Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 4- Communicating Without Words

I didn't shake my booty or pole dance but with the confidence that I am building with this class I am sure I could do both and do well at it!

This was really mime week. The thing that struck me this week is how much this class is helping my writing. What is lacking in my writing is detail and when we were doing some mime exercises last night it was the detail in the acting that brought that home!

The first couple of exercises were pole exercises. Imagine it and believe it are the keys to mime. Twenty six people in class last night. Everyone stood a safe distance apart. You then closed your eyes and imagined a pole in front of you that was attached to both the ceiling and the floor. When you opened your eyes you grabbed on to the imaginary pole with both hands. Then you were to move from pole to pole throughout the room. At the end there were only twelve poles left! People didn't properly move from pole to pole because they didn't really imagine that it existed. I was one of the twelve that had a pole left! I imagined it and believed it. After a couple of rounds of that exercise until everyone ended with a pole they then put a real challenge on it. Now you had to move from pole to pole but with your eyes closed! This required amazing non-verbal communication with others in the room. You had to reach out and guide the person's hand to your pole and they had to guide your hand to their pole. Then you moved on to the next pole/person. The thing that was interesting about this is that the class did better with their eyes closed!

The next exercise everyone sat in a circle around the room. Without words but with hands and body movements the instructor crafted an object with his hand. Once he started crafting an object there was no verbal communication allowed until the game was complete. Once he completed the object he then handed it to the person on his right, she then had to use the object as it was meant to be used and then remold it into a new object. Once the new object was crafted she then handed to the person on her right whom had to use the new object the way it was meant to be used and remold it into another new object handing that object to the person on the right. This continued all the way around the room until the object got back to the instructor. OK a couple of things, one detail is important, it can't just be a bottle of beer that you are molding it has to be a bottle of Coors Light. Second, I got the biggest laugh for the second week in a row! You can't really plan ahead because the object the instructor molded will be nothing like the object that you get. So it really is on the fly thinking. What was handed off to me was an imaginary Old Spice shaving kit, wtih razor, after shave, and a rollon underarm scent. I immediately refreshed my arm pits with the rollon which caused howls of laughter. Then I molded the object into a very dirty hair brush. I love this exercise because it taught me how important detail is, how you can communicate without talking, how you can make anything out of physical space, and how well you can understand what people are telling you even when they are talking to you without words.

The last exercise was where we were divided into teams of four. Then we had to go on stage and act out a four panel cartoon. Again without words. We were allowed to plan the cartoon before getting on stage. Each person represented one panel. The thing that amazed me is that I didn't have any stage fright. None. We did a nice cartoon where a young women was teaching me about retail when a crooked fellow stole the merchandise we were working on and then was caught by the store security guard.

Next week is character development. I'm loving this class!

May you all have a day full of verbal and non-verbal communication with those that you love!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tonight's Class, The Amazing Race, and Vote on Tomorrow.

Here is the email I received about tonight's class:

CSz 101 PHYSICAL SPACE 9/29/08 Class starts at 7:30 pm. Learn to Grasp the topic and Bring Life to the Square. Throw in a little Pole Dancing, and you've got a physical space workshop. You will no longer need real props in your life, you can just manipulate space. Be there to see it, believe it, and learn how to use props in a scene, when they don't really exist!--

Improvisationally yours,

Herb Spice

Oh, oh, me pole dancing? Not a Pretty sight.

On to The Amazing Race. It may not seem like it but I watch very little TV. Friday Night Lights and Boston Legal. Dancing With The Stars, Top Chef, and The Amazing Race.

Friday Night Lights I watch because according to my married friends it portrays marriage in a very realistic way.

Boston Legal I watch because I love the relationship between Alan Short and Denny Crane. Two straight guys that talk about fears and life at the end of each show.

Dancing With The Stars because it shows people going way out of their comfort zones to improve. Plus I love the elegance of some of the dances and I am hooked.

Top Chef because is shows that talent doesn't always win and that sometimes you have to step back and be a part of team rather than a one man/woman show.

The Amazing Race because it takes me to parts of the world I will never visit and it teaches me how couples solve problems and often how they solve differences between them. The Amazing Race started last night on CBS.

Unfortunately my favorite couple was eliminated on the first show. From Oregon a couple of hippie beekeepers, Anita and Arthur. They would have been fun.

I am not going to mention all eleven teams just a few to give examples of what I find intriguing about the show and what I think I can learn from it:

Ken and Tina are a separated married couple. He is an ex professional football player that cheated on his wife that lead to the separation. They entered The Amazing Race to see if they can repair their relationship and get back together. Traveling around the world in a quest to win a million dollars certainly should provide some answers for them!

Anthony and Stephanie referred to as "newly dating". What is newly dating? Second date? A trip around the world where you are with each other twenty-four hours a day for eleven weeks might be a hell of a second date, no? It will be interesting to see what develops between these two.

Aja and Ty referred to as "long distance daters". Now I have always thought a long distance relationship would be perfect for me and a very independent woman. But at some point the distances need to close and will these two move closer after the race?

Toni and Dallas. Mother and Son. Even in my mom's good health days, I am not sure we would make a good team in a contest. Be interesting to watch this team.

Last night's winners were siblings Nick and Starr. My brother and I could do The Amazing Race and we would have a shot at winning it and we would be laughing all the way. I'm not sure I could do it with my sister though. Be interesting to see how a brother and sister team holds up to the rigors of around the world travel.

OK, I need your guidance. Tomorrow Mom moves so I will be spending most of the morning helping mom move. Then tomorrow afternoon I will post a blog entry. The blog entry will either be a summary of Dancing With The Stars or a summary of week four of my comedy class. You the readers get to choose. OK, would you rather hear how the hunk Rocco dances on Dancing With The Stars or would you rather hear about the possibility of me pole dancing? Your choice!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

A man I could look up to. In his career he gave his all, in his life he gave his millions to those less fortunate than he was, and in his marriage he gave his love to Joanne Woodward once being quoted as he wouldn't stray because "why have hamburger when you have steak at home."

