Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy May Day!!!!

Today I will be crowning The May Queen with a floral crown, made lovingly by me with REAL faux flowers, and the occasional green twist tie. I will also be virtually crowning one of YOU, as well. Leave a comment here before midnight on May 1st, and Friday morning my May Queen will draw a number, and I will announce who has virtually been crowned May Queen. Then, make sure I have your address, and I will send you a floral crown, just like the ones worn at our May Day celebration. If there's more than one queen in your house, you'll have to figure out how to share. ;)
Isn't it stunning? (this picture made me realize how badly I need to wipe down the mirror in my bathroom. ewww...)

Look: even MQ's magazine has heard about my party, and apparently adopted one of my mottoes (spell check insists that's the right way to spell "mottoes" - looks weird to me. I love how if you look to the right, right now, you'll see my "Join the Dance!" in the sidebar): And finally, a poem for all you virtual May Queen hopefuls:

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

There’s many a black, black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There’s Margaret and Mary, there’s Kate and Caroline;
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break;
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,
But I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

They say he’s dying all for love, but that can never be;
They say his heart is breaking, mother–what is that to me?
There’s many a bolder lad ’ill woo me any summer day,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you’ll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side ’ill come from far away,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

All the valley, mother, ’ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale ’ill merrily glance and play,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
To-morrow ’ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

would a blog by any other name smell so sweet?

Do you find that your blog name starts to define you?

I chose the blog name "Painted Maypole" quite on a whim (just as I started blogging on a whim). I tried several other names, and they were all taken. For some reason, my mind landed on the phrase "Painted Maypole." It was available. A blog was born.

The phrase comes from the third act of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, when the men have been charmed into loving Helena, Helena is convinced it's all cruel joke on her, and Hermia is rather ticked off. Hermia says this to Helena:

Puppet? why so? ay, that way goes the game.
Now I perceive that she hath made compare
Between our statures; she hath urged her height;
And with her personage, her tall personage,
Her height, forsooth, she hath prevail'd with him.
And are you grown so high in his esteem;
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am I, thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

that's me, in the purple, as "Painted Maypole" Helena, summer 2000

Basically, Hermia is calling Helena an overly made up, tartish, skinny beanpole. And this is the name I've chosen to go by online. Hmmm... As I said, I didn't give it much thought at the outset, but now it's my moniker. I kind of like it, despite its insulting origins (besides, what's wrong with being tall?). (Because May Day is a celebration of spring and fertility, the Maypole is also a rather obvious phallic symbol, but I'll just breeze right by that...)

So once I've embraced the name Painted Maypole, it seems only appropriate that I adopt May Day (May 1st) as a special holiday. We've invited the neighbor girls over for a little party. Rather than going out into the woods and cutting down a tree to decorate for our maypole, I'll be braving the wilds of our garage for a broom handle. We'll decorate the pole with ribbons and dance around it, perhaps while singing some of these songs. We'll wear flower wreaths in our hair and keep an eye out for fairies. We'll make this maypole centerpiece. We'll make May Day Baskets, fill them with flowers, and hang them from doorknobs. We'll eat flower shaped sugar cookies. It should be fun.

And look, I just planned a May Day party for you. Have one! And don't forget to swing by here on the actual day. I'll be having my own little May Day giveaway, but you have to come by on May Day to leave a comment to enter the drawing.

If you're really dying for more May Day info you can look here, here or here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

MLS listing #4231564

Modest one room fun house available for discerning felines. New construction, made largely of recycled materials. Painted by local artisans, this home is the perfect pad for artistic cats who like to play. Ample windows, including skylights, let in natural light. Appx. 2 square feet. This pad is mobile. Available immediately.

This house listing is brought to you courtesy of Monday Missions. Write your own post in the style of a house listing and leave a link. (bonus points to anyone who can figure out the significance of the MLS number...which, erm, i had typed incorrectly. it has now been fixed - hint:i had to change the first number)

Chantal is offering some prime real estate
Helen has posted a castle
Melissa is hosting an Open House
Alejna wants to help you get past the real estate jargon
De is listing her work in progress
Mr. Linky still doesn't seem to be working with my new blog design, so leave your link in my comments. I'll try to get them into the post as I'm able, but Mondays I'm busy singing and dancing with small children at the preschool, so I may not be too timely. I'll try.

