The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Family Traditions Series- Reunions!! August 6, 2014

Filed under: Family,In Memoriam — DDKlingonGirl @ 9:19 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
My Roots- Kyle and Ethel Findley and their children, Harold, Howard, Margie, and Donna

My Roots- Kyle and Ethel Findley and their children, Harold, Howard, Margie, and Donna

Hello all!  So in my last Family Traditions series entry, I promised a post about all the crazy things my family gets up to in the month of May, and I will definitely deliver that.  But not now.  I’m too excited, and of course the title of this post will give you a clue as to why.  Oh, yes, Virginia, it is definitely that time again- our family reunion is this weekend.  This is an event not just limited to my crazy nuclear family  (my parents and siblings and myself).  Oh no.  This event draws in the whooooole crazy family- all the progeny of my great-grandfather Kyle Guy Findley.  Let me tell you about us.

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We have this family reunion, the Findley reunion, every two years.  It alternates years with an even more extended family reunion (the Hoffman reunion) we have that also occurs every two years, so that barring some weird complication or problem, there is some sort of reunion on this side of the family every single year.  The one I am going to be describing to you is the only one I have been able to go to since Daughter S. and Daughter J. were about 4 years old, which, sadly, was the last time I was able to make it to the Hoffman reunion.  Now, the Hoffman reunion has one advantage over the Findley reunion and that is that it’s always in the same place, Ulysses, Kansas, where I was born.  The Findley reunion has changed locations several times over the years.

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As far as I can remember, the tradition of this reunion began the weekend of June 4, 1993.  I know this, because that was the date I chose to get married, so that all the family would definitely be able to be there.  Yeah, I’m sneaky and manipulative like that.  I hijacked the family reunion so everyone would be at my wedding.  Anyway.  The first several years, the reunion took place at the same location, one of the group campgrounds at our local lake.  Rustic cabins, no A/C, lots of trees and a big lake for boating, skiing, tubing, jet skis, and just general tomfoolery in a water setting.  I say this because my mom’s brothers have a notorious history of being wild and crazy when it comes to water sports.  They like to go fast and hit hard.  They’ve slowed down a little in the last 21 years, but I cannot count the number of pics we have of Uncle R., Uncle B., and Uncle D., life-jackets on, hair and mustaches dripping, clinging to a jet ski or a sailboard, big huge identical grins on their sunburnt faces.  That tradition has extended to their sons now, and we have just as many pictures of cousins in the same poses.

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While the boys are out running wild like hooligans on the lake, the moms are usually staying behind, either in the camp kitchen, or at the water’s edge watching all the “little ‘uns” swimming and playing.  There is always a time when the guys put away all their fast toys and just take the girls on a leisurely evening boat ride around the lake, so it’s not like the moms never get to have fun.  Back in the day, my mother, I am proud to say, used to be able to water ski like crazy!  My dad would get her out there and hit the throttle and she could just pop up out of the water like a cork.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last time she tried, because we don’t go to the lake much anymore these days when it’s just us, but she always used to say she planned to water ski on her 100th birthday.  Dad used to say she “could water ski in a teacup!”  Rarely, we have bad things happen on the water.  One year, an uncle was pushed unexpectedly off the pontoon boat into the water, and his wedding ring got caught on the gate hinge, almost ripping his finger off.  They rushed him to the hospital and all was fine, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like to remember that particular reunion.

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Our family also has some much happier traditions, such as talent night; we’re a talented bunch, if I do say so myself.  Usually people either sing or do skits, which is always a hoot.  This year, I’m particularly excited because… da da!  We’re having karaoke Saturday night.  We’ve hired a local karaoke DJ to come out to the reunion and help us party for a couple of hours.  I am very familiar with this particular lady- we grew up and went to the same church together.  And boy! can she sing.  She is absolutely and utterly amazing.  (File that one under hashtag: sojealous!)  Anyway, she also provided the DJ service when I gave Daughter S. and Daughter J. a big, special party when they turned 18.  It was super awesome, but that’s another story.

