Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Magic Moment

When I was a child, back in the days before parents worried their child might be suffocated by an airbag (back before there were such things as airbags) my brother and I used to fight about whose turn it was to sit in the front seat. I distinctly remember these arguments about seating to and from church on Sunday mornings (perhaps we weren't in the car without my father all that much otherwise. He always had to be to church early, being the pastor and all). I always wanted to ride in the front on the way home. So that I would remember it longer.

In high school I was big on anniversaries. But not in the technical, once a year sense. More like 48 hours ago I was at that party, meeting that cute guy. Or last week was closing campfire, when I cried. Or one month ago was opening night. I spent a considerable amount of energy looking backwards, clinging to moments past. And not just looking back, but thinking very specifically about timing and dates.

I'm not sure when I stopped doing this. Maybe it was the experience of being an actress, the having to let go of past shows and past casts and swiftly move on to the next thing, putting all my energies there. I'm pretty sure it was before I became a mother, because otherwise I would have been trying to cling to every milestone. 3 days ago at just this moment, 2:22 pm, The May Queen rolled over for the first time....

Even so, I don't know that I'm always great about living in the present. I am now often clouded by the list of things that must be done that is constantly playing in my head. Thinking about getting on to the next thing. I know, however, that the best thing to do is focus on the now. When I'm having a hard day and feeling disconnected it seems the best thing is to ditch it all and spend time one and one with The May Queen. I'm not saying it's an easy thing, but when I manage to do it, it does seem to be the magic moment that puts it all right again.

How do you stay present (or do you?)?

By the way... I wasn't fishing for affirmation on my last post, but it was a lovely by-product. thank you.

And the song that the title came from (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) was Jump Around by House of Pain.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

pack it up, pack it in

This is it.

I'm done.

It's over.

No more.

I can't do it.

I can't keep up.

It's too much.

Me and blogging?

We're splitsville.

This post has been a Monday Mission - write a post as an early April Fools. I'm kidding. I'm not quitting blogging (despite the evidential lack of posting lately). I'm not really sure who the joke is on, though... you, or me?

Write your own April Fools post and link it below. Unless you're trying to stealth fool us, of course.

Oh my... if we're talking April Fools than we must be looking at a new month. Egad. Where DOES the time go? Your missions for the month of April, should you choose to accept them, are to write posts in the style of

4/6 - Stream of Consciousness. I actually had this idea a few days before reading creative mother thinking's post. Then I read hers and thought, well, I must do this. If you've ever done the Artist's Way you're experienced with this (but please, you don't have to give us THREE pages worth...) Heck, if you've ever had two thoughts you're experienced with this, now all you have to do is type down those thoughts as they happen. Let us into your brains.

4/13 - a sympathy card

4/20 - a mathematical equation or proof. Because by this point I should be pretty well entrenched in rehearsals, and math will be on the brain.

4/27 - A May Day song or poem. I'm totally being greedy here. Help me celebrate the impending May Day. We are dancing around the Maypole, you know.

(by the way, do you recognize the song lyrics in the title?)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Save the last dance for me

It was Saturday night. Midnight? I was on the dance floor of a smokey bar dancing to Funky Cold Medina with the rest of my cast. A cover band wearing odd, mismatched hats was on the stage, performing this relic from my youth. Even scarier, one of the girls I was with knew every word.

In high school I danced to this song in the cafeteria. The harsh and cold fluorescent lights that divided us into table castes at lunchtime would be off, and I would dance with my friends to anything with a decent beat. When a slow song came on I would go and stand against the wall, transformed from dancing queen to wallflower. I'd watch as my latest crush asked another girl to dance. My arm would creep up my side, my fingers releasing slowly from their fist and spreading outward. "Bloom," I'd say to the friend next to me.

Back in the smokey bar a slow song has started. I stand with my friends against the back wall, holding my hair up to cool off my neck. It is too loud for conversation. I watch the band. I look around at the crowd, guessing the regulars, wondering how the birthday girl is still standing, let alone dancing. I watch the couples dance, the women in their stripper shoes and low cut dresses eyeing the men at the bar. I imagine, for a moment, another life.

