Monday, December 31, 2012

For Auld Lang Syne

2012 started with me sitting in office doing whatever ever work I could for a paycheck. Tennessee saved me - twice. After a visit to see a close friend, and another visit to a theatre conference, I finally got my break. Two days after I turned 24, I packed up my life and moved to St. Louis. Although I hated the theatre I worked for, I loved my co-workers and had the time of my life. I don't think St. Louis changed me- but rather living in St. Louis allowed me to become more myself than I have ever been - for which I am forever grateful to the people I met there. In August I moved to Kentucky, to a job that I absolutely love. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the people I work with and for.

This year I have been to North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and DC - you cannot deny I am adventure hungry.

All in all, 2012 has been a truly amazing year. I kind of hate New Year's because I find myself either putting so much hope in the new year that there's no way it could live up or I'm sad to say good bye to a year that's been so great. So 2013 has a lot to live up to, and I have plans and ideas for the year. And my adventures are already starting and planned - by the end of January, I will have already been to Ohio and California.

So I'll drink a cup of kindness tonight and cheers to 2012, auld lang syne, and a happy, healthy 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Atta boy, Clarence!

If someone were to ask me which of all the angels ever written was my favorite, I would say, without a moment of hesitation, Clarence.

A true Christmas movie fanatic would know whom I'm talking about immediately. Clarence, the angel who hasn't earned his wings yet, who's got the innocence of a child and is sent from heaven to help George Bailey.  Clarence's naivety and innocence prove to be a hindrance when trying to help George, who's so low that he is debating the importance and value of his own life. But Clarence saves the day, and George's life. When Clarence shows George Bailey what the world would have been like had he never been born, George learns that life really is wonderful.

I sit here typing this, watching the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life, while wrapping the last of the Christmas presents. It's become a bit of a family tradition watching this movie on Christmas Eve. But the message of this movie is something I carry with me all year round. The quote I remember the most isn't even spoken in the movie, but written. It's message that Clarence's writes in his copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and leaves for George after he's earned his wings:
Remember: No man is a failure who has friends.
I think of this all the time because I have some of the best friends in the whole world and they are literally all over the world.  Thanks to you, every single one of you, I am not a failure, and I have a wonderful life because you are in it.

Special thanks to Kristen, Sydney, Annie & Chris, Leslie, Taylor, Jacqueline, Dorothy, Amanda, Delta, Sara & Brad, Amina, Claire & Chris, Kate, Emily, other Emily, Mike, Rodney, Nikki, Mary, Richard, Leah, Kenan, Bob, John, Charles, Kolby, Courtney, Megan, Kat, other Kat, Jesse, Matthew, Jenna, Sean, Drew, my uncs, my bros, my sis, my nephs, nieces and oh how the list goes on. All of you impacted my 2012 for the better and rejoice in calling you all friends.

But most importantly thanks to Beth and Gene Stainback. You're great parents, but you are even better friends. I love you.

Merry Christmas to All!

Oh and for all the angels out there waiting on their wings I give you this!

Friday, October 12, 2012

My One and Only Political Soap-Box

I hate politics. Always have, always will. I especially hate presidential election years. All I get from the campaigns, debates and politicians is why the other party is wrong. I don't pretend to understand anything about politics and I don't pretend to be informed enough to voice reasonable and sound opinions about any political matter (course are any political opinions reasonable or sound?). Election years just frustrate the hell out of me so I'd rather not participate in any political discussion with peers, friends and family.

But this year is a little different. This year I am working in the building where the Vice Presidential Debate took place. In fact as I am writing this the festivities for the debate are still going on. This debate has been a major concern in my workplace since I started 2 months ago. Of course the politics of the debate weren't the concern as much as the inconvenience the debate would be, but nevertheless the debate is a big deal to everyone around here. There is no way to get around the hoopla that this election is stirring in the town - the election is literally outside my front door right now. So I participated in the festivities as much as person who can't stand politics can. I went to the Debate Festival on Campus this afternoon, tried to get on MSNBC, got some free stuff from AARP - the official sponsor of the debate, and listened to the live Kentucky music. But I ultimately decided not to stay at the Festival to watch the debate. Watching the debate (which would ultimately bore me and frustrate me at the same time) outside in the cold just didn't sound very fun to me.

