Ya Got To Have Friends*

Once upon a time I left everything that I knew in my life, my friends, my family, my state, and I moved to Goshen, Indiana to join a touring children’s theatre called Bridgework Theatre.

I was recently divorced. In fact, I moved all of my furniture and things out of my married abode the weekend before I flew to Indiana. It was my first time to really travel alone. My first time to be in one of those tiny little puddle jumper planes. My first time to be dumped into a pile of strangers from across the world and got paid to be an actor.

I have so many stories from that time in my life, so many memories and I think of them often. I laugh to myself and think “it’s a good damn thing I did that in my 20s…because no way could I live like that today.”

It was the best decision I had made in my life thus far. And remains one of the best ones to this day.

That band of crazy that I joined back in the fall of 1997 was revisited today when Mike, Abby and their trio of awesome Sophie, Sara and Charlie stopped in OKC on their family summer road trip and got to spend a little time with me. They stopped by my office and we had a fun little tour of the Girl Scout council. Sophie has 4 years of GS under her belt and sister Sara is hoping to start with a troop this year! We walked around and met friends and laughed and hugged and maybe tried to talk eleventy miles a minute. We had some present-giving because no one visits Aunt Misti and leaves empty handed, right? Girl Scout shirts and patches and tattoos and of course cookies were doled out and then just like that I had to finish work and they had to get back on the road. Their stop tonight is in KCMO to see another Bridgework cast member and visit him.

It’s funny how people come into your life and leave an imprint so deep that years can go by without anything but a social media comment here or there and still it feels as fresh as the first day.  The three of us have seen each other face to face since our Indiana year, but even those visits have been years ago. Marriages have happened, movies have been made, careers have changed, children have been born and yet it felt just as fabulous and unexpected as it did one crazy halloween night many years ago with a mushroom pizza and Wallace & Grommet alarm clock.

More time. I want more time. These are people that are doing this life thing the right way. The kind of people you want to surround yourself with because they make you better.

I’m so grateful that at the end of this crazy week (thank you all so much for your prayers for my step-brother) an unexpected blast from the past reminded me of how great this life is.

Leap…and the net will appear.

And sometimes that net is chock full of these amazing friends that you get to keep.

*Friends by Bette Midler was the opening song in the first show Abby and I did for that theatre. We heard it six hundred and eleventyfivemillion times. But it still holds true.

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One Day At A Time

It’s a cliche, I know but that’s how we’ve been operating this week. One piece of information at a time, one more test, one more day. Mom and Burl are still here, they left early this morning for the hospital. We expect the results from the biopsy and other tests back today and that will determine the origin of Tim’s cancer and staging, that will inform the plan of action.

The cancer found in the brain, looks to be melanoma and they are scheduling radiation asap. So, forward motion. One day.

Today however, is a big one. So keep the thoughts and prayers coming won’t ya?

Taryn & Co arrive today. They’ll stay for the day/night. Bring Burl some more clothes and medications and take mom back home tomorrow. Beyond that, we’re just kind of waiting.

I went to the hospital for just a bit on my lunch yesterday and took them food. Tim had just got some better news so was feeling relieved. I’ll go back up this afternoon/evening.

So we are grateful for the good news that radiation begins asap.

We are grateful that MD Anderson will still take a patient who has started radiation elsewhere.

We are grateful for the faces of family around us.

We are grateful for one more day.

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Fucking Cancer

It was a super busy weekend. One of those where one event merged with the other to the point that by Sunday evening I was almost psychotic. Rambling texts trying to communicate but not doing anything but babbling. Mark and I both had work on Saturday, we had Carter Sampson scheduled for a house concert here Saturday night, LTYM alumni picnic on Sunday and Summerbreeze Sunday night. I didn’t make it to Summerbreeze, which is fine, because the tradeoff was getting to spend time with Mom & BonusDad who are in town.

It’s been a pretty rocky last week for my family. My step-brother was diagnosed with cancer, we are waiting details from tests and doctor visits this morning. Mom & Burl came in this weekend and are staying with us till they don’t need to anymore. I’ll not go into the details here, not today. Mostly because I don’t know what is speculation and what is true. But we’ve got some really positive ways this could go, once we find out a little more information about the case.  What I do know is that we are lifting Tim up, sending him love and energy and prayers for an outcome that is bright.

