skoog
  • Skoogie
  • Skeegie
  • Skeeter
  • Scooter
  • Scooner
  • Precious girl
  • Precious babe
  • Footsie
  • Baby girl
  • Ding dong
  • Sugarsan
  • Sugarsama
  • Missy
  • Stinky Winky
  • Bad girl
  • Babykins
  • Baby
  • Mama’s baby
  • Furry babeSugar

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

i hate the food i eat

the title of today’s entry is a lyric from “The Police” song, “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”, which has to be one of the longest song titles in the history of music. which got me thinking about what is the longest song title and there is some debate but allegedly it is a 1974 song by the group, “Faces”:

You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings.)

it also might just be the silliest song title ever considering why would walking the dog or putting away the ironing board be a shortcoming? gee, if i could find someone to iron my clothes i would name a star after them. my Mother has an ironer. an ironer. she hires a woman to iron my Father’s shirts. not a dry cleaners but a woman named Betty who irons in her home for money. how old fashioned is that? Betty is a dying breed. but as usual, i digress.

i’m tired of eating the same food. it seems like every 20 minutes we discover new plants and lizard species, but produce remains relatively unchanged in the last 30 years. why has no one has discovered a new relative of the green bean or a distant cousin of the banana?  we tinker with recipes and new chefs pop up on tv at light speed (i.e., Chef Ming, Rick Bayless, Lidia) but as far as discovering an entirely new food, nothing.

maybe it’s too much to hope for. i’m going to find new ways to love the food i eat. i’ve stayed relatively loyal to applesauce and pears and i enjoy a good pasta when i get it. notice i didn’t say when i make it. plus i should be happy that i have food to eat, right? right. yeah! I LOVE THE FOOD I EAT AND QUIT YOUR WHINING, STING!

yeah. easy to say, hard to do. Sting’s got a personal chef and i have endless circles around the produce aisles dejectedly sighing until i pick up that zuccini and think, “wonder if he has a brother?”

October 10, 2009 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

how one notices one needs to relax

this latest hip illness to hit the streets (bird flu is so ’08) is encouraging me to take inventory of what medical provisions i lack, but oddly i’m taking this latest pandemic a little further. i’m doing more than checking my aspirin expiration dates and buying a thermometer (more on that below).  i’m actually having the virus in my mind. i’m sick right now, even though i feel fine.

you see i’m anticipating how sick I will be, how long i will be sick, how much i’ll sleep, how much i won’t sleep, how much tv i’ll watch, how much i’ll kick myself for not having cable, how long i’ll be home from work and how much they’ll miss me at work. i’m frantically looking for someone, in my mind, who will walk the dog four times a day and then at not finding anyone, i’ll venture out, looking frightful and saying pitifully,  ‘sorry, sug. mommy’s sick. we can’t go far.’ lastly, i’m making sure i have plenty of clean towels for the wet compresses that will be adorning my forehead even though i haven’t even opened up my linen closet.

i’m ensuring my phone is charged at all times for the loads of calls i’ll receive from worried friends and relatives who just can’t believe that i’m the first in the family to be stricken. “you’ll do anything to be first”, they’ll joke and i’ll emit a slight ‘heh’ and then promptly errupt into a coughing fit at which they’ll be saddled with guilt for causing. but i’ll reply, ‘no, i’ll be okay. i’m sure i will. i just need some more rest.’

maybe this is some sort of reverse psychology. if i’m too busy being sick in the head maybe i won’t get it. maybe swine flu comes to those who walk around without a care in the world. they’re thinking if they were going to get it, they would’ve by now, right? no. have it in your head first and then when it does come it will never live up to your expectations. you’ll think swine flu is a breeze. other people are just sissies.

but best of all, those towels will stay neatly folded and tucked away.


a thermometer. i don’t have one. loads of other people do though. why? i mean is that a standard household object? like a funnel or a hammer. i have both of those things. hmm?

October 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Wax collection

yes. i did. i would think it’s rather rare but maybe not. maybe other children had wax collections or maybe i was simply in denial about it. as if,  geez, you’re not that special, aleta. other children collect wax. other children examine the different shapes and smells of each strange piece collected from candles at christmas, halloween and whenever my Mother felt the house needed a 911 (mainly after Dad had too much mexican food) but in any case my collection was the family joke even though i was proud of it. it was years in the making and it seemed more distinguished, more stately, than collecting action figures or hallmark ornaments.

what happened to it, you ask? well, maybe you don’t ask but the truth is i outgrew it. i became ashamed of that brown paper bag and it’s contents. as peer pressure does, i let my family’s laughter and my embarrassment propel me to throw that crinkly, old, bag out. that bag, that bag that contained years of pieces of candles burnt long ago and memories of holidays and nights in front of the tv and that sweet smell of sage or pine which permeated the air and made everything seem well. Wax pieces collected and memories thrown out in the bag with it.

i think of that bag sometimes and what it contained. it contained my family and my childhood and i still miss it.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments