Friday, April 27, 2012

Attack of the Rabid Chamois!

I was just being my usual snarky self and updated my Facebook Status the other day after another incredulous meeting of the minds... one of our staff meetings where we discuss upcoming projects and then sit in stoic silence while getting belittled and abused by higher ups. I usually don't cry, because crying does not seem to present a I'm A Very Capable Professional image, but the meanness and curtness of some of the commentary can cut to the core. And so, I vented to my trustworthy friend, Facebook:

This day could be infinitely better if it was wrapped in bacon. Or if certain people were suddenly attacked by a pack of rabid chamois. And by chamois, I mean the goatlike antelope of mountainous regions of Europe, not the porous leather that is favored for its gentle, non-abrasive composition and absorption properties.

And then the heavens opened up and glory shone all around!

An illustrated facebook status?!  Huzzah!

How freaking awesome is that? My artistically witty friend sketched my status into a picture!
And it made me snort out loud. And laugh for a long time. And I haven't stopped. And I have it printed off and hung up by my desk. And I have shown every person who has come in to my office because it's that awesome.
And so this is my bestest idea ever. I'm going to have her illustrate a bunch of my status updates and then I'm going to put them together like some sort of mentally unstable Gary Larson calendar set.
Other possibilities from random status posts:
The toddler dumped half a bottle of baby powder all over the items in our grocery cart. The bananas now smell like baby butts.
Kind of wishing there was a Coco Puffs with a side of buttered toast drive-thru.

Just took the toddler with me to pick up a few items from Walgreens. The term "wrestling a greased pig" comes to mind....

I asked Big V, "if the government required you to learn a new skill, and gave you the time and money to learn it, what would you learn?" He thought about it, then answered, "Shuffleboard."

In preparation of today's epic snowstorm, I decided not to shave my legs. #extralayerofwarmth

I might have to call into work because I feel stabby. "Excuse me, I was wondering if you could help --" "DON'T MAKE ME CUT YOU! "

At the Christmas program Big V kept pointing out the nativity giraffes to the toddler. Because his Jesus was born under the watchful eye of an 18' cud chewing mammal.

Best. Audience. Ever! I want to wrap them up and bring them to every performance. But I won't. Because I could get charged with kidnapping.

Creepy Cleaner Guy just stood next to me watching me brew a Keurig. Six inches next to me. Longest brew time ever.

Time to bust out the duct tape: something's gotta keep this kid's pajamas & diaper on for entire night... Mama's tired of peeking in and seeing nakedness and an untamed "sprinkler."

Entered purgatory. Also known as US Cellular. Or The Never Ending Waiting Room.

Just brushed my teeth with a tube of antifungal cream. No chance of athlete's foot on these gums!

My daughter told me she put my name on the prayer board at school. "Aw! That's so sweet! For what?" "For your celiac and hemmorhoids."

Want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Eat a squirrel.

Even more creepy than Uber Creepy Cleaning Guy? Silent Stealthy Judge Dude who I literally bumped into... like he couldn't see me bending down to get my can of soda off the bottom shelf of the fridge? Back off, Robe Man!

There is not nearly enough alcohol to drink in this house between now and bedtime. Who delivers?

"Yes? Hello? I have a dangerous tree. It's dropping acorns on my deck and I'm afraid I'm going to twist my ankle. It's a very dangerous situation." [love. my. job.]

A bed sharing class ought to be required before marriage.

You'd think locating a large metal kangaroo would be easier.

I'm totally thinking I can work a Hairless Cat into our office budget.

Tonight I'm going to Zumba and following up with a Pi-Yo class. Or else I might just eat this big bag of cheese puffs. I'll let you know...

The teen just informed me she can fit five Tic Tac's in her belly button...

I don't know what disturbs me more... J-Lo's voice or Marc's mustache.

Half hour early to a two hour long gymnastics practice and dude next to me smells like rotting armadillo.

I'm answering my office phone with a British accent so you think I have an assistant. Because all assistants have a British accent, right? Or was that assailants?

