I’m feeling 32…

birthday 32

My mother said that the night before I was born she had a conversation with me in the womb. She told me it was time for me to come into the world. She had stayed in bed for nearly 8 months in order to bring me forth into the world and that it was finally time. 

I generally follow directions, but I definitely march to my own drum beat still to this day thanks to my mom.

I followed the plan she laid out before me, but I arrived with a bang before my father even had time to arrive that early morning. My mother had her best friend Ann with her.   I like to think that she lives on within me, inside my heart, with my middle name and hers being the same. 

Friendships run deep in my life. Clearly from the first moment I breathed life, friends were surrounding me. 

I am a loyal human. I may kick, and I may scream my way through situations, but I will remain by your side. Much like my childhood likeness. I was the type of friend who would steadfastly watch their best friend branch out with other people and friends, but stay rock steady when they returned. I sought no comfort in constantly seeking other’s approval. I knew who I was even as a little one, and I loved my friend even from afar. I never looked at friendships as an, “end all be all per say,” but rather I cherished those whom I felt made a lasting hand print on my heart. 

The last 32 years have brought forth many recollections when I stop and consider the life that I have lead thus far. 

A few things hold true: life will always ebb and flow. It will continue to test you. No matter how prepared you might be, you can never prepare for the change that will set forth when you least expect it. 

I’ve found within the last year that spontaneity, pushing my limits, and testing my boundaries and also the human’s within my life makes my vision become clearer with this life.

We are given a gift to wake up and face each day for all that it will bring into our lives. 

I have watched those closest to me fight a battle of cancer.

I have seen love and loss.

I have experienced the unimaginable. 

I have discussed.

I have cried.

I have written. 

I have sang.

I have acted.

I have performed and put on a mask to make the smoke and mirrors reflect what they should from the stage. 

I have gotten up each day. Taken many deep breaths and washed away my sorrows through sweat and tears combined.

I have found solace in the arts.

Ultimately I have danced away carefree in those melodies and sparkling lights. 

I have worked towards relinquishing my desire to control. 

I continue to struggle with many things. 

I have found love, and shown kindness whenever possible. 

Life will always be challenging, and yet, I am anticipating what lies ahead.

The small, simple moments bring me boundless joy.

Cheers to you my blogging friends. Here, where readers and writers unite. 

I applaud all of you for sharing your quandaries and quests. May we all bring forth a flood of words to wash away our tears, and the anguish that our world is pulsing with. 

Peace, love, and sparkles is my wish on this, my 32nd birthday.

 

Roxanne

When I was a young girl there was an amazing human in my life. Her name was Roxanne.

She and my mother were in a mahjong group together. If I listen carefully to my mind’s eye I can still hear the tiles as they would gently slide across the table and click slowly into place.

Four players.

Four women.

All of them bound by a unique organization called Hadassah.

The word Hadassah itself translates from the Hebrew word meaning: compassion. Which further explains the namesake of the organization that is run in Israel known as Hadassah.

With compassion I write tonight.

I thought a great deal about Roxanne this past week.

I had the opportunity to spend time with my thirteen year old niece who is a wonderful young lady.  It’s crazy for me to stop and look back upon my memories with her. We met when she was six months old, a tiny sleeping baby in a crib visiting her Grandparent’s and Uncle Andy with her mother. Now she is a tall, beautiful, smart, sarcastic, and quick-witted teenager making her way in the world.

I thought of Roxanne when I drove to pick up my niece that morning.

Her small stature. Her quiet mischievous grin when I knew we were about to embark on an adventure together.

The little girl with the long brown hair and dimple that flashed with glee upon entry to her home.

She was the mother of two boys, always wishing for a girl to dote upon. She later became an amazing grandmother to a lucky little girl who I am sure felt the same way I did when spending time with this woman.

I was such a lucky girl circa at the age of six.

I so admired her immaculate persona, the air of Chanel on her person, Gucci hanging from her arms, and the red nails like slippers donned upon each finger tip.

What I loved most of all about her was how she made me feel.

They say that what people remember most about you is how you make them feel. It is ever so true friends.

She always made me feel like a talented princess. Roxanne had this special way of creating a make-believe world in her basement with me. I would dress up and march around waving my imaginary scepter, and she played along as a royal subject. Pink cheeks, singing Disney songs, and bouncing from couch to couch.

Little did she realize that along with my parents, especially my mom, they all helped set the stage for my belief in the magic of the theatre. I was a tiny star in her living room creating a world of imagination and ruling the castle one couch at a time.

I can fondly recall upon one play date when her husband came home and threw on his Groucho Marx mask and wig. I was scared out of my wits and jumped into this tiny woman’s lap. She laughed and laughed and yelled at her husband Gary to take off the mask while I squealed into her chest.

