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Thursday, April 30, 2009

in which I brag about Drew

A friend of mine just broke up with her boyfriend.


This was a good thing. A really good thing.

Tonight, she asked me if I thought he was a loser.

Now, I don't like that word. It's a label that sounds too definitive when in reality, we all get second chances every day. We all need second chances every day. And third and fourth. Basically, as long as we are still breathing, I believe that we have the ability to make things right.

But still, this guy was not worth her heart.

I thought for a moment and slowly said, No, I don't think he is a loser, necessarily. I think that he missed the right path, but that he has the chance to get back on that right path. I hope he does, but that isn't any of your concern anymore.

And this conversation made me grateful again to be married to a man who I see striving to stay on the right path, whatever that may be.

See, what Drew does to bring home the bacon (at least his share of the bacon, since I am bringing home some at the moment, too) is work as a registered sleep and EEG technician. It's a good job, a steady job. It's so safe to work in the medical field; I mean, even this whack economy cannot stop the fact that people need to sleep well and those who don't need to visit a sleep lab.

Which is where Drew comes in.

And let me be honest and say that it is not his dream job. He is good at it, yes, but it isn't exactly his passion. However, he does it and does it well so that we can build a life. Together.

And while I was auditioning like a madwoman in New York and earning money sporadically at best on the side Drew was plugging away at his job, making ends meet and believing that I was not auditioning for nothing.

He was investing into my dream by working hard at the sleep tech thing and allowing me to work hard at auditioning.

And none of it was lost on me.

Anyway.

Drew's sleep tech job at the lab where he has been working for the last few years has steadily gone from okay to terrible. Without going into too much detail since it really isn't my story to tell, I will say that the atmosphere at his work is unhealthy and stressful and Drew is very much wanting to leave.

And I can't blame him.

However, he needed to wait for an open door. Although I know there were and are days when he simply wants to walk out and not look back.

But he knows (with a strong urging from me) that in this economy it is not a good idea to walk out of a good job without another one.

So he waited. And worked responsibly. And bit his tongue while he was at work.

Fast forward to this past Monday. Drew calls me after his first interview at a sleep lab.

How'd it go? I asked.

Amazing, he said.

After one interview, they offered him the job. There is a lot about this new lab that excites him, too, not the least of which is all the shiny new Mac computers on which they work. And the pay and vacation and holidays and communication skills...

Drew put in his notice on Tuesday, will start his new job in two weeks, and I wish to God I was home to celebrate this step for him.

And through it all I remain grateful.

For a husband who both plays hard and works hard.

And for a God who is so good to show us the next best step.

boots socks and blues

Okay, so I learned a few things today.


When wearing tall, fur lined boots (um, faux fur lined, but still), it is not the best idea in the world to wear K-mart special socks. Since they pretty much lost all shape while wearing them only the second time--their elasticity having gone the way of the ten year old underwear that is kept only for emergencies--they don't really stay up by the ankle, as seen on the picture that was so prettily taped across the whole bunch of them while still in K-mart.

No, after about four steps (and sooner if it happens to be stairs we're talking about) they start sliding off the ankle, curling up and resting right under the arch, causing wherever it is you are walking to be instantly too far away because you just cannot get those socks put back to their rightful place soon enough.

Um seriously, walking with socks bunched around my arches makes me mad at the world.

And willing to drop some serious cash in order to rectify it.

But don't think I didn't try to do it manually first.

Always a spendthrift (and by always I mean lately since Drew and I just fixed ourselves a nice tight budget--yay us!!!), I didn't want to just go and buy socks. Not if it wasn't absolutely necessary and every stone hadn't already been unturned.

While sitting waiting for the subway train to arrive I dug into each boot, pulling each sock back into place with the ease and grace of a surgeon. The relief was instantaneous.

And once I started walking again, so was the sock slippage.

That's it.

I saw a department store. I went in. I was only partially distracted by the blouses up front, the bags in the middle, and the bathing suits upstairs. And oh yeah, I did happen to glance at the shoes. But they were near the socks, so could you blame me, really?

I saw some puma socks. They looked perfectly taut, able to hold onto an ankle, were non-offensive as far as color, and the price was right.

Done and done.

I walked out of that store with new socks in my purse (since I am trying to say no to plastic bags lately, at least as much as I can) and felt like a new woman as soon as I exchanged them with the K-Mart socks.

Aaaaaaaaaaah, now that's what a sock is supposed to do.

And the other thing I learned?

When going to a blues club with a smoking live band just don't wear tall fur line boots.

Like, at all.

Chances are pretty high that you will end up dancing until two in the morning, closing the place down after having gone to church (or so said the singer who was wailing at the time) with the rest of the crowd, meeting some Argentinians who barely speak any English so you might as well try telling them that you are a beluga whale when you tell them you are married with all the good that does, getting your picture taken with them anyway, laughing and oh yeah did I mention dancing with friends already? because all of that gets you really really warm by 2 am and wishing you had left the tall fur lined boots at home for the evening.

And very grateful for the puma socks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

summer evenings.

Chicago is cool.


Well actually, it's cold.

Really really cold. And usually wet.

And though Chicago is a cool city, the weather here has been less than welcoming. In Chicago's defense, however, I will say that last Friday was gorgeously sunny and warm. It also happened to be the same day that I was cooped up indoors at the Oprah Show show for which I signed a waiver stating that I would neither talk about, report on, or blog about, or else I would totally tell you.

But my point is I was inside on the only perfect day we've had here so far.

Wait, wait. Actually the following Saturday started out quite lovely, too, making my commute on the subway en route to the matinee nice. I was all set to enjoy the weather between shows, too, but wouldn't you know that when I walked back up to the street level from the subway it was quite literally pouring buckets and the climate had dropped a good 30 degrees, making me wish I was wearing a slanket.

A waterproof slanket.

My walk home consisted of carrying my little blue umbrella above my head more for show than anything else, really, since the slanting rain and biting wind was only too happy to go around it. And under it. And every once in a while even flip it inside out. By the time I walked into my apartment, water was squishing out of those little air holes in my sneakers and my jeans had gained about twenty pounds in water weight.

No, it was not lovely.

But almost nothing beats the feeling of stripping off your wet and cold clothes and snuggling into something warm and dry. So there's that.

I am ready for summer, friends. Ready for tank tops and flip flops and light and airy skirts. I like the idea of eating a sandwich outside, sipping on a cool drink in perfect contrast to the warmth in the air. And I have two words for you that might make you smile:

summer evenings.

