Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Resolve

I usually use my Monday Mission posts to try my hand at humor. I take the blog style and do something a little out of the ordinary for me. And nearly always funny. Or at least... hopefully.

But today my style suggestion is New Year's Resolutions. And I could do something funny, like the resolutions of my new cat (leave hair on all articles of clothing, meow meaningfully at humans then lead them to the wall, lull them into complacency so they will keep me...) or even resolutions of The May Queen (get as tall as Daddy, eat a dessert the size of my head...)

But I am actually going to make some New Year's Resolutions.

And this is momentous, because I never make them. Really. I think I might have been in High School the last time I made resolutions.

And they are THEMED resolutions. Because who doesn't love a good theme? They are things I have wanted to do for quite some time, but haven't, for various reasons and excuses.

The theme is JOURNALING.

I resolve to keep THREE JOURNALS

1 - a Food log - everything I eat and drink
2 - a gratitude journal - everyday at least one thing I am grateful for
3 - a prayer journal - to help me with the discipline of prayer (I am pretty loosey goosey about this, and would like to be better) and to also give me a chance to look back and see the fruits of my prayers.
(journals 2 and 3 might actually be combined, as I plan to offer thanks for the things I'm grateful for...)

And will I write about these things on this journal, my blog? Maybe, we'll see. Probably. Because clearly I don't need to resolve to keep this up. I'm addicted, and plan to keep boring you for quite some time.

So? Got a post in the Style of New Year's Resolutions? They don't have to be yours. Put it in the Link below.

ACK! Mister Linky, my nifty widget provider that lets me do the cool links on the page appears to be down. ack. OK. drop me a line in the comments if you do a post, and I'll try to get links into this post, but I have friends in town so I make ZERO promises about that. So... the rest of you... check out the comments to find others who are partaking in the Monday Missions.

Links:
Dragonfly
SarcastaMom

New Missions for a New Year
(or at least a new month)
Write a post in the following style on these Mondays:
1/7- Thank You Letter
1/14- Movie Synopsis
1/21- Product Description
1/28- Children's book or poem

Friday, December 28, 2007

meow?

It all began this morning with a conversation on our back porch. I think I must have said "I don't want a cat" about a dozen times, at least.

As I type this, there is a cat in my lap.

We have unexpectedly taken in a kitty cat. We're doing this as a trial run. We had some friends who needed to find a home for a cat, and we agreed to give it a go. The cat would have been returned to a shelter today if we didn't take him, and we were clear with the friends we took him from that if things didn't work out they would need to take him back there. He's a really sweet long haired gray and white tabby cat - patient with the May Queen, and enjoys people. He's sitting in my lap right now. We'll see how it goes... what with my allergies and just the trials of pet ownership (you know, like cat bathing). The May Queen is rather gleeful over this new development. The Big Guy is, too. Me? I'm a bit wary of the whole thing, but we'll see.

*****
Monday's Mission is to write a post in the style of New Year's resolutions. I suppose it's too late for mine to be "stay feline free." Anyhow... get thinking about yours. Come back here on Monday and post a link. ALSO... I am still accepting ideas for next Month's Missions. Please leave in the comments or send me an email at pntdmaypoleATyahooDOTcom. I'd like to post the missions for January this Monday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Joy


A Gingerbread house - thanks to Bayou Belle




MQ's appearance as a Shepherd in her school Christmas program went much better than her sullen appearance as Mary in our church pageant. She smiled, sang all of her songs, and most of the other kids' songs, too. Unfortunately all my pictures from the actual program came out blurry.
This is the only way you can make a snowman in Louisiana. Well, unless you have a fantastic grandparent who somehow manages to bring down three snowballs in her LUGGAGE that you can reassemble in your home (after running outside barefoot to get twigs for its arms) as my mother did nearly 2 years.
Either MQ arranged this nativity in her classroom, or all kindergartners think alike.
My 2 favorite Christmas presents.

Hope yours was merry. The May Queen is a bit under the weather, so we had a rough night, a late start to the day, and subdued festivities. I was busy with making meals (including our traditional fritters and chili), catching up with friends and relatives in 3 different countries, and trying to help MQ play with all her toys. After she went to bed the adults (my husband and my parents and I) played games. May I highly recommend a new game we received this year - Hoopla, by Cranium. Lots of fun, and everyone is on the same team.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Seasons Greetings from the Bennets! - a Heroic Monday Mission

Seasons Greetings from the Bennets!