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Once we had a family auction to try to raise funds for the next reunion.  People made arts and crafts, special food, anything they had that had a “market” value, so to speak, and we auctioned them.  My personal contribution to that effort was two copies of a collection of my poetry that I put together.  I think they made me stand up and read a couple of the poems, and then they auctioned them off.  I forget now who won them, but that was pretty cool.  It gave me a bit of a big head to know that my family members would pay money just to read my romanticized, dramatic drivel.   What can I say?  We’re a supportive bunch, and I love us.

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In other years, the family reunion has taken place down near my grandpa’s house in the Hill Country area around San Antonio, Texas.  There are a number of nice lakes there, and my grandpa lives right on the Guadalupe river, so there are always a few that go floating every time we are there.  Our last reunion was a bit of a departure.  We met at Cuchara, Colorado.  It was beautiful there and so cool at night, but always, always too short.  One weekend is never long enough to enjoy with this family.

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So THIS year, we’re at a church camp about 45 minutes from where we live, called Pettijohn Springs Christian Camp.  It will be a lot more comfortable than the lake camps, because (Hallelujah!) the cabins have air conditioning.  My cousin and I are the food committee (although my mother ALWAYS ends up doing more than her share of the research and planning) and therein lies another reason I am so excited:  she’ll be here tomorrow!  Yay!  I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but she is one of my two favorite cousins, because the three of us are the closest in age.  From my birthday in early September to her birthday in mid-September, we are all three the same age.  Tomorrow when she gets here, we have to spend all day grocery shopping.  I’d like to say that sounds like a chore, but running all over town with this particular cousin, making big fools of ourselves in all the local grocery stores, laughing like hyenas when we remember all our favorite escapades, just sounds like a really good day.

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So yeah, if you live around here, and tomorrow you see me and someone who kind of looks like me, staggering breathless with laughter through WalMart or Homeland or Aldi, with a cart piled high with groceries, now you know, it’s the Findley Family Reunion Food Committee, just doing their duty to our family to keep them from starving.  And having a darn good time while we’re at it! Ha!

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The last, and most special tradition that you will always hear mentioned whenever we talk about our family and the essence of who we are, either together or apart, is our family church service.  On the last day of the reunions, Sunday, we always have a family worship time together.  I have said many times that I am so proud of the fact that I come from a family with a strong tradition of faith.  In past years, one of my mom’s cousins would get up and share a few scriptures and a few words with the family, then my wonderful, beautiful grandfather, the family patriarch, would get up and speak, talking about our family history and maybe sharing a story or two about his parents, and praising our family for its strength and love, but always giving the glory for that to God.  We would sing a few hymns, and be dismissed with a prayer.  This year, my father will be leading the singing, and we have practiced some of the songs we will be sharing.  In past years, my dear grandpa and his siblings would share their beautiful family harmony and sing an old hymn called “Out of the Ivory Palaces” but now he is the last of his family.  He told my mother he didn’t feel as comfortable now even to get up and speak at the worship service because he has become so forgetful it is hard for him to keep his thoughts organized.

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Families stay the same, and families change.  Our reunions are so special because they allow us to spend just a few treasured moments together, to catch up on each others lives and see where we all are today, but more than that, they remind us where we came from, where our roots began.  We are reminded of the strength and determination of the pioneer fathers who came through the Civil Wars and the Dust Bowls, and the Depressions, whose simple lives and strong faith became our story.  We are reminded of them, and of the debt we owe them to live our lives in such a way that we carry on their legacy, that our children and grandchildren can look back on us and be proud that they are the continuation of a story worth telling.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

Happy Domino Day! July 30, 2014

I picked these as representative of this post because they’re pretty and they have yellow dots.

Hello all.  So I have something to share and talk about that I haven’t mentioned too much lately in light of other obsessions, but I really need all the motivation I can get on this, so I’m going to talk openly and honestly about it, and just throw it all out there.  Regular readers know I started this blog right about the time I started attending Weight Watchers meetings, right? Well, I did.  My first post here was January 21, 2010, which was two days after my first WW meeting.  Since that time, I have attended meetings consistently until the last year, when I started missing almost as many meetings as I attended.

