Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30 - Quick Thought

Just a quick entry today to remind myself that I am blessed to belong to the family that I do. They are generous and loving and funny and brilliant and I am lucky to be counted among them. 

Love you guys. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29 - Marriage

I'm going to the wedding of a couple of my dear friends today - congratulations and best wishes, guys! - so of course, I'm thinking about marriage today. If this turns into a pity party blog post, I apologize. That is not my intention, but it may swing that way in a bit.

In general, I think I have decided that I like the idea of marriage. I like the idea of making a commitment with another person that you will always be there for one another and you will build this life together, and perhaps (though not necessarily) propagate the species together. Now, I want to be very clear on this point: I do not think that marriage is necessary for having children and I do not think that children are a necessary component of a marriage. And if you'll notice, I left any sort of number or gender qualifications out of that definition because there are those who are poly-amorous and I am a firm believer in gay marriage. One of the most beautiful marriages I know of is between two women. And I'll buy into the Chasing Amy theory that it is so rare that you might find the one person that you want to build that life with, why cut yourself off from half of the population because of what genitalia they have? I think if people want to enter into that commitment willingly, they should be able to.

I have seen lots of different kinds of marriages, too. I know people who got married because they felt they should. I know people who got married because they absolutely could not imagine life without the other person. I know people whose marriages fell apart because of infidelity or insecurity or because they got married too young. I know people whose marriages seem to get stronger every day. I know people who have been through rough spots, but pushed through on the strength of their love and commitment to each other. They make the choice every day to love one another and that, to me, is a beautiful thing. As Frank Turner said, "Love is about all the changes you make and not just three small words."

I've been proposed to, too. It was a joke, but it happened. I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had said yes. And there was a man in my life at one time who I wished would have proposed, but I know in retrospect that it would have been a disaster.

As a child of divorced parents, I find myself wanting to be careful about who I enter into relationships with and who I might marry someday. I know people who seem to bounce from one relationship to the next, one marriage to the next, and while I am sure there is more to the story than that, I don't want to be one of those people. I know how to be alone; I like being alone, so when a relationship ends, I'm always a little bit relieved that my life can get back to normal. I think I'm waiting to find that person who I enjoy being around so much that I don't want my life to go back to normal again.

But I also find myself reaching that age where if I don't find a life partner soon, the likelihood that I will be able to have my own biological children with that partner is getting slim. So there is that pressure to find someone, even if it means entering into a relationship that I know won't last just so in the short term, I have someone to raise kids with.

I don't think I could do that. I know I couldn't do that.

In a really strange way, taking the pressure of children out of a relationship makes it more romantic for me, then. Then I get to pick somebody who I truly just enjoy being with, who truly just enjoys being with me. And we get to promise to be there for each other no matter what for the rest of our lives. That's sweet to me.

One thing I do know, is that when I do find my husband, our marriage is going to be different from everyone else's. I think that is the only way a marriage can work, is if the parties involved make it work for them. And it will likely start with our actual wedding being something different that works for us. I know so many people look forward to their wedding - I did as a little girl - like making it to the wedding day is the end goal. Hollywood would have us believe that. But I think for a marriage to really work, you have to focus on what happens after the wedding day. In which case, a little ceremony in Central Park with an officiant and a photographer is plenty. We'll have our whole lives to party with our friends.

Anyway. I have to get dressed and wrap a present and get ready to go be happy for my friends who are starting the next chapter of what I hope will be an amazing life together full of love and joy and laughter. Maybe someday, I'll get to do the same for me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28 - Perception

Every day when I get home and I come in through the front door, my cat does his best to escape out onto the landing. I used to be scared of letting him do this, but as there is only one other apartment accessible from that staircase and I've met the woman who lives there (she also has cats), it doesn't bother me so much anymore. I let Owen go out and explore the landing. He doesn't even go up or down the stairs - I think he is afraid of them - he just sniffs around and then comes back in for scritches and dinner. 

I wonder if he thinks that is where I spend the whole day when I am not at home with him, and if he's sniffing around out there to find my scent and cover it with his own. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27 - Procrastination

I am a very good procrastinator. After all (to paraphrase Mark Twain), why put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow? Though sometimes, I wonder why I do it, because I am also the sort that likes to accomplish things. I love being able to cross things off of my "to-do" list. When I'm involved in some sort of long term project, like VEDA or this BED2013 thing, or YoM which started for me yesterday, I like to do my part of the project early in the day so it is completed and out of the way and I don't have to worry about it later.

So why I am so good at procrastinating when it comes to other things?

I think I may have figured it out.

The things I put off doing are the things I don't really want to do in the first place. Things I am not excited about are, perhaps obviously, the things I am not motivated to finish. If I don't care when it gets done, I'm not going to do it. But give me a deadline, and the closer I get to the deadline without going over, the more I feel a sense of accomplishment when it's actually done. It's like I need the threat of the deadline to make things exciting enough to invest my time in doing them when I don't really want to do them. Then I can be proud of finishing them, just as I am when I post my daily photo at 8:00am.

It may be sick and twisted, but it's how I work. And now that deadlines are here and I'm getting things crossed off the list, I can say it feels great to be done.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26 - YoM

First off, I want to say that in the past couple of years I have tried very hard to expect very little of this day so that when and if very little happens, it's okay. So I expected very little this morning, but have already received quite an outpouring of love so I want to say thank you for that. Thank you for remembering.

And thank you to my parents because without them, I wouldn't be here. Literally.


I don't want to do a full-on recap of the last year, or another chat about how awesome it is to be vegan now that I am eleven years into what was going to be a one year experiment. Instead I'm going to tell you about a little project that one of my friends thought up. Her birthday was Monday, and she decided to take a selfie every day for one year, starting on her birthday. I told her I would if she did, so I am. I even signed up for Instagram to capture them all and everything. And now that I have shared that link, I should probably fill out a profile so it's not just a sad looking page with one picture on it, huh?

