Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It Doesn't feel like Yesterday

I'm not writing this because I want people to feel sad, I'm writing this because the parts of me that want to forget this day knows that I never will.


I'm not going to lie and tell you that what happened last year feels like yesterday. Saying that would be untrue. This year has been so slow. Each moment has dragged. Maybe it's because I keep thinking "well, when one year happens it gets easier right?"

I don't think it does.

While it feels like forever ago, and much longer than a year, I can replay the moments of January 16th and 17th 2017 like they were yesterday. I can remember these moments like they just happened. I can remember jumping online just to see how things were going at work. I was planning to brag that I was eating key lime pie and getting a pedicure... but let's face it, I'm also a control freak and I had to check in, that's what I do.

Patrick had posted that you hadn't gotten online for your fundraising training. I was frustrated, I was annoyed, and I was concerned. It was a fine line that I was walking at that moment. Concerned that something was wrong, annoyed that you hadn't reached out for help... But I knew that we would reach you and it would be okay.

But this time you didn't answer. This time you didn't jump back online. This time you weren't there.

I went to watch the sunset.

You still hadn't called back.

I called Ll, told her we needed to call the Queens police for a wellness check. She said that wasn't something that we could do.

I found your sister and mom on Facebook. I told them we were concerned.

Then we waited. I had terrible dreams that night. I knew something wasn't right.

mom and I left Key west. Patrick Texted. I told him I could call him back in 5 minutes.

We pulled into the parking lot of a garden center. Patrick told me you were gone...

I called L. I made lists.... who should we call? Who should we tell? How would we tell people? I couldn't let people hear about this over social media.

We got to the car rental place. I spoke with Dottie. someone had already told her.

I got on the shuttle bus and my phone rang. It was a Jacksonville number. I knew it would be your mom. I couldn't make her say it. I told her "I heard.... and I'm so sorry..."

I went through security and people started calling me. I realized a couple of people that I should call, because I would be on a plane soon.

I went to the convenience store at the airport. I looked for tissues, I got a snack and a water.

I got on the plane. I felt it was a good time to start watching Parks and rec (thankful that Amy Poehler could get me through this rough time)

I landed in Boston. Carla Jean had posted the announcement. I called Brian, and he already knew.


I got back to Salem. I got a roast beef sandwich. I snuggled with my cat and I cried.

I cried almost every day for months. I don't remember the first day that I didn't cry, but I remember it happening.

Yes, I found joy this year. I found joy discovering the shows and performers that you always told me to listen to (translation... I discovered Jenn Colella and Christianne Knoll), I have chosen to love musical theatre without apologies.

Yes, I have dealt with loss. I wish I could pinpoint why your loss hurts so much. Yours is a loss that will stick with me. I miss you. I miss you a lot. I wish we had more time. We should have seen Jenn colella together. You should have been here to see Christiane with me. I chalk that up to things that just aren't fair.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hope

When I started going back to church I learned what Advent really was. I remember walking into a church on the first Sunday of Advent. I was not in a great place. I had hurt myself a few days before. I was in pain, I was frustrated, I was feeling sorry for myself. The choice to go back to church was almost one of obligation, the choice of the church was convenience... I could walk there because my injury limited my driving.

I realized it was the start of Advent and I thought "Oh great, everyone is going to be excited for Christmas and I'm just not there yet." The first words spoken by the pastor that day were "Waiting is hard." She went on to discuss how while we are in a joyful season, we are waiting for something. WE are waiting for something when days shorter and there is more darkness. We are waiting and that just isn't easy.

It was the first Advent season where I listened to what each week meant, I thought the candles were just for each week. I'm sure I was taught what they meant when I was a child, but I was an adult now. The first week of advent symbolizes hope.

One of these Decembers I am going to sit here and think "Wow, that was an amazing year" and I really can't wait until I get to do that. Instead I sit here one more December and I am thinking "This year was rough". I won't say I want it to be over so that I can start new, because I know better than to think that January 1st will bring amazing things. Really it just brings a new page on the calendar.

This week I have hope that I can look back on this year and find my moments of joy. I will look back on the moments of sadness, as those moments have shaped me this year.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Today I ran

Back in April I took time off from running. I ran my third half marathon in 13 months. I took time off because I was afrad I was going to get injured. It didn't take me long to get into a rutt. The rut felt terrible. I couldn't get moving, I couldn't get into a routine. Sure, I ran a 5k in october, I even had a good time, but it wasn't the same.

So, today I ran. I'm hoping I can keep it going.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Why I'm procrastinating

So, I'm applying to grad school and I'm procrastinating. I keep finding alternative projects. a nap, knitting, cleaning, walking the dog, taking a shower, laundry. You name it, I have started doing THAT instead of finishing up my essay.

Why?

because what happens when I hit that button? What happens when I send this off? It means I have to be chosen. It means I may not. Yes, I'm afraid of not being chosen.

So, that's why I haven't started writing the essay yet, let's see if I can finish it today.

