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Saturday, February 28, 2009

better

   It's quite reassuring to stay in hotels that keep us connected with current events, nature, and pop culture. I mean, being on the road can be tough enough, so when a hotel goes the extra mile and keeps pertinent information accessible to us, it means the world.

   Which is why I was so psyched to see this here at the Towneplace Suites:

   Seeing that stapled and stenciled bulletin board complete with geometric shapes in primary colors not only brought me back to the 2nd grade, it also tempted me to just get rid of my mac altogether. I mean, really, who needs the Internet when I have that? 

   Since it was a gift from Drew, and so has some sentimental value, I suppose I will keep it--but probably just as a paper weight.

   At least while I stay here, anyway.  
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   Yesterday I suddenly got inspired to go to the beach all by myself. 

   So I got in the car and drove. For me, the most difficult part of going to the beach has always been parking. Finding a space. Making sure you have quarters (which, let's face it, at the beach is basically worth their weight in gold). Trying to park close enough so, before you even glimpse the water, you aren't committing to a five mile hike while holding all your beach paraphernalia and maybe even contracting skin cancer since you had planned on applying your sunscreen after you put your towel and folding chair down on the soft white sand. 

   I did find a place to park, though could only scrounge up enough change to last an hour. 

   But really, an hour was all I needed.

   Crossing the street, I came upon this.
   One thing I love about the beach is the air of goodwill and trust that seems to rule. It's the one place in the world where nobody really locks anything. We each stake out our own little pile of sand, marking it with an exotic and brightly colored over-sized towel or two.  That is as good as any safe on the beach, I guess. We place our purses, our clothes, our keys that belong to expensive cars down on those towels and go our merry way into the surf without so much as a glance over our shoulders.   

   I have always done this and have never had any bad luck with it.  

    So I did it again. I will say, however, that I forgot a towel, so did feel a little weird about placing my stuff down without that. It felt less safe, somehow. I took a little extra precaution because of it and tightly bundled my keys to the rental car in my tank top that was on the ground.   

   At least the tank top was sort of like a beach towel in that it was bright and pink and uh, fabric. So there was that.  

   That oughta do it, I thought, and walked down to where the waves were breaking. 

   I walked and thought and prayed. I thought about the different people I love and prayed for good things to come into their lives. I thought about some of the messes I and others have made lately and hoped for a way out. 

  And sometimes, I just stopped and looked closely at the water swirling at my feet. 
  I saw how it was clear and green and made patterns that I could never have thought of in a million years.  These patterns were so intricate; they involved much larger things than me--things like the sunlight, the ocean, the innumerable amounts of sand; somehow these cosmic and epic things met together here, at my feet, and made a little picture that I could take in.  
 
  I think life is a lot like that. 

  Things that we cannot control--probably cannot even understand the magic and vastness of them--come together, interrupting our day for the better and leaving us with some beauty.  

   Or maybe it isn't beautiful yet. Maybe it's an interruption that we never would have opted for, we never would have checked the yes had we been handed some grand, universal survey, but still--it makes a pattern that marks us. And for better or for worse, we are changed.

  But I can guarantee you that it will--eventually--be for better.  
  I gotta believe that.
  So here's to finding the patience that we need to make it to that place that we can honestly see is, in fact, better.  

  And because I am always on the quest for bigger calf muscles (yes, this is my version of a segue--sorry if it's a little abrupt), I ran every once in a while.  

   But see, I have been having this irritation with my knee (thank you, A Chorus Line and all of the deep lunges that entails) and despite all of the very sage advice I have gotten from well intentioned physical therapists (it is simply bruised from sleeping (not sure if they thought maybe I wrestle alligators in my sleep) and of course, my absolute favorite--I need to eat more hamburgers), the knee is still being pesky.

  All this to say, my running spurts were limited at best.  
  Hopefully walking at a quick rate on the sand will bulk up the calf muscle, as well.

  Um, I really love a good calf muscle.

   But, about the knee--there's good news. I saw another physical therapist today and he seemed to know what he was talking about. Seems like my I.T. band as well as some of my quad muscles have gotten good and tight and so isn't allowing the patella to work as it should.

  Or something like that.

  Long story short, I have to roll it out on this huge foam roller and it hurts a whole heckuva lot. I mean, really bad.  But I guess that just proves the latest P.T. guy right.  

  So I will be rolling and icing and looking forward to the better that is about to come to my knee.  

  Oh, and the only real way that a hamburger is going to help my knee is if I take a frozen patty and apply it directly to the sore area.

  Which I just might do, in a pinch.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

broadwaysecrets

   I don't know if you have ever heard of the blog, postsecret, but it's basically an online gallery of postcards in which an anonymous sender has divulged something never before shared.

   It's captivating. I read them every week; I simply cannot look away.

   I suppose a secret will do that to you. Especially if you happen to be a pretty curious individual like me. 

   Anyway.

   Drew emailed me this link tonight. It's from a blog that has the same idea as postsecret, except all of the secrets involve people on Broadway. 

   They are, of course, anonymous as well. 

   Apparently a friend of his from high school, Aimee Kislin, sent him the link, telling him that he might have a personal interest in #26.

    What is #26, you ask?

    This.
Jessica Latshaw, A Chorus Line National Tour

     Yeah, I was just as surprised as you.  Maybe even more so.  I have no way of knowing who made the postcard but I am grateful. How kind.  Hopefully before too long I will be playing a role in which I can really sang, if you know what I mean, but until then I remain indebted to this stranger's kindness.

    And singing terribly for a paycheck.

    And wishing my hair didn't look so crazy bad in that picture.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the door latch

       One of my favorite features that my hotel room boasts is the latch that keeps the door firmly closed even when someone has a key.  


       I wish all doors had this. 

      Every morning the maid tries to get in my room at the ungodly hour of 9 am. Every morning I ignore her knocks.  Figuring that I am not there, she eventually opens the door only to be rebuffed by the latch and foiled again. 

     I turn over in bed, relieved. And once again grateful for that latch.  

     See, I not only did not grow up with a latch, I didn't grow up with locked doors

    Like, at all. 

    My parents live on 21 acres of lush Pennsylvania land; the nearest town consists of a gas station and a candy shop. We were maybe in danger of a stray cat wandering onto our porch. Maybe. And usually our cats took care of it.  

    So accordingly, my parents did not lock the doors. I didn't even grow up with keys. At least, not for doors, anyway.   

