Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Prize Winning Picture

"Sonic, the Hedgehog Hero, races to fix the national debt,
so we can maintain our National Parks!"
Lemur's school had an art contest. The theme was "National Debt and how it effects me." I know: yikes. But Grandma Dreampacker gave Lemur a good idea, a picture of Delicate Arch for inspiration and Lemur drew and colored it himself! He won 2nd place and will be awarded $15 at an awards ceremony in April. We're pretty proud!!!

A sweet heart for my Sweetheart . . .

Happy Anniversary, Love bucket.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Please Process."

In my work as the personal assistant to a Financial Planner ("Insurance Salesman" is the old-school term), I often write up form letters that go something like this:
"So and So:
Enclosed is the necessary paperwork and signed amendments to complete delivery on this policy. I am available if there are any questions. Please process. Thank you.
Warmest regards,
I was driving home from rehearsal for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Tuesday night and that phrase, "Please process" took on a whole new meaning.
For the devoted readers of my blog, I can say "Secret Garden" and a few of you could then map out where my next thoughts will travel. And since only the devoted ones really care enough to understand me anyway, I'll just say "Secret Garden" and go on.
It's one thing to look back at that experience and see mostly bad; that only the actual being on stage was any good. It's another thing entirely to say, "I was such a beast during Secret Garden" and have people say with a sigh of relief, "Yes, you were."
The reason that Tuesday brought this up is because I engineered a conversation for Shematite. I thought about it for a few days, wore a picture jasper necklace with a large picture jasper donut pendant, and then after rehearsal asked her if we could do an exercise.
For those who are unfamiliar with Seven Brides (though I can't imagine - if that's the case - that you would somehow have managed to turn on this new fangled computer, let alone find and read my blog! :), the two lead characters are Adam and Milly. They get married after knowing each other a few hours. Milly is surprised to find that Adam has six brothers. She's mad. She makes the best of it, because she believes that Adam is something special. She civilizes the brothers hoping that they'll get married and go away. Adam jumps the gun and encourages the brothers to kidnap the girls they are in love with and hold them captive in the Oregon mountains.
It is at this point that Milly and Adam have an argument/fight that ends with Adam leaving Milly (who is pregnant) to go up to the trapping cabin.
It is this argument that was the inspiration for the exercise.
I don't know Shematite very well. In auditions I asked her to argue with the Adam. After a weak attempt (I learned later that she doesn't yell), I asked her to focus on a life situation that she was angry about. What I saw then was encouraging to say the least. So I thought that a little "real life" application might help her in this scene. Because up to that point, she and the Adam were struggling to make a difficult scene work.
Because I don't know her well, but I did know that she - like I'm sure many others - had a problem with my behavior in Secret Garden, that's what I brought up. I hoped I could get her angry and yelling.
But that's not what happened
How it played out was so much better than I could have ever planned!
The experience was/is bittersweet. On the one hand, I felt a lot of feelings and deliberately opened myself up for some pain/hurt. But there's not a lot I won't do to get a play, scene, or character right. :)
Recall to mind the curls for Beatrice.
And then on the other glorious hand, it was marvelous to see what happened to her as the conversation got going. At first she seemed pleasing and deflective - like she really didn't want to talk about this (and who can blame her?!) But then, as I assured her that this was important to the play, she eased into it. My goal was to guide her into telling me what she wished she could have told me two summers ago.
I believe that although we are all told NOT to judge, we do it anyway. We can't really help it. I have had moments where I thought, "ugh, if they would just ask ME, I could fix it/them." (Please note the telling of the dream two posts down. It's a perfect example of how deep down I think a lot of people are dumber than me. Which is funny and sad considering how much work I still have to do on myself!)
I asked Shematite to let this judgement out. I wanted to see how it would change her body language, energy, speech and facial expressions. Because this sort of "I know best" is exactly what I wanted Milly to have with Adam. Many husbands and wives believe they know better than their spouses. Wildman pointed it out to me as "not playing our true roles." Instead of being Adams wife, for instance, Milly is being his mother. A marriage can't work like that - or at least it shouldn't.
So, in this light, I gave Shematite permission to judge me. She had the go ahead to - out loud - tell me how wrong I was and in what ways I was.
It's possible that she should consider a career in Family therapy. She is a very calm and easy teacher. I learned that when she knows what she's talking about, and when she BELIEVES what she's talking about . . . well, suffice to say: it was a whole different person sitting there. The self-assurity she possessed was downright powerful. Her energy was solid and THERE and totally pulled me in. She was sitting, I was standing but her body language clearly said that SHE was the adult. It was awesome!
And the next night was doubly cool, because when she did her scene with Adam . . . yikes. It was like a different girl. It was pretty close to perfect. It looked like Adam was a child throwing a tantrum and Milly, the totally in control parent, was just looking down on him like "What are you saying, you weirdy?" Which is quite a feat considering the Adam is nearly two feet taller than she is! It's going to be a beautiful scene because it reads so TRUE to what some marriages go through!!!
I'm proud of this experience for two reasons.
1) Shematite not only went for it, but then she applied it. That takes guts and brains. She's the whole package and I have new found respect for her.
2) I didn't wig out.
When I was driving home, my personal self and my professional self were arguing. "She only said what you told her to say." "She was mean."
But when it came down to it, there were two thoughts that ruled the others: "Was she wrong?" and "Please process."
Shematite's trust in me was the plea to process calmly and professionally. If I opened her up to that and then turned on her, I would totally suck. Her trust was the salve that eased the swelling on my pride.
I'm so sorry for my behavior two summers ago. I hope and believe that I have changed. Maybe not everything. Maybe not enough, but some. I have changed some. I hold onto that hope with both hands. I'm not a perfect mother. I'm not a perfect director. I'm not a perfect aunt or wife or daughter or teacher or student or actress or dancer or singer or piano player or writer.
But I do better; I process. And that is what matters.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eulogy of an Intruder

