Wednesday, March 27, 2013

scintilla: day 10

OK, friends. This is the last day of Scintilla! I know I’ve missed a few days, but overall I think I did pretty well, especially with all the craziness in my life right now. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading. The final prompt I’m answering is this:
Tell the story of how you got the thing you are going to keep forever. Include an image in your post, if you can.

So, as always, I’m not really answering this question in the way it was intended, but when I read it, the first thing I thought of was of a pair of photographs.
As you know, my father died unexpectedly when I was 26. After a tremendously shocking, sad, and overwhelming day with my family (that began with a life-changing phone call at 4:30 a.m.), I went home to my apartment, more or less a wrung-out empty shell of a human.

That night, I dug through my stuff and found a picture of me and my dad that had been taken maybe two years before. I found an old frame and inserted the picture. I found another photo of my whole family that had been taken five years prior. That went in the other side of the frame.
I have not changed the (decidedly not fancy) frame or photos since, and I never will. Those pictures have been on display everywhere I’ve lived since early 2000, and they always will be.

Miss you, Dad. Forever.

Monday, March 25, 2013

scintilla: day 9

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story – it may just be flashes of event and emotion – but tap into the child you were as much as you can.

This is a photo that hangs on my refrigerator door. I think this was the first day of school when I was entering fifth grade, so I was 9 going on 10 – that’s me in the back with my head turned and my eyes shut. Next to me (on my left) is my best friend Heather, and the boy in front with blonde hair is my brother. The girl directly in front of me is Heather’s sister Shelly – the one I go on beach vacations with in the summer these days. Next to Heather is her brother Mark, and next to him is our friend Paul, who I’ve known since I was basically a fetus. I believe the yellow Garfield lunchbox is mine.

Yes, we look like a bunch of early-80s nerds, to be sure. It’s so funny to look at this and see that I am the tallest one – little did I know that I only had about two years left of growing to do. Fifth grade turned out to be the year I got glasses, so it’s probably just as well my eyes were closed; everything was most likely blurry anyway.
I don’t remember a lot  -  or anything, really – about that particular first day of school. But what I love the very most about this picture is I’m still super-close to everyone in it (except the two girls on the right – not sure what happened to them, as they moved away a couple of years later). I’ve beaten this drum before, and I will continue to beat it - one of the greatest gifts of my life is the fact that I have so many friendships that have endured over 30 years, and I’m so thankful for that.

Friday, March 22, 2013

scintilla: day 8

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Sometimes we wish we could hit the rewind button. Talk about an experience that you would do over if you could.
My first semester of college was away from home. I lived in a dorm, gained the Freshman Fifteen, etc., etc. During my first semester, however, I decided to change my major (this would not be the last time) to secondary education so I could be a high school English teacher. The best school in my state for that degree happened to be 20 minutes from my house. So I transferred, and commuted from home. I was paying for college myself, and it made no sense at the time to take out loans and get into debut so I could live in a dorm so close to home. I regret that now.

My school was a good one – and in fact, I currently work very close by, which is extremely weird, especially when I see all of the students who look to me to be about Jane’s age – and I did have a lot of fun, and walked out of there with a BA in English. But I think I missed out on something important by not living away from my parents for those four (OK, five – like I said, I liked to change majors) years.

I want Jane’s future to be whatever she wants it to be. But I feel very strongly that she go to school away from home. Sure, it will be tragic and sad and I will hang on to her as she walks out the door. But still, that is something I want very much for her.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

scintilla: day 7

Here’s today’sScintilla prompt: What is the longest thing you know by heart (for example, a prayer, a speech, commercial jingle, etc)? Why did you learn it?
When I am in a show, the thing I hear the most from people who come see it,is “I don’t know how you memorize those lines. I would never be able to do that!”

This is not true, of course. I maintain that anyone could memorize lines, as long as they don’t mind spending a few weeks glued to a script, begging the unfortunate souls who live or are friends with you to run lines, and don’t mind if people think you’re a lunatic because you’re constantly talking to yourself…running lines in the car…running lines walking down the street…running lines in the shower…all the time.

Or, at least that’s how I do it. Other people have different techniques. I have found the older I get, it takes a little more time to memorize lines. I think that’s because I have way more distractions in my life than I used to. Or my brain is melting. Or a combination of both.  So I just practice more.