    My friends sometimes make fun of me for how bad I am at unlocking doors. They shouldn't do this, though. It's like making fun of the Mungo Man for not knowing how to operate an iphone. He didn't grow up with one, so leave him alone. In fact, since he has been dead for quite some time now, you really shouldn't speak any ill of him at all.

   For shame. Making fun of the poor, dead Mungo Man like that.  

   But yes, I really like this latch. And since we didn't use keys while I was growing up, a latch would have come in handy. 

   Particularly because our house was right next to the church that my parents pastor. And because it was so close, I think some parishioners just thought of it as an extension of the church. Not a home that might just host some people who wanted some semblance of privacy--nope, nothing like that.

  As a little girl I got really good really fast at hiding in my own home. I knew all the quick spots to dart when I first heard a knock at the door. Many times that knock would only precede the sound of the screen door opening and then the dreaded sound of a voice--usually one of my parents' counselees--yelling for one or both of my parents, asking if they are home, asking if they minded if who-ever-it-was-this-time just came on in.  

   Wish they had asked me. I did mind.

  And then a lot of times they would just walk right in. And I would be hiding behind the staircase. Or in my room. Or in the bathroom. Or around the hallway, just hoping that they didn't venture further into the house and--horror of horrors!-catch me cowering there, hiding from well, them

   Gosh, a latch would have been nice. 

  One time I remember a man from our church had come to the door and I ran quick as I could to the safety of my bedroom. He knocked. I hid. He knocked. I hid. And we continued in this holding pattern of what was perhaps the most boring and uneventful battle that was ever waged for quite some time. 

  The knocking stopped, I realized with the sense of relief that comes after having bested someone. I outlasted his knocking. Phew. But then...I felt a shadow, something was obstructing my view of the sun...

  And with a sinking feeling, I realized that I was not the winner of this repartee after all. For there the man stood, outside of my window, after having peered through all of the windows from our kitchen until my room and finally landed at mine.

  And I just sat there, looking guilty as sin.  

   I stood up from my crouch with as much dignity as I could muster and graciously motioned for him to walk around, that I would meet him at the front door. I would at least wave my white flag with the respect of having fought my hardest. 

  I would take it like a woman; I would meet him at the front door, on my terms. 

  I tried to pretend like I hadn't heard his tenacious knocks, but I think he knew. My bedroom was not very far from the front door, let's be honest. There was no music playing that would have drowned it out, no loud conversation, no distractions that could act as my alibi.  

  I was found out, plain and simple. My only comfort is that at least I wasn't an adult and so maybe he attributed my overt act of ignoring him to my youth. But I still don't think that what I did was wrong, necessarily; it was a method of survival in the midst of some loiterers who had suspiciously shoddy boundaries. 

  Which is probably why they were in counseling in the first place. 

  Which is probably why they came looking for my pop who had probably forgotten about the appointment...And finding me hiding from them might not have helped whatever had driven them to get counseling in the first place...

  Now that I think about it, that latch wouldn't have helped that particular situation. But I sure do like it. Especially in the morning, when it comes to keeping out the maid.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

sir...SIR?!?!

  Does the fact that I ate a salad for lunch balance out the fact that I ate about a hundred desserts for dinner?  


   No? 

   It doesn't work that way? 

   Oh. okay. 

    So, the other night I was doing my job. I know, I know--a medal is in order. But we were doing the portion of the show called the Ones in which we basically go over the same piece of choreography while singing that famous song, One, singular sensation... in repetition.  

    Pause for a moment while I tell you a piece of pertinent information. One of my good friends thinks it is quite hilarious to pretend that I am actually a boy. Hahahahahahahahahaha, right? Yes, I have very short hair. What a novel idea to call me a boy. Anyway, he gets quite a kick out of it while I tolerate it, at best.  Now back to the story.

   We get to the section of the Ones when Zach instructs all of the girls to line up and perform that same piece of choreography--this is quite appropriately called the girls' chorus.  I line up next to all of the other girls in the show, as I do every night, and start to dance while my friend chimes in from behind me, Oh...I'm sorry, but I am pretty sure this is the girls' chorus...

    I ignore him and continue dancing and singing. 

    What does he do? He gets louder, leans forward as to get a little closer to me and yells in mock concern, Excuse me, sir? SIR! This is not the boys' chorus--THIS IS THE GIRLS' CHORUS!!!!

     This whole little scene was played out upstage of me which is a fancy way of saying behind me while I was facing the unsuspecting audience. And let me say that I have never flipped anyone the bird before but boy, this was one time--I think the first, actually--when I really really wanted to to put my hand behind my back and do just that. 

     I didn't, but...

     Well, but for the grace of God, there go I...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

and then there was one

  Drew usually visits bearing some sort of gift or another for me. It's not usually the kind of gift that I would think to get myself, true (read: clothes and cards. Not that I get myself cards; that would be quite pitiful, wouldn't it?), but still, his gifts make me very very happy and generally make life better.


   This time, he brought me ipod speakers that magically hook up to my mac's itunes through the equally magical device called an airport express (which was a gift when he came to visit me in Toronto).  Because of this, music is filling my hotel room, transforming what was once so generic and bland into a place filled with creativity and individuality.

   Oh, and I prefer to call scientific things that do not make sense to me magical. It's just fun.    

   He also brought me a toothbrush. A pink, electric one. He knows that I am pretty hard on my toothbrushes and they wear out quickly, and I appreciate his thoughtfulness.  It makes me smile. 

   And for Valentine's Day?  

   A website. 

   This is not roses, not chocolate, not even anything that is remotely pink, but I love this gift. And though it is still under construction, I am psyched about it. Again, how thoughtful.  

   And since I have absolutely no idea how to make a website, I call it magical. You can join me if you like. Or you can try to explain all of the html and bytes and other nerdy things that don't sound nearly so magical.  

   I will let you know when the website is ready. It's exciting for me because it is one specific place for all of the things I am currently doing--my music, my blog, my acting, my boxing (ah, kidding)--all of those facets are going to have to learn to get along because they will be sharing space on the site.  
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    Have you ever started fake crying and then surprised yourself with real tears and before you know it you are sobbing?

     Yeah...I haven't either.

     Okay, so actually I have.

     See it was today, just before Drew was leaving. I was in the bathroom and Drew was being cute and started splashing water on me. It didn't really make me upset, though I feigned indignation. And when that didn't make him stop I started a good fake cry.

     I screwed up my face into my towel and only moments into it I started really truly crying.

