Monday, December 14, 2009

Loving the Gamer in my Man

It's possible that I write better when cold. Like wine or ginger ale, my thoughts are best when chilled. Though that could be said for most of us.

In this case I don't mean that my thoughts have been given a chance to run their course and thereby form themselves into greater literary greatness, but the actual physical temperature of my fingers. When I'm cold, I have a greater proclivity to write. So I guess in a way I will miss these horrible single-pane windows when we move.

My children are nestled snug in their beds. My husband is playing Modern Warfare, which explains at least in part why I am blogging. It is really all I can do online while he games. Watching a movie or catching up on a network T.V. show is out of the question as it slows his game play and might make him or his team lose.

I do not begrudge him his nightly games with such friends as Phred, The Scrub, StOffdog and DecrepitSpoon. No, in fact I often nights find myself at his feet, absent-mindedly massaging his "doggies" (my brother's term for feet) or scratching his legs as I watch and cheer him in his virtual victories. Sometimes those head shots are downright incredible. I even get so wound up that I have been know to yell, "Oh come ON!! You were robbed! You SO got him first!!!" I would say that I am just doing my duty as The Most Awesome Wife Ever, but I would be telling a half-truth.

Yes, enjoying his games as he games does secure my title, but I don't only do it for the glory. I also sit there because the visuals of the game are pretty great. Some more than others, though. For instance, I could sit for a few hours together watching Muad'Dib playing Assassin's Creed I or II. I just think they're beautiful. I also enjoy the story and the all around game play. I also liked Star Wars: the Force Unleashed, and the Prince of Persia series. And the music of Morrowind still takes me back to our second apartment: me pregnant as the day was long, lounging on the couch and scratching Muad'Dib's head as he played and I fell to sleep.

I seriously don't get the women who whine and complain about their casual gaming husbands. I mean really: have you ever even TRIED it? I actually enjoy playing a few choice games myself on Xbox 360. I certainly enjoy the look on my husband's face when he arrives to find me curled up on the LoveSac, finishing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, or winning a game of Settlers of Catan.

Not to mention all the family friendly games that can be had on the consoles nowadays! In fact, we just held an impromptu "Family Night" and finished it off with a few rounds of Battleship and Connect Four. Rivulet and Lemur were actually able to play against each other! Muad'Dib helped and all the while I sat on the floor with a bottle of lotion, massaging little and big feet while cheering on who ever was not in the lead!

Well . . . I suppose that is all I have to say on the matter tonight. And when it comes down to it this post is really just a reminder of how much I love my life, my children and especially my husband. Even if loving him means I can't watch an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" before bed. Instead, I will go snuggle with him while he games. And, rest assured, I'm going to like it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thinking Willy-Nilly

Spurred on by the comment of my long-time-not-seen Mother-in-law, I write before retiring to bed. At least this time it's my own bed.

Ah, and casting for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is complete! So now if I am beset by theatrical images, they have faces and bodies to them. I can finally begin mental blocking, which I then run by my better half. And I mean the good kind of mental blocking, not the mental blocking that means things are gummed up and unmoving, but in fact the blocking that means I know exactly where everyone and everything will go. I outline their traffic patterns and reasons for said traffic patterns.

Muad'Dib is dangerously right: I'm going to enjoy this.

Part of me doesn't want to. Part of me is holding on with both hand and all ten fingernails to the Sayyadina that came home from "Into the Woods," hung up her theater shoes and just was. At home with my children, keeping up the house; staying within walking distance from my own front door . . . these are the things I want to hang on to. I was released from all the garbage that overwhelmed me last winter and spring. I was unshackled from the drama of the theater. I was looking forward to more home and more family and more children.

And now . . . the TheaterGeek inside is scrambling for secure footing in my head. As well it should be, seeing as The Husband and I are co-directors, and I'm the only one between the two of us who has done it before.

I have noticed in the past two weeks that I have lost a part of myself. It's a small part - but I have begun to miss it. I used to be a ListMaker. You know: To Do, To Buy, To Bake, Gifts, To Clean, To Pack, etc. Any process that could be made faster and clearer by having a list laid out before hand HAD a list. And then, as we were gearing up for Auditions I noticed that I had not the slightest inclination to list.

I then sat down and TRIED to list. It was very difficult. After a few minutes, holding my head between my hands, staring down at the lined paper of a purple notebook thinking "Where do I start?" I realized that I was unable. I remembered that I was once able, and was no longer so.
Over the aforemeantioned two weeks, I have attempted lists numerous times - just today, in fact - to little avail. It is much like trying to break an egg by squeezing it in your hand. Or like walking through a maze while hungry and dehydrated. You know there's a rhyme and reason to the twists and turns - or that there could be if you thought about it hard enough - but you're so miserable, you don't give a damn. You just want to sit down and - dude.

I apologize for the "dude," but it really fits my brain right now.

My infamous "Give-up Attitude" is not gone! It's still here! I wonder that perhaps it always has been.

No . . . I was not a "Give-up"-er my entire life. Were that so, I would not have ever been a singer, dancer, college student, good cook or good daughter. Or good wife or have well behaved children. No, this is a new-ish malady.

It's likely that the give-up attitude is directly linked to my weight, in which case I do not desire to further discuss it. In fact, I am now going to abandon this thought process altogether.

Except that in doing so, I shut off my mind from the free flow of inspired thought. And still I choose to keep it that way. So I will go to bed as I have been advised and try not to think of these things anymore.

No; not to think of possibly being over-run by TheaterGeek. not think of being a "give-upper" or an "Issue Skirt-er." Nor will I dwell on my being the "Dream Breaker" as I'm sure I was for some people while casting.

I just have too many thoughts I don't want to have. And the thoughts I do want to have and DO want to write about keep getting shoved violently aside, bombarded and trampled over by all the other yuck that I have taken in over the last few weeks like unaware shoppers on Black Friday.

Perhaps I always will need Theater. Sitting before my laptop, thinking that thought - I let out a low whine like a dog. How do my posts become so terribly personal like this? I suppose it has been quite a while, actually, since most of you were invited willy-nilly into my brain and heart, to be lost along the routes that my thoughts travel from one to the other.

Well, I guess then for those of you who missed these "Wonka Factory" type explorations, you will be pleased by my vulnerability and unwillingness to really see myself - and the opportunity that this give you to see me so clearly. From so far away.

And those of you who just skipped to the bottom of the post hoping to see pictures because the blog itself looked dangerously wordy: you were right to do so.

Good night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"YOU rise, YOU shine!" *grrr*

It is now 4:53 am on a Wednesday morning. I went to "bed" at 11:45pm and little more than dozed until around 3 am.
Muad'Dib and I had callbacks for 7 Brides last night. The dancing and the faces and the movements and the judging and the nuances of casting has been mosh-pit-ing in my head. Couple that with an uncomfortable couch, weird noises in my parent's house, an ill-sleeping Rivulet, a stuffy nose due to dog hair, and Lemur talking in his sleep a foot from me . . . and it translates to a night of un-rest.

So, what is a girl to do this early in the stupid morning? I've already watched a few things on Hulu. I've cursed the fact that I didn't just go home and risk being up until 1 - at least I would be asleep right now. I've debated eating something and tried to focus on all my bodily sensations so I wouldn't over-react and assume I was suffering from Anxiety or something. No, just dropping blood sugar. It feels the same, though.

We've been up to alot, really. Muad'Dib finished his run as Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast" at the Playhouse. I helped out my mom by running mic's for her show "Ebenezer" which finished performing just after Thanksgiving. We held auditions and the first set of callbacks for 7 Brides, which Muad'Dib and I will be directing together (to open February 19th).

Lemur has continued school. He's doing very well and his teacher is forever commenting on his art skills. I guess he's got a bit more "Robert" in him than we thought! Rivulet has continued on her path to turning four, but not on the one that passes potty-training. She avoids that path like it's a dark and spooky tree-lined Walk of Doom.

We will be moving into a new house sometime before the middle of January. Yay. A house. I'm exited for the open floor plan, superfluous closets and two car garage!

That exclamation point took a lot out of me. You'd think that because I'm so tired, I'd be able to sleep, right? Apparently not.

And I'm becoming aware of just how loud my keystrokes are, with my little ones sleeping almost peacefully not 10 feet away. Perhaps I should try another go at sleeping. I'm just concerned that I will merely continue the parade of theatrical judgement and so forth that thus far has kept me from sleep's sweet respite.

Oh that my mind would turn off; that I might be in my own bed, listening to my husband sleep and the heater click on an off periodically. My parent's apparently have a real gor'ram DRAGON under the stairs to serve as their furnace! Seriously! Every twenty minutes or so, this incredible belching grumph interrupts an otherwise close-to -silent environment. My heart does hopscotch - missing a beat - and then my brain tries to make sense of the feeling. "What the . . .!?" And despite that, despite the monster bellowing and roaring to life: my hands and toes are like little dexterous icicles. Okay, my hands are. My toes are regular ice blocks, not being very dexterous at all.

