Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanking Thankful Thanks

I am thankful for this wonderful home I've made with my best friend. Our apartment is warm and cozy. Our kitchen is full of good smells, our couch is full of blankets and snuggly cats, our lives are full of laughter and sometimes screams of terror (because Ann and I are fucking crazy, if you haven't noticed). My years living here have been some of the happiest of my life, and I know I will miss them long after they are gone.

Not only am I able to support my artistic career with day jobs, but I am able to do so with day jobs that I love. Leasing apartments lets me interact with people (which fills my extroverted little heart with glee), many of whom come from all over the world; helps me give back to the apartment community I love, and provides me with ample down time in between appointments where I can just hang out on my couch and read. Walking dogs seems like a magical wonder-job dreamed up just for me. I've learned so much about dog training and handling. I love when an abused, frightened dog chooses to trust and bond to me; I love the challenge of working with dominant, potentially dangerous dogs and learning to do so without fear. I love the amount of exercise I get every day. I love being outside. I mean, come on. I literally get paid to play with puppies all day.

And - I get to act. I get to be a professional story teller. Nothing on earth makes me feel more alive than getting inside someone else's head and helping others see things from their shoes. I've made people laugh and cry, I've made people love me and hate me, I've been ugly and I've been beautiful, I've been strong and I've been broken. When I was a very little kid, the first thing I remember telling people I wanted to be was an actor. And I grew up, and that's what I did.

I live in an area with a vast array of food choices. I can buy food without GMOs, organic food, vegetarian and vegan food, local food, food straight from the farmer, exotic food from all over the world, high quality ingredients, gluten-free food, dairy alternatives, food made by people who really love food. I love how health-conscious DC is, and I love that there are so many people here who are as passionate about food as I am.

My friends are brilliant and perfect and gorgeous. I've found people who get my weird ass sense of humor and make me laugh until I can't breathe. I have friends who I know will love me at my worst, support me at my weakest, and whom I want to love and support. I have friends I rarely hear from who will send me a sweet message when they know I'm sad, or are just thinking of me, and it brightens my day so much. My friends are intelligent and passionate. They are the kind of people who have been filling up my newsfeed with daily Thanksgiving posts of their own. I have friends of different ages, races, political opinions, spiritual beliefs, socio-economic statuses, cultures, and lifestyles. They make my life richer and they make me better.

I have a father who raised me to believe there was nothing I couldn't do, who taught his daughter about tools and carpentry and campfires and bugs and playing in the dirt just like he would have a son,  who taught me to be brave and strong and to have a sense of honor. I have a mother who is endlessly patient, a careful listener, and an amazingly resilient woman who taught me to love endlessly, to never judge, to value everyone's opinion, to give with everything I have. I have a sister who never tires of sharing deep philosophical Harry Potter conversations with me, who I can call at any time to share one of our hundreds of inside jokes and know she will find it just as hilarious as she did the first time, who stands up for me when I'm too unsure to stand up for myself, who somewhere along the way went from being my annoying little sister to my best friend. I have a grandmother who believes in growth and change even at eighty-seven years of age; who, despite growing up on a North Carolina farm in a time and place of racism and misogyny, voted for Obama because of his stances on women's and gay rights; who is my ultimate inspiration for aging without losing curiosity and joy. I have aunts and uncles and cousins, some who are very similar to me, and some who are very different - but who all find ways to bond and connect with me, and who love and support me.

I have this blog, this little corner of the internet, where I can share my thoughts. Good friends read it, acquaintances I didn't realize still thought of me read it, strangers read it. This blog is quite small in the scheme of the blogisphere, but I am so grateful to all of you who stop by here and check up on my life and thoughts. I can't tell you just how much it means to me.

I live in a country where I can make change happen, by voting with my ballot and my wallet, by protesting, by signing petitions, by sharing my opinions through public social media without fear of arrest or prosecution. There are many place in the world where that is not the case, and I am deeply grateful for this privilege.

I have a skinny orange knock-kneed cat I adopted because I was afraid no one else would, who was unfriendly and aloof for an entire year, who eventually warmed up to me and became a more devoted and loving little pet than I ever could have imagined. I have a very sweet, very stupid, very tiny cat with the softest, most beautiful fur, who runs around and breaks my things and meows nonstop and constantly tries to jump into the dishwasher/fridge/oven and sometimes wakes me up by knocking a lamp on my head, but snuggles right up next to my face every night, and who loves nothing more than being rocked like a baby, carried around my apartment with her head on my shoulder until she purs herself to sleep. I have the most loving little elderly rat who snuggles into my pockets and does his little rat purr as I scratch behind his ears, peeing on me all the while.

