Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Time for a Post

Nothing exciting is going on. I'm sitting on the couch under my chenille blanket watching Olivia play Wii tennis. Trent is munching on a bag of Christmas M&Ms. The last time I wrote on this blog was Labor Day. Where did that time go? To all my loyal readers (do I have any loyal readers?) I apologize for keeping you waiting so long. I have discovered Facebook, so if you are hungry for more interesting nuggets and more photos about my life, visit me there. Christmas is in 20 days. I haven't done any shopping yet, how about you? I have this fantasy that I will force myself into getting all of my shopping done in ONE DAY. No consternation about what to buy. Just one day to decide and shop for everyone on my list. Think it will happen? I also have a fantasy of going on a cruise over Christmas vacation. Somewhere warm and sunny and oceany. That would be wonderful. Mmmmmmm.... Now Olivia is bowling on Wii. I love the sound effects, the country music in the background, the sound of the ball hitting the pins. Just like the real thing. Okay, now she is boxing. My daughter is a tough cookie. You go, girl!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day at the beach

We bid farewell to summer at Lake Michigan this weekend. My cousin lives in Ogden Dunes and our whole family visits every Labor Day. It's become a tradition. Olivia and her cousins love it. We love it. We laugh a lot with our family. There are enough adults there to allow the parents to steal away a few moments to take a walk on the beach. Our walk is a mini-movie inside me sand, sunset behind Chicago, miniature like a city inside a snow globe, so far across the Lake from us...the light changing every every sky turns red before giving way to a darkening blue...pebbles sink under my wet feet. A reggae band is playing at the beach party...we meld with the crowd swaying gently to the rhythm...then it's time to go back to our family, our stolen moments have come to an end for now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drum Corps Captured Her Imagination and Changed Her Life

This article appeared in the August 9, 2008 edition of the Herald-Times, Bloomington, IN

There is a unique phenomenon rolling into my town very soon, in the form of large coach buses driving through our streets, brass music and percussive rhythms, and ensembles of 100+ sun-baked young people on local football fields repeating choreographed movements and musical passages, putting the finishing touches on the performances they have been working on since winter.

All these buses and young people will converge on Memorial Stadium for three days in August, the culmination of many hours of sweat, hard work, and pushing themselves further than they could possibly imagine. They will compete for the crown jewel of their activity: the Drum and Bugle Corps World Championship.

I was first introduced to Drum Corps in 1979, the summer before my seventh grade year, at the Drum Corps Midwest Championships in Whitewater Wisconsin. I will never forget the feeling that swept over me when my family and I entered Warhawk stadium. A corps by the name of The Troopers from Casper, Wyoming was on the field, and they produced a brass sound so rich, so bright, and so LOUD, that it raised the hair on my arms. When we found our seats I was treated to a visual delight as well. Their show was based on a civil war theme, which befitted their uniforms, and I remember their color guard forming a circle around the flag and saluting. I was captivated by this focal point and how it created a climax of the performance. I was sold on drum corps from the very start.

Back at home, I listened to homemade recordings of the shows and memorized each corps’ repertoire. This educated me about classical, jazz, broadway, and contemporary music. I watched video tapes of the performances and taught myself the choreography, learning the beauty of how movement and music can intertwine.

I auditioned for the Bloomington-based Star of Indiana in 1986. As a member of the color guard, it was thrilling to perform to this electricity. It energized me and allowed me to persist for many days of 12, sometimes 16-hour practice sessions. I was in the best physical shape of my entire life. I learned valuable lessons from our talented staff, especially George Zingali, our visual designer. His passion for the activity was contagious. He taught me to approach each performance as if it were my last, to put my heart and soul into it, and to consistently put forth my best effort. His fast evolving, curvilinear designs on the field revolutionized the activity from the military formations to the artistic realms it explores today. These shows are full of tension and release, subtlety and climax – a hallmark of this activity that has entertained audiences since the beginning.

So the Drum Corps are coming to town! Be ready! Enjoy this special opportunity to experience this unique performance art form. The Troopers will be here – in fact, they are celebrating their 50th anniversary season this year.