In the cafeteria, my dance card is full. Every dance with the same boy. Cute, an athlete. Other girls watch from the wall.

College. Frat parties and sorority formals. Photo albums full of me in cute dresses and the same guy in a shirt and loosened tie.

Years later. A smokey bar, not far from the high school cafeteria. We walk in, and our friends wave from the corner. We smile at the bass player, an old friend. We order the usual, and head for the dance floor. The same songs, for over a decade now, but they still make my heart race and my toes tap. When the slow song comes on there's no looking around, no wondering when the next dance song will start. Everything is a dance song when you have a partner.


In high school I was ready to get out, away from the cafeteria, away from the lunch table caste system. I went away for school. I went away for life. And I wouldn't go back and do it any differently.

But the other night, in the bar? I could see me, in another life. A regular at the bar. Dancing with old friends.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Monday Mission Madness

It's Monday. It's March. There's a Mission. It's Madness.

The Mission for today is to write a post in the style of March Madness playoff coverage.

I've never been a big sports person, although I did get into basketball a bit in high school when my friend played on the girls varsity team, making it to the state championships. Around that time the Detroit Pistons were winning lots, and I knew a guy who was a ball boy, so I would watch games on occasion. Plus, basketball has rules I can follow, and is much more straightforward than football, a sport which, despite many explanations from my husband, still eludes me. I get all the downs and such now, but really... why all the rules? Put the ball in the basket, get points. I can follow basketball (I can follow baseball, too, if I don't fall asleep first. Would something please HAPPEN?!).

Anyhow, all that sports babbling is basically to say that when I first dreamed of this mission, I thought I would actually be able to do it, because I know a little bit about basketball (emphasis on little). But my brain is fried. And thinking about sports is WAY too much for it to handle. I try to use Monday Missions as a way to tell you about what is going on in my life, but in a different format than my usual posts. So there's this seed of an idea... like maybe I can turn my struggle between being an actress and being a wife and mother into a basketball game. But, um... I can't do it. Blank screen, blank brain. Blank, blank, blank.

Two big goose eggs on the scoreboard of this Monday Mission.

But maybe things are looking better for your team? If so, write a mission and post it below.


Maybe next week I'll be back on my game for the Mission, which is to write a post in the style of an (early) April Fool's story.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An education in the jungle

Have you met my friend Jen? Because really, you should. She's one of the first bloggers I started reading back when I started blogging nearly 2 years ago, and she's amazing. She has a one of the best hearts ever, and her posts about her work with the homeless never failed to open my eyes (which were usually filled with tears). I honestly see the world differently now. She's fun, too, and although I've never had the chance to kick back and drink a beer with her in person I hold out hope that someday I'll get to.

But probably not too soon. Because now she lives in the jungle. And if I thought her insights into working with the homeless were mind blowing, they were only a precursor to reading about her leap of faith into the jungle of Belize.

Her daughter M just started preschool in the jungle. The preschool where I work is full of books and games and crayons and Playdoh. Craft projects cover the walls and hang from the ceilings.

But supplies are harder to come by in the jungle. Supplies, maybe, but not love. M is clearly in a preschool where the children are loved and taken care of.

And now, due to this amazing community of bloggers, there has been an outpouring of offers to help Jen help this preschool in the jungle. To help the teachers and the students there.

The teacher at the school provided a list of things they could use. Shipping isn't cheap. I thought we might be able to better pool our resources if we sent out several large packages, as opposed to small individual packages from all over the world. I thought it might help to organize donations, to help ensure the school gets a variety of the things it needs, and not a million crayons but no paper. And so, as a way of saying thanks to Jen for taking me on this amazing journey with her, I have offered to help organize donations to the school. And Jen has honored me by accepting the offer.

So here's the deal. If you would like to help out M's school in the jungle, contact me at pntdmaypole AT yahoo DOT com. I'll provide you with a paypal account if you'd like to make a monetary donation, or an address if you'd like to ship supplies to me so that I can ship a larger package to the jungle. And don't worry. I'll let you know what gets sent (you can also ask me to use your funds to buy a specific item. I will honor those requests). And I'll let Jen know just how great you all are for helping out.

