Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Improv adventures with MDT3

Since Squitch was on bed rest and then maternity leave, I have been able to teach the musical dance theater classes at The Learning Circle for the past 2 months. Now Squitch is back so we are going to teach for the next 4 weeks of class to get them ready for concert. Last week we did an acting exercise, a 5 minute free write. For 5 minutes each person can write whatever he or she wants to.

I got permission from 6 of the kids to share what they wrote. 2 of the members of the class wrote random words or thoughts that popped into their heads like “Romeo is a stalker” “What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?” “winner” “5 4 3 2 1” “shoes” “blue” “spots” “Did you bring that book for me?” etc. The other 4 girls wrote little stories. These are in their own voice and spelling (they are 12-15 years old.)

LJ wrote” There was a flower in the garden that grew. The flower was red, pink, purple, and white. There were a lot of flowers in the garden but this one was unique. The flower grew in the garden for months; it grew until it reached the sky. The flower stayed in the garden. No one ever touched the garden with the amazing flower because it would die.”

RN wrote “It all began on that fateful, sunny morning. My sister walked out the door with a bag of seed to plant our lonely field. She was not to return. As I watched, a giant bird flew down to grab her. Its claws gleamed silver under the shining sun as they closed around her body. Its beady, red eyes stared at me mockingly. Then, with a great whoosh, it lifted its pale wings and rose into the fresh air. My sister let out a terrified shreak before she disappeared, never to be seen again. I raced outside, screaming. The time had finally come. War was upon us. Now, the only question was, how many would survive?”

KA wrote “The rain was pounding on my face. I heard the thunder crack. For some reason I was ingoying the thunder and the rain. Who cares about how soggy your clothes are your getting a temperary shower. I know this sound much to weird for a normal kid to be doing homework in the rain and enjoying it, but that’s the kind of girl I am. That’s also why my name is Falon. My mother know there was something a little bit different about me the first day I was born. I stood on my feet after 24 hours alive. The nurse ran over to lay me back down but I just walked over to her. She was so astonished that I could walk at only one day old that she fainted. But that’s how I am. I learn quickly. You see I am only 13 and am in Colage getting a Doctorates degree in a month.”

RN wrote “Have you ever wanted to kiss a zombie? Now I know it’s a strange question, but ever since my friend convinced me too look up my facts on zombies I’ve been obsessed with them. Of the different kinds from shuffling, black & blue, crusty lipped, dark eyed human eater, to the stunningly attractive & flawless beauties that look very appealing to you, & yet your flesh is even more appealing to them. One story of an encounter w/a zombie especially caught my attention. The description of a young girl sharing her first kiss w/a zombie who hungered for her brains. In the end she became a zombie herself, forced to seducer her meals for all eternity. I want to kiss a zombie. I want to be a zombie. Ok maybe not, but it would still be cool to kiss a zombie.”

This little group of kids have a great imagination and will do great things in the future.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Week ... The Friends ... The Moms

I have had 8 friends in my life that have at one time or another claimed the title of best friend. I remember S from when I was a lot younger. She introduced me to Barry Manilow and the song I Write the Songs (which ironically he did not write); I thought we would be best friends forever but she moved when I was in 1st grade and I have no clue where she is now.

Then we moved into the neighborhood I grew up in and I had 3 really great friends: JO, JE, & KH. These friends all lived around me, within walking distance, and we all were friends from 2nd grade on. I thought of each of them as a best friend. I know it is hard to have 3 bests, but there you have it. JO moved away; JE and I kind of drifted apart; KH and I have always been close though she now lives on the west coast.

7th grade meant a new school and new friends. I met JK & WW; they took over the title of best friends and remained through high school. Their parents became like second parents to me. I called them Mom and Dad (fill in last name.) I adored their families. They really treated me like I was one of them. All three of us played the same band instrument, though JK & WW were infinitely better than I was. They were either first or second chair in band. Both of them were, admittedly, smarter than me. They were both in honors classes all through school. But they never treated me like I was less intelligent. I was fine with it all, because I was and still am the funny one. (I am also humble ...)