     Oops. Didn't know that was going to happen.

     Poor Drew started profusely apologizing for splashing me, promising me that he would stop, while I threw myself onto the bed in a torrent of tears.  

     note: the dramatic arts are not just for the stage.

     He caught on to what was happening and asked, Are you really crying about me splashing you (at this I shook my head), or is it more about me leaving (at this I nodded my head)?

      The truth is he can splash me and yeah, it might be annoying but it generally won't make me break down and have a fit.  But when he leaves, which is something that happens all too soon after he arrives, it has a way of breaking me down. Turning my faux fits into the real thing. Causing me to say, I quit the show! in an over-the-top British accent.

     Almost.

     I just really hate the part of our story when we have to say good-bye. I can't wait till Somebody writes us another ending. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

key west or bust

   Some Monday nights I go to the grocery store, watch Intervention, and call it a night. I am content in the fact that I am not working, that I have snacks and peanut butter nearby, and that my feet don't hurt. 

   Or sometimes I end up in Key West, sitting on this balcony with Drew, 
listening to a live band with a fierce trumpet player crank out some bossanova. And while they break, I can hear the ocean lapping against the shore while the rest of us stand mystified, happy to be party to the nightly pull between waves and sand, moon and wind. 

  Last night we decided to drive to the bottom of our country, so well, we did. 

  We set out this morning, after having eaten out oatmeal and raisin bran crunch, respectively.

   Drew was lucky enough to put on my red sunglasses and I was lucky enough to be with him.  
   Even if we hadn't had a GPS navigating for us, we would have known we were on the right course as soon as we saw this:
   And any lingering doubts we might have had were completely erased by this:
  Truly, this was one of the most beautiful drives we have ever been on. Just a clear expanse of water as far as one can see on either side; the horizon barely indistinguishable from the gulf of Mexico as we drove through, aware of how small we really are, amazed by the beauty of this world.
   And this is what it looked like on our GPS. It looked more like we should have been on a duck tour than in a car, but there you go.
   And then we got here, just 90 miles from Cuba. Every hotel, every restaurant, every thing that could be bought or sold boasted being the southernmost (hotel, restaurant, seashell, etc.) in the country.
    But no, we are not staying at the southernmost hotel in the country. And frankly, we are okay with that. We are staying here, however, and frankly, we are okay with that too.
    Just beautiful. 
Just us.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

i don't mind this at all

   Today was idyllic. Work was just a minor distraction; I had to fit in two shows around admiring this sunset besides Drew. 
     It was tricky, but I managed to do it.

    Yes, I had two shows today and no, I would rather have not had two shows today but I have learned that nurturing a feeling of dread is really just a waste of energy. If something has to be done, you might as well plant yourself there and do it with gusto. But then there's nothing wrong with packing up your make-up, pulling your jeans on as fast as humanly possible, and darting out the theater through the crowds of patrons to meet your husband. There's nothing wrong with not looking back and being really very glad to have taken that well-worn leotard off for the day.  

   As we walked along the marina we were happy to notice our own Delaware representing here in Ft. Lauderdale.  The writing is faint in this photo, but you can make out the Wilmington, De if you look extra hard. 
  And yes, I realize I need a camera with a zoom lens.  

  We sat on a bench and just dreamt together for a while. 
   We painted pictures of our future with words. 

   Looking back through the prose, you can clearly make out a boat--which Drew informed me is named either Brian Dawkins or Weapon X--a dog that will either be a mutt that we rescue or a puppy we adopt from a breeder, depending on which one of us you ask, I guess, and a little boy who has long hair. 

   We like it when little boys have longish curls. So, until he wants us to cut it, his hair will grow. Unless, of course, we change our mind. Or unless ,of course, he has no curls. 

   And tomorrow? No need to fit sunsets between two shows because I don't have two shows.

   I don't even have one show...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

awkward

    Taken just moments after an awkward conversation with a very drunk man.

     Not sure exactly what he wanted, but when he was at a loss for words, he simply stared at us.

     Like I said, awkward.  

      Drew very kindly then tried to explain to him that he was only in town for a few nights and wanted to spend them with me. Just me. I, maybe not as kindly and certainly not very discreetly, slowly reached for my purse that was unsettlingly within his reach.  

      Drew waved, said a deliberate good-bye, and the man simply started laughing and spit out just a few words, Don't flatter yourself; she's very pretty.

      I know, Drew responded, Which is why I want to enjoy this time with her alone.  

      Not taking the hint, the man simply sat down at the table adjacent to ours and continued to stare at us. Thankfully the bouncer, noticing the situation, came over and proceeded to pull out his chair and tip it over.

     The drunk man spilled out and shuffled on his way.  

      And we were left alone once again. 

      Perfect. 
        

Friday, February 20, 2009

judge not...

     I suppose that feeling judged is bound to happen at some point. 


     At least, if you choose to live a life in which you interact with other humans. Although, even Tarzan, who was raised by gorillas, probably felt judged for not being a gorilla.   

    Yeah, so judgement. It's so simple to condemn others for their differences. It's a pretty easy place to go.  Just as accessible as those other touristy locations, Fear and Pride. Yep, I hear you can travel to any one of those and hop to their sister locations with no extra charge. I hear it's really easy. 

    But I don't want to live like that.  I don't want those thoughts clouding my mind, distorting my relationships, keeping me from expecting brilliance from each person I come across.

   I want to expect good things from others, just like I'd hope people would expect that from me. 

   I'd hope being the operative words there. Doesn't always happen, though. Not in this world. And let me tell you, it's not fun to be on the receiving of another's judgement. And it generally doesn't bring a ton of goodwill feelings to the situation. 
 
   Let me explain.

   I recently received a message in my music myspace inbox. It is from somebody who apparently met me years ago when I was playing and singing with a band from my church that is very dear to my heart, Gate Called Beautiful. The fact of the matter is that I still play and sing with them whenever I am at home. They are a part of what makes home home for me. And I am so honored to make music with them--to bless God with them--whenever I am able. 

   Before I show you her email, please bear in mind that she came to her conclusions after simply looking at my pictures and listening to my music

   Hi Jessica,
 
     I know you don't know me, but I know you. I was checking to see if ECA or Gate Called Beautiful was still around. But I guess I could assume they are long gone by the looks of it. I googled you name because I had one of the cd's you made from way back when. I must say I am sad to see the changes that you have made in your life. You don't seem anything like the pesron I met and who my friends met in all of those summer training camps. Either way, I hope you are doing well, and I hope that you find God and let Him lead you back to Him and separate you from the world...and not fall more into it. I know the day is coming when Christ will return for His church. Will you be ready? God bless.