May Monday Missions - write a post in the style of:
5/5: a soap opera update, starting with the words "When we last left off..." (idea thanks to No Mother Earth)
5/12: a personality test (idea thanks to Emily, inspired by Alpha Dogma)
5/19: a list of rules
5/26: a warning label

Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't hate me because I live in New Orleans

I spent the day at Jazz Fest with the Big Guy. This is his first time ever, I've gone by myself the last 3 years (ever since we moved here). He loved it. The past 2 years I've gone on a Saturday, and going on a Friday was much nicer, crowds wise. Not as big names, perhaps, but I'm all about catching the local stuff and finding new things to listen to, so it's perfect.

We both agreed that our favorite act was Tab Benoit. We had great seats in the Blues Tent for his whole set, which was awesome. He very briefly asked everyone to go home and write their elected officials and ask them to dedicate time and resources to rebuilding New Orleans, to make sure Jazz Fest continues (also check out Tab in the great IMAX film, Hurricane on the Bayou). We bought his CD, and had him sign it. Hello! Do we look happily tired after a full day of fabulous music or what?

And can I just say that I think I have a crush on trombone players?

Oh, and the food. Yum. I had alligator pie, boudin, and a crab meat po' boy. Yum.

One of the great things about New Orleans music is that musicians play together, back each other up, hop around from band to band. So today, several hours after seeing Susan Cowsill open the festival, we saw her sing back up for Theresa Anderson. Craig Klein (trombonist extraordinaire) popped on stage for one of Susan's songs. John Gros played keyboard/organ for Anders Osborne. It's a community. You can feel it in their support of each other, in their joy on stage, and in the audiences who come to love them.

Wish you were here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A story of hurt and forgiveness

Last October I wrote a post about forgiveness, talking about my revelation that you have to be willing to BLAME before you can truly forgive (as opposed to downplaying the wrong, which is what I often do). Many of you really responded to that post, and I vowed to write another post about forgiveness. Apparently, just like I had a hard time making myself sit down and right that first post, the second one wasn't coming easily, either.

But last Sunday our pastor (we have 2 at my church, my husband and this other fellow) preached about forgiveness. Which sort of lit the fire under my seat again. You will still notice that it took me 5 days to write the post. Why do I resist it? I don't know.


One of the key points in his sermon is that forgiving is giving up the right to tell the story. You've surely heard this point before. If you've read any magazine article or book about fighting fair, you've heard this in terms of not bringing up past grievances. Deal only with the situation at hand. It also applies to telling the story to others. Have I really forgiven someone if I go around telling everyone about the awful thing they did? The "not telling the story" thing doesn't mean it can't EVER come up... sometimes you need to talk about it to share your healing, or move past a certain thing, and I think that if the incident is a pattern, sometimes you need to bring that into focus. But we give up the right to bring up the story to make the other person feel guilty, or to gain us sympathy and a feeling of righteousness.

I'd heard the pastor talk about this before, and felt like I was doing pretty well in this department.

My smugness, of course, was followed by a revelation.

Like many of you, I have lots of incidences where I am called upon to forgive. Most of them come and go fairly quickly, and I'm able to apply all these things I've learned about forgiveness. But I have one that is my sticking point. The one I keep coming back to. And that's where this point hit home. Because even though I don't bring up the story to the people who hurt me, and I don't tell others about it, I tell myself about it all the time. It comes up in my own little brain. In the blackest parts of my heart. I cannot expect myself to forget it. That is asking myself the impossible. But I need to stop telling myself the story. I need to stop feeding it. I need to stop holding on to it. I need to stop relishing in all the little horrible details. I need to stop justifying my years old indignation. I need to stop feeling guilty about it when I do think of it.

When my brain brings it to mind, I need to remember the choice I made to forgive. AND STOP RIGHT THERE. Because telling myself the story again and again in my head? It's the perfect example of another thing my pastor said: "Not forgiving is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die." I get angry all over again. I reexamine the evidence. AND THEN I remind myself that I've made the choice to forgive, and feel guilty that I keep thinking about it. I need to cut out all the stuff in the middle (and that last guilty bit at the end). It comes up? I remind myself of my forgiveness, and then I move on. I know the story. It hasn't changed. Skip the middle and go right to its proper ending:


Monday, April 21, 2008

taking stock on Earth Day

Earth day seems like a good time to take stock of what I do, and would like to do, in regards to taking care of this planet. One of the things I miss about living in California is the widespread emphasis on taking care of the environment. We were no Seattle, but it was WAY better than here. Anyhow...