I opened the windows of my apartment so I could still hear what's going on on campus, and turned on the debate.  Within seconds I am already annoyed with both candidates and have no interest in continuing to watch, but I do nonetheless. Every now and then I can hear cheering from crowds outside because one of the candidates has said something that is excites one political party or the other - unfortunately I haven't paid enough attention to know what they've said that was so great. It wasn't until the last few minutes of the debate that it really got interesting. When Biden and Ryan were asked to share their stance on religion and abortion both candidates had my undivided attention (literally, I almost burned my dinner listening to what they had to say). Ryan spoke first saying that life begins at conception and that abortion would be illegal except in the instances of rape, incest and the woman's health if Romney was elected. Biden agreed that life begins at conception, but would never force that belief on someone of another faith. I'm not entirely sure what he said after that because I was distracted by the eruption of cheers from campus. I just happen to agree with Biden and it was very exciting to hear the crowd react the way they did. But it got me to thinking about all the other issues being discussed in this debate and presidential race. I may not have known what either of the candidates were talking about the entire debate (again, all I hear is blame and finger pointing) but they covered a lot of issues and I'm confused as to why the biggest cheer from the crowd is about abortion.

It seems as though women's rights have become a very big issue during this campaign, and same-sex marriage has become more and more prevalent every year. It is disappointing that these are the issues that mean the most to the younger generation, not because they aren't important issues, but because they shouldn't even be issues to begin with.

The United States was founded under the belief that all men are created equal and as a country we have fought for our freedom. Throughout our history, our country has expanded our founding belief to include men and women of all races are created equal and we are called "The Land of the Free."So why are we still fighting for freedom of our bodies, and of our beliefs and religions? It is so infuriating to me. Basic human rights and freedom in America should be water under the bridge. I shouldn't have to worry about them. I don't want to vote for a candidate because they are going ensure that my freedoms are secure because my freedoms in America should be redundant. I want to worry about the economy, unemployment, healthcare, the War on Iraq.

I'm not saying that everyone should vote for Obama because he's going to ensure that women have the right to do with their body as they please and that eventually a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman and expect the same rights as a married man and woman. All I'm saying is that isn't it a shame that we are still talking about rights and freedoms in this country after all that this country has gone through? Isn't it a shame that the younger generation still has to worry about this? What does that say about the next generation? If this generation is still worried about freedoms and rights and liberties, what will the economy, the unemployment rate, and healthcare be like when the next generation has to worry about them?

It has been really exciting being a part of this debate. It is something that I will always remember and be proud to have been a part of. But I have to say I'm so glad it's all over. I still hate politics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For The One Who Argues With Brick Walls

The following is a post I wrote several weeks ago. Although the post is directed to one person specifically, I hesitated posting it online because it allowed others to be a part of something that was very personal to me. But I think its important for me to share. It doesn't matter who reads this - it doesn't even matter if the "one who argues with brick walls" reads it. Yes, I want the people that love me and know me to understand, or at least be aware, of the change that happened to me. But it only matters that I share this change because maybe it can impact someone else as well.

Today marks one month from the day I left St. Louis. I love St. Louis, but I don't think I could ever go back - what happened there was too great for me - any other visit would be weak and disappointing by comparison. When I wrote the following I didn't post it because I thought that I would regret sharing as much as I did, especially because I wouldn't be able to take it back. What I realize now is that I would regret not sharing it and I refuse to live a life of regrets. And so, with this post, I share how one person changed me, how I will never forget it, and how I am now moving on.

I have found that everywhere I go I make friends that make the journey worth it. This summer was no exception. I am proud to say that the people I worked with and lived with this summer were some of the most talented, fun and caring people I have ever met. They are indeed lifelong friends and I hope deeply that our paths cross again, in the professional world as well as in the personal. 

But there is one that stood out among all the others. I hope that when the individual reads this (and I hope they do) they will have no doubt that I am talking about them.  There will be assumptions made by friends, family and others as to who this person is and what exactly happened this summer. I invite them to assume away, but I respect this persons privacy too much to reveal specific details and the true events that happened are no one's business but my own. But I feel I must express myself because I cannot speak of this summer without acknowledging the impact that this one person had not only on my time in St. Louis, but on me. 

I admit to always feeling shy, and being the one who always wanted the attention from the crowd but not sure how to get it. I feel awkward with people I don't know well. I always thought I was confident in myself and I believed myself to be strong, smart and convicted in my own beliefs. I thought I was a person that I was proud to be. I always wanted people to like me, and to never think badly of me. But I still am surprised to find out that people like me and want to be my friend.