"We are here to mourn the death of our beloved Hive-Brother, Flitterbik (so named for Grand old Flitterbik who we believe to have sired so many of us, who was so named for a game he heard a group of humans playing years ago - though he could never quite figure out what "mythological" meant).

Each of us is aware of the conditions and possible future facing our hive-family. Despite the risks, Flitterbik - our noble brother - left the dry and safe confines of the hive this morning in search of food and water. He made little show of his going, shy and reserved as he was, but his actions did not go unnnoticed by Hive-Keeper Whzzzmn. Whzzzmn alerted us to the situation, speaking highly of the stoic and brave Flitterbik, who took no real concern for himself.

A search party was sent out. But as WaterSeeker, Damnit, Barkwalker, Ihatethosebugs, and Ugh reached the take-off platform they saw it was too late. The large long-haired human woman, the one which we call InBetween - so named because she stands between us and food, water and life - caught sight of Flitterbik. For a moment the rescue party thought they had been seen, for InBetween said, "Ugh, damn it! I hate those bugs," but in fact it seems she was just speaking a language that sounded like their names.

To the horror of onlooking eyes, she wound toilet paper around her hand, fashioned it into a soft white coffin - for indeed that's what it was - and approached our brother, Flitterbik. Flitterbik could see the end coming. But overtired from the cold, lack of food and water he greeted his demise gracefully. He held still. He did not make trouble. So doing would likely cause InBetween to actively retaliate on us all. He knew this. His sacrifice enables our survival for a short time longer.

InBetween enveloped him in the tissue and walked him to the Watery Tunnel. The rescue party believes she showed a kind of deference to Flitterbik, because she paused and mumbled something before sending him on his way.

Now, brothers - dear Queen - was Flitterbik's sacrifice for naught? I say no! Ugh tells us that his wings were not moving when he was captured. Ihatethosebugs says he was standing on cloudy air, but sideways. And Barkwalker noted that there was an uncommon amount of moisture in the air. So we have learned something. And that lesson is: If you we do attempt to go out the glowing square, we must not stop and stand transfixed by the cloud! We must push forward with more force and more determination and never stop to rest! For when we do, when we are distracted by the wonder of the man made world, InBetween will find us and InBetween will send us down the Watery Tunnel!

Remember Flitterbik in your hearts, my brothers. And let us wait a while until one of us tries again. Let InBetween think she has got the last of us! Hahahaha!!!"

Yes. This is what I imagine the hornets are saying back in their hive after I killed yet ANOTHER winged intruder in my bathroom. Ugh. I hate those bugs.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Stand Smiling

I sincerely feel like writing. And since my "I shouldn't's" overcome the desire more often than not, I figured I had better just let the desire wash over me and see what is left on the beach.

I guess I could start with what I did today . . . I woke crabbily and plodded to the shower. It was a nice shower. I don't remember thinking very much, though I must have because I came out clean and smelling of Herbal Essences. Then I heard an odd buzzing noise. This noise drew my attention and my eyes up to the lights above the mirror. Ah yes, another hornet. Or wasp or yellow-jacket. I don't really care to know the genus of the flying monstrosity that is just one of a dozen I have killed over the past month in the new house. Point is, he was there to frighten, peeve, and otherwise greet me as I emerged all warm and cozy from the shower.

Yes, a hornet INDOORS in January/February. I've heard that the only explanation of this is that there must be an active hive IN THE HOUSE. I know, it freaks me out too. I can't tell where they are coming from and my little friend this morning met his maker after an unsuccessful tango with our energy efficient light bulb, so I have yet to see where they go . . .

Anyway, then I dressed, dressed the children and before I knew it was in the car on my way to work. I worked at work. I didn't do what needed to be done before it needed to have been done, but I did other things that were on the docket. So I suppose that's a good thing.