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The weight swing was as follows:  from January 19, 2010 to June 10, 2012 I lost 129 lbs.  Yep, you read that right.  June 2012 was the once in a lifetime cruise I took my children on all by myself, and it was also my baby sister’s wedding, in which I was a bridesmaid, and it was ALSO the graduation of my one and only class of English students, whom I (only marginally successfully) taught when I was 129 pounds heavier and they were freshmen, and most of them hadn’t seen me since the end of that year.  So AFTER that…. I apparently just sort of mentally gave up.  Maybe not all at once.  Clearly not all at once.  I kept going to meetings, kept occasionally exercising, kept half-heartedly tracking my points.  But not at all with any kind of consistency, efficiency, or determination…

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…which has brought me to where I am today.  I have gradually at first, and then more rapidly, gained weight back until I am now at a net loss since January 19, 2010, of only 56 lbs.  My gain of two pounds this week put me at my heaviest weight in four years.  Up until now I have just sort of smiled and nodded at this progression, just shrugged and let it slide and figured I’d get it together at some point.  Well, that point has arrived.  I am blogging about this because I want people to know I am serious.  I have probably posted a half-dozen “I’m starting over” posts in the last two years, but this one is officially IT.

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I could probably go into a whole series of posts and thoughts about why we eat the way we do, why we eat for emotions’ sake, why we don’t exercise, why we make excuses when it comes to grocery shopping (that last is a real sore point with me.  It feels like an unavoidable fact that healthier food = a higher total at the cash register, which is so aggravating!) BUT for now I don’t think that falls within the scope of my purpose.  My point is at some moment you just have to choose to confront the issues and start fighting to fix them.

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I posted a meme on Fb today that said “You cannot fix what you choose not to confront.”  Or something like that, but it really stepped on my toes.  When it comes to the topic of health and weight loss and fitness, I always just sigh and talk about Oh, yes, it’s such a battle, it’s so hard, it’s such a struggle, I’m so tired of fighting it, who cares, what does it really matter, I have people who love me as I am, etc.  But you know what??  Seriously.  Do you know what? Those are all truths.  It is true that it’s hard, that it’s a struggle and a battle and that I’m tired of fighting it and that I have people who love me exactly as I am no matter what.  BUT… it is a battle and a struggle that is worth continuing to fight, tired or not.  The only victories in life, and I mean the ONLY big victories that have ever been won in the world, have come when the person or persons fighting refused to give up.  Think about it.  Wars, battles, political issues, sports contests, personal victories over demons of all kinds…have only been won when the persons fighting them FLATLY REFUSED TO GIVE UP!  Yes, I know that’s a lot of caps.  Sorry.  Don’t mean to yell and rant and rave, but the thing is, nothing is ever gained by sitting down and refusing to keep trying.  That’s why the poem “Footprints in the sand” is famous, but nobody has ever shared a poem about “Butt prints in the sand,” right??

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So today is the day.  I’m getting back on track, I’m going to start making healthy choices every day.  Domino effect.  Our WW leader used to do this “object lesson” in which she gave us all a domino and reminded us that all it takes to stop a falling train of dominoes is a little pressure in the opposite direction.  Just a little support behind one domino anywhere in the chain, to stop it from falling, and the cycle ends.  So that’s it.  It’s Domino Day.  I’m starting over for the last time.  And I’m never, ever, EVER giving up.

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Until next time,

D.

 

Catching Up on the Family Traditions Series- Easter in April July 25, 2014

Filed under: Family,Lovin' Life — DDKlingonGirl @ 12:57 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hello all!  I would be willing to bet that some of my regular readers are basically wondering when on EARTH I am going to post about something other than THEATRE!  Well… it’s your lucky day.  I realized (last night on the way home from the.. um.. place I like to go a lot that has a stage and curtains…) that I have fallen behind on my Family Traditions series!  The last one I posted was in regards to our family traditions in March, namely my dad’s birthday and how he grills burgers that make us all drool, etc.