Sorry we missed out on sending out a letter last year, but things were rather hectic. What with Claire discovering her new power and all, and then being chased by a psycho killer. Wait! you think. New power? Indeed! Our little Claire-Bear has the power to heal herself. She can even cut off an appendage and it will regenerate. Pretty cool, no? But there was this crazy guy who wanted her power and was after her, but fortunately some other folks thought it was really important to "save the cheerleader, save the world..." whatever that means... but it sure saved our Claire-Bear, so we are grateful. We have had to move in an attempt to hide our identity, but Claire continues to be a cheerleader and is dating a very nice young boy who just happens to be able to fly (!!!!) We've never met his parents, or really know anything about him other than he uses his power to peak into windows, make quick getaways, and save our darling Claire... so I'm sure he's a good guy.

Noah had to leave his job at Primatech Paper, but of course, it turns out that was all a front anyways for a really rather shady company that studied people with other abilities... like Claire only different... but he couldn't work for them anymore so he went to work for a copy store. At least he stayed in the paper business. Oddly enough he still made enough money so we could have a beautiful house in a very expensive area of California, AND he could travel all over the world. Although it did sort of catch up with him when he was shot through the head, but fear not, Claire's blood was able to heal him, too. Pretty cool, no? Of course, we all have to still pretend he's dead. Kind of like we had to do last spring, as well. Hmmm... life is rather circular. Anyhow, I suppose we will have to move again. Maybe we'll think to change our first names this time, too. And lock Claire in her room. It's for her own good.

Lyle is...well, um... I'm sure he's around here somewhere. It must be hard growing up in the shadow of Claire, but he seems to be doing OK. At least he has managed to not get shot. Yet.

All this craziness and moving and whatnot has sure put a dent in Mr. Muggles' show schedule, it's been nearly 2 years since he's won a blue ribbon. But he knows he is still a winner in our house. Isn't that right, Mr. Muggles?

And me? Well, I am just enjoying the challenges of being a mother and a wife, and trying to overcome the strain of having my memory erased so many times.

Speaking of which... The Haitian that delivered this to you? Will soon be taking away your memory. Not only of this letter (can't have anyone be able to find us through a silly old Chrismas letter, now can we?) but of your ever knowing us. We will miss you greatly, and promise we won't forget you. We hope you have a happy life, a Merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Ours is sure to be filled with more unbelievable adventures, deceit, and strange happenings.

Love,

Noah, Sharon, Claire and Lyle Bennet



****************

This holiday letter (which probably only makes sense to you if you watch Heroes) is part of this week's Monday Mission, which is (as you probably guessed) to write a post in the style of a Holiday Letter. Write your own creation and post a link to it below. Have fun! (Next week's mission... none other than New Year's Resolutions)

ALSO, IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS for January Monday Mission themes, please share either in the comments or through e-mail (pntdmaypoleATyahooDOTcom). What I try to do with Monday Missions is give an idea for a STYLE of writing, and then see what happens. So... what kind of posts would you like to write/read in the new year?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cheers!



I haven't blogged much about my current run on stage, because, frankly, it hasn't been all that interesting. I'm enjoying doing it, and the people in the show have been just lovely to me, welcoming me into the fold at the last minute and being very positive and supportive. I've enjoyed their company, and look forward to working with many of them again. There have been fun bouts of laughter and moments of frustration, of course, but they are small things, really, and don't translate well out of the dark and hush of the backstage. When we raise our mugs at the end of the last song tomorrow, for our final performance, I will be ready to walk away. Other than the initial jumping in, the part isn't particularly challenging or interesting. I'm a bit part in what is essentially a one man show with a huge supporting cast. And that's OK. We all come together to tell the story, and the story is not about me.

Someone said to me, when I told them I was doing this show, "How nice to be a part of so many people's Christmas tradition." Indeed it was. It is a privilege to be able to tell a story, and to work creatively with other people to do it.

by the way, I'm in the big yellow skirt just right of Scrooge.

****

Monday's Mission is nearly upon. Write a post in the form of a Holiday Letter. Funny or serious, imagined or real, write your post and come back and leave a link here. I'll have mine up Sunday night. I've already begun writing it! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him


The May Queen helped me when we decorated the house for Christmas. I gave her the job of setting up this nativity - the first I ever owned. Someone at the church I grew up in gave me this tiny plastic set when I went off to college so I would have a decoration for my dorm room.

When I was younger my brother and I used to fight over who would set up the manger scene, and when the other one would leave the room we would set it up the way in which we thought it was better. When I gave MQ the task of setting up these figures I envisioned them spread out in a beautiful, symmetrical configuration - a stage picture that best showed all the characters and highlighted Jesus in the center... clear for us the audience to see him.

Instead, she made all the characters gather around, eager to get a close look at this new wonder, desiring to be as close as possible to the newborn king.

What could be more perfect?

Often we stand back and admire this Jesus fellow from afar. From a 'safe' distance. We worry about being seen. We are busy checking out who else is there. Feeling smug about who is not.

