Thursday, February 26, 2009

winter reflection

reflection in my garage window

This week in Susannah's class, we are photographing our reflections. Here I am, reflected in my garage window.

Last week we had to list our most important turning points in our lives, beginning with birth, in just 10-20 items. Yikes. It's interesting that most of my turning points are negative; is it because I learned so much from them? When I look back on them now, I'm nothing but proud for having survived it all.

  • Nov. 30th, 1969, I was born, a Sagittarius with red hair and chubby cheeks.

  • 1976 - our family moved from Midland to Auburn. I missed my friend Rosanne. Began Lutheran school. Lutheran school was horrid, awful, and evil.

  • 2nd through 8th grades were sheer horror, trauma, and grinding stress. I was bullied, picked on, and excluded. My parents told me to "ignore it and it'll go away." It didn't.

  • At age 11, my uncle began being, um, inappropriate with me. I never told. I thought he was just another bully. I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. It didn't.

  • 1983 - Graduated from 8th grade and began high school. LOVED high school. I had friends for the first time. Joined clubs. Met Beth, who is my friend until this day.

  • Age 17 - graduated from high school, a completely different person than the awkward 13 year old who first entered.

  • July 2, 1989 - finally told my family about my uncle after a final incident. My aunt, who was like my second mother, told me I was making it all up to get attention, and that I deserved everything I got. She said I was a crazy, unstable, spoiled girl who lied her way through life. My uncle admitted nothing and actually laughed like it was a joke. This is a long, painful story, so I'll stop here. This is the single most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me.

  • September, 1989 - left home and went to Western Michigan University. Spent the first year locked in my dorm room, overwhelmed with what had happened in our family.

  • February, 1991 - Had first serious boyfriend.

  • Met Laura after breakup with serious boyfriend. Had a blast that crazy summer, going out every night, dancing, watching 90210, had my own apartment.

  • Earned Bachelor of Arts. Decided to go for Master's degree. Spent two years overworked, underslept, going to school full time, working full time, and figure skating four times a week. Earned my Master of Fine Arts degree. The proudest day of my entire life.

  • My grandpa, one of my greatest influences in my life, died.

  • My nieces were born.

  • 1996 - moved to New York City with Laura and worked in the book publishing industry. Dated, went out in the city, became stronger and more independent.

  • 2000 - turned 30, moved back to Detroit area. I question that decision to this day. It was a major crossroads - did I go the right way? Expected my 30's to rock. They didn't.

  • Got a job, bought a house, got a boyfriend, became involved with community theater.

  • Contracted Lyme disease in 2004, but didn't know it was Lyme for a year and a half. Doctors thought I was crazy or had multiple sclerosis. I have never been so scared or sick. Boyfriend broke up with me. My grandma died. It was a bad year.

  • Halloween, 2005, finally diagnosed with Lyme. Began three years of soul-sucking hellacious treatment.

  • Slowly recovered, got two pomeranians, focused on my photography and general creativity, worked really hard to make sense of the past five years.

  • Got onstage for the first time and loved it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

snow dogs

Sophie, sticking her tongue out at me.

I haven't done a post about my dogs for awhile, and I'm sure you're all having horrible withdrawals. So here you go.

It's amazing how differently my furry creatures react to the snow. Sophie hates it. Hates it. Most of the time she stands there with this expression:


Sadie loves it - she'd stay out all day if she could. I'm pretty sure she has secret fantasies of being a sled dog. You know, if she weighed more than four pounds.

Here she is in action, running laps around the yard:


And smiling at me:


And pausing to catch her breath:


The entire time, Sophie was sitting on my boots and whining to go back inside. They just crack me up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

lisa unravels

eight feet

I am taking the current online Unravelling: Ways of Seeing My Self e-course from the fabulous Susannah Conway. Our first assignment was to photograph our feet in various situations, something I seem to do all the time anyway. I posted the above four: my black painted toenails on my black and white kitchen floor; my winter boots in the melting snow; my chunky Dansko shoes I wear to work; and my jacuzzi tub photo from last week.

