Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Sums (Days 28 & 29, and also Today~Years 28 & 29:30 to 30)

 Today (Sunday)  after worship and service at GHC, I was downstairs helping to take care of the bebe's in nursery. It's such a wonder to look at my friend's Joel and Allison's little Daisy from across the room, how she looks like both her parents, how I wouldn't have known when I first moved to Cleveland what great friends they would be, how they would remain in my life when original hopes & plans shifted and moved. And it's a wonder to hold Rosemary (yes, our nursery is full of flowers.) and think how last year her Mom obligingly let me rest my hand on her tummy to feel the baby move while we got ready for our friend's wedding, and how we didn't know Rosey then and now here she is, her own little human being, laughing and smiling at me and simply so precious. And I'm grateful for the people here, and for how we've in ways small or big been part of each other's lives. And the stress I feel from the week is helped by holding babies, and by singing worship, and by hearing truth, and by praying after a sermon on anxiety (how apt. He's always doing that.), and by seeing people I care about. And these things, they aren't my salvation, they can't be my hope, but it's beautiful that God can order our good in such a way to include these elements in how we flourish. And I look at the babies and am in wonder at the friendships they remind me of, and the lives of the people & the community around me, and how what I thought I was moving to Cleveland for isn't why I stayed.
 After service Kevin comes downstairs and says hello to his own favorite little person~ when Clara is in the room I wonder if I might lost my boyfriend to her but I'm okay with that. She's four after all, and they both adore one another. I ask if he'll take me to pick up my headshots because I have an audition and he says yes and asks if I'll be done in time for dinner with our friends Chiara and Josh that night. "Of course!" I've been looking forward to dinner with them all week, I love that I landed in the same city as these two. Chiara and I met in 2009 at MasterWorks and given that she's from Switzerland I never dreamed I'd get to do life in the same random city, with the same great people, in the same church with her. Chiara loves birthdays and for each of my CLE ones she's done something to make it special, like make Josh wake up to go get me so she could make me pancakes. :) She's busy on Monday and says she wants us over for dinner so she can celebrate with me.
 I will definitely be done with auditions on time.
 "Do we need to bring anything?" Kevin asks.
 "I meant to text Chiara, I'll do that."
 "Okay, well let me know what she says and I can pick it up on the way."
 I'm not quite prepared for these auditions and wasn't sure I'd go. When I told Cassie this the night before she said "Oh you haaaave to go! You loved that!" It's the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival auditions.
She's right, I did love it. 28th year was definitely highlighted by getting involved in theatre in Cleveland. My first performance in 3 yrs was actually on my 28th birthday, then I performed with CSF (the one Cassie was referring to) and then got to work with the Cleveland Play House as an actor educator in their Classroom Matinee Touring Program. Which was wonderful. That contract ended a year ago and 29 brought me full circle back to Starbucks in the Cleveland Clinic (busiest in the state thank you.) and that's where this good looking social worker started coming in and ordering an Americano everyday. Then one day last summer he popped up at my church and my people placement radar took a few minutes to register where and why and how I knew him. "One of your regulars, Grande Americano, Bing!" And so I went and said "Hi!" and he looked surprised, and smiled. Then lots of other stuff happened and didn't happen and the timing was off and there was a phone call someone likes to refer to as the "I don't like you" call, which is not actually what I said, but it was still That Call. Then Fall came, and good looking social worker was coming to my community group now so he was in my path alot. And timing changed. And there was another phone call, from him this time, about penguins and a 'proper date'. Which was lovely and lasted a whole Sunday and turned into Actually Dating.
 I felt unprepared for the audition but in the getting ready & the sunshine gorgeousness of the day & Kevin's help in acquiring headshots, I started to feel more excited & also like myself in a way I miss.
  It made me laugh to get chips and guac at Chipotle so that I can use their bathroom to do my make-up and change, semi-run through my monologues, and then snag a table to assemble my headshot and res (which the bookstore kindly printed for me as I had one copy and needed two. Thank you so much Mac's Books~I owe you.) While putting the rest of my life back together in my Mary Poppins bag I chuckled and thought "Yup. This makes me feel like an actor."
 And I leave and look like a crazy person not only because of my bag but also because I'm running through lines and therefore talking passionately to imaginary people while crossing the street. On my way to the building I see Josh and Chiara and sneak up for hugs, happy to see such good friends before an audition. They tell me I look good and wish me luck and they're the friends we're seeing later so we exchange "looking forward to it!"'s
 I'm the first one there and close on my heels are two former cast mates from the summer I did this, so again I feel happy and encouraged. And I audition and  I forget half the words to my first monologue which is remarkable because I know it back and forth, but I just keep going and part of me is thinking "I have no idea what I'm saying. I don't know what these words are." And part of me is thinking "This is Shakespeare and it's Much Ado, they totally know that I don't know these words." And part of me isn't thinking, she's just going. The second piece goes much better and to my happy amazement they want me to come to callbacks. On the way out I say to my former director who sat in, "I don't know where the words went Tyson. They were just gone." And he says "Oh darling, you wouldn't have known it watching you." which makes me feel oh so much better. And I have a call back. And that feels great.
I walk home and sit in the sun with Cassie and thank her for getting me to go. Cute social worker picks me up to go to our friends house and I use lots of words to tell him how the audition went. And we get to Josh and Chiara's and give hugs and I tell Kevin I can't breath in his hug, which he says is perfect, which is not weird at all, and then he lets me go and the dining room is full of lots of people. Which is also why there are streamers. And they are people I really like. To celebrate with me. Because Kevin thought that would be a good surprise idea for my birthday. Which is pretty great. And there are really beautiful cakes too. And there is yummy food & tasty drinks. And babies to hold and friends to hug and talk to. And that's where I end 29 and say hello to 30.

Alaska Adventures With Mama Henry and Fierce Koala (Day 27~Year 27: 30 to 30)

Of all the amazing things I got to see while working on the Boat one of my all time favorites was seeing my Mom on the dock in Sitka. Since I was little she'd talked about Alaska and I'd always wanted to take her somehow. You get a free trip on any expedition when you've fulfilled a 6 month contract and things lined up for my Mom to come the last week I was on a fill in in Alaska. It's still hard for me to believe that this happened. It was  a bit Ridiculous. And lovely. However it worked out I'm so thankful it did. I'm also grateful to my brother Sam who after I called Mom (from my first visit in Cleveland actually!) to propose the actual plan talked some sense into her when she was tottering.
 The whole day my Mom was traveling I was worrying about her flight transfers and Would She Make It. I'd never seen her fly and didn't know til then that she was fine with it. I've learned a Whole Lot the past few years about things I thought my Mom didn't like when actually she does, things are just different when you're watching kiddos versus not watching kiddos. Example~I thought she didn't like cities. And I was wrong.) It's kind of cool getting to know your parents as an adult.
 I also called Moma couple of days before to discuss definitions of "Cold".
 "No really, I know you love love love the cold, but really Mom, it's C o l d. It's boat cold. It's cold. Please bring actually warm clothes. Please."
"Mom. Like not cotton. Bring synthetic stuff."

