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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

finally, I did it.

I completely surprised myself today. I mean, really, I did something that I've never ever done. Sure, I've thought about it before. I've even felt guilty because I've felt like I should do it. But still, it just hadn't happened. So I stopped expecting it.


Which is why I was so surprised to sweat profusely this afternoon.

Turns out if you do an hour and a half of yoga at 55% humidity and in 97 degree heat, you will sweat like a pig. Or like a man. Or like a man-pig.

And it seems I had no problem making up for lost time. I was sweating for all of the years of dance class in which I was dry as a bone; all of the great big mammoth numbers I have done in musicals in which I never sweat a drop; every last finale of A Chorus Line in which my lungs have felt like they were going to pop from all the synchronized singing and dancing while my body was dry and cool.

I think I might have even been sweating for my mom, who never sweats either. Heck, isn't it true that dogs don't sweat? Toss them in the pile, then; I was sweating for all the canines too.

See, I've done yoga before, but never hot yoga. And I probably wouldn't have done it today either, but by the time I realized what it was, I was already in the room, mat in hand trying to breathe through the thick air of the little known tropical forrest that apparently resides in Newark Shopping Center.

And all I could think of through the whole ordeal was how great it was going to be once I got out of that room, once I could breathe some fresh air.

And I was right. Once we were in our resting position at the end of class, our instructor opened up the doors to the outside and it felt like life. Like the first desperate gulp of oxygen at birth. Like the news that your tax bill for $771.00 due in a few weeks is just a joke, isn't Delaware hilarious? Because why would you have to pay taxes for a school system that you have never once used? Good one, DE, good one.

When I went home I proudly made Drew feel my soaked through shirt and I'll admit that I am more than a little excited to have joined the club of People Who Sweat.

And honestly? I'm totally going to go back.

Monday, July 27, 2009

shaky face

Do you find yourself in the middle of the day with nothing to do?


I don't either.

Do the long summer days seem to stretch endlessly before you?

Yeah, me neither.

Okay, how bout this one: Are you looking for something fun and cheap to do?

Who isn't in this economy?

I introduce to you: The Shaky Face.

It's something that I learned from friends on tour and let me tell you, it provides tons of entertainment. And providing somebody you know has a digital camera, it is absolutely free.

All you need is a face.
Shake said face.
The more you relax your facial muscles and allow them to go where they will, the better your results will be...And voila!

The Shaky Face.
Got it?

One more demonstration, before it's your turn.

Start with a face, any face really. In this case I found a handsome one, but it doesn't have to be particularly handsome.
The face just needs to be willing to shake and shake. Noises to go along with the shaking are entirely optional, but they do tend to make the whole experience that much more entertaining.

Voila! The Shaky Face.
Hilarious, I know. And please kids, do try this at home.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

the shack

Sometimes I don't get it.


People's offenses, that is.

Sure, everybody has the right to their own opinion on anything and everything. At least we do in this country, isn't that right, JoshUSA?

But.

I was recently reading a blog in which some commenters slammed the book, The Shack. I mean, ripped it a new one and I only use that expression because I think it's so gross that it's laughable. Like when you laugh such a great big snort through your nose that a boogie comes out with it, unexpectedly debuting during your conversation. Gross, but laughable. And that's still not as gross as ripping someone a new one. But still, that is what these commenters did. To the poor Shack, which was absolutely fine with the one it had, I am sure.

One comment expressed something along the lines of, The Shack was totally against everything the scripture and God stands for.

Um, excuse me? Maybe we aren't reading the same Bible, because I am pretty sure forgiveness, redemption, and relationships are a pretty huge theme; I mean, I am no scholar, but I'd go so far as to say that they are even The Pervasive Theme in the Bible.

Which is what I got out of The Shack.

Now I am all for hearing why you don't like it, if you don't like it, but be specific and try to be fair. Don't just broadly stroke it as heretical. As blasphemous. Because it had something very strongly to do with love and grace and I am pretty sure that 9 out of 10 times a story like that has something to do with what God stands for.

Maybe even 10 out of times.

And another thing: there is something that the Papa character said in the book, this phrase that has stuck in my brain, acting like a prism that reflects little bits of light every time the sun catches it.

She said that God doesn't have expectations of us, rather that He has expectancy toward us.

For some reason, changing that from a noun to a verb has made all the difference to me. It's made God's thoughts towards me alive and always, always in the all encompassing now. I feel like our relationship is not some boring to-do list, this antiquated list of right and wrongs that I try desperately to wipe clean of the dust in the 21st century; but rather, it's exciting. It's all the time. It's not walking alone, not attempting the tasks that shape me without the knowledge that Somebody thinks I am resilient and up to the task because of the interdependence we have with each other, we have in each other.

God has expectancy towards me, and vice versa.

And good things are going to come out of this, I just know it.

On the whole expectation vs. expectancy thing, somebody said,

expectancy is kinda enjoying the anticipation of something good

expectation .. is cracking the whip .. and making it happen

And I like that I don't see God holding a whip. I like that I see him smiling when thinking about his kids...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

blue heaven in a parking lot

Today the sun was out in a force that almost rivaled Texas.


Almost.

So we lined up, like so many ducks in a row, and Drew took an artiste's picture of us.
There is some sad news that Crocs might be going under. Though I did see a high heel, in Crocs-form, which I am sure is their attempt to appeal to the greater masses. And yes, they are as hideous as they sound. Those heeled crocs might just be the last nail in the coffin. But luckily, my youngest nephew Judah is keeping them in business, two feet at a time.