I WILL finish it today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

When I saw Come From Away .. and became an Awaynic

My sister Jen and I Rushed Come from Away. We got to the line at 5 am and were number 2 and 3 in line. We chose to rush because the tickets are $38 and because it's something that we enjoy doing. ((38 planes landed, rush seats are $38, I only wish I got that significance earlier, duh)
Of course I was knitting on the line. I was working on the last of my hats for the cast of the show. Everyone seemed to find it rather entertaining that not only was a knitting, but that I was knitting for the cast.

We got our tickets and I went to work for the morning.
I had been listening to the Soundtrack since the day it was released. Since the first song I knew it was something special. So many lyrics hit me. From the lines "I don't know what to do 'cause I can't watch the news anymore" to "Something's gone" . . . I knew it was a show that would not only receive a lot of playtime, but that would be with me for a long time.

The Come From Away cast is made up of a cast of 12 actors. Each actor portrays multiple characters to tell the stories of the thousands of people that were stranded in Gander and the town that welcomed them. Each character touched my heart, but some certainly stood out.

Bob, portrayed in the original company by Rodney Hicks was just wonderful. I had the pleasure of seeing Rodney in the Original case of Rent, and seeing him again was a true gift. At so many moments his character brought me from tears to immediate laughter. I won't give away my favorite moments of his character, you just have to be there.Being able to meet Rodney after the show and thank him for being a pat of two productions that have truly shaped my life was Something that I will always cherish.

Bonnie Harris, portrayed by native Newfoundlander Petrina Bromley Is a character that will always be close to my heart. In the town of Gander, Bonnie runs the SPCA ( believe she still does). All of the citizens of Gander and surrounding communities welcomed the stranded passengers. Bonnie was a voice for the voiceless, the animals that were traveling on the planes that day. After seeing the show I found myself doing a lot more research on Gander, and of course even looking at flights so that I can visit. I discovered Bonnie's facebook profile and in true "awaynic" fandom mode, I sent her a message. I thanked her not only for sharing her story, but for speaking for the voiceless. This was her response.


I could talk about every single character in this show. I could talk about how I hope that every girl growing up can see Jenn Colella portray Beverly Bass and know that they can truly achieve the dreams that they have when they are 8. I could talk about how I was touched by Buella (portrayed by Astrid Van Wieren) Never left Hannah's side and how her practical "get it done" nature is one that I can relate to on a daily basis .. I could talk about how my own fear on 9/11 when I saw the first destroyed firetruck came back to me eveytime Hannah spoke. I could talk about how when Kendra Kassenbaum, portraying the flight attendant, showed the fear that we all had. The paralyzing fear of not knowing what, o who, to be afraid of. I could say a lot, but then I would be rambling (and I already am) I haven't even started on the Kevins, Oz, Or the Mayor Claude...
Through all of this fear this production reminds us that there is hope. There is kindness. There are still safe places where we can be welcomed. Seeing this show once and still having these feelings just goes to prove it's impact.


Irene Sankoff and David Hein have given us a gift. The opportunity to see this week in the life. My eyes of truly been re-opened to the importance of sharing our stories. When I lost my grandfather 2 years ago I felt as if part of my own history was lost forever. What didn't I ask him, what didn't I know, how can I learn more about his past and more importantly our family's past?

Someone that has shared his story is Kevin Teureff (the Real Kevin T). Kevin has published a book called "Channel of Peace" which I highly recommend reading.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

The night that I almost Didn't see the Great Comet

I wasn't going to do two blog posts this weekend but with everything that has happened in the past week, I want people to know what I think of this show. If one person goes to see it I will feel that i have accomplished something.

This Broadway season has been ridiculous! So many amazing shows have opened this year. One job that I would not have wanted this year..... Tony Voter. Seriously folks, I cannot even imagine how difficult their job was.

My best friend of over 25 years texted me to inform me that there were tickets available. They were premium seats. I was not paying $400.

I almost did not see Great Comet. . .

After an annoying meeting at work I made a decision. I would go to the Imperial. I would see if they had any seats. If they did not, I would go across the street to see Come from Away again, or I would see A Dolls House.

Guess what????

Duh. I got the LAST SEAT IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I arrived at the box office the associate looked less than thrilled to see me. I asked if there was anything left for that night. She said there was one seat and pointed out where Josh would be. I found that odd, and I was slightly offended because while I was excited to see Josh, that was not the only reason that I was seeing the show. I decided to get the ticket. I asked if people were being kind to them in the box office. She said no, patrons were being awful. Seriously folks, be nicer to the box office and house staff.

So, I got THE LAST TICKET IN THE THEATRE!!!As I walked back to my office I chose to get a gift for the box office.


I just wanted them to know that some people are truly thankful for what they do. I went to the box office to drop off the flowers and the staff looked confused. I told them that the person that I had spoken to earlier seemed to not be having a great day and I wanted to thank them. I know from my job working WITH box office managers and staff that these people are not treated very well.