  Well, being me, I of course had a lot to say in my reply...

   Hi. Um, yeah you are right that I do not know you. At all. And I find it funny that you say you know me, because judging from your email, I would say that you really don't.

   Why would you say that I don't seem anything like the person you met way back when? Why would you write that you hope I "find God and let Him lead me back to Him and separate me from the world...and not fall more into it"?

  How can you possibly begin to think that you know the state of my heart, or to where God has called me by looking at some myspace pictures? Or listening to my music? Or worse--how can you judge and decide how very far "into the world" I have fallen AFTER viewing those pics and listening to my music?

   I find this amazing, actually.
   Not nearly the same kind of amazing that I find grace to be, though.

   And although you have not asked, the truth is that I LOVE God. I am absolutely convinced that it is His grace and peace and hope that keeps this world together. And I am so honored to be working in a medium that is close to his heart: I tell stories.

   Stories that move people. Makes them laugh. Makes them sad. Gives them a glimpse into the lives of others and accordingly, drums up something akin to compassion in their heart. I am doing musical theater professionally and I know without a doubt that God has opened this door for me.

  How small minded to assume that the only way to "minister" to people--which, let's face it, is just a fancy way to say helping our neighbor--is the kind that is done underneath a church spire. If that were the case, then there would be so many people--dear friends of mine who, at this point for one reason or another, has not found their way into a church--that I would not be blessed to call friends. To love. To be gracious towards, to share myself with and therefore the God-stuff within me.

  Please feel free to ask me any questions. About the important stuff--you know, the state of my heart. My relationship with God. The things that just might not be as evident as you'd think from viewing my myspace page. 

  I hope this finds you well. Sincerely, Jessica

  
   Her little message did take me aback.  It also has caused me to examine my own heart; finding some unfairness towards others there, I am wanting to practice grace a little harder. 

   Because bottom line, it sucks to feel judged. Especially when you aren't even given the courtesy of a conversation, a dialogue, a moment in their presence--something! Anything that actually reveals your heart.  Anything that can dispel the misguided assumptions we make as effortlessly as we open our eyes first thing every day and begin to see.

   Because the fact is we don't always see. Or when we do, we see dimly. Or partly. Or barely at all. And I am sure I don't need to remind you what we make of ourselves when we assume, right?

  That's what I thought. 

   Anyway, any thoughts on this matter that you would like to add? You know I like hearing from you;-)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the best parts

        Okay, those of you who read this blog know about the tough parts of touring. 


         The away from Drew part. The living out of a suitcase part. The long-distance with friends and family part. The hard to find real solitude part. The away from my piano part.  

         What if I told you about the absolute best parts of my job? 

          Um, besides the obvious of getting paid to dance, sing, and act; to tell a moving story to a brand new audience every day; the honor of being part of such an iconic piece of American musical theater history.

         And last but certainly not least of this list of the obvious best parts of my job is having to work at most, 6 hours a day and at least, 3 hours a day. 

         Yeah, I know. It rocks.

         But really, one of the best parts of touring was presented to me once again. Today. All wrapped up and pretty in the guise of a canopy of blue skies which, after the grey and endless snow skies of Detroit would have been enough for me, but then it had to go and get better with an ocean. A warm ocean that this habitually cold girl could actually swim in for a good long while. 

        Perfect, right? Well somebody didn't think it was quite there yet, so the day was made even richer. I mean, really--what more do you want than a sun drenched sky and an ocean that is actually refreshing?

        Um. Friends.
 
         Laughingrunningswimmingteasingfrisbeeingsnackingtruebluefriends.  

         It was so so good. And don't you worry, me and Kevin were prepared. We aren't dummies when it comes to sharks. We kept a constant and vigilant look-out and were always trying to make sure somebody was acting as our sharkbait.

        Oh, and we threw in a new twist this time. We stuck twenties in our bathing suits thinking to pay the shark off not to eat us if it came to that. Hey. We're all in this recession.  Even the sharks. And they say money is a universal language, so...

       Okay. Maybe we didn't actually swim with the twenties. Maybe we did stick them in our bathing suits, but really just for our walk to the boardwalk in case we saw a snack or something we wanted to buy. Cause hey. We're all in this recession. You think we'd throw away twenties to the ocean

        But we did talk about how Kevin's twenty had a big red stain on it that we called blood and how much more appetizing that twenty was to our would be attacking shark. You know, if it came to that.  

       Right, but we were certainly vigilant in our goal, which was not to be eaten by a shark. 

       So, check.

      Oh, we also saw this humongous horse shoe crab skittering along the bottom of the ocean. And this one wasn't dead, which you may have gathered by the fact that it was skittering.  But for some reason, I think almost every horse crab I have seen has been washed up on shore, decidedly dead.  Sure, we do have fun grabbing it by its tail and trailing it along the shore, making it look like it's alive, a la Weekend at Bernie's, but almost any animal is way better alive than dead.  Or at least more exciting. 

      The thought just occurred to me that the whole making a dead horse shoe crab seem alive might be weird. Oh well, not too worried about it, actually. 

      We also played Frisbee in the water which was so fun. I always think I am going to be better than I actually am at throwing the darned thing. I guess because I am married to such a Frisbee champ I just assume that all that talent has had to have rubbed off on me in the last three years. But no, still not great at throwing it. Still anyone's guess as to where it will land when it flies from my hand.  

    Guess it's time for another lesson, Drew.  

    So yeah, these are the days that make me happy to be here. Seeing the beautiful parts of the world and getting paid to do something I love at the same time. Though I miss so many with a constancy that ranges from a dull surround-sound type of ache to a sharp, take-my-breath-away pain that causes me to again doubt the decision Drew and I made for me to walk through this open door, this is my life.

    That bears repeating, I think. 
    This. Is. My. Life. 

   Right now. This day, the next--they are gifts, not simply a prerequisite to be endured before I really jump in. I don't want to waste it wishing I was somewhere else, or even with someone else (though that one may just be impossible to keep all the time).  What is that saying again?
     
   Let not our longing for tomorrow slay our living for today.  

    Yeah. That sounds about right.        

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

image

    I like everything about this picture.

   The hint of a white fence bordering stairs that lead to somewhere that is left up to the imagination. 