But not the high heels, thank God.
I love when Drew wears the Blue Heaven shirt. It reminds me of our not even 24 delightful hours we spent in Key West this past winter and the restaurant we ate at for breakfast. Outdoors, a guy with a guitar and a mic, a few roosters roaming around, a ping-pong table which always serves as a reminder to us of my superior skills at the game, and that t-shirt. Blue Heaven. It's come a long way from the place where Hemingway used to referee boxing matches.
Don't worry, the kids finally started behaving once Drew laid the smack down.
And pretended to be a little bit happy.
So we followed suit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

journeying

Being well is really great. It means that your husband stops with the water intake interrogations. That you are once again allowed to clean your house. That you can hug your nieces and nephews. And oh yeah, that you can go geocaching.


It's alright, until my brother explained it to me, I didn't know what it meant either.

Basically, geocaching is a world-wide treasure hunt using a GPS device of some sort to find the hidden cache left by someone who wandered the path before you. Once you find it, you decide whether or not to take it and if you do, you replace it with a treasure that you leave for the next journeyer. And yeah, it's awesome.

So armed with my brother Jason's Geocache Iphone app, we went off in search of treasures today. We were a fierce band of travelers composed of me, my sister Jenna, my brother Jase, my mom, and these two young ruffians.
Our first hunt led us to a bamboo forrest.

Where we walked around for a good 20 minutes.

And found nada.

Except for some prickers.

And a desire to say What gives?!?!
So treasureless, we left the bamboo behind and went to a new site.
And found things that we hoped to God were not the treasure.

Things that were far too creepy.
Or far too ridiculously obvious and suburban.
But finally, eureka! Jenna found it in a moment of glorious triumph, causing our spirits to rally.
We decided to take the light stick.
And left an old watch in a magical egg in its stead.
Okay, so maybe it wasn't exactly proven to be magical, per se, but hey, it was really really shiny, which totally counts for something.

And after we took roll call in the small golden book, leaving our legacy in the network of geocahing,
we noticed that our fearless canines were completely tuckered out.
After some prodding and cajoling, Strider finally stood up to walk back down the hill, but Arwen, at only 11 weeks, could still use some coddling.

So I scooped her up and walked her over the hardest part of the terrain.
And she didn't mind it in the least.

Finally it was time for all of us to walk again.
And so we walked out of the forrest, light stick in hand, quest for adventure sated.

For the moment, anyway.

The glorious day ended in a beautiful smash of wind and rain, thunder and lightening that swept away the hot air and left a rainbow draped across the sky.
And a Strider draped across my lap. Not to mention the me draped across my mom's lap.
And one final glimpse of Arwen says it better than I could ever say:
Cause after today, we are all spent.

But in a very very good way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

7x7

I woke up to the tune of no fever, la la la la dee da da da, which is an excellent way to start the day. Okay, in actuality it looked more like 98.6, but as a rule I like songs and words better than numbers and will never stop trying to replace the latter with the former.


But I wouldn't recommend doing that on your math test. It doesn't work. You know what else doesn't work on your math test? Wracking your brain for the answer to the problem 7x7 and, after your teacher who is also your beloved mom notices that you haven't scratched any answers onto the test paper for a good 30 seconds, tells you that your brain is like a computer and stores away all the information that you know; simply go through your files and the answer will appear, you try to do just that. But the safari that runs the math part of your brain quits on you unexpectedly and there is no tech support to whom you can send the error, or maybe there is but it's just your brother and in all fairness that would probably be cheating, so you sit there and wait and wait and hope that in the same way people still knew math before computers in real life since they built bridges and made up geometry and one of them was named Albert Einstein, you still might have a clue as to what 7x7 is even though your brain has so obviously not computerized yet.

But the answer doesn't appear. And the 4 and the 9, linked together like a little rescue team out of the sea of infinity, never does float into the forefront of your mind. So shamefully, you are forced to hand in the math test like this: 7x7=
Even though you know for a fact that 7x7 does not = NOTHING; it does not equal BIG EMPTY SPACE.

And that empty space speaks not only of your need to further study the multiplication table, but also to the fact that if your brain is truly a computer than it is decidedly missing some files. Or at least one file. The file that looks like this: 7x7=49
Forty-nine. Like that football team from California. Forty-nine. Is that so very hard? And though you'll go on to get a degree at a school that gives you the option of either math or science, and of course you choose science, you will never ever forget that 7x7=49.

And since we're on numbers here, I have some more numbers for you. We just recently weighed our large orange striped cat, Taliesin, and discovered that he weighs exactly 100 lbs less than me.

How much do you think he weighs?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

z-pac, work your magic

I am under strict orders from my husband to do absolutely nothing.


And now, while he's at work, he keeps texting me with this question: are you drinking your water?

At which point I proceed to grab my trusty water bottle that is sitting nearby, take a sip, and then text back: yes.

It would seem that Drew is not in love with the idea of a sick wife, not if he can help it, anyway.

And he has helped it. He took me to the doctor this morning, after three straight days of my fever not breaking, has proceeded to cancel my pilates class I was supposed to teach tomorrow (which is a real bummer; I truly enjoy it), and even forbade me from cleaning the house tonight.

I guess he's really worried about me; usually he truly appreciates a clean house.

So I am laying like a lump on my bed, surrounded by books, cats, and my computer, waiting for the z-pac the doctor gave me to kick in...But well, being sick is kind of boring. And frustrating. Here I am, at home, and not able to hang out with any of the fantastic people I am so wanting to see; I am with my piano, but being sick takes all the creativity right out of me, it seems.

