Friday, November 8, 2013

Once Upon a Wedding Shower

Fair warning ... uber photo overload ahead.

I have a friend ... we'll call her Kristen ... who recently got married. I like this friend Kristen. A lot. She has quickly wound her way into the deepest parts of my heart. I have another friend ... we'll call her Larissa ... who also recently got married. I like this friend Larissa. A lot. She also quickly wound her way into the deepest parts of my heart. Sadly, I was out of town for Larissa's wedding. She had a dinosaur at her wedding. Cool, right? A dinosaur. I digress. Well Kristen got married a month after Larissa did. The friends decided to throw Kristen a bridal shower. One thing you should know about Kristen is there are very few things she loves more than Disney. Anything Disney. We thought and thought of what we could do that would be worthy of Kristen's Disney love. We hit the Pinterest boards and came up with a Mad Hatter Tea Party. We had a nice lunch with a few beverages. We played a game, if I remember right, and then had a lip sync off. Kristen won. Honestly I am not sure how this all came together because Mel and I were in the car accident Thursday and this was on Saturday. My friends really are just about the best thing ever!! Behold: 

Miscellaneous tea cups from DI assembled into center pieces.
Old tea spoons and original Alice art work face cards.
These center pieces and cards looked so amazing thanks to Sparky and Selena.
It was halfway through the party before I found this little stowaway ...
I'd like to name him ... but he was not mine to name. 
Tea cups, tea pots, saucers, spoons, hot glue, and a little imagination. 
Canning jars and fancy straws served as our "tea cups".
We put some long tables together and waited for the guests to arrive. 
Mel made these super cute Drink Me bottles with colored water in pretty bottles. 


Tea sandwiches included pinwheels and cucumber sandwiches. Served on tea plates. 
Three beverages: Cucumber mint
Strawberry citrus
Berry lemon/limeade 
This cake was made by my other mother, inside was red velvet. Super cute, mighty tasty.
We also served cups of goodies including apples and peanut butter, carrots and ranch, strawberries and brown sugar.
These Mad Hatter boxes were the party favor to be filled with candy from the candy bar. 
Kristen's face upon seeing it all was pretty priceless.
Riss was such a good sport when Kristen called dibs on shower winner.
Sparky came up with the original idea, and Mel, despite being in a lot of post car accident pain, was brilliant at keeping me organized. 
This face. This face I love!
I do love this girl!

Thanks to Mel, Sparky, Selena, Tiffanie, Larissa, Michelle, and Casey this was one of the funnest showers in the history of showers. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's the Journey ... Not the Finish Line

November 17, 2013 is fast approaching. It is the date of the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. My amazing brother Barry and my awesome sister Colleen and I have been training to run in it. Barry is running the full marathon, Colleen is running the half. I have been training for the half as well. I admit to not being as diligent as Barry or Colleen in my training, but I was rearing to go. And then this happened:



My friend Mel and I were hit from behind on October 10. (I do have to say, if you have to get in a car accident, do it with Mel! She is a rock star!) So Lola, my car, got a new bumper. Mel and I ... well we were a little worse off than Lola. Admission: I am angry.

Set aside the concussion, the ankles, the whiplash, the bruised ribs, and the torn rotator cuff/Labrums injury. Set aside the numerous phone calls and hours spent fighting with insurance. Set aside the sleepless nights because of pain. Set it all aside. I am angry because I cannot run the half marathon that I have been working so hard for. 

I posted this status update on facebook:

I have used facebook to help raise awareness and money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and my Las Vegas 1/2 marathon that is 4 weeks away. Sadly because of the car accident that was last week I am not going to be able to particiate in the race. ... I want to tell everyone who donated their time, yard sale items, and money how very grateful I am for all of it. I especially want to thank everyone who encouraged this fat girl to run and did not give up on me. It means the world. I will still be in Vegas cheering my team on and screaming my loudest for my siblings who have worked so hard for this. GO team Johnson!! GO MMRF Power Team. Cancer still sucks, and frankly car accidents do as well. Thanks again for everyone who has supported me! There will be another race. 

I felt like a failure posting that. I felt like I had let everyone down, including me. I felt like the world was ending and I was a disappointment to my family, my mother, and myself. I cried typing the facebook status. Not the "oh I am sad" cry but the "this is the ugliest cry in the world" cry. I wanted to ignore the 'likes' and comments for my update because I was sure they were going to make me feel worse as people expressed their disappointment in my failure. That they would make me feel like the failure I felt like. True story!

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was overwhelmed with encouragement and love. One of the comments, from a lady I admire and respect, said: Remember that it's the journey, not the destination. Look what you've gained along the way. The last 13 miles matters not.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I realize that the race and the medal are kind of like a grand prize. But it is not the finish line on November 17 that is the goal or the ultimate finish line I am working toward. 