And yet, if and when I lay down, I quickly become overheated which - as most of us know - causes a normal nose to stuff up. Great. Now my back is cramping AND I can't breathe. Ugh.

I am meant to wake up and begin my day in one hour and twenty minutes. 6:30am to those of you not keeping track of the time. How will I be able? Suck it up and move forward, I guess.
Take the boy to school, clean the house . . . it's likely I'll be able to fit in a nap after the boy returns from his futile half-Wednesday. I mean really, if one is going to award a half-day to children, shouldn't it be on a FRIDAY so we can begin the weekend early? A Wednesday just messes everyone up!!

Meh. It's not like anyone listens to me. Particularly not during or through a ranting, incoherent and barely cohesive cognitive rambling at 5:12 in the morning.

I suppose it would behoove me to try again. If I fail, there is always "V" on Hulu. I haven't watched past the first episode. And I've just given up on FastDumbward. If I wanted to be spoon-fed a "Lost" type show, I'd just watch those horrible two hour ABC recaps. At least it'd be over in two hours!

Fine, you don't like me cranky-funny and sleep deprived? neither do I. I thought this would turn into a beautiful and majestic geyser of creativity . . . but it's just not. So . . . whatever.

also, if anyone knows what movie my title comes from, I will be most impressed."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Story - Based on Actual Events

The Mystery of the Missing Legos


While cleaning his room Saturday morning, my son made a grisly discovery.
“Mom!” he screamed from his room.
I ran to see what the problem was, “What?” I asked as I burst through the door.
I was met with large, wet, blue eyes brimming with tears. My son was squatting next to his most precious possession: a canister of 500 Lego’s he had received last year for Christmas and on his face was a look of pure anguish. “My Lego’s are missing!”
I made a face, “No they’re not. I’m sure they’re all in there. Remember how even when we opened it for the first time, it was only full halfway? That’s just how they do it.”
“No!” He yelled in protest. I could see he was both frustrated and hurt that I didn’t believe him. “Look!”
Rolling my eyes at his dramatic flair, I moved closer and looked into the plastic box. He was right. There were maybe 100 Legos inside. And they were all tiny. Where were the rest? I looked up at him, “Holy cow!” I said, “Where are the rest?”
Now it was his turn to roll his eyes, “I don’t know. If I knew, I would go get them!”
My son was only 6.5 years old, and even at his age he was not one for losing things; especially not his Lego’s. It was nearly Thanksgiving, and he hadn’t lost a single one out of 500 in the eleven months since he’d received them. I had never stepped on Legoes in the night, I had never vacummed up a stray block. From Christmas morning till now, he had taken care of each and every one like they were tiny bars of gold.
“Well, where could they be?” I muttered under my breath. By now I was searching my memory banks to remember if I had seen 400 stray legos lying around anywhere. I had. But it was days ago.
“Hey Lemur, remember on Monday, when you came home from school?”
“Uh-huh.”
“Do you remember seeing the Legos when you came home that day?”
His eyes lit up with a 6 year-olds rage and then narrowed, “RIVER!!” He yelled his sister’s name just as I looked over to her in the adjoining Family room. She jumped a little at the sound.
“What?” she answered, surprised but unbullied by his tone.
He stood and stomped over to her. I followed. “Where are my Legos?!” he demanded.
“You don’t need to yell at her, Liam,”I chided.

“But she TOOK them - without asking! - and now I can’t find them!”
I turned his face to look at me, “But you don’t have to yell.” Then I took a deep breath and he followed my example. “River was building with daddy," I reminded him, "so don’t get mad at her. Let’s just ask if she knows where they went.”
I squatted down next to my 3 year old daughter who was playing with a Weebles treehouse, “River-bottom, do you know where Liam’s Lego’s went?” She ignored me, “River.” She looked up, “Remember when you played with Daddy the other day, and you played with Liam’s Legos?”
“Uh-huh. We built a castle.”
“Oh, yes.” I said, remembering the super-awesome dollhouse/castle my husband had built for his daughter out of his son’s Legos. Come to think of it, super-awesome doesn’t do it justice . . . anyway, I asked, “Do you remember where you put them when you were done?”
She sniffed absently. She said “Nope,” and went back to playing.
“Hmm.” I said, “I’ll go call Daddy and see if he remembers.”
I opened the phone and went up the stairs, hoping that I would just see the Lego’s displayed somewhere higher than the kids normally looked.
“Hey honey.”
“What’s up?”
“Do you remember the castle you built with River on Monday?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you know where it is?”
“You mean now?”
“Yes.”
“No.”
“Oh.”
“Why?”
I heard a scream downstairs. “Because your son has noticed that about 400 Legos are missing from his box and is now screaming like a banshee at your daughter whom he blames for the loss.”
“Ah.” He started laughing.
“It’s not funny,” I chastised half-heartedly.
“Yes it is. Cause you’re home and I’m not,” he said, giggling.
I chuckled a little as well, until another bout of screaming wafted up the stairs. “You seriously don’t remember cleaning them up or something?”
“No. Did you check – “ and then he listed about fourteen of the most obvious places in the house, each of which I had already given the once-over.
“I don’t know what to do. He’s going crazy!”
“Just tell him it’s a game of Hide and Go Seek and the Legos’ are hiding.”
“See, this is why I call you,” I said with a sigh, “because I was about to go out and buy him more!” I laughed, but my husband didn’t see that it was funny.
“No, don’t do that.”
I laughed harder. “I won’t. Thanks. Love you.”
I returned back down the stairs to find my son crying on his bed, his sister standing in the doorway to his room with her hands on her hips yelling, “No. I. Didn’t!”
“YES YOU DID!” He screamed.
And back to the job.
“Okay, you two. Knock it off.”
River had the decency to look up at me with regret (for yelling or for being caught – it didn’t matter to me), but my son continued to cry even after I sent River out to play in the family room.
I sat beside him on the bed, prepared to implement my husband’s idea.
“Hey Lemur. Let’s pretend that the Lego’s are hiding, and we have to find them.”
“But we don’t have any clues!” He wailed through slowing tears.
And then it hit me. Not Hide-and-Go-Seek!
“Well, it is a mystery . . .” I began, hoping he’d take the bait.
His crying stopped. He looked at me with wild joy in his wet eyes, “Like a real mystery?” the excitement in his voice was obvious.
I nodded. I had a feeling this would work better if it was entirely his idea. He actually needed no further prodding.
He literally jumped off the bed, tears forgotten and pain behind him. He was in the throes of imagination. “We can find clues!” he exclaimed. “We have to question witnesses and keep a log!” He scurried to his desk and found a tiny Spiderman notebook, “Here, you write everything down. Let’s solve the case!” He put his hand out toward me. The excitement was catching. I put my hand on his, he put his other one on mine, and my other hand made the top of the pile. “Real Mystery!” he shouted.
“Let’s get going!”

