Entries from May 2004 ↓

I got nothing to do and Iím doing it tomorrow

So much for a productive vacation. Five days in and I finally got something accomplished beyond sleeping late and navel-gazing.

Part of the problem was my monthly procrastination about paying the bills. Ever since I started paying them online, Iíve gotten more and more lax. I put them off til the last minute because I can. But because I kept putting them off I was afraid to spend money in my account, which is why I havenít done anything.

With expenses now up-to-date, I picked up tickets today to two plays Iím eager to see, Caroline, or Change and Fabulation. Iíll see them both in the next two weeks, and probably share my thoughts here.

I have been reminded of how middle age is like a second adolescence in that you spend inordinate amounts of time contemplating your life and where you fit in the world. With so many changes about to happen for me, Iím a mix of excited and anxious.

Iíve become acutely aware that what I am embarking on is the beginning of the final phase of my life. I have had numerous jobs, four careers, and at least as many geographical moves, but what I hope to set in motion are the steps to business ownership, self-sufficiency, homeownership and a secure retirement.

I am now 21 years away from 65 (by comparison, it has been 22 years since I graduated from college) and I need to make these the most productive years of my lfe. When I move next, I want it to be into a home I own in a community where I can establish permanent roots. The reality that I probably have more years behind me than I have left has resulted in a greater sense of purpose.

Not having someone to take this journey with me has made it at times a lonely one. But Iím not one to sit waiting for the right man to come along or for someone to decide that establishing a relationship with me is a priority. There are things I have to do for me, with or without a partner.

Two more days and Iím back to work. It was a nice and needed rest, but being too idle only gives me too much time to think.

Mandatory Leave

Iíve never actually been ordered to take a vacation before, but thatís kinda the way itís come down.

The company gives us five weeks paid leave each year and we are expected to use it or lose it by the end of the fiscal year June 30. Yours truly has been a bit delinquent, so last week my supervisor told me I pretty much need to take it now before the job change or I probably wonít get a chance before the deadline. So, Iím off until June 1.

I obviously didnít get a chance to plan anything. About the only thing I do have planned is a scheduled meeting to get fitted for my chefís attire for school in the fall. Other than that Iím a man of leisure. I might try to take in a movie or a play, visit a museum or see parts of the city I havenít seen before. I need to clean my damn apartment and try to decorate it finally. I donít exactly possess that gene however.

My tax refund came; a grand and change. Iíll put it in my mutual fund accounts where it can do some good. The long range plans for a house, a business and a secure retirement take precedence over any frivolous spending. Fridayís pay day anyway.

I also should get some writing and blogging in. Thereís a short story rumbling through my brain that needs to come out.

Philadanciní!

Blue.jpg

The Philadelphia Dance Company, Philadanco, has swept into town for an eight show stay at The Joyce Theater, and boy do they know how to make an entrance. Donald and I took in Wednesday nightís performance, which showcased a company full of highly athletic and artistic dancers, but which also specifically highlighted the talents of their Black male members.

The troupe performed six works in all, focusing on pieces choreographed and/or performed by members past and present. Notable among the performances was a solo piece, Sweet in the Morning, danced that evening by alumni guest dancer Antonio Sisk. With a bare stage except for a single wooden bench, and a lighting design to evoke an early morning glow, Sisk used his long, agile frame to twist, turn, dance with, on, over, around and under the bench as if to rise to meet the new day.

But the major focus of the evening came after intermission with three works collectively titled, WE TOO DANCEÖAfrican American Men in Dance. Part one, Back to Bach, featured seven of the men displaying strong and vivid ballet movements to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. A Place of Peace featured guest artist Christopher L. Huggins alone with three lit candles in a more modern dance representative of a search for calm and comfort amidst turbulence.

The best was saved for last however when nine of the men performed a piece choreographed by Huggins, called Blue (depicted above). Symbolizing both power and grace, beauty and masculinity and more than a little bit of eroticism, each dancer was given opportunity to display his strengths individually and collectively in moves drawn from modern, ballet, and African influences. Initially dressed in tight-fitting blue body suits with matching flowing skirts, as the piece wore on, they wore less and less, ending in mere boxer-briefs. The popular Black male fear-fantasy imagery was working to full effect, but in this context drove home the point clearly that, we too dance.

Philadanco will be at The Joyce Theater through May 23.

Yeah boy!!!

Antonio jabs.jpg

Alright, I don’t know if he’s a relative or not, but we share the same last name.

Saturday night “cousin” Antonio Tarver opened up a big can of whup ass on Roy Jones Jr to take the light heavyweight title. See the sport section for fight details.

Fortuneís Smile

So the worst is now over on the job. I will officially transfer to another program in the agency on July 1st. Iíll actually transition into it as I wind down business under the old contract until June 30, doing a mix of old and new assignments. The new gig has guaranteed funding through October 2005, with an opportunity to reapply before that. But Iím not going through that nonsense again.

Last week, I put the wheels in motion for my next career transition. Yours truly is gonna follow a long held dream. Iím going to culinary school. In August I will start a culinary arts program, and a month later the culinary management program, with the overall goal of opening my own catering business or (maybe) restaurant.

Iíve debated this move for almost a decade. I was in my struggling actor period and seeing my career plateau, I wanted a job that had creativity but greater financial stability than show business. People always have to eat, but nobody needs an actor. The food service industry is a growth industry with more opportunities than just working in a restaurant and every culinary school I looked at boasted 95-100% placement records for graduates. Contrast that to the 85-95% unemployment rate among professional actors and you can understand my interest.

But I wasnít really ready to make the move until now. It was partly financial, partly mental preparation. Last October, the company sent me to night school to take an HR courseóI got an Aóand I realized I could do school and work and not die in the process. To do this culinary dream Iíll be going to work M-F and school Sat and Sun for 31 weeks. When the management piece kicks in that will also mean three nights a week as well. But by this time next year Iíll be about done, so regardless of whether my job gets refunded or not, Iím ready to depart on my own terms.

Deep breathÖ.exhale.