My main goal in participating in this race was to raise funds and awareness for Multiple Myeloma cancer research. I've raised $1,500 so far on my page and my siblings and I are so close to collectively raising $4500. This cancer has turned our lives upside down and will one day take the life of my dear mother. Until that day (which is hope and pray is many years away) she lives in pretty constant pain because her bones are so fragile. There is currently no cure for Multiple Myeloma. So the funds we raise for a cure are vital. Will they save the life of my mother? Probably not, but they will one day have a cure for this cancer and our efforts will save the life of someone else's mother. It will save someone else the same heartache my siblings and I feel for our mother. When Mom was diagnosed the life expectancy of myeloma patients was 3-5 years. That was 6 years ago. The life expectancy now of myeloma patients is upwards of 10 years. That increase is due to people raising funds for research. That race is much more important than 13.1 miles in Las Vegas in 10 days. That is a race that has no finish line until there is a cure. 

My secondary goal was for me to lose weight and get healthy. I am not anywhere close to my goal weight, but if you told me 2 years ago and I would run ... and enjoy running a little ... I would have said you were on crack. I have not been able to run for a few weeks and I miss it. I miss feeling like my lungs were on fire and I just cannot go one more step. I miss the sweat after a 4 mile run. I miss the sore muscles post run. I miss the solitude of just being in my own world. I miss the exhilaration of knowing that this fat girl ran 4 miles. I love buying new pants because the old ones no longer fit. The race to lose weight is not over because I cannot run on November 17. That race has no finish line until I feel healthy.

There were other benefits that I had no clue would come with training for a race. I can never again say I cannot run. I can run. I can never again say I can't do hard things. I can. If my mom can fight like hell to beat cancer, not once, but twice in the last 5 years, then I can do hard things too. I have more self confidence and care less what others think of me in regard to how I look. Now I cannot say that I do not care at all what others' opinion of me is ... I do care ... but I care less than I did a year ago. 

The journey to this marathon as been incredible. I am still mad that I cannot participate in the run next week. I am mad that someone else's careless actions have robbed me of certain joys in life and made things much harder for a short time. But my journey has been amazing. And lucky for me there are more finish lines to look forward to. There are many more miles to run and a lot more money to raise for The MMRF. I am looking forward to continuing this journey. And finding a finish line of a half marathon one day. For now, I will slow down and heal from the accident. I will do what I can to continue to lose weight. I will enjoy spending time with my family in 10 days. I no longer feel like a failure because I can't participate. I have had a 2 year journey getting ready for a race and will just keep racing. Keep fighting. Keep working. Keep laughing. And keep loving. I am imperfect, and I am enough. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'll Be Here- Audra McDonald


I had the chance to go see Audra McDonald in concert last weekend. She just is amazing. One of my favorite songs that she sang was I'll Be Here from the show Ordinary Days. It is one of the most touching love songs I have heard in a long time. Since tomorrow is 9/11, I thought it was the perfect time to share this beautiful song. If the video does not work for whatever reason, the link is here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Contagious

I was in training on Monday and the lady said something that is so true. After I made my snark remark, I thought long and hard about the truthfulness of what she said.

"Happiness and hugs can be infectious."

My thoughts ran the gamut on this topic. Often times we are the collective attitude of our surroundings. If I am in an environment of joy and laughter, I am typically in the mood to smile and make jokes. If I am in an environment of anger and yelling, I am more apt to join in that. I am not sure if everyone is like this, I am not everyone. At work I may be in a great mood when I walk in the door, but if someone else is in a crap mood the tone in our office tends to gravitate towards the crap, not the good.

My mood often plays off of those around me. If I am in an off mood and join a group of frivolity my mood generally lightens. Likewise if I am in a joyful mood and join a group of tension it does not take long for my mood to darken. Of course that is not always the truth, but a general generality.

I am cautious of the terms "She made me mad!" "He made me lose my temper." etc. No one can make me do anything. I always always have my agency. I choose to get mad. I choose to lose my temper. I choose to smile. I choose to laugh. I choose what I do. Of course others can have a profound impact on me and how I choose to react.

This training I was in was all about Development. Personal, child, and environmental development were all topics of conversation Monday night. Just because I am an adult does not mean I am done developing into who I will be; into who I am. I am always learning, growing, or regressing from my experiences. We had a big discussion about development on a curve. For example, some babies will walk before the average age for children to walk. Some children will learn to write much sooner than the average. Etc. It is not uncommon to develop a skill or attribute on the average, but it is also no uncommon for a skill to be developed much sooner, much later, or not at all. We all develop and grow at our own speed. We talked about mentors and how they can have a profound effect on us individually, possibly without ever intending to mentor us. I have a friend who is an emotional mentor for me. I know I can talk things out with her and work out emotional issues I might be having. She is not a trained professional, she is just someone who listens to me. I have a friend who is so patient and mentors me when I need help singing; she mentors that talent for me. I have a friend who is much younger than I am who is a spiritual giant and mentors me without ever intending to. Human beings never stop learning, developing, teaching, and mentoring. We can learn good AND bad habits throughout a lifetime.