“Okay, first things first,” I had taught him that platitude about four months ago when he began having chores. He loved to use it.“When did they go missing?”
“The last time Daddy or River saw them was on Monday, before Kenneth came over for dinner.” I said.
He was pacing in front of me as I sat on the bed, with one arm behind his back and his other hand stroking his chin, “We had better call Kenneth and see if he saw it,” he surmised.
“Good idea.” I took out the phone and began dialing.
“You intrerrogate him,” he instructed.
My eyes lit up in surprise. I didn’t know he knew that word. “Okay,” I answered.
Kenneth picked up after the third ring. “ ‘ello ‘ello.”
“Hey minion.”
“ ‘ello! Mrs. Muad’Dib!”
“I’m on assignment,” I said, my tone formal.
“Really?”
“Liam and I are on a case. And we need your help. You are a witness.”
“Oh, am I?” He sounded downright gleeful.
“Yes. Will you help us?” Liam was listening with baited breath, his eyes never leaving my face.
“Always as ever I can, Sayyadina.”
I smiled at the use of my multiple Dune-themed nicknames, “Thanks. You came over for dinner on Monday night, correct?”
“Correct.”
“And what time did you get here?”
“We arrived shortly after 5:30 pm,” He answered with a clipped tone. I knew he was doing it for Liam, for full dramatic effect. And it was working. Liam was intent on the conversation.
“And what did you see as you entered the house?”
“Uh . . .” He seemed confused, “You want me to describe everything?”
Liam interjected, “No! Did you see my Legos?!”
Kenneth and I laughed. And he answered, “No I don’t remember seeing any Legos. I did see the kids sitting at the pirate table, and they were watching Enchanted.”
“They would have been built like a house or castle?” I offered, hoping to jog his memory.
“Nope. Only clean house smelling of wonderful chowder-y goodness.”
Liam looked disappointed and we were silent for a moment.
“Does that help?” Kenneth asked.
“Yes. Thanks. We better get back to the investigation.”
“Anytime. Bye.” And we hung up.
Liam flopped on the bed, face first, his legs dangling off the edge, “That didn’t help at all!” he moaned.
“Oh yes it did.”
He rolled over to look at me, “It did?”
“Yes.” I began writing what we learned in the Log as I spoke, “It means that the Lego castle was cleaned up BEFORE Kenneth came over.”
“So we know it couldn’t have wandered outside, and that Kenneth didn’t see it, so he didn’t want to steal it,” Liam offered.
I nodded my head slowly, “uh, yeah. That, or it means that either Daddy or you or River cleaned it up.”
We were quiet for a moment as I finished writing.
Liam suddenly jumped up, “Return to the scene of the crime!” he exclaimed.
“Do it!” I said.
We ran happily through the family room and up the stairs, into the living room. Liam circled the room before coming to a stop in front of the couch under the window.
“Give me the log,” he said.
I did and he began drawing a sketch.
When he finished, he handed it back to me saying, “Here is what my lego’s looked like last time I saw them.” He had drawn a tall house, with an arrow pointing up along the side with the measurement “400 Legos” written next to it. “This,” he said, pointing to the arrow, “Means that it was 400 Legos tall.” Then he had drawn the inside of the house, with its two staircases and benches, and the lightning rod on the top. After I had perused the drawing, he took the log back, flipped the page, and began sketching again.
This time it was the room as he remembered it when he came home from school. He drew the couch and everything else in relation to it: River’s table, the mini DVD player, and the Legos. He even drew an arrow to show what direction he traveled after he came in.
(From the Log:
Scene of the crime: Living room.
Witness: Liam said he saw the castle on River’s little grey plastic table, which was in front of the couch. River was watching a movie, and the DVD player was on the couch. “I was surprised when I came in. Then I was mad. Then I came over in this direction. )
“Okay, honey.” I said as I prepared myself to write his answer, “What time did you get home?”
“Uh . . .” I remembered he couldn’t tell time.
“Was it a short day or regular day?”
He thought. “Regular.”
“Did daddy take you to the store first, or did you come straight home?”
“Straight home.”
I seemed to remember asking Caleb to pick up some potatoes and milk from the store, “You sure?” I asked.
“Yes!” he said, with that little burst of child attitude.
“Okay! So. That means you got home around 3:30 in the afternoon.”
“That sounds about right,” he conceded.
“I didn’t start dinner until 4 pm. So, there are 30 minutes where you and River didn’t have to clean up . . . did you play with her?”
He was pacing the floor again, deep in thought. “Yes. I remember that I was mad, but then wanted to help her build a tower. She was playing with her little dolls.”
“Good.”
“Oh!!”
“What?!” I asked, excited by his “aha” tone.
“River stopped playing because she was intent on Enchanted. She was only watching that. Then I got intent too.”
“Intent?” Who was this boy and how did he learn these fantastic words and know how to use them in every day conversation?! I tried to keep my pride and surprise to myself, so as to not make him feel self-conscious.
“So at 4:30 when Daddy and I asked you to clean up, who cleaned up the Legos?”
His face fell and he stopped pacing. “I don’t remember.” His sadness pulled at my heart. We had hit a mental dead end.
New tactic.
“Let’s search the area for clues!”
“Okay,” he said. He flopped on the ground and began looking under the couch.
Ten minutes passed as we quietly searched the living room for clues. Nothing relating to the case was found. I could see Liam was becoming discouraged and distracted, and frustrated that he was getting distracted.
“Okay!” I exclaimed, jumping up from my spot on the floor by the recliner, “I have a plan.”
His eyes lit up again, “What? WHAT?!” He was good at building his own excitement.
“Let’s begin a full scale search!”
He looked confused.
“Start in one corner of the house and systematically search every nook and cranny until we find either a clue or the Lego’s themselves!”
“What’s stestematicalily?”
“Oh, uh . . .” I searched for a way to describe my big girl word, “It means in order. Like in a system. System-attic-ly.”
“Oh.” He nodded and I could see he completely understood. “Let’s go!”
We picked up the Log and the box of stuff we had found in the living room – though it had nothing to do with the Legos – and walked to the hallway between my room and my daughters.
“Which room should we start with first?” I asked.
“River’s,” he said authoritatively, “because it is farthest south.” I loved his reasoning.
“Alright!” I placed the log and the box on my bed and we entered River’s room.
Liam picked up the Log, “Wait!” he said. I froze in place for comedic affect.
“What?”
“I have to draw it first, so we remember what it looked like.”
That was an ominous suggestion, and I wondered how he thought it would look when we were done.
He spent a few moments sketching the room. There was a vanity with no mirror on the south wall, and next to it was a wire bench, and in the west corner sat an ABC toy chest/bench where all her toys were kept. He drew her daybed on the west wall, and the cedar chest next to her bedside table on the north wall. “Okay.” He declared when he was done. “Start searching!”
He walked over to the ABC bench, “This is the most south corner of the whole house. We start here.”
“Done!” I said
He opened the toy chest and rifled inside. I leaned over the chest to look behind, as it was set at an angle and there was a nice triangle of space between it and the corner. There was a pink pool noodle standing on it’s end, a 3ft stuffed Dora doll, a baby blankie and . . . I started laughing.
“What?” Liam demanded, “What is it?!”
From behind the chest, I lifted out the Castle of Legos.
Liam began jumping up and down, and only stopped long enough to grab it out of my hands. “WE FOUND IT!!! We SOLVED the Mystery!!!”
I added my laughter to his excitement and we jumped around together for a moment or two. It wasn’t important how it got there – whether it was put there by Mom because she didn’t want it taken apart and who then completely forgot about it or not– most importantly, it was found! After a while, Liam stopped celebrating and looked at the building lovingly.
“Mom?”
“Yes dear?”
“Good detective work.”
I smiled. “You too, son.”
“Let’s go take this thing apart.”
And so ended the mystery of the missing Legos.
November 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

I really should have built an ark back in December.

My wake up call this morning?
"Mom, there's another flood."
For a moment I thought I was dreaming. "Wha?" I mutter sleepily.
"Mom. Mom! There's another flood with lots of water. Just like the last one."
It was my son. Was he speaking Biblicly? Was I about to drown with other sinners for not building an ark? I tried to shake the sleep from my head. "What do you mean?"
"Downstairs. The carpet's all wet. Like last time."
I was awake quick as a flash. Muad'Dib struggled a bit more and groggily grumbled, "Yagattabekiddinme!"
"Mom, come see!"
I followed my son down the stairs, expecting to feel the sickly slosh of water oozing up from carpet on the landing, but it was dry. Maybe I was dreaming after all. I carefully walked in front of the T.V., the cases which housed our beloved books, and the couch. Nothing. My heart began to return to it's normal rhythm.
"No, mom, over here."
I could hear the awful sucking sound of his foot lifting off the wet carpet. Just in front of the bathroom and laundry room, a dark spot was spreading. I stepped into it myself, hoping it was just a little damp. No such luck. Soaked. Standing water only. I ventured into the office, but it was dry as a bone. Lemur's room as well would continue to be a water free haven. But the last two rooms weren't so lucky. The bathroom and laundry room both had about a half an inch standing water. Ugh.
By this time Muad'Dib had dressed and come downstairs. We destroyed my perfectly packed closet, removing everything from the crib to the christmas decorations. The sump pump seemed to be doing it's job. My office is in upheaval to prove it. We then moved the washer and drier from the wall, hoping to understand what was happening. We found more than our fair share of socks and hair elastics, but no leak. Lemur was kind enough to point out that it was wet by the Rock Band stuff, which led to the discovery that the ENTIRE NORTH WALL was wet as well, with a gap already visible between wall and baseboard. Double Ugh.
My hunny and I moved all the furniture affected by the liquid onslaught, and were grateful again to have at least a dry corner for the couch and entertainment center. Lemur was just excited to have the LovSac in his room again.
The best part of the morning was when Rivulet joined us, happy to apprise us of the situation. She solomnly strolled around the basement, announcing her findings as she went: "A little wet here. It's much wet here. More water than over there. Yep, it's wet right here." She's so cute.
The landlord has come, but is unsure what is causing the inconvenience. From past experience, even AFTER the problem is diagnosed and a resolution is reached, it will be a week before we are dry enough to put anything back where it belongs. This revelation in mind, please note the following exchange between me and Muad'Dib as we ascended the stairs after moving our furnitureto a dry corner of the basement:
Me, under my breath (think Yosemite Sam): "Dirty filth and filthy foul, gribble grumble grouse-y pheasant!!!"
Muad'Dib, laughing: "Why are you so funny when you are mad?"
Me, whining: "I don't know!"
Muad'Dib laughs harder. Somehow my whining is also funny when I'm mad.