Getting to know you, the one who would argue with a brick wall, completely shattered everything I had ever thought to be true of myself. Somehow you showed me that I wasn't confident enough- that I sold myself short. I didn't know how weak my confidence was until you told me. You showed me what I deserved and that I never have to sacrifice what I want for anyone: The people that are worth it won't expect me to change. I stopped giving a damn of what others thought of me and lived for myself and as a result I had one, if not the best summer of my life. You taught me what it felt like to be respected in ways that no one has ever shown me before. I don't have to be embarrassed by what I want, what I believe or how I feel because that's who I am. Somehow my shyness melted away this summer, and I got the kind of attention I had always wanted. 

You didn't make my life easier. Hell, you made it more complicated the way you shook it up. I cannot tell you how many times I just wanted to walk, or rather, run away from everything that was happening. You terrified me, angered me and pulled my emotions in 700 different directions. In the most trying of times, I relied on my strength and upheld my convictions despite the rocky platform on which I had learned my confidence stood. I am not ashamed or embarrassed by the results. In fact, I am more proud of the woman I am now because of those moments. I hope that was apparent to you - that my strength and convictions never wavered, but my confidence grew. I cannot deny the fact that my life feels fuller and better simply from what I learned from you. I believe in myself more fiercely than I ever have in my life. Did you know that confidence makes you happy? I am a happier person now, thanks to you. I can say with conviction and more confidence than I have ever had before, that I lived a full life this summer with no regrets and will take that with me everywhere I go.

You gave me so much and my worst fear is that I wasn't able to reciprocate it. I hope that you took away from me as much as I took from you, otherwise I will feel very selfish in how our friendship developed (but I know it was never a one-sided relationship). "Thank you" is too small of a phrase, too little of words. It just doesn't seem enough to say. But when you said it to me, it filled me up and reminded me that it was all worth it. One thing I have always known to be true - that hasn't changed from meeting you: Everything happens for a reason. You and I were supposed to meet, become friends and impact each other in ways we didn't expect. Some things are meant to be. 

I hope the day comes when our paths cross again. Until then, you have a lifelong friend who's only a text away. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moving On and Moving East

Well lots has happened since last I blogged. 

First off, I've moved from St. Louis, MO to Danville, KY. I am now employed at Centre College as the Costume Shop Supervisor for the Drama Department. I accepted the job back in April, but tried to keep it hush hush in the event it didn't work out. But I've been living and working in Danville for a week so there's no hush hush about it now. Danville is a very small town, but I live in a beautiful one bedroom apartment in downtown Danville. I am walking distance to work, my bank, Papa John's, CVS, the frozen yogurt place, and the microbrewery. The first week of work was very slow, mostly me getting my bearings on my new job and all my responsibilities. The students start on Monday so things should get a lot more exciting and interesting when students start getting added into the mix. It really is a great job for me and where I want to go with my career. I am very lucky. 

I had very mixed emotions about leaving St. Louis. Although I had grown to despise the theatre that I was working for, I absolutely loved the city and I had made some very close friendships. Leaving was very hard. We had so much fun this summer: The free concerts at the botanical gardens, the trivia nights at The Post, dancing  at Big Daddy's, the Arch visits, popsicle break, Call Me Maybe, shopping at Trader Joe's, the float trip, the lazy river, Chic-fila, the pod parties, Sex and the City marathons, Beer Thirty, Target shopping, the burlesque show, all the bars, Boom, cooking in the secret kitchen- all of these are memories I will cherish forever. 