You know, porches and hammocks and stars that watch over it all. No, Orion will not be so visible since he tends to like the cold weather better, I think, but Cassiopeia might come out. Or if nothing else, there's always the Big Dipper, so obligingly recognizable. What is it about summer evenings that bring out the best in conversation? That cause all of us to forget about whatever demands the day has on us as we just linger over ideas, arranging them and exchanging them like some kind of rubik's cube of thought?

Even now I can almost hear the cicadas, feel the stir of the warm wind that brushes through the evergreens surrounding my parents' porch. I can close my eyes and see the great big Pennsylvania sky, all black and reaching and dotted with stars. I remember so clearly sitting on that porch, swapping scary stories with each other late into the night when all of the sudden there was a crack! and a boom! in the trees behind us that caused me and my brother to scream and my sister-in-law Darby to clutch my brother's leg so decidedly that even after we realized that there was no ghost, goblin, intruder, or demon about to get us, that the coast was very much clear, she was still clutching onto that leg giving us a good laugh and my brother a good bruise.

I am wholeheartedly looking forward to summer evenings. I hope they come sooner than later, I have to say.

And what do those two words conjure up for you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

life size clown?!?!

Last night I had a most refreshing night's sleep at my friend Ian's parent's house.


Are you following where I was?

See, Ian is from a town outside of Chicago and has been staying at home while we play here. He invited me to come see his home last night, and considering I don't exactly love my apartment here as well as the fact that I do love Ian, the decision was really quite simple.

Which is how I found myself in a wonderfully soft bed, able to sleep well despite the fact that I accidentally pulled off the chain to the ceiling fan in an effort to turn it on, successfully dooming myself to a night of complete and utter silence.

In case you didn't know, I am rather addicted to the sound of a fan. Most of us in my family are. I have a small one I travel with on tour (a fan that is, not a family) and it sings me to sleep every night (but how funny would it be if a small family sang me to sleep every night?!?!). But I didn't bring it to Ian's house, which is why I so enthusiastically tugged on the ceiling fan chain and yadda yadda yadda you know the rest.

Now, Ian told me a most creepy and true story that continues to give us the heebie jeebies but does not keep us from complimenting each other's life size clown whenever we enter a new room.

Yeah, let me explain.

Apparently Ian's fiance works with a young woman who babysits for a wealthy family in the Upper West Side. They have this large and gorgeous house with different levels and one night, after putting her charges to bed, the babysitter decides to explore the downstairs a little. To her delight, she sees it has been set up as an absolute dream for children. It has a carnival feel to it, bright colors, many toys, a small indoor ferris wheel, and even a life size clown in the corner for good measure.

After going back upstairs, the babysitter receives a call from the kids' mother, checking in. Reassuring her that her kids are sleeping soundly, the sitter tells her how lovely the play room is.

Yes, the kids adore it, the mother agrees.

The carnival theme is so fantastic! the babysitter continues, And the life size clown is a great touch, too!

The what? the mother asks?

The life size clown, the babysitter repeats, that you have downstairs in the corner of the room...

The mother's tone gets very serious as she says, Get the kids and get out of there now because we don't have a life size clown!

Thankfully, the babysitter got out with the kids and called the police who then went into the home and, finding the intruder dressed as a clown and hiding in the house, arrested him.

Um, how creepy is that?!?!

I honestly don't like clowns anyway, but thinking of that story makes my skin crawl just a little. Okay, a lot.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

my bad

Recently, I had to fill out a vast amount of papers involving all manner of numbers and letters pertaining to me just so that I can play Kristine in Japan.


I am pretty sure it has to do with procuring a working visa.

Anyway.

I suppose since we are a company of talented artists, some of whom went to college and everything but that college may have only required 3 credits of a math or a science or better yet, some sort of hippie science class called perception in which you basically learn about the five senses but not a ton about filling out rote paper work--right, so because of all that our company manager thought it best to give us a cheat sheet of sorts.

He had filled out the entire thing himself, leaving us to copy verbatim what he wrote, with the simple task of swapping his personal information with ours.

I took up my pen, sat down at the desk, and made sure I looked like I belonged in this cubicle. I mean, I had taken perception, after all, I knew how to fill out papers. Shoot, I didn't even need that equivalent to the Japanese Working Visa for Dummies that had been left for me.

Whatever.

I guess I would humor my manager, since he had gone to all that trouble and all.

I sighed and began looking over my shoulder at the cheat sheet, pen scrawling across my own copy of the pages in front of me.

A moment later I sheepishly asked, Uh, do you guys have any whiteout?

Sure, my company manager says, Why do you need it?

Well, I know I have short hair and everything, but I don't think the Japanese are going to believe that my name is Matthew Sherr, I say.

I guess I missed the lesson on effectively swapping out somebody else's personal information for your own when using a cheat sheet for a Japanese working Visa in my perception class. Too bad, because it sure could have come in handy.

But man, do I ever love whiteout.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

fanny pack

There's a huge thunderstorm crashing around outside my apartment. It sounds like God has taken out every pot and pan in his kitchen and is banging them together in mischief.

I am really hoping he is not making chili.

I actually watched a little bit of tv tonight. I have been here for a week and a half now and finally just learned how to turn the thing on. If you didn't know, I am not tremendously into watching television. I have always felt like it has the potential to rot your brain and suck part of your spirit out.

Although, don't get me wrong--there are some shows I love, but they generally tend to be the kinds that do not rot my brain and steal my spirit. At least, it hasn't happened yet. Here's hoping that it's not the kind that does it so slowly you only realize it's happened after you've lost the ability to form full sentences and think deep thoughts. Because then it might be too late.

This is why I always marvel that people fall asleep to the television. Whoa. What if something terrible comes on in the middle of the night and you are not conscious enough to turn it off or at the very least turn the channel? You might be unknowingly watching The Jerry Springer show every night and this may explain your sudden demand for your father to get a paternity test because even though you undeniably have his nose you are wondering if maybe your real father is your uncle. And if your uncle is really even a man at all.

Or worse, you could be subject to a whole retinue of those local commercials in which the owner of the furniture shop can't afford to actually hire an actor and so screams at you through the lens about his latest blowout that only lasts through this weekend, adding sudden jabs into the air in your general direction for good measure and all the while causing you to wonder what you ever did to make him yell at you like this?

He calls it salesmanship, you call it abuse.