   Maybe a cottage. 
   Maybe the boardwalk. 
   Maybe one of those awful souvenir shops that beaches never seem to lack; and no matter how tacky they are you are secretly grateful for its presence because when you need a sweatshirt or some once-again-forgotten sun block, you know exactly where to go.  

   And that's how they get you, I guess.

   However, allow me to note that those souvenir shops have never once sold my favorite parts of the beach. I suppose a shot glass is a lot easier to sell than boxing up the tide along with all of the tiny sand crabs whose instincts burrow them deep deep deep when a wave sets them down somewhere. I guess one of those oh so classy lady-in-a-bikini oversized t-shirts make for an easier purchase than a glimpse of the sun, large and looming and passionately red while making a spectacular final bow for the day before it dips under the horizon.  

  It's funny how most of the souvenirs sold at the beach don't even come close to capturing the mystery, the vastness, the many changing moods of the shore.  And I think it's better that way. Those things should never be for sale. 

  But pack to the photo...The tall palm trees that stand like sentinels on the shore. 

  They remind me of the way America was constantly looking over her shoulder for German U-boats during World War II. When I drive to the Delaware shore I always make sure to watch for the lookout towers that still dot the sand today. According to lore, some of our navy men did spot one or two of those underwater enemy ships off the coast of Delaware.  That's the extent of the story since no coastal battle ever took place their during WWII, but it was enough for me to imagine those U-boats rising like some monster from the deep.  What that would have been like to see, how it would have felt to raise the alarm.  

  Speaking of raising the alarm, my brother Jason and I got really close to doing just that in Cornwall. We were exploring a small coastal town with our family and saw that there was a bell tower connected to a restaurant of some sort. We got the idea to go in and ask them if we could ring the bell.

   Why not? Bells are for ringing, are they not? 

   We burst through the doors of the restaurant only to discover that it is a very tiny restaurant indeed and basically once you get through the doors you are standing in the middle of the room, much like when you were a kid in the pickle pot.  

    Only this time the ring of people around you are definitely not playing duck, duck, goose. Instead, they are a very sophisticated set of Brits drinking their midday tea--a pastime that they happen to take quite seriously. 

     Another thing they take quite seriously is bell ringing, in case you ever wondered.  Trust me, I know. Now.

     We find ourselves the center of attention and why not? It's not every day two young American teenagers disrupt tea in Cornwall. Not actually having rehearsed what we were going to say to get these kind and mannerly people to allow us to ring their bell, Jason simply stammers out, We were wondering if we could ring the bell?

     Gasps emit from around every beautifully laden tea table in the room.  Tea cups are hastily placed back into their saucers with decided pings adding some treble to the cacophony of shock.  

    Someone recovers their sense enough to ask us in a beautiful lilting accent, Why ever would you want to do that

    Jason continues, We just thought it'd be so fun...We've never rung a big bell like that before...

    Truth be told we'd never rung any bell before.

     That same someone puts the whole matter to rest by telling us, No, no, no--the whole town would think there's been an invasion!

     We both murmur our apologies and sheepishly back out of the room.  

      An invasion? In 1994?! Huh. 

      It is their bell, after all. If they want to reserve it for the sole purpose of alerting the town of an imminent invasion, so be it.  

      But I'm guessing that bell won't be ringing anytime soon.
     
     Anyway, I love that picture of the beach here in Ft. Lauderdale and wanted to share it with you.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a sigh of relief

       My feet are tingling right now. 


        And not in a good way.

        Why did I have to wear the heels? Well, for the first couple hours it was because frankly, it's my job--but the next three or four?

         That wasn't for a paycheck. 

         Nope. I wore the 4 inch heels to our opening night party here in Ft. Lauderdale for simple and utter fashion. The way they looked. And to be honest they are super cute. I mean, they make me tall as a tree, true, but come on--I'm talking black patent leather lace-up booties with stiletto heels, guys!

         Sweet.

         But not if you were to ask my feet.

         You know it's bad when you finally remove your shoes and you can actually feel your feet spreading to their appropriate width once again; the pinching having finally stopped and your bones giving a quiver of gratitude as they relish a little breathing room once again. Speaking of bones, and foot bones in particular--were you aware of the fact that each foot houses 26 bones? That's 52 in total (not even a calculator on that one, guys), meaning that your feet alone make up 25% of the total amount of bones in your body.  

         Whoa. Let's show some love to our hard-working feet. And yes, I realize that to our feet, love may very well be spelled F-L-A-T-S.

          As in not 4 inch stilettos.  

          Anyway.

          Believe it or not my feet are not the topic I set out to discuss this evening. Or morning, as the case may be. What I wanted to say is that I am relieved. 

          Wouldn't it be weird if I just ended the post right there? Without even telling you why I am relieved? Ha. Don't you worry; you know I cannot resist writing a little more if the topic calls for it. Or even if the topic doesn't call for it (since I know you were probably thinking that anyway:)). 

           I am relieved because our director and assistant director came to the show tonight. We all get into a bit of a tizzy when they come around. See, they aren't afraid to tell you if they think it is horrible. They've done it before. And simply put, it's their job to say so.  

          Plus, our director is what's called Kind of A Big Deal. He's a two-time tony award winner. So we all really want him to be pleased. 

          And at the opening night party after the show I was quite thrilled to hear our director whisper into my ear, You were quite excellent tonight. 

          Thank God.

          And that's not all. The assistant director, who is quite a dear by the way, told me--

          We were so happy with you tonight. We have rehearsals tomorrow--notes and stuff to go over--but we are going to skip right over sing. It was perfect, there's nothing to change. And the audience was eating you up.

         Thank God again.

          To know that they are pleased seriously makes my heart soar.  We all work so hard on that stage and to hear some feedback like this is exactly what I need to keep going.  Plus, let's be real--contracts are going to be offered again soon for the next six months and it's a really good sign for me to know that the creative team is happy.  

        Thank God one more time.  

         So there you go. That is why I am quite relieved.

Monday, February 16, 2009

i'm probably not going to go by way of tsunami. i know that now.

       I used to think, while growing up in rural Landenberg, PA, that there was a very real danger of a tidal wave wiping out not only me, but my family as well. I remember pumping my parents for information about them, both fearing and being in awe of that unstoppable wall of water that could come from somewhere deep in the middle of the ocean and level everything I held dear. 


      I was even fascinated by the word tsunami, picturing that t that, like the awful cliche about children, is seen and not heard. 