Paul Newman. January 26, 1925 to September 27, 2008.

I hope in heaven you will meet another man that I could look up to, my dad. If you do have a beer with him.

Paul Newman a man I could look up to, you will be missed.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Nights in Rodanthe

Mom read the book Nights in Rodanthe by Nicolas Sparks. Sparks is the one that also wrote The NoteBook. The Notebook was one of the most romantic movies made but I had a hard time with it because it just struck to close to home. Since Mom read Nights in Rodanthe she wanted to see the movie based on the novel by Sparks. It is so hard these days to find a movie that I can get mom to go to so I was glad that mom wanted to give this one a shot.

Mom, Sis, Brother-in-Law and Moi went to a Friday afternoon showing of Nights in Rodanthe starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane and the scene stealing Scott Glenn. The movie was directed by George George C. Wolfe mostly known for directing plays entering the film genre in 2004 with the HBO film Lackawanna Blues. The screenplay written by Ann Peacock and John Romano. Peacock's most recent work was Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Romano most known as an emmy nominated TV Director, directing episodes of Monk, Hill Street Blues, and Third Watch also directed the movie Intolerable Cruelty.

A description of the movie as taken from the Fandango advertisement:

"Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane), a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her—a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenaged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) arrives. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives. "

The movie was extremely sappy and your ultimate chick flick. A good cry with a sister, friend, and could be a date movie with the right guy. Not first date because a man just shouldn't cry until at least the third date. Well acted with some but not out of sight chemistry between Lane and Gere. Beautiful scenery, great musical score, and a wonderful understated perfomance by Scott Glenn. Glenn is going to play Donald Rumsfeld in the upcoming W, played Sheriff Rollins in a couple of episodes of Monk, but you might remember him as Ezra Kramer in The Born Ultimatum.

For me the scene of the movie was one between Gere and Glenn, with Lane in the outskirts. In the scene Glenn describes his deceased wife. The real love story in the movie wasn't the one between Richard Gere and Diane Lane it was between Robert Torrelson (Glenn) and his wife, Jill Torrelson (Linda Molloy). In this scene Torreslon describes his wife to Dr. Flanner, his wife was flawed but all Torrelson saw was the most beautiful woman in the world. He loved her just the way she was and loved her every day of their forty three years of marriage. That is real love folks. I look forward to the day that I meet a woman that I can describe with such love after one year of togetherness let alone forty three years of marriage.

One football for the music, one football for the scenery, one football for Glenn. 3 of 5. An enjoyable couple of hours.

OK Ladies close your eyes because I want to give some advise to the men out there. If you go to Nights in Rodanthe with your sister, mother, girl friend or wife, during a Lane and Gere love scene don't turn to them and whisper "I have bigger boobs than Diane Lane", it could be dangerous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dancing With The Stars Summary

I love Dancing With The Stars because it is a show that I can watch with my 90 year-old Mom and the only time I get embarrassed is when she says she would like to take Rocco out behind the barn.

For me the show isn't about dancing what I look for when I watch the show is as follows:

1. Are they having fun?

2. Do they show respect to their partner?

3. Are they working hard?

4. Do they respect the show that they agreed to go on?

What I saw this week was that while the women seemed to be better dancers the men seemed to be having more fun.

I became a real fan of Rocco this week. I'd love to have a beer with him. Wouldn't mine cruising for women with him, I would be happy with his leftovers. Rocco has a reputation in the cooking industry as having a temper, Karina has a reputation in the dancing world as having a temper. Neither showed it this week on Dancing With The Stars. Rocco was very charming and showed a lot of respect toward Karina. Karina seemed subdued by his charm. OK, maybe his Monday night dance wasn't the best but he has no performance background and was dancing with an injured partner. The dude also takes criticism well and works hard. He also is having a ball and it shows. His Tuesday night dance was great. I'm looking for really good things to come from this duo.

The other men that I thought were having a ball were Warren Sapp, Ted McGinley, Maruice Greene & Jeffrey Ross. Before I comment on them some of the women first:

Brook Burke can really dance. She surprised me the most. I love the way Derek treats her and how he teaches her. Right now she may be my favorite to win. The problem that I see is the way the judges grade could hurt her. When the judges score they don't really compare the stars to other stars, they grade the stars against themsleves. That means the lower scores that stay on have an advantage because they will be scored against a lower bar than the higher scorers. Brook set her bar high this week and it could hurt her.

I admire Toni Braxton for giving it her all despited heart troubles. Alec is a good partner for her. She also set her bar high but I am guessing will remain on the show for a long time.

Misty May-Treanor was kind of a disappointment but she works really hard and has a very good teacher in Max. I am betting by the end of the show she will be one of the best!

Susan Lucci was bad one night great the next. Like Len says, she will do well in ballroom bad in Latin. Her fan base will keep her on.

Kim Kardashian is nicer than I thought she would be, however, she should have been on of the two to go home this week. She just doesn't have it and while she seems to work hard at it she doesn't seem to translate what she learned to the dance floor.

I admire Cloris Leachman. I thought she danced well the first night but terrible the second night. I also thought after her dance Monday night she was way over the top! I thought she should have been sent packing this week. I hope her dancing improves and she learns to subdue her personality for the benefit of the show.

On to the Guys.

Warren Sapp. What a surprise. Big boys can move. Of course he has my favorite partner, Kym Johnson. I met her at the first tour and that woman has a smile that could light up any city at night! After watching Warren move and his exhurbance I think he may stick around for a while.

Ted McGinley was fun. He worked hard. He danced well. He shouldn't have been sent home.

Maurice Greene is really fun. If Cheryl can temper down his free spirit he has a shot at the final four.

Cody Linely. Wish I would have been that poised at 18. He has good moves and has youth as an advantage.