I crossed a lot more off of my 24 list. 
7. Buy a CD- Aaron and the One Drops is a reggae group local to St. Louis. They were the last free concert at the botanical gardens this summer. Most of the people there were hippies, I felt very out of place, but it was one of the best concerts and we had so much fun we had to buy their CDs. Sydney bought one and I bought the other. They are awesome. Check 'em out. 
10. Start a new trivia team - Turns out there was a lot of us that worked together that wanted to play trivia. We went to The Post on Wednesday nights, just like at Old Staley's. Although we had a lot of fun, the team wasn't ever very good. Although, I am proud to say that the night where the music category was video game theme songs, out of the 3 of 15 we got correct, I knew two of them. Thank you Sonic the Hedgehog and Golden Eye!
11. Touch the Mississippi River- I finally touched the Mississippi River during my last weekend in St. Louis. It was very anticlimactic, but that day Mike, Jesse, Sydney and I went on a picnic at the Arch and then toured the Brewery and went to the blues bar that night. It was one of the most epic days in St. Louis and I could not have asked for a better last weekend in St. Louis
14. Try Lobster - After we all went on a "float trip" we went to Red Lobster for dinner. I say "float" because we were in canoes and kayaks in a river that had no current - there was no floating involved at all. We were all so exhausted from the day, but we still wanted seafood for dinner- I guess something about being in water...? We ordered a lot of food, but we deserved it and ate every last bit of it -I had crab legs and lobster (it wasn't a cheap bill by any means). The lobster was delicious, but I did prefer my crab legs. (That night may have been my golden moment to accomplish #20, as our waiter, although highly flirtatious, was a jerk, but I let it slip away with a very sarcastic message with my tip.)
18. Try a new hairstyle - Some may not even notice that I got my hair cut. But boy can I. I was finally able to communicate with a hair stylist what I wanted my hair to do and she made it happen. I still have long hair, but the bulk of my hair is gone and I have lots and LOTS of layers. My head feels as light as it would if I had chopped all my hair off. I love it. I also welcomed back the side bangs. I'm in love with my hair right now. 
22. Not be unemployed for longer than 4 weeks. Even though year 24 isn't up yet, I think it is safe to say that I will not go 4 weeks without being unemployed. As long as I don't get fired in the next 6 months, I will have gone all of year 24 without being unemployed! Hot damn. Momma, I'm a big kid now!

I was able to accomplish half of my Year 24 bucket list while in St. Louis. I am right on track!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My puppy, Zoey

When I was a little girl I was afraid of dogs. I remember lots of kids my age being afraid of dogs, probably because when we were little there were dogs that were bigger than us, and they had teeth and barked and that is just terrifying.

When I was in kindergarten, my brother's dog Chief, came to live with us for 6 months. Chief was a black Chow Chow, which some consider to be a meaner dog. It's true, Chief did not like a lot of people, particularly men, but he liked me. He wasn't that much smaller than me at the time, but he was the most gentle with me than with anyone else. I got over my fear of dogs because of Chief, and I remember the day my brother came to take him back as being one of the saddest days for me. But as much as I knew Chief loved me, I knew he loved my brother more.

Fastforward a couple of years: I'm playing in the attic of my house with some friends from down the street. I hear my parents calling me to come downstairs. But before I even reach the top of the stairs to go down, a small black dog is already halfway up the stairs greeting me. She was so fast running up those stairs! She quickly smelled me, my friends, jumped around a bit, and then raced back downstairs. I followed the puppy to see who was visiting and who she belonged to, but only my parents were downstairs. As it turned out, this puppy had been staying with our neighbors daughter who thought she might like to keep her. But she had already decided that she was not going to be able to keep the puppy. She was supposed to have the puppy for one more night before she returned her, but my mom suggested that we keep the dog for the night. Unbeknownst to me, my parents had been talking about the possibility of getting a dog. I don't remember if I had ever asked for one, or if it was something my Dad wanted or thought it would be good for us as a family. Either way, the puppy was ours for the night. And what a great night it was. She was just so cheery and happy to be there - racing around everything, she was really quite fast, and jumping around. I loved playing with her. At dinner, all we talked about were names. We made a list of names, and we kept calling her with all the names - of course she responded to all of them. I remember I came up with a name like Tara, or something like it (I was always making up weird names as a kid so who knows what name I really came up with.) I really wanted to name her that obviously forgetful name, but my parents weren't really listening to my suggestion. They seemed to have already decided that her name would be Zoey, after a dog in one of the books my mom read to her students. And, even though I was disappointed I didn't get to name her, that was the night that Zoey enter my life.

Let this be a lesson to all future pet owners with children; If you are keeping a dog for a trial run, never talk about what to name them. Even if the kids don't like the name you picked, don't give the animal any name until you are 100 % sure and ready to keep that animal in the house for forever. This is where my parents made their mistake.

Zoey slept babygated in the kitchen that night. I think she may have barked a bit in the night, but I don't remember. I woke up early to play with her before I went to school. But my parents had seemed to have made the decision overnight that we were not ready to have a puppy in the house. They called our neighbor's daughter to tell her that we were going to give her back. I came home from school and Zoey was still there. I got another hour with her before they came to take her back. I proceeded to cry uncontrollably for the next 24 hours. Well maybe I exaggerate a bit. But I cried so hard and so long that my parents came to another decision: We better get that dog back. Zoey returned two days later and never left after that.