I don't know what I'm expecting to achieve by taking a picture of myself every day. I'm also wondering if "selfie" means "full face picture" every day, or if there is room to play with that a bit. Knowing me, I'll probably play either way, as long as some part of my body is in the picture and I'm the one taking it. But we'll see. We'll see what a year of pictures of me yields. Hopefully something more than just 365 pictures.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Oh! And the hashtag I'm using on the pictures, YoM, stands for Year of Me. But it also sounds like yum, which is why we chose it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25 - Experiments in Cupcakes

I found a vegan chocolate cake recipe online many many moons ago that is probably the best chocolate cake recipe ever, vegan or not. It's light and fluffy, but still really good chocolate flavor and super easy to make. Honestly, you can go from pulling the bowl off the shelf to pulling the cake out of the oven in about 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which are baking time. Anyway. I use this recipe a lot. A LOT. My mom requests it at family gatherings. It's really yummy. I usually put a layer of blackberry jam in between the cake layers (because I'm nuts for blackberries) and my vegan buttercreme frosting on top. And it's yummy. You'll just have to take my word for it.

But then cupcakes became all the rage. So I figured, cupcakes are just small cakes, right? So I'll halve the cake recipe and get a dozen cupcakes out of it instead of a two layer cake, yes? Yes! Brilliant! This recipe also works as cupcakes! Except then there's nowhere to put the blackberry jam. You just get the vegan buttercreme frosting on top. Still yummy, but with the fruit, they'd be amazing.

So tonight, I tried putting a dollop (maybe half a dollop) of blackberry jam in each cupcake tin on top of the cake batter before baking them, hoping the cupcakes would bake around the jam and I'd get jam filled cupcakes with vegan buttercreme frosting on top. Sounds brilliant, right? I think my jam was too dense and my cupcake batter not dense enough, because the jam sank to the bottom of each cupcake. It's still there, and still ads some yummy, but a jam-bottom cupcake isn't as much fun as a jam-filled cupcake.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 - With a Little Help From My Friends

I know this may sound odd coming from me, the Queen of I Can Do This Myself Thank You Very Much, but there are some things that you just shouldn't do by yourself. As hard as it is for me to ask people for help, sometimes you have to suck it up, relinquish some small piece of control, and ask someone to help you with something. It's not the end of the world, and sometimes, it makes for a better end product.

Now, I'm not saying you should abandon your sense of self or your opinions or anything and give in to another person. We all know I'm a big fan of doing things alone - I've traveled the world alone for crying out loud. But I think it is important to know your limitations and to know when it is better to ask someone to help you.

Moving, for example. I would not recommend trying to carry a couch up and down two or three flights of stairs without assistance. I have carried a mattress down three flights of stairs, but I could really only do that because the mattress was flexible so I could navigate around the corners. I would not try a couch on my own, nor would I recommend you try it.

I think the idea of asking for help is particularly difficult for artists. In this age of everyone wanting to protect their own creative content, the thought of asking someone else for assistance or input is scary. How much of my credit will they get? How many opinions are they going to spit at me while I'm trying to create? How do I politely tell them that this is my vision, not theirs, so could they please just hold the light bounce card and keep their opinions on amber gels to themselves? Because as artists, we all also want to be liked and respected, especially within our own artistic communities. I think we're afraid that if we don't turn every act of assistance into a full-on partnership collaboration, we'll be disliked and disrespected. I don't think that is necessarily the case, but I do recognize the fear. I've had that same exact fear.

I will say this, though. There are certain projects that are made so much better through collaboration. I wrote and directed a children's musical several years ago, and it was scary to hand over choreography to someone else, and costume design to someone else, and the performance of my characters to these other people. But my actors were brilliant from start to finish. They played along with all of the exercises I threw at them, but still infused their characters with their own lives and flavors. The costume designer was brilliant, as she was able to dedicate the time and energy to making things I would not have had time to make on my own. The choreography was fun and simple and made me squeal with glee every time I watched the dance numbers. It was through this collaboration that the show became what it was - an absolute joy. And while in my mind I sometimes think of it as my show, I really know that it was our show, and I loved being able to share that experience with those people.

So I wonder, as I pick up my guitar again, should I be playing with other people, too? These other video project ideas that I have, should I get a camera operator and an editor? Because I'm sure I can do these things on my own, but I can't help but wonder how much better they would be if I had help.

Just a thought.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23 - ...And We're Off!

Principle photography for Hamlet: The Series starts today.

Holy fuck.

I have other things that I need to get done today before I show up to the set this afternoon, but all I want to do today is creative stuff. I want to play my guitar and take my time getting ready and practice my lines and just have a freaking day of Hamlet.

I'm nervous and scared and excited and humbled and I think a good cry would do me some good. Which is fortunate, because one of the things we are filming today is a soliloquy that always makes me cry when I say it, so the more I practice, the more I get to cry. Which sounds weird. But I'm freaking nervous, you guys! I'm nervous. I was originally cast in the summer of 2011, and here we are in the summer of 2013, finally getting some of this work down on film. It's been a long road already, and in many ways, it still feels like it's just starting. And before we know it, it will be over and we'll have a finished product to share with the world.

I hope I remember to stay true to me and to stay true to Hamlet and to stay in the moment and to use my words and my actions to effect my scene partner.

I get to be Hamlet today, guys.

I get to be Hamlet.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22 - Music

For a very long time, I've not been playing music. I know it is selfish and cowardly of me, but playing hurt too much.

For those of you who don't know, I had a band backing me up for a while there and I loved them. I adored them. I loved going to rehearsal every week and hanging out with them and making music. And the things they added to my songs made them so much more than I could have ever made the songs on my own. I thought we were amazing. My guitarist and my bassist decided they wanted to do other things, though, so they left the band, and while I totally understood where they were coming from and did not and do not begrudge them their feelings, I was devastated. Losing my band was the worst break-up I have ever experienced.

I do not hold any ill will toward my former band mates for wanting to do other things. I still love all of them dearly. But when I went home, or played a solo show on my acoustic guitar, all I could hear were the parts that were missing. The little guitar riffs that filled in the holes. The bass line that made it funky. The beats that made it sound like my drummer had six arms. And it hurt. It hurt that these new audience members could only hear me and my guitar; they couldn't hear the brilliant musicians I heard in my head. And I missed them. I missed having people to hang out with before my set started and once it was done. I missed having cohorts. I tried to put together version 2.0 of the band, with the same drummer and a new bassist, but we only lasted two or three shows before that iteration fell apart, too. And once again, I was crushed. Two major break-ups in the course of one calendar year was more than I could take, so for all intents and purposes, I stopped playing. I stopped seeking out gigs. I stopped writing new songs. I let the callouses on my fingers fall off and my guitar fell woefully out of tune.