First of all, I am cheap and usually broke, so this actually helps in the whole environmentally friendly thing. I've always bought many of my clothes used, reuse and repurpose things all the time (why buy boxes or padded envelopes for shipping when I can reuse? And I, and many future generations, should never have to buy a gift bag thanks to the stash in my attic...) and get most of my books from the library. I've always recycled (when I worked in an office without recycling I'd take the papers home and recycle them at home!). I keep my heat temperatures low and my airconditioning temp high, and would do this even more if my husband didn't sweat profusely in the summer and wear shorts all winter. I used cloth diapers for The May Queen (and LOVED them! I would be happy to regale you with their greatness if you're interested... e-mail me). We've always used cloth napkins and shunned paper plates. When I'm done with something I pass to a friend or a charity as much as possible.

Recently I've begun using my own canvas bags - all of which I already had from various conferences, etc - when shopping (when I remember to take them in to the store! Keeping them in the car has helped. A little) and using rags instead of paper towels 98% of the time (I've hidden the paper towels behind the rags, so I have to really work to get to them). I've placed jars full of water in my toilet tanks to lessen the amount of water used each time we flush. I've bought CFLs to replace my lightbulbs as they die (but i really need to find the ones that look like little flames, as many of the lights in my house require those). When replacing appliances we've purchased energy star ones. I'm not leaving the computer on 24 hours a day. I'm buying recycled office paper. I'm using more natural cleaning products (hello, white vinegar!).

But there are things I'd like to add to my list. I'd like to stop using chlorine bleach. I'd like to move to all organic lawn and garden fertilizer, weed and pest control. I'd like to buy more organic and locally grown food. I want to look into solar panels for my roof. I'm also working on giving up soda. Because even though I recycle the cans, wouldn't it be better if I didn't use them at all? (and really, soda is just terrible for me, so giving it up would be good for the planet AND good for me. Which really, I suppose, is the point, isn't it? It's all much, much better for me, and for The May Queen, and for the generations that follow... and look, I'm getting to the heart of this post, and it's all in a parenthetical...)

How about you? What are you doing? What would you LIKE to do?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blogger seeking designer

Me: A blogger with a boring standard blogger template You: A blog designer who can read my mind and change my life (or at least my blog). Us: Let's color the world together.

This has been a Monday Mission, a post written in the style of a want ad. Write your own Monday Mission and post a link to your post in the widget below:

(If the widget doesn't appear - leave a note in the comment and I'll add links in)

- I'm being held hostage is looking for some help

-Melissa at Taking what is Left has her own time sensitive search

-Mary Beth at is good has a sports themed want ad

-Helen could truly use some online help

Next week's mission, to write a post in the style of a house listing. And thanks to those who have given me ideas for future Monday Missions. Keep those ideas coming.


And look! My want ad has been answered (OK, OK, you caught me. I had been working on this already....) Don't you just LOVE my new blog design? I am SO excited about it. It makes me feel happy and all spring-like. I was going to wait to unveil it until May Day, but I'm too excited. So instead, think of it as an invitation to come back here and celebrate May Day with me. What will we be doing? Well, besides dancing around the maypole, I'm not entirely sure, but I think there may be a giveaway involved. Hmmm... So come back May 1st and check it out.

In the meantime, check out Ashley at The Cutest Blog on the Block, who did this stunning design. She has lots of free templates on her blog, or you can have her custom do one for you. She's a miracle worker. She took this rough crayon drawing of mine...

(please ignore the train coloring sheet that was on the back of the paper and showed through when I scanned it...)

...and turned it into this template. Genius. So what are you waiting for? Go spruce up your own blog. It's blogher ad revenue well spent.

Oh wait. Leave me a comment about how much you love it first, THEN go check her out. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

you can dance if you want to

er...apparently when I went in and tried to edit the previous post a bit... the video disappeared. ack. so here it is...

is it safe to dance without hats?