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Easter was in April this year, which means I have a fabulous opportunity to tell you how dorky our family gets on Easter.  First of all, some backstory.  Oh, come on, you knew it was coming.  So our family has always attended a church that doesn’t really put much extra special focus on Easter as a religious holiday.  The religious world celebrates Easter as a commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is great.  But in the church of Christ, in which I was raised, Easter is really not that much more special than any Sunday, because we (and some other religious groups too, I know) commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus through the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, each and every Sunday.

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So Easter.  I remember back when I was a kid (waaay back in the olden times!) my mother would always stay up until ALL hours making matching dresses for my sister and me.  (Yes, that’s the correct grammar.)  So not only was she always up late sewing, she would also put together our Easter baskets.  She’d put candy and goodies in the plastic eggs, and if we’d already colored real eggs, she would put those in there for us first thing in the morning before we got up.  And generally, there was some little present in there, something special for us- a little piece of jewelry, a watch, a video, a t-shirt, a toy.  It could be anything.  There was usually also some lip balm or hand lotion from Avon.  (Or maybe I’m thinking of our Christmas stockings, but it sounds like something she would put in Easter baskets as well!)  Once my sister and I told each other what our Valentine’s Day surprise was and Mom didn’t let us have them until Easter!  I still remember, too- mine was a watch and Middle Sis’s was a Giant Hershey’s Kiss. Baby sister wasn’t around yet.

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Every Easter morning we’d get up and find our new dresses and baskets laid out on the couch or dining room table, ready to enjoy.  We’d have breakfast and get ready for church, and after church we’d come home and have a nice lunch.  Seems like we often had ham and cheesy potatoes.  I think you fancy people call them au gratin.  So then she always made a dessert or two, and the star attraction was always the Lamb-ie cake.  Lamb-y.  Something.  It was a cake shaped like a lamb.  She had this old cake pan that was shaped like two lengthwise halves of a lamb.  You filled both halves with batter and when they were cooked you stuck them together and set them upright, and it looked like a little lamb lying down.  She would always tint coconut flakes green with food coloring and put it on the serving plate where it looked like the little lamb lying in the grass.  Sometimes she’d add jelly bean “eggs” in the grass, sometimes chick Peeps.  She frosted the lamb himself with white icing and covered that with coconut as well to give him a fleecy look.  And then she’d give him pretty little blue eyes and a pink nose.  He was so cute!

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Once or twice in later years, the Lamb-y cake had been set out of the way so there would be room on the table for the rest of the lunch, and the dog found him and ate half of him before we could stop her.  That was always an adventure.  Other times we’d get really silly and argue over who got to eat the lamb’s rear end, or his head.  Yeah, we were sick, twisted little puppies.

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Anyway.  Once lunch was finished, it was time to hunt eggs.  Mom would get all the eggs from the baskets, take them outside and hide them for us.  No place was off limits.  My parents have 15 acres, but the Hide Zone was usually restricted to the front and side yards around the house.  They’d be hidden in tail pipes of vehicles, up in trees, everywhere.  Dad would come outside to watch us hunt, and he’d be sitting in his front porch rocking chair, and usually there would be an egg actually hidden ON Dad, somewhere.  One year someone got the bright idea to hide eggs in the back yard, and someone lifted the lid of the grill and hid an egg there.  That grill wasn’t used often, because my dad has more than one, and that egg wasn’t found until barbecue season the next year!!

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Now that there are grandkids in the family, it’s as competitive as ever, but I have to say here, my sisters… are devilishly competitive when it comes to egg hunting.  Seriously.  Zeroing in on the same egg as my beautiful middle sister would like as not result in a full body-check and a lost egg or two, because when she plowed over you and you lost half your eggs?  She’d pick them up! Youngest sister was not usually such a vicious competitor, but for Middle Sis it was all-out WAR, and her daughter is now the same way.  It’s hilarious to watch!

