Skip to main content

Gymnastics and Puppets and Musicals, Oh My!

I like to imagine that I've always had the ability to make anyone believe anything I say and can often convince people to join me when I get a wild hair and want to do something "awesome".  Life is never dull because I'm always on to the next adventure. 

Some of my first memories are riding in the car with my mom to pick my brother up from school and telling her all about the "amazing day I had at school" and how "my friends and I had SO much fun in class".  My mom knew full well that I had been at home with her all day long and that I hadn't been in school at all. I had been in my room setting up my stuffed animals and dolls in order of vocal part (sopranos on the left, tenors in the middle and altos on the right) and directing my gospel choir of animals, Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids. She went along with everything I said and let me describe in detail the things my teacher said, how well I did on my test, how much fun recess was, etc. I blame thank her for my wildly awesome imagination because she never made me suppress it.  

obviously, I've been in school all day.

They say those who can't do - teach. When I was 9 years old, I decided that I was going to teach gymnastics because watching gymnastics on my 10" black and white tv that was hidden in the back of my closet (hidden tv's are another story for another day) clearly qualified me to teach "little girls" (a.k.a. girls who were my same age but were smaller than me. a.k.a. all girls in the entire world) gymnastics. I also felt like it should be a fusion of gymnastics and dance since I also liked to dance in front of my mirror, alone. I made up some flyers with sharpies and put them on the bulletin board at my dad's church.  I couldn't believe that 10 girls showed up for my "gymnastics / dance" class on a Saturday morning in the half-finished basement of my parent's house. In hindsight I fully understand why the parents of 10 girls would drop them off at my house on a Saturday morning.  Free babysitting. Genius. I taught them all a "routine" to some christian hip-hop music I was rocking out to in those days, but things got awkward when they asked why I couldn't do a handstand or any other gymnastic tricks. I was the teacher so I declined to answer. They all went home and I never taught gymnastics again. I think I just wanted to be in charge of people because around that time I also threatened to "whip" a girl in the dorm at church camp because she was being a brat. She yelled across the dorm "you can't whip me!! I'm the same age as you!!!".  I'd failed to notice that we were both 9 years old because in my head, I've always been 30. 

obviously the gymnastic instructor is on the right - freaking rockstar pose

At the ripe old age of 11, after seeing some puppeteers perform at church camp - I decided that I wanted to be a puppeteer. When we got home, I convinced my mom to buy me 4 really expensive puppets.  I didn't need to take any classes because I had an incredible knack for it.  The only thing about my puppets is that they didn't talk  - they only sang gospel music, which was terribly hilarious because the two "soloists" were pasty white puppets with red hair, so the fact that they were singing Kirk Franklin songs couldn't have been more of a stretch. My puppets performed for the entire church almost every Sunday night and they always brought the house down. In hindsight (again), I can't believe actual grown-ups would sit through the hilarity of two pasty white, red-headed puppets singing black gospel songs and even stand up and clap along as if a giant gospel choir were onstage.  Absurd. 

obviously a professional puppeteer - I even made the newspaper

Shortly after the puppet phase, I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist.  I didn't  know exactly what that meant, but I had seen a few sitcoms (on my secret, hidden television) where people would lay down on leather couches and tell the smartly-dressed person in the upright chair with the notebook about all their problems and they would leave one hour later feeling better. I wanted to do that. I wanted to do that for other people.  I wanted to do that for the poor kids that lived across the street with their grandma because their parents liked to party too hard. I was going to change the world - starting with those kids. I got a couple of huge books that said "PSYCHOLOGY" in a really big and intimidating font from the public library and after looking at the pictures and reading the table of contents, I was ready to see my first patient. I brought one of the girls from across the street over to my house and asked (in my best psychologist voice that I'd heard on tv) "so, tell me about living with your grandma."  She did.  I had nightmares for a month after that and decided maybe being a psychologist wasn't what I wanted to do after all. 

obviously a legitimate psychologist

One could argue that this is all sort of normal kid stuff, but I never really grew out of it.  In 2007, I decided that I wanted to be in a musical.  That's right. A musical.  I'd never been in a play or acted before but since I grew up singing and and studied music for a bit (and dropped out because I hated everything about studying music... I really just wanted to sing songs all day long) - I was obviously qualified to audition for a play.  I went online and saw that open auditions were being held for "The Sound of Music" at a local theater and since I knew all the songs from that play, I was obviously going to nail it.  I called the number listed on the audition site and they informed me I would need to sing "32 bars of any song except songs from Sound of Music."  Dangit! I convinced my friend Jonathan to go with me and audition.  He said no. I talked him into it in under an hour (see first paragraph)and he prepared to sing "76 trombones" and I did "Someone To Watch Over Me" (because Mr. Holland's Opus was one of my favorite movies of all time).  We got to the audition and people were DEAD SERIOUS about it.  Theater world is an alternate universe. They all seemed to know each other and most of them had done dozens of shows together.  There were hipsters and middle-aged women and dancing gays and little kids - it was the most diverse circus of crazy folks I'd ever encountered and I loved it. 

I got a "call back" and was selected to be a nun! I showed up for the first rehearsal and Terry LaBolt, the fabulous director asked me to sing the notes on the paper he'd given me. This would have been easy but I didn't know how to read music.  I had to publicly announce to my new nun friends that this was my first audition, first play, had never acted AND didn't know how to read music. Terry was sweet and let me record him playing my parts on the piano so I could learn them at home before the next rehearsal.  I learned my part and 4 months later all of my friends and family came out to watch me be onstage for 3 minutes of a 2 1/2 hour play. I bet they all loved it. 

the hills are alive
the cast at the covedale - I'm the last nun before the von trapps begin

I will be 30 in August and my current adventures consist of glamorous things like changing  diapers and walking around disoriented in the middle of night in my underwear trying to figure out who's teething 10 month old kid is screaming in the room next door. The fog clears and I realize that it's my kid.  I have a kid.  I'm someones mother. Holy cow... where are my puppets? 

obviously my greatest adventure


  1. enjoyed...oh and I too had (rented at $50 a month) secrets in the closet back in the day


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I'm Doing My Freaking Best

One of the wisest men I know once wrote me a note that read: 

"I suspect you, like me, have a confident exterior, but are plauged with inner doubts, like an impostor.. improvising every day, afraid the "real experts" are going to find you out.  The thruth is - we are ALL improvising.  Embrace improvisation.  Usually "experts" have maxed out and have very little capacity for improvisation.  If I could choose - consciously - I would choose improvisation" 

The above paragraph was part of a much longer letter of sorts that was written to me when I made the choice to move to Cleveland with my husband and son to start the next season of our life as a family of three. I understood the letter to be about my professional life and my ability to improvise in my job. While I had always been cool and confident in my work on the surface, just beneath I was constantly kicking and trying to keep myself above water, often looking around a room of people 10, 15, even 20 year…

Bits and Pieces

There are lots of little things that I've been wanting to share lately, but nothing interesting enough for a stand-alone post. Here are three (3) short stories.  1.) Irrational Things New Parents Say in the Middle of the Night
The longer I'm a parent (a whopping 7 months now), the more I realize there isn't much that other parents haven't already experienced so why don't we talk about it?   People tried to tell us how hard it would be to go from being married without kids to married with kid(s) but I feel like we had no idea what was about to hit us in the face. 
I remember when our biggest decision was where we were going to get coffee after we slept 10 hours straight and were still in bed at 10am on any given Saturday morning. Those days were over for us on June 1, 2011. The most amusing (not at the time, but later) thing is the CRAZY stuff new parents say to each other in the middle of the night when you want to sleep but your baby has decided it's time for Scr…