 When they brought in her luggage the Expedition Specialist came to me looking worried.
"Did we lose your Mom's luggage?"
[ Dry and with slight eye roll ]"No. That IS her luggage."
 "It's just a carry on."
 "Where are her boots?"
 "She's wearing them."
 The ES's worry turned to admiration "I wish I could pack like that!"
Yes. Excepting for the part where the "boat cold" wasn't believed. The rest of the week I chased her like a Mother duck (ironic, yes.) trying to bundle her up with extra coats and thermal things.

 It was so great to have her there and I had a day off to spend with her too. We went out for a hike and on a raft ride to see bald eagles and mountains and trees and sea lions. Then we came back for lunch and were both so freaking worn out that we lay in bed and I was trying with forced gusto to get her to go kayaking but I was too tired to fight while she lay on the other side of the bed saying,
 "Yeah. Yeah. We can do that. We can do whatever you want." in voice that was clearly falling totally asleep and not about to get into a kayak.
 We did kayak at some point. We got ice cream in Petersburg, met new people, had slumber parties in her room, went to Glacier Bay and saw calving glaciers, and the last day of the trip we watched a bunch of humpbacks bubble net fishing at dinner time. And it was the last week of my fill in so we got to stay in the hotel together and have a girls night and then fly back to WV with a Scotch toast to a grand adventure. An adventure with my Mama.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stella (Day 26 ~Year 26:30 to 30)

Part of the point of working on the boat at all was to save money to either be able to establish in a city

type place and start auditioning and looking for acting gigs or to get more refined training as a performer. Which is how I got to Stella Adler in NYC. On the one hand I didn't plan or budget nearly well enough to last very long there. On the other, I went because I felt like I was supposed to and employment doors to stay (not of the performance variety either. Just of the rent paying, grocery buying, air breathing sort.) didn't open. Even before going I knew NY wasn't quite my cuppa and honestly I was terrified at first. Which I never told my Mother til later on account of her being terrified that I was going. So I was like "S'no biggie! It's fine Mama." while I was stress dreaming the week before I went for a visit trip to scout places to live.
 But that changed and if nothing else it was kind of great to learn that much in my very brief time there. And it changed quickly. I was fine. And learning that I could do the subway systems and even help other people with them, that felt pretty awesome. 
 I will say that any patience I had remaining from working in customer service for 6 months straight on the boat (mine had been squelched out sadly) probably left while I was there. And not with New Yorkers~ suddenly I understood where they get their not deserved and actually I don't think even nowadays as much attributed reputation: when you're trying to get to work and tourists are taking up the ENTIRE both sides of the sidewalk, or simply not walking, or stopping on an escalator....yes, like I said, I was once a patient person. She seems to have left the building.
 So when I talk about this super short period of time there is a sense of "fail" as clearly I didn't finish up. But I wish I could discard that because I truly enjoyed the time I did have at Stella, I got some good out of it & some encouragement, met some lovely & talented people, and it's just fun to have gotten to study my craft in the heart of The City at all. And also I met again with the fact that while I love, love, to perform and am told I'm actually good at it, that maybe I don't have the drive to do it for a living. It's always been a doubt and New York brought it in clearer. A part of my heart still falters there feeling like maybe I take the easy or practical way out and don't steward my talents well but...I just don't know.
 The fact that I have an actual bank of New York moments makes me smile. Moving to the city at the same time Bonnie and Alex did and actually getting to see them made me glad. Central Park, Stella Adler, friends I made, old friends I visited (and who showed me such kindness! Milena, I mean you lady.). And it's so funny that while I'm glad to not be living there every once in a while I'll just MISS New York. When my Mom started watching Ugly Betty I watched some too and it's so very New York and suddenly I missed really random stuff like cheap cups of coffee with the little greek statue men printed on them.
 I do NOT miss working at Macy's although it's again fun to be able to say I worked in The Macy's, like the biggest store in the world Macy's. 
 Also New York probably helped me see some of what I did want. To have the contrast of Cleveland right after New York was good. I am a relational person and New York is not so much a relational city. People don't so much have one another to their homes because space is small and limited and so is time. Not so in CLE. And it's not as scrunchy.
 Touching back briefly on that sense of fail though and on this chapter of my life, the boat and New York are where some things started unhappily shifting for me I think. It was really good these last couple of days to write and remember over AmeriCorps & YWAM & Belhaven & CPAF, looking over 'rocks of remembrance' of God's good provision and leading in my life and as His follower and a performing artist. My time on the boat, while it has many good aspects, and while I believe God can use and does use that experience in my life, was a really difficult one spiritually. We aren't meant to go it alone, our walk is not only personal but meant to be lived out in a corporate context, within a body of believers who are the church. And so I still feel the repercussions of a season very much out of that. There were people I specifically asked to check in, to pray, to keep me accountable, and that was great and to them I'm grateful. But it isn't the same and while I'm so glad for having seen whales, kayaking in Alaska, the magic of Baja, so much....there's a part of me too that isn't so certain it was wise.
 And then there was post NY and Stella. I'd really felt I was supposed to go and so after it didn't work out (which again, I do believe was in part poor planning.) there was a bit of a before unknown to me raw spot in my relationship with God. I'd certainly gone to Him with things I didn't understand, things that made me sad, things with which I wrestled, but I think this was the first time that I felt...almost angry. Bitter. 
 I felt He'd called me to go....and now what? I felt that it had been over and over shown to me that this is where my giftings were, in acting, and shown to me by other people. people who actually knew their stuff, not my own self. Moving to New York scared me but I went. And it didn't work. That was really hard and I didn't understand. Somewhere I knew that the Lord's purpose in me going to New York could easily be completely not what I'd thought or expected at all. But not knowing what to do with what I was good at, not knowing why this door opened and closed, feeling I'd been led and not seeing the purpose~it was hard and it hurt. 
 This post is supposed to lead into Cleveland though I think now I'll divide 26 & 27 but I want to bring it in for a moment. When I moved to Cleveland I was looking for A Place To Be that included a good church and a community. And I found that in Cleveland, and in community here I could & can be honest about these things. I'm not judged because we each know our hearts are broken, our natures bent, and when I share, something may resonate with someone else, when they share, something may resonate with me, and in the sharing we can, from our different spot in the story, remind one another of what is True.
 . I still don't know all of the Lord's purposes in New York or any of that. I can still get a little sad over it, but I'm no longer bitter over it. It's sore sometimes, but I can trust that He works all things together for His glory which in His grace He wondrously has tied up with my good.
 And I can see this even in how I got to Cleveland. I moved for entirely other reasons than how I stayed. I moved for a relationship, and it didn't last, and it took me a while (though clearly less time then the NY puzzle) to see "Oh. That was to get me to Cleveland." :) 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Boat (Day 25~Year 25:30 to 30)

When I was 25 the year started looking like I was going to have one kind of adventure. And then that changed. Which was very good. But then I wanted to Do Something. Since before my adventures began I'd learned about Lindblad Expeditions and thought that could be really fun to do one day. In AmeriCorps I learned that my team mate & now friend Jordan knew about them too and his brother (who now I know too!) worked for them. Jordan said he'd wanted to work with them as well. And one day he did. And then he would start to write me about whales or when I'd see him at reunions he'd say "You should come work on the boat Feet."