Our family returned to Whitewater for several summers. I remember walking through the souvenir stand area behind the stadium one year, telling myself, “Someday I will marry someone that knows and loves drum corps.” This was more prophetic that I could have imagined: my husband Trent knows and loves drum corps. We met in 1986 as fellow corps members.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heart in the Sky

Yesterday while Olivia and I were driving through the parking lot at the mall, she spotted this heart shaped cloud. It was a puffy fluffy cottony heart right there in the blue sky. Its shape was changing quickly - shortly after I snapped this image with my cell phone it had evolved into something more abstract. I was happy she spotted it when she did. Reminds me of the painter on public television who painted "happy clouds." Remember him? What was his name? Jim-something? If anyone knows, please post a comment.

A safe and happy 4th of July to everyone!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chance Encounter with American Idol, David Cook

Olivia and I have been HUGE AI fans for the past 3 seasons - and HUGE HUGE David Cook fans this year. I had to share this story...

We were at the Indianapolis airport - very early - Sunday the 8th of June. Because of the severe flooding going on, both of our normal routes to the airport were closed. We had to take a LONG detour and we weren't even sure if this route was open. Information about road conditions was very sketchy at that point, but that's another story...

Anyway, we arrived at the airport way early, and I was trying to catch a cat nap at our gate while we waited for our plane when my husband said, "that's David Cook." I was like, "yeah, very funny, is the Easter Bunny here too?" Then he said, "No, really." I bolted straight up and fumbled for my glasses and SURE ENOUGH - I saw THE HAT - and it was HIM - being escorted by an airport person into a restaurant for breakfast. My heart started POUNDING. Olivia and I started jumping up and down. I was freaking out because literally if someone had asked me to pick which celebrity I would most like to meet it would have been David Cook!!! I know that might sound shallow, but it's the honest truth. Yes, I'm letting my inner teenager out! Totally seredipitous....and it just so happened that I had purchased a copy of the June 16 People Magazine when we got to the airport - the one with a nice photo spread and article about him - but little did I know I was going to have it autographed!!!

The waitress told the small group of fans gathering that DC would meet with us when he was finished (he was sitting at a secluded table out of our view). So we waited patiently and I gathered a SHARPIE and my camera and we went back down about 30 minutes later. The crowd of fans had grown, but was still not too large - thankfully our gate was at the end of a wing, so there weren't a lot of people around, and it was only about 6:30AM. I noticed a flight to LA was departing at 7:00 and knew that must be his (we were going to San Fran). So then, (I apologize if this is too long, I just don't want to leave anything out) he came out and said, "how's' it goin" to us and we all laughed. Then he proceeded to sign autographs and pose for photos with every single person who requested them. He was wearing his hat, as I mentioned, and a t-shirt with a really cool vest, and of course, the boots. Someone asked how Adam (his older brother who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor) was doing, and he said great, and the had been in IN visiting family for a birthday celebration. The fangirl in me wanted to go up and hug him and have my photo taken with him,but I decided to restrain myself and take Olivia's photo with him instead. When it was our turn, a lady pushed in from the side, saying "would you pose with an older lady?" And here is a testament to DC's character: he said he sure would, but this young lady was next in line. And he motioned for Olivia. And I snapped the photo. Then I asked if he would autograph my People magazine and while he did, he joked about how his dad had been giving him a hard time about the article. Very humble about it. And finally, I congratulated him on his AI win. It was really great to be able to tell him that in person, because his performances were very inspiring to me. We were floating on Cloud 9 - I couldn't believe how fortunate we had been. What a thrill.

Then, part 2 of the story is....when we got to our hotel in San Fran, we realized we had lost our camera - the one with THE PHOTO. I was heartbroken. I started thinking that this was a sign that I was too old for this kind of nonsense and I should start acting my age. But I kept hoping and praying it would turn up. We got hotel security and the taxi company involved, and sure enough, three days later, the taxi company called and said they HAD MY CAMERA! I immediately checked, and yes, THE PHOTO was still on there!!!!

I hope you enjoyed this rather long account of the day my daughter and I met David Cook. And yes, we purchased our tickets for the Idol concert in Indy - before the finale was over! Have a great day, and keep the faith. Have a question in mind for David - or whomever your favorite celebrity is - you never know when you might get the chance to meet him or her!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


The show is over. For two full months, I was mother to The Scarecrow.

Olivia did a great job. She had over 80 lines to memorize! We spent many days at home practicing with the script in hand. We even recruited one of Olivia's closest friends to help out by reading Dorothy's part (She thought she was coming over for a playdate). It takes a village to learn a script!

I wanted to post this photo from her first scene, before Dorothy comes and releases her. (This photo makes me wonder if Scarecrow symbolized a Christ figure in the story??? Maybe I'm getting too deep here.)