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Another tradition we still have is family pictures on the front porch.  Somewhere over the years, someone got the idea to put their baskets upside down on their heads, so now every year there is at least one grandkid with the Easter basket on the head.  One of my favorite Easter pictures from my childhood years is the one that was taken the year Mom was expecting my baby sister.  For one thing, our dresses were yellow, my favorite color.  But I also love to see my mom in that picture, looking so young and adorable with her baby bump, in her black flower-printed dress. It’s amazing to think that I am ten years older now than she was when that picture was taken!

Slightly altered for comfort of publication.

Slightly altered for comfort of publication.

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So.  That is how weird we get on Easter.  Baskets on heads, violent egg-hunting, fighting over lamb’s butts.  Just another day in my awesome family!  Stay tuned for the (admittedly belated) continuation of the Family Traditions series, when I talk about May:  Mothers’ Day and Youngest Sister’s birthday, and The Boy’s birthday as well.  Oh, and End-of-School celebrations, and Memorial Day family gatherings.  It’ll be action-packed, I promise!

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Until next time,

D.

 

Standby… And Go! July 16, 2014

Filed under: Dreams and Passions — DDKlingonGirl @ 11:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello all.  So the Stage Manager gig is about to come to a head.  Tonight is our final full dress rehearsal, for a specially invited audience.  We have had several bumps on the journey to this destination.  We had to cancel one practice because too many people were absent.  We were about three lines into our first full dress rehearsal two nights ago when a car hitting an electric pole down the block put power out in the entire neighborhood.  We have had really rough scene changes, rough acting moments, and technical snafus, but finally we are here.  One more opportunity tonight to fix the bugs, and then we give seven performances over the next two weekends for a paying audience.

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Despite the difficulties, I’ve really enjoyed it.  I’ve learned so much about acting, staging a show, costume and makeup tricks, technical things, and how to relate to a variety of different people, different types of people.  I’ve learned that I love being the one with all the answers, or at least the one everyone looks to for answers, even when I don’t have them.  I’ve learned that I love encouraging and building people up, but that every once in a while I can be a ranting hag. Rarely.  I think mostly I’ve learned I really want to do this again, and someday when I’m ready, maybe direct a show.

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For the time being though, my interest is in returning to the stage to try acting again.  I really want to audition for the next production, but I also know my family needs my attention and my time.  It’s more important that I get reacquainted with my three children (ages 20, 20, and 13, all still at home) than that I satisfy my need for a social life and hobby outside the house.  I really want to be able to balance both.  Somehow other people do it, so I should be able to, also.

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Looking forward to seeing how it all comes together tonight and hoping I can get through it without a heart attack or something.  Break a leg, guys!!

Until next time,

D.

 

Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes… June 30, 2014

Hello all!  Well, I’ve done it again.  At the end of my last post, I promised updates on my new adventure as a community theater stage manager, and that was approximately a month ago.  Without going back and telling the entire story from the beginning, I think I can sum it up in the following four words:  I. Am. So. Tired!  Here’s a picture partly illuminating why:

Grease set pic

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Stage managing has been great so far.  I was pretty well prepared for all my tasks and duties, having observed all the stage managers of all the shows I’ve been involved with in my year with Ardmore Little Theatre.  Also, having downloaded and printed several stage manager guides from college theater departments, and bought a book on the subject from Amazon, I felt like I knew what I was supposed to do.  And for the most part so far, in this particular situation, I’ve been relatively successful.  The director and I make a good team, but I am already aware that for a different director, I would have to do some things differently, mostly with regard to how I relate to the cast and how I help manage rehearsals (read: be tougher).

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Anyway, for those who don’t know and maybe don’t care to do a quick search, a stage manager is basically the glue that keeps the production together and the engine that drives it.  During rehearsals the stage manager is supposed to watch the time and make sure breaks happen on time, make sure things start and end on time, contact people who are late and find out what’s their holdup, call out actors’ lines when they can’t remember them, communicate  and coordinate with all the non-acting people involved, such as sound, lights, costumes, props, set, and orchestra, etc…THEN when the director has the show shaped the way he or she wants it, and the cast is doing full run-throughs, but especially after there are set pieces to work with, and the lighting and sound have been designed, the stage manager is the one with the headset who tells the tech crew when to raise and lower the curtains, when to fly other pieces in or out, when to cue the lights and sounds, when scene change is completed, etc.  In other words- both during the rehearsal process and the performance period, it is a huge undertaking.

