28 February 2011

La raison pour laquelle c'est . . .

l'existence d'un monde en vivant au couleur rouge, orange, jaune, noir foncé.
tout les couleurs qui brûlent
peut-être un jour (ôse-je le dire?) turquoise! violet! azuré!
les couleurs encerclantes

...l'existence d'un air de contentement
...une joie de vivre
...un certain sens de la . . . je ne sais quoi

c'est à cause d'un ton, d'un mot, d'un rit?
Un lien inconnu plein de la possibilité?
la raison pour laquelle?
est à toi, maintenant, de la m'expliquerais...


Imagine a giant reset button – like the one on the original NES: a big, grey, spring-loaded button.  When the game got stuck (as was wont to happen) or you wasted too many of your lives, you could reach up, push it, and with a satisfying screek of the spring-action, all would be made right in the world of Mario and his brother (maybe it was just ours that made that noise after too many resets).
I feel as if I have been lent a real-life version of this button. Not because I’ve wasted too many lives, but because I did get stuck for a little while, mainly in the depression that encompassed me after Katie died. There was no way to prepare for that – why would there be – and it literally turned my life upside-down; sucked the life out of my sails; consumed me. And now, thank God for therapy and amazing family and friends, I can look back down at those valleys and it hits me so very clearly that I was not myself. I was a shell of myself. And I am so very glad to be “back.” And though that experience has left its mark (on so many folks), I am now grateful – and not just sad – when those memories crop up, such as the little notes I’d find from her when I was packing up my apartment. Bittersweet, yes, but now I can see the sweet after the bitter, whereas before I couldn’t make it through to the second half of that word.  
So now – as I sit in the airport waiting for my flight home – home! – to Denver, my brain races with anticipation. My boarding this flight is the push of the reset  button . . .  and when I disembark on the other side, well, that’s the screek of the release. The release into a somewhat unknown world.  I am the same player that I was, just a more knowledgeable, experienced and hopefully wiser one.
Thrilling. Terrifying. Exciting. Bring on the Koopas!
(Remember the Game Genie for the original Nintendo system? You could figure out the codes and cheat your way through a particularly difficult level of say, Super Mario Bros 3. Or if you were just feeling lazy, you could also use it to beat a game faster than you normally could.)
But I digress. Okay. Time to board…

27 February 2011

God has a sense of humor

...sometimes He is "ha ha" funny, and sometimes He is just . . . funny in that uncanny way He has of convicting/reminding us of whatever it is we are in need of being convicted or reminded of at the time.

I've had several conversations over the last month about how I am not worried about what lay ahead for me in CO. I don't know what I'll be doing. I don't know where I will eventually be living, nor how I will keep balance between my sanity and the physical needs of my mom when I'm at home. Sometimes, though, I start double-guessing myself and questioning..."wait...shouldn't I be worried? Oh crap, I should be worried that I'm NOT worried!?" That is a dangerous spiral to head down, and I am grateful to God, family and the friends who have kept me from diverting on to that path. And this morning? I went to church for the first time in a month (due to many reasons), and the sermon? It was this:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 25-34)
As bumpy a faith-journey that I've encountered over the past two years, I have not strayed so far as to forget whence I've come, and what (and who) it is that ultimately sustains me. For such constant reminders and examples of the above that I've had since my decision to move...wow, for those (and to God), I am thankful beyond what I can put into words here. 

James Cromwell on acting

Several years ago, when I was taking an improv acting class, the teacher sent out this James Cromwell quote:

Basically, what you are doing out there is you. When it comes down to it, what the people see, what they want to see, is not a role or a character or a piece of work.
What they want to see is you. Your breath, your thoughts, your laughter, your violence, your pain, all of it.
What you have to ask yourself is, "Where am I in all of this and how am I going to communicate that?" That's when you notice that you flinch, that you duck and pull away from those parts of yourself that you are unwilling to have other people see. But that's where the gravy is, where your talent is, where the life resides. You have to keep going back there, to trust that the terrible has already happened, that you've survived and that you're okay, exactly the way you are.
You have to walk toward the demons, not run from them. And you'll find that if you put out your hand, not as a fist, but palm up, you'll go right through them like tissue paper. That's when you can be in the moment, any moment.

When I read this seven or eight years ago, a light bulb went off for me: acting meant putting yourself out there - letting go, as it were. As an introvert (albeit one with extroverted tendencies), that was quite difficult for me at first to do on stage, as it was difficult for me in real life. But the thing about acting? Everything is "safe"; there are no repercussions (method acting aside, perhaps?) to cutting loose and letting everything hang out on stage. Why not? What have you got to lose? It takes time, though, to learn as an actor of how to get to that place. Of practicing enough to train your brain that it's okay to access that color or pursue that emotional response. It's very odd, strange and wonderful thing to be onstage, but I digress a little.

