Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Badge

If I had known there'd be a badge to earn for making my GoodReads goal, maybe I'd have worked a little harder.  I set the goal to read 52 books in 2011, and I fell pitifully short at only 32.  But when I set that goal, I hadn't exactly planned on Oklahoma, Joseph, Willy Wonka Jr., Into the Woods, I Wanna Be on Broadway, and The Dickens Festival.

Still, I don't like not reaching my goals, and I hate knowing that I could have earned a badge.

And didn't.

Yes, I fell 20 books short of my goal.  But in looking back, I easily jotted down a quick list of 20 real-life friends I've made through theater this year.  20 people who will be a part of my 2012, not just a part of the list of books I read in 2011.  And the best part is that this list could have been at least 40 people longer if I included all those whose company I enjoyed, whose talents I learned from, and whose selves I sat across from during after-show parties.  I'm hoping I don't offend by not including those 40, but here is my self-awarded badge: 20 new people who enriched my life beyond the theater in 2011.  Thanks for a great year!

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Adam, whose level-headedness got me through many a backstage freakout, and to whom I was conversing when I missed my first entrance ever.

Arlee, "Ellen" to my "Vivienne", date to every show Kirk doesn't want to see, and awesome example of how to be true to oneself.

Arvid Bryce, who forgave me for thinking he was two different people, who somehow gets away with calling me "woman," and part of the new Killer Bunnies gang.

Curtis, the first guy to drop me this year and a great friend to turn to on FaceBook if I can't sleep.  And if he ever has $50...

Evan, my 15-year old boyfriend.  "Hey, you know what the best thing is about twenty-nine year old girlfriends?  There's twenty of them."

Jamie, who I knew, but didn't know, who has the guts to say the stuff I think in my head, and whose belt I'll idolize until my dying day.  Affectionately known by another name I won't write on my blog.  :)

Jeremy, who helped me transition back into theater by sitting next to me at the first Oklahoma rehearsal and who seems to be able to sense when I'm feeling lonely and hits me up with a "Hey, beautiful," text.

Jonathan, who can quote RocketMan and who made Into the Woods the experience of a lifetime.  Little girl Andrea and little boy Jonathan would definitely have been best friends.

Luke, whose friendship prompted my husband to tease me incessantly about being a teenage girl and with whom I shared the experience of four straight shows.

Mariah, who I occasionally passed in the hallways of The Empress and now get to pass in the hallways of my home.

Matt & Torri, who I met when they were Matt.  And Torri.  But whom I hope will become a part of my personal life forevermore to be referred to as Matt AND Torri.

Megan, whose blog entertains me nearly as much as the in-the-flesh Megan did during Into the Woods and whose talent and passion for theater will continue to awe and inspire me.

Nanny, who had decided years ago not to like me but finally gave up this year, who brought me a keychain from France, and who is also affectionately known by a non-blog-appropriate nickname.  :)

Rosie, who I've known since 4th grade but who reentered my life when I saw her name on an audition form for Joseph, and with whom I intend to maintain a face-to-face friendship henceforth.

Perry, whose presence extends from cast-mate to student to babysitter to Killer Bunnies gang to friend and whose nickname, "SecrePerry," will likely never fade.

Sarah, whose family jumped off the computer screen and into real life when her girls auditioned for the Dickens Festival and with whom I'm hoping to be able to have a "real" friendship.

Sasha, without whom I'd never have gotten kicked out of my own neighborhood park and whom I figure will remain a constant part of my theatrical landscape.

Shawna, who went from "lady at the front desk" at work to a real live person through our Dickens Festival interactions and whose friendship I can consider the first I've made at work.

Skyler, who I've started referring to as "my pet Skyler," because it's just hard to explain, with whom I can discuss music theory, and who innately gets me, a pretty tough thing to do.

Am I still a bit sad about the badge?  You bet.  But I wouldn't trade these 20 for books any day.

But my book goal for 2012?  I think I'll go with a more reasonable 40 books so I have plenty of time to spend with my friends.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jam Packed

This is the start of Day 4 in Mesa, Arizona, and it feels like we've been here for weeks.  Even though there have been days when I didn't get dressed until well after dinner, it seems like we've just packed so much into our trip.  Still, most of it isn't story-worth; most of my stories would end with, "I guess you just had to be there."

Even these two clips will probably mean a lot more to me than they will to anyone else, and after watching them, you may be inclined to turn your head to the right and think, "huh?"

So I'll offer a little back story.

