Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kathy Griffin - Marcie's Favorite Non-Marcie Redhead

Last night, I went up and visited Walt and Lisa Soto in San Clemente. Lisa is one of Marcie's girlfriends and someone I looked up through the internet when Marcie mentioned she missed her. I can't believe that was a decade ago.

Lisa and Marcie had elaborate outings together, each seeming to want to outdo one another with their ingenuity and keen eye for each others' tastes. That's something about Marcie's girlfriends that is paralleled. Who can get the more perfect gift for the other? Who can set up the better girls' out-of-town visit?

Last year, Marcie hit one out of the park. I picked up Lisa and her at 4th and B after a show with Kathy Griffin. Both were huge fans, and they got their money's worth. Kathy went over on time and, even waiting on the street for the ladies, I could hear the cheers and laughs inside.

Marcie never got to join Lisa for last night's show. Lisa purchased tickets to the show well in advance, before Marcie's illness began to overtake her. But, being a fan myself and wanting to enjoy something I knew Marcie loved, I jumped at the chance to see it with Lisa in her place.

Kathy is a comedienne of some notoriety and great humor, but she is not a humorist for the sensitive soul. Kathy is brutally honest. This would not be so fun in most circumstances, but Kathy hammers people who are the least prepared to deal with it and the thinnest-skinned imaginable.

The people she has insulted:
  • Hollywood bigwigs
  • Powerful politicians
  • Disabled children in wheelchairs
  • Oprah (she loves her but cannot resist)
  • Christians
  • Barbara Walters
  • Fox News (especially Bill O'Reilly)
Naturally, I am drawn to her comedy like a moth to a flame. It's like a very bad cake you know you should not eat but you decide you have to. Plus, she is a redhead. Points for red hair, every time.

I had a wonderful evening. I don't think I was nearly as fun as Marcie, with her boisterous and infectious laugh, but I did my best. We had dinner at Lisa's and Walt's, a very special treat in my book. Dinner was outstanding, as was the company.

Walt dropped us off at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. What a place. I admit that I am loathe to say so, but it is a beautiful center. However, it is surrounded by the most overdone plastic, pastel-stucco, neon-laced commercial district I have ever witnessed, playing host to various garish national chain restaurants and light pollution.

Kathy killed. Repeatedly. Her special talent is in making you laugh at things you should not, while also stimulating thought about social priorities on the sly. I love it! Unfortunately, I also heard that Kathy is dating and may marry Steve Wozniak of Apple fame. No more "plan B: Date Kathy Griffin" for me. You know I kid (on the square)!

I knew which jokes Marcie would laugh at and I know she was there with me. Lisa told me later that she was glad I had come, and that she had almost canceled her attendance. Well, I am glad she didn't. That was a very nice moment of Marcie she provided me.

Thank you, Lisa and Walt.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Why My Thanksgiving Needs Marcie

So, I spent Thanksgiving yesterday at my Aunt Mary's. Marcie loved Aunt Mary's on the holidays, and when she went, I could usually count on Grandma Pruett to corral her and conspire, sharing gossip and juicy tidbits in hushed tones. Marcie loved it.

Marcie did not always enjoy the "big dinner" aspect of my family's holidays. The whole "dozens of cousins" motif was way out of her league for crowds in tight quarters. But she got used to it, and when she did go, she learned a little about our family every time.

When she finally started to relax and enjoy herself in the herd of bustling family my grandparents' 17 children made for, Marcie opened up. She would pepper me with questions and observations on the ride home, overstimulated and stuffed to the gills with the hearty fare my family cooks up.

I remember the day she finally started to process it all. She was driving home one Christmas evening, having enjoyed a good dinner. I had played softball after breakfast, a ritual she watched and enjoyed, then we had dinner and headed for home.

"Now Robert was the one who was bellowing at your grandparents' house this morning, right? What do you call him, his nickname?"

"Yes, that was Robert, and we call him Bugs," I said.

She laughed a Marcie laugh, a cackle followed by a falsetto, "Oooh, my god, that's so funny. Okay, okay... your grandma told me he's a little nuts. Why did she tell me that?"

"She just wanted to make sure you knew, I guess, I don't know," I said. "He's alright."

"Oh, he seems very nice," she said. "But he's definitely a crazy pants. He is a character."