This Christmas I pray you get in close. Smell his baby head. Gaze into his eyes. Get as close as possible to this new wonder, this newborn king. Get shoulder to shoulder with a smelly, dirty shepherd and an elegant, wise man. Come into the presence of the one who welcomes us all.

*************
I want to thank all of you for your kind responses to my last post. It made me only a wee bit nervous to post, and I say only a wee bit because I feel like I KNOW you, my fellow bloggers in this little corner of the internet I have carved out. I know that I have created these virtual friendships with people who I have much in common with, although not all things in common. I trusted that you would hear me, and even if you did not agree with me, you would respond kindly and with love. And you did. Oh, how you did. Many of you made points I wanted to make, as well, but didn't to try to keep the post from getting even longer and more rambling than it already was. Some of you made me think about things even more, and differently. I was particularly struck by the idea of our using God as an excuse for hate and bigotry as blasphemy. Of course! my brain yelled, jubilantly. It is blasphemy. I am SO incorporating that into my way of thinking. If you haven't read all the comments, I highly recommend that you do. I am heartened to know there are so many people out there who believe in LOVE. In its many and varied forms. Some of you mentioned you may write posts of your own about the subject. If you do, please let me know. I will post links here.

And this post today makes me a wee bit nervous, too, because I know that all of my readers aren't Christians, and of course I don't want to offend any of you. But I trust you won't be offended. I trust that you know this is where I am coming from. This is my faith and my background and my blog - and so I share this with you. Without judgement. I share it with you.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

God Loves Fags

I mentioned a few posts ago that 2 of my passions were God and equal rights/treatments for gays and lesbians. The fabulous Jen asked me if I would write a bit about how those 2 things coexist. Jen is a fierce champion of social justice issues, particularly those of the homeless, and she moves me greatly with her posts. So when Jen asks for an explanation... Jen gets it. ;)

Let me begin by simply stating that I truly believe that GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:16). I'll come back to that.

My connection with this issue fully began when I was a freshman in college. A dear friend of mine in my dorm had grown up in a very traditional but loving Baptist home. He was also gay. He struggled mightily with this, and knowing that I was a Christian, too, he would talk with me about it. We spent hours talking about it and reading the passages in the Bible that people always pull out in their arguments against homosexuality. The following fall the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the denomination I belong to) put out the first draft of its Human Sexuality study. This study was, in my opinion, a fantastic exploration of these bible passages, and came to really great conclusions about how to interpret them and how to create an ethic within the church for supporting homosexual individuals and relationships. Unfortunately 2 years later they released a second draft that reflected the outcry of many of their members, and they backed off from some of their previous assertions. I wrote a very detailed letter expressing my disappointment (they also took out a section on how masturbation is OK, saying it was so obvious it didn't even need to be in there. The fact that it made front page news when the study was first released seems to me to indicate that it DID need to be in there!) I am saddened to say that 15 years later they are still "studying" the issue. All of the studies have, as far as I can tell, come to the same conclusions as the first one, but it seems they are afraid of angering the people and dividing the church, and therefore are afraid to take the stand I wish they would make for this very important issue. But I digress a wee bit.

Back to those pesky bible passages. There are some pretty good resources out there that deal with them in detail (see resources section below) so I won't dissect them all... I will say that I believe the Bible to be silent on the issue of a committed homosexual relationship. None of the passages in the bible speaks to a partnership, a committed and loving relationship. They refer to temple prostitution, the disregard of hospitality laws, the abuse of young boys by older men. Both the Hebrew and the Greek languages have many, many more words that describe things that we boil down to one word (love, for instance) and the words used in these various passages often give a much clearer description of what is being discussed than our translations suggest.

What is clear to me in the Bible is that GOD IS LOVE. So... if the Bible is silent on the issue of a committed homosexual relationship, that is the first thing I look to when I think of how to respond. With love.

Because I think the Bible is silent on the issue, I think it is folly for us to say that homosexuality is a sin. I don't think it is. Let me repeat that. I DON'T THINK THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN. However, even if you do take the position that homosexuality is a sin, I think you HAVE to remember that GOD IS LOVE and respond with love. There is no excuse for saying things like "God hates fags." I believe that God loves everyone... murders and child molesters and gamblers and alcoholics and shoplifters and little white liars and me and you. That doesn't mean that he likes everything we do. But he still loves the person. Take a look at David. The man was a lying, murdering and adultering fool. And yet still today we look to him as a pillar of faith. If God can love him, God can love anyone.

Some people in the church look at homosexual relationships a bit like they look at divorce. They believe it is not what God intended, but see them both as a symptom of our fallen world, and feel that if, because of our fallen world, the only way 2 people can experience that committed love relationship is with a person of the same sex, that we should support that relationship. They welcome gays and lesbians into their congregations and support their decisions. They don't try to "cure" them, but rather accept them as they are. I think this is a very loving Christian response.