Actually, I usually call it funny.

Especially if you can tell his family are the other actors involved. Who needs to pay for extras when your wife did all the hard work of bringing them into this world? Sheesh, after that, they owe it to you to be an extra, especially when you consider Little Timmy's lengthy hospital stay. And no, they will be getting no royalties but they do get to eat food at your table every day and get to go to school, so it's more than fair.

Actually, my last tour had me and my friend Betsy scouring the tv for the very best local commercials. Really really loud? Really really good. Large neon letters spelling out the location surrounded by keywords like MEGA or ONE TIME ONLY or even NO CREDIT, NO PROBLEM!!! (and ah, actually that is a problem, fyi) just amps the commercial up to awesome.

But to each his own, I suppose.

And back to tv, Drew and I have been watching Burn Notice whenever we can (read, whenever we happen to find ourselves in the same city). And well, there's this...(and I hesitate to use this title because of the negative connotation that instantly goes with it, but here goes)...fanny pack that one of the main characters, Fiona, wears. I like to call it a belted purse, but then again, it really is a fanny pack.

It actually looks really cool on her plus it has the added benefit of having your shoulder completely free, as you can see here.
And today while I was carrying home groceries and constantly having to stop to readjust my purse after it had slipped off of my shoulder for the 12th time in two blocks, I kept thinking about Fiona's cool fanny pack and how much it would really come in handy right about now.

So, I am thinking of getting one and trying to rock it. Any thoughts on this? Would you rock a fanny pack? Especially if it looked like this one?

It actually might just be worth it in order to hear someone say, Hey, cool fanny pack!

whale with hat

I am so excited about something.


Which is why I mention it here.

But first I need to start from the beginning, which is a little joke I share with a friend in the cast. It began in Toronto, and we've mentioned it ever since.

See, there is one part in the show where we are all standing upstage, facing the mirrors. We are holding hats, respectively, and are appropriately beveled. My friend, referring to that section of the show, later tells me that she feels like an absolute whale in her leotard.

Now, I tell her she may be certifiably insane for even entertaining this thought since anyone with even half a brain would say that she looks amazing in her leotard. Seriously gorgeous. And not just normal gorgeous, either; the kind of stunning that makes you emphasize both syllables of the word so that they sound like two separate words.

You know, Gor Geous.

Anyway.

She then says, No, I am a whale. A whale with a hat. And the imagery of that makes us both start to laugh. She goes on to say that if only she were a fine artist of some sort, she would paint herself in that leotard with that hat and label it Whale With Hat.

And Whale With Hat was born. As was an idea I had for a present for her...

My friend is leaving the cast in just one week, so a few weeks ago I call my sister-in-law about a proposition.

Rebekah, I say, I know this sounds really weird, but is there any way I could commission you to draw a cartoon whale who is standing upright and holding a gold hat with the words, Whale With Hat underneath?

To her credit, she takes this request in stride and allows me to tell her the background story.

She's a great sport and an even better talent and immediately says she would give it her best shot. And I immediately know her best shot would be perfect.

I email her this dorky picture of me, just to give her an idea of what kind of a pose I am talking about, as well as the positioning of the hat--
And she sends me this, via Drew--
Now I just need to hunt down a frame in this fine city of Chicago and voila! I can give my friend this gift. I love giving gifts, especially ones with some thought behind them.

And that whale is just so adorable--isn't Rebekah a talent?

p.s. from the images of me on this blog, you may be under the impression that I wear that purple sweater a lot. If so, you are absolutely right. It was a gift from my mom and I happen to really like it which is why I wear it pretty consistently. That's all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

eats

I am a very picky eater.


It's true. I only recently gave mushrooms a fighting chance. Once I got over the biting into the squishy head part, I discovered they pretty much taste like whatever you cook them in.

And when I say whatever you cook them in, I don't mean you in the general sense of the word; I truly mean you as in not me. Because if we are talking about cooking mushrooms, chances are you will cook them before I do.

Though I am trying to be more open-minded when it comes to food, there are some tastes I do not ever foresee changing for me. For instance, I hate chili.

Hate. It.

Don't try to tell me what I am missing because I know exactly what I am missing: that horrible, mushy, beany texture and taste mixed in with too much spiciness and a lot of red sauce and I remain grateful to miss it. Every time.

I do, however, let bygones be bygones. If a friend, for instance, wants to eat chili nearby me I will not hinder him from doing so. Please just do not expect to kiss me afterwards.

Actually, unless you're Drew please never expect to kiss me. After anything. Or before, for that matter.

Oh, but when we were playing in Toronto I came down with the old Rhino Virus.

Yeah, a cold. And yeah, I am still talking about food here, which you'll see in just a moment.

I basically read Twilight in a day, lost my voice, and ate a lot of crackers (which was not actually the cause of the cold, but rather the result). My good friend Kevin started to work some magic in the kitchen and informed me that he was making his special award-winning chili (I may have added the award-winning part, but there seem to be so many awards out there for chili when, if we just concentrated on awarding people who make the economy better or invent more stores like Loehman's that sell designer clothes at like a fraction of the cost, there would be better dressed people in the world who have both saved money and don't have bad chili breath and are all the happier because of it. I'm just saying.). Kevin said I would be free to partake of his chili and I said thank you, politely refraining from telling him that had he offered to serve his chili to me on used toilet paper, my reluctance to partake would not have been any stronger.

Anyway, if I had known that poor sick little me was a large part of his inspiration to make his chili in the first place, I might have been more forthcoming at that moment. But I simply blew my nose and turned back to Twilight, oblivious.

A half hour later Kevin gently knocked on my door. Ah, Jess...?

I looked up from Twilight, Uh-huh?

What don't you like in chili? he wanted to know.

And suddenly I realized that he was making it for me. Shoot. The jig's up. I gotta come clean...

Um...I stalled...Chili...I said with resignation.

Wait. You don't like chili?!?!? Poor Kevin exclaimed.

I hate it so much, I said. Like more than anything, I elaborated.

Okay, he relented, I guess I'll just make it the way I like it, then.

Yeah, probably for the best, I agreed.

Right. So I don't like chili. But, when I find something I do like, I sort of become obsessed with it. Or at least I am very loyal to it. Like, I have for as long as I can remember ordered a grilled cheese sandwich from Friendly's. From the time when I thought it was made specifically for me, a girl in a house full of boys at the time, and pronounced it girl cheese sandwich, to discovering that it is for both girls and even boys, just so long as it is grilled, I have loved them.