After the class I was in my car waiting to get out of the parking lot and I saw something very interesting. Some people were letting other cars ahead in line, some would not let a car enter the cue. Usually after one person let in a car, the next one would do the same, then the next. Once one person did not let a car in, the next did not, etc. I also saw how the drivers reacted to this. There were some who would wave and acknowledge the kindness, others would not. After a person did not acknowledge the kindness, the next person was less likely to let another car it. Of course I am not a researcher and do not have absolute numbers of data on this, but in the few minutes it took to empty the lot I observed this little phenomenon.

Kindness begets kindness
Rudeness begets rudeness
Compassion begets compassion
Courage begets courage
Anger begets anger

It is the same concepts as "we are what we eat!" What kind of a world do I want to live in? Have you noticed that when someone attacks our country, as a general rule, we get more patriotic? But people also get angry. We want revenge. We must avenge those who were wronged. You hurt our people, we like our people, we will defend our people. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But then we calm down, we get back to our usual routine. We move on to the next emotion, the next cause.

Happiness and hugs are infectious. When I have a bad day all I need is a good hug from a great friend and it cures what ails me. A kiss from my niece or nephew (who rarely kisses) can turn my cold heart into a fire of love. I love that. Life is hard, there is no doubt. But I want to live in a world of happiness and hugs. I want to be able to spread that around as well. I think life and people are inherently good. I want to spread that goodness around and I want to feed off of it. Happiness is infectious!

(By the way my snark remark after she said 'happiness and hugs can be infectious' was "So is chlamydia.")

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's an Award, a major Award!

Alright my Foxy friend, I will play along. It is only fair, because I adore you. And because I love shiny things. I will be expecting a nice big Fragile box to carry this award around in. And really it was an honor just to be nominated!! Fox, this one is for you! 




This is not a real award; if it were I would totally deserve it ... I mean no one thinks I am as cools as I think I am.

The Fun Rules:
·       The nominee must link back to the blogger who nominated them.
·       The nominee must state 11 facts about themselves, and then answer the 11 questions provided for them by the person who nominated them.
·       The nominee must then nominate bloggers with less than 200 followers, who they think deserve the recognition, and pose 11 new questions for them to answer.

Random facts about me:
1.     I am named after a little girl Mom used to babysit. She had blonde curly hair. She died of spinal meningitis. I have no middle name.
2.     This is my 599th blog post, I dedicate it to Kristen.
3.     I think I am way funnier than I actually am. Do not get me wrong, I am funny stuff, but it takes a special person to get all of my humor.
4.     I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue; I can also open a Starburst wrapper with my tongue. I have many skills. #wwynnihs Sadly …
5.     I am an introvert in an extrovert’s body.
6.     I have one training class left and I will be a certified foster parent. I just have to wait to be licensed, and my house has to be licensed as well.
7.     I am a kosher Mormon because I am allergic to pork. I retain an unhealthy mix of Jewish/Mormon guilt over things I do not need to feel guilty for.
8.     My deepest ambition is to feel confidence in my singing ability and be cast in my dream musical roles.
9.     I do not like confrontation, but I usually do not back down from a fight.
10.  I am Mormon, as mentioned before, but I also am a Democrat with pretty liberal views. I support gay marriage for many reasons; mostly because I would not like people to take my rights away and it is not for me to judge, it is for me to love and respect.
11.  I was pretty methodical about answering this award for Foxy because 1) I did not want to disappoint her B) The questions were so great and LAST) it was a great way to avoid thinking about work.