I want to make sure I haven't muddied the waters too much here. Again, I don't think that homosexuality is a sin. I also acknowledge that I could be wrong. I may get to heaven and God may say "Painted Maypole, you were wrong." But if that happens I believe He will say "but you acted in LOVE for your fellow brothers and sisters, and that's what matters."

So for me, the biggest issue is that Christians need to respond to gays and lesbians with LOVE. I think that as a whole we have not, and this saddens me greatly.

I work in the theatre, and so you would expect that I know a lot of gay and lesbian people. I do. I also have other friends and family who are gay, including 2 of The May Queen's godfathers. We attended their wedding, and they have been wonderful friends to us and faithful godfathers to MQ.

Since that time I first sat in a room with my college friend and discussed faith and love and relationships and so much more... I have worked for social justice in this area. When I was in Los Angeles I performed and conducted theatre for social justice workshops with Fringe Benefits, a theatre company with a mission that began as building bridges between GLBTQ youth and their straight peers, but has lovingly expanded to "promote the idea that every man, woman and child deserves to be treated with dignity and respect." I also worked with my congregation in Los Angeles to adopt a statement that clearly outlines a welcome to gays and lesbians.

Where I am right now, both physically and life situations wise, I am not currently actively involved with a group that works on this issue. But it is the main issue that causes me to write letters to my government. I speak up about the issue with friends and acquaintances. I pray about it. It weighs heavily on my heart. I have seen friends and family hurt (both physically and emotionally) by the prejudices that surround this issue. I have seen a dear friend and excellent pastor leave the ministry because he could not openly be in a relationship, and it was tearing him apart.

I believe that God is Love. Denying marriage and other rights to gays and lesbians is not displaying that love. Making demeaning remarks is not displaying that love. Trying to "cure" a homosexual is not displaying that love.

Last week I was reading an article about "The Little Rock Nine" (9 black students attending an otherwise white high school in 1957). A picture showed a protester carrying a sign that read "Save our Christian America."

It struck me as the same type of argument that people are using now to keep gays and lesbians from legally marrying. They claim it is against our Christian values. That it cheapens the idea of marriage. I disagree. I think we cheapen the idea of marriage by being exclusionary. I think we cheapen the idea of marriage by not allowing people who want to dedicate their lives to each other in a public fashion that chance. I think we go against our Christian values when we do not act in loving acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

Resources for more information:

Lutherans Concerned - working for full inclusion of GLBT individuals within the Lutheran Church

Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry - not only do I appear on the cover of this book, but inside you will find some wonderful plays, songs and poems for children that teach tolerance and fight bigotry. And the illustrations? Oh.. it's beautiful! Think of it as Free to Be... You and Me for a new generation.

Sexual Fulfillment for Single and Married, Straight and Gay, Young and Old - this book is written by Herbert W. Chilstrom and Lowell O. Erdahl, two retired Lutheran bishops

The Nature of Sexual Orientation - link to actual article by John R. Ballew, M.S.

Affirmation - this United Methodist movement provided me with lots of ideas and resources when I was working within my own Lutheran congregation

Sunday, December 16, 2007

1, 2, 3...

Holiday Pounds
1 - eating out with visiting family
2 - fast food grabbed on the way to performances of A Christmas Carol
3 - eggnog
4 - my mom's homemade candy
5 - more of my mom's homemade candy
6 - Christmas parties
7 - too tired/busy to exercise


And after the holidays? well... then it's King Cakes and Mardi Gras. Someone stop me from all this eating!

This post was brought to you by the number 7, and the letter M (for Monday Missions, of course! Write your own HOLIDAY LIST - whatever kind of holiday list your little brain can think up - and post a link to it below)




upcoming Monday Missions:
12/24 - Family Holiday Letter
12/31 - New Year's Resolutions

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tradition and History

I began rehearsals today for the great American musical about Jews in Russia. If you aren't humming it already, take a look at my title again.

We spent 3 hours of rehearsal today doing the staging for that song... and I have spent the rest of the day humming it.

The Big Guy and I have a bit of history with this show. When we first started "dating" I worked at a camp. There wasn't much actual "dating" - seeing as how I had to be on camp 24 hours a day for 6 days a week. But in the several weeks after camp and before I had to report back to college The Big Guy planned a surprise date for me. Remember how I ruined his surprise proposal? Well, my ruining of his surprises has an even longer history.

He was VERY excited about it, and kept talking about it and dropping hints. I don't remember what any of the hints were, other than that we were going into the city. Frankly, I didn't worry about it. I like surprises.

Well, one day I was flipping through the newspaper, probably looking for the comics and crossword puzzle, when I saw the ad. For this musical. At the big touring theatre in Detroit. For the weekend of our surprise date. And I knew.