And would you like to know my latest food obsession?

Edamame.
I could eat it all day, everyday. It is my very own green eggs and ham and I challenge you to show me a box or a fox with whom I would not enjoy some edamame.

This stuff is sooooooo good.

It's the very best thing to come out of sushi houses, as far as I am concerned.

Monday, April 20, 2009

chicago days


Hi. Remember us?

Because sometimes it's easy to forget about how great we are. Together. Sometimes it's easy to go all business. At least it is for me. You know, the budget, the bills, the don't forget to leave a check for the kind woman who cleans our house because she's coming tomorrow kind of conversations.

But the thing is, I didn't fall in love with Drew for his ability to write out checks to people. Though he can do it with quite a flourish and don't even get me started on his blocky, boyish script.

But no, I fell in love with him for who he is. And talking tasks with each other doesn't leave a lot of room for discovery. Or reminders, for that matter. So this little trip he took to Chicago has been necessary, to say the least.

And fun. Which, as it turns out, is another one of those important things to have as well.

We liked the combination of industrial siding and the burst of spring flowers, so Drew told me to sit down for a photo op. The way my feet feel most of the time, I don't usually need much convincing for that, to tell the truth.
Chicago looms tall right over Lake Michigan.
But don't let the word lake fool you, there are sharks in there!

And this is why Drew is such an excellent uncle. He often risks injury or all around comfort in order for kids to have a good time. Doesn't matter if they are real kids, or statue kids made of bronze. Oh, and he usually only risks his own injury, so don't you worry about him around your kids.


We saw the Ferris wheel on the Navy Pier.
And were very serious while riding it.
Ferris wheels are no joke, folks. They rise 200 feet above the ground and should be treated with care and a somber expression. The fact that they do not even offer a seat belt should be enough to wipe a grin right off your face.

Then we saw Monsters Vs. Aliens at the Imax theater.
I am so glad that over sized shades are totally in. Oh, and the movie was great. Bob is hilarious.

And while in Chicago, we had to take a friend up on his recommendation of this authentic deep-dish pizza joint called Gino's East.
Lots of people had been there before and had left some words behind. My favorite sentiment I saw, however, was this.

And the deep dish pizza was delicious. It was basically a pie and had to be eaten with fork and knife, as Drew is genteelly demonstrating.
And look at the size of that crust, will you? Considering the crust is my favorite part of the pizza, it was a true winner. Yum!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

yippee!

Some excellent news to report, my friends. And those of you with sensitive noses can rejoice with me.


See I am staying in a rather old apartment here in Chicago. Wood floors, ancient crown molding, exposed heating pipes, and some sort of metal dinosaur of a machine in the corner of the dining room that nobody for the life of them can figure out.

All of this is fine. Gives the place character, even.

What is not fine, however, is the horrible and permeating noxious scent that has both the dining room and kitchen completely ensconced. The kitchen, folks. The place where you regularly prepare your food. I have a hard time even opening my mouth when there is a bad smell in the air, let alone opening my mouth and eating things that have been living in the bad smell.

So tonight, for maybe the 51st time since I first got here on Tuesday, I mentioned the terrible smell. Gabi still smelled nothing out of the ordinary--which is something that I will never understand. I like to think of myself as open-minded. I am friends with many different kinds of people, all of whom ascribe to differing beliefs, look differently, and act differently. Doesn't bother me. However, when it comes to crossing the bridge of olfactory perception--sheesh. I am not so great at it. If something smells bad, get me the heck out of there and if you don't agree with me, well then you are wrong.

Wrong, I say.

Like I said, Gabi did not smell anything offensive and to each his own (she says through clenched teeth). My other roommate, Alex, did agree with me, however. And he even went a step further as he rummaged through the coat closet and took out something hanging among the hangers that was filled to the brim with mothballs.

AHA!

Can we get rid of it, I asked?

Noticing the fire of near madness in my eyes, Alex assented (wise man) and quickly placed it in the back staircase which is right outside of our apartment.

And at the moment that we closed the door to the mothballs and banished them from our living space forever, a hallelujah chorus might have started.

Already the place smells much better. And it will never cease to amaze me why anybody thinks that mothballs are a good idea. Never.

Friday, April 17, 2009

signs

I've never really wanted to own my own something or other. Well, except maybe a house. But what I mean is, I've never had aspirations to own a dance studio, a theater company, a music school.


I really just want to perform. And sometimes teach for other people who own those things.

But if I ever found myself in the unfortunate position of owning something, this policy...
...might not be such a bad idea. Some might call it being lazy; I call it a different um, approach to running a business.

Perhaps I am what you would call a forward thinker, which is why you haven't learned this in business school. Yet.

And when I was out wandering around downtown Chicago today, I came across these two young women. Their shirts intrigued me. Having obviously designed them themselves to say FREE HUGS across the front as well as ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE across the back, I just had to ask them about their operation.

As soon as I walked up to them and said hello, they immediately jumped up and were ready to cross the distance into what I feared would be a huge embrace. I didn't know if they double-teamed you or not, and didn't want to take the chance, so I immediately said, I'm sorry but I really don't want a hug before I found myself a reluctant and claustrophobic monkey in the middle, so to speak.

They sat back down in resignation.
I asked them why they were giving out free hugs and they said because anybody could use one.
Ah, anybody but me, apparently.
I asked them how long they had been there and they replied, half an hour.
Oh cool, I said, and how many hugs have you given here?
None, they said quietly.
I wished them luck and was on my way, albeit without a hug thankyouverymuch.

And then I just took advantage of the fresh spring day and walked all over Millennium Park. I felt so peaceful walking and dreaming on my own, thoughts jumbling around but not in a bad way at all.
I saw this sign and thought it could work well for each one of us.
I also felt this overwhelming sense of hope for the future. This peace in knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I read this sign--
and felt, metaphorically, it was for me. That I am so welcome to be here now, that this path that I am on is exactly what I need to grow me and could I just please continue to stay on it.

That's not so hard. One foot in front of the other, right? Trusting that God knows where that next bend leads, trusting that it's a good place, and for now? Just stay on the path, please.