I tried to teach Zoey how to "sit,""come," and "stay." "Sit" was really the only one that stuck. She slept in the kitchen for a few more weeks but eventually she started sleeping anywhere around the house. She could jump really high, and many nights she would sleep with me on my bed. Her favorite place to sleep was under my parents bed, and her favorite place to sit was on top of the couch by the window where she could watch the people walk by. We were always alerted when someone was walking up our sidewalk. Zoey would bark twice and then jumped of the couch, and run to the front door to greet the person. At first glance, you'd think she would make un excellent guard dog, until two seconds after meeting her you realized she loved everyone! Zoey didn't have a tail, but a stump, and when she was excited she would try to wag her stump, but it just looked like a booty dance. You always knew she was happy to see you. She also had no fear of any other dog. I'd be walking her to the park and another dog and their owner would be walking towards us. And Zoey would be ready to attack, despite the fact that the other dog was three times her size; she was fearless.

Zoey saved my life once. Sort of. I was probably about 9 or 10 and was walking her to the park and back home like I usually did. There was a baseball game going on down the street and there were a lot of people there. We walked around the game and avoided the people and started our way back home by the creek. All of a sudden, three other dogs surrounded me and Zoey, all three of them without owners and not looking very friendly. The were barking, jumping and snapping at us and there was no one around to help. Zoey may have been fearless sometimes, but I was so glad she wasn't fighting back because those dogs would have killed her. We just kind of stood there together waiting for help or worse. I had no idea what to do because they wouldn't let us move. Somehow, and I have no idea how, Zoey managed to get out of her collar, which was attached to the leash I had in my hand, and she bolted away. Now these dogs could have ripped us to shreads but the one thing Zoey had on her side, and she probably knew it, was speed. When you are being attacked by 3 dogs and your own dog starts running away, it's terrifying because you go from being attacked by 3 dogs to possible loosing your own. But when Zoey ran away, the other 3 dogs followed and I ran after Zoey, not knowing where she would go. She was so fast that the two bigger dogs gave up and turned back to wherever they came from. But Zoey still had one dog on her tail and me way far behind her. At this point I knew where Zoey was going. She was running home. She had gotten the other dogs away from me, but we still hadn't lost the 3rd dog. Luckily, at this exact moment, Nature called. While the 3rd dog stopped to lift his leg, Zoey kept running- she never looked back in fact -and I jumped over the 3rd dog and kept running home. I met Zoey at our front porch let ourselves in and shut the door before the 3rd dog could get inside where I proceed to cry in my mother's lap for the next hour. I had been so scared and then on top of it I thought that Zoey was running away. But no she was actually rescuing us. I don't think Zoey ever got enough praise or reward for that day. I never forgot it.

I had a hard time falling asleep when I was a kid. When I was younger one of my parents had to lay in bed with me until I fell asleep. Even though by the time I was 10 they had stopped doing that, I still hated going to bed. What I hated most about it was that it took me so long to fall asleep and then I was always unnerved at knowing I was the only one awake in the house. These nights when I couldn't go to sleep was when Zoey was my best companion. She would be on the bed with me. As long as she was awake, I was comforted in knowing that I wasn't the only one not asleep. Sometimes I would sing Zoey a lullaby and help her go to sleep. Unfortunately for her, a little while after I had rocked her a sleep I would wake her up because I didn't want to be the only one awake again. I think Zoey eventually figured this out about me because somewhere along the way she stopped sleeping on my bed. And always went under my parents bed.

People always thought Zoey was fat. It's only partly true because Dad did feed her scraps from the table. He'd get so angry when she begged but he would always give her something. In fact, Dad would sometimes get angry with me when I didn't want to give Zoey my leftovers... it was an on going thing. But Zoey wasn't always fat. In fact, she just had a lot of hair. She always looked so pretty when she came back from being groomed, and she seemed much less hot.

Dad always said that Zoey was my dog, and I would in fact say that as well. But the truth was that Zoey was Dad's dog. No one knew Zoey better than Dad. I like to pretend that I did sometimes, and maybe sometimes I did, but really it was Dad. Zoey would follow Dad to the ends of the earth, and she minded him a heck of a lot more than she did anybody else. I remember once asking what we would do if our house caught on fire. It was decided that Mom would get me out and Dad would get Zoey out. I remember being really comforted by this, because it was like we had a buddy system, but also because I knew Zoey would listen to Dad if she was scared. Zoey never listened to Mom. I think Zoey was probably a bit jealous of Mom. I think that's why Zoey was always in Mom's way. In the kitchen, in the bedroom -Zoey wanted to be like Mom so she'd get more attention from Dad. She was a smart puppy.