I think the longest monologue I have had in a play is from Neil Simon’s Jake’s Women, in which I played Jake’s rather spazzy sister. This was not a show experience I particularly enjoyed (for many reasons), but I do remember getting a certain amount of joy while laying into him with this rant:

Why is it whenever I try to help you, you push me away? Youre that way with all women. Youre so so standoffish. What you love is to love women. You love to have women in love with you. You even love to love women who love you because youre standoffish. But intimacy, aha, that youre afraid of. I said, "Aha, that youre afraid of." I think youre afraid to lose control in a relationship with a woman. To let a woman in so close, so deep inside of you, that shell gobble you up and youll lose whatever you think you are. You always have to be the Master, Jake. The Master, the Conductor, the Director and the Attorney General. You dont think its strange that you sit around here thinking about women and making up what they say to you? And then you think up that we make up that we come over here on our own? Come on! How much more control do you want? ... They love you, they leave you, they come back to you, they worry about you, they die, they live, they grow up, the fall down, they fight for you, they cry for you its a three ring circus in here and all the horses and lions and elephants are women ... Youre the star of the show, Jake. Youre the one they shoot out of a cannon and you fly around the tent with an American flag in your mouth and all the women go crazy and faint and they take them away to hospitals ... The trouble is its very hard to get close to a man whos flying around in a tent with a flag in his mouth. Thats what I call trouble with intimacy. 

That part was fun.

Lines stick in your head, even years later. Not full speeches like the one above; no, if I wanted to recite that right now, I’d have to spend some time with it again. But, like with movie quotes for other people, quotes from plays and musicals surface in my daily conversation all the time, and bring with them memories, good and bad, from my very favorite hobby.





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

scintilla: day 6

Today’s Scintilla prompt goes like this: Many of our fondest memories are associated with food. Describe a memorable experience that took place while preparing or eating food.
Today is the first day of spring. On this, the first day of spring, it is 34 degrees where I am right now. There is snow on the ground from yesterday’s storm. My back aches from slipping and falling on the ice last night. I am wearing a sweater dress and boots for the umpteenth time over the past five months, which have been long, arduous, and freezing fucking cold. You can see the desperation for a little warm weather on everyone’s faces. We all look a little grey, a little sad, and a little dead.

There is a place in Westbrook, CT called Bill’s Seafood. In the summer, when we’re at the boat or visiting my in-laws, we will often go there. When I think of Bill’s, which I was doing just this morning, these are the things that pop into my mind:
*hot summer sun
*lobster rolls dripping with butter, with a heaping side of fries
*Styrofoam containers filled with steamers
*loud live music
*a packed deck with people drinking and looking at the boats going by
*my family
*shorts, sunburns, and laughter
*hitting the ice cream stand next door as we leave
I can’t think of a better recipe for happiness.
(Note: writing this post put a lump in my throat. That is how badly I need summer to get here.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

scintilla: day 5

I am answering this Scintilla prompt today: What have been the event horizons of your life - the moments from which there is no turning back?

These days, I have no time to ponder things for more than about 30 seconds. I truly wish I had more time to really think about my posts, but between work, family and directing a show, it's tough. OK, excuses time over....when looking at this question, I can truly say I think there has been only one moment in my life from which there is no turning back – and that was the decision to have a child.
Everything else is fluid - jobs, relationships, hobbies, locations. But the moment I became a mother changed my identity to a degree that there is no turning back. No matter what success or joy I find elsewhere in my life, if I’m not a good mother, I’ve fucked up. I’ve failed. I believe this.

Scary, right? This is not something I think about on a day-to-day basis because, hello, PRESSURE. And I don’t mean that every single moment has to be perfection, because obviously it is NOT.  But the decisions I make and the examples I set plays a huge role in the shape of Jane’s life right now – and most certainly in the future.
And there’s no turning back from that responsibility.

Monday, March 18, 2013

scintilla: day 4

Prompt: What talent do you have that your usual blog readers don’t know about? Talk about a time when you showed it to its best advantage.

After perusing the past couple of days of Scintilla prompts, I’ve decided to respond to this one today. It’s not my best, but, well, it’s something:

I wouldn’t call it a talent, no. But I can draw well enough to entertain small children. I used to looooove drawing and coloring when I was a kid, and one of my specialties were my “Froglets” – basically cartoony frogs with big eyes and even bigger eyelashes, usually wearing princess dresses. My artistic talent stalled out by about sixth grade –I would say that’s my level of ability - but I must say that I truly enjoy sitting down with Jane to color, which she does non-stop. Something about the quiet activity and the smell of fresh crayons puts me in a happy place.
The time this “talent”worked to my advantage in a big way was a couple of years ago when Greg, Jane and I were driving to New Jersey to visit friends. While trapped in the everlasting CT-to-NJ traffic snarl, using one of those Magna Doodle erasable things, I became Jane’s personal artist, drawing for at least an hour straight as she flung suggestions/demands at me from the back seat. Dogs, trees, houses, Daddy, rainbows – I did it all. And when you’re trapped in the car with a fidgety toddler for a three-hour trip, you thank your lucky stars that you spent all your time in elementary school with your blank paper, markers and crayons.

Note: I'm number the Scintilla days in my post titles by how many days I've personally participated. Just keeping track of my own participation.