Checkers, Normandy, Black Coffee

I don’t have trouble with words. And I don’t have trouble putting words into sentences. Sometimes the words just come all at once. Which is what happens when something super emotional happens. Like my grandfather dying. So here we go.

My Grandpa was a war hero. He was a recipient of the distinguished flying cross. He was part of the young eagles program, and took 500 kids up in his airplane. He was a career electrician. He was married to my grandma for over 60 years. He ran 2.5 miles every morning until he was in his 90s. He loved the tv show MASH. He only drank black coffee. He was also my grandpa.

When I was little, as in so little I barely remember it, he would pick me up and take me to the fairgrounds to look at the horses. We’d walk around and look for a while, and then he’d take me home, most of the time, I’d fall asleep in the car on the way back. Walking is hard, k?

People have asked me if my Grandpa ever talked about WWII. Well no, he didn’t, unless you asked him. He was more interested in what I was doing, why I was doing it, always with this amused expression on his face, with the tagline “That’s outstanding!”.

My grandpa had the ugliest basement in the history of the world, which we fondly referred to as his “War Room”. It housed all his war memorabilia, a bomb (no really), and the most horrendous carpet of the 1980s. It was there that we celebrated birthdays, christmas, surprise puppies, and played checkers. Fun fact, I played checkers with my grandpa a lot when I was younger, until one day I beat him, and we stopped playing checkers.

I had the privilege of being with him the last time he went to France. It was an excessively generous and amazing graduation presents from my aunts and uncles (One of my uncles was working in France at the time). After meeting up with my grandpa in Paris, we went to Normandy. And let me tell you something, I have learned a lot about World War II in my history classes. Seeing the beaches of D-Day, and the airstrip my grandpa flew out of after D-Day, that was an experience. I wish I could convey to you how strange it was being in the museum on Utah Beach with my Grandpa, being treated like a VIP. To me, he’s just grandpa.

My grandpa and my grandma came to every single school event that they could. They came to all my band and choir concerts (and kept all the programs because I just found some from 2004). They came to plays, county fairs, horse shows, anything we said “Hey I’m doing a thing”, they were at that thing. My mom is a band director, and my grandpa even went to her band concerts. And even though I am not a fan of football, the rest of my family is. My grandpa had season tickets to the MSU Spartan games, and he went to as many as he could.

Today I have to bury my grandfather. It’s not going to be a fun day. But at the same time, it’s not a bad day either. He lived an amazing life. Traveled the world. Everyone in his town knew him. But not because he was a war hero, he was active in his community always. He was nice to people. He cared. He prayed.

We all think we’re going to live forever. My Grandpa, at the age of 96 (and a half), lived a well life.

Land of the free, because of people like my Grandpa.

Peace, Love, and black coffee,

-C

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In the weeks that follow

Let’s settle in for some real talk, shall we?

I feel like in the last couple of weeks, I have literally given all I have to give. It’s weird. To be at the ultimate empty. To be at negative empty. But every theatre person knows, that you aren’t done until you’re in the negatives. Then you know you’ve put on a good show.

Here’s the stupid thing about me. I helped put a high school musical together. I helped organize it, cast it, hire people, order wigs, make arrangements for whatever needed to get done, built  a six foot tall hairspray can (no really). Did I mention I don’t run the theatre department? I just kind of did it? (With permission) I also have been coaching a JV soccer team in the midst of all of this? What is a life?  Why have I done this to myself?

So my tank has been negative empty. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it was likely that I would push to hard (and I did).  And today I found myself feeling guilty. Like I should have done all of these things better. That I could have coached better, helped the show run smoother, whatever. And, knowing what I know now, I could. And next year, I will. But for now, there’s this kind of fog hanging over me as I try to find my footing again.

Speaking of feet, I get to have surgery in June, on my foot. I am 97 years old and have a bunion, and pre-arthritic joint. And I cant drive for 4-6 weeks. So. There’s that. I’m kinda nervous about it. I’ve never had surgery (except wisdom teeth). And of course one of my soccer players HAD to be like, “you could die on the table, I watch Grey’s anatomy”. Kids…

So that’s how it is. Feeling guilty, anxious, and basically on negative-empty. I’m working on it. I planted one of my gardens, which is good. I’m trying to get back to writing, but my brain doesn’t exactly want to cooperate at this time. But some of the characters have finally started speaking to me again, and that’s a good sign.

