Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions 2014

I am not about setting goals about what I want to become... I figure I'll become exactly who I become.

My resolutions are about actions I want to participate in and focus on in 2014.

1) I want to write about 12 different events from my life. I'm going to spend a month writing about each topic/moment/event. I'm going to focus my writing and develop my style. And by the end of the year, I'll have written 12 chapters in my book of life! I will spend 2 hours a week working on this.

2) I have a giant crock pot. It's getting dusty. I'm going to use it once a week. I will try a new recipe at least once a month.

3) I'm going to move every day for 20 minutes. It could be dancing around the room, walking, juggling, moonwalking, skipping through the mall, or playing hopscotch. I just want to move every day for 20 minutes.

4) Socialize. I'm going to go out on a date or go to an event with single people around my age once a month.

5) Keep Gratiblogging. It's been a lot of fun. Why not keep going?

What new things do you want to try this year? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013--The Gratitude Year

This year, I just set one goal. I wanted to blog daily about my gratitude.

The really interesting thing is--the days I didn't blog were generally days I was too busy.  The blogging helped me to shift and focus and move forward. The very fact that I didn't blog on certain days is proof that the experiment was successful.

So how do you wrap up a year like 2013?

With words, of course.

Top Moments of 2013

1) Stabbing my lover to death with a garden hoe behind a couch in Reefer Madness and then belting my guts out with blood running down my arms. The lighting was perfect. I was a hot mess. It was one of those moments you dream about.

2) Sitting in the soundbooth, listening to the cast of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown nail their harmonies in "Book Report" while Snoopy hung like Jesus on the Cross from the top of the slide. Super satisfying for a music director.

3) Standing at the bottom of the escalator watching my brother Nick and my Uncle Tom walk towards the rest of the family after Nick's LDS Mission to Stockholm, Sweden. I didn't realize until that moment how much we all had missed him.

4) Singing with family and friends for family and friends at Le Jardin at my Autumn Song Concert in November. I made myself make it personal, and it was. Ben Mayfield was masterful on the piano, the audience was with me for every song, and I got to perform with some of my favorite people. It was magic.

5) Being on the set of Stop Pepper Palmer. It was so hot. I was so nervous. It was so gratifying to use my training to calm myself down, to listen, to react, to embrace stillness-while still being a part of the action. I got to work with amazing people. The whole experience was just amazing.

6) Standing in the middle of the dancers in my super awesome corset in Carousel.  I don't ever dance on stage, despite the fact that I was born under a dancing star. I move. I got to move with such glorious purpose while bodies turned like carousel horses around me.

7) Watching and listening to the beautiful cast of Avenue Q. Night after night.

8) Like a good little capitalist--I thoroughly enjoyed setting records and meeting goals at work! I love being a manager.

9) I'm in the middle of letting myself unmask. Right now, it still feels safer to hide everything I am. But I've learned this year that unmasking is not only safe, but inevitable. And it won't happen too late. It will happen exactly when it needs to. In my own perfect time.

10) Being in the temple. Seeing my parents as temple workers in the Brigham City temple, peak around the corner while I held my grandma's arm. Learning. So. Much. Feeling the spirit of my father's grandmother Esther. Experiencing a powerful "coincidence" for the third time. 

11) Singing with the church choir.

12) Talking to my dad about God and love.

13) Connecting with dear friends.

It has been a wonderful year. I am overwhelmed by my blessings.

Thank you for being a part of this year with me.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bad Brain

Christmas was fantastic. Seriously. I love my family. Fantastic day!

This post isn't about that.

This post is about how my brain stopped working in two very important moments this week,

It started when I thought Christmas was on Tuesday.

I had it in my mind that I had to work the day after Christmas--on Wednesday.

I completely spaced that I have Thursdays off.

I told everyone I'd be back on Thursday. I planned everything around working on Thursday.

It worked out great. I was able to spend Christmas morning and lunch with my family in Tremonton and then head back to Salt Lake to spend Christmas evening/birthday with my dad--who turned 61 yesterday!

But I wasn't scheduled to work today.

When it finally dawned on me that I had two days off--I called the other manager and told him to enjoy a day off. I already had it in my mind to work. There's no undoing it now.