It's been great to explore my creativity on stage (an experience that changed me in ways I can't even explain), but when I picked up my camera today, it felt so comfortable and homey. I fiddled with all the dials and knobs and switches, and couldn't have been happier. It was second nature.

Anyway, Susannah's class isn't a photography course. It's a way of re-discovering and opening yourself up through photography and writing. We've been assigned writing exercises, some of which I will share here, and some that I won't. We'll see how personal and raw things get!

I feel like the worst is over. These past few months have taught me what I believe in, what my limits in a relationship are, and what my boundaries need to be. Today I was proud to feel like myself and not some sludgey pool of despair. Which is good, because sludge is never attractive.

Thursday, February 19, 2009



I've been exhausted lately, no matter how much I sleep. I sit at work and fantasize about my bed. Don't get excited - it's boring stuff like how I will hunker down under the blankets, how comfortable my pajamas will feel, and how nice it will be to drift numbly off to dreamland.

Here are my stages of grief, explained. I waver between #2 and #4. Mostly #4 lately:
  1. Denial: (You're frickin' kidding me, right? And you're telling me this right before Christmas? This can't be happening.)
  2. Anger: (I can't believe I put up with this crap for as long as I did. I can't believe I let you play both sides. I can't believe history is repeating itself yet AGAIN. I hate how you handled this. I hate me. I hate my life. And I would like to hit something repeatedly with great vigor.)
  3. Bargaining: (Maybe if we just do this and this and this, and don't do this, and then do THIS only when this is like this, and look! I made a nifty equation: a + 2b - c (2n + 3e + 1) = things can go back the way they were.
  4. Depression: (My life sucks. I'm a loser. I make terrible decisions. Nothing will ever get better. My house is trashed, I'm eating horribly, and I don't care. I'm destined to die alone in a puddle of urine, never having loved again.)
  5. Acceptance: _______________________ (????). I'll get back to you on that one.

Today I just wanted to either kick the crap out of something, get on a plane and run away from my life, or lie on the floor of my office and scream and kick like a two year old. Instead, I decided that I would crank up my jacuzzi tub as soon as I got home. I could hardly wait. I think I would have started stripping down in the car if it would have saved time.

I soaked. And soaked. And soaked. I think I even dozed off for awhile, letting the jets pummel me all over and shake the day right out of me.

And afterward? I felt so much better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

officially obsessed

one cell in the sea
I love love LOVE this album! I've been listening to it nonstop since I downloaded it from iTunes.

a fine frenzy
She's Alison Sudol, aka A Fine Frenzy. And the hair! I want her hair.

Alison Sudol, A Fine Frenzy, Burbank, 2006., originally uploaded by Steve Appleford.

Download it from iTunes, order it here, or dash off to your local music store and buy yourself a copy.

Newly discovered albums always seem to find me when I need them most (ummm, like Charlotte Martin, during the dark days of 2004). And I needed this album. Badly. Excuse me while I go burn a CD for my car . . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

view from the sky

Besides the free dinners and nice hotels, the thing I love most about business trips to Washington, D.C., is the view from the plane. It amazes me every time.

Flying near the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool.

The national World War II Memorial (grey circle on bottom left-ish), and the Washington Monument.

Washington Monument; U.S. Capitol Building in the distance on the right.

Top of the Washington Monument, Capitol Reflecting Pool, and the U.S. Capitol building.

About to land at Reagan National Airport, with one last view of the Capitol Building.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

we're in the paper!

cast photo

Here's a really nice review from the Michigan Journal:

A Nice Family Gathering

by Anton Anderssen
Posted: 2/10/09

"You can always tell a Norwegian, but you cannot tell him much," said Thad AArdål, at the monthly meeting of the Sons of Norway, Nordkap Lodge.

Norwegians are known for their persistence, or as others might say, stubbornness. I come from a long line of Norsemen, going back over 1,000 years, and I know from family legends, a Scandinavian can be a real stitch.

Now showing at Rosedale Community Players is the comedy "A Nice Family Gathering," written by Norwegian-American Phil Olson.