Anyways. Thanks for reading. Don’t let any Avengers spoilers slip, k?

Peace, Love, Cake,

-C

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Soccer, Hairspray, and Roller-skating Waiters

So like. Guys.

I’m tired.

And I’m not normally tired. Usually I’m good. But I’m at that weird point where the exhaustion just hits you. Physically and emotionally, I’m just about spent. I wasn’t completely sure why, but then I thought about what my week typically looks like. And it’s hard to find balance. I havent worked on any of my projects for a month. A. Month. No wonder I’ve felt off-balanced and weird.

I helped write this grant so the high school I work at could do Hairspray. And it’s just going to be a great production. And I helped put everybody together, and helped find a director, organized auditions, and I’m at rehearsals once a week. And answering questions about it. A lot of questions.

And soccer season just started. And I’m coaching a team of high school girls. And it’s great, I love soccer. I love it because it’s so different from what I normally do, that it helps my brain work out other stuff. It also keeps me very busy, and I feel like I’m home long enough to eat dinner, work out, and go to bed. And do it all over again. I leave my house at 6:30 in the morning, and get back, if I’m lucky, and 5:30pm. Unless I have to get groceries. Or if I have to coach later. Or if we have a game. Sheesh.

I’m struggling to find a balance. I think part of my issue (and there is a list of them), is that it’s still really friggin cold in Michigan. We’re into second winter instead of spring, and I’m not down with it. So someone please find the on switch for the sun, k?

Did I mention I also have a “real” job? Where I do paperwork and answer phones. But also act as a mentor, candy-dealer, bandaid supplier, confidant, and cheerleader. All these hats are clashing with my outfits.

I feel like a waiter at one of those pifty-poofty restaurants, with all the people demanding their food, but the other waiters have called in sick, so it’s only me, so I have to put on roller skates to try and serve everyone. But I keep falling on my butt, there’s spinach in my teeth, and someone just knocked over a bottle of scotch. And also there’s someone narrating my failure up on a stage, slam poetry style. Probably Ryan Reynolds. Maybe Melissa McCarthy.

There are a lot of people who say they’re tired. And I really that it’s a really <expletive> part of American culture. IF YOU AREN’T TIRED YOU AREN’T LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE.

Why are we so tired?

Why do we put up with being so <expletive> tired?

I like working hard. I love being busy. If I’m not busy, I get into trouble and spend too much money on Amazon. But, I’m busy on my own terms. I don’t have to do all these extracurriculars, but I do. I work hard. And when someone who doesn’t work as hard as me tells me that they’re tired, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for them. (But that’s me being judgemental, and I’m working on that)

One thing that Mr and I have been working on this year, is spending less time in front of the TV. We have one night a week where we dont turn on the TV. Because it’s a distraction. Keeping us from getting projects done,  and preventing us from connecting with each other. There are too many times where we’re just sitting in front of the TV. Watching nothing. It’s just on, playing a TV show we’ve already seen all of.

I personally have taken a step back from social media, especially Facebook. What used to be fun, just stresses me out now. Everyone’s an expert on everything (you’re not btw. So stop posting those memes as facts). I’ve felt better about myself, and had less anxiety in my hiatus.

I’m going to just let myself be tired for a day or two. The weekend is near, and I have a lot to do, but I can get it done. And I can also make time for myself, and stick to it.Whether it’s going out for breakfast, painting something weird, or playing fetch with the pack. Maybe I’ll make a pie. I shouldn’t ever feel bad about making time for me. You shouldn’t either.  

Peace, Love, & Spring Break Dreams,

-C

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We’re Back Pitches: The Importance of the Squad

 

I just got back from watching Pitch Perfect 3, the latest and last installment of the series. While being pleasantly surprised, and laughing at all the inappropriate jokes, I enjoyed the movie. It reminded me of how important it is for girls to have a group. Not a clique, not a team, just the group. Or as the T-Swift calls it, squad. 

And I’m not the first person to consider this. Any TV show that has a group of girls really has the same categories. In The New Female Archtype, writes that they generally fall into the same four, the leader, the sarcastic second, the flirt, and the innocent. Pitch Perfect has those, Aubrey the leader, Beca the sarcastic second, Fat Amy the flirt, and Chloe the innocent.