So, just feel free to start sketching away, Becca! I've been on Facebook for years so this is just a small sampling. There are plenty more! (You know, in case you were worried you'd run out of reasons to ignore your family and housekeeping duties.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Squirrels in the Attic

I've been suffering from self-induced lack of sleep lately because I've been rehearsing for a show... it's called Squirrels in the Attic (written by Pat Lawrence, author of Jarred Into Being) and is described as follows:

Lindsay Spencer, a free spirited, single woman in her late twenties, returns to her parents' apartment after she's in an auto accident which her father, Charles, feels guilty of causing. Charles dotes on his only daughter, but her mother, Florence, is a more realistic critic of her daughter's shortcomings. Florence, who is loving, but ordered, lofty, and patronizing, is dismayed to learn that her husband has invited Lindsay to live with them while she recuperates from the auto accident. When Florence learns that Lindsay's boyfriend, Claude (an aspiring comedian), is also moving in with them, she is furious. Florence gives Charles an ultimatum: either he un-invites them or Florence is leaving him - for good! The sidesplitting conflicts of lifestyles, living arrangements, and Florence's “secret life” not only bring about a greater understanding between mother and daughter, but also lead to a hilarious conclusion.

I play Lindsay.

We open tomorrow. I mean, technically we have a preview audience tonight but I've been told it will more than likely be a group of high school students lured there by the promise of extra credit points. I can't wait to play pretend amongst the bright glow of cell phone screens....

So now comes the time where I convince you why you should spend $10 on a ticket and watch this awesome show. (Other than the obvious to see me, of course.) Here are the reasons I came up with:

You can check out our nuts!
No. For real. This cast is a bunch of nuts. Some bigger than others.

Be amazed by riveting stage direction!
Will it be a big plop? A loud plop? Will the plop be
big enough for the people in the back row to see?

Find out if these actors killed me
for posting this photo to Facebook!
 They didn't. But they wanted to.
They're probably just waiting until we close. 

Meet my horny boyfriend!
He's only 18 in real life. I'm 38...
and currently feeling incredibly old. And cellulitey.

See what our house looks like!
This was during rehearsal when all we had was a couch
surrounded by a bunch of crap taking up space on stage.
Will there be walls? Will there be additional furniture?
Or will you have to squint and pretend it's a home?

See if I finally get breasts!
There was a box labeled 'breasts and suit stuff' in the costume room...
will my costume include either? 

See if I've improved!
This is from the front page of the script.
It includes my name. Which is pretty awesome.

This show was originally produced for the very, very first time, back in 2007 and for some reason I was fortunate enough to land the role of Lindsay Spencer. It was a freaking awesome role. 

I usually get cast in the smaller comedic roles... which I love, don't get me wrong; I believe those are the roles that are the most fun and add the spice and flavor to plays and I know my strength is in comedic timing, which comes naturally to me - and that means it doesn't feel like work. When I landed the role as Lindsay I was nervous. At this point I'd only been cast as the lead twice before (and surprisingly, one was in a musical; luckily my big solo number was redirected as an emotional instrumental). 

My point is, being a lead is stressful for me: the roles have way more depth, way more responsibility, and way more lines. As a character actor you can away with so much -- especially the funny roles. It's easy for me to play the self-deprecating role; it's much harder for me to play the vulnerable, emotionally exposed role. But I rocked it back in 2007. The whole cast was freaking awesome and to this day I love them all to pieces. 

Fast forward five years and here comes this show again... finding its way to the Elizabeth Reinholz Theater, home of the Beloit Civic Theatre in Beloit, Wisconsin. Which, by the way, I had no idea existed. I knew about the auditions for quite a while, and really wrestled with whether or not I would give it a go. I had just come off another holiday show - three years in a row of every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I was tired, burnt out, and I had just learned how to knit. There were scarves to be made!

Also, I wasn't as young as I used to be. I felt old and frumpy and scatter-brained. How would I ever learn all those lines again? I had already done this role, why do it again? I had a two year old. I had a cat. I had ... excuses.

But I went. And was cast. And the show is not at all like we did it the first time and the role is not at all like I did it the first time and that's the awesomeness of theatre - it's never the same thing twice. The whole show was approached by the director from a completely different direction and it was all so new. Even though I had stood on a stage with those same exact words once before - every single word was different. And the show is freaking awesome. Just as freaking awesome as the first time, but in a completely different way.

And so here I am. Here we are. Weeks of rehearsals filled with stage direction like just stick your head in her hole and I want you sitting on tits on a bull. (Would you be scared if I told you it makes perfect sense to us?) Weeks filled with fond memories and funny inside jokes with my amazingly talented castmates and a jackass who would not stop insulting me until I finally cried like a little baby (there is always one) ... weeks of Starbucks and gluten-filled treats that I couldn't eat and anxiety and stress and lack of sleep and laughter and trying to remember that stupid line (why can't I get that freaking line?) ... and now we're here.

We're all here.

Waiting for you.