So the next time we spoke on the phone The Big Guy started teasing me with the "surprise." I told him I know what it was.

After a brief silence he retorted "Well, you still don't know where I'm taking you to dinner!"

*************
Don't forget Monday's Mission to do a post in the style of a Holiday List. That's pretty vague, I know, but I did it on purpose to give you lots of room for creativity. Gift list? to do list? list of parties to attend? Have at it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

lists of 8 things and an award

Golly, doesn't that title just have you drooling already, as if the teacher has said "filmstrip" and already you are sleeping with your head on your desk?

anyhow...

I was tagged for this meme by wayfarer scientista - who posts the most amazing pictures of Alaska on her blog. And is a good read, to boot. Check her out.

When she tagged me she referred to my blog as:
"Painted Maypole and the adventures of a thespian mom."

Which just tickled me, and I may have to find a way to incorporate that into my header, should I ever figure out how to make one.

On with the lists...

8 passions in my life
- God
- theatre
- The May Queen
- The Big Guy
- Children
- Equal rights and treatment for Gays and Lesbians
- Water (rivers, lakes, oceans, waterfalls...)
- Sharks

8 things to do before I die
- Scuba dive/swim with sharks
- Be part of a TRUE repertory theatre company
- Perform on Broadway (oh... if only....)
- Stand on an ancient Greek stage and speak the (translated) words of Aeschylus or Sophocles
- Ballroom dance. Well.
- Live on a rocket ship with my bestest friend (this is our plan for after our husbands die, our reasoning being that there is no gravity and hence our parts won't sag. We'll return to earth to do the occasional play together, such as playing the 2 crazy old aunts in The Cripple of Inishmann)
- Spoil my grandchildren. And my Great Grandchildren.
- Travel! Africa, Australia, Italy... there are so many places I want to see!


8 things I often say
-"Hurry Up" (to the May Queen. Admittedly, because I am the one who is running late. Shortly followed by...)
-"And we're off like a herd of turtles." (like my mother and her father before her)
-"Home again, home again, lickety split" (again, like my mother)
- "Good Gravy" (we were watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special on TV the other day, and when Charlie Brown said "Good Grief" MQ laughed and said "he should have said "Good Gravy!")
- "Baby, baby, baby!" (to the May Queen)
- "How do you ask nicely?" (I am such a mother)
- "I can't, I have rehearsal"
- "I need you to ________" (such as "I need you to get your pajamas on" or "I need you to pick up your toys" or "I need you to be quiet for a few minutes so I can think"

8 Books I read recently
the actual last 8 books I've read(I think, I lose track), starting with the most recently finished
- Last Known Victim, by E.rica Spi.ndler (who is a friend of ours, and I would prefer she doesn't find my blog... hence the extra punctuation)
- A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby
- Camille, by Alexander Dumas (this is the book that the opera I did was based on. So I read it. For research. Because I am a geek like that.)
- Love is a many trousered thing, by Louise Rennison (there is an Italian Lurve God in this book that happens to share a name with the director of my opera. this makes me laugh)
- The Treasures of a Transformed Life, by John Ed Mathison
- Fabulous Friendship Festival, by SARK
- Barrel Fever, by David Sedaris (funny, excellent light reading for traveling)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, by J.K. Rowling (it's Harry. I loved it. I finished it at appx 5am the day I left for England. Hubby was not pleased with my lack of sleep. Grumpy? Perhaps. Satisfied. Yes.)
(currently on my nightstand? - In Cold Blood)


8 songs that mean something to me (this is really hard for me, because there are so many and yet they aren't jumping out at me - these sort of songs just creep up on me, if you know what i mean)
-Old Apartment, BareNaked Ladies (reminds me so much of one of my apartments in college. Perhaps because my roomies at the time played BNL incessantly. This song didn't come out until later, but as they sing about all the things about the apartment, I picture MY old apartment. "This is where we used to live.")
-Beautiful Savior (the church that my father was a pastor of when I was little was named Beautiful Savior. Every time I sing this old hymn I think of our last Sunday there, when I was 8 years old, my mother singing this hymn with tears streaming down her face.)
- When I was a Boy, by Dar Williams. (Ladies, you must listen to this song. Men, you too. Go here. I love to sing this song, and often, 10 years after the first time I heard it, still get choked up at the end.)
- Ode to Joy - my husband's favorite hymn, sung at our wedding
- Gett Off - My favorite Prince song. Not appropriate for small children. Alas.
- Perhaps Love, John Denver and Placido Domingo. This reminds me of growing up. And it's lovely.
-Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls. My college roomie and I used to sing this, in harmony, all the time. Also one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar that wasn't a campfire song.
- Brahm;s Lullaby

8 Qualities I look for in a friend
1. Kindness
2. Good humor
3. Creativity
4. A passion for SOMETHING
5. Good conversationalist
6. Empathy
7. Ability to disagree without it being an issue
8. Bakes me cookies (just kidding!)



