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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

to 2009

     Happy New Year.


      Here's to hoping for...let's see...warmth. Lately our furnace has been breaking at regular intervals, keeping our house somewhere in the frosty fifties. Call me crazy, but I like it much warmer than that. So, here's to a nice, warm 2009. 

      And here's to driving a car that works. Last night I was waiting for my car at the garage after my show and the valet simply walked up to me and said you're car won't start. What?! But...it needs to. I walk over to it, not exactly knowing what I am going to do, but intent on doing something, at least. I call Drew. He tells me to open the hood. Shoot. I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!  I struggle. I fight back tears. I get mad. Finally, the valet helps me open the hood. Drew tries to describe to me the wires, cables, and other car accoutrements that I am looking for. All I can really find is one cable that looks like it is covered in tooth paste. Yes, Drew says, that's the one you want. Now wiggle it

   Great. I wiggle the tooth paste covered cable back and forth, back and forth, intermittently trying to start the car. No dice. It doesn't work, no matter how vigorously I wiggle that stupid tooth paste cable. 

   The valet man comes back and offers me a jump. I take it and voila! the car starts. Drew says to pull over immediately if I find the dashboard lights dimming at all, cause that may mean the car is about to die. I take the advice to heart and oh yeah, apparently corrosion and tooth paste look a lot alike. 

   Right, so here's to driving working vehicles in 2009.

    And here's to a continued desire for chocolate and peanut butter, the perfect pair of jeans (does that hunt ever end?), another fantastic book to get lost in, living with Drew permanently, songs that speak to me like we've known each other all our lives, loving the people that are in my life in a way that remembers them a little more each day as I try to forget myself in the meantime...

   Happy New Year. Let's all hope together for it to be a good one.

Monday, December 29, 2008

the tritone! and something you need to go see


    Here we are, playing at the Tritone. And honestly, it was some of the most fun I have had in a while. 


    Don't get me wrong--I love musical theater; I love telling someone else's story.  But there is something special, some kind of magic that happens for me when I get to play my own stuff, tell my own story.  

  And last night was such an amalgamation of all my different worlds.  I had friends there from three different casts--Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, and of course, ACL--friends from church, and wonderful family members (as well as a guy named Josh Stauffer who does not fit into any of those categories but is a friend nonetheless).  My parents, ordained ministers in their own right, cooly hung out with my theater friends while grooving to the music in this Philly bar. And that is just one of the reasons why my parents are so cool. 
   Some highlights of the evening:
  • Drew playing a trombone solo. I mean--a trombone solo, people! How awesome is that?
  • My brother, Jason, and I wearing matching fedoras. Sweet. 
  • Covering the boysetsfire song, The Misery Index. My oldest brother Josh is a founding member of that band, so singing that song was so special.
  • Seeing my family--at least a lot them--mingling with my friends.
  • playing with my brother Josh, my good friend Christian, Drew, and singing with my sister-in-law, Rebekah.
  • staying late and talking with friends I haven't seen for a while--all to the background music of a little cluster of men playing an assortment of brass instruments in the back of the bar. 
  • Getting told by a friend that I have the most f@#*ing beautiful family. Ha. Like I didn't already know that.
    So anyway, it was such an amazing time for me and I cannot wait to do it again. In fact, if I could do that more often than not, it would be absolutely fine with me. If I could sing my songs for people most evenings, I wouldn't mind it one bit. 
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     And here's another thing. My brother Jason (who has been in LA these past two years attending UCLA's prestigious screenwriting graduate program)--along with the help of others--filmed a short that he wrote and directed this past summer. It stars the talented Rebekah Latshaw and I have seen the raw footage--it's awesome, scary, and funny. And yes, in that order. 

    He is doing a special East Coast screening of this short, The Electric Chainsaw Massacre, on New Year's Eve at 7:30 p.m. in Landenberg, PA. It is open to everybody to attend and if you want the details (like an address), just comment and I can get it to you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the same team.

There is something about people sharing a common goal that makes you close. It gels you together, like it or not, in a way that is binding. You share experiences, persevere together, and suddenly bam! you are close.


   You don't even remember how it happened.  And the moment when you could really say you are friends is foggy at best.  But nevertheless it is there, as difficult to pin-point as the exact moment when the grass becomes wet with the dew, but nevertheless undeniable in the fact that the world is now shimmering with it.  

   It's funny how doing this show so many times with these people puts you on the same side. The side of sharing the same commodity; of telling the same story over and over again and hoping to get a little bit better each time; of trying to kick your face and hold your center and point your feet and belt out high notes while staying on the same dip-thong and make it look effortless all the while when really, you all know the truth, you all share the secret: this is hard stuff.  Not effortless, not by a long shot.  

   It's not necessarily like us against them when it comes to the audience, at least not in any kind of hostile way at all. But at the same time, it is such a group effort when we all try to win over an audience, make them interested in our collective story, make them laugh with us, cry with us, hope with us, believe us, that it is a little bit like us against them

   You know, cause again, we're all on the same team. Team ACL, I guess, as horribly cheesy as that sounds and yes, you can go throw up a little if you need to.  But if it makes you feel any better, we don't have matching outfits that we wear...Wait. We do. They are gold and we wear them in the finale. Oh shoot.  But you know what I mean--it's not like we run around with pom-poms and chant poor poetry about vanquishing our enemies and pushing our school spirit at the top of our lungs. 

   No, it's nothing like that. Thank God. 

   It's just really nice. To look around the stage and know that we have each others' back; that we are all reaching for the same goal, more or less. That when something goes wrong, as it does in live theater, then we will all do our best to right it. And when something is strange or funny--like an unusually disgusting and phlegmy cough from the third row or somebody is sleeping like the dead in the first row--well, then we exchange a look, a nod, a small twinkle of the eye and all of the sudden we share the joke and life just got more interesting.  

   And I am a part of something greater than just myself. 

  Now, I am not ever gonna say that we do anything so noble as any of the great men and women who take up arms together to protect all of us here, but I will say that it's nice to be in a company of men and women you can trust.  It's nice to be a part of something in which the sum of the whole is greater than any of the parts themselves. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

christmas day

   So here we are in front of the tree. No not our tree, silly, my parents' tree. Things were so crazy this year that we didn't actually get to decorate a tree for our house...But hey, there's always next year, right? 