My grandparents moved into a new house this year, and we've never visited them in their new home.  So it came as a surprise that they have a swimming pool.  Had we come in summer, I'd have been thrilled, but in December all I saw was, "Great, now we can't let the kids play unsupervised in the backyard."  That was soon followed by Alex's constant desire to go swimming.  "Fine," I finally said.  "Dip that kid in the pool and let him see how cold it is so I don't have to hear about it anymore."  Done and done.

Until the next day.  Sunny day.  Warm day.

"Fine, go put shorts on and dip your toes in the pool."

"Okay, take your shirts off so you can reach your arms down in, too."

"Fine, this offer is for today only.  You can pretend your shorts are swimming trunks and get as wet as you want..."

And then I heard Adam as he ran past me, "Watch out, Mom, I'm jumping in."

Adam doesn't do that kind of stuff.  I didn't know spontaneity was anywhere in his personality, and he has traditionally had very few showings of dare devilishness.  He came out sputtering and cold, but I was proud of him.

"Go dare Uncle Jack to jump in the pool," I suggested.  He disappeared to the front yard where a basketball game was in progress.  He soon reappeared, Uncle Jack behind him, and he excitedly told me, "Uncle Jack said he'll jump in if you'll stay in for 10 seconds."

"Well, I bet you can do 10 seconds.  You'd better get back in."

Jack looked up.  "Not if he'll do 10 seconds.  If you'll do 10 seconds.  I heard tell him to dare me.  I think you have to earn it."

I thought for a bit, deciding if it was worth it.  Not wanting to get my hair wet, I offered 10 seconds up to my shoulders in exchange for his jumping in, completely submerged.  In retrospect, he got the better end of the deal.

Dylan didn't need to be dared.  He enjoyed this cold pool far more than he enjoyed the comfortably warm ones this summer.  His little feet were red from the cold, but he still just kept squealing in delight and begging me to take him further in the water.

Adam tried to dare Brett.  It didn't take.  And then, knowing that Brett hates the idea that he's older than me (and we both turned 30 this year), I decided to motivate him with, "What?  Did Brett get old and boring while he's been in Georgia?"  It didn't take long for him to jump in.

There's no thermometer, so we don't know how cold it actually was, but we're estimating probably mid 40's.  Cold.  We were unsuccessful in tempting anyone else, but for those of us who jumped in, that bitter cold will be an Arizona memory we won't soon forget!

And just for fun, a video of a little trained monkey named Dylan, trained to set up the targets and retrieve arrows so Uncle Jack and Grandpa can just sit back and shoot their handcrafted crossbows which Grandma purchased at the Dickens Festival.

We've got 3 whole days left here, and I can't wait to see what else we'll do!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

'Tis the night before Christmas,
Fine.  Mid-afternoon,
And ready or not,
Christmas day will come soon!

The presents are wrapped,
And blog-pictures taken
I thought I might share them,
But I was mistaken.

The family's impatient
With visits to make,
Christmas is starting,
I can't make them wait!

Thankfully pictures
And rhymes don't expire.
For now, from this post
I should probably retire.

My last parting thought
As I head out the door,
"Merry Christmas to all!"
And soon, I'll blog more.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pre-Christmas Fun

A friend of mine took this quiz and posted her results.  Ever curious, I had to find out which Christmas movie would fit me.

Drum roll, please?

"Living your life as an eternal optimist, you’re a sap for Santa, Christmas cookies, carols, and, well, just everything about the holidays.  Even stale ribbon candy.  Hey, it was fresh and tasty once.  Why focus on the negative?  All you really want is to see everyone laughing and smiling—and you often go to great lengths to ensure that happens.  ‘Tis the season to be jolly!"

It's always fun to have the quiz results seem to fit, although I feel I've had little time this year for merriment.  Still, I truly am a sap for it all.  I love buying, wrapping, baking, giving, gathering, singing... and yeah, I'd totally eat stale candy.

If I don't venture back to the blog before then, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Classroom High: Tools

A short thought from last night's class:

When you go to a hardware store to buy a drill, you really aren't there because you need a drill.  You are there because you need a hole; the drill is just a tool.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's Not Over Yet...

This year's Dickens Festival is one I'll likely never forget.  I'm going to get it out of the way up front that if you haven't come yet, you should.  The shows are great and the Festival itself really is a lot of fun.  (Father Christmas, roasted chestnuts, unique Christmas gifts...)  But it's not the great shows or the fun festival that I'll remember this year.

It's the people.

I feel so blessed to have worked with so many people to whom I have a personal connection.  Katie Nielsen, for example, who I call Katie Hall every time I try to talk about her, because she was Katie Hall for the years I was her piano teacher, for the dinners I ate at her house, and in the pictures I have of her in 10-years-ago scrapbooks.