I'm not going to tag today, because I am lazy.




Also, a while back Oh, the Joys gave me (and half her bloglist, but I shan't let that hinder my joy in receiving it) the following award:





I would like to pass this on to the fabulously kooky Lithuanian Rima Rama, who I often save to be the last blog I read in a session of blog reading... trusting that I will end with a smile. Her blogging definitely hits the mark!

And one more random thing, because this post isn't long enough already (zzzzzzz.... wake up!). Yesterday Julie's hump day hmmm... was about pet peeves, and this morning I realized what one of mine is... deflated holiday inflatables laying in a crumpled heap on the lawn all day. They are not LIGHTS (even if they have lights in them) they are DECORATIONS that can be enjoyed just as much during the daylight hours. Leave them up! Deflated decorations are... well, deflating to my holiday mood.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mmmm.....

I discovered my favorite new holiday drink quite by accident. I'm not a coffee drinker, but enjoy a nice hot Chai Tea in the morning. The other day we were out of milk and I was contemplating drinking it without or breaking into the powdered milk (for baking) stash in the cupboard... when I thought "we have eggnog in the fridge."

I poured a little into my mug... thinking "this is either going to be great, or really gross"

It was great. I'm hooked.

Of course, it was too hot here this morning to drink anything warm, but otherwise I've been having it every morning. It's a yummy way to start the day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

That's silly!

I was standing at the kitchen counter overlooking the living room where The May Queen was getting dressed for school. As I packed her lunch she was talking to me about babies and how they ate. She expressed that babies must be REALLY hungry while they are still in their mommy's tummy. I explained about umbilical cords and belly buttons. She kept getting dressed.

Then it happened.

"How do babies get OUT of their mommy's tummy?"

"With a lot of hard work."

I heard my husband snicker at the table behind me where he was doing his daily Sudoku puzzle. The May Queen's face continued to peer expectantly at me over the back of the couch.

"Well," I began again, "babies are a lot smaller than you are when they are born, and they come out through their mommy's vagina."

A brief pause. Then the May Queen threw her head back and laughed. "That's silly!"

You think that's silly? Just wait until you ask how the baby gets IN to the mommy's tummy.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mary May Queen

Sunday morning we had our Christmas Pageant at church. I directed it, of course.

Last year The May Queen played a sheep, and wanted desperately to be Mary. So this year I decided a little nepotism was in order, and The May Queen got to play Mary.

Let me tell you, that she simply GLOWED as Mary.

Erm... that's not her.

OK, so she didn't glow. Rather, she was a very devout Mary, with her eyes turned up to heaven.

OK, so that's not her either.

No, rather, she chose to play Mary as being totally enamoured with her gorgeous new baby.


Whoops. That's not it either.

Well, she was definitely a robust Mary.


OK, maybe not.

Actually, as the director of the show i decided to take the role of Mary in a slightly different direction.


While that may be a Madonna, but I didn't take it in that different of a direction.

Rather, the May Queen stood in front of the congregation and did what any lucky child playing Mary would do.....

Wish she were someone else.

Sigh. And no, for those of you who are wondering... The May Queen does not seem to have caught the acting bug from her mama.


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This post is part of Monday Missions. Your mission this week is to use some sort of creative photoshopping within your post. Go wild! Then come back here and put a link to your post in the widget below. Then check out the other Monday Missions.




Upcoming Monday Missions are:
12/17 - Holiday List
12/24 - Family Holiday Letter (year in review...)
12/31 - New Year's Resolutions

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another opening, another show...

Tonight was opening night for our Dickensian Christmas extravaganza. Opening night is stretching it a bit since we've had 5 performances for school groups prior to this, as well as an "actors appreciation" night where we invited other local actors to see the show at a discounted price - but it was our first performance where we sold tickets to the general public. It was a lovely and appreciative crowd who gave us a standing ovation. And not just when Scrooge came out for his bow... they stood up right away, for the gads of other people who are little more than talking scenery for the one man show that is A Christmas Carol. Standing ovations are nice.

The show is, I think, quite good, and has many talented people in the cast. I don't have nearly the same kind of stories about it as I do the opera, since it's in my own language and no director is saying to me "Sex!" It's not as challenging and therefore not as satisfying as the opera was (I can't believe I'm saying that, but it's true) but I am very glad I'm doing it. The director has already said she wants to work with me again, the artistic director is thrilled that I stepped in and am doing so well, I've met several local actors (some of whom also direct) I've wanted to work with for a while, and I'm getting some reading done backstage. There are a lot of really fun people in the show, and I am hoping that this is the start of some good professional and personal relationships.