One thing you should know about me, I'm not a huge fan of actors intermingling with the audience. Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory and Lorelai are watching the performance at Miss Patty's and all of the kids come into the audience to perform Magic to do? Yeah....this one That's normally my reaction.

This night, everything was different. I settled in to be transported to Moscow. I even got a dumpling!


Before the show started the very kind couple sitting next to me said "that's Lin"

Yup, it was. . . . I would be experiencing this amazing show at the same time as Lin Manuel Miranda. I would later learn that Leslie Odom Jr. Was in the house with his lovely wife, Oak was in the house, AND Laverne Cox was also in the house. (45th street was a real joy when the theatre emptied)

The show started and I was glued. I was surrounded by some of the most incredible orchestrations that I have ever heard. This production happens all around you. The performers are everywhere, and so are the musicians. The First time that I heard Grace McLean belt out "Welcome to Moscow" I think I knew I was in for a ride, and I was very willing to enjoy it.

Denee Benton actually glows on stage. I realize that you are not supposed to leave a theatre humming the lighting design, but the moment that was created by Bradley King at the end of "No One Else" Is truly the most beautiful lighting that I have ever seen. She is standing on stage glowing amongst the stars. it was breathtaking.
So many moments stand out in the show, It's just so impossible to take it all in. It's constantly moving, constantly changing. Once you settle in to a scene, and you are instantly transported.

At the end of act 1 all I could say was Wow. Yes, out loud.

As Act 2 started I realized that I hadn't listened to act 2 much. I listen to music on my commute to work. Since Comet is a longer soundtrack, I don't think I had ever listened to the entirety of Act 2. That might explain why during Sonya Alone I just wanted to reach out and hug Brittain Ashford. My heart still aches every time I listen to it.

Having not listened to all of Act 2, I had never experienced the final scene. If I didn't love Josh Groban before, and yes... I'm an admitted Grobanite, I loved him more after this scene.

So much happens in this show, it's impossible to put into words. The beauty on stage, the talent of every single person performing. It's overwhelming.

My lesson to you all, theatre doesn't last forever. Not every show is going to run for years at a time. Some choices were made by producers, and whether those were the right choices or not i will never say. Yes, I have strong opinions about what was done. But that is not what this blog is about.

If you cannot get to New York to see Comet, find a show to see locally. Support the ENTIRE production.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Before I saw Come From Away (Because it needs come context)

During that "week of Shows" in June I saw Come From Away. I want to give you a bit of background on me before I saw this show, and what lead up to it, so that you understand why so much of what I say about the show is so emotionally driven.


How did I hear about Come From Away

I follow a number of blogs and one of them is OnStage. I enjoy the opinions of others, and blogging is a great place for that. Well, April of 2016 I read this As I read the article now, I realize that I probably should not have been as angry about it as I was in April of 2016. But when I read this, I was angry.

I was not in New York on 9/11. I was in North Carolina. I had never felt so alone in my life, and yet I was embraced by the people that were around me at the time. All of us were away from home, we were nomads working a summer Shakespeare Festival. I had also never heard this story of Gander. I was intrigued.

In April of 2016 when I read this article I was angry. I was angry because I have heard so many people say "you weren't in New York, so you did not experience 9/11" I will NEVER diminish what it must have been like that day in New York. I will never even try and imagine it.

Okay, so we have established..... the blog post made me angry. So, as soon as I read that post I wanted to know more. I read up on the show, I saw where it was, how it was doing. I found out more about Gander, and I made plans to see this show early. I was actually planning to see it during previews on Presidents Day weekend. My friend and coworker, a fellow theatre junkie like myself, decided to make a weekend of it. We had been trying to do this for years and never had. She knew someone in the show, I wanted to see it, and we had a long weekend. So, we decided we would see it.

Why Previews didn't happen

President's Day Weekend previews did not happen. Not only because plans fell through, but because I lost that Friend on January 16th. The day that we should have been sitting in the Schoenfeld, I was watching her memorial service via a facebook live feed.

But here is the thing, in the sadness and loss, I had actually forgotten about us making those plans. I forgot until I was actually in New York. I was working out of our New York office. I had been listening to the soundtrack, and of course to Jenn Colella. For some reason, the name started to ring a bell. I looked at her bio and I saw that Jenn had been in Chaplin. Cristin LOVED Chaplin. She's actually possibly the only person that I know that saw Chaplin.

I spoke with a coworker about this, and we found this picture on Cristin's Facebook:


Immediately so many things came back to me. How much Cristin admired Jenn. How she had worked with her on a show at the York Theatre, how she had gone to see so many of her shows. I hate that I couldn't see this with Cristin.

I made a couple of decisions there and then.
1. If there is a performer that I know Cristin admired, not only will I find a way to see their shows, I will be sure to thank them for bringing so much joy to her life.
2. If there is a performance that touches me, I will make sure that the performer receives a note as to how much their performance touched me.

So, that's my BCFA post. I hope that when you read my post about my reactions to the show, this will make sense.

Oh yeah, see come from away! you won't regret it.