On the upside, Lemur is getting over the flu. He had a fever for three days, as well as being achy, ULTRA tired, coughing and enduring a sore throat. The first day he was sick, he took THREE two hour naps. This from a boy who hasn't taken a midday nap since he was 2 1/2!
We've enjoyed playing games, cuddling, and watching Daffy Duck's Quackbusters. Lemur's favorite part is when a possessed lady duck is floating in the air and recites the following rhyme, while changing into a demon half-way through: "Mary had a little lamb but I ATE it!" He just laughs and laughs.
Also my sister went to see Muad'Dib in BandtheB on Saturday, after which she stayed the night and all day Sunday with us. I sure like my sister.

So, in the face of this flood . . . I'm deciding not to let it ruin my day. I still have the upstairs. The books aren't ruined. Nothing in the laundry room could get ruined, because I had the foresight to clean it out on Saturday afternoon. Go me.
I just had to write it out, give it that "I am so funny when I'm mad" twist, so when I look downstairs, I can remember: anybad thing that happens today will be a funny thing to laugh at later.
"Do you remember the time my basement flooded three times in a year?!"
No. It's too soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A day of home-y joy!

Meet our new friend: N+. *Lemur inserts the following: "Made by my mother. You can have one if you want. Just ask her nice and she'll make one just this nice for you, too."* He was requested by my son after his Reunion Bandana ninja became so well loved he could no longer hold up his head. So this morning I got an old sheet from MRR and while he was at school constructed this new little friend. But the real question was: would Lemur approve?
He says the above is his best smiling face because he is so happy. He thanked me all the way home from school, saying it was the best and most clever ninja ever. He especially loved the braided headband and sword holder.

Then I was surprised to hear that Rivulet wanted to play in the sprinkler. After a few moments of "play", however, I got the feeling she onlywanted to wear her swimsuit and dance around outside.
Oh well. She's cute anyway.






There's only one more thing you have to do and you know what it is!!!

Do it Rockapella!!!
Last week Muad'Dib took me on a date. We went down to Thanksgiving point, had dinner at Iceberg Drive In and enjoyed a night outdoors with acapella music. T-5 opened the evening. See anyone familiar below? Yeah, that's Karston. He and Muad'Dib went to school together. Then came the main event! ROCKAPELLA!!!! Below is Scott Leonard, the only remaing original member of the group that sang on Carmen Sandiego all those years ago.

Papa was a Rolling Stone . . .
The funniest moment was when Kevin (the one on the far left) was singing "Zombie Jamboree" and forgot his prop. That prop is a fake eye that he takes from his pocket and drops on the ground. The song is supposed to continue as "Woah-o-oh Zombie Jamboree, it's getting very hard for me to see. I cannot find my eyeball anywhere . . ." and so on. So . . he forgets his eye and just stays doubled over for a moment. Scott comes up and says - in character - "what's up, Kevin?" Kevin, completely laughing and out of character (this was the encore, after all) whispers, "I don't have it! I don't have it." Those of us close enough to hear him started snickering. Until Jeff Thatcher (the BeatBox) offered: "Uh, I swallowed a bug." Everyone laughs. Kevin stands up and sings, "Woah-o-oh Zombie Jamboree, it's getting very hard for me to sing. I'm swallowing bu-ugs every where Woah-o-oh!"


Loved it. We have seen Rockapella perform live at least three times. I enjoyed it the first time, cried the second time and sat four feet from them this time. Loved it. The date, the outdoors, the music, the entertainment. The very best was being with my wonderful husband. Love him.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Hand of Me.

Many people struggle to see the hand of God in their lives. I am not nor have I for any great length of time been one of those people. Granted, there have been a good month or four when I wallowed in thoughts of "Where art Thou?!" But all in all, I lived my life as a woman of faith.

This morning, I was leaned over to flick on a light switch and felt what can only be described as a painful tearing. It felt like my lower back muscles just ripped apart. Now logically, I'm still walking and bending so that can't have been the case. So . . . let's just say "WHAT THE HECK!??" and take a deep breath and move on. No muscles tore, nothing broke. I'm just in a 6 amount of pain and all I did was reach over to turn on a light. The sort of thing a woman of 60 might experience.

While trying to further move and carry on with my morning routine I thought to myself, "Why me?" and "Why can't I just get a blessing and be healed?!" Healed of back problems, weight problems, super spiritual sensitivity (the bad ways), and roller coaster emotions. I want all these things to go away. I have been healed of other things. I have seen other people healed of things. I have seen the hand of God present in my life.

But what about the hand of Me?

That thought came at me out of months and years of Muad'Dib and Wildman and Fedaykin and others telling me that I must obey true principles in order to see true results.
But isn't my fantastic faith a "Get out of responsibility free" card? Why can't I just faith it away?

Because faith isn't my problem. I got faith. I got faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, the Messiah, my personal Savior and perfect example. I have faith in Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God. I have faith in God, who is my Eternal Father. I have faith that if I live the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the scriptures and inspired words of the prophets past present and future, I will gain eternal life along with those other members of my family who choose to achieve the same. Bam. I have faith that life continues on after this world. I have faith that family continues on after this world. I have faith that God loves me, is aware of me and is invested in my progress and joys.

Okay, I misspoke. Faith is the problem. But not my faith in God. My faith in ME is my problem. My faith in physical laws for physical law sake is my problem. The statement Leto makes to Moneo keeps running through my mind, "Is not your obedience lesson enough?"

If any of you remember, about this time last year I hurt my back pretty severely, after having been exercising, yoga-ing and eating well. I learned a valuable lesson about hope. Well, I learned what hope was and that I didn't really have it or implement it daily.

I went on to drop a couple dozen pounds before Christmas. Then . . . I gave up. Muad'Dib says it perfectly when he told me that the most important thing to him was that I not adopt a "give up attitude."

Yet this give-up attitude and I have held company for nearly six months. I haven't watched my weight except to beat myself up about it. I haven't exercised except as it pertained to being in a play - which was minimal. I have barely cooked at all. I have ignored many relationships outside my home. I have barely attempted to fill my calling at church.

Through this time I have prayed about certain things felt nothing. Then there are other, less personal things I have prayed about - like a friend being able to adopt a baby, like finding opportunities I sought, even financial help - and answers to those prayers come within a week!

This leads me to wonder if everyone else is right. I took control of my health and care once, and it worked out. It worked out beautifully. I told my body what to do, never broke the rules and in just over three months I went from 160 lbs to 118 lbs.

But over the past few years I have given myself over to my emotions. My emotions and feelings run the ever-loving show. I eat according to how I feel. Then I act according to the way I feel. What a messed up way to live every hour of every day. What an uncertain crazy "what the hell" way to do things! No one is safe. And if what you're living isn't working for you: change it.

So here is my current conclusion: My body is not solely an emotional or spiritual conduit, a pipe through which my life experiences either flow or clog. My body, quite basically is a machine. It is the vehicle in which I will travel through this life and this world.
So what's with all the abuse? What's with all the emotional molly-coddeling? What good does that do? My body doesn't want things that will hurt it! My body only wants to run at optimum performance! Which means that only my emotions want me to satiate them with comfort.

Comfort can be found in many areas. Food need not be that comfort. I would not take chocolate and butterscotch syrup and dump it into the engine of my car when I'm depressed hoping that I will feel better!! Does the clunking and the breaking apart of my engine really make it better? NO!

Where is this blog and it's rambing road of thought going? It's coming to the declaration that I need not look to the Hand of God to remove the burden of my weight. I must take my machine to the shop and sacrifice whatever I must to get the thing back in perfect working condition. Though if you ask Muad'Dib or any other Ayn Randian, Sacrifice is only the act of giving up something you want for something you want MORE. I will come out the victor. I just have to stop thinking with my vicious emotions and hunker down.

Get it done. Gain a testimony of the power of ME to fix my own self!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunset on the Reunion. Oh, and the kidlets.











BLERG!!! (And not in a good way)

"So Michael is out there. What are we going to do when we find him?"
"Bring him back."
"What if he doesn't want to come back?"
"I'll talk to him."
"I think he's beyond listening to reason."
"So you think we should just leave him. Write him off?"
"Who are we to decide what people can or can't do?"

- Conversation between Jack and Locke in the second season of Lost.


I had an old friend call me today and tell me a very sad story about her mother in law who was sick and getting progressively sicker. She was upset that the government was failing her mother in law in regards to health care. Medicare, Social Security and so on. She talked my ear off about the righteous indignation she spouted to customer care operators and their supervisors. Then she finished this story with: "It just doesn't seem right."