And so.
It was time.

I was in Indiana after a MasterWorks festival when I got the email with my itinerary and I didn't even know what to do with myself. I was going to Alaska. Alaska. I hadn't expected it and I was excited. And from there I'd go to Oregon and Washington for fall on the rivers. And then (what the what was Shipyard? Oh boy, I'd learn.) a month or so in California, and finally Baja California, what I didn't yet know is one of the most magical places I've ever been and I dare say on earth. It was positively ridiculous, and wonderful, that my itinerary included every place that my particular boat~ The SeaBird~goes. 

So yeah. I worked on a boat. It was pretty cool. Sometimes I hated it. Sometimes it was ridiculously awesome. Definitely it provided me incredible opportunities I'd never have been able to do otherwise. And definitely I've written lots about it here in previous posts and I am pretty stupid tired tonight so that's about all I'm gonna say on it for now. 

CPAF/Lake Lodge Girls (Day 24 ~Year 24: 30 to 30)

 "The Lord is good to me, And so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed, the Lord is good to me."
 While this little song naturally brings to mind the Disney cartoon of Johnny Appleseed from where it originates, it also instantly reminds me of Mary Jeane Kraft & a prayer time at CPAF. Every morning before work we'd pray together as staff and interns and one morning MaryJeane's prayer was this song. I don't remember what we were praying over but I remember this being so apt . It feels apt now too both as I start to write about CPAF and as I wish I had more time to spend on these late posts but that being because of gratefulness for the richness of people and places and times that God has placed in my life.

 At CPAF I was an intern with 3 other girls and we lived in a lake house and worked at the office. For the first half of my time there I missed Jackson a ridiculous lot. I missed theatre. I missed my group of friends and community. I knew that I was where I was supposed to be, the Lord had given me a peace not my own about coming, and while I knew I had much to be grateful about it was all in my head but not in my heart. And then one day that changed. My Belhaven friends had come to visit me on their break which was pretty amazing and I remember Meg basically saying to me that I needed to be grateful for the gorgeousness I was surrounded by, that I didn't have to be stuck in concrete. And I remember having a quiet time with God and basically saying that if my sadness sent me to Him then that was good. And something shifted. All the thankfulness I knew I Should be, got sent to my actual heart and I FELT grateful. It was lovely. And from there, my darling crazy chicken Hungarian sister (don't ask, I don't really have an explanation, it's just what we call each other) and I decided to create a show. We were the only two actresses in the office (Christi was there at first but then she had a wedding in our house and moved away leaving us surrounded by classical musicians. ) and there were precious few theatre opporunities in our immediate Indiana area. So we decided we needed to create one. And we did. We set aside rehearsal time at our house each night and we crafted a show out of what was on our hearts. Which for me was contentment. So Greener Grass was born. And what a blessing to go into a rehearsal space, (sometimes not really wanting to rehearse) in our own house (by the freaking lake may I restate.), pray over the rehearsal and give it to God, and then do the work.
 Beyond this, that year was another excellent time of growing both artistically and spiritually. Living with Annaka, and Krisz and Julie and working with a wonderful staff of artists (and Cyd! Cyd who kept us sane and on track and listened to us cry. She was the office manager and while Krisz and I may have been a minority as actresses among musicians, Cyd was a counselor surrounded in general by performing artists.) truly makes me say~ " The Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord...."After Christy and Barry's wedding at the Lake house Christi's brothers mentioned the benefit of sharing meals together (actually they said snarkily when they learned that though we lived together we didn't do this. "Oh well I guess there is no benefit to living in community." heh. It was effective.Also that was a great day. A wedding in our house in the morning and sledding with the guys followed by dinner thanks to Krisz and a random viewing of Back to the Future.) we took to it and traded off making dinner 4 nights a week. This simple shift changed our relationships with each other, which though we were simply 4 roommates helps me see why this would be important in a family setting later.
 And while I say' simply four roommates', it's no shrugging off. Sharing life with these women that year was such a blessing. We read Psalms together in the mornings, prayed together, sometimes fought together, sought resolution together, reminded one another of God's Truth when it was hard to remember ourselves. And we laughed and played too. And kept a boat from crashing into our house. (It happened.
And got flooded into our house. :) "...the Lord is good to me."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Belhaven~ (Year and Days 22 & 23: 30 to 30)

Okay~so clearly posts are falling behind again because, well I suppose because present life is happening and I've not taken the time to write about Befores. :) Saturday would have been 21/Shepherdstown but I also touched on that at the sum up end of the last post so we'll leave it there for now. I was near Shepherdstown Saturday though, at home with my fam in the Burrow. Kevin and I left on Friday and got in late for a short weekend Easter visit. It was so nice to be back in the mountains, by the river, and with my fam/crazy brothers & Alexandra. And really nice to have them all meet Kevin and vice versa.
 Sunday~22 blended with Monday 23 for a Belhaven/Kaelen conglomeration. Belhaven is how I met Kaelen who remains one of my best friends to this day. When I applied to Belhaven  I specifically requested a certain dorm (which is not the one generally requested.) and specifically requested to room with a non-theatre major. And I got placed in Not The Requested dorm and with Kaelen, a definite theatre major. But two things told me it was okay. The first was that our room number was to be 413 which is my birthday so that felt like a good sign. The second was that Kaelen responded to my letter (it felt strange to 'get to know' your new roomie with a phone call) with a handwritten letter of her own. One from Masterworks which at that time I knew nothing about and now too has been a big part of my own life. (funny story from my a vault of Kaelen stories~ this same letter lay on my desk at Belhaven covered by a few things a couple of months into our semester. Kaelen saw the curlicues on the edges and started going on about how lovely they were and how very much she liked them and did I do that? and who did that? and they were just so very.....then she saw that she'd done them and stopped. And we had a good laugh over that one.)
 Kaelen and I hit it off so instantly and well that people assumed we were long friends before Belhaven. There are about a billion stories from that time and from our lovely group of friends that I could write. And I could and should write about the Searles and how I met them serendipitously on the plane the first time I visited Belhaven and how kind they've been to me and how I lived in the house they had in Jackson. And I could write about that house, which we deemed "Tiffany's" only because we often had Breakfast At....
I still miss that house when I think of it. A bunch of us would get together there on Sundays and read children's books (yes. that's what we did.) and sing hymns, and laugh or watch movies or what have you. It was such a sweet time. And theatre, oh we did so much theatre. It was so rich to be in an environment of constant creating. And at Belhaven my faith grew as my theology shifted. And with Kaelen and Brandon and Brandon and Scott and Erin and Meg and Aunie and Bonnie and Alex (Bonnie and Alex! Love those two!)  I learned the words to hymns I found I loved. And of all the lovely things and crazy things and funny things my friendship with Kae is filled with, there's something I most learned from her in the very beginning for which I'm very grateful. Kaelen changed my prayer life. At first it made me uncomfortable and maybe I thought she was a little crazy. I mean, I prayed often I thought, but this girl prayed out loud and fervently about just about anything. If I brought something up she'd just pray about it. Like right then and there. And then it felt less crazy and how I prayed shifted too. And I'm still grateful for that.