Isn't it ironic? as Alanis Morissette would say.

But I am going to trust that tomorrow is going to find me feeling much better, that I will be back to my self again and ready to take on the world.

Or at least, you know, Newark, Delaware.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

new puppy and new habit

Please welcome the newest addition to the Latshaw family.


Meet Arwen.
She's fawn colored with hints of red and brown and her ears look as though they have been dipped in ink.
She has dark smudges under her eyes that makes her appear to not take as many naps as she does.
She has quite the bit of mischief in her. Already, she has jumped out my mom's car window, jumped off the deck with her leash on and would have strangled herself had my mom and brother not been there to rescue her, and jumped into the middle of the deepest part of my parents' creek.

She is, in short, a doozy.

But the sweetest, fuzziest, most adorable doozy there is.
And no, Taliesin is not new.
But he has picked up a new habit while I was away.

A very very bad new habit.

Yesterday I was using our downstairs bathroom, you know, attending to business, when Tally casually walks in. He jumps up and into the sink, and starts circling around in it. I know, first red flag.

He pauses, after apparently finding the perfect spot, but in my ignorance I just assume that he is simply standing in the sink. I start to talk to him, and this is when the second red flag goes up.

Because, see, he doesn't make eye contact with me.

Animals, much like humans, like privacy when nature calls, so thinking that he surely couldn't be avoiding my eyes for that reason, I try again.

No dice.

The cat will not look at me, though I am right smack in front of him. I peer a little closer, hoping for some other explanation.

But sure enough, he is peeing in the bathroom sink.

Drew! I call, Get in here quick!!!

In disbelief Drew and I both watch our very naughty cat finish peeing in our lovely sink, try to scrape some imaginary kitty litter over it, and then hop off the sink and go his merry way. As if what he had just done was perfectly fine. As if his kitty litter was merely a suggestion and not, in fact, mandatory.

Needless to say that bathroom door is now staying firmly shut.

Monday, July 20, 2009

on why a small component of my present reality is dumb while most of it remains awesome.

This is dumb.


I've been looking forward to coming home for this glorious stretch of three weeks that have nothing whatsoever to do with a leotard or heels or a 5, 6, 7, 8! and well, the fact that I am now laying in bed with a 100 degree fever, all hot and heavy and sporting a case of under-the-weather-edness that makes my limbs feel like more than I could ever lift and my body all achy is just plain dumb.

And I guess the fact that I just taught an hour long Pilates class didn't exactly help, either; but hey, if I have to feel feverish right now, at least my abs are feeling flatter at the same time, so thank you for that, Joseph Pilates.

Because abs are what you care about most when you're laying in bed, flicking off imaginary spiders, your skin is crawling so much.

But the fact that I have been feeling progressively worse throughout the day cannot take away some of the simple and lovely things that remind me why I love home.

The husband who sleeps beside me, and sends me a text first thing in the morning instead of, you know, actually using his voice and speaking to the person who is literally inches away from him. And not just any text, either: googly eyes. Cartoon-style. With a question mark following, his way of asking me if I am, in fact, awake.

My text back?

Zzz

Because no, Drew Copeland, I was not awake yet; my eyes were firmly and contentedly shut--at least they were until I was forced to open them and gaze upon the googly eyes you just sent my way. Oh, and if Journey blares from your alarm clock one more time, well then, let's just say that anyway you want it will not be happening for you any time soon.

My three year old nephew, running at full-tilt-boogie on chubby sneakers that are delightfully called froggies and that house even chubbier feet as they cross the distance from his momma into my arms.

A gaggle of nieces, all hilarious and pretty and full of a wonder I hope they never lose, enfolding me in a group hug, causing all of our brown eyes to light up.

Another nephew sitting close beside me as we watch Fern Gully; I am now forever grateful that acid rain does not, to my knowledge, actually take the form of some shadowy Elvis impersonator and wreak havoc on our lives.

Working through another song with Drew, his fingers finding the chords on the guitar that keep pace with my melody and lyrics.

My parents. Always ready and happy to see me, to welcome me home, to keep me assured of the things that matter most like family, love, humor, God, green things growing, dogs that look like magical creatures, and cherry tomatoes (or so my pop would say).

And of course, throw in some brothers and some gorgeous sisters, and really, it doesn't get much better than this, as homecomings go.

Okay, well maybe it would be better if I weren't feeling sick as a dog, but still. I'm home...which outweighs anything else at the moment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

JFK

So, what do you think of when you hear, The Texas School Book Depository?


Or how about, The Grassy Knoll?

Um, a motorcade?

Lee Harvey Oswald?

Let me make it really easy for you: JFK.

All of that took place just ten minutes from where I am staying. In fact, I've passed the grassy knoll that made history while going to work; I've now driven over the X that marks the spot on the asphalt where President Kennedy was fatally shot.

And between shows today, me and two of my friends went to the Texas School Book Depository Museum. The footage is surreal. I've heard a lot about it, seen the movie JFK, and even remember the spoof that Seinfeld made of it on his show, comparing the trajectory of spit to the often cited trajectory of the bullets, but honestly--I don't think I've ever actually seen it.

Until today, that is.

You know, Jackie Kennedy looking less like the icon that she was and more like a happy girl in a pink suit dress and matching pink pillbox hat, frantically crawling around in the car, trying to help her wounded husband, trying to gather some of the pieces of his brain matter that are now anywhere but where they should be.

The adults, the kids, the people from all different backgrounds crying and ducking, after realizing that what they had thought must surely be the sound of an errant fireworks display is actually the sound of a shooter in their midst.