Lance Bass did well but he should have, he has a performance background. I think that gives him an advantage.

Last but not least Jeffrey Ross. When I heard another comedian would be on I kind of was disappointed after recalling Adam Corella. Corella was rude, not funny, and showed no respect to his partner. Ross was just the opposite. He has my kind of humor. He was very kind and respectful towards Edyta. He danced not bad the first night. I was glad they let him do his second dance on the results show and it was a decent dance. I kind of wish he hadn't of been eliminated.

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 3 - A Major Life Moment

Subtitled, "I Freaking Did it!"

Just a reminder that the class is held at the home building of Comedy Sportz where they do their actual weekly performances on Friday and Saturday night. Complete with stage lights and elevated stage.

Week 3 of the comedy class was story telling. The instructor wanted us to see how much harder it was to be on stage alone then it was to be on stage with a team. We got some new class members last night so there were twenty-four in attendance, twenty-six counting the two instructors. After some warm-up exercises came the real challenge. Each one of us had to get on stage and talk for one minute on a subject that we were given as we were walking up to the stage. As you all know I am taking this class to get over shyness, gain confidence, have fun and learn new things. As you also know getting up in front of any size audience is about as much fun for me as a date with Lorena Bobbitt would be. Do you folks know how long sixty freaking seconds is? If you don't try this with a spouse or friend, give them a subject and tell them to talk on that subject for one minute or better yet have them give you a subject and you try talking for sixty seconds on that subject!

Just as I was looking at the door and planning my escape out of the Comedy Sportz building before my name was called, my name was called. What subject did I get? Hopefully I would get Internet dating, I could have probably done that, or maybe caring for a parent, could have done that. Nope my subject was hobbies. You didn't stand on stage. You sat in a chair while talking. When I got up there, the lights were absolutely blinding. I couldn't see, couldn't hear, couldn't breathe, almost passed out, don't remember one darn word I said, don't know if the audience laughed, but the bottom line is I did it! I really thought I bombed. When I went back to my chair in the audience the guy next to me just said "classic." I was certain he meant classic screwup. After class when I was leaving one of the teachers stopped me and said "you killed me, I just couldn't stop laughing." "I killed you?" "Yes, it was so real". He was also the time keeper. This is the first time in my life that I have been up in front of an audience of twenty some people. The first time. I didn't die. I didn't pass out. Maybe I didn't bomb afterall?

Later in the class we divided up into teams of eight. Each team had to go up on stage. There was a referee. The class chose a title of a story. The referee pointed to one of the eight in the team whom started the story, then as soon as the ref pointed to someone else that person continued the story, as soon as the ref pointed to someone else the person talking, he or sheimmediately had to quit talking. Sometimes you got several sentences out, sometimes you got one word out. The eight of you had to complete a three chapter story on the fly. What was amazing about this is when I was on the stage with seven other people I was not a bit nervous. Nada. The teacher even used me as an example. Right before I was pointed at the person talking asked a question, I continued, "Yes" and then went on. The teacher said that was the right answer, that you never use "no" in improv because no is a story stopper. Whenever a question is asked the right answer is always yes. By the way the title of the story for our group was "She went into the woods," We took Hansel and Gretle all the way from the woods to using coupons to buy toothpaste and a tooth brush at Walmart. I can honestly tell you that being on the stage with eight is so much easier then being up there alone.

I will save telling about the game that was like musical chairs but without the music for a day when my mind draws a blank and I have nothing to blog about.

On another note before class Mom, sis, my brother-in-law, and I went to dinner at Rose's Deli in Sherwood. Wonders of wonders is that they didn't order what I did so the pressure was off! Also sis absolutely loved the cologne, she liked both Azzaro Legend and Chrome. Said women would love it because it was pleasing, subtle, and sexy! Maybe I should take some trips to the produce sections this weekend!

I'm not really sure I'm looking forward to next week. Next week it is mime. Communicating without words. That scares me almost as much as getting up in front of an audience does. I do know that despite my fears I will go to class, that I will participate, and I will be better for it.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Sign Of The Times

My friend Al and I went to the Nike Shareholder meeting this morning. This is the third Nike Shareholder meeting for Al and the second time I've been with him. The first meeting that Al went to was several years ago at the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Oregon. That is the one where he went alone. He said there were a few thousand there and they gave out really nice gift bags that included T-shirts and other wear. They also had several Olympic athletes there. The second shareholder meething that Al went to he took me along and it was five or six years ago at the Oregon Convention Center, there were at least two or three thousand in attendance, they gave out gift bags but according to Al not as nice as the gift bags they gave out at the first meeting that he went to, and as Al reminded me today it was John McEnroe not Jimmy Conners that was there. Today there were barely three hundred people there, they gave out no gift bags and there was not a single athlete there. Al had hoped Michael Phelps would be there but as I suspected he wasn't. The last Nike Shareholder meeting that I was at was almost two hours long but today's meeting lasted barely a half of an hour. I attribute this to the economic times we are under right now. The kind of questions that were asked of Phil Knight by the shareholders confirmed this. Of the about ten questions that the shareholders asked Knight four of them were about CEO and executive pay. Knight patiently asnwered the questions. I think Nike really downsized their shareholder meeting because they didn't want to offend the shareholders with any kind of extravagance.

Still it was a very fun morning. I had never been at the Nike Campus before and it was absolutely beautiful. The meeting was in the Tiger Woods Center. They had a lot of Woods' items throughout the building. They also had a nice little breakfast buffet put out for those of us that came to the meeting a little early. Normally I don't do buffets because of germs but Nike was so clean you could have eaten off of the floor. So I had a nice little breakfast, then went into the meeting, and listened to Knight talk for a bit.