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I was given this opportunity as a relative newbie to the theater and a complete newbie to stage managing other than the preparations I mentioned above.  They took a big leap of faith and trust in me, primarily because I have been the Queen of Gung Ho since I started with the theater, and because they trusted the opinion of one of my good friends who recommended me when they couldn’t get anyone with experience.  I think they already knew they could depend on me- they honored me with the MVP award for this season.  I won an Oscar-like statuette and felt like quite the bigshot.  MVP pic

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So.  Thus far, we have had nightly rehearsals, we are now in our exclusive rental period with the facility we perform in, we are in the process of building our set (which is not happening nearly fast enough) and we open TWO weeks from this Thursday.  Tonight is just the first night the cast is supposed to be “off-book” which means they can’t refer to their scripts during rehearsal. The scary part for ME, the scene change and cue-calling part (standby lights one… lights one go.  Standby fly… fly go) is yet to come.  But based on the way I have handled the challenges I’ve faced so far in this adventure, I really think I will probably make it through the intimidating part with only minor snafus.  At least I hope so.  I am doing my level best to be on the ball with this.  I am determined that the powers that be will not regret taking a chance on me, and of course I am hoping to be given the chance to stage-manage again in the future.

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One huge difficulty here, and one that has besieged me from the beginning of my involvement with ALT, is that a lot of people have started telling me that the problem with this new hobby (and one might even say ‘obsession’ there) is that I am putting the theater ahead of other things, more important things.  Most particularly with regard to my offspring.  As usual, when I get into something, I don’t get into it halfway.  I get into it with a vengeance.  Examples:  figure skating fan, Alaska, books, TV shows, Facebook.  Sometimes it seems like I can only wrap my head around one thing at a time.  In simple terms, I’m away from home.  A lot.  Now, I told the kids when I agreed to do this, that they would be “theater orphans” for the 6 weeks the play was in production.  Yes, the kids all live at home, but the girls are 20 years old.  The Boy is 13.  It’s not like I’m leaving three toddlers at home alone with a bowl of cat food and some water on the floor, ok?  True, they have a variety of behavioral and emotional issues that make it more like leaving 13 year old TRIPLETS at home alone, which is probably not a good idea.  But you get the point.  Sometimes I bring them to set construction and so forth, but mostly they are just not into it, which is fine.

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Anyway.  I will always have people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with regard to my kids.  And I know I have made “mucho grande” mistakes in raising them, but I can’t and won’t kick myself for that now.  What I can and will do is enjoy my time at the theater and try to make sure I find balance.  I told them today I was sorry I was at the theater so much.  But that’s not gonna change for another 4 weeks.

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I guess this means I’d better not audition for To Kill a Mockingbird, which auditions August 11-12 and runs sometime in late September, huh? Sad face.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

Rambling Treatise on Hair and Fat and Aspiring to NOT Fear Them May 30, 2014

 

Hello all.  I’m just taking a moment to write here, because auditions for the summer musical are Monday and Tuesday night, and I’m the Stage Manager, and who knows when I’ll be able to write again?  I was thinking about nightmares.  The two things I remember dreaming about last night, I would classify as bad dreams, not necessarily nightmares.  But when I started thinking about them, I wondered WHY on earth I or anyone else would ever be afraid of, or have negative feelings about, these two things, but so many are and do!  It just got me into this deep, thoughtful, sort of reflective type of mood, and what a “fear” of these two things means for me and every other person (mostly women) in the world:  ‘hair’ and ‘fat.’