The frantic drive to Parkland Hospital with Secret Security men shielding the President's body; meanwhile guests are waiting at a reception dinner intended to welcome the President and Vice President Johnson to Dallas--a dinner that never happens. Instead, they stand in silence, in prayer, in entreaty to God for the life of a man on which American has pinned such high hopes.

The Secret Service, fearing that the attack on the President could turn into an attack on the next in line President Johnson, decide to move him to Air Force One immediately. But President Johnson will not leave without Mrs. Kennedy. And Mrs. Kennedy will not leave without her husband's body. And the M.E. wants to perform an autopsy. Finally, they agree to wait on the autopsy and they all leave Dallas.

The funeral procession that Mrs. Kennedy plans in replica to President Lincoln's own; the quarter of a million people who walk by the President's casket unbelievingly, but having to accept it nonetheless. Little Caroline and John John Kennedy, too small to realize what it means to grow up in this world without their father. The young and beautiful widow kissing the American flag that is draped over her husband's casket, saying good-bye, looking regal and achingly sad.

I had never seen any of this in detail before, and it was sobering, even moving me to tears.

It changed America, of that I am sure. Never again will a President be seen in an open-air motorcade going 5 mph. One of my friends who went with me today was at Bush's inauguration and told us how every bit of high ground was covered with Secret Service snipers, that there was no stone unturned in terms of security.

Also, there is much speculation. The auditory scientists said they were in fact 95% positive that evidence indicates there was a fourth shot from the grassy knoll in addition to the three that were accounted for from Lee Harvey Oswald.

In more news, a Texan told us that the case is supposed to be re-opened and completely re-examined in 2027. When I asked why the heck they have to wait so long, he said it had to be sealed for 65 years. And no, I don't know why that is.

This whole thing saddened me so much. Seeing the footage of the President's family, his staff, and the people who mourned him in American and across the world made it personal. But it also fascinates me because I think there could very well be some kind of conspiracy that we just aren't privy to.

But who knows? Maybe in 2027, the truth will reveal itself.

Friday, July 17, 2009

blind date and Jesus IS jewish, after all.

Apparently you can be happily married, never having once signed up for a profile on Eharmony.com, and still end up on a blind date.


Like today.

Mandy, a lovely Texan who found me through this blog offered to take me out for a real meal while here (it seems she had read one too many mentions of my penchant for PB&J's on twitter and well, nobody leaves Texas hungry). At first I laughed it off, not wanting to be the awkward gauche person who takes somebody up on an offer that they meant as a joke. But she made it clear she was serious, and so I bit.

She picked me up at noon today and we spent a great couple of hours together. She's kind and talented with a fun sense of humor and also loves to blog.

The fact that she's 5'8 just like me doesn't hurt, either.

She took me to this cute Mexican place called Chuy's and the waiter was obliging enough to document the moment.
And here's a little gem from there as well.
Our silverware was wrapped in paper that gave us three options for prayers, depending upon your preferred faith and assuming that you couldn't just make one up on the spot, I guess.

Not everybody can free-style, you know.

All three prayers are lovely, actually; I'd be honored to pray any of them and I am pretty sure God would be happy to hear them.

The fact that there was a gentile/jewish choice made me think of my six year old nephew, Ollie, who now lives in California during the school year. Anyway, one day his mom came into his classroom only to find him covered in a prayer shawl and wearing a yarmulke.

They were studying Judaism. Which is awesome.

Later, when Ollie announced to his family that he wanted to become Jewish, his sister Lyric informed him that he simply couldn't.

Why? he asked.
Because we are Christian! she said, leaving no uncertainty in the matter.
Showing some budding abilities in diplomacy, Ollie stated, Then I will be Christian when I am on the east coast and Jewish when I am in California.

And that plan seems to be coming along just fine. He's back on the east coast for the summer now and, as far as I know, has been faithfully attending church every Sunday, just like a good Christian should.

Anyway, it's quite a lovely world considering we can start a meal with a stranger and finish it with a friend--and be given the option of three different prayers all the while.

Oh. And perhaps I can look forward to observing Passsover with Ollie next year.

Or Easter.

I guess that will just depend upon which coast he happens to be on at the time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

gauche:

lacking social polish; "too gauche to leave the room when the conversation became intimate"; "their excellent manners always made me feel gauche"

This was the word of the day for my roommate a little while ago and so we have been trying to incorporate it into as many sentences as possible.

And you'd be surprised how many times you can slip it in; how many times people give cause to use the word, really.

See I meet a lot of people. Every day. It's fun, actually, since people are terribly interesting and altogether captivating.

But I run into some gauche conversations.

Like, the gauchest.

But I think the one that surfaces the most revolves around my salary.

Why is it that nobody meets a banker and five minutes later asks them how much they make?

No, apparently when speaking to a banker, people remember what their mother's taught them; i.e. they don't ask them their age, their weight, or how much money they make.

In other words, they try not to be gauche.

And yes, maybe it's just a normal curiosity that drives the conversation into the direction of salary, but still, it's private. I mean, right?

I've always managed to say something to the effect of I certainly get paid for what I do; this isn't the peace corp (okay so maybe I simply think that last part about the peace corp because I don't actually want to sound as patronizing and snarky as all that) and have left it there, successfully steering away from any sort of monetary denomination being divulged or further inquiries being made.

Which I guess is better than somebody asking me if I make money for what I do at all, which has happened as well.

But really, let's leave the topic of our salaries alone and not be so gauche.

Have you been involved in anything gauche lately?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

for christine

If you went to my facebook page, you would read that I have 654 friends.