Mom and I got to talk last night, really and truly talk and that was such a gift. It was needed. Sometimes you just need to talk to your mom, right? She and I text all the time. A short phone conversation here and there. But those face to face talks are rare and precious. I’m so thankful that we got that. We are so much alike, we process the same hurts, the same wins. We got to talk about people in our lives who appear one way but in truth, are someone different.  I have some things to write about that but this morning isn’t the time. I need to be fair and try to discuss some things in an objective light. This morning all I want to do is say, “you’re being a bitch, and no one wants to be around you any more because of it.” Needless to say, we even though the circumstance is dire, we had a good visit. I miss my family. It felt good.

Burl was in the living room sitting on the couch (we haven’t moved the tv/stereo back from the concert) just staring at the walls. “I wanted to let the girls talk,” he said. What a good guy, this one.

I know they’re exhausted. Everyone is beside themselves with worry.

I pray for some positive outcomes from the tests and dr. visits today. Each time I start to think about it, I see this through the lens of cancer cases in the past. It takes me right back, gut punches, darkness. So I’m fighting to be positive and move forward.

So if you’ve got a moment or two today, send up a prayer for Tim. We would appreciate it so much.

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Getting It Right

There’s something to be said for saying, “no.”

For not having a calendar so full that is choking.

For being able to have those spontaneous “YES’s!”

This weekend has been one of those for us, and as I sat in the movies hiding from the 3D dinosaurs with one hand over my face and squeezing my husbands hand with the other I almost giggled out loud at how happy I was.

We biked all over our town this weekend. We enjoyed the 2nd Friday Downtown Artwalk. We saw friends and drank some beers with them. We participated in our community and I just relish it all.

Friday night, as we stood outside waiting for a table with our friends the weather shifted. We felt it change and looked at the weather app and decided that we needed to hustle it back home. We were on our bikes and it was the first night time ride for me and I was just a little nervous. We made it home and in-I kid you not- five minutes the sky opened up and started pouring.

Saturday was a day to ignore the house work, the laundry and the weekly chores. We were going to the movies. I was giddy. There we were, driving to north OKC to see Jurassic World in IMAX 3D because the Warren (closer to our house) was sold out. Once we arrived, the only seats were the very. front. row. Imax. 3D. 

And look, we tried it for a few previews. But I was getting so upset and just mad. Because I was excited for this and we drive 45 minutes and passed several theatres so we could do it this way and it wasn’t working out. When I finally mustered the “Let’s see it at another time” I just kind of held my breath expecting Mark to… I don’t know what exactly. Get mad or annoyed or respond in some negative fashion. Which is weird because that is not my husband at all, so it’s some natural instinct to expect the worst I guess.

And we went to another showing just a few minutes later and saw it in just normal 3D and we were in great seats and just like that it hit me at just how good it really is. I almost giggled out loud.

It has been one of those weekends that has felt light. And good.

The weight of the world is still there. The worry and the outside influences and the toxic people and the work frustrations and hurt feelings…they’re still out there waiting to pounce.

But this weekend we were just fine and dandy like a hard candy Christmas.

Sometimes it’s ok to say No in order to say Yes. It’s a lesson that I don’t get quite right all of the time, but it sure feels good when I do.

 

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Wheeeee!!!

I got a new bicycle this weekend!

Our neighbors who have deserted us for the beautiful world of Bend, Oregon decided to sell their bikes. Mark already has his that he likes and really before I came along he rarely drove anywhere and was always on his bike.

My biking experience has been…well I fall down. A Lot.

Most of my biking memories as a child involved our neighbor carrying me in one hand and my bike in the other and depositing my scraped, bloodied knees to my mom.

I’m not a great bike rider. I don’t think I ever really have been.

So yes, “it’s just like riding a bike” is a truth, but what if you were never great to begin with? I had doubts.

