Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feel Good, Inc.

Last week found me ruminating over a random list of Good Things. No surprise that music figured prominently into the equation; it's part of the privilege and birthright of a music-based life form (MBLF).

Since this week has consisted largely of workday fire drills (in the metaphorical sense, of course), this week's post will be brief, but chock full of music-y goodness. You see, internets, I'm sharing with you my instant good mood playlist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good Thing*

I firmly believe that as our predominant thoughts and attitudes go, so go our lives—or at least our perception of our lives. And since we’re the ones living them, our perceptions about them are what count, right? I mean, you can’t choose what you feel, but you can absolutely control what you do about what you feel. That’s why I frequently make myself stop and take stock of what in my life is good (though, internets, I confess that it’s sometimes more of a List of Things That Dont Suck than a List of Happy Making Things because while the contents are the same, my state of mind can only encompass non-suckage instead of embracing what is good).

I’m far from a Pollyanna personality, internets, and I’ve already shared my thoughts on dealing with the Bad Stuff That Befalls Us (known as the The Only Way Through It Is Through It axiom). There is often value, though, in forcibly stopping The Wallowing (or its less intense cousin The Whinging) and actively seeking out Things That Are Good Right Now.
I’m not in particularly dark state of mind at present—and hooray for that!—but in the spirit of preparedness, I’m putting together my list so I can save myself some effort later. (After all, in dark times it makes sense to conserve one’s energy, am I right?) And if anyone out there needs inspiration to undertake just such an exercise for themselves… well, I’m a giver. May you soon find yourself out of the Smelly Gym Socks funk and back in the George Clinton and Parliament funk soonest.

With that, here's today's list:
  • A faire patron recently told me I reminded her of comedic actress Kathy Najimy. While this is cool, just being able to make someone laugh is a wonderful, powerfully healing thing for all involved.
  • Got a text today from Paleo Jo saying she was looking up “awesome” in the dictionary and there I was. What a great way to start out a day (especially when the compliment is from someone you love/respect a lot).
  • I am fortunate enough to have many friends who randomly send love my way, whether I need it or not. I believe that to have a good friend you must first be a good friend. Apparently I don’t suck at this, because I am awash in kind, loving, and incredibly wacky people.
  • While Spring in Texas only lasts about 2 weeks before we start the descent from Oh-My-Heavens-It’s-a-Tad-Warmish into I’m-About-to-Burst-Into-Flames-Why-Oh-Why-Lord-Won’t-You-Smite-Me-With-an-Iceberg, it’s quite lovely. Fields of bluebonnets never fail to bliss me out, and lunches and/or happy hours on the patio provide many of life’s simple pleasures – food, drink, friends, balmy temperatures and slight breezes – all in one. This is somewhat mitigated by the constant threat of tornados, but that just adds a soupçon of danger to the mix – delicious danger.
  • Spotify. I love it. I never quite got around to setting up stations on Pandora so I can’t say Spotify is better or worse than, but I enjoy the ability to peruse friends’ playlists or find other tracks from artists to see if I like their repertoire or if it’s just that one song. For MBLF’s, there’s little better than this. I’m currently grooving on the Hipster International playlist. I don’t know the person who built it, but I’m glad they did. It’s keeping me energized and motivated without distracting me from tasks at hand.
  • Hooray for cheese. So grateful I’m not lactose intolerant. From the bitiest bleu to the smokiest gouda, from asiago to manchego to extra-sharp cheddar… cheese is good food. You’d think I was from Wisconsin and not a Michigander. Lordy be, I loves me some cheese. (Yes, it really is about the simple pleasures some days, internets.)
  • I have three wonderful mothers. There’s the Mom Who Made Me, the Mom Who Raised Me, and my Mom Away from Mom. It’s the Mom trifecta. I win!
  • While I have some issues with my body, it’s still pretty great. It lets me see, feel, taste, and hear things. It has put up with neglect from me and continued to function. It lets me experience the world.

I could go on, but this smattering is enough to remind me of the embarrassing wealth of good things in my world. Of course, some days it’s all about where you set the bar, so when life is in Supreme Suckage mode you may have to start with “I’m not actually on fire right now,” but 1) that’s a very good thing; and B) it gives you a solid base on which to build.
So, internets, what’s on your list?

* Yes, internets, it's a two-fer title that is both a description of the post's contents and a hit single from Fine Young Cannibals' 1988 album "The Raw and the Cooked." And really, I only had to Google it to double-check the year...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Post a la Thoughtbyte

OK, internets, you caught me. While I know it doesn't seem like a lot of planning goes into my random, rambly posts, it actually takes me a bit of effort to decide what to commit to... er, pixels and share with you all.