 So much about being there was sweet and beautiful and showed evidence of God's provision. Even the first time I visited I was amazed by the fact that I didn't want to leave, that I felt somehow at home. At Belhaven both my craft as an actor and my walk as a Christ follower grew and it was a precious time.
 And being at Belhaven led to the next, because Kaelen is how I learned of Masterworks which is where I'd go after my time in Jackson.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Multi Day/Year Catch Up (Days 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20~Years Corresponding:30 to 30)

It's a little too bad this is such a catch all catch up because there were some good day/year connections in here. But for now, before setting out for home for Easter with the boy (yay!) I'd just want to touch on them so as to catch up. And honestly much of the days assignments have turned to blogs instead of 'tasks' if you will. I'd like to have done both but time just gets scrunchy ya know?

 Somehow I'm really the only traveler in my immediate family but I got but by the travel bug very young and wanted to be a flight attendant when I was a little girl. When I was 15 I finally got to really go somewhere and through the support of my church growing up, got to go with the McKenzie family to Israel where they were working with YWAM Jerusalem and living in Bethlehem. There's more to say on this, clearly, but today I'm mostly playing catch up so I won't delve. Sunday I went to Algebra Tea House on my street for an Iraqi kebab wrap and the intent of a glass bottle of coke. In Israel we would go to street stands or bitty cafes for either shawarma or falafel and coca cola in glass bottles. Algebra has both but part of this countdown is bringing past to present so I went with my fav go-to wrap instead. Also Cassie came with me so we could catch up after her house sitting for a week. Sadly they were out of coke so we had root beer instead.

 At 16 I worked a summer as a white water rafting guide on the Shenandoah (and a tad of the Potomac) river in Harpers Ferry. I was not particularly good at it but it was an enjoyable experience and I loved being outside and on the water and in the sun. You'd get the weirdest tans because you're sitting all day with your thighs sunward, your calves hidden, your face & arms exposed and the rest of your torso completely covered in a life vest. And this was the year that I discovered the beauty of naps. This is a job that totally wears you out and you'd just come home, eat and sleep. On this trip home this weekend I will most definitely be walking to the river on Saturday morning to give it a good hello.

 Then of course was 17 which though the season of such spanned longer then, I decided for this project's purposes to tie to the Gypsy reign. :) Barefooting, pasta making, contra dancing, Shakespeare loving, bunch of crazy wonderful friends. I loved that time and those people.

 18 was The Crucible- like literally, the show, not a metaphorical going through~ which I connect with really getting to know my dear friend Bergen more and also with realizing how much actually I really loved and wanted to do theatre.

 19 was Americorps which I've written about before and will again.
And 20 was YWAM and these three years, 18, 19 & 20 connect a lot in my journey of pursuing the arts as a Christian. And I'll try and come back to flesh these out better. For now suffice it to say at 18 in The Crucible I recognized how very much I actually did love acting and theatre and how as I was about to go away and do other things I loved for 11 months I didn't know what I would do without it. 2 days after having this thought directly is when I got a letter from A*Corps explaining three specialized teams specific to my assigned Denver base. Teaching/tutoring. Firefighting. And a brand spanking new theatre team. Which I auditioned for upon arriving, got in and became part of a team that a decade later is still part of my life and who I love dearly. During my AmeriCorps year I read Addicted to Mediocrity because more and more I was realizing I loved acting. Through this book I felt like God spoke to my heart and broke through a lot of the very practical and utilitarian way I'd been viewing the arts. Through this book I felt I was seeing that not only was it 'okay' that I love and do this, but that I'd been designed for it. So I looked up a performing arts DTS (discipleship training school~something else I'd wanted to do and was introduced to through YWAM in Israel) through YWAM, applied, and that was my post A*Corps step. And there new knowledge in what it means to be a Christian in the arts, in God's own artistry and beauty, developed and furthered.

 And post A*Corps was my first apartment with Bergen then Butera now Howlett. And that, that too was a golden time. Card nights, curry chicken salad, the beginning of Boxing Day breakfasts, Unbirthday Parties( that were possibly a terrible idea. I swore off planning surprise parties after this Bergen. You should always check to see if your roommate has homework first. Also it was completely not her birthday although that was sort of the point.)  and filled with bright pink cake, the fun of being a townie in Shepherdstown. Good times Bergen, good times. :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Grandma (Day 14~Year 14: 30 to 30)

 The reactions I sometimes get to going by my middle name are surprising. Some people seem truly offended, it's weird, that they've known me as 'Faith' and my first name is in fact 'Rachel'. Didn't pick the going by my middle name bit folks, just how it goes. Believe me, I've gotten confused myself when as a kid at the Dr's or something, they'd call my name several times before I realized who they meant. My favorite (but not) is when people discover this and refer to Rachel as my 'real name' as if Faith, which I've gone by since I was born, was not my 'real name'. Regardless, I'm grateful to carry my first name, as real as my middle one, because I was named after my Grandma.
 She gets this day, this year because it's when we lost her.Even now, writing so makes me tear up. At the time, for some reason, I thought 'normal' was hiding away the sad part, going and crying by yourself, and then being happy around people. I don't know where I got this except that I like being in control, and crying is not that. It wasn't until a few years after my Grandma died that my Mom and I learned we'd each been crying when we went to sleep for weeks, not knowing the other was mourning too. "Well I wish I'd known that!" said my Mom when somehow, talking late one night with Alexandra at the Burrow, it just came up. We could have cried together, which honestly probably would eventually have meant laughing together too, because of remembering together. And if not, we could at least have comforted each other. Cry together people. And remind me to as well.
 My grandma gave us kitchen sink baths when we were babies, and somehow, somehow I remember this. I remember orange measuring cups and using them as bath toys and pouring the water in and out of them. As an adult I've heard Mom say "She'd clean a big old chicken up for dinner and then fill the sink with water and plop one of you in it." Well. We none of us died from salmonella so....
 Baths were always a thing at Grandma's, even past sink bath stage. When Lukas was a toddler he had this habit of submerging face first in the water and just floating there, I don't know why, it was fun for him. So one night Grandma's giving him a bath and he's playing around and he does the dead man's float thing and Grandma waits patiently...until she didn't. She grabbed him by the white blonde hair and said "That's enough!!!" and pulled him out of the water to make sure he was still actually there. She was rather a patient woman so it was pretty hilarious.
 Grandma was also an incredible cook and no one makes mashed potatoes like she did. And chicken soup, and lemon chicken, and heaven knows, lots of things.But I really remember those mashed potatoes. I bet my Dad got his stellar cooking skills from my Grandma.
 She had seven kids including twins and as my Uncle Danny said at her funeral, when my Grandfather died (my Dad, the third, was 11 I think) she picked herself up by the bootstraps and raised those seven kids by herself. 
 My Grandma taught me to sew (not that I remember, but we made several dresses with Alexandra which was fun.) and she sewed me lots of dresses and things when I was a growing up. She also used to rock me sleep when I was a toddler which actually meant she would fall asleep and I would wriggle out and run around again. That rocking chair is now at The Burrow (aka, my families house) and has rocked so many babies. My Dad probably got his cooking AND fall asleep wherever skills from his Mom. :)
 It seems funny to write about her and to know she was wonderful to me but to not know how to say so. She was a big part of my world and I loved her dearly and I'm glad to have her name. I love you Grandma.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