I've been doing a bit of research for the upcoming May Day, and one thing I learned is that there is some dancing around the maypole in this video of one of the greatest dance songs ever. Enjoy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

In a wink

The May Queen, at 5 and a half, is a big girl. But every now and then I catch a glimpse of the baby and toddler she was, like when she's in the bathtub. Something about having all her hair wet and off of her face, and the innocence in which she talks to "friends," her bath puppets. Or when she's curled up face down on the floor, her naked body wiggling to and fro, for reasons only known to her. Or when she hangs upside down and her cheeks puff out, like they are still full of baby fat. Or last night, as she lay in bed crying (missing her daddy) and I remember nights of her crying, as I stared at her profile, running my fingers gently down her face, soothing her back to sleep.

Sometimes I look at pictures from the past 5 or so years and I miss that baby, that toddler.

But I love this big girl, too.

Don't forget Monday's Mission: to write a post in the style of a Want Ad. Have Fun!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"I'll pray for you..."

I'm not one of those people who frequently tosses out phrases like "Have a blessed day," or "I'm so blessed" or "It was a God thing" or even "I'll pray for you." I didn't grow up saying these phrases, and they are unnatural to me. They feel forced. Sometimes they even give me the heebie-jeebies... I feel like saying them is a forced way of putting my faith out into the world. I will say, however, that I know people who say these things, and they flow naturally and sincerely off their lips. And that's cool.

I'm not shy about my faith. Hang out here long enough and you'll read about it. Hang out with me for a while and you'll know I go to church every week, and am very involved and always have been. I think my faith is seen more in how I live my life than in my words. I think my more laid back approach has been an asset in sharing my faith... lots of people have come to me with questions and shared their own faith with me because I think they see me as open minded and not pushy.

(sometimes people who say those phrases above can seem pushy... even to me. I might feel like I'm less of a Christian if I'm not constantly talking about it. I know this isn't true, but sometimes it makes me uncomfortable...)

So it is with a bit of surprise that I find myself saying "I'll pray for you" a bit more often these days. Whether it's in person, in an e-mail, or even as a comment on a blog, I'm saying "I'll pray for you." It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm getting a wee bit better and more consistent about praying. But I still worry, sometimes, that if I say "I'll pray for you" to someone that they'll be offended. That they'll think I'm pushing my faith onto them. Or even worse, that they'll hear it as "I'll pray for you because clearly you need help or you're going straight to hell." Unfortunately I think that some people have used "I'll pray for you" in that way.

But I'm saying it more, and hoping that people will understand my heart. When I say "I'll pray for you" I mean "I am wanting the best possible outcome for you and those you care about. I am hoping for you strength and health and wisdom and peace and whatever else it is that you might need that I can't see. And I am doing that the best way I know how, by appealing to the one that I understand to have the power to bring these things. I am appealing to the one that I go to when I need strength and health and wisdom and peace or whatever else it is that I need and am not aware of."

I hope that those on the other end hear it as an expression of my love and care for them, as positive and encouraging, and as something I consider powerful and important. As a gift. I don't expect the person to believe in prayer in the same way I do. That's not what it's about. It's about telling them that I want good things for them, and doing something to help them have those things.

Thanks to all of you have expressed your prayers and well wishes and good thoughts and solidarity in wearing pink today (which I accept wholeheartedly - whatever your religious bent!) for The May Queen's Godmother. Which, of course, is part of what got me thinking about all of this. I'm wearing a pink ribbon today, and every time I see it, I'm offering up a prayer...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tomorrow I will wear pink

Our lives were first effected by breast cancer over 10 years ago, when my brother in law was diagnosed with male breast cancer. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that the cancer spread, and this past February the cancer won. Greg died while we were on vacation in California, staying with some dear, dear friends of ours, and The May Queens' Godparents.

I later learned that the day after Greg died, MQ's Godmother discovered a lump in her breast. She didn't tell us then, as she figured we had enough to deal with. Instead, she joined us at Disneyland, spoiling the May Queen, riding rollercoasters, and bringing joy to our tender hearts.

Which is exactly who she is. The May Queen may not have a Fairy Godmother, but she has something better. Godmother was at The May Queens birth, encouraging me through my 48 hours of labor and welcoming this new life into the world. Godmother was the first person we left the May Queen with overnight. She and her husband will be the May Queen's guardians should we die. She is loving and faithful, fun and tender, selfless beyond words. She is a nurse by nature and by profession, and is always taking care of and nurturing others.