I almost made a really bad fashion mistake. I used to wear Nike shoes but a couple of years ago when I was going through the bone cancer scare the doctor strongly suggested that I be fit for special shoes with orthopodic inserts for the left foot. I followed his advise but the speciality medical footwear company that I went to uses New Balance because they are a little cheaper and the inserts are darn expensive to begin with. The total cost that I paid for the shoes with the insert? $370. While I was waiting for Al to pick me up I looked down and had the New Balance Shoes on! I quickly changed to a pair of dress shoes. Whew, I might have been escorted out of there in handcuffs!

Have a great day everyone!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Only In Oregon

Hello Everyone

Had to have an extra key made for Mom's house so I went to McCann's Pharmacy in King City, Oregon which is near Mom's house. While waiting for the key to be made I was reading the bulletin board for different events in the community. Saw an advertisement for a Farmers' Market in Tigard, Oregon the neighboring community to King City. Now usually weekend Farmers' Markets are held in downtown portions of the little cities around Oregon or they are held in parks. Nope not Tigard's Farmers' Market. Know where the City of Tigard, Oregon Farmers' Market is held? In the parking lot of Young's Funeral Home. Only in Oregon. I guess you could say that the Tigard Farmers' Market is a place people are dying to get into.

Sister and her husband are arriving from Utah tonight to put the finishing touches on Mom's remodel and to help with the move of Mom to home. Even though our politics are so different I love my sister a lot because she gives so much. She told me anytime I want to travel let her know and they would be up here on a day's notice. Bless her heart.

I do have one concern about their visit. When sis and her husband are here we go out for dinner a lot with Mom. My sister and mom won't order until I do. They want to know what I am going to have and then order the exact same thing I do! Brother-in-law is on his own, he always orders the most expensive thing on the menu but sis and Mom, no they wait for me. I've tried waiting until last to order but sis and Mom outwait me. So when I order I have to make sure I order not only something healthy for me but also something healthy for my mom and my sis! Such Pressure! Hmmm wonder what they would do if I only ordered a drink. Any suggestions out there on how I handle this tense situation?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nike, Sherwood's Big Story, & It Wasn't Me

This coming Monday I've been invited by a friend to the Nike Shareholder's meeting. My friend thinks Michael Phelps might be there but I have my doubts. The last time I went to a Nike Shareholder meeting it was at The Oregonian Convention Center in downtown Portland and Jimmy Connors was there. You didn't really get close to Jimmy, you just heard him speak. This year the shareholder meeting is at the Nike Campus in Beaverton. I've never been there so am looking forward to that. If Michael Phelps is there chances are we won't get to meet him, just hear him speak. Still it should be a fun morning!

The big story in Sherwood, Oregon today is the number of coyote sightings. Just recently a high school student was followed home from school by two coyotes. The Sherwood Police chief has given the city police officers orders to shoot the coyotes on sight. The officers will use high powered rifles that they carry in the police cruisters. I'm not sure how I feel about this except I don't own a gun and never will, I believe hunting will be a sport when the animals are armed and can shoot back. I'm also worried about the safey of the citizens since high power rifles can fire quite a distance and if the police miss their intended target it could hit someone a mile or more away. The policy also drew immediate criticism from Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the the Audubon Society of Portland who called the policy "draconian" and "over the top. The Audubon Society of Portland also so says most contacts with coyotes present a minimal risk to people. Sallinger later goes on to say "Even if you kill some coyotes, they will fill back in very quickly and ultimately, it may make the situation worse." I have yet to see a coyote but now I am going to be on the lookout for them on my morning walks!

In today's Oregonian in The Edge Column was the following:

"A guy walks into the a bar, sees a beautiful woman sitting alone, so he takes the seat next to her. A minute goes by, then he turns to her and says "huge penquins." The woman turns to him, "Pardon me?". The guy looks at her and says, "I'm just trying to break the ice."

Now I want you all to know I wasn't being quoted.

A couple of other things from The Edge Column:

What is blue and white and if it fell out of a tree and hit you it would kill you?" A fridge in a Wrangler jacket.

Where did Noah keep his bees? In the ark hives.

Enough lame jokes for the day. May this be a great day for you!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Latest.

Good morning everyone, not much to write about but I try to post something at least every other day even if my mind is drawing a blank which it seems to be today. I am making this family matters day.

Mom is moving home October 1st. I think she is making a huge mistake but am I backing off. The agreement that I made with her is that I am going to continue to have my life and if I want to take off and travel I am going to do it. She has agreed to this. For almost a year now I've felt a strong pull towards the Los Angeles area and really want to visit there to check out real estate while the market is down, see what the job market is like compared to Portland, contact some old friends that I haven't seen in years, see some relatives, and just take a week to two vacation that I haven't been able to take for a few years. I'm not sure when I will take the trip but definitely before of the end of the year. Mom is really aware of how mentally healthier I am since she has been in a assisted living and she wants to me to stay that way. What she doesn't see is how mentally healthier she is since she has been at The Springs. Even my brother notices a difference in her attitude when he calls her. Whenever he calls she is upbeat and happy which leads to him calling more. When she was home and brother called she was depressed and negative which lead to him not calling. Everyone sees the happiness but mom, inclduing her friends at The Springs. We have had a lot of quality time since she has been at The Springs so she knows now I will still be a huge part of her life but that when I am free to have mine it is healthier for me, now if she would she see how better off she is too.

My nephew lost his job in a plant closing a few months ago. He lives in Eugene, a citty about two hours from Portland. We just got some good news that he was offered a job in the Portland area. He was also offered a job in Wyoming. With a couple of kids in high school the timing of a move to Wyoming would probably not have been the best for his family so he accepted the job in the Portland area. He may even live with my Mom for a while. He would like to keep his kids in the same high school until they graduate. He could live with mom during the week, keep his house and then travel home to wife and kids on the weekend. I'm excited for my nephew for going through a new phase in his life.