Today, I confess, I am bumfuzzled. I have no theme in mind. I have... thoughtbytes. So today's post will be a list of items that are worth mentioning, even if they don't necessary deserve to devolve into their own dedicated posts (and I'm not just saying that because I've already missed my self-imposed blog posting deadline for this week).
  • As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I am fortunate enough to have a lot of awesome friends. I mean several brazillion. Problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day for me to tell/show them how awesome I think they are. Plus, I don't get to spend nearly enough time basking in our mutual awesomeness. That's a crime, I tell ya. I should find a way to be a Professional Good Friend. That would solve lots of issues (except the one where I love people—a lot [not to be confused with ALOT]—but need corresponding amounts of alone time in my own brain to recharge from all the social butterflying).
  • Even my acquaintances are awesome. Saw once such person at faire this weekend. I offhandedly mentioned my lack of drink aloud, more as a note-to-self thing than out of any expectation for anyone to do anything about my dry mug... when voilá! she gifts me with a wee bottle of Crown Royal. Some days, it really doesn't suck to be me.
  • It's no secret (and no surprise) that I love shows like SupernaturalThe Vampire Diaries, and Buffy/Angel. I've always had a thing for supernatural characters/ storylines, and the whole bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold trope did it for me before I knew what "it" was (helloooooo Han Solo)! But when tasty edgy, dark-yet-undeniably-good characters start to go down irreparably dark paths, I find them even more hot. I have ISSUES. And don't get me started on Tim Curry in Legend... WOOF! (We'll just file this under Not Exactly News, But Thanks for Sharing...)
  •  I think I like chocolate chip cookie dough more than chocolate chip cookies—unless they're fresh-from-the oven; that trumps everything. Doubletree cookies are the exception. I like the cookie form better, but ONLY when they're still warm from the oven. (Several brazillion years ago, I used to work there and one of the cooks had a crush on me, so I got notified when there were "extra" fresh cookies I could swipe. Only the head chef was a cranky sort who threw pots & pans at hapless desk clerks, so it was a risk/reward decision every time...)

    This week I had the urge to make chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not overly interested in eating them. I know, I know... raw dough, unhealthy, salmonella... blah, blah, blah. It's still DELICIOUS! (The possibility of death only heightens the tastiness.) Also, thanks to my friend KC-C we know that a tube of frozen chocolate chunk cookie dough is a hangover remedy. I'm not even kidding, internets.
  • Easter is way more entertaining when you have little ones about. (Not having my own little ones, I had guessed this but didn't have actual proof until last weekend.) Helping play Easter Bunny to a couple of adorable blond girls was definitely a highlight of the weekend. It's also dangerous for my budget. I already abuse the But It's So CUTE! defense way too much as it is (both for myself and those I love).
  • I sometimes get held prisoner by my personal space bubble; I occasionally get dumb and forget that I can reach out and touch/hug people I love, and don't have to wait for them to initiate physical affection. Having kiddos around means that I can ask for hugs with impunity and not only will I get them, but said kiddos will run full tilt to deliver the hug. Seriously—watching them fling their entire tiny bodies into the act of getting to the hug as soon as possible is amazing, humbling, and inspiring. It's a flavor of wonderful I plan to indulge in for as long as I'm allowed.
So there you have it... a random grab bag o' things that occurred to me this week, presented in a sort of blog post mash-up form. And having typed the words "mash-up," I now really want mashed potatoes. Apparently I'm highly suggestible...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being Fictional Is Hard Work

Oh beloved internets, I have fallen victim to the age old Having Too Much Life issue. My apologies for letting it keep me from you! Though I find that my busy brain is nearly always full of idle chatter and many thinky-thoughts, when it comes to choosing ones to commit to the pixelated page I'm often blocked. *le sigh*

And while I love springtime in Texas (despite the trees having sex in my nose, making breathing a somewhat more difficult proposition—stupid allergies!), it is far and away the busiest, craziest time of the year in my world (making ideating and blogging said ideas harder, too). The local Renaissance festival opens this weekend, you see, and the a cappella ensemble I sing with performs there. Yes, internets; I am in my early 40s and I still play dress up. Don't hate. (Seriously, it's all about the music for me. There is no better therapy than making music with some of the people most dear to me, and getting to act silly before and after the harmonizing. Trust me on this.)

What this means in practical terms is that I don't have a day off until June (though I'd be fibbing, internets, if I led you to believe that I didn't have a stockpile of vacation days waiting for that inevitable mid-season ye-gods-I-need-to-sleep-in-past-6-or-I-may-kick-a-kitten moment). And while I'm no longer part of the cast—which means 8 weekends of all-day rehearsals before an 8 weekend run—there's still quite a bit of prep work to be done.

See, we don't just sing. We are have characters. There's a story line behind our group, and the characters drive the banter between the songs. We are the village Tart Sellers, you see. Only the owner (the director's IRL mother) doesn't know that when we deliver tarts, we deliver tarts (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more). But no worries—our shows are kid-friendly; we describe ourselves as "Disney porn." We're so silly and fluffy there's no way we could be offensive. See?

The fluffy look, though, requires some effort... and a lot of luggage. I wish I were kidding, internets. That high-maintenance fictional Tart practically needs her own valet. It's ridiculous.

As proof I present Exhibit A—packed for a visit to the Texas Renaissance Festival:

(The red bag doesn't count - it's just pillows that make hotels more bearable.)

My stuff? In the duffel bag on the right; note that it also contains toiletries. The twice-as-large rolling suitcase on the right? Merely costume for a person that isn't real. (We share the silver makeup case, though admittedly most of the outrageous color palette inside it was bought with her in mind.)

My father once said that I work harder at my hobbies than most people do at their jobs. I don't know if that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised. As much as I enjoy what I do during the season, I'm kind of looking forward to the first week of June.

I know how much energy and effort goes into this labor of love, you see; I took the week post-festival off. When my co-workers asked, "What are you going to do?" I answered in all honesty (and with a small sigh of relief), "Not a damn thing."

So here's to my 8th season with some of my favorite people, doing what I love best. Maybe I'll find a valet this year...