 And here I present my whole family. Well, almost. Me and my nephew Judah are not in the pic; I was holding the camera and Judah had it in his two-year-old mind that it was most certainly not time to pose for a picture and was time to walk around the living room like he owned the place. 
   Me and my siblings! They are some of the best people in the world; three big brothers, one little sister--who could ask for anything more?!
  My five nieces. Starting in the foreground, going clockwise, they are Cosette, Selah, Lyric, Charis, and Emerson...beautiful names for beautiful girls. Oh and there in the background is my sister-in-law Rebekah and my awesome little scalawag of a nephew, Judah. 
  Drew posing like a super hero while modeling some of the clothing he opened on Christmas morning. I had to crop the pic a little, for modesty's sake, and I didn't have the heart to tell him that those pieces weren't meant to be worn in quite that manner...
   And you know that wonderful sentiment about dancers being graceful? Right, well I spend most of my life disproving that theory.  Like yesterday.  I was holding my large cat and trying to round a corner that I successfully maneuver every day of my life, when my leg hit our coffee table harder than any leg has ever hit any coffee table in the history of legs and coffee tables combined, and I managed to get this:
   It hurt so much. I threw myself on our couch and writhed and screamed while Drew was trying to figure out if he should call 911 cause he hadn't pieced together what, exactly, was wrong with me from my incoherent screams and moans. 
    
  Disappointing, I know. You'd think he would be able to translate by now.
 
   Finally, we both started laughing but it still really hurt and I made sure that he realized that just because I was laughing, it did not mean I was fine. 

   But other than the Christmas Eve wound on my leg, Christmas was lovely. It was Drew; it was family. It was reflection on a Gift that changed the world. It was perfect. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I do love this holiday

      Merry Christmas Eve! Or rather, Merry Christmas, since it is now past midnight.


       I worked today--the first time I've worked on Christmas Eve, I believe. But really, it wasn't so bad. This was partly because my job is something that I love to do and partly because I knew I was getting a break really soon, what with Christmas day off and all.

       Anyway, of course everybody and their mother brought all sorts of treats to the theater. And I was really good and didn't even taste one before the show started. But then...well...then I had a break mid-show and decided to sample the baklava (delicious), a chocolate covered pretzel stick (salty and sweet, just like it should be), three of the peanut butter blossoms with the Hershey kisses in the center (my personal favorites, and yeah, each one tasted as good as the last), and a couple of bites of a biscotti.  

     When I went back on stage to do the rest of show I felt a little sick and a little like I really wish I weren't wearing a leotard.  

     Good thing not everyday is Christmas Eve. In terms of treats being all too plentiful when it is, that is.

    After the show, I went to the parking garage to get my car.  While waiting, some people who had just seen the show recognized me and said some very kind things.  I made a rather stupid assumption, however; let me tell you what I mean:

Nice lady: You were so fantastic! We just loved the show!
Me: Thanks so much!
Another Nice Lady: I can't believe you have to wait for your car just like us...
First Nice Lady: Right?! Where's your limousine?
Me: I keep wondering that myself...
*pause in the conversation, at which point I notice the little daughter of the first lady*
Me: (directing it to the little daughter) Do you have some special plans for Christmas?
*a very long, awkward pause ensues, no one says anything, so I go on...
Me: Or...plans for something else?
Nice Lady: We're Jewish.
Me: (not missing a beat, I think, I hope) Happy Hanukkah!!! Do you have special Hanukkah plans? (I blurt this out while ignoring this nudging thought in the back of my mind that in reality, I have no idea when Hanukkah is this year; for all I know, it could have been two weeks ago, making me sound like a perfect idiot right now).
Nice Lady: This was one of our Hanukkah gifts to our family!
Me: (hiding my relief that it is, at least, indeed HanukkahHow lovely; thank you so much for coming!

   It was a pleasant exchange and they were a delightful family, but really, I can't just assume that everyone celebrates Christmas! Especially the wonderful patrons who come see ACL on Christmas Eve--I mean, it's a good chance that Jews will come see such a non-Christmasy show during the holiday, right?

   Right. 

    So now all the presents are wrapped and I can barely wait to give them to everyone. I. LOVE. GIVING. GIFTS. I really do--it's one of my favorite parts of Christmas day.  Although, if I know Drew, he is going to keep asking if we can open our presents for each other tonight, before we go to bed (he's already asked once, to which I said no thank you, but he is very persistent). I honestly have no idea what he got me. I didn't ask for anything and there is nothing in particular that I really want. So, it will definitely be a surprise. He keeps hinting that he got me a horse but considering it would have a hard time fitting in our townhouse, coupled with the fact that I am pretty scared of horses, I am pretty sure that I will not be greeted by a horse in my bedroom tomorrow morning.  

   Okay, Merry Christmas and or Happy Hanukkah to all...This really is a wonderful time of year!  

Monday, December 22, 2008

it's christmas.

      These are the moments when I need to remind myself: this is what I wanted. When I need to look back to the auditions in the city, the thrill of being asked to stay to sing, to come back and dance some more, to read lines; the thrill of realizing that someone who works on Broadway shows is interested in me, sees potential in me


      Because on a Monday night, while doing the ninth show in a row, and after a five show weekend...well, let's just say it's easy to forget all that. And when it's three days before Christmas and you find yourself squeezed into a leotard and looking out into an audience that hosts a woman in the front row who is keeled over and literally looks like she might be meeting her Maker at that very moment, those desperate feelings of giving anything to get the job seem very distant.  

   But still, this is what I wanted. 

   And it still is, it's just everybody else seems to be on break...And I am working. Doing a job that I love, that I am absolutely grateful to have in a time when 13 shows are closing on Broadway around the 1st of the new year, but still, it's work.   

    And it's Christmas time. And I don't just know this because I received a black sturdy umbrella with the A Chorus Line logo on it from our producer today, or that my Secret Santa gifted me yesterday with a smaller, sleeker female shark to hang out in my dressing room with Bruce; no, it's more than that. It's Christmas in people's hearts, I think. 

  I know I felt it when, the other night, I walked up to the parking garage to pay the fee, and was surprised when it jumped from the normal six dollars that I was used to paying, to a hefty twenty-one dollars. They only took cash, and I only had a twenty, so I went up to the attendant and, explaining that I was one dollar short, asked him where the nearest ATM was. He told me, and I turned to walk out of the garage but was stopped by another man in the process of paying his fee. Wait, he said. Since wandering Philly's streets at one in the morning while looking for cash was not my idea of a great time, I was happy to oblige. He went on, You're only a dollar short? Well, here. And with that, he pulled out a dollar bill and handed it to me, decidedly transforming into an angel, my angel, before my eyes. It's Christmas, he said, and abruptly turned back around while I was left thanking him profusely.  

   Gosh darn it, it is Christmas.  And I want to spread that kind of Christmas hope and help just like he did.  So, let's all try to pay it forward, in honor of Christmas and all. I know we can't ever pay God back for His Gift to us, but hey--we can spend a pretty amazing lifetime giving gifts to others because of it.

