Thursday, November 17

I'm a crafty vegetarian!

Life is moving fast. Today is the due date for my baby nephew Isaac... COME ON ISAAC! I've been preparing people at work for my absence over the past two weeks but he's still not here!! It's okay, though. We're glad he's going to be completely ready for this world before he gets here. And I have the best job (and boss) in the world so whenever Isaac decides to grace us with his presence, I will be there.

Tomorrow I start work at the mall as one of Santa's Helpers! SO excited to work there again this year. As I stated in this very blog just last year, my family didn't do the Santa thing when we were kids. In fact, last year was the first time I'd ever even had my picture taken with him. Maybe I'll get to work there next year and there will be a little one-year-old that can get his first Santa picture from Aunt Meme :)

I'm also happy to report that I have a new craft project. I seem to go through different phases. I've done ornaments (that one didn't last long), I did canvases, and now I'm on to fabric flowers. I love wearing clips in my hair so when I learned how to make them at First Baptist's Crafts and Conversations, I was hooked. Now I have 12 home-made rosettes and I plant to make more and more! Let me know if you'd like one because I would LOVE to make one just for YOU!!

Biggest news of the past three months (since there's no baby to brag about yet) - I no longer eat meat. On this Monday (the day my nephew will most definitely be here), it will have been three full months since I had a single bite of meat. Well, except for one time at Gymboree that someone gave me a chicken finger and I ate a little before I remembered that I didn't eat that anymore... It's been pretty awesome. I haven't had any cravings and, now I know this is silly of me, but I went to the pumpkin patch with my family, they had a petting zoo. It was truly lovely to love on those little animals and know that I no longer consume anyone in their family. Of course Rush is still very much a carnivore but so far that hasn't even been much of a struggle.

Alright. So mostly I can't stop thinking about this silly little boy who only my sister really knows right now. I'm so ready to meet little Isaac that I don't have much else to talk about. I know an even bigger piece of my heart will soon reside in my hometown and I'll have to visit even more often. But I'm happy with the crafty, vegetarian, awesome kid-friendly job-filled life that Rushy and I are setting up here.

Monday, August 15

On the Bright Side

You know how when you say a word over and over and over, it eventually loses all meaning? Such is the way I feel about Hairspray. Not the show itself or anything about my experience, just the word. Today at work, one of the kids randomly started talking about the movie musical version and it took me a couple minutes to comprehend what was coming out of his mouth.

I’ve been meaning to write a final Hairspray blog for the past week, but I don’t even know what to say. How does one describe the most positive, successful, meaningful experience of their career? Not to mention, I’ve been rather heart-broken by the absence of my time on the stage, the dear friends I made, and oddly enough, Tracy herself. I’ve got to get it out now because Rushy gave me until today to be an emotional mess. Of course he’s been an absolute saint to me during what he deemed Emily’s Breakdown Week. Worry not – it only took a couple days.

The end of the show was such an interesting roller coaster. Throughout our final performance, and even in the hours following, all I felt was relief. I can’t tell you how many times I came dangerously close to giving up. More often than not, I legitimately believed there was no way I could make it through the entire process. I had an absolute blast and everyone was so supportive but let me be honest here. That show was hard. I was exhausted and constantly in terror of losing my voice or butchering the words beyond recognition (as many of you know I am apt to do) or just not having enough energy to make it all the way through act one.

We made it, though, and it was so rewarding that by the time I left our final cast party that Sunday evening, I could barely hold it together as my husband walked me to the car. Ultimate meltdown. I instantly missed everything and everyone involved with Hairspray. That was when Rush transformed into Superman (as if he weren’t that already) and declared that I had a full 7 days to wallow. Fortunately for everyone involved, it didn't last nearly that long. Perspective.

At work, I danced and sang and played with the kids with every bit of my being for the first time in months. At karaoke, I sang with abandon and stayed up much too late. When my body was tired the next morning, I knew the most significant thing I had to do was clap my hands and sing about the bubbles in the air. And, best of all, I ate a nice, leisurely dinner with my husband every single night. So, as much as I long for Tracy every now and then, and miss the sweet friends that I made, I know that the next thing is just around the corner. Until then, I will enjoy my state of peaceful relaxation.

Oh, and I got a tattoo. On my foot. It’s awesome.

Sunday, July 3

Living on the Stage

No posts in the month of June. I am positively ashamed of myself. Bad blogger, bad! I feel like I approach this the same way I clean my room. The longer I wait, the harder it gets, the more effort it seems it will take, and eventually I decide it's just been so long I might as well not bother. But, eventually, you gotta clean your room. And I gotta blog.