Beloit Civic Theatre
1225 Fourth St. Beloit, WI 53511
April 26, 27, 28, May 3, 4, 5 at 7:30 p.m.
April 28 and May 5 at 3 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Seniors (60 and over) $8.00
Students $8.00

Box Office hours:
Reservations are taken during the weeks of performance only, and maybe made by calling the theater Box Office at (608) 362-1595 or at reservations. Box Office phone is open from noon to 5:00 pm (Monday - Thursday) and from 6:30 - 7:20 (Thurs - Sat). If you call outside of regular phone hours, you may leave a message on the answering machine and we will return your call.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Finger Condoms Are In The Van.

Big V made sure I knew that he had cleaned up the living room without having been told. Personally, I thought that was a given, since I had left the house in spotless condition. Well, in a mostly spotless condition anyway. The point is that of course he should have cleaned it up. The puzzle pieces weren't all over the floor when I left. However, when I returned, there they were. I walked into the living room that used to be clean and saw that it no longer was.

And then I sighed.

One of those long, drawn out, overly dramatic passive sighs that obviously means look, you asshole, I spent all freaking day cleaning this beast of a house with not one ounce of help from you, and then I went out and braved the freaking public in a gosh darn grocery store - and you know how much I detest grocery stores - what with their menopausal temperature zones and their wobbly cart issues, not to mention the idiots that park their cart smack dab in the center of the aisle so no one can get by, just so you could have a gallon of chocolate marshmallow ice cream at the ready, and I come home to this crap?

And then I walked out of the room and secretly hatched my Running Away To A Tropical Place Far, Far Away While Magically Losing Twenty Pounds So I Also Look Fabulous In A Swimsuit plan while putting away the groceries.

Apparently, I gave Big V enough time to decipher aforementioned long, drawn out, overly dramatic passive sigh because 20 minutes later I walked into a picked up living room.

And by picked up I mean he just scooped up the puzzle pieces and tossed them in a pile in the corner on the shelf next to the puzzle box which must have been very, very difficult to open, because otherwise it would have been opened and the pieces placed inside.

But I just walked past the living room and down into the basement where I spent the better part of my relaxing evening doing laundry, which included untangling every single article of clothing that man owns before tossing them into the washing machine while he laid on the couch and Cletus took a nap.

When I finally emerged from the bowels of our home with freshly laundered socks and underwear, I mentioned to the almost-sleeping Big V that I was going to run to the hardware store and finally get some fluorescent light bulbs for the garage, since 5 years without lights was starting to get on my nerves.

That's when Big V perked up like a dog dropping a dead chipmunk at your feet and chirped, "I have light bulbs! They're in the garage! All I have to do is put them in."

And that's when I discovered that for the past 5 years, while I've been groping my way across a darkened garage, four brand-new, not yet out of the box light bulbs sat on a shelf gathering dust.

As most women might imagine, this newly discovered information started World War III in our household.

I gave a long and lengthy detailed account of my frustrations being ever so careful not to forget a thing.

Big V listened to me rant without taking a single breath (me, not him; he was breathing just fine) for approximately twelve minutes before he said, "Well, if it was that important for you to have lights in the garage you should have just told me. How was I supposed to know?"

And that led me to explain for another twelve minutes about how I shouldn't have to tell him; that he should want to provide the most important woman in his life with lights. He should want me to be safe. Because how bad would he feel if some murderous stranger was hiding in our garage just waiting for the overhead door to close so that he could kill me? And then Big V suggested that maybe I should keep my vehicular lights on while I entered the garage and if I did, in fact, see some strange guy standing there with a hatchet perhaps I ought not to open my car doors and get out.

I hate when he's logical.


Then I read late into the night a most awesome book called Let's Pretend This Never Happened by the WAY too talented Jenny, The Bloggess. (And if you're one of the last three people on earth who have never heard of her check her out this instant. Don't even bother continuing on with my drivel.) And then I  fell asleep on the couch... which is code for absence makes the heart grow fonder and also so help me Jesus, if you had even thought about brushing up against me during the night I probably would have killed you so it's a good thing I love you enough to not want to end up spending the rest of my life sharing a prison cell with a Lizzie Borden wannabe. 

Then the next day, after I had found out Big V had spent $169.97 on fast food lunches for himself so far this month and after I sent a text that started out with Holy Wasting Shitloads of Money on Fast Food, Batman! - (totally true and accurate accounting, people. And that's just what he spent on himself. At McDonald's. And Burger King. And on gas station burritos. And the month isn't even over yet.) - which totally explains the state of our finances as well as his constant complaints about how "it feels like there are knives in my stomach" -- I came home to this note on my incredibly messy kitchen counter:

"Dishes will be done first thing after work tomorrow -
finger bleeding & rubber finger condoms are in van."