      I suppose the fact that I lived a good two hours drive to any shore did not give me the comfort it should have. I was in more danger of being run over by a cow than by getting water-logged by a tsunami, but there you go.  

      I used to think that NFL football players were not human. Like, literally another race. They were built differently, had boulders for shoulders, tree-trunk legs, and thick, corded necks. I didn't know about all their padding, I just thought that was what they looked like. What their species looked like.  

      I used to think I would be a veterinarian.

     That I would be a ballerina. 

     I thought I knew who I was going to marry twice before I even met Drew.  

      My point is that I am not always right. Not even close. But the thing that is so dangerous is this phenomena of feeling being reality. 

      Yikes.  

      So what's an emotional, sensitive, deeply-feeling person to do? Not feel?

      Not likely.

      But I can talk about it. Air out my heart, so to speak. Telling someone about my life, the way I see it, helps me to gain perspective. It somehow brings into balance that seemingly transient-at-best truth to feeling ratio.  

    Because here's the thing:  There are people who tell me the truth. Friends who tell me that yes, maybe I am being a little crazy. Or yes, that was hurtful. Or no, it probably wasn't intentional. Or hey--you don't sound like the person I know. Or let's pray. Or let me help you.  Or girl, it isn't just about you. 

      I recently watched Ted Haggard's interview on Oprah. You know, the evangelical pastor of a mega-church in Colorado who was accused of buying crystal meth as well as paying for the services of a male escort a few years back.  After some denial and much devastation both privately and publicly, he confessed to it.  

    Something that he told Oprah broke my heart, however. After asking him how long he had been experiencing homosexual thoughts, he answered, Pretty much my whole adult life. He continued to explain that he had in fact been honest when he was first starting in ministry with some of his peers, asking them for help, and their response?

     You need to busy yourself even more with the church. 

     I'm sorry. What? 

     How is that anything like the God I know who cares so deeply about the state of our hearts? Here was a man who was confused. He loved his wife dearly, was attracted to others--be it men or women, the point is he wanted to be faithful to his wife. And the advice he got is to simply forget about his heart. Don't deal with it. Go busy yourself.

    His friends missed the boat. And in so doing, caused lots of damage, I think.  I wonder if Mr. Haggard's feeling to truth ratio--his compulsion eventually dwarfing how he viewed the sanctity of his marriage vows--might have changed, had he had friends who listened to him. Prayed for him. Took an honest look at his heart with him. Talked to him seriously about what he wanted in life, and how his actions might just directly effect that.

    I think we can be afraid to talk so deeply. I know we are afraid of being judged. And sometimes it is easier to just pretend we are all fine.  But the truth is that we never are. Not now, not here.  

    I want to be an honest person, not shying away from the questions that might lead me to realize that I don't have the answer. Or the topics that might lead me to realize that even the best of us aren't perfect; even the brightest of us have dark moments.  

   I'd like to be the kind of person, who, in our collective fumbling towards righteousness, I hold out a hand to hold. Slow down a little if you'd rather just sit a spell.  

   I'd like to realize that we've all come from the same place, from a God who decided long ago to love us. In the darker places. In the lighter places. In our numbness. In our dog-like devotion. And also in our dog-like ability to get distracted by what might or might not be a squirrel in the woods.  He even kindly takes it seriously when we dejectedly make our way back, having only recently discovered the bitter truth that what we'd been running after for so long was only wind after all. 

  Maybe knowing this is what causes us to have compassion on each other because if we haven't been there yet, we just might be some day, and goodness knows we'd like a kind word as much as the next one.

   A kind word and honesty.  

   A reminder that the way we feel isn't everything; that measuring the heart against reality is a necessary endeavor.  

   God knows I need it. 

   And look at me now--staying for the next two weeks not ten minutes away from the shore here in Florida, and not one bit afraid that a tidal wave is on its way. 

  I'd say that's progress.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

manatee part deux

    Remember my manatee excursion? Well, I wanted to show some more pictures from the event. Here are just three of the four brave souls who ventured out in Crystal Lake on a cold morning. Me, Kevin, and Mindy are huddling together, trying to procure warmth. Um, it didn't work so much. 

    I don't remember being much colder. Ever. Oh wait. Maybe while filming the "push-ups in the rain" scene in Annapolis; I don't remember how many times we did it, but it felt like a thousand. And in order for the rain to show up on camera, the rain machine had to produce such a heavy fall that it literally felt like we were under a waterfall. And it was at night, in November. Yeah, so maybe that was colder--but still, we are cold here.

   And just to give you an idea of how very big manatees are, just look at how that friendly creature dwarfs that larger-than-average sized man who is also a friendly creature, I assume.  So you can see why, at first, we were all a little afraid. Of the manatee, not the man. But we were impressed that he did not even feel the need to wear a wet suit.  Um--the man, not the manatee. 
  Although it is hard to differentiate me from Kevin and Dave--who both have short dark hair, as well--this is me. Hugging a manatee. He doesn't look too happy about it, but looks can be deceiving. 

  He totally dug it. 
  Here we are, next to a baby. Isn't he so cute? 
   And seriously, they were out in droves that clear cold day. We were so lucky to catch them in such numbers--or so said Captain Jan. 

   Captain Jan loved us and we loved Captain Jan. By the end of the day, we were calling her CJ. Actually, we even gave her a shorter nickname than that, if you can believe it. We started calling her Seej (to spell it phonetically). 
    Okay, that's all.  Of the manatees, that is.
------------------------------------------------------

     Today was a long, full day. Started with a trip to church. The music was beautiful, I sat next to a beautiful brown little boy from Saudi Arabia with black bushy hair who reminded me of the boys from Slumdog Millionaire, and also listened to a great message.

     I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had a one o'clock matinee. Boo. However, Sundays are made much better around here because each one is, without fail, bagel sunday!!!

     Our stage manager is the best and gets us fresh, bakery bagels with every kind of schmear you can imagine. I'm a strawberry cream cheese girl myself, but there is something for everyone.  

   Oh and by the way, why is it that complete strangers think that it is a great idea to give you their email address and tell you to email them because they have an "article that you'd be sure to like"?

   I mean, I am pretty sure that a stranger can't be sure of anything I'd like. And I am positive I wouldn't like that stranger having access to my email address.  

    People can be so strange.

    Oh, and somebody stole the information for my debit/credit card. 

     Awesome. Made even more so by just all of the sudden being declined--embarrassingly declined--when trying to pay for a sandwich.  And having no idea why. And then feeling the stupid unction to explain how I really do have money in my account to a waitress I will most likely never see again. And who most likely doesn't care. As long as she gets her tip, of course.  