I was walking along a garden that hadn't really begun to bear much yet this spring. I was just looking at the dry, dead plants left over from last season.
When I saw these. Some vivid hyacinths, peeking through the foliage.
It only takes a moment, doesn't it? We never know what bit of beauty is right about to break ground in our lives. I have a friend who has been seen for the Broadway show, In The Heights, many times, and she just recently got that phone call that she was hired. And in that instant her life changed. There is a woman who was trying for years and years to get pregnant, her dream being motherhood, and at the brink of giving up, she finally did.

Just like that.

I myself didn't know if I would ever actually get this show. I had been in for them so many times, I had begun to feel a little jaded concerning it, and then bam! the job was mine.

And my life changed.

There is reason to believe that more good than bad is around the corner, I think.
Reason to believe that our hopes and dreams are not forgotten,
laying somewhere at the bottom of a well. And if they are, well maybe that is the best place for them right now. Maybe the waters are cleansing and have the ability to separate the dross from the worth. Either way, it's okay.

Or at least it will be.

Whatever happened, that walk was like soul food. Maybe it was the fact that the day was actually warm enough to make nature pleasant, rather than make me wrap my arms around myself a little tighter.

Or maybe it was the fact that the sun was out. Completely.
And it was in my eyes, for sure, but today I didn't mind it at all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

to all the pets I've loved before

Okay, so I am walking with my friend when all of the sudden we see a sign that to me, not following it, is simply not an option. That's right, puppy sale is scrawled across a piece of paper and hastily taped to the front door of a pet shop right here in Old Town.


We make haste, asking the lady behind the desk where all these puppies are. She points upstairs and we are off. Another thing that is off is the smell that is wafting down from above us. Puppy poop. But that does not slow us down. Not even a little bit.

Arriving at the top of the stairs, I feel like I am in a scene from Cruella Deville's private collection. Every cage is tiny, forcing the puppies to sit on metal grates that work like sieves so that the poop and pee can just drop directly underneath the grating, where they just stay on some newspaper. I know instantly that the puppies must hate this situation, since no animal likes to mix their excrement with their living space.

Ah, no human likes that either, I am pretty sure.

My friend and I take off in different directions towards the puppies; nobody is there to take them out of their cages, but that does not keep me from sticking my hand inside a cage. I walk up to a little American Eskimo puppy and he goes wild. Like starved-for-attention-all-his-life, wild. He is getting as close to me as the metal grating allows, puffs of his soft white fur are sticking through the cage to freedom. He's licking me and melting me all at once. It breaks my heart, it really does. I move onto an English Bulldog who is already a year old. His underbite and droopy face only make him more endearing; he looks a little over it, though. I am sure a year in a place like that would make me over it, too.

I see a Himalayan cat, so beautiful with blue eyes and a fawn colored coat edged in chocolate brown. She is meowing and jumping and reacting to me like I am the only hand that has ever pet her.

I call Drew. With a cacophony of barks and meows creating a fitting soundtrack to my very sad story, I tell him where I am. I tell him about the delicious white puff of an eskimo puppy, the thick shouldered english bulldog who reminds me of a gentleman, the gorgeous cat who has no lap on which to curl up.

I start to cry, I can't help it.
It is really just that sad to me.

Drew tells me that we can adopt a puppy when I get back from tour. I tell him I want to adopt all of these puppies now.

Oh, and the cat too.

Of course I cannot.

I know that they are not humans, I understand this. But still, they are living creatures and they are special and precious and lovable. And I hope that they get adopted. Soon.

This might sound funny, but the two cats that Drew and I adopted are literally such a joy to us. They have become part of our little family in an astounding way and it comforts me to know that they are home to greet Drew when I cannot.

I am going to open up these comments for you to brag on your special pet. What do you love about your cat/dog/fish/bird/horse/husband?

I am all ears.

Or in this case, eyes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

jersey boys

Sometimes it's really nice when two casts swap tickets with each other.


Because then I get to see Jersey Boys.

Okay, so maybe that doesn't happen every time, per se, but it did happen today.

A whole group of us from ACL went to the matinee and were psyched to be sitting in the audience, cheering, screaming, laughing, clapping, and all around acting like fools.

Very very entertained fools.

I mean, who doesn't like to see four guys singing like angels all the while never missing a step?
Seriously, I saw first hand why the show won the Tony for Best New Musical in 2006 and has been running on Broadway with ease since then. Not to mention the company in Chicago and Las Vegas--as well as the National Tour.

This story grabs your heart because it chronicles a real group of four men from Newark, NJ who buck the trends and actually make it in the music business. Actually write and perform hits and put Jersey on the map as more than just a turnpike that takes you to New York City.

It was also hilarious. Jersey-style, gritty humor that had me laughing out loud. And the music! I mean I heard all these song that I didn't know I really knew, didn't know I really loved, and didn't even know was the Four Seasons, necessarily--songs like Earth Angel, Sunday Kind of Love, Big Girls Don't Cry, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), My Boyfriend's Back, Walk Like a Man, Stay, Who Loves You and maybe my favorite of all of these, Can't Take My Eyes Off You.

It was part rock concert and part gripping play and every part of me loved it.

It was so nice to see a show that is totally different from what I have been doing for the past year, too. So nice to see an actual set on the stage, with levels and everything. These actors changed costumes like champs with the girls in different wigs throughout the show and changed the sets seamlessly. It made our show look almost easy.

Almost.

The actor who played Frankie Valli (John Michael Dias) was phenomenal with an amazing voice. Really, it was such a fantastic show and if you have the opportunity to see it, you should.

However...For the more sensitive among us, be warned that it is no children's show. It does deal with some mature themes as well as use the vernacular of the blue-collar working class of New Jersey. So if you do go and hear the f-bomb don't say I didn't warn you.

Also, the audience here in Chicago continues to be fantastic and I am having a blast performing for them...;-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

chi town

Chicago. And more specifically, the El train.
As a young girl I remember sitting around the television late at night with my pop and brother, watching Harrison Ford's hiding place given away because he made a call using a pay phone that was under the El Train.


And here it is. Like I said, Chicago.

I walked right under it today as I was looking for some food before sound check at the Oriental Theatre and got all excited, like I was meeting a star or something. You can't really ask a train for an autograph, though, can you?

I have long looked forward to this leg of the tour, I have to say. As I was cabbing into the city I saw this large cylindrical building housing so many cars lined up in a row that it instantly brought to mind my older brother's extensive matchbox car collection, and I was at once intrigued and nostalgic. I also liked the mix of the old and the new; the Renaissance Hotel newly refurbished, proving that it can keep up with the fast cars that now drive by even though it was there for the slower, horse-and-buggy pace, too; the grand old theaters and their proud marquees boasting the latest story that is being told right inside their doors, the amount of them in a row easily portraying what every actor really likes to see:

This is a theater town.