My brother if your remember tore the ACL in his left leg playing tennis. He had never had a serious injury before. We were all worried about whether or not he would follow the doctors orders and stay off of the leg until he was healed. Patience has never been his strong suit. Well, wonders of wonders my brother did everything the doctor said and was off cructches in six weeks instead of ten. He is wearing a boot but the doctor expects that to be off in a couple of weeks and he will be back to normal walking within three months of the injury instead of the year they had anticipated. I'm so proud of him!

Although not family but like family my Houston friend Shirley that was in the wake of IKE posted an update here, http://thedahnreport.blogspot.com/2008/09/prayers-needed.html She is doing fine and thanks everyone for their prayers!

What is going on in your life, with your family, the parent you care for, you? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week 2 - Team Building & Playing Hurt

Playing hurt is a sports term and if your team is depending on you, you play hurt. You just can't back out of games for little knicks and sore muscles. Team depends on you, you play hurt. There is, however, a fine line between playing hurt to help the team and being so hurt that you hurt the team by playing. Last night I played hurt. There were times when I helped the team and times when I should have sat on the sidelines. A couple of hours before the class I was over at Mom's helping the remodelers and took a nasty spill. I pulled a couple of muscles on the left side right above the ribs and on the back of my left leg. However, nothing was keeping from that class so I went. Ouch.

Week two was all about communication and team building. Two things absolutely essential to improv. The exercises are going to be hard to explain but I hope I can give a good idea of what they were.

The first was "tied in knots ." This is a human knot. There were twenty-one in class last night, nine dropped out or weren't willing to play hurt. The class was divided in to two teams, one of eleven and one of ten. I was in the group of eleven. The teams form a small circle. Then you grab arms of other members of the circle, the trick is you can't grab the arms of either person next to you. You are grabbing the arms of the person two down or across from you. Imagine a major game of twister where everyone ends up in weird postions except everyone is standing. Then the game starts. The goal is to unravel into a perfect circle where you are holding the hands of the person next to you. In order to unravel you have to really communicate with each other, work together on who should unravel first, sometimes you might have to jump (physically step through outheld hands) through some hoops, and sometimes you might have to go back to the position you were first in. Our group did great. We formed a perfect circle within ten minutes. The other team took twice as long. We had great chemistry and amazing listening skills. What is neat about this game is everyone has to give up control, if one person takes control it is doomed to fail. Like the other team. Teamwork, listening, communication are good things to learn in life as well as improv.

The next two excercises had to do with the socks because they were fall into the river exercises and the smaller area you had with your feet the better chance you had to succeed. Almost everyone in class kept their shoes on. The first exercise was called "chocolate river". The chocolate in the river was poison. If you fell into the river you died. Fifteen class members were chosen, I was one. The room is roped off into quite a large area (river). Then you are given about twenty pices of tile. The goal is to use the tiles to get all fifteen members of the team from one shore to the other shore without losing someone. You basically have to form a line. You can stand on a tile but if any part of your foot isn't on the tile you fall into the river and die. The first person sets a tile down and then puts both his feet on the first tile, he then sets a second tile in front of him and puts one foot on the second tile, so he has one foot on the second tile, and one foot on the first tile, the next person puts his foot on the first, tile, and keeps his foot on the shore until a third tile is put down and person one moves his foot to the third tile, the second person moves his foot to the next tile and so on. You really have to communicate with everyone in line because with one foot on one tile and one foot on another tile it is imposible to turn around and see what is happening. It is also easy to lose balance when you have on foot on one tile and one foot on another so you have to put your hand on the person in front of you to both let him/her know you are there and ready to proceed so the next person can get off the shore. Fourteen of the fifteen made it safely, we only lost one person. This was a great exercise, teaches you to give up control, depend on others, coummunicate, plan with the group (we devised a plan together before starting), and teaches you teamwork.

The last exercise was Lassie and Timmie. You divided in to teams of two. A small area of the room is roped off. Several tiles are placed in the middle and up and down the roped off area. This time the goal is not to step on the tiles. The roped off area is a river, the tiles are loose rocks that if you step on them you fall into the river and die. One of the two members is Timmie, in peril and needing to be saved, who stands at the far end of the river. The other member is Lassie whose job it is to save Timmie. The trick is Lassie is blindfolded. The other trick is that you only have sixty seconds to go from one side to the other. Timme instructs the blindfolded Lassie where to stand and step until he gets all the way to Timmie's side and saves him. In this exercise the failure rate is extremely high and according to the instructor it is rare for one team to make it all the way across to save Timmie, let alone the six that we had. Unfortunately, when I was Timmie Lassie stepped on a tile and died. When I was Lassie, I stepped on a tile and died. This exercise was to teach trust and failure as a team. When you bomb in improv. you bomb as a team. When you bomb in standup you bomb alone. The standup being much harder and much harder to recover from.

It was a fun but painful class. I can hardly wait until week 3, when the focus will be on story telling!

This is how I dressed for the class last night. I wanted to show the posters, readers, my Mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law that I am quite capable of dressing myself. In order to be a rebel I used the day cologne for the night class.

Hope this will be a great day for all of you!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Week Behind, The Week Ahead.

Thia has really been a good week at times and a tough week at times. The tough times were the reminder of 9-11 and then some tense moments with caregiving. Those kind of moments that all of us that are caring for an elderly parent go through when you say to yourself "I just can't do this anymore." Of course then you suck it up and continue to do it. Most of the tense moments are from watching mom's memory decline and be reminded of having to watch dad go through the same thing. I really don't want to watch a second parent going through memory loss but there really is little other choice. I did start doing memory exercises with mom and those seem to be helping.

On to the good, I had a nice breakfast this morning with two friends, Ted, whom I've talked about before and another friend, Doug. Doug is in charge of purchasing medical equipment for a hospital association here in the Portland area. He is a really nice man. His daughter is a freshman in college on a music scholarship and his son is a junior in high school. Doug is your ultimate good dad and husband. I really enjoyed both Ted and Doug this morning. We covered a lot of ground and both were not surprised that I did well in the comedy class, especially Ted, whom said "you can do anything, I've always thought you would be the ideal comic." I appreciated the support.