When Zoey got older she became less friendly. She still liked just about everyone she met, she just didn't like to be disturbed. She became a stubborn old (for lack of a better term) bitch. If she didn't like what Dad fed her for dinner, she wouldn't eat until she got what she wanted. Dad would get so angry at her, but eventually he'd give her what she wanted, and she knew that. Dad always caved when it came to Zoey. Even though she couldn't hear anymore and she couldn't see anymore, she could smell, I knew she knew it was me when I would pet her and love on her. She would always wag her tail when I came home from school because she knew I was home.

I knew when I moved to St. Louis that there wasn't a very good chance I would be seeing Zoey again. Schnauzers usually don't live past 15 years and Zoey was 16 and a half. She hadn't been doing well, and we had already had a few close calls. I did get to talk to her on Skype about a month ago. She had no idea what was going on. She couldn't see me, hear me, and because I was on a computer screen she couldn't smell me so she just walked away, but I was so happy to see her. I always thought I would prefer to not be home when Zoey died, and I guess I do. I don't have to think about it as much and I am very grateful for all the distractions I have had this week to keep my mind off of her and home. But I'm still really sad because well, saying goodbye to your first dog, is hard. It's like saying goodbye to your childhood officially. I'm so glad that I cried myself to sleep that night back in 1996 and I'm so glad that my Dad caved on everything that related to Zoey because otherwise I wouldn't have had grown up with her. Maybe there would've been another dog at some point, but I'm so glad it was her. She was a stubborn, kind, protective, and happy companion. No other dog could ever live up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

2 months later, in STL

I can't believe I've been living in St. Louis for 11 weeks. I feel bad for not posting much, but at first there wasn't much to share, and then there was so much to share but I couldn't find the time to share it.

We finally opened our first show of the season and it is a beautiful show. After many weeks of wanting to burn the costumes because I was tired of looking at them, all ill feelings towards the costumes went away - as it most always does after seeing them onstage with the sets and lights. Even though the show isn't my favorite show, it cannot be denied that everyone involved in the production is extremely talented.

I've explored many parts of St. Louis on my days off. I've been to the arch twice, and both times were a story in of themselves. I've been to the St. Louis Zoo, The City Museum, many MANY interesting bars and restaurants, and shopped - A LOT, and found a really awesome pool. To say that I like living in St. Louis is an understatement. But the city is even better getting to explore it with new friends. There are now 17 people living in housing. Yes, I have 16 roommates. Finding quiet, alone time is impossible. Luckily I like everyone I live with, and we all just want to have a good time together.

As far as my 24 things to do when I'm 24 list, here's an update on all the other things I have done.

4. Go to a wacky museum - The City Museum is by far the strangest "museum" you could ever imagine. And it was so much fun!
8. Join a gym - I did join the Y here because we got in free. I have not yet however gone to exercise, but it wasn't on my list that I actually had to exercise - just had to join ;)
9. Save money - even though this is an ongoing accomplishment, I have started couponing and can proudly say that my last paycheck went straight into savings.
17. Cook dinner for friends - it hasn't happened much, but I have made some quesadillas for my roommates when they are around. :)
23. Save my receipts - every receipt I've gotten so far this summer I have saved. Many can be thrown away now, but it has come in handy when I have gone to return my impulse buys - since I am trying to save money.
24. Skype with friends - it's only been mom and Kristen who've seen me on Skype, but I realized, I don't know a lot of people on skype. So, help a sister out and find me on Skype!

There is one more item on my list that I have accomplished, although announcing it is a bit premature, it's an announcement that deserves its own post - which will hopefully happen again much sooner than my last post.

I miss all my family and friends back in Eastern Time Zone. 11 weeks is a long time to be away. It's hard to believe I've been in St. Louis almost as long as I was in WV, and I'm going to be away even longer than that. Luckily, I will have some visitors soon, and (keeping my fingers crossed) I'm going to be visiting VA next month for a wedding.

The next show is The Sound of Music, which of course I will enjoy every moment of, because this show is the reason I do what I do. All in all, I'm having a great time here and wanted to share with everyone that I am having a fantastic summer thus far!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What a difference a week makes.