But who does that? Who completely spaces these things?

Apparently, I do.

As I was leaving for Tremonton on Tuesday, I threw all my laundry into the laundry bag and grabbed a few other things. I was showered and looking good. I was so excited to stop by my grandma's house and enjoy a Christmas Eve lunch with her. I thought to myself, "Self, Did you forget anything?" And I really really thought I hadn't. I had the presents wrapped in the trunk. Everything was ready to go...

It wasn't until I was getting into bed that night that I remembered my CPAP machine.

Those of you who sleep with a CPAP machine are now gasping in horror. You know this moment. You've been here before.

I stared at the pillows and tried to figure out how on earth I was going to sleep without the machine.

Sure, I slept for 33 years without a CPAP machine... I think.

I tried sleeping with one pillow, with two pillows, sitting up, on my back, on my side, mouth open, mouth closed, in the pitch black, in the silence, with netflix going on my phone, with the light on. I would fall asleep for 15 minutes and jerk myself awake when I stopped breathing. I finally gave up and just watched TV for a few hours, falling asleep for a few minutes at a time. I think I actually slept for a couple of hours in there, but I was absolutely exhausted all of Christmas day.

When I went to bed last night, in my own bed, and I put that sweet beautiful mask on my face--oh the sweet sweet joy. I slept like a rock from 11pm until 7am. It was so good!

So why does this happen? How do you completely forget two things like a day off and the machine that makes it so you're not a walking zombie?

Today, I'm grateful for sleep and for the extra money from working on my day off. Merry Christmas everybody!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Allowing Magic

Last night I watched Saving Mr. Banks.

It's good. It's subtle. The magic in the show is in admitting the need for magic.

The theme seems to be that across the board, we all need more magic. So we rewrite our stories and add flying laughter and dancing penguins.

Too many times we revel in the reality of our struggle. We remove the magic from our day and think we're doing ourselves and everyone else a favor. That somehow by eradicating faith and hope, we are somehow further along.

Right now, I'm in a place where I feel acute reality. Still poor. Still fat. Still relatively bummed. I keep remembering sad times. My mind lights upon betrayals and the hurt that friends feel.

I'm filled with anger towards selfish people who who hurt my friends. I am seething over friends who choose selfishness and cling to every excuse possible for not growing up. I'm disappointed in my own wrong choices and hurtful behavior.

My mind is crowded with resentment and disappointment.

I need magic. I need to make room for dancing penguins. I need to let go of the sadness and the anger. I need a flying umbrella and to fly to the top of the ceiling with laughter.

But I don't want it right now. Right now, I just want to curl up and sleep. I want to cut myself off.

So how do you want the magic when you know you need it? How do you let the anger go? How do you ignore all the stupid people in the world?

Today I'm grateful for answers that will surely come. I'm grateful for dancing penguins and people dedicated to changing the story. I'm grateful for the desire that will surely well up inside of me as I allow it. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Heart Full, Tummy Empty

It's been a while since I really wrote... And catching up is NOT going to happen.

Right now. I'm feeling this weird emptiness that comes during the aftermath of an illness.

I use the word aftermath optimistically. It was a rough illness.

They say pain is forgettable. I remember it pretty clearly though. Constant, sharp, pain.

It overwhelmed me. It pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I like eating, a lot. I couldn't eat for a week, without pain.

Needless to say, I didn't eat a lot.

I read that the stomach will actually fold up on itself when it's completely empty. I'm still pretty uninspired by food in general.

You wanna lose weight? Give yourself shocking pain every time you take a bite of anything.

The fever is gone now, the fatigue is gone, the headaches are gone. The mouth pain persists. I'm excited to see how much weight I'll lose! So far, it's 20 pounds during the past week.

And for that, I am grateful.

I get to sing in church on Sunday for Christmas, and I'm going to look good in my dress!


There's a new show on TV called...

I love this show for a few reasons.

1) It shows that fat and skinny girls suffer from the same insecurities. 

2) The stories show great behavior on the part of men. In one particular storyline, a guy that the main character is about to hook up with in a hotel room discovers she's never had sex before. Instead of taking advantage of her new adventurousness, he refrains and offers to take her out on a nice date later. It's pretty cool to see that kind of chivalry on television. So far, I've seen three awesome guys on this show. 