And if I had doubted that at all, tonight's audience put it to rest. From laughing uproariously at poor Wrong-Arms Roy's misguided dancing in the opening combinations, to peppering their applause with some hearty hoots and hollers at our final charge while singing in one accord, I've got to get this show, they were with us.

And there's nothing like an expectant, present audience.

It's funny, during my particular number (Sing!) the words are so fast and the rhythm so imperative that I try desperately to focus and push all thoughts other than Sing out of my head. You'd be surprised what tries to sneak inside my mind mid-number, but that's a different post. So I was you know, doing my thing, trying my best to chronicle poor Kristine's tone-deaf existence, when all of the sudden an overwhelming thought popped into my head:

I. Love. This.
Which was quickly followed with, Focus, Jess...!

But it's moments like these that weigh a whole lot more than the aching feet, repetitively singing the word one enough times in a show to make it lose all meaning, the Sunday one o'clock matinees when seemingly every other person in the world is kicking it back at brunch, mimosa in one hand, the paper in the other...Because to be honest, I wouldn't trade it. I love my job. I go to work and tell a story about individuality, authenticity, and being true to your calling. I get to make people laugh. I get to make myself laugh.

And hey, I don't have to trade it, necessarily. At least not the brunches. I have figured out how to do my job and have brunch every once in a while.
Which is something I am planning on doing while here in Chicago. Brunch, that is. And my job, I guess, it being the very reason I am here and all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

monday goodness

First things first.


I am home. Can I get a woot-woot?!?!

But for just tonight. Can I get a wah-waah...

And though I previously experienced the happy green colors of my own dear blog loading whenever I turned on my svelte macbook air, I now see in large block letters:

Green Is Loading

And I can tell you for sure that it is not referring to the green coloring of thislifeinwriting.blogspot.com; no, it is most definitely referring to the standard and proud color of the Philadelphia Eagles, whom I do love, don't get me wrong, but come on now--I don't need to see them first thing every single time I turn on my computer.

I just don't.

And though I have long suspected Drew of this switcheroo, he has repeatedly feigned innocence, for once pretending not to know all things internet/mac/techy/nerdy/eagles related.

Finally, though, I got him to fess up.

And he said he'd change it back. If I could figure out how to do it which really translates I won't actually do it unless you do it first because then I don't have to do it at all.

Well thanks for the help, Drew.

I bet I can get him to do it, though. I got ways.

Right, but I am home and this in and of itself is always a fantastic thing.

My mom picked me up at the train station, and of course my favorite doggie and her recent sidekick was there to also greet me. He welcomed me with a furry, slobbery hug that soon morphed into rolling over and exposing his belly so that I could rub it.

I obliged, as you can see.
What you cannot see in this picture, however, is my backside in these jeans.

Um, if you could, I probably wouldn't have posted it on my blog.

Or at least not on this blog. Kidding.

But that's not the point. See, I like to think of myself as fashionable and well, for the most part, low waisted jeans are pretty in. And comfortable. So I wear them. Actually, I do have a pair of high waisted khaki pants, though that is neither here nor there.

Anyway, I was rooting around in my suitcase while on the city sidewalk earlier today, bending over and trying to pull out a sweatshirt since I was cold. I was oblivious to what was going on around me, but two words got my attention--
Crack kills.

I stood up just in time to see two guys walking by me.

Oh, and to pull up my pants.

Oops!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

easter this year

earth
is crammed

with heaven
and
every
common
bush
afire
with
God.
--Browning

Let's look for heaven today. Let's see it in the faces of the strangers we pass, or in the familiarity of the smiles of those we love. Let's remember how we were not only created for good things, but were called good, end of story, by One who knows.

And the broken parts in us are made well again by One whose touch is gentle, whose hand brings life.

And the dying parts within us no longer have the final say because Someone decided to make one final statement by his life, death, and life again.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

the salad and a few other things

So I had this salad at a restaurant on Tuesday night and literally have been thinking about it nonstop since then.


It was that good.

All I needed was to get the final kick of the finale out of the way and I grabbed my friend Steph, made a left out of the stage door, and headed in the direction of the salad.

What made the salad so delicious, you might ask? Well, first of all the shape was awesome--it came placed all prettily and cylindrically sitting on a plate. There were huge chunks of fresh white crab meat on top, grilled just enough to make the edges crunch a little. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, mixed with corn and sweet peppers, some sharp cheese, bits of bacon, and all hedged with these home made chips that, eaten with the salad, added the welcome tang of salt. And laced throughout was some sort of lime dressing. Since I am a sucker for all things citrus, it was perfect.

Um, not that I have thought too much about this salad or anything.

So, we walk into the place only to discover that not only is it Home To A Life-Changing Salad, (which I had already known), but it also is Home to Men Who Act Like they Have Never Seen Women Before.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • We are looking around, trying to find two seats next to each other when this gentleman walks up to us, gets a little too close IMHO, and introduces himself. Fine and good, I am thinking, But where's that salad?! Not wanting to be rude, we reciprocate with introductions. He then points to a table of men and tells us how much they would love for us to join them and that although we might find their humor sophomoric, he can guarantee that we will have a good time. We politely say thank you and get to the furthest side of the bar. As we walk away I wonder if sophomoric was his dictionary word of the day that google so kindly provided.
  • We finally find two seats at the furthest end of the bar and are eagerly anticipating our respective salads. Three gentleman walk up to us, letting us know that they are celebrating one of their birthdays. This involves us, how? I wonder. Birthday gentleman takes my arm and asks me my name in a move that he probably considers quite smooth and I consider quite annoying. I say Jessica and he says Mmmm, I like that in a way that would make you think that my name is exotic, unusual, or a tasty donut. It is neither. It is also not my salad. And I wanted that salad.
  • One pick up line of the night went like this, Hey Dave, can I tell them about all of your cuts? Dave, who is sitting on the other side of us, says yes and his friend continues. Dave has been trying to get into the major leagues for years and has now been cut four times in a row!!! At that he laughs like it's the best joke around town. We don't know whether to laugh with him or acknowledge how much life can suck sometimes. Really, with wingmen like that, who needs enemies?
  • A gentleman walks up to me and poses these two questions: Are you a skater? I say no. Are you a skier? No, again. He walks on.
  • The man who has been cut from the major leagues tells us that he could tell we weren't from Pittsburgh. Why is that? I ask. All the girls here have fake tans and bad makeup. I laugh and say that I myself have what could be considered bad makeup, since I still have stage makeup on. No, he says, I am talking about someone like...And proceeds to start looking for a poor tanned and blue eye-shadowed lady to point to. We stop him, telling him we don't need to actually see an example, before he can single out the sad creature to us.
  • We eat our salads. Life is perfect again.
  • Finally, we are ready to leave when one of the gentleman asks if he can buy us some drinks, trying to convince us to stay by saying, Come on. You're in Pittsburgh, you only live once.
Which is exactly why I had to get that salad one more time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

life.