JJ, who now goes by Jacqueline, since she too has gotten married in the years I've known her.  She gave me my first shot in theater, allowing me to learn how to set and run lights, then asking me to assistant direct, and now giving me my first shot as full-blown director.

Sarah, an old roommate whose blog I've stalked for the last few years, who did far more than lend her Adam- and Alex-aged girls to the production, signing up for multiple nights of the less-than-fun job we call "Orphan Wrangling," and who kindly thought to send me pictures I'd have taken myself if I ever had the time.

Our #2's - a potentially dangerous combination
Shawna, who has worked at the front desk at my school for far longer than I've been teaching there, but about whom I could have told very little.  Not only are her four children in the cast, but she's volunteering as a "Head Wrangler," and she's even donated her husband to the cause.  I have to say, he's been the hit of the show for many of the orphans.

A line of orphans waiting to be spun by the tireless Vince (who wasn't even on Orphan duty that day)

The families in my stake who have, often without warning and always without complaint, taken Adam and Alex home when I still needed to stay.

My sister-in-law, Marie, who brings her son, volunteers, looks out for my kids, and never gets her feelings hurt when I often don't even managed to say hello.

My pet Skyler.  This one could be a whole blog post here.  He's been my sounding board, my complaint box, my M&M supplier, an extra uncle to my kids and the fixer of all crisis, not to mention the two most important titles, Assistant Director and friend.  Seriously, Skyler, I don't know how I'll do it next year without you.

Skyler - exceeding his duties as Assistant Director

And my mom.  The only thing more amazing than her talent and experience was the focus she put into making sure she did nothing but support my efforts in my first job as Director.  If I had been worried about the reversed dynamic, I need not have been.  It has been amazing to have someone as strong as her in my corner.

The Wrigley family, Rick, Richard, my dad, the Koop family, the Christensen family, the Lowry Girls and the Jensen boys who all came back from last year and were so central to our cast.

Gary and sons who can't help but bring everything they've got to the show.  (They get credit for our 12 foot tall Christmas Future.)

Arlee, Travis, David, the Whatcotts, Adam, Madi, Whitney, Greysen, Kylie and Hollie who've all worked with me "somewheres before," and chose to work with me again.

My NPA kids who willingly signed up for more Mrs. Casdorph and Mrs. Fife.

And the small handful who I've just gotten to know for the first time: Megan, Celeste, Amber, Nick, Lindsey, Bethany, and a few orphans.

So yes, I want you to come see the Dickens Festival, because the shows are great.  But really, I want you to come meet the rest of my family.

Come see us this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Utah State Fairpark.  Entrance to the Festival plus $5 parking gets you in to both shows.  Evenings at 6pm and 8pm, and Saturday matinees at 1pm and 3pm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Should Be...

I should be using these precious moments to sleep.  I may get little of that this week.  But I'd just be so ungrateful if I didn't take a minute to say thanks for today.

I should be supremely stressed from the day I've had.  But I'm really not.  So many things went "wrong" today, but each time, somebody rallied around me and turned "wrong" into difficult, "difficult" into bearable, and sometimes even "bearable" into fun.

When I found out I'd have no picnic tables for my orphans, the Draper Arts Council sprang to my rescue even accommodating my crazy schedule.

When I found out the truck would be delayed and we'd only have two hours to unload it, several of my high school boys agreed to come help.

When I found out the truck wasn't even on it's way, no one yelled at me for wasting their time.

When my phone died, my wonderful husband drove my charger to me.

When we had to scramble to cancel costume fittings and call a rehearsal instead, Megan made phone calls to every member of the cast.

When I was worried about getting food to eat, Juliet brought me delicious potatoes and cheese.

When I needed that extra something to get me through the night, Skyler braved a shady gas station to get me my favorite fix: plain m&m's.

When I stressed out finding out I'm not allowed to miss class tomorrow night, my mom helped me come up with a plan to accomplish it all.

When I lost my keys - just like I said I would - Madi and Whitney and Greysen and Kylie helped me keep a sense of humor while I looked for - and thankfully found - them.

When I had to keep running rehearsal, Wendy offered my tired kids a ride home.

When I changed the schedule on him again and again and again, Randy Rich showed up at the fairgrounds for the third time today and didn't even blame me.

When I was worried that our stand-in props would now need to serve as the real deal, my dad came and fixed them up for me.

When the orphans were just too much too handle, Marie and Sarah and Shawna stepped in without being asked just to help where help was so obviously needed.

When my chapped lips became too much of a distraction for me to handle, Julie lent me her chapstick.

When I should have felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, my friends came to my rescue.  I could never have survived a day like today without that incredible network of support.

Tomorrow might not be any better.  So I really should be sleeping.  Thanks in advance to all those who will help me survive the next two weeks.