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Now you’re probably wondering mostly about the first of these two words.  Here’s the backstory, the shocking confession:  I almost never remove the hair from my legs, by any method.  Rarely shave, or wax, or anything of the sort.  Yet they are virtually hair-free!  It’s either genetic, or I have some serious disease I don’t know about, or I never wear shorts, and my long pants somehow inhibit hair growth, or something.  I have a few little hairs here and there, but they are so light and thin and fine, I can barely even get hold of them with tweezers, which is how I usually remove them.    So what does this have to do with last night’s dreams?   Simple.  In my dream, I started growing hair on my legs and no matter how much I shaved, I always missed some, and what I DID manage to shave grew right back almost immediately.  That was upsetting and stressful to me in my dream.  When I woke up it just got me thinking about women and standards of beauty and how most women are always waxed, shaved, tweezed to the max, just to feel beautiful.  I think it’s sad.  Women, in the past, now, and always, have been subjected to absolutely unnatural standards of beauty and desirability.  Think of it! Corsets, foot-binding, bras, makeup, bikini wax!  Craziness, I tell you!

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Like most people, I have been on both ends of the discussion.  I went to a makeup party the other night- one of those facial and makeup demo things, you know.  And everyone looked beautiful to me, without their makeup.  Stunning WITH makeup, of course.  But perfectly lovely and acceptable without it.  And I, as a non-wearer of makeup daily, was heartily encouraged to continue with the routine of the makeup that was applied to my face that night, because my face “looks so much brighter!”  And secondly I remember being shocked at the willingness to be seen in public of a lady I met at a writer’s group meeting a couple of weeks ago, who I SWEAR had a full beard and mustache, and I couldn’t believe she could go around outside her house like that.  I distinctly remember telling someone that night that if I ever got that low on hormones, I wanted someone to shoot me.  WHAT?!!  I’d rather be dead than have hair on my face?  A) There are several different solutions to this particular issue, and B) Something seriously wrong with my perspective here.

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Anyway.  I don’t really have an answer for the problem.  I don’t expect women to suddenly stop shaving and wear no makeup ever, just in the interest of rebelling against cultural expectations and standards of beauty, except to tell women everyone to love who you are and what you look like and try to be as natural and real and authentic as possible, and if men, people, the world, don’t appreciate you exactly as you are, then pooh on them.  Who needs ‘em?

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Which, of course, leads to the other dream, the topic of which is one I have struggled with my entire life and chronicled extensively throughout this blog, and that is fat.  Weight.  Weight LOSS.  All that stuff.  In this dream last night, I saw one of my old friends from high school.  She has been up and down on the weight loss journey all her life, just as I have, and in the last couple of years has been doing really well.  But the last time I talked to her, she mentioned how she had slacked off and lost some ground.  So in this dream, I saw her, and she was much bigger than she had ever been.  Bigger than at her heaviest.  I swear she was actually three feet wide.  And I saw her hips and her completely round face, and I felt fear.  Desperate fear that I am headed to that exact same place, because I was talking with another friend last night about binge eating and out-of-control-ness, and it is all just terrifying.

*

And therein lies the biggest problem that I have with fat.  In this culture, in this country, people act like FAT is the absolute worst thing you can be.  Worse than a liar, worse than a cheat, worse than lazy, worse than stupid, worse than selfish, worse than anything I can think of.  People would rather be ANYTHING than fat.

*

Ok, so it’s completely true that life, physical life, is easier at a normal weight.  Movie seats, airplane seats, tourist attractions, doctor’s office visits, medical procedures, shopping, self-care and grooming (like shaving, for example).  All of those are not things you really have to even give much thought to…when you’re not fat.  You live longer, have more options for entertainment, like chasing a ball with your kids or walking the stupid dog, you have more life when you’re not living it insulated.  And for the record, that insulation can come in other ways than fat, but that’s another post.

*

My point is that…I don’t know what my point is.  I just know I have been dealing with the upsliding scale for weeks and months, and it puts me in a state of terror, and I hate that.  I guess I just need to work on the whole self-love thing no matter what my weight and appearance.  I need to work toward complete self-approval, BUT I also need to focus on health.  Just health.  Good food choices, good activity choices.  Remembering that the life I want to live is out of reach as long as I can’t easily reach my shoes.  That awareness has got to count for something, right?