I thought I was busy with Tracy training and appearances, and I suppose I was, but it does not compare to what the past two weeks have held. We started rehearsals and I just have to say: what an absolutely, mind-blowing cast and crew we have! They work so hard and so fast and it is a truly beautiful, creative experience. Everyone in that room is so stinking talented that I sometimes feel like the fat kid that got picked to play on their team because nobody else was left.

It has been a blast and I cannot (let me repeat that) CANNOT believe we open in a week and a half. I keep thinking that it's almost over and that I'll miss this family that I've barely even gotten to known. Then I remember that we still get to run the show for a month! I want to do it forever. With this group of crazy supportive people. Please come see us. I know not everyone will be able to swing it, but I really hope you try. You'll be missing something amazing if you don't.

Of course I know all good things must come to an end, which is why I'm trying to find time to attend some auditions and keep up the momentum of being in the theatre again. That's right, I said auditions. I was behind the scenes in most of the shows I did in school and nothing fills my life with joy quite like piecing a production together and watching it come to life. I think somewhere along the way I forgot just how thrilling it is to be on the stage. I think I'd like to live there for a while and see where it takes me next.

Sunday, May 29

A Year Ago Today

A lot has changed. In our lives, in the lives of our family and friends, and in the lives of our communities. A little over a month ago, our state was ravaged by the worst storms it's seen in my lifetime. From my friend's damaged house to my sister's infertility, so many people around us experienced personal tragedies. While I desperately searched for employment, Rush and I spent 2 months of our marriage as a one-income family.

These hardships help to sweeten all the glorious moments we've experienced this year. Just this weekend, we celebrated my cousin Molly's graduation from high school. Katie and Noah are 25 weeks away from holding their first child. My parents were able to move to a new, cute house just a couple blocks away from my sister. On Valentine's Day I had the immense pleasure of announcing that 4 months of auditioning had paid off - I'm now just a couple short months from bringing Tracy to life in RMTC's Hairspray! We brought in 2011 with Blake and Scotty's beautiful wedding. Since October, I have worked 5 jobs and enjoyed every single one of them while Rush has been blessed with more security at his own. After the best 4 days of my life at the most magical place on earth, Rush and I moved into our first home and adopted our two babies, Schnitzel and Luna Lovegood.

In a year of so much change, we loved using today to remember things that stay the same. One year ago...

I ate lunch at Surin with my family while Rush watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with his friends.  Today Rush and I ate dinner at Surin together and put on How I Met Your Mother when we got to our home.

Rush and I enjoyed the entire day being with family and friends. Today we spent the entire day on our own, enjoying each other's company.

My family and I drove all over Birmingham to find the correct Publix and Krispy Kreme to pick up our wedding "cakes". Today Rush and I bought 2 cupcakes and 2 doughnuts just for us.

My husband of about an hour sang Mario Kart Love Song with me in front of our loved ones. Today we sang the same song quietly in the car, just to see if we remembered it. We did.

Rush and I had our ceremony at the Botanical Gardens and our reception at Park Lane - 2 places that hold a special place in our hearts. Today we went to the McWane Center, which is where we went on September 27th 2007 - the anniversary of our first year as a couple.

Rush and I stopped at Sonic on our way home after a long night of dancing, talking, and laughing with our wonderful guests. Today we shared a drink from Sonic as we started our special day.

I married my best friend. Today he reminded me how lucky I am.

Saturday, May 21

Blue Hair of Expression

I love to dye my hair. I love it so much, it could possibly be called a hobby of mine. My hair has, at one point or another, been pretty much every color under the sun. And I'm not just talking about the colors that are found on natural heads of hair, much to my mother's chagrin. Hair is the ultimate accessory and I feel so lucky to have a type which holds up to color extremely well. From bleaching, to putting pink and purple side by side, to dying it as dark as it can be, my hair has continually helped me express a little piece of myself.

Lavender - my personal favorite

Luckily, through the generosity of RMTC and the excellent instruction of Shad Simpson, I've had the opportunity to express myself in a much more rewarding way. NS Dance is a beautiful building full of beautiful people who create beautiful art. It has been so exciting to get to know the high school girls in my musical theatre class and I hope our paths cross again and again. I love being able to move and explore dancing in this comfortable setting. It is so incredible to be given the opportunity of learning from and amongst such talented human beings.

Just a wig, but oh how I'd relish this color all the time!