As an adult, I got a freebie from my friend Missy and S.P. and I spent some weeks that summer riding around Lake Heffner. That was awesome.

But I fell on the first day and had road rash and bloody limbs so bad that when I finished my ride and went to the store for bandages people were stopping asking if I needed help. Or an ambulance.

So still…not good. And that bike was mine and it was a dear and wonderful gift, but it never quite fit me. I didn’t know that at the time. But everything about riding it hurt. I would look at people who loved to hop on their bikes and ride around the city like they were crazy people. How could they actually ENJOY that?

And then on Friday night, after work, Mark and I walked down to our other neighbor’s house where this bike was being stored and I rode it.

Mark said, “I’ve never seen you smile like that before while riding a bike. You look so happy!”

And you guys? That bike fit. It didn’t hurt. Not my back or my arms or my whoo-ha. I rode and rode and didn’t realize it but fell in love. We went home and discussed the options. It’s a top of the line bike. So even with the really great deal that we got on it…it’s a chunk of money.

What if I only fell in love with the “idea” of riding a bike?

What if I could find that kind of feel on a bike several numbers lower? Wouldn’t that be just as good?

We talked and talked and talked and at the end of the night I had talked myself out of it. I sent a text to Julie and said that I would pass, knowing that she had other people interested in the bike, and I went to bed. Sad.

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early and went to several local bike shops here in town. I test rode several others of varying style and price points. I wanted to like the lesser bikes, I did. Because I have a hard time spending money on things for myself, and especially since I just had the wedding to end all weddings. It seems…grandiose. Unnecessary.

But it wasn’t just me. Mark made note that the minute I got on one of the other bikes I became unsure, wobbly, the bike rider he was used to seeing. It felt like a bra that was just a size off. I mean…I could make this work. We could be bike riders together on this bike. But in my mind I was already counting forward until I could get off and be finished with the whole thing.

We went to another place and I rode a bike of the same brand but different make and while it felt good, it was juuuuuuust different enough. And it was pretty ugly. We liked a few things about it but…

Mark looked at me and I looked at him and he said,”this isn’t your bike is it? Your bike at home.”

So we came back home, and I test rode Julie’s bike around the neighborhood and I felt so safe and the breeze was in my face and I was ringing the bell (it has a bell!!!) and Mark was watching me with a grin on his face and we came in and bought the bike.

I’m so thankful that Julie was patient with me and didn’t sell it to someone else.

I’m so thankful that Mark is also so patient with me and understands that I get nervous and am scared of falling. He coached me all day on the rules of urban bike riding.

Once the bike was ours (that text that said SOLD was my favorite one ever) we immediately set out and rode all over town. We stopped on main street for a bite of lunch at the Diner, we moseyed over to the antique shop and looked around, we moseyed into the record store and looked around, then we came home. It was glorious.

I love seeing how happy Mark is to be back on his bike. I love how excited he is to think about what this means for us now, how he went to his “bike stuff” and got me some blinkies for riding at dusk. Once Julie gets unpacked, she’ll send me the pretty little brown basket that goes in front. Squeeee!

We rode back downtown last night for some dinner and stopped in to listen to some music before coming back home for porch time.

It got really hot here this weekend. Hot and humid. But on the bike? Such a cool breeze! All in all we estimated about 8-10 miles yesterday. And I’m not even sore today. No leg craps, no bruised bits. I’m ready to ride again! 11390374_10206418186434911_8570484178616296046_n

 

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New Beginnings Times a Billion

Apparently I only write here on Fridays now.

There’s a part of my choir of voices that are rising up singing about how that is such a failure, that I should be writing here regularly, and it’s not for lack of want. I think about things as I’m driving to work that I would like to write about. But apparently, I only give myself the time to do it on Friday.

I think this week I’m just too wrung out not to write. I don’t want to carry this over into the long weekend we have planned.