In the past week or so, I found a new musician who inspires me, and I received a lovely email from a fan who likes my tunes. Just me and my guitar. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure he's never even heard most of the stuff I used to play with my band. And maybe it is because Hamlet starts filming tomorrow, so I'm in a rather raw, creative emotional state, but I picked up my guitar again this week. On three different days. And I played until I had divots in my fingertips and my throat was screaming for water. I learned to play a couple of the new musician's songs, and realized I do still remember how to play quite a few of mine (even if I stumble over lyrics now and again). And I remembered why I started to play in the first place.

I missed it. I missed making music, even if they are just sad little tunes I play on an acoustic guitar in my living room, singing so really only I can hear me. I missed the noise. I missed the vibrations. I missed the release. I missed the emotional release. I missed feeling like I was connecting to something primal and human as I sang songs of comfort and songs of pain. I missed making music for the sake of making music.

I'm not saying I'm ready to go back into a studio and start a world tour. But I may have rediscovered a long lost friend at a time when I really need her, and she's helping me feel like me again.

So thank you to the musician and the stranger for the nudge. I needed that.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21 - Break Up


I think it's time we had a talk.

I know, nobody wants to hear those words, and they mean exactly what you think they mean, but for the sake of my own sanity, I need to say them. I think I need to not see you for a while. This relationship has become painful and unfulfilling and leaves me feeling hollow and useless.

Please don't get me wrong - I did love you once. Long before the masses did. And now when my friends talk about how awesome you are, I can't help but smile to myself that I knew it first. And you are a great communicator - you are very good at letting me know what you need from me. It's right there, written down so I don't forget. What I sometimes feel, though, is that you forget there are things I need from you in order to make those things happen. I feel like my needs are not always met, so we fall into this trap of me trying to get you what you need, you telling me I've failed, me trying harder and failing more and I just end up resenting myself and resenting you. I want off of the roller coaster.

Maybe, in time, we can re-examine our relationship. Things weren't always so rough. In the beginning, my biggest complaint was your terrible taste in music - remember that? And the creepy voices you did sometimes? But I grew to love those things as I grew to love you. And I did love you. Please always know that. I think I just need some time and some space to reset and regroup. Take a step back in order to move forward.

This will not be easy. I've grown accustomed to seeing you every day. You're so colorful and the little bits of encouragement are wonderful when they come. They just don't come very often anymore. I feel it is time for me to take responsibility for my own happiness, and at this time, that doesn't include you.

Oh, Candy Crush Saga, why can't I quit you?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20 - It Touches Me Not

Please note: this is my opinion based on what little I know of the world. I'm allowed to have this opinion, just as you are allowed to have yours, and if your opinion and my opinion don't match, well, that's okay, too.

When the whole Edward Snowden NSA surveillance story broke, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I'm not an expert on any of this stuff, I don't know Edward Snowden or his life, and I'm don't work for the government. So all of a sudden this news story broke and everybody was trying to paint one side or the other as the bad guy and being woefully uninformed, I didn't know which side to take. Not that it is necessary to take sides, but it would be nice to be able to weigh in if the subject comes up at a party or something.

But I found myself...not terribly miffed by the whole thing, and then wondering if there was something wrong with me because I wasn't terribly miffed by the whole thing, so I gave it some thought (though admittedly, I've still not done much research on the subject) and the thoughts that are gelling in my head largely revolve around human nature and personal responsibility. Let me elaborate.

So the NSA has been listening in on our phone calls and reading our emails for the last six years. I'm trying to think of anything I have said on the phone or sent in an email in the last six years that I would be mortified if someone other than the recipient knew and to be honest, I'm drawing a blank. I've flirted a bit. I've sent out I don't even know how many headshots. I've ordered things from Amazon. I told a former friend that I no longer had space for her in my life. I've made new friends with whom I've shared information about myself that is also readily available elsewhere on the interwebs. I've chatted with my girl friends in New York and Texas about the goings on in our lives and what Buzzfeed articles are cracking us up at the moment. I yelled at USPS and UPS customer service employees who were not at all helpful. I can't really think of anything super incriminating that if someone else happened to know about it, I'd be mortified or publicly humiliated or personally destroyed. It's like Hamlet tells Claudius, "...your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us not..." Meaning if we have nothing to hide, what difference does it make if it becomes unhidden?

And the extension of that brings us around to human nature. That inherent belief that everything we say and do is of the utmost importance to everyone else, coupled with the complete disregard for the fact that everyone else is busy thinking everything they do is of the utmost importance to everyone else. In simpler terms, it's not all about you. Most people really aren't interested in what you have to say. It's like couples with kids finding that they're losing touch with their friends who don't have kids because secretly, the friends who don't have kids get tired of getting together to find that the soul topic of discussion on the table anymore is the children. You think your kids are fascinating; other people don't. (Usually. I actually like hearing about other people's kids because it is a life I don't know but I might have to portray on stage someday, so having something to draw from is cool. But I think it's safe to say I'm the exception that proves the rule, not the rule.)

So let's extend that to the NSA. Let's pretend that hypothetically, there is one NSA employee assigned to read every single email you send and listen to every single phone call you make and that is all that one employee does. After six years of phone calls to your mom to talk about birthday plans for your sister, and emails to your husband reminding him to pick up paper towels on the way home, and the occasional bit of "juicy gossip" you share with your best friend who is having way more sex than you, this NSA employee is going to become dreadfully bored with your life. He doesn't know you. He doesn't know the people you're talking about. He doesn't care about your sister's birthday, your friend's affairs, or your paper towel consumption needs. And for the love of all things holy, he's tired of pictures of your sleeping cat! He went through boatloads of training to get what he thought was a top notch job at this huge fancy security agency and he's tasked with reading your dentist appointment scheduling emails? Chances are, if you ever met this guy on the street, he wouldn't even recognize you or remember that you have a pedicure on Thursday at six. He's trained to look for certain key words, certain phrases that raise red flags, and unless he sees those things, I'm betting he has basically tuned out by now and just keeps reading and listening because somebody is paying him to do it.