So I asked her, "Are you saying it doesn't seem right that the government isn't taking care of your mother in law, even though she meets none of the lawful criteria for said help, or it doesn't seem right that a woman as old and as smart as her would have never bought disability or Long Term Care insurance as a protection against this kind of thing, seeing as it runs in her family?"

"What?"

~*~

These things kill me. Well, these things and the "I pledge to serve President Obama" video that was recently shown in a Farmington, Utah School. (I watched it on YouTube, but wouldn't recommend it unless you have a strong stomach.)

Really? A man wants to go out into the jungle after his son - personal safety be damned! - but it is somehow every one's JOB to go bring him back whether he wants to come back or not. And in this scenario, we are supposed to be rooting for Jack for being a caring guy, a team player. Ugh.

A woman works a bit in her life. She's mostly a stay at home mom. She has a certain illness that runs in the family. She never sees fit to put away even $65 a month into a policy that is DESIGNED to take care of her if she is stricken with that illness, and somehow the GOVERNMENT is the bad guy?

A bunch of "famous people" get on screen and pledge to do this and that, mainly be greener and be superfluously nicer (smile more, learn the names of their other rich neighbors, etc), asking you what you will pledge; followed by a Brady Bunch x 10 of their heads all pledging service to OBAMA!!

It hurts. It hurts my little soul in this big world. It's painful that kids who watch the President's address to children have to be TOLD not to pick on the kids who choose not to.

Maybe this is what happens when I read the paper. I think. I become involved emotionally in the dealings of this mad world and wonder . . . Then I get emotional and use a bit of anger because what I really feel is powerless. I can't change it.

I can only teach my children the principles of the gospel. I can teach them stewardship and respect for private property. I can teach them a solid work ethic. I can teach them how to be kind and diplomatic and honest. I can teach them to trade (I don't really emphasise the sharing thing. Trading makes everyone happy. Sharing just makes them resent the person they had to share with and me: the person who FORCED them.)

These things I will do. Hoping that it is enough . . . because it is the only arena where I hold any power at all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of First Grade

My boy has begun his first day of First Grade (as the title denotes). I had planned to dress him snappily in a button up shirt and khaki pants, but this past week he seemed to find the approaching inevitable stressful. So while at Wal-Mart, I bought him two special shirts. He chose to wear one to begin the venture. He picked, as you can see, the Ghostbusters shirt sporting the glow-in-the-dark phrase: "I've been slimed." He loves it!

For anyone who has not yet heard the story, Lemur was at the Chiropractor with me. The Chiro handed him a silver instrument to play with while working on Rivulet. Lemur wandered away, deep in thought. Moments later he proclaimed, "You have ectoplasmic residue in this corner!'
Doc: "I have what?"
Lemur: *gesturing to the instrument*"My PKE meter is showing you have ghost activity."
The Doc then turned questioning eyes to me, "Did he just say 'ectoplasmic residue'?"
Me: "That's my boy."




Rivulet hasn't been all that excited for the first day, either. This morning she was rolling around on the ground proclaiming that she wanted Lemur to stay home with us all day. To address this, I asked Lemur what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied, "Scientist. The ONLY scientist in the world!"
So I explained to my distressed princess that I knew nothing about science (to which truth Muad'Dib will attest!), so he needs to go to school and learn all he can. She seemed okay with that.


So, Muad'Dib, Rivulet, Lemur and I walked to the brand new School, and - after being walloped in the face by that "new school smell," we led Lemur to his class. He promptly sat down at his desk, made friends with the kid next to him and pulled a face saying, "Take a picture." After the picture was taken? "You can go now, mom." But as I got to the door I heard his little voice, "Mom?"
"Yes dear?"
"Just don't forget to pick me up, okay?"
"Okay."


So . . . one kid in school for upwards of four hours a day (depending on if it's a full day or half day - which this school seems fond of changing on a dime!). Another three years old and missing her brother home all the day.
I have a feeling there will be much cleaning, sewing and tea parties on the horizon for the two of us. Possibly even some doll playing or mommy-daughter dates to libraries and Grandma's house.
I will also be working part-ish time for my father again.
2009-2010 has begun for this family. And what a beautiful day to call the first! Did you SEE the clouds on Ben Lomond this morning???!! It was like Heavenly Father was saying, "I know this is hard. Here, enjoy the weather as you walk home all alone, leaving your son in someone else's care . . ." It helped a bit. And I offer Him thanks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Theatrical Cleanse is done. Time to assess the damage:


Much Ado About Nothing: Beatrice.

I learned that sometimes my strength, leadership skills and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-intuition decision making is very helpful.

I also learned that other times, being a good actress (aka shutting up) is more helpful.

I learned that I can address a theatrical crisis with grace and confidence that calms those around me.
I learned over two hundred lines. Sometimes it pays to watch the Kenneth Branagh version over and over and over between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.

Turns out that I will endure quite a bit of pain to get a specific look for a role. Case in point: check out those curls. Those are mine. And they were accomplished by wearing my hair in sponge curlers for eight to ten hours a day, resulting in pains when I would move my face, a headache and beautiful curls that would go from tight to soft and feminine in the course of a show.

I learned that my optimism is contagious.

I learned when to keep my opinions to myself. Love goes further.

I learned that I CAN shut up when working with my mom.

I learned to trust my mom as a director.

I learned not to fight my mom's battles, or even to secretly want to. It's one thing to theoretically understand my mom, it's another to gain an active testimony of her ability in that light.

I learned that I really CAN let go of things that are not my responsibility. It takes a lot of work, but less work than getting involved and then being bent out of shape that my help doesn't actually help.

I learned that cast members can be absolute beasts backstage toward the director. And they must not be thinking much, either - just spouting off whatever whiny filth enters their mind because quite a bit of it was said to or in front of me. "Hello! I'm her daughter for crying out loud! You think I'm not going to set you straight?" Maybe they really thought they were right. Thanks to Wildman and Dreampacker and Trailblazer for teaching me how to redirect perception without causing hurt feelings. Boy did that come in handy. I was a master at the art of situation diffusion without actually defending anyone or putting anyone on the defense.

I learned that my instincts are good.
I also learned that my mother's direction is like holding up a magnifying glass to whatever talent I brought to the table. The Beatrice I performed was 100 time better and more varied than the one I had intended to play.

I was able to take the fear that used to breed my anger - the fear of being powerless - and translate it into a Beatrice worth playing and worth watching. I understood her as a woman who was powerless whenever it counted. On one hand, it's sad I didn't completely grasp that until closing night, but on the other, how glorious that I had the epiphany just in time to give a performance that will live in my head as perfection. I still cry thinking about it. And I heard - not just saw but HEARD people in the audience crying with me. That's quite the thing.

I really learned grace. But more on that later.

We opened and closed Much Ado. I was Beatrice, and then I wasn't. I didn't have long to mourn the passing however, because on Monday we started in on six hour rehearsals for Into the Woods.



Into the Woods: The Witch.


I learned that I knew nothing about stage makeup beyond being pretty. I was so grateful to Jessica for teaching me!
I learned that although I had very difficult time letting go, I could, in fact, let go when the time came. Explanation: When we began rehearsal, the lady my mom asked to be musical director was about to go on tour with the Tab Choir. So she didn't come. For over four weeks. I knew the music very well, so I offered to help. Suddenly it was a really good thing I had listened to Into the Woods religiously for nearly a year - though had never watched the movie - and could play the piano just well enough.
I was the Musical Director for all intents and purposes for the majority of rehearsal. When the lady stepped back in, I gave her a good talking to about underestimating the music and then, after three days of not getting along I realized that what I needed to do was step back and let her do what she was going to do, right or wrong. It was no longer my place. I did. And it all worked out. I was amazed at my ability to do the job and more impressed at my ability NOT to do it.
I learned that my belief in others sometimes has power to lift them. What?! It's no wonder people fear themselves. We are powerful beings.
I learned that I can still get nervous.
I learned that if I'm really riled up, it's okay to sit in a corner and not talk to anyone until I have myself under control again. This is big, because I used to think that I had to talk things out. That's a load of crap. I so don't have to talk things out. I can contain my hurt, anger, outrage or spite, let my brain go off on a few imaginary conversations, then take a couple dozen deep breaths, redirect my focus and move on. Yeah. I can!
I learned that not everyone is aware of others. It makes me not like Bridezilla's very much.
I realized that I am not the only person who undervalued my mom theatrically. So many of my cast mates believed that unless they told (read "yelled at") my mother regarding a piece of set or costume or character choice, it would go unnoticed and unfixed. Please refer to above when I mentioned that I learned to trust my mother in the first play. Even when things weren't working out, I would do what she told me and wait for her to see that it wasn't working. Because I trusted that she was smart enough to see it. Sometimes it turned out that I was wrong. many times it turned out that the cast members were wrong and mom got to use her "I told you it would work" face. I liked those moments very much.
I learned how to communicate with my mother when we were both under stress that had nothing to do with each other personally. Humor. Humor is such a better tool than whatever the hell we have been using for twenty years!
I learned that Heavenly Father truly loves his performers. Holy Spiritual Blessings! Our opening night was a testimony to that. About an hour before we opened, we were all angry, some crying, most frustrated, and every single one of us scared to death. There were even personal hurt feelings running around. So I asked if I could offer a prayer. Heavenly Father was completely there, completely invested in what we were going through. It helped me see the situation in a new light. He helped me see what I could do, instead of focusing on where I was powerless.
Wow. I learned what truly powerless felt like. And honestly, I held on to that feeling for a while, memorizing the terror of it. I was thinking to myself, "This is powerless. All those other times I felt powerless I was just being a sissy." I wanted to be able to recall the real thing the next time the fear of powerlessness sets in. Then I can say, like John Smith in Pocahontas, "I've been in worse scrapes than this!"