This week has been gut wrentching. Beginning on Sunday when we gathered officially for final time with Audra and Joe before they departed to DC. It wasn’t exactly as we had planned, we didn’t get the whole day together but it was ok. Just the thought of us doing that, hearing each other’s voice SAY that was what we were going to do was enough. As we are frantically running around here this morning gathering and packing and checking off lists, I know how nuts it is trying to get out the door. I refused to cave though, refused to crack because this is a great opportunity for them. Traveling to a far away place, unexplored and ripe with advenures for them, who could deny that to someone you love, right? GO! Leap! LIVE! This world is much tinier than it was back in the 90’s when I left and we stayed in touch really well back then. Today we have the internets and the texting and it’s a daily communication that will likely be stronger.

But still. I really hate goodbyes. So longs. See ya laters. I hate them.

Sunday night was the series finale of Mad Men. And yeah, I’m putting it in the box of goodbyes because I loved this show. It choked me with nostalgia at times, for a time that I don’t really remember even but that’s what it did. And it ended. And I read the entire internet about the finale. But still. It’s over.

We have had five goodbyes at work this week. Some were planned, some were announced some were a surprise. And I do believe everyone is all the better for it. People are chasing dreams, the organization will move forward. But it is a loss. It is a loss of collective memory and information. And it is a change in the every day normal at the office. Faces gone. Offices empty.

Thursday night David Letterman signed off for the final time and I have to say, that was something else I was nostalgic about. I remember talking to Scott Hill on the phone one night when we were in high school, late. Way later than I was allowed to be on my phone, I’m sure. And I distinctly remember him telling me about David Letterman. “You really should watch it. You would like it”

And because I would do most anything for the attention of a boy back then, I did. And I did like it. And I remember the bru ha ha over the Tonight Show. And I moved with him to CBS. And I went to the theatre and took photos my first trip to NYC, and I went to the Hello Deli and without meaning to, David Letterman became a central thread to many of my life’s memories. He signed off with grace and kind words and while I haven’t watched him in years mostly because I’m asleep by that time but if I am awake I’m watching Jimmy, it felt like a goodbye to *my youth, to *my memories as well.

Our neighbors have sold their house and are moving to Bend, Oregon. I remember Julie telling me last summer that they had made the decision. It was going to happen. And I am never one to say, DO NOT DO IT. Because I have done it, I have taken the leap and it brought me wild joy and lifelong friends. This is the first neighborhood that I’ve lived in where we are a community. Neighbors gather, we visit, we play and laugh together. It’s like the movies. It is wonderful.

Last night was Julie and Farrel’s last night in their house. They will depart for Bend tomorrow but will be back in a few weeks for some medical procedures. It really is just a see you in a few weeks but for the house, and knowing that it holds our friends Julie Farrel and their dog Daisy Droke as we walk by on our Winnie Walks…that is over.

YOU GUYS I CANNOT STAND ONE MORE FUCKING ENDING OR GOODBYE THIS WEEK.

The way I am with goodbyes, just ask my family. Sobbing, snot oozing mess. Stories are told that when I was a wee child, 3 years old, I would cry everytime we left someplace and I would tell EVERYTHING good bye. “goodbye trees! goodbye mountains!”

drama.

But I haven’t sobbed this week. I’ve held strong. (I’m crying now a little but man, I kind of need to) and in just a few hours we will set out for our first weekend of camping this summer. We will meet my sis and brother in law and nephews and we shall camp. No teardrop for us this time as Taryn and Brett got themselves a fancy awesome camper and there’s only one allowed per site. Winnie is going with us.

We always took our dogs camping when I was little, so we’ll see how this works out!

It has been one helluva week.

SO many new beginnings for these people in my life! For that I am excited.

I know that we have trips to DC and to Oregon in our future. For that I am excited.

I have four days off from work, to soak up and breathe in and to live this life.

For that I am excited.

and so grateful.

Cheers to new beginnings!

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Blessed Friday

It’s been a soggy few weeks here in The Plains.

Everyone’s looking on Craigslist and Ebay to buy passage on the Ark, which is surely what’s coming next if the rains keep coming down. Our lakes have filled up. From drought to FULL in 5 days.

We are lucky here, only some basement flooding and some a/c issues and Mark is working to resolve both of those.

In other news, we have managed to keep this house super clean ALL WEEK!!!

I’m not even kidding as to how that needs a celebration on it’s own.