Tomorrow will be a long day ending with the joy of the class that I am so looking forward to. The day will start out with me picking up Mom at 7:30 a.m. for an appointment with her eye doctor at 8:15 and the eye appointment will be followed by her eye glass fitting. By the time we get back to Mom's assisted living center it will be about 11 or so. After dropping mom off I will head home and do my walk. I usually walk really early in the morning but won't have time with the early doctor's appointment. The walk usually takes about an hour.

The afternoon will be filled with reading, writing, driving range, and maybe some blogging. Then at a bout 6 I will take off for The Pearl District in downtown Portland for what I know will be the highlight of my week! Class two of the comedy class. Last week we were instructed to wear clean socks to this week's class! Now that really kind of sparks my curiousity. Does that mean most the class will be conducted without shoes? Does that mean during the class there will be an exercise where will smell each other's feet? And just who doesn't wear clean socks anyway? My socks are always clean! Of course there will be a full report on the blog about the class and clean socks!

The rest of the week will include a return visit of my sister and her husband. However, this time they will stay at mom's instead of with me. They are coming back to finish off the remodeling of mom's house. They want the house to be in prime shape when mom moves home.

What are your plans for the week?

Hope this is a great week for all of you!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prayers Needed.

For all of those in the path of IKE. It struck home this morning when I got an email from my friend Shirley who lives in Houston with her husband and two cats. I haven't been able to sleep since, I am so worried about them. If you remember the wallet story,
http://thedahnreport.blogspot.com/2008/03/wallet-story.html Shirley is the friend that drove me back to Denver from Boulder because she trusted my instincts. I know a lot of you also know Shirley and some, like me, have also met her husband, Stan. In addition we have at least two regular posters that live in Texas, Symply and Kaye. Please send good thoughts, good vibes, prayers, anything you can muster for Shirley, her family, her pets, Symply, Kaye, and all those in the wake of IKE. Here is Shirley's chilling email:


It's about 5:20 a.m. and we have had little sleep. The downtown area of Houston has received some of the biggest winds and it is totally frightening. We are 1 mile from downtown. We went to bed at 10 and the major storm rolled in after midnight. It sounds like a freight train and our house shudders at times. We finally got up at 3. The wind was out of the northwest for a while and has now shifted to the west. Since that time we have experienced water coming in around windows and under doors. The power of the rain blowing horizontally is just awful. We still have power by some miracle although the lights have gone off and on quickly at times. We doubt our sons do. They live amid trees and regular poles providing power. We have underground power and, so far, we are holding on. Downtown still has power too. We still have many hours to go as the winds shift. The eye came just east of downtown so we have been given no relief. This will go on until 6 this afternoon. It is such a huge, broad, storm. They say that if you hear something that sounds like a freight train, get into a closet. Well, all night it has sounded like a freight train. We are weary and scared. We believe our house will hold up ok but the leaks and water coming in on the carpet and wood floor is really disturbing. I've run out of spare towels and I had a ton to start with. The cats are totally freaked so we shut them into the guest bedroom because Foxy kept opening the shutters to look outside to see what all of that racket is. Zachary just kept running around with his tail down. He'd jump every time a huge gust occurred. The metal weather stripping around doors is acting like a reed in a woodwind instrument and all of the doors are creating a micabre concert.

I'll sign off for now. Keep praying for Houston. Over 2 million are now without power and it may be weeks getting it restored, according to the t.v. reporters. One of my friends in Baton Rouge, LA, lost power in Gustav 14 days ago and still does not have power. That is dreadful.

Love to all,

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blog Block, Tell No One, and an Unusual Household Story

Blog Block is a form of writers block and it is what I have been having lately. My life has stalemated with no new ideas to write about. What I usually do when I have Blog Block is do a movie review and that is what I am doing today, reviewing the French film, Ne le dis à personne , Tell No One. Another thing I did to cure Blog Block is to walk around my townhouse looking for unusual stories to write about and could find but one.

The unusual story relates to the sculpture pictured. When I was in my own practice a young man came into my office and said he would like to have a return done but didn't have any money. I asked him what his occupation was and he was an artist. I said "OK, I'll do your return in exchange for you making me something." The return was a really easy return and would have cost him no more than a couple of hundred bucks. . He had gone to something like ten accountants before coming into my office and all of them siad no money, no return. I took a chance. He made me the above sculpture as payment for that return, a sculpture that I've been offered as much as a thousand dollars for. It does often pay to be nice, doesn't it?
Tell No One is a really good film based on a novel by the American author, Harlan Coban. The French film is directed by Guillaume Canet, the script being written by Canet and Phillip Lefebvre and stars Francois Cluzet. Cluzet stars as a doctor, Alex Beck, who has slowly been putting his life back together after his wife Margot was murdered by a serial killer. Eight years later Alex is doing well until he receives an email that appears to be from Margot with a video clip that shows his wife alive and well. The email includes a message that they are both being watched. This was a great movie, five footballs. One Football for the amazing story line. One football for the twist and turns that keep you on the edge of you seat. One football for Cluzet. One football for Kristin Scott Thomas who plays the wife of Alex's sister. One football for the music. If you don't mind subtitles this is a really good film to go see!
Hope this is a great day and agreat weekend for all of you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The photograph to the left greets people as they come in the front door of my townhouse. This was given to me by my sister before 9-11. I've kept and moved it to its current location in memory of 9-11.

This is the first time that the anniversary of 9-11 has arrived since I started the blog and I really don't see how I can go without commenting on it. There were two events in 2001 that changed my life forever and they are somewhat related. I know where a lot of this group was on 9-11-2001, they were either in London or on their way to London. The CompuServe Womens' Issues group held their annual offline meeting in London that year. I was supposed to go but had to cancel when my dad had a stroke and I was needed here. What a lot of you may not remember is that my original reservations were to fly from Portland to New York and then on to London and the date of the flight was 9-11. Had dad not had his stroke I would have either been in or on my way to New York on that tragic day.