Down the roster she went, associating little bits of wisdom Grandma imparted about us all, or sussing out some snippet of overheard gossip. She cataloged it all, so I knew we'd be back, because nothing tickled Marcie's fancy like scandal, gossip, and people watching.

And nothing was more fun than relaying the rich family history behind the nicknames and the personalities, the family myths, legends and folklore, and just generally the Pruett (and in the early years, the McNab-Craigg) culture to her.

Grandma's death was very hard on Marcie, as it was on many people. Last night, I looked at the seats they used to sit in at Aunt Mary's and wished fruitlessly that they were there. It made me sad, but I distracted myself by chatting people up.

Grandma and Marcie weren't there and I will not get to live in those particular moments again. But I guess that, if the whole idea that she and grandma's souls or spirits or energies live on is possibly true, then there is also a possibility that they were sitting somewhere, watching.

Maybe they were cackling a bit together. Either way, it was comforting to be with family on Thanksgiving. The trip home was not easy, though.

It was hard to drive home in that silence after seeing so many family members. It was hard not to be able to share a little more of my life with her, to listen to her gleeful accounts of her gossip with grandma for the day.

I turned the radio off as I drove home last night. When I pulled into the driveway and noticed it had been off, I wondered why I had. Then I that it was my habit to leave it off when Marcie and I visited my family. I just automatically expected questions from her and the practice formed.

I know that habits are habits. But then, Marcie may have been right there with me all day and on the way home. I think I'll leave the radio off when I drive home on holidays, just in case.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks, New Pictures, New Store, More to Come

Hello, folks. First some gratitude, of which I have a lot to catch up on.

Thank you to my friends at Race and Human Relations at San Diego Unified. Your card is on my desk and I am thankful for the warmth and kindness, as well as class, that you share with me. I'll see you all soon.

Thank you, Mr. Cansdale. Your sharing of your own loss with me was very generous and poignant. It also showed you carry a strong ongoing connection to your loved one, which I found to be deeply comforting.

Thank you Jane. The photos are in the rotation. Please do me the favor of sending a few featuring you and Marcie. That goes for all of her friends. She would like having company in the pictures, as she was not very fond of having them taken in the first place.

Thank you, readers. Check out the originals of the title picture and two new pics in the photo sequence to the right. click on her picture for a bigger look, too...

There is a store to the right. I will be stocking it with Marcie's favorite things. Buy away. I get a little cut, but every penny goes to the mission. I will soon be adding a store with our personal possessions for sale as well.

No sharing of that list tonight, by the way. My camera is on the fritz (memory card issue). But tomorrow, we will share Marcie's Last List, if I do not completely fall apart trying to.

Good night, everyone.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sharing The Pain

Marcie and I shared some very difficult days early on in her battle with cancer. I'll write about them another time. After her first round of chemotherapy and surgery, the reconstruction and some extra medical therapy, those terrible, pessimistic days faded for a while.

But when Marcie suffered a seizure in the parking lot of the Union-Tribune and called me from the hospital, they returned with a vengeance. She had brain cancer which had spread to four places. Marcie immediately felt she was doomed.

Every few weeks after that, as I clung to every nugget of good news, Marcie would cautiously test the waters of my reality. Sometimes she would adjust it a bit.

"Honey?" she would ask, oftewn interrupting me as I talked about next week, next month, next year. "You know I am probably going to die from this, right?"

I would nod, and lamely defend myself in a smiling but serious way, "I am trying to plan for the best, prepare for the worst. I think you'll be alright. You could be totally OK, and that's what I hope for."

But sometimes she would fall apart at that, and sometimes the happy bubble I tried to make for her would pop. Usually, I could just hold her and stroke her back as she cried. I wanted to reinforce her with my will and hold up for her. I always could do that.

"Sh, sh, sh, baby," I would say. "I know you're afraid, but I need to believe you are going to get better. Either way, I am going to be here, I promise."

But sometimes it was just not what she needed to hear from me. Sometimes, she needed to KNOW that I knew. Marcie needed to feel that I had and acknowledged the same despair she was struggling with.

"Honey, you need to share with me," she said. "You're holding your anger and your sadness and your fear inside, and that's not healthy."

"I'm OK, honey. I'll wait until I have a reason to be afraid and sad. I am already angry."

That's when she would hit me with it. "I need to know that you are sad," she would say. "I need to know you are afraid, and I need you to stop hiding it because when you do I wonder if it's there."

