TIHS kind of day (use a mirror)

For lack of a more interesting beginning: I’m exhausted. 

     Over the last 3.5 months I have been rehearsing for a Christmas musical a friend wrote, working full time, working out 6 days a week, stressing about family, worrying about health, planning, driving, organizing, talking, singing, practicing, and walking that balance beam we call life.

Sometimes I just want to throw all the pieces up into the air and scream while I watch them all fall back down and turn into glittery confetti…if only.  The current positives that are milling around in my mind proceed as follows:

  1. I am three days away from winter break from teaching. You know all those crazy memes of teachers running for the doors screaming? That’s me right now. I’m done. I’ve had it with attitudes, misspellings, sighing, requests x 27 and then some, repeating myself, filing paper work, making copies, making phone calls, writing emails, responding to emails, giving band aids, mending wounds both physical and emotional, mediating, locking and unlocking doors, searching for items, listening to demands, entering grades, having paint all over my hands, being sneezed on, being coughed on and glared at when I ask them to cover their mouth, wiping down tables, reminding for courtesy and the amount of general lack of gratitude. My bucket is not filled at work right now people I need recoup time.
  2. I wrapped the Christmas show and made new friends. I was grateful for another musical experience that pushed me as an individual, but I have to admit it was hard. It was challenging for me to force myself to drive across town the last week for rehearsals. It was not that I did not want to be there or follow through, it’s just that I am emotionally drained.
  3. My body tells me when it has had enough, and I generally listen. Like tonight when I stepped out of the car for dance class and my foot cramped and hurt immensely, I stopped and thought, “I think that’s a sign that you need to go home Rachel.” So I listened, and I did.
  4. Small glimmers of hope with my sister’s recent PET scan were also dashed and then thrown against more frustrating new growths in an already ravaged body, which made me want to yell into the wind: FUCK YOU CANCER. I should have been a scientist.
  5. I watched part of my birthday present from my sweet guy tonight, “Cinderella,” helped me lose myself in the fairy tale.
  6. I have a fluffy quilt, a couple pillows, and a bed to sleep in after writing.
  7. I had yummy home made pasta, and chocolate to wash it all down with.
  8. I realized after this last birthday that I could feel an emotional shift of ,”not caring,” about what people think of me slowly slipping away. See the meme below for my current feelings.
  9. I have a wonderful set of friends, family, and humans that I love and who love me. ❤ Case in point, my bff, Resa.Resa's bday party 2015
  10. I saw an amazing meme that sums me up.  That is my life update for this evening.  I’m going to dream land and will wake up and do it all again tomorrow. Enjoy the meme and one of my favorite Hollywood legends, The Norma Jean, aka, Marilyn Monroe. ❤ (PS I don’t know who created or posted the original meme below, I don’t own it, nor do I intend to pass it off as something I created. Rather, I appreciate it and am sharing it. Thank you.)Marilyn quote meme

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.

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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.*

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