 And really, it can be as small as a dollar bill in a parking garage. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

do I need to spell it out for you?

    Something wonderful comes this way, and when I think about it I want to

    When this thing occurs, Drew and I will not be dressed like this, 
   though, we will still be smiling, I am sure. And there will most certainly not be any of these                                                                                      guys   
   around. Which is why I had to get my kisses in when I could.
  When this phenomena occurs, we will be dressed like this,
     and will most certainly be able to see a few of these guys
                                                                          around.                                                                                 And if we're really lucky, maybe even this guy.
  Though he doesn't exactly look thrilled to have visitors, does he? Oh well, we wouldn't stay long and would be sure to wipe the sand off our feet when entering his cave house.
   One more thing--I can guarantee that I will not be looking like this
   at all during the duration of this event. 

    Any guesses as to what I could be talking about here? 

   

Friday, December 19, 2008

contemplating.

   I am exhausted. But happy. So this is good, right?  Well, right now it's good because I am laying in bed, computer snugly in my lap, with nothing pressing until tomorrow's matinee. So this exhaustion is not so overwhelming. But it may have felt a mite overwhelming when I woke up this way, after having spent a night that did not have the amount of sleeping hours I need. 


   Since I am living at home while playing Philly, I am desperately trying to balance time between family, friends, Drew, actually um, being in this home that is such a comfort, and my job that is about an hour commute each way.  
   
   Which is why I am so tired.  

    It's been so nice, having all these fantastic people make time to come see me in ACL. My sister, Jenna, has seen the show twice this week so far, and I am pretty sure is coming back for another hit tomorrow. What can I say? She's a sucker for good theater. 

  Oh, and it doesn't hurt that we have some pretty hot men in our cast. Doesn't bother her one bit, I am pretty sure.

     Yesterday, my dear sweet friends, Erin and Christine--along with Christine's wonderful grandmother--came and saw the show. And tonight, a huge group from the school where I grew up training, the Delaware Dance Company, and am now on staff when I am between shows, came to see me. My brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Sunshine, were there too.  And by happenstance, two friends from church, Kathie and PJ, happened to sit right by them as well.

   Now, this group made themselves known after my number. And boy did they scream at my bow. Other people in the show were talking about how the audience didn't seem to be overly enthusiastic tonight, when one piped up, They sure seemed to love you, though, Jess.

   I smiled and said, Yeah, well, I do have a few friends in the audience...

   Anyway. I was on the West Coast with this show for so long, where nobody I knew (with the wonderful exception of Jason and Darby, the West Coast Latshaws) was really around to see it, that it is now thrilling to have friends able to come see me do it.  
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  Two of my friends, Ian and Anthony, went with me to a diner called Midtown today.  There was an exchange between ourselves and our waitress that caught my heart, making me pause and take notice.

  The waitress was maybe somewhere in her 60's, though honestly, it was hard to tell. But the way she referred to herself, you would think that she might be 160. She had a nice shade of bottle-red dyed into her hair and wore earrings that were so heavy they had stretched out her lobes.  She was a little sad, a little jaded.  Or maybe a lot. And here's how I know this.

  Somehow we got to talking about how we are actors, dancers, singers--the whole shebang, I think, is the way she put it.  When she heard this, she got a far away look in her eyes and simply said, That used to be my passion. I wanted to do that, too. 

  We just looked at her, not quite knowing what to say, until one of us piped up, Oh, did you act? Coming back to the present, she answered, No, not really. But, I sure did want to. I was probably ever only in ten plays in my whole life, but at one point, well, that was my plan. 

  Her gaze pointedly swept the dishes she was clearing from our table as she said, But I got sidetracked. I got sidetracked and then I just stayed. 

    She went on to say that she had really wanted to dance, as well: I used to spend all of my time watching the pretty dancers on the television, and this was when television had just come out. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be like those dancers. I guess she finally listened because she did send me to one tap class. At this point, she scooted back from the table enough for us to be able to see her footwork as she demonstrated her toe taps and heel taps while saying, I guess maybe I mixed up the heels and the toes while tapping, cause I never did get to go back. I guess the teacher told my mom that I just didn't have it in me, or something. 

  We were just staring at this woman, transfixed by her sad story, simultaneously hoping that it never became ours, while sad that it was hers. She took advantage of her captive audience and continued, I didn't try for my passion. I settled for this. I am glad you guys are following your dreams; so few people really do. Please, keep doing it; don't get sidetracked like me. Life has no dress rehearsal. You go for what you want, or you don't, and I just didn't. Now I am old; in a year I will be dead, and what do I have to show for it? 

  How do you answer that? How do you tackle the monstrous topics of death, bitterness, and unrealized potential with a woman you barely know? How do you assuage her fears, encourage her heart that is bound for eternity, for a place where deadlines have no application, all the while acknowledging that she is, in fact, fettered by a body that is giving out, burdened by a heart made sick by lost hope and disappointment? That she is, indeed, living in a world bound by the ceaseless tick tock of time? 

  I don't know. 

   Anthony started crying, silently, so as not to make her think that she was being pitied. I couldn't say anything. The enormity of her sense of loss dwarfed my attempt at conversation. 

   The dishes were cleared by now, so she simply walked away. We were left to look at each other and make noises about how sad her life is.  And hope that she has good, loving people in it that make it rich, even if she never has felt that she has "made something of herself."

   May we all have the courage to go after whatever good things are burning in our hearts. Though they may look frightening, may the possibility of not realizing them frighten us even more...And may we be grateful, always always grateful.  Because wherever we manage to get on this journey, it is never our doing alone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back off, ladies--he's all mine.

     They say that in some cases, once a man gets married he doesn't work as hard to maintain his charm...But still, who would have thought that this handsome man that I married...

   That I went to the beach with...
   That I proudly had on my arm at opening night parties...
   Would ever be capable of looking like this...
   However, the vows remain for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in human-form, or as a R.O.U.S, I suppose.  

   But seriously. Just look at that picture again. Drew looks crazy. Actually, crazy doesn't even begin to describe it...Does anyone want to try?

  And oh yeah--aren't my nieces adorable?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I had completely forgotten this was going to happen.


  Oh man. I did two phone interviews with two different papers over the past few weeks and then promptly forgot about them.

  That is, until I awoke to text messages from friends telling me that they saw me in the paper. Specifically, that they saw this:
   Yes, it is exciting. And maybe, just maybe a tiny bit...I don't know, makes me feel shy or something. Shy and happy. Like I did when I was a little kid and kind of wanted to say something in front of a group, or demonstrate in dance class, but another part of me didn't at all. 

  Eventually, the former part won out, I guess. At least, being a performer, you really don't have a choice in the matter when it comes saying stuff or dancing or singing in front of people. I mean, that's kind of the point. And that's kind of how I get paid. 

