Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fantasy... Football?

I'm not going to pretend to get it.  Grown, educated men with jobs and families who manage pretend teams of real football players, often with vigor likely equal to the real team managers.  Yep.  Don't get it.

Maybe if there was some parallel that tied into my interests.  Fantasy Broadway, anyone?  Of course, for that to work, there would have to be mainstream media coverage of Broadway stars equal to the coverage of the up-and-coming quarterbacks.  Can you imagine a world where the news ran highlights from the school musical on Friday nights?  I guess that would be a whole new sort of Friday Night Lights.  But I have definitely digressed...

The point here is, I don't get it.  But I support it in my own way and so I have learned to love it.  In fact, I was highly disappointed to have to miss this year's live draft.

And that's because although my husband doesn't get it, he supports it in his own way.  It being my compulsive need to create.  Where a simple typed name would get the job done, he lets me design team logos for all the teams in his league.  When an online draft would be easier, faster, and probably more convenient, we throw a barbeque.  And for one night, Fantasy Football isn't just that weird thing Kirk does... it's something we do.

Well, this year we did the prep, but he did the party (while I was off stage managing Beauty and the Beast and supporting Adam's performance).  That meant I had to miss the live reveal of the new logos, all redesigned this year (thanks to an external hard-drive crash and my inability to stick with status quo).

I wish I could have been at the party, but I'm glad to have been able to join in Kirk's pre-kickoff excitement while he organized draft picks, and I clicked away at team colors.  We may be the poster children for "opposites attract," but it's fun when we each find our own way to enjoy the same thing.

So without further ado, straight from Andrea's own little corner of crazy, I present to you the 2012 Fantasy Football Logos (created using team names chosen by the league participants):

For Nick Harmon, my husband's new BFF/rival -
and a good wife always makes fun of her husband's BFF's team, right?

For Skye Davis - at least alluding to BSU colors

For Kirk, who has used "FROGGER" as his login
and screen name for stuff since before we met

For Kevin Michaelis - This one took me the longest and is probably
the most personalized.  If you're a gamer (read: boardgamer), you
should recognize some of the pieces.

For Adam Okerlund - new to the league.  Check out the wolf teeth.

Kyle Daybell - new to the league,
and one of the most fun logos to work on.

For Melissa White, who's previous logo did nothing to
vouch for her fierce winning tendencies

For Kirby, who I don't know, which made it harder to personalize.
I had to ask Kirk if he's the type of person who likes a play on words.

For Jared White, owner of the coolest team name in the league.
His old logo was pretty awesome, so I was worried about re-doing it.
I sent it to Kirk via email and he responded, "I like it even more than his old one.
I didn't think you could improve on perfection.  You are so awesome!!!!!"

For Denny Murphy, who calls me "T-Rex" when we play co-ed
volleyball (because I have a big head and little arms...)

For Mark (my bro-in-law) who just joined the league this year.
I'd have liked to know what his team name was referencing,
since Kirk is way more crippled than Mark is.

For Jay Tucker, whose previous logo I was never that fond of.
I'm glad I found this cool graphic to spice his up!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting Rid of Guilt

I grew up with close ties to cousins on both sides, most notably friends with Brenda Romph on my mom's side and Jessica Sanner on my dad's.  Staying friends with Brenda wasn't too hard since her mom taught me piano, and we lived close enough to each other to beg for the occasional sleep over.  And even though Jessica lived in Arizona, we were best friends whenever we got the chance to be together.  I have many great memories of the many less-than-award-winning scripts we wrote (and coerced our younger cousins into performing) and of our frequent encores of our harmonized arrangement of "The Rose."

I enjoyed time with lots of other cousins, too.  Once Phil Lewis and I got over hating each other, we were actually really good friends.  Cameron and Justin, though older than me, were almost always willing to let me hang around.  And Robert Casdorph was always the epitome of cool to me.

Whether together for family reunions, holiday celebrations, blessings or baptisms, our families always felt close on both sides.  But looking back, though my parents might say otherwise, I don't really remember spending significant amounts of time with my parents' cousins and their children.