Answers to Foxy’s questions:
1.     If money/success were no hindrance to you what would you be doing for a living? Why?
I would be a crossing guard. Sure the morning hours suck, but then you get most of the day, until you have to go back to work around 2:00. How great would that be?
2.     Is there a character from a movie/book you most relate to? Who is it?
I relate to the character of Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s classic ‘Persuasion’.  This is not because my family even remotely relates to her family members, rather I relate to the story of feeling overlooked sometimes in regard to love.
3.     If you turned your Ipod (or other music playing device) on right now what would be playing?
Right now it is the soundtrack from Bombshell. I am really in love with the song “Second Hand White Baby Grand.”
4.     What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Swearing. I have a potty mouth. I try to watch my mouth around those it would offend, but sometimes nothing feels as good as letting out a slew of cuss words.
5.     What would you today tell the you of ten years ago?
Great question!! My answer is twofold: Just get the hysterectomy now, you will get one anyway, why stay in pain for 10 more years? And start working out NOW to get in shape. Holy crap it is harder when you are older!
6.     Do you sing along to the radio? What's your favorite song to sing to?
I sing along with my iPod, rarely do I listen to the radio. I sing at the top of my lungs to almost everything as long as I am in a good mood. If I am in a pissy mood I do not sing.
7.     If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would be your first non-bill/debt paying purchase?
So after I pay off the debt I have, pay off my house, and the houses of my loved ones … then I would take my dearest friends on a trip to New York where the flight, shows, food, and hotel stay are on me. I would make them pay for their own souvenirs … because come on, I can’t be THAT generous. We would stay for a week and see a show a night. Right now what would we see? Good follow up question Foxy! I am thinking “I’ll Eat You At Last”,  “Lucky Guy”, “Once”, “Nice Work if You Can Get It”,  “Matilda”, “Wicked” (because I won the lottery and I can see it again!), “Newsies”, and well who knows about the last one. I might surprise myself and see “Book of Mormon.” Though I hear the book is better; I have read it, I love it! Who would be in this group of lucky ones to come with me? Oh crap I cannot answer that right now on the basis that it could incriminate me later.
8.     Favorite vacation spot?
If I could sit my fat butt down on a beach in Maui for the rest of my days I think I would be a very happy person. I loved my vaca to Hawaii!
9.     Describe your perfect day.
All I can think right now is that line from ‘Miss Congeniality’ where Cheryl Frasier says “I’d have to day April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.” My perfect day involves a full night’s sleep, waking up not to an alarm, my house is magically spotless, my Mom does not have cancer, I have people who love me and make me laugh more than should be allowed my law around me all day, I win a Tony for directing, and my people have their perfect day too. I do not think it is too much to ask!!
10.  What is one thing on your bucket list?
I want to visit all of the Presidential Libraries especially JFK’s.
11.  If you could be anyone else for a day who would you choose and why?
This is the question that kept me thinking. I had a pretty big list that included everyone famous from Sutton Foster to Bette Midler, from Michelle Obama to Mother Theresa, from President Reagan to Mikhail Baryshnikov. Meh, it would be fun, but honestly I would want to be whoever my Grandma Parker’s best friend was growing up so I could spend a day with her. She was an amazing adult and I wish I had known her when she was a youth.


People who also need to play this game … in my opinion … the nominees are in alphabetical order … envelope please …
(Sister you would be here but you have a shazload of followers, because you are a quilting rockstar ... and also because you are packing your house to move away from me.)

Answer and expound on these 11 “Would you rather  …” questions for you
1.     … have a personal trainer or a personal chef?
2.     … have unlimited money or infinite happiness?
3.     … travel back 200 years to meet your ancestry or travel 200 years in the future to meet your progeny?
4.     … have the superpower to fly or see through things?
5.     … travel through Europe for 2 weeks or stay home with no distractions for 2 weeks?
6.     … have a truly attractive spouse or a very rich spouse?
7.     … wear 80’s clothing or have 80’s hair for eternity?
8.     … have a heated debate on politics or religion?
9.     … spend the rest of your days in Disneyland or Hawaii?
10.  … read an adventure or romance novel?
11.  … live in a really hot or really cold climate?



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tatts

I got an email today from a friend with the story of a lady who got a HUGE tattoo of Donny Osmond on her shoulder. Long story short, it got my mind a working. I do not have any tattoos (unlike my mother who has like 8 of them ... all are nice small dots to map out radiation for cancer, but still she has tattoos.) When I was 18 I almost got a tattoo. It was going to be a small 4-leaf clover on my right ankle similar to this. My friends and I were going to get them in Wisconsin because in Illinois you had to be 21 to get them. We were meeting at the church parking lot and were going to carpool up. I was late getting to the church because I was buying shoes and they left without me (this was before the time of cell phones.) Hence I do not have a tattoo. Instead there was a single adult activity going on, I stayed to participate, one week later I was called to serve in the Relief Society Presidency. Happy coincidence? Nope. Best mistake I never made.

Now I am not saying that tattoos are bad. I am not saying that people who have them are bad. I am saying I am glad I did not follow through and make that choice for me. I do thank the stars that aligned that prevented me from getting one. In my life now, as a 37 year old, a 4-leaf clover does not really fit my personality, neither does pain, or germs.

It did make me think, though, today how fun it would be for me to play a little game. What if? The sky is almost the limit!

We can do this two ways: What if I were not LDS, did not have the believe system I do, and got myself a tattoo: what would it be and where?

OR If you, interwebs, were to get a tattoo what would it be and where?

