Friday, December 28, 2007

ellen's photo shoot

Ellen was more interested in playing in the yard and nailing her sister with snowballs . . . but I was able to get a few nice shots of her sweet smile and spunky personality.

(Click for larger views)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

katie's photo shoot

Don't you just love her fair skin and amazing freckles?!

(Click for larger views)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

what i want to be


It's been exactly a month since I've posted. I find that really strange.

Between assistant directing the next show; my birthday; traveling on business to Alexandria, VA, for a week; Christmas shopping, preparations, and parties - the time just zoomed by.

The most exciting news: Sophie now has a sister! Her name is Sadie, and I got her from the same breeder as I got Sophie. They may be related - we're trying to figure out the family tree. She's 4 years old and an absolute sweetie. Sophie has adapted much more easily than I expected, after being an "only dog" for two years. They do the regular dog things like steal each other's rawhide bones and push each other off a pillow they want to lay on, but other than that it's been pretty smooth. We all sleep in a big pile on my bed, each on either side of me. Lately, they've been bonding by ganging up on the cats, dashing across the room to bark at them and then trotting proudly away. I think they'd high-five each other if they could.

Frustratingly, I've been fighting the holiday blahs. I was all in the Christmas spirit a few weeks ago, and then all of a sudden I morphed into this tense, grumpy, moody, depressed, and melancholy version of myself. The kind of person you see in movies just before the Ghost of Christmas Past shows up. That's me, about to be awakened by swinging chains and flowing white fabric.

No one tells you what life will be like when you start to feel better after a chronic illness. That's always the goal, it's what you say repeatedly to your friends: "I want my life back. I want to feel better." And then when you do . . . it's like waking up from a long sleep and discovering that life has continued without you. It's kind of shocking. You spend three years on the couch, where a good day is being able to take a shower and perhaps load the dishwasher, and then BAM. Suddenly the world opens back up and I'm left figuring out how to insert myself back into the land of the living.

It's not at all what I expected. I thought I'd romp across a field of daisies in the sunshine, free of illness, and live happily ever after. But now my brain is doing this annoying Rip Van Winkle thing. I might as well be stumbling around a colonial village with a long gray beard wondering what year it is - that's how out of it I feel.

I'm by no means in remission. I still have Lyme disease and am still being treated for it. But I feel so much better that it's time I start thinking about what I want out of the rest of my life and how to get it. I need to set some goals, get off the couch, and make things happen. It's suddenly in my power to do this. And I think that's what 2008 will be all about.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

stand back and watch the giblets fly

Stonehenge, May 2002 (Wiltshire, England). Click for larger view.

I love this article:

Being the 'odd duck' at Thanksgiving

I can't identify with the first part, because I am close to my family and I do spend Thanksgiving with them. But the rest of it . . . too funny! Enjoy!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm off to eat mass quantities of salt, gravy, butter, gravy, sugar, gravy, potatoes . . . and did I mention gravy?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

lymie 'do

My new haircut (5" gone) and fun with Photoshop textures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

life under a blanket

Sophie in the driveway today.

All I want lately is my pajamas, a blanket, and a book or DVD. I'm pretty happy staying on my couch, which pleases Sophie and the cats immensely. We all hang out in a big pile.

Right now I'm reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It's good so far - very dark and moody, something you want to . . . well, spend a dark evening curled up on the couch with. Not a problem.

I'm also watching Everest: Beyond the Limit, Season One, rented from Netflix. It's about a group trying to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, overcoming the brutal heat, cold, and altitude. I keep thinking "these people are crazy", and then "these people are amazing" and then "hey! I want to do that!" But since it costs $40,000 to climb (which includes gear, guides, food, etc.) I think I'll be having adventures elsewhere.

I get my hair cut tomorrow and then stop at Zerbo's. I'm in love with their bulk organic coffee beans. Once you start grinding your own coffee, you can't go back.

Well, I'm off to the couch. And it's Grey's Anatomy night. Yay! I'm tucking in for the long haul.

Monday, November 12, 2007

you may ask yourself "how did i get here?"

Sophie with fur, summer 2006.

Well, I'm on a roll, so I might as well keep going.

I seem to be having a bit of a midlife crisis. Or a late 30's crisis. Whatever it is - it's just that with my 38th birthday approaching in less than 20 days, I thought my life would be entirely different by this point. I expected I'd be married by now. Isn't that what everyone thinks? Except that most people usually get it.

If I would have known in my early 20's that I'd still be single now. . . well, I feel like I've let that 20-something self down. If I met her, I don't know what I'd tell her. "I'm sorry, 'me', I failed. There were two lines, one marked "husbands" and one for "other stuff." I figured I had plenty of time for the husband, so the Sagittarius in me skipped off to second line. I'm sorry. I got confused. There were bright lights and plane tickets and imported beer. I thought I had so much more time."