Scandinavians are known for being emotionally reserved, nothing like the Italians who scream and yell and fling their arms at every opportunity. In the play, Carl Lundeen, Junior (played by the effusive Joseph Marzka) is visited by the ghost of his recently deceased father. Carl, the elder, regrets never having told his widow he loved her during their long marriage, and his soul cannot rest in peace until his message of love is made known to her. So he harasses Carl Junior to channel his spirit.

Joseph Marzka is thrilled to play the role of Carl. "I like him because he's the nicest guy in the world; he takes everything in stride. Obviously in any family there are issues of sibling rivalry among brothers and sisters. Carl adores his mother - he's definitely a mamma's boy."

The story line is interesting due to the dichotomy of not knowing his father cared for him, feeling alienated and frustrated, when in reality it was the exact opposite.

"There are times when you get caught up in daily living, and you just don't see how much people love you - you put your horse blinders on and don't really see the world around you," said Marzka.

And on a more scandalous note, it's always intriguing to catch up on those family secrets that are usually hidden in the closet, like who's drowning in debt, who got pregnant without being married, who's driving a BMW when he should be driving a Volkswagen, who is sterile, who's having a nervous breakdown, who's going senile, who's got a stash of cash squirreled away, and who feels like committing suicide.

"The actors did such a great job, I felt like I knew them all," said Diana Pianko of Oak Park. "Their individual characters came through so well."

Michèle Stevenson, an actress with SRO Productions in Southfield, was greatly impressed by the quality of the performance. "I felt bad for Stacy because I know what it's like to be the youngest child. I was the last of six children, and I felt all my life like I had to fight just to be noticed."

Stacy (played by Lisa) delivers a hilarious presentation of the last-born, who is treated as if she were simply an afterthought.

"A Nice Family Gathering" has this type of humor in it. Some parts of it are hysterical. The characters on stage fit real people.

Carl drives a truck for Pillsbury, and dreams of being a journalist. He gets no respect - the crazy old woman next door tells him his head is too large, and carries on about his size 13 feet.

Barbara Mathers, who plays Widow Lundeen, makes demented comments exactly the way my nanny did after she developed Alzheimer's. At one point I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. It's almost as if Phil Olson and I had the same old senile nanny.

Mary David, who came with over 50 of her closest friends from the Saint Andrew's Society, said she loved this play, especially the ending, which was an about-face to the zany pace of most of the play. "It suddenly turned into a bit of a tear jerker, just as you got to feel for the characters."

Ron Cunningham of Hazel Park loved Widow Lundeen. "Every time an uncomfortable situation arose, her solution was always to change the subject and ask 'Who wants pie?'" He laughed, "She's channeling Aunt Bea!"

"I love the family interaction in this play," said Claudia Scott, producer of the show. "I think the cast did a great job developing these characters. I think when the audience watches it, we can relate to the characters and the awkward family situations, and maybe find a little bit of our own family in this show."

The actors are, without doubt, superb. They won first place in ActFest, a biennial statewide theatre competition, for the past two championships.

A great part about this production is the theatre setting. Instead of being squeezed into a tiny seat, packed like sardines in rows, Rosedale Community Players offers cabaret seating. Instead, viewers sit at a large table, with a comfortable, padded chair, and soft candlelight. It would be a nice night out for a Valentine's treat. What makes this theatre unique is they allow you to bring a picnic to enjoy while watching the show.

Scott David, president of Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit, brought in dozens of pizzas and salads and desserts for everyone to enjoy. It was really a fun way to see community theatre.

You don't need to be Norwegian to enjoy this "Nice Family Gathering" - the Scotts loved it, and so will you. For tickets and reservations, please call Margaret Bross at (313) 537 7716 or RCP (313) 532 4010. For further information, visit

© Copyright 2009 Michigan Journal

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

tired, grumpy, and stressed

tired and grumpy
Me at work, mere seconds ago.

Don't I look chipper? Today I am flying off to Arlington, VA, with my boss on business for three days. Yippee. I'd much rather stay home, get some sleep, clean my horrid house, go food shopping, and just get caught up on my life. I thought I'd have this week to do all the things that got pushed to the side in the flurry of rehearsals and never being home, but instead I've been working overtime, packing, running my dogs up to stay with my parents, and storming around in a funk. Good times.