There is only 1 rule to this game: Raunchy language is not encouraged. And GO!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Steel Mags Top 10


Top 10 memories of Steel Magnolias … fair warning, there are swears and one girly bit mentioned in this post! Plus it is long. You have been warned.

10 The script really was more of a guideline for me.
Being thrown into the show one week before we opened meant I really had 5 rehearsals to become memorized. I sure tried really hard to learn all of the lines as written, and to be honest I got most of them, but it was harder than anything I have had to do onstage yet. I got the part Friday the 15th and had to be onstage for dress rehearsal the 21st. And Sug, I did my best, but that show was not the same every night. Not even close!

9 Those who can’t act … review?
One of my favorite songs from the Broadway show Curtains is about critics. Some of the lines include: Critics! Who’d make a living out of killing other people’s dreams? What kind of man would take a job like that? What kind of slob would take a job like that? Who could be mean enough, base and obscene enough, to take a job like that? … Who could be jerk enough, hard up for work enough, to want a job like that?
We got a review, as I have posted earlier, that was not mean but it certainly was not flattering. It  was indifferent. She did not have anything really glowing to say about the show but she did not give specifics about what needed to be improved, really. It was just indifferent. It fueled my hate-fire! I think it made for a better performance on my part because I wanted to prove this lady wrong. However, my dear dear K said: “Those who can’t act, review.” She made me feel better about the review. She makes me feel better about many, many things!
And this song immediately ran through my head. … Who could be prick enough? Mentally sick enough. Who’d want to grow to be, everyone’s enemy. Critics are hated and so excoriated tell me what kind of man would want a job like that?

8 Whose job is whose?
When the show started I was the Executive Producer, P was the Producer, C was Director, M was Assistant Director, L was Ouiser, M was going to be backstage with J, and I was going to also run tech. By the end of the show we just kind of put all of the job responsibilities in a hat and drew them out at random. C was put on bed rest so M finished directing. L got sick and was told to stay in bed so I got to be Ouiser. Because I was Ouiser P took over as the main producer, and M, D, and C had to do tech. P took over back stage with J except for the one day P could not be there then K helped J backstage while the rest of us changed S for the next scene. Group effort much? Yes please! Confusing, but really good therapy on rolling with the punches.

7 Funny one liners that no one but us would find funny:
My words are LARGER
Spoken like a true ASS
I'm emotionally constipated
Well maybe you should take a stool softener
I'm gonna keep making dog noises
That's a good dog
I was # second! She was # the first
Write a book!!
Only one person in the whole world can have the best smelling feet ever
This wig looks Rastafarian
Say the word and I’ll get you a new one. WORD!
Is my grey even?
Hell, damn, God, Lord, and ass are technically all in the Bible … they are biblical swears.
That last ‘absolutely’ is going to  become ‘I would”
If Ouiser had hair, she’d be a collie
Empty is the hat that wears the crown
Was she doping?
Man that stage is high
I was in the shower and I just had to say “Well I haven’t seen that before”
Is he really even that good?
Happy smiley peanut butter hearts
Did I tell you I went to a gay club?
It feels like a bowling ball on the cervix

6 But Aunt Stephanie, you do not look like you. You look like that mean lady.
My nieces had not seen me on stage before. The last time I was on stage my oldest niece was 2. Now they are 5, 4, and 3. I was nervous for them to see it because I played a rather mean lady (at times) and the themes were not ones that they would really understand. When I came out after the show the girls were afraid to see what my face looked like (because of the stage makeup.) My niece L said “But Aunt Stephanie, you do not look like you. You look like that mean lady. This is not your nose, or your eyes, or your mouth.” I realize how confusing it must be for a little kid to see someone they know and trust look like someone else. But I loved that they got to see me on stage in my dream role even if they did not understand what was going on. 

5 Being on stage with some of my dearest friends.
Being such a small cast and crew gave us all a chance to get rather close. There were 2 actors I had never worked with before. K & M were all new to me, but I ended up loving working with both of them. I had directed C before in a show and I was pretty excited to work with her again. S and I grew up together and what a talent! I was sad that L did not get to be on stage, but what a blessing for me. I was finally able to be on stage with K; what a joy! K and I have been friends for a few years and the stars finally aligned to be onstage with this amazing talent. Oh boy did we get to play together up there! I was playing a woman who is a little meaner than I am in real life; but she had a soft spot for the character Shelby (at least in our version) and so every time I saw K I got to lighten up and smile. It was indeed the easiest bit of acting I have ever done because I love K with all my heart. So being Ouiser who loves Shelby was as natural as being Stephanie who loves Kristen!