At the end of last week I was starting to get a little lonely. With only one (fairly quiet) roommate, no cable and internet, and no one to go do anything with, St. Louis was starting to seem a little boring. But then Kenan showed up. Kenan is working with Costume Crafts (aka building hats, purses, etc.) and arrived last Saturday night. He was here last year and has filled me in on all the goings-on of the theatre. Since I'm still a newbie, and I don't tend to ask a lot of questions, he has been a get source of information. He's a lot of fun, and he and I can carpool to work together, which makes the morning drive is more tolerable with company.

I'm learning that this theatre expects nothing but the best work of its employees. I had one rather discouraging morning when nearly every seam I had sewn needed to be redone for one reason or another. Not that I didn't do it right the first time, I just didn't do it as close to perfection as expected. Although I was never criticized for my work in a negative manner, it was still a frustrating day. But Kenan so thoughtfully reminded me that since it is so early in the summer season, everyone can be nit-picky because there is little else to focus on. In a couple weeks, when the other draping team arrives and the work load starts to get overwhelming, no one's going to care if I sewed with a seam allowance of 7/8" of an inch rather than an 1" (yes, I had to redo a seam where I did that.) I am finally working on costumes for the first show. After waiting for measurements from the actors for several weeks, we are starting to build costumes for Ain't Misbehavin.' These costumes are a bit more interesting than nuns, I must say.

My first visitor from back home visited me this week. Okay, technically John was already coming to St. Louis this weekend before I moved here, but I was just as excited to see him. He is playing at a wedding which will be taking place inside the City Museum, which if you don't know is kind of like a jungle gym museum for adults. The wedding party is bringing a change of clothes to climb around in during the reception. Sounds like a very interesting wedding. Even though I didn't get to see John for long, it really was the highlight of my week.

Actually, the highlight of my week may very well have been the abundance of mail I received. I had 3 envelopes delivered, and inside them were 3 cards and one letter. There was a birthday card from my brother and his family with a belated birthday treat! I received a congrats card from my Sunday School teacher, on the day I left NC which Mom forwarded to me with her own letter (which informed me of several things that Mom had informed me over the phone earlier in the week). And the handbell choir at church that I had to leave before our Easter performances sent me the sweetest card ever. Even though I was only in the choir for 6 months, it was one of the perks of living at home again. I love those ladies! And David and Jack :). A couple days later Mom sent me a care package with homemade cookies (that are half gone already) and a loaf of her bread. If you have ever had some of my mom's bread, you know how big of a treat this is!

Tomorrow is the first Easter I can think of where I won't be home! I doubt that I will be going to church, but some of the carpenters that live locally are coming over for a cook-out. It will give me the chance to meet more of the summer staff and enjoy the holiday. I'm looking forward to it.

Happy Easter to you all!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Getting Back into the Habit... Literally.

One week ago, I moved to St. Louis and started a new job. And so far so good.

Work has been really slow, which I am very grateful for. We are still waiting on some actors to turn in their measurements, so we can't get into the full swing of making costumes, but we finally started making costumes this week for the nuns in The Sound of Music (get it, "back in the habit"?). It's been nice being at a more relaxed pace this week. It's been a while since I was sewing. I haven't been in a shop since September, and I wasn't doing much sewing then anyway. So I've been getting back into the routine of working in theatre and I couldn't be happier. Even though the shop has been really quiet this week (and pretty boring at times), the feeling of being in a shop is reassuring and comforting.

Nuns seem to be a reoccurring theme as of late. Not only have I been making habits, I live with nuns. Yes. My new apartment is in a school for deaf children and the nuns that teach here also live here. I knew I would experience new things when I moved to St. Louis, but meeting and living with nuns was the last thing I expected. But I've hardly seen them. School is in session when I am at work so I don't see the children, and the nuns seem to keep to themselves. Until yesterday I only had one other roommate, so it was really quiet and kind of creepy. But I've been okay with the quiet. Getting used to being a full time working girl again, also living on my own and buying my own groceries- it's been kind of nice not having to deal with roommates on top of all that.

I decorated my room. I absolutely LOVE it! I got some really nice curtains at some really good prices and I created my own wall coverings without having to spend a fortune. I really like it, more so because now my room doesn't look like an insane asylum. Before it was more white than I could handle. Now it's bright and welcoming. It's still a small room but I like it.