Another special event took place on a gray spring Anchorage day. Dad dropped me off and went about whatever errands he and my mom had to take care of that afternoon.  I spent the day with Roxanne watching a Disney film, playing on the kitchen table while she prepped a meal for lunch. Then suddenly she looked at me and said, “Do you hear that? It’s the ice cream man!” She rushed me outside with her, she darted past the rain puddles and into a stream of sunshine. The rainbow sherbet pop wasn’t the greatest treat that day. It was the memory that became nestled into my brain instead. Now, I think of her when I see raindrops and sunlight touch, meeting again for a moment back in that afternoon sky.

Sometimes I think I can see her in a crowd.  That shoulder length reddish-brown hair with the crisp blunt edges swaying just above a black turtle neck sweater and Chanel-esque cardigan.

She wrote to me at sleep away camp in 1997.  I was in the grim years of my life, the early teens, the awkward age of 13. This time was marked by training bras, awaiting the time when I would finally become a woman…oh we ladies know what I am talking about…

My mom called and asked her to write because even back then, I had quite a mighty sword with my pen.

I wrote to my parents telling them how homesick I was. How alone I felt. That I had no friends and no one to talk to. This was all true the first of the three weeks of camp. I slowly fell into a rhythm and made a couple of friends. But this is a story for another blog post.

The point was that Roxanne was there when it was needed.

She even wrote me as a pen pal the first year we moved to our new lower 48 state home. I should dig out those letters sometime. I have them all still, along with all my other correspondence over the years with friends and family.

Taking my niece out for a girls date of coffee treats, mall shopping, and laughing made me ache with a desire to call my sweet Roxanne and say thank you.

Thank you for making me feel beautiful when I was an ugly duckling waiting to blossom. 

Sometimes life deals you these cards that are just glaringly unfair.

I wish there was a magic eight ball of time that I could shake and go back to that place and find her and embrace her and say all that is on my mind.

However, that’s not the case. It’s not possible. As much as I wish it were.

So instead, I laughed with my niece that day, and I looked at her with love in my eyes.  I hug those moments in time when we can laugh like I did with Roxanne and enjoy the simple things about being a girl.  Discuss the in’s and outs of life as we pass by glittering dresses we hold up for one another and joke about trying the ridiculous attire on.

Roxanne, you made me feel beautiful. Your spirit comes forth whenever I see a rainstorm pass over and the sunshine through the clouds.

I can only hope that one day my niece might think back and say, “Aunt Rachel made me feel beautiful and loved.”

Sparkles for Roxanne.

images

How To Succeed in Life…

How To Succeed in Life…

“Another curtain rises, and falls. Another door opens and closes. I turn toward the lighted pathway of new opportunity just ahead.”

Over the last three months I have been part of the creation and fruition of a summer musical in Oregon. “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” knocked on my door in February of this year. Auditioning, hoping, waiting, receiving that email offer, and accepting gave me such thrills and great things to look forward and now the curtain has fallen on this show.

When I was a little, tiny girl my love for entertainment began. I would plop on my tutu slip, the kind that had a silky undershirt connected to a large goofy tulle skirt. I’d skip throughout our bedrooms, I would slide across the hallway wood floors, and burst into song just for my mom while she cooked. Her loving patience and applause would greet me after every heartfelt rendition of, “Wee Sing Silly Songs,” or Peter Paul and Mary’s, “Puff the Magic Dragon.”  There is a cassette tape floating around somewhere in the midst of our homes with me dedicating this very same song to my sister.  However, I digress… The point of this trip down memory lane is this:  I loved to perform. But mostly, I loved to make people laugh, to see a smile, and to connect through song and action.

Skip to a few years later, ok maybe 23, and here we are in the present of August 2015.

Life provides opportunities, moments in time that you either show up for, take a risk or a chance with, or you don’t. My dad told me once, “Life is about showing up kid, so do just that, show up.” So I did.  I had showed up years before 2015 to the very same theatre company.  I had been so hopeful and excited about the prospects of auditioning for my ALL TIME FAVORITE MUSICAL, “Fiddler On The Roof.” I walked in, I smiled and I sang my song confidently, I don’t remember what I sang…and then I left. When I did not receive an email or a phone call I was rather heart-broken. But that’s showbiz kid, so get used to it. I kept my chin up. I continued to practice and I auditioned again.

There is a word or phrase of sorts in Yiddish, “Beshert,” which roughly translates to, “It was meant to be.” (I know for some readers I’ve touched on this word before.)

And that particular production my friends, was not beshert.