I can't pretend I don't miss put crazy colors in my hair ever few months, though. Way back in November, I was searching for the perfect audition song for RMTC's Hairspray. A friend of mine turned me onto a song called "Blue Hair" and I was instantly devoted. It's not too mainstream, it has that up-beat story-telling feel to it, and it is about a young girl who wants to dye her hair blue, which I would love to do (again). I told myself that if I didn't get a callback, I really would dye my hair blue. Then I decided that if I didn't make the finalists, I'd dye it blue. So then I said, still, if I don't get the part, I'm going blue... I'm quite happy that my hair is still not blue!

Blue Hair circa 2007

Wednesday, April 20

Tracy, I'm in love with you no matter what you weigh!

One of the things I admire most about Miss Turnblad is her positive body image. I don't know about you, but I'm not always so confident about the way I look. Especially when I go shopping. Nothing can put me in a funk quite like trying on outfit after outfit and none of them fitting right. Secret confession: this is why I gave up pants. At some point in high school, I got fed up with the way pants fit my shape and I stopped wearing them. I'm happy to say I haven't owned a pair of jeans since I was a freshman in college!

Shoe shopping, however, is a completely different ballgame. Feet stay the same. No matter how much my body changed, I could always rely on my feet to be small and cute. I didn't have to buy new ones or trash old ones, never squeezed into them or had them falling off, could buy more and more and just collect as many shoes as a girl could own. Until now. Readers, you heard it here first - my feet have betrayed me. They've GROWN and I am not pleased! It's not that I have clown feet or anything. No, I now wear a size 6. Still tiny I realize, but most of my shoes no longer fit, including my wedding shoes :(

My foot next to my husband's - you can tell it's a recent picture because my toes are hanging off the front of this size 5.
The fabulous costume designer for Hairspray, Sydney Roberts, was a little dismayed this weekend when all of the shoes she brought for me were too small. She persevered, however, and I ended up in the snazziest, hot pink heels that have ever graced my traitor feet. I quite legitimately felt like a movie star at RMTC's Gala on Saturday. It was a blast and I could not have been more excited to meet all the incredible people who make that program the amazing success that it is. Not to mention, I finally got to sing with Mitch Dean who will be playing Link this summer! I think the most exhilarating part of it all was that this experience is just the tip of the iceberg for what the next few months will hold. And maybe, over the course of becoming Tracy, I'll forgive my feet.

Good Morning, Baltimore!

Monday, April 11

I'll eat some breakfast...then Change the World

Partially thanks to the wonderful world of Tracy Turnblad, I am over-hauling and completely reorganizing my life. One of the steps in my process was arranging pictures on Facebook. While I was working, I noticed something that shouldn't shock me but that I found disconcerting all the same. A year of my life is missing. I make a lot of jokes about my junior year of college and most people know a little about what happened there, but it wasn't until I was looking through old photos that it really hit me what a mess I'm capable of making.

For those of you who don't know, don't remember, or don't completely understand, I fell into a deep hole of uncertainty during my third year in college. It started some when I was a sophomore but didn't hit hard until October 2007. I still deal with the consequences of my behavior to this day. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this is one of those instances that I know for certain our Heavenly Father put dear Rushing in my heart for a reason. If not for him, I may not be here to share this with you right now. Now I know that it was BiPolar Disorder that controlled my life.

I felt like a victim everywhere I went. A dark depression caused me to spend almost every evening spiraling into a place that looked so tragic to me, I couldn't come out of it if I wanted - and I didn't want to. Of course I experienced the exhilarating mountains that can be mania, but mine often manifested itself in extreme irritation, even anger. I was positive that everyone despised me and chose to make sure they thought I hated them too. God led me to a school and department with truly loving, charitable people. I lost a lot, but I know many forgave me for much more than I could ever deserve.

This is not to say that all is better. I see these patterns in my relationships even now. Medication helps some, but honestly it's more the knowledge of what's happening and the belief that Jesus can conquer it. This is the reason for my first tattoo: a green ribbon which stands for mental health awareness. I was scared to talk to anyone and even more embarrassed by the fact that I couldn't get a grip on myself. Whether you're depressed, manic, or just confused, please ask for help. I'm lucky that all I lost was one year.

Thursday, March 31

2 Weeks Notice

I am ashamed of myself and the inadequate amount of blogging I've done lately. To be fair, when I started this thing I was unemployed but now I technically hold 4 jobs... That's about to change though - I put in my 2 weeks notice. This is the first time I've ever quit a job. There's never been an opportunity for me to because they were always seasonal and/or temporary. It made me really sad. The people who work at the YMCA are a beautiful family. They may be a little crazy and frustrating sometimes, but they love each other and accept every new person that enters those doors.