There is something refreshing about how the narrative shows the squad. Not just how they work together, but how different they are, and still work together. My group is the same way, with one friend doubling up on the role of leader and flirt. I fall into the sarcastic second category, with a hefty side of leader if I have to be. My other friend follows up as the innocent/voice of reason/village elder.  

Women need other women. We’re fundamentally wired to be social, even if we’re introverts. Or introverted extroverts. Women need the other women to encourage them, keep them grounded, and tell them how good their butt looks in those pants. On a side note, I thoroughly enjoyed how Anna Kendrick was really given a chance to show off her vocal talents.

I am blessed enough to have a squad. A solid one. Squads come in different shapes. I have the ancient one, with my two bffs, and then another with my work bffs. And then even another with my family members.

It’s also important to note that I get along better with boys than girls. I’m not the most athletic person in the world, but my incredibly dry sense of humor makes up for it. I tend to be one of the boys, fitting in comfortably with them as I usually don’t have to be so competitive. As the sarcastic second, competition between girls bores me to no end;

I like the girls that realise and embrace the fact that we are literally all in this together. There comes a point when you realize that the light those other girls try to shine on themselves is just a reflection of the sun. The women who support you best are the ones that are comfortable generating their own light. The best women aren’t afraid to lend some to you when you need it. Sometimes we have to take more than we should, it’s ok as long as you give it back.

Even though I haven’t spent a lot of time on this earth, I’ve learned my fair share of how detrimental it is when a member of your squad turns their back on you. What I have really discovered from that is those people weren’t actually your squad anyways.  They were imitations of light. Reflectors, not creators.  

Don’t be a reflector, unless you’re doing it on purpose.

Be incandescent.

New Year, New Pages,

-C

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The other side of the curtain

This last weekend I had the unique and fun experience of directing a bunch of high school students in The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon. This is the first time that I’ve directed a show like this, and the first time I spent all my time in the director’s chair, and not on stage.

Everyone who has ever met me knows that I can be on the bossy side (sorry, you’re just not doing it right). However I really thrive in the role of sarcastic second (I’m just a bossy one). Taking on the director role was something I’ve always wanted to do, and was very happy to do it. From a performer standpoint, it’s very weird. But not a bad weird. I loved pretty much everything about directing. Although I pretty much love everything about theater anyways. What surprised me the most about this experience was that I rarely second guessed my decisions. Which is something I do all the time in my regular life. Like, every day.

I’ve worked hours and hours with these kids. Warm-ups, blocking, all the scenes, changing scenes, running all the lines over and over. I’ve seen an amazing amount of growth in their performances. I love watching that. I’ve watched them struggle, from being terrified on stage, and only working in corners, to running all over the stage. I’ve seen them get frustrated with me, and then hug me (maybe they were trying to strangle me, but I’m optimistic).

It’s the performance that is the most interesting. I warm them up, I cue the stage manager, and boom, the show goes, and I just watch. I cringed when they stumbled over lines that they breezed through in rehearsal, but laugh at their jokes even though I’ve heard them 800 times.

I work at a low-income, high-trauma school. I’m there 40+ hours a week with this show. I work as a secretary at this school, and I can safely say that every day is different. People who work a regular  9-5 in whatever industry have no idea. I see fights, kids on drugs, kids smelling like drugs, hungry kids, sad kids, broken kids. But I also see happy kids. I see joyful kids. Even so, some days the bad outweighs the good.

We’re on the edge of Christmas break, and everyone here is exhausted, physically and emotionally. Because a school of 1700 kids who have trauma, wears on you in a way that isn’t really describable. Some days the kids are alright. Other days you let a student sit in your office for an hour because she misses her mom and that’s all you can do.

Even with all the bad that happens, they teach me to be more human. They remind me that at our core, we just want to be safe. They show me that no matter what dumpster fire is going on outside, there is hope for the future. Sometimes that future is late to class, and needs a granola bar because they missed breakfast.

That’s ok though, I’ve got granola bars in my top drawer. Take what you need, no, I’m not writing you a pass.

The Show must go on,

-C

 

 

 

 

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Story time: Fine

(My BFF gave me a writing prompt, here’s what came from it)

Prompt: You  live in a world where each lie creates a bigger scar on the liar’s body. The bigger the lie, the deeper the mark. One day, you meet someone with the biggest scar you’ve ever seen.