4 Laughing, laughing, laughing, and job offers?
I love to laugh. I do. I love it. I laughed so hard doing this show. While getting ready in the dressing rooms M had us in stitches with her crazy stories. After the show one night I was asked if I would be interested in being hired to join a cast that does hypnotic comedy. I did not even know this kind of entertainment existed. It was an honor just to be asked. Every night I got to laugh and cry on stage. This show was so therapeutic especially since we were thrown some curve balls. (C wwynnihs) One lady told me after one show that she has no clue why I would ever waste my time directing or producing. I should always act. That was sweet of her to say and it sure boosted my ego.

3 Working with the best of the best of the best
Being on both sides of the table made for some really interesting nights. The director and assistant director are dear dear friends. Today I heard something that resonated: There are two kinds of friends 1) good and 2) best. The rest are just acquaintances.  I have said it before that I have some amazing best friends. During this show I got to work with some of my best friends, two of whom were on the proteam. Then I get thrown into the cast where another best friend lived. These women make me laugh in real life; add to it the joy of working on a show and I was in heaven.  

2 #wwynnihs
As mentioned before the director is one of my dearest best friends. C came into my life just a few short years ago when she auditioned for a show I was directing. Then she just wormed her way into my heart and now I cannot remember a time when we were not friends. Of course I cannot remember much from before my hysterectomy to be honest. What a talent C is. In theater we talk about triple threats (people who can sing, dance, and act.) C is more than a triple threat. She proved that she has an eye for directing and can bring depth out of her performers. This was the right show for her to helm, even if her baby decided to come out and play earlier than expected making her step aside from the show. It was an honor to watch her work, and I cannot wait to see what she does next in theater. Honor, respect, adoration, and love are not sufficient to describe what this brave woman was able to do with this show.

1 Dream Role
In my theater bio I list 3 dream roles, only 2 of which I really can ever play: Mde Thenardier in Les Mis, Ouiser in Steel Magnolias, and Edna in Hairspray (has to be played by a man per the contract.) I wanted so very much to audition for this show but knew it was unrealistic. The woman who was cast in the role was so brilliant in it and I was green with the jealousy! Then I was devastated for L because she got sick and needed to take care of herself rather than be on stage. The old adage “The show must go on” was never more true, however just because the show must go on does not mean that anyone should ever put themselves in danger. So born out of misery and less than ideal circumstance, I got my dream role. I loved having 2 weeks with Ouiser. I think it made the part still very fresh for me as opposed to me having 2 months with her and me risking being stagnant. I hope to one day meet her again. I would love to play her when I am older and look more the part; but I cherish every second I got to portray her in this production.

So would I change anything? Probably I would not encourage people being sick or being put on bedrest or having a baby 6 weeks early … but other than that there is nothing about this show I could imagine different. Dreams do come true. 




Monday, February 25, 2013

If You Can't Say Anything Nice ...

I was in a training last month where the trainer said something very interesting. I am paraphrasing, but she said that the average person needs to hear 5-7 positive things for every negative thing they hear. Some people will need to hear more like 10 positive things after they hear something negative about themselves, but there are some personalities that will need even more than that. Sometimes people will hear one thing and construe it as negative even if the comment is indifferent. For example, a couple might be going out to dinner and the husband might say "Is that what you are wearing?" What the wife might hear is "Seriously why would you wear that, you look fat." When the husband means "Are you ready to go?" Even if the husband then says things like "You look beautiful" or "You smell nice" or "I love you" she will focus on "Is that what you are wearing?"

I did not fully understand this concept until this weekend. It has been interesting to be in a show suddenly. I am pretty confident in my talents on stage. I have, however, had a hard time allowing myself to accept compliments on the show or my performance for some reason. It was not until I read something that someone posted in a negative light about the show that my hackles were raised and I was ready for a fight. You can say all you want about me, but once you go after my girls ... well move over Sarah Palin ... because this pit bull theater mom just went on high alert.

The funny thing is, that what was said was not really bad. It was not great, but it was not bad. Then I realized something that I am trying really hard to remember right now: Some people just need to focus on the negative and if I fall prey to that mindset then I am no better than they are. I do not need to let outside influences affect my experience. Here is what I know about this show experience:

I love the women I am working with
I laugh more than I should in the dressing room because they are funny funny
I have generous actors lifting me up every night
I have the chance to work with the most amazing pro-team
I have my dream role
I memorized an entire show in 6 days (no small task)
I finally get to be on stage with an actor/friend I have wanted to share the stage with for a long time
I have a ready made vehicle to cry nightly, what a great release
The actors on stage are so incredibly talented
I am working with some of the most generous and giving actors on stage
The director of this show is someone I trust with every aspect of my life
The assistant director of this show stepped up to the plate in ways I cannot even describe
Every night on stage I am reminded of why I love doing theater
I have the chance to create something from page to stage in a way no one else can
This show is GREAT
The actors are funny
The chemistry on stage with the actors is something I am pleased to have in reality with my friends
I have made new friends during this show, and rekindled old friendships
I love this show
I love this show
I love this show