I was reminded that I am beautiful. Physically.
I remembered how much I loved being on stage.
I remembered the sound of an audience loving what I did. I also got to hear and feel an audience who didn't like me all that much. I've missed that unspoken relationship.
I learned that my children like watching me on stage. They didn't like me as the Witch, but both liked me as Beatrice.
I watched Muad'Dib be so . . . incredibly loving. On closing night, someone asked me if he was coming. I said no. They asked if he had gotten me flowers. I answered no. They expressed outrage that he not support me. I laughed and laughed and laughed. No one has any idea what sort of toll this took on him. I don't even. Because he never complained. Three months of not really having me around, of being main parent to our children and still: I never heard him complain. He just let me. He just supported me. He just loved me. Who needs flowers when I have that?
So. This is all said. It is all done. And in the place where I sit now - on the other side of the storm that has been my summer - I have learned so much. I have learned more even than I can write in this one post. Like about Grace. That lesson will have to have a whole post to itself.
I just have to say thanks to everyone who supported me. When I said a few months ago that I needed this, I didn't realize just how much. It was like the final after years of study. I passed. I feel so grateful to my family, my babysitters and my cast. This is starting to sound the acceptance speech at the Oscars. Well, maybe someday. For now, I am packing away TheaterGeek - well used and well worn - and happily return to Sayyadina.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Opening Night

Tonight: Opening Night.

We will run with this play every night but Sunday at 7:30pm. Come see it. We are good. And I have learned so much. And in spite of the crap: I am happy and more emotionally fit for having embarked on this journey. Enjoy the fruits of our labor!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing Teaser #1

"Lady, as you are mine: I am yours!" But all that changes . . .

"No, Leonato! I never tempted her with word too large. But as a brother to his sister showed bashfull sincerity and comely love!"
"And seemed I ever otherwise to you?!"


What terrible event turned these two lovers against each other?!
COME SEE THE PLAY AND FIND OUT!!

We open this Friday (July 10), and run until next Friday ( July 17th). Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids and seniors. TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!

I'll have more pictures tonight to put up tomorrow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth RunDown

This year for the Fourth of July, we played it cool.

N.O. Parade at 10am. Loads of candy, a little crying and alot of people cheering for Lemur's rockin' dance moves.

Cherry Days complete with cotton candy, an oversized pretzle, a ride on the big slide, a cork-pop gun, and Rivulet napping in the shade.

Home for a nap while the kids played with Muad'Dib. Lemur and Muad'Dib actually have taken up the card game Magic. Lemur has beat Muad'Dib three out of five times! He loves to play! They both do. It's cute. And weird. Mostly cute.

Dinner of grilled hot dogs washed down with some raspberry lemonade (I know, "Can we BE more American?!"

Then we ate popsicles outside and I pushed my kids on the swingset in our back yard. They got restless so we went for a walk in the now quiet neighborhood. It was nice.

Finally, fireworks. We went late and decided just to sit on the front lawn of Weber High School. We could only barely hear the music. So when Lemur declared, "What is that sound? It's freaking me out!" Muad'Dib had to listen closly before he replied, "It freaks me out, too son. It's called Country Music."

Then as I was watching the fireworks, I thought about how the closer you are to something, more room it takes up in your life. Like, fireworks, when you are directly under them, are bright, loud, perfectly round and synchronized with Patriotic music. But from far away, they are like firefly butts flying low to the ground. No sound, no wonder, not pushing and clawing to be the ONLY thing you are thinking about. Still: to someone, those fireworks are all they see, all they CAN see. It's like life. This analogy is still rattling around in my brain.

This year was low key. We didn't invite people over, we didn't really go anywhere we couldn't walk to . . . we didn't even take pictures. This day was ours. I loved it. I love having the freedom to celebrate freedom any way I want.

I hope you all enjoyed that freedom as well! Happy Fourth of July!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"You are the one for me!"

So: I put on my cutest outfit this morning, turn to Muad'Dib who is combing his hair in the bathroom and I ask, "How does this look?"
He answers by singing, "Manatee, Manatee!" to which I reply - through laughter - "That doesn't help!!!" In moments we are both in a fit of laughter. If you don't know why this was so funny then either


A. You don't know Muad'Dib very well and could actually believe he would make such a derogatory comment to me,

B. You weren't there the time we were swimming with Shematite, Scout,Michex and Mayflower. They were each pretending to either be barnacles, dolphins or mermaids and I added, "And I'll be a manatee!" to which Muad'Dib commented, "You wanna be a sea cow?!"or,


C. You have never seen this: Barbara Manatee (Please click the link. It is well worth it. Then read the story again, and you'll see why it's funny!) It seems the tune was stuck in his head even before I asked the question.

I sure love my husband!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing . . . now that's SOMEthing!!

WOW.

Three nights ago, the guy playing Lysander in our production of A Midsummer Night's Dream walked out in the middle of rehearsal, with no intention of coming back.

Wednesday night, after a day of calling everyone age and talent appropriate we could think of to take over the part, the rest of the cast began to arrive for rehearsal.

Mom and I had discussed our options. We had been down a list of possibilities to replace the actor . . . none of them panned out. We went down a list of possible changes in the actual play . . . but had no firm decision made. Wednesday was set to be a "Makeup and Hair" night. Three out of twenty-two people came prepared to do that.

And then, to top it off, the costumers came in with fully made butterfly wings for the fairies to wear.

Mom broke. Before my very eyes, she crumbled in a state of anger, frustration, hurt, fear and worry. She took me by the hand and led me into an adjoining room where she cried, she swore. She downright panicked. And seeing her in that state, I was speechless until she said, "I should have quit years ago! What am I even doing?!"


Something clicked inside my head. I put my hands on her shoulders and said, "Not even. Everything is going to be great. I have a plan." And quite suddenly it was true. The plan was solid and fluid like chain mail.
"Let's do Much Ado. We can cast it. It's simple to costume, simple to stage, easily memorised and understood."
Her eyes remained vacant and broken, even as they spilled over with tears. "I just don't have the heart," she answered. "I can't go in there and tell them . . ." She trailed off with a look of dread and horror, playing the possibly scene out in her mind.
Now I was wearing the chain mail. A feeling not far from adrenaline kicked in. "Then let me do it. I'll take the helm. I'll take the crap or whatever comes." The feeling must have rolled off me and at least pushed against her void of reason.
She looked up to meet my eyes and nodded, "Okay?" She sounded unsure but trusting.
"You wanna come with me?"
She nodded again; so I took her by the hand and we went back to face the cast.

I told them the basic story, leaving out hurt feelings or gory details. I was all business; formality of the Now void of emotion. Silence was complete in the room.

I expressed the true problem: we could not find a new Lysander and have him learn such a difficult and physical part in the amount of rehearsal time left to us. Midsummer was not even fully blocked; and without a Lysander we could not finish blocking, let alone teach it to someone when they did step in. Our two options were cancel the show, or change it to Much Ado About Nothing.
Much Ado is a simpler Shakespeare for many reasons, I explained. Simpler costumes, almost no set, no wigs needed, no special makeup. The lines are conversational and easily understood. We would need to fill two parts, but they were both small and could be filled even the week before we opened with no great stress on the cast as a whole. I let them know that Mom has directed Much Ado twice, and I have directed it once before in High School. They were in confident and safe hands; we were in no way entering this play blind or ignorant.
Then I said, "If anyone is not on board, now is the time to make it known. I completely understand the emotional connection we all have to Midsummer. We are all invested. That is why I believe changing the show is a better option than canceling altogether. But if there are any dissenters, speak now to our face. I will brook no backbiting later. I want it clear that we aren't forcing anyone into this action." (And I'll admit, I really enjoyed being able to use the word "brook" in every day conversation. Though I paid only small attention to it at the time.)