This is not true, not even close.

I think it's not quite right that we employ the same word to describe someone who, after leaving me a comment, I have to click on their profile to try to remember just how it is that I even know them, and a person who has been a part of my life so long that it is just our parents' now who can even recall a time when we weren't friends.

Cause it's when we could still go outside shirtless, just one of the boys.

Even though we weren't actually one of the boys.

And I am hoping that it's just our parents' who can remember that, though I am pretty sure there may be some photographic documentation stashed away somewhere.

But see, it's my friend Christine's birthday today. And when describing our relationship, the word friend falls a little flat. But what are you going to do? I was born an American, with the English language as my only tool to articulate my heart, so there you go.

And yes, I could learn other languages, but does calling her mi amiga strike that much closer to the heart of what I mean? Probably only for all the many Spanish speaking people who read this blog, would be my guess.

I remember we were hanging out with some friends at a diner years ago, when I said, Christine is just like my Old Faithful or something awkward and unpoetic like that. Another friend quipped, Yeah, it's every girl's dream to be compared to a geyser! and everybody laughed.

But the truth is, she is.

Not anything like a geyser, as she is the picture of beauty and grace and never spontaneously spurts water if she can help it, but she is faithful. Always.

Like the time we were both at the Chautauqua Institute studying ballet and it must have been at least 105 degrees and well, I don't do well in the heat seeing as I was born without sweat glands, and unfortunately the cafeteria decided to serve some sort of unidentifiable gruel and mash combination that, combined with the aforementioned heat, made for a lethal combination, that, were I to be stupid enough to consume it, would kill me, I am pretty sure. Assessing the situation and understanding my pickiness when it came to anything gruel or mash-like, Christine came running to the rescue.

Literally.

As in she ran from our cafeteria all the way to the sub shop which was in town at least a mile away in order to procure a decent lunch for me, i.e. a sandwich that was neither mashed nor laden with gruel, and then ran back, sandwich in hand, and made sure I ate it--all in the 105 degree weather, mind you.

Wow.

I have never forgotten that, nor will I.

And then there was the time when I was two years younger than her (which still happens to be the case, amazingly enough) and she never once made me feel young or immature or silly for it. Not when I was five and she was seven or when I was ten and she was twelve or when I was only fourteen and she was super cool and basically grown-up driving around in her parents' car at sixteen, offering me rides all the time, happy to have me in the passenger's seat beside her.

And I could mention the long talks in which we never had an agenda because words between us come freely, easily, and without judgement; the mounds of Snyder's Old Tyme pretzels we've consumed between the two of us, singlehandedly keeping that company in business, no need to thank us personally, Synder's, the pleasure was all ours; the prayers and exchanges of our own growing views of who God is, always good, always here, though life might look less bright at the moment; our respective marriages to men about whom we had already logged many many hours dreaming of, talking of, discussing and projecting their height, the color of their eyes, and how happy they will make us feel...But all of those memories stand in support of simply who she is.

The kind, humorous, brave, talented, giving, and godly person whom I am grateful to call my friend.

To know her is to love her, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not so glad that I get to experience both knowing and loving her.

Happy birthday, Christine...You deserve the best!

Monday, July 13, 2009

family

Sometimes I look around at my surroundings and have to wonder how it was that I actually got here.


Like now, for instance.

I am surrounded by bright yellow walls with a large blue foaming wave on the one to my left. The blankets are pulled tightly around me, covering me in anything and everything Hawaiian that can be printed on fabric. A large ceiling fan looms overhead, its blades fashioned to look like giant palm fronds.

See, I am in my first cousin once removed's bedroom.

She is the daughter of my first cousin, whom I have not seen for 13 years. And before that, had only seen her once in a very great while.

When asked by my friend what I was doing with my Monday, I told her about spending the day with my long-lost cousin that I never really knew in the first place and she simply said, Sometimes tour is just cool.

And I have to agree.

Tracy and I, along with her husband and two daughters, talked for hours and hours. We talked about our Mimi, the grandmother that we shared and to whom she was closer, since she is only 8 years younger than my own mom and so got to spend a lot more time with her. We talked about our Grandpa, and what I think is so very strange is that she refers to him as Pop-pop while me and my siblings refer to him as Grandpa. Why did he have a different name for different grandchildren? It was even a little confusing, what with me saying Grandpa and my cousin saying Pop-pop and both of us talking about the same revered man.

She told me that she was his favorite granddaughter.

And I didn't fight her on that one, considering he never even met me.

We poured over pictures; she is a scrapbooking wizard.

I opened up my laptop and pulled up facebook, the only thing I have that comes anywhere near a scrapbook of family photos.

Upon seeing the latest photos of my mom, she exclaimed that Terri hasn't changed a bit. And when I saw more pictures of my Grandpa I couldn't believe how much my mom looks like him, the grandfather I never met.

She shared lots of memories with me--mostly of my mom, which was just a joy to hear. And I am left to marvel again at this thing that causes a near stranger to invite another near stranger into their beautiful home on a random Monday; to feed them fine food and wine and keep talking over empty plates for hours; to house them in Hawaiian themed rooms and allow them to pet their beagle Shelly with her titanium knees.

I am left to marvel at this thing called family.

a part of the journey

On Tuesday, after having had more than a week off from the show and if I were to be totally honest, dealing with ribs that hadn't healed yet, I was feeling...wonky.


Weird in a leotard all over again.

Trying to find my center.

Wondering where the heck it was that I spotted when I did those turns on stage anyway.

Hoping that I remembered my monologue and lyrics.