Last week I got things planted and it’s been fun to watch them grow. The seeds have sprouted. All except for my sunflower garden, which were eaten by birds as the seeds washed to the top of the ground. It’s okay. I’ve got more.

The weekend is full of fun. Time spent with friends, celebrating big moments in life, birthdays, new adventures.

Summer Breeze concert series starts Sunday, and while that means Mark will be booked I’ll get to spend my day with Audra and enjoy some last moments before she and Joe head to DC on Monday.

Memorial Day weekend is just ahead and that means time with my sisser and her family and camping. It’ll be a short week and a long weekend and I cannot wait.

Cheers to you and yours this Friday.

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Things I Love Friday

Week one navigating a life with zero major events to produce has been lovely. Really. Lovely.

Home cooked meals in the evening, and that isn’t much of a shift, I do try to plan and cook at least 4 nights out of the 7, but lately it was more like 1 night and we would get take out or walk across to the Mont. So that was nice.

We spent time together, my husband and I and we were PRESENT. Neither of us were working on something else, answering emails, head in the phones (*that’s always me btw) we were present. We took Winnie Walks, we watched The Voice (save your disdain. I have no patience for it) and laughed and did our own critiquing. Mark’s go-to? “That’s a horrible song. Just horrible. Why did they pick that song.” Mine is: “Awwww they look so pretty!”

We went to see David Sedaris with Trish and laughed and laughed. We saw many friends in the audience, saying hello and being part of this world where great stuff happens. Participating.

I Love These Things.

Work has been great as well. Maybe because it’s the only thing I have to worry about, now. But I love that I laugh at work. I laugh a lot. There is stress, and deadlines and some prickly moments that come with working in any kind of office environment. But seriously. I laugh with my co-workers a great deal and the fact that that is a precious and rare thing isn’t lost on me.

I love that.

The sun has been shining and the weather is perfect. That goes a long way for my mental health and I love being able to get home and take long walks in our neighborhood.

I love that even though this weekend is chock full of events and some work, I will be around friends, I get to officiate a wedding tomorrow, I get to sit in a theatre on Sunday and watch my favorite kiddos perform.

We have our Girl Awards Ceremony tomorrow in OKC, and while it *is work, I’ll get to watch as over 200 of our girls are acknowledged for projects that they have finished, projects that directly give back and make an impact on their communities. They will receive their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and that is quite a thing to celebrate.

Tomorrow night we get to be couples with another couple and have dinner and play cards against humanity and laugh and be silly.

I love this weekend.

Today is a semi-flex day for me. I get to finish up some writing, working from Norman which means no traffic-laden commute. Fridays are early days for us so I plan to go buy some of my flowers and things for the garden and finally get that planted Sunday after the showcase.

I love the anticipation of finally getting to plant.

It’s May. It’s a brand new month and at the end of it we get a long weekend camping with my Sis and her family.

Lot’s of things to love about that.

 

Happy May Day ya’ll.

 

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Best Laid Plans

Last year we had quite the crazy month of May surrounding LTYM:OKC. We had work things, big events that we were producing for work, or involved with in our real lives that needed time. We had SO MUCH GOING ON…

We, in our infinite wisdom, in our exhausted brains,  in some grasp for sanity, decided to SWITCH WEEKENDS NEXT YEAR! Let’s move it UP a weekend, to the first weekend of the production window! LET’S MOVE IT UP!

YES!

We would give ourselves a break from the MAY hell that was upon us! We would allow for a little breathing room in all of our lives and be able to really get the show up and running and have less stress! We would even allow for the possibility for representatives of the National LTYM team to get to our show in real life since it didn’t overlap one of their own shows!

YES!!!

This was the perfect plan.

Until April 2015 turned into the month from hell.

Coming off of the Clan McClellan Wedding, diving right into super heavy work loads that included a 6 day trip to NY, a super compressed LTYM schedule and then realizing that EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING on the same weekend we picked!