However H2$ was.

Thank you to all the friends and family who were able to attend the performances. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to see a live production and your support does not go unnoticed. I feel like my best two performances were on the closing weekend when my sister and my parents attended. Having my sister in the audience meant THE WORLD to me on Saturday night. I cannot begin to express how special it was to have her there front and center after all these years working towards performing on stages and having her across the sea in Hong Kong. Thank you for always believing in me and being such an adoring advocate of my musical endeavors. Your support and encouragement have always brought me so much joy.  I love you to the moon and back Debbie.

Life is a funny thing because really, perhaps in theory, but more so in my mind it is all too similar to a play.  We live our lives out in stages, in acts it would seem.  We see times when the lights are all too bright and somewhat glaring, and others glistening sparkling beams that kiss our cheeks. There are times when there is hardly any light shining at all, dim and some what unkempt with a foggy mist. We are met with applause, we are also met with silence, and all of these things help us continue through each part of our lives.

Life is never predictable, much like live theatre and live music. You never quite know what might be beyond the curtain, who might be in the audience, or who you will connect with on that stage.  A few things remain certain though: being present, engaging, and believing. If you believe in your ability to connect with others, if you give yourself completely to a moment with that one or one hundred other people, you’ve succeeded. That’s what life is really about. Count not the tangible successes or trophies you will receive or the applause you will or will not hear, but rather seek out the connection you can make with one another, for that is what succeeding is really all about.

*Sparkle on friends.*

HT$pic

The music of the night Day 25

“Think of me, think of me fondly, when we said goodbye…”

Phantom of the Opera, by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Do you remember seeing this musical with me? I don’t even remember what year it was. Perhaps 2000, or 2001? It was on tour in Portland and you asked me if I would want to go see it with you.

Let me just take a pause for a moment to think about my response, “Ummmm, YES!”

For years we had listened the original Broadway cast album with Sarah Brightman, Crawford and Bartman. Over and over, and over again on road trips and to and from places around town. I loved singing and trying to embellish lyrics on the soprano songs. It was one of the musicals at the time that was taboo to sing at auditions or at recitals, “Too over done…tsk, tsk, who do you think you are? Sarah Brightman?”

Well I never listened to that. I ended up performing the role of Christine at a child’s birthday party in 2004. Yes, I said birthday party, that was correct. The parent was a bit indulgent shall we say. It was my first paying gig and I was absolutely thrilled. Someone has a home video floating around their shelves in Beaverton…not sure who or where. But the evidence exists. I wore my bridesmaid dress and earned a few hundred dollars to glide down the stair case and sing songs I loved. What’s not to love about that?!

Back to the memory. There I go digressing. Story of my life I’d say. 🙂  “The road less traveled…” Oh, whoops, there I go again.

I was absolutely thrilled to see the production with you that spring day. I can keenly recall mom and dad seeing it when I was about 9 or 10 in Anchorage, 1993 or 1994. Mom said I was a bit too young to see it because of the ‘scary’ elements in the production. I had heard about the chandelier falling and the whole mini-explosion bits here and there. I could not wait to see the spectacular with my own eyes. I can remember sitting in the Keller Auditorium with you, anxiously awaiting the beginning of the production. We flipped through the concert program and read through biographies for the performers and musicians.

The lights dimmed.

That faint chiming started and that melody that I can hear in my brain now, then the auction scene began. Finally the chandelier and that grand organ sound resounded. Chandelier glides upwards above the stage. Not over the audience yet, my heart still jumped into my hands, ok mom was right. 🙂

I don’t care what any one else thinks. I’m sorry, I think Sir Lloyd Webber did a spectacular job with his production. I absolutely adore the musical and am thrilled any time I hear the tunes. I know it’s rather faux pas or what not amongst the musical theatre community to be forthright with my accolades and taste. To each his own thought I say! I don’t know anyone personally that has written a musical that well done, performed THAT many times, and with such a resounding crowd pull for every show. Perhaps it is also the element of Paris that intrigued me ever so.

Having been lucky enough to spend time there, I can see why. It was a musical, architecturally enthralling, and culturally immersing city to experience. Perhaps one day we could share the experience together Debbie?! I would love to roam the streets of Paris with you and paint at the top of the Montmartre together. There is something to be said about being in Paris and enjoying what the city has to offer.

Thank you for the musical tapes, the musical production memories, and for sharing these glorious experiences with me. I can’t wait to see a musical with you again soon. I love you ever so!

10400605_54572350045_3823_n

This was a photo taken outside of the Keller, circa 2007-ish before enjoying, “Avenue Q.” Yet another musical you introduced into my life. 🙂