But now she needs a little care and nurturing herself.

Tomorrow (Thursday) she will aggressively fight this usurper in her body. Tomorrow she will have a mastectomy. I know that those whom she has cared for over the years will show up in droves to care for her. I wish I could be among them. Instead, I sit here half a continent away and pray for her doctors, for her family and for her.

And I trust that she'll be around to spoil The May Queen for many years to come.

(this picture was taken at Disneyland, the day she found the lump)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Snow in New Orleans - Music Monday

I don't usually get a chance to participate in Allison's Music Mondays because I'm always hosting Monday Missions (see post below!)but after my time at the French Quarter Festival on Friday, this post has been brewing. So here I am... posting it late on Monday....

At the 2006 Jazzfest I heard local singer Susan Cowsill (yes, of the famed Cowsill family and The Continental Drifters)on one of the main stages. I was enjoying her folksy sound, and then she sang a song that really struck me. She wrote it after Katrina, and spoke about that experience. On Christmas Day 2004 it snowed in New Orleans. As a kid growing up in Michigan I know that snow on Christmas can be magical. I can only imagine what it was like for Louisiana children - and adults - to experience that sparkling white stuff. It was before we moved here, but I heard tales of it after I arrived. Saw the pictures. Heard the wonder. Almost exactly 8 months later another amazing feat of nature visited the city, but the awe and wonder that Katrina brought was not of the same magical quality.

I heard Susan Cowsill sing this song again on Friday, with the mighty Mississippi as her backdrop. The song is no less powerful 2 years later. It starts sweet and contemplative, sad and tenuous, and ends as a celebration of this city, of who we are and where we come from. I couldn't find a video to put here, and blogger doesn't support audio files, but if you follow this link you can hear the song at Susan Cowsill's website.

Here are the words:

I feel like a kite without a string
Only my tail to guide me
Just paper and sticks and tattered sheets
Waiting on a friendly wind

Hold all our memories in one hand
So tight that you won't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet snow

A long time ago when
I was young
I used to know everything
And now it's today and I am sure
That I don't know anything at all

Hold all our memories in one hand
So tight that you won't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet, gentle peaceful snow

When the Saints come marchin' in
I'll be walking to New Orleans
Eating beignets at DuMonde'
Singing Joni at the Carrollton Station
Hanging out at Jackson Square
12 o'clock I'll meet you there
Down on Frenchmen with Big Chief
Trying to find a place to eat
Tailgatin' at the Dome
Man I can't wait to go home

Our precious hearts are all shattered
Scattered across the land
But I know that I am going back
To the place where I know who I am

Holding all our memories in one hand
So tight that you can't let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet, gentle peaceful, N-O-L-A,
Crescent City Snow

3 a.m. at the Circle Bar
Where the hell did we park the car
6 a.m. at the Christmas Lounge
Man we got a hell of a town
A town where yourgrandma tells my grandma
While they are sitting by the fire
And we all go down to the Audubon Zoo
Where they all ax for you
And they say
Who Dat
Who Dat
Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints
Who Dat
Who Dat
Who Dat say dey gonna
beat dem Saints
Oh when the Saints come marchin' in

(And I highly encourage you to buy the album Feeder Bands on the Run, where you'll find this song among many others written by New Orleans musicians trying to make sense of Katrina through their music.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Appletini and The May Queen

The bride wore a lovely, nontraditional pink dress, with blue ribbon accenting her waist, and perfectly matching her shoes. Whimsical flowers adorned her shoulders and the tips of her shoes, and long white gloves added a touch of elegance. Her shock of green hair seemed to cry out in celebration, and the smile never left her face.

She carried a bouquet of white wildflowers picked at twilight by her new life partner, the May Queen, who wore a dress with a wide, tulip adorned collar. She had dyed her own hair purple to compliment the bride's.

Appletini and the May Queen were married at an informal ceremony in the May Queen's kitchen. The bride was given away, via U.S. Mail, by the bride's creator, De. The beaming couple posed for a few pictures before quickly heading off to bed.