He had met a lot of women in his time. A lot of women. He was at a gala event with yet another woman. She was beautiful, to be sure, she loved dancing, galas, and long dresses. He liked her, he enjoyed spending time with her. But she was still only beautiful.  A plethora of women readily made themselves available to him. Being a billionaire philanthropist was not without its perks. He didn’t ask for any special treatment, but it seemed to always be given to him.

A woman walked in. She had red hair, and a blue, backless, satin gown, a red ruby hung from her throat. As she got closer, she would walk right past him, and he would see it; a scar that started at the top of her shoulder, and extended diagonally across her back, all the way to her hip. It was as jagged as a lightning bolt, and five inches wide at its thickest. He realized as she got closer, that he was gaping at her, and his date may have noticed. He then realized that he wasn’t the only one openly staring at her scar. Most people had small scars, from little white lies we told as children. Criminals had bigger scars, politicians had even more.

But a gorgeous woman like that, at a gala like this… He needed to know her. His date was an old friend. She’d understand, right?

She was at the bar, and he approached. She was showing off that scar, like she was proud of it. He lost his nerve, and backed off. An announcement told him that the art exhibit was now open for the attendees to go through.

“Do you know who that is?” His date asked him

“Who what is?”

“The woman you’ve been ogling at for the past twenty minutes:

“Oh. I-”

“Oh stop it Red,” She said to him.

“Who is she?” He asked

“That is Margaret Farns”

“I dont know who that is”

“Well, clearly” Alice said to him.

Red noticed that MArgaret’s scar looked a little fresh on her shoulder. She must have repeated the lie recently  

“Margaret Farns is not only a twenty-time national best selling author, but her philanthropic work outranks yours tenfold.”

“Oh?” Red replied

“Yes” Alice said, taking his arm, “Would you like me to introduce you?”

“Y-you know her?”

Alice stared at him “Reddington, I’m her editor”

“Yes”

Alice introduced them, and Red managed to keep himself from stuttering in front of her. As Red and Margaret talked, Alice discreetly excused herself.  Red had no idea he had accidentally dated the best wing woman around.

Everyone greeted Margaret. Reddington could barely get a word in without someone saying “Good Evening Margaret, how are you?”

And each time, she would reply

“I’m fine”

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When Prayer is not Enough

I’m not here to argue with you. And I’m not here to change your mind. Well, maybe I am.

I can’t even begin to express my disgust over the massacre in Las Vegas. I can’t even.

I believe in the power of prayer. I absolutely do. I think you should pray, and often. Also, you should take action. Often.

God doesn’t usually call for people to sit around and do nothing in the wake of violence and tragedy. Yes pray. But also, do things. Maybe you’ll have to do something scary, maybe you won’t. But the church has been silent for too long. It’s time to start acting.

This violence should disgust you.

59 people will never go home to their families.

Because of one man.

King Xerxes was going to kill all of the Jews in his empire. He was so going to do it, because of one man who hated them. Esther, the Queen, and also a Jew, risked her life to save them. One man tried to destroy a people. One woman stopped him.

“But someone will say ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” James 2:18

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it” Ezra 10:4

Prayer without action? I don’t think that’s a thing.

Christians are called to action.

We aren’t called to just pray and see what happens. IF the church is the body of Christ, then what is it doing?

It should be reaching for the phone.  To call a representative. To call for action regarding weapons legislation, because it clearly isn’t working, and a revamp of how we treat mental health in this country. It should be giving blood. It should be offering counsel to the victims. It should say we don’t want to only pray for you, how can we help you right now? Do you need someone to do your laundry? How about dinner, we’ll bring you some. Need some wine? It’s ok, Jesus drank it too. To be a Christian, to be like Christ, is to act. Jesus didn’t pray all the time. He acted. He preached. He helped people.

I’ve seen more social media posts OURAGED over some football players kneeling during the national anthem, than I have people outraged about 59 people MURDERED.

Americans are being murdered in their own backyard.

Where is your patriotism now?

Keep praying. Start acting.

WWJD? Well, he probably wouldn’t be sitting on his couch watching Netflix when there are people who need him.

Till next time,

Peace, Love,

-C

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