And now? Well, eight shows later I am feeling much less wonky and more myself.

My leotard is once again like a second skin to me.

I found my center.

I found an exit sign that does quite nicely for a place to spot while I turn.

My ribs are feeling much better, thankyouverymuch.

And well, I am still hoping that I remember my monologue and lyrics. Not sure when that is going to change. Though, most of the time I do--remember my lyrics, that is. But still, the times when I didn't stand out like a lesson learned the hard way; like a lesson that could always come back for round two if I am not careful.

Or even if I am.

Because mistakes happen.

And realizing that and then moving on is a part of my journey right now. It's not a terribly bad journey, really, but I'd enjoy it much more if it weren't so riddled with my mistakes. See I have always tried my very hardest to be perfect and I hate when I so obviously am not. Stupid, I know, but like I said, it's a part of my journey.

It's a part of humility.

It's a part of life.

So there you go.

Oh, and this week a few of us have been dancing before the show, in an effort to remember how to do something other than Michael Bennett's choreography. It's actually been fun and challenging and a nice reminder that I do indeed love to dance.

And because I have been moving in ways that differ from what I have been doing in the show for these past 14 months, I have ended up sore.

Which is fine with me.

It means that I am growing and being challenged.

Which is another part of my journey.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I do; I will

There is a blog that I have been reading for a while now. The author is a young mom whose husband works two jobs to take care of their family. They lead a youth group at their church. Two years ago, their third son was born stillborn at nine months, which of course was devastating. Their son born after him is deaf. She is pregnant with their fifth child right now, only twelve weeks along. Her site is decorated with stills that capture the faces of her family. Happy faces, loving faces.


I tell you all of this because these are the things that have shaped this young woman's life. But through it all there has been a theme of love and trust. Of family. Of staying together. Of not giving up when despair seemed like the easiest path in which to sink.

Which is why I was shocked to read this sentence on her blog yesterday:

My husband left me.

Literally, I had a visceral reaction to it; I felt sick inside.

Some of the comments left on her blog revealed a theme of vulnerability; of wondering, If this marriage is falling apart, what makes me think mine won't?

And the truth is that our marriages are vulnerable. As is every one of the relationships in our lives. Because of the very fact that they consist wholly of us, they lay prone to our downfalls. Our selfishness. Our inability to follow through, though we've promised otherwise.

But there is some good news.

I have to believe it.

If nothing else, there is the decision that we are free to make to simply and doggedly do the right thing. With one foot in front of the other, we can walk in the general direction that we know to be good, elusive as it may feel at times.

Truly, I think that we have more autonomy than we give ourselves credit for.

My friend recently got married and instead of each of the couple answering I do to the vows, they decided to answer with I will. I like this. I like how it acknowledges our ongoing will in the matter; how it encompasses not just the moment in which the vows are first uttered, but every moment thereafter.

So there's something to us understanding that we don't just have an obligation to do the right thing, but that it is within our power to do it.

Now that's much better than being a slave, right? Better than not having a choice in the matter, either way. Our free will is a powerful tool that can cause beauty. It's up to us.

Nice.

Better than nice; it's life to us.

And then there's the matter of us not being able to find it within ourselves to do the right thing--what then?

Then you're screwed.

Kidding.

But that particular idiom has been pretty funny to me ever since a pastor that I know and love and who will remain nameless to protect his reputation hit another car, turned to me and my sister in his car, and uttered these two words:

We're screwed.

Despite ourselves, and the poor hit car in front of us, we laughed.

The, ah, pastor didn't.

But, when we feel we can't do the right thing, or are afraid we might not, well that's when we admit it. Tell someone. Tell God. Tell someone and God, though chances are the latter will be listening while you tell the former, anyway. Listening proudly cause it takes courage to admit weakness.

But you might want to still tell Him anyway.

Even though he already knows.

Because there is freedom that comes from honesty within ourselves; there is grace that comes softly to cushion our prostrate selves when we try for humility.

And then that small, familiar light starts flickering; that Better Way whispers its course and as we tentatively follow it the house of cards on which we had previously been standing gets solidified a bit more, day by day, hour by hour, as we continue to honor our promises and with each action and word and thought back up the decision we made when we said I do, when we still say I will.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

only in texas

Okay, so every day on my way to the theater I pass by a sign sporting this word...And it makes me smile.


Every time.

What kind of word is Texarkana anyway?

A great one, I can tell you that.

*I apologize for the google image I have to display; I went to take a picture of it myself today and realized it's time for my camera to be charged*

And this prize of a magazine is currently being offered as prime reading material in my hotel.
There's nowhere quite like Tejas, I think.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

you gotta know when to hold em

Texas traffic is crawling outside of my window. Tractor trailers are methodically plodding along, their drivers probably not in a hurry anyway since they are getting paid no matter what. Or maybe they are a little anxious cause they are under a deadline, in which case they are cursing the three lane highway, the urban sprawl, and the oven that is Texas right now. It's not like they can sit fully immersed in water as they drive.


Which, in my opinion, is really the only acceptable option in terms of being outside here.

Which is why I spent my afternoon in the pool.

And I very well might spend every afternoon just like that for these couple of weeks.

But anyway.

I am so annoyed with myself right now. See, I had the very slightest beginnings of a pimple and so I decided to dig in there and make it much much worse.

Because now I am left with an open wound right by my mouth, at worst leaving people to assume that I have an STD and at best causing the scab to crack and hurt every time I smile. And believe me, I'd much rather trade the very slightest beginnings of a pimple for the huge scab/wound/goiter that I am now sporting.