  And the truth is I really enjoy it. So, there it is. Just thought I'd share. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

snow angel

     I was driving to work the other day, listening to the title song of Over the Rhine's Christmas album, Snow Angel.  And I started crying. Like really crying. You know, face-crumpled-squinting-through-tears crying. 


     And yeah, it was the song, but not just the song, I guess. 

     The song chronicles this couple. The girl makes snow angels with her true love, and that becomes their lullaby of sorts, his whisper in her memory . He goes to war, doesn't come back alive, and she sees his body for the first time while the church bells are ringing, oblivious as fools, as the very poignant lyric goes. 

     And there is something about that lyric that just makes sense. Like it very clearly realizes how absolutely stupid the chores and habits--even the very sounds--of life can be when faced with our own darkness; when trying to compete with the reality of any situation that leaves our soul bereft, they are in fact insignificant.  Or at times, even offensive.  Foolish. Like the sounds of bells, peeling out, ringing in their soprano voices, laughing in stark and terrible contrast to the condition of your heart that has now left your body. 

     Oblivious as fools. 

    I thought it a beautiful lyric. You know exactly what they mean. You see the picture, hear how horrible those bells are. 

    Anyway, I guess I am not quite over that song because when I tried to tell Drew about it at dinner tonight, I cracked again. And I looked like a perfect little idiot crying into my fajitas. But the truth is, even if I do ever get over that song, or at least accomplish the great and formidable task of listening to it without the appearance of tears, I will never get over the sentiment.  

   Not for a minute.

   And yes this is about Drew--decidedly--but it's also about others, the people who make up my world. Family. Friends. And I want them to know how more than anything else, I love them. And if anything were ever to happen, the bells ringing in my world would be the worst sound, I know; that I wouldn't laugh, couldn't laugh again, I think. 

   But sure, songs and other things can take you there, if you aren't there already. But you can't just stay. You'd be a great big bleeding heart, and that gets very messy. You'd cry when someone asks you to please pass the butter and that could be very confusing for them, considering they had said please and everything.  Also, you don't ever want to be someone who only talks deeply. Who never just talks about the sale at Gap, or the Christmas traditions like brilliant light displays and shopping that may not seem spiritual but really are spiritual because guess what, they involve people. 

   And that's spiritual. 

    No, you need to be able to talk about the lighter things, too, like the latest episode of the Office (poor Andy Bernard).  Or how amazing Adele's album is (can't stop listening to it). 

   But right, Snow Angels. I guess it makes me think of cherishing the great and beautiful now that I have with Drew, with family, with friends.  And how there's more than enough love in all of that to last a lifetime and make me grateful throughout. 

  Here's hoping that the ringing of bells only sounds beautiful to you this Christmas season. And if they don't, then I hope you find the grace you need.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

monday. and come to my show;-)

      Tomorrow is my last day off until Christmas Day.  


      Well shoot. Now that's a lot of pressure to make it a good one, right?

      For starters, I think there will be some tree-trimming involved, for sure.  Oh, also I will be practicing with the awesome guys who are playing with me on December 28th, at the Tritone Bar in Philadelphia. 

      And yes, that was a shameless plug, in case you were wondering...But really, If you are anywhere near Philly on December 28th, come hang out and listen to some music, starting at 9:30. Another ACL cast member, Clyde Alves will be playing a set, and then I will be playing with Drew, my good friend, Christian, and my brother, Josh.  And it's only a $5 cover charge--that's like two lattes from Starbucks.  Or the toll for the tunnel into Baltimore. I should know, since I just paid it everyday for like two weeks.  

     But anyway, it will mostly be original music. However, I will be covering one of Boysetsfire's great songs, The Misery Index. Crazy, beloved Drew is always itching to take something and make it difficult different, and has convinced me to take it from the 6/8 meter it's already in and play it in 4/4. 

     He's quite the music nerd.  And I love him for it.

      Yes, so I am wishing everyone a lovely Monday and greatly anticipating mine.  


Oh, and ACL is also opening in Philly on Tuesday. We will be at the Forrest Theater for the next three weeks and if you can, I'd love for you to come see the show. It's kind of what's been keeping me far from home for these past seven month. And kind of a dream fulfilled.

Okay, enough with the shameless plugs, right? Sheesh.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

drew.

     My husband is in the Nutcracker this year.  Um, it used to be that I was the one in the big story ballets, but nope. Now it's Drew. And before you worry about the image of Drew prancing around in tights on a well-lit stage surrounded by tutu-bound ballerinas, let me put your mind at ease: He is playing an overgrown rat, The Rat King, to be precise.


    No tights involved.  Had they been, I doubt whether or not he would have taken the job.  I still have a hard time keeping a completely straight face when Drew tells me that he has to get to the theater for the Nutcracker. Or that he needs to stop at Rite-Aid for his make-up.  But really, I am proud of him. And I know absolutely that he is a man is a man is a man. Even when dressed like a large rat. Or contemplating the very best shade of foundation at the drug store. 

   I guess at least he doesn't insist on going to MAC or Sephora. That might be a little too much.

     It used to be that I taught my nieces piano. Ever since I left for tour, however, Drew has taken over that job.  And I get the feeling that they may enjoy his lessons better. He calls it his own personal School of Rock, a la Jack Black, and I am positive that he is pretty fun to be taught by, so really I cannot blame my nieces.  

    Besides, I still pick out better clothes for them than he does. And I don't anticipate that ever changing.  

   It also used to be that I was the one who regularly performed at our church's Christmas Adoration Service.  Now, Drew is the one to do it every year. This year he's in a three-person play.  He'll be fabulous, I am sure. Although, I will have to get everyone else's take on it since I will be working. 

   So how does all this single-white-female-esque business of Drew now doing what I once happily did make me feel?  Fine. Really good, actually.  Maybe it's strange, but having Drew at home, so very involved in the things that I love, makes me feel like in a way, I am being represented too.  Like a part of me is still here.  

    So yeah, there it is. 

     Oh, and I am thinking about designing a new t-shirt. It'll say:

       Real Women Marry Nutcracker-Dancing, Music-Teaching, Bass-Playing, Sleep-Teching, Play-Acting Men. 

      So maybe it wouldn't be the largest grossing t-shirt as far as sales go, but I can think of at least one girl who would wear it.  And I would do so happily.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

on the way to the theater

    Judging by the extreme exhaustion I am now facing, this will be a short post.  


    Something happened to make me smile on the way to the stage door today. It was early, nearly 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and we were called in for a rehearsal. Anyway, I was walking on Baltimore Street in well, Baltimore, and passed by a tall man dressed in a business suit.  