If I had thought the room was silent before, it was nothing compared to this. Each member of the cast looked like I had punched them first in the head and then in the gut: muddled and wounded.

Finally the man who would have played Peter Quince, and who has been in just about every Shakespeare my mother has directed over the past ten years said, "I have walked out on you once, Carrie. I won't do it again."
A soft and emotional moment passed between him and my mother.
He continued, "I'm on board." And as I met the individual gaze of each person around the room, I heard and saw that they too were with us, come what may.

We discussed only a few more minute items, some people expressing quiet outrage at the selfish and irresponsible behavior of the departed actor. But from the moment the cast was with us, Mom began crying in relief and went into the adjoining room again. And I flew into a flurry, taking charge even to the point of announcing the cast right there.

Thursday, when everyone came to rehearsal I believe they were a little surprised. We set immediatley to work. We had it cast, we had scripts and rehearsal schedules ready and by 10pm we had Act 1 Scene 1 completely blocked.

The way the schedule is set up, we will often be blocking two scenes at once: Mom in charge of one, and I in charge of another. We will block for two weeks, run through the show for one week and then open July 10th.

Some people had their hearts completely broken, having had in Midsummer their dream role, and being "reduced" to a minor role in Much Ado. Others of us were taken from a compact role and expanded into something monumentally larger and in some cases creatively scarier. My mothers tears were not the only tears shed over this development.
The majority of the planned and built costumes will have to be revamped for the difference in era, need and casting.
When I say that the members of our cast and crew are being "troopers," it is a gross understatement . . . but how else can I say it?

Long story short: I will now be playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Muad'Dib is not involved at all; no longer performing in this endeavor, not even for a night (because he was the understudy of the departed actor). He is instead being the best husband and father in the world EVER. Supportive and loving. I leave my junk at the door and he doesn't ask me "How was rehearsal?" When we are together, we ARE, without all the other stuff. It's what is working for us and I like it. The kids, also are doing incredibly well!

And now comes the big thing. (I know, "That wasn't the big thing?") The big thing is that these current happenings have opened my perspective in a most wonderful way.

A month or so ago, I was aching. Three months before that, I was downright suffering through a cleanse and detox so emotionally vigorous that I was little more than a tree waiting out a storm: still and mindless. I knew it would go away. And it felt like it would never go away.
One of those days, early on, I had written out my feelings while sitting in church. And the Spirit spoke to me saying, "Consider this a time to rest. Take it in. Rest. Be." I learned during that hellish experience that it was possible for me to simply turn off some emotions, for a time. I didn't have to tap it out or validate them or sift through them and understand them. If the need was great enough I could just switch it off, function, and come back to it later.

And boy did that come in handy the past few days. When so many others around me were still just reacting, I had a plan. I used my adrenaline as a tool and set to work, completely armored by my plan, armed with my tool and my mind clear and open as a cloudless sky!

And then, after rehearsal last night, after I had driven home, after I had brought my bags inside and set them down. After I had kicked off my shoes and gone to find my hunny, I ran my fingers through his hair . . . then my body said, "Crisis mode ended. Return to normal function."

I was suddenly so tired. So last night I slept. And this morning, I opted to share this incredible experience, and startling turn of events with my bloggy friends.

I hope that despite the change of play, and Muad'Dib no longer being in it even for a night, you will all still come and see Much Ado About Nothing. Because when we open, after only three weeks of rehearsal, you will enjoy the feeling of your jaws dropping in surprise. Because in spite of all the above hullabaloo, we are going to ROCK!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare.
In the Historic Browning Theater at the Union Station Running July 10 through July 17 (no show on Sunday.)
Tickets are Adults: $8.00; Children 3-12: $5.00 and Seniors 65+: $6.00.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or from Me. I will earn a prize if you buy them from me!

Tickets make great gifts . . . and remember that Muad'Dib will be playing Lysander for only one performance: July 17! (it will be the first time we have ever kissed romantically on stage!)

This play is FUNNY! I will post pictures as soon as I have some . . .

My Simple Pleasures

*Re-watching a movie from my youth and actually understanding what the people say. "Auntie Shrew! Timmy's sick!" "Cynthia dear, don't fidgit." (Can anyone name the movie? It's animated.)
* Sleeping in.
*A long shower.
* Crispy Waffles.
* a clean living room
* The sound of a lawn mower in the distance.
* The smell of grass.
* Clouds atop Ben Lomond.
*The sound of the dishwasher going as I put my children to bed, the true auditory mark that the day is done.
*My kids sleeping in a tent in Rivulet's room
*Children solving their own differences.
*Beautiful music.
*Playing the piano.
*Brushing my hair.
*Brushing my daughter's hair.
*Arranging roses in a vase.
*Baking cookies.
*Writing a paper.
*A made bed.
*A vacumed floor.
*A cold drink of water.
*A well placed quote: "The future is as bright as your faith." - Thomas S. Monson
*Open windows.
*A bendaroo's Sunflower.
*A hug.
*A fresh diaper.
*A lit candle.
*A fruity popsicle.
*A good movie.
*A pretty dress.
*Seeing a picture of yourself and being surpised to find that you are pretty darn good looking.
*A clean car.
*A letter in the mail.

And I have found something that is NOT a pleasure. Going to be without Muad'Dib. My desert has no shade; my catchtubes hold no water; the Great Worm slumbers, bringing no spice and no rest for my weary self while my Muad'Dib is absent from the Dune of my heart!

Three down, one to go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Until That Moment, I Had Not Seen Her. Not Really.

Tonight at rehearsal I was grateful for something. Then when I got home I was reading aimlessly through past blogs and re-read a post back in April of 2007 about my mom. And I realized there is a singular experience had with that woman that I have not shared.

My mother and I have spoken to each other with raised voices more often than not. Throughout my life, I saw my mother as an exposed wire, as a broken version of herself, as something less. From the time I was fourteen, I have vivid memories of three things in regard to my mother: Her singing.
Her bearing her testimony.
And yelling at/with her.

To illustrate I offer a story: When I was about sixteen, there was a Saturday when I wanted to go somewhere. The house was a mess. It's possible that I had been asked to clean it, I can't recall. As my mother and I were yelling at each other, she forcefully strode to her room and I called after her, "But we love you mom!" and she answered, "Then SHOW me." and slammed the door in my face.
I felt her to be the biggest jerk of all time. Why couldn't she just take my word for it? Why weren't my words enough . . . and so on.

My triggers were if my mother discussed, or even mentioned,
My father.
Money.
Her voice.
People treating her poorly.
Whenever she would express negative emotions about ANY given situation.

I found that my responses generally were to defend the other party, and tell my mother how to fix her broken self. I was always hoping to say that one thing that would open her eyes and heal her or cause her to change! I felt that she was never looking at everything. Honestly. I said prayers to the effect of, "Help me know what to say to help my mother see . . ." yada yada yada.

My husband, bless his dear sweet soul, often asked my why I would even GO to my parents house or design to spend time with this woman, my mother, when it was obvious that we didn't get along. And I always came home with heavy emotional scarring and baggage. WHY? And the answer, "She's my mom," was wearing thin on us both.

Then. Ah then, this past January it finally happened. I learned the answer.

We were downstairs. We were in my fathers office. Yelling. Yelling as if by doing so we could bring about world peace. The gusto, the lung power the sheer mass of our feelings filled the room and shook the walls. That is the capacity of us two women when got together and riled up.

I believe the conversation (and I use the term loosely) was sparked by a combination of topics like money, my father and her theatrical business endeavor. I had long felt abandoned and brushed aside by this focus of her life.

At the very apex of our spewing, my mother burst forth in magnificent glory by saying, "I got you kids up at 6 am to read the scriptures for three years before your father finally got the picture that it was important! I made orange juice every morning! I made your meals for eighteen years! I washed all your clothes! I went to every damn soccer game and performance! I signed you up for those soccer games and other ****. I DID! And what do you kids remember? You remember the times DAD woke you up for scriptures. You remember when DAD made you breakfast. You remember DAD going to your stuff. You remember DAD talking about Wyoming!"

And it was here that my brain ripped apart. The blinders I had worn my whole life were removed. It was as though Heavenly Father literally opened the set of eyes I had had closed before. And I saw every memory of my childhood differently.

Suddenly, my mother was there. She was present, ever present. All that she had listed, and more, flooded like fire and light into my awareness and I realized with a great pain in my head and my heart that my mother needed no fixing.

I did.

My mother was not broken.

I was.

My mother desired, above all else one thing: RESPECT. and when she had not gotten it as she needed it from her children or her ward she had turned to this Theatrical business. And although she continued to suffer, she was also being vastly rewarded.

And I had not seen any of that.