This post was part of the Monday Missions, this week's mission is to write a post in the style of a newspaper wedding listing. Many, many thanks to De who surpised me when whe sent this fabulous doll (with a head made from a dried apple. "Appletini," get it? I think MQ has named her something like "green hair, pink dress", but I will prevail!), providing the inspiration for this post. Have your own listing? Post a link to it below.

Upcoming Missions: Write a post in the style of....
4/21 Want Ad
4/28 House listing

Ideas for future Monday Missions wanted! Have an idea for a post style? Let me know (today or any time the idea strikes you!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

French Quarter Festival

There's something about festivals that bring people together. But make that a MUSIC festival, in the French Quarter, on a sunny day in April, in a post-Katrina world... and it's nearly a religious experience.
There's the guy I see at every Jazz Festival - in his tie dye shirt and crazy hat and sparkly red shoes, dancing with his wife, and any tourist brave enough to get close. There are the old hippies and the young hippies spread out on blankets. There are the families with young children. The mother nursing her infant. There are the college students dancing wildly in front of the stage and couples doing the Cajun two-step. There are musicians standing around with their instruments, coming or going from their turn on stage. There are women in high heels with their perfectly dyed hair and their manicures and expensive dresses. There are the men with no shirts, and many, many people with no shoes. There are children on a field trip eating their bag lunches on the aquarium lawn, listening to a brass band. This diverse mess of humanity stands together, bopping along to the beat, smiling, singing, laughing, clapping, cheering and crying.

Perhaps it's the diversity in the music. Besides the usual guitars and drums I danced to an accordion, a fiddle, a washboard, tin cans, Congo drums, a sousaphone, a trumpet, a trombone and an organ. I heard funk and blues and Cajun and rock and folk and brass bands and Latin.

Perhaps it's the fact that, even 2 1/2 year later, every musician or group sang a song or told a story or made a joke about Hurricane Katrina. Maybe it's the common struggle that binds us together, locals and tourists alike.

Or maybe it's just some really great music.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: SPRING

(with apologies to my friends who live in the still frozen north)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tale of a Slow Frog

Buddy is often teased as being the "slow frog in the bog," seeing as how he hops with a slight tilt to the left and is never the first to catch a joke. He is often dismissed by his faster, higher jumping peers. But if you take the time to listen to Buddy, he tells quite an interesting story. It all began one day when the large two legged creature was making it rain in the grass with a large device. As Buddy tells it he was enjoying the extra water when the creature noticed him and swooped down, gently snatching him from the grass, and calling out in a loud voice for the smallest of the two legged creatures that live in the large box that looms over our lovely bog. The smaller, softer creature took hold of Buddy and stroked, squeezed and peered at him.

The creature then put Buddy in a cage, shut the door, and observed his behavior. She then opened the door, and seemed to want Buddy to leave, but Buddy, being somewhat fearful, chose to stay in the cage.

At least he tried to.

The smaller of the still gigantically large two legged creatures managed to pull poor Buddy back out of the cage, and joined the even larger creature, who was now standing at the end of the long hard surface that goes over our bog tunnel, talking to yet another large two legged creature. As the creatures were distracted, speaking to each other in their own indecipherable language, probably deciding what experiment to exact upon Buddy next, Buddy made a brave attempt at freedom, leaping from the clutches of the creature and falling to the hard surface below. It must have been a hundred times his height, the distance that he fell. He tried to hop away, but was quickly snatched up again. Then the creature dangled him by one leg, but was reprimanded by the larger creature. Buddy then made another attempt at escape, this time falling onto his back and lying still, hoping that the creatures would assume he was dead, and leave him alone. His ruse failed, even though he tried it several more times - each time being scooped back up by the creature only to try again to escape. Finally, the creature set him in the soft grass near the bog, and Buddy was able to hop to safety. He's sure the creatures were performing some sort of experiments on him, and he feels he's lucky to be alive.

Was Buddy truly captured by the large creatures from the big box, or is this just a tall tale to get our attention? We may never know. Yet, if Buddy truly was dropped on his head that many times, it sure would explain why he's the "slow frog in bog".

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fill That Nest!

Shhh... we're throwing a surprise shower for Mother and Father. Since "baby" Sally has finally left for college, poor Mother and Father are at a loss for what to do now that their spare time is no longer taken up heading up the PTA or coaching the soccer team. We can help them fill that nest!