That Sam I Am (Day 13~Year 13: 30 to 30)

'Mom and Dad decided for Baby number four not to find out what they were having so Devan and I had a 9 month bet going on it. I was convinced that this time I'd get a sister. So on December 20th when I woke up at Alexandra's house to hear Devan on the phone with Dad and learn we had brother number 3 I was.....ummmm....well I went in the bathroom and cried. Three of them? For serious? This ratio seemed WAY skewed.
But that was before I actually met Samuel. And when I did all of that nonsense melted away.
Sam was a lovey little guy from the start and his first word, very early I'll have you know, was "Honey" as he reached for Mom. He was also a quirky little guy from the start and he has a great many fantastic tales in our families story bank. Most I'll leave there for now Sam, don't worry.
He was a story teller too and Sam talked in a slow, deep, monotone and if ever he got somehow offtrack....he'd start over from the very beginning. And these were loooooong tales too. So you'd hold your breath hoping no one moved, though sometimes he'd get off track for no particular reason you could have foreseen and it was back to the beginning. And the thing was, it didn't matter how close to the end you were. And it didn't matter if he'd already started over 3 times. It was back to the beginning and all the way through. Devan, being Devan, learned to use this to his button-pushing, self-entertaining advantage by strategically placing one of his friends on the couch with Sam, "pushing the play button" by instigating a story topic, and then leave the room after distracting Sam near the end of some story session, thus trapping the friend (did they still call him that?) in a loop of story.
This is also the brother who said to Devan one day "Am I a fweaky widdle man?" and, I believe while sitting on the porch 'smoking' a bubble pipe with his cute little toddler Hobbit like curls, greeted him cheerfully "Devan, was your day lucky?"
What a kid! And what a sweetheart.
Sam has had a Dad's heart since he was a wee little thing. I remember a conversation with him when he was just a kid and him telling me how he was going to get married and have a family and how maybe learning to ‘plumb’ as a plumber would be a good career choice. He once drew me a picture of what he thought would be me at my wedding and it sits framed on my desk which is saying something because I don't frame much of anything.

Once when he was nine I remember talking to him on the phone and towards the end of the conversation I said "Well baby cakes, I've gotta go." and then I stopped because I had a realization I'd once had with Lukas, one where my hoped for cool sister status had perhaps been demolished because I'd forgotten how old a brother really had gotten and was treating them younger. With Lukas this was so. So with Sam I stopped and said "Sam, I'm sorry, does it bother you when I say that?" "A little." "I'm sorry Sam. I'll start over, Sam, I've gotta be getting off of here..." "Oh no, no, I don't like it when you have to go. I like it when you call me babycakes." I stayed on the phone for twenty more minutes. ~
I'm going to have to check with him before I post this because we're always telling stories on him and he doesn't always like it. But he's such a neat little guy, and not little anymore by any means, he's outgrown us all. I think I might be the craziest version of myself around him which is kind of hilarious and which he isn't quite sure what to do with. He calls me a fierce koala. And given that I smash chocolate Easter bunnies in his room at complete random I think it's probably a deserved title. Although I also freak him out by making monkey sounds and koala's are pretty quiet sooooo....
Today, I'm going to finally start reading what he sent me of a story he started. And if I get distracted, I can start myself back at the beginning. '

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Journals (Day 12~Year 12: 30 to 30)

On my twelfth birthday my Uncle Danny gave me my first real journal. He and my aunt Jen have always given awesome gifts and this is well marked in my memory. It was a leather bound cover, light brown, with a floral garland imprint surrounding the word 'Journal'. The book inside was removable from the cover so that you can get new blank books and continue to use the leather jacket as a journal cover. Quite clever and lovely and practical and meaningful all in one. Which I love.
  I'd had a Lisa Frank diary previous to this occasion, but this rightfully graduated the term 'diary' to 'journal'. I already associated Danny with journaling because when I was a little kid my Mom told me that he'd journaled about his band-following travels. This may have been my first introduction to the concept & I thought that was pretty neat. So much so that not understanding the rather personal nature of such I asked him once if I could read them. In response he gave a Danny particular chortle and said "When I'm dead!" followed by a Danny particular laugh.
 And this book, that year, was the start of a so far lifelong practice that has filled a small carry~on suitcase with filled up journals. It's something that's helped me keep records of stories, of prayers, of journeys and dreams. Even of recipes sometimes, and quotes, or passages from books and plays and movies and scripture. And it's helped me, Miss Outward Processor, dump my whirling thoughts on a page and sometimes see they're maybe not as bad as I thought, or at least maybe help me to sort them and know better how to think & talk through them.
 There was a time when I thought of separating the different things I use journaling for into different books. One for prayer, one for actual record keeping journaling, one for emotional workings out, etc. But my life is my life and I decided that my thankfulness's and joys ought be beside my frustrations and 'dammit's'. So all in one.
 As a record keeping process, I used to be much more diligent, but not as much now. I still record things that feel special, or noteworthy, or important, or simply because I haven't in a time~ but this I don't do daily. But the other bits and pieces still make their way to page, not daily as before, but frequently. It's a practice that has often served me well and one for which I'm glad.
 Often it feels, honestly like blogging here and even like this project, that perhaps journaling is something too self focused. It seems strange and maybe even narcissistic to want to put down your own personal history. There is of course more to it but the nagging doubt is there.  Yesterday I shared this concern with Devan regarding this project. And this is what he wrote back. "Don't stop in the middle...if you're concerned about it being self focused then change the perspective...Your life isn't just about you, it's about you, and the people around you and the people you affect and who affect you...It's about things you were a part of and things you missed. Just because you lived a year doesn't make it your year. You're the person who's perspective we are gaining on the last thirty years. You're a vessel for things God has done in the past thirty years. So get over it and finish your project. :)" Yeah, see, my brother is pretty cool.
 Today~ I'll purchase a new journal, as the one I'm currently in has been filled once and I'm now working in upside down/backwards on the backs of pages. So, yeah, it's probably about time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sunshine Man (Day 10 ~ Year 10: 30 to 30)