I began crying and stopped her tyraid with, "You're right."

Her defenses went up immediately, as she heard the words that were so often said to patronize her before.
But then she saw the tears in my eyes and fell into a shocked and wary silence.

As my mind raced through all my memories, trying to make sense of what I had done over my twenty four years of being a crappy daughter, the tears fell from my eyes, sobs racked my body and I found I could only say two things:
"You're right." and "I'm so sorry."

And oh how I meant it.

All the times. All those myriad of times when what my mother did went unnoticed, unappreciated . . . Now I understand that sort of thing is to be expected in motherhood. But what I had done was so much worse. Because I didn't just overlook her contributions, I gave the entirety of my credit, love and loyalty to someone else. Like she never even existed.
I didn't know that's what I was doing. It wasn't on purpose.

And the arrogance! I looked at this woman - without seeing her - and thought, "I know what will make her better."

Judgement. Pride. Betrayal. Conditional love. Truth out of context. I stood guilty of all these.

Because deep down I knew my mother was marvelous. And on the surface I treated her like an untrained mutt. Sure it has potential, but if you don't kick it, how will it learn?

The shame! The bitter taste my past words left in my mouth! I went to her and hugged her, all the while sobbing and repeating my new mantra, "I'm so sorry. I understand now. You are right!"

My mother didn't hug me back. She was in a sort of calm awe. As my mind was reeling, hers finally stood calm. And only one thought, one feeling permeated her: "Someone understands?" And inside, her soul relaxed.

That was six months ago. We have not fought since.

Because now I understand.

My mother had often tried to tell me that I was her daughter, while confiding in me like a friend or sister. I had abused that relationship in the most heinous way. Mostly because I didn't understand respect.

This lesson reflects deeply on my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Over the years I have grown lax. And the major ingredient I lack in regard to them is respect.

It is an uncomfortable awareness to suddenly know that I don't understand the meaning of a few basic words. Hope. Faith. Respect. Peace. Love.

And how wonderful to finally be able to answer the old question, "Why did you spend so much time with a woman you always fought with?" It was so I could one day be prepared to really SEE my mother. To truly be her advocate. To truly be her daughter. And I am sincerely blessed to be her daughter. To be her child has taught me so much. This experience . . . I am grateful she was willing to go through it, too. Because wow.

The experience I had tonight was what we have now. I can be the advocate she always knew I could be. Because I see and understand the woman that she is.
And I love that woman dearly.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Marvel-full

*Rehearsal is AWESOME!!! I was originally cast as Helena . . . but then found out that Hermia has to be shorter . . and I am pretty short. So now I am Hermia. I am finding only JOY in this process so far. And what an opportunity to release! I feel downright good.

*Muad'Dib will step in for two nights to play my "lover," Lysander, as the guy originally cast cannot be there for the last two shows. We are both excited!

*Leemur enjoyed his last week of school, and is super pleased to have summer start! He keeps asking if we can sleep outside.

* Muad'Dib, after months and MONTHS of peparation, left this morning on his Venture Scouting trip to Moab. It will be the longest we have been apart since November 14th of 2001!!

*I had been complaining a little bit the past month about how things (especially singing time) was being run in my Primary. Then I woke up and realized that talking to OTHER people wasn't going to fix anything. (crazy, right?) So I talked to the Primary president and first counselor last week. We came to a new agreement and then yesterday had a GREAT singing time. They liked it, I liked it, the pianist liked it. . . ahhhh. Communication saves the day again!

*Rivulet and Lemur took their first ride on a horse up at MRR last week. For pictures please see Dreampacker's blog. It was priceless!

*My roses are blooming and smell incredible. I'm not just saying that, either. Muad'Dib smelled the two blossoms I had brought inside and asked if I had perfumed them! My kitchen lingered with the scent for an entire day, filled to the brim with rosey-ness!

*I spent four and a half hours yesterday baking for Muad'Dib's trip. Chocolate Chip cookies. S'mores cookies (I just made that up!) and Cheesecake Tarts. Holy I am a good baker!

*Muad'Dib bought me the new Xbox 360 Scene It! So if anyone dares challenge me to a movie trivia showdown, bring your A-game and some ginger ale. Because it is SO ON!

*I am going to attempt, in absence of my lover and my car, to make a baby quilt and finish crocheting a baby blanket. I'll keep my many readers posted on these projects.

*What other news . . . Oh, the play will open July 10th and close July 18th, with a show every night but monday. More info to follow.

*I want to have a campout in my backyard this week. Anyone want to join the fun? I have cookies . . .

*Muad'Dib will audition for Beauty and the Beast at Terrace Plaza Playhouse in June. If anyone else in the family is interested in these auditions, let me know and I will give you further information (Emily, Parker, Kira, Amberle etc)

*Our Ward Choir is taking the summer off. Again, my dreams of a patriotic choral program are dashed. Will no one stand up with me on July fifth and sing "The Star Spangled Banner" or in some other way pay homage to the creation of our country, recognizing God's hand in it?!

*My backyard and front yard and flowers are so BEAUTIFUL! I could just sit outside all day long . . . and perhaps today I will.

I'm pretty sure that's all the news I have. It may not be ground breaking or ten o'clock news worthy, and still it's all I've got. And I think it's great!

May you all have marvelous days!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

TheaterGeek employed again

For anyone who doesn't already know:
I will be playing Hermia in a summer production of Shakespeares A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Now, I imagine there are those out in blogland who are rolling their eyes at my decision. Tsk Tsking under their breath at my attempt at theater while a two year old and a six year old remain at home with my husband completely lacking my mother-presence.

I have not blogged much recently. I could say "Wow, I've been so busy." Or "This month just got away from me!" or something chipper that says "Don't worry what I've been up to the past couple of months. Everything is fine now and was fine that whole time . . ."

I'm not that kind of person. If that were true, then sure. But it's not. Instead these past few months have been . . . um . . . emotionally void while also being emotionally hell. I know, how can you have no feeling and too much feeling? Weirder things have happened.

So. My mother asked me to be in it almost four months ago. I said no. She brought it up three months ago and I said no. Then again two months ago and I snapped at her, asking why my "no's" weren't good enough for her. So she stopped asking. And between the time she asked and auditions rolled around, I felt and not felt enough that I knew I needed the Bard's Salve.

It is my sincere belief that if a Theatre-geek of any level needs a measure of healing, the answer is found in a Shakespeare. In no other play - even plays WRITTEN for the purpose - is a more open canvas for individual creativity. So many right answers. So many avenues to travel. And you can travel them all in the safety of creating. Then at the end you can stand back and heave a sigh of relief! Because all that stuff that was inside, all that stuff that had no where to go was just drawn out of you like poison. You are free inside. Your blood will run clean and oxidized again!

I gave up on theater because I had forgotten what it was good for. Muad'Dib is behind me 100%. And not in the "I just want you to remember how much you hate this" way, but in the " I know you need this" way.

I'm grateful for the experiences that led me to realize that I was not defined by my activity in theater. I still feel that is true. I am no longer TheaterGeek.

But I can call upon TheaterGeek to heal Sayyadina. Because she desperately needs some healing. I'm not asking an EVENT to heal me. I will. I will fix it. And this will be the medicine I need to clean out and repair whatever I have done to hurt myself over the past what-ever-measure-of-time. See? I don't even know when the bogging began!

I believe that my mother was inspired to produce a Shakespeare right now, at this time. This belief is the first flash in a long night of darkness that reminds me that God is aware of me and my struggles.

I'm not asking anyone to watch our children while I go off and do this. I'm not asking my kids to come to 10pm rehearsals. I'm not even asking anyone to go out of their way to watch the play come July. All I'm saying here is that I'm doing this. And for those of you who are wondering why, here it is. Here is why.

Dreampacker has pointed out that I am sensitive to feeling. I remember back in High School when I figured out that I could walk into a room and literally FEEL the emotions coming off of other people. And although I figured that out, I didn't know I could stop it. I couldn't separate their emotions from mine. I was all "If I feel it, it must be mine." I spent a lot of time crying in bathroom stalls not knowing why.

A little while ago, I was able with full presence of mind to separate and keep myself safe from the emotions of others. And now . . . that control has gone.
I am awash in emotions. And have the added *pthbbt* of sensitivity beyond the veil to contend with!

I know that life coaching teaches me to tap it out. I know that the Gospel teaches me to pray it out. I know that fear teaches me to sleep it out. I know that reason teaches me to ride it out. But my SOUL, the inner conjunction between emotion, spirit, reason and peace drives me to spill it out. It must be got out. And can you name me a safe venue?

Well I can. Shakespeare. Theater. I will exhaust myself with emotional sharing in a setting where it is not only accepted but downright encouraged! Then I will be left with what is mine, unhampered by what is not.