3) It is hilarious and encouraging. The storylines and the characters. It makes me feel better about my life and the world in general. 


Sunday, I was part of producing two big Christmas events--the Parley's 7th Ward Christmas Program and The Midvale Main Street Theatre Christmas Party. Being frightfully ill, I fell in my responsibilities. 

At church, our fearless music leader, Stephanie, stepped up to the plate and translated an amazing story about "Silent Night". Our Choir Director played, conducted, and helped us present beautiful musical numbers for the ward. Our narrators were wonderful. And the congregation filled the tabernacle with their beautiful heartfelt voices.

At the theatre, I heard great things! I shirked. The technical guru Jennifer took over the event after I groggily passed info on all the performers onto her. It was a pretty horrible thing to do someone at the last moment.  But, like most things at Midvale Main Street Theatre, it was an event filled with laughter, love, and generosity. Everyone who came brought money to donate to a needy family. 


During the illness of all illnesses...

I have felt supported and loved. 

On Friday morning, I felt my Heavenly Father's love come into my heart. I felt inspired with the thoughts that he had blessed certain friends to bring over specific remedies and that I would be given everything I needed to recover. And a package arrived from an old friend from elementary school. Another friend brought over herbs and oils. Other friends brought over gatorade and broth. 

My dad came over Saturday and helped me wash all my clothes and blankets. He vacuumed and did all the dishes. 

And I lost 20 pounds! 

Best. Detox. Ever!

I have a lot to be grateful for this month. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nick Stone

I love photography. I love capturing a moment. To me, photography honors the magic of the present. So much of our time is caught up in imagining the future and reliving the past. But there are precious instances that you watch yourself in a moment and realize that the only thing you have is this moment.

Nick Stone is one of my favorite photographers.

For a while, I got to take actor head shots while living in and around Washington, DC.

Well, now Nick Stone is living in Washington, DC. If you want photos taken by a pro who understands what actors need, who understands the technology and artistry behind the camera, and who has studied acting, theatre, and film--check him out.

I asked him to send me a few samples of his work.

I really should edit this post, but honestly, I can't hold back. These photos speak for themselves.

The man is an artist.

To message him or see more of his work, visit http://nickstonephoto.com/

Monday, December 2, 2013

Opportunities to Give

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat! Puhlease to put a penny in the old man's hat!

If you're looking for places to places to give your pennies, here are a few suggestions....

1) The 4th Street Clinic on the corner of 4th South and 4th West has a donor who is matching donations--$2 for every $1 you give--but only thru Dec 10th! They provide medical services for the very poor and starting in January they will be providing dental services.

2) Valley Mental Health--Store Front/Safe Haven--located at 550 West 700 South--provides housing and resources for the mentally ill. They're a great resource! They help people to find apartments where you only have to pay for 30% of your income. They will cover the rest. After that, you have 2 years to come up with the resources on your own to pay your rent.

3) The Rescue Mission--located across from the Maverick on 4th West and 5th South. They provide food and clothing for the homeless, but like most charities, they need cash as well.

All week, I've had grateful homeless friends come and talk about the many Thanksgiving blessings they received this past week. They had a big Thanksgiving feast at The Rescue Mission last Tuesday, where Governor Herbert served their food. On Wednesday, they enjoyed another big feast at the Energy Solutions Center where the Millers and the Utah Jazz players served the food, and on Thursday the Greek Orthodox Church served a big Thanksgiving Feast for lunch, and the Cathedral de Madeleine served a big Thanksgiving Supper that night. Various church groups have stopped by with hygiene kits, sack lunches, and one family even handed out $15 gift certificates to Denny's. I'm so happy to live in such a generous city.

I'm always most touched by the generosity among the homeless though. One gentleman received a $20 bill the other day, but felt inspired to give it to another homeless woman. She began to cry when she received it. He told me, "Every time I give something away, I get more blessings." If you keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities, God will provide the resources so that you can have the blessings of giving this holiday season.

Today, I am grateful for opportunities to give and for the good people of Salt Lake City!