Why then, do I feel so guilty for not keeping up close relationships with my cousins (and Kirk's cousins) now that we all have kids?  I still like my cousins, as I presume Kirk does, and I still enjoy spending time with them when weddings, baby showers, etc. prompt people to gather.  But often, the guilt of not remembering so-and-so's children's names, where their spouse works, or - let's be honest - a single speck of common ground to work with as a conversation starter prevents me from getting reacquainted.  (Note: this is less of a problem with the local members of the Nelson family, since I tend  to see them or get reports from my mom more frequently.)

Most daunting to me of all social situations is the gathering of people I presumably know.  I tend to retreat into my shell, afraid of putting my foot in my mouth and offending family.  I know it's silly, and I know they are all nice people, and I know they are probably just as afraid of saying something stupid to me.  But all that knowing does little toward convincing me to open my mouth and make friendships.

When life provides an opportunity to get together with the extended family, I do enjoy watching my kids play with the instant friends they always seem to so easily make.  Dylan recently befriended second-cousin Rorie with no need for a cheat sheet of talking points (ha ha... you get it right, since D doesn't say much).  And at yesterday's extended Fife get-together, all three boys had no problem jumping into the nineteen-kid array while I sat uncomfortably by, wishing I had more to say.

Don't get me wrong, I love family get-togethers!  My icy walls eventually thaw, and I always leave feeling somewhat reconnected.  And I have noticed that the thawing generally begins when the sporting equipment comes out.

So I hereby propose that all family gatherings including members of more than one extended family unit begin with volleyball.  In sunny weather, this should be in the form of water balloon volleyball, as I was just getting the hang of the sport last night when the crazy wind cut our gathering short.

Insecurities aside, I had a great time last night with the Fifes.  Although the festivities started at 2, we weren't able to get there until 5 because of responsibilities at church.  We missed out on the three-legged races and a few other fun activities, but we got there in time to enjoy a barbeque, a water balloon toss, and the pinata.  I helped organize the kids by age, and I had to laugh when Logan (self-proclaimed as six years old) tried to convince me he was four so he could get a better placement in line.  And the few girls in this boy-heavy generation rallied around me as we cheered on the competition.  It was fun to get to hang out with Leslye, Addison, and Emma!

Even if my own experience had been terrible (and it wasn't), the kids had a blast.  With plenty of doting aunts and grandmas to go around, each kid left with a sack full of goodies and prizes.  Dylan was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the way home, still clutching his winnings.  So for Aunt Diane and Grandma Tess (the masterminds behind the activities in which we got to participate), consider this picture evidence of a party well-thrown.

And I'm going to try to work on the guilt.  Maybe we don't see each other all that often.  Maybe we're just all pretty busy in our own little lives raising our own little families and letting our kids spend time with their own little cousins.  And that's ok!  So I'm done wasting the first half of every gathering feeling awkwardly insecure.  Bring on the next party... I'm ready to actually talk to someone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Feeling Nitpicky

Sometimes I wonder why I can't just let things slide.  But I always seem to focus on ridiculous little details that probably don't matter to anyone but myself.  Like this heading from the website of the elementary school I'm observing this morning:

Our Dolphins Have:

P atience  R espect  I ntegrity  D ependable  E xcellence

Well, apparently they also have a school staff who hasn't noticed that their dolphins have four nouns and one adjective.

Dependability, people.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beauty and the Beast: the Untold Version

Once upon a time...

There was a charming theater in the heart of Magna with big plans to produce Beauty and the Beast, Jr. as its youth theater production.  The kids were excited about the show, hoping to play their dream roles of "Belle" and "Gaston" and excited to sing the iconic songs they've loved for so long.  But little did they know that hidden behind beautiful melodies and catchy production numbers was a show so complex, filled with near-impossible logistics and dangerous pitfalls.  The production staff was given a magical rose, and a powerful spell was placed on the theater: if they could pull off the production before the last petal fell, the opening night's show would be infused with magic, transforming this beast of a show into a true beauty.