    So the reason I was declined is because my card was compromised--and thankfully, the bank discovered this before my funds were drained. 

   But now I have no cash flow.  Oh well, I will get another card soon.
   
   And tomorrow--on to Ft. Lauderdale. I am looking forward to it mightily as it is said to be very beautiful and I will have access to a car there and trust me, a car on tour is worth its weight in gold.  
  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the proper care and use of hair

         The other day I was backstage, ready to go. My hair was particularly...hard to think of the exact adjective to use...fluffy? textured? spiky? Sure, they all sort of work. Anyway, Ian walks up to me and the subject eventually gets around to my hair. After running his hands through it, he proceeds to say:


        Your hair feels really dirty.

        Oh, that's a shame since I just washed it before walking over here, I respond, not particularly distressed.

        You just washed it and it feels like that?! Ian remarks.

        Not seeing the problem that Ian apparently is shocked by, I simply say, Yep.

        He goes on, moving forward with his interrogation, Jessica. Something's not right. What kind of shampoo are you using?

       Starting to feel maybe a little embarrassed, but still not too terribly cause it's Ian and he's a true blue friend, I quietly admit, I've been using this little bottle of complimentary hotel shampoo. Um, maybe it doesn't work that well...But it is so easy to travel...

       He corrects my prior sentence with, Obviously, it doesn't work very well!  You are on a production contract; you can afford to buy some nice, brand name shampoo that actually cleans your poor hair. 

       I see your point, I say.  And that was that. Or so I thought.

       Fast forward to yesterday. Ian calls and says,

         Okay. So I just got myself some new shampoo and conditioner from the Aveda store but am not quite finished with what I already had. I am coming over, giving them to you, and I really really want you to use them.  After you lather with the shampoo, make sure that you follow up with the conditioner. Seriously, use them both. 

         Thank you, I say, both grateful for his generosity and convinced that he is going to give me a diagram of the proper lathering and rinsing of hair accoutrements along with the shampoo and conditioner.

         At this point, I wouldn't argue. 

         And now my hair is slippery-soft and clean once again. My scalp is refreshed. My head smells like a lovely apothecary. And all thanks to Ian. Though, really, I wasn't going to use that hotel shampoo forever...

Friday, February 13, 2009

strange as life

    I am a big fan of real life. Let me rephrase that--I am a big fan of any life, anywhere and the narrative that shapes it. Sure, I love a good fictional yarn. Harry Potter, Narnia, Anne of Green Gables--these are stories that I love, stories that I find reflections of my own life in them, somehow.


   Not necessarily dementors (thank goodness for that!), White Witches (another sigh of relief), and Gilbert Bythe (now I wouldn't have minded having him around before I met Drew). But I see familiarity in the battle between Good and Evil, the hope that maybe one person can change the world for the better, and the desire to know and be known by another human who is a walking paradox of strength and weakness, humor and despair, just like myself.

   Yes, I love fiction. But there's something about real life, told by the person who experienced it, that strikes a chord within me. It's like the rubber-necking phenomena; no matter what it looks like, you just can't stop staring. Maybe that's part of the reason reality tv is such a hit. People are forever curious. We want to know who's marrying who, who's breaking up, who made it, who's a little person in a big world.

   Um, does anybody else watch that show?

   Truly, life is always interesting. I don't care if you live in Podunk, Kentucky or if you are sleeping soundly in a nicely sound-proofed Upper West Side penthouse; you have embarrassing habits, or an  embarrassing aunt (but this certainly does not pertain to any of my nine nieces and nephews). You fell in love or wanted to. You are scared of the dark or maybe of clowns. You believe that you are descended from aliens. You once thought that you were going to have a worm farm (don't laugh, I know a couple who thought this; know them very well, in fact). You hope that you are right, you hope that you are wrong. You were cheated on. You are broken. You have never been better. You are an endlessly interesting story that twists and turns and never does get told twice.

  It's the human experience that I find so darned interesting, I guess.   

  Which is probably why I enjoy reading so many books and blogs and articles told from the 1st person perspective. And this is probably why my friends make fun of me for engaging in conversation with so many strangers. And this might even be why Drew gets so embarrassed when I eaves drop on people's conversations in grocery store lines.  

   I mean, if they really didn't want me to hear, they could lower their voices. Or text.   

   Anyway, I do read a lot blogs. And my good friend John Carroll (who's gonna love that I finally mention him here again, since he has informed me that he mostly scans my posts for his name anyway:)) recently told me to read Carrie Fisher's blog. Yes. The same Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in Starwars.  She's a very good writer and the nice thing about that is that she does not have to wear a tiny gold bikini while chained to an overgrown slug (no offense, Jaba) while writing.  

   The thing that might not be so nice about writing is that she does not get to kiss Han Solo while doing it.  So maybe it's a toss up. 

  Anyway, I was reading her blog and came across this gem and had to share:

    "My grandmother's mother, Maxie Harmon, began having children in her late teens and continued to procreate until she had her last child at 49, which the doctor informed her was a tumor--and when that growth was born, they called him, of course, Tumor--making him my mother's Uncle Tumor, who was and remains younger than his niece. "

  Uncle Tumor?! You can't make this stuff up, people. 

rides rides rides!

   I am tired, but happy.  


   Today I went to Universal Studios here in Florida with two of my friends, Jordan and Dave.  And here's another really nice thing--I didn't get in on my dime. I didn't get in on anybody's dime.

   And no, I didn't sneak in either. Like I could sleep at night if I did. 

    As previously mentioned, I met my brother Josh at the Universal City Walk this past Tuesday night for a late dinner. We enjoyed shrimp from Bubba Gump Shrimp and particularly connected with the waiter.  So much so that he offered to drop off four passes to the park for me at the theater.

    Well great. Not intrusive since it didn't involve me giving him any personal information or even seeing him again.  It was a win-win situation.

    But still, I took his promise with a grain of salt. Which is to say, I didn't actually invite anybody to go with me until I saw the tickets. Not trying to be cynical, just being practical. 

    To my delight, the waiter did indeed drop off the passes. Wow. Kindness from strangers never ceases to impress upon me the challenge to pay it forward. As often as I can.  And with that, we were off to the park this morning. 