The highlight of the day was taking the children to Bryson's Rock Shop on Washington. They went crazy in there! They have recently become enamoured of DreamPacker's rocks, gems and oils. Lemur especially is looking forward to a Grandma-Grandson date to the Gem Show this coming week. He desired a $70 Petrified Wood Ball on a golden stand, but opted for a $2 grab bag after he saw that Rivulet had one. They came home happy but by no means satiated. Rivulet declared, "This is the beginning of my rock collection!"

I have in my head the thoughts that should be, the thoughts that can't help but be and the thoughts that wish I had more time to think them. Sometimes it feels as though they come of their own accord, respectfully taking a number as I try to fill their order before they begin pushing each other and yelling "Hey, I was next!" to the thought that suddenly needed immediate attention.

Potty Training is one of these thoughts. Writing in general or in specific is one of the more patient loiterers of my mind. There is the self doubt, the self deprecation and the feeling of loss every month that I'm not expecting another child. Mostly, these stay in the background behind the joy and contentment that rules my greater waking hours until a trigger lurches them uncomfortably forward.
In those moments it is good to have Muad'Dib around. "It'll pass," he says as he strokes my hair, "In a few days, you'll feel your real feelings again and be okay."
He's right. He's almost always right . . . and I'm proud to be the sort of woman that can hear when her husband is right and just nuzzle up in the truth for a moment, enjoying the warmth and comfort it offers: "It'll pass."

Last year at this time I was beginning the Cleanse from Hell. Not my theater cleanse - that one worked super well. No, I mean the physical cleanse that kidnapped, tortured and overfed my emotional inner beast for four months. I'm still recovering in some ways.
I believe that, physically, the cleanse did a lot of good. But I was in no way prepared for the side effects of cleaning out one's body. As a warning: If you have taken ANY anti-depressants, pain medications, antibiotics, cold medicine, anti-psychotic medication, antinausea pills, sleeping pills or any other dosage of chemical weirdness it will be RANDOMLY re-released into your bloodstream as the cleanse does it's work.

Yikes. As a woman who took numerous antidepressants for five years, I thought that when I quit cold turkey and remained drug free for the next five years, I was home free. Nope. Turns out all of that stuff was still hiding out in my system.

Anyone want to know what I was doing last February through May? Trying to survive. That's what I was doing. I can't imagine how Mua'dDib handled it. I have small memory glimpses of him during that time, but the most I can remember of myself is sitting in front of my laptop watching T.V., eating, and trying not to think or feel anything.

And even then, Mua'dDib was right. It passed. It was awful. It was hard, it was trying. I wanted to leave. I wanted to check into an institution until I was past whatever it was. And instead, I rode it out. I shut a few people out of my life in the process . . . but I came out on the other side. And that's something.

So days like these that start weird, continue weird and end a little off . . . I can take those days. Especially if I can get that little reminder, "It'll pass." Because now I really know, can really believe that it can, will and does pass.
And I am still standing.

Quite honestly I am surprised that this is turning into the subject of my post. I intended never to speak of, let alone write about, this experience. I have a feeling there was more yelling and crying and hurt feelings than I would like to acknowledge. And yet this is what is scrambling to the front of my brain tonight.
And not for a journal entry either.
I don't know that someone needs to hear it, or that someone needs to read it so they can understand a little of why I behaved as I did last year. Perhaps it is simply my opportunity to declare that it is PAST and no longer PRESENT.

When I was fourteen, I had a dream that I was in Salt Lake City, walking around with a group of my Junior High girl-friends. They were all in flowing blue/pink dresses, much like long ballerina dresses. I was in jeans and a t-shirt. I knew we all wanted to get to the Chocolate Shoppe. I knew the way because I had been there before. I tried to lead my friends, but every one of them wanted to dally, look over the sights and even wander along unfamiliar or unmarked roads. I tried to urge them on, shepherd them to our destination as quickly and safely as possible. They did not listen to me.
Finally, we arrived at the shop. As mentioned, I had been there before. I had tasted all the chocolates and so knew the best of the bunch. I told them to choose the blueberry truffle. But no one would listen. One by one my friends chose another chocolate and one by one, they all fell to the ground. I don't know if they died or just fell asleep, but in the dream I was very distraught and disappointed.
This dream has come to me many times over the fourteen years since I had it. I still don't entirely understand it.

I'm not even sure how it applies, yet somehow feel that it does. So . . .

This is my gift for the night. It has been over a month since I wrote last. I have not read a book since the cleanse. I have little desire to read, honestly. And though saying so brings tears to my eyes, I have difficulty picking up a book. Even an old friendly book like Ender's Game or Rebecca. Actually, I still struggle with having a desire to DO things.

Despite that - despite all disappointments that hedge a normal life - I declare that I am a happy woman. Perhaps I should write about that next time. And until then, I hold close the fact that on days like this that start weird, continue weird and end just a little bit off . . .all in all I can take those days over the sort of days I had last year. Because I now have a firm testimony that "it" can, does and always will pass.
And I will remand standing.
As I am now.