I love this show
I love this show
I love this show

I love this show
I love this show
I love this show



I am really proud of the people I get to play with every night and those who have sacrificed so much to make this show a reality. Negative thoughts can be like poison to the soul. I kind of let it eat at me yesterday but now, right now, I am done with it. I am so proud of the actors, pro-team, and myself with this show. It is a great show, a funny show, an amazing experience. I am proud of my girls.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Steel Magnolias


This little gem opens tonight and runs for 6 show. Directed by the incomparable Casey Matern with the remarkable Melody Chapman, this show is the most touching play that I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. It features 6 über talented actors who will worm their way into your hearts.

Kristen Fox as Shelby will make you fall in love with PINK even if you hate it as much as I do. She plays Shelby with a sweet innocence and calm demeanor; but still has a streak of mischief and lovability that melts even Ouiser's heart.

Stefanie Gallagher as M'Lynn ... what more can I say than BYOT (bring your own tissues!) She nails the overbearing and concerned mother of her daughter Shelby. She is calm and endearing throughout the whole show, so when she finally breaks under the ultimate pressure her raw emotion is felt in the entire theater.

Catherine Bohman could not be better cast as Truvy. She is eccentric, amusing, and is the consummate hair professional. There is a reason why all of the women in the neighborhood go there to get their hair did. She invites everyone into her salon, and when you are there you are family.

Kirsten Darrington as Annelle has the most drastic character development of the show as she starts out mousy, then a little jezabelle, then the ultimate born again Christian, and finally settling in as a "smart ass" who can take on Ouiser.

Marilyn Gallaway as Clairee is funny and the crazy glue that holds this group together. She is the first lady of the show. Her one-off lines are theater gold!!

Laren Bateman as Ouiser makes me want to take a whack at her again and again. Sadly, Laren is sick and will not be performing in this show. I will be doing everything in my power to fill her incredibly large shoes on stage. I just hope to make Laren and Casey proud of their hard work. Ouiser has been a dream role for ... well as long as I have known about Steel Magnolias. I have loved her for a lifetime, and have had 7 days to learn her lines.

Please come see Steel Magnolias. Visit Midvale Arts' website for more info and tickets. Tickets for this show are the same price, if not less, than a movie ticket and we will come out after and hug you. Name one movie actor you have ever had do that after the lights come on ... just one. I dare you!!

I am proud of this show. It makes me laugh every night. It makes me cry every night. I am not promising that you will love it, but I am promising you that the actors and proteam could not have worked any harder to ensure that you do love it.

l-r Kirsten Darrington, Stefanie Gallagher, Marilyn Gallaway, me, Kristen Fox, Catherine Bohman (c) photosbykate.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What Time Is It? ...


Happy Valentimes ...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Political ...

I honestly do not know if this is a joke, or if it is serious. But I have to say I laughed and laughed when I read it. Full disclaimer ... I am a Democrat. I am a fan of President Obama. I also think that there are bigger issues to focus on in our country right now than if/why/how could Beyoncé lip-sync the National Anthem. In the wise words of Caprice Crane (I follow her on the Twitter) "If you can tell me one valid reason why Beyoncé lip-syncing a song affects your life, I will buy you your very own unicorn." With that I present you the article I read this morning about ... well here it is

OBAMA URGED TO RESIGN OVER BEYONCE SCANDAL
Posted by Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – A rising chorus of congressional Republicans are calling on President Obama to acknowledge that the pop singer Beyoncé lip-synched during his inaugural festivities on Monday and resign from office, effective immediately.

“By lip-synching the national anthem, Beyoncé has cast a dark cloud over the President’s second term,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).  “The only way President Obama can remove that cloud is by resigning from office at once.”

While many in the media have blamed Beyoncé for the lip-synching controversy, Mr. Paul said, “We must remember that this happened on President Obama’s watch.”

Mr. Paul said that the White House’s refusal to comment on the Beyoncé crisis “only serves the argument that this President has something to hide.”

“If Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem, how do we know President Obama didn't lip-sync his oath of office?” he said. “If that’s the case, he’s not legally President. But just to be on the safe side, he should resign anyway.”

Mr. Paul also blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her testimony on Benghazi before the Senate today: “Her tactic of answering each and every question we asked her didn't fool anyone.”