Now, I know this isn't actually the case because the NSA doesn't have enough employees to assign one individual to each American citizen. So they likely have computers set up tracking all of this information. You know what? The computers probably care even less than the hypothetical employee did that your brother was a dick for not inviting you to his Friday night poker game. The computers are programmed to scan for certain words and phrases that raise red flags, at which point a live human being might start paying attention. Otherwise, the communication is likely stored on some massive server somewhere that looks like the digital equivalent of where the Ark of the Covenant is stored at the end of Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. How is this so much worse than using a free online email system like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, that also stores all of your communications on some large server somewhere that you'd totally flip your shit if it was all suddenly not there? You know what? Now the NSA has a backup of the receipt you got from the wedding cake place so you can prove they overcharged you since they only put in one layer of filling instead of two.

Okay, okay, I get it, it's an invasion of personal privacy to have someone or something (a computer) you don't know and didn't give access to scanning all of your communications. Thing is, if you have nothing to hide, they probably don't care about you and aren't paying that close attention. They're likely focused in on those people who are planning things like the Boston Marathon bombing so they can try to prevent those things from happening. We're all perfectly happy to take off our shoes, jackets and belts when passing through airport security on the off chance someone might be trying to sneak something on a plane. I guess I just don't see how this is so much worse than that. Maybe I've become complacent. Maybe I don't have enough scandal in my life. Maybe I've learned to pick my battles.

And yes, it is possible that there is an NSA employee somewhere out there who built up a collection of the nude pictures you sent to your girlfriend or boyfriend and he's enjoying them in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Personally, I learned a LONG time ago that if there is something you don't want a stranger to see, don't put it on the interweb, don't email it, and don't text it to someone else. Once it's digital, it's hard to get erase, and you never know where someone else might post it.

Which then brings me to Edward Snowden. I don't know him. I don't know his life. I know very little about his background. But I will say this - it strikes me as somewhat cowardly to flee the country before becoming a whistleblower and to then seek political asylum in another country for making a conscious choice to do something you know is illegal, after working for a company involved in practices with which you did not agree for many many years. If he was so strongly opposed to the surveillance, why didn't he quit when it was instituted and make his public announcement then? Why did he wait so long to say something? It strikes me as a power play and a cry for attention. And to be perfectly honest, I would respect him more if he was willing to accept the consequences of his actions as opposed to fleeing and seeking asylum. Because as much as he thinks he's helping Joe Q. Public, he has now alerted any potential terrorist cells within the United States that the government is on to them so they can find other non-digital forms of communication (carrier pigeon, maybe?).

I don't know. Like I said, I don't know the whole story. I don't know the NSA's reasoning for instituting surveillance other than to liken it to taking our shoes off at the airport. I don't know Snowden's motivations for collecting a paycheck (likely a cushy one) from a company he despised for years knowing he would sabotage them later. I don't know the circumstances of his life. I don't know what kinds of emails and phone calls other people are participating in that would be so detrimental to their person/reputation/relationships if overheard by a complete stranger. I don't know if I should be miffed. I don't know if I should think of Snowden as a hero or a villain. I don't know if I should think of the NSA as being helpful or intrusive and underhanded. I don't know. But I do think the NSA likely doesn't care about what online newsletters I subscribe to or have unsubscribed from in the last six years. As one with a free soul (at least one I consider free), this touches me not.

Is that wrong?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19 - Thoughts from a Bus

I would like to propose a revision to the rules of Scrabble or Words with Friends. That being, if you play a word that is not a word but can provide a definition for that word within 60 seconds that makes your opponent belly laugh, the word is valid. I was very close to being able to play "Trogdor" this morning (which technically requires no definition), and was very disappointed to learn that neither the past conjunctive or thwarted  by methane versions of "flirt" were acceptable words, those being "flort" and "flart," respectively. 

Okay, maybe that only makes me giggle, and you could only use this rule with the actual board game, but imagine the evenings you could have. And you might discover new words to adopt into your vocabulary. It's a win-win.

All those in favor?

All those opposed?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18 - Blogger Math

Blogger math:

Blank page + full mind + ticking clock = more blank page.

I have too much to say, part of it stemming from a wish that I had been a women's studies major or something, and as it is getting later in the evening, the temptation is to just say, "Screw it, I'll write something substantive later." But I don't want to fall into that trap, either. A very good friend of mine pointed out that I am happiest when I am busiest. Lately, I think I've fallen into a trap of complacency and routine. Skating by doing the minimum because for most things in my life at the moment, the minimum is plenty. I'm getting tired of that, though, and I want to start doing more again. More projects, more plans, more creative outlets.

So tonight, even though I don't have the well-formed thoughts on what it means to be a woman in today's American society yet, I wanted to remind myself that doing the minimum for these blogs isn't good enough anymore. I do need to write something, and I need to write something real every day. Even if it is a reminder to write something real every day.

Whoa. Meta.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17 - It's Not All Bad

I don't even remember exactly why now, but as I was walking up to my building this morning, I was thinking about gun control in the United States, and how ridiculous it is. Maybe it is because I heard about the 10-ish fatal shootings that happened in Chicago over the weekend, some involving teenagers. And then the internet meme ran through my head saying how one terrorist plane crash means we all have to take our shoes off at the airport, so how many school shootings will it be before we have reasonable gun control legislation? And I started to think about the people who feel they need guns to protect themselves and their families, and how they quote the Second Amendment whenever they can, even if they don't full understand it and most likely can't quote it verbatim. (I can't quote it verbatim, either, but if someone wants to take away my right to own a gun, I'm okay with that. I don't want one in the first place.) And that train of thought lead me to the fact that we are a country that lives in fear, almost all of the time. If we're not afraid of terrorist attack, we're afraid the crib we bought will end up suffocating our children, or that eggs will make us all keel over from heart attacks and soy will make you grow man boobs. We're afraid of the bugs that eat our crops and the pesticides we use to keep bugs off of our crops. We're afraid to talk to our neighbors and we're afraid we're going to die alone. We're afraid that someone out there somewhere has more stuff, or has better stuff, or is more comfortable with his stuff than we are. We're afraid to say things out loud that need to be said like, "I love you," or "You are important to me," but we shout racial epithets at comedians who haven't even made it to the punchline yet. We're afraid if we dress too sexy, we'll be "asking for it," but if we don't dress sexy enough, nobody will want it. We're afraid of cholesterol and radiation and global warming. We're afraid of genetically modified foods and we're afraid our kids will be kidnapped and never found again unless we put microchips in them. We, as Americans, are afraid of everything. I sort of think a capitalist society breeds a culture of fear - if we're not afraid of things, how can we be convinced to buy that which we don't need?