My new job is fantastic, though. I just can't wait to get started!! I'll be working at Gymboree Play and Music. This is actually the second time I've applied for this position and thankfully third time doesn't have to be the charm because they wanted me as soon as I walked in the door. I am so blessed to be allowed to work in so many different places with so many wonderful people. I hope I never grow tired of working in the arts with children because it truly is the most incredible combination. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me.

This post feels a little scattered but that doesn't surprise me. Did I mention I'm currently working 4 jobs? They all fill me with such joy that I can't even contemplate complaining (though that doesn't mean I can't admit that I'm TIRED). Oh, and by working at Play and Music, I get a discount at the Gymboree store! My little niece or nephew is going to be so spoiled... My job as Aunt Mimi will be the most important of all :D

Tuesday, March 1

In Which I Have a Love-Hate Relationship with my Spouse

Welp. We don't have a single blog post in the month of February... And let me be the first to tell you that it is ALL RUSH'S FAULT!!!! Okay, but seriously, I've been HOUNDING HIM all month to make a freaking post... Boo. I married a man who doesn't want to blog. Sigh.

Well, OBVIOUSLY some Tracy-news is in order. But I wanted Rush to do it. Hence the previous few sentences :) I truly have nothing to say other than the fact that I'm SO ANGRY at him (and by that, I actually just mean that I'm slightly irritated) and that it is now officially my birthmonth. Would that I had been born on the last day of the month so that I could celebrate an entire month!

Okay. So news. Bubby's in a show and truly it is the most fabulous show I've ever seen this company do - Theatre Downtown's Titus Andronicus is a MUST SEE!! Go. Now. Well, not RIGHT now unless it just happents to be a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday around 8pm. Otherwise, wait until the next occurrence. I, too, am in a show. But who cares, cause it doesn't start until July...

JUST KIDDING I CARE SO MUCH OH MY GOSH I AM TRACY TURNBLAD IN RMTC'S HAIRSPRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, I just had to get that out. I've yet to have a true night of CELEBRATION but honestly, that'll probably come on opening night :D

Schnitzel just ate an entire chocolate chip cookie. That's what you get, disobedient husband. That's what you get.

Thursday, January 27

The Right Path

I am so blessed. The people in my life are truly sensational. Whether I get the part or not, this audition process has been such a positive experience!! I've been encouraged and supported more than ever before, I've met so many amazing people, and I've had several enjoyable evenings of singing and dancing. Best of all, Rush and I have miraculously grown even closer. No one has ever been there for me quite like my loving husband. Only an incredible man could spend a collective 20 hours or so sitting and waiting at various auditions.

The last one was a total blast, mostly due to how fantastic the other Tracy finalists are, inside and out. We went over dances together, chatted, shared snacks, and genuinely got to know and appreciate one another - all in the span of 5 hours as we competed for a role. I personally felt like the character herself at some points. We were five big girls in a sea of tiny, flexible beauties. When it came time for our dance audition, the Tracys got the biggest (ha!) applause of all. That was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

Everyone there was so respectful of each other and I can't wait to get more involved with this community. Red Mountain and I did not get off on the right foot. Last year, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to intern with them as I tried to finish my last semester of college and plan a marriage. It was not. I was unable to complete my duties and ultimately dropped the show altogether. The company graciously gave me another chance with The Drowsy Chaperone and I've been hooked ever since. What an awesome group of people!!

I have a really pathetic confession to make. As evident by our almost-identical interviews, short, chubby girls everywhere have dreamt about playing Tracy since they first discovered the show. I'm one of those. For the past 5 years, however, my fantasy has been specifically geared towards RMTC. Ever since I saw their production of my all-time favorite show Bat Boy: The Musical, I've often thought to myself how crazy it would be if they ever decided to do Hairspray. And had open auditions for Tracy. And I got it. And I had all my friends and family come see it. And, of course, I was the best Tracy EVER ;)

So, you see, half of my vision has already become a reality. Yes, I will probably cry and wallow and generally feel dreadful if I am not cast, but I would still not trade this opportunity for anything! Never before have I felt so strongly that I am in the right place at the right time. God is directing my feet and I am following. All I can do now is pray that I keep finding the right path.

Saturday, January 22

My Bleeding Heart

I've been to a lot of job interviews in the past 6 months, and just got home from one in fact! One of the most common questions is, "What is your greatest weakness?" and I've got my answer down pat: I'm too sensitive. I always note that in certain situations, extreme sensitivity can be a good thing. For the most part, however, I am entirely too vulnerable.