So I play this game. I'm hanging out on the couch in my stretched out t-shirt, flannel jammie bottoms, and cute new pink slippers, watching Dancing with the Stars, or something equally as meaningful. An angel appears and says, "Hark! I've come to take you away. Your life on earth is over. Come hither and followeth me to the light." And I would say, "Aw, crap! I never got to ______". Here's the game: what would I fill the blank in with? The first thing out of my mouth would be: "I never found the person who I had mutual love with. Who wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with him. I never got married. I never got to experience a committed relationship."

The problem is that I miss this person, this soul mate guy. I physically miss him. I've never met him, yet I mourn not being with him. Every day that passes is another day not spent with him. And the days will add up and up and UP, and soon I'll be shriveled and spotty and toothless, rocking on my front porch, and this shriveled, spotty, toothless guy will come shuffling up the sidewalk and I'll recognize him. I'll cackle, "Hey, it's you! Where the hell have you been?" And then I'll die. Because I'll be like 107, and the shock of my soul mate actually appearing will be too much for my heart to handle. Our total time together will be about 32.4 seconds. And he'll hover over my limp, dead self, and say "Wow, this old lady has really big hair." This. This is what my life will turn out to be.

It has to be a midlife crisis. Right? Right? What the hell is wrong with me?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

i shall name him "squiggle"

What on earth am I holding?

I've been having a really hard time lately with being single. Really, it's all I think about, almost to the point of obsession. I've been waiting my whole life for someone, and here I am and it still hasn't happened. You can only hold out hope for so many years until you begin to feel like an idiot.

Last night, driving home from
Epic Proportions at the theater, the familiar glob of deep, grinding fear, anger, loneliness, and hopelessness began rising up. It was not good. I had a confusing, busy week at work, filled with all sorts of office politics, bickering, and general wierdness. I had some theater-related issues on my mind that I needed to vent about. I wanted someone at home waiting for me. I wanted to put on my pajamas, sit on the couch with him, and talk it all out. I wanted this more than anything.

When I got home, it was dark, it was chilly, and if it wasn't for Sophie's nails on the wood floor and the distant thumps of the cats jumping off the bed to greet me, there would have been absolutely no sound. I turned on all the lights, put on my pajamas, opened a beer, and then just let it hit. The wallowing, the self-pitying, the anger, the horrible ache of emptiness that can't be filled and may never be filled.

Around midnight, I realized I had never gotten the mail that day. I checked the mailbox and it was empty, but as I was closing the door, I saw a box wrapped in brown paper on the porch. A package! It's always a good mail day when you get a package.
I saw it was from Laura in NJ. An unexpected friend gift!

I needed this so much at that moment that I took my time unwrapping, trying to make the anticipation last. I finally broke the tape on both sides of the box, lifted the cover, and was greeted with this:

Opened package (re-enactment).

I pulled it out, this green fuzzy thing with black eyes . . . and realized it was:

Yes, my very own stuffed Lyme bacteria, borrelia burgdorferi!! (Click here to read more).

Bb is a spirochete (pronounced "spiro-keet", like "parakeet"), a corkscrew-shaped bacteria which is able to screw itself deep into your muscle tissue or to roll itself in a ball and hide. That's what makes them so hard to kill. They are very mobile, able to spin and squiggle their way throughout your body.

Showing the corkscrew shape.

I burst into laughter. I laughed and laughed, read the label, read Laura's note, and laughed more. I mean, really, FAO Schwartz is carrying stuffed Lyme bacteria? And the bacteria HAS EYES?! I don't think this is going to top kids' Christmas wish lists this year, but it's one of the best gifts I've ever received. And it came at just the right time. Because far away in Manhattan, in a toy store, Laura had been thinking of me.

You just don't get bacteria in the mail every day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Really, all day long I've just felt I could cry at any second. I'm not sure why. Just that wierd, melancholy, edge of tears wobbly feeling.

I did the only thing a girl can do: I bought myself some presents at Target.

These cute pink slippers:
And this movie, which I watched immediately when I got home. It was GREAT!
Oh, and Charlotte Martin's Reproductions album came out today on iTunes. All the tracks are remakes of other people's songs. It includes two of my all-time favorites: Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order, and Just Like Heaven by The Cure. I'm still making my way through the album . . . and loving it so far!
So all in all, a day full of small things that make life fun, even when you just feel like curling up in a blanket and staring out the window at the rainy snow and wind. Which actually doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Friday, November 2, 2007

epic evening

The 20 X 30" marquee I made for the show (click for a larger view).

It's opening night!

My flurry of taking photos, printing them, making the marquee, designing the program, making magnets, stargrams, signs, painting the set, helping make props, and general problem solving is almost done! At 8:00 tonight I can kick back, open a beer, and watch the curtain go up.

Here's the play synopsis: "Set in the 1930’s, two brothers Benny and Phil go to the Arizona desert to be extras in the huge Biblical epic Exeunt Omnes. Things move very quickly and before you know it, Phil is directing the movie, and Benny is starring in it. To complicate matters further, they both fall in love with Louise, the assistant director in charge of the extras. Along the way there are gladiator battles, the Ten Plagues, and a cast of thousands portrayed by four actors."