This was to be either a group success or a group failure as an entire team set out to remove the spell.  As Andrea went to work placing the bodies and voices of 67 kids on the stage, Jake, Michele, and Marie worked to gather, build, and create set pieces, costumes, and props.  An entire team of costumers slaved to make 7 spoons, 8 forks, 4 plates, 5 cups, 13 napkins, 2 whisks, and a whole host of other kitchen costumes.  Devon painted castle-ish brick throughout the theater and Amy painted book after book after book in the library.  Lisa provided schedules, organization, and worked hard to be the enforcer of Andrea's vision.  Katie helped support the fragile emotional health of the cast.  Jamie gave the soloists individual vocal attention.  Curtis balanced work and family to find time to set the show's lighting.  And Alex and Arvid stood at the ready to support some of the cast's youngest members.

Even with such a solid team, the setbacks were many.  Andrea had to call in the calvary (the Casdorph family) to lend additional microphones, to finish the town's fountain and to build turrets.  The blocking had to be carefully orchestrated to accommodate large costumes that didn't fit in many of the Empress's entrances.  Safety was a big issue as cast member after cast member tripped, fell, twisted, bruised, and otherwise injured themselves during rehearsals.  Twice, the Wardrobe fell over, once falling down a few stairs (a literal "wardrobe malfunction.")  Costume changes for Belle proved to be nearly impossible, and it took nearly two full days of rehearsal to get the scene changes down to a reasonable speed.

And those were just the expected issues.  There were bee stings, a lunchtime scare with a worm in a plum, school registration conflicts during dress rehearsals, the hospitalization of the stage manager, and one cast members lost her grandmother during the final week of rehearsal.  There was a mix-up with the art design for the show, and it took a whole team of people to make sure there were programs for opening night.

At every moment, the youth in the program worked tirelessly, holding up emotionally and physically through long days of rehearsal.  They supported each other, worked to solve their own problems, and delivered consistently great characters and dances.  They sang their hearts out time after time and tried to deliver dynamic performances to empty theater seats.

As the magical rose petals continued to fall, the team worked tirelessly to put the final details into place.  Getting very few hours of sleep, emotions ran high and tears were ready to fall.  With only one petal left to fall, there were still a few costumes unfinished and no magic mirror.  Miracle after miracle happened as hero after hero stepped in to offer assistance.  Logan stayed up all night to make the mirror.  Kaylynn repaired torn costumes.  Kirk ran to Kinkos thirty minutes before show to print the promotional pictures for the lobby.  Brett added additional music to the curtain call soundtrack.  Cast members pulled together to provide last-minute costume details.

And the last petal fell.

Time was up, and it was too late to do anything more to break the spell.  As the lights went down on stage and the music for the prologue began, it was time to see if the colossal efforts had been enough.

The lights came up and the audience hushed, and moment by moment the magic built.  Every moment of preparation came together for an incredible performance, so much better than any run through had been.  The cast added energy to what before had been stoic consistency, and the enthusiastic audience added a whole new magical element.  Each production number was bigger and better than the last, and several moments in the show stood out as truly magical.  Belle descending the stairs in her yellow dress.  Lefou's cheerleader-toss into Gaston's arms at the end of "Gaston."  67 kids, arms extended exactly as directed, faces beaming as they collected their hard-earned applause.  Parents, families and friends, standing in appreciation of the magic delivered.

And just like the Beast in the Disney Movie, the show ascended with light streaming in every direction, elevated to something it could only have dreamed of being.  The Empress Youth Theatre cast and production crew transformed a logistical beast into a thing of beauty.

Of course it wasn't a perfect show.  But opening night, performed for a sold-out audience, was pretty darn near.  And knowing the literal blood, sweat, and tears that have been left on the stage, the story couldn't be more personal.  So to those who brought the magic, to those who lent support in moments of breakdown, and to those who were there opening night to witness the magical transformation, thank you for being a part of a story still being written.  I can't wait to see what will happen as the page turns tonight.

The End

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Long before 11:11 became a thing, I've loved double numbers on the clock.  I don't quite remember when it started, but I know that back in high school I had a thing where I'd kiss my fingers and touch them to any digital clock displaying double numbers.  I think I was still doing that when Kirk and I met. I wonder when I stopped?