One week of solitude on my own in a new city has gotten old. Luckily we added a 3rd roommate last night. Very talkative and very social. I still like my quiet time, but I was so excited to have someone to talk to last night. He may very well become my new best friend while I'm here. It's another 2 weeks before anyone else moves in. Eventually there will be almost 20 people living here. And we will all share a kitchen, with the nuns. Luckily it's a huge kitchen, but still.

So far St. Louis has been kind, but I'm looking forward to more exciting adventures while I am here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The things to come.. tomorrow

Tomorrow I will finally have internet in my new apartment. Then I will post a nice long post about my arrival to the city of St. Louis and the goings-on since my arrival. Until then my friends!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Year 24 Update

  1. Move to St. Louis
24 down, 23 to go. Things are looking up for the year 24!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Year 24 Bucket List!

I quickly last night before it became my birthday came up with 24 things to do while I'm 24. A bucket list for 24 if you will. Check back in a year to see how I did!

  1. Move to St. Louis
  2. Go on a blind date
  3. Sing karaoke
  4. Go to a weird museum
  5. Not watch TV (or the internet viewing of) for a week
  6. Go further West than St. Louis
  7. Buy a CD
  8. Join a gym
  9. Save money
  10. Start a new trivia team
  11. Touch the Mississippi River
  12. Visit WV
  13. Go to the top of the Gateway Arch
  14. Try Lobster
  15. Paintball
  16. Visit another Grad School
  17. Cook dinner for friends
  18. Try a new hairstyle
  19. Go to a professional sports game
  20. Give a fake number at a bar
  21. Convince Mom and Dad to go on a cruise for Christmas (and take me!)
  22. Not be unemployed for longer than 4 weeks
  23. Save my receipts!
  24. Skype with more friends

There's a little Fangirl in all of us.

Today is the best day of the year. It's not just because it's my birthday. Okay, that's a HUGE reason why it's the best day of the year. But it's the first day of spring! It's the first day of the Zodiac! It's my birthday! And since it's my birthday no one can make fun of this admittingly embarrassing post.. But I love soap operas. They've been a part of my life for about 12 years now.. OMG - half my life! I inherited the love of soaps from both grandmothers and my mother (although she eventually moved on). I've been forced to let go of my most beloved soap, One Life to Live, a few months ago, but I still appreciate the genre and the actors that are a part of it. I admit that I still squeal with delight when two of my favorite characters get together, or yell at the screen when one character does something positively stupid, and I even roll my eyes when the storylines are so farfetched I can't wrap my brain around them. But I still love them. So imagine my birthday delight when two of my most favorite soap opera actresses wished me a happy birthday on twitter! I shamelessly told them both via twitter about my birthday, and asked for a little love and they both obliged! Yes this fangirl can't contain her joy and must share it with everyone. Finola Hughes was my first love of soap operas. I grew to love her as Anna Devane on All My Children although that character is better known on General Hospital. Kassie DePaiva played Blair Cramer on One Life to Live, and recently guest-starred on General Hospital as the same character. Today is also Kassie's birthday so I feel all the more special in being recognized by her. So here it is, the tweets that made is fangirl jump for joy on her birthday!

What a wonderful day to be a soap fangirl and to have a birthday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I was recently in Chattanooga for the South Eastern Theatre Conference. I saw friends from Theatre West Virginia and East Carolina. We all had a lot of fun painting the town red. I think if I had been able, I would have done a lot more around Chattanooga - seen more sights than the three blocks surrounding our hotel. But the 3 blocks around our hotel were pretty awesome. I highly recommend the following in Chattanooga:

  1. The Chattanoogan Hotel. A really awesome hotel. Go to the bar on Thursday and talk to Jeffrey. He is a wonderful bartender that will pretty much make you whatever you want, however you and the best price he can make it. That being said, the female bartenders SUCK. And there's a live band on the weekend making it impossible to hear. But the hotel and Jeffrey were great
  2. The Terminal. If you like stout, try their oatmeal stout. I hate stout but it was quite delicious. Also you haven't lived until you try their "festo."The staff is great and the atmosphere is really fun. 
  3. Urban Stack. Burgers GALORE. Any thing you can ever ask for on a burger, they can make it happen. And they have Veggie Burger substitutes. Delish! Also, if you like Girl Scouts, try their Samoa milkshakes. 
  4. The Southside Saloon isn't very quick at lunch, but they always have Miller High Life for $1.50 24/7. Just a good things to know.
Yep I recommend going to Chattanooga for their food and booze. But I look forward to the day I can return and get to see more of the city. 

Oh, and I guess the conference was fun too.