In high school I met SC and immediately became enamored by her because she was different than any friend I had ever had. She was smart and could dance like an angel; she was my first real friend who was a performer like me. She has this infectious smile that I could not get enough of. I had other friends in a core group in high school too, but for me it was JK, WW & SC.

After high school I moved away. JK & WW went off to different schools. And sadly I lost contact with SC for a while. After I moved back home I met CB (or the adult version of CB, she actually is a friend of my sister who kind of bugged when we were younger!) JK & WW have been a constant in my life, SC and I luckily found each other again and have been great friends again for 15 years. CB has been like a sister to me for the past 10 years. Besides my own family these 4 women are the closest friends I have in my life (... although recently I add CM to the list!)

That is the background to bring us to present day ...

Last week was a best friend week for me, and not all in the good way. JK and I got to sit and chat for a long time last Saturday which was great. SC and I see each other often (like twice a week) and CB was gone on a family vacation and I missed her terribly because it was a hard week. You know those weeks when you just need it to be over and done with? Mine was like that by Tuesday. I just needed the week to be done.

I won't get into all of the details of the crappy week, but by Wednesday I actually said “If one more bad thing happens I will cry, right out loud!” Then WW called that night to tell me her Mom had passed away. She now has lost both of her parents. Mom W was an angel here on earth. I loved this woman as a second mom. I was devastated for WW. Luckily for me I was actually with SC when WW called to give me the news. SC is pretty amazing! I am lucky to have had her there because she let me cry and cry and cry ... and then I cried some more.

The next day my dear mother went to the oncologist for her quarterly check up expecting great news, instead finding out that her cancer has returned. Cancer just sucks. While they caught the cancer early this time, and she is not nearly as sick as she was last time she was diagnosed (3 years ago), it was a devastating blow. Within a 24 hour window I mourned the loss of Mom W and was hit with the mortality of my own mother's disease. We have to wait a week to know all of the details of her prognosis, but hopefully she will be on a pill chemo for a while and not have to have another transplant for a few years.

I admit to feeling despair. Yes I know Marilla Cuthbert, To despair is to turn your back on God (Anne of Green Gables) but I felt it. So I did the only rational thing I could think of Thursday: I had ice cream for lunch, cried again, and prayed. I am amazed with the peace and comfort that these three things combined can provide. I was able to gain some perspective, the sarcastic part of me says it was the ice cream, but I know it was the Lord who helped give me some clarity. Mom is not as sick as she was 3 years ago. Her cancer is not as progressed as it was 3 years ago. The transplant gave her 3 years of relatively good health. She may have many years until she needs another transplant. Cancer still sucks, but the Lord is in charge and knows what we need to make it through this trial.

I am blessed to have the amazing friends I have. These friends who bring so much to my life. I have an amazing family that I was born into, but I also have amazing families that I have adopted because of the friends who have come into my life.

I would, however, not object if I never have to have another week like last week again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Saturday was a really long long long day!! I have to admit though, I am super happy I walked. It took long enough to finish my degree that it was a pretty big deal for me. Honestly though, I think it was more important to my folks to see a kid walk. None of us walked when we finished our associates degree (at least I think none of my siblings walked, I know I did not) and I am the first one of their children to graduate with a bachelors. My brother-in-law has his degree, but I am the first of the Johnson family with one.

I wanted to share some pics, but since I was the one graduating I have none of them. I will share them as soon as my amazing sisters or Mom share them with me. However, Kate did take some pretty great pictures the night before, one of them is above. I cannot wait to see the rest of them, though. (Can I endorse her again? Of course I can it is my blog and she is family. If you need a great photographer, her info is on the right of my blog.)

One thing that is interesting to me is that before Saturday I was kind of embarrassed to share where I went to school. People would find out I was close to graduation and the first question they asked is if I went to the University of Utah. I would say in an apologetic tone, "Oh no, I went to the University of Phoenix." I honestly do not know why. I received an amazing education from UoP. I did all of my classes online and worked really hard to graduate with honors. I am really proud of that. On top of going to school full time I worked full time, worked part time at the studio, directed 3 shows, worked with the special needs mutual at church every week, and still managed to have time to spend with my family and friends. I could not have done that all at the UoU. So I say proudly "I am a Phoenix!"