    He stopped in his tracks, pointed at me, and said, You were very good--in the show--you were in the show, right? Halfway through the part-statement-part-question, he went from pointing to me to pointing to the Hippodrome theater.  

      Smiling right back at him, I got in the word yes before he spread his arms wide, planted his legs in what looked to be a super-hero stance and did his best impression of Kristine as he sang a wobbly and grating, Sing!

      And it was over just like that.  He quickly walked away, and my face brightened all the way to the stage door.  I might have even laughed out loud. But I can certainly say with confidence that that man sure did brighten my day.  

       So yay for Baltimore men in business suits pretending to be Kristine in the middle of the afternoon! 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the muse

      I told one of my favorite people in the world that I was going to call it an early night tonight. And I was. I was in bed, wearing my ridiculous mint green matching-top-and-bottom pajamas by midnight. I was snuggled and ready for sleep to claim me. 


      But then I started listening to Over the Rhine. And suddenly the muse claimed me and I had to get out of bed, ridiculous PJ's and all, go down to my piano and write.  See, when that happens, it is a case of whistle and I'll come to you, my lad. I can't say no.  I can't simply roll over and expect it to happen another time. You know, when it's more convenient.  Maybe when I look less ridiculous.  Maybe when my feet aren't quite so cold.  Nope, when it calls like that, I simply must acquiesce.  Sure, change out of the pajamas if you want to (I didn't), turn on the space heater if you need to (I don't own one, though I wish I did--my feet are really cold), but go.  Write. 

      It was that Something, Someone, muse--whatever you want to call it--that got me up and out of my bed late at night to write my first poem.  I still remember the first line,  

            Soft as a pillow, yet hard as a rock...

           Okay, so it doesn't make so much sense now, but at 9 or 10 I thought it was quite profound.  And after finishing the poem, I was glad I had gotten up, glad I had taken up my pen and sat at my parent's kitchen table and written.  
      
            But see, something happens when I finish creating--especially when writing a song, actually. It's like I've emptied out all of my contemplations and creative inspirations into the melody, lyric, and chord progression and have nothing left to give.  Like if I were a blood donor, I would have been notified that I had just given an almost dangerous amount of blood and had to simply sit and restore for a while.  

       And so I do.  Or rather, don't. Do restore, don't write. You know what I mean.  

       And that is why it somewhat surprises me when I write again. I thought I had already given all of it; I didn't know there was more.  But thank God there is. 

        Does this sort of thing happen to anybody else? 

         Oh, but let me say one more thing: I am a firm believer in putting a demand on your gift and simply exercising it regularly. So you don't feel that special muse romancing you at night, filling your head with lyrics that rhyme effortlessly and chords that fit together all neat and scientifically accurate like a jigsaw puzzle.  So what. You are an artist, do what it is you do; or even what it is you wish you did. Even if for a time, it has to be done without feeling the poetry of it.  

    But I must say, it is really nice when you feel the poetry; when you feel the momentum building inside of you to the point where you couldn't not write a song if you tried. Or painted. Or danced. Or told a story. Or creatively solved a problem. Or told a joke that made someone laugh so hard that they didn't need to do ab work for a week. Or whatever it is you do...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

and the bottle-opener saga continues...

   We are currently doing a whole Secret Santa thing in the cast. Some of the gifts circulating have been really very nice--a foam memory pillow, itunes gift cards, jazz cd's, bottles of wine. And this is just supposed to be the small stuff before the big gift that we give right at Christmas time. 

  So, I decided to step it up today with this gift basket for my secret santa (would it be called a secret santee?). A bottle of merlot. Fine cheese. Crackers. Chocolates. Nice, right?  

  I left the basket alone for a few minutes as I went upstairs. Drew was running out the door, so we said our good byes, and I went looking for a ribbon for a finishing touch.  I went back downstairs, and found this...
   Sweet, helpful, might-be-on-crack Drew took it upon himself to doctor up the basket for me.  I mean what young woman wouldn't want two old utensils, a gun, a walkie-talkie, and a familiar kitchen appliance? Yes, you guessed it--the kangaroo-testicles/bottle opener was sitting on top like the cherry on an ice cream sundae. (turns out it isn't a can opener, like I had earlier thought. Can you blame me for getting it wrong, though? Come on--I really didn't look past the balls to be able to clearly identify it).  All this was in addition to the wine, cheese, crackers, and chocolates of course.

  Sigh.

  I went to work removing the superfluous items. And quickly put the bottle-opener back in the drawer to which it had been relegated, much to Drew's chagrin.  Oh and don't worry--this drawer is not really used, except to store some things that well, are not ever used.  

  So the Kangaballs are out of sight once again.  And the gift basket has been restored to its respectable state. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

it's okay to be scared

Some people know exactly what they will be doing next year, in three years, even in five. Me, I really don't know. And that can be...well, a lot of things. Scary. Exciting. Adventurous. Scary. Oh yeah, I said that one already.

I know what I would like to be doing, sure; but I have no guarantee.

I am someone who finds comfort in routine, actually. Maybe that surprises you. I love second days of a new job, but I tend to really dislike first days. I don't know the music yet, the choreography, the people. And in that vulnerable state of flying by the seat of my pants in front of a group of talented and total strangers, I can get uncomfortable, even scared.

I guess that is where the acting comes in. Or maybe it's called faith. You know, the evidence of things that aren't seen, aren't even felt sometimes. Like I pretend I am confident, pretend that I know what the heck I am doing. Pretend I am funny, smart, great, blah, blah, blah...When in reality, I am feeling scared and if I had my perfect way in that moment, I might just go home and eat cereal and put on a pair of pants with an elastic waistband.

I'd maybe watch an episode of the Office.

But, that's just the first day of something new-afterwards, it gets much much better; to the point where I am anticipating my work, excited to be there, and not even thinking about how I feel anymore.

And I am really glad that I don't let my feelings of being scared dictate what I do. I am so grateful that my parents didn't let me just stay home because I was scared to take ballet, scared to take piano, scared to go to summer dance intensives. I am glad that they saw the potential that lay within my grasp, if I could just grapple with some fear first to get there.

And so I did.

But don't get me wrong; fear has never completely gone away. It still knows my name intimately. It's always hanging around, checking in, looking for an unlocked door, a crack in the window. But I have learned to fear something greater than just the feeling of fear itself. Not reaching my potential scares me. And that nagging little question, What if? Two tiny words that can drive any sane person to madness, causing many a white nights to create telling purple shadows under the eyes along the way.

The proverb wisely says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Beautiful. Truthful. Urgent. This tells me, tells us something, right? I cannot afford to become a shadow of myself, walking around with a sick heart, unable to see the right way, the best way because I had long ceased even looking for it. Or dreaming of it.