The theatre community here isn't very big, and even though I've done several shows here already, I feel like this show may be the true "foot in the door," the show that leads to other shows that leads to other shows, etc. I have always been a firm believer that work begets work, and so far it has proven true.

And I got a nice big laugh tonight, just from one little look. Fun.

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don't forget Monday's mission for a fun with photoshop post.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In which I complain about my stress and brag about my husband

I must begin by saying that I don't know how working mothers do it. My hat is off to all of you. Seriously.

This past week I have been gone pretty much all day between my very brief part time job at the preschool and rehearsals and performances for A Christmas Carol. The time I have had at home has been short and limited, and, I confess, stressful.

When I agreed to take on this role just last week I vowed to myself that I wouldn't let things slide as much as I did when I was doing the opera. I vowed that I would be better at keeping up with my commitments both in and out of our home. And so this past week I have not only learned a new role, acclimated to a new cast and crew and OPENED said show... I have also decorated inside and out for Christmas (including shopping for and putting up a real tree), done a considerable amount of shopping and mailing of packages to friends and relatives who live far away, worked on the Christmas pageant I am directing for our Sunday School, written our yearly Christmas letter (yes, I send one of those out. and no, I will not share it with you. And yes, it is a bit braggy about all our world travels this year. sue me), worked on a short drama we'll be performing in worship in a few weeks, practiced with my praise team, spoken to friends and family on the phone, organized getting the materials for my small group bible study, fed my family, done many loads of laundry, etc, etc. I find myself short on patience and energy, and feeling guilty for not enjoying every moment. And then I realize that it is only December 5th and in many ways I am ahead of the holiday game, in comparison to where I usually am at this point in the month. And yet the stress....

I am being too hard on myself, I know. It's OK to let a few things relax. Really... did the tree have to be decorated TODAY? But I had planned to do it during this time, and gosh darn it, I got it done.

My husband, I have to say, has been wonderful. He's been giving up his quiet time in the morning to take The May Queen to school since I have to head to the theatre for our performances for school groups. He is putting her to bed nearly every night, but not before they drive around and look at all the lights (and "conflatable" Santas, et al). He has not complained at all about the frozen pizzas and lack of milk in the refrigerator. I came home today to find the laundry machines running. When I talked to him about doing this show last week he said "You want to do it. We will find a way." When I told him that tomorrow I would be going into the city to do a show in the morning and then driving the hour home to pick up The May Queen from school, and then driving back for a show in the evening he said "I can leave work and get her if you can find something to do down in the city" (um... yes! Hello working on my Christmas cards at the library... and... dare I think it... a movie?!)

That is the way he has always been about my acting. Always. Well... there was that time when I was leaving home at 6am to do children's theatre and then going straight to rehearsals for another show and coming home at 11pm and I would crawl into bed next to him exhausted... one night he DID roll over and eye me suspiciously and say "Who are you and what are you doing in my bed? My wife wouldn't like this. Of course, she's never home, so she won't find out..."

But he really truly has been always supportive of it. And this past week as I've watched him step up to the plate to help out with newly appreciative eyes, it makes me want to make sure I keep up with everything even more. Because he truly is a gem. Even if he does begin snoring 5 minutes into the time we've set aside to watch our taped (final!) episode of Heroes together.

So enough with the complaining, and on to being thankful. The time I do have at home with my family I will cherish. And if the floor doesn't get washed... well... that's OK. The twinkling lights from the Christmas tree make a great distraction from the pile of junk mail on the kitchen counter.

Monday, December 3, 2007

my 30 seconds of national fame


video



For Slouching Mom, and everyone else who has asked, here is the national commercial I filmed in 2001. It played during flu seasons of 01-02 and 02-03. I think it is missing a few opening seconds of us lying in bed, coughing and miserable.

(do you see why I laughed when people wondered if The Big Guy was concerned about my being in bed with another man for this shoot?)

When I filmed this commercial my husband and I were house hunting in the greater Los Angeles Area. I knew not to count on the money from the commercial until I had it in hand because you only get the big bucks if the ad actually airs, and I had had plenty of friends film commercials that never made it onto the airwaves.

One day The Big Guy and I had looked at a little house we loved... 3 bedrooms, hardwood floors, nice neighborhood.. but just slightly out of our price range.

When we returned home there was a check in our mailbox... the check from this commercial. It made up the difference we needed for the down payment. We called our real estate agent and told him to make an offer.


And thus we bought our first home.


It may not be my most brilliant performance, but it was definitely my most lucrative.