But then, I made it into my office and checked my email, and there was a note in there from a complete stranger. I know this one was intended for me, because the title was "The Hamburg Demos," which was the title of a demo CD I put together sometime around 2004-ish that a few people picked up here and there. If I listen to the tunes now, they strike me as young and immature, and severely lacking in instrumentation - it's all just my voice and a guitar - to the point where I can barely listen. So I don't. But this stranger, this man I've never met, sent me an email to thank me for the disc. He doesn't remember where he got it, but he rediscovered it recently and said he has been listening to it on repeat. He said it is helping him through the mourning process of the loss of a long-term relationship, and he told me I have a lovely voice. He said he hopes I'm still making music.

You know that feeling when your heart wells up in your chest and radiates a brilliant bright gold light because there is just too much love in there for it to be expected to stay within the confines of your rib cage? I felt that this morning, and every time I reread that email. This stranger, this man, thought enough of my music that he put aside the random fear that goes along with reaching out to someone you've never met to say something nice. Thank you. Thank you for that email.

And you know what happens when we put fear aside and say nice things to each other? We make people smile and we make ourselves feel good. The whole world isn't violence and guns - there is a lot of beauty to share out there, too. So go be nice to somebody!

Love your faces.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16 - Father's Day

I just want to say a quick thank you to all of the dads out there for everything you do for us. You make us who we are - literally. No, really, from a genetic perspective, at the very least you determine our gender. But then you help mold us as we grow up by playing catch and taking us bowling and making sure we have enough to eat and exposing us to MacGuyver and Star Trek and teaching us the joys of gardening and we never stop being yours. So thank you for that.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15 - Um...

I have nothing wise or pithy to say today. But I do get to wear my Tenth Doctor suit tonight, so there's that.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14 - Credit Where Credit is Due

This may sound like a bit of a cop out, and maybe it is, but I want to use today's blog to encourage you to read Patton Oswalt's A Closed Letter to Myself About Thievery, Heckling and Rape Jokes. I've honestly not paid much attention to Patton Oswalt's career - he was on an episode of Dollhouse that I enjoyed - but I have heard that his comedy is absolutely brilliant. I've just never taken the time to watch any of his specials. But with this closed letter to himself, he might have just become one of my heroes. I'm afraid if I say too much more about that, it will sound false and trite, so let's just leave it at "Thank you, Mr. Oswalt, for so eloquently saying things that so desperately needed to be said."

It also made me think about my own limitations as a performer (don't ask how my train of thought took me there; if you read his letter, you may be able to see it) as I am embracing the fact that while I have a background in improv, a place like Second City or IO is likely not the right place for me. And I'm okay with that. I have plenty of talents that lie elsewhere. And in recognizing those sorts of limitations, I have more respect for someone like Patton Oswalt who is able to do those things I can't.

Anyway. Please take a few minutes and give it a read.

That's it.

Thank you.

And in the name of non-thievery, I came across his closed letter because of a tweet by Wil Wheaton. Did I cover everything?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13 - Musical Discovery

I was driving to more Hamlet auditions last night because we lost another Claudius, and kind of dreading being out and about in what was supposed to be an absolutely horrid storm - the kind where my mom sent me a text urging me to stay home - and listening to the absolute best radio station in the country. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed in some of the songs they were playing yesterday. Sometimes, they have my mood spot on, but yesterday was not one of those days, so when the DJ said they would now be playing a song by a little-known-on-this-side-of-the-pond British folk-y singer, I nearly changed the station to find something stupid and mindless but familiar. How often do we as people do that? How often do we rather bear the ills we have than fly to others we know not of, even if all that is at stake is listening to a three-minute song? But the light was changing and rather than use that time to scroll through radio stations, I used that time to drive and ended up hearing this song.

Go ahead and take your time listening. Or, if you give it a listen in another window while you read this, make sure you go back later and give it a listen when you can pay attention to the lyrics because they're kind of cute but surprisingly clever.

Cute but surprisingly clever. Sounds exactly like the sort of thing I would like, yes? And I did. I do. I stayed glued to my radio station until they said the artist's name again because I was only half paying attention the first time, and as soon as my car was stopped again, I found his newest album on I even splurged on using some of my limited data package to listen to the first five songs on the album as I was driving home from the auditions (which went pretty well, in case you were wondering). Of the five, I fell in love with four and really enjoyed one.

I don't know what it is about certain musicians. This guy, Frank Turner, has a little bit of a whiny/yell-y voice, and his chord progressions don't sound terribly complex. But like I said, his lyrics are cute surprisingly clever - there are a couple of lines in "The Way I Tend to Be" that absolutely wrecked me in the best possible way. And then, following that on the record is "Plain Sailing Weather" which had me laughing so hard at the opening chorus, I was squeaking. And the tunes, while maybe not groundbreaking, are fun (I think his punk background helps keep him from falling into the "music to slit your wrists to" camp many folk-y singers fall into) and the instrumentation fills them out nicely (there is the occasional mandolin in his work, but it doesn't feel as hipster as some other artists using mandolins these days for the sake of using mandolins), and you can tell he's singing and making music because he has something to say and this is the only way for him to say it. Lucky for me, I like listening to the way he says what he needs to say.

So I did a little more digging, went to his website, and he says anyone is welcome to email him whenever and he'll try to respond to as many messages as possible. And he often hangs out after shows to chat with the crowd. And he plays 200+ gigs per year. So now I'm waiting for him to come to Chicago again - he was here last September, but I don't see anything on his tour schedule indicating a Chicago date. Because I have a feeling from listening to a couple of songs, watching a couple of videos, that his show will be one of those shows full of the kind of energy I need to recharge my artistic batteries every now and again, like a Glen Hansard, Moby, or Mike Doughty show.

So I guess the moral of the story is to listen to your local radio stations and to take the odd chance on a new song you've not heard before from an artist you've never heard of. You might end up falling in love and finding a piece of art that touches something in you that you didn't even know needed to be touched.