*

Thanks for joining me on this ramble.  Stay tuned for updates on my Stage Manager experience as it unfolds.

*

Until next time,

D.

 

 

My Summer Just Got a Lot Busier! May 22, 2014

Hello all!  I have a surprise.  I will get to it in a moment, but first the backstory.  Sorry, I’m an “expositionist.”  I’m a Veeery involved member of a community theatre.  I haven’t been there long, just barely a year.  But I got involved at this time last year and have just fallen in love with it.  I’ve made new friends, learned a LOT of stuff, and found something I enjoy to expand and colorize my world.  I’ve been involved in one aspect or another with every production they have done there since I started.  Last summer I was cast in the chorus of Les Mis, followed by set construction on August: Osage County, followed by set construction and co-lead in Secrets of the Buttermilk Hotel, followed by set construction and backstage crew on Young Frankenstein, followed by set construction and backstage crew on Smokey Joe’s Café, followed by set construction on The 39 Steps.  I have gone from knowing virtually nothing about theater to hoping for a major production team position.

*

Every summer at ALT they do a big musical.  This year, it’s ‘Grease.’  They had a bit of a hard time finding a director because people’s schedules just didn’t fit, or things came up, or things fell through, but finally they found a director.  Earlier in the search though, they asked one of my best friends from the theater if she would direct.  After thinking about it for a while, she decided she wasn’t able to make it fit her schedule.  BUT.  During the time she was considering it, we had decided that if she directed, I would get to shadow whomever she picked as her stage manager.  The very day the board representative asked her if she would direct, I went out and bought a couple of binders, page dividers, and page protectors.  I procured a copy of the script and set it up in the binder.  I researched online and printed out some things on stage managing:  Stage Manager’s 10 Commandments, Stage Manager duties and checklist, survival guide, all the good stuff.  I even decorated the cover of my “book” with Grease stuff.  “Preparation, thy name is Klingon Woman!”  In the dictionary under Gung Ho there is a big old picture of me.  (Probably with Sharpie-drawn horns and a villain mustache because my eager-beaver enthusiasm irritated someone who hadn’t had their coffee yet.)

*

So anyway.  Then my friend turned down the director job, and I thought, “Oh well.  Maybe another time, no big deal.”  I lost out on the opportunity to shadow the Stage Manager on 39 Steps, but I wasn’t worried, because I knew another opportunity would come up.  So yesterday I was in WalMart shopping for some things for my office, and I got a Facebook message from the executive producer for this show… are you ready for this?…. asking me if I wanted to stage manage Grease.  Not shadow.  Not assist.  DO it!  Wooohoooo!  So of course I immediately said, “Yes! with supervision.”  We talked a little and she assured me that several theater vets have said they would be available for questions and needs, so I am well-supported.

*

I talked with the director last night, (who, incidentally, I went to school with and who my little sister and my father both know well) and I think we are going to work very well together.  I have begun to get a good idea of what he expects and how he wants things done, and I am ready to deliver! I’ve got my prompt book set up and ready to go, to-do lists, calendars, lists of things to bring to auditions and rehearsals, lists of things to buy for putting together my Stage Manager Kit… in short- I’m ready to learn and ready to work!

*

So that’s my surprise.  In less than a year from my first time ever onstage, I am now a stage manager!  I’m looking forward to the process, even the hard parts.  The part I’m most scared of is the big part:  calling the show. (You know, “Standby Lights 1… Lights 1 Go!” I’ll be responsible for all the light cues, sound cues, fly loft cues, curtain cues, and set changes.  Except I don’t think  I can supervise set change AND call the show.  Maybe.  I’ll have to see how it goes as the process develops through rehearsal.  Ah well.  I’ll figure it out.  Bring it on!

*

Stay with me throughout this journey and I’ll talk your ear off about all things Grease!

*

Until next time,

D.

 

 

 
Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

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