After the show, we had lots of family join us at our house for dinner in our partially-finished kitchen. Everyone marveled at the new openness, space, and light. It was very reinforcing for all our efforts - and encouraged us to move forward.

Today, Trent is hoping to hang the pendant lights we picked out this week. I'll post a photo soon to show our progress.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Electrical Over Peninsula"

We’re remodeling our kitchen.

I’m amazed at how my kitchen being in disarray affects my mood. I am off center, grouchy. I think my inner compass must be aligned with my kitchen.

The finished product seems very far off. I miss my husband; it’s hard for him to be a husband and a drywaller, painter, and contractor. He enjoys the work; he never complains; he just quietly and steadily gets it done. I find myself struggling with balancing the long term goal of a beautiful kitchen with the need to sacrifice the short term (instant) gratification I receive when I have his undivided attention. In other words, I miss him.

I don't know if I'm being helpful or controlling sometimes. I feel it’s necessary each weekend morning to write down a master list of items for him to do. For example, today’s list says 1. Hang cabinet on fridge wall, 2. Bust out wall, 3. Electrical over peninsula, 4. Trim opening – 2x4 framing, 5. Shop for lights, countertop, 6. Install lights, 7. Patch floor. My list could probably be thrown in the trash, but Trent never says a word. I miss him. When he’s occupied with the kitchen, he doesn’t pay attention to me. I feel disconnected like the wiring in our dining room.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gifts and Fog

It's time to shake off the holiday fog.

I had a really, really good holiday break. The family get-togethers were spaced out more this year, so I had a chance to catch my breath in between each one. I had quality time with my husband and daughter, too, even though I can think of many more things I wish we had done. We did manage to play a game of "Horseopoly" that spanned over the course of two evenings at our card table in front of the fireplace. I won, mostly due to the acquisition of "Thoroughbred" and "Saddlebred," the Horseopoly equivalent of Boardwalk and Park Place, then gradually developed them with "stables," (the Horseopoly equivalent of hotels). Olivia, our horse lover, was just happy to have the opportunity to buy horses, playing out out in fantasy what she has been asking us for ever since she began riding lessons in August.

On New Year's Eve, we attended the local professional theatre production of Oliver! which was truly wonderful. What a gift to see such a high-caliber production in the local, intimate setting of the Buskirk-Chumley theatre. We waited until the day before to buy our tickets, so we were in the back row on the bottom level. At first I grumbled about the seats, but they were unobstructed, and because the performers were miked, we could hear just fine. I have to admit I was losing my patience with a boy in front of us whose family allowed to leave his seat several times. He had lights on his shoes that flashed every time he ran past us to the door, which he opened noisily as he ran back and forth between the lobby and his seat. He also was allowed to talk and whine during the performance. Out of my frustration, I shot a "shhhhhh" in their direction a couple of times, but it didn't seem to help much. Then, during the climax of the show, he surprisingly called out, "run, Oliver!" which revealed he must have been paying attention after all, at least enough to cheer for the hero. Somehow it was sweet, and several of us chuckled as we cheered for Oliver along with him. He redeemed himself (and his caregivers).

My family and I also received a gift from nature this holiday season. Toward the end of one of our family gatherings at a retreat center in southern Indiana, we decided to take a walk before the sun completely set. As we made our way down the road, we heard an owl call. Olivia quickly identified it - a barred owl, with its distinctive "WHO COOKS FOR YOU?" sound. We looked at one another in amazement. This was no small deal. You see, we have been trying to hear owls for well over a year now, ever since Olivia became fascinated with them in third grade. We've attended State Park and local Parks and Recreation naturalist programs. We've listened each time we visit my parents in Brown County, but to no avail. Until this time. The practicing Olivia had done on her owl calls paid off, because she was able to call back and the owl responded to her call. I marveled at this brief, amazing conversation between my daughter and an owl. 

So the gifts came, some in packages, some in loved ones' responses to gifts given, some in community, some in private. Some with a human touch, others with no effort made. No effort other than being in the right place at the right time. And now, it's time to transition back into my life routine, the routine that involves packing lunch each morning, getting to the bus stop in time, working, securing work projects, making space for writing, school events and meetings, and yearning for the next vacation. It takes a vacation to make me appreciate my routine, and it takes my routine to make me appreciate a vacation. Most likely a universal thing on this human plane.  Happy New Year everyone!