The Memorial Marathon, which is a really big deal here, is tomorrow morning. This weekend is also Norman Music Fest. The OKC Arts Festival is also happening in downtown OKC. And to boot, the national team is focused on the LTYM book, and budgets have shifted to that so they aren’t coming. (to be fair, they never said they *were but we held out such high hopes for our 3rd year)

SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!

But here’s the kicker.

We have an amazing cast who are sharing such GORGEOUS stories. This cast is knee deep in the intention of telling their story. Yes, being part of a national movement and community is great, yes helping our local cause is an honor but this cast? They have a story to tell and that is the root of their motivation. They are ready. They have their words and are ready to shout them from the rooftop.

These words? The pain and the glory and the tenderness and the joy and the laughter and the honor…they tell stories of loved ones so dear, of hardships so raw, of grace so deep we all gasp for air as we are steeped in it all. It is gorgeous. This cast is gorgeous. Their hearts are open wide and they are ready.

We have a full audience of well over 250 people who will come share in this tomorrow. We have the programs and we have the show book and we have the videographer and photographer, both alumni of our show, who are giving us their talent. We have the program inserts from the cause and photo fundraiser and the cast gifts and the post-show-party-place standing at the ready with extra waitstaff. We have endless threads on FB and in our text messages between the production staff with crazy Power Rangers stickers and emoji conversations. We have built a community of alumni that are ready to attend and watch as their family opens their arms to welcome a whole other group into the fold. We have generous sponsors who have stepped up time and time again to say TAKE THIS MONEY AND PUT ON A SHOW! We truly couldn’t do this without them.

It has been a ride on the StruggleBus this year with the calendar, with PR/Sponsorship stuff, with staying within all of the guidelines of producing this show. There have been true struggles and days when there was not one more ounce of energy to give to anything, much less a volunteer gig that is in it’s own right, a full time job.

Yet…tomorrow at 2:30 pm as we all walk out onto that stage and feel the love of our audience, these people who have said THIS SHOW IS IMPORTANT AND I WILL BUY A TICKET…all of this will wash away.

And we will speak.

And it will be transformative.

And the audience will be right there with us.

And we will know that the best laid plans can sometimes kick you right in the arse, but that all is exactly as it should be.

I can’t wait.

 

*Tickets available at www.ticketstorm.com

**The Day of Show Book Drive (bring a children’s book) and a portion of our ticket sales go to support Reach Out and Read: Oklahoma 

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And Just Like That…

We are approaching our Listen To Your Mother show day and it has been a whirlwind to say the least. This year’s schedule was super compressed to accommodate the Clan McClellan Wedding. There have been pros and cons to the different schedule, but at the end this week…actually this exact time next week it will all be behind us. The stories will have been told, they will be living in the ether, in the hearts and minds of our audience and our jobs will be complete.

It’s been a crazy last three months. I have had something either wedding/LTYM/Work every weekend since we turned the calendar.

So while I am looking forward to our LTYM OKC show I am also looking forward to May.

Work is going to be a zoo for awhile. We are implementing an entirely new software operating system and there is much work to be done. Next week we train. The following week we launch. So…the unforeseeable future of work is the sound of 500 chimpanzees singing Les Miserables on rotation in our heads.

But life…daily life should slow down just a tiny bit.

I get to spend time with my dearest, she and her husband are taking flight for the DC area in just a few weeks.

I will plant. OH lord will I plant. Nary a seed nor a pod has hit the dirt here at the Castle McClellan and I am tweeking. I need to get outside. I need to get my hands in the dirt and see some life spring forth. I need some color in the pots and I need some nights to just come home and sit with my husband on our porch.

At the end of the month we have a camping trip planned with my sis and her family. I couldn’t be more excited!

But while I’m super excited for what’s to come, this afternoon I ponder the coming week, ponder the last tasks to check off of our list and really gear up and get excited for our show.

Ya’ll, these stories are so gorgeous. This cast is just so amazing. I know that next Sunday is the Memorial Marathon. But we have TWO runners in our cast. The show is at 2:30. There’s time to do both. Live next Sunday to the fullest.

Come join us if you are in town!~ 

You really won’t regret it.

There’s something about the beauty of getting back to that tradition of storytelling…it really is a fabulous way to start your week.

 

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