Last month, I had the pleasure of singing on a fantastic flamenco-themed concert. I love any kind of Latin/Spanish/"exotic" sounding music, and this was a super fun gig for me. However, that said, it took a great deal of focus for me to get out of my own head and "let go" into some of the parts of the concert...namely, the Carmen excerpts I had to sing. Not only was this all "concert style" (read: no sets nor costumes to fall back on), but I was the ONLY singer. That was a first for me...thrilling as it was, I knew I had to bring my "A" game to this one, and quite frankly, Carmen's naked sensuality - naked in the sense that her sensuousness is so open and public - scared me a little. I - in my own life - definitely have that side, but am not quite so laid bare in public, as it were. (Ah - the introvert strikes again!) So, I was mulling all of this over one day on my hour-long drive out to rehearsal...really trying to get inside of my head and Carmen's psyche, and seeing where the twain should meet up - or not, perhaps, and a few things dawned on me:
1. It had been a LONG time since I had had to play that particular seductive color onstage. Mostly? I am the old ladies; the nurses; the crazy folks; the best friend...all those characters are close to my surface, ready to be brought forth fairly easily. Carmen? She was in there somewhere - I just had to dig her out from under all those other people.
2. A word of advice from my voice teacher: just let go. Just let go! Let go and don't watch yourself - just - sing the hell of it.
3. A word of advice as posted on my facebook: "Say yes, to everything"; so I said yes to Carmen, yes to taking the time to envision the life of an olive-skinned gypsy; yes to spending time with a fringed mantilla, learning how to not get it tangled on my head when I swished it around; yes to walking around my home with flamenco music playing until I could easily transition my walk from blond-blue-eyed-protestant-raised-opera-singer to a more earthy-gypsy-pelvis-driven-cigarette-factory-worker's sway; and yes to finally letting go.

And I had SO much fun come showtime.

25 February 2011

the final countdown

...more than just a great song.

I'm in the final (final?) countdown of the move. The pods are in storage. Ecohaul has taken away the crappe accumulated over 10+ years. And I sit in a very echo-y place typing this and putting off (for one night) the rest of the sorting-through-of-important-papers I need to do.

I fly out Monday. Only to be back at the end of the month with my dad (he's coming for a business trip) to have a little respite time, too, for him from mom.

I am...equal parts excited, happy, nervous, optimistic, curious, stressed and ready for this move. Still have a lot of unknowns as to some of the details...but they will work out.

Time for bed. But first, check THIS out.

23 February 2011

flotsam and jetsam

bubble wrap (therapeutic or annoying?) box tops miscellaneous buttons
there's that 9-volt I needed for the smoke detector at 2am
why did I keep so many old Christmas cards?

tools . . . scattered willy-nilly . . . but why don't I have that stupid little ikea key anymore? flashlights and earthquake kits (safety first!)
I. am. RICH! in pennies

clothes shoes bags wine paper paper paper paper papers!!
oh god, the toiletries. gotta figure out what to do with those.
and when did I amass duplicate assorted cleaning supplies?

jewelry watch ooh forgot about that piece forbidden rock from the middle of a park
matchless socks (bad dryer!) and old t-shirts (great for packing)

now is the tedious part.
sifting, sorting, recycling, trashing. good thing I still have some tunes. and some time. uh oh I'm out of tape. but not boxes.
locks, cards, markers, albums, photos, coasters, pens, memories

...where the eff are my keys?

14 February 2011

rambling 0100 thoughts

I am always high on adrenaline after performances, and tonight is no different.

It's late, I should be asleep, but I have not *quite* hit my wall just yet. Tonight's performance went well (excerpts from "Carmen" and soloist for "El Amor Brujo"), and I had a ton of fun. Mostly because it's fun music, but also because the gigs have been a little sparse since October (but mostly due to two being canceled, and one which I had to step out of in order to travel back/forth so much.)

Anyway. It felt good. I feel good...I feel inspired to tackle the applications for two upcoming CO auditions, which I hope to be granted a time slot for...gotta keep up this momentum! wheee!

Love to you all out there on this Valentine's Day! Is it weird to sing Carmen on Valentine's eve? hahaha (L'amour est un oiseaux rebelle...love is a rebellious bird?)

05 February 2011

On Floyd

Floyd is my mother’s four-wheeled walker. He’s bright cherry red and can be found in various corners of our house often having carried off Mom’s insulin, water glass, or any number of other assorted trinkets. He’s a well-behaved piece of mechanics: he never talks back, is always glad to help out, and is – thank goodness! – house trained.

Floyd’s name was my father’s idea. We are big fans of the comic strip Maxine in our household, and Maxine has a dog called Floyd. When Mom came home from the hospital on December 31, we decided the walker needed a name. It sounds much more agreeable, and much less “old”, to ask mom where Floyd is rather than “Where’s your walker, mama? You shouldn’t be wandering around without it!” My dad, who saves his Maxine-A-Day calendars every year, decided upon Floyd. Why would it be called anything else?

(Side note: my mother has a second 4WD walker, Walker Texas Ranger. He is black, and lives in the garage for car trips. This was the walker my mother used in the hospital, and on the day she came home, it was so slushy outside that the wheels got all gross, so WTR has been relegated to the role of outside pet. Additionally, he has a Harley Davidson emblem taped to the front of him; Mom always said she wanted a Harley.)

Over the past couple weeks at home in Denver, I’ve spent countless hours talking about, or directly to, Floyd. “You can’t go that way with Floyd, mom, you have to go around the other direction; your oxygen line is not long enough to go the long way.” “Where’s Floyd?” “FLOYYYYYD, where are you?" “Don’t forget about Floyd.” “Good dog.” Oh yes, he has become the family pet, albeit one that takes very little effort, which is a good thing – since his owner takes considerably more effort to keep fed, medicated, bandaged and comfortable.

The next order of business for Floyd is to find him some flair to complement his bright red paint job. He’s been a faithful servant to date, and I think he deserves a little bling. I wonder if MTV could be convinced to Pimp His Ride (is that TV show even on anymore?)

As I type this, seated on a plane back to SF for a final concert and packing-up of my home there, my thoughts drift to Floyd, and the precious woman to whom he belongs. Carry on, good Floyd, and keep up the good work.