So right, I don't honestly know exactly what I will be doing a year from now. But it has to be something fulfilling, something life giving. I have to believe that. And when all of the uncertainty that is a given in this business rushes at me like the ocean's pull at high tide, I have to close my eyes and just know. It. Will. Be. Okay. Somebody a lot smarter that me, with a ton more clairvoyance, as well, planned it that way.

Monday, December 8, 2008

we mostly agree. really.

  I have always been a sentimental person, easily attached to special things. Or beautiful things. Or interesting things.  You should have seen my room while growing up. It was usually very messy lived-in.  

   Almost every square inch of my walls were covered with some piece of decorative art--anything from wrapping paper that I liked a lot to posters to cards that special people gave me.  One of the hardest parts of moving out of my parents' house because I was marrying a dreamy guy named Drew was taking down all of those pieces of my history. Every card that divulged a friendship. Every pictured ballerina that made me aspire to go to dance class and sit in splits while I watched tv.  

   I remember just tearing up, removing every scrap of thoughtful sentiment that adorned my room. In a way, it was very metaphoric. I was making the walls of my childhood bare; making room for something else to cover them, something more boring mature.

  It took my parents approximately 3 and a half minutes to call in the cavalry known as Jacob to repaint the walls and make the room look like it belonged in a Pottery Barn catalogue.

  And it no longer belonged to me.  

  Anyway.  While packing up my childhood room, I knew I would not ever live in a room that looked like that again; that had a frog in every corner (not living, though--ew, and not dead, either! just, you know, decorative), a million and a half dresses piling up in the closet, and enough dancers on the walls to make you wonder if you accidentally stepped foot in a ballet studio.  

  I knew that I would be sharing living space with Drew, who is, among other things, male.  

He has made it very clear that our bedding cannot have flowery things, I think is how he put it, and if we are debating on a color, he immediately comes up with the idea of green, brown, or blue. Or a combination of all three.  His idea of nice furniture is sometimes, I am sad to say, a hideous creation known as a gaming chair and yes, it looks just as ugly as it sounds.  We did compromise on that one, though, and he carried it up to his room, a place that I never really go anyway. 

 His room now has two of the ugliest chairs I have ever seen in it. And I am glad that he enjoys them.

  Despite all that, he does have good taste, and we agree on most things. When we can't agree, we compromise. When we can't compromise, we just don't do whatever it is we cannot decide upon.  All that to say there are some very lovely things in my house that we both love together.

  Take this entertainment center, for instance. I cannot remember who saw it first, but we both loved it instantly.

And this special chest that my parents' gave to me before our wedding. It is an antique dating back to the 1800's and is a real piece of luggage that people used to travel with. You can tell by the arched top that it belonged to a wealthier person--they would make sure the lids of their chests were curved to ensure that nothing could be stacked on top of it, thereby keeping it on top of the pile and easily accessible.  
  And my piano. Another amazing gift from my parents. I love, love, love it.
 And this is one of my favorite spots in our house. The dining room table is a hand-me-down from Jason and Darby. I also love the contrast of the yellow walls with the green picture.
And our kitchen...Drew designed the layout and it's so homey and us, somehow.
Another special spot. The fabric picture, the drapes, and the contrast of the greens against the tan make me glad.
But I guess, no matter how great a couple is for each other, they are bound to disagree. You can imagine my chagrin when I got home tonight and found that heinous can-opener with a handle made out of kangaroo testicles back in its place of honor. The same place from which I had taken it down when I got home last week. And once again it is hanging right next to the beautifully crafted measuring spoons that were a gift from Darby, as well as the Williams and Sonoma pot holders that were a gift from Drew.  
  Uffda.

Is it just me--or does one of these things not belong here? And would anyone mind agreeing with me on this one? I think that can opener would look great right next to the ugly chairs in Drew's special room...

  I guess Drew and I still need to figure out what the compromise is for this one.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

audience...participation.

    Tonight was an interesting show.  During the opening we started to hear some unusual noises emitting from the audience. We looked at each other in puzzlement, trying to figure out the cause.


    It sounded like cries. Or moans.

     In between groups of 4 doing the jazz combination we whispered to each other, Maybe somebody should take their baby out of the theater...Or...Is there a baby pterodactyl in the house? Or even, People should practice their...uh, intimate moments somewhere else.  

    I mean, that's not exactly a controversial statement, right?

    Finally, once we were in place on the line, I was able to get a good look at where the intermittent moans were coming from: a teenage boy with special needs sitting in the third row between what looked to be a mother and a grandmother.  

   And my heart went out to him.  Each time his moaning started his next-of-kin would get to work shushing him. He would stop, but then something would set him off again in a few moments.  The thing was, I could see the other patrons around him--people who had spent $100 a ticket to watch the show, presumably without distraction--and they were getting annoyed, maybe even irate, though they held their tongues. 

   And well, my heart when out to them, too--albeit, not in the same way.

   I was discussing this with other people in the cast, and it was hard to come up with a solution, exactly. I mean, this young man has special needs, yes, but it's sad to think that he is not free to watch live theater like everyone else. Maybe he is autistic and, though unique, could still perfectly understand the theme of the show and it changed him for the better, encouraged him to paint, draw, write, etc. 

  Conversely, it was not very sensitive to the other audience members--let alone, the live actors--to have to try to shut out the moans while absorbing the play.  There is nothing like loud moaning from an audience that according to our show, isn't supposed to be there in the first place, to disrupt the suspension of disbelief that one hopes every audience member adheres to.  

   Anyway, bless that young man's heart. Hopefully he was encouraged by the show. And bless the audience members around him who were patient and overlooked the distractions (I hope anyway). Or at least, who didn't say anything--though they sure shot some looks, believe you me. But from their perspective, can you blame them?

  What are your thoughts? I'd be interested to know.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

train of thoughts

  I present to you, the cast of A Chorus Line (well, some of us, anyway) singing at the annual lighting of the monument ceremony in Baltimore tonight...

  We had gotten a memo from stage management the night before to dress in all black and that our classy ACL ball caps would be provided for us.  Well, as you can see, only a few of us took that memo to heart; I not only did not wear black, I took it a step further and wore my purple jeans for the occasion.  Whatever, at least we had the uniform hats, right?
 
  And we were on the news and everything! Though I didn't get to see it because I was at physical therapy. However, I did hear it and we sounded fierce. 

   Looking at the picture, I can't help but notice that my hand looks unbelievably white, like it could belong to a corpse. I don't mind so much, though, because I have been reading the Twilight Series like it's my job and now that I know some vampires are of the good vegetarian order, then it's actually kind of cool. Cause you know, you could do way worse than looking like a Cullen (and if you don't know what I mean, then you need to read the book!).