 Any form of normal didn't really come to the Whitacre house until Lukas Whitacre. Lukas was born when I was 10 and I was sooooo excited to be a big sister again and have a baby around. And this baby was suuuuper cute. He had white blonde hair, thick eyelashes, and blue blue eyes. When I was a baby my Mom had to keep a bonnet on me until I was 2 so people would know I was a girl because until then I was essentially bald. With Lukas she had to put on overtly "Boy" shirts and with his curly, golden locks people still commented on her 'girl'. It was these golden locks that caused my Mom to deem him the sunshine man and every morning we sang to Lukas,
 "Good morning merry sunshine,
   Why did you wake so soon?
   You scared the little birds away.
  And shined
                              the moon."
 Which is, yes, an actual song. 
 Along with being adorable, Lukas was, from day one, extraordinarily headstrong. I got into a fight with him when he was 18 months old. Like a battle of the wills fight. I don't remember what it was about. I do remember thinking "this is ridiculous. I'm fighting with the baby." And I do believe he won. Which is unsuprising.
 And, yeah, he was so normal. And the poor baby felt it in a sea of weirdos but perspective is a funny thing and so being the odd (normal) man out, he felt like the odd one, and with some kind of incredible intuition as a toddler. He used to cry that he "didn't fit" and he wanted brown hair. Poor kid. He got over it later. ;)
 He also used to say, with great confidence, when asked how old he was at 3 ,"46." He'd come up with a new big number each time but say it with no lag, like he actually believed it. 
 And one day, I came home from some stint away, and suddenly this golden haired child was taller than me. And that was a very strange thing. And now he knows music, and taught himself guitar and brings sunshine that way. So I wrote him on his countdown day, to say I loved him and I'm glad he's my brother. And that his defense of the pronunciation of "armadillo" would always stick in my mind (It's a cruel irony to not be able to pronounce the first letter of your own name as a toddler and Luke's 'l's' were ever 'w's' at that age. In one memorable conversation he was talking in the car about 'armadiwows'  and oh so kind and helpful older brother Devan said "Don't you mean armadiLLo's?" to which Lukas said emphatically "That's what I said. 'armadiiiiiiiiiiiiwows.'"

Sunshine, Sunshine & Pencil Points. (Days 9, 10 & 11~Years, 9, 10 & 11 : 30 to 30)

Here's what I remember about 11: the birthday party part sucked because the original plans failed and at my sleepover with Alexandra that night (that part didn't suck, also the present about to be mentioned with which we were playing didn't suck. ) at approximately the modest hour of 2 am I sat on a Very Sharp pencil and the point broke off in my foot. It's still there. (oh. The present was not a A Pencil. It was some cool fun kit full of things that kids think are fun and Grown Ups get bored by, like office memos, pencils...actually that's all I remember. Gox. what else was in there? It was like a Girl Friday, grown up office and daily life things that now I'm sure I'd want to get away from. Except that actually I like lists.) Thankfully they no longer make these out of actual lead and I've lived to see other birthdays. :) I screamed. And cried. It really, really, really hurt, and probably I was pretty freaked out too. We must have been in some healthy food phase and not a Count Chocula rules one because Mom soaked my foot in a bowl full of water and seaweed. She was really nice for being woken up at 2 in the morning. And she said that her eleventh birthday sucked too. Somehow this was helpful, felt like this is just the way this one was gonna go. So yeah, I have nothing else for this day and I'm pinning 11 and pencil tips with finishing writing up on the slacking I've done the past two days. Which is not actual slacking, I've just been Busy.
 So 9 was cool~ yes I realize I'm jumping but I wanted to write "Sunshine, Sunshine" and you'll see why but Sunshine Man's post is gonna come next round because, again and like Alexandra, I don't want him lumped in~. Anyway, 9 was cool because we went for our first Florida visit. It was me, Mom and Devan (Dad came later. Which was a surprise.) and we loaded the car up with a laundry basket full of books from the library (have I mentioned that we grew up with an Awesome library system?) Most of which I'm sure were Devan's. As a kid I remember being so much less sure of what my interests were than Devan was. His brain was like a sponge and he'd just gather facts from books about animals and weather and science generally and I felt like stuff went through my brain and didn't stick. I was like a sponge another way. I took on what I was around, who I was around, what was going on. Which much later I realized made me empathetic, relational aaand, and actress. And a storyteller. But I didn't know that then (and sometimes don't really know what that means now.) and was both in admiration of my brothers knowledge and frustration at my own lack of....topic of interest.  Anyway, laundry basket full of books, out of which I remember an ocean topic Magic School Bus~ cause you gotta love that Ms Frizz~ and probably several DK like, kid encyclopedia type ocean creature books. Oh and field guides! Like I said, Devan probably read most of these.
 We were going to visit Brother and Theresa, Lora and David~ our Uncle, Aunt, and cousins on my Mom's side. We drove the 18 hrs there and I remember that being fun. I also remember that including the now hall of Whitacre family stories fame tale of a conversation about Gator's and zig zags. It went like this: As we are discussing Alligators in Florida Mom mentions that our Aunt Donna who once lived in Florida told her that if an Alligator were to chase you, that you ought run in zig zags because it couldn't follow you well. I have mentioned that Devan and I were worrisome children. I didn't give this much thought except to log away the necessity of zig zag running were an Alligator to actually chase me. Devan, however, apparently and unbeknownst to us until half an hour later had wheels turning at this statement. At that particular time mark he let out thoughtfully from the back seat "I'm gonna buy us three of them zig zags with my allowance." LOL
 So yeah. I remember arriving and stopping at a payphone to call and ask for further directions. Yeah, they still had those then. :) It was at a gas station and we got fried Gator nuggets too. It really did taste like chicken, only fishy and tougher.
 And the next couple of weeks were a grand old sunshiny, gecko catchin, ocean loving, snorkel going, seafood eating, going fishing, lotsa swimming, trampoline jumping time. Devan had other gems too this trip including smashing with a hammer the Sand Dollars my uncle risked his life  diving for and was bleaching in the driveway, not out of malice or even mischievousness but because "It makes more!" He'd read in one of the many laundry basked books about multiplication of certain sea creatures that lose limbs. And boy did that seem true with the hammer in the driveway.
 And catching geckos? That was the best. We were taught how to make a catch with a stick and some fishing line~ essentially a noose, but not one that would harm, just make an anole catchable. Because anole's are all over the place in Florida and catch them we did. And if you happened to catch it just by the tail and not the middle or the head, sometimes it's tail would break off and it would go free. And like Devan's hopeful Sand Dollar experiment, their tail would grow back later.
 Devan's other story gem this trip was when we went fishing. Poor kid caught a huge freaking fish and it was j u s t barely under the legal limit for that particular kind. Telling a 6 year old that the fish half his size "isn't big enough", not an easy job. But we all know it happened and YOU caught it dude! :)
 We also went to an aquarium and pet stingrays for the first time and it was AWESOME. They're like puppies that feel like raw chicken. It's weird. They really, really like the attention/affection/whatever b u t they definitely feel like raw chicken.
 There was so much coolness on this trip and we loved it. And so on this day I was meant to call Theresa~ who has hosted us since and always makes it a grand time. And I haven't yet, but I will. :) Thanks for the sunshine Theresa. We love you.