And this got me to thinking...Maybe life can sort of be like this. Yeah, it's probably one of the least attractive and unromantic metaphors that are in existence today (when you think of it in terms of the pimple), but sometimes we dig and prod and pry when really things would be much better if simply left alone.

If we just tried some patience on for size.

Sometimes I do this with Drew. I know our hot buttons, I know the things that can easily lead to The Tense Time. And yet, when I feel upset about anything at all, I inevitably bring it around to those. I prod and pry and am left with a big ugly scab that heals, yes, but wasn't necessary in the first place and stands as a direct result from me not just leaving things be.

I am not saying that you should ignore problems.

I am simply saying that, like the song goes, You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em and sometimes I just plain don't. I find myself talking and talking when really I should have just held my tongue or at the very least shut up after my first few sentences weren't exactly what the doctor ordered.

Anyone else have a hard time not digging into things that would be better left alone?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

back and right now happy to be so

I really do enjoy the opening night parties.

And tonight's was a doozy. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and I guess the parties fall under that category too.

A lamborghini and ferrari salesman here in Dallas is an apparent lover of theater as well, since he hosts all the touring shows that come through. Um, in his mansion.


Nice.

Stacked on the winding staircase in the entryway of the house were gift bags in varying bright colors. They gave us all gift bags. And among some of the articles within these bags are snacks. Which works out perfectly for me since I happen to be a big fan of snacks. And this is in addition to the vase and huge bouquet of flowers that are gracing each of our dressing stations, as well as a card to welcome us.

And that's not all, though it would certainly be more than enough. They are also catering all of the meals that fall between double show days.

Golden, folks; this is golden.

Southern hospitality is doing just fine here in Dallas, I can assure you.

But while Southern hospitality is doing just fine, I am feeling exhausted. Blitzed, as my mom would say. I am almost too tired to tell you that my favorite part of the party was the amazingly talented pianist who was kind enough to sit back for a second and let me play and then when I gave him back his seat he asked me what I knew and so he and I together filled the room with some Beatles, James Taylor, and Sarah MaClachlan.

I sang, and boy can he play those keys.

I am also almost just too tired to let you know that the show went really well tonight; that having a week off seemed to give it a shot in the arm and that I truly enjoyed playing Kristine.

Minus the stabbing pains every time I took a deep breath.

And I am almost too tired to say that, despite my ribs being what they are right now, the rest of my body feels great and I sort of wouldn't mind taking a week off every week.

Or at least every other week, since it is my job after all and so I should probably you know, do it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

last night

We got up this morning and went, went, went, not stopping until...well, now, I suppose.


See Drew has all sorts of ideas.

His latest was hosting a Mexican feast for our family tonight.

Our family of twenty-one people.

Now neither of us are particularly seasoned, so to speak, in the kitchen--but that fact didn't occur to him. At least not until I mentioned the sentiment this morning and he simply shrugged it off.

So I did too.

And the most fun part of the prepping?

Mashing up the avocados to make the guacamole. It made me actually happy; happy to look at the bright green color and decide that I agree with God's choice for that particular fruit and happy to squish it between my fingers.

Drew was busy browning 10 lbs of beef while juggling the rice and the refried beans.

And we were both parrying our cats with the spare hand that we didn't have.

Oh, I also gathered some of my clothes together to give away to my nieces and sisters-in-law. It's not that I don't like them (ah, them being the clothes); quite the opposite, in fact. It's just that I have so many that I am trying to get rid of excess stuff. So I was ruthless today: if I hadn't worn something in a while, then it was put in the Up For Grabs Pile and that was that.

Almost everything was taken, too, and I am going to enjoy seeing my clothes on all these people that I love.

My four year old nephew Eli, however was nonplussed as he looked through it all.

Do you have any boy's clothes? He asked in his husky little voice.

Sorry little buddy, I replied, I don't because they're all my clothes that I am giving away.

With his voice raising a little higher, he said, Well then--can you buy some?!?!

Guess I owe the little guy an outfit.

He did, however, get the mask that I wore when I was Robin Girl for halloween last year, so it's not like he went away empty handed or anything.

Last night at home for a bit.

Again.

Not so bad this time, though. I will be gone just shy of two weeks, am only going to be in one city, have only packed one suitcase, and will be staying with the trusty Alliance. My ribs aren't feeling great, but they are certainly better than they were. I am trusting that they will keep improving and I will be back to touching-my-foot-to-the-back-of-my-head again in no time.

Well maybe, like, a little time.

But hopefully not too much...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

sandy handed boys, owls who are not owls, and my own silly self

Summer time sand.

In your hair.
On your skin.
Under your fingernails as you keep digging in.

Might as well admit right now that Drew isn't the only young man in my life.

Might as well give you photographic proof.

Cause here they are, Ollie, Eli, and Judah,
managing to look cool despite holding their hands in that I-really-need-to-rinse-them kind of way. You know, the beach kind of way.

And in the background you can see my sister Jenna, my sister-in-law Darby, and my brother Jonathan, doing their part to get sandy too.

Oh, and Drew and I adopted an owl.

A black one.
Okay, not really, but doesn't Percy look like one? She's not, though; she's totally feline, she's just really good at looking like an owl sometimes.
And looking like a cat most other times. What can I say, she's got game.

And one more thing.
This is what happens when you are me.
When you really don't get technology all that easily.
Or don't really have the patience for it.
Not when all you're trying to do is take a picture.
One silly picture.
And you end up taking...well, this.
video

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'll probably eat a hamburger next 4th of July too

I don't know why I am so exhausted.