I laughed right out loud. Pardon me while I put on my sarcastic pants ... Alright, I get that not everyone in the world is a fan of President Obama. I get it, but this ... this is just the most fantastic thing I have read since the whole big issue about his birth certificate. Thank heavens Kelly Clarkson did not lip-sync too or they would be calling for Vice President Biden to step down as well.  And Secretary Clinton how dare you answer all of their questions at the Senate investigation. How dare you, ma'am! I am hoping that this is one of those "Not everything you read on the internet is true" moments. I am trying to decide if my favorite bit of this is the part about if President Obama lip-synced the Oath of Office or ragging on Secretary Clinton for answering all of the questions posed to her or this being called "the Beyoncé crisis." It makes me wonder if Senator Paul knows that President Obama was actually sworn into office the day before the Inauguration (Jan 20) as mandated by Amendment 20 of the Constitution so what we saw was pretty much just for show. Alright, I take off my sarcastic pants now.

With the nation's debt, unemployment numbers, low funding for educational programs, war, domestic violence, poverty, and energy issues (not to mention that there are other things that matter more to me like finding a cure for cancer or tackling the nation's health and obesity issues) are we really fussed if a singer lip-synced a song? I am not. I could care less if Beyoncé was in fact a robot or alien sent from another planet to perform at the Inauguration. Bravo for the White House's refusal to comment. I think it shows that it is a non-issue; not that it is a conspiracy cover up. For crying out loud. If our leaders and media spent this much attention on real issue maybe something would be accomplished in Washington this year besides partisan fighting and name calling. 

End rant. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mortification

The thing about the cyberweb is that things happen that are intentional and not intentional. I have a blog that is private to me where I post things that are not for the general population; it is a weight loss blog that I have started. I post very intimate and personal things there. I was writing a blog post for that blog and inadvertently posted it here. It had some things in it that I would never share with the general public. So I quickly deleted it. The thing is, that nothing that is published on the interwebs is ever really gone is it? So those of you who follow me on readers may be able to read a blog post that I had no intention of ever publishing to the world at large. I respectfully ask that if you do get access to that blog post on a reader that you respect how hard it was for me to blog about what I did, in regard to being fat and trying to lose weight, even though I thought it was a private blog post. I know that my friends, who are true friends, will keep what they read confidential. I also know that there are some people I do not know that follow my blog, for whatever reason, and have no clue who I am and how hard that was for me to write. I also know that many of you might think "Oh crap! I wish I could have read what she is talking about, what is she talking about?" Maybe one day I will be brave enough to share it with the world at large. Right now I am not that brave and ask for the respect of those who will read it to take it for what it was intended: A private blog post. I am literally sitting in my office crying because of how mortified I am it. So there you have it. That happened. I need to move on from it. And now I rely on the kindness of strangers ... and most importantly friends ... to accept it and me for what I am.

The end.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MMRF Week 1

It has been a week since I registered for the MMRF fundraising team to run in the Las Vegas marathon. I have found out the race is November 17, 2013. I will be running the half marathon since the finish time for the full is 4 hours 30 minutes. The half gives me 4 hours to finish. I am registered for the race, I have paid my money, there is no turning back now!

To get started training I have been doing a Couch to 5K program. I am running 3 times a week right now. It is slow, it is not for long periods of time, and it is awesome! I am running. I had a physical with my doctor yesterday to make sure that I am cleared to do this exercise, and I am feeling really good about it. I have also been tracking my food using My Fitness Pal.

Please notice the link on the right of the blog to donate to the MMRF fund for my run. My brother and sister are also running. We each need to raise $1,500 for the foundation, which will be at least $4,500 for research!

Thanks to everyone who has already encouraged me in this effort and/or donated. I am having a ball with it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Taking Action

Followers to this blog know that Mom has cancer. They also should know by now that Cancer Sucks! My family decided to help raise funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation by joining the marathon team to run in the Vegas marathon on December 1, 2013. Each runner has a goal to reach of $1,500 by then. That is $125 a month that I need to raise.

In order to help with this they have set me up a fundraising website. I now, unashamedly, solicit help from my friends, family, and random blog stalkers to accomplish this goal. Little bits add up, big amounts are always welcome.

Mom getting her second stem cell transplant Jan 2012
Would you visit: My Donation Site and learn more about my efforts and, if able, make a donation to help me with my goal? I also appreciate any help you can by passing on this information to your contacts. The fact of the matter is that multiple myeloma has no cure. With some cancers, like skin or breast when caught early,  the cancer patient will have surgery, chemo, and/or radiation and can be cured. With multiple myeloma the patient can be treated but it is incurable. To me that is just unacceptable and devastating. This means that I will, more than likely, lose my mother to cancer. This cancer is in the blood, so it is throughout her body. Her bones are brittle and break easily. She is 5 inches shorter than she used to be. She walks hunched over. While the money we raise now probably will not save her life, I hope that it can save the lives of numerous people who are diagnosed with this cancer in the future. Please join me in raising this money.

In other news, I now have to get ready to run a half marathon in 12 months. Challenge accepted!