And thank you, Frank, for your tunes. I'm looking forward to exploring your musical catalog further, and maybe picking up my guitar again to learn how to play a song or two.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 - Sci-Fi Dream

In my dream last night, there was a guy who I'm pretty sure was Gary from Alphas (not Ryan Cartwright, but Gary) and he was being haunted by the ghost of his father who had been a doctor. I was part of the crew that had to hunt down and get rid of this ghost, and I was the one who figured out that when "Gary" (in quotes because that was not his name in my dream but I don't remember what his name was in my dream, so we'll go with the character's name from Alphas) was just staring off into space, he was looking at the ghost of his dad. So Gary was out detection device. And I remember in my dream, we were packing everything up to go get rid of this ghost and someone said, "Are you ready to go kill a doctor?" and then in real life, I heard this huge crash, like my terracotta planter being knocked off of the window sill and shattering, that woke me up rather violently. I bolted out of bed and walked through my whole apartment, but didn't see evidence of any sort of damage. I went back to bed and found my cat had used my 90-second absence to steal my spot.

I remember going back to sleep thinking my dream would make for a good sci-fi show, so I should write it down. Which is why you, my lucky readers, get this peek into my dream world today. But know this - if you steal my idea and make a mint off of it, I get half. At least.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11 - Dietary Issues

This is not going to be a blog about losing weight, so if that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere. Sorry.

What I do want to talk a little bit about is the trend within the United States to tout the health benefits of one particular food item for five or six years, and then debunk everything good that was said about that product for five or six years, and then add that food item back to the "it's okay to eat in moderation" food list. Honestly, I think they're all just messing with us, trying to make bigger profits on food products by coming up with new food items and then convincing the general public that all of the old food products are going to kill you so you better eat this new stuff instead.

I bring this up today because a lot of the foods I rely on to keep me healthy have come under attack lately - soy and wheat, mostly - and this bothers me. I sort of feel like I'm sure much of the world did when we were all told to avoid eggs fifteen years ago, and I am anxiously awaiting the day when either some reasonable research comes out or we get off of this "everything is bad for you for five years and then it's okay to eat again" roller coaster.

See, the thing is this - data can be interpreted in really whatever way you want to interpret it in order to support whatever hypothesis you come up with. In the simplest terms, you may have crammed all night for a big biology exam and you got an 85% which makes you proud, but your parents only focus on the 15% of the test you got wrong and ground you. Same result, different interpretations. Or, let's say two groups of scientists perform the same study under the same conditions to determine whether or not smoking is bad for you. The one group zeros in on the calming effect of nicotine, the appetite control, the lowered risk for Parkinson's disease. The other group zeros in on the prevalence of lung cancer and emphysema caused by smoking. Both publish papers on their findings. Both papers will really only talk about the things they want to highlight so it doesn't look like they spent ten years disproving their own hypotheses. No scientist wants to prove himself wrong - he'll lose funding, he'll lose respect within the community, and he'll likely lose his job. On the rare occasion, proving oneself wrong produces another, greater result that then heralds one as a genius instead of a failure (William Perkin inventing synthetic dyes instead of a malaria cure, for example), but I think most scientists would rather spend their time proving themselves right than hoping for a miracle.

So here is what I know about human biology as it relates to food:

  • We need certain amounts of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals to support our basic body functions. 
  • Some of these things are synthesized naturally in the body.
  • What is not naturally synthesized, we get from food - the things we eat and drink are absorbed into our bodies and affect the way we function.
  • Whatever we ingest that our bodies can't use is expelled as solid or liquid waste.

Based on this list, maintaining one's health by eating the right foods should not be rocket surgery. Eat things that contain the right amounts of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals and you should be all good, yes?

I say yes.

I think where the confusion comes from is that the right amounts of the right things are not easily defined across the board. In the simplest terms, a 250-lb man has different dietary requirements than a three-year-old girl. There is more of him, he has different musculature, he has different hormonal balances to maintain, and he (hopefully) isn't still trying to grow at the rate a three-year-old is. And this isn't even taking into account conditions like diabetes or lifestyle choices like extreme athleticism that will change your nutritional requirements even more. But the problem in America is that we want to find the one right answer to "how and what should I eat?" that will work for everyone. We recognize so many other differences in ourselves; why don't we recognize and honor the differences in our dietary requirements?

The one that is really amusing to me now is the gluten-free trend. Now, I'm not trying to make fun of those who have Celiac disease - this is a real autoimmune disease wherein an autoimmune response is triggered in the small intestine when gluten is ingested, and it causes bloating, fatigue, weight loss, and malnourishment. I know people who have been positively diagnosed with Celiac disease and to them, I say, "Follow your gluten-free diet." For their sake, I am glad that companies like Udi's exist. But current estimates say that only about 1% of the population in the United States actually has Celiac disease. Now, there are also those out there with a gluten sensitivity, for whom eating gluten can cause bloating or discomfort, but they do not have the autoimmune disease. If those people also choose to avoid gluten, more power to them. Even if that brings the total percentage of the United States population who have some sort of problem with gluten to 10%, that's 90% of the population that doesn't have a problem with gluten. So why are we telling everyone to avoid gluten like it is the plague?

I know, I know, it is because wheat is so processed now and natural wheat plants today are different than they were 1,000 years ago and so on and so forth. You know what? Humans are different today than we were 1,000 years ago. So there.

"Well what about GMOs?" you might ask. Recently (i.e. within the last year or so), one of the biggest crusaders against GMOs gave a talk saying he was wrong all along - that the science to prove the harmful nature of GMOs isn't really there. I'm sure there are those who would say he was coerced into changing his position or whatever, but it does make you wonder. Did he spend the last twenty years only reading studies that supported his theories, and then recently found other studies that opposed his theories? If you can prove anything you want by looking at the results of scientific study through various colored glasses, was his flip a matter of coercion, or changing his glasses?

The simple answer is, "I don't know." I am not a researcher, I am not Mark Lynas, I am not a person suffering from a gluten sensitivity. I am a person who has been living and thriving on a plant-based diet that has included a lot of soy and wheat for almost eleven years. I have just the right balance of good and bad cholesterol in my system. I sometimes get tired when I eat sugary things. I sometimes get gassy when I eat too many beans. But I think it is clear from my outward appearance - my curvy nature, my strong fingernails and hair, my glowing complexion - that I am well-nourished. So I apologize if I am not going to jump on the "say no to soy" bandwagon, the "everything gluten free" bandwagon, or the "drink a glass of wine every day" bandwagon. I am going to eat the foods that make me feel good. I am going to eat the foods that my body tells me it needs, because if I have learned one thing from being vegan, it is that my body knows better than I do what it needs to function properly and it will tell me when something is lacking. And I am also going to allow myself to not be perfect in this regard - I will eat cake every now and again knowing exactly how crappy I will feel afterward.