   Oh, so I hate my new show shoes. They hurt terribly and my feet feel like sausages inside them.  Seriously, they feel too small.  And I blame them for dropping my cue tonight.   

   It was the end of the show, and I only have one line-it's 3 sentences, to be specific, but it's really only one line. Anyway, tonight I was very distracted by how much my shoes hurt. And then I started thinking of how much my right foot, specifically, was hurting inside that stupid shoe (my exact thought was somewhere along the lines of OUCH I believe). Somehow this led to me thinking about the Boysetsfire song, The Misery Index, which is an awesome song but has very little to do with ACL.  Anyway, I was lost in these thoughts when all of the sudden I notice a lull in the conversation around me. I look up an find the entire cast staring at me, waiting for me to say my one line (really three sentences, but you know what I mean).  I jump into it and feel like a little idiot, quite deservedly, because I should have been paying attention.  

  I burn with embarrassment under the teasing gazes of most of the cast--at least the ones who could tell that I had checked out. Some, believe it or not, said they had no idea and hopefully the audience fell into that category as well.  My friend Jay actually started laughing out loud cause he knew where I was and it was anywhere but there.  

  But like I said, that's what I get for not paying attention while I am on stage in front of thousands of people.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

musings

    I have to say, Baltimore has been so kind.  Their response to ACL has been amazing--they are laughing at all the right places, wonderfully responsive to every number, and so present.  It does the heart good.  And tonight, they gave us a standing ovation, which was again, just so kind.  


     What is not totally awesome about Baltimore is how quickly their two-way streets just bam! turn into one-way streets. I mean, really, you gotta give a girl some notice.  Unfortunately, the notice I did see loud and clear was in the form of a car with it's beams pointed straight at me...I quickly moved over to the correct side of the street...And promptly got lost.  

    But really, the getting lost part cannot be blamed on Baltimore.  It can only be blamed entirely on me.  See, as I have mentioned before here, I have no natural sense of direction. None. If I were a bird, I would probably end up in Alaska for the winter, and wonder why none of my bird friends showed up for my Christmas party.  Luckily, I am not a bird, and therefore have a sentient mind that is able to be directed by the all-knowing GPS.  

   But I didn't have it last night--thus, I got lost in Baltimore.  I did call my friend Jason (who had lived in Baltimore), and he along with his lovely and helpful wife Susan, was able to talk me out of my wanderings and set me straight again.  So a huge thanks for that, guys!

   I was interviewed via phone by the News Journal today.  As luck would have it, my brother happened to be in the car with me when I was answering questions and the interviewer, Betty, I think, asked if that was my husband. No, I said, I am with my brother. I guess that was just as good because she asked if she could speak with him and I immediately handed over the phone to my very surprised and somewhat nonplussed brother, Jonathan.  

   I just gave him a beatific smile. 

    They talked all about me, which makes sense considering the whole interview was because I was in ACL. He happily informed Betty of how when we were growing up, nobody in the family could get me to stop dancing and singing--in grocery stores, sidewalks, even while listening to teachings during church I would be pointing my feet as hard as I could.  He did a great job, and was very sweet about me. We both thought it was funny that he was forced into the interview, though.

   Oh yeah, and towards the end Betty asked me if Drew and I had any pets. Yes, I said, Two cats. She went on to ask their names, so I obliged, but all the while I was thinking, This is news?! I mean, not that I mind--after reading my last post, I am sure you can see that it takes almost nothing to get me talking about my cats--but still, people want to read about that?  

   I got to see my dear friend Laura tonight.  She's all beautiful and happily newly married and it absolutely shows, which makes me so glad...And now in an effort to be somewhat normal (no jokes how for me, that may prove to be impossible, please), I will go to bed so that I can actually see the morning tomorrow.  

  And maybe even take a pilates class. Maybe.   

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

taliesin & persephone




     

   The black cat is named Persephone.  Percy, for short, and she is small and sweet and dainty and it is a very rare and special occasion when she hops up on your lap, politely crosses her paws, and lays her head down.  
 
     But you have to be sure not to make too big a deal of it, or else she might just decide to hop down just as stealthily as she hopped up.  She had a little photo shoot with Drew today and this was my favorite.  The little kitty is so very dark, that most pictures turn out with her features very difficult to decipher, but this one shows her pretty little blue-black face just perfectly.  

   Something that is so endearing about Percy: whenever one of us gets home, she trots a few steps in front of us then promptly flops on the ground, rolls over, and exposes her round little tummy for a good scratch.  

    And yeah, it's hard to say no to her when she does that.

   The picture to the right is a glimpse of a nap we had today.  It started out with Drew laying down, then I laid down on him, and then Taliesin, our huge orange tabby (Tally, for short), decided it would be a really good idea to climb onto my back and lay down.  You can sort of see all three of our heads.  Anyway, it was really funny.  It also felt really nice when Tally would knead his paws in my back, like a miniature massage, or something.

  And I threw in another, clearer shot of Tally, who is so different from Percy, that it is hard to believe they are brother and sister.  He is large and clumsily affectionate.  As soon as you are still and prone for a moment, he lumbers onto your chest and immediately begins to head butt your face until you pet him.

   And it usually doesn't take more than one or two head butts before Drew or I acquiesce.  

   His purr is as loud as a jackhammer and we wonder if the neighbors debate whether or not we have some construction project going on in our house on a regular basis.  He especially seems to love Drew, and snuggles with him quite often. Drew says this is because Tally prefers a larger surface, but I think that Drew is just trying to make me feel better because Tally continually chooses him over me.  Honestly, it doesn't make me sad--I think it's really cute and I am glad Tally loves Drew so much; I do too, so I can't really blame him.

   Have I mentioned how nice it is to be home?  And our two cats just make it that much better.


     

Monday, December 1, 2008

home again.

I am home.

It's a little surreal to drive through the same neighborhoods, stop at the same traffic lights, and pull up to our sweet little house all connected in a tidy row with the other houses in the neighborhood; only ours stands out entirely because it is well, ours.  


It's very nice to know that no matter how far away I get from here, it remains.  My home--along with all my family and friends and the house-at-the-end-of-the-dirt-road that I grew up in--seems to stay remarkably still against the irrevocable onslaught of time, remaining cloistered away from the rush of all of the downtowns of which I have lately been an inhabitant, remaining cloistered away in my heart.   

For me, home has a beautiful comforting sameness to it that I love, that I rely on.

This is especially true when the mess that I left in my quick dash of a 48 hour visit of two months ago is still here. Still on my unspoken side of the room, next to my spoken-for side of the bed. The side that, apparently, our two cats claim for themselves when I am not here, as evidenced when I tried to stretch my legs out this morning and immediately found myself stopped short by lots of fur and a couple of sharp little claws in the mix.  And oh yeah, a meow or two in protest.  