And then it would be her turn to hold me for a while. "Sh, sh, sh, baby," she would say. "Don't worry, you'll be okay. I have to think you'll be alright. That's what I hope for."

Marcie, rest assured that I'm working on being okay. I am sad. I am angry at the fact you were taken from me.

But I am not afraid, because you are my heroine. And even if I can only touch you in dreams, I know you are here with me, either way.


Tomorrow, I will share a special list with all of you in a video clip.

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Amazon Feature is up!

Hello, folks. I have put a donation box/tip jar on the left for those who want to help me that way. It is the most requested feature. Send me an email at frank(dot)pruett(at)cox(dot)net if you do give.

I will be adding amazon listings for some of my own and Marcie's media items like books, videos, DVDs and CDs, as well as a pass-through store with links to MP3/MP4 recordings for sale.

I hope to raise some money with what we own and get people to do some of their amazon holiday shopping through MOM (the convenient site acronym), as well.

Thanks for reading. More to come. Tomorrow, I will post about Marcie and her love for animals. Also, I will post a cleaned-up version of the Memorial book via a link off-site before Friday.

Good night, folks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Our Love Grew Up

I have known for a long time that Marcie and I had something incredibly good. We had fire in our relationship, and our life was always oscillating between a perfect mix of volatility and stability and a perfect storm of them.

That heady blend is likely equally due to the fact that we both had passion, including tempers, and the element of luck, in that our love was stronger than the heat we generated. But, oooh, it got hot sometimes, and as often as feelings were hurt, especially at the beginning, we also had torrid seasons that felt like affairs, as if we were cheating on our own love.

But the fighting aspect was one thing I realize really changed over the years. I remember at the beginning that a really big fight might end with me stomping outside, or Marcie running off to a movie, leaving the other to sit in anxiety. Or worse yet, chasing each other around the house, getting in each other's faces.

Marcie let me know early on that I did not fight fair. Neither one of us really did. Every slight wrong, perceived, real, or inflated, from any number of incidents long forgotten would be tossed into the mix as arguments lingered. Someone had to win, or someone had to quit.

I was 23 and Marcie was 25 when we met. I was stubborn, argumentative and hated to lose. Marcie, while stubborn, was also wonderfully feisty and always game. The both of us were insecure, and both of us way too full of pride.

"Give me the camera. I don't want you taking pictures of me right now." Marcie after a bit of a row, 2000.

Our fights did not end with "My way or the highway." It was more like, "My way or the highway, which, by the way, is also mine, so shut up." That, thankfully, eventually changed. We still argued, and we both still stuck to our guns, but after a few rough years, I realized that arguments were fewer and ended much more quickly.

Looking back, I saw what happened clearly. At first, I would relent to tears, because I could not bear to hear her crying and hurting when she stomped off. She would relent when I stomped out the door, sometimes I would stay. Sometimes I couldn't.

With time, I would relent to her biting her lip, because I knew she was about to cry. Usually I would unwisely try to hug her, to quell the tears, making her more upset because she could not understand why I would want to make her so mad then hug her. She began to read me better and would get exasperated before I stomped off, dropping the issues.

In time, just a change in her eyes would mean a change in my direction. She did not so much wince as looked as if she wanted to as she glared, her stiff-lipped stance changing in my mind to something more of a pout. I don't know what she learned or how she knew she was hurting me, but sometimes she would just change the subject and grab my hand, asking, "It's time to change the subject, so what do you want for dinner?"

Eventually we both stopped fights "at the edge of hurt" with a quick grab of the hand or a hug and some healthy silence. And we both learned to win our battles better, too. In fact, we got to the point that arguments were fairly pointless. If someone clearly won, there would be a revisitation of it for a little giving back by the winning party.

We may have gone too far at times, and I may still regret some of our more heated arguments, regardless the making up we did. I feel now as if Marcie and I were kids who grew up in love, so to speak. She taught me a lot, and she learned a lot from me (or so she said, which flattered me utterly).

But as we came to understand each other, we diverted our less constructive passion into more rewarding ways of getting to the bottom of things. Like Marcie's bottom. Win or lose, sometimes it seemed like we sometimes fought only because good fighting meant delicious makeup sex.

I know I have kept this blog PG up to now, so let's just call that a punchline and I wish you, dear readers, a good night.