And my advice to you on your diet? Eat the foods you like. The ones that make your body sing out, "Thank you!" after you have consumed them. The ones that have the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals that support your unique body chemistry. Because you are unique, and you embrace that uniqueness in every other aspect of your life. Embrace it in your dietary choices as well.

Or not. I'm not an expert, so you're free to tell me to go piss up a tree.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10 - It's A Cop-Out Blog!

Today is cop-out blog day! Huzzah!

The day when we all get together and just plain admit that:

1. We don't have a good idea for a topic today, and
B) They just uploaded new levels on Ruby Blast Adventures and we are completely unable to focus on anything else because as sad as it is to admit it, we've been dying for new levels for months because that fantastic crunching sound when you dig through rock is the perfect sound when dealing with an annoying day when you need something destructo-happy and it may be scary to admit it, but you're kind of stuck on destructive things at the moment after mainlining Hannibal and Whitechapel over the weekend but somehow Ruby Blast Adventures allows you to indulge in the destructo-happy without having to worry about whether or not you're going to become a serial killer or if you're going to be attacked by a serial killer. 

In short, yay for new Ruby Blast levels and huzzah for cop-out blog day!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

June 9 - Routine

The problem with falling out of my routine for a couple of weeks is that I develop a new routine which makes it really hard to go back to the other one because the new one is, well, new. I like sleeping until I wake up (or until Owen wakes me). I like having tea in my pajamas before I start my day. I like not being rushed and not being stressed.

But there are things I have to do. People rely on me to play my part in this great game of life and I am the sort of person who doesn't want to let them down. So I have studying to do and lines to memorize and obligations to maintain a certain level of health and sanity. Today will therefore be spent prepping myself to return to my original routine as of tomorrow.

If only there was a way to do so without inviting the stress and the worry back in.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

June 8 - Update

I planted my pineapple today. I am a bit concerned that I let the top dry out a day too long, and I am of course concerned that it won't get enough light sitting on my window sill at the moment, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. If it turns into a great moldy mess in a couple of days, I'll get rid of it and try again. If the leaves turn a lovely green color, I'll take that as a good sign and keep plugging away at babysitting this plant for the next couple of years. Only time will tell. 

Here's to science projects!

Friday, June 07, 2013

June 7 - Conversational Tips for Introverts

With the differences between introverts and extroverts becoming clearer, and a lot of the stigmas surrounding the word "introvert" slowly fading away (notice I said "slowly"), I feel like I can stand up proudly now and proclaim my introversion. For those of you not in the know, this does not mean I do not like other people, this does not mean I am shy, this does not mean I have low self-esteem. It means I am an introvert - I think before I speak, I observe and assess situations, and I occasionally desperately need to not be around other people. It's nothing personal, it's just how my brain works.

Okay, now we're all up to speed.

I have found myself in several situations of late where I have been hanging out with other introverts and have come to realize that some introverts have developed different social coping mechanisms than others. Some sit and don't say anything as they take in their surroundings. Some put on the face of an extrovert and try to blend in with the crowd. Some find the one other introvert in the room and go have a quiet conversation. Some use some sort of social lubricant like alcohol. All of these are great.

Except when you're the one other introvert in the room and one of the silent-type introverts comes up and expects you to...entertain them? Talk to them? Make them feel comfortable? When you yourself would really just like to be sitting there, watching people out the window, composing a symphony in your head. And now suddenly there is this other person there whose enjoyment of the outing is entirely dependent on you (or at least it feels that way).

I have been in this situation many times. I think I'm one of those introverts who has learned how to put on an extroverted mask so I look like I can blend into just about any social situation. This also means I am often the target for other introverts to seek out and sort of back into a corner for one-on-one conversation. I don't mind one-on-one conversation. I thrive on one-on-one conversations. But if you approached me and then expect me to keep the ball's exhausting. So I have come up with a few tips that can help introverts talk to either other introverts or extroverts to make these encounters a little more enjoyable and a little less tiresome for everyone involved.
  • If you are an introvert and you find yourself in the company of an extrovert, you will likely not have to speak at all if you don't want to. If you do encounter the odd lapse in conversation, ask a question. Doesn't matter what it is, just ask a question. The extrovert will likely answer the question, expound upon the question, get caught up in a tangent that leads to another story, circle back around, spot another friend across the room whose new boyfriend is causing quite a stir, and voila! You don't have to talk anymore unless you really want to. Don't worry about it.
    • It is acceptable to ask personal questions of an extrovert. In general, they like to talk about themselves, and this is pretty much a sure-fire way to make sure you will not have to open your mouth again for the rest of the evening until you leave. If then.
  • If you are an introvert and you find yourself in the company of another introvert and you both seem stuck for conversation, ask a question either about an interest you know the introvert has or some philosophical conundrum. Introverts like to talk, but they're more selective in their conversational topics. Hum-drum day-to-day "how's the weather" type conversations will put your introvert to sleep. But if you know she is into bird watching, you might mention you noticed a flock of geese migrating northward the other day and ask if that is typical for this time of year. Or if he is a computer guy, ask for his thoughts on the PC vs. Mac debate and why all the true computer geeks love Linux. The introverted brain is buzzing all of the time, and we are constantly making judgement calls about what is appropriate to say out loud and what is rubbish, so if you let us know that a certain topic is okay, we'll share everything we know on the idea. Again, introverts are not afraid of conversation; we just prefer actual conversation to chit-chat.
    • It is acceptable to ask personal questions of an introvert, but can be a way to kill the conversation very quickly. "How are you?" will not elicit the same elaborate response as, say, "I notice you only seem to be eating the red peppers on the veggie plate - is there a reason for that?" One is a personal question that elicits a personal response, and one that can be kept simple. The other is an invitation to share one's theories on the superiority of red peppers or one's preference for cooked vegetables as opposed to raw except in the case of red peppers. Introverts like theories and reasons and logic.
      • Under no circumstances should you say to an introvert, "Tell me about yourself."
  • If you are an introvert and you find yourself stuck with another introvert who has asked you a question about yourself that you don't particularly want to answer or don't have very much to respond with, respond politely with what you have and then tack an "And you?" on the end of it. Often times, people will ask questions about things that are on their own minds. If someone asks you how things are going at work, it could be because something brilliant happened at their own workplace and rather that appear completely self-centered and spew stories all over you, they decide to first ask about your work in the hopes that the topic of "work" is one that will be stayed on long enough for their stories to come out in the natural course of conversation. Adding the "And you?" shifts the conversation back to them, makes you appear courteous and interested in their life, and takes the onus for speech off of you. It's a win-win-win.
  • If you are an introvert and you are hanging out with an introvert you've hung out with before, try to remember just one thing from your last conversation and ask them about that. If they told you their sister just had a baby, ask how the baby is doing or if they have seen the baby lately. If you can remember just one thing from the previous conversation, it makes it look like you care and are invested in their life and again, shifts the speaking part of the conversation back to them so you can get back to your symphony.
    • Yes, this one works on extroverts, too.
    • You may find that you get to a place where you are listening too much to what the other person is telling you in the conversation so that you can store some of it away for use in your next encounter and your symphony gets put on hold for a few minutes. This is absolutely fine. The symphony will still be there later.
  • When all else fails, pick the most random thought floating through your brain at that moment and say it out loud, social judgement be damned.
    • Use caution if the random thought in your brain at that moment has to do with violence, murder, conspiracy plots in which you are involved, or your own need to urinate/defecate. These can be conversation/friendship killers.
I hope this has been helpful. It's really not that hard to carry on a conversation with either an introvert or an extrovert. If you are an introvert who finds yourself struggling in social situations and you'd like to be more involved, you just need to remember to ask questions, and the simplest question to ask that will keep the ball rolling is "And you?" You'll be fine. I have faith.