And now the next Sunshine in a new post....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Alexandra (Day 8 ~ Year 8 : 30 to 30

 It wasn't until I was into my twenties that I realized actually not everyone HAS a very best, super close, tell them everything friend. But I did. Alexandra and I met through gymnastics when we were 7 & 8 because our coach connected our Moms as the only two home-schoolers. The first day we met we went over to their house, which would become my second home and after that initial meeting the rest is history. :) She was part of my family and I was part of hers. Alexandra and I balanced each other out (I say this but honestly I don't know how she put up with me sometimes.) and our Moms sometimes wondered if they'd switched children: I often corresponded more to Joanne's personality while Alexandra corresponded more with my Moms. We grew up together and were often described as 'joined at the hip' which one Halloween we decided to take literally by going as Siamese Twins.
 And the best part was that after a childhood and adolescence filled with sleepovers, late night talks, walks in the woods, "Crabby Sisters" (our made up restaurant. We still have menus.), so much time, through so many seasons up on our little mountain, once we got older, moved away, moved back, moved away, did other things...we still keep up. And we can go for a long while without keeping up but once we're together, we pick it up again. She's my oldest friend and knows me better than most.  She's always there for me and is one of the most fiercely loyal people I know. For this amazing, beautiful, responsible, funny, intelligent, woman I'm so grateful. <3

(Day's 6, 7 & 8, Corresponding Years: 30 to 30)

Once upon a time I had or made more time for such things as this, now I find it a struggle. I've been tired this week, and busy though with what I'm not quite sure. So I've missed some posts, and honestly day 7 & 8 had either no or other "assigned task" and yet they worked out to happen anyway which was kind of neat. Also two caveats ~ My Mom just mentioned that she assumed age 4 would have been about Batman. I don't really know why it wasn't. While most little girls had princess or Barbie birthday parties my four year old celebration was indeed entirely Dark Knight. It was awesome. And my Mom made a fabulous cake. And the animated Batman series is STILL an awesome show in my book. Yes. Moving forward.
Oh, but also, after writing about Kindergarten and how I still love it as an adult I have to say I helped with two classes of Pre-K/Kindergarten and I was totally wiped out. So, just sayin. Sometimes things come out of my mouth or keyboard with much enthusiasm and then it comes to the nuts and bolts and I'm like "Lord help me."

Which brings us to 6 which is about-ish when I remember deciding to follow Christ. Up to then I'd been in church, around teaching, and don't know what that day particularly made me decide to pray with a Sunday school teacher, or if that was the moment I really became a follower, but I do think it's noteworthy that I remember it. And I do think that God works in the hearts and minds of all ages and can call us to Himself at any given time. My theology and faith since then have grown, developed and changed a lot but I do think that God was working in my heart to draw me to Himself. And I believe that He has continued that work throughout my life, and to this day and will until He calls me home. Something I found interesting was that for this day I was planning to either write out a prayer or spend some time with God acknowledging what He started in my life and heart as a child.  I was not planning to share my faith with a co-worker, and in fact tried to argue and justify myself out of doing so. But the compelling feeling that in a particular conversation I was meant to have said more than I vaguely suggested remained despite my protestations that I was emotional due to tiredness, that it could wait, that it didn't require me. And so, for once, I listened. It was taken politely, and from there I don't know. And I don't have to know~ but to listen when I'm called to take part. Which I don't always do. So for this opportunity on this day I had to smile.

 As to 7, this is when I remember becoming addicted to the Commitments & Sister Act soundtrack which I'm quite sure were both quite influential both in my music tastes and in my performance bug. My Grandma's living room and my bedroom were my usual solo karaoke stages and this was a solo activity. I apparently wanted only an imaginary audience and was mortified the day my family stood in my doorway unbeknownst to me for a good I have no idea how long as I sang my lungs out dancing on the bed. There was a first grade talent show performance this year in which I dressed in a mouse costume my Grandma made and sang "Love Makes the World Go Round" (It involves mice and cheese making the world go round first. The costume made sense. And my Mom made me a block of Styrofoam cheese.) Afterward my Mom had confetti cake for me at Grandma's which I promptly threw up in the driveway on the way to the car from nerves.
 This is also the year of Julia, an independent, free spirit, hiking, traveling Englishwoman who came our way via church friends and whom my Mom thinks was a big influence in my own desire to travel. 
 Today I looked up and re-watched an old Commitments clip. Incidentally I wasn't actually allowed to watch this movie until I was in my teens but dang did I love the soundtrack. :)

 8's gonna wait because it needs it's own because it's about.... Alexandra. And I don't want her getting lumped in to a group category. So there.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kindergarten!!! ((Day 5~Year 5: 30 to 30)

 Tomorrow I get to go to the Science Center and help with the Preschoolers. When my supervisor Aimee called to ask if I could help her with a couple of GUGWS's (that's just fun to write and say. It actually stands for Growing Up Great With Science. Which is a mouthful.) she said "You just know how to really get down to their level!"
I'm not sure she realizes this is because I'm ON their level.
 Kindergarten and I got along very well. While Devan came home from his first week of kindergarten in tears from the boredom of "All we do is trace circles and cut them out!!!" and did not again return, I was in need of his level of intellectual stimulation and play centers, table time, snack, were a-okay with me. And still are. I love a Kindergarten classroom. Coloring books, and the Berenstain bears, and snack, and naps, and circle time, and parachute games, we've covered....Sesame Street still feel happy to me.
 I do remember really stressing out when we made Green Eggs and Ham though. I did NOT want to eat those green eggs. That was just too much for me apparently. And I believe I successfully avoided them too.
 I will not eat them Sam-I-Am.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Country Roads (Day 4 ~ Year 4: 30 to 30)

Year four we moved to West Virginia! We moved to the house my parents and 2 littlest bro's ('littlest being quite relative. They're bigger than me.) still live in. So I write this listening to John Denver's Country Roads. Naturally.
 Say what you want about my mountain state (actually I'll probably look at you funny if you do Particularly if your name begins with "Geoff" and ends with "Lake".) it's gorgeous and I was lucky to grow up there. It wasn't until I left home that I realized not everywhere was as beautiful as where I grew up. And I mean I've seen a lot of different beautiful places but I didn't realize I'd been spoiled to grow up wish so much gorgeousness just right there, and with such great opportunity to enjoy being outside. I thought that's just what people did.
 But now I know a little better and while I do enjoy city and town life too when I'm home I like to try to remember to go outside at night to get a look at the stars you can actually see. And when I go through woods & by water, I think of home and I smile.


This is also the year I started to read .I don't remember learning to read, and don't remember a time when I couldn't, Mom says I just sort of started reading. Stories and words have been an integral part of my life and I suppose it started here. So for that bit I'd best get off of here and actually do some reading before sleep tonight. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dev~ (Day 3~Year 3: 30 to 30)

 Year three, enter Devan. And life was never the same again. No really, I'm sure it wasn't but I wouldn't remember because I don't remember a whole lot pre-Devan and I'm sure it was a lot less interesting. Which is no slight to my parents, it's just a given fact that as soon as Devan is added to any mix it becomes at LEAST more interesting.