I was at a friend's house last night and decided to check my e-mail. I read a message from my father-in-law detailing the final days of their dog Hercules who was 15 years old and so sweet. I had a complete melt-down in the middle of the room. I tried to just put it away and not say anything so as not to upset Rush, but it was impossible. I was already a bit fragile because we finally disposed of Douglas (our Christmas tree) and I just couldn't hold myself together. My precious husband, of course, was then comforting me over the death of his family pet. I'm pathetic and ashamed.

This occurrence is not completely unlike the multiple times that I have had to leave a restaurant because I couldn't contain myself when I saw a sad-looking person eating alone. I somehow concoct these stories in my head of unrequited romance or lost loved-ones and I cease to function as a rational human being. Given that, I'm sure you can imagine how I react when witnessing real tragedy. It's a serious problem.

So where's the good? These exaggerated responses only seem to cause additional strife for myself. And my family. And my friends. And basically anyone with whom I come in contact. I like to think it also gifts me with a capacity for empathy that others may not posses. I'm not great at listening or giving advice, but if it's compassion you're looking for, I'm your girl.

Wednesday, January 19

Cake Balls Take 2

Well, I'm sure all my avid readers (ha!) will be delighted to know that I retried my baking disaster with much more success!! They're still pretty messy, but this attempt was a vast improvement upon last time. I really don't have a lot to say... I've just felt like a neglectful blogger as of late so I wanted to throw a little update your way. We've taken down all the Christmas decorations except Douglas - he still sits proudly (albeit a little dead) by our window. We really must dispose of him :(

In other news, my family discovered "The Big Bang Theory" and it's quite a hit! We've decided that Rush, Noah, and Dad all together comprise all the nerdiness that show has to offer. My father, of course, is by far the most entertaining - he laughs at things we didn't even know was supposed to be funny and then pauses the DVD to explain it to us. Being snowed in at my parent's house twice in the past month has been very satisfying!! I love my home.

Wednesday, January 12

The Search for Tracy

If you're tired of watching me obsess over these auditions, look away now... I don't think it's possible for anyone who knows me to have missed this fact, but for posterity I want to make a formal announcement on our blog: I have been named one of the 5 finalists for Red Mountain Theatre Company's production of Hairspray! There's still voting and more auditions and who-knows-what-else left before the final decision, but I'm one step closer!! Speaking of which, if you haven't done so already, click here to vote :D

I've got to say that the whole thing was actually rather anti-climactic. I was sleeping late on Monday because neither Rush nor I had to work (not that it would have mattered if we did as we were snowed in at my parent's house). My friend Lisa sent me a text that simply said she had voted for me. Well, I couldn't think of any other situation involving myself that would require a vote, but I had to confirm. So I ran downstairs, pulled out my laptop, and started searching. Low and behold, there I was. Top of the page. "Vote for your favorite."

Today I dug a little deeper. I finally got an e-mail from RMTC congratulating us and assuring us that we will receive details soon. Out of curiosity, I googled my name and discovered that a still from my audition is the second picture. That also led me to this site (scroll down to the bottom to see a sweet comment from Nanci S. about yours truly) which apparently featured my video in December right here.

Since I found out my exciting news, quite a lot of craziness has ensued, started in part by my extremely loving sister and mother (with a little help from all of our husbands). I am positively overwhelmed by the response of other family, friends, and even people I hardly know! The support you have all shown in the past couple days has been truly beautiful and I cherish every message, comment, text, etc. that I've received.

I'll be honest and admit that I have to wonder if this voting process even matters all that much as far as casting is concerned, but I promise you this: I will walk into any audition or who-knows-what-else a stronger, more confident woman knowing that I have so many loving people standing behind me. God bless!!

Here's my full audition. I mainly post it because my daddy worked very, very hard with me on this and I think he was a little bummed that they only used 30 seconds of it :)

Tuesday, January 4

New Year's Resolution

I wrote up a Christmas Blog last week but never finished it during all the craziness that was the end of our December. Hopefully within the next few days I can properly address all the moments we experienced. For now, Happy 2011!!

I don't believe I've ever made one of these before. I agree with the sentiment that it is more practical to focus on bettering yourself all year. Inspiration has hit, however, and I think it is a worthy goal. My resolution is to make significant contact (i.e. other than texting, Facebook, etc.) with a friend once a week. I've never been good at keeping up with people over breaks but it never mattered that much, because eventually we'd all be back together again. That is not the case anymore and I don't want to fall away from the dear people that make up my past.

This is going to be a challenge. I don't like the phone and I always forget to mail things. I'm excited, though. I think my resolution will be good for me (and hopefully for my friends as well). Feel free to drop me a message or comment here if you'd like a letter or a postcard or even just a phone call. There are only 52 chances for me to think of everyone I care about!