So those are my thoughts on conversational tips for introverts. Do you have any additional suggestions?

(See what I did there?)

Thursday, June 06, 2013

June 6 - My Day

I can barely remember the last time I had a day to myself wherein I did nothing but nice things for me. No studying lines, no working on projects, no fretting about work, just nice things for me. Comfy clothes, a deep moisturizing hair treatment, home done mani-pedi, comfort television. I needed this.

There is a part of me that feels like I should have interacted with people more or done more productive things or should have at least bothered to put on some mascara. But introverts need recharge time and that is what I got today - much needed recharge time. I got to think about what I want and where I'm going and how stunning it is to watch a volume of black beans grow as they soak throughout the day. 

Tomorrow I can get back to the hustle and the bustle of life. Get back to cleaning out my closet and worrying about getting exercise and stocking my apartment with delicious food. Today was recharge day to get rid of some things that have been bugging me. Thank goodness for recharge day. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

June 5 - Um...

I've been working on a project for the past week or so that was supposed to go through the beginning of next week but has been cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. Don't worry - everyone is fine and the basic goal of the project was met, it was just...condensed. The thing is, I'm not quite sure how to feel about it. 

I was terrified when I started the project because it was unlike anything I had ever done before, but the people I was working with were great and I learned a lot from them. Because of the nature of the project, though, I likely won't see most of them again. Like with many of the projects I take on, I got to meet these amazing people, came to care about them, and we will each now move on with our lives which will likely not intersect again. And like I said, I'm not quite sure how to feel about it. I didn't get to know them well enough that I will miss them on a daily basis, and the condensed nature of the project means it didn't have as big an impact on my life as I might have originally hoped. But they were nice, and it was really nice to get out of my regular routine and do something else for a few days. I will miss that. 

So now I have a couple more days to myself before I go back to my regular job. I have a lot to do - lines to learn, cleaning to do, books to read - but there is something kind of groovy about knowing I don't have to leave my apartment until Monday if I don't want to. When was the last time that happened?

Yay introvert recharge time!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

June 4 - Reminder

"Everything will be all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not the end."

This is probably an old proverb from somewhere, but I know it from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I think it applies to many other situations, too.

Monday, June 03, 2013

June 3 - Project

I bought a pineapple today, in part because I think pineapples are the most wonderful things on earth, and in part because I read somewhere online that you can grown your own pineapple from the top of an existing one. My apartment may be turning into a bit of a science project in the next couple of weeks. I have thoughts and plans on how to make the environment suitable for pineapple growing, so we'll see if it works. Because seriously, how awesome would it be to have my own homegrown pineapple, grown in an apartment in Chicago?

I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

June 2 - Yes

I get it now. I thought I got it before but I know I get it now. I understand why every male actor wants to tackle Hamlet at some point in his career. It is...

We had our first (and only) full cast read-through of the whole play today, which means this was my one and only opportunity to experience Hamlet's full character arc from start to finish. It was...I don't even have the words. Brilliant. Exhausting. Exciting. Exhilarating. Terrifying. Delicious. 

I'm not saying my performance was all of those things - I know I still have a long way to go - but the journey that Hamlet gets to take is unlike that of any other character I have been lucky to portray. I am reminded again how lucky I am to have this opportunity, how fortunate I am to work with this cast, and how humbled I am to get to tackle this role. 

Hamlet, I hope I do you justice. I hope I make you empathetic. I hope I can take the audience on the amazing emotional journey upon which you take me. 

Hamlet, I am so excited to be you. 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

June 1 - AWBC

As I was driving through Chicago today, I saw the signs marking the path for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Apparently, this weekend is the weekend for that in Chicago. 

I've done the Avon Walk twice, and in all honesty, I feel guilty that I don't do it every year. During my training for the second walk, I was hit by a car while walking which didn't really hurt, but I found out during the walk that it did mess with my hip, so I can't walk super long distances all at once (I.e. 20+ miles). But anyway, when I did the Walk, I felt like I was doing something good and helpful and bigger than me. It was a great experience, both times. 

This year, I feel particularly bad about not doing the Walk as I know two women fighting breast cancer at the moment. I have danced with them and laughed with them and shared life moments with them. One of these women has a better prognosis than the other, but even so. A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying, whatever the prognosis. I lost a stepmother to breast cancer and even though I didn't know her long enough to become truly attached, I know how devastating her passing was for my father. I would never wish that on anyone. And I think a part of me was hoping that doing the Walk again would help my friends who are currently fighting the good fight. 

To these women, I apologize that I was not out there this year. To all of the people walking and all of the people volunteering at the rest stations and all of the people who put together the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, thank you.  I wish I had bigger words to express my personal gratitude for what you are doing this weekend. You are amazing. You are helping. You are making a difference. 

Thank you.