Pittsburgh is sold out this week.

And no, I didn't write an exclamation point on the end of that sentence because I just don't feel it. I should care more about this, I think, but well--right now, I just don't, really.

Maybe I feel ambivalent.


Ha.

I had to preface that with maybe because I can't even commit myself to feeling ambivalent!

Come on, that's funny.

That also reminds me of one of my senior concerts at UArts. The title of the concert was called Ambivalence but whoever was in charge of the posters and programs wasn't exactly a genius in the spelling department, so all of our advertising--as well as the programs--for the show touted Ambivalince.

There was irony in that, though. I mean, you could say we all just had too many mixed feelings about the word to commit to the actual spelling of it.

Or maybe we were just too ambivalint.

I will say that I was not in charge of the posters or the programs. See, I have never been ambivalent when it comes to spelling.

And I am sure that little debacle supplied many a good joke to be had at the dance department's expense that semester...

But right, I think I might feel a little bit ambivalent. About being in Pittsburgh. About being handed a contract to sign for another six months of life on the road. I am tired. Sometimes I just want to go home. But at the same time, I don't want to do nothing--I want to perform and when I remember that, I am happy to be here.

Luckily, I don't feel ambivalent on stage. I really care about doing a good job and can honestly say I try my hardest every time. But that isn't exactly something amazing in and of itself; I mean, most people's pride would not allow them to get on stage and do less than their best, I think.

I want to live in one place, though, making art and coming home to Drew.

Every day.

I don't want to be so transient that my friends never know where to send a card.

Is that a lot to ask?

Maybe.

But it's coming, I can feel it.

Until then, this is my life. All of it. The gypsy existence. The conversations in which my ear starts to hurt from the force at which I am pressing the phone against my head because I am trying to hear the voice on the other end that much better. The bits of news about family and friends I find out via facebook, because let's face it, I am not around. The random churches I get to every once in a while on a Sunday morning. The bars in which I talk loudly with friends, over the music, over the drinks, and find something of community, something of a shared existence, something of comfort. The soaring times in which I nail my monologue, in which I make people laugh over the plight of tone-deaf Kristine. The conversations I have with perfect strangers after the show and the kind things they say to me. The shopping, yes, the shopping! The looking forward to Drew's visit, to my mom's visit, to my sister's visit--and how it will get me through this rainy day. Writing out my life on all the random pianos I have found in more cities than I can recite right now. Playing my music in L.A., Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington D.C...The manatees. The paychecks. The grace that has been abundant in all of this. The people.

This is my life, and I don't ever want to wish it away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

bedhead.

So.

I don't have hair that I can braid.

I can't put it in a pony tail.

No way it's going into a bun.

There will be no romantic tendrils softly falling from the nape of my neck.

No curling it. Or straightening it, for that matter.

But.

When it comes to bedhead...
I totally take the cake.
If I do say so myself.
*These pics were taken right when I got up this morning, so please don't judge. Unless of course it's to compliment my bedheadedness.

Monday, April 6, 2009

and then it was monday

After finally boarding a delayed plane at the Providence Airport this afternoon, stopping for a three minute dash from gate to gate at BWI, and then boarding the plane to Pittsburgh just in time, the big question was--would our luggage make it?


So it was with some relief that I saw this.
Can you guess which one is mine?

And like a naive fool who simply trusts too much in spring and the warmth that should bring, I left my winter coat and other such wraps at home, discarding them in anticipation of days that look something like this.
Yeah, I realize we are in PA. And, although I grew up in this state, at dinner tonight I still asked my friend Brandon if Pittsburgh is on the water. Sometimes I need to just think a few seconds more before I actually let a question transfer from thought to words.

Or sometimes I just need to learn geography.

Anyway, I fully realize that there are no bordering oceans to this grand state, as pictured above, but still I dream of blue skies and days that call for nothing so much as tank tops and shorts. Maybe jeans--but just for their fashion, rather than their warmth.

And instead, I landed early this evening to a day that looked a lot closer to this.
Luckily the theater is literally right around the corner from our hotel. And if this weather persists, I can guarantee that I will be walking briskly. Maybe even running. Seriously, my coat is not warm.

But I don't care about coats or the lack thereof so much. I can deal with the cold, it won't last forever and layering is totally in. What is hard to deal with is this feeling of just totally, always, constantly, sometimes even hopelessly missing this guy. Even when I'm mad at him.
It's funny, he has a beard now. Well, an on-and-off one, at least. I am not altogether sure if he does have a beard at this exact moment or not, to be honest. He can basically not have a beard on Monday and have one by Tuesday if he so desires and that is absolutely a skill of which I will never be jealous.

But that's not the funny part.

What's funny is that the first time I ever laid eyes on him he definitely had a beard. And that was that. I didn't give him one more look--or thought--because in my mind, a guy should not have a beard unless he is forty or wants to appear forty or owns forty cats or is aspiring to have forty wives, Big Love style.

Just kidding about the cats and the wives.

Anyway.

My brother would talk him up to me, but I would not be able to get past that darned beard. I just wasn't so interested. Until...

I turned around in church one day and was surprised by this handsome young man, standing closer to me than I had anticipated. And I didn't mind the proximity one bit. I just stood and stared for a second, then two, then three; I stared at this newly clean-shaven guy in a crisp white button up shirt who was meeting my gaze with a kind of directness that I could appreciate.

Especially since it was coming from someone who had finally turned my head.

I simply said hi and he responded with that same stupidly short word that started something eternal, something that encompasses our lives.

So last night, I was writhing under the influence of a horrible headache and sent him this text at 3:50 am,
I miss you. My head hurts so bad that
it's making my stomach nauseous. I wish
we didn't feel so distant. Life feels kind of sad
now. I wish I had medicine. For everything.
The truth is that life feels better today. Much better. It usually does once you get past the 3:50-am-writhing-in-pain-missing-your-fave-someone-and-generally-just-doubting-your-life stage of the night. And thankfully, that stage doesn't come upon me often.

But when it does, I know that it will pass.

That it will give way to a clearheadedness not unlike clairvoyance. And though I might not see the evidence of what I hope for at the moment, my hope still grows, even strengthens, because every moment that passes without the evidence of what I hope for, brings me closer to it.

May it be so.

Oh, and p.s. I have since changed my stance on beards for men under forty; I no longer have a problem with them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

in which I try to stay present

It's funny, people are often under the impression that I am very busy.


I'm not; I'm just not around. Unless, of course, you happen to be in Providence right now. Or Pittsburgh tomorrow. Or Chicago for the next three weeks after that.

The truth is that, for five days out of the week I am really not so busy. Just one show a day is a sweet schedule. It's not very hard in the sense that you do it once and it's over. Everything you do during the show you can check off your mental checklist as done for the day.

And for those of us who like to get things done, it's a really nice feeling.

But then comes Saturday morning and I start to feel like I am standing at the bottom of a mountain, looking up. And up and up and up. I have four shows to do in the space of two days. No matter how hard I try, how well I do, I simply have to do the same thing over again in a few hours.

And that is a tough one. It's a a crazy dichotomy; one whole half of my work week is squished into just two days. Four shows are danced upon the same two tired feet; I take my foot and touch it to the back of my head during my monologue four times; I "learn" the one's combination (over and over again, at that) four times; I sing badly four times...You get the picture.

So it's really hard to stay fresh by, say, the last show. The redundancy of what you are doing gets to you by then. And it can drive you a little crazy.

Which is why I try my hardest to stay present. Seriously, it is the only way to survive. If I go into the Saturday matinee thinking about all four shows looming over my head, I would be overwhelmed. Instead, I take it, quite literally, one step at a time.

First step, warm up for the show. No biggie. I've been doing this for years--stretching, doing some ballet barre, push-ups. I can do this; heck, it kind of even feels good. Then, yeah, make-up. I kind of like putting make-up on because it's like painting, or at least drawing. And I am not a painter, but I have, upon occasion, liked to draw. And when I get into costume at five before places, I am feeling ready to step onto that stage.

Because, that's the only thing being demanded of me imminently. Just walk on stage, nothing to it.

And so on and so forth. Do one thing at a time, throw myself into it, and the next thing seems to come of its own volition. And all the anticipation and anxiety melts away as I simply just do whatever it is I need to in the moment.

Which is also the way I try to live my life, rather than dreading whatever it is that's next. Or missing what is now simply because all I can think of is what is next.

But I will say I do cherish my Sunday nights and love the feeling that comes with a shiny brand new show-less Monday in the not too far future...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

paint the rocks with happy endings

When we were in Portland Maine I saw this...
...and it haunted me. I was literally struck by that statement, held still by its finality.


The contrast of the white script against the aged rock stood out like a brand. And the fact that somebody obviously and carefully repaints those words every year--like how one tenderly plucks the weeds from a loved one's gravestone--made me think how much this Annie C. Maguire was loved. And missed.

Because of course I thought she was a girl.

I wondered how she came to be shipwrecked on Christmas Eve so long ago, alone on the moody seas. Could she man a ship by herself? Or was she simply rowing a small boat, trying to get home before Christmas?

Hoping to get to the bottom of the story, I researched it and found out that Annie C. Maguire was not, in fact, a woman.

But she was a she.

A ship, actually.

A nice tall ballasted ship with many sails like the one from the Goonies.

And I was relieved to read how on that Christmas long ago, many families and friends received good news:

The Annie C. Maguire was headed for Portland Harbor coming from Buenos Aires, Argentina, when it hit the rocks at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth on December 24th, 1886. The lightkeeper, Joseph Strout and his family were able to get a line to the mortally wounded ship and bring safely ashore all of the people on the ship...

I love happy endings.

And I am never going to stop believing in them.

So let's keep painting the rocks in their honor.

Not every rock, though, because that could get old.

Friday, April 3, 2009

PDA

I went to the bank today. And because it was both payday and the lunch hour, I got to spend a good amount of time in a line made up of everybody else in Providence who also had the same great idea.


And it was in this line that I observed the interactions of others. Specifically, a couple directly in front of me. Now, without passing any judgements, let me just give you the facts.

  • Fact: the man was probably sixty years old, had greasy grey hair slicked straight back revealing a tired, pockmarked forehead, was wider than he is taller, was wearing an oversized leather jacket that hung to his thighs, and gave an altogether slovenly appearance.
  • Fact: the woman was somewhere in her thirties, had plain brown hair pulled straight back into a tight bun, pretty blue eyes set far back in her face, skin that has grown a little more slack with each passing year, was dressed in too-small capri sweatpants and a large sweatshirt and oh yeah, had no teeth.
So those were the facts, the hard cold facts. Doesn't matter so much what they looked like, true, but I did want you to have a visual.

Maybe it was the age difference, but I actually didn't assume they were together until well, she leaned in and started kissing him full on the mouth. And apparently that was just the beginning. Cause more often than I would have liked, they'd pause in their conversation and start communicating without words, if you know what I mean.

They were very into each other.

Trust me, I know.

Oh, and all of this was done in front of his grown up daughter. At least that's who I gathered she was from the repeated hugs from behind she gave him.

So with a toothless lady kissing him in front and a daughter hugging him from behind, they were quite a spectacle. Can you blame me for not being able to look away, really?

But don't get me wrong, it was awkward.

Which leads me to my question for all of you:

What do you think about PDA?

Cool? Not cool? Does it depend on where you are? In a corner of a club, while a phat beat is thumping--is it alright then? When you are at church, do you limit it to a sensible side-hug, no longer than 2 seconds, three maybe, but only if you haven't seen the person for a while? While waiting in line at a crowded bank, do you always have to steal some kisses, just like Ben Harper does?

Or as I learned today, does that become a little impromptu show that is best reserved for privacy?

I gotta be honest with you--I am not a huge fan of PDA, in general. I grew up with parents who love each other, sure, but we barely every saw that love displayed romantically.

For which we are very very grateful.

So, lay it on me. PDA: okay? or no way?
Or is there a beautiful balance to be found somewhere in the middle?