I certainly could not have done it on my own. My family and friends were an amazing support to me. Beside the tireless encouragement from my folks (who hung my first report card on their fridge!), my sister proofread every paper I wrote in the first few years of my associates program (she majored in English when she went to school), my brother helped me pass my math classes (I think I could not have gotten the B's without him; I was never so proud of a B in my life!!), another brother cleaned our house on more than one occasion because I was buried in homework, and Besty even proofread a few papers for me too. I think that is why it was important for me to have my family there with me that day. We walked out in our procession and I knew where my family was sitting so I looked for them. Lucky for me I have a few really tall brothers so they were pretty easy to spot. When I found my family it all just hit me and I could not help but tear up. I am so not a crier normally but I could not help it. It was a pretty exciting day.

So thank you to everyone who ever encouraged me or helped during my degree program. I now am a proud college graduate with an Associates of Arts in Business, Bachelor of Science in Management, and Certificate in Human Resource Management. And I could not have done it without ... you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I have something to say ...

Spoiler alert: Socio-political rant

It has been a pretty big news week. First with the Royal Wedding (of course I watched it ... yes at 3 in the morning) and then with the assassination of ObL (his name need not be on my blog.) I have watched the news with interest at the reaction of the crowds at these two events. Interestingly the reactions have been pretty much the same: cheering in the streets. In my opinion only one of these events should have cheers accompany it.

I remember so very vividly watching the news after the 9/11 attacks and being saddened at the events. I was sad until I saw news footage of jihadists dancing and cheering in the streets at the mass devastation and destruction. When I saw people cheering for our loss and devastation I was IRATE! People were cheering at death. It was wrong.

Friday when I saw the crowds cheering for the Duke and Duchess I wished I had been there. (But to be fully honest I wish I had been the Duchess married to that handsome handsome Prince ... I digress) The reaction was completely appropriate. The circumstances warranted dancing in the street!

Sunday night I was watching a very different story; one about death. Let me make this point very very clear: I think justice was served with the assassination of ObL. I feel sure that were a peaceful option available that our military would have preferred that in lieu of killing someone. But even before President Obama verified the news reports announcing the death of ObL there were shots of people cheering in the streets at the White House and Proud Zero.

Someone is dead. More than one person, in fact. This is not cause for cheering or dancing in the street. ObL embodies evil and I do not mourn his loss on this earth. I think that he will be dealt with justly in the eternities and answer for the evil he committed/bought here on earth. However, someone is dead. Someone lost a father, husband, and child on Sunday. Cheering and dancing the streets is not only inappropriate at the news of death, it is gross. It is wrong. I think it is immoral. It makes me mad. I am disgusted with the images of these people cheering and dancing at death. I think it makes us no better than the jihadists who danced after 9/11.

I regret that these are the images being broadcast to the world. I do not think that these attitudes fully express the views of the general public in the USA on the death of ObL. It is a shame that people act this way, but more so that it is the public image being sent to the world. It is an ugly side of our country. That is what I have to say today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All Shook Up Auditions

The Midvale Arts Council is letting me produce a show this summer. I could not be happier about it! We are doing All Shook Up which is the story of Twelfth Night with the music of Elvis. It is a fun, high energy show with a bunch of rock music.

Open auditions are May 14 from 12 - 3 at the Midvale Performing Arts Center 695 West Center Street (7720 South), in Midvale. Auditioner should come prepared to sing 16-24 bars of an upbeat song. You may be asked to read from the script and do a short dance routine. Headshot and resume is encouraged, but not required. Full information is found on this flier OR by visiting the Midvale Arts Council website: If you have any questions you can email me at

This show has an amazing production team as well: Karen Chatterton, Stephanie Maag, and Patti Rogers. Performance dates are July 15-22.