I owe many people phone calls, e-mails, photos on CD, Rice Krispie care packages, and various other things I'll remember at some point. Please forgive my chaotic craziness and know that I have not forgotten you! Hopefully my life will fall back into some order next week.

That is all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

snapshots of the weekend

moon over my house
Moon over my house, opening night.

Our opening weekend went great! I had so much fun.

me, leaving for opening night
Leaving for the theater.

driving to the theater
Almost there.

at the theater
Arriving at the theater.

Our theater group had been in a fabulous space for over 35 years - big stage and backstage, lots of storage, decorated all quirky, bright, and fun. Two years ago we had to leave it because the ceiling was falling in - literally. The entire costume/prop room caved in from the water damage that the landlord just wouldn't fix, and other areas were constantly leaking and sagging. It was unhealthy and embarrassing, so we've been temporarily performing in a church. Next year we will have our very own place once again. Yay!

two hours before curtain
Volunteers set up the tables with candles and free popcorn.

running lines
"Carl" and "Dad" run a scene.

"mrs. enquist"
"Mrs. Enquist" looks over the list of shows the group has done since 1969.

"jerry" gets his makeup on
"Jerry" gets his eyebrows darkened.

another view of set
Side view of the stage.

trying to relax
Trying to work out last minute jitters.

flurry of activity
"Backstage" (the church's kitchen), moments before the curtain opens.

running lines
"Jill" and "Michael" doing . . . something.

props lady
Our props lady takes a break.

"mom" and "mrs. enquist"
"Mom" and "Mrs. Enquist".

me, with big "stacy" bangs!

Me ("Stacy") in the prop/paint room, in costume and makeup. I have huge rolled bangs,
two braids on each side of my head that join in the back, and big, baggy clothing.

It was fun, it was a rush, and it all went by in a blur. I tried to pretend that it was just another rehearsal, and that the only people watching were the directors and random members of the crew. But that wasn't the case; opening night we had almost 80 people in the audience, and Saturday night we were sold out at over 100. I was amazed that I wasn't nervous. Then that made me nervous, thinking that I should be nervous. I kept repeating my mantra "nothing is as scary as Lyme disease". And you know what? Nothing ever is.

Here is what the show looks like. These photos were taken during dress rehearsal.

the set
The set - the Lundeen family living room and porch.

dinner scene
The Thanksgiving dinner scene.

cast photo
The cast.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are doing a special fundraising matinee for a huge group of men wearing kilts. I wonder if any of them are single . . .

Sunday, February 1, 2009

the big reveal

I'm here! I really am! I've just been extremely busy with theater, work, and life that I'm hardly ever home. As proof, my Christmas tree was up until this morning and my laundry hasn't been done for two weeks.

Here's further proof of my existence: me at a retirement party I photographed on Thursday (work-related) with two co-workers (faces blurred so as to protect their identities). Don't I look just exhausted?


Apparently I can barely keep my eyes open.


Here's me, in a photo accidentally taken by another co-worker as I handed her my camera. Because we always spend our evenings hanging out by the men's room.


Anyway, I have BIG, EXCITING NEWS! Presenting . . .


Yes, it's official. I finally have my own photography website. Whoo-hooo! It took so much longer to put together
than I expected, and there are still things I want to tweak.

If you had photos taken by me and are clicking on the "client login" link, please know that this will be fully functional this week. I am still working out the details of pricing and Paypal, so hold tight. You'll receive a password by e-mail when it's good to go.

This website will speed up my workflow in a huge way. The biggest obstacle for me has been finding a way to post proofs for people to view in a timely manner. Now, at the same time they look at their session, they can order prints right away. Fun for everyone!


Oh, and you'll notice that I am calling my photography website "limelight" instead of "lymelight". I figured that naming my business after a dehabilitating disease was not quite the feel I wanted. But never fear! Different spelling; same lymie freshness!

So click here or on the logo above and go check it out. Let me know what you think!