    And oh my goodness, it was a blast. Serious fun, people. The mummy ride was awesome. Spidey saved my life. The hulk gave me quite a scare with all the loops and spins and twists and turns. Oh, and the Jurassic Park ride was fun...until our boat took an unexpected turn into the Carnivore Paddocks. 

   The same Carnivore Paddocks that, while waiting to board our boat, we had been guaranteed 
we would not traverse. We knew right away that something wasn't right. We did get a little wet escaping from the dinos, but since we weren't eaten and were alive we didn't mind so much.  
    
    And that's how we acted through the whole park. We took it very seriously and cracked each other up in the meantime. We were maybe the biggest kids there. I love going to amusement parks with people bent on a good time; in my experience, when you expect something good, that is generally what happens. 

   So thanks to Dave the Waiter, today was such a fun time.
  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

arts and crafts

     Love is in the air. And I am not just talking about romantic love--not just the eros that many dream of--no, I mean the substance that makes one heart touch another. And it is here for everybody. 

      It's evident, if you just look for it. It's a kind word. A smile. A door held open, though you're at least six steps away. 

      It's a warm meal that you actually eat sitting down. A piece of music. A shared laugh at nobody's expense and everyone's benefit.  

      And to me, it's always always a card. There are other ways to show that you love me, sure (and much to Drew's relief--not being the greatest lover of cards himself!), but some words, a picture--all within the neat and orderly confines of a square--these things make me smile.  

      *And now allow me a tangent, thankyouverymuch*

     It's funny, most wedding invitations are rectangular, but it was utterly important to me that ours were square. I. Love. Squares. I like the symmetry, I guess.  I could forgo the ice sculptures and the swans, yes, but square invitations were a must. 

     Anyway, we found the perfect ones--the parchment was thick and looked a little old and textured, which added to the magic. We made them into invitations, literally, and I took all 200 of them to the post office, stamped and ready to go. 

     Or not, as the case may be.

     I guess mailing a perfectly square envelope is much more difficult than it would be to mail the more common relative, the rectangular envelope. Which is why, I suppose, most people just don't even bother. I was sent back home armed with two more stamps with which to decorate my already stamped square envelopes.    
     
     Which is what I did.
     
     Oh, and lest you think that I was the only one adamant about the details of our wedding, let me just say that for a period of time Drew fought for couches being the predominant seating at our reception. Bottom line, he was sick of being uncomfortable during receptions and wanted to ensure the comfort of our guests by providing them plush couches into which they could sink during our first dance and the others to follow. Seriously, guys--couches for two hundred people!  

     Let's just say that I got my squares and Drew did not get his couches. Sorry, babe. 

      Anyway, back to cards. I actually don't know which I enjoy more--crafting and/or buying them for others, or receiving them. So in honor of this great holiday that is upon us, I decided to get out my arts and crafts and get busy. 

      All for love. 
      
      All for a great cast and crew that I am happy to work with. 
      
      See, I bought some chocolates for them already, but I wanted a nice, big old-fashioned card to go along with it.

      So I started cutting, not sure what I would do with all the strips.

   I knew which colors I wanted--I usually pick the brightest, anyway--and I am always a sucker for anything patchwork. I know, the squares again. Can't get enough of them. In fact, someday Drew and I are going to have a beautiful patchwork quilt for our bed. And, um, two hundred couches. A girl can dream, right?
 
   So I decided to go all patchwork.

   And then added some doilies (what's a valentine's day card without doilies?!), and a ton of letters that I unfortunately had to tape to the patchwork. I was really hurting for some glue, but the tape worked in the end. Just not as smoothly as the glue would have. But really--who cares? Certainly not you, dear reader, so I will stop about the glue vs. tape. But really, I would recommend glue. Sorry, I really will stop now. 

   And voila! I ended up with this.


     All cut, stapled, arranged, and painstakingly taped while watching Twilight.

     Arts and crafts make me happy. Probably embarrassingly so, actually. 
     
     And now I have to wait a whole two days to bring my candy and card to the theater...! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

solitude

"Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away."                                                             -Barbara de Angelis
       One of the most difficult aspects of touring is the lack of time I spend alone. Maybe from all those years home-schooling--waking up to an empty house, readying my cereal with only the cats for company, reading Dear Abby in peace and quiet--maybe that is why I just love waking up to silence.
        
        Unless of course, it is a silence broken by Drew.
        But on tour that is generally not the case.
        Wish to God it were. 

        Anyway, I have a lovely roommate whom I adore, but still--I do so love my privacy. Walks by myself.  Filling my time with just me and the piano, playing my feelings, transcending the monotony of life with a song.  Scrawling the outline of my life into my unsuspecting journal religiously. Reading the Bible and trying to gain wisdom, trying to read God's heart in those ancient words.  

         But all of this can be hard to do on tour. Long, solo walks aren't the most practical when you are literally staying on the side of a highway, with homeless people milling about nearby. The hotel in which I am now staying "used to have a piano," the woman at the front desk assured me.

         The past tense of that sentence was painfully clear.

         Journalling and reading can be disjointed at best when your roommate generally likes to keep the television on. 

          So, this is me trying to say that I am making solitude more of a priority. I want to turn off the noise, the distractions, of a world that is all too happy to compete for my attention. A world that is all too used to winning my attention. I want to hear my thoughts and understand how I am feeling; to sift through the parts of me that have nothing do with the fact that I stand 5 feet 8 inches tall or that my eyes are brown and have everything to do with my spirit and mind--my heart.  The things that aren't seen readily, that aren't perceived from a distance because the truth is they are the stuff that you get to when you dig down deep.

           And no, I couldn't stay there always, true. Sometimes a girl just needs to be made happy by the recent purchase of a $130 dollar jacket for the sensible price of $30. You need to come up for air with a little bargain hunting.  

            But it's a balance of remembering who you are apart from what you do. And that might just mean getting away and just being. Thinking. Praying. Writing. Walking. 

           Solituding. 
          
           Did she really just make that a verb? you're wondering, aghast. Yes, I did just make that a verb--and spellcheck is trying its darnedest to keep it from staying in it's current hybrid form. Well I am keeping it. And feeling a little like Dr. Frankenstein--only, you know, swap the dangerous monster creation for an innocuous word creation.   

           Not that exciting done my way. Which is probably why Mary Shelley did it her way. And I bet she spent a lot of time in solitude spinning out the plot in her head, deciding on the characters, writing and re-writing a fitting ending; doing what needed to be done and in the process, reminding herself of who she is and glimpsing someone who she hoped to become. 
  
           Which is why I want to follow suite.