It's a really funny show with a great cast. See you there!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

halloween reflections

An unsettling sculpture in a restaurant, oddly resembling Jim.

Overall, I had so much fun handing out candy last night. 99% of the kids and parents were happy, friendly, polite, and grateful. And I had close to 300 kids again. But then there are the few who, well, make a really good story.

I had SO MANY parents show up with bags and "kids in the car" stories this year. Is that the new trend?

My kid hurt his leg.
My kid is tired.

My kid is cold.

My kid is too shy.

My kid is is being punished.

My kid is an idiot.

The parents got just one piece of small candy. Next year I feel like putting up a big sign "MUST BE PRESENT TO RECEIVE CANDY." Or, I'll demand to be taken to the car, where I can give the candy to the injured / depressed / socially inept child myself.

Then I had a 15-ish year old girl who had a bag AND a backpack, AND was on her cell phone the whole time. When I didn't notice her open backpack, she turned around and pointed to it impatiently, still talking. If you're old enough to own a cell phone and call boys, you're too old to be begging for candy.

And BABIES with bags. One kid was maybe 6 months old and completely asleep, and the parents had a bag. You're telling me that this tiny toothless being is going to rip through licorice and Kit Kats when he wakes up? I think not.

Oh, and a few kids would reach in, take out the candy, examine it as if pondering whether to keep it, and then drop it back in. One kid asked for an exchange.

An exchange.

Like he's shopping at Target.

He's going to grow up to be someone's boss, I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

halloween traditions

Ready to carve the pumpkin:
Traditional pumpkin sniffing. This must be done immediately after you cut the top off the pumpkin. Stick your face into the hole and inhale the joyous pumpkin goodness:
Repeat.You can't tell from the photo, but this is a bushel of candy. Yes, I get that many trick or treaters! One year I got almost 300 kids.
The pumpkins are lit:
My house, ready for visitors:
Cerenna the duck, with Kristie:
Sophie the chicken, unhappy:
A child wearing a very convincing "Jim" costume, who ate a suspicious amount of Butterfingers and smoked a cigarette.
Pumpkin seeds, warm from the oven. Made with butter, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and salt.And there, you've just joined me on my Halloween evening. And now I'm off to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. Because it's tradition.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

rainy october saturday

Birdbath in my garden.

Mini pumpkins I grew myself, sitting on my sundial.

I LOVE rainy, windy Saturdays in autumn. This morning I went to the theater to finish up painting the Epic Proportions set. The rain blew in spatters against the windows as we painted and outside the leaves were swirling against the gray sky. It was perfect painting weather, tucked away warm and creative in the church fellowship hall, music playing, and chatting with other members. Did I mention that this is our temporary theater home? We're renting out the fellowship hall until we find a theater to call our own. The church members have been so welcoming.

Leaves in my driveway.

Leaves all over my yard!

I went out to lunch with Jim and ate Chinese food, and here I am back at home, relishing one of those rare wonderful weekend evenings at home with nowhere to go. I'm planning on taking a short nap, cooking dinner, watching a movie on the couch, taking a jacuzzi bath, and maybe having a beer or two. Or three. Wearing my softest, least-flattering sweatpants. Hanging out, reading blogs, snuggling with Sophie and the cats.

I've been needing this so much!

Monday, October 22, 2007

life is whirling

Kendall, age 1.

Annabel, age 4.

Cerenna, at her 1st birthday party.

Sophie, shaved down to 1/8".

I'm so far behind with blogging, I don't even know where to begin. So much has happened. Maybe bullet points will suffice.
  • I went to Washington, D.C. on business, then visited Laura in New Jersey.
  • I went to Cerenna's 1st birthday party at Java Jungle.
  • I saw my friends in the play "Steel Magnolias" at Hawthorne Valley.
  • I had a blind date in a group setting. Didn't go so well, but at least I'm out there. I guess.
  • I've been working feverishly on the set for Epic Proportions, painting camels and pyramid backdrops.
  • I hurt my back lifting a fake wooden palm tree down from someone's garage rafters. Don't ask.
  • Sophie got shaved at the groomer's.
  • I almost went up in a hot air balloon, but it got canceled due to wind. We're trying again this Sunday.
  • I saw Morrissey in concert.
  • The older of my brothers (I'm the oldest) got engaged.
  • My younger of my brothers is going to be a father. It's a long story.
  • I herxed last week, the worst I have since spring. I'm better now. But it was a doozie that attacked my vision, speech, legs, heart, and breathing. Good times.
  • I absolutely love the new shows "Samantha Who?" and "Pushing Daisies". And of course, "Grey's Anatomy" does not disappoint.
O.K., now you're up to date! I'm going to bed.

Monday, October 8, 2007

up all night

So worth it to be out late on a Monday night!
(Click photos for larger views).