It should be noted that the dishes have not yet been done.

And there are still no lights in our garage.

And that finger condoms come in a one size fits all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tag! You're Beautiful: 40 Notes for 40 Years

My sister, Shannon, is turning 40 years old today, which is a pretty big deal, mostly because it's a reminder that she's still older than me. Anyway, I was wondering if you could help me with a little Birthday Surprise I'd like to organize for her.... read on.
If I were to describe Shannon it would be like this: she loves post-it notes, Sharpies, and all things positive. Including chocolate, but mostly she loves positive sayings and quotes and inspirational ways to encourage one another.

Shannon truly believes in the power of the positive word. She believes that while we're naturally our worst critics we also have this amazing unlimited ability to raise others up to heights they never imagined - just by giving positive support with very simple words.

Shannon learned to clog because she thought it was an interesting dance form. If I were to be completely honest, at the time I thought she was insane. I mean, c'mon - clogging? What the heck are you going to do with that skill?

Then she started Walworth County Cloggers - a dance group humbly starting in the basement of my parent's house. She wholeheartedly believed that GIRLS ROCK. It was and is her hope and desire to instill courage and strength, kindness and empathy, support and teamwork in each and every one of her dancers. It is her goal to show each dancer how truly beautiful and important they are --- to the team, to their families, to themselves. And she expects each one of her dancers to continue that show of kindness and support and positivity in everything they do; school, work, fun.

In her "other job" - the one that comes after taking care of three small children while helping her husband run their dairy farm and organizing everything there is to do with a dance studio - Shannon counsels foster care children and their families. She's a huge proponent in It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, and has proven so in ways that would take far too long to explain in this measly post. Spend ten minutes with Shannon and you'll be taking in countless foster children and adopting your own platoon... because she'll show you how you don't have to do it alone. That with support, anything can be accomplished.

Shannon's Facebook wall is devoted to encouraging sayings and links to positive stories. (Unlike mine, which is devoted to various forms of complaint smothered in snarkasm and swear words.) It's her own personal testament that LIFE IS GOOD.

And so....

Here's where I need your help:

Today, in honor of my sister's 40th birthday, I'd like YOU to Tag The Town -- tag it beautiful. Tag it positive. Tag it uplifting! Check out the website Operation Beautiful  - maybe you've heard of it. It's described as "leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms - at work, at the gym, at the grocery store." Things like:

"You are beautiful!"

"You are amazing just the way you are!"

"You are important!"

"YOU are perfect just the way you are!"

Things like that. Be creative!!

FIRST leave a positive note or message -- be it a post-it note on the bathroom stall at Target, or a sidewalk chalk message outside your house. Maybe you want to leave a card to a stranger on their windshield. (My goal is 40 notes for 40 years... so I really, really need your help with this.)

THEN take a picture of your positive note! Don't be shy - include yourself in the photo if you're comfortable!

THEN go to the Walworth County Cloggers Facebook page  and "like" their page so you can upload the photo of your message to their page and share it with everyone. (Make sure you tell Shannon Happy Birthday.)

The power of positive encouragement shouldn't start and stop with one group of people. It should be shared over and over and over again. It should grow and blossom and get bigger and bigger and be shared over and over and over again. And then set on repeat. So that the goodness just keeps on keepin' on.

Shannon truly believes that the world would be a better place if we took more time to focus on saying things that are kind and uplifting; as pessimistic as I tend to be, I do believe her. Imagine if your kind words today fell into the lap of someone feeling really alone or unneeded. Who knows, maybe the answer to bullying is this simple... changing our focus to a few heartfelt, authentic encouraging words... It can't hurt to try, right?

Happy 40th Birthday, Shannon. May your goal of covering the world with positivity be met today... and last forever...


...making life awesome...

Posted on the bulletin board at the local library.

by the vending machine at the gymnastics studio

From the poster to my sister: "Thank you for being a big insperation in my life
and always making my day brighter!
You have changed many people's lives with all that you do!"
True that!

From the poster: "For the amazing woman that taught me
how to clog when I was only 7!"

an inspirational message to the school kids who walk
this sidewalk in Wauwatosa every day

Life IS beautiful because YOU'RE here!
Never doubt that for one single second.
This one touches my heart...  
These were posted on a porta-potty. Seriously awesome.
"You are amazing! Thank you for teaching our kids!"
I bet they don't expect THIS today!