After dad's stroke in 2001 Mom was usually in good enough health to stay with dad alone at nights. I did the daytime caregiving. I remember the events of the 10th and 11th like they were yesterday. On the 10th my mom told me that she had the feeling that something major was going to happen and she didn't want to stay alone with dad that night. Over the years we all have learned to listen to mom's premonitions because they are right a good percentage of the time. As an example, when I had that car accident mom and dad were on the way to the accident site before anyone told them of the accident because she just *knew* I was hurt. So on the 10th I listened to Mom and stayed overnight at my parents house. On the 11th I woke up at 5 and went home to feed my cat, turned on the TV. I was stunned. After hugging and petting Katie, I turned around and went back to my parents house and woke up my mom. Later dad tried to get up on his own and fell. It would be the first of many falls for dad. Mom and I got dad up made sure he was OK, took him to the living room, put him in his lift chair, and we all watched the tragic unfoldings.

I can't help but think about how those two events in 2001 have resulted in the country's life parallaling mine. Dad's stroke was the beginning of a lot of tough years for me, 9-11 was the beginning of a lot of tough years for the country. For me there were many trips to the hospital with dad, sometimes trips to the hospital with mom with her two heart attacks and her two strokes, there was a heart scare for me, a cancer scare for me, the death of Katie after seventeen years of faithful companionship, the death of my dad after a liftetime of faithfulness and sometimes I ended up with the caregiving of two parents at the same time. For the country there were two wars, a failed economy, changes in leadership positions and so on.

However, I feel 2008 is a new beginning for both the country and myself. The economy is showing signs of life with the value of the dollar increasing, the real estate market downturn seems to be slowing, the monthly death toll in Iraq is decreasing and there is an exciting election where both candidates are talking change. For myself, my fitness goals are close, I'm the healthiest I've ever been, I'm mentally the happiest I've ever been, I am challenging myself more then I ever have (comedy class) and I am more open then I have ever been to adding a love to my life. I'm excited for both myself and my country.

I am going to close with two things in memory of 9-11-2001, one is a suggestion that you hug or shake hands with a stranger today and the other is to repeat my favorite verse:

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
A peace that is meant to be.

With God as our Father,
Brothers all are we.
Let us live with each other
In peace and harmony.

Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now.
With every breath that I take,
Let this be my solemn vow….

To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace and harmony.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Sy Miller
Jill Jackson

Where were you on 9-11? How did it change you?

Hugs to all!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If You Aren't Afraid of Failure

You can be successful at anything. That is the way the class started. Good advise in life or in comedy classes. The first question the instructor asked was “how many of you are apprehensive about being here." Half of the class raised their hands. He said we accomplished one goal already by just showing up because they always have several people that register and then don’t show up for the class. Some even pay for the class in advance and still don’t show up.

The first statement and the first question really put me at ease. There were about thirty in the class evenly divided among men and women and across all ages. This class was really for me. A standup class wouldn’t have fit my style near as much as an improv class does. Standup is a scripted routine where you are basically on your own. Much harder and more frigthening. Improv is quick thinking, involving teamwork, responsive humor, unscripted and often laughs result when you aren’t trying to be funny. That is me in a nutshell, quick thinking, responsive humor, and funnier when I am being serious. This class was made for me. As nervous as I was before hand I am now thinking after this eight week class I will take the advance class. After one class I am already confident enough to think about a standup class at some point just to learn something new.

During most of the class we did exercises to help with your memory, concentration, quick thinking, timing etc. To say I had so much fun would be an understatement. Here are three of the ten exercises that we did:

Divide into groups of three. Sit three chairs next to each other. The person in the middle pulls down a photograph from an imaginary album to describe to the person on the left, the person on the left asks you questions about the photograph, while the person on the right every ten to fifteen seconds will give you a math problem to solve. Positions are switched so everyone gets their chance in the middle. I started in the middle and pulled a picture of my mom from the album:

Me: This is my 92 year-old mom she has a mind as sharp as a tack, reads three books a week.

Herb on the left: Does she live with you?

Stuart on the right: what is 9 plus 11

Me: 20. No she still has her own home but currently is in assisted living. She will be going home.
October .

Herb: I imagine being 92 she has some physical ailments.

Stuart: 5 x 9

Me: 45, Yes she does.

This exercise is to improve your concentration while being interrupted. In Improv when on stage you are interrupted and have to continue.

The next exercise was to improve listening skills because in really good improv you have to really listen to what is going on around you. You are paired up sitting directly across from your partner. One of you starts with a sentence. The second person responds with a sentence starting with the last letter of the sentence that he just said.

Carter: Why did you take this class?

Me. Shyness, to get over shyness.

Carter: Seems like a really good reason, I took the class because my roommate took the class and had so much fun doing it.

Me: That is great, have you lived in Oregon a long time?

Carter: Ever since last November, I moved here from Indiana.

Me: Amazing. Welcome to Oregon.

Another exercise was to improve your memory and to help you with remembering names. The group stands in a circle. You are to describe yourself in one word and the word has to begin with the first letter in your name and you must use some type of a body motion to go along with the word. As soon as you are done the next person repeats what the person just said, then describes him/herself then passes to the third person who has to repeat every name and body motion up to the point. Example.

Pat: Personable Pat (holding his hand out in a handshaking motion)

Julie: Pointing at Pat, Personable Pat (holding her hand out in a handshaking motion), Jaguar
Julie (making cat motions with her hand).

Bill: Pointing to Pat, Personable Pat (Holding out hand in handshaking motion), pointing to Julie “Jaguar Julie (making cat motions with his hand), Bashful Bill (covering his face with both hands)
And so on. If you are twentieth person, which I was, nineteen damn motions and names are really hard. I did better with the names then the motions. The cool thing is since teamwork is important in improv so if you forget then the whole class helps you. Also with all exercises during the night if you goof up it was group hug time.