 I will say Drew did a darn good job of cleaning the kitchen. I will also say that the newest addition to our kitchen--a gift from Drew's recently returned from Australia brother, Kris, which happens to be an appliance in the form of a can opener with a handle fashioned out of kangaroo testicles (I am not kidding, but I really wish I was, believe me)--well let's just say that it will not be remaining in the very visible place that Drew has chosen for it for too much longer.  Not on my watch.  

  Anyway. I am home for a good, no a wonderful six weeks while I commute to work in Baltimore for these next two weeks, Philly for the three weeks after that, and then a glorious week of vacation, though I am not quite sure where I will be for that week. I can tell you I will not be working and I will be with Drew...;-)

So yes, life is very very good. I cannot wait to spend time with all the people I love here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

benefit show pics


Just thought I would post some pics from the benefit show this past Monday night.



















These were taken by the awesome Dave Vick.


Not a whole lot going on tonight other than the crushing disappointment of finding out my flight home was cancelled tonight. 

So yeah, I am still in the lovely Toronto. Still missing home.  But I am catching a flight early tomorrow morning...Hopefully the weather is agreeable.  








Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am not a rock star (not yet, anyway), and I really love christmas

    I don't have a ton of things to say. 

 
    I mean, I could talk about the fact that I had 2 shows today and stayed up until the very rock star hour of 5 am talking to none other than my dear friend Jay.  I could also mention that I was not a rock star today, but instead was a musical theater performer, and therefore acting like a rock star the night before did nothing to help me and everything to leave me utterly and completely exhausted today.  Cause you know what? I am really an 8-10 hour of sleep a night kind of girl; when I get about five, the day feels longer. Or maybe I am just slower.  Ugh.  

  Or I could talk about how lately I have become rather obsessed with Chipotle. They serve these delicious fajita burritos in the warmest and softest tortillas that I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.  Plus, I have really become adventurous in my eating; I mean, I still pick out the onions when I can, but every once in a while they bypass my careful examination and I end up eating one and to my extreme shock the world doesn't end nor do they jump start my gag reflex into action and generally I am okay. Probably even healthier because of it.  So, I am not going to do anything crazy like eat an onion on purpose or anything, but I will say if one happens to go down the hatch, than I guess that's sort of okay.  But just sort of.  

  I could also mention that I have been playing an assortment of Christmas music and I love it, love it, love it.  It paints such a vivid picture of the whole heart of this celebration; of the pointed and powerful thoughts that God has towards us; that knowing that His thoughts are indeed good and helpful and perfect makes life bearable, even wonderful.  I mean, when the angels whispered the secret of heaven to those long ago shepherds, thereby letting us all know once and for all that God had this plan that was motivated by nothing but peace and goodwill towards man--well, the whole universe breathed a collective sigh of relief, because if God wanted that for us, then well, that's what was gonna happen.  

  It's beautiful, isn't it? Simple. But revelatory of an urgent love from a God who is more powerful than a nuclear bomb, bigger than every galaxy, smarter than any Einstein or Da Vinci, but then lays that power aside and becomes small, helpless, even, as he takes the form of a baby born to a simple woman and laying in a crude manger.  What a breathtaking paradox. He's not just God from afar, God who doesn't understand our meager struggles and pathetic attempts at living right; he is now God with us. Infinitesimally Emmanuel. Human, and therefore subject to our conflicts, compatible to our emotions and desires.  

  And yet he chose the right way where we would choose the wrong.  He loves. Always. He's perfect, always.  And that is why he can take all our wrongness, our weakness, the ugly parts about us, the confusing parts about us and make us right. Make sense of us. Make us clean, loving, good.  

 And it all started with God's idea of peace and goodwill towards us. And then this tiny little baby, this Son of God, who grew up and literally took on the world and fixed it.  Fixed me.  

I love Christmas and all the poetry of the story behind it. I love what it means for me.  

So, I guess I found something to say after all.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

that's right, PA

   I have to admit, I am a huge fan of good old Pennsylvania.  I was born there. Specifically, in a little blue house and even more specifically, sound asleep.


Right, so I was raised on 21 acres of land in PA. 

It was perfect.

I am talking, green-rolling-hills, meandering streams, lots of trees for climbing and dirt paths for walking perfect.  

And apparently, I am not the only one who loves PA.  Apparently, somebody else thought that it would be a really good idea to let Canadians know just how awesome of a place it is.  

And the best way to represent the fantastic qualities of PA--I mean, the absolute pin-point portrayal of my favorite state is what else? 

 A bear. A huge bear, walking around with shopping bags in paw. Perfect, right?

  So this humongous billboard is right smack in the middle of Dundas Square, a sort of smaller version of Times Square.  And it's just a simple advertisement for nothing other than the great state of Pennsylvania.  

  And I think it's pretty funny.  So, way to go PA.  I hope you appreciate your shout-out in Canada; I know I sure do.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

had to honor this tradition of giving thanks.

   Happy Thanksgiving!

   Our dear company managers arranged a catered early dinner for us at the King Edward Hotel, American-style, with turkey and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and apple cobbler.   
It was absolutely lovely.  Though, we had to show some restraint in the amounts of food we ate considering we did have a show later in the day. And that show involves leotards. And dancing. And preferably not throwing up.

And you don't think I forgot about my pet shark, Bruce, do you?
On the holidays I try to be kind to animals as well, so I let Bruce swim around in his element.
  So, I can tell you what Bruce was thankful for today...
   Since Donna, my head of wardrobe has prohibited him from my shoe box, I try to make it up to him and let him swim around a little...It's the least I can do.

    I sort of forgot about him, though, and left him in the bathtub.  I didn't remember that's where he was until Gabi just recently came out of the bathroom, having just showered, and told me that it's kind of weird to step into the shower and see Bruce grinning up at her with all those teeth.  

   Oops.

   So, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving day.  Mine didn't feel quite the same; I miss my dear family and Drew so much.  But, I am grateful for the lovely people who I am with. They make me laugh until I can hardly breathe sometimes.  They let me borrow their pointe shoes (uh, thanks, Kevin).  They have perfectly coifed hair (um, Ian). They remind me that they will be holding mandatory weigh-ins in Philly (bring it, John). They stretch my feet (ouch, Brandon).  They brag to everyone they know about how quickly I read the Twilight Series books (what a proud stage mom, Gabi).  And they come back from time to time to hold shabbats (Emily, you cannot stay away, and I am glad!). I am grateful for a lot this year, but right now I will say that I am especially grateful for friends.

  So thank you, God, for all of them.