I have a healthy, strong, bendy body that can do all sorts of things. It can dance around and run and climb up high and perch (and then be terrified to come down) and stretch and hug and have sex (heh) and see and hear and taste and smell and touch. It is a wonderful vehicle to experience the world through.

I spend most of my life very, very happy. There are so many things that bring me joy. I feel overwhelmed by how much love and beauty exists. There is a lot of bad in this world, but there is so much good. I'm thankful I can see it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here's Some Crap I've Been Up To Lately

Since last we spake, I have been involved in 2 theater projects. First, I assistant directed my friend Jason for a short piece of three ten-minute plays. Having no directorial experience whatsoever, I pretty much fell into this position, a la the following:

Jason: Want to be a reader for auditions tonight?
Me: Sure. Why not.

Jason: Want to stick around for callbacks and help me cast?
Me: Sure. Why not.

Jason: That was fun. Want to AD?
Me: I absolutely do not have time to. But sure. Why not.

I had to miss the last week of rehearsals and the one performance due to theater project number two, which was a bummer (missing the rehearsals/show, not working on the 2nd project). Half of the cast was people I'm already friends with, the other half was delightful, and they were all great actors, so all in all the experience was quite marvelous for me.

The second project is a play with Venus Theatre called Claudie Hukill.

It's the first time in a few years since I've worked with a cast of such ranging ages, and I really like it. We've got a cast of good listeners, and I'm loving doing scene work with everyone. I think our chemistry is already strong, and I'm looking forward to digging deeper into our characters' relationships.  Also, working with a smart director is always wonderful, and that is definitely Deb :)

So yeah. If the idea of me desperately trying to speak in a Boston accent while the rest of the cast uses a West Virginian accent sounds amusing to you, you should come see it. 


I am getting a little crazily excited for Thanksgiving.

Here's the thing. Everyone always shits all over Thanksgiving. Halloween gets so much hype (rightfully so), and Christmas gets even more hype (naturally), but THEN everyone decides they are just SO DAMN EXCITED about Christmas, they steamroll Thanksgiving and bust out the Christmas crap Nov. 1. And I'm aware it's mostly retailers that are responsible for this, but you know a few of you out there allow yourselves a Christmassy thing or two before Black Friday.

There are several major qualms I have with this. First of all, I have OCD (actually though, as in I've been medicated for it) and have many rules about how I think the world should behave. For example, you can begin celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. And no one celebrates Christmas like me. I go ape-shit on Christmas. I listen to nothing by Christmas music for the entire month, I watch a minimum of three Christmas movies every week, I bake cookies and roast chestnuts, I obsess over Christmas presents, I decorate, I change the lyrics to carols to make them about my pets and sing to them all day around the apartment. It's a little intense. But I wait until the day after Thanksgiving like a FUCKING SANE PERSON. 

Because Thanksgiving is wonderful. I get to spend time with my family (whom I adore), I get to happily think of all the fantastic things in my life that I'm grateful for, I get to enjoy the last bit of autumn, and, best of all, I get to cook for people. (Food is my favorite thing. Cooking is my favorite thing. Cooking for other people is my favorite thing. Nothing makes me happier than showing people I love them by making them tasty food. That, and knitting them scarves.) I have been scouring the internet, my cookbooks, and the absurd number of foodie magazines I hoard collect for the past couple weeks, trying to decide what recipes I want to try out on my family. 

So please. Don't let Christmas be a greedy bitch. Thanksgiving is just the nicest.


If you don't follow Ann and (her brother) Shawn's blog, Sibling and Charybdis, it is possible that you are an idiot (because they are brilliant and hilarious and you should follow it, duh). It is also possible that you missed this.

And on that note, I am going to go eat some brussels sprouts. Peace out, bitchlets.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ingrid Michaelson Is My Soul-Twin

The audio and video get a little out of sync at the end, but my new computer is apparently incapable of filming a video correctly... so I'm sorry, internet, but you'll just have to deal. And please pardon the crash at one point. It was Stella doing something terrible. Other than that, enjoy!