Stumped for a gift idea? Gifts of time and activity are great - give them a home-made certificate for a game night at your house, or a night out on the town. How about a membership to a local museum, a gift certificate to a restaurant, or theatre ticekts? Help them rekindle some old interests: did you know that Father loves to golf, and Mother once attended art school? Inspire them with clubs and balls or paints and brushes. Or take a trip to the bookstore. Father loves history, particularly The Civil War, and Mother loves a good Harlequin romance.

RSVP To Dick or Jane
Party will be held at The Anytown Country Club on Friday April 18th, 6pm. And remember... shhh... It's a surprise!

Entertainment will be provided by Jack the Clown.

This has been part of this weeks Monday Mission: April Showers - We've all been to baby and bridal showers. What else deserves a shower? Who would you honor? Who would you invite? What kind of activities would it entail? Write a post as an invite or party plan for your own kind of April Shower.

Write your own post and put a link in the widget below:

Upcoming Missions:
4/14 Bridal Breakdown. You've read the newspaper briefs about weddings. "The bride wore a floor length satin gown...." Write a post about anything you'd like in that same style.
4/21 Want Ad
4/28 House listing

Thursday, April 3, 2008

on naming

The May Queen names her toys after how they look, such as "Pink and Purple Eyed Puppy" and "Cutie Lion" and "Sparkle Blue Pink Love." I told her it was a good thing I didn't name her the same way, or the day she was born I would have named her "Long Skinny Red Screaming Baby."

What would you have named your child(ren)?

(I figured you all deserved a short post after the previous monstrosity of an interview!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Barbara Walters interviews Painted Maypole

OK, OK, so Barbara Walters didn't interview me. But you, dear readers, came up with some great questions! Read on...

Alejna asked:
Did you want to be an actor when you were little? What other careers did you dream about?

I used to dream of becoming a marine biologist, mostly because of my strange fascination with sharks. But then I had to dissect one in AP Biology and decided they were way cooler on the outside than on the inside. In 10th grade I saw a touring production of "A Chorus Line," which was my first inkling that "I could do that." I got involved with the drama program at school and several community theatres, and there was no turning back. Nothing interested me or challenged me in the same way.

Kyla asked:
I'd like to know your most embarrassing moment, either in show business or otherwise.

I fell skiing and broke my arm, and being carried across the slopes on a sledding gurney pulled by a snowmobile while everyone watched me go by was pretty embarrassing. And it wasn't even a cool wipe-out or anything.

carrie asked:
If you were stuck on a desert island, which three Broadway shows would you like to take along with you to view over and over again on your island's stage?

Wow. This is a hard one. But I'll go with: Avenue Q (to make me laugh), Chicago (to make me dance) and Angels in America (because it always makes me think, laugh, and cry. The words are so beautiful). And... I can't think of taking shows to a desert island without thinking about being in them myself, so I'd like to play Kate Monster, Velma and Harper, respectively.

Alex Elliot asked:
Since I'm a relatively new reader to your blog, I would like to know how you got into acting.

Hmmm... I think I just answered this above. After getting involved in high school I went on to major in theatre at a great school just north of Chicago, and the rest is history.

jen asked:
how do you feel the current administration is honoring our long standing separation of church and state? (dude, what else did you expect me to ask?)

Well, I don't think our current administration is doing ANYTHING well. I think it's impossible to ask a person who is doing anything, let alone leading our country, to not allow their faith to influence their choices. However, I think the Bush administration isn't so much being guided by FAITH, but rather pushed around by the Christian Fundamentalists, and imposing that upon the rest of us.

imbeingheldhostage asked:
What time of your life would you have considered the happiest, or when you were most true to yourself?

Probably the summer I was a camp counselor and I met my husband. I just came off of a great year at school where I had grown leaps and bounds with my acting. I loved my job at camp, was in the first phases of new love, was strong in my faith, and life was great.

Amy Y asked:
What was the best gig... performance wise, script wise, just your favorite? What's the one you'll never forget?

I don't know if I can narrow it down to just one! I did a show that really stretched my limits in terms of character, plus we created the show ourselves from several creation myths from around the world, and that was a really incredible experience. But then there was getting to play Helena in Midsummer, and then there was being the Angel in Angels in America, which even though I didn't get the part I wanted I got to speak and listen to those beautiful words every night, and then there was the time I played a mere servant in The Cherry Orchard, but just working at the THEATRE was a fantastic experience, the most professional thing I've done to date...