I'm certain that I don't see double numbers more than the average human.  It's certainly just that I notice them more.  But I swear I don't look at the clock that much, and every day I catch a double number.  What's particularly strange is that I swear I see 4:44, 2:22, and 11:11 more than any other double.  I can hardly recall a 5:55 or a 3:33, and 1:11's just aren't as cool as their four-digit counterpart.

I tend to wake up several times throughout the night, generally just long enough to glance at a clock and fall asleep.  I wish I could provide empirical data for the number of times I've woken at exactly 2:22 or 4:44.  I remember once, I woke up at 2:22 every single night for five straight nights.  I'm telling you, it's crazy.

Well, the other night, I woke up at exactly 2:21 and 4:43.  On the same night.  And I honestly freaked out a little.

I'm not superstitious.  At all.  But somehow, seeing those numbers just slightly off, and both in the same night?  Somehow, it had me all convinced that my next day would be absolutely terrible.  

Of course it wasn't, and I feel really silly for apparently having built some weird sense of security around clock times.  

But still, when I glanced over just now and saw the clock at 1:11, just like a good clock would be, I couldn't help but think that all is right in the world.

I May or May Not Be...

I may or may not be lying on my belly on the floor behind my kitchen table, typing as my computer rests on the cool air flowing through the heater vents.  I may or may not frequently find myself doing so in order to prevent my computer from overheating while I'm trying to get it to run multiple programs at once and bounce around as much as my overloaded brain seems to.

Fine.  I'll be honest.  I am definitely doing that, and if you can picture it, you should.  I think the best part is that my legs stick out from the final chair about a foot and a half, and if I had some cool striped socks and some ruby slippers, I'm pretty sure I could do a great Wicked Witch of the East impression.

Although there are plenty who would probably report my impression has been just fine lately, no special socks needed.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm trying to be nice.  I'm just tired and stressed and lying on the kitchen floor blogging while I wait for a publicity video to finish processing so I can post it before bed tonight.

So to anyone who might get the fun honor of having to talk to me face to face in the next three days, remember the visual you just conjured up and use it to laugh off whatever terse reply I may give to your very valid questions, and I promise to finish the wicked witch act as soon as Beauty and the Beast opens on Friday.  Or at least by Tuesday when I catch up on all my homework.  :)

Oh, and since bragging almost always makes me feel better, check out the poster I designed for my show.  I'm actually really glad this fell to me at the last minute, because I enjoyed the project!

Now picture me falling asleep on the floor.  Because that might just happen...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm Just Reminding You

My morning went something like this:

Adam: "Mom, I'm just going downstairs for a little bit."  {pause}  "Don't forget to call me up when it's time to leave."  {pause}  "I'm just reminding you because of when you left me here last week..."

And I have no leg to stand on because I did, in fact, drive to an EYT rehearsal without him last week.  That morning went something like this:

{me standing in the center of  what should have been 67 children}

Lisa: "Hey Andrea, did you forget to bring Adam today?"

{me turning bright red and realizing I forgot to bring my son to rehearsal}

A Random Student: "Who's Adam?"

Me: "Um... my son.  Ya know... Adam..."

Lisa: "Don't worry, mom is going to bring him over."

And then there's a conversation I overheard yesterday:

{me hanging out with Dylan, who had come to a few hours of rehearsal}

Belle: "Oh, Mom... this is Andrea's adorable little son.  Not the one she forgot at home that one day, another son."

Great.  Apparently when you forget your child, news spreads.

Thankfully, despite forgetting Adam, getting an average of maybe four hours of sleep each night, and various sore muscles and bruises from long, crazy choreography rehearsals, EYT is going incredibly well.  Everything is choreographed and nearly everything is blocked.  Just a few more pieces to plug in, and it will be time to run, run, run.

I do want to invite everyone to come to the show.  It will only be about an hour an a half long, so it's a great first exposure to theater for little ones.  The show runs Fri, Sat & Mon from August 17th to Sept 15th.  And as long as I remember to take Adam to the performances, he'd love to see you there!