It is frustrating, though, as an artist, to work long and hard on many live performances of which I am very proud, and were only seen by a few hundred (or, when I was lucky, a few thousand) people. And then I did this commercial and everyone I knew saw it, and called, and thought it was so great. So while I'm so glad that I did it, it's a bit sad, because there are many, many things I would rather be known for. And PAID for. (and why I can get paid so much for one day's work hawking a product, but can't get paid enough to buy my gas when I'm doing a play is a rant for another day...)


I don't have many of my shows on video, but I do have a few... and when my new computer is returned to working order I'll see if I can get any of them onto the computer. Live performances don't tend to translate well onto video, though, so be forewarned.

Additional random info... This 30 second spot took all day to film. We spent probably well over an hour shooting a shot where I push opened a door. It took me forever to get it right... they didn't want me to bend my elbow at all, and for some reason this was hard for me. Anyhow... I did finally get it right, and the darn shot never made it into the commercial anyways. We also spent a lot of time filming the very short shot where we turn from looking at each other to looking at the camera. The director wanted our heads to move, and not our eyes. I see that my eyes still move and look before my head does. AND, in one very silly moment, the director stuck a fake gun under my pillow and instructed me to pull it on my husband during a take... just for kicks and giggles. He had no idea it was coming. That would be a fun video to see. Oh. And the food they served us all? Incredible. When I showed up really early in the morning and was in the trailer waiting to start they asked if I was hungry. "Not really" I said. They insisted, they'd get me anything. "Maybe a muffin and some fruit" They asked what kind. "Whatever." They asked again. "Blueberry muffin, or whatever they have." They returned a few minutes later with a banana and FRESHLY made mixed berry muffin. Yum. Lunch, dinner and snacks were all delicious, too. All day long people told me how terrible I looked, as a compliment of course, since I was supposed to look sick. I didn't bother to tell them that I was wearing NO makeup. But apparently the difference between looking sick and looking happy, healthy and ready to sleep? Lip gloss. Now you know. And last but not least... the director of the video was a former member of the band Ratt. And no... he did not still have the big hair.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Soooo (x100,000) tired - Monday Mission

Hey there!

Dude, I am so tired. Soooooo (x100,000) tired. Doing way too much these days. And not nearly enough TV watching. I missed Desperate Housewives last night because of rehearsal. Did you record it? Can I borrow it? Don't tell me what happened - the whole tornado thing looked interesting. Maybe.

What did you do for your assignment in Ms. Painted's class? The 'write a paper like a blog post' one? I had no time to do the research for it - did it late at night when I got in from rehearsal. Totally uninspired. I'm sure it's crap, but whatever. I'm getting a pretty good grade in that class so one bad paper won't hurt too much. I hope. Whatever. How much of our final grade was it worth, anyways? Can't be that much.

But... did you see The Big Guy this morning? Looking extra hot with that new haircut. So I guess I can't complain too much. I am one lucky girl. Of course, if I stay this busy I won't be able to spend any time with him and then he'll dump me for sure and I'll be back in heartbreak city. So must make time for the Big Guy.

Sleep? Who needs it? Besides, I can always sleep in history class.

Crap. Pop Quiz! Gotta run... at lunch you have to tell me all about what happened to YOU this weekend.

C-Ya,

Maypole

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This is my Monday Mission submission. I will tell you that I had BIG plans for this one... plans that involved actual writing on actual notebook paper and scanning it in. Plans that involved fancy folding and intricate doodling.

Plans that were torn asunder when my new computer (you know, the one I bought to replace the one that caught on fire) DIED eight days after we plugged it in. Won't even turn on. (It is being mailed back to be fixed - to the tune of an extra $50 on my credit card). So my scanner? Doesn't work with this old computer. Sigh. So please, cheer me up with YOUR Monday Mission posts. Post some kickin' stuff in the style of a high school note. Be creative. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me forget my computer woes. Make me forget this sorry post. Write your post and link it below. Please. Because if you do? I will write things in your yearbook like "Best Friends Forever" and "Keep in touch" and "Don't ever change" and "Call me." And you can't ever have too many BFFs in your yearbook.






Quickie Monday Mission info for newbies:
What are Monday Missions, you ask? Well. Monday Missions are a weekly (every Monday! Imagine that! Although I usually get mine up on Sunday to get the ball rolling...) carnival designed to encourage us to post in a certain style. They are basically a jumping off point for your imagination; encouragement for you to think outside of the the box; a chance to try writing in a different style. You are welcome to play along for any and all, or none at all, as your fancy strikes you.

The Missions for December are:

12/3 - High School note (the kind you would pass in class)

12/10 - Photoshop Extravaganza (you've read posts where others use photoshop to add humor or make a point. Now is your chance to try your hand at this.)

12/17 - Holiday List

12/24 - Family Holiday Letter (year in review...)

12/31 - New Year's Resolutions