E asked:
Who is your favorite author, or top three favorite novels?

Hmmm... I don't actually tend to follow authors very much. I just kind of jump from book to book. And again, naming a top three is hard. But here are 3 I've read in the past few years that really made an impression on me: The Poisonwood Bible, A Map of the World, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Emily at wheelsonthebus said...
What is one role you have always wanted to play?

ONE role? Oh no. Here are several: Harper in Angels in America, Sonya in Uncle Vanya, Eliza in Pygmalion, Viola in Twelfth Night....

Suz asked:
What type of role do you think that you would have trouble doing and why?

I'm not sure. I've already done several roles that I didn't think I was right for, and ended up really learning a lot and stretching myself, so I've tried to not limit myself too much. However, here's a wee example. I've done The Vagina Monologues, but there is one monologue in there I don't think I could ever do, and it's the one where the woman talks about learning about sex from an older woman. I am really bothered by the fact that the girl in the story is a minor. Now, I think The Vagina Monologues is a great play, and the message is fantastic, and all our teenage girls AND BOYS should see it, but I have some real issues with that story. I know how the story is intended, but I am still bothered by it. So I can appear in that play, promote that play, etc, etc, but I don't think I could bring myself to do that piece. I can play a character I find abhorrent if the play as a whole has a good story to tell, but I couldn't be a character in a story that I fundamentally disagree with. (In college I turned down the first paying gig I was ever offered because it was a piece about communion, and the theology was WRETCHED. I could not help to spread that crap) That may not really answer your question, but there you go...

Christine asked:
Who do you prefer--Rolling Stones or Beatles and why?

The Beatles. They're just better. The May Queen loves The Beatles, too, and will request that we listen to them in the car. She sings along. I am not allowed to.

Kathryn asked:What is the one role that you dream of? What is the role you think you would do best in? What is one role you would NOT want? If someone were playing you in a movie about your life, who would it be?
Okay. That was more than one question. :)

I think I've answered the first three questions. But who would play me in a movie about my life? Hmmmm.... You have totally stumped me. I guess I'll just have to play myself.

LaskiGal said...
what is the best advice you've ever been given? Who gave it to you?

A friend and director of mine in Philadelphia, when I was trying to decided if I wanted to do a show or not, told me that whatever choice I made, I just had to MAKE it be the best choice. And that has come in handy lots of times. Often either choice could be a good choice, but once I've committed to one, go with it, and make it be the best choice for me.

SusieJ asked:
What's your favorite food to indulge in... when you're feeling like having something really wicked and good.

Because I'm not much into self deprivation there's not really a food I have when feeling wicked, but things that I really enjoy include peanut butter off the spoon and fudge.

Family Adventure asked:
Which celebrity (star) would you like to work with when you become a famous actress?

I've never really thought about this. Hmmm... Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg (I keep waiting for him to call...)

AND Have you always had your faith and does your husband share it?

Yes and Yes. I was born a Lutheran (I'm a pastor's kid AND a pastor's wife. Start the Freudian analysis now...) My husband and I met at a Lutheran camp. The strength of my faith may ebb and flow, but I've always had it, as has my husband. I don't think I could have married someone who didn't share my faith.

Gunfighter asked:
How do feel about automatic weapons? Belt-fed air-cooled models in particular?

I'm not a big fan of guns of any type, to be honest.

Joy said:
Here's a question I have always wondered: I can't even manage time for a hobby around my husband's work schedule. How do you manage your show schedule and your husband's work schedule and the Mayqueen?

A good husband and lots of good babysitters. I'm really truly lucky to have a husband who understands how much a part of me the theatre is that he gives me time and space to do it. Since I've had the May Queen, I haven't done nearly as much theatre as I used to (these last 4 consecutive shows not withstanding...), and I'm OK with that. I've gotten much better about planning shows around my life and not my life around my shows, and saying no to things that don't fit. The May Queen is only young once, and I need to enjoy that. Other things (like reading, scrapbooking, sleeping, exercising...) slide when I'm doing a show. Also... I don't clean much.

Thank you all, for your interesting questions!