 So yesterday (because I am sort-of-ish a day behind) I wrote (or rather drafted. As aforementioned, I'm sort-of-ish a day behind.) to Devan Whitacre, brother mine, come along when I was 3 (though really it quite feels like 4 as it was closer.) a poem. Not of the sappy variety, it's just a form of communication he and I have sometimes employed out of a love for children's literature, nonsense and word play. This is one of hundreds of elements that have made not only for a fun siblingship (this is so not a word.) but also one of my best friendships.
 In trying to figure where to start on describing him or us as kids I just keep laughing. We were a neurotic, happy, worried, creative, weird little duo, and yes, all these were true at the same time. We could be a bundle of nerves worrying over something ridiculous, telling on ourselves over something guilt was eating us over("Why are you telling me this? You're not supposed to tell your Mother this!"-our poor exasperated Mother dealing with her weird little children.), having the time of our lives climbing trees, tromping creeks, swinging on vines or performing together at the OOH.
 We made up lots of games and they were pretty awesome. Mom used to tell us yes we were welcome to wrestle in the living room as long as we knew she wasn't taking us to the hospital. There was also deathball, wet paper towels at Grandma's ceiling fan (that was a great game and Grandma approved this invention for the cleanliness of her ceiling fans. Until it backfired when she was showing the house and walked in with the family viewing it to see a paper towel still caught and swinging on a fan blade... You win some, you lose some), or Slip Socks where you get a running start and slide as far as you can on Grandma's shiny linoleum floors in your socks.(Disclaimer: It didn't actually have that fancy name that's just for the reader's benefit. ) And, Dev, what was that game where we would divide up the kitchen floor and then you could lose or gain ground depending on if you got caught sneaking past the divider line?

 If it was not my bedtime past I could go on with a great many tales of misadventures with Devan. For now I'll say this: I'm so glad he's my brother and my friend. I'm so glad for the adventures and stories we share. I'm grateful for how we can keep in touch, how he brings out a side of me nobody else does, for how I've gotten to see him grow from a crazy kid to a crazy grown up who can tame, entertain and manage a room full of crazy kids and actually get them to put together a not just comprehensible but adorable and well performed show. I'm grateful for his walk with God and how that makes us double siblings. I love that I've gotten to perform with him from Who's on First as runt kids to Glass Menagerie as near grown ups. And I love that I got to see him marry his lovely bride Haley last year. And I really love that both of them after asked "Did we say our vows right? All we could really hear was the Peanuts Grown Up voices 'Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah wah.' Incidentally, yes, they definitely said them right. ;)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sesame Street Love :and coffee too: (Day 2 ~ Year 2; 30 to 30)

"I feel like I would run out of things. Like, what will you do for year 2?" my friend Emily makes a valid point in the car on the way from the library when I tell her about my 30 to 30 project idea. Most of the years were actually fairly easy to find a "Something" to put in. The 20's were pretty easy although things start to seep together so the 'year' marks sometimes are more the tail end of when that time actually occurred, or maybe only just part of a longer span. The itty bitty years are sometimes harder...."I had a Sesame Street birthday party when I was two." I quip. And so I did. And given that my love of Sesame Street has continued to this day, I'd say it's a valid focus.
 In light of this today I'm listening to some of my favorite Sesame Street tunes (in fact, since knowing that this was today's subject I may or may not have woke up with Madeline Kahn and Grover in my head singing the echo song.) and posting a few favorite clips on facebook. Two things are funny to me about that last part, the first being that people who aren't aware of this project are going to wonder why the sudden spurt of SS crazy, the second being they may not wonder that so much as "Why is she being so redundant? And Crazy...." (Okay, maybe not so different.) because I have actually posted these before. Like, more than once.
 But here, in this space, let's talk about Sesame Street and how great it is and why I have posted these clips before. Because they're freaking great! Seriously, the tunes are fun, the cameos are stellar, the show stays fresh and I'm pretty sure I learned a TON from this show as a wee lass. Plus it kept my parents entertained, rushing home as if to a Soap Opera to check in on Luis and Maria's wedding plans. And this is the genius of Sesame Street, that it can entertain and instruct itty bits while being compelling and entertaining for Grown Ups. Which I think really any GOOD children's story or show ought do, at least if the Grown Up isn't Too Grown Up and interested only in sums as a book I recently began with the boy would say...
 Something I learned about Sesame Street as a Grown Up myself makes me respect it all the more. I'm not kidding when I say I have a bit of an SS love even now, and one Christmas my Mom got me a documentary on the show in it's international scope. Sesame Street, when it moves to another country, doesn't simply transplant the American material to that country's network. They gather a team of people from the area and from the organization to discuss what that particular area's issues are, what the culture is, what the social and educational issues and goals are. And then they create a new 'street' or hub from there, with new puppets, new segments, new scripts and they address what they kids of that particular area need. It's awesome.
 So cheers to the Street. :) And I posted it first so it now shows up last but this is my Now favorite even though I grew attached to it as an adult:
Also, the Cleveland International Film Festival begins this week and there's a documentary about Carol Spinney aka Big Bird. :)
What are your favorite Sesame Street bits? Or was another show or story or some such influential in your early years?
bunny trail:
I also remember at what I think was 2 stepping in my Dad's Styrofoam cup of very hot coffee at a church retreat. Today to show my quite changed relationship to that beautiful beverage  (well a- I went to work. I do make coffee for a living now.) I got a cuppa at Rising Star  while very unexpectedly reading through a script stolen from a theatre friend wanting me to come audition. We remember the weirdest things sometimes.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 1-Year 1; 30 to 30

This post will be short because I am stupid tired and wake up quite early~ but it was a good weekend so that's lovely.

 Today, for day one of this count, I write my Mom and Dad to say "hey. Thanks for having your kids. I love you."
 There were a few more words but really that's the gist.
 Seriously though, I'm grateful to my Mom and Dad for teaching us to value family, for giving of themselves for us, for teaching us to love and live for God, and for our stellar senses of humor. ;) But really we owe that last part to my Mom probably. No offense Dad. We'll give you teaching us about God's word. And we'll give both of you a love of movies and food and music. :) You can both take credit for our weirdness too. And all of this comes together to make our family. Love you guys. (and sorry I'm so tired that my words are not more eloquent to say so.)

30 to 30

 Through a random comment from a co-worker yesterday ("Oh, well I know you're in your early twenties...." "erm. Yeah. Except not.") it occurred to me that it was a month until I'd turn 30 years old. It seemed a happy accident to have the realization that I could do something with that sort of a timeframe, one that won't happen again, one that I hadn't given any thought to til that moment. And so after pondering what that would look like I've come up with a sort of project. From now til my birthday I'm going to do a "Something" that relates to that days corresponding year. Example: tomorrow being year one, I'll write to my parents. You know, cause they're how I was born and all that. ;) This way I can do something meaningful with that time, with saying goodbye to my 20's and hello to a new decade (!), instead of just letting it pass. I think it could be a fun, small adventure and I'll keep record of it here.
 Here goes!