Here is the list of things, as quoted from Jen's post. Jen has told me that the official language is English, but that Spanish books, etc would be welcome as well.

In no particular order she's asked for:

Crayons: the kind you get at learning places where you can get a dozen or more of the same color, like 12 reds, 12 blues and so on. If not she'll take regular crayons but specifically asked for this.
Felt board cutouts for story time
Markers - washable
Puzzles (ages 4-5)
Construction Paper
Googly eyes
Pipe Cleaners
Story books (ages 4-5)
Play doh
Paints (washable)
Paint brushes
Coloring books
Laminated word cutouts. Not sure what this is but you preschool teachers probably will.
Basically anything educational or crafty

She has about 25 kids in her class and supplies are really hard to get here and what you can get costs a lot and is terrible quality

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Proof that I am insane

I've just accept a part in play #6 for this season. I'm definitely living up to my blog's tagline: The Adventures of a Thespian Mommy. This show will start rehearsals the week that my current show closes. It will run through May 24th, which will mean that I've been in rehearsals and/or performances for 9 months straight. It's no wonder my house is cluttered.

I'm very excited about this role: it's a great character who is on stage for all but 3 or so pages of the script. It's a role I've wanted to play since I saw the show on Broadway in 2002, and will no doubt be the meatiest thing I've done all year. Not to mention the fact that I am fast becoming too old to play the part. The play is being produced by a community theatre the next town over, and I'm excited to not have a 45 minute (or more!) commute every night down into the city, but there are some hesitancies as well. It's true that it's impossible to make a living as a stage actor in New Orleans... there just aren't enough theatres that pay enough to get consistent, well paid work. Even so, all but one of the theatres I've worked with in Louisiana have paid at least a little something. It gives me a greater sense of being professional. For this show I know I won't get paid. In fact, since we'll be north of the big lake, I know I won't even get a review (and don't even talk to me about eligibility for the city's theatrical awards). I worry a bit that directors in the Big Easy may not take my work up here seriously. But I know that artistically this will be good work for me... a challenging character with lots of depth in a beautifully written, Pulitzer Prize winning play. Working with people who are doing it for the pure love of theatre.

I think it's going to be a great ride.

By the way, this play happens to be the same play that No Mother Earth just did. She played the other female part. Maybe we should do an international staging of it, and we can play sisters!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome to the PLAY OF THE MONTH club

Current Show

now with 45% more Painted Maypole for your viewing pleasure

Serving Size: about 2 hours
Servings per performance: appx. 55

Ingredients: marriage proposals, bad language, sexual situations, direct audience address, bell ringing, yelling, kisses, yeses, nos. May include trace amounts of tender moments and Drakkar Noir.

Nutritional Information
Contains 94.3% of your recommended daily laughter (based on a 2000 recommended laughs per day diet)

Not a significant source of deep thought or vitamin D

FDA Warning: not recommended for individuals allergic to foul language or sexual innuendo, or those who have given up a sense of humor for Lent (or longer)

Please enjoy your theatre responsibly


This post has been a Monday Mission. Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a food label. Write your post and put a little link in the widget below!


And as long as we're in the kitchen, let me give you this little piece of advice... never leave your mixer running unattended with a spatula still in the bowl or THIS might happen to your beaters:

from a PLASTIC spatula (which, by the way, is completely unharmed)
Sure hope I can buy replacements online.

Upcoming Monday Missions:
3/23 - March Madness - playoff description
3/30 - an (early) April Fool's story

Mission Delayed

I've been having internet issues, and now that I'm finally on (on the laptop, but still not the desktop. does anyone have any advice of how to uninstall Internet Explorer? It keeps telling me I need permission, but I'm logged in as the administrator!!) i don't have time to get a mission up.

I'll be back later.


(you can go ahead and get your missions up if you'd like... the mission today is to write a post in the style of a food label)

Friday, March 13, 2009

What Dreams May Come

I have dreams about what my life would be like with less clutter. The open feeling of clear counter tops. The organized shelves. The ease with which I will find every thing.