The day is on the left, the night is on the right. Which one did I use? I couldn't decide so the day on my left side, the night on my right side.

Kaye requested a picture of my outfit for the night so even though I wanted to wait until I met my goal and I am still twelve pounds away but here is the picture of me in the outfit that my sister bought.


Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm Off

To the class. I didn't cancel, first big step. Made the check out and will give it to them tonight.

I'm having dinner on the way down so have to take off now and will give a full report tomorrow afternoon including if I wore the day or night cologne!

Thank you all for your support! Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Transformation is Beginning & I'm Scared

The first class isn't until Monday night but I have resdiscovered my ability to obsessively worry about events days, weeks, and sometimes months in advance.

I was really fine until the sister event. I don't really need to shop for clothes. Groceries, suits, cars, shoes definitely but daily wear no. That is because my Mom, sister, and sister-in-law like to dress me. Usually when they buy me clothes it means 1) It is my birthday, 2) It is Christmas, 3) There is a special event coming up or 4) It is a statement (That leisure suit is nice but do you really think it is still in style? Nice Nehru jacket but maybe you should try something different.)

Sister and her husband left here Thursday morning. I didn't really worry about the guest room because sis always leaves things spotless so I didn't check out the guest room until Friday morning. On the bed was a nice new pair of slacks with a nice note (actually it was an order). "Thank you for allowing us to stay with you, here are slacks to wear to your class Monday night" OK, it isn't my birthday, it isn't Christmas, since I gave the leisure suit and the Nehru jacket to Goodwill a couple of months ago it isn't a statement, that means sis is considering the class a special event. Oh, Oh. I immediately went into special event mode, got a haircut, took a picture of the slacks and headed out to Macy's. Stopped by the men's scents counter and the really nice lady there connected me with not one but two bottles of new high quality cologne. One for day. One for night. I didn't really know that there were different colognes for night and day but it is amazing what you can learn when you throw yourself on the mercy of a woman. Azzaro Chrome for day. Azzaro Legend for night. I'm not sure it is good stuff because I put some on and stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Nobody attacked me but the bearded lady from the circus did say hi. After the cologne purchase I took the picture of the slacks and went up to the men clothes section and again begged a woman to help me. Got a really nice shirt that she said went with the slacks. OK, I just need some new shoes to go with the studly outfit. Get those tomorrow.

Part of special event mode is to obsessively worry. I've gotten so good at worrying that I can tell you the exact number of hours that I will be sweating. It is approxmiately sixty hours until the class starts. Sleep equals sixteen hours. Today I am going to a French film, Tell No One. I chose that because it is playing only at one theater and it is in downtown Portland. With travel time and movie time that is five hours. Then two hours a day on the blog. One hour listening to a podcast. Brunch with Ted Sunday morning five hours, we have a lot to say. Taking mom to lunch and shopping, four hours. Reading the daily newspaper, an hour a day. Walking is an hour a day. The driving range is also an hour a day. That leaves fourteen hours of worry and sweat.

Any suggestions what I can do during those fourteen hours to take my mind off of future events? I would really prefer that you don't suggest skydiving or a body wax but other than that I am open for suggestions.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I think we all need to laugh more so I am declaring today joke day on the blog. Post jokes here. Who knows you may catch me in a week moment and I may give a prize for the best jokes. They can be groan jokes like:

Do you know how to make a Swiss Roll? Push him down the Alps.

Or they can be from a comedy routine of one of your favorite comedians. Like from Larry the Cable Guy, these are curtesy of Kaye:

1.) On the other hand, you have different fingers.

2.) 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

3.) He who laughs last, thinks slowest

4.) Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

5.) Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

6.) How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

Or it can be a bumper sticker that you saw like the following:

Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

And what about personal stories? Surely you have had funny things that have happened to you in your life. Now is the time to share them.

OK, it is your turn to make us laugh and maybe win a prize!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day, Encore Careers, Beginnings, Endings.

First, the facts

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens".Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894.[1] All fifty states have made Labor Day a state holiday. Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday—a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
Today, Labor Day is often regarded as a day of rest and compared to the May 1 Labour Day celebrations in most countries; parades, speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events.

Now The Reality.

When when we were growing up Labor Day was both an end and a beginning. It was an end of summer. The end of pickup baseball games, trips to Disneyland, San Francisco, Yellowstone or just plain camping. The end of play. It was also a beginning, the beginning of a new school year where you connected with old friends and met new ones.

I was thinking a lot of beginnings and ends today when I first got up and then in the paper was an article titled "When 'Encore Careers' Call. It was all about people in their forties, fifties, sixties, and even seventies ending life long careers and going back to community college to learn new ones. According to a statistic in the article one-sixth of students taking credit classes are over forty. This is really striking. Read this really fun and informative article here:


Thinking about my own life I've decided there are several beginnings and ends. The comedy class that I have already talked to much about and will bore you to death with the next eight weeks is certainly a beginning of a new phase of life. It will also, hopefully, be an ending, an end to excuriating shyness which could lead to new beginnings in other areas of my life.

Since we talk about caregiving I can see some beginnings and endings in caregiving. With dad each day was like a new beginning because we never really knew what man we would get or where he would be. Some days he would be in the here and now, some days he would be in his childhood. I always viewed it as tragic but maybe if I had viewed each day as a new beginning I could have handled it better.

With Mom, most days seem the same. While she reads two books a week, plays bridge, bingo, etc. she seems mostly maintaing as oppossed to beginning something new. She seems mostly waiting for the end, the real end. Makes me wonder if I can direct her towards something new to learn. Maybe I can get her to take up painting again.

The question of the day is what do you see ending in your life if not now, in the near future, and what do you see beginning if not now, in the near future. Also what do you see beginning and ending in the elderly parent that you are caring for?

Wishing you all happy endings and challenging beginnings!