Maybe because I have been doing a lot of this.
Well, that's actually Drew and our nephew Ollie. But still. I did it, too.

Just not as much as them.

And maybe that's why my ribs are hurting so much still.

But enough about the ribs, right?
-------------------------------------

Drew is currently playing a cd that we bought on our honeymoon in California. We bought it because it's a classical artist, William Joseph (who has one of those names in which the first and last are interchangeable, making it really easy to mix up and call him Joseph William by mistake and yes, I've done it more than once), who happens to cover Muse, a band we really love.

The music brings me back to the Borders where we found it. And how excited Drew was to buy it. And how we immediately played it in our rented convertible red punch buggy complete with a flower on the dash that was supposed to have been a mustang convertible.

Turns out the fine print basically said that as long as the top comes down, they could rent you anything. And yes, Drew was a little sad that the mustang he thought he was gonna cruise around in was a girlie bug instead.

I didn't mind so much, though.

And red happens to be one of my favorite colors, so...

------------------------------------------------

It's the 4th of July. I ate a cheeseburger with friends. I watched some fireworks with more friends and family. I unintentionally wore a blue tank top and white shorts.

But even though I considered throwing something red into the mix, I changed shortly after, so it didn't last long.

The thing is, I really enjoyed the cheeseburger. It was delicious. And another thing is that I have a great amount of respect for vegetarians. A lot of the time I wish I could be one of them, I really do. I like the idea of not eating animals. Of eating tons of vegetables and Not Dogs and Boca Burgers. Of ketchup smothering it all so I don't hardly notice a difference anyway.

But.

I think everyone has a different journey and I fully believe that mine involves eating meat.

I. Just. Need. It.

Sometimes I get so hungry that the only thing that will satisfy me is meat. Chicken. Hamburgers. Steak. Ribs. Whatever, but something that is chock full of protein and will not leave me waking up at 3 am in search of something--anything!--to tide me over till morning.

Cause it happens, believe me.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Like I said, I have very admirable friends who are vegetarians and I would love to join their club. But I can't. Not now, anyway.

Not unless I can eat a hamburger while I take minutes for them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In the back of my mind

The concept of time is strange. Confusing. Disappointing, even, in the way it always seems to speed up right when you're good and ready for a slow pace.

I wouldn't mind so much if time had gone by a little slower this week. Already, it's time to go home and I had been fixing my heart on this beach trip for a while now.

Oh well.

Drew always tucks something to look forward to in the back of his mind. Some might say that takes away from living fully in the present, but others might say it aids mightily in the whole process of fostering hope.

Now that this is no longer The Thing To Which I Look Forward, I suppose I should find something else...would it be too predictable for me to say it's the next time I get to come home? Would you rather me take a page out of someone else's adventure book and say that it's my forthcoming trip to Japan? Or maybe our almost positively forthcoming move to New York City? Because those things are exciting, yes, but I much prefer an adventure of the heart and that takes place best when I am home, I think.

It takes place best when I am with Drew, I know.

Not that I don't have some growing to do by myself. Or with roommates who unintentionaly say some off the cuff remark that makes me break down and cry at three am, leaving me vulnerable and glaringly aware of the fact that I am the only female in the house and my
sensitivity is as much a blessing as a curse sometimes.

Ah, people.
They manage to bring out the very best and very worst in us, don't they?

But all this to say that I am very much looking forward to my next trip home.

And to my ribs not hurting so much, because to be perfectly frank, they still do hurt. Especially when I play "monster" with my nieces and nephews and get jumped on as they courageously try to save whoever their fallen cousin in arms happens to be at the moment...but still, I'm smiling as I write this, they are that adorable and amazing.

Is there anything you're looking forward to that is tucked away in the back of your mind?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

beaching

It's been a little while, I know.


And I'm sorry.

Part of it is because the place I am staying does not have one bit of wireless.

But it seems a fair trade for the ocean as our backyard, I'd say.

The other part is that I am at the beach with some of my favorite people in the world and well, nights are currently taken up with laughing until my ribs hurt even more. And then popping some tylenol.

And the days are being taken up by the sun and the waves and twenty or so of us leaving forty or so footprints as we quick step it through the hot sand and wish we hadn't kicked off our flip-flops quite so soon.

I had a few pictures I was going to post tonight, too; but the connection I currently found is not strong enough for that, so I am contenting myself with these words.

The beach is such an interesting place, isn't it?

I mean, it's kind of funny since most of us wear suits that leave not much to the imagination so there's that. And then there's the fact that it's the one place where it's just totally acceptable to pee right through your bathing suit into the ocean water, or rather, the world's largest toilet.

And don't try to tell me you don't do that.

But if you really don't, you should, if for nothing else but the momentary warmth that inevitably transpires.

Because it sure does get cold all up in there.

Just ask my brother, who is currently wearing a wetsuit in the water.

Well not currently as in now since it's 1:38 am and we all know that the evening is sharks' feeding hour and he's not that dumb. Not even close.

Currently as in this week.

And no, he doesn't surf.

We laugh at him some, but he does look quite warm and who doesn't like to be warm?

I myself take an ant's lifetime to even get into the water past my waist and even then spend most of my time holding my arms all bent and close to my torso like a T-Rex with those silly, superfluous little arms, thinking that somehow if my arms aren't as wet as the rest of my body I will be warm.

While in the meantime Drew starts running as soon as he drops his towel on the sand and doesn't stop until his feet hit the water and then he slaps a wave with the length of his body and bam! is completely wet and happy to be so.

Maybe that's indicative of how we live our lives.

Either way, we both end up wet and we both end up happy.