There will be more space in my life for stillness, for reflection, for relationship. There will be time for reading and enjoying and relaxing. Creativity will flow.

Open. Expansive. Free. Relaxed.

But somehow I just never seem to be able to get rid of enough stuff, organize it fast enough, put things where they belong.

The dream is probably all a lie, anyways. Even if my home were impeccable I'd probably still feel stressed and overworked and guilty for sitting with a book and forget where I put my keys.


25% more Monday Missions in every jar!

Mondays Mission is to write a post in the style of a food label. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Or maybe that's because I haven't had breakfast yet.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tech Week Wilderness

Join us at Theatreland's latest attraction, Tech Week Wilderness. After waiting in the greenroom strap yourself in for a bumpy and unpredictable ride, because the Wilderness is never the same ride twice. Will your trip include the downward spiral of missed cues or the free falling sensation of lost lines? You're almost certain to take a turn down the sleepless night cavern and experience a vibrating over-caffeinated hallucination (brought to you via our latest 3D technology!). Which villain will pop out of the darkness before opening night? It may be a bitter cast mate, a stressed out director, a sabotaging producer, a negligent crew member, or even the dreaded early critic. The ride concludes with opening night. Will you soar along to the sound of thunderous applause or plunge into the awkward silence of oblivion?

Fast pass available. This ride is not recommended for those with neck or back problems, insecurity, or stage fright.

This post (which pretty much foreshadows my week ahead) has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a description for an amusement park ride/attraction. If you write such a post please post a link in the widget below.

Upcoming Monday Missions are to write posts in the style of:
3/16 - a food label
3/23 - March Madness - playoff description
3/30 - an (early) April Fool's story

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mish Mash Dash plus Monday Missions for March

We're barely home from Florida and The Big Guy and I are turning around and leaving again tomorrow. We had two free nights away in Biloxi that we needed to use before they expired, and with a show opening next week this was the time. So we took advantage of the fact that my parents are down south for the winter (helping with Gustav recovery a little over an hour away from us). They happily agreed to play doting grandparents while we sneak away. I haven't had a chance to even check back in with all of you, let alone get through the list I made of things I was "supposed" to do today.

When we return I dive directly into tech week for a show I haven't written about at all in this space. It's been difficult for several reasons, none of which need public broadcasting. It has been a drain on my time and energy, and will be at least until we open, and likely beyond. I don't have anything scheduled after this, and have been looking forward to some down time, some time to focus on other things. I have let several auditions go unattended, but now there's one this weekend I plan to attend, for a theatre I would love to work for, on a show I think I would greatly enjoy. There are mixed feelings there, about the time and commitment, exacerbated by my current feelings of hurriedness and discontent. And yet feelings of hope and possibility. There's a tricky magic to the putting on of a show, and sometimes the spell doesn't get cast just right. But when it does... well, it's why I keep going back for more.

Still, I think a couple days away with my honey is just what the doctor ordered.

March Monday Missions:
Write a post in the style of:
3/9 - description of an amusement park ride/attraction
3/16 - Food label
3/23 - March Madness - playoff description
3/30 - an (early) April Fool's story

Monday, March 2, 2009

Postcards From Disney

Dear Friends,
I'm at Disney World and you're not.
Bwa ha ha ha ha
The May Queen

Dear Beast,

I thought you had let me out of captivity?
Signing autographs and taking pictures all day is worse than the dungeon.

Dear Minnie,

You really ought to lock up your house while you're gone.
Good luck fixing this quilt.
The May Queen

Dear Shakespeare,

We've been cheating on you with another kitty.
This one takes up too much room in the bed, though.
We'll be home soon!
your humans

Dear Prince Charming,
I've cloned myself.
How will you ever tell which one is your true love?

Dear Big Guy,

Better watch out, this dude is moving in on your turf.

Love, Painted MaypoleDear Mom and Dad,

Send bail. Quick.


The May Queen

Dear Daddy,

That spell you cast has worn off.

Could you get rid of the fin again